Author Topic: Birthday Breakfast  (Read 296 times)

Olivia Storm

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Birthday Breakfast
« on: July 07, 2015, 11:34:02 AM »
In Willow Manor, on Maple Grove, it was rare indeed to get the chance to lie in past the bright dawning of a new day. Last night, however, had been a late one - a delighted demonstration of Johnny's gifts with fireworks that had kept everyone up late. The fireworks had continued even later into the night across the Grove - any excuse for a celebration - which had resulted in a very crowded bed in the Storms' master suite. As the room warmed with the sunlight through the window, it illuminated the sight of Johnny and Liv curled up in bed, with Alexei hugging Liv's back and the bump, Maria sprawled comfortably on her back between them, and Fliss back to back with Johnny on the other side of the bed. Not to mention Bella draped across the end of the bed, dreaming happy doggy dreams. Thank goodness they had followed through on the idea of getting a bigger bed.

It was the thump of Bella's tail against Johnny's legs that woke him. That, and Maria's legs that kept kicking him every time she wiggled to get comfortable between him and Liv. It was a good thing that they had a big bed, but two full grown adults, one teenager, two children, and a rather large dog was pushing it to the limits. If he moved even a little bit either way, he was going to send someone onto the floor, and it wasn't going to be him. "Liv ..." he whispered past the sleeping girl between them. "Pssst ... Olivia ..."

Liv was never the most enthusiastic when it came to waking up, even less so when she was comfortably cuddled up with her family. Not even the vague discomfort of her full bladder was enough to wake her without a little help. She grimaced, protesting a little at the sound of her name being whispered across the bed.

He saw her grimace and knew she was starting to wake up, but it wasn't so much her bladder that had woken him as his - not to mention Bella's tail. "Livvie ..." he called again in a hushed whisper, gaze darting to Maria to see if he'd woken her up. "I have to pee!" he called over, hoping Fliss didn't hear or he'd never hear the end of it.

Another grimace, and finally Liv's eyes started to open. She blinked a couple of times, focusing blearily over Maria's blissfully oblivious face, to find Johnny looking at her with what looked like mild panic. "What?" she whispered back, her only free hand reaching back to make sure whoever was behind her wasn't about to fall off the edge of the bed.

He looked relieved to find her awake finally, but that look of milk panic was still on his face. "I have to ... you know ..." This said to a pregnant woman was probably not going to garner him much sympathy, but if she wanted to make sure he didn't soil the bed, it was probably a good idea she helped him figure out how to get out of it. "When did Fliss get here? Last thing I remember, I was on the end." Which is where he preferred to be. That way if anyone fell off, it was him. It also allowed him a quick escape route if he needed it.

"Bella probably brought her in when we'd finally got to sleep," Liv whispered back, casting a vaguely accusing look to the dog snoring with her head on Johnny's feet. Considering the layout of the bed for a moment, she came to a conclusion. "You'll have to wake Fliss up," she murmured to him. "I can't move, or Alex will fall off."

"You know she sleeps like a rock. It would take World War Three to wake her up!" Johnny whispered back, trying to keep his voice down, though he was growing even more frantic. "Maybe ..." he mused as he looked over the group huddled on the bed. "Maybe I can climb over her ..."

"Maybe we should start keeping a pot by the bed for you to piss into," Liv muttered, always just a little bit grumpy these days when she was woken up, thanks to her passenger's habit of waking up at the same time. At the moment, the baby seemed to be doing pirouettes, but she had a feeling it was going to sit on her bladder heavily at any moment. At the end of the bed, Bella suddenly perked up, her head rising as she looked around curiously. "Oh, good grief, don't tell me we have visitors at this time of the morning ..."

"Oh, that's very funny. Funny girl. Maybe you should do stand-up ..." he replied, slightly agitated, though he'd be just fine once he'd relieved himself. He'd have to blame all the beer he'd drunk the night before - root beer, that is. He'd been guzzling the stuff down like it was water, and eventually, it became a contest between him and Fliss to see who could drink more. He shifted on the bed, as he attempted to maneuver between the dog and the teenager beside him. "Visitors?" Johnny echoed, jerking his head toward the window. It was like playing a game of Twister trying to get out of his own bed in the morning. "What time is it?"

"God, I don't know ..." Anything else Liv might have said was rudely interrupted by the sight of Johnny shifting ever so slightly to try and see what time it was. She winced preemptively, knowing what came next. Just the barest movement, and Fliss over-balanced, waking up abruptly in the split second before she hit the floor with a thump.


Bella stood up on the bed, eyes alert and tail wagging a mile a minute. Whoever or whatever it was she was hearing, it didn't seem to be a threat. She barked once - a friendly bark that was more greeting than warning - and jumped off the bed to go over and greet Fliss, who was now on the floor, and lick her face to say good morning. "Nonono, Bella!" Johnny exclaimed, as she jumped from the bed setting him off balance, and he, too, tumbled to the floor with a loud thump. Thankfully, he didn't land on top of the teenager.

"Oof! Morning, Bells ..." Rolled over onto her back with a good morning kiss from their enthusiastic dog, Fliss had the perfect view of Johnny toppling off the bed to land with a thump of his own between her and the bed itself, and absolutely no sympathy, since she'd been woken up in exactly the same way.

On the bed itself, the sudden movement had woken Maria with a start, and silent though she was, she was still young enough that her first reaction was tears. Easing further into the center of the bed, Liv gathered the little girl into her arms to soothe that fright with a hug and a kiss, trying not to laugh too hard at the silly wake up that was going on.

"Morning!" Johnny greeted Fliss, kissing the cheek that wasn't already wet for Bella and sprang to his feet. "I gotta go!" he exclaimed, making a mad dash to the bathroom fast enough that he set his shirt on fire.

