Back Where the Sun Can Find You: Trials

by Addie Logan

Disclaimer: I don't own the X-Men. Amazing, huh? Ooh, and here's another shocker--I don't own any of the songs used in this fic. If you sue me, you're an idiot. "Jubilee" is sung by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Summary: Wolverine and Jubilee find themselves with even more obstacles in their path... (part nine in a series)

Rating: PG-13 (this one's sorta violent, folks...)

Author's Note: Like with parts one through eight, if you have se rious issues with W/J romantic pairings, DO NOT read this! You have been warned. Constructive criticism welcomed. Flames deleted right after I tell you off f or being a rude little moron.

Feedback and Archiving: Feedback please! If you're reading this at, be nice and make use of that little review form at the botto m of the page and I'll be eternally grateful. Besides, feedback makes me want to write more... :-) Also, if you'd like to archive this anywhere, feel free, just let me know where you're putting it. Send all E-mail to [email protected] or message me through AIM at ChereRogueMarie. Thanks to everyone who's given me feedback so far!

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*Cue Theme Song*

I can tell by the way you're walki ng
That you don't want company
I'll let you alone and I'll let you walk on
And in your own good time you'll be
Back where the sun can find you
Under the wise wishing tree
And with all of them made we'll lie under the shade
And call it a jubilee

And I can tell by the way you're talking
That the past isn't letting you go
But there's only so long you can take it all on
And then the wrong's gotta be on its own
And when you're ready to leave it behind you
You'll look back, and all that you'll see
Is the wreckage and rust that you left in the dust
On your way to the jubilee

And I can tell by the way you're listening
That you're still expecting to hear
Your name being called like a summons to all
Who have failed to account for their doubts and their fears
They can't add up to much without you
And so if it were just up to me
I'd take hold of your hand, saying come hear the band
Play your song at the jubilee

And I can tell by the way you're searching
For something you can't even name
That you haven't been able to come to the table
Simply glad that you came
And when you feel like this try to imagine
That we're all like frail boats on the sea
Just scanning the night for that great guiding light
Announcing the jubilee

And I can tell by the way you're standing
With your eyes filling with tears
That it's habit alone keeps you turning for home
Even though your home is right here
Where the people who love you are gathered
Under the wise wishing tree
May we all be considered then straight on delivered
Down to the jubilee

'Cause t he people who love you are waiting
And they'll wait just as long as need be
When we look back and say those were halcyon days
We're talking 'bout jubilee

*** *** ***

"Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to witness the death of the Wolverine!"

Jubilee's heart stopped at the sound of those words. This man couldn't actually kill Logan--could he?

Jubilee heard what sounded like cymbals clashing together, and the man dressed in red stepped out into the center of the ring, causing the crowd to cheer even louder. Three men pushed Logan forward from the other corner, and Jubilee saw that he was still bound. He landed at the other man's feet, and the man in red kicked him hard.

Jubilee's stomach turned when she realized what was going to happen. This strange man was going to fight Logan like this, when he had no way of fighting back. If the man was able to hurt Logan enough, his healing factor wouldn't be able to keep up. Jubilee had seen Wolverine after enough fights to know that he was anything but invulnerable. Even if the man wasn't able to actually ki ll Logan, things were going to get ugly.

As the "fight" began, and the man in red began to viciously attack Logan, Jubilee noticed that Viper's guards weren't paying her any attention. She figured they must've thought she was still unconscious. She tried to mov e her hands, and was happy to find that they weren't tied.

"I guess they overestimated the strength of whatever that was the y hit me with," she thought.

Jubilee knew she had to figure out someway to get into that ring and help Logan. She could see the rage in his eyes growing every time the man in red struck him, and knew that if Wolverine were free, his opponent wouldn't stan d a chance.

Jubilee carefully took in her surroundings, searching for the perfect tim e to move. The guards still didn't seem to be looking at her, but she didn't w ant to be wrong about that, and have them zap her again before she had a chance to help Logan.

It was when the man in red reached into his robes and pulled out a large knife that Jubilee knew she had to act right then. She jumped up, willing th e last of the grogginess to make its way out of her system. One of the guards turned at the sight of movement, but Jubilee paffed him in the eyes, temporarily blinding him, before he could react. She did the same thing to t he next two guards who came after her, and made her way towards the ring.

Jubilee approached the ring right as Logan's opponent slashed him across the chest with the knife. Wolverine roared, struggling in vain with his bonds.

Jubilee didn't waste any more time getting into the ring. The man in red turned towards her in surprise as she hit him as hard as she could, feeling a crunch underneath her fist. The man stumbled backwards, clutching his now-br oken nose. Jubilee ran to Logan, using her powers to melt off his bonds the way s he had back in the cell.

