Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Jubilee, Shadowcat
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Say What Friday: "Everybody counts or nobody counts." -- Harry Bosch
Warning(s): Spoilers, Mentions of Cannon Character Deaths
Word Count: 1,326
Date Written: 9 February 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Come in,” Kitty called as Jubilee’s hand raised to knock on her door.
Jubes opened the door and took a smell step inside the office. It was still strange to think of Kitty as their leader instead of the Professor or Wolverine, Storm, or Cyclops, or even Rogue. She was only a few years older than Jubilee herself, but she had taken the revitalization of the Dream for which all the X-Men stood upon herself. Jubilee had asked her why once, and Kitty had simply shrugged and muttered that somebody had to do it. From everything Jubilee had seen, though, she’d been doing a great job, and if there was one person who could give her the answer she needed without being biased or judging her for wondering over the question in the first place, it was Kitty.
“How’d you know it was me?” Jubilee asked, slowly edging further into the office.
“I didn’t,” Kitty said, lifting her shoulders in a shrug but not looking up. “I just heard somebody.”
“But I -- “
“ -- were being quiet, yes. Ninja, remember?”
Jubilee huffed a little in aggravation as she dropped into the chair before Professor Pryde’s desk. She was no longer as certain being a Vampire was a bad thing. It did make matters more complicated, and sometimes life was harder, but it had finally gotten her back to where she belonged. It had gotten her home whereas, without her mutant powers, if she’d had no powers at all, she wasn’t sure where she’d be.
“Right here,” Kitty mutters.
Kitty’s eyes lift to meet her red orbs. “You’re wondering where you’d be if you weren’t a Vampire. That’s why you no longer think it’s unfortunate that you were turned.”
Jubilee opens her mouth to protest but then shuts it quickly. Kitty’s right, but how does she know so much? She’s not a telepath! “Did Rachel tell you?” she blurted.
“No. I know you, Jube, but what I don’t know is why you’re here at this late hour.” Kitty finished marking the paper before her, put it to the side, and focused her full attention on her little sister of sorts.
“I need your advice.”
“If it’s about Shogo -- I’m sorry. I heard what happened, but I really don’t think I can advise you on that one.”
“No. It’s -- “
“No.” Jubilee shook her head.
“Then what -- ?”
“I’m planning on going after Quention.”
“Why haven’t you already left?”
“Is it that easy?” Jubilee asked wonderingly. “There’s no doubt in your mind about rather or not I should go after him?”
“Of course not! Jubilee, if the Professor, Wolvy, and others have taught us one thing, it’s that everybody counts or nobody counts. We can’t pick and choose which mutants we’re going to save no more than we can stand idly by and let mutants or humans be killed. If we’re going to make this world a place where we can all live together, we have to include everybody regardless of their past. Besides, do you have any idea how many people Wolverine killed before he became an X-Man? Or Gambit? Or even Rogue? The bottom line is this: If we’re going to judge others, we’re no better than the people who judge us, and if we want the kid to change, then we’ve got to give him a reason to change. We have to offer him something that makes life worth changing for him.”
“Like a family,” Jubilee murmured.
Kitty nodded. “Precisely. I mean, come on, think about where the boy’s coming from. He already alienated just about every possible friend he had before his parents called him on his birthday to tell him he was adopted. He doesn’t know what love is. He doesn’t even know what friendship is. What reason does he have to come back, to even try to be a member of a team he feels doesn’t want him?”
“But they do want him!”
“I know that. You know that. The kids who are still here know that. But Quentin doesn’t. He feels like nobody wants him, like nobody could ever love him not because of what he’s done with his powers, of the mistakes he’s made, but because he’s got the powers he never asked for in the first place.”
“None of us ever asked to be mutants -- except for Paige,” Jubilee added, thinking of her old friend.
“No. But we weren’t all hurt like he’s been hurt for having them. Kurt was almost killed before the Professor managed to reach him. If he hadn’t gotten to him when he did, Kurt wouldn’t be here now. Storm was worshipped as a goddess by her people, but she was used by the Shadow King. Her life, her very soul, was being wasted away. She would have been completely corrupted if the Professor hadn’t reached her when he did.”
Jubilee nodded, catching on. “So what you’re saying is our mutant powers will do things to us regardless of who we are or the decisions we make unless we reach out to -- “
“ -- to each other,” Kitty concluded for her. “We have to give each other a reason to fight against the impossible odds and the easy temptations in this world. We have to give each other a reason to be better, to strive not to let our whole beings be changed just because we have powers. Rather it’s death or corruption or being led to believe that nobody can ever love us because of what we are and so we might as well do whatever the damn well we please -- if we’re not given a reason to do better, we won’t do better.”
“But what if it goes bad?” Jubilee asked. “What if it blows up in our faces?”
“Then we’ll handle that, too, together. If Quentin goes nuts, if he tries to attack our people again, we’ll put him down -- “
“Now you’re making him sound like a rabid dog.”
“I’m sorry, Jubie, but it’s the truth. If he attacks our team, our family, we’ll do what we have to do. We won’t kill him. X-Men don’t kill. But we will put him in a containment cell until his behavior can be improved.”
Jubilee thought of Sabertooth and the time he spent with the X-Men while the Professor had worked so hard to try to bring him out of his feral state. The whole thing had blown up in their faces with Psylocke almost dying and Creed escaping to live, and kill, another day. “You really do sound like the Professor,” Jubilee whispered, awed.
“Thank you.” Kitty smiled. She knew being like the Professor might not be a completely good thing -- Charles had had his problems as they all did -- but if she could keep being like the Professor, maybe she could keep leading the X-Men. Maybe she could lead their family into a better tomorrow after all like he’d always tried to do.
“And thank you,” Jubilee told her, standing.
“Are you going after him tonight?”
“I think I’ll start tonight. He’s not exactly showing up on radar.”
“Good luck, and remember what I said.”
“Oh, I will.” Jubilee eased out of Pryde’s office. She’d find Quentin. She’d give him a reason to come back and a reason to stay, but she’d never do to him like the Professor had done to Sabertooth. She’d never keep him against his will, but Kitty was right too: They had to give the boy a chance. So many of the X-Men, their beloved Wolverine included, had been considered evil once upon a time. They had to give the kid a reason and a chance to do better. They had to give him the opportunity to actually live, and if he did try to kill them again . . . She shivered, knowing that Kitty was right about that too. They’d have to put him down if he tried to kill them again. She just hoped he didn’t.