The Jean Grey school - the future:
Several old and wrinkly Bamfs hang around. Quentin Quire and Idie Okonkwo have just arrived here from the present. Quentin tries to apologize to Idie, telling her he made a mistake, but she ignores his words and hits him. The only mistake anyone made was thinking he changed, she states coolly and demands to know what this is all about.
A naked, old Bamf stands in front of Quentin, who moans he thought they put pants on these things. What sicko decided to let these Bamfs crawl around all wrinkly again? He’s unbelievable! Idie scoffs. He just can’t be straight with her. She should have known better than believe he wanted her help…
He asks her to listen. This isn’t him. Not this him. It’s the jerk he grows up to be. The Phoenix. He sent Mr. Younge to kill Evan to save Quentin.…
Idie replies that doesn’t make any sense. They met the X-Men from that future. Quentin is one of them, right? she asks Edan Younge, who explains the future isn’t set in amber. It flows ever toward a tomorrow if its own.
When they met, young Quire tried to change his fate… to change the man he will become… and he has.
The Phoenix effect explodes from the school, courtesy of the adult Quentin Quire inside Logan’s office.
The Jean Grey School:
The students gather around the beaten Faithful John, wondering if Storm killed him.
Holding the World, Fantomex tells Storm to stop worrying. All is in hand. Very much in hand indeed.
Faithful John’s mind has taken over the minds of the monstrous prisoners inside the World. He tells Genesis to stop hiding and promises him death. Evan replies he isn’t hiding but John should be.
In the office of the headmaster, Idie, Quentin and future Logan confront future Quentin, Edan Young at his side. Old Logan tells him this has to stop, unsheathing his claws. Unimpressed grown Quire wonders why he ever dug him up. He attacks him with Phoenix fire, then tells the shocked kids that, if they are lucky, the claws come out quickly and straight at you. Not like with Evan.
Oh that’s right… they don’t know about Evan. Oldest story there is, really: Build a boy up, give him something to fight for, to believe in and, when he begins to doubt you… to question the rules… you treat him like he’s the one broken. Evan had finally decided to go his own way and they couldn’t allow it. So, after all the years of being the black sheep, of having Evan’s every success magnify his failures, Phoenix Quire was the only one they could turn to to stop Evan. And only Idie stood between them.
And that’s why he killed Apocalypse? his younger self asks unimpressed. He died just to prop up his wounded little ego. Older Quire grimly replies there is no killing Apocalypse. The line of Celestial succession assures that. At his side, Idie became Death, his heir. He could not kill him without dooming her. But he could still be stopped. Caged by Cerebra. Trapped within his own mind. He sent Evan home to Kansas.
His defeat made Quire a hero. The Phoenix risen from the ashes. He finally belonged… or thought he did, until he saw his younger self and all the things he let slip through his hands.
Looking back changed him. Gave a voice to his fears. He could finally see it all. What was, what will be. He saw Evan awaken as Apocalypse. Saw Faithful John set out for his vengeance, Edan Younge on his quest for meaning. He saw that nothing he’d done could change what would come. At least not yet.
So he manipulated them? Young Quentin asks. Crafted this byzantine plot to teach him a lesson? No way! He’s got enough baggage in his life. He ain’t carrying his crap as well. The things he did are on him. That’s right! his future self shouts. He did all this to save them. He tried talking to Quentin, warn him of what lay ahead. But he just had to make him show him!
In the World, Genesis battles all the possessed villains. Show him who he is, Faithful John demands. Actually, though things are not as they seem.
Evan and Fantomex watch the battle from some distance. How long must this go on? Evan asks Fantomex, who replies that’s up to him. Time within the World is his to command. Before he acted, he studied his battle with Faithful John a thousand times over. He led him to believe his gift of illusions still waned. Lured him here, trapped him within his own sick revenge fantasies. He admits he was wrong before: They don’t have to give in to being the monster others say they are. He hugs Evan. They can beat them without raising a hand. All they have to do is believe.
Surrounded by Phoenix fire, future Quire shouts at Quentin that he will end this cycle. If Quentin won’t, the Phoenix will! Old Wolverine grabs Quentin and shoves him aside before his older self blasts him. Logan tells Quentin that the only reason they are still alive is because there is still a part of Quentin inside him and wants to be stopped. He unsheathes his claws. Either Quentin Quire dies here and now, or the Phoenix ends it all.
Idie steps toward adult Quire and tells him he could have done this long ago. Torn it all apart whenever he wanted. But he didn’t because it’s not what he wants. He tried, future Quentin replies. But it’s never been about what he wants. It’s this place… these people. His hands close around her throat. None of them have ever known what he needs.
With a scream of rage, old Wolverine attacks and is telekinetically swatted away. In the meantime, the Bamf on his shoulder gets the dagger and brings it to younger Quentin. This blade jumpstarted Younge, he recalls and wonders what it would do to one destined to wield the Phoenix. Will he burn or will he rise from the ashes? He gets ready to impale himself. Adult Quire shouts ‘no’ and shoves him aside. “It has to be me,” he announces. He has to remember it’s his second chance. Second chance! Quentin scoffs and threatens him with psychic Wolverine claws. It’s an expiration date!
That moment, Wolverine impales Quire from behind with real claws. Burn! Quire screams as he casts them away. They will all burn! He is fire and life incar… At that moment, Idie is teleported in front of him and she buries the dagger in his chest. It was about her, he mutters as he falls. She announces he’s wrong. She doesn’t think it ever was.
Faithful Johns is now also a prisoner here. He warns Fantomex it would be wiser to kill him. They have no hope of holding him here for long. Perhaps, Fantomex agrees amiably. But time runs differently in the World. It may yet change both their minds. He leaves the cell, telling someone else “he’s all yours.”
Doop comes in with a big pair of scissors.
Things at the Jean Grey School turn more or less back to normal. Storm is concerned, though, as she tells her fellow teachers and some older students, like Armor and Anole. Evan seems totally unfazed. Quentin and Idie have returned safely, using the future X-Men’s time cube, but Idie hasn’t stepped a foot in her classes since. And Quire… Logan groans. Just one damn faculty meeting without “and Quire!” Anole explains he made an inquiry into the purchase of Phoenix Corps’ remaining holdings. It seems the mysterious disappearance of its CEO Edan Younge has shed light on a rather peculiar shift in power. Logan n begs him not to say it.
A helicopter is waiting for Quentin. A uniformed woman asks him about his destination. Quentin doesn’t care. Just get him the hell out of here.
Logan looks after the ascending chopper. He doesn’t even know what’s happening anymore. Boy puts them through all that, only to inherit a billion dollars. And what can he do? Chase him and haul him back screaming? What’s gonna change? Maybe Younge is right. Maybe it is his fault. Maybe he’s doomed all those kids. Storm holds him. Whatever tomorrow holds, it’s not just about him anymore.