"Sorry it took me so long," Jubilee said, helping Logan to his feet. "I was somewhat indisposed."

Logan gave her a weak smiled. "That's all right, darlin'. Just glad ya could make it."

A few of Viper's guards started to charge the ring, but Viper held up a hand and shook her head, signaling for them to stop. The crowd was going wild. If watching someone kill Wolverine was good entertainment, watching someone kil l him and his fiancE9e was even better. Besides, she'd never much care d for Jubilee, and the thought of the girl dying in a rather gruesome way pleased Viper. And if it looked as if things weren't going Viper's way, well, she co uld send the guards in then.

Viper shifted her son to the other hip. He was watching with rapt attenti on as Jubilee and Wolverine began to face their opponent together. Viper smiled with maternal pride at his lack of fear, even after being held captive for several days. She'd mold him into the perfect heir for her throne yet.

Back in the ring, Wolverine and Jubilee fought side by side, blocking eve ry move their enemy made. The man in red charged Jubilee with his knife, and sh e kicked, hitting his wrist and sending the knife to the ground.

"Just like the old days, huh, darlin'?" Logan said, moving to block the man from retrieving his weapon.

"Oh yeah, Logan. And it's just as fun fighting homicidal maniacs wit h you as it's always been," Jubilee replied.

The man in red got up and Wolverine kicked him in the stomach, sending hi m back to the ground. Logan thought the blow would've put the man down for goo d, but he surprised him by getting back up and grabbing his knife from the floo r of the ring in the process.

Suddenly, the man in red moved, grabbing Jubilee and holding her arms beh ind her back with one hand and the knife to her throat with the other. He met Wolverine's gaze.

"Move and I will kill her," the man asked in his deep, mechanic al voice.

"What do ya want?" Logan asked.

"Your blood on my hands."


"Because if I kill you, I will be respected--feared. I will become the man that felled the great Wolverine."

"Ya fought me an' ya held yer own. Ain't that enough?"

"No. I want you dead. Let me kill you now and the woman goes. Keep resisting, and she will die. I will kill you, and if I have to kill your whore, too, so be it."

Wolverine flared up at the sound of someone calling his Jubilee a whore, but he kept his anger in check, not wanting to do anything to endanger Jubilee anymore.

"You'd rather be known as the man who had t'use desperate tactics to kill someone? Hardly impressive, bub. How about ya let the girl go, and we handle this the honorable way--man to man."

The man in red shook his head. "You are not going to be able to tric k me like that. I am brave, and soon, everyone will know it. I kidnapped the s on of Viper and blackmailed her into bringing me the Wolverine. I got into the ring and faced you without fear. Your death is inevitable, and I only want t o make it as easy as possible on the both of us. Surrender and accept your fate."

Any doubts that Logan had that he was dealing with an absolute madman wer e gone. Did the guy honestly think that Wolverine was just going to stand ther e and let some random kook kill him? "You were only able to blackmail Vip er because she let ya," Logan said. "Viper's always wanted me dead. S he only went along with yer little kidnappin' scheme 'cause she figured she cou ld get somethin' outta it. Wouldn't be surprised if she killed ya herself when this is all over with."

The man in red tightened his grip on Jubilee. "I do not believe you," he growled. "You are just saying that so I will let the woma n go. Well, it has not worked! I will kill you, and now I will kill her , too!"

The man moved fast, but Jubilee was faster. As soon as his grip shifted, she let herself drop, falling to the ground and rolling out of the way. She got to her feet back beside Logan.

"Nice move," Logan said.

Jubilee winked at him. "I had a good teacher. They say he's the best there is."

"And it looks like were about to put that theory to the test, Jubes," Logan said. "This guy's crazy, and he's out for blood.&quo t;

"I'm not just out for blood," the man in red cried, "I am Blood!"

Jubilee and Logan exchanged a glance that clearly said, "Not yet another corny homicidal maniac..."

"So you dress all in red and call yourself Blood," Jubilee said . "Really, is that the best you could come up with?"

"You won't mock me when I kill you!" Blood yelled. "And no one will mock me when I kill the Wolverine!"

"Yer gettin' redundant, bub," Wolverine growled

Blood screamed and charged Wolverine, stabbing him in the arm. Wolverine pulled the knife from his flesh without even flinching, throwing it to the ground. "Give it up. Ya ain't gonna kill me."

Blood retrieved his knife and started to go after Wolverine again. Second s before reaching him, Blood swerved, striking out at Jubilee instead. Jubilee tried to dodge him completely, but she wasn't fast enough this time. The bla de sliced across her stomach.

Jubilee fell to the ground, clutching her wound. She lifted her hand from her abdomen and saw that it was covered in blood. Her attacker raised his kn ife again, ready to go in for the kill.

