Disclaimer. Marvel owns all the characters. Don't sue. The song at the beginning, "Jubilee," is written and performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter, and is from her album, Stones in the Road. I don't own that either, so again, don't sue.
Summary: Wolverine and Jubilee try to rebuild their lost friendship after spending years apart… (Part one in a series)
Author's Note: This story is mainly a Wolverine and Jubilee (although I threw Bobby Drake in there for a minute or two, just for kicks—don't ask, just accept it as, um, comic relief!), and although this part of the series is not really a romance, there's definitely some romantic possibility there. If you don't like W/J romantic pairings, don't read this or any part of my "Back Where the Sun Can Find You" series. If you do anyway and flame me, I will be forced to hunt you down and scold you for not listening to me in the first place. J
Feedback and Archiving: Feedback please! If you're reading this at fanfiction.net, please be nice and make use of that little review form at the bottom of the page and I'll be eternally grateful. J Also, if you'd like to archive this anywhere, feel free, just let me know where you're putting it.
Back Where the Sun Can Find You: Mending
By: Addie Logan(email@example.com) I can tell by the way you're walking That you don't want company I'll let you alone and I'll let you walk on And in your own good time you'll be Back where the sun can find you Under the wise wishing tree And with all of them made we'll lie under the shade And call it a jubilee And I can tell by the way you're talking That the past isn't letting you go But there's only so long you can take it all on And then the wrong's gotta be on its own And when you're ready to leave it behind you You'll look back, and all that you'll see Is the wreckage and rust that you left in the dust On your way to the jubilee And I can tell by the way you're listening That you're still expecting to hear Your name being called like a summons to all Who have failed to account for their doubts and their fears They can't add up to much without you And so if it were just up to me I'd take hold of your hand, saying come hear the band Play your song at the jubilee And I can tell by the way you're searching For something you can't even name That you haven't been able to come to the table Simply glad that you came And when you feel like this try to imagine That we're all like frail boats on the sea Just scanning the night for that great guiding light Announcing the jubilee And I can tell by the way you're standing With your eyes filling with tears That it's habit alone keeps you turning for home Even though your home is right here Where the people who love you are gathered Under the wise wishing tree May we all be considered then straight on delivered Down to the jubilee 'Cause the people who love you are waiting And they'll wait just as long as need be When we look back and say those were halcyon days We're talking 'bout jubilee
Wolverine sped up to the main gate of the mansion, returning from one of the many "breaks" he took from the X-Men. He'd been gone for over a year this time, which was longer than he usually stayed away. He wasn't even sure why he was even returning this time, knowing that which had driven him away would still be there, waiting for him. He hadn't meant to ever come back again when he'd last left, but Logan had never been able to stay away from the X-Men for good, no matter how hard he tried. He parked his motorcycle in the garage, got off, slung his dufflebag over his shoulder, and headed towards the front door.
Ororo Munroe, also known as Storm, was walking into the front hall of the mansion, when the door opened and Wolverine entered. "Logan!" Storm exclaimed as she ran over to him and threw her arms around his neck. "By the Goddess, you are home!"
Kurt Wagner heard the commotion and came into the foyer to see what was going on. "Logan! Mein freund! We were beginning to wonder if you'd ever be coming back to us, but you are home!"
Logan gave Kurt a backslapping hug. "You shoulda known better than to think you could get rid of me that easily, Elf."
Wolverine ran his hands through his unruly points of hair. He hadn't really wanted to make much of a scene when he returned, but as he more and more of his teammates enter the foyer, he knew that he'd not achieved that goal. His gaze shifted to one person in particular, and the rest of the crowd seemed to melt away.
Jean walked over to Wolverine. "Hello, Logan," she said, almost as if she were greeting someone on the street in passing. Wolverine tensed at the simplicity of her tone. Didn't she know she was the one who'd driven him away? Of course she did. She didn't even need her telepathy to figure that one out.
"It's been a long day. I'm going upstairs to get some rest," Wolverine said.
"Logan, I want to talk to you," Jean said.
Sensing the tension level in the room rise considerably, the X-Men who had gathered slipped out, leaving Jean and Logan alone. "Logan…" Jean began.
"I have nothing to say to you, Red," Wolverine snapped as he began to go up the stairs.
Jean ran to him and grabbed hold of his arm. "Logan…please…"
Wolverine froze at the sound of desperation in her voice, staring straight ahead. "Say what you gotta say."
"That's it?" Logan asked. "Sorry ain't enough, Darlin'."
Jean began to cry. "Logan please…you have to understand! Scott's my husband, and I…I love him!"
The sound of those words made Logan feel sick. "Shoulda never told me ya loved me then, Jeannie," he said.
Hot tears were streaming down Jean's face and blurring her vision. "I…we thought he was dead!"
Wolverine turned around suddenly, making Jean grasp the railing in order to keep her balance. "So, what, did you figure you'd just console yourself with me? Was that it, Darlin'? Did ya think, that since I always loved ya, it would be easy just to jerk me around some, get your kicks 'til ol' One Eye finally came crawlin' back from the Great Beyond? I don't like bein' toyed with like that, Jeannie."
"I was never toying with you, Logan!" Jean exclaimed.
Anger flashed in Wolverine's already wild eyes. "Did you ever even really love me? Or did ya just say that so I'd agree to keep ya warm when Scott couldn't. 'Cause if that was the case, I'd have been more than happy to do that without you playin' with my head. But that's what you do best, ain't it Darlin'—play with people's heads."
Logan's words cut deep. "You don't mean that, Logan!" she said. "You know I wasn't lying! You know I meant it when I said I loved you!"
Logan glared at her. "Go cry to Scott. I ain't in the mood to hear it right now."
"Logan, please!" Jean cried, grabbing Wolverine's arm again in desperation.
Wolverine's claws shot and he held them at her face. "Stay away from me, Jean," he growled. He retracted his claws, snatched his arm away from her, and went upstairs.
