Donít Look Back
Domino and Cable belong to Marvel. However, this story belongs to me. Feedback would be loved and worshipped. If youíd like to archive, just ask and ye shall receive. Special thanks to Lyssie, my great and wonderful betaíer, without whose help this ficling wouldnít have been finished.
He called. I came. It always used to be that simple with us. It isnít simple anymore. And I donít know what to do.
I canít just leave, it has to be more than that. Iíve left before. Dozens of times. This time, though, it seems different, final. This time. It seems strange to try to justify leaving him. He brought it on himself.
I canít stand it anymore. Waiting for him to come home from one of his idiotic missions, not sure if heíll come home. Waiting for him to tell something, anything. Waiting for him. Iím always waiting. I canít wait any longer. Wait for somebody to tell me he died on one of those fucking missions of his. I canít lose him like that.
I asked him. I asked him to stop. I asked him to not to go this time. This time and countless times before. He didnít listen. He never listens. So, now, heís lying in the med. lab, fighting for his life. And Iím leaving him. Running away when he needs me the most.
Running away. Iím good at that.
Sheís leaving. I know she is. Sheís looking at me through that window, long and hard, as if trying to etch this image in her mind. This image of me, lying here, being connected to all these tubes and machines. Sheís looking at me with such finality. Thatís how I know for sure. Sheís leaving for good this time.
Before I left, she asked me not to go. Asked me and I didnít listen. Asked me and I didnít even reply. That was the final test and I failed. I failed miserably. But with this I wonít fail.
He couldíve died on that mission. He still might die, if Henry canít cure that infection. Every mission he goes on, I worry if heíll make it. Every deliberate stunt he pulls. Every mind-play he does. I worry if Iím not by his side in battle. And now, I worry if I am. Heíll get hurt one of these days and then wonít get up again. And I donít want to see that.
I hate this. I hate doing this to him, causing him pain. But this hurts me much more. Itís a gnawing, endless pain that hounds me day and night, hounds me in my dreams. Just another demon. Just another voice in my mind, yelling at me to stop.
Iím tired of old ghosts haunting me, of old ghosts reappearing and causing havoc in my life. Iím tired of running myself ragged, trying to prove myself to people whose dream I donít share. Iím tired of being down-played and second-guessed all the time. Iím just tired.
Iím getting old and itís starting to show in my work. Thatís why Iím leaving.
Sheís leaving. I know she is. And Iím letting her. Iím letting her walk out of my life, for good this time. In fact, Iím helping her. Thatís why Iím still lying here in bed in the med. lab, pretending to be asleep (that and the fact Henry threatened to put more cold instruments in uncomfortable places), so she wonít have to face me, so this doesnít end in argument where weíd say things we didnít mean Ė or worse, things we did mean, so she doesnít leave this place in anger, vowing never to return, so she might come back someday. Thatís why Iím not upstairs, begging, arguing and asking her not to go. Maybe I should be. But Iím not.
She wants to leave. She wants away from this. And if I asked her, she would stay. If I told her I needed her, she would stay. If I told her I loved her, she would stay. But sheíd hate me if she stayed. Flonq, I would hate myself for it. Sheíd hate herself for it.
Sheíd die, if she stayed. Her heartís not in this anymore. She is dying. Her heartÖ thatís all I got from the link before it clamped shut. She has only a few years left, at best, if she stays, and thatís not nearly enough. So she wants to make the most of them. Try living a normal life for a change. Sheíll hate it, of course, but sheíll try. That might even keep her alive.
I love him. I love him so much it hurts sometimes. Thatís why Iím leaving. That kind of love is dangerous, the kind that is both pleasure and pain, the kind that makes you do crazy things without once questioning yourself. When you know youíre in over your head and youíre going to get hurt but you still hold on because letting go would hurt so much more, because there isnít a thing you could to let to, a thing youíd want to do.
I love him. Thatís why Iíve stayed as long as I have, but I canít anymore. I canít miss the feeling I have every time I watch him go, the sense of loss I feel if heís not around. I canít be dependant on him, nor can he be on me. Thatís never good in our line of work.
Iíll go crazy not being with him, not doing what Iíve done for most of my life. Can I live a normal life? Do I even want to? Do I want a husband with a normal job, a house in the suburbs and two kids?
I donít know if I can live through that, but I want to try. I want to try living a life where I donít have to save the world with my team at least once a month. But I donít want to watch from the sidelines, either. And I canít stay around anymore. It hurts too much.
I love him but he never shares his feelings. Thereís a distance between us. He doesnít share. Not his life, his work, his love or his secrets. Not that Iím any better. I guess weíre two of a kind that way. Two of a kind. Living a semblance of a life together. He wonít tell me his feelings for me, he canít. He can barely give me a promise of loving me, of staying with me. I need more than that. I need a commitment, love, a family, maybe kids someday. He canít give me any of those things.
So Iím letting him go, leaving him and it hurts so much, but I have to, because losing him would hurt much, much more. I love him, thatís why Iím leaving.
But I still have to say goodbye.
She has tears in her eyes, now. Her knuckles are white and a few drops of blood drop from her hands. She opens the door, coming in with a deep sigh, as I close my eyes tightly shut.
Her hand brushes my cheek and through my hair. By the Goddess, I want to open my eyes and look at her. To kiss her. I can hardly even hear her breathe.
ďOh, Nate,Ē she whispers, so quietly it strains me to hear it. ďI have to go and I wonít be coming back. Itís not like you wonít see me ever again. Iíll be here. Some day. But...Ē she pauses and I could picture the bittersweet smile on her lips. The smile I heard in her voice. She continues, with a catch in her voice. ďIíll be home for Christmas.Ē She pauses again, gathering her strength. She quickly brushes her lips with mine and walks away. She stops at the door, and I close my eyes again, hoping she didnít notice the movement. She continues in that barely audible tone of hers, sounding oddly wistful. ďYou can count on me.Ē
I walk. I walk away, out of the med. lab, out of the house, towards the cab thatís already waiting. And I feel something, someone looking at me, but I donít turn around. If I turn around, Iíll stay and never leave. If I turn around all will be lost. I squeeze my bags tightly, needing them for their weight and protection, to buffer me.
I feel like Iím in a daze as the driver takes my bags and opens the door for me and I sit down, shutting the door behind me. Then I feel it again, the sensation of someone watching me and slowly I turn my head, to look out of the window and I see mismatched gray eyes, staring back at me. I see him, standing in the window, looking at me, but not seeing me, for the cabís darkened windows. His eyes, calm but sad, tell me everything I ever wanted or needed to know, of him, of his feelings, and then it hits me.
He knew. He knew I was leaving. He knew and he let me. He knew I had to do this. He knew. A new sense of relief comes over me and I motion the driver to start the car and drive off, without any second thoughts, as a new batch of tears well up in my eyes. Thank you, Nathan Dayspring Summers. Thank you.
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