The scent of Jubilee's blood overwhelmed Logan's senses. For the first ti me since the fight began, Wolverine extended his claws. He'd wanted to find a w ay to take Blood down without hurting him, but now things had changed. Jubilee was hurt, and she was still in danger.

Wolverine leapt forward before Blood had a chance to strike Jubilee again and knocked him to the ground. Wolverine tried to pin him down, but Blood wa s able to break free, stabbing Wolverine in the side. Wolverine howled, more i n rage than in pain. He charged Blood, claws forward.

This time, Blood was afraid. He realized Logan had been holding back befo re, but that was no longer the case. Blood made a move for Jubilee, hoping to us e her to shield himself against a Wolverine who was now bordering on the edge of berserker rage. But Wolverine changed course as soon as he saw Blood moving towards Jubilee and lunged for his opponent, running his claws through the man's chest. A look of panic went through Blood's eyes before his expression went blank and he slid off Wolverine's claws, crumpling in to a lifeless hea p on the floor.

Viper's guards started to go into the ring, but the sight of Wolverine standing there, snarling with blood still dripping from his claws made them stop short. Wolverine retracted his claws and went to Jubilee, picking her u p and cradling her like a small child.

"Wolvie?" Jubilee asked in a weak voice.

"I'm right here, darlin'."

"I'm...I'm sorry."

"Sorry for what, baby?"

"For letting him get me."

"Not yer fault," Logan said, trying to keep his voice soothing. "You did real good."

"I love you... I...I just wish we'd...we'd been able to get married. "

Logan felt a lump form in his throat. This was all too much like another time, when it had been Mariko Yashida dying in his arms. "Don't talk li ke that, darlin', please. I'm gonna get ya outta here. Yer gonna be all right."

Jubilee slowly shook her head. "No...the's too deep. Too much blood."

"Don't talk anymore, darlin', and please, don't give up. I'm not gon na lose you, too." Logan walked to the edge of the ring, extending his cla ws on one hand just enough to cut the ropes. He went to Viper. "Get me a c ar now. I need to get Jubilee someplace fast."

"I don't think so, Logan," Viper replied. "Blood didn't ki ll you as I'd hoped, but now I will."

Logan shifted Jubilee so he had a free hand and grabbed Akira, holding hi s claws to the boy's head. "Get me a car or I'll kill yer kid."

Viper stared at Logan in horror. " wouldn't! Logan, he's ju st a child. Please, don't hurt him."

"You've probably been usin' him as a pawn his whole life, Viper. Wha t's the difference in me doin' it?"

"Fine, I'll give you what you want." Viper led Logan out of the audience chamber and to a garage behind the palace. "Here, you can take this one," she said, pointing to one of the cars. "Just give me my son back."

"I'm afraid I can't do that, Viper."

"Please! He's scared enough as it is. Can't you see he's crying?!&qu ot;

"You'll get him back," Logan said. "But I can't trust ya n ot t'do somethin' t'me if I hand him over now."

Wolverine lay Jubilee in the back seat, wincing at the sound of her moans . "Hold on just a little longer, darlin'."

Logan got into the front seat with Akira. "I'll be in touch," h e said before driving away.

"Should we go after them, Princess?" one of Viper's guards aske d.

Viper shook her head. "No. I will get my own revenge soon enough.&qu ot;

*** *** ***

Logan stopped the car in front of a small, run-down looking building. "Hope Doc's still workin' here," he muttered. He got out of the ca r and went to the backseat, and picked up Jubilee. "Darlin'?" She wasn't moving, and Logan noticed she wasn't breathing. "No. Darlin'... Akira, come on, kid."

Logan rushed into the small building, carrying Jubilee with Akira behind him. "Doc!" he yelled. "Doc, ya in here?"

A tall, white-haired man came in. "Logan! Haven't seen you in forever." He looked Logan up and down. "And it looks like you're i n trouble again."

Logan thrust Jubilee towards Doc. "She ain't breathin'. Ya gotta fix her. Yer the best."

"How long?"

"Couple minutes, max. Just please, do somethin'."

"Nurse!" Doc took Jubilee. "She's lost a lot of blood, but there's still time." A woman came in and Doc said something to her quickly, then the two of them ran in the back with Jubilee.

Logan stared at the doors as they shut behind Doc. He was the best doctor on the island of Madripoor, even if his office didn't look it. Logan felt something tugging at his shirt and looked down. It was Akira.

"What, kid?"

"Is the lady gonna die?"

"Hope not."

"You're bloody."

"I got cut up bad, kid."

"Why aren't you dead?"

"I heal fast."

"You gonna hurt me?"


"I'm hungry."

"I'll feed ya in a little bit."

"Can I sit in a chair?"


