It all started slow.
Jubilee was walking slowly down the street, her arms weighed down by heavy graceries. She smiled to herself. It felt good to be back here, looking after Logan, keeping him sane. She’d even bought him something special she could cook for him tonight. She just hoped he’d appreciate it- but of course he would. He was a sucker for steak and kidney pies the way she made them. Plenty of steak, easy on the kidneys, with a layer of cheese on top.
The first warning she got was a low growl. She spun around, her eyes widening. A pair of yellow eyes leered at her, and she staggered at a blow to the jaw, spinning her off balance and sending her groceries to the ground. Oranges bounced and eggs splattered.
“Funny, I don’t remember buying oranges,” Jubilee mused dazedly. A low mocking laugh and a clawed hand on her ankle brought her back to the situation and she spun to face him, firing energy pulses at him which exploded in blinding flashes. He staggered back, and she climbed to her feet, back to the wall. Smoke rose from the explosions. She could see him vaguely, dripping and shattered, but as the smoke cleared, he was healed again already. Her fists clenched.
“Get away from me, Creed!” she yelled, sounding tougher than he felt. Sabretooth laughed at her. She threw more pulses at his head, and he dived through them and grabbed her by the throat, his claws digging in, beginning to pierce her skin. He grinned maliciously at her as she struggled for breath.
“Hey! Can’t you read the sign? No Loitering!” Green-white web stuck to Sabretooth’s hands, pulling them apart. A third glob stuck him on the head, temporarily blinding him.
“Run, Jubilee!” Jubilee looked up at the familiar red and blue figure on the fire escape above her. He was pulling on the webs, straining to hold Victor’s hands in place. “Go!” She nodded and darted away, getting across the road before Victor roared in fury and just tore the web off, shredding it to bits. He made to come after her but turned when he felt web stick to his behind.
“Phew! Did someone let one rip?” Spider-man jerked on the web, tearing his trousers. he growled. Spider-man dropped the web and wiggled his fingers, thumbs in his ears. “Come get me, stinky!” He sped away up the wall. Victor roared again.
“You interfering little pipsqueak! I’ll tear you to pieces!” He jumped and landed on the fire escape, causing it to bend, then break as he leapt to the roof. The Spider-pest was getting up his nose. He wanted him dead. Jubilee watched until he was out of sight, and then sprinted away hell for leather.
Peter moved fast. He had to. This Victor guy was faster than he expected, and difficult to shake. He leapt out into space, catching himself on his web at the last minute, swinging across the divide between buildings across a busy street. He paused as he landed on the other side and glanced back. Victor had crashed to the ground, crushing a car, then he leapt across the street, car horns blaring at him, squealing of tyres. Peter gulped and ran as Victor followed him up.
Once or twice he turned and tried to slow Victor by shooting web in his face or tripping him up, or sticking his feet together. Every time, those shiney claws tore at the webbing like it was tissue paper, continuing faster on if possible. Peter was beginning to get worried. Although he was very fit, he couldn’t run forever. He dived off the edge of a building, web already splurting out and sticking to the building opposite, pulling himself across. Victor leapt after him. A claw scraped his ankle and he suppressed a yell, pulling on the web harder. Did this guy never just give up? He couldn’t go on at this pace much longer!
His next leapt he misjudged, and nearly missed his shot with the web.
“Come on, Peter, pull yourself together and move it!” he muttered to himself, hauling himself to the roof opposite. He tried to sprint across and leap on. A hand closed around his ankle, just as he leapt. He cried out, webbing the walls desperately, hoping to jerk the guy off. His fall was arrested, and he looked down, clinging tightly to the web. Victor looked up and him and grinned, showing all his teeth. Peter tried not to panic and webbed him in the face, lashing out with his feet foot. With a howl, Victor fell to the ground six stories down, tearing at his face. Peter clung tightly and watched. He heard the dull crack and clang as the guy’s back broke on the skip, and swallowed, lowering himself carefully to the ground, shaking with exertion.
“Oh man, I killed him,” he breathed, not wanting to get too close. As well he didn’t. Victor stirred and opened his eyes, focussing immediately on Peter. For the moment he didn’t move.
“You were trying to kill me first!” Peter protested, holding up his hands. “Sorry!”
His movement was like lightning. Before Peter had time to blink he was being held by one huge paw on his throat, pressing down hard. Peter struggled, trying to push it away. He could hardly budge him, and he gasped for breath. Victor shoved his face in close and sniffed.
“Who are you?” he growled, his free hand plucking at the costume. He sniffed again. “You smell like the city.* He closed the free hand around Peter’s head and tore off his mask. He grunted, disappointed. “You’re just a kid.”
“Not just a kid, Spider-man-” Peter began, before a warning tightening of than paw on his throat silenced him. Victor sniffed in distaste, then narrowed his eyes and tore at the neck of the costume too, exposing Peter’s shoulders and one side of his chest. He put his face real close and sniff. He stopped. His eyes gleamed.
“You smell like Wolverine,” he said, his voice incredibly low and accusing. Peter held his breath. “You smell a lot like Wolverine. You two are close.” His nose moved lower, snuffling loudly. “Very close.” He brought his face up to meet Peter’s frightened eyes and grinned. It was the most evil, smug, victorious grin Peter had ever seen.
