Title: Beast
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: Mild PG, for angst and adult situations.
Characters: Emphasis on Beast, with support from various other characters.
Setting: Mainly mid- to post-X2.
Summary: The personal journey of Henry McCoy—as a mutant, and as a man.
Disclaimer: Marvel and Fox create the characters that sell. Nora is mine, and so is Kristen, who has appeared in several of my stories.
Notes: In X2, there is a brief cameo by a non-furry character who is identified as being Hank McCoy. This seems to support the novelization by Chris Claremont, in which Hank's bestial mutation is caused by Professor X's psychic attack on mutantkind. That concept has always intrigued me, especially after I saw and loved Kelsey Grammer's portrayal of Beast in X3. It lurked in the back of my mind for a long time—until my friend Wabbitseason gave me the idea that Hank's blue fur might really have been a secondary development. After a few weeks in which I was unable to shake the thought, I finally sat down and began to write. Five months later, this is the result.
If you tilt this story at a slight angle, you can easily fit it in with the events of X3. For the record, I personally do not. I acknowledge nothing of that misbegotten film except Hank himself.


PROLOGUE

When he stood in the bright morning light of Charles Xavier's office and waited, nervously studying a painting through his reading glasses, no one knew what he felt; or at least, no one would have expected it of him. Not from the colleague who, with the possible past exception of Erik Lehnsherr, was the closest in the world to Charles. Not from the dedicated mutant-rights advocate who knew as well as anyone the acceptance and tolerance built into the Xavier School with every brick.

Yet before one can believe that others will accept a great change, one must come to terms with the change for one's self.

But then the door opened, and Ororo came in, and she rushed to throw her arms around him in joyous welcome… and suddenly, nothing had changed at all.

"I love what you've done with your hair," she said—and only someone who had known them both for many years would understand how perfect and right the words were, when they might have seemed a cruel joke from anyone else. How the warmth of the tease and the twinkle in her eye had not sharpened his self-consciousness, but instead had swept it away, and made him feel that he was home in a way he never had before.

It made him feel glad to be one of them.