Tatiana stares at the blood-spattered apartment in shock. In a single moment, the world she knows has ended. She cannot help but recall the day her father walked out on her family when she was eleven. She never saw it coming; one day, he was there; the next, gone. She has slowly rebuilt her life ever since. After finally obtaining stability, she lost everything, this time because of a few drops of blood. Now, it’s happening again.
The teenagers look around the trashed apartment, but see no sign of its inhabitant, Ms. Cameron Palmer. Kiden checks the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Although she doesn’t find her former school teacher, she stumbles upon a personal correspondence between Cameron and her ex-husband, who apparently left because of her commitment to Kiden and her downtrodden peers. Kiden sighs and shuts her eyes; her father could have warned her about this, she says. She might have saved Ms. Palmer.
“You still can,” a voice says. Kiden looks in the mirror and sees the specter of her father, with his empty black eyes and blood-streaked face. She asks him for help, but as quickly as it appeared, the ghost vanishes.
Meanwhile, in the living room, Tatiana notices Bobby Soul’s withdrawn behavior. He clutches Lil’ Bro in his arms so tightly, Tatiana wonders if he might crush him. She can practically feel it; the atmosphere in the apartment seems to be crushing her as well. Because her back is turned toward Bobby, she does not see when he notices a familiar article of clothing stuffed under the couch.
Tatiana approaches the photograph threateningly pinned to the wall. She pulls the photograph, a candid picture of her, Kiden, Ms. Palmer, Bobby, and Lil’ Bro, out from under the point of the butterfly knife. Who would do this? Kiden tells her to be quiet; the neighbors might hear. Tatiana complies, and says they need to leave immediately.
As they leave the apartment, Tatiana thinks about how safe she felt with Kiden and Bobby. She felt protected again, after so many years of anguish. They made her feel as if she could stand on her own two feet. I was so stupid, she thinks. Once they exit the building, her grief overwhelms her, and Tatiana pukes in the bushes. She fears the police will accuse them, even though they did nothing. Bobby Soul objects to even speaking with the police. Tatiana reminds him someone was murdered, but Kiden doubts this. There may have been blood, but there was no body. They can still save Cameron. They just need to find her.
Bobby, hoisting his little brother into his arms, disagrees. They need to take care of themselves. Obviously whoever kidnapped their mentor knows exactly who the four of them are; they were in the ominous picture pinned to the wall, after all. Bobby interprets this to mean they should mind their own business. Kiden, placing her hand on Bobby’s shoulder, reminds him their mentor needs their help. He whips around and slaps her hand away. “I know, Kiden. I know,” he says. “But what we just walked into…you don’t pull that crap for nothing.” Besides, he has a brother to look after. He asks Kiden and Tatiana to come home with him.
“So I guess if it were one of us, you’d just let us rot,” Kiden asserts.
“I’d survive,” Bobby answers.
Nothing lasts. Not even family, Tatiana tells herself as they walk through the darkening city streets. Ms. Palmer tried to convince her families stayed together. Apparently, that was all talk, and Tatiana foolishly believed it. While she walks alongside Kiden, struggling with her current doubts, a thug sitting in a parked car across the street watches gleefully. He pulls out his cell phone and reports to his boss. It’s done, the man says. The voice on the other end tells him it’s not over yet. The thug laughs and flashes his jagged, gold-capped smile. His boss must know he’s asking for trouble.
The police arrive at Tatiana and company’s apartment well before they make it back home. Clearly someone has set them up. Why, Tatiana asks? Because they’re mutants? Kiden finds that unlikely. “You don’t kidnap some teacher and frame a bunch of kids just ‘cause they’re muties,” she says. “This is personal.”
She walks around the corner and into clear view. Grabbing her arm, Bobby asks where she thinks she is going. She reminds him of the money and other things they left in the apartment, and promises not to get caught. Bobby refuses to release her. She orders him to let go. Tatiana, meanwhile, watches this tense exchange in silence. Does Bobby think Kiden won’t return? Does he want to be the one who sneaks into their apartment? Would Bobby truly leave them, Tatiana asks? Bobby doesn’t answer.
