Lost in a Gunshot

by Timesprite



Disclaimer: Cable and Domino, as well as all other miscellaneous characters mentioned herein are the property of Marvel Entertainment Group. No profit is being made from this story. This story is based off of current Marvel canon (gasp!) and rated R for language and various other unsavory things.

Thanks to Threnody, Cosmic, Lynxie, Kaleko, and DeadEye for looking over this at various points, and not being shocked or appalled at my twisted plotlines.

She was like a hurricane, blowing in off the street wound up and angry about things she wouldn't talk about. A cold fire burned behind her eyes, a fury that would not subside and seemed to burn her up from the inside, leaving her brittle and hollow.

She vanished into the bathroom and the shower seemed to run forever, though all the water in the world could not have quenched that inferno. He sat in bed, book open though he wasn't reading it, wondering what had brought her back to him in this state.

They'd managed an agreement of sorts in the last few months. Neither one asked where the other went, keeping their separate lives just that, living other lives when they were together. It occurred to him, suddenly, that it had been almost a year since she'd tried to kill him. Not Domino, he corrected. Aentaros, one of the Undying who'd taken possession of her mind and body in an attempt to kill himself and others in a twisted game he'd finally brought to an end.

They'd never discussed it.

Almost a year since something had seemingly made her anew, wiping years from her body, if not from her soul. He'd never asked what happened, and she'd never asked about Apocalypse or his father's death.

They'd done pretty well not talking like that, though the fact that while they still tolerated, even *needed* each other, they hadn't really spoken in... well years, hurt. Maybe because he'd never thought they'd end up this way, skirting past each other like ships in the night, a few days here, a one-night stand there. They'd been friends for so long, and then they'd become more than friends. Now, they just *were.* They lived, and that was about it. It seemed fate was against them. They'd had it good for awhile there. Long enough ago now that it seemed some sort of fever dream. Life had caught their carefully hidden smiles and acted quickly, forcefully, to correct the matter.

There'd been Tyler's death to deal with, then Onslaught. And almost before they'd regained their footing, Bastion and Operation: Zero Tolerance had swept in, had robed him of his team and Domino of so much more.

It had been difficult to worm the story out of Sam, but he'd eventually explained what had happened to her- shed light on that night outside the old safehouse when she'd stood exposed before him, head shaved and shaking so hard he could almost hear her bones rattle. When he stood and stared as she' d rambled on about normal lives then pushed him away to vanish from his life, taking his heart with her. She'd had her soul ripped out and he still saw the bleeding wound when he looked in her eyes.

The world continued to turn, things went on. She'd shown up later, accusing him of things he couldn't understand, almost died, and then vanished again. X-Force sought her out while he stalked a monster.

In the end, somehow, Wisdom had ended up leading the team. He'd replaced Dom, and she, losing the last thing in her life that'd meant anything- the team- had gone off on her own again.

Wisdom had died. Cyclops had been taken over by Apocalypse. The Legacy Virus Stryfe had made was finally cured, but not before adding Moira and Colossus to its list of victims.

Some how, amidst it all, they'd found each other again, or rather, found each other's shells. There wasn't much left of the people they'd been, really.

The door opened, the light in the bathroom clicking off. She looked at him for a moment, standing there naked and dripping water on the floor before she crossed the room and climbed into bed. Fire still burned behind her eyes.

He put the book away.

"You know, you can-" he stopped. "If you need to-"

"What?" She asked, sweeping hair that had finally grown out away from her eyes. "Talk?" Her laugh was bitter and hollow.

"If it would help."

"I don't want to talk," she said scathingly. "I don't want to talk and I don 't want to think. I don't want to remember the things I saw or how good it felt to pull the trigger on the bastard I just killed." She turned on her side, placing one hand in the center of his chest. "I don't want to pretend it's all okay when it hasn't been and probably never will be."

"When did it happen?" He asked, staring at the ceiling to avoid having to meet her eyes.

"When did what happen?"

"This. When did you become so bitter? When did I get so flonqing tired of it all? When did we both die without realizing it?"

"When did I die?" She laughed as if there were something ironic in the question. Maybe there was. He didn't know her anymore.

"We're dead," he said, still concentrating on the white square of the ceiling. "We don't feel. We don't communicate." He picked up her hand and held it. "We come here and pretend- we escape. We pretend we feel something when it's nothing but a shallow echo of an emotion."

"What? One good fuck and it's back to the wars, Sweetheart? Maybe. It's something, isn't it?"

"It's a lie."

"The whole world is one big fucking falsehood, Nathan. Haven't you realized that by now? And it's out to screw us over. I, for one, am done clinging to foolish hopes that will never come to pass."

"Were *we* a foolish hope, Dom? All of it, it meant that little to you."

"I don't know." She said tersely. "It's pretty pointless to dwell on it, isn 't it? That was our moment in the sun. It's gone now. I don't live in the past."

"No, you run from it," he sighed. "For awhile I envied that talent of yours."

"What *talent*?" She snapped, pulling her hand free from his grasp. "I didn' t come here to take this kind of crap from you."

"No, you didn't." he replied, sitting up against the headboard. "You came here to fuck blindly until you can forget how angry you are at yourself for whatever it is you think is your fault this time around. And for the record, I envied your ability to walk away. Just detach yourself from your life and start a new one. Now I wouldn't want that for the world. You destroyed yourself."

"Well, thank you, kettle. Next time, think before you go pointing accusations. I destroyed *my* life? Excuse me? I don't remember any of this being up to me, anyway."

"Maybe it wasn't. But you picked the way in which you dealt with it." He settled back down on the pillows. "You're right. This is pointless." He reached over and clicked off the bedside lamp, turning away from her. "Good night."

