Author's Notes: This is the tenth story in the Pegasus Flight series, taking place after "Wedding Bells (or were those alarms?)". No ownership is claimed of any characters herein except Peggy and Uncle Aggie, and no profit is made by their use. Feedback is worshipped and adored at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
For Kore, for no reason other than she's getting married, dangit! *smooch* Congrats. Oh, and Timey would like to gloat that she got someone else writing Dom. :)
Bobby Drake was having a bad day. He'd woken up to find himself cuddling a pillow instead of his wife, which was never the most pleasant way to begin the day. Then when he'd finally dragged himself down to breakfast, it was only to discover that everyone else had come and gone, leaving him with a mouthful of cold eggs, burnt toast crumbs, and plenty of apricot jelly. Even worse, there was nothing more edible in the pantry because the designated grocery shopper for the week hadn't gone yet. And it turned out that shopper was him.
So after returning from the grocery store where he'd gotten the cart with the wobbly wheel, been beaten over the head with an old lady's handbag for taking the last bottle of apple juice, and suffered through a price check for super-absorbent tampons, it was refreshingly normal to walk into the d en and see his brother-in-law attempting to hide behind a floor lamp.
"Um... Cable? What are you doing?"
"Shh! Hiding." Nathan's head was mostly hidden behind the lampshade, but the rest of the lamp didn't do much to disguise his hulking frame.
"*Why* are you hiding?"
Nathan's voice was morose. "Dom called me Nathan Christopher Charles Summers Dayspring Askani'Son."
"Ohhhhhhhhh... Man, are you in for it."
When a woman shouted a man's full name at him, he knew he was truly in trouble. When that man had as many names as Nathan Summers did, each additional name increased the amount of trouble exponentially. Bobby shook his head and came to a decision. "*I* am getting out of the way. Good luck."
As Bobby left the room in search of the other X-Men to spread the news that Cable was in t-r-o-u-b-l-e (and start the betting book), a gleeful smile spread across his face. This day was definitely looking better.
"You are *so* cheating!"
"I am not. I'm just lucky." Nathan tried his best innocent smile on his little sister and snatched up the dice.
Peggy narrowed her eyes. "Are you sure you're not *nudging* the dice just a little?"
"Peggy. Would *I* do that?"
A smile twitched on Jean's lips. "I'm watching him, Peggy. He's not nudging anything."
"Phooey." Peggy sighed and leaned her chin on her hand, watching as Nathan triumphantly landed his top hat on Boardwalk and added a hotel.
"It's the Summers luck," Scott told her solemnly, counting the money in the bank.
"Uh oh." Nathan examined his property deeds carefully. "You mean one of these comes with a kid from the future?"
Scott choked while Peggy and Jean dissolved into laughter. After spluttering for a moment, he managed to recover and look accusingly at his son. "Remind me why we're supposed to be happy he's spending time with us, Jean?"
"Because he's our son and we love him," Jean replied promptly. "And because Domino's after his hide and we'd prefer him intact, so we're letting him hide in the boathouse and play Monopoly instead of facing her."
"Well geez, when you put it like *that*, Redd," Nathan complained. "Make me sound like a coward, why don't you?"
"There, there," Jean soothed. "You're strong and brave, just like your father."
He snorted. "You used to tell me that when I was four and you wanted me to eat my vegetables."
"It worked, didn't it?"
"I would say he definitely managed to grow up big and strong," Peggy observed with a grin, craning her neck up to look at her big brother. "He managed to get a little *bigger* than Dad, though!"
"Good genes," Scott said importantly, thumping his chest with one hand before rolling the dice. He grinned as he narrowly avoided jail, and landed on Community Chest instead. "I won a beauty contest. It's about time somebody recognized that!"
"*I've* been admiring your beauty for years," Jean told him with a sultry wink.
Scott grinned at her and leaned over the board for a kiss. Peggy grinned and rolled the dice while Nathan rolled his eyes exaggeratedly. "Oath, they're at it again!"
Jean laughed when they separated and told her husband, "I see he takes after you in public displays of affection."
"Luckily I take after you in looks," Nathan said blandly.
