DISCLAIMER: Any character you recognize is the property of Marvel Comics and is used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

Warning: This story may deal with adult issues, so be forewarned.

Just Lucky, I Guess


DuAnn Cowart


Nathan jerked away from her as if burned. Jumping to his feet, he stammered "Ororo! Hello! Uh...uh...no, of course not. Hank just left-" He glanced casually between the two women and wished he hadn't. The expressions on both of their faces had been known to make lesser men soil themselves.

Domino sighed, eyes hooded with disapointment and anger. 'Damn, Nate, I thought the past few days would have taught you to stand your ground one way or the other. After what we just went through, you're still playing games? Alright.' She clamped her jaw in resignation. 'If that's the way you wanna play it, fine.'

Ororo stood imperiously, arms crossed over her chest, clutching two unfortunate envelopes tightly in one clenched fist. "I see," she muttered darkly. "I wished to speak to him about some business, but perhaps it can wait until another time." She didn't even bother to look at Domino, just focused a cold stare on Nathan who was 'casually' picking at his fingernails, studiously avoiding both of their gazes.

Domino interupted with a loud snort. "Well," she grinned humorlessly. "I don't know about you two, but I'm getting a little tired of this shit." Ororo blinked in surprise at her abrupt tone but Cable stood stock still, mentally whimpering 'Oh please Dom, not now, you're too tired, I'm too tired, oh let's don't get into this right now please. Please- Apocalypse, Stryfe, anybody, please! you can have me, you can have me, no struggle, just come get me out of here. now. please.'

At their stunned expressions she raised a wry eyebrow "Oh, come now, Storm- and you, too, Nate. We're all adults, we can discuss this thing civilly."

Storm cocked her head, regarding the other woman in a new light. 'Obviously she realizes what's going on between myself and Nathan and is stepping out of the way- I hadn't given her credit for that much intelligence.' "You're absolutely right," she smiled graciously. "We should discuss this." Nathan gulped, trying to regain some semblance of composure. Domino just smiled a wicked grin.

"Good! I knew you'd agree with me. This situation has gone on long enough." Domino bit back an annoyed grin, immensely enjoying Nathan's discomfiture. 'As if he thinks I'd ever be tacky enough to actually *discuss* this with them. Shit. This is too easy.'

She let loose an annoyed tirade, all the while shaking her head in disgust actually aimed at them, not at the seeming subject of her rant. "You're so right, Storm. Hank *should* be in here. Anytime someone has business with him, by all rights they should be able to find him here, but nope, he's *never* around. He has responsibilites, dammit! I'm tired of him shirking them- somebody needs to say something to him about it. I nominate myself."

Nodding sharply to punctuate her ire, she jumped down from the table and was surprised to find that her knees buckled slightly out from under her. Nathan stretched out an anxious hand to steady her, but she batted it away. He looked at her, emotions etched clearly across his face. He realized what she'd just done but was far too worried about her to call her on it. She sighed, and suddenly felt about twenty years older. 'I'm getting too old for this shit, and I never liked it much in the first place.'

In a slightly more subdued done, she promised "I'm fine, Nate. I'm just gonna go find that lazy Hank and give him a piece of my mind. You kids stay here and clean up. Just look at how cluttered he leaves the place!" She sighed loudly, too loudly, and in a sarcastic tone muttered in a voice just low enough for him to hear "Thanks for all your help, Nate, really. Nice to know I can count on you when it matters." Haughtily lifting her chin in the air, she brushed past the confused Ororo without stopping.

Nathan just stared at the departing Domino, concern and anger warring on his face. "Dom. Come back here, please...you're not recovered enough yet to go off by yourself."

Ororo tilted her head in confusion. 'Recovered? From what? The woman has clearly lost her mind.' In the voice she had used as a goddess to provoke obedience from her worshippers in Kenya, she commanded "Surely you're joking- come back here and explain yourself."

Domino stopped shortly and leaned against the door frame in a langorous pose. She raised an amused eyebrow and responded in precisely the same arrogant tone Storm had used. "No, I'm not joking, and don't call me Shirley. Sorry, your goddessip, no can-do. I'm not one of your lackies you can order around however you choose." She leveled a poisonous gaze at Nathan and in a mocking drawl growled "Asshole," then pivoted sharply out of the room.

