[IRON FIC 5-9][DC] Acceptable Reading Materials


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EDIT: Forgot the Disclaimer - I claim no ownership upon the characters used in this story. They rightfully belong to DC.

Summary: The Justice League Library is one of the most incredible literary repositories in the universe. So it's justified that Batman wants Superman to ban a certain book from its shelves, no matter the cost. The cost, of course, being Superman's patience and standing in the Justice League.



One of the perks of being a founding member in the Justice League was personal space. By personal space, of course, this meant individual chambers customized to their denizen’s tastes. In one of the upper decks of the Watchtower sat the dark-haired, half-smiling Big Blue Boy Scout himself, Superman, otherwise known as Clark Kent, enjoying the latest addition to his sometimes-quarters: a recliner. It wasn’t just any old recliner, though; it was his mother’s old one, kept in her room for more than fifteen years. If comparisons could be made, it was, for the Man of Steel himself, the most comfortable chair in existence.

Which of course, made sense for him not to have it in the living area of his home in Metropolis; lest his wife conquer it for her own ends. He’d barely caught his mother offering to pawn it away to her friend down the road, intercepting it for his own ends not hours ago. Now here he was, basking in the contours of old green leather and smell of old tobacco: the closest thing to Heaven that he could touch.

He didn’t need x-ray vision to see just who had barged in uninvited and completely bypassing his password.

‘Bruce; now’s not the time.’

The Dark Knight appeared before him with that ever-present scowl, cloak draped over him like some entity of darkness more than synthetic, adaptive and responsive nylon as it was advertised. In a bid to end the interaction and for the quest of continuation for his comfort, Superman adjusted the chair to remove Batman from his angle of vision in the hope that for once in his lifetime, that Bruce Wayne would end things on Clark Kent’s terms.

Somewhere in the great whiteness, Parallax asked Metron for the dance steps to the Rhumba beat.

‘Now’s the perfect time.’ Batman insisted, invading the once-comfort zone of the Most Powerful Man on the Planet, his cape billowing unnaturally as he stopped to his right. ‘The rest of the League’s got things covered; Omega-level threats are at a minimum occurrence variable, the Titans are off-world and Oliver’s out of earshot.’

Superman frowned, re-focusing himself on one of his oldest friends and greatest rival, visibly confounded by the last statement the only other man in the room made.

‘How does Oliver factor into this?’

The man sometimes known as Bruce Wayne crossed his arms and even through the hard material of his mask, Superman could tell that he either thought that he was the slowest man in the galaxy on the category of brainwave registration or to strike him with a planet the size of Jupiter to beat some awareness into his skull. It was honest but insulting, even without the words.

‘You know as well as I do that he only nods and smiles with the ladies when they rope him into something.’ Batman reached into his pouch for something, rummaging into one of the bigger ones lining his belt, ‘I like my chances for sabotage kept below seven percent at all times.’

‘While planning the sabotage of the literary recreation of at least forty percent of the Justice League’s members.’

Batman frowned; this time, though, so did Superman. They’d had conversations of the nature before, beginning from the early days of the month past and each soiree always ended up digging into the more patient end of his nature. Batman was relentless, though, and he had to credit a man who hadn’t forgotten an agenda for censorship after two invasions by hostile forces and the resurrection of an eldritch being.

‘They can get their own damn books. I’m not having any of this junk on my space-station!’

He finally pulled out the book, and the title just sat there on the cover, emblazoned like a sore, white against greys and blacks, held high like the damning evidence to a man’s murder trial. Superman, in his infinite wisdom and rearing by Pa and Ma Kent didn’t rise as lesser man did, instead remembering to breathe like Lois always did when he cancelled dinner dates with her back in the day.

There the book was: best-seller, rack-stuffer and the most-borrowed book from the Watchtower’s personal library.

‘Bruce, I’m not calling a vote just to veto the availability of Fifty Shades of Grey on my library.’

Batman narrowed his eyes, his hand positively itching to reach for his lead-lined satchel. However, being Batman and still a friend to Clark Kent, it stayed, but the one holding the book shoved it even closer to Superman’s face. So much so that it looked like he was trying to stuff it through his nose.

‘Come on, Bruce, you’re being immature!’

Batman was having none of it. Not when his views were being opposed.

