A/N: Definitely an M chapter this one. Consenting adults…in bed…post-coital pillow talk and cuddles. Was watching Batman Begins the other night and the bit where Ra's is about to have Bruce branded as a full-fledged League of Shadows member, made my brain explode with this idea. This is set somewhere between chapters 8 and 9 of the vignettes.
Iris Wayne lay sated on her side gazing lovingly at her husband as he slept. It had been a harrowing few days where they had barely seen each other, as all of Earth's superheroes fought off the impending alien invasion. Damian had been with his family involved in infiltrating the alien's forward base in the catacombs of Rome. While Iris and the other speedsters had been relegated to messenger status, zipping between the various teams and giving them support where they could. They had reunited at the Tower when the crisis had been averted and soon afterwards drifted into smaller groups to celebrate their victory. Iris grinned in the darkness as she recalled her brother practically dragging Lian and Chris towards the sleeping quarter's area of the tower. Milagro had used the excuse to visit with her family, as her Green Lantern duties had had her assigned to Oa for the past year and a half.
Damian took a deep breath and shifted slightly before relaxing back into a deep sleep. The slight movement had exposed two over lapping scars on his lower belly and Iris' gaze drifted towards them. She'd cringed the first time she ever saw them, knowing that they had been deliberately placed there. The older of the two was perfectly circular while the newer one was an elaborate swirl that Damian had told her was an ancient Sumerian symbol. Iris loathed the circular one and the woman responsible for putting it there. She couldn't help liking the newer one though, even when Damian had told her that he'd put it there himself. Iris reached out and gently traced her fingers over the brands burned into her husband's skin.
Talia had had her own six year old son held down as she carefully held the red hot iron bearing the League of Assassins emblem to his skin. When Damian told Iris about the branding, she marvelled that he hadn't screamed or cried out. Damian admitted to grunting in pain and letting the tears fall as his mother marked him for slavery, as he'd worded it. Iris recalled with satisfaction the first time she encountered Talia after learning of the branding. Talia had decided that the son she had so casually discarded could still be used as a weapon against the Batman. The Titans had insisted on aiding Bruce and his adopted brood in finding his abducted son. Iris' fingers brushed against the dark, taught, smooth skin of the first brand and she smiled. Talia al Ghul was dangerous but she was no match for a speedster who knew all of her tactics. Several of Iris' in-laws still delighted in recalling the ruthless efficiency Iris had incapacitated Talia and a dozen guards with in less than ten seconds. Jason and Cassandra in particular mused that they should just send an irate Iris after Damian's maternal family from now on.
The elaborate swirl was of Damian's making, and Iris let her fingers gently trace the elegant curls of scar tissue that lay half over the mark his mother had burned into him as a child. According to Damian, the mark was an ancient Sumerian symbol of revolution that had been uncovered in ruins two centuries earlier. He'd said that the shadowy underworld his mother lived in, had known of the symbol for far longer. When Damian was fifteen he'd burned the mark partially over his other one, cementing his loyalty to his father and his crusade for justice. Unlike the first mark, the second was slightly raised and ghostly white against his olive toned skin. Iris giggled softly as she recalled when her twin had decided that the mark would be a perfect addition to his own skin, after Damian declared that there was nothing more he could teach Jai. Their parents had flipped. Bad enough according to their father that Jai already had several tattoos. That he'd added a brand to the mix was nearly unforgivable.
"Are you done amusing yourself?" Damian murmured in the darkness.
"Depends," Iris grinned. "You done sleeping off round one?"
"Somewhat," he replied softly.
Iris propped up onto an elbow and leaned over to kiss the patch of skin she'd been toying with. Damian groaned and Iris smirked into the kiss as she caught sight of the sheet shifting before her. "Yeah, I think you can handle another round," she teased, before pulling the sheet away from his growing erection.
