by Dyce

Disclaimer: Previous disclaimers apply.


"Ow!" Jubilee clutched her stomach.

"I'm sorry, darlin'." Logan gritted his teeth, slowing down slightly. "How far apart are the contractions?"

"Five and a half minutes." Emma patted the feet resting on her lap. "We're going to get there in plenty of time."

"We'd better. I don't want my baby born on the side of the road・ooohh・" Jubilee gritted her teeth, riding out another contraction. She whimpered softly, pressing her cheek against Angelo's chest. "It hurts・"

"I know it does, amante," he soothed, cradling her gently. "It's going to be okay." He shot Emma an anxious look. "Can't you do something about the pain?"

"I *am*." Emma shifted in her seat, leaning forward. "Will you slow down? I don't want a repeat of the last time we were hurrying to the hospital."

"Relax, Ms Frost." Paige, who as the closest thing they had to an expert was occupying the other front seat, turned around to shoot a reassuring look at the trio in the back seat. She smiled, reaching back to squeeze Jubilee's hand. "Ah know it hurts, but this is good. If things keep going at this rate, ya shouldn't be in labour for more'n another eight or nine hours at the most."

"Eight or nine *hours* of this?!" Jubilee half-screamed.

"Well, no, Ah didn't wanna tell ya beforehand, but it *is* gonna get worse・"

* * *

"Why ain't there any doctors or anythin' in here?!" Logan was pacing the small room like a caged panther.

"Because we don't *need* a doctor yet, Mr Logan." Paige patted Jubilee's hand gently, in full coping-with-family-crisis mode. "There's plenty o' time before that."

"I did *not* need ta hear that, Hayseed!" Jubilee snapped. "Wolvie, stop pacing like that, yer makin' me jumpy."

"Sorry, darlin'," Logan said penitently, sitting down beside the bed. "You okay?"

"Well, I'm doin' my breathing, and Emma's suppressed most o' the pain, so I'm doing okay for now." Jubilee leaned her head back on the pillows and sighed. "I want Angelo. Why isn't he back yet?"

"He'll be back in just a minute." Paige rested a soothing hand on Jubilee's distended stomach. "Y'know how excited everyone back at the school is, they're probably all askin' him questions in turn."

Jubilee pouted. "He's mine! He should be here with me!"

The door opened, and everyone looked up, but it was Emma who strolled in, still looking as coolly collected as ever. "The X-Men are on their way. They should be here in about an hour."

"Tell me they ain't comin' in uniform."

"I was assured that they're going to be as discreet as they're capable of being." Emma shrugged a white-clad shoulder. "Jubilee? Has the doctor come in to check on you yet?"

"Yeah, a few minutes ago." Jubilee nodded. "Two-thirds dilated. Ya know, havin' a doctor walk in, look up yer robe, then wander out again is kinda creepy." Her face was a little pale, and she clutched Paige's hand tightly.

"Lemme check." Apparently unembarrassed, Paige leaned down to peek up Jubilee's slightly-too-large green robe. She'd seen more than one sibling born, and was firmly in her element. "You're getting closer・ another half-hour or so should be enough."

"Oh, great・ that's when the fun part starts, huh?" The door opened again, and this time it was Angelo who slipped through. Jubilee beamed, holding out her arms. "Ange!"

"Miss me?" He smiled, leaning over to kiss her tenderly. "Everyone's worried and excited, and Adrienne finally caved, so Sean's piling them into the van and they're coming to wait here."

"The waitin' room's gonna be a madhouse." Logan grunted. "Scott and Jean are flyin' in from wherever it is, the X-Men are pickin' Beast and Iceman up on their way here, an' now the other kids as well." Despite the words, his tone was proud. The popular concern for his little girl touched the gruff Canadian deeply - not that it was anything less than she deserved.

Jubilee whimpered, tensing as another contraction hit. "Great・ wanna ask one've 'em to come in here and have the baby for me?"

* * *

"Any news yet?"

"The baby's definitely pointing the right way, she'd nearly fully dilated, and that's all anyone knows yet," Sam reported. As Paige's brother, he was acting as an intermediary between the anxious crowd in the waiting room and the smaller but no less anxious group in the small room where expectant mothers were apparently expected to amuse themselves until they were ready to be noticed.

"That's good. He hadn't turned at her last checkup." Cecilia sipped her coffee, experiencing a sudden pang of nostalgia. Hospital coffee had a special taste that no other kind had. Maybe it was the styrofoam, she thought, and resolved to try styrofoam cups in her own small surgery.

