Author Topic: Stray  (Read 284 times)

Olivia Storm

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Stray
« on: March 22, 2014, 10:33:57 AM »
Usually when Johnny came home from work with the fire brigade, Liv was waiting for him, watching the sky for the fireball that was Johnny Storm to swoop down from the sky and make a perfect landing, either on the roof of Luks Condos or on the ground. He had tried once or twice to fly in through an open window, but after setting fire to the curtains, that form of entry was ruled out as too dangerous, not to mention Liv just got tired of replacing the curtains. But today, there was no fireball sweeping across the sky announcing his return. In fact, the sky was a little too quiet, and Johnny was a little bit late.

A year ago, this lateness would have worried Liv sick. She would have been calling Johnny every five minutes, calling his Chief at the fire station, calling anyone who might be able to tell her where her husband was. But a year was enough to condition her into not panicking unless Johnny was several hours late, which was why she'd given up watching the sky and had gone back to re-reading the latest script offer that Jon had expressed an interest in and making notes while she waited.

He wasn't hours late, plural, but by the time he arrived outside Luks Condos, it was nearly an hour later than usual. The reason for his lateness would become clear soon enough, but he was hoping he could somehow sneak in without Liv noticing, for now. That plan might or might not come to fruition, depending on how anxious Liv was for his return. He didn't see her at the window, so there was still a chance he could sneak inside and soften her up before his little surprise made itself known. That is, if he could get that little surprise to stop barking long enough to let him get inside and pave the way.

She was actually in the spare room they'd converted into an office, cup of coffee in one hand and contract in the other, wondering vaguely if this was actually her job. But then, she needed to know the ins and outs of Jon's contracts in order to be able to give him the support he needed to fulfill them. Unaware of Johnny's impending arrival, she sighed, leaning back in her chair to rub her eyes as she glanced at the clock. A faint frown touched her brow. No, Johnny was still late.

There was a faint click as Johnny unlocked the door to their apartment and let himself in, followed by what sounded like the sound of his voice mumbling quietly to himself, for some reason. He was dressed in street clothes, worn over the ever-present one-piece uniform that was really only shed when he was relaxing at home with Olivia. He looked around for his lovely wife, but didn't see her and assumed she was most likely hiding in the office taking care of some detail or other in the managing of her boss's life, er career, er whatever it was she helped him with. "Livvie?" he called, stepping toward the room where he thought he was most likely to find her.

"In here, sweetheart." The relief in her voice was obvious as she heard him calling to her, smiling at the thought that he was finally home. She could leave work alone for the rest of the evening and concentrate on her husband, which was by far her favorite thing to do these days. Setting the contract aside, she pushed herself onto her feet, moving toward the door. "How was work?"

He nearly collided with her as he rounded the corner into what had once been an extra bedroom, but now served as an office. "Oh!" he exclaimed, a little more nervous and jittery and hyperactive-looking than was normal, even for Johnny Storm. "I was just about to ask you the same thing," he said, taking hold of her shoulders to steer her back into the room.

Startled, she backed into the office under his guidance, laughing at the strange reversal of her course. "Since when is my work day ever anything but fascinating?" she asked him playfully, smoothing her hands against his hips. "I missed you when I got in. Did something happen at the station?"

"Did you go sock shopping today?" he asked, remembering an old episode of Seinfeld that revolved around Elaine, who was employed as a P.A., had to shop for her boss' socks and couldn't find a single pair that satisfied him. Wasn't that what being a P.A. was all about? Even Liv, who was used to Johnny's moods, might find him a bit neurotic today.

"Sock shopping?" Liv laughed aloud, yelping a little when her backward motion was finally brought to a halt by the edge of the desk at her rear. "What on earth is bothering you tonight? You don't get this strange unless you have had far too much sugar."

"Sugar? Me? No. What makes you think I had sugar?" he laughed nervously. A sound was heard from the other room that sounded suspiciously like the bark of a dog, which Johnny pretended to ignore. "So, what did you do today?" he asked, purposely blocking her path to the door.

