Author name: Livia -- author LiveJournal, author email, author website
Recipient name: Basingstoke
Requested character(s): Grace Choi
Story title: Rolling with the Punches
Rating: appropriate for adults only
Spoiler warnings: Covers the events of OUTSIDERS #1-3.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Sarah T. for audiencing above and beyond the call of duty.
Summary: Grace doesn't wear a cape, and she doesn't have a code name.
Rolling with the Punches
Grace's stomach hurts. That'll happen when you catch a jet. She can't really complain, though. They fought giant gorillas, and the fucking Joker, and everybody pulled together pretty damn well considering it was their first day as a team-- and Grace's first day as a cape.
Not that she's gonna wear a cape.
The fembot's sitting with her hands in her lap. The shapeshifter's all lost in thought, but you look at him long enough, you can kinda see his skin crawling. Interesting guy. The sorority girl's all shaky and giggly. Up in the front two seats, Nightwing and Roy are jazzed and smirky, which is pretty much, Grace thinks, the experienced-hero version of shaky and giggly.
The green chick took off after the fight, but Grace saw Roy giving her a full dose of charm before she zipped off, and she thinks he talked her into coming by the HQ later. Which could be pretty cool-- hey, a Green Lantern on the team means someone besides Grace and Anissa could be on jet-catching duty next time.
"So what are we gonna call this place?" Grace barely even has to duck her head, coming out of the hangar. "'Cause as top secret, high tech headquarters go, it's not bad. But I've been to New York and I've seen Titans Tower, and I'm putting a big old pre-emptive kibosh on anything cutesy."
"We don't even have a team name yet." Anissa pipes up. Grace rolls her eyes a bit. She bets Thunder's got a couple dozen ideas all jotted down in some nice neat notebook. "Thunder and the Shitkickers," "Thunder and the Fists of Fury," shit like that, right? But why the hell not? She grins at Anissa, and Anissa blinks, and then grins back.
"I was thinking--" Roy begins, but Nightwing snorts.
"You're not allowed to name things, you know that."
"Since when?" Roy demands.
"Hey, I didn't even come up with that--"
"Two, Great Frog." Nightwing's counting on his fingers, the tiniest smirk at the corner of his mouth. It's interesting, this vibe he and Roy have. Kinda antagonistic and kinda "heterosexual life partners" except for how they're both just itching with sex.
Of course, that could just be Grace. She's so fucking horny right now she could scream. Even Metamorpho with his gray face shading to green is starting to look good.
"Dude," Metamorpho says, "You used to call yourself Great Frog?"
"No, I was in a band," Roy says. "It was 1997, Screaming Trees and Blind Melon and Great Frog-- does anyone care?" He swings a hand back and knocks Nightwing in the shoulder without even looking. "Besides you, dickhead. Go home."
"Don't name anything while I'm gone," Nightwing says. Roy doesn't reply, and Grace looks over at Nightwing to see if he's going to get pissy or what. But apparently Roy isn't making a rejoinder because there's no point when the other guy in the conversation can vanish into thin air like a shadow. Nice trick.
The others are heading off to their own quarters, probably to clean off the clinging odor of gorilla puke. She reaches out, hooking her fingers in Roy's belt before he can disappear, too. "Hey."
Roy blinks at her, then smiles, real slow and easy. "Hey."
"Give me five minutes and then come on over."
She pats his shoulder. "Unless you don't feel up to it?"
Maybe, Grace thinks, she ought to worry about this *urge* she's feeling. She's been ready for love since Nightwing jumped out of the Pequod without a parachute. So apparently she's got a never-before-discovered kink for suicidal feats of daring, or beating the shit out of full-grown mountain gorillas-- that or watching the President get tortured by the Joker. Even that she could almost deal with, as long as it doesn't turn out that what punches her buttons is collisions with jets. She's making hella good money with the Shitkickers, or whatever it is they're going to call themselves, but that's still kind of spendy for basic kink.
