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"I thought you said we were going to the South Pole?!"
At first the prospect of an adventure had infused Johnny with excitement, a break from routine and something new to experience. Not that he ever thought that his daily life was boring, it was quite the opposite actually. Comparing his life now to the one he had twenty years ago, Johnny definitely preferred this one. There was much he had left behind in the past and he was more than content with leaving it there, which indicated something about his ability to commit, or rather inability. In that sense, Johnny's powers reflect him well, not only in regards to his temper but also the way he tended to burn out things quickly, be it relationships, responsibility or clothing.
He'd been thorough with packing his clothes, even though Reed had indicated that it was more a scientific excursion more than a vacation, there were more fancy shirts and shorts than proper equipment. Shorts because in his mind anything south meant a golden sun from a blue sky, a luxurious condo, palms and a full female volley ball team on the beach. South meant warmth and vacation. When they had landed though, Johnny had quickly discovered that South Pole wasn't what he'd thought it be. Luckily, it wasn't much of a problem and at least he'd packed his suit, the blue one with the F4 emblem in the center of the chest.
For the better part of the time though, when his help wasn't required during their little outings, he shuffled about in short and flip-flops, taking photos with a selfie-stick, making sure to include a thumbs up and his more fully-clad companions. Part of his attempts to pass time also meant lobbing snow balls at Ben at any given time and flying really high only to flame off and land in a pile of snow. Needless to say, his boredom was affecting all of them and not in a good way. It didn't help that the first few days there, the readings didn't give them much of anything to go on. It was the same today, Johnny didn't expect there to be much but when Reed indicated that there was something, he was quick to follow. "Finally!"
Johnny easily slipped out of the vehicle, for once dressed in his blue uniform. He peaked over Reed's shoulder with a snort. "This just looks like all the other forty-seven places we've visited," he commented and moved past the older man. "Snow, just lots of snow," he said and reached down, scooped up a handful of snow that he started to pressed into a round shape. Assuming the being careful part only applying to Ben, Johnny started to back up in the snow with a grin plastered onto his face and lifted an arm to throw. However, just as he did so, his foot suddenly gave away and the blonde sounded a yelp as he tumbled down the snowy hill and ended up head first in a crop-plot
Each and every time their little entourage had come to a stop somewhere, Johnny had hoped that there would be something, anything really, that would differ from their current routine. He knew well enough that they didn't really need him but apart from having hoped for beaches, he also came because he wanted to, dreading to be the one left behind and being excluded even though he knew how to entertain himself. He reasoned the same way they went out on their excursions, that he wasn't there because he was useful, but it was for him the better case scenario. Being left at their shelter seemed like it would be the ultimate TKO of his sanity, he'd much feud verbally with Ben and try to make sense of the science-y chatter that happened between Reed and his sister.
The past months training and exercising control over his abilities was the only thing that didn't have Johnny automatically set himself on fire. Before, whenever something unexpected happened, he usually flamed on whether he wanted it or not, resulting in a lot of scorched furniture and embarrassing situations (for the other three more than him) due to clothes being reduced into pretty much rags or nothing. During the time of his fall, which lasted no more than a second or two, he had the chance to spot the ground which was enough for him to realize that there was no need for him to start flying anyway. There was surprise somewhere in his expression too, given that he wasn't falling down onto snow, but dirt. The sense of alarm was there too, despite knowing that he was way more durable than the average person.
He heard his sister shout but he was too busy to act on her advise or answer her. Instead, he felt something wet and cold trickle down along his face. "God you guys are loud," he grumbled as he pushed up on all fours, finding that his head had crashed straight into a pumpkin. "Oh gross..." He ran a hand along his face to wipe away the fruit juice and pieces of squishy pumpkin, the very same one he also used to get on his feet, with the help of Reed. A look of disgust crept into his features as he realize the extent of pumpkin that had embedded itself into his hair. Glancing up his hair suddenly caught on fire, burning remnants of fruit from out of his hair. "Much better--hey, there's some stairs here or something." How they'd missed the icy formations he didn't know but even so, at the edge of the crops there they were.
Johnny waved for Sue and Ben still up there while carefully navigating the crops. The last thing he wanted to set his foot into more of them, having his hair defiled was quite enough for one day, or several days even. It wasn't until then also, that Johnny noted the cave and the entrance for it. His eyes went wide and he pointed. "Wow, guys! Are you seeing this?!" The youngest of the four moved forward and came to a stop by the assumed entrance, spotting the lights from earlier. "Are you saying, this place still has those readings or whatever, that it's the same as us?" After a small pause, he voiced some assumptions.
"Please, I don't want to live in a cave. The dry air would ruin my hair."
Johnny braced himself for the impact.
