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Masquerade in X 3/?? [Movieverse]

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  • Dyce-Elihara
    Disclaimers in previous parts. :) Masquerade in X (Part Three) By Dyce A cheeseburger didn t really seem right with the new clothes he d bought her. Cain
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2001
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      Disclaimers in previous parts. :)

      Masquerade in X
      (Part Three)

      By Dyce

      A cheeseburger didn't really seem right with the new
      clothes he'd bought her.

      Cain watched... Jubilee? Jubilation? It was harder
      to tell when they weren't talking or looking at him.
      Either way, he watched the girl eating her McPlastic
      meal quickly, neatly. The red shirt and black jeans
      suited her, strong colours that emphasized her black
      hair and bright eyes.

      She was so *small*. He'd picked her up again to bring
      her in here, before he bought her the crutches that
      now leaned against the table, and she'd all but
      vanished into his arms. It was like holding a baby,
      he guessed, although he'd never held a baby. There
      was something about holding something very warm and
      tiny in his arms that reached down past all his
      defenses to tug at instincts he'd never known he had.

      She licked a trace of ketchup off one slim finger and
      gave him an inquiring look. "Are you gonna finish
      those fries?"

      "You have 'em." He pushed them across the table. He
      hated fast food anyway. Meat and potatoes, bread and
      beer. That was real food.

      "Thanks." She dove daintily into the half-eaten
      cardboard container of fries. "So what do we do now?"

      "Well, you finish eatin', and I take you back to the
      hotel and tell Tom we're gonna keep you. Then he's
      gonna go nuts." Cain shrugged philosophically.
      "Don't pay too much attention to him. He's upset
      'cause Terry ran off with the X-Men."

      "She's the redhead?" A fry disappeared into her
      contemplative expression. "Why'd she change sides?"

      "I dunno." Cain knew he looked grim. The girl didn't
      seem intimidated, though. "Something about 'doing the
      right thing', or some shit like that. Tom raised that
      girl from a baby, after her mom died and her dad took
      off. She shouldn'ta just run off like that."

      The girl nodded gravely. "It's not right to just run
      out on someone who's been taking care of you," she
      said quietly. "I should call the X-Men. Tell them
      I'm okay, at least."

      Hell. He'd walked right into that one. "Yeah, I
      guess. Just don't tell 'em where we are, keep the
      call short, and use a payphone."

      She nodded, polishing off the last few fries. "I'll
      do that now." She grinned impishly. "I'll ask how
      Terry's doing, too. If she's miserable and unpopular
      at her new school, maybe Black Tom'll feel better."

      Cain brightened a little. "He probably would. You

      * * *

      "Hello, Xavier School for the Gifted, please wait
      while I get a teacher," Bobby rattled off, looking
      around frantically for the aforementioned teacher.
      There weren't any in sight.

      "Bobby? It's me."

      He dropped the phone, then cursed and scrabbled on the
      floor for it, grabbing it and jerking it up to his ear
      so fast that the mouthpiece smacked him in the jaw.
      He ignored the incipient bruise, stammering eagerly
      into the phone. "Jubilee? Is that you?"

      "The one and only," she said with an oddly ironic note
      in her voice. "Miss me?"

      "Miss... Jubes, we all thought you were DEAD!" Bobby
      almost wailed, clutching the phone as if it was a
      lifeline. "Where ARE you? Are you okay?"

      "I got knocked around a bit, but I'll be fine. Is the
      redhead there? The Irish one?"

      "Yeah, she came back with us. She mostly just cries a
      lot, but she'll probably stop once she finds out she
      didn't kill you, and we aren't supposed to hold
      knocking the cabin down against her, and..." He
      trailed off and frowned. "Jubes, how did you know she
      was here?"

      "The Juggernaut told me." Jubilee's voice sounded...
      different. Cooler. Less vibrant. "He found me and
      took me to a hospital."

      "The JUGGERNAUT found y... okay, forget it, that's not
      important." Bobby held onto the last fading shreds of
      reason with both emotional hands. "Just tell me where
      you are, and I'll go find someone, and we'll come and
      get you, okay?"

