Near Fort Albany, Ontario, a cruel father screams at his son, and keeps hitting him time and again to the horror of three other children. He suddenly stops as his son's eyes have begun to glow with blue energy. Next, the farmhouse explodes. In a Montreal, Xavier is meeting with Northstar. Charles tells him that recent events have left the school understaffed, and offers him a teaching position. Jean-Paul is skeptical but the Professor urges him to take the position, as he could become a role model for other gay people. He suggests that Northstar could teach Business and Economics. Northstar tells Xavier that he will at least consider it. Charles also tells him that the X-Men are in the area, but with two of them still recovering from recent injuries, they might need his help. Northstar agrees and meets Nightcrawler, Iceman, Archangel and Stacy X at the remains of farmhouse near Fort Albany. The team is slightly annoyed because of Northstar‘s usual arrogant attitude, but soon they find the dead father and all the children still alive, even little Peter, who caused the explosion. He feels that another charge is building up, so he can’t join the others in the Blackbird as he might blow it up. Northstar offers to fly him to Xavier‘s school himself, and along the way he and the kid talk. Jean Paul speaks of an argument he had with his father when he revealed he was gay. The kid freaks out and explodes again, separating them, but Northstar can catch him before he Peter hits the ground. Aboard the X-jet, the other X-men observe Northstar's flight. Stacy and Archangel have troubles dealing with them almost kissing recently, and suddenly, one of her ears falls off and her skin starts to shred. She tries to cover her face in shame. Meanwhile, Peter realizes an explosion is building and tries to warn Northstar, but it’s too late. Jean Paul wakes up in a field. Peter is lying beside him, not moving. Xavier's astral self appears, and explains that the boy’s power works automatic, it can’t be turned off, though the Avengers have a special chamber that might contain the blasts. Jean Paul tries his hardest, but realizes he can’t make it in time. Instead of staying at a safe distance, Northstar comforts the boy right before he explodes for the final time Jean-Paul awakens at Xavier's. He tells Xavier he has thought about it, and he would like to take the teaching position at the Institute.
On a farm outside Fort Albany, Ontario, a cruel father ruthlessly beats his son in front of his other three young children. The man screams at his son, cursing him for crying over a girl. Suddenly he stops; his son's eyes have begun to glow with blue energy. The farmhouse explodes.
In a Montreal skyscraper, Charles Xavier is meeting with Jean-Paul Beaubier, the mutant also known as Northstar. Charles tells Jean-Paul that the recent Shi'ar attack and a flow of Genoshan refugees have left the school understaffed, and offers him a teaching position at the Institute. Jean-Paul is skeptical: he doesn't believe that the Institute will be able to provide the money or lifestyle that he is enjoying in his corporate life. Charles admits this, but tells Jean-Paul that it will be a chance to tell others his "unique point of view." Northstar points out that he has no urge to make mutant unity his personal mantra, but Xavier makes it clear that he isn't referring to Northstar's mutant point of view.
The professor continues that his entire life he has been trying to integrate those whose genetic differences set them apart. Actually the term “sexual preference“ is a misnomer, it should be called “sexual determination“. Xavier urges Jean-Paul to take the position, telling him that there are gay mutants who could benefit from having a role-model to guide them. With his curiosity aroused, Jean-Paul wonders what he should teach as a former Olympic athlete; surely not boy’s gym, that would be too progressive. Xavier suggests that Northstar could teach Business and Economics, one of his lesser-known talents. Northstar only tells Xavier that he will consider it, but will likely reject the offer in the end.
Charles brings up the second point of the meeting: the X-Men are investigating an energy spike that registered in Fort Albany, but may need help, as the investigating squad is overall rather weak, with several among the team not fully recovered from recent injuries. Northstar agrees, thinking that it might be fun, and Xavier rises to shake his hand. Jean-Paul is stunned; he failed to realize it when he arrived, but the professor is walking. Xavier points out that the only constant thing in life is change.
