Title: Beast
'Verse: Uncanny, I guess? Anytime between Trish and the change to cat form.
Words: 405
Rating: PG for angst
Characters: Just Hank.

They call me the "Beast"; it's far more than just a codename.

And by God, sometimes I wish that's all it was...

It started out as a joke, a high school nickname. Henry "The Beast" McCoy, star of the football team, who could have taken any girl he wanted to the prom.

But now...

It's my own fault, of course. I don't know what I was thinking. Drinking down that solution before testing it...But I was already a mutant; how could I have known that it would mutate me further? Change me from a more-or-less human shape into a blue gorilla with fangs?

I've always been a man of science, even before my self-induced secondary mutation. Now I cling to that identity even more, as if to prove to myself, at least, that I am still a thinking, reasoning human being. What else do I have? My friends, of course - but Bobby's drifted away since he started college, and the rest...I love them all dearly, but I'm not sure any of them really understand. Or want to.

Romance? Don't I wish...There have been a few girlfriends scattered over the years, but it's been hard, very hard. Just walking down the street, mothers draw their children away, people avert their eyes. As if I'm a monster, an embarrassment. And it's worse on dates. How can I ask any woman to go though that? The stares, the whispers that follow wherever we go...looks and even comments of disapproval. How can you do that? It's not safe...even human?...disgusting...bestiality. No.

There was Trish...Trish didn't care. She laughed it off, or told them just where they could stick it. But then...

Now I wonder, and I feel disgusted with myself even for doubting - but now I wonder if Trish ever loved me at all. Did I mean anything to her? Did she even see me as a person? Or was I just a curiosity, a potential story?

Do I dare find out if it's possible to love a Beast?

So now I stick to my work. It's not so bad, really. I love my work. And with my mutation-enhanced mind, don't I have a duty - to humanity, to myself if no one else - to find out as much as I can about genetic mutation?

And just maybe, someday, somehow, I'll find a cure - and be able to lead a normal life once more.