Silent Screams: Chapter One
First Days

by Raymond Wood

Disclaimer : Marvel owns the X-men, I'm just borrowing them.

Author's Note : Inspired by the What If issue 87, Screams in the Night.

She sat on the roof, staring out to the horizon, lost to her own world. Few knew what she saw there, and even fewer would ever speak of the glimpses they witnessed. A ghost of her former self, once vibrant and full of life, now quiet and reserved, never having spoken a word since the day it happened. As the fall leaves drifted on the winds, she stirred back to the reality she so despertly sought to escape, a sigh passing her lips. Carefully she walked back to the old bell tower of the school, the portal to her escape. A moments distraction could spell disaster, a slip leading to a tumble and a fall some four stories. And as a bird perched upon the railing of the old bell tower, she paused, taking a step back to admire the beauty, a step back unto a loose shingle. She didn't scream, she had long lost the breath to scream. As she fell, she embraced her fate, and hoped for silence.

A swift movement beyond her range of vision, and she suddenly felt arms holding her, cradling her gently, while she stared at the ground below, dispondant. The ground slowly neared, as the figure, her saviour drifted down, embracing the ground once more, then walking to an old oak tree across the driveway. As Jubilee finally looked up, a smiling face looked down to her, setting her in her lap as she sighed. Meekly Jubilee returned the smile, her gaze lingering a moment longer before falling on the main doors of the academy.

"Do be more careful Jubilation, I will not always be there to catch you." Monet said, following her gaze to the main doors as the Headmaster stepped out, looking to the pair oddly.

"Is everything alright lass?" Sean called out, slowly closing on the pair as he walked casually across the lane.

"It is now. Jubilation was sitting upon the roof, having yet another one of her spells. She paused to look at a bird, loosing her footing on a loose single." Monet explained, looking down to the girl in her lap.

"Saints preserve us, I thought I had that door bolted shut." Sean exclaimed, drawing close and kneeling down to look at the one time X-man.

"I would suggest something a little more sturdy than a mere deadbolt Mr. Cassidy, for if you do recall, young Jubilation did often hang about your fellow X-man, Gambit." Monet explained, having taken note of Jubilation's perilous perch after finding the lock to have been picked, though giving her space enough to do as she pleased.

"Ach, ye be right lass. I'll actually speak ta the thief in question on what he would suggest ta keep Jubilee from getting up there." Sean remarked, looking down to the dispondant Jubilation, gently brushing a stray lock of hair out of her face.

"I shall keep an eye on her Mr. Cassidy, are you not needed at the airport?" Monet inquired, Sean suddenly looking to his watch and cursing.

"Thank ye lass, I almost forgot!" Sean exclaimed, rushing to the house and grabbing his car keys, then yelling for Everett and Paige to join him.

Swiflty the Cadillac convertable sped out the driveway, and past the encompasing gates of the Acadamey, heading off to Logan International Airport to pick up their latest charge. Jubilee followed the car, a lingering look to her gaze before she once more looked up to the enimatic Monet. Cautiously she crept from the arms that held her, sitting next to her elder peer, crossing her legs as she watched the main doors. As her gaze became distant, Monet knew once more that Jubilation had yet again been lost to reality, her mind retreating to that place where she had hid since that awful night had befallen the X-men.

The screams had finally stopped, though the silence was far worse. The shadows flickered as the lasers of the scenario blinked in and out of existance, almost faster than the eye could see. He had to finally be dead. There was no way he could survive that, healing factor or not. Creeping to the window, she looked down, instantly regreting it as she did so. The charred remains of one Victor Creed laid strewn about the door, the lasers still shooting into the burnt flesh, ever reducing him to nothing more than a blackened carcass. She felt the urge to vomit, but fought against it. She had to get to Hank, if he was still alive, he needed help.

Racing from the control room of the Danger Room, she ran back into the depths of the mansion, a shiver passing down her spine as the shadows grew darker, almost tangible as she ran down the winding stairs. Coming to an abrupt halt, she stared down the corridor, fear welling in her as she looked to the lifeless form of Hank, strew outside the doors of the powercore. Cursing, she chastised herself and ran for Hank, knowing that if he were alive, he needed help immediatly, not her standing about too afraid to move.

As she neared him, her stomach twisted with the battered and broken form of the lovable man that hid his own pain behind a smile and witty humor. Kneeling down, she felt for a pulse as she did with Bishop, and nearly broke down crying as the fates smiled upon her thi time. Every so weak and tired, but indeed it was there. Fear suddenly overtook her as she looked to the man, then back down the corridor she came from. The med lab was a horrid five flights up, and she was by no means capable of carrying the man.

