After Long Years
Notes: Much thanks to Lynxie and Threnody for invaluable encouragement as well as advice (never would have finished this without you guys) and my sympathies go out to all those in #subcafe who had to listen to me whine. This was inspired actually, by an X-files episode that aired a few weeks back, and encouraged by the quote below (thanks to Thren for that as well). As for continuity...it really doesn’t have any...could fit in at some point with Marvel...really is a simple stand alone. Also my first major attempt to write Cable. Feedback is much appreciated.
Disclaimer: Cable and Domino are the property of Marvel comics. I’m just playing around and having a damned good time doing it. This is a non- profit story (unless y’all wanna pay me to *stop* writing) so suing me would be rather a moot point. Rated PG for language. If necessary, feel free to email me and ask for a version with the naughty words edited out.
“If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.”
When We Two Parted, Lord Byron
One red lacquered fingernail tapped the top of the glass cafe table in a steady rhythm. She slid her sunglasses down her nose with the other hand and surveyed the crowed covertly. Everything about her appearance was intentionally contrived to attract as little attention as possible. Here, she was just another tourist, waiting in an outside cafe beneath the Mediterranean sun. She glanced at her watch.
He was late.
She chuckled softly to herself, amused by her impatience. After all, she hadn’t seen him in what- three years now? What did another twenty minutes matter? If anything, it gave her time to get her thoughts in order. What the hell was she going to say to him?
“Meet me,” he’d said. The call came out of the blue. “Meet me.” After three years, he wanted to talk. She couldn’t say she was relived by the call, or overjoyed, or anything like that. But neither did she loath the idea of seeing him again, or dread it. She was surprised, more than anything else. She’d actually thought that after all this time, they had finally gone their separate ways.
Her mind drifted back to the last time they’d been together. At the time, walking away was all she could do. It was that or watch everything self-destruct around her, and she just couldn’t do that. Not again. She had kept track of him, of course, even if she hadn’t stayed in touch. After all, the act of walking away from him didn’t destroy all the years of friendship, the odd and sometimes painful relationship they’d had. She should have known he’d do the same.
Her thoughts were drawn from inward meditation as a shadow fell across the table. She looked up.
“Hello, Nathan,” she said. “You’re late.”
He gave her something akin to an amused smile and shrugged his shoulders. “It’s good to see you, too, Dom.” He sat down across from her.
“You look well,” she added in a more amiable tone. “Actually, you haven’t aged a damned day. Giving Dick Clark a run for his money?”
He didn’t reply, just watched her for a moment, studying her. There was a gleam in his eyes, something that hadn’t been there the last time she’d seen him. It was almost...peaceful. She broke into a wry smile.
“I almost forgot. Congratulations on your victory. You finally nailed the bastard, I hear.” She was, after all, still in touch with the world, if not him. She only hoped that this time, Apocalypse *stayed* dead.
He almost smiled again. Almost. Then a clouded expression came over his face and he looked her directly in the eye. “How are you, Dom?”
The question was a simple one, but there was something in his voice, something about the inflection that made her pause instead of giving the perfunctory ‘I’m fine’ and finally answer, “Tired, Nate. I’m really fucking tired.”
He nodded. “Are you happy?”
“What is this, Nate? Twenty questions?”
He shrugged. “Just answer me.”
She gave him an exasperated look. “I don’t know!” She growled in frustration. Three years, and he shows up asking her inane questions...
He nodded again as if she’d answered the question to his satisfaction. She glowered at him. “Still being vague and mysterious. Nice to see you haven’t changed at all.”
His eyes narrowed, but not in anger. He was watching her with a sort of intensity that made her squirm inside. “You’re not still angry at me, are you?”
She pulled the sunglasses off her face and laid them on the table in front of her with a sigh. “I wasn’t mad at you, Nathan. I just...I couldn’t watch you try to get yourself killed again.” She closed her eyes and shoved her dark hair back out of her face. When she looked at him, it was with a look of grim determination in her amethyst eyes. “I left to try and break the damned cycle we have...one of us gets into a crisis, runs away, comes back licking our wounds. I got sick of wondering each time you went off if you were *going* to come back...decided walking away once and for all would hurt a lot less in the long run.”
For a long moment there was dead silence between them. The sounds of traffic and other patrons, and more faintly, the sound of the sea, filled the space between them. Time slowed for an instant as she turned away from him, half rising from her seat. Time slipped backwards, spun its wheels as his mind superimposed memories three years old over the scene. Angry words, sarcastic and bitter. Her pale hands working feverishly, throwing things into a beaten black duffel bag, eyes flashing hostile sparks. The sight of her walking away.
He reached out, shattering the illusion, his hand clamping around her wrist in a firm grip. She glared.
“Let me go, Nathan.”
He knew she wasn’t talking about the hand on her arm. He looked at her, expression stormy, jaw firmly set. His left eye flashed balefully. “No.”
