Author Topic: Two Little Storms  (Read 1566 times)

Johnny Storm

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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.

Johnny Storm

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Re: Two Little Storms
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 07:51:36 PM »
"All right, then. To the hospital, we go!" Johnny declared, shouldering Liv's bag and taking her arm to lead her toward the door, now that the goodbyes were over. "I'll call as soon as I know something!" he promised, and out they went.

"Buh-bye!" Bess yelled, probably a little too loudly given the way Fliss winced and laughed, but it definitely sent their parents off with a smile of their own.

And just like last time, once they were in the car, Liv finally let herself show how painful the contractions were. "Thank god we're setting off before we hit the five minute mark this time."

"Are you okay?" Johnny asked, concern written all over his face. He wasn't overly worried about the kids. There were enough people close by at Maple Grove to help, if they needed it. He was far more concerned about his wife and his ability to get her to the hospital on time. "How far apart are they?"

"About seven minutes apart now," Liv assured him. "And they're not lasting a full minute yet, either. This time, we have plenty of time, sweetheart." And she was not going to let the hospital turn her away this time, either.

"Okay, I'll try not to panic," he said. The hospital wasn't that far from Maple Grove, after all, that he didn't think he could get her there in time. "And we are not leaving this time until you give birth!" he told her, practically reading her mind.

"Absolutely not!" she agreed, but Liv was laughing as she said it. "Did Alex give you any clues about what to expect? He's been very cagey about not telling me anything."

"No, he hasn't said a word, but he and Mo definitely know something," he said, having caught the pair of them whispering and giggling together as though they shared some private secret just between the two of them.

"Oh, I'm sure they do," Liv agreed warmly. "They predicted the girls for Lucy and Steve, so I am certain they know what to expect. I am rather proud of them for keeping it to themselves, though."

"Do you really not want to know?" he asked, though months ago they'd decided that they wanted to be surprised this time. So long as the little ones were healthy, that was all that really mattered.

"I'm curious, but I think knowing in advance would have taken some of the excitement out of it this time," Liv admitted with a warm, almost child-like smile. "Although I suppose twins is exciting enough!"

"It's a two-fer!" Johnny declared with a chuckle, as he weaved his way through traffic to get her to the hospital as quickly as he could without risking an accident. Two-fer-one, that is. "Do you think they're going to be like you and Luce? Identical, I mean?"

"They might be," she mused. "The technician said he could only see one placenta, so that would suggest that we're looking at identical twins here. Three sets of identical twins in two generations." She chuckled softly, hissing just a little as another contraction said hello.

"Is that unusual?" he asked, glancing over at her with concern as she hissed in pain. "Hang in there, Livvie. We'll be there soon!" he said, pressing the gas pedal a little bit harder to pass the car in front of them. "Get outta the way!" he called out the window. "Pregnant woman on board!"

"Johnny, calm down," his wife told him, laying a hand gently on his arm. "It is just a contraction, and they will get worse before this is over. I'd rather you didn't crash on the way there."

The warning came just a little too late, as the all-too-familiar sound of a siren whirred behind them, a flashing light indicating they needed to pull over. "Crap," Johnny muttered. "I should have flown you there," he said, though that would have been nearly impossible given her condition. He looked in the rearview mirror to find a police car on their tail and signaling for him to pull over. "We don't have time for this!"

Liv rolled her eyes, patting his arm. Though she and Lucy had previous for fast deliveries, she had a feeling they could take a few minutes to get a ticket they could appeal later anyway.

Johnny grumbled to himself as he pulled the car over, the pat from Liv not doing much to calm his frazzled nerves. "This won't take long," he assured Liv hopefully. He turned to roll down the window as someone in uniform strolled up to the car.

"License and registration," the officer demanded, extending a large hand with long curved fingernails.

"Don't lose your temper," was Liv's last warning before Johnny rolled the window down. The last thing he needed was to get arrested for being a pain to the officer who was just doing her job. The contractions were definitely getting closer together, though - as the interaction began, she let her head fall back against the headrest, rubbing one hand over her enormous bump as she breathed slowly and deliberately.