Jean sat down and cried.
*** *** ***
"Logan?" Wolverine heard a soft, female voice call from behind him. He extended his claws and spun around.
Jubilee's eyes grew wide, and she put her hand out, as if to stop him. "Calm down, Wolvie, it's just me," she said.
Wolverine's claws disappeared back into his hands. "Sorry, Kid. I thought you might be someone else." He frowned. "What are you doing here? I thought you were off in college."
"I graduated a few months ago." Jubilee frowned and her voice got softer. "But you wouldn't know that, would you?"
"Sorry, Kiddo. Guess I really haven't been around ya much lately."
"It's okay," Jubilee said, shrugging her shoulders. "I know how you are, Logan. I've gotten used to it."
Wolverine gave her a puzzled look. "What do you mean by that?"
Jubilee walked over and kissed him on the cheek. "It's good to see you, Wolvie." She walked away from him and went back into her room.
Wolverine shook off his confusion and walked down the hall.
*** *** ***
Logan opened the door to his room. It was dark and still, reminding him of a tomb. He threw his dufflebag on a chair and then lay down on the bed. He could still smell her on the pillow, and Logan felt his stomach tying up in knots. He got up and began to wander around the room slowly. He could see her face—hear her voice—everywhere. She even still had some of her things there, although the tangible reminders of her were mostly gone.
He walked past the closet and saw that the silk, emerald-green dress he'd given her the first Christmas they spent as a couple was still hanging there. He could remember when he'd bought it. He'd felt strange shopping for a dress by himself, and he wasn't quite what sort of style to buy. Jean had loved it, though, and that had made it all worthwhile. Now she was gone, but the dress was still there. Wolverine took it from the closet and ran his hand over the fabric. It was the color of her eyes and as smooth as her skin. She'd worn that dress the night he'd proposed, and the memory was still fresh and clear in his mind.
He'd taken her out to a nice restaurant, trying to be the sort of gentleman that he felt she deserved. She'd looked stunning that night, with her red-gold hair falling down and hitting the material of her dress, and Logan couldn't believe that he was lucky enough to have her love. After all his years of waiting, Jean was his.
It was late by the time they got back to the mansion, and Jean had just wanted to go to bed, but Logan had convinced her to go up to the roof with him. They sat there together for a long time, watching the stars with Jean cuddled up next to Logan. Logan had been unsure of the perfect thing say, so he'd opted to just silently slip the ring on her finger instead. Jean had looked down at her hand and Wolverine had watched as realization slowly moved up her face. Tears had welled up in her eyes, and Logan had thought she was going to run away, tell him that she just couldn't commit to him like that, but she hadn't. Instead, she had thrown her arms around him, smothering him with kisses, telling him how she wanted nothing more in the world than to be his wife. It had been one of the few truly happy moments of Wolverine's misery-filled life.
Logan snapped back to reality and stared down at the dress. "Why'd ya have to do this to me, Darlin'?" he asked aloud. His claws suddenly shot out of his hands, and in seconds, the dress was in shreds.
Wolverine retracted his claws and clutched a scrap of emerald-green fabric to his chest. "Oh, Jeannie," he cried as he fell to his knees.
*** *** ***
Hours later, Wolverine heard a knock on his door. He tried to ignore it, but the sound wouldn't go away, no matter how hard he tried to will it. He stormed over the door and threw it open. "What!?" he growled.
"Jeez, Wolvie, what's with you tonight?" Jubilee asked. "That's the second time you've seemed, uh, less than thrilled to see me." She thrust the tray of food she was holding at him. "Here, I thought you might be hungry."
Wolverine took the tray. "Sorry, Kiddo," he said. "I've been a little cranky."
Jubilee shrugged her shoulders. "Cranky, huh. What's new?"
Logan gave her a wry grin. "You wanna come in, or are ya just gonna stand there all day?" he asked.
"Am I welcome?"
"I just invited you in, didn't I?"
Jubilee walked into the room, shutting the door behind her with a light kick. Wolverine sat the tray down on a table. "How ya been, Kid?" he asked.
"Good, I guess," Jubilee replied. "I have my degree now, and I think I'm going to be a teacher." Logan chuckled at that, but Jubilee ignored him, continuing to speak. "When I told Ms. Frost she just gave me this funny little smile and said something about how I should take karma into consideration before making a career choice."
Logan sat down and began to eat. "She may have a point there, Darlin'," he said between bites.
Jubilee nervously twirled her long, black hair around one of her fingers. "I was not that bad," she said. "Besides, I'm a lot more mature than I used to be."
Logan looked almost amused. "Ya are, huh, Kiddo?"
"Well, yeah. I'm not thirteen anymore. Just turned twenty-three as a matter of fact."
A look of obvious surprise went over Logan's face. "You're that old? Well, not that that's really all that old but you…" His voice trailed off as he began to look her up and down, noticing that her little girl's figure had faded away, leaving in its place that of a very attractive young woman. "Yeah, I guess you have grown up."
The intense look in Wolverine's eyes as he studied her made Jubilee nervous. She crossed her arms tightly in front of her stomach. "Mind if I sit down?" she asked.
Wolverine gestured to the chair across from him. "Sit."
Jubilee lowered herself into the chair quickly. "So, um, how are you feeling?" she asked after a moment. "Besides cranky."
Wolverine glanced out the corner of his eye at the pile of dress scraps in front of the closet. "Can't complain."
"Don't lie to me."
Wolverine looked down at the ground. "I don't wanna talk about it right now, Kid."
"Will you want to talk about it later?"
"Fine then," Jubilee said as she pushed herself up from the chair and started to leave.
