Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: 18+ Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, language.
Characters: Domino, Cable, random ofcs. Pairing: Domino/Cable.
Set: Probably before Cable and Deadpool. Definitely after the second Domino LS. Vague spoilers and stuff.
Notes: For Timey. Happy Christmas, even if it is late. Inspired by Nickelback's 'Because of You' (I'd like to note that winamp following it up with Anna Nalick's 'In the Rough' was prophetic)

Can't Get Much Clearer
by ALC Punk!

She's drunk when he calls.

Drunker than she's been in a while, and there's a college-age stud going down on her. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to know what to do with his tongue (she must have been bored to let him pick her up--although with the alcohol, it's kind of a haze).

The phone rings -- and only one person has that ring tone (she once considered making it ring silently for him, but that would be over-doing it). So there's no guess-work when the lackluster oral sex is interrupted by the opening strains of 'Personal Jesus'.

Stud-muffin doesn't appear to notice when she leans sideways (although it improves things considerably, not that it matters) and grabs the phone from the night-stand.

Hey, it has to be better than what's going on between her legs.

"Hi."

"I need to see you."

A bitter smile twists her lips, and she nudges hottie with a heel. Oh. Maybe that was a better angle. "You always need to see me."

"Dom."

"Nate." She feels tired. This is something they do, and she doesn't want to do it anymore. But even as she's thinking that, she's also nudging the stud, pulling him away from his task.

"I need you."

Damn him and his crusades. "Nate."

"The relevant Intel is on its way to your email."

The phone stops dead.

Domino growls.

The stud-muffin stares at her, "Did I do something wrong?"

"Out." She climbs from the bed and grabs his clothing, moving him towards the door. She slams it in his face before remembering something, and opens it again, "I'd borrow an anatomy book from the library. Look up the location of the clitoris."

"I--"

Slam.

--

She's predictable.

So. Fucking. Predictable.

Domino hates that about herself, hates that about him, because he knows her so well.

"What the fuck did you do?"

He can't even open his eyes to answer, the skin around them so swollen from the bruises. "I hope you brought ice."

"I should've brought cyanide," she replies acidly. It doesn't take long to grab a washcloth from the hotel bathroom and run it under cold water. She slaps it over his eyes. "Idiot."

"Wasn't my fault."

"Like hell."

"It wasn't." There's a definite whine in his tone.

Domino rolls her eyes. Why the fuck is she here again? "Stop being a child, Nate, and take some fucking responsibility for your actions."

"I do."

She believes that like she believes he'll never call her again. She slaps a band-aid on the cut above his adam's apple. "If you did, I'm sure you wouldn't be calling me."

"It was Rachel's fault." Whining again.

"Your sister is far more intelligent than you. Much like your mother, she's female and got the brains in the family."

"She created a flonqing cult around my parents." He points out.

"Your dad is also smart." She finishes spreading the antibiotic cream and considers. "You're going to have to leave your shirt off."

"You won't mind."

She rolls her eyes and moves to rinse her fingers off in the bathroom.

The woman in the mirror should have grey hairs by now. But repeated exposure to all manner of freaky chemicals have left her looking twenty-five. Possibly forever. She doesn't think she's going to like that in ten years. Yeah, it makes picking up quick fucks easy, but it makes her feel disassociated.

A pathetic whimper from the bedroom calls her back, and she rolls her eyes at herself.

Messiahs are a difficult lot.

--

She isn't who she appears to be.

Domino doesn't think she's ever been herself. Not for a long time. Maybe not ever.

Curled against Nathan's back, she wonders if this is what happens when you don't have a childhood.

--

There's blood on the pillow when she wakes alone.

Domino finds him in the bathroom, bent over the sink, coughing. The white is splattered with crimson and for just a minute, she's remembering waking up cold. Colder than she'd ever been, slab at her back, something itching iitching/i at her shoulder.

Shoving the image away, she grabs one of the white towels and hands it to him. "Hospital."

"I'm fine," he mumbles, then coughs another mouthful of blood up.

"You're bleeding internally, Nate. We need to get you to a hospital."

"No."

It's the tone of voice that says it all. He won't be budged.

