Kitty Pryde and Peter Rasputin are sitting on a bluff overlooking Breakstone Lake. Peter is unusually silent, wondering how he will break things to Kitty. She notices he is tense. He’s hardly said a word to her since the X-Men’s return home. Whatever’s troubling him must be awful.
Jokingly, she summarizes that he and the rest of the team got kidnapped to the far side of the universe – and didn’t take her along. She’s hurt. Anything interesting happen out there? He met someone else, he replies. They fell in love. “Oh” is all Kitty can say. He wishes he knew what to say, Peter continues. Tell her it’s a joke, she prays. Trouble is he’s too honorable to lie.
Anyone she knows? Kitty asks hesitatingly. No, she was a native of the planet the Beyonder created. A healer… she saved his life. So did she, Kitty thinks.
Was she pretty? she asks. As beautiful as the dawn, as gentle as a spring rain, he sighs. Poetry, she thinks, from a man who sad he never had the word to express what was in his heart and soul. Now he found the words for the other woman, never for Kitty.
She was a country girl from a small farming village, like his home in Russia… He still cannot believe she is gone. Fighting back her tears, Kitty silently begs him to shut up.
She died in his arms, he continues, obliviously. She gave her life for his. She’s sorry for his loss, Kitty states. She must have meant the world to him. As much as Kitty once did. he replies. “Once?” she asks. He would give anything for this never to have happened… that makes two of them, Kitty thinks. He did not mean it. He did not want it. But it has. He cannot deny what he felt and still feels. She understands, comes the reply.
This is very hard for him, Peter continues. It’s easy for her?! she asks mockingly. Kitty… he begins. Why won’t he call her Katya anymore. Has she changed? He has, comes the reply. His feelings have. He cares for her deeply, but the love he felt, the commitment is no longer there.
Silently ranting at God, Kitty nevertheless puts on a brave face, telling him she always wanted what was best for him. If that means loving someone else, she guesses those are the breaks.
He hopes they can remain friends. They are X-Men, she stresses, that’s a bond nothing is supposed to break. She hates to run but she’s got a lot of homework to do.
She heads back to the mansion. Looking up, she sees Storm standing at a window. She guesses Ororo knows. Everyone probably knows. “Don’t sweat it, Storm,” she thinks, She’s a big girl. She can handle things fine. She’ll make her proud. She’ll be as strong and tough and heartless as her.
As she walks inside, she admits to herself that was cruel. Ororo cares. Maybe she was trying to warn Kitty when she told hr that nothing lasts forever. That, in the end, they all live their lives alone.
She enters the room she shares with Peter’s sister, Illyana, who asks her how the talk went. She begins to cry and Illyana silently tries to comfort her.
Storm walks down to the Danger Room. Entering the observation booth, she finds that Rogue has activated a combat sequence. Sweating and angry, Rogue fights two robots. She tosses one of them at the other. But one of them strikes her from behind.
The moment, Rogue falls, Storm’s hand flashes to the abort switch, terminating the exercise. But instead of shutting down, the robot moves in for the kill. Storm’s lightning bolt strikes it first.
She gets down and asks Rogue what possessed her not only to work alone but running a program that might have meant her death? It’s her life, Rogue replies, to do with as she pleases.
Sharply, Storm reminds her that as an X-Man Rogue is her responsibility. What happened between her and Michael Rossi? She has been behaving like a madwoman ever since! She is a madwoman! Rogue shouts.
Storm offers her hand and asks her not to bottle her emotions within her. She knows the agony that can bring. They are teammates and friends. They want to help. She’s wearing gloves, Rogue remarks. That makes it easy for Storm to reach out. No risk. She can’t steal her mind and memories, destroy her life the way she has others. She doesn’t want Storm’s pity there’s nothing she or Professor X can do to help, so stay away and leave her alone! She runs off.
Storm muses that Professor X picked the perfect weekend to be off with the New Mutants. He is sorely missed and needed. Rogue’s bitterness and fear over her powers may drive her back to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and heaven only knows what will come of Peter’s conversation with Kitty. She heard her sobbing. Illyana was with her, it felt wrong to intrude. She loves Peter dearly, but better he had died on the Beyonder’s world than return to bring her kitten such grief.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Colossus walks in, to be expected by Wolverine. About time, he mutters. He was beginning to think he’d never show. He was walking, trying to order his thoughts. Little late, ain’t it? Logan retorts. The damage has been done. He stands in Peter’s way, refusing to let him pass. He’s coming to town with him for a little long, overdue talk, Logan orders. Peter refuses. He’s not in the mood. He doesn’t recall giving him any choice, Wolverine wants him. The two of them head to the car.
Wolverine! Kurt Wagner calls after them from his room, then teleports down aboard the limo. Logan promised he wouldn’t do anything without him! He teleports inside, much to the discomfort of Peter, due to the smell. As Kurt puts on some clothes to disguise himself, he tells Logan he knows he’d rather be doing this by himself, but occasionally it’s useful to have a referee along as well, in case things get out of hand. Wonderful, Logan remarks wryly.