Wolverine jumped up and ran in front of her, blocking the door. "We can talk about something else," he said. "Don't leave,"
Jubilee was startled by the almost desperate tone in his voice. Since when was Wolverine so in need of companionship? Jubilee knew she couldn't leave him then, although she figured he probably would've left her, had the situation been reversed. He'd left her enough in the past. And the last time had been for five years… "I'll stay, Wolvie," she said.
*** *** ***
Wolverine woke early the next morning to find Jubilee curled up beside him on the couch, asleep. They'd talked for hours the night before, and Wolverine had realized just how much he'd missed her. He felt guilty for staying away from her for so long, so caught up in his own life to realized that he'd been ignoring Jubilee. He petted her hair, and promised her silently that he'd never to turn his back on her again.
Wolverine continued to watch her, and after a while, her blue eyes opened and she looked at him with what appeared to be almost adoration. "Mornin' Kid," he said.
"Mornin' Wolvie." Jubilee sat up and rubbed her eyes. "What time is it?"
Jubilee started to get up. "I've got to go," she said. "I have a Danger Room session with Hank and Remy at eight."
Wolverine raised an eyebrow. "You assigned that time or did ya pick it?"
Jubilee smiled. "I picked it. I don't sleep nearly as late as I used to. College classes weaned me off that."
"Come back and see me later, okay Darlin'?"
Jubilee frowned. "You're not leaving this room all day, are you?" she asked.
"Wasn't plannin' on it," Logan said.
"You shouldn't stay locked up in here like that," Jubilee said. "It isn't good for you. Besides, don't you usually like to spend time outside when you're upset about something?"
"I'm not all that upset," Wolverine said.
"Right. I know you way too well to believe that one, Wolvie."
"Maybe you're not the only person who's changed, Jubilation."
"You haven't changed, Logan. You don't want to leave this room because you're afraid you'll run into Jean or Scott if you try to go downstairs. You're running from your problems the same way you always have."
Wolverine looked at her, defiance and anger flashing in his eyes. "That ain't true, Darlin'. I don't run from anything."
Jubilee threw her hands up in the air. "Fine, Wolvie, you're right. You don't run from your problems. You don't push away the people who care for you. You've been a part of my life for the past five or so years, somehow I've just missed it. I'm the crazy one, Logan, because you've never rejected me, never said you'd be there and then weren't just because it was easier for you to simply disappear. That's not your personality at all, Wolverine."
Wolverine jumped up from the couch and started to yell at her, but he stopped short. Her words had hit a nerve. The pain in her eyes made his stomach twist. "You better get goin', Kid."
Jubilee nodded and began to walk away.
"I'll see you later, right?" he called after her.
"Yeah, sure, Logan."
*** *** ***
"End program," Gambit called as the scenery melted away, leaving nothing in its place but and almost-empty wall with metal walls. He turned to Jubilee. "You all right, Petite?" he asked.
"Of course," she said. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"I believe our Cajun comrade is referring to the fact that you were a tad more…how shall I put it…vicious in today's session than you usually tend to be," Beast said.
Jubilee pushed a strand of hair that had gotten escaped from her ponytail out of her face. "If I was, it wasn't on purpose," she said.
"Does dis have anyt'ing to do wit' Logan commin' back?" Gambit asked.
"Whether Wolverine is here or not makes no difference to me whatsoever," Jubilee replied.
Remy and Hank gave each other an incredulous look that Jubilee didn't catch, but both decided not to push the issue. "Well, I'm supposed to meet Rogue to decide on colors or somt'ing like dat, so I guess I better go," Gambit said.
Jubilee gave the first smile that Gambit and Beast had seen her give all day, but a sad look still lingered in her eyes. "I still can't believe you two are getting married," she said
"Neit'er can I," Gambit said, shaking his head.
*** *** ***
Jubilee walked down the hall towards her room. She wanted nothing more in the world than to take a long, hot shower and change into some old, comfortable clothes. After Wolverine's reappearance, staying up most of the night before talking to him, and now her workout in the Danger Room, Jubilee felt drained.
Suddenly, Wolverine walked out of his room and into the hall. Jubilee felt her heart sink at the sight of him. She wasn't ready to see him quite yet after their conversation that morning. Logan looked a little startled to see her in the hallway, and Jubilee realized that that was not an expression she saw him wear often.
Wolverine stopped a few feet in front of Jubilee. "Is that your uniform, Darlin'?" he asked.
He was looking her over with the same intense gaze he had had the night before and Jubilee felt herself grow self-conscious. "Um, yeah," she said.
"What, did ya cut some fabric off Betsy's old uniform or somethin'?" Logan asked.
Jubilee blushed and looked away. "It's not that revealing," she said. "Besides, it allows for freedom of movement."
Wolverine raised his eyebrows and chuckled. "I bet it does. But I think ya need to throw a yellow raincoat over it before you go out in public."
Jubilee laughed nervously. "That isn't funny, Wolvie." She looked up and met his eyes. "Does it look bad?"
Wolverine swallowed hard as he regarded her for a moment. She was small, but shapely, with what Logan considered nice curves and great legs. She had long, dark hair, pouty lips, and the type of Asian features which he'd always favored. Logan silently scolded himself, remembering that it was Jubilee he was looking at. "Nah, Darlin' it looks good," he said. He looked over her one more time, then added, "A little too good."
The expression that suddenly came over Wolverine's face shocked Jubilee. "Is that a leer?" she asked herself before deciding that she must be imagining things. Still, she felt the blush that had started on her cheeks spreading to her whole body. "I thought you were going to stay in your room all day," she said in an attempt to change the subject.
"I decided to go downstairs and see how everyone's been," Wolverine said.
"You don't have to go down there just because…"
"I ain't goin' down because of what you said earlier, Kid."
"Oh." Jubilee started searching her mind for something to say in order to break the awkward silence. "Gambit and Rogue are engaged," she said finally.
Wolverine laughed and the warmth of the sound made Jubilee relax. "Figures they would break down and get hitched someday," he said. "Still, I'm not sure who I feel worse for, him or her."
