- Breaking Point -
"Your midterms are in 3 weeks so you'd better get studying," Professor Stein warned as the bell rang and everyone got up to go to their next lesson. Of course, as usual, no one paid any heed to his warning. "Hey, I'm serious!" he shouted comically. "Our class has the lowest grades and it's affecting my pay check so your grades are a big concern of mine!"
"So if it didn't affect your pay check, you wouldn't be so worried about us?" Soul wittily pointed out with a mischievous smirk.
"No. Personally, I wouldn't really give a damn."
As the white-haired scythe quieted down and everyone started laughing, I gathered my books and quietly left the classroom, earning a surprised "hey, wait!" from my partner.
"Maka! Wait up!" he called after me, but I kept on walking. "Hey, what's the rush?" he asked in slight annoyance after catching up with me.
"Sorry, Soul. I don't have time for chit-chat and lounging around the hallways," I apologized and sped up my pace.
That's right. I have my exams in only a couple of weeks. I have to start studying.
I don't have time for anything else.
Not even Soul.
"Gosh, Maka. They're only midterms," he scoffed and folded his arms behind his head. "Besides, 3 weeks is plenty of time."
I chuckled humourlessly and shook my head. "No, it's not."
I desperately wanted him to keep quiet, but he kept on protesting. "Plus, you always get worked up over these stupid tests. I don't get it, what's the point?"
"Because studying's all I can do, okay?! I'm not a musical prodigy like you and I'm not strong and confident like Black Star. I'm not a noble like Kid, I'm not ladylike and gentle like Tsubaki and I'm not half as pretty as Patti or Liz. So don't tell me that there's no point in me getting worked up over these exams!" Having exploded, I turned a corner and headed to the library, leaving him behind. He was probably stunned and maybe even annoyed at me, but for now, that didn't matter.
I was disgusted at myself for being so jealous of those who were dear to me and held me dearly.
I picked a few revision guides from the shelves to take home and read, but within minutes, the 'few books' had turned into a tall stack of thick, dusty books, its balance I could barely maintain. Still, I had to do what was needed to score perfect marks and these books were definitely needed. Every single one of them.
With these, I'll definitely score full marks on the exams.
Waddling out of the library and into the hallway, my fingers struggled to grip onto the books and before I knew it, they'd slipped and cluttered all over the floor.
No, I'm fine. I'll just pick them up.
But although my mind willed me to shrug it off and just pick up the books, my body lost its strength and I fell to my knees, hands pressed against the cold floor. "Why can't I do anything right?" I scorned at myself as I stared at my pale, blurry reflection on the shiny floor.
Plain. Boring. Weak.
I wish I was someone else.
I bit my lip, took in a deep breath and willed myself to pick up the books, get up and keep walking as if nothing had happened.
I wish I was someone perfect, like Soul.
Time flew by so quickly and before I knew it, it was the day of the midterms.
"How do you think you did on the exams?" Kid asked me as the seven of us: Soul, Kid, Patti, Liz, Black Star, Tsubaki and I sat on our usual courtyard bench.
I shrugged and smiled. "Oh, I don't know," I replied. "I'm not worried, though."
Liar. I'm frantic to the point that I can barely sit still.
As everyone laughed and entertained themselves to the jokes and antics of Black Star, I noticed that Soul was staring at me concernedly.
"W-what?" I asked, unnerved by his unwavering stare.
"You liar," he suddenly stated and forcibly pulled me away from the others, much to my shock and confusion. I followed him to a lonesome area, squirming at his tight hold on my wrist. As we finally reached a place of privacy, he let go of his grip and continued to stare at me with those piercing scarlet eyes.
I was completely befuddled. "Soul, what -"
"If you're worried about something, if you need help, if you just need someone to talk to
Don't you realise that I'm right here?" he angrily pointed out, his voice slowly raising.
Ah, so that's what he's so worked up about.
I laughed in relief and shook my head. "I'm fine, Soul. You don't have to worry!" I reassured, which calmed him down a bit. But then things took a turn for the worst.
I don't need anyone's help.
"But, Maka... Don't you think that -"
"I don't need your help," I stated coldly, shocking both him and myself. I didn't mean to say it, the words just slipped out before I could even think. However, it was too late. Words had been said and feelings were hurt.
"What are you saying
?" he muttered under his breath, his temper quickly rising again.
No. I didn't mean it like that.
"No, Soul, I -"
"We're partners, aren't we?! I'm supposed to come to your aid, aren't I? All this 'I need to do this alone' and 'I can't depend on you forever' crap, it's ridiculous! And now, you won't even accept my help? Then what's the point of us being partners anymore?! Treating me like I'm just a weapon and nothing else, I can't take it anymore!" he yelled furiously, his eyes darkening a deeper shade of crimson.
No, please. Don't say it.
"Please, Soul. Don't -"
"There's no meaning to us being partners. Let's quit," he stated and stormed off, leaving a shattered me standing alone. I bit my lip, not allowing myself to shed a single tear. I needed to stay strong, for my own sake, otherwise everything I'd done and sacrificed would've been for nothing.
You're wrong, Soul.
You're not just a weapon. You're more than that.
You're my friend.
A week passed by and it was the day of the exam results. From that day, Soul had refused to talk to me and we became merely faces in the hallway. Rushing to class to see my results, I skidded to a halt and pushed past the crowd of students who were eager to find their name on the results sheet, which was pinned up on a billboard outside the classroom.
And there it was.
99 out of 100.
