Title: To Be Good
Author: Sakura (thelasteuropean)
Fandom: X-Men Movieverse
Spoilers: All of the movies.
Characters or Pairing: Pyro/Jubilee (also, Pyro/evil because OTP!)
A/N: For Little Murmurs, while she waits.
The last thing her mom ever says to her is: "Be a good girl, Jubilee."
Because she doesn't know it is going to be the last thing her mom will ever say to her, Jubilee rolls her eyes and says something snotty in return. And then she slams the door of the Mercedes even though she knows her mom hates it when she does that.
Jubilee still wishes she could have that moment back for a do-over. She thinks about it a lot. She thinks about her mom and how, maybe, she's watching out for Jubilee from heaven or whatever and how, maybe, her mom knows that she's trying really, really hard to do what her mom asked.
To be what she knows her mom wants her to be.
To be good.
The night of Liberty Island, Jubilee makes sure that everyone is in their rooms by curfew. She falls asleep on the grand staircase, waiting for her teachers to come home.
It's Laurie Collins' frightened sobbing that wakes Jubilee in the cold, dark pit beneath Alkali Lake. Though she'd like to sob herself, Jubilee pulls Laurie into her lap and rocks the younger girl until she quiets. Jubilee keeps the other kids calm by retelling every fairy tale, every myth and every campfire story she can remember. She's down to a recitation of Monty Python's Holy Grail, complete with accents, when Ororo finally finds them.
Before they leave for San Francisco, Ororo says, "We need you to stay here." Jubilee doesn't even argue. She doesn't cry or pout of say that she is smarter than Pete and older than Kitty and a better fighter than Bobby and has been training for longer than any of them, anyway. Instead, she, again, makes sure everyone is in their rooms by curfew. This time, though, she watches the security monitors and patrols the lonely corridors all night, waiting for either the others to return or the Brotherhood to attack.
Jubilee tries to be a good girl.
She decides to stay in Westchester even though most of her friends are going to college or getting jobs in the city.
She teaches gymnastics at the school and is a volunteer coach at the YWCA. Sometimes she takes Artie and Leech with her when she coaches because Artie's a gymnast, too, and Leech is good with kids.
She brings fresh flowers to Scott and Jean and the Professor and clears away the old, dead bouquets. Sometimes she stays and talks to them because if her mom can maybe see her (in heaven or whatever), then they maybe can too.
She makes up dirty limericks and recites them to Logan because, every once in a while, they make him laugh. Sometimes she pesters him to take her out to his favorite bars or just on his bike. He always says no, but she thinks he still likes it that she asks.
She brings pots of African Rooibos tea up to Ororo's attic bedroom and then drinks it with her even though Jubilee secretly thinks tea is gross. Sometimes Ororo hugs her for it and Jubilee doesn't pull away, no matter how much she wants to. Ororo doesn't really have any friends, anymore; they're all either dead or gone. Jubilee can relate.
She goes out with Pete a few times, too; even though, as much as she wants to, she just doesn't feel that way about him. She tries, though. She does. He's a nice enough guy and she doesn't want anyone to think she's pining, anyway.
Because she's totally not.
No, Jubilee's not pining for John.
Not even a little bit.
She just misses him, is all. She just misses him. Even though she knows she shouldn't, she still does. She misses the way John could be funny and serious and interesting, all at the same time. She misses how he never made fun of her when she accidentally blew something up. She misses how he put his arm around her when they sat on the sofa and watched TV. She misses how he'd try to cop a feel and then pretend that he hadn't with such wide-eyed innocence that she had to laugh at him.
She wishes that she didn't miss him, but she does. She wishes that she hadn't done that thing that time that landed her in Saturday detention with him for a month. She wishes that, after that, he hadn't passed her notes in Biology class. She wishes that he hadn't bought Dippin' Dots for her at the mall because he knew she loved them. She wishes that she hadn't lost her virginity to him that summer when they were the only students at the school for the whole vacation.
She wishes that none of that had happened and that she didn't miss him. But it did and she does and that sucks because she is trying to be good. She's trying, okay?
She thinks that maybe she should be more surprised when she's sitting in the food court at the mall and someone sets down a cup of Dots in front of her and, when she looks up, it's him.
"Miss me?" he asks and sits down across from her.
John looks different. It's mostly his nose, she thinks. It's twisted to the left, smashed by Bobby's cold, hard head. Jubilee can hear him breathing; the air whistles through his new, imperfect nose.
"Go away," she says and shoves the Dippin' Dots back to him.
"I missed you."
He smiles and it melts Jubilee just a little bit. She grits her teeth, though. She tightens her lips and squints her eyes. She tries to be good.
"Go away," she hisses. "Go away or I'll call the cops."
She stands up and walks away. She leaves him there and she doesn't look back. She hopes that he won't follow her. She prays he'll just leave her alone.
He follows her into the empty Ladies' room and laughs when she tells him that he's not supposed to be in there. She is reminded of how she used to love that John knew better than to believe everything he was told, to believe that every rule shouldn't be broken. It was a trait that Jubilee had though was sorely lacking at the school and, maybe, in the world in general.
Now, she just wishes there was someone left to believe in. She wishes there was still a reason to be good.
"Please, please go away," she says and raises her hands like she's going to paff him. "Please. I don't want to have to fight you, John."
At that, he grins again, wider this time. "Call me Pyro."
There's a sort of sparkle in his eyes that wasn't there before. When she knew him, he didn't have that loose, maniacal gleam. The threat of cops was enough to, like the street kids they both had been, send the old John running. What happened to him, she wonders. What happened to that kid?
This new John, this Pyro, grabs Jubilee's raised hands and walks her backwards until she hits the wall of the public restroom. He pulls her shirt off over her head. The tile is hard and cold on her back; he's hard and hot on her stomach.
"C'mon, Firecracker," he whispers right next to her ear. "You know I light you up."
Jubilee knows she shouldn't do this. She knows she should run away. She should get away from him. Take him to where there aren't so many innocent bystanders. She should call Logan and Ororo and Pete. She shouldn't love someone like John.
Be a good girl, Jubilee. She can hear her mother saying it. She can hear her mother saying it and she's sorry. She tried, but she's sorry.
This is her do-over and she's slamming that car door all over again.