"You in or ・ya out, kid?"
She shut her eyes, despite the fact that she couldn・t see anything at all ・black, pitch black. He had blindfolded her, and she guessed by the echo of his voice that the room was pretty much empty save herself, her captor, and the chair she was sitting on. There wasn・t even a window, and she didn・t have the luxury of night vision as he did.
"I・m not going to tell you again," she said defiantly, "Don・t call me kid."
This elicited a chuckle from him. "You ain・t exactly in the position to bargain," he grinned. "What・re you gonna do? Bleed on me? If it・s good enough for Logan, it・s good enough for you."
He laughed aloud, and she squirmed a little in the ropes, ignoring the stabbing pain in her side where he had slashed her. Even though the wound was deep, she knew even when he had struck that he・d held back.
"Doesn・t seem like much of a bargain to me," she replied.
She steeled herself as the sounds of his heavy footsteps neared her. Trying to hide the urge to recoil, she felt the heat of his body as he leaned over her, and reached around behind her, gently untying the blindfold. Opening her eyes, she looked around the room, but it was nothing but darkness. Even after a moment when she had adjusted to it, it seemed as though she still wore the blindfold.
Tugging again at the ropes, she had renewed hope now that sight had been restored. She turned slowly as a low growl rumbled towards her from across the room, and a pair of reflective yellow eyes opened in narrow slits not a few feet from her. It sent chills down her spine.
"I・m not inta playing games, girl." He growled. "I・ve been paid ta do a job, and time is money." He came nearer to her again, using his closeness to threaten her. "And yer wasting my time..."
"So let me get this straight," she said. "You want me to infiltrate the Hand, win over Viper, and then help you kill her?" She paused, waiting for his answer. "No matter how much I hate her, I・m no killer, Creed. You know that."
He sighed aloud. "Ya・ got a hearin・ problem? I told you, you・re only my eyes on the inside. When it comes time ta do tha deed, I・m the man for the job."
"So just exactly how am I supposed to feed you information? Mail you a letter? The Hand has eyes and ears everywhere, you know."
"Don・t worry, kid. I・ve got a solution. It・ll cost ・ya a little somethin・," he came near her again, his face only a few inches from hers. She felt his hot breath and the grin spreading across his face all within a matter of seconds. "・but in the end," he continued, "I know you・d do anything for the runt."
Jubilee・s eyes fluttered open. She sat up at once in the bed, and scanned the room. Something didn・t feel right・Her eyes. And then she remembered. "Why do I have a feeling I made a deal with the devil?" she asked herself, rising to her feet and walking over to the floor-length mirror. She pushed her tangled hair back from her forehead, and looked closely at her eyes in the mirror. "Bluer than I remember, "she murmured to herself. But they had that strange lustre to them. Like Betsey・s eyes had. Only someone that had seen a pair of artificial eyes before would notice. Her vision was excellent before, but now it was startlingly clear. She imagined that this is what it might be like to see through HIS eyes.
She sighed and sat down on the edge of the hospital bed, and grabbed the sheets from the top, pulling them around her. Logan would be worried about her. So would the X-Men and her teammates at the school. Emma would be furious. Sabretooth had abducted her in the middle of the night. The jerk had managed to catch her sneaking in from a late night out in Soho. Nice of him to kidnap her on her twenty-first birthday ・what a guy. "Guess that・s what I get for trying to go it alone," she chided herself. Of course, it hadn・t helped that her slightly less-than-sober state had thrown her off guard or that he・d managed to slash her before she・d had a chance to scream or at least get a paft off. She remembered him dragging her back to the waiting car, sliding himself in and yanking her after him. He shut the door and removed his hand from her mouth, and she started screaming at him, despite the fact she felt a little dizzy from the wound.
"Once my friends find me, you・re going to be so sorry!!! You・d better hope Logan isn・t・"
"You・re right, babe. I・ll probably burn in hell! Haw! Now shut your trap and listen, or I・ll shut it for ・ya!"
Back in the present, Jubilee was hoping that no one found her. If Logan got word as to why she was helping his greatest enemy, it would put a mighty strain on their already strained relationship. It had been so long since she and Logan had talked ・REALLY talked. Not the goofy banter they tossed around in front of their teammates, but a real conversation, a real connection. And the last straw had been him missing her birthday. Not that Logan didn・t miss everything else ・her graduation, every birthday before this one・But she felt that he・d taken a distinctly hands-off approach now that she was grown up. She・d let him have it. It had killed her to say over a long distance phone line the things she wanted to say to his face, but it also made it easier. She・d been too mad before and angrier still afterwards to take anything back.