One of Liv's responsibilities was to look after her employer's dog when he wasn't around, so she knew a dog's bark when she heard it, looking suspiciously to the door before finding her way blocked. Her smile turned warily amused as she looked up at her husband, wondering what he'd done. "Not as much as you did, apparently," she chuckled. "Am I being replaced with something on four legs, sweetheart?"

"Replaced?" Johnny echoed, his expression wearing a worried frown. "I could never..." There was that sound again that couldn't really be mistaken for anything but a dog barking. Once, twice, three times, before Johnny yelped as something nudged him from behind.

Liv giggled as he yelped, far from worried or offended. "I think your new boyfriend is getting jealous," she teased her husband affectionately, leaning close to kiss him before giving his arm a gentle slap. "Move, I want to see the interloper."

Johnny frowned into her kiss, that worried look not leaving his face. "You're not mad?" he asked, unsure what her reaction would once she laid eyes on the poor beast he'd brought home with him.

"Now, why would I be mad?" she asked him innocently. Of course, if he thought about it a little, he'd realize that she was learning to go with the flow - they'd discussed getting a dog a while ago, and nothing had come of it. She didn't mind being surprised, and this definitely was one.
[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: Stray
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2014, 10:34:52 AM »
"I didn't mean for him to follow me home," Johnny explained, looking for a plausible excuse, like a child might to a parent. "He's lost, I guess," he continued with a shrug. "He was hungry and cold and all alone, and I couldn't just leave him there." He stepped aside at last to let Liv meet the interloper who had followed Johnny home, which would not have happened had Johnny taken to the sky. What met her eyes was indeed a dog, of mixed breed, black and brown, with intelligent looking dark eyes and a playfully wagging tail. He looked healthy, albeit a little underfed and needing a good cleaning.

"Did you pick up any food for him while he was following you?" she asked, fairly sure this wouldn't have occurred to Johnny. She knew her husband pretty well - he had probably been distracted either with trying to convince the dog to go away or egging the canine on. She smiled, crouching down as he stepped out of the way to greet the dog, who paid no mind at all to her outstretched hand and instead pressed his cold nose right into her neck, making her laugh as she gently pushed him away. "Well, aren't you handsome?"

"Uh, no... I bought him a hamburger though!" he told her, wondering if that counted. What did he know about taking care of a dog? He'd never had a pet before, though they had doggiesat Cosmo from time to time. Johnny furrowed his brows at her, almost jealous of the dog for a moment. "He doesn't have any tags, I checked," he pointed out helpfully.

Liv let her hands move to ruffle the fur at the dog's neck, feeling for the telltale groove in the fur growth that would tell them whether or not he had ever worn a collar. "Hmm," she mused, glancing at her hands as she drew them back and grimacing at the dirt that clung there now. "He obviously used to wear a collar, but there's nothing to say where he lost it. He's not bleeding anywhere or hurt. Needs a bath, though." She smirked as the magic word "bath" elicited a wide-eyed reaction from the dog, watching him back up to the doorway with that tail wagging furiously. Rising, she turned to Johnny. "We've got some mince in the fridge - I can cook some of that for him tonight, and grab some proper food tomorrow," she told her husband with a mild smile. "But we should at least make an effort to find his owners."

Johnny watched hopefully while Liv presumably looked for clues as to the dog's previous ownership, deflated a little when she suggested they look for his owners. "He's an orphan like us, Liv," Johnny pointed out. Just another orphan in Rhy'Din, looking for a home and people to love him.

"And what if there's a family out there looking for him, heartbroken because they lost him?" she asked, drawing her fingers gently against his cheek. "We'll put up flyers," she told him calmly. "We'll take him to the vet, we'll look after him ourselves. And if in two weeks no one has come looking for him, he can stay." She eyed Johnny, daring him to argue with her as she smiled. "Deal?"