"Oh god Hank! Don't die! I don't know what to do!" Jubilee wailed, tears welling in her eyes as the feeling of being utterly helpless and alone took hold of her.

'What'sa matter frail? Can't do a thing without yer Pappy Logan to hold her hand?' A voice called out, causing Jubilee to freeze.

As she slowly rose, sending a barrage of plasmoids down either end of the corridor and finding it to be vacant aside from Hank and herself. Taking in a shuddering breath, she slowly crouched down and checked upon Hank's pulse again, still finding it to be there, just ever barely holding onto life.

"Okay Lee, it's just your mind playing tricks on you. Creed is..." Jubilee whispered, her throat growing tight as she dared not even say the words.

Shaking her head clear, she found new determination to her task at hand, getting Hank to the med lab before his faltering pulse beat for it's final time. Looking about, an idea struck her. Running into the heavily damaged power core, she started picking up strands of cable, then rushing back to Hank and yet once more finding his pulse. Rewarded for the moment, she started to wrap the cable about Hank, and then about herself. She might not be able to carry him, but with her stubborn will, she would drag him up those five flights of stairs if it was the last thing she did.

'Probably will be frail. One wrong step and ye'll prolly fall over the edge, joinin' Bishop on the other side.' The voice called out once more.

"Shut up! Shut up! Shut the hell up!" Jubilee screamed, her head darting about wildly as she looked to the shadows, faint laughter ringing in her mind.

"Shut up..." Jubilee whispered, tears flowing freely from her eyes as she looked to Hank, a sobering image as she began her trek to the med lab.

Monet looked to Jubilee, worried as she felt anger and grief radiating from the girl, a breach of the shields that had been unconsciously slammed up after she and Emma had been locked in the Danger Room as the Phalanx took free reign over the X-mansion. From what Emma told her, Jubilee had been the worst in those days, having to be fed the little food they had been given until Banshee had rescued them. She had still been in Bobby's body at the time, and found it greatly disconcerting looking to her own body after finally being freed. Shaking her head out of the reverly of the tale Emma had told Monet in confidance, she looked down to the youngest memeber of Generation X with a concerned look.

"What do you see in there..." Monet whispered, allowing her mind to reach out to the borders of Jubilee's mindscape, watching from a hilltop as she looked to the twisted landscape below, a realm of nightmares made of the X-mansion. Probing further, she saw a figure pulling a burden up a spiralling staircase, and in that moment she realized that it was Jubilee. Drawing closer, she was not prepared for the nightmares that lurked in her charges mind, a flash of red and claws sending her reeling back into reality, shaken and shocked.

"Mon Dieu!" Monet exclaimed, staring at Jubilee.

Tears threatened to spill from her eyes, but she refused to cry. Ever so gently she pulled Jubilee into her lap, absently stroking her hair while she pulled her into a hug, hoping that she might feel the token affection. Whatever the young girl was struggling with, whatever demons she had to face, for now she had to do so alone, her walls built too high for anyone to penetrate. Sighing, she found an ironic sense of kinship, having spent her life within walls, both of cement and social standing.

From her office, the Headmistress looked out, her heart swelling as she noticed two figures out upon the lawn, the elder of the two tending to the shattered mind of the younger. A faint smile passed over her face, letting out a sigh, she turned back to her desk to review the files. Lost to her own thoughts, she barely even noticed the form of Clarice pop her head in the door. As the girl waited there, not wishing to interupt her Headmistress, Emma suddenly noticed the lingering presence and looked up.

"Might I help you Clarice?" Emma asked, looking to the girl darkening her doorway.

"Umm...Miss Frost...I saw a little man in a loin cloth, spinning what looked like a wilagig." Clarice responded in a meek tone, slowly creeping into the room.

"Where did you see this man?" Emma inquired, leaning over her desk as she nervously flicked her riding crop.

"Near the biosphere. I only saw him for a moment before he vanished." Clarice replied.

" tell me if he returns. I do not care for unwelcome guests here." Emma remarked, earning a nod from her charge who quickly departed.

Emma sighed as Clarice left, feeling sad for the girl, yet even more sad for herself. While she wished to exude a sense of authority, she did not wish for her stuidents to either resent or fear her. So far, of them, Paige seemed eager to please, while Everett's own pleasant nature did not pose any problem. Angelo, the rebelious hispanic youth seemed apathetic towards her, while Monet challenged her authority every chance she got. And then there was Clarice, timid and fearful after her experience, and of course Jubilee, still traumatized from the death of Creed. Sighing, she turned back to the window, watching as the elder student comforted the younger.

"God Blue, cut down on the twinkies!" Jubilee cried out, pulling the fallen X-man up the stairs, counting every flight she passed as she grew closer to the desired floor.

