The Prosecution Wins
Notes: My eternal gratitude to the ever amazing Threnody, without whom, I would never have gotten this story completed. Thanks also to Lyssie who both beta read, and gave me the title. This story is a prequel to ‘After Long Years’ which can be found, along with all my other stories at http://www.crosswinds.net/~greymalkinlane/
Disclaimer: Cable and Domino, and Ben&Jerry’s aren’t mine, and are being used without permission. Really wish I had the Ben&Jerry’s though. However, no money is being made from this fic. There's a *tiny* bit of bad language in here, but nothing too Earth shattering. As always, feedback is adored and saved to cheer me up on bad days.
The door creaked as he entered, and his boots thudded heavily on the floor. Things dropped to the floor as he walked down the shotgun hallway, back into the kitchen. His coat, then his weapons, clattering with a hollow sound that echoed the hollow feeling of failure in his chest. Failure, again. The half-full coffee pot glowed like a beacon and he filled a mug. He drank down its contents quickly, then refilled his cup and for the first time, took in his surroundings.
Things were a mess. Not in the neglected way it usually was, the sort of clutter that came from the fact that neither Dom nor himself ever put much effort into house cleaning, but a chaotic mess he was used to seeing after fights. He reached out quickly, finding her mind glowing like a red-hot coal in the bedroom, seething with rage. He set the cup down.
She was cursing under her breath as she pulled things from the dresser haphazardly, stuffing them into a bag on the bed. She must have caught sight of him in her peripheral vision, because her words became louder, more angry, and clearly directed at him, though she didn’t bother to look up. “Dom-”
“Fuck you, Nate.” She snarled. “Don’t even bother. I don’t want to hear it.” She balled up some clothes in frustration and shoved them into the bag. “I don’t want to hear excuses. I don’t care *how* important this particular little mission was. You could have left me a fucking *note.*”
He leaned against the doorjamb, leaning his head in his hand. “Oath, Dom.” He glanced up at her, a pained expression on his face. “I didn’t think-”
“That it mattered? That I minded waking up here alone while you tried to get your sorry ass killed? No. You thought I’d just wait around while you ran off to God knows where and got your head handed to you!” The bag zipped shut with a heavy finality. She snatched her jacket up from the bed, threw it on, and then slung the bag over her shoulder. “Move.” Her eyes were smoldering with anger as she glared at him. He didn’t move.
“Domino.” He searched desperately for something, anything that might possibly stop what was about to happen. Asking for forgiveness was out of the question; she’d forgiven him far too many times already. He could feel the situation spinning out of his grasp, a specter of imminent doom hanging over his head as he stood silent in the doorway.
“Cable, if you don’t get out of my way *now* I’m going to go *through* you instead.” Her voice was frigid and dead serious.
He stalled, mind reeling with the implications of what was happening. Telling her how much he needed her here now wasn’t going to work, it was clear that she didn’t want to hear it. “What do you *want* Dom?” He asked in final desperation.
Her eyes slid away from his as she tried to hide the pain there. “I want to be able to trust you again, Nathan.” There had been a point, not too long ago, when he was the one person she *could* trust. But somehow, she’d lost that, and she couldn’t stay, even if it was silently killing her to see the distressed vulnerability on his face.
His heart sank as he realized just how much he’d failed her. Failure again. It seemed that was all his life amounted to anymore, mistake after mistake, failures piling up in a tedious mountain until they toppled over and buried him utterly. He was suffocating under the weight of it all, and now the one person who managed to make it okay was walking away. “I- I don’t know if I can give you that.”
The muscles in her jaw tightened and her eyes squeezed shut for a moment before she looked up at him again, features now stony and determined, a mask placed firmly over whatever it was she was really feeling. “Then I guess it’s over,” she said grimly. She pushed past him into the hallway and he stood there dumb struck as she walked away, knowing there was no way to save things this time
The front door slammed shut, reverberating through the empty house like a death knell. It was followed by a second crash as he smashed his fist into the wall, fracturing the drywall and sending up a cloud of dust.
He rested his head against the wall and stared down at the hole, trying to come to grips with the gnawing emptiness he was feeling, the self-hatred and loathing for having disappointed her so totally, and perhaps most difficult of all to come to terms with, the fear of what would happen now, without her to save him from himself.
Life was going to go on. At least that’s what she told herself as she dumped the contents of her hastily packed bag into the dresser drawer. And Nate could go fuck himself, for all she cared. It was over. Done. She looked around the room and sighed. It was dusty from neglect and radiated a cold, barren feel, lifeless and harsh. She walked out into the hallway, the floorboards creaking under her feet. It was going to take a lot of work to make this place livable again. At the moment, though, it wasn’t a big concern.
