Okay, I wrote this a while ago, after the first time I saw ROTSS, but had to wait until my lovely Emma had seen it to actually get around to posting it. We've literally just come out of the cinema…her first time seeing it, and my fourth. So, I know that the film ended with the wedding, but am I the only person thinking that Sue was coincidently fine after dying and being brought back to life (oh yeah, spoilers for ROTSS)? What if there were some side-effects…don't worry, I'm not mortally wounding her; I'm not torturing our delightful character just after she's been killed and brought back to life…I'm simply making things possibly uncomfortable in order for there to be lots of fluff
So, here's the one-shot that I've wanted to post for ages!
All my love, Sammy
The silver light faded from where it had been hovering about Sue's neck, projected by the Surfer's hand, and Reed looked up at the Surfer in confusion. "What...what was that?" He asked, both wonder and helplessness hinted in his voice. "What did you to her?"
However, the Surfer's reply was cryptically simple. "Life and death are but different forms of energy."
As he spoke, Johnny frowned, but slowly nodded, understanding what had happened with a tiny, yet hopeful, smile gracing his previously dejected face. Reed followed suit, looking down at Sue's unmoving body with an almost amazed expression. Ben however, looked at the silver being as if he had been suggesting they all start dancing in of what was proving to be a potential apocalypse.
"What's that supposed to mean?" He asked.
"He brought her back." Johnny said, as the impossible act of resurrection was confirmed by the sudden, yet small, rise of Sue's chest. She was breathing.
"Treasure each moment with her – and tell her she was right. We do have a choice." The Surfer said, as he raised his board above the chaos on the streets and made his way towards the center of the looming cloud that seemed to cover every inch of sky. He was not daunted by the size, as he knew the full capability of what appeared, to the mortals, to be a cloud.
Johnny watched his sister for a few more moments, making sure that yes, she was definitely breathing, before turning silently and following the Surfer. As he left, Sue finally moved, and whilst it was only the subtle turning of her head towards Reed, as she moved against him slightly, for the man who was holding her, it was so much more than that. A relieved smile overcame him, as he fought against the tears that were still brimming from the painful moment that he had first caught her in his arms that evening. It was for real now. She was alive. She was okay. He knew she was okay, because of how she had moved...it was how she slept, how she rested. He remembered from the many nights he had lain awake, watching her sleeping. He knew that she didn't fidget uncontrollably like he sometimes did; but instead, her movements in sleep were fragile and delicate.
All around them, the world continued to collapse. The bright signs illuminating the street in the middle of the night were shut off, as the power began to fail. Windows shattered as inanimate objects were sent flying through the thin sheets of glass. People ducked under their market stalls, in a desperate attempt to save themselves from any chance of being hit by the debris. What had previously been a clear night was replaced with the most ferocious storm that Shanghai had seen for many years. The starry skies above had disappeared, engulfed by the dark, angry cloud that seemed to stretch on for miles.
"Why isn't it working?" Ben asked over the increasing winds that whipped around his rocky form. He had to admit that he was worried about their younger teammate, who had followed after the Silver Surfer, directly into the cloud that seemed to be intruding closer and closer in the Earth's atmosphere. As much as he fought with Johnny, he considered him family, as he did with Reed, and with Sue as well, but Johnny always felt like a younger brother to him. Ben felt the same compulsions to keep him out of trouble as Sue did; only he was more likely to tease him, as opposed to Sue's scolding.
Reed looked sadly up at the sky, now holding Sue closer to him. "We were too late." He said quietly, unsure of whether or not Ben heard him. It didn't matter, though. In fact, he might have preferred his best friend not to hear those words of failure from him, particularly if these might be their last moments. At that thought, he tightened his hold on the resting body of Sue. He might have gotten her back only for her to suffer death one more time.
