Malls, Goons and Marriage Proposals・Oh My

by Katya Jade

Okay, in my world (it・s twisted, I know) Jubilee is all grown up (about 25) and she and Wolverine have admitted their feelings for each other. They・ve been together about a year. That・s about it. I started this as kind of a fluffy, happy piece and it turned on me. (Hey, I just listen to what the voices tell me to write.)

Standard disclaimers apply: I don・t own the X-Men, never have, never will.

Asterisks * represent telepathic communication

What・s the old saying? You can take the girl out of the mall, but you can・t take the mall out of the girl. Or・something like that. Jubilation Lee may have grown up, but she would always be a mall rat at heart. For some people the mall is just a convenient place to purchase needed items. For Jubilee, the mall is much more・it is life.

Because of the amount of work she was putting into the X-Men nowadays she had very limited free time. As a result, she had promised herself she would get the most out of every trip she made to her precious mall.

Today・s outing was a special one. Rogue, Storm and Jean all decided to join her for a "girls day out". When Jubilee had asked them, her teammates virtually flew out the door to the car. Apparently, Jubilee wasn・t the only one who needed a break.

The four women stepped through the huge, glass doors of the Salem Center Mall. Taking a minute to appreciate the incredible testament to American overconsumption, Jubilee felt as if she had returned home. Ah, yes. Spending an entire day in one place, buying things you don・t really need and eating food you really shouldn・t eat. Forget baseball, this was the ultimate pastime.

"God," Jubilee paused and took a deep, cleansing breath, "I love the smell of commerce in the morning."

"Sugah, ah think that afta all these years, ya might want ta consida some therapy for yah shoppin・ issues."

"Rogue, believe it or not, I・ve actually mellowed with time. But, I・ll make sure to bring my shopping powers back down to ・human・ so that you ladies can keep up." Jubilee smiled as she started the group towards the center of the mall.

"Honey, ah don・t think you・ve evah gone shoppin・ with Ororo. You think tinkerin・ with the weatha is all she can do? You ain・t seen nuthin・ yet."

Jubilee laughed and rubbed her hands together in a mad scientist sort of way. "Ooh, I・m always up for some friendly competition. Anyone have any preferences on which store to attack and plunder first? Storm?"

"Jubilation, since you organized this outing, we shall follow your lead."

"Thanks, don・t mind if I do. We・ll start with clothing and work our way to miscellaneous household items."

And with that, the women began their odyssey to scout the best deals, find the perfect clothes and eat as much junk food as possible.


"Let me get somet・ing straight, homme." Gambit walked outside to where Wolverine sat, lounging by the pool, smoking his cigar. "You let de women go to de mall・together?"

"Yeah, Gumbo, that・s right. What・s yer problem?"

"Do you know how much damage dey could do in one day at de mall?"

"Look, Jubilee・s been workin・ her butt off in the lab with Hank and she needed some time ta blow off some steam. I thought it was a good idea fer them ta go have some fun. ・Member, Cajun, not everyone can relax by blowin・ things up in the Danger Room."

Gambit shrugged his shoulders and scratched his head. "Huh. Guess yer right. But I still afraid fer what dey gonna come home wit. Not sure Rogue・s credit card kin・ take any more. Speakin・ of ・blowin・ off steam・, ya care ta join me fer a pummelin・ session in de Danger Room?"

"Nah. I・m fine where I・m at. Gonna just sit here awhile."

"Suit yourself. Me, I gonna try ta ferget all da t・ings Rogue・s gonna bring home dis evenin・." Gambit sighed. "Dere goes de rest of my closet space." Gambit waved as he turned back to the mansion. "Later, mon ami."

Wolverine wasn・t sure he・d just heard himself say what he did. Did he actually turn down an opportunity to beat Gambit to a bloody pulp in the Danger Room? Shit, a year ago he would have jumped at the chance at thrashing the Cajun and loved every minute of it. Now, though, he found that he actually enjoyed relaxing. Meditating, sitting outside on a lounge chair or just watching the clouds roll by sincerely contented him.

Not that he didn・t still take an immense amount of pleasure in a spirited round of kicking ass, but he was happy. Happier than he had been in a long time.

He smiled at the reason. Jubilee. She・d been his best friend for 12 years and she was always there for him. But he・d realized as she・d grown up that she was special in so many other ways, not just as the ・sidekick・ that everyone made her out to be. He was glad that he hadn・t been stupid and let her pass him by. He was damn lucky, too. She probably had a dozen or more guys drooling all over her in college. But when all was said and done, she had come home to him.

