This Changing World
Starway Man

Date written: Tue 2 Jan 2001
Author: Starway Man
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the series/X-Men The Movie 
Main characters: Xander, Ethan Rayne, Wolverine
Disclaimer: The Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are the 
property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox and WB Network; Twentieth 
Century Fox, Christopher McQuarrie and Ed Solomon own the X-Men: The 
Movie universe; no copyright infringement is intended and no money is 
being made from this fanfic. 
Rating: R-ish (some violence, language)
Symbols: The < > signs denote thoughts, and the // signs denote visions/memories.
Continuity: This story is initially set in seasons 5/2 of BTVS/Angel, 
sometime after ‘Into The Woods’ for BTVS and ‘Reunion’ for Angel.
Warnings: There are plenty of TV series and movie spoilers present. And 
it’s my first attempt at X-Men fan fiction, so please, cut me some 
slack on that.
Classification: Angel/BTVS/X-Men: The Movie Crossover, Alternate 
Universe, Action-Adventure.
Summary: Mutants, humans and vampires meet in Sunnydale and Los 
Angeles, after one of the Slayerettes is kidnapped and presumed dead 
for six months.

Title: This Changing World


“Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve 
from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. 
This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of 
years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.”

(Professor Charles Francis Xavier, X-MEN: THE MOVIE)

“Damn it! You know what? I’m sick of this crap. I’m sick of being the 
guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, 
it’s over. I’m finished being everybody’s butt-monkey!” 

(Alexander Lavelle Harris, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)

“Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. 
Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.” 



12,500 years B.C.

Approximately three months before the birth, the radiation hit planet 

It was not exactly an historic event, in terms of its cosmic 
significance. Because throughout its four billion years of history, the 
globe had been hit by much worse - such as the meteor that had caused 
the extinction of the dinosaurs, 65 million years previously.

And in any case, the thick ozone layer usually screened out the worst 
of the rays, keeping safe the life on the world’s surface.

But sometimes, even radiation from outer space...can have itself a real 
good day.

The primitive felt something invisible hit her out of the skies that 
morning, but the mother-to-be didn’t have the brains to understand it. 
All she knew was that when the birth eventually took place, something 
was wrong.

Her newborn daughter was different.

Because she was the first. The first true Homo sapiens, the species of 
modern man. The people that would one day, despite the odds against 
them, eventually inherit the earth.


Sunnydale, California. January, 2001

Every TV station in the country was showing it live.

The official opening of the Mutant Investigation Agency, the MIA, 
straight from the heart of Washington.

It was a combination of U.S. civil and military forces, created to deal 
with what in the last few years, more and more Americans were regarding 
as a dangerous problem:

The existence of mutants.

All over the planet, more and more human children were being born with 
an added twist to their genetic code. An extra piece of active DNA, 
buried within their chromosomes.

This ‘X-factor’ allowed them to perform extraordinary feats - 
shapeshifting, flight, telekinesis, telepathy and more - when their 
powers emerged under stress, puberty or other similar circumstances.

To any disinterested observer, they were simply the next step in human 
evolution. The progression of Homo sapiens to Homo superior.

But all too often, these ‘mutants’ were feared and despised by the 
normal humans of the world. And now that they were growing up, many in 
governments all over the planet wanted to get rid of them, out of worry 
they would try to take over the globe one day.

It was no wonder, then, that most of the mutants tried to either hide 
or run from the persecution.

These days it was the number one discussion topic everywhere, and 
something that Buffy Anne Summers, the Chosen One and the vampire 
Slayer, could easily have done without in her life right now.

It was hard enough killing evil things like vamps and demons in this 
ever-changing world, without having to worry about accidentally slaying 
a mutant by mistake.

The twenty-year-old blonde girl sat watching the TV broadcast, along 
with her friends and family, on the couch in her family home. Her best 
girl friend Willow Rosenberg, who was holding the hand of her 
girlfriend Tara Maclay, sat on her right.

On her left sat her best guy friend, Alexander Lavelle Harris, whom 
everyone simply called Xander. And he was tightly gripping the hand of 
his own girlfriend, whose name was Anya.

The British Watcher for the vampire Slayer was also there, looking 
grim. The middle-aged Rupert Giles, who was like a surrogate father to 
her as well as the combination nanny/drill sergeant that the job 
required, sat next to Buffy’s mother Joyce. 

As was Buffy’s so-called fourteen-year-old ‘sister’, Dawn. Previously 
an ancient form of energy known as the Key, now molded into human flesh 
and magically integrated into the mortal world, she had been sent to 
the Slayer for her own protection.

“Hey, Buffy,” Dawn said suddenly, her eyes still glued to the set and 
watching the opening ceremony, “do you think this is gonna be a good 
thing or a bad thing for us? I mean, in terms of the Slayage?”

Joyce looked at her ‘daughter’, feeling worried. “Dawn...” she started.

Buffy shrugged. “I dunno. Probably won’t make too big a difference - I 
mean slaying vamps and demons at night, will still be a total suck-

Tara stammered, “I-I think the new agency will make a big difference t-
to the mutants, myself.”

Giles nodded and said slowly, “Well, it’s probably all for the best. 
After what happened in New York with that conference of world leaders 
last year, I-I suppose they had to do something.”

“But Giles!” exclaimed Willow. “That was just a bunch of terrorists!”

“Doesn’t matter,” said Anya suddenly. “They’re gonna be going after all 
the mutants now, everywhere, I bet. And they’ll probably be even worse 
about it than the Initiative was with demons and vamps.”

There was a silence, as everyone thought of the now-disassembled 
military unit that had been in Sunnydale, conducting experiments on 
captured vampires and demons. And of one Riley Finn, who had been one 
of its leaders.

A man who was also Buffy’s ex-boyfriend, whom she had recently broken 
up with.

As everyone stared at Buffy, who pretended not to notice, Xander nudged 
Anya subtly. “Sweetheart, I think you can help by making this a quiet 
time,” he told her, as the TV droned on.


Los Angeles, California. January, 2001

At that very moment in the Hyperion hotel in downtown LA, another group 
of people was also watching the same TV broadcast.

Cordelia Chase - a young woman who had gone to school with Xander, 
Buffy and Willow, and received prophetic visions about people in 
danger. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce - an Englishman, who was a former rogue 
demon hunter and ex-Watcher. And Charles Gunn, a black man who was a 
freelance vampire killer.

All of them were or had been employees of the Angel Investigations 
detective agency. Which was rather the Irish-born Angel, 
once known as the Scourge of Europe, was a 248-year-old vampire.

Granted, one cursed with a human soul, and now on the side of the good 

“I must admit,” Wesley said in his British accent, staring at the birth 
of the MIA on TV, “that I never expected this to happen. At least, not 
so soon.”

“Come on, Wesley,” Cordelia replied at once. “It was, like, inevitable! 
Mutants are bad news. Have you seen the pictures? Some of them look 
almost as gross and yucky as a few of the demons we’ve killed!”

Gunn shrugged. “What’s the Dark Avenger think about all this?” he 
asked, referring to Angel.

“Nothing much, one way or the other,” the tall, dark-haired souled 
vampire said, entering the room.

“Angel!” said Cordelia, getting up off her chair. “You’re back!”

“Yeah,” he replied. “I am. Now somebody switch off the idiot box, we 
need to talk.”


Westchester, New York. Five minutes later

At the Academy for Gifted Children run by Professor Charles Xavier, 
another group of people switched off their TV set, after witnessing the 
conclusion of the opening ceremony. These people were known, in 
private, as the X-Men.

All of them were mutants, and all of them were there for a common 
purpose. To both safeguard their own people, and try to bring about a 
peaceful co-existence with the rest of the human race.

The one man and three women sat around in the mansion looking at 
themselves, wondering what was going to happen now.

Cyclops, also known as Scott Summers, was the first to speak. “I think 
we’re in trouble,” the man in his thirties said, his black visor 
preventing fiery red laser beams from shooting out of his eye sockets 
in frustration.

His companion Storm, otherwise called Ororo Munroe, raised her white-
haired head. A native of Kenya in her mid-twenties, her abilities had 
manifested themselves as control of the wind and the rain, and all the 
other elements of the weather in general.

“Yeah. And I think that’s an understatement,” she replied, the anger in 
her eyes evident. 

“Maybe it won’t be so bad,” Dr. Jean Grey offered. A strong, good-
looking woman also in her early thirties, she had the power of 
telekinesis or TK - the ability to move things with her mind alone - as 
well as a lesser telepathic ability.

“Ah don’t believe that for a moment,” replied the last member of their 
party in a Southern twang, an eighteen-year-old girl known as Rogue. 

Formerly a native of Mississippi named Marie, her mutant power was like 
that of a conductor - anyone she came into physical contact with, she 
absorbed their strengths and abilities, for a time.

“I must agree,” a new voice said, and all of them turned around to see 
Professor Charles Francis Xavier enter the room.

An incredibly strong telepath from the age of fifteen, the old man was 
easily the most powerful mutant in the room.

Even stuck in a wheelchair, he still cut a very impressive figure. His 
bald head gleamed, and his eyes bored into each and every one of his 
students as he surveyed the room. “What I’ve learned so far, is less 
than encouraging,” he finished up.

“Which is?” asked Storm.

“The political groups backing this agency are...less than tolerant in 
their attitudes towards mutants,” Xavier replied calmly. “Many of the 
people comprising them, and many of the people in the MIA themselves, 
have called for total mutant registration world-wide.”

“What else?” Jean asked, knowing there was more.

Professor Xavier paused. “Well, in addition, there are those associated 
with this agency who...submit the names of mutants who have publicly 
identified themselves, onto the black lists and so on.”

“Great,” groaned Cyclops, “Just what we needed. A bunch of racists, who 
are now able to legally harass our people.”

