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Masquerade in X 2/?? [Movieverse] (Jubilee, Juggernaut)

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  • Dyce-Elihara
    Disclaimers and other fiddle-faddle in part one. Although this story is still for Pebbs, this part is for Trisha, too, for I have foisted the dreaded Moviefic
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 11, 2001
      Disclaimers and other fiddle-faddle in part one.

      Although this story is still for Pebbs, this part is
      for Trisha, too, for I have foisted the dreaded
      Moviefic upon her. I'm just bad to the bone. *innocent
      angel expression*

      Masquerade in X
      (Part Two)

      By Dyce

      Jubilee drifted slowly back to consciousness.

      She could feel Jubilation hovering close to the
      surface of their mind, clearly worried. Jubilee was
      worried herself. She remembered stuff that Jubilation
      did, although it all felt a bit distant and unreal,
      and she was pretty sure Jubilation had left them in
      the bottom of a muddy, dirt-smelling tunnel.

      Now she was lying on smooth sheets and a hard
      mattress, with something around her wrist and a thin
      pillow under her head. She opened her eyes, and
      looked up at an off-white ceiling, framed in blue
      curtains on a thin metal rail. She was obviously in a

      So... who had brought her here? Definitely not the
      X-Men. If it had been the X-Men she'd be in the nice,
      familiar MedLab right now. Who else could have found

      Her eyes traveled down. Pale blue hospital gown, sky
      blue hospital blanket with her arms looking pale as
      they lay on top of it, cast-covered leg sticking out
      from under the blanket... and in the corner of her
      eye, a flash of orange.


      She looked around, and blinked. There was a man
      sitting next to her bed. A very large, rather mean
      looking man with scruffy orange hair. He was looking
      at her with an expression that was a comical mix of
      curiosity and nervousness. "Hi," he said uncertainly.

      "Hi." She frowned in puzzlement. He was wearing
      jeans and a flannel shirt, so presumably he wasn't
      some kind of social worker or cop or anything.
      "Who're you?"

      "Well, if anyone asks, I'm your dad," he said, looking
      a bit embarrassed. "I had to check you in as my kid,
      or they wouldn'ta let me."

      "Oh." Jubilee raised an eyebrow, and checked quickly
      with Jubilation. Jubilation advised playing along.
      "Okay. Did you find me?"

      "Yeah, in that little tunnel." The man nodded.
      Sheepish didn't fit his face well. He looked like his
      customary expression was more in the angry/resentful
      range. "The X-Geeks left ya behind."

      Jubilee blinked. She blinked again, putting together
      the reference to X-Geeks, the only other people who'd
      been at the cabin, and the face that matched a
      computer-file on the X-Men's enemies that she'd
      skimmed through once. "Hey! You're the Ju-"

      A hand the size of a small moon plastered itself over
      her face. "Shh!" he hissed. "I saved your life, kid.
      Which Tom's not happy about, but I just... well, I
      did, and you should be grateful."

      Jubilee nodded as well as she could with a heavy hand
      covering her face all the way up to her eyes. He took
      the hand away after a second, and Jubilee made a face
      at him. "You didn't need to save me. They would have
      come back."

      "Yeah? Wanna bet?" the Juggernaut said cynically,
      leaning back in his chair. "Look, you were in shock.
      If you'd stayed unconscious down there for more than a
      few hours, ya woulda been in trouble."

      "I..." Jubilee bit her lip. He was right about that.
      And they had left without her. Maybe they wouldn't
      have come back in time... surely they WOULD have come
      back, but if they thought she was dead, they might not

      Jubilation eased back up in their shared mind, nudging
      Jubilee gently aside. Jubilee was distressed and
      frightened enough right now, she didn't need to deal
      with this guy. Besides, she might let something
      important slip. Jubilee talked too much when she was
      nervous. "So why'd you rescue me?" Jubilation asked,
      raising an eyebrow. "For a hostage or something?"

      "No." The Juggernaut frowned at her. "Do you do that

      Jubilation blinked. Nobody had ever noticed before,
      except Scott, who'd been looking right in her eyes
      while she switched over very fast. "Do what?" she

      "You look... strange. Different." The Juggernaut
      looked definitely suspicious. "You just switched to,
      I dunno, your hero persona or something, didn't you?"

      Jubilation couldn't help being a little impressed.
      "Not... exactly," she admitted slowly. "Most people
      don't notice."

      The Juggernaut shrugged. "I did." He held out that
      enormous hand. "I'm Cain, by the way."

