Disclaimer: This is an X-Men Movieverse story, and
none of the characters mentioned herein belong to me.
I do not have permission to use them, nor have I made
any money by their use.
This is a spin-off series from the Godless Arc, which
can be found at
don't really have to have read the Godless Arc to read
this one, although a few scenes will make more sense
if you have. Clarification on the plot-twist can be
found in my live-journal, at
. I hope.
This story was written for Pebblin, who asked really,
really nicely. I like Pebbs. ^-^
Masquerade in X
She was hot.
She supposed that meant she wasn't bleeding to death.
According to television, if you were bleeding badly,
you got cold.
That was just great, wasn't it? Bleeding to death was
a relatively quick way to go. She was pretty sure she
had a broken leg. Judging by the stabbing pain and
all. And the rest of her was pinned under an
assortment of heavy stuff.
She almost wished she was bleeding to death. Thirst
was a much less pleasant way to go.
* * *
The plan had been a long weekend in the mountains.
Tabitha, Dani, Jubilee, Paige, and Monet, along with
Bobby, John, Remy, and Mondo. Scott and Jean had
brought them to Xavier's palatial eight room 'cabin',
which had a spa and a well-equipped gym, but no
Jubilee had been seriously ticked off about the lack
of television. "How are we going to keep up with the
real world?" she demanded, waving a finger in Scott's
face. "Huh? How're we going to know what's going
*on*? ARMAGEDDON could happen while we're stuck up
here, and we wouldn't know about it! We'd wind up
being the only people alive, and we'd all have to
breed with each other, and I swore a solemn oath that
Drake was never going to reproduce, so we have to get
back to civilisation before it's too late to die with
Scott did his little self-assured grin thing.
"Jubilee, I promise, if we're the last survivors of
the human race, you don't have to breed with Bobby.
You can breed with John. Now go wash up for dinner."
Jubilee stalked off, waving her hands and mumbling.
Everyone else - including John and Bobby - was
collapsed around the den in hysterical giggles.
It had been a good start to the weekend. By the time
they'd finished dinner, everyone had been having
enough fun to let the adolescent dignity slip a bit.
Even Remy, who'd been melodramatically mooning over
Marie ever since she got thrown into a jeep and driven
out of his life, unbent enough to demonstrate a few
* * *
Oh, god... she didn't want to think about this now.
Take a breath. Take another breath. Blood in the
mouth from a cut lip, want to spit it out. Swallow it
instead, don't know when there'll be anything to
Try to move. Left arm has a little give under the
beam that's pinning it. Good. Work that. It's slow,
but there's lots of time.
Lots of time.
* * *
Jean and Scott eyed each other over the kitchen table.
"You miss Logan, don't you?"
"Of course I don't miss him. I hardly knew him. I
didn't like him all that much."
"Oh, you did too," Jean teased. "You just didn't want
anyone to know, because it'd ruin your tightass
Scott produced his sexily lopsided grin. "Well... he
had his good points. Good with kids. Didn't hit on
you *too* often."
"He wasn't hitting on me, he was hitting on the white
picket fence that surrounds me like a halo," Jean
returned, smiling back. "I guess he doesn't meet many
"Probably not. And I don't think spending all his
time with Sabretooth and a bunch of mutant adolescents
is going to get him any dates." Scott made a face,
slicing carrots absently. "I'm still not sure that
was a good idea."
"Neither are they, you know that." Jean said softly.
"But their cubs are in danger, and they're afraid.
The Professor and I both think it's a very encouraging
sign, at least in Sabretooth's case."
"I know, I know," Scott mock-grumbled. "If he can
feel compassion for the kids, then it's possible he's
not entirely evil. I think you're coming at this the
"Oh, really?" Jean raised an eyebrow. "You don't
think he's showing compassion?"
"Not really. I think he's doing what his instincts
tell him is right." Scott waved a handful of
cauliflower for emphasis. "I spent a lot of time
working with Annie, and I think she and Creed are...
different. You know how she keeps saying stuff like
'I'm a cat, not a monkey,' and 'I don't get
"They are both of feline-like physiology," Jean agreed
cautiously. She... and the silent eavesdropper who
was hiding in the shadowy doorway... both knew Scott's
"I think that's a big part of what's wrong with
Sabretooth," Scott continued, falling into
lecture-mode. Both Jean and the observer sighed
quietly. "He functions mostly on instinct. Annie...
and Clarice, by extension... are his cubs, so he
protects them. It's not necessarily an act of
compassion, it's an act of nature. Logan's doing the
same thing, although he doesn't know it. Marie is
like a daughter to him. He thinks she's in danger,
and he's trying to protect her by moving her to a new
den, somewhere hidden. It's what a lot of animals
"Uh-huh. So, this isn't a hopeful sign for
Sabretooth?" Jean prodded. She liked it when he got
all lecturey. She was the only one who did.