When she'd gone Ororo turned to him and asked in a stunned voice "Did you hear that? Who does that woman think she is? And just *what* is going on here, Nathan?"

He sighed. "That's just Dom, Ororo." His lips twitched in a small tension-relieving smile. It felt so good that he leaned his head back and let out a chuckle that soon turned into a full-throated laugh. She was back and she was alright- didn't matter that she was furious with him. It was hardly the first time, and he knew she'd get over it.

Ororo's irritation deepened. "I don't understand. Is the woman insane?" Nate sobered slightly. "No," he replied matter-of-factly " No, thank God she's not." At Ororo's quizzical expression he just shook his head, a tiny smile still plastered on his face. "Never mind. Now what did you want to see Hank about?"

As soon as she turned the corner and was out of ear-shot Domino sagged, clutching onto a nearby beam to steady herself. Gasping slightly, she made it to the elevator and took the easy way upstairs. 'Damn, I feel like shit.' Her heart pounded and her whole body felt leaden, but she somehow made it to the X-Force wing. As she staggered down the fortunatly empty hall to her room, she grinned 'But they don't know that. Assholes.' She crawled in her bed and fell almost immediately into a deep, blessedly dreamless slumber.

After listening to a litany of woes consisting mainly of the evils of Pete Wisdom interspersed with imprecations against Domino, Nate had almost had enough. He'd let Ororo bitch about Dom for a minute or two to release her frustration at Dom's toying with them, but damn if she wasn't going overboard- and Pete? Ororo had never met Pete, she'd told him that herself when she told him why she needed to speak with Hank. He'd wisely kept his own connections with Wisdom quiet, but thought that if she didn't shut up soon he'd have to break down and tell her what he knew. Why in the world did she hate him so much? As she complained, he straightened up the med-lab. Though it would take Hank's input to rearrange everything back in its proper postition he consoled himself with the fact that at least it now looked functional. He swept up a small pile of glass then examined his handiwork. 'There- that's better.' To his surprise, she was still talking- he'd tuned her out several minutes ago when he'd started. He sighed 'Enough.'

He drew in a deep breath and interjected "Ororo, I know you probably don't want to hear this, but I have to tell you- you're not giving Pete a fair chance. I've known him for a long time- a damn long time- and I owe him a hell of a lot." Remembering one particular night in Genosha when he'd been detained too long and Dom had paid the price, he nodded emphatically "A hell of a lot. I think if you'd actually meet the man yourself and spend some time with him you'd know what I mean." Genosha- hell, he'd actually forgotten about that. If Pete hadn't come when he did...Nathan refused to let himself go down that path. If he started thinking about the could haves and might have beens over the years he'd be in worse shape than Dom had been earlier that day, and he didn't think she was in the mood to help snap him out of it just then.

Lost in thought, he missed Ororo's next comment. "I'm sorry," he apologized "I was thinking about something else...what did you say?"

She snapped "I *said* that I have already made my decision, thank you. I know very well what kind of man my Kitten needs, and it is certainly not that Wisdom person! She and Piotyr are fated to be together, and the sooner everyone realizes it the better." She self-righteously poked the now rolled up letter in his chest for emphasis. "And why did you not tell me that you know this Wisdom ? Does he have something else to hide?"

That did it- he'd had enough. Nathan's left eye blazed "You have the right to think whatever you want to, Storm. I didn't tell you at first because a lot of what we've done in the past hasn't been pretty. Some of us are carrying around a whole lotta shit that we'd just as soon not be reminded of!" He thought of Dom less than an hour ago, cscreaming in anguish at the darkness within her, and a vein stood out on his neck. He took a deep breath and continued. "I'm telling you this- without Pete neither me nor Dom would be here right now! I'm tired of you bitching about him without even knowing the man, so until you meet him for yourself I don't want to hear you say another word against him, or Dom,too, for that matter! Do you understand me?" Years of command authority rang through his voice, but she jerked her chin up in defiant anger.

She glared at him "I do not have to listen to this, Nathan. If you see Henry please tell him that I wish to speak with him. Good day." With a swish of silver hair she was gone. He swore under his breath, waited a few minutes to make sure that she'd left, then stormed out of the corridor up to his room where hopefully he couldn't piss anybody else off.