Author Topic: Phoning Home  (Read 258 times)

Johnny Storm

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Phoning Home
« on: May 08, 2012, 05:56:15 PM »
Friday night, just before the Beltane Bonfire...

Johnny's six p.m. show at the Wonderplex was canceled due to the Beltane Festival, and it was just as well. He wasn't really in the mood for performing and while he was happy with Olivia, there was something bothering him, something that had been bothering him for a while, and Ben's arrival in Rhy'Din hadn't helped matters any. He'd been quietly brooding for a few days, though he was trying hard not to show it, not to let Olivia know. It wasn't her fault, and he didn't want her to worry, but the fact of the matter was he was homesick.

Thanks to the end of the filming schedule, Liv had returned to her previous routine, arriving home at about 6 PM herself for the first time in months. Expecting to find the apartment empty, she was quiet as she came in, setting her bag and shoes by the door before making her way down the hall. In fact, she was already stripping out of her clothes with the full intention of having a shower to work out the kink in her shoulders as she passed the living room door.

While it was true that he'd left of his own accord, he'd never really thought he'd be away from home this long. He'd never been out of touch with his sister this long, and much to his own surprise, he found himself missing her. He even missed Reed a little bit, or at the least, missed annoying the older man. As much as he loved Liv, he missed being part of a family, and her relationship with his sister only brought that feeling more to bear.

He'd tried and failed for what seemed like the thousandth time to reach her on the phone, even going as far as trying the comm link at the Spaceport, all to no avail. He could take a car engine apart and put it back together without any problem, but he'd never really been very good with technology. He'd always had Reed around for that. He was standing near the window, watching the world go by, wondering if he'd ever see his sister again. His cell phone lay on the coffee table, broken and melted beyond repair - telltale signs of a bad temper when he got frustrated enough. So lost in thought, he didn't even hear Liv come in. It could have been an arch-enemy sneaking up behind his back, and he wouldn't have been any wiser. It wasn't the first cell phone that he'd ruined, and it probably wouldn't be the last.

He was too still for her absent-minded attitude to notice him where he stood by the living-room window, and Liv really was in her own little world as she set the shower to running, padding across the hall to finish stripping and grab her towel. At least it was Friday ...admittedly, Johnny had insisted on them going out to the Beltane fires tonight, but it was Friday. She could sleep in tomorrow morning.

Something seemed to draw him back to reality - the sound of the shower, the smell of her perfume - something that told him he was no longer alone, and he blinked out of his thoughts and dragged his eyes toward the bathroom, forgetting about the evidence of his bad mood that lay on the coffee table. Was it 6:00 already? Where had the day gone? He hadn't even made dinner yet, and the festival was supposed to start in a few hours. He pulled himself away from the window, letting the curtains fall back into place and started toward the hallway. "Liv?" he called. "Mind if we order out tonight?"

The sound of his voice was answered with a startled yelp, and the slithering thump that announced Liv tripping over whatever it was this time and landing hard on the bedroom floor. "Bloody hell, Johnny, I thought you were at the Wonderplex!" She was laughing as she said it, scrambling back onto her feet to tuck the towel around herself before she managed to distract him from whatever it was he had on his mind.

He arrived at the door to the bedroom, just as she was scrambling to her feet and tucking the towel around herself, chuckling a little at her modesty. "You realize you don't have anything under there I haven't seen already," he smirked, crossing his arms over his chest and taking a lean in the doorway. Despite his homesickness, he just couldn't stay sad for long in her presence.

Her smile was wry but warm as she finished hiding herself away, moving to where he leaned against the door frame to kiss his cheek. "But if you can't see it, you might not feel an irresistible urge to touch it," she countered teasingly, stroking her fingers against his smooth cheek. Despite the tease, though, her smile faded, those newly healed eyes sharp as they studied his expression. As much as Johnny might have liked to think otherwise, Liv had noticed the darker turns of his mood recently. It seemed as good a time as any to ask about them. "What's wrong, sweetheart?"

The smile he wore on his face faded when she asked the inevitable question and he had to turn away from her so she wouldn't suspect there was anything wrong. "Nothing," he said, reluctantly pulling away from her touch and moving to the closet to pick something out for the festival. He pushed a few shirts aside and pulled one out at random. "I'm thinking stripes. What do you think?"