      There was a soft, faint sigh on the other end of the
      line. "I can't do that, Bobby. Look, when you see
      Xavier, could you tell him that I'm sorry about this,
      but it just wasn't working out?" Her voice softened a
      fraction. "I'll miss you, Bobster. I really will. I
      just... need some me time. I'll see you and the guys

      A firm click told him that she'd hung up.

      He dropped the phone again and raced down the hall
      towards the Professor's office.

      Xavier was there, in the middle of one of his physics
      classes. Bobby didn't even notice the students.
      "Professor!" he gasped, knowing that his hands were
      shaking and that he probably looked like he'd seen a
      ghost. "Professor, Jubilee's alive! And she called,
      and she's not coming back!"

      The Professor blinked.

      Other than that, he showed no sign of peturbation. He
      dismissed the students, summoned the other teachers,
      and made Bobby sit down and drink a cup of strong tea
      while the teachers were filled in.

      When Bobby had told his story twice, the second time
      repeating his conversation with Jubilee almost
      verbatim under a barrage of questions, he made his

      He didn't know what to think. The black, heavy grief
      of Jubilee's death was gone, just like that, but not
      quite. She wasn't coming back. It had all happened
      so fast, and he wasn't quite sure how he felt about it
      all yet.

      He did know that nobody had told Theresa about Jubilee
      yet. The Irish girl had been tearing herself up over
      causing Jubilee's death by collapsing the house while
      Jubilee was still inside it. The shock of killing
      someone, even accidentally, had been what caused her
      split with the other two. Nobody really trusted her

      He knocked on the door of the room she'd been
      assigned. "Theresa?" he called quietly.

      "What?" The word cracked a little. Oh, hell, she was
      crying again.

      "There's something you should know." He leaned
      against the door, trying to sound reassuring. "You
      didn't kill anyone, Theresa, okay? Jubilee's alive."

      The door opened so fast that he nearly fell through it
      and into her arms. "She is?" Theresa demanded, big
      green eyes appealingly damp, red hair ruffled around
      her face.

      Bobby nodded, smiling a little. Maybe having Theresa
      around wouldn't be so bad. She sure wasn't hard to
      look at. "She's not coming back to school, at least
      not for a while, but she's fine."

      A surprisingly pretty smile bloomed amid the
      tearstains on her face. "Thank ye for telling me," she
      said softly. "Thinking that I'd... ye know..."

      "Yeah." Bobby put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
      "But it's okay now."

      She smiled at him again, and he started to feel a lot

      * * *

      Jubilation looked at the phone for a long moment, a
      little regretfully.

      Then she reached down inside herself, in a way she'd
      discovered a long time ago. Last time, she'd used the
      technique to resurrect Jubilee. Now she used it to
      slide her other self carefully back where she'd come
      from. Jubilee didn't resist as she was reintegrated
      back into the core personality. If anything, she
      seemed a little relieved. It was hard for an
      incomplete persona to get through the day, and they
      really did belong together, after all.

      It took a few minutes of leaning against the wall to
      reintegrate herself properly. They'd been apart for
      so long that there were a lot of incongruencies to

      When she was done, she opened her eyes again and
      smiled a little ruefully. Then she went to find Cain.

      He was standing in front of a bookshop, staring
      moodily into the window. He looked around when she
      came up again, his rather coarse face brightening a
      little when he saw her. She smiled a little in
      return, liking the pleased look on his face when he
      saw her. It was nice to be appreciated.

      And not appreciated like *that*, either. She'd gotten
      enough of those looks to recognize them, and this
      wasn't like that.

      Then he frowned a little. "Which one're you?

      "Both. I... sort of put myself back into one
      personality again." She smiled at him a little shyly.
      He wasn't a nice man at all, that was blindingly
      obvious... but she was starting to like him. "Like
      you said, you know? Living a lie, and all that." She
      shrugged, holding her arms out and doing a little
      pirouette. "This is who I am. And if people don't
      like it, screw them."

      He nodded approvingly. "That's right," he agreed.
      "Are you done? Can we go?"

      "Yup." She nodded. "I called, I talked to Bobby, I
      made it sound like I was striking out on my own again.
      The Prof's probably firing up Cerebro as we speak to
      look for me."

      Cain looked a little worried. "Tom told me about that
      thing. He said it makes Charlie even more powerful at
      brain-poking than he usually is. We should get

      She balanced on her crutches and patted one ham-like
      hand reassuringly, without even thinking how odd it
      must look. "Don't worry, he's not going to find me."

