Who Your Friends Are

by Dyce

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no money, you know the drill. This story was NEVER intended to go for this long. There's at LEAST two more on the way, too・ <*g*> Hope you're happy, guys. You know, this is starting to resemble Darkchilde's series about Sam and Tabitha・


Jubilee was hungry. She wanted・ she wanted・ she wanted a pastrami and banana sandwich, with ketchup. And a glass of milk. The fact that it was two o'clock in the morning had no bearing on it at all. She was awake, and she was hungry. Food must be gotten.

She could get it, of course, but・ well she should probably get it. Waking someone else up to get food for her in the middle of the night wasn't nice. Even if she was pregnant and tired and hungry. Sighing, she sat up with some difficulty, and swung her legs over the side of the bed.

"Jubes?" The bed's other occupant stirred sleepily. "Where're you going?"

"I'm hungry," she explained, standing up and heading for the door. "You go back to sleep."

"I'll get it for you." Angelo sat up and yawned, his tousled hair flopping into his eyes. "You shouldn't be out of bed."

"I want to go down." Jubilee pouted. "I'm not sleepy."

The great thing about being pregnant, she mused as he climbed out of bed and reached for his robe, was that people kept giving you what you wanted. Take sleeping with Angelo. Everyone, including EVERYONE, had flatly refused when she'd brought up the subject. Except for Ange, of course, who'd been asked first and agreed rather quickly. She'd tried to explain that it wasn't THAT sort of thing・ not yet, anyway. She'd tried to explain that it just made her feel better, and kept the nightmares away. She'd tried to explain that it wasn't, to be perfectly honest, anybody else's business. SHE knew that Ange wouldn't lay a finger on her unless she wanted him to, and she had nightmares when he wasn't there. Reason, needless to say, hadn't worked.

She'd only had to cry hysterically for twenty minutes before they caved.

"Put your robe on." He dropped it around her shoulders. "It's cold."

"Not that cold," she disagreed, but put the robe on anyway. "You really don't have to come down with me. I can make my sandwich myself."

"Indulge me," he said firmly. This, she had learned fairly fast, meant 'be quiet and let me spoil you', so she usually didn't put up much of a fight. He also didn't seem to think she could walk anywhere without his arm around her. Again, she was not inclined to complain.

As they headed down to the kitchen, Jubilee pondered their relationship. She was, she freely admitted, in love with Angelo. She was fairly sure that he reciprocated the emotion. All well and good.

The problem was that she suspected that she also *loved* him, which was different and much more scary. Being IN love was like having a virus. It arrived, you got a bit hot and sweaty for a while, then it went away again. Actually *loving* someone was more like having a leg amputated. As long as you were together, it was fine. When they let go you fell down and couldn't get up.

Oh well. Sandwich now, relationship problems later.

"What do you want?" Angelo already had the fridge open, evaluating the contents. "It better not be sardines, because they're all gone."

"Nope, gone off sardines now." Jubilee leaned over his shoulder. "I want some of that pastrami, with sliced banana, and tomato ketchup. On that weird grain bread Paige eats."

"Sit down. I'll get it for you." Angelo fished the required sandwich components out of the fridge, privately admitting that yes, stretchy skin DID have advantages occasionally, such as when you wanted to hold onto a lot of things and impress someone with how well you handled them. "Do you want a drink?"

"Milk, please." Jubilee smiled bewitchingly at him, and his knees nearly buckled. She looked adorable with her hair all ruffled and her pale blue robe not quite closing over her stomach, but then, he ALWAYS thought she looked adorable.

"Want me to heat it up for you?" She had a weakness for hot milk with cinnamon and honey in it, he'd discovered. Especially when someone else made it for her late at night. "There's still some honey left."

"Yes please." God, she looked about twelve, sitting there at the table with her chin on her hand. So gentle and innocent and trusting・

"'kay." He set the milk to heat and busied himself with the sandwich. "What did Doctor Reyes say this afternoon?"

"Same old. I'm fine, the baby's fine, no signs of any weird sentinel stuff. Eat more folate and less sugar." Jubilee shrugged, kicking the table-leg absently. "She said to stop eating like a teenager."

"Just for a little while." He set the sandwich down in front of her. "I don't know how you can eat these."

"Talk to Michael. He's the one who wants the damn thing." Jubilee bit into the sandwich with a resigned look on her face. "At least he's stopped asking for prunes."

"Michael?" Angelo paused in pouring the milk into a mug.

"I felt dumb talking to him when he didn't have a name." Jubilee patted her stomach. "So I went to this website with all baby names on it. I just liked Michael."

Angelo smiled at her. "Michael Lee, huh?" He stirred in the honey, and set the mug in front of her. "Sounds good." He kissed the top of her head gently.

"Yeah・" Jubilee put the sandwich down and looked up at him. "Ange?"

"What?" He sat down beside her with his own mug of warm milk. He'd gotten a taste for it after making so much for her.

"I don't know if I'm ready to be a mom." She rested one hand gently on her stomach. "What if I'm not a good one?"

"You will be." Angelo reached over to take her hand, squeezing it reassuringly. "I've seen good moms and bad ones, and trust me, you'll do great." He gave her a contemplative look. "Ev's been at you about the adoption thing again, hasn't he." It wasn't a question.

Jubilee sighed. "I know he's just trying to help, but・"

"But you don't want to give Michael up?"

