Disclaimer: This is *so* not a part of continuity. Well, maybe vaguely drawn from, assuming Alex ever decides to rejoin the land of the conscious and goes bar crawling. Right. Not part of continuity. Rated Pg-13 for some language and adult situations.
Blame this all on Kossie... she gave me the idea and the starting bit of dialogue. Evil, evil wench. Also, don't write me nasty emails saying you don't like the pairing. If you don't like it, don't *read* it.
The bar was only moderately crowded, the smoke level hanging about mid-way to the floor. Well, it was still a bit early for all but the truly hard-core drinkers. Sad that she was starting to count herself amongst those numbers. Then again, she had an excuse. Not that most of the people there wouldn't have argued the same--but in her case it was especially true.
Domino pushed her way past the tables and booths, ignoring the comments as she passed. Granted, she could have easily avoided them if she'd invested in a more conservative wardrobe, but there wasn't much fun in that. Besides, she was halfway looking forward to a confrontation. It'd make her feel alive again. She plopped her leather-clad self onto a vacant stool at the bar and ordered her first tequila before glancing around her. As soon as she did, she cursed under her breath, wondering in what warped corner of the universe this constituted as 'lucky.'
"Oh, God. One of you people."
The person in question raised his blond head and gave her a sardonic look. "By that, do you mean X-people--because I'm not much into that anymore--or my unfortunate genes? Honestly, I'd be glad to exchange them for some others that don't get me killed quite so often."
"Ah. Well, how nice to see you too, Domino." Alex paused. "So, is my dear old--emphasis on old, *way* older than me--nephew still going all Jesus-like? And did he turn Mary Magdalene away?"
"Hey, I resemble that remark," she muttered. "He's off saving the world with his little sister, I think."
"She used to be such a nice girl," he sighed. "Does she still wear red, spiked leather?"
"See? She used to be such a nice girl."
Domino sighed and took a sip from her drink. "Aren't you supposed to be dead?"
"I got better. Aren't you supposed to be twenty years older?"
"Ahh." He nodded, taking a swallow of his beer. "It's official, then."
She arched an eyebrow. "What is?" She asked a little more acidly than she'd intended. Just because she was pissed at one Summers, she reminded herself, didn't mean she had to be pissed at all of them.
"You're part of the family." He ignored her attempt to protest and continued. "Once a woman hooks up with a Summers male--and I'm assuming you and my nephew did more than sit around cleaning your guns together--"
"That would be telling."
"I'm not finished." He sipped the beer again. "Once that happens, you're not officially part of the family until you've died and gone evil. Not necessarily in that order." He gave her a long look. "Have you gone evil?"
"Does alien possession count?"
He nodded. "That'll do."
"I'm thinking this is a dubious honor at best."
"You've never attempted to sacrifice anyone's children, have you? That puts you ahead of Maddie."
"Gee, thanks," she replied sarcastically. "I'm not a total psycho. That makes me feel *so* much better."
"Oh, Maddie was a great girl. Except for that whole insanity thing," Alex replied dryly, finishing off his beer and motioning for another.
"Maybe we should just avoid that whole topic for awhile," Dom replied.
"Sure, we could do that. Didn't Nathan manage to misplace you for a whole year, once?"
Dom glared. "Let's not talk about that, either."
"...I could almost kiss you for that."
"Nathan doesn't. And he won't let anyone else, either. As if we're all somehow just supposed to buy into his philosophical bullshit."
Alex glanced at her. "How *did* you two keep from killing each other?"
"Fucked like bunnies instead of talking. Seemed like a good solution at the time."
Alex simply nodded, realizing that there wasn't a way to follow that up in a suitably witty fashion. And he wasn't masochistic enough to try and hand out advice to the woman sitting next to him. Even if he'd had some decent advice to give. Which he didn't, of course. Something in his genes forbid him from sustaining a healthy relationship, after all. It was just one of the many joys of being a Summers. He chose instead to just sit back and enjoy what could, theoretically, be termed a companionable silence. Taking into account, of course, that the bar itself was far from silent, and he wasn't exactly sure of his standing with his 'companion.' It would do.
He'd worked his way through another beer, and Domino had accumulated a disturbing number of glasses in front of her before she turned to him again.
"Why are you here, anyway?"
He shrugged. "Beats sitting at home?"
"Hm." He watched as she took a swallow of her drink. She drank with Logan--it'd figure she'd have a pretty good tolerance. "I can agree with that," she continued. "But, seriously. You've been 'dead' for what, two years? Aren't there people you'd rather be spending time with?"
