It was bitterly cold.
Wind whipped around them as white fluffy flakes of snow fell in droves. The fallen snow they were walking through was up to their knees and the worst part of it all was there no end in sight.
"I think we took a wrong turn somewhere," Jubilee said, trying to keep her voice light and cheerful.
"No," Laura replied as she snifter the air. "He's still out there."
It was supposed to have been a simple getaway. The remote region of Canada wasn't Jubilee first choice for a vacation but she knew that Laura wanted to get away from it all for some peace and quiet. Plus there was an added bonus for how early it got dark that time of the year. It meant that Jubilee could go longer without worrying about sunlight. Even during the day it was cloudy most of the time which made it so she could be outside without fear. It wasn't the funniest place to be but it worked. Especially since it meant Jubilee got to spent time with Laura. They hadn't seen a lot of each other lately.
The first day of the trip had been fine. And then the murder happened.
The victim had only been a few years younger than them. That was why it hit them so hard. They remembered being that young and they had friends that age.
The murderer was a drifter. He had been passing through, looking for work. The girl had been friendly towards him. She was simply that type of person. It was her friendliness that was her undoing.
It began with him stalking her; following her home from school and hanging out around her house at night. The police were called but he would always be gone by the time they arrived. There was never any proof it was the drifter so nothing could be done. The girl tried to continue on with her life but then one day she simply didn't come home from school.
The body hadn't been hard to find. It had been found in the woods near her home. He made no effort to hide it before taking off into the woods. A manhunt began and many volunteers had gone after him but they had turned up nothing. The drifter had too much skill in surviving outdoors. That was when Laura and Jubilee had decided to offer their aid.
Unfortunately they didn't count on the worst winter in centuries. The snow and cold came down with a blinding force from further north. It came sudden and there was no sign of it stopping anytime soon. It was bitterly cold. Jubilee wasn't sure if they would ever be warm again.
"There," Laura said, pointing to a lump in the snow.
They sped up as best as they could. The snow was making things difficult though. Not that they had anything to worry about. The lump wasn't moving and a feeling of dread overcame Jubilee as they reached him. That dread only grew as they brushed off the snow and rolled him over.
That was why they could smell the stench of death. Their trek into the snow had been a waste of time.
"He didn't deserve a peaceful death," Laura said as she looked down at he corpse. "He needed to pay for what he did to her."
"Later X, we need to take care of ourselves right now." Jubilee understood her frustration. She had wanted him to pay as well. But he was dead and there was no changing that. With the adrenaline of the hunt over the weather was becoming even more difficult to deal with. There was no way they would make it back to town until the weather eased. They would need somewhere to stay for the time being.
Laura nodded her head and they began moving again. Before heading out they had been told of a hunting cabin that they could use if they ran into trouble. It was believed the drifter had been heading that way as well and Jubilee hoped the townspeople were right.
It seemed like hours but the finally made it to the small brown cabin. A padlock was the only thing locking the door. Laura could easily slice through it but there was no need. The owner had given Jubilee a spare key which she quickly used to unlock it. Like everyone else in town the owner wanted to see the drifter punished.
Inside was mostly bare. It was set up not for comfort but for a place to crash when out in the woods. There was a cot shoved along one wall. At the foot of the cot was a pile of extra blankets. In a cupboard was rows of canned food. Most importantly however was a fireplace.
"Please tell me you know how to make a fire," Jubilee said. She might be a vampire but she still felt the cold.
Laura nodded her head as she gave a small smile. "I can take care of it."
As Laura went to work in the fire, Jubilee investigated the blankets. There were five in total. Plenty for both of them. She then decided to check out the food situation.
"What do you want, X?" she asked as she held up two cans. "Beans or soup?"
"I don't care."
The fire flickered to life as Jubilee walked back over to Laura and handed her a can of soup. It was the type that required no water to be added. They had nothing to heat it with but Jubilee figured that Laura wouldn't mind. It was better to have cold food than to starve.
