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Fic: To Tame a Wolverine, Gen/friendship, G

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  • avimara
    TITLE: To Tame a Wolverine AUTHOR: Mara Greengrass AUTHOR S E-MAIL: fishfolk@ix.netcom.com. Feedback is better than chocolate. PERMISSION TO ARCHIVE: Yes, just
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13, 2001
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      TITLE: To Tame a Wolverine
      AUTHOR: Mara Greengrass
      AUTHOR'S E-MAIL: fishfolk@.... Feedback is better than
      chocolate.
      PERMISSION TO ARCHIVE: Yes, just let me know.
      CATEGORY: Gen, friendship
      RATINGS/WARNINGS: G
      SUMMARY: Recipe to tame a Wolverine - first, find a Wolverine...
      DISCLAIMER: The X-Men and the X-Men movieverse belong to Marvel and
      Twentieth-Century Fox and other entities with expensive lawyers. I am
      making no profit from this story.
      NOTES: Thanks to Pax for asking how Jubilee convinced Logan to
      babysit, and to Nancy for being so happy to see the Cheetos. This
      takes place after my story "Don't Wake the Baby" and is in no way,
      shape, or form, the story I set out to write. I guess it mutated
      <shrug>. The gratuitous Warren Worthington reference is for J. Marie
      (aka Askani'daughter) as thanks for her extremely helpful beta.

      //thoughts//
      {{memory}}

      ******************************

      Previously...

      "Hey, Logan," Jubilee said when she found him on the porch trying to
      escape Parent's Day. "How'd ya like to babysit Rachel?"

      "I'd rather go toe-to-toe with Magneto. You've got her, keep her," he
      said, leaning back in his chair and looking at her from under raised
      eyebrows. The late summer breeze blew her silky black hair into her
      face, and she shook it out while juggling Scott and Jean's baby and
      the diaper bag.

      "Thanks but no thanks. The kid's cute, but we're pretty much done with
      the togetherness thing."

      "And why would I want to take her off your hands?"

      "Because you're a nice guy." She tried her most beguiling look.

      Logan looked closely at the teen and her customary yellow jacket and
      hoop earrings. Rachel reached for one of the earrings and Jubilee used
      the excuse of shifting the baby around to not meet his eyes.

      His voice was low and dangerous. "You must be kidding." Jubilee
      ignored his tone and refused to back off.

      "Look, I know you're growly and scary and all, but I know you're not
      gonna hurt the baby, and if you injure me you're gonna at least tick
      off Rogue." She thought for a moment. "Mr. Summers might thank you,
      though."

      Logan stared at her, unable to come up with a remotely coherent
      response. She always had this effect on him. Most of the kids were
      scared of him. Hell, even Marie was wary of him when he was angry. But
      this Jubilation Lee seemed unaware he was dangerous. "Look kid, I may
      be a teacher here, but I'm not a damn babysitter."

      Jubilee bounced Rachel up and down a few times. "What*ever*," she
      said, "are you gonna take her off my hands or not?"

      As if possessed, he found himself saying "Fine, but you owe me for
      this."

      "You bet." She grinned at him. "Come here, no need to be afraid of a
      baby."

      *****************************

      Logan was not given to undue contemplation of his motives. In the
      fifteen years he could remember, he had acted on instinct, and
      instinct had kept him alive. Even his actions to save Marie fit neatly
      into this worldview. Grownups protected youngsters of their kind. He'd
      said he'd take care of her and he did. End of story.

      But even this man of instinct had to wonder what he'd been thinking
      when Jubilee convinced him to babysit for Jean and Scott's baby
      daughter. Yeah, the whole thing turned out okay, he got to beat the
      crap out of Sabretooth and all. But why agree in the first place?

      Maybe it had to do with the fact that Jubilee seemed to be following
      him around the mansion.

      He was pondering this one fall Friday lunchtime, in the mansion's
      noisy dining room. Plastic tray of dead animal products in hand, he
      stomped to his usual corner of the room. (It was slightly quieter,
      easily defensible, with a good view of the entire room.)

