Desirous of everything
December 4, 2003
Disclaimers: If they were mine, I'd spend a lot of time with a stupid grin on my face. Like, even more than I already do.
Spoilers: Of varying intensity for Secret Origins, The Brave and the Bold, A Better World, Secret Society, and Hereafter.
Summary: J'onn does a little experiment.
Ratings Note: NC-17.
Author's Note: The number of people who specifically asked me for this pairing is more than a bit shocking. But, you know, this is mostly for Sarah and Livia. Title from Kerouac.
Acknowledgments: To Molly, Bas, Livia, and Jack for audiencing.
Feedback: Yes, please. email@example.com
Being a member of the Justice League has given J'onn a surprisingly large amount of time to think.
He had, after all, first agreed to join Superman in the hopes of being too busy to do any such thing.
However, the Tower is quite large, designed to hold far more than seven people in comfort for an extended period of time.
And most of the others don't choose to spend much time there, when they don't have to.
It's a curious way to be, and for the time being he has merely classified it within the vast and complicated category of 'human,' despite the basic inaccuracy.
The only true human among them is Batman, and J'onn has had a good deal of time and evidence to come up with the conclusion that Batman is in no way... average.
He suspects he's going to have spend more time on earth proper to acquire any full understanding of things.
And that is...
The idea is both tempting and terrifying.
He has told his team-members much of his past, of the life he led before the endless, endless war, more than he ever thought he would tell anyone, and yet he does not think they...
Difficult to say.
Deep within himself, he is still J'onn J'onnz, artist of some middling talent, father and husband.
But though they call him J'onn, he thinks they must only see the soldier he'd been forced to become. Guerrilla, terrorist.
Hero, on this new world among these strange, soft-skinned people.
And it is pleasant, yes. Warming in a way that brings the taste of Superman's memories of winter holidays to mind.
Pleasant, but not true, or not entirely true.
They make him feel very old, his team-mates. Alien in ways he never would have suspected.
He does not pry -- it had not taken very long at all to discern just how tightly most of them held to their secrets, or those things they wished to be secrets, though they all went about that privacy in different ways -- but it has become abundantly clear that none of them have ever married, or bore children.
That even those of them who maintained lives separate from the work of being a superhero never quite thought of those lives as being as important as their work. Perhaps not even as real.
He used to find it horrifying.
In truth, he still does.
What sort of men and women were they, to have the life and wealth of an entire society at their fingertips and still be able to ignore it?
He could understand, at least, if it were only Hawkgirl and Diana. They, at least, had reason to feel as... separate from human society as J'onn himself.
But Diana has never failed to throw herself into learning humanity, all of it, and, on the other side of things...
Superman seems to have decided that J'onn's telepathy is reason enough to relax his mental hold on his secrets.
He doesn't -- quite -- invite J'onn in so much as exhale, internally, when they are alone.
J'onn knows the man was raised as humanly as possible, that he has, waiting for him, a human life, a human family, and even a chance for love.
Children, with a bit of luck and the judicious application of this world's medical technology.
And it isn't as though he doesn't understand the man's drive. It was, after all, partially his own fault that Earth was denuded of defenses other than their surprisingly large crop of superpowered beings.
It isn't even that Superman has abandoned his life as a human -- he hasn't, entirely.
There were any number of people Clark Kent had to telephone and reassure after Superman's return from the future.
It's just... very difficult to imagine himself in the man's position, and imagine himself making anything like the same choices.
So much warmth, pleasure, belonging at his fingertips, and he chooses... this. J'onn lives in the Tower, and yet Superman is here nearly as often.
All of them have lives beyond the League, and yet they always come back.
This is the way they -- all of them -- seem to define heroism.
J'onn doesn't think he will ever be able to define it as anything but willful, ignorant madness.
None of them have any idea what it is like to be alone.
All of them, to varying extents, have chosen their solitudes.
He does not think it has ever occurred to them that he did not.
And yet, he is hardly superior in that, or even different. He'd told himself he had designed his form -- this form -- to be reassuring to the others and to humanity in general. And it is... more than a little bit of a lie.
He'd had many, many months to study them from a physical standpoint.
He is an artist, and his ability to shape shift is prodigious, even compared to his lost race. He was not the first Martian to use his own body for art, but he had been accredited one of the best.
