Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Jubilee/X-23, Kitty, Multiple Past Kitty M/F and F/F pairings, Lockheed, mentioned Logan/Ororo
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words A to Z Challenge: J
Word Count: 1,847
Date Written: 17 May, 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
Jubilee turns, pushing the refrigerator door closed with her booted foot, to look at Kitty scarfing down one of her fudgy ice cream concoctions. "Ya know," she says thoughtfully, looking at her ice cream, "I kinda miss those days."
Lockheed coos on Pryde's shoulder. Kitty stops her spoon halfway to her mouth and feeds the bite to her dragon instead while looking up at Jubilee. "You know, you can still eat this."
"Yeah, but it's not the same." Jubilee sighs, dropping into the chair across from her. She rips into her boring bag of blood with her fangs and takes a sip. Pryde's one of her few team mates who doesn't seem to be bothered by her Vampirism.
"What's human food like now?" Kitty asks gently, watching her intently. She isn't put off by her friend drinking blood; she's honestly curious.
Jubes shrugs. "It just . . . doesn't have any appeal. Doesn't really have much taste, either. My insides want the blood, not ice cream, pizza, or chili cheese fries, none of the foods I actually did use to enjoy. Gum doesn't even taste the same."
"That's gotta suck," Kitty remarks sympathetically and almost feels guilty about taking her next bite of cream.
Jubilee notices the look in her brown eyes. "Go ahead and eat," she encourages. "I'm used to people eating around me, and it's not your fault I can't enjoy it."
"I'd make you one in a heartbeat if you could."
"I know." Jubilee swallows her own sigh with another sip of crimson blood. Still, she can't seem to stop herself from muttering afterward, "That's another thing I don't get to do any more."
"I'm sorry, Jubes."
Jubilee shakes her head. "Don't be. It's not your fault. It's just . . . You're one of the few people I can talk to about this, Kitty."
"I get it. I do. I got turned once."
"Yeah, and I almost got it another time, but 'Ro managed to kick Dracula's butt both times."
Jubilee grins, her fangs shining in the bright light of the kitchen. "That," she says, "I would've liked to have seen. She sure used to be wild."
Kitty laughs, grinning. "You don't know the half of it. You know Prof used to have to watch her to make sure she didn't fly around the mansion naked?"
Jubilee giggles. "No wonder she and Wolveroonie make such a good couple."
"Heh. Yeah. They're a lot alike, those two. More than most people realize."
Jubilee laughs again, then returns to sipping her blood. She's drained the bag half way and Kitty's scooping the last of her ice cream out of her bowl when she finally speaks again, "Kitty, I've . . . been meaning to tell you something."
"What?" Pryde looks up at her in concern; even Lockheed coos and cocks his purple, leathery head to one side, listening. He knows she's worried and is considering leaving his best friend's shoulder and flying to her, but his gaze goes back to Kitty's ice cream bowl. He doesn't want to miss his chance of licking out whatever leaves, so he stays where he's at for the time being.
"I finally get it," Jubilee says quietly.
"Why you don't move on Rachel, even after what you two had before."
Kitty frowns. "What do you mean?" she asks, laying her spoon down. Lockheed takes the signal that she's done, hops down onto the table between the girls, and starts licking the emptied bowl. There's a few trickles of hot fudge and caramel left, and his long, pink tongue laps up every one as they talk.
Jubie sighs again. "Come on, Pryde. It's obvious. You don't wanna get burned again."
"Jubilee . . . " Kitty hesitates, then continues, looking into her red eyes so she can see she's being honest with her, "that's not why I don't move on Rachel. The Rachel we have now is from yet another dimension than the Ray I loved before. I don't think . . . I don't think she's interested in me in that way, but if she was, I'd be with her in a heartbeat. I'm not saying I haven't pulled away from possible relationships because I didn't wanna get hurt again. We've all done that, I think. But in our lives, you're going to get hurt no matter what you do."
"I've been stung many times. I've lost every single one of my best friends before -- Illyana, Rachel, Doug . . . Even 'Ro's died on me more times than either of us care to admit. I've lost Peter, too, so many times it's ridiculous," she continues, shaking her head, "and I've died more than once myself. We X-Men seem to have a tendency to die and come back. Very few of us actually stay dead, which is a good thing," she adds, "in a way, but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt."
"We're gonna hurt, no matter what we do. We're gonna love friends and more, and we're gonna lose. And some of people we love and lose are going to come back. But this Rachel isn't my Ray. If she was, the first thing I would've done when she came back to us was kiss her, and she would've kissed me, too."
Jubilee nods slowly. She thinks about everything Kitty just told her as she finishes her blood. She crumples the emptied bag, then finally asks, "How do you do it, Pryde?"
