Broken Glass
Chapter One : Friends

by Raymond Wood


Disclaimer : Marvel owns the X-men, I'm just borrowing them.
Inspired by Unlimited X-Men #34

Jubilee awoke slowly, slipping out of her bed and making her way silently to the bathroom. At first glance to the mirror a new wave of tears welled in her eyes, a face staring back her own and yet not her own. The irony was not lost to her, of how she exploited herself for the glamour she sought, a prostitute of her heritage to a world seeking the chiche thing for the moment. Turning about, she started the water for a hot shower, then tending to the rags of the costume she had on her from the night prior. Tears finally broke free as the nigh impenitrable floodgates of her emotions opened, collapsing to her knees as heaving sobs shook her petite frame.

He could hear her crying, the tears of one whose dream had been shattered by stark reality. A sigh escaped him as he thought of how happy she had been as of late, landing bit parts in a variety of productions. The entire time he had opposed it, knowing the sleeze out there in the world, praying upon her naivity that had come as of late. He supposed it had been the years of a life as an X-man, and before that a runaway, always having to shield herself to survive. Perhaps for once in her life she wanted to just act her age, letting the maturity ingrained in her lapse, or the bravado slip away as she indulged a dream of others. In the end it had hurt him to see her so broken, like a doll left behind, forgotten.

Turning from his place before the bathroom door, he looked about their apartment, seeking anything to take his mind off the pain his friend and teammate was going through. He noticed the mess it had become, take-out boxes littering the living room and dishes scattered about their small kitchen. Countless times before he said he would clean up this place on his day off, yet never had he made good on those words. Suddenly, it seemed a good way to loose himself to the task, while Jubilee cleaned herself up.

She sat in the tub, the spray of the shower washing over her as the makeup and masscara washed away and down the drain. The tears shed mingled with the spray, vanishing, but the sobs remained. How could she have let herself be used so easily, she had stood up to countless evils of the world, even the depraved mind of Bastion, yet she had let a sleazy manager use her not unlike the role the night prior had held for her. All she wanted was to act her age for once, let the dream of Charles Xavier be cared for by those who still wore the emblem of his X-men. She just wanted to live a normal life for once in her life, like any other teenaged girl her age. But how could one call life in a world that sat upon the brink of war normal.

Slowly she found her way to her feet, her knees using the last strenght she could muster to clean herself up, wash away the filth that she had been covered in. Layers upon layers of filth. It wasn't until the water ran cold that she realized she had been lost to the anger that now filled her. Rinsing the last of the soap off, she climbed out of the shower and turned off the water, wrapping a warm towel about her now goosebump ridden skin. With a glance to the mirror, a familiar face looked back, a face that had been there on nights when her life had taken a turn for the worst, her parents deaths, Logan's near death at the hands of Magneto, Everett's death, her room being burnt by the pigeon-minded bigots and racists. Slowly the face smiled.

"Welcome back." Jubilee whispered, tears lingering in her eyes.

Finally the water stopped, having passed the point when any hot water would remain in the delapitated apartment building that they had found upon their arrival to LA. Giving a glance about the apartment, he couldn't help but smile at the spotless gleam that greeted him, a fresh start. He still needed to vacum, but other than that the clutter was gone, with a few extra garbage bags to take to the chute. Whipping out a tendril of skin, he turned on the coffee maker and pulled down two cups, intent on fixing one to just the way Jubilee liked hers, enough sugar to stop the hearts of small animals and with just a touch of vanilla creamer.

After just having sat down on the sofa with two steaming cups of coffee before him, he finally heard the door of the bathroom creak open. Giving a glance back, he noticed Jubilee wrapped in a towel with her long ebony locks peeking out from the towel she had wrapped about her head. She looked so small and innocent, like a child he thought. A meek smile passed her lips as she looked to him, taking baby steps out from the bathroom and over to the sofa.

"Hi." Jubilee whispered, taking quick glances at Angelo while too trying to avert her own eyes from his.

"Made coffee." Angelo said as he offered her the awaiting brew in her favorite mug, a mug of Willie Coyote she had modified to be her 'Wolvie' mug, adding fangs and mutton chops.

"Thanks." Jubilee whispered, taking the cup in her pale hands, drawing in the warmth.

The pair sat in silence at that point, sipping from their coffee while taking glances occasionally. Jubilee's gaze wandered about the apartment, noticing for the first time in ages that it had actually been cleaned. Angelo hated cleaning she recalled, remembering the arguments Sean had constantly been having with him during their years with Generation X. Setting her cup carefully down on the table, she turned to him and wrapped her arms about him, nestling her head against his chest.

"Thanks." She whispered, feeling his arms wrapping about her in a tender embrace.

"Hey, don't worry about it. What are friends for if not to help pick up the pieces." Angelo whispered, tracing circles about her shoulder.

"Dude, this is above and beyond. I don't even know what I was doing. I was just so clouded and didn't even see what was so painfully obvious to you. I treated you like shit. And yet you forgive me so easily." Jubilee continued.

"Nothing easy about it Jubicita, but you're as stubborn as your Canucklehead. Had to let you figure it out on your own, despite how much it hurt me." Angelo whispered as he pulled Jubilee closer to him.

Jubilee slowly looked up to him, their eyes locking to one another, each noticing the pain filling the depths. Creeping closer, she pressed a chaste kiss to his cheek before slipping out of his grasp and making her way to the hallway that lead to their adjacent bedrooms. Pausing for a moment at the hallway, they looked to one another as indecision caught ahold of them.

"My schedule just got blown open, want to go do something Ange?" Jubilee asked quietly.

"Sure thing Jubes, anything you want. Now go get dressed will ya!" Angelo replied, a little mirth filling his voice in the end, earning a weak chuckle from Jubilee.