saga/title/fandom: Two of Us chapter 35 (X-Men)

author: Alex L

rating/genre: (NC-17) - 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 Thirty-Five: Mysterious Ways

International travel was not something new to the active teams. It was not unusual for a group to make their way to places such as London, Munich, Jerusalem, or Cairo in the same week. While it was exhilarating to see the sights and experience the culture and people, the down time away from the mission was not enough to indulge. The pace during these missions was too fast. Literally, the trips were like whirlwinds, composed of fragmented memories of places and events that mingled together in some semi-coherent fashion. Sometimes, the only souvenirs obtained to commemorate any of these trips were the stamps and visas in their passports.

For some strange reason, the frequency of missions seemed to increase as the temperatures cooled. It was a rather peculiar correlation, one that many were aware of, but never really bothered to bring up during War Room meetings. Depending on where one was being dispatched, it was a blessing or a burden.

The first day of fall this year was no exception. As soon as the leaves started turning colors and the air gained a crisp quality, the Professor was alerted to a disturbance in Istanbul. Through his link with Cerebro, he was able to ascertain some mutant activity. Tessa’s research provided evidence and additional detail as to what exactly was going on. Her findings told of a rash of attacks, where people were being disfigured. The manner of maiming—or transformation being the more operative word—could only have been achieved through mutant abilities. Some cases involved the disappearance of facial features, or the addition of limbs, which resulted in some jarring images. The government, fearing mass hysteria, not to mention the prospect of lost revenue from the growing tourism market, decided to keep a low profile in their handling things. It was not long after that a cabinet member contacted Professor Xavier for his assistance. He, in turn, decided to dispatch a team to conduct a more thorough assessment and hopefully, containment of the mutant in question.

The team, led by Warren and Logan, departed the mansion early the following morning via the Blackbird. In spite of the vessel’s ability to travel at high speeds, the estimated time in the air was still roughly six hours. Being the more experienced pilot, Warren took it upon himself to fly the plane. Meanwhile, Logan was finalizing landing plans with the staff at Atatürk airport. This left the remaining members of the group, which consisted of Hank, Gambit, and Bobby, to plot out sections of the city to explore.

The team arrived in Turkey while there was daylight out. In early autumn, Istanbul was quite a sight to behold. The weather painted a lovely scene against the historic structures, such as various cisterns and fountains, and modern flats. Central to the Turkish economy, Istanbul housed a great number of businesses and factories. The diversity of the city was also quite evident through the people who lived there. Adding to the Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, were recent migrants from Anatolia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Many of the streets remained unchanged from their original design. They were narrow and constructed from cobblestone, and often on hills. Unfortunately, this did not help much with the burgeoning traffic that crowded the city.

The five teammates met briefly with the government delegation to update the details of the assignment. The officials lamented that not much had changed with the exception of the increasing fear of the city residents. Relieved to obtain assistance with the situation, they fervently pledged their support. Shortly afterwards, they had the team whisked away by a car hire service to their hotel in Sultanahmet Square. Much to Hank and Bobby’s amusement, the driver struggled to remain compose when he first laid eyes on the group he was to transport in his vehicle. Apparently, it was not everyday that he saw a winged man, a man with red-on-black eyes, and a large, blue cat-like creature that spoke fluent Turkish.

“Once we check in and get settled in our rooms, we should try to explore this part of the city to see what’s what,” Warren said, leaning back in the backseat. After being confined to rather tight spaces for several hours, he was looking forward to getting some fresh air and most importantly, spreading his wings.

Bobby adjusted his purple-tinted sunglasses. “Do you think we can stop for some food?” he asked, feeling his stomach rumble when the car passed by several kebab and pide salons.

“You could have had something to eat on the plane ride over,” Warren sighed, sounding quite exasperated. “Why did you wait until now, just as we’re about plan where we’re going to stake out?”

Gambit shuffled a deck of cards and muttered under his breath, “Because he’s Drake and dere’s no known cure, homme.”

Bobby shot a withering look at the Cajun, who snickered with Logan in response. “I wasn’t hungry then,” he said to Warren pointedly.

