By Katya Jade

Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me, everything・s Marvels and I・m not making any money from this. (Don・t I wish.)

Rating: PG-13 for some language and violence

Italics indicate memories, emphasis or telepathic communication.

As she walked outside in the crisp fall air, Jubilation Lee thought it ironic that she was up before the other members of the team, much less up before sunrise. It didn・t seem so long ago that Jean or one of the other X-Men would nearly have to drag her from bed so she could get ready for the daily routine.

"DUDE! I・m UP already! Ya don・t have ta lift the bed up and DUMP me out of it, Rogue! "

"Sugah, the more often I hafta come in here an・ wake ya・ up, the harder y・all gonna fall!"

"Oh, whatEVER!"

Jubilee smiled at the memory. Rogue sure did know how to wake you up the hard way. She only wished she could have returned the favor. Oh well, when you don・t have superhuman strength, you have to accept your limitations.

Her early morning kata exercises were the only thing that helped calm her whirling thoughts. As she performed the fluid movements she tried to figure out when things changed. When did she stop being the mall rat who used to love pulling practical jokes on Gambit and staying up until all hours of the morning talking with Rogue? When did life get so complicated? She wished she could go back to that simpler time when she was just a kid whose biggest worry was finding the right earrings to match her favorite sweater.

But it had changed and, boy, was it complicated. She never could have predicted how her life had turned out. More importantly, she never imagined that her feelings for the most important person in her life could change. He had always been her big brother, her mentor, her best friend. Someone she depended on and who depended on her for what neither of them could find from anyone else. A relationship based on mutual need and profound trust. But, over the year since she returned to the Xavier mansion after graduating from Stanford, her feelings for Wolverine had developed from friendship into a deep love. A love that she knew he could never feel for her. After all, in his eyes, she was still just a kid. Someone who would always be that thirteen year old girl tagging along after him like she was a devoted puppy.

Just the thought of him made her lose all focus on her exercises. She remembered all the times they had spent together. He was the only one she trusted. She trusted him with her life, yes, but she also trusted him to be there for her. Wolverine was the one person in the world in whom she could confide everything. How she ached just to be near him.

Jubilee struggled to regain focus on her routine when, suddenly, she heard someone approaching from the rear. With lightning speed, Jubilee whirled around and took a fighting stance, prepared to meet her attacker・

"Jubilee! Stop!"

"Jean! Geez! You sure know how to freak someone out this early in the morning!"

"Sorry, Jubilee, I didn・t mean to disturb you. I just wanted to talk for a moment, not start a sparring match."

"Oh, yeah, sorry." Jubilee realized she was still poised for a fight and relaxed, sitting on her exercise mat. "What・s going on to bring you out here at this invigorating hour?"

Jean Grey-Summers had been concerned about Jubilee for several months now. She felt the sadness and pain radiating from Jubilee・s mind and had seen the young woman leave the mansion in the early morning hours to perform these exercises. Her concern had grown when she observed Jubilee becoming increasingly withdrawn and introverted. Jubilee only socialized on rare occasions and spent her free time alone or devoting herself to helping Hank in the lab. This was not the Jubilee she knew and loved and she wanted desperately to help her.

"Jubilee, I・m worried about you." Jean sat beside her on the soft kata mat.

"Me? I・m fine Jean. You know me; happy, go-lucky Jubes."

"Jubilee, we both know you・re not ・fine・. I・ve felt and seen your sadness for months now, and I can・t bear to watch you in pain anymore. Please, tell me what・s wrong."

Jubilee sighed. She thought she had been doing a good job at hiding her feelings from everyone, but it・s a bummer when you・ve got a telepath living in your house. Not exactly Privacy Central.

"Jean, it・s really something that I have to deal with on my own. I really don・t think there・s anything you can do to help me."

"Jubilee, I think of you as my little sister. Please, talk to me. If nothing else, I can listen."

Of all the members of the X-Men, Jean was the one to whom Jubilee felt closest. Jean had always been kind to her and, as Jubilee had grown up, they had developed a special bond. She felt slightly awkward talking about Wolverine with one of the women had had once loved, and probably still did, but if she didn・t tell someone soon, she would end up trying to figure out what earrings matched her new fashionable white coat that fastened in the back.

