A/N: I'm back! This is actually pretty good timing for me.

Also, if you have the time, go check out Dorkfish97 on Fictionpress. Her stuff is mostly poems right now, but she tells me she has an original story planned that I think if you enjoy After the Storm or Bound you would like. Or, if you like InuYasha, she has some of those fanfics posted on her Fanfiction account under the same name.

I was having a bad day, for no other reason than simply having a "teenage girl moment" and being in a bad mood. All my friends knew that when I was in this mood it was best not to talk to me until my unhappiness subsided.

It was like this until lunch. Xavier, Bekka, David, Jenna, Gabriel, and I were sitting at our usual table, listening to David tell one of his famous jokes that always had the ability to make us laugh. Xavier had been strangely quiet since he sat down, clearly troubled about something.

"Xavier?" I asked the silent boy with the cropped auburn hair in a place next to me. "Is something wrong?"

He looked up and showed a small smile that didn't quite reach his very light blue eyes. ""Todd's just been acting very strange lately. He has been more closed up, and I'm just worried about him. Haven't you noticed?"

It was well known around the group how much Xavier thought of himself as a big brother figure for Todd, even though they weren't related at all. "Yeah, I kind of noticed that, too," I replied.

"I think I'll go check on him. He said he went to the library," Xavier mused, standing and then ruffling my short blonde hair.

I turned to watch him leave, hiding a smile from appearing on my face. He was so nice, the exact opposite of me, who was kind of sassy and sometimes rude. I kept it a secret that I had a crush on him. He was one of my best friends—why would I risk it?

Five minutes later, I was picking at lunch when I saw something that was concealed in a hole in the cafeteria wall the staff had yet to fix. That's funny, I thought to myself. It almost looks like a bomb. Of course, it was probably just some kid's drug stash they had hidden in the shell of something.

Out of nowhere, not thirty seconds after I had spotted the metal storage container, there was a huge boom that came from the North Wing, followed by the school shaking on its foundation.

"Oh, my God," Bekka said, her big black eyes going wide. "Was that a bomb?"

"It must have been," Jenna replied worriedly. "My dad described what it was supposed to be like once, and that fit his description."

The realization hit me then that the thing I saw could very well be more than just a place to store drugs. "Everybody get under the tables!"

"Why?" David asked in disbelief.

"Just trust me!" I commanded, running out of patience.

Jenna caught on to what I was thinking. "Dump the food off your trays to use them as protection!"

"What's plastic going to do?" David questioned again.

"It's better than nothing!" Jenna snapped at him. "Now are you going to shut up and get under the table or not?"

Everyone at our table followed orders and some others, but I can't say the same for everybody. Some people couldn't process what we said in time, some panicked and started to run for the door. After the five of us were all under the table, it happened.

The explosion was huge, loud, and very hot. David was right about the plastic melting. It burned our fingers, but it helped until the explosion was over. We heard and felt the building collapse over our table, bending it and almost breaking it in half and sending a piece of debris hurtling straight at me that hit me in the head. Though I was usually able to hide it, I had terrible claustrophobia that was enhanced when I realized we must be buried under at least a few feet of debris.

"I-is everyone okay?" I asked, trying to divert my attention from my fear and throbbing head. I took my phone out and shined it around so I could try to see everybody.

"Yeah," Bekka said from the opposite side of the bent-in table. Her face and shaggy, shoulder-length light brown hair was covered in soot, but other than that she looked alright.

"Over here," Gabriel said from beside me. "But I think my shoulder is dislocated from when I hit it against the table."

"Here," David replied, his head peering out from beside Bekka's. "Is Jenna okay?"

We heard a moan from the side of me that Gabriel wasn't sitting on.

"Jenna!" David shouted.

Gabriel went over to her and propped up her half-limp body with his good arm. "Jenna? Can you hear me?" All he got was another moan.

"That's a good sign," Gabriel reported. "She can hear us, even if she is not totally conscious."

"I'm coming over there," David said. He began trying to wiggle his body through the hole they had been looking with.

"No!" Gabriel yelled. "Please, don't leave Bekka alone over there."

I felt terrible for David, as Jenna was his girlfriend and we all knew how much he cared for her. To make sure David knew Jenna wasn't alone, I decided to go over to where she and Gabriel were. My plans were immediately crushed when I tried to move and pain shot up my legs, causing me to cry out and fall on my back. Horror shot through me as I realized why I couldn't go anywhere.

"AJ, what's wrong?" Bekka asked as all conscious eyes turned towards me.

"My legs," I told them. "They're both trapped under some of the rubble, and I can't move them."

"Just stay still," Gabriel ordered. "You cannot injure your anymore than it is if you keep it immobile."

Ever since Gabriel was adopted by David's family and moved from India to America when he was twelve, he's been fascinated by the medical world and learned how to care for most injuries until an ambulance arrived. He would always get a certain glint in his very dark brown eyes that were magnified by his rectangular glasses whenever he got a chance to use his basic skills.

"Todd," Jenna muttered as she came into consciousness. "Todd. Where is he?"

"Oh, no," I said. "Todd and Xavier were somewhere out there when the bombs went off." I buried my head in my hands in despair.

"Try calling them," Bekka suggested.

"What?" I asked, looking at her like she was nuts.

"Think about it," Bekka said. "If it works, we can not only locate them, but call the paramedics and tell them where to find us!"

