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Topics - Johnny Storm

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Crash and Burn / Maria's Big Break
« on: November 12, 2020, 07:32:16 PM »
October 5th, 2020

De Luca Dance was eerily quiet when dancing lessons were in session, each studio well sound-proofed so that none of them interfered with the other. With no other parents yet arrived to collect their enthusiastic bundles of energy, it was almost peaceful. It was certainly joyful, in a very soft way, to look through the glass of the window and watch as Maria shone while dancing with her own group, Liv couldn't keep herself from beaming proudly at the sight of their silent little sweetheart well and truly out of her shell thanks to ballet.

"She's a little angel, isn't she?" Johnny said, beaming proudly right beside Liv as they watched their silent little girl shine. It had taken a little while for them to find something Maria not only enjoyed but excelled at, and Johnny was overjoyed to see Maria in her element and thoroughly enjoying herself.

"She's so graceful," Liv agreed softly. "You wouldn't believe it, with all the falling in mud holes she does at home." Maria certainly didn't lack for enthusiasm in anything she did, but it was obvious now that dancing was clearly something that touched her little heart.

"Running around in the backyard isn't the same as dancing, Liv," Johnny pointed out. Dancing required poise and grace, not to mention patience and determination, all of which he thought Maria had in spades.

"It builds her stamina," Liv said in amusement, glancing over her shoulder at the sound of quiet footsteps in the stillness.

Anya De Luca, the tiny ballet mistress who somehow oversaw classes here, the dancers' syllabus for the dancers at the Rosita De Luca Drama School, and taught the ballet class for under fives, smiled as she approached the Storms.

"Good afternoon," she greeted them. "Thank you for coming in a little early."

Johnny turned to greet the tiny ballerina with a friendly smile, fatherly pride written all over his face. "Thanks for inviting us," he replied. "How's she doing? It's all she talks about lately," he told her, assuming Anya had invited them there to give them an update on Maria's progress.

"She is doing rather fantastically, actually," Anya told them, inviting them to come and sit down with her in the comfortable chairs by the wide window. "I have two things I would like to run by you, with regards to Maria."

Liv tore her gaze away from the little dancers, tilting her head curiously as she followed to the seats.

Johnny's smile faded, replaced by a worried look, despite Anya's reassurance that their little girl was doing well. "Is she getting along okay with the other children?" he asked, that thought the first worry to cross his mind. He knew it wasn't always easy for Maria to make friends, given the fact that she needed to use sign language in order to communicate, but she had a sweet disposition that made her easily likable.

"Oh, there are no concerns on that score," Anya was quick to reassure him. "It was a little bumpy in the first weeks, but since you gave us that information about the sign language classes, I can confidently state that they are somewhat overbooked from us." She laughed faintly. "Maria is very patient with everyone who talks with her and tries to use sign, which is wonderful to see."

"Oh, good," Johnny said, exhaling a sigh of relief. He just wanted their little girl to be happy and lead as normal a childhood as was possible, despite her difficulty in communicating. "She really is an angel," he said, with obvious pride and affection.

"An extremely talented angel with an incredible capacity to learn at speed," Anya said, gently sliding into her first point. "To the point where I would like to raise her into intermediate classes. I know she has only been taking the beginner classes for a few months, but she has perfected almost everything she needs to perfect to advance. However, I do understand that her age might make her wary of moving up to share classes with girls who are significantly older than she is, and if she would prefer, I would like to arrange for her to have private lessons with Merethyl to keep her progress moving forward, rather than stagnating where she is."

Johnny blinked, clearly stunned by what Anya was telling them. "You want move her up?" he asked, as if to confirm what he thought he was hearing. He knew Maria enjoyed her lessons and Anya had assured them she was doing well, but this had not expected.

"I would," she confirmed, smiling at his surprise. "I believe you may have something of a prodigy on your hands there, Mr. Storm. Her talent and ability to learn far outclass the girls her own age, and those above her."

"You're serious," he said, almost expecting her to say she was kidding at any minute, but why would she? He exchanged glances with Liv, as if silently asking his wife for her opinion.

Liv was looking a little conflicted. "I wouldn't want her progress to suffer," she said carefully, "but Maria gets more out of these classes than just training. She's developing friends with similar interests, and I would hate to take that away from her."

"What if we left her in class with children her own age and she had private lessons in addition to that?" Johnny suggested, in agreement with Liv, but also not wanting to stifle Maria's progress if she truly was as talented as Anya seemed to think.

"That is a very good solution," Anya agreed, "and one I would not charge you additionally for. Merry has been teaching Zahan one on one for a few years now, so if you would like a testimonial before making the decision, I would suggest you talk with her and her parents. My other note is ... well, it is more of a request."

"Oh, no ... I don’t think that will be necessary, will it?" Johnny said, once again looking to Liv for her input. He trusted Anya's judgment and they knew Zahan and her parents well enough to have already heard praise for her teacher.

"I think maybe Maria should talk to Zahan about it?" Liv suggested to her husband. "She's never had any one-on-one tutoring except with Alyona, and that is a little different than it would be with a non-telepath."

Johnny nodded agreeably. "That sounds reasonable," he said, knowing Liv always knew best, especially where the children were concerned. "Anyway, it should be up to Maria, too," he added.

"Oh, no, of course," Anya said warmly. "This is why I am approaching you first, since you should be the ones to approach Maria about it. She will be more inclined to give you her honest opinion. I think my students are sometimes more worried about disappointing me than listening to themselves."

Crash and Burn / After the Fires
« on: October 22, 2020, 02:04:43 PM »
Despite Rhy'Din being home now, Johnny Storm hadn't stopped paying attention to the news back on Earth, especially with a sister and her family still there. But this time around, it wasn't the East Coast that concerned him, so much as the West Coast. It seemed 2020 was a crappy year all around for those who called Earth home, which made Johnny just as glad he and Liv had decided to stay and raise their family on Rhy'Din. That said, he still cared about his home planet, and he couldn't very well sit idly by while wild fires raged on the west coast when he knew he could help.   

