Replacement Killers

by DuAnn Cowart



Author's Note: This is set during the six-month gap in X continuity and based off of some scenes in X-Force 106. Marconi is indeed a canon character, though we weren't given much on him. I'm making do with what I have.

Rated R for language and situations.

He grunts through clenched teeth, and my eyes squeeze shut as I moan under my breath, grinding myself against him as he pounds into me. Flushed and naked and hot, we roll all over the bed, against the wall, on the floor, twisting and thrusting into each other like a key trying to open a particularly rusty lock.

Rusty lock. If the analogy weren't so apropos, I might laugh. For now, though, I try not to think about it. I try not to think about anything other than the taste of Marconi's sweat-slickened skin and the feel of tight young flesh underneath me and inside me, the feel of my body responding to his touch.

No emotions, no angst, no 'what-does-this-mean'. Only sex, pure and hot and simple, nothing more, nothing less. I can't handle anything more right now, and he doesn't want to.

Marconi's barely this side of twenty, still drowning in testosterone and with the stamina to show for it. All he's after is a good time, and I'm just the Mrs. Robinson to give it to him.

I forgot how much fun it is to fuck a young guy.

I forgot how much fun it is to fuck *anybody*, period.

It's been a long time since I just let myself relax and just fuck. Whatever it was that Nate and I did, it wasn't fucking. Wasn't quite love, wasn't quite lust, though it could have been either, and there were elements of both in it, but--

--I don't want to think about Nathan right now. The last thing I want to do is stir up those memories, so instead, I turn to Marconi, and we fuck. It's good, so we do it again. And again.

Third time around, he groans, hard muscles working under his square jaw line. He grinds his teeth, and I feel his body tense underneath me, tight muscles bunching, and he mutters the name I gave him repeatedly as he pounds even harder into me.

All are signs that he can't hold out much longer, and I try to hide my disappointment. I don't want it to end-- I want to fuck like this forever, lose myself in the needs of my body, come and come and come like this forever and never think of anything else.

Marconi pulls me to him, smashing my breasts painfully against his broad chest, and bites my shoulder as he deliberately slows down, fighting against release. Shit. I suppose even the stamina of youth can't last forever, though he's giving it a damn good try.

He's a good kid. He deserves a better life than this.

I can't give him that, but I can at least give him this. My legs still wrapped around him, I flip us both over so I'm on top again. My own body feels electric inside, so I intentionally pick up the pace, running my hands along his sides and squeezing internal muscles around him as I whisper hoarsely in his ear that it's all right for him to come.

With a cry, he does, and so I do again, and again, and again. I'm lucky like that, and for a few blindingly exquisite moments all's right with the world.

Afterwards, after a quick kiss and murmured thanks, he rolls over on his side away and falls instantly asleep on tangled sheets. Bemused, I start to wake him, then decide against it-- the boy's earned his rest tonight.

Instead, I just stare at the dirty ceiling, studying brown water stains, occasionally sparing a glance at my latest bed partner. I did well, this time. He's a blond haired, blue eyed, all American boy that's handsome as Adonis and built like a Greek god. He looks a little like Alex Summers, I think, then wince at the parallel.

Yeah, he's a good kid. Nice piece of ass, and good at what he does. He's even still young enough not to be too soiled by it all. He *is* cocky, though. He wanted to know my real name. Can you believe that? When we started fucking, the boy actually thought I'd tell him my real name. Amazing, the temerity of youth.

Rather than listen to his reasons, I picked one of my old aliases and gave it to him just to shut him up. One name's as good as another, these days, and I've never been particular about the damn things in the first place.

I glance at him again, limbs sprawled over my safe house bed, and can't help but smile. He's so damn young. So bright, so eager, so ready to set the world on fire-- for a price, of course.

Just like we used to be.

It's funny, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I started out this life as a mercenary, and after a long time to fight on the side of angels and work with zealots for an impossible Dream, I've finally wound up right back where I began.

The names and faces are different, but the story's the same. Instead of the Six-Pack- instead of G.W. and Griz and Hammer and Kane and Nate, here I've got Hill and Valentine and Bear and Marconi. All big strapping men with big strapping guns and consciences that can be bought.

Yeah, the story's the same. In this latest group of mercenaries with whom I've thrown my lot, I'm still the token female fighting with a group of hardbitten former military types. I'm still selling my professional services for cold hard cash. I'm still fucking a teammate, though that's all it is, this time. Things really haven't changed all that much at all.