Logan chewed on his cigar, grinding it between his teeth. “We don’t got time for you to enjoy a four-course meal and cocktails,” he informed the younger man sardonically.

“Perhaps, we can work out a compromise,” Hank piped up, sensing his friend’s need to have someone on his side. He held up his travel book on Turkey he had been reading. “If we visit the Covered Bazaar as we originally planned, we would be able to find some eateries that are similar to fast food haunts back in the ‘States. It would not take up so much time, really. We would also be able to search for the mutant.”

Good, old Hank, Bobby mused, trying not to appear too smug when Warren and Logan relented. He flashed a grateful smile to his good friend when the other three were occupied. Had it not been for the reassurances and playful comments from the big, blue one, Bobby would certainly be in a much more glum mood than he already was. It was not that he hated traveling or going on missions with the team. In fact, he always enjoyed the adventure and excitement of it all. It was nice to get away from teaching, from the children, from the everyday routine of being at the school. To be free from that, even for a few days, was quite refreshing.

Yet, this time was different. This time, he found himself wishing he did not have to leave Westchester. For the first time, he did not experience the rush of that came from being somewhere else. It was a strange, perplexing sensation. As much as he wanted to concentrate and focus on what he was supposed to be doing, he could not.

Bobby Drake wanted nothing more than to hop another plane back to the U.S. Instead of thinking about what sections of the city he was going to scout, his mind drifted to memories of that curve between Jubilee’s neck and shoulder, her perfume of bubblegum and cinnamon, and the sparkle of her eyes. The thought of her so far away from him sent pangs to his heart, mixing with his longing to see her again.

Having never felt something like this before, he was at a loss. The more he mulled over things, the more he was able to make sense out of the whole thing. Before Jubilee, he really did not have anyone to leave behind. Granted, there was Opal. But looking back at that relationship, he thought there was a part of him that actually looked forward to getting away from her.

No, things were different now. They were definitely better. He had someone worthwhile to come home to.

This mission marked the first time the two of them would be separated for a substantial amount of time. While the Professor provided no exact timeline as to how long the mission would take, it was almost certain that Bobby would be away for at least two weeks. Faced with that prospect, he and Jubilee refused to engage in the angst-like bemoaning couples participated in when they were forced to part for some time. Instead, they made an implicit decision to make an effort to be light-hearted about the situation. She teased him about getting presents from his trip, while he joked about her keeping things together while he was gone. Underneath all the banter, it was clear that the two of them were not looking forward to this time apart.

It was quite evident the day he was set to leave. He and Jubilee were in the third level of the basement where the jets and helicopters were housed. As they watched the rest of the team file into the Blackbird with their gear, the young couple held hands. He remembered squeezing her hand tightly for fear that she would somehow slip away from him.

“Ow.” Jubilee winced, trying to pull her hand away.

He smiled sheepishly, raising her hand to his lips and pressing his lips against it gently. “Sorry. Better now?”

She nodded, sapphire eyes twinkling. Then she peered over at the Blackbird warily, realizing what was to come. Her sunny _expression slowly faded. “I guess this is it.”

He sighed dolefully as he tightened his grip on the strap of his travel bag. “Yeah.” He shook his head. “I know we agreed not to be all sappy, but I have to say this.”


“I know. I’m not going to see your face when I wake tomorrow.”

“Oh come on. It’s a change of pace, isn’t it?”

“I don’t want to say goodbye to you.”

Jubilee turned to stare up at him, her face losing its solemn _expression. She draped her lithe arms around his neck. “Then don’t say goodbye,” she told him as she stood on her tiptoes. “Say something else… It’s not like you’re never coming back.”

“I know. I’m still not crazy about leaving…” Bobby made a point to inhale the sweet, familiar fragrance from her hair and holding her body tightly against his. Then he brightened as he said, “How about ‘Smell you later’?”

His girlfriend smirked, rolling her eyes. “Try again, Romeo,” she quipped.

