Lair of the Stealth Bunnies
History Chapter One
Jubilee was bored.
She had thought spending the bulk of her summer vacation at the mansion with the X-Men would be so cool. Shopping with Jean, Storm, and Rogue. New Danger Room scenarios. Not to mention hanging with Wolvie. Maybe she’d even get to go on a mission or two. Just like old times.
And it was pretty cool for the first couple of weeks. Everyone doted on her after not seeing her much during the school year. Then they all settled into their normal routines again.
She wrinkled her nose in disgust. The novelty of having her home had worn off. Wolvie was restoring a classic Harley for some motorcycle rally upstate. She had spent a few hours sitting with him and handing him tools until she knew more about the innards of a tool box than she ever wanted to know. And Wolvie was _still_ content to fuss over the thing for _hours_, forgetting she was there unless she handed him the wrong tool. Which she started doing, first occasionally to get his attention, then more often, just to bug him. He caught on when she gave him a hammer instead of a ratchet, and the resulting chase (ending with her being tossed into the pond) was the most fun she had had all week. After that, he promised that he would take her to the rally with him to make up for ignoring her, if she would just let him ignore her until the bike was done. She threw a lily pad at him, he chucked her back into the pond, and she squelched back to the mansion in defeat.
The others weren’t more helpful. Storm had just added to her greenhouse. She offered to let Jubilee help her plant seedlings. That would have been worse than handing tools.
Jean was redecorating the boat house, and that might have been interesting if she was in the _buying_ stage. But she had already done that and was in the rearranging-to-make-room-for-the-new-stuff stage, intermittently sprinkled with doses of arguing-with-Scott-over-what-could-and-could-not-be -thrown-away. They were in the middle of a very animated discussion over the fate of Scott’s favorite recliner when Jubilee walked in. Jean was telekinetically tugging the recliner toward the door, and Scott was trying to anchor it by the simple means of sitting in it. He didn’t have a hope of winning -- Jean easily could have tipped the recliner upside-down and shaken him out of it -- but he was certainly not giving up without a fight. Jubilee might have felt sorry for him... but it had been Scott who suggested to her the other day that she might put her time to use in getting ahead in her studies. So she had no sympathy for him now and quickly ducked out the door again.
Roller blading had been an interesting diversion until the Professor caught her hurtling through the hallways with their hardwood floors.
The Danger Room had been one of the things she had been looking forward to, every since Wolvie had mentioned that there were a ton of new scenarios. Problem was, there were Rules. No one used the Dander Room alone. Because it was... well, dangerous. And Jubilee was having a hard time finding anyone to do _anything_ with, much less a Danger Room session.
There had been no mention of any missions, for anyone, not just her.
She was sick of television.
She threw herself on her back on her bed, staring at the ceiling and drumming her heels against the side of the bed.
Jubilee was _bored_.
She was debating launching herself to the nearest phone and calling Paige in Kentucky, to apologize, to say she had been wrong, she’d _love_ to spend the rest of the summer on the farm with her friend, she didn’t mind that there wasn’t a mall within a fifty mile radius, really she didn’t, please her come, I’m dyin’ here, Paige -- and the doorbell rang.
Jubilee sat up so fast that the room did a severe tilt and her head pounded from the rush of blood. It didn’t stop her forward momentum, however, and she careened into the doorframe before her equilibrium balanced out. If someone was ringing the doorbell, it meant that they had a password to the gates. But anyone who had a password would have just walked in without bothering to ring. Any anyone who had gotten past the gates unauthorized wouldn’t be ringing all nice and polite-like.
It was more than her bored-out-of-her-mind curiosity could take. No matter who it was, even if it was just a Girl Scout selling cookies, who had miraculously slipped through the bars of the gate -- at least it would be more interesting than her bedroom ceiling. She flew down the stairs in three-steps-at-a-time leaps and threw herself at the door, yanking it open.
She didn’t know the woman standing there. She was still functioning on the assumption that she had to be a Good Guy, because she had gotten past the gate, so she rocked up on her toes cheerfully. “Hi,” she chirped. “Who are you?”
“I’m Eve.” The woman smiled as if she was trying to match Jubilee’s exuberance, but her eyes were exhausted and it ruined the effect. “Who’re you?”
“Are you one of the students here?”
“Nah. I go to school in Massachusetts. I’m on summer break.”
“Oh.” She looked flustered for a moment, shoving her shaggy black hair away from her face. Then Jubilee saw the dog at her feet and dropped to her knees. “Oh, may I pet him? He’s adorable!”
“Her,” Eve corrected. “This is Terr. Terr, this is Jubilee.”
Jubilee held out her hand, and the dog sniffed politely at it, then placed her front paws on Jubilee’s knee to reach up to sniff her face. “I’ve never seen a dog like this,” she said, giggling at the brush of whiskers on her face. The dog wasn’t large, but it wasn’t small either, with long graceful legs and upswept ears, and a tail that curled up over her back in a tight pinwheel. “What kind is she?”
Eve set her knapsack down, resting it against the bench that sat next to the door. “She’s a basenji.”
