As dawn blazed orange across the open, cloudless sky with long-lived ease and grace, Storm gently opened the door to Logan's room, sticking her head in quietly. Logan had fallen asleep on the beaten couch, the red light splattering across his face in streaks from the half-shut blinds. Jubilee lay still on the bed, her mouth open, her eyes closed, obvious sheer exhaustion having won out over determination at staying awake until early morning.
Stepping into the room, Storm opened the blinds and began to straighten up the odd item in the room. She re-ordered Jubilee's dolls beside her on the extra pillow, but left Bamf tucked securely in her arm as she slept. Picking up a brown foil chocolate wrapper, Storm wondered where it had come from, but threw it out all the same. She heard Logan making small noises as he slept on the rather ugly piece of furniture, springs creaking with every shift in his body weight.
Logan opened one eye and looked at Storm as she leaned over the little, broken body on the bed across from him. The regal chocolate beauty brushed a piece of hair from the cut on her cheek and fluffed up the pillow for her, gently holding her head as she re-adjusted it to better suit her. Pulling her covers up to her chin again from where they had fallen, Storm kissed her healthy cheek and sat down, only then noticing with a faint blush that Logan was awake.
"The motherly thing suits ya, 'Ro." he whispered, rolling off the couch as quietly as possible with the ever present spring army squeaking in protest.
"Logan, I am merely concerned." she waved her hand delicately in the air and smiled at her friend. "How is she faring, Logan?"
"A little better. We been talkin' some things through. But Remy was up with her last night." Logan brushed a hand through his hair, sighing as his stretched and sat back down. "Made me leave fer an hour and he watched her..."
"Remy is very good with children, Logan. He cared for me very well when I was reduced to my child-like state. I am sure an hour alone with her only worked for the best."
"Sure. Whatever ya say, 'Ro." he sighed. "Today she gets her bandaging taken off her face and the wraps on her back replaced. After that, Hank's gonna ask her some questions and do an overdue physical and I don't know how she's gonna take it."
Storm patted Jubilee's hand and then softly picked up the necklace around her neck, staring at it. "Where did she obtain this?"
"I guess Remy." Logan stepped closer and looked at the necklace, seeing the jewel glitter in the red light and then fade. Logan stood again and faced the window as Storm began to leave.
"I will be bringing breakfast up Logan. For you and her, and you will eat it. You are not any better off than she is right now after locking yourself in here for four days. This affects us all, but you are making it worse for yourself..."
Logan nodded and turned back to the window, watching the birds fly in early morning sun outside. Sighing, he massaged his face with his hands before he heard a small moan from the bed. Spinning, he saw Jubilee open her eyes, the dull color within sparking slightly in the redness.
"Oooohhhh...my head..." she moaned, lifting a hand to her forehead.
"I'll go get Hank t' give ya something. Ya never shoulda been up that late. It's not enough sleep..." Logan walked to the door and headed three doors down to the furry physician's room. Knocking, Hank answered quickly and stared at Logan in surprise.
"What is it Logan? Is Jubilee ready to be examined and have the wrappings changed?" Hank rubbed his eye glasses on a cloth and grabbed a stretcher. Beginning the short bounce down the hall to the healing room, he opened the door again and laid the stretcher out. Going to the bed, he looked at Jubilee with a smile and patted her hand, as Storm had done.
"How are you feeling, Jubilee?"
"My...head...hurts a lot." she sputtered out, clenching her doll's hand tightly. "I was...up too...late."
"Oh. Well, we'll give you a mild sedative painkiller that should put you halfway out for your examination and changing. It will help in the long run, though you'll feel as though you're floating for a few hours. Would you mind greatly if we took the service elevator and moved you to the Med Labs for the day?"
"No...Wolvie has to come..." she panicked, reaching her hand out blindly to feel for the familiar warm grasp of her mentor and best friend. Her weak, pale, thin hand connected with his hairy one and they began to lift her onto the stretcher, her mind crying out in pain and confusion. Laying her still, Logan lifted one end and Hank the other, and the moved her swiftly to the elevator, down the hall and around the corner.
Reaching the Med Labs in record time, Hank lifted her out of the stretcher, laying her on the metallic examination table nearest the door. She began to shake, scared at what they would find and where she was. Logan smoothed her hair and held her tightly as Hank slipped an IV in her arm and began a drip of the sedative. True to his word, her body soon felt as though she was floating above the ground, but her mind stayed firmly rooted to the core, only the pain registry gone. She closed her eyes as Logan explained to Hank what she had said had happened to her in the Hulkbuster base. She felt his hand holding her own and his hair as he leaned over and kissed her forehead.
