mithen: (Coffee S/B)
[personal profile] mithen
Title: The Power Not to Do
Pairing/Characters: Superman/Batman
Rating: NC-17
Warnings/Spoilers: None
Fandom: DC Comics
Summary: After a close call being exposed to sex pollen in Gotham, Batman insists that he and Superman build up a tolerance to it. It's one of the more unusual first dates Clark has heard of...
Word Count: 3800

What lies in our power to do,
lies in our power not to do.

Superman woke up in the Fortress with the spaces between the fingers of his right hand aching, the skin abjectly sensitive. He held the hand in front of his eyes, glaring at it: he’d had the Fortress analyze him and there was nothing at all wrong, no reason why he should wake with the memory of touch tingling along his nerve endings, making it nearly impossible to think. No vestige remaining of Poison Ivy’s attack in his blood or his flesh.

Only in his memory.

It had been a Gotham fund-raiser, something innocuous, something that Bruce Wayne was attending and Clark Kent was covering. Beyond the usual quick glance of amused camaraderie, they had generally avoided each other. Clark caught a glimpse of Bruce, chatting with two supermodels from Switzerland--or was it Sweden?--his wine glass tracing orbits between their charming smiles. He looked entirely absorbed, but Clark could see the abstraction in the depths of those clear blue eyes, the distance. That part of his soul that remained untouched, focused on matters of greater importance, always ticking away under the surface.

Even looking back, Clark wasn’t sure when it had begun. Was there a fleeting wisp of dusky smoke, a faint scent of jasmine in the air? He couldn’t remember. What he did remember was the look of surprise in Bruce’s eyes as the woman on his right reached out to tug free the bun of the woman on his left, letting her glossy black hair cascade down her back. He remembered Bruce stepping back, blinking, as the two women moved together into a kiss. He remembered being dimly aware that all around him other people were embracing, caressing, kissing, and that it felt entirely normal and natural that they were doing so.

But he remembered most clearly the moment when Bruce had looked across the room and met his eyes.

He didn’t remember crossing the room, but he must have, because there was Bruce, standing in front of him, looking at him. Looking at him, with all the abstraction and distance burned away entirely, all of his being focused on him, as if Clark were the most important thing in the world. A ridiculous thought, really, because clearly Bruce was the most important thing in the world, in the universe, the dark and enigmatic center around which everything turned. Close enough to touch, unbearably beautiful. Close enough to--

Bruce reached out as if he were groping blind, his eyes not leaving Clark’s face. Their hands met in the space between them, fingers interlacing unerringly, Bruce’s touch filling the gaps with all the deep satisfaction of a final puzzle piece put in place.

The world was nothing but that point of contact. His senses racing, razor-focused, Clark could feel Bruce’s very fingerprints against his skin, each whorl and crease discrete and perfect. He stared at Bruce, frozen with bliss, hearing all around them groans and sighs, zippers being undone and clothes tossed aside, flesh on flesh. Meaningless sounds compared to the beat of Bruce’s heart, the song of his breath.

“Clark,” said Bruce, like a revelation, an Armageddon. Clark saw his name touch Bruce’s lips, and knew that he needed to touch them himself, needed to feel Bruce say it again like that. He needed--

Alone in the Fortress, Clark winced and clenched his hand, trying to will away the memory of that phantom-touch. Nothing had happened--nothing more, at least. Batgirl, alerted to the goings-on, had triggered the sprinkler system, washing the pollen from the air, and Clark had spent the rest of the evening assuring various wet and embarrassed public personages that nothing that had happened that night would be on the record, while Bruce disappeared entirely (Poison Ivy was found tied up and annoyed on the steps of the police department by morning). And everything was back to normal.

Except that Clark had no idea what “normal” was anymore. It seemed everytime he closed his eyes he was back in that moment, surrounded by lecherous moans and whispers, delirious with the feel of Bruce’s skin on his. “Impressive restraint,” one flustered politician had said when he realized Clark Kent was still entirely clothed, and Clark supposed it might have looked that way. It hadn’t felt it, though. It had felt like flying into a black hole, passing some event horizon he hadn’t even realized was there. Too late to look back; he was falling like light forever.