Johnny seemed to take this in, frowning seriously, but nodding at last in agreement, knowing Liv was right. He didn't want to take someone's beloved pet from them; he only wanted to make sure the dog had a home with people who would take good care of him. "Okay," Johnny agreed, secretly hoping no one called to claim him. Even though they'd only spent a few hours together, Johnny had already grown fond of his new friend. "He needs a name," Johnny pointed out. Even if the dog already had a name, they had no way of knowing what that name was.

She looked down at the dog, and grinned, raising her eyes to Johnny. "He needs a bath," she countered cheerfully. "Think you can handle that, handsome, or would you like your big burly wife to do that for you?"

"You're not big and..." Johnny trailed off with a muttered, "Oh," as he realized she was being sarcastic. "Well, where am I gonna wash him?" he asked, not quite realizing the best place was probably the same place where he and Liv bathed, especially since it wasn't warm enough yet to do it outside.

Catching his face between her hands, Liv kissed Johnny even as she giggled at his slight case of cluelessness, ignoring the dog sniffing curiously at their knees. "Tell you what," she suggested. "You bath him - in the bath - and I'll run to the pet store down the road and grab a few bits and pieces. How does that sound?"

Oh, no! She was trusting him to give the dog a bath all alone without wrecking the place? Johnny looked like he was on the verge of a panic attack. As much as he wanted to keep the dog, he didn't have the first clue about how to take care of one. "Me? But I..." He glanced to the dog who only barked encouragement, tail wagging happily.

"You can do it, baby," she promised him. "So long as you keep the door shut, everything in the bathroom is wipe clean. It isn't as terrifying an idea as you seem to think." She paused, looking down at their happy little companion with a faint chuckle. "What do you think, should I stay long enough to get you started?"

"Um..." He looked at the dog uncertainly, before gathering his courage and his pride. He was a man! He could do this! "We'll be fine. Won't we, boy?" Johnny asked the dog, receiving a bark in reply, as if the dog could read his thoughts. "See? You go to the store," Johnny said, turning her toward the door, though she had not yet grabbed her coat. "I'll take care of things here," he told her confidently, almost cockily.

She chuckled, letting herself be steered out of the office and toward the living room. "Fair warning, if this place is a war zone when I get back in twenty minutes, you will be cleaning it up," she grinned over her shoulder at her husband, picking up her bag and coat as they passed where she had left them. "And you ..." She looked down at the dog. "No widdling on the carpet."

The dog answered Olivia with a friendly bark, tail wagging happily. Johnny wasn't quite sure if it was such a good idea to keep a dog in a posh apartment like this, or even if they were allowed to have a dog here, but he hadn't been thinking of that when the dog had adopted him and followed him home. Johnny drew an X across his chest. "Promise. Cross my heart and... cross my heart." He trailed off, not wanting to say the part about hoping to die, since he didn't really want to die.
[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: Stray
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2014, 10:35:34 AM »
Given that Cosmo had lived here with Jon and Vicki for several months, Liv doubted it would be a problem. She laughed at both of them, shaking her head at the silliness of the situation, and shrugged into her coat. "All right then," she grinned. "I will be back in twenty minutes. Half an hour, tops."

"We'll be here!" Johnny said with a grin. "Won't we, boy?" He walked Liv toward the door, anxious for her to head out so he could get started with the bathing. The sooner he got started, the sooner he finished, and he wanted to make Liv proud of him. He could do this!

Laughing still, Liv slipped out through the door and closed it firmly behind her, wondering just what she was going to come home to. She loved her husband, but she also knew him pretty well. Add a hyperactive dog into the mix, and who knew what would be waiting for her when she returned?

Twenty minutes was hardly enough to fill a tub and give a dog a proper bath, especially for someone who had never owned a dog or cared for one before. By the time they were done, they were both soaking wet, and it was hard to tell which of them had been in charge. The bathroom could have been worse, though there was soap water everywhere, and all of Liv's fancy bottled cosmetics were in disarray. Johnny had ended up using Liv's shampoo and conditioner on the dog's fur, since it was purported to "leave your hair silky and shiny", and wasn't fur just a whole lot of hair? Besides, it made the dog smell good, just like Liv after a shower. Okay, not exactly, but at least, he smelled better than he did when Johnny had first found him. Or was it the other way around?

