5146/Stupid Games, Stupid Prizes

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Stupid Games, Stupid Prizes
Date of Scene: 12 February 2021
Location: Breakstone Lake
Synopsis: Jubilee has been laying low after the incident at the anti-mutant protests. Paige finds Jubilee at the lake and offers some kind words...and cake! Jubes decides she's going to use her social powers to save the guy she put in the hospital with her mutant powers!
Cast of Characters: Jubilation Lee, Paige Guthrie

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    The lake is not a popular place to come in the colder months except for ice skating. Fortunately for those who seek solitude, it hasn't been cold enough to freeze over. No one would be skating today unless Bobby decides otherwise. No one is at the lake except for Jubilation Lee. She's been scarce -- she hasn't been seen in classes or any of her usual hangouts -- and hasn't been replenishing the Sadie Hawkins dance flyers when they get torn down. Today, she's at the lake, standing on its shoreline. Jubilee doesn't look like herself today. Instead of her usually bright ensembles, she's wearing a totally drab grey hoodie usually given to wayward mutants upon first arriving at Xavier's and a pair of jeans. The hood is drawn up.

    Jubilee's attention isn't on the water or the trees. Judging by her posture, she's staring down at her phone. Next to her in the sand is a circle of rocks surrounding a pile of sticks and such. After a few moments basking in the glow of her smart phone, Jubes pockets it and points her hands at the kindling. It erupts in a show of fireworks, tiny explosions of all colors, but... does not light. It's completely unaffected.

Paige Guthrie has posed:
"Hey!" Paige's voice rings out towards her as she trudges through the snowy path towards the lake. She is bundled up in a bright red parka with a hoodie beneath it so that her head can have some cover. She has on a pair of heavy jeans and her usual sneakers. She also has a plate in her hand with a piece of cake wrapped under plastic wrap with a fork to go along with it.

"There you are. Been lookin' all over for you." She says as her breath comes out in thick puffs at the cold air. "Was Sammy's birthday yesterday and we still got cake left over and pizza if yah' hungry." She gives a glance towards the sparkle show, then back to her before offering up the plate.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    When Jubes spots Paige coming over, her eyebrows rise a little and she quickly turns away. Maybe she won't know it's me, Jubilee thinks. Maybe she's just passing by for a walk. For anyone approaching, her hood just makes her look like any old mutant who doesn't care about putting together an outfit. Still, the pops and whistles of those 'fireworks' are unmistakable, especially for someone who's recently been so close to them.

    "Hi, Paige," she greets quietly. Her voice is bland, toneless almost, as though she isn't sure what she's supposed to say or how she should say it. "How was the party?" This comes with the sounds of mourning, as though she really wanted to be there for it. She takes the plate reluctantly and smiles slightly in thanks.

Paige Guthrie has posed:
"It went ahl'right. Roberto and ah' bought him a new pickup truck. Berto .. uh... paid for it, and ah' picked out th' color. He was tickled pink ovah' it. Not sure what else he got from th' others. But it was nice ta' hang out." Paige flops down into the snow after kicking some snow around to reveal the ground, leaning in against her knees.

"Ya'know, ah've been really missing yah' the last few days. Been kinda giving you space, but ah' figured if ah' was any type ah' friend, ah'd track yah' down and make sure you was okay. If you wanna do something, like hit up th' gym, or go shopping, or just .. do normal stuff, ah'm up for it."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "Really?" Jubilee asks, a smile forming. Her eyes lower as she thinks about it a bit. "That's a great present." She moistens her lips and stares at the makeshift campfire. Both hands are extended towards it and it's covered in another small cloud of colored explosions. No change. "That sounds good, Paige..." Jubilee replies, her smile fading a bit. "We totally should." She lacks the usual enthusiasm that might come along with such an invitation, like she's agreeing just to be polite.

    There's a long pause, silence except for the natural noises of the lake and the surrounding woods. Finally, Jubilee breaks it. "I hope you know I didn't mean to do that," she says softly, looking up from the ground towards Paige, hopeful.