Akira sat down in one of the chairs in Doc's make-shift waiting room, and Logan figured he might as well sit down, too. No use in just standing there. Not like he could do anything for Jubilee right then anyway. "Sorry abo ut havin' t'take you like that, kid," Logan said.

Akira stared down at his kicking feet. "I'm okay." He looked up at Logan. "Who are you? Are you Mommy's friend?"

"My name's Logan. And I know yer mom."

"I'm still hungry."

"I don't have any food, kiddo. I'll get you some soon, okay? Sit tight."

Logan kept staring at the door, waiting desperately for Doc to come out a nd tell him Jubilee was all right. He'd seen the man do wonders before, and if anyon e could save Jubilee, it was Doc.

"Is it time for me to eat yet?"

Logan looked back over at Akira. "I'll feed ya soon, kid. Hold on."

Logan heard the doors open, and he looked up. It was Doc. "Is she...?" Logan asked.

"She's stabilized for now, but she'd gone into shock from the blood loss, and she's still critical. She's gonna need blood, and I'm not sure if I have enough on hand, and well, I know you're a little worse for wear yoursel f right now, but are you able to give blood? Your, um, special gift makes you a good donor anyway. Always seems to lead to quicker recovery on the part of t he patient."

"No need to keep talking, Doc. I'll do whatever I have to do. Jubile e's all that matters."

"Come with me then."

"Someone's gotta watch the kid."

"Sandy will watch him." Doc opened the door and motioned to the nurse. "Keep an eye on the boy."

"He's hungry," Logan told Sandy.

"I'll get your son something to eat, don't worry," Sandy said w ith a smile.

Logan started to tell her that Akira wasn't his son, but he decided it mi ght be for the best if they thought that. The last thing he needed was Viper com ing there. "Let's do this, Doc," Logan said.

Doc nodded and led Wolverine to the back of the office.

*** *** ***

As the blood left his body, Logan felt woozier than he ever had before. H e had to steady himself, refusing to pass out. Jubilee needed this. It was the only thing that could save her now.

The monitor that Doc had Logan hooked up to started beeping. Doc frowned. "Logan, I don't know what's happening, but it isn't good. Your vitals a re slipping. I need to stop."

Logan gritted his teeth and shook his head. "No. I don't care if thi s kills me. Get Jubilee the blood she needs."

Doc nodded, knowing Logan was serious. He continued to draw the blood, no t stopping even when Logan started to lose consciousness. "Nurse!" D oc yelled as soon as he was finished. "Nurse come in here and stabilize Logan!"

Doc took the blood into the room, knowing as he saw in his peripheral vis ion that Sandy had come in and set to work on Logan that she would do what she could for him. He had to concentrate on the girl Logan had brought in with h im, since she was obviously more important to Logan than even his own life.

Doc just hoped he could save her. He didn't want to upset the Wolverine.< /p>

*** *** ***

Jubilee woke up feeling worse than she ever remembered feeling before. "Where am I?" she asked.

"My office. I'm Doc. I saved your life."

Jubilee turned towards the sound of the voice. "Thank you then. Wher e's Logan?"

Doc frowned. "Why don't you try to get some rest. You need it. After all, if you'd gotten here only a minute or so later, the best I could've don e for you would've been Last Rites."

Jubilee tried to sit up, wincing at the extreme pain in her stomach. Doc ran over to her and gently lowered her back to the bed. "Someone sliced you r abdomen, girl. Sitting up isn't going to be the best move for you right now."

"Then where's Logan!?"

"You need to get some rest."

Jubilee felt herself getting hysterical. Why wouldn't this man tell her where Logan was? The last thing she remembered was being with him in the rin g back at Viper's palace. What could've happened to him between then and when she woke up? "Where is he? Please, just tell me."

Doc frowned. He'd hoped he'd be able to tell her what had happened after she'd gotten more rest, but it seemed like now not telling her was going to do more harm than good. "You lost a lot of blood," Doc said, sounding as calm as he could. "I had you stabilized, but you still needed more, and the only available donor on such short notice was Logan. I'd used him in similar situations before, but this time, I didn't realize that he had been injured so badly before bringing you here, and that his healing factor was having a hard time keeping up.

"When we started drawing the blood, his healing slowed down, and wou nds that had been closing started opening back up. By the time we'd finished, he 'd slipped into a coma."

Jubilee stared at Doc blankly for a moment. "What do you mean by the time you finished? Why did you keep going when he was getting like that?&quo t;

"Logan wouldn't let me stop. He said he'd get you what you needed, e ven if it killed him."

Jubilee stared up at the ceiling. That was Logan all right. When it came down to it, he was always willing to sacrifice himself for those he cared about. "Is he going to come out of it?" Jubilee asked.