Alexei awoke on the other side of Liv, sleepily rubbing at his eyes and declaring the first thing on his mind. "I'm hungry."

"Ewww, Dad kisses," was Fliss' mild complaint as she rose from the floor to cuddle down into the covers with the rest of their little family again, ignoring Bella's bouncy barking. "Hey sleepy girl, no tears. It's just Dad being Dad."

With Fliss taking over the comforting of Maria, Liv twisted onto her back to smile at Alexei. "You, little man, are always hungry," she chuckled, stroking her fingers through his hair. "Did you sleep well?"
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: Birthday Breakfast
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 11:34:58 AM »
"Oh, that's better!" Johnny could be heard saying behind the bathroom door, like the rest of the family really wanted a play by play while he relieved himself. He was going to blame Fliss for this, but not until he was finished.

Alexei seemed to be the only one of them who seemed actually happy to have been woken. He beamed a smile back at his new mother. "Da, Mama. The fireworks were ..." He frowned a little as he tried to find the right word for what he wanted to say, distracted momentarily by Maria's crying. "Why she crying? She okay?"

"Maria was frightened by the noise Papa and Fliss made when they fell out of bed, love, that's all," Liv explained to him gently, tucking her top down over the swell at her waist. "She's almost better now, see? No more tears."

With her thumb in her mouth, Maria blinked at Alexei from where she was tucked up in Fliss' arms, wriggling her fingers in hello to her adoptive brother.

Alexei beamed a smile back at his adoptive sister, who he had personally promised to take care of long ago, back before their father and his friends had come to rescue them. "No crying, Maria! Martin and Lianne are here!" he announced with a grin, scrambling out of bed excitedly to go greet the visitors he seemed to know had arrived before anyone else, save Bella. "Toropit'sya!" he called back. The smell of coffee brewing wafted into the bedroom as soon as Alexei flung open the bedroom door, announcing the presence of someone other than them in the house.

The sound of water running in the bathroom announced that Johnny was just about finished relieving himself. When he finally returned, there was a frown on his face, nothing left of his t-shirt but a ruined mess. He lost more t-shirts that way. "That was my favorite shirt," he pouted, though he said that about all his shirts.

Liv blinked at Alexei's excited exit, vaguely noting the smell of coffee as Fliss gathered Maria into her arms and headed out after their brother. She hadn't picked up much Russian in the last couple of months, but the general gist of the exclamation called back to them seemed to be along the lines of "hurry up". Pulling herself to sit up, she chuckled at Johnny's mournful comment on his shirt. "Sweetheart, you really should stop wearing your favorite shirts so much if they get ruined so often," she pointed out, stretching gently. "And I think we have visitors."

"Should I buy shirts I hate?" Johnny asked, not seeing much sense in that, still pouting. It was then he realized she had been abandoned and he wondered if it was because of his shirt. "Where'd everybody go? It's my shirt, not my pants!" he called after the exodus of children and dog, as he poked his head around the corner. "Is that coffee?" he asked suddenly, even more easily distracted than usual.

A voice floated up from below that was very distinctive, not least of which because he'd known that voice before he knew his wife's. "I don't care what you did to your pants, make sure my sister is awake and presentable and come downstairs!"

In the bed, Liv giggled at the sound of her sister's response. "We've been invaded!"

"Lucy?" Johnny queried, though it was perfectly obvious who they'd been invaded by and from the round of cheers from younger voices, it sounded like she wasn't alone. Johnny smirked as he climbed onto the bed with his wife, "Alone at last. Think Luce would mind kidsitting a while?" he asked with a lecherous grin.

"Oh, does my fiery husband have other ideas of what he can be doing with his morning?" Liv teased him fondly. Even if Lucy had not been downstairs, she would have trusted Fliss to keep an eye on the other two, but it was nice to know that there was at least one other adult around. She leaned over to kiss him affectionately. "Maybe we should lock the door this time," she suggested in a playful murmur. "Unless you want Maria watching again."

"Maybe we should," Johnny said, as he crawled up the bed to straddle his wife, even as he made no attempt whatsoever to lock said door, too distracted by his wife. Warm hands traveled over her pajama-clad hips, as he kissed the swell of her belly. "Good morning, Junior," he told the child inside her, feeling he or she move beneath his hand. It didn't really matter much to him whether it was a boy or a girl, but for now he was calling the child Junior, for lack of a better name. He didn't linger long though, as he kissed his way up her body to meet her lips. "Good morning, Mrs. Storm." He liked the way that sounded - Mrs. Storm. She was the only Mrs. Storm in existence, now that Sue had become Mrs. Richards.

Falling back onto the bed with a low laugh, Liv welcomed his touch, far less inclined toward shyness these days, now they had to snatch whatever time they wanted together between the demands of their children. Her fingers poured through his hair as he greeted their unborn baby, watching as he made his way higher until her smiling lips met his. "Good morning, Mr. Storm," she murmured in answer, stroking her fingertips over his bare shoulders, momentarily distracted by the sparkle of emerald and diamond in the sunlight, remembering his proposal, in the middle of an ice rink, all the while terrified that he was going to crack the ice entirely and send everyone there plunging into the super-cooled water. "I like it when you call me that."

"I like calling you that," he replied, kissing the tip of her nose before laying down beside her and turning her with him, so that he didn't smother her or squish the baby between them. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me," he told her for quite possibly the thousandth time as he brushed her hair back from her face with warm fingers. "How much time do you think we have?"

"Maybe twenty minutes?" she mused thoughtfully, rolling as he turned her, kissing the tip of his nose as he touched her hair. "We should be getting better at this, you know." Although, of everyone downstairs, the one most likely to come bursting in was Lucy. She didn't really consider herself to be intruding unless she'd been specifically asked to stay away.