It was just as well Liv returned just after half an hour had gone by, or she might have objected to the fact that her shampoo and conditioner had been used on their house guest. As it was, she recognized the smell in the air, but didn't object, figuring there was no point in telling them off when she hadn't actually caught them doing it. She'd brought in bowls, food, a collar and leash, a blanket, and a tube of tennis balls, hoping that would be enough for now. "I'm back!" she called out as she entered, closing the door firmly behind her. Best to give plenty of warning, after all.

At least, Johnny had had the good sense not to use one of Liv's best monogrammed towels on their guest. By the time Liv got back, Johnny had the dog out of the tub and was rubbing his fur dry beneath a towel that was warmed by the heat of his touch. The dog was obviously enjoying all the attention and Johnny had been rewarded with a least a few doggy kisses. "In here!" he called from the bathroom when he heard Liv return. "You be good and maybe Livvie will let you stay," he leaned in close to warn the dog.

"Okay!" He had a few more minutes of grace as Liv detoured to the kitchen to put the bowls and food on a counter, leaving everything else on the couch for the time being, but she was soon standing the doorway to the bathroom. Her eyes swept the disaster zone with a wide grin. "Had fun, did we?"

Thankfully, due to Johnny's inner furnace, both him and the dog were nice and dry. That couldn't be said for the bathroom, however, which was a mess, but definitely could have been worse. "He's all nice and clean  now, Liv," Johnny told her, pulling the towel away from the dog to let her see his handiwork, the look on his face begging her to keep the dog, but knowing they had to do the right thing and make sure no one claimed him first.

"So I see." Stepping back out of the doorway, Liv considered the pair of them - the hopeful man and the dog who seemed to have adopted him happily. She had a feeling that, even if someone did step forward to claim this animal, they wouldn't be without a dog for long afterward. "Come on, then, you two," she jerked her head toward the living room. "Dinner."

The dog seemed to know exactly what that word meant, answering Liv with a happy woof, as he padded along after her. He might have been a stray when Johnny found him, but he'd belonged to someone once and seemed to instinctively know about baths and dinner and not piddling on the carpet. Even if the man he'd followed home didn't seem to know the first thing about taking care of him, he already seemed to know what was expected of him. "I have to clean up," Johnny replied, frowning as he looked to the mess they'd made in the bathroom.

"There's dinner for you, too, sparky," she called back over her shoulder to her husband, wondering how Johnny's jealous streak was going to cope with having to share her with a dog, even if it was only for a little while. "We can clean up later. It won't take long, and your pizza won't stay hot if you wait."

Sparky. It was a good name for a dog, but as Liv's nickname for Johnny, it was already taken. "Pizza?" he asked, perking up. He fully intended to clean up the bathroom, but if she was offering him pizza first, he was all for that. "What do you think we should name him?" Johnny inquired as he followed the pair from the bathroom.

"He followed you home, you get to name him," Liv grinned cheerfully, chickening out of that little conundrum with impish good humor. "You, sit." This was directed at the dog, who had clearly had some training, since he planted his rear end right where he stood to watch as she poured a cupful of food into one of the bowls and set it down on the floor of the kitchen. "Okay, c'mon. Dinner!" As the dog moved to eat, apparently pleased with the biscuits she'd brought home, Liv glanced up at Johnny with a smile. "What do you think suits him? It is a him, right?"

Johnny watched as Liv instructed the dog and the dog obeyed, impressed with them both. They seemed practically made for each other. He knew it had taken months of training to get Cosmo to behave, and even now the dog was just an overgrown puppy. This dog, by contrast, seemed to already know the rules of being housebroken, which only proved Liv's theory that he probably had a family out there looking for him somewhere. "I don't know. I never had a pet. Never had to name anything." Johnny had to smirk a little at her last question, however. "If lifting a leg to mark every tree he passes is any indication, I'd say it's a good bet he's a boy."