"Well Jubilee..." the voice sounded like it usually would; a shock to Jubilee as she thought it would sound dreamy and far away. "This sedative is a painkiller really, though it will tire you. I am sure you feel and hear and see everything except pain, so we shall now began with changing your wrappings."
Logan mumbled something else, finishing the tale of her sordid adventure in the base with Bastion. "And the physical and psychological examination will come afterwards, Jubilee, so that the sedative has time to wear off."
(Written by Nova Zion)
The sun was high in the perfectly cloudless sky, an Indian summer in full swing in Westchester County, a Harvest moon scheduled to rise at dusk, when Bobby Drake entered the Danger Room, the holographic image of a ninja fighter vanishing as the safeties clicked into place. A panting Kitty Pryde spun, momentarily bewildered before she noticed her visitor. Dressed in her blue and yellow X-Men uniform, her dark curls were plastered to her face with sweat, her hazel eyes flashing in anger.
"Continue workout," she ordered the voice command on the computer, and the ninja reappeared, charging the young woman. With a swift roundabout kick, she sent the ninja sprawling with graceful ease, then turned to Bobby. "What?" Her tone was expectant, almost impatient, and Drake decided he should make this quick.
"Um.. I was thinking about getting Jubilee something. You know, to make her feel better. And I was wondering if you knew what I should get."
"How the HELL should I know?" Kitty snapped, and Bobby flinched as if she were about to use her Kung-Fu move on him. He had never seen her like this; so angry and upset.
"Well, uh..." Drake brushed his dark hair from his dark eyes and looked around the empty room. "I, uh, thought about asking Logan," the New York native stammered, "but haven't seen him for the better part of the week. So, uh, you know. You spend a lot of time with Wolverine, so, uh, I thought, you know, he might have, um, mentioned something. I guess you're busy, now, though, so.."
"Wait." The usual softness was back in the Jew's eyes as she ran gloved fingers through her damp hair and gave him a small, masking smile. "I'm sorry, Bobby. I'm just.. Exercise routines make me tense, you know?"
He nodded, but his eyes were still wary as he faced her. She walked the few steps to him, limping slightly, as if that roundabout hadn't been as easy as it had seemed.
"Now, a gift for Jubilee? Gee, Bobby, I really don't know. I mean, there are a number of things you could get her, but to make her feel better? To make up for months of neglect with a toy and some pretty paper? I couldn't say right off.."
Bobby felt like he had been slapped, and backed up, shocked by her behavior. Swallowing hard, he thought for a moment that he had misheard, but the intense, inquisitive look in her eyes as she met his gaze, carefully masking a burning animosity, said he had heard correctly. "Oh. Um, well, thanks, Kitty. I, um, should leave you to.. to your workout then. Thanks."
She smiled sweetly. "No problem."
Stumbling over himself, he turned and clumsily left the room, then immediately went to seek out Jean.
(Written by Dana Night)
Jubilee cried out as her rib cage shifted and Hank began to re-wrap the most painful of the gashes in her back. Most of the smaller cuts where healing and didn't need wrapping but she had some bigger cuts along her spine and shoulders that needed to be re-wrapped, thought not as much as the first time. It wasn't pain that bothered her, because she now felt none, it was the uncomfortable pull on her ribs that bothered her, straining her insides until she could imagine the pain. Hank coughed a bit at the smell of he disinfectant and continued to apply it to her cuts. Jubilee closed her eyes and Logan squeezed her hand quickly, still keeping one hand around his nose to block out the overpowering stench of pure cleanliness. Jubilee moaned as the sedative began to wear off slightly, the sharp stings of pain a dull ache now. Logan petted her hair, staring at her still form. "Little quicker Hank, the stuff's wearing off."
"I am hurrying as quickly as I can, my friend. To wrap the many injuries takes time." he replied, wrapping a layer of gauze over the largest part of the cuts. Swabbing some liquid onto another cut, Jubilee groaned and buried her head into the pillow underneath her. "The wrapping will all be over in a few moments Jubilee, and then I will give you a painkiller to complete the full examination and see if you are healing correctly."
"Please make it stop." she whispered to Logan, her forehead beading up with sweat as Hank wrapped another bandage around her ribs. He bent in to hear her a little better and her hand went limp in his. "It hurts...so...much."
