A Forgiven safehouse, holding room
Jubilee sits huddled on a wooden floor, her back pressed up against the wall of a dark, cobblestone room. The door to her “cell” suddenly opens. Jubilee wipes the hair out her eyes to get a good look at her visitor. It’s Raizo Kodo and he’s brought her some sheep’s blood in a large wine glass.
Raizo looks into her eyes and urges her to eat more, to keep up her strength. Though she didn’t like yesterday’s pig’s blood, he’s hoping she’ll like today’s choice. Looking disgusted, she says it could be unicorn’s blood for all she cares.
Raizo once again reminds Jubilee that human blood has nothing to do with sustenance, that the blood of any warm mammal will provide her with sufficient nutrition. She lunges forward and knocks the glass from his hand, screaming at him to shut up. Then, she heads back to her wall and drops to her knees. Jubilee tells Raizo to stop telling her what she needs and what she wants.
First wiping the splattered blood from his face, Raizo reminds Jubilee she volunteered to join them so they could help her. She promptly unvolunteers and says she wants out. Raizo refuses, telling Jubilee she’s not in her right mind. Angry at what she perceives as arrogance Jubilee lashes out, quickly getting to her feet and throwing a punch at him. “I’ll kill you!” she screams, but Raizo easily catches her fist before it makes contact and uses her momentum to push her to the ground.
Despite her weakened condition Jubilee springs back up like a jackrabbit. She kicks Raizo in the face, knocking him back. “Stop talking to me like I’m a child, damn it!” she yells in defiance. She makes a break for the door, but Raizo kicks her feet out from under her. Between panting breaths she again promises to kill him.
You may have had a chance if you drank the sheep’s blood, Raizo tells her, but she’s too weak. As he leaves he tells Jubilee he’s sending someone else with more and he suggests she drink it this time.
The entirety of the Forgiven are scattered about the room. They are arguing over whether or not Jubilee can be saved. Though her actions are similar to those recruits who failed, Raizo says the fact she’s been getting blood transfusions from Wolverine makes her case unusual. The room seems equally divided on the matter, so they decide the chief naysayer, Inka, should be the one who delivers Jubilee her sheep’s blood.
Inka takes it begrudgingly and heads off to Jubilee’s locked room. When she walks in she finds Jubilee in the corner sitting like a frog on top of a barrel. Jubes mocks Inka’s outfit, saying she looks like a gothic version of Little Red Riding Hood. Then she calls her one of Raizo’s vamps on a leash.
Though Jubilee is just trying to bait her Inka argues the Forgiven are the only truly free vampires. She tells Jubilee she’s the one who’s a slave to her nature. Jubilee sarcastically thanks her for setting her straight. Getting to the point Inka says she’s just there to get her to drink some sheep’s blood, and she’s not as patient as Raizo so she suggests Jubilee start drinking.
Inka strolls back into the kitchen with a grimace on her face. Her hood pulled back, everyone can see the sheep’s blood dripping down her face. Inka tells Raizo Jubilee’s all his. It’s her choice, Raizo reiterates in front of the group. Ghost Blade asks if the Penance Pool is an option, but Raizo says it would mean nothing at this point. The path of the Forgiven is long and difficult, he continues, but it all starts with a choice.
Jubilee must want a new life, a frustrated Raizo explains. He fears her rational mind is gone as her cravings for human blood grow each moment. Then it will take patience, Ghost Blade encourages, and Raizo agrees, for after walking this earth for five centuries patience is one thing he has more than enough of.
At some point later, Raizo enters Jubilee’s room and strikes a meditative post, just inside the door. A few feet away, an uncomfortable-looking Jubilee, tired of Raizo’s theatrics, freaks out. She begs him for human blood. She wants to hunt and take it. Raizo asks if she wants to know why vampires have a special craving for human blood. This frustrates Jubes, who doesn’t want to hear anymore of his lecturing. She heads back to her spot on the floor and asks to be staked if Raizo’s going to go all Yoda on her.
