Disclaimer:    Inuyasha characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi.  Other characters are property of Dark Star.

Rating:         PG-13; just in case, possible language

Summary:   

Genre:            Romance/Drama

A/N:            I know I haven't touched this story in the longest of times, but just as well.  ^_^  I got a chance to read my first two chapters over again, and I think they're just spiffy!  I absolutely adore them!  .  I don't know what it is about those two chapters that is so different from my others, but I think it has something to do with my sentence variety…I should start with subjects more often…if anyone cares to analyze my writing a bit and tell me…I would really appreciate it!  ^.~  The plot to this story is kinda semi-unclear, but I think I'll get that worked out along the way, ne?  Enjoy!

S e c o n d  C h a n c e s Chapter Three: Loss, Part II

December 2002

A choked sob escaped her throat as she hid her face in her delicate hands.  She just couldn't believe he was dead…after all those years spent together.  Even his nonsensical history 'lessons' were better than this.  But now, he was gone…for good.  Already, her nose felt congested and her skull like it was being crushed.  The beautiful blue-gray eyes she possessed were burning with liquid despair.

          "He had been a knowledgeable man, wise beyond his years in the teachings of life and history," the man at the podium said with practiced sadness.

Kagome thought back to the 'old days', where Grandpa had rattled off the historical attributes of their sacred shine home.  This here shrine has been around for thousands of years, ever since the Sengoku Jidai.  It always has housed those of the Higurashi bloodline.  Kagome, someday, you will be the master of this shrine, when I'm gone…  She shut her eyes tightly, trying to push away the memories.  The history of these pickles is amazing!  They were, long ago, planted by a kindly old man with no money to spare.  He lived solely on his crop.  Then, one day, large cucumbers sprouted.  The old man was overjoyed; he finally had enough food to feed his family…

          "Let us pay our last respects to this wonderful man, Higurashi Tetsuo," the man continued.

Kagome and her family were first, approaching the mahogany coffin shakily.  Ms. Higurashi bit down on her lip, attempting to stifle her sobs.  Kagome, however, was not so strong.  Tears spilled in abundance from her gray-tinted eyes as violent sobs wracked her body.  Her mother, seeing her daughter cry, wrapped her arms about her and Souta and also wept loudly.  The rest of the audience, already saddened by the death, gazed in sympathy at the broken family.

Kagome couldn't believe it…for all his history lessons and annoying ramblings, it all would have been better than this.  Anything but this…she didn't even get to tell him how much she loved him, and her chance, now, was lost totally.

*        *        *

Souta stared blankly at the people whom were lined up to pay their final respects.  Each of them sent an empathetic look his way, shaking their heads sadly.  He couldn't believe it…Grandpa was dead?  If someone were to say, he looked dazed and confused, oblivious to his surroundings, much like a deer in headlights.  His mind was numb, allowing his body to take over his actions for now.  A look of exhaustion and loss was painted on his pallid features.  Maybe he could sort it all out later…at home.

*        *        *

Ms. Higurashi looked blankly around their shrine home.  She half-expected her father-in-law to come out one of the doors, jumping into a technical explanation of the sandpaper-colored wood of the house.  But then, she remembered, they had just been at his funeral, bidding him their last good-byes.  Dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief, she turned to face her two depressed children.  She had to strong…for them.  Placing the best smile she could manage on her red lips, she opened her arms to an embrace, and they gladly accepted.  After remaining like that for a few minutes, Ms. Higurashi couldn't help but sob again.

                   "Mama?" Souta asked tentatively.

                   "Yes, dear?"

                   "Is…Grandpa…really…"

                   Another sob wracked her body.  "Yes," she choked out.

Her son remained silent, and after they broke their embrace, he left for the confines of his own room.  Flopping down onto his bed, he pondered the events of the day.  It just hadn't sunk in yet, the fact of his grandfather's death.  It was as if…he wasn't meant to accept it.

Souta was a special boy; everyone knew…in a way.  Those at his school suspected he was a genius, and it had been confirmed with a few IQ tests online.  But of course, those weren't official, and geniuses took some time to develop.  Souta seemed to look at the world in different ways, with a  mind more open than anyone else's.  He understood things like no one ever could, in more varied ways than imaginable.  For example, whereas everyone looked at world peace as the goal of our existence, he saw it as a hindrance. If there was world peace, there would be overpopulation, would there not?  People would live in unbearable conditions, and from those conditions, there would sprout filth of the worst sort.  Filth where everything was infected with human waste, filled with disease-causing microbes.  It would be the Dark Ages all over again.  And then, because of this unsanitary environment and the loss of lives widespread, humans would have more and more children, causing more overpopulation.