He lay back down in the lounge chair and closed his eyes for a well-deserved nap.


A few hours later, the women decided to take a break and eat at the restaurant in the mall・s lower level. Not exactly gourmet fare, but they had cheeseburgers and plenty of desserts.

Jubilee enjoyed spending time with these women. She had learned so much from them as she was growing up and, now, she was actually a part of their team. They trusted her and considered her a friend. She was honored and humbled at the same time.

"So, Jubilee, how are things with you and Logan?"

She smiled at Jean knowingly. Jean was the one who prodded Wolverine and her to admit their feelings for each other. She definitely liked to make sure everything was ・running smoothly・, as it were.

"Why do you ask, Jeannie? Do you want to make I don・t pick someone else to be the Matron of Honor at our wedding?"

"Ya・ll are getting・ married?!"

Jubilee couldn・t help but laugh. "No, Rogue. I mean, at least Wolverine hasn・t asked and I・m sure not going to pressure him. We・re enjoying our time together and that・s all I want right now. It・s enough to be with him day after day."

"Okay, but if・n ya do, ya better make sure that Ro n・ I are maids o・ honor or we might hafta scare up a little rainstorm on the big day."

"Don・t worry, Rogue, you all are definitely on my list. But don・t tell Wolvie that we even mentioned a wedding, it may just trigger a berserker rage or something・"

"Jubilation, I hardly think Logan would be upset at the thought of marrying you. Frankly, I only think it・s a matter of time."

Jubilee paused for a moment and played with the wrapper of her straw. "Storm, I love Logan more than anything. Of course I want to marry him and have the ・happily ever after・ thing. But I・m not going to rush anything. We・ll do it when we・re ready; when he・s ready. And that・s fine by me."

Jean smiled at Jubilee as her eyes moved over Rogue and Ororo, registering their nods of agreement. Jubilee was right. But she also knew Logan well enough to understand that he would make sure Jubilee was with him for the rest of her life.

"Point well taken, Jubilee. Now, on to a much more important subject・what・s everyone having for dessert?"

They all laughed and began speaking one over the other about which dessert looked the best and which was the most fattening.

Jubilee surveyed her teammates. With friends like these, and double chocolate chip cake, she was the happiest woman in the world.


"Logan, it seems you have found the perfect spot to relax and contemplate life・s mysteries."

Wolverine was stretching as he awoke from his short nap. He looked at Beast and smiled. "Ya given me too much credit, buddy. I・m just sittin・ here contemplatin・ that I・d love a good scotch right about now."

"Well, I couldn・t agree more that a nice glass of any type of alcoholic beverage would be most enjoyable on a day like this."

"You said it, Hank." Wolverine turned to look at the big blue doctor. "Speakin・ of relaxin・ - what・re you doin・ out here? You・re usually holed up in that lab most of the day n・ night."

Hank sighed and sat back on one of the lounge chairs. "You know, my friend, I think I need to heed Ms. Lee・s example and take a break. Or as she puts it, ・Chill out and kick back.・"

"Yep, Jubes has a way of knowin・ just how ta say things."

"Yes, she does, Logan. She is quite a remarkable young woman. Just the other day, she helped me isolate three new strains of the retrovirus we・ve been working on. I seriously doubt I would have found them without her."

"She・s a smart one, alright. Don・t know what a woman like that sees in a canucklehead like me."

"I think it is you who are not giving yourself enough credit now, my friend. You may try to keep people at a distance, but inside that gruff and, might I say, rather hirsute exterior, you are a decent human being. I・m not surprised that Jubilation has given her heart to you."

Wolverine laughed. "You・re a fine one ta call me hairy, Blue." Wolverine paused for a moment. "Ya know, Hank, I don・t care why she・s with me, I just care that she is."

"I couldn・t have said it better myself, Logan. Care for a beer?"

"Thought ya・d never ask."


Several hours later, Jean, Rogue, Storm and Jubilee emerged from the Salem Center Mall, loaded down with packages of every shape, size and color.

"Storm, I must say that I was very impressed with the skills and expertise you demonstrated in the mall today. I never thought I could be outshopped."

"Jubilation, you are still young and have much to learn about the intricacies of the purchasing experience. I will teach you some meditations in order to enhance your abilities."

