A/N: Well, I'm a little upset that the last episode wasn't better. It was great on the humor scale, but the plots and such were… sketchy. Too much politics, not enough smashing. And this is coming from a girl who isn't very fond of fight scenes. But George was back. Anyone know when the next episode is on?

Disclaimer: I own Melody, Carson, and Mandy. Kevin's POV.


'I'll sing for the broken-hearted,
I'll sing for the dreams that won't come true.
And the music won't stop playin',
And tonight I'll sing for you
I'll dream about the place we started,
Hold on to the past I can't undo.
But the music kept on playin',
And tonight we sing for you.'
~'Sing for You', Honor Society

Aftermath

When you hear a bomb shake the ground overhead, you know something serious is going on. It's a given, no questions asked. You just know that something went wrong or that something is wrong. It's something that everyone knows. Or at least something everyone should know.

That, and you don't forget the quake of a bomb once you feel it the first time. I'd adapted well enough to all the explosions that take out the city that we lived under. The good news was that our little underground safe house was protected from the blast. The world had been shaken up, but our ceiling had remained still and intact.

Carson and Mandy had taught us the normal procedures for bombs in the city. They'd drilled it into us like they were army generals. And, well, they were. Carson led our little army with Mandy as his right-wing woman. She was always there with a fun new "toy" in hand, ready to fight to defend her turf and our lives with her own. Those two were a dangerous duo. If anyone looked dangerous, it was them. I was only a drudge in the group, the enforcer. And our little con-artist, seductive tool, and local street musician was Melody. She could pass herself off as anyone and everyone, going undercover one minute to being a deadly weapon the next, ready to attack in a heartbeat.

We were trained by the best of the best. Mandy and Carson meant more to us than the world. They were mentors, parents, siblings, family, leaders. They were our lives.

The first thing Melody did was give me a long look. Her black eyes zeroed in on mine and horror wrote itself across her face, her lower lip beginning to quiver. The sheer idea of them being gone in a fiery blast...

Well, for me, it was like watching them die all over again. Except this time, we couldn't see them as they burned. I wouldn't see them cry, I wouldn't see them fall, I wouldn't see the flames consume their flesh. No, not this time. This time it had been fast, a job well done. A slow fire can induce more pain, but it also makes the end result less reliable. An explosion, however...

I was charging for the entrance until Melody got her tiny hands wrapped around my bicep. She stopped me just long enough to say, "Kevin, it's over!" Her voice was shaking and quaking, fear clear in her tone. She was terrified. "They're up there! It's done!"

I looked over my shoulder after pausing to see her scared face, that same scared, lonely face that had first made me pick her up off the streets. Her dark eyes were spilling fresh sapphire tears. They streamed down her porcelain cheeks; trails of diamond-like moisture were left behind. Her white hair hung around her face like curtains of ivory, shielding some of her face from me, but it was easy to tell that she was in as much pain as I was over this loss. "It's done," she said again, a slight sob racking her thin, fragile body. "They're gone."

My head still wasn't on straight, but I knew better than to leave us out in the open. Part of me was dead on the inside. I'd just lost my siblings, my family, the two who had trained me to be one of the most feared criminals in the business. They meant more to me than anyone would ever imagine. More to me than Gwen. Because they'd been the ones to lead me to her. They'd been the reason I'd had to leave her behind in Bellwood. "Come on." I took Melody's hand and tugged her into the side rooms, watching her eyes grow dim and dark as she began to cry harder. Tears still stained her cheeks.

Quickly and quietly, I bent down and moved around some of the boxes that had been under the beds so that they were all under one. Money, identities, license plates, and wallets were stashed in my boxes. The other stash was Carson's. I had no clue what he kept in his. Once there was enough space, I ushered Melody under and let her get comfortable in the cramped space before shifting myself below the makeshift bed as well.

It's decent for one person, but it's a bit crowded for two. The bed frame is just a plank on top of two sideways plants with some nails in 'em. They were probably only three feet off the ground, tops. Then there was the issue of the boards on the sides which were only about four feet apart and then the width of the plank on top was only about two and a half feet. We only made due with what we had. All our real cash for good stuff went into Mandy's weapons and the two cars we had.

I shouldered my way under to curl in beside Melody, glad that she was so tiny. Otherwise, there was no way in Hell we would've fit under there. Her lithe frame only took up maybe a third of the space, leaving enough for me to at least sit there comfortably with my knees tucked to my chest. It wasn't horrible, but it was hard.

The drill was that you sit down there until you know it's safe or for three days, whichever came sooner. Mandy and Carson never came back down. We waited three days.

We couldn't move from the little room, that was a rule. That was why we kept trail mix taped to the bottom of our beds or against the walls. I was grateful that we still had something left going for us. Carson had been nice enough to make sure that he had a fresh bag on the underside of his bed for us. We were lucky. My trail mix was probably at least eight months old, probably already expired if that's possible for trail mix.

Melody didn't talk much. She curled up and kept her head tucked to my body, arms wrapped around herself as if she was trying to keep all the pain in with a hug. When she wasn't completely silent, she was muttering words, singing little songs with no real power behind them. I knew her songs by heart because I had heard them a few too many times, but these were just old nursery rhymes. They meant nothing.

I was working out on how to deal with my inner demons. I was so pissed that I wanted to strangle someone, so pissed that I was ready to jump out of our hideaway and go slaughter some Knights in their sleep. They couldn't take away my family without losing some of their own. I had to figure that they'd lost at least one of their own in the process of blowing up my siblings, but that wasn't enough for me. I was out for blood, and they should've known that from the start.

New York wasn't a place for rookies. No one should've been playing games on those streets. It was life or death, risk it all, do or die. Either someone was going to emerge from the battlefield victorious, or we were all going down in smoke and flames. One way or another, New York was turning into the Hell I'd escaped in the Null Void. It wasn't even a city anymore. It was a war zone.

But Melody and I hid, pain ebbing away our thoughts of peace until we were numb to the idea of not hitting. Three days of complete solitude, unsure of Mandy and Carson's survival. They'd left us with a taste for blood and just one more reason to want it. We were like starved wolves. Or at least I was. Melody just cried.

Three days passed under the bed. We lived off of the trail mix under my bed and the bag under Carson's. We were lucky mine hadn't expired yet. The glory of trail mix is so understated.

I was hungry for revenge after crawling out from under that bed. My muscles ached from sitting still for so long, my shoulder screaming as I moved them for the first time in days. I reached down and took Melody's hand to pull her out from our hiding spot as her dark eyes glowed red from all her crying. The whiteness in them was bloodshot and wet streaks still painted her pale face. But she took my hand and allowed me to pull her out. Three days had fared her better than they had me. She was still agile, still able to move. My arms were tight from being so crowded in the tiny space.

"Now what?" she asked, one delicate hand reaching up to stroke trails left by diamond-like tears.

"We fight our way out of it just like we always do." I was even struggling to keep a brave face. The heartache of losing them was just too raw to be ignored yet. "We've got our sources. We've got our arsenal. Now all we need to do is find the main target that we have to hit." My vision was blurred by fiery hot tears. And I thought I was staying strong. Until I started to sound like Carson. And it just made me miss him all over again. He was family...

"I've got a pretty good idea of where we can hit," she murmured, wiping away her own tears before reaching up with a delicate, soft hand to wipe away mine. Melody's face recomposed itself quickly enough as she sniffled and straightened her shoulders. "They wanted you, remember?"

What could I do but nod? I did.

A thin, timid smile placed itself on her features. "Then let's give them what they want."


A/N: Shorter, but it felt longer when I wrote it. I'm happy with this. So review please!

~Sky