The door opened unexpectedly, and she jumped backwards a little as Sabretooth pushed his way through.
"Here," he said, tossing a bag her way. "Put this on."
She opened the bag and found a simple black jumpsuit. She felt the material. It looked like it absorbed light and was made of unstable molecules like the suit she wore with Gen-X. She looked back up at Creed.
"Do you mind?!"
A salacious grin pulled on one corner of his mouth, "Not unless you do."
She threw the costume down on the bed. "Well, I DO mind. Now GET OUT!"
Moments later, she stepped out of the room into the hallway. The light clicks on the tile floor made a thought pop into her head. "Heels・what a joke." At least they weren・t too high.
"Well, well," Creed sneered from around the corner.
Jubilee crossed her arms and glared back at him. "Get your kicks while you can Creed. When I・m done with Viper, you・re next."
"I・m real scared," he said, circling her, his large frame dwarfing her own. "Who・da thought you・d turn out to be such a looker, kid? Maybe when this caper・s over, you and I could get better acquainted." He ran a hand through her hair, letting his hand brush against her back.
"Don・t bet on it Creed," she said jerking away. "The only thing you・d better get ・acquainted・ with is watching YOUR back," she said, pushing him away from her with her hand.
He didn・t like that at all.
"Listen, frail," he said seething, "You just remember, I・ve got yer eyes. And I can have the Doc deactivate those pretty little orbs in yer head with the flick of a switch."
"That wasn・t part of the deal, Creed!" she yelled back at him. "Not that I expected you to keep your word anyway. You・re nothing but an animal." She turned to walk away from him
He grabbed her arm and jerked her back towards him, "We・re all animals, darlin・. I just happen to be at the top of the food chain. Time ・ill come when you hafta decide where you・re gonna sit."
So far, so good. It looked like her training with that nut Sabretooth had paid off after all. It had been months since her disappearance in New York, and most of that time had been spent with Creed and his hired cronies, making sure that she would be good enough to get on the inside and get to Viper.
The Hand was composed of members tied to the organization by heredity. They did not welcome outsiders despite Viper taking over the organization by force. She had earned their respect, and then their acceptance. Jubilee hoped she could do the same long enough to carry out her mission.
She crouched in the darkness, her long hair bound behind her in a tight braid. The test consisted of multiple attacks by ninja assassins, if she survived, she was welcomed into the fold. She would have to kill them all. Disgusting things. They dissolved once they had been rendered unconscious to leave no traces that they had ever existed. She was supposed to sense them, anticipate their attack, and then counter them lethally. So far, it had worked. They were skilled fighters, but they didn・t think for themselves. They acted as a group, which left them vulnerable to individual attack. She・d used this to her advantage by hunting them instead of waiting for them to find her.
She could sense one of them below her. His almost inhuman movements caught her eye, like a spider scurrying across a floor. He was heading for the shadows. Too bad he・d never make it there. Jubilee slid carefully down from the rooftop, noiselessly stepping onto the ground, and following the man into the edge of the shadows. She carefully drew the sais out of her belt. He didn・t even have time to cry out. The body fell to the ground with a soft thud, and Jubilee noticed she・d attracted the attention of another adversary. She slid stealthily into the shadows, hiding herself among them, and moving away from the attacker and back up to the rooftop. She had to admit she was pretty impressed with herself. It hadn・t seemed possible merely three months ago, but she had stuck to the training, despite her teacher・s constant antagonism and lurid behavior. And she had stopped questioning about whether or not the decision was the right one long ago. She was doing this for Logan, whether he liked it or not. He had been honor bound to marry Viper, despite the fact that she・d tried to kill him, despite the fact that she was one of the most disgusting creatures alive, despite the fact that he hated what that bond symbolized. He would protect his honor and his promise.
Jubilee had no such compunction. She intended to make sure that their bond was severed ・ permanently. Not by herself, but by Sabretooth. He promised she would be out of the way for good in exchange for her services. By joining forces with her Jubilee would have the ability to get in close to the woman, and with her new bionic eyes, all of Viper・s weaknesses would be exposed to Sabretooth. What worried her was the fact that Creed had been contracted to kill her. Someone wanted Viper out of the way. Was it personal? Was it someone trying to usurp her position as lead of the Hand? Was it someone trying to weaken the Hand to gain control of Madripoor? There were too many questions left unanswered. The idea lingered in her mind that removing someone even as vile as Viper could pave the way for something even worse. But either way, at least the woman would be out of Logan・s life.
