It was a dank, cold night. Rain fell like slow tears, tapping mournfully against his window, as he lay on his bed and tried to close his ears. A thunderstorm would have been different. The roar of the rain, crashing thunder and brilliant lightning・ or a clear night, full of stars. Even a warm, cloudy night. But no, that was too much to ask. Angelo sighed, sitting up and turning on the dim bedside lamp. He was depressed, tired, and craving a cigarette, with neither sleep nor smoke apparently available.
He was just wondering whether to dwell on his slowly blackening lungs, or the usual hideousness thing, when there was a tap on the door.
"Déjeme solo!" He leaned his head back against the wall, closing his eyes. He didn't want any company right now. "Vuelto por la mañana! Come back in the morning!"
"Angelo?" It was Jubilee. Crap. He couldn't shout at her, it'd upset her. She'd been so jumpy lately.
He ccould try to get rid of her politely, though. "Not now, Jubes, it's late, and you aren't supposed to be in the guy's dorms." Tomorrow, then. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Angelo, please・ open the door・" Her voice wavered.
Angelo sat up, one hand already extending towards the door. She sounded as if she was・ crying? He followed his hand to the door, and pulled it open. "Jubilee・ what's wrong?"
She stood in the hallway, arms wrapped tightly around her pyjama-clad self as she shivered convulsively. Her face was pale and her eyes were wide and unfocused as she looked up at him. "C-can I talk to you?"
"I guess." He opened the door wider, letting her step inside. She looked like she was in shock, he realized, and the depressive haze that filled his mind receded a little. He liked Jubilee・ liked her a lot, as it happened・ and she looked like she'd had the kind of nightmare that turns your hair white. The kind that's still there when you wake up. "What happened?"
"I・" The tears welling up in her eyes spilled over, and she started to sob softly. "I just wanted to talk to someone・"
This was bad. He'd never seen Jubilee cry like this before. Now that he thought about it, he didn't think he'd EVER seen her cry. "Jubecita・ come on, sit down and tell me about it." He guided her gently to the chair by his desk, pulling it around so that he could sit next to her on the bed. "You sure you don't want me to get Paige or-"
"NO!" Jubilee's voice rose hysterically. "I don't want her to know! I don't want *anyone* to know! I wasn't going to tell anyone ever but I'm so scared and I just gotta tell one person and then I'll be able to deal with it, I will, I just gotta talk it through, that's all."
A horrible suspicion insinuated itself into Angelo's mind. Reaching out slowly, he took one small cold hand in his. "Tell me what's wrong, Jubilee. Start at the beginning, and don't leave anything out."
She did. Starting with her capture by Bastion, and through the list of horrors he'd inflicted on her. All of them. The mental. The emotional. And the physical. "And I thought it was over." Her voice was faint and dull. "For weeks I thought it was over. And then・ then my period was late. And I thought it must be th-the shock, right? And the stress, and the weight-loss・ you lose your period if you lose too much weight, you know, an' I hardly ate anything the whole time I was there・"
"But then I started feeling sick all the time, so yesterday I went out and got a test・" She gazed fixedly at the hands she'd folded carefully in her lap. "It was p-positive・"
He would kill him. He would track down that psychopathic bastard and *kill* him for doing this! Every instinct he had, every pounded-in-from-birth belief that it was his duty, his *right* to protect his family, was telling him to get up, walk to the door, find Bastion, and tear him to into tiny little pieces. Very slowly. As soon as Jubilee was comforted.
Tentatively, not sure whether she could cope with the contact, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. They sat still for a moment, then Jubilee's face crumpled, and suddenly she was clinging to him, sobbing into his chest. "I'm scared・ Ange, I'm so scared・"
"I know. I know you're scared, but it's gonna be okay." He hugged her gently, stroking her hair. "It's gonna be okay, Jubes, I promise・"
"No it's not," she gulped.
"It is. I'll make it be okay." In that moment, it didn't seem like a foolish thing to say. "Shhh・ shhh・ don't cry, preciosa." He rocked her slowly, resting his cheek against her hair. "We'll fix it somehow・"
Her head snapped up and she glared at him. "Don't you even th-think about hurting my b-baby! Ever!"
"I wouldn't," he soothed, cradling her gently. "Here." Digging around in a drawer with an extended tendril of skin, he located a small box of tissues, and offered one to her. "Blow."
She did, taking another one to wipe her eyes. "I don't know what to do. I don't・" she flushed, looking away from him. "I just・ don't want anyone to know, but I can't STOP them from knowing."
"If you want to keep it hidden, why are you telling me?" Angelo asked reasonably, taking the crumpled tissues from her hand and tossing them into his wastepaper basket. "Want some water?"
"Yes please." She accepted the glass of water he kept beside his bed, and took a sip. "I'm tellin' ya 'cause・ I dunno, 'cause I knew you'd understand." She put the glass down and rested her head against his shoulder. "I mean・ Paige and Ev wouldn't, ya know? Their lives've been way too nice. And Jono wouldn't, not really, and I can't tell Sean or Emma, and def'nitely not M・" She trailed off, sniffling a little.