"I guess the best way to tell you is just to get it out in the open." Jubilee steeled herself and said, "I love Wolverine."

Jean paused. "You mean to say that you don・t exactly love Logan like a big brother anymore, do you?"

"You get first prize for being right on target, Jean. I never thought that I would ever consider Wolverine as anything more than my best friend. But since I returned to the mansion, the more I spend time with him, the more I realize that my feelings for him have changed. I know that he・d never think of me as anything other than a friend or partner, so telling him how I feel is totally out of the question. I love him too much to lose him. I・d rather be close to him any way I can than drive him away by telling him how I feel."

Jean wasn・t sure what to say. She knew Jubilee had always looked up to Logan and was fiercely protective of their relationship, but she never dreamed of Jubilee regarding him as more than a friend. Stranger still, Jean wasn・t so sure that Logan didn・t feel the same way about Jubilee.


Wolverine sat in one of his favorite places in the forest outside the mansion. He came here often to be alone with his thoughts. To center himself when getting his feelings out by tearing things apart in the Danger Room had lost its appeal.

Wolverine was confused. When Jubilee had returned to the mansion, he had been proud of all she had accomplished. She graduated at the top of her class and had several job offers with prestigious companies to continue her work in Biomechanical Engineering. Although he couldn・t understand why she wouldn・t want to live like a normal person with a normal life instead of continuing to try and help humans and mutants live together in peace, he was glad she had returned home.

But his feelings for her had changed. She wasn・t that little girl who had helped him escape from the Reavers all those years ago. She was a beautiful, intelligent woman whose very presence tore at his heart with longing. He didn・t know when the change happened, but that didn・t matter.

He loved her.

He thought about her constantly. Nothing he did lessened his desire just to be near her as much as possible. Her scent, her laugh, her being, overwhelmed him. Seeing her day after day just made it more clear to him that he wanted to be with her. Always.

And that・s what scared him. Always. There never was an ・always・ for the women he loved. He could never keep them safe. Mariko. Silver Fox. Jubilee. No, not Jubilee. There was no way he was going to let her become one of the women he failed.

He would continue to stay apart from her. Love her from where she would be safe. He could live with that. He hoped.

Wolverine closed his eyes and began to meditate. To try and push the thoughts of Jubilee out of his head. For now.


Jubilee began to get up from her kata mat. "Jean, I really appreciate you listening. If you can wipe my brain of all feelings for Wolverine, let me know. Otherwise, I・m going to go for my run so I can get back and help Hank in the lab."

"Jubilee, I really think we should talk more about this. You・re trying to run away this." Jean laughed softly, "Quite literally, too, I think."

Jubilee smiled. "You always did know how to cheer me up. I・ll think about it, Jean, really. But I don・t think that there・s anything short of a miracle that can help."

"Have a good run, Jubilee."

"Thanks again, Jean. And don・t worry, it・ll be okay."

Jean watched Jubilee as she ran down the path toward the lake. So many things made sense now. Jubilee・s behavior. Logan・s anger. The overall feelings of confusion which emanated from them both.

・Well, I don・t know about a miracle, Jubilee, but I・ll see what I can do.・


Logan was still meditating when Jean found him fifteen minutes later. She reached out with her mind to gauge how he was feeling and was interrupted immediately by his rough voice in her head.

・Darlin・, you know how I hate ya pokin・ around in my head.・

Jean spoke, "Sorry, Logan, I just wanted to make sure you were alright. I didn・t want to disturb you."

"Ya never disturb me, Jeannie. What・s on yer mind at this hour of the mornin・?"

She sat next to Logan on the soft grass. "Logan, over the past few months, I・ve felt a great deal of anger and confusion from you. I wanted to let you work through it in your own time, but it just seems to be getting worse and that worries me. Please, tell me what・s wrong."

"Nuthin・s wrong, darlin・. Just got some things on my mind I gotta work out by myself."

Jean though about her approach carefully. Logan was not one to be played with. His keen senses tended to reveal motives one thought were well hidden. She would just have to get it out in the open.

"Logan, let me be blunt. Does this have anything to do with Jubilee? Your feelings seem to have surfaced shortly after she returned home."

Wolverine closed his eyes and sighed. "Jeannie, ya don・t know what・s goin・ on here and I・m not sure you could help the situation even if I told ya."