Though she had decided not to join her father at the fire station - at least, for now - Fliss had insisted on accompanying him to Earth. After all, she possessed similar abilities where fire was concerned and had already proved her worth. Though Johnny had resisted at first, concerned for her safety, she was an adult now, capable of making her own decisions, and there was no one he'd rather have at his side.

With Sue on the ground, coordinating the fire breaks and containing the worst of the spread by sheer force of will, it had been the Storm father and daughter slowly drawing the heat from the flames to extinguish them for two long, arduous weeks. "God, I feel like I could sleep for a month," Fliss groaned as she packed her backpack for the trip home.

"I feel like I could sleep for a year!" Johnny remarked with a chuckle. He'd been through exhausting missions before, but nothing quite like this. The threat of fire, though never entirely extinguished, was at least at a manageable level now and with minimal loss of life. "You were awesome, by the way," he praised his eldest.

Caught in the process of stretching out her back and pretending not to yawn, there was a pause before Fliss answered him. "Well, I had a really great teacher, you know."

"I can't deny that," Johnny agreed with a grin, though he was mostly teasing. He might have helped teach her how to use her abilities, but the rest she had done on her own. "I'm proud of you, Fliss," he said, turning serious. "And I hope you never have to go through anything like that again, but how's the saying go? With great power comes great responsibility or something like that?"

"You sound like that Parker kid's uncle," she teased him back, nudging her elbow against his side affectionately. "You know it goes both ways, right? I'm proud of you, too."

He shrugged, his expression a mixture of pride and embarrassment. "Can't very well sit on my ass when people need my help, can I?" he asked, though it was a rhetorical question.

"Oh, geez, can you not mention your ass when Mom's parting words to you involved biting you on it when you got back?" she asked, feigning disgust. Now she was a married woman herself, however, it was definitely feigned. She had a feeling Lucas was going to both scold and welcome her when they got back.

"Oh, come on. Don't be a prude," he said, nudging her back. Fliss and Lucas were married now, and he knew they had to have sex, but he didn't really want to think of his daughter that way.

"You're my parents," she reminded him laughingly. "I'm allowed to be squicked out by the thought of you getting jiggy with it."

"Yeah, well, that goes double," he said, struggling to zip his duffel bag closed as it was too stuffed with clothes he couldn't be bothered to fold.

She glanced down at his bag and snorted with laughter. "How did you ever manage before you had Mom?" she asked him, batting his hands away from his bag to open it up and start folding his clothes so it would shut for him.

"Uh, I just bought new clothes," he admitted. Or didn't bother wearing anything but his collection of fireproof uniforms. That didn't really answer her question though. Once upon a time, he had Sue to take care of him, but that was a long time ago.

"You're adorable," his daughter informed him with a fond grin. She was silent for a moment as she folded his underwear. "This felt good, you know? Last time I did something that used my powers, people died. This time, people lived. I like that better."

Crash and Burn / Sharing the News - Good and Bad
« on: June 29, 2019, 02:48:54 PM »
Life was definitely moving at a decent lick on Maple Grove, especially around the Storm/Rogers/Prescott triad of homes. With permission from Humphrey Granger, as well as a donated building on the grounds of the Grove, Steve and Lucy were already working on remodeling the place for a school, and putting out feelers to families with children possessed of certain types of innate ability, as well as to any teachers who felt up to the challenge they were going to present them. Colin had been all but ordered to turn his attention onto IT security and networking for the school in progress, and Natasha seemed certain to take on one of those teaching roles. Liv was offering up her organizational abilities to keep her sister and brother-in-law from flying apart at the seams, and Johnny had a whole host of connections to draw upon in the creation of a safe environment for young children with such talents.

And that was just the professional side of things.

Liv might still have been a little shell-shocked from Fliss and Lucas' visit a few hours earlier, but with the younger children all off enjoying themselves with friends and the twins stolen by Miranda Granger for an afternoon, she felt as though she had time to process.

"So ... should we tell Steve and Lucy?" she asked her husband, stroking her fingers through his hair.

"About the wedding or the fact that we missed something?" he asked, though they should probably share both bits of news, as they were equally important, if for very different reasons. They'd made every effort to wipe Hydra from the face of the Earth - literally - and still they seemed to have missed something.

"Well, obviously the second part," she pointed out. "But good news tends to temper the bad news. And it isn't bad news yet. With this sort of warning, we can ask our friends on Earth to look into Senator Foster and his connections and perhaps stop this before it happens at all."

"Yeah," Johnny agreed, frowning a little, despite the fact that his wife's fingers were tangled in his hair. "But Steve is gonna be pissed. He thought we got them all, and he's gonna be pissed when he finds out we didn't."

"Would you rather he be pissed at Hydra for still being active, or at us for not telling him we knew?" Liv countered gently. She knew she was worse than useless when it came to things like this, but she could at least keep Johnny's mind level.

"No, we have to tell him," Johnny said, and the sooner the better. "I guess that answers your question, huh?" he said. It wasn't so much Steve's anger that worried Johnny as the simple fact that Hydra was still out there, operating somewhere under the radar.

"They're going to be underpowered," Liv pointed out, giving him a gentle tug up onto his feet. "Far fewer resources. Why else would they still be operating with such secrecy?"

"I know, but ... If Lucas' father is part of Hydra, that means they might know about Rhy'Din," Johnny reasoned. It all depended, he supposed, on how much Jessica Foster had told her ex-husband about her family's origins.

"It's a big might," Liv reminded him. "Can you imagine trying to explain to anyone over there that Rhy'Din exists, much less everything else that entails?"

"So far, it doesn't seem like they know about Rhy'Din, but they could be bidding their time," Johnny pointed out. There was just no way to know for sure without digging deeper. He moved to his feet, his hand still in Liv's. "No, you're right. We need to talk to Steve. Maybe he can send a few A.E.G.I.S. agents to investigate."

"I don't think that is a maybe, sweetheart," she answered, smiling gently as she drew him toward the back door. "A.E.G.I.S. can find out the details. This may not be an imminent threat, either. It was a fortune reading; they don't seem to give accurate timelines."

"Maybe she was wrong," Johnny said, hopefully. He wasn't sure what Steve was going to say when they told him their intel had come from a fortuneteller, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

"We can but hope." She pulled him close, hugging her arms about his waist for a long moment. "But more importantly ... how does it feel to know you'll be walking your daughter down the aisle before Christmas?"