“Ah don’t think it’s gonna stop there,” Rogue said uncomfortably, as 
everyone looked at her. “Ah’m gettin’ the feeling the worst is still 
yet to come.”

She had no idea how right she was.


MIA Building, Washington DC. Six hours later

As Agent Craig Downer made his way into the Director’s office, he told 
himself that he had nothing to fear.

A late transfer into the MIA, this agent had an excellent record. It 
was one reason why the Director of the agency had granted him a 
personal interview.

As he came in, Agent Downer saw that the Director was sitting at his 
desk, looking over reports. He couldn’t see the man’s face clearly, for 
some reason - it was as if it was covered in darkness. And that 
definitely gave him the creeps.

“Agent Downer,” the Director’s voice was soft, cold and full of steel 

“Sir,” the agent replied nervously.

“Don’t bother to sit down. Your assignment is in a small town in 
southern California, north of Los Angeles. Name of...Sunnydale.”

He pushed a folder towards the other man. “Everything you need to know 
about the suspected mutant, including contingency plans, is in there. 
Her name is Buffy Summers. The file on her indicates that she may be 
dangerous. So deal with the situation.”

The agent picked up the file, and left without a word. Examining its 
contents, he saw a picture of a very human-looking girl. Reading the 
file later, he found it very difficult to believe that she was not just 
some delinquent blonde bimbo, typical of southern California.


Sunnydale, California. A few days later

After sunset that night Buffy went out on patrol for vampires, and the 
Slayer was in a bad mood. Willow and Xander, her faithful Slayerettes, 
could sense this and so the usual banter between the three friends was 
oddly absent tonight.

Eventually, though, Willow couldn’t take the silence anymore. “Buffy?” 
the red-haired computer hacker and amateur witch said timidly.

“Yeah, Will?”

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

Buffy hemmed and hawed for a while, until Xander got sick of it and 
summed it up in one word: “Riley.”

The Slayer threw him a dark look and the dark-haired young man cringed, 
but then Buffy shrugged and admitted he was right. “Yeah.”

“You’re still not over him leaving you?” asked Willow, feeling sorry 
for her best friend. She knew the pain of such a thing from first-hand 
experience, even though she was with Tara now.

“It’s even worse than when I broke up with Angel,” Buffy said looking 
down, unable to meet their eyes.

Xander shook his head, unable to believe he was going to say this, but 
Buffy was his friend and the 19-year-old boy cared for her a lot. 
“Maybe you should just pick up the phone and give Deadboy a call,” he 
said suddenly.

At the shocked stares from Buffy and Willow, Xander asked them, “What?”

“Xander, you - you hate Angel!” Buffy stammered, as she thought briefly 
about her vampire ex-boyfriend, who had left her over 18 months before.

“Especially the guts part!” Willow added.

Xander rolled his eyes. “Okay...yeah, right. But you need somethin’ to 
snap you outta this, Buff. And I figure as long as you two don’t get 
pelvic again, and like cause the end of the world, it could be just 
what you need.”

He then shrugged. “Not that I care, but it could also be just what he 
needs, too.”

Buffy was about to ask just what that last part was supposed to mean, 
when all of a sudden they were surrounded by vampires and fighting for 
their lives.

The Slayer brought out her stake, and started killing her enemies - the 
wooden Mr. Pointy penetrating their hearts, and making them explode 
into dust. The Wicca apprentice used a spell she had been working on, 
that made the vampires burst into flames, and destroying them that way.

But Xander was the weak one, the powerless one, the Zeppo. Just a 
normal human. And so the vampires almost immediately overcame his 
efforts, and dragged him away.

As the vamps ran off, Buffy cursed and started to follow them, Willow 
chasing right behind her.

And as they ran, Agent Craig Downer stepped out from behind a row of 
trees and looked on after them.

The agent from the MIA had watched the battle, but hadn’t been able to 
understand what had happened. < A mutant gang fight? > he thought to 
himself. < But then, what sort of mutants explode into dust? >

He shook his head, deciding that the bad light had probably been 
playing tricks on his eyes. So he just followed after them, keeping a 
safe distance.


Xander woke up from a stinging slap to his face, and found himself 
being held by two strong, hulking male vampires. He saw the face of a 
blonde female vamp right in front of him, and then suddenly wished that 
he was still unconscious.

“Harmony,” he said her name carefully.

The vampire, who was about the same age as he was, sneered and returned 
the greeting. “Hello, Xanderrrrr...” she drew out his name.

“Uh, don’t suppose you’ve brought me here so that I could, say...ask 
you out to dinner and a movie?” the young man wisecracked.

Harmony grew furious in an instant. When she’d been human, she had gone 
to the same high school as Xander and the rest of his friends, and 
she’d despised him for his looks and manners.

But now that she was a vampire, she hated him even more...because he 
was a friend of the vampire Slayer.

She hit him again, and put on her game face. “Guess again,” she hissed 
through her fangs.

Xander appeared to think about it. “It couldn’t want a rematch 
on our hair-pulling contest?”

Several of the vampires snickered at that, until Harmony’s glares 
stopped them. “Stupid Xander Harris thinks he’s soooo smart...” she 
said, almost to herself. “Y’know, I went to a lot of trouble to bring 
you here. So how smart are you really, Xander?” she asked.

He shrugged. “You tell me,” the young man replied fearfully.

“Okay, I’ll make you a deal,” Harmony said, grinning horribly. “You be 
smart enough to avoid getting two red-hot railroad spikes shoved 
through your palms, and I’ll let you go. If not, you’re tonight’s 

With that she gestured, and the two spikes were brought forth. Xander 
struggled, and started yelling as the burning implements touched his 
outstretched hands with a sizzling noise.

Now, Xander Harris had been through a lot in his short life. He had 
fought vampires, been possessed by demons, and almost had his head torn 
off by a giant preying mantis bug lady.

But nothing, NOTHING could have prepared him for the agony of being 
tortured like this.

Xander’s screams echoed throughout the vamp nest, and it was music to 
the undead creatures’ ears. Then suddenly, one of the vampires holding 
the boy noticed that the open holes in his palms...were vanishing.

In a moment Xander’s hands were healed, and now also had claws. “What 
the hell?” the minion said in confusion, letting go.

That was its first mistake.

The second was not ducking fast enough, as Xander started slashing at 
the vamps in blind anger, and huge gashes appeared on its face. And 
then on Harmony’s features, as the blonde vamp was unable to move away 
from her intended victim on time.

All she could do was scream and clutch at her head, as Xander’s claws 
tore her left eye out.

The teen himself wasn’t thinking clearly; he was still moving 
completely on instinct, because of the pain. So when Xander jumped 
upward and started flying through the air like a bird-of-prey, he had 
no idea what he was doing.

Neither did the vampires - all they could do was gape, as he crashed 
through a hole in the roof and vanished into the night.


Agent Downer looked on in astonishment, as Xander flew out and then 
crash-landed down into the trees, not far away from him. He was the 
only witness, as the other vamp minions had successfully thrown Buffy 
and Willow off the trail.

He took out his cell phone, and made a quick call. “Code Blue,” the MIA 
man said hurriedly, “Suspected male mutant. Put Plan Delta into 


Xander made his way back to the center of town, on his way home. He 
constantly looked at his hands, wondering what was going on.

Because he was reasonably sure that he had just flown through the air 
like Superman, and his hands were looking like the claws of a bird. 
Like an eagle, a falcon...or a hawk.

He stopped for a moment, and concentrated. And suddenly, his hands were 
back to normal.

< What’s all this supposed to mean? > he thought to himself, as he 
started walking again. < Am I dreaming? No way. So what’s happening to 
me? How did I just do what I did? >

If he had been able to calm down, the answer might have been able to 
present itself to him. But even knowing about mutants, his brain 
couldn’t - or perhaps wouldn’t - make the connection.

Suddenly, he saw Buffy, Willow and Giles across the street. “Guys!” he 

They turned to look at him, and all yelled back in relief, “Xander!” as 
the traffic whizzed past.

“Don’t worry, I’m fine, I escaped from the...” he suddenly realized 
some of the other pedestrians were staring at him, “evil people!”

The threesome started to cross the street, eager to join him. But 
suddenly, a black van without license plates stopped in front of 
Xander, the door slid open and masked men in black reached out and 
grabbed the Slayerette.

They pulled him into the van, which then roared off just as Buffy, 
Willow and Giles finished crossing the street.

“XANDER!!” shouted Willow.

The van turned the corner, and a few seconds later there was a huge, 
fiery explosion. Running towards it, fighting off the paralysis of 
shock, the three friends saw the flaming remains of the van, not far 
from the intersection.

“NO!!!” screamed both girls in tears and anguish, unable to understand 
what had happened, but knowing that their Xander-shaped friend was dead 
and gone.


Unknown location, Nevada. Three months later

Ethan Rayne was not a happy camper.

The middle-aged British-born magician had been in this high-security 
U.S. military facility for nearly a year, and so far he had hated every 
second of it. The tests, the interrogations, the boredom...

He thought to himself, < Bloody Slayer!! If it weren’t for her and that 
damned boyfriend she had, I wouldn’t be in this mess. Being studied 
like some bug under a microscope and all! >

Ethan couldn’t help briefly chuckling, though, as he thought back on 
what had happened. He had been sent here for ‘rehabilitation’ after 
turning his old friend Ripper - otherwise known as Rupert Giles, 
Buffy’s Watcher - into a demon, for a short period of time.

Of course, it had only been a joke of sorts, but then some people had 
absolutely no sense of humor.

Suddenly he heard a conversation between two approaching guards 
outside, and stopped pacing around in his cell to listen to them...

“I hate these transfers, you know.”

“Just shut up, and let’s get it done.”

“And who comes up with these names, anyway? Subject Nighthawk? Subject 
Wolverine? What is this, a zoo?”

