Author Topic: Back To Normal  (Read 509 times)

Olivia Storm

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Back To Normal
« on: June 12, 2018, 09:14:09 AM »
[size=9]((Contains references to adult material.))[/size]

With the majority of the children in the treehouse for a sleepover, and Lucy and Steve playing host to the visiting Natasha and Colin, today had been the perfect day for the adult Storms to get a few things settled. Like giving Lucas their permission to propose to Fliss, only to discover that he had already proposed to her, and that she was wearing the ring he had given her. That had been a bit of a surprise, but a good one. And Liv had one more surprise for Johnny.

Today was the last session with the healers, and she'd waved him away to go and bath Bess while she was busy being made as good as new. Three long weeks of convalescence were finally over, and with a last hour under Rebecca's skilled and magical touch, Liv was looking forward to giving Johnny a lovely surprise. As he finished up with Bess, his wife tentatively took her first steps since she'd been attacked, trying not to laugh out loud at how easy it felt, how painless it was. She brushed her long hair - restored by Rebecca's magic because that uneven shave had been doing far more harm than good - and made her way on bare feet to Bess' bedroom, where the toddler was gurgling her way through making it difficult for Johnny to get her pajamas on her.

Liv smiled at the wrestling match, looking forward to taking her turn again soon. "I could be wrong, but one of these days, she's going to win."

Thankfully, Johnny was not holding Bess off the ground or he might have dropped her, startled as he was by Liv's voice as she joined him. He knew she'd been slowly recovering, but he had not expected her to join him so soon. It had, after all, only been a few weeks. "Liv!" he exclaimed, scooping baby Bess up into his arms and turning to face her, clearly startled. "What are you doing? Are you okay?"

Liv's smile was bright, if a little disbelieving. "I'm ... I'm fine," she told him, her voice half a laugh. "Honestly. I'm absolutely fine!" She let herself laugh again, moving to wrap her arms around him and Bess tenderly. "I'm all better."

"Livvie, your hair!" Johnny exclaimed in a hushed gasp of breath, obviously surprised to find her with a full head of hair again. Though the loss of hair might not have been life-threatening, it had been a constant reminder of how Hydra had almost taken her away from them. "Oh my God, baby, you're walking ... and talking ... and your hair!" he repeated, laughing happily along with her.

"I know!" Liv squeezed him fondly, brushing a kiss against Bess' cheek as the toddler giggled with them, utterly unaware of what was so special about her mother being up and about and looking normal. Her hand gently cradled Johnny's cheek. "I'm back," she promised him. "And I'll take it easy for a little while, I promise."

"Oh my God, baby ... You look-you look amazing!" he told her, knowing he was gushing, but hardly caring. There were all alone, after all, except for Bess, and there was no reason to hide his enthusiasm. There were tears in his eyes as he pulled her close, Liv in one arm and Bess in the other. "I was so worried," he whispered, his voice breaking.

"I know," she whispered back to him, hugging close to press her cheek to his. "And I'm sorry you had to go through all that, baby. But I'm back, and it's never going to happen again."

"No, it sure as hell isn't!" Johnny agreed. Not because Liv was never going to visit New York again, but because as far as they knew, they had pushed Hydra back at least a few decades. "I love you, baby." He kissed her again, this time on the lips, with Bess lunging toward Liv to do the same. Johnny laughed. "See? Bess feels the same!"

"I love you back," Liv murmured into his kiss, giggling as Bess planted a kiss of her own onto her mother's lips. "And you!" she declared, lifting Bess out of Johnny's arms to cuddle her close. "Oh, I've missed being able to do this."

"Aw, Livvie," Johnny whispered, his voice breaking again and tears of relief actually streaming down his face. He just couldn't help himself. He scrubbed the tears from his face as she relieved him of Bess, laughing at himself. "Sorry!" he said, glad the kids were there to see him.

"They're all in the treehouse tonight," she told him. "I was thinking of surprising them with breakfast in the morning - what do you think?" It would certainly be a surprise to see her walking about; a good way to wake up, perhaps.

"I think that's a great idea!" he said, with a happy smile. "Shall we tuck the munchkin into bed? I want to make sure you're real!" he told her, though he didn't want to push her too fast or too far.