"Do you feel bad for them because they're getting married?" Jubilee asked.
"Nope. I feel bad for them because they're marrying each other." Logan thought for a moment. "Marriage ain't so bad, I guess—as long as it ain't to someone like Viper."
"More like when it's to someone like Jean?" Jubilee regretted saying the words as soon as they were out of her mouth.
Wolverine flared up. "Don't do that to me, Kid. Don't say stuff you know is gonna affect me, especially where Jean's concerned. I'm not sure I can control my reaction."
"Are you saying you'd hurt me?" Jubilee asked.
"Not intentionally, but I never know what I'd do if I got mad enough."
"Why do you let Jean get to you like that still?" Jubilee asked. "From what I heard she left you."
"I'm warnin' ya, Jubilation, stop it."
"So I've heard."
Jubilee was sick of arguing. "I'm going to take a shower," she said.
"See ya, Kid."
Jubilee walked over to her door, put her hand on the doorknob, and stopped. "I'm not a kid anymore," she said, staring forward.
"I know, Darlin'."
Jubilee went into the room, closing the door behind her.
Wolverine started to go downstairs, but changed his mind and went back to his room instead.
*** *** ***
Jubilee got out of the shower and changed into a pair of sweatpants and an old, faded T-shirt. She sat down of the edge of the bed, opened the bedside table drawer that she used as sort of a catchall, and took out her brush. Under the brush was an old picture of her and Wolverine that was taken when she was fifteen. That had been back when she'd thought of him as "her Wolvie." She set her brush down beside her on the bed and picked up the picture. Her hands began to tremble as she looked down and the snapshot, remembering how happy she'd been—how much she'd loved and trusted him—before he'd just vanished from her life for five long years. The last time she'd really spent any time with him was when she graduated from the Massachusetts Academy, and after that he'd slipped further and further away from her, until it had come to a point where he wasn't even aware of the fact that she'd graduated from college and rejoined the X-Men.
Jubilee crumpled up the picture in her suddenly steady hands and threw it as far away from her as she could. He wasn't "her Wolvie" anymore, and she wasn't sure if he ever really had been. She was mad at herself for talking to him the night before, unable to say no when he'd ask her not to leave. How many times had he left when she'd asked—no begged—him to stay? Jubilee was angry now—angry with Logan for abandoning her and mad at herself for allowing him to hurt him in the first place. Every negative thought she'd ever had towards Wolverine, all the hurt she'd kept locked up inside, suddenly came rushing to the surface. She got off the bed, strode over to her desk, sat down, took out a pen and paper, and began to write:Logan, I remember a time when you were everything to me—my mentor, my teammate, my best friend. I put all my faith in you, even when you'd let me down more times that I even care to count. But that's over now. I'm not going to be your ever-faithful little Jubilee anymore. I just can't be. It's too much for me to be close to you—it's too much for anyone. I can finally see why Jean would choose Scott over you. Scott's the kind of man who's safe to love—you're not. I can never be sure with you, can never know that you won't push me away when I need you the most. You ask so much of people, Logan, always wanting them to adapt to your way of life, but you're never willing to give in for them, even a little bit. You can't see past yourself, can't see more than what you want. You act as if the world is nothing but cruel to you, ignoring every good thing in your life, believing that you can't hold on to anything that doesn't hurt. You expect everyone to just step back and let you brood, no matter how much it hurts the people that care about you the most. In a word, Logan, you're selfish. When you came back this time, I tried to be mad at you. I wanted so badly to hate you for all you've done to me, but I couldn't. I saw you, and somehow all those years worth of anger just melted away. I guess you've always had that effect on me. But now I've realized that I can—and should—be mad at you. I'm not your "sidekick" anymore. I'm not some pitiful little kid tagging along after the "Great Wolverine" like some hopelessly devoted puppy. I'm not desperate for your acceptance anymore. I don't need it. Whatever friendship we had in the past is gone now. I know I'll never be able to forget I knew you, but hopefully someday I'll be able to get beyond all the pain you've caused me. Good-bye, Logan. Jubilee
Jubilee read over the note and immediately knew she could never give it to him. Yes, Logan had hurt her, but she still could not do something that would cause him the sort of pain that she knew the letter would. She folded it up, shoved it in her bedside table drawer, and climbed into bed, praying for the comforting sleep that would take her away from reality.
*** *** ***
The following afternoon, Jubilee sat on the couch in the recroom, eating popcorn and watching a rather boring movie when Bobby Drake came in. "Hey, Kid!" he said a little too loudly for Jubilee.
"Bobby?" she asked in surprise. "Aren't you supposed to be teaching in Massachusetts now?" She frowned. "And knock off that 'Kid' thing."
"I would if it didn't bother you so much," Bobby said with a crooked grin. "And yes, I am supposed to be at the Academy, but apparently Emma forgot to take her happy pills this week and she's taking it all out on me."
"So you're here hiding from her?"
Bobby hung his head in shame. "When you put it that way, I sound pathetic."
"You are pathetic," Jubilee said. "Tell me again what possessed you to marry Frosty."
"Seemed like a good idea at the time."
"You were drunk."
"Exactly!" Bobby explained as if that was a perfectly good explanation.
"You love her, Drake?" Jubilee asked.
Bobby shuffled a little. "When she's not trying to kill me, yes. Can we change the subject?"
"Sure. What to?" Jubilee asked.
"Um, what about you? Head Logan's back. How do you feel about that?"
Jubilee groaned. "Can't you think of a better topic than that?"
"That bad, huh?"
Jubilee sighed. "I don't know. Maybe. He hasn't really done anything to me except talked to me and, for the most part, seemed to enjoy my company," she said.
Bobby put his hand on Jubilee's shoulder. "You've had to talk to Wolverine? I feel for you, Kid, I really do."