She turns her face up into the hot water, shaking her head to feel the ripples wash over her body. There's a locker room where the masks have their costumes stashed, but they've also all got their own in-suite bathrooms in their quarters. Grace's is so luxurious it's practically sex in bathroom fixture form. It's obviously all custom work, a high showerhead and nice big tub, and a big fluffy towel waiting on the rack. She scrubs it over her head, then wraps it around herself.
She can hear Roy talking to someone on the phone, out in the main room, and tugs at the towel a little more, checking in the mirror to make sure she doesn't have anything stuck in her teeth. The towel isn't really big enough to cover all the good bits. She doesn't think Roy will mind.
Roy's dimmed the lights in the main room, which is cute, and also cuts the resemblance to a Star Trek storage closet. He's lying on his back on the plain bed with its blue covers. His gloves are on the nightstand, and his boots are sitting on the floor next to the bed, but otherwise he's still dressed. Grace smiles. She likes pulling the clothes off guys, unwrapping them like candy. Never had a lot of presents to unwrap when she was a kid, that's probably why. It's still fun.
"--yeah? You did? That's great, baby," Roy is saying, one arm stretched up behind his head. "Save it, okay? Put it on the fridge, then I'll see it when I get home. Yeah, I am-- I'll be there for breakfast in the morning. So don't give Ron any trouble about bedtime, okay?" His eyes move towards Grace, and he smiles, making a little snarling bite in her direction. So fucking cute.
Grace starts to reach for the edge of the towel, but he squeezes his eyes shut, holding up a finger. "I know-- I know you're a big girl, Lian. Now listen, Daddy's gotta go, all right? Maybe we'll talk about it later. Okay," he says, and Grace rubs the corner of her towel between her thumb and finger. This is not exactly turning her on. "All right, bye, baby. Big hugs, okay? Okay, bye."
Roy clicks the phone shut and drops it on the nightstand. Grace looks up. She oughta whip the towel off and forget all this stupid talking, but-- "You have a kid?"
"You didn't know that?" Roy blinks, and that funny smile lightens up his face again. "Well, you'll get caught up on all the cape gossip soon enough. She's almost four, totally smart. Cute like a button."
"I don't like kids."
"Well, I wasn't going to bring her onto the team till at least sixth grade." Roy's eyes are flickering up and down with every breath Grace takes, following the rise and fall of the towel. "So I guess that's something we should definitely discuss, you know. Later."
Grace smiles crookedly, letting the towel drop as she crawls onto the bed. Roy goes straight for the tits with both hands. Most guys do. Can't blame 'em. She lets him have his fun, groping and kissing, while she searches out all the snaps and catches on his uniform. When her hands reach his belt, she pauses. "Ground rules?"
"Yeah?" Roy says, voice muffled, then pulls back.
"You got any?"
"I'll try anything once. Not really into the rough stuff. And I'm not looking for a girlfriend," he adds. Grace snorts, giving him an incredulous look. "Hey, just makin' sure we're on the same page."
"Hey, I've just been waiting for you to admit you appreciate my charms." She rubs her hand over his bare stomach, enjoying the feel of his muscles, the way he jumps when she brushes an old scar just above his hipbone.
"What about you," Roy says. His voice is getting huskier than normal. Grace likes it. "Ground rules?"
"I like it hard, not rough. No hair-pulling, no name-calling-- no 'slut,' no 'bitch,' none of that crap." She could add, no who's-your-daddy bullshit, but she has a feeling Roy probably wouldn't like that any more than she would.
"Hm. How about 'sweetheart?' You like that?" Roy tumbles her down to the bed and kisses the upper curve of her breast. His hands are still working busily, thumbs circling her nipples as he kisses up her chest to her collarbone, then her throat.
"Especially not sweetheart." Grace scrubs her fingers through Roy's short hair, then moves her hands to his shoulders, pushing a little. The buzz is a good look for Roy, although the long hair he had when they first met might be more convenient just at the moment.