"I can't believe little Jubilee is having a baby," Jean marveled. "Are we sure it's going to be a boy?"

"Yup. Look, it says right here on my balloon. It's a Boy." Bobby grinned. Several of the assembled X-Men groaned.

"Why did I have to come?" Marrow asked sulkily. "I don't want to see Jubilee pop the sausage."

"Yeah, well, we know better'n ta leave you alone in the mansion again," Rogue said tartly. "Ah don't wanna find my bed full of porridge again."

"Nobody lets me have any fun."

* * *

"Push! Push!"

"You can do it, mom! Just keep pushing!"

"EVERYBODY STOP SHOUTING AT ME!!!" Jubilee shrieked. There was a moment of near-absolute silence. "Okay, this is how it's gonna work. Paige, hold my left hand, and do my breathing with me, okay?"

The southern mutant took Jubilee's left hand with her own. "Sure Ah will."

Jubilee took a ragged breath. "Good. Ange, you hold my right hand and tell me you love me a whole lot."

"I can do that." He took her hand gently, kissing the tips of her fingers.

"There really shouldn't be so many-" the doctor started, looking a little peevish. Emma had used a judicious application of her powers to get them all into the delivery room, and it looked like it was starting to wear off.

"SHUT UP!" Jubilee glared at him. "You ain't talking, I'M talking! Emma, you go down that end and comfort Michael, please? He's really scared, and this can't be any more comfortable fer him than it is for me."

"Very well." Emma pulled her stool over to the business end of the bed, and laid a gentle hand on Jubilee's stomach.

"Thank youeeeeeennnnnnggghhhhh!!!" Another contraction hit. When it was over, Jubilee took another deep breath, and looked over at the fourth member of her personal audience. "Logan?"

"Yeah, darlin'?"

"They," she pointed at the doctor and two nurses, "keep shouting at me. I don't *like* being shouted at. This is hard enough without getting shouted at. So I want you to stand down there behind the doctor, and if he shouts at me, or shines a bright light in my baby's eyes, or cuts the cord before I'm good and ready for him to cut it, then you kill him, okay?"

"Okay, darlin'." Logan took up his position behind the doctor, and growled softly as the man began to protest. "Listen, bub, that's my little girl there, understand? Now either you deliver her baby the way she wants, or yer gonna be in a world o' hurt."

(Hours later)

"Okay, Jubilee, we're getting very close now," The doctor said in a carefully modulated voice. "Now, we just need-"

"If the words 'one more push' come outta your mouth before it really IS only gonna take one more push, then yer a dead man!" Jubilee hissed, her teeth bared and her straggling hair glued to her face by sweat.

"Uh・okay・ we're just going to take this one contraction at a time, alright? Things are going very well so far."

"That's easy fer you ta say, bub, you ain't been in labour fer eleven hours!" Jubilee's glare was cut short by another contraction. "Aaaiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee no sorry changed my mind dowanna do this anymore!!"

Paige winced, surreptitiously using her husking powers to turn the layer of skin just below the surface of her rather crushed hand into steel. "Remember your breathin', Jubilee, and just remember・" She stroked the sweaty forehead gently. "At least it ain't twins."

"If I was having twins I'd be having a nice, painless C-section right now!" Jubilee wailed. "Whose stupid idea was it for me ta give birth the old fashioned way?!" It had been hers, but nobody thought mentioning *that* was a good idea.

"I'm so proud of you," Angelo offered instead, leaning down to kiss her forehead softly. "It's all going to be over soon, love."

"EEEEEEEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!" Jubilee shrieked, her entire body tensing for a long, drawn out moment as she struggled to force her son into the world. Her hands clenched, crushing Angelo's fingers in a viselike grip. When the contraction was finally over, she collapsed against the pillows, sobbing softly in pain and exhaustion.

"Shhh・ it's okay, it's going to be okay・" Angelo wrapped his arms around her, dropping soft kisses across her face. "I love you, amante, I'm here・shhh, it's okay・" She clung tightly to him, burying her face in his neck as another contraction arrived right on the heels of the last.

"I can see the head!" The doctor said loudly, momentarily forgetting the very scary man standing right behind him. This was all right, however, since the very scary man had taken a look and gone a delicate shade of green.

