Title: Aftereffects

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: The Fantastic Four (movie-verse, takes place just after the big battle at the end of the first movie)

Rating: G

Disclaimer: I marvel at the characters and their verse, no pun intended, for they are brilliant and not mine in the slightest. I make no money so please don't sue me for loving them and having fun.

Summary: After Reed nearly gets frozen, he suffers from a few nummy, albeit predictable, aftereffects.

Notes: I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist. Lucky for you I resisted the urge to write Reed/Johnny this time around, though. Out of respect to the characters I didn't want to take it quite that far my first time out.





            Reed sat down in the desk chair, which rolled back an inch from momentum. The blanket around his shoulders slipped down and he stretched his arms back to easily reach it and wrap it around himself again. He shivered, without stop, and leaned back in the chair, reclining slightly as he tried to get in control of himself again. Back to work. Back to normal. Or at least as normal as he could be after the exposure.


            During the fight, there had been no time for self-evaluation. It was pick yourself up, stop the evil man, try not to die, and worry about yourself later. But now that he was back at his lab, and now that Von Doom had been stopped, Reed could afford to let himself go.


            Well, while he went over the status of the machine, that is. He reached out beneath the blanket to work the mouse and he tried to focus on the computer screen. But his lower lip twitched and his nostrils flared. His eyes started to close slowly, then slammed closed. “Ehhppp-Shuhhh!” A wave of dread passed through him. The shivering was one thing, but the sneezes were quite another.


            He shivered violently and hugged the blanket more tightly around himself. It didn't help. He still felt as though he were strapped to the chair, still felt frozen from within. No matter how he tried to concentrate on his work, his shivering wasn't going to stop until he did something about it.


            He got up and headed towards the kitchen, grabbing a second blanket from his bed along the way. He grabbed a mug from the cabinet, filled it with tap water, and then popped it into the microwave oven for a minute, spilling just a bit because of his shaking hands.


            He caught a glimpse of his reflection in the oven as he passed and grimaced at his appearance. He looked pale— but perhaps that was just the fault of the glass door and the white oven interior. And he looked tired— but that was to be expected, given what he'd been through tonight and all the nights since the space station. He'd been pushing himself so hard lately, he wasn't surprised to look tired. But he also looked sick. He didn't want to admit it, even to himself, but he did look sick. Fortunately, he was as good at being in denial as he was at hiding his condition and emotions. At least for a little while.


            Reed could not possibly imagine how two minutes suddenly became such a long period of time. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, trying to ignore the way he needed to sniffle and couldn't stop shivering. He could, however, imagine crawling into bed with Sue right now. The thought made a somewhat sly smile appear on his face. Or, better yet, snuggle up with Johnny who was guaranteed to be warm enough to help. Or perhaps Ben could just knock him out for a little while to force him to get some rest so that when he woke up all of the cold would be forgotten.


            “hehhhhh!” He inhaled, holding his breath with two fingers pressed to his nose. The microwave finished with a ding but his other hand held the blankets in place and he could not reach for the mug just yet. “heh…ehpppShooo! Hahschhhh!


            There was one more sneeze back there, making his nostrils twitch and breaths hitch. And Reed got the feeling that this would not be forgotten after a short rest or denied for much longer, either. He was loathe to admit it, but he was definitely coming down with something now. “I s-see how it is,” he said out loud to himself. “Get exposed to a radiation storm, nearly freeze to death, and save the world. Then instead of being able to come home and work as I'd like I-hehhh… I-hehhhh! I get this. Heptchooo!” His eyes closed again, and he was tossed forward, his torso extending a little too far in the process such that his shoulder bumped the microwave. The mug inside tipped and a good deal of the water sloshed out.


            That was easy to fix, however. A cold was not. There was not, as of yet, any equation or science that could help that. And he wasn't going to be able to hide this from the others for very long, either. Might as well just come to terms with it. Reed straightened up and his form returned to normal as he rubbed at his nose, sniffling and still shivering. “I'm sick. That's great,” he said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “Just fantastic.”