He chuckled at that, as he returned her embrace. "Honestly? It feels weird. How'd she grow up so fast?" he asked, though to be fair, Fliss was already a teenager when they'd adopted her.

"She's still growing," Liv mused. "And she's always going to need her father, one way or another. Still, it'll be funny to see Tony's reaction when he finds out - especially if it happens on his wedding day."

"Yeah, but ..." Johnny frowned as he realized something. "I'm not sure if I'm ready to be a grandpa yet." He had only just turned thirty-two, after all.

Liv laughed, shaking her head. "Have a little faith in your little girl," she suggested. "I highly doubt Fliss is going to want to have children while she's in university, do you? You have at least three years to prepare yourself for that."

"Izzy and Marnie will be aunts before they get to kindergarten!" Johnny pointed out, though he'd always known this was a possibility when they'd adopted Fliss. He'd known she was already a teenager and that they wouldn't have her for long before she grew up, but that hadn't stopped them from adopting her or from loving her, and it wouldn't stop them now. "I'm gonna get old before my time," he muttered with a sigh.

"You'll always be my Sparky," his wife teased, rising onto her toes to growl into his ear impishly. "Besides ... what's wrong with being a foxy grandad?"

"Means I'm old," he said, though he really wasn't. Besides, wasn't age just a number, especially on Rhy'Din. "Tell Fliss she has to wait until I'm at least forty before having kids!"

"Oh, no, you get to tell her that," she laughed, prodding his stomach. "I am not your shield against the wrath of Felicity, Johnny Storm!"

"Oh, come on, Liv. As parents, we're supposed to be united!" he said, having heard that somewhere, though he couldn't remember where. Probably Dr. Phil.

"United, yes," she agreed, pulling him outside. "Not using each other as human shields when we deliberately antagonize the children." But she was still laughing, tucking her arm about his waist as they headed down the porch steps and across the grass toward the Rogers' house.

Crash and Burn / Family Time
« on: June 21, 2019, 08:05:21 PM »
It was evening at Willow Manor, which had in recent years become the Storm household there at Maple Grove. Evening usually meant feeding and bathing and tucking in the little ones, while the older Storm children were allowed some play time, so long as they were finished with their homework.

Tonight, playtime consisted of one of their Dad's favorite past-times - watching cartoons. Not just any cartoons, but Johnny's favorite and one he had only just recently discovered - an old 1990's animated series that featured his very own Fantastic Four. How a 1990's cartoon could feature stories about Johnny and his team when he'd only been born in 1987 wasn't something he wanted to think too hard about, but whenever something like that made his head hurt, he just attributed it to the Nexus and left it at that. Of course, most of the adventures featured in the cartoon hadn't actually happened, but that didn't bother him either. He knew cartoons and comics were mostly for entertainment purposes and weren't very accurate - not even those about Captain America.

Sitting on the floor, with Alex on one side and Maria on the other, Johnny was laughing uproariously at the hilariously ridiculous depiction of himself and his teammates on the screen.

Bella lolled on the floor with them, her tail wagging happily at the sound of the laughter. Liv was leaning in the doorway - she had just come from putting Bess down to sleep, the twins already tucked up in the nursery, and found herself smiling at the sight of her husband and middle children cackling away together at the ridiculous antics of the cartoon.

"What did I miss?" she asked, slipping further into the room.

"You missed cartoon Papa playing tricks on Uncle Ben," Alex informed his mother with a grin. "Did you really do that, Papa?" he asked his father with trusting eyes.

Johnny shrugged. "I was kind of rebellious as a teenager, but I never meant any harm."

"It's the same when you play tricks on Fliss," Liv told her son fondly, folding down onto the couch.

Maria raised her hands, waiting for their eyes to turn to her before she signed her comment. "Why is Uncle Reed so grumpy?"

Johnny chuckled at Maria's question, the corners of his eyes crinkling in amusement. "Because he's too smart for his own good and has no sense of humor," he told her, hugging her close.

"What's reb-yelly-us mean?" Alex asked, struggling a little with the word, mostly because of his Russian accent.

"Rebellious can mean a few things, darling, but in this case, it means that Papa didn't like being told what to do, and would do things he wasn't supposed to do just because he could," Liv explained, sweeping Alex's blonde hair out of his eyes. "You need a haircut."

Alex frowned up at his mother, a little confused, not about the need for a haircut but about his father's rebelliousness. "But if we do something we aren't supposed to, we get grounded. Didn't anybody ground you, Papa?" he asked.

Johnny smiled faintly and shrugged again, his fondness for his children evident in his expression. "I didn't have any parents to ground me, and I was too angry at the world to listen to my sister."

"You see, Alex," Liv murmured, "sometimes, when life throws things at you that are hard or hurt, you get angry, and you don't know how to express it, so you do stupid things just so people will spend a little time on you. But you and your sisters don't need to do that - you have your Papa and me, and your aunts and uncles, and Fliss, and all you need to do is ask one of us for a little time. That's why you get grounded when you do things you're not supposed to do, because there is always a better way to get the attention you want."

"I was angry," Alex admitted frowning. It wasn't hard to imagine why the boy had been angry, considering how Hydra had tried to hurt him and Maria, Martin, and Lianne before they were rescued. "But I'm not angry anymore," he added quietly.

"You're allowed to be angry, Alex," Johnny said. "But you're not alone. You're never gonna be alone. And we're never gonna let anyone hurt any of you again. Ever," he assured both children.

"Everyone gets angry," Liv agreed. "Everyone gets sad. Everyone gets frustrated and doesn't know how to tell anyone about it. And there's nothing wrong with that. But letting those feelings stay inside you can make it much worse."

Maria waved a hand again. "That's why we talk about stuff, isn't it?" she asked in her silent way. "And why you went and yelled at the teacher when she told me off for waving my hands around."

Johnny exchanged a smile with Liv, proud of his wife for telling the teacher off in support of their daughter. "Not everyone understands when someone is different," Johnny explained. "And there's nothing wrong with being different. It would be a pretty boring world if we were all the same, wouldn't it?"

