Disclaimer: On behalf of myself, and the characters in this story who have all been borrowed without permission, I would like to thank Marvel, who owns them, for not suing me, which we all know would be pointless, since I am making no money from this... In the unlikely event that anyone should ever wish to archive this, please ask first.
Continuity: This story takes place in a version of the Marvel Universe much like the regular one. However, in this universe, Sidney Drosselmier / Morph (the mutant formerly and also known as Changeling) is alive and has been a member of the X-men for a while. Happy Happy Joy Joy, eh?
Warning: This story occasionally contains language which the ridiculously oversensitive may find offensive.
Note: Pretty much everything I know about Morph I learnt from the AOA, so if I've completely mischaracterised him - um, sorry. Feel free to let me know what I did wrong and I shall endeavour to do better. Speaking of which...
FEEDBACK! Send me some! You know you want to! Oh yes...

Changing Faces
by Poi Lass

Part One: You Shall Go To The Ball...

It had seemed like such a good idea at the time.

The Hellfire Club had thrown a party. The X-Men had decided to gatecrash it. Use it as cover for some snooping around, some checking up on Sebastian Shaw, some breaking into computer files. Scott Summers, fearless leader of the Uncanny X-men, looked around at everything going to hell, and wished he'd never suggested it...

"The last time we confronted Shaw, he seemed to know an awful lot about the X-men, and our recent activites. We need to know what they know about us. And how they know." Scott had said.

"Exactly! Then we'll know what they know about what we know as soon as we know what it is that they know!" Morph had offered in support. And Scott had wished, as Scott often did, that he could leave Morph at home.

But here and now, he was glad he hadn't. They'd managed, embarassingly, to run into a group of psi-shielded security personel before they'd even been in the building five minutes.

He punched another guard out, not wanting to use his optic blast and risk triggering more alarms.

<Jean. Does the Hellfire Club know we're here yet?> He spoke to his wife through their psionic rapport.

<The Inner Circle are all busy in the ballroom, I don't think anyone's got past us to tell them yet. But with the security systems we shut down reactivated, and the guards on alert -->

<-- We should probably leave, unless we want a firefight. Right. Well, that's a week's planning gone down the toilet. I hate when that happens.>

<I should think you'd be used to it by now, dear.>

<Cute. Let's just go. We'll have to leave through the ballroom, that should still by relatively unguarded.>

<The ballroom? -But Scott - it's full of people-->

<Exactly. Shaw won't risk starting anything, if he even sees us in the crowd. It would ruin his rep as an honest businessman. And you can mask us psionically. Tell Morph he's on distraction duty, they don't know his face. Whichever one he's using today...>

<Done.> She smiled at Morph's ebullient response as she telepathically informed him of his misson. <Do you want to know what he said?>

<Under no circumstances.> Scott replied sourly. Jean filled the rest of the X-men in on the plan, and they moved out.

The X-men hovered outside the ballroom, hidden, for the moment, by Jean's telepathic abilities.

"Okay Morph. You're on." Scott nodded at him. Logan grabbed his shoulder, stopping Morph with a wave of his hand.

"Hang on a sec Cyke. I mean - they might not know his face - but they've got to know his powers, right? As soon as he starts morphing someone's gonna catch a clue and realise the rest of us are here too.The Inner Circle aren't all complete idiots."

"So - I dunno, maybe Sid should try not to be as -- obvious -- with his powers as usual. Pretend to be some other kind of mutant or - um - something..." Bobby trailed off, but Morph looked far more impressed by this than the vague suggestion really deserved.

"Bobby! You're a wonder! You're a marvel! Let me give you a big ol' -" Morph threw his arms wide and launched himself at the other man. Who ducked.

"NO! Damn it Morph, will you stop that?" Bobby hissed. Morph missed him and landed on the floor.

"Wasser matter? Don'tya love me anymore?" Sidney's face changed, his eyes suddenly wide, protruding and pathetic, as he looked woefully up at Bobby.

"No, I don't! I mean - I never loved you - Can we get off this subject please?" Bobby sighed.

Morph had recently decided that Bobby Drake was the love of his life, and had, with admirable dedication, set about trying to win his heart. At first he'd tried being subtle about it.