Jean was highly amused at the cordial competition that Jubilee and Storm had undergone in the mall. She never thought she・d actually enjoy shopping that much. She noted to herself that she would have to do this more often. Listening to the casual banter of her friends while walking to their car, Jean suddenly sensed a great deal of anger and fear emanating from a group of people nearby.

"Ladies, stop. There・s something wrong. Over there."

The four of them approached a group of five young men who looked to be in their early 20・s surrounding two other boys who looked about 16 years old. Two of the men had each boy by their shirt collars and were inches away from their faces, shouting as loud as they could.

"Think yer better ・n us, huh, mutie? We don・t like yer kind around here!"

"I think we should give ・em each something nice to remember us by!"

The rest of the group began advancing on the boys when the women approached. Jubilee spoke first.

Putting down her bags, Jubilee placed her hands on her hips. "Um, ya know, guys, I think that the odds here are slightly in your favor. Why don・t you let the boys go and we・ll give ya each a nice lollipop."

Rogue stepped up behind her friend and crossed her arms over her chest. "I can tell ya, if・n ya don・t, ya・ll gonna be wishin・ ya had lata on."

Two of the men standing at the sidelines turned to face the women and smiled. "Oh, honey, don・t worry. We・ll have plenty of energy for each of ya after we・re done."

Jean was hoping these Friends of Humanity wannabe・s would back down, but considering the amount of anger and fear resonating from them, she had a feeling that today・s shopping excursion would be ending in a little more adventurous fashion.

"Gentlemen, we find your offer to be less than appealing and ask that you release those boys immediately."

"Look, bitches. We don・t wanna halfta hurt any of ya, but this ain・t none of yer business, so get lost or you・re all gonna feel some serious pain."

Rogue smiled. "Oh, sugah. Ah think ya got that one backwards."

With that, Rogue charged ahead and tackled the two lead punks taking them down hard. With one quick movement, she knocked their heads together, a-la the famous Three Stooges move and sent them to night-night land destined for a raging headache.

Jean psi-held the third punk while Jubilee pafed one of the men holding the boys, sending him running and yelling about being ・fuckin blind・.

Storm・s lightning bolt took out the last thug quickly who would also wake to a bitch of a headache and slightly melted running shoes.

The boys stood completely still and looked at the women in shock and surprise. "Uh, thanks."

Jubilee loved a good afternoon exercise session. She smiled. "You・re welcome. Do you want us to call the police?"

The shook their heads vigorously. "No, we・re just gonna take off. I think these guys are just some jerks from a neighboring town. Never seem ・em here before."

Continuing her psi-lock on the helpless bully, Jean asked, "Are you boys sure? We・d be happy to give a statement if you・d like us to."

"Nah, but thanks. Who the hell are you people anyway?"

Storm smiled and looked at her teammates. "Us? We・re nobodies. Just glad that we could help some friends in need."

"Yeah, whatever. Thanks again." The boys smiled warily and walked towards the mall. They couldn・t resist a few glances over their shoulders to make sure they didn・t imagine their heroes.

Jean relayed a psionic command to the heftily built attacker and he dropped like a stone onto the parking lot into a deep sleep.

"Well, ladies, always an adventure at the mall, isn・t it?"

"You got that right, Jeannie. Oh, man! I hope our stuff is okay!"

Jean surveyed the four men lying on the ground. "Let・s get our stuff and then call the police. We need to find the other guy if we can before he rouses any more idiot friends to come back."

Jubilee and the other women moved to gather up their packages. As she was turning, Jubilee saw the man she temporarily blinded dart from around a car carrying a gun. He didn・t bother to aim at any one of the women in particular, but Jean was directly in his line of fire.

"Jean, get down!" Jubilee yelled and dove toward Jean, pushing her out of the way, just as the bullet tore through Jublee・s midsection.

Storm turned and struck the man with a bolt of lighting, sending him flying backwards into the windshield of a bright red minivan.

Jean moved quickly to her side and cradled her wounded teammate in her arms. "Jubilee, honey, it・s okay. You・re going to be fine. Just lie still now."

Rogue stripped off her jacket and pressed it to Jubilee・s rapidly bleeding stomach.

"Jeannie," Jubilee gasped, "you okay?"

Jeannie smiled a weak and frightened smile. "Yes, sweetie, I・m fine. Thanks to you."

