saga/title/fandom: Two of Us chapter 8 (X-Men)
author: Alex L
rating/genre: (R) - Romance/Drama
warnings: het, language, adult situtations
summary: Set after the kiss in Homecomings, Bobby finds happiness with Jubilee. In progress. Please read and review!
comments/disclaimers: I forgot the disclaimer for this one---my apologies. All characters belong to Marvel. The story is mine.Feedback is always appreciated.
Chapter Eight: Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’
Logan found himself ambling down the long corridor of the underground hangar. Having just landed several minutes ago in Westchester after many hours in the air, the laconic Canadian was glad to be on the ground with the ability to ram freely. Sharing overseas quarters as well as the inside the X-Jet with Ororo, Remy, Rogue, Sam, Bishop, and Tessa proved to be very cramped for his tastes. It was not that he did not get along with the rest of his teammates or had engaged in some sort of explosive argument. It was simply that he needed his own space to brood and mull over the events of his travels.
There was another reason why he was pleased to be back at the mansion. It had been several weeks since he had seen the kid. Chewing on his trademark Cohiba, Logan recalled the look of disappointment on her face when he told her he was leaving for his latest mission. If it were up to him at that moment, he would have blown it off and stayed at the mansion with her. Logan was wary of having to leave her again. He knew that the circumstances were different this time, but the guilt still remained. After working towards rebuilding their relationship after his lengthy absence, here he was, preparing to leave her once again.
He also sensed there was something troubling the young girl’s mind. She insisted that there was nothing wrong. So, Logan decided to provide her with space, allowing her to deal with whatever it was and waiting for her to come to him.
During the infrequent phone conversations (the machinations of the mission did not allow regular contact, unfortunately), Jubilee made no statements about what had been distressing her. In fact, she sounded upbeat like the child he had first come to know. Despite the fact that she never revealed the cause of her change in mood, Logan was relieved to hear that the glum young woman he had left behind was gone. Yet, there was something else that tempered her newfound enthusiasm. His ears picked up on some tinges of anxiety and fear. He remembered calling her on it, only to be quickly dismissed or having the subject of the conversation change suddenly. Realizing that he was far away from her, he decided to let it go for the moment.
“Home sweet home, eh, mon ami?” The whiskey-and-cigarettes soaked voice of Remy LeBeau shattered his thoughts. The tall and lean Cajun walked alongside him, his own red-on-black eyes reflective of his travel weariness. It was almost strange that he had uttered that phrase, ‘Home sweet home’. It was only recently after reconciling with Rogue that the Louisiana native became more comfortable with the idea of stable dwellings. Logan could see the yearnings of life on the road, alone, were slowly fading from Gambit’s mind.
Logan’s green eyes narrowed at his old friend. He grunted quietly in response. The two men rounded the corner of the corridor, several steps behind the business-like Storm, Rogue, and Bishop, who were in the midst of pooling their information together for a debriefing with Professor Xavier. Tessa strode ahead of the two them, assessing the damage of some equipment Sam was carrying.
Gambit pulled out a pack of Cloves from the pocket of his brown leather duster. Slipping one between his lips, he charged his index finger and lit the cigarette. He exhaled a cloud of sweet, sugary smoke, an expression of relief crossing his sculpted features. “Gambit been waitin’ hours for dat.”
Logan smirked. As the two smokers of the group (Bishop was only a casual smoker, choosing to do so while he was out at bars), they were restricted from engaging in their habit on the jet, lest they incur the wrath of one weather goddess. While Logan was able to focus his attentions on other things, Remy almost lost his trademark cool, nearly climbing the walls of the craft. It was one of the few moments of the trip back to Westchester that truly amused him.
“I thought you were quittin’, Gumbo,” Logan said, puffing on his own cigar.
Gambit smirked, auburn locks flopping over his brow. “Hah. Where you get dat crazy idea, mon ami?” he asked, as they neared the elevator at the other end of the corridor. “Wolverine beginnin’ to sound like Rogue.”
Logan snorted, watching their teammates scurry into one of the elevators. The idea of the Southern Belle and himself having anything in common was almost too much. “Watch your mouth, Cajun,” he warned his smirking companion as he waved on at the group to go ahead of them. “I don’t know who’d hurt you more over that one.”