Jean took his hand in hers and looked him in the eyes. "Logan, we・ve known each other too long and been through too much for you not to be able to confide in me. Seeing you in pain hurts me deeply."

"Darlin・, you know a lot about me. Maybe more than anyone I know. But this is somethin・ ya can・t just tie up in a nice little package."

"Don・t shut me out, Logan. Please tell me what・s going on."

Wolverine was tired. He wasn・t sure how long he could go on like he was and just wished he could make his feelings disappear. But he knew that wasn・t going to happen anytime soon. He also knew Jean was not one to give up so easily. Talking with Jean about relationship issues. Weird. But what wasn・t these days.

"Jeannie, I・m not sure how ta say this. My feelin・s for Jubilee・Well・.They・ve changed."

Jean smiled. "I know."

Wolverine wasn・t so surprised. "Ya know, livin・ with a telepath ain・t exactly Privacy Central. So, how long have ya known?"

"Well, like I said, I・ve sensed your feelings over the past few months. I thought it might be someone in particular that was causing your confusion, but, I must be honest, I didn・t suspect it might be Jubilee."

"Neither did I, darlin・. Neither did I."


Jubilee loved being outside at this time of the morning. With the sun just coming up and the mist rising from the lake, she felt as if she was in her own world. A place where everyone she loved was safe, the world wasn・t trying to tear itself apart and she could just be alone with her thoughts.

She came upon the small rock by the lake on which she sat and meditated most mornings. Some days she was more in the mood to lay down on the grass, but this place was special to her. She and Wolverine had spent many hours at this spot. Talking. Sitting. Just being together. How she wished he could be here now watching the sunrise and starting this new day with her.

Once again, Jubilee・s senses alerted her that someone was near. "Jean, gimme a break, here. I told you we would talk later, okay?"

"Nah. I think we oughta talk now, frail.", the voice growled from behind her.

Oh shit. Jubilee spun around a little too late as Sabretooth・s massive claw struck her in the face. As she was thrown aside by the connection, Jubilee couldn・t help but think how ticked Wolvie would be that she hadn・t been more alert to avoid Creed・s attack.

The pain was intense and shot through her cheek and jaw. She had to focus if she was going to outsmart him and have any chance at staying alive. Jubilee touched her cheek and felt the warm blood trailing down her face. "I・m a little disappointed, furball. I was looking forward to some tea and cookies before the killing."

Sabretooth let out a small grunt. "Trust me, bitch. I・ll be eatin・ somethin in a few minutes. If you call ・em cookies, that・s yer business."

Jubilee・s only chance was to use her training and parry around his attacks until help could arrive. She had taken on a lot of enemies, but Creed was different. Wolverine had begun to train her, but she didn・t think she could scratch him, much less defeat him right now. She raised her hands to send up a paf as an SOS when he leapt at her, sending her tumbling on her side.

"Sorry, girlie. Can・t let ya get yer little friends out here ta help. Want this ta be a private mutilation."

・Great,・ Jubilee thought to herself, ・he knows what I・m trying to do. Think of a Plan B, Jubes. Fast.・

She rolled into a crouch, watching for his next move. "What the hell do you want, fleatrap? Run out of small rodents to chase at your place?"

Sabretooth rose to his full height and glared at her. He spoke with a perverse smile that revealed his large canines. "Oh, no, frail. I got lotsa things ta chase. But chasin・ the runt is more fun. An・ yer gonna be the bait. When he sees what I done to ya, he・s gonna come runnin. An・ I・ll be waitin・. So, let・s go."

"Well, there・s just so much more I・d rather be doing right now, but I・m flattered you think that much of me."

・Okay・, Jubilee thought. ・Can・t use the pyrotechnics, he・ll take my hands off. I・m gonna have to try to reach Jean or the Professor.・ Jubilee hadn・t practiced with her telepathic powers much and wasn・t sure if anyone would be able to hear her, much less get there in time. Oh, well, no time to try like the present.

As she backed around Sabretooth trying to gauge where he would go next, she reached out with her mind to anyone who might hear her.

"Jean! Professor! It・s Jubilee! I・m at the lake! Sabretooth is trying to skin me alive! Get down here!!"


