Damn it, she was never gonna finish this paper for class if people kept interrupting her. Jubilee watched with narrowed eyes as Logan walked through the library. All right, 'walked' probably wasn't the correct verbage. 'Prowled.' 'Stalked.' She wrinkled her nose, trying those out. Nah. Right now, she had to say, 'stomped' was probably the best word to describe it. Well, it was usually pretty easy to get him to run: talk to him. "Hey, Wolvie."
He made some noncommital growl.
Oh, great, he wasn't moving. Okay, his hands were. His fingers kept tightening and loosening. This would take a little more work to scare him off. She swung her legs off the arm of the chair and waved her Twizzler at him. "Something wrong?"
The Wolverine bristled and showed teeth.
Jubilee smiled back sweetly, wishing he'd just leave already. "There is something wrong," she said, sucking the licorice back into her mouth. "Wanna share?"
He glared. "Listen, kid, the last thing I need is to be discussin' this with some," his fists clenched up and he shook his head, his already messed-up hair taking on totally new configurations.
"'Some' what, Wolvie?"
"Don't call me that," he snapped.
"Why not?" She pulled a new piece of licorice out of the bag. "Twizzler?"
Jubilee could swear she could see Wolvie counting to ten. "No," he said, through clenched teeth, "I do not want a Twizzler. I want a beer. I want a lot of beer."
She shrugged. "Can't help you there. This is a - "
"I know, I know. It's a school." He emphasized the last word with a slam of the meaty part of his fist on a nearby table.
"Hey, hey!" Jubilee shot out of her chair. "Don't take it out on the poor table. You got some sort of problem, why don't you just go beat it up?"
If anything, Wolvie seemed to get bigger. "I. Don't. Got. A. Problem."
"Uh, huh." She bit decisively into her Twizzler, leaning back against the table he'd molested. "So. What's got your claws in a twist, anyway?" She chewed the cherry-flavored candy thoughtfully. "Cyclops? Nah, you'd just punch him."
Wolvie snorted. "Whatever, kid."
He didn't really want to talk about this, did he? "Couldn't be the Professor or Jean," she said as he started stomping around again. "It must be...Rogue."
He stopped dead, his head swivelling towards her slowly.
Whoa, maybe she was onto something here. She hid her smile before he actually met her eyes. Or maybe she was signing a death warrant. Her own. Ooo, but Wolvie and Rogue? She had to know more.
"Whaddaya mean?" he asked, still between those clenched teeth.
"Well," she said nonchalantly, "you're not all that hard to figure out. I mean, sure, you sniff around Jean but she and Cyclops are practically married. I haven't heard anyone say you were leaving to go on one of your little trips to find your past so it must be something about Rogue." She pointed the Twizzler at him. "I'm right, aren't I?"
In between all that bristling and teeth clenching and thumping things with his fists, Wolvie kinda looked like she'd hit him with a Mack truck. Jubilee gleefully chalked up a point for herself. "There ain't nothing between us," Wolvie said, speaking very slowly.
Just who was he trying to convince, here? "Who said there was? I mean, you're just friends, right?" Though she was betting Wolvie was thinking of Rogue as something other than a friend. Ooo, this was so good, Jubilee thought.
Wolvie grunted and she took that as a 'yes'. Maybe.
"You still are friends?" Jubilee asked, dangling the bait like an expert.
She let out an exaggerated sigh. "Good to know."
"Why?" He rounded on her again. God, his eyes were gorgeous but just way too intense to be focused on one person.
Jubilee sassed back, "'Cause I don't want to have to pick up the pieces if you decide you two aren't friends."
"Whaddaya mean, kid?"
He couldn't be that dense, could he? Scratch that, she thought, he's a guy. "Let's break this down, okay, Wolvie? You come storming in here because of something to do with Rogue then you tell me that there's nothing between you. Who are you trying to convince here, me or you?"
Wolvie just glared at her for an answer.
"So that's the way it's gonna be." Jubilee crossed her arms and realized it would've looked more impressive had she lost the Twizzler. "Maybe you think you're fooling people but you aren't."
Oh, he looked shocked at that one. Of course, if he hadn't brought it up in the first place..."Fooling people about what?"
"The way you feel about Rogue." Easy, Jubes, she warned herself, don't overplay the hand.
He ran a hand over his hair, making it stand straight up. "I don't," he started, "I mean."
Bingo. He had it bad. "So, what's stopping you?" Jubilee asked, as easy as anything. Rogue, babe, she thought, you're so gonna owe me.
Wolvie practically fell into a chair, looking defeated. "A lotta things."
Whoa, he'd thought about this? Really? "What sort of things?" Jubilee wasn't about to let him get off that easy. Not when Rogue might have a chance with him. Rogue and Wolvie, sitting in a tree....
