The Legends were having some rare down time waiting for Gideon to tell them where another time distortion was happening. So everyone was in different parts of the ship in their own little projects.
Except for Jax and Martin. Because of their unique bond, they tended to hang out together more often than not. Jax was fixing a piece of the guidance system that had fried from their last encounter with Chronos, and Martin was "keeping him company" by reading a book on the history of Hollywood.
But today, Jax could tell Grey was feeling... something. It wasn't his normal anxiety at not having enough data, but it felt a lot like it. Jax looked up at Martin and realized- Grey was antsy... in a sexual way?
As if Jax's realization was a mental prompt, the words "I really need to get laid," came out of Professor Martin Stein's mouth with a sigh. Jax's eyebrows shot into his hairline.
"What!?" he asked incredulously.
Martin looked over at him from his book and blinked several times. "Did I say that out loud?" he asked, embarrassment turning his cheeks dark red.
"Uh, yeah. You okay?" Jax asked, concerned. This was so out of character for the other half of Firestorm, Jax wasn't sure how to react.
"Clarissa... gave me another Hall Pass," he said simply.
November 2018, and Martin Stein was actually at home with his family. The Legends had all agreed the needed some down time in the "present." Lily and her husband Bruce had just retired to the basement guest room with little Ronnie, now almost a year old, and Martin and Clarissa Stein were just sitting side by side, watching a movie and drinking wine, content.
"I actually met Hedy Lamarr," Martin said quietly as the movie ended. Clarissa looked over at him, trying to gage if was serious or not. He usually didn't talk much about his "sabbaticals," though Clarissa knew it had something to do with his work as Firestorm.
"You went back in time?" she asked a little skeptically, though the thought really just wasn't that surprising anymore.
Martin nodded. "Do you remember dancing with an older man when we went to the White House in '86, he said he was a colleague of mine?" Martin turned his head to look at her directly. Clarissa's eyes widened as she realized... she was looking at the man who had danced with her that night.
"It was you," she said, a bit out of breath. "Oh my... do you know how many times I've remembered that dance, and compared you to that man?"
Martin smiled. "Well, I can't mind being compared against my wiser self, now can I?" But the smiled dropped. "Hedy. She kissed me. I just... I just thought you should know."
Now it was Clarissa who smiled. "That's rather the point of a Hall Pass, dear," she said a bit indulgently. But then she frowned slightly, and chose her words carefully. "Do you need... another pass?"
Martin looked at her sharply, mouth open in shock. "What!? No, of course not!"
"You always come home to me, and I know you love me, Martin. But every time you do come home, you're always so..." Martin held his breath at her next word, afraid of where she might be going with this... "amorous. Since you became Firestorm, I've been worried I'm not enough for you anymore."
"I didn't realize I was making you feel that way," he said uncomfortably, looking down at his wine glass.
"Martin, we're not young. But when you come home and can go on for hours..." she smiled mischievously.
Martin gaped at her, speechless. His Clarissa, talking about sex! But he knew it was true. He hadn't been able to finish with Clarissa since becoming Firestorm. While he knew intellectually it was because of the energy of being a true "nuclear man," he hadn't realized Clarissa had particularly noticed. He always had to finish himself, later, usually in the shower, but hadn't wanted to say anything. He didn't want her to feel bad for something that couldn't be helped. The stamina of Firestorm wasn't always a blessing.
"So, if you find someone who can help..." she trailed off. Martin started to shake his head, but her hand on his knee stopped him. "It just occurred to me- you come home every three months, but, if it's time travel - is it longer for you?"
Martin closed his eyes briefly, and nodded. "It was five months the first time, eight the next. I've lived several months longer that you by now."
His behavior was making a bit more sense, now. "Maybe in this group of superheroes you're in, if you need to, then. With someone you care for."
Martin wanted desperately to fidget, to jump up and walk away, anything but look at his wife. Instead, he drained his wineglass.
"Would you want to know? Afterwards?" he asked quietly after a pause. He couldn't believe he was even considering it, but he was still a man. An "old man" with the energy of a 20 year old. And sometimes...
"No, I don't think so. That wouldn't be right. It should be private between the two of you. I wouldn't want you talking about the details of our love life to someone else. I trust you, my love. I'm married to a superhero. Come back to me, and I'm content." She smiled at him, she was so beautiful, he couldn't help but lower his lips to hers.
"So, now you have the hall pass, your body's telling you to use it," Jax said simply. Martin couldn't disagree. He had been snappish since they had begun their "downtime" - if he didn't stay busy, he could feel his body betraying him.
"But I'm not going to just..." Martin couldn't even finish the thought. He might be a difficult man, but he did think himself a gentleman.
"I'm going back to my room," he announced abruptly. A feeling so strong it created an image of one person in Jax's mind flashed between them. Jax watched him go, wincing at the strong emotion, trying to decide what to do.
"Open," Sara Lance, now captain of the Waverider, said in response to the chime at her door. She had taken Captin Hunter's quarters, if only for the space to have meetings with other Legends as needed. And there always seemed to be a lot of reasons.
Jax wasn't usually one of them, though, as he stood in the doorway, seemingly upset.
"What's up, Jax?" she said kindly.
"It's about Grey," he started, and then hung his head. It had been just about a week in Waverider days since his talk with Grey, and the situation had only gotten worse. He could actually *feel* Grey's sexual frustration, and it wasn't one bit funny.
Sara waited for a moment, but it was clear the kid wasn't going to continue without prompting.
"Is everything okay?" Martin Stein was special to Sara. Since their first conversations when they both came aboard the Waverider, they had shared a connection. She had always appreciated his wisdom and candor, and the friendship they had developed.
