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11 November 2007 @ 12:59 am
The Beholder  
 The Beholder

X Men Fanfiction
Originally written 25/05/06
Rating: PG
Summary: 'Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.'  The mutant problem seen from a different angle.  Based on X3 trailers and spoilers.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately the X Men movies and franchise belong to Marvel and Fox and people with money, not me.

 

The Beholder

People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.”

- Salma Hayek

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”

- Miss Piggy, The Muppets

We’d been sworn to secrecy about the whole project, of course. We’re working on the cutting edge of science and no one wants someone else cutting in. Now though, with the press release and then all the news stories, debates and protests that followed, I dare say the whole world knows what we’ve done.

We have a cure for the mutant problem.

I can’t suppress a shiver of excitement. I confess, I worked for good grades and became a doctor because I wanted to impress my father and anyone else that looked at my petite female form with scorn. I knew my father wanted a son, to be intelligent and carry on the family name, and here I am - not just a highly qualified and sort-after doctor, but on the cutting edge of genetics, funded by billionaires and trusted to cure their children. Still, I became this, not a surgeon or a paediatrician, and I stuck with it because I wanted to help people, to cure the ills of the world.

In the old days it was Cholera, Tuberculosis and Meningitis, then it was AIDS, but the biggie now is mutation. It’s not just a threat to the people it affects, damaging any chances they may have had at living a normal life, but other people as well. No, it’s not infectious, but how would you like to be blown up, set on fire or have your mind raped? And what about the Statue of Liberty incident a while back? We were afraid of terrorists before, but now they’re worse than armed – they’re genetically dangerous.

And the young people – what must their lives be like? To have the whole world at your feet only for it to be pulled away from under you at the brink of adulthood because of some sick twist in evolution?

I’m proud to help them to achieve normality, to become who they want to be.

Today we’ve been briefed that the first patient of the first public cure for mutation is to be Warren Worthington III. I fee a little guilty in thinking that his father, and our main benefactor, may be demanding that his son is cured first as a political move to prove his trust in us to the rest of the world, though I’m sure that in his place who wouldn’t want to give their child a chance at a normal life as soon as humanly possible?

I’ve read the file: seventeen years old with dangerously hollow bones that could snap under far less pressure than a human’s would and abnormal growths on his back. I don’t like to just look at the file, I like to empathise with the patients – what must the poor child’s life must be like when any physical activity could cause sever injury and he has to wear a bulky harness and cover himself up to appear normal? It doesn’t bear thinking about. There have been rumours that the boy had thought about cutting the growths off himself. Absurd! The damage self-surgery could do - enough to make you shudder.

He’s strapped down, but upright for easy access, and Doctor Lipton attaches the various equipment that will monitor the patient’s health whilst I prepare the serum. The boy is nervous, sweat beading on his forehead, and I can’t say that I blame him. I’ve never been too fond of needles myself to be honest.

But I’m not looking at his face, not really, because I can’t take my eyes off the soft white feathers peaking over his shoulders. At least, they look soft. What do they really feel like?

"I can’t do this," he says through gritted teeth.

We’ve had patients, in the trials before the drug was announced to the public, who’ve struggled and fought against the cure we offer, with curses, threats and even tears. I want to hush him, tell him that it’ll be alright, all over soon and he’ll be better. Whether that’s some kind of female mothering thing I have going on I’ve no idea, but the words stick in my throat, because ‘growths’ and ‘disfiguration’ aren’t wings; beautiful, soft, white wings of an angel. They’re not harming anyone and they’re not harming him. How many people have dreamed of flying and he can actually do it! The freedom that that must offer!

My brain, with all its intelligence and learning, chooses now of all times to turn traitor, to remind me that those ‘dangerously hollow bones’ don’t seem to have been broken much at all according to his medical files and that everyone wants their parents to be proud of them…and Worthington Senior seemed rather pleased that his son had wanted to cut them off…

"We’ve talked about it," he tells the younger Warren, but the boy doesn’t seem to agree with that.

The bindings snap as an agitated teenager flexes muscles I never saw in all my time at medical school and eighteen foot wings extend. I can only stare as he smashes through the window, soaring out over New York, the sun shining… He’s a living, modern-day Icarus who cannot fall, whose wings cannot melt.

Beautiful boy.

He wasn’t scary or wrong, didn’t make me feel inferior and wasn’t harmful or hateful or any of those things that mutants are. That I’ve been told mutants are.

And suddenly I realise that ‘I can’t do this’ either. I don’t want to be this anymore. I took a Hippocratic Oath to ‘first do no harm’. How can stripping an angel of his wings be anything but harmful?

Yet I can’t leave now, regardless of how disappointed my father would be. Mutants are queuing up outside, despite the protestors surrounding them, and I wonder how many of them are here out of choice. I can’t see many particularly distinctive mutations from up here – abnormal skin colourations or growths that is.

Growths.

Wings dammit. Wings and tails, extra appendages. Is it that the people who are the most different are proud of what they are? Or are they just too afraid to come out into the open, even now? I’ve heard rumours of mutants, horrifying to look at, living in the sewers. Where are they this morning? We’re offering them a chance to look like everyone else and they of all mutants should be jumping at it.

I’m having doubts; doubts that flew into my mind on the white wings sailing over New York.

It was beautiful.

"Ah, yes, come on in!" Doctor Lipton pasted a welcoming smile on his face as a dishevelled gentleman wringing his hands appeared in the doorway. "If you could just take off your shirt and jacket than we’ll begin."

A nondescript brown jacket was placed on the floor followed by a plain grey t-shirt and the second mutant of the day was stood nervously in front of us. If he hadn’t been here I wouldn’t have known that he was one.

He must have caught my expression because he cleared his throat and said quietly, "I have very good eyesight."

"X-ray vision?" Doctor Morley expressed some curiosity and I found myself wondering if she’d been a comic book fan in her youth. Wasn’t that one of Superman’s attributes?

He shook his head. "I can see further than other people. I suppose you could say I have an improved 20:20 vision." We were given a wry smile. "There are fears in the community, Doctor, that the youth of today are being taught by mutants and suggestions in the school where I work that teachers should be subjected to compulsory DNA testing. I want to carry on teaching. They need to know that not all mutants are as black as they’re painted, as it were, yet if I’m a mutant I won’t be able to teach them anything." He shrugged and moved towards the restraints.

Lipton just nodded, not needing to hear the reasons why people choose the decisions they make. There was a large queue outside after all.

Black painted mutants. The ugly, the dammed and the fanatics. The Liberty Island idiots. The ones this ‘cure’ was intended for. Where were they? And if they don’t turn up, will they be forced to choose this?

An angel has given me doubts.

And to me they are beautiful.
 


 
 
 
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