Spoilers: Belongs in the Time, Tide, and Trauma universe at the below listed
Characters: Domino and Rachel.
Disclaimer: Everything that isn't Marvel's is Timey's. Yes, I'm an
equal-opportunity character-stealer. Archiving: The rest of the series
along with this story) can be found at 1407greymalkinlane.com . This story
will also go up on FF.net.
Notes: Done solely because Timey handed me the munchkin and badgered me
into working on it. Proof, yet again, that I'm a huge pansy when it comes to
puppy-eyes. And I'm sure I've forgotten something, but ah, well. Enjoy!
This... was not how it was supposed to be.
Dom tapped her nails on the steering wheel and tried not to glower. It
was lunchtime and everyone in the surrounding area had suddenly decided to
hit the main drag for fried food and sugar. Fair play to them, but did they
have to do it today?
In front of her, a blue Porsche veered into the McDonald's parking lot,
cutting off an Escalade. Horns resounded and for all of five seconds, Dom
could pretend she was in New York City rather than one of its overpriced
She'd always found it rather amusing that some of the most wanted
terrorists on the planet made Westchester County home. Then again, they did
fit right in with the mob bosses.
"We there yet?"
Dom tapped her fingernails some more and glowered at the teenager making
googly eyes at her the next car over. "Five more minutes."
Behind her, comfortably strapped into her zebra-print safety-seat, Rachel
nodded her pigtails and went back to waving her middle fingers at passing
pedestrians. Jean was so going to kill her for that. Or probably Scott. But
it was New York, and what could you really do when some idiot tries to
flatten your borrowed Volvo station wagon with attached sister-in-law?
Too bad she hadn't had her grenades. Although, Scott would probably frown
more at that then having his baby daughter flipping everyone off.
Traffic edged forward again, the light having turned. Where had all these
people come from? Salem Center had all of ten stoplights, and it wasn't even
tourist season. Most of the lake homes on Lake Purdy were shut tighter than
a drum, yachts and boats merrily dry-docked.
Hell, the only reason she was here was because Jean had decided she and
Nate needed a little Quality Time as mother and son. Since everyone -
including Scott - was off blowing things up in New Zealand, this left Dom
with keys to the Volvo and an afternoon with Rachel.
Not that she minded much. Jean had used pretty much every excuse in the
book to shove the kid off on her from eight months onwards. The woman had an
unhealthy obsession with becoming a grandmother before the age of
The light turned again, allowing Dom to pull into the McDonalds parking
lot, just in time for Rachel to 'salute' the passengers of the blue
Dom quirked her lips as she caught the gesture in the rearview. "You
probably shouldn't do that to everyone. It's a rude gesture that's reserved
Rachel furrowed her eyebrows and considered this, but tucked her fingers
into fists. She nodded to herself and looked like she was having some
serious pondering issues all the while Dom was unstrapping zebra buckles.
When she finally managed to unhook the child - not resorting to her pocket
knife - Rachel was back to grinning.
She scooped the girl up, planting her firmly on one hip before starting
across the parking lot. Rachel tucked her head onto a convenient shoulder,
as Dom threaded through the drive thru line. "Moron?"
"Yes. Only morons."
"Guy in car?"
"Yes, the man in the car who tried to kill us was a moron." Dom pulled
the side door open, the smell of grease and salt smacking her full in the
Rachel nodded and thought about it some more.
"A moron is stupid?"
"By definition, yes."
The line to the cash registers was short due to the massive SUV cavalcade
outside. There was only an older man making his order, a couple teenagers,
and a slightly harried nanny with two children.
"Soo." The little girl's tone was serious and thoughtful. Completely out
of place for someone who generally resembled the bastardized spawn of a
bright pink missile and a ping pong ball. "Nate is a moron?"
Sure, the giggle was somewhat undignified, but how could she not
"Oh, little girl, for that you get all the fries you can eat."
Dom poked at her salad. It had been the only thing on the menu that
hadn't sounded entirely disgusting. Given the opportunity, she would have
dragged Rachel to the nearest hamburger dive and gotten the kid some quality
grease, but Jean'd had the kid revved on a Happy Meal toy before they'd even
made it to the car. How anyone managed to choke down one of the meatless
wonders the great McDonald Corp. was trying to fob off as burgers, Dom
couldn't really fathom.