      "Jubilation Lee." Jubilation shook, blinking a bit.
      She'd never had a one-on-one conversation with a
      supervillain before, but she didn't think this was how
      they were usually supposed to go. "So why DID you
      rescue me?"

      He shrugged, looking painfully embarrassed. She
      supposed admitting to a selfless urge had to be
      embarrassing for a supervillain. "I just did," he
      said lamely. "You looked... small. An' lonely."

      Well, she could see small. When he was in Juggernaut
      form, her head couldn't come much above his waist, and
      even now, when he was somehow much smaller, he was
      still more than twice her size. Lonely, though...
      that sounded like he was projecting a bit. He didn't
      seem the type to get mushy over random adolescents, so
      he probably had his own deal going on. "Thanks," she
      said anyway. She didn't smile. Jubilation rarely

      "Yeah, well, just don't tell anyone," he grumbled. He
      was kinda cute when he got all bashful, she thought
      with surprise, like a really big puppy who knows he's
      been naughty.

      "Your secret's safe with me," she assured him, and
      then winced a little. "If you keep mine."

      He looked surprised. Not the fastest thinker in the
      world, which was reassuring. Jubilation liked that in
      a potential enemy. "What secret?"

      "This. Me." Somewhat to her own surprise, she
      realised she was going to tell him. She wanted
      someone to know about her, and who better than a
      secretly soft-hearted villain who she'd probably never
      have to talk to again except in the course of battle?
      "The me you're talking to now, I mean, as opposed to
      the one who was here originally."

      His forehead rumpled up as he tried to make sense of
      that. "Not sure I follow. You don't want people to
      know you have a superhero persona?"

      "Not exactly. Jubilee IS my superhero persona. I
      just... am her a lot." Jubilation sighed. Too late
      to change her mind about explaining it now. "See,
      there's kind of... two of me. Jubilee is the cute,
      scrappy one, who everyone knows about and is gonna
      make a super-great X-Man one day. She's still
      thirteen, though. She's me before... other stuff
      happened. See, I lived on the street for a while
      after my parents died, and I had to grow up pretty
      fast, and... stuff happened, and then the X-Men found
      me and they got a little freaked by me so I brought
      Jubilee back. Uhm. I kind of subdivided our
      personalities. We're both ME, it's just she's me at
      thirteen and I'm me at about thirty. People usually
      like her better." The spate of words slowed, and her
      lips quirked ruefully. "Wow. Guess I really wanted to
      talk about it. Never told anyone before."

      To her surprise, Cain didn't laugh, or look puzzled,
      or seem put off. Instead, he gave her a clumsy pat on
      the hand. "Doesn't sound like much of a life ta me,"
      he said commiseratingly. "Everyone trying to make you
      be something yer not. I know how that goes."

      His hand was warm on hers, heavily calloused, and
      Jubilation looked down at it. "It's better than where
      I was," she said quietly.

      "Yeah, can't argue with that, I guess." Cain
      shrugged, taking his hand back and rubbing it over his
      wiry hair. "I dunno, I just... it's like me and Tom.
      Tom can be an asshole sometimes, but he's my friend.
      He likes me the way I am. You should have friends who
      like who you really are, not a shadow of who you used
      to be."

      "Maybe." Jubilation leaned back against the pillows,
      suddenly feeling exhausted. She needed time to think
      about all this.

      "Oh, yeah... I wasn't supposed to stay long." He stood
      up, scuffing a foot against the squeaky hospital
      floor. "They said you gotta stay in for observation.
      I'll come and check ya out tomorrow, and then you can
      do whatever you want. Go back to the X-Geeks or...
      whatever. But you stay put tonight."

      "Okay." Jubilee might have argued, but Jubilation
      remembered the time before the X-Men. A relatively
      comfortable bed and a meal or two wasn't to be sneezed
      at. "I... thanks."

      "Yer welcome." He gave her another sheepish look and
      pushed awkwardly through the curtains, seeming more
      than ever like an ox-sized, clumsy puppy.

      Jubilation let herself drift off to sleep. She could
      think about it after a little nap.

      * * *

      The next morning, Cain stared uneasily at the limp
      blue curtains. Tom had been furious at the way he,
      Cain, had blithely ignored Tom's pain and rescued one
      of the treacherous little X-Brats right on the heels
      of Theresa's heartless abandonment. He could
      understand why Tom was upset, and he was aware that
      his explanation of his own behaviour had been weak at
      best. He just... seeing little Jubilation lying there
      in the mud had taken him back to before he was the
      Juggernaut, dragged up bitter, painful memories that
      had nothing to do with Tom or Charles or Cyttorak or
      anything but Cain Marko's own self. And unlike all
      those other things, this had seemed like something
      that he could fix. All he had to do was take the kid
      to a hospital, make sure she got better, and then that
      would be it. He could put a tick in the 'Redemption'
      column of his soul.

