Epilogue: The Light That Guides Wayward Souls out of the Abyss.

As devastated as Kelly was at having Malcolm die in her arms, the gym teacher at least was able to feel some contentment that everything she went through was not in vain, for with her brother's death, the would-be assassination plot clearly died with it.

While everyone who was around Tucker would not back down till they were shot, the men they knocked out when they first descended such as Arthur, Denis and the few others were still breathing.

The moment the surviving conspirators woke up guns were at their heads, and after realizing Tucker, Malcolm and the rest of their friends were dead there resolve crumbled and they confessed everything. After Kelly made sure they found all the explosives in the Titan Mines, she went through with the "citizens" arrest of the three surviving terrorists.

On the long hike back to Alysha's van Kelly dreaded just how to explain to her mother that she saw her brother die in front of her eyes, and wondered if she should even tell Jenny how her brother really died to spare her some pain.

As they reached the van and Kelly was on the verge of asking her teammates what could pass as a plausible story till her mother called her, and revealed she confronted Dale.

While Kelly's plan was to have Malcolm and Tucker's group be reported as drug dealers so that history would forever see Tucker and the others as nothing more than common criminals that would be forgotten forever, after a talk that ended up with both of the surviving members on the verge of tears Jenny got her daughter to see that no matter what the public would think of their family, the nation had to see Malcolm, Dale, Tucker, and the rest for what they were to make sure nothing like what they went through would happened again.

And so…despite some reservations, Kelly and Alysha reached out to their former superiors, and while they were more than a little agitated at not being "in the loop" they understood how time sensitive the situation was and did not think the former commandos needed to face any penalty for not informing them, as long as the mission was truly successful. It only took a few hours till FBI agents arrived in a helicopter to arrest the surviving members of Malcom's would be Neo Confederates.

From there Dale was quickly arrested, as the man who styled himself as" D" found out the hard way his charisma was not as sharp as he thought, for his cries of being set up fell on deaf ears, as the government officials did not take his word that Kelly fabricated all the documents and shipments in his name.

While Dale talking with others who supported his murderous plans was troubling, Kelly was assured that at least for the moment, there was no other active terrorist cells, for the moment, the crises was over.

While the president himself wanted to thank Kelly for her patriotism, the gym teacher was to overwhelmed by everything to even think about anything other then still come to terms with the fact that she could not save her brother, along with losing her teammate to Tucker and having to tell his family about how he died so soon after getting home.

Kelly was so worn down, both physically and emotionally that she slept through the entire next day, and after the weekend was so emotionally drained she had to call off work so she and her mother could come to terms with everything.

But no matter how deep in the fog of her despair she got, time marched on, and before she knew it she was woken early one day and realized it was to get ready for Malcolm's funeral.

Even while more people were becoming aware of just what Malcolm wanted to do, Jenny still wanted to honor her son, at least for what he use to be over what he became, and only had a small funeral.

Uncle Jasen, Aunt Meryl, and some of Jenny's close friends took care of the preparations to spare further grief to daughter and mother alike, and so after a few days that went by in a somber daze Kelly and her family went to the same place where they conducted the funeral for Kelly's father and Grandfather, greeted by a priest that was sorrowful to have to conduct another funeral service for the family.

Kelly saw a few more relatives made it to the funeral, but aside from his former boss Gary and a few others that came out of respect for the family, Kelly did not see to many friends of her brothers arrive, and grimly realized that the reason for that might have been that she and the rest of her squad mates might have just shot most of his friends just a few days ago.

However just as it seemed like everyone that would show up had arrived and the service was about to start, Kelly saw the doors open before a black man in a grey suit with glasses ran in. The man took a few labored breaths before he looked around, saw Kelly, and winced." I just made it. Was almost hoping this was one bad joke."

Kelly widened her eyes before muttering." Simon, is that you?"

"Hey Kelly, glad you recognized me even after the glasses. Sorry this had to be the way we caught up. Honestly my fiancé is not too happy I came hear after hearing what he was trying to do…but…after I heard the news I knew I had to at least make this right."

"Simon…thanks so much for coming." Kelly answered before she hugged one of Malcolm's older friends." I'm glad you made it, even after hearing about everything."

Simon saw how broken Kelly's mother looked, and realized no body was in the casket before he winced." To be honest I was visiting my mom this weekend, but since I was already here, I knew I had to pay my respects.

I knew Malcolm did not seem like he was in that great a place, and I know we talked less and less over the years…but I did not think he was this bad off. I just…I just thought he was busy with life, but I guess that was my excuse to not check up on him more."

"Don't blame yourself to much Simon." Kelly answered somberly." We all did not want to realize how bad things were with him till it was too late. It's not your fault, you had your life to live, and Malcolm lived his. If we knew more of what was going on, maybe, maybe we could have saved him from his anger but, we might never know. Still, coming here even after everything means a lot, to me at least Simon."