Gambit winked at Rogue as the sliding doors of the elevator closed. When he and Logan reached the steel-plated elevators, he pressed the UP button and smiled slyly at his friend. “Oui, mais one of you is guaranteed to give good pain to dis ol’ t’ief.” His eyes glittered under the dim lights of the hangar.
The older man grimaced. “Didn’t need to know that,” he muttered, bluish- gray smoke swirling around his head. He glared when the Cajun started chuckling softly. “I still have to grab some grub.”
As they continued to wait for one of the other elevators to arrive, Gambit peered down at his digital watch. “It’s almost ten, Wolverine. Better get used to mansion time.”
“Yeah,” Logan agreed when the doors to the second elevator on the left opened. Briskly, he and Gambit made their way inside. He hit the button for the main floor of the mansion while his friend punched the one for the floor above.
Gambit looked rather amused, flicking ash on the ground. He had never known Logan to be a slave to his stomach. He left that kind of thing to Beast or even Drake. “Not even goin’ to put your bags away first?”
The older man adjusted the strap to his army-surplus bag he had kept from another life. “Goin’ to see the kid,” he informed Gambit, unzipping his black leather jacket. From the brief inspection he gave himself, he could forego the shower for now.
The tall, lean man from New Orleans nodded approvingly, remembering how he, too, missed the young girl. It was then he wondered whether or not Drake had taken his advice many weeks ago. His mind began to flood of images with Jubilee and Bobby---each miserable and despondent in isolation. A pang of guilt hit him in the chest as he thought about the situation he had left, but quickly assured himself that he had done what he could to handle things. He had given the younger man his implicit approval, as well as the go-ahead to act upon his feelings. If Drake was not ready to act, then Gambit was completely blameless at this point. However, he hated thinking about the possibility of Jubilee aching.
He was startled when the doors suddenly opened to the main floor of the mansion. He watched Logan, the self-appointed protector and guardian for the young girl, step out of the elevator. As the weary man began to walk towards the foyer, Gambit called out after him, “Tell de petite dis ol’ t’ief been t’inking of her.”
After arriving back from walking Jubilee home, Bobby dropped off the basket in the kitchen. He knew he needed to clean out the contents (or hear about it the next morning from Cook), but wanted to get cleaned up first. His clothes were still wet and clung to him like a second skin, giving off an aroma that was composed of grass, rain, and bubblegum mixed with cinnamon. He tossed the damp tartan blanket into the laundry room before making his way towards the stairs.
Racing up the spiral staircase, he could not help but smile broadly. The night, in his eyes, had been a success. All the doubt that ate away at him prior to that evening had been washed away with the summer rain. Bobby felt validated. He proved to himself that he was not cursed when it came to planning a romantic evening.
Then there were the memories that overwhelmed his senses. He could still taste the rain in her kisses and feel the inviting warmth of her body under his. The sweet mixture of bubblegum and cinnamon from her skin lingered in his nostrils. He could still see the way her sapphire eyes sparkled as she gazed up at him. The soothing softness of her voice as she whispered his name between kisses echoed in his ears. He had no idea hearing his name sighed like that could make him feel so alive.
The rickety boathouse with all the accessories and equipment was not quite what he had in mind for a romantic backdrop. But huddling inside, sheltered from the driving rain outside, there was no other place he would have rather been. He came to realize that Jubilee was right. It did not matter where they were or what they were doing. What was important was that they had each other. It had been so long since he had heard that from anyone he was with.
“...I just want to be with you.”
Bobby also became quite aware of something else happening during their excursion to the boathouse. During those wonderful kisses, he was overcome by new, but familiar feelings. They were quite different from the yearnings to be close to her. These were stirrings of desire and want that made him tremble as he struggled to restrain himself. Feeling her satiny- soft skin under his hands, hearing her whisper his name, and tasting her sweetness in his mouth made this almost impossible. However, he knew that he had to maintain his composure. Acting on his feelings at that moment would have scared her, would have complicated things, and that was definitely something he wanted to avoid. Bobby was happy and was going to do everything in his power to make sure that nothing---not even his own possible missteps---would ruin it.