"It's a little hard when the kids end up in our bed half the time," he said, though he was smiling happily. He was truly happy, and it didn't matter much to him if the kids shared their bed. They always seemed to manage one way or another to find time for each other, even if it meant stolen moments here and there while the kids were in school or outside playing. "We shouldn't waste any time then," he said, letting his lips wander, leaving a trail of teasing kisses against her neck.

"Papa! Mama!" a voice called from somewhere downstairs. "Breakfast!"

Distracted as she was, Liv opened her eyes to focus on the open door for a moment as the familiar voice yelled up the stairs to them. "We'll be down in a minute!" she called back, a little breathless but hopefully not so much that Alexei would notice. "Save some for us!" Her breath caught in a low moan as she dipped her head to Johnny, her lips catching his with tender hunger. They were obviously going to have to be quick this time.

Johnny may have forgotten to close the door, but he at least remembered to tug the covers up over them both, disappearing beneath them as he worked at getting Liv's shorts off. Twenty minutes had been reduced to "a minute", which could mean anything from five minutes to half an hour depending on how impatient and distracted the children were.

He did, however, manage to reduce his wife to helpless giggles as he disappeared beneath the covers, lifting her hips to help him with her pajama shorts. There wasn't much subtlety in catching a few minutes of intimacy when the house was full of children, though she would probably have shut the door. They were going to have to be very quiet.
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: Birthday Breakfast
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 11:36:44 AM »
It was too late now and he was too distracted to break away from her long enough to close and lock the door. Besides, it seemed the children were distracted enough with breakfast and the surprise visit. It hadn't yet occurred to Johnny that this was the first time in a very long time that Steve and Lucy had ventured through the Nexus, but it would occur to him sooner or later - hopefully not in the middle of a quickie. Somehow he managed to get Liv's shorts off and was in the process of wriggling out of his own, making a mess of the bed in the process, while he did his best to prime her pump, so to speak, with eager lips and hands.

With one hand over her mouth to muffle herself, Liv caught movement out of the corner of her eye - Lucy, grinning like an idiot, pulling Bella back out of the room and closing the door behind them quietly. Just as well she hadn't sent any of the children up to get them. Dropping her hand from her mouth, Liv giggled, lifting the covers to draw Johnny up to her with a grin of her own. "We have time," she promised him affectionately. "Let's make the most of it."

Johnny grinned back at her, not having to look at the door to know it was closed and who had done it. "Remind me later to thank her," he said before going to work to make the most of the short gift of privacy they'd just been given. He knew Liv well enough by now that he knew what to do to get her engine purring, but he couldn't be blamed if she moaned and groaned at his ministrations. There had been a time before they'd adopted Fliss when they'd had all the time in the world, but somehow having three children, a dog, and another on the way waiting on you only made those stolen moments are the more precious to them both.

Precious enough that Lucy was more than happy to give her sister and brother-in-law half an hour or more to enjoy together for the first time in a while. She thumped down the stairs, Bella padding ahead of her, to a scene of near chaos. Four children, a teen, and a toddler, and Steve seemed as though he was under siege in the kitchen. Add Bella to the mix, and it really was chaos. "All right, all right," she called for their attention. "People who want breakfast need to be setting the table and sitting down at it. Dogs who want the loo need to come with me."

"There's only one dog, Luce," Steve pointed out with a grin. This was the kind of chaos he'd be happy to deal with every day, unlike the kind he'd often been subjected to during the war and with Lucy there to help, it was more like organized chaos. "You heard the General!" Steve told the children. Though he was accustomed to giving orders in battle, it was clearly Lucy who ruled the roost on the home front. "Fliss, pour the juice! Martin and Lianne, set the table! Alex, get the jam and the syrup! Maria, fold the napkins!" This was all said while Steve was juggling pancakes and bacon and eggs and toast.

As Lucy led Bella to the back door to let her out for her own morning ablutions, the chaos became a little more organized. Fliss opened up the drawer for little hands to collect knives, forks, and spoons, handing down a stack of plates to other little hands, before she turned her attention to pouring the juice. Maria, on the other hand, had to tug on Steve's pant leg and wait for his attention before offering up her silent inquiry. "I cannot reach. Help, please?"

Steve was a little surprised by the tug, turning to look down a the little girl with the big eyes looking up at him. Was it any wonder Johnny had such a soft spot for this one? "Of course, sweetheart," he told her, setting down his cooking utensils for just a minute to reach for a handful of napkins and hand them off to her. "Just fold them in half and set one beside each plate, okay?" he asked as gently as he could, even while Jamie banged his spoon on the tray of his high chair, demanding attention and food.

Maria nodded, smiling as she took her own personal task into her little hands and trotted off after her brother and cousins. Fliss chuckled, glancing toward the stairs briefly, as though expecting to see her parents come down at any moment. "Uncle Steve ... can I ask you something?"

"Sure," Steve said, watching Maria as she went about fulfilling her task before turning back to finish cooking up breakfast. "This isn't a birds and the bees kind of question, is it?" he asked with a worried look on his face. He thought Fliss was old enough to know about those things already and it wasn't really his place to explain if she didn't.

The teenager pulled a face in his direction. "Ugh, no," she protested, shaking her head. "No, it's ... it's kind of about ... powers. About how they develop. I mean, I know mine came on when I hit puberty, and that makes sense, but I was never experimented on. How do we know if what got done to them left anything behind?"