Jubilee shot him a dirty look. "That isn't the problem, Drake. The problem is the fact that Logan basically ignored me for years and now he's acting like nothing's really changed. But Logan's too confusing a topic of conversation."
"Something new then?" Bobby asked.
"Please." Jubilee thought for a second. "Rogue and Gambit's wedding?"
Bobby acted out a very elaborate death-by-gagging scene, where he ended up sprawled out on the floor in front of the couch. He opened one eye and looked up at Jubilee. "Please…Anything but that…" he begged. "I came downstairs to escape hearing Rogue go on and on and on about flower arrangements. Makes me glad I just woke up married."
Jubilee giggled and threw a piece of popcorn down at Bobby. He sat up with an evil grin. Nothing could beat a good food fight…
*** *** ***
Scott came downstairs to find Bobby and Jubilee pelting each other with popcorn. "Ow! That one was frozen!" Jubilee's yell was followed by Bobby's best attempt at maniacal laughter. Scott shook his head, smiling at the fact that although much had changed in the five years he'd been gone, the little things had remained the same.
Scott cleared his throat, and Bobby and Jubilee stopped short, both of them being hit by the last pieces of flying popcorn. "Stop the guilty faces. I'm not here to yell at either of you," Scott said. "Bobby, Emma is here looking for you."
"No!" Bobby yelled, ducking behind Jubilee. "You'll never take me alive!"
"Jubilee, can you help me get him upstairs?" Scott asked.
"Sure thing, Boss Man," Jubilee said as she took Bobby by one arm with Scott grabbing his other.
Bobby looked up at Jubilee. "Et tu, Jubilation?" he asked with overly-dramatic sadness.
"I'm doing this for your own good," Jubilee said as she and Scott drug Bobby up the stairs.
"How is this for my own good?" Bobby asked. "She's evil!"
"Who's evil, Robert?" Emma Frost asked as they approached her at the top of the stairs.
Bobby screamed and clung to the wall with all his mite. "Don't turn me over to her! Somebody help!"
Emma pried Bobby off the wall. "We're going downstairs to talk in private now, Robert. Come on." She started pulling him towards the recroom.
"But I just left there!" Bobby cried. "I don't wanna go back!"
"Too bad," Emma growled.
"You know, I can't help but feel bad for him," Scott said once Emma closed the door.
Jubilee nodded. "Well, I guess there are worse people to be married to than Emma Frost."
Scott frowned. "Probably," he said, "but I can't think of many."
*** *** ***
Bobby's complaining came to an abrupt stop as soon as the recroom's door was shut. Emma let go of his arm and sat down on the couch. She picked up a piece of popcorn and began to roll it between two fingers absentmindedly with her gaze directed at the carpet. "What chased you off this time, Bobby?" she asked.
"Didn't seem much like you wanted me around," Bobby said as he walked over and sat beside her.
"I did," Emma said, her voice barely audible.
Bobby pushed a strand of light-blonde hair behind her ear and her eyes shifted up to look at him and then back down at the carpet. "I love you, Emmy," he said with a grin.
Emma got up and moved into his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck and resting her head on his shoulder. "I was worried when I woke up and you weren't there," she said, her voice soft, timid, and warm.
"Well, I didn't go too far," Bobby said, holding her close to him.
She looked up, her eyes meeting his for the first time since they'd come into the room. "You just wanted me to come after you, didn't you—wanted me to come and ask you back home," Emma said.
Bobby smiled at her, moving his eyebrows up and down, making Emma laugh. She playfully slapped him on the arm. "You're impossible, Drake."
"Yeah, I know. But you love me anyway."
"How could I not?" Emma asked. "There's just something so charming about you."
Bobby puffed up his chest, and Emma giggled, slapping his arm again. Bobby leaned in and kissed her, then slowly lowered her with him down on the couch, knowing that no one would come down to the recroom as long as they thought the White Queen was on the rampage.
*** *** ***
Emma led Bobby through the main part of the mansion. "Hurry up, Robert," once again taking on the icy demeanor that she presented the world. "You've kept me away from more important matters long enough."
Bobby followed after her, head hung down. Jubilee looked up as they passed her in the living room and noticed that they both seemed somewhat more rumpled than they had when they'd first gone down to the recroom. Bobby looked up just long enough to give Jubilee a wink. Realization sunk in and Jubilee's jaw dropped. Bobby followed his wife out the front door.
"You okay, Kid?" Wolverine asked came into the room from behind Jubilee.
"Yeah, Frost and Drake were…" She stopped short and turned around to face him. "Wolvie you came downstairs!"
"Yeah, I was kinda startin' to get bored up there," he said. "So you said the Drakes showed up, huh? They haven't killed each other yet?"
"Nope. And I'm starting to wonder if there's more to that relationship than they're letting on. It would be just like Drake to fake us all out, and Emma surely wouldn't want to loose her Mega-Bitch reputation by showing her softer side in public," Jubilee replied.
"Softer side? Emma Frost? You smokin' somethin,' Jubes? That woman's meaner than I am!" Wolverine said.
"Meaner than you, huh?"Jubilee thought. "Maybe, but Emma never deserted me—you did…" "She's nicer than any of you guys realize. She always cared a lot about us kids…Was always there for us."
"I'm goin' out for a walk, Kid. Wanna join me?" Wolverine asked
"No, thank you, I'd rather just stay in right now," Jubilee said, reminded of her anger. She hated the way he acted like nothing bad had ever happened between them—especially when she was the angriest, it seemed.
"Oh, okay," Logan said, with a rare tone of disappointment in his voice. "I wan kind hopin' I could spend some more time with ya. I've missed ya, Darlin'."
Jubilee forced herself to be immune to the sad, almost pleading look in his eyes, remembering how angry she was. "Well, is you missed me so much you should've done something about it five years ago! Dammit, Logan, you could've at least sent me a freaking postcard!" She tried to calm herself, suddenly becoming aware of the fact that she'd worked herself up to the point where she was shaking.
