"Better," Liv promised him, pleased to hear the faint tease in his voice. "I'm going to bring you pizza and beer, and then I'll tuck you into bed." She drew him into the living room, closing the door behind them, and gently steered him to a chair. Lucy was momentarily nowhere to be seen, but she appeared barely a moment after they re-entered, beer in one hand, pizza in the other. The twins knew each other better than they liked to advertise, after all.
Steve, too, was nowhere to be seen, excusing himself for a moment to fetch something from the bedroom, something he'd brought back for Johnny, something that seemed more important than it had before. Johnny's smile flickered briefly when he saw Lucy, like a flame that couldn't stay lit, before it faded altogether. "Hey, Luce. Where's your other half?" he asked, noticing Steve seemed to have disappeared into thing air, unsure if he was relieved or disappointed by that fact.
"He's just getting something," she assured Johnny, bending to set the food and drink down on the coffee table near him. One hand gently rubbed through his hair with sisterly affection. "Eat up, Everlast."
Grateful to Lucy for getting there ahead of her, for making sure she wouldn't have to leave Johnny's side, Liv smiled fondly, drawing him down into a seat to settle beside him, refusing to relinquish his hand. She had nothing more she could really offer him in the wake of what he had told her, but she was hoping that the others would be able to help.
Johnny settled himself on the couch at the twins' behest, glancing at the slice of pizza that was waiting for him on the coffee table. "Did he like it?" he asked, hoping Steve had approved of Johnny's choice for dinner. He wasn't sure why, but Steve's approval meant a lot to him. Maybe it was because he'd never really had a big brother, and his father hadn't been much of a father. There was Reed and Ben, but he felt they merely tolerated him more than anything else. The only one he felt any real connection to back home was his sister Sue, and while she'd tried to be a mother figure to him, they both knew she could never really fill those shoes. He realized, not for the first time, that he and Sue were as much orphans as Liv and Lucy.
Lucy snickered softly, thumping down into a corner of the couch, opposite the Human Torch and her sister. "I think he did," she told Johnny, making an effort to be upbeat, not to sink into too much seriousness. He wouldn't appreciate it if he thought his mood had brought them all down. "We had enough of a battle saving those slices for you!"
Johnny actually smiled, though the smile was weak. It was good to be surrounded by people who cared about him, who cared enough to save him a few slices of pizza, even if they would have rather gobbled it all up themselves. "Next time we'll order him his own pizza with the works," Johnny promised, his mood lightening a little. He reached for the plate and took a bite, only realizing when he did how hungry he was. He groaned in delight at the taste of it, the harrowing experience of the fire forgotten for the moment. He followed that slice with a healthy swallow of beer, swigging down half a bottle before it got warm.
"We should get into the habit of ordering two when everyone's together," Liv mused, quietly relieved as Johnny seemed to relax into the lighter atmosphere Lucy and Steve seemed to have worked to keep up for him, even if Steve was nowhere in sight. "Keep this a regular thing."
Lucy nodded, nestling into the cushions at the corner of the couch comfortably. "Absolutely," she agreed. "Trust me, Johnny, you haven't seen anything yet. That girl there can put away a large pizza all by herself if no one stops her."
Johnny arched a brow as he looked between the set of twins, knowing they were doing their best to cheer him up, and it was working, at least a little. "Not gonna get fat on me before the wedding, are you, Liv?" he asked, with a completely straight face. Which wedding he was talking about was anyone's guess.
Steve cleared his throat gently to let them know he had returned as he stepped into the living room from the hallway that led to the master and guest bedroom. He was holding one arm behind his back, as if to hide something from view. "Am I intruding?" he asked, politely.
The thought of Liv getting fat in less than a week was silly enough to set both women laughing, but it was Lucy who laughed hardest, guessing pretty accurately that it wasn't her wedding Johnny was referring to. That was a happy development she was more than content with, after all. "What, don't you want a cuddly woman with ample boobs to snuggle with at night, Everlast?" the elder twin asked impishly.
For her part, Liv took this teasing with a pinch of salt, sticking her tongue out at Johnny fondly through a resigned smile over the cover of Lucy's cackles. She was the one who noticed Steve's entrance first, curiosity lighting up her gaze as she noted his stance. "Of course not, Steve," she assured him. "Come and sit on your fiancee before I do something dreadful, like tickle her until she widdles."
"Liv's got ample boobs as far as I'm concerned," Johnny remarked with a small, tired smirk. He finished off his beer and set the empty on the table, his gaze darting to Steve, even as he drew an arm around Liv. The next thing on his list was a shower and a good night's sleep, but he wasn't yet ready to leave the warm companionship of the trio who surrounded him and be left alone with his thoughts.
Steve glanced between the three of them, looking only slightly uncomfortable with the twins' teasing. It would take time, but he was slowly getting used to their verbal repartee. It was the talk of boobs and widdling that made him cringe. "I'm not changing her diaper if she widdles," he remarked, in a meager attempt to make a joke. He lowered himself onto the arm of the couch, leaning toward Johnny to hand him the comic book he'd given to Lucy and asked to have autographed. "This belongs to you," he told the other man, noting the look on his face, the weariness, the anguish, as much as he was trying to hide it.