It wasn't Trish's fault. She didn't know. She didn't realize that on the other end of the table sat an evolutionary freak.
Trish smiled coyly. "I think you used the word 'beautiful' before, but I don't mind," she replied.
"Then I'll continue." He ran his fingers through the soft black waves that framed her face. "You are utterly radiant, the brightest star in the night sky, my Polaris."
Trish rolled her eyes. "You've been reading too many of those love sonnets, haven't you?"
"Not at all," Hank protested. "Otherwise, I would have spoken of your dun breasts and reeking breath."
"Alright, lover boy." Trish laughed. "I'm going to head to the ladies room to freshen up a bit. Maybe that will give you the time you need to come up with some better compliments." She stood up from her chair and began to walk towards the back of the restaurant.
Hank watched her leave as he mulled over his glass of sake. That little burgundy and black number she was wearing certainly did show off her assets. Earlier, Trish had given him a tart apology in regards to not wearing that dress. Hank didn't mind. Quite the contrary, he had previously selected from her wardrobe several different that dresses, so he had outsmarted her.
Not that outsmarting Trish had ever proved to be very difficult. She was ambitious, cocky and outspoken and these strengths could just as easily be turned into weaknesses when twisted correctly. Besides, Hank McCoy was a genius. It was a small gift in return for having the X-gene as part of his DNA. He also had superhuman agility as well as enlarged feet and hands.
He had let his insecurities regarding his oversized appendages slip out in front of Trish once in the form of self-deprecating humor. She had laughed and made a dry remark in regards to what having "big feet" meant.
It wasn't Trish's fault. She didn't know. She didn't realize that on the other end of the table sat an evolutionary freak. Hank knew that he would eventually have to tell her. It was only right. He had the sinking feeling that any confession would earn him a slap in the face and an angry woman storming out of his life, however, and that made him hesitate.
The thought of a cure for mutantkind also made him hold his tongue. He and his assistant, a fellow mutant, Warren Worthington III, had been working for months using samples of their own DNA to develop a formula that could possible nullify the X-gene. Some of the statistics Hank had discovered during his research had horrified him, but if he could create a stable cure, then the problem would disappear forever.
Hank sighed and sipped his drink. The sharp trill of his cell phone jarred him from his thoughts. He groaned as he shifted in his seat to retrieve it. Hank could have sworn he had turned it off.
"Hank McCoy," he answered.
The voice on the other end shocked him. Though the caller could not see Hank's steel blue eyes darken with first apprehension and then suspicion, surely he could hear the restrained venom in Henry McCoy's voice.
"I thought I had made it clear to you that I never wanted to come back." Hank said curtly. He gave an impatient pause for the caller to make his case.
"Emergency?" Hank made no attempt to hide his skepticism. "What kind of emergency? ...I don't see why you need me, what about Dr. Gr- ...I see." He sighed. "I understand. I'll be there as soon as possible."
When he glanced up, Trish was back from the restrooms. Hank shut his cell phone and put it back in his pants pocket.
"What was that all about?" she asked.
"I'm sorry, Trish." Hank pulled out his wallet and began to thumb through his cash. "I have to leave."
"Leave?" Trish's brows furrowed and her lower lip jutted out, irritated. "But we had plans."
"I know and I'll make it up to you, I promise." He threw the cost of the meal and generous tip down on the table. "I just got an urgent call. Sometimes I hate being a doctor."
"I suppose you'll call me later," she muttered. She began to smooth the front of her skirt with angry jerks of her hand.
"If it's not too late," he agreed.
Hank kissed Trish's shoulder before he hurried towards the door. Trish watched him leave and ground her teeth.
"Now, those in opposition of the Mutant Registration Act claim that it would be treating innocent citizens as if they were felons." Trish Tilby gave what could only be described as a rabidly warm smile. "What do you have to say in regards to that?"
Graydon Creed laughed. "Anything is bad if taken to an extreme." He smiled and revealed that his polished teeth were a shade too white. "What these fanatics don't realize is how the Mutant Registration Act is designed to actually protect mutantkind."
"Protect mutantkind?" Trish questioned.
"Absolutely," Graydon affirmed. "By registering their special abilities it gives the government the opportunity to develop programs to aid its citizens to deal with these gifts."
"What types of programs are you proposing?" she asked.
He swept a hand through his short brown hair. "Some humans fear that mutants are dangerous," Graydon explained. "Sometimes they are correct. But these select mutants are no more a danger to the human population than they are to themselves. Have you heard of the story about a young man who accidentally blew off the lower portion of his face when his abilities emerged? Very tragic. It's not that he wanted to, rather that he had an immense power and didn't know how to control it."
"So you'd use the Mutant Registration Act as a way to start programs that would aid in teaching mutants to control their powers?" Trish's saccharin reporter's smile was firmly in place.
Logan walked in front of the television and turned it off. "Enough with that crap," he muttered.
Rogue groaned. Bobby glowered from his seat on the couch at the feral man.
"I was watching that!" he protested. Bobby raked his hand through his sandy blonde hair.
Logan shrugged. "And now you're not. Live with it."
"What's your problem?" Bobby demanded. "I wanted to hear what he had to say."
"Why?" Logan smirked. The older man's eccentric hairstyle made Bobby think of devil horns. "You scared of Graydon Creed?"
"No." Bobby's expression darkened.
"You should be," Logan replied.
"Will ya'll knock it off?" Rogue scowled as she hugged herself.
Logan ignored her as he turned his attentions to the door. "Someone's coming," he mumbled.
The broad shouldered man stood in the doorway to the den. His dark brown hair was neat and he nervously played with his wire-rim glasses. He cleared his throat.
"Excuse me," he began. "I'm here to see Professor Charles Xavier, if I may."
"That depends," Logan retorted. "Who are you?"
The man raised an eyebrow, but didn't shrink back from the Wolverine's challenge. "My name is Dr. Henry McCoy," he said evenly. "Professor Xavier requested my immediate arrival in regards to an emergency. A child let me into the mansion, but instead of speaking, he flooded my mind with pictures for a while."
"I haven't heard of any emergency," Logan growled. He placed himself between Hank and the teenagers, prepared to face off against the clean shaven doctor.
"It's alright, Logan." Scott entered the den, a haggard look on his face, a cup of coffee in his hand. He looked at the doctor. "It's been a while, Hank."
"Not as long as I had intended, I can assure you," Hank responded.
"Scott!" Rogue exclaimed. "What're you doing back here?"
"Change of plans," Scott grumbled. He turned back to Hank. "The Professor is waiting for you in the medical bay."
"Lead the way." Hank sighed.