Getting to his feet Raizo grabs the glass of sheep’s blood and holds it out for Jubilee. He tells her the craving for human blood comes from their desire to recapture something lost to them. My only instinct is to feed, she argues. He corrects her, saying her only instinct is to kill. Putting the glass in front of her he says if all she wants is a meal to drink.
Jubilee backs away. All she hears is talk, talk, talk. She tells Raizo he must love the sound of his own voice. She asks what it’s going to take to shut him up. Jubilee then charges him like earlier, but instead of striking him, she gives him a passionate kiss.
When the kiss breaks Raizo admits it was a lot better than Jubilee biting him. It shows him there’s something deeper within her. She looks at him seductively and begins pulling down the zipper to her outfit, suggesting they might as well get it on. Raizo stops her, saying he didn’t find her randomly, that he knows what Xarus did to her.
This turns her completely off and she pushes away. She doesn’t want to talk about Xarus, but Raizo presses the matter. He calls Jubilee a victim and wants her to understand she doesn’t need to be a victim anymore. He researched her history after learning how Xarus used her to get at the X-Men. He talks about her parents’ death, living on her own and earning a place with the X-Men. Jubilee just wants him to shut up.
Feeling he’s done all he can Raizo leaves, but before doing so tells Jubes that although Xarus changed what she was he didn’t change who she was. He leaves the sheep’s blood by the door, in case she changes her mind, and then shuts it behind him.
Raizo returns to the rest of the group and fills them in on his lack of progress. While they debate the best approach (Visigoth is quickly eliminated due to his lack of subtlety) Raizo chooses Quickshot to look in on her next. He figures maybe the youngest of them might provide some insight for Jubilee.
The door to Jubilee’s rooom opens with a long, ominous creak. Quickshot steps through the doorway and spies the empty glass. He encourages Jubilee’s choice and says getting her strength back will definitely help.
It sure does, but not in the way Quickshot intended. The battle-hardened Jubilee has no problem knocking around the young vampire. She kicks him in the back and knocks him onto the floor. While he’s down there she karate chops him in the back of the neck, knocking him out cold. With that taken care of, she removes the lightbender from around his neck and puts it on. She escapes from the building and heads out into the forest.
Minutes later, the Forgiven are convened around the long, wooden table in the center of the room. Quickshot is still rubbing the back of his head where Jubilee struck him. Though Raizo feels confident Jubilee will return, Inka has her doubts. With innocent villagers not far from their location she orders a few of the Forgiven to accompany her while they track Jubilee down. As she leaves the room she warns Raizo she will put Jubilee down if necessary.
As Inca believed would happen, Jubilee has found the nearby village. Taking cover behind a rickety fence she spies a young, red-headed boy carrying some firewood to his house. After he’s inside, Jubilee walks over and knocks on the door.
The boy answers and speaks to her in broken English. Jubilee gets him to invite her in, and once inside begins to work her vampire wiles. The boy asks if she’s lost, but Jubilee is done with the talking, using her eyes to hypnotize him.
He looks dreamily back at her, a smile creeping stupidly on his face. Jubilee places her hand on the side of his head and works it toward the back. She tilts his head slightly to the right, creating enough room for her to get her fill. Her fangs pop and she’s no more than two inches away when something she sees gives her pause.
It’s a long mirror leaning up against the wall in front of her. Seeing the boy standing there, but no reflection of herself, Jubilee breaks free of her vampire bloodlust. Her fangs retract.”No,” she quietly says to herself.
The Forgiven hideout
Raizo Kodo is standing in front of the fireplace when the front door opens. Thinking it’s Nighteyes he asks if she found Jubilee, but when he turns he finds that it is Jubilee, and she looks horrible.
After stepping through the door Jubes collapses to the ground. Raizo rushes to her side and cradles her head with his arm. Her voice is weak, but she quickly tells Raizo of her reflection, how it was like she wasn’t there, like she doesn’t exist. She then asks for help, before passing out. Raizo lifts her up into his arms and carries her upstairs to her room.
This is the third vampire den Storm’s team has come across, but with still no sign of Jubilee. They make short work of the Nosferatu, their undead corpses lying all about the place. Domino says she hates the stink of these lairs, but Storm says she better get used to it because they’re just getting started.