Title: Unexpected Places, Unexpected Faces
Characters: Domino, Shatterstar, Skids, and Adam-X. Mentions Rictor and Rusty.
Genre: Gen, Angst, and a little bit of humour
Rated: R for language and innuendo
Disclaimer: Me = poor and non-owner of everything.
Summary: This takes place a few weeks after Part 1 and just after Uncanny X-Men #492.
“Guys, I really don’t want to hang out here tonight. Can’t we just go to the safe house and watch a movie? We can just drink there!”
Domino shot a look over to the younger woman and rolled her eyes. “Skids, you need to loosen up. It’s just a bar, and you’re an adult. It’s not like I’m asking you to whore yourself off to the first drunk trucker that makes a pass at you.”
The blonde sent a troubled look to Shatterstar. “It’s full of drunken truckers!?”
“Sometimes,” he shrugged, not really caring to listen to their bickering. “If you want I can fight them if they bother you.”
“That’s all right,” she sighed and stepped through the large wooden door. She handed her identification card off to the large bouncer, and the group continued toward the bar. “It’s just that…ugh I don’t like going out in crowded places. Especially ones that I just know I’ll have to deal with ridiculous men acting all hormonal.”
Domino shot the bartender a nod in greeting and took a seat at the closest stool. “Look, kiddo, I know things have been tough for you since your boyfriend died, but you gotta know that I’m not trying to force you to hook up. Shatty and I just wanted to get the hell outta HQ for awhile, and figured you needed some time out too. You’ve been all uptight lately.”
“I blew my first mission!” she plopped down next to her and dropped her head into her hands. “It should’ve been easy too! I know those Morlocks better than anyone, and I should’ve been able to take them down without causing a scene!”
“When you are setting off bombs scenes are usually caused,” Shatterstar pointed out. “Can I have whiskey?” the bartender nodded and looked at Domino.
“You know it, John,” the merc grinned.
“Just…give me a Long Island Iced Tea,” Skids frowned miserably.
“Oh, now you’re hitting it hard. I’ll make sure Shatty holds your hair for you when you end up spending the night puking, kid. I’ll bet he has to do that for himself anyways. Or! You can do it for each other!” Dom joked.
“I don’t puke,” the warrior rolled his eyes. “Especially not from something as silly as alcohol.”
“Yeah, I forgot. Mister stomach of steel over here can even drink me under the table. He’s got healing and some fancy metabolism though, so I think that’s cheating!” the older woman declared and tossed back her shot in unison with the younger man. Violet eyes sparkled mischievously at him and she gestured back to the bartender. “Hey, wanna send a round of twenty over here?”
“Sure thing; what do you want?”
Domino looked at ‘Star questioningly, but the warrior just shrugged. “How about some Captain Morgan, dark. Double ‘em up and I’ll give ya an extra generous tip, Johnny.”
“You want to start this again?” Shatterstar perked an amused eyebrow.
“Of course,” Domino grinned.
“Oh this is going to be a long night,” Skids groaned again.
“Your mission could not have ended that badly,” Shatterstar pointed out to her. “No one important even died. Besides, weren’t the proper individuals apprehended in the end?”
“Sure, but…I didn’t get the prophecy pages back to Bridge and I’m pretty sure he’s really mad at me, and--”
“Or you did get them and you just did something with ‘em that you weren’t supposed to,” Domino eyed her. “But seriously, kid, stop worrying about it. If I got stressed every time Bridge was pissed at me I’d have so many ulcers there’d be no stomach left.”
“I didn’t do anything with them!” Sally insisted a little too quickly. Shatterstar could tell she was hiding something based on how jittery she seemed about the subject, but he would not bother her about it. The girl had a good heart, and he knew she would not do something bad with the books. If, however, she did what Domino suspected, there was a good chance SHIELD would probably have her head for it. But neither the merc nor Shatterstar would rat on her for such actions.
John brought back the tray of shots and Sally’s drink and the group sat in silence for a few moments as they began to get settled in. They had been trapped within SHIELD walls for nearly two weeks by that point, and Shatterstar could not have been happier to be out. Sally had only been back from her undercover stint for a week, and Domino had just returned from
“So where they putting you now?” Domino cut Shatterstar from his thoughts when she changed the subject to calm Sally down.
The woman shrugged. “I don’t know. I still have mountains of paperwork to do.”
Domino and Shatterstar both raced back two doubles before the merc glared at him playfully and replied to her. “Well if I were you I wouldn’t be too worried about them sticking you back on the streets for a long time. You’re no use to them in NYC undercover now.”
