Nine Lives

by Jen

DISCLAIMER: Marvel Comics owns Jubilee, Gambit and the X-Men. I just simply borrowed them and have since returned them. I have made no money off of this story so please don・t sue me!

NOTE: The near future, in an alternate dimension. The people of the world are the same as the one you have just left. The X-Men are alive and well but there are some SLIGHT details that are different.

Jubilee is 20 years old. Gambit is not the one who participated in the Mutant Massacre. WOLVERINE is the one who helped Sinister and although he remembered nothing of it, due to Sinister・s manipulations, Logan couldn・t handle the grief and the pain and disappeared almost 4 years ago. Not even Cerebro can find the missing mutant.

Due to this sudden hole in her life, Jubilee found herself drawn to Remy. In him, she found a true friend, and a love that she thought would never be returned. Remy was completely unaware that she was deeply in love with him, but only too aware of his own attraction to her. (For Rogue fans, she・s with Magneto. NOT Joseph. Sorry. I had to put her with someone.) Somehow, they have managed to completely ignore these feelings, but it・s getting harder. Oh, I・m IGNORING Onslaught. If people don・t like that, TOUGH. And Jubilee never joined Generation X, although that is around. Her telepathy is just beginning to emerge and she can communicate only when in deep distress or if that person is a telepath. That・s it, so sit back and enjoy..........

・Chere, are you done yet?・

・Gumbo, if ya don・t pipe down I・m gonna ....・

・Gonna what, petite? Tickle me wit dos fireworks o・yours?・

Jubilee glared indignitly at her best friend Remy LeBeau, who was lounging against the freezer section of the supermarket. ・Yer askin・ fer it, bub.・ That word stopped all the others about to come spewing out. It still choked her up. Wolverine was gone, presumed dead. He had left her at a time in her life when she had needed him desperately. It had been four years but the pain and grief was still there.

Remy noticed the shadows fall on Jubilee・s face and stepped next to her. ・Chere, you OK?・ he asked quietly, placing a hand on her yellow raincoat. ・Gambit tinks you need to go home.・

Shaking her head, Jubilee walked away. ・No way, Cajun. I still gotta get the stuff for Hank. Lesse here,・ she peered at the list, pushing aside all thoughts of Logan, ・coffee, coffee, coffee ice-cream -- EEWWW!! -- and .... GUMMY BEARS!??! Hank eats Gummy Bears?・

・He still a big kid, Jubilee. And what・s wrong wit・ Gummy Bears?・ Remy walked off toward the candy section, sticking his hands in the pockets of his own long coat. ・Gambit go get de candy for Beast. Petite, you want someting?・

・Uhhhh .... whatever looks like it・s gonna give me a big sugar rush. AND DON・T CALL ME PETITE!!!!・

・Sure ting, petite.・

・OHHHHHHH!・ Jubilee stomped off towards the coffee section. ・Remy makes me so mad!! But ... he IS really cute. Oh, man, what am I gonna do? He・s my best bud, I can・t have feelings for him! I wish Wolvie was here .... NO! Don・t think about him.・

At the candy aisle.

・Hmmmmm. Dey make so many kinds o・candy. Let・s see. Remy learned his lesson LAST time ... don・ let Jubilee get ahold o・de espresso beans. Chocolate covered nuts? Naw. Well, dere・s de gummy bears. Dey got new kinds. Hank・s gonna get a kick out o・dat. Ahh. De petite・ll like dis ... chocolate covered cherries. Now where she be?・

After Logan had disappeared, Gambit could have killed him. He had never even thought of the friends and family he had left behind. The X-Men had all been in agreement that Logan was not to blame for the crimes of his past. They knew all too well what Sinister was capable of. Gambit had noticed how Jubilee was slowly wasting away and had offered her a shoulder. He had another reason besides helping her. Logan had been a good friend to him too, a person who could listen and not judge. Together, they had managed to get past that stage of helpless grief and anger. Also, it hadn・t helped that Rogue had fallen in love with Magneto, who stayed on with the X-Men even after he started to remember who he was.

The only problem was that he was falling for JUBILEE. He loved the way she handled life and she had a way of cheering him out of his worst moods. When he offered her a shoulder, he didn・t think he・d be offering her his heart. Of course, she didn・t know this and he was going to make sure she WOULDN・T find out.