Steve's gaze flickered momentarily toward the foursome they'd rescued from the Arctic back to Fliss with a solemn but concerned expression. "We don't, really, but if it did, we'll find out sooner or later. Why do you ask?" He didn't really want to tell her what had gone on there and what horrors they'd rescued the children from. No one should have to suffer the way they had suffered, especially not children. He and Lucy had discussed all this in depth, but it was not something he expected to come from Fliss.

"Just a feeling." Fliss shrugged, handing the glasses one at a time to her brother, sister, and cousins as they trooped back to the kitchen counter for more instructions. Martin got the big filled jug to carry, as the oldest. "Like ... Maria knows when someone needs her, when she couldn't possibly know. And Alexei, this morning ... he knew it was you guys, and we hadn't even heard you come in. Is telepathy real?"

Steve's brows furrowed as he considered what Fliss was telling him. Martin and Lianne hadn't really exhibited any special talents or abilities yet. Maybe they never would or maybe they just hadn't made themselves known yet. Thankfully, Fliss and Alexei and Maria made their home in Rhy'Din, where S.H.I.E.L.D. or any other interested party wouldn't come looking for them and where unusual powers and abilities were far more common than back home on Earth. He'd seen a lot of strange things since volunteering to be injected with the super serum, and telepathy was not the worst of them. "You already know nothing is impossible, Fliss," he pointed out, though that didn't really answer her question. "Yes, it's real." He glanced at the children again before looking back to her, lowering his voice for her ears only. "Have you mentioned it to your parents yet?"

She shook her head. "Not yet," she admitted. "What they did to Maria still upsets them, but ... what if that serum actually worked? What if, because she doesn't have vocal chords, she's working out another way to communicate? I-I-I don't know if Alexei's doing the same thing out of solidarity, or whether he can, I don't know, borrow someone else's ability for a little while. And you're the biggest expert I know who won't snitch on me."

There was that look on his face again, thoughtful, serious, concerned, and just a little angry that anyone could hurt a child in such a way, as if they were guinea pigs in a lab to be poked and prodded. He wasn't surprised to hear what had been done to Maria still upset Liv and Johnny - it upset him and Lucy, too. "It's possible, but without knowing more, I can't be certain. What exactly is it that worries you, Fliss?" he asked, wondering if this was really just about Maria and Alexei or something else. He knew she'd had a hard time with her own abilities, until Johnny had taught her control.

Fliss hesitated for a long moment, hidden behind her hair. She had a couple of reasons for her concern, but she was only going to admit to one of them to Steve. The other ... if she couldn't keep it hidden, then she would share it with Johnny and Liv, and no one else. "She's so little," she said softly. "She doesn't even know how to be a kid yet, and she might have to learn how not to read other people's minds out of politeness before she knows how to communicate openly properly. It's not fair."
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: Birthday Breakfast
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 11:37:43 AM »
Steve was frowning again, this time in both concern for Maria and sympathy for Fliss, who seemed to genuinely love and care for her little sister. This was a hard lesson for them both. "No, it's not fair, but she has you and your parents and your brother to help her, and that's a lot more than she had before." But no Peggy, not anymore. Steve pushed that thought away, confident Johnny and Liv would be able to handle it, and if they needed help from him or Lucy, all they had to do was ask. "What's important right now is that we give her all the love and support we can. Don't be afraid to talk to her, to let her know she can come to you about anything. If you're right, then things might get confusing for her. She might not understand what she's hearing in her head, and she's gonna need someone to help her sort it out and learn how to control it. You're all going to the Academy, right? They should be able to help there, but I think you should tell your parents."

Reluctantly, Fliss nodded, knowing she should really have spoken to Johnny or Liv first. But she'd wanted to know she had something to talk to them about, before broaching the subject with them. "I will," she promised Steve, yelping in surprise as Lucy's arms wrapped about her from behind.

"Tell your parents what?" her aunt declared curiously. "Do you have a secret boyfriend? Come on, you can tell me."

Fliss laughed, elbowing Lucy to make her let go. "No, I don't have a boyfriend," she said exaggeratedly, rolling her eyes. "God, you sound like Dad." Sticking her tongue out at Lucy, she absconded with the cereal and milk, pulling Jamie in his high chair with her, to get the children started on breakfast.

Steve would have said more, but then Lucy was there, mentioning boyfriends and scaring the poor girl away. Steve smiled at the two of them, though there was a part of him that was worried now. Fliss had come to him first, not to Johnny or Liv or Lucy, but he thought it was probably Lucy who would have the most to offer on the subject. He glanced to Lucy with a look that said, "Tell you later."

Lucy had heard enough to know what was on his mind, nodding to her husband with a gentle smile as she kissed his bicep. "I'll look at Maria first, then," she murmured, low enough that only he - and possibly Bella - could hear her, moving to start transferring the bacon into a dish to keep warm in the oven. Judging by the sounds coming through the archway to the dining room, the children were more than happy to be left with cereal for now, gabbling away to one another while Fliss busied herself with Jamie.

"It's possible she's exhibiting abilities before the others because of her need to communicate," Steve remarked, keeping his voice low as he transferred the pancakes to a plate and started on scrambled eggs. "I haven't noticed anything with Martin and Lianne, have you?"

Lucy shook her head, her own voice low for the sake of the merry little gathering not so far away. "Nothing that concerns me," she admitted. "Although Lianne's ability to shake off just about anything she catches could have something to do with the other serum. I'm still working on analyzing the results of the genetic tests, but that could take months. It's a lot of information, and I don't dare program anything into a computer in case it gets hacked."

He thought that over quietly for a moment while he stirring the egg mixture in the frying pan. They both knew what would happen if Fury found out, or at least, they thought the did, and there were other factions far more dangerous than S.H.I.E.L.D. to worry about. "Maybe we should talk to Liv and Johnny later," he suggested, though there wasn't much that could be done about the situation right now. It was just a matter of observing and being aware of what might happen. "Fliss said her abilities manifested when she reached puberty, but I don't think that applies here."

