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Fit and Finish

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It's the lines that do it, in the end.

He already knows what Daniel looks like, in and out of costume. Knows the way his everyday clothes bag and bunch, fit loosely around his hips and knees and elbows, the way the sweaters tend to ride up against the cotton of his dress shirts and at least he still buys cotton, in this age of creeping synthetic blends. But everything's a size or two too big; isn't designed for a man with shoulders broadened by the heavy work of hauling scum from the city streets, with hands too large and callused to look at home at the ends of an academic's shirtsleeves. And in costume, well – every dip and curve and valley between muscles is picked out, and he may know that tone by sight, may be starting to know it by touch, but there's just something obscene and inelegant in the way the spandex leaves nothing to imagining; nothing to art.

But this...

Rorschach's an hour early for patrol. He's only just remembering, as he crosses the room with a silent footfall that isn't deliberate – he's not trying to sneak up on Daniel, he isn't – that patrol had been cancelled tonight, over his protest; that Daniel had cited unavoidable obligations, with such a look of legitimate, genuine apology and frustration in his eyes that Rorschach had bent with hardly a fight.

Daniel is whistling, off-key and vaguely nervous; he's struggling with the errant bits of hair that never seem willing to stay out of his face, in front of a full-length hall mirror. His suit is brown; a color that is usually regrettable in formalwear, but it's a shade of almost-chocolate that is nearly the same as his costume, a richness that matches his eyes, shot through with delicate grey pinstripes, barely there. Charcoal shirt, light grey silk tie. It shouldn't work. It really shouldn't. It somehow does.

The lines of it fall around him like the first hasty penstrokes of an artist's sketch; render him into a classicist's design, all gesture and motion and sleek, sharp angles. The seams are tight and finely worked under fingers that are suddenly, inexplicably, ungloved.

That's surprise on Daniel's face – and really, he should have heard him approaching, should have seen the flicker of shadows in the mirror, if only he hadn't been so focused – when he startles, turns his head to take in the presence next to him. "...oh! Rorschach. Uh. Hi?"

A grunt in response, somewhat lower and more drawn-out than usual, rough like the pass of his fingers over the fine weave of the fabric.

"...we cancelled patrol for tonight, right?" he's asking, even though there's no need to phrase it as a question; he's just looking for a diplomatic way to ask what Rorschach is doing here, and in full costume. He shifts from one foot to the other in confusion, and even in that gesture, that admission of insecurity, the lines shift well – a straight fall from hipbones to the crowns of his shoes, infusing his posture with a deliberate elegance that screams confidence and power and the effortless grace of some wild creature, coiled and waiting, not an ounce wasted on trim or curves.

The shoulders aren't stretching their seams; the waist doesn't billow to accommodate that fit. The stripes flow seamlessly from top to bottom, a matching in the cut that he's not sure even he could manage so well.

"Rorschach... what are you..."

His hands need to follow those lines; need to rake fingertips over expertly sewn seams and follow the outline of this perfect abstraction of Daniel's form, neither hiding away the strength of it nor baring it in its every organic detail. Need to-

Daniel's tie is crooked. Knotted well, but crooked, in need of adjusting.

"Fixing your tie," he growls out, deft fingers plucking at the silk, teasing a fold out of the end that runs into the knot, balancing it more symmetrically against the lay of triangular collar flaps. Tightening it a fraction, and then his hand stays, fingers curled around the thin strip.

There's no verbal question this time; it's in Daniel’s face, and in the set of his shoulders, rolling so effortlessly against the soft linen.

The shape his lips make when he's confused, that soft parting, like a word sitting unformed...

Fingers tighten, settling a firm hold around the tie by gradual degrees; then tug down sharply. He isn't sure when he'd put his mask up. It doesn't seem to matter, as Daniel stumbles forward; recovers, and that soft mouth tastes as confused as it looks, feels as artful and as commanding as the lines that cling to him, presses back with a fire that is uniquely his own in any costume or dumpy sweater vest or perfectly cut suit; is Nite Owl, is Daniel, is whoever this well-dressed creature is tonight, is all of them.

"What was," he breathes as Rorschach breaks away, ducks to nuzzle into the line of his throat. "Where did that come from?"

No answer; just a low growl, and Daniel is wearing some kind of cologne tonight, something he's never worn before, and buried into the crook of his neck, Rorschach knows this is a sense-memory he will retain forever: soap and fine linen and silk and whatever scent he's put on, and the fine touch of disobedient hair, tickling at the exposed bridge of his nose. The hand not knotted in the tie rakes its way down Daniel's side, fingernails careful of the fabric, digging into his hipbone when he finds it.

Daniel shivers, ducking his head to one side. His own hands don't seem to know where to settle. "Hey, look – I've got this thing I need to get to, really... lot of, um. Prominent ornithologi-"

"Don't need them," growled against Daniel's skin, gooseflesh breaking out under his lips. "Have me."


"So, ah," he finally asks, half-laughing, as Rorschach shoves him hard against the wall of his bedroom, hallway light spilling in through the hastily half-closed door. "Do you like the suit?"

Hands work almost of their own will; loosening the tie but not removing it, slipping the top button of the shirt but going no further. "Good suit," he mutters, and he's shed his trenchcoat in the hall, and they are a symmetry of good, strong, solid lines, angles arching together to meet at the chest, the hips, at all of the places where hands intersect the purity of the design, soft shapes swallowed up in the folds of cloth.

art by Liodain

"I think," Dan grits out, and he's having some trouble, and it might have something to do with Rorschach's teeth at his throat, "That the conventional line is: it'd look better on the floor next to my bed."

Rorschach makes a low sound somewhere deep in his throat, something animal and human all at once; because a human cannot claw this way, cannot growl possessively and bite down to mark its intangible territory, its hold over other flesh, but animals do not appreciate art, and Daniel is all art right now, stylized and abstracted. "Not my bed," he states the obvious, one hand riding up under the tail of the suit jacket, splaying flat over the shirtcloth underneath, making no effort to dislodge it.

Lower, hips rise against his, and the friction is devastating.

"...keep it on," he growls, hands fisting in the cloth, teeth biting down, lost.