Disclaimers: These guys belong to Marvel and probably some other people
as well. Not I, said the fly.
Sometimes there are these really huge events that you don't know were events until later, when you're trying to figure out why everyone -- why you're all screwed up. And when you do figure it out, it can be. Kind of shaming. Like stealing from your mother and having her love you anyway, because it was only a little money, and it's not like you're a bad kid.
But, whatever, that's not the thing. The thing was that Doctor Henry McCoy came to the school to lend his super-powered brain to some thing or another that Xavier thought we were all too young to know about. The thing was that he was blue. And furry. Like, all over furry.
Like a really, really big teddy bear. With fangs. And glasses. And blue underwear.
Which was hey, you know, he's a mutant. We're allowed to dress weird, I think it may be in the rule book that we have to dress weird. C'mon, how much leather does one super-mutant team really need to wear?
Anyway, he gave a little speech with a lot of words I got Rogue to look up for me, and then 'retired to the serene comfort of his laboratory.' Right. We all ate dinner, tried to use enough big words to imitate him. Johnny carbonized my chicken leg. I froze his mashed potatoes. Everything was a little off, but whatever, Scott had given us 40 algebra problems to work out for Thursday. I know I was worried.
So Johnny and I wound up playing foosball for two hours and listening to the approximately 9 billion commercials on MTV and maybe two videos and then I settled in to do my homework, fell asleep in the middle, woke up at four a.m. with highlighter ink all over my face and pillow and I don't even remember using a highlighter and I thought:
Really, really furry. Like, he'd feel like my dog if I were to pet him. Which was just a weird thought all around and Allerdyce was snoring so loud I couldn't get back to sleep and the ink wouldn't scrub off and I thought:
All of us look human.
And we do. The most non-human (and I know we're all human, and it's the worst thing ever that Magneto agrees with all the bigots that we're a separate species, but no one ever made me feel particularly human after I put Mrs. Gilbert in the hospital with frostbite in the middle of July) thing about us is probably Scott, with those wrap-around shades of his.
Even at that point, the X-Men just sort of look like some kind of Eurotrash pop band.
Which brought up this image of Scott angsting over a mic and sort of swaying like a twig in a low breeze and Jean telekinetically bopping herself all over the stage playing the guitar and Storm doing back-up vocals behind the keyboard and Wolverine hanging himself behind the drum kit. Several times. All that healing.
It was really, really late, and I kind of half-thought that all the (ugly) mutants were the ones doing horrible things and Giving The Rest (Best) of Us A Bad Name and it felt. Really ugly.
But I finally got to sleep, and I got C's on everything that came back and handed in my future C's and played around in Storm's science class and got sent to Xavier who just sort of looked at me and said:
"Why don't you talk to him?"
And sent me out of there with a sudden, vague sense of where the Laboratory of Serenity might be, and my own thoughts about whether you could get to the Fortress of Solitude from there, and if Dr. McCoy and Clark Kent got their underoos from the same place and how much force it would take to turn the hall into a skating rink and what Rogue tasted like just under her ear.
Since she probably remembered to wash there. Girls always did.
So then I was thinking that it was kind of weirdly adult to think about tasting a girl, as opposed to touching her or, well, groping and doing her, which was weird, but also kind of cool. And hot. Because Bobby Junior was up and awake and Jesus what if McCoy could smell that kind of thing?
I stood outside the door for a while, debating about attempting to deep- freeze the little guy and the wet spot that would undoubtedly be all over my crotch and also *owww*. Which helped. But the door was already open by the time I was ready to knock and I was staring into the face of Dr. McCoy.
Upside down. With a book. And little glasses.
"Ah, a visitor to my home away from home. Please come in, young friend, and breathe deep the many odors of science!"
"Um. OK." Science, for the record, smelled a lot like the disinfectant that Jean uses in her own Labora -- her own lab. Which wasn't as capitalized as this place felt. "Wow," I said, attempting... well, I don't know what I was attempting. "You sure have a lot of. Stuff."
And suddenly I was the Beav's retarded younger cousin. Great start. All set to aim my deep thoughts at Big, Blue, and Fangsome. Sure. Right.
"Ah, the Professor has been most generous with the loan of his equipment. This, my friend, is a pocket cathedral where science can be most properly worshipped."
"So you're an atheist?"
I wanted to go hide in a test tube.
