A wilder cry than mine
July 10, 2003
Disclaimers: Warner Brothers, DC, and others own them. I'm just playing.
Spoilers: Vague ones for much of season one.
Summary: John wants to know how it works.
Ratings Note: NC-17
Author's Note: Dude, I had to. The show is so damned GAY.
Acknowledgments: To the Spike for encouraging my madness, and the Livbun for audiencing and suggestions.
Feedback: Yes, please! firstname.lastname@example.org
It was hard not to think of Flash as a kid.
He was the youngest of them, and seemed to take that as the perfect excuse to act even younger than that. His jokes were painful, his habit of getting his foot stuck squarely in his mouth possibly the most entertaining thing about him, and...
No. That was the problem. The man threw up so much idle chatter and could make the very English language seem juvenile and meaningless. But... there was more to him. More to all of them, really, not least of which their habit of wearing costumes and masks.
Well, all except Superman, and John had given some thought to that. He was sure that somewhere down there, on the planet which was their home, if only on seemingly increasingly rare occasions, there was a man with a lantern jaw and a weakness for primary colors.
Superman, in a lot of ways, was the most human of all of them, and John would lay money on the theory that he had lived -- and perhaps was still living -- as just another human man.
And who needed a mask if you were so good at leading a double life that no one was sure you even had one?
He had to smile at himself. There was a tangle of logic in there that would undoubtedly make Batman grunt and make some sarcastic comment. It seemed to be his stock in trade.
But Flash... he lived as though there were really something special to being a superhero, as though it was more than just a job, more even than a duty. That it was something like one of the comic books John had read as a child. Something glamorous and light, more of a joy than anything resembling a burden.
It was easy to resent the man for that sort of thinking, and Lord knew it had gotten him in trouble often enough, but...
There was something almost noble in the way Flash had somehow managed to get through life as a superhero without it grinding him down into... something more like him.
There was something endlessly soothing in it. Almost refreshing. He wanted to know the secret.
And granted, there was nothing wrong with that. John suspected they all needed to find a way to get over themselves, and if that way involved a teammate, then all the better.
But, as usual, and of course, there was just a little more to it than that.
John could just guess what Flash would say about the turn of his thoughts -- too much time in all and mostly male environments. Too much time shut up in the tower. Too much time alone.
But he could also picture the way he'd say it. A casual arm slung over John's shoulders, a brotherly smile edging its way into a smirk. A seemingly effortless way of easing the blow.
Taking the sting out of it.
And really, the only thing keeping John from thinking the worst of these thoughts was the fact -- the lie -- that Flash was a kid.
He was a grown man, and all of John's excuses smacked of fear, weak and useless as it always was.
If he was going to think this sort of thing, if he was going to feel it...
If so, then there was no percentage in pussy-footing his way around it.
He wanted Flash. Wanted that casual contact and the endless bad jokes and more than that. All of it.
And it wasn't that there was anything particularly useful in putting his thoughts out like that, it just made it all a little more... him. The image of himself in his mind, built out of years of imagination and hope, out of the validation of being chosen by the ring. He was a man who faced things head on. He was brave, and he was true to both himself and all the principles that made his lifestyle worth living.
And even if he was dangerously close to making their fragile team that much more rife with danger and tension, then at least he was being honest about it.
He laughed at himself quietly. That, of course, made everything better.
He watched Batman out of the corner of his eye. The man was, as usual, at the computer. Doubtlessly coming up with some pattern only he could understand, or perhaps just memorizing some bit of esoterica that would save all of their asses come their next mission.
He didn't seem to hear John's laughter, or if he did, he didn't care about it.
And that was nothing but typical. He rather liked Batman, surly sonofabitch that he was. You always knew where you stood, even if that stand was firmly outside of anything that could touch Batman himself.
John wondered what he used to keep himself grounded, and decided he didn't really want to know. It would probably involve self-sacrifice, and the kind of mortification of the flesh that went out of style with legally enforced religion.
John smiled. The man was a freak, but he was their own.
Past the gymnasium, and the sounds of explosions and metal-rending crashes was enough to tell him that Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl were still training, or perhaps just breaking things for fun.
He considered joining them, but playing with Hawkgirl tended to be more painful than it was worth.
