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


He grabbed her arm harder than he had intended, but she didn't flinch, despite the pain shooting up and down her arm. He loosened his grip, but still held onto her. She stood silently for a moment, then sighed. "What do you want me to say, Nathan? You haven't had either the time or the inclination to talk about anything other than 'business' for a long time now. Are you really so surprised that I'm returning the favor?"

He didn't answer. They stared at each other quietly for a moment until Domino murmured in a quiet tone "Let go of my flonqing arm, Nathan." He glanced at her arm, the warm metal of his fingers pressed tight against the cool lavendar silk of her robe, and felt himself tighten. "Sorry," he replied sheepishly, releasing her arm.

She crossed her arms again, and stared at him. She exhaled sharply, wondering how to begin. "Nate- I'm tired of all this. I'm tired of all the secrets, tired of hiding myself from you and the kids. With Theo gone, you're probably the only person in the world I trust- Milo's dead, Hammer is martyring himself, Kane is off romping with Vanessa, of all people, and G.W.- Hell, I don't even want to *think* about what G.W. is doing!"

He looked up at her sharply "Milo's dead?" He asked in a shocked voice, pouring a drink with a shaky hand. He offered it to her, and she accepted it gratefully.

She closed her eyes against the pain. "Yeah, Nate, he is. I watched him die- and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. Just like Theo."

He shook his head slowly, the telepathic link they shared reverberating with her pain. "I didn't know," He whispered lamely.

"Yeah, well, you haven't asked." Her voice was flat, emotionless, but he could sense the pain behind the neutral tone. 'Just one more thing we've got in common,' his mind whispered.

He winced in guilt. "I know. I'm sorry. Please, sit down with me, Dom," He motioned to the chair beside him. "Tell me what happened."

She stood silently for a moment, weighing her options. Looking into his face she saw the pained vulnerability that he worked so hard to hide. The only times she'd seen that look was when she'd first joined X-Force and they'd just resumed their 'relationship'. He'd tried so hard then to impress her, to convince her that they needed her. She sighed 'Shit, I've at least got to tell him about Milo.' She pulled a chair and straddled it, pouring a generous shot and downing it.

In a quiet voice, she told him. She told him about Pierce and Deathstrike, about Pico and Puck, and about Milo. He sat silently as she recounted what had happened on her 'vacation,' fists clenched in impotent anger as she told in shaky tones about the explosion that killed her husband. When she finished her face was wet, and he knew what that cost her. He held out his hand and she took it, grasping it hard. He looked at her "I know what it's like."

She stared at him, remembering their trip to the future where he where he was raised and all the nights, so like this one, spent discussing his own lost wife Aliya. She nodded "I know you do."

She finally released his hand, then wiped her eyes. "Let's talk about something else, OK?"

He smiled softly, then poured her another drink. She gulped it down, and he shook his head. "You know, what you said before is not completely true."

She quirked an eyebrow, attempting a jaunty tone. "What's not completely true?"

He mimicked her expression "You have other friends besides me."

She snorted sarcastically "Yeah, right. I'm the queen of interpersonal relationships."

He smiled "No, Dom, but think- Terry and the rest of the team trust you."

She poured another drink "Bullshit, Nathan. Terry- maybe. The rest of the team- they don't know me at all." She sighed, the liquor beginning to loosen her tongue "And maybe I don't want them to. This business is too heartbreaking to risk making friends, and losing them." She downed another shot, then frowned. "I hate this stuff. Got anything else a little stronger here, or do I have to resort to my own private stock?"

He grinned at her expression. "You're putting enough of it away to hate it so much. You always could out-drink anyone I ever met." He stood. "Yeah, I think I've got some scotch back here-" He walked across the room and opened a cabinet, telekinetically moving objects on the crowded shelves until he found a dark bottle in the corner.

"Scotch, huh," She muttered. As he straightened the cabinet and dusted off the bottle she closed her eyes. 'Dom...haven't you had enough scotch for a while?' she taunted herself, thinking of the previous night. 'I'm too tired to think about this right now. What am I going to do about John? Am I gonna call him back? Do I even want to? Yeah, it was good to see him and I definately needed a stressbreaker, and I have to admit I enjoyed him, but...' She smiled tiredly at Nathan, who was floating the bottle through the air to the table. 'There's enough complications in my life already."

He sat down beside her and poured a glass, proposing a toast. His voice was slightly slurred, and she grinned. He never could hold his liquor like she could. She raised her glass. "What to, Nate?"

He was silent a moment, then answered. "To those we left behind."

Swallowing tightly, she clinked glasses with him, and let the warm liquid flow down her throat as she desperately tried to think of anything else but men.