Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: hard 18+, I think. Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, self-destructive behavior, lala.
Set: post-Yucatan, pre-X-Force.
Character: Domino Notes: Bits of this have been sitting around, and, well... I don't really know what to think of how they turned out. Title from Frente's 'Air', summary from Frente's 'Harm' (Shape is currently my driving music)
Summary: die before you disregard the logic in your veins

inside inside out minds
by ALC Punk!

Recreational drugs shouldn't have been her style. But they were... distracting, attracting, something different.

Domino fell easily into the punk set in New York City. Scrounging for hits and vinyl, remembering to eat only every other week. Or maybe it was a day. Hard to tell, sometimes. Drugs stretch and wax and wane the sense of time. Not that she minds. She doesn't remember everything she's done, anyway.

They spray her hair pink for two days, then rip her jeans more and let it fade to blue.

-

"74." Her voice sounds so strange to her. Her own voice, doubling, echoing, rebounding on itself, but it shouldn't. Inside her own skull the colors clash.

"Wha? Neena?" Distorted and unfocussed blue eyes stare at her.

"74." She repeats. And the colors are coherent, now. Blue, green, yellow and grey. Blood-red slicing into living flesh beige.

"Bloody trombones."

"Willows." It's a correction, and the sound is now stronger. More sure.

Her companion is silent a moment.

Then he simply isn't there anymore.

-

Daily routine sets in. Get up, eat something, have some moment where you declare this the best day ever (possibly involving breaking a car window), end up kissing someone you don't know in a club. Listening to bad music while someone passes around worse drinks until there's drugs.

Sex, rock'n'roll, violence all meld into one, and she can't help but laugh with the sheer euphoria of not caring.

The kids start dying, though. Drug overdoses and bad drug trips and she watches Linus dance his way off a rooftop and the safety pin through her ear isn't enough anymore.

-

Candy-sugar-coated veins made her forget. Made things better.

What month, day, year was it? Did she care?

She's tried everything, or nothing.

Men. Women. Food. Except that it all cam back up and she's left sleeping in a pool of her own vomit.

There's no one to care.

Once, there had been a man. Raffish, short, grumpy. But he'd gone the way of the dodo. Long before Dallas hit the news, he'd been gone forever.

-

The sunlight was too bright--everything was too bright when he was there. And her nerves are raw and she sits at the kitchen table he dragged her to.

"Drink your tea."

She doesn't have the energy to argue.

-

She wakes up in a cold sweat with a metal arm pinning her down and screams clawing their way out of her throat.

Nothing emerges.

-

Days merge, nights make no sense and she knows on one level this is her body purging itself of the cravings. On another, it's annoying, and she begs for something wordlessly, sometimes screaming, sometimes not.

He's always silent, letting her rant.

She loses track of the things she calls him.

-

Morning finally breaks, and she sits at a table, staring at her too-pale hands. She can see smudges of dirt and blue veins through near-translucent skin.

"Eat."

"Not hungry."

"Eat anyway."

It's pancakes with chocolate chips and blueberry syrup. And chocolate milk.

She eats.

-

"GW found you first."

It's the first thing of, well, substance he's said since she got here (or he got here, she's not sure which came first). She shrugs.

"He still hates me. But he figured I'd handle you better than Theo would."

Theo. She flinches, remembering the kids, one in particular, a bassist named Mick. He'd been so very like Theo until he stepped in front of a train. High on something that wasn't life.

"You're clean, by the way. Ran medical scans on you while..."

While she was coming off the drugs. Yeah. She pokes at the mug of cocoa. "'S good."

"Dom."

"Don't."

-

She sleeps alone that night.

-

There's pancakes again, and she doesn't have to be told to eat, because she's hungry.

Hungry. It feels good.

"So."

"This is your life, not mine."

She chases a piece of chocolate around the plate, then shrugs. "Back to the mercenary work, I guess."

"I... yeah. Probably for the best."

Her luck will keep her safe.

-

It's like clawing her skin off to get herself back in tune with the world. Months have passed (she doesn't bother counting how many, that might be too depressing).

Jonathan's easy to find, and he's got bad news.

Wanted, way too much.

So she makes a deal. Shepherd's an ass, but he's generally honest. And his contact at the NSA seems like someone smart. Mostly.

-

Val Cooper gives her the briefing, hands her the badge and weapon, and tries not to look suspicious.

"Thanks." Pasted smile on her face makes her cheeks hurt, but it's a good front.

"So, how'd you luck into this gig?"

Luck. A flash of memory hits her, and she ignores it. "Things just always seem to fall into place for me."

Cooper raises an eyebrow, but doesn't press. She's turning into a good little spook. "Yeah, well, don't let our friend take your for a ride, and I think you'll do fine."

Impersonal pat on the shoulder, and Dom almost uses momentum and angle to slam Cooper into the wall, but she throttles down and fights back the taste in her mouth. Metallic. She bit through her lip.

-

She doesn't meet her new job until the next day. Spends the night tossing and turning, and wishing she was anywhere but there. Stuck in a windowless, cinder block of a building with no way out.

Waking drenched in sweat and shaking for a cigarette makes her hate Nathan for a moment.

More than she hates herself, even.

It takes three wrong turns and a locked staircase before she stumbles out into the starlight, shivering in her shirt and underwear.

"Hey!"

The guard doesn't have a chance, goes down silently to sleep for a while. Domino grabs the cigarettes in his pocket, fumbles the lighter and almost burns her fingers off before getting a decent puff.

Smoke filling her lungs settles her, snaps her back to earth. Grounds her in a way the heavy arm across her belly hadn't.

But she misses the pancakes.

-

"Hey."

Aesthetically, she notes that he's cute. But, really, she's a professional, and professionals don't do things like check out the person they're supposed to be guarding.

"Don't talk much, eh?" A smile flits across his face.

It's a hard smile to resist.

"Who?"

"Domino."

"M'lady luck, then." He smiles again, bows. "Milo Thurman, my lovely lady luck."

Something shifts, and for a moment, the memory of punk music pours through her. That taste of rebellion, recklessness, desire mold her, and she snorts, "Don't call me that."

"Or what?"

Her own smirk, "I'm sure I'll think of something."

And she does.

This time, she doesn't need a cigarette to stop the memories.

-f-