"Uh, Officer?" Johnny inquired, tipping his head to peek out the window at the officer, who, judging from the voice, he assumed was female. "We haven't really got time for this. My wife is about to give birth!"

There was a slow tap of those long nails against a curved hip, before the officer dipped her head to take a look inside the car. "Uh, aren't you the Human Torch?" she asked, tiny tusks protruding from her lower lip which made her smile look more like a snarl. Her hair was dark and pulled back in a ponytail, revealing sharply-tipped pointed ears, her eyes a strange shade of amber.

"Yeah, this is my wife, Mrs. Torch - I mean, Mrs. Storm. She's in labor, and we need to get to the hospital. Now!"

Noticing the officer was looking into the car, Liv managed a small wave and a pained smile in her direction as the contraction eased. "What he means is ... we apologize for breaking the speed limit, but we are close to an emergency situation," she offered in a breathless voice. "Last time I went into labor, I ended up giving birth in the car."

The officer, who appeared to be only half-human and half something else - Johnny was guessing orc - took in the situation and gave a nod of her head. "How close together?" she asked Liv of her contractions.

"Close enough that we don't have time for this," Johnny muttered under his breath.

Johnny Storm

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Re: Two Little Storms
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2019, 07:51:57 PM »
The officer lifted her finger to silence him.

Biting down on a smile at the way Johnny was shut down, Liv squeezed his arm reassuringly as she answered the officer. "We've just hit five minutes," she said. "It's twins, and I have a history of fast labor."

"If you can get us there faster, I promise to name one of them after you," Johnny said, smiling sweetly up at the officer, who either smiled or snarled back.

"That is a lovely thought, but I do not think you can pronounce it." She looked back at Liv, completely ignoring Johnny now, though her instructions were mostly for him. "Follow my car, and we'll get you there in time, ma'am."

Liv snorted with laughter at her husband's offer, glad the police officer recognised it for the bravado that it was. "Thank you, officer." She smiled gratefully, still rubbing circles over her bump.

"Not a word," the officer warned Johnny with another raised fingers, muttering to herself and shaking her head as she started back toward her car, "Flyboy."

"Did she ... did she just insult me?" Johnny asked, as he rolled the window back up.

"Rise above it, love," Liv suggested, relieved that the little interaction was apparently going to get them to the hospital that much faster. "And try not to ram into the back of her."

Johnny grumbled to himself, but at least, they'd get to the hospital that much faster. Within minutes, they were back on the road, the officer leading the way, siren blaring and lights flashing, clearing the other cars off the road, like the parting of the Red Sea. The escort cut their drive time to the hospital by at least half.

It was certainly the fastest Johnny had ever been allowed to drive when he had his wife in the car with him, though thankfully Liv was too distracted with contractions to worry too much about the speed they were going. Still, it was a relief when they reached the hospital ... especially since those contractions were much closer together now.

"God, Johnny, my water's going to break any moment now," she fretted worriedly.

"It's okay. We're here. It's gonna be okay," he assured her and himself, pulling up to the emergency room door right behind the Watch officer. He shut the car down, pocketed the keys, and hurried around to the other side to open the door for Liv. "Somebody get a doctor! My wife's about to have a baby!" he shouted to anyone within range of hearing.

"Oh, good grief ..." Liv grimaced; she hated to be the center of attention, even when it was warranted. She gripped Johnny's hand to get up and out of the car, unable to help laughing in helpless relief when an orderly came rushing out of the main doors with a wheelchair. "Don't forget to thank the police officer," she reminded Johnny as she sank into the security of the chair.

Johnny helped her from the car as best he could, but it was mostly the orderly that got her into the wheelchair. "Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Officer!" he said, waving to the half-orc now that they'd arrived.

"You can't park here," the officer was quick to remind him as she approached. "It's just for drop offs." She glanced at Liv, noticing that the birth seemed imminent, and extended her hand to Johnny, palm upward. "Keys. I'll park it for you and drop off the keys at the maternity ward," she volunteered.

"Uh ..." Johnny muttered uncertainly, looking between Liv and the officer and the car.

"It's just a car," Liv reminded him through clenched teeth. "Do you really need to decide between witnessing the birth of your children and parking your car? I'm sitting in a puddle, darling." In other words ... remember how quickly it happened last time? We just hit that point.

