This is meaningless fluff. That's the only way to describe it. It tells the story of a particular morning for Reed and Sue...three months into being parents. This story is for Maria because she really wants to see more fluffy stories for Reed and Sue...and because we both love Franklin so much! So, Maria, hun, this is for you! I promised it would be up when you got home, so hopefully there will be a nice little alert up for you when you get in :D
Worth It In The End
Morning had always been about getting to work and getting the most of the day.
At least, for Reed Richards, it was.
Morning, for him, was about waking up with, or sometimes before, the sun. He used to have a routine, getting out of bed at some ungodly hour, standing underneath a shower to wake him up properly, and then going into the kitchen, making coffee which woke him up even more, and then he'd go straight to the lab. Sometimes, when he was working on a particular project, he would bypass the bathroom and the kitchen, and go straight to the lab. On one of his more embarrassing days, he had even rushed to someone's office in the sweatpants and old t-shirt that he had worn to bed, completely forgetting to get changed before he had left the Baxter. Thankfully, that was before anyone knew him as Mr. Fantastic, so it hadn't been plastered over the front page like the time he had ended up tied half-naked to a lamppost on his stag night. Three guesses who was to blame for that.
However, that morning...the 10th of June...he wasn't rushing to get to the lab. Lie-ins had never been a much favoured past time, until he had married Sue, of course. He knew how much she enjoyed her lie-ins, particularly on the weekend. Even though, officially, she didn't have a job other than being a superhero, she was always up at the crack of dawn with him, unable to ignore her husband's feet shuffling out of the room early in the morning. So, when the weekends came, she would make him stay in bed with her - which, for the obvious reasons, he didn't mind. No one would bother them first thing in the morning, unless there was a real emergency. Thankfully, all of the emergencies occured more in the afternoons and evenings, so they were welcome to stay in bed. However, lie-ins always provided more privacy than the evenings, because telling your brother or your best friend that you were having an "early night" usually grossed them out, and as a result, Johnny would try to be endlessly annoying by banging on the door constantly, trying to stop them. At least, in the mornings, he was too hung over from his parties to consider this.
Right now, Sue was still sleeping. It was a Saturday morning, so it was lie-in time, although recently, schedules hadn't exactly been an issue they had time for. The duvet covers were only pulled up to her waist, as the summer often left her throwing off the blankets in the middle of the night, covering to just above her hips. The white sheets and blankets contrasted to the black t-shirt of his that she was wearing. She liked wearing his shirts to bed, and he wasn't about to complain. Seeing her golden hair swept over the dark material often made him think that they looked better on her anyway. Although he couldn't see through the duvet, he knew that she wasn't wearing the sweatpants that she sometimes wore in bed. In fact, she seemed to have discarded them in the night, as he could see them thrown on the floor over her shoulder. It wasn't like the shirt wouldn't cover her anyway, as it had been a baggy one even when he had worn it, and it was clearly swamping Sue's tiny frame.
Her face was the picture of serenity. It had been a while since he had seen her sleep without the presence of a frown, either from stress or the worries that plauged both of their minds. However, now, those worries were gone from her deep slumber. Her lips were parted ever so slightly, and he could feel the gentle rising and falling of her chest against his side, as she curled up against him. Her head was resting on his chest, her body secured under his arm as he kept it wrapped around her several times, holding them together even in their sleep. He never used to realise how he would hold her, in a way that no other man could, like that in his sleep. It used to amuse her to no end, particularly when they weren't together. Now, though, as husband and wife, it was something that he did when they were awake, in times when they needed comfort from each other which no one else could provide for them.
A tiny breeze swept across his chest, and he watched silently as the top layer of Sue's long blonde hair was scooped back over her shoulder, moved by the wind. The window had been left open so that the room wouldn't get to stuffy throughout the night, as when their room was too warm, it was impossible for either of them to get to sleep, especially when it wasn't their body heat which needed to be controlled by the presence of a breeze in the room.
Unconsciouslly, his arm tightened around her a little, and she moved with him, snuggling under his arm a little more and moving her head against his chest, in a way that almost seemed as if she were trying to get closer to him, as a result, the skin of his bare chest moulded underneath her head, springing into shape as she found the familiar grove that she rested her head in. He smiled, gazing down at her fondly. She hadn't lost any of her beauty since the first time he had seen her, all those years back in M.I.T, and now, they had been married for three years. Considering he used to be so nervous around her, that he hadn't even had the courage to talk to her, let alone ask her out on the first date, which she eventually took control of, he found that having the courage to tell her that he loved her, proposing to her, and asking her to be his wife was more of a courageous feat than saving the world.
