DISCLAIMER: The usual should be inserted here -- you know, the part about how I make no profit from this and how I own none of the characters. Just written for enjoyment and all that. It's an ... odd ... piece, I suppose, and if you want to know what it contains, read on.

The Flip Side
Chapter One

She'd wanted a change.

She'd had something simple in mind. A new hairdo or maybe a new costume. Not this. Never this, in fact. This had never entered the realm of her mind. It hadn't even entered the realm that waited outside of the realm of her mind. Or any other realm that might lie before that one.

Ms. Ororo Munroe received the shock of her life -- and the shock of many others, come to think of it, but it was even more shocking for her.

Forgive the redundancy with the word 'shocked'. I felt it warranted. But now, on to our show...

All she could remember was a blinding flare of light. That's it. Oh! And the part about the battle. Yes, she was fairly sure about that part. All things such as these -- and such things that aren't at all like this -- began with a battle. She hadn't been at home when this occurred -- she'd been out. She'd been in uniform. And she had the vague impression she'd been angry. And injured, too.

Well, the injured part she wasn't too vague on. Actually, she was very certain of that fact. And that was in no small amount due to the fact that she'd awakened in the medlab.

"Um...Ororo? Can you hear me?"

She recognized that voice, though not at first. It seemed so far away. She waited until her subconscious saw fit to give her back to consciousness -- but she didn't do so patiently.

"Ororo? Ororo, can you -- "

"Y-yes. I believe I...can..?" Goddess! Was that me?!

The voice that had answered Beast, the resident mutant doctor and overly fuzzy genius, had not been her voice. Instead of a feminine, sonorous tone with more than a hit of regal flavor, she'd heard a male sonorous tone, with more than a hint of regal flavor. Something was decidedly wrong.

She opened her eyes to what seemed to be glaring white pokers of light to her cat-like eyes. Blinking back the assault, she forced herself to focus upon the ceiling.

"How...how do you feel?" Beast asked her.

She reached up to touch her throat, her fingertips brushing her collar. "I feel -- " Again, that voice rang in her ears. Not that it wasn't attractive -- it just bothered her a bit that it spoke whenever she tried to and quite easily and thoroughly blotted out her own. "Who is -- what the -- oh my..."

"Ororo, I would ask you to remain calm."

Remain calm? Didn't doctors only say that when you should, in reality, be panicking?

She turned her head to his, her slightly anxious eyes peering into those embedded in Hank's head. "What..." She cleared her throat. "What..." No luck.

"Take it easy, chere."

That other voice eased her the moment she detected it, but there was something in the undertone of it. Something that was...off.

"Who is that?" she finally had to ask, whether she was being drowned out or not.

Remy moved into her line of vision. "Don't talk jus' yet, chere." He looked as appeasing as his voice sounded.

"Why not -- who is that?" she repeated.

He glanced away from her to Hank. There was no denying that anything was wrong now.

"What is it?" she demanded -- her voice lost to that deep voice -- albeit a sexy voice -- but one that was rapidly becoming annoying.

Remy cleared his throat. "Dere...dere was a, uh -- "

"Remy," Hank interrupted. "I think it would be best if you waited -- "

Gambit shook his shaggy-haired head. "Non. Gotta know de truf', Hank. Y' know dat."

"But she -- "

"Y' know it's de right t'ing -- "

"Will you please refrain from speaking as if I am not here -- and whose voice is it that I continue to hear?!"

At this point, the Wind Rider, former goddess, and most times known to be cool and collected Ororo Munroe was getting flaming riled up.

Hank sighed. "Ororo..." He glanced to Remy. "There...there is something we have to tell you."

"Of that I am already aware. Would you please -- " She'd been reaching a hand to her hair when she paused like that -- and noticed something wrong. Blue eyes went wide as they'd never done before. For a long moment she was utterly speechless, shocked into wordlessness. But soon, she found her voice -- or a voice, at any rate... "By the Bright Lady!" she exclaimed, all but shrieking. She sat up like a bolt, looking from one hand to the other to see if it had spread.

And it had.

"What -- what -- how -- I do not -- Henry, what has happened to me?!"

