‘I don’t like mutants. I have my reasons. So what am I doing here at a school for mutants?’ Annie Ghazikhanian wonders as she stands at the gate to the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. A suitcase at her side, her son standing in front of her, Annie gazes around at the wide array of mutant students walking across the school grounds. ‘Don’t stare, Carter’ Annie whispers. Annie is wide-eyed as she looks around, and admits that she does feel guilty about her “racism”, as she is a nurse and is supposed to be above such things. ‘But I do have my reasons’ Annie assures herself as she glances nervously at an odd-looking mutant. Annie reminds herself that she has come to this school because of a stupid impulse. She left a good job, a place where they let her have her son at work - and came to “Mutant High”.
As they approach the main entrance, a young blonde woman introduces herself as Paige Guthrie. ‘Scott asked me to meet you’ Husk explains, referring to Cyclops. ‘Hello. How are you?’ Annie asks. They shake hands, and Annie asks ‘Wasn’t Scott going to be here?’ but Husk explains that he was called away, before turning her attention to Carter, and greets him, adding that Scot told her about him. ‘Hi’ Carter replies. Annie informs Husk that Cyclops was supposed to introduce her to Professor Charles Xavier. ‘And…I’m sorry, but you don’t have any kind of dangerous power or anything, do you?’ Annie inquires.
Husk looks puzzled, and replies ‘I - no. No I don’t. You mean harmful to Carter?’ Annie looks sheepish as she claims that she doesn’t mean to be rude, before pointing out that Husk doesn’t appear to have an obvious mutation. Husk frowns and puts her hands on her hips as she explains that hers is more subdued, and perfectly safe for Annie’s son. ‘Why don’t you come with me? Professor Xavier isn’t back yet, but -’ Paige begins, but she stops herself when they hear a noise from above. They look up and see one of the X-Jets descending towards the Xavier Institute.
‘Wow, Mom, that’s awesome!’ Carter gasps. Annie asks if that happens all the time. Husk tells her this is nothing. ‘Couple weeks ago we had a warship from the Shi’ar Empire hovering overhead. That was neat’ Husk declares, before she moans slightly, and concentrates. ‘Are you all right?’ Annie asks. ‘Yes, sir. Of course. And the nurse is here, the one who - right. Alex. I don’t know, I’ll ask. No sir, I know I don’t have to speak aloud. That’s for her benefit’ Husk tells Professor Xavier, who was speaking to Husk telepathically. Paige turns to Annie and informs him that Xavier was wondering whether they could borrow her services, as some of the X-Men are injured. ‘If you’re willing, the Professor could fill you in telepathically. It would save -’ Paige begins, but a rather anxious Annie interrupts and declares ‘Uh, no. No. I’d rather he didn’t. But of course I’m more than willing to help’.
Soon, in the infirmary, ‘I brought the nurse with me, Professor’ Husk announces as she, Annie and Carter enter the high-tech facility, only to find Professor Charles Xavier helping Bobby “Iceman” Drake onto one of the beds Charles thanks Paige, while Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner is perched nearby on another bed. Behind him stands Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, the X-Men’s new houseguest Cain Marko a.k.a. the Juggernaut, and new student Sammy Pare. Across the room, Stacy X stands over another bed where Warren “Archangel” Worthington III lies. Charles turns to Annie and introduces himself, before announcing that this is his school, and he apologizes to her for having to press her into such sudden service.
Annie walks towards Bobby and replies that she is glad to do it, and reveals that she used to work in an ER, before realizing that Bobby’s wound is deep. ‘Yeah, it goes all the way through’ Bobby announces, holding his jacket back. ‘I thought it might’ Annie remarks, before asking why there is ice in the wound. ‘That’s me. I do that. Make ice’ Bobby replies. Annie tells him that is pretty handy, and that she thinks it is keeping him alive at the moment. Annie begins to tell Bobby that she can stitch him up, but Bobby declares that he wants Xavier to do it. ‘I assure you, I’m fully qualified’ Annie replies, ‘I said let Xavier!’ Bobby shouts, causing Annie to step away from him.
Husk moves towards Archangel, just as Stacy calls out ‘Hey, nurse! Can you look at Warren now? He’s got a broken arm and leg!’ Annie goes over to him and looks at Warren’s leg, before remarking that this must be causing him a lot of pain. Warren replies that he is feeling fine. Stacy declares that he is lying, and remarks that he was almost fainting on the trip back. Annie asks Stacy to move out of her way as she needs to get to Warren’s leg. ‘Yeah, sure. All right’ Stacy mutters, while Husk points out that Warren isn’t blue anymore. ‘So people keep telling me’ Warren mutters. ‘Really - excuse me, please’ Annie tells Stacy, who is still in her way.
