1963-12-09 - Labs Can Be Replaced
Summary: Following the blow up at the Baxter Building, members of the Fantastic Four touch base in the hospital… for recovery that may or may not be necessary.
Related: Out of Time Plotline
Theme Song: None
sue johnny reed 

ROLL: Sue +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 39


The quiet hum of fluorescent lights overhead has become white noise over the course of the last twenty-four hours. Very white institutional walls, floors, linens and lights leave little question as to what kind of place this is. Sitting up in bed, scribbling notes in a coiled notebook tucked under a blanket, Sue is probably supposed to be resting (or something). Her nose wrinkles irritably as her eyes flit to the window.


Since the blast at the Baxter Building, Johnny has been coming and going, running between Sue's bedside and the Baxter itself, all while trying not to think too much about the damage Ben had taken in the attack. There's nothing he can do about it, so don't think about it. Just keep busy.

He's about due to return to Point A again and, sure enough, there's a light knock on the door to Sue's room before Joon pushes it open, looking increasingly windswept the more trips he makes. At least he hasn't come back by himself this time.


Reed has been busy. Time is of course, a crucial factor, so he's had to make some harsh prioritizations. It happens. Not that he's happy about it. So once he and Johnny had Ben and Sue in good hands, Reed vanished back to the remains of the Residence, intent on gathering as much information on the attack as he could. But that kind of thing can only take so long, and he steps in with Johnny this time. He hasn't had an opportunity to find anything to wear other than his Four uniform. Somehow, under the circumstances, it's appropriate, though.

He offers Sue a weak smile that doesn't really reach all the way to his eyes. Hard to blame him, really. "You look like you're making a nurse's life hell," he quips, though it also doesn't have quite the zip to it he usually does.


Even the shift in the room's energy has Sue straightening and dropping the pen she's been scribbling with. Her posture relaxes when it's her family rather than one of the nurses. Her cheeks puff out with exasperation, and a somewhat-forced slightly cheeky, not-convincing smile, plays over her features. "Always~" she chimes as smoothly as she can manage.

The smile eases slightly, "It's good to see you guys." She swallows hard. "What… what's the damage? What…" she frowns and presses a hand to her forehead.


"The good news is, nobody was seriously hurt," Johnny immediately replies, offering a reassuring smile towards Sue as he closes the door behind himself. He leaves out that he still has no idea what happened to Ben's chest. Not. Thinking. About. That. "And, hey. Bonus: it's going to be way easier to do a nursery now. We can totally remodel."


Reed watches Johnny sidelong as he replies, arching an eyebrow, and then just nods. That is a true fact. He sits on the edge of the bed, and finds her hand to offer support. "Flippant, but accurate." Typical Johnny. "You and Ben got the worst of it. We're pretty sure he's going to be okay. He got a rough ride. We're still piecing it together, but I suspect you know more than I do at this stage. I was checking the detector readings when the cyclotron detonated. But it doesn't just do that. Not that way, anyway.

He frowns thinly. "Unfortunately… well, I can't begrudge the fire department, but by the time I got back up there, between the time elapsed and all the water… there wasn't much residual anything left for a slapped-together scanner to pick out. So we don't have a lot. Not a lab accident, though. I know that much."

You bet your britches he's kind of glossing over the fact he was in the lab."


The hand at Sue's forehead doesn't move. She emits a long breath and her eyes train on the floor. Sue hasn't said much of anything about what happened. After getting moved to the hospital while barely conscious, she hadn't had the opportunity to do so. Her eyes narrow at the notion of no one getting hurt, but they squeeze shut at the mention of her and Ben's condition. "I'm glad Ben is going to be okay. It was…."

She doesn't finish the thought. She's been playing many things over and over in her head. It's only when she lets herself think about it that the thin frown consumes her expression, and the reassuring smile, forced, and not genuine, disappears altogether. "…awful." She inhales a deep breath. "We were attacked. I don't know…" her eyebrows knit together as she tries to put her thoughts together, and her head shakes again. Confusion reigns deep.

The constant pulsating ache behind her eyes hasn't dissipated.


That's one way to ensure Johnny is immediately moving to Sue's bedside, dragging a chair up close so he can sit down. <Hey, hey, it's okay. You don't have to know,> he says gently, reaching out to try and steal one of Sue's hands. "We're just glad somebody got you guys out."

There is something Johnny is forcing himself not to say. Even with a headache like that, Sue can tell. He should have been there.