She watched him move past, her brow furrowing in a worried frown. "I think you're avoiding the question, Johnny," she said quietly. "You haven't been right for days. Is it really so awful that you can't even imagine trusting me with it?"

He held the striped shirt up in front of him. "They say stripes make you look fat. Do you think I look fat?" Yes, he was both avoiding and trying to change the subject. Though she seemed to see right through him, he was hoping he could fool her or at least distract her a little bit longer. He sighed at her question, his shoulders visibly sagging. "It's not that, Liv."

"Then what is it?" No, she wasn't going to let him distract her; one of the more distressing sides of Liv's character meant that if she thought something was wrong, she would poke and prod at it until you gave in and told her. "Are you sick, or is there something upsetting you that you haven't told me about?"

"You left the hot water running," he pointed out, in a final attempt to distract her, as he laid the striped shirt out on the bed. "And no, I'm not sick. Don't worry so much. I'm fine. I'm just..." There was that frown again. He'd never been able to lie to her, not from the first moment he'd met her, and he was having a hard time doing it now. "It's going to sound stupid."

Rolling her eyes, Liv turned her back, skipping across the hall to turn the water off before returning to meet his frown head on with a clear expression. "No, it won't," she promised him. "It's bothering you, whatever it is, and that could never be stupid." Tucking the end of the towel away, she came to him, reaching for his hands. "Just tell me. You never know, I might be able to help."

He moved over to the dresser and opened a drawer while she shut the hot water off. "Am I going in my civvies tonight?" he asked, his back turned to her as he went through the small pile of clothes he'd picked up at a second-hand store in the Marketplace. He straightened, turning to face her as she reached for him, letting her take his hands in his, looking into her face, recognizing the trust she held for him and the desire to help. Brows lowered as he seemed to momentarily debate what to tell her. "I'm just... I'm just a little homesick, I guess," he admitted finally, feeling ridiculously stupid.
"You have Lucy and... seeing you two together..." He broke off a moment, uncertain how or if he should continue.

Liv relaxed as she heard that; though it was awful that Johnny was feeling unsettled, it was a relief to know it wasn't because of anything she'd done. Her lips curved into a loving smile as she squeezed his hands. "There's nothing stupid about missing your home or your family, Johnny," she assured him softly. "Nothing compares with even just talking to someone so close. Why don't you call home?"

Johnny Storm

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Re: Phoning Home
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2012, 05:59:30 PM »
His frown deepened as he finally opened up about what had been bothering him for the last few days or maybe even weeks. "I don't have family, Liv. Just a sister." He felt her squeeze his hands, her touch giving him a little comfort and the courage to continue, relieved she didn't think he was acting like a homesick child away at summer camp. "I've tried," he replied at her suggestion. "I can't find the right frequency or something. It's useless." He sighed again.

Her brow rose as he spoke. "I don't have a family either," she reminded him quietly. "Just a sister." She rose onto her toes, brushing her lips to his tenderly. "Why didn't you tell me you were having trouble? I call back to Earth at least once a week."

His lips were warm against hers - unnaturally warm, just as they always were. He frowned a little into her kiss, blue eyes meeting brown as he shrugged his shoulders. "There are a dozen different Earths. How am I supposed to know which is the right one?"

"Well, I don't really know how it works, I just know that doctoring the SIM card connects you to the Earth that you're from," she admitted with a shrug of one bare shoulder. "I have a spare SIM I haven't touched - where's your phone?"

"SIM card?" he repeated, not really understanding what that meant. He thought he really should have paid better attention in Science Class, but science had never been his strong suit. Brows furrowed further when she asked about his phone and he suddenly remembered where he'd left it. "Crap!" he exclaimed. "It sort of had an accident." He frowned, guiltily.

Liv knew him too well for the words 'it had an accident' to reel her in at all. "An accident," she repeated in a soft voice. "Never mind, we can use my phone. Come on." Releasing one of his hands, she took a firmer grip on the other one and headed out into the hallway, tugging him along behind her until they reached her bag. From inside that familiar black satchel, she withdrew her off-duty phone and a small cardboard packet.

He followed along behind her, half his brain excitedly wondering if the towel would fall off and the other half if he'd really be able to phone home. One little tug was all it would take, but then they'd be distracted further and he might never make his phone call, she might never get her shower, and they might never get to the festival. "What's that?" he asked of the small cardboard packet.

