Just Believe

by Alicia McKenzie

DISCLAIMER: The characters are Marvel's, used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: What if the 12 Saga had ended the way it SHOULD have...happily? What would Cable and Domino be doing on New Year's Eve, 1999? :)

I've walked a lot of deserts in my life. In my time, two thousand years from now, half the world's been swallowed by the desert. The sand and the sky and the wind are part of me, like it or not, now and forever.

None of the deserts I've known have been quite as significant as this one; as the Egyptian desert, where time and destiny are all tangled up with each other, constantly reaching a crossroads. I've never been at ease in this desert. I lost my son here. . .walked it in nightmares, more times than I can count.

I certainly never expected to be back here so soon. . .or ever. After we fought Apocalypse - after we won - I thought that was the end of it. That I'd turned my back on the desert, forever; that I could live the rest of my life in a world where flowers bloomed and you could walk in the rain without fear.

Yet here I am. Strange place to visit on New Year's Eve, Dayspring. There's probably a very good (and undoubtedly very annoying) psychological reason to explain why I was drawn back here tonight, but to be honest, I'm not interested into delving into my motivations. Not tonight. There's a time for obsessive self-examination, and a time where you have to let go and just be.

I was at Giza earlier, just another face in the crowd at the celebrations there. I've never been able to appreciate the pyramids properly; to me, they were always something of HIS, ominous with his taint. I couldn't marvel at their construction, or wonder at their beauty.

But seeing thI tonight. . .being in the midst of that enormous crowd, watching the sky blaze with fireworks and feeling the New Year sweep over us like a tidal wave, I forgot all of that. Past, present and future, all there together, linked in a heartbeat, and I could feel it, feel all my chains falling away.

Technically it's not the beginning of the new millenium, I know that. I respect those who insist on making that clear; I mean, I have my pedantic moments. But there's something sweeping across the world tonight like a tsunami on the astral place, a wave of expectation and anticipation, joy and yes, even a little fear, too. The threshold we stand on might be of our own making, but it's a mighty one and a true one, and the whole world feels it.

Our thoughts shape the universe.

The millenium swept over me, at Giza, and swept two thousand years of history off my shoulders, washed it clean of what it had been and carried it into the future where it belongs. I feel as if my feet are barely touching the sand, as if I'm so light that the soft wind could pick me up and carry me to the stars.

Maybe I'll go back to the stars, in the new century. I wonder if my grandfather's got room for one more crewmIber. I'd be a good interstellar pirate. . .

Or I could see if X-Force wanted me back. It'd be. . .nice to be with the kids again, without having to worry about keeping secrets, or accidentally getting thI involved in the Mission.

I could take a couple of years vacation, even. . .oath, who am I kidding? I wonder how long I could stick to a life of leisure before my head imploded. . .

I could actually practice law.

I could join the X-Men. Live for a dream, instead of a war. Heal, instead of kill. . .

I could. . .

. . .be honest with myself, for once.

Stow the caution.

Chuck the reserve out the nearest window.

Close the door on all those years of self-imposed loneliness and cherishing my ghosts, and reach out to the person who's made my years here a life, not just a quest.

Reach out to the brightest star in my sky.

I raise my face to the sky, close my eyes and smile as the wind touches me, almost in a caress. I felt so adrift after Apocalypse died, like all the purpose had just gone out of my life.

But our thoughts shape the universe. You make your own destiny.

And I knew where I wanted to go now. Laughing, I ran for the plane, borrowed from Blaquesmith, and left the desert behind to race the millenium across the Atlantic.


"I'm sure he'll be here."

Domino looked sideways, away from the window, and smiled faintly at the mildly concerned look in Jean Grey's green eyes. "Punctuality isn't one of Nate's virtues," she said dryly. They were in the kitchen, somewhat insulated from the noises of the festivities going on throughout the mansion.

"Really?" Ima Frost asked casually from the kitchen table, where she'd been absorbed in carving intricate radish rosettes for the last fifteen minutes. "I always thought time was of the essence for Nathan. . ."

Domino tried to roll her eyes, but a chuckle escaped despite her best efforts. "Let's stay out of pun-land, shall we?"

"Why?" Ima asked extravagantly, putting the knife down long enough to take a sip from her wine glass. "There's just so much potential."

"Someone's in an exceptionally good mood tonight," Betsy Braddock murmured, swiping a radish from under Ima's nose and dabbing it delicately into the bowl of dip. "And what are we all doing in the kitchen, anyway? It's almost midnight."