"No honeycake," Roy mumbles into her neck, "no sugar pie, angel face?"
"I got your sugar pie right here," Grace says, pushing harder at his shoulders, and Roy takes the hint, sliding down between her knees. And this, yeah, this is what she's been waiting for, her nerves throbbing, the back of her neck prickling. For hours now she's needed this, and her hips start to buck as Roy smooths his hands over her hips, even before he lowers his mouth to her flesh.
Grace bites down hard on her lower lip to stop a squeak. He's damn good at this-- he's going at her slow and teasing, drawing deft lines with his tongue. It's infuriating and it's fire and it's just what she needs. The shower relaxed her, a little, but now she's all tight and tangled again, spine arched, arms twisted out to either side and clinging to the bed. It's made of something strong, it barely creaks, and Roy's made of stern stuff himself, riding the uncontrolled rhythm as Grace jerks and writhes beneath him. She tries to control her breathing, tries to keep it steady, but god he's so damn good at this.
"Admit it," Grace gasps, "you're a meta, this is your power--"
"I admit nothing," Roy says, urging her to scoot further up the bed, crawling up between her legs. "I'd have to change my code name! Do you know how long it took me to come up with 'Arsenal?'"
Grace laughs, then chokes down a moan, only letting stuttered sounds escape. He's licking harder now, tasting her fully, long broad strokes that make her want to roll him over, take him inside. Ride him till he's unconscious and then head down the hall, see if Thunder wants her horizons broadened. Experiment with Metamorpho's different forms--
Roy hums against her clit, then pulls back, sliding three fingers up inside her, twisting and teasing. She squeezes him hard-- he's using his left hand, smart boy-- then grabs a pillow and hugs it over her face with both arms, muffling her scream as she comes.
The crisp fabric of the pillowcase is cool against her flushed cheeks, then warm, then hot. Grace flops back on the bed, letting the pillow fall on the floor. Her ears are ringing a little, but her stomach barely even hurts any more. "Nice."
"I try." Roy says. He unbuckles his belt and strips his pants off, then crawls up the bed, knees to either side of her waist. His cock arches stiffly towards his belly.
Grace smiles lazily, cracking her neck and rolling the tension out of her shoulders as Roy takes his dick in hand. "So--"
"If that was gonna be an arrow joke," Roy says, "the answer is yes, archers do it with accuracy, I do have multiple shots in my quiver, my ranged attack always hits its target, and my shaft--"
"I can see your shaft just fine from here." Grace rolls her eyes. "What I was gonna ask is, how do you wanna do this, 'cause I don't actually have a condom with me."
"Crap." Roy blinks, then casts a surreptitious glance downward. "Can I--"
"Yes," Grace says, "you can fuck my tits." She pushes her breasts together with her hands, and Roy scoots up a little more, straddling her ribs.
"Yeah?" Unlike most guys, he doesn't look awkward, kneeling over her with his cock in his fist. Easy in his skin. Grace likes that.
"Yeah, I like it. No coming on my face," she adds sharply.
"Right, sure," Roy says dreamily, already completely distracted by the sight of his cock disappearing into the sweaty valley between her breasts, and if this were anyone *else* she'd knock them off the bed for being all 'right, sure,' but-- Huh. It's not as if she really knows Roy all that well. Sure, she's known him for years, but just in passing, really. They've got an acquaintance or two in common, metas or musicians or both. When Superman died, they ended up crashing at the same apartment. It was the week that they buried him. Roy was just in town for the service, and Grace... well, it was the week they were burying Superman. Nobody wanted to be alone. Grace can't get drunk, and Roy's pretty straight-edge, so she ended up sucking him off in the guest room just before he headed back out of town. Something life affirming, you could say. By way of getting to know each other, a little.
