Chapter Three: Limbo

Yoh walked up to the second floor of the apartment building, not bothering to wait for the elevator. Once he reached his hall, he turned to the second door on the left and gripped the doorknob, his brow slightly rising when it opened without resistance.

It seemed everyone was home, even though it was mid afternoon and a weekday, but that was becoming a more normal occurrence.

Yoh stepped into the apartment and began to tug off his shoes, lifting his head as he heard clinking sounds in the kitchen.

"Yoh? Is that you?" A deep voice called.

Rather than answer, the boy finished taking off his shoes and placed his backpack by the hall closet as he walked over to the kitchen, glancing beyond the counter at the figure bent over the sink.

"There you are." Miyagi Yoshi asked, closing one eye as he peered down the drain with some difficulty. "How was school?"

"Fine." Yoh answered, trying to peer over his dad's tall shoulder. "What are you doing?"

"Oh this blasted drain is acting up again. It's driving me crazy." Yoshi replied with a peeved growl. "Honestly, I thought machines were designed to serve man, not the other way around…"

"…What are you doing home?" The boy asked, turning his gaze over towards the window. Yoshi straightened up, trying to scratch at his neck nonchalantly.

"Well, I got off a bit early today. Can't very well leave you here all by yourself…"

"Where's mom? Is she at work?"

Yoshi didn't turn around, but began to rinse a few dishes in the sink.

"No. She's…having one of her days. She's resting."

Yoh swallowed, knowing all too well what those phrases meant.

"She really hasn't been feeling that well lately, so she may just start doing part time at the office for awhile." The tall man murmured, placing the last of the dirty dishes in the sink and drying his hands.

"So I thought I'd just come home a bit early and make us some dinner." Yoshi continued, finally turning around and giving his son a quiet smile. "Wanna help me rustle up some grub? I know it's early…"

"Sure," Yoh replied. "That's fine."

"Good lad," Yoshi smiled. "Why don't you grab that curry mix out of the cupboard and I'll fire up the rice cooker."

Yoh nodded and walked over to the cupboard. With his long, lanky height he easily reached up and located the curry while Yoshi began to measure out portions of dry rice. Yoh walked over and stood beside him, reading the instructions on the back of box.

"How was school?" Yoshi asked, glancing at his son.

"You asked that already." Yoh replied, the faintest of smiles ghosting over his lips.

"Well what did you answer the first time?" Yoshi chuckled quietly.

"Fine. Same as always."

"Well, you're a senior this year." Yoshi smiled. "That's exciting."

"I guess." Yoh answered, his expression unchanging. The tall boy shifted uncomfortably, but didn't look at his dad as he spoke.

"Dad…maybe I should get a job."

Yoshi glanced over in surprise.

"Where did that come from?"

Yoh shrugged indifferently, trying to hide his unease.

"Maybe it would be good for me. I could start paying a bit of my tuition or something."

Yoshi's prominent black brows furrowed. Though he couldn't help but glance over at the pile of mail they'd received today, where a letter from the high school sat, stating that they were a bit behind on their payments.

Even still, Yoshi shook his head, giving his son a playful nudge.

"Oh come on champ. You shouldn't be worrying about finding a job now. It's your senior year. You should be having fun."

Yoh lips twitched uncomfortably again, but he said nothing. Yoshi studied his son's expression for a second and the blankness disturbed him.

"Speaking of which," He smile, trying to lighten the mood. "I bet the soccer's gonna start up school. Thought about trying out?"

Yoh's dark eyes drifted down to the counter and his hands stilled.

"…I don't know."

Seeing the discomfort in Yoh's eyes, Yoshi also frowned, but quickly tried to shake it off.

"Hey, today I was reading my horoscope in the paper and it said my lucky item was a starfish. Isn't that weird?" He laughed. "I mean, where the heck am I gonna get a starfish?"

His words momentarily brought a smile back to his son's face, and Yoh let out a quiet murmur.

"You're weird dad." He chuckled.

Yoshi laughed in reply.

"Well then you should be worried, 'cause the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

Yoh was about to laugh back a retort, when both of them heard a nearby door open. Yoshi immediately stopped what he was doing as a petite woman walked quietly into the kitchen, running a hand through her straight black hair. She lifted tired, baggy eyes up to the two men and let out a sighing yawn.

"Oh I feel so terrible." Miyagi Kikyo murmured, still holding her head.

"What's the matter?" Yoshi asked, coming over to wrap an arm around her shoulders.

"I just have this pulsing in my head that I haven't been able to get rid of." She replied, wincing slightly. "I think I'll just take something and go to bed."

Yoshi nodded soberly.

"Are you hungry?"

Kikyo shook her head.

"I'll eat later. I just need to rest." She said, glancing over at Yoh. "Hello dear. How was school?"

"Good." Yoh said, nodding a couple times.

"Glad to hear." Kikyo smiled. "Come give your mother a hug."