"Lucky for you I don't take offense easily," Scott told him. He leaned back and studied his son consideringly. "I don't know, I've always thought you took after me a little." He smiled wryly. "Mostly around the eyes."
"Hrm." Nathan raised a hand mostly unconsciously to touch his face. "I suppose. I'll have to remember to ask Corsair if I resemble him next time I see him."
"And call him Grandpa," Peggy interrupted. "It makes him feel old. It's your roll, Jean."
"Having a grandchild older than *him* makes Corsair feel old," Jean corrected with a chuckle, taking up the die and rolling. She groaned theatrically as she landed on one of Scott's properties that sported a hotel and had to pay him a hefty rent. "I don't see a very strong resemblance, though," she continued, while Scott counted his money. "Honestly, honey, don't you trust me? Anyway, these things can be hard to see sometimes. My mother swears up and down I look just like Uncle Randall, but I've never seen it."
"And sometimes you grow out of it," Peggy added. "My mother used to pull out pictures of her as a little girl, and you couldn't tell the difference between them and pictures of me."
"But you don't look like her anymore?" Nathan asked her curiously.
She smiled at him in amusement. "Not everyone has a telepath's memory, big brother. I was only eight when she died, and I didn't exactly bring any pictures of her when I came here. I don't *think* so, but my memory's a little fuzzy by now."
"Oh." Nathan reorganized his property deeds while attempting to remove his foot from his mouth.
After a moment of thoughtful silence, Scott spoke up. "If you wanted a picture, you could try doing a newspaper search, actually. There's bound to be a picture *somewhere*--wedding announcement, maybe. Even the obituary." He shrugged a little. "If you're interested."
Peggy bit her lip for a moment before finally nodding with a slow smile. "I think that's a good idea, Dad. I might do that." She smiled brightly at him before rolling the dice.
"But first, little sister, you have to go to jail." Nathan smirked grimly at her roll. "Are you sure you don't want to buy my Get Out of Jail Free card? Or do you want to try reforming everyone with omelets first?"
Peggy threw the dice at him.
"This is just a simple tactical exercise." Cable looked out over the faces of his team--expressions full of anticipation at the prospect of blowing something up. "There are hidden traps in the jungle, and your team mates will all be working against you. Think of it as an altered version of capture the flag." Given the rapt look on X-Force's faces, he was glad he'd been able to arrange this Danger Room session. Unless given the chance to do some serious destruction in a controlled environment on a regular basis, X-Force had the unfortunate tendency to make other, more *important* things explode. Like their headquarters. Somehow, Cable didn't think Xavier would take kindly to having to rebuild the mansion. Again. "So, avoid each other, avoid the traps and most importantly," he grinned," avoid *me.* Whoever finds the flag and makes it to the designated goal, wins. Let's move out, team."
This was going to be fun," he thought to himself, slinging his plasma rifle over his shoulder as he tromped into the forest. A chance to show who was still in charge, a chance to prove that though they were good, there was always room for improvements. He was still thinking these happy thoughts several minutes later when the yelling erupted. "This isn't right," he muttered to himself. They were supposed to be *quiet.* He was bound and determined that one of these days, he'd teach those kids the meaning of stealth, even if it killed him. A moment later, Terry flew past, then stopped, backtracking to where cable stood.
"Theresa! What's all the yelling about? This is supposed to be a *silent* exercise!"
At that moment, the rest of the team streamed into the clearing where they stood. Cable eyed his team in annoyance. "This was a *simple* program. Oath, I can't get even two minutes of quiet out of you."
"Not now, Tabitha. Furthermore, when I say split up, I mean split up. Why are you all standing around? This isn't a pic--"
Growling in frustration, he stopped his tirade. "What is it, Meltdown?"
"You said you programmed traps, right?"
"Yes," he grated in exasperation. Pits, snares, *traps.*"
"Right. So... does that Godzilla wannabe behind us qualify as a pit or a snare?"
"What are you--" He turned, and stared. Towering above the tree line was a large lizard of the sort usually only found on small, radioactive islands in the middle of the Pacific. "I... didn't program that." As if in response to his words, the monster breathed fire. X-Force dove for cover. Cable eyed his cowering team. "I don't believe this. Cowering is no way to deal with things like this!"