Reed squeezes Sue's hand. "Don't strain yourself trying to remember details. From what the doctors were saying, I'm pretty sure you ran your powers to the ragged edge." He looks thoughtful. Better to not suggest groundless worries, he decides. "I'm working on figuring out the details— all you need to do is get better right now. First things first."

He runs his hand through his hair. "In any case… an attack would be consistant. And worrying. Setting off that particular equipment? I can't believe it was a lucky shot. On the plus side… our safety measures worked and most of the building is fine. On the bad side…" he frowns, shrugs.

"The specific chain reaction, plus the reinforcement we did just in case— well, it was like a shaped charge. Blew the roof off." And then some. "But everything below the residence looks intact. I think it's a bit naive to assume it was anything but a targeted, extremely well informed and executed plan against us specifically."

His eyes glide towards Johnny. "Honestly I don't think there was anything any of us could realistically have done to stop it."


The hands squeezing her own earn the men a bittersweet smile. <…I should though…> Sue whispers softly towards Johnny. Her chin drops, "They knew what they were doing. They had… goals." Her voice turns tinny, distant, even. "And my powers weren't just pushed to their edge." With another uncomfortable shift in her body, her eyes turn up to the ceiling. "Something was pushing on them from the outside. He… he shot Ben. With…" something.

She frowns thinly. "The same weapon…" or a different one? Sue's confusion becomes palpable, "it was directed to the lab. I couldn't stop it — I wasn't fast enough." She frowns. "But there was a light. And then a man."


This is Johnny's 'I'm ignoring Reed' face.

"Labs can be replaced. You and Ben can't. That's all that matters," Johnny insists, leaning over to kiss Sue on the forehead before settling back into his chair again.

Speaking of ignoring Reed, though, it is apparently only acceptable when Johnny does it. As Sue keeps trying to talk through what happened, he gives Reed a vaguely plaintive look.


Reed nods agreement with Johnny. "What matters most is what was saved. The rest we rebuild better," he says, and gives Johnny a thin frown. Okay, well. He does have ONE ace up his sleeve to get Sue to settle down and rest, but he's loathe to draw it. Because it is only sort-of-fair at best. Still….

"We'll figure it out. That's Reed and Johnny's job right now. Sue and Ben's jobs are taking care of themselves for a little while. There'll be more than enough of everything to go around later, I wager."


"We're okay, baby brother," Sue slips easily into reassuring mode. Despite the fact her hand still remains pressed to her forehead. "Ben and I are going to be fine." She inhales a slow audible breath. "I'm not sure what the goal was," besides blowing up the lab (maybe that was the goal?), "but we're both fine."

A thin smile pulls at Sue's features again. "But it doesn't make sense. How did he get in there? I can't make heads or tails of it," because she just can't seem to find scaffolding to put the experience on. "I've seen teleportation, but it wasn't like that, I don't think." Her teeth play at her bottom lip, "I didn't see him well. Colourful clothes though."

Her reassurance redirects back to Reed, "We're fine. Honestly. I'm fine. Just… kept a building from exploding on top of us. It's hard." Her lips twitch.


Reed chuckles, and nods at Sue. "Okay. Point. I'm not sure you want to hear my force estimate on the blast." Based on how far he had to run back to the building, how much he stretched when it went off, so on and so forth."

He wrinkles his nose. "Something new, different. I have some thoughts. I need to talk to some of the others. I didn't get a great look, but the detection gear was going crazy. The list of possibilities feels somewhat short." And concerning. "The lab might have been the point. It's hard to say. If he had a goal, we could figure out the intention. If we knew the intent, we might have some thoughts about the goal. We need more pieces."


"I… actually would. I haven't felt something like that," Sue's eyebrows lift, "ever." But with that spoken, and the idea that perhaps things are so bad, she seems to find a smile again. "At least we don't have a home to attack anymore," small victories. "Should make it less likely to just drop in like that, I'd think."

The smile traces her lips until something occurs to her. "…the detection gear was going crazy…" her eyes narrow and a frown edges her lips. Her gaze deadens. There's an unspoken question in there somewhere.

Sue turns to face Johnny for a few beats, the real question remains unspoken, but she asks another <Where are you staying right now? You're safe?>


Johnny leans back in his seat and clasps his hands in his lap, eyes flicking between Reed and Sue as they talk. He's listening and paying attention, but he's distracted, and it's obvious.

