Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Jubilee, Ororo/Logan, Kitty
Challenge/Prompt: beattheblackdog 62: Bright
Warning(s): Cannon Character Death, Spoilers
Word Count: 2,070
Date Written: 22 April 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
Catching a murmur from the youngest of their group, Ororo pauses and lets the rest of the remaining X-Men file by them. When they're alone, she turns back to look at Jubilee. "What was that?" she asks softly, although she's pretty certain of what she heard and doesn't like. She needs comforting herself right now. She wants nothing more than to hide away with her plants in her attic bedroom, the very plants she found dying in various areas of the world and which Logan helped her to replant, not that she needed his help. She simply enjoyed his companionship and seeing him dig deep and tenderly into Mother Earth.
Yet Jubilee is the closest thing her love ever had to a daughter, and she will place her own needs to the side once again to ease her pain, if she can. Ororo's completely uncertain if she has any sage advice left after all they have endured, the loss of their dear Wolverine being both the freshest and harshest pain of them all, but she knows she must try. If nothing else, perhaps she can offer the child two arms to hold her, even if they are meek and slim when compared to Logan's burly muscles. Ororo almost starts crying again at that thought.
"I said it ain't fucking right."
"Jubilee!" Ororo exclaims, startled. She's never heard the girl talk like that. Logan, yes, all the time, but not Jubilee!
Jubilee's red eyes glare defiantly up at her. "Well," she says, "it ain't."
Ororo sighs. She can not rebuke the girl's honesty. "You're right," she agrees softly. "None of this that has happened recently is right."
"I'm not even talkin' 'bout that," Jubilee gripes, "least not directly."
"Then what -- " Ororo starts to puzzle, but Jubilee breaks in on her.
"How the Hell can you let the sun be shining today?!"
"I . . . " Ororo pauses. She had barely considered the weather today except to keep a tight rein on her own emotions and effects upon it. "I . . . "
"Yeah. He just died, 'Ro! Logan just freaking died, and already you're lettin' the sun shine!"
"Jubilee!" Kitty snaps, having ventured back when she noticed that Ororo and Jubilee were no longer with the group. "That's not fair!"
"Life's not fair, Kitty!" Jubilee throws back at Logan's other adopted daughter among the team. She folds her arms stubbornly in front of her and glowers threatening at both of them. Her looks are a lot more terrifying now that she's a Vampire, but neither of her opponents feels any fear. All they can fear today, like so many days recently, is sorrow and grief and the utter and complete misery of broken hearts. "You, of all people, oughta know that!"
"I do know that, Jubilee," Kitty replies, trying to reason with the younger girl, "but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be fair to each other. This world hurts us all badly enough. Tearing at one another won't help. It will only add to the pain."
"Yeah? Well, Storm sure doesn't seem to be showing any pain! Look at how beautiful this stinking day is!"
A wind suddenly whips across the steps. It raises both Jubilee and Kitty in the air momentarily before vanishing just as quickly as it began. Ororo's eyes have gone white, but they settle back into a stormy blue as she faces Jubilee. "Jubilee, you know not what you ask -- "
"What I ask?! How about what he deserves?! It's bad enough you ran off with the Black Panther when we all needed you -- "
"Shut up, Pryde!" Jubilee tosses at Kitty before whirling back onto Ororo. "It's bad enough you left him for that T'Challa guy and that you were gone for so long, but now he's dead and you can't even show any grief over him?!"
"You have not yet felt the extent of my grief, child."
"You haven't shown any!"
Storm takes a step closer to Jubilee. Kitty's eyes dart between the two as she wonders if she should physically place herself between them. Tiny bolts of lightning cut from Ororo's stormy eyes like daggers at Jubilee. "Would you want this world, that he cared so much for, destroyed?"
"What -- ?" Jubilee asks, looking as she once did, so many years ago when she first joined the X-Men, and a bubble of gum accidentally popped across her face.
"Come on, Jubie -- " Kitty protests.
"I only ask," Ororo continues, ignoring Shadowcat as she continues talking to Jubilee in a low voice as cold as ice, "because that is most likely what would happen if I let my emotions go. When I start crying, Jubilee, really start crying, I will not be able to stop, and whatever atmosphere I am in at the time will bear the burden of my pain. I do not wish to visit that upon this world. We have all suffered more than enough as it is. Logan would not want me to hurt others simply because I myself am hurting."
"Yeah, right -- "
"Jubilee, you have seen what I can do when I am angry. You have seen my tears conjure a storm. Yet never before I have been as sad or as angry as I now am. If I let myself go here, this world will pay the price. And for Logan's sake and in his honor, I will not allow that to happen."
A deep voice clears from behind the women. "Ororo," Hank calls.
She straightens, turning her back on the insolent child who refuses to understand what she has told her not because she can not comprehend it but because she does not want to understand, and looks to Hank.
"The ship's ready."
"Thank you, Henry." She walks straight toward him, her stiff movements entirely lacking her usual, natural grace and seeming almost robotic. He takes her arm and leads her gently away.