"Good." She clutched her abdomen in pain. "Oh, God, this really freaking hurts." Jubilee・s face was a grimace of pain and fear. "Ladies, I・m afraid I won・t be joining you for dinner. Damn, there・s so much blood."

Storm quickly rose to her feet. "I will call an ambulance."

"No, Storm, there isn・t time. She・s bleeding too quickly. Rogue, you have to fly her to Salem General. We・ll get there as soon as we can."

"Got it, Sugah." Rogue bent down to pick up the slight young woman. "Just take it easy, honey, everything・s gonna be jus・ fine." Her words were soothing, but Rogue・s face was lined with worry.

Jubilee・s voice was weak, but insistent. "Logan・Please・I want・Logan."

"Don・t worry, honey, we・ll call him."

*Hurry, Rogue.*

*Ah・m gone, Jean.* "Come on, Sugah, let・s go for a little ride." And with that, Rogue・s form disappeared into the sky.

"Oh, God, Storm. I should have felt that coming. I should have sensed him near."

Storm put her arms around the telepath. "Jean, it is not your fault, we were all distracted. Why, Jubilee would never have seen him either, had she not turned in his direction. Now, I will call the police and you must contact Logan to let him know what has happened."

She had to focus. "Yes...Yes, okay. I・ll make sure these assh・these men, stay put until the police arrive. Get to the hospital as soon as you・ve made the call."

"She・ll be alright, Jean."

"Oh, God, I hope so, Ororo."


Logan and Hank were relaxing on the lounge chairs, nursing their beers, when Jean・s telepathic message hit Wolverine.


*Yeah, Jeannie. What・s up?*

*Logan, you have to get to Salem General now. Jubilee・s been hurt.*

*What the hell?・*

*Logan, there・s no time to explain. Just get there as fast as you can and bring Hank along.*

Logan was up, off the lounge chair in a second, his beer crashing on the patio, spilling its contents.

"Logan, what・s wrong?"

"It・s Jubes, Hank. She・s been hurt. Don・t know what happened. Gotta get ta Salem General. Jean says ya・d better get there too."

Wolverine bolted out the front door, grabbing his Harley keys as he went.

・She・s gonna be okay. Please let her be okay.・

Hank bounded into the house toward the lab to retrieve his medical bag. "Oh my stars and garters. I hope the child is alright."


Rogue and Storm were in the waiting area when Wolverine arrived. He didn・t like the looks on their faces.

"How is she?"

"Sugah, she・s in surgery now. We haven・t heard nuthin・ from the doctors since they went in. She lost a lot o・ blood."

"What the hell happened, Rogue?!" Logan could feel the heat in his face as his anger began to take control.

Ororo stood up and approached the agitated Wolverine. "Logan, calm down. The four of us were leaving the mall when we noticed a group of men bullying two young boys. We attempted to break them up peacefully, but they would have none of it. After we effectively dispatched them, a fifth reappeared and fired his gun at us. Jubilee noticed this, and threw herself in the path of the bullet to protect Jean. She was very brave."

"Who did it? Where are they?" Nothing would make him happier right now than to tear apart the idiots who hurt Jubilee. Logan・s hands clenched tightly at the thought.

"The police have ・em, Logan. It ain・t gonna make things betta for Jubilee if・n ya go n・ get yerself in trouble now."

His thoughts drifted back to Jubilee; wounded, bleeding and lying on an operating table. Wolverine moved to sit in one of waiting room chairs and spoke softly. "Damn, darlin・. I・d be pissed at ya, if I wasn・t so damn proud of ya." He looked at Ororo and Rogue. "I can・t lose her. She・s gotta be okay."

Rogue sat beside him and put her arm around his shoulders. "She・s strong, Logan. Like you. Hell, like all of us. She・s gonna be fine." She just hoped and prayed she was right.

Jean entered the waiting room and surveyed her friends. She couldn・t stop the feeling that this was her fault. If she had only kept herself on alert instead of letteing her guard down, none of this would have happened. If they lost Jubilee because of her failure, she couldn・t live with herself.

Wolverine noticed Jean in the doorway and rose to his feet. "You okay, darlin・? Ya don・t look so good."

Jean sighed. "I wish I could say I was fine, Logan, but I・m not. I should have been able to prevent what happened to Jubilee and because of my failure, she・s in an operating room, struggling to stay alive."

Wolverine took her in his arms. "Jeannie, just because we・re mutants, doesn・t mean we・re God. What happened today coulda happened to any of us. Do ya think Jubes would rather have you in there and her out here?"

