"Hmph, that tickles."
Forcing his heavy eyes open, he saw Jean looking down at him, relief filling her expression.
"How do you feel."
'Terrible,' he thought, but he replied instead, "Fantastic."
"That was a brave thing you did."
'What? Brave thing?' The memories flooded him, Rogue, dying, he had to save her.
"Did it work?"
"She's fine. She took on a few of your more charming personality traits, but we lived through it."
The thought made him laugh, but a strange almost painful itching in his throat caused him to cough instead. What was wrong with him? He felt hot, achy, just miserable all over.
"She's a little taken with you," Jean continued with a knowing grin.
"Well, you can tell her my heart belongs to someone else."
Her expression changed, becoming slightly uncomfortable. "You know, you and I..."
"How's the professor?" he interrupted.
He pulled her hand up to his to give it a kiss, but an uncontrollable itching sensation filled his nose, and he sneezed on it instead.
'Great, Logan,' he thought. 'That's romantic.'
He sat up, trying to apologize, but the room began to spin and the itching in his throat forced another coughing fit.
He looked up at Jean to see his utter confusion mirrored in her face. "What's going on?"
"I don't know. If I didn't know any better, I'd think you had the flu that's been going around."
"And is still going around." A younger female voice chimed in as an Asian girl, looking completely miserable entered the room. "Dr. Grey, I think I'm..." She held up a Kleenex to her face, coughing and sneezing into it before it was vaporized in her hands by a paff-inducing, sharp sneeze. "... sick." she finished.
"Oh, God. Jubilee's been infected too." Dr. Jean Grey walked over and placed her hand on Jubilee's head. "Yes, and you've got a temperature, too. Do you have any other symptoms?"
Jubilee sneezed once more, lighting up the room with her fireworks. "Well, that can be considered a very different symptom," Jean remarked.
"C'mon, Jubes, let's get you a bed," Jean said wrapping an arm around the sick girl, but staying clear of her hands.
"I'll be back in a second, Logan."
'I don't get sick. I'm the Wolverine,' Logan thought to himself as he got up from the bed, pulling the wires and tubes away from his body.
He made it about half-way to the door when a dizzy spell hit, and he fell to his knees. Holding his head in his hands, he coughed and hacked on the floor. Suddenly a hand came out of nowhere, settling on his shoulder.
Spinning around too quickly, he saw two fuzzy Jean Greys slowly coalescing into one person. A person that was looking less confused and more amused now. Where did she come from? He hadn't heard or smelled her approach.
"Logan, what are you doing on the floor?"
"Coughing my lungs up, apparently. What's going on, Jeanie? I can't be sick. I don't get sick."
"When you touched Rogue and allowed her to absorb your powers, your healing factor was compromised. It took a while for your wounds to heal, and in that time, it looks like you've caught the flu. I've been quarantining patients in here to keep it from spreading to the whole school. C'mon," she said, helping a shaky Logan to his feet. "Let's find you a bed. I think the one next to Jubilee is empty."
Jean helped Logan get comfortable on the bed next to Jubilee. As comfortable as possible, given his coughing fits.
"You lay down and rest. Neither of you," and Jean looked pointedily at Jubilee, "will get out of this room before I say so."
"You'll, like, catch the flu as well, Miss Grey," remarked Jubilee.
Jean stood between the two beds, smiling lightly.
"I won't catch the flu, Jubilee, because, contrary to you, I didn't refuse to get the anti-flu vaccine."
Jubilee already had a good reply to offer, but a sudden coughing fit kept her from using it.
Jean Grey walked to a medicine cabinet, mixed some stuff, and got back to her patients, handing them each a cup.
"Now, take that. It will help you sleep." She waited until both Logan and Jubilee had swallowed the medicine.
Jean then made sure they were all settled in their respective beds, dimmed the lights telekinetically, and walked to the door.
"You both try to sleep now. No one will come in here but me. I'll be back shortly." On this, Jean left the room. The door closed behind her.
Jubilee's lower lip jutted out as she settled down on the bed. She closed her eyes and waited for the sleepy-pills to take effect.