Ororo peeks into Kitty’s room to find her packing. Kitty explains she phoned the professor to explain things. She figures she needs a change of scene so she’s visiting her father. She’s catching the morning flight to Chicago and maybe afterwards stop by her mom’s.
For how long? Storm asks. Nothing’s definite yet, Kitty replies, avoiding her eyes. Is this good-bye? Ororo asks. A part of her wants it to be, Kitty admits. She can’t stop crying, but she’ll die before letting Peter see her tears. He doesn’t deserve them. She doesn’t care how unfair that sounds. When she’s out of tears, then maybe she’ll come back. Suddenly, she laughs bitterly. What she wishes more than anything is that she could resurrect Peter’s beloved here in Salem Center. At least then she’d have something to fight. How do you compete with a ghost? She starts crying again.
Ororo hugs her, asking her to bear with the pain. It will pass. She hates him with all her heart, Kitty admits. She loves him.
Dallas, Texas. En route from the airport are Dr Valerie Cooper of the National Security Council and Raven Darkholme, deputy director of the Defense Advanced Research Planning Agency. In the rental car, the two women talk. Bob Kelly’s mutant affairs bill certainly stirred up the hornet’s nest they expected, Valerie sighs. It’s the year for anti-government paranoia, Raven points out. Thank you, George Orwell, Val remarks sourly. A pity people don’t realize mutants may prove more dangerous than nuclear weapons. They’re in a race against time to develop and exploit their own mutant assets before the Soviets or anyone else do.
Mutants are born not made, Raven points out. You can’t rush the process. True, Val admits, for the present, but there are alternative means of detecting and deterring hostile activity. Hopefully Forge can provide them.
Raven silently smirks. What would Valerie say, she wonders, if she knew that Raven was one of the very beings she is so concerned about? Not merely a mutant, but a terrorist, Mystique, leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. She’ll take any measure necessary to protect herself and ensure her group’s continued survival and success. Whatever Val’s plans – whatever the devices Forge has crafted for her… they are both beaten before they’ve begun. And quite possibly as good as dead!
Manhattan, Monahan’s, a West Village watering hole, still more neighborhood than trendy, where the low lights and dark wood walls make it easier for Nightcrawler to remain inconspicuous and the patrons pretty much mind their own business.
Dinner was excellent, Peter remarks. Kurt smoothly adds it left him with a terrible thirst. Would Peter mind ordering the first round?
While Peter heads to the bar and is carded (after stating he is nearly twenty) Kurt tells Logan he knows his intentions for tonight. If he’s smart, Logan warns him, he’ll stay out of his way. He’s just a boy, Kurt points out. Then he deserves a spanking. If he’s a man though, it’s time h e faced the consequences of his actions. Either way, he’s taking a piece out of him…
Hours later, after a great many drink and increasingly heated words, Logan tells Peter he owes Kitty an apology and them an explanation. Peter repeats he told them. He fell in love. Is that a crime?
What he felt wasn’t love, comes the reply. How does he know? Peter scoffs. Are his enhanced animal senses able to see into his heart and soul? By what right does he tell him how to run his life?
Logan insists Peter is making a bad mistake. He’s hurting two people Logan cares for, himself and Kitty. Should he have lied to Kitty, Peter demands. Pretend emotions that no longer exist? That would have been true cruelty.
Is he so certain of his feelings? Kurt asks gently. Absolutely, comes the reply. Is he sure he ain’t just scared? Logan demands. Sometimes winning is as hard as losing. Kitty’s not a kid any more. They were going beyond playing games. They were thinking of marriage, a life together. At the same time, he suddenly had competition from Doug Ramsey, someone Kitty’s age, as smart as she and with the same upbringing and interests. It’s easy to moon over a lost love and fantasize over what might have been; it makes a great excuse for not facing the risks and demands of realty.
Who is he to talk? Peter accuses him. He walked away from the woman he professed to love!
Logan takes a deep swallow of beer before explaining that he left Mariko because she asked him to. Their separation is a matter of honor and duty. For them, that transcends love, no matter how much it hurts. If he had truly loved Kitty, how could he have so easily fallen for another, Peter insists. Fear makes a body do stupid things, Logan retorts.
Suddenly Logan notices something. Carefully, he looks around.
Is Logan calling him a coward? Peter asks incensed. Yup, comes the reply while Logan silently identifies a familiar scent, that of a tall redhaired man built like a brickwall. However, he is in civies, relaxed and busy with the beautiful black-haired woman in his arms. Logan figures the X-Men are the last thing on his mind, which suits him fine.
Logan intends to get them out of here fast without attracting any attention. He has seen them out of costume and knows their faces. Wolverine drags Peter by the arm, telling him he needs some air, then orders Kurt to teleport ahead and met them outside. He’ll explain later.
Already drunk, Peter shouts, suppose he doesn’t want to leave?! As he pulls free, he accidentally spills the beer in his hand, hitting just the person whose attention Logan was trying to avoid so hard.