“I told you to knock it off! Now open the damn door.”

Ethan moved away from the door, and the two guards entered his cell. At 
the same time, they tossed Xander in, and the boy landed on the floor.

Ethan recognized him and was surprised to see the young man, but 
abstained from comment. His months here had taught him to watch 
everything carefully, before ever saying anything.

Xander looked drugged as he got up, and growled like an animal. He was 
dressed in army fatigues like the guards, and there was even a set of 
dogtags hanging from his neck.

Suddenly, from all ten fingers of his human-looking hands, big black 
metallic claws sprang out. Ethan jerked away in astonishment, but still 
kept his mouth shut.

The guards just instantly aimed their M-16 guns at him, and Xander 
seemed to calm down, moving back. Still growling, the claws retracted 
back into his fingers.

The men then grabbed Ethan, and hustled him out. Out of sheer 
perversity, the wizard tried to strike up a conversation with them, but 
quickly gave up when one of the guards punched him in the small of his 
back to keep him quiet.

Eventually they arrived at another cell, and after they opened the door 
they threw him in. However, this time the two soldiers did not enter 

Ethan looked around, and saw his temporary cellmate; Subject Wolverine, 
also known simply as Logan.

And more importantly, a mutant who last year had become a member of 
Professor Xavier’s group of X-Men.

Ethan suspected there must be something very dangerous about him for 
the guards not to enter, apart from his animal-like face. But he had no 
way of knowing that an unbreakable black metal alloy, known as 
adamantium, had replaced Logan’s entire skeleton, from head to toe.

Or that his mutation was a truly incredible regenerative capability, 
that had allowed him to survive what had been done to him.

Or that the memories of his life before the operation had been stripped 
away, leaving only nightmares of pain.

“Subject Wolverine,” one of the guards said roughly. “Front and 

Logan looked at him, and raised his clenched right fist. Instantly, 
three black adamantium claws shot out from between his knuckles, much 
to Ethan’s interest.

Then two of the claws retracted back underneath his skin, as Logan gave 
the two military grunts the finger.

Ethan just barely managed not to burst out laughing.

Just as the other guard growled at him to knock it off and get out, a 
siren started wailing. “Shit!” the guards cursed. The closest one 
slammed the door shut and locked it, leaving the two men inside.

“Hello,” Ethan said, ignoring the noise, turning to Logan and holding 
out his hand. “I’m Ethan Rayne.”

Logan retracted his final claw, and looked at him mistrustfully. 
“Logan,” he replied, reluctantly shaking the Englishman’s hand.

“Terribly pleased to meet you, old chap,” Ethan replied, his diction 
betraying his foreign origins. But the really amazing thing was, that 
he actually meant every word. “Haven’t had a decent conversation with 
anybody for nearly a year. How long have you, er, been here?”

“Just woke up,” Logan said shortly. “Where are we?”

“Who knows?” Ethan shrugged. “The running joke is that this place is 
probably Area 51.”

“Then we’re in the States?”

“Oh yes,” replied Ethan, somewhat confused. “Where did you think we 

“They took me in Canada,” Logan replied, suddenly moving closer to the 

Ethan barely had time to shrug, when the door was yanked open again 
from the outside. Logan shot out his claws from both hands again, when 
people wearing black uniforms tagged with a strange ‘X’ insignia burst 

It was Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey, and he’d never been so glad to see 
them in his life.

He resheathed his claws and said with a cocky grin, “Hey! Thanks for 
droppin’ by. So what took you so long?”

The X-Men looked at each other, obviously unsure whether to hug him or 
try to knock his teeth out. Cyclops eventually shrugged and said, 
“Traffic was murder.”

Logan then laughed, hugged the two women, and reluctantly shared a 
handshake with Scott, the team leader.

“Let’s get out of here, the jet’s waiting,” the visored man said, “We 
tried to be subtle coming in, but they’ll probably have reinforcements 
here any minute...”

“Er, sorry to interrupt this touching reunion,” Ethan said quickly in 
his British accent, “but what about me? And the boy who’s like you,” he 
pointed at Logan.

The effect was immediate. Logan grabbed him and snarled, “What are you 
talking about? What boy who’s like me?”

Ethan quickly freed himself and said, “Do steady on, old man,” 
straightening his clothes. “Just before I was brought here, they stuck 
him in my old lodgings. Tell you what - I take you to him, in exchange 
for a ride on this jet of yours?”

The four mutants were suspicious, but Scott quickly settled the matter. 
“MOVE!” he ordered Ethan. “And if you’re jerking us around, I promise 
you - you’ll regret it.”

Ethan wordlessly agreed, and led them back to Xander’s prison cell. 
Cyclops quickly blasted open the lock with his laser beam vision, and 
the five of them went inside.

Xander was still there, and still acting like a wild animal. He 
instantly charged them claws extended, but was thrown back by Jean’s TK 
power, hitting the wall and collapsing unconscious.

“Why didn’t you mention he’d be like this?” Ororo wanted to know.

Ethan shrugged again. “Oops,” he said unconvincingly, “Must have 
slipped my mind.”

The four mutants just stared at each other again, already regretting 
their promise to help this man.

As Jean and Logan grabbed Xander, they hurried out and headed for the 
jet. Suddenly though they became embroiled in a firefight, as the 
military reinforcements arrived on the scene.

Taking cover against the gunfire, the mutants fought against the 
soldiers, each with his or her own power - Cyclops blasted them with 
red fire from his eyes, a suddenly white-eyed Storm sent mini-
hurricanes against them, and Jean hurled them away with her TK.

Logan was left holding Xander, and finally the group fought their way 
to the futuristic shiny black aircraft that the Professor had created, 
that was their ticket out of here.

Just then, Logan noticed that Ethan was no longer with them. “Where’s 
the Brit?” he shouted over the roaring din of the MP-5 submachine guns.

“Too late, we can’t stop now!” Scott yelled back at him. “Get in!”

Logan didn’t hesitate, and as the mutants strapped in the jet took off 
and vanished into the sky, leaving the soldiers shooting helplessly 
after it.


Westchester, New York. A few hours later

At the X-Men mansion, there was a welcome-home party for Logan and his 

Logan wasn’t comfortable with such things - they made him feel 
so...normal. As if he wasn’t a mutant with a hole in his memory, that 
had woken up in a meadow 16 years before, all alone.

Except of course for his pain and nightmares.

As Logan turned around to go, he heard a soft voice call his name. A 
voice with a Southern accent. “Hello, Logan.”

He turned back, with a smile on his face. “Hey, kid,” he said to Rogue.

He took her arm and guided her to a couple of empty chairs, in a 
relatively quiet area of the big celebration.

As they sat down, Logan really looked at her for the first time. The 
streak of white hair in Marie’s dark locks was still there, but she 
looked older and a heck of a lot more beautiful than the scared teenage 
runaway he had met the previous year.

It was a strange sensation to feel, in his opinion.

“These geeks been treating you okay?” he asked, holding her gloved hand 
in his.

“Yeah, Ah think so,” she replied, twirling his dogtags around her neck 
with her other hand.

He took them, looking at the ‘Wolverine’ insignia, and then he looked 
at her. “You kept 'em safe,” he said slowly.

“Sure did,” Rogue replied. Then she looked at him closely. “Ah missed 
you, Logan.”

Logan squirmed, feeling uncomfortable. “You wanna hear about my trip?” 
he quickly asked.

Marie grinned, and tossed her hair to one side. “Sure do, Logan,” she 
replied softly, “Ah most surely do.”

Logan couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. It was like her 
scent was driving him crazy or something. Trying to concentrate, he 
started to speak.

“Well, after I took off from this place on Visor Boy’s motorbike last 
year, I made for Canada. Place called Alkali Lake, in the Canadian 
Rockies,” he mused. “Took me awhile to get there, but then I wasn’t in 
any tearing great hurry. Found that abandoned military compound the 
Professor told me about.”

Marie knew there was more. “The nightmares came back,” she stated, 
rather than asked.

“Yeah,” Logan said reflectively. “Anyway, the bastards who made me what 
I am hadn’t been there for a long time. But I found some clues in the 
debris. Followed up some leads. You remember that place in Alberta, 
where we first met? The hell-hole in British Columbia?”

She nodded.

“Believe it or not, that’s where I ended up. I was an idiot, didn’t 
watch my back carefully enough - and someone got me but good. And when 
I woke up, I was inside that place in Nevada.”

“Ah know,” Marie said to him. “Dr. Grey knew somethin’ was wrong, and 
the Professor tracked y’all down with that Cerebro device. So, here we 

“Yeah,” Logan agreed. He desperately tried to think of a new topic. 
“Hey, have you heard anything about that new kid, the one that we 
brought back with us?”

“He’s with Dr. Grey,” she replied, sadly understanding his tactics.

“Think I’ll go pay him a visit. I wanna be there when he wakes up - you 
remember what it was like for me, and I don’t want him to go through 
all that. I’ll see you later.”

“Bye,” she said as he left, staring after him.

A young man named Bobby, who was a fellow mutant and a good friend, 
came up to her. “Hey, Rogue,” he said with a smile, “would you like to 

Marie smiled back gratefully and accepted, following him to the dance 


In the infirmary, Jean Grey was looking at the newest set of X-rays she 
had taken. She started shaking her head, as Logan came in.

“Hey,” the man said coming up to her, “what’s up?”

“Hello, Logan,” Jean said, briefly giving the man a smile. They had 
always had a strong connection, even though her heart belonged to 
Cyclops. “Nothing much, I’m afraid.”

Logan looked at Xander’s prone form on the table, and examined the 
young man’s dogtags. It gave him a chill, looking at the inscription.

“Nighthawk,” he read aloud, turning to look at Jean again. “Not 
Wolverine, like me.”

