Summary: Laurie is really a dragon.
Laurie always loved jewellery, even when she was little, but she seldom wore it. Instead she kept it in a jewellery box in her room and took it out to admire sometimes. She loved the soft gleam of gold and the sparkling gems, but saw no reason to wear them on her skin where everyone could see them instead of just her.
When puberty hit her shoulder blades and the base of her spine ached for days. Doctors could find nothing wrong.
At eighteen smoke started curling from Laurie’s lips when she was angry. She took up smoking to hide it and didn’t tell anyone. Her father had always said she was strange, it seemed important not to let on that he was right.
After the Crimebusters meeting the Comedian cornered her and complimented her looks. Then he took the cigar out of his mouth and stubbed it out. Smoke curled lazily from his empty mouth.
‘You’re my father,’ said Laurie, startled. She had no reason yet to be dismayed.
‘Yup. And you grew up into a damn fine kid.’ He stroked her hair and Laurie drew breath to ask what she was, what they were. Sally’s shouting interrupted them.
Laurie asked Jon where the Comedian’s apartment was and tracked him down. She stood in the middle of the floor when he came in, smoke coming from her mouth in puffs undisguised by her pipe.
‘You tried to rape my mother,’ she said. ‘Why the fuck would you do that?’
She didn’t want to be here, but she needed to know what she was. Why she existed. The Comedian looked at her, and for once he seemed a little lost.
‘I can’t explain here,’ he said. ‘Fancy a drive?’
Laurie should have said ‘no’ to a long drive with a known rapist. But he was her father, she didn’t really believe he would hurt her. And she had to know. He took them to a place in the middle of nowhere, untended fields and scrubby forest, then got out of the car. Laurie followed. The Comedian tipped his head back, stubbed out his cigar and dropped it. His body shimmered and a dragon stood in front of her. He was huge, covered with leathery green scales. He stretched his wings and nearly blotted out the sky. When he turned to look at her with eyes like coals, Laurie folded her arms and stared back at him.
‘So. Now you’re going to explain,’ she said.
He lifted his head and blew two trails of fire into the sky. ‘We’re dragons. Gold, food, women. If we want something we take it. It’s what we are.’
‘What you are,’ said Laurie, although she could feel her skin prickling with the urge to change. ‘I’m a half-breed. And I’m choosing to be human.’ She walked back to the car and looked at him challengingly. ‘Take me home.’
Taking up with Jon seemed like the right thing to do. He was more powerful than a dragon, she couldn’t hurt him. Or even attempt to have him against his will. The next time the Comedian tried to talk to her she threw scotch at him.
Dan’s innocence was something she could smell. It was hard to give in to her attraction, even knowing he was willing.
When Jon dissolved in front of her she shot Adrian. When he caught the bullet she gave in and changed. By the time they saw the peace he had created there was nothing left but ashes.
After she carried Dan and Rorschach back to Archie and shrank back to her human form she had expected horror and rejection. But Dan never seemed to care, and Rorschach seemed to prefer knowing she wasn’t a woman. The three of them had curled up together, learning each others’ bodies just to prove they were alive.
Rorschach is less innocent than Dan, but he wears his beliefs like battered armour. Laurie thinks of them as her maiden and her knight.
Title: Strix Noctis
Characters/Pairings: Dan and Rorschach.
Summary: Daniel isn't really human.
Daniel had told him they couldn’t patrol that night, that he had other commitments. It was their best chance to close in on Big Figure and Daniel thought it trivial enough to simply put off. There was little Rorschach could do, not alone and without Archie, so he kicked in Daniel’s door sometime after midnight to offer him news and demand food. The house was silent, perhaps Daniel’s commitment was elsewhere.
Rorschach ate, dropping the empty cans onto the table so that tomato sauce and tuna brine dripped onto the table. Daniel should have been there. He checked upstairs almost as an afterthought, but the shape of Daniel’s body under the blanket was clear. Either his commitment was done or he’d blown off patrol to catch up on some sleep. Rorschach shook his shoulder roughly, but Daniel moved limply with his grip. Rorschach pulled off one glove to check his pulse and found none. His skin was cold.
Rorschach stood with his fingers pressed to Daniel’s neck for what felt like an eternity, willing a pulse to flutter under his fingers. Had Daniel died alone up here while he ate? It seemed too much, too sudden, to even begin to understand. The inhuman cry of a screech owl, a sound Daniel had taught him to recognise, rang out loud around him. The owl perched in the open window, watching him with eyes like coins. Its hooked beak and the feathers of its chest were drenched in blood. Something was terribly wrong about it, too much intelligence lurked in those wide eyes. Its head was deformed, the shape almost more human than owl like. It flew into the room fearlessly and perched on Daniel’s still chest.