Although there was a tab to open the can, Laura used her claws anyway. Sitting down on the cot she began drinking it.
"Is it good?" Jubilee asked.
Jubilee laughed as she plopped down next to Laura. "I guess that's one good thing about not needing to eat."
Laura grew quiet while she finished the can of soup. She then casually tossed the empty can across the cabin while she got up and gathered up the blankets.
"Here," she said, handing two to Jubilee before settling back down next to her.
"How long do you think it'll last?" Jubilee asked, referring to the snowstorm.
"I don't know."
Jubilee sighed as shifted on the cot to get more comfortable. It proved to be a difficult task. The cot was lumpy and hard. Even the floor was beginning to look like a better option but Jubilee really didn't want to get down on it.
"Too bad there isn't a couch in here. We could make a fort," Jubilee said. She only said it however because she was already getting bored.
"Oh, right you never would have done something like that." Sometimes it was easy to forget the type of environment Laura had grown up in. It was too unreal and horrible. It was best to just not think about it at all. "You use the cushions to build the sides and roof. And then blankets are used as a door. It's something kids do to play."
"Did you do that?"
"Yeah," Jubilee replied with a smile upon her face. "I was the queen of fort building."
Laura grew quiet as she looked around the cabin. "We only have blankets," she finally said, sounding sad.
"It's okay, X," Jublee said, reassuringly. "I was just being silly when I suggested it."
"Oh." Laura frowned. "What else do people do when bored?"
"Make-out." Jubilee winched as soon as the words left her mouth. Fortunately Laura ignored her.
She knew she shouldn't be talking about such things with Laura. It would lead to trouble and admitting things. Admitting things like Jubilee often thought about kissing Laura and about how cute Laura looked, especially when flustered.
It wasn't that Jubilee minded crushing on Laura. She just knew that relationships had a way of ending badly for X-Men. Break ups happened and they would have to continue living together. And there were the deaths. Being a mutant was hazardous between saving the world and being hated by society.
The little voice in the back of Jubilee's head said there was nothing to worry about. They didn't live together like other X-Men in relationships had. And with Laura's healing factor and Jubilee's own vampirism they had a better chance at survival than the others. Maybe she should try admitting her feelings? Even if she was rejected Laura wouldn't be one to take it badly.
"There isn't much wood left," Laura said, while looking at the fireplace and the small stack of logs next to it.
"It'll last," Jubilee replied even though she wasn't so sure. She didn't see the problem. They were surrounded by trees after all.
A silence fell. After a few minutes Laura shifted closer to Jubilee. It was uncharacteristic of her and immediately Jubilee wondered what was wrong.
Jubilee didn't think Laura would admit it anyway. She reached over the edge of the cot and grabbed another banket. She then used it to cover both of them.
"What are you doing?"
"Getting comfortable." It was an as good excuse as any. "Any objections?"
Jubilee smiled to herself. That was one barrier out of the way. Getting close to Laura was always difficult. Laura liked her space and simply wasn't use to being in the company of others. Jubilee's smile grew remembering the first time they met. It hadn't been an easy time.
"What's so funny?" Laura asked.
"I'm just happy," Jubilee replied. Since Laura was still giving her an odd look Jubilee decided to explain. "I was thinking about when we met."
Laura's confusion didn't go away. "I attacked you."
"But then we became friends."
"I tried to make you drink my blood."
Jubilee had forgotten all about that. It wasn't something she was going to hold against Laura. She knew that Laura was messed up at the time. "Just don't tempt any other vampire with your blood," she said. Jubilee wouldn't stand for it.
"I won't," Laura promised.
Jubilee believed her. She moved even closer to Laura so that their shoulders touched. "Good."
The fire crackled, drawing Jubilee's attention. At one point Laura got up to put another log onto it. She then climbed back on the cot and sat just as close to Jubilee as before.
A lump formed in Jubilee's throat. At first having Laura so close had seemed like a good idea. She was rapidly however changing her mind. Jubilee was very aware of her feelings for Laura. It went beyond friendship. Jubilee had tried denying it but it was getting harder all the time. Laura had very kissable lips.
