Author's Notes: Instead of publishing a half-dozen little one-shots all around this site, I decided to make an anthology! Lots of Johnny angst!

A Fantastic Anthology

Story #1: Johnny Instead


Summary: (first movie) What if Johnny, seeing Ben's distress and impatience, experimented with Reed's machine on himself?


The Baxter Building's elevator shuttered on its axel, throwing Susan Storm against its walls. Lights blinked and metal groaned, and Sue yelled for Reed as she burst through the double doors and sprinted for the stairs. She found Reed, also running, just as they both entered his lab on the top floor. Sue grabbed him by the shoulders in relief, "Oh, I thought you—"

"No, but—" Both Reed and Sue pivoted as the doors to the cosmic storm machine opened.

A body tumbled through a wake of confetti caused by a Fantastic Four uniform burned to ashes. The living fire that covered the Human Torch didn't extinguish but continued to cause bloody welts and searing third-degree burns on his naked chest, neck, legs and arms. Johnny Storm looked at his sister, forced his trademark smile and with a painful look said, "Help…?"

"Johnny!" Sue screeched in her sternest Big Sister voice. She went into a sprint towards him, but he put up a flaming hand to stop her. "Johnny, what were you thinking?"

Johnny fell forward onto one knee. "Sis, get back, I can't control this—fire out first, yell at me after!" Sue, still new to her powers, looked around for a fire extinguisher before putting a force field around Johnny. The fire quickly ate up all of the oxygen, and went out.

Johnny stood, started to speak, but his cocky grin crumbled. Pain reached his eyes, and Sue gasped as he completely collapsed, the odd flames disappearing. Reed tore his white lab coat off and threw it to Sue who wrapped it around Johnny's midsection. Johnny hissed in pain as Sue gently maneuvered his head into her lap. His voice was raspy and dry. "I did this because—you've seen Pebbles—" Johnny rolled onto his side and spit blood onto the floor. Sue passed a look of panic to Reed, who immediately got to his feet and ran to call an ambulance. "He can't bear to be like that so I…" Johnny's voice disappeared like his flames.

"I can't believe you …crazy…" Sue shook her head in disbelief and then leaned over to place a kiss on her little brother's forehead. "You could've been killed!"

Johnny seemed to be realizing that as well. Fear was in his features. He reached for Sue's hand as the pain continued to wrack his body, and she held him close. "I'm not sure if we're quite up to past tense yet, sis…"


"The paramedics are coming!" Reed called from behind them.

"Which hospital will they take him to?" asked Sue.

"Right to Central, the ER a couple blocks down!"

"Ok. Johnny, can you stand?" Sue shook her brother when she realized that his eyes were closed. "Johnny? Johnny!"


Johnny Storm heard the beeping, recognized it as a heart monitor, and decided, in his sleep, that now would probably be a good time to open his eyes. His eyes did open, and after a few moments he was able to see, and a few moments following that he discovered that he was in a curtained corner of an ICU, hanging in traction so that nothing could aggravate his injuries. He probably should've been concerned that his own powers had nearly killed him, but the only thing Johnny noticed was that he was alone. "Sue?" he whispered at the curtain. When his sister didn't promptly appear, he called her name louder. A deep foreboding sped up his heart. He was in the hospital, and the rest of the Fantastic Four were not. Part of Johnny was insulted that they didn't care, but deep down he knew that there had to be a good reason for his sister's absence.

A nurse came in and found Johnny wiggling his way out of the traction. He didn't stop to flirt, didn't let the security that she called stop him, didn't stop running until he was back in a uniform and on the top floor of the Baxter Building.

Even in the complete darkness, only interrupted by sparks of electricity from the equipment, Johnny could see that Reed's lab had been destroyed. The Human Torch turned on his flames to light the room, wincing at the pain it caused, and he found glass on the floor. The windows were broken.

His flame must have drawn attention, because when he went out on the balcony, there was a missal coming at him.

The End

(storyline continues as it does in the movie)