Author's Note: Yes. It's one of those Johnny fictions. However, I have gone to great lengths to keep my plot original, as well as my characters. Unfortunately, to also do that, I've had to avoid reading anyone else's Johnny-child-OC fiction. I'm confident enough in my own work, however.
I promise, this will be something different.
See profile for grand disclaimer.
It was quiet in the penthouse suite of the Baxter Building. That in itself was a bad omen. But there was no silence because of some horrible worldly disaster. It wasn't because there was something equally as potentially dangerous going on in the lab. Or even because of a blazing argument between one of the Fantasticouples.
It was something a little less, or a little more bothersome, depending on who you asked.
All four members, and Alicia were present in the rather large common room. For whatever reason, Johnny Storm had decided that his date(s) for the evening should meet him at the Baxter Building. As opposed to any number of other things he could have done, including picking them up like a gentleman, as Sue had pointed out. They all recognized a chance for Johnny to flaunt his...self and everything that came with Johnny Storm when it was in front of them. That's exactly what he was doing.
So it was merely the waiting for the lobby secretaries to alert them to the female's presence. While Johnny had exhausted their ears on the looks of this particular Saturday night date, the silence was recovery until he did it all over again once the female(s) got there.
For all intents and purposes, it should have been a perfectly normal, annoying Saturday night.
" Johnny, fidgeting isn't going to get her here any faster than she's probably already moving. "
Without looking up from his magazine, the firestarter returned...fire. "Yeah. Says the scientist with OCD about everything. Remember when you timed how long Reed took to finish his latest experiment? How about Ben's trip to the grocery store? " A page was turned, " Yeah, you're one to talk. "
The not-so-invisible eyes rolled. Reed reached between them to grab a medical journal from the table. " He's right, Sue, you did do that. "
The currently visible Invisible Woman stalked over to where her husband was working on some great scientific business or another and venomously whispered, " Reed! You are supposed to be on my side! "
" I was just pointing out the evidence, dear. "
" Don't you have something science-y to be working on? "
Mr. Fantastic managed a helpless shrug and quickly buried himself back where it was safe. Sue only glared at his hyper extended back for a moment before turning to her brother once more. " What happened to that nice military woman? Raye? You were so cute together. "
Hazel eyes rolled. " That's just like you Sue. I'll have you know, these two girls are just as cute together, if not more. In fact, that's my intention, for us all to look cute together in the privacy of my apartment where you can all be envious and realize your sex lives pale in comparison to mine accordingly, thank you. Where are my dates? " Finally restless enough to do something, the firestarter rose and began to stalk towards the door.
Ben grunted. " What ever happened to that 'it'd be nice to have someone' thing you decided on? "
The Human Torch didn't even pause or skip a step in his trek to the door. " End of the World phase. Had to make up some brownie points somehow. "
As the door shut behind him, Ben shifted in the slightest bit of annoyance. " That kid's never gonna change. "
" One day he will, Ben," Alicia merely shook her head before laying it on the smoother part of his shoulder," One day he will. "
" Afternoon Roberta," Johnny quipped to the holographic secretary in the outer lobby as he came up. " Any news from downstairs yet? "
" Sorry, Mr. Storm, your date and/or dates haven't arrived yet. " The woman gave him a near mirror reflection of Sue's motherly smile," When are you going to find that girl and settle down, Johnny? "
Hands clasped together over the top of the desk as he hung his head for moment. " I see Sue's been busy. Again. You tell her, I'll settle down when Reed Richards buys a sex toy. "
Roberta's blank, but perpetually smiling face showed no sign of being rattled by his crude remark. Johnny resisted pouting; there was no use letting his zingers fly when there was no one around to appreciate them.
But he could give in to the urge to retreat to the common room and torment Ben and his sister, the elevator behind him chimed with the alerting of someone coming to the floor. " Finally! " His hands raised in relief and thanks to the greater powers. " I was beginning to think I might have to spend my weekend with wedded bliss back there. "
The light of the top floor lit up before his eyes and Johnny's mood continued to elevate. Rubbing his hands together in anxiousness, he placed himself right in the perfect line of sight for the opening of the doors. " Ladies! It's about time, I was beginning to think some other superhero...grabbed...You're not a bubbly Japanese girl. "
Before him was not the sight he was expecting. There were no hyper Japanese females hanging onto each other and talking excitedly in their native tongue over him and their hopes for the
evening. There were no evening dresses, or proper clubbing material to greet his eyes as he started from the modest, black, one and a half inch black heels, skimmed up the straight and pressed black pants, hovered a few heavy seconds over the red V-neck sweater, to meet the disquieted face of a mature woman. There was no blush over the dark-skin, that he could see and he prided himself on being able to detect things like that no matter the woman.