Was this really how it was going to end? Were many people last thoughts going to be that the Fantastic Four had failed? As the cloud from above consumed their planet, as the Surfer had described, would everyone be thinking about the weakness of the superhero team that had promised to save them? There was a silence amid the destruction. Reed was holding Sue, who, even in unconsciousness, was curled into him, as if trying to hide herself away from the end of the world. Ben stood beside them, his rocky form not damaged by the small stones and objects that hit against him, watching the sky just waiting for the orange flame to reappear, showing that Johnny was okay.
Every passing second made them realize that this was really the end.
Then, it stopped. The cloud above them gave one final surge before shattering into a thousand pieces, each stream of gale force wind scattered to every corner of a billion universes. The Earth seemed to shake with the impact of the explosion. Darkness settled over them, until one light came one, and another, and another, until the street was lit up completely once more. People came out from their hiding places, discarding sheets of newspaper and cardboard that had flown through the air during the chaos and covered them.
"That was close." Ben stated, when it was clear from the starry night sky above that there was no cloud of impending doom hovering above them. Still, he looked up, waiting for the glare of flame.
"Too close." Reed agreed, although it was clear from his direction of gaze that he wasn't referring to the end of the planet. Instead, he was referring to the end of his world; the fact that he'd held his dying fiancée in his arms and not been able to do a thing about it.
"Well, at least Susie's gonna be okay." Ben nodded to himself, as he stepped closer to Reed.
Reed shook his head slowly, looking disappointed at himself as he watched Sue still. "I lost her, Ben." He murmured. "I had her in my arms, and she was dying, and I couldn't...I couldn't save her."
Ben sighed, putting his rocky hand on Reed's shoulder. "Try not to think like that, Reed. She's gonna be fine."
"I know that, but..."
Reed sighed, stroking the apparently sleeping Sue's hair. "I promised her that I'd always protect her." At this heartbroken declaration, Ben softened. "I told her that I'd never let anyone hurt her, and worst of all, I told her that if there was any possibility of Victor finding us again, I would keep him from hurting her." He dipped his head for a moment. "I...I failed her, Ben." He admitted painfully. "I can't even keep her from getting hurt. What sort of hero does that make me? What kind of fiancé? What kind of husband will I be if I can't keep my wife safe?" He asked.
Ben stepped closer, the silence allowing him to keep his voice low. "With the life we lead, there's always going to be some risks for us. All of us." He pointed out. "It's something we take with us all the time. It's who we are, you know? It's what we do." Reed nodded numbly along with him. "Now, I know that you love her, and when you eventually get round to the wedding, you're gonna last forever. But the important thing wasn't that you weren't there to stop this happening, but that you were there after. When she...when she thought she was going to die-" Reed cringed at this statement. "-you were there. You were holding her, and talking to her...that's what's important, Reed - that no matter what happens, you're there for her. And you always are."
He gave Ben a weak smile. "Thank you."
"Don't thank me." He waved off. "Thank the Silver guy."
At that moment, Sue's eyes flickered open. Reed's gaze shifted back to her face without a seconds pause as he felt her moving in his arms, turning into him as she tried to get closer to the person holding her. "Reed..." She muttered with a hoarse voice.
He held her tighter, giving her the comfort she longed for. "Sue?" He questioned. "Sue, darling, can you hear me?"
"Reed..." She murmured again, only this time, she wasn't seeking him out. She found him, one hand gripping the material that covered his chest from his uniform.
"Oh, Sue..." He breathed with relief. "Oh, sweetheart. Are you okay?"
Her forehead crinkled up in a tired complaint. "I don't feel so good." She said quietly, sounding timid like a child standing at their parents bed in the middle of the night.
He rubbed her back gently. "It's okay, it's okay." He whispered back.
Sue took a tired, yet deep breath, and let it out before asking: "Where am I?"
"We're still here...Shanghai." Reed confirmed.