Logan looked away, ashamed. He knew there was nothing that he could say or do to make up for staying away from her so long. She'd looked up to him, seen him as her best friend, and he'd let her down. He'd never realized how much him being around had meant to her until it was too late. He knew he should say something, but he'd never been very good at apologies. A mumbled "I'm sorry" was all he could manage.
"Why did you do it to me, Wolverine?" Jubilee asked, her voice trembling. "Why'd ya push me outta your life?"
"I didn't mean to, Darlin,' really I didn't," Logan said. "It's just—so much had happened over the past five years…I didn't realize…you weren't here and…"
"So you just forgot about me, is that it?" Jubilee shouted between choked crying sounds.
"No! That ain't it at all!" Wolverine said in his own defense. "I never forgot about ya, and I never meant to hurt ya! I ain't sayin' I was right not to keep in touch, but there ain't nothin' I can do about that now. You're important to me, Jubilation, and I don't wanna loose ya. I can't fix the past, but I can do somethin' about the future. We've been through too much together to forget it all. I say we just start right here, in this very moment, as friends, and then see where it goes."
Jubilee wanted to tell him no, to push him away from her for good, to tell him everything she'd written in that letter, but she knew she'd never be able to deny him anything, no matter how much he hurt her. "Still want company on that walk?" she asked.
Logan smiled at her, and they left the mansion together.
*** *** ***
Jubilee and Wolverine walked arm and arm through the woods outside the mansion, talking and laughing with a familiarity reserved only for the oldest and dearest of friends. Jubilee felt the last of her anger dissipate, and she wanted to kick herself for having such a soft spot for the hairy little Canadian. Wasn't he the one who'd taught her to be tough?
"Logan, can I ask you a question," Jubilee said.
"Sure, Darlin'," he replied.
"Promise you won't get mad."
"Ain't makin' any promises on that one, but I'll do my best."
Jubilee took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. "What happened between you and Jean?"
"That ain't somethin' I wanna talk about, Kid."
"There you go again, keeping everything all bottled up inside," Jubilee said. "That's gonna cause a hurt greater than any amount of mutant healing factor can ever help, Wolverine."
Logan hung his head, clenching and unclenching his fists, as if he was straining to keep his claws inside. "We were gonna get married, Jeannie an' me," he blurted out, "And damn, Jubes I was happy. I had what I'd always dreamed of, right there in my arms. I had some business I had to take care of up north, but that was gonna be it. I was gonna come home to Jean and marry her, settle down with her. I was gonna give up all my ol' loner ways an' be the best husband to that woman that I could possibly be. But when I got back I…I…I found her in Scott's arms. That 'bout killed me, Jubilee. I still ain't sure how I got through it—if I'm through it yet."
Jubilee stared at him for a moment, dumbfounded. She'd asked him the question, but never in a million years had she actually expected him to answer it. She'd just been testing the waters, seeing how far she could push their reborn "friendship," but now he's actually opened up to her in a way he never really had before. "Are you still in love with her?" Jubilee asked.
Logan stood there in silence for a long while before he answered, "No, I don't think so. Not anymore. I always thought that we were meant for each other somehow, always had a part of me clingin' to that dream. Thought that if I could just get her away from Scott, show her how great we'd be together, that she'd see how we're made for each other. But I think seein' how quickly she ran back to him finally got it through my thick skull that she wants him more than she could ever want me."
Jubilee didn't think that anything that Wolverine could say would ever shock her more than the first thing he said about Jean, but he'd already gone and proven her wrong. She hoped he actually felt the way he was claiming to, for everyone's sake. She cautiously placed her hand on his arm. "It is better this way, Logan," she said. "You wouldn't have been happy, settling down the way you were talking about. You have too much of a wanderer's nature."
Logan gave her a puzzled look. "Thought you said you hated me runnin' off all the time," he said.
"It's not your running off that I mind," she said. "It's when you run so fast and so far that you don't take the time to look back and remember the people who care about you that I get a little pissed off."
"I coulda stopped runnin' for Jeannie."
"I don't think you could've, Logan," Jubilee said. "You've never been the kind that takes well to domestication."
Logan's temper began to flare slightly. "What, am I too much of an animal?" he asked.
"Oh, please don't start with that again," Jubilee replied. "You're not some sort of wild animal, Wolvie. You're just a very passionate man who needs a woman who can keep up with you, not someone who expects you to turn into the ideal husband overnight."
Wolverine growled and slammed his fist into a tree, denting its bark and making Jubilee jump back a few steps. "Why can't this be any easier for me?" he yelled. "Dammit, as old as I am, you'd think I'd have found some real peace by now!"
Jubilee frowned. "Maybe you haven't been looking in the right places."
"Where else can I look, Darlin'?" he asked. "There's no place left! Sometimes I think maybe I've found whatever it is that's missin' inside of me, but then its gone before I can get a grasp on it." He stretched his arms out at his sides as if to emphasize how vast his emptiness truly was.
Jubilee surprised herself as well as Logan when she moved into his outstretched arms and hugged him. He responded, holding her as tight as he could without crushing her. He savored the feel of her next to him. It had been so long since he'd let anyone this close. He took a deep breath and inhaled her scent. She smelled so damn good…
Logan let go of Jubilee and moved back, ashamed of the turn his thoughts were beginning to take. How could he think such things about her? Had it really been that long since he'd held a woman in his arms? She looked up to meet his eyes, but he shifted his gaze back down to the ground. "We should be getting' back to the mansion before they start wonderin' where we are," he said.
Jubilee tried to sort through her confusion. He'd opened up to her, but now he was just as closed off to her as ever. She couldn't help but wonder if she'd done anything wrong. "Yeah, let's go back," she said.
Wolverine walked ahead of her without looking back, and Jubilee felt alone.