“No kidding,” Skids muttered dejectedly.
“There are other jobs,” Shatterstar told her and tipped back another before Dom could catch him. “Maybe you can have my job. But I do not think you would like it.”
The blonde woman nearly paled at the thought. “Uh, I hope not.”
“Now you know how I feel,” he grumbled.
“Like they’d put you undercover anyhow, ‘Star,” Domino rolled her eyes and shifted on her stool so that she was facing the two of them better. “They only put us where they know we’ll do the worst damage for them. It’s not like the even give a shit how crappy the gig is either.”
“They’re insufferable fools,” the Mojoworlder mumbled.
“I think I’m really starting to regret doing this,” Skids began rambling again, and downed the rest of her glass in a couple of loud gulps. “I didn’t realize how much pressure it would be! And some of those Morlocks were my friends, and I put them in jail and lied! I’ll never get those friendships back, guys! All I ever do is screw everything up and lose everyone, and SHIELD is not helping.”
Domino frowned at her. “You can’t let this get to your head. I don’t know what you’re trying to prove by even staying with these goofs, but if you ain’t cut out for this kinda gig, then you ain’t cut out for it. You still have a chance to get out before these bastards eat you alive.”
“They—Val Cooper and O*N*E picked me up after the Apocalypse thing,” Skids muttered and stole one of the shots off the tray. “I betrayed the X-Men kinda…sorta. The horsemen were messing with us; they made us hungry and sick and bribed us with food and water. I took it without hesitation.”
“That happened after M-Day, did it not?” Shatterstar questioned her.
“Yeah, I was trapped at the Institute in the camps. Then Val picked me up around the same time you guys crashed it.”
“And they took you for punishment?” the warrior continued.
“No, they asked me because I wanted to leave. I felt horrible for behaving the way I did, and I wanted out. I was so sick of being in that place. Every time I’m brought back to the Institute and I’m stuck around all those people…I’m just reminded of what I lost. I can’t stand being there,” she frowned angrily and took her drink. “I wanted out and they said I could leave if I did some work for them. They wanted mutants safe, and besides the Institute the only other option they had was SHIELD.”
“But mutants aren’t being held there anymore,” Domino pointed out. “Which means you don’t have to stay at SHIELD anymore.”
“I guess,” Sally shrugged.
The group sat in companionable, but tense, silence for a few moments. Shatterstar and Domino continued their silent contest, while Skids ordered herself another drink. Even though the alcohol did not completely intoxicate the Mojoworlder, he still continued to drink because it managed to loosen him up. It was a habit he had picked up while travelling
But, of course, sometimes he did not have to think too much to still get those unneeded concerns.
The warrior felt his entire body stiffen when he heard his name. The voice, so familiar and one he had not heard in many months. He could feel all eyes on him as he stared down at the bar awkwardly, and it took him a few moments to turn around. When he did, he felt his heart thump around in his chest nervously.
The other alien gave him a smile as he approached. He was much thinner than the last time ‘Star had seen him, but he still looked fit. His hair was tied neatly back behind his head and was lacking the twists and braids of the warrior ritual ‘do he usually sported. X-Treme held out his hand in greeting once he was close enough, and Shatterstar shook it uneasily.
“It’s good to see you,” the blonde man started.
Shatterstar swallowed loudly and turned back around on his stool. “Likewise.”
The other man sat down beside him and ordered himself a beer. “Can I buy you a drink?”
“If you insist.”
Adam did so, informing the bartender that he was going to take a break from his post. Shatterstar found it strange that a man of his skill would reduce himself to being employed in a place such as that, but he did not ask. Domino beat him to the punch.
“Hey, aren’t you that guy X-Force ran into a couple of years ago?”
“I have run into X-Force before, yes. Shatterstar more often, however. My name is Adam. I don't believe we’ve officially met,” he held out his hand and Domino shook it with a smirk on her face. Her eyes were blazing with questions as she held a smug gaze on them both, and strangely it was enough to make the Cadre warrior squirm.
“No, we haven’t. I know you from computer files, and that’s all. Cable figured for awhile that you would’ve ended up coming back to us – maybe to join, or something. The other kids liked you too,” she informed him with a smile. “Anyways, I’m Domino; I was on X-Force as well. This here is Sally; she wasn’t, but she’s still all right, I guess.”
Skids sent the alien a polite nod, but said nothing else. She did not look to be in the mood for socializing, and all of a sudden Shatterstar did not feel like it either. He hated that he felt that way, but it could not be helped. Awkwardness mixed with an odd sort of shyness was enough to irritate him, but for some reason Adam appeared very comfortable.