A moment passed, then she turned onto her left side, curling into a fetal position.
Another moment passed and she turned on her right side, leaving her legs stretched down the length of the bed.
And yet another moment passed, so she turned onto her stomach and slammed her head down into the pillow. A chant had begun in her head. 'Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. ...Dammit! What the *#&! is that noise!?'
Lifting her head, Jubilee glared her best bleary-eyed, 'I'm ragin' with fever so bug-off before I SPEW ON YA!' glare. "What. The *#&!. Is goin' on over there?"
"Hey! Watch yer flippin' language." The chattering stopped momentarily as Logan replied.
"I can't sleep with that SOUND! What IS it!?"
Silence reigned until a petulant, "I'm cold." drifted from Logan's bed.
Jubilee snarled (gaining a look of respect from Logan, "Who knew the kid had it in her?") took her top blanket off, and threw it at Logan's bed. "There! Now quiet!" Turning under her cotton sheet, Jubilee continued on in a hushed mumble, "Sheesh, who whudda thunk he'd be such a baby when he's sick?"
"Hey! I heard that!" Logan was feeling just as bad as Jubilee, and he'd tell her how bad just as soon as the room stopped spinning.
"Yeah, well ya can jus- MMMMULP!" Jubilee threw back her sheet and ran for the bathroom, barely making it in time.
Unfortunately, the sound of retching seemed to echo in the small quarantine area. More fortunately, no one was present to see the great Wolverine turn green around the gills and lose the contents of his stomach into a nearby trash can.
Logan just had time enough to resume his position in bed, so Jubilee would not witness him being sick, as she came back from the bathroom. The great Wolverine could NOT be sick that way.
The young Asian girl got back to bed, holding her stomach, then settled in.
"You better?" asked Wolverine, out of concern but feeling just better himself.
'What does he care?' wondered Jubilee. "Yeah," she simply answered, hoping she could sleep now.
For a long moment, which seemed like mere seconds to Jubilee, the room stayed quiet. Maybe she could finally sleep. She started to think about her next shopping spree, the things she would buy, the nice T-shirt she saw... Sleep was claiming her, at last.
Jubilee woke up of her semi-sleep with a start. 'What's wrong, now?' screamed her mind. She sat on her bed, glaring at the man in the bed next to her.
Wolverine was covered with sweat, his fists clutching at the sheets, adamantium claws ripping the mattress. He suddenly opened his eyes and looked around the room like a caged animal.
Before Jubilee could voice a smart remark (she would have to unfreeze from the panic that scream had put her into), Logan had jumped on his shaky legs. Jubilee watched him as he tried to reach the door, but collapsed mid-way.
Jubilee didn't think twice and jumped out of her bed. She ran to him but stopped short, by memories of what he did to Rogue that night when she tried to wake him up. She looked down at him, on the floor. As soon as he seemed to stop fighting whatever ghosts he saw, Jubilee grabbed his arm.
"Hey now, you're not, like passing out on me, old man? Get back to bed. I'll call Miss Grey..."
He resisted her. She thought to use her powers to startle him back to reality, but then thought better. She gently touched his forehead... hot as hell. He would be delirious; she wouldn't be surprised.
" BED! " she ordered. Simple words, she thought, might have some results.
He didn't move. Jubilee sighed. 'Get him back to bed, then call Dr. Grey.' Her plan was that simple.
" BED! NOW! " she shouted to his sweat covered face. She pulled on him, and he finally got a hold on her to shakily stand on his feet.
After she'd gotten him back to bed, she went to the wall and called Dr. Grey on the intercom. Phew! Boy did his breath smell. It's almost as if he'd been the one puking, not her.
"Yes?" a sleepy voice answered.
"Dr. Grey, um, Logan's kinda delirious here. I was wondering if you'd..."
"I'll be right down."
"Ok, the drugs I gave him are already bringing the fever down, and the ice packs should help. Why don't you try to get some sleep, Jubilee. I'll watch him for a while, just to make sure he's ok."