Still. The monkey hadn't complained when Dom had opted for meatless
chicken. The white fried lumps had seemed less sinister, and a lot less
messy. Being a Summers, the toddler was currently disproving that hypothesis
Only sanity and a steady hand managed to grab the flying nugget out of
the air and back into Rachel's fist. Admittedly, the kid's aim was
improving, but she doubted that the staff would appreciate picking
non-chicken bits out of the potted plants lining the generic dining
"Stop aiming at the windows."
"Kay!" Rachel moved to shove a handful of fries into her mouth.
The kid had definitely inherited her mother's metabolism. So far, she'd
plowed through the small bag of fries that came with her Happy Meal (cartoon
toy with wheels guaranteed!) and looked about to cry before Dom'd gone and
got another one. She was currently half-way through that and showing no
signs of stopping.
Weren't kids that age supposed to have stomachs the size of dinner rolls?
Damn Summers and their hollow legs.
Dom sighed and poked her salad again.
Dom looked up. Rachel had two fries clutched tightly. She was nearly bent
double over the brightly colored high chair, fist a couple inches from Dom's
Oh, why not. "Sure."
She leaned forward and took a bite.
"Oh, your daughter's so adorable!"
It took Dom a second to not choke on the potato.
The voice came from the right. Slowly, both Rachel and Domino swiveled
their heads. Just next to the table was a youngish blonde woman, perfectly
coifed and pushing one of those SUV-type stroller things. Inside, a kid not
much younger than Rachel zoned, completely dead to the world. What the hell
these two were doing at McDonalds, Dom had no idea.
"Er. She's not mine."
The woman's smile flattened a little, her smile going just a touch
glassy. Dom would have laughed if Rachel hadn't decided at that moment that
she really needed another french fry. A slightly loved potato hit her on the
Blondie's laugh even sounded expensive. "Your niece then? She's just so
Mentally sticking her tongue out at the toddler, Dom scooped up the fry
and popped it into her mouth. "No, actually, I'm her sister-in-law."
Strangely, that didn't seem to phase the woman at all. "Oh, my cousin
Ginny has the same situation. Second family?"
"Something like that." Out of the corner of her eye, Dom watched Rachel
scoop up another fist of fries. Now she didn't have Jean's precognitive
abilities, but she had been given an up close and personal crash-course on
Summers behavior over the last fifteen years. Dom leaned back in her chair,
slightly away from the obnoxious person who insisted on not going away.
Yeah, she really was a bad influence.
Five minutes, some minor shrieking, and a mostly false promise of payment
on a dry cleaning bill later, Dom held her palm out flat for a very greasy
low-five. "I have to say this, kid. You have talent."
"TALENT!" Rachel grinned and tried to choke herself on a chicken
The parking lot was emptier when Dom was finally able to pry Rachel out
of her highchair. The toddler had taken a rather amusing interest in the
brightly painted cartoon figures painted on the table. She'd spent a good
ten minutes grinding a nugget skin to paste on the face of a particularly
obnoxious figure in a big red wig. Even more amusing was the fact that
Rachel had done everything in her power to keep Grimmace's face completely
When questioned, Rachel babbled a long string of sylables that ended with
'purple' and a disturbingly familiar set of puppy eyes. The damn things were
Now hand-in-hand, they were wandering towards the Volvo.
"Apple in car?"
Dom looked down her sunglasses at the bobbing pigtails. In the early
afternoon sun, weak as it was, they were glowing a particularly bright shade
of orange. The little pink pompoms adorning either tail clashed even more
horridly than they had under the fluorescent lights inside.
"No. We have to go to the grocery store."
Because Jean was a horridly manipulative woman, she'd shoved a short
shopping list in Domino's general direction along with the car keys. Happily
it *was* actually short, rather than short for a team full of
high-metabolism-mutants who grazed in a way comperable to water buffalo in
Apples. Laundry soap (dye-free). Post-it flags. 10-lb bag of flour.
Pigtails bobbed along with the child's head as they reached the station
wagon. Little arms reached up as Dom bent to scoop the girl up. Dom tried
not to grunt. She'd only really noticed the girl's growth spurt earlier when
she'd strapped Rachel in the first time. Nate, the sentimental bastard, had
been almost misty when they'd arrived the day before. *He'd* babbled
something about how fast they grew. It had only been after swinging the
little girl around for a few minutes that her arms had let her know just how
large Rachel had gotten.
Sure, 'large' was something of a misnomer. Rachel couldn't be more than
thirty pounds soaking wet, but for a tyke, that was still pretty decent.
