The doorbell rang. "Oath, McCoy, couldn't you have waited til morning?" Nathan muttered himself.
"Uhhhh," Domino groaned as she stretched. The doorbell rang again. "I'll get it. Go put on some coffee, Nate." She climbed out of bed and grabbed her robe. The doorbell started ringing continuously, sounding vaguely like Beethoven's Fifth. Domino opened the door. "Geez, Hank. Chill with the doorbell. It's three fucking AM."
"My most sincere apologies and my most heartfelt salutations, dearest delightful Domino," He said stepping into the apartment.
"It's too early for alliteration, Hank."
Hank handed her a brightly wrapped package. "I know your birthday is a little while off but I didn't know when I'd get over here again."
"Fuck, Dom," Nathan began as he walked into the living room, carrying a coffee mug and levitating two others. "I'd known you for ten years before I knew your birthday and you tell him after one drunken night. I bet you told him your real name too."
"Oh, shut up, Nate, and hand me that coffee." She grabbed the mug that floated over to her. "Besides you never asked me when my birthday was. Grizz and Kane knew. Hell even GW. So don't blame me for your lack of curiosity. Ungrateful bastard."
" Is this a bad time?" Hank asked a little perplexed as he retrieved the mug floating near him.
"We're not morning people," Nathan explained.
"Especially 3 AM morning people," Domino complained.
"Oh, just stop that right now. You're the one that told him to come immediately. Couldn't you have waited to call until nine or ten."
"You're just a whiney little bitch sometimes, you know that, Nate? Act your age. Oh, excuse me, you are. How old should you be without all the time travel and shit.? What five or six?"
"Don't you start with me, Dom."
"Um, excuse me," Hank interrupted. "While this expletive laden dialogue is diverting, in a "Moonlighting" sort of way. What exactly required my urgent early morning appearance on your doorstep?"
Nathan and Domino turned to him, their argument forgotten. "Sit down, Hank," Nathan told him.
Hank looked at them warily and sat down on the couch. "I don't like the sound of that cliché, Nathan."
Nathan sat in a chair opposite him and Domino perched on the arm. "Trish Tilby is here."
"In Hong Kong?"
"In the spare bedroom."
"I see," Hank replied evenly, schooling his face to remain emotionless as if that would stop all the conflicting feelings churning inside him. "And I take this to mean that she has discovered what happened to her?"
"She was in a bombing in Israel," Domino told him. "Her arm was messed up and she realized that is was cybernetic."
"So she came to you, Nathan, just as you said she would when she found out."
"Yeah, she showed up at our door about three hours ago. She was fine and then after we explained what happened she became hysterical and I put her to sleep. And then we called you. We thought you might want to keep this quiet."
" So, Hank it's up to you," Domino said. "You can repair her arm and Nate can reprogram her and she won't remember any of this trip."
"Oath, Dom, you make her sound like a computer. I didn't program her. I just blocked some events and suggested others."
" Or," Domino rolled her eyes and continued. " Nate can take all the "blocks" and "suggestions" out of her mind and let her deal with what happened to her on her own."
Hank stared at his coffee, searching for answers in its depths. "I appreciate that your sensitivity by not bringing her to the mansion and I would entreat you to continue to keep this matter private."
"Nate and I know a thing or two about privacy, Hank," Domino told him.
"That's the understatement of the millennium, babe," Nathan muttered taking a sip of his coffee.
"May I see her before I make my decision?" Hank set his coffee mug down and rose to his feet.
"Of course, "Nathan replied. " When you wake her she may be a little groggy and not remember what exactly happened. I put her in a pretty deep sleep."
"Okay." Hank said simply and headed down the hall to the spare bedroom. He opened the door quietly into the darkened room He could just barely make out her are form in the moonlight. She looked so tiny and fragile in the huge bed. He walked silently in and sat down on the edge of the bed. "Trish," he whispered but she didn't awaken. So he began shaking her gently. "Trish, c'mon, wake up."
Trish shifted turning over to face him. "Hank ?" she asked blerrily rubbing her eyes.
"Yes, Trish. I'm here."
"Oh, thank God, Blue," she sat up quickly and reaching out to hug him. "I had the worst dream."
Hank was too stunned to do anything other than allow her to crawl into his lap and bury her face in his chest.