Opening the door to his bedroom, he wanted to take a cold shower (the only kind he took) to distract himself. He then paused at the doorway when he noticed he was not alone. Leaning against his desk was Scott Summers, still dressed in his field combat uniform---black leather pants, black combat boots, and a black leather, bomber jacket with a gold ‘X’ emblazoned across the chest. Instead of his wraparound, ruby-quartz sunglasses, the leader of the X-Men was sporting his trademark visor. He appeared somewhat travel-weary, possibly from his trip back from wherever he was. Other than that, he seemed no worse for wear.
“Uh, hey.” Bobby felt his stomach suddenly twist inside, as he closed the door behind him. “When did you get back?”
“I let myself in,” Scott informed him tersely, not bothering to answer his question and crossing his arms over his broad chest. “I think we need to talk.”
Bobby was taken aback from the curt manner in which Scott was handling himself. His boyish features were arranged in a grim, concerned expression, relaying the importance of whatever it was that was on his mind. By no means were he and Scott close buddies. But the two were, for the most part, friendly towards one another. The fact that the other man wanted to speak to him privately in his room was something unusual.
“Sure,” he finally replied, dismayed that he was not going to be able to get out of his wet clothes and hop into the shower. He was beginning to feel clammy from his rain-drenched clothing. “What about?”
Scott eyed the young man standing in front of him warily. He liked Bobby. Starting from their time together as the Professor’s first students, he always considered him the younger brother he thought he no longer had. Even after Alex reappeared in his life, Scott continued to treat Drake as not only a teammate, but also as a member of the family. After all, that was what the Professor and the others had come to be for him, a man who had grown up alone and orphaned in the world.
Having known Bobby for this long, Scott knew that beneath the jokes and beneath the ice, there was a more complex man inside. He observed the younger man experience hardships, not only stemming from what he was, but from his personal life as well. He recalled the younger man leaving the team for some time in order to care for his convalescing father, who was not exactly the model of social support when it came to his son. Throughout it all, Bobby was able to grow and learn, and (dare Scott say it)---mature? Granted, the practical jokes and wisecracks sometimes frayed at his nerves, but Scott acknowledged that it was all a part of who Drake was.
There were times when Bobby was known to lose his temper, but Scott was aware that Bobby was a good man. He was a stalwart friend, who was deeply and fiercely loyal. He cared about his friends and the students around the mansion. Like Scott, he had come to consider these individuals part of his family as well. He, too, would do everything he could protect them from any harm that might pose as a threat.
And yet, seeing this good man with the young girl he considered the closest thing he had to his own child aroused feelings of ambivalence.
“I saw you and Jubilee together,” he began, adjusting his visor.
Bobby swallowed hard. He suddenly was able to decipher the meaning behind displeased, but restrained expression on the other man’s countenance. He knows. Crap. . “Oh?” he managed finally after a brief pause.
“What exactly did you think you were doing?” Scott demanded, his head clouded with images of Bobby and Jubilee in the rain together, kissing, and eventually, walking into the red-shingled boathouse. He remembered losing his concentration in landing the Blackbird as he attempted to recover from the shock of seeing them together.
“We were playing house.” Immediately, Bobby wanted to slap his forehead. He cursed himself inwardly as to why he provided that kind of knee-jerk response. What am I, six years old again?
“You were all over Jubilee.”
“We were playing Colin Farrell’s house?”
Jubilee stepped out of her steaming bathroom, freshly showered. The dirt and pieces of grass that had clung to her feet and calves had washed down the drain. Quickly, she pulled on a white, V-neck T-shirt and a pair of white pajama pants with blue-and-green stripes. Deciding it was too warm and too late to dry her hair, she opted to pile it on the top of her head, securing the loose bun with two black, lacquered sticks from her dresser. The young girl flopped onto her bed, a dreamy smile creeping across her delicate features. She grabbed the remote to her stereo system to play some music. Her mind began to drift as her Ben Folds CD played in the background.
The picnic with Bobby was amazing. For her, it wasn’t the food or the tranquil weather (until the rain set in), but it was Bobby. He was so relaxed, not at all the anxiety-ridden person she had been out with during their first date. That evening he was so eager to please that most of his focus was on how the fine details of the date were playing out. It was the antithesis of the Bobby she had come to know and care about.