He mulled this over for a few seconds, then thunked his beer bottle down on the counter. "No, actually. This is the most pleasant night I've had in ages."
She rested her head on her hand and eyed him speculatively. "Me, too. That's really pretty sad, isn't it?"
"Probably," he murmured. "Doesn't say much for where life's taken us, does it?"
"Nope." She downed the rest of her drink. "Which is why we should get out of here." She hopped down off the barstool, dug around in her pocket, and plunked a handful of bills down on the bar before grabbing him by the elbow and practically dragging him to his feet.
"I get the distinct impression I'm about to be taken advantage of," he quipped as he was hauled out of the bar. The air outside was cold and clear, the sky absolutely black and dotted with a scattering of stars.
"Are you going to protest?" She grinned at him. It wasn't a particularly friendly grin. Sort of predatory, actually. No wonder Nathan liked her. There was probably a select few women in the world who could scare his nephew. He had a feeing Domino was one of them.
"Probably not. I haven't got anything better to do, after all." He shoved his hands in his pockets, looking around the dimly lit gravel lot. "This is all because of the scar, right? You probably just think the scar is sexy." He'd been marginally disturbed the first time he'd seen the mark over his eye. Mostly because he was sure he was going to be ribbed about it for ages. Then he'd thought about it a little more, and decided he didn't care. Chicks dug that sort of thing, right? Funny that that didn't seem to matter much, either.
"Alex, you're angsting."
"I am not," he protested. "I'm the angst-free Summers."
"No such animal." She grinned at him again. That grin, he decided, was down right feral.
"Let me have my delusions," he replied wistfully.
"At least you admit to being delusional." She was standing rather close to him now. It was kind of distracting. "That's more than most of your relatives manage."
"I'm exceptional, what can I say?"
"You don't have to *say* anything."
It took a second to register her lips on his. And once the momentary shock wore off, it didn't seem polite to pull away. She was obviously enjoying herself. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite keep his mind from processing just how wrong this was. Sometimes, it was just better not to think. She let go of him finally, and he had the embarrassing problem of actually having to gasp for breath. Domino seemed to take that as a good sign, though, as she was giving him a thoroughly amused look. "I was right," he wheezed. "Utterly taken advantage of."
"Well, I admit, I'm a bit confused."
"Is that all?" She grinned again. He wondered if she ever smiled without looking like she was about to either kill something or blow it up. Considering her choice of careers, probably not. This was all becoming more than a bit surreal.
Before he was able to form a coherent reply, he found himself being dragged off again. Granted, if he'd bothered to try to pull himself together, he probably could have broken away. He wasn't exactly sure he wanted to, though, and that was somehow more disconcerting than the situation itself. He was being dragged off by his nephew's long-time significant other, probably for nefarious purposes, and he wasn't arguing the point. Well, she was probably an ex-SO, from the way she'd been talking, but that didn't make the idea much better. Where the hell had his morals gone, anyway?
Then again, it wasn't like he was taking *advantage* of her, or anything. Hell, he was the one being abducted here. He was glad he'd remembered to lock his car. And, technically, she wasn't even younger than him. Heck, she could have been older than Scott. Oh, that was a *real* comforting thought, there. He should just be honest with himself. He was being dragged off by an undeniably attractive woman, for purposes he could easily imagine, and despite whatever protests his brain was making, he really wasn't opposed to this prospect.
"It occurs to me that this might constitute as kidnapping," he pointed out as they neared a jeep that had obviously seen better days. If he squinted, he thought he could make out filled spots on the body disguising bullet holes. He certainly hoped they weren't going to get shot at tonight. He'd gotten sort of used to not being shot at. It was... nice.
"It's only kidnapping if you try to get away, blondie."
"After that quip, I just might," he retorted as he opened the passenger side door. "Besides, it's not a great reflection on me if I just let myself get kidnapped by women in bars. Word will get out. Pretty soon, I won't have a moment's peace..."
"Get your damned ass in the car."
He'd gotten his damned ass in the car. Hell, he was half-convinced Domino would have smacked him over the head and tossed him in herself if he hadn't. As it was, she'd cheerfully pointed out that this was really for his own good--she couldn't just leave him brooding in a bar, after all. He had a feeling it was more because *she* didn't want to be brooding back in that bar any more than he did, and he was better than a total stranger. He wasn't quite sure how he felt about that. Part of him was grappling with feelings of guilt--stupid, since they hadn't *done* anything yet, even stupider as she'd told him she and Nate were thoroughly through when he'd asked her point-blank. Had her answer been any different, he probably would have made her pull over and let him out.