      He sat down and generally glared around the room (Marie smiled back),
      finishing with a glare at Jubilee, who was winding her way toward him.
      She set her tray down and plopped into a seat.

      "Hey, Wolvie," she said, making a face at the huge pile of peas on her
      plate.

      When he didn't respond, Jubilee shrugged and nibbled a little salmon.
      He ate steadily, watching her when she wasn't looking. Every Friday
      for weeks, she'd eaten lunch at his table, ignoring all his attempts
      to send her away. Sometimes she talked to him about what was going on
      around the mansion, sometimes she didn't. Today, she seemed tired.

      She stirred her fork through the peas, making designs on her plate.

      "You should eat those," he said suddenly. Her head shot up so fast he
      thought her earrings would bob out of her ears. "They're good for
      you."

      "Yeah," she said with a smile, "they are."

      She started to eat the peas and he went back to his lunch, somehow
      feeling satisfied.

      *****************************

      Later that afternoon, during sparring practice, he could feel her eyes
      on him as he demonstrated a particular move to the advanced class on
      the other side of the cavernous and sweaty gym. He caught a glimpse of
      her sitting with Kitty, supposedly learning basic self-defense from
      Scott. Even as Logan ran through a move at half speed for his
      students, he cursed internally that Jubilee wasn't paying attention to
      *her* teacher.

      //She's gonna get herself killed, 'cause someday she's gonna need to
      know that particular block,// he thought with an internal growl.

      Suddenly, another thought struck and almost derailed the part of him
      that continued to teach. Hell, was this some sort of crush? Was the
      kid trying to seduce him or something?

      For his part, he knew he wouldn't be tempted, since jail bait had
      *never* appealed to him. But he also had no desire to be chased around
      by a lusting teenager.

      He dismissed the thought almost instantly. If it was attempted
      seduction, she was moving slowly enough that she'd be legal by the
      time she made her move. Besides, she didn't smell of desire when she
      approached him.

      Unfortunately, all of this left him just as confused as he'd been
      before.

      *****************************

      The Jubilee issue was starting to become a bit of an obsession, the
      more he thought about it. And the more he thought about it, the more
      she seemed to turn up.

      There were two reasons it took him so long to notice Jubilee's
      ubiquity. First, she was unobtrusive much of the time. Well, as
      unobtrusive as a loud-mouthed teenager in neon yellow could be.

      Second, because Marie used to do many of the same things with him. But
      lately, she'd drifted off to spend most of her time with the kids her
      own age. Not that Jubilee *didn't* hang out with her classmates, she
      did. But somehow she always found time to shadow him as well.

      For instance, Sunday afternoon a week later, as he sat on the porch
      with a beer, she appeared in the doorway. After brushing away the
      day's accumulation of fallen leaves and acorns, she settled under the
      big oak tree with a notebook and a pen.

      He tried to ignore her, but his attention was drawn back as she
      scribbled in the notebook, crossed things out, and scribbled some
      more, humming something he vaguely recognized as a currently popular
      song.

      After a few minutes of this, she looked up from writing and asked, "Do
      you think Truman should have dropped the bomb?"

      He fought to keep a straight face despite his surprise at the non
      sequitur. "The bomb?"

      "It's an essay for American History. Ms. Munroe wants us to write
      about whether he should have dropped the bomb on the Japanese. I don't
      know what I think."

      "Why ask me? You should go ask Cyke or somebody educated."

      "Well, I don't want to. If I asked them, I'd get a textbook answer. I
      wanna know what *you* think. Did he end the war faster? Or were the
      Japanese getting ready to give up?"

      "I don't think the Japanese were likely to give up," he said, "but
      dropping a bomb on civilians seems chicken."

      "Yeah, it does," she said, frowning and tapping her pen on a tree
      root. "But what if the war had gone on and on? Maybe all those people
      would've died, *plus* the Americans."

      "You know, kid," he said. "I don't think there's a right answer here.
      Truman had a tough choice to make, one heck of a lot less intel to
      work with than we have now. I'll bet he felt responsible for all those
      American kids who were dying."

      He felt an almost physical wrench in his brain and for a few moments
      he was elsewhere.

