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