Jubilee rubbed the dog’s chin and her tail bobbed in the best type of a wag it could do, being coiled so tightly. “I’ve never heard of it. A bah-what?”
“Basenji. It’s a hound, from Africa. They don’t bark. They yodel.”
Jubilee squinted up at her to see if she was laughing at her. “You’re kiddin’, right? All dogs bark.”
“Not this breed. Their vocal chords are built differently.” She patted the black and white dog affectionately, and the dog abandoned Jubilee to dance around Eve’s face.
“How’dja get the tail to curl like that?”
“I get up an hour early every morning with a curling iron.”
Jubilee stood up, her hands on her hips. “Now you _are_ joking.”
“Yes, I am,” she agreed. “Is Logan around?”
Jubilee stopped grinning at the dog and squinted at the woman again. “Whatcha want with Wolvie?” she asked suspiciously.
Eve looked at her, startled perhaps at her sudden change in tone. “He’s an old friend.”
“How come _I’ve_ never heard a’ you then?”
“Logan knows lots of people.” Her voice had gone calmly neutral.
“And some of ‘em ain’t very friendly.”
“Christ.” Eve closed her eyes. “I ain’t got the energy for this, kid.”
Jubilee blinked. For a second there, Eve had sounded so much like Wolvie that she was almost willing to believe her. Then her protective streak kicked in again, and she scowled. “How do I know you aren’t --”
“Never mind,” Eve snapped. “I’ll find him myself.”
Jubilee stepped backwards, putting herself between Eve and the door, holding up her hands and summoning energy for a low level paf, but Eve didn’t even look at her. “Terr,” she said crisply, and the dog shot to attention, body quivering. “Find Logan.”
The dog moved faster than Jubilee would have thought possible and darted between her legs and into the mansion. “Hey!” Jubilee blurted and spun to dash after the dog. Then whirled back towards the woman, who really should be considered the more of the threat. _Then again, if the Professor was peeved about blading indoors, ain’t gonna be nothin’ compared to findin’ a dog in the mansion!_ Maybe the dog _was_ the worse threat. At this moment, it did seem possible -- Eve had sunk wearily onto the bench and didn’t look much like she was planning on moving quickly any time in the near future... while God only knew what the dog was up to.
She didn’t have long to dither about it. A few minutes later, Logan came around the corner of the mansion. The dog was running circles around his feet, just managing to keep out from under his boots. Logan strode along without looking to where he was stepping, as if he knew the dog wasn’t about to let her toes get scrunched. _I guess he really does know her,_ Jubilee thought. _Or at least, knows the dog, anyway_
The dog ran ahead and leapt up on the bench beside Eve, threw back her head and let out a delighted nose that sounded... well, like a yodel. _’Kay, so she was right on that one, too._ She was probably going to get a lecture from _someone_ about lack of trust... but it would never be from Wolvie, so it didn’t really matter.
Logan leaned over the porch railing. “Hey, Evie. They after you again?”
In a voice that was someone both sweet and a snarl at the same time, Even said, “No, Logan. I normally walk half of one foot off and show up lookin’ like hell warmed over one someone’s doorstep, when I haven’t even _heard_ from that someone in almost four years. And you know just how much I love askin’ for help.”
Logan was quiet for a long moment, studying the patterning of the stone railing. “You ain’t asked for my help,” he finally said gently.
As quickly as it appeared, the venom seeped out of Eve. “Do I have to ask?”
“Never, darlin’. You know that.”
She sat back again, closing her eyes, and let out a long breath. “I need your help, Logan.”
“I said you didn’t need to ask.”
“I’m asking anyway.”
“Uh, hello?” Jubilee ducked between them, waving her hands to catch their attention. “Remember me? Jubilee? The one who doesn’t have a clue what’s goin’ on?”
Logan sighed with affectionate tolerance. “Jubilee, Eve’s an old friend. Evie, this is Jubilee.”
“I already know her _name_.” Jubilee jammed her fists on her hips. “I just don’t know what the hell’s goin’ on!”
“Watch yer mouth, kid.”
“You’re one to talk!”
Eve laughed, wearily, as if in spite of herself. “Quite a spitfire, isn’t she?”
Jubilee let sparks dance from her fingertips. “Like you wouldn’t believe!”
This time, Eve’s laughter was more genuine. Then she let it die. “I didn’t mean to snap at you, Logan. I just feel beat to death.”
“Ya look it, darlin’.”
“I’d rather have a bath, dinner, and coffee. And sleep. And not necessarily in that order, either. In fact, food, I think, can take real high priority.” She pulled herself to her feet with a huge effort and limped to her knapsack.
Logan held out his hand to steady her, but she didn’t notice. “Looks like you can use some med attention, too.”
“Just a sprain.”
“How many miles back?”
She swung the knapsack to her shoulder, then frowned when Logan stepped forward and took it from her. “All right, darlin’. No more questions until you’ve eaten. You’re safe here, ya know.”
“Yes,” Eve said softly. “I know.”
She started to move to the door, but Logan caught her wrist in his hand. “Evie... I wasn’t the one who left.”
“I know that, too,” she said, just as softly, and went inside.