"You know," Wolvie said, his hand waving around. He didn't seem to want to go on.
"Come on, Wolvie," Jubilee said, dropping back into her chair and wincing when she hit her elbow on her clipboard. "Tell me." So she could totally blow them off.
He eyed her and from anyone else, Jubilee would've sworn he was suddenly shy. He glanced around the room.
"You're stalling, Wolvie."
Pointing a finger at her, he said, "Don't call me that."
"Whatever. You gonna tell me what's keeping you and Rogue apart or what?"
Wolvie sighed and dropped his elbows on his knees, leaning forward. "This stays between us, kid. If I hear from anyone at all," the finger came out again, "that you've told someone, well."
"Yeah, yeah," Jubilee made an "x" across her chest. "Cross my heart, et cetera. Let's go."
Looking around the room as if worried that someone might've been hiding in the library or walked in while they were talking, Wolvie reached into a pocket and pulled out a rumpled piece of paper.
Jubilee nearly fell out of her chair. "You made a list?"
"Shaddap, kid," Wolvie said, fixing her with a glare.
"Sure, sure," she said, settling deeper into her seat. "You, uh, go ahead." Another surprise. Not only had Wolvie made a list, he could write. There were a few people she knew who'd be shocked by that one.
He looked at her until she squirmed in irritation. "Are you gonna read that thing or stare at me?"
Wolvie said, "Number one: She's a kid."
Jubilee couldn't help herself. "Number one? How many are there?"
"Thirty?" He had to be joking, didn't he? "You came up with thirty reasons to not be with Rogue?"
Wolvie made to stand up. "Listen, kid, this is a bad idea."
Jubilee shook her head wildly. "No. No it isn't. C'mon, Wolvie." She turned her best innocent expression on him. "You wrote these all down in particular, right?"
"Yeah," he said.
"Okay. You're going to tell them to someone. Tell them to me."
He wasn't frowning quite as much as he settled back into his chair. "Number two," he said, "She has her whole life in front of her. Three, she deserves better than me."
"Uh," Jubilee said, "what makes you think that?"
Wolvie wasn't too thrilled about being interrupted. "What, that she deserves better?"
"Yeah. I mean, wouldn't that be her choice?"
His scowl deepened. "Number four, she already has a boyfriend. Five, her boyfriend loves her. Six, she loves Icecube."
"Where have you been?" Jubilee asked, exasperated.
"Wolvie, Bobby and Rogue aren't together."
"Since when?" he asked, startled.
"A couple of months now. And that thing about Rogue being a kid? She's a junior in college. That isn't a kid." Jubilee pointed at him this time. "That's a young woman."
He grumbled under his breath. "Number seven, she deserves someone special."
"That comes right back to her being able to make her own choices, doncha think?"
Wolvie ignored her, raising his voice over hers. "Number eight, she's too good for you. Me." Before Jubilee could interject anything, he went on. "Nine, you - I'm too old for her. Ten, I'd be bad for her. Eleven, I'm too jaded. Twelve, she's too innocent."
"With you and Mags in her head, you'd call that innocent?" Jubilee said, unable to keep quiet about that one.
He just kept reading. Louder. "Thirteen, she's too pure. Fourteen, I'd corrupt her. Fifteen, I don't have a past."
"What's that got to do with anything, Wolvie?"
"'Cause," and he seemed to take great delight in saying it, "sixteen, I don't know how to plan for the future. Seventeen, I'll never be good enough. Eighteen, I can't stay in one place. Nineteen, trouble has a way of finding me and twenty, putting her in danger. Twenty-one, I don't want her to live the kinda life I've led. Twenty-two, she deserves stability."
"Wolvie, wake up and smell the napalm, 'kay? We're mutants." Jubilee's waving hands took in the world. "This is about the only stable place we have."
"And I don't wanna be dragging her out of it," Wolvie said.
"What if she wants to go? What then, Wolvie?"
Growling, he smoothed the paper again. "Number twenty-three," he read, "I ain't good with my feelings."
"That's the truth," Jubilee muttered.
"Twenty-four, us being together probably ain't right."
"Yeah? Who would be right, then?" She bounced out of her chair, stalking up to him. "Let's get it over with, Wolvie. What are the rest of your reasons? You tell me so I know why you're gonna break Rogue's heart." Wow, that was really good, she congratulated herself, taking in Wolvie's stricken expression.
"Twenty-five, I don't deserve her," he said, back on track again.
"First one you've gotten right," Jubilee snorted, folding her arms, glad she'd finished off that Twizzler. "Come on, you've got five to go."
"Twenty-six, I'd only wind up hurting her."
"Yeah, if she finds out about this list."