To be fair, the teacher had had it coming to her; Maria hadn't been the only child in the class she had been disadvantaging deliberately. Liv laughed as Johnny spoke. "Oh, absolutely," she agreed teasingly. "Look how boring Aunt Lucy and I are together!"

"That's not what I mean!" Johnny said, chuckling. "You and Lucy look the same, but you're as different as night and day!"

Alex got up from the floor and dropped onto the couch to curl up beside his mother. "That teacher was mean to all the kids. She was even grumpier than Uncle Reed!"

Johnny laughed again. "Uncle Reed isn't that bad. He's just too serious sometimes."

"Why can't we have a better teacher?" Maria asked, her face radiating curiosity as she took advantage of Alex moving to climb into Johnny's lap.

Liv chuckled softly, wrapping her arm around Alex as he cuddled into her side.

"Uh ..." For once in his life, Johnny was speechless. Picking Maria up in his arms, he joined Liv on the couch, looking to her for an answer. "Why can't they have a better teacher?"

"Well, in September, you will have better teachers," Liv told them. "Uncle Steve is going to make a special school just for children like you, with special talents. And I think Zach and maybe Dani and maybe even Auntie Nat will be teaching there with him."

"Oh, he finally decided?" Johnny asked, grinning. "It's about time! Uncle Steve will be an awesome teacher!" he assured his children, though they probably already figured that. He exhaled a sigh. "I wish I could help, but I've got my hands full at the fire station." And firefighting was far more the Torch's forte than was being a schoolteacher.

Crash and Burn / Two Little Storms
« on: February 22, 2019, 07:51:09 PM »
"Okay, someone needs to get the clingy cat off Mom so she can get up."

Fliss grinned at her little brother and sisters, handing the hospital bag to her father.

After the disaster that had been Bess being born in a car in a side alley in New York, they were taking no chances this time around - Liv had gone into labor this morning, and no one was going to let the hospital send her home before she produced the babies this time. On the couch, Liv smiled, glancing down at Jasper, who was draped over her enormous bump and purring through every contraction.

Though this was going to numbers five and six for Johnny and Liv, it was, in fact, only the second time Liv had been pregnant and was going to have to go through childbirth. As expected, Johnny was a nervous wreck. Thank the Gods for Fliss, who seemed to have a calmer head than he did at times like this.

"He's just trying to help," Alexei pointed out, as he carefully removed Jasper from his mother's bump.

"Have we got everything?" Johnny asked to no one in particular as he frantically paced the room.

"Relax, Dad, you've got everything," Fliss promised her father affectionately, lifting Bess up out of the way as Beast and Bella trotted through, both dogs infected by the nervous energy to the point of running down the three-year-old in their midst.

As Liv grinned at Alexei, easing herself to the edge of the couch to start standing up, a little hand inserted itself into Johnny's, bringing with it a wave of reassuring calm. Maria was doing double duty being excited and calm for her parents.

Johnny blinked out of his worries to find Maria at his side, drawing him by the hand toward her mother, as if to wordlessly tell him what he needed to do. "Oh, yeah ..." he muttered, sheepishly, struggling to keep a lid on his panic so he didn't turn to flame at an inconvenient time. "Maybe you should drive, just in case," he told Fliss as he helped Liv to her feet, worried Liv might give birth in the car again, leaving him to supervise the twins' birth.

Fliss bit down on her smile. "Yeah," she drawled, drawing out the word for a long moment. "I'm staying here with the rest of the under sixteens, remember?"

Liv chuckled, rolling her eyes. "Someone really should help me stand up," she pointed out. "Pregnant woman who hasn't seen her own feet in two months, right here."

Johnny was working on doing just that, letting go of Maria's little hand to help his wife off the couch, a worried expression evident on his face. "It's okay. It's gonna be okay," he said, more to himself than anyone else.

"You can do it, Papa!" Alex cheered his father on, his face bright with pride and happiness.

"He can!" Liv agreed as Johnny helped her to stand up from the couch, swallowing the desire to groan at the ache in her back. The sooner she was only carrying her own weight, the better - thank goodness they had already arranged for a healer to be part of the birth, so she wouldn't have to deal with the lingering aches and pains afterward. "So, does everyone remember their jobs while we're away?" she added, stroking her hand over Alexei's hair even as she smiled at Maria's worried little face.

Johnny was glad someone believed in him, but he just didn't want to repeat Bess' delivery, even though, all had gone well.

"It will be okay, Papa. You'll see," Alexei assured his father, though it was his mother he was smiling up at. As far as they knew, the boy wasn't capable of predicting the future; he just had faith in his father's ability to take good care of his mother. "I have to help with Bess and the pets!" he told his mother.

"Most especially Lir and the dogs," Liv agreed with her son, hugging him close. It said a lot for how determined she was not to worry the children that she didn't even offer a peep during the contraction that made itself known as she spoke. "And you're in charge of Jasper, Mo, and making sure Bess enjoys her bath tonight."

Maria giggled her silent giggle, raising her hands to sign back. "And you are in charge of having babies!"

"And I am in charge of driving!" Johnny said. "We should probably get going so we don't have a repeat of last time!" he added, trying hard to keep his panic in check for Liv's sake.

"Love you, Mama!" Alex declared, surging forward to hug his mother around her waist, despite her bulging waistline.

Maria was quick to join him, both children wrapped around the bump as Liv hugged them close. "I love you too, darlings," she promised them, bending uncomfortably to kiss both blonde heads. "And I will see you tomorrow, just like last time. Have fun with Fliss, okay?"

"Yes, Mama," Alex obediently agreed. He settled a hand against her bump a moment, quietly communing with the babies who were waiting to be born inside her. "They are ready, Mama! I told them we love them and are excited to meet them!"

Maria turned to squeeze Johnny's waist too, trying to siphon off some of his panic so he would be calmer for the ride to the hospital.

"Well, it won't take them long to come out and say hello then!" Liv exclaimed fondly, squeezing his hand. She paused to kiss Bess and Fliss, knowing better than to remind the eldest that she could call on anyone for help if need be.

"You've really gotta go, Mom," Fliss reminded her pointedly.

