TRIGGER WARNING: deals with the emotional aftermath of female-on-male rape
I've gotten really fed up with this trope where a female character brainwashes a male character into having sex with her, and then the male character gets blamed for "cheating" on his partner. Even when that doesn't happen, the incident is never treated with the gravity it deserves; generally, life goes back to normal pretty much the next day. I wrote this story to make it absolutely, positively, 100% clear that brainwashed sex is rape, and the fact that it usually happens to men instead of women does *not* make it okay.
As you might expect, this one comes with a MAJOR trigger warning. I tried to treat the topic with as much respect as I knew how, but I know it's nearly impossible to be respectful enough of this type of topic, so I apologize in advance for whatever mistakes I've made on that front. Please feel free to point them out so that if I ever tackle something like this again, I can do better at it.
If you or a loved one are a male victim of rape, I want you to know that you're not alone and what happened to you isn't your fault. ffdotnet won't let me post web addresses, at least as far as I'm aware, but RAINN is one organization that may be able to help you, and 1in6 is another.
Many thanks to my beta, FoxgirlAfterDusk, without whom this story would not have turned out nearly as well.
The night after getting Wally back following his week-long disappearance, Artemis refused to have sex with him. She knew what was coming. Later that night, when he awoke suddenly and bolted out of bed, she opened her eyes, took a deep breath, and followed. She found him exactly where she'd expected: bent over the toilet bowl, retching and shaking. She settled onto her knees next to him and reached out to rub his back, only to withdraw before her hand could make contact. What if she made it worse? Three years together, and all of a sudden, Artemis felt like she was right back where she started: terrified, uncertain, not knowing what the rules were or how to proceed.
"I had sex with her," Wally croaked hoarsely. "Q-queen Bee, I – sh-she – " He retched again; Artemis watched with a lump in her throat, unable to speak or look away from his pale, sweaty face.
"I know," she whispered at last. Technically she hadn't known, not until he'd said it, but she'd guessed. A whole week in the thrall of a woman who used hormones to control her prey... well. It didn't take a genius to figure out where that was headed.
Wally swallowed. "Is that why you – you wouldn't – " He tucked his chin to his chest, biting his lip and squeezing his eyes shut.
"It's not what you think," said Artemis.
"You hate me."
Artemis almost started crying right then and there. "Wally, no."
"Then why won't you touch me?"
"I – " Artemis' throat closed up. Breathe in, breathe out, she told herself, and tried again: "I just don't want to hurt you." Wally huffed out a hard, disbelieving breath – almost a laugh, except there was nothing funny about any of this. "Do you... want me to touch you?" Wally's shoulders pulled inward as he nodded, as if he was afraid she would hit him. Instead, Artemis scooted closer and wrapped her arms around those broad shoulders. "There," she said. "Better?" He nodded again, shamefaced. Artemis' heart broke to see that.
"I'm sorry," Wally whispered.
"I cheated on you."
"No you didn't."
"I cheated on you, and I attacked you, and I did everything that woman said and do you know what the worst thing is?" His lip curled in disgust and self-loathing. "I liked it."
Artemis felt an involuntary surge of jealousy, then shut it down, disgusted with herself. Her petty insecurities were the least of their problems right now. "Wally, it's not your fault."
"Yes it is."
"You weren't yourself."
"How do you know?"
Artemis arched an eyebrow at him. "Really, babe?" Wally just looked away. She sighed. "I know because I know you. I'm your girlfriend, remember?"
"But I cheated on you!"
"Wally." Artemis laid a hand on his cheek and turned his face towards hers; he stared at something over her shoulder to avoid having to meet her gaze. "We both know that's not what really happened." Wally's eyes finally met hers, wide and green and terrified; a second later, he was crying. Artemis brought his head down to her chest and wove her fingers into his choppy red hair; Wally wrapped his arms around her waist and held on like she was the only thing keeping him from drowning. Great, heaving sobs wracked his body; Artemis kept one arm wrapped around her boyfriend's shoulders and curled her body around as much of him as she could, as if to shelter him from the hurt that had already taken hold. She felt tears streaming down her own face as she listened to his half-coherent pleas for forgiveness he didn't need. Artemis knew vengeance was frowned upon by the Justice League, but she thought that if there was ever something worth breaking that rule over, it had to be this.
