Honestly, Wolverine hadn't meant to overhear anything as he leaned against the wall, smoking his cigar. He was just inside the kitchen door. Originally he had been waiting for Beast to finish rummaging through the fridge so he could grab a beer or two, but Beast had left a while ago. Wolverine was just comfortable. It hadn't been a conscious decision, but some part of him figured that he was comfortable and that he'd go ahead and finish his cigar before he went outside with his beer. And so there he was.
He wasn't really thinking about anything in particular. He wasn't even paying any attention to what was going on around him. He was just sort of smoking and leaning. Consequently, he didn't notice that people had come down the hall and were just outside the kitchen door until they were nearly on top of him.
Jubilee and Storm were in the hall talking, he realized. He picked up their scents easily now that he was shaken from his reverie. He briefly considered moving away, so as to give them privacy. With hearing like his, he had become very conscious of his tendency to overhear things. As interesting as it had been at first, he came to realize over a good number of years with the team that it made life a lot less complicated if he went to lengths to not overhear things.
In this case, he decided, he was comfortable and had been here first. He would make no effort to listen in on what they were saying, but also he would not move. He just didn't feel like it. But once he was aware of the conversation outside the door, it was impossible, at least for him with his senses, not to overhear it.
"Jubilation, feeling this way is not wrong. You act as though he were your father."
"But it is! I can't believe you are arguing against me! That's why I told you about it, so that you could tell me that what I was feeling was an illusion and that I should do my best to get over it! Not that it's A-Okay to be in love with the man that's filled the paternal role in my life for years now!"
Storm fixed Jubilee with a calm studious gaze. "Do you want to 'get over it'?"
"Well... no, not really."
"Do you believe that what you are feeling is an illusion?"
"Well... at first I did. And it was. It went away. He wasn't what I thought he was at first, I guess. But then over the years we became better and better friends as I got to know the real him, and then..." Jubilee studied the floor intently.
Inside the kitchen, Wolverine was rethinking his decision to stay where he was. He had always seen himself as a good friend, maybe even best friend, to Jubilee. And he had always believed that Scott acted as a father too her. Scott was the one who disciplined her when she got out of hand, Scott was the one that had beamed about her grades at college, Scott was the one that made the lazier team members write to her when she hadn't heard from them in a while. And with these notions already in place, Wolverine believed that Jubilee must've had a crush on Scott, and Storm was encouraging it. When people start having crushes on married folks, well, things got complicated. Wolverine wanted nothing of it. He had just started to move away when Storm replied to Jubilee's last comment.
"And then you realized that you had grown to love Logan."
He didn't notice his jaw had dropped until he felt the cigar slip from his mouth. He didn't even bother to try and catch it. As it tumbled toward the floor his mind raced. Maybe Storm had misspoke and Jubilee would correct her. He could almost hear her saying "Not Logan, I love Scott."
But alas. It was not to be. Instead she said: "Yeah."
Wolverine wanted nothing more than to move away and out the other kitchen door and do his best to convince himself he'd somehow dreamt it and forget all about it. But he couldn't. He was rooted to the spot.
"He is not your father or your brother, Jubilee. He's your friend. Friends can fall in love. It won't be the first time."
Jubilee let out a long sigh. "I just don't know anymore, Roro. Why can't life be simple again? Why do I have to feel this way?"
Storm smiled. "I don't know. Let's make some cocoa and talk about it. I have a feeling that the hall isn't the place to continue."
Jubilee looked stricken and glanced around. "You're right, thank God no one was out here." She pushed open the kitchen door to lead Storm in. "What if they'd heard..."
She stopped abruptly as she saw Wolverine just inside the kitchen. His arms were folded over his chest, and his face was unreadable. Jubilee was thunderstruck as she realized that with his hearing he had definately heard most of what was said. All she could think was an endless loop of "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God..."
Wolverine just looked at her impassively. As much as he wanted to say something, nothing came to mind. He saw that she was dumbfounded as well and one thought came to mind. Leave so she will comfortable, he told himself. His instincts were to keep her happy, and right now, from his point of view, his presence was making her unhappy. He stepped away from the wall to walk past her. He paused as though he might say something, but shook his head, decided against it, and kept going.
Jubilee stared at the wall where Logan had been. Her mouth started to quiver a bit and she squeezed her eyes shut as the tears came. Ororo quickly enfolded her in a hug, but Jubilee was already sobbing violently.
