Author's Note: This story is especially for
Michele Craighead and D. Benway・ you clever bunnies, you.
Jubilee woke up to an extremely pleasant exploration of the back of her neck. She smiled, arching her back and reaching back with her good hand to touch her lover's bristly cheek. "Good morning."
"Morning." Angelo murmured against her neck. "Sleep well?"
"Mhm." She turned herself, with some effort, onto her back, and smiled at him. "Did you?"
"Didn't sleep much." He smiled back, an open and unguarded expression that she'd never seen on his face before. "Kept waking up to make sure I hadn't dreamed you."
"Your imagination isn't that good," Jubilee grinned. Then she winced. "Ow."
All traces of the smile were wiped away as concern filled his eyes. "Are you all right? Did I hurt you?"
"No, of course not," she reassured him. "My leg's stiff is all. I ain't used to sleepin' all snuggled up like this." She smiled at him. "I could get useta it pretty fast, though."
"Oh good." He hugged her gently, resting his cheek against her soft hair. "I love you, Jubilee."
"Love you too." She brushed her lips against his neck, and smiled a little smugly as he shivered in response. "You smell nice."
"You smell pretty good yourself," he managed, one hand gliding slowly down her side. She smiled up at him, and their lips met in a lingering kiss, morning breath being no impediment to new-formed passion. Then they jumped in unison as Michael kicked at the exact portion of her stomach that was pressed against Angelo.
"Hey! Mommy was enjoying that!" Jubilee admonished.
Angelo laughed and sat up, bending down to kiss her tummy gently. "What's up, nino? Paying too much attention to mama and not enough to you?" He rested his forehead gently against the smooth skin, that unguarded tenderness in his face once more. "It's okay. I love you too."
Jubilee suddenly felt like crying. The sheer intensity of her feelings for Angelo had surprised her, but his response to them had left her completely stunned. Even after their passion was spent, he'd clung to her with an intensity bordering on desperation, as if he was afraid she'd disappear. "It's okay," she whispered, only half aware that she was speaking out loud as she stroked his hair gently. "You're not alone anymore."
He stiffened and sat up. Jubilee blinked, shrinking back from the sudden anger on his face. "Don't feel sorry for me. Ever. I don't need pity from you or anyone else."
She reached out to him, touching his cheek gently. "I wasn't offering it. Sympathy, maybe." His expression didn't change, but he didn't move away from her touch, either. "I know yer lonely, Ange. Yer the only one of us without any ties at all, ta anyone. No family, no friends outside the team・ God, I'da gone nuts." She smiled a little, and traced the line of his jaw. "I just・ I dunno・ wanted ya ta know it's not like that anymore. Me'n Michael love ya. It's not gonna disappear on you, Ange. We're not gonna pull a fast fade, okay? We love you."
The tension drained out of him, and he lay down again beside her, kissing her cheek gently. "Sorry for overreacting, amante. I just・ I'm sorry. I love you so much・" He touched her stomach gently. "And Michael too. You two're all the family I've got, now."
They lay silent for a while, nestled close together. Jubilee laid her hand against his chest, feeling the steady beat of his heart against her palm, and suddenly memory asserted itself・ lying huddled on the floor of her cell, listening to her own heart beating. Wondering if hers was the only heart beating in the entire base. Did Sentinels have pulses? Could they feel at all? She shook her head slightly, realizing that she'd missed something. "Sorry・ I was a million miles away. Did you say something?"
"I asked you if you want anyone to know about this, or if we should keep it to ourselves for now." Angelo kissed the top of her head lightly.
Jubilee shook her head and grinned. "You know, yer just so cute when yer naïve. Emma's probably already sensed us, Wolvie's gonna smell us on each other the second we step outta this room, and we've both got grins on our faces the size of Alaska." She chuckled. "Honestly・ how long do ya THINK it's gonna take for them ta figure it out?"
* * *
"Jubilee・ I'm concerned." Emma perched on the edge of her desk, looking down at Jubilee as she sat in her wheelchair. "I know I've suggested counselling before, but you've always insisted that you don't want to talk about it. Now that you've・ been intimate with Angelo, I'm more concerned than ever. I know you're used to dealing with trauma, but-"
"I'm not traumatized, Frosty. Honest." Jubilee turned guiless blue eyes on her teacher. "I told ya, I'm fine."
Emma shook her head. "Then you're repressing it. Jubilee, I have・ been in your situation. Believe me, I know."