The creature breathed fire again, causing the intrepid time traveler to dive behind a tree for cover, but not before his uniform was lightly singed. Cable growled. "That's *it.* All I wanted was a simple tactical exercise. All I wanted was silent running. Do I get that? No... instead I get program glitches that singe my uniform and send my team running for cover!"
He shouldered the plasma rifle and stepped back into the clearing. "When I'm done with this, we are going to have a serious talk about your performance," he shouted to no one in particular. He had absolutely no doubt that X-Force would inexplicably vanish for the day as soon as the session was over. Some days, he wondered why he bothered getting out of bed. He sized up the monster, aimed carefully, and pulled the trigger. Two things happened then.
There was a loud 'bang.' There was also a flash of light. The moment, however, was more memorable for what *didn't* happen--namely, the monster did not vanish, or explode, or any number of logical things one might conclude would be the result of a rather impressive plasma blast. Cable stared. Not at the *monster,* as might be expected, but rather at the barrel of his gun, from which protruded a flag, proudly emblazoned with the word 'Bang.'
"Nathan! You're looking rather better than I'd expected. Tell me, what *is* it like to be mistaken for lunch by a large reptile?"
"No, Warren, I really am curious." Her mouth quirked up into a smile. "I heard it was quite the spectacle."
Cable groaned and buried his face in his hands. The ribbing had been going on all day, ever since word of Domino's prank in the Danger Room the previous day had gotten out. "Oath, is there *anyone* who doesn't know about that?"
"X-Force was there. *Excalibur* knows by now," Domino replied, smirking from her perch on the arm of his chair.
"I only wish I'd been there to see it. Cable, swallowed by a Godzilla knockoff," Bobby piped up. "I don't suppose you got it on tape?"
Domino grinned. "I dunno... how much you willing to pay, Drake?"
"Just kidding," she laughed. "Sorry, Bobby, you're out of luck. Still," she continued wistfully, "I wish I'd thought of that. You wouldn't believe the look on his face when he saw that flag..."
"How *did* you manage to set all that up without anyone noticing. I mean, at the very least, shouldn't there have been a record of you changing the program?"
Domino grinned, and replied casually, "I have my ways..."
Nathan glanced up at his beaming partner. "You know, you weren't as hard on me as I thought you'd be..."
She leaned over and ruffled his hair. "Well, you're getting old." With that, she hopped off the chair and exited the room, blithely ignoring his cry of protest.
"Well, she does have a point."
"Worthington, shut up."
"Do you have any idea how common a name Elizabeth Johnson is?"
Scott looked up from the chess board and blinked behind his glasses as his daughter entered the room, a stack of papers in her hands. "Pretty common, I'd think," he ventured as she flopped down in an armchair. "No luck with the newspaper search?"
"Oh, I've had plenty of luck, all right. I was trying to do a keyword search on her name, and ended up with a few *thousand* results. I've been plowing through them all afternoon."
"Sounds like fun. Check," Nathan said idly, moving a piece on the board to challenge Scott's king.
Scott's mouth twitched. He picked up his bishop, moved it across the board, and replied somberly, "Checkmate."
"Stab your eyes! Why do I bother playing with you, Slym?"
"Because you're a glutton for punishment," Scott retorted cheerfully.
"I've been tellin' him that for years," Logan snorted, coming into the room with Domino beside him. Both were dressed in workout clothes.
Scott eyed them and asked mildly, "Domino, you're not planning on tormenting anyone else in the Danger Room, are you?"
"Hey, I only torment people who deserve it, Summers." She crossed the room to casually lean across Nathan's shoulders and examine the board. "Not still letting your father win, are you?"
"I'll get him next time."
"That's what you said last time. And the time before that."
"Shut up, Slym."
Peggy blew out a breath and stood up. "I'll just go find Bobby. He'll at least *pretend* to listen to me."
Dom grinned. "Or he'll sleep on the couch?"
"Absolutely," Peggy said firmly. "It's one of the benefits of marriage. Captive audiences."