There is no reason for him not to be pink, or golden, or brown.
He could easily have hair like Hawkgirl's, or Lantern's.
He is an artist, and he knows precisely what the work he has created says to its intended audience: this far, and no farther.
J'onn stares at his hands, bluntly sculpted in the barest approximation of humanity he'd felt he could get away with.
There are reasons, valid reasons to keep them that way.
Reasons that are truly difficult to recall with the image of his... other in his mind. Even the shallowest skim of the man's thoughts had required effort he would've considered impossible.
And the shallowest skim had been all he could take -- his other wore his alien-ness from the others as a cloak, even though he'd forgotten what it meant to be a Martian.
And in the face of that, what harm could there be in working to avoid such a fate? Surely there is more terror in the possibility of becoming that than there would be in some small effort toward verisimilitude?
Why should this form not be more real to the touch? If only to his own.
He concentrates, awakening nerves that he'd made dormant mostly as a practical consideration upon shedding his shell.
On a daily basis, he can feel only just enough to make this form, this body functional. This has proven useful any number of times, as he sincerely doubts that he could recover from a blow from, say, Live Wire, if his nerve endings were wholly active. Certainly not as quickly as is his wont.
But there is no one on the Tower who would hurt him...
Martians had abandoned much of their physical sensory heritage long before the War, long before he was born.
There were other things to be done with their bodies, infinitely more things to be done with their minds.
But he is the only living Martian, now, and --
Something like a wave of sensation, almost entirely unlike being electrocuted, save for its one-ness. The way every millimeter of his body is.
He falls to his knees groaning, groaning louder at the muffled, meaty thump of his knees on the metal floor.
The cold metal floor, and the air filtration vents blow a constant stream of feeling all over his body.
He may have misjudged.
And if he could just concentrate, then... Then.
The floor is not entirely smooth. This makes sense, considering Batman's attitudes toward efficiency vs. aesthetics, and yet it had never occurred to him to check. How can that be?
His fingers only look blunted and strange, but they're really quite intelligent, in their wordless way.
A knowledge that has nothing to do with the intellect, and very little to do with the soul.
The floor is rough, nearly painfully so to the tips, and it's difficult to understand why there's no blood, difficult to the point that he wants to stare at them and be sure, but...
And what would it be like against the rest of his skin?
His skin, and how had he gone so long in this body, this perfectly healthy and functional body, and been so limited?
He runs one fingertip along the seam between tiles and moans aloud. This is what...
Perhaps what a cut would feel like, before the pain.
He can't think, and suddenly, suddenly, it's all beginning to make sense.
The way they are, human or simply humanoid, helpless at all times to the endless amount of sensory input.
Is it any wonder they were so easily manipulated by Grodd?
What purpose would they find in retaining strict control of themselves when the world was... this?
He presses his cheek to the floor, reveling in the cold, the mild grittiness. For a moment he wonders what Mars -- his Mars -- would've felt like on this skin, but it doesn't last.
He remembers the way the humans had looked/felt to his hibernating mind, wrapped tightly, protected by necessity.
The Mars of today is not so different, environmentally --
"J'onn! Hey, man, are you okay?"
And it seems strange that there's no difference in this, that Flash's light, brash voice falls on his ears as it always does -- of course, the distance.
He eases himself upright, feeling the increased pressure on his knees. Feeling it.
"I am well." He can't stop stroking the ground.
Flash seems... dubious, broadcasting something between 'yeah, right' and 'freaky alien' and 'maybe I should --' before closing the space between them and crouching in front of him and.
Heat. He hisses in a breath and rears back. This he should've anticipated. The man's metabolism made him noticeable even with everything dampened.
Now, he is...
"... okay, it's just me, what happened?"
Gloved hands on his shoulders, thankfully, or not, over the cape. And how to explain this? "I am well," he tries again.
"No, you're really not. In fact, you're kinda freaking me out here." A smile, one of the ones used when he is worried.
It had been difficult to understand, at first.
Now, the familiarity is warring with the raw, physical fact of him to create... what? He shakes his head. Tries again.
"I am only... I have made an adjustment to my nerve endings."
"And, see, every word of that was English, and yet..."
