wondra's jubilation

She didn't remember the last time she'd been there.

She didn't get to say goodbye.

Most of her accepted that she'd taken it for granted. That those she'd loved would always be there, ready to welcome her back in at a moment's notice; ready to crack the same jokes, hug the same hugs, laugh the same laughs.

And then there was the part of her which just thought it wasn't fair. That it shouldn't have ended; it couldn't have ended.

It didn't matter if she'd taken it for granted -- because through thick and thin, phone calls and years without them, the fact remained that some things should remain a constant.

It was unspoken, their love. It was true and it was honest and it was indefinite.

But standing around the Salem Center rubble, standing in debris and pieces of her past -- Jubilation Lee knew only one thing:

It was over.

One of the few homes she'd known in her short (yet complicated) life was gone. She'd heard rumors that the X-Men had gone across the entire country. She'd picked up a tabloid with Warren Worthington sailing across San Francisco and talks of an X-Men gala at a local art museum.

So why didn't she get a phone call?

Why didn't anyone let her know?

She was no longer a mutant, something she'd dealt with -- but that wasn't what had made her Jubilee, member of the X-Men and founding member of Generation X.

It wasn't the yellow trench coat, the 'Jubilee' earrings or her fondness for popping gum in Logan's ear.

It wasn't her spectacular ability to create the most memorable 4th of July parties, either.

It was her heart, her soul; her love for each and every X-Man. They were her family... but now she wasn't so sure the feeling was mutual.

Jubilee took a rather uncomfortable seat in what was left of the Phoenix monument. "Sorry, Jean," she said aloud, reaching down to play with some of the X-Mansion dust.

Part of her expected to find an old picture frame. A piece of uniform. Some memento to tie her to this place -- maybe an old gift she'd given Gambit.

She smiled coyly as she remembered giving him the playing cards adorned with naked men. He'd grinned and told her they were too priceless to kinetically charge and use on the field. That he'd have to use them off of it.

Rogue didn't think it was funny.

What was sick to Jubilee was that a memory like that, a memory so random and easily forgotten, could make her stomach pour from her mouth and water explode from her eyes like the fireworks used to escape her fingertips.

Why wouldn't they at least let her know they'd left?

Were they even all alive?

Jubilee's eyes gazed upward at the dismembered Phoenix statue. It had taken nearly a year for anyone to tell her Jean had been murdered.

Was Logan alright?

Was Hank? Scott?


"You're being ridiculous, Jubilee," she said aloud. "They're all fine and they all love you. They're just busy."

"Besides," she stood, stepping over and through a glass and concrete salad, "you've obviously lost your mind... talking to yourself in the middle of a wasteland of memories."

Lee stopped walking, threw a hand on her hip and continued aloud: "Wasteland of memories? Who says that?"

"A crazy person," she thought this time.

Jubilee pulled her cell phone from the pocket of her orange hoodie, scrolled through her contacts to Logan and rested her thumb on CALL.

Her eyes ran across the barren horizon and she sighed again. A collage of Logan-Jubilation moments ran through her mind.

She thought of begging Logan for a cigarette, arguing with him that she was more likely to die being stepped on by a Sentinel, Logan giving in, and getting caught sharing Logan's last smoke in the Danger Room by Cyclops.

She thought of her first day with the team. The first time she knew she loved them. Christmas. Illyana's funeral.

She thought of the bad times, the worse times, but kept focusing on the great times...

Then she deleted his number.

"You aren't an X-Man anymore, Jubilee," she began to walk toward the tattered gate. "You're a New Warrior."

As she slipped through the iron, Jubilation Lee grinned. She'd walked in as Jubilee.

And left as Wondra.