"Sorry, Livvie," he murmured, feeling properly chastised. He dropped his keys into the officer's hand, warning her with his eyes not to so much as scratch it.

The officer gave him a tusk-filled grin, as her fingers closed around his keys. "Don't worry. I'll treat her just like she belonged to me," she assured him.

"Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of," Johnny murmured, as he rejoined Liv, surrendering his keys and his car to the Watch officer.

And not a moment too soon, it seemed. Apparently Liv was just one of those women who, once labor had begun, was over and done with much faster than should be possible. It was barely two hours later when Johnny was pushed down into a seat in his wife's hospital room, arms full of twin girls, while the healer finished up with Liv.

It was all a whirlwind to Johnny, his mind swirling in confusion and excitement with everything that had happened since he'd had his first morning cup of coffee. Had Livvie really just given birth to a pair of girls? Identical twin girls, no less. He was beside himself with delight, but feeling a little bit in a state of shock, too.

"Livvie? I think ... I think they're identical," he said, as he tried to compare their tiny faces. It shouldn't really come as any surprise, considering his wife was one half of a pair of identical twins, as well.

On the bed, Liv turned her head to look at him, smiling tiredly as the healer drew back from dealing with her. "One of them should have nail polish on so we know she's the oldest," she commented. She had a vague memory of the midwife asking her what color to use, and deciding on purple.

"They're ... amazing," he whispered, clearly in awe. It was one thing to be married to a twin or be an uncle to twins, but quite another to be their father, especially a pair who were like little carbon copies of each other. "They're beautiful."

There was a pause as Liv thanked the healer gratefully, pulling herself to sit up in the bed. Magic was a wonderful thing at times. "They were almost as impatient as Bess was to be born," she said, weary but deeply amused. "What are we going to name them?"

"I suppose Thing One and Thing Two is out," he said, with a grin as he glanced over at Liv, one twin cradled in each arm. "Do you wanna say hello?" he asked her, eager to introduce the newest additions to the Storm family to their mother.

She laughed quietly. "Which one do you want to give up for the time being?" she asked, turning the question around onto him fondly. "I was wondering if we could use Stephanie and Susannah as middle names."

Johnny Storm

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Re: Two Little Storms
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2019, 07:52:14 PM »
"They're so ... small," he said, in a hushed voice, clearly still full of awe for the double miracle he was holding in his arms. "Was Bess ever this small?" he asked, as he carefully got up and moved over to the bed so that Liv could see the tiny miracles she'd given birth to. "Stephanie?" Johnny echoed, chuckling. "After Steve?"

"Darling, Bess was bigger than they are," Liv assured him, reaching to take the nearest of the twins from his arms and cuddle her close. "Hello, little love." She kissed the grumpy forehead, looking up at Johnny. "Of course after Steve. And after Sue."

"I like that, but I don't know about first names," he said, a thoughtful frown on his face as he looked down at the tiny bundle he was holding in his arms. "What should we call you, little love?" he asked, echoing Liv's pet name for her.

"I suppose it depends if we want them to blend in with the rest of the family names," Liv murmured, stroking her fingertip against one round cheek. "We have some strong, traditional names in our family, after all."

"We have a Felicity, an Alex, a Maria, and a Bess," Johnny said, though he wasn't sure she was referring to their own little circle or their extended family, including the Rogers and the Richards kids.

"As well as a Johnny and an Olivia," she added with a smile. Liv considered the options for a while, her mind blank. "I like Isabel," she offered, "and Alice or Jane. Are there any names you particularly like, love?"

"Isabel is pretty," he agreed, though he wasn't sure which one the name fit better. "I'm not sure about Alice or Jane though. They sound too plain to me." He frowned in thought again, wishing they'd jotted at least a few names down ahead of time.

"What about a happy name?" she suggested. "Joy, maybe. Merry or Merrilee?" She tilted her head back to meet his eyes. "What do you think?"

"Hmm, you don't think that's too close to Maria?" he asked, uncertainly. He frowned again as another thought came to mind. "My mom was Mary," he murmured. He'd never suggested that name because of Maria, but Merry or Merrilee were different enough not to cause any confusion, weren't they?

