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 takes place in the universe created with the X-Men movie, and is set about two years before Wolverine arrives in Westchester.

The coffee was terrible.  Not only was it watered down, but the water must have come from unprocessed sewage, judging by its taste.  On the other hand, he really hadn't expected the coffee to be any good.  After all, he was in a truck stop along I95.

He took another sip of his drink, and glanced at his eggs as the waitress placed them on the table.  Looking up, he gave her an expression that said: "What is this supposed to be?"  She pointedly ignored his look, leaving the plate of eggs behind.  He poked them with his fork to make sure they weren't some strange, alien life form that was going to take over his body.  When they didn't move of their own volition, he decided to take a bite.  Yum, slimy, he thought to himself.  Some sat down across from him, but he ignored his "guest" until he had finished his meal.  "Something I can do for you?" he asked.

It was a strikingly-beautiful woman, with red hair pulled back into a ponytail.  "Alex, why are you running away?"  Only a few hours before, Alexander Summers decided that he had had enough of Charles Xavier's school the life that went along with it.  His brother and his brother's girlfriend – the woman sitting across from him – graduated two years before, and were teachers at the Xavier Institute.  When Alex received his high school diploma, both Xavier and Scott Summers agreed to respect whatever decision he made about his life.  "You have so much potential … you can make such a difference to these people's lives.  Come back with me."  Apparently she could not sit back and let the younger Summers brother make his own decisions.

He looked down at the clothing he wore.  Beneath a denim jacket and blue jeans was a black jumpsuit.  To any onlooker it looked like an ordinary t-shirt.  In fact, it was the only thing keeping him from leveling the restaurant.  "It's different for you and Scott.  I believe in Xavier's Dream, but I'd rather live in the world then be a soldier fighting to change it."  A ring of white expanded from the center of his abdomen, changing the color of the jumpsuit.  Soon, several white could be seen.  When he spoke again, his voice was that of a defeated man.  "The only reason I came to you people was because I had no choice … do you know what it feels like to know that all that's keeping you from destroying everything in sight is a piece of clothing."  He sighed, shaking his head.  "I can't even take a shower without melting the bathroom.  Going back won't change any of that."

Jean placed a hand on one of his with genuine sympathy.  "Running away won't make a difference, either."  He knew she was right, but his expression did not betray that.  "Living at the school doesn't mean that you won't have a life.  It's where your family is, and we need you.  You'll have a chance to help others …. You can do so much more as an X-Man than alone.  Change your mind, Alex."

The plate turned to sand when Alex touched it with his other hand.  "I can't hold back forever.  One day all this energy is going to break free, and everyone around me is going to be dead."  A tear came to his eye.  Alex had never felt so helpless, even when his mother and father died in the plane crash years before.  "I couldn't go on knowing that I'd murdered people; especially the ones I care about."

"But it's not murder!" she protested.  "You may not be able to control it now, but one day …. Stay with us."

"It is murder, Jean.  I know it's going to happen, and if I don't prevent it, I'm at fault.  If I go back and everything works out, great."  His face and tone turned angry, some energy returning as he tried to conquer his fear.  "More likely, I'll lose control, and you can say, 'goodbye.'"

"Aren't you being overdramatic?"

"No," Alex said shortly, placing a ten-dollar bill on the table.  He left without another word, ignoring Jean when she followed.  He climbed onto his motorcycle and rode off.  I'll come back, he promised himself.  When I don't need this jumpsuit, and when I'm not afraid of killing everyone I meet.

The scenery began to change as he rode farther from the coast, soon leaving I95 for another interstate.  He really did not know which one he was on now, but it was an even number and therefore ran east-west.  Several times, he had to stop to for gas, but he continued heading in the same direction.  After night had fallen, Alex decided to pull of the highway and find a place to sleep.  He stayed in a cheap hotel, not far from the interstate.

The pressure's building, like water behind a dam.  I have to let it go....  Before releasing the cosmic energy, Alex snuck outside the motel and made his way into a ring of trees and bushes.  Yellow-white plasma exploded from his body in a single burst, disintegrating his denim clothing.  Any nearby plants were either on fire or turned to ash.  The closest thing to a poem that he had memorized came to mind, and the young mutant found himself reciting Shakespeare.

"And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,

With Ate by his side come hot from hell,

Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice

Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men groaning for burial." 

He looked down and saw the black jumpsuit still on his body, thankful for what little he had.  His cowl lay on the ground, and he picked it off what remained of the grass.  In the morning, he would need to buy new clothing.  Fortunately, (he hoped) he had left his wallet inside the motel room.