The lights surrounding the training pen came on. Jubilee stood and surveyed the area around her. Where there should be bodies, there were none. But she had counted at least thirty others in the training area with her. She wiped absently at the warm red trickling down her shoulder. "One had managed to draw blood," she thought to herself. "Though very little."
She squinted at the bright lights that lit up the dojo in front of her. The black outline of a female form slowly made its way down the steps.
"Viper," she whispered to herself.
"Maybe you should tell me why I can trust you?" The woman・s verdant lips curled into a smile, and she raised the cup to her lips. Jubilee caught the flash of fangs. "I know you・re an acquaintance of my husband." She accented the last word just enough to make a sharp stab of anger rise in Jubilee. She hoped that it would work in her favor.
"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," she said, leveling her eyes to the other, and raising her glass to her lips as well. Very carefully, so as not to be detected, she sniffed for traces of poison then took a drink from the glass.
"So," Viper said, leaning back into the pillows tossed across the floor. "You・ve come here to secure an alliance then?"
"Something like that," she offered, smiling at the other woman. "And I・m not foolish enough to believe I can earn your trust based simply on vengeance." She set the glass down and a servant appeared to refill it. "But it・s a start."
"Yes," she replied. "I can use someone like you. In fact a matter of late has come to my attention. Initially it was just an annoyance, but now it has become a threat." The woman narrowed her eyes, radiating hatred.
"What did you have in mind?" Jubilee asked the other woman. She casually scanned the room with her eyes, allowing her optics to pick up everything in their path.
"The Red Skull had taken too keen an interest in my operations here in Madripoor."
"The Red Skull?" Jubilee asked aloud. "I・d heard he was dead."
"Aren・t we all every now and then?" she asked with a thin smile that held no humor. Then it was gone. "I want to send him a message ・that I・m not to be messed with. I know he・s hired an assassin to track me down, but he slipped beneath my radar. Whoever he is, he・s very good."
"And you think I・m up to this?" Jubilee asked.
"I think you had better be."
"Great," she thought to herself. "Now I・m working as a hired hand for the woman I hate most, against a villain I know little or nothing about, and possibly going up against Sabretooth, which would could blow both our covers."
Was Creed working for a man who was a former Nazi sympathizer and had been convicted of genocide? The man was bad all the way through. It was hard to believe that he・d fought by their side at one point. At least Magneto had standards. She was getting herself in deeper than she・d wanted to be. The realization dawned on her that she・d been naïve to think it would be so comfortable to get close to Viper. She・d guessed she・d have to get her hands dirty ・she just didn・t realize HOW dirty. Where did she begin? Well, she could start with Creed. He owed her the truth. The trick would be making it look like she・d found him on her own.
Good thing Viper had lots of resources at her disposal. She had a database search for mercenaries and assassins, narrowing the list to those that she・d consider in Viper・s "league". It turned out to be a relatively short list. Bullseye, Sabretooth, a few others and a mysterious character known as Crossbones. Crossbones had been known to use Madripoor as a base of operations from time to time and a short hack away by one of Viper・s cronies, and Jubilee had his file from the Avenger・s database. According to a report by Captain America, Crossbones had been in the employ of the Red Skull up until a few years ago. The report also detailed the man・s particularly vicious fighting style. If this were her guy, it wasn・t going to be pretty. Where could you find a good 5・3" Kanuk with a healthy mean-streak when you needed him? She missed Logan. She missed the Academy too, but she missed Logan above all else. Of all the people that had fallen in and out of her life, it had been most heartbreaking to watch him drift away. Something inside her believed with Viper out of the way, he・d go back to being his old self.
She grabbed Sabretooth・s dossier and headed out the door. It was time to plant the seeds.
Ah, the beauty of night vision. A liability that was no longer hers to claim. The bionic eyes compensated for the darkness.
"He・ll have switched his base of operations after tossing me out of the nest," she thought to herself. But he had taught her too well. She had dropped a few hints at the local bars, and though he・d managed to stay out of sight, the money she was offering was just too good for one unlucky fool to pass up. As she paid the man, she almost pitied him, knowing what would happen when Creed caught up with him. She felt a twinge of fear herself, wondering what he would do when she caught up with him. He would know she was coming, and she was possibly interfering in his work. The only thing that Creed loved more than money was a chance to gut Wolverine.