But she dealt with too many years of the 'Pack and then X-Force. She does Mom like no one else. Sort of. "Hospital. Or so help me, I'll knock you out the window."

"I won't fit."

"I'll make you fit."

He glares.

She glares back.

--

It takes three nurses to get Nate onto the gurney when he collapses on the emergency room floor. Domino says something uncomplimentary about telepaths, telekinetics and Messiahs in general before giving as much of his case history as she can. She warns them about scanning him, says it's probably broken ribs, and sits down to wait for the disturbed doctor to come ask about the T-O.

She doesn't wait long.

"Ma'am, your husband--"

"Friend," she corrects.

The doctor doesn't notice the correction, his eyes are a little glazed, "--has metal-mesh through more than half of his body. I'm not sure--"

"It's mostly inert, but I wouldn't poke at it." She suggests.

"--what we can do to diagnose him, but--"

"Broken. Ribs. Stick a probe down his throat and take pictures of the holes in his lungs." Really. After years of X-Force, she's seen everything.

The doctor stops, tries to say something and sits down. "Ma'am, he's a mutant--"

She sighs, "If it's going to be a problem, I can take him somewhere else."

"No, I just--did you know he could level a planet?"

"Did he say that?" She sighs, making a mental note to have Nate's tongue removed the next time they have to go anywhere. Although, he did know how to find the clitoris, so maybe that would be a bad idea. "He was joking. Really."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure."

The doctor rubs a hand over his face, "I'm not sure how to treat him. Normally, I'd X-Ray and run several scans, but the metal--"

"Stick a probe down his throat. And don't bother with anesthetic, he doesn't need it."

--

They don't kick her out, even though visiting hours are over.

Probably because her holding his hand is the only way they can keep him from moving while the slice into him.

So much blood, but she's used to it by now.

After Junior...

--

Two periods in her life. Three. Four. Sometimes, she doesn't think there's a single person caused by every life change. That she's fractured into a hundred people at once.

Before Milo. After Gryznova. In coma-land.

But Nate... He's always there. Always a fucking sun in the center of her universe. Something she can't quite break from. And she's tried. Christ, she's tried.

He moves, hand tightening on hers. The bandages on his chest and side gleam in the low light spilling in from the hallway. "Hey."

"Bastard."

A slight smile touches his lips, and his hand tugs at hers.

"You're going to live. Although the five broken ribs might have said otherwise." She puts extra oomph in her glare.

"It wasn't my fault." Back to that. This time, he isn't whining.

She figures it's the pain killers floating through his system. "Yes it was."

"No it wasn't." Now he's petulant again.

Arguing will be pointless, with his brain not quite there. Although she could try taking advantage of his mental state.

"Not gonna happen," he mumbles.

She snorts and tugs on his hand. "Stop that."

"Know you," he says sleepily. He tugs back. "Cold."

--

The bed isn't really big enough, but he's used to her curling on him. Even with the ribs, he seems happy.

--

The hospital staff try to kick her out in the morning, but he threatens to leave with her. After they're gone (with instructions that he not get out of bed again), she yells at him for being an idiot.

--

"I should've called Dr. MacTaggart," he mutters at what the hospital calls food.

Domino steals the jell-o and plays with it, watching it wiggle. "You're addicted to coffee enough as it is."

"There can never be too much coffee."

"Uh-huh."

He throws a pea at her.

She retaliates with orange jell-o.

The nurse threatens to strap him down and lock Dom in the bathroom.

--

"Thanks."

She ignores him in favor of basking in the sun. The beach is far more comfortable than a cramped hospital bed. The doctor told him to take it easy. She figures the stitches have two days before he pulls them out. But then, he always was a fast healer.

"I mean it." He nudges her with an elbow.

He probably does, too. She glances at him over her glasses, then stands. "I've got a meeting with a handler in two hours."

"Stay."

"I can't."

He shrugs, and doesn't wince. And she knows he's not about to die on her. "Please?"

"No."

--

The bullet rips neatly through the target's skull.

Her handler will be happy.

Nate probably won't, though.

--

She wonders if the doctor knew he was being targeted by the mob when he took on Nate's case.

Decides it's not something she cares about.

Her phone beeps, a missed call from Nate.

--

She deletes the message before listening to it.

-f-