Okay, this is my last chapter. Hope you like it. Sorry for the wait. Haven't had a lot of time to write the last month.
He had planned on taking them by surprise. Even if he didn't like to admit it, he thought that he had possibly lost to these people the first time because he hadn't struck hard and fast enough.
Admitting his own defeat was a hard thing for Victor to do and after the first time, he had chalked it up to a fluke. After the second, he had learned something that had been missing in him for a very long time. Patience.
He'd analyzed his own actions and found that, for once, Reed had been right about him. He had been mildly crazy the last time. After all, if he had succeeded the world would have ended.
In the first fight, he had gone to lengths to get Ben out of the way, believing he was the strongest link in their little circle. He had been wrong about that. It hadn't been Ben Grimm who had defeated him on two separate occasions. No, it had been the boy.
He had waited for the right time. He had learned to patient for the one thing that he wanted against the two people he hated most. Revenge. Revenge against Susan and Johnny Storm.
It wasn't enough that he kill them. No, he wanted more than that. He wanted the boy and Susan to suffer. It was easy enough to do that. He could hit two birds with one stone. He had spent a lot of time with Susan. He knew her. No one meant more to her than her little brother.
At the same time, he could take out the vital link in the Fantastic Four. After some time thinking about it, he was convinced that the boy was that link. Without the kid, they never would have been able to defeat him. They had all fought, true, but without the kid, they would have lost.
Perhaps he should have just killed the kid when he had the chance but he had not wanted an easy end for Susan or Johnny. He knew how much more Susan would suffer if Johnny simply disappeared, if she never knew his fate.
True, he could have still killed Johnny and buried him somewhere that Susan and Reed would never find him but that would have been an easy end for Johnny and he didn't want that.
At first, he had hated Reed and he still did but it wasn't Reed who had defeated him either. So, he had taken Johnny away. His first step had been to ensure that Johnny remembered nothing of Susan, of his life before he had woken up in that lab in Latveria. His second had been to teach Johnny to follow his orders and the consequences of disobeying.
It was working, too, when one of the doctors he had hired had decided to gain a conscious. The man had known that Johnny wouldn't have left willingly, wouldn't have disobeyed orders. So, he had driven the boy out as far as he could.
Now, he wasn't just out for revenge. He was angry. He had made sure that that doctor would not be betraying him again. Now, his plan was down the drain. The damage that had to of been caused from the kid staying with Susan...
So, here he was. And even though he had planned on taking them by surprise, he couldn't help but to give himself a few seconds to enjoy the looks of shock on their faces when he had shown up in Reed's lab before he had struck out at both of them with his power, sending them flying.
Sue flew over the table in the middle of the room and landed hard next to Reed. She took a moment before she used her own power, creating a barrier between Victor and herself. She knew enough about Victor's power to know it wouldn't last. Reed stood and opened the sealed room that she knew he was working on, the one that could possibly hold Victor.
"What is that?" She asked when he brought out a long knife. Reed stared at her for a moment. They both ducked down behind the table.
"What you asked for," Reed held it out to her. Sue hesitated, staring at the blade. Looked like Reed had been working on something to get rid of Victor for good.
Reaching out, Sue touched the handle. The past year flashed before her eyes. The blind panic she had felt when she realized that Johnny was missing, the desperation when she realized that Reed couldn't find him and what that meant. The misery she had been in over the year that she had been without her brother.
Then, there was the overwhelming relief that had hit when they had found Johnny on that boat. Relief had been replaced by worry and fear once again when she realized that Johnny didn't remember her.
A picture of Johnny's haunted, panicked eyes formed in her head from when he had first woken up after they had found him. He had been so scared and confused and he hadn't trusted her.
The rage she had been feeling lately every time Victor's name came up rose once again as she thought of her brother, of the way he was before he had disappeared and the way he was now, the way that Victor had made him. Her grip tightened on the weapon.
"Distract him," fire shown in her eyes. Reed stared at her for a moment before nodding. They both stood. Her force field would fail soon but Sue let it fall as soon as she stood.
Reed jumped forward, expanding his body as he did so and wrapped himself tightly around Victor. Sue disappeared from sight, still gripping the blade. She was going to do this herself. She had never killed a person before but Victor was not a person. He was a monster.
Sue stopped her approach short when she noticed that someone else was standing in the doorway of the lab. Before she could do anything about it, the lights in the place flickered and went out and then Reed went flying again.