"Logan? Are you all right?" Emma asked with some concern. She peeked around the raised sheet, and her face assumed a half-fascinated, half-nauseated expression that would have amused Jubilee immensely if she'd been in any condition to notice it. "Jubilee, I can see the head too. He's got dark hair, just like yours." Jubilee screamed, in the grip of another contraction, and Logan went even paler. "Logan? Maybe you should sit down・"

"No・'m fine・" Logan winced. "Uh・ is that supposed ta be・urrgh・"

"One more push, Jubilee・" the doctor said softly. "Just one more, and you'll have a baby boy."

Although a moment ago she'd firmly believed she was beyond speech, Jubilee opened her eyes, and spoke through gritted teeth. "It BETTER be, or I'm gonna chew through the umbilical cord and strangle ya with it."

* * *


"Oh, just LOOK at him!"

"What an adorable little guy!"

"He looks like his mommy, yes he does!"

"It looks like a dead monkey."

There was a moment of absolute silence, then the entire crowd of assorted X-Persons turned to Marrow and glared. "Jubilee's son," Logan said levelly, "does not look like a dead monkey."

"You're right. It looks like a *bald* dead monkey." Marrow observed, peering through the glass with some interest. The tiny pink bundle of humanity asleep in the incubator flexed a miniscule fist. "Oh, okay, a live bald monkey. Is it supposed to look like that?"

"Yes," Jubilee agreed, unoffended. Marrow was Marrow, and no force on earth could make her be polite. "Isn't he adorable?"

"If you *like* that sort of thing," Marrow shrugged, looking unconvinced. "Why's it in there?"

"Because he was premature. The doctors say that he seems to be fine, though, so he might come out tomorrow." Jubilee sniffed disapprovingly. "Apparently he's 'within one or two weeks of full gestation' so I must be 'mistaken' as to when I conceived. As if." She snuggled into Angelo's arms, he having broken express orders and smuggled her out of bed to see her baby, and her lip trembled a little. "I didn't even get ta hold him before they rushed him in here."

"Nobody did." Angelo hugged her gently. "You can hold him tomorrow, amante. But now you've seen him, and it's time for you to go to sleep." He kissed the top of her head, and headed back down the hall. "It's seven o'clock in the morning, and you're exhausted."

"Okay, okay." She yawned, burrowing her face into his neck. "Angelo?"

"Yeah?" He nudged the door to her hideously expensive private room open with his foot, and proceeded to tuck her in.

"Will you stay here with me? I don't like sleepin' in a hospital by myself."

"Not going anywhere." He pointed to the small couch in the corner. "Why do you think Emma paid so much for the room?"

"Oh, good." She snuggled down, her eyes already drifting closed. "Ang'lo?"

"Yeah?" he responded wearily, slumping onto the couch. God, he was tired. He hadn't even been the one who'd gone through labour and he felt like he'd been put through a wringer. Women the weaker sex? Tell that to his hand.

Jubilee opened her eyes, a worried look on her pale, tired face. "Our baby doesn't really look like a monkey, does he?"

It was absolutely ridiculous to feel this overwhelmingly happy over a probably-accidental slip of the tongue, but he did. Angelo smiled slowly, and extended a hand across the gap between them to stroke her hair gently. "No, Jubes, our baby doesn't look like a monkey. He looks beautiful, just like his mama."

"Mm-hm." She was already asleep.

* * *

"Mr Espinosa?"

"Yeah?" Angelo looked up from his vile hospital coffee. It was late evening, and Logan had kicked him out of the room with orders to clean himself up and get something to eat, and he'd followed them willingly enough. No point in knocking Jubilee out with his BO when she woke up.

The nurse smiled. "I came to let you know that your son is being moved from the incubator - he's due for his first attempt at breast-feeding. We're going to wake his mother now, but if you want to hold him now, you can."

"I can?" He was on his feet, coffee forgotten. "Now?"

"Sure." She smiled warmly. It was rare to see a teenaged father so obviously devoted to both mother and child, and she'd warmed to the wiry young man. "Right this way."

Angelo followed her, his heart pounding. He was going to see him. Was going to touch him. Was going to hold that tiny, defenseless bundle in his arms. He took a deep, steadying breath. That little flutter in Jubilee's womb had turned into a living, breathing being, and now he was going to hold the child he'd committed himself to.