"I honestly don't know," Doc said. "About all I know about Logan's healing factor is that it keeps it so he's always the one bringing someone here--not the patient--and when I use his blood in a transfusion, the recipient seems to get better a little faster than they would otherwise. Oth er than that, I have no idea what it's limitations are."

Doc saw the helpless look on Jubilee's face and quickly added, "But I do know Logan pretty well, and I know he's one of the most stubborn men I've ever seen. He'll fight death if it comes for him, I'm sure. And I know he's walked away from plenty of things that would kill anyone else. If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on Logan pulling through."

Jubilee smiled a little. Logan had been through a lot, hadn't he? Couldn' t he pull though this the same as he had a million other things? But at the sa me time, she felt doubt tugging at the back of her mind. What if his luck had r un out? No one could cheat death forever, and eventually it would catch up with Logan.

Jubilee could only hope that this wasn't the time.

*** *** ***

Jubilee woke again sometime later, this time with a tiny pair of green ey es staring at her. "Who are you?"

"Akira Harada. The blonde lady thinks you're my mommy. I didn't say you aren't. Mommy says to never tell anyone I'm her son. Dangerous."

"You're Viper's son?"


"Why exactly are you here?"

Akira shrugged. "Mister Logan took me from Mommy."

Jubilee frowned. Logan had kidnapped Viper's son? What exactly had gone o n while she had been out of it? "Is Logan going to bring you back to your mother?"

"He said when you get better. Are you better now?"

"I'm a little better."

"Sorry Mister Blood hurt you. He was mean to me, too."

Jubilee suddenly wished that they didn't have to bring Akira back to Vipe r. He seemed like such a sweet little boy, and she knew that with her as a moth er, that wouldn't last long. She wished she and Logan could raise him as their o wn. Maybe then the boy would have a chance. "Are a lot of people mean to yo u, Akira?" she asked.

Akira frowned. "Sometimes Mommy is. She yells a lot. And her friends scare me."

"How about your daddy?"

"I don't see Daddy much," Akira said. "Mommy only lets him come sometimes."

Jubilee thought for a moment. She could've sworn that Viper said this chi ld was only two years old. How was he able to have such a coherent conversation ? "How old are you?" she asked.


"Your mother said you were two."

"Mommy forgets."

Jubilee raised her eyebrows in surprise. How could anyone forget how old their own son was? "How much time do you spend with your mother?"< /p>

Akira shrugged. "Nanny Lucy takes care of me."

Jubilee hated to think of what kind of life Akira was leading. He deserve d better than a mother like Viper. He deserved someone who would really spend time with him, show him the love he needed--not a mother who didn't even kn ow how old her own son was.

"Have you been kidnapped before, Akira?"

"Only Mister Blood took me. That was scary."

"Are you scared now?"

Akira nodded a little. Suddenly, he started to cry. Jubilee moved over a little in the bed, wincing from the pain the movement cause. She held her ar ms out to the boy. "Come here."

Akira hesitated only for a moment before crawling into the bed beside her . He buried his face in her neck and sobbed. Jubilee ran her hand through his hair, whispering soothing words. After a few moments, his cries wound down i nto sniffles. "Are...are you gonna yell at me now?" Akira asked, looki ng up at her with his big, green eyes.

"Why would I yell at you, sweetheart?" Jubilee asked.

"Mommy says men don't cry. If I cry, I'll never be a man."

Jubilee had thought she'd never be able to grow in her hatred for Viper. She'd been wrong. "There's nothing wrong with crying. You're scared, an d you've had a hard few days. It's okay to cry."



"Mommy doesn't let me in her bed. Not even when I have nightmares."

"What about Nanny Lucy?"

"Mommy gets mad if I'm not tough."

"You don't have to be tough right now, Akira."

The little boy sighed. "Can I sleep here tonight?"

"Of course."

Akira snuggled closer to Jubilee, and she wrapped her arms around him, wishing he were her son.

*** *** ***

When Jubilee woke the next morning, Akira was gone. She sat straight up, ignoring the pain.

"He's fine," Doc said from the other side of the room. "He woke up, and Nurse Sandy made him breakfast."

Jubilee nodded and lay back down. "How's Logan?"

Doc frowned. "Still out of it. I'm doing everything I can."

Jubilee knew Logan still being in a coma after this long was not a good sign. Usually Wolverine would've been healed by then. She knew it had to hav e been at least a couple of days since the battle against Blood. "Does he seem to be improving at all?"

"Some of his wounds are healing, and it looks like he may be coming around, albeit slowly. But like I said before, I can't give you anything definite with him. Logan's healing abilities are certainly unlike anything I 've ever seen. Even you're healing quickly after that transfusion with Logan's blood."

"He has to wake up," Jubilee said. "I couldn't handle it if he didn't."