"Thanks Kelly. I don't know how Malcolm was at the end but, he was my friend so if nothing else I'm here to honor that friendship."

"Thank you." Kelly somberly replied." Everything else can come later but, at the very least that's what we can do for Malcolm today, to try and prevent as many people as possible from going down the road he went. "

"Just do what you can Kelly."

"Thanks…even after all this time I wonder if I've done all I could."

"I mean…if I'm hearing this right you saved the president right? That's as much as anyone could ask, it's not like you're a Jedi or an Avenger or anything but a well trained but normal woman Kelly don't kid your self-thinking you should have done more."

Kelly saw her mother was going up to start the speech before she grasped her necklace tightly." I know your trying to be nice Simon, but as long as I'm hear I'll always feel like I should have done more. Well, guess it's about to start."

Simon paused, and just gave a solemn nod before he went to take his seat. Kelly went besides her family and squeezed Sherry's hand tightly as her mother went to the podium. She saw everyone looking at her and let out a strained smile before she cleared her throat." Hey everyone. I, I honestly was hoping if I returned here it would be for my own funeral. But…to say life is not fair is an understatement. After all…today we are here to bury my own boy. It, it's one thing to bury a spouse, after all God comes for us all. But, but you pray you don't see your child pass on before you. But, we are here today because, because my boy Malcolm got, got."

Jenny glanced at her son's casket before tears streamed down her eyes." Oh god…why it have to be like this? Malcolm was no angel but, was he really this."

The elder O'Neal could not hold in her pain anymore and burst into tears. As her sister hugged her, Kelly sighed and went up to took her mother's place and just nodded at everyone." Hey everyone, as you can see to say it's been rough would be selling it short. After all…we are all here because my brother died.

I, I won't sugarcoat it…I saw Malcolm die in front of me, and while in the final moments he and I had an understanding, it would be dishonest to say for most of the past month things were good between us. Honestly, it had decayed so bad that I never seen anyone hate me so much in their life, and I made a lot of enemies over my last career.

Still, it was never this personal, and that's because it was family. I know…blood is suppose to be thicker than water…but honestly it felt like we were not even in the same reality.

Ever, ever since I came back I knew something had changed in my brother but I had no idea the depths he changed till frankly it was too late. I won't sugarcoat it, right before he died my brother wanted to do such horrible things. But…even after all that I, I don't think my brother was a monster.

Malcolm O'Neal made some bad choices in his life but my brother was not a monster, just a man desperate for respect, a man frantic to find a place in the world were he felt like he belonged, where he felt valued.

The path he took to try and get respect was so very wrong, but at the very least that wish was not bad, by itself. Malcolm wanted to be a "hero", a man that people respected since as long as I could remember.

He was a kind, clever person, but he, he just could not find how to fit in the world around him. When he broke his leg, we were told he would recover from it someday. But, even if his leg got better, he never really recovered after he lost his chance at joining the army.

He wanted to be his grandfather the entire time he was in school, but the truth is that he refused to see the world was not the same as it was when our grandfather's time. When his leg broke, all he could think about was recovering his leg to get his dream back on track. But, when he realized he could not join the army anytime soon, he, he never really recovered.

He got jobs, but they were never nothing but steppingstones till he could get things started. But, I don't know if we just did not push him harder to find a place where he belonged but he never could find one where he really felt welcomed, and, and that isolation pushed him into a really, really dark place. I joined the army partly because I thought if my brother could not see his dream though then I would keep that dream alive.

I, did my best to try and protect my family, but it seems in ways that just made the problems worst, Malcolm's bitterness just consumed him and he turned to crazed...extreme ways to try and get that lost pride. I don't regret the choices in my life, and I know my brother was guilty of coming to horrible conclusions on how to make a place for himself.

I don't condone the path my brother took, but I do understand at least partly how he got there. I don't know about some of the others around him but for him I saw, he really did seem desperate, desperate to do anything to go to a place where he belonged.

At, at the very least I wondered every night if there was anything I could have done to change his thoughts on that. Malcolm might not have had all the skills that people have today to be" Profitable", but despite what he thought he was not fated to be a" Loser" or a monster". He, he was a kind thoughtful person, who sadly was fixated on things and could not change, not while others around him were whispering delusions in his ear.

I, I and the rest of my family did not realize it till it was too late, but I know it did not have to end this way, that despite what Malcolm thought, that there were more choices then either burn the current world down or be swept aside. But…we all clearly been swept up so far in our own lives that we let people close to us get swept away in their pain, and some, like Malcolm, drown in that pain.

We, we have to do better, this kind of thing should not happen ever again, it has to never happen again. Malcolm…could have had a happy life if things were different. I, I was to late to help him find one, but I swear I'll make sure I don't make that mistake of letting anyone else drown in there despair again.

