"Forge?" Hank's glasses slipped down his nose. He ignored them. "As in the middle-aged Cheyenne gentleman named Forge?" Rachel gaped at the doctor. "You know him?" she managed finally.
Inside, Rachel looked up from the photo album she was flipping through. She snapped it shut and shoved it under her bed. "Door's open," she called out.
Kurt edged the door open and crept through. From the bed, Rachel offered a wave.
"Dr. McCoy wanted to see you," Kurt said. "He seems to think he's figured something out about your prosthetics."
"Really?" Rachel frowned. "Okay. I'll be down in a little bit."
She flopped down on her bed. Kurt made no move to leave.
"You okay, Elf?" she asked.
"I suppose I'm a little blue." Kurt smirked.
Rachel rolled her eyes and groaned. "Don't be a goon!"
"I deserved that." Kurt nodded. "Truthfully, I'd like to ask you some questions. If I may."
"Shoot." Rachel patted her mattress in invitation.
Kurt sat down next to her hesitantly. "You don't mind that I wish to question you?" he asked.
"You're welcome to ask." Rachel grinned. "But depending on what the questions are, I may be inclined not to answer."
"Oh," Kurt murmured. "Nevermind."
Kurt stood and began to walk away. Rachel stopped him by bringing her hand to his wrist.
"Hey," she protested. "I was only teasing. Ask away."
"Alright." Kurt sat back down on the bed. "It's about your face."
"My face?" Rachel raised an eyebrow. "What's wrong with my face?"
"Nothing," Kurt replied. "It's just that when Scott first brought you here, it was tattooed."
"Oh." Rachel sighed. "That."
"You don't want to talk about it," Kurt decided.
She swallowed. "That depends. What do you want to know?"
"You made them disappear," he said. "How?"
"Keep a secret?" Rachel asked.
"Cross my heart," Kurt promised.
"They're still there," Rachel said. "They didn't just vanish."
"What do you mean?" Kurt asked. "I can't see anything."
"It's a trick," Rachel explained. "You can't see them because I projected a suggestion that you shouldn't."
She reached over for his hand. Rachel brought Kurt's three fingers to her cheek and made him trace a random scar.
"It's called a psychic mask," she said. "Basically, I project a suggestion of how I want to be viewed and most people accept it."
"Most people?" Kurt asked.
"Well, some very intuitive people may suspect that something's wrong or a powerful telepath could see through the mask if they felt like it," Rachel replied.
"Could you create a psychic mask for someone else?" Kurt whispered. The man's yellow eyes glowed brightly in the dim dormitory light.
"That was all you wanted?" Rachel murmured. "To look human?"
"To look normal," Kurt replied.
Rachel nodded. "Okay. Let's move in front of the mirror."
The two stood up and headed over to the vanity against the wall. Rachel motioned for Kurt to sit in the chair, then walked behind him. Rachel took a few deep breaths before she brought her hands up on either side of Kurt's head.
"Let's see..." Rachel muttered. "Humans don't have pointy ears. So let's get rid of those."
She brought her hands around his ears and as she grazed his flesh, the tips appeared to be rounded off.
"You need a new dental plan, pal." Rachel swiped a hand over his mouth. "And those eyes... Blue? No, you're probably sick of blue. How about brown?"
A small gasp escaped Kurt's mouth as he stared back at his dark eyed expression. "Mein Gott..." he murmured.
Rachel chuckled softly. "We're not done yet. You're still blue."
She placed her hands at the top of his crown and slowly pulled them downward. Caucasian skin trailed her fingertips.
Kurt Wagner looked human. He immediately brought his five fingered hand up to his face in awe.
"It's just a mask," Rachel said. "You can still feel your fur can't you?"
"Ja." Kurt nodded. "But it is amazing. I look beautiful."
"But what's more amazing is that a mutant with the face of a demon is still strong enough not to become the demon everyone suspects him to be," Rachel replied.
"Rachel, I meant-"
With a flick of her wrist, the psychic mask on Kurt rippled then disappeared.
"The Kurt Wagner I know doesn't have to look beautiful, because his person is beautiful," she interrupted coldly. "He doesn't feel sorry for himself."
"What about Rachel, then?" Kurt asked quietly. "Why does she feel the need to hide her true face?"
"I..." she faltered. Rachel turned away from him. "It's different."
"How so, child?" Kurt pressed.
"Those markings on your body." Rachel gestured vaguely behind her. "Why are they there?"
"I put them there," Kurt answered.
"There's the difference," she replied. "You wanted them there."
"If you didn't want them there, why did you put them there?" Kurt asked.
Rachel laughed. "You think I actually had a choice in the matter? No, those are a symbol of what I was."
"What you were?"
"They are a symbol of shame," Rachel said. "I can't stand to look at them. I need to go see Dr. McCoy."
Rachel dashed out of the room. Kurt was left in front of the vanity, staring at the mirror.
The knock on the door was all that Hank McCoy needed to shove the prototype into a drawer. He nervously smoothed some stray papers on his desk. "Come in."
Rachel's unkempt head peeked through the door hesitantly. "You wanted to see me?"
"Yes. I did." Hank smiled. He nudged his glasses back up his nose with a pinky. "Come in."
Rachel shuffled in and plopped down on a nearby stool.
"I see you've been eating," Hank noticed.
"You say it like that's a problem." Rachel chuckled.
"Hardly," Hank replied. "Your eyes aren't as sunken in. It's a good thing."
"Sunken in? Was it really that bad?" she asked.
"It certainly wasn't the healthiest," Hank said. "But you seem to be making a full recovery."
"Kurt said you wanted to talk about my prosthetics." She crossed her legs, then thought better of it.
"Yes, I did." Hank nodded. "I called up some colleagues, followed up on some sources and finally looked on the internet. But I think I found something."
"Oh?" Rachel said. "And what's that?"
"I don't believe that that device in your tongue is necessary," Hank said. "It actually looks like an advanced version of a prototype that belongs to Rory Campbell."
"So you want to remove it?" Rachel ground her teeth.
"If I may," Hank affirmed.
"Rachel that device isn't supporting your life functions in any way," Hank argued. "I don't see why there would be any reason for you to disagree with-"
"I said no," she repeated. "I knew you just wanted to dissect me. Why not string me up and pump me full of new diseases just to see what will happen to my mutant DNA also?"
"Now, I think you're overreacting." Hank tried to put a calming hand on the girl's shoulder, but Rachel brushed it aside. "Dr. Campbell explained to me in full detail-"
"I don't care about Dr. Campbell!" she hollered. "Dr. Campbell had nothing to do with the parts on me. A man named Forge gave me my new arm and leg. I won't have you accidentally kill me in the name of science."
"Forge?" Hank's glasses slipped down his nose. He ignored them. "As in the middle-aged Cheyenne gentleman named Forge?"
Rachel gaped at the doctor. "You know him?" she managed finally.
"Of course. He was one of the first that I conferred with over the mystery of your limbs," Hank replied. "He claimed no knowledge about them. And I believed him. If he had known about your technology, I'm sure he would have used it to replace his own prosthetic leg."
Hank faced the redhead squarely. Rachel looked up at him, her jaw hanging open.
"Now. Can we have a polite, adult discussion?" he asked quietly.
Rachel sprang up from her seat and ran out of the medical bay. Hank watched her leave and shook his head.
"How peculiar," he murmured.