Of course, I get a hell of a lot more respect now than I did back in the Six Pack days, but then again, I've earned it. You don't live as long as I have in this business and not earn it. With that happy thought in mind, I pull the sheet around me and turn on my side, my back to Marconi's, and wonder just how in the hell I wound up back here.

After that whole Undying debacle, I sort of lost myself for a while. That's something else I try not to think about. I can't really remember most of it, thank God, but I do remember having my free will wrenched away, and I do remember Nate having to save me. Again.

Everything after that's a blur, though. I remember going freelance for a while before I hooked up with this substitute merc team. That's what they are. A replacement team for a replacement merc, a fallen hero with nothing more than time on her hands.

So what was a girl to do?

I flew solo for a while, but that gets boring, and this eager beaver young pack of mercs was more than willing to have a 'living legend' like the infamous Domino work with them. Marconi was as happy as a puppy when I singled him out to be my lover du jour.

What the hell, though. I needed the companionship- and the money. Gryaznova somehow got her contacts to wipe out all my international accounts, and there's not a casino on Earth that doesn't know my face.

Hooking up with this replacement team seemed my best bet at the time, and honestly, it's not so bad. I've sure as hell gotten by with worse. It's not like I had any better options, after all.

After G.W. got me out of stasis and the horrible feeling of wanting to scrub my brain out with steel wool more or less passed, I got the hell out of there as fast as I could. Given half a chance, G.W. would talk me into joining him with S.H.I.E.L.D., and much as I liked Nick and Val and company, I just don't see myself saluting anyone, especially at this stage in my life.

I could have gone to Westchester, I suppose, but I'd never really bought into Xavier's dream as much as the others had and with things between me and Nate as they were, giving that a snowflake's chance in hell was being overly optimistic. After what happened with the kids, I didn't particularly want to go back to them just yet, either.

Losing X-Force to Wisdom still stings. One of the best things Nathan ever did was hook me up with those kids, and they decided they wanted Pete Wisdom of all people to teach them instead of- no, be fair, Dom- *along with* me.

So, of course, I got my feelings hurt and left, again. No big surprise there- I've been leaving people all of my life. This wasn't the first time I'd left X-Force, though I always came back. Between all the angst and the trappings of conscience that came with fighting the good fight for free, they managed to heal a lot of my old wounds, and I owe them for it. Those kids were good for me, and I was good for them. The fact that they're still alive attests to that.

Wisdom, though-- Pete's a friend of mine, and a damn good man, so I understand them calling him, but I just wish-- Ah, there's no sense worrying about it now. They did what they did, and I did what I did, and it's done.

Part of me wants to dismiss them as ungrateful little bastards and never see them again, and the other part is so damn proud that they're finally making their own decisions that I could just bust. I understand why they did it- I won't say I'm happy about it, because I'm not, but at least I think I understand. I've spent my entire life giving authority the finger. I can't very well fault them for doing the same thing.

I guess you could say they learned it from me.

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but at least I've always tried to make my own choices. Of course, when I look at where I am and who I'm with, I begin to wonder if history's not repeating itself and I'm not playing right into its hands. Again.

I used to scoff at destiny, but now, considering how everything shook down- the Twelve, Apocalypse, all the prophecies- let me tell you, it's enough to give an old merc nightmares. I used to mock Nate mercilessly for building his life around all that shit, but it turns out he was right about one thing after all. Destiny sucks.

Shit. Nate again. . . why does it always go back to him? We're like a pendulum. We swing away from each other, and then back again, and then away, and back again. We can never hold things together, but we can never stay away.

It's fucking exhausting to think about it. Part of me wants to wake Marconi up and go at it again just so I don't have to think about him or anything else.

A loud snore disabuses me of that notion. A glance at the clock on the wall tells me that we've only got a few more hours before morning. We're starting a new op tomorrow-- something about Semtex explosives and swiss eco-terrorists or some such shit. After a while, it all starts to blend together.

Instead, I pull the sheet around me and burrow into the covers, sighing quietly. I try very hard not to think about Nathan, or the kids, or this group of strangers that I'm trying so desperately to stuff into the Six-Pack shaped hole in my heart.

My body's sated, but my mind's still racing like a colt. Long years in this business have taught me to take sleep wherever I can find it, though, so it doesn't take me very long to fall. As sleep claims me, I close my eyes and try not to think of the future, or the past, or anything at all, really, except where I am and the job I've got to do in the morning.

My last thought before I sleep is that no, it didn't take me very long to fall at all.


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27

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