Suddenly, ‘What? You never heard of a bra?’ Stacy shouts at Husk, who is leaning close to Warren. ‘Are - are you talking to me?’ Paige asks. ‘Cain smiles and tells Wolverine that this has potential. ‘Yes, it does’ Wolverine agrees. ‘Yes, it does’ Sammy repeats while Carter looks at the strange fish-like mutant. Stacy angrily tells Husk to go and feed some starving third world kids and to go shake her untethered “groove things” in someone else’s face. Annie begins to ask them to discuss this somewhere else, while Warren tells Stacy that she needs to calm down. ‘For your information, I am wearing -’ Husk begins, but Stacy interrupts: ‘Not much, lemme tell ya!’ she shouts, pointing out the truth, as Husk is indeed only wearing a tank top and small shorts.
But, Husk retorts ‘You’re one to talk, with your Frederick’s of Hollywood “ravish-me-please” underwear suit!’ Stacy just asks if that was meant to be an insult, because it isn’t, and she actually likes Frederick’s. ‘Frederick’s is class’. Warren tries to stop them from squabbling. ‘As opposed to your HOOTER’S BUTT all hanging out of your “look-at-my-runner’s-butt” short-shorts!’ Stacy shouts. Xavier turns to the girls, ‘For Heaven’s sake’ he calls out, while Bobby mutters that he cannot believe he is missing this. ‘It’s her fault!’ Stacy calls out.
‘What’s your problem, lady? I come in here concerned for a friend -’ Husk begins, and Stacy interrupts her once again, exclaiming ‘You came here for loooove, princess! I know arousal, and I “see” pheromones, all right - and Wings here has you fogging the room with love like some “thanks-gimme-horn-y-o’-plenty”!’ Stacy shouts. Husk goes wide-eyed, and hangs her head, while Warren looks away from her. Charles looks over at them, while Annie continues to work on Warren’s leg. Bobby and Kurt are both in shock, while Juggernaut grins, although Wolverine looks concerned. ‘Yeah, take that, Baywatch!’ Stacy smiles. Husk then turns and walks out of the room, crying.
Stacy looks very proud of herself, watching Paige leave, so Warren tells her that was uncalled for. ‘Aagh, she’s a kid. A little life lesson is good for her’ Stacy smiles. ‘Life lesson? And what life lesson is that, Stacy? That jealous people are cruel?’ Warren asks. Stacy goes wide-eyed and looks worried, before Warren announces that he has some bones that need to be set. ‘You remember those, don’t you? They’re the bones I broke protecting you so you could come back here and teach “life lessons”!’ he exclaims. Stacy just frowns, before shouting ‘What? You think I wanna hang around this place? Smells like dead people and disinfectant in here. Think I’ll go watch porn in my room if anyone’s interested!’ she shouts, before slamming the door as she leaves.
‘Interesting woman’ Annie declares. ‘Yes. She makes my head hurt. A lot’ Kurt remarks, while Xavier tells Annie that her grace under unusual circumstances is admirable, and thanks her for her help amidst all this chaos. ‘When Scott contacted me and suggested hiring you -’ Charles begins, before realizing that in all of this confusion he has completely forgotten about Alex. ‘Alex? Alex Summers?’ Bobby asks, surprised. ‘Alex is here? Is he alive?’ Warren enquires. Nightcrawler utters ‘Ich fasse es nicht’ while Wolverine smiles and asks where the hell Havok has been hiding.
‘You’ll have to ask Annie here. She’s the one who brought him back to us from the dead’ Charles reveals. Annie explains that Alex has been in a convalescent hospital, mostly, where she used to work, until Scott came and got him. Annie explains that she doesn’t know where Alex is now. Charles reveals that Alex is here, in the private hospital room next door, or, at least his body is. ‘His body? What does that mean?’ Warren asks.
Soon, Bobby, Warren, Logan, Kurt and Annie accompany Xavier into the private room, where Alex lies motionless on a table, and Xavier places his hands on Alex’s head. ‘What’s he doing?’ Annie asks. Kurt reminds her that Charles is a telepath, and a very powerful one at that. ‘If he can reach Alex’s mind, his consciousness, and speak to him - hopefully he can bring Alex back into his body’. Kurt explains. Iceman suggests that they should contact Polaris, but Warren tells him they should discuss that with Cyclops, first. ‘Why? He doesn’t control Alex’s love life. Lorna’s not his girlfriend’ Iceman points out. ‘But is she Alex’s? I’d heard she left him before the explosion’ Warren remarks.
‘Do you think - um - do you think he can reach Alex?’ Annie asks, anxiously. Kurt replies that he hopes so, while Annie watches Xavier intently and thinks to herself ‘I don’t like mutants. I have my reasons. But then there’s Alex. Don’t ask, I don’t understand it, either.
Meanwhile, Juggernaut has ventured out onto the grounds, and stands on a court as Wolverine calls out to him’ Hey, Cain! Where ya think yer going?’ Sammy and Carter stand at Wolverine’s side, as Juggernaut turns to him and calls Wolverine an animal as he tells him to back off. ‘I’m an invited guest here’ he reminds him. ‘Not by me, ya ain’t. So I want you to understand something’ Wolverine declares, looking up at Juggernaut. ‘You’re in my house now, the home of me and my friends. You cross the line…and I cut no slack’ Wolverine warns him.
