Author's Note: Okay, so this is my most recent piece. I guess it was inspired by the similarities between House of M and another story I'd read a few years before. And Jubilee was a convenient protagonist for me to express it because of the inconsistencies in her post-HoM existence. Regarding continuity, this fits nicely between HoM and the start of New Warrior's v4 with mentions of Generation M and her arc in Wolverine. Many thanks to my lovely beta without whom I'd be lost. Cheers!
Disclaimer: Characters mentioned are used without permission and are trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. I do not own them and am simply borrowing for my purposes. Please don't sue.
Act of God
Jubilation Lee was still in Los Angeles when it happened. A wave over the world and then… nothing. It was like waking up to find everything and nothing had changed. "No more mutants." Of course, she had no idea why her powers had suddenly abandoned her—only the select few were aware of that. No, her thoughts first flew to Bastion, the High Evolutionary, Weapon X and even Vargas. There had to be a logical reason—something she could fight.
Then she caught sight of the news. The rest was, as they say, history.
It was like losing herself. Suddenly the reflection her mirror held was a stranger. It was like Mulan (except without all the singing and war and stuff) and her first instinct was to go to Logan. He was her rock. Her hero. He always knew what to do—how to fight. And what she wanted more desperately than anything else was to fight this. There just had to be some way…
A deep sense of shame and resentment slowly growing with that idea, though. It hadn't been there with thirteen-year-old Jubilee who idolized him and the X-Men or fifteen-year-old Jubilee who went to the Mass Academy to try and take her place in the next generation of heroes. No, this was something unique to the seventeen-year-old Jubilee who was ready to do more than talk the talk. Because she'd never really stood on her own as an adult. And maybe… maybe it was time for her to try.
And with a determination that was one hundred percent Jubilee at any age, that was what she did. She tried by telling Sally her story. She tried by helping former mutants with what little resources they had. She tried by holding tight to her independence, even going so far as ignoring Logan's calls until she was strong enough to hold it together when she picked up. And it worked, too, until Logan's past came looking for her.
His past always came for the people he cared about and, in a sick sort of way, she was thankful. At least he did still care. That was something… right? Powers or no, they were still a team. Or as much as they'd ever been, she realized as he left her behind for the millionth time with an apology and a few more scars, if not physically, then emotionally. She'd never say anything. She knew he felt it as deeply as she did, if not more so. But that didn't make it any easier. It never had.
Through it all, though, she kept remembering something Drake had said years ago when they'd temporarily lost their powers for some reason or another. "An act of God." He'd had this look on his face as he'd said it, youthful yet ironic. Like it was a joke she wasn't in on. If there was one thing Jubilee hated, it was not being in on a joke. But, no matter how she pleaded with him (and boy had she), he'd never explained what it meant.
An act of God.
Was that what this was? The unworthy left wanting while the rest got to keep their gifts.
No. There was infinitely less religious belief left in Jubilee than Drake had ever possessed. She could buy a lot of theories (and there were plenty floating around) but a divine smiting was not one of them. There had to be something else to it. There had to be some logical, non-God-related reason she kept coming back to those words. They had to mean something more or else she was really, possibly losing it. Worse than she'd originally thought.
The answer finally came when she perused the graphic novel section of the Barnes and Noble bookstore. There, sitting in the middle of numerous DC comic collections was JLA: Act of God. Jubilee blinked at it for a moment before carefully extracting the graphic novel. If it had been anyone other than Drake, she never would've bothered. But it would be so typical of the Iceman to liken their real life to the exploits of DC's ridiculous superheroes. (Seriously? Superman? Who was that guy kidding? Definitely overcompensating.)
Jubilee found a chair and immersed herself in the colorful images and word balloons. It wasn't the best comic she'd ever read or even the most interesting (she'd always preferred the dumb stuff to superheroes, since that seemed more like real life to her) but there was something there. They were superheroes who'd lost their powers but chose to pick up the pieces and continue the fight. It resonated deep inside of her; she could feel it in her gut. It was still meant to be.
They—whoever or whatever they were—could take the mutant out of the girl, but they'd never get the hero out of her. She was going to find a way to fight. It was who she was—a fighter. Wolverine's partner could have never been anything less. And, powers or no, it was time she started acting like it again. She was Jubilee and not even an act of God was going to stop her from being herself.