In the fireplace the logs continued to burn.
"Maybe I should get more firewood," Jubilee suddenly suggested. It was likely getting dark out - not that they had a way of telling without going outside since there were no windows - but that wouldn't matter. She could see well in the dark and there had to be enough fallen branches nearby that she could collect without going very far.
Laura however shook her head. "Anything out there would be wet."
"Oh." Laura's words from earlier about the logs went through Jubilee's head. She glanced at the fire and small stack of logs. It was no wonder that Laura had been concerned. Jubilee wondered if it was enough to get them through the night.
"We will be fine," Laura said as if she could read Jubilee's mind.
"I hope you're right, X."
Jubilee didn't doubt that they would be fine. She was a vampire and Laura had tremendous healing abilities. But just because they would survive didn't mean they would have a comfortable time of it. Spending the night in a cold cabin was not something that Jubilee was looking forward too.
The hours went by slowly. Every so often Laura would get up and check the fire. One time Jubilee got up and walked around the cabin to see if she could find anything to do. She looked for anything. A discarded book, a deck of cards and abandoned board game but there was none. In the end she returned to Laura's side disappointed.
"This sucks," she grumbled. Annoyed and not thinking properly she rested her head upon Laura's shoulder. It was only when she felt Laura tense did Jubilee realize what she had done. At that point Jubilee wasn't sure if she should move or not. In the end, she lifted her head. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. It was . . . nice."
Jubilee was caught off guard by Laura's words. "Okay," she stammered, not knowing what else to say.
They sat staring at each other, unsure who should make the next move. Finally Laura spoke. "You can put your head down again."
Unsure of herself, Jubilee did just that. Laura shoulder felt firm but comfortable. Closing her eyes, Jubilee wished she could admit her feelings. She didn't know why she was hesitant. Cuddling next to Laura was fine but not admitting her feelings? Jubilee knew she was being stupid but she still couldn't get the words out. In the end she decided it was best to keep quiet.
Blinking open her eyes at the sound of her name, Jubilee found that Laura was still looking at her; her face so close which wore a serious expression. At first Jubilee thought something was wrong. She lifted her head to look at the fire that was still burning. The fire was fine and she heard no sound from outside the cabin to indicate that someone - or something - was near.
"What's wrong?" she asked, turning her head back to Laura.
The kiss was quick. A blink and you'd miss it type situation. At first Jubilee didn't know if it had really happened or if she was experiencing some sort of weird mental thing going due to being trapped in the cabin for so long. It was only the look on Laura's face that told Jubilee the kiss actually happened.
"I shouldn't have done that," Laura said as she jerked away.
She made a move to get up but Jubilee was quick to grab her wrist. "Don't be sorry."
It was Jubilee who made the next move, leaning forward to capture Laura's mouth in a kiss. Jubilee's lips lingered against Laura's. She didn't want it to end but eventually she reluctantly pulled away so she could see Laura's reaction.
Laura sat stunned. Jubilee didn't think she had ever seen her that way. "Are you okay?" Jubilee asked.
Laura looked away and when she finally spoke her voice was soft. "I didn't think you felt the same way."
"I was thinking the same thing about you."
"We're both fools."
Jubilee smiled. "You'll get no argument from me about that."
Shifting on the cot, Laura returned to Jubilee side. Once more Jubilee arranged the blankets over them. Another kiss was shared between them. It wasn't nearly long enough for Jubilee's liking but she wanted for things to move slow with Laura.
Eventually they fell asleep, curled together and huddling under the blankets. A quietness fell over the cabin. The only sound was the crackling of embers as the fire continued to burn.
By morning they awoke to find that while the snow had stopped it was still cloudy. It meant they could get out of there.
Hand-in-hand they walked through the deep snow. There was a smile on Jubilee face the entire time. She may have still hate the woods, the animals, the quietness and definitely the snow but she was happy. After all she had everything that she could possibly want.