I'm really sorry for the delay! After exams were finished, I procrastinated and then I was evacuated from Japan by my university. Then they canceled my program halfway through the year and I've been either sick or filling out paperwork ever since. :S It's nice to have a little respite. Things seem more or less stable, so I'll do my best to have regular updates. :)

It's not true to the movie, but I grew up with 1990s animated series Wolverine. Please excuse my choice in his speech. ^^;

There was a faint buzzing at first, drilling angrily away at the concrete wall of Derek's unconsciousness. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't fortify his coma-like experience any more than he already had by living his vapid, coma-like life. His face twitched in a micro expression of concentration. A new record.

At this sign of near-wakefulness, sounds began to intensify. Gradually, they became clearer and clearer to the point that he could hear the faint whirring and beeping of sleek, chrome, otherwise nondescript electronic medical equipment. And a voice.

"Derek? Derek Zoolander?"

It was a somewhat familiar voice. Where had he heard it befo-

Derek's eyes snapped open, locking into focus instantly in his heightened state of alarm. Jean let out a startled cry and took a few steps backward. Usually she could sense something like that coming, but his mind was just so…unreadable. Clicking a few steps further away as Derek abruptly sat up like a Frankenstein's monster, she tried to calm her rapidly beating heart as he swung those wide, innocent blue eyes to gaze at her.

"I-I'm sorry. You startled me." She gave a sigh, putting a hand against her chest.

"Who are you?" His lips pursed into a tiny, tiny frown of child-like confusion.

"Oh, how rude of me." The toned redhead put down a clipboard and tugged at her white lab coat. "I'm Jean Grey. We met earlier under…unexpected circumstances."

"I'm very pleased to make your acquaintancesessship." Derek smoothly dropped from the medical bed to the floor like a sleek panther. "But please tell me, Miss Grey, why I've been abdicated."

"Well, it's Doctor actually…" Jean quietly coughed into her hand before continuing. "You passed out from the sheer exertion of using your fantastic powers, so we brought you here to help you recover. I apologize, usually the Professor would be here to speak with you, but he's otherwise engaged at the moment." The dark intonation was lost on Derek and he continued to listen, while staring intently at her face.

Jean noticed this and tried to ignore it by continuing, "We want to explain your powers to you and answer any questions you might have. Also, although we wouldn't normally bring this up so early, we have a matter of grave importance that must- I'm sorry?"

During the course of her speech, Derek had advanced on her – still staring intently. Jean, like a deer caught in the headlights, stared straight into those startling blue eyes. Her emerald eyes widened as her mouth struggled to speak and her cheeks flushed slightly. Because of his…unique…mind, she couldn't even begin to guess at his intentions.

"Your hair," he began in that light, flowing voice, "pulling it back emphasizes your pronounced cheekbones and gives you a harsh, masculine appearance. Allowing it freedom," before she could react he had already pulled out her moss green scrunchie and done some lightning fast rearrangements to her hair, "lets the natural waves of your hair flirt with the contours of your face, giving you a softer, sensual appearance."

Before she could protest or fear some ulterior motive on his part, he had already begun to retreat from her personal space with a satisfied grin on his face at adding more beauty to the world around him. His retreat was suddenly narrated by a throaty growl.

"Don't touch her" The low, gravelly voice accused.

Derek felt something large and heavy crash into him and was whirled around to face a very hairy, angry-looking man. This large man slammed him into the wall with one ham-sized arm pressed against his throat and the other held about a foot away from his face with a clenched fist at the end.

Derek's eyebrows arched like a bridge across his graceful nose, allowing an expression of fear to cross his face. As if his fears of being punched weren't enough, three long, flawless blades extended from between the man's knuckles.

"That's my money maker." Derek whimpered.

"Logan, stop!" Jean pretty much uselessly tried to restrain the man. "You don't know who that is!"

Wolverine turned his creased, angry face for the briefest of moments to address her, allowing Derek a moment's respite. He was too enraged to notice her new complimentary hairstyle.

"I know who it is – and I don't care!" He snarled, revealing surprisingly white and sharp-looking teeth. "In fact," he turned to glare at Derek, "knowing who this pretty boy is makes it even worse."