Johnny hugged Maria to him, not really noticing that the little girl was helping to calm him, though he did feel a little more clear-headed suddenly. "Yes, we really do, Liv," he said, kissing the top of Maria's head, before making the rounds to give each of his children a hug and ending with a warm kiss to little Bess' cheek. "I'll call from the hospital as soon as we have babies, okay?"

The toddler nodded, still a little at sea with what was actually happening. "Gunna make babies," she informed her father with a firm nod.

"And no blinking to the hospital, young lady," Liv added, tweaking Bess' nose. Their youngest's ability to teleport almost instantaneously was a slight concern, but since she only blinked herself to people she knew, it wasn't that bad just yet.

Crash and Burn / Aftermath
« on: May 03, 2018, 08:09:01 PM »
The Grangers had worked a minor miracle in a very short space of time. The portal in Maple Grove Manor let Johnny out on Earth, not in the grounds of the Avengers Mansion as it usually did, but actually inside the mansion itself, in one of the control rooms that overlooked a space normally used as a lab. Tony Stark was there, looking through the glass with an uncharacteristically solemn expression on his face; Johnny's sister was there, too.

As soon as Johnny came into sight, Sue burst into tears all over again. "Oh God, Johnny, I'm so sorry!"

Now that Johnny had left the kids behind at Maple Grove, safely in the care of Steve and Lucy and several of the Granger clan, he didn't have to pretend. He didn't have to hide what he was feeling from Tony or Sue, knowing him as they did. It wasn't hard to know what he was feeling when it was written all over his face. "Sue," he said, greeting his sister with a worried frown. "Where is she?" he asked urgently, ignoring her apology and fearing the worst. "How bad is it? Will she be okay?"

Sue was incoherent, overcome with guilt at not having intervened sooner to save his wife from that terrible attack, leaving it to Tony to answer.

Stark raised his eyes from the lab below, worry painted all over his face. "They're operating now," he said, nodding toward the lab. "Just got your doctor friend scrubbed in. It's ... it's not a pretty sight, Johnny. You might not want to look."

"She's my wife, Tony," Johnny insisted, as if that explained everything. Yes, Liv was Tony's sister, but he hadn't even known that until a few short years ago. He couldn't possibly love her as much as Johnny did. It didn't occur to Johnny at first that Tony was only trying to protect him and save him from further anguish.

Tony's jaw clenched, but he didn't start an argument, a sure sign that things were not yet at a point where there was more than hope to cling to. His eyes turned back to the lab below - a lab that had been stripped, sterilized, and turned into an operating theater in just a few minutes, thanks to JARVIS. It was filled with people, all gowned and masked, wearing gloves, surrounded by monitors and medical equipment, and in the center of it all was a single operating table. Liv's face was pale around the ventilator that had been inserted to help her breathe, her head bandaged and gently supported at the neck. Worse was the view from where Johnny now stood. So much blood, so many hands trying to reset bones and staunch internal bleeding ... it was not a sight many could look at without wincing.

Johnny hadn't meant anything by his remark. He certainly hadn't meant to insult Tony or to belittle any familial love or affection the man might have for his sister. They were all clearly torn up over what had happened. No matter whether Hydra had mistaken Liv for Lucy or not, what they had done was simply unforgivable. "I don't understand," Johnny murmured, partly to himself as he, too, turned his eyes toward all the hustle and bustle going on in the operating room. "Why would anyone want to hurt Liv?"

"Barton's on it," Tony told him. "Sue held the driver and his friend until the Legion picked them up; Barton's interrogating. Apparently I couldn't be trusted to do it properly."

JARVIS' calm tones filled the room. "With respect, sir, when the time came, you were waxing lyrical on painful methods of execution."

While Johnny understood that the attack had actually been aimed at Lucy, the knowledge of that didn't make him feel any better. "These people are evil. You know what they did to Alexei and Maria. Death is too easy for them," Johnny echoed Tony's sentiments. There was no other word to describe Hydra but evil, and he was beginning to understand why Steve hated them so badly. That said, he fell silent a moment, quietly watching the doctors and nurses as they worked to try and save Liv's life. She looked so broken there, and there was so much blood, it made Johnny feel sick, but it wasn't a sickness of the body, so much as of the heart and soul. "You have to save her, Tony," he murmured quietly, knowing if anyone had the technology to do so, it was his brother-in-law. He had never asked Tony for anything and likely never would again, but he would not accept anything but a full recovery for Liv, no matter the price.

For a long moment there was nothing but silence, nothing but the careful motion below them. Then Tony's hand found Johnny's shoulder, firm despite the vague tremble in his fingers. "She's not goin' anywhere," he promised vehemently. "Whatever it takes, whatever it costs. You're not losing her."

"We're not losing her," Johnny corrected. If anything good came of this, maybe it was the solidarity between the two men who had been at odds for so long. Johnny reached for Sue's hand, allowing himself to lean on her just a little. She had always been there for him, ever since their mother had died. She had been killed in an auto accident when he'd been just a boy, and in some ways, it felt like he was reliving it all over again through Liv. "It's not your fault, Suse," he assured his sister, fighting to keep the tremor from his voice.

Sue swallowed, in control of herself a little better now, wrapping her arms around her little brother to squeeze gently. "I wasn't fast enough to get a field around her before she got hurt," she admitted quietly. "JARVIS said stopping the third impact saved her life, but ..." She drew in a shaking breath. "Reed's working on the tech they stripped out of the van," she added. "He wanted to be in there with them, but he's not medical, not really. He nearly strangled the driver getting hold of him."

"How'd it happen?" he asked, only knowing the cursory details. He couldn't even remember if he'd been told or not; he only knew there had been an accident that wasn't really an accident, and that Liv had been the target.

"We were saying goodbye at the door," Sue told him, as gently as she could manage. "I had my back turned, but I heard the tires screech, and the screaming, and ... and the first impact. By the time I turned around, the truck had hit her again. It was just backing up for a third try when I reacted. I didn't even realise there was a truck there, Johnny. Some kind of cloaking tech, they think. Someone was waiting for her."

Johnny muttered an expletive - a rarity for him, except when the situation called for it. "They thought she was Luce," he mused aloud, though that already seemed clear, but even that didn't make much sense. "Why would they want to kill Lucy?" he asked aloud. All anyone would accomplish in doing so would be pissing off Steve Rogers and the rest of the Avengers.