He blinks a little when Sue focuses on him and sits up a little straighter. <I'm fine,> he promises, holding up a hand. <Hotel down the street from here.>


Reed makes a face. Well… "The weapon beam destabilized the synchrotron beam, which hit the lab's reactor. Both had just been idling, fortunately, but based on how far I had to walk back, I'd say it was probably about a one-ton blast once you factor in the shaping effects from the way the lab contained the force. Call it… 4.184 gigajoules or so?" A pause. "Could have been worse. Blew the hangar right off the top, though also into small enough pieces that debris damage was limited."

He rubs his nose again, a thinking habit. "As to the detectors… It's early to be putting forward, but my working theory is spacetime warping quite violently."


Johnny's response wins a nod and a very easy, <Good. Make sure you stay safe. And promise me you'll be careful. Whatever weapon he had, I've never seen anything like it.> Then a mischievous grin replaces her concern: <Also, because you're staying so close, could you bring me ice cream later? Chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.> Because why have one when you can have three. <With a cherry. And sauce. And whipped cream.> Well, it seems Sue found her appetite somewhere. Which is probably good after living on a diet of tea and saltines for a month.

But Reed's answer has Sue parsing information that has little to do with the calculations. "Right," she chews on her bottom lip. "So… you were in the lab." Her lips press into a tight thin line and her face edges on statuesque. "Are you alright?" Her dark eyes give him a once over as she shifts to slide off the bed and properly inspect Reed.

There is, however, one easy distraction amid the information and concern. "Wait. Like… time travel?"


Johnny tries not to laugh at the growing list of ice cream flavors, raising his eyebrows and smiling broadly at Sue. Well, at least she's feeling well. "Okay, okay. But only because you asked so nicely," he says sweetly, reaching over to playfully ruffle her hair.

"He's fine, I checked," Johnny assures her, waving both of his hands. "He bounces. And a rip in spacetime makes as much sense as anything else we deal with, right?" he asks with a shrug. Clones. Alien costumes. Skrulls. Asgardians. Why not time travel.


Reed winces. "Ah…. yes. I'm fine. It wasn't comfortable, and the first bounce was particularly unpleasant. But as I've said so many times, being elastic is a very flexible ability." He doesn't acknowledge or apologize for a horrible pun he's made about ahundred times by now. Experimenting with the idea people may overlook awful jokes like that if he just rolls past them smoothly enough. He's gonna be a great dad.

Anyway, there's more important matters to comment on, and he wags his hand in a so-so gesture. "Time travel, dimensional travel, space-fold transit, wormholing… we don't have nearly enough to settle on just one purely theoretical construct at this point."


The toothy grin Johnny gets in response is punctuated by a light kiss on his cheek. "You are a good brother." If ever he wanted high praise, he probably just got it. "Also, you could maybe bring me another pen. And another notebook. Yes?" Hopefulness is easy to detect.

"Good," she replies easily to Reed, but she hasn't stopped her motion from sliding off the hospital bed. "I should try to get some readings from everyone at the scene." Her feet make purchase with the floor. "It might help determine what happened and pinpoint what kind of space-time nonsense went on. And what kind of attack it was." Again the palm of her hand presses to her forehead. "So I probably need to sign something to be discharged…" she reaches for the clipboard at the end of her bed and begins flipping through pages. Yeah, the nurses really don't like her.


"Ice cream and writing implements? Aish, I don't know," Johnny replies innocently, looking up at the ceiling and tilting his head just so to accept the kiss on the cheek. Yes, he will be bringing Sue everything she's asked for. He's wonderful that way.


As Sue starts flipping through her chart and musing about discharge procedures, Reed chews on his lip. Clearly she wants to get out of here but… he'd prefer a little more observed time. Still not thrilled about dropping an unfair ace card but… he does have another thought. He won't even have to fake it.

"Well… I suppose if you really want to get out of here I can still chase down a hotel," he muses, flopping into the room's chair. Okay, this is going to be easier than he thought. Chair's one of those comfy sorts for people stuck staying with a patient for a while. It is beyond easy to nod off into the haphazard sprawl of the exhausted while Sue's back is turned. Artful.


And just as Sue's eyes tear away from the sheet, her gaze moves to Reed and her shoulders slump. Oh. Well. With a faint smile she puts the clipboard back in its spot at the end of the bed. Her gaze trains on him a moment before turning to Johnny. She issues her brother a small shrug and then shifts back to the bed again while pressing a finger lightly to her lips, an indication to just let Reed sleep. She does, however, mouth one phrase as a gentle reminder ice cream.

Leaving isn't in the cards now, so Sue accepts her fate well enough, climbing back into bed to get back to rest.

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