"Just a moment." Smiling, Liv set the card down on the table and turned her attention to opening her phone, sliding the battery free and removing from the inner workings a thumbnail sized piece of silicone. "SIM card," she told him, making sure he knew what it was before she put it down. Picking up the card package, she popped an identical piece of silicone from inside the packet and handed it to him. "You need to personalise that, with blood or spit or something genetic. I bled on mine, if that helps." She offered him a sweet smile.

He watched intently, studying what she was doing. He might not be a science geek, but he was a quick learner. Though she was smiling, he winced at the thought of her bleeding herself. "Does one work better than the other?" Because it was a lot easier to spit than bleed.

"Not really, but I'd already given myself a paper cut trying to get into the packet in the first place," she admitted with a soft giggle. "As far as I know, it's just a way for the SIM to identify which Earth's network connection to tap. Once the SIM is in the phone, you can call home without needing anything but the international codes." She smiled, waiting patiently for him to do whatever he was going to do.

"You're kidding me, right?" he asked, with a dubious look on his face, but she was smiling and perfectly serious. Besides, he trusted her and knew she would never lie to him, especially not about something as important to him as this. He took the phone from her, grimacing at it a little. "Here goes nothing." He brought the phone up to his mouth, darting a glance at her. "This is gross."

"Just stick it under your tongue for a few seconds, that's all," Liv giggled, enjoying his reluctance to actually practice what she preached. It was a shame he hadn't seen the mess she'd made of her own SIM, really - he might have felt better about it.

"What if I swallow it?" he asked, dumping the SIM out onto his hand before very carefully placing it under his tongue and making a face at her, like a child who was being forced to take some bad-tasting medicine.

"It'll pass right through you, but you'll be putting it in the phone," she informed him calmly, offering up another bright smile. A moment after he'd put the SIM card into his mouth, she held out her hand under his chin. "Spit it out, sweetheart."

He started to say something, but whatever it was he was saying wasn't really understandable with the thing stuck beneath his tongue. He made a face at the imagery she had just painted in his head, and then chuckled, wondering if that would work better than spit. A look of panic crossed his face as he almost swallowed the thing, but then he was spitting it out onto her hand. "They should sell them in different flavors. Personally, I'd like mine cherry flavor." He grinned.

True to form, Liv blushed bright crimson at that, hiding her face behind the fall of her hair as she picked the soggy SIM card out of her palm to insert it into her phone. A moment later, the battery had been reattached, and the phone was powering up. Smiling triumphantly, Liv put the cell phone into Johnny's hand. "E.T., you may now phone home."

He started to say something, but whatever it was he was saying wasn't really understandable with the thing stuck beneath his tongue. He made a face at the imagery she had just painted in his head, and then chuckled, wondering if that would work better than spit. A look of panic crossed his face as he almost swallowed the thing, but then he was spitting it out onto her hand. "They should sell them in different flavors. Personally, I'd like mine cherry flavor." He grinned.
 
True to form, Liv blushed bright crimson at that, hiding her face behind the fall of her hair as she picked the soggy SIM card out of her palm to insert it into her phone. A moment later, the battery had been reattached, and the phone was powering up. Smiling triumphantly, Liv put the cell phone into Johnny's hand. "E.T., you may now phone home."

Johnny chuckled at her remark. "Very funny, Elliott. Props for not getting grossed out by my spit." He smirked as he took the phone from her, looking to the keypad doubtfully. "Are you sure this is gonna work? I mean... Aren't we on the other side of the galaxy or something?"

"Oh goodness, Johnny, I don't know," Liv smiled confidently. "I just know it works, that's all." She batted those big brown eyes up at him, tucking the towel more securely about herself. "Don't you trust me?"

He huffed at her question, furrowing his brows at her. "Of course, I trust you. I'm just not good with technology. I almost failed science class." He drew a breath to gather his courage and dialed his sister's cell phone number, including the international code for the U.S. "How's it gonna know to phone Earth?" he asked, still having trouble wrapping his head around it. He laid the phone against his ear and waited for it to connect.

Johnny Storm

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Re: Phoning Home
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2012, 06:03:23 PM »
"I think it's because now it's got your genetic material to work from, it'll work out where you're trying to call to. I don't know." She shrugged lightly, rising to kiss his cheek. "I'll be in the shower. Enjoy your call!"

"But..." He started to protest, still not quite believing it would actually work and then the phone was ringing on the other end, and his heart leaped into his throat. "It's ringing!" he told her excitedly as she kissed his cheek.