“I’m afraid so,” the doctor agreed. “He’s a mutant that’s been 
experimented on, yes, but only superficially like yourself.”

Logan frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Jean showed him the X-rays. “His skeleton is normal, and he doesn’t 
have your regenerative power,” she said slowly. “The few tests I’ve 
done so far indicates his mutation is some form of...autokinesis. He 
can move himself around in almost any way, maybe even fly, but I don’t 
think he can affect other objects in the same manner.”

“What about his claws?” Logan asked, looking at the X-rays.

She pointed at Xander’s hands on the image. “As you can see here, they 
run down from the back of his arms, down to his fingers. The surgery 
and design is like yours, allowing them to work by muscle control. 


“Well, there are some differences. The black alloy is similar to the 
adamantium in your body, but it’s not exactly the same - right now, 
until I can think of a better name, I’m calling it adamantium II.”

She paused. “It’s impenetrable, unbreakable and indestructible - just 
like yours. But there’s some sort of unknown biological component there 
as well, which I suspect lets him use them free of pain.”

Logan looked at Xander again, a slight grin on his face. “Wish I could 
do the same,” the mutant muttered.

He felt rather weird. The kid was almost making him feeling an older 
model of sports car, that had been replaced by a newer and more 
efficient design. Then Logan stared at Jean again. “When is he gonna 
wake up?”

“Not for hours yet,” the doctor said with certainty. “I gave him enough 
sedative to...”

And then of course, just to prove her wrong, Xander woke up at that 
very same moment.

His claws instantly popped out, and he freed himself of his tubes and 
monitors. Snarling mindlessly, the young mutant spotted the two people 
in front of him.

And without thinking, went straight for the kill. His claws heading for 
Jean’s throat.

At the last moment Logan grabbed his wrists, and forced him to look 
into his eyes. Then Logan’s own claws erupted out, and Xander’s eyes 
went wide with shock.

Logan started to say, “Take it easy...” when Xander used his mutant 
power, and they both flew across the infirmary and crashed into the 

“Ahhhhhh! Son of a bitch!” cursed Logan.

Suddenly the others came in, having been telepathically summoned by 
Jean. Cyclops, Storm and Rogue practically flew in, followed by the 
more dignified entry of the Professor in his wheelchair.

“Everybody calm down,” Professor Xavier said, as he made his way to 
Xander’s and Logan’s struggling bodies.

“That’s easy for YOU to say, Cue Ball Head! Now do something!!” Logan 
shouted at the old man.

“Well, I can already tell he’s gonna be an even bigger headache than 
you ever were,” Scott said acidly.

Charles Xavier sighed, and then inserted his mind into Xander’s.

And was nearly overwhelmed, by the images in the boy’s subconscious.

// A lab of some sort, being held down in restraints. Struggling 
against the drugs, that were being pumped into his veins. //

// Men in military uniform watching him, as doctors in gowns and masks 
hovered around, ignoring his screams. //

// His arms constantly being cut by scalpels, agony impossible to 
describe as he was unable to move. //

The Professor pulled himself together, and dug deeper. Finally finding 
what he wanted to know.

< You’re safe now, Alex, > the telepath said directly into Xander’s 
mind, who immediately stopped fighting with Logan. 

Much to the other man’s relief, as it was obvious the kid knew his 
unarmed combat, just as well as Wolverine did.

Whoever had done this to both of them, Logan knew that it was one of 
the things they focused on the most.

< Nothing will harm you here, > the Professor continued, projecting 
peace and calm into Xander’s brain. < You’re safe. There’s no pain 
anymore. No need to fight. >

Xander stopped moving completely, staring at Charles Xavier in absolute 
fascination as his claws retracted, and then Logan’s followed suit. 

The old man then withdrew from Xander’s mind, but before he did he 
carried out a quick survey of the damage that had done in there. 
Someone had seriously messed around with his memory, just as they had 
done with Logan.

But at least this young man, someone that had been code-named 
Nighthawk, wouldn’t have to go through what Wolverine had. Not if he 
could help it.

“Hello, Alex,” Charles Xavier said softly, welcoming the new arrival 
into his home.


U.S. Federal Penitentiary. Three months later

Agent Craig Downer made his way through the prison, on his way to see a 
very special prisoner. One housed in a very special jail cell, known 
only as Magneto.

A mutant since childhood in the Nazi-occupied Poland of 1944, the old 
man’s power was one of being able to create magnetic fields, to 
manipulate metal in any way he wished.

Born Eric Magnus Lehnsherr, the terrorist had been imprisoned for 
leading the attack against the conference of world leaders in New York, 
nearly a year before. 

Magneto, Xavier’s former ally, was someone who had seen too much 
prejudice and intolerance in his lifetime. And he believed that, 
despite all the good intentions of both sides, there would one day be a 
war between the mutants and the normal humans in the world.

And it was one which Eric was determined that his people would not 
lose, or else they would all be rounded up one day and wiped off the 
face of the planet.

Agent Downer arrived through the plastic corridor, and sized up the 
inmate. “I’m Agent Craig Downer, with the...”

Magneto held up his hand to stop him. “I already know who you are and 
what you want,” he told the man.

Agent Downer shrugged. “Then let’s not waste time. The MIA can make 
things difficult for you, or help you out a great deal here.’re going to help me track down those criminals who attacked 
the government’s Nevada facility.”

Magneto stared at the government agent, and then the old man did the 
most insulting thing he could possibly do to someone like Craig Downer.

Eric laughed right in his face.

“I will never get used to the arrogance of men like you,” he managed to 
splutter through the laughter. “Men who think they have absolute 
control of their own little corner of reality...”

Agent Downer grew angry. “I’m not the one behind bars, mutant.”

Magneto agreed, wiping away the tears of laughter, “Indeed. You and 
yours are in fact little more than dinosaurs, stumbling down a blind 
alley towards extinction.”

He paused for a moment, suddenly serious. “We are the future, Agent 
Downer. And we will never bow down to the tyranny of your kind.”

Craig was now absolutely pissed, and had lost all sense of judgement. 
“Prison is a very nasty place, mister. I’ve heard that all sorts of 
accidents happen. Even suicides have been known to occur from time to 

Magneto was definitely no longer smiling. He reached for and pulled up 
the sleeve of his right arm, exposing the faint blue numbers tattooed 
there, courtesy of the Nazis.

“I have survived far, far worse than anything you could ever hope to 
imagine,” Eric told his visitor in a very calm voice. “And speaking of 

The metal buckle of the belt around Agent Downer’s pants suddenly 
moved, tightening the leather around his waist and cutting off his 

“...I think you’re about to have one,” Magneto finished up, staring 
into Downer’s eyes.

Craig’s face was red, and he couldn’t breathe. But just as he was about 
to pass out, he was let go, his lungs heaving to get the breath back 
into his body.

Magneto started smiling again. “Soon enough, Agent Downer, evolution 
will stamp you out like a cockroach. So why should I bother to kill you 
personally?” He nodded towards the door. “Goodbye, Agent Downer. I 
don’t think we’ll be seeing each other again.”

Shaken, the agent of the MIA stalked out, taking out his cell phone. 
“Get me Sunnydale...” he said into the phone, as he quickly left.

Magneto stared thoughtfully at his retreating figure. He had a chess 
game scheduled with Charles Xavier in a few days, and it looked like he 
had quite a few things to tell his old friend when the man arrived...


Westchester, New York. Three days later

In the basement of the X-Men mansion at the Academy, Alexander Harris 
was in the middle of his morning workout.

Dressed in his green tank top and sweat pants, he had come a long way 
from the animalistic creature the X-Men had rescued three months 
before. After a great deal of help from the Professor and his students, 
the twenty-year-old young man was now a human being again.

Xander could speak properly now, and had even made friends with some of 
the students. And although his personal memories were still lost to 
him, he had recovered enough things to give himself some sense of 

But this identity...was not the same one he’d had, previously. Before 
he had been kidnapped, and spent a season in hell.

The damage Xander had suffered at the hands of the military doctors had 
been so bad, both mental and physical, that to save himself he’d 
instinctively sought out his most powerful feelings, the strongest 
self-aspects of personality he’d ever possessed.

The Professor had unwittingly helped reinforce this, and the persona 
he’d recovered was that of a combat soldier. Someone he’d been as the 
result of a magic spell by Ethan Rayne, one Halloween when he’d been 17 
years old.

Someone who hadn’t even been real.

Until now.

It never once occurred to Xander or even the others that things might 
be otherwise, as apart from anything else the mutants NEEDED soldiers 
within their ranks, people who could plan and organize.

The military knowledge had also slowly come back, reinforcing his 
beliefs. But the only other thing he knew was his name, Alex. And even 
though he didn’t feel comfortable with it for some reason, the 
description on his dogtags, Nighthawk.

Suddenly Logan came in, dressed similarly to Xander. He grinned and 
said, “Sorry I’m late.”

Xander grinned back. “Who was she? Rogue or Dr. Grey?”

Logan went to slap him upside the head, muttering something about 
respect for his elders, but Xander ducked and he missed. Xander stopped 
smiling and said, “I need to tell you something.”

Logan got serious instantly. “Yeah?”

“I’m gonna be leaving soon.”

“You what?!”

Xander started to pace around. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s great around 
here,” he said quickly. “And I owe you guys a lot. My life, even. But 
I...I don’t belong here.”

Logan said nothing, and Xander looked at him in surprise. “Aren’t you 
gonna tell me that I’m wrong?”

“No,” Logan shook his head and held up a fist, his claws coming out 
with a ‘snick’ sound. “I’m not. I know exactly how you feel,” he said, 
looking at them and unclenching his hand.

Xander brought out his own claws, and stared at his right hand. “Who 
did this to us?” he asked, almost to himself.