She wore a moderate disguise, knowing that nothing would hide her from Creed・s supersenses, but enough to appear as though she was giving some effort. The location was a houseboat in Lowtown ・one of her and Logan・s old haunts. It had been more than she could take to listen to Viper go on about him, now she was forced to walk a ghost path. She cut through the dirty docks, ignoring the hard stares of the locals. No one would remember her after all this time. Double checking the location, and finally doing a quick survey of the surrounding area, Jubilee made her way onto the houseboat.
It was dark inside. Smelled like a trap, but what was the point of Creed really trapping her? She knew he wasn・t stupid・she was his eye on the inside・
"Creed," she said in a low whisper. "I know you・re in there. Come out, your number・s up."
<THUNK> She barely had time to react. She saw a flash of her attacker through the darkness. Then the sound of another bolt loading. "Single load crossbow," she told herself, her instincts kicking in.
"Only number・s up is yours, babe!" said the other voice, breaking the silence. It was not Creed・s.
Victor Creed adjusted his trenchcoat and sniffed. He・d been set up. Thrown the girl into the mess on top of it. An accident, but if the runt found out he were involved, wouldn・t be too happy. Ah, who cared? Still, the girl had done a good job. He pulled up his binoculars, and surveyed the boat from the hilltop. He didn・t like being set up ・they・d played him, and good. It made him look unprofessional, and in his line of work getting the job done was all that mattered. Of course, in turn, he・d played them, throwing Jubilee into their trap instead of himself, but it was only a temporary victory. They might come after him. Besides, he wanted to get paid. There were already too many players. Time to even things up.
"Cap, there・s an incoming call on line 2 for you."
"Thanks, Peg," he answered, lifting the receiver. "Yes?"
"Gotta tip for ・ya blue britches," came the scratchy voice from the other line.
"Who is this?" he asked, annoyed. He hit a button to trace the call.
"No one you know, doll. Now pay attention," he directed. "Your old buddy tha Red Skull is hangin・ round Madripoor again."
"Why?" he asked bluntly.
"He・s lookin・ to put the Viper out of business. Fer good."
"And what・s in it for you?"
"Let・s just say I got my toesies stepped on a little too hard, eh?"
"Where do I find him?"
"You・ll know where to find him. ・Sides I think you still need to earn your tracking badge. Haw!!"
The line went dead, and Cap slowly put down the receiver. The voice was familiar, but he couldn・t pinpoint it. Someone from his past・
"Peggy," he ordered, hitting the comlink, "Get me a pilot and a Quinjet fueled and ready to leave in half an hour." He wasn・t going to waste anytime. If the Skull was involved, he knew it meant trouble.
Jubilee woke up with a pounding headache, and a sharp pain in her right shoulder. In seconds her eyes had adjusted to the darkness. Not a door or window in sight. She stood and tested the floor and the walls ・solid. This sucked. At least she wasn・t permanently damaged. Crossbones had been generous enough to knock her unconscious when she had paft him in the eyes. How was she going to get herself out of this?
One consolation was that Creed had been duped as badly as she had. There was no way that events had fallen in his favor given Crossbones appearance at his hideout. She tried to put all of the pieces together. "Creed gets hired by the Skull to off Viper," she thought to herself. "He brings me into the picture, convincing me to get in close to the Viper. An extra player that perhaps the Skull hasn・t anticipated. I succeed, and try to make contact with Creed, all the while transmitting information. Creed gets the shaft." She sat down frustrated, trying to understand the connection. Just then, the wall separated as a door was revealed, and Crossbones stepped through.
"Well, well, well・If it isn・t little miss firecracker? Got any more pretty lights ta show me?"
"Don・t quit your day job."
"Come on. The Viper wants ta see ya." He walked towards her, jerking her towards the door. "And don・t try anything cute, or I・ll break your neck."
"So what is your connection to Sabretooth?!" she asked sharply. "If you tell me, I・ll go easier on you."
"He hired me to spy on you," she answered.
"How were you transferring information?"
"I can tell you," Bones suddenly answered. He reached over and grabbed Jubilee・s chin with his hand, twisting her face towards Viper. "Optic implants."
"Clever・" Viper mused.