"You・ have?" To her credit, Jubilee didn't sound very surprised. "I kinda figured, actually. Never thought you'd talk about it, though."
"Neither did I." Emma folded her arms, looking down at the floor. "But・when I was about the same age as you are now, while I was living on the street, I was assaulted, and I concieved." She bit her lip, her voice cracking on the last word.
"Oh." Jubilee leaned forward to touch her teacher's knee comfortingly. "What happened?"
Emma shrugged, still looking down at the floor. "He was stillborn. I never even saw him."
"Oh." Jubilee patted her knee gently. "I'm sorry."
"It was a long time ago." Emma wiped her hand over her eyes, and cleared her throat.. "That's why I'm so concerned about you. I know how terrible it can be, Jubilee, and I'm concerned that you won't accept any form of counselling."
"Okay, fair enough・" Jubilee leaned back in her chair, cupping her hands protectively over her stomach. "I'm not traumatized, Frosty. It just・ doesn't bother me. See, I *know* Bastion did all this・ stuff. I know it happened. But・" she shook her head. "I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I don't *remember* it. I don't remember anything except getting' knocked around some." She looked up at Emma with a troubled expression. "It's weird, but I've checked, and I don't even have the scars I should have. And when Ange and I・" She blushed. "Well, you know・ it didn't bother me. At all. I mean, I was kinda nervous, but it didn't freak me out like I thought it would."
Emma blinked. "Are you saying that you're not sure it happened?"
Jubilee shook her head. "It must have, right? I mean, I *am* kinda pregnant and all. Cecilia - see, I did talk to her - says it's probably 'cause I had a concussion. Which makes sense, 'cause the last thing I remember clearly is Bastion hittin' me upside the head an' knocking me into a wall. After that, there's a big hazy patch."
"I see." Emma's expression cleared slightly. "So you aren't traumatized・ because you don't remember anything?"
"Zactly." Jubilee patted her stomach gently. "If Michael wasn't there, I'd probably think I hallucinated the whole thing. As it is, I was kinda freaked right at first, but Ange got me through that ages ago."
"Good." Emma paused, frowning a little. "You do realize that if you're simply suppressing the memories, they could resurface at any time."
"If they do, you'll be the second person I'll tell," Jubilee promised. "First bein' Angelo, o'course."
"Of course." Emma smiled. "I'm glad you two are together."
"Y'are?" Jubilee looked extremely sceptical.
"Yes, I am. You're both much happier, and you've had someone to support you throughout the pregnancy. That's very important." Emma leaned forward, her face serious but her eyes dancing. "But, I must admit I AM concerned about one thing・"
Emma's lips quirked into a small smile. "Were you・ disappointed, at all? I'd hate for you to have been traumatized again."
Jubilee blushed furiously. "Uh・no. No, I wasn't disappointed." She smiled, still blushing. "I was・ ah・ pretty impressed, actually."
"Good." Emma actually giggled. "In that case, you have my blessing." She winked, and slid off the desk. "Now that we're done here, I suggest you go and break up the brawl between Logan and Angelo."
"Brawl? Aww, no・" Jubilee scowled. "Where?"
"The gym. Want me to take you?"
"Please." She glared at the cast on her arm. "I can't wheel this damn thing by myself."
* * *
Logan had grabbed Angelo before he got three steps away from Emma's office after wheeling Jubilee in.
"Hi," Angelo said, rather indistinctly. The forearm across his windpipe would be responsible for that. "Before you do anything major, can I suggest taking this someplace more private? So we don't freak out the normals, is the point I'm trying to make."
"Fine." Logan hissed. "I'm gonna-"
"Kill me, I know." Angelo took as deep a breath as he could. "The gym's empty. Just down the stairs and to the left."
He wasn't going to escape, of course, Angelo mused as he was dragged down the stairs. He wouldn't actually *die* - that would upset Jubilee - but he was about to suffer what Logan called 'a world of hurt', and he didn't really stand much of a chance of returning the favour. Oh well, he thought fatalistically. It had been worth it. More than worth it.
The gym, as it happened, was not empty. Everett and Jono had skipped breakfast for a game of one-on-one, Jono because he didn't eat anyway and Everett because he preferred going hungry to eating porridge, nutritious as it might be. The ball was allowed to wander off into a corner as they both stared at the newcomers.