Logan shook his head again. “I’ve been trying to find out for 16 years, 

Xander got a determined look on his face. “Then it’s time I started 
looking too.” Sharing a quick look with the older mutant, Xander 
quickly turned around and left.

Later in the Professor’s office, Charles Xavier and his students stood 
talking with Logan and Xander. “I wish you would reconsider, Alex,” the 
old man said softly.

“I know you do,” replied Xander. “But I can’t stay here forever.”

He stared briefly at Storm, who had helped him gain control of his 
powers - Xander and the white-haired mutant had often gone flying 
together, and had formed a close friendship. She understood, and told 
him so without words.

“Where will you go?” asked Jean worriedly. Xander rolled his eyes - the 
doctor had annoyed him more than once, acting like an overprotective 
mother towards him.

“Not sure yet,” he said shortly.

“You should try southern California. That’s where I think your accent 
says you come from,” Cyclops suddenly said.

As everyone stared at him, he shrugged. “What? I should know, I used to 
live there myself.” Scott lapsed into silence then, overcome by past 

// A prom dance, when he was 17 years old. Pain in his red eyes, as the 
power came out and demolished the building. Two months of darkness, 
always keeping his eyes shut until the Professor had found him. //

“So then I’ll try LA,” Xander said, interrupting his reverie.

“WE try the City of Angels, kid,” Logan corrected him. As Xander 
stared, the older man shrugged. “You need someone to watch your back, 
buddy boy, unless you wanna end up in that compound again.”

“I thought you guys went back there, and it was completely abandoned 
now?” Storm asked.

“Doesn’t mean they didn’t set up shop somewhere else,” Xander replied, 
his voice hardening.

Storm was the first to see him off. “Take care,” Ororo said, as she 
hugged him goodbye.

The others all hugged or shook hands with Logan and Xander, and then 
Rogue managed to get Logan alone for a moment.

She then handed him his dogtags. Logan looked at her questioningly, and 
she smiled. “Ah’m just makin’ sure you and Alex come back to give these 
to me again,” Marie said softly.

Logan hugged her, making sure not to touch her bare skin. “Thanks,” he 
smiled, before going off to find his new partner.

“Storm. Cyclops. Jean,” Professor Xavier said softly, as the others 
left his office. “Stay here a moment, if you will, please.”

When they were alone, he continued, “Yesterday, I had a long chat with 

“Magneto?” Ororo said in distaste. < With all the disgusting things 
he’s done... >

“Storm, please. Apparently, he had a rather nasty visit from the 

“What happened?” asked Jean.

“Nothing much, at least not to him. But Eric mentioned that this agent 
that he encountered was heading for Sunnydale, a town which is about a 
two-hour drive from where Alex and Logan are heading...”

“I know where it is,” Cyclops interrupted him. “I have family there, 
two cousins - Buffy and Dawn Summers. I visited a few months ago, for 
the funeral of my Aunt Joyce.”

“I’m sorry, Scott,” Xavier said, meaning it too. “But in any case, it 
seems the MIA might be up to something there. I want you three to take 
the jet, and investigate. Give Alex and Logan a lift to LA, while 
you’re at it.”

He paused. “And while you’re there Scott, check up on your relatives, 
make sure they’re okay. And whether they know anything that could help 

“Yes, Professor,” the three said, and left the room.


Sunnydale, California. The next day

That evening, as Scott made his way through dinner with Giles, Buffy 
and Dawn, he wondered if perhaps he had not come to the wrong house, 
and found the wrong relatives.

Dawn was all happy to see him, but Buffy and Giles less so. He couldn’t 
understand it - it was as if they were nervous of something, greatly 
afraid for some reason.

“So tell me more about your job,” Dawn asked excitedly.

Cyclops smiled at the young girl, who had been born in the same year 
he’d become a mutant. “I work at an academy in New York, helping 
special children,” he replied.

Dawn screwed her face up. “Special? You mean, like, mentally 

“Dawn!” Buffy said sharply.

Scott laughed. “No,” he said, “it’s not like that. Practically all of 
them are runaways, or just someone looking for a place to belong. 
Professor Xavier has special facilities to help them, you know, so they 
can eventually turn out to be the best they can be.”

“Sounds like Watcher school,” Dawn then said unthinkingly.

“Dawn!” Giles said this time.

Scott looked at Buffy and Giles, and tried to include them in the 
conversation. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to stay for long after Aunt 
Joyce’s funeral,” he said.

“That’s okay,” Buffy said quickly.

Cyclops then tried to think of something else to say. “So, uh, how’s 
Uncle Hank? I haven’t seen him in ages.”

Dawn looked cynical. “Probably getting horizontal in Spain again with 
his secretary,” she remarked.

“Dawn!!” both Buffy and Giles said at the same time, identical looks of 
horror on their faces.

Scott just snickered softly. He had been somewhat worried about his 
younger cousins when he’d heard they were staying with the British ex-
librarian, after his aunt had died from complications arising from her 
brain tumor operation.

But now his fears were put to rest - they all seemed pretty close, and 
as happy as they could be.

All of a sudden, there was a knock on the door. Giles went to answer 
it, and then Willow and Tara came streaming in immediately.

“Buffy!” Willow shouted, looking for her. “We got a major emergency! 
There’s a vam-”

“Willow! Tara!” Buffy shouted, interrupting her. “I want you to meet my 
cousin, Scott Summers! He’s visiting from New York. Scott, these are my 

Willow stopped, a look of fear on her face. “Hi!” she squeaked to 

“H-h-hello,” stammered Tara as well.

“Nice to meet you,” Cyclops replied. “You said something about an 

“Willow exaggerates,” Buffy said. “Isn’t that right?”

“Uh, yeah!” Dawn added. “She does that a lot.”

“Right!” Willow said, her eyes moving from person to person in the 
room. “I do! Uh, Buffy just needs to come with us to see somebody.”

“Who’s that?” asked Cyclops.

“Uh...” Willow started. “Someone we went to high school with. Her 
name’s Harmony.”

Scott looked around, noting the expressions on the others’ faces. 
“Well, I guess we better get going,” Buffy said uncomfortably.

“Perhaps I should come along as well, given her...condition,” Giles 
said suddenly. “Dawn, you can look after our guest, can’t you?”

“Can’t I come too?” Dawn whined.

“No!” Buffy, Giles, Willow and Tara all said at once.

“Fine,” Dawn said sulkily.

As the others left, Scott helped Dawn clean up after dinner, and then 
the dark-haired teenage girl took the mutant upstairs to her room.

As they walked in, Cyclops was shocked to see Xander’s picture on the 
shelf, sitting next to Buffy’s and Willow’s. “What the-?” he muttered 
in amazement.

Dawn noticed where he was looking at, and a sad expression came over 
her face. Picking up the picture, she said, “This is Xander. He died 
about six months ago.”

“He...died?” Cyclops stammered.

Dawn nodded. “I had, like, this huge crush on him,” she confided in her 
‘cousin’. “Did you know, someone tried to kidnap him right in the 
middle of Main Street? But then their van blew up, and we lost him.”

She looked angry for a moment. “Serves them right, though, those people 
who tried to do that.”

Scott wasn’t sure what to think, but he knew he had to discuss this 
latest development with Storm and Jean as soon as possible.


After Buffy and Giles had returned and Dawn had gone to bed, Scott 
excused himself to the others, and said he had to meet some friends at 
his hotel. He brushed aside their apologies for having to leave him 
like that, insisting it hadn’t been a problem. 

“Maybe I should walk you there,” said Buffy nervously. “We have a...a 
gang problem in town, and it’s not safe after dark.”

“I’ll be fine, I have a motorbike,” Scott insisted, and quickly left.

When he met Storm and Jean near the jet, he immediately told them what 
he had learned. 

“So this is Alex’s home town? What a coincidence,” Storm said.

“Yeah,” Cyclops replied. “And by the way, they used to call him Xander. 
Short for Alexander, I suppose.”

“Did you tell them where he is?” Jean asked.

“No,” Cyclops replied. “I figure we should get in touch with Logan and 
him first, tell them to come here before we spring the big news.”

“Good idea,” Jean agreed.

“So what have you two come up with?” Cyclops asked them, changing the 
subject. “Any sign of the MIA?”

“No,” Storm said, “but there’s definitely something about this town 
that I don’t like.”

“What do you mean?” the man asked impatiently.

“I can’t explain it,” the white-haired, dark-skinned young woman 
replied. “It’s a feeling that I get, that there’s something WRONG 
around here. Something evil, lurking in the shadows. I know it sounds 
paranoid, but-”

And then, of course, six vampires attacked them without any warning 

The three mutants were astounded, but quickly fought back. Storm and 
Jean battled bravely but ineffectively, as the vamps became pissed at 
what their next meal was doing to them. They constantly came charging 
forward, no matter what the two women did.

Cyclops had better luck, burning the undead with his laser beam vision, 
and soon their attackers were nothing but ashes scattered in the wind.

“What the hell was THAT?” asked Scott, dusting himself off. < Creatures 
with ridged faces, fangs and yellow eyes? > he thought to himself. < 
New mutants? >

“They looked like vampires,” Storm said matter-of-factly.

“WHAT?!” he replied.

“You heard me,” Ororo said with a touch of impatience. “Come on, 
Cyclops, don’t be so closed-minded. I saw a lot of strange things in 
Kenya, when I was a child. In fact, I CAUSED most of them, when I was 
twelve. We have mutants in this world - so why couldn’t we also have 

“But I...VAMPIRES?!” Scott said, in denial. Then he looked at Dr. Grey. 
“Jean, what do you think?”

“I’m reserving judgement, 'til I can examine one of those creatures 
properly,” she replied.


The next day, Storm, Cyclops and Jean visited Giles’ home to tell 
Scott’s cousins goodbye, as they were taking the jet to Los Angeles.

