A Day In Your Shoes

The One with the Dreams

Maka blankly stared at the television screen in front of her. Despite it being set on the loudest volume, she couldn't hear anything. Nothing would pass through her ears, or even her eyes for that matter. All the colors were distorted and on a grayscale. She didn't even notice the door unlocking, or a voice calling out to her. It was only when he came up to her and shook her lightly in concern, that she was brought back to the real world.

"Woah