"You two obviously mean a lot to each other," Doc said. "I 've seen Logan quite a few times over the years--that man is always getting him self into trouble--but I'd never seen that look of absolute terror that he had in his eyes when he brought you in. It was clear that he loves you."

"Logan and I have been through a lot together."

"How long have you known him?"

"Ten years." Jubilee laughed a little. "He's been my best friend, partner, confidant, lover. What I have with him is more precious to me than anything."

"I'll do everything I can to see that he pulls through. I promise."

Jubilee just nodded, knowing that Doc would.

*** *** ***

Later that afternoon, Jubilee talked Doc into letting her go in to see Logan. Since Jubilee was still in too much pain to walk, Sandy had to roll her into the room in a wheel chair. "I'll be in here in a few minutes to br ing you back to bed," Sandy said, leaving Jubilee beside Logan's bed.

Jubilee nodded, then turned to look at Logan. She'd never seen him so pale, so weak looking. She reached out and touched his hand. It was colder than he normally was, and Jubilee missed the feel of his warm touch. "You can't die on me, all right?" Jubilee said, tears forming in the corner of her eyes. "You told me I couldn't give up. You can't either. We've got a wedding to get to, remember?"

Jubilee watched the steady rise and fall of Logan's chest, thinking about how it was so similar to the numerous other times she'd watched him sleep, and yet still so different. She wished more than anything that she could just wake up in the cabin in Alberta, with all of this being no more than a dream.

"I love you," she said, hoping he could hear her.

Sandy came into the room. "I need to get you back to bed. Doctor's orders."

Jubilee nodded. She raised Logan's hand to her lips, giving him a quick k iss before letting him go. Jubilee cried as Sandy wheeled her back to her own be d.

*** *** ***

When another day passed and Logan still hadn't woken up, Jubilee really began to worry. Shouldn't his healing factor have kicked in by now? Could it be possible that he'd finally pushed himself past his limit?

Jubilee knew the last few weeks had to have been hard on Logan, and she doubted he'd exactly been taking care of himself since she left. Drinking fa st enough that his healing factor couldn't keep up was probably more like it. That coupled with everything that had gone on since he had found her had to be a lot on him. But was it enough to make him just shut down? Hadn't Wolverine been through worse in his lifetime?

She reached down and touched the diamond ring on her left hand. It meant so much to her, but it wasn't enough. She needed to be his wife, the way it sho uld be. Jubilee knew that she and Logan had always belonged together, that they were two halves of the same whole. Now that they were so close, it seemed li ke fate was conspiring to rip them apart.

"Good morning!"

Jubilee looked down to see Akira's head peaking out from the door. " Hey there, kid."

Akira ran over and got into the bed with Jubilee. "Nurse Sandy made me eggs again. She's a good egg maker."

Jubilee kissed the top of his head. "I'm glad to hear that."

"Are you a mommy?" Akira asked.

"No. Why?"

"You act like a mommy." Akira frowned. "Well, like a mommy on T.V."

"Your mommy doesn't act like this?"

"No. She only hugs me sometimes."

"I'm sure your mommy loves you very much, Akira," Jubilee said, not even believing her own words.

"She wants me to be Prince of Madripoor. She calls me Cobra."

Jubilee frowned. So she was molding the boy to be her heir. That was the last thing a child needed. She'd corrupt him before he even cut his first permanent tooth. "I love Mommy," Akira said. "Daddy says I have to take care of Mommy. He said she needs someone to keep an eye on her."

"But don't you think your mommy should take care of you?"

"Nanny Lucy takes care of me." Akira paused for a second. "You should be a mommy. You'd be a good mommy."

"Thank you."

"Do you have a mommy?"

"Not anymore. My mother died a long time ago."

"Oh. I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Do you ever want a mommy like on T.V., Akira?"

Akira sat up and looked at Jubilee. "Yeah. All those mommies are so nice and they always play with their babies. Those babies don't need Nanny Lucies."

Jubilee wanted even more not to have to give Akira back to Viper. She didn't deserve the boy, that was clear, and Jubilee hated to think what this sweet child would become if he was left in her clutches. "You're a good boy, Akira. Your mommy is lucky to have you for a son."

Akira beamed. "You think so?"

"I know so."

"I like you, Jubilee. You're very, very nice."

"I like you, too."

"Can you tell me a story? Mommies on T.V. always tell stories."

Jubilee thought for a moment. "Do you know the story of Cinderella?"

Akira shook his head no. "Uh-uh."

"Never heard of Cinderella?"


"Yep, the kid's deprived," Jubilee thought to herself. "All right, I'll tell it to you."

Akira grinned. "Okay!" He turned around so he was facing her, a nd sat cross-legged, staring at Jubilee with rapt attention.

"Once upon a time..."

"What does that mean?"