Lucy shook her head, agreeing with him. "Fliss' abilities are magical in origin, something different to genetic mutation," she said softly. "We should definitely talk to Liv and Johnny, but tomorrow. Give Fliss a chance to talk to them first. She did say she trusted you not to snitch." She smiled gently, tucking the pancakes into the oven to stay warm along with the bacon. "I thought we were going to make Johnny cook breakfast, anyway? I could go up there and drag him out of bed, if you like."

"Are you sure you aren't psychic yourself?" he asked with the hint of a smirk, realizing she'd overheard quite a bit. Steve chuckled as he looked back at the eggs scrambling in the pan. "No, let them have some fun. Johnny can make breakfast tomorrow." He glanced toward the gaggle of children at the table and smiled. "At least, they get along well," he said, wondering just how much Lucy had overheard. "Do you want to call them down to breakfast? It's just about ready."

"All right, I'll yell for them," she conceded with a smile. "Try not to eat everything before they get down here." She patted his backside affectionately as she eased past, choosing not to yell up the stairs but to jog to the next level and knock on the master bedroom door to rouse her sister and brother-in-law.

Steve chuckled, knowing he had an appetite big enough for a small army, though he was far too polite to indulge it very often. Like the gentleman he was, he always made sure Lucy and the children got their fill before taking seconds. Very little food went to waste in the Rogers house, but their grocery bill was not something to envy.

Upstairs, Johnny and Liv had finished their little quickie and were just enjoying the quiet in each other's arms. "Go away!" he called from somewhere inside the bedroom when he heard a knock at the door.

Liv could just imagine the look on her sister's face, dissolving into warm giggles as Lucy's voice called through the door. "We'll just eat everything Steve cooked for breakfast then, and leave you nothing," Johnny's sister-in-law informed him. "We'll save something for Liv and the baby, and make you watch her eat it."

"Nice try, Luce!" Johnny called back, laughing. "But my house, my fridge." Despite that, he knew they couldn't very well stay cloistered in the bedroom all day before someone was bound to come looking for them. Besides, he had a million questions about what had brought them to Rhy'Din and he wanted to wish Steve and Jamie a happy birthday and give them their gifts. "Can you give us five minutes?" he asked, needing at least that to get decent.

"Five minutes," the voice called through the door. "And then I'm sending Lianne and Maria up here to get you." Lucy's chuckle faded as she moved away from the door, leaving Liv grinning up at her husband.

"She will, you know," she pointed out. "I think Maria's seen enough of your bare backside to last her a lifetime."

"Should I start wearing my uniform again?" Johnny asked, knowing there was always a chance anything he was wearing could go up in flames, if he wasn't careful. He knew that wasn't quite what she meant, but it was something that worried him just the same. He'd come a long way since he'd first arrived in Rhy'Din, when he hadn't dared take his suit off except to shower. He dropped a kiss against her lips before rolling off the bed, as naked as the day he was born now that he'd stripped off his clothes. "It's too bad Reed can't be more creative. I get tired of always wearing blue."
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: Birthday Breakfast
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 11:38:25 AM »
"Have you thought about maybe asking Miranda?" Liv suggested, rolling out of bed with a good deal less grace than her husband did. She paused a moment to smooth her hand over the swell of her belly, rising to choose something to wear. "She may not be able to manufacture the material itself, but she must have contacts that would take up the challenge. And she does like measuring you for various suits. I expect she'd be over the moon to measure you for something skin-tight." Liv flashed a cheeky grin over her shoulder at Johnny, daring him to take offense.

Johnny rolled his eyes, though he was well aware of the effect he had on, er, other women. Thankfully, he didn't flaunt it around much now that he was happily married. "Miranda is old enough to be my mother!" he pointed out helpfully, though she was pretty hot for a grandma. "She's always after me to model for her." He considered donning his suit but decided against it. He was among family and he wasn't planning on going to flame, as far as he knew. "You really shouldn't encourage her."

"She's always after you to model for her because you are stunningly handsome, and even better, you know what to do," Liv pointed out, tossing a dress onto the bed before pulling on her underwear. "Besides, you like the attention, sweetheart. I know you do." She chuckled, dragging a brush through her hair to rip out the tangles.

Johnny snorted in response to his wife's remark. "You're talking about a woman who's got Jon Granger for a nephew ... cousin ... whatever. Why me and not him?" he asked, and yes, he was asking this about her boss. Hell, he had played Christian Grey on the big screen; modeling suits should be a piece of cake. Johnny donned a fresh t-shirt and shorts, which would likely become his new favorite until it, too, went up in flames. He was just vain enough not to argue the fact that he was handsome, though.

"Because she fancies you," Liv told him laughingly, twisting her hair up with a claw to keep it off her neck before turning to lift her chosen dress from the bed and slip into it. "That, and there is every chance that she's asked Jon and he's flatly refused. He doesn't do much advertising, apart from his line of hair products."

"What's he gonna do when his hairline starts receding?" Johnny blurted, before he could stop himself. Of course, this was Rhy'Din and people stayed young and good-looking until way past their prime. It was one of the advantages of living here. Besides, the man was independently rich and hardly needed to take any modeling gigs to make ends meet. It hadn't always been that way, but Johnny didn't know that. "Why do you think Steve and Lucy are here?" he asked, changing the subject. He'd thought it was them who were going to visit them later that evening, not the other way around.

Tying the belt of her dress loosely over the crown of her little bump, Liv shrugged thoughtfully. "Maybe they decided it was time for a holiday?" she suggested, though she had other suspicions as to why that branch of their family had decided to visit them. She sighed, bending to remake the bed - having children hadn't quite trained all of her OCD neatness out of her yet. "Maybe they need to be away from New York for a while. Away from ... from Peggy."