"Sorry, Peggy," Scott apologized, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms, cocking his head expectantly. "So? Did you find anything?"
Peggy sighed and dropped the papers on an end table. "Sort of. I--finally--found the right Elizabeth Johnson. But there wasn't a picture on the wedding announcement *or* the obituary. I think her husband was too cheap to pay for it." She looked down and fiddled with the papers for a moment before looking back up. "It's weird, though. Out of all the newspaper records I pulled up with her name on it, my birth announcement wasn't in there. I tried just checking for my name, and it didn't pull up then either."
"That's odd." Scott frowned and scratched the back of his neck, considering. "Maybe they just never sent in the announcement. New baby, stressful time. I don't think I ever sent one in for Nathan, come to think of it."
"A little late now," Nathan said with a grin.
Peggy laughed. "Well, I guess. But I *thought* that the hospital there just automatically sent the announcements in. I guess I could be wrong."
"A Summers admitting she's wrong?" Logan snorted, leaning to look out the window. "And the sky's not even falling."
"I said *maybe*!"
Dom shrugged. "Maybe you were born at a different hospital."
Peggy blinked. "Maybe..."
"Easy enough. Check out the hospital records." Logan leaned back on the couch and propped his feet up, lighting a cigar. "Give me a few hours, I can find 'em for ya."
"Or don't let Logan talk you into doing anything illegal and just let me check your adoption records." Scott fixed Logan with a stern look. "It's probably in there somewhere."
"Oh." Peggy looked over at Logan for a moment, then back at her father. "Do you have them here?"
"No, they're in my safety deposit box with other important papers. I can get them for you... Today's Friday... Monday?"
A quiet sigh. "I guess if I've waited *this* long, I can rein my curiosity in a few more days."
"A few hours," Logan offered again. "In, out, and you'll know by morning."
Scott shook his head in exasperation. "Whatever you're planning, do me a favor and don't tell me about it?"
Nathan laughed at him. "You're the leader of an illegal vigilante organization, and you balk at looking into a few records? What happened to the rebel I knew?"
"He settled down with a wife and children," Scott retorted blandly.
"Oh, so now you're blaming Redd? I'm sure she'll find that interesting..."
Scott opened his mouth, closed it, then glared at the chess board for no apparent reason. "Fine. Do whatever you want. You will anyway."
"Glad you're finally starting to see sense."
"Don't make me take you over my knee, Nathan Christopher."
"Oh, I'd love to see you try!"
"Who else wanted an omelet?"
There was a chorus of "Me!" from all around the table. Peggy chuckled and began cracking more eggs.
"You know," Bobby said from around a mouthful, "you don't *have* to make omelets for everyone."
"I like making omelets." Peggy patted the handle of her omelet pan fondly. "Besides, making Saturday brunch gets me out of whatever chores Dad makes up for today."
Scott laughed. "Devious. That's my girl."
After Peggy delivered two more omelets, she made one last one for herself and settled down happily to tear into it.
"Amazing how much quieter it gets when she's eating," Nathan observed with a grin.
Peggy shot him a dirty look, but didn't stop eating long enough to comment.
From the other end of the table, Logan snorted. "Wish it was that easy to get *you* to shut yer yap, Summers. I'd be feedin' ya all day."
"Talk it up, old man."
Logan smiled broadly and leaned back with a cigar. "By the way, kid, I checked into those records for you."
Peggy perked up and swallowed quickly. "Really? Did you have any trouble?"
"Getting into the hospital, no. But findin' yours. You weren't born at that hospital."
"Okay, this is just getting *weird*," Peggy announced, putting down her fork and frowning. "I'm pretty sure I didn't just spring out of thin air!"
"Don't get all worked up. I just said you weren't born at *that* hospital. Not like it's the only one in the area."
"That's right," Scott spoke up. "And if the woman goes into labor unexpectedly, she'll just get to the nearest hospital. My mother was out shopping when she went into labor with Alex, so he ended up being born at a different hospital than they'd planned."
Peggy looked surprised for a moment, then grinned. "Good point. She could've been out somewhere. Visiting a friend. Or at Uncle Aggie's."