There was a backlash of frustration and anger along their long dormant psilink. She sat down in her seat again. “Why the hell did you come here, Nate?”
He stopped, silent for a moment. “We can hash this out if that’s what you want, Dom, but not here. Where are you staying?” She rattled off the name of one of the sea front hotels, still plainly agitated, but at least willing to give him a chance to explain himself. ‘Well, that’s something, at least.’ he thought grimly.
Her last question stayed with him as they walked back to her room... close enough that they weren’t strangers, but the rift between them painfully apparent. Why had he come here? What had made him pick up the phone after living for three years with her absence? And more importantly, what had made him think she’d just accept him waltzing right back into her life? He had to wonder if his motivations weren’t just the slightest bit selfish. *He* wanted her back. Since his final showdown, he’d been lost, looking for something to fill the void that he found himself facing now that Apocalypse was gone. Coming to her had seemed the logical choice at the time, but now, he couldn’t be certain.
He peered out between the half drawn shades at the beach below while behind him, Domino paced the room with angry strides like a caged tiger.
“I made a decision, Nathan. We were playing things too close to the vest, and I couldn’t play that game anymore. I don’t need to hear about destiny or missions or any of that crap. I know you didn’t have a choice. But I did. I could stand there and *watch* you die, or I could close my eyes and turn away. And maybe that makes me a fucking coward. When you should have been able to depend on me the most, I turned tail and ran away.
“Y’know what I found out? I found out it really did hurt less this way. Somehow, hearing about you second hand was easier than looking you in the eye and seeing what was there- hurt you were never going to share with me. It was easier not to have to patch you up every time you showed up on the doorstep like some damned beaten dog. It was a lot fucking easier to not care.”
He turned away from the window. She’d stopped in the center of the room, arms folded across her chest, fixing her eyes on him in a withering gaze. “And then you show up. Just when I think I’ve finally got all of this shit straight in my head, here you are.”
“We’re partners, Dom. Do you think that changed because you walked away? Do you want me to hate you for it? You had every right to do what you did...” he trailed off, looking out the window again. “I was so perfectly willing to die in order to defeat Apocalypse...I *expected* to, and I didn’t even think about how that might affect you or anyone else. Didn’t think of it as any different than all those missions we’d run together, didn’t stop to consider that it *wasn’t* the same.” He rested his forehead against the glass pane. “I didn’t notice how much it was hurting you and you were too stubborn to say anything.”
“And what was I supposed to say to you, Nathan?”
He spun around. “Anything. Anything would have been better than suffering in silence until you couldn’t stand to look at me anymore!”
Her eyes narrowed, and for an instant, he was sure she’d decided just to storm out. But she didn’t. “Can you honestly tell me that you would have paid any attention if I had? And who was I to ask you to stop striving for the one thing you actually seemed to *care* about? Face it, Nate, everything in your life came second to fighting Apocalypse. *Everything.* Even yourself, for Christ’s sake.” She shook her head, dark hair fanning out over her shoulders. “I realized I had a snowball’s chance in Hell of competing with that.”
“Oath, Dom.” He closed his eyes and ran a hand back through his hair. He wished that for once in her life she’d stop being so damned stubborn. “If this is how you felt, why did you bother coming? Just to have the satisfaction of bitching me out to my face?”
She frowned. “Do you think I’m that petty, Nate?”
He laughed wildly. “I don’t know! I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t even know why I’m here. I thought maybe I could try to make a little sense of my life for once.” He shook his head. “You should have just told me to go to hell.”
“I was being polite.”
“Polite? Polite...are you even listening to yourself?” He spun away from her and paced the length of the room.
Her eyes followed him, slightly uneasy at the display he was putting on. “Nathan,” his head jerked around to regard her. She sighed. “Look, you’re right, okay? You’re right. I don’t know why I came, but it wasn’t to bitch at you. I’m doing my best here, but everything’s so fucked up I don’t know what to make of it. All of this crap is in the past, and I need to forget about it. But I can’t do that unless you’re willing to forget too. A fresh start.”
“We can’t make a fresh start, Dom.”
“Stop being jackass and listen to me, okay?” He shut his mouth and nodded. “Good. So, you’ve completed your little mission, destiny fulfilled, and somehow you managed to live through the thing fairly intact. Do you have any idea what you’re going to do now? Didn’t think so. But if I know you, and I damn well better after all this time, you’re going to get into trouble one way or another, and you’re going to need someone to watch your back.”
“Partners.” She reached out and took his hand. “Think we can manage that?”
He squeezed her hand ever so slightly. “We’ll managed.”
“Well, we try, anyway. And I’m willing to try. But you have to stop shutting me out.”
“Me? What about you?”
She snorted. “Works both ways, you’re right. How the hell did you manage to be right twice in one day?”
Her mouth twitched up in a smile even as she resisted the urge to smack him. “You’re pushing what little luck you have left.”
“I have all the luck I need right here.”
This time, she did hit him.
Back to Archive