When it bent to push its head into Daniel’s mouth Rorschach’s frozen body shattered. With a cry almost as inhuman as the owl’s own he lashed out at it with his hands. It dodged and shrieked at him, and he screamed back wordless pain and grief. Daniel was dead, his body should not be desecrated as well. Finally the owl settled on the window sill, still regarding him with those unsettling eyes. It clicked its beak before opening it again.
‘Calm down,’ it said in Daniel’s voice.
Rorschach backed against the wall shaking his head wildly, whatever this demon was it would not fool him. ‘Stay away,’ he croaked at it. The owl sighed.
‘It’s me,’ said the owl. ‘If it wasn’t I would have killed you by now. I’m much stronger when I don’t wear a human body. But I need to return to it before dawn.’
‘Who - what are you?’ asked Rorschach.
‘In the time of Caesar I was called Strix Noctis,’ said the owl.
‘Night Owl,’ translated Rorschach.
Something that might have been a smile quirked around the ends of the owl’s beak. ‘It was interesting to reclaim that name in the modern age,’ it said. ‘More interesting to join forces with you. It has been a very long time since I had a friend.’
The loneliness in its voice was real, Rorschach was certain of it, and he stepped away from the wall without thinking. It was Daniel, he believed it, but he didn’t understand. ‘What are you?’
‘You would probably call me a vampire. I do my best to live as a man, but every twenty-five years I have to feed.’ Rorschach stared at the blood on its feathers, understanding far more than he liked. ‘They were child molesters,’ said Daniel. ‘I would rather have stayed within the law and turned them in to the police. But I don’t think their lives were worth more than mine.’
Daniel was the first friend Rorschach had ever had. He was kind, he shared his food and home. He protected the innocent nightly by Rorschach’s side. A good man. ‘Neither do I,’ he whispered. He stood aside from Daniel’s body, and when the owl perched on it he only watched.
The owl pushed its head inside Daniel’s mouth, his lips stretching horribly around its shoulders, and slowly pushed its way it. Daniel’s face distorted to let it, the shape of it distended his throat before moving into his ribcage. Daniel sighed out a breath and sat up.
Daniel blinked at Rorschach, short sighted without his glasses, and offered a dazed smile. The owl seemed like a dream, an illusion, and Rorschach wasn’t sure what to say.
‘Hey, buddy,’ said Daniel, fumbling on the bedside table for his glasses. ‘Did patrol go okay? Sorry I wasn’t feeling up to it.’
‘It’s okay,’ said Rorschach. He stepped away from the bed to let Daniel get up. And saw the owl feathers lying at the foot of the bed. He scooped them up as Daniel made his way to the bedroom door. ‘Strix Noctis,’ he said, and Daniel froze. Brown eyes behind glasses suddenly gazed with the same cold intelligence as wide golden ones.
‘I prefer Daniel,’ he said.
‘Daniel,’ said Rorschach, nodding. ‘Will need your help tomorrow night.’
The coldness of Daniel’s true nature faded and was replaced by warm gratitude. ‘Of course,’ he said, smiling. ‘Tomorrow the Nite Owl Rorschach team will be back on track.’
Summary: Walter can feel other people's feelings.
Warnings: Child abuse, violence
Walter’s mother’s customers look away from him, unnerved by his blank gaze. He can feel their distaste for him, but it’s better than the ones that leave feelings like slime on his skin. Touch makes it worse, so he ducks away when the pitying ones try to ruffle his hair. When his mother hits him it feels like shocks of lightning, hate, shame, guilt, rage, all pressed on him in little bursts of light and pain. He doesn’t talk, doesn’t understand when people talk to him, can’t focus on words when there’s so much feeling in his head.
At night his mother and her clients feel shame and pleasure, mixed together in unholy lust. Walter presses himself into the bed, body racked with waves of feeling he’s too young for as he shivers his way to climax sobbing with shame.
When the boys corner him he can feel their jeering boredom, he’s mildly amusing to them. When he hits and bites their feelings change, mirroring his own fear and rage. It feels good, having his head filled with his own feelings in reflection. He bites again, teeth tearing chunks out of the boys face, revelling in his victim’s terror. The helpless rage of the boy fuels his own anger, locking both of them in a violent loop. He hears adults approaching, yelling, as his teeth close on the boy’s throat and tear.
Walter feels death rip through the boy’s mind, horror, anguish and then darkness dragging him into its cold heart. When he looks up at the adults gathered around him, blood dripping from his teeth and chin, there’s nothing left behind his eyes at all.
I've tagged strix and empath because they do have sequels, but not by me. I'm hoping the author of Carpe Noctem will post it here, and the author of the Empath sequel too when it's finished.