A Firecrackers Lament

by Gladrial

Note: this is a young Jubilee but she has been with the X-men for awhile.

The youngest member of the X-Men stalked the mansion like a cat on the prowl. She had been the rec. room watching TV but she couldn't take her mind off of what was happening. Instead she went to the war room. Long ago, she had hacked into cerebro so she could hear everyone's comm. links.

They were always doing this she thought. Her new family, the X-Men, would run off into trouble and try to save the world leave little Jubilee at home. To pick up the pieces, bandage the cuts and cheer everyone up when they came back. Jubilee had learned, that she could sense strong emotions like the ones that came from the team after battle. She used this to her advantage, if she couldn't help with the fighting she could help them by being there and knowing what to do and say. She had spent long hours at the bedsides of wounded friends watching their sleep. She listened as other let out their doubts and their senses of failure when a team member was hurt. She cheered up the group with her stunts when thing seemed at their worst. Yet, nobody noticed what she did, but she thought "if she didn't do it then who would". No one however, comforted her. No one saw the nights she spent crying for her friends and family. The happy face she put in place for all to see covered any emotions she might actually be feeling.

Her thought went back to what was at hand. This fight would be bad, even the Professor had gone along. She listened as Scott yelled orders over the comm. links. Blasts and explosions could be heard in the background. Suddenly, there was a large explosion and all the comm's went dead. Jubilee fell to her knees and fervent prayers for everyone's safety escaped from her lips.

She then went to the med. lab laying out bandages, blankets, checking on medical supplies. She brought a wheelchair and two gurneys up to the landing bay. In the kitchen she made coffee and sandwiches and set them around the med. lab. Then, she stood silently by the landing pad waiting for the onslaught of emotions she knew would come with the X-men.

As the Blackbird landed tension built in Jubilee and when the door opened and she rushed out to help. Beast grabbed a gurney and went back in the blackbird to bring an injured Gambit out. Rogue following closely on Beast's heels. Wolverine was looking worse for wear and he carried Storm to the other gurney. Next Cyclops helped Jean to the wheelchair she had contained some of the blast and was spent. They went to wait for news in the med. lab.

Lastly, Professor X came out of the plane he turned and looked at his youngest student. Jubilee smiled and walked over. She enfolded the Prof in a bear hug. Jubilee could tell that he was worried and depressed about what had happened to his X-Men. "They'll all be fine Prof," she said. "Besides we all know what we are getting into when we join the X-Men. Let's go check on the others." Jubilee walked next to the Professor as they went to the med. lab.

Upon entering the room she assessed the scene. Beast was working on Gambit while Rogue was crying in the corner. Storm was sitting up in the other bed and talking to Wolverine. Scott and Jean sat in some chairs and the Professor had made his way over to them.

Jubilee went to talk to Rogue first. "Rogue he'll be fine he just does things like this to get your attention." Jubilee grabbed Rogue's gloved hand in a light grip. "I know you can't comfort him like you want but just having faith in his recovery is the most powerful tool he can have," said Jubilee. Rogue stopped crying and looked at her. Rogue started to say something, then changed her mind, and went to watch Beast work.

Jubilee went to Cyke and Jean next. "What happened to the Prof.?" she asked. "He went to his study" replied Cyclops.

Jubilee started again "Cyke you need a shower in fact you both need a shower. You guys don't need to stay Beast will be sure to tell you if anything happens." "But. Scott interrupted" "Grab a sandwich and get cleaned up. Do I really have to be the mom in this group" ,said Jubilee as she flashed one of her patented smiles.

Scott started to protest being told what to do by a 14-year-old girl when Jean grabbed his hand.

"She is right you know, said Jean. And I for one could do with a nice long bath." They both stood and walked off in search of food and hot water.

Jubilee grabbed a pot of coffee and some sandwiches she had made earlier and brought them into Storm and Wolverine. These two seemed to be fine she shoved the coffee and sandwiches at them and left the room.

Then she went back to Beast, Rogue, and Gambit. Beast had just finished working on Gambit and looked about ready to drop on his feet Rogue sitting near by didn't look any better.

Jubilee entered, "I can watch Gambit while you guys get some sleep it won't do him any good if you both wear yourselves out. 'Side all it take is someone to watch him sleep even I can do that and I know to call Beast if anything happens."

Beast spoke "Young Jubilation is correct. We are no good without rest. Call me when he awakens and let us away to our quiet repose."

That left Jubilee alone. She grabbed the chair Rogue had been siting on and settled into watch the slow, steady, rhythmic breathing of Gambit. Hours passed and a groan from Gambit brought Jubilee back to reality.

"Remy? It's Jubilee don't do anything I'll call Hank." Jubilee called Hank and as soon as he arrived she went to Rogue's room.

Jubilee opened the door and called in "Remy is awake you can go see him". Rogue flew by Jubilee leaving her standing in the darkened hallway.

Jubilee was exhausted beyond anything she had ever felt. It was a bone numbing ache. She had tried to block most of the emotions that the team had broadcast but was unsuccessful. She walked out the back door and went into the forest behind the mansion. Jubilee walked until the light of the house only gleamed in the distance. Then in a small clearing she fell to her knees. Jubilee alternated between sobbing at the hurt that had been caused and anger for those that had caused it. Afterwards, spent she lay down in the wood and fell asleep with the tracks of tears still visible on her face.

As the sun began to peek threw the clouds and the forest came to life Jubilee woke up. It was going to be tough to sneak back into the house. Wolverine would be up already. She could always lie and say she had gone out for a walk and that should work as a good excuse for anyone else around too. She walked slowly back reburying any leftover emotions and put back her traditional smile and sparkle in her eye. Someone had to be strong for this team of X-Men and the job had fallen to her. As she walked into the house she didn't notice a figure in the second floor window.

Professor Xavier hovered back to his desk shaking his head. He wondered how this had happened. They always left Jubilee home to protect her because she was the youngest and most untrained member of the group. Yet after sensing some of her feeling and memories about yesterday he realized one thing. Jubilation Lee the youngest X-Man was perhaps the strongest X-Man of all. Because anyone could go out fight and die for the dream. But his warriors could not deal with the aftermath. Yet, somehow this one special girl could soothe them all and help remind them what they were fighting for.