"I can't sleep. I'm hot, and I'm sick, and he keeps doing stuff to wake me up."
"What about the sleep medication I gave you earlier? That should have..."
"Puked it up."
"Ah, so that's what I smell in here. Used the trash can?"
"No, used the toilet."
"Well, I guess someone else in here was sick too. I'll just replace the bag and give you some more medicine."
The rest of the day was a coughing, sneezing, aching nightmare. Logan had woken up a bit more coherent a few hours after Jean had returned and was now miserably coughing his way through the late afternoon hours.
Jean returned to the room with warm chicken broth for her two patients.
"Let's see if we can't get some fluids into you two. How do you feel?"
Logan, through coughs and gags replied, "I know if I could just stop breathing for a few minutes, my throat would feel so much better."
"Mphm... my life too..." grumbled Jubilee from her bed.
Logan stared at the teenager, instinctively growling at her, which only started a new series of loud coughs. Jubilee stared back at him, not impressed at all. Of course, having Dr. Grey in the room would eventually stop the man from trying to slice and dice her if she pushed a tad too far.
"Wow, is that your gift, to, like, stare and growl at people? No, wait, I know! It's, like, to wake everyone who tries to sleep! "
~Jubilee...~ mentally warned Jean Grey.
" .. cuz if it is, well, lemme tell you, mister. You're veryyyyyyyyyyyy powerfull! " she added, ignoring the warning.
Logan threw his blanket away and prepared to jump in the teenager's face, just to scare her and make her shut up. But as soon as he sat in his bed, the room started to spin around. He laid back down, sweating and shivering, mentally cursing at the young, annoying girl.
Jean Grey telekinetically covered Logan with the discarded blanket, then gave each of her patients a bowl of chicken broth. She sat nearby Jubilee's bed until they had gotten some broth. Then she prepared to leave to allow them to rest. Before she left, she placed a plastic pan on Logan's night stand.
He looked at it as if it was alive. "What's that for?" he asked.
"Just a precaution, Logan, and in many ways more convenient than the trash can. Feel free to... you know."
"Hey! What do you *COUGH*... mean... *gag*...!" he protested.
She ignored his attempt at protest. "I'll send someone to check on you later. Now, rest."
Jean smiled then left the room, mentally hoping these two would rest and not fight each other. She knew Jubilee was sometimes a living-test for patience. On the other hand, even if Jean didn't know him for long, she was sure Logan wasn't gifted with patience. She would separate them as soon as possible, but for now, they were too sick to leave the Med Lab.
"And the nightmare continues..." grumbled Jubilee as the door closed behind Jean.
"Shut the hell up, or I'll *COUGH*..."
They both sighed. It was going to be a very long night.
Logan stared up at the ceiling, mentally counting the cracks. Unfortunately, he would be interrupted by a coughing fit somewhere between fifteen and twenty so he had to keep starting over.
Somewhere over on the other bed, Jubilee rustled her sheet as she turned.
Then the bed creaked as she rolled over.
And yet another rustle/creak sounded from the next bed over, followed by a methodical pounding of a head into a pillow.
"Kid, what the hell you doin' over there, gymnastics!?"
Acid dripped from the stuffed-up voice that replied, "Oh, am I keeping you awake, Mr. Personality? So sorry to interrupt your coughing jag."
'I will kill her just as soon as my lungs start functioning again.' "Kid..."
"I ain't no kid! And at least I'm toilet trained. *@)!, did ya have to hurl in the trash can? I don't think the smell'll ever get outta here."
'Why I oughta...' "Watch yer *@)!#&$ language! And I didn't 'hurl' anywhere. I don't 'hurl'!"
"Yeah, tell that to the poor trash can. They'll prob'ly hafta burn the smell out."
Of course, 20 minutes later, when both Jubilee and Logan were rather rudely reintroduced to the chicken broth they'd eaten earlier, the argument was finally settled.
After heated, though sometimes incomprehensible, cough-filled comments about the other person's ability to handle the flu, they had finally gotten settled in again when the door opened and their bloodshot, tired eyes took in the smiling countenance of Rogue.