"You pay the bill, sport?" she said to Bones under her breath. It earned her punch in the stomach.
"Don・t speak until you・re spoken to."
"I・ll take that as a ・yes・," she taunted, still out of breath. She could tell he was drawing back for another whack at her.
"Stop!" Viper commanded. "All in due time Crossbones," she slid her hand down his arm, easing his hand tensed for an attack. "I feel like going another round with my husband," she said standing before Jubilee. "You・ll make wonderful bait, don・t you think?"
"I told you, he・s not interested, witch," Jubilee spat, wiping blood from the corner of her mouth. "He and I parted ways a long time ago."
"Oh, you・d better hope not," she replied. "For your own sake, I hope Logan make a VERY sincere attempt to rescue you." She turned and walked away.
Jubilee lifted her head, to see Bones sneering at her through his mask, his arms crossed in front of him, a nervous throttle in his body. She didn・t like the way he was eyeing her.
"Bones! Come along," Viper trailed after her. "You can play with her later."
Great. She was front and center for the World・s Greatest Sadist Competition. What a couple of sickos. Then a sinking feeling swelled in the pit of her stomach. Logan was going to find out about everything now. Any hope she・d had of rekindling things between them was about to die. Hell, she might even die. "If I live through this," she swore, "Creed is going to get his."
He・d been watching the dojo for hours. His earliest encounters with the Hand had taught him a lot. He・d used his own knowledge of martial arts to infiltrate their defenses, and positioned himself carefully out of the way. Through his binoculars, he・d finally spotted Viper and then Crossbones. Man, he HATED that guy. What a couple of sadists. If he couldn・t think of two people who were better suited for each other, then・
Movement on the other side of the facility caught his eye. It was a young woman, Asian decent, probably between 20-23. Her hands and feet were bound behind her. No one else occupied the area, except a few dozen guards. Well, his first objective would be to rescue that woman. Then, he could go after Bones and Viper and find out what the Skull had to do with all this. His source had said Skull was trying to shove Viper out. Looked like he was wrong. It looked like they may be working together. Or maybe Bones was playing both side s of the fence? Either way, it looked like someone was up to her neck in trouble.
"Give me Logan, NOW."
Rogue carefully handed the phone over to the older x-man standing behind the gathering team members. They all knew how sensitive he was about his "relationship" with Viper.
"What・do・you・want?" he said cooly.
"I just wanted to chat with my husband, is that too much to ask?"
"Cut the bull$hit, Viper," he snapped.
"Oh, don・t be so cruel. If you can・t trust your loved ones, then who can you・"
"I・m hanging up!" he yelled, cutting her off. His teammates shifted slightly, disturbed by his thinly veiled anger.
"But I・ve got something that belongs to you."
Logan silently bowed his head. "Jubilee." He just knew it. She・d been gone for over six months now, without a trace. He knew she would turn up somehow, he was just hoping it was not like this.
"My, what a clever boy," she said coyly. "You know where to find her," she stopped. "Oh, and bring any of your x-friends, and she dies."
A furious anger filled Logan. "If you harm her, Viper. ONE hair on her head・ALL BETS ARE OFF!!!" He yelled the last words, his claws tearing out of his hand in anger. His face twisted in rage as the dialtone echoed from the phone and he tore it from the wall, throwing it across the room.
"Logan," Jean said soothingly, reaching out to him.
He spun on her and the rest of them. "I go it alone. Any of you follow me, and I・ll kill ya."
He stormed out of the room leaving them in stunned silence.
How had he let the girl slip so far out of his grasp? Not but less and a year ago, they・d been the best of friends. Chummin・ just like old times. Hmmm・maybe it was longer than a year ago. More like before the she・d gone off to Gen-X. That had certainly altered things. Every visit to the mansion in between seemed to mark a new change in her. She was less and less like the girl he knew, and more and more a stranger.
And the last time he・d talked to her they・d fought. And the time before than, when he・d missed her graduation. He though she・d understand ・he・d always been the loner, and sometimes things got in the way ・no two ways about it. But she・d become more and more demanding of his time. It put him on edge. He was beginning to wonder about the emotions that were driving her actions. Wasn・t much help that she didn・t look much like a girl anymore either. That last visit she・d paid to the mansion, before he got reamed on the phone・Jeesuz. What was she thinking, walking around in that little dress? There was nothing he wanted more than to slap that Cajun upside the head for the way he was looking at her, but the only problem was, he was looking at her the same way and didn・t want to draw attention to it. Dammit. The Cajun was already onto him, too. Made him nearly cough beer through his nose at Harry・s going on and on about her.