Had he never heard a single fairy tale? "That means it happened a lo ng time ago. Stories start out that way. Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful young girl who everybody called Cinderella."

"Why did they call her that? That's a funny name."

"Well, her name was Ella, but she sat in the cinders all day so they called her Cinderella."

"What are cinders?"

"The black dust from a fireplace."

Akira wrinkled his nose. "Why did she sit there?"

"Because she had a wicked stepmother and two wicked stepsisters who made her."


"Anyway, she was called Cinderella, and she was forced to work like a slave in her own home."


"Stepmother and stepsisters again."

"Oh. They're mean."

"Yeah, pretty much. So Cinderella had to work all the time, waiting hand and foot on the three women she lived with. But Cinderella was so good and sweet, that she never complained. She just did whatever they said."

"Why? She could've offed 'em. Made it a clean kill, hid the bodies i n the woods. No one would ever know and she'd be happy."

Jubilee raised an eyebrow. This was not your typical four-year-old. "That's not how the story goes. Cinderella let her stepmother and stepsisters tell her what to do all the time."

"Was she secretly plotting revenge?"

"No." Jubilee wondered if maybe she'd picked the wrong story fo r this kid. Perhaps she should've gone with something written by Alexander Dum as... Or better yet, Stephen King. "So Cinderella's cooking, cleaning, doing random chores around the house, etc. Well, one day a royal invitation is delivered to their house."

"What's it for?"

"I'm getting there. Turns out, the local prince was looking for a wife, so the king sent out a decree that every eligible maiden in the kingdom had to attend this ball where the prince would chose his bride."

"What's an 'eligible maiden'?"

"Someone the prince could marry."

"Why didn't you just say that?"

Jubilee sighed. "Sorry. Anyway, so all the women who the prince can marry were supposed to go to this ball. Cinderella really wanted to go, but her evil stepmother wouldn't let her. She wanted the prince to marry one of her daughters."

"Are they pretty?"


Akira made a face. "When I get to be a prince, I'm not going to marr y an ugly woman."

Jubilee chuckled. "This prince didn't want to marry one either. Okay , Cinderella was left home alone while her stepmother and stepsisters were at the ball, and she was very upset. She wanted to go to the ball more than anything else in the world. Suddenly, a woman appeared out of nowhere."

"How'd she do that?"

"She's a fairy godmother. She was there to help Cinderella get to th e ball. She used her magic to turn Cinderella's rags into a beautiful ball gow n, a pumpkin into a carriage, and four white mice into four white horses to pul l it."

Akira stared at Jubilee in awe. "Wow. Wish I could do that."

"Me, too. Cinderella was very happy. Her dress was gorgeous, and she was even wearing two glass slippers."

"Why would she want shoes made out of glass? Couldn't she cut her foot?"

"These were magical glass slippers, all right? The fairy godmother t old Cinderella she could go to the ball, but she had to be home by the stroke of midnight."

"Midnight? That's early."

"I know. But the magic stopped working at midnight."

"That's cheap magic. Cinderella should've gotten a better fairy godmother."

"Well, it was the best she could do on short notice. Cinderella hurr ied into the carriage and rushed off to the ball. As soon as she walked through the door, the prince saw her, and he fell in love. They danced all night, and the prince knew she was the woman he wanted to marry. Cinderella was so happy that she forgot to keep track of time. Suddenly, the clock begun to chime, signaling that it was midnight."


"Cinderella had to run out of the palace as quickly as possible so the prince wouldn't see who she really was. She tried to get home in her carriage, but she was too late, and it turned back into a pumpkin and some mice. Cinderella's ball gown was gone, too. But she looked down at her feet and noticed she was still wearing one of the glass slippers."

"What happened to the other one?"

"She ran out of the palace so quickly that it fell off on the stairs . The prince decided he would keep the shoe, and search the kingdom for its owner. If he could find the woman who fit the shoe, he would marry her." ;

"What if someone other than Cinderella fit the shoe?"

"Not gonna happen. She had the smallest feet in the kingdom."


"So the prince searched all over the place for someone who would fit the shoe. He was about to give up, when he came to the last house in the kingdom."

"Was it Cinderella's house?"

"Of course. But the stepmother, being the wily woman she was, had figured out that Cinderella was the owner of the shoe, and she hid her away so the prince wouldn't be able to find her. She hoped maybe he would be despera te enough to marry one of her daughters instead. But the shoe didn't fit either one of them, and the prince wasn't interested in them anyway. He was about to leave, deciding that he'd never find his true love..."

"But Cinderella's there!"

"...when Cinderella found a way out of her room and ran down stairs. She was about to try on the shoe, when her stepmother tripped the man carrying t he slipper, and it smashed down to the ground. But Cinderella pulled the other shoe out of her pocket, trying it on instead. The prince knew that she was t he woman he met at the ball, and he announced that he would marry her as soon a s possible."