A squad of X-Men consisting of Archangel, Iceman, Nightcrawler and Stacy X arrive at the ruined Fort Albany farmhouse. Despite the team's objections, as he has still a broken arm and leg to deal with, Warren prepares to check out the inside, while he orders the others to search outside. Before he can enter the house, Northstar appears, wondering if Archangel didn’t use to have blue skin. Nightcrawler makes a joke that he got jealous and made Warren change, after all he was blue first. Iceman teases Northstar on his reasons for being there, has Alpha Flight kicked him out for good ? Jean-Paul tells the others that the Professor sent him to assist in the mission. Looking at Warren, he says that Xavier was right and tells Archangel to stay back while they other may accompany him. Following him inside the farmhouse, Iceman and Nightcrawler sarcastically thank Jean-Paul for his generosity.
Now by themselves, Stacy asks Warren who Northstar is, and he explains to her that Jean-Paul used to be a member of Alpha Flight, Canada’s own hero team like the Avengers. He then apologizes for not having introduced her, but Stacy says it’s okay. She tells Warren that she "didn't mean that kiss the other day the way you thinks I did." He cuts her off, assuring her that she doesn’t need to apologize. Stacy angrily replies that she wasn’t apologizing, but Warren asks her just forget the whole incident. They too enter the farmhouse.
Before the team begins their search, Jean-Paul can’t help but to notice the recent change in Kurt’s attitude back to his swashbuckling attitude, which he prefers over his repressed days as a priest. The team spreads out and Northstar finds the remains of someone underneath a pile of debris. His discovery is interrupted by a wail from another room. The X-Men rush in to find three children, bruised and scared, but otherwise alive. One of the girls marvel at the sight of Warren, she thinks he is a real angel. Stacy enters an adjacent room and finds Peter. He screams at her that "he didn't mean to do it" and that "it just happened."
The team brings the children outside. Peter thinks that Nightcrawler is looking cool, while Northstar is unsure how to handle the little girl he is carrying. The older girl asks Warren if he is going to take her to her mother. He asks where she is, and the girl says “Heaven“. Stacy, now holding the girl that Northstar had been carrying interrupts, and says that this angel doesn’t know heaven yet, though they are going to take them someplace fun. They prepare to board the Blackbird, however Peter becomes hysterical, warning them that he can feel a force building inside him, and that he is going to explode. Northstar has no patience with the child, and orders him aboard the plane. Archangel calls to him, telling him to get away from the boy. Jean-Paul becomes annoyed, but before he can finish his next sentence the boy explodes with blue energy.
Northstar is sent flying into a tree, which he bounces off, dazed. Jean-Paul picks himself up and runs over to the boy, enraged. He lifts the boy up by his shirt collar, yelling at him and demanding to know what he is doing. The boy tries to tell him that he meant no harm. Warren arrives and grabs Jean-Paul by the throat, ordering him to let the boy go. It’s not his fault, the boy’s powers are manifesting for the first time and has no control. Jean-Paul reluctantly lets go of Peter. Warren then offers to fly the kid back to Xavier's himself, since taking him aboard the plane would pose a risk to the other X-Men. Northstar disagrees: he believes that he is the only one strong enough to survive another one of the boy's explosions, and demands to take the boy himself. Warren is convinced, but tells Jean-Paul to be careful: his top speed could easily kill the kid.
Northstar and the boy take off into the air, watched by Warren and Stacy. She hopes that “he’ll be ...“ , but Warren interrupts her thoughts and tells her they have to get the other kids some medical attention. He turns his back on her and heads towards the jet.
As they are flying, Peter starts to tell Northstar about the events that led up to the explosion: his father had been verbally and physically abusing him when his powers manifested. Jean-Paul asks him why his father was so angry, but the boy doesn't want to say. Jean-Paul tells Peter that it couldn't be any worse than the last conversation he had with his own father, where his father had nearly killed him after learning he was a homosexual. Peter freaks out and begins struggling to get away when he learns Northstar is a "fruit", until Jean-Paul reminds him how high up they are. The kid screams "I'm not a queer and you can't make me!" Northstar becomes angry, wondering why he decided to save the kid in the first place.