"Maria's nickname is Mo," Liv reminded him thoughtfully. "Mo and Merry are very different sounds, as nicknames go." She frowned, uncertain herself now she considered it.

"I don't know, Livvie. I kind of like it. It's not that close to Maria, is it?" he asked, uncertainly. "Maybe we should ask the kids," he suggested, as he had to call and let them know the good news anyway.

"I suppose Marnie is too close to Maria as well, hmm?" she asked. She'd spent so long with baby name books over the last few weeks that she had an awful lot of them memorised.

"Marnie?" he echoed, lifting his brows. "What's that mean?" He was open to suggestions at this point, at a loss himself, though he thought they'd know when they stumbled on the right one.

"It means "rejoice" in Hebrew," she told him, cuddling the little one in her arms a little closer. She'd missed having a baby to cuddle, although having two at the same time might prove a little fractious.

"It's kind of cute," he said after a moment's consideration. "But which one?" he asked, uncertainly, as he looked from one newborn to the other.

"Which one is the eldest?" Liv paused, inspecting the little fingers on the twin in her arms and finding no nail polish. "Yours is the eldest. Eldest Isabel Stephanie?"

"Okay, and Marnie Susannah?" he asked, trying the name on his tongue to see if he liked the sound of it. "Marnie and Isabel Storm. What do you think of that, Isabel?" he asked of the elder of the pair of twins - the one he was holding in his all-too-warm embrace.

Liv smiled to herself, quietly delighted to have named their new daughters so easily. "You know, I would worry that perhaps Alex might resent being the only boy, but since he's known about his new little sisters far longer than we have, I think it is safe to assume he doesn't mind."

"Why would he do that?" Johnny asked, as he dragged a chair closer to the bed and settled himself on it, the newborn still cradled in his arm. Maybe what she was really asking was whether Johnny resented having only one son and that son not even being of his own bloodline, but the thought had never even crossed his mind.

"Well, you and he are rather more than outnumbered now, aren't you?" Liv pointed out. Yes, she was a little worried that Johnny might be unhappy not to have spawned a son yet, but she was more concerned with Alex feeling overwhelmed by girls.

"Well, we'll just have to have a boys and girls bathroom, won't we?" he remarked with a grin, as if that was the only thing that bothered him about being mostly surrounded by girls. Alex had never complained, and neither had Johnny.

She laughed softly, resting back against the pillows. "Two girls' bathrooms, and a boys' bathroom," she suggested laughingly. "I think we're going to have to rearrange the bedrooms yet again."

"It's a good thing we have a big house," Johnny said, still smiling. He wasn't terribly worried about their living arrangements. With four bedrooms and a guest suite, they still had plenty of room for their family to grow.

"We should probably call home," Liv murmured. "Before these two wake up and demand intervention for hungry bellies and dirty bums."

"So long as we don't have to deal with bras and makeup," Johnny teased. It never ceased to amaze him how much paraphernalia a female required. All he needed was a razor and some soap. "Do you want to do the honors or shall I?" he asked, juggling the newborn to fish his flame-proof cell phone from his flame-proof jeans pocket.

"You could put it on speaker," she pointed out, ignoring the comment on bras and make up. He knew enough about her love/hate relationship with her bra not to push his luck on that score.

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Re: Two Little Storms
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2019, 07:52:33 PM »
"Good idea!" he replied, tapping his phone to dial home and setting it to speaker. "Wanna bet who answers first?" he asked, smirking over at Liv.

"You would lose that bet, because it is always Alex," she laughed, rolling her eyes as she gently shifted Marnie in her arms. "He's faster than Fliss these days."

"That's because he usually knows someone's calling before the ..."

"Hullo, Papa!" a voice on the phone interrupted - that of a young boy, proving Liv right. "Did Mama have the new babies yet?" he asked.

"Well, if they're not babies, they're certainly very animated potatoes," Liv said in a cheerful tone, grinning at Johnny. Alex was definitely the custodian of the phone in their house.

Johnny stuck his tongue out at Liv, as he set the phone on the bedside table between them so they could both talk to their son. "Yes, Mama had the new babies. You probably know that already!"