From the moment his sister set her feet on the ground again, it was a matter of seconds and he counted them backwards in his head from three, because really that was all Sue seemingly needed to get over to him. Anyone who didn't know Sue as he did, somtimes underestimated her, a privilege that he'd learned over the years not to do, from them simply being related. The fact that he was prone on getting himself into trouble and making somewhat poor life-choices could have something to do with it, but he wasn't entirely sure. He knew that look on her face though, stemmed from something a lot more fundamental originating from the fact that she'd been the one to raise him from a very early age.
He tried to lean away from her firm grip, but ended up just grimacing profoundly instead while voicing his complaints. "Hey, hey, careful with the face. I'm fine, seriously," he tried to assure her but she wasn't finished. "Five?" he answered to her question, a smile that soon grew into a grin, a tease that earned him a slap on the arm. He didn't agree with her but saying that out loud right now seemed like bad idea. In reply to Ben he jerked his foot forward, hoping that the piece of pumpkin would fly his way, but it only sailed past his teammate and landed in the dirt. Typical.
It didn't surprise him in the least that Sue and Reed was finding the least interesting thing about the place, it had him roll his eyes and gave Ben a pointed look, gesturing with a thumb towards his sister and Reed, underlying that fifty percent of the company were complete dorks. He moved closer to the entrance and at Ben's request he snapped his fingers and glanced upwards, his skull setting itself alight and giving them enough light, at least to begin with. "I heard it!" Johnny said with some level of excitement that stopped him from considering what it could be and what a proper action would be.
Well, for him, the proper action was stepping inside the cave and so he did, the flames on his head creating light figures together with the angles of the cave, them dancing along the arched walls on the sides. "Hellooooo," he called blithely, his voice echoing along the path that seemed to stretch further into the darkness. The light flickered again, like a switch being turned on and off, followed by another giggle. Johnny thought to have spotted a small but vague form and hurried his steps. "Hey! Wait up, I'm not gonna hurt you!" Moments after, he entered another part of the cave that was much bigger but shaped in a circle with a high rock in the middle. It was lighter in here somehow, a small and roughly shaped hole in the roof-like structure letting through some light.
From behind the rock in the middle, a youth peered at him and Ben, no older than four or five. It had Johnny blink, not because there was a child in the cave, but because his hair was on fire, like Johnny's own. "Look! It's a mini me! That's awesome. Hey buddy, how it's going? I love what you've done with your hair," he said with a wide smile and tapped his own skull with a finger to indicate what he'd just said.
Johnny didn't even bother calling back to Sue since Ben had already done it for them but he gave a half-hearted wave over his shoulder before the two of them proceeded towards Johnny hoped would be adventures. It was nice to finally be able to do something that wasn't sitting around and waiting for better times. This, right there, was why he'd come in the first place. He wasn't interested in numbers on a screen or beeping machines. He wanted to experience and he intended on doing just that.
With his hair and head on fire, their moving shadows danced on the walls, given them an idea of the construct of the cave. It was remarkably evenly shaped but everything about the texture look normal. At one point Johnny had stopped and touched the surface, which left a reddish sort of dust on his hands. He'd brushed it off against his suit before they had continued and encountered the kid.
"Why'd you say that? Two of me would be great!" The young boy seemed genuinely intrigued by Johnny's hair and dared to share a small smile. A hand reached midair towards Johnny, at least until Ben went ahead and put his giant fists together. The child's hand immediately drew back. The youngest member of the Fantastic Four shot his stone-like friend a pointed look. "Dude, that's not helpful." He gave a dismissive wave when Ben said he was going to get back to Sue and Reed, but they didn't get that far. He'd gotten down on one knee and was reaching his hand out to the kid, looking over his shoulder when the newcomers suddenly emerged from out of the shadows.
When the first fist swung, Johnny acted on impulse, flamed on rapidly and got in between the two. The punch was solid rock and hard enough to send him flying some distance. Ending in the sand he rolled some before he climbed back up hurridly but the the sudden scream of the woman with her hands on fire. She chattered in a manner that seemed upset, pointing at Johnny, who was seemingly unhurt by after his little escapade, being on fire that is. The woman flamed off for a few seconds and gestured vividly towards the scorch marks on her upper arms.
"Ben, wait!" he called in case Thing had thought to swing back. Johnny walked over to them again and even though the guy with stone hands still looked about ready to smack either of them, the woman had something different in her eyes. Desperation and hope. "Oh man, Ben, look at her. She can't turn it off. It's... it's hurting her." Johnny held out his hand, eyes asking permission and the woman then nodded, eyes brimming with tears. He took her hand and the heat there, the fire seemingly in her veins, he absorbed it from her but it was only a temporary relief as he could feel it all building back up again. "We gotta them them back to Reed and Sue, they'll know what to do."
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