Chapter Seven: Heavy Heart, Damaged Trust

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I could tell that Maka felt reluctant to tell me anything of her past and who she was. She looked at me for a moment, almost like she was pondering if she really should share probably the most painful part of her life with me. Did I make a mistake asking this? Death, I hope not...

"You see, my dad is a heavy drinker... And he's also a womanizer. And those two things mixed together don't add up to be a good thing." She paused, letting the torturous silence fill the air. She took a ragged breathe and balled her hands into fists, digging her nail bitten fingers into her palms.

"Especially if you're married..." She looked down at the ground, turning away from my gaze. "You know, I'm not the type of guy to judge someone based on their parents' mistakes. You can tell me anything. If you need to talk to someone, I'll be here," I said with a seriousness etched all over my features as I looked down at her tiny face.

A ghost of a smile began to form on her perfect lips. So close in proximity. So easy to just reach down, tilt her head up and kiss her. So easy to show her how much I would care and want to see her smile that world halting smile. Always.

I fantasized but I never took action. Coward, I thought. Well what was I supposed to do? I had just met her earlier today! Plus. I promised I wouldn't try anything if she came with me... Unless... Unless she wanted me too... I smirked to myself as I imagined things that would make any 60 year old woman blush in church for even daydreaming about it. Snap out of it, Soul! Get your mind out of the gutter, I thought to myself after imagining an old woman blushing in church.

"Stupid conscience," I muttered under my breath. "What was that?" Maka looked at me curiously. "Oh! N-Nothing! Eheh..." I nervously laughed scratching the back of my head in embarrassment. "Okay..." she said, dragging out the last syllable and raising her eyebrow. She dropped the subject nonetheless, letting it go, which I was extremely grateful for. That was pretty cool of her, I thought. She's pretty cool...

She continued her story like nothing was said. "One day my mom and I came home to my father, drunk off his ass, being smothered on their bed by this bimbo he kept calling 'Blaire'.

"My mother started to scream and eventually pushed 'Blaire' out the door. The woman looked confused and taken by surprise by my mom as she was shoved out, holding what clothes she didn't have left on her body. My mother started screeching and hitting my father. But since he was drunk, that only made things worse... He started yelling back at her about how she didn't 'do it' for him anymore. She wasn't good enough. But you know, she was never good enough for my dad to learn to stop. It wasn't the first time he had been caught with another woman in the house. But it was the first time she had found them on their bed."

I watched her while we walked, our pace gradually slowing so it was almost like we weren't moving at all. My building worry and angst in the continuing moments had my heart beating and my thoughts racing around in circles, trying to find something, anything, to say or do to make her smile reappear. But nothing good enough came to mind. All the while Maka had never stopped her painful retelling.

"-ick bastard began to get really angry once she started throwing his clothes at him, proceeding to toss a large suitcase at his head. He got furious. His arm changed into a scythe and I was really scared. He threatened her that if she continued her outrageous cries any longer that he would-" She cut herself off, falling silent for a short time. "... He would - kill - her..."

My breathe caught in my throat when she said the word "kill". A rush of memories played back for only my mind to remember, each one flooding my vision like a bomb bursting right in front of me. I shook my head forcefully to remind myself that I had to stay in the present and Maka looked over at me with one eyebrow arched slightly towards her hairline. Nevertheless, she ignored it and let it pass like it had never happened. A gust of relieved and grateful air whisked past my parched lips. She continued.

"My mother, being the one who made him into the death scythe that he is, could've easily stopped him... If she wanted to..." My eyes widened incredulously at her words. "Wait! Y-You're dad, is the infamous Death Scythe Spirit?! You're that Maka Albarn?!"

I almost died.

That guy has had it in for me from the beginning of time since I came to this academy. When he finds out that I took his daughter to my apartment, alone with me, he's going to kill me! I gulped down hard. But wait. Spirit getting mad... Me possibly dying... I weighed the pros and cons and decided the sight of Spirit getting absolutely infuriated with me for "taking advantage" of his "poor, defenseless" daughter and getting all red in the face was by far worth the risk.

Ha, ha. I smirked.

"Um... Yeah. Everyone always reacts like that. Well, anyway..." she started to say, bringing me out of my thoughts yet again. "Oh, sorry." I apologized for interrupting her story. "It's okay." She shifted her eyes back to the momentary ghost town in front of her as we continued to drag our feet through the street, and through this conversation towards my apartment.

"... So I watched them fighting and I screamed for him not to hurt my mom and I jumped in between them. My mother's face was tear stricken with grief and heart break.

"All I could do was watch as she gathered her belongings and packed it all in her suitcase. I was balling, pleading for her not to go... But she wasn't listening. Her mind was elsewhere. Almost like she was in a trance. You could see it in her eyes... My father tells me I have her eyes all the time. Sometimes I find myself in a sort of trance-like state; like she was when she left. The people who witness it, describe it the same way. I have a lot of my mother in me. Or at least, that's what I'd like to think..."

Maka looked down again, tears pricking the edges of her eyes. "Maka, I-" She interrupted me and sniffed. "You know the worst part of all that?" I shook my head. She sniffed again. "The worst part..." And again. "Is that she just - left me there. With him. Eheh!" She laughed, stunned at the memory. "You know what, that's not even the worst part. No. No, the worst part is that I still hold the silly notion of hope that she'll actually come back for me!" Maka began giggling hysterically and I wasn't sure what to do.

"Oi... M-Maka...? Maka, are you all right?" I asked, tilting my head in concern, looking her face over. "Alright? Ha! Ha! Ha! Why wouldn't I be? I mean, my dad is a total failure as a parent and spouse, my mom ran out on me and just left me there with him, and I just told my entire life story to a complete stranger I just met today! Of course I'm alright!"

Her laughing became louder and more forced. Her much too happy smile morphed into a frown of a small child who had just lost their mother in a store full of people. The only difference was that she was a small child who had lost everything. Everything that is important to a person. She lost it all in a single stroke.

"Maka?! Maka! Listen to me, Maka!" I yelled at her, shaking her shoulders trying to get her to calm down and look at me. Her laughter became sobs and I didn't know what else to do but to hold her tightly until she stopped crying. I held her for what seemed like forever and eventually she responded to my embrace and held me back. After a few minutes of her quietly sobbing on my shoulder and having a now nearly soaked sleeve, she unwrapped her arms from my neck and sat there in front of me, looking blank faced at the ground.

"Maka?" I called her name wishing for a response. "Mm?" she hummed. "Phew. You are alive," I teased, but she didn't even give a small huff from her nose. She just kept starring at the ground like I had said nothing. "... Maka? I-I was just joking... Maka?" I looked at her with a worried expression on my face. What was the matter?

"... Soul..." she said my name quietly. I jumped because it came out of nowhere.

"Y-Yes?" I replied, slightly startled.

"... What about you?"

"Ah..." I croaked.

To my relief, she paused for a moment before continuing. Grateful because I didn't exactly know what I was going to give her as an answer. But then she spoke again.

"What about your family?"


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