Hank looked pitiful. It was really a sad sight, really. Remy's look had to have been the one that took the cake, however. Regularly so handsome, seeing such an attractive man with that emotion in those eyes just made things all the more worse off for being there.

"Chere." He spoke when Hank could not. "It's...it's like dis, okay?"

Pausing as she was -- those...hands...held away from her in a frozen pose -- she listened... Trying to stay calm... She listened.

There had been a battle, yes. They'd been called out to stop yet another uprising, more trouble caused by an unruly band of misfit upstarts with something to prove. Of course, they'd gone to keep the peace. Not surprisingly, a fight ensued.

What happened towards the end didn't usually happen.

There had been a woman with a particularly...evil...look to her. She was like every ad for a misunderstood youth mixed into one: short, black spiky hair, black leather clothing, piercings, tattoos, and dark make-up everywhere. And combat boots up to her knees. She didn't look too stable -- sort of like that chick that played the leader of the 'pack' in The Craft, the one with the big teeth and blue eyes...and dark hair, come to think of it.

She hung back more than most, cackling more than anything else -- that is, until she decided to step in. Her friends were more of a handful than previously expected, and as a result, the X-Men had half been getting their asses handed to them. Iceman had been one of the few who'd gotten his complete ass handed to him, and then some.

Down and nearly out, this strange young lady thought to get her jollies --

By bludgeoning the youngest original X-Men over the head with a pipe crackling with strange gray energy.

Storm ordered her to stop. She didn't. On the contrary, she whacked the Iceman good and intended to do more. Lightening flared up above. The girl flinched, but then onward showed no signs of intimidation. She lifted her pipe once more. Storm shouted.

The girl smirked, lifted a hand coruscating with the same power she'd bled into the pipe and pointed that hand at Storm. The intention there couldn't have been clearer. Storm would get no warning shot. No mercy.

Storm lifted her own hand, tried to give the girl one last chance -- and was rebuffed. The girl blasted away -- so did Storm. Apparently, the girl had been a bit quicker to the draw. Lucky there -- for an instant. For, as Storm was blasted, her powers flared out of her control. In the split seconds that followed where she was sinking into unconsciousness, her disarming blast became a boomsmite from Hades.

The girl had been turned to little more than ash.

"And me? What...what happened to me?" she wondered in the here and now.

Hank and Remy shared another look. "Well..." the Arcadian answered. "Dere was dis...strange t'ing dat happened, chere. Real strange." His dark eyes dropped to her hands for a moment, then lifted back to her eyes. "Really, really strange." He winced for his own artlessness and inability to come up with something better.

By then, Ororo had looked back down the hands that had mysteriously connected themselves to her body -- then caught glimpse of her wrists. Thicker than a woman's, that's for sure. And hairier, too. And more muscled. The same could be said of her smooth, chocolate brown forearms --

A sudden realization hit her. Her breath caught for a moment...then ever so slowly, she lifted her hands.

"Uh, chere? Maybe y' shouldn'..." The former thief knew where this was going, and on glancing to the man beside him, knew that he'd surmised as much as well.

Her hands held perfectly still before descending. She'd taken a deep breath and knew that something was different there as it was with her hands and arms, but still, she was not prepared.

For flatness. Not completely flat, but in comparison? Immensely flat.

Her breasts were gone.

In their stead were pectoral muscles. Well-developed, she had to notice, but still not what she wanted. At least, not on her. These were supposed to belong on the man of her dreams, only on her when he was on her -- not like this!

Trying not to panic but able to do only that, her hands frantically searched out the rest of her features. Fingertips brushed over her face, finding the dimensions more than off -- then flew down to her covered legs, hoping and praying that she would not find a mimesis there, too. She ripped away the covers. Clad in clothing that were not hers, the corresponding set to the better known 'hospital gown', were her legs.

But not her legs. They were much too long and far too muscled to pass as a woman's lower appendages -- at least, under normal circumstances.

But these were not normal circumstances.

No, not normal at all.

She began to tremble and shake, unable to say a word as terror and disbelief took her in its icy grip. She felt her face crumpling as a ball of what seemed to be sheer agony rose up in her, searching for release.

And it found it.

She screamed.

The entire mansion shook.

continued >>

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