Summary: Very close encounters.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Merlin Missy for the beta. "Futurama" fans will get a kick out of the planet Lantern, Flash and Hawkgirl visited on their humanitarian mission.
I slam down the mug of coffee he forced into my hands, shattering the ceramic into tiny pieces, splashing the scalding liquid over my hand and the countertop. I don't care that it burns or that the shards are sharp, coffee is not a peace offering I'm accepting.
"Jesus, Shayera!" he snaps, scowling at me. His brown eyes dart down to my hand and I steal a look, too. The skin is wet and bright red; small trails of blood follow the paths of the creases in my palm.
He quickly grabs my wrist and drags me to the sink where he cranks on the cold water and shoves my hand under the icy flow. "You'd think a person would be more grateful," he complains all the while.
"Grateful?" I take the clean towel he offers and dry my hand. Of course the bleeding has stopped and the burns were only minor. "Grateful that you nearly got yourself killed?"
"I saved your life!"
I wad up the towel and hurl it into the sink. "And you practically lost yours again!"
He waves me off and turns toward the bedroom. His Lantern uniform is shredded and dusty, yet I look utterly unscathed. I hear fabric rip as he peels off his ruined suit. With no charge in his Power Ring, there's no way out of his clothes without tearing the fabric. Trust me, I know. There's not a zipper, not one snap, no Velcro. I had to cut the suit off him after Las Vegas in order to attach the EKG sensors.
A moment passes and I hear the shower start. Oh, no. The argument isn't over yet. I stalk after him, stepping over the dropped bits of his suit.
Steam rolls out of the small bathroom. And he was worried about me burning my hand. He'll roast his entire body with water that hot.
I make one step into the bathroom. Because the room is so small, I avoid going in there unless absolutely necessary. I barely fit with my wings.
"Don't just walk away from me, John!"
He pokes his soapy head out from behind the white shower curtain and looks at me with one barely-opened eye. "Not like I can get very far in this apartment." He retreats under the spray again.
Short of physically hauling him out of the shower -- which I could easily do -- I stand no chance of him talking until he's satisfied with his cleanliness. I cross my arms over my chest and lean against the door jam.
The slight sway of the plastic curtain lulls my mind enough to where the argument slips to the back and the reason for it leaps forward once again.
John's ring was already on its last legs as we flew from Central City back to Detroit. We'd been flying through space, John, Flash and myself, returning from a humanitarian mission on Omicron Persei Eight. We'd dropped Flash home and John and I were going back to his apartment for dinner. Naturally, the best laid plans...
The side trip to Chicago to help stop Bizarro and friends only delayed the inevitable. John's ring sputtered often and went out occasionally. He compensated by increasing his concentration and creativity, using smaller bursts of energy instead of huge, sustained constructs. He took down Copperhead easily then went to help Superman.
That was when Bizarro decided to start flinging cars. Superman, of course, could catch them easily, and John's protective aura lifted him out of the trajectory. Unfortunately, Poison Ivy had me occupied. I was too busy whacking her upside the head to see the Escalade soaring my way.
Bizarro aimed that car at my back. Superman's shout of "Hawkgirl!" spun me around in time to see it coming, but left me not enough time to do anything about it. My mace was only halfway raised when a green wall flew up in front of me.
The SUV impacted harmlessly and I was relieved. I looked up and to my left and found my man floating in the sky with a crooked smile on his face. "Gotta be more careful," he said just before the green aura that both engulfed his body and extended to the wall in front of me flickered then faded. He fell only a few feet before he caught himself, finding enough power left in his ring to control most of his descent.
John had saved me, but in doing so, he used the last of his ring's power. His glowing green eyes faded to their natural brown as he dropped, unaided, the last couple feet to the ground. He shook his head, and I knew the draining of the ring also drained him physically.