But tonight, he was his usual self. He was disarming, irresistible, and adorable.... He was all of those things and more. The euphoria and joy that was elicited every time Bobby was near was incredible. He made her feel special and important, as if she were the highest priority on his list. When she was with him, she felt safe, secure, and quite cherished. It had been quite some time since she had experienced that kind of unconditional acceptance and affection, not fearing that the other person would turn away or leave.
And for her part, she wanted to show him how deeply she cared in return. She wanted to erase all that hurt he had experienced, which probably caused his nervousness during their first date. She wanted to help him see that he was a good man and that he deserved to be happy. She wanted to prove to him that his fears (which she sometimes felt he still held on to) of ruining things with her were unfounded.
Jubilee’s fingers absentmindedly brushed against her lips. They were still tingling, as was the rest of her, from the memories of his kisses earlier this evening. Her face began to grow warm and her pulse began to race as she pictured his handsome face with those gentle eyes and easy grin. She could still feel his arms around her, cradling her against his chest. The thought alone brought forth another smile and made her heart swell inside her slender frame.
The young girl had been so deep in thought that she almost did not hear insistent knocking at the front door. Startled, she leapt off of the bed and bounded down the stairs. Part of her was hoping that it was Bobby, paying her another visit. However, he had told her as he walked her home that he had to prepare for his class the following day, and therefore, would not be able to pay her a visit. Maybe he’s changed his mind, she mused, sapphire-blue eyes crinkling at the corners. I can be very persuasive when I want to be...
Flinging the door open, she found someone else waiting for her. “Wolvie?”
“I was beginning to think you weren’t home,” he said gruffly in greeting, striding inside the Summers’ home. To appease his militantly anti-smoking Jubilee, he had stomped out his cigar outside while he was waiting for her to answer the door. He watched her face vacillate between shock and happiness as she stood there, taking him in with those old-soul eyes. Immediately, he felt her slim arms wrap around his neck tightly, her soft cheek pressed against his stubble-ridden one. A part of the old man melted inside as he held her close to him. It was almost like the days he thought were long forgotten.
“You were gone for so long,” she whispered, drawing back slightly to stare at his rugged face. It was then that she realized how much she had truly missed her beloved Wolverine. The bad-tempered front he had put on, which would have turned away other people, was for her benefit. She would not have had it any other way.
“It was longer than a couple of days,” he admitted, referring to the weeks he had been away. He hated the time that had passed while he was with the others, but knew that unlike the previous times he had been away, he would ultimately return. Having her in his arms like this reminded him that this was what he been waiting to come home to; this was home for the loner.
Suddenly, his nostrils flared. He sniffed quietly, frowning. The gold flecks in his green eyes flashed as he picked up on something. Mixed with her unique scent was that of someone else. Someone he was familiar with. While it was faint, he was certain it was there.
Observing Logan engage in his tracking behavior, Jubilee pulled back, expression quizzical. “What’s wrong?” she inquired, almost nervous from the intense stare he was giving her.
His brows furrowed together. He closed the door firmly behind him. “You smell.... different.”
“I took a shower a couple of minutes ago.” She suddenly knew where he was going. Her palms began to sweat profusely. While she was aware that she had to tell Logan about Bobby, she had not expected to do so quite so soon. Her ambivalence stemmed from his possible volatile reaction to the news. From the darkening expression that was clouding his features, her suspicions were probably not unfounded.
“This.” Logan leaned towards her, his fingers lightly brushing against her neck. The mark, while faint, was still discernible to his sharp eyes. It almost looked like... No, it couldn’t be.
Jubilee quickly slapped her hand over where his eyes were focused, fighting the urge to blush. She wondered how she had missed seeing whatever mark was there when she had stripped for her shower. Thoughts about earlier that evening in the boathouse raced through her mind. Dammit, Bobby.
“I burned myself with a curling iron,” she lied, backing away from him. Her back suddenly met the wall and she realized there was nowhere for her to flee given that Logan was blocking her path to the door.