"Exactly." Jubilee wrapped her arms around her stomach protectively. "He's my baby, Ange, I could never let him go. I love him so much already・ 's weird, ya know, I've never even seen him and I love him already."

"I'm getting pretty attached to him myself," Angelo admitted. "And to you, too." He cupped her cheek in one hand, brushing his thumb over her lips. "I・ I'll be here for you and Michael, no matter what, okay?"

"Okay." She smiled, leaning into the caress. "I-"

"Who is・ oh. Hello, Jubilation." Monet was standing in he doorway, her face expressionless. "I heard noises and thought I should check. Enjoy your snack." She turned to leave.

Jubilee sighed. The reactions to her pregnancy had, to say the least, been mixed. Emma was coolly supportive, Sean was nice but felt too guilty about letting it happen to be comfortable around her, Ev was trying to be helpful but wasn't, Jono had simply carried on as usual, bless him, and Paige had been pure help, providing tea, baby lore and remedies for morning sickness with equal facility. The new students had gotten a quick Jubilee-was-kidnapped-and-came-back-pregnant-nobody-talk-about-it rundown,and had for the most part either ignored it or been sympathetic. Monet had simply avoided Jubilee for the last three months. Now, however, Jubilee was in a position to have a little・chat with the Algerian. She looked over at Angelo. "Ange? Can we please have a minute?"

"Sure." Angelo drained his mug and left it on the sink. "I'll see you upstairs when you're done, okay?" She smiled, and he kissed her cheek on his way out.

When she turned back to Monet, however, her expression was glacial. "Please, M, sit down."

Monet's deeply ingrained impeccable manners betrayed her, forcing her to take the proffered seat with at least a semblance of politeness. "Thank you," she gritted out. "I hope I'm not keeping you from your rest."

"Nah, gotta finish my sandwich." Jubilee took a bite, and chewed it contemplatively, then swallowed, giving Monet a very direct look. "So what bug's crawled into your tights, Monet? Ticked off because you can't pound the crap outta me in the gym anymore?"

"No, of course not." Monet stared into the middle distance, her voice icily polite.

"So what's the problem?" Jubilee sipped her cooling milk.

"I don't know what you mean."

"A'course ya do. You've been avoiding me since you found out I was pregnant." A thought suddenly popped into Jubilee's mind, and she frowned. "IS this about that time in the Danger Gym? When I got my butt kicked?"

Monet flinched. "If I had known about your・ condition, I would certainly never have allowed you to endanger yourself. However, since I had no way of knowing, then feeling guilty about the incident would be foolish."

"Okay, nearly killling my unborn child doesn't bother you." Monet flinched. Jubilee shrugged and took another bite of her sandwich. "Kewl. Then why are ya avoidin' me?"

"Jubilee・" Monet sighed. "Has it occurred to you that continuing with this pregnancy may not have been the wisest option?"

"Few times." Jubilee nodded. "What's yer reasoning for thinking it ain't?" Monet just stared at her in surprise. Jubilee scowled. "I may be headstrong, M, but I ain't dumb. I thought long and hard about this before I made my decision. What's your take on it?"

"Well・" Monet obviously hadn't expected to be challenged. "Bastion was a Prime Sentinel. It would seem logical that certain・ traits may have been passed on. Have you considered what you will do if two or five or ten years down the line, your child may turn on you? On all of us?"

Jubilee's eyes closed, and her hands pressed convulsively against her stomach. "I've considered it, yes. But every scan we could run said that there wasn't any tech elements present, so I chose to take the risk." She opened her eyes, and gazed coolly at Monet. "Do you have a problem with that?"

"You made a decision that concerns all of us without consulting anyone." Monet's voice was flat.

"THAT'S what's bugging you? I didn't ask fer your advice!?" Jubilee sat bolt upright in outrage. "This is *my baby* we're talking about! You can't just decide he's an unacceptable risk and get rid of him!"

"Jubilee, I'm hardly the only one-"

"I don't care, you're the one who's HERE!" Jubilee stood up, and leaned over the table, her eyes narrowed. "Assume that you're right. Assume that in five years time, Michael turns out to be a Sentinel and starts trying to kill us. He tries to turn Claudette into a Sentinel too. You have no choice but to take him down, right?"

"I would, of course, only do so as a last resort, but-"

"No, really, I'd understand. Now・ you take him down, only to discover that he's already subverted Claudette. She's a Sentinel too. Trying to kill us all. What would you do?"

"I・" Monet's voice trailed off. "I・see your point." She stared at the tablecloth, refusing to meet Jubilee's eyes.

"Good. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bed." Jubilee stood up, and marched out of the kitchen, leaving plate and mug right where they were. She wasn't particularly surprised to see Angelo sitting on the stairs. "You should have gone to bed."

"Probably." He stood up, and wrapped a comforting arm around her shoulders. "But for some reason I thought you might be upset."

"You knew she wanted to get rid of him," Jubilee whispered, leaning against him.

"She tried to get me to convince you to have an abortion." Angelo steered her gently up the stairs. "She had a very carefully reasoned approach, with logical arguments and a well-thought-out conclusion."

Jubilee stopped in the middle of the hall and stared at him. "What did you say?"

He shrugged. "I heard her out, and then I told her to go to hell."

She hugged him, turning a little so that her stomach wouldn't get in the way. "Thanks."

"Es nada." He opened the door, and gently pushed her in. "Now go back to bed and get some sleep."


Dear god, it's turning into a series・