He knew that she was waking up when he felt her arm, which had previously been thrown over his stomach in sleep, tighten around him for a moment. Her eyes fluttered open, and the first thing that she was aware of was that she felt more comfortable thatn she had done in a long while. She moved her head against him as she enjoyed the comfort. Opening her eyes, she reacted to the arms around her with a passive smile.
Reed was smiling down at her still, and he allowed one of his arms to spring back into its usual position as he raised his hand, tucking back a wayward strand of hair behind her ear. "Morning." He whispered to her, his voice sounding husky after not being used in sleep.
"Hey..." She smiled sleepily, as she gave her body a quick stretch. When she realised how badly she needed that stretch, it occured to her why she had felt so peaceful when she had awoken. "...well, this is a surprise..." She added with a light laugh.
Reed shook his head, smiling. "Waking up without the crying?"
She nodded. "Well, that, and you already being awake but not out of bed." She pointed out. Even though he had started spending more time with her, and less in the lab, she understood that work was a morning thing to Reed. The reason he got up so early to start it was because he knew that, by ten o'clock in the morning, he would have finished, and was ready to spend the day as he pleased.
His gaze softened as he gazed down at her, his fingers still playing with the golden hair by her shoulder. "Why be in the lab, when I can be here with you?"
She closed her eyes, sighing through her laughter. "And now, you sound cheesy." She pointed out to him teasingly.
"You love cheesy." He reminded her, turning them so that he was lying above her. His arms unwrapped from around her, and settled down onto her hips.
"Not as much as I love you." She smiled from underneath him.
At this, Reed lowered his lips to hers. He'd always loved their early morning kisses; slow and sensual. Slowly at first, they brushed their lips against each other, before he claimed them completely, placing his lips full against hers. Both of them had butterflies in their stomachs, a strange experience which they had only felt around each other, even though three years of marriage meant that their kisses had long amounted to more than they could count to. After a few gentle kisses, Reed sought entry into her mouth, and she parted her lips eagerly, allowing his tongue to clash gently with her own.
Her hands travelled to the back of his neck as they kissed, one tangled in the soft hair that rested there, whilst he kept one hand on her hip, the other rising to caress her cheek. Sue let out a tiny whimper against his lips, which, in turn, let Reed's moan escape him, sending vibrations through her mouth which only spurred the kiss on.
Sue clung tightly to him, and whether it lasted a minute or an hour, neither of them really knew or cared. All they knew was that each second of contact still left them feeling weak and dizzy as it had done the first night they had spent together, yet, at the same time, it filled them with an energy that they rarely encounted from anything else than each other's embrace. Parting, but now moving an inch away from each other, Sue opened her eyes to find Reed already smiling down at her softly, their foreheads resting against one another's.
She gave him a weak, exhausted smile, running her fingers through his hair. "Hmm...I love it when you do that as well." She told him.
He took this as an invitation to return his lips to her willing ones, currently swollen from his caresses. This time, however, their kiss was interrupted by a cry from the other side of the room. They parted with a tiny laugh, and Reed moved from above her, getting off the bed. "I'll get him." He told her.
Even though he could easily have stretched to the other side of the room, he rose from the bed, crossing around to Sue's side of the room. Sue smiled, watching peacefully as Reed approached the crib that held their son. Their son. She still wasn't entirely used to saying that.
Franklin was still only three months old. The first few months of their child's life was passing quickly, almost too quickly for either of their liking. Not for the first time, Sue wished she were able to turn back time, so that one more time she could see that first time Franklin smiled up at them last weekend, or watch as they taught Johnny how to bathe him so that he would know for the times that he babysat for his nephew. Photographs were always a joy for them to have, and she was glad for the fact that someone always had a camera handy whenever Franklin was around, but actually reliving the moments in a more physical way than a memory would be something she would trade the world for.
With an expertise that had developed over the first three months of their son's life, Reed changed Franklin's diaper, and Sue watched as he held his son's attention the entire time. Franklin adored his father, even at three months old. He now recognised his father's voice when he entered the room, and no matter who's arms he was in at the time, he would crane his neck towards the direction of his voice. That was probably due to the amount of times that Reed would simply walk around with him, usually in the lab, explaning everything that Franklin reached out to touch. Of course, the three-month-old baby never understood a word that Reed was telling him, but he always calmed down at the sound of his voice.