"Oh, no, it is, but not because he's finally showing
human traits like compassion and mercy." Scott was
getting into it now, abandoning the preparations for
dinner and leaning his hip on the edge of the table
while he gestured with his hands. "He's not showing
'human' traits, Jean, because he's not thinking like a
naked pink ape. He's reacting like a lion. Well,
mostly... there are some cheetah and panther traits
there too. You can't expect a feline to think like a
hominid." He cupped the air with his hands. "It
makes sense, when you think about it like that. His
whole history... he's like a rogue lion, lashing out
at humans because he fears them, but with a few normal
instincts occasionally surfacing, like his submission
to Magneto as the pride leader, and his urge to
protect what he identifies as his cubs." His
shoulders slumped a little. "As much as I utterly
loathe having to say this about a mass murderer, his
actions may not be entirely his own fault. He's
functioning on a very primitive level. So is Annie.
When something hurts or scares them, they lash out,
without moderation. Like when she got into that fight
Jean raised an amused eyebrow. "And you put all this
together all by yourself, Pontification Man, in
between teaching classes and saving the world?"
Scott blushed. "Uh... no, actually, I asked Annie.
She told me a lot of other stuff about body language
and scent-traces and stuff that I didn't quite follow.
But she seemed pretty sure about it all. Actually,
she seemed surprised that we hadn't figured it out
"Huh." Jean shrugged, looking dubious. "Maybe."
Then she grinned. "I like it when you get all
Scott grinned lopsidedly. "Oh, yeah?"
Jubilee grinned, and sneaked away before things got
* * *
Now she paused to take a few deep breaths, trying to
gather her strength. She could feel an empty space
around her head and shoulders that echoed the sound of
her breath back to her. It was loud enough to tell
her that the room was probably mostly intact, if she
could get out from under the layer of debris that was
pinning her to the floor.
Her leg was definitely broken. But if she could dig
herself out, there was enough broken wood lying around
that she could probably splint it. Then...
The cabin might not have collapsed completely. Or
maybe there was some kind of escape tunnel. There
usually was, in Xavier's places. He was a man who
Left arm was free. Bruised, scraped, sore, but free.
Wearily, she lifted it again, and started pushing at
the debris on her chest.
* * *
"Get down!" Scott grabbed Dani and Jubilee and hauled
them into a doorway as a chunk of wall hurtled past
"What do they want?" Dani whimpered. Jubilee was
silent and trembling, mouth a thin line in her pale
"To scare the hell out of us," Scott said grimly,
smoothing Dani's hair gently as he risked a quick look
out. "The Professor contacted Tom Cassidy a few days
before we left. I don't think he wants Theresa to go
to school with us."
"This is his way of turning down a scholarship?"
Bobby managed, huddling beside them in the doorway.
"Geez, I'd hate to see him when he gets a parking
For once, Scott didn't say anything about
inappropriate times for jokes. "We've got a problem,"
he said grimly. "Jean's gotten the others close to
the plane. They're relatively safe. Cassidy and
Theresa aren't trying to kill anyone, just smash up
the house and scare us a lot. That doesn't mean
they're making an effort *not* to hurt us, though. And
they're not going to stop smashing the place up so I
can go down to the basement and open the hangar
The hangar was well-hidden... so well that it
literally wasn't possible to get in from the outside,
unless you knew where the release switch in the
basement was. Scott had told them that, but he hadn't
gotten around to telling them where it was.
"You can't go," Jubilee managed, trying to keep her
hands from shaking. "You'd get killed going back in
"I have to," Scott said grimly. "I want the three of
you to head for the hangar. When it opens, get
inside. Jean's not a great pilot, but she can get you
out of here."