Of course, Jean thought it was hilarious. "A dose of your own medicine," he・s heard her thoughts ring in his head. Payback, he guessed, for all those times in the past he・d try to make her hot under the collar. He had to admit it wasn・t much fun with the tables turned. Still, he・d wanted to kill Gambit, and Jean knew it so she delicately changed the topic. And everything had been fine. Until he・d got home.
He・d stayed at Harry・s later than everyone else, his healing factor keeping him at the bar longer than possible for any normal human. He・d come home and all the lights were out, everyone in bed, except for her. And there he was, at 2:00 in the morning, drunk, with a twenty-year-old girl waiting up for him in one of HIS t-shirts (dear GOD!). She wanted to watch movies, just like the old times, she said. C・mon, Wolvie, It・ll be fun," she said. "Yeah, right," he told himself. "That・s not what I・." And that was it. He・d had to admit it to himself. She was off limits.
All these thoughts drifted through his mind on the plane. All the memories of her and him together, how much trust had been shared between them. He couldn・t fail. He wouldn・t fail, because if he did, a part of him would die.
Jubilee spotted him in the tree outside the dojo. Her eyes had another special feature that helped her separate patterns and backgrounds from objects. She couldn・t believe it, but anything was better than sitting there bound, waiting for Logan to find her.
Viper・s presence in the room had managed to keep Bones・ and his paws off of her. Apparently Viper was taking Wolvie・s threat seriously. It had given her a giddy rush to hear him yell at her at the top of his lungs when she・d been on the phone earlier. She hoped he wouldn・t wait too long, seeing as it would only take Logan six hours to get there.
She glanced cautiously up towards the tree, and noticed Captain America was gone. "Good," she thought, "He・s making his move. Now I・ve got to figure out some way to help him out."
She glanced up and all around her. She knew that a paft could set the whole place ablaze. That would certainly be a distraction, but being tied on the floor didn・t exactly put her in the best position.
Viper rose from her seat at the far side of the room, gave a smirking glance towards her, and walked out of the room. As soon as she was gone, Crossbones rose and made his way towards her.
"While the cat is away, the mouse will play," he chuckled, bending on his haunches so he was eye level with her. He raised her chin to force her stare towards him. "Too bad we couldn・t spend more time together. We would・ve made a great team."
"Not a chance," she frowned at him. "I・d never work with you!"
"Oh, you would," he said brightly. "Breakin・ in chicks like you is one of my specialties."
The thought made her recoil from his grasp. "Not so fast, babe・," he said, leaning towards her.
"Back off, Bones!"
They both looked up to see Captain America standing in the doorway, with Viper in a chokehold.
"Ain・t your momma tell you that・s no way to treat a lady?" Crossbones laughed, going for his crossbow.
"She・s no lady," he paused, and then quickly added, "and throw down the bow."
He looked at Viper carefully before slowly drawing out his bow.
"You want me ta throw it to ya?"
"I・m not falling for it. Now step away from the girl."
"Jeez・where da ya find a good guy with a sense of humor these days?" he turned and asked Jubilee.
He spun around and tossed a throwing knife towards Cap. Viper screamed as she took the weapon in the shoulder.
"Keep it up, Bones, if you want to use Viper for target practice."
"Who ya kidding, Cap? You・re such a do-gooder!" He drew out another knife, and hurled it towards Viper・s face. Jubilee watched as Cap twisted Viper out of the way, catching the knife with his hand. She took the opportunity to make an attempt at his neck with her fangs, as he fought her off. Viper seemed to get a sick thrill out of the whole thing.
"Sorry I missed, babe," Bones laughed, and yanked Jubilee to her feet, as she cried out. She watched as a knife popped from his wrist brace, and he held it to her temple. "Cap! Your blue plate special・s up ・with or without holes? You・d better be a good boy and settle down."
"You won・t do it Bones!" he yelled, still struggling.
He backed off as Viper crawled to her feet, still breathless from her romp on the floor with Cap. She had a wicked gleam in her eyes. "One of my greatest enemies, helpless before me. It really doesn・t get much better than this!"