"No, of course not. I just want her to be okay."

He hugged her tightly. "She will be, Jeannie. She has ta be."


An hour later, Hank entered the waiting room. Logan, Storm, Rogue, and Jean jumped to their feet.

"Hank, how is she?"

"She is a very lucky, young woman, Logan. Although she has lost a great deal of blood, the bullet passed directly through her abdomen, only grazing her lower intestine. They are finishing up the surgery and she will be moved to a private room immediately afterwards."

A chorus of sighs and cheers erupted while Wolverine grabbed Hank and lifted him off the ground in an emotional bear hug. "Thanks, Hank!"

"Ugh・Logan・Your beloved might be fine, but I think you are crushing my internal organs!"

He put his friend down quickly. "Sorry, Blue. When can I see her?"

"I will let you know as soon as the surgery・s finished and she is moved to her room. It should be approximately 30 minutes."

Wolverine bolted for the exit. "Great. I・m gonna go get her some flowers. Hell, I・m gonna buy her enough to start her own flower store!"


Jubilee awoke slowly, still a little groggy from the anesthesia and aware of the dull pain in her stomach. Turning her head to the right, she saw Logan・s face staring down at her. He was leaning on the side of the bed, both hands stroking right arm softly.

"Hey, darlin・."

"Hey. What・s a nice guy like you doing in a place like this?"

"I hear it・s a good place ta pick up chicks."

She smiled. "Oh, definitely. Especially if you go for ones in nurses uniforms. Unless you like women with a little wear and tear on them."

"Yup. I like ・em broken in already. Why do ya think I・m in here? Figure ya already got yerself shot, so it・s gotta be uphill from here."

Jubilee laughed and felt her stomach scream in protest. "Oh, crap, Logan. Don・t make me laugh."

"Sorry, darlin・." He moved closer and stroked her hair. "Ya had me pretty scared there for awhile, Jubes. Try not ta jump in front of any more bullets, at least fer a couple a days, okay?"

"Trust me, Wolvie, this was not my idea of how to end a great shopping trip."

He paused and surveyed the face of the woman he loved. "I・m proud of ya, darlin・. Ya saved Jeannie・s life, ya know. Yer pretty great, Jubes."

Jubilee looked into Logan・s eyes and brought her hand up to stroke his face. "I didn・t do anything you wouldn・t have. She・s my friend. I couldn・t let her get hurt."

"I know. I just glad yer safe. ・Course, I don・t think I・m lettin・ ya go ta the mall anytime soon."

"Logan, you try to stop me from shopping and I・ll never speak to you again." She smiled and winked. "Next to you, it・s the most important thing in my life."

Wolverine sat back in his chair and put his hands behind his head. "Ya know, darlin・, you n・ I have ta get a few things straight. You gotta be a helluva lot more careful if yer gonna be a successful part of the X-Men team."

Jubilee couldn・t believe what she was hearing. "Excuse me?"

"Yer gonna halfta pay a lot more attention in our training sessions, Jubilee, cause if ya had dodged that bullet the right way, ya wouldn・t be in here now.

"Okay, Logan, the minute I・m healed, you・re going to get a serious ass-kicking."

"I mean, cripes, darlin・, it just wouldn・t look right if the wife of the great Wolverine was getting・ her butt kicked all the time."

Now she was angry. "I do not get my butt kicked all the・" Her mouth dropped open and she looked Logan in the eyes. "The wife of the great Wolverine?"

He smiled and pulled out a small, velvet box from his shirt pocket and placed it next to her hand. "That・s what I said." He smiled as she looked, stunned, at the box next to her. "Well, ya gonna open it?"

"Oh, Wolvie. I・I don・t know what to say. You don・t have to do this. I love you. I・ll be with you whether or not we・re married. I・"

Since she was too shocked to take the dark blue box, he picked it up, opened it and took the ring from its setting. He placed the solitaire on her finger and kissed her hand.

"I want ya ta marry me, Jubilee. I・ve waited long enough. Hell, I・ve waited too long. It ain・t how I planned ta ask ya, but I got a little wake up call today and I don・t want ta put it off any longer."

Jubilee stared at the ring on her finger. "Oh, Wolvie. It・s beautiful." She turned slowly and took his face in her hands. "Well, it・s official. You・re stuck with me."

"Wouldn・t have it any other way, darlin・."


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