Suddenly, the boy's eyes light up with blue energy again, and another explosion is issued forth, flinging the two apart. When Jean-Paul recovers, he sees the boy plummeting to his death. Using his top speed, Northstar saves the boy mere inches from the ground. The kid tells him that he isn't gay, and Northstar responds with "And I'm not into little boys. I prefer men with hair on their chests." Peter finds this hilarious.
In the X-Jet, the other X-Men observe Northstar's flight. Warren wishes that there was some other way to transport the kid, prompting Stacy to ask if Warren trusts Jean-Paul. Archangel admits that he doesn't: Jean-Paul has been unpredictable in the past. Stacy becomes angry when Warren doesn't look at her when he answers. She tells him that she already apologized for insulting Husk and insists that the earlier kiss she gave him was just to show her gratitude. Suddenly, Stacy's ear falls off! She screams for the others not to look at her and tries to cover her face with her hands.
Meanwhile, Northstar and the boy exchange names. The kid apologizes for calling Jean-Paul a "fruit", it’s just that he never met a gay person before. Jean-Paul says it's okay - he's been called much worse in the past. He promises Peter that Xavier will be able to help him contain his explosions. He then asks Peter why he fought with his father. Peter tells him that it was because he fell in love with a girl named Nikki, who didn't love him back. Peter had been crying about it, which had enraged his dad. He admits that it was a stupid thing to cry over, but Northstar tells him that matters of the heart are always important. Peter wonders why his father never said things like what Northstar said, and wonders if he should have been gay. Jean-Paul tells him that "you are what you are." Peter suddenly becomes anxious as he realizes that another explosion is building within him!
Northstar wakes up lying in a field. He is bloody and bruised, and has a black eye. Peter is lying beside him, not moving. Xavier's face appears in a massive psychic projection he tells Jean-Paul that the boy will die without immediate medical attention. Northstar wonder what triggered the last explosion as the boy was not angry like the other times. Xavier replies that unfortunately the explosions are coming automatic. Already during their trip, he has been trying to work with the boy's mutation, but his power is contained in every single cell of his body. Charles tells Jean-Paul that the Avengers have a chamber in their base which may help Peter. Jean-Paul says he can be there in thirty minutes.
Peter regains consciousness, and Northstar tells him that they must fly very quickly. Peter says that he is in too much pain, and that he senses another explosion building. Northstar screams to Xavier to help the boy and stop the impending explosion. With sadness, Xavier tells Northstar that he cannot do anything: he isn't a god, and neither is Jean-Paul. Northstar becomes enraged, shouting that he is a god, and that he "always wins." He offers to take Peter to the hospital that they just passed, but the boy refuses, as he would only end up killing people there. He tells Northstar to fly away while he can, but Jean-Paul refuses to leave him, tears streaming down his face. Peter asks Jean-Paul if he is really going to die this time. Seeing Xavier's anguished face, Northstar realizes that there is no hope for Peter. He tells the boy that he is going to die. Peter’s last question is if Nikki will ever think about him or wonder what happened to him, just as another explosion rips them apart.
Jean-Paul awakens in a hospital bed at Xavier's mansion. Warren is checking on a patient completely wrapped in bandages next to Jean-Paul, and Jean-Paul asks him if that is Peter's body. Warren tells him that it is not Peter, but Stacy, the woman who was with them at the farmhouse. He apologizes for not introducing them. Xavier enters the room and tells Jean-Paul that Peter is dead. Peter's siblings are with extended family, and the X-Men have requested a duplicate chamber from the Avengers in case Peter's siblings turn out to have the same powers. Northstar asks Charles if they could have saved the boy. Xavier doesn't think so, but admits that he will keep replaying the scenario over and over in his mind. Nurse Annie, who was checking Northstar’s vital signs, tells Charles that he will have to leave the patients time to recover. Jean-Paul stops him before he can leave. He has thought about it, and he would like to take the teaching position at the Institute.