I moved to go to him, but my feet were tangled. I looked down and saw vines growing up my calves and around my ankles and tips of my wings. I glanced back and Ivy was laughing at me. Her arms were extended out and the vines trailed right back to her hands. My eyebrows lowered and my jaw set. Obviously Ivy hadn't learned to stay down when a Thanagarian puts her down without killing her.
As I twisted against the vines, Cheetah sailed past me on all fours. Her claws bared, she pounced on John, dragging him to the cement. Limbs flailed, Cheetah shrieked a horrible cat-like war cry, John grunted. The nimble cat evaded his grasp, getting in swipes, ripping his suit and tearing his flesh.
I growled at the scene and electrified my mace. No more Miss Nice Bird. Pulling my punches was never my thing, but the League frowns on killing, so Ivy got to live.
I plunged my mace into the thicket at my feet and let fly the charge. Ivy screamed and dropped the vines away. She held her damaged hands before her, watching as the smoke rose from her palms. I stepped toward her, my mace recharged and low in my grip. The green-skinned woman looked up at me just in time to hear my angry yell and see my swing.
She was unconscious by the time she hit the pavement.
She'll be in the lock-down ward of the hospital for several weeks while her broken bones knit. They'll also be watching for signs of pneumonia after re-inflating her lung. I've heard humans don't really need spleens.
With the plant out of my way, I spun back to the cat. John was rolling with her, top to bottom to top to bottom, down the road. I took the first running step in their direction when another car flew in front of me. The Camry impacted John and Cheetah.
"John!" I screamed, flying toward the wreckage.
Superman must have heard me, because Bizarro skidded across the ground and into a brick wall across the street. I arrived in time to see Superman lift the mangled car into the air and toss it away like a toy.
John, flat on his back, opened his eyes and looked up at me. Across his chest, Cheetah lay bleeding and unconscious.
"John?" I questioned, dropping to my knees.
He winced as Superman gingerly moved Cheetah to the side and tended to her. I picked up his hand and held it to my cheek. Our eyes locked on one another and didn't waver as Superman cataloged Cheetah's injuries out loud. The woman wasn't dead, but she'd certainly be in the hospital longer than Ivy.
Superman turned his gaze on John and I knew he was checking for similar injuries on him. A few tense moments passed as he studied John's head, neck and torso.
A slight smile passed his lips and his focus returned to John. "Nothing broken. Lots of bruising, but you'll be okay."
I stared at John lying next to the mangled Cheetah and I thanked any god who would listen for sparing his life a second time.
I'm still staring at the white shower curtain when John pulls it back. I blink and refocus and I can't help but drag my eyes slowly up and down his naked frame. His dark skin contrasts with the bright white tile of the shower, but even darker spots mar him. Angry bruises and deep scratches cover his chest, arms and legs. If Cheetah wasn't already in the hospital, I'd be putting her there.
John steps from the shower and grabs a towel, which he briskly rubs over his head and face.
"You were saying?" he asks with a smirk, causing me to pull my eyes up from the thatch of black hair and very inviting maleness between his legs.
I swallow, realizing I've been staring. Then I scowl. I shouldn't be staring. He shouldn't be smirking. "Dammit, John," I grouse, "You could have been killed!" I tighten my arms over my chest.
He rolls his eyes. "That's what you were saying." He finishes toweling off then wraps the white fabric around his hips. A quick look in the mirror, a twist of his cheek to check out a cut on his jaw, and then he's right in my space. "Any of us could be killed at any time," he reminds me, then plants a quick kiss on my lips. "Take that obnoxious thing off," he tells me as he pushes past.
I turn and find him rummaging through a dresser drawer. He pulls out fresh underwear.
"You don't need to exchange your safety for mine," I tell him. "You used the last of your energy to block that car..."
He reaches up and casually pulls my mask off my face. "Can't talk to you through that."
The overwhelming urge to sock him tickles my fingers. If he were anybody else -- anybody -- he'd be unconscious now. People just do not remove a Thanagarian's mask. He is, however, a special case. I've never bothered to fully explain to him the protocols involved with my face covering; I've never told him I'm as naked without my mask as he was when he exited the shower. He's human. He's got different traditions. He's my lover. Therefore, he's allowed.