"Good point," Jean said heartily. Too heartily, Domino thought with wry amusIent. "I have to go find that husband of mine so I have someone to kiss at midnight." She shot Ima an arch look, but her eyes were dancing. "Speaking of the midnight hour, I believe Sean's hiding out in the backyard with his pipe, if you're interested."

Ima gave Jean a bright smile, and then turned it on Domino. "Well, if Nathan doesn't appear on time, there's always Nate Grey. He seIed a little sullen when he showed up. . .perhaps he'd agree to serving as a stand-in."

Domino nearly choked. "I don't think so," she said as primly as possible, and then laughed aloud, picturing the look on the kid's face if she even suggested such a thing. Like he doesn't have enough of a complex already. . .

"That's better," Jean said, almost fondly, nudging her in the direction of the door. "He'll be here, Domino," she said more softly as they headed down the hall to the den, where just about everyone who'd ever worn an X was gathered around the television, watching Dick Clark in Times Square. "I've been 'listening in' lately, and I don't think he'd miss this. . ."

You don't even know where he's gone, Domino wanted to say, but didn't. She let herself be pushed along to a chair which James adroitly vacated for her, and managed a smile for the obvious excitment of the kids, both 'hers' and the GenX bunch, a few of whom looked like they'd gotten into the spiked version of the punch.

"Is the man ever going to age?" Bobby Drake said expansively, gesturing at Dick Clark on the television screen and visibly basking in the laughter the joke got.

"Aw, pipe down, Drake," Logan called from where he was ensconced over by the fireplace, beer in hand and Jubilee at his side, chattering happily away.

"Oh, come on, Logan! You're going to deprive me of the chance to usher in the new millenium with my tradIark wit?"

"It sounds like a plan to me," Warren said firmly, an arm around Betsy.

Domino glanced over at Scott and Jean. They were by the window, holding hands, and she smiled faintly, again, as Scott glanced out at the snowy backyard, brow furrowing. She wasn't the only one wondering where Nathan was, from the looks of it.

Where WAS he, damn it? He'd left without a word to anyone yesterday. One minute, he'd been wandering around in a daze, like he had been ever since he and the X-Men had gotten back from Egypt, and the next minute, he'd been gone.

I'm going to kick your ass, Nate, I swear. . . Making her worry. Domino scowled, but quickly turned the frown into a smile at Sam's questioning look. The smile twitched, growing a little as she watched Sarah approach him, an unmistakably shy look on her face.

A hand touched her shoulder lightly, and she looked up at Terry, who smiled down at her and then went across the room to James.

All around her, people were pairing off. It was positively disgusting. Domino settled into the chair with a sigh, turning her gaze to the television.

"And we're into the last minute here in Times Square!" Dick Clark was shouting over the roar of the crowd. "As you can hear, people are getting pretty excited. . ."

She felt it, like a gentle breeze across the part of her mind where the link with Nathan had been, a moment before she heard the distant, muffled sound of a door being flung open and swinging shut.

"Thirty seconds!"

Domino glanced across the room at Jean, who smiled brillantly at her and then looked up at Scott, her expression turning inviting.

"Fifteen seconds!"

Her heart soared at the sound of running footsteps in the hall outside, and she rose from her chair, trying to repress the grin - she was supposed to be mad at him, after all - as the door crashed open so hard she almost expected it to fly off its hinges.

Nathan grinned rather foolishly as dead silence fell and everyone in the room looked at him. "Hi," he said, almost mischievously. "Would've been here soon, but the traffic across the Atlantic was murder."

Logan guffawed. "About time, tin man!"

"Ten seconds!" Dick Clark announced, but Domino didn't hear him, or the countdown enthusiastically taken up by everyone else around her. She had eyes only for Nathan as he sidled his way through the crowd and stood in front of her, still with that unbelievable grin plastered on his face.

"You're late," she said, her voice quavering oddly.

"Just in time, actually," he said, reaching out and tracing the side of her face with his flesh-and-blood hand. "Dom?"


"What are you doing for the rest of your life?"

Her eyes blurred with happy tears, and she smiled up at him. "Keeping your sorry ass in line, Summers, what do you think?"

"I was hoping you'd say that," he whispered, and his heart was in his eyes, all the walls gone.

She wiped her eyes, and then took his hand, still smiling. "And I was hoping you'd ask," she whispered.

"Three. . .two. . .one! Happy New Year!" the others chorused.

Jumped the gun a little, Domino thought blissfully, already in the process of being kissed to within an inch of her life.

#Speak for yourself. I've been waiting for two thousand years to do this, you know.#

Then let's make the most of it, shall we?

#Sounds like a plan.#