"Oh," Johnny said, frowning sadly as she pointed that out, reminding him of Peggy's death. It wasn't that he'd forgotten - he'd never forget her as long as he lived - but he didn't want to dwell on it either. "I guess," he admitted quietly, knowing how close Steve had been to Peggy, knowing their history together. "I wish I'd had a chance to say good-bye," he said, swallowing down a lump of tears. He'd taken her death pretty hard, but he didn't want to think about that right now.

"I know." She rose to wrap her arms around him, tearful herself in the wake of remembering her dear great-aunt. It would be a long time before she would be able to think of Peggy without some sadness.

The sadness did not have much of a chance to last, however - true to her word, Lucy had given them five minutes. The door burst open to reveal Lianne and Maria, hand in hand and grinning from ear to ear, cheeky little faces looking up at them. "Maman, she say is time you come down!"

Johnny sniffled as the door was flung open, not wanting the children to see him crying ... again. Thankfully, they were both dressed, so there wasn't much to shock or embarrass them. "Tell Maman she's being a little bit bossy," Johnny teased, smiling as he wiped the tears from his eyes, a kiss to Liv's cheek before he was sweeping Maria up off her feet and into his arms, just because. "Lead the way, Li-Li. We're right behind you."

Lianne giggled softly, knowing better than to pass that message on, and took Liv's hand to lead her down the stairs, as though presenting proof that they had found her aunt and uncle as requested. Scooped up onto Johnny's hip, Maria hugged his neck, kissing his cheek with a little smile of her own. And somehow, despite not having her hands free to speak, she managed to make it known that she was worried to find her father crying.

Johnny didn't need to ask Maria what the kiss was for, smiling through his tears as he followed Liv and Lianne down the stairs. "I'm okay, sweetheart," he told her quietly, touched by the gentle display of affection, though he wasn't sure how she'd known that he needed it. "No tears today. I promise."

Though the scar on her throat was all but invisible, there was no escaping what had been done to little Maria in that Arctic facility. She would never learn to speak with lips and tongue, though she could make noise if she absolutely had to. Her only means of communicating was by the sign language she had been learning with her family, and perhaps Steve was right - perhaps it was her wish to communicate that seemed, somehow, to be awakening the effects of the serum that had been tested on all four of the children rescued. Whatever the reason, she seemed happy enough, cuddling close into Johnny's arms as he bore her down the stairs and waving to the others at the table.

"Oh, so you found them!" Lucy declared in amusement, reaching to help Lianne up into her seat as Liv found herself dragged down next to Fliss.

"If you came all this way to find out if it's a girl or a boy, I hate to disappoint you both, but we don't know yet," Johnny said as he and Maria arrived, just behind Liv and Lianne. Johnny lowered the little girl onto a chair beside her brother and went to pour himself a cup of coffee, ruffling Jamie's hair on the way. "Wow, did you leave us any food for the week?" Johnny teased at the plates full of breakfast fixings.

"Oh, no fair," Lucy laughed, passing her sister a full plate and beginning to serve Johnny's for him. "Mind you, we didn't know Jamie was a boy until he popped out, did we?" She glanced to Steve with a warm smile, half an ear on the chatter of the children.

Fliss made a face. "Do you have to put it like that?" the teen asked. "Popped out? Mom's gotta do that in a few months. Makes it sound like a champagne cork."

"It's not exactly that easy," Steve said, taking a breather from all that cooking to enjoy a cup of coffee himself, not saying any more on the subject as he didn't want to worry the other couple. "It didn't seem right knowing ahead of time."

"Yeah, kinda like knowing what you're getting for your birthday before ... Oh! I almost forgot!" Johnny broke in, handing his cup of coffee to Liv. "It's your birthday!" He disappeared from the room suddenly to fetch their presents.

Steve chuckled and rolled his eyes. "Is he always that easily distracted?"
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: Birthday Breakfast
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2015, 11:39:42 AM »
Liv laughed, rescuing the coffee before Johnny opened his fingers and let it fall on his rush to fetch the presents they had put together for father and son. They were family, so it didn't need to be anything particularly significant ... which was just as well, given that the presents this time had been bought by Johnny, Alexei and Maria, all out on a shopping spree together. "Always," she told Steve with a smile, setting the cup down. "It's a good thing, though," she added, excusing Fliss from the table with a nod and a smile as the teen murmured something about getting dressed. "It means when he's concentrating, it really is good or bad."

Lucy snickered softly. "Maybe Steve should get him drunk while you're in labor, then."

"Oh, no!" Steve replied with a chuckle. "I'm not doing that again," he said, remembering the night Johnny had taken him out on the town and tried to get him drunk, but it hadn't been Johnny who'd passed out. While both of them were somewhat immune to the effects of alcohol, it was Johnny who proved the more susceptible of the two, in the end. "You didn't have to get me anything, you know," he added, frowning a little. He always felt weird about getting gifts or being the center of attention.

"Of course we didn't have to," Liv told him around a mouthful of bacon and pancake, taking a moment to swallow amid the giggles that erupted at the sight of her chowing down mouthfuls that seemed too big to fit in there at all. "We wanted to. You're family, Steve, you're just going to have to get used to people loving you and wanting to show it. Isn't he?" This, she directed toward Jamie, Lianne and Martin with a soft smile.

"Besides," Fliss added, "Dad put a lot of thought into it. Kind of a family effort, you know?"