She had a real conversation with Roy for the first time about a year ago, when he showed up at Cheney's one night and helped her toss out a couple of troublesome jackasses. She didn't need the help, she never did, but instead of being annoying it was actually kind of endearing. Mostly because he wasn't even doing it to try and get in her pants again. Not even a little, because when she asked, he turned her down.
He'd said "Love to, babe, but I'm seeing someone," which was just about the most bizarre thing she'd ever heard. In Grace's experience, even nice guys, faithful guys, are usually able to convince themselves that there's some kind of universal exception for seven-foot-tall Asian chicks. Which makes it hard to meet nice guys if you happen to *be* a seven-foot Asian chick, but them's the breaks.
Roy, though. He didn't, so he's still a nice guy. And Grace trusts him, at least as far as she trusts anybody. The other thing is, she's pretty sure she knows who the competition was-- the girl Roy was with when he turned Grace down. Troia, right? The other ex-Titan. So she's pretty sure she can trust Roy *not* to fall for her now. Not for a while, anyway, and who knows how long this new gig will last? She'll probably be gone before anybody's feelings have a chance to get hurt.
"Oh, God, Grace," Roy moans, holding himself steady with a hand against the wall behind her head, his thrusts growing ragged. Grace grits her teeth. She's getting all wound up again, with Roy's free hand spidering across her breasts, his fingers trailing around her curves and his thumb teasing nipples. She's sensitive, revved up, toes curling, and then his thumb presses against her lips, trying to push into her mouth. She snarls, biting at him, fingers tightening on her own breasts, and he gasps once, sharply, and leans back. "Fuck, Grace, god--" He arches back, bracing himself with a hand on the bed instead of the wall. Grace enjoys the view as Roy takes himself in hand again, jerking himself off with a few final rough strokes and shaking as he comes.
Late the next afternoon, Grace is taking Roy's advice to move some stuff into her place. 'Even if you don't stay here that much,' he'd said, 'it's nice to have a place to stay that doesn't feel like a hotel when you do.' Well, he's the one that's been doing this cape schtick since before his balls dropped, so she's dragging some of her stuff in. Roy's got the main entrance rigged up with a retinal scanner, plus a voice code once you get in the elevator. Pretty convenient system if your arms are full of junk.
She's got a duffel bag with some clothes and bathroom stuff, plus some posters and a couple of CDs. Under her other arm, she's got an old Turkish rug that she scrounged from a family that moved out of her apartment building last summer. It's raggedy along one edge, but there's gotta be something organic in her room at the still-unnamed HQ, or she'll freak. She's probably not gonna spend a *lot* of time in the bedroom when she's not fucking Roy, but still.
Once she's got all her stuff set up, she heads out again. The other morning-- jesus, it seems like a week ago-- Roy was giving her and Anissa the ten-cent tour. There's a gym down somewhere near the east end, and Roy said something about weight machines. The regular kind have never been much good to Grace, for obvious reasons, and so she hadn't paid much attention the other day, but hell. Her bathtub is ringed with jacuzzi jets, and is big enough to hold three people. Their corporate sponsors have deep pockets-- maybe the HQ gym will actually have some useful stuff.
She hears motion as she nears the door, the slap of skin on metal, and she stops in the arched doorway. Nightwing is up there, running through some kind of gymnastic routine from the long rings hanging from the ceiling. He might not have any manners, but the son of a bitch can *move*. Even though he's wearing gray sweat-shorts and a dark blue t-shirt, she can still tell it's him. He falls the way Roy draws a bow, clean and purposeful.
He dismounts, and she can't help but wince as he lands-- you'd think he'd break an ankle, sticking it like that, but he walks towards her like he just stepped out of a car. He's wearing shorts, a t-shirt and his *mask*, Grace realizes with a blink.
What a fucking freak.
"Grace," he says. "Settling in?"
His tone says he couldn't care less. She squints at him, trying to imagine what his eyes look like-- green like Roy's, or blue? But she can't picture anything but blank white mask lenses. How does he even *see* through those? Maybe everything comes through in shades of gray.
