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
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,
No. That was the problem. The man threw up so much
idle chatter that the entire English language seemed juvenile
and meaningless. But... there was more to him. More to all of
them, really, not least of which their habit of wearing strange
costumes -- uniforms -- and masks.
Well, all except Superman and himself, 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 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 and
the unspoken in there that had at least as much to do
with himself than with anything -- or any *one* -- else.
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,
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
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
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
Past the gymnasium, and the sound 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
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*? 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
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.
"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
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,
"How do you know *I'm* an entertaining drunk?"
"I'm putting my money on 'stupid, drooling, and
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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
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 back 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.
Flash nodded slowly and ran gentle fingers over his
cheek. "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 Flash
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 Flash 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
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*,
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.