*** *** ***
Logan paced his room, trying to forget Jubilee's scent and just how good it had felt to hold her in his arms. He couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. Jubilee was just a kid, not someone whom he should think about like this.
But that was the problem. Jubilee wasn't a kid anymore. Any man would've noticed that. Still, she was the same person he'd known since she was just a thirteen-year-old mall rat. He knew this had to be only because he hadn't been able to bring himself to be with a woman since Jean had left him, but that didn't excuse his feelings towards Jubilee…
Logan sat down on the couch and buried his face in his hands. He'd thought he was getting himself sorted out, but he knew that he was just as twisted up as ever. He figured he must of hit rock bottom, thinking about someone that young—especially Jubilee—like that. He wondered if he should try to beat himself up, the way he would've anyone else reacting to Jubilee the way he was. He wished now that he hadn't pushed her so hard to forgive him, hadn't told her he wasn't going to leave her again.
He heard a knock at the door and knew it was Jubilee. He didn't want to see her. "Don't trust yourself around her is more like it, Bub," he muttered to himself. Still, he knew he couldn't just ignore her, and he was sure she knew he was in there..
He took a deep breath, then went over to the door to answer it. Careful to keep his emotions in check so as to avoid doing something he'd regret later, he opened the door just enough so he could look out at her. "Now ain't a good time, Kid."
Jubilee threw her arms up in the air. "What the hell is wrong with you this time!" she exclaimed. "First you open up to me, then you push me away again! Do you have multiple personalities or something? Whatever happened to starting our friendship over and seeing where it goes?"
Wolverine stepped into the doorway a little more and crossed his arms over his chest. "Maybe I don't like where it's goin'."
Unable to take anymore of the emotional roller coaster she'd been riding ever since Wolverine had come back to the mansion, Jubilee burst into an uncontrollable fit of tears. "Why do you always do this?" she asked between her sobs. "Do you like seeing me in so much pain?"
"No…it ain't that, it's just…" Logan stopped in mid-sentence and pulled her into his arms, not able to keep himself from comforting her the way he always had when she'd cried as a young girl. She fell against him, leaning heavily against him for support, and Logan froze as the same feelings he'd had towards her in the woods came flooding back to him. He pushed her away in an almost-defensive gesture. "Get outta here, Kid," he said gruffly, afraid of what he'd do if she stayed.
Jubilee stared up at him, her hurt and shock at his behavior apparent in her eyes. She didn't understand how he could be so warm one second, then so cold the next. Jubilee wished in that moment that she'd given him that letter, that she'd just gone ahead and told him exactly how she felt. Their friendship obviously meant so little to him, what would it matter if she went ahead and drove the final nail into the coffin? Why should she worry about his feelings anyway, when he obviously had such little regard for hers?
"That's it, Wolverine!" she yelled. "I've had more than enough of you and your brooding moodiness. I don't know what the hell your problem is, and frankly, I don't care. I don't want have to deal with you anymore, so I'm just not going to. If you want to be the great martyr who must forever suffer and never know what it is to truly care for anyone, then fine, you can just go right along doing that. Hurt yourself all you want, just stop hurting me in the process!"
Her words cut deep, and Logan felt bad for hurting her, but what choice did he have? How could he explain what went on inside of his head every time she came near him? But that look of pure pain in her eyes… "Jubes…I…" Logan said, reaching out to touch her arm.
Jubilee jumped back from him. "Don't you dare touch me!" she screamed. "Don't you even talk to me! I'm sick and tired your constant mood swings! I've had enough!" She ran down the hall to her room, went inside, and slammed the door.
Wolverine stared at the shut door for a long time before he finally went back into his own room.
*** *** ***
Jubilee woke up around three o'clock the next morning, feeling awful. Her head was pounding, her skin felt as if it were on fire, and she was incredibly nauseous. She drug herself out of bed and practically crawled into the bathroom. She pulled herself up on the edge of the sink and opened her medicine cabinet. "Nothing," she muttered. "Not even any of the pink stuff…"
She put on her robe as best she could and made her way to the door, going out into the hall and making slow steps towards Rogue's room. She knocked. No answer. She knocked again. Still nothing. "Probably with Gambit," Jubilee thought.
She made her way down the hall to Storm's room, but there was no answer there either. Jubilee cursed. It wasn't like Ororo to stay out this late…
She glanced at Wolverine's door. She didn't want to see him, that was for sure. "Not that he'd have any medicine with those powers of his," she said. "If he's even home, that is. He probably got mad at me and went down to Auger's Inn…"
Jubilee went further down the hall until she reached the stairs. She made the mistake of looking down and her head began to swim. She knew there'd be medicine downstairs, but she wasn't sure she could make it. Jubilee gathered the little bit of strength she had left and took hold of the railing, beginning her slow decent down the stairs. She knew she had no choice but to go downstairs. If she didn't take something soon, she'd just get worse.
She was almost down the stairs when the dizziness became too much for her to handle, and she collapsed. Jubilee felt certain she'd smack into the ground, but instead a pair of strong, warm arms stopped her.
"I gotcha, Darlin'," she heard Logan's voice rumble above her.
She looked up, her vision blurry, "Wolvie?" she managed to say.
"In the flesh, Kid," he replied with a small grin. "You sick?"
"I think so. I feel awful…"
"I gotta get you back up to bed," Logan said, lifting her up to cradle in his arms.
"I need some medicine…" Jubilee said.
"I know, and I'll get you some," he promised. "Let's just get you back to your room first."
Jubilee was too weak to refuse the help he was offering. She leaned her head against his firm, muscular chest and let him carry her back to her room. Once they were there, he laid her down on the bed and pulled the covers over her. "Stay right here, Darlin'," he said. "I'll be back."
She managed a small nod, and Wolverine left the room. He came back a few minutes later with a bottle of medicine and a cool washcloth, which he placed on her forehead. He helped her lift her head up slightly to take a spoonful of the syrupy liquid, then gently tilted her back on the pillow. He caressed her cheek with his thumb. "Get some rest now, Darlin'," he said. "You need it."
