True Colours [X-Men, Xavier/Beast, PG]
- Disclaimer: Henry McCoy and Charles Xavier belong to Marvel Comics, not to
Continuity: This is set in some indeterminate post-Morrison future, ignoring
everything that's happened since NXM#154 or so. Not that it really comes
into the story.
The most surprising thing about the astral plane was its multiplicity of
colours and lights, and the astonishing patterns they created. From his
limited previous experience, Hank had come to associate the psychic realm
with telepathic skirmishes and the nefarious plotting of the Shadow King. He
hadn't expected it to be so beautiful.
The radiance was bright enough that it should have hurt to look at; brighter
than the sun or even the unveiled stars he had seen outside the protection
of Earth's atmosphere. Fortunately, he was not seeing it with his eyes.
He almost asked Charles to stop pulling a landscape out of the chaos, to
allow the elements to metamorphose in the ether without the illusion of
directions or gravity to contain them. Yet the immediate prospect of union
with Charles Francis Xavier always made him abandon his customary verbosity
to quiet contemplation. If he was being entirely honest, he was nervous -
which was why they had repaired to the astral plane in the first place.
Charles had explained to him, in a patient tone that reminded Hank of their
previous relationship as teacher and student, that sex on the astral plan
was not like sex in the material world. Eyes were not the only thing that
became lost in translation. Senses were oddly transformed, altered by the
psychic environment, and some sensations barely translated at all.
Nevertheless, Henry had agreed to try it with alacrity, for a number of
It was ... challenging to make love to someone you had thought of as a
mentor for almost half your life. More difficult still when he was a
paraplegic and you were a creature with paws that could break him all too
easily if you made a mistake. Charles had never been frail, but Hank was
appalling conscious that in his outsized hands any person lacking enhanced
strength or invulnerability was easily broken.
He realized now that the opportunity to watch his lover weave a cosmos out
of nothing would have been incentive enough to come here. As he waited
quietly, Charles moved his half-drawn hands absently, rendering the abstract
objects 'd art of the plane into grass, trees, a sky that was beyond blue.
Tilting his head to one side, he seemed to reconsider the last choice, and
in a moment the arc above them darkened and filled up with unfamiliar stars.
All of it looked not merely real, but *hyper*-real; much like its architect.
In the material world, no-one looked at Charles Xavier very much unless he
wished them too, and if they did what they saw was a bald head or a
wheelchair. Perhaps the sharp cobalt eyes, if they were unlucky enough to
be pinned down and examined. Here, he was blue all over, glowing and
strong, and now slowly transmuting into convincing rendition of a human
being as Hank watched. Still beautiful, still breathtaking.
"Has anyone ever told you that you are divine in this place?" Hank heard no
trace of irony in his own telepathic voice. "You make me feel like Semele."
Charles smiled, and he found himself surprised that he wasn't blinded by
that - there were some things mere mortals weren't mean to see. "This is
where my strength is found, Henry. And yes, people have told me that
strength translates itself into beauty."
Still smiling, he gestured in Hank's direction, solidifying his amorphous
astral form. Even as he did so, his smile slowly altered into a frown.
Hank held his breath in lungs that he knew were only the platonic ideals of
lungs. He stood revealed as a man - no glasses, no fur, no gargantuan
extremities. Just a moderately attractive human being of average human size.
"Henry," Charles said tentatively, "I have explain before that I accept you
for who you are ..."
Letting out his breath in a long sigh, Hank wondered how to admit aloud what
he seldom admitted to himself. "I am sorry if this upsets you, but I did not
come here merely to ease your discomfort. I, too, find myself somewhat tense
about sexual union in the physical world."
"Henry," his lover said gently, with a tone that was warmer and held more
pain than anything he had ever used on his students, "I am sure that others
have told you that your appearance is immaterial."
All at once, he felt something snap. The thing that defined his very
existence, of no import? "This *is* what I truly am! The fur, the claws,
they matter to *me*! They make *me* uncomfortable! I can accept that you
must put your cause before our happiness, but I will not pretend that this
is not my real self for political reasons!"
"I don't understand why -" Charles sounded upset rather than angry, and that
was unusual enough to take much of the sting out of his rage.
"This is who I am, in the sanctum of my own mind," Hank said, continuing
more calmly. "There are people who would criticise you for failing to
include your disability in your own internal self-image - yet you stand here
whole and able."
Charles shook his head. "I am sorry Henry. That I questioned you, and that
you feel that way. That the world is such that you feel that way."
This was not a path Hank wished to continue down. Talking politics almost
invariably ruined Charles's interest in sex. Of course, his outburst had
probably already accomplished that. "I honestly believe in your dream, and I
have fought for it, mind, body and soul since I was little more than a
child. But do you truly blame me for wishing that things were otherwise, in
"No, Henry. No, I don't. I won't even lie to you and say that I have never
wished something similar for myself."
Reassured, ever so slightly, Hank looked up at dark sky above them. This
world, at the least, seemed beautiful and whole - even if it was only an
illusion of beauty and wholeness. "Do the constellations up there have
names? No, wait - don't tell me. Show me. I want to see the place you
inhabit from the earth to the stratosphere; insofar as either exist.
Charles held out a hand for him to take, and Hank revelled in the sensation
of squeezing it tightly with his own. Here, truth was beauty, beauty was
truth, and that was all he needed to know.
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