Disclaimer: All copyrights go to Marvel Comics and 20th Century Fox. There are no original characters in this unedited story.

Author's Note: This first scene is set about two years before Wolverine returns to Westchester in X2.

The Mazda pulled up towards the garage, and Scott let out a loud curse. His brother, the only passenger in the car, smirked in amusement. "Did something happen, or are you just happy to be home?"

Scott stared pointedly at a point on the driveway that was conspicuously empty. "Logan took my bike."

Alex did not recognize the name, but the couple of years since his graduation were plenty of time for new arrivals at Mutant High. From the scowl on Scott's face, he obviously disliked the man. Anyone who got on his brother's nerve was someone Alex wanted to meet. Much as he loved his brother, Scott tended to be very controlling. "Student or teacher?"

"You could say he's a part-time X-Man. He was in the infirmary when you showed up with Hank and Angelica."

The image of a scruffy man popped into Alex's head. His friendship with Hank meant that Alex was not quick to judge on appearances. Still, the connection of face and name was unsettling. Logan was the type of person that screamed "dangerous" even in his sleep. "I'll be sure to keep away from him when he gets back."

Scott had a good laugh as he put the car into the garage. "He isn't known for his sunny personality," the elder Summers brother replied with his own smirk. He was far from worried about the bike, since there were so many cars and motorcycles in the garage. Most were a lot more expensive than the ride Logan had borrowed. "You should get to sleep. There's a Danger Room session in the morning."

Alex involuntary winced at the suggestion. There was a reason he had left the Xavier Institute after graduation that had nothing to do with his uncontrolled powers. Scott was a natural leader, and that meant he had a controlling influence on those around him. Alex let out a sigh and took his brother's advice.

Xxxxx

The Danger Room created imaginary battlegrounds and opponents, much like the holodecks on Star Trek. Yet Danger Room sessions were exclusively for training and education. They were never pure recreation. Scott and Jean were up in the Control Room, choosing just what opposition the trainees would face.

"What are we up against this time?" Firestar asked her mentor.

Alexander "Havok" Summers checked the armbands that were his life. They felt warm, almost as if the mechanical devices anticipated battle. Or maybe that was his Mutation. His body soaked up cosmic radiation and converted it into waves of superheated plasma. The golden armbands were the only things that kept the plasma from constantly destroying everything around him. "Remember the Sentinel that tried to bring you in? Meet his little brother."

The large, empty room faded out of existence, to be replaced by a destroyed cityscape. It was a chilling sight. Buildings were long abandoned and cars were on fire, and the whole city was covered in a thick layer of smog. Out of the haze approached a purple-and-blue robot that was ridiculous in its bright color scheme. Glowing eyes and a familiar silhouette were enough to force any humor out of the scene.

/ "Known Mutants detected. Stand by for apprehension. Halt, Mutant." / The Sentinel raised a hand with a hole in the center. Light began to coalesce, and Firestar leapt into action.

A glow permeated her body that quickly burst into flames. The fire had nothing to do with the Sentinel, but was rather Firestar's Mutation: the ability to channel microwave radiation into fire. When the Sentinel's energy beam came at her, Firestar flew seven feet into the air. Flames built up around her body, and with a thrusting motion of her arms the fire engulfed the machine. Armor and innards alike melted into a dripping pile or machinery, the lights of the Sentinel's eyes went black.

Firestar turned to send Havok a grin.

"Are you ready for round two?" he asked.

Her ability to fight off the Sentinels on her own was impressive, but with each consecutive round came a greater number of opponents. In round three, Havok started to shout out advice. In the fifth and final round, he joined the fight at her direction. Basic leadership skills and tactics were taught to all potential X-Men, and Firestar certainly had the potential.

"That's it for today," Scott said over the loudspeaker. "Clear out for the next group." The exit to the Danger Room opened up and the two combatants filed out as the cityscape was replaced by the empty chamber.

Angelica "Firestar" Jones picked up a towel and dabbed at her face. Even though she emitted the flames, she still felt the heat. Alex watched her pause to catch her breath. He felt compelled to say something about the session, but was not sure why. Maybe it was because he knew Scott would give no praise. "You're really improving, Angelica. Do you want to be an X-Man that badly?"

She responded to the lighthearted question with a scowl. "You should know me better than that, Alex. I'm not doing this to be an X-Man. I just want to be able to defend myself if the Mutant Registration Agency decides I might make be fun to experiment on."

Alex felt his mouth drop open. He did not need or want a reminder of what the world might be like if the MRA was ever sanctioned by the Government. The scene from the Danger Room came back to him, and all Alex saw was a war-torn America with every Mutant interned.