"Professor Xavier is a jerk," Kitty announces as she and Illyana are leaving the mansion for their dancing lesson in Salem Center. Angrily, she rages about Xavier's decision to place her among the New Mutants. Even the other X-Men thought that unfair. Why does he treat her like a child? Perhaps because she is acting like one, Illyana, who has just had enough of Kitty's tantrums, suggests. Anyway, Kitty shouldn't complain to her that life is unfair - she didn't spend half her life in a daemonic Limbo after all. Grabbing Kitty's arm she tells her to hurry. If they miss the bus and arrive too late at Stevie Hunter's dancing lesson, she'll really have cause to be miserable. Neither girl is aware that they are being watched by a bored, alien creature that wants to hunt.
Inside the mansion, Wolverine is all packed up for his vacation in the Canadian Rockies. He needs some time alone and tells Nightcrawler that the team had better not need him in the next few weeks. Gazing outside the window, Kurt sees the two running girls and suggests they give them a lift to town while he drives Logan to the airport. He wishes he could cheer Kitty up somehow. Logan admits she has good reason to be angry. Charley gave her a raw deal.
Playing devil's advocate, Kurt points out that Kitty is rather young for their dangerous profession. Not too long ago twelve-year-old boys of twelve went to sea as naval shipmen and were expected to conduct themselves as officers and adults in times of war, Logan replies. And didn't Kurt side with the rest of them against Charley's decision? Yes, Kurt replies, but he likes to consider all points of view. Many of those young boys Logan mentioned were maimed and killed. Do they wish such a fate for Kitty? Do they have the right to place a child at risk? Logan scoffs at this. Life is risk. Kurt points out that they never had the opportunity to fully gauge the extent of Kitty's abilities. Without knowing her limits she could be a liability. That Logan cannot deny. Nevertheless, he insists, Xavier's decision may have been logical, but it still was wrong. Kitty's proved her worth. That should suffice. Kurt agrees, but then they are not the ones that need convincing.
Downstairs, the Danger Room settings are set to a basic gymnasium mode, for Xavier to exercise his legs. Xavier heaves himself up but Lilandra, who is monitoring his progress from the observation booth, notices that he is under terrible strain. This shouldn't be the case - since his new cloned body is completely healthy. Holding fast to the parallel bars, Xavier tries to take one step after another, telling himself that the pain is only in his mind. Nevertheless, after a few steps, he collapses in pain and Lilandra runs down to his side.
Exhausted, Charles states that he failed. She tries to comfort him. According to the readings he was in agony - he has nothing to be ashamed of. Ironic, isn't it? he states. His mind is so very powerful, but it cannot handle this case of psychosomatic pain. He can cope briefly, but only by focussing all his will, to the extent that he cannot draw on his PSI powers for some time, which would make him useless to the X-Men. And will he sacrifice personal desire for duty then? Lilandra asks. Probably, Charles admits, before noticing her troubled look.
Lilandra tells him that she is going to leave Earth with the Starjammers soon. Her sister Deathbird is mad - she cannot leave the Empire in her hands. Charles wants her to stay. Lilandra asks him to accompany her. He can't, he tells her. The last time he left with her that decision cost Jean Grey her life. He blames himself for this. More mutants are born every day. And he seems the only one prepared and equipped to help them. How can he leave? Well, how can she brush aside her commitments, Lilandra shoots back. But one day all will be put right and they will find their happiness she promises and hugs him. Neither is aware that they too are being watched by the intruder who's growing hungrier and more bored by the hour.
(Stevie Hunter's dance studio)
Stevie is growing irritated with Kitty, who is too wound up to stay on the rhythm with her dance piece. Kitty angrily snaps at her and tells Stevie she is in a fighting mood. Would she rather head to the high school and spar a few rounds then, Stevie asks. Kitty apologizes. It's not Stevie she's mad at. Is being an X-Man so important to her, Stevie asks. They are her family, Kitty explains. They've forged bonds that in their own way are stronger than those with her own family, but by shifting her to the junior team, the Professor is basically saying that's not the case and that's tearing her up. Stevie suggests she just has to present a strong enough case to Charles. Reason with him, he isn't an irrational man. She should stop feeling sorry for herself and do something constructive with her anger. Kitty agrees and Illyana wonders in exasperation why Kitty didn't listen when she tried to tell her the same thing for the past week.
(the following morning shortly before dawn)
Storm exits the mansion and walks up the eastern ridge. Dressed only in a fur cloak, she nevertheless doesn't mind the winter cold as her powers protect her from extreme temperatures. Happy to be home again, she opens herself to the radiance of the sunrise, intending to restore her physical and psychical link with the Earth. Instead, a rainstorm appears from nowhere, unbidden by Ororo. She finds she cannot resist the wind or the sudden cold that she should be immune to. The storm disappears as quickly as it came. Ororo realizes that her attempt to commune with the primal forces of the Earth failed. They denied her. Frightened and anguished, she wonders what that could mean.
Over the next days Kitty uses every possible tactic available, short of blackmail, to convince Xavier that she belongs on the X-Men. Whether it is by logic (and beating him at chess), passion, co-operation (and a show of what her powers can do) or unabashed flattery.
Meanwhile, in Shark Bay, Florida, Scott Summers is looking for an old friend. He finds the trawler Arcadia at the dock - its skipper, Lee Forrester, is busy stripping down the motor. Scott silently motions for Lee's first mate, Paolo, to give him the wrench and then hands it to Lee who's not even looking up. Lee notices belatedly that it isn't Paolo and hugs Scott. After dinner, the two stroll along a beach and Scott tells her of his recent adventures and about his plans to meet his grandparents, admitting how excited he is.
