Born to a standard middle-class household in a small city near Cleveland, Ohio, Nolan's childhood was normal. He played soccer, was in the accelerated program in school, and grew normally as time went on. Smart, relatively well-liked, and athletic, he seemed headed for glory.
Things remained positive until his ninth birthday (or rather, a month or so before). The family went to the beach, flying to Florida for the annual vacation. There he was, sunning on the beach, reading a book, when the book caught fire, and fell to the ground. At the same time, his parents rushed over to him, screaming in terror, as he realized that he was on fire, a golden fire. He felt fine, but he was literally blazing with energy. As quickly as it had come, his body was normal again, but the damage was done. He was...different.
He stayed with his parents until he was ten. They wanted to keep him. They didn't care about his mutation. He was their son, and nothing would change that. Then the threats began appearing. Apparently there were some awfully religious, jealous, or unaccepting parents nearby, and they werenot happy with Nolan being around their children.
They threatened to take action if he wasn't...dealt with. His family refused to consider the notion, but the motion had already been set in place. Several days later, before any kind of assault on Nolan could occur, an attorney of some kind showed up at the Dominic front door. He offered a choice: take Nolan to a place where he would be safe, and learn to use his abilities, or be left alone, to fend for himself. His parents steadfastly refused.
The parents were in part influenced by one William Stryker, who was a close personal friend of the Dominic's, and placed unsavory thoughts about Xavier's Academy into their heads. Soon after their refusal, Nolan was kidnapped in the dark of night, and dragged to a secret facility, where Stryker attempted to turn the poor ten year old into a perfect mutant child-soldier.
After a raid on Xavier's, capturing several mutant sutdents, including Cataleia, Stryker began his experiments, injecting Nolan with DNA siphoned from Cataleia, in an attempt to add to his mutant powers. He was met with partial success, and a strange side effect. Nolan indeed gained some of Cataleia's powers, but only photokinetically-related, and far weaker than what Stryker had hoped for.
As more testing was prepared, the X-Men team finally rescued Cataleia and her academy friends, but took pity on Nolan, and freed him as well, bringing him back to the academy, where he was quickly welcomed and his training began. There he stayed, growing up alongside other mutants, and becoming a expert in all manners of his abilities. For fifteen years he lived there, leaving from time to time to go out into the world for missions, vacations, or other reasons. When M-Day rolled around, Nolan was one of the many who lost his abilities.
He refused to give up, however, and spent days, weeks, and months outside, attempting to reawaken the X-Gene he was sure he still contained. After much consternation and countless days of attempts, it worked. His abilities sparked back into existence the same way they had so many years ago- he caught fire and burned a small section of the countryside.
Since then, he's worked his old job, as the teacher of close-quarters combat at the Academy, and is still incredibly close with Cataleia.