Everyone, I know there is plenty of things my brother did that was not right but, just for today, can we please just talk about the happy times we had with him?"

Kelly saw everyone looked either solemn or remorseful before she nodded." Thank you."

She stepped back, and as she did Meryl hugged her. She hugged her aunt back before Jasen went up to speak. Her Uncle, and then Malcolm's old boss Gary came up to say a few words. Jenny then recovered enough to resume the speech she planned, and she was able to make it through to the end.

Despite coming, Simon had not known Malcolm well for a while and Malcolm had no living friends left to speak for him, so after his mother finished her speech the priest gave a few more general words about tragedy and gave the clearing to go to the graveyard after everyone had time to use the rest room.

After Kelly quickly took care of her business in the bathroom she paused as she saw Billy was outside the entrance and talking to Ralph. As Ralph introduced himself to her mother Billy noticed Kelly walk out and went over." Kelly…thank god you're ok. Well, I mean physically. Sorry."

The red-haired woman glanced around and realized she saw Principle Molly talking to Meryl as Maher talked to Jasen before she widened her eyes." Billy, you all came here to? You never even met my brother."

"Heh, I did meet him once at the Civil War reenactment remember? And besides…I may not have known him well but we all know you rather well at this point. Teacher's may not have the same codes of soldiers but…we still stick together and all. Besides…after all this it's the least we, I could do."

Kelly saw the sorrow in Billy's eyes before she smiled weakly." Billy, thanks. Sorry, there is just, so much going through my mind right now that just speaking coherently is taking a lot of effort."

"Don't worry, I can't even image going through what you had to go through. When my mother died I was out of it for more than a week. I, don't want to take up too much of your time but, if you ever feel like you want to talk about it more then, just say the word."

"Talk?"

Billy grasped his fist tightly before he gulped and went forward." Kelly, I know you have people yah know a lot more than me that you might want to talk to all this about but, if you ever want another kind of person to talk to just, let me know. Sorry hope this sounds right but it's just, as a history teacher knowing how this kind of stuff has happened has always been important to me. Not, not like I want you to talk about stuff you're not feeling up to talk about or nothing.

I, I talked with vets before but, I admit it's never been this personal. I don't know, I keep telling myself history is important but, maybe it's because my dad's rants would set in at times but there are times when I feel like he's right and it's just the cowards thing, just reacting to things that happened without doing anything worth a damn. I, I keep telling myself that we learn history to not repeat the mistakes of the past. But, when I see people keep making the same mistakes I wonder if it matters, if anyone listens."

Kelly paused before she smiled." Not enough people seem to listen, but some people do, and I know that matters. It has to matter. People are being crushed by lies and we have to find a way to break through that fog of lies before people like my brother's bloodthirsty friends cause everything to burn down in the fires of their own hate. I think, what you do matters Billy so don't doubt yourself. It, it's too painful now but, someday…maybe."

"Thanks Kelly. No worries I'm not rushing to get a story out or anything. Just, whenever you want to talk it over just let me know."

"Thanks Billy, really. Well, I should get ready to get the casket moved and all that."

Billy just nodded before going over to the other teachers. Kelly walked past him to head for her car before she heard a snicker. She turned around and saw Alysha smoking a cigar before her teammate nodded at her and walked up." Damn, men really don't have any shame these days eh? At your own brother's funeral and he's trying to get a date out of yah eh? Pathetic."

Kelly winced before she glanced back." Alysha…he was just trying to be a friend."

"I know you're in an emotional state and all so I'll cut you some slack but come on girl, guys always have an agenda, everything's a pick up line for them."

"Is that so? Then how did your last date win you over?"

"Honestly…they didn't. After I joined the army and what I went through, I just realized there is no time in my life for romance. I don't have time to carry anyone else when I have my own crap to deal with. You don't have to pretend to humor him just because he's a coworker Kelly, after all this if you just shut down someone like him no one would even blink."

Kelly saw Billy talking to his mother before he shrugged." Alysha…don't you think your jumping to conclusions just a bit? If he tries anything I'll shut him down but right now, there is no reason to act prematurely."

Alysha saw Kelly was serious before she snickered." You always did want to be the diplomat eh? Well, that's why you were the leader and I just did the ass kicking girl. Still, you gave a good speech for your brother back their boss.

Heh, got you warmed up for Grant's speech next week eh? At least with him you don't have to hold back since he had nothing to be ashamed of. Heh, he complained about some of his family giving him hell over his sexuality and religious choices but, that's small potatoes over being a terrorist, right?"

Kelly's eyes turned frosty before Alysha winced." Sorry, always roll out jokes without thinking after a stressful time yah know? Anyway you did good out there Kelly, I know it could not be easy giving a speech about your brother after how bitter and complex it got but if it's one thing I'll give that Billy, is that your speech is one of the ones they write down, the ones that remember."