Up in the living quarters, J'onn had his door open, but appeared to be deep in meditation. Whatever it took.
Superman was nowhere to be seen, and John took a little comfort in the idea that the man was off somewhere living the other side of his theoretical double life. He thought about going back to the old neighborhood, but... there was too much there he didn't care to deal with at the moment.
Too many questions and not enough familiarity. They didn't look at him and see John anymore, not even his family. They saw the Green Lantern, and looked at him with all the hope and expectation they thought that called for.
He wasn't even any good at basketball anymore.
Up here, there was quiet, and at least a momentary peace. Away from everything, for all that was worth. The good and the bad.
At the end of the hall, Flash's door was open, too. There was music coming from the stereo, two different televisions were playing, and Flash was reading a magazine. And looking bored.
A moment's thought and he decided to go in. A weaseling part of himself that he'd like to crush with Hawkgirl's mace offered an excuse: A bored Flash was surely trouble.
But no. He wouldn't slink away from it like that. He wanted to see the man.
He knocked before walking in, despite the futility of the small sound getting past the cacophony.
Flash tossed the magazine onto a messy pile and picked up another, only noting John's presence after a moment. His face broke out in a wide, easy grin.
"Hey, GL, didn't hear you!"
"You could turn down the racket."
John smiled behind his glare and pointed at the stereo.
"Wha...? Oh!" A momentary sheepish grin, almost too fast to catch, and then Flash was zipping around the room turning everything off. He came to a stop in front of John with a rush of air carrying the scents of stale snack foods and clean male. "Sorry about that. What's up?"
And how to answer that? "Just checking on you."
A frown. "Is this about that transponder-thingy? I said I was sorry. I just wanted to see how fast I could take it apart and put it back together." Flash grinned. "One point five seconds. Heh."
"One point five seconds to put it back together wrong."
An airy wave. "The point is that this could come in handy someday. Bomb defusing! And... stuff."
John felt his face twist into a dubious mask and hated his predictability to himself. "Riiight." At least his voice was open, if the man cared to listen for it.
Flash just smiled at him for long moments before blinking and shifting on his feet. "Sorry, man. Pull up a chair. I've got... um. Well, I think there's... no, I ate that. Damn, I'm hungry. Oh wait! There's beer in the fridge!" A triumphant grin.
John thought about it for a moment. A beer wouldn't be the most professional thing to consume while on duty, but then, when were they ever off duty? He forced his expression into what felt too painful to be a smile. "Beer's fine."
"Really? Great! You just have a seat, I'll get it."
By the time he was on the couch, Flash was in front of him with two cold bottles of Corona and a bottle opener on a key chain. "Thanks."
"You're welcome, man. I'm just dying to see you actually consume an alcoholic beverage."
John snorted. "I was a Marine, not a monk."
Flash just raised his eyebrows from behind the mask. "Yeah, but the way you live I don't think there's that much difference."
John rolled his eyes and opened his beer, then took a long, showy swallow. "Satisfied?"
Flash was grinning and rocking on his heels. "You have no idea. Man, I should have a camera. I could make a bundle. 'Green Lantern kicks back with a beer! Proof inside!'"
John shook his head. "Just sit down and drink your beer."
A rush of air and Flash was next to him, a blink and half the beer was gone. He belched and gave John another sheepish grin. "Sorry."
"It happens." John took another swallow of his beer, and when he looked over Flash's own was empty. Another rush of air and Flash was back with the case. "Uh..."
"Hmm? Oh, this won't even make me dizzy."
"You can't get drunk?"
Two long yet weirdly fast swallows and the next beer was gone. Flash wiped his mouth and gave him an exaggeratedly serious look. "Well, I can, but it takes time, money, and concentrated effort."
John shook his head. "I think seeing you get drunk would be..."
He let the smile do its work on his face. "Terrifying."
"Hmmph. Shows what you know. I happen to be a very entertaining drunk."
"'Whom.' Jeez. Finish that beer and get another, man."
"How do you know I'm an entertaining drunk?"
"I'm putting my money on 'stupid, drooling, and embarrassing' drunk."
John gave up and got another beer. By the time he was done with it, Flash had made another two bottles disappear and was going for another, seemingly happy to sit in silence.