She leaned closer to him, burrowing her face against the inside of his elbow like she always did when they lie in bed together. It was the child-like sleepiness that overcame her when she was exhausted beyond relief. He could remember many times when she'd felt so tired, on the verge of sleep but not quite there, where she'd simply find a soft surface and press her face against it; blankets, cushions, Reed's chest..."I...I'm tired, Reed." She told him, as she let out a breathy sigh against his skin.
He nodded, although her eyes fluttered closed again at this time. However, this time, he felt no fear in this action. He knew that she would wake up again. There was no violent shuddering of her chest against his touch. She wasn't fighting for breath. She wasn't dying anymore. "Go to sleep if you can." He whispered comfortingly to her. "You need to rest."
"I want to go home." She whispered, her voice almost silent as it was lost on a breeze.
"We will." He assured her. "We'll just wait for Johnny, and then we'll go home."
She nodded against him, curling towards him one last time before finding a comfortable position in his lap and attempting to sleep. Her heavy sigh told him that she was truly exhausted, and he worried for a moment. After all, they didn't know exactly what effects this resurrection would have on her body. What if she was violently ill? What if this exhaustion played for days, weeks...months? What if there were any side effects, any changes?
His thoughts were broken by Johnny, who landed back on the now-calm street beside Ben. Ben clapped him on the shoulder with a heavy hand. "You did good, kid." He nodded approvingly.
Johnny grinned, and went to thank him, but found that his pride was flooded out by astonishment. "Wait...I didn't change..." He realised, as he reached out precariously and touched a hand to Ben's rocky exterior once again. "I'm cured!" He announced, touching Ben's chest and shoulders several times before kissing his forehead in relief.
Ben grabbed his shoulders and pushed him away. "Okay, now you're making me uncomfortable."
Johnny took the hint, and wandered over to Sue and Reed. Seeing Sue curled in a different position to what she had been when he left to help the Surfer, his eyes lit up with hope. "Has she woken up?" He asked brightly. "Is she okay?"
Sue groaned in response, pulling closer to Reed as she grumbled tiredly. "Reed..."
"Yeah?" He answered, smiling at Johnny as he did so.
"Tell Johnny to keep it down. I'm trying to get some sleep." She told him.
Johnny almost exploded on the spot. He threw his arms up in the arm before pressing them against his face. "Oh, thank God!" He cried out, ignoring Sue's insistence that he be quiet. "I never thought I'd be glad to hear her complaining about me."
"Well, there's a first time for everything." Ben pointed out.
Johnny laughed to himself, relief overcoming him until he turned serious once more, looking down at Reed. "But, she's okay?"
Reed nodded. "She's feeling a little unwell, and she's tired, but considering the alternative, she's absolutely fine." He smiled, stroking her hair back behind her ear from where a stray breeze had freed it.
"Good." Johnny grinned. " 'Cause I'd had to have to track down the Surfer dude to kick his ass if she wasn't." He told them. "He kinda disappeared once the big cloud went kablamo." He explained to them, making the gesture of a large explosion with his hands, which he set on fire as he did so, just pleased that he could do so again.
Ben smiled at him, pointing him in the direction of the nearest segment of the Fantasticar. "Come on, let's get these parts together so we can get Susie home."
Reassembling the three segments of the Fantasticar proved rather easy thanks to Reed's tracker on it. A push of a few buttons meant that it was only seconds before the segments were zooming through the air unpiloted, and not much longer before they'd rejoined themselves in the correct order. If Johnny wasn't quite so amazed at the creation, he would have teased Reed for having too much spare time, and a dangerous imagination, but he still stood by his previous statement: this was the coolest thing that Reed had ever done, even if it was sciency.
Reed stood up, keeping the resting Sue in his arms, and approached the middle segment, the other two following him. Johnny stepped away from them, preparing to flame on.
"No." Reed said, stopping him.
The beginning lick of flames faded off his chest. "No?"
"No." He repeated. "I...I need you to fly it." He said, saying the words slowly as if regretting that he had made the decision.
"Him?" Ben asked incredulously.