She giggled softly, delighted by his excitement. "See? I told you it would!" Gently stroking his cheek, she stepped away, flickering a wink in his direction. "I'll leave you to it. Enjoy!" On bare feet, she padded down the hall to disappear into the bathroom, turning the hot water on once again to have the shower she'd been wanting for the last three hours.

He turned in place to follow her with his eyes, blinking, a surprised look on his face when he heard what sounded like his sister's voice on the other end of the phone. "Suse? It's me! Johnny!" he exclaimed, turning away and sticking a finger in his free ear to hear her better. "What's that? Sue, calm down. I'm fine. I just couldn't figure out how to contact you." He paused as she continued on the other end, pulling the phone away from his ear while she ranted at him for a moment.

All was quiet in the living room for about ten minutes, and then the bathroom door was suddenly pushed open and Johnny was laughing and whooping excitedly. In his excitement, he pulled open the shower curtain to share the news. "Liv! Liv! Sue's pregnant! I'm gonna be an uncle!" Fully clothed, he stepped into the shower to join her and pull her into his arms for a kiss, laughing with joy.

Liv had been relaxing under the flow of hot water, letting the spray beating down on her back ease the tension from her shoulders as she sighed contentedly. Of course, all that relaxation was entirely undone by Johnny's sudden entrance, her nut-brown eyes snapping open as she let out a startled shriek, only to dissolve into giggles as he stepped under the flow of water with her, heedless of his clothes, and kissed her with laughing lips. "That's wonderful, Johnny! I'm so happy for you!"

The water was beating down on them both now, some of it turning to steam as soon as it came in contact with him. It was something he had become accustomed to and ignored it. He'd dry off soon enough and so long as he wasn't planning on turning his flame on anytime soon, it wasn't a problem. Grinning from ear to ear, he was so happy he wanted to pick her up and spin her around, but there wasn't enough room to do that in the shower. "She wants us to visit. She wants to meet you."

"Well, of course she wants you to visit," Liv giggled. His exhilaration was infectious, and for once, she wasn't even blushing at being caught nude in his arms. "You have to go and see her, and not just to see the baby, either." She poked his chest playfully, dark hair plastered to her head and face under the steady spray from the shower head. "Johnny, those jeans are going to chafe if you let yourself get soaked."

"Not just to see the baby? Of course not just to see the baby. I want her to meet you." He was still grinning and started to get as soaked as she was, unconcerned about this jeans or anything else but the good news. It was news to him that Sue and Reed were even trying to have a baby. He laughed as a thought crossed his mind. "I wasn't sure Reed knew what went where and why." He still had his arms around her and didn't look like he was in a hurry to let her get back to showering. "What do you think about seeing New York in spring?"

"Oh dear lord, I hope you haven't been trying to tell him how to go about impregnating your sister," Liv groaned back in a giggly voice, sliding her hands over the sodden cloth of his shirt. "This spring? Really?" She blinked in surprise, for once managing to keep herself from actually mentioning aloud how much fast talking she might have to do to get the time off so close to a premiere. "I ... I've never been to America," she admitted in a shy voice, biting at her lower lip. "Aren't I too pasty to survive?"

He wasn't thinking about her career at all, or his own, for that matter. The Wonderplex and the Avengers would survive for a few days without him, and so would Lelah and the studio. He was, in fact, completely clueless about the movie schedule, except for what she told him. "Too pasty?" He laughed. "Why would you think that?"

She laughed softly. "Because I hardly ever see the sun," she explained in a giggly voice, wiping water from her face as she looked up at him. "Won't I fry to a crisp in America? Everyone always says it's so sunny and hot. I'll melt!"

He chuckled again as he seemed to suddenly realize that he wasn't just holding Liv in his arms, but a naked Liv and here he was fully clothed. "Not in New York." He pulled away from her for a moment to yank the shirt off his back. "Not in any hurry are you?" He smiled, extending an arm to drop the wet t-shirt on the bathroom floor.

"Um ..." Ah, there was the blush, and look how it spread from her cheeks down over her very exposed skin under his smiling gaze. White teeth took hold of the pink pillow of her lower lip as she looked up at him from beneath low lashes. "I could be persuaded not to be."

They still had a few hours until the Beltane Festival was expected to start, and Johnny knew exactly how he wanted to spend it.