The fact of the matter was, they were both pretty much unattached. In more ways than one, given that neither of them had much intention of rejoining the spandex squadron. For him, there were just too many new faces, too much change. And while, given his terminally on-again-off-again relationship with the teams, roster changes were nothing new, this was different. He didn't belong with those people. He suspected that Domino never had--though it had been interesting to learn she'd actually worked for Xavier for a time.
They pulled into a non-descript parking structure belonging to a fairly nice apartment building in the middle of town. It hadn't really mattered to him where they ended up, but it wasn't an unpleasant surprise.She was certainly living well. "Aren't people going to wonder how can afford this place?" He grinned as he opened the car door. "You look like a college student." It was true. Whatever the hell had happened to her had made her look years younger than he recalled. Not that he hadn't always realized she was attractive, but they'd only met a few times, and it had only been a passing observance. Knocked back somehow into her twenties, though, she was stunning. Only her eyes and her voice gave away her true age.
She smirked as she climbed out of the car. "I'm sure they think there's some dear old man with money putting me up like a princess. Or maybe it's all daddy's money."
"And I'm just some random boy toy in this scenario?"
She snaked an arm around his waist, pulling him in close. "There's a problem with this?" She replied silkily.
"Oh, no... not at all." He felt some of his reservations evaporate as she kissed him again, and he managed to reciprocate this time. There was still the niggling little voice in the back of his head that was telling him not to do this, but the rest of him firmly told it to shut the hell up. It'd been a long time, after all.
This time, he managed to hold his own a little better, which was good. The physical therapy he'd spent months doing to get back on his feet again hadn't exactly included this sort of activity, after all. He tangled his hands in her thick, glossy hair and kissed her back roughly--he'd spent enough time playing spectator. Her face was flushed when they parted, and she grabbed him by the belt loops, towing him in the direction of the elevator.
"Done thinking, hmm?" She ribbed as they paused to catch their breath. The elevator was taking far too long to reach the appointed floor.
"Thinking's overrated." Way, way overrated, he though as she pinned him to the wall. They were going to end up indecent if the doors didn't open soon. He nearly groaned in relief as the car came to a stop and they stumbled out into the hallway. They fell against the door to her apartment, his mouth trailing down the curve of her neck as she fumbled blindly to unlock the door. They nearly toppled over as it swung inward, and he paused only to push it shut with his foot as she lead him back to the bedroom.
They fell heavily back on the bed, hands fumbling with clothing. He bit back a groan as she twisted beneath him, sliding out of her skin-tight leather pants as he started unfastening the hooks that ran down the front of her shirt. Her hand slid below the waistband of his jeans and he inhaled sharply at the sensation it caused. He finished with her shirt and it joined the pile of clothes already discarded in a heap on the floor.
Dom raked her fingernails along the length of his back and he shivered slightly. "Isn't this better?"
She fingered the fly of his jeans again and he closed his eyes with a groan. She was teasing him now...
He trailed his mouth along the length of her collarbone and she arched against him, working at sliding the rough fabric of his jeans over his hips. A little graceless fumbling, and he managed to kick them off and onto the floor, turning his attention back to Domino, who gazed up at him in a disturbingly serene manner. There were butterflies in the pit of his stomach and he wasn't sure why. Granted, it'd been awhile, but it wasn't something you exactly forgot. Like riding a bike. He reached down to touch the side of her face, then cursed under his breath as he remembered something and pulled away.
He shook his head. "No... I just don't--" He gave her a helpless look.
"Oh, *that.*" She laughed. "Don't worry. I've got it covered." If she suspected he was hesitating as much from nervousness as anything else, she was kind enough not to mention it, and when she pulled him down for another kiss, it was gentler, less forceful and more reassuring. The uneasy feeling started to fade, and the last bit of resistance in him finally crumbled as he slid his hands over her body. There wasn't any danger here, and neither of them was expecting anything beyond just this moment. He felt something within him settle, even as the physical tension between them grew. Hands and mouths slid along hot, sweat-slick skin, breath drawn in ragged gasps. Domino arched against him, her impossibly pale skin flushed as she clung to him, drawing him in, cries escaping them both as they joined.
Domino cracked an eye open and swore at the illuminated time on the alarm clock. There was no good reason to be awake right now. Well, aside from the fact that she was a bit cold. She tugged on the comforter, trying to wrest it away from her companion, who clung with the tenacity of a particularly stubborn child. Narrowing her eyes, she rolled over and kicked him in the shin.