"Me?" Johnny asked, his eyes lighting up like a five-year-old at a fairground.
Reed nodded. "The back is specially designed for all your needs, Ben, and I-"
"-Don't want to let Susie go." Ben finished for him, nodding. "I get it."
Reed shared a look with his best friend, grateful that he understood the reasons for Johnny flying them home when they'd already bickered over who was piloting the aircraft once already. "Thank you."
Johnny rubbed his hands together, exaggerating his preparation. "About time I got a spin out of this beauty." He announced.
"Just fly carefully." Reed told him tiredly. "Sue's not feeling well." He reminded him.
Johnny looked crestfallen for a moment, and then regained his composure, heading into the front seat. "Alright, but when we get back home, I'm taking this baby out on the town."
Reed shook his head, listening to Ben's usual grumblings about Johnny's idea of 'out on the town'. Still holding onto Sue, he climbed into the middle segment where there were two seats, and kept her in his arms. He shifted her position lightly as he had to adjust the protective belt around the two of them, which took some maneuvering, and then he attached his communicator, along with Johnny and Ben. The three of them would then be able to hear each other over the high-speed winds created by the travelling craft.
As the engines booted up under Johnny's control, the Fantasticar began its journey back to New York. Sue fidgeted her head against Reed's shoulder, clinging to him again. Reed frowned as her breathing increased for a moment, only to calm again as she let out a frustrated sigh.
"What's the matter?" He asked her.
"I can't...I just can't get to sleep." She complained, her voice breaking with frustration so that she was almost whimpering. "I'm so tired, Reed."
Because everyone was wearing their headsets apart from Sue, they all picked up on the desperation in her voice as it drifted into Reed's communicator. The bickering of Ben and Johnny faded into silence as Reed started to try and comfort Sue, trying to get her to relax enough to fall into a restful sleep. The advantage of how he was holding her was that he knew what relaxed her most, just as she did for him. He stroked her hair, before moving his hand down, trailing his fingers up and down the side of her exposed next, whilst he whispered nothings into her ear. She immediately sighed with more content than before, and within minutes, she had fallen into a deep sleep. He smiled gently at her relaxed form, not stopping the gentle notions of his hand.
She was okay.
When they arrived back at the Baxter Building a short while later, they were rather shocked to see the military already waiting in the entrance area for them. Reed, however, took his usual route through the reception, thanking the hologram receptionist, who vanished on dismissal, and continued to walk through his path, still holding Sue in his arms. One of the men stepped up as Reed approached him, his uniform showing him to be the newly promoted General to replace the recent execution of General Hagar at Victor's hands. The nametag on his uniform read Gen. Tarrow. However, Reed didn't look towards the new General.
"Dr. Richards." He started, but before he could continue, Reed walked directly past him, not looking up once.
"Not now." Reed said simply.
"Excuse me?" The General said incredulously.
"I need to be with my fiancée." Reed elaborated slightly, continuing on his path towards the bedroom.
As he did so, several of the officers moved to watch him, giving Johnny a view of Frankie Raye, who offered him a weak smile, which he managed to return. He was glad that he seemed to be getting through to her. General Tarrow made a move to follow Reed, but Ben stepped forward and held out a hand to stop him. "I suggest that you leave them be for a while." He said calmly.
"What the Hell happened out there?" Tarrow asked.
"Sue died, that's what happened." Johnny snapped quickly, igniting a curious look from Frankie.
Tarrow looked back in the direction Reed had disappeared in. "She seemed very much alive-"
"She is, thanks to the alien you were trying to destroy." Ben told them defensively.
"He brought her back from the dead." Johnny confirmed in a low tone, extremely protective over this matter concerning his sister. All the excitement at having flown the Fantasticar had vanished from him now.