      The big forehead furrowed in rather charming
      puzzlement. "Why not?"

      "Because he's looking for Jubilee," she explained.
      "And Jubilee doesn't exist anymore. I'm quite
      different... from Jubilee and Jubilation both,
      actually. The two combined make a third personality
      that has a lot in common with both of them, but isn't
      the same."

      "Oh." Cain nodded in pleased understanding. "I get
      it." He looked down at her. "So what should I call
      you, if you're not Jubilee or Jubilation?"

      "Uh..." She frowned, as they headed out of the mall,
      Cain carefully slowing his pace to match hers. She
      couldn't go too fast on the crutches yet. "I don't
      know. I hadn't thought about that."

      "I could keep calling you Jubilation. Or Jubilee." He
      shrugged. "That IS your name, right?"

      "Yeah, I guess..." She thought about it, and
      shrugged. "Jubilee, I guess. That what I got called
      when I was a kid."

      He gave her a measuring look as they ambled through
      the parking lot. "If the X-Geeks are looking for ya,
      giving you a new name'd probably be a good idea,
      though," he pointed out. "I'll call ya Jubilee, if
      that's what you like, but you're gonna need ID in a
      different name. Something they can't trace."

      Jubilee blinked, and considered this. "Well, my
      family name can be spelled with an i instead of two
      e's," she said thoughtfully. "And... hmm... oh, I
      know." She smiled. "My parents were gonna name me
      Zhi-bao, before they thought of Jubilation. How's

      He pondered it for a moment, and nodded. "It doesn't
      sound anything like yer real name. Li Zhi-Bao it is."

      An alias. A False Name. That was just so... neat.
      And she was rather impressed that The Muscle That
      Walked Like A Man knew enough about Chinese names to
      put the family name first, as well as pronouncing it
      properly. "Works for me," she agreed. "Let's go
      introduce me to your partner."

      "He's not gonna like it," Cain predicted as he lifted
      her into the jeep.

      He didn't like it.

      He informed them both, at great length, of just how
      much he didn't like it. He cursed, he blasphemed, he
      criticized their intellectual capabilities, their
      ancestry, and their personal hygiene.

      Jubilee took her cue from Cain, who sat on the largest
      chair in the hotel room and watched Tom as he paced.
      The larger man's face drew gradually into a hurt
      expression, and he interspersed little comments like
      'Awwww, Tom...' and 'That ain't nice' into Black Tom's

      Eventually, the Irishman calmed down a bit and scowled
      assessingly at their new recruit. "She's too small to
      be any use," he complained, having worked his way
      through all the more serious complaints about
      untrustworthiness and ignorance.

      "Short'll be useful," Cain said placidly, relaxing a
      bit. He seemed to think the storm had passed.
      "Remember before Terry got too tall and... you
      know..." He actually blushed a little, waving his
      hands vaguely in front of his chest. "It's handy
      having someone little who can wiggle in through
      windows and chimneys and stuff."

      "I suppose so," Tom grumbled, clearly not sold yet.
      "But she probably doesn't know anything useful. We'd
      have to train her right from the beginning."

      "I can pick pockets pretty good," Jubilee spoke up,
      frowning a little. She wasn't *useless*. "And I'm a
      good acrobat, and a convincing liar, and my powers are
      pretty useful sometimes."

      The Irishman gave her a critical look. "What can ye
      do with your powers, then?"

      "I could incinerate your head right from where I'm
      sitting, if you like," she said sweetly. He gave her a
      surprised look, and she lifted a hand, summoning a
      cluster of pink and blue plasmoids to hover around her
      fingers. With a flick of her index finger, she sent
      one to burn a neat hole in the carpet between Tom's
      feet. "They explode, too, but I won't demonstrate
      that one in here. It gets a bit... loud." She
      banished them with a snap of her fingers. "They're as
      bit or as small as I want them to be, they go where I
      tell them to, and they vanish when I want them to go."