The police try and stop Kiden from crossing their boundary, but after triggering her mutant power, she sneaks by easily. With the world seemingly frozen, she can freely move about undetected. First she sneaks into her bedroom, walking directly behind a motionless police officer. She grabs a backpack and stuffs it full of some essential possessions, such as a roll of dollar bills and the broken snow globe she found for Bobby. As she prepares to leave the apartment, however, she spots a damning piece of planted evidence in the hands of one of the cops: a butterfly knife, just like the one left in Cameron’s apartment. Kiden grabs it out of the investigator’s hand and disappears.
One hour later, with no place left to go, the four vagrant kids sit at a booth in a diner and ponder what to do. Bobby remains unusually quiet; Kiden asks if he is still thinking of ways to ditch the rest of them. Enough, he tells her, shooting her a wounded glare. She refuses to budge. If they intend to help Cameron, she says, they need to trust each other.
Bobby asks who she means when she says “we.” She doesn’t know how Tatiana feels about everything. He asks for her opinion. “You want to know how I feel, Bobby?” she asks. She feels as if she has no friends in the world, except for them, and Ms. Palmer. It’s pathetic. She wishes she had other people in her life on whom she could depend, but she doesn’t. Therefore, if Kiden wants to save Ms. Palmer, Tatiana will help her. “You can do what you like, Bobby,” she concludes. “I’ll still…I’ll be your friend, anyway.” Although her eyes are diverted toward the dinner table, Tatiana can feel Kiden’s appreciative grin. Tatiana asks her not to look at her that way. What way? Kiden asks.
Bobby slams his hand down on the dinner table. Enclosed in its grip is the ski cap he found in Ms. Palmer’s apartment. He tells his friends where he found it, and most importantly, that it belongs to someone he knows. Why didn’t he tell them sooner, Kiden asks? Tatiana doubts he would have ever told them at all. If that’s the case, Bobby asks, then why would he show them the cap now? Kiden calls him a coward. Bobby asks her not to judge him. He feared if they went searching for Ms. Palmer’s kidnappers, it would shatter the life they had made. According to Kiden, that doesn’t matter, as Cameron would help them if the situation were reversed. Although he does not acknowledge it aloud, Kiden’s empowered behavior impresses Bobby; he thought she was a runner. “Still am,” Kiden says. “Just running in another direction.”
Sometime later, the gang travels to a housing project so litter-strewn it might as well be a landfill. “If we’re going to be homeless, let’s not be homeless here,” Tatiana says as they climb the building’s stairs. They near their destination. Kiden asks Bobby why he didn’t introduce them to these friends of his earlier. Because they’re not his friends, he answers. He knocks on the door. A young, black toddler answers. Someone has bruised her eye. Bobby says hello to the little girl, whose name is Keisha, and asks if her daddy is home. Silently, she lets them into the apartment. Bobby sees a bong and a handgun resting on the coffee table near some empty beer bottles, but no signs of any people. “Probably out trying to frame us for more crimes,” Kiden jokes. Good, Bobby says. The longer the residents stay away, the longer they have to search the apartment for clues.
Tatiana walks into an adjacent bedroom while carrying Lil' Bro in her arms. She doesn’t see the shirtless man hiding behind the door. Instead, she sees an ashtray sitting on the bed, with a freshly lit cigarette resting in its notches. Before she has a chance to process what this means, the thug closes the door, covers Tatiana’s mouth, and holds a handgun to her temple. She’s not supposed to be there, he says. Shocked, Tatiana drops Lil’ Bro, but the boy lands safely. He looks up at the menacing thug, his eyes now radiating an electric blue. The thug looks at the swirling blue patterns of energy that emanate from Lil’ Bro’s eyes in confusion. Before he can react, the image of a gigantic centipede materializes in the center of the room. “Get away! Jesus!” the thug says, firing his gun at the mirage.
With the thug’s attention elsewhere, Tatiana bites down on his hand, freeing her from his grip. She immediately realizes what she has done. Blood, after all, triggers her mutant power. Her body grows in size. Her newly formed muscles burst through the sleeves of her jacket. Her breasts and hair disappear. For one brief moment, in the middle of her transformation into the man she bit, she glimpses a hidden thought in his mind and learns where Ms. Palmer is being held.
The thug stares at Tatiana in disbelief, only she no longer resembles Tatiana. She now looks like him: built, black, bald, and male. Although Tatiana urges him not to be afraid, he points the gun at her and fires. Once again, just like that, everything in Tatiana’s threatens to disappear. She lies on the floor, the blood spilling from her right shoulder and pooling on the carpet, and realizes that although she never thought things like this would happen to her, they sometimes do, just like that.