Well, at least she wasn・t alone now. Both her and Cap were bound together on the floor. She・d been given the disgusting privilege of watching Viper poison the Avenger by making out with him. Bleech. She felt guilty already, but that made it even worse. He wasn・t unconscious yet, she could tell by his breathing, but it had slowed considerable over the last hour. Logan was their only hope now.
"So go in brawlin・ or go in sneakin・・" he debated with himself. There were a couple dozen guards on the premises. He・d make mincemeat out of them, but by the time he got to the dojo, there was the chance that Jubilee would be missing, or worse.
Yep. He・d have to go in sneaky.
"He・s going to die, you psycho," Jubilee said bluntly to her.
"That・s the point, darling."
She decided to play her hunch. "You know, Crossbones set this whole thing up!"
The man rose angrily and marched towards her.
"He hired Sabretooth to hunt you down! The Skull has never even been here!" she started laughing looking at Bones・ facial expression through his mask. He was pissed. She must・ve been dead on. "Man, this is going to hurt."
"Touch her an I・ll kill ya."
Bones looked up in surprise at the rafters above. Jubilee・s eyes followed to the beam above her, Logan balancing on it in a crouch. A smile fell over her face. Logan spotted her an they briefly exchanged a glance. Her excitement turned to shame when his expression became confused ・it was her eyes.
"What did you DO to her?!" he growled.
"Nothin・ yet, wise guy!" Bones answered back defiantly. Viper had crossed the room to join him.
"We haven・t harmed her," Viper trilled.
"Like hell!!!" Logan yelled. He popped his claws and rushed Crossbones. The man had little time to react, before Wolverine was on top of him. But he was resourceful enough to flip Logan off of him and put some space between the two of them.
"Now this is what I call a fight!" he said gleefully. "You・re a real killer, ain・t ya?"
Logan was only getting angrier. Jubilee could tell he was on the verge of a berzerker rage. She fought to get loose of her bindings so she could help him, but they were too tight.
"You・ve got to wake up!" she said to Cap. "It・s no fair, they・ll kill him like this!"
His eyelids fluttered open, and she could tell he was trying to focus. His lips began to move. "I・pre・prepaare・Vfffiper. Anti-ffenm・"
She tried to understand him. "ffenm・ffenm..venom?" He shook his head slowly in agreement. "What good with that do me?!" she yelled in frustration. She looked back towards Logan, and Bones had managed to fend him off, but Viper was circling around behind him. "Wolvie! Look ou・!" She yelled but it was too late, Viper had torn into his skin with her poisoned nails. He doubled over in pain as Bones took a crack at his jaw, shaking his hand in pain when it connected with Logan・s metal skeleton. Logan lashed out at him again, backing him off to a distance. Cap・s breathing had picked up. It was like he was forcing his breaths. Pressed up against him, she could feel his heart pumping harder and harder.
"Anti・ffenom," he spat out again.
"Anti-venom! Anti-venom!" she yelled out. He nodded his head. "Where?!" He twisted his body so she could see a pocket on his utility belt.
Dangerous. But she had no choice now. She sent a giant burst of sparks out with her hands. They went flying through the air, but they had cut through part of the rope binding them. She knew she had probably burnt Cap, but at least now they stood a chance of escape. She twisted out of the ropes and dug a hypo out of his utility belt. She shoved it into his neck and depressed it. "Sorry, I couldn・t think of anywhere else," she apologized. He collapsed to the floor for a moment, his breathing labored. She turned back towards the fight.
The venom had taken effect. Viper shoved Logan down to his knees on the floor. Bones flicked the blade from his wrist, it pointing dangerously close to Logan・s right eye.
"Well, ya fought the good fight chump. But good guys only win in the movies. Guess ya had to learn the hard way," he laughed drawing his hand back.
Then he screamed as a large cluster of superheated plasma burn through his mask and onto his eyes. He slashed the air in front of him, almost catching Jubilee across the chest. Logan looked weaker than ever, and slumped towards the ground. Time to break the party up.
"Ready for another eyeful?!" she taunted, and ran out into the hallway. "Please let him follow after me," she thought to herself.
Viper watched Bones stalk into the other room after the girl. He・d done his job, he deserved a little fun. She was more interested in the task at hand.
"Oh, Logan," she said, pulling him up by his hair, "we could・ve been so good together. But you・re too soft, I realize that now. I knew it when I married you ・that・s why I tried to kill you. And now, I can finish what I started."
"Let・s start with an annulment."