‘This book is an affront to the human race! It’s things like this that keep the Guardians pretending that we don’t exist!’ he jabbed a finger to the cover of the offending item, ‘Have you even read this nonsense?!’

Superman could have juggled planets if he so wished. He could have played the Flash pace-for-pace in the light of the yellow sun as though it was a stroll through Metropolis Central. He could have triumphed over Brainiac’s plot with no more than a finger if he so needed; but Batman was still Batman and all that was needed to give him, the Man of Steel, away to quite possibly the most dangerous sentient being on planet... was a twitch on his cheek.

It was a good try, though.

‘Oh, by the – !’ Batman cut his swearing short, looking away from his friend and covering his eyes with his hand. ‘Not you too!’

Superman raised his hands in defence, eager to explain himself before Batman started some uncomfortable gossip material for the cafeteria. Rao knew just how much damage it would have on his credibility.

He still had not deciphered just how an accusation of him having a stray eye (But not a stray leg, of course) had spiralled into rumours of his participation in a love triangle featuring Brianiac and Lex Luthor.

‘Lois is a fan!’ He spoke truthfully, leaning back on the recliner (Which, even in the heated discussion, stayed its status as an entity of comfort). ‘I – I wanna keep her happy, so yes, I did have a look.’ Gaining some confidence, he gave Batman a pointed look. ‘It’s not illegal to have things like that in your drawer, you know.’

‘In your drawer!’ Batman retorted, waving the book all over the place again. ‘Not on my space station!’

Superman closed his eyes, mentally counting backwards from seventy-eight.

‘Bruce, drop it.’

Batman didn’t, of course, but he did drop the accusatory tone of his voice that’d been adopted at some point in the conversation.

‘You’ve read it, haven’t you?’


The sound of rushing pages was picked up by his ears as the man in black and gray cleared his throat.

‘Bruce...’ Superman warned, but as always... Batman would finish.

The normal low, gravely sound of threat had up and vanished, making way for a growling, predatory richness, positively oozing with sly promises and satin sheets. The eyes of the Bat had picked up a paragraph fit for recital and poured it out for Big Blue to hear himself.

‘Oh no. If you spill the wine, I will punish you, Miss Steele.’ I groan and desperately fight the urge to tilt my hips, pulling on my restraint. Oh no… please.

With one finger, he pulls down my bra cups in turn, my breasts pushed up, exposed and vulnerable. Leaning down, he kisses and tugs at each of my nipples in turn with cool, cold lips. I fight my body as it tries to arch in response. ‘How nice is this?’ he breathes, blowing on one of my nipples. I hear another clink of ice, and then I can feel it round my right nipple as he tugs the left one with his lips. I moan, struggling not to move. It’s sweet, agonizing torture.

Then he stopped, reaching for a glass of sparkling water at an end-table, bringing it to his lips in an effort to ease the stress that had been placed upon his throat from the oily recital of the object of his dislike, the area around his mouth slightly bluer than usual and his free hand closing the piece of text with a clumsy sort of grace. Superman sat there in his recliner, trying to find the words to describe or reply to the particular action the Dark Knight had taken. He found there to be no true answer.

There could only be appeasement.

‘A – All right, all right, I – I’ll put a note-vote to restrict it. Just...’

‘Just what?’

The Big Blue Boy Scout raised a finger to the slightly shorter man’s face as he floated from his chair to begin the task.

‘Never do that again.’


Twenty-four hours ago, Clark had thought that the banning of the book had been a good idea after all. The male section of the Justice League membership in particular had given him approving looks and friendly bumps for a while; Guy Gardner himself had praised him for finally taking a stand for all of mankind (Emphasis on the man, of course). The book itself and the copies of it were considered contraband and a cheerful Mr Terrific was given the honour of vaporizing the copies.

That was twenty-four hours ago. That was before a large brigade of league members that distinctly lacked the Y chromosome had assembled like a lynch mob outside the announcement room, headed by one of the best friends he ever had threatening to spear him with Poseidon’s Trident. That was, of course, Wonder Woman; Aquaman had wished her luck and left the rest of the males to fend for themselves. J’Onn J’Onnz the Martian Manhunter and Captain Atom were at his side, but not by choice.

Black Canary, Huntress, Fire and almost every other Superheroine on the roster were crowded around him and his fellow friends with blazing eyes, daring them to even think of escape.

