Disclaimer: Mutant healing factors, adamantium, and Henry McCoy belong to Marvel, not me. I make no coin.

Pain

The thing about a healing factor that nobody considers is the pain.

I mean, why would they? Pain is for everyone else: pain is for people who get shot and can't do anything but watch themselves bleed. Pain isn't for me.

But the pain is there. Oh, it's there. Not only during surgery, not only when people take advantage of the healing factor to perform insane experiments on you, cover your skeleton with metal, shoot you over and over just to see how many times you can take it.

Healing hurts. Watching the skin grow before your eyes, closing the wounds. Feeling the broken bones slowly move back into position, knitting themselves together. Time never seems to stretch out so long as when you're lying on the ground, waiting for your ribs to heal enough so that you can get up and do it all over again.

And of course, the healing factor isn't perfect.

That's the other thing people don't think about. It's not perfect. I'm not a praying man, but I thank God every time a bullet goes clean through and out the other side. I thank God when they use a knife instead of a gun, a knife whose tip won't break off when they stab me with it.

Because what do you think happens, when the tip breaks off? When the bullet hits that God-damned adamantium and starts bouncing around in my guts? You think the healing factor – whatever the hell a "healing factor" is, anyway – just pops that bullet right out? Hell no. It's not that intelligent. If it was, it would've stopped itself and let me die long ago.

No, the factor just heals me right up – and if I'm unlucky enough to have shrapnel or bullets inside me, it just traps 'em right in there. I don't have to worry about infection, o' course, but who the hell wants to walk around with dozens of bullets floating around inside of 'em?

Besides, my doctor wouldn't hear of it.

So every time I end up with a bullet inside of me, I go see Dr. McCoy. I like Henry. He's a good guy. Smart as anything, but he never acts like he's any better than the rest of us.

That doesn't make me enjoy those visits any more, though.

He does give me painkillers, o' course – lots of 'em. But they don't help much – not enough, anyway. The goddamned healing factor again – not smart enough to realize that I don't want it to neutralize the drugs, that maybe I'd like to be numb for a bit.

So I feel it, when he cuts me open. He has to work fast, o' course – I guess that's the only good thing about the whole procedure. See, as soon as I get cut, I start to heal up again. Henry's got to cut me wide open – the bigger the wound, the longer it'll take to close up. Then he goes digging around for the bullet – he tries to be gentle, but sometimes there just isn't time.

And sometimes he's got to cut me two or three times before he gets it all.

And, oh, it hurts every time.