1963-09-04 - Ships in the Night
Summary: Sue and Reed play catch up.
Related: NA
Theme Song: None
reed sue 

It's late afternoon at the Baxter Building, and Sue is just getting home from her afternoon meeting at Stark Industries. But the elevator doesn't announce Miss Storm's arrival. Instead, the door to the staircase flies open with some unseen force as Sue Storm, in her red, black, and yellow mod dress sails along the staircase instead of walking up it. The long line of Korean expletives she utters announce her presence before she's physically seen, but then she did just throw a force field at the door.

Her face has taken on a flushed appearance (possibly from exertion if she'd climbed any of the stairs?), and her eyebrows are drawn sharply together. Ironically, instead of walking, she remains atop her invisible force field — a fact her brother, if home, will likely give her attitude about.

Her eyes stare blankly at the world in front of her, and her lips purse with visible irritation bubbling under the surface of her now-failing, almost-eternally-stoic facade. She's cracking.

And then she sees Reed on the couch reading. She freezes, all too aware that none of her teammates — none of family deserve her ire. She tries, unsuccessfully to contain it once more. Grumpily she utters a single question, "Good book?"


It would be basically impossible not to hear her coming, or to miss that she's irate. Very. Even for Reed, it'd be a stretch. And that's saying something in a number of metaphors.

At first… he's kind of vainly hoping MAYBE he can pretend he didn't notice her arrive so upset and save them both the necessity of… yeah, not gonna work. He does manage to wait for her to talk to him before he looks up, offering a smile and— yeah, evidently she's not hiding a damn thing. "What happened?" he asks with a thin frown.


The force field slowly lowers Sue to the floor and the simple question as to what happened has her pressing her hands over her face. She groans. "Am I the secretary?" her lips turn downwards. "People always say it and I never believed it and then it happened again today," her face scrunches in one of those expressions her mother had threatened it would stay in if she kept them up, "and as I reasoned through it, I realized I do each of the things that a secretary would do — "

"Including wearing skirts. I always assume I wore them because I felt pretty, but maybe," her lips twist to the side, "it's not that I feel pretty but that I'm fulfilling some role that would make me blend as one of Tony Stark's damned secretaries — "


Reed opens his mouth to answer the question, but then there's this bewildering array of additionals. He frowns a little more profoundly as Tony Stark's name comes into it— she did NOT just pull that out of nowhere.

After a moment's thought and a few options considered and discarded, Reed pushes himself a little more upright, chosing a— in his opinion— somewhat risky and not at all logical path. "Would you like to join me?" he asks. It is not exactly germaine to the topic, but…


Even before Reed can come to a full sit, Sue is on the couch in moments, leaning right against him. It's an unusual feat, and one that she'll rehash again and again much later. She rubs her temples and stares at a spot on the wall. Her teeth play at her bottom lip and she continues to ruminate on her role as the office admin. And then, as if anticipating some unasked question, she states, "The meeting was fine. The conference will have extra security, and everyone will undergo screening prior to entering in an effort to keep everyone safe." But it wasn't the meeting that was the problem.


Reed is surprised enough to make a noise, but he just squirms himself comfortable. It takes him a bit of time trying to work out what to do with his hands before an arm ends up around her. He doesn't… exactly take the book back up, but holds open somewhere vaguely where it could be read. Bonus to couch time with a stretchy guy? He's pretty comfortable to burrow into, actually.

He listens, making the sort of noises one makes to indicate one is doing so, and then speaks up when she trails off.

"Buuuuuuut…" he prompts encouragingly.


The deflated noise in the back of Sue's throat is unmissable. "It was before I got there. First, the receptionist didn't believe Seo is a woman's name or that I would be invited to the meeting," her eyes darken. "Then, in order to get access into the building, I turned into a glorified delivery girl bearing sushi from the only sushi restaurant in this god-forsaken town to the almighty Tony Stark himself, who told me that my status as woman basically made me a secretary."

"I was late to the meeting, which was, of course, just the icing on the cake." Her lips purse irritably. "I should've just gone into the meeting undetected. I could've." She would've had to strip, but no one would've seen, right?


Reed sighs, freeing a hand to rub his forehead. "The man is a trogdolyte. How you can be that intelligent and still…" he leaves the rest unsaid. More important matters. "You are not a secretary," he says firmly. "Wear a cute skirt if you like. Or pants, I don't care. You're still the best organic chemist *I* know." Which is, by the way, saying something, even if Reed wouldn't be quite THAT full of himself if he could help it.


Still deflated, Sue, if at all possible leans further into the touch. Her eyes lid lightly and she emits a soft sigh. "But it's not just that, I…" she swallows hard. "…he's not entirely wrong. I mean, no, I'm not a secretary, but — " her eyebrows knit together "the rest of the world will never see me as anything else, no matter how much work I do."

She rubs her forehead, "And then, then, he didn't know who the Fantastic Four were and seemed to think we were a band. Then said he only reads tabloids, which I took in stride and even made a crack about the Bugle at Jamison's expense…"


It might not have seemed possible for Reed's opinion to sink further than it did with the first barrage, but this has him pinching the bridge of his nose with his free(er) hand. "Great Newton's Ghost…" he mutters under his breath. But of course she can hear it, she's *right there*. "Okay… a narcissistic troglodyte," he amends, and he really doesn't notice himself start fussing absently with her hair with the fingers of his other hand. It's just a thing you do, you know? Cough.