Bobby was startled out of his reverie when he heard Hank talking to the driver. He blinked, noticing that the car had stopped in what appeared to be an older residential district. Stray cats ducked in between older model American and European cars, sitting in traffic. On one corner, sat several shoeshine boys on old paint tins with their polish and brushes on cheap wooden boxes. Some of the nearby shops displayed their goods through large windows. There were dozens of cut-glass bottles in gold-plated cases, embellished with scenes of Mecca, along with autographed pictures of overripe chanteuses. Meanwhile, weary fishermen, trying their luck at the Bosphorous, were carrying their bounty up one of the many hills of the city.

“Çok te*ekkür ederim,” * Hank said to the driver, handing him several Turkish lira and grabbing his large, black duffel bag. He opened the passenger’s side door quickly and motioned the others to follow suit. “This is us, the Hotel Erguvan.”

The rest of the team filed out of the car with their baggage, staring up at the salmon-colored building that looked vibrant compared to the neighboring buildings. Marble steps led to the heavy mahogany door, where a reed-like man with black hair and olive skin was smoking an unfiltered cigarette. His glassy eyes widened when he saw Hank and Warren, but he quickly regained his composure. Throwing his cigarette on the ground and stamping it out, he smiled and began to take their baggage inside. He led them to the front desk staff, who greeted the travelers. The head concierge, efficiently but cordially, provided an orientation to the hotel and their amenities, as well as of the city in terms of where to eat, what tours to take, and where to shop. Fortunately, the introduction was given in English so that everyone could understand.

When they reached the elevators, Warren crossed his arms over his broad chest. “Let’s just get the bags inside our rooms and we’ll meet down here in five,” he said, watching the reed-like man scurry inside one of the elevators with their baggage.

Logan nodded in agreement, stepping inside the elevator with the man and Gambit. “The Covered Bazaar is two blocks away. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can catch whoever’s behind scaring the hell outta these people.”

Bobby climbed inside another elevator with Warren and Hank. He pressed the button to reach their floor, which was on the top floor of the building. “But we’re still getting food, right?”

Warren heaved an exasperated sigh. “Yes, Bobby.” While he was aware that his friend had a bottomless pit for a stomach, he had never seen him like this—antsy and pretending that hunger was on the forefront of his mind. Studying Bobby, Warren could only surmise that the younger man was preoccupied with something else. For the man known as the comedian of the group, it seemed like it was easier for him to channel his anxiety through another means rather than openly talking about what truly bothered him.

Instantly recognizing where the conflict was stemming from, he softened. Empathically, the tall, blond patted Bobby’s shoulder as he added, “I’ll even pay.”

As the largest Eastern market in the world, the Covered Bazaar in Istanbul boasted a vast and rambling structure with arches, barrel vaults, and skylights overhead. It was like a city unto itself, with over five thousand shops, a mosque, a school, and even its own post office and police station. Signs in either Turkish or German advertised trinkets and other manner of goods. The design of the entire market was similar to an endless maze of wholesalers, warehouses, and workshops. Located in the center and near the entrances, were various jewelers and purveyors of copper and rare antiques. Dealers in raw leather or children’s clothing were tucked away in low-rent alleys.

The merchants and other prospective customers made no effort to avert their curious stares as Hank and Warren led the team inside. Logan and Gambit exchanged amused glances, while Bobby was making a valiant effort to find a kebab place to stop into. He grinned at the many shopkeepers attempting to lure him to their shops with promises of good deals, apple tea, or compliments of what a fine young man he was in broken English. Passing them by with easy charm, he continued to follow the rest of his teammates through the crowded marketplace.

Hank found himself squeezing his large frame in between the swells of people. Almost every five minutes, he would excuse himself in Turkish as he bumped into various people, who seemed intrigued and frightened of him simultaneously. Pulling his black leather jacket closer to his form, he attempted to make his way forward. He kept his head, trying not to attract any more attention than he already had.

His eyes widened when he felt a sharp jab at his side. Immediately, his head snapped up in order to locate the perpetrator. His gaze was greeted by the sight of a woman in birka with wide, hazel eyes. A hand slipped out to briefly brush against his. Then, just as suddenly as she touched him, she was swallowed in the crowd.