"It'll be over in a bit, Jubes...just a few more minutes." Logan straightened and glared at Hank. "Hurry it up." he muttered, still holding the weak hand in his.
"Finished." Hank said, sitting up from his hunched over position. "Jubilee, your back is healing remarkably well. After only four days, it seems to be in excellent shape. The larger cuts are closing well and the smaller ones have cleaned themselves up and will be no more soon enough. Now Jubilee, if I was to slip a mild painkiller into your bag, would you allow me to do the full physical examination?"
Jubilee nodded with tears in her eyes. She hadn't wanted others to know about what had happened with Bastion, and Logan had told Hank everything. Hank injected a clear liquid into the IV bag and re-adjusted the tubing out of the way. With Logan's help, Jubilee felt herself being turned over to her back again and laid down on the pillows again, her eyes closed. Tears streaked her cheeks and Logan brushed them away as Hank dragged over a twist-able chair and began to record Jubilee's information on a doctor's sheet. He checked her blood pressure and temperature, then recorded her name and the date, watching as Logan whispered comforting words to the little, beaten child in front of them. Hank recorded everything Logan had told him about the experiments Bastion and Operation: Zero Tolerance had put Jubilee through, frowning and shaking his head the whole time.
"Jean?" Bobby called into the kitchen. Pushing open the door, he looked inside to find Jean and Sabine sitting at the kitchen table eating a late breakfast of eggs and toast. They ceased their talking quickly as Bobby joined them at the table and glanced at them.
"What's wrong Bobby?" Jean asked, taking another bite of her toast. Sabine sipped at her orange juice and smiled at him quizzically.
"I just went to ask Kitty about what to get Jubilee, 'cause she's around the closest age here with anything close to similarity, and she practically bit my head off. And to top it all off, she accused me of doing nothing to help Jubilee and spend time with her!"
Jean fidgeted nervously in her seat, not looking directly at Bobby. "Well, we didn't do much...but why would she actually accuse a teammate of something like this, when she is at a much fault as we are?"
"Ah don't know sugah." Sabine stood and dumped her dishes in the sink, licking a bit of egg yolk from her fingertip. "But Ah gotta go an' get Joseph up to take me shoppin'. Ya wanna come Bobby? Ya might find somethin' for Jubilee." she said, waiting by the counter.
"Sure. Uh, have a good morning Jean." Bobby said as he stood to go and get dressed and washed up for the day ahead.
Jean smiled and patted his hand, standing herself. Opening the patio door, she stepped outside and began to walk to the boat-house to wake Scott up from his late sleep. Apple blossoms fell from the gnarled crab-apple trees on the wind and floated down to tangle in her long red hair as she thought of the small girl that she and the others have failed so many times in the past.
(Written by Nova Zion)
Later that afternoon, as a hot breeze wound its way through Salem Center, giving little relief to the searing day with humidity climbing into the seventies, and the mercury into the upper nineties, Jean found Kitty in cutoffs and a halter top, sitting on the dock, slender ankles disappearing into the cool dark waters. Sitting beside the young woman, the redhead removed her Burkenstocks and followed suit, watching the breeze ruffle the water and listening to the waves lap wetly on the underside of the dock. "Where's Lockheed?" she asked, referring to the small purple "dragon" that seemed to follow young Pryde everywhere.
Not looking up, the brunette motioned to the mansion, saying simply, "Inside. Dead in front of the AC, probably. He won't come out."
Jean watched as a very large goldfish darted around her feet, brushing gently past her ankles before disappearing into deeper, cooler depths. "I spoke to Bobby this morning," she informed the other woman. "He seemed concerned about you."
"He caught me in the middle of a workout."
"You're angry." The telepath could feel it, even without lowering her mental shields. It coursed white-hot through her, and she reinforced the barriers around her mind to keep from getting swept away by it. "Tell me how you're feeling about Jubilee."
"I'd rather not."
"Please, Kitty, I just want to help."
"Then leave me alone." She stood and began walking back to the house, but Jean followed, her footsteps light as she used her flight powers to keep from having to do any more exercise than necessary on this horrid day.
"Kitty, you can't just ignore this."
"This won't go away by itself."
"And, apparently, neither will you."
Jean was taken aback. "What?"