Kelly shrugged as she looked at her brother's casket." I was not thinking of anything Hollywood or nothing, just speaking from my heart."

"Heh, it's because you have instincts like that that shows you're a natural for stuff like this. Well as I said, means a speech for Grant should go even better since you don't have to be two sided about that. And hell will make things even better for ones after it."

"After?" Kelly uttered in shock." What, did someone else die?"

"No, not yet. But think about it Kelly. I know things have been one ride from hell but I mean, now even the president wants to talk to you at some point after what you did. As much as it cost you, now you have the chance to really move up the ranks and have a say in things."

"Alysha, honestly as grateful as I am that the president might want to thank me, but truth be told my stance is the same as when you brought this up back in Yellowstone cause I still have no interest in going back to the military. Hell, I did what I had to do, but after all this I wanted to get away from stuff like this more than ever."

"C'mon girl think things through! One way or another you won't have to kill a brother anymore. Seriously though, pulling something off like this is enough for you to move up if you go back to the military. I mean, you have a real shot at becoming a general or an admiral, someone who can have a real say in things and make real change!"

Kelly saw the passion in her friend's eyes before she sighed." Alysha, I really am grateful you have such confidence in me. But frankly you have higher confidence in me then I do myself at the moment because even if the president offered me something like that tomorrow I'm not sure I would accept it. I, I could not even save my own brother, how could I handle being responsible for the lives of thousands of soldiers or millions of civilians? It's too much, I don't think I can do it."

"C'mon Kelly don't let your brother and all those racist bastards break your will! I know you're in pain now but you got to remember that in the end it was not your fault, it was Malcolm's own fault for being a dumbass that could not handle the world for what it was and wanted to shoot things till they got their way! He made his own choices, he was the one who decided he would rather make as many people suffer as possible rather than just accept his place in things.

Tai and I heard a report that they found the remains of some bodies near the Wind River Indian Reservation, or more like the ash fragments of bodies. Won't have any way to prove it for now but its rather damn sure your brother and his KKK loving pal burned a few people to death. Your brother was already a killer Kelly, they all were criminals.

And the worst thing is they were being backed by that asshole who was acting like your uncle, and the even worst thing is that even if this group was mostly their own thing, sounds like they were talking with people all over who were rooting for them! The only real way to stop those racist bastards is to be on the top and be able to root them out like the rat bastards they are!

You're the one who has the best shot at this Kelly, you have the story people like hearing, I did not please enough people to have a shot at being on the top but you're the one who can carry my dream on so we can make sure the world does not go in the direction of the racist sexist scum but in the era shaped by us!"

Kelly saw the passion in Alysha's eyes and winced before she stepped back." Are kind? Honestly Alysha…you're starting to remind me of how Malcolm was ranting on about doing whatever it takes to make sure the nation was for "His" people.

We were in Iraq for all those years, so don't you see how this is starting to sound like the Sunni-Shia divide there? All this has shown we have to start doing what we can to keep America from going into another Civil War. You saw how miserable a divided nation like Iraq, or other places like Bosnia are! You know how horrible it was seeing so many of the places we fought for just become hell as soon as we left. The...the only thing worst is to make sure my own home does not ever become like that. At all costs America has to avoid a fate like that."

"And what if it can't?" Alysha bluntly state. As Kelly blinked in shock her friend sighed." You can call me cold all you want but the cold hard truth is that you wanted to deny what your brother was till it was impossible to overlook.

I did not know he was plotting to kill the president when I saw him at that airport Kelly, but by the time I got a feel for his body language I could tell he was frankly a miserable entitled punk who was willing to do whatever it took to get what he thought he deserved, I just did not realized he had people telling him he could get away with it around the time he was picking fights with bears.

You say America is at risk of becoming like the Middle East girl? You think it could get as tribal as the hell we left? This is just my opinion but after what I seen, its already like that, and people just still refuse to see it for what it is, and refuse to smell the rot even as the whole thing is falling apart. Honestly, people like that Tucker hate people like me even more then the Sunni's and Shia and Kurds all hate each other, at least they are honest about it though!

America keeps wanting to lie about every damn thing because they won't face up to how broken this so called "American melting pot" really is, but the truth is from the eyes of someone like me, this country half assed everything after the last Civil War, and never really did what it took to go all the way to make things right because it cost too much damn money for all the people that wrote the checks!

They put on all these shows but its two steps forward ten steps back! Because no matter what seems to happen, we seen people like your brother go berserk any time they are threatened, and have made it real damn clear that there will never be a real change, not without a fight."

Kelly grit her teeth as she saw the anger in her teammate's eyes before she leaned forward." Kelly…you're starting to sound just like Malcolm."