Breath on his face. He wants to ask Batman about the human sense of smell, about the configuration of cells necessary to make a pretense of it function. His own is a bare sketch of an idea, leaving the impression of only more heat. Damp this time.
His own skin feels very dry.
He leans in, desperate for more of the feeling, and Flash's eyes widen behind the mask.
"Hey, what --"
"I brush my teeth every day!"
Too difficult to parse without help from his powers, but the flood of 'do I need a mint maybe I should get Superman do I have mints' doesn't offer much in terms of clarity. "Your breath is warm, and damp."
Something like rolling in heavy smoke to be this close to the man, and --
"J'onn, are you aware that you're kind of. Uh. Nuzzling me? Or the air that's very close to me. Uh. Should I get Superman?"
"You don't understand."
"Yes! Yes, that's exactly it. I bet --"
"Let me." And he doesn't need to touch the man to make this connection, but his hands move entirely without his command, cupping Flash's face -- smooth soft smooth warm -- and his mind sinks in.
"Oh my God --"
this is what I'm feeling what do you feel
"Oh my God --"
your breath your breath is warm
hard make me I'm so -- "J'onn, please --"
i never knew but you did now show me
And Flash makes a sound like he's being beaten, like he's being shoved against a wall by some large and brutal force, and yanks himself out of J'onn's hands.
Stares, panting hard.
"You. Can feel. Things."
"And... just now? I mean... this is the first time?"
"Yes. In this form."
Flash shakes all over, once. Reaches down between his legs and -- stops. Jerks his hand back to the floor and flushes. "Uh."
"Are you all right, Flash?"
*yeah just fucking FINE except that you really need to touch me again so I can come in my PANTS* "Uh."
The work of a moment to get close again, to crouch over Flash's body. "Where?"
oh my GOD "What?"
"Where do I need to touch you?"
Wordless flare of sending, but not meaningless, and Flash is erect beneath his suit.
Some things can be intuited. He cups the rising swell of flesh and hears himself growl. More heat. Of course. "How?"
Image of a hand around the man's penis, of his hand, stroking... "J'onn, are you -- I mean -- oh fuck --!"
It would be easy to lose himself to this feeling, as lovely as an illusion but still so real. Heat, moisture. The cold, rough floor beneath his knees, and the lean -- beautiful? -- male arching and twisting beneath him. And yet.
can't he can't be oh god stop
He forces himself to pull away.
"What? I didn't mean -- I mean... oh Christ, J'onn, you're making me..."
More wordless images, moving faster than his mind can entirely catch. He is stroking Flash, he is touching him in other places, he has his hands on Flash's face again, he is... berating Flash?
"You... we shouldn't." shut up shut up YOU shut up "I mean you're not yourself. Are you?"
"You believe... that I am under some sort of influence?"
It bears thought. He has acted impulsively. "I believe I am not yet accustomed to this much sensation."
"Damn. I mean! See?"
"I do not, however, see a problem in this. We are neither of us promised to anyone else."
"How did you --" shut UP "I mean. Christ, J'onn..."
And Flash was beginning to soften, but he grows again under his gaze. Perhaps because of it? The gaze of a lover is a powerful thing.
i wonder what his mouth feels like
He looks up again, and Flash flinches. "J'onn."
"I would like to feel you with my mouth."
give up. now.
And Flash is in his arms, straddling him awkwardly, and the raw wash of heat makes him lose his balance, sending them both to the floor. Flash's mouth is wet, mobile, soft and hard and slick and warm. J'onn opens his own mouth wider and --
fuck not gonna get used to that just Flash pulls away. "You taste... just. Follow my lead?"
The motions are easy enough to mimic, the feeling...
Flash moves on him in a constant and obvious attempt to get closer, finally settling his hips against J'onn's own and.
It's something like a writhe, all designed to get the most possible sensation to his groin.
Human males were obviously most sensitive there and... hmm. Could he...?
"J'onn -- oh jeez oh fuck --"
A part of his mind is aware, even now. Flash's wrists beneath his hands, Flash's body spread out beneath him, their hips in motion, and J'onn has no idea if he's calculated correctly, but any more sensation in his groin would kill him, and less would be...
kiss me oh kiss me again
And J'onn doesn't bother to respond, merely gives in. He isn't sure that the action of lips and tongue makes this any better for him, but Flash has begun groaning into his mouth, pushing up and closing his eyes.