There was a slight pause while Alex seemed to consider his response. "I cannot see the future, Papa," he reminded his father.

"But you can touch our minds, sweetheart," Liv pointed out, her smile audible in her voice. "Papa will come home in the morning to have breakfast and bring you all to visit us, just like last time. Are you having fun with Fliss?"

"Da, but ..." Alex turned quiet again, almost as if he had second thoughts about admitting what he'd been about to say.

Johnny was no telepath, but it wasn't that hard to figure out what was on his son's mind. "It's okay, Alex. You mother is fine, and the babies are perfectly healthy. Why don't you put us on speaker so we can share the news?"

"Okay, Papa!" Alex replied, sounding relieved. "Papa is on the phone! Mama had the babies!" he was heard calling to his sisters on the other end of the phone.

Bess' familiar burbling greeting made itself known as footsteps betrayed the arrival of the others.

"Hey, is everything okay?" Fliss asked. "That was really fast!"

"Yeah, everything's fine. Mom's right here. We're on speaker," Johnny told them, in case they hadn't figured that out by now. "Say hello, Livvie!" he encouraged her.

"Your little sisters were just too impatient," Liv told them in amusement. "They simply had to join us when it looked like your dad was going to get arrested for speeding."

On the other end of the line, Fliss laughed, and then said, "Wait - what?"

"I used to be a race car driver, you know. I knew what I was doing," Johnny insisted more than a little defensively. There was nothing more important than Liv and their children, and it didn't matter much to him if he had to break a few rules to keep them safe. Of course, it never occurred to him that speeding itself was unsafe, so long as he was behind the wheel.

"So what's that about getting arrested?" Fliss pressed, sounding as though she was an inch from laughing. Somewhere in the background, a familiar bark made itself known - Bella's welcome home bark, which probably meant that Lucas was arriving to help out with the kids.

"You raced cars, Papa?" Alexei was heard asking. This was a part of his father's past that he was unaware of.

"I did a lot of silly things, Alex," Johnny replied, almost chagrined to admit to the man he had once been.

"Your Papa used to perform on his motorcycle at the Wonderplex," Liv piped up, glancing down at the little bundle in her arms as Marnie started to fuss a little. At a loss, she inserted her own fingertip between the baby girl's lips, which seemed to work for now.

"The babies are healthy, Mama?" Alex asked further, though it was probably safe to assume that if they weren't, either he or Maria would have sensed something wrong by now.

"Yes, they're healthy, Alex," Johnny replied, relieved the conversation had turned away from the subject of his driving. "You have two new little sisters. Identical twins. But you knew that already, didn't you?" he asked, a smile in his voice.

"Would you like to know their names, sweethearts?" Liv asked, grinning over at Johnny.

There was a pause on the other end of the line before Fliss spoke again. "Mo says are they pretty, and when are you coming home?"

"They are very pretty, but sort of like shriveled up grapes right now. Remember what Bess looked like when she was born?" Johnny replied, not waiting for an answer to that question, as he could not see Maria signing to know what she was saying. "They look a little like that, but there are two of them, and they look almost exactly alike."

"They're like Sarah and Natalia, and me and Auntie Lucy," Liv explained. "They're identical." She paused briefly before answering. "I think I will probably be home tomorrow afternoon, darling, but it depends on what the doctors say tomorrow morning."

"And if not, you can come visit," Johnny was quick to add. "But I don't think we'll be here very long," he assured the children. There had been no problems with the birth, and so far, both mother and daughters seemed to be doing fine. "I can't wait for you to see them. They're really amazing," he added, clearly in awe of the miracle of birth yet again.

"What did you call them?" Fliss asked, the query accompanied by Bess' quiet burbling. The three-year-old was due for bed at any moment, but none of them would have let her miss this phone call.

"Bessie is tired. She should go to bed," Johnny said, hearing the toddler on the other end of the phone and knowing the little sounds she made when she was sleepy. He exchanged a glance with Liv, unsure which of them should reveal the names they had only just decided on a short while ago.

Liv sighed softly, her smile gentle. "Their names are Isabel and Marnie," she told their children. "And you'll see them tomorrow. But for now, say goodnight, Bessie. Sweet dreams!"