<*Wot the・oh. You'n Jubes finally did the nasty, eh?*> Jono might live in a permanent fog of angst, but he knew the father-out-to-avenge-his-daughter's-honour look. He'd spent quite a few mornings in his misspent youth running away from it.
"That ain't quite how I'd put it, amigo, but yeah." Angelo shrugged. "Wanna leave us alone so I can die with dignity?"
<*Right.*> Jono 'spoke' over Ev's outraged squeak. <*We'll just be off, then, don't mind us. We'll go get・ uhm・ some bandages or somethin'.*> He towed Everett firmly out of the room, closing the door behind him.
"Dignity? What 'dignity?" Logan snarled, shoving Angelo away from him. "You little bastard・What do ya think yer doin' with her? She's a just a kid! A minor!!"
"I'M a minor," Angelo pointed out. "I will be for another six months."
That made him pause. "Thought y'was older'n that."
"I get that a lot." He shrugged. "Look, Logan・ can I call you Logan? Logan, this is none of your business."
"None of my・" Wolverine took a deep, snarling breath, reaching towards the boy's shoulders. "Listen ta me, ya filthy-minded little-"
"Hey!" Angelo stiffened, bringing his own arms up to push Logan's out and away. "I promised Jubilee that I would listen to you, okay? But I do NOT have to take that, *amigo*. I would never, ever, do anything to hurt Jubilee. Ever." He scowled, his skin stretching a little to unconsciously exaggerate the expression. "In case you've been on another planet for the last few months, we've been sleeping together since her first trimester. In all that time, I've never touched her that way. Not until last night."
"Y'expect me to believe that?" Logan turned away, clenching his fists. He wanted to beat the crap out of this snotty little punk, this ex-gangmember who was daring to touch his precious girl, his child・
"I don't *expect* you to believe anything, because it's none of your *business*. We covered this already, remember?" Angelo's voice was cold and even. "It was her decision, Logan."
"Yer takin' advantage of her, y'goddam little punk!" Logan swung around, fist connecting with Angelo's jaw, knocking him sprawling. He stayed down, lifting one hand to touch his jaw as he glared daggers at the older man. Logan gulped a lungful of air, trying to calm down. He couldn't kill the boy. He couldn't. No matter how much he wanted to. "There's no way she woulda・ God, she's pregnant to a goddamn rapist・"
"Ask her, then."
"She ain't in her right mind."
That made three of them at the moment. "She's a tough chica. She's coping." Angelo climbed to his feet, keeping a wary distance between them. "Are you gonna start a fight here, or are you done? I've got to go collect her from Ms Frost's office."
Logan bristled. "Don't you even *think* about goin' near her again! I'm takin' her back to the mansion right now, and you ain't-"
Angelo crossed the distance between them in one stride, grabbing a very surprised Logan by the collar. "Don't. Even." Angelo's voice was like ice, his eyes narrowed and as hard as carved crystal. "Never, ever threaten to take her away from me again, or healing factor or no healing factor I will kill you, comprende?"
"I'm shakin'," he hissed, hands shaking with the urge to loose his claws. Every instinct he had screamed for him to defend his territory, his family. Against this interloper, who'd take advantage of a hurt, scared girl who was too young to know that sex wasn't love, that a guy would say anything to get what he wanted・ "Listen, you selfish little shit, Jubilee needs someone ta take care of her, not someone who's lookin' for an easy screw."
"You know something? I noticed that." He stepped back, loosing his hold on the older man's collar. "Because I've been here, Logan. For the morning sickness, the cravings, the Lamaze classes・ I've *been here*. Do you know why I've been here?"
"Because yer a scheming, dirty-minded little punk who-"
"No. That's not it." He folded his arms, looking down at the floor. When he spoke again, his voice was quiet. Without malice. "It's because I love her, Logan. That's what you do when you love someone. You're there for them, when they need you, *whenever* they need you, because that's what it means to love. I love her. I've been here." He looked up, his face calm. "Where have you been, Logan?"
"I・" Somehow, he couldn't meet that cool gaze. "I went after the bastard that did this ta her. Ya think he should just get away with it?"
"I don't really think that being under lock and key in SHIELD's tender care counts as getting away with it." Angelo shook his head. "I ain't saying that I don't want him dead, slow and painful, but Jubilee's more important. She needed someone she could rely on to *be* here." He deliberately emphasized the words once again.
