All Eyes On Me: Parts 10-15

by Nova Zion and Dana Night


Part Sixteen

The breeze that filtered into the small, steam-filled bathroom stilled, the navy blue curtains fluttering one last time like a dying man unwilling to give up his ghost just yet, then rested against the splotched wall, which was wet with condensation. The only sound that interrupted the stark silence was the soft fizz of the bubbles and the small slosh of the water as Jubilee sank lower into the tub.

Her eyes were wide and dark, blue circles beneath them imprinted on her pale flesh complimenting the purpling gash across her cheek. The tall woman who sat beside her on the shut toilet seat jerked suddenly, as if snatched from a deep reverie, then turned her face toward the wall, unable to believe the revelations that the girl had just shown her, words weaving a horrible, cold, violent childhood, with scars to illustrate. Jean's breath caught in her throat, and she couldn't quite inhale properly. She knew this was when she was supposed to speak reassuring words to make everything better, but her mouth opened and closed wordlessly, like a fish out of water. Closing her large green eyes, she sat back and scrubbed one slender hand over them, smearing the mascara that had been so meticulously painted across her long eyelashes just an hour before.

It was finally Jubilee who broke the silence, saying softly, "I wanna get out," her words setting the word back into motion. The wind picked up again, tearing at the curtains and dissipating the thick, smoky curls of steam that lingered, though the water had long grown too tepid to create the mist. Someone in the next room turned on the water, and the pipes made a noise like air leaking from a tire. Standing, Jean wordlessly picked up a towel and held it up as the girl, no longer bashful now that all secrets had been revealed, stood and let her wrap it around her slight body. The psi took a step back, letting Jubilee dry herself, hands trembling in the sudden coolness as she consciously avoided mopping her ribs and back. Once she was done, she donned her underwear, the older woman helping her fasten her bra in the back, carefully maneuvering around the painful-looking wounds between her shoulder blades, then had Jean help her pull a white Green Day shirt with long black sleeves over her head. Baggy jeans completed the outfit, and it wasn't until the girl was fully dressed and Jean was helping her comb out her ratted hair that the fiery woman finally found her voice.

"Jubilee, I-"

"S'okay, Red," the young Asian-American girl interrupted quietly, using Logan's nickname for her. "I know. Nothin' ever comes easy." She twisted her head to look up at the older woman, her blue eyes sad, but containing a fervor they had not possessed just moments before. Jean merely nodded, finding it odd that the child should find strength in her weakness.

* * * *

Logan and Hank were waiting anxiously as Jubilee stepped carefully from the bathroom, not sure if her small legs would carry her the entire width of the room to where the wheelchair waited, knowing that she should soon eat something to restore her strength. Logan was instantly by her side, not picking her up and carrying her as most would in that situation, but rather just lending one burly arm for support as she made her feeble way to where Hank stood.

Henry McCoy grinned toothily as he watched his patient's progress. "I take it your shirt is an allusion to the environmentally conscience Earth Day that our political mentors have given us to celebrate our flora friends every April?"

She gave him a quizzical look as she stumbled, nearly falling, but tenaciously righted herself, brushing off her guardian's assistance. "Huh?"

"He's asking if your shirt's referring to Earth Day," Jean responded quietly, still standing in the bathroom doorway, feeling utterly useless for the first time in her life.

She hid a grin at her doctor's ignorance, waiting until she could speak without laughing before informing him simply, "It's a band."

"Oh." He pondered this a moment. "Well, perhaps the band had the idea to honor Earth Day."

This time, she couldn't hide her smile. "Actually, Green Day is a day where ya can jus' sit back an' smoke pot all day." All eyes turned to her in shock. "What? It ain't like *I* go toke reefers. I jus' like the band. They got some killer tunes." Grasping Logan's arm tightly, she lowered herself down into the waiting wheel chair, taking the pillow out from behind her and hugging it on her lap. "Now, are we gonna get this show on the road, or wait till it starts rainin' first?"

* * * *

"Y'okay, girl?"

Jubilation looked over at the man who sat on the garden bench beside her and smiled slightly, feeling better now that the fresh, late-morning wind was on her face instead of drifting through a musty screen and pouring limply over her prone body. It felt good to be moving around, to return to society, even if she only saw the same gardens she'd seen a million times before. "Yeah," she replied. "Yeah. I'm okay, Wolvie. What about you? You okay?"

At this, he grinned and took her slender hand, squeezing it gently. "Yeah. I'm all right."

"Good." They lapsed into silence once more, the girl's face turning upward to witness the black clouds rushing in over the horizon, a brisk wind at their heels, pushing them along like a shepherd dog to a herd of dark sheep. After a while, she reached up and pulled the shimmery green scrunchie from her damp hair, letting the raven locks tumble to her shoulders, wetting the shirt and making the pale fabric nearly transparent.