‘How could you?!’ Wonder Woman shrilled, the very-pointed tip of the trident threatening to tear a new one in his throat, her hand shaking from unbridled rage.

‘Diana, Bruce has a point, it’s kinda...’

Clark Kent didn’t continue; Diana had obviously been the master of intimidation and Lois Lane was her apprentice.

‘Don’t take that tone with me, Kal!’

The group took to rambling as they began voicing their complaints to the latest addition to the contraband list.

‘How could you do this to us?!’ Starfire questioned tearfully, wiping away real droplets coming from the corners of her eyes with her puffy long hair. ‘To deprive our kind of the one thing to relieve us in such stressful times!’

‘Superman, this isn’t fair!’ Fire pointed an accusatory finger at him from behind Starfire.

‘This is tyranny; censorship!’ Black Canary called above the din of unhappy women.


The world stopped as the women turned to the only man in their gaggle, one turncoat named Oliver Queen, who had begun enthusiastically raising a fist in moral support, only slowly grinding himself to a halt as dark looks were sent his way from every inch of the corridor.

‘Yeah, um... yeah. Yeah...’

Oliver stopped, slinking behind a corner through several of the women; Superman heard his footsteps hasten as soon as he was out of the crowd right down the hall.

Superman cleared his throat, trying to keep a cool head amidst boiling temples.

‘Look, I just think that...’ he started; when Wonder Woman said nothing to retort then, he continued. ‘That, well... the contents of that book are kind of... inappropriate to have on board the Watchtower.’


The exclamation wasn’t something that he was expecting from half the crammed corridor.

‘Need I remind you of just what happens to sit on the aisle behind Section Kay-Ninety-Seven?’ Black Canary had made her way to the head of the group, jabbing a thumb in the general direction of the library.

Superman frowned, but none of the girls budged.

‘Huh? What?’

‘You know what I’m talking about.’ Black Canary threw at him.

Superman narrowed his eyes, looking at her in condescension, confident in his knowledge of the stock.

‘Um, no, because there’s no aisle behind Section Kay-Ninety-Seven.’

Captain Atom whistled innocently; The Martian Manhunter rubbed his hands nervously, finding the ceiling to be more interesting than the stares of dozens of crime-fighting women.

‘J’Onn.’ Wonder Woman began venomously, shifting the point of her trident to the green-skinned hero.

The Martian Manhunter raised his hands like a crook in the precinct house.

‘In my defence,’ he cleared his throat with a cough, ‘they were Kyle Rayner’s idea.’


Metropolis wasn’t far enough from Gotham.


Clark Kent put down his issue of Beano, looking to the raging form of the Dark Knight, shaking with an anger to behold, framed against the morning sky. The apartment was scarce; Lois had left to catch up with some high school friends and Clark had voted to spend one day out of the spotlight of the Justice League and have at least half a day to himself after the debacle on literary contraband he had unwittingly instigated.

The cheers of the Justice League had turned into boos as the discovery of a lead-lined cabinet filled with untold horrors of the world from the East made itself known and the Man of Steel, partly in appeasement to one of his closest comrades in Diana (And of course, Black Canary, who would probably get away with his murder on a good day if she put her mind to it). The decision didn’t do much good for either side of the conflict as the men raged of their loss and the woman damned them for their interests.

It wasn’t pretty in the Watchtower.

So super-strength be damned, Batman shook him like a ragdoll in the mouth of a pitbull.

‘HOW COULD YOU?!’ Batman roared, gripping tightly upon his collar. ‘HOW COULD YOU?!’

This time, though, the Man of Steel was not having any of it. The line had to be drawn.

‘Bruce, it’s porn!’

‘It’s Japanese manga!’ Batman insisted violently, his spit flying messily upon Clark’s glasses.

‘It – It’s – Still! There were bare breasts every three pages in one volume and another one had a teenager being violated by a – a – !’ He felt sick thinking of it; and the fluidity of the penstroke that could have managed such curves was one to behold, even for a Kryptonian. ‘Not to mention the – ! What kind of weirdoes do you expect the United Nations to think us for if they find this on one of their inspections?!’

A familiar finger was shoved in his face.


Clark Kent, then, decided that enough was enough.

