A Good, Swift Kick In the Ass

Okay, here's where I get to have my two seconds to lecture you all... nah. Boring. So what I'll do is both blame and thank Alicia. Blame her because I wouldn't have had this idea in the first place, if not for her, and thank her for being such a nice editor and coming up with a teaser for me. No, I can't cross the street by myself. How did you guess? :)
And in other news, this story has almost no relevance to the title, except for the fact that all three main characters need one.

Domino sighed as she finished putting her gun back together. 'Why am I thinking about this stuff? Like Nate hasn't been putting it off... maybe I should just forget it... Yeah, right. You're dreaming, girl, if you expect anything to happen soon.' She thought back to when they had believed the world was going to end. The kiss in the Negev. When for a few moments, she'd really felt at peace with herself. No doubts, no self-recriminations, she'd actually admitted what she felt. And now? They were back to square one, maybe even worse than they had been before... Then there was the little trip into the future a while ago. She'd thought, maybe after that... But there was no point in wondering 'what if'. Damn. She was hungry now. 'Hmm.... I might go see what Nate's doing. Maybe we could go out or something.' She stood up, then looked at her gun. 'Just a little noticeable, I think.' She threw it on the bed and shoved her pillow over it. She didn't really need it, not if she was just going out. After all, she had enough weaponry on her to handle most situations. Silently, she left her room and made her way towards the kitchen, where she could sense Nathan.

"With the Professor gone, we really have to make arrangements for the X-Men. I would appreciate your help, Nathan." Ororo watched Nathan to see what his reaction would be.

"Uhm- well- I guess I can help. Why not someone else though?" Nathan snapped back to reality, he had been watching the sky darken through one of the windows. He really should have gotten some sleep when he last had the opportunity. 'And how long ago was that? Two days? Three?'

"Because I trust you."

"You do? Uh... that's nice." Nathan was at loss for words. Storm wasn't... interested in him like that, was she? She was his father's friend, so he had felt he should get to know her better... He could have looked into her mind and found out, but being around the X-Men, especially Jean.. their morals and ethics had started to rub off on him. Plus, he was just too damned tired.
The door opened, and he looked up. "Dom!"

"Oh. Hi Nate. Storm." Domino glanced at them, then went towards the cupboard.

"Hello, Domino. May we help you?"

"No, thank you. Nate? Are you doing something now?"

"No. Why?"

"Nathan and I were talking, Domino." Storm glared at the woman who had just interrupted her talk with Nathan, and was now ignoring her.

"Fine." Domino found something edible that X-Force had somehow missed after their morning training session. "Nate, try not to stay up too late, the kids are scheduled for an early session tomorrow." She then left, barely hiding her amusement as Storm fumed.

'Damn. Why the hell won't Nate sort his life out?' She wondered to herself as she made good her escape. 'Not that I'm much better...'

"Dom! Wait!" Nathan got up from the table quickly, and went to follow his co-leader out the door.

"Nathan? Nathan, you wait. We have not finished our talk." Storm put herself between him and the door.

"Sorry, Ororo. I'm... worried about Dom." He moved Storm out of his way subconsciously, not even noticing what he was doing, and left the room quickly.

Storm stared at his retreating back. How dare that woman just walk in, and disturb their talk, and then, THEN, Nathan ran off after her, brushing her, Storm, off. 'I don't know what he sees in that woman...' she fumed. 'It certainly cannot be her rather dubious moral character...' Storm was... annoyed. She had been so sure that she and Nathan had been getting along well together, and she was a much better choice for him than that dreadful woman. 'After all, it is not as if she deserves him.' Storm reminded herself.

"Dom?" the knock at her door was quiet. "Domino?"

"What, Nate?"

"Can I come in?"

"I'm asleep." Domino smiled slightly. The door wasn't locked and he knew it. One of the very first things they'd worked out so long ago was to never invade each other's personal space, not without permission. Otherwise one of them would have been dead and buried years before.

"You don't sound asleep."

"I am. Maybe I'm talking in my sleep." Domino rolled her eyes as she sat on a chair next to the window. She threw the apple she had found at her bed, and looked out at the stars.

"You don't talk in your sleep."

"Like you'd know." Domino shuddered. She was behaving like a child or something here. Why had things become like this? Half the time they talked now, (Which isn't often. Admit it, Dom. You've been avoiding him since Storm seemed to take such an interest in him. Wuss.) they were arguing.

