Surrounded by the Phoenix effect, X-Men, Guardians and Shi’ar at her feet, Jean shouts: I am fire! I am life incarnate! Now and forever I am the Phoenix!
With a scream, Jean awakes from her nightmare. Is she ok? a voice comes from the doorway. Seeing the familiar red glow, she figures it’s Cyclops, who has come back. Not exactly, he replies and she realizes it’s the older Scott. Or regular-aged him, he replies, depending on one’s point of view. He heard her scream. He knows that sound. Is she okay?
Bad dreams, she tells him. Really bad. He can imagine. She found out a lot of terrible things, about herself, the world, the galaxy. She saw a lot of things she might not be ready for.
Professor Kitty told him what happened? she asks. A space adventure, he replies. He could use one of those actually. They used to go on them all the time. She hated hers, Jean sighs. Scott suggests next time to go of her own volition and not get kidnapped.
If he had been here at the school, he’d have done everything to stop what happened to her from happening. She knows. He heard she has a fancy new power. She doesn’t have to show him now but he would like to see it. He finds it interesting that she manifested something new, when the older her – well, it’s just interesting.
The older her, she sighs. She’s tried putting it all together and sometimes it felt like she never had a chance. She never had a chance he agrees darkly. So maybe she doesn’t either, Jean ventures.
Scott considers it. He doesn’t know, he admits. He’s been thinking about this, about her, about himself. He was wondering what he would do differently if he knew then what he knows now.
And? she asks. He would have done a lot of things differently. He doesn’t know if they would have been better but they would have been different. He certainly would have dealt with her differently.
So his younger self took off? he asks. With his father? That is strange. She agrees. Did they even mention him? Jean admits she didn’t talk to Corsair all that much. It’s weird that he’s jealous of himself. Jean agrees. Why doesn’t he remember this happening if it’s happening to his younger self? She tells him to ask Hank. Every time she’s thinking about what they are doing to time and space, her head hurts.
He worries about Hank. His or hers? she asks. His, he clarifies. He did this. He brought the original X-Men here and it kind of backfired on him. He did it to stop Scott from committing “mutant genocide” Jean quotes. What he did was create a situation he can’t get them out of, he continues. He’s worried what will happen if the wrong people find out.
It’s actually nice to talk to him, Jean admits. They have been avoiding each other pretty hard, he agrees. She touches his hand. He is so much older. She thinks that’s why she likes him more than young Scott. It’s like instead of hoping he’d grow up to become this man, he did become this man. He’s here. The man she’d hoped he’d be.
He pulls his hand away. They can never, he warns her. Okay. He means never! Okay, she replies beaten.
He tells her he and Kitty talked. They are going to have Ms. Frost work with Jean. Help her manage her new powerset and continue the training she started with Xavier. It’s important she stay on top of this. His ex Ms. Frost? she asks. Well, that won’t be weird at all. Why should this be different than anything else? he sighs as he leaves her room.
Kitty Pryde is waiting outside. He handled that well, she remarks coolly. Good thing for him. That’s the last time she wants to see him in Jean’s room alone. Yes, ma’am, he sighs.
Morning and Warren Worthington is enjoying a flight outside in the winter air when he notices Laura Kinney leaving. He lands in front of her and asks where she is going, but she snarls at him to stay out of her way. What happened? he asks. She scoffs then tells him she doesn’t know him. She is sure he is pleasant to be around some people but excuse her.
He continues talking when suddenly she crouches in a fighting stance. She attacks the bear behind him and frightens him away.
Laura turns to leave again. Angel guesses it’s because Scott left. Laura stops. He just left, she states puzzled. Well, he did say goodbye, Angel points out. She though they were a team! So did he. But he gets it. Scott thought his dad was dead and he’s not and he’s a space pirate. And regardless of whatever the thing was he was wearing on his head, it’s his dad.
Laura turns around. She’s leaving. Did they have a thing? Warren asks. She doesn’t know him she replies. This is how people get to know people, he points out. Wordlessly, Laura walks on. He looks after her.
Some distance away, out of sight Laura notice something. Stop following her, she warns .She unsheathe her claws. From behind the bushes, someone comes out and apologizes. He didn’t mean to sneak up on her. He didn’t know how else to approach her. All things considered. It’s young Cyclops. Hands in the air, he tells her he came back for her. He should have talked to her before he left. So he asked his dad to come back.
When he is close enough, he stabs her in the stomach. He assures her he took no joy in that, takes her bag and leaves her to bleed in the snow.
Inside the complex:
Beast hangs upside down in front of his timeline blackboard, now factoring in Cyclops’s departure with the Starjammers and Jean’s new power and wonders what it all means.
Angel joins the other in the mess at breakfast and asks if none of them noticed Laura leaving. Who’s Laura? Bobby asks. Where did she go? Benjamin Deeds adds. Did he try to stop her? Hank asks. She was having none of it, Angel replies. Did she say why? She’s mad that Scott left. So is he.
Who are they talking about? Bobby asks. Laura, X-23. The only other girl they know who isn’t Jean Grey. The girl with claws, Bobby realizes. He didn’t catch her name, he shrugs. He called her “Wolverine clone.”
An agitated Kitty orders Angel to go back and find her. Kitty grabs him by the arm and wants to go look for her despite his protests they have to respect. Please, she scoffs.
Oh no, she mutters moments later, when a bleeding Laura drags herself inside. Show yourself! she orders and breaks down. Hank calls for the healer to come over. One of them… shapeshifter! Laura groans. Tempus wonders if she means Mystique. Kitty protests she doesn’t know they are here. Someone found their secret school, Bobby announces darkly. It was only a matter of time.
And outside, the future Brotherhood of Mutants closes in.