O Jubilation – By Darlin

A/N – Thanks to my reviewers Amber Myst, CN, Felidae1, Ice Lynx, Logan's Girl Burnout,

M-X, skyz, summers2004, Wishful Thinking2, and wOLF8. And a special thanks to Tokyo Fox who reviewed several times. I appreciate your honesty and you made me see my story in a new light. I hate to think of Jubilee as a killer myself but since my sister had this twisted idea I thought I might be able to make it work. However, now I'm cringing a bit with some of the disdain you felt. It's hard to justify killing. I hope this ending explains how she came to do what she did sufficiently though. There will be a brief epilogue following this chapter for closure. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to review. It makes a writer feel rewarded. Here's the third chapter, hope it's up to snuff.

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Chapter Three – Love Will Find a Way

After parking her Vespa Jubilee shuffled in, head down, eyes bloodshot red from crying and soaking wet. Without looking at either Logan or Ororo who had arrived first and were waiting for her in the foyer she immediately started up the stairs. There were no puppy dog eyes, sad pouting or even pretend sniffles and tears this time. She knew she was simply in too deep and she felt the safest place right now was as far away from them as possible. She shuddered as lightning flashed outside throwing ghastly shadows along the dimly lit hallway and hurried to her room.

"You alright, darlin'?" Logan asked Ororo when thunder rumbled in the sky, and her long lithe body collapsed onto the floor as if she were completely spent.

He sat down beside her and removed her hands from her face and wiped away her tears. He laid her head gently onto his chest and let her cry all the while patiently rubbing her arms and making soothing shushing sounds. When she began sniffing he gathered her up in his strong arms and carried her into the large living room. Depositing her on the sofa he grabbed a box of tissues from a side table and thrust it at her wishing he could do something to make them both feel better.

"T-thank you," Ororo said feebly, her eyes red and empty.

"Ro, darlin' . . . it's gonna be alright!"

"How, Logan? How can it possibly be all right?"

Beating the tar out of Jubilee probably wouldn't help he thought to himself and sighed. Looking at Ororo he tried to put aside his own feelings of anger and confusion so he could help her. She looked completely devastated. All he could think to do was to wrap his arms around her and stroke her hair tenderly.

"We should have sought professional help for her after she was left for dead like an animal on that cross, Logan!"

"Shoulda, coulda ain't gonna help us now! She handled the crap with Bastion just fine so how were we supposed ta know bein' crucified was gonna make her go off an' kill? We ain't the mind readers around here! It ain't our fault, Ro! Jubilee's a big girl – almost legal – gonna go off to college soon. Maybe. She knows right from wrong! We taught her that! We couldn't keep her on a leash an' watch her every move fer the rest of her life!"

He seemed to loose steam and the room grew quiet until Ororo blew her nose. Sighing heavily she knew that Logan was right. This wasn't something they could have predicted or controlled. The X-Men did not believe in killing and they always went through strong measures to ensure that they didn't kill. Even Logan with his feral nature didn't kill unnecessarily. This line of thought made her frown as she recalled her own failed attempts of handling adversaries without killing. Yet, she reasoned with herself, she had not killed unmercifully – no, she stopped as she thought of Marrow and Callisto.

Perhaps she had not been the good example she should have been after all. But Logan was right this was no time for should haves and could haves. At least, thanks to Logan's sensible thinking, they'd been able to discover what was wrong with Jubilee and put an end to it. She doubted very much that the Punisher would continue luring in ignorant children to do his killing for him knowing that Logan would be back. But right now that was the least of her worries. They needed to find out what had made Jubilee callous enough to kill. Whatever it was it had to be dealt with before anything else could be decided. She laid her aching head on Logan's chest again, felt his strong heavy arms enwrap her protectively and she smiled for the first time since learning that Jubilee was a teenage hit girl.

"You gonna be okay?" Logan asked.

"With you here to help me – yes. Yes, I will be."

"I'll always be here for ya, Ro. You know that."

Sudden realization shone in Ororo's luminous blue eyes as she looked at her friend. Logan had insisted in helping her heal in New Orleans after she'd received grievous injuries and now here he was again helping her to cope, to heal when she knew how deeply he himself cared for Jubilee. It had been Jubilee who had saved him when he too had been crudely crucified in the Australian Outback so very long ago. Her heart felt suddenly heavy as if it were dropping into the pit of her stomach. They both loved Jubilee but here he was comforting her ignoring his own pain.

Spontaneously Ororo's lips covered his. She felt his strong arms grip her tighter, felt his lips pressing against hers, his tongue forcing her mouth open. They kissed not as they had in the past as friends but as if there would never be another dawn or another chance.

"'Roro . . ."

She could hardly breathe yet she pressed her lips to his again wanting to forget, wanting to feel something beside the deep despair that had overtaken her.

"Darlin'," Logan whispered, his breath warm on her lips.

"Why did you tell that cretin that I was your woman, Logan?" Ororo asked suddenly as she pulled away from him.

"This probably ain't the best time ta go into all that, Ro."

"I think it is."

Seeing life coming back into Ororo's eyes made him breathe easier and he chuckled. If she wanted to know the truth then he'd give her the truth. He took her in his arms and kissed her as passionately as before.

When he finally released her he said, "Ain't no harm in a man dreamin', darlin' but like I said this just ain't the time ta go there. We should get some rest so we can think straight tomorrow," Logan said.

Sleep was the last thing on their minds but Ororo nodded her agreement and reluctantly moved out of his arms. They made their way to their respective bedrooms hoping that sleep would come. However, as the storm raged through the night and Logan lay awake he knew Ororo was not sleeping any more than he.

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"Wh-what are you going to do?" Jubilee asked the next morning. Her voice wavered despite the calm appearance she tried to present to Ororo and Logan.

"We decided yer gonna do community service till ya graduate from this place and till ya get out of college too. Yer gonna give this money ta some charity an all yer stuff too. Every last thing in yer room. . ."

"Everything?" Jubilee wailed.

"Damn straight! An' ya got KP duty everyday till ya leave here an' where's yer toothbrush? Yer gonna clean all the toilets in this place every week with it."

"Eewwww! You can't be . . . !"

"An yer gonna have ta get counseling," Logan added with a look at Ororo who nodded in concurrence. "Kitty's been seeing a shrink in Chicago an' she say's she's pretty good – maybe she can hook us up with a good one in New York."

"Is . . . that . . . all?" Jubilee asked hesitantly.

"No! Yer gonna continue ta go ta bed at nine every night an' meet with me at six in the mornin' seven days a week. An' yer ta report to Ro daily she won't be huntin' you down. An' you pull yer grades up to at least a C average or I'll personally beat the livin' daylights outta ya."

"You – you can't do that! You wouldn't do that, Wolvie – would you?"

"Look at me. Look at Ro. Do we like we're kiddin' here kid?"

"Is that it?"

"Ain't enough is it?"

Jubilee hung her head whether in shame or despair neither had an inkling.

"Jubilation are you not even sorry for what you have done?" Ororo finally spoke.

"I – I – yes and no! I mean I dream about them sometimes but the Punisher's right! The three guys I tracked and killed were dirty scumbags that the police couldn't find. They all hurt and killed kids and women! One of them even broke out of jail an' they couldn't find him but I did and I got him when he was trying to rape a woman! If I hadn't got there in time he would've got her an' killed her just like the women before her! They all deserved to be punished and if it wasn't for me and the Punisher no one was going to do it!"

"There is always the justice system despite its many faults, Jubilation," Ororo said.

"How many more kids and people were gonna be hurt if they weren't stopped though, huh?"

"But we can not kill criminals at will! It is not our place to play judge and jury. Why could you not tell us or inform the police or have simply turned them in to the police when you . . . found them?" Ororo asked.

"They deserved to die not get all buff an' educated in a nice prison with cable and good food. They hurt people! Kids! They didn't deserve to live when their victims were dead!" Jubilee broke down and started crying.

"That still is not an excuse to take the law into your own hands. There is no excuse for what you have done, Jubilation."

"Yes there is!" Jubilee yelled, her face was flushed with anger. "What about Angelo? What about the others? What about me? Angelo's dead because of sickos just like the guys I killed! What if I had been able to stop those sickos first? And I should have been too! I should've been able to kill every last one of those bastards that killed Angelo and . . . and it's my fault he's dead! My fault for not being quick enough or good enough!

"I call myself an X-Man and I couldn't even help myself! It shouldn't have happened with me there! I wish I'd died on that cross instead of Angelo! I wish I were dead! I deserved to die not Angelo! I'm the evil one! He was good an' I let him down. I let him down! I let them all down!"

"Jubilation what happened with you, Angelo, and the others was something no one could have been prepared for. We can not stop the evil that men plot," Ororo said softly.

"But that's what we're here for! The X-Men are supposed to stop the bad guys!"

"Jubes, it ain't yer fault! Like Ororo said, there was no way you coulda even known what was gonna happen."

"But why couldn't I have stopped it? Why did Angelo have to die and not me? Why can't I make the pain go away? Why can't I make it all better?"

"We may never know the answers to your questions but perhaps they will come in time, Jubilee," Ororo said quietly.

