Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Jubilee/X-23, light Wolverine/Storm
Challenge/Prompt: Xavier's Challenge 1: Prosecution and 1_million_words Monday Flash Challenge: Fireworks
Warning(s): Future Fic, Character Deaths, [Spoiler (click to open)]Mentions Rape
Word Count: 2,066
Date Written: 3 July 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
She was getting much too old for this, but she had always known, ever since Bishop had first come into her timeline many years ago, that being the future leader of the X-Men would one day come with far too many responsibilities. Of course she’d picked up even more responsibilities before and after that day than she’d ever thought she would be willing to juggle, but most of them came with rewards. Most of them did, but she did get tired of playing babysitter nonetheless, especially to women who knew better than to get their asses caught.
“Jubilee!” Laura sounded so painfully excited, almost youthful again. Her fingers were wrapped around the bars as she stared out of her manmade cage. Jubilee knew she had probably scented her the moment she’d stopped her bike outside, and she wondered just how long she’d been peering through those grimy bars. “You came!”
“Of course I came,” Jubilee muttered, letting her annoyance show, as two cops, as though one wasn’t enough, unlocked the door. Her angry, blue eyes met Laura’s dark orbs. “Why’d you do it?”
“It’s not like they said -- “
“I know that, just like you know that’s not why I’m asking. I’m not asking why you did it. I’m asking why you let yourself be caught.”
One of the cops cleared his throat in that sound she’d always hated since she was a young teenager hanging out at her favorite mall back in California. It was meant to be the sound of authority and demand attention, but she now had tricks of her own. “Miss Lee -- “
She cut him off quickly. “You’ve got your money,” she pointed out, “and then some, and you’ve got your orders from Nick Fury.” God it helped to have connections! There were days when she didn’t know what she’d do without some of Logan’s old acquaintances, and the X-Men would have been screwed a long time ago if Warren and the Professor had not donated what had remained of their fortunes to the school. “Come on,” she said, snagging Laura’s hand, turning swiftly, and tugging her behind her. “Let’s bail before these pigs decide to go AWOL.”
“Miss Lee, don’t you want the cuffs -- “ the cop on the left started to ask.
“Forget that. We should throw them both back in that cell and lose the key! Nick Fury be damned! He doesn’t know what things are like these days!”
“I’ll be sure to tell him you said that.” The cops moved to stop them, but Jubilee was ready. She flashed fireworks at them, and as the dazzling lights momentarily blinded them, she made her escape with Laura. They ran together, hand in hand, to the motorcycle that awaited them outside, Logan’s last bike. They jumped it together, Jubilee in the lead, and took off.
They had left the small, Southern town far behind them by the time Jubilee finally pulled off onto the side of the road. “Why did you do it?” she asked, watching Laura as the younger woman hopped off the back. She swung one leg off the side of the motorcycle but stayed leaning against it as Laura paced. She’d seen Wolvy practically pace a howl in the floor countless times as she’d been growing up with the X-Men; his daughter looked so much like him in the pale moonlight filtering between the tops of the tall trees that lined one side of the long highway.
“You should’ve seen her, Jubes,” Laura finally growled, her claws unsheathing as her hands balled instinctively into tight fists. “You should’ve seen!” Jubilee’s keen eyesight caught the tears in her eyes despite the dark night. “She couldn’t’ve been much older than Gabby!”
Jubilee’s heart stilled. She’d known there had to have been a reason why Laura had been caught attacking a group of human boys, even killing two, but she hadn’t expected this. Laura’s body was shaking slightly now with both fury and sorrow. Jubilee got off of the bike and approached her. “Did you stop them?”
“Yes! But -- But that doesn’t make it right!”
Jubilee reached out and wrapped gentle hands around Laura’s fists. Her fingertips very softly grazed her razor sharp claws. Laura sheathed her blades and finally let Jubilee come to her. Jubes wrapped her arms around her and held her tight against her. “No,” she said finally after a long moment had passed with just them holding each other. “No, it doesn’t. But if it’s one thing we’ve learned over the years it’s that mutants are always prosecuted over humans. Too many of them see what their own kind does and ignores it.”
“I just don’t get it,” Laura whispered, her voice near a whimper now. “Even after all this time . . . How can they be so damn dumb and blind?!”
Jubilee’s lips drew up into a dry smirk. “Because that’s how humans choose to be. Not all of them,” she admitted, thinking of Fury, various Avengers, and a few other, truly good humans she’d known along the way, “but too damn many of them.”
“That girl could have been anyone’s kid! Their sister, their child! She could’ve been Gabby!” Jubilee’s arms wrapped more tightly around Laura as the younger mutant ceased talking and just sobbed onto her leather clad shoulder. “She could’ve been Gabby,” she whispered again.
“But she wasn’t,” Jubilee spoke firmly after a moment. “She wasn’t Gabrielle. We know where Gabby is, Laura. She’s safe and happy with Wolvy, ‘Ro, and so many of the others, and they’re all waiting for us to beat this world. You’ll see her again one day.” Her voice dropped several decibels as she whispered, “We’ll see them all again one day.”
“I get tired of waiting,” Laura whispered.