He grimaced at his hand again, at the spaces between his fingers. Had they always seemed so utterly empty? He touched an experimental tongue to the side of one finger, wondering if there was still something of Bruce he could taste there with his super-senses. Even a stray molecule--

He came to himself with a jolt at the chime of the Fortress computer and realized he had his whole finger in his mouth and was running his tongue along it, imagining--

”Batplane to Fortress. Requesting permission to land.

Your timing, as always, Bruce, is exquisite. “Granted,” Clark snapped. “Fortress,” he said after the channel was closed, “Are you certain there’s no chemical residue left in my body?”

“No malign toxins detected,” the Fortress announced in a soothing voice. “However, systems do detect elevated levels of testosterone, norepinephrine, and serotonin.”

“I know the chemical markers of lust, thank you,” said Clark caustically.

“All are within normal parameters,” the Fortress reassured him.

“Easy for you to say,” Clark muttered under his breath as one of the crystalline doors slid open to let Batman in.

He strode into the Fortress like he owned it, his black cape licking and whispering around his ankles, and Clark felt his knees immediately go weak. Idiot! he snarled at himself. Okay, the key was to act normal and natural, and to not in any way bring up--

“You were about to break,” Batman said, crossing his arms and glaring at him.


“At the fundraiser. Ivy’s attack. You were about to give in. I could tell.”

Apparently “avoiding the topic” was not going to work with a determined Bat after him. “I was not,” he said--he hoped convincingly. “You were the one who was about to jump me.”

He couldn’t see Bruce’s eyebrows beneath the cowl, but Batman’s head tilted back in a way that very clearly expressed disbelief. “I will grant you that I was...distracted,” he grated.

“I will confess to also being...nonplussed,” Superman admitted. “For starters, I wouldn’t have expected her pollen to work on alien physiology.”

Batman shrugged. “She seems to have found a magic-user to strengthen the effects. The point is that you were--” He broke off, grimaced. “That we were both affected. And she’s still out there with this new formula. I haven’t been able to come up with a good antidote. Until I do, it seems the best approach is to become..acclimated to it.”

“Acclimated?” Superman blinked as Batman lifted his hand, with a lilac-colored capsule between them. “Wait a minute, you’re not--”

“--You can lock down the Fortress,” Batman said. “No one gets in, or out. And we work on self-control. Expose ourselves to the pollen and build up a resistance. Resist its effects as long as possible.”

Clark frowned. There seemed at least a half-dozen flaws in this plan, and a dozen things that seemed impractical about it. Clark opened his mouth to point some of them out--and remembered suddenly, with a jolt of preternatural clarity, how it had felt. The sweet rush of certainty that right now was all that mattered, that he was doing the most important in the world by merely existing in the same place as Bruce Wayne. The luxurious, intoxicating, dreamy focus, the blossoming bliss. He swallowed hard. “And what if I give in? I could--I could hurt you.”

Batman frowned at him as though he were disappointed that Clark had failed to follow something quite simple. “You would never hurt me,” he said flatly. “And you can’t force me if I want it. Which I do.”

“It would just be the pollen,” Clark said, hearing the wretchedness in his voice. “I couldn’t--”

“I thought you knew the difference between the conditional and the present tense,” Batman said, and there was an edge to his voice. “Not I would want it, but I do.

The last two words fell into the silence of the Fortress, and the air itself seemed to hush to consider them.

“I thought you did too,” said Bruce, and his voice was receding like a wave down a long shore, retreating. “If I was wrong, then--”

“--You’re not wrong,” Clark blurted out, and relief flickered around Bruce’s jaw below the cowl for a moment. “But you know--most people start with a movie or dinner, not showing up and suggesting ‘Hey, how about we expose ourselves to sex pollen?’”