"Logan, I wasn・t sure if I should say anything, but・" As Jean began to tell Logan about her conversation with Jubilee, the young woman・s terrified voice entered her mind.

Jean responded immediately, ・Jubilee! Hold tight! We・re coming!・

Wolverine・s senses went on alert. Jean didn・t get spooked easily. "Jeannie, what・s goin・ on?!"

"It・s Jubilee, Logan. She・s at the lake and Sabretooth・s got her."

Before Jean got out the last word, Wolverine sprang to his feet and was headed toward the lake. ・If he・s touched her, I・m gonna to tear his heart out with my teeth.・

Jean followed Wolverine close behind and telepathically reached out to the team, ・X-Men, Jubilee is in trouble down by the lake. Please, get there immediately.・

 She only hoped they could get there in time.


"I don・t got all day ta play with ya girlie. Lotsa things ta do." Sabretooth charged at Jubilee with both claws extended, slashing the air as he went. Moving quickly to the side, Jubilee had almost cleared Sabretooth・s reach when his right claw connected with her ribs. Once again, the searing pain of open flesh racked through Jubilee・s body as she tumbled side over side. In an instant, Sabretooth・s maniacal grin looked down at her while she lay on the ground, trying to stop her bleeding.

"Ya know, fleabag, I thought you・d be a lot quicker than that." She gasped. "It took you at least five tries to actually get me. You・re getting slow in your old age."

Sabretooth sniffed at the air. "Mmmm. I like the smell o・ yer blood, frail. Gonna like tastin・ it even better."

Sabretooth reached down and took Jubilee by the arms, lifting her up above his head. "Bad habit I got." He growled. "Need ta・ play with my food before I eat it."

With that, Sabretooth hurled Jubilee at the grove of trees just off the lake. Jubilee struck one of the trees with a brutal and sickening crack. Just before she slipped into unconsciousness, Jubilee thought she heard Wolverine・s angry voice resonate through her head. ・Yeah, I knew he was gonna be ticked...・


As he came over the hill towards the lake, Wolverine saw Sabretooth heave Jubilee・s limp body at the tree.


He lunged at Sabretooth, dragging him into the dirt. Wolverine・s anger rose uncontrollably as he slashed at Creed with his adamantium claws. Jubilee was hurt. Bleeding. Unconscious. It was happening again. Someone he loved would be dead because of him. He had to put a stop to it now.

Sabretooth flipped Wolverine over the top of him and as Wolverine landed on the ground, turned and struck him hard in the ribs. Wolverine took the strike and rolled himself on side, facing Sabretooth.

"Ya really gotta death wish, dontcha, Creed?" He snarled. "Well, I・m here ta oblige." Wolverine charged at Sabretooth, his claw making the connection with Sabretooth・s chest, throwing Creed backwards. Sabretooth jumped back to his feet and laughed, wiping at the bloody clawmarks on his chest.

"Just a scratch, runt. Ya got nuthin・ I can・t handle." Diving at Wolverine, Creed tackled him and they rolled from side to side growling and throwing punches with all their strength. Wolverine broke free of Creed・s grasp and rose to his feet, claws bared.

"This ends now, Creed."

"Yer right, little man. It does end now. Too bad ya couldn・t get here earlier. The frail an I were havin・ a little fun. But, don・t worry, we had a nice little playtime without ya. After I・m done with you, we・re gonna finish what we started."

As Sabretooth started his next run at Wolverine, Jean and the other X-Men began to arrive. Sabretooth stopped short. There was no way he could take the runt with his idiot friends around. After all his work and planning, this would have to wait for another day.

"Looks like our party・s getting crashed, runt and I ain・t in the mood fer company." Sabretooth quickly turned towards the forest and began to run. "Don・t worry, we・ll play again! Real soon!" He called as he disappeared into the cover of the trees.

Wolverine began to follow Sabretooth when he heard Jean・s voice calling to him. "Logan! Jubilee・s seriously hurt! Leave him!"

Leave him?! But he had to finish it. As he sprinted after Creed, his mind began to clear at the realization that Jubilee was hurt; possibly near death.

"Jubilee!" He turned around and ran to her side as Hank was preparing to take her to the med lab.

"Hank. How bad?"