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Re: Two Little Storms
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2019, 07:53:03 PM »
There was a quiet, "G'nigh'," from the other end of the phone, accompanied by a yawning sigh.

"Love you, Bess. Sweet dreams!" Johnny said, missing the children they'd left at home, but knowing they'd be together again soon enough. "You should all get some rest. Babies have a bad habit of waking up the whole house in the middle of the night," he reminded them.

"Okay, Dad." Fliss sounded amused. "I'll take Bessie to bed. You two get some sleep too, okay? See you tomorrow." There was another tired burble of sound from Bess, and footsteps moving away from the phone.

Liv chuckled softly. "Is Fliss being all motherly on you?"

"She will be a good mother someday," Alex said, knowing that Fliss and Luc were engaged and assuming they'd get married and have children someday. Wasn't that what happily ever afters were all about?

"Not for a long time, Alex," Johnny was quick to point out. As fond as he was of Lucas, he was in no hurry to be a grandfather.

"And I'm sure you're both being amazing for her, too," Liv assured him, wishing she could see and talk to Maria as well. They were going to have to hope the engineer on Earth at A.E.G.I.S. HQ was making progress on a less intrusive means of inducing telepathy if she ever wanted to "hear" her little girl's voice again.

"It's time to say goodnight," Johnny told the children. "We'll see you tomorrow, okay?" he said, though it wasn't really a question. It seemed their father wasn't coming home tonight, but one way or the other, they'd be seeing each other tomorrow. "Be good for Fliss and give everyone hugs for us!"

A series of discordant chimes rang out - Maria, pressing buttons on the phone to say goodnight to them. "Good night, Maria," Liv called out with a smile. "Good night, Alex. Sleep well!"

"Good night, Mama, Papa!" Alex called back. "Give the babies kisses for us!" he said, making smooching noises into the phone for the two of them.

Johnny laughed. "Will do. Take care of your sisters, Alex. You're the man of the house now." At least, until his parents returned.

"Da, Papa! I will!"

With kisses ringing in the air, there was a click as the children put the phone down. Liv laughed tiredly, looking over at Johnny in amusement. "Fliss and Lucas are going to have their hands full tonight, aren't they?"

"Maybe they'll get a little taste of parenting and decide not to wait to have kids," Johnny said hopefully, though neither teen had expressed any desire to rush starting a family. "I'm too young to be a Grandpa."

His wife shook her head, smiling. "It's their decision, in the end," she pointed out, "but I think Fliss would like to be finished with school before they do that. So you have another two years before you need to worry too much about that."

"Two years!" Johnny exclaimed, almost forgetting he was holding a tiny baby in his arms who might be startled by his exclamation. "I won't even be forty yet!" he said. Clearly, it wasn't so much the idea of having grandchildren as it was the idea of getting old that was bothering him.

"So you'll be the most active grandpa ever," Liv countered in amusement. "Again, it isn't your decision, Sparky. And try not to upset Isabel while you squeak about your age." She winked at him, removing her finger from Marnie's mouth to begin unbuttoning her shirt. "Maybe you should feed her instead."

"Uh," Johnny started, as he watched Liv start to unbutton her shirt, presumably so that could feed one half of the twins. "I don't have the right equipment," he pointed out, though they'd been left some starter bottles, just in case.

Liv chuckled, gently tucking Marnie into place. Bess had been a nightmare when it came to latching on, but it seemed as though one of the twins at least knew what she was doing. "Use a bottle, sweetheart," she told him. "We just have to keep track of who got boob and who got bottle, that's all."

"We're going to need a chart," Johnny complained, though the sleepless and sleep-interrupted nights were only just beginning. The little one in his arms was starting to stir, awoken by his exclamation and perhaps feeling the first niggle of hunger after being born. He turned his attention to the eldest of the two - the one with a little nail polish on her finger. "Okay, okay. Keep your shirt on. I'm getting it," he told her, as he reached for a bottle.

"We're both going to be a little zombified for a few weeks, I think," Liv predicted. They were both going to have to get up for the twins in the night, that was for sure.