“We do need to work on our resistance,” said Bruce. He rolled the little lilac-colored capsule around in the palm of his hand, looking at it. “I like to multitask.” His glance at Clark was sidelong and teasing. “Admit it, you wouldn’t want a mundane first date with me anyway.”

“Touché,” admitted Clark. “So. Here we are, on our first date, working on our resistance to sex pollen. What’s next?”

“I break this capsule, and we resist for at least ten minutes. After that, all bets are off and we can do as we want.”

“I’m not sure this is fair,” said Clark, trying to ignore the jolt of his pulse at the words “do what we want.” “With my alien physiology I’m likely to be more able to resist than you.”

“Ah,” said Batman without hesitation, as if he had thought about this already. “But you process thought faster than I do, so I estimate each minute may well feel like five minutes to you, especially under the influence. It should balance out, which leaves me once more with the advantage due to superior willpower.”

Clark snorted and did not admit that he had imagined three complicated sexual scenarios in detail in the last three heartbeats. “You’re trash talking me about sex pollen.”

“You don’t like trash talk? Then lock us down and we’ll get started.”

“All right. Fortress,” Superman said, his mouth suddenly dry, “Unless a message comes in from the Justice League at the highest-priority level, take no communication for the next…”

“An hour should be the limit of its effect.”

“...two hours. Lock down--no one gets in, no one gets out, including me.”

“Confirmed,” said the Fortress, with a soft chime. “Two hours and counting.”

“I’m ready,” Clark said, keeping his voice level and even. “But if you think I’m going to give in before the ten minutes are up, you’re going to be disappointed.”

The corner of Batman’s mouth tilted upward for a moment, as if at a private joke. “Then are you ready to start?”

“Wait.” Clark surprised himself by darting forward, flying the three steps between them and putting his hands on Bruce’s shoulders. “I want to kiss you first. Without the pollen in our systems.”

Now Batman’s mouth softened into a real smile, warm and affectionate, the smile very few people ever saw. “You’re a romantic sap,” he said, and leaned in to kiss Clark--softly, gently, but not at all chastely.

Clark leaned into it until Bruce growled deep in his throat and started to pull him closer. Then he backed away, smiling. “All right,” he said. “Now I’m ready.”

“I get it,” said Bruce with mock-severity. “You’ve made your point. But don’t think just because I wanted to kiss you I’ll be the first to give in,” he warned, and lifted his hand to crush the capsule between his fingers. There was a wisp of smoke, a faint scent of jasmine.

Then just the silence of the Fortress.

“It’s a diluted version,” said Bruce. His voice was so casual that it rang oddly in the silence. “I thought it would be good to start at lower intensities.”

“Okay,” said Clark. “That’s a good idea.” He shifted from foot to foot, feeling increasingly awkward. “So will it still have the same effect as the stuff Poison Ivy used on us?”

“It should,” said Batman. He frowned. “How exactly did it affect you? Obviously it had some impact, but I’m not certain it was the same as it had on the humans.”

“Well.” Clark cast his mind back to that night and almost immediately wished he hadn’t. He absently bunched his cape up in his hand, letting the silky cloth slide between his fingers. “There was a decreased interest in monitoring the behavior of those around me. Everything anyone was doing was okay and none of my business, that was the first thing I noticed. It was--” He swallowed. “It was an odd feeling, that I didn’t have to worry about anyone in the room. They could take care of themselves, they weren’t my responsibility. I can see how that would be dangerous, but at the time it felt--”

“--freeing,” said Bruce. “Exhilarating.”

Clark nodded. “It’s not...something I can often afford to feel. That was the first symptom, that I felt like the rest of the world wasn’t terribly important.”

“Are you feeling that way now?” Bruce’s voice was curious.