Jubilee watches and lets them go, waiting until they are out of sight to snort and roll her eyes.
"Jubilee!" Kitty chastises.
"It's Wolvy, Pryde! How can she not be hurting?!"
"She is! Didn't you hear what she just told you?!"
"I heard." Jubilee snorts again and shrugs. "Don't mean I believe." She slides her dark sunglasses back up onto her nose and shrugs a shoulder at the bright sun. "Look at this day. It looks like a beautiful, Spring day -- "
"It is a beautiful, Spring day."
"It shouldn't be. If Ororo's as upset as she says she is, the weather should reflect it."
"Didn't you hear her?! Do you want the world to explode?" Jubilee glares at her. "Okay. Don't answer that. I get it. I do. I kinda want everything to end too, but that's not what Wolvy would want for us. He'd want us to keep fighting, to keep trying to make this world a better place -- "
"Why the Hell do you think I'm still here after everything that's went down?"
"Because you know it's what he would want. That's the same reason why I'm back here. It's the same reason why most of us are still trying to fight for a dream that seems to more impossible every day."
"But the sun still shouldn't be shining."
"I get it. I do. The sun was shining when we found out Illyana was dying," she remembers aloud, looking out at the bright world bathed in golden sunshine, "and it didn't seem right. We didn't have a cure. We had very little hope of finding one. My best friend was dying, and she was just a kid! I didn't understand it at all. It was Ororo who told me," she continues, "that the sun was shining as a reminder to her children that everything would one day be all right."
"Nothing's ever gonna be all right again -- " Jubilee cuts in, tears flooding her eyes behind her black shades.
"That's what I felt. It's what I said. It's how I feel now even if I'm honest with you or myself. But she said that the Goddess lets us have these beautiful days in bad times to remind us that things will get better. She lets the sun shine to make us remember that some one is looking down and smiling upon us, that some one up there loves us. Now you know I don't believe in Ororo's religion. I don't buy into all that Goddess stuff. That's not my faith."
"But I still get it a little bit. You know why?" She turns to face Jubilee again. She'd like to tell the younger girl, her sister of a sort, to let her see her eyes, but she won't go there. Instead she keeps looking at where her eyes are hiding behind her shades as she tells her, "Because somebody is up there and is looking down and does want us to be happy and to go on with our lives. Some of us have more people than others up there, but I'm telling you: Wolvy is one of those people. Logan wants better for us. He died, trying to make the world a better place. The least we can do is honor his memory and keep fighting if not for the world then for him."
She sniffles. Her head lowers, and she begins to cry. Jubilee makes no move to comfort her. Instead she looks away, her arms still folded before her chest, and lets her own tears run free behind the protection of her shades. She's supposed to be a big, bad Vamp now, but all she feels like is a little girl angry at the world who only wants her father and best friend back. Within minutes, she's sniffling herself, but they both look up as they hear a spaceship take off.
"That's Hank," Kitty tells her, dabbing at her eyes, "taking Ororo off into outer space so that she can grief and not let her pain tear this world apart. I've seen what Ororo can do when she's angry, really angry. You still haven't seen her like I know her." She shakes her head. "If you had, you'd get why she has to be so careful. But that doesn't mean she's hurting. She loved Wolvy too, and he loved her. You know damn well he wouldn't want you acting like a spoiled brat to her. He would have whipped your butt a while ago if he'd still been with us."
"So what? You gonna whip my butt now, Pryde? I wouldn't be so sure ya can do that still with me -- "
"With you being a Vampire. Yeah, yeah." This time, it's Kitty's turn to roll her eyes. "We're not scared of you, Jubilee. Ororo and I have both fought Dracula himself."
Jubilee stares at her, open mouthed, from behind her shades. "What?" she finally asks, barely moving her lips.
"I'll tell you about it some time later," Kitty says, dabbing again at her reddening eyes. "But for now, just know, Ororo's hurting just like we all are. Just like we are. She loved him too, and he loved her. You can be mad at her if you like, but don't you dare hurt her again not for her, not because I'm telling you not to, but for him. If there was one thing Wolvy wanted for us more than anything else, it was for us to be a family again, and you're not going to screw that up, Lee." She turns and stalks away. Jubilee hears her emit a soft, ragged sob just before she slams the front door shut to the school.
She looks back up to where she last saw the spaceship and sees a light so bright it almost hurts her eyes. She winces instinctively and wonders idly if it might be lightning of some sort. Maybe Ororo's finally cutting loose. Maybe she shouldn't have cut loose on her.
She hears another sob and only realizes that it came from her as she finds herself sinking down onto the steps. Her arms fall down around her knees, and she holds herself in a tight huddle, her face burying into the tops of her knees. Maybe Kitty's right. Maybe Wolvy did want them to be a family again. But her family is dead. Wolvy's dead, and she sobs for him with all her heart as, light years away in a safe pocket of outer space, Ororo finally lets herself grief too.