The women nodded, and Adam just shot him a curious look. The warrior did not feel like elaborating, so he immediately strode towards the men’s room to compose himself. He felt like some overly emotional female for running like that, and that made him madder. He never acted that way around Rictor after they had done what they called ‘fool around’, but he supposed that was different. There was a lot more involved with Rictor than just physicality. It took the warrior a long time to accept it, but he was very much in love with the Mexican, and he supposed it was because of that he could never run away frightened from him. Rictor made him a whole different person when it came to any given situation.
Adam, however, did not, and maybe that was why he felt the need to flee.
The warrior looked up in the mirror and caught sight of the very man in the reflection. He was leaning his shoulder against the doorway and staring at him, and the look made Shatterstar feel itchy.
“Uh, I just need to, uhm…go…to the washroom.”
“I didn’t realize I made you so uncomfortable,” he commented and stepped further into the room. “That wasn’t my intention, I assure you. It’s just been months since I last seen you, and I was glad to see that you were doing okay after M-Day.”
Shatterstar slowly turned around to face him, and subconsciously ran a hand over his hair. “I’m fine. Even if M-Day had been able to affect me, it would’ve only taken away my mutant powers. I do not use them much, instead, I rely more on the natural enhancements I was equipped with on my home world.”
“You’re lucky then,” Adam replied softly. “My genetics do not work that way.”
“You were depowered?”
“Yes,” the blonde said stoically. “The repercussion of being half human, I suppose.”
“I, uhm, I’m sorry. I would not know how that-- I know of people who were depowered as well. I hold hope for them that maybe it will somehow be reversed someday.”
“Maybe,” Adam mumbled and ran a hand over his hair. He shifted his weight onto his other foot before changing the subject. “Look, I-- are you mad at me, or something? I have never seen you look this way before; you're usually at least willing to look me in the eye. Do I need to pick a fight with you for that, or what?”
Shatterstar thought back to the last time that happened, and shook his head wildly. “No! I, uhm…no. I’m not mad.”
“Are you sure? I took off on you after we--”
Shatterstar cringed and glared at him. “I don’t care about that. It didn’t mean anything.”
Adam’s eyebrows rose and he stepped closer to him. “You sure about that?”
“Yes,” silver eyes stared at him unblinkingly. “I have more important things and people to worry about than that.”
“You know, you made the same snappy remarks last time I saw you, too. I never took you for someone who sent mixed signals, my friend.”
Shatterstar clenched his fists and stormed past him and toward the restroom exit. “You’re lucky you’re only a mere human now, vehjka, or else I would wipe the floor with you.”
Adam sighed with frustration and chased after him. He grabbed the warrior by the elbow and shoved him against the wall outside the washroom and narrowed his eyes at him. “I’m sorry, okay!? I didn’t approach you tonight to start an argument. The last thing I want is to be on bad terms with you.”
Shatterstar grabbed Adam's wrists and removed his grip from his chest. “It appears you are doing a bad job of that.”
“Everything okay over there?!” Domino called from the bar. Shatterstar peered over Adam’s shoulder and just nodded to her.
“Again, I apologize,” the Shi’ar alien whispered lowly so no one else could hear. “Despite anything that had gone on, you are still a close friend.”
Shatterstar gazed at him for a few moments, thoughts running through his head a million miles a minute. Adam was his friend, yes, and he had no reason to be angry with him. The blonde man was at just as much fault as he was for what had happened, so Shatterstar could not hold that against him. And despite the fact that human mating rituals were still an awkward subject for him, he did not regret what he had done with the other man. His time spent with Adam had helped him figure some things out, and for that he had to be thankful. Even if the jerk, as Rictor would say, did not stick around to settle things the following morning.
“Then let’s go back to the bar and sit,” Shatterstar suggested.
“I have a few moments still,” Adam nodded in agreement as they walked toward the women. Skids and Domino looked absolutely curious as to what was going on, and he knew they would only be a couple of theatre queens about the subject once Adam left. The blonde man plopped down first and looked over at them. “I apologize for that. I’ll just finish my break and then I’ll be on my way.”
“You work here?” Domino asked him.
“Yes, I have since M-Day. It’s hard to find places to go since losing my powers. The only others I knew were some less than honourable former employers, X-Force, and the X-Men. Since most of my former employers are imprisoned or moved away and X-Force disbanded, the only option I had was the X-Men. It seems, however, they are not particularly open to saps.”
Domino sighed. “Yeah, well they’ve gone bat shit the last few months anyhow. There ain’t much you can trust a Summers for.”