Pushing the incidence from his mind, the scientist found a brightly lit store vending shop that caught his eye. On the main display were sweets, such as bins of Turkish delight, containers of helva, nuts, and baklava. Further inside, were more substantive choices like stuffed vine leaves, Russian salads in mayonnaise, a variety of beans in sauces, mushrooms, stewed chicken and lamb dishes, rice pilafs and bulgur, kebabs, and cooked aubergine salads. Satisfied with the selection and the apparent prompt service, he made a decision.

“Let’s stop here,” he suggested, oblivious to the beaming face of the rotund, wild-haired merchant who was motioning for him to come in. “I could use some nourishment before we press on.”

Bobby needed no additional urging. He darted inside, as if controlled by the grumbling of his belly. The others shook their heads, not completely surprised by the young man’s reaction. Logan and Gambit migrated towards the meat dishes. Being more health-conscious, Warren was selective, perusing the displays more carefully.

Meanwhile, Hank was feeling out of sorts. It was no longer hunger that was consuming him, but something else as well. There was an odd sensation that pulsed through his entire being. He could feel it inside of him, not from one particular area but from multiple places. It radiated through his skin and the blue fur that covered it. His body felt as if it were shrinking and expanding at the same time.

Alarmed, he peered down at himself, placing a hand to his forehead. For some reason, his black leather uniform, usually snug around his form, seemed to hang off of him now. Furthermore, he suddenly noticed there was a part of his body that vanished.

A part of him that he was quite sure was there this morning.

Stars and garters, what’s going on? His mind screamed in ever-increasing confusion.

An unintelligible cry escaped from his lips. "Something's amiss," Hank announced, his blue eyes worried and voice trembling with panic. "I fear something significant of mine has disappeared."

Gambit was perplexed as he slapped down some Turkish lira to pay for his meal and Logan’s, his eyes locked on the attractive brunette behind the cash register. “What dat be, Beast?” he asked, searching the deep pockets of his brown leather duster. As a former thief, he was cognizant of the fact that a crowded city like Istanbul was a haven for would-be pickpocketers. Given this, he took precautionary measures by keeping his wallet and money underneath his uniform.

Warren, having heard the distress nature of the noise that emanated from his friend, was keener to investigate further. He peered up from array of teas. Upon taking in the sight that met his disbelieving eyes, he blinked and wondered whether or not he had gotten enough sleep the night before. "Hank, no offense, but your hips look a little wider," he noted as he took several steps back to get an overall view of the other man and his suddenly changing appearance. "And your hair...”

“What about it?” Hank’s hands immediately flew to his head. Much to his surprise, he found that he now possessed long, flowing tresses that ripped down his shoulders. “What on earth…”

Logan narrowed his eyes thoughtfully, taking in the appearance of his friend at that moment. The gruff Canadian chewed on his cigar, perplexed and amused at the same time. “Call me crazy,” he drawled, “but I think you've turned into a chick."

Hank brought his hands in front of his face. It was at that point that he noticed that they were smaller than he remembered, possessing a more delicate quality. Startled, he assessed the rest of his body. His once hulking, imposing physique was now replaced with an unfamiliar slender frame. As his friend pointed out, his hips now had a flare to them, and his chest…

“How did this happen?” he cried, ducking into a far corner of the shop. The rest of the group followed him. The shopkeeper and his staff were left to stare, uncertain as to what exactly was going on with the blue, furry man that was now a woman.

"Look on the bright side," Bobby remarked, gray eyes twinkling, "at least your boobs are still the same size."

Hank slapped him upside the head.

"Ow!" the younger man screamed, rubbing his scalp tenderly. "Sheesh...what a bitch!"

Warren and Gambit grabbed Hank before he had a chance to claw his friend’s eyes out. Logan frowned deeply in concentration, as if trying to use his senses to deduce the catalyst responsible. He growled, producing a rumbling sound from his throat. Then he strode away, tossing the carton of food Gambit had just purchased on a nearby counter.

“Come on,” he called over his shoulder in his gravelly voice. “I smell our mutant.”

Warren, Gambit, and Hank jogged after him. Bobby shook his head, disheartened that their meal break was interrupted. The boyishly handsome man followed his friends, but not before grabbing the food Logan had discarded earlier. Flashing the owner and his staff a charming smile, he quickly hurried to catch up with the rest of his friends.