"He must HATE me now!"
"No, Jubilee, Logan would never hate you."
"But he... he just left! He didn't say a word, he just walked away. He won't ever speak to me again!"
"Hush, now. You know that's not true." Ororo's eyes fell on the cigar, still smoking at the end, on the floor. "Besides, maybe its not as bad you think. I believe he was just surprised."
"But... he wasn't showing any feelings... how could you know? He hates me!"
"Jubilation, look." She pointed at the cigar.
Jubilee pulled away from Storm slightly to look where she was pointing. She wiped her eyes on the back of her hand to clear the tears away. "Wolvie... dropped a cigar?!" Maybe, just maybe, she thought, there's hope.
Wolverine stalked through the halls of the mansion. He was restless. He could only be at rest, be immobile, when he was at peace. The conversation in the kitchen had set his thoughts and emotions to churning. There was no peace for him right now.
Beast and Psylocke had just started a Danger-Room simulation so that was out. Scott was in the gym, and would no doubt have a problem with Logan necessitating a third punching-bag replacement this month. Jean and Rogue were both wandering the grounds so he couldn't rampage through the woods. It was early afternoon so starting a barfight would be nearly impossible.
Wolverine needed something to do. Something masculine, and he needed it quick or he'd go insane. There was only one other X-man who understood true masculinity. And Wolverine was loathe to go to him for help.
Wolverine was the embodiment one side of the school of masculinity. The strong dark uncivilized barbaric rogue. True masculinity, like any other lifestyle, had another face as well. The seemingly immature unthinking and goofy but actually tough and wise soul. And hidden within Bobby Drake, armored by practical jokes and an immaturity that can only be managed by a true master, was a tough and wise soul. That didn't make it any easier. Where was Drake's room, anyway?
Bobby looked up from his computer. He was running simulations of his own and comparing them to Hank's recent work. Hank was still managing quite well but Bobby feared his old buddy was slipping. Upon seeing Logan he quickly switched the computer to a game of Redneck Rampage.
"Wolvster, what's up?"
"I... I need your help."
Bobby blinked. He blinked again. Wolverine was still there. He rubbed his eyes and blinked again, this time harder. Wolverine was still there. He thought about going to get the eye drops and try that... but that involved getting up.
"You... you what?"
"You heard me, Drake."
"Well... sure. What, um, what do you need?"
Wolverine glanced around the room. Between the swimsuit model posters and the concert tickets stuck to the wall, not to mention the dirty clothes on the floor, this room could easily have been mistaken for that of a teenager. Logan wasn't fooled, however. The clothes on the floor were always the exact same clothes. And the haphazard style of decoration wasn't quite haphazard. It was deliberate. To give the impression of a man to be taken lightly. Logan knew that Bobby was much smarter and much more mature than he let on.
But Bobby also didn't feel the need to destroy something every time he was upset. If anyone could suggest a masculine exercise that didn't involve smashing, killing, or maiming, it had to be Bobby.
"Hypothetical question, Drake. Something that happened this morning is making you think about a girl more than you think you should. You feel the need to re-establish the masculine side of your personality since the feminine side has swelled."
Bobby's mouth twitched into a half-grin.
Logan popped the claws of his right hand. "Swelled SLIGHTLY, that is."
Bobby managed to mold his face into a serious expression. "I always watch Die Hard when I am thinking too much and things get muddy and I need to get back to basics."
Bobby stood, outraged. "You're WOLVERINE and you've never seen DIE HARD?"
Wolverine scowled. "No. What is it?"
"It's THE masculine movie!"
"Is it any good?"
Bobby drew back as though Wolverine had thrown a bucket of freezing water on him. Then a fire seemed to light in his eyes. "IS IT ANY GOOD? IS IT ANY GOOD?! YOU HAVE THE SHEER NERVE TO ASK IF DIE HARD IS ANY GOOD? BRUCE WILLIS! GUNS! TERRORISTS! MISSILES!" Bobby violently slammed a stack of comic books on his desk. "IS IT ANY GOOD?! DAMN RIGHT IT IS!" Bobby walked toward his TV like a man on a mission and grabbed a movie, tossing it to Logan. Holding eye contact with Logan, he said in a very low, very grave voice: "You'd best watch it."
Wolverine had never seen Drake so worked up before. He, dumbfounded, nodded sedately and slowly left Drake's room, headed toward the TV Room.