"Rather a controversial choice for a question between people who haven't even been properly introduced, don't you think?"
I think I was beet red. "I'm Bobby. Ah. Drake and look, I didn't ... that is, you don't..."
"Bobby Drake, it is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Henry McCoy, but I tend to prefer Beast. Or Hank. And I am an agnostic."
We shook hands, and it was exactly like shaking hands with a big, blue, furry guy would feel like. Ticklish, weird, and a little scary. I smiled, though, and he returned it with a grin of his own. All those big, white teeth. I should've been thinking about Sabretooth, or Wolverine for that matter, but his eyes crinkled up in this weirdly young way when he smiled and so we just grinned at each other like idiots.
"What exactly does agnostic mean? I mean, I know it's kind of somewhere in the middle, but..." At least I was an idiot.
"I could give you any number of definitions, but I think the one that means the most in regards to me is this: An agnostic will spend his life studying every aspect of a duck before coming to the conclusion that it may, possibly, be a duck. Possibly."
"Do you spend a lot of time studying God?"
Beast jumped down off the ceiling and pulled out chairs for us to sit on, looking thoughtful for long minutes. I wasn't sure what to call him. He'd given me too many choices, and wasn't thinking of him as 'Beast' automatically making him different? What was I doing here, again?
"...my youth wondering about the sort of God who could make the world we live in, and I asked dozens of questions of dozens of people who believed, and people who did not, and I watched humanity changing and growing and shifting as mutations became more common, and ... then I decided I was an agnostic. Which at that point was my way of saying 'I haven't the faintest idea of what might be going on in the universe, and my head hurts.'"
"I wish I could get away with that with algebra."
"It takes practice, Bobby. Of course, it still won't work on Professor Summers, but practice is rarely ever a bad idea."
There was a pause, and Beast ran a claw over the book he'd been reading, sort of half-smiling in my direction, as if it was perfectly normal for the class idiot to show up and ask him about God of all things and I knew I was starting to blush, and I wanted to run for it, but I finally managed to get it out: "What's it like to. Um. Look like that?"
"Do you think the facial fur detracts from the natural sharpness of my cheekbones? Is blue really my color?"
"I ... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked, I mean, I didn't mean --"
"It's all right, Bobby. No, don't apologize. I fear I've grown far too accustomed to being rather ... flip with my responses to that sort of question, over the years."
"It's just ... I'm not used to seeing many other. Ah. Mutants."
"Yes, Professor Xavier has made himself quite the closed society with the school, I think. I doubt that was his intention, but these things do happen ... Only human nature, after all. Like calls to like, and rarely to ... unlike."
"I don't think you're ... unlike. Well, you are, but that's your vocabulary. And everything you know, I guess, but Jean does, too, and man you have no idea how much I hate babbling."
"Your 'babble' is far more entertaining than what many people call conversation, Bobby. I'm enjoying our visit."
Which was, yeah, a big surprise, but it was nice, because I was, too. It was like ... one of those moments. Like watching the look on Rogue's face the first time I ever gave her one of my little ice sculptures. That kind of wonder and ... warmth. I had this painful urge to ask Beast if we could be Best Friends.
Christ, yeah, and maybe make a friggin' soap box racer while we were at it. Definitely weird, but also definitely that feeling.
"Bobby ... to answer your question ... well, it's a mass of contradictions, really. On the one hand, there's a lot of room for freedom when meeting a new person and not ever having to dread the inevitable conversation about one's mutation. On the other ... well, there was comfort in being able to hide. When I was able."
I could only think to nod. Wonder about what it would be like to go back out in the world and just be Bobby Drake, Mutie Freak again. Of course, with control of my powers, no one would really have to know, but then they also would if I wanted to have anything like a friendship and so I basically just sat there, probably with my Deep In Thought face, which looks way too much like my Village Idiot face for comfort.
In the end, all I could manage was to thank him for answering me, about a minute before realizing I was already late for training with Storm and if that wasn't gonna be a painful experience...
"Um. I gotta go. To class. Storm is ... well, she's helping me learn how to control my powers."
Beast stood and smiled, that crinkly one again and I wiped my palm on my jeans and wondered if we were supposed to shake again. Beast chuckled a little and bowed me out, with perfect grace. I wondered what his fur felt like.
I said something along the lines of "see ya later" and booked.
And that was my event.