Yoshi watched as Yoh stepped over and stood in front of his mother. Kikyo wrapped her slender arms around her son, and his height was so much greater than hers that she could comfortably rest her head against his lithe chest. Yoh reached around and placed a hand between her shoulder blades, but his body remained stiff in their embrace.

After giving Yoshi a quick kiss, Kikyo retreated back to the far side of the apartment, going into the bathroom and shutting the door behind her. The two men stood in uncomfortable silence for a second before Yoshi went back to preparing the rice.

"Why don't you go change your clothes Yoh? I'll start mixing up the curry."

His son nodded, pulling off his dark blue uniform jacket as he quietly walked out into the living room.

Yoshi watched him go, breathing out a heavy sigh as he studied his son's movements and expression. The boy looked dead today, barely a flicker or thought to buzz around in his head, or so it appeared.

But it wasn't just today.

The boy had never been a particularly extroversive person, but Yoh had friends and interests, or at least he used to…

But as the recent months and years passed, Yoh had changed, and not for the better. Rather than growing outward, Yoh just seemed to be receding into himself more and more. What was worse, Yoshi had a pretty good idea why. Having been married to Kikyo for almost twenty years…Yoshi knew the signs of depression well. Being withdrawn, apathetic, hopeless, Yoshi didn't know the details, but he could recognize the negative trend his son had started to fall into. He had longed hoped that Yoh would not inherit the same mental trials as his mother, and they had raised Yoh with only his happiness in mind. However, as the boy aged more and more, it appeared nature was winning the battle over nurture.

Yoshi's hands grew busier as his mind turned in circles of what he could do to save his son, but in his heart…he doubted whether anyone could.

At his father's bidding, Yoh retreated into his room and shrugged out of his school clothes, pulling on a gray T-shirt and jeans in their place. He glanced dryly around his room, where a few books and clothes were littering the corners of the floor. He stared at them indifferently, then headed back towards his door, knowing his father was waiting for him. Even still as he walked down the hall and back in the living room, he stopped to stare at the large glass aquarium that sat next to the TV. A few kinds of tropical fish floated around in the water, seeming to fly like a flock of birds caught in an east wind.

His mother had always liked the calming qualities of fish, so there was always a colorfully decorated tank in the Miyagi home. As a boy he'd often sat and watched them instead of the TV, marveling at their colors and mystical appearance.

But now as an adult, Yoh's opinion of them had changed. In fact, he was starting to feel contempt for the creatures. They swam around in such carefree bliss, never noticing that they were stuck in a measly 30 gallons when they could have an ocean.

What stupid creatures. Content to live with nearly nothing, not even have the capacity to dream of more.

Yoh's chest sunk slightly as he caught himself having such harsh thoughts of their pets, and he released the angry tendrils from his mind, still staring at the fish.

Then again, maybe he didn't hate them for that reason. Maybe…maybe it was just the way they floated around in suspension. Like they were held up like puppets on strings, having neither the ability to live freely or to die, but only condemned to swim in limbo.

Yoh's chest sank further, and his lips curled downward as he had a brief epiphany.

He too was condemned to swim around in his own wretched limbo.

A limbo called life.

Once again I would like to thank everyone for their subscriptions, favs, and loyal reviews ^_^ It really means the world to me.

I'm very much liking writing this story. It gives me a chance to put some darker, more melancholy finesse into my fanfiction, which some of my other fics don't allow, considering I became known through my parodies XD Strangely enough, the normal fantasy books I write are very dark as well, so I'm more used to writing that.

The more I write about Miyagi, the more I absolutely love him, though I'm still getting used to calling him "Yoh." Lol, whenever I hear that name the first thing that comes to my mind is Shaman King and that's waaaay different (though it's funny how Miyagi Yoh and Asakura Yoh are both on the lazy side and have to have females light fires under their rear ends XD).

I've also complied a play list of songs that I've been listening to while I pegged down my plot and characters, especially Miyagi, so enjoy those as well. Even though they're kinda all sad too... *head/ desk *

Miyagi's Playlist

Comatose— Ayreon

Mad World—Gary Jules

This time—Jonathon Rhys Meyers

Keep Talking—Pink Floyd

Drones—Jed Whedon and the Willing

Das Rad de Schicksals—E Nomine

Moonlight Sonata—Beethoven

I am Only One—We are the Fallen

Wish you were here—Pink Floyd

My Immortal—Evanescence

10,000 Days (Wings for Marie part 2)—Tool

Promised Land—Advent Children Soundtrack

The Wind that Shakes the Barley—Loreena Mckennitt

The Lady of Shalott—Loreena Mckenitt

Fauchocolat, Ricchan14, Puppyfacetwo, Sangasnow26- thank you all for your loyal reviews! I know this story is dark and hard to read but I'm so grateful that you took the time to anyway. ^_^ Kisses to all of you!

Cerberus Revised- Hope you enjoyed the first look into Miyagi's family! Love you lots! :D

Next we shall introduce the fabled "Sensei." Hope you stick around!