"What's on yer mind, darlin'?"

She shrugged lightly, staring at her hands. "Are ya gonna go have coffee with Kitty after this?" she inquired, her voice sounding younger than her years. She looked up into her mentor's lined face, and he nodded, his blue eyes locking with hers. "Why didn't ya go while I was in the tub?"

"I was talkin' t' Hank."

"'Bout what?"


"Oh." She paused, then reached one hand up to bite at her thumb nail, wishing absently for a good manicure. A week in bed is hell on your nails. "What'd Beasty Boy say?"

"That you're startin' t' heal, an' he'd like t' take ya offa sedatives an' start pumpin' some food inta yer gut." He looked at the small girl, thinking how strange it was. Just a week before, they had sat on this same bench, only then, she had been a normal, healthy, vital young woman. Or at least, she had appeared to be. If she actually had been, she wouldn't be in the wheelchair now. "What'd y' talk t' Jeannie 'bout?"

The light shrug returned, and she looked up at him again, her eyes serious. "I told her everythin'. She didn' ask, I jus' told. She jus' sat there, lookin' at me like she was gonna suffocate, an' didn' say nothin'. An' ... An' I realized it's not her who should be pityin' me, but rather the other way around. I mean, she couldn' even handle hearin' 'bout my life, an' I've survived it. It was weird, knowin' I'm stronger 'n one of the most powerful telepaths -- someone who's supposed ta understand people, right down ta the core."

Logan nodded, knowing her sentiments. "Does this mean you'll be survivin' a little bit longer, darlin'?"

A small smile touched her lips. "Yeah, I guess it does. Fer now." A large raindrop splattered across her cheek, and she looked up, surprised. The clouds must have been coming quicker than anyone had expected, for they were now directly overhead, and were beginning to unleash their mighty torrents upon Westchester County. Without a word, Logan stood and made his way to the back of the chair, and together, they went inside.

(Written by Dana Night)

Part Seventeen

Remy met the man and girl at the back door with two towels, as the rain had begun to pour in buckets when they had been halfway across the lawns. Ignoring the close transparency of the shirt Jubilee wore, Remy draped a green towel around her shoulders and handed one to Logan without a word.

"Thank you." she whispered, wiping the wet streaks of hair from her face. Logan dried himself off as Remy used a third, rattier towel to dry the wheels of the wheelchair so she could go back inside.

"It be not'in. You look a lot better chere." Remy squatted down on her left side and began to dry off the metal bars of the chair.

"I feel a bit better. Still get the nightmares and I don't feel all great and happy yet, but it'll come. I'm not thanking life right now for saving me, but I don't feel the urge to break more windows with my body any time soon." she smiled and Remy kissed her cheek as Kitty entered the room.

"Hi Logan, Remy, Jubilee..." she paused a moment and then looked at Logan to see if he was ready to have coffee yet. He read the expression in her face and glanced at Jubilee pointedly as she dried her face.

"Let me take Jubilee back upstairs and get her comfortable so she can rest..." he stopped as Remy held a hand up and stood to take the handles of the chair, pulling Jubilee toward the living room. Shaking his head, he waved a hand and smiled at Jubilee, wiping some hair out of her eyes.

"Non, I will take Jubilee upstairs to my room to spend some time wit' me for a little bit an' you two can have coffee and talk." Remy explained, throwing the towels over the handles as he headed down the halls toward the rec room. The squeaking faded out to a gradual whisper then was gone as they got into the service elevator. Logan shrugged at Kitty and headed to the coffee pot as a smile graced her saddened face.

* * * *

Remy propped the wheelchair up near the black chair she had sat in two nights before and helped to lift Jubilee out. Supporting herself on his arm, Jubilee muttered that she wanted to stand for a bit and then leaned on the proffered arm gratefully, nausea engulfing her small 5'6 frame. Water dripped off her shirt to the floor and Remy bent down to her level and looked at her face as she shivered from the cold trickles of rain droplets.

"How's about Remy go get Jean t' help ya dry up a bit an' change an' den we style your hair in my bat'room?" he asked in a half-whisper, hope rising in his voice as she looked at the floor sickly.

"Okay. My bandaging has to be changed to 'cause it's wet anyway..." she nodded and sat back in the wheelchair. Remy wondered about how to get to Jean if Jubilee wasn't supposed to be left alone in a room. He saw many hurtful and dangerous items within her reach and a large window only two feet away that could be used to her advantage, and, while she'd said she was trying to get better, Remy knew firsthand it could get worse in less than a second.

Jubilee stared blankly as a range of emotions crossed his face and then he smiled. She felt herself lifting away from the floor, a carefree, swift movement that left her in his arm, holding his neck in a death grip as she looked around. "What're ya doing?"