“Hello?” Cyclops called, knocking on the door.

Giles answered it, and welcomed them inside. Buffy, Willow and Tara 
were there, and they also said hello to the new arrivals.

Just then, Dawn came downstairs. “Hey, everybody!” she called, not 
seeing the three mutants. “Buffy, did you go out again last night? How 
many vampires did you kill?”

The Sunnydale residents froze for a moment, looking at the people from 
New York. “She’s just kidding...” Buffy started to say with a weak 

“Vampires?” Scott asked her in disbelief.

“Actually, we killed six of them ourselves last night,” Ororo said 

Everyone then stared at her. “What?” the female warrior asked. “I know 
what I saw, and what Scott burned up.”

Buffy looked at her cousin in confusion. “You burned them? How?”

Scott looked at his fellow mutants, then came to a decision. “I suggest 
we tell each other everything,” he said, looking at his cousins and 
their friends. “Deal?”

It was agreed, and then a long conversation took place. The mutants 
were shocked to learn about all the vampires and demons that infested 
this town. And that Buffy was the vampire Slayer, Dawn was some sort of 
Key, Giles was Buffy’s Watcher, and Willow and Tara were witches.

For their part, the Sunnydale residents were shocked to learn that the 
New Yorkers were mutants, and the powers they had exceeded their own.

Dawn, of course, was thrilled to see their powers being exhibited. 
“Wow!! Way cool!” she exclaimed at the sight of the laser energy fire, 
lightning bolts and telekinesis displays.

“Dawn, please,” Giles started to say, taking off his glasses. “I must 
admit, th-this is all very startling.”

“So what do we do now?” asked Willow.

“Our plans haven’t changed,” Storm told her, “we were going to 
rendezvous with Alex and Logan in LA, and I guess we ought to get 

“Who?” asked Tara.

“They’re two other friends of ours,” Scott said, looking at Jean and 
Ororo. Then he made another decision. “There’s something else I need to 
tell you, as long as we’re being completely honest with each other 
here...” and then he told them about Xander.

Everything. The rescue mission, the rehab, his mutant power...

“WHAT?!” screamed Buffy and Willow. Giles merely looked stunned, as did 

“Xander’s alive? And he’s a mutant?” whispered Dawn in amazement.

“Yes, to both questions,” said Scott.

“And you didn’t tell us this until just NOW? Jeez, cuz, could you 
possibly BE any more feeble?!?” Buffy shouted.

“It’s not like that,” Scott tried to explain. “When we rescued Alex in 

“His name is Xander!” Willow said vehemently.

“Uh, not anymore. I mean...not to him,” Scott paused, and shook his 
head. “Like I was saying, when we pulled him out of there, he had total 
memory loss. He still doesn’t know who he is - and neither did of any 
of us, until I saw his picture in Dawn’s room last night.”

“It’s amazing,” the bottle-blond Tara said, wide-eyed. “It’s a shame 
Anya isn’t around anymore, she’d have wanted to have learned this.”

“Who?” asked Scott, Ororo and Jean.

“Xander’s girlfriend,” Willow continued. “She disappeared a while ago. 
Kind of like Spike.”

“Be that as it may, we have to find Xander,” Giles said forcefully, 
before the New Yorkers could ask about Spike - it would be too 
complicated to explain about the ‘neutered’ vampire, who had once been 
Xander’s roommate for a few weeks. 

“I suggest we make all possible haste, and get ourselves to Los 
Angeles,” the Watcher finished up.


Los Angeles, California. Two hours later

Xander and Logan were at the demon Karaoke bar called ‘Caritas’, 
dressed in mostly civilian clothes. Talking and drinking freely, as 
they thought it was a mutant safehouse.

Actually Logan, who had found the place, wasn’t concerned with that 
part of it right now - just as long as the drinks kept flowing.

“What exactly are we doing here?” Xander asked, downing his Hawaiian 
sea-breeze drink in one gulp.

“Good a place as any to start looking for info,” Logan replied, 
finishing off his Carlsberg beer. Then he burped, and laughed. “Oh man, 
kid, I’m getting old. A few beers, and I almost feel like I’ve been on 
a three day bender.”

Xander grinned and was about to make a sarcastic comment, when he saw a 
group of people walking past the main bar.

One was the green-skinned and horned owner of the establishment, that 
he had met on the way in. No surprises there. But the other three 

The first was a brunette girl about his own age, and the mere sight of 
her made his head ache like it hadn’t in months. Ever since his 
incarceration in that facility in Nevada.

Then the flashbacks started.

// Alone with her in a basement. Fear and anticipation in the air. 
Childish name-calling, a series of “I hate you’s!” - and then they were 
kissing like there was no tomorrow. //

// Looking at her lying on a hospital bed. Her eyes empty, and almost 
dead. “Get away from me,” her voice sounded broken and listless. //

Fighting to understand the visions, he shook his head and glanced at 
the tall, dark-haired man dressed entirely in gothic black. Then the 
flashbacks assaulted him again.

// Alone with him in an underground tunnel. Fear and anticipation 
present, of a very different sort than before. “I told you to eat 
before we left!” his own voice echoed. //

// Facing him in a hospital corridor. A hateful and mocking expression 
in his eyes. “It must just kill you that I got there first,” the man’s 
voice was gloating. //

He groaned, tearing his eyes away towards the other dark-haired man, 
the last member of the group. The one that was wearing spectacles, and 
a conservative suit and tie.

Then the agony started up once more.

// A library somewhere. The man standing behind a petite blonde girl. 
“Hey, it’s Mr. States-the-Obvious!” the sarcasm in his own voice 
overwhelming. //

// The man standing elsewhere, with others in the library. Himself 
dragging another girl by the elbow. “Easier said than done, Monarchy 
Boy,” his nervous comment. //

Xander’s head hit the table, as he groaned in terrible pain. Logan was 
beside him in a moment. “You okay, kid?” his voice was full of concern.

“Those people...” Xander started to say. He winced, trying to ignore 
the hurt. “The ones that just passed us, with the owner of this 

Logan looked around, seeing the Host but not the others. “Where?”

Xander pulled himself together. “I know them. Well...I think I know 
them. I just...I think I got part of my memory back! We have to find 

Logan just looked at him. Then he chomped down on his cigar, threw some 
money down on the table, helped Xander to his feet and they started for 
the door...


Angel, Cordelia and Wesley exited the club, and started walking along 
the street towards Angel’s car. They were not in a good mood, as the 
Host had been unable to help in Angel’s quest for information on a new 
demon that had come to town.

“Hurry it up back there,” Angel snapped over his shoulder to his two 

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Cordelia said, in her most sweetly evil voice. “It’s 
not like Wes and I have anything better to do.”

“Cordelia...” Wesley tried to stop her, but it was like an amateur cook 
trying to bake a cake without all the proper ingredients. In a word, 

“No, really,” she continued, ignoring the Englishman. “It’s not like it 
matters that this guy I was seeing has finally dumped me, because I 
kept on cancelling our dates. And it’s not like it matters that Wesley 
had to abandon his plans too, just for us to sit around and listen to 
two Korean guys singing ‘Bad To The Bone’ tonight.”

“We need to find Gunn,” Angel said vaguely, not paying attention to her 

“Angel...” Wesley tried to say something; he knew what was coming, and 
he knew that he couldn’t prevent the huge argument that would take 
place. But it was just his nature, and stuffy British upbringing, that 
compelled him to try.

Unfortunately though, just as they got to the car, they were attacked 
by a posse of demons and vampires.

Angel and his people were outnumbered, but they still grabbed whatever 
weapons they could out of the vehicle and fought for their lives. That 
was when Xander and Logan showed up.

They glanced at each other, and nodded once. Both men then unsheathed 
their claws, and got ready for battle. Choosing sides, they jumped into 
the fray, helping the good guys.

Cordelia literally couldn’t believe it, when she saw who one of their 
helpers was. “XANDER!!!” she screamed, ducking a demon’s punch.

The man in question, of course, paid no attention - as ‘Alex’ had no 
memory of that name.

Suddenly a van, this one colored dark brown, arrived on the scene. 
Several black ops types came out and stunned Xander, after killing the 
vampire he was fighting with. Then they grabbed him, and dragged him to 
the van.

“NO!” Cordelia yelled. “Stop!”

She had heard what had happened to Xander, her ex-boyfriend, after 
coming to Sunnydale for the funeral six months before from Willow and 
Buffy. Now that she knew it had all been a trick, she was determined 
not to lose sight of him.

But all the girl managed to accomplish by charging towards him was to 
get stunned by the tasers herself, and thrown into the van beside him, 
which then roared off.

Finally Angel, Logan and Wesley managed to defeat the demons and 
vampires. Logan was unconscious from the battle, and so the vampire and 
the ex-Watcher just piled him into the car and took him with them back 
to the Hyperion hotel.


When they got there, they found the gang from Sunnydale waiting for 
them. The X-Men took Logan off Angel’s hands, and Jean started to check 
him out.

Even though, with Logan’s amazing healing powers, that was hardly 

As Wesley filled them in on what had happened, Angel withdrew away from 
the group. Leaving the others behind, Buffy sought him out.

After a long silence, the Slayer spoke. “Angel,” she said, not meaning 
to sound so wistful.

“Buffy,” the vampire replied, in exactly the same tone.

“You look well,” she said slowly, feeling the tension.

“You too,” he choked out.

“How things been?”

“Okay. You?”

“Can’t complain too much,” Buffy muttered. Then the young woman looked 
up at the souled vampire. “Actually, I can, but hey...”

“Know what you mean,” Angel said, looking back at her.

Theirs was a story of love and tragedy, and nearly everybody knew it. 
He had been her first true love, and to him she had been the one thing 
worth ‘living’ for. They had had their chances for happiness, but Fate 
had decreed otherwise for them.