"I don't understand-"
"Look, just give Reed a break, okay?" Johnny snapped again. "Your idea already screwed up their wedding, and because of the next idea to bring Victor into all of this, she was dying in his arms and he couldn't do anything about it." Frankie smiled, impressed by this side of the younger Storm which compromised the features of his personality profile. "She needs him now, not you." Johnny told Tarrow. "And trust me, you don't want to be near Sue when she's got her strength back if she finds out that you were the one who took him away from her when she needed him the most."
In the bedroom, Reed gently lay Sue into the bed, settling the warm blankets over her when she was comfortable. However the absence of his arms caused her to stir, and she sleepily looked around the room to seek him out. "Reed?"
"I'm here." He confirmed, sitting down on the side of the bed.
"Shh…it's okay. You're home. We're home now." He told her.
She nodded tiredly, settling back against the pillows. "Oh...okay."
He trailed his fingers across her cheek. "Go back to sleep, darling. You need the rest."
He rose from the blankets, but despite her exhaustion, Sue reached out and took hold of his wrist. "Where are you-?"
"I need to go and get rid of the military." He told her. "They'll be barging in here otherwise. I'm going to send Johnny in so you won't be on your own though." He assured her.
He leaned down, kissing her forehead gently. "I love you, Susan."
She smiled slightly as he rose up, and turned on her side underneath the blankets. "Love you." She replied quietly.
Outside, Reed almost walked straight into Johnny, who had been coming to check on his sister. "She still sleeping?" He asked quietly, looking around Reed's shoulder into the bedroom.
He shook his head. "She just woke up, but I've got a feeling the new General's not going to leave until he gets answers."
Johnny nodded, and then held his hands up. "Look, man, if you wanna stay with Susie, me and Ben have got this covered."
"If we get rid of him now, it means he won't be barging in here at all times of the night while Sue's recovering." He pointed out, glancing into the bedroom at the restless Sue. "Can you go sit with her for a while?"
Johnny nodded. "Yeah, sure."
"Thanks." Reed smiled weakly as he went off in the direction of the military.
"There you are."
He was greeted by the sight of five military officials, all standing around in their living room, an unimpressed Ben standing in the centre of the group, with his arms folded. The replacement General stepped forward to Reed, extending his hand.
"Dr. Richards, I'm General Tarrow."
Reed nodded, shaking his hand firmly for a moment, watching the man's unease as his hand molded completely under his grasp. "Look, General, I think that it's best that you come back another time. You see-"
"Half of Shanghai has been uprooted, not to mention London, LA, and every other city which had those craters. I don't have to time to fit around your schedule." Tarrow said, with all the arrogance that Hagar had once possessed.
Reed scowled; his plan of deferring Tarrow and his group for a while clearly not working. "I'm afraid I don't have time to discuss this matter."
"You're forgetting who you're answering to on this project, Richards." Tarrow pointed out.
Reed raised his eyebrows for a moment. "The government came to us for help, if you remember."
Tarrow didn't like being caught out, and frowned harshly. "I need answers. The state needs answers."
"And I need to be with my fiancée." Reed said, turning on the spot and heading back towards the bedroom.
"I understand that you experienced a close call-"
"Do you?" Reed asked hotly, turning back around a few paces away and turning on Tarrow. "Have you ever had the woman you love more than anything in this universe die in your arms? Have you had to hold her, whilst she's bleeding out on the street?"
"No, I haven't." Tarrow said, his voice dropping in a sympathy.
"Then you couldn't possibly understand how I feel." Reed said in a deep, threatening tone that chilled the blood of many in the room. "If Victor hadn't have been brought into this..."
"Von Doom had valuable information that the government needed-"
"He went rogue and threw a spear through Sue's chest. He killed her. In fact, he did exactly what we warned you he was capable of doing, and because you did nothing about that, he took away the one person in this world that I love; and he did it because you let him!" Reed half-yelled.
"Dr. Richards, Von Doom's actions have no reflection on-"
"They do for me." Reed said simply.
Tarrow observed the man before him for a quiet moment. "What happened out there, Richards?" He repeated. "Tell us, and we'll leave you be with your fiancée."
