Xavier Day is celebrated with fireworks. Jean Grey has come here with Colossus, Magneto and Nature Girl and muses how surreal it is to be back here. Ground Zero for Stryfe’s initial attack. They lost so many.
The celebrating mutants treat them like celebrities. The mutants write their wishes on slips of paper which rise into the air. A UK team of Department X is also secretly surveilling the celebrations, among them American (Franco-Canadian, really) member Moneta, who is angry at the people wearing En Sabah Nur’s eye mark. She is sure they will come.
Jean muses that the answer to how to connect past and future eluded Xavier to the last. It eluded her for years, too, but it was right in front of her Any separation in time is artificial. There is just life. There is just here. Because the past and future mean nothing without the individual moment. Without now. Nate had this figured out for years. His ways became the example. He taught her how to transcend herself. She had to accept the time for mourning was over. She had to transform her regret into the realization that those who died are in all of them. Always here now.
Suddenly, the wishes in the sky disappear. A portal appears and out step En Sabah Nur and his acolytes, Shadowcat and Dazzler. They assure the crowd they needn’t fear them and tell them to hug, kiss, touch, feel, embrace!
A few immediately obey and Moneta shouts at them to stop. A telepathic teammate tells her to focus on En Sabah Nur.
In the sky, En Sabah Nur announces their love shows them the way. The crowd reacts in differing ways: some with disgust and panic, some with happiness. En Sabah Nur continues that even Charles Xavier had many lovers. He knew the benefit of sensuality; he knew the raw power of eroticism.
Colossus races towards them and grabs for Kitty but she phases. He gets a look at her face and remembers her. “Am I finally alive?” he asks, then kisses her. Moneta gapes at them open-mouthed.
While members of Department X try to close in on En Sabah Nur, the crowd revel in their displays of lust, egged on by their guru. He tells them he needs to go into hiding, as the X-Men want to capture him. He assures them he loves them all, before he and Kitty Pryde disappear.
On Magneto’s urging, Jean Grey telepathically convinces the crowd to disperse and go home.
Afterwards, the X-Men meet. X-23 is uncomfortable. For the first time in years, they agreed to meet violence with violence. She made a vow when Logan died. To never become the weapon that she was created to be. Magneto points out that En Sabah Nur would become a symbol if they killed him. Storm and X-Man protest against the very idea of killing, as does Nature Girl. Jean tells them to turn on the TV. Something is wrong.
The news shows strange fissures opening in multiple cities across the world. Department X insists citizens are not to look inside, as they show disorienting and false images of the past.
Laura muses she’s been feeling nothing but disoriented since the first rally. When she saw Logan, he told her she always has a choice. Her team is forcing her to choose. Now she has another choice to make. She wonders whether she should tell them what she saw, then decides he wouldn’t. She suggests the X-tracts are behind the fissures. The others discuss her theory.
As the news shows the image of a fissure, Storm points out it looks like the Askani Eye, the symbol En Sabah Nur adopted… and inside it is an image of human procreation. This is too much like old times to be a matter of coincidence.
Magneto points out that they would need an immensely powerful mutant in their ranks for that. Someone like… Wanda, Jean finishes. Nature Girl points out that they don’t make omega mutants anymore.
X-Man interrupts this is all conjecture. But they need to close those fissures. He and Jean believe the fissures are psychic in nature. He suggests they take a rest. They’ve been together for days! The others agree.
Jean and Nate fly toward the city. He notes that he senses her regret. Jean admits that on Xavier Day she used her power to manipulate the crowd. She took away their autonomy. To create harmony, he points out. What good is power if you are too wary to use it? Sometimes they are forced to do things that go against their character – himself included. He lied back there. He’s certain these fissures are psychic rifts in the world. He’s seen these things before.
Shocked, Jean asks why he would lie. To protect the others. They can’t handle it, he replies. She can. This doesn’t make sense to her. It will, he promises and flies on. She follows.
They see a rift in which a powerless Storm is being cared for by Forge. Painful images from lives they worked so hard to move beyond. Nate closes the fissure but suffers a spell of weakness. It’s temporary, he tells her. Everything is.
All the X-Men greet it their own way. Colossus berates himself for being a failure and the impurity of his thoughts. He looks at his paintings, abstracts showing Kitty and recalls his brother Mikhail’s favorite saying: “A guilty conscience needs no accuser.” He has been guilty for too long. She phased through him and, in that moment, he saw everything. A life; a choice.
He throws his X-Man uniform into the fireplace. He packs some things and leaves, but outside he is expected by Moneta and Northstar from Department X. He armors up and attacks. He easily takes out Moneta and runs.
Jean stares at the fissure, muttering that never happened. She sees herself addressing other X-Men, and announcing that their new mutant nation starts here. Nate tells her to pay it no mind. They need to get it closed.
He asks her if she ever has problems relating to people. Not since everybody turned into mutants, she replies.
Another vision shows Dani Moonstar telling Nate she loves him. He’s out there. Watching, waiting for her.
Nate continues that the two of them experience reality in a fundamentally different way from everyone else. They feel it. Everything at once. Jean replies he is overestimating her.
The fissure shows Charles Xavier thinking he can never tell her.
Jean doesn’t know how long she can stomach these things. Nate replies he endures every one of them. It’s all so complicated. He doesn’t even know where to…
Jean sees another vision of the X-Men fighting Sentinels. In the vison, Jean saves Cyclops and they kiss.
Nate apologizes for her seeing this. He can explain everything. No! she cuts him off. He doesn’t have to explain anything. This is a pathetic propaganda tool! They have to find En Sabah Nur! His movement ends now!
She concentrates but can’t close the fissure. Nate does so easily. Jean admits she has always been in awe of how easy things are for him. Sometimes she thinks they don’t deserve him. It’s the other way around, he assures her.
X-23 cannot sleep. The smells are driving her nuts. She finds a second wall within the closet and a cache of uniforms and weapons that clearly do not belong to her behind it. Someone else’s stuff in her house. But she’s always lived here.
Someone knocks wildly. X-23 snarls at Nature Girl what her problem is. She’s gonna break the door. Something horrible has happened! the other girl tells her. There’s been a murder!
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
William Blake: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell