A/N: I don't own the X-Men or the characters used in this story. They belong to Marvel and I just borrowed them for a short bit. Um, I've been working on this story for a while. Originally, I wanted it to be a sort of something that affected the senses and I hope that's what it does besides providing a bit of a story. Hopefully it's enjoyed! :)
It's the roar of the engine that always makes Jubilee jump about eight feet out of her own skin. She always does this, even when she knows it's coming. And no matter the mood Wolverine is in, he always throws a wolfish grin behind his leather-clad shoulder at her reaction. No matter where they are going or where they're coming from, this is how their ride starts. Always.
He always gets on first, sans helmet and chucks her the only one he keeps with the bike. If it's any indication of just how many rides they go on and just how often, the helmet is pink. A bright fuchsia only Jubilee could pull off. She curls up her lip at how unfair it is that he doesn't have to wear one at all, but places it on her head anyway, knowing he'd leave her here choking on his dust if she refused.
She climbs on next, stubbornly holding onto the back of the bike instead of allowing her arms to go around his torso, always feeling rebellious at the start. The way he drives, she won't be able to sit like this for long, a fact they both are well aware of, but she always tries anyway. He likes to mentally clock how long it takes her, but keeps this to himself. There is no need to fuel her stubborn streak any more than he already does.
Logan revs the bike twice and then peels away from wherever they might be parked. She usually squeals at this point and laughs into his ear. It's at his second burst of speed where she really squeals and launches her arms around his middle.
Jubilee can't fly. Her powers leave her permanently grounded. She used to be jealous of the ones who could: Rogue, Storm, Jean... even Warren. They all could lift themselves up into the air whenever they liked, feeling the wind rushing around them. Hell, Storm could control the wind - bending and twisting it at her will at all times. And yes, Jubilee had been jealous. Flying seemed like the ultimate power, something she'd never be able to do on her own or whenever she liked. Wolverine couldn't fly either, at least not the way Jean or Rogue could. But Wolvie had shown her that there were different ways of flying.
Yes, she decides, her arms wrapped around his leather-clad torso and her laughter bubbling to the surface past her lips; this is better than flying.
With the stars and moon as their backdrop, so bright in the dark sky, and the wind rushing past her legs and arms, hair and neck, she flies. There is nothing more freeing than this. The open road is zooming past the both of them and she can hardly hear over the rushing of the wind. If she could hold her arms out, stretching towards the blurring trees, she would. But that isn't an option. Instead, she relishes in the whooshing sound, the vibrating bike, and just being here with Logan.
She snuggles closer against his back, tucking her head into his bulky shoulder. As exhilarating as the first few moments of their ride is, it's this moment she loves the most. She could easily fall asleep despite the noises surrounding them, that's just how peaceful she feels. Jubilee kisses his neck and closes her eyes, not falling asleep, but taking a moment while she's nestled against her favorite person in the entire world.
Abruptly, a nasty memory flits across her memory and she wrinkles her nose distastefully. The fall. Yes, once upon a time, her and Wolvie had been in an accident. Yes, he was a speedy driver, pushing the bike to new speeds time and time again, but with his spectacular senses, speed didn't matter. When he could see, hear, smell everything miles before it reached them, nothing mattered. She trusted him and his senses wordlessly, entrusting him with her life. It was something he couldn't even begin to cherish enough, she knew, which is why the accident was so hard for him.
It had been raining at the time, which usually didn't happen, but things hadn't been calculated right and the storm was upon them a short distance from home.
Jubilee remembered how cold everything suddenly had been when the rain set in. As if someone had decided to suck the sun out of the sky forever. Her teeth had been clattering and she had been clinging on to Logan tighter than usual, grasping for the warmth he always carried. He had shifted his head towards her, losing his concentration for the briefest of seconds when it had happened. A blur, (which she later learned had been a car), ran through the opposite end of the intersection, ignoring the crimson, blaring stoplight.
She had really flown then, somehow untangling from Logan somewhere in the process. The moment she was in the air she instantly regretted all envious thoughts on Storm's effortless flight, only wanting to feel grounded and in control instead of like a flimsy rag doll. But then, she was back on the ground, skidding across the wet road as if it had been covered in a thick sheet of ice instead of rain. And she wanted to be back in the air. All the breath went out of her and a low keening sound escaped the air. It sounded much like a dying cat, she remembered thinking. And then briefly,she was aware the sound had escaped her own lips, a flash of fear erupting inside of her belly at the realization before her eyes fluttered shut and she went still.
After that, a lot of scenes and sounds moved past her in a disorienting fashion. To this day, she still wasn't sure which part came first.
Had the first part been Wolvie's face, so newly healed that it was crying glass, peering over her own pale one? Or had the warm pool of blood come first, her hand unwillingly twitching in and out of the increasing liquid? There had been sirens in one of those memories, but she wasn't sure which. And of course, the feeling that she was drowning, that was there. She hadn't been shaking for long, but had been so damned cold - always remembered that without much prompting, even if she tried to forget it.
Things had been foggy and she knew she had been in danger, but there had been no pain. Cold was the only discomfort she had felt, feeling so very far away from it all.
But. There had been one other thing. Despite the strong memory of the cold, there had been Logan. His gruff, familiar voice had faded in and out like he had been talking to her from a faulty connection on his cell phone, but it had been there. She didn't remember the exact words but the eventual hum of it had given her a certain peace. And within that peace was her fight. But it hadn't been so simple and clean cut.
Jubilee shuddered against Wolverine's leather jacket, back in real time for the moment, warm and very much alive. It had taken a long while to be back on this bike with this man and she planned on relishing every other ride they would take. The amount of begging and pleading and crying that had ensued after the crash, the amount of hours she had spent recovering, the amount of time Logan had spent away; all could have made the Guinness Book of World Records weep alongside with her. But in the end, she had won and things were slowly returning to normal. They didn't ride as often, but when they did, she always relished in it.
"Everythin' okay back there?"
She kissed his neck and squeezed his middle softly. "Yes," she said. And she meant it. This would always enough.