      {{Squealing brakes. Smell of gunpowder, explosives. Smoke and dust in
      the air. Yelling, he heard someone yelling. It was him, he was
      shouting at his men to "Get the hell out of there," and...}}

      It was gone.

      Jubilee was kneeling in front of him, tense. "You okay, Wolvie?"

      He was still sorting through what had happened.

      "What's wrong?" she asked.

      He was still stunned. She sat back on her heels, looking at him.

      "You remembered something, didn't you?" she asked.

      "Yeah." He found his voice, although it sounded a little hoarse, as if
      he'd been breathing in smoke. "I think...I think I was a sergeant."

      "You'd be good at that," she said. "I'll bet you kept a lot of people
      alive."

      "Me? Don't flatter me, kid."

      "Hey, I don't say it if I don't mean it. But I'm glad you remembered
      something."

      Something about the way she looked at him made him nervous, he jumped
      out of the chair and backed away. She stayed where she was. "I'm going
      inside," he said, uncertain why he felt the need to tell her.

      She was still watching him as he ducked through the back door to the
      mansion.

      **************************

      He appreciated the fact she didn't tell anyone about what had
      happened, but seeing her still made him jumpy. He tried to avoid
      Jubilee for a few days, but it didn't work.

      When he went to the rec room to watch hockey, she was spread out on
      the floor with a copy of Vogue and a pile of snacks.

      "Shouldn't you be studying?" he asked.

      "Yup," she said, turning a page. She held up an advertisement for him,
      "Okay, I gotta know, is it physically possible for a woman to look
      like that and not fall flat on her face?"

      "Yup," he said, turning on the television.

      "Personal experience?"

      "Very," he said, wondering how the hell he'd gotten into this, and
      suspecting Scott would have his ass for this conversation.

      She blushed. "Okay, I asked for that, didn't I?"

      "Yeah, you did." He leaned back to watch the game, pausing only to
      catch the bag of processed orange snack product she tossed to him.

      "So, you doin' okay?" she asked, in that "I'm trying to be casual but
      bursting with curiosity" way she had.

      He grunted, and a small part of his brain asked, //When the hell did I
      get to know her that well?//

      She tilted her head slightly to look at him. "Well, if the end of the
      world should approach and you suddenly get the urge to talk about it,
      let me know."

      He couldn't help but laugh. She grinned and went back to her magazine.

      The game wore on, and she read him bits from her magazine during slow
      spots, laughing at some of the absurdities. It slowly occurred to him
      that he felt more comfortable with her at this moment than he
      remembered feeling with anyone, even with Marie.

      **************************

      Although he felt better after that afternoon, the attention from
      Jubilee was still worrying him a bit, so a few days later he set out
      after dinner to consult with one of the other teachers. He spent a few
      agonizing moments trying to pick someone with a clue, but also someone
      he hadn't fought with recently. He finally chose Ororo.

      He tracked her down in her classroom, tidying up some of the week's
      detritus. She looked up from a pile on her desk when he entered. "Good
      evening, Logan."

      "Hey," he said, uncertain how to start the conversation, "whatcha
      doin'?" He sat down in the front row of desks.

      She frowned at the items in front of her. "I was attempting to
      determine what use my students had for some of the items they left
      behind. I understand the earrings, lighter, and lone glove, but why
      pliers? And I'm not certain I want to know the original purpose of
      this computer chip."

      He had to smile at the attention paid to the matter. "Don't ask me."

      "Then perhaps I will ask why you came to see me?" she asked, pushing
      the mystery items aside.

      "Well," he hesitated. "It's about Jubilee."

      "Oh dear, what has she done?"

      "Why does everyone always assume she's done something wrong?" He
      scowled at Ororo, whose eyes widened. "She's not a bad kid, you know."

      //Geez, now I'm defending her,// he thought.

      "Yes, I do know," Ororo said, "I simply thought...well, never mind.
      What *about* Jubilee?"

      He shifted in his seat. //Now that I'm here, how the hell do I explain
      myself?// He uncrossed and recrossed his arms, finally saying, "She's
      following me around. Like a puppy. And she doesn't go away when I
      growl. She's not scared of me."

