|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
Nathan strummed his fingers on the table impatiently. Checking his watch for the second time in as many minutes, he groaned silently. Though it'd only been an hour since Domino had shut him out of her mind, it seemed like much, much longer. When they'd still been linked, he'd been able to sneak a quick peek at the periphery of Pete's thoughts- the younger man had been so concerned about the news he had to tell Domino that some residual anxiety had leaked through the considerable (for a non-psi, that is) mental defenses he'd raised. Nathan had been able to catch a few glimpses of Pete's thoughts, and he hadn't much liked what he'd seen.
He took a long swallow of his beer, finishing it off. Gently placing the heavy glass on the oak table, he leaned back in the chair. Taking a deep breath, he began using the meditation techniques of his childhood to try and clear his mind of the images he'd picked up from Pete, his fist slowly clenching and unclenching under the table as the pictures flickered through his thoughts.
Logan walked over to the back of the store, linen jacket slung over his shoulder. Ororo was somewhere upstairs, and Betsy had left them as soon as they'd walked into the huge department store, claiming to have to find something to wear to Warren's stockholders meeting. Strolling to a back corner, he found a plush velvet chair right beside the outside of the dressing rooms and gratefully sunk into it. His acute senses detected the sound of rustling clothing and a very familiar scent coming from the only occupied room in this grouping of changing rooms, and with a start he realized that he hadn't ended up here by chance. He'd unconciously been tracking her.
Not wanting to analyze his motivations, he settled himself deeper into the chair. Closing his eyes, he sent a thought into the air, knowing she was keeping a loose link on everyone in their party in case of a sudden danger.
'Hey, Betts,' he sent, his mindvoice surprisingly strong 'Come show me what yer tryin' on fer Wings' meetin'.'
Her voice sounded in his mind, colored with more than a tinge of amusement. 'That's not exactly what I'm trying on, Logan. I seriously doubt that Warren would appreciate me wearing this particular gown to his precious meeting.'
Logan grinned broadly. 'One o' *those* outfits, eh, darlin'?' As long as he'd known her, she'd had a penchant for the exotic, one of the things he found most appealing about her.
'You tell me.' She stepped around the corner and strode across the carpeted area like it was a catwalk, confidence beaming out of every pore. Clad from throat to ankle in a sheer black sheath with only a few *very* thin black strips under the sheath for modesty's sake, she tossed her head back carelessly and walked over to where he sat, eyes opened wide. She met his gaze directly, a small smile playing on her lips. "So. What do you think?"
It took a moment for him to regain his breath. Casually shifting his jacket over his lap, he rasped "Ain't bad, darlin'. Ain't bad at all."
Domino chuckled absently at Kitty's deadpan description of Pete's adjustment to country life on Muir Island, but her mind was somewhere else. No matter how entertaining the conversation was, and how much she was enjoying the company, her mind kept drifting back to Pete's words and what she knew they'd have to do. Refusing to allow herself to dwell on those thoughts, she refocused her attention and caught the tail end of Pete's sarcastic response to another one of Kitty's pointed jabs.
"...monkeys. So ha ha bloody ha, Pryde. She's real funny, ain't she, Dom?" Though he was doing a fairly good job of feigning annoyance at his lover's teasing, Domino could tell from the warmth in his voice and the way he clasped the younger woman close to him that for the first time since she'd known him, Pete Wisdom was actually happy.
"Oh, shut up, Wisdom. You oughta just thank God that she's puttin' up with you in the first place, though I don't know how or why. Damn sure ain't for your looks." Domino grinned at her old friend, genuinely pleased for him.
Pete growled "At least she ain't gotta worry about me rustin'...."
Rolling her eyes, Domino lapsed into silence while Pete filled Kitty in in hushed tones about Domino's Herbert story. Kitty laughed so hard that she wound up gasping for breath, and had to go up to the bar for a glass of water.
When she got there, Denis nodded knowingly at the Kitty's flushed face and giggles. "I told you the woman was crazy." Kitty collapsed in another fit of laughter.
When she returned to the booth, both Pete and Domino were sitting quietly, both thinking of the difficulties of the mission ahead of them. Kitty immediately sobered "Domino... are you all right?"