My eyes widened in shock and utter disappointment and I slowly took a step back out of the crowd. Backing up against the wall, I balled my fists and bit my lip again.
Not good enough.
I noticed Soul, who was taking a leisurely stroll down the hallway and decided to take a look at his own results. After taking a minute or so to scan the list, he hesitantly turned to look at me, most likely because he'd also seen my results.
I didn't know whether or not he'd wanted to say something to me because as soon as he turned to face me, I made a run for it. Leaving the school building, not caring that I still had a few lessons left for the day, I climbed over the gates, hopped onto my bicycle and pedalled as fast as I could without thinking at all.
I want to escape this world.
Speeding down a hill and eventually reaching an empty path next to a river, I began to slow down and abruptly skidded to a halt as I noticed something or rather, someone.
The red-haired man was holding hands and chatting with a skimpily-dressed blond woman, who was giggling to what he was saying and wore too much make-up for her own good.
"Why can't you ever get enough?!" I shouted at him, who immediately froze and spun in shock to see me with widened eyes.
"You're so selfish, always getting what you want without even thinking of others," I continued to berate, my voice wavering. "Mum, me
You never think of our feelings, do you? You know, I have problems, too. I struggle like everyone else, but you don't see it. Because I don't want you to worry, I don't want to hurt you, but you can't even do the same. You hurt me every time I see you, but
You don't even care, do you?!" And with that last scream, my voice cracked and I felt myself reach breaking point.
Before he tried to talk, I started pedalling again, this time as hard as I could, as if my life had depended on it. I wouldn't let him see my tears for he wasn't worthy of them.
And then I cried.
A tear ran down my cheek and was swept into the wind as I slowed down to a halt. Stepping off the bicycle, I started walking with the river right beside me. My head hung in defeat and my eyes welled up no matter how hard I tried to fight against it. Wiping my sorry tears with my sleeve, I began to cry pitifully with my face in a mess and my hair in a state. But it didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore.
I'm alone again.
As I shed my tears, I heard footsteps approaching me. Not the footsteps of someone walking, but the footsteps of someone who was running like their life had depended on it.
Hearing the footsteps getting louder and louder, I slowly raised my head to see who it was.
And then I was smacked by a strong force. A body. The body of someone I knew too well.
?" I questioned and fell back, only to be caught by a pair of hands that pulled me up against his body into a tight embrace.
He didn't say a word. Instead, his actions were more than enough.
Whilst he hugged me tightly as if he'd never let go and warmed me with his heated body, I finally let out all of my tears. At first, I never wanted anyone to see me cry, but then I realised that it was okay.
"I didn't want to cry," I sobbed, choking through my tears as I gripped onto his jacket with my chin over his leaning shoulder.
He knew that he didn't need to comfort me with words for his actions were enough and so he gently rubbed my back as I tearfully confessed, "I thought th-that
people would think that I'm weak if I cried a-and so
I held it in
"I know," he repeated softly and lightly patted my hair. "You're strong and I'm so proud of you, but you don't have to hold in your tears anymore."
"B-but I'm so weak and useless
"No, you're not." Suddenly, he pulled away to look into my eyes and stated with a stern yet comforting voice, "Crying isn't a sign of weakness. It's just your body's way of saying that you've been strong for too long and you need someone by your side to share the burden. That someone should be me. I
without you, I would've been nothing. I wouldn't be worthy of being called a weapon or even a person so don't tell yourself that you're useless. You made me into the person I am today and words can't express how grateful I am for having met you. You're amazing, Maka Albarn."
I thought that I'd used up all my tears that had been stored away for so long, but I was wrong. His words
they were what made me cry the most.
Relief. Reassurance. Realisation that I wasn't really alone.
Those were the feelings that flowed into me in such a rush, as if I'd been hit by a tidal wave. A tidal wave that had me wrapped up so lovingly.
"What I said back then, I didn't mean it," he said with his hands wrapped around the back of my neck. "I'm sorry."
I'm the one who should be sorry.
I shook my head. "It's my fault. I was so indulged in my yearn for strength and independence that I completely forgot that I don't need it when I have you." Once again, I bit my lip, maybe for the last time. "Soul, will you
will you be my partner again?"
"Idiot," he chuckled and wiped the tears off my warm, rosy cheeks. "We never stopped being partners." As I smiled in joy and relief, he sneakily pinched my reddening nose and grinned. "There, now. Cheer up!"
I nodded and widened my smile. "Thank you, Soul."
To my surprise, his cheeks suddenly flushed a bright shade of scarlet, much like the colour of his own eyes and he raised a hand to cover his face in embarrassment. "Gosh, Maka. What the hell
" he muttered under his breath.
I laughed, not knowing what he was blushing about. "What?" I asked out of curiosity.
"Hey, Maka. I, uh, I've got something to tell you."
I nodded. "Yeah?"
He cleared his throat and awkwardly ran his fingers over his white hair. "I, you see, when I got angry before, that was out of my place. A weapon is supposed to merely obey their meister without a question, but you're not just a meister to me. You're
I smiled, knowing full well what he'd meant by 'special'. A tear, my last tear, ran down my cheek, but it wasn't a tear of sadness. It was a tear of absolute joy.
"You're special to me, too."
As we both laughed and hugged again, I knew that I wasn't alone anymore.
In fact, I was never alone in the first place.
He was always by my side, wanting to reach out to me, but I'd pushed him away and just never realised it until now.
You're the one who's amazing, Soul.