Jax sighed. "It's complicated. Have a moment?" She nodded and gestured to a chair. Jax turned it around and hung his legs around the back. Sara recognized the subconscious effort to keep a barrier between them.
"We don't talk a lot about what it's like to actually be Firestorm," he started. Sara's eyes widened slightly in surprise, but stayed silent. "Grey told me some things he learned with Ronnie. Like, we're hungry all the time. Especially Grey. I mean, the man's an eating machine. He's actually making nuclear fuel! You might not have noticed, I think he doesn't want anyone to notice, but he can drink anyone of you under the table. It's really hard for me to actually get drunk, which means it's even harder for Grey, he's technically more Firestorm than I am. And it's hard to keep weight on. You don't notice it on Grey so much, because he likes his layers, but, like, the nuclear energy keeps us fit."
Sara nodded again, but the puzzled look on her face told Jax he needed to get to the point. "And then, there's the stamina. It's not bad for me, everyone expects a young guy to be able to go on for a bit. And I get a fair number of offers. But Grey, he doesn't."
Sara's mouth made a round "ooh" as she figured out what was being said. Assassins had the same problem. The adrenaline of the battle, the danger the legends constantly found themselves in- they all had found ways of dealing with it, mostly through sex. Except the professor.
She was mentally kicking herself, too. She had seen an increase in Martin's use of the gym, but hadn't really put it all together.
Awhile back, Martin had asked her to teach him some hand to hand combat, saying he didn't want to feel "so useless" in the field without Jax. But, later, she had walked in on him really working a training dummy hard. She had actually stood and watched without being seen for awhile, thinking she was just collecting info for his next lesson.
She hadn't realized he was taking her training so seriously. But she was actually impressed. Martin had lost weight, but gained it back in defined muscle. Watching him more closely reviled something else- he wasn't just working out, he was trying to tire himself out.
Jax had once mentioned something about the physical stamina and strength of Firestorm, and now she understood- it was a technique used by the League of Assassins to quiet the mind and the body after battle, to work the body into exhaustion. But what if being a "nuclear man" made it almost impossible to wear yourself out?
She came back to the present. "What about Clarissa?"
"Like I said, he really needs to get laid, but with someone who gets it. Clarissa gave him a hall pass. She can't be here, and if it's anything like it's with me, she probably can't actually satisfy him anymore when he is home."
Jax blushed and looked away. "Man, Sara, I don't mean to be nasty, but I don't know what to do. It's actually getting pretty bad. I can tell, from our connection. He's frustrated. Embarrassed, too. And that's going to affect how we are as Firestorm."
"Do you want me to... talk to him?" she said carefully.
"You're just about the only one here that he really respects, like an equal." He didn't mention what had flashed in his mind from their psychic connection. They were grown folks, hopefully they're could figure it out for themselves.
Jax nodded at her and left. Sara sat in her comfy chair, and contemplated her long-buried feelings for Professor Martin Stein.
Work helped. They had a job to do, and the next day Gideon told them where to go do it. It was a welcome distraction for Martin Stein, who was becoming extremely agitated at feeling like a horny teenager all the time.
The feeling of constant arousal wore off while they were busy fixing history and being in dangerous situations, but came roaring back even stronger once they returned to the ship and all was well. It was intolerable.
He snapped at his fellow legends after dinner and headed for his room. Jax looked over at Sara, and she nodded as she finished her meal.
She headed to the professor's room slowly, hoping he had had a moment to collect himself. She didn't want to embarrass him.
She hit the chime that alerted him someone was at his door, and heard a muffled but sharp "Who is it?"
"Martin, it's Sara. Can I come in?"
There was a pause, and then a clearer "Yes, of course," as the door opened for her to something she hadn't seen in the three years they had been on the ship- Martin Stein in a bathrobe. The towel he had been just using to dry his hair was tossed over a chair, and she had actually never seen him willingly without his glasses before. His eyes, a deep, velvety brown, made her throat constrict.
Martin pulled at his bathrobe, as if trying to hide himself from her. "Is there something wrong?" he asked, trying not to fidget.
Sara took all of this in. She had never seen him quite so adorably awkward before, but she wasn't sure how to begin.
"The team's noticed you're a bit moody lately. I was hoping I could help."
Martin blinked at her for a second in shock, swallowed, and then shook his head, as if banishing a thought. "No, no, I'm afraid it's just something I have to work through," he said, pouring two drinks and handed her a glass.
"I'm willing to do anything this team needs to be their best," she said after a few sips. Martin downed his in one, and then almost spat, "I don't need pity."
Sara looked up from her glass in surprise. She had rarely heard that much emotion from Martin before. It was honestly, arousing.
"What do you need then, Martin?" she asked softly, putting down her drink while locking eyes with the man.
She stepped in front of him, and looked at him with the eye of a trained assassin. His pupils were dilating, his breath coming shallow. She gave a little smirk. Thank goodness she could see all the signs of desire, otherwise she would have never believed it.
It felt like suspended animation. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. His heart pounded in his chest.
"Sara," he almost growled, like a warning, looking down at her. "Don't pity me."
The smirk left. She had to convince him, not seduce him. "I don't. I've wanted to say something for a long time, but I respect your relationship with Clarissa."
Slowly, cautiously, Martin reached out and caressed her cheek, touching her with wonder and a hint of fear in his eyes. "I thought I'd never be able to tell you, but you've held a place in my heart since I was 27 years old."
A genuine smile of joy lit up Sara's face. "Something only a time traveler would understand."
"Only a time traveler could love someone young enough to be his daughter," he replied, but he had already made up his mind, as he leaned down to kiss her lips.