"I may have the answer to that question, Mr. Storm," JARVIS offered politely. "Sensors indicate a concentration of armed individuals converging on A.E.G.I.S. headquarters."

Tony stiffened. "What the hell?"

"A.E.G.I.S. headquarters?" Johnny echoed, sounding exhausted and maybe a little confused.

Crash and Burn / A Punch to the Gut
« on: April 29, 2018, 12:25:48 PM »
It was just an ordinary day in the Storm household, except for one thing - Liv had gone to New York to visit with family in the way of her brother, Tony, and sister-in-law, Sue - leaving Johnny behind to deal with the kids and numerous pets.

Mornings at the Storm house were always a little chaotic, even more so with Liv away, but so far, Johnny was handling it. It didn't hurt that Fliss had been there to help herd Alex and Maria off to school, but now that it was just Johnny and baby Bess, things had gotten quiet. Of course, there was the small menagerie of pets to deal with, too, and Liv had left explicit instructions regarding both the children and pets. Johnny had never realized just how much Liv did to keep the household running in tip-top shape, until she was gone. She wasn't just Rhy'Din's best P.A., but Rhy'Din's most organized and efficient wife and mother.

He wasn't entirely on his own - if he needed the help, he could always open the back door and yell for Lucy or Steve to rescue him from his own slightly whacky menagerie. Of all the animals, Bella was the clingiest, staying close to his legs like the loyal pet she was, while the puppy, the dragon, and the cat made mischief elsewhere. But finally calm was restored, and Johnny had the leisure to sit down and enjoy the sight of his youngest daughter committing vandalism on the chalkboard painted section of wall with her colored chalks in peace. Right up until the moment when Bess quite suddenly disappeared, reappearing on his lap in floods of tears.

Johnny was enjoying his breather, sipping a cup of coffee that never went cold, given his natural state of warmth, when Bess broke into tears for what seemed like no reason at all. He set the coffee aside and scooped the two-year-old up onto his lap, a concerned look on his face.

"What's the matter, Bessie? Are you missing Mama?" he asked, assuming the little girl was just getting lonely without her mother and siblings to keep her company.

The two-year-old sobbed against his chest ... not the usual tears of a toddler who was bored or lonely, but deep, racking cries that radiated terror and heartbreak as she clung to her father's shirt. Barely a minute later, the phone started to ring, prompting Bella and Beast to bark excitedly at it; a moment after that, Johnny's cell phone joined in. In just a few minutes, the house had gone from calm to chaos.

For a man who often moonlighted as a superhero, he wasn't sure what to do first. Or more accurately, unable to console his youngest, no matter what he said or did, he wasn't sure which phone to answer first or whether he should just let them all go to Voicemail, so he could focus on Bess. He was slowly rising to a state of panic, and ignoring the phones, he went to the back door, hoping help was close by.

"Lu-cy!" he called, sounding desperate as he stepped outside to knock on his sister-in-law's door. "Luce! Are you there?" he called over Bess' inconsolable cries.

"I'm here!" his sister-in-law yelled back, appearing at the back door with one of her twins under one arm, giggling madly at the sound of the other twin somewhere in the living room giggling just as madly back. Lucy grinned briefly before her expression turned concerned. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Johnny replied, a worried frown on his face. "She just burst into tears for no reason," he explained. "Can you take her a minute? My phone won't stop ringing." Well, at least, he had his priorities in order, putting Bess first, no matter who was on the other end of that phone call.

"Of course." Lucy hiked Natalia up onto her hip, opening her other arm to take Bess onto her other hip and hug the distraught toddler close. "Steve! Need a hand here!" she called, nodding to Johnny. "Anything you need, we'll help."

Steve was there, almost before Lucy called for help, the sound of a wailing toddler summoning him to the door. He reached for baby Natalia, freeing Lucy to handle the wailing Bess. Baby Sarah was down for a nap, and the others were off at school, leaving Steve and Lucy with just the twins to manage for a few hours.

"What's going on?" he asked, looking from Lucy to Johnny and back, but Johnny was already stepping back outside so that he could take the phone call without Bess screaming in his ear.

"No idea," Lucy answered Steve, jiggling Bess gently in her arms. "He's got two phones going over there by the sound of it. There now, little miss, what's all this noise for, hmm?"

"Maybe she's just missing Liv," Steve suggested, easily balancing the one-year-old against a hip - and then the Rogers' phones started ringing with almost as much urgency as the Storms'. The expression on Steve's face changed, turning concerned. It was just too coincidental for all of their phones to be going off at the same time, but his first thoughts went to the children. Had something happened that the school was trying to get in touch with them? He extended an arm to take Bess from her, easily able to juggle both girls at once, even if one was wailing. "You better get that, Luce," he told her.

Lucy's expression darkened in the same moment Steve's did. This was just a little too coincidental, and coincidence in this family did not generally bode well. Handing Bess over to Steve, she picked up the phone, glancing worriedly over to the Storms' house.

Johnny could be seen from the window, and Steve could see even from the short distance between them that his face had turned a ghostly shade of pale and he'd had to reach out to support himself against a tree so that his legs didn't give way. It was a rare thing, to see Johnny Storm so affected by whatever was going on, and Steve's heart sank, knowing that whatever it was, it was serious.

"Luce," he whispered. "I think it's Liv."

There was a very short pause as Lucy nodded, clearing her throat as her own face turned pale at what was being said on the phone. "H-hang on a sec, Tony, let me put you on speaker." She set the phone down with a shaking hand, easing down onto a stool as Tony's voice came across openly in the kitchen.

"... hear me? Sue got on to Pepper - she saw it happen - she's being taken to the mansion, not a public hospital. Romanoff wants you to call her, Steve."

"Tony, what's ..." Steve started, having trouble hearing him over Bess' incessant wailing, though she was starting to tire and falter. "Okay, give me a minute," he said, looking to Lucy first, with concern on his face. "Luce, I'm gonna put Nat down for a nap. Can you handle Bess while I call Nat?" he asked, not realizing how ridiculous that sounded, having named one half of the twins after one of their nearest and dearest friends.