<SNIKT> Viper didn・t even have time to speak as an adamintium claw sliced into her chest. She slid to the ground, speechless as a pool of green tinted blood gathered at her feet.
Logan felt the blood oozing down the side of his head, as he lay to rest on the carpet. It burned. More poison. He fought to remain conscious, as a blackness overwhelmed him. "Where was Jubilee?" The thought echoed over and over again in his head. "He had to save her."
There was a slight pinch on his back, and he was yanked to his feet. It was Captain America. He noticed for the first time around them, the loud din of the room as it filled with smoke and leaping flames.
"I gave you anti-venom!" Cap yelled over the blaze. "It should take a few minutes to take effect! Where・s the girl?!"
Logan・s advanced healing factor gave him an edge in recovery. Already he could feel the effects of the anti-venom sobering him up. He took a deep breath, and shook himself loose from Cap.
"You get Viper, I・ll got get the girl. And Bones."
"You・re in no shape," Cap started.
"DO IT, man!"
Cap shook his head as Wolverine ran into the hallway, and out of sight.
"Get back here you little @#$%!" he screamed after her. He already smelled the smoke, but first things first. He was going to get even.
Jubilee coughed and made her way past the burning rooms, trying to find a way out of the dojo. But everything seemed to be on fire. And he was gaining on her. She had hoped her light show would・ve blinded him, but it only seemed to make him mad, and now he was closer than ever.
<THUNK> She turned just in time as a crossbow bolt shot into the door frame next to her. She quickly reacted and twisted towards the door, but her clothing was pinned by the bolt. She fought desperately to free herself as he came towards her laughing, the flames lapping behind him.
"I got you, babe・," he began to sing, following after her.
The guy was nuts! She realized he wasn・t going to stop until one of them were dead. She wished Logan was here. He had finally cornered her against the wall.
"IIIII got yooou babe!" he finished, leaning against her. "Now, where were we earlier?" She was feeling faint from the smoke and struggled to stay awake. She was going to suffocate. He must have some kind of breathing filter on his mask. "Now, now, don・t be fallin・ asleep on me." He smacked her cheeks to keep her coherent.
"Get away from her, bub."
Bones slowly turned around as Logan unsheathed both his claws, standing hunched over him. "Ain・t you supposed to be dead?"
"I don・t die easy. Should・ve stayed and finished me off when you had the chance."
"Well, I won・t go so easy on ya this time."
Jubilee watched as Logan attacked Bones with renewed ferocity. He had come to rescue her after all. She knew he・d save her. She knew it・
"Damn!" Cap said under his breath. Madripoor had no fire department and the building was ablaze. How long could they survive in that? Logan might be able to, with his healing factor, but the girl・And Viper was going to die soon. Logan had been sure to wound her lethally. She had lost so much blood, and judging by the way it was pumping, he had severed an artery, maybe even damaged her heart. Maybe it was better this way. He watched her green blood run down into the grass, blackening it with its foul poison. Maybe it was better this way・
He jumped as part of the dojo collapsed, and hauled over to the part that remained standing, shouting for anyone who could hear.
Out of the black smoke, Wolverine walked, with the girl in his arms.
"Is she alive?" Cap asked hurriedly.
Cap backed off slightly, as Logan took the girl and laid her out on the grass beneath the trees. Despite the grime covering her face, she looked very peaceful, almost happy. Blossoms fell from the cherry trees above and landed on them below.
Cap watched from a distance as Logan tended to her. He had seen him like this before, on one other occasion. It was also with a woman. It was a strange contrast, a man so full of ferocity, yet filled with such tenderness. He felt like he was invading a precious moment.
The girl didn・t look good, she still wasn・t moving. He turned away to allow him a moment alone.
"Jubes, c・mon babe, wakeup. I・ll do anything, just wakeup!"
He put his mouth to hers again and blew air into her lungs trying to recucitate her.
He did it again, and this time, she coughed into the air, slowly opening her eyes. Was she dreaming? She had to be ・this moment seemed too perfect. She weakly lifted a hand and caressed his face.
"Am I alive?"
"Yes," he said, laughing at her, and trying to hold back tears at the same time. Wolvie wasn・t about to cry, was he?
"Because I thought you kissed me," she said sleepily. She met his eyes as a serious look came over his face. She felt badly for a moment, but she wasn・t sure why. She felt confused.
He broke out into a brilliant smile. "Something like that darlin・. Something like that."