Jubilee looked at him almost wistfully. She'd been at
the school for over a year now. Scott and Jean and
Ororo had found her in a mall in LA, making a fair
living off her wits after being orphaned more than a
year before that. And when they'd found her... well,
they'd seen a cute little kid, plucky, scrappy, all
those cute words. Who just needed a home, a little
Part of her was like that. After a year on her own,
most of her wasn't. But they'd been so nice, and she
hadn't wanted them to be scared or put off. So she'd
buried the darker parts of her deep inside herself,
and used the techniques Jean and Xavier taught her to
keep them buried, seperating herself out like milk and
cream. And soon, youthful, bouncy Jubilee was back,
just like she had been before her parents died.
But youthful, bouncy Jubilee was no use at all in
situations like this.
She could see it in Scott's eyes, the puzzled surprise
as he looked into *her* eyes and saw the sparkle fade.
Jubilee sank back into memory, Jubilation rising
grimly past her. She'd liked being Jubilee again. But
this was important.
She didn't really enjoy hitting Scott, but she did,
hard enough to send him reeling back into the wall
before he collapsed, unconscious. "Get him to the
hangar," she told her bewildered classmates, rubbing
her sore hand. "Now. I'll open the doors."
"But you don't know how!" Bobby objected. She liked
Bobby. She hoped he made it.
"Xavier always hides everything the same way. I know
where it is." Jubilation peeked around the corner.
For now, Cassidy and his pet redhead were out of
sight. "I'm smaller than you guys, and faster. I
should make it."
"Okay." Dani visibly pulled herself together, and
leaned down to drag Scott's arm over her shoulders.
"We'll wait for you as long as we can."
"Thanks." Jubilation nodded briefly, then headed out
into the hallway.
* * *
The plane had taken off a few hours ago.
She'd felt the vibrations in the floor.
The basement was psi-shielded, she was pretty sure of
that. When the house had come down, and Jean hadn't
been able to sense her, they must have assumed she'd
They'd come back, of course. It was going to take at
least six or seven more hours, though. They'd have to
get back to the mansion, get the students to the
medlab to be checked out, then muster enough X-Men to
come back to perform the twin tasks of finding her
body, and hiding the evidence that the cabin had been
more than it seemed.
Jubilation wasn't going to lie there that long. She'd
dug herself out, ripped up her flannel shirt and used
it and a couple of chairlegs to roughly splint her
leg. The secret passage wasn't hard to find... she'd
spent long enough going through Xavier's files late at
night to know how he thought.
It had taken her a long time to drag herself up to the
surface. The tunnel came out near the hangar, and by
the time she got there all she had the strength to do
was curl up in the entrance of the tunnel and put her
head down on her arms. Just a little rest. Just for
a few minutes. Then she'd go to the hangar, where
they'd be sure to find her. Just a little rest...
* * *
Juggernaut was angry.
Tom had brought him here with the promise of revenge
on his weakling stepbrother, but when they got here,
all there'd been was a couple of do-gooder geeks and a
bunch of kids. Tom hadn't even let him knock the
place down. He'd said Terry needed the practice.
Much fucking good it'd done him. The ungrateful
little brat had turned on him when he tried to blast
two of the kids who were dragging the boy in red
shades. She'd run off with them, in their
weird-looking plane, and now Tom was still pummeling
the wreckage of the house in fury.
Cain had wandered off. He was bored, and it was
better not to be around Tom when he was like this. He
said angry, hurtful things. Tom was Cain's best
friend, but even best friends were assholes sometimes.
So he was poking around in the woods, and he found a
weird looking little hatch in the grass, just popped
up a tiny bit. Kneeling, he pried it up carefully
with ham-sized hands. He didn't want to break it yet,
just in case. He looked down inside.
On the bottom of what looked like a tunnel, a tiny
Chinese kid was sprawled either sleeping or
unconscious. She was filthy, covered so totally in
mud that it was hard to see most of the bruises... but
not all of them. Her leg was tied up with makeshift
He'd seen this before, or something too much like it.
He told himself firmly that residual guilt was what
made him power down to his weakest, smallest form, the
only one small enough to fit down the hole. It was
guilt that made him pick the kid up gently, cradling
her clumsily in one big arm. She whimpered in pain,
and he froze, waiting until she'd settled down before
clambering awkwardly up the ladder.
The Juggernaut was impervious to empty, meaningless
things like guilt, or remorse, or pity.
But he hadn't been the Juggernaut in Vietnam. It
still made him cold and queasy inside to remember some
of it. One small act of expiation might be a little
out of character, but he could let it slip by. He'd
just get the kid to a hospital or something...
...the X-Geeks had to have realized they'd missed one
by now, right? They wouldn't just leave her... would
(End part one)
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