In another continent, miles away, fall was reigning over Westchester with a fierceness rarely seen. The weather was less than pleasant with brisk, swirling winds that sent golden leaves flying from tree branches. The sun was hiding that day behind thick, gray clouds. In short, the conditions were perfect to spend the day inside.

Inside for a group of young women from the mansion meant Salem Center Mall. They languidly window shopped, browsing a variety of stores housed within the complex to search for something that might pique their interest. With caffeine-infused beverages in hand, the quartet of Jubilee, Paige, Tabitha, and Kitty allowed themselves to enjoy the mundane quality of the day, free of concern or worry regarding the outside world or their responsibilities around the mansion.

As Kitty led them into Halliwells, Jubilee could not help but wonder if her former roommate had anything to do with organizing this outing. While she did not pine openly about her boyfriend’s absence as the younger Guthrie did, she was counting the days until Bobby’s return. She refused to sigh by a window to demonstrate her loneliness. Instead, she put on that sunny face she was known for, hoping, as she always did, to throw people off. Apparently, this approach did not work with Paige.

For someone who believed herself to be accustomed to the comings and goings of others, she was surprised to note the effect Bobby being away had on her. It was not that she expected not to miss him. Rather, it was the fact that she missed him as much as she did. His face, his voice, and his touch were constantly at the forefront of her mind. Thinking about him made her want him back with her even more.

Granted, the couple had been separated before during the Christmas holidays, but this time was different. There was no scheduled return date she could mark on her calendar. From what Logan relayed to her during one of their outings several weeks ago, the team would come back when the objective was achieved; nothing further than that. As a result, she felt deflated and unsure what to do with herself other than wait.

Not that she minded. Aside from the yearning to see his boyish face again and experience the closeness of his body next to hers, Jubilee liked the idea of someone coming home, just for her. It was an entirely new concept she was dealing with. Sure, Logan, after his solitary travels or missions with a team, would check in on her, but she was not necessarily the reason for his return. There were the romantic tensions with Jean, the need for the Professor’s help to soothe his fragmented psyche. Settling as second or third best had been fine enough for her. After all, she had conditioned herself to be used to it all her life.

But with Bobby, that was not the case. He was coming home to her. Days before he was scheduled to leave for Turkey, he expressed this sentiment. His words were sincere and poignant. The way he loved and cared for her provided ample evidence. She did not have to worry about any underlying motivations for him wanting to come home. To him, she was what made coming home safe and inviting. She was his sanctuary.

And he was hers.

The thought elicited a wistful, dreamy smile that lit up her lovely face. It reached her sapphire eyes, which seemed to sparkle brightly. Such an _expression reflected the euphoria she experienced simply thinking about Bobby Drake.

Paige caught a glimpse of her friend as she was pushing up the sleeves to her azure turtleneck, which she wore over a pair of green corduroy slacks. The Kentucky native was inwardly pleased to see her friend in a happier mood. Over the past few days, she had noticed Jubilee and the act she often put on in order to reassure everyone around her that nothing was wrong. As the young girl’s best friend, she easily saw through the deception. In the end, she supposed it was this knowledge that compelled her to suggest this outing. Directly addressing Jubilee regarding her missing Bobby would have been laughed off.

With the smile that seemed deeply etched across Jubilee’s delicate features, Paige decided it was safe to talk about it. “Thinking about him?” she inquired casually.

Jubilee walked alongside her friend, watching Tabitha stroll to a nearby perfume counter and dousing herself with a sample bottle. “I’m not going to deny it,” she replied calmly, “but I never thought it was so obvious.”

“Trust me, it is.” Paige laughed as Kitty pretended to cough when Tabitha raced back towards the group.

Jubilee made a face, disdainful of the fact that she was quickly looking more and more like a sap. In her younger days, she made fun of such people. Now, she was one. “I can’t help it,” she said defensively. The tone was directed more at herself rather than at her best friend. “The guy brings it out in me.”

“Aw, that’s sweet.”

“Watch it, Hayseed. I know where you sleep.”

“I’m genuinely happy for you, Jubes. I haven’t seen you this silly since Sugar Bombs came out in cocoa flavor.”