"Hey, Logan, Jubes. Heard you guys were sick. Jean asked if I'd help out a bit tonight so she could get some shut eye."
Getting through a few deep coughs, Jubes asked, "Rogue, aren't you worried you'll get sick too? You weren't here when everyone got the flu shots."
"Well," Rogue said, smiling at a weak and annoyed Logan, "someone was kind enough to loan me his healing factor for a while. I feel terrific."
Rogue sat by Logan's bed, a look of sorrow in her eyes as she watched him bravely fight — although in vain — another loud coughing fit.
"Are you all right, Logan?" she gently asked, as if apologizing for the events that made him sick and left her feeling plain wonderful.
"Hey, of course he is! *HE* slept all day, which I cannot say I did, thanks to mister I-met-the-trash-can-and-almost-suffocated-Jubilee-to-death-in-the-process!" cut in Jubes.
Logan had enough. He wasn't going to stay one more minute in the same room as Jubilee. He raised from the bed, noticed that Rogue had her long-gloves on. He looked at her.
"Find my jeans, kid." he said, only waiting for his clothes before he could find a quiet place to rest, far away from Jubilee.
"Logan... You shouldn't..." started Rogue.
"You know what, kid? *cough* I... I shouldn't stay here one more minute *cough*..." he retorted. "Now you find these *?%$ jeans, or I'll go *cough* naked..."
The cough which echoed from Jubes' bed wasn't entirely due to the flu. Nor was the blush covering Rogue's face.
"Logan..." started Rogue as she stood in front of him.
"Look, kid. I had *cough* enough already..."
"Hey Rogue, don't ye mess with mister here, or else he might *cough* just puke on you!"
Logan turned to face the teenager in the bed next to his, growling some coughs. "I do NOT puke!" *COUGH*
"Uh huh. Whatever. Suits you."
"Why you, little *cough* *gag*..."
Rogue turned Logan to face her then pushed him back to bed. She had enough herself and couldn't stand more childish behaviour. How Dr. Grey managed to deal with them both was a total mystery to her. Jean Grey went rocket high in Rogue's esteem. *Now I know patience is a gift!* she thought.
"Logan, go to bed." She used all the tactics she could to convince him. "Please, Logan? I'm so sorry you got sick... because of me..."
"Ain't yer fault, kid..." he tried to soothingly say.
"I worry about you... If you... I mean... please, stay in bed?" she looked at him with big wet eyes.
He grumbled (since growling only started coughing) and reluctantly laid back in bed. How could he resist Marie, especially when she felt so bad about it all? The gal had already gone through so much. There was no point adding to it.
"But I swear... *cough*..." he started.
"You always do," cut in Jubes.
"I'm not responsible if *something* happens to her," he finished, blindly pointing at Jubes.
"I'm sure Jubilee will behave." Rogue stared at Jubes, which the teenager thought was quite Loganish.
"Yeah, whatever. If only I had my CD player, could listen to something more entertaining than mister-coughs-growls-pukes-snores..."
"I'll have someone bring it to you, ok?! I have to go." She turned to Logan. "I'll see you later. Take care, okay?"
She almost ran out of the room. Actually, not only because of the patients' childish behaviour, but her newly heightened sense of smell couldn't take more of the putrid odor in the Med Lab room. She would talk to Dr. Grey so she could find someone else to look in on these two patients.
Silence. Three seconds after the door closed.
"I'll say I'm training for Survivor..." whispered Jubes.
Rogue was close to the door to Jean and Scott's room, when a tired Cyclops exited.
"Scott, I need to ask Jean to get someone else. That room..."
"I just got her to sleep. Is it an emergency?"
"Well, no, but those two are impossible and the smell in the room. It's so strong, I just can't stand to be in there."
"No one likes to be sick, and those two can be a handful even when they're well. I'll turn the ventilation on in the room. You get some things to keep them busy."
As she watched Scott go, she thought about what Jubes and Logan might like. Jubes was easy. She just needed her discman, a selection of CDs, some teen magazines, and maybe some ice cream or popsicles, if her stomach had calmed down.
