X-23 recalls how she and Wolverine shared some quality time shooting things; in a harmless setting, though, at a shooting stand at a fair. Laura focuses and wins the prize, a teddy bear, not quite what he expected. What next? he asks her. She heard that roller coasters make people scream and vomit. She wants to try it. So they do.
In the cabin, he begins that the way he sees it they are family. They share practically the same DNA. She’s his clone, she agrees. Not just that, he points out. He’d like to adopt her as his daughter. He won’t be a good father, but he’ll be hers. Her family. He already is, she agrees. Good, he tells her, before the ride begins in earnest.
The mutant halfway safehouse. All around Laura, everything is burning, everyone is dead and she has no idea how it happened. She tries to find her way out and sees someone unconscious but still alive.
Suddenly, a demon rises in front of her. Sweet Laura, he mocks. Mortal mirror of his heart. Is she dreaming again? she wonders. It’s all a dream, he mocks, from birth to death dreams are no more that a metamorphosis from life to eternity and she is about to be born.
She orders him to get out of her way to let her get to the unconscious man behind him. He’s worthless, the demon tells her. She knows that deep down, when she looks at him, she feels nothing. No mercy. No compassion. If she saves him, it will be as a dog saves a human. Because it’s trained to do so. But that’s not who she is, he says suddenly as she runs at him, claws drawn. She stops confused. She is a pure heart. Pure in death. The perfect killer! Energy from him enters her and the creature is gone, leaving her alone on her knees and exhausted.
She carries the surviving man outside, where he wakes up. When he recognizes her, he is startled and screams at her to get away from him. She killed them all! he shouts. Someone takes her by the shoulder, telling her to let him go. He’s talking crazy.
She’s still stammering “no” while the stranger uses his jacket to put out the fire on her. He apologizes for not getting there sooner. She turns around to see him. He’s a friend, he assures her, then is gone.
A fireman asks Laura if she was in the fire and tries to take care of her. A colleague asks for her name and who they can call. The first fireman tells him she is in shock. And that’s a homeless shelter burning. She might not have anyone. From some distance away Gambit watches.
Later, Laura is back in the infirmary on Utopia. Storm sits down next to her and explains that a gas leak in the basement caused the explosion. One of the volunteers smelled the leak but, instead of telling someone, she went to find a friend to ask for a second opinion. While she was doing that… investigators believe someone went down into the basement to smoke a cigarette. But it could have been anything, really. It wasn’t her fault.
He said it was, the girl insists. The man she saved. He was afraid of her. Storm tries to reach for her hand, assuring her he wasn’t himself. Laura is a good person, she must believe that. No, the girl states. She knows what she is.
Cyclops joins them and tells them the investigators want to speak with X-23. Storm insists that can wait. He asks how Laura is, then tells Storm they need to talk. Ororo assures her she will return soon; then they will discuss this some more. Just remember what she told her.
Momentarily, X-23 believes to see Cyclops and Storm as demons. Storm hisses that this is her fault and Cyclops calls her a killer. Laura clenches her fists.
Vision returns to normal and a concerned Ororo asks if she will be all right. Yes, X-23 stammers confused. Don’t listen to her, newcomer Wolverine tells them. She’s just being a trooper as usual. He assures his teammates they can go. He’ll take care of her. Isn’t that right? he asks Laura as the other two X-Men leave the room. He walks towards her, asking what happened. He sits down next to her, assuring her she needn’t be afraid. When he takes her wrist she tries to pull away. She’s not going to run this time, he tells her. She need never run from him. They are close, remember? he adds with an uncharacteristic smirk.
She shoves him away and unsheathes her claws. Do not touch her, she orders. He is not Wolverine!
After everything he’s done for her? he asks with mock disappointment. Fighting at her side, being her friend, her family, when no one else wanted her. She’s breaking his heart. Let it break! Laura replies. Who is he? The better question is, who is she? he smirks. Sweet Laura…
She realizes he is connected to the dreams and fires. He regrets her figuring it out so quickly. He wanted to see what it would do to her, being betrayed by the man she trusts most in the world. Maybe she would have felt nothing. She is so used to being used, after all. Or maybe she would have liked it.
Angrily, she orders him to shut up and stabs him. Did he touch a nerve? He smiles. Rage feels sweet, doesn’t it? Rage’s better than the emptiness.
When she tries to withdraw her claws he holds onto her arm. That moment, Hellion comes in and just sees Laura attacking Wolverine. As if on cue “Wolverine” sinks down as if hurt and asks Hellion to stay back. She didn’t mean to hurt him. She’s not herself…
“Liar!” Laura shouts. Hellion captures Laura telekinetically and asks her to keep calm. Laura shouts at him to stay away from Wolverine and asks him to listen. Why won’t he believe her? Julian apologizes but she just isn’t herself right now. She tries to make him see, he isn’t Wolverine and asks Julian to trust her. He’s her friend! Julian promises he’s doing this for her. She’s his best friend.
She shouts ‘no’ as “Wolverine” stabs Hellion from behind. Free, Laura sinks down. He’s dying, the demon informs her. Probably for the best. Never mind the hands. He just doesn’t have what it takes to be… significant. Now, he could bring him back to life. If only there was something she could give him in return…
He wants her to kill for him, Laura states. He wants her to be… his. Like all the rest. She makes it sound so mundane, he mocks. He’s a demon. The devil’s own. But she should be so lucky to get an offer into the afterlife. Even as one of the devil’s army…
What is he talking about? she asks. She’s lost! he replies bluntly. She hardly knows how to function. She keeps to herself. She sleeps in the woods. She cuts herself because it’s the only way she feels anything. She’s a clone. He grabs her by the throat. She’s always suspected what that means. She’s practically soulless! He shoves her to the ground. He knows these things. Souls have a taste. Souls are full of light. But inside her… there’s nothing but darkness.
He’s wrong! she rasps. Prove it, he challenges. For Julian’s life, she insists. A wasted being, he sighs, but if that her wish. He signs her forehead with fiery fingers. “Click your heels, sweet Laura! We’re going home.” Laura falls unconscious.
Outside the room, Storm thanks Gambit. Things haven’t been easy for him recently. That’s why she thought he’d be the perfect person to watch out for Laura. Two persons no one knows quite what to do with or whether to trust? he asks. X-23 caught his eye before she mentioned her to him. Something’s not right with her. She hasn’t been treated right. Neither has he, Ororo points out, but promises that will change. Smile for him, he suggests, that’ll be a start. Incorrigible, she sighs. She knows she loves it, he retorts. Stom just wishes he can make Laura smile. He’s the best thief in the world. If he can’t make her smile, he’ll steal one for her…
They are not aware that, in the room, Laura and Hellion lie bloody and unconscious.
Laura wakes up in a hellish landscape. Listen to my voice, she recalls. You know what to do. She knows what to do. There’s only one thing she knows how to do. Fight back!