・Yo, Remy!・ Jubilee was walking towards him, her basket full to the brim. ・Man, Cyke needs to lighten up. He even EATS boring and conservative. Yesh. You done yet or are ya gonna stand there and drool over the candy? Hey, cool! Chocolate covered cherries. Thanks! You know me inside out, man. Give me that and we・ll leave.・

・Gambit ready. Do we have to go anywhere else, or is dat it?・

・We don・t HAVE to go anywhere else, but .....・

・But whaaat ....・ He said slowly, his red eyes boring into her baby blues. ・Gambit got a BAD feelin・ ・bout dis.・

・Well, I was wondering,・ Jubilee started, heading off in search of a short line, ・if we could go by the river? Pleeeeaasse????・

Gambit thought about it and shrugged. ・Sure, why not? It・s only 3:00, we got plently o・time.・

・Thanks, Remy. Can I drive?・

・Over my dead body are ya drivin・ my bike.・




・Non ....・

And so it went on, until they were actually standing beside the fore mentioned bike. This was Gambit・s pride and joy and he didn・t even allow Cyclops to drive it. (Not that Cyclops would want to.)

・Get on, petite. Besides, you don・ have a license for a bike, ・memeber?・

・Fine. Just help me load the stuff.・

After a few minutes of stuffing, squishing and cursing in three different languages, they were ready to go. Although, the bag on the back of the bike looked like it was going to explode and kill everyone within in a 500 mile radius.

・Hang on, mon chere. Dis is gonna be fast!・ Like a rocket, the bike took off through the parking lot and out onto the highway. Due to the fact that she was about to fall off and become roadkill, Jubilee had no choice but to hang on to Remy・s waist. Not that either one of them minded.

The river, 20 minutes later...

・God, I love this place. Don・t you, Cajun?・ Jubilee asked, hopping off the bike and spinning in circles.

The Majes River was shrouded by tall pine trees, and the afternoon sun filtered in. The woods were silent except for the birds and bugs. And Jubilee. The river itself was fairly big, and it ran pretty fast. No one could remember where the name had come from.

・Yeah, petite. Dis place is tres beautiful. Want to walk? Or jus・ sit and chatter like dem birds?・

・Walk. I・m too full of chocolate to sit. Come ON, Remy.・

Gambit just shook his head and followed the rambunctious woman, for she was one at that. He had to keep thrusting that little fact from his head but it kept jumping back in. She was short for her age but slender and graceful as no woman had a right to be. Though he could do without her choose of clothes. A mallrat was a mallrat was a mallrat.

Jubilee stopped and waited for the Cajun to catch up. She studied him as he effortlessly strode through the tall grass. He was tall and broad at the shoulders. Though he had a very trim waist. But underneath that slenderness were muscles formed from his early days as a member of the Thieves Guild in New Orleans and exploits with the X-Men. He had on a weird type of body armor that nobody could identify, not even Beast. Oh well, to each their own.

They walked for a ways in silence, appreciating each others company. The wind whipped through Jubilee・s shoulder length black hair and Gambit・s shoulder length brown hair.

A sudden cry broke the silence.

・What was that ....・ Jubilee said, breaking into a run, heading in the direction of the sound.

・Don・ know, petite. Gambit tinks it sounds like someting very scared.・ Gambit・s longer legs served him well as they rushed towards the river・s bend. There, on a tree which was hanging into the water, was a small cat. It was hanging on for dear life and emoting loud meows every five seconds. The tree upon which it was stuck looked like it had been knocked down by a storm they had been hit with a few days ago. It wasn・t in the water all the way, but looked like it could go any second.

・Now what, Gambit?・

・What else? We rescue de poor ting.・


・I・ll rescue de cat. I・m better dan you at balancin・, petite. I・ll jus walk over de tree, carefully, an・ grab de kitty an・ come back. Simple, non?・

・I don・t think so.・


・Gambit, look at the tree!・ Jubilee pointed at it with urgency. ・It・s hanging by a thread. If you get on it, your weight just may cause it to crack. And then you・ll be in the river along with a kitten. I・LL go. I・m slimmer.・

Remy rounded on her. ・Over my dead body! I don・t tink so petite. It・s too dangerous. I・ll ...・

・Too DANGEROUS!! I have been with the X-Men as long as you have, buster! I have been in most of the scrapes you have been in and a few you haven・t. Logan,・ Jubilee closed her eyes, and reopened them, glaring at Remy, ・taught me how to do things.・

・I don・ care ....・

・Well, I DO!!・ With that, Jubilee brought up her hands and her pyrokintics exploded, blinding Gambit. Grabbing his eyes in pain, Gambit staggered back, trying to think through the bright lights that swirled in his head.