"Maybe you should call him Piddles, then," she chuckled, rubbing her hand over the dog's back as she bent to put down the full water bowl. She nodded toward the pizza box on the counter as she moved to wash her hands. "Tuck in. Just how you like it."
[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: Stray
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2014, 10:36:14 AM »
"Piddles!" Johnny echoed, looking almost insulted by the mere suggestion of such a name. "We can't call him that! That's just... It's..." Johnny glanced at the dog, who seemed completely oblivious to the discussion of a name, more interested in filling his empty belly. Johnny pulled open the box and reached inside for the first slice. "Can you see us taking him for a walk in the park and calling him that? People will laugh, Liv!"

"What, you mean they'd laugh more than they already have at the sight of us trying to walk Cosmo?" she chuckled playfully, toeing off her shoes and bouncing up to sit on the counter as she joined him in a slice or three. "I'm just trying to help." Though judging by the grin on her face, the thought of him yelling Piddles at the top of his lungs in a public place was too funny not to hold onto.

"Liv," Johnny warned, a very serious look on his face, as he was obviously taking this whole naming business very seriously. "We are not naming him Piddles! We'll think of something else. Something dignified." Or as dignified as a dog's name could get, anyway.

"Something dignified, I see." She seemed to consider this for a long moment, looping one arm affectionately about his shoulders as she chewed, before making another offering. "Something like ... Lord Poo-Paws the Third?"

He glared at her, though he knew she was teasing, or at least, he hoped she was. "Liv, would you be serious? We can't call him that. It's too long, besides it will just end up getting shortened to Poo." He didn't bother to point out that there was no Lord Poo-Paws the First or Second, as far as they knew. He took a few bites of his pizza while he contemplated further.

She laughed, surprised to find Johnny quite so serious about all this, but subsiding for his sake. If he got annoyed, chances were that shirt would go up in flames, and it was one of her favorites on him. "All right," she conceded with a warm smile. "How about Bandit, then? Or Marley?"

"Those aren't too bad," he conceded. They were definitely better than Piddles or Poo-Paws anyway. Hell, anything was better than that. "Let me think about it." If the dog had a previous owner, chances were he already had a name. Johnny just had to figure out what that name had been. Fido? Spot? George?"

"Jon's back in a couple of days, so I've got the time tomorrow to take him to the vet," she assured Johnny. "Maybe he has a microchip - if he does, with any luck, his owners' address or phone number should be on file. If he doesn't, it's far less likely that anyone who owns him will come forward."

"A microchip," Johnny echoed with a light shudder. He wasn't all that scientifically-minded and though he knew what that meant, it sounded a little too sci-fi for him, not to mention painful. He understood the logic behind embedding a microchip in a pet, but also knew that sort of technology could be misused if it got into the wrong hands. "I hope they give him something before they go poking around for that."

This earned him an utterly bemused look from his wife, which quickly deteriorated into a loud laugh as she hugged him close. "They won't need to poke around for it," she promised him. "They'll run a scanner over his fur and if he has one, it'll ping up on the display. Absolutely no poking around required."

"They'll have to poke around to take it out, won't they?" he asked. Or maybe they wouldn't have to take it out at all. He wasn't really sure. It was times like these when he felt kind of stupid.

Liv shook her head. "No, they won't take it out," she said calmly. "It's a standard thing a lot of vets do these days. If you have cat or dog, they insert a microchip beneath their skin, so that if your pet ever gets lost or disappears, they can be easily found. Any vet or shelter that takes in strays routinely checks for a microchip - if a stray dog has a microchip, then the unique number will correspond with his owner's details on the system."