"You know you're going to be built like your mother, right?"
Rachel's grin was eerily similar to her brother's when he didn't
understand something. This made her response less unexpected. "Yes!"
Suppressing a snicker, Dom nodded. "Right. To the store."
Unlike the McDonalds, the Long's parking lot was nearly empty. Dom had no
problem pulling in to a spot close to the entrance. The second time
de-zebraing Rachel went a lot smoother, which was a good thing since the sky
had darkened considerably in the ten minute drive.
Sure enough, a big fat snowflake landed on her shoulder just before she
plopped the kid into one of those wire cart seat things. The metal of the
handle was cold, even through her gloves, but the wheels didn't squeak
unnecessarily, and Rachel seemed to be absorbed with eating the falling
It was too adorable. Dammit.
"Stop that. It'll make you sick." If her voice was a bit harsh, Rachel
didn't notice. Instead, she just smiled at the older woman and leaned over
to bite her jacket.
"Hey! No kid slobber on the leather!"
Oh, yeah. This was just a brilliant idea. Her next paycheck, Jean was
back at the mansion filling Nate's head with details galore on child
rearing. It wasn't fair. The idiot had enough ideas splashing around in his
head. Jean didn't need to be contributing.
Sighing, she pushed the cart inside.
No help for it now. Man. He was going to be doing the puppy eyes for
*weeks* after this.
Veering to the right, she pulled into the vegetable and fruits section
with a little more force than she'd intended. The cart screeched to a halt
in front of a large selection of apples and grapes.
A VERY large selection.
Annoyed, she consulted the list. Apples. Laundry soap (dye-free). Post-it
flags. 10-lb bag of flour.
There were at least fifteen different types. Red, yellow, green,
sometimes all three. Macintosh, Fuji, and plain old Granny Smith. The
Apples were *apples*.
"Any clue on what kind of apple your mom wants?" Dom absently tugged the
kitty-eared hat further down on the girl's head. As expected, she shoved the
offending cotton out of her face and half grinned, half scowled at the older
"Yes." Her lower lip popped out.
"Can you tell me?"
Oh, that was true... Dom rubbed one finger in an ear, trying to get them
to stop ringing. "Vocal only, please."
"Better. How about, I point at one and if I'm close to the one you want,
you say 'nose', okay?"
"Sounds like a yes. This?"
"All right then." Dom shoved the bag of Granny Smith's in the storage
compartment and started for the baking aisle.
"You're not getting black hair dye."
"If you start with the 'why' question thing, I *will* sell you to
Somehow they'd ended up in the hair products aisle. Dom had no idea how.
Truth be told, she hadn't been through a regular drug store in ages. There
were good things about having a husband, and one of them was kicking them
out the door with a shopping list. And implied threats of bodily harm.
"Want *your* hair." Big eyes.
The older woman sighed and closed her eyes. This kid was good.
"Your father would stone me. He likes redheads."
See? THIS was why she didn't want children. It was questions like this
for thirty years straight.
"Rachel Sarah Summers. Look at me."
Green met purple. Green blinked first.
Dom looked over the rows of little paper boxes, then down at the lower
lip trembling rather pathetically. Dammit! This was worse than going to Home
Depot with Nate. Lord knows this was how they'd ended up with the router
that had taken a fairly substantial chunk of TO out of the idiot's arm. This
was *so* going to bite her in the ass, but...
Oh, god. There went the single tear.
"Ask me again when you're fifteen."
"She looks absolutely nothing like you. Takes after her father then?" The
large woman with a bouffant hairdo that would have been more at home in the
1950's blinked lazily at Domino and Rachel from behind the checkout counter.
Her nametag read 'Verna' in big red letters. She looked like a Verna.
"No, she looks like her mother."
Verna dumped the bag of apples on the scale part of the food scanner,
none too gently. "Nanny?"
Dom grinned and separated Rachel from the brightly colored Post-It flags
"Hmph." The older woman nodded and picked up the flour, content with the
Strangely enough, the other items on the list had been pretty easy to
find. Grocery stores everywhere tended to have a generally similar plan.
Sure, the vegetables were on the other side of the store than they were in
Oregon, but who honestly cared?
"How do you want to pay?"
How that child didn't loose her voice...
Traffic was significantly lighter when they stepped out of Long's. The
snow had stopped, for the moment, and above weak sunlight did its best to
poke through the cloud cover.