Her friend snickered bitterly before she looked down." Maybe in some ways, but I'll always back my tribe, not his. Honestly, this whole people of different tribes being able to settle their differences is starting to look like something that's as hard to sell as there being a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I'm the first to know I'm no leader, but I know that the odds are good that just maybe America and all other nations where two groups were supposed to share power fall apart.

I'm not like them...I'm not thinking I'm better then someone just cause of where I'm born or the color of my skin or nothing. Still...its long past time racists get a past on being racists because of " There culture". Having a clash in culture can fly over movies or food but if your a racists or a sexist your just backwards scum and I don't want to have anything to do with them. If...if there is enough people that think like that to make a country out of that then I hate the whole damn place!

And if tribes living together peacefully is going to turn out to be a dead dream and the only thing that matters is which tribe packs the biggest punch to get everyone to submit, then all there is to do, is to make sure that my tribe, my people don't ever end up as the losers again!

You want people like Tucker to take away all the rights us girls fought tooth and nail to get just because they want to drag things back to the dark ages because these" tough guys" can't stand a second where they are not treated like god?

You said it yourself that he outright said he did not care how we felt or what he had to say and that he wanted a world where he could just punch, stab, burn or shoot anyone that ever got in his way! And even a redneck punk like him would not just say that unless he thought he had people backing him! Kelly…we all tried to do things the "civil" way for so damn long.

But no matter how much we give its never, ever enough! Maybe some changed, but the "others" have tried to do things the civil way for more than a century and after this week its crystal clear "men" like your brother will want to beat us all for even an inch of defiance so what's the god damn point of trying to play nice!?

What's the point of even trying when we do everything we can to be " Good" and there are still people who shoot people like me on site because they think we are nothing but "Prey"?

Why should I bother being the" Better person" when I did everything to be a "respectable" soldier, but still got targeted to be a " free score" by my own commander and he got away with it because he was a white guy who's pals were all white guys?

If that's the price of keeping this god damn country together then to hell with it all. If everything goes to hell and breaks apart and we only have a quarter of a half of what's left, but it's a place where my people can not have to put up with anyone's crap? Then that's worth it to me.

Kelly…I'm not stupid I know I'm asking for a lot of stuff that is painful and hard. But I'm asking because I know you can do it, and we have to fight as hard as we can to make sure the future belongs to us and not them. C'mon Kelly…do you just want to let those assholes win?"

Kelly saw her family looking at her in the distance, saw the near frantic passion in Alysha's eyes and grasped her necklace tightly before giving a solemn sigh." Alysha…you're giving me major Selma and Louise vibes right about now…and I hated that movie.

After all…as fun as the ride was…in the end they died. Seriously…forget that whole an eye for an eye leaves us blind thing? You…you really don't have faith in peace or any of that stuff at all eh?"

"What I said I did before? Honestly Kelly, after everything the past few years, I really think peace is just a time out people put up so they can get ready to win the next fight. It's been over a century but the "Rednecks" only gave us an inch when they were going to get shot, and if that's how it is then we got to keep shooting till we get the last laugh once and for all."

Kelly flicked her hair back before she looked up in the sky." Alysha…I saw Mignogna as he was trying to burn me alive so I know full well how much hate men have. But honestly, I think we always had bitter and hateful people, it's just the internet made us aware just how many people are like that.

But, I think that caught us all by surprise because they mobilized first, but I don't think that means to think this all there is…is to be a sucker. I think, it's getting so bad because people like Mignogna and Dale realized they are on the verge of being pushed aside and are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it.

But that means we are getting closer to really changing things for the better, but like when you got to hold together just as the storm is at its worst, we got to keep it together to not let this storm of rage sweep everything aside. I don't think my brother is going to be the last person to raise hell over how the world is, but if we just react by being even more savage then them then we already lost.

I don't mean just be pacifists or nothing, but the only way we can really win this is to not just beat them down faster and harder than some of them want to beat down us but show there is more to that.

I, I seen hope of people reaching that kind of understanding Alysha, and I have to believe that we can reach that better world in that kind of way. After everything, I have to believe that it was not all for nothing, that life is not just this endless cycle…that there is more than this."

Alysha saw the hurt in her friend's eyes before she took a deep breath. "Kelly…if anyone deserved their dream coming true it's you. I'm sorry, your clearly in a lot of pain right now so as much as I don't want you to waste your shot because of being misguided, I don't want to throw even more baggage for you to deal with.

You don't have to decide anything today. Just, please think things over carefully ok? Just don't be your brother and refuse to see the world for how it is till it's too late, ok? Sorry, I won't hold things up any longer. Just, after you think things overreach out to me and we will take it from there, ok?"

Kelly paused for a few moments before she just nodded. Alysha saw the coldness in her friend's eyes before she let out a pained sigh." I'll always be on your side Kelly, I just don't want to see anyone else hurt you, you here?"