      Then he'd talked to her.

      At first, she'd seemed like just another X-Brat. All
      cutesy and wussy and purer-than-thou. Then something
      old and cold and hard had peered out of her eyes at
      him. It had been downright creepy, actually, the way
      her eyes went hard and her voice flattened out and she
      eyed him as if she was wondering how he'd look without
      his head. And then he'd felt suddenly, horribly sorry
      for her, knowing that she'd either have to leave the
      only home she had, or spend the rest of her life
      hiding who she really was, pretending to be sweet and
      nice so people would like her. He knew what it felt
      like to have everyone think that you were vicious,
      good-for-nothing scum who unfairly picked on Saint
      Charles, who never did anything the tiniest bit
      wrong... but for Jubilation it was worse. Her
      unbeatable rival was a part of *her*, a facet of her
      own personality, and she couldn't even hate it
      properly because it would mean hating herself.

      He hated getting emotionally involved in stuff. He
      was just going to go in, say hi, check her out of
      here, then throw her in a phone-booth or something.

      When he stuck his head through the curtains, she was
      looking right at him. Her hair had been brushed, and
      she looked a lot better than she had yesterday. There
      was some colour in her cheeks. Her big brown eyes,
      though, were as hard as little pebbles. "Hey.
      Jubilation, right?"

      She nodded. "Hi," she said guardedly.

      She was clearly suspicious of his motives. Good. If
      he was her, he'd have been suspicious of him too.
      "How're you feelin'?" he asked, because he was pretty
      sure that was the convention at times like this.
      "Well enough t' leave?"

      "I'm fine." She levered herself into a sitting
      position, and jerked her head at the small pile of
      clothes on the chair beside the bed. "Go outside for
      a minute so I can get dressed."

      Cain just knew he was blushing. "Uh... yeah. Sure."
      He backed out hastily, turning around and looking out
      over the ward. A nurse bustled past and gave him a
      little wave, and he returned it rather sheepishly.
      This pretending to be a parent thing was a
      surprisingly involving lie.

      After several minutes... and a few tiny grunts of
      effort that he'd pretended not to hear... the kid
      spoke up. "You can come back in now."

      When he went back in, she was sitting awkwardly on the
      bed, plastered leg stretched out in front of her.
      Somehow she looked even smaller than before in the
      brightly coloured t-shirt and faded shorts, and the
      big hoop earrings that framed her narrow jaw. "What?"
      she asked, and he realized he was staring at her.

      "Nothing. Ya look... younger." He shrugged, and
      indulged his curiosity a little. "How old are ya?"

      "Fourteen." She shrugged too, hitching up thin
      shoulders. "I told the X-Men I was fifteen, though.
      Jubilee works fine for being a juvenile fifteen, and
      it's not quite as incongruous if I come out."

      Aw, hell. Fourteen years old and already living a
      lie. His granite-like heart twitched a little in
      unaccustomed sympathy. "Oh. I filled out all the
      paperwork and stuff already. We can go now."

      Her lips quirked. "I'm gonna need a wheelchair or
      something," she pointed out. "Or crutches, even. I
      can't walk on this."

      "Oh, yeah." He felt sort of dumb for not noticing, so
      he didn't really think about what he was doing when he
      leaned over and picked her up. "I'll take ya out to
      the truck." Then he looked down, and belatedly
      realized that he had a small, surprised armful of
      little girl that was gazing up at him in bewilderment.

      They looked at each other for a moment.

      "Thanks," Jubilation said, almost shyly. She probably
      only put her head down on his shoulder in order to
      make the whole father/daughter subterfuge more
      convincing, but he was rather alarmed to realize how
      nice it felt. He'd never really thought what it would
      be like to have kids. The idea had never seemed
      relevent to him. But this was really kinda... nice.
      She was so little and sad, so badly in need of someone
      who understood her.

      He managed to get her out into his oversized truck
      without raising any suspicions among the hospital
      staff - he hoped. He hadn't used his real name
      anyway. He swung her up into the passenger seat and
      got in himself, racking his brain for something -
      anything - to say. He couldn't just push her out into
      the street without saying something. How the hell did
      he get himself into these things? His interactions
      with people went so much better if he just focused on
      threats and hitting. He was good at those.