‘Bruce, I am not allowing it on the space station.’ He said with a tone of finality, ‘I’m going to be talking with the rest of the founding members on the new restrictions on additions to the library. This conversation is over.’

Batman was still Batman, though, and he only ended things on his terms.

‘Diana put you up to this, didn’t she?’

The twitch was more than enough evidence. The smell of fear only further ruined him, as slight as it was.

‘Um, no, she didn’t. I decided on this course of action from the bottom of my heart.’

Bruce’s glare made him feel like the tiniest worm on Pluto.



It had been almost six days since the blanket ban Superman and some of the league’s more senior members had instilled on the more questionable reading materials and tensions were high. The majority of females in the league, hardcore followers of EL James’s series, had taken to snubbing the Man of Tomorrow at every chance, while half the men had exempted him from their more casual activities due to his discovery of the hidden cache and subsequent dislike of the medium. The worst came from Diana and Bruce, who took turns throwing insults at him within range of his super-hearing, but far enough that he couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Of course he did try to communicate that the decisions were made by majority vote with the founding members, but as far as the league members were concerned, Superman was public enemy number one. Barry Allen had got off scott-free of any blame, as always.

It had grown so bad he had to sit with Nightwing and his ex-Titan friends for some company at lunch.

At the designated lunch hour, Superman, Nightwing, Cyborg and Red Arrow were seated, with the latter two watching the venomous remarks some of the grown boys and girls in tights made to each other when they weren’t complaining about their Glorious Leader (Oliver had said the name in jest; the rest took to it like flies to honey. Clark was not happy), while Booster Gold was selling alleged merchandise in the mockery of his image. However, he was Superman; and as he had done with the blows of Doomsday, he would endure. Hopefully.

‘This is terrible, man. Terrible.’ Cyborg voiced, watching Ice and B’Wana Beast jab at each other verbally (Ice had said something about octopi), ‘I mean, look at everyone.’

Nightwing nodded, seeing Atom Smasher and Dr. Light trade glares as they sat across from each other. With his super-hearing, Superman picked up Atom Smasher muttering about dimensions or rather, before drowning them out an resuming his meal, eager for the madness to be over and done with. Red Arrow ran a hand through his hair as staff members, female, glared at their table, presumably at the Boy Scout.

‘Wonder Woman and Batman giving each other cold shoulders for breakfast, lunch and dinner.’ Nightwing started, recounting his role. The last few days, everyone had been using him as a sort of mediator. His most prolific client, of course, being his former mentor for communications directed to Wonder Woman and in seldom occurrences, Big Blue. ‘This isn’t good for anyone.’

Cyborg raised his arms in exasperation.

‘Why don’t these guys just buy these books and keep ‘em at home so they can read ‘em when they’re free? Sounds pretty stupid to argue about these kinda things.’

Red Arrow glared at his augmented friend.

‘Shut up, man, no one listens to common sense around here.’

‘Sorry.’ Cyborg apologized, flexing his fingers.

‘You bet you are.’ Nightwing snorted loudly, taking a sip of his cherry soda.

Mr Terrific came right up to them, his tray filled with garden-variety vegetables coated in four-alarm chilli, plopping unceremoniously at the end of the table right as Guy Gardner shot a dirty look behind Superman’s back. If he noticed it, he didn’t bother, digging into his fish fillet nonchalantly while the cafeteria began to empty with only their table and two others occupied.

‘Hope you don’t mind me taking a seat here.’ Mr Terrific said; in response he was given a series of dismissive waves. He gave an encouraging pat on Superman’s shoulder, ‘How’s it goin’ Big Blue?

Superman sighed.

‘Pretty much the whole Watchtower’s been treating me like I was a plague since we banned those books.’ He grimaced, pulling out a thick-looking pamphlet from the side of his suit. ‘I even got a twenty-page letter from Batman warning me how close I was to being the very thing I feared. Queen Hippolyta sent me a greek urn decorating me as Superpig.’

Red Arrow didn’t miss the opportunity.

‘Yeah, how could you ban Monster Musume no Iru – ow!’

The marksman glared at his assaulter; one ex-sidekick turned solo act in blue.

‘Don’t remind me.’ Superman only sighed harder.

Mr Terrific frowned, again putting a reassuring hand o Superman’s shoulder.

‘Why don’t you just un-ban the books if it’s causing so much stress in the league. It’d settle a whole lot of the problems we’ve been having, now, wouldn’t it?’