Yes, his view of the world was different.  He need not be told that the world was not all peaches and cream; he already knew.  But then, he realized, he was a human, and humans had a need to be comfortable and happy.  Right now, he wasn't too happy.  Being considered a genius at school and also by his family brought on extremely high expectations.  He was only fourteen years old, and he was expected to ace every test, quiz, and the like.  His standardized tests always came back with high marks, scoring better than 99% percent of the country in every subject.  His subjects were all mastered, but he also struggled with school.  And that didn't quite make sense to him.  Instilled in him was the barest of rays of hope that he really was a genius, and to him, a genius needn't struggle with his schoolwork at all.  But still, he did, and that planted a growing doubt in his mind.  He was just a smart boy, that's all, not a genius.  But people didn't want to believe that, and still, they pushed him to his academic limits.  If he were to say, a flicker of depression was beginning to take hold on him.

Now that he thought about it, he had only four A's out of eight.  The rest were A-'s.  Being the perfectionist he was, he saw it as a definite failure.  Leaving a child prodigy like Souta alone in his state of mind wasn't the best thing to do.  His thoughts were taking a suicidal mode, and with his enhanced mind, he knew that.  But that didn't stop him from thinking as he did.  Souta was a boy who understood the deepest depths of human nature, and that left him to know himself completely.  He knew his flaws, his strengths, and his goals.  It left him to wonder if anyone really cared for him at all.  The fact of the matter was the world could go without his presence, and he was only being a nuisance to his mother and sister right now.

Rising from his soft bed, he went to his window and gazed out upon the vast expanse of the Shinto shrine in which they lived.  Everything seemed to have taken on a dreary air, mourning the death of the Shrine Master.  Finally, the realization struck Souta like a thousand boulders hurled at him from enemy lines.  His grandfather was dead.  The last feathers of logic he possessed flew away from him, and his mind was set in an utter misery.  The world didn't need him.

All the stress from school and his home life was piling up, having not been released from his juvenile body.  I bet it was Souta who go the perfect score!  What is this?!  You have an A- in math!  Get to work!  Are you stupid or something?!  Souta!  Why are you still up doing your homework?  You're supposed to be in bed!  Souta, you have to know, I'm very proud of you…  The last voice in his head snapped his eyes open, brimming with tears.  Daddy, why can't you be here with me?  You would understand.  Souta opened his window and pushed out the screen that shielded him from the course winter air.  Pulling himself out the window, he climbed the wall of the house onto the roof.  He stood atop his home, taking in everything around him one last time.  Smiling weakly at the scenery, he sent a gaze towards his sister, shooting arrows at the aligned targets.  I'm really sorry, sis…

Kagome swiveled around, something inside her telling her that an event was about to come to pass.  Her eyes widened when she saw Souta's body plummet from the roof, gliding haphazardly towards the ground.  Resounding cracks and the disgusting crush of a body against earth could be heard.  No!  NO!  Tears streaming from her anguished eyes, she streaked toward her little brother's body, hoping for the best and anticipating the worst.

Souta smiled bitterly as his mind closed off to everything.  Memories were flashing by in bits and pieces, the last one of his father, sister, and himself, taking a ride on their father's motorcycle.  Even as the air rushed by him, he managed a harsh laugh.  Now, I don't have to accept Grandpa's death OR Daddy's death.  All his senses were burning as the sensation of pain struck him full force.  And then…everything was black.

A/N:            I am so not good with angst…I can't make anything sad enough.  =P  I'll just have to work on that.  Also, this chapter will be done, but late in coming out cause I disabled my frickin' AOL account.  -.-;;  I can't send update e-mails anymore.  I'm really sorry, but it's against AOL TOS terms (that's why I got disabled).  So right now, my Internet access is extremely limited (AOL was my default browser).  Sorry to all those whom depend upon my update e-mails, but I can't do anything about it.  Sorry!

~*~*~Dark Star~*~*~

P.S.  I don't think I'll do review responses anymore, either, it really hinders my chapters getting out.  -.-;;  Again, I apologize for the abrupt changes.