What if they don't like him? Scott asks. What's not to like, Lee answers. She then asks whether he'll come back afterwards and, if so, for a visit or to stay. Scott changes the subject, telling her he like the ways she grew out her hair. Lee grows angry. Since he walked into her life, things got crazy. Scott apologizes but it wouldn't be fair to make a commitment that he isn't sure he could keep. She admits that his world terrifies her. She could never be part of it. So he has a choice: the X-Men or her. But, until then, they have each other - for a while at least.
(Central Park South, Manhattan:)
It's Christmas Eve and flight attendant Amanda Sefton lets herself into her apartment after returning from a month's round-the world-tour. She finds the apartment decorated and lit by candles but she knows that her roommates aren't at home. She is greeted, instead, by Nightcrawler, who is expecting her with presents and champagne. She may have his "Bamf" doll to keep her company, he jokes, but he figured, this being Christmas, she'd prefer the real thing. Amanda has no objections.
At Xavier's school, Kitty's growing increasingly frustrated. Xavier has remained adamant in his decision. Her reverie is broken when Peter and Illyana knock against the window. Kitty phases outside and they ask her whether she wants to join them. They're off to chop some firewood. She excuses herself with being too busy catching up with her studies - she promises them some mulled cider though for when they return. Alone again, Kitty muses that between regular school, her training sessions and dance class, it's a miracle she could keep up that long. Does that mean the Professor was right?
She runs the homescan program through the computer to see who else is in the mansion. If she's going to brew cider, she might as well include everyone. The scan picks up an anomaly in the lower maintenance tunnels. It's not a glitch she realizes, but something the sensors aren't equipped to identify.
Slipping into her yellow-and-black training uniform, she remembers how proud she was when she first wore that costume. But now it just makes her part of a crowd - just one of the "X-babies". Kitty phases downstairs and finds that the lights are off in the tunnel, although she'd switched them on via her terminal. She quickly finds the reason: The main cable has been chewed through. No casual damage, she deduces. She mentally calls Professor Xavier and informs him about her discovery. Xavier mindscans the area, but only perceives her. He suggests she return while he calls Colossus to check this out.
If he cannot spot anything, there's nothing to be afraid of, Kitty argues. She'll push on a bit. Maybe it's just rats. She hears something and screams only to happily recognize the little dragon that saved her on Broodworld. She quickly mentally tells the worried Professor that she's okay and properly greets the little creature, which coos happily. Suddenly, though, the dragon roars and Kitty asks he Professor for help. Three alien creatures are closing in on her. Xavier recognizes them as Sidrian hunters, the kind who wrecked the mansion months ago. He orders Kitty to flee. Kitty wants to comply but is hit by one of the Sidri's energy beams.
Kitty lands hard and aches but otherwise she seems to be okay. However, she notices that shot has messed up her powers. She can't phase. Well, she thinks grimly, Wolverine spent hours teaching her to fight. That training had better pay off now. Kitty evades another shot, while jumping at another creature. The little dragon flies towards the second Sidri with an angry roar and fries it with a flame-breath. Xavier informs Kitty that these are immature Sidri - hatchlings - there must be a nest somewhere. They are also vulnerable to extreme heat. Lockheed already figured that out, she answers, while using a judo move to toss the Sidri on its back, leaving the professor to wonder who Lockheed is.
With her back turned, Kitty is hit point-blank by the third Sidri's energy beam. No sign of Lockheed, nowhere to run and the creature's keeping its distance clearly intent on killing her from afar with its beams. Before the beam hits Kitty, Colossus jumps between them in his armored form. The beam does him no harm, so he walks towards the creature and finishes it off. He explains to Kitty that he came once he heard the professor's mindcall. Kitty hugs him in relief. As Peter wonders that she managed to defeat two Sidri on her own, she admits she had help. Who, he wonders. As the two of them look for the nest they find Kitty's "help" and what's left of the Sidri nest, after the little dragon devoured most of it.
Later, in Xavier's study, Colossus explains that the nest was in a storeroom. He saw the remains of thousands of charred and broken eggs, but how could such a small creature as Kitty's dragon have eaten all of them? Kitty points out to Xavier that they can't send Lockheed home as Broodworld was destroyed. Since they were partially responsible for that, obviously they have to take him in. Eminently logical, Xavier replies dryly. Will the dragon eat him, if he says no?
Xavier then states that the dragon is obviously intelligent but impervious to his PSI probes. There's more to him than meets the eye. And the same, he admits, goes for Kitty. Xavier had never truly seen her "in action" before, but he has to admit that her maturity in handling the situation belies her age. He suggests a compromise: She'll rejoin the X-Men on a probationary status, provided this does not interfere with her training or education. Otherwise, she'll return to the New Mutants without any protest. Kitty happily agrees.
Anchorage, Alaska, where the Summers men have met at a small airport waiting to be picked up by an employee of Scott's and Alex's grandparents' cargo airline. Scott admits he is nervous. Alex and Chris tease him about his tan - apparently he enjoyed himself in Florida. They are joined by a young, red-haired woman who introduces herself as Madelyne Pryor and announces she is here to collect them. Scott and his family are dumbfounded. Apart from her shorter, more practical hairstyle, Madelyne both looks and sounds exactly like Scott's dead lover, Jean Grey.