Disclaimer: Do I really need to do this? Just go read the first chapter.

Burn It All Up
Chapter 8;
Somewhere Between Insomnia and Insanity

'Johnny, if you're tired, just go to bed,' Sue told her brother as he yawned again. Loudly. Only several inches from her ear. Which he had been doing all bloody night.

'Not sleepy yet,' Johnny grumbled back tiredly. Sue was amazed that he was able to keep a straight face. But then again, Johnny was nearly passing out on the couch, though he maintained that he was not tired. Reed glanced from his newspaper and looked over at them, smiling slightly.

'Why don't you head off to bed, Sue? I'll keep an eye on Johnny,' he suggested calmly. Sue sighed, nodding her head as she got up from the couch.

Leaning over, she pressed a kiss to her partially conscious brother's forehead and grinned at him. 'You make sure you get some sleep, Johnny,' she told him sternly. Nodding a goodnight to Reed, she left the room to get some rest of her own.

Johnny glanced over at Mr. Fantastic as he heard the paper rustle, only to see him folding it up and setting it on the coffee table. Reed studied his face critically and he groaned internally. Reed was curious. He knew he'd be on the receiving end of some very humiliating questions eventually, but he really wasn't ready to deal with it yet. That's why he turned to stare at the man when Reed did finally open his mouth.

'What?' he asked, confused.

'I said, would you like some hot chocolate?' Reed asked, 'I find it usually helps me get to sleep.'

'Can't sleep,' Johnny muttered tiredly, his eyelids drooping.

'Well, why not?' Reed wondered. Johnny didn't respond and the scientist took to studying him again instead. The blonde was clearly exhausted, dark circles ringed his eyes and he was gradually becoming gaunt from lack of food. It wasn't that Johnny wasn't eating, but that his apparent insomnia had diminished his appetite severely. Reed sighed, he knew instinctively why Johnny wasn't sleeping and it was not a mild case of a disorder. The Torch was obviously afraid that his two assailants would return to 'finish the job'.

'You could always sleep in my room instead,' Reed told him quietly, self-sacrificing leader that he was. Johnny stared at him, clearly startled for a long minute, then flushed and looked away.

'I didn't think anyone would realize…I just don't like being left alone,' the blonde replied slowly. Reed glanced up from his feet to give the blonde a curious look.

'I thought it was just being alone in your room,' Reed told him softly. Johnny sighed and shook his head.

'Can't we talk about something else?' the boy demanded, still uncomfortable about the present choice of topic. Even though he constantly talked with Reed, he had never been this open with the man about what had happened or how he felt about it. Sue had been considering sending him to a shrink for a few days after he returned, but when Johnny had finally blown up at her (literally), she let it go. After that, Johnny had mostly avoided his sister and Ben, as both still had doubts about whether or not he should be allowed time to deal with what they had dubbed That-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named, or, more often than not, The Ordeal. Reed, however, allowed him his peace, and Johnny found it soothing that the man was there for him without being in his face.

Reed nodded, and it took Johnny a minute to separate his thought and remember that there had been a reason for such a gesture. By the time he had figured it out, the older man was looking at him strangely, before shaking his head and standing up with a sigh.

'Come on. It's time you had a decent night's sleep,' Mr. Fantastic told him firmly. Johnny doubted that such a thing could happen, what with his constant nightmares when he did succumb to a few moments rest, but got up and followed the other man down the hall.


Sevran stared out of the dark, grimy window, seemingly lost in his own world. They hadn't killed the boy, which was what they had been paid to do. He knew he would have to do something soon, but he wasn't looking forward to it. Especially if it involved the Fantastic Four.

'Penny for your thoughts?' Desmond asked, coming up behind the other demon and resting a hand on his shoulder. Sevran said nothing, and the other demon sighed, sliding his arm about the dark haired creature's shoulder.

'He can do naught to us, Sevran,' Desmond told him.

'You have to much faith in the power of Hades, my friend,' Sevran snapped. Desmond chuckled in agreement.

'Perhaps I am a little close-minded—or is it biased—but I have every right to be. We are powerful, Sevran. We have no need to bow to such pitiful creatures as mortals,' Desmond argued.

'Understand me, Desmond,' Sevran hissed, spinning around and gripping his partner's throat tightly, cutting off the other demon's air supply, 'I bow to no one save for Hades. Do not cross me. Ever!'

He released the blonde, who fell back a pace, gasping and massaging his throat.

'Of course, Sevran,' Desmond replied obediently. Sevran ignored him, even as the strong arms wrapped around his waist.

'How long has it been?' he questioned the darker creature, 'Since we've shared pain?'

Sevran snorted at the other demon's futile attempt at seduction. He whipped around in the arms suddenly, kissing Desmond and biting down hard on the other demon's lips. Blood spurted into his mouth and he lapped it up.

Desmond threw him too the floor violently, grinning in a way that haunted the Torch's dreams.

'Too long,' Sevran whispered, as Desmond climbed on top of him.


And the mystery continues to unravel! I'm sorry it took so long and I'm NOT dead. (ducks rotten fruit). I'll try to get the next one up a little sooner.