Blinking, Domino responded "Uh...yeah." Glancing at her wrist watch, she swore under her breath. "Shit..." Closing her briefcase, she snapped the brass hinges shut and downed the rest of her drink quickly.
Exchanging puzzled glances, Pete and Kitty turned to face her. "Dom? You sure?"
Tucking an errant lock of hair behind her ear, Domino nodded. "Yeah, sure. Listen, I need to get out of here...Nosy-boy over there's not gonna buy the two of you putting up with me bitching about Herbert for much longer."
Pete leaned forward, instantly all business. "Yer right. Listen, have you and Nate made arrangements for the night?"
"Yeah- We're staying at the St. Martin's...oh, shit, I forgot to tell you." Domino grimaced. 'Damn. I was hoping to ease this into the conversation...'
Pete's expression grew instantly suspicious. "Wot?"
Domino sighed and sat her briefcase back on the table. "We had a couple of tagalongs from Westchester. Believe me- it wasn't my choice, either."
Pete exploded. "Dammit, Dom, there's a friggin'*reason* why I called you like I did! This ain't no damn trainin' mission for yer team!"
In a quiet, icy voice Domino replied "Where the hell do you get off lecturing me, Wisdom? Who taught you that flonquin' code in the first place? Don't you think *I know* this is serious?" In a low voice, she explained about Psylocke's vision and Logan and Storm's insistence that they come along.
Kitty leaned forward, her heart thudding in anticipation. "Logan? Ororo? Here?" As excited as she was to see her dearest friends again, she couldn't supress a twinge of anxiety at the prospect of them meeting Pete. Though Excalibur now accepted Pete, Kitty knew that it had taken some time for them (and her, she had to admit) to get past his brusque exterior and realize Pete for the person he truly was. Though she'd told Pete all about her time with the X-Men, and told him that she wanted them to meet soon, she had been planning on introducing Pete to her...well, for all intents and purposes her family in a quieter environment when they'd all have time to get past the inevitably awkward first impressions. 'Still, though...Logan and Ororo..Betsy, too....' She almost laughed out loud in sheer pleasure.
Pete exhaled sharply. 'Shit. This is gonna be tough enough without 'aving t' deal with Kitty's bloody family...' Turning his attention to the situation at hand, he shook his head. In a much quieter tone, the only apology Domino knew she'd ever get, he responded "All right, then. If they're 'ere, they're 'ere. Ain't nothin' we can do about it except go on."
Though she privately agreed with his sentiments, Domino couldn't help a sarcastic "How kind of you to understand."
Kitty held out a restraining hand "Stop. Hold. Waitaminute. Where are they at right now? When can I see them?" Her warm brown eyes gleamed in barely surpressed excitement.
Domino raised an amused eyebrow at Kitty's reaction. 'Oho...Pete's in for a fun time...I'd hate to get the kind of inspection he's gonna get from Logan and her goddesship...' In response to Kitty's question, she replied "We're supposed to meet back at the hotel- Nate's gonna let Betsy and the others know when I'm done here. Do you want me to give them a message?"
Pete looked at the yearning in Kitty's face and made an abrupt decision. 'Wot the hell. Easiest way to handle it, anyway.' "You're staying at the St. Martin's, right? Well, me and Pryde'll get a room there, too. We can all get somethin' t' eat tonight, talk about th' particulars of everything, and maybe Kitty an' 'er old friends can catch up after we get everything sorted out." The expression on Kitty's face made the trepidation he felt worthwhile.
Domino nodded curtly, her thoughts once more pressed towards the reality of the situation that she knew they'd have to confront soon. "Sounds good," she agreed. Standing up, she took her briefcase and looked down at Kitty and Pete. "It was a *true* pleasure to meet you, Kitty," she smiled, and with a start she realized she actually meant it. "We'll be under the name Sarah McNeill. Come to my room about eight- I'll have everybody in there."
Kitty grinned, her features lit up in a luminous smile "We'll be there."
Pete's lips twisted in a wry grin, and he shook his head "I'll see y' there, Dom."
Nodding goodbye at the couple, she stepped away from the booth and walked toward the door, careful to stop by the bar and bitch at the bartender for a few more minutes. When she finally closed the heavy oak doors behind her, she leaned against the wall, completely exhausted, and opened up her mind to call Nate back again.