Clark blinked. “Well, it...actually isn’t terribly important right now, is it? What’s important is working on building up a tolerance to this drug. We’re locked in here, and anything short of a planet-threatening emergency will be ignored. For a little while, the only thing that matters is how I’m feeling, how I’m reacting.” He took a deep breath as the reality of that sank in, feeling some tension he hadn’t even known he had draining out of his shoulders, out of his body. “Wow.” He looked at Bruce. “Is that similar to how you felt?”

“It matches up quite closely, yes. It was a...vertiginous feeling,” Bruce said. “When I saw you across the room, it you were the only thing in color, the only sound in tune, the only object in focus. I couldn’t--” He stopped, swallowed. “I couldn’t remember why I was at the fundraiser anymore.”

“Why were you there, anyway? I mean, the real reason, not the Brucie reason.”

Batman just looked at him for a long moment. Then he almost blurted out, ”That’s right! I was investigating one of the donors, a potential drug kingpin.” He sounded relieved. “Go on. What else did you experience?”

“I guess it should have been alarming,” Clark said, “But all it felt was pleasant. Like for a little while all my priorities were shuffled and I could...just…” The sentence trailed off, and he realized he was looking at Bruce’s mouth. He couldn’t remember where that sentence had been going. “And then I wanted to touch you so much. I wanted to touch you even more than I usually do, and that’s…” He swallowed. “That’s a lot. I couldn’t think about anything but how much I needed to get my hands on your bare skin, all the different things I’d do to you.” His heartbeat was pounding until even his fingers seemed to be throbbing with it, vivid images flashing past his mind’s eye at lightning speed: Bruce in the throes of passion, head flung back as Clark thrust into him; Bruce beneath him, reaching out with nimble fingers to stroke and tease Clark’s cock as Clark felt Bruce sliding deeper into him, inch by inch--

“Are you thinking about them now?” said Bruce, his voice hoarse.

Clark nodded wordlessly, trying to extricate his mind from the erotic spirals it seemed to be trapped in. Bruce was two steps away, he just had to move forward a little and--

He grabbed two fistfuls of cape and clung to it as if it were a lifeline and didn’t move. “How long has it been?” he asked hoarsely.

“Three minutes.” Bruce bit his lip, and Clark watched as white teeth pressed down on yielding, kissable flesh, every tiny motion unbearably erotic. “I think--” He lifted a hand to his brow, then frowned as it encountered the cowl. Still frowning, he peeled the cowl off to reveal tousled black hair, hectic blue eyes, and flushed cheeks--and Clark’s brain faded into a haze of white noise and need. There was some reason he wasn’t supposed to touch Bruce, which didn’t make any sense because Bruce obviously wanted to be touched, but Clark could vaguely remember promising not to, which was a stupid promise but he had promised Bruce, so it had to be kept, it had to…

“Look at you,” Bruce said, his voice ragged and yearning. “All that power, leashed so tight, so controlled. There’s nothing sexier in the universe, it’s like you were created to be the ideal of everything I’ve ever wanted. A Greek god who could rule the world, helping kittens out of trees without even ruffling their fur.” His eyes flickered downward, and he made a small hungry sound. “So aroused, so desperate, yet nothing can break you, can it? Come here,” he said suddenly, sharp and commanding. “Come here and kiss me.”

Every crystal in the Fortress seemed to be ringing in tune with the surge of his blood, and Bruce’s voice almost broke him in two with desire. He caught himself as he took a step forward and with an effort greater than towing the moon, moved the offending foot backward. “You come here,” he whispered. “Touch me, strip me bare, make me yours.”

Bruce’s laugh had a desperate edge to it. “No,” he whispered. “I can resist this. No matter how much--” His eyes were all pupil, dazed and dark. “You wouldn’t want me so much if I were the kind of person who gave in,” he said almost breathlessly.

It was torture to hear him talking, to see his lips moving, and not be kissing him. The skin between his fingers--the last place his skin had touched Bruce’s skin--ached so much it was almost pleasure. He raised his hand and bit at the knuckles almost dreamily, letting his tongue slide into the cleft of his fingers as if he could somehow re-experience that drunken bliss, and heard Bruce’s breath catch.