A long pause, and then, "Okay, so Stark is a disaster. But the Conference is on track. Maybe you should take a break from some of the legwork you've been doing. We can always hire an *actual* administrative assistant." Or build one.

He smiles a little coyly, then, lightly nudges her with his shoulder. "Maybe…. some lab work, spend the time til the conference getting caught up on your to-do list?" From his tone, you'd think he was suggesting they sneak off and do something enjoyably depraved. Almost. "You could present findings…" he muses, trailing off like he just suggested there'd be ice cream. Oh Reed.


The fingers in her hair actually do quite a bit to subdue her, and instinctively Sue leans into the motion while her eyes lid. "Maybe you're right," about what is unclear. "It'd be good to get back to the lab more. Do more of what I really love." She sighs. "And it's not like I don't enjoy what I do for everyone outside of that. I do. I care about this team. I care about all of you and what we're doing here. And I'd never really thought of it before. I just have worked so hard to get where I am."

"And thank you," it might be belated, "I want to be proficient in my field. I really do put a lot of effort into that."

She sucks on the inside of her cheek. "The worst was when he basically tried to use me like an agenda to get you to a meeting at his office. I told him to call instead. And then he asked for a card." Reed can actually feel Sue stiffen at the last.


"Should have said 'okay' and sent Ben instead," Reed mutters. Then sobers. "Alright, well. He can call. And if he wants a face meeting, he can come here. Maybe if I'm feeling charitable by then, I won't tell Johnny to answer the door and suggest he's a little young to be Howard Stark," Reed notes a little archly. Grump.

He gives her a light little supportive hug. "And we appreciate everything you do. Truly." Johnny might make an exception at cooking, though. "But you shouldn't give up your research to get it done. Do the parts you really want, take the time for yourself, too. The rest will still get done one way or another. The world needs your science, too, you know."


"I don't want him even thinking I'm an errand girl," Sue replies. "Sending Ben though would've been a good choice," Reed can actually hear her temper abetting. "Thank you, Honestly. Sorry I've been such a mess lately. I just… it's hard. I know that you three all value me and what I bring to the table, but the rest of the world, well, that's not really the case." She twists around, to see Reed better. "Fairness isn't likely to produce itself overnight, either."

She grins at the last. "I'm trying. I am trying. The powers that be think I'll be defending soon. SO. Then I'll be Doctor Sue Storm. I know it's nothing too fancy, like multiple PhDs," she gently nudges him in the ribs, "but I'm happy about it."


"That has a nice ring to it— ow." It didn't really hurt, but sometimes you pretend with these things, Reed knows that. "Hey now, take it from the guy that has those multiple degrees, there's no such thing as an 'easy' PhD! You should be over the moon, it's a great accomplishment," He says, quirking an eyebrow at her while simultaneously realizing just how close the are right now. …hem. Mind on the matter at hand. Which.. is also Sue. Okay, fine. Um.

"Want to stick around and read?" he offers, indicating the book. "You can help me mark all the things that are wrong." Reed, what kind of stupid bonding activity is that supposed to be.


The grin that Reed wins at his assessment of Sue's accomplishment virtually glows. There's no question that she is beaming — complete with a health pink glow in her cheeks. There's a curious arch of Sue's eyebrow, as the smile remains. Her chin drops and the smile turns shy — twitching twice over as it threatens to falter but doesn't. She swallows hard around the growing lump in her throat and slowly slides from the edge of the couch.

She tugs her dress as she comes to a stand and twists around to face him, that same smile speaking to some unknown process embedded in the cogs of her mind. "Thank you for the invite, but I should probably — " she points towards her room. Her eyes stare at the ground for a few before she faces her gaze upwards. There's an unintentional pregnant pause, interrupted by her finishing (or finally finding?) the thought, "Notes! I need to go write notes! From the meeting. Before I forget them. Because notes are important. And I don't want to forget things."

She turns to walk back to her room, only to feel one of her knees buckle beneath her. She doesn't fall, but is fairly certain Reed didn't miss her very obvious misstep.


Well, they had a moment there. But Reed's terrible at recognizing when he should follow through. A curse. He doesn't return to the book right away, nodding understanding. "Yeah, you should probably—" something. Ah, notes. Yep, she should probably do those. He doesn't return to his book right away, in favor of watching her go.

Which is why he sees her leg come down funny, and his hands reach her waist and the opposite hand before the rest of him finishes standing and following suit, to keep her stable. For that matter, he's there before he's even thought about it. And then he does. And coughs, a bit embarrassed. "Oh, ah… you're not falling." Cough. "So… I'll just…" Flee, embarrassed, into the night. "..let you get to it." Yes. Hem. He is totally not an idiot.


The feel of Reed's arms at her waist cause Sue's breath to audibly hitch in her throat. "No.. it's..helpful…" she feels weak in the knees again, but somehow manages to remain vertical. Butterflies in her stomach lurch and the smile finally falters just a little, giving way to something far more girlish, and downright nervous. "Th-thank you. I. Appreciate it. Just… more exhausted than I thought," clearly.

Her cheeks maintain that healthy pink and she grants him a nod.

And with that, Sue retreats to her room.

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