Then again, he was a Momma's boy. There was no denying that. He knew immediately when he was being held by his mother, even when he was sleeping. Whenever someone passed him to Sue when Franklin was being put to bed, he would open his eyes for a fraction of a second, see that it was Sue holding him, and then he would fall back asleep, his tiny hand balling into a fist on whatever top she was wearing. He was always well-behaved for Sue, unlike with Johnny. At first, whenever Johnny held him, Franklin would scream. Ben never held him when he was tiny, because he was afraid that he might hurt the newborn, but now that he was getting older, and developing more of his own strength, he could sometimes be seen holding the baby.
Reed finished changing his diaper, and then brought their son over to the bed. No one, it seemed, was ready to get up yet, and Franklin wasn't due to feed until seven usually. Of course, they fed him whenever he complained of being hungry, but he was content now that he had a clean diaper, so going back to bed was a much more inviting option. He placed thier son on the mattress between them, both parents lying on either side of him, facing him as they propped themselves up on their sides.
Franklin made some incoherant, yet pleased, noises when he saw Sue looking down at him with a gentle smile. "Hey there, sweetheart." She cooed to him softly, holding out her hand to him. Franklin reached out his own hands, wrapping his tiny fingers around hers and exploring it with a deep, clear concentration written over his little face. At the moment, he had a fascination with hands.
"I can't believe he's three months old, already." Reed said with a sigh. Yes, the time was going by too quickly.
Sue nodded in agreement. "He already looks so different."
She moved her hand from within Franklin's grasp, and gently trailed her finger down her cheek. Franklin tried to follow her finger with his eyes, but soon trailed them up, following her arm up to her shoulder, and giving her a big, gummy smile when he looked up at her face again. True, he had changed. He was no longer the wrinkled baby he had been when he was born. His skin was flawless, the only blemish crossing his face was when he cried, and his cheeks turned red. His eyes had stayed blue from birth, almost identical to his mothers, as was the blonde hair which was still growing whispily on his head. He had been born with quite a lot of blonde hair, but it wasn't growing that quickly, only curling at the ends.
"Good thing Johnny wouldn't put that camera down, huh?" Reed smiled, catching Sue's eye above their son for a moment before they both smiled back down at him. Johnny had been the main camera culprit after Franklin's birth. He had used up sixteen memory cards on the digital camera so far, because he refused to delete any of the pictures he had taken.
Sue nodded. "Remind me to thank him."
"Later." Reed pointed out, leaning across Franklin and kissing her. This time, they knew not to let the kiss develop. Privacy might be something they could escape in their room for family time, but Franklin had worse timing for interuptions than his uncle did, which was really saying something.
"You're right." She murmered against him.
"Why leave the room when we don't have to?" He asked, further proving his point.
She smiled. "What time is it?" She asked.
Reed looked back over his shoulder at the alarm clock. It hadn't been used for an alarm for months now. When Sue was in her later months of pregnancy and not sleeping well, they never set the alarm, mainly because she got most of her sleep in the mornings when Franklin stopped moving around, and after Franklin had been born, they never needed the alarm to wake them up. "It's a little after six." He told her, turning back to her.
"You're definately right." She laughed. Even though she was sometimes awake at five for Franklin, it seemed silly to waste the peaceful morning he was giving them.
"See," Reed told her proudly. "I'm always right."
She raised her eyebrows at him. "Not always."
"When haven't I been right?" He asked her, a little too cockily.
She looked down at Franklin, and then back up at her husband. "Well, I seem to recall someone thinking that we were having a little girl." She reminded him.
"Yes, that." She grinned.
However, Reed managed to backtrack on that one. "Well, I didn't mean that this baby was being a girl." He explained. "I meant that somewhere along the line, we'd have a daughter."
"Oh?" She questioned, inviting him to go on.
"Our next baby will be a girl." He said confidently.
"Who says there's going to be a next one?" She challeneged him teasingly.
This time, Reed was the one to raise his eyebrows. "Unless we decide never to sleep together again, we can hardly not have another child." He pointed out. "And we both know why that won't work." He added with a smirk.
She shook her head, trying not to laugh but humouring him all the same. "Hmm..." She said, dramatically thinking it over. "Considering all the pain it took delivering Franklin, you're lucky I still let you kiss me, let alone sleep with me." She pointed out to him, giving him a pointed, yet devilish grin.
Reed's face, however, was not a match of playfullness like hers. Instead, it turned more serious, and he reached out his own hand to Franklin, who gurgled and started playing with his father's index finger. "I know it was hard." He said quietly. "And...I know it probably doesn't help much now, but...I was as scared as you were." He admitted, raising his eyes from his son to look sincerely into hers.