"Oh, Hank, it was horrible," she said her voice slightly muffled from being buried in his arms. " I dreamed you almost got killed and then changed into a big blue lion. Then after I was seen with you like that I began to receive hate mail and their were these horrible tabloid stories about us. Someone even sent me a kitten dyed blue, saying that our kids would look like that. The network threatened to fire me and I just caved . I told you I didn't want to see you anymore. It was horrible and then I was at the mansion covering a press conference and aliens invaded trying to kill everyone and in the middle of it you told me you were gay. Isn't that silly, Hank? How could you be gay? At any rate, that got out into the press and then some one attacked me. Cable, of all people, rescued me. I wonder what made me dream about him, but anyway, I got a cybernetic arm like his and then I came to Hong Kong to find him and get some answers. Then you woke me up. I'm glad you're here, Hank. I missed you."
Hank closed his eyes and wished that it were all a dream and wrapped his arms tighter around her, but careful not to crush her. "I missed you too, my dearest."
"Come on, Hank. Let's go to bed. I'm tired, and I know you must be. I know how you stay up all night in your lab. I bet you haven't slept in days. You work so hard, Blue. I worry about you." Trish pulled away from him and began to unbutton his shirt. He didn't stop her. He was half convinced himself that the past couple of months were a horrible dream. In any case, what could one night of living in the past hurt? She helped him pull off his shirt and tossed it on the floor. Hank pulled off his boots and pants and added them to the pile. Trish lifted the covers and he crawled in beside her. She snuggled close to him stroking the fur on his chest. He held her tightly not ever wanting to let her go. Trish yawned. "Good night. I love you, Blue."
Those words struck his heart, and he knew he couldn't continue this charade no matter how much he wanted to. Even for a night. "Trish, it wasn't a dream."
She didn't respond. Hank listened to her slow regular breathing and knew she was a asleep. So he lay there with Trish sleeping contentedly in his arms and wishing the night would never end, because he didn't know how he could face the morning.
"Are you going to open your present, Dom?" Nathan asked, telekinetically handing it to her.
Domino grinned and ripped the paper off the box. She lifted the lid to reveal a tee-shirt and jeans.
" 'Lucky Brand Dungarees Too Tough To Die,' " Nathan read the logo on the purple shirt. "He's really running this "lucky" thing into the ground."
Domino laughed, "Oh yeah, Nate and what about this bauble?" She shook the platinum domino bracelet on her arm.
"Well, okay, so I struck down into a moment of cheesiness." He grabbed her arm and pulled her down off the chair arm and into his lap. "Hank has decided to spend the night with Miss Tilby."
"Oh, he has, has he?"
"Not if we can finish what Miss Tilby interrupted."
Logan walked into Chanel. A snotty looking sales woman gave him a disapproving look and headed over to him. "May I help you, 'sir'?"
"Yeah. I'm here to pick up a package for Emma Frost."
"I see, sir. I'm afraid it's not quite ready yet. Perhaps you'd like to wait in the lounge upstairs."
"Sure." Logan followed her into the elevator. When the door opened the sales woman gestured to a large beige leather couch. Logan sat down. "Perhaps I could get you a drink?"
"Jack Daniel's. Neat."
The sales woman left and Logan looked around. It was a very simple and elegant room decorated in black, white, and beige. Here and there around the room were scattered little bouquets of camellias. He heard a rustle of fabric and smelt a familiar perfume. He glanced around to see the Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine glide into the room with his drink in her hand. She smiled seductively at him and spun around. "What do you think, Logan?" she asked with a slight Italian accent.
He eyed her dress, a simple long black grown that left her back almost completely bare. He whistled in appreciation. "I think I wish my name was Nicholas Joseph Fury."
She laughed as she handed him his drink and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before she sat down beside him on the couch. "Nick says hi by the way. It would have been too obvious if he met you."
"Whatcha got for me, Val, darlin'?"
"It's about Weapon X."
"I need you to set up a meeting with Cable, Domino, and Dr. Henry McCoy. This involves them all."
"The Director has seen his potential and is trying to "recruit" him."
"Damn it. I had a feelin' this would happen."
Trish awakened and was disappointed to find that Hank was not there. It had been a dream, she thought. She pulled on her robe and crept into quiet apartment. Domino and Cable must have gone out or still be asleep, she reasoned. Trish wandered into the kitchen in search of something to eat.
"Good morning, Miss Tilby. Would you like some coffee?"
She jumped , startled at Nathan's voice. She hadn't seen him sitting there at the table. "Yes, please," she said when she regained her composure.