Nathan winced as she said that. A not-so-subtle dig at him, and his time spent with Storm. Maybe she was right. He had been with Storm a lot recently, too much. He should have spent more time with his team, but he never could find the words to refuse Storm when she asked him to do something. He had meant to be with X-Force, with Domino, more, but since the whole Onslaught thing, and Xavier being taken into custody, there never seemed to be time to do half of what was necessary. "Dom?"

"Yes, Nate?"

"Are you angry with me?"

"Why would I be?" 'Apart from the fact that you've been ignoring the team, ignoring me... hell, ignoring everyone but Storm. Not that I'm bitter or anything. And...' she added reluctantly, still careful to shield these thoughts from Nathan, 'it's my fault, I guess.' Nate hadn't seemed that eager to be with Storm, not as often as she had sought him out, but Domino really wasn't that enthusiastic to be seen fighting over anybody. Not even Nate, especially when she didn't have that many good reasons to act like that. Sure, she guessed what Storm was planning. But Storm had been very careful so far. She couldn't do anything. Yet.

"Call it a wild guess."

"Seriously, Nate. You're a big boy now, you can do whatever you want. Don't let me make up your mind for you."

"Are you sure?"


"Dom, what's wrong with you?"

"Nothing is wrong with me."

'Wrong choice of wording there... uh-oh.' Nathan resisted the urge to hit his head on the wall, for as long as it took to make him unconscious. 'Yeah, great way to impress her. Knock yourself out just outside her bedroom.'

The door to Domino's room opened. "Nate, don't worry about it. There's nothing that you can or will do about it. Now go to bed. You look like you haven't slept in days."

"I haven't."

"Not good enough." Domino came out of her room. "How are we meant to beat the kids up if you can't stay awake?" she shook her head sadly. "Honestly, Nate. How you've managed to survive this long is a mystery to me."

"Luck?" he asked hopefully.

"Yeah, right. C'mon, you. Sleep." Domino led the way to his room, pulling him along with her. "Now get in there and stay there." She pushed him in and closed the door, then noticed Storm glaring at her. "What?"

Storm watched Domino walk away after she had sent Nathan to his room. What was wrong with the woman? How dare she do that to him? And he didn't even argue? She went to Nathan's door and knocked sharply. "Nathan? Nathan, come out of there."

Nathan groaned inwardly as he heard Storm's imperious commands. He really did need sleep, even if he had to be forced to, as Domino seemed to think. Quickly, he reached out with his telekinesis and locked the door. *'Ro. I'm tired. Please, just go away.* he sent, before letting her know that their little conversation was definitely finished.

'Tired? He's tired? Why did he not tell me?' Storm wondered. 'He cannot be that tired. Yet he would not lie to me. Very well, I shall let him rest.' She stalked away, back to the X-Men wing of the house.

She met Siryn and Shatterstar on their way back from the Danger room, both with swords. Storm glared at them as she went past. Shatterstar looked at Siryn inquiringly. She just shrugged.

Domino smiled to herself as she contemplated the last half-hour's happenings. So she and Nate hadn't gone out. And Nate still hadn't done anything much about his personal life. She hadn't done anything in that direction herself. So why was she so happy? They'd talked. They hadn't said much, but they had talked. Nate had stood up to Storm, at least, he had if what she felt from their psi-link had been correctly interpreted. Things were slowly becoming normal again. She hoped.

With a sigh, she got into bed, falling asleep with her gun in her hand, and the thought 'There's always tomorrow' in her mind.

(Sort-of) Epilogue.

Nathan opened the door to Domino's room as quietly as he could, and looked in. She was curled up in bed, still holding her favourite gun. 'So cute.' He smiled. It was early in the morning, and he felt much better, thanks to her insistence that he got some sleep. As he retreated, he accidentally hit the door with his techno-organic arm.

The noise was barely noticeable, but enough to wake Domino, who was only sleeping lightly. Nathan froze as Domino sat up and aimed her gun at him, the strange sense that he had developed 'Out of experience?', as well as their psi-link told him that the sighting light was trained on his head, and would be very painful if Domino pulled the trigger.

"Hey, Nate. Sorry." Domino grinned sheepishly. She put the gun down.

"'s okay, Dom. Go back to sleep." He closed her door and went away. Back to bed, he decided. The kids could postpone their little training session for an hour or so.

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