My mask is deposited on top of his dresser alongside his white briefs. "I've told you before, Shayera, I'd give my life for you."
"You don't have to keep proving it."
"You're cute when you're angry." He pokes the end of my nose with his finger and gives me a little grin.
"Stop that." I shove his hand away. He's damned irritating when he's so smug. And he has no right to be so smug.
He tilts his head and crosses his arms across his smooth, broad chest. "We've discussed this. Make the most of our time together because we never know when it might end. Isn't that what we agreed to?"
Emotion prickles at the backs of my eyes. We did agree to that, but it wasn't what I meant when I brought it up.
"Hey," he says gently, "don't cry."
"I don't cry!" I inform him solidly.
"Of course not." He reaches out and pulls me tightly to him.
Buried in his chest, my anger melts away. Why is it he can always win arguments when he hugs me? It must be the crisp smell of his soap contrasted with the musky, human male smell that assaults my nose and causes me to inhale more deeply. Or maybe it's the strength of the muscles in his chest and arms as he holds me making me forget about Thanagar, forget about the League, forget about other obligations, forget about everything but snuggling up and holding him right back.
"Shy, I could never forgive myself if something happened to you and I was able, in any way, to prevent it." He strokes my red hair with one hand and a wing with the other.
And that's why he wins the arguments. I turn into some pathetic, weak, doe-eyed female when he gets all mushy on me. Dammit anyway.
He fiddles with my feathers and I let him because I know my wings fascinate him. Sometimes, when we're watching TV or we're sitting across from each other in meetings, I'll catch him staring. Sure, he watches my face and, naturally, he scopes out my breasts, but he openly gapes at my wings. His eyes don't dart away when I see him staring at them.
His cheek rests on the top of my head and he exhales. I feel the muscles of his back relax under the gentle probing of my fingertips. He's letting go of today's trials and moving into our time.
I close my eyes and try to do the same.
"What do you want for dinner?" he questions into my hair awhile later.
Somehow, though, the thought of food hasn't crossed my mind. So in answer, I loosen my arms around his waist and push my fingers into the tuck of the towel. His back straightens and he moves away ever so slightly. I tilt my head up and smile at him with just a hint of deviousness. My fingers release the towel and it falls to our feet.
But I've already slid down his body and am on my knees before him. Further protests gurgle in his throat when I engulf his flaccid member. One hand cups his exposed testicles -- quite the novelty since Thanagarian males have internal organs -- while the other hand clasps the back of his thigh, pulling him in.
John stumbles backward, crashing into the dresser. His knees lock, his legs spread slightly and he grows in my mouth. I smile around him, because while he has all the power in the universe on his finger, I've got all the power in the universe over him.
I repeatedly work the tip, enjoying the smooth slide against my tongue. I squeeze with my fingers, lightly scratch with my nails, press with my palm. My cheeks go concave as I try to bring him past the point of rational thought. My other hand snakes upward along the crevice; a single finger probes and presses and finally finds the spot Thanagarian males are eager to have explored. John, however, doesn't yield to my touch, but he does grip my hair in his fist.
"Don't," he groans.
I press again.
His hips buck and twist and he yanks my head away with his hand. "I said, don't."
I look up, past his long erection, up his sculpted abdomen and chest. He's looking down at me, an odd look on his face. "Why not?"
His eyes widen and I see his excitement start to wilt. Instead of answering, he hauls me up by the arms and kisses me hard, forcing his tongue into my mouth. I reciprocate, biting, licking, sucking. One of his hands holds the back of my head, forcing our mouths together. His other steals down my back, between my wings and fishes for the zipper of my bustier.
Soon he peels away the yellow fabric and scoops a freed breast into his palm. He squeezes my flesh, pinches my nipple between two fingers, soothes me with soft caresses. I lean willingly into him, and his other hand moves from my head to join its counterpart.