"I can't tell you." Reed said, despite the proposition.
"You can, and you will."
"I can't tell you, because I don't know." Reed explained.
"What do you mean, you don't know?" Tarrow all but exploded. "You were out there in the middle of it all-"
"And I had Sue dying in my arms. I wasn't paying attention to anything else." Reed pointed out. "If you want your answers, then ask Ben or Johnny, because they know a whole lot more than I do." He said, starting the General down.
Once Reed had headed off to deal with the General and his angry troop, Johnny stepped slowly into the bedroom. He had to admit that, in all his time at the Baxter, he hadn't actually seen much of Sue and Reed's bedroom. It had the clean, organised feel to it that clearly came from Reed, but there was warmth to it, a sense of belonging, of family, that he remembered from his childhood days. It was clearly a room that his sister lived in. Of course, it was lacking the boy band posters and pink walls that her childhood room had, but there were photographs over the wall, showing the happier times that the couple shared.
As he crossed the room, he glanced at photos of college days, the much younger, innocent looking teenagers that were now the couple of the world's most infamous team, the unmistakable buildings of MIT making up the background. In between, there were photographs of their current relationship, always together, always embracing, always looking happy. These were the pictures that the media should print, Johnny thought to himself. They shouldn't print the photographs that were unwillingly posed for as they left restaurants or friends houses. They shouldn't look annoyed, scowling at the media as they fought for their privacy. No, they should show the pictures that showed them being happy.
He approached the side of the bed, watching as Sue struggled to get comfortable in yet another position. He sat down beside her. "Hey, Susie." He whispered into the quiet room.
"Yeah, it's me." He said, picking up her hand in his so that she knew he was there.
"Hey." She said, looking up at him.
"How are you feeling?" He asked her.
"Tired." She said simply. "Bit sick."
He nodded. "Keep lying on your side, okay?" He told her. "Don't need you to scare us again by choking."
She gave him a half-smile. "You sound like me." She teased him tiredly.
"Yeah, well, you scared me a while ago." He admitted. "More than I would have ever scared you with all the crazy stuff that I do."
"Wow...that's a lot." She mused.
"Yeah, it is." He said sadly.
"Sorry." She muttered.
" 'Sokay, it's not your fault." He assured her, tightening his hold on her hand.
The subject of blame refreshed her mind, and she looked worried for a moment. "Victor...?"
"Don't worry." Johnny assured her confidently. "I don't think even Victor can swim back from where he is with that metal on him."
"What did you do?" Sue asked.
"I thought he killed my sister, what do you think I did?" Johnny asked her incredulously, giving her a smile. "I kicked his ass for you."
She let out a breath that could be mistaken for a tired laugh. "Thanks."
Johnny waved it off. "It's what brothers do, right?" He nodded at his own question. "You know, you might have promised Mom that you'd look after me, but I promised Dad I'd look after you." He explained to her. She smiled at him, before it turned into a grimace, and she tossed onto her other side, causing her to release her brother's hand. "You okay?"
"I can't...I just...ugh." She groaned.
Johnny put his hand on her back now that she was facing away from him. "You should get some more sleep, Suze," He told her. "You were only out for a while on the way back."
"I've been trying." She explained. "But I just...I can't relax enough...I don't know what it is..."
But Johnny knew what it was. It was a side-effect from whatever the Surfer did to bring her back, clearly. Sue started to get frustrated, which resulted in two tears rolling down her cheeks. "Whoa, it's okay, calm down." He told her, a little freaked out and disturbed at his sister crying.
"I just...I was so scared, Johnny." She said, breaking down completely. "Every time I close my eyes, I keep...I see him, and what he did, and---"
"Shh...don't cry." Johnny said, slightly unsure, as he wasn't used to dealing with crying girls unless they were throwing him out of their apartments.
"I can't...I need to..."
"You need to calm down." He finished for her.
"Where's Reed?" She asked him.