She went to hug her teammate, saw how frosty she looked at the moment before she then just pat her on the shoulder. Kelly gave her a reserved nod before she saw her teammate walk away to her car.

The vet took a few moments to think about what Alysha told her, glanced at her brother's casket being loaded, then gave a sorrowful look at her family before she noticed Cassie, Zoe, and some of the other students she had been training before she widened her eyes.

As she approached them Cassie saw her and tensed up. "Oh, hey couch. So…um…glad your well, still in one piece."

Despite the younger woman's attempt to keep composed Kelly could see her student was looking uneasy before she raised an eyebrow." What are you girls doing here?"

Zoe cleared her throat before she walked forward." I mean, we all wanted to pay our respects Miss O'Neal."

As Cassie and the others nodded the self-defense instructor cleared her throat." But…why? You did not know my brother did you?"

"Of course not." Cassie answered sassily. "But we know you well enough to well, make sure you're ok in the head. I mean, the word is that you fought your own brother to the death? Or was Marco just messing around again to get attention."

Kelly saw her mother looked curious in the distance before she sighed." No…that's mostly true. I, fought my own brother, and while I'm not the one who shot him to death, we fought right till the guy who tried to kill me attacked right after, and killed my brother, before I killed him in return."

Zoe saw the grim resolution in the older woman's eyes before she gulped." So…you were shot at by your own brother? That's…that's so horrible. I'm, so sorry."

"Not as sorry as I am for things getting this bad. In the end…I had to stop him and the others no matter what it took."

Cassie saw how grimly resolute Kelly looked before she cleared her throat." So…your brother really was a criminal? You, you fought your own brother to see the law through? Does that mean he really was the one who gave Jeff the drugs at that party?"

Kelly saw the storm of emotions going through the students' eyes before she shrugged." It was more likely the bigger teammate of his, the one who tried to fry me with a flamethrower. Getting a precise report will be difficult since they…they are all dead now."

Cassie saw the bluntness the older woman had to her reply before she gulped." Well…sounds like you really did get to the bottom of things. When…when you first arrived at Star High people were betting you were a poser or something.

But, you really are the real deal if you did that to your brother to make sure justice was dealt and all that. It, it's good there are people that don't see that stuff as a joke. Also made it clear you were not joking around teaching us those moves. Hell…the moves you taught me cased a guy to back off at the last party I was at!"

Kelly raised an eyebrow before Cassie cleared her throat." Oh, don't worry I did not cause any…well…real harm. I just showed how fast I could "bring the fangs out" and a guy that was looking at me creepy all night left real damn quick. So just…thanks for that."

The red-haired woman could not help but let out a bitter chuckle as she leaned back." Well…long as it's preventing trouble instead of causing it then, that was the whole point."

"Yah well…just thanks for taking the time to do all that. I don't like the mushy stuff but well, I am glad you could pass on some of your badass skills to us in the time you were teaching us and everything."

"Time I was here?" Kelly uttered curiously." Who said I was going anywhere? I…I need some time to go over all that's happened and make sure my mom is ok. But…I'll be back to teaching soon enough."

Her students looked at her with shock before Zoe blinked a bit." Wait what? Someone said you were thanked by the president himself though. Even after all that you're still going to stay to teach us instead of…well…anything else?"

Kelly saw Alysha's car take off, and for a moment saw her friend's face, and saw the coldness in the eyes belonging to that face before she took another deep sigh and smiled at her students." No one should be more unsettled than I am today girls so relax. Since the moment I left the military there were options I could have taken that would have gotten me a lot more fame and money.

But, I chose Star High because I wanted to help people in a way that did not involve hurting people that had the least amount of political stuff to get in the way. This week made it clear I'll still fight if I have to, but that's not what I want my life to be about. As long as it's possible, I want to keep trying to use my skills for positive things like that, long as you gals think it's been helpful."

Cassie saw Kelly's weary look before she dashed up in front of her." Hell yah of course we still want you around K, Miss O'Neil! As long as you stick around you can count on us taking what you teach seriously so we don't get stuck with another tool."

"Don't worry Cassie, long as I'm wanted I'll stick around. I still am someone who tries to stick to their oaths as much as possible. Well…most of the time."

Kelly winced as she grasped her necklace again, and could not help but feel tears building up before she looked away. "I mean…sometimes I wonder if I fail my oaths so many times by now that they might not really have any worth but…still…I."

The vet saw the girls around her looking worried before she swept the tears away." Sorry…I should be better than this."

"It's ok Miss O'Neal." Zoe replied somberly." I mean, this is your brother's funeral, only a class A jerk would think any less of you for feeling sad."