Satisfied, Jubilee shed her raincoat and climbed up the tree. She could see the kitten clearly now, it was small and sort of silvery. ・You better appreciate this, cat.・

Foot in front of foot, Jubilee carefully balanced her weight. She didn・t quite put the whole weight on the first step. First the ball of her foot then the heel. It felt like ages before she was before the cat. ・Thank you God and thank you Scott ・you-have-to-do-it-over-for-at-least-a-hundred-times Summers for making me do those boring excerises in the Danger Room!・ she thought as she scooped up the cat.

By this time, Remy could see and think again, and he stood by the edge of the water. He was mad. She had endangered herself to save a cat and he could have done it in half the time. His head pounded from where her fireworks had made contact and he glared at the woman on the tree.

・I tink you done havin・ your fun. Get down.・ He turned but something caught his eye. It was a large something floating down the river, and it was heading straight for Jubilee. The river was moving faster than ever due to the flooding of the other night. ・JUBILEE! Get down!・ His heart nearly stopped.

Jubilee twisted her head and looked at the large object, which turned out to be a downed tree. ・Oh my ...・ Without thinking she threw the cat at Remy just in time. The tree smashed into the one Jubilee was standing on, sending her flying through the air. She landed in the middle of the river and was swept away.

・NO!・ Gambit put the cat in Jubilee・s coat, and ran down the bank. ・Oh God, please please, let Jubilee be okay. Don・ take her away. I can・t live wit・out her. She can swim but not dat good.・ While his thoughts jumbled around in his head, Remy was sheding his coat. He was scaning the river, trying to catch any sight of her.

All Jubilee felt was the cold. The mind numbing cold that ate away at her resistence. ・No!・ Suddenly, her head was above water and she could see that she was heading towards the far bank. If she could just reach it. She started to swim against the current and, although she can hardly swim, tried her best. A little farther. Just a little.

Just as she was about to reach safety, she slammed into another tree. ・Damn trees!・ She clung on for dear life, exhaustion eating at her like a disease. She hadn・t gotten a lot of sleep last night and that was not helping any. Wildly, Jubilee thought ・GAMBIT!!・

Remy nearly buckled under the psycic blow he felt. Luckly, though, it gave him an idea of where she might be. He sprinted over and around trees, an eye constantly on the river. Suddenly, he saw her. She was on the far side of the bank on a tree. ・What is it wit・ de trees today? If I didn・t know better, I would tink der was someone who was out to get us.・

Without hesitating, Remy jumped in the raging river and swam over to Jubilee. Just in time. Right as he got there, she slipped off the tree and into his arms. It didn・t look like she was breathing. He somehow managed to drag her out of the river and onto the safety of the bank.

Laying her down, he checked her breathing. ・Come on petite! Don・ be doin・ dis to Gambit!・ Remy started to do mouth to mouth and CPR. Nothing. ・COME ON! DON・. YOU. LEAVE. ME. JUBILEE! DAMN YOU! IF YOU DIE, I・LL KILL YOU MYSELF! NOOOO!・

With that last, heartfelt scream, he shoved down on her chest. A few seconds went by. Then, with a gush of water, Jubilee started breathing.

・Tank you God. Tank you.・ He rolled her over on her side and stroked her back.

Jubilee heaved and got rid of the water on her lungs and stomach. She flopped on her side. ・R - Remy? COUGH! Is that you? Are we -- dead?・

・Non, mon chere. Very much alive. How do you feel?・ Remy helped her into a sitting position. She was shivering violently and clutched at his shirt.

・Did ya catch the license plate number of that stupid tree?・ she asked weakly.

・Sorry, petite,・ Gambit apologized, grinning. ・Everyting happened so fast.・ His eyes softened as did his words. ・I tought I lost you. Don・ ever do dat to me.・ He gathered her up in his arms and held on for dear life. Jubilee was too tired to do anything but cuddle up to him.

・Remy, I -- I have to tell you something. I・m in --・

・Shhhh.・ His words didn・t shut her up but his kiss sure did. She kissed him back with a fever she didn・t know existed. He softened his kiss and drew away. ・Come on, chere. We gotta get you back ta de mansion so Hank can look at you. An・ don・ worry, I ain・t goin・ anywhere for a lon・ time. An・ dat・s a promise.・

Smiling, Jubilee nodded and tried to stand. Her legs had forgotten how to work and she would have fallen down had it not been for Remy. He swept her up in his arms and preceded to walk towards a bridge. They would cross over it and go home. But first ....

・I love you, mon chere. Always have, I guess.・

Jubilee didn・t answer, for she was already asleep, having fallen asleep to the lull of his beating heart. Her heart was beating in time with his.

Remy grinned. ・Les bons temps rouler!・ he said cheerfully, and walked towards their future.