Alex half-sat up, cursing sleepily and rubbing at the injured appendage. "What was that for?" He murmured, flopping back on the pillow.
"You had all the blankets, " she replied, drawing the comforter securely around her shoulders. A part of her brain was convinced that this whole situation was insane--that she really shouldn't have acted on the first wild impulse that had sprung to mind back in that bar. Then again, he didn't seem to be regretting it, and she *certainly* hadn't. It was kind of nice being with someone she didn't have to lie to, yet didn't have all the emotional baggage that came between her and Nathan. This just *was,* and that was fine with her."I was freezing my ass off."
"I could fix that." In the dark, she could see a small, amused smile flit across his face.
She hesitated for a moment, then scooted a little closer, letting him slide an arm around her waist. Close, but not too close. Nice to not feel abandoned at the edge of the bed without being smothered with unwanted attention. A slight shiver ran through her as his hand slid along her skin. "Hmmmm. And here I thought I'd worn you out."
"Walking battery," he replied. "And it's been awhile since I've had a woman throw herself at me."
"You looked like you needed cheering up." She slid in a little closer. Definitely better.
"Trust me, I'm not complaining." He reached up and brushed a hand through her hair.
"Mm." She melted against him happily. "I can tell."
"Yes. Try harder."
His chuckle was low and amused in the darkened bedroom. "I think I can do that."
Winter sun had forced its way through the slats of the blinds by the time Alex bothered to open his eyes again. It was a comfortable bed, and it didn't seem he was going to be kicked out of it any tome soon, so he'd taken his time attaining full consciousness. Domino appeared to be asleep still, so he slid out of bed as quietly as possible and pulled on his jeans before wandering out into the apartment itself. Wasn't a bad place. Certainly big enough, that was for sure. There wasn't a whole lot of personality to it, though. Maybe she couldn't be bothered with decorating. He wandered into the bathroom and turned up an extra toothbrush, a defiantly chosen bright green, obviously bought for this specific purpose. It also still had the wrapper on it, which probably meant she wasn't dragging men from bars on a regular basis. Shouldn't let it inflate his ego--she could have always been going home with them. He finished brushing his teeth, wandering back out into the apartment and giving it another glance before crossing to the sliding door that lead to the balcony. The pavement was in full sun, and oddly tempting. He flipped the lock on the door and stepped out onto the concrete. It was cold out, but he wasn't exactly at risk of freezing to death. The sun felt good. It was the one constant he'd had while still locked in his own head, hiding from the rest of the world and from the pain of realizing he'd been returned to it, somehow. Sun, and the indistinct chatter of the woman who'd cared for him.
He gave into temptation and sprawled on his back on the smooth concrete of the balcony, letting the sun hit him fully. It was snowing now, just barely, little white flakes drifting on the wind silently. Far below, he could hear the hum of traffic on the street, the sounds of life coming and going as he stared up into the grey-clouded sky.
He'd spent Christmas at the mansion--at Scott's insistence, though he was sure Jean had prodded him into it. As usual, things had been superficially picture-perfect, but all the smiles had been forced and the good cheer false. He'd found himself wishing he were naive enough to miss the current of tension that hummed beneath that pristine facade.
He'd gotten out of there as fast as had been politely possible.
The cynical part of his, the same part that knew--no matter how many times he tried--that 'normal' life was out of his reach, had known it would probably come to this eventually. He hadn't been surprised, just saddened.
"You're getting snowed on."
"Well, rained on, actually." He propped himself up on his elbows to look at her, trying to shake off the gravity of his thoughts. "It melts before it hits me. I don't suppose there's breakfast?"
Dom gave him an amused look. "I can't cook worth a damn. But if you want to raid the kitchen, feel free."
He sat up, shaking precipitation from his hair, and draped his arms over his knees. Domino pulled her robe more firmly around her against the cold, and leaned gracefully against the doorframe. "I know that look," he commented, thinking that his nephew had the opportunity to wake up to that sight every morning and chose not to. It was leading him to the inevitable conclusion that his brother's son was a moron. Maybe he'd tell Nathan that the next time he saw him. Then again, it'd likely get him punched in the face. Or laughed at. He wasn't sure which would be worse. "It's that 'he's crazy, but I'll humor him' look. You've probably had a lot of practice." He got to his feet.
Her lips turned up in an almost imperceptible smirk. "A Summers with a sense of humor. I didn't think it was possible," she replied, moving aside to let him back into the apartment. "The world must be coming to an end."
"It does seem to be rather indecisive about that, doesn't it?" She replied wryly. "One of these days, I want it to make good on all its threats."