Logan opened his mouth to speak, then paused, taking a deep breath. He was right. He'd taken good care of Jubilee. Better, if the truth be known, than Logan ever had himself. Focus on the thing he did *wrong*. "And ya took advantage of it. Took advantage o' *her*. She's only fifteen. She's too young ta-"
"You think I don't know that?" the boy demanded. "But it *happened*, Logan. And I've spent all these months holding her, comforting her, convincing her that she can trust me, and last night she asked me to・" he flushed, his skin turning an odd purple, but continued. "To make love to her. And I did."
"Ya expect me ta belive ya didn't want to?"
"No." Angelo looked down at the floor, the flush still staining his skin. "I wanted to. But I was willing to wait."
He was telling the truth. Logan scowled, clinging to his righteous fury with both hands. "Ya should have. No matter what she says, she ain't ready."
"Really? That's funny, 'cause you'd think I'd know." They both looked around. Jubilee sat in the doorway, Emma standing behind her chair. Jubilee was scowling, her fists clenched. "Logan, if you've got a problem-"
Logan, however, was glaring at Emma. "How'd ya let this happen, Frost?"
"I had nothing to do with it, Logan," she said coolly. "Jubilee's person belongs to her. Since they're both old enough to know what they're doing, both clear of any STDs, and she can hardly get more pregnant than she is now, what they do in private is their own concern."
"STOP TALKING OVER ME LIKE I'M NOT HERE!" By dint of leaning as far forward as she could, Jubilee managed to grab Logan by the front of his flannel shirt and drag him down to her eye level. "Listen up, bub. This was my decision, okay?"
"You have NO right to do this! My private life is my business, not yours, and if you have a problem, then you take it up with me!"
"Angelo's been here taking care of me since day one, okay? And I love him. I love him with all my heart. And I knew exactly what I was doing and it was what I wanted and I *liked it*!"
"Shut up! Just shut up!" Jubilee's eyes filled with tears. "This is my baby, and my life, and he makes me happy, okay? Please just be happy for me?"
"I・" She was right, and he knew it. His protective instincts were wrong. She wasn't his baby girl anymore, and she didn't need his protection, but his love and support. He knelt by the chair. "I'm sorry, darlin'. I just・ I'll try. You know I love ya, right?"
"I know." She leaned over, resting her head on his shoulder as she wrapped her good arm around his neck. "I love ya too, Wolvie."
That turned his knees to mush the way it always did. No matter what, he loved her. "I'm sorry, darlin'. I know he's a good ki- guy."
"He is," she agreed, her voice muffled in his neck. "He makes me hot milk when I can't sleep."
Logan chuckled a little at this incontrivertible evidence of Angelo's affection. "Well, as long as he's takin' care of ya."
Jubilee leaned back, and smacked one brawny arm. "He is, so don't you hit him any more."
Logan shot a guilty glance at the younger man, who had the good grace not to say anything. "I'll be good, darlin'."
"Good." Jubilee smiled forgivingly and kissed his cheek. Then she held her good arm out to Angelo. "Ange, c'mere."
"Only if you're sure I'm safe," he grinned lopsidedly, kneeling beside her on the other side.
She smiled, touching his cheek lightly. "Okay, guys, this is important. I want you both to, like, smile and think nice thoughts, okay?" They both did so, Angelo wincing a little. "Good. Now put your hands on my stomach." She smiled, and looked down at the two very different hands, one long and thin and grey, the other rough and blunt-fingered. "Say hi to him."
"Hey, little guy."
Jubilee nodded. "Good. Now swear on his little heartbeat that you two are gonna try and get along."
They traded a chagrined look across the rounded bulge. "Sneaky, ain't she?" Logan asked.
"Yeah. You know she's gonna keep nagging until we do it, right?" Angelo grinned.
"Yeah. Probably save a lot of time if we just give 'er what she wants now." Logan looked down at his hand. "Michael, I swear on yer li'l heartbeat that I won't beat up yer dad-guy no more."
"And I swear I won't let him beat me up anymore." Ange said sincerely. Then he ruined it by chuckling. "Okay, okay, and I won't pick fights either."
"That's better," Jubilee beamed. She looked over at Emma, who was leaning against the wall, chuckling. "Ya think they'd risk stopping his little heart by breakin' their word?"
"Not if they value their lives, they won't." She straightened, her usual cool reserve sliding into place. "If you're all done, there's going to be a class in here in a few minutes."
"We're done." Jubilee grinned her old, merry grin. "So・ one o' you guys wanna wheel me into the kitchen and make me some lunch?"