The female frowned slightly, shifting her weight in an almost nervous tic. " No, no I'm not. 'Fraid the dark skin gives it away. "
Hazel eyes directed themselves downward when he failed to see someone standing next to her of matching height. Inquisitive, Caribbean blue eyes stared back up at him. " Whoa. And you're...you're not even eighteen, are you? "
He truly had no need to ask this question, but it came out on its own. Before him was a small body; dressed in miraculously white capri pants and a blue shirt. Honeyed coffee skin seemed to glow even under the florescent lighting of the lighting." I'm seven! " The child stated proudly; pointing to herself with her thumb. The cinnamon ponytail on the back of her head bobbed accordingly.
Brows furrowed a bit in thought, Johnny finally came to a conclusion that made sense; tipping backwards with a bit of a laugh at the situation. " Ohhhhh! I get it. You brought the kid to see her hero, right? Right, I got ya. That's decent, that's decent." He turned to face the hallway," Hey Sue! Remember to give Roberta an upgrade for me? " As he turned back around, he treated the female to his 'Hey, I notice you' look.. " Gotta give'er points for letting a hot single mom in. You are single, right? "
The response he received felt the slightest bit off. She was neither blatantly ignoring him, nor falling over herself trying to maintain his attention. In fact, judging by her body language, it seemed like all the woman wanted to do was dash out of his presence. Well, that was somewhat understandable. He was the Human Torch after all. She must have just been a little intimidated. Deciding that just wouldn't do, Johnny lowered himself to the child's height and put on his best fan-smile. " Hey there. What's your name? "
" Harukii! I know who you are! I've seen you fly over my school! " While Johnny did love the endorsements and the free stuff and all the perks of being a famous superhero, there was the one
part of all of it aside from saving people that he truly enjoyed over most. That look of adoration that children gave him. Not because he was supremely attractive, not because he had money,
fame, gorgeous women, not because he was The Human Torch. But because he was a hero, a real, live, hero and they knew, in that way that kids always know things adults think they do not, that if something bad happened, he do his damnedest to prevent anybody from getting hurt.
All of that was shining up in the eyes of that child before him now. And as he always felt when the light was shined on him, Johnny preformed accordingly. " Ohhh, hey, li-- Harukii. You've seen me flying over your school, huh? Did it look somethin' like – " His forefinger raised to produce a steady burning teardrop of a flame before her eyes, " -This? " At her silent look of wonder, Johnny allowed the flame to burn for a few seconds more, then dispersed it. " How would you like an autograph? Or Special Edition Human Torch action figure? "
If he thought it were possible, the wonder in her eyes multiplied times ten. " Momma! You were right! He is nice at home! "
The smile that spread over his features was one part genuine, two parts Johnny charm. " Glad to see I'm still a household name, Mrs. ...? "
The woman fidgeted, looking anywhere but at his eyes. " Ms. Madison. I'm sorry to waste your time, you probably don't even remember me. You looked like you were about to be on your way out, or off to handle some important business, we're in the way, we'll just go- " The woman knelt to grab the hand of the awe-struck child and probably skitter back to the elevator and out of the building.
Johnny held his hand out to stop her, skirting around in front of her to halfway block her path to the elevator. The last thing he wanted to do was make her feel threatened, but he wasn't in the habit of females being so...skittish towards him. The younger ones maybe, but certainly not the mothers, let alone single mothers. " No, stop. I remember you... you delivered the pizza last night, right? The olives, and anchovies, and I got your number? -- No, wait. I got it. You're the chick I talked to when I stopped that runaway bus."
If possible, the female looked even more distressed and reached around him to press the down button. " It was almost ten years ago, don't worry about it. We're on our way out. "
A quick glance at the numbers showed that Johnny still had a good handful of time before the elevator got there. He thought for a moment, taking in her appearance in the sweater and black pants. " Ten years ago... Ten years ago... Can't say as I remember you. -- Waitwaitwait.. Wait. -- Nope. Don't remember."