“God damn it,” Bruce groaned. He turned his head as if he might turn away entirely, but his gaze stayed on Clark out of the corner of his eyes, sidelong and avid. “Fortress, how long has it been since I broke that capsule?”
“It has been nine minutes and twenty-six seconds,” said the Fortress.

Bruce made an agonized noise. “I can do this,” he said. “I can.” He sounded far from certain. Clark felt a brief impulse to reassure him, but all of his energy seemed to be required to keep his feet on the ground, to keep his hands from tearing kevlar to shreds, baring all of that whipcord muscle and sinew to the pale light of the Fortress and to his eager eyes at last...

Each second seemed to tick by like a tiny apocalypse, each instant without Bruce’s body against his another moment wasted forever.

“Ten minutes,” said the Fortress, and Clark and Bruce--

--didn’t move.

They stood there, glaring at each other, and a bead of sweat trickled down Bruce’s temple. Clark’s hands were shaking. “Damn you,” said Bruce, his voice shivering between anger and hilarity, fracturing wildly. “Get over here and--”

“You first,” said Clark, and the pain of restraining himself was transmuting into a terrifying pleasure, an inferno of denial and need at his heart, it was so good, transcendent--

Bruce’s eyes rolled up in his head and his knees gave way, sending him crumpling to the floor.

Or it would have, if Clark weren’t there to catch him, his arms around him at last, at last at last at last singing in his blood, his mouth on Bruce’s, hungry and wild and welcoming. “You cheated,” Clark complained, but it sounded like thank you, it sounded like rejoicing.

Bruce was laughing, that almost-silent laugh with his eyes crinkled at the corners, his real laugh. “I still win,” he said. “That’s all that matters.” Which was patently untrue, as all that really mattered was his mouth and his hands and everything they could promise and deliver. Dark armor was like gauze in his hands, tearing to tatters at his gently urgent touch, and Bruce’s breathing went shaky as kevlar that could stop a blade or a bullet was stripped from his body without a bruise or a scratch.

The lights of the Fortress dimmed into darkness and the Northern Lights flared overhead, their light catching in Bruce’s scars, tracing the planes and the curves of his body in luminescence as Clark explored and touched and tasted without restraint. He took Bruce’s erection in his hand and Bruce sobbed and buried his teeth in Clark’s shoulder, shaking, all self-control gone, unraveled into ecstasy. He shoved his hip against Clark’s cock so hard it would have incapacitated anyone else, but Clark only made an incoherent sound, half growl and half gasp, and ground up against him in a frenzy of need, letting desire carry him beyond self-discipline into rapture.

He only noticed he had left the ground behind entirely much later, when he found Bruce draped across him, limp and sated, and realized he couldn’t feel the cold hardness of the floor against his back. He wrapped a leg around Bruce’s hips, pulling him closer, and Bruce made a small, content sound and bit his collarbone almost absent-mindedly.

“That was quite a first date,” said Clark.

Bruce’s fingers were playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. “Is it over so soon?” Bruce said idly. His touch was trailing down Clark’s spine. “That was quite a whirlwind. I think for our second date we should try having sex without being under the influence. It’s always good to have a control group for the purposes of comparison, naturally.”

“Naturally,” agreed Clark.

“But the Fortress is locked down for two hours, I believe, and so there’s no reason to end our first date prematurely.” Bruce’s hands were circling just above the curve of Clark’s ass, teasing. “Many of Ivy’s pollens have the intriguing side effect of a very short recharge time for male victims. Do you think this is one of those?”

Clark shuddered at his touch. “I’m thinking yes,” he said.

Bruce’s smile was avid and pleased. “Well then, I see no need to restrain myself.”

And as pleasure started to rise once more within him--this time sweetly, slowly, languorously--Clark saw no need to restrain himself either.

No need at all.
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October 2017

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