“I have some news. It’s about Xander,” she suddenly said, looking away. 
It hurt too much, to stare at him like that for too long.

“I know,” he said, surprising her. She quickly looked back at Angel. 
“Wes, Cordy and I met him and his partner just a few minutes ago.”

Her eyes went wide. “You did?! Well, where is he?”

Angel frowned at her. “Didn’t you hear Wes tell it? Some people in 
camouflage gear grabbed him and Cordelia, and drove off before we could 
stop them.”

Buffy grew furious, and started pounding on his chest. “Not again?! 
Damn it!! We gotta find 'em!”

“I know. We will,” taking her in his arms without thinking about it. It 
felt so right, so natural, that she didn’t hesitate about putting her 
own arms around him and hugging him back. “I’ve got people looking for 
both of them, but I...”

All of a sudden, they heard someone call their names, as Logan 
recovered consciousness. Letting go, feeling very strange about their 
sudden intimacy, they rejoined the others.

Scott got off the phone, as he had contacted Professor Xavier in New 
York the moment he had heard about what had happened to Xander. “That 
was the Professor,” he said unnecessarily. “He’s gotten a fix on Alex’s 
location with Cerebro...”

“Alex? Cerebro?” Angel looked confused.

“That, er, is what Xander is calling himself these days,” Wesley said.

“And Cerebro is a fascinating device, th-that can be used to track 
mutants by their special brain waves,” Giles added helpfully.

“Xander’s a mutant?” Angel echoed in dumb amazement.

“Anyway,” Cyclops added impatiently, “Alex - I mean Xander, and 
probably your friend too, is currently at this address. Which is our 
next stop.” He handed a piece of paper to the vampire.

Angel felt instantly cold, even though that was impossible for the 
undead - souled or not. “I know this place. Wolfram and Hart recently 
leased it from one of the firms they do business with.”

“Wolfram and Hart are, uh, an evil law firm here in Los Angeles,” 
Wesley clarified.

“Yeah. And I think we’re in for big trouble,” Angel summed it up very 


Unknown location, Los Angeles. A short time previously

Ethan Rayne was roughly thrown into the room, and Agent Craig Downer 
followed him in.

“You know, the MIA had a lot of trouble tracking you down,” the agent 
said to the wizard.

“Well, I do hope you didn’t go to too much trouble on my behalf,” Ethan 
said mildly.

The government operative replied by hitting Ethan in the stomach. Rayne 
wheezed and doubled over, fighting to get his breath back, as Agent 
Downer started pacing around.

“There’s something you should know,” Craig said softly.

“What’s that?”

Downer pulled out his gun, a Glock 9 mm, and aimed it at Ethan. “You’re 
going to be a good citizen, and do a job for the government. Otherwise, 
you’ll be shot right here and buried tonight in an unmarked grave.”

Ethan smiled and shrugged, appreciating his honesty. “When you put it 
that way, how can I refuse?”

The agent holstered his sidearm. Then he lifted Ethan’s shirt, ignoring 
the Englishman’s surprise, and stuck a wafer-sized block of material 
onto his side. 

The material then glowed a bright yellow color. “Don’t try to remove 
it, it’s high explosive,” he warned Ethan. “Your mission is to find 
Subject Nighthawk-”

“The Harris boy?” Ethan interrupted in astonishment.

Craig hit him again, and Ethan took the hint, heaving in pain. “The 
orders are that he is not to be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. 
Now this bomb has been specially designed, to be activated by his brain 

Agent Downer then looked hard at him. “If you try to remove this before 
you’re in the same room as he is, we’ll instantly know, and I’ll 
detonate it myself. And there won’t be enough pieces of you left to 

“What’s to prevent me being killed once I do deliver your...package?” 
Ethan asked.

“There’ll be a slight delay before the bomb goes off. Time enough for 
you to get away.”

Ethan said nothing, but he personally thought that the other man was a 
lousy liar. The British magician understood that he had learned too 
much, and the bomb was meant to take him out as well.

“I suggest you start looking for him. If you haven’t found Subject 
Nighthawk or contacted me within a week, the bomb goes boom.” With 
that, Agent Downer left the room.

Ethan just smiled. < Typical Yank governmental idiot, > he thought to 
himself, < He doesn’t have any idea of what I’m capable of. >


Wolfram and Hart leased building, Los Angeles. A few hours later

Xander and Cordelia were unconscious on the floor, trapped in one of 
the basement offices. But suddenly Xander stirred, moaned and finally 
woke up.

Shaking his head, he noticed then that he wasn’t alone - the girl that 
he’d seen in the bar was in here, with him. He crawled over to her, and 
examined Cordelia’s features.

< Who are you? > Xander thought to himself. < Do I know you? I...think 
I do. Are you part of my past? And why did seeing you and your friends 
have such an effect on me? >

Excellent questions, for which he had no answers. But suddenly Cordelia 
groaned, and started to wake up as well.

The first thing she saw when she opened her eyes, was the young man’s 
face staring at her in concern. Someone she had once loved, and until 
today thought had died horribly and meaninglessly months ago.

“XANDER!!” she screamed, and embraced him tightly. Caught up in the 
moment, Cordelia then kissed him very hard and full on the mouth.

Xander was shocked, and for a moment didn’t know what to do. But her 
lips were certainly stirring up a lot of primal male hormones within 

< Go for it, you idiot! > the soldier within him was screaming. < She’s 
a hottie, and it’s been months since you’ve been with a woman. And 
she’s certainly acting as if you spent all of your last R and R in her 
arms! >

Xander didn’t need any more urging from his subconscious, and so he 
kissed her back. Very enthusiastically. But when he slid his arms 
behind her back, underneath her clothes, and then tried to lower her 
onto the floor, she quickly shoved him away.

“Excuse you!” Cordelia exclaimed. “We’re not gonna do that! Don’t even 
think I’ve forgiven you or anything!”

Xander tried to recover his equilibrium; it was obvious he’d made a 
serious error. “Um, I’m sorry ma’am, my mistake...” he tried to 

Cordelia just stared at him, as if he’d sprouted an extra limb on his 
forehead. “Ma’am? Wha- did you actually just call me that?”


“God! Have you completely lost it or what?” Xander just stared at her, 
not knowing what to say. “WELL?” Cordelia demanded. “Say something!”

Xander shrugged. “Who are you?” he asked, as it was the first thing 
that popped into his head.

Cordelia stared at him again. “What are you talking about, you 
dorkhead?” she asked immediately.

Xander got up, and helped Cordelia to her feet. “I don’t know you,” he 
said carefully. “I, uh, I lost my memory...some time ago. I take it 
though, you know me?”

“Of course I do!” she replied, exasperated and not believing him. Then 
the young woman noticed the dogtags around his neck. “What are those?” 
she pointed.

He showed them to her. “Nighthawk?” she said after reading them, 
incredulous. “Oh my God, are you actually using that stupid old 
nickname again?”

“It’s not a nickname,” he said in confusion.

Cordelia grew angry. “Alexander Lavelle Harris, I don’t know what kind 
of gag you’re trying to pull here. But I promise you, Cordelia Chase is 
one girl that’s not gonna fall for your line of...”

Suddenly she half-screamed, half-groaned and then stumbled forward, as 
a vision started to pass through her mind.

// An underground tunnel. Men and women rushing forward, fear 
everywhere. Xander, Buffy and Tara being buried in an avalanche of 
rocks, after a rumbling explosion. //

“Uhhhhh!” Cordelia clutched her head in agony, then started scrabbling 
for a painkiller in her pockets, silently thanking God when she found 

“What’s wrong?” Xander asked in concern.

“Oh, nothing much,” Cordelia said sarcastically, after taking the pill 
and swallowing it, waiting for the pain to subside. Then she said, “I 
just had a vision of you and two other people getting buried alive. 
Like, does that qualify as wrong to you?”

“You’re a seer? That’s your mutant power?” Xander asked, leaping to 

“Hey, I am not a mutant!” Cordelia retorted hotly.

Just then the door opened, and Ethan Rayne walked in.


“YOU!!” Xander and Cordelia both exclaimed at the same time.

Then Xander looked at her. “You know him too?” he asked in confusion.

“Like, yeah!” Cordelia replied in surprise. “I mean, after everything 
he’s done over the years...”

“Miss Chase,” Ethan said smoothly. “It HAS been a long time! You’ll 
have to excuse Mr. Harris - after all, he’s not quite the man he used 
to be. And I’m not just referring to his memory loss,” Ethan smirked.

“Who are you?” Xander asked, tensing himself.

“Ah yes, do let me introduce myself properly. The name is Ethan Rayne, 
actually, and I am sorry we couldn’t meet again under better 
circumstances, dear boy.”

“Xander, what is he talking about?” Cordelia asked, confused.

“Please permit me to explain it,” Ethan said, before Xander could say a 
word. “It’ll be a lot faster, and time IS of the essence. Up until 
about 3 months ago, our mutual friend Mr. Harris and I were guests of 
the United States government, at a very special facility in Nevada. 
Fortunately, some people came along and rescued him...”

“You brought them to me,” Xander remembered vaguely, his eyes 
narrowing. Finally, he was now getting some answers - his name, just 
for starters...

“For assistance in departing from that establishment in their jet, 
actually. However, things didn’t quite happen that way, and I had to 
make it out of there on my own.”

“So then what are you doing here?” asked Cordelia.

“Well...I’m here under orders to, ah, kill Subject Nighthawk over 
there,” Ethan said apologetically, gesturing towards Xander.

The mutant immediately got in front of Cordelia, shielding her from 
Ethan, but the young woman would have none of it. “WHY, you slime?”

“Now, now,” Ethan’s smile never faltered. “It’s not like any of this is 
MY idea. In any case, the MIA person who recruited me for the job 
didn’t exactly give me any other options. That’s why I had to contract 
for the special services of this charming law firm...”

