Disclaimer: All characters and situations in this piece belong to me. Please do not take them without my permission.

Raindrops fell through the roof of the small wooden tree fort as sixteen-year-old Jedediah Sharpe climbed up the ladder, putting one foot in front of the other. His long arms and legs allowed him to climb more quickly than other boys his age would and for this he was thankful. His hair was already dripping wet by the time he got inside, however; it was pouring outside. Sighing to himself, he ran his long fingers through thick, dark – and very wet – hair in an attempt to push it out of his face.

"I hate you," he muttered to no one in particular. At least, no one was there to hear his words, and if anyone had heard, they would not have known how to respond. It had all happened so long ago, yet the memories still stung what heart he had left for people. A hand dropped to his side and he ran his fingers along a scar. It had been seven hundred and thirty-one days exactly and his body still hadn't fully healed yet.

'You're going to have those scars for the rest of your life,' the doctor had told him once he had regained consciousness and was out of surgery. He narrowed his eyes and clenched his jaw. 'And you're fortunate.' Jedediah seethed through clenched teeth at this thought. He was not fortunate; if he was fortunate, he would not be in California right then – or at all. If he was truly fortunate, he would not have to deal with the pain.

He swore, not at all appalled by the foul language coming from his own mouth. Had his parents been alive and heard him, he would have his mouth washed out with baking soda – or something even nastier – for certain. "Why-" he started to ask aloud, but his vocal chords hurt from holding back tears. He hated crying; it made him feel weak and helpless, like one of the pitiful insects that Mr. Frasier talked about in their biology class. "Why the hell did you take them instead of me?" he shouted, his voice directed towards the heavens. Instead of answering, however, only more rain continued to fall.

The teenager slumped down, resting his head up against his arms. He knew he would not get an answer, so why should he bother trying anymore?