Cassidy Keep, Scotland, where the villain Black Tom Cassidy has transformed into a tree-like creature, vines spread throughout the castle. He lets out a mighty noise, Bobby “Iceman” Drake approaches him and tells him to relax, to calm down so they can get him free. ‘Come on, we’re the X-Men - it’s what we do!’ Iceman adds, however his teammate Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner tells him to wait - and an instant later, a large vine spikes through Bobby’s chest, causing the hero to call out in agony. Nightcrawler teleports away, preventing one of the vines from impaling him. ‘Stop this now, Tom!’ Nightcrawler orders. Tom sort of replies that he can’t, but Kurt shouts ‘You can!’
Looking up though, Nightcrawler sees his teammates Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, Stacy X, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel, his associate Monet St Croix, the Unstoppable Juggernaut a.k.a. Cain Marko, and several bystanders, all trapped in a mass of vines, their forms shucked as their energies are drained from them. ‘Lord…what have you done, Tom?’ Kurt asks, before realizing that every time he hits Tom, he hurts his friends. ‘Let them go!’ Nightcrawler orders. Tom just grins wickedly, and releases a sort of scream, which resonates around his prisoners.
Meantime, at the Rosy Manor Convalescent Hospital, in Upstate New York. Nurse Annie Ghazikhanian sits beside a man in a wheelchair, and look out over lush greenery surrounded a lake. The man has been in her care for some time now - but she has recently learned his identity. ‘It’s nice, isn’t’ it, Alex? So pretty here’ she tells the handsome, silent man. She rests her head on his knee and remarks that it is a good place to say goodbye. ‘Not something I ever thought I’d be - I’d be doing’ she utters. Annie gets up and stands a few feet away from Alex, announcing that his brother Scott said he was a sweet and funny man who was loved by everyone at the mutant school. ‘I knew you’d be like that’ she claims, turning back to him. ‘You’re never going to wake up and sweep me off my feet…are you, Alex?’ Annie asks. Alex Summers, a.k.a. Havok, stares blankly ahead.
Annie crouches down in front of Alex, stating that he is never going to suddenly come out of it, that he is never going to tell her that she kept him going while his mind was trapped and thank her with devotion and flowers and kisses and love her for the rest of her life. Alex says nothing, and continues to stare blankly ahead. ‘You’re never going to be a father to my son, are you?’ Annie asks, before resting her head on Alex’s lap, telling herself that as long as he was here with her, she could lie to herself and hope. ‘But now that you’re leaving…’ her voice trails off, while wondering how stupid she is to fall in love with a dead man, and she begins to cry.
Suddenly, a man in a suit appears standing nearby. Annie gets up, startled, she exclaims that he must be Alex’s brother, Scott. She introduces herself and admits that she is not acting very professional here. Scott “Cyclops” Summers tells her that it is all right, that she does not need to explain. Scott picks his brother up out of the wheelchair, despite Annie telling him that he doesn’t have to. ‘The wheelchair -’ she begins, but Scott replies that he wants to carry his brother, and looks at Alex, before turning to Annie, and pausing. ‘Thank you for giving me back my brother’ Scott tells her. ‘Of course. I was glad - I -. Sure’ Annie replies.
Cyclops stares at Annie and frowns, before turning away. Annie suddenly calls out after him, declaring that Alex will still need someone to care for him. ‘Does he -? Do you have someone?’ she asks. ‘A school nurse, or -’ Annie begins. Scott explains that Alex was in love with someone else, before the accident. ‘He loved her very much’ Scott reveals. Annie scowls, before announcing that he will still need a nurse.
Back at Cassidy Keep, Nightcrawler goes over to Iceman and asks him how he feels. ‘Terrible, Kurt. Kinda hungry’ Bobby replies while clutching the vine that is protruding from his chest. Kurt asks if he can do anything, to which Bobby wearily replies ‘Get us out of this’. Looking up at their teammates, Nightcrawler promises that he will. He moves back towards Black Tom, asking him what is going on. ‘A little self-experimentation? Trying to amp up your wood powers, maybe? Trying to go solo and cut Juggie out of the Juggernaut and Black Tom roadshow? Or is it the beginning of your secondary mutation - and you’re using the people up there to slow the process?’ Kurt asks. Black Tom just tells him to go away.
