Damn The Man

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I've only read a few summaries regarding the new re-launch of New Warriors but I intend to pick it up. R/R if you think classics never die.

The bar is smoky and dirty. She mentally reminds herself they don't call them "bars" in this country. Either way, bar or pub, this place is a hole in the wall if Jubilation Lee ever saw one. She can't imagine him hanging out in a place like this but she knows that the Jonothon Starsmore she knew was a different man. She's heard stories about what's happened to him since he escaped the long reach of those who wear the X. Life hasn't exactly been kind to Chamber.

"Seat's taken, luv," assures the man sitting at a corner table in the pub with his back to everyone. Jubilee realizes that while much has changed paradoxically nothing has changed. Chamber is still the outcast and loner. Having a new face hasn't changed that and Jubilee's a little relieved.

"That any way to treat an old friend, Jono?" asks Jubilee as she characteristically ignores what he says and takes a seat across from him, spinning the chair around backwards and straddling it.

"Ain't got any friends in this country, luv," assures Jono, not even fazed by the fact that one of his old classmates is sitting across from him. He figures it was only a matter of time. He doesn't keep up with American news since his return to his native soil but he still knows it's a bad time for mutants all over the world. Jono prefers not to think about it now that he's . . . well he doesn't quite know what he is now.

"Can't see why," says Jubilee, "I remember you being such an outgoing guy when you were in school. You were a regular life of the party."

"Yeah, well," retorts Jono, "You get a new face and suddenly yer even uglier than before. Can ya blame a bloke?" Jubilee smiles and shakes her head, her eyes flitting around to try and get a good look at Jono's new face. She's heard stories, heard about how Jono might've gotten his powers back thanks to Apocalypse of all people. She supposes she's a little jealous and it's not because of Jono's striking good looks. It's no real secret to anyone who knows her that Jubilee feels helpless without her powers. She's not exactly comfortable with feeling helpless. Maybe her powers weren't much but she was doing things with them, important things. Because of her powers, she had a real home and a real family for the first time in her life. Now, Jubilee doesn't have anything but a desire to prove herself all over again. So yeah, she resents Jono but one close look at his face changes all that.

"Damn, I thought Apocalypse was ugly now," says Jubilee as Jono finally tilts his head upwards enough so she can see what he knows she's wanted to see since she walked in here, "I'd hate to think this is what he looked like as a kid."

"Don't," says Jono, "Just don't, Jubes." They drop the sarcasm and self-deprecating humor. Jubilee knows that's how Jono works. He can switch from sarcastic to somber in a heartbeat. Jubilee wishes she had taken a lot of things more seriously. For Jonothon Starsmore, the ability to make real, lighthearted jokes was never an option.

"What's the gen?" asks Jono as he sips his drink, the burning liquid actually being able to pass through his lips and down his throat for the first time in years, "Did Paige send ya here ta drag me back?"

"I don't belong at Xavier's anymore," replies Jubilee. Both of them know what she means and Jono feels sorry for her. He knows his current existence sucks but at least there's a chance he might have powers again. Jubilee is just human now and he can tell she hates it.

"Join the club," says Jono with a grin he can actually muster despite how hideous it looks on his new face.

"Speaking of joining clubs," says Jubilee, "There's this thing . . ."

"No," says Jono flatly before she can even ask. He doesn't know what it is nor does he care. He's not about to join up with some support group or some sort of superhero club or anything. He's perfectly happy living in his shack out in the middle of nowhere where he's at peace and content with the fact that he doesn't have to look at another human being except when he comes into town a couple times a week for food and other such things.

"You could let me finish," says Jubilee, "Geez, you think I was asking you to help me save the world or something."

"Yer gonna get me in trouble," states Jono, "Ya get everyone in trouble, Jubes. Besides, I'm not tha type o' bloke ta be a sponsor or whatever ya call those support group things."

"This totally isn't like that," assures Jubilee, "Well, I guess it's kinda like that."

"I bloody knew it," says Jono with a sigh, "Fine then. Gimme tha pitch, gel, so I can at least know what tha hell yer gettin' me inta now."

"I can't say that much about it," explains Jubilee, "There's this guy and he's got major connections. I'm talkin' big hookup like Xavier here. Anyways, he's putting together a team. He's got the tech to give us powers, Jono."

"Yer bloody daft," declares Jono as he points to his new face, "I heard that song and dance, Jubes. Nobody asked me if I wanted this face. Hell, they didn't even bloody ask me if I wanted to live again at all. They just wanted to 'take care o' their own' whatever tha hell that implies. Look at me now and tell me how bloody well that whole mess o' shite turned out fer me."

"It's not like that," explains Jubilee, "We won't really have powers again. It's all in the tech."

"Gimme a reason I should do this," orders Jono.

"The adults have really screwed up things," explains Jubilee, "You remember all the nightmare stories we used to hear about mutant registration? They just wrapped it up in a different package and sold it off to everyone. Sure it's just registration now and sure it's just in the States but you know where it'll lead."

"Read me new lips," replies Jono, "You. Are. Bloody. Daft." She sighs in frustration. She didn't believe it either when the benefactor came to her but she had signed up anyway. She still wasn't sure why she was doing this. Was it just for kicks and thrills or did she really believe they could change things, change the world?

"So you're just going to sit in a shack while the world goes to Hell?" asks Jubilee.

"That's the general idea," replies Jono, "I know ya, Jubes. Ya can talk all ya like about revolution and freedom. I know you Yanks really get off on all that. It doesn't matter. You just wanna have powers again and feel important."

"Jono, I need you on this team," confesses Jubilee, "Everett is dead. Angelo is dead. Monet's off trying to play detective or something and God only knows where Paige is. It's just us now, Jono. Don't you want for once in your life to have people look at you like a hero instead of some deformed freak?"

"Or some annoying, little brat?" corrects Jono with a smile.

"Yeah, it's personal for me," admits Jubilee, "I just want you with me on this, Jono. I think I'm going to have to be the field leader and I could really use the support."

"God help us all," says Jono, "Fine then, Jubes. If you wanna tell The Man ta sod the hell off then I guess I can't really let you do it alone."

"You're totally the best," assures Jubilee as she leans forward and hugs Jono. She's glad he's going to do this with her because she's so scared about this whole thing. Jono can see it. He's always been able to tell that Jubilee's been scared. All that time with Wolverine taught her to act tough but Jono knows the difference between acting tough and being tough. He's already seen two teammates die. He's not going to let another one get herself killed.

"I don't have ta wear any bloody spandex do I?" asks Jono as the two of them get up and leave the pub.

"Probably," replies Jubilee.

"Bloody hell," mutters Jono. He still thinks she's crazy. He's never really given a damn about America and its silly laws that are passed more as ways of furthering agendas than actually helping the public. He knows she's never cared either and that's why this whole situation seems very surreal to him. Maybe it's time to fight again. Maybe it's time for his generation to start living up to whatever potential they possessed back when the world was young and full of possibilities for them. Jonothon Starsmore doesn't know. The only thing he knows is he's going to have to hang on and let this ride take him wherever it wants to go. Maybe, if they're lucky, they'll both came out of it in one piece.