"Then what happened?"

"Well, they were married, and they lived happily ever after."

"What about the stepmother and stepsisters?"

"Um, Cinderella was nice and let them live at the palace with her."

"Why? Couldn't she make them be her servants now?"

"Okay, that's what she did."


"Nice story, darlin'."

Jubilee looked up to see Wolverine standing in the doorway. "Logan!"

Logan walked over to her and hugged her. "Hey, Jubes."

Jubilee kissed him. "You scared me there, Logan."

"You scared me, too. How are ya feelin' now?"

"Alive, thanks to you. Doc says I'm going to make a full recovery. How about you?"

"Been better, but I'm hangin' in there. My healin' factor's doin' ov ertime, but it's workin'."

Logan glanced down at Akira. "Looks like I'll be able to bring ya back to yer mom soon, kid."

"Logan, I need to talk to you about that," Jubilee said.

Logan gave her a questioning look. "What about it?"

"Akira, go play with Nurse Sandy for a bit, okay?"

"Okay. Bye Jubilee. Bye Mister Logan!" Akira hopped off the bed and ran into the other room.

"I don't think we should give him back to Viper," Jubilee said once Akira was out of the room.

"We can't do that, darlin'," Logan said. "As awful of a person Viper is, Akira's still hers."

"But she's not a good mother! Logan, if we leave Akira with her, who knows what will become on him. He deserves better."

"Not our call t'make."

"How can you say that? Logan, he's only four years old, and he's at Viper's mercy. Although if you ask her, he's only two years old, because the woman doesn't even know the age of her own son!"

Logan frowned. "If we take him from Viper, she's gonna come after us , darlin'. That woman's not just gonna let us have her son."

"You took him."

"I took him so she wouldn't come after me when I was tryin' t'get ya outta there."

Jubilee's eyes got wide. "You used him like that?"

"What was I supposed to do, let Viper kill you?"

"He's only a child!"

"I didn't hurt him!"

"Yeah, well, you sure scared the hell out of him. Bad enough everything he must've gone through with his mother and then that Blood character withou t you adding to it!"

"Aren't you the one that just suggested we don't give him back to hi s mother?"

"That's different. This if for his own good."

"No, it isn't. We're gonna give him back to Viper before we leave Madripoor."

"No, we're not."

"Yes, we are."

"No. I'm not."

"What about his father? Ya wanna take him away from him, too?"

"Right. Like the freaking Silver Samurai is going to be the world's best parent himself."

"I'm sure he's better than Viper."

"Well, even if that's so, Akira says that he doesn't see him much anyway. Look, I've been spending a lot of time with him over the past couple of days, and well, apparently he sees his nanny a heck of a lot more than he do es his mother, and Viper's been trying to shape him into a version of herself. Hell, she even calls him Cobra. And he told me in a few years she's going to start dying his lips and hair green. She rarely even as much as hugs him. Do you really want to subject a child to that?"

"No, I don't. But it isn't our place to take the boy away from his mother."

"Logan, I'm going to do this. Either you're with me or you're not."

"Are you sayin' you'd leave me?"

"I don't want to, Logan. That's the last thing I'd ever want to do. You're the other half of my soul. But I can't just let this child be subject to Viper's insanity. He needs people who can actually care about him."

Logan sighed. "Fine. I'll go along with ya, but only on a temporary basis. If things get too ugly, we're gonna have to give him back. As unfair as it seems, he's Viper's, and we don't have any rights to him."

"I know. Thank you, Logan. Could you go get Akira? I want to talk to him."

Logan went to the door and called for Akira. A few moments later, the boy came bounding into the room. "Come here, sweetheart, I want to talk to you," Jubilee said.

Akira sat down beside her. "'Bout what?"

"I was wondering if you'd like to come stay with me for a little while."

Akira knitted his brow, obviously thinking hard. "Would you be my mo mmy then?"

"Sort of."

"Would you be nice like a T.V. mommy?"

"I'd try."


Jubilee smiled and hugged him. "I'll take the best care of you I can , all right?"

Akira hugged her back, and Logan watched the two of them for a moment, realizing that some sort of bond had formed between the two in the short tim e that they'd known each other.

It looked like the three of them were going to be a family, but Logan couldn't shake the suspicion that no good could come from this.

*** *** ***

Ha! This one didn't end with a nail-biting cliffhanger! Go me!

Sorry for the long wait between chapters. I just got finished with my college's eight-week term, and it kept me busy. And if this chapter wasn't v ery good, sorry. I wrote most of it on one of those really noisy propeller planes...

Chapter ten is now in the works... Hopefully I'll get it done sooner than I did this one, but I'm not making any promises. Although feedback does inspir e me to write, so send lots of it!