Logan was harder. He liked fighting, cigars, and beer, as well as other things you couldn't discuss in mixed company. He never got sick, so she had no idea what he liked. His throat was sore. Beer popsicles? Eww, no, that'd probably just make him sicker. She decided on some of Scott's old motorcycle magazines, one of those small TV/VCR combos with headphones and a copy of 'Die Hard,' and some nice ice water.
With her peace offerings all collected in a wagon borrowed from one of the smaller kids, she took a deep breath of the clean lab air and entered the quarantine room.
Rogue instinctively stopped just before the door, listening to the other side. All seemed quiet inside the Med Lab room. She sighed and opened the door.
Logan's bed, the nearest to the door, had lost the mattress. It was now on the floor between the bed and the wall. Between the two beds had been placed a screen. Logan was no where to be seen, nor was Jubilee.
"Hello?" Rogue asked, hesitantly.
"If you forgot my discman, get out of here!" came a feminine voice from behind the screen.
Rogue walked over Jubilee's bed. "I got it, and a few other things I thought..."
"Cool! What did you bring?"
Rogue placed on the foot of the bed what she got for Jubes. "Where's Logan?" she asked while Jubilee inventoried her possessions.
"Mphm... potty training?" mumbled Jubes while munching a popsicle.
Rogue then put what she brought for Logan on his bed. She painfully noticed that although the ventilation had been efficient, it didn't quite remove all the stinking odor. She walked to the bathroom door.
"Logan?" she called.
"He must be puking again." commented Jubilee.
"Again?!!" Rogue began to worry a bit more.
"It's O.K. Rogue. If he only stops to try so hard NOT to, he might be as well as I am." explained Jubilee.
Rogue's sense of smell got assaulted again, and she had to move out and fast. "Logan, I brought you some things. If you need anything else, just let me know, O.K.?"
A weird sound came as the only answer, followed by a more fetid odor. "I have to run. I'll be back later!".
Rogue made an hasty run for the door. Dr. Grey was better be rested and soon, because Rogue had had quite enough of Med Lab.
Meanwhile, Jubilee had already wolfed down her 3 popsicles. As soon as she had finished the last one, she regretted it. Her stomach didn't want it as much as she did.
"Whoops.... Oh no..." she grumbled. She ran to the bathroom door, pummelling it. "Hey, get outta there!!!!".
The door opened and she ran in. She ran for the toilet.
Logan stared at her, feeling a bit sorry for the teenager, knowing what it was like. She wasn't that annoying right now.
He made his way back to his makeshift camp, as he called it. Having the mattress on the floor made it look like home. Over all, it helped him get away from the teenager. He stopped by his bed and looked at the things Rogue had brought. He decided that the TV was the best thing to use right now and proceeded to plug it in. He would watch the copy of *Die Hard* when Jubilee tried to sleep, just for good measure.
Thinking of that girl, he turned to look at the bathroom. Weird, no sound. What was she doing in there? He reluctancly walked back to the bathroom.
"Kid, you all right?" he asked.
"Kid?" He finally entered, to find her curled on the floor, sleeping. *Oh, just great!* he thought.
Leaning over, he picked up the sleeping Jubilee gingerly, heading back to her bed. His legs were wobbly, and it took all his effort not to drop her before he reached their destination. He had to pause a few times and lean against the wall to catch his breath. His strength finally gave out as he plopped her on the bed. Fortunately, she was completely exhausted and slept through the rough treatment.
Moving the CDs and magazines off the bed, he tucked her under the covers, and crawled back to his camp.
He was bone weary, but he was so uncomfortable, he couldn't get to sleep, tossing and turning for thirty minutes. He finally gave up and put in the copy of 'Die Hard.' The gun fire, shouting, and explosions did what he was incapable of, lulling him into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Rogue, now safely equipped with swimmer's nose plugs, entered the room to check on her patients. They looked so cute. Logan, bedecked with headphones, was lightly snoring to the chaos occurring on-screen.