Nightcrawler replies that he won’t go away, and teleports upwards, clinging to a vine by his tail, he calls out to Stacy and tells her to focus for a minute. Wearily, the young mutant replies that it hurts so much. Kurt tells her that he knows, and assures her he will get her out of this, before asking if she can still control her pheromones. ‘Who cares? What good are they?’ Stacy asks. Kurt explains that although he is a villain, Black Tom used to be a man. ‘And for the moment at least part of him still is’ Kurt tells her. ‘Okay. Get me down from here’ Stacy mutters.
‘So, hey there, big boy. Come here often?’ Iceman calls out to Black Tom, who mutters something which Bobby interprets to be “shut up”. ‘Is that what you said? Hard to tell with all that sap in your mouth. That is sap, right?’ Bobby asks, just as Nightcrawler teleports himself and Stacy down to the floor. ‘Now, Stacy!’ Kurt exclaims. ‘Do it now!’ he tells her, pushing her towards Black Tom. Stacy touches him and tells him that she has never met such a powerful man. ‘Eeehh…’ Tom utters over and over. ‘Yes. And you love me now, don’t you, Tom?’ Stacy declares, before licking what is supposed to be his face. ‘I aaaah yoooouuu…’ Tom utters. ‘You want me? Close enough. Then why don’t you release everyone…just let them go…and we can be together’ Stacy tells him.
Nightcrawler helps Iceman up and asks him if, once Tom is done,. He can freeze the roof off and destroy the root system between Tom and everyone else. ‘Does the Pope sh-’ Bobby begins to reply, but Kurt scolds him. Up above, Warren, Monet and Juggernaut are still trapped amongst the vines. Suddenly, Warren’s skin color changes from blue - back to his normal white skin. Wolverine regains consciousness, and unsheathes his claws, boasting that he is going to kill something. The Juggernaut rouses and shouts, while Monet also regains consciousness.
Black Tom is startled, while Stacy continues to use her power on him. ‘Now, Bobby, now!’ Nightcrawler urges. Bobby clutches onto one of the vines, and lets the ice flow. It courses through every vine, and Bobby realizes that Tom is fighting him. ‘He’s getting around me!’ he calls out. Stacy holds her hands on Tom’s head and tells him not to fight it, to just let go. Warren, Logan and Juggernaut all shout out in pain, before they manage to burst free of the frozen vines. Juggernaut rushes towards Tom, whose form lies on the ground. ‘Tom’ Cain mutters.
Now free, Monet rubs her head, while Stacy goes over to Warren and tells him that he never answered her question, about what the X-Men do. ‘No, I guess I didn’t’ Warren replies, before telling Stacy that they help people, that is all. ‘That’s enough’ Stacy remarks. ‘I mean, you saved my life - at the expense of your arm and leg. You almost died’ Stacy declares. Their faces move closer together, ‘What are you doing?’ Warren asks. ‘Nothing! I - I -’ Stacy begins, shocked.
Suddenly, there is an explosion. ‘Everyone - outside!’ Warren shouts, while he grabs Stacy and flies to safety. Juggernaut carries the weak Iceman on his back, while Monet flies herself out, and Wolverine follows on the ground. ‘I can take care of myself!’ Stacy protests, while Juggernaut announces that it is Tom, he is ripping the island apart. ‘What a ride!’ Wolverine shouts as he leaps onto another chunk of the ground which is breaking apart. Monet hovers over the chunks of island that remain, while Juggernaut tells Tom to let them go. ‘They came to help you!’ he shouts.