John considered, and thought of Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman presumably causing vast structural damage to the tower. Thought of J'onn with his mind open to what was probably an inconceivable amount of the universe, of Batman endlessly studying. He shrugged internally and got another beer, getting another one of those broad, easy smiles for his trouble.
Flash leaned back against his couch and hummed to himself, then jerked forward. "Hey, I could put some music on if you want?"
"Do you have anything... quiet?"
"You just keep drinking, man. I've got the perfect thing."
A rush of air and guitar music screamed for long enough to make John wince, but eventually settled into something more melodic. It was... nice.
"Good, huh? Steve Vai. I think he's got superpowers... jeez, listen to that! I didn't think guitars could make that noise."
"It almost sounds Spanish."
Flash tapped his foot and made an abortive gesture at the volume controls before looking back at John over his shoulder.
Something warm settled low in John's belly. "A little louder, maybe." Bright grin and the music thrummed through the room again. John took a moment to be glad that his own rooms were on the other side of the tower.
"Mm. I love this part. It's like he's making the guitar tell a story, almost." His eyes had a faraway look.
"Hunh? Oh. Ah..." And he almost seemed embarrassed. "Probably the usual. Boy meets girl, boy and girl get hammered, girl staggers home with her friends, leaving guy a massive bar tab and a headache like a support column to the head..."
John chuckled. "The voice of experience?"
The smile this time was smaller, quieter. "Women like the hero thing, but I think they prefer guys who don't have to wear a mask or go by a stupid nickname."
John blinked. "Well, that's depressing."
"Yeah, well, let me know when you get a girlfriend."
Flash stared at the speakers and the silence was more than a little uncomfortable. John didn't have the slightest clue what to say, but he didn't want to leave. "Flash --"
"Oh, man, way to bring down the room, dude." Flash scrubbed a hand over his mask. "Sorry about that. Why don't you talk about something. Embarrassing things you did with your Marine unit-thingy. Gossip about Hawkgirl's underwear. Something."
"We don't have to talk about anything --"
"Hey, no, you just got here, you don't have to leave."
"What -- I wasn't." John blinked again and stared at his beer. "I wasn't planning on leaving."
Flash's smile sparked at the corners of his vision and made him want to reach out, even though the man was on the other side of the room. "Well, good. That's good. I mean. Um. You ever notice that we barely do anything together? I mean, the team as a whole. We fight all these bad guys, but we never do anything. Drink, talk, play party games..."
"I'll kick your ass at Scrabble."
A brighter grin. "Yeah, well, you don't stand a chance on the PlayStation."
"Kid, I remember when the Atari 7200 was the Second Coming."
"Oh yeah? Well, I remember. Um. Stuff." Flash snickered, but John could tell it was mostly at himself.
And John thought of asking the question, of asking how Flash did it, how it all just floated over his head, but he thought he knew the answer to that, and he didn't want his suspicions confirmed. He finished his beer and set the empty on the table, and then he just looked at Flash. Wondered how to invite him back to the couch.
Flash came on his own, though.
"Man, my timing sucks. I finally get to chill out with you and I'm all..."
John smiled ruefully. "We all get a little.... Sometimes."
"Heh. Nah, I think you guys just get all grim-faced and tough it out. You can always tell. Superman's chin juts out to there and Wonder Woman's eyes get all big and Hawkgirl hits things and Batman broods and J'onn broods with him and I..."
John swallowed. "And what do you do?"
Flash let his head fall back on the back of the couch and smiled at him like a reflex. "Make with the party fouls?" And he closed his eyes, face tense everywhere but his mouth.
It was soft, and wet with beer and spit, and John didn't want to do it -- or, at least, didn't want to want to do it, but it was like rolling down a mountain. You could slow yourself down, and you could maybe avoid breaking bones, but in the end you always hit bottom.
The kiss was soft and still and was all about him. The movement of his lips, the catch of his teeth on Flash's lips, the small strain in his back from the position. He could feel Flash looking at him, and when he finally leaned back and opened his eyes, Flash was still staring.
"I... should go."
"No! I mean..." Flash scrambled upright and shook his head as if to clear it. "I mean, that was... weird. Yeah, and unexpected, and I think we have something to talk about? And I never really thought, and fuck. I mean. Shit. I mean..."