Our tongues continue their duel. My hands return to his hardness, stroking his length, pulling roughly. I hear him whimper, then the pressure on my breasts increases; he tweaks my nipples more tightly.
I bite his lip. He drops a hand downward, ripping my belt loose, shoving into my pants. Two fingers impale me and I lurch forward. My hands leave the object of my desire and go to my waistline where they fight to get the tight fabric down.
John releases my breast and presses on my shoulder, forcing me to my knees again. His fingers also leave me and I feel a sudden chill. He, too, is on his knees, working the Spandex from my hips. He gets it as far as the bend in my legs and quits the struggle. A hand presses between my wings and I bend forward instinctively. John moves behind me. With one hand he directs himself, the other holds me open for him.
The invasion is swift and strong. His fingernails dig into my hips, directing my movements forward and back. Our pelvises meet with loud, repeated slaps of skin against skin. As he approaches his climax, his hands snake around me: one high and one low. Again, he cups a breast, paying little attention to it beyond that. The fingers of the other find where we've joined and seek out the rib of sensitive flesh at the apex of my opening.
Our first time was slow and searching. We had to learn one another; figure out what was what and where it all went. Now, we know. Now we can be as rough as I like, as rough as we like.
I contract my inner muscles, squeezing around him, encouraging the building pressure I feel at his ministrations. John growls and moves faster, harder. I free the final tether holding me back and we explode with a scream and a groan.
I collapse to the floor, his weight fully on top of me. He frees his hands from underneath me, moves my hair away from my neck and kisses my nape. I twist my head to look at him.
"Humans are too sweaty," I comment.
"You don't mind," he laughs and gives me an ineffectual thrust of his hips.
"I'd argue that point," I say. I wiggle and he pulls out and I'm instantly bereft.
He sits on his haunches looking quite ridiculous. I tell him as much.
"Well, you don't look all that glamorous with your pants around your knees," he points out.
"Noted." I roll over and yank off my boots and pants, discarding them somewhere near the door. "Now, where were we?" I adjust my wings so I can recline against the foot of his bed. "Oh, yes...you were going to explain why you won't let me inside of you."
Again his eyes widen, but this time he plops down hard on his backside, almost to emphasize the point. He leans against the dresser, as far away from me as he can get without looking like he's obviously trying to avoid me.
"Well, uh..." He stops and chews his upper lip, not making eye contact.
I tilt my head and cross my arms. "Yes?"
"It's just...that..." He finally meets my eyes. "Dammit, Shayera, can't you just let it go?"
I frown. "Men on Thanagar enjoy having their females become part of them, just as much as a woman enjoys joining with her man."
His eyes bulge and I'm quite certain he'll pop them right out of his skull if he keeps making that expression.
"That's just wrong," he says and I jerk back.
"Excuse me? What the hell is wrong with it?"
"It's just... wrong, that's what."
"Oh, I see," I say icily. "It's okay for you to be inside me, but I can't be inside you?"
"Yes. No!" He squeezes his eyes shut and presses his fists into them. "Arrgh!"
I raise an eyebrow at his outburst, then calmly wait for him to explain. Because he will explain.
"I'm not gay! Okay?"
My mouth opens, but I don't follow what he's saying, so I close it again. He looks at me with a mixture of sickness and pleading.
"I never said you were," is all I manage.
"We just don't do... that, " he hisses.
And then it makes sense. Males on this planet are so afraid of homosexuality that they'll deny themselves great pleasure because something might appear to be an activity engaged in only by same-sex partners.
"John, I'm not a man."
He looks at me as though he really, really wants to protest, but he can't. Instead, he pulls his legs up and wraps his arms around them, hiding himself from me.
"Okay," I sigh and shake my head with disappointment. I rise to my feet to retrieve my sweats from his closet.
He watches as I pass, open the closet door and yank my small stash of clothes from the top shelf. I feel his hand on my calf and I look down at him, still huddled by the dresser.