Adam stared at her strangely for a few moments before returning his focus back to his drink. “I suppose so.”
“You still have marks on your face though,” Sally pointed out, gesturing to the black areas around Adam’s eyes. “Are they left over from a physical mutation?”
“No, they are genetic markings from my home world,” he replied.
“Shi’ar alien,” Shatterstar informed her.
“Why don’t you go back there?” Domino asked him.
“Can’t get back. Besides, I’m not entirely accepted as I am a half breed on my planet as a result of some, er, less than honourable dealings. If I were to go back I would most likely be thrust into more war zones. I have no desire left to fight for those people.”
“Sounds familiar,” Domino muttered, and it instantly made Shatterstar glare at her.
“Yes, well, it’s the past and I’m trying to move forward from that,” Adam shrugged and finished his drink. “It was difficult at first to adjust without my abilities, but I’ve decided that living a quiet, normal life has its benefits.”
Skids smiled at him. “I can agree with that.”
“I don’t think I could do that,” Shatterstar admitted.
“You and me both,” Domino sighed. “I lost my own powers once and I still couldn’t get my nose outta the game. But I say if you aren’t too far gone to get out then you should. All the better for you, ya know?”
Adam nodded. “Mostly I have to take it one day at a time.”
“I bet,” she nodded.
“Anyways, it was nice to meet the both of you. My break is only fifteen minutes, however, and I need to get back to my post,” he dug around into his pocket and grabbed a business card of some sort. Reaching behind the bar, he snagged a pen off of the counter and scrawled down a number on the back of it and handed it to Shatterstar. “If you come back to
Shatterstar felt a strange heat rise to his face and he shoved the card into his jacket. “Perhaps.”
The other alien gave him a friendly smile and nodded his head at them once more. He stood from his stool and placed a lingering hand on ‘Star’s shoulder before leaving. The feel of it made that heat come back to the warrior’s face, and he could not do anything else but stare down into the bottom of his empty glass.
“That guy was…” Skids trailed off hesitantly.
“Pretty damn hot,” Domino finished and then shot her gaze back to ‘Star. “But seriously. What was that all about!?”
“Nothing,” he grumbled.
“My white ass! He made you fucking blush! Blush! You!” she practically leaned over Sally to stare at him more closely. “Not to mention he gave you his number after the two of you run off to the boys room together! Did you fucking suck his dick in there, or something!?”
Shatterstar’s eyes widened and he glared. “No!”
“He does look like he was into you,” Skids replied slowly.
“He’s not!” Shatterstar snapped angrily and snatched the last couple of shots off of the tray. He quickly took them all down and winced at the burning sting of the liquid going down his throat. Anxiety built up within him, but the women were not letting up. “I did not do a thing in the bathroom, nor will I even call him again. Leave me alone.”
“Sorry if I’m curious,” Domino rolled her eyes and finally sat back down in her seat. “I just haven’t seen you hook up since Rictor, and the thought of you doing that even makes me curious. And I never get curious!”
Shatterstar felt a strange mixture of guilt and embarrassment swell in his chest, and he dropped his gaze down to the bar. “I’m not hooking up.”
The women were silent for a few moments before Shatty heard Domino smack herself in the forehead. “Not tonight! But you did already, didn’t you!?”
‘Star sighed. “Whatever, Domino.”
“You did?!” Skids exclaimed.
Shatterstar did not say a word; he hated talking about such things. However, Domino had other plans, much to the warrior’s chagrin. “‘Star it ain’t the end of the world. Everyone hooks up with someone at some point in their life. It just happens.”
“Not to me,” he hissed.
“Well mostly. But I thought you got past all that emotional barrier shit since Ric.” The older woman dropped her chin into her hand as she stared down the bar at him. “And when did you hook up with that guy!? You only broke up with your little amigo a couple of months ago!”
Shatterstar dropped his head into his hands and sighed irritably. “This has nothing to do with Rictor. Please, Domino, don’t talk about him. It’s not the same thing at all.”
“Dom,” Sally scolded the older woman.
“Okay, we don’t have to talk about Ric. Thing is, ‘Star, this seems to be bugging you and I know you can’t stand having all that emotional crap eat you up. If there’s something you need to talk about, I’m all ears.” She ordered him another drink and slid it across the bar toward him when it arrived. “I know I’m not psychologist of the year or anything, but I’m just trying to look out for you.”
“I know,” he mumbled and looked over at her. “I just, uhm, went to Madripoor a little while ago and I met Adam there. It is nothing.”