Jubilee gave him a weak smile, then closed her eyes, quickly falling back asleep. Logan pulled a chair up to her bedside, and watched her sleep, relieved to be feeling nothing but caring concern for her instead of whatever it was he'd been feeling earlier.
*** *** ***
Jubilee woke the next morning to find Logan asleep in a chair beside her. Her head still hurt some, and she was a little queasy, but her fever had broken and, all in all, she felt much better. She smiled as she thought of how Wolverine had taken care of her the night before, but then frowned when she realized she was doing it all over again. She was letting him worm his way back into her heart. Jubilee sighed as she thought about how really, he'd never even left it. He was her Wolvie, always and forever—even when he was acting like a complete and total ass.
Wolverine stirred a little, and his eyes opened. His lips turned up in a crooked smile as he saw that Jubilee was awake and looking much better than she had the night before. "You gonna live, Kid?" he asked groggily.
"Looks like it," she said, returning his smile.
Wolverine noticed that he was comfortable around her, not at all affected the way he'd been the day before. "Must've been a passin' thing," he thought. "Sorry 'bout how I acted yesterday, Jubes," he said. "I wasn't feelin' much myself."
"It's all right, Wolvie," Jubilee said. "As long as you don't do it again, all's forgiven."
"I'll be on my best behavior from now on," he promised her.
"You being on your best behavior is supposed to assure me?" Jubilee asked. "Why don't you be on, say Hank's best behavior instead?"
Wolverine grinned at her again. "Don't think I could pull that one off, Kid. Looks like you're gonna have to put up with just plain ol' me."
Jubilee gave an over-exaggerated sigh. "I guess I can live with that." She ran her tongue over her teeth and frowned. "Yuck…I have an awful taste in my mouth. I need to go brush my teeth," she said.
"You gonna be able to make it in there okay?" Wolverine asked.
"Yeah, I think so," she said, sitting up and waiting a moment for the wooziness to wear off. "You'll be here if I need any help, right?"
Jubilee got up and slowly made her way to the bathroom. She leaned on the counter surrounding the sink for support , cutting herself on a piece of broken tile. "OW!" she yelped.
"You okay, Jubilee?" Logan called from the other room.
"Yeah Wolvie, I'm fine," she said. "Just cut my finger a little. Can you get me a Band-Aid from the drawer beside my bed?"
"Sure thing, Darlin'."
Wolverine opened the drawer as he heard Jubilee turn on the water in the bathroom and begin brushing her teeth. He reached for the Band-Aids, but stopped when he saw a letter with his name on the top. He glanced behind him to make sure Jubilee was still in the bathroom, then he picked up the letter and began to read.
Jubilee came out of the bathroom and stopped short when she saw what Logan had in his hands. He wheeled around to face her. "What is this?" he demanded.
"You weren't supposed to read that!" Jubilee exclaimed.
"When did you write it?"
"Yesterday—early—after we argued in the hall. I was upset!" Jubilee tried to explain herself.
"What's this part about you understandin' why Jean left me?" he asked, the pain in his voice tearing at Jubilee. "That hurts, Kid. Hurts a lot…"
"I'm sorry, Logan…I didn't mean that, I swear! I was just angry! I didn't mean…" Jubilee said. "You weren't supposed to read it…"
Wolverine flung the letter and the box of Band-Aids and Jubilee and stormed out of the room. She didn't even try to go after him this time. She just sat down on the floor beside her bed and cried.
*** *** ***
Jubilee came downstairs to the kitchen a few hours later with a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, and she wasn't sure if it was from whatever had made her so ill the night before, or the fact that Logan had actually read that letter. She saw Rogue sitting alone at the kitchen table, flipping through a bridal magazine. "Where's Wolverine?" she asked.
"He just left," Rogue replied. "Said somethin' about not bein' able to stay around here anymore…"
"And you just left him leave!?" Jubilee yelled.
"Well, yeah," Rogue said. "Am I supposed to be surprised t'see Logan takin' off all of the sudden?"
"How long ago did he leave?" Jubilee asked.
"Just a few minutes ago," Rogue replied, her brow furrowed by confusion at Jubilee's worry over what Rogue personally considered to be quite a common occurrence at the mansion.
"Good, maybe I can still catch him," Jubilee said, running as fast as she could out the door.
Rogue shrugged and turned back to her magazine.
*** *** ***
Wolverine stopped short when he heard Jubilee calling his name. He stood perfectly still, fighting the urge to turn around and face her. What she'd said to him over the past few days, what she'd written in that letter, it had all hurt him more than he'd thought anything ever could. He wondered what was more painful, the fact that it was all so true, or the fact that he'd heard it from his little Jubilee.
Jubilee came to a stop behind him. "Logan?" she said, her voice soft and timid.
"Go away, Kid," Wolverine growled. "I'm leavin' now an' I don't wanna hear any of your usual pleas to get me to stay."
"I wasn't going to ask you to stay," she said. "I don't think the mansion is where you need to be right now."
Wolverine turned around to look at her. "Then what do ya want to say?"
Jubilee took a deep breath, willing herself to stay strong, to hold on to her nerve. "I don't think you need to be here right now, but I don't think you should be alone either. I guess what I'm trying to say is, take me with you."
Wolverine's jaw dropped. "What?"
"Take me with you. Wherever it is you're going, it doesn't matter. Canada, Madripoor, the depths of hell, I don't care. Just take me with you. I can't live without you again."
Logan reached out and took her hand…
- Yes, there's more coming, but I'm not sure how soon it'll be until I can get the second story in the series written, since I'm working on a lot of other fanfic right now (including a much-requested sequel to "Touch of Destiny!") Anyway, leave me feedback and reviews letting me know how you liked it, and if it's even worth continuing!