Johnny stopped short in the doorway of the lab, frozen in shock. He had heard the noises coming from here from his room and come to see what was happening. Now, he wished that he hadn't.
There he was. The reason why he didn't sleep anymore. He watched in a daze, unable to move, as Reed was thrown across the lab. He couldn't see Sue, but since he had come back he had seen her disappeared from sight a few times so she could still be there.
Johnny did find out where she was when he reached out and grabbed a hold of something Johnny couldn't see and Sue became visible, struggling against the grip on her throat. Something clattered to the floor next to her feet as he lifted her up.
"Johnny...get out of here," she managed to choke the words out before the grip on her throat tightened.
"Oh, no. He's not going anywhere, are you?" His eyes turned to Johnny and Johnny stood frozen. He couldn't move, everything he had learned from this man telling him he couldn't move.
When eye contact was broken, Johnny was finally able to look at Sue again. There was pain and fear in her eyes. The memory hit him with a force that almost brought him to his knees.
He saw it and felt it clearly. His sister lying on the ground, bleeding from a wound on her chest. She and the others linked hands and Johnny didn't hesitate before placing his on top of theirs. He felt it too when he took one last look at Sue. She was fading, dying, and he felt the blind panic that she would die before he got back. He'd known what he had to do but he didn't want to leave her. He couldn't lose her. If she died, he wouldn't be able to handle it...
He saw it and felt it clearly. His sister lying on the ground, bleeding from a wound on her chest. She and the others linked hands and Johnny didn't hesitate before placing his on top of theirs.
He felt it too when he took one last look at Sue. She was fading, dying, and he felt the blind panic that she would die before he got back. He'd known what he had to do but he didn't want to leave her. He couldn't lose her. If she died, he wouldn't be able to handle it...
He was still lost in that memory, in that panic he had felt when she had been dying sometime ago and one thought kept replaying over and over again in his head. He couldn't lose her.
Without realizing what he was doing, he was moving. Picking up what Sue had dropped and swinging it towards who was hurting her, who was taking her away from him.
Sue felt herself fading. She knew she was going to die this time. Ben was gone to Alicia's. Victor had more than likely planned it that way; Reed was across the room, hurt, and her brother...
She struggled harder against his grip at the thought of her brother. It was no use, though. There was no way she could break Victor's grip. She felt herself fading. She had just closed her eyes when the grip slackened and she fell to the ground.
She put a hand to her throat and kept her eyes closed as she pulled in a breath. Her throat burned. She opened her eyes again and froze in shock. Victor had not let her go willingly.
He was lying on his back, the knife that Reed had made protruding from his chest. Looking to the side, she found her brother sitting against the wall. His knees were pulled up and he was staring at Victor.
"Johnny?" Her voice was a quiet rasp and she barely got the word out. She crawled over to her brother. Taking his face in her hands, she felt tears forming at the pain in his eyes. He shouldn't have had to do this.
"Johnny?" She repeated, forcing him to look at her. He met her eyes and for a moment he was still.
"Sue?" He moved then and before she knew what was happening, he was hugging her to him, clinging to her.
"It's okay. It's going to be okay," she said quietly, rubbing a hand on his back. He buried his head in her neck and after a moment she felt the tears staining her shirt.
Sue watched the clock, waiting for it to turn as she leaned back on the couch. Two years. Two years since Johnny had disappeared. One year since she had gotten him back.
She looked up when the door opened and Johnny walked in, a grin planted firmly on his face. She focused on the fact that it reached his eyes and not on the fact that even after a year, Johnny still never stayed out past midnight.
"Hey," he plopped down on the couch next to her, "what are you doing up?" She shrugged.
"Just marking the date." Johnny nodded, glancing over at the clock as well, a dark look passing over his eyes.
Johnny remembered almost everything now. His memories had come back slowly and so had his attitude. He still refused to tell her the details of what had happened to him back in Victor's lab. She could still see that dark, haunted look cross his eyes every now and then. He still had nightmares about it but he was getting better.
She guessed that he would never be the same and that he would never share the details. She was just happy that she had him back and that Victor could never hurt him again. She still wished that it hadn't been him that had to do it though.
Slouching down on the couch, he rested his head on her shoulder and she took his hand. He didn't want to be alone tonight, she could tell that and neither did she. She still had nightmares about that year that he had been gone.
"I'm not going anywhere," she assured him, resting her head on top of his and she felt the tension leave his body as he let himself rest.