"Well, it's bedtime, isn't it?" Liv looked into Bess' sleepy eyes with a fond smile. "I think that sounds like a wonderful idea." Hoisting the toddler a little closer on her hip, she squeezed Johnny about the waist a moment longer before moving over to the cot.

Johnny followed her to the bed, so that he could help tuck Bess in and give her a good-night kiss, but he let Liv do most of it, since he had a feeling she'd been badly missing the nightly routines with their children.

It felt like an eternity since she'd been able to see even one of her children to bed, and Liv couldn't help taking her time over it, stroking her fingers against Bess' blonde hair as the little girl sank into sleep in front of them. When she straightened, it was to tuck her arm about Johnny's waist. "Is Bella in the treehouse with Beast and the kids?"

"Yeah," Johnny said, tucking his arms around her to hold her close and lowering his voice so they wouldn't wake Bess. "Lir's in the pool. I think he's kinda lonely," he said, with a frown, though there wasn't much they could do about it. "I think Jasper is out there with him," he said, though how a cat and a dragon were friends was beyond him.

"We need to work out how to house him," Liv mused. "I don't think he's ever going to go wild, Johnny. He loves Alex too much to leave."

"I know, but ..." Johnny trailed off, with a glance at Bess, before taking Liv's hand to lead her from the room, so they could talk without waking her. "He's so big!" he said, as he pulled Bess' door halfway closed.

"He's not even half-grown yet, Johnny," she pointed out, pausing to look out through the window on the landing. Lir was half in his little shed now, one foreleg outstretched as Jasper apparently scratched his own head on the dragon's claws. "Alex would tell us if he was unhappy."

"I guess," Johnny admitted, feeling a strange tug of affection for the water dragon, who had snuck home with them in Fliss' backpack one day a few years ago from a shop in the Marketplace. "Do you think Sol could permanently shrink him or something?"

"Johnny, how would you like it if someone shrunk you because they thought you might be a little big?" Liv asked her husband gently. "It would be cruel. We'll work something out, I'm sure. We should just talk to Alex about it."

"Yeah, I guess," Johnny agreed again, with a worried frown. One way or other, they'd work it out, but he knew how attached Alex and Lir had become over the years. It wasn't something they were going to solve tonight, at any rate.

She smiled, leaning into him affectionately. "I get to sleep in our bed tonight," she reminded him with a flicker of mischief in her eyes. "It's been a while."

"Are you planning on just sleeping?" he asked, mirroring that mischievous gleam in his own eyes. He didn't much care if all they did was snuggle, so long as they were together and she was well again. "Oh, Liv," he said, pulling her into his arms again. "I've been so worried. You can't imagine how happy I am that you're okay." Actually, she probably could. There had been plenty of nights when he'd gone out to help the Avengers or the fire brigade and she'd worried if he would come home safely.
[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: Back To Normal
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 09:14:31 AM »
"I'm sorry," she apologized, curling her arms about his shoulders as he pulled her close. "I never thought I would ever be the one making you worried. But you coped very well, love. Fliss is so proud of you, and so am I. Bess barely even realized something was wrong, and the others weren't so worried, after all."

"I am not gonna lose you, Liv. Ever," he told her, with conviction. No matter what happened, he was determined to keep that promise, no matter what - even if it meant messing with the normal course of nature in order to do it.

"You'll have to let me go sometime," she said gently. "But not until we're old and gray." Her lips brushed his cheek tenderly as she nuzzled to him. "I've missed you, baby."

Not until both of them were old and gray. He smiled at the thought of that. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?" he sung to her, quietly quoting an old Beatles song. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here, Liv," he assured her quietly, holding her close.

She laughed at his chosen soundtrack to this moment, tilting her head back to capture his lips with her own in a slow kiss that said everything without needing to find the words for it.

He returned that kiss with one of his own, just as full of love and longing and not a small amount of happiness and relief. Was it true what they said about actions speaking louder than words? In that moment, it seemed to be true. He slowly tugged her toward the bedroom, left alone to their own devices for at least a few hours with the kids staying at the tree house overnight.

They were gentle with each other, each still aching in their own way over the tragedy that had almost overcome their loving little family. But there was love there, and hope, and as Liv curled into Johnny's arms, she breathed a long sigh of relief. Everything was back the way it should be.