Paige Guthrie has posed:
Pressing her lips together, Paige furrows her brows, then says, "Jubilee, he's lucky that all you did was burn 'em, because if I was two seconds faster, I'd have yanked his head off and used it as a soccer ball. He was going to murder our friend. Our classmate. He came to that rally with the intent to be a bigoted asshole and he came armed with the intent to hurt. He looked at Nori like an animal."

"This may not sound very Xavier like ... but fuck him. Ah'll fight ta' my last breath to create a world of unity and peace, but if anyone .. /anyone/ .. pulls a gun on me first .. it's me or you and yah' better believe it, ah'll do whatever it takes ta' come out on top, even if it means ah' gotta put you down like a damn dog." There is steam in her voice as she stares at her hands for a moment, then shakes her head.

"You did nothing wrong, Jubilee. Ah' know this is gonna haunt yah, and it definitely ruined mah' night as well. That day was terrifying. Ah' was scared for you both when ah' told ya'll to take off. But at the end of th' day, they decided ta' come at children with guns with anger in their eyes and their throats. Yah' play stupid games, yah' win stupid prizes."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee finds something to frown at in there. "He's in intensive care. Critical condition...Because of me..." she adds mournfully. A deep breath and then the phone goes into her pocket again. "He should be at home with his family right now." She closes her eyes and leaves them closed for a few moments -- a shallow attempt to hold back another round of crying. She's done enough of it.

    Paige's show of vigor gets a slow shake of Jubilee's head. "That's not...That's not me, Paige," she says softly. "I'm not...." She takes a deep breath. "...Hurting people isn't the way we make a better world. We do it with love."

    Her eyes fall again. "I can't believe I did that..." Another shake of her head. "...I don't even know /how/ I did it." To emphasize this, she gestures at the ring of rocks. Another cloud of sparkles....and nothing.

Paige Guthrie has posed:
"No, Jubilee. He's in the hospital because of /his/ actions. Because /he/ took a gun out. /He/ put it to Nori's head. /He/ tried to pull a trigger on a /child/. Yes, he should be at home with his family, if he had more than three fucking braincells ta' rub together and create some type ah' spark. This ain't on you at all. Of course this is not /you/. But you weren't you in that moment. You were doing whatever it takes ta' protect your friend, your girlfriend, your classmate."

Paige has a rumble in her throat as she jerks her head up defiantly. "And ah' know you're hurting right now, but imagine how you'd really feel if he got that shot off, if ah' was too late? Ah' wasn't gonna make it in time, Jubes. Okay? He'd have /executed/ a child on her knees and we'd have ta' watch it happen. Executed. This wasn't self-defense." She reaches out to nudge her roughly with her hand. "Jubilee, Nori is alive because of you. That's what you need to keep your focus on. That guy should feel lucky that whatever God he prays to decided to give him a mulligan. Maybe when he gets out, he'll think twice before he tries to kill a child. Though ah' doubt it. Hate like that is so deep and rotten."

She leans back again to look over at the ring of rocks. "You were scared and frightened, Jubilee. Maybe you've been holding back this entire time because you're always so happy and easy going. There's no point to push yourself if yah' live happy inside a huge mansion surrounded by superheroes. Maybe you got a lot more inside of you, and you just haven't unlocked it yet."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Paige is not wrong, but it's a difficult pill to stomach. Noriko is alive because of Jubilee's explosive display of powers. It's indisputable. But... this is Jubilation Lee. She lives in a world where Noriko is safe and sound and her would-be gunman is at home with his family. But, that's not real life. Noriko is here and her attacker is eating intravenously in intensive care.

    "I don't want to hurt anyone..." Jubilee manages to get out before she begins to cry again. Paige's point about what would've happened if that gun went off sets Jubilee into a spiral. What if Noriko had died? Both hands are brought up to cover her eyes as she begins to fall into a deep sob. "Paige...." can be heard in between the waves of tears.

    The crying putters out quickly, as this isn't a new thought for her. It's been brought to her attention already by Noriko -- she had saved her life. With a loud sniiiiiff to clear her nose, Jubilee shakes her head rapidly. "I don't want to unlock it," she replies mournfully.

Paige Guthrie has posed:
Reaching out, Paige wraps an arm around her, tugging her over so that she can give her a firm hug. "Maybe you should learn to unlock it, so that you can control it better. That is why we're here, right? Ta' be th' best mutants that we can be. To learn control. To build those bridges of Xavier's dream. Yah' can't do that if you hold back and don't know yah' limits. Yah' run th' risk of doing this again. Yah' gotta find out what your trigger is."