“Wolfram and Hart?” Cordelia guessed instantly.

“Very good,” Ethan smiled at her. Then he turned to Xander. “You see I 
had to get into the same room as you, my young friend, before I could 
safely remove this explosive device. But that’s as far as my services 
go - because I dislike employers that make threats to kill me.”

He then removed the bomb stuck to his side, and placed it on the table. 
Then he withdrew a handful of salt from his pocket, and made a circle 
around himself.

“What are you doing?” asked Xander, bewildered.

“Making preparations,” was Ethan’s cryptic reply.

Suddenly, the bomb changed color from yellow to red. “Probably just 
been set on a countdown,” Ethan remarked, smirking, as if they were 
just chatting about the weather.

Cordelia asked in an angry tone, “Why are you grinning? I mean, you’re 
so gonna die too!”

Ethan just chuckled. “I don’t think so. Oh, and do give my regards to 
my ol’ mate Ripper. Sorry I can’t take you with me, but I’m sure you’ll 
be able to figure a way out for yourselves.”

He then started chanting in a strange language, and then a moment later 
simply vanished from the room in a burst of light.

For a moment Xander didn’t know what to think, but then he glanced at 
the bomb again and all his soldier instincts kicked in.

He grabbed Cordelia, and they flew across the room to the door. All ten 
of his claws then instantly flashed out with the usual ‘snick’ sound, 
and he plunged them into the thick oak wood. 

Xander quickly created an opening for them, tearing through the solid 
doorframe like a hot knife through butter, that was just big enough to 
fit through.

Ignoring the girl’s startled exclamations and making his claws vanish, 
Xander then dragged her out and along with him, looking for an exit out 
of the basement.

Suddenly they heard grating noise, as a hole in the floor opened up 
before them. Looking down, Cordelia saw Angel and the others waiting in 
the sewers below, and jumped.

Xander turned around, and saw the security camera aimed at him. “BOMB!” 
he yelled, hoping they could hear him or read his lips. He then dropped 
into the hole after Cordelia, a moment before the sirens started and a 
bell started clanging.

“Run!” Xander said, gesturing frantically to the people crowding around 
him - Angel, Buffy, the X-Men and their friends from Sunnydale and LA. 
“There’s a bomb, we gotta evac right now! Go - go - go!”

As everybody started running, as if in slow motion, the building 

In the heat of the moment, there was no time for Cordelia to give 
warnings about her vision. Xander remembered only at the last moment, 
and tried to dive onto Tara and Buffy as part of the tunnel started to 
collapse on them.

“NO!” Cordelia yelled. “They’re gonna die!”

Fortunately Jean Grey, who had decided to stick close to Xander, heard 
her and yanked at all three of them with her TK, just barely managing 
to pull them clear.

“We gotta get out of here NOW!” Angel hollered, as the group gathered 
up their three unconscious friends and left the area, before the entire 
sewer tunnel collapsed around them.


Hyperion hotel, Los Angeles. The next day

After the dust had settled, both literally and metaphorically, the 
group had split up, different people going their different ways.

Storm, Jean and Cyclops had gone back to New York in their black 
leather uniforms, once they were sure everyone was safe, to report to 
Professor Xavier.

Tara and Buffy had discharged themselves from St. Matthew’s hospital, 
and were now at Angel’s residence, along with Willow, Dawn and Giles.

Wesley, Gunn and Angel were also there, worried about Cordelia. The 
brunette girl was just sitting in a chair, and playing with a set of 
dogtags around her neck.

“I can’t believe that Xander and his friend just took off like that!” 
Buffy suddenly shouted, breaking the silence. “I mean, he didn’t even 
wait around for me to talk to him?”

“Or me,” mumbled Willow, who had not left Tara’s side during her 

“Me either,” added Dawn, who had similarly not left Buffy’s side.

“It wouldn’t have made any difference if you had talked to him,” Angel 
came over, and tried to calm Buffy down. “Both Xander and that other 
guy, Logan, they seemed real determined to catch up with Ethan Rayne 
and his MIA contact.”

“But...” Buffy started to say.

“Buffy...I’m afraid he’s right,” Giles said to her gently.

“I must agree, as well,” Wesley replied, his voice full of certainty.

“You talked to him? What did he say?” Buffy turned around and stared at 

The three men looked uncomfortable. “Buffy, our conversation was held 
under the strictest confidentiality...” Wesley started to say.

“Don’t you try to go all LA Confidential on me!” Buffy said vehemently. 

“Yeah!” agreed Willow and Dawn.

Angel looked at the two Watchers, and by silent consensus, started off 
the tale. 

“It was weird, at first,” he said slowly. “You know how Xander’s never 
liked me? There was none of that anymore, no resentment at all. No 
Deadboy jokes, nothing but straight polite questions...”

“He was even quite civil to me. Amazing,” Wesley added, shaking his 

“He asked us about his past,” Giles continued. “He ordered us to tell 
him everything about himself. And, er, we did. No holds barred, a-as it 
were. Even about his...dysfunctional family, just as he requested.”

“What happened?” asked Tara, who had been silent up till now.

Everyone looked briefly at her, before Giles adjusted his glasses and 
said timidly, “Um, well...”

“Giles!” shouted Buffy, Dawn and Willow.

“He summarized it in exactly six words,” Wesley said sadly. “And they 
were, uh, ‘Guy sounds like a useless wimp.’ Then...”

“What?” asked Gunn, getting into the conversation.

“He refused to talk, or even appear to think about any of it anymore,” 
Angel said, starting to brood about it. “He just took off, and we 
couldn’t find him again.”

As the girls started to argue and remonstrate with the guys, Gunn eased 
himself away from the others and went over to join Cordelia, who had 
continued sitting all alone and playing with her dogtags.

“Hey,” Gunn said, trying to cheer her up. “You okay?”

“Yes,” Cordelia replied.

“You don’t sound it,” Gunn replied, trying to be as honest as her.

She flashed him a quick grin, before looking down again. “I’ll be fine 
in a minute.”

“Those his dogtags?” Gunn asked, seeing the ‘Nighthawk’ insignia.

“Oh yeah,” Cordelia said vaguely. “He said that he wanted me to have 
them, just before he took off with that other loser. Something about if 
worst came to worst, and people thought I was a mutant, I should head 
for New York. The place he now considers home! And his friends there 
would help me out, when they saw these...”

Gunn could tell that she was really upset. “We could try to find him, 
if you want...”

“NO!” Cordelia got up, and started to move away. “No. It’s fine. Don’t 
do that. If I ever need to contact him again, I know who to go to.”

With that, she walked away, and Gunn stared after her. Wondering if she 
really was going to be okay.

Because Gunn had heard her and the mutant having a huge argument before 
the guy had finally left, one filled with shouts and tears - and she 
definitely hadn’t sounded all right to him.


Westchester, New York. One hour later

Professor Charles Xavier was watching the news on CNN in his private 
office, and the current item was the recent bombing in LA.

“ being called a mutant terrorist act by the MIA here in Los 
Angeles,” the TV reporter on the scene was saying. “Sources close to 
the investigation have hinted that a new mutant splinter group is 
trying to force Washington to reconsider its position, on the upcoming 
registration law.”

She continued, “Officially there are no other clues so far, but there 
are rumors that a security camera caught one of the terrorists on tape, 
before he could escape. We’ll have more on these developments, as soon 
as they come to hand - this is Julia Rosewood signing off, live in LA. 
Back to you, Harry.”

The TV anchorman smiled into the camera. “Thank you, Julia. In other 
news today, two African nations are on the brink of war...”

The TV set switched itself off, and Professor Xavier turned around and 
saw his students there - Storm, Cyclops, Rogue and Jean. “Thank you,” 
he said to the woman with TK ability.

“You’re welcome,” Jean replied, moving forward. “How are you?”

“Troubled, to be honest with you,” Charles said, slowly. He was 
concerned what all this might mean, in terms of the registration and 
the possible reprisals against his people.

“Have you heard anything from Alex and Logan?” asked Storm.

“No,” Xavier replied. “I must admit...I fear for them, and the other 
mutants out there alone and unprotected, given these new developments.”

“Me too,” added Rogue.

“But we can’t give up hope,” Storm then said softly.

The Professor’s mind recalled part of the conversation with Magneto, 
during their last chess game. “We need to have some hope for the 
future, Eric,” he’d said, moving a pawn.

“I’m not disputing that, Charles,” his opponent had replied, moving a 
rook. “But hope alone doesn’t stop the genocidal madmen. And if you 
think there’s any difference between what’s happening today and what 
Adolf Hitler was doing in 1938, then you are very much mistaken.”

Charles Xavier was pulled back to reality, by the sight of Cyclops 
opening up one of his favorite books. One about the life of a 17th 
century contemporary of the famous writer John Milton, who’d written 
‘Paradise Lost’.

And then the team leader started quoting a passage, that the Professor 
knew by heart:

“And finally the old man said to his sons, ‘I have travel’d round this 
changing world, and walk’d through it. Seen near aught but wars, 
pestilence 'n famine. But the worst I behel’d, the death of hope; the 
death o’ dreams; the crucible, where’pon all be truly lost.”

Scott paused. “The future be all’round thee, b’loved sons, awaiting t’ 
be born. Therefore I say unto thee, let be it one worthy f’ thine own 
offspring - with faith, with charity 'n 'bove all other, with hope in 
thy hearts.’ And then he lay down upon his bed, and moved nevermore.”

The Professor smiled at Scott, and then moved away, looking out his 
window towards the lawns of the academy, where many of the students 
were playing in the sun.

“Let us not give up hope then,” Charles Francis Xavier said softly, 
banishing the vision of the mobs attacking his people one day, from his 

< Hopefully, > he thought, < today will be a good day in this world. >