Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men: Evolution, Generation X, Jubilee or Skin. It all belongs to Marvel, I'm just playing with their toys for a little while.


Firecracker

If they found out she wasn't in her room, Mr. and Mrs. Lee were going to have Jubilation's pretty head on a silver plater. She had not been back for very long, and she didn't want to upset her foster parents, but she could not stand being cooped up in the house any longer. Ever since her return from Xavier's, her parents had kept her home. They said it was for her sake, and she believed them. The world was a dangerous place, Jubilee knew that and she could understand her parents need to keep their daughter safe. Jubilee appreciated it, she really did - but it was such a pain in the neck.

She held her sandles in one hand as she walked along the shore of the beach. She drew in a deep breath of the ocean air and sighed in contentment. It had been a long time since she'd smelled the ocean. After being kept in the house and smelling only expensive colonge and perfume, the smell of the salty water on the wind was a huge relief to her nostrils.

Jubilee stopped walking, now sitting herself down onto the sand and placing her sandles down beside her. She looked out over the water, then brought her gaze to the night sky. A smirk claimed her lips as she recalled the last joyride she had taken. It had been a night like this, clear and warm with a cool breeze. That was nice to remember, definitely. The smirk soon faded. Those passing memories would often make her happy and sad all at once. She could remember all she wanted, but in the end it was all only a bunch of memories destined to fade and be replaced.

Get a hold of yourself, girl, Jubilee scolded herself. She had promised herself she wouldn't make this harder than it had to be. Letting go was never easy, she had to do it before and she had survived. This time was no different. It was just another bump in the road of life that she had to overcome. She shook her head a few times, as though that would rid her of any depressing thoughts.

She looked down the length of beach to her left, and then to her right. It was almost midnight and the beach was closed, Jubilee had a certain right to privacy at the time being. Once she was certain there was no one around, she smirked and rubbed her hands together. A moment later, they started to spark with their colorful plasma. Jubilee fell onto her back, pointing her hands to the sky, letting the sparks fly.

---

"S'there a holiday today or something I should know about?"

"No. Not that I know of... Why?"

"'Cause someone's out on the beach setting off fireworks, Gil."

"So?"

"So, they're throwing off my concentration and I don't appreciate that."

"Concentration? What were you concentrating on, Ange? You were pacing the halls and--"

"Tryin' to find my lighter, amigo."

"Oi. It's on the kitchen table."

"Don't you roll your eyes at me, little man." The older of the two males paused as another firecracker went off. "That's it. I'll be right back. I can't take that crap anymore."

"Should I have the phone ready? You know, just in case you wind up biting off more than you can chew again?" Gil questioned with a grin on his face, holding out a black hoodie that had been carelessly tossed onto the couch out to his older cousin.

Angelo grinned right back and took the offered sweater, putting it on without haste. "What good'll that do? Can't call the cops on a 'dead man'," he air quoted himself. "Besides, this ain't nothin' to do with Tores or the Figueroas. S'probably just some drunk tourist or somethin'. Nothing to worry about."

Gil sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Fine, but be careful."

"I'm a big boy now, Gil." Angelo smirked as he headed for the door, pulling the hood over his head. "If I wanted a lecture, I'd go see my madre." He waved over his shoulder, "be back in a bit. Don't wait up for me."

Gil waited until the front door closed and then rolled his eyes again. He peered into the kitchen as he passed it on his way to the living room and shook his head. "That idiot forgot his lighter." He thought about running Angelo's lighter out to him, but decided against it. Angelo smoked like a chimney as it was, a few more minutes without a cancer stick wouldn't kill him.

Angelo stopped walking and stared once he was off of the hill the beach house was on. He squinted his eyes and blinked in disbelief as he watched the girl on the beach. She was no more than fourteen and she was sprawled out on the beach by herself. Naturally, that would have been the first shocking sight to see, considering that was just begging to be raped or murdered, though that wasn't what caught Angelo's attention. The fireworks that had been annoying him moments before were coming from her hands. "Madre de Dios," he mumbled to himself as he started to walk again.

He had been in far worse situations than confronting a mutant. The last gang war he had been involved with almost killed him. Technically it had. Angelo had to fake his own death for reasons he preferred to keep to himself, and disappeared out of his old life, leaving his mother and now ex-girlfriend to mourn. He felt bad about putting them, especially his mother, through so much emotional distress, but it was better this way in the long run.

"Hola chiquetta," Angelo smirked as he now loomed over Jubilee. He was greeted with a startled yelp and small plasma blasts going off in his face. "S'that how they say hello were you come from?" He winced as he rubbed at his eyes now, head ducked.

Jubilee was on her feet in no time, taking on a stance she had learned from Wolverine. "I don't want trouble. So just get outta here nice and quiet like and I won't have to hurt you."

Angelo blinked a few times and looked up at her, brow furrowed. He eyed the smaller girl in front of him and audibly chuckled. "You're going to need more than flashy lights and big talk to scare me off, chica." He held up his hands in surrender before continuing to speak. "Really though, I don't want trouble. I just wanted to know what kind of loco would be setting fireworks off for no reason."

Jubilee flushed angrily, though he wouldn't be able to see the light pink staining her cheeks thanks to the night's shadows. She gave up the stance and simply glared at him with all she could muster. "It wasn't for no reason. I was bored. There's a difference."

"Uh huh. Either way, I don't think that matters about now. Considering where those sparklers were comin' from." Angelo replied with a taunting tone. "Mind telling me what a mutant chica like you is doing out here all alone?"