"I do understand." In a weird way, it felt good to know that he was useful for *something*, even if it was emergency counselling. He dabbed gently at a damp spot on her cheek. "Want to talk about it?"
"Okay." He rested his cheek against her hair again, stroking her back in slow circles. "Up to you."
They sat that way for a while. "What am I going to do?" Jubilee whispered. "People are gonna stare, and talk about me behind my back, and f-feel sorry for me. Look, they'll think, there goes the poor kid Bastion knocked up. It's so tragic. Her life is ruined."
Angelo looked down at her, still stroking her back gently. "Is that what's bothering you? That everyone'll know Bastion did it?"
"Well・ kinda. I don't want pity. I was coping fine. I am coping fine. I'm doing okay with it, really, but・ they'll all know that I was・ that he・" Jubilee sniffled, hiding her face in his t-shirt as she half lay against him.
"Only if you tell them." He absently pulled the blanket up over her legs.
She looked up at him quizzically. "And what am I gonna do for the next eight months? Hold a really big book in front of my stomach an' hope no-one notices?"
At least her sense of humour seemed to be coming back. Angelo sighed, hugging her. "I hope you realize I wouldn't do this for just anyone, chica, but・" He flushed a little. "Well・ if you don't want anyone to know who it really was, I'll take the blame, if you want."
Jubilee sat up, and stared at him. "Ya mean you'd say ya・" She blushed. "Ange, it's sweet, but-"
"But nobody would believe it, right." A familiar bitter note found its way into his voice. "I don't blame you."
"I didn't mean that! Yer so self-obsessed." She swatted him, and hugged him tightly. "But I can't let ya take the fall fer this one. I mean, Sean'd be furious and Frosty'd schiz and Wolvie'd KILL ya・"
"No he won't," Angelo asserted, with more confidence than he felt. "He wouldn't orphan the nino before he's even born."
"But・ what about after he's born?" Jubilee's face fell again.
Angelo sighed, taking her hands gently in his. "Nobody ever has to know. Not even him." He loosed one hand to cup her cheek gently, tilting her chin up so that their eyes met. "I mean it, Jubes. I'll help you, here. I'll spend the rest of my life convincing people that I'm his father if necessary. I'll BE his father, if you want."
Her eyes filled. "But・ you aren't. How can you make that kind of commitment to him? It's not your fault, you didn't get me into this-"
"I'm not committing to him, I'm committing to you." He hugged her tightly, his voice muffled in her neck. "I don't suppose this is a good time to tell you I'm crazy about you, is it?"
"Yer not." Jubilee's voice was firm. "I know yer not." She paused. "Are you?"
"Yes." He leaned back, rubbing his hands tiredly over his face. "Have been since Halloween. When we played that prank on the townies, remember? Then."
Jubilee blinked. "Then?"
Angelo shrugged, looking away from her. "You're cute when you gloat."
"Why didn't ya say anything?"
He shrugged again. "Why? I didn't want to screw up a good friendship."
"Jerk." Jubilee folded her arms and glared.
That was unexpected enough to get a reaction from Angelo, and he looked up at her. "What?"
"Ya shoulda *told* me! I mean, one of my best buds *likes* me and he doesn't even bother to mention it? What if I had a thing fer *you*, and you never found out 'cause yer too chicken to take a little risk?"
"DO you?" He countered.
"Do I what?" Jubilee smiled for the first time that night.
"Have a thing for me?" he demanded.
"Well・ a little one." She blushed. "I mean・ well・" That was as far as she got. Before she could say anything else, Angelo was holding her tenderly, as carefully as if she was made of spun glass. He scattered kisses over her face and lips that were as light as snowflakes, but infinitely warmer. Jubilee, never being the passive type, wrapped her arms around his neck and responded in kind.
An indeterminate amount of time later, they lay snuggled together, her head on his shoulder. She was, she thought sleepily, rather bizarrely happy. She was pregnant to a psychopathic sentinel, planning on trying to decieve a whole horde of telepaths, and throwing herself into the arms of a teammate that up until tonight, she'd found mildly attractive but never even considered getting involved with. Someone who she liked and trusted, but had always thought of as a friend. Who had more than his fair share of problems as it was・ Who had held her and kissed her for hours, without laying a finger on her. Who had promised that everything would be all right. She wouldn't be alone. He would be there with her.
"The sun's coming up." He sounded sleepy too.
"'s pretty." She yawned, snuggling down. "Mind if I go to sleep here?"
"Jubilee, if you NEVER leave I'll be happy," he assured her with complete sincerity, as he stretched out a tendril of skin, pulling the blanket over them both.
"Good." She closed her eyes. "Ange?"
"I love the Marvin the Martian boxers, I really do."
"I love your Yoda pyjamas too."