"Yeah. Roy's made me feel really at home."
Nightwing's gaze travels over Grace's body. He turns away, towards the parallel bars. "Good."
"Hey, what can I say? I never saw him actually being a superhero before. Shooting monkeys, rescuing presidents. It was hot." Grace leans back against the doorjamb, crossing her arms over her chest. "So, do you guys talk about it every time one of you scores?"
He lifts himself into the air, supporting himself with one hand, locked around the bar. "Roy's not shy."
Despite what most people say, Grace actually does know the meaning of the word tact. "That's unbelievably-- hey, you guys know that you're completely gay for each other, right?" Tact: like fashionable shoes, it's a thing for people that aren't huge, invulnerable juggernauts. "Like, you were trained by the World's Greatest Detective or some shit like that, so it couldn't have entirely escaped your notice, could it?"
Nightwing pushes off the bars into the air, twists mid-leap and lands in a crouch. "You think I don't like you because you're sleeping with Roy."
"Well, that's just about all you know about me, isn't it, Boy Wonder?"
She glares at him as he rises to his feet. The way he's looking at her-- christ, what a jerk. Total dickhead intimidation technique, like the way cops or social workers look at you. Like they fucking know everything already, so you'll just spill. Tell them whatever they want to hear.
Grace hasn't taken that kind of shit for a long time. She leans forward, making it really obvious that she *has* to lean down in order to look him in the eye, and scowls.
"You don't know me."
"I know you've got guts and good instincts, and that's most of what you need in this job. You're dedicated, you take orders well, and you can follow my lead. That's even better."
Grace blinks, because his tone didn't change at all, just there-- it's still dry-ice cold, and that's all.
"I know I want you as part of this team," Nightwing finishes. He gestures to the gym. "Were you going to--"
Grace looks at him, trying to keep her scowl on, but somehow she can't stop herself from smiling. Nightwing. He's *Nightwing*-- he's worked with the goddamn League, and he thinks Grace kicks ass. That's fucking sweet. "So you want me on the team, you just don't want to like me."
"Does that bother you?" Nightwing snaps, turning away again.
"Hell, no!" Grace laughs and heads past him, strolling over to the corner of the gym that's got the weight machines. Sure enough, just as she suspected, the weight limit on most of the set-ups is about three times what you'd usually get at a gym in Metropolis.
She's not really dressed to work out, but she sits down at a couple of the machines. Just getting the feel of the kind of resistance she's going to be pushing against. Nightwing continues his routine on the parallel bars, smooth as a blade cutting through the air.
"You come up with a team name yet?" she calls over to him.
"No," he says, his voice tight but not strained as he flips and twists. "What about you, have you picked a code name?"
"Oh, yeah," Grace says, "well, I really wanted Giganta, but Roy says it's taken!"
Man, she totally got him on that one. And Roy said he was a funny guy! "No, what are you, brain damaged?!" She shakes her head, standing up and dusting her hands off on her pants. "Why a code name? We're gonna protect my secret, seven-foot-tall identity?"
"Rex doesn't necessarily *need* one either, but he still has one."
"Yeah, and about that. Do you actually know who told him that 'Metamorpho' sounded cool in the first place? Because I'm thinking if the purpose of this team is to hunt down evil wherever it may appear, we might want to start there."
She heads for the door, not really caring if she gets a response. Not really bothered when she doesn't get one.
Roy's spending the day with his kid, he said. But there's going to be a team debriefing tonight regarding the monkey invasion. Maybe they can get together for a couple hours after that.
If Harper's going to kiss and tell, might as well give him something *interesting* to tell. Right? She wonders what he'd think is kinkier, doing it in the gym or in the Pequod. She supposes she'll find out tonight.
Good sex, good gym equipment, her own jacuzzi tub, and teammates she can bitch at all day long... Hell, Grace is beginning to think she might enjoy this superhero thing.
Reference images taken from OUTSIDERS #8 and #11.
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