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Chapter 12

see disclaimer chapter 1


"Despite what you believe, your powers are very unique and could be of a great benefit to this institute.  With your scholastic background, you could become a valuable asset to our family here."  Sonja subconsciously cringed when he said the word family, she didn't think she could handle being torn away from one more family in her lifetime.

"We would never force you to do anything you don't want to.  We have many options here; a state of the art laboratory, top-notch equestrian facilities, and you could always assume a position as an educator, or, after training, with the X-Men."  Xavier rolled over to where Sonja was staring out the window at the children and came to a stop right beside her.  "There is so much they could learn from you about the human world, about medicine, about caring for people.  You could do a lot of good here."  Sonja sat down on the small bench under the window and looked into the Professor's eyes.

"This is an environment where your mutant powers can be developed and used properly, not hidden away, forcing you into a life of running.  Just give us a month or two, and I promise you that I'll do whatever I can to help you, whatever path you choose."  Sonja couldn't bear his gaze any more and shifted her eyes down, acting as if she were studying the back of her hands.  She suddenly stood again, walking back over to where she had scattered the newspapers.  She picked up the first paper she had looked at and again felt the panic swell in her chest at seeing her own face, though not nearly as powerfully as before.  She sat in the chair, forcing herself to read the article.

Mutant Healer Saves Life of Silver Screen King!

-- Clarksdale, Pen.

A man falls twenty feet through the air and spears himself on a tent stake like a human shish kabob.  Half an hour later, with most of his blood lying on the ground in pools around him, the man quickly approaching death's doorstep, a woman emerges from a backwoods medical clinic. Astonishingly, within five minutes the man is as good as new and the woman has disappeared.

You hear this and may ask yourself all sorts of questions, like is this for real?  Well folks, prepare yourselves because this story is very real and it happened to none other than America's number one heartthrob, George Hays. (Credits including: top billing in last years three highest grossing movies and Fighter, currently #1 in the box office.)

Hays' newest project, a rural romantic comedy entitled Country Hearts co staring Ashley Dubbs, has been in production for the last two months and is being filmed in various farms around Pennsylvania.  Last weekend, Hays, while posing for promotional photos on an elevated platform, somehow slipped and fell over the side, falling twenty feet.  Spare tent stakes had been propped up against the side of the platform and Hays fell directly onto the sharp point of one of the six-foot spears.  Eyewitness accounts say the point of the stake drove up the left side of his back and gouged into his body.

"There was this huge chunk missing out of his back, you could see right inside of him," stated one crewmember who witnessed the entire ordeal. "There was a lot of damage.  It was so gruesome and everyone had pretty much given him up for dead."

Hays most likely would have perished on that Pennsylvania farm if a certain woman named Sonja Cadlyst had not intervened.  Up until that moment, Ms. Cadlyst had been known simply as the junior partner in the small town's medical clinic.

"[Sonja] has been my family's doctor for two years, and never once did she ever give us a reason to believe that she might not be totally human," commented Mr. Reginald Parker, owner of the field and home where Country Hearts is being filmed.

Immediately after Hays fell, the crews were afraid to move him for fear of complicating his injury further, so a car was sent to Stevenson Medical Clinic, owned by Josh and Julia Stevenson, to fetch a doctor.  (The Stevensons refused to comment on Cadlyst or the accident.)  That car returned with Cadlyst, the only doctor available on that fateful Sunday afternoon. It was quite obvious shortly after she arrived on the scene that Ms. Cadlyst is a member of the genetically advanced race of humans commonly referred to as mutants.

Various eyewitness accounts say Ms. Cadlyst seemed only to do a routine medical check.  She had requested that the crowd move back, so there are few details past that point except that when she moved away, the life-threatening injury had simply disappeared, no bruising or damage of any sort being visible.  In fact, in a medical report filed 24 hrs. later by Hays' regular doctor, it was confirmed that there was absolutely no trace of damage to the area where, one day before, 85 people witnessed Hays' body split open like a melon for all to see.  Make no mistake; this is one of the most clear-cut cases of mutant activity that this reporter has ever seen.

Then, in an incredibly mysterious turn of events that is now also becoming attributed to her mutant abilities, Cadlyst had somehow managed to escape questioning by obtaining the keys to one of the production companys cars and taking off before any in the crowd could react.  The car was later recovered at Cadlyst's house and no charges were brought against her for auto theft.  On request of Hays, the local authorities made instant attempts to locate Cadlyst, but she had already vanished, abandoning her home.

"She's just disappeared.  We left no stone unturned, but all of our efforts to find her have been fruitless," stated Clarksdale sheriff, Matthew Bennett.

Despite local authorities declaring it a lost cause to search for the woman, Hays has made many public declarations about his intentions to find Cadlyst, even going so far as hiring an entire host of private detectives from the well-known firm of Goshen and Stamp.  Hays has also offered a $10,000 reward for information regarding her whereabouts.  When asked why Hays was so intent upon unearthing a woman who was so obviously wishing upon remaining anonymous, his response was unhesitant and laden with emotion.

"If an angel came and brought you back to life at the cost of her own, wouldn't you want to thank her?  Wouldn't you want to show her every gratitude you could?  I don't think I could live with myself if I don't even get to say thanks."

Well, Ms. Mutant angel of healing, this reporter sure hopes you hear this mans prayer.

----P. Morgan

While Sonja had been reading the article, Xavier had moved back behind his desk. She looked up at him.

Sonja couldn't feel anything anymore; her whole body had gone numb trying to deal with the grief.  This whole time, the whole time she was in the forest, she never once even contemplated not being able to resume her life like before.  It felt like an entire mountain had just been thrown onto her back and she rubbed her eyes, trying to alleviate the sting of tears.

"I've ruined it, I've ruined everything," she said, dejection and loss ringing in her voice.  "I never thought it would cause this kind of damage. I never even considered it would get out like this," she stammered.  "I won't be able to step outside these gates without someone pouncing on me."

The Professor just sat in his chair, not willing to bring up the obvious, allowing the woman to come to the realization on her own.  Sonja felt the weight of her loss more heavily now than she ever had before, but she knew that she would survive, she would adapt, eventually.  I can do this, she thought, I've dealt with worse things in my life.  Slowly, she lifted her eyes and met the Professor's understanding gaze.

"I guess I have no other choice," she said firmly.  All of a sudden, Sonja's face lightened a bit.  She had completely forgotten!  She did have another choice, but not one that was very feasible.  She needed time to think it over before she told him about it.  But could it work?  Would she ever be able to pull it off?  Everything was so messed up already, would she only make it worse?

There was no point in sniveling in front of the Professor, she could let out her frustrations and try to formulate a plan later, when she could be alone, but the Professor had other plans.

"I think there's something you haven't told me, Sonja," the Professor said gently. Sonja let out an exasperated sigh.  How did he always know just what to say?  He must know that her powers reached farther than just healing.  But did she really want to tell him what she could do?  Her ability to change herself had always been her ace in the hole, the one thing she could do when everything else had failed her.

"Please, Sonja, I need to know everything before I can really begin to help you," he said, his eyes seemingly boring right through to her mind.

Sonja made the decision to show Xavier the one way she might be able to integrate herself back into the human world . What was the point in hiding it from him?  He would probably find out about it if Sonja had made a plan or not.

"Fine, but this stays a secret between you and me, understand?  Under no circumstance is Jean or Storm or anybody else going to know about this."

Again the Professor nodded in his calm way and just sat there, waiting for what he knew he was going to see before Sonja had even come to the school.

Chapter 13

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