"What if he was lost on Earth and stumbled through a portal?" Johnny asked, curious now that Liv was explaining, though he was still conflicted on the whole idea. He wasn't sure if he'd want a microchip embedded in him, though he supposed it might come in handy if someone turned up missing.

"Uh ... I don't know, actually," she admitted, a little nonplussed. "I assume that the system here in Rhy'Din has some kind of link with the systems on the Earths, but I could be wrong." She shrugged, eyeing him with a gentle smile. "Don't get too attached, sweetheart, okay? Not until we know if he's staying."

Asking Johnny not to get attached to a stray dog that had followed him home was like asking the sun not to rise in the morning, but Johnny nodded his head in assent, despite the small frown on his face. Once he got an idea in his head, it was hard talking him out of something, and he had his heart set on a dog now that Buster - he'd decided the dog's name was Buster - had come home with him. He had known "Buster" for exactly five hours, which was apparently enough for the two to have bonded. "I'll try not to," he told Liv, with a shrug.

She leaned into him, her lips playing tenderly against his cheek. "And before you ask, there is no way in hell I am having a dog watch what I'm going to do to you tonight, so he's sleeping on the couch."

One brow arched upwards, curious what she had planned for him for the evening. "And what's that?" he asked, turning into her, unaware that there was a hint of pizza sauce on his chin.

She smirked, just a hint of the wildcat he'd inadvertently let out before they were married sparkling in her usually soft eyes, and leaned close, licking his chin clean teasingly. "I'm sure you can imagine it, if you put your mind to it," she murmured playfully, sliding down off the counter. "And as for you," she added, looking down at the dog, who had finished his dinner and was watching them hopefully. "Do you need to do your business?"
[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: Stray
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2014, 10:36:56 AM »
The dog reacted to Liv's question almost as excitedly as Johnny did to the image she had playfully placed in his mind. What he was thinking he didn't say, but whatever it was it was making his already high temperature skyrocket. The dog replied with another bark and a wag of his tail, while Johnny seemed lost in thought trying to sort out what it was Liv wanted to do to him.

"Right you are, then," Liv smiled, fully aware that she had made her husband start to radiate the kind of heat he usually only put out when she dared to tease him like this. "I'd better put my shoes and coat on again, then, hadn't I?"

"What about me?" Johnny pouted, pulling himself away from his thoughts about what awaited him later that evening, once they got Rover, er, Buster, to bed. From the look on his face, he looked like the kid who'd been picked last for the baseball team or had been left out of some game during recess.

She giggled. "Well, I wasn't expecting you to stay here," she pointed out with a grin. It wasn't like Johnny to be so serious about so many things in a single evening, reminding her all over again that a dog was inevitable in her future, be it this one, or another one. "Or would you like to take your new friend for a run and to do his business while I stay here?"

"It's a nice night for a walk. Why don't we go together?" Johnny suggested, not really wanting to choose between his wife and his new canine companion who might or might not be sticking around long enough to become part of the family.

"Now that sounds like a genius plan," Liv agreed, glancing down at herself. "I will, however, just run and change, because I don't think heels are going to help me run around after the pair of you." She flashed Johnny a grin. "I'd invite you to come and help me, but your new best friend has a collar that needs fitting to his neck before you put the leash on him." Yes, she was very much enjoying teasing Johnny tonight. He could, however, be absolutely secure in the knowledge that each and every tease would be followed through on later.

Normally Johnny would have risen to the challenge and the rest of the evening would probably have been spent making Liv giggle as much as possible, but their canine friend posed a small problem in that if Johnny didn't take him for a walk, he was likely to do his business, as Liv had put it all, over the floor. Johnny frowned just a little, as if he was only just realizing how much responsibility a dog could be, and how much of a kink it might put in his sex life. The truth was if Johnny accompanied Liv to the bedroom to help her get changed, "Buster" more than likely would never get his walk. "You're gonna have to make it up to me later," he told her, waggling a finger at her in warning.

