Magneto gripped his hands slowly into a fist, grinning maniacally as the metal coiled around his archenemies' cold, clammy bodies.

            "Oh my stars and garters," said Beast.

            "Heaven help us," whispered Ororo in prayer.

            Wolverine, however, had a confident smirk on his face. "Aw, don't get so worried, guys! Adamantium claws can cut through just about anything, and this big piece o' string's no exception. The Wolverine'll have you out in no time!"

            His hands still at his sides, Logan unsheathed his claws with a quick 'snikt'… right out of the steel binding. Lifting his arms up, his claws cut through the steel alloy like a knife through butter, until his arms shot up, no more metal to cut through.

"Let's go, guys!" he shouted, leaping forward.

            "No!" cried Magneto in frustration. "How many lives do you possess?!?" He motioned with his hand disdainfully and tossed Wolverine's metal-skeletoned body aside like a toy.

            "X-Men, hit hard and fast! Don't try to regroup!" ordered Cyclops, following Storm out of the binding. As soon as she moved, he fired off an optic blast, hitting the master of magnetism in the leg. Magneto fell to the ground with a short cry more of surprise than pain and turned around. A stupid mistake.

            Jean Grey took advantage of his blunder by hitting him with a telekinetic mind-blast. Magneto slumped to the ground, yet again having to toss Wolverine aside before the wild man could cut him in half.

            Beast, inactive until now, rushed forward on all fours and kicked Magneto in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him for a moment. He used the belly as a springboard, bouncing backwards over Storm's concentrating and stiff body. Her eyes grew white with anger and dark power. "You sought to deceive us, Magneto," she thundered, ushering forth a mighty wind. "But you deceived yourself when you thought you could stop us, self-proclaimed master of magnetism." She hurled a lightning bolt in his direction, missing by only an inch. "No evil in the world can stop the X-Men, Magneto! Not even you!"

            Concentrating on the weather-witch, Magneto did not see Cyclops behind him, and did not have time to prevent the optic blast from hitting his back. He felt his backbone bend and crumpled to the floor. "No!" he shouted. "This cannot be! I am Magneto! I am the master of magnetism! I am power!!!"

            He rose up, hovering above the floor, and sent a wave of magnetic force back. It was as though he had fired a force-field; the X-Men all flew backwards into the walls behind them.

            Wolverine was the first up. "You've been messin' with me for a while, Maggie, ever since Silverback came to our door. But no more!" He made a gigantic leap, and a quick one. Magneto never saw the kick hit his jaw, but felt himself fly backwards, right into the steel tank. "Hit 'im high, 'Roro!" shouted Logan.

            Storm took her cue and summoned a gust of wind, bringing it to Magneto. "Let us see if you can fight the elements, Magneto!" she taunted, lifting him above the tank of bubbling liquid iron. Magneto fought to gain control of himself, but Storm's wind was a greater power than his magnetism. Only one chance…

            He summoned all his might and lifted his hands high. The boiling liquid below him rose up, and then, in an instant, he let go. The tank fell like a feather on its side, and the deadly acid spilled to the ground. Confidently, he hovered above the chaos he had created, surveying it with a smile. "You have won today's battle, X-men," he said. "Let us see if you can survive victory!"

            And, as he had done on so many occasions before, he flew out through the roof, leaving nothing behind but his enemies.

            Cyclops acted as leader. "Everyone, stay away from that stuff as best you can! Storm, Jean, grab as many X-Men as you can! You gals can fly and we can't! We've got to get out of here!"

            Jean grabbed her husband by the neck and dove down to Logan, grabbing his hand. Storm flew down from her perch in the sky and grabbed Beast and Nightcrawler. Angel flew with them. As the steel alloy began eating through the floor, they made a last desparate leap above the roof. They never saw the metal alloy eat through the generator of the complex. They never saw it spark, the fuses fusing together. All they saw was the last-minute explosion that nearly devoured them. That, and the safety of the Blackbird that waited in front of them.

            They landed, and Cyclops stood in front of his team. "Come on, guys," he said, his weariness apparent for the first time. "Let's go home."

            Epilogue

            Logan traveled through the wilderness, a man without a past. He had once that to be a brother, to a mutant, with powers similar to his. He had thought for the first time that he had… fit in. But it was all a crazy dream, he supposed.

            When they had arrived home, Jean had contacted the Professor all the way in the Shi'ar galaxy, and he had wiped Wolverine's fear of fire away like a rag would wipe away dust. But Logan was not content.

            He knew that he had been named Logan long ago, and he seemed to remember… a girl. Beautiful, lovely, loving. This was all he could remember. After the Silverback Incident, as it was now referred to, he had chosen to leave the X-men. There were too many unanswered questions he needed to think about. He was too lonely.

            He sat on a log, grabbing a mushroom he recognized as edible, and munched on it. He heard a soft footstep and looked behind. There, he saw a large black wolf with, oddly enough, a large silver stripe down the back. He saw the stripe first, and the wolf gave a long howl to the full moon above them.

            A tear slid down Logan's cheek.