"Which she ain't. Twenty-seven," Wolvie hesitated. "Twenty-seven, what if she don't feel the way I do? Twenty-eight, what if this changes everything between us?"
"Of course it will," Jubilee said. "That's what relationships do, you dummy."
He slowly raised his eyes to meet hers. "Twenty-nine, what if it don't?"
She didn't really have an answer for that one. On one hand, she could see that it would be a good thing but on another, well. "What's number thirty?"
"What if this ain't love?" It came out almost as a whisper and for a second, Jubilee wasn't sure if Wolvie had said anything.
Taking a deep breath, Jubilee knelt in front of him, putting her hands on his knees. "Wolvie."
"You came up with thirty reasons why you shouldn't be with Rogue." She reached out for the list, taking it from his unresisting hands. "This was a lot of work, right?"
"Yeah," Wolvie said.
"So, if you went through all this effort to come up with ideas on why you shouldn't be with her, did you even consider reasons why you should be with her?"
He had that pole-axed look on his face again. "Kid."
"Because if you're going through all that trouble, maybe you're just trying to hide your real feelings from yourself," Jubilee said, making a note to thank Bobby for getting her through Psych 101. "And if you're doing that, yeah, maybe you don't deserve to be with Rogue. But if you can get past all that, maybe you should ask her how she feels about it."
His nostrils flared and he stood up abruptly, nearly spilling her back on her ass. "Sorry, kid." He hauled her back on her feet.
"No prob," Jubilee said, trying not to wince at the grip on her wrist, "as long as you don't do something stupid."
The corner of Wolvie's mouth curled up. "Think Rogue might wanna go for a ride?"
"With you or on you?"
"Language," Wolvie said, pointing that finger at her.
"Yeah, yeah." She shooed him away. "Like you aren't considering it."
That smirk could kill. "See ya, kid." He paused in the doorway. "I owe ya one."
"Yeah and don't think I won't remember it, Wolvie. I've got a mind like a steel trap." She tapped her temple. "Go. Make Rogue happy."
"I'll do my best." He walked out of the door, pulling it closed behind him.
She sank back in her chair, picking up her book. "Wow," she whispered, "Wolvie and Rogue. God, that girl so owes me." And now that Rogue had Wolvie to occupy her time, Jubilee could make a few moves of her own. She grinned. "Bobby Drake, you so aren't gonna know what hit you."
The door opened suddenly and Wolvie poked his head back in. "You still here?"
"Why are you?" Jubilee asked, staring at him.
"Found you somethin'." The entryway yawned and Wolvie shoved Bobby through the door.
Windmilling his arms, Bobby tried to stop in time. Jubilee shrieked as he landed on top of her, the chair toppling under the combination of their weight.
"Wolverine!" Jubilee shouted, trying to figure a way out of this compromising position.
He grinned at her. "We're even, kid," he said, twiddling his fingers as he closed the door behind him.
"I'm gonna kill him," Jubilee said furiously, "he's so much dead meat!"
Bobby started to push away from her and flushed when he realized where his hand was. "Uh."
"What are you looking at?" she asked fiercely, trying to shove Bobby off.
"You." His face had this goofy expression on it. "I never noticed...you're really pretty when you're angry."
"That has to be the worst line, ever."
"It, uh," Bobby carefully moved, not taking his eyes off of her, "it's not a line, Jubilee."
She stopped squirming. "It isn't?" she asked, suspicion leaking into her voice.
He trailed the back of a finger along her cheek. "No."
There was a muffled sound, like a thud and a giggle out in the hall. Jubilee decided to ignore it. "So," she said, "I was meaning to thank you for helping me get through Psych." She laced her arms around Bobby's neck. "Got any good suggestions on how I could do that?"
"I bet I can think of a few," Bobby said, leaning over her.
Out in the hall, Logan pressed his ear to the door. "It's pretty quiet," he said. He grinned. "Their scents have changed."
"Eww, in the library?" Rogue made a face. "I have to study in there!"
He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her away from the library. "Doubt there'll be any studyin' done in there for a while." Her arm slipped around his waist, fingers tucking into the belt loop of his jeans. "That was a nice thing you did."
"We did," Rogue corrected. "And I just wanted them to be as happy as us." She pinched the skin at his waist.
"Ow! What's that for?" Logan caught her hand.
Glaring up at him, she said, "That list. You really wrote it, didn't you?"
"Yeah." He grabbed her other hand. "But I forgot to add what made me decide to chuck the list."
"You did?" Rogue waited, her lower lip stuck out in a pout that he was damn sure he wouldn't be able to resist for very long.
"Yeah. Reasons thirty-one and thirty-two." He tugged and she moved in a little closer.
"Which are?" She wound her arms around him.
He kissed her, quick, so her skin wouldn't react, as punctuation to his words. "You love me and I love you."