      For the first time, Tom's frown smoothed out and he
      looked... not pleased, exactly, but interested. "Now
      that *would* be useful," he conceded. "I can think of
      quite a few situations where a little flying explosion
      that we can put anywhere we like would be very handy

      "Me too," Cain agreed, giving Jubilee an approving
      look. "Do you know how big an explosion you can make,

      She shook her head. "I never really got a chance to
      practice," she explained. "When I was living on the
      street I didn't want to call that much attention to
      myself, and after the X-Men took me in, they were
      focusing on teaching me to 'control' my plasmoids.
      Sending 'em through hoops, stuff like that." She
      snorted. "Between Cyke and Storm, the X-Men have a
      lot of issues around Being In Control and Not Letting
      Your Powers Get Away From You." She summoned up
      another plasmoid, and let it dance around and between
      her fingertips. "I've always been able to control
      them... well, after the first few times. That's
      always tough. But I've had full control for over a
      year now. They do what I want, when I want it. But
      no, I don't know just how much they can do, yet."

      "That's okay." Cain gave her another approving smile.
      "I'll take you out to an abandoned warehouse or
      something, and you can see how much damage you can

      Jubilee returned the smile. "I'd like that," she
      said, with sincere gratitude. She'd been a little
      worried about not knowing the limits of her powers -
      she might have needed them for something someday, and
      found out at the last minute that they weren't strong

      Tom looked at her with narrowed eyes, and then he
      nodded. "She's got potential," he conceded. "And
      since the X-Men have helped themselves to my student,
      it's only far enough that I take one of theirs in
      return, don't ye think?"

      Cain and Jubilee both nodded, but when he turned away
      they exchanged an oddly meaningful look. Whatever Tom
      might think, Jubilee hadn't joined him. She'd joined
      the Juggernaut. They had both had a lot of trouble
      being accepted for who and what they were, and it had
      made them very lonely, and although they both had
      friends now, the idea of having someone around who
      really understood them was a very appealing one.

      * * *

      "I can't find her," Xavier said quietly, meeting
      Jean's eyes with sad blue ones.

      Jean blinked, feeling downright bewildered.
      "Professor... I don't understand. Jubilee isn't a
      telepath, and she can't be walking around in a helmet
      like Magneto's. Where would she *get* one?"

      "I don't know how it happened," Xavier said, shaking
      his head and turning his chair to gaze out of the
      window of his study. It was raining outside. Storm
      was very unhappy today. "But even with Cerebro's
      help, I simply cannot find Jubilee. It is as if she
      had ceased to exist." Jean felt herself go pale in
      horror, and Xavier turned immediately, reaching out to
      pat her hand gently and give her a reassuring little
      smile. "Don't worry, Jean. I would have felt her
      death. She is simply... gone. I can't explain it -
      but she is alive."

      Jean relaxed a little, and managed a lopsided smile.
      "That does make me feel better, Professor... but I
      hate to lose her. She's the first student who's ever
      voluntarily left the school... well, except Annie and
      Marie, but I can understand that. They wanted to be
      part of a family for a while."

      "Maybe that is Jubilee's reason as well," Xavier said
      thoughtfully. "We know that her parents have died,
      but whether or not she has any other relatives never
      really came up."

      "Maybe." Neither of them really believed that, but the
      idea of little Jubilee out in the world all on her own
      was a terrible one. "At least she's alive. She said
      the Juggernaut rescued her, of all people."

      "I know." Xavier smiled a little, looking pleased.
      "Every now and then my brother does do something
      almost selfless, despite his outward display of
      villainy. It gives me hope that one day the two of us
      will be able to move on from our troubled past, and
      become friends."

      Jean frowned. From what she'd seen of the Juggernaut
      while he ripped apart their cabin, she didn't have
      many hopes in that direction. Still, at least he
      didn't seem too inclined to actually *hurt* the
      students, just frighten them. "Maybe," she agreed a
      little dubiously. Then she brightened. "Theresa is
      settling in well."

      "Good." The Professor nodded approvingly. "She'll be
      an excellent addition to the team, when she's a little

      "I agree." Jean smiled, and stood up. "And I should
      get to class, Professor. I'll talk to you later."

      He nodded, and he was looking out the window again
      when she left the office. He looked sad, she thought,
      for all his efforts to keep her spirits up. It...
      hurt... to lose one.

      * * *

      They'd left the hotel that afternoon, and were on a
      plane headed for Great Britain. Tom liked England, so
      they spent a lot of time there. He could stomp around
      a lot and sneer at the English people, which was one
      of his favourite things to do.

      They were flying first class, of course, which they
      always did, and Tom was across the aisle, staring a
      bit moodily out of the darkening window. There wasn't
      anyone sitting next to him, and his grumbles had
      frightened the flight attendant away.

      Cain didn't care. Right now, he was feeling very,
      very happy.

      He looked down, a rather silly smile creeping onto his
      face again. Jubilee was asleep, wrapped in a pale
      blue airline blanket, and although she'd started off
      leaning against the window, now she was cuddled
      against his arm, head on his massive shoulder. Her
      weight wasn't really all that noticeable, but she was
      very warm, and she made an occasional little sighing
      noise in her sleep that was absolutely adorable.
      Adorable wasn't a word that was usually in Cain
      Marko's vocabulary, but there just wasn't any other
      word for it.

      It had never occurred to him before that it was
      possible to fall in love in a non-relationship way.
      And this was definitely a non-sexual thing. Even if
      Jubilee hadn't been far too tiny for that sort of
      thing to be physically feasible, she was only a little
      girl, and Cain's vices had never included *that* sort
      of thing. And yet he was absolutely besotted with
      her. Everything she did was either clever or cute, or
      both. She herself was absolutely adorable. He had to
      keep fighting the urge to carry her everywhere and
      talk baby-talk at her, even though she was much too
      old for that. She was just so little and cute and
      smart... much smarter than he was. But that was okay.
      So was Tom, and he liked Tom fine.

      Not as much as he liked Jubilee, though. He was
      definitely having that fake ID made out to identify
      him as her next of kin. Her adoptive father, maybe.
      Yeah... he really liked the sound of that. He'd never
      wanted kids before, but now the idea was growing on
      him. Maybe, if things worked out... he drifted into
      happy daydreams of raising Jubilee as his own, of the
      two of them becoming an unbeatable team, of getting
      her a little costume in red and brown, like his, and
      sitting on her on his shoulder when they went on

      Across the aisle, Tom sighed and glanced across at his

      Cain wasn't very clever or particularly nice, but he
      was loyal, and a good friend. They'd been partners
      for years. Cain had not, however, particularly liked
      Terry. They'd never gotten along, which had annoyed
      Tom a bit. If there was going to be bickering, he
      would be the one doing it.

      Now he suspected he understood it a bit better. He
      didn't like Jubilee, either. Technically, she was
      probably better suited to a life on the wrong side of
      the law than Terry had been. Terry had had a
      distressing tendency towards ethical conventionality,
      whereas Jubilee so far seemed blithely indifferent to
      legality and convention.

      But she wasn't *his*. He'd loved Terry as much as if
      she was his own daughter, and she'd heartlessly
      abandoned him. Less than two days later, Cain had
      turned up with another, younger girl who he was
      clearly besotted by - which Tom could understand, yes,
      Jubilee was very small and very cute and ideally
      suited for a life of relatively non-violent crime.
      The kind of foster-daughter every career villain
      dreamed of, one who would love you and follow in your
      gigantic footsteps and take care of you in your old
      age instead of killing you and stealing your criminal

      She was perfect. And she wasn't Terry, and he hated
      her and he wished she'd go away.

      An hour or two later, Jubilee drifted back into
      wakefulness. The lights were down now, and pretty
      much everyone seemed to be asleep.

      Her head was on the Juggernaut's shoulder, and she was
      surprisingly comfortable. The blanket wrapped around
      her was soft and cosy. The big shoulder under her
      temple was warm and solid. The long, steady breaths
      coming from somewhere above her head were soothing.
      And there was just something... nice... about being
      snuggled into a cosy little nook between a nice thick
      window and a not too nice and rather thick but
      apparently semi-reliable adult.

      Experimentally, she sighed, as if she was still
      asleep, and snuggled a little closer.

      There was a soft grumbling noise from well above her
      head, and a big hand came around from his other side
      to hitch her blanket closer around her, giving her
      hair a clumsy little pat before it went away.

      She smiled a little and let her eyes close again,
      cuddling against Cain's massive arm and dozing off
      contentedly. She didn't need anyone to make her feel
      safe - she hadn't been afraid of anything for a long
      time. But here, now, she felt... cared about.
      Understood. And it had been a long time since she'd
      felt that, too.

      (end part three)

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