He raised a stony brow at her. While the young girl had grown and changed over the years, there were still aspects of her that reminded him of the child he met so long ago. It was quite easy for him to decipher when the kid was lying. There were always these trademark behaviors that were subtle, yet communicated her evasiveness---the slightly shakiness in her voice, the blinking of the eyes, and the slight twitch that touched her small mouth. He watched with unwavering interest as those telltale behaviors manifested themselves.
“Curling iron?” he mused flatly, eyes narrowing. “Doesn’t look like a burn mark to me, kid.”
Bobby swallowed hard, trying not to flinch under the cold, Stoic gaze of one Scott Summers. In hindsight, he supposed that using Colin Farrell to describe the version of house he and Jubilee were playing wasn’t the best idea. He mentally cursed himself for speaking before thinking---an old habit he engaged in, particularly when he was nervous. It was something he definitely needed to work on. Too bad he didn’t do so before this confrontation.
“I didn’t mean that,” he quickly said, smiling weakly.
Scott frowned in response, the creases around the visor deepening with each passing second. “I should hope not.”
Holy hell, how do I get out of this one alive? Bobby racked his brain frantically. He was trying to find some eloquent way of explaining the situation to Scott, without provoking him further. Raking a hand through his sandy hair, he sighed. “Scott,” he began, his voice very steady and even.
“I don’t think this is a good idea, Bobby,” Scott cut in, mouth forming a grim line. And suddenly, that pained, almost constipated expression the other man wore when he thought something was terribly wrong.
The younger man stared at him incredulously. His smile disappeared. “What?”
“This thing with Jubilee,” Scott explained, rubbing his square chin with his fingers carefully. “I mean, whatever game you’re playing with her.... It’s not a good idea.”
Bobby felt as if he were struck in the abdomen. He resisted the urge not to drop his jaw as he continued to stare at the man he considered a friend, a teammate, and a surrogate older brother---someone he looked up to. This man was apparently accusing him of something he knew he was never capable of. From the concerned expression on the other man’s face, it appeared he was dead serious about this assertion.
After a few seconds, anger began to set in and Bobby went on the defensive. “What the hell do you mean?” he demanded, thunder crashing outside his window. “I’m not... I would never...”
Scott crossed his arms over his chest again. “She’s young and she’s been through a lot in her life. In spite of the happy front she puts on, Jubilee has had her share of pain. Look at what’s happened to her in the last five years...”
“You’re talking to me as if I don’t know that?” Bobby snapped, trying to drown out the loud beating of the rain against the window. It was almost as if Mother Nature was reflecting his feelings of rage and hurt.
“You also know that she deserves to be happy,” the other man continued, ignoring the sardonic tone his old friend was using. “I’m not saying that you would go out of your way to hurt her---”
“Then what the hell are you trying to say, Scott? Because it certainly sounds that way to me.” Bobby fumed, clenching his fists at sides. Apparently, all these years together with Xavier meant nothing. Apparently, Scott didn’t know him at all.
Scott felt a chill in the air. He peered over at the scowling young man standing across from him. Whenever Bobby got quite emotional, he had a tendency to lose control of his powers briefly. It was better now than when he first came to the school. “Stop it, Bobby. I’m trying to talk to you,” he managed through chattering teeth. He could feel his skin begin to go numb from the frigid air.
Bobby narrowed his eyes, breathing heavily. His ribs felt as if they were squeezing his lungs for every ounce of oxygen. The cold air that swirled around the room seemed to aggravate that. He relented, bringing the temperature back to its’ normal level.
“Look,” Scott began, exhaling sharply. “You’re a good guy, I know that---”
“Then what’s the problem?” Bobby asked, still stinging from Scott’s initial words. For a moment, he thought the man had exchanged some words with Gambit until he remembered that it was the Cajun thief who had given him his blessing. “You know me. You know I know Jubilee. I would never hurt her, man. Not in a million years would I do that.”
“I know, but---”
“But she doesn’t need to be hurt again. She’s had enough hurt for a lifetime. Don’t make her first time being in love with someone something she’s going to look back on and regret.”
“What gives you the idea that I would ever do something to hurt her?”
“I was there at the wedding, remember? I heard you stand up and declare your love for Lorna, even after all these years...”
“That was ages ago, Scott. I don’t feel---”
“Oh come on, Bobby. We’ve all watched you for years pine and scheme your way into getting her back. It was no secret that it killed you to see her with someone else. Hell, Alex can probably write a book about it.”