He was nervous. He'd never doubted, until now, but now he wondered if he could meet that commitment. What if he didn't feel anything? What if they didn't form a bond? What if five or ten years on Michael decided he didn't want someone who wasn't his 'real' father? What if Jubilee met someone else and left him, taking the baby? His stomach twisted at that thought, and he shook his head slightly. She wouldn't do that. She knew how much she and Michael meant to him. Even if she did meet someone else, she wouldn't cut him off. They'd still be family.

Even if he lost her.

"Mr Espinosa?" the nurse inquired. "Are you all right?"

"Fine." Angelo stared through the glass at the tiny being that lay swaddled in a soft blue blanket. "He's so small・ are you sure it's okay for me to hold him?"

"It's fine, Mr Espinosa." The nurse opened the crib and picked up the small bundle with practiced ease. "Hold out your arms." He did so, and she deposited the baby into them.

Angelo stared dazedly at the round pink face as his arms tightened automatically around・ around his son. His heart was pounding harder than ever, but he hardly noticed it as he gazed into the wide, dark blue eyes. Michael stared back, his tiny face serious, and Angelo's stomach fluttered. This, his every instinct insisted, was his child. His son. A smile spread slowly across his face, and he touched the tip of one finger to a petal-soft cheek. "Hi," he whispered, cuddling Michael close. "I'm your Papa. Si, don't look surprised, I am." Michael blinked thoughtfully, and yawned a tiny yawn. His father chuckled. "Oh, you're not impressed, huh? Think you're one tough hombre? Yeah, well, we're gonna go see someone now who'll impress you. Time for you to meet your mama, now・"

He followed the grinning nurse towards Jubilee's room, cooing softly to the baby. One pink starfish hand waved in his face, and he nearly melted into a grey puddle on the spot. The nurse opened the door, and he padded over to the bed, where a sleep-ruffled Jubilee held out her arms for her child.

"Here." Angelo settled the baby carefully into her grasp.

"Oh, wow・" Jubilee breathed, cradling him as carefully as if he was made of paper. "Oh, baby・" She kissed the softly fuzzed head, closing her eyes. "I'm your mommy, yes I am, and you're my own little boy・" Angelo swallowed, feeling sudden heat behind his eyes as his arms slid almost involuntarily around them both. Jubilee hardly seemed to notice him, carefully unfolding one tiny hand and counting the small fingers with the absorbed concern of the new mother.

Then she looked up at him, and smiled her brilliant smile. "Isn't he beautiful, Angelo?"

"He is. So are you." He kissed her gently, then leaned down to kiss the tiny fuzzy head that rested on her arm.

Jubilee beamed. "I know he's probably already introduced himself, Michael, but let's make it official." She lifted him a little, and pointed to Angelo. "That man is called Angelo Espinosa, and he," she said softly, "is your daddy. It didn't start out that way, but he volunteered, and there's really nobody else I'd consider fer the job."

Michael cooed softly, and both new parents immediately melted into adoring gibberish. That lasted for several minutes, until the never-very-great patience of the other observer ran out. "What about me?" Logan asked plaintively. "Do I get a look at the pup?"

"Oh・ sorry, Wolvie." Jubilee held the baby out rather reluctantly. "You want to hold him?"

Logan took the baby carefully in his arms, and looked gravely down at the small face. Michael blinked up at him. He smiled, reaching out one gnarled finger to touch the slightly squashed nose. "Hey, pup. I'm・" He trailed off, and frowned. "What am I, anyway?"

Jubilee grinned, a spark of pure mischief lighting her eyes. "Lemme introduce ya." She peeked over her son's blanket, and spoke gravely. "Michael, this man holding you is your grandpa."

Angelo's snort of laughter almost drowned out Logan's protest. "Grandpa? ME?" Jubilee just giggled, and took advantage of the chance to kiss Angelo warmly. Logan watched them for a moment, then looked down again at the baby, who still hadn't uttered a single cry. Michael looked back at him with apparent fascination. "Ain't you a quiet one・ Grandpa, huh?" He nodded, an undeniably goofy smile creeping slowly across his face. "Yeah・ I like the sound o' that. I'm yer grandpa, kid. Pleased ta meetcha."

"Ah. He's out, I see." It would, Logan thought sourly, just *have* to be Adrienne who was still around. Now she was going to try and- he glared daggers at her as she coolly lifted the baby out of his arms and gazed down at him. "Hm. He looks healthy enough to me."

Michael looked at her. Then he looked back at Logan. Then, in what Logan considered to be a truly astounding display of good taste, he scrunched up his tiny face and proceeded to scream his little head off.