Jubes was curled up on her side, the covers bunched so high, her toes peeked out the bottom. Leaning over, Rogue gently tugged the covers back down so her friend would be comfortable. Then she quietly left the room, allowing her friends their much needed rest.
"Achoo! Achoo! ACHOO! ACHOO!! Ooooh my spleeeeen..." Sniffling miserably, Jubilee lifted her head and blinked blearily at the VCR for the time. 'Three hours. Three whole hours. Almost. More like two hours and fourty minutes. Oh well. Not bad. Tired still. Maybe if I close m' eyes?' Jubilee dutifully closed her eyes and attempted to sleep.
Five minutes later she was slammed into wakefulness by a series of bone-jarring sneezes. A pitiful moan from the floor alerted her to awakened state of her companion. "Two hours, forty-five minutes. Beatcha."
"Shuddup, kid. It's not like I didn't carry yer heavy butt in from the bathroom. What've you been eating, lead bricks?"
'OOOOOH! Why I oughta-!' Jubilee considered getting up and kicking the man in his adamantium laced skull, but the idea of rolling out of the bed seemed too difficult a concept. "Ya know, yer a cranky old man when you wake up from yer naps."
A noncommittal grunt was her only reply.
"Where the *! is my discman!?" Her hands slammed down onto the bed beside her, searching for the hard plastic lump that her discman would make.
The snort on the floor was her first clue as to where it had gone. "Where'd a kid like you learn words like that? Watch yer mouth, girl!"
"I ain't no kid!" She fumed over at him (through the screen) from her position on the bed.
"Damn, kid. This 'Britney Spears' cd is garbage. Why the flamin' heck would you have wasted money on it? The Cranberries one was better."
"AAAAARG! That's it! YER DEAD!" She struggled to untangle herself from her bed, but by the time she was out, she had exhausted her energy so completely that she fell back in a limp pile onto the bed with a muffled gurgle.
Feeling sorry for the kid, Logan got up and slipped the discman onto the bed beside her hand. A whimper was his only thanks as the hand moved the headphones onto her head and hit the play button.
'Garbage, Version 2.0' played through the headphones and Jubilee closed her eyes in contentment. She never saw Logan play 'Slice n' Dice' with her 'Britney' cd.
While Jubilee chose another CD, she heard a strange noise coming from Logan's makeshift camp. Was he sick again? She managed to peek by the side of the screen.
"Hey, mister, what was that sound?" she asked.
"Stomach." came as the answer.
"Great, you're gonna be sick again! Why don't you run for the..."
"I'm not sick. I'm hungry." he explained.
"Oh. Well, given that it's only like 4 in the morning, I doubt Dr. Grey will bring us anything to eat before a couple hours. So, what about you... like put a lid on it? I'm trying to listen to music here, in any case you..."
"I need to eat, and now." On that statement, he stood by his bed. Jubilee stared at him, maybe a few seconds too many.
"What?" he grumbled.
"Well, are you gonna like, hunt for food... in those clothes?"
Logan realized that, in fact, he was only wearing his underwear. Not surprising, since he ended up here for emergency treatments. Jean must have gotten rid of his leather outfit. Damn.
Logan grabbed a sheet and, with the slightest effort, tore a piece of it which he tied around his waist. "Wouldn't want to have girls fainting on my way, hey?" he joked.
"Yeah right... Mister Universe." She slid from her bed, testing her legs. "I'll come with you."
"NO WAY!" he shouted, but then had to survive one more coughing fit.
"O.K. As soon as you pass this door, I'll tell Miss Grey." she blackmailed. "And you wouldn't want to piss her off now, would ye?" she added with mischief.
Logan turned to face the door, cursing between clenched teeth. What could he do, damn, he was starving. And maybe, just maybe he would be lucky enough to get rid of that teenager along the way.
"Move it. We must get back fast and unnoticed," he ordered.
"O.K, Tarzan. You lead." Jubilee followed him and exited the quarantine room, en route to a hunting spree in the kitchen. This could be fun. Her grin grew wider.