Nathan never looking up from his newspaper, telekinetically poured her a cup of coffee. "Would you like a piece of paper?" he indicated to a pile of discarded newspapers.
She glanced down at them. They were in Chinese. She couldn't read Chinese. "No thanks."
"The New York Times and the Daily Bugle are in there somewhere."
This was getting creepy. The other telepaths she'd met didn't go around reading her mind so casually or if they did they didn't answer her unasked questions. "Um, thanks." She dug through the pile finding the Times.
"Dom and Hank went down to the store to pick up something for breakfast. We weren't expecting to entertain guests."
Trish looked up from her paper. "Hank is really here? Why?"
"To repair your arm, of course," Hank said walking in with an armful of donut boxes and grocery bags.
Trish stared at him. He wasn't blue and furry. He was in his original human form. "Oh, Hank, you've changed again!"
Hank set the boxes on the table and smiled bitterly at her as he flicked a switch on his belt and returned to his lionesque form. "Image inducer. Surely you remember those."
Domino came in behind him with a grocery bag. Hank smiled genuinely at her and took the bag from her arms. "Shall we begin our culinary adventure, Lucky?"
"McCoy, you Thundercat reject, I swear if you call me that again I'm going to have a new blue fur coat!" she glowered.
Nathan hid a smile behind his coffee cup. Domino hated being called "Lucky," almost as badly as "Petey the Dog". Domino pulled off her black leather coat revealing her Lucky Jeans t-shirt Hank had given her and they set about making bacon, eggs, and toast, while Nathan continued reading his paper and Trish pretended to read hers. A short time later, Hank set a plate in front of her. "I believe this is your customary morning repast." She looked down at the plate. Scrambled eggs, four pieces of crispy bacon and a lemon jelly filled donut. "Thank you, Hank."
Hank nodded his acceptance and sat down in between Nathan and Domino with his own massive plate of food. He shuffled through the papers until he found one of his liking. It was also in Chinese.
"This is great, Hank. I don't suppose you want to stay here and be our cook.?"
"You never know, Nathan. I must confess there are times when I tire of the hustle and bustle of the Institute."
Trish was about to reach for the pitcher of orange juice but it came floating over as if on its own accord and refilled her glass. "Thank you, Cable."
"That name no longer has any meaning for me. Call me Nathan."
"Summers?" she asked more than slightly confused.
"Yes, Patricia, this is little Nathan Christopher all grown up and returned from a future that no longer exists," Hank told her. "Surely you knew that."
"No, I didn't," Trish responded harshly. "You never seemed to think it was necessary to tell me much of anything."
"With good reason, Patricia, as you have proved over and over," Hank said coldly lowering his paper to glare at her.
"Damn it, Hank! Are you never going to let that go? Some one else would have found out about Dr. MacTaggart eventually. At least I was able to control the spin."
"She's right, Hank. If someone with an anti-mutant stance-"
Hank cut Nathan off, growling out, "That wasn't the first time nor the last, was it, Miss Tilby ?"
"It's my job. I have never been anything but objective and even biased in favor of the mutant side."
"You keep telling yourself that. You might even come to believe it one day."
"And you keep telling yourself that holing up in a lab only coming out to save the world is really living. Maybe one day you'll believe that!"
Nate, Domino said over their link. Snag some popcorn this is getting good.
"You do nothing but hide, Hank," Trish continued angrily. "You hide behind your test tubes, your big words, your goofy humor, and super heroics, but you're just scared. You're a coward, Doctor Henry Philip McCoy !"
Hank stood up and glowered down at her. "Do you know why I hide as you say? Because of people like you! People I routinely risk life, limb, and sanity for. People who see nothing but a Big, BLUE, FUCKING LION, who could rip them to shreds or eat them alive if he so chose. Aren't you afraid of me, Trish? Don't I look at you like you're prey?" Hank growled at her showing his sharp white teeth.
"Hank-" Domino started , but Trish slapped him so hard he drew back with a startled look on his face, rubbing his cheek. "Don't you dare threaten me! I'm not afraid of you!"
Hank shook off the momentary shock and grabbed her arm dragging her into the living room.
A little worried, Domino looked over at Nathan. "Should we interfere?"
"No," Nathan replied. "He wouldn't hurt her."
Hank pulled Trish into the living room and flung her onto the couch. She immediately jumped to her feet. "Don't you dare manhandle me like I'm the Juggernaut or someone."