Behind her, back in her car seat, Rachel was busily making a complete
mess of her coat and face. Bits of apple and rivulets of juice streaked her
face. Why she was on such a fruit kick, not even Jean knew. In fact, the
woman had warned her of her daughter's current proclivity for apples just
before they'd meandered towards the mansion garage. It had been that warning
alone that'd stopped the older woman from dialing Jean up and demanding to
know what was wrong with the toddler when, still mashing a chicken nugget in
to Ronald McDonald's smiling face, Rachel'd demanded one.
Still, all things considered, the grocery store hadn't been bad. Heck,
the whole afternoon hadn't been bad.
Then again, it had only been two hours.
Dammit! Why was this taking so long?
She glanced in the rearview. "Crap. We've got at least three hours before
your mother wants us home. Suggestions?"
Rachel just smiled and mumbled something like "No!" before attacking the
Helpfulness never was a Summers family trait.
The main street offered few options. There was a jungle-gym type place,
but it didn't look open, and the thought of dropping Rachel in with more
kids, and (worse) having to deal with the parents... Just no. Same went for
The light ahead of her changed, and the Volvo slid to a tight stop. To
her left, the only cheap movie theater in all of Salem Center proudly
announced a special afternoon matinee. According to the sign out front, it
was the only showing in during the month-long Disney matinee festival.
Huh. There were days when her piddly little powers really came in
"Hey, Rachel? You remember how you didn't want to watch Mulan?"
It wasn't until later that night, with Rachel happily sugar-crashing on
Jean across the lawn, that Dom could really think on the whole thing. The
The ceiling was low and white, contrasting with the green wallpaper. It
was fairly obvious that Jean decorated it. There was something intrinsically
homey and terrifying about that woman. It, and a certain colorblindness,
carried over into everything up to and including her dress sense.
Then again, certain people could probably argue the same about
Breathing out and pushing away a sad little niggling of something, Dom
turned and looked at that certain person.
He was tired. She could see it in the lines around his eyes and the
tightness of his jaw.
"You and Jean overdid it today, didn't you?"
His eyebrow twitched.
She sighed and flopped back on the bed to stare at the ceiling. "I'm not
going to lecture you. You'll just get pouty, and it's your own damn fault
you're going to be sore and cranky in the morning."
"I'm always sore and cranky in the morning. Comes with getting old."
Comes with getting stupid, she didn't say. But when you're in bed with a
"That's not fair, you know."
Silence had a thumb war over them. Maybe a waterballoon fight. Who could
"Were you at least sitting down?" She didn't want to ask that. Even after
all this time, she had to remind herself that she got the right to ask. To
say something. To have a right to care.
"Yes. But my day was boring. How was yours?"
"Really? You and Rachel out on the town. I'm surprised there's anything
still standing." She could hear the amusement, and something else, both in
his voice and down the link. Lying here, Dom suddenly realized how quiet it
had been all day. She hadn't even gotten any flashes besides the distant
reassuring ones that never quite disappeared.
"You're changing the subject."
"Yes, but I'm also inquiring about my sister. It's allowed."
"Fine." It wasn't worth it. She'd weasel whatever 'bonding' he and Jean
had done out of him later. "It... wasn't bad. We had a nice time."
"Really?" The mattress did its normal earthquake thing, indicating Nate
shifting position. "You did."
"Strangely, yeah. She's a good kid. I've said that before." She felt a
twitch at the crown of her head. He was playing with her hair again.
"Yeah. I saw you finally got her to watch Mulan."
She closed her eyes and smiled. It made this - the intimacy - that much
easier. "And how did you figure that out, genius?"
"I think the dialogue spouting and chasing Jean around with a stick was a
"You're using big words again." Her smile grew.
"And as much as I'd like to back them up, I need to crash. You need to
use the bathroom?" This time the earthquake shifted the other way, leaving
her with closed eyes and the smile. He sounded tired. Moved like it too.
"Nah, you can hit the light."
Ten minutes later, Nate was sound asleep and Dom was still staring at the
ceiling. Something had been bothering her all day. Nothing specific, but
just a general sort of thing.
She hadn't been lying. She'd enjoyed the day with Rachel. It had been
strangely fun in a very domestic way.
But that wasn't how it was supposed to be.
No, Rachel should have been screaming, and begging for her mother, or
father, or brother. Instead, they'd had lunch, gone to the grocery store,
and watched a movie.
Domino didn't go to sleep for a very long time.