Lucy nodded, her expression tight with the effort of not panicking. Not yet, anyway. "Come here, darling," she told Bess, gathering her niece into her arms. "Sorry, Tony - I'm still here. Do you know what happened?"

Community Events / Fire Prevention Week
« on: November 05, 2017, 10:34:49 AM »
((OOC: Considering running an annual Fire Prevention/Emergency Preparedness event that would be city-wide, if there's an interest. The last time I posted a poll about this, only five people responded to the poll. If you are interested in attending, posting, or helping with such an event, please vote in the poll. There is a lot of potential here for a fun event, if people are interested, but I see no point in running an event if there is no interest, so please vote! And thanks for reading! :) ))

The Governor's Office / Message to the Governor
« on: October 09, 2017, 09:48:20 AM »
Johnny obviously had a little help drafting his message to the new governor. He'd been following the election with no small amount of worry and was both pleased and relieved when he'd learned Colleen had won.

Dear Madam Governor,

First, let me say congratulations on the election. I am confident the city is in good hands with you in the governor's chair.

Regarding the matter of expanding emergency services throughout the city, I am willing to meet with you and others and do whatever I can to help. The main problem I have found is funding. I'm sure you are already aware that we acquired funding for the emergency shelter from the Sword of Damocles Foundation, but there are many other ways to raise money and awareness of the need for emergency services, especially living in such times as we do.

Perhaps an event, such as an Open House or Fire Prevention Day, would help raise awareness and attract those who might be interested in funding such a project. I am sure the Old Temple District would be more than happy to run such an event, and I am willing to do whatever I can to help. You can reach me either at home at Maple Grove or at the Fire Station.

Again, congratulations on the election, and I am looking forward to working with you this coming year to help make our city safe for all its citizens.

Johnny Storm

RDI Playables / Grand Opening Event!
« on: May 10, 2017, 07:07:20 PM »
Thanks to generous funding from the Sword of Damocles Foundation, the Old Temple District Fire Station #3 Emergency Shelter will hold a Grand Opening this coming Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Everyone is welcome to come out for a free tour of the shelter, and in celebration, we will have free hotdogs for everyone!

With special guest appearances from the Human Torch, Ironman, Captain America, and the Black Widow.

Bring the whole family and join us for this one-time only event!

Autographed poster to be raffled off to one lucky guest!

((This is a board-only event. Icons will be distributed to all those who participate in the event by posting in this thread. The thread will be left open until 5/21 for your convenience. In addition, we will be raffling off the autographed poster at random to one lucky PC. Feel free to drop me a PM with any questions, and thanks for reading! :) ))

Crash and Burn / Grand Opening Event!
« on: May 10, 2017, 05:53:43 PM »

Thanks to generous funding from the Sword of Damocles Foundation, the Old Temple District Fire Station #3 Emergency Shelter will hold a Grand Opening this coming Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Everyone is welcome to come out for a free tour of the shelter, and in celebration, we will have free hotdogs for everyone!

With special guest appearances from the Human Torch, Ironman, Captain America, and the Black Widow.

Autographed poster to be raffled off to one lucky guest!

Bring the whole family and join us for this one-time only event!

((This is a board-only event. Icons will be distributed to all those who participate in the event by posting in this thread. The thread will be left open until 5/24 for your convenience. In addition, we will be raffling off the autographed poster at random to one lucky PC. Feel free to drop me a PM with any questions, and thanks for reading! :) ))

RDI Playables / Fired Up on WHAM! 101.1FM: Pro-Human Protests
« on: January 09, 2017, 07:36:55 PM »
A special guest shows up at WHAM! 101 FM this week in the form of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, to talk with DJ "Zassy Yas" about something important to all the citizens of Rhy'Din.

((This playable is connected to the Pro-Human Protests SL. You can read more about Johnny's visit to WHAM here. Many thanks to Yas for making it happen! Feel free to play off this playable however you so desire. :)))

Community Events / Fire Prevention Week
« on: October 02, 2016, 11:22:16 AM »
Considering doing another open house at the Old Temple Fire Station, in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week (after the elections are over). It could be a district or city-wide event, but last year, there didn't seem to be much interest.

Posting a poll here to see if anyone is interested in seeing this event happen or in getting involved in any way. If anyone has any questions, concerns, suggestions, etc. drop me a PM. Poll ends in one week.

Thanks for reading! :)

Crash and Burn / An Important Decision
« on: October 01, 2016, 06:28:58 PM »
Johnny angrily slammed the newspaper on the table, the edges curling and turning black as they lit with flames before he smothered them with the palm of one hand. While he hadn't been able to attend the debate, he'd read and re-read the transcript from the night before, getting a little more agitated each time.

What made him angry the most was the insinuation by certain candidates that Rhy'Din was not one city, diversified and yet unified for the good of all; that crossing district borders, even for the benefit of the people who lived there, might be perceived as a threat.

Not only that, but he'd also read how certain candidates seemed to consider certain races as superior to others.

Now, Johnny was no native to Rhy'Din, nor was he human - at least, not anymore. He'd been born human, of course, but how he'd become what he was now was irrelevant. Despite being what some might consider "super-human", he had never claimed to be better than anyone else, human or otherwise. Maybe he was naive, but he truly believed everyone was created equal, no matter their race or any other differences between them. Equal rights for all, and furthermore, everyone in the city deserved to be protected against violence and danger of any kind.

It was Johnny's duty as a member of the Rhy'Din Fire Brigade to serve and protect, as it was that of his fellow firefighters, and he did not take that duty lightly. It saddened him that some people had lost their lives due to the ignorance and hatred of others, but it was his job to ensure the safety of all Rhy'Din's people, no matter whether they were human or not.

He could understand why the Watch might be perceived as a threat, mistakenly or otherwise, but the Fire Brigade? How could they possibly be a threat?

To Johnny, the insinuation that he and his fellow firefighters might have a hidden agenda or might favor certain districts or races over others was  like a slap in the face - an insult to his honor and good intentions.