"He's outside with the big guys. You want me to get him?" Johnny asked.
"Is he here?" Sue asked again.
Johnny looked at her worriedly, frightened for a moment when he saw a blue tinge edging around her lips. "Right, stay put for a second. I'm going to get Reed."
Reed turned away from the General at Johnny's entrance. "Is she okay?" He asked instantly, knowing that this was about Sue.
"She's crying." Johnny explained, as Reed frowned instantly. "She's...trying to get to sleep, but she can't. I tried to help her and all but she's asking for you, and I don't know what I can do to calm her down like you did, and she's really cold, and her lips are blue and..."
"It's okay." Reed said, putting his hand on Johnny's shoulder as he passed him on the way to the bedroom.
Stopping his rant, Johnny followed Reed, intent on making sure that Sue was okay. Unknown to Reed, everyone followed, including Tarrow, and they all looked in the doorway to the bedroom. Johnny and Ben passed through the door, standing just inside the bedroom, watching as Reed went to Sue's side, gathering her up in his arms. She was crying weakly now, not having the strength to do anything other than whimper her sobs with tears on her cheeks.
"Sue...Susie..." Reed whispered to her.
"I can't...I just can't..."
"Shh...Shh..." He soothed, holding her close.
"It's too much, Reed." She told him, shaking her head and holding herself closer to him. "I keep seeing things...in my head...like when I was...Victor...I died...I don't want to...I can't...it's just..."
"Sue, breathe, sweetheart, just breathe." Reed coached her when she started to overwhelm herself.
She took some deep breaths along with him, before collapsing over him completely. "I'm so tired."
"It's okay." He told her, lying down beside her as he held her to him. She fell against him, and he trailed his fingers along the side of her neck in the same way in which he had done on their journey home. "Just breathe...relax..." he continued to whisper.
However, when her breathing regulated and her whimpers ceased, the trembling began. However, this wasn't the trembles of weakness that overcame her, but instead, of cold. Reed frowned. "Sue?"
"I'm so cold." She whispered to herself.
"What's happening to her?" Johnny piped up. "Why is this happening?"
Reed touched his hands to her cheek, and then to her own hands. "She's freezing." He explained. "She's having trouble regulating her body temperature. We need to keep her warm."
Whilst Reed reached to bundle the blankets around her more, Johnny's brain snapped into action. "I've got an idea." He called as he left the room, pushing past Tarrow. He returned moments later with one of his sweaters. "Sit her up." He said to Reed, rushing over to the side of the bed.
Reed eyed the sweatshirt. "Johnny, we can use one of her sweaters..."
"Her sweaters are tiny little thin things." Johnny pointed out. "This is one of my fireproof ones. I've heated it up."
Not that the idea wasn't genius, Reed looked concerned. "What if it burns her?"
"It's not that hot, just warmed." Johnny assured him.
"Look, she's still got her suit on, right?"
Johnny smirked. "Keeps the hot stuff hot, and the cool stuff cool, remember?"
Together, they sat Sue up and slipped the sweater on over her uniform. She sighed at the instant warmth that flooded through her.
"What do you think, sis?" Johnny asked her proudly. "How's that working for you?"
Her reply was a tiny smile. "Thank you."
"No problem." He smiled back at her, before ruffling her hair in the gentle way he used to do as a child. "Just get better, okay?"
She nodded gently. " 'Kay."
Reed gave Johnny a thankful look as the others in the doorway all started to leave. Ben and Johnny waited a moment longer, until Sue was content back in Reed's arms, and then left the couple together. There was a silence while Sue warmed up, and then she spoke again.
"Who was that shouting?" She asked.
"I heard some shouting."
"Oh, that would be the new General." He explained. "I don't think he likes me very much."
"I heard you." She told him. "I heard you say that you didn't want to talk to him right now."
"No, I don't." Reed confirmed, starting up his familiar trail along her neck.
"Because you're the most important thing to me, Sue." He told her simply.