‘I took out Magneto, and yer nothing but an after-dinner mint compared to him’ Wolverine snarls, before turning and walking away, smiling, he is pleased with himself. ‘I don’t have to put up with this s-’ Cain begins, before realizing that Carter and Sammy are looking up at him still, so he changes his intended word to “stuff”, before asking the boys why they are following him. The boys offer no response, they just continue to look at him. ‘Well, get away from me. Go on back to your mommas’ he tells them as he enters a basket ball court, where a young mutant is playing with a ball. Cain reaches down and grabs the ball, despite the mutant protesting ‘Hey, whaddya doing? It’s my turn!’ Cain leers at the odd looking mutant, who looks quite frightened, and reluctantly gives the ball up to him. Cain bounces the ball, before shooting it through the basketball hoop. ‘He is so cool’ Sammy exclaims. ‘Yeah, he is so cool’ Carter agrees.
On the Astral Plane, Xavier’s astral form searches for Alex. He calls out to him as he follows Alex’s life-line. ‘Can you hear me? It’s Professor Xavier. It’s Charles’ the Professor shouts out through the darkness. He tells Alex that he can feel him, that he knows he is near. ‘Can you hear me?’ Xavier shouts again. Suddenly, the life-line that Xavier has been following is pulled upon. ‘Aah! No!’ Charles gasps as he hurries through the darkness. ‘No, I can’t reach you! I can’t come any closer or I’ll be dragged in! Can you reach me?’ he exclaims, but Alex’s life-line continues to pull away. Worried, Charles assures Alex that he is here, that he feels his pain and loneliness. ‘Can you hear me? Alex, please! Don’t cry, Alex. You can reach me. You can do it!’ Xavier encourages him.
But it is no use, and Charles emerges from the Astral plane. Tears fall from his eyes, and he looks around, seeing that only Annie remains in the room. ‘The others left?’ he asks her. Annie replies that they felt it best, and points out that it has been going on three hours now that Charles has been struggling. Forlorn, Charles reveals that he was so close, and that Havok is in such anguish. ‘But I can’t reach him’. Annie asks Charles if he will keep trying, to which Charles replies that he will, but that he should rest a while first. Annie goes over to him and puts a hand towards Xavier’s shoulder as she asks him if he is all right. ‘No. No, I’m afraid not’ Charles tells him. ‘It’s - difficult - when I can’t help one of my - one of my students’ he explains.
‘I suppose that’s a little hard for you to understand’ Charles remarks. Annie points out that she is a mother, so of course she understands. Xavier smiles at Annie as he tells her that she has handled the events of the day rather well, and asks her if he can interest her in taking a job here. ‘And I don’t mean just to watch over Alex’ he explains. Annie hesitates as she asks Xavier if he would prefer a mutant. Charles tells her that in a perfect world, it might be easier for all concerned, but that she will soon learn that his personal and school philosophy is about unification and cooperation. ‘You’re Armenian, aren’t you? Ghazikhanian?’ he enquires. Annie replies that she is, and that her father was first generation, as his parents were immigrants.
‘Did they ever speak of the massacres by the Turks at the turn of the Twentieth Century?’ Charles asks Annie. ‘Yes, of course. Millions of Armenians…tortured, slaughtered and enslaved by Turkish invaders’ Annie replies, before asking ‘Why?’ Charles explains that everyone has some experience or understanding of personal, spiritual or cultural oppression. He adds that everyone also has some experience with being on the side of the oppressor. Charles states that they share a world - an existence, so if there is a God, that God put them together for a reason. ‘I cannot believe that reason was simply to kill one another’ Xavier declares, adding that if they are going to learn to stop killing one another, then they must live together, not separately. ‘Wouldn’t you agree?’ he asks Annie.
Xavier tells Annie that she is welcome in his home, and once again states that he would like her to come and work for him. He extends his hand to shake Annie’s, and she anxiously extends hers, while thinking to herself ‘I don’t like mutants. I have my reasons. There is guilt and shame in my feelings. But a wise woman once told me: “feelings are”’. Annie enters the corridor and several mutants are milling about. Annie tells herself that in other words, feelings have meaning and importance - anger, hurt, fear - and pretending those emotions don’t exist, lying to yourself about them - only means you will never understand them. It means you will never have the chance to learn from them, and maybe grow.
Annie knocks on a door and Paige opens it. Annie tells Paige that she wanted to stop by and make sure she was okay. ‘Why? You made it clear you’re not someone who cares much for mutants’ Husk replies, scowling. ‘I - true. But I don’t like to see anyone hurt. Especially not where you’ve been hurt’ Annie adds, remarking that she has no medicine for that. ‘That’s a sweet sentiment. Thanks for coming by. Really’. Paige mutters, before excusing herself, announcing that she needs to be alone. The door is closed in Annie’s face, and once again the nurse tells herself ‘I don’t like mutants. I have my reasons’.
As Annie walks down the now empty corridor, she acknowledges those feelings so that one day she might grow beyond them. It is something she needs to do. ‘For obvious reasons’ Annie tells herself as she sits down on a bed in the room she has been allocated - and sitting on the floor is her son, Carter, a glow radiating around his hands as he levitates several toys up into the air, and Annie watches him, anxiously….