"Keep loving even though you know you're gonna be hurt again?"
"Hmph." Kitty's lips twist into an expression somewhere between an ironic smile and a self-depreciating smirk. "I don't seem to have a lot of choice. Every time I fight my emotions, I eventually lose. I tried that with Wisdom. I tried it again with Peter when I felt myself falling back in love with him. And I tried it when I was kid and crushed on Ororo and Peter."
Jubilee's jaw moves back and forth, but it takes her a moment to be able to voice her shocked question, "You and 'Ro?"
"Yeah." Kitty grins and nods. "More than once, too. I've probably been with her about as many times as I've been with Peter." She shrugs. "The heart's a fickle beast, but now that Wolvy's with her, I won't move on her again even if I start having feelings for her in that way again. I want them to be happy."
"Me, too." Jubilee frowns. Her gaze drops to the table between them and the dragon hungrily licking Kitty's emptied bowl.
Kitty reaches across the table and places a hand on Jubilee's. She doesn't let the coldness of her pale flesh bother her. "Jubie, what's wrong?" she asks quietly. "What's so heavy on your mind tonight?"
It's Jubilee turn to smirk at herself now. Her red eyes raise slowly back up to Kitty's brown ones. "Am I being that obvious?"
Pryde nods. "We are kinda sisters in a way."
"Yeah, but . . . "
"Come on. Out with it. You'll feel better once you talk to somebody about it."
"I don't know if you'll understand, since what I thought was the reason isn't the reason you're not with Rachel."
"Try me. You might be surprised. I've lived this life a long time, you know."
"Don't go throwing your age at me," Jubilee retorts with a teasing grin.
"Just try me," Kitty offers quietly.
"Okay." Jubilee takes a breath she no longer needs, a habit of nervousness that's still hanging onto her from her days as both a human and a mutant. "There's a lot of stuff that sucks about being a Vampire, but the biggest one is . . . I really am gonna be the last X-Man now, like Big B said when he first came to this timeline. I'm gonna outlive everybody."
"You don't know that," Kitty says softly. "Somebody could stake you or you could get caught by the sun."
"There's a lot of 'if's in this world, Pryde." Kitty nods understandingly. "But the fact is I'm probably gonna be the last one. I already lost Angie. I don't . . . " She sighs again, her eyes dropping away from Kitty's once more. "I don't know if I can go through that again, losing somebody I love so much."
"Jubie," Kitty answers slowly, thoughtfully, "I know it's kinda cliche, but I'm going to ask you something. Whoever this person is, if you don't let yourself act on how you feel for them and something does happen to them without you ever telling them, will you regret you never told them? Will it make the hurt of losing them any less?"
Jubilee opens her mouth to answer her, then shuts it and truly thinks about what she's asking. She thinks of her dear friend, the sweet taste of her blood, the temptation of her warm smile, the feel of her back against hers when they're fighting, the reassurance of her mere presence beside her when she was first getting used to being a Vampire . . . The truth finally slips out of her lips with a single breath, "No."
Kitty nods as though she knew that would be her friend's answer. "That old saying is true. You know the one I'm talking about. Just because you love and lose somebody doesn't mean you regret the time you had with them. As many people as I've lost, friends and lovers, I've never regretted the time I spent with them, only the time I didn't spend with them that I could have."
The girls and dragon look up as X-23 breezes into the room. She opens the refrigerator door, grabs a few of the sausage links Logan had grilled earlier, and tears into one of them. Lockheed licks his lips; she tosses him one and grabs another from the fridge. Kitty laughs at the sight of her dragon smacking sausage with chocolate and caramel smeared across his wide beak. "Dragon," she teases, "you're a mess." He coos in response, grins, smacks his lips again, and wags his purple tail.
Kitty laughs, but then she looks seriously back to Jubilee while X is still busy scarfing sausages and effectively ignoring them. She pats her younger friend's hand. "Remember what I said," she tells her quietly. Jubilee looks at her questioningly, surprised she appears to have known exactly about whom she was thinking. Kitty winks. "Like I said," she tells her again with a grin, "I've been around." She stands, cleans her bowl and spoon, grabs her dragon, and walks out, leaving the girls alone.
Jubilee sits quietly and watches X-23 eat. Kitty's words of advice echo in her mind as she thinks, but she waits until X is done before asking, "Hey, you wanna go see if we can find some butts to kick in the city?"
X looks at her in surprise; it's been a while since they've gone out on the town together. For a few minutes, the girls just stare thoughtfully into each other's eyes, each considering where another night spent side by side might take them. Finally, Laura grins. "Sounds like fun," she says, and together, they head out for a new adventure.