The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Basement Level C, The Laboratory of Dr Henry McCoy a.k.a Beast
This wasn’t fair thought Hank McCoy as he lay on the floor of his lab; the slightest movement sending shockwaves of searing pain through his system. Apparently it wasn’t enough that he was blue, had fur and looked like a cat.
Well, if his body had anything to say about it he wouldn’t survive this tertiary (or was it quadertiary?) mutation. He would lie here, his condition gradually worsening until his heart finally gave out and he would die. Alone.
“Ab-Abigail” he managed, his breathing laboured.
God, he wished she was here. If only so he could say goodbye. He wished they were all here. Even Scott. He’d die happy if he knew that his death could bring them all together again.
Hank cursed his pride. It was pride that had caused him to be permanently mutated in the first place and now it was that same stubborn pride that was going to kill him. He was the world’s foremost expert on mutation but that didn’t mean others didn’t have insights that could have saved him. Instead he lay awaiting the end, watching as fluid from shattered test tubes dribbled towards each other, creating patterns and reactions that danced in front of his eyes.
Suddenly Rogue and (was he seeing things?) Emma Frost burst into the lab, quickly followed by Kitty and Bobby.
“Hank!” Kitty yelled, her mop of brown hair flying through Emma’s face as she raced to Hank’s side, the others crowding around her anxiously.
“He’s still breathing,” she said. “But we need to get him to a hospital.”
“There’s no time,” Rogue said urgently. “He’s going through another secondary mutation. It’s killing him.”
“What?” Bobby exclaimed. “Why didn’t he tell anyone?”
“Rachel,” Rogue called out telepathically. “Did you send word?”
“Yes,” Rachel Grey, the school’s premier telepath replied. “Nothing from the Future Foundation, David Alleyne or Horizon Labs.”
“Damn, guess we’re doing this the old fashioned way.” Rogue said to herself. She removed one of her gloves then touched her palm to one of Hank’s, closing her eyes as she let his knowledge bleed into her.
“Okay, I just absorbed him.” she told the others. “Ah’m gonna use Emma’s power to go into his head, see if the two of us can’t figure it out. But in case that doesn’t work…”
Bobby seemed to understand. “I’ll get Rachel to contact Cecelia Reyes and Agent Brand.”
“Tell her to have Pixie teleport Cecelia here.” Emma said.
Bobby nodded as he ran out of the lab almost tripping over a wire as he went. Rogue got to work, slipping into a trance as she entered Hank’s mind but Kitty wasn’t content to let Emma’s order go unnoticed.
“You’ve got no right -” she started but Emma interrupted her.
“I came here,” she said. “Because you were right. I didn’t know when to leave. Henry is dying, Kitty. I don’t think this is the time to continue our spat, I don’t think you do either or was what you said about our similarities just talk?”
Kitty was taken aback. Had the White Queen just admitted that she, Kitty Pryde, Shadowcat was right? She fell silent as Emma got down on her knees beside her and put her hands together.
“I’ve never prayed before.” Emma said, seemingly to herself. They knelt, praying for just one more miracle.
The mindscape of Hank McCoy, P.hD
“Hank?” Rogue called out, her surroundings blurring and changing as she slipped into her teammate’s head. Finally settling, Rogue stood in the middle of a football field. The sun was shining but something seemed off about the mindscape that Rogue couldn’t quite place. Hank appeared in front of her, his feline features regarding her with a sad smile.
“Hello, Rogue.” he said greeting her. “I suppose you’ve come in an attempt to save me?”
“Well, yes.” Rogue said. “Hank, where are we?”
Hank chuckled, his laughter deep and booming. “Why in my mind, of course. The question you meant to ask, my dear is where are we meant to be?”
He gestured behind him. “I used to play here when I was a teenager. I suppose my impending doom has made me nostalgic.” He gave another chuckle but he couldn’t hide the sadness in his eyes.
“There’s nothing to be done, Rogue. I’ve searched for an answer and I couldn’t-” Hank was cut off for a moment as the mindscape flickered. “It appears I’m running out of time.”
“You were working on a way to fix this, Hank. Show me.” Rogue pleaded.
“I take it you’ve used your absorption talent to gain a portion of my knowledge? Let me think…” Hank muttered.
“Ahh… here we are.” Equations popped into existence around the pair, a seemingly chaotic mix of symbols, numbers and letters.
“As you know, years ago I tampered with my mutation, causing myself to mutate into a more ape-like form. Now that tampering is again causing me to mutate even further but my body is unable to withstand the pressure. I’ve been-”
“Hank,” said Rogue interrupting him. “Look at this.”
She pointed at one of the equations. “It’s wrong.”
Hank stared for a moment as Rogue corrected the mistake, causing a ripple effect as all subsequent equations changed to reflect the new outcome.
“Oh my stars and garters.” He whispered.
Rogue smiled and let her mind drift back to her body.
“She’s back,” Rachel called out telepathically as Rogue blinked, her eyes readjusting to the harsh florescent lighting of the lab. She was aware that Bobby had returned, accompanied by Dr Cecelia Reyes who knelt beside Hank, trying to keep his condition stable. Emma, Kitty and Bobby stood at the other end of the room trying to stay out of Cecelia’s way, their concern for Hank evident.
“So?” Bobby asked as Rogue made her way over to them. She couldn’t help grinning.
“He’s going to make it but if y’all will excuse us,” Rogue said pointing at her head. “Me and Hank have some work to do.”