"I think you could benefit from some toner – it would minimize the appearance of pores and even your skin tone. I have some of my own for emergencies in my man purse if you-" Wolverine slammed Derek against the wall again, preventing him from accessing his emergency beauty supplies.

He might as well have been denying Derek oxygen. Or…his very being.

Derek, though he tried valiantly to resist, felt tears welling up in his eyes with this revelation. He noticed the grizzled chops, the white tank top clinging to a body well-muscled from hard labor. It was just like growing up with his father and his brothers. He saw it there in the man's eyes: the hatred, the judgment…the silent suspicion of lady parts.

Although he had recently gained some degree of acceptance from his remaining family, long-standing relationships take time and constant effort to change. Derek suddenly looked at Logan and saw the challenge to learn to break into a world relatively unknown to him – the world of coal miners.

Logan, his arm pressing deeper into Derek's throat and claws itching to carve some humility into his panty-waist face, was suddenly taken aback by an abrupt clarity that struck the svelt man's features.

"I understand that my strange ways bring you fear, but I am from a world much like yours. I have surpassed it and now have found my mission to reach out to people like you – not only as an untapped source of income, but also as a prime demographic of people who don't know how to read good." Although vaguely aware that the man was spouting utter nonsense, Logan felt almost hyptnotised by the gentle rise and fall of the smaller man's voice. His grip loosened and Derek stepped free.

"I want to help you." He reached out, a simple smile on his face.

Logan felt this gentle, healing touch long before it ever threatened to brush against his skin. It touched him somewhere deep, deep inside where he was unprotected by his adamantium skeleton and mutant healing powers – his feelings.

After a brief moment of vulnerable shock, his grizzled, hardboiled demeanor snapped closed like a rusted iron trap.

"Getcher stinkin' mitts offa me, bub." He slapped Derek's hand out of the way and stomped from the room.

"Wow." Jean looked after him in shock. "I've never seen anyone get to him like that."

Derek only looked after him in vague sadness, having no idea what had just happened. Jean's eyebrows knitted together in concern. To be able to get that response out of Wolverine so quickly…was it possible that Derek was growing even more powerful every time he used his gifts of beauty?

"Jean?" Scott's voice broke her out of her reverie.

Derek turned around and smiled in greeting at the familiar face.

"Ah, there you are, Derek." Scott smiled back and walked briskly across the room to shake his hand. "I'm Scott Summers."

Before Derek could respond, he turned back to Jean.

"The Professor will be back soon and wants to discuss something with you." He paused and turned to Derek, "With both of you."

Derek could only wonder what a professor would want with him.

"Does he want to teach at my institute?"

Jean and Scott took a moment to look at each other in disbelief. What the hell were they going to do with this guy?

"No, Derek," Scott began, "as we may have mentioned earlier while being attacked by a superhuman gargantuan, there are slightly more important things than teaching kids to read good right now."

Derek nodded.

Hoping they wouldn't have to talk to him anymore, Jean and Scott hurried off to Professor Xavier's office with Derek in tow.

However, while passing through the atrium Derek noticed Logan sitting outside in the brisk fall weather broodingly smoking a cigar. Derek's eyes widened in a sudden flash of recognition.

"Wait right here!" His breathy, light voice betrayed his urgency.

Before Jean and Scott could follow, Derek had sprinted for the corridor where the door to the smoking area was, and Professor X had wheeled out of his office.

"There he goes again." Scott griped, preparing to haul him in by the ears if he had to.

"Wait, Scott." Professor Xavier held up a hand in a halting gesture and Scott immediately obeyed.

"Professor?" Jean raised an eyebrow.

"What we have to discuss with Mr. Zoolander can wait a few moments. In the meantime, step into my office. I have seen some things in Cerebro that we must take into account if we are to prevent a war." Professor X said calmly, leading the way back into his office.

As they were about to enter Xavier's office, Jean cast one last glance back at Derek, who had just approached the lone Wolverine. Scott frowned, but pretended that he hadn't noticed. Just what was that daft model thinking, and would Wolverine be able to hold back this time?