He started the movie and quickly got into it. Beast wandered in.
Logan grunted, keeping his attention on the movie.
Beast nodded. "It's a good movie. When Bobby found out I hadn't seen it before he froze me to my chair and forced me to watch it. I suppose I shouldn't have pointed out that Bruce Willis wasn't exactly the picture of masculinity in 'Blind Date.'"
Beast waited for a reply, but Logan kept staring intently at the TV. When he saw no reply was forthcoming, he left.
Scott wandered in. "Die Hard?"
Logan didn't even bother to grunt.
"Good movie. I watched it with Bobby after Jean and I had our first fight."
Logan glared at him for a moment, but quickly returned his attention to the TV. Scott got the message and left.
Archangel wandered in. "Die hard?"
Wolverine roared and stood up, advancing on Warren with a dangerous look in his eyes.
Jubilee and Storm were walking through the woods, enjoying the warm day. "Do you really think he likes me?"
Storm walked along, head bowed in thought. "Yes I believe so. He has always cared for you in ways that far exceed friendship. I think he has always loved you, but didn't understand it. Now that he has heard you he is dealing with that."
"But couldn't it be that he doesn't love me and doesn't want that with me?"
Storms face creased in thought. "No, I don't believe so. Logan is never shy about expressing displeasure with anything. If he hadn't wanted anything he would have said something right there. A man like him would have a much harder time if he did want something, because then he'd have to admit to being capable of love."
"But he's had women before, even been in love he says."
"Yes, but those women had very masculine attitudes in a lot of ways. Jean and I have often had this discussion. We believed that in a good many cases, Logan mistook respect and attraction for love. Respect and attraction certainly factor in to real love, but there is much more. For him to admit to loving you is to invite another kind of love. One far more tender than he's used too."
"But why is that so hard?"
Ororo shrugged. "He's a man."
Jean wandered into the TV room to find the Professor and Scott enthralled in a cut-throat game of chess. Both sides of the board were without their Queens.
She glanced over to see what was on the TV and saw that there wasˇ¦ no TV. "Hey I'm back! What happened to the TV?"
Scott pointed to the claw marks on the wall where the TV had been without taking his eyes, well eye, off the board.
She surveyed the damage. "He killed the TV?"
Professor X shook his head without looking away from Scott's hand as Scott moved his knight. "Took it to his room, Warren said."
"Infirmary, I think."
"Did he tell you about it while you two were playing?"
Professor X shrugged as he moved his Rook forward.
She rolled her eyes and left the room.
Scott looked up and glanced around. "Was Jean just here?"
Logan sat in his room watching the end-credits of Die Hard. His mind was blown. That was the best movie he had ever seen. He sat watching the credits for a moment and made a decision. He hit "Rewind." When the tape was rewound, he thumbed "Play."
Gambit slid into his seat at Dinner. "Is dere a reason Logan has watched six hours of 'Die Hard' in his room?"
Jubilee and Storm traded frowns across the table.
Jubilee furtively knocked on Wolverine's door. "Wolvie?"
His eyes on the television set, he motioned her over and patted the spot on the couch beside him. She sat where he directed and watched the movie for a few moments. "Wolvie, about earlier..."
He touched her hand and shook his head, silently asking her to be quiet. Then he nodded toward the screen. She was hurt. She didn't believe it for a second. He had interrupted her getting ready to pour her heart out and basically told her with his body language "Shut up and watch the movie."
She was mad and started to get up to storm out of the room when he grabbed her hand. She looked back to see him looking at her and not the movie. "Stay."
She was mad. But she was also in love. And the way he said "Stay" made her heart melt. She sat down next to him and watched the movie.
When it was over he stopped it and turned off the TV. He put the tape down, reverently, on his dresser. He sat there next to her for a while not saying anything. She knew to be quiet. He was gathering his thoughts to say something important.
He made eye contact with her and held it. "I realized today that I love you, too. It's been creeping up on me for so long that I didn't see it until it smacked me in the face. I think we must have grown into each other, because you are a part of me, and I can't live without you anymore, and I don't want to try. I need you."
She said nothing, just watched him. Tears, tears of joy, welled up in her eyes and she looked away, wiping them. "When did you realize all that?"
He smiled. "While I was watching the movie."
She laughed. Such a beautiful sentiment born in such an odd place. But there was nothing normal about this man in front of her. Her man. Her Wolvie. She kissed him.