“I know,” Jubilee admitted. “So do I.” It felt good to say the words she so often thought out loud. They’d lost so many friends and family along the way, but every one of them was waiting to be reunited with them when their time to leave this world came. “But our fight isn’t done yet.” She pulled away from her oldest, still living friend and looked up at her with a small grin. “And you just scored one Hell of a victory for our people.”
“It doesn’t feel like it.”
“But you did. You were in the right place at the right time, and you did the right thing.” Her mind flashed back to the arguments Scott, Ororo, the Professor, and Logan used to have about rather or not killing could ever be the right method of retaliation. “If you’d left those punks alive, they’d do it again, you know,” she said quietly. “They’d kill again. They’d rape again. But you took ‘em out. They’ll never hurt anyone ever again.”
“You don’t think that makes me bad?” Laura whispered, looking down at her with tears still shining in her big, luminous orbs.
“To kill someone to keep them from killing someone else, someone innocent? No,” Jubilee said without any hesitation at all. She shook her head. “I don’t. It’s the only way to stop some assholes. Wolvy taught me that ages ago.”
“But he also taught me that killing isn’t always the way to go -- “
“It isn’t, not always. But sometimes it’s the best thing you can do. We both know what would’ve happened if they’d been arrested by their own people. We’ve seen it countless times. They would’ve been let go, Laura. They would’ve been released and would’ve gone on to kill and rape others. You stopped them.” She raised her hands in hers and kissed her bare and bloody knuckles. “Single handedly,” she added.
A small grin finally lifted Laura’s lips. “Yeah. I did. They’ll never hurt anyone again.”
“Which is what I call a win. And we got you out even if I did have to call in some favors, so that’s a win again.” Still holding to her hand, Jubilee started to walk away from the road. They walked together to the side of the cliff opposite the forest. Jubilee sat down and pulled Laura down beside her. “I used to love this day,” she said quietly.
She looked up at her. “You don’t know what day it is, do you?”
“I kind of lost track of the date.”
Jubilee nodded. “You were in there a while. Too long. I almost didn’t find you in time. That’s why I don’t like you going off on these lone wolf hunts without me knowing where you’re going.”
“Wolverine -- “
“ -- did it all the time, I know,” Jubes finished for her. “I didn’t like it then any more than I like you doing it now, but it doesn’t mean I don’t understand. It just makes it a little harder to rescue you when I don’t know where you are, capice?”
Laura emitted a brief chuckle. “Yes. I understand.”
Jubilee squeezed her hand. “So next time, be sure I at least know where you’re going, okay?”
“That’s all I can ask,” Jubilee returned knowingly. She still remembered how difficult it had once been to keep track of Wolverine; caring for his daughter couldn’t be any less difficult.
“So what were you saying about today?”
“It’s the fourth of July,” Jubilee replied, looking back out over the ocean. The full moonlight shone on the dark waves as they lapped against the ground far below them. “People are enjoying hotdogs, too much TV, and family reunions all across the nation.”
“And here is our family reunion.”
“Heh. Yeah, you could say that. But what I was thinking was something I overheard in Forge’s history class. People have always fought for freedom. They were fighting for it back when this country was founded. They were fighting for it when the Indians were forced into reservations and everything they owned taken from them by the white, prejudiced assholes that were in control back then.”
“And the same assholes are still in control now,” Laura added quietly.
“Or their descendants. But the same type of people. The same egotistical jerks. And our people are still fighting for freedom today.” Jubilee sighed. “It kinda makes a girl feel not quite so patriotic.”
“Perhaps,” Laura replied, “or perhaps more so. I have never pledged allegiance to any country or people, Jubilee, but at least we are still fighting.”
“We are,” she responded, “and for the betterment of our people.” She snorted at her own self. “Damn. Now I found like Hank.” She lifted her hands into the warm night air. Crackling sounds produced from her fingertips, and lights suddenly exploded out into the darkness over the water. “I used to love doing this,” she whispered as Laura wrapped her arms around her and she leaned back into her embrace. “I put on a show every Fourth of July for our family.”
“Do it for me,” Laura pleaded in a quiet whisper. “Besides, you and Rachel are always saying they’re still watching over us.”
“Then do you not think they would like to see it again?”
The answering expression on Jubilee’s mouth hovered somewhere between a smirk and a sad smile. “Yeah. Yeah. I guess maybe they would like a show.” For a moment, she considered putting on a show of an entirely different kind, of turning around, laying Laura down, and making love to her, but that could wait. She wasn’t really in the mood to make love right now anyway, and she did feel like they were being watched. She pointed her fingers to the Heavens instead and let her fireworks dance.
Unseen by them both, a hand clasped a lithe and elegant shoulder. “That’s our girls.”
Ororo smiled down at Logan. “Yes. Yes, indeed,” she agreed, “and that is our future, our heritage.”
“Happy Fourth, darlin’.”
She leaned down and kissed him, then added pink lightning to Jubilee’s already bright fireworks. Jubes saw the heat lightning and couldn’t help but to smile through the tears that were sparking in her blue eyes. It was just like ‘Ro to add quietly to her show, always adding to her, lifting her up, and never stealing her thunder. Yeah, they were definitely still watching over them, she thought as a lone tear trailed down her cheek and Laura wiped it away without a word, and as long as they were, their lives could never be all bad. The wait was worth it after all.