Bobby laughed. "You actually had an Uncle Aggie?"
She made a face at him. "Yes, I did. It was short for Agamemnon. Agamemnon Mayfield. Don't laugh. He died when I was two, but I know Mom used to visit him a lot. He lived half an hour away, in Burlington."
"Agamemnon Mayfield, you said?" Logan repeated sharply, leaning forward. He shot Domino a sideways look. She blinked at him over her coffee as he repeated, "Agamemnon Mayfield... Unusual name. I knew an Agamemnon Mayfield in that area once, long time ago."
"You're kidding!" Peggy laughed and took another bite of her omelet. "Small world. Maybe they're the same one."
"Peggy, please," Bobby spoke up again. "You don't actually think there are TWO sets of parents out there mean enough to name their kid *Agamemnon*? In the same *town*?"
Logan shot Domino another long look. "Small world sometimes."
From the head of the table, Scott snorted quietly and muttered, "Especially if you're a Summers."
Peggy grinned at him, then turned back to Logan with interest. "So how did you know Uncle Aggie? Wait, wait, let me guess--he was an international drug lord!"
She was laughing until Logan shifted in his chair and hedged, "I wouldn't call him a LORD."
"...Uncle Aggie was a *drug dealer*?" Peggy squeaked out.
"Well... let's just say Ag had his fingers in a lot of pies."
"Hey, don't stop there," Bobby urged, leaning forward. "I'm finding out all *sorts* of interesting stuff about the in-laws today. What kinds of things did he do?"
Logan took a long sip of coffee, eyeing Dom again as he did so. "He helped out with a couple of jobs, that's all."
"Will you quit looking at me like that?" Domino finally snapped, putting her cup down with a loud *click*.
"I'm just saying," Logan ground out from between his teeth, "that I knew an Agamemnon Mayfield once. 'Bout twenty-five years ago, give or take." His eyes drilled into her. "Did a couple *favors* for me."
"I don't know what you're--" Dom suddenly stopped in mid-sentence, her eyes very far away and thoughtful for a long moment. She looked over at Logan and raised an eyebrow slightly. He nodded minutely. She blinked a few times, then grabbed her cup again and stood up. "I need more coffee."
Nathan gave her an odd look as she retreated to the coffee-maker, then transferred the look to Logan. Neither of them seemed inclined to say anything. Conversation stalled until Dom returned to her seat, flopping down and sipping at her coffee, staring sightlessly ahead.
Peggy coughed and tried bravely to start the conversation again. "So, how *did* you two know Uncle Aggie?"
Domino shifted her gaze over to Peggy, held her eyes for another long moment, then looked back at the table. "...These muffins sure are good."
Peggy blinked at her, then turned to the other knowledgeable party. "Logan?"
He eyed Dom, then shook his head slightly. "Pass the bacon."
Peggy blew out an irritated breath. "Look, I think I have a right to know if my uncle was some sort of criminal!"
"Peg, one thing I can tell you for sure. You don't have an uncle who's a criminal."
"Well, there *is* Alex." Everyone turned to look at Nathan. He shrugged defensively. "Just saying."
Peggy frowned at him before returning to her inquisition. "So what did you mean by Uncle Aggie did some 'jobs' for you?"
Logan coughed. "...Neena?"
"Why are you asking me?" she grumbled. "I never met him. Pass the salt."
Peggy leaned over and propelled the salt shaker down the table. "Honestly! You two are being purposely confusing!"
"Logan doesn't have to work hard at it. It's a natural talent," Nathan said blandly.
Logan snorted. "Like you've got room to talk, tin man." He looked over at Dom again. "You know, you have to say something sometime."
"Not really, no. Pass the eggs?"
Peggy made a very frustrated noise. "Domino, I have a right to know about my own family!"
Dom's head shot up. She fixed Peggy with a very long, intense stare. When she finally opened her mouth to speak, Peggy braced herself, but all she said was, "Pass the salt."
"It's right in front of you!"
"...Oh." The crack mercenary and mutant vigilante leader stared at the salt shaker as if she'd never seen one, then picked it up and blindly salted her toast.