“You’re a pest, kid. I don’t like pests. And you are close to Wolverine. So I’ll make your death as painful as possible.” He laughed. Peter struggled in earnest, kicking out as hard as possible, his hands trying to push on Victor’s hands, trying to free his neck. And Victor just laughed at him, taunting him. Peter yelled, exerting all his strength, inching Victor’s hand away.
A swipe of Victor’s other hand sent him sprawling. He smacked into the wall, hard, the breath knocked out of him. Victor was on him in a second, his claws scratching out, tearing the costume over his arms and legs and stomach. Blood began to well out of the scratches, splattering on the walls as Victor slashed his face. He couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. He could hear someone screaming and found the sound was coming from his own mouth. All there was was pain, claws, that horrible mocking, smug, victorious laugh. He realised he’d been kicked across the alley, and collided painfully with the wall. He felt like a bag ful of pulp, he could hardly see. Those claws were shredding him to pieces. He was receiving the worst battering of his life. He was going to die.
The claws were tearing down his cheek, his neck, his chest and stomach, removing the stubborn tattered threads in the way, the other hand grasping his head and lifting him up and pressing his hard against the wall, his feet dangling uselessly. Through the fog, Peter felt Victor grasp hold of his groin.
“And I thnk I’ll deliver this to our friend Wolverine, since he likes it so much.” He could vaguely hear him. He blearily opened the one eye that would and looked at Victor, his gaze glassy and glazed with pain. Victor looked back at him, and leaned forward, his tongue licking the oozing blood on Peter’s sliced cheek. Then he stopped, and pulled back. Peter saw him look over his shoulder. Bright flashes of pink and blue blinded Peter for an instant. He looked back at Victor, who went to get up and turn. He didn’t. Both he and Peter looked in surprise at the three gleaming claws that appeared in the front of Victor’s chest. Then the claws were ripped violently out, blood flying, Victor howling in pain. As soon as Peter hit the ground he crumpled and was out.
“Jubilee! NOW!!” Logan roared. Immediately the area around where Victor landed exploded. Smoke and dust billowed out. Logan covered his face with an arm to protect it. He looked over. Victor was a bloody mess on the ground. He’d be out for a few hours at least, probably a day. It was the other bloody mess that interested Logan. He was at Peter’s side in and instant, gathering him up in his arms to keep him off the cold unforgiving ground. He bent his head over him, fear and grief gripping him, tears that hadn’t formed in years. Jubilee walked over slowly, Peter’s torn mask in her hands. She couldn’t look at the limp form in Logan’s arms.
“There’s pieces of his costume everwhere, Wolvy,” she whispered, clutching the mask tightly. “All over. His blood’s on the walls. Creed killed him. He killed Peter for trying to protect me, Wolvy, I-” Her shoulders shook as she cried. Logan stood up, holding Peter gently.
“He’s still alive, Jubes,” he murmured, trying not to show his own emotions. “Barely, but there.” Jubilee stared at Peter’s dangling right foot, still somehow enclosed in his red boot. The other was bare. Blood ran down his leg and dripped off his toes, leaving little splat marks in the dirt. The booted foot was turning darker red.
“He needs medical attention,” Logan said, walking out of the alley. Jubes followed him, still clutching the mask. She heard the gasps of horror as people saw Logan and Peter, people calling for ambulances, police, doctors. Jubilee formed one last ball of energy and tossed it over her shoulder. It made a satisfying bang as it landed.
Logan wouldn’t leave Peter’s side, and Jubilee wouldn’t leave Logan. Even when the ambulance arrived, poking in drips, bandaging limbs, attaching life support, they did it all under the watchful gaze of Logan and Jubilee. He was whisked into Emergency surgery at the hospital. Logan and Jubilee waited togeth outside the doors until he was taken out, hours later, his face small and white in the sea of bandages and casts,tubes sticking out all over the place, blood in a bag dripping slowly into his arm. Logan sat and waited, refusing to leave his side, arms folded. Jubilee couldn’t stand the tension and wandered, coming back all the time, back visiting other wards, buying food from the vending machine and then not wanting it, watching the muted doctors and nurses bustle around. An older woman and a young woman and a man came into the waiting room, the girl’s eyes red from crying, then man supporting her, and woman pale and frightened.
“Are you Peter’s Aunt May?” Jubilee asked quietly. The woman looked and her and nodded. Jubilee nodded, turned and walked up the corridor to Peter’s room, stopping at the glass for a moment before going in. Logan glanced up.
“Pete’s Aunt May is here,” she said, standing by Logan’s shoulder. He clasped her hand reassuringly. They both looked away as May and the girl and the man bent over Peter’s still form, respecting their privacy. The girl started crying again. Jubilee could sense the question on the woman’s face, wondering who they were.
“Excuse me?” Logan looked up. The red-headed girl was looking down at him. “Are you the ones who rescued our Peter?” Logan nodded once. The girl fought back tears.
“Oh thank you, thank you so much,” she gushed, hugging Logan. Then she hugged Jubilee too.
It was silent once they went out to get food, except for the incessant beep of the life support.
The end was slow too. Logan and Jubilee never gave up waiting.
Why do we insist upon inflicting pain upon our favourite characters? *hugs Peter*