Whirling, Katherine faced the telepath, an aura of anger about her. "Okay, you want to hear what I think of Jubilee? A few months back, she told me I was a wimp. That I had wimped out of everything I had ever set out to do. But you know what I think? She's the real wimp. Everything she does is to gain herself attention. And everyone falls for it. And one day, when they finally don't, she pulls this. I'm sick of her. And of course, everyone rushes to her side, just like they always do."
"What are you saying?"
"Jubilation's a smart girl. A genius, if you listen to Logan. If she really wanted to kill herself, she would. This is just another one of her stunts."
Saddened by her words, Jean shook her head, gazing with new eyes upon her teammate. What she had become was nothing more than a walking incarnation of jealousy and spite. "I'm sorry you feel that way, Kitty," she responded and floated ahead, into the cool, shadowy house.
(Written by Dana Night)
"Jubes, it's Logan..." the short, beast-man leaned over the bed to his little protegee and patted her hand to get her to open her eyes. She wasn't sleeping, but she refused to face the eyes of either Hank or himself. "Open yer eyes fer one minute, darlin'."
Her dull, aching blue eyes cracked open slowly and she looked at Logan through the thick lashes. "Please...leave me alone."
Tears started to streak down her face, wetting the dry skin. The purple and red bruise on her cheek seemed to brighten as the salt water hit it. "Hank's gonna give ya some sleeping pills to help ya 'til we get ya t' my room and then you'll wake up in there..."
"Please leave me alone." she stated more clearly. She sobbed and coughed at the sudden, sharp intake of breath in her lungs. "I don't ... want to be ... with anyone. Please..."
"Hank..." Logan watched the younger beast slip his paws under Jubilee's head and sit her up so she could take two of the small white pills and help her swallow some water. She bit her lip at a sudden pinch in her throat, but she swallowed and lay back. Turning his attentions back to her, he smiled and brushed a stray tear away. "You did good darlin' ... I know more than anyone that tellin' yer secrets is hard, but we know yer okay now, 'cause Hank could check ya out properly..."
Tears started again and she let her eyes close to wait for the waves of sleep that threatened to swallow her. Hank waited for a moment and then motioned for Logan to join him in the hallway.
"My friend, she is in a terrible state. She is healing on the outside, and I now encourage outdoor walks in a wheelchair, but she is mentally unstable and unable to cope with telling anyone what has happened during Operation: Zero Tolerance..."
"Can ya really blame her Hank?" Logan asked, rubbing his face as he thought. The bruises and pains from the night before were gone as they should have been, but he felt the difference as he thought of the way it had gone. The fight hadn't been good bar fun the way it usually was. It really never would be the same.
Sighing, he went to open the door and Hank stopped him. "Kitty is in great pain too Logan..."
"What happened to her?" he asked, spinning around to face the man again. He searched his face. It couldn't be happening; both of his little girls couldn't be hurt.
"Jubilee happened to her. Kitty told me the other day about how she was feeling when I asked her. She is angry Logan, and scared and confused. I suggest you go and have a talk with her sometime today."
"I can't. She'll have to come up while..."
"Get Remy or Bobby to watch Jubilee so you can go and have a talk with Kitty." Hank said, sending a steady glare at Logan as he fidgeted. Hank saw he'd have to make more excuses for Logan to leave Jubilee's side. Having him in the room with his guilt and anger wasn't good for Jubilee and to have someone who loved her just as much and made her laugh might help more.
Kitty sighed and turned around to the pond again as Jean floated away, tears brimming in her eyes. Turning to the house, she watched the tall, fiery woman gracefully open the back door and walk inside. Katherine now felt more than alone. Sighing again for the second time in as many minutes, she headed back to the pond and sat at the edge again. Looking out at the sun as it glistened through the trees, she rubbed at her eyes, threatening herself as they were about to overflow. She played slowly at phasing herself through rocks near the dock and finally stretched out on the wooden planks, eyes closed.
Why did she hate Jubilee? Why had Logan left her? Why had Pete left her? Why had she left all of them? Kitty wondered about these questions as she watched a baby toad jump across the grass nearby. Kitty crossed her legs and sat up, leaning over the water's edge.
"Because I'm too jealous." she whispered to the goldfish below.
Remy watched Kitty quietly moving out on the dock. He'd never actually met the girl before his return to the X-Men. She'd joined the European team called Excalibur while he was still a freelance thief. But, lighting up a cigarette, Remy watched her.