"Bad, my friend, but not fatal. She has sustained multiple contusions, is bleeding from the face and chest and has possible rib fractures. We must immobilize her and transport her immediately to the medical lab for an examination."

Hank, Wolverine and Gambit lifted Jubilee onto the backboard as Jean secured the straps. "I most certainly hope she has not sustained injury to her spinal cord. Spinal injuries are most precarious and difficult to recover from."

As Hank and Gambit carried the backboard, Wolverine and Jean followed closely behind. "Why her, Jeannie? Why・d he hafta go after Jubilee? I shoulda been there to protect her. "

"You can・t be around every moment, Logan. You can・t protect everyone."

Wolverine thought of the women he had loved and the ones he couldn・t protect. His heart ached with the knowledge that they had met their deaths because of him. Because he failed to guard them from the ones who wanted him dead.

"Stop it, Logan." Jean stopped in her tracks and took Wolverine by the arm. "I may not be reading your mind, but I know what you・re thinking." She reached for his face and brought his eyes to meet hers. "We all have enemies, Logan, and the ones we love know that. You can・t hide yourself, or the people around you, away to protect them. They know the risks and meet them with you."

"It・s not right, Jean. They shouldn・t hafta die because I care about ・em."

"Logan, we all die. Wouldn・t you rather die knowing you lived your life without fear and spend as much time as possible with those you love? Scott and I have faced life and death together, time after time. It hurts to think of the ones you love in danger, but that・s the life we chose. You know that and so does Jubilee."

"I don・t want her ta get hurt. I don・t want her ta get hurt because of me." Logan thought of Jubilee・s bruised and battered body and closed his eyes to try and purge the image from his mind. "She・s lyin・ up there in the lab right now because Creed came after her ta get ta me."

"I know. But she・ll recover. And you・ll teach her how to fight so she can defend herself against him. You・ll help her, Logan. You・ll do it together."

He wanted it to be true. He wanted it to be that easy. To go to the med lab, hold Jubilee in his arms, tell her he loved her and make everything right. But it couldn・t be. She would never be safe if she loved him. He couldn・t let it happen again.

"No, Jean. This ain・t no fairy tale where everythin・ turns out okay in the end. One of these days she・s gonna get killed because of me. I got too many people who think nuthin・ of usin・ people I love ta get at me. I・m not gonna let that happen."


"NO, Jean. It・s done."

Wolverine turned toward the mansion. The hope of having Jubilee for himself was gone. How could he ever think his life could be normal? That he could find a woman and not worry about who was lurking in the shadows waiting to strike? Stupid. He released his claws and looked at them. He was an animal. How could anyone think of him as anything else?

"Fuck it."


Jubilee・s eyes fluttered open. "Wolvie?"

"No, my dear. It・s Hank. How are you feeling?" Hank took Jubilee・s pulse and checked her pupil reactions. Good. Very good. She would be back to her old self in just a few weeks.

"Well, other than feeling like I・ve been run through a meat grinder forwards and back, I・m just peachy." Jubilee frantically looked around the med lab. "Where・s Wolvie? Is he okay?" Visions of Wolverine・s torn and battered body clouded her mind.

"Yes, Jubilation. He・s fine. Only a few scratches."

She sighed. "Oh, thank God. Did he get the bastard?"

"I・m afraid that Victor Creed survived the attack and escaped our capture. However, our scans show that he is no longer in the vicinity and should not pose a problem in the foreseeable future."

"Damn. Wolvie must be pissed."

"My dear, I would say that is an understatement."


Wolverine no longer distinguished between friend or foe in the Danger Room. He had long passed the point at which he could control his emotions. He lunged, dove and slashed his way through the program in an attempt to purge all feeling from his body. If he couldn・t feel anymore, he wouldn・t be hurt. This was the best way to protect everyone. They may not understand, but it would be for their own good.

Hearing the commotion and feeling Logan・s rage, Jean stepped into the control room. "My God, Remy, how long has he been at this?"

"Since petite used as a play toy by Creed. Never seen him like dis. I gettin・ a lil・ worried dat he gonna go over de edge so far he can・ come back." Gambit had seen Logan mad. He had seen him half crazy with anger. But he had never seen him like this. And he had no idea what to do or how to help him.

"I know, Remy, but I don・t know what to do. I tried to talk with him, but he・s convinced himself he・s going to get the people he loves killed. I think Jubilee・s attack could have been the last straw for him."

"Know how da man feels, Chere. Plenty o・ time I wan・ ta get lost so de people I care about don・ get hurt."

"What made you stay?"

"To be honest, Chere, knowin・ dey love me was enough ta keep me close. I figured dat I can protect dem better if I close by. Sometime it work. Sometime it don・. But at least I wit・ dem. A mutant an・ a thief can・ ask for more ・n dat."

He was right. Why didn・t she see it before? Jubilee was the one to get through to him. She was the only one who could help Logan see that the people he loved needed him. Needed him as much as he needed them.

"I think I know how to help. Please, Remy, if you think he・s going to do something to hurt himself, tranquilize him."

"Will do. Can・ wait ta see what y・ got up y・re sleeve." ・Jeannie better have some・tin good,・ Gambit thought, ・or we gonna be scrapin・ Logan off da floor real soon.・


Jean entered the med lab and saw a bandaged and bruised Jubilee lying on the bed in the corner of the room. ・How tiny and fragile she looks.・ Jean thought to herself. ・I hope she・s up to this.・

"Hank. Before you give me a string of objections and tell me how I can・t do what I・m going to do, I・m taking Jubilee with me for a little while."

"Jean, my dear. I don・t know what this is about, but I must protest most strongly to removing Jubilation from the medical lab. You know what a precarious state she is in so recently after her ordeal."

"I know, Hank. Under normal circumstances, I would never dream of doing this, but if I・if we don・t get her to the Danger Room, we might lose Wolverine. And I don・t mean just physically."

Hank knew Logan was angry about Jubilee・s attack, but had no idea that he had been affected so deeply. "Is it that bad, Jean?"

"It・s worse, Hank. I・m afraid that if we don・t do something very soon, we might lose the Logan we know for good."

"Well, then, why are we standing around?"


As they wheeled Jubilee to the door of the Danger Room, she could hear Wolverine tearing it apart. She knew what he was like in this state. She hated it. He only got this way when he felt like giving up on his human side. When he couldn・t reason his way in to or out of a situation any more. He was spiraling down. Maybe this time for good.

"Help me up."

Jean did not expect Jubilee to face him alone. She wasn・t sure what was going to happen, but she didn・t want Jubilee hurt anymore. "I・m going in with you, Jubilee."

"No, Jean. I have to go alone. I・ve got to do it by myself." She took Jean by the hand. "I love him, Jean. I・ve waited long enough to tell him. Not exactly the most romantic of situations but, hey, nothing・s perfect."

Jubilee smiled at Jean and Hank and opened the door. ・Here goes.・


Jubilee hoped that he didn・t try to charge her. She wasn・t exactly able to do any evasive maneuvers. ・Hell, Jubes, if you were able to do evasive maneuvers this morning, we wouldn・t be here now, would we?・ She hated it when she was right.


Wolverine spun around to face her. Claws bared and ready for battle. Blinded with rage, unable to distinguish the program from reality, Wolverine began to approach Jubilee like she was a helpless rabbit caught in a trap.

"Wolvie. Logan. It・s me. It・s Jubilee."

He sniffed the air. A familiar scent. He tried to focus on what it was. Female. Blood. She was hurt. Not fresh wounds, though. He circled around her. Who was she? Why didn・t she run? She wasn・t a threat, he could sense it. She wasn・t afraid, either.

"Logan, you remember me. It・s Jubilee. I・m back from school and helping Hank in the lab. Remember Hank? The big furry blue doctor? He・s one of your best friends. I want to help, Logan. I・m not here to hurt you."

She searched his eyes desperately for some sign that he recognized her. ・Please remember, Logan. Come back to me. I can・t live without you.・

Her voice. He knew the voice. It was soothing. Visions flashed in his mind. Memories. The female in the kitchen. The female in the lab. The female laughing. The female lying on the ground. Hurt. Bleeding. The fog was lifting. He saw her hitting a tree and crumpling to the ground. Save her. Help her.


"Yes! Yes, Logan, it・s me! Oh, thank God!" She moved toward him slowly, reaching out her hand. She wanted to touch him. To hold him.