‘I would,’ Superman began, but thought about the headache’s humble beginnings in Bruce Wayne and his doctrine of quality, ‘but everyone’d hate me at the end of the day for it anyway.’

‘Big guy, that bunch hates your guts as is.’ Cyborg added with a cheerful blink of his cyber-optic. ‘Might as well having them hate your guts with something to distract ‘em once in a while, right?’

Superman pondered on it for a moment, thinking through to Diana’s and Bruce’s whole ideas on the matter. Of course the both of them had voted for the preservation of their own interests and the annihilation of the other’s, but at the end of the day, he was the rope they played tug o’ war with, only with less pull and more intimidation. In all honesty, while Superman disliked the thought of having such literature on board of the station, he’d much rather have a compromise so his team could actually move on and get back on their feet instead of dragging it on the issue of materials that he and the rest of the veteran members had decided on.

In short, he had grown sick of this shit.

‘Cyborg,’ Superman began, his lips feeling a tug upwards, ‘you’re a nice guy.’

They resumed their meal in peace (Except for Nightwing, who almost choked on an egg).


Diana wasn’t happy at all that Bruce got his things back. Bruce wasn’t ecstatic at the thought of terrible literature having a place on board a station he had sponsored for the betterment of humankind.

Clark, however, had other ideas and so did Barry, Hal and the rest. They read along the lines of grow the fuck up for the Amazon Princess and the Caped Crusader. Today was the day the PSA would sound and the league would stop antagonizing each other.

With the PSA turned on and mic at the ready, Superman began his announcement.

‘Attention on league members. I’m lifting the ban the founders of the league established ten days ago on the status of possession and stock for the book Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James. The library will be restocked with new editions by Wednesday. Readers are not allowed to bring this book into the cafeteria. This is the only restriction of possession.’

His super-hearing picked up murmurs of puzzlement, but a general mood of joy and relief. That was one dilemma knocked over the side.

‘On further note, I am also allowing the return of Kyle Rayner’s recommended section.’

He didn’t need super-hearing to find the echos of high-fives from every male otaku in the structure.

‘However, this is made with restrictions and league members Booster Gold, Hawkman and Red Tornado will be in charge just to make sure that the material isn’t too... extreme.’

This time, there the specific sound of weeping picked up from Captain Atom in the cargo bay.

‘And don’t worry; bare breasts are not under criteria.’

High-fives were everywhere.

‘That’s all. Thank you for your time.’

He walked past Bruce and Diana, ignoring their attempts to catch his attention until he was side-by-side with Hal Jordan; the Green Lantern walked with Clark for some levels, seeing some of the members actually stop their ignoring of Superman as they made their way to the elevator heading to the founders’ private quarters on the upper levels. As they waited for the elevator to come for them, Hal finally spoke.

‘That... was the coward’s way out.’

Superman only shrugged.

‘Bruce and Diana can hate me all they want. At least now they can get a distraction from me every now and then, unhealthy as it is.’ The elevator came bearing nothing and Superman walked in, continuing, ‘I’m through screening and decreeing what we can and can’t have; from now on they can bring whatever else they want so long as it doesn’t bring Darkseid on our doorstep.’

Hal smiled slightly.

‘I suppose. Do you want me to at least keep an eye out for you?’

Superman laughed.

‘No, thanks.’

‘Where’re you going?’

Superman jabbed his thumb upwards, the look of amusement still on his face.

‘Neptune. I think I need some leisure time for myself.’

Neptune with a recliner built for Gods themselves. It was a match made for Eternity. The door closed and the Green Lantern smiled as he turned about-face, eager to check with J’Onn on prospective additions to their literary collection.


Neptune was cold, desolate and the current host of a man in possession of purple bunny slippers, a pink bath robe and a suitcase embedded in the white sand of the planet. He sat upon his beloved chair, tempered for his form and leisure, in his hands a soft-cover book, his face locked in a thrilled expression, his thumb barely containing the desire to turn to the next stage of the adventure; the anticipation was thick! The suspense more potent than the strongest lager...

This was a tale for the ages.

‘Shoot,’ I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.

It all happened very quickly then.

Edward threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table...

I tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. I felt the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow.

Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm—into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

Superman eagerly turned the page, giddy with anticipation.