"Once," he offers quietly.
His eyes then rise to meet mine and I see fear and self-loathing in them. The fear I can understand. I was there once with my first lover. Allowing another being to breech your most intimate areas for the first time is frightening as hell. The loathing I don't comprehend, though.
But it doesn't matter what it means or whether I understand or not, because it's there and I'm not about to make John do anything that causes that kind of negative emotion.
"No," I say flatly, pulling out of his grasp and sitting on the end of the bed to dress.
John stands up as I yank the tank top over my head and try to maneuver my wings and arms through the holes. Human clothing -- obviously -- just isn't designed for Thanagarians. I feel his hands on mine, and he pulls the shirt back off.
He cuts me off with a gentle kiss. I push him away.
"You want to," he tells me.
"This isn't about what I want, it's about what you want," I try to explain. "And you don't want to, so we won't. Simple as that."
He lowers himself to his knees so we're practically face-to-face. A serious expression has replaced the disgust. "There's a certain power involved with sex," he tells me, "An ancient, uncivilized feeling of conquest when a man enters a woman." His hands trail down my ribs and slide together at the apex of my legs. We both look down to where his thumbs press against me.
"No kidding," I deadpan.
"He feels, at that moment, like he owns her. As though nobody else in the world can have her." His eyes rise and catch mine. "You want that same feeling?"
"I already have that feeling," I say seriously. "Nobody else can have you. You're mine. I've allowed you in."
He seems genuinely surprised by that thought. "So..." he begins cautiously, "by allowing someone in, that gives you the power. Because you could say no?"
I nod, not feeling the need to explain how rape is someone trying to take that power away. He's smart. He'll make the connection. I see his eyes glaze slightly as he turns his thoughts inward, considering, weighing, pondering.
When he again focuses on me, he offers a weak smile. "Okay."
For the second time, I shake my head. "No. I won't force you."
"You're not forcing me. We'll try it." This time his smile isn't artificial. "Maybe I'll like it." He waggles his eyebrows at me in a way that's so reminiscent of Flash I want to slug him for making me think of the speedy annoyance at a most inappropriate time.
John immediately redeems himself by leaning in and meeting my lips softly, his thumbs continuing on the quest they started a few moments earlier. My belly twitches when he touches exactly the right spot and he chuckles.
His lips leave mine, trailing wetly down my cheek, my neck, my shoulder, until he stops at my right breast and laves the very tip with his tongue. The nipple prickles to attention and he moves to the left side to repeat his actions, suckling longer this time.
My hands go to his shoulders and press him downward. I enjoy the attention, but I'd much prefer some a little lower. He complies, tracing his tongue through the valley between my breasts, down my abs and right to my lap.
His hands roughly spread my legs wide and he dives right in, his aim true and his tongue warm. I flinch and grip the bedspread as he swipes back and forth and around and around. He continues for a long while like that before he dips inside. I shudder against his mouth. My head falls back. I can barely keep upright, but my wings don't allow me to comfortably collapse onto my back.
Though I know his tongue has got to be getting tired, he proceeds with his steadfast determination for several more minutes. I reward his work when my muscles tighten and my thighs slam against his ears. He probes and teases until my contractions abate. My arms finally give out and I fall awkwardly on my wings, my chest rising and falling rapidly, my already-high heart rate racing even faster.
I don't know that I've mentioned it, but I do love this man. I look down between my legs and try to tell him so. A satisfied moan is all that comes out, though, before my head flops uselessly back on the bed.
I feel him move then I see him hover over me. "This is a new position for us," he grins, his face shiny with my moisture.
Bonelessly, I reach for him and draw his mouth to mine. There's a tangy, salty taste on his lips that I recognize as my own.
John unfolds my right wing and moves the feathers out of the way before he settles in beside me. He kisses me, our tongues wetly crossing one another. His palm caresses slowly from my hair down to my thigh and back up, coming to a stop on my breast.