Silence hung like a wet blanket, stifling. He could hear her breathing next to him, still awake. He could almost see her eyes glaring holes in the ceiling. He ignored it, training his ears instead on the sound of the slowly dripping faucet in the bathroom. Behind him, Domino tossed restlessly, and with a curse, flipped on the lamp on her side of the bed. "Don't do this."

"What?" He growled, not turning over.

"Don't be such a sanctimonious prick."

"Me, right," he scoffed. "I'll forget you stormed in here like a psychotic bitch, expecting me to take whatever shit you felt like tossing my way."

"Oh, *I* see," she snarled. "I suppose you want explanations first." She laughed. "You're such a God Damned hypocrite, you know that?" She pushed him back against the bed, straddling his waist as if her weight could hold him there. It was the murderous rage that bubbled behind those eyes of hers, burning into him without seeing him, that made him lay still. "Fine! You want to know why I came here? I came here because I just blew the brains out of a lowlife asshole who was prostituting out street kids. He had them locked up in the fucking basement. And I had to find them. So I blew his damned brains all over the back wall of his office where he was counting out the cash he made from letting people rape little girls." She took a breath that sounded more like a strangled sob. "You're not the only one who has personal crusades, you heartless bastard." Her fist hit him squarely in the jaw, stunning him momentarily as she climbed off him and sat on the edge of the bed, nursing her bruised hand. "I didn't want to be alone."

He sat up and reached out for her, but she slapped his hand away. "Don't touch me," she hissed. "Don't think you can make it better."


"You're what? *Sorry*? It never occurred to you that maybe I come here because I need the company? I *need* someone who's not going to ask me what' s on my mind? I never questioned you, Nate," she said, turning to face him Tears hovered at the corners of her eyes. Only sheer determination kept them from overflowing and running down her cheeks. "I never goaded you into talking about Scott, or why you've joined the X-Men when you know as well as I do that you don't give a fuck about Xavier's dream. I never made you face up to this little masochistic stunt you're pulling. I could have pointed out that this kind of shit was exactly the sort of thing your father hated. But I held my tongue." She got up and began retrieving clothes from the dresser drawer she'd reserved as her own. "I thought maybe I could come here and forget for awhile. Forget how after I'd killed the son of a bitch, I wished I could do it again. Make him suffer this time around. Make him beg like those kids begged. Wanted to kill him as many times as it took to make the score even." Her hands were shaking as she pulled on her jeans. "But he's dead, so I guess it doesn't matter, does it?"

"I didn't know."

"No, you didn't. I didn't want you to, okay?" She pulled a shirt over her head. "Because I wanted to be able to look in your eyes and not see that look you're giving me now. I don't want your pity." She began gathering up the things she'd brought with her. "I didn't mean to intrude on your little self-flagellation game here." It was easy to overlook, with most of her bodily scars erased, the scars she still carried on her heart. He'd had the gall to rant at her about not living- not *feeling,* when she'd been in so much mental anguish it was tearing her in two. He'd thought he'd been dealing with a will of forged steel, when she was really brittle glass.

"Let go of me, you stupid-" she squirmed in his grasp while he ignored her blows.

"You could have told me you didn't want to be alone," he said. "That's all you had to say."

"Was it really?" There was still anger in her eyes, but it was weary and worn out. "Seriously, if I had just walked in that door, tossed my things down and said 'I really don't want to be alone inside my own head tonight' could you just have taken that in stride, no questions asked?"

"Shown up like this?" He asked. "Probably not." He tipped her chin up to look her in the eyes. "You look like shit."

"Part of me is still pulling that trigger. Like some sort of damned video loop over and over. And there's a hundred other bastards just as bad as him- or worse- still out there. I close my eyes and all I see is the look on his face as he stares down the barrel of my gun- and it's still not enough. I killed him and God, I still feel sick inside." She took a step back. "Maybe you were right. I'm dead." She started to unpack her bag again to keep her hands busy, as if she could somehow keep going as long as she didn't stop moving. As if she could outrun the gunshot's echo in the back of her mind. "I've let the past bury me." Cracks were showing in the mask she'd worn around him of late. Old pain was seeping through, and the flaming anger behind her eyes had been replaced with a desolation so cold it burned. "I stood there staring at him, after I shot him. It was as if he were mocking me. He was dead, but I was the one who was going to live with the nightmares. Fuck." She slammed her fist down on the top of the dresser. "I swear to God, he looked through me like I was glass. And even dead as he was, he knew. I didn't kill him because it was my *job*-" This time her control failed her and the mask slipped, tears spilling down her white cheeks. "Some sort of sick vengeance. I thought, if I stopped him somehow- but the moment my finger pulled that trigger, I knew I wouldn't be able to take this alone. If I tried to- in the dark, the nightmares would be there."

He looked at her, offering his hand. 'Come here,' it meant. 'All's going to be well,' the look in his eyes said. At least for now. At least for tonight. Shadows still hovered at the edges of their lives

He lay in the dark, driving back her demons with his touch. Words swirled through his mind, accusations and revelations, secrets and whispers of the truth. Her eyes burned in the dark, hungry, trading nightmares for this instant. Lost in a gunshot and a strangled scream, the woman tried to forget the child that hid within her walls. Who'd confronted fear. The child, not the woman, who'd pulled that trigger. Inside himself was a broken man chasing a death that should have been his. Stolen from his grasp, leaving him spinning, without direction. Left him to search for meaning in the scorched desert of his soul, with nothing but endless, timeless sand all around him. And the two restless wanderers, two lost souls, joined, both mentally and physically, yearning for the touch that would make them whole again.


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