"That's a bit nihilistic, isn't it?" He asked, rummaging around in the fridge. She must have eaten out a lot, he observed. There wasn't much to be had. He grabbed the milk, and took a banana from the bunch on the counter as Domino handed him a glass.
"Well, when there's not much to live for..." She trailed off, then waved a hand as he raised an eyebrow. "Never mind."
"You can't expect me to just ignore a comment like that."
"Why not? You'll be back on your merry way in a little while. It's not like any of this matters."
He wondered if he shouldn't feel vaguely wounded by that. But he knew what she meant. Once this was over, they'd most likely never speak of it again. If they even saw each other again. He got the distinct feeling that they didn't exactly travel in the same circles, after all. "I suppose not," he murmured as he watched her light the stove burner under the teapot.
There was a certain tension to the way she said his name, commanding. 'Listen to me.' He wasn't sure he liked it. He waved a hand as he tossed the banana peel into the trashcan. "No, I get it. I was convenient. That's all."
She frowned a little at him, and the youth seemed gone from her face. "That's not fair."
"No?" He asked, finishing off his milk. "Then tell me what you were going to say."
She sighed. "I don't know, alright?" She tugged at a strand of her hair. "Just that... this isn't going to turn into some big issue."
He leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms. "I wasn't going to make it one. But let's face it, you didn't have to pick me. You could have had anyone in that bar. You could have gone someplace nicer and probably done a lot better, actually. " He shrugged. "There has to be a reason why you didn't."
She turned away, latching onto the excuse of making oatmeal to avoid an immediate reply. He was still watching her when she finished, and she sighed. "I don't have to lie to you. It gets tiring after so many years. You can just be you, if you want to. Maybe it requires a little censoring, but let's face it. I have to be someone else. Maybe I'm just tired of that."
He nodded slightly. "Why not just pick something?"
She frowned again. "I wouldn't be happy, Alex. I'm not now--but I really wouldn't be if I tried to be something other than what I am."
She made a face. "Good question. Dying fucked with my head."
"It does seem to have that affect on people."
"What are you going to do now?"
"Get lost in a desert, maybe. Dirt and rocks are constant, at least."
"Hmmm. That'd be a waste. And here I'd been toying with the idea of tying you up and keeping you in the closet."
"I doubt anyone would notice I was missing," he replied dryly.
She pursed her lips. "They *did* think you were dead, Alex."
"And since when has that meant anything?" He asked bitterly. "We've thought that just about everyone's been dead at one time or another. You think we would have figured it out by now. They could have *looked,*" he added. "It wasn't as if they had far to go." He wondered where this sudden morose streak had come from. It'd probably been skulking around for awhile--it wasn't often he had a chance to vent his frustrations to someone who wouldn't think he was a lunatic, after all.
"And if they had?" She scraped her spoon around the ceramic of her bowl idly. "Would you have wanted to be with them any more than you do now?"
"I suppose not," he replied, shoulders slumping. "But it's the principle of the thing."
She nodded slowly. "The need to know someone out there cares--wants to know where the hell you are. That someone misses you," She finished quietly, setting the bowl aside on the counter. "I'm going to shower." She walked half way to the bathroom before pausing to look back at him. "You're welcome to come with."
He pushed off the counter and went to her.
"You really want to go get lost in a desert."
"Well, I keep trying to get back to geology. There's got to be someone out there who will pay me to talk to rocks all day."
"Don't these forays into the working world usually end badly for you?" She shifted slightly, stretched out along his side on the bed as he idly played with the still-damp curls of her hair.
"Seems to run in the family." A short, uncomfortable pause passed between them. "Sorry. I shouldn't have--"
"It's okay." He trailed his fingers down the length of her arm. He didn't want to think about leaving--not yet. She was too easy to be around... comfortable. And it had been a long time since he'd felt comfortable anyplace. "What are your plans?"
"Well, yeah. If you're not working for Charles anymore, you have to do something, right?"
She shrugged a little. "I guess. I don't know. I don't think I can go back to... working."
"Who says you have to?"
"It's the only skill I have." She paused. "So, rocks are good conversationalists, then?"
He turned his head to look at her. "Terrible."
"Think you might need some company then?"
"It's a distinct possibility. Though I can't promise it'll be exciting. Or even interesting."
"I'm tired of exciting, frankly. And I can keep myself occupied." She sighed. "I'm tired of being alone."
"Then come with. I don't know where the hell I'm going, but come with."
She closed her eyes. "I think I'd like that."