He had often crossed district boundary lines to help other areas of the city. There were no boundaries or barriers in the sky that he was aware of, and he had never been turned away. As a matter of fact, he'd been thanked time and again, not only by humans but other races, as well, for coming to their aid. Fire was his specialty, and though he couldn't be there to save everyone and put out every fire, he was dedicated to doing his best to keep Rhy'Din's people safe.

He knew most people in Rhy'Din just wanted to live and work and raise their families in peace, but there were always those who weren't happy unless they were causing some conflict or another.

And so, Johnny considered the candidates, wondering which one of them, if any, deserved his support and his vote. Maybe even considering which one he might campaign for. Which of them was likeliest to live up to their promises of making Rhy'Din a better place for all of its people?

Johnny hoped he and all of Rhy'Din's citizens made a wise choice when it came time to cast their vote for governor. Their very survival might depend on it.

Crash and Burn / Little Wonders
« on: April 09, 2016, 03:25:15 PM »
It was a warm, spring day in New York - the perfect day for an outing. The Storms and the Rogers had decided not to waste a minute of the gorgeous weather, taking advantage of the warm, spring day with a visit to the zoo. While the rest of the gang had gone off to see the big cats, Maria had asked Johnny to take her to the petting zoo, where she could see a variety of tamer animals up close and personal.

Besides, Liv, Lucy, and Steve could handle the others between them. Maria hadn't had much time exclusively of her own with her Daddy, and had pretty much put her foot down about it today. That happened so rarely that everyone had given in straightaway. Hand in hand with Johnny, she lingered by the pens, shy of joining in with the activities all around them as she pointed at the little animals frolicking about.

Thankfully, no one had recognized Johnny or Steve so far, and their little group was able to enjoy the day in relative peace. After all, who expected to see Captain America or the Human Torch admiring the animals at the Bronx Zoo? As for Johnny, he was in his glory with little Maria all to himself, for a change. It was usually Alex who demanded attention, being the older and bolder of the two, so when Maria had tapped his side and pointed at the petting zoo, he'd been more than happy to indulge his little girl.

Crouching down beside her, the two of them watched while other children excitedly crowded around the sheep, ignoring the silent little girl and her father. "Would you like to feed them, Mo?" Johnny asked his daughter quietly.

Big blue eyes turned toward him, half-wary and half-hopeful. Maria was always going to be a little bit shy, especially when there were lots of other people about. Though she never made mention of it, the trauma she had shared with her brother and cousins in the Arctic had left its mark. She raised her hands, a little self-conscious of needing to sign when every other child there could chatter away without worries. "Won't I get bit?"

Johnny smiled reassuringly, understanding her fears and reservations and happy to put her at ease. "No, it's a petting zoo. They don't allow animals who bite in here," he assured her, one arm wrapped warmly and protectively around her. He waved a hand to try and get one of the workers' attention. "Excuse me! Could we buy some food for the sheep?" he asked, now that the crowd of chattering children was moving on to the next pen.

With one arm wrapped about Johnny's neck, Maria hugged him warmly, reassured that she wasn't going to get bitten by anything. When he started asking about food for the sheep, her eyes turned in that direction, looking at the little woolly breed that had been set apart to be petted. "Can I hug them, too?"

"Yes, of course. I'm sorry. I didn't see you there!" The young woman smiled as she came over to greet the pair, noticing the little girl signing to her father and assuming she could neither hear nor speak.

Johnny chuckled at little Maria's question and tilted a glance at the young zoo worker. "She wants to know if she can hug them, too."

The young woman, who didn't look much older than Fliss, smiled and looked around to see if anyone was watching. "I think we might be able to arrange that," she replied quietly, putting a finger to her lips as if it was their little secret.

Maria beamed, proving that she could hear the woman just fine. It didn't occur to her that she might be getting special treatment because she was small and quiet; there was no danger of her frightening the animals with any loud noises, after all. She still clung to Johnny, though, needing the reassurance of having her Daddy close by in this big, loud place.

"What's your name?" the zoo worker asked, as she crouched down near Maria. She wasn't sure why the little girl couldn't speak, but she either was good at lip-reading or there was nothing wrong with her hearing. "I'm Sarah," she said, by way of introduction.

One shy little hand rose to wave a hello back to Sarah as Maria smiled her shy little smile. Reluctantly removing her arm from about Johnny's neck, she answered the question put to her, despite the fact that she was pretty sure Sarah wouldn't understand it. "I'm Maria. You have a pretty name."

Thankfully, Johnny was there to interpret. "Her name is Maria, and she says you have a pretty name."

To her credit, Sarah focused her attention on Maria, despite Johnny having to interpret for her. "Thanks, Maria. You have a pretty name, too. Would you like to touch them? I promise they won't hurt you," she asked, regarding the sheep.

Maria's blue eyes turned to the sheep with wary hope once again, her little fingers twitching to touch their wool. Glancing at Johnny once more for a little reassurance, she raised her eyes to Sarah, nodding in answer to the question put to her, that little smile brightening her solemn face once again.

"You're not allergic to wool, are you?" Sarah asked, her gaze looking from one to the other. It was a question she had to ask everyone who came in contact with the sheep, just in case.

"Naw, we're not allergic," Johnny assured her, as he moved to his feet and swept Maria up into his arms.

"Okay, good. Sometimes people forget or they don't know and then they break out in a rash," Sarah explained, as she swung the gate open to admit them entry. Thankfully, most of the other children in the yard had gone off to feed the ducks, leaving Johnny and Maria alone with the sheep.

Hugging to Johnny as he lifted her up, Maria's eyes wandered enviously to the group of children moving toward the ducks. She knew she was never going to be like other children, and though her family and friends did not treat her any differently, it was sad sometimes to know she would never speak or laugh the way other children did. But she was on an outing, and she had her Daddy all to herself - that was cause enough to smile.

From her safe perch, she watched as they drew close to the sheep, looking down at the heads butting at her feet with her silent huff of a laugh, secure enough to take her arms from around Johnny's neck to sign. "They're funny!"

"They are, aren't they?" Johnny replied, echoing her laughter.

"Don't be afraid," Sarah said, ignoring the private conversation going on between what she assumed was father and daughter. "They won't hurt you. I promise," she said, reaching down to touch one of the sheep and run her fingers through the soft tufts of wool growing on its back. "See?"

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