“That’s not the case anymore.”
“That’s kind of hard to believe, isn’t it?”
“I’m over Lorna.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“I’m not going to stand by and let you use Jubilee as some kind of distraction until you get Lorna back.”
“Are you serious? Really, are you serious?”
“You bet I am.”
“You know, you can be so full of---”
“Don’t do this to her, Bobby. Don’t use some crush she may have on you to occupy yourself. If you’re really her friend and if you care about her at all, you’ll put a stop to this. Now.”
“Listen, I hear you when you say you’re concerned. But you know what? I’m not playing a game. I don’t think I’ve ever been more serious about anything in my life.”
The two men lapsed into stony silence. Time crawled by as the rain continued to pound the spacious property of the mansion. Both eyed each other with tension and wariness. Never had something this contentious come between them. Never had they fought so ardently ---the point where their friendship stood to be eviscerated.
Scott stared across the lawn at his home, a beacon in the middle of the summer storm. His thoughts went to Jubilee, protecting her and keeping her safe and happy. When he found out she had been attacked, he swore he would do everything in his power not to allow her to experience any kind of hurt again. It didn’t matter whether or not it was physical or mental pain; it was still pain. Formulating his conclusion about Bobby’s motives, he was going to be damned if he was going to be stand by and allow something terrible to happen. Logan’s ire and fury was going to be nothing compared to what Scott was capable of.
At the same time, he reminded himself that Bobby Drake was a good man. He had never done anything to rouse any kind of suspicions. In fact, Bobby had always been close to Jubilee. When she had visited the mansion in the past, he was the second person (Logan being the first) she spent the most time with. After she was brought back to the mansion following her ordeal with Bastion, Bobby was a constant companion by her bedside. He knew of all the movies, video games, and magazines to bring with him while visiting. Scott had always admired the other man’s ability to bring a sunny smile to her face, something he often struggled to do given his lack of comedic timing.
Scott sighed wearily. “It’s just that I care about her,” he finally said quietly, turning to face the window.
Bobby followed the man’s gaze, his thoughts following a similar pattern. Then he studied Scott’s profile gravely as he whispered back, “So do I.”
Jubilee sighed, sheepishly looking up at her beloved Wolvie. “I guess it’s time to come clean, huh?” She rubbed her neck nervously, as if trying to will the mark to disappear.
He was expressionless as he nodded. This should be good if the kid feels she has to lie to me, he mused, gesturing for her to follow him into the living room. He had his suspicions and was keeping a lid on his reaction until she said something. There was no need to scare her right off the bat.
The faint scent of sweet pine emanated from the hardwood floors of the living room. Usually, this would have been a comforting sensation for her. However, dread and fear overwhelmed her as she prepared to tell the man she considered the closest thing she had to a father her news. She did not necessarily fear for herself, but for Bobby. Given Logan’s vocal and behavioral protestations regarding any man’s romantic inclinations towards her, she knew his response was likely not going to be filled with cries of joy. More like cries of a man possessed, hunting for his terror-stricken prey.
Logan paused in front of the fireplace, turning to face her. The mark on her neck was definitely not some burn mark as she first asserted. The indentations were certainly from something else. Rather, someone else. His eyes narrowed.
“Spill it, kid,” he told her. “You and I know that ain’t some burn.”
That was her Wolvie---never dancing around the subject and always to the point. “It’s not,” she admitted, chewing on her lower lip nervously. “I need to tell you something.”
“Yeah?” He raised his brows expectantly.
“You have to promise not to go nuts or anything,” she blurted out, cheeks flushing pink. Yes, it was childish, but words seemed to escape her as she edged closer to telling him the truth.
He smirked at her. “Listen, kid. I’m not gonna promise you anything. Tell me whatever it is and I’ll decide later.”
She stared at him, open-mouthed. “That’s not fair,” she protested indignantly, tempted to stamp her foot down. Images of Logan chasing her poor Bobby around the mansion with his claws extended flooded her brain. There was no way she could allow that to happen.
“Life’s not fair,” he declared flatly, partially amused with the way she was twisting in the wind. Had his curiosity not been piqued, he would have enjoyed allowing this to play out further.