She lets out a soft sigh, then lets her go as she leans back. "Everyone of us got ceilings and we don't know how far they go. Look at me for example. When mah' powers first went off, ah' turned into a bird. A freaking bird. Ah' haven't been able ta' do that again, never. Now it's just rip mah' skin off and ah' got scales, or metal, or rock, or wood .. " Her lips give a twitch. "But ya'know what? Since coming here .. since pushing mah'self, ah' do so much more and now ah' can do it with a greater level of control."

She reaches to her arm and rips hard, revealing what appears to be a blow torch beneath it. Heat! Fire! It gushes out like molten lava and she fires it out across the lake. "Woo! See that? Ah' learned that ah' can change th' chemical properties of mah' body. Ah'd never be able ta' do that three years ago. The first time ah' tried this, ah' burned mah' foot real bad."

"Ah'm not saying you should learn ta' unlock yourself so you can hurt people, but you should so that you'd never hurt someone again."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    The hug is returned, though Jubilee's arms are held straight out with both hands pointing out at the lake. When they break, Jubilee shrugs her shoulders, both hands going into the air for a second. "Maybe you're right," she agrees softly. She knows Paige is right. She couldn't risk killing someone when she really just means to flashbang them. No way.

    Jubes stares at the spray of viscous fire and takes a breath, watching Paige with a palpable sense of envy. So easy. So clear. She reaches up to wipe away the moisture from her cheeks and sighs. "I don't know what I'm going to do..." she admits, staring out at the fire that dances against the water. Do about what?

    "I read that he can't afford the hospital bills," Jubilee explains slowly. She bites her bottom lip. "...Maybe a bake sale...Or...." Her eyebrows rise in excitement. "Oh!"

    "The Sadie Hawkins Dance!" She took it upon herself to declare that there would be a dance in the recreation room. She could easily reflyer it as a donation-driving event for the gunman's hospital stay. Suddenly, Jubilee looks over at Paige with a smile. "...We could raise money for his bills!" she exclaims, her eyes widening. Not many would share her enthusiasm for the idea let alone understand it.

Paige Guthrie has posed:
Reaching up to yank once more, Paige shreds higher up at the shoulder so that she can yank downwards and clear the fire away. Back to a normal, human arm. She gathers up the shredded skin and lobs it into the fire pit so that it can dissolve faster.

"Wait, you wanna raise money for his hospital bills?" There's an incredulous look upon the country girl's face, tilting her head to one side. She lets out a heavy breath, then says, "Ah'right, we can do that. We'll do it together, okay?" Though the idea is frustrating to her, she 'gets it'. A way to clear her conscious.

It's also what Xavier probably would do. Except he'd swipe a credit card since he's literally Daddy Warbucks.

"But if we do this, we should donate it anonymously. We put our names on it and he finds out, he'll try and sue you or something, or sue Xavier's. So, you wanna feel better 'bout all of this, I get that, but you gotta protect yah'self also."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilation nods her head at Paige and her incredulousness. "Of course!" she answers easily. A no-brainer for her. It's the right thing to do. "The time is always right to do what's right....right?" Jubilee adds, apparently accessing a fleeting memory of history class. Maybe she pays attention in class more than people think.

    Suddenly, Jubilation appears significantly more charged up than she did at the start of all this. "I gotta get to work!" she exclaims, still wide-eyed. "All those flyers to take down... New ones to print.... Gotta put them up...." She takes a deep breath. "Thanks, Paige!" She smiles. Really! She SMILES. "You're going to be a great X-Man."

    Without so much as a goodbye, Jubes immediately begins running towards the snowy path to return to the mansion...

Paige Guthrie has posed:
"... Ah'course ah'm gonna be a great X-Man.. " Paige trails off as she watches Jubilee run off through the snow, then lets out a sigh. She glances back towards the scorched surface of the lake, then pushes heself upwards to her feet and brushes off her knees.

She takes a few minutes to gather herself up, then wraps her arms around herself and trudges back towards the school with slow scuffs of her feet.