She nodded, her face now mirroring his grave expression. "I know." She whispered. "I could see it in your eyes."
Reed dropped his head to watch Franklin again. He'd always been too easy to read when it came to Sue. Even in what could possibly have been her last moments during the delivery, she had taken time to register what was in his eyes. "It was just...when they started talking about the radiation poisoning..." He started, trailing off at the memory. "...I was so worried that I was going to lose you both."
"I wasn't worried about me dying." She admitted, ignoring Reed's eyes upon her as she watched Franklin start to drool over his father's finger. "I was scared for Franklin."
"That's because you were already a protective mother." He pointed out. It was no secret that Sue had so naturally fallen into her maternal role. If anything, she'd had maternal instincts before she'd even fallen pregnant. She was always looking after everyone else, that when the baby came along, all she'd had to adjust to was the lack of sleep.
"I guess so." She agreed. However, the look on Reed's face had not transformed into one of content, as she thought it might. Instead, he still looked somewhat depressed, as he watched their son with a sad smile. Sue reached out, putting her hand on his arm. "Hey," She said, bringing his attention up to her. "It's okay." She assured him. "We're both alright now."
Reed nodded silently, and she could tell that he was probably chewing the inside of his mouth, something that he always did when he was nervous. It left him with mouth ulcers, which caused him discomfort with added stress, but it was a habit he'd had since he was a child. "Do you think it'll happen again next time?" He asked her.
At this question, Sue fell into a similar silence. Whilst Reed's eyes never left her face, she found it was a long time before she was able to answer him. Franklin's birth had almost resulted in the death of both mother and child. The radiation present in her body from the cosmic storm had been affected by the additional hormones of carrying a child, so when the labour began, the radiation slowly started to poison the both of them. For a while, it was possible that Sue might die before their son was fully delivered, as it was the joining of the placenta which was keeping the two of them alive. However, somehow, they pulled through, while Reed could only watch helplessly as she struggled. It had been a full three days before she had regained consciousness again, and the two of them had been in intensive care as well as quarantine for a week. Only Reed was allowed to visit them at the time, because he didn't give the doctors a choice.
But Sue had never given thought to the possibility of it happening again. Of course, they had bantered with the idea of more children, and a large family had always been in their plans since they had married three years ago, however, it wasn't until that moment in which she had realised it could happen again. Clearly, Reed had thought about it before, but she hadn't. Perhaps it was because they hadn't seriously talked about how long after Franklin they would start trying for another baby.
"I don't know." She admitted after a long silence, her voice so quiet it was a whisper. She didn't have to look at Reed's face to know what was running through his mind. He was worried that she might not survive the next time around.
"Then, maybe-" He started to suggest, but she looked up sharply, giving him a determined expression, one which enhanced the maternal emotions in her eyes.
"Reed, I'm not about to let a 'maybe' stop us from having a bigger family." She told him.
"Really?" He asked.
She sighed. "Okay, it hurt." She admitted, "and it was scary with the radiation, but at the end of the day...look what we got in return for that." She told him, together, they looked down at their son, who smiled up at each of them, continuing to gargle around Reed's finger. "Our son, our little boy...it was all worth it, no matter how bad things got for a while. All that matters now is that the three of us are together, and we always will be." She told him.
Reed watched his son for a moment. Yes, Sue was right. Even though he'd rather go through Hell than lose her, Franklin was worth everything. He never wanted to be in the position where he might have to chose between his wife and his child, but knowing that they both survived was enough to give him hope. Sue was strong, and she had survived with her determination to be a mother, and if that was enough for her, it was enough for him as well. "You're right." He admitted, raising his head to her and giving her a weak, but more confident smile than before.
"See, now who's always right?" She teased him, causing him to grin stronger.
"So," He told her, leaning his head closer, but not his body so that he didn't crush Franklin. "...About this bigger family..."
"Hold up there, Mr. Fantastic!" She stopped him quickly, laughing as if their previous discussion had been completely erased from history. "I know you're excited to be a Daddy now, but let's just enjoy this baby before we have anymore."
Reed laughed lightly. "Just for the record, I love being a father." He told her, even though he didn't need to say it in words. No, his eyes said it all, especially when he held his son. Being a father was the most important thing in the world to him.
Sue arched a single eyebrow at him. "I think the front page of the paper told us that." She pointed out to him.
The day after the quarantine had been lifted on Sue and Franklin, Johnny and Ben had come to the hospital to visit. Reed had waited outside of the hospital for them, but the reporters had also turned up, eager for news on the so called 'Baby Fantastic', as the newspapers had dubbed him.