She was obviously upset by the way she moved and kept rubbing at her face, but Remy didn't feel she needed a hug or a talk from a perfect stranger. Sighing himself, he looked at the mansion and saw Jean watching the girl from the kitchen window. This part of the pond was the closest to the mansion, and really not the swimming spot, but people from the X-Men came here to boat, which is why there was a dock. However, it was not the ideal place to be sulking if you didn't want to be talked to.
(Written by Nova Zion)
There was a light rapping on the door to Logan's room, and the faint rustling of the wood against the carpet as Bobby entered, uninvited, but grinning nonetheless.
"Hey, Jubilee," he called softly, ignoring the sharp glare Wolverine sent him; he was used to sub-zero temperatures. He held up a small black bag, marked 'Hot Topics' and crossed the room to her. Her blue eyes stared up at him, void of all emotion, and her drawn face was wet, as if someone had just run a damp washcloth over it. A vivid blue and purple gash ran across her cheek, making the young man inwardly cringe, but he silently acknowledged that it looked better than it had the last time he had seen her. Sprawled out on the grass. Covered in blood. Draining of life.
Casting the thought aside, Drake grabbed the chair that had been sat in and pushed aside several times in the past few hours and spun it around, straddling the back. Resting one nicely-muscled arm across the back, he rested his chin on it, and with his other hand, set the bag on Jubilee's stomach, which rose and fell shallowly beneath the cotton sheet. He noted that she had lost much weight since the beginning of her stay at the mansion and now her form was slight, too weak to face a battle should the need arise.
"What is it?" she asked almost mechanically, never taking her eyes from him.
He shrugged. "You'll have to open it, won't you?"
The girl gave Logan a questioning look, and at his peripheral, Bobby saw the ancient man nod, squeezing her small hand slightly. He looked away as the Canadian bent to kiss her on the forehead, looking instead to the deceptively cool-looking shadow-bathed north lawn of the mansion and knowing that, should the window be opened, a blast of hot air would fill the room, along with the high, shrill hum of cicadas and the scent of dry, dead grass.
"Hank says I need t' spend more time out, J," the New York native heard Logan say softly. "So I'm gonna leave ya here with Bobby. He'll take real good care o' you, an' I'll be back b'fore ya know it, 'kay?"
Sparing a glance at the tiny creature that lay prone before him, Bobby saw Jubilee hesitate, giving him an evaluating glance before giving a small nod. "But ya gotta promise you'll be back in an hour. Swear it."
"I swear." Once again, Drake looked away, embarrassed to have been witness to the utter love in Logan's voice as he muttered the two, monosyllabic words. "Stay strong."
With another kiss on Jubilee's unscathed cheek, the Canadian stood and left the room. For a moment, all was silent as Bobby licked his lips and glanced around the cluttered room before his gaze finally met hers. She looked at him with the same blank expression, both hands resting at her sides like a tin soldier that had toppled over and been stepped on.
"Well," he prompted. "Open it."
"Help me sit up," she retorted, and he froze, unsure what to do. Swallowing, he reached out and grasped her shoulder, snapping his hand back as she gasped in pain.
"Oh, God, I'm sorry, Jubilee. I didn't mean to-"
"Try again," she cut him off. "By the arms." He complied, pulling her gently and seemingly painlessly to a sitting position, and she scooted back against the headboard, nodding in gratitude as he propped a pillow up behind her to lean on. "Thanks, bro. It's just these ribs're killin' me. Take it from me, Bobster, ya don't wanna break a rib, even slightly." He couldn't think of a response, and an awkward silence once again fell before she broke it. "I guess I should open it."
Bobby brightened. "Yeah. You'll love it."
Lifting the top lip of the bag, she peered inside, then pulled out a deck of cards encased in hard plastic. Their shiny, foil backs had pictures of six Japanese Anime girls, all dressed in white body suits and short skirts, with a sailor's collar and a big bow across the chest. 'Sailor Moon' was stamped in the bottom, right hand corner, along with a picture of a crescent moon. A small smile caressed the girl's lips as she opened the casing, spilling the cards across her lap, and she looked up. "Thanks, bro," she acknowledged.
"I figured you'd get kinda bored sitting in here with Logan all day with no TV or anything. And I remember Sam saying something about you and his sister almost getting into a fist fight over who on 'Sailor Moon' was the best-looking guy."