Somehow, the universe seemed to come back into alignment with Liv's recovery - at least, Johnny's part of the universe. He led her over to the bed, turning to cup her face between his hand and push her hair back from her face, a look of wonder on his face as though he could hardly believe what he was seeing, needing to make sure she was real and that he wasn't just dreaming. "I love you, Liv," he said, though the words hardly seemed adequate.

"Always," she promised him in turn, nuzzling close with the promise of proving just how all better she really was. There was no lingering pain, no sense of how fragile she had been just a few hours ago. She was back.

He was a little reluctant to test her limits, worried she was not fully recovered or that at the very least, he'd tire her out. For now, he was letting her lead the way, as to how much she could handle and how far she wanted to go. "Do you want to ... I mean ..." he stammered, as he held her close.

She smirked up at him, a flicker of the rather more adventurous tease he'd unearthed in their first year together making herself known. "Why don't you strip off and find out?"

"I will if you will," he countered, a flicker of mischief lighting his eyes. There was no need for him to wear his uniform when he was at home, so he had only one layer of clothing to remove, just like her.

"Ooh, you temptress, Johnny Storm," she laughed, easing away to do just as she had told him to, peeling layers away until she was totally bare. There were no scars, no bruises; no sign that she had ever so much as looked at a van. Nothing to remind him of how broken she had been on that operating table three weeks before.

He'd already checked her over somewhat for traces of injuries and scars, but once she was undressed, he intended to do so again, taking his time and offering what pleasure he could at the same time. He didn't waste any time in getting his own clothes off, almost tripping over his own pants in his haste to get them off.

Liv giggled at his eagerness, moving to help him with teasing brushes of lips and hands that certainly didn't help with the anticipation side of things. "I'm not going to disappear," she promised teasingly.

"You better not!" he said with a laugh, as he finally managed to get untangled from his pants. She wasn't making things any easier for him by helping, only increasing his obvious sense of anticipation. It wasn't so much the fact that it had been three weeks without sex, as it was that he was so happy to have his Livvie back.

Whether Alex and Maria were close enough - or tuned in enough - to know exactly what their parents were up to, it was a safe bet that they were both aware of the sheer bubbling happiness that was filling their home tonight. Liv wrapped Johnny up in her arms, needing to reassure herself as much as him that everything was the way it should be. That she really was home again, entirely herself.

They fit together like a pair of gloves, one to the other, like they had been made for each other. Johnny laughed, even as he kissed her, joy bubbling up out of him, like a kid again. Though the pair was barely out of their 20s, they'd had a lot of responsibility thrust upon their shoulders these last few years. But tonight, it was like they were teenagers again, hormones and all.

And when, finally, breathless and sated, they fell back to the bed with bright smiles and lazy caresses, it was like coming home. "So ... how long do you suppose we have before we run the risk of giving Fliss' children an aunt or uncle younger than they are?"

Johnny grinned at her question. He wasn't too worried about it himself. In fact, it made him giggle to think about. "Well, we don't have to worry about it, if we beat her to it," he said, fingers in gentle and idle caress of her breast. He didn't think Fliss and Lucas would be having kids of their own for at least a few years, which gave them plenty of time to grow their own little family.

Circling the tip of her nose about his, Liv giggled with him, her own hand lazy and warm against his hip. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Mr. Storm?" she asked innocently. "Think we can handle another one?"

"If we can't, we've got plenty of help," he said with a grin of his own, turning to face her and reaching to brush her hair back from her face. Words weren't sufficient to tell her how happy he was in that moment and just how happy she made him. "Are you taking anything?"

She bit her lip, laughing as she kissed him. "Not right now," she admitted. After all, why continue taking birth control when she couldn't walk for the time being? It would only interfere with the other medication they'd had her on. "Any objections?"

"Are you kidding?" he replied with a grin. They only had one child that was of their own making, after all. If Johnny had his way, they might have been in danger of adopting half of Rhy'Din. Besides, somehow they'd let the Rogers get ahead of them, and Johnny and Liv had always wanted a big family. "I did say six, didn't I?" he asked with a grin.

"Mmm, two more to go." Liv smiled, her eyes alight with agreeing warmth. "You do realize we always run the risk of twins," she added impishly. "Would they count as one or two?"