      "Were you looking for the Professor?" she asked after
      a few minutes of silence.

      He blinked. "Huh?"

      "When you came to the cabin. Where you looking for
      the Professor?" She looked at him, old eyes in a
      soft, babyish face. "You're his stepbrother, I know
      that. I saw your file when I was going through the
      computer one time."

      He blinked again. "I... uh... yeah. We were looking
      for Chuck."

      She giggled a little, then looked surprised at
      herself. "I never heard anyone call him that before."

      "Yeah, well... I remember him when he was a snotty
      little brat in a Fauntelroy suit," Cain muttered,
      fists clenching a bit on the wheel. "We got a lot of

      "You don't look nearly old enough to be the
      Professor's older brother," she said, giving him an
      evaluating look. "Is that because you're

      "I guess. I dunno." He shrugged, looking over at her.
      She looked... wrong, sitting there with perfect damn
      posture, fine hands folded in her lap, and the bright
      t-shirt a jarring note in the picture of reserved
      dignity. Maybe it suited Jubilee. It didn't look
      right on Jubilation. "You always dress like that?"

      She nodded. "I always have." She looked down at the
      shirt, then gave him an inquiring look. "Why?"

      "It doesn't suit you." He blushed, realizing that he
      was actually trying to give someone fashion advice.
      Hell, this girl was really getting under his
      previously impermeable skin.

      "I guess not." She shrugged, and gave him a lopsided
      little smile. "They're Jubilee's clothes, really."

      He pulled over suddenly, causing horns to blare as he
      skidded over to the side of the road. "And how long
      can ya keep doing that, huh? Burying all of yourself
      except for one little part way down in the bottom of
      your mind, supressing everything you are until you're
      so twisted and bitter with it that you can't
      straighten yourself out again?" He shook his head.
      "Look, I'm not exactly God's gift to the human
      intellect, but I know what happens to you if you spend
      your life pretending to be something you're not. It
      messes you up inside."

      She bit her lip, looking away from him. Even like
      this, she was still a child - although most people
      seemed that way to him now. "It's just until I'm old
      enough that people won't freak," she muttered.

      "There's always gonna be people who freak," he
      countered, suddenly very angry at whoever was too
      faint of heart and dense of head to appreciate
      strength of purpose in someone just because they were
      a kid. "You can't spend the rest of your life hiding
      who you are just to make a bunch of weaklings happy."
      Impulsively, he reached out to touch her shoulder.
      "There's always gonna be weaklings who're afraid of
      someone who's strong," he said quietly, holding her
      eyes with his. "Don't let them hold you down. You
      can do better than that."

      "How?" she whispered, and he'd finally breached the
      cool shell that Jubilation held around herself. For
      the first time, he thought he was talking to the real
      girl, inside Jubilee and Jubilation. "I don't have
      anywhere to go except back to the school."

      He sighed. "I'm gonna regret this, but... look,
      Terry's gone now, so I guess we've got an opening...
      Tom and I'll take you on for a while, okay? Teach you
      the ropes. You're a tough kid, you'll do fine on your
      own once you've had a few pointers."

      Fear warred with the need for independence in her
      eyes. "Pointers?"

      "Things you need to know to get by on your own." He
      wanted her to agree. He wanted this stubborn,
      fragile, powerful child for his own, as Tom had had
      Terry to raise. It was strange, how suddenly it had
      happened, but... she wouldn't hate him, for being a
      thug or a little slow or for being jealous of what he
      could not have. Maybe, if he was right, she'd even
      get to understand him a little.

      She thought about it for a long minute or two. Then
      she nodded slowly. "I'll try it," she conceded
      slowly. "For a while, at least."

      He smiled slowly. "Good. Wanna go get something to

      "I could murder a cheeseburger," she admitted. "Is
      Black Tom going to be mad?"

      "Yeah, probably. He yells a lot." Cain shrugged
      philosphically. "He'll get over it, he always does.
      Don't let him get to ya. He doesn't mean half of it,
      he just has a bad temper."

      "Okay." She leaned back into her seat, and gave him a
      small, reserved smile. "Any chance of picking up some
      new clothes?"

      "Sure." Cain was in an unfamiliarly expansive mood.
      "Something that suits both of you."

      He watched her out of the corner of his eye as he
      pulled back onto the road. She looked more relaxed now
      than she had before. A little smile still curled her
      lips, and her earrings swung gently against her jaw.

      He had hopes for this. Cain Marko wasn't an
      optimistic man by nature, but... there was something
      about this kid. Something special.

      (End part two)

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