"If you're trying to pick me up, you can forget it right now."

Angelo rolled his eyes. "I was asking a simple and innocent question."

"Didn't sound that way," Jubilee huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Only because you made it sound otherwise." The younger girl glared at him again, he ignored it. "Answer me now?"

Jubilee sighed. "I don't see why I should tell you. I don't even know you, dude. Like, not even your name."

"Aye Carumba, chica. You're making this so much more difficult than it has to be," he shook his head. "But alright, we'll play by your rules for now. The name's Angelo Espinosa."

"Jubilation Lee." She replied. "Jubilee for short," she said quickly so he wouldn't use her full name.

"Ok then, Jubilee. Now, why are you out here all alone, playing a mutated version of Where's Waldo?"

She shrugged. "If you must know, Angelo, parental units kept me in. Couldn't take it, so I snuck out and came here. Decided to light up the sky kinda last minute though." She paused and drew closer to him, eyeing him. "Why aren't you beating the hell out of me or something? S'what everybody else does when they find out."

Angelo waved her off. "Been there, done that." He reached up and removed the sweater's hood from his head, revealing skin that reflected gray in the moonlight.

"Well I'll be," she mused and grinned. Jubilee came closer and raised an eyebrow, eyeing him over. "Is that it? You're gray?"

"I wish," he said and rolled his eyes. He held up a hand and pointed a finger at the younger girl. A moment later his skin started to extend until it touched her cheek. He recoiled the distended skin and shoved his hand back into his pocket, rather enjoying the horrified look on the smaller girl's face.

"Dude, that is like the grossest power I have ever seen."

"Coulda been worse, chica. I coulda been blessed," he paused to grin, "with acidic spew or something."

The Chinese-American girl made a face. "Subject change. Now." Angelo grinned, figuring she didn't have the stomach to talk about such things. This girl was all bark and some bite, but not quite enough to sneak one passed him. Jubilee was silent for a moment, waiting for him to take the initiative and start a new conversation. When he didn't, she sighed. "So, how did you find me here, anyway?"

He turned and pointed to the beach house, a grin on his lips. "I could see the fireworks going off from the house. Really, chica, if you're going to play with your powers, make sure no one's around."

"But I did and--"

He chuckled and shook his head as he turned to face her again. "No buts. Just be thankful I was the one that caught you, and not some anti-mutant freak."

Jubilee hung her head and played her foot along the sand. "Good point. Damn it, there's no place safe anymore."

"Come again?"

"There's no place safe anymore. Not here, not the school--"

"School?"

She nodded. "Xavier's school for gifted youngsters. It's a mutant school. I went there, before my parents pulled me out because they thought it was too dangerous."

"Wait, pause." He wrinkled his brow as he eyed her. "You serious? A mutant school?" Jubilee nodded. Angelo had never heard of such a thing. It seemed like an amazing thing, a place to learn about being a mutant and a place to control your powers. It also sounded completely insane. Hording mutants together in one place like that was just begging unwanted media and attention.

"I want to go back." Jubilee blurted out. "I thought I'd cope, ya know? But I guess there were things - people - in that place I wasn't ready to leave behind." She smiled sadly at him, shrugging. "I miss it."

Angelo bit his tongue to keep himself from saying anything that just may upset her. He normally wasn't too considerate of others' feelings, especially those he just met, but she seemed worth giving a small chance to. He shrugged and put his hands into his pockets. "So go back. Hop a train back to wherever the school is and just go."

Jubilee laughed half-heartedly. "I wish it were that easy. My parents would kill me."

"So ask 'em to send you back. I mean, c'mon, if you're not happy here and goin' back there'll make ya happy, whatta they got to lose?" He glanced to the side for a second, then looked back at her. "Parents should do what makes their kid happy, si?"

She shook her head, though smiled at him. "I suppose you're right. It's worth a shot, they're cool and they usually give in pretty easy." Jubilee glanced at the watch she wore and let out a sudden gasp of horror. "Crap, I better go. I didn't know it was so late. They'll murder me if they catch me gone at this hour!"

Angelo smirked and tugged his hood up, placing it back onto his head casually. "You do what you gotta do." He glanced at her for a moment, then turned on his heel, starting the short walk back to the beach house. "Just don't let me catch you playin' with those firecrackers again, eh? They're annoying as hell."

Jubilee stuck her tongue out at him, even though he couldn't see. "Yeah, yeah. It's not like it's your beach, bub." She huffed, Angelo turned around and walked backwards for a moment.

"Nah, you're right. The beach ain't mine, but I do like being able to hear myself think above the sirens. So, yeah, I can do without hearing those paffs going off at all hours of the night." Before she could get a word in, he turned his back to her again and headed towards his home.

She grinned and slipped her sandles back onto her feet. Without a word she started her own walk home, though made it a point to pass the house she had seen Angelo disappear into. Casually, she stood near one of the windows and pointed upwards. A rather large shot of colorful plasma shot into the sky, exploding loudly into a multitude of vibrant colors. "That was just for you, Epsinosa!" She shouted, hoping he would hear her through the window pane. Of course, she wasted no time in breaking into a run, dashing away from the beach house and a potentially annoyed Spanish mutant.

"What the hell was that?" Gil asked, having jumped when he heard the fireworks go off. The confusion only grew when a female shouted it had been for Angelo.

Angelo leaned against the back door, watching the retreating form of Jubilee. "Nothin'. Just some annoying little firecracker goin' off."

-End