"I think they'd count as two, but with Fliss moving out, we have room for a few more," he replied, his heart too big to reject the idea of adding a few more Storms to their little menagerie of orphans and misfits. "Do you think it's selfish to have another of our own?" he asked uncertainly, knowing how many unwanted children there were in Rhy'Din, and also knowing they couldn't possibly save them all.
[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: Back To Normal
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 09:14:52 AM »
"I think the children we have need us to be consistent with them," she told him softly. "They know that another baby doesn't mean they won't be loved. But I think adding another child, especially one with needs like theirs, might be too much for all of us. We have a responsibility to our own family first, Johnny."

"Do you think it's irresponsible to want another?" he asked, that frown deepening. He wouldn't lie and tell her he didn't want a big family, but how big? Bess was going on three years old now, still little but hardly a baby. He knew they had to stop somewhere, but he wasn't sure their little family was complete yet.

"I think we can manage one or two more," she said, still soft as she stroked his cheek. "And the children will want to help more this time. They know what to do."

"I guess we've decided then," he told her, finding comfort and reassurance in that simple touch. He smiled, but the smile was tempered with just a little sadness. "I've been so lost without you, Liv," he confessed, though that wasn't entirely true. He'd managed well enough with the help of family and friends, but he knew a part of himself had been lost while Liv was recovering, and that piece had been her.

"I'm so proud of you, darling," she murmured to him, kissing his brow tenderly. "Even feeling lost, you never broke. You're a good man, Johnny, and a wonderful father. I'm privileged to be your wife."

He would have shaken his head, if his head wasn't settled so comfortably on the pillow. "You bring out the best in me, Liv," he told her, giving her all the credit for the man he'd become. "I thank God every day for you and our kids," he confessed quietly. He'd never claimed to be a very religious or spiritual person, but he knew someone up there had smiled on him when they'd put Liv in his path.

"Are you asking for a heavenly experience, baby?" she asked in a mischievous tone, rolling him to his back to loom over him with wicked eyes and teasing hands already at work.

Johnny beamed a grin at her, his body quickly reacting to her ministrations. "I feel like I die and go to heaven every time we make love, Liv," he told her in a soft voice. "Are you sure you're up for another go?" he asked, not wanting to tire her out, but eager to increase the odds of her getting pregnant.

"Oh, I've got a little while in me yet," she promised, leaning down to catch his lips with hers. And why not? She might be a little sleepy tomorrow, but she would be Mum again, walking and laughing and playing with the children who had missed her almost as much as Johnny had. Tonight was all about him, and she couldn't see any problem with missing out on a little sleep for the sake of that.

Besides, he wasn't afraid to help with the kids and the chores and was just as likely to spoil her, until she told him to stop, but for now, it was just about them. As much as he adored their children, this love story had started with him and Liv, and that was eventually the way it would end.

But not for many, many years yet, and not until they were surrounded by grandchildren and perhaps even great-grandchildren. They still had a life to live together, a family to raise together, and they would do it together, no matter what came.

"You know what?" he asked, once they were sated for the second time that evening - and after he'd made sure he'd let her know without a doubt just how much he adored her. "The kids are almost done with school. Why don't we take a vacation?"

Definitely sated this time, Liv cuddled into his side as he spoke. "Where do you recommend?" she asked curiously, although the answer came almost immediately, making her giggle. "Disney."

"Nah," he replied, snuggling her close, now that he'd caught his breath again, his heart slowing to a more normal pace. "I was thinking about the beach. Just you and me and the kids and the sand and surf." And Bella and Beast and Lir and Jasper and probably Lucas, by extension, if he and Fliss could get away for a few days. This coming from a man who had once detested water was saying a lot.

"Mmm ..." Liv breathed out slowly, smiling at this thought. "I think I know just the place." Because being a P.A. to someone who knew the De Lucas came with quite a few perks these days.

"Where's that?" he asked, a little sleepily now that they'd sated themselves for a second time. He'd been thinking about King's Cove, but it was probably too busy this time of year, and he wasn't too familiar with other beach destinations.

"Liba," she murmured. "Tropical island here on Rhy'Din. It's lovely, apparently."

"Oh," Johnny replied, both brows arching upwards. He hadn't thought of that. "Will the kids get bored?" he asked, though he suspected they'd have enough to do with building sandcastles and chasing the waves.

"It's not an abandoned island," she laughed, nudging him affectionately. "There's a resort and a few towns. I'm sure I'll be able to arrange a few activities for them. We probably won't be able to take the animals with us, though."