"But it's eating me alive! I thought I could make it better – that killing the bad guys would help. Only it didn't. I thought it would after I got used to it but I couldn't get used to it and then the nightmares I had just got worse and worse! I'd see Angelo and then I'd see the men I-I killed! I just wanted it all to go away only it wouldn't and I just had to keep doing it till I made it better. Till I could fix everything!

"I mean killing the bad guys shoulda made everything better but it didn't and I didn't know what else to do. I only knew I had to do something to pay them back – something to make a difference for Angelo. Why didn't killing them make it better? Why can't anything fix it? Why can't I just wake up and find it was all a stupid dream? Why can't I take it back – all the hate an' all the killing? Why can't I take it back? Why?" Jubilee sobbed.

Ororo drew Jubilee into her arms wanting to cry herself.

"Jubilee we can not change what has happened but you have just made the first step in righting this horrible wrong. In time you will heal but now you must accept that there was nothing you could have done differently. What you can do now is to remember Angelo and the others and you can live for Angelo as he would want you to.

"I believe he cared for you perhaps even as much as Logan and I care for you and I know he would not want you to continue down this path of self loathing and killing." Ororo's words were spoken very quietly and she lifted Jubilee's face up so she could look into her watery eyes.

"The pain will fade but you must give it time. We are always here for you Logan and I. I thought you knew you could always talk to us, my dear Jubilation. My heart nearly broke to think you were handling your pain on your own much as I am apt to do. Much to my shame I am afraid I have set a very poor example for you child. I pray you will forgive me and allow me to help you now and perhaps one day, oh, Jubilation one day you will once again live up to your name and you will know joy and love again."

"I don't think that'll ever happen, Ororo," Jubilee said as she wiped at her face and looked into Ororo's tear filled eyes.

"It will, kid," Logan assured her patting her on the back.

"It's me who should be asking you guys to forgive me. Y-you don't hate me do you?" Jubilee asked.

"I will always love you, Jubilation," Ororo said kissing her on her forehead.

"Yeah, I love ya too, Jubilee," Logan said gruffly. "No matter what. It's fer keeps."

"Oh, Ororo, Logan I am so sorry! I love you guys too! I'm so sorry!" Jubilee wailed and her tears began anew.

"Jubilation there is one other . . ." Ororo was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell ringing.

Before he went to answer the door Logan glanced at Jubilee who noticed he looked almost sad. When he returned a rough looking man wearing an eye patch over one eye accompanied him.

"Jubilee, I want you to meet a friend of mine. This is Nick Fury head of S.H.I.E.L.D. an' Ororo I don't think you've ever met Nick. Nick this is Ororo Munroe but ya probably know her as Storm."

"Hello," Ororo nodded her voice barely audible.

"Hi," Jubilee said with a look of confusion on her face.

"Pleasure meeting you ladies," Nick said in his deep scratchy voice then, his eye staring intently at Jubilee he said: "Are ya ready?"

"Huh? Are you talking to me?"

"Jubilation . . ." Ororo put her hand on the girls arm, her eyes as sad as Logan's were a moment ago.

"Let me tell her, Ororo," Logan said. "Jubes you gotta go with Nick here fer awhile. Can't no jail hold ya but S.H.I.E.LD.'s got special cells for – well you know what I mean."

Jubilee turned pale. She closed her eyes.

"There just ain't no way around it, kid," Logan said glumly.

Opening her eyes Jubilee gave them a weak smile. "I know. It's okay. I – I . . . how long?"

"Perhaps a year with . . . good behavior," Ororo said, her voice breaking.

"Yer getting' off light, Jubilee," Logan said almost defensively. "Good behavior an' counseling'll get ya home quick."

Jubilee nodded.

"Come on kid," Nick took her arm and she made no effort to resist.

Stepping outside from the coolness of the mansion Jubilee was almost startled by the thick hot air that hit her in the face. She thought to herself that it was going to be a hot humid day. Looking up she smiled seeing large fluffy white clouds gliding slowly in the brilliant blue sky. It would be a good day even though hot she thought. Breathing in deeply she could smell that the grass had just been cut and she twitched her nose a bit trying not to sneeze. It smelled good though like wet dirt, good and fresh and – well grassy. She didn't know why she hadn't noticed these things before. Feeling the heat of the sun beating down upon her uplifted face felt good. Would she see the sun again, she wondered?

Looking back she saw Ororo and Logan standing outside. She noticed that they were standing apart and she thought the distance between them was unusually large. And then she felt a drop of rain and she looked up glad for the change in weather. She smiled at them before she got into the special vehicle Nick had brought to transport her in. She wondered if they would be okay and she gave a little wave still smiling as her tears blended in with the rain.

"She'll be alright, 'Roro," Logan said.

Ororo looked at Logan and shook her head then walked back inside leaving Logan standing in the now pouring rain staring at nothing for Jubilee was gone.