My right hand reaches down, searching, finding, grasping. He's again hard and ready, and he groans when I clinch my fist around him. With some difficulty, I reposition my wings and my body until I'm on my side facing him.
"You sure?" I ask.
He quirks a half-smile at me, then slowly slides his thigh over my hip, exposing himself in a way I'm sure he's never done before.
My heart swells and I fear my eyes may betray me once again tonight. I quickly recapture his lips to avoid any embarrassing emotional outbursts. His mouth opens under mine and I'm grateful for the invitation.
His arms encircle me, but don't hold tight. He's anticipating and I can feel the tension in every muscle in his body.
Lower, I continue to fondle him lightly with one hand. The goal at the moment is only to arouse, not bring him over the top. My other hand sneaks between my own thighs and dips into my wetness. I will share this with him, to ease the way. My middle finger reaches back between his legs and starts a short upward trek.
His eyes fly open when I reach my destination and start to press. I see uncertainty in those brown pools, a request to be gentle. All at once, I kiss him, squeeze him and enter him. His muscles clench and his eyes slam shut.
I coax him along with lips and fist, moving my finger slightly deeper. I search for what in Thanagarians would be testicles, but in humans is the prostate. The look of utter shock on John's face when I find the right place makes me smile. I press a bit harder and his expression melts into one of pure desire. I squeeze with my fist and he thrusts into it.
We set up a pattern of moves and countermoves and before long, I have him on his back, his legs spread with me rubbing against his thigh, both my hands engaged in sending him to heights he's never reached before. He has a handful of feathers in each fist; his eyes are clamped shut, his hips move in time with my actions. Perspiration breaks out on his upper lip, forehead and chest. Tendons in his neck stand out and his jaw clenches.
I end the teasing with a hard press and strong stroke. John yells a curse as his tension finally releases. Moments later, his body relaxes beneath me, but his breathing stays rapid and gasping. I withdraw gradually and his eyes crack open.
"Holy shit, Shayera."
I slide off him and retrieve the towel from the floor. He lays motionless, watching me as I clean him up. I discard the soiled towel and cuddle next to him. His eyes are still on me. The look of awe makes me have to kiss him.
"So," I ask, "what's for dinner?"
John shakes his head and laughs.
Much later, hours after we've been showered and fed and sexed and showered again, I awaken. The bedside clock says it's six thirty, but the sun still isn't up. The only light comes from the living room.
I sit up and realize just how much a combination of too much fighting bad guys and too much sex can make muscles ache. A few vertebrae pop back into place when I twist around and bring my feet to the floor. Wrapping the sheet around myself loosely, I move to the doorway to find John in his underwear, standing in the center of the living room. He raises his ring hand into the air and recites an oath I've heard him say several times since I started sleeping with him.
"In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power, Green Lantern's light!"
The room is engulfed in a bright green glow and his power source appears from its pocket dimension to recharge his ring. A few moments later, he returns his lantern to its hiding place.
He turns and is obviously surprised to see me. "Hey, sleepyhead." A new Lantern Corps uniform has formed on his body and his eyes once again glow green.
"Morning," I yawn. "All charged up?"
"Yep." He holds out his hand and his ring sparks. "Ready for another day." He walks over and stands in front of me. "I've got monitor duty in a half an hour."
I reach out and trace the Lantern symbol on his chest with my fingertip. His hand catches mine and he holds it, lacing my bare fingers between his gloved ones. Then he bends and plants a lingering kiss on my lips.
"There's fruit in the fridge and coffee is made," he tells me as he turns to leave. "Try not to smash the mug this time."
He stops with his hand on the doorknob. "Yeah?"
"I love you."
He smiles brightly and nods. "I'll be home soon."
He stares at me for a long time, but the only thing that comes out is, "See ya."
I raise my hand in a slight wave. "Bye."
He's gone faster than Flash. I sigh and return to the bed where I clutch his pillow and inhale his scent. I'm such an idiot.