'Whatsa matter Frail? Can't handle the dead weight?' The voice taunted, sending a shiver down Jubliee as she yet again ran back and checked for a pulse.

"Shut up! Shut up! Your dead! You can't hurt me! I killed you! Shut the hell up!" Jubliee screamed after finding a pulse, though finding it growing ever weaker.

The voice remained silent as her own words echoed down the stairs, bringing tears to her eyes as the awful truth came back to her, she had taken a life when X-men weren't to kill. But they couldn't blame her, she assured herself again, she had no choice. It was either him or her. He had already killed Bishop, and left Hank tettering on the brink. Summoning up her fleeting courage, she struggled on, looking up to the doorway that stood a flight up, only one more flight to go until she got to the last stretch of her trek.

'Sure they can't blame ya. Yer absolutly right. It was either you are me, and I was gonna leave yer guts all over the bloody mansion for them ta find. Though it wouldn't be the same without the runt around ta find yer corpse like he did that squaw of his.' The voice of Creed growled.

"Shut up! You didn't kill Silverfox! That memory was an implant! Your head is so full of lies that ya can't even tell what's real and whats not!" Jubilee screamed, a new strength finding it's way to her as she struggled on.

'Tough talk kid, and yer the one talkin' ta a deadman.' The voice replied, growing silent afterwards.

Tears fell down Jubilee's cheeks, shocked that she even had tears left after this night. Pushing back the thoughts, she struggled on, finally making her way to the landing, and seeing the lights of the med lab standing off down the hallway. Checking on Hank once more, she carried on after finding a pulse.

"Shut up..." Jubilee whispered, the words barely audible.

Monet suddenly snapped to attention, looking down to Jubilee, wide-eyed as she saw the younger girl's lips mouthing something. Just as suddenly as it had started though, the lips drew shut once more, growing into an expressionless line. Sighing, Monet hugged Jubilee, fighting tears after her hopes rising for a breakthrough. Looking skyward, she thought of how in that short time she had gotten to know Jubilee, she had grown to look upon her as a little sister, both suffering from their families being destoryed by tragedy. Sighing, she returned to her own thoughts as she leaned into the trunk of the tree, absently stroking her younger companions hair.

"No! God no! Don't you do this to me! Do you not dare do this to me! After I dragged your hairy behind up here you can not die on me! You hear me you big blue ape! You can't die on me!" Jubilee screamed as she did her best to administer CPR to the fallen X-man.

'Take off his suit frail, I mighta tore it ta shreds, though it's still gonna make it harder ta do what ya gotta do.' The voice called out, a mocking tone to it.

"Don't you ever take a hint?" Jubilee asked with venom in her voice, slowly peeling away the cumbersome suit.

'I ain't the one in need of a hint frail. I'm dead. Yer the one talkin' ta ghosts.' The voice replied.

"Oh god. This is what Wolvie talked about. This is why he raised me better than that, knowing not to kill. Oh god, oh god, oh god..." Jubilee stuttered as she collapsed in a heap on the floor, her body exhausted and tired, her soul bleeding to death as she looked up to the ceiling.

'Don't like what ya got Frail? I coulda made it all better if ya just played nice fer yer Uncle Vic. But ya had ta be stubborn, just like yer Pappy Logan. I could have made the pain go away. Killed ya nice and painless like. But you just had to fight it. Now ya can just suck it up and deal with it.' The voice whispered in her ear, startling her as she felt breath on her neck.

Looking about the room, Jubilee saw that she was alone aside for the fallen Bobby Drake and Emma Frost across from her, and the dying Hank on the bed next to her. Rage built in her as she jumped to her feet, slamming her fists into Hank's chest as she screamed wildy, lost to the anger. Her vision grew dark as she felt hands grab her, pulling her away.

"Leave me alone! I killed you! Your dead! You can't hurt me anymore!" Jubilee screamed as she collapsed in the arms, wails of pain echoing through the mansion, drowning out all sound.

In the doorway, Yukio and Ororo stood aghast, while Remy held Jubilee in his arms fighting with the teen. As Remy pulled her from the med lab, Yukio and Ororo quickly ran to the bedside of Hank, pulling out a crash unit and working to save the fallen X-man's life, pulling him back from the beyond. Tears fell freely as they heard the screams ring out from down the hall, Remy yelling to Jubilee, yet getting no response. Their hearts ached as the phrases repeated, 'I killed you! You can't hurt me anymore!', yet as they thought, in the end, he had hurt her far beyond anything he could have done with his claws. Tearing her apart from the inside, from the place where no physical blow could ever find home, leaving nothing but pain and terror filled screams.