"Yes, she's doing very well now, and so is the baby." He assured them, glad that he could now say that with confidence.
"Dr. Richards, what is the sex of the baby?" Another reporter had asked.
"We had a boy." He confirmed proudly.
"Any decisions on a name?" Another asked.
"We've decided on Franklin Jonathan Benjamin Richards."
At this, Ben and Johnny had turned to Reed, looking at him with a strange, yet proud, awe. "You're naming him after me, Ben and Dad?" Johnny had asked.
"Well, after me, you're the most important men in his life." Reed had explained.
"Just for the record," Sue told him, as he left his memory and came back to the here and now. "You didn't need to ever worry about being a bad father." She assured him, remembering the late night conversations they had when they first learnt that she was pregnant. Despite their longing for a child of their own, Reed still worried that he was going to be a terrible father. "You're the best."
Reed grinned at this, and Franklin gurgled along with Sue, as if confirming her statement. "Well, you were a mother before we even found out you were pregnant." He pointed out.
Sue laughed at his. "Live in a house with Johnny and no mother, and I'd like to see you grow up without eyes in the back of your head!" She told him.
He laughed, but shook his head. "That's not what I meant." He told her. "You were just...a mother without a baby." He smiled at her.
"And now we've got one." She said, her attention turning to their son once more. "You know, I still can't get over how amazing he is." She admitted gently, with a proud smile.
"He's really beautiful." Reed agreed.
"You ever look at him, and wonder how everything we've been through had this outcome?" She asked him, voicing her thoughts from whenever a quiet moment gave her time to think about the events that had led up to her and Reed rekindling the love that produced this child.
"Sometimes." He nodded. "But then I remember that you're his mother, and I know how much I love you, and I don't have to wonder anymore."
Usually, Sue would have blushed at this, but since her ability to turn invisible had taken over her subconcious mind, she no longer blushed. Instead, her cheeks would become transparent. "I love you too." She whispered sincerely.
Reed stretched his neck across, bringing himself close enough to kiss her again without rolling onto Franklin. Their lips met again briefly, and he then allowed his neck to return to its regular shape.
"You know," He said innocently, "going back to what you said about enjoying time with just the three of us..."
"How about we take a vacation?" He suggested.
Sue smiled immediately. "Just us?" She asked, hope in her excited tone.
Reed nodded. "Yeah. Me, you, and Franklin." She smiled brightly. "I just...I know before we were expecting Franklin, and we talked about having a family, and if we were going to, we'd like to move somewhere else, where it was quieter..."
"Which we decided against in the end..." She finished for him, remembering the endless conversations they'd had through their engagement and the first year of marriage.
"I know." He nodded. "But, who's to say that we can't have that 'just us' quiet every once in a while?"
Sue smiled, her eyes dancing at the mere idea. "That'd be nice." She nodded.
"I'm glad you like it." Reed smiled, relief flashing into his eyes.
"Hang on a second." She stopped suspiciously, as soon as she had seen the relief in his eyes.
"What?" He asked, innocently as possible.
"I know that look on your face, Reed Richards." She told him.
"I don't have a look." He said all too quickly to be anything other than a false explanation.
"You've already planned this, haven't you?" She realised.
He thought about lying for a moment, but the strange excitement in her glittering eyes forced the truth out of his mouth. "Maybe." He said simply, although the proud smile on his face gave everything away.
"Oh, Reed..." She grinned, laughing lightly.
"I know it's been stressful around here since we brought Franklin home." He justified. "And with Ben having Alicia here, and Johnny bringing almost every girl in the city here, we haven't exactly had a lot of time to enjoy just being a family...and...I want to enjoy that." He explained.
She smiled again. "So, where are we going?" She asked excitedly.
"I thought that part might be a surprise still." He told her, seeing as the main part had already been ruined on his behalf.
"Hmm...romantic." She raised her eyebrows.
He nodded. "That's the idea."
She laughed softly. "You're going to have to let me know what to pack, at least." She pointed out.
"I know." He agreed. "But I'm sure I can do that without telling you where we're going."
She shook her head, her attempt at finding out their destination foiled. "How long until we leave?" She asked him.
"We'll leave on the 12th." He told her.
Her eyes widened. "It's the 10th today, Reed." She told him.
"I have 2 days to pack?" She asked incredulously.
He laughed, reaching out his arm and wrapping its over her waist. "Don't worry." He told her, leaning in for another kiss. "It'll all be worth it."