The small child tugged on the arm of the mother persistently. " Momma! Show him the picture, Momma! "
At this Johnny perked. Although it was slightly disturbing that the child would know about the kind of picture he was thinking of, he could over look that for flexibility and creativity. " Oh? A picture? "
" Harukii! " The motherly tone Sue used all the time sent Johnny almost reeling. " Shh! "
Now, he couldn't very well let her get away with his curiosity all peeked as it was. " C'mon. I promise I won't tell? " The very best 'I'm adorable, love me' pout came over his face.
Harukii practically bounced at her mother's side. " He wants to see, Momma, show Daddy the picture! "
Everything seemed to freeze upon that statement. Except for the child's bouncing, that is. Ms. Madison stiffed up visibly, staring ahead at the doors to the elevator as opposed to the firestarter to her left, or the child to her right.
Johnny frowned a bit and indicated to the child. " ...Do I resemble her father a lot or something? I get that a lot. You wouldn't believe how many kids wish the Human Torch was their dad or big brother, I mean- "
The child to the right would not be silenced, blatantly, perhaps even purposely ignoring her mother's warning look. " Momma, can I stay with Daddy while you go run errums? He looks like fun! "
There's the word again. Something slowly began to build up a hill of understanding in his mind. Beginning to get flustered, Johnny pointed to the child. " Whoa...Wait, she's not saying that I... I mean, I know I get around but...C'mon..."
Amberly snatched the child up, hiding her face against her shoulder with the hold. The doors to the elevators jolted, then began to open with a soft hum. " She's not saying anything. Just a child's fantasy or something. Believe me, this whole thing is a mistake. "
" Wait a minute, " His hand slammed against the doors to prevent them from shutting on him. " If this child is even remotely related to me, you need to tell me. "
The woman pressed her lips into a thin line. " Just forget about us, okay? "
" So...Let me get this straight. " His hand raised to reach out, on second thought, gesture to the child. " She's mine. And has been for seven years. Does this mean...Wow. That I'm already an experienced father? "
The smile that lit up Harukii's features made something warm spark in his body that was not his internal flame. The woman holding Harukii drooped her shoulders in a sigh. With the hand that wasn't holding the little girl up on her hip, dug into her purse to retrieve the photograph mentioned earlier. Abandoning the elevator, she reached out to hand it to him." Here. "
Realization flashed over Johnny's features as he observed the picture. Himself much younger than he was now, and the woman before him. They were both young. The sun was shining, there was glittering chlorine treated water behind them. His arms were around her middle, covering some of the blue and purple swimsuit. One of her arms was raised with the camera over their heads. Just seeing the memory, he could almost smell the chlorine, and hear the children around them that were playing in the public pool. " Amberly. Amberly Madison. This was in June. Heh, I see you still wear your hair up in that messy bun. "
The woman, Amberly, heaved a sigh and shifted her child. " Hello Johnny. It's been a while. "
" Yeah, about seven years, I'd say. " Unparalleled amusement took over his mild confusion. " You named her 'Harukii'? What were you doing, watching 'House of the Flying Daggers' when you were in labor? "
Amberly frowned in disapproval. " It was the name of the woman who used to watch me when I was a child. She never had her own children, I thought it would be a nice honor. "
" I think it makes her look Japanese on paper. "
" ...I think we're leaving, " She turned on her black heel and sought the elevator doors again. It was only Johnny's hand grabbing onto her arm quickly that stopped her from pressing the button.
" Waitwait, hold on. You can't just leave...I just met her. When was she born? What does she like? " Curiosity was mixing with excitement. Soon he was bubbling with even more questions than he could get out at once. " C'mon, you can't leave now. She's got to meet the rest of her family! Don't you want to meet your Aunt Sue, Uncle Reed and Uncle Ben? "
Before Amberly could speak a denial, Harukii chimed, " Yes! " and reached for him.
" Granted, Sue is an uptight blowhard too interested in Math to be happy, and Stretch's head is shoved so far into a Science book he wouldn't notice you.. Ben's a rock garden. You know. Why do I hang out with those guys? " He shook his head; seemingly second guessing the whole idea altogether. Nevertheless, as he lifted his head to see the child reaching for him, a smile over took his features. " You want me to pick you up? " Amberly immediately began to disagree, but he waved her off. " Come on, don't worry. When you're a hero, you have to know these things. And who's better than me? "
Thus she relented. As a result, Harukii ended up being held like a package under his arm. Amberly stuck her hip out to the side and folded her arms. " Just what do you call that? "
" What? " Johnny blinked. " I'm holding her right, aren't I? "
" Give me back my child. "