Peter apologizes, promising he will be glad to repay him. Darn straight, bozo, comes the rude reply, only money ain’t good enough! He’s takin’ it out of his hide! He pushes Peter extremely hard against the wall.
Instantly, Peter transforms into Colossus. Had he not transformed, the impact might have killed him! He did not desire a fight, but since the other man insists he will give him one he will never forget!
Nightcrawler wants to intervene. The poor man hasn’t got a chance, he fears. With a grin Wolverine holds him back and forces him to duck before a flying chair hits him. If anyone’s in trouble, it’s Petey. They’ll move in if things get out of hand. Till then, he aims to sit back and enjoy the show. It’s what the boy deserves, what he was planning to do himself.
The two giants do battle due the amazement of the spectators. The brunette who was with the stranger before now comes on to another man. The redhead threatens to mash Colossus flat as tin. It’s just the two of them this time. He ain’t got his wimp X-buddies to save his butt. He pushes Colossus against the counter.
Peter wonders who this madman is. He knows the X-Men and hates them, but Peter doesn’t recognize him. He grabs a girder. And why are Wolverine and Nightcrawler just watching?
He comes home to this crummy burg for a lousy visit, the other man complains, and what, that lousy wallcrawler traps him in a block of solid concrete! He finally busts his way out, heads to his favorite bar for a little R’n’R, he meets a nice lady, things click for once, he’s enjoying himself … and then Colossus mucks it up! The X-Men have made his life miserable! He flattens Colossus with the bar. Here’s where Juggernaut returns the compliment!
The crowd finally realizes this is serious and runs. Juggernaut finds this includes his date. Too bad Colossus is already flattened. He was just getting started! So was he! Colossus shouts and jumps at him. And they go on fighting fist against fist.
Nightcrawler remarks they have to do something. The bar is a shambles. Got any suggestion? Logan asks, still amused. That’s Juggernaut, the closest thing on Earth to an irresistible force. If insurance won’t cover the damage, he will. This is one scrap worth paying for. And Colossus? Kurt asks, as the Russian takes another hit. He said he doesn’t need them, Logan reminds him. He’s taking him at his word.
Juggernaut hits Colossus down again. That was his Sunday punch, he announces. He tears off the wall and brings the building down as the coup de grace. Top that, if you can! he states triumphantly.
Not too shabby, Wolverine remarks. He missed them clowns, Juggernaut announces. How come? They looking for a piece o’ this action? Nope, Logan replies. Smart play, Juggernaut remarks. They tell the kid from him he did himself proud. He’s got guts and heart and he throws a mean right cross but if him or them or any of the X-Men get in his was again, even by accident, he won’t be so nice. Neither will they, Wolverine promises.
Juggernaut throws a roll of notes at them. For the owner to fix the place. Be seein’ ya. Count on it, Logan promises.
They free Colossus, asking how he is doing. Embarrassed, Peter angrily shouts at them to leave him be. Where is Juggernaut? Gone, comes the reply. Fight’s over. Colossus lost.
They left him to fight alone, Peter states accusingly. They didn’t even try to stop him. Yup, Logan agrees. Peter reminds him they are X-Men. They are supposed to stand by each other. That’s the theory, Logan agrees, lighting another smoke. But he betrayed that trust, Peter continues. Oh yeah, Logan asks. They stand together, is that right? Through thick and thin, no matter what? Yes, Peter replies. They go to the wall for each other? Yes! Pay any price, make any sacrifice – their lives, even their honor? Yes! Peter shouts. Like Kitty did for him? Logan presses mercilessly. She’s 14. But to save Colossus, she agreed to marry Caliban and join the Morlocks. If Caliban hadn’t released her from that vow, she’d be there today. Peter never even said “thank you.” Food for thought, eh? He and Kurt walk away.
Kurt remarks that was very harsh and unforgiving. So is he, Logan states. Peter never once considered her feelings, what she was going through. He never gave her the chance to explain or them both to work things out. It’s like the boy just cut her out of his heart.
He’s very young, Kurt points out. He owed her giri, Logan continues, a blood debt, obligation, and he welshed. A body can’t do that, especially to someone they love, more so to someone they respect. He’s glad Peter had to learn the hard way. It’s taste of what he did to Kitty. He knows now what he did. Next time, whatever the outcome, he’ll act from choice, not ignorance.
Is there hope? Kurt wonders, will there be a next time for Peter and Kitty? That’s their business, their decision, their lives. Logan replies.
They pass a building. On to of it, the brunette, Juggernaut’s date, is busy sucking the life out of the other man with whom she flirted. He should be honored, she tells his dessicated corpse. Only the very finest are called upon to sacrifice their lives for the goddess incarnate.
She looks down, musing he was only a morsel. The manmountain she chose earlier would have been a feast. No matter, there will be other opportunities to claim him and his friends. After 2000 years of exile, Selene is once more free to walk the wide wonderful world. To hunt and, in time, to rule!