"Yah don't worry we still know you're the nearest thing to a real live superhero and all." Cassie uttered wryly as she gave a thumbs up. Kelly saw the girls encouragement before she could not help but get teary eyed and hugged Zoe and Cassie." Everyone…thank you. I'm glad I really can offer something to this world other than pain and death.

It, it makes this past week bearable knowing it was not for nothing. I'll keep fighting as long as I know it can keep girls like you and all the others all over the nation, if not the world from having a better future.

But, we have to be in this together ok? If we want to make things better, we have to stick together as the people in the way get more and more berserk to try and stop it. If we can…we just might get through this."

Cassie saw how shaken Kelly looked before she gulped." Ugh…I'll give you a pass on being this sappy since you're having a rough day but your close to maxing out how much I can take of this. I mean I'm just some kid what I can I really do? Well, I'll make sure not to let the assholes get away with their crap I guess."

"Heh, thanks, doing our part is all we can do. Well, thanks for the support, truly, but I don't want to hold this up any longer so I should get going."

"Oh, sure." Cassie replied." Just…good luck?"

"Don't worry…I'll be back by next week so you better not slack on your training, or your homework."

Cassie, Zoe, and the other students nodded before going off.

Kelly nodded, and was about to walk her mother to the car before she saw Billy heading off. She paused before she cleared her throat." You have to leave early to, eh?"

The history teacher nearly tripped over the curb before he cleared his throat." Oh, just seemed like the rest is for family and did not want to intrude."

Jenny saw Billy and just chuckled." Nonsense…long as your respectful anyone who's made it this far is welcome to the burial and everything after. I mean I have to do something with all the food I bought."

Kelly nodded before she flicked some hair out of her eyes." We are going to be talking about my brother. If you want to get an idea on what happened…no better way to get an idea about how things happened, then to hear stories about how things came together. It, it will mostly be the good times but, there will be time for the rest later."

Billy saw the ex-soldier's weary eyes and after a few moments nodded." That sounds great…thanks Kelly. Alright then I'll see you at the graveyard."

"See yah."

Kelly saw Billy off before she glanced at her mother. Jenny walked up and chuckled before grasping her daughter's hand." So those are your students, eh? That's mighty nice of them to come…I admit when some of my teachers had funerals, I was just glad to have a sub…Mister Cooper was an asshole though.

Still, I'm glad your students cared enough to show you how much you meant to them even after this short a time. Sorry…I would have talked to them but…still not sure how long I can go without losing it."

"It's ok ma." Kelly answered soberly." There will be another time one way or another. I admit…you said Malcolm thought at one point about being a teacher for the autos and stuff right? If…if I supported that maybe…even if it was not something like a war hero he would have gotten enough respect to not feel like he, he had to do what he did. Maybe if he was with pepole like Billy and Principle Molly instead of Dale and Mignogna he would have had a better outlook. Maybe I'm just burnt out, but, I feel like I want to be around pepole who think like Billy more then those who can only see things in anger and rage at the moment."

"If that's how you feel then go for it dear, then follow your heart and all. Billy would not have been my first choice but I seen worst, and I admit I'm not so sure how solid my judgment really is these days. Please for your own sake don't think about other's problems for so long that you drown in them. You...you…don't have to kick yourself anymore then you already have, that's my sin to bear. You tried to reach out to your brother even as he was shooting and stabbing at yah, and at the very least you got him to be his old self again at the very end. You did all you could, so don't think that was not enough. After all…sounds like there are a ton of people that still need yah."

"Thanks Ma. Don't worry, I just…need some time…hopefully."

"I hear yah dear…I'll feel better…once I take Dale's business from him. My lawyer says even after all this it won't be easy…but I won through tougher tussles and I was not half as fired up to win as I am now."

"Heh, same old same old eh ma?"

"I have to be…to not think about other things too much. Though…I…I wonder again and again if I focused so much on one thing that I missed the other."

"Heh…guess we really are related…since I been thinking the same thing. We…we just got to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again right?"

Jenny winced before she grasped her only living child tightly." As much as we can girl.I guess, I keep telling myself to not make the same mistakes...only to keep making them again and again. You know...did I ever tell yah I ended up introducing Dale to your pa? I, met Grace at church, I told her my husband was getting grumpy because he did not know anyone at the time. I, thought since Dale and him both enjoyed Elvis songs they would hit it off. And...they did...but in the end the choice I made to try and help my marriage ended up breaking it after a while. Worst thing now is...now I feel like we as a country have done the same thing to America...maybe even the world.

Kelly...its just...things seemed so different back then. I was no geek but I did not mind when Neil took me to see Star Wars and movies like that because I got a kick out of seeing what I thought was going to be our future with the flying ships and the robots doing work for us and all that stuff. But to be honest, while your grandpa loved the whole the world of tomorrow ever since he saw that New York World's Fair, I liked seeing gals being on the same level as men, a future where men and woman, where all pepole really were treated as equal.