“If you say so,” Domino scoffed.
“I do say so!”
“Says the guy who tried to kill anyone who touched him besides one guy,” the merc rolled her eyes. “I’m just surprised, is all. All these weeks together and you never said a thing about it to me. And you tell me everything!”
“It was just a mistake, and I don’t like telling you my mistakes,” Shatterstar snapped irritably. “All Adam did was make me sort things out about one guy, so I’ll have to worry about that later. At least until I can find him again. Once this ridiculous SHIELD job is over with perhaps that is what I will do. I am undecided.”
Skids smiled at him. “You should. I bet Ric would like that.”
“Shatty’s too god damn stubborn,” Domino shook her head with a wince. “Holy fuck I must be drunk. I sound like a girl!”
Shatterstar just rolled his eyes and got to his feet with ease. “I want to leave. I fear if I do not I might start a fight. I’m irritated right now.”
Skids frowned and shot Domino a look. “That’s okay, ‘Star, we can go. I don’t like it much here anyways. We should just get back to
“Who cares, we have a fucking carrier,” the merc waved her off and grabbed her bag. “Maybe we should invite your friend back with us.”
Shatterstar just scowled. “I hate it when you tease me.”
“I know, why do you think I do it?” she smirked.
The warrior sighed. “Sometimes I wonder why I hang around you all the time.”
Domino nudged him in the ribs as the three headed toward the door. “Maybe then, amigo, you should hang around somewhere else. And, you know, sort things out. Get the hell outta this mess and get your freedom back. You only got a couple of weeks left on your contract and ya gotta think about where you plan on living after all this.”
“I know,” he mumbled.
Skids gave him a reassuring smile. “Things will work out. Don’t worry about all that other stuff, ‘Star. You never know; maybe by the time you’re out I can get out too. I can help you look for a job or something. I know
Shatterstar nodded. “Thinking that far ahead is not something I usually do. Strangely though, I look forward to it. The day I am gone from this place will be a good day.”
“Same here,” Skids replied.
Domino just shrugged wordlessly and zipped up her coat when they reached the parking lot. She stared at the two younger adults and just shook her head with a sigh. “Well you two should get outta there. Find something better to do before it’s too late. There’s so much more out there, and you shouldn’t get stuck working for a prick like Bridge. Just you wait and see, once your forms are up the two of you will work your shit out. May take ya a bit, but you can do it.”
“What about you?” Sally questioned her.
“What about me? Who cares?” Domino rolled her eyes and headed down the street, leaving the two of them standing in the parking lot. Shatterstar pushed his windblown hair from his face as he watched her, and idly wondered if she had always been so withdrawn. One second she had her prying nose in his business as she worried about his wellbeing, and the next she was telling them to butt out of hers. That woman confused him.
However, he knew she was right. There was much more his skills could do besides petty work for SHIELD, and Sally was even more able to leave that life. She had college education – which he did not have – and perhaps she could do something with that. It would make her much happier to not have to deal with all of the battle and death that had already claimed her mate’s life.
“You going to be okay?” the blonde asked him.
Silver eyes peered down at her. “What do you mean?”
“I don’t care that you did something with Adam, but if it bothers you that much, I just—things will be okay with you,” she assured him with a smile. “You’re a smart guy and you’ll figure it out. Just remember that everything that happens is just like learning a lesson, you know? It isn’t something to be ashamed of; I’m sure you’ve done worse.”
Shatterstar blinked. He thought of what he had willingly left behind and then thought of all of the messes he had managed to make and jump into since he done so. He drew the conclusion that he had done worse things in his life than ‘hook up’ with Adam. However, leaving his old life behind almost felt like his biggest mistake at times. Perhaps his new life would not be such a mess if he hadn’t. Sally was right though; it was all a lesson learned. Everything that he had experienced had only drawn him to all the same conclusions, and that was the only thing that kept him from being completely angry with himself. Shatterstar left his old life behind to figure out exactly what it was that he wanted from his stay on Earth, and as the days went by he realized more and more what that was. And while Domino chose to be a sarcastic fool about it, ‘Star knew that she was only giving him a shove in the right direction in her own little way – just like Sally was.
The Mojoworlder jammed his hands in his pockets and looked down at his friend once more. “We should go get her before she gets into trouble.”
“Agreed,” Skids chuckled. A loud noise in the distance made the girl look up the street, and she sighed. “Unless we’re too late.”
Shatterstar tilted his head to the side and listened to the drunken laughter down the roadway. “Fekt, and she tells me to grow up.”
Go to part three.