see disclaimer chapter 1
Sonja sat in the chair for a few moments, her eyes shut and her forehead wrinkled with the efforts of her concentration. Slowly, she raised her hands to her face. The Professor could feel the air charge with energy and heard a very faint and odd sound coming from Sonja, almost like a fire crackling in the hearth, though not nearly as loud or irregular. With precise deliberateness, Sonja moved her hands up over her face, then over her hair, and all the way down the back of her neck.
The normally unflappable Professor was a little taken aback and stared at Sonja. Even though he had seen mutative powers of every kind, he hadn't thought Sonja would be able to do that. It also reminded him too much of Mystique.
"It's been a while since I've tried that, did it work alright?" she asked, though she could tell from Xavier's reaction that it had probably worked very well. The Professor had instantly regained his composure and nodded towards a small mirror that was mounted on the wall behind her. Sonja stood and walked over to it, having to lean down a little ways to get the full view of her face.
"Yep, I still got the touch," she said darkly as she examined her face from every angle. Years ago she had been delighted to find that with a single concentrated touch, she could completely morph her entire face and head of hair, and with a little more time, she could change the entire superficial structure of her body except the color of her eyes. She could enhance her eyes to see better in the dark, or her nose and ears to sense something far away, but nothing more internal than that. Her ability to change her body that way had saved her hide more than a few times and had provided her with endless hours of entertainment during college. Though she was so out of practice and her mind was so cluttered that it had taken a lot out of her just to change her face and hair this time.
She made a face at the unfamiliar person she saw in the mirror. She had rounded her face a bit more into a moon shape and changed her eyes into two perfect almond orbs. Instead of her regular flawless complexion and slight tan, her face was now a delicate pale cream color with light brown freckles on her nose and cheeks. Her cheekbones were considerably lower and her nose was smaller and pugish looking. Sonja swung her head side to side and was satisfied with the arrow straight gleaming blonde locks she had produced for herself.
"So?" she asked. He motioned for her to come closer and he examined her face closely.
"I'm impressed. I've seen mutants with a healing type of ability before, but none of them could make such a complete transition on themselves so quickly. Tell me, how long does it last?"
Sonja stood back. It wasn't too hard to accomplish, but could she really do that four or five times a day, every day for the rest of her life?
"Oh, a couple of hours if I don't get too excited and don't eat anything. Those two things tend to speed up my body in a way and this face has a time limit on it. No matter how hard I've tried, I've never been able to make anything on myself permanent," she said, sitting back down in the chair, a little tired again despite the nap she had taken that day.
"Hmm...very interesting. I guess that ability would be a vote for your leaving here, but would you really be able to rely on it day after day?" he asked quietly. "Do you think you could feasibly make it work?"
Sonja decided to put off answering for a moment. It was always much easier changing her face back to the original shape and texture. She passed her hands back over her face and hair. The brown curls and slight tan, along with everything else that she had changed, returned quickly. She opened her mouth a bit and twitched her nose, flexing the now sore facial muscles.
"I'll have to give it some thought," she said non-committally. Now that she knew she had some more options, Sonja felt a bit more comfortable and able to deal with her situation, even if the latest option wasn't all that solid. She thought about ending her session with the Professor but decided against it when the newspaper caught her eye again. She pushed it back across the desk.
"What do you think I should do about this?" she said, furrowing her brows and glaring at the paper like it was a puzzle to be solved.
"It's not my choice to make. What's important is that you find out what's best for you," the Professor said. "I have shared all the information I know and it's now up to you to make a decision. I'll give you as much time as I can for you to make up your mind...with only one request."
Sonja looked him in the eye once and nodded. It was her decision to make, the Professor was right in that she needed a little time, but what was the catch? She waited for the Professor to continue.
"There's just one other thing I would ask of you, and that would be letting Dr. McCoy and Dr. Grey examine you and try to chart exactly what your abilities are," he said. "It's standard procedure for every mutant that comes across our school for the simple fact that it helps us to better understand how the mutation process works. These studies are used strictly for the school's research and the data we obtain will never go any farther than these walls."
Sonja sat back in the chair and folded her arms across her stomach, regarding the Professor's proposal thoughtfully. She definitely didn't like the idea, but how could she say no after all he had done for her?
"Is tomorrow ok?" she said, making up her mind to go along with his plan. He just gave a slight nod.
"Or at a later date if you like."
"No, no, the sooner the better. Just tell Jean to come get me whenever." Sonja stood and headed for the door when she noticed all the papers that she had thrown on the floor and felt a rush of shame about losing control of her emotions earlier. She crouched down and started gathering the papers into her arms.
"It's alright Sonja, you don't have to do that." But by the time the words left the Professor's mouth, she had already collected all the papers.
"You don't mind if I take these, do you?" she asked, already clutching the papers to her chest.
"No, not at all," The Professor said.
Sonja again turned to leave when the Professor's voice stopped her.
"And Sonja," he said, "I would like to extend sincere gratitude to you." She turned around, giving him a quizzical look.
"For, even in its smallest measure, changing what the public thinks about mutants," he said, nodding to her slightly. Sonja just nodded back, gave him a tight smile, and turned as fast as she could before the tears threatened to spill over again.