“No, really, I mean it. This thing with Bobby… This is the happiest I’ve seen you. I’m glad.”

“Thanks. Me, too. I just…”


“I just miss him. A lot. I mean I can’t wait to see him again. It’s crazy how much I think about him. I know he has a job to do and that it’s to save other people, but I’m selfish. I want him back.”

“It’s not selfish.”

“It’s not?”

“No, you’re just… It’s a normal reaction, especially when you really care about the person.”

“When you care about who?” Tabitha asked, dropping back several steps and inserting herself between Jubilee and Paige. Then her heavily lined, aqua eyes widened as she turned to Jubilee. “Are we talking about Drake?”

Jubilee jumped back, her eyes tearing up from the pungent scent that seemed to permeate from the other woman’s skin. “Jeez, did you bathe in that?” she gasped between coughs.

“I told you!” Kitty exclaimed, standing at a safer distance away from Tabitha in women’s apparel section.

The blonde stuck her tongue out at her before returning to her attention to Jubilee. “Don’t change the subject,” she chided lightly. “It’s OK. You’re among girlfriends. We can talk about these kinds of things. Are you planning something special for when he comes home?”

Jubilee picked a piece of fuzz from her thick, gray crewneck sweater that she wore over a pair of distressed boy jeans and black loafers. Truth be told, she had not thought about that sort of thing. In what she viewed as magnifying her naiveté, she asked, “People really do that?” Almost immediately, she regretted her words.

If the woman known as Boom-Boom picked up on her self-consciousness, she was acting oblivious to it. “Oh yeah. Don’t you hear Scott and Jean going at it after being separated for a while?”

“Yuck!” Jubilee could have sworn she was turning green at that moment. She wanted to believe that the couple merely held hands and that was the end of it. “Stop talking about them like that. I live with them. I can’t have those images running through my head when we’re at the dinner table.”

Tabitha rolled her eyes as they made their way towards Kitty. “Fine.” She peered over at Kitty and asked, “When you were dating, did you ever do something special for your guy after being away for a while?”

Kitty’s cat-like eyes flashed indignantly. “You make me sound like I’ve taken this oath of celibacy,” she huffed, crossing her wiry arms over her chest. “I happen to like being single. I have a lot more freedom and I—”

Tabitha groaned and then glared at Jubilee and Paige, who were giggling. “I’m sorry,” she sighed, exasperated. “I like being single, too. Well, except for not having a boyfriend part… Now, help me out.”

Kitty relented. “Yeah, I did,” she replied nonchalantly, fingering a green-and-gray striped sweater on the rack. She was thinking how nice it would look with a pair of patchwork jeans she had bought the other day at a vintage boutique.

“What did you do?” Paige asked, sounding as if she were soliciting advice. While her relationship with Warren was somewhat more stable than it had been, there were times when she felt unsure of what was going on. She vacillated between blaming her own insecurities and his aloofness for this feeling. This only left her wanting to do something to remedy the situation.

Kitty pushed a tendril of brown hair from her forehead. “Nothing, really,” she said and took a sip of her large, café _mocha. “Sometimes, I’d go by the movie rental place and get something he’d like, make a nice dinner. Guys love it when you cook. You know that old saying about getting to them through their stomachs? It’s totally true.”

“Here I was, thinking that only applied to Bobby.” Jubilee remarked wryly, referring to her boyfriend’s reputation for a never-ending appetite. It was not unusual to see him being chased out of the kitchen by Cook or one of her staff after pilfering a treat.

Kitty shook her head, brown ponytail swinging behind her head. “No, it happens that for once, Bobby is part of the norm,” she quipped as she played with the zipper to her magenta jacket, which was worn with a green turtleneck and faded jeans. “So, you’re thinking about doing something for him to welcome him back?”

The young girl shrugged, trying to mask her reluctance to share. While she and the woman she longed considered competition for Logan’s affection were now getting along, she was not completely comfortable discussing her love life with her or anyone else for that matter. It was a subject she was protective of, not wanting to involve others.