It was a long time before Wally's sobs subsided; once they did, Artemis couldn't bear to move him, at first. It was only when she saw him starting to fall asleep where he sat that she gently shook him back awake. "Hey babe," she said softly, "why don't we get you something to eat?"
Wally blinked groggily. "Mouth tastes gross," he muttered.
"Okay. You wanna brush your teeth?" Wally nodded. "All right, but to do that, you have to stand up. Can you do that for me?" Artemis half-expected him to roll his eyes and tell her he wasn't four, but instead he just nodded. They pulled apart. Wally reached out to touch the tear tracks running down Artemis' cheeks. "She hurt you," she said simply. Wally nodded, looking down. "Babe, listen to me: it's not your fault."
"It feels like it is."
"Well, it's not, okay?" Wally picked at the corner of a bathroom tile and refused to look at her; Artemis sighed and stood. "Come on, babe." She grasped Wally's hands and pulled him upright, grunting with the effort. All the muscle he'd put on in recent years made it much harder to do those kinds of things than it used to be. While he went to the sink to brush his teeth, Artemis went to the kitchen to get her boyfriend something to eat and collect herself. It was one thing to suspect what had happened, and another thing to know. She couldn't take too long, not with Wally falling apart in the other room, but Artemis took a moment to just lean against the counter and breathe. She had thought she knew what she was doing, had believed herself cognizant of the risks that she and her friends took every day in the superhero business, but this was beyond the pale. Suddenly, the future looked overwhelming to her in a way that it never had before. Artemis had gone through a lot of crap in her life, and she had some experience with how the world somehow kept turning in spite of everything, but that didn't keep her from wondering how it would manage to do so in the face of something like this.
The same way it always did, Artemis supposed: indifferently. She just hoped it wouldn't roll right over her boyfriend while he was down.
Speaking of which, Wally was going to need something to eat if he was ever going to get back up again. Puking was a dangerous pastime for someone who needed to consume over ten thousand calories a day just to keep from starving. Artemis started to head for the fridge, then paused and grabbed a bag of Chicken Whizzies from the cupboard instead. She normally tried to get Wally to eat healthy whenever she could, but right now, all that mattered were calories. Chicken Whizzies had a lot of those.
When Artemis went back into the bathroom, she found Wally still standing in front of the sink, wet toothbrush clenched in one fist as he stared at himself in the mirror. Gently, she reached over, tugged the toothbrush free, and put it away, then grasped his now-empty hand and pulled him into the bedroom. There, she pushed him onto the bed, sat down next to him, and handed over the bag. Wally ate slowly and in silence; Artemis felt her nails bite into her palms as she clenched her fists and her teeth, waiting for him to finish. This was wrong. Artemis had never thought she'd miss watching the trainwreck that was Wally's normal eating process, but she hated seeing him so subdued. It was a relief when he finally finished. "Still hungry?" Artemis asked; Wally shook his head. "Okay. How about we go back to bed then, okay babe?" Without waiting for an answer, she plucked the empty bag out of his hands and tossed it onto the floor to clean up later. Then she pushed Wally gently back onto the mattress, grabbed the covers from where they'd fallen off the bed in his mad dash for the bathroom, and lay down next to him, pulling the blankets over both of them. They turned to face each other.
"D-do you want to..." Wally trailed off, but Artemis knew what he meant.
"Do you?" she asked, keeping her eyes on his face. She'd been afraid he would try to lie for her sake, and was relieved when he silently shook his head instead. Shame was written all over his features. "Then no," she said softly. "I told you, Wally, I don't want to hurt you." Not like she did, she added silently. Wally read the thought in her face.
"You're nothing like her," he said.
"Good," Artemis said fiercely. "She's a monster."
"I-I'd do it for you, i-if you wanted." He didn't meet her eyes.
Artemis sighed. "Wally, look at me." Reluctantly, he did. Artemis reached up to frame his face with her hands. "I don't want you to do something that'll hurt you because you think it'll make me happy. If that means we never have sex again, then I will live with that. I love you and I want what's best for you."
Wally's face crumpled as he pulled her into a tight hug. "I don't deserve you," he mumbled into her hair.
"Whatever, Wallace. I'm here to stay." Artemis' voice trembled a little, despite her best efforts. She didn't get the laugh she'd been going for; instead, Wally let out a long, shuddering sigh and curled his body around hers. Slowly, gently, they both drifted off to sleep.