"We'll have help," Johnny pointed out, just like when they'd had Bess, except for the fact that Nat and Colin had just had a baby of their own, so he wasn't sure they could count on Steve and Lucy for much help.

"I know." She sighed, oddly content as she made herself comfortable. "I'd forgotten how lovely it is to have a newborn to cuddle."

"Well, now you have two of them!" Johnny reminded her with a grin. Double the fun, but double the trouble and work, too. Still, he thought if Steve and Lucy could do it, so could they. He offered baby Isabel the bottle, and she latched onto it right away, greedy and hungry for only being a few hours old.

"You need to remember to eat something," Liv mused quietly. "Last time, you didn't eat until you went home for breakfast with the kids. You were white as a sheet when you left in the morning."

"I'll grab something to eat once Miss Piggy here is done with her dinner, okay?" he promised, smirking at the nickname he'd donned the eldest twin with, though he didn't necessarily want it to stick. It was going to be twice as much work having twins, but it was worth it, in his opinion. "Liv?" he queried, as he turned his attention back to the small bundle in his arms. "You're not disappointed they're not boys, are you?"

Johnny Storm

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Re: Two Little Storms
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019, 07:53:26 PM »
She looked up in surprise. "Why would I be disappointed?" she asked him in turn. "I, um ... I am actually a little worried that you might be disappointed. I know most men would want a son of their own blood, but I also know you. Alexei is more your son than any other boy could be."

Johnny smiled, more relieved to hear that she wasn't disappointed than feeling any disappointment himself. She was right - it didn't matter to him whether their children were theirs by blood or not. He loved them all equally, whether they were male or female, infant or teenager, adopted or theirs by birth. "I'm not disappointed, Liv," he assured her. "I'm the happiest man in Rhy'Din right now!"

"Happier than Colin?" she asked teasingly. The last time they'd seen Colin Prescott, he had been standing out on the porch in his pajamas, grinning like an idiot and juggling his new daughter and a very large mug of coffee.

Johnny chuckled. "I'm not sure anyone can be as happy as Colin, but yeah ..." His smile softened as he looked over at his wife. He didn't need to tell her how much he adored her; it was there in his eyes and his smile every time he looked at her. "I'm not looking forward to sleepless nights again, but I'm happy, Liv." And the sleepless nights wouldn't last forever.

"So am I," she promised softly, her smile bright with tenderness. A comical look touched her expression as she raised Marnie to her shoulder to burp the baby girl. "Although maybe we should wait a little longer this time before making more."

"You don't think three years between babies is enough?" Johnny asked, his expression partly teasing and partly curious. Little Bess had turned three in November and could hardly be considered a baby anymore. In fact, he was probably going to have to stop thinking of her as "Little Bess".

"I think twins need a little more recovery time." She laughed quietly, easing Marnie down from her shoulder to wipe the baby girl's mouth. A little rearranging and covering up later, and she was just cuddling the youngest once more. "I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the children with them."

"You don't think Bess will be jealous, do you?" he asked, revealing one of only a few worries regarding the newest additions to the family. None of the other children seemed even the slightest bit jealous of their siblings, but Bess was the baby and she had only just turned three.

"She might be," Liv admitted uncomfortably. "But we can work with her on that. Keep her involved, and make sure she gets time that belongs to her."

"She's a good girl," Johnny said, though he thought that of all their children. None of them gave them much trouble, though he knew they weren't perfect. "I just hope none of them are like me as a kid," he remarked, offhandedly.

"Why not?" Liv asked him curiously, tilting her head with a smile. "Don't forget, I've chatted to Sue. You really weren't all that terrible, you know."

"I was a spoiled brat," Johnny said, judging himself perhaps a little too harshly. He had not had the happiest of childhoods, though he was grateful to his sister for everything she'd done for him growing up. "After Mom died ..." He just shrugged.

"Johnny ... that, right there, is the difference," Liv told him gently. "Even if our children show signs of your kind of rebellion, they have both their parents, and a wide extended family. They have support that you did not."

"Support that you didn't have either," he pointed out. It was one of the chief reasons the two of them were so adamant about raising a family that included a trio of orphans.