You know, as scary as those bomb drills were during the cold war...it still felt like the good days...now more then ever to be honest. Its just that all we had to do was get through it and it would be as good as it gets. But, while we had a few years were things seemed like that just might be true in the nightie's...after 9/11 it all went to hell.

I mean...its not just the politics that caused my own kids to shoot at each other, I seen the weather, I see how everything just seems to be getting worst. I'm no scientist, and I'm no priest so I don't know if this is God's judgment. All I know...is that I thought things were going to get better for my kids, and instead it just seems like my ki...my baby girl instead of having a world that's going to be better might be falling apart and might just keep getting worst and worst if pepole can't get there act together in time.

I mean...we thought it could only go up, but, but what if it we really don't have the means to keep this modern civilization going? What if after everything, all are dreams , and in the end not only is the American Dream a joke, but the entire modern world just a cruel joke that only one generation got to go through before it all slipped away.

On top of that, the past week robbed me of the last thing I had to keep calm. When you got home, my heart was torn at seeing all those innocent pepole at the mercy at those monsters. But even if God would not like it, a part of me felt relief because at least you were coming home, away from pepole like that.

But, after seeing what my own son was about to do, and to see just what Dale was willing to do, now I don't know if I can ever feel secure about things again. Now, now it seems this this country is one step away from becoming as horrible as all those places we were suppose to be better then, and its all because of men like Dale who can't get over themselves.

All these men like Dale who are so god damn selfish, as much as they talk about giving to the family, because of men like him who only think about themselves they might have robbed you and everyone else of a stable secure nation, and for a future for the world.

Kelly...you made me as proud as a mother can be for what you pulled off, but I can't help but think about how all the gains we got is because of the modern world. If it all goes to hell well, I can't help but fear how bad it will be for all the gals like you. Your grandpa, he said while he regretted not being able to save some of his friends, he never once in his life felt bad doing what he had to do cause he thought he really fought to make sure the world changed for the better for as long as the sun did not run out of gas. But now...now I can't help but think that's going to end up being nothing but a joke. I'm sorry Kelly...sorry we were so short sited that we are dragging all of yah off a cliff with no way to get back."

Kelly saw her mother looked on the verge of falling apart before she grasped her mother's hand tightly." Don't get like that ma, please don't blame this all on yourself. We all maybe assumed the best to much at times, we all did not want to admit things were as bad as reality was but, that still does not excuse the pepole who did the botching.

I, I don't know how the world is going to be even a few years from now. We spent so much time fighting in the Middle East trying to change them, but in the end, despite all we killed we did not change them, if anything they made pepole like Malcolm and Dale want to run things more like them. It...it does get damn depressing that the more pepole like you and me get somewhere, it makes men so angry they would rather cause the world to go to hell and rule like savages rather then just accept change.

But...no matter how many pepole want to take away what we have or decide how we should live, and no matter what stays together or falls apart..I'll do whatever I can to keep pepole like my students from having a world that's worst when they are my age. No matter what...I'll do all I can to make sure the world does not force us back to where things were when you were growing up ma, or to how things were in the places were I fought. Unless I get hit with a rock that gives me superpowers or something, that's all I can do."

Jenny saw the grim determination in he child's eyes and kissed her forehead." That's all I'll ever ask of yah Kelly. Sorry for blabbing my guts, just had to vent. Long as you don't get as crazed as your brother about the wrong things, I know you will be alright."

Kelly grasped her necklace for a moment before she sighed."I'm not going to be passive about how things are. Still...I'm also not just going to delude myself into thinking I can bend the world to my will either. Ma…Malcolm was so fixated on changing the world to make a place for himself. But to me at least…it's not about changing the world…it's about making a place for ourselves in it, and if you're lucky then your strong enough to help others change.

Malcolm fought to "Free" himself from the social norms that he thought were binding him so he could truly be free. But no matter how hard you lash out you can only really be free in the inside.

Of course if someone has you in chains you fight like hell, but to be free first you have to have that spark, that will not let those forcing there will on you to force you in to submission. Sometimes…people need someone else to give them that spark.

Ma…I want to focus on being that spark for people that need that push…to make sure people don't feel lost, and to let the people that do feel lost know there is still hope. Though…after all this I'm still not sure if I'm as crazy as Malcolm was."

Kelly paused for a moment before her mother hugged her." That's not crazy girl, not for a second. Just don't lose sight of yourself and it will be fine. And for that to happen let's not hold things up ok?"

"You got it ma…thanks."

Kelly saw the rest of her family going up to her and took a deep breath. As she walked on while her heart was still weighed down by the despair, she moved forward to the future with the small ember of hope still burning in her heart.

Authors Notes: Thanks for reading everyone, I know this story is not for everyone but hope at least some got something out of it.