His mind is an endless wash of image and desire, and his body is a flood of sensation, each better than the last.
and fuck he's a shape shifter he can
He breaks the kiss to concentrate, giving himself two extra arms.
Even with the mask, he can see Flash's eyes widen, and he can feel that it's not fear.
J'onn smiles, and squeezes his wrists.
And reaches back to stroke the outsides of Flash's thighs.
Concentrates again, and the flesh coming out of his ankles is nothing like hands, but he can hold Flash just the same.
"Oh. Jesus. Christ."
Flash works entirely unconvincingly against his grip. Grins.
"You... are really very kinky, J'onn."
And he could point out that it was, technically, Flash's idea, but it seems churlish. And his body doesn't care in the least.
Licks his way into Flash's mouth --
And feels himself laugh more than hears it, a ripple of motion throughout his body, and the way it presses against Flash's own. Lengthens and forks his tongue into something nearly his own.
Wraps it around Flash's tongue when the man bucks and whimpers.
Releases Flash's wrists and slides out of the kiss, rocking his own hips and wanting more.
And Flash slurs out a groan and reaches for his face, stroking over the ridges of his brow and staring up at him with something like shock.
"I want." *i want to know what this feels like what you feel how*
Pours himself into Flash's mind, so open and hungry for his own, and he has to watch.
Flash's eyes rolling back in his head.
Flash's body twisting and writhing and shaking beneath his own, beneath all of his hands.
Flash biting his lip hard enough to draw blood and J'onn hears himself hiss. He wants that.
Pulls on the threads of the man's soul as gently as he can and twines them in his own and --
never i never
inside has to need him
i am in you
And Flash is fighting him, in a way that must be, must be entirely involuntary. The reflex of a mind overloaded, under and beyond that mind's simple, ecstatic desire for more. And J'onn knows this is dangerous, but it would be hideously painful to stop even without the burn and helpless flex of his body.
Flash, you must let go
feels you feel "Oh God --"
Blood-hot splash against his abdomen --
And Flash is thrashing against him, using every bit of strength he has, and it's a beautiful, terrifying moment:
All J'onn has to do is move.
He doesn't want to do so.
Flash, feeding him with the work and shift of his body and feeding him with his mind, dying waves of pleasure, ratcheting flares of pain, rising and rising into its own kind of.
It's not pleasure.
It's not pleasure, at all.
Something like an explosion, low in his belly and impossible to classify beyond the general, inexplicable, sense that a part of him has died. His mind snaps away from Flash's own, making him shout, making his body tremble and dissolve itself back into his true form.
He braces himself on hands and knees, distantly grateful for Flash's gasp of shock. His attempt to reach out with his mind leads to distinct pain.
Using his body just causes him to fall on his side.
He lies there and breathes.
"I. Have a really bad headache."
"As do I."
Flash throws an arm over him, groaning quietly.
"Are you all right?"
There's a broadcast -- J'onn can feel it -- but he can't make sense of the words. "... yeah. I think."
"I believe I failed to anticipate the consequences of this."
Brief, pained laugh, but Flash squeezes him. "Ya think?"
J'onn smiles to himself. "Perhaps I should give this matter a bit more thought before continuing my experiments."
"Okay, see, laughing? Painful right now. Keep that in mind."
"Maybe we could wear those headband thingies."
"Yeah, you know, the ones the gorillas came up with to block Grodd's evil mind powers. It'd be kind of like a condom for your brain."
J'onn chuckles and eases closer, sliding his own arm over Flash's chest. Careful of his claws. "I have come to understand that safer sex is important for your people."
More pained laughter, another squeeze. "Really, you just need to stop that until my brain stops banging against my skull."
"God, you're a liar. I'm telling on you. To someone. When I can move. Jesus that was intense."
J'onn hums his agreement and closes his eyes.
Prods, idly, at the exhausted tangle of pain where his powers are.
If nothing else, this sort of thing will surely decrease the amount of time he spends thinking.
His body buzzes and tingles.
His body beneath the shell.
"Hey, is the door still open?"
J'onn is content.
"You're right, I don't care, either."
J'onn waits until Flash begins to snore.
And then shuts himself down for a nap.
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