|Timing is Everything
Author: Pinkchick PM
Maybe the failed space mission wasn't a glitch after all. Reed lands himself in a future that is, but should never be. He comes to realize what he's really been missing. Family-centric. NOW COMPLETE!Rated: Fiction T - English - Family - Chapters: 16 - Words: 34,348 - Reviews: 38 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 15 - Updated: 08-11-10 - Published: 01-13-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4789591
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: The Fantastic Four belong to Marvel.
Author's Note: A hello to all! There's not much to say except that this story came out of completely nowhere. A big thank you to Sweet-destiny3 for being a great beta. This story will be a chapter story and I hope to hear from you all along the way. I hope you enjoy reading!
Timing is Everything
"Reed, dinner's ready."
"Just give me a sec, Sue," Reed called back.
He was working on a new piece of science equipment. If he stopped now, he knew he would be a step behind. It was one of his new creations and Reed was proud of his accomplishment. Reed had been working on the project for awhile now, and it was finally coming together. No one would ever look at a black hole the same way again. At least, Reed hoped they wouldn't.
He could hear the distant voices of his family filtering in through the lab doors. Reed let himself soak up the sounds of Johnny and Ben bickering over something or other. Again.
He could hear Sue chastise them for their child-like behavior. Again.
After the events with Galactus and the Silver Surfer, things had generally gone back to the way they were. As normal as they would ever be for a family with genetically advanced powers.
Reed and Sue had gone on their honeymoon; just the two of them alone. No media, no extra family, no Fantastic Four. It had been just he and his new wife. Sue had extremely enjoyed this break from reality and Reed had been happy because she had finally been able to relax into their lives.
When they got back to the Baxter Building, things went back to their hectic selves. There were always things going on which involved the Fantastic Four, otherwise, things were slowing down to the point of boredom.
Johnny would go out, sometimes with Frankie. Ben would go see Alicia, and Sue….
Sue was always busying herself by acting as caretaker and filing through their finances.
"I said I was com—" Sue was standing inside the lab door, hands crossed and looking furious. "—ing."
"Coming?" Sue repeated, incredulous, narrowing her eyes. "Coming would actually mean you walking out of the lab, Reed."
"What?" Reed shrugged. "I would've only been five minutes late. It's not a big deal, Sue."
"Big deal?" Sue huffed and lowered her arms. She began moving forward, raking a hand through her hair. "Five minutes was over an hour ago, Reed."
"No, that's not possible." Reed looked at the clock on the wall behind him. He had the decency to look down. "Oh." He felt Sue move closer. "I, uh, guess I lost track of time."
"That's what you've been saying everyday for the past two weeks." Sue sighed again. Reed looked up at her. This time, he really looked. Sue looked tired. Her eyes were red and her whole posture spoke of resignation.
"Look, I'm sorry, but—"
Sue held up her hand to stop him. "Don't. Just… don't."
"But, Sue, you have to understand," Reed explained. "This experiment is really important to the scientific community."
"More important than your family?" Sue asked, raising an eyebrow as though challenging him.
"What? No, of course not. But, Sue—"
"Look, Reed. I'm not gonna lecture you or even say anything. It'll just go through one ear and go out the next," Sue said, looking him straight in the eye. "But, I really thought we'd talked about this." She looked away and fingered the equipment Reed had just been testing. "About being a family. Having a family. Just…" Sue stopped her hand motion and looked up at Reed with sadness. "Would it kill you to try and spend a little time with us every once in awhile? With me?"
"I have been spending time with you, Sue. Remember a few weeks ago, we went out to dinner?"
Sue laughed mirthlessly. Reed cringed. It wasn't something he should've mentioned, he realized. The night they had gone out, they were only able to enjoy fifteen minutes of their meal before a few photographers decided their alone time was up.
"And it's not like Johnny and Ben have really been around," Reed went on, attempting to redeem himself. "And you've been busy with the finances and all those patent papers to fill out."
At the look of sudden anger on Sue's face, Reed realized he was nowhere near redemption.
"Both Johnny and Ben, and," she laughed tightly, "even Alicia have been home for dinner. At least I get to see them occasionally. You, Reed, you're in your own little world."
"Y'know." Sue jabbed her finger into Reed's chest. "Maybe if I were, God forbid, one of your experiments, I would get to spend more time with my own husband!"
Reed opened his mouth to say something, but before he could get a word in, Sue had stormed out, her hands fisted at her sides. Reed watched her go silently. He knew he should've gone after her. Knew he should start figuring out some way to console her; let her know that he wasn't the same man she had dumped a couple of years ago. For some strange reason though, he could not get his body to move forward. It was as though his own great mind had finally failed him in the thinking department.
Reed glanced at all his lab contraptions and sighed tiredly. This wasn't the first time Sue had given him this lecture, but Reed couldn't think of what to do. He couldn't and certainly wouldn't give up his experiments. They were a part of the whole Reed Richards package and maybe Sue needed to realize that. She knew when she'd married him that he devoted a lot of his time to his work.
Picking the nearest chair, Reed sat down slowly. It just occurred to him that Sue had said "having a family". A strange sense of dread washed over him. He hoped she wasn't planning on children soon. Reed knew Sue wanted to start a family, but it was too soon and he just didn't feel ready to be a father. Even though he was certain Sue would be an amazing mother. There was never a doubt in Reed's mind about that.
Deciding he was jumping to conclusions, Reed went back to work. He almost tripped over the wire to the machine he was working on. Halfway through, he pillowed his head on the nearest stack of papers, a soft whirring sound coming to life behind him. Reed didn't turn to see where it was coming from; he was suddenly so tired.
Coming to the conclusion of talking to Sue the next day, he promptly fell asleep.