Yet, she could not quite help being intrigued by Kitty’s advice, and wanting to hear more. Being in her first relationship, Jubilee continued to feel as if she were maneuvering the nuances in spite of Bobby’s reassurances and the time they had spent together. There was still much she did not know. Perhaps soliciting for additional guidance would not be such a bad idea.

“Cooking is nice, but where’s the fun in that?” Tabitha smirked, brushing her chunky, blonde bangs from her aqua eyes.

Kitty raised an eyebrow at her. “What are you talking about? It’s romantic.”

“It’s boring,” the other woman corrected. Shaking her head, she pursed her magenta-painted lips slightly. “So, you make a great meal and he gets stuffed. So what?”

“Actually,” Paige drawled thoughtfully, “food has been shown to be a great aphrodisiac. I was reading that even mushrooms—”

Tabitha waved a hand at her dismissively, the rings on each finger shining underneath the track lighting. “Whatever.” She leaned towards Jubilee and grabbed the young’s girl arm, pulling her towards another section of the department. “If you want to totally turn Drake on, I’ve got something.”

Jubilee’s sapphire eyes became as round as saucers. “I don’t know if I like the sound of this,” she said warily.

Kitty and Paige exchanged amused glances before following them. No one was surprised when they finally ended up in the lingerie section. Jubilee freed her arm from Tabitha, shaking her head.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she muttered. Sweeping her eyes over a table with items under the clearance sign, she was amazed as to what some women were willing to keep in their closets. One piece that caught her attention was a leopard-print, nearly transparent cat suit.

The wild child blonde rolled her eyes, disdainful of Jubilee’s somewhat prudish reaction. She quickly assessed the situation and decided it was time for some re-education. “Men like aggressive and decisive,” she explained matter-of-factly. “Look at Sharon Stone or Angelina Jolie, for example.”

“Men really like that?” Jubilee asked in disbelief. It was hard to wrap her mind around.

Paige gave her a perplexed look. “Um, Jubes loves Bobby,” she said slowly, “she doesn’t want to kill him.”

“Or drink his blood.” Kitty added helpfully with a wide, cheeky smile.

“I’m not talking about that kind of stuff,” Tabitha retorted defensively. She picked up a lacy, red teddy and tilted her head to the side in reflection. “All I’m suggesting is adding some spice to her welcome home thing. Trust me, it’s a guaranteed turn-on for any guy to be greeted by their woman wearing anything here.”

Jubilee stepped back, peering at the piece with great scrutiny. “What is that? I think dental floss has more material than that thing.” She and Paige giggled, earning a glare from one of the saleswoman at the cashier’s desk.

Tabitha ignored the former Generation-Xers. Instead, she turned to Kitty and held the teddy in front of her. “So, what do you think?” she asked cheerily. “Is red Kurt’s favorite color?”

Kitty choked, catlike eyes widening with surprise and almost horror. The thought of her best friend and the man she considered as a brother in a sexual scenario was something she wanted to purge from her consciousness. “First of all, eww. Second, I don’t know. And, third, eww again.” With that, she shook her head violently and sauntered away.

“Oh come on,” Tabitha cajoled, jogging after her with red teddy still in hand. “You’ve got to help me out!”

Kitty grimaced as she picked up the pace. “I don’t have to help you do anything. You almost made me throw up in my mouth.”

Jubilee and Paige grinned at each other. The absurdness of it all—getting romantic advice from the sex-crazed Tabitha, Kitty being freaked out by the image of Kurt and Tabitha being together, Tabitha chasing Kitty for the sake of exacerbating things—was nearly too much. It was just shocking that they were not rolling on the floor, laughing with tears running down their cheeks.

Finally, the younger Guthrie patted Jubilee’s shoulder. “We should make sure there’s not going to be some kind of melee because of those two,” she suggested, taking a few steps to catch up with them.

“I’ll catch up with you,” Jubilee told her friend, pulling off her loafer and shaking it out. “I’ve got something in my shoe.”

Paige nodded, pressing on without her. Meanwhile, Jubilee slipped her shoe back on and turned to the clearance table with interest. She noticed a black, satin number, which seemed to stand out since it was tamer than the other items. Slowly, she picked it up, noting that it was not so bad. She also observed that it would probably fit her quite perfectly.

* Thank you very much in Turkish

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