A massive vine suddenly slams down on the chunk of island, knocking Iceman and Wolverine off. Monet swoops down and grabs Bobby, pulling him upwards. ‘Easy! Easy!’ Bobby tells the young mutant. Juggernaut grabs a hold of Wolverine, who tells him to watch the duds, before Juggernaut throws him upwards, where Wolverine notices an X-jet overhead. A panel on the plane opens, where Professor Charles Xavier stands, alongside Nightcrawler. ‘Logan, we’ve got you!’ Charles exclaims as he grabs Wolverine and pulls him into the plane.
‘I gave you everything, Cain!’ Tom calls out, his form now entirely vines with his head placed on top. ‘A home - a friendship - a purpose! And you turn on me!’ Tom shouts. ‘Your father was right - some people are just born hopeless’ Tom declares. Cain narrows his eyes, but he cannot bring himself to defend himself from Tom, who smacks him backwards. Juggernaut plunges into the water. ‘Juggernaut’s gone under!’ Archangel announces. Wolverine informs everyone that Black Tom said Juggernaut’s powers had diminished, and reveals that when Juggernaut was trapped by a bunch of vines, he saw his knuckles bleeding.
‘Who here has the strength left to search under such turbulent water?’ Charles calls out. Suddenly, ‘Things never go the way you expect them to’ the young fish-like mutant called Samuel Pare thinks to himself as he dives from the X-jet into the water. ‘If someone had told me when I woke up this morning that this is where I’d be, I’d have laughed my butt off’ Sammy thinks to himself as he dives further down. ‘Trying to peek in the girls’ locker room…sure, why no. Shooting some fellow classmates…maybe. Doing this? Never in a million years. I mean, come on, let’s be real. I’m not a super hero’ Sammy tells himself.
Juggernaut sees the strange young mutant swimming for him, as Sammy calls out, underwater ‘Hey! Reach for me!’, but he sees that Juggernaut continues to fall backwards. ‘What? You’re - don’t give up! There’s this guy in the plane up there - Xavier - he’s got this school, see?’ Sammy calls out, before remarking that perhaps the Juggernaut is too old for school. ‘But anyway, he’s a good guy, and he doesn’t care about anything but helping. Good, bad, doesn’t matter to him, he just wants to be there’ Sammy exclaims, while Juggernaut appears to be listening. ‘He’s taking me in, and I hate my Dad, and I was thinking of killing some kids at school and - you know - not sure why I told you that - so come with me. It’s a lot warmer than here, I bet’ Sammy calls out, as his hand finally reaches the Juggernaut’s. ‘I’m not a super hero’ Sammy thinks to himself. ‘I’m just a kid who can breathe - and talk - under water’.
Soon, Juggernaut has been rescued and stands before his step-brother, Professor X, in the X-jet. Charles thanks Cain for helping to save the X-Men. Cain replies that he got them into this mess, so it was the least he could do. Charles tells Cain that he will need a place to stay while he recovers, and informs him that he is welcome to use the school for as long as he needs. ‘Now why the hell would I want -’ Cain begins, before realizing that the X-Men are all staring at him in shock. ‘Ya know, Chuck…I think I will come and stay with alla you. But I will never do anything less than hate your living guts, cueball. So don’t waste your time hoping we might someday be loving brothers’ Cain warns Charles.
‘Cain. You should know by now that I am capable of nothing less than eternal hope’ Charles replies. Cain just frowns at him, and turns away. ‘Whatever makes you happy’ he mutters as he sits down next to Sammy. ‘So, I guess I should say thanks, or something?’ Cain mutters. Sammy just looks at him, eyes-wide, and Juggernaut tells him not to hold his breath. Suddenly, there is a FROOP sound that comes from Cain, who quickly declares that he hates leather seats. ‘Can I hold my breath now?’ Sammy asks. Cain tells him to shut up and declares that it was the leather. ‘Is that your power? Blasting holes through the seat of your pants?’ Sammy asks, before laughing. ‘I said shut up, ya runt!’ the Juggernaut exclaims, before making the sound again. ‘Somebody open a window, please!’ Sammy calls out. ‘Eternal hope, Professor?’ the Beast asks as he pilots the plane. ‘Indeed, Hank. Indeed’ Charles replies, while Sammy can be heard laughing.