"You know I will." And just to prove it, she gave him a kiss that was guaranteed to send his already toasty temperature through the roof, complete with the kind of grope he must be regretting teaching her by now. With a wink, she drew away, and blew the dog a kiss. "No fighting." With a last chuckle, she turned and slipped into the bedroom, searching out jeans and a t-shirt to replace the skirt and blouse she'd been wearing all day.

Even as brief as it was, Johnny got lost in the kiss, which was doing nothing to keep his temperature at a reasonable level. Fortunately, he had enough self-control not to spontaneously combust in the middle of the kitchen. "You see what she does to me?" Johnny asked his canine companion when Liv was presumably out of earshot, having to adjust his "package" beneath all the layers of clothing he wore. "Don't give me that look," he told the dog, who was tilting his head to one side and looking curiously up at Johnny. "You wait... You'll see. Find some pretty poodle that you've got the hots for and it's all tease, tease, tease." Johnny narrowed his eyes thoughtfully as he regarded the dog. "You're not fixed, are you? You can still, you know..." The dog didn't seem to know what Johnny was asking him, but barked an answer, all the same.

Well used to living with Johnny, and knowing his patience could sometimes get the short straw when everything else was interesting him, Liv reappeared around three minutes later, shrugging into a hoodie over the top of t-shirt and jeans, looking far more relaxed and less like a naughty secretary. Hopefully that would help with her husband's packing problem. Hyping herself up, she ran from the bedroom to the living room, catching up the collar as she called the dog. "C'mere and let me collar you, ragamuffin!"

"Wait! I was just about to..." Johnny trailed off as Liv snatched up the collar and called the dog to her. "His name isn't Ragamuffin," Johnny pointed out helpfully, though he really didn't know what the dog's name was either. "I've decided to name him Buster," he told her with a smile, proud of himself for thinking of it. It was a lot better than Spot, especially since the dog didn't have any. The dog - Buster, rather - enthusiastically followed Liv into the living room, tail wagging furiously behind him.

"Buster, hmm?" Catching the dog as he came up to her enthusiastically, Liv dropped down onto her knees to wrestle the creature into the collar she'd bought. "Are you a Buster, do you think?" she asked the dog with a grin, grimacing and laughing as she was rewarded for her inquiry with a long, wet lick on her cheek. "You're a cheeky mutt, that's what you are. Almost as cheeky as Sparky over there."

And there was Sparky standing there with arms crossed against his chest and looking a little bit jealous of a dog, which even Johnny knew was kind of ridiculous. "Are you going to love him more than me?" he found himself asking with a small pout. As fond as he was of the dog, he liked being the center of Liv's world and selfishly didn't want to share.

Her mouth actually dropped open at that, genuinely shocked he would even consider that. Leaving the dog where he was, she rose onto her feet, turning to face her husband. "How can you possibly think that?" she asked him softly. "After everything we've been through? I love you, Johnny. No one can compare to you. You're my first love, my first lover, my husband, and my whole world. And when we have children, I won't love them more than I love you. Love isn't finite; it grows. And you will never be without the lion's share of my heart, no matter how many waifs and strays you bring home for me to love."

"Really?" he asked, brows arching upwards as his expression softened. It wasn't that he didn't trust Liv or that he didn't believe she loved him, but he'd never had to vie for her attention or affection before, not even with her boss or her sister. It wasn't so much Liv that was the problem as it was Johnny's insecurity. He'd been the center of his sister's world before she'd met Reed, and he didn't want the same thing to happen with Liv. He loved her too much to ever lose her. He knew it was silly, and yet, something inside him needed that little bit of reassurance.
[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: Stray
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2014, 10:45:08 AM »
"Really." She curled her arms about his waist, looking up at him with the familiar adoration that always colored her expression when they were alone together. "I married you, remember? Things like that tend to stick."

Johnny frowned down at his wife, feeling stupid for the second time in one night. "I know, I'm sorry, Liv. I don't know what's the matter with me sometimes." It was only a dog, after all. What did he have to be jealous of, and more importantly, how was he going to react when and if they ever had a child?