Hank bowed deeply, mockingly. "I humbly apologize for my brutish treatment of your person, Miss Tilby. If you are so inclined, will you please take a seat so that I may repair your arm and depart post-haste."
"All you had to do was ask nicely," she said sitting back down on the couch.
"Indeed." Hank sat down beside her and began opened several cases of tools and parts. Trish pulled off her robe to reveal her damaged arm. Hank lifted it gently and began to examine the sizable hole in the burnt "flesh" and the cybernetics beneath. "Is the damage strictly cosmetic?" he asked slipping into "Doctor Henry McCoy" mode. "What exactly are you having trouble with?"
"I'm having a hard time keeping a grip on things. Especially heavy things. And my reflexes seem a little off."
Hank pricked her hand with a needle and it took several seconds more than it should for a reaction. "I see." Hank set about the repair of her arm. Trish looked away from what he was doing. It was so strange to think of that metal and plastic as her arm. She unconsciously held her breath, bracing herself against the expected potential pain of the repair. Hank noticed it and told her, "This might feel a little strange, but there should be no pain. Tell me if it is too uncomfortable."
"Okay," she said, releasing her breath, but he could tell she was still tense.
"How did you sustain these injuries?" he asked still coolly professional.
"I was in a café in Jerusalem that was bombed."
"It's not your fault. You're not the misguided zealot who blew himself up."
"No," Hank said stopping his work but still holding her hand gently in his big paws. " I meant I'm sorry I lost my temper earlier."
She looked up at him and smiled sadly. "It's okay, Hank. You've been through a lot lately."
"Not so much as you, Trish." He reached up and tucked behind her ear a long piece of hair that had fallen in her face. "You are a very courageous lady."
"Hank-" she began but the moment was shattered. Hank looked embarrassed and began on her arm again. Trish searched for something to say to break the uncomfortable silence. "Hank, I've been wondering what all you had to "reconstruct"? How badly was I injured?"
"Well, your right arm of course," Hank said with his calmly detached doctor voice, but he didn't look at her. He just continued his repairs. "It was so badly mangled even Xorn couldn't save it. I had no choice but to amputate it. Both your legs had been broken. The left in two places, the right only once. That was not a problem Xorn healed those easily, but both your knees were crushed. They are now cybernetic. Your left shoulder was dislocated and your left arm was broken . You had massive internal injuries and bleeding. Six of your ribs were broken and one punctured your right lung and again Xorn healed those with relatively no problem. And your face- your face," he repeated, the professionalism faltering. He just stared at his ineffectual hands as he continued speaking. "I couldn't even recognize you when Nathan brought you in. It didn't even look like a face. Xorn was unable to anything and I certainly wasn't capable of such a procedure, but I have a colleague, a cosmetic surgeon. He's a mutant. He's able to manipulate bone, muscle, and skin in others. He came and reconstructed your face. If I had thought of him earlier he might have been able to save your arm. I'm sorry."
"Don't be. You saved my life. You made me whole again."
"But I didn't. You would have died without Xorn and Forge made your cybernetics. I was useless," he sighed heavily. "I'm sorry, Trish. I'm sorry that your association with me has cost you so dearly."
"Hank, don't say that. That's not true."
"But it is." He sighed again as if casting out unwanted emotions. "That should be it. See how that feels."
Trish felt an immediate difference as she began to manipulate her hand. The delay was completely gone. "That's much better."
"The skin will heal itself within several days. I put a bandage over the hole to conceal it."
"You're welcome," he told her as he began to put his stuff away.
"Hank, what happened to Bones? Did they kill him?"
"No. Logan and Nathan brought him back to the Institute after they went back to your apartment to investigate. Nathan said he might trigger your memory, so I kept him." Hank smiled slightly. "He and Splinter are great friends."
"I named him after you."
"I know. I read your journal. They brought that too. I know I shouldn't have, but we were desperate for clues about what happened."
"I'm glad you read it there were some things in there you needed to know." Hank didn't reply and there were a few minutes of uncomfortable silence until she spoke again. "Hank, is Cable or, I guess, Nathan , going to alter my memories again?"
Hank turned away from his packing and studied her for a moment before he spoke. She seemed more than a little frightened. "Do you want him to?"
"No, I don't like not knowing what's happened to me whether its good or bad. Why would he do that anyway?"
"Actually I asked him to."
"You asked him to? I think you need to explain yourself," she crossed her arms and leaned back to glare up at him.