John smiled to himself and stood up. "We can talk anytime you want to, Flash."
"Jesus, he kisses me and calls me Flash and fuck, where are you going?"
This time, the rush of air was so strong that the magazines on the floor starting flipping their pages. Flash stood in front of him, hands out and just barely not touching his chest. "Flash --"
"You're not..." John sighed. "I shouldn't have done that."
And Flash looked down, the smile on his face anything but easy. Shuffled his feet before looking back up again. "You can blame it on the beer, you know?"
And that was just... the warm thing in his belly seized and burned and hurt and he was moving before he knew what he was doing, pushing Flash back against the door frame, pushing them close, close enough that he could feel the vibration just under Flash's skin, and the almost impossible heat. Like holding onto solid fire, or something else improbable and more than a little ridiculous.
The kiss this time was hard, and wet, and Flash made a sound in his throat and jerked in his grip, wrapped his arms around John's neck and held on and gave as good as he got.
He pulled back panting, staring into Flash's eyes and looking for... he didn't know what he was looking for, but Flash's expression. Somewhere between hope and confusion and being utterly lost, and John pressed his palm flat against Flash's chest and breathed.
"Jesus, that's... I'm..."
A rock of the hips and John felt him, half-hard and so damned perfect against him. He rocked harder and Flash threw his head back and groaned, the tendons of his throat showing through the uniform. John bit down hard and Flash groaned again, going limp for a terrifying, wonderful heartbeat before pulling back, scrabbling at his mask over his nose.
And that was beautiful, that was perfect, but he couldn't. John grabbed Flash's wrist and held it still.
"No... not... you don't have to do that."
And Flash's smile this time was a hard curve of knowing. "What if I want to?"
John closed his eyes and shook as far down inside as he could manage. Opened them again. "Then you can. Later."
Flash nodded slowly and ran gentle fingers around the edges of John's mask. "You know you can trust me with.... with anything."
"It's not about trust."
"No? Okay. Then come here."
And it should've been ridiculous -- they were already as close as they could get to each other, but it made him ache just the same. Made his cock twitch and made him want, and the kiss was like diving into the ocean when you were on fire, like something almost sacred, and he couldn't stop rocking his hips.
"Christ, you're so... I can't..."
John fucked Flash's mouth with his tongue and ran his hands all over him, the hard planes of his chest, lean hips, up over his waist. Feeling for the catch, the seam, whatever it was that would let him get inside, and F lash pushed him back just long enough to peel the top up and push the bottom down and --
"Oh fuck, Jesus yeah, just -- oh God just like that --"
Hard in his hand and head thrown back and legs spread and beautiful, just beautiful, hands moving all over John's body and cupping him through the tights, hands shaking and strong and wonderful.
"It's been... so damned long --"
And he came in hot, hard pulses, moans coming half-strangled from his throat and hand still working on John through his clothes, faster and harder and faster and he felt it coming, tried to pull back, get his pants down, but it was too much to pull away from that hand.
More than too much when Flash tilted his head forward again and licked his way into John's mouth and --
"Are you... God, come for me, just --"
Too much and too much and John gritted his teeth and came in his pants like a teenager.
"Oh, man, I can feel you... fuck, so hot..."
John let his head fall on Flash's shoulder, let himself be held, let himself fall into a waking doze at the feel of Flash moving, constantly moving, even though he knew the man was at something like rest. Moved just enough to press a kiss to Flash's jaw and then was pulled into something longer. Slower.
When they pulled away Flash was smiling, looking almost lazy, even though he was still moving at normal speed. It occurred to John that this was most probably slow for Flash, and he wanted to see what he could do to make him truly tired.
Wanted, God, more.
Flash nuzzled his cheek, sliding his mouth over stubble. John could feel the smile there.
"Well, you're going to have to take off your uniform now, hunh?"
And it started as a chuckle, but John couldn't hold it back, and then he was laughing hard and loud and long, Flash's hands moving over and over his back, Flash's smile against his cheek.
"Hey, it wasn't that funny."
John shook his head. "It was... enough."
And Flash nodded slowly, like he maybe understood what John meant, and pulled him back toward the bedroom.
It was easy to follow.
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