Steve would much rather be the one giving the gifts than receiving them, but birthdays were birthdays, and who was he to spoil their fun? "He didn't get me a Captain America t-shirt again, did he?" Steve asked quietly, frowning a little. No matter what it was Johnny had picked out - no matter how silly - he would pretend to appreciate it. It was the thought that counted, after all.

Liv smiled, shaking her head. "Not this time," she promised him gently, exchanging a faint grin with Fliss as the teen changed her mind. By contrast, the other two Storms were looking quite excited by the idea of giving Uncle Steve his birthday presents, and Jamie, too. Martin's birthday had been a quiet affair, to respect the little boy's need for something gentle, but Steve was fair game and he knew it.

Johnny was like a kid on Christmas whenever there was a birthday, no matter whose birthday it might be - and the mere fact that Steve's birthday fell on one of Johnny's favorite holidays only made it all that much more fun. He was only gone a minute or two before he turned with an armful of presents and a big boyish grin on his face. "Ta da! Happy birthday!"

That "Happy birthday" was joined by a whole chorus of happy birthdays from around the table as the children abandoned their breakfast to watch excitedly. There were cards made by both Alexei and Maria in that pile, as well as the presents they had held to pick out for Jamie and Steve. And later on, they knew what the birthday cake was even before Johnny did - Liv had kept it a secret even from him.

Lucy chuckled, drawing Jamie onto her lap to wipe his face and hands. "Look, Jamie, more presents!"

For once in his life, Steve blushed with embarrassment, but he was smiling, too. There was no better birthday present than being surrounded by his family, and it made the fact that Peggy was missing a little easier to bear. "You guys really didn't have to!" he said again, as Johnny dumped the pile of gifts in Steve's lap. He hadn't even finished his breakfast yet, but first things first. "Um ..." Steve laughed. "I'm not sure what to open first."

A gentle tap on the table brought attention to Maria, who blushed herself at having had to knock on wood at all. She raised her hands with a bright smile. "Can you open the cards first?" The excitement was palpable as she fidgeted in her chair, looking hopefully at the adults.

"Well, he'd better open the cards first, or he won't know who his presents are from!" Fliss declared with a comical grin, setting off a round of giggles.

Lucy winked at her husband over Jamie's head. "Sounds like you have your orders, captain."

"I know who they're from. They're from all of you!" Steve pointed out with a laugh, though he couldn't very well deny little Maria, looking to her with a warm smile. "Which one should I open first?" he asked her, signing to her, instead of speaking, though she had no trouble hearing him. He had mastered the skill of sign language with very little trouble, his enhanced memory making it easy.

In the midst of climbing up onto Johnny's lap, Maria almost missed the signing, beaming with delight at Steve's display of camaraderie with her as she sat heavily on her own father. "Mine," was her answer, which made Liv laugh.

"The one in the purple envelope," she offered as a clue, one arm wrapped around Alexei as Fliss slithered onto the floor to keep Bella entertained.

"Purple it is," Steve said, pushing his breakfast aside to make room for the small pile of presents. He fished the purple envelope out of the pile and carefully tore it open, his face still flushed at all the attention.

Johnny grinned as Maria climbed onto his lap, one arm going around her to keep her from sliding off, while Lianne and Martin slipped off their chairs to crowd around their father and get a better view of the gift-giving.

What emerged from the envelope was not so much a birthday card as a piece of paper stiff with glue, from which most of the glitter had fallen off to fill the envelope itself. But visible in bright blue glitter were the words "Hippy burfday, unkal Steve", above a picture of what could only be hoped was Steve himself, complete with Lucy and children.

It didn't matter whether the words were spelled right or that the glitter was falling off. It was the thought that counted, and Steve was deeply touched by the little girl's desire to give him something of herself. As far as Steve was concerned, the hand-made cards from the kids were the best birthday present anyone could have given him. He rewarded her with a smile and signed back, "Thank you. I love it."

Maria grinned, clapping her hands together happily as she cuddled into Johnny's arms, unaccountably embarrassed by the thank you offered her way. Lucy's smile deepened, surprised but unsurprised to see the similarities between Lianne and Maria. They were both sweet little souls who had come out of their ordeal a good deal gentler than they should have done.

"She made it by herself," Liv assured Steve. "Didn't need any help, except with spelling."
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: Birthday Breakfast
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2015, 11:40:58 AM »
"It's beautiful," Steve said, as he looked the card over, smiling softly, obviously touched by the little girl's thoughtfulness, but that was only the first of several presents still to be opened.

"Open mine next! It's the blue one!" Alexei broke in, just as excited as his sister, bouncing up and down in his chair.

Steve laughed. "Okay, okay!" he said, searching the pile for a a blue card before tearing it open.

This one, too, was stiff with glue, but there was no glitter in sight. Alexei seemed to have determinedly gone out of his way to turn a plain piece of white card into a striped explosion of red, white, and blue, with as much glue as he could possibly wish for. Liv grinned as she watched Steve open it, knowing he was seeing his birthday wishes written down in Russian and in English. What she didn't know was that the Russian also said, "And thank you for coming to save us and giving us a family".

Steve smiled again as he took in the red, white, and blue of Alexei's card - the colors that represented life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The colors of the American flag and the colors of the uniform he wore with pride. Star-spangled colors. Colors that represented the country that Alexei and Maria called home now. Steve was proud to be an American, but it wasn't the red, white, and blue that touched him so much as it was the words scrawled in Russian inside the card - words he had no trouble understanding. As far as Steve was concerned those words right there were the best birthday present anyone could have ever given him. He said nothing for a long moment, not trusting himself to speak without getting choked up, but when he did speak, it was in Alexei's native Russian. "You don't have to thank me, but you're welcome." There wasn't  much else he could say to that, too modest to say much more. "Thank you for taking good care of your sister," he added.