Now that she’d had time to let her anger fade, she was starting to feel the weight of what she’d done. Sure, she’d been pissed at Nate before. She was pissed at him for one reason or another a majority of the time. And yes, she’d walked out on him on more than one occasion. But never had it felt this...final. She had a dull ache that was gnawing at her, and no lack of remorse at what had happened, and yet, she also knew that she had nothing more to say to him.
At least he had been honest with her.
She fell onto the old couch in the living room and coughed at the cloud of dust that flew into the air. She couldn’t remember feeling this drained in a long time. It wasn’t the almost pleasant sort of fatigue that came from hard work, but more of a dull mental ache that came with knowing that although she’d made the right choice, the only choice, really, she’d also just caused herself a great deal of pain.
Alone. She could deal with that. It certainly wasn’t the first time. She was far from dependent. She traced idle circles on the dust-covered end table with her finger. Besides, there *were* perks to not having him around. It would probably do wonders for her mental health, for starters. No longer having to try to drag him out of brooding depression, not having to listen to bitter rants about destiny, not having to deal with him acting like an asshole in general.
There were other things she knew she wasn’t going to miss, all of his little annoying habits like hogging the bed, or leaving things on the floor where she ended up stepping on them in the middle of the night. She wouldn’t be kept awake by his snoring anymore, or have to resort the laundry to make sure he hadn’t tossed his socks in with her good shirts. Her grocery bill would be a fraction of the cost now, and her Ben and Jerry’s would never again mysteriously diminish. Her favorite gun would always be where she’d left it, and she wouldn’t have to hide the ammunition. No Cable meant no more muttering in Askani, no more quirky telepathic stuff- she tried to suppress a wry grin at her own mental game of ‘Bash The Ex.’ But best of all, she decided, was the simple fact that she would never again have to deal with him pre-coffee. Feeling better, she went back to work making the house livable again.
He was back in the kitchen, slumped at the table now that he was done cursing at himself and at the hole he’d made in the hallway wall, which he was now going to have to patch, wondering vaguely if there wasn’t something he could do to make himself feel less miserable. Obviously, this wasn’t the first time Dom had gotten pissed at him. He’d see her in moods that would make lesser men run for cover. It wasn’t her anger that troubled him, but rather the dull finality in her voice when she’d said it was all over. And it really was over, he knew. It had been before he’d even walked in the front door.
It was clear brooding over it wasn’t going to change things, though that rarely stopped him. So what were you *supposed* to do when a relationship was over? Acknowledging it *had* been a relationship probably would have been a good start, he thought morosely, but it was too late for that now. Wasn’t he supposed to be reveling in his newfound freedom or some crap like that? He didn’t really know. Though he had to admit there were some things Dom tended to do that he wouldn’t miss very much. Her habit of stealing his food when they ordered take-out, for instance. She seemed to rationalize that ordering her own wasn’t necessary because she could steal right off his plate and have the added bonus of ordering something else for herself that she knew he wouldn’t touch. Or the fact that she tended to kick off her shoes when she came in the door, then neglected to pick them up, leaving them for him to trip over later.
She was a covers hog, and seemed to take a twisted delight in kicking him when she thought he was taking up more than his fair share of the bed. She also stole his coffee *and* his clothes (he told himself sternly that it didn’t *matter* how good his tee-shirts looked on her). Then there was the fact that she always left a tiny amount of coffee in the bottom of the pot so she wouldn’t have to make the next one. She made sarcastic comments about him being cryptic, all the while blithely ignoring the fact that she’d never even told him her real name.
He frowned. This wasn’t really working the way he’d planed. For every annoying little trait he conjured up, it seemed there was something else he was going to miss with her absence looming right behind it. Small things, like the fact that, more often than not, she’d buy his clothes for him because he hated malls with a passion. And more important things like the sixth sense she’d developed over the years that let her know when she could press an issue, and when she should back off and let him brood alone. He slumped forward over his now lukewarm coffee with the realization that he’d just lost his best friend.
She was back in the bedroom, trying to straighten things up marginally. While picking on all of Nate’s bad habits had been mildly amusing for a time, she was feeling a bit empty again as other memories drifted through her mind. Nathan could be a grade A asshole when he wanted to, but there were certain perks that came with putting up with him. He was a terrific bed-warmer, for one. And he always got her a cup of coffee in the morning. Then there were the bigger things. She was going to miss having someone she trusted to watch her back and not screw up. That, and the fact that he probably knew her better than any other person on the planet.
She sighed and started putting sheets onto the bed, her head full of regrets, though she knew that this was the way it had to be. Knowing that it was right didn’t make it feel any less wrong.
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