Subtle didn't work. Probably because he wasn't very good at it. Then he tried obvious, flamboyant and annoying, which didn't work either, but which he had a lot more natural talent for. It was also a lot more fun for the watching X-men, who had taken to betting on what Morph would do next to try and prove his love, and how long it would be until Bobby tried to kill him for making one of his increasingly embarrassing protestations of eternal devotion in public...

"Morph, shut up and get going." Logan impatiently grabbed the shifter by the back of his bizzarely colourful costume and pushed him towards the door.

As he was pushed through the door, Morph abruptly transformed into a handsome man wearing a tuxedo.

He wandered away from the door where the X-men were waiting their chance to escape, smiling and chatting with elegantly dressed people as he made his way to the other side of the room. He looked around for inspiration on how to create the distraction. So many possiblities, so little time...

Got it. he thought smugly, homing in on one of the ball's guests.

<Jean, what is he going to do?> Cyclops asked his wife nervously, as they watched Morph strike up a conversation with a hideously dressed woman.

<I thought you didn't want to know.>


<Just be patient Scott. I'm sure we'll all find out soon enough.>

<Oh what fun...>

"Is this real fur? What sort is it?" Sidney politely asked the woman, who had a fur cloak still draped over her shoulders.


"Ah. Perfect." Morph beamed at her, and then ripped the cloak from the woman's shoulders and threw it from himself, yelling -

"Run, little minks, run free like the wind! Return to the wild! Be fruitful and multiply!" The fur cloak, surreptitiously supported by Sidney's morphed foot, picked itself up and tore across the room. The woman screamed and all eyes in the room turned towards her - and the apparently resurrected minks.

The cloak came to a stop a short distance from Morph, but he had already gained the attention of the entire ballroom. He grabbed a foxfur from around the neck of another guest, and leapt up onto the buffet table.

He held the foxfur up by what was once it's neck.

"All right! Everybody listen up, or the fox gets it!" he looked at the fur dangling from his hand. "No wait, that won't work..."

Cyclops hid his face in his hands.

"Got it." Morph said triumphantly. He stroked the fur, and it blurred, suddenly seeming alive, as, with an impenetrable sleight of hand, he morphed his arm into a fox. "Everybody listen up, - or the fox gets dinner!" The suddenly animated fox in his arms growled and bared its teeth at the guests. As one, they stepped back, gasping. Morph exchanged a meaningful glance with the `animal'. He grinned broadly.

"Sic `em girl!" He let it go, and the `fox' shot out of his arms to go cause havoc among the guests. They were too busy running for the door to notice it was still attached to Morph, and soon melded back into him.

Morph continued haranguing the crowd about the evils of wearing - or eating - dead animals, who would always return to reap their revenge; morphing his feet into the live versions of whatever food he kicked off the table, and sending them out to bite people. The X-men slipped into the crowd, still masked by Jean, and headed for the door - along with most of the guests.

Then a dark haired woman with a look of concentration on her face approached Sebastian Shaw, who was trying to get at Morph without revealing his own powers.

<Morph! That's Tessa, she's a tepe. I can't keep her from contacting Shaw much longer. Take care of her before she tells him we're here.> Jean sent urgently.

Sidney picked up an hors d'oeurve from the table, and clamped it ostentatiously in his fist. As he leapt down he morphed his hand, into a hand holding a large salmon.

"The fish-slapping dance!" he cried gleefully, hitting Tessa over the head with the fish. The telepath fell unconscious into Shaw's arms. Morph threw the hors d'oeurve at Shaw, who stared at him in disbelief as it glanced off his chest.

"Swim upstream, my fishy brother!" Morph yelled at the bite-sized snack, and dived for the punch bowl to send purple rain down the security guards coming for him before losing himself in the crowd.

The X-men slipped out of the ballroom, and the Hellfire Club, unnoticed, although several of them almost choked to death trying to stop laughing at the look on Shaw's face.

"Note to self," Scott muttered under his breath, as he strangled his own grin. "Never let Morph do the distraction again."

continued >>

The fish slapping dance belongs to Monty Python, and Morph gratefully thanks them for the loan.

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