Jubilee stepped away from him, sapphire eyes blazing with fury. She almost forgot how unreasonable he could be sometimes. “You’re not making a compelling case for me to tell you anything.”
He stalked towards her, deciding to call the young girl’s bluff. “Sounds good to me. I can have a friendly talk with every guy in the mansion ‘til I hear what I wanna hear.” With a SNIKT, he extended his adamantium claws.
She was about to say, “You wouldn’t...”, but then thought better of it. This was Logan she was dealing with. Of course, he would. Her shoulders sank as she peered up at him. Those stony eyes stared back, unreadable and waiting.
A tiny frown creased her smooth forehead. “Alright,” she muttered, trying to avert his stare, but to no avail. The way he was looking at her was making her squirm slightly. Having never been the focus of such a look, she was uncomfortable.
Satisfied, he retracted those sharp, shining claws.
Taking a deep breath, she said, “I’m seeing someone.”
Silence fell over the room, which was then followed by a low growl from Logan’s scowling lips. Before he could extend his claws, she clasped his hands with hers. Her sapphire gaze was steady as she stared into the face of the man she cherished all these years.
“Who?” he demanded, surprised as to how strong her grip was. He realized he could take another sniff and confirm the person’s identity for himself. Hell, he had a list of suspects running in his head; many of whom he had ‘talked’ to before. But for some reason, he had to hear the answer from her.
She pressed her lips together. As much as she wanted to stall, she knew that she could not. She simply had to trust him, as she did when she first met him. “Bobby.”
He narrowed his eyes. Drake? It was hard for him to even fathom. His mind drifted off to an incident several years ago. It was late morning and most of the residents had gathered in the spacious kitchen for breakfast. She and Drake were sitting together, plotting their latest prank for the day when one of Gambit’s conquests wandered downstairs. Unlike other women the Cajun thief had brought back, this one appeared as if she had seen better days. Bobby and Jubilee had been snickering as the woman leaned against the wall next to where they were sitting. She was possibly still intoxicated from the night before. Drake kept nudging the shorthaired, pixie next to him with a banana, whispering something. In response, she had shaken her head vigorously.
“Do it,” he had urged, smirking and struggling to keep a straight face.
Jubilee had peered over at the woman next to her, holding the banana Drake handed her. “Excuse me,” she had said. “How far can you get this banana..? Oh, Bobby, I can’t do it. She’s looking right at me!”
“Wolvie?” Jubilee’s soft voice broke into his thoughts, interrupting his reverie. He had looked so far away, almost confused.
Logan shook his head to clear it. “Yeah, kid. I’m here.” He frowned at her quizzically. “Drake?”
“Really?” He still couldn’t believe it. For some reason, he figured Drake was celibate, especially after what happened at the wedding.
She nodded again. “Yes, really.”
“And he gave you that... that on your neck?” He grunted, puzzled as to why he could not bring himself to say ‘hickey’. For some reason, connecting that word to his Jubilee seemed so wrong. She was still his, still that small child he met in Australia.
She blushed, eyes lowered to the floor. “Yeah, he did.” Then she quickly snapped her head up. “Please don’t kill him.”
He raised a brow at her, lips quirked. “What?”
“I... I really care about him,” she blurted out, chin quivering. “He’s so good to me. And I... I haven’t been this happy in a long time. It’s because of him.”
Logan intently looked into her sapphire depths. They were fiercely determined and pleading at the same time. The last time he had seen that look in her eyes was when he experiencing one of his rages. She had been the only one who was certain she could reason with him, without using any force or powers.
Pulling his hands away from hers, he exhaled loudly. He stepped back from the young girl, studying her closely. As much as he wanted to continue denying it, she had grown up. He could not will her back into childhood again just to keep her close to him. Logan realized he had to face facts and accept another set of changes set before him.
“He’s good to you, huh?” he finally asked wearily, trying to hide the sadness and longing in his gravelly voice.
Jubilee nodded, eyes shining.
He grunted before wrapping his arms around the young girl, pulling her close to his wiry form. Pressing his lips against her forehead, he sighed. “I’m not gonna hurt him, kid,” he muttered, feeling her slender arms tighten around him in response.
At least not today, he added silently.
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