Ignition

By Nomad
April 2011

Summary: Reed/Johnny backstory for the 'one dimension away' AU shown in F4 #563.
Spoilers: Fantastic Four #563.
Disclaimer: Characters, settings and concepts belong to Stan Lee, Marvel and many others; borrowed for entertainment value, not profit.
Author's Note: Previously posted anonymously on the marvelkink-v2 lj meme, in response to a prompt asking for the story of how Jack and Reed got together in this AU.


Jack meets Reed Richards for the first time on the night of the rocket launch. Sue's dragged him along as a buffer, just in case Reed's invitation to go up in space is really an invitation to rekindle a romance that went out with a whimper the first time around.

To be honest, Richards is not really what he expects from one of his sister's exes. Sue usually likes the pretty muscle boys, and this guy's kind of gangly and edging up on thirty. Cute-ish, in a kind of a doofy way, but clearly way more comfortable with the gadgets in his rocket than with human beings. Surprisingly firm handshake, though, for a geek.

"Jack Storm," he introduces himself, which wins him an eyeroll from Sue. He's pretty sure his sister's never going to stop calling him Johnny. He doesn't really mind; it's not like he's ever particularly hated it, just that his face plus a little boy name got the wrong kind of attention on the gay scene. He goes out looking for a good time, not to work off daddy issues.

Reed Richards seems to think a good time involves studying space clouds, so Jack's content to stick with only looking. That and flirting outrageously with Reed's pilot buddy, just because he's so hilariously un-thrilled. Reed is either cool with it or utterly oblivious, and Jack wouldn't bet too hard against option B.

Then, of course, the whole test flight thing goes to hell. If by 'hell', you mean 'completely awesome'.

"So this is permanent?" Jack asks, studying his lit hands in fascination. He's beginning to get the trick of creating a flame without his whole body going up, which comes in handy for not setting his pants on fire.

"I- I honestly can't say. Without more data..." Reed looks frazzled. His hair's all mussed, and there's grey at the temples that wasn't there before their trip in space. Add in a touch of stubble and that frown of concentration, and the whole thing's working surprisingly well for him.

So okay, maybe Jack's pants are a little bit on fire.

He douses his flames and gives Reed's shoulder an entirely friendly, not at all self-indulgent squeeze. "Hey. Come on. How is this bad? We have super-powers!" It was a one in a zillion freak accident, and it's not like the results don't have their up side, so Reed really doesn't need to be beating himself up this much.

He refuses to be comforted, though Jack notes he doesn't shake off the hand. "Jack, we have no idea of the limits of this transformation. Ben's strength is, is beyond my capacity to measure, your sister's invisibility goes against the laws of physics as we understand them - you melted all my sensors before I had a chance to log your maximum temperature-"

Jack stills him with a hand on the other shoulder. "So what you're telling me," he says, leaning closer with a knowing smile, "is that I'm really hot?"

It's dangerous, but he could still play this off as a joke if he has to. Except... Reed ducks his head and lowers his eyelashes, flustered. And Jack's pretty sure it's not 'oh, crap, a gay guy's hitting on me, how do I escape?' flustered.

Oh, no, this is the fun kind of flustered.

He dips his own shoulders so he can catch Reed's eyes. Reed jerks backwards nervously, increasing the distance between their faces. A lot further than he should be able to. Jack blinks at the sight of his elongated neck. "Wow. That is so freaky," he says in amazement.

Reed hastily contracts his neck back to its natural length, hunching his shoulders in mortification. "Sorry."

Jack smiles at him. "No, it's cool." It is. He wonders what else Reed can stretch, and feels his smile spread. "It has... potential."

Reed moves his lips as if to speak but then just stops with them slightly apart, apparently lost for words. That's okay. Jack has some very good ideas on how to fill that space.

He leans in, and Reed's eyes widen dramatically, but he doesn't pull away. They're so close that Jack can feel his startled huff of breath against his lips; it feels almost chilly, the way that everything feels colder to him now, but there's a flare of something supernova building in his stomach as his lips brush Reed's and Reed's eyelids flutter closed and-

The lab door bounces open.

Reed yanks his head back as fast as if Jack's just caught fire, stretching almost half the length of the lab. Jack might be slightly hurt if not for the fact that he turns to see Sue in the doorway. Okay, yes, sister's ex, that's a little awkward even for those with next to no shame.

But Sue just shakes her head with a wry smirk, holding up her hands. "Hey, whoa, don't let me interrupt. I'm not even here." She disappears to prove it. A moment later, there's the bump of the door closing.

Jack still watches it for a moment. "Sue, are you gone?" he says warily. He doesn't entirely trust big sister's sense of humour. "Are you actually gone?"

Reed has folded his arms across his stomach defensively. In fact, he's folded them right round the back and across the front a second time. It's hilariously adorable.

How did Jack ever think that Reed was only medium good-looking? He is seriously the cutest guy on Earth. He's turned all sad puppy now, obviously sure this is the point in proceedings where everyone agrees that this was a heat-of-the-moment bad idea and slinks off in mutual embarrassment. But Jack has never been much of a guy for second thoughts.

Or, for that matter, first ones. "Right," he says, grinning wickedly. "Back where we left off." He leaps across the room to catch Reed in an enthusiastic kiss.

This time it really happens - and, oh boy, it really happens. The kiss is like nothing that Jack's felt before, and he's sampled more than a few. He's heating up, but Reed's cooler lips give him delicious shivery tingles, and as for what Reed can do with his tongue...

Well, this is time that they had blocked out for experimenting with their powers. And as it turns out, scientists are very, very thorough.

Maybe dating smart boys was the way to go all along. It's kind of a pity Jack's figured that out entirely too late.

Because he's pretty sure now he's tried this one, he's never going to want another.

End