"It's so ridiculous, it just might work," Gabriel thought out loud, adjusting his glasses on his nose and running a hand through his untamed midnight locks. "You're a genius, Bekka!"

Bekka blushed a bright red. "Well, thanks."

"AJ?" David said, peering through the opening at me.

"What?" I stated in confusion. I really had to stop using that word; it was getting on my nerves.

"You're the one that always bragged about your phone getting service everywhere," David explained. "If anyone could make the call, it would be you."

"Okay," I said slowly as I dialed Xavier's number and put the phone to my ear. "But no guarantee, you guys."

We all held our breath as the phone rang continuously, until finally I heard someone pick up.

"I don't believe it," I exclaimed into the phone. "Xavier, is that you? Are you alright?"

"AJ, it's you," a soft voice that belonged to Xavier moaned from the other end. "You're okay."

"Not completely, but in one piece and still breathing," I told him. "Where are you? Is Todd there?"

"By the library, or at least where it used to be," he reported. "Todd's here. He's been knocked unconscious, and though it looks like he is having a hard time breathing, he is living."

"I was so worried about you two," I confessed. "I still am, but I feel better now knowing you both are alive."

"Same here. How is everyone else?"

"Breathing and conscious, even if we are a little beat up. Xavier, I have to go so I can all the paramedics to get us out of here. Hang in there, okay?"

"I will," Xavier promised before hanging up.

Four pairs of anxious eyes were instantly on me. "They lived," I shared, "though Todd is unconscious and having difficulties breathing. They are where the library used to be. David, can you please call 911? I can't . . . I can't do this."

David's eyes softened. "Of course. You did make a phone call for us already."

"Here," Gabriel said, taking my phone when I handed it to him and passing it to David. David combed a few fingers through his short, light brown hair before dialing the number and listening for the operator's voice.

Jenna moved over to where Gabriel and I were sitting (well, I was lying) and put a hand on my shoulder. Gabriel seemed to sense this was going to turn into a private conversation and crawled over to the opening to talk to Bekka, who was sitting by herself due to David being on the phone.

"It'll be okay, AJ, I promise," Jenna said sincerely as she gave me a small smile. But I still saw the fear in her eyes.

"What am I moping about? Todd's your freaking brother, and I'm not related to either of them," I berated myself.

"Stop making yourself feel bad," Jenna commanded in the motherly way only she could pull off. "I know you care for them both, I can tell by the way you treat them. I'm not sure whether they're like brothers to you or something more, but you have just as much right to be worried and upset about this as I do."

David moved Bekka aside and peered through at us. "The operator said they would get a crew on finding us. Lucky for us, she said from what she knows, they're already working close to here."

"I wanna get out of here so bad," Bekka whimpered. Apart from Todd, the youngest, we considered Bekka the "baby" of the group (in the sense of acting like the littlest) because of her tendency to be irrational and let her emotions run her decisions and actions. Of course, Jenna loved mothering her, especially since Bekka only had an older brother and a dad and not a mom.

"I know," Jenna comforted from her place beside me. "We all do."

The seconds seemed to drag into minutes, the minutes seemed to drag into hours, the hours seemed to drag into days. In reality, we probably hadn't been down there very long, but fear and being confined in a small space with no sunlight for extended periods made it fell like more time had passed than it actually had. There was also a lot of crying going on as everyone reached their breaking points, and fear engulfed all of us, even collected Jenna. When were we going to get out of there? What if they never found us? What if our pocket of space collapsed accidentally when a worker moved a piece of debris out of the way?

At one point, I noticed I was getting tired, most likely from exhaustion and not getting a good rest the previous night. It wasn't a big deal at first, but as time went on it became increasingly harder to keep my eyes open. David noticed my fight with sleep and asked what was wrong.

"Nothing," I assured him as the attention went back to me. "I'm just tired. I'll be fine after some sleep."

"I don't think it would be a good idea to do that," Jenna said. "Right, Gabriel?"

"Right," Gabriel agreed. "Listen, we have no idea what the extent of your injuries are—"

"Well, I do," I snapped, wishing they would just let me sleep. "I can't move, I'm exhausted, and apart from the desperate need to see the sky again, all I want is rest. I have troubles pulling all-nighters even when I am feeling good, so what makes you think I can keep my eyes open till whenever our rescue team decides to come find us? It doesn't matter what you say, because to be honest I don't give a damn whether I live or die at this point. So I am going to lie down and rest for a while, and I don't care if you guys don't like it!"

"AJ!" Bekka shrieked as the light from the phone passed over my face as I put it away. "Your head is bleeding! Really bad!"

"Take your phone back out!" Gabriel told me as he rushed over to me. "Hold it over your face."

I did, and Jenna's eyes got wide. "Oh, no."

"It's alright," Gabriel said. "Head wounds usually bleed a lot, and it gives us another explanation for why she's so tired. Don't try to move her. I'll take off my undershirt to stop the flow."

"I'll do it, too, in case you need more cloth to soak up the blood," David said, and both he and Gabriel stripped to their skin from the waist up. Gabriel then put his white shirt to my face after they had both put their top shirts back on and set David's to the side. I started to nod off without even realizing it until Jenna started shaking me slightly.

"Don't go to sleep," she said. "Come on, AJ, stay with us."

But at this point I was beyond caring. I was exhausted, and it had been a long way. Jenna and Gabriel gently shook me and repeated things like "wake up" and phrases they thought would get me back to consciousness, along with my name, but nothing they did had any effect.

I was already too far gone to even think of resurfacing.