"Ya hurt bad?" All he could see in his mind・s eye was her bleeding and broken body lying on the ground. How could he have failed her?

Jubilee laughed softly. "No worse than after a danger session with you. But he didn・t want to get any ice cream afterwards. Imagine that." It hurt Jubilee worse than the injuries she received this morning to see him in such pain. ・Please let me help you, Logan. I love you.・

"Jubes・I・.I・m sorry I wasn・t there ta help ya." Slowly, Wolverine backed away from Jubilee. It was as if he felt he could hurt her just by being close to her.

"No, Logan, it wasn・t your fault. Don・t you see・"

"I see that I can・t protect anyone I care about! It was my fault, Jubilee! He never woulda come after ya, if ya wasn・t close to me! If I stay here, you won・t be safe."

"No." Jubilee moved forward once more. "You don・t see. We・re not ・normal・ people, Logan. Life stopped being normal the minute we discovered we were mutants. Because of who you are and the life you・ve led, you have people that want to hurt you anyway they can. I know that. I accept that as a part of your life. Just as you have to accept that I might get hurt every once and awhile."

Wolverine slumped down to the ground. He was tired of fighting. Tired of running from his enemies or charging into a battle. His voice was gruff with emotion.

"I can・t accept it when it・s my fault, Jubes. Seein・ you lying on the ground hurt an・ bleedin・ was the worst feelin・ I ever had. I won・t put you in danger again."

Pain shooting through her side, she sat next to him on the ground. "Dammit, Logan. Don・t you get it?" Jubilee took Wolverine・s face in her hands and look directly into his eyes.

"I love you, Logan. Not only as my best friend but as a man. I want to be with you and I know what that means. I accept it. You・d better accept it, too, because I・m not leaving you and you sure as hell aren・t leaving me."

The words rang in his ears. "What did ya say?"

"I said, I・m sure as hell not letting you・."

"No, before that."

Jubilee smiled. "I love you, Logan."

Wolverine gently reached up to stroke her face. "Ya don・t realize what yer sayin・, darlin."

"Yes, I do. Wolvie, we・ve been together a long time. I know what kind of life you lead and I・m not afraid of it. The only thing that scares me is not being with you."

Jubilee realized that she had just told the man she loved how she felt. She was terrified of what she knew he would say. She couldn・t look at him anymore. Her next words were a flood.

"Iknowyouprobablydon・tfeelthesameaboutme,butIcouldn・tkeepmyfeelingsinanymoreevenifI・mrisking losingyourfriendshipandI・"

He took her face in his hands and kissed her. She wasn・t prepared for it. He was supposed to laugh and pat her on the head like a child, not kiss her!

Even though he didn・t want to, Logan slowly removed his lips from hers. Her face in his hands, he held her gaze and spoke softly. "I love ya, Jubes. Have for awhile now. Just didn・t know how ta say it."

She laughed softly. "For two pretty smart people, we sure know how to act like idiots."

"I want ta be with ya, Jubilee. But I don・t want ya ta get hurt because of me. I couldn・t protect the others, Jubes. If you got hurt again, I・"

She put her fingers to his lips. "Then you・ll have to teach me how to protect myself, Wolvie. You can・t be there all the time, but you can teach me how to fight guys like Creed so I can take care of myself if you・re not there."

"I・m not gonna change yer mind, am I?"

Jubilee smiled. "Nope. I・m afraid you・re stuck with me."

"Worse things ta be stuck with, I guess."

"Such flattery. Is this the romantic portion of our relationship?"

"Nah, this is." And with that, he took her gently in his arms and kissed her, wishing it would never have to end.


In the control room, Gambit was taken aback at the developments in the room below.

"Well, I guess dis Cajun won・ bring de petite flowers an・ a get well card. Logan might not look too kindly on my affections."

Jean smiled. "I think you might be right, Remy. Best to leave them alone for awhile. It・s been a long morning already. Anyone for coffee?"

"Oh, my, yes! I found the most delightful Jamaican blend at the store yesterday. Shall we try it?"

Gambit smiled. "Hank, dat・s de best offer I・ve had all morning."

As the three of them exited the control room, Jean stole a glance at Logan and Jubilee in the Danger Room below and smiled to herself.

・Just be happy, you two. Be happy.・