Chris Kent let his head loll to the side as he took in the sleeping forms of his lovers. It had only been recently that the three had decided to try an open relationship, after Jai had cottoned on to one of Chris' deepest secrets. Chris had fallen almost immediately head over heels in love with Lian Harper the first time he ever laid eyes on her. That she was involved, however casually with Jai, had made Chris keep his distance and his feelings private. Apparently he'd done a poor job of hiding his attraction, as Jai had brought it up ever so casually one afternoon at the Tower. Funny, considering Lian constantly accused Jai West of having the emotional empathy of a brick.
"How's New York treating you these days?" Jai had asked.
"I like it there," Chris had freely admitted. "It's so different from Metropolis…San Francisco too." Chris considered for a moment and then smiled. "Although, I think of all of us, you and Lian have the best set up down the coast."
"Lian definitely loved having you over…me too," Jai shrugged. "You're welcome any time, man." Jai watched the wistful look briefly grace Chris' eyes and smirked. "You're so in love in with our favourite sai wielding maniac," Jai teased. Chris' eyes grew wide and he gulped that his friend had caught on.
"Jai, quit picking on Chris," Lian had scolded as she entered the control room where the two men were.
"He's got the hots for you, I can't help it," Jai laughed.
"Jai, I can barbeque you with a look," Chris reminded his friend as his face turned red with embarrassment.
"I've known for ages," Lian snorted, glaring at Jai. "That you caught on is just shy of a miracle."
"Hey!" Jai bellowed.
Chris wanted to slink off and get as far away from the two as he could, but Lian had placed a firm hand on his shoulder in a manner that suggested he think otherwise. She assured him that she was flattered and even returned the interest somewhat. Chris had swallowed loudly as Jai added that he didn't mind either and even asked what the Kryptonian thought of polyamorous relationships. Chris feared that he'd faint at the suggestion but answered honestly that he hadn't really thought much either way of the idea. After that day, Chris had considered their offer and found himself talking to Kara about it. She'd smiled knowingly as she informed her young cousin that it wasn't a crime and that if he was interested, maybe he should give Lian and Jai's invitation a shot. That had been nearly six months ago. A month ago, Chris had relocated from New York City to the quiet town on the California coast and moved in with the pair.
The lights of San Francisco filtering through the window, were more than enough for Chris to study the two beside him as the night wore on. The stark white swirl on Jai's shoulder caught his eye and Chris traced the pattern with his eyes. Damian had an identical mark on his lower abdomen. Chris remembered when Damian declared that Jai was his equal in the ways of the assassin. Jai had decided some time before that if the day ever arrived, he'd take on the mark of revolution that his teacher proudly bore. Damian had consented to the idea and handed Jai the handmade piece that Damian had used to scar himself. Jai thanked him and went to the garage to heat it up with a blow torch and press it into his own shoulder. He'd hissed a little, but smiled with pride as the mark burned into his skin. Damian had nodded his approval while Lian had just rolled her eyes and shook her head. Chris had cringed a little but Jai's twin had howled in laughter. Iris delighted in telling the team later about the less than enthusiastic reaction of Wally and Linda West when they first saw the mark.
Jai already had several tattoos, an idea shunned by most in the hero community, as they were easy forms of identity people used. Jai's parents had since come to accept that Jai didn't care one way or another, what anyone thought about his tattoos or the brand. In his public identity they were fitting and ignored for the most part. Jai was a video game designer. An artist. That he had art permanently etched and burned into his skin was inconsequential. Jai stirred in his sleep and blinked in the dark room.
"Contemplating Dad's request to burn the thing off?" he teased when he noticed where Chris' attention was focused.
"Nah. It's grown on me," Chris replied quietly.
"Would you two shut up and go back to sleep," Lian murmured, before turning towards Chris and cuddling up to him. Jai and Chris shared a look, glanced down at Lian, before looking each other in the eye again. Jai shook his head no as Chris smirked in the dark and gently rolled Lian onto her back. "Damn it," she growled before moaning in pleasure as the two men began kissing and caressing her.