She was earning very strange stares from everyone around the table by this point. Even more so than usual. Finally Nate coughed and spoke up. "Okay, that's a little odd even for you, Dom."
"Why don't you cut her some slack?" Logan snapped.
"I wasn't talking to you."
"You're not listening either."
"When the flonq have I ever listened to you?"
"Maybe if you listened more often--"
Domino suddenly stood up and slammed her hands down on the table. "Damn it, will both of you just shut up?"
"If you'd stop being so evasive--"
Logan growled dangerously. "Shut. Up. Summers." He glared long and fierce at the other man, but when he turned back to Domino, his features softened. "You're gonna have to say something sometime, darlin'."
Dom sighed and put her hand over her eyes. "...You tell them."
He heaved out a long breath and sat back down. After a moment, he said slowly, "Aggie did a couple of jobs for me, but only one important one. Helped me get rid of a baby."
Peggy's eyes went wide and horrified. "Uncle Aggie killed a BABY?!"
"No! Nothin' like that. Just helped one find a good home, that's all."
"Yeah," Bobby spoke up, "but who the heck would trust *you* with a ba--"
His eyes went wide, and every eye at the table shifted from Logan to Domino. She threw her hands up quickly. "*NO*! We didn't--that's just--eww!"
"'Eww'?" Logan repeated, then snorted. "Thanks a lot, darlin'."
"You know what I meant!"
"...Guys?" Peggy asked in a very small voice. "Can someone *please* explain this to me? How is Uncle Aggie involve in all this?"
Domino closed her eyes and let out a deep sigh. "All right, all right. I'll... tell you the whole story." There was a pause so long that some people thought she was asleep on her feet. Then she finally spoke. "When Logan first found me in Madripoor, I... was pregnant."
She snuck a quick look up at Nate, then looked just as quickly back down at the table. "It didn't take long for me to figure out that the life I was going to live was no kind of life for a kid. So... after it was born, Logan had some business back in the States, and said he'd make sure she got a good home. The job was with Aggie, and... he found out that..." There was another long pause before she blurted out in a rush, "Aggie's sister couldn't have kids."
A deep, profound silence settled on the table. A few people managed enough coherence to exchange startled looks. Scott's face seemed frozen, his mouth partially open, with some kind of odd gurgling noise the only indication he was still alive.
Jean patted his arm and attempted bravely, "Well.... that's... interesting."
"Interesting," Nathan repeated in a strangled voice, his face still.
Another silence fell. Eventually everyone's gazes made their way over to Peggy, who was staring at her plate, her hair fallen down to obscure her expression. They could hear her slow, controlled breathing. Finally she slowly raised her head to look at Dom and whispered, "Mommy?"
The only sound in the room was a *click* as a bright light flashed from the camera Dom quickly pulled up from under the table to record Nate's expression.
Then Dom, Peggy, and Logan baffled the table by breaking up in near-hysterical laughter.
While everyone else watched in stunned silence, Peggy laughed so hard she had to prop herself on Bobby's shoulder, tears rolling down her cheeks. Logan leaned back in his chair and howled with laughter. Domino was doubled over. Anytime one of them started to recover, all they had to do was look at Nate's face, still frozen in the same expression, to be set off again.
Finally Dom managed to control herself long enough to stand up and walk around the table to Nathan's side. She clapped a hand on his shoulder and said with dead seriousness, "Let this be a lesson to you, 'bub'. Next time you want to sneak out on some secret mission you *know* I don't approve of, TAKE MY FAVORITE GUN, and then *DROP IT IN A VOLCANO*, you'd better damn well JUMP IN AFTER IT!"
She patted his shoulder once more, then draped her arms around Peggy and Logan's shoulders and strolled out with her two laughing co-conspirators. No one knew what to say for a long moment, then Remy finally spoke up. He looked at Nathan for a long moment, then over at Bobby, and said slowly and gravely, "Nathan, Bobby... you two sure got some scary women dere."
Nathan stared after the empty doorway, his mouth slightly open. "Tell me about it," he finally managed. "...I *knew* I got off too easy."