"When I'm with you, I'm the person I always wanted to be," she told him softly. "You're the best thing in my life, Johnny, and yes, that includes Lucy and everything else. You are my reason to smile. You always will be."

Johnny leaned close to bring his forehead to rest against hers, heat radiating from to envelope her in an aura of warmth. "You're awesome, Livvie. I don't deserve you."

She smiled that special smile that was only for him, gazing into his eyes adoringly. "Well, you've got me," she promised him, "and whether I deserve you or not, I'm never letting go. Not even for a wagging tail and soppy brown eyes. Okay?"

"Okay," he replied, smiling and kissing the tip of her nose, reassured that she loved him more than the dog, which now that he thought about it was kind of a silly thing to worry about. Buster barked as if to either agree with them or remind him that he was there and had some business of his own to tend to.

She might have kissed him, if Buster hadn't decided to make his presence felt once again. Chuckling, Liv patted her adorably insecure husband on the rump and moved to untangle herself. "You grab the leash, I'll grab the poo-bags."

"Poo bags?" Johnny echoed, scrunching his nose in disgust. There was a lot more to this dog-ownership thing than he had initially realized. He did as he was told, however, grabbing the leash off the table and crouching down to attach it to the dog's collar.

"Don't worry, I won't make you pick it up," she laughed. This was something she was used to, from taking care of first Lelah's dog, and then Cosmo. And oddly, something Johnny had never noticed her doing when they were out with Jon's insane collie. With the little roll of bags safely secured in her pocket, she returned in time to see Johnny getting a tongue bath from his new friend, grinning at the enthusiastic affection. "Sure I shouldn't be jealous there, sparky?"

"Nah, I'm not his type," he smirked up at Liv as he finished attaching the lease and moved to his feet, realizing how silly it was for him to be jealous of a dog, no matter how cute he might be. "You're the one I go to bed with at night," he reminded her, brushing a quick kiss against her lips.

"The only one," she clarified with a grin, answering his kiss with her own affectionately. "All right, mutts, let's go and run the two of you into the ground, shall we?" She winked at Johnny, giving him a tug toward the door as the dog butted at his legs.

"I'm not a mutt!" Johnny pointed out with a chuckle. But he was an orphan, just like her, just like Lucy, just like Steve. Maybe not so much like Buster. With any luck, they'd find out whether or not the dog had a family who was looking for him in a few days. Until then, Johnny and Liv were his family. Johnny started toward the door, the dog's leash in one hand, Liv's hand in the other.

"You're my mutt," she informed him, drawn out and into the hallway, pausing just long enough to close and lock the door behind them before falling into step once again. "And I'm going to do all kinds of fun things with you when we go to bed."

"Mmm," he mused aloud. "Poor me." He flashed a grin to Liv as she locked the door and they started down the hall to the elevator, feeling very domesticated with a wife on one side of him and a dog on the other. He wondered if his mother would be proud. He wondered if his sister would be proud. Though he still had his boyish moments, Johnny Storm had certainly grown up a lot since his initial arrival in Rhy'Din nearly two years ago.

Hand in hand, they walked down the winding stairs to the ground floor, both eager to be out of the apartment building and into the fresh air, to play at being responsible pet owners for a little while in public and forget that their new friend might not be with them for long. All they needed, Liv thought, was a couple of kids running around with them, and they would have everything they wanted. Someday soon, she promised herself.

Someday soon, they'd have everything they wanted, everything they'd hoped for, worked so hard for, everything they'd promised each other. Someday soon, if life didn't have other plans for them. They both knew better than anyone that sometimes fate had other plans, but if they had their way, it wouldn't be long before they had a family of their own and they'd have their own happily-ever-after, just like Sue and Reed, and Steve and Lucy, before them. They'd waited long enough. They deserved it.

[size=9]((Back to the Storms for a flying visit! So domesticated! Many thanks to Johnny's wonderful player for this scene!))[/size]
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]