"Not even Lir?" Johnny asked with a frown. He wasn't sure how Alex would feel about separating from his pet dragon even for a short vacation, or vice versa.

She sighed thoughtfully. "I can make a few inquiries," she offered. "Find out if there's a way to take our menagerie with us. They may not be very happy about having a dragon on the island unless we can guarantee good behavior."

"Lir is a big baby. The worst he could do is squirt someone," Johnny argued, though he could understand how other people might be a little frightened by the dragon. "He's like a water version of-of ..." He snapped his fingers as he tried to remember something. "What was the name of the dragon in Pete's Dragon?"

"God, I hated that film," Liv laughed, tilting her head back to look up at him. "Elliot." That memory of hers never let her down, even when she despised what she was remembering, it seemed.

"Yeah, that's it!" he declared with a laugh. "But the kids liked it," he reminded her with a further grin. There wasn't much the kids didn't like and they made it a point not to watch anything that was too depressing.

"Darling, our children will like anything if you're enthusiastic about it," she reminded him in amusement. "Do you remember the spinach deception?"

Johnny chuckled. "What's not to like about spinach?" Now, brussel sprouts - that was another matter. "You know, when I was growing up, Sue was always so serious. I always thought if I ever had kids, I would try to make things fun."
[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: Back To Normal
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 09:15:07 AM »
"We're lucky to be able to make life fun for our children," Liv murmured, teasing a fingertip over his chest as they talked. "So when would you like this vacation to happen?"

Johnny shrugged. He just had to arrange to take some time off from the Fire Brigade, but he had vacation time coming, so he wasn't too worried about it. "As soon as the kids are out of school?" he asked, uncertainly. Or as soon as it could be arranged.

"A couple of weeks, we can do that." Liv nodded. She knew Lucy and Steve were planning a vacation in August, so it wouldn't be abandoning the other half of their family so much as offering a little peace without interference for a couple of weeks, just as they would be giving when their time away came.

"Are you sure?" he asked, giving her an appraising look, as if he wasn't sure she was recovered enough to handle a vacation away from home without anyone but him to help.

She raised a brow at him. "Would you like a round three, just to prove it?" she challenged impishly. "I'm fine, Johnny. I haven't felt this good in months. They fixed everything, even the little aches that I put up with every day."

"Wow! Maybe I should have a healing session sometime," he teased, though he hardly needed one. "You should probably get some rest, though. The kids will be back in the morning, smothering you with love and affection," he warned her with a grin.

She giggled, brushing a soft kiss to his lips. "Everything will be back to normal," she promised. "No more cooking lessons from Maria."

"Hey, I can cook!" Johnny pointed out, a little defensively. Or at least, he could barbeque - without the need for a grill either. "So, how much do you wanna bet we made a baby tonight?" he asked, changing the subject and grinning again.

"Oh, I think we should definitely try again tomorrow," she answered sweetly. "You should take some of that stuff Lucy made, too. Just to make sure." She was never going to forget that it had been her own twin's perseverence that had allowed Bess to come to life at all.

"Only if you're sure!" Johnny said, pretty sure that if they went on the way they were going, they were going to have another baby in a year or so. "What do you think, Livvie? Should we go for a nice even six?"

"If you want nice and even, we're due a couple of boys," she pointed out in amusement, nestling close against him with a satisfied sigh. "All I ever wanted when I was little was a big family."

"Maybe we'll have a boy and a girl," he suggested happily. "Maybe we'll even have them at the same time!" Okay, that might be pushing things a bit, but twins wasn't out of the question, even if they weren't identical. Johnny's grin softened at Liv's confession. "All I ever wanted was a real family," he confessed in return. His sister had done her best, but Sue had never really been able to take the place of both mother and father.

"You made my dreams come true," she murmured tenderly, hugging just a little tighter to him. She'd worshiped him quietly when they'd first met, silently resenting Lucy's relationship with him without ever letting on. No one could have predicted that they would end up here during those first weeks.

"No, baby, I think it was the other way around," he told her, touching a kiss to her forehead, both protective and affectionate. No one was ever going to hurt her again - he'd make sure of that.

He couldn't guarantee it - nothing was ever certain - but they had come through something that could so easily have torn their family apart whole and well. Hydra's mistake had been their undoing. There was time now to be a family again, extended and close, and that was worth celebrating. In the morning.
[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]