"No buts." He told her. "I want to be at your side. Right now, and always."
She curled closer to him under the blankets. "I want you to be, too."
"Besides," He reminded her. "We've got another wedding to plan. I can't do that with the General."
His attempt at humour brought a gentle smile to her lips. "Thank you, Reed." She told him softly.
"For being with me."
Knowing where this was leading, Reed attempted to divert her. "Sue..."
"I was scared, and you were there." She remembered.
He was silent for a moment, holding her tightly. "I was scared too." He admitted.
"But you were still there." She pointed out, turning her head to kiss him weakly. "I'm glad that it was you who was with me. If I...if I hadn't come back, I would have been happier knowing that I was in your arms when...when it happened." She struggled to explain without using words of such finality.
"Oh, Sue." Reed said, looking at her sadly. "I can't believe that I almost lost you forever. Don't ever scare me like that again, okay? I love you too much to see you like that."
She nodded slowly. " 'Kay, I'll try."
He sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. "I'm sorry I didn't keep my promise."
"But you did." She told him.
He shook his head. "I promise I wouldn't let anyone hurt you...I promised I wouldn't let Victor hurt you..." He said, finally opening his eyes again.
"You promised that you would always love me, and that you would always be there for me." She reminded him. "You promised that we'd face whatever life threw at us, together. You kept those promises."
Reed nodded. "Just...just don't ever leave me again, okay?"
She nodded in a mimic. "Okay."
"And I know I seem a bit reluctant to start settling down and start a family," He continued, whilst he was getting things off his chest, "But that's because part of me thought we were going to have all the time in the world. Tonight showed me that we might not have all the time we thought we would...and when you were...you know...it was like seeing the future disappear along with you."
He nodded. "I see it sometimes." He told her. "I'll see you cooking dinner, and I'll suddenly picture you doing the same thing with a kid standing on a chair next to you, helping you. Our kid." Sue smiled at this image. "Or when I hear you singing along to the radio, I can imagine you singing to our baby. Or I'll look in the spare room and see what it would be like to be surrounded by children's toys...I see how perfect a mother you'd be...and I just got worried to think that I might not be able to compare for what you'd be able to do for any of our children." He explained, although it now felt like a pathetic excuse for his worries.
"You wouldn't need to compare, Reed." She assured him. "I'll be Mom, and you'll be Dad...we'll be a team."
"I know that now." He said, kissing her forehead. "I love you."
"I know. I love you too." She smiled.
"Uhhh...guys." They looked up to see an apologetic Johnny in the doorway. "Hate to break up the moment, but Reed, you've still got your headset on, man."
"You mean...?" Reed asked, putting his hand to his ear and finding that yes, he was still wearing the communicator from the Fantasticar.
Johnny grinned. "Relax, the army guys left before you started spilling your hearts out."
"You heard all of that?" Reed groaned.
"Don't worry." Johnny told him. "It's overhearing things like that which make me let you keep on dating my sister." He assured Reed, before turning his attention to Sue. "That jumper still warm, sis?"
She nodded with a sleepy smile. "Yeah, thanks."
He gave her a thumbs up, flames appearing on the tips of his thumbs. "Let me know if it cools down, I'll give you a top up."
Sue nodded, and as Johnny left, Reed took off the communicator, switching it off and putting it beside the bedside lamp. He then returned to Sue's side, and held her close once more. "Now, you need to sleep." He told her.
"Yeah, I do." She yawned. "I'm just glad to know that I'll be waking up afterwards." She mused aloud.
Reed nodded, watching with a familiar pride in his fiancée as she closed her eyes against him, falling into the relaxed sleep she'd been fighting for. "Yeah, me too." He added in a whisper, right before he followed her into sleep.
Now, I know that lots of people like to add my stories to their favourites, but please, please, please review if you're going to do so. I know that it's a bit demanding, but I really get sad to see that people like my writing enough to favourite it but not enough to drop in a few words.