Ten people around the table, and eight of them did not have the first idea what any of that had meant. Liv and Lucy exchanged a look across the table, neither one worried about what Steve might be saying to the little boy, but each a little surprised to hear him speaking Russian so fluently. Fliss didn't have the first idea what language it was, and the other children couldn't have followed it if they'd tried. But it obviously meant something to Alexei.

Alexei beamed a proud grin back at Steve, even more so that he had replied to him in his native Russian - a language his own parents did not know.

Johnny smiled, somehow knowing Steve was thanking his son in his native language, but not having a clue what he was saying exactly. "Open that one!" Johnny said, pointing to a wrapped rectangular box shaped about the size of a shirtbox.

Steve drew the box from the pile and shook it. "Am I supposed to guess?"

"Isn't the whole point to be surprised, love?" Lucy asked with a grin, cuddling Jamie on her lap. It had been a late night and an early morning for the Rogers, which spelled out morning nap for the youngest, but he was determined to stay awake a while longer. "Should Papa guess?" she asked Martin, momentarily losing sight of Lianne, who was by now standing behind Fliss, playing with the teen's blonde hair.

"No! It will take too long!" Martin replied logically, just as excited to see what his father was getting for his birthday as everyone else was. "Open it, Papa!" Martin urged quietly, never moving from Steve's side.

"Okay," Steve said, tearing into the package. Once open, he pushed the paper away to pull out a matching pair of t-shirts - one Steve-side that said "Top Dad" and one Jamie-size that said "Daddy's Little Wingman". Steve laughed. "You do realize I'm not an airman," he remarked as he pulled out the matching shirts.

"Oh, good grief," Lucy laughed as she saw the shirts, rolling her eyes. "That's almost as bad as the mini Captain America onesie I forced him to wear until he pooped so hard it tore!"

Across the table, Liv spluttered into her coffee, choking for a moment as she groped for a napkin. Trust Lucy to completely remove any and all sentimentality from a gift.

"Pooped?" Alexei echoed. Did she mean what he thought she meant?

Johnny shrugged, grinning madly. "Well, it's about time he got a new one then!" He turned to Steve in hopes of explaining. "Doesn't matter if you're an airman or not. Every guy has a wingman."

"They're usually a little older though," Steve pointed out, amused by the gift if nothing else. "Thanks, Johnny. We'll wear it next time we're out cruising for chicks."

Lianne, utterly oblivious to the indignation of her mother and aunt, tugged on Steve's sleeve for his attention. "May I have a chick, too, Papa?" she asked him innocently, sending Lucy off into gales of laughter with Jamie balanced precariously on her knee.

Liv bit her lip, glancing down at Alexei. She'd explain later, if she needed to.

"Not me!" Johnny replied with a laugh. "You and Jamie!" he said, before realizing his faux pas. He'd forgotten to get some sort of t-shirt for Maria and Alexei, though the pair of children looked too confused to have noticed.

"Maybe for Easter," Steve told Lianne, knowing he was going to have to do a little explaining later. "Thanks, Johnny," he said, setting the box aside. There were only a couple of presents left, but one of them was labeled "To Jamie." Steve picked that one up next and handed it to Lucy. "This one's for the birthday boy."

"Oh, look, Jamie ..." Taking the wrapped present from Steve, Lucy hooked Jamie a little bit higher on her knee, peeling one piece of tape away before handing it to the little boy. "From Uncle Johnny and Aunty Liv, and Fliss, and Alexei, and Maria, and Bella!"

As she spoke, the two-year-old was already ripping the paper wildly off in handfuls, filling the air with birthday confetti to amuse everyone else until finally he uncovered ... "Dada!"

Steve laughed again as Jamie unwrapped his present, knowing Johnny must have picked that out, too, albeit with a little help from the rest of the family. "He has no mouth. How does he talk?" he asked, blue eyes dancing with amusement.  

"He doesn't have to talk," Johnny pointed out helpfully. "He lets his shield do the talking."

"He doesn't have to talk," Lucy countered with a gentler smile. "Because that is only what Papa wears at work. It isn't really Papa, is it?" She looked down at the little boy on her lap, who was inspecting every inch of the little stuffed Captain America.

Jamie looked up at her, and pointed to Steve. "Dada."

It was true - though Steve was Captain America at work, at home, he was just Steve and Dad, but without being Captain America, there were at least four children in the room whose lives might not have been very happy ones, not to mention countless other lives he'd saved. "That's me," he told his young son, leaning over to brush a kiss against Jamie's cheek. There was only one package left and Steve tore the paper open, almost relieved to just about done being the center of attention. He opened the box beneath the paper to pull out a coffee mug that declared him Best Dad Ever. "I don't know about best, but thanks. I'll use it with pride."

Next to him, Lianne hugged his arm. "I think you the best, Papa," she told him affectionately.

Knowing where this might lead, Liv caught Lucy's eye as she spoke up. "He's the best daddy for you, and for Martin, and for Jamie," she agreed with Lianne. "And Johnny is the best daddy for Fliss, and Alexei, and Maria. Isn't he?"

Johnny already knew that, but he beamed a proud smile at Liv's remark. "And Liv and Lucy are the best moms ever! And we all have the best kids ever!" Johnny said, getting a little carried away, though he was just being truthful.

"And this is the best birthday ever!" Steve piped in with a grin.

Not because of the presents, but because he was surrounded by all the people he loved most in the world. Even though Peggy was gone, he had a feeling she was watching them in spirit and smiling on the little family she'd once been a part of. Half of them might be Storm by name, but they had all come through their various storms and grown stronger together, because before everything else, they were family.

[size=9]((Not quite so on time as the other scene was, but it's all good! They're a big family now!))[/size]
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]