"Sapphire," she croaked, shuffling through the cards, looking at the different pictures on the front. Choosing one, she laid it down and pointed to a tall, pale, almost feminine-looking man with short, blueish hair in a blue uniform. "She thought Darien was best." She selected another card that depicted the same man, only this time with black hair, wearing a black turtleneck and olive green blazer. Bobby swallowed his, "But they look exactly the same" comment and continued on.
"There's more. This is for while you're in here, but I got you something for when you're out." From his back pocket, he pulled a small paperback, the cover declaring in large print, '1001 Practical Jokes for All Occasions.' "The way I figure, with you gone so long, that White Queen's getting it too easy. You'll have to rectify the situation upon your return."
The smile faded, and the girl looked away. "I'm not going back," she declared softly.
Bobby was startled. He hadn't heard this twist on the drama. "Oh. Well then, I'm sure Scott'll appreciate glue in his boxers, once you're up and running," he said finally. "Anyway, whatever. Do with these as you like. I just thought they'd cheer you up a little."
She met his gaze once more, and forced a smile. "Thanks, Bobby. I really mean it. I'm glad ya think of me."
Katherine looked up, startled by her mentor's sudden appearance. He moved with stealth and silence that could not be picked up, even by trained ears as hers, when he did not want to be heard. Sitting down beside her on the dock, just as Jean had done, hours earlier, he crossed his legs, Indian style, leaning against the dock post and gazing at her. The sun beat down on them both, and by this time, Kitty was so covered in sweat, she did not think it would make a difference in the amount of water her clothes held if she jumped into the lake. The only sign Logan showed of the heat, however, was a single trickle of sweat that ran from his dark sideburn down the right side of his face, making a trail toward his chin. Reaching out, she swiped it away with gentle fingertips, then turned back to the murky waters.
"Logan," she said quietly, her tone masked to show no emotion. This she had learned to do well, not from him, but because of him. Because his keen hearing could pick up any trace of what she felt in her voice, and there were times when this simply was not acceptable. Not for her.
"Hank says ya talked t' him."
"Yup." She now regretted she had.
"What's on yer mind, darlin'?"
"Glad to see you outta that room." Her hazel eyes met his blue, and they held for a moment with Kitty wishing he could read her mind. There was so much she couldn't say, especially about Jubilee. There were times when she wished the two of them got along better, for Logan's sake, but despite their best efforts; their resolved and re-resolved truces, they just could not. "How's Jubilation?"
He sighed. "We're still prayin'. But that ain't what I came out here t' talk 'bout, Kitty. How're *you*?"
"Hot." That was an understatement, and exactly not what he had meant, and she knew it. With a sigh at his chastising look, she plunged forward. "Embittered. Confused."
She paused, looking at her hands, then out at the glassy waters of the lake. "Why do you blame yourself for what happened to her?" She knew he did; it was a truth neither of them could deny, and Kitty wondered if Jubilee knew it was so.
"I ... I shoulda been there. I know there was no way I coulda even known during the.. ordeal. But afterward. I shoulda stayed with her, listened..."
"Spent more time with her?"
He nodded, closing his eyes and remembering the words that Jubilee had spoken early that morning, before the sun's rays had kissed the sky, about expecting him to rescue her. And he had never shown. In fact, in the end, it had been she who had rescued him from that wretched place. "I told her I'd always be there. I'd always protect her. Jus' like I told you."
"Then how.." Kitty felt tears rising, and she pushed them away, dropping her tone to hardly above a whisper. "Then how is locking yourself away, up with her any different, to me? I'm still here. I need you. I know she..." The girl paused, looking skyward as she struggled with emotions that refused to obey. Tears added salt to her face, already damp and salty with sweat. "I know she needs you, to recover, a lot more than I do. But I do still need you, Logan. Don't you get it? If you give her your all, I have nothing. And ... and vice versa. I'm not asking much. Just... I dunno. Coffee in the morning. Just come down for half an hour and have coffee. Let me know you're alive. Make sure I'm still alive." She covered her face with her hands, nearly suffocating as she breathed the close air.
Shamefully, Logan looked away, then agreed, "Okay. I'm sorry, Kitty. I don' want ya t' end up like Jubilee. Coffee. What time d' you get up?"
Not bothering to look up or uncover her face, she replied softly, "Whenever you want."
In the tree overhead, the leaves rustled, though the breeze had long since stopped, and, if one were paying attention, one would see a tall, lean Cajun jump from its branches, silently dropping to the ground and walking back to the mansion, cigarette in hand and satisfied grin on his face.
(Written by Dana Night)