"Exactly," she agreed. "We both dealt with being very alone in different ways, but our children won't have to. Ever."

So long as nothing happened to them anyway, but he didn't want to think about that right now. He was practically indestructible, and he'd do everything in his power to make sure nothing ever happened to Liv. "I want to spoil them, Liv, but I don't want them to be spoiled, if that makes sense," he admitted.

They had already had one scare in that arena, and everyone was determined to make sure it never happened again. She smiled at him fondly. "It's called parenting, and I'm pretty sure you've got a handle on it by now," she assured him firmly.

"Think so?" he asked with a smile, as he somehow managed to pry the bottle from the newborn's mouth, as if he'd almost forgotten it was there. "That's enough now, Miss Piggy. It's time for your burp," he told the infant as he set the bottle aside and carefully propped her onto his shoulder.

"Absolutely." Liv nodded. It didn't surprise her that Marnie hadn't taken as much as Isabel seemed to have; all babies were different, and there was a distinct difference between what they were receiving, too.

"You should try to get some rest, Liv," Johnny told her, glad she thought him a good father, even if he knew he wasn't perfect.

Unlike her sister, Liv knew when not to argue. "You are probably right," she conceded with a quiet sigh. "So should you, once you've eaten."

"Yes, dear," he agreed, with an amused smirk. "Do you want anything?" he asked, as he was going to have to go to the cafeteria for food, so he thought he'd ask. He chuckled as he elicited a healthy burp from the eldest twin. "Well, this one's not going to go hungry anyway."

"A sandwich or something for when I wake up, maybe?" she suggested, leaning over to gently set Marnie down in the bassinet. Her fingers lingered against the baby girl's brow before she retreated, drawing a light blanket over her.

Johnny frowned over at Liv a moment, seeing how tired she looked. Healer or not, he knew by now that childbirth was hard work, and this time Liv had not only birthed one child, but two. He moved over to settle the eldest twin down next to her sister and tuck her in, as well, before turning to Liv. "You should really get some rest," he told her, his voice quiet and loving, reaching over to push a strand of hair away from her face.

"I will," she promised, reaching up to return his caress affectionately. "I love you, you know, very much. I promise not to throw your daughters out of the window if they wake me up before you get back."

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Re: Two Little Storms
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2019, 07:53:36 PM »
Johnny smiled, knowing she was only teasing him. "And I'll try not to be too long," he promised in return. "I love you very much, too, Mrs. Storm," he assured her, touching a tender kiss to her lips. "Get some rest. I'll be back soon. I'll probably call Sue, too, unless you want me to wait."

"And Steve and Jon," she suggested, knowing that making sure Steve and Lucy got it from the horse's mouth would save problems later, and Jon and Vicki would make sure the right people in the Grangers heard about it, too.

"Right, of course! How could I forget?" he said, laughing at himself. Or maybe he'd just assumed Fliss would spread the word. "But don't you want to tell Lucy yourself?" he asked as he tucked the blanket around his weary wife.

"I'm sure she'll forgive me." Liv smiled as she yawned, nestling under that blanket with no little relief. While she had been healed, labor and birth was exhausting.

"Okay, I promise I'll call Steve and Lucy, and Jon and Vicky. They can pass the word, okay?" he asked, touching an affectionate and protective kiss to her forehead. He didn't want to be away from her long, but it wouldn't take long to grab a couple of sandwiches and make a couple of phone calls.

"Okay." Still smiling, she settled beneath the blanket against the pillows, one hand draped over the side of the bassinet and two fingers captured by two small hands. She answered his kiss with a blown kiss of her own even as her eyes drifted closed.

"I won't be long. Promise," he told her, taking one last peek at their newborn twins before moving to the doorway to sneak out.

Liv was already asleep before he made it to the door, presenting a rather adorable sight for him before he left - his wife passed out sleeping peacefully, and his two newborn daughters playing with her fingers and each other's hands contentedly in their bassinet.

"Please God, if you exist, keep them safe and healthy for me," he whispered as he watched them one more time. He paused a moment just to watch, sighing with contentment and brushing a few happy tears from his eyes before he quietly stepped out of the room. With two more little Storms in his life, Johnny couldn't be happier.