      If Ororo was amused by this, she hid it well. "I wouldn't have thought
      she was the type, but perhaps she has developed an attraction to you?"

      Logan shook his head. "Nope. I could smell that a mile away.
      Literally."

      "Ah." Ororo seemed slightly taken aback. "Then maybe she just wants to
      be your friend."

      "My friend?" Logan pondered that for a few moments. Then he looked
      Ororo in the eye and asked, "Why?"

      "Perhaps you should ask her." Ororo resumed cleaning off her desk.

      *****************************

      He didn't take Ororo's advice, because he couldn't figure out how to
      bring it up. And things continued in the same vein for several more
      weeks. She even dragged him to the mall with her friends and forced
      him to *shop*. On the up side, he'd gotten a couple of good CDs and a
      few new shirts, but he'd had to snarl menacingly when she tried to
      take him into the underwear aisle of the department store.

      Then one Friday, he sat at his usual lunch table and glared around the
      room as he always did. But there was no Jubilee walking toward him. He
      waited for the pleasure at finally outlasting her, but it never came.

      It felt funny, sitting there all alone at the table on a Friday. He
      found himself worried something was wrong.

      He tried to eat, but every time someone came into the dining room, he
      caught himself sniffing for her. After the second time he nearly
      knocked his glass over, he went looking for Jubilee. He was going to
      give her a piece of his mind.

      *****************************

      She was on a bench in the rose garden, slumped against a retaining
      wall and staring at the flowerless bushes. Under the dying vegetation
      and crackly smell that was autumn, he sensed the scent that was
      uniquely hers. He stomped up and stood right in front of her, arms
      crossed and scowl firmly in place.

      She sat upright and looked at him. "Um, hi?"

      "What're you doing out here at lunchtime?" he asked.

      "It's lunch already?" She looked at her watch. "I didn't realize. I
      was just thinking. About stuff." She stopped and looked at him. "You
      missed me?"

      His mouth opened, but no sound came out. Hell, he *had* missed her. He
      asked, "What do you want from me?"

      "I've tamed you," she said, sounding a little surprised. "The book was
      right."

      He growled, a rumbling tone that started deep in his chest and rolled
      through the air like a dozen Harleys. Any rational person would have
      run away. She just smiled, as if he'd done something extremely clever.

      "What book?" he finally asked.

      "The Little Prince. Mr. Worthington had us read it in French class. I
      thought it was stupid at the time. Before I met you."

      He stared at the girl in front of him, helpless.

      "It's all about this little dude from outer space," she continued,
      "and he meets a fox."

      "Fox?"

      "Yeah, and the fox asks the boy to tame him, to be his friend, so that
      he'll always be special to him. When the fox is tamed, there's a link
      between them." For the first time, she faltered. "I've never really
      had someone who cared that much about me. Someone to watch out for me.
      I mean, Marie and Kitty and Ms. Munroe and everybody are great, but I
      wanted something else."

      Light slowly dawned, and he sat down next to her. "Tell me more."

      Jubilee looked at her hands. "The fox says 'To you, I'm no more than a
      fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then
      we'll need each other. To me, you'll be unique in all the world. To
      you, I'll be unique in all the world.' I liked that bit."

      Logan put his arm around the teenager who had somehow become more
      important to him than any other teenager in the world, and she leaned
      against his shoulder. "I like it, too," he said. It *was* kind of nice
      being needed, and having someone care about him. "But why me? I'm
      nobody." The bitter tone in his voice surprised him.

      "Don't be silly," she said in a no-nonsense tone. "You're Logan.
      You're the Wolverine. You're an X-Man. You're a teacher at the Xavier
      School for Gifted Youngsters. You're my friend."

      And in this way, Jubilation Lee tamed the mighty Wolverine. Through
      all the years that followed, she never forgot the fox's secret: Only
      with the heart can one see clearly, what is most important is
      invisible to the eye.

      ********************************

      ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER: I'm fairly certain that Antoine de
      Saint-Exupéry's charming parable "Le Petit Prince" is old enough to be
      in the public domain. Just in case, I don't own it, although I do own
      a copy in French, and Jubes and I did our own translation to English.
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