"I can' leave you alone in here chere so we goin' t' get Jean. She be in Hank's room I t'ink." and with that, Remy and Jubilee headed down the hallway towards Logan's room again, but they stopped a few doors short of it, knocking on the heavy brown oak. "Hank? Jean in dere wit' you?"

"Yes Remy." Jean stepped out of the opening door and muttered something to Henry, turning to the pair in front of her. Jubilee looked small and frail in the lean young man's arms, her wet head resting against his shoulder wearily. She had begun to shiver a little bit, the cold rivulets of water dripping down onto the carpet and her lips, pale and cracked as they had been, now looked slightly swollen and a shade of light white-blue. She asked the next question though she already knew the answer. "What is it you need?"

"I need you t' change an' dry off Jubilee. An' her bandagin' need changin' since it got wet, but Remy here figure you can do dat." he carefully readjusted the girl and she closed her eyes for a moment as pain spread through her frame, gripping his neck strongly.

"Sure." Jean went back into Hank's room to get the bandaging and tape while Remy returned to his own room to sit Jubilee down. Jean came out of the room as Remy closed the door to his and headed to Jubilee's room to get a pair of fresh pyjamas.

Returning to Remy's room a few minutes later, she heard them talking quietly and then a small tinkle of laughter, almost reminiscent of silver bells, sounded behind the wooden door and she knocked, glad to hear Jubilee laughing again. The pair grinned bashfully as she walked in and Jean smiled at the sight before her.

Jubilee sat in her wheelchair comfortably, her hands holding the silver 'X' necklace Jean had seen earlier in the day and Remy squatted at her feet in a new black sleeveless undershirt, his other being wet, arms resting on her knees, head resting on an upraised palm as he told jokes to her and they chatted. Jean had never seen him as happy as he looked at the moment with the child, smiling and laughing, in all the time she'd known him. Ororo had told stories of him and her and their adventures as thieves, but to see first-hand how he genuinely was with children was special.

Helping the young girl to the bathroom to change, she shut the door with a quiet click and Remy sat on the bed, a pack of cards flicking wildly between his hands as he waited for them to finish and come back out. He raked his hair into a ponytail, tying it with a black elastic, and then lay back, absentmindedly charging and un-charging cards, hearing the light, almost silent whispers of pain coming from behind the door.

(Written by Nova Zion)

Part Eighteen

The window was open a crack, letting in a silvery mist and the soothing, refreshing sound of falling rain beating down the grass, which had begun to dry already. Kitty poured a touch of hazelnut flavored cream into her coffee and stirred it lightly with a spoon. The cream was a treat she thought she'd indulge herself in, since she wasn't sure how many times she would be left waiting, as she had that morning. With a slight frown, she sat down in the hard, tall-backed chair, opposite her mentor and confidant, as he observed her every action with the keen blue eyes of a hunter. Usually used to his harsh gaze, now she was unnerved by it and dropped her spoon to the table with a noisy clatter, hoping it would draw his attention from her, if for but a moment. His eyes never left hers.

"What's on yer mind, Kitty?" he asked, pulling a cigar from seemingly nowhere, wondering what there was with which he could light it.

She shrugged non-committally, dark curls falling into her lovely face as she bowed her head to stare into the milky depths of her coffee. "I just...I wanted someone to talk to, you know? I wanted *you* to talk to. Like we used to. Ever since Pete and I broke up..." She stopped herself, biting her lip and forcing away tears. How many had she shed for him already? She had promised herself she wouldn't bring him up in any way but professionally, a reminiscence of battle plans used in Excalibur or something, and yet...

It was another of those things she found she couldn't help. There were too many of those nowadays. There hadn't been before. When she'd had Pete. Swallowing, she took a sip of coffee, grateful for something to do with her hands, and looked back up at Logan, who waited patiently for her to go on. Her next words, to her personal surprise, but not to the man who sat before her, came out as a strangled whisper as she admitted, "I guess I miss him." And she did. There wasn't a day that went by that she didn't miss his English accent, the way his unruly black hair fell into his eyes, the way he was constantly accusing Lockheed of stealing his cigarettes...

"I still love him." She hadn't even meant to think the words, let alone speak them aloud, and her heart quickened as it tried to refute the evidence. To no avail. "I still love him."

Logan stood and went to her as she dissolved into tears, covering her face with both hands, elbows propped on the table. Lifting her to her feet, he enveloped her in an embrace, and she sobbed against his chest, wetting the front of his already soaked shirt. For a long moment, they stood like that, the rain creating a beautiful background to the emotional scene; the skies seeming to feel the shards of her heart aching as it poured all its grief out over the mansion.

When they finally pulled away, a smile cushioned his words as he muttered, "'Bout damned time y' figured it out."

Kitty laughed, swiping at tears, thinking how they never had really gotten around to coffee. But, her heart a little lighter, she told him softly, "You'd better get back to Jubilee. She needs you."

* * * *

Jubilee emerged from the bathroom, clad in her favorite long Jar Jar Binks nightshirt, black cotton shorts underneath. She still winced slightly as if something still actively hurt her, and she gripped her stomach protectively. Jean aided the girl's retreat, then slipped from the room to go and see if the window repair man was making any progress.

Jubilee sat uncomfortably in her wheelchair, the Pikachu pillow held in front of her like a body shield as she glanced warily around the room, and for a moment, Remy wondered if Jean was really the person to be helping the girl, but quickly cast the thought aside. Who was more gentle than Jean? And, more to the point, who else was there? Rogue would be scared to death to even near the injured child, for fear of damaging her more, though she'd never admit the fact. Besides those two, the only other woman in the mansion was Kitty, who seemed to have ... reservations about Jubilee's very presence.

"Can Remy get de petite anyt'ing?" he asked, brandishing his most charming smile for her sake. To his disappointment, she merely shook her head wearily, then began examining her nails. "I have de chocolate left over from de udder night," he offered, but again she shook her head.

"No thanks." How quickly her mood had changed. One moment, snatches of her sunny self were seen, the next, the dark clouds of depression and distrust loomed ever darker. At a loss, the Cajun was considering what to say next when a small knock sounded at the door, and, without waiting for permission, Jean stuck her head in, bright red locks falling haphazardly around her smiling face.

"I'm sorry, Gambit, but ... well ... Jubilee, we have a surprise for you." The girl barely looked up, then something at the sight of the fiery woman made her straighten suddenly, her mouth in a grim but determined line.

"You want Remy t' take you, petite?" She gave him a side glance, then nodded, slightly but assuredly. Standing, he grasped the handles of her wheelchair and they followed Jean down the hall to Jubilee's old room. The psi positively beamed as she paused dramatically, then swung the door open.

The window was as Jubilee had seen it last, before she had plunged herself through it a week prior. The light blue curtains had been taken down, replaced with long, cream-colored lace ones that fluttered a little in the breath of air the door provided as it was swung open. A teardrop sun catcher that Jubilee recognized as Paige's hung from the window, refracting the silvery light of the falling rain onto the soft blue carpet. The rest of the room looked strikingly familiar, as if she had never left the X-Men, except to acquire a few items at Generation X, which were scattered here and there throughout the room, along with an item from each of her former teammates. She doubted if the two adults pensively observing her initial reactions to the room even noticed them.

There, on the bed, was Everette's favorite teddy bear that he kept hidden beneath his bed and had shown only her. On the wall was a poster of Paul Weller from Jono. Next to her jewelry box was Angelo's good gold lighter. Hanging from the earring stand was a pair of huge gold earrings from Monet that Jubilee had once complimented her on after a dare by Angelo that she couldn't be nice to Miss Perfect, for even a day. She was touched the older girl had even remembered. From Penance was a blue headband made of Titanium Mesh that hung from the mirror. Artie and Leech had donated a length of toy racing track and two Matchbox cars.

A limp balloon tied to the bedpost bobbed indecisively toward the ceiling, though it had lost enough helium that its ribbon had enough slack to brush the floor. On the wall over her bed was posted a giant banner, signed by various people from the Massachusetts school, and piled on the covers was a heap of cards, probably all saying, 'We miss you' and 'We love you' and 'Get well soon.'

For the first time since her stay at the X-mansion, Jubilee thought of her former teammates, and was sickened. She could just see the horror written on their faces when they heard of what she'd tried to do. She could hear the jeering in Monet's voice as she proclaimed, "I always knew Jubilation was weak and unstable. This merely proves the fact."

"Take it down," the girl whispered, staring at the huge, bright banner.

Jean gave her a puzzled look as Remy muttered, "Qu'est que c'est?"

"Take it DOWN!!" Her voice rose to a scream as she lifted her hands and hot pafs flew from them, tearing the banner in the middle and scorching the wall. Another well-placed paf popped the balloon before her powers quit. She knew she was too weak to be using them in the first place, but if she was going to be put in this room, she would not be forced to stare at a constant reminder that the people she had considered friends at one time knew the terrible things she had done. The rest she'd take down herself, when she was stronger. And as for the cards ... "I don't suppose I could, like, get a little down time alone, could I?" she address the two adults without ever looking at them.

Both answered a simultaneous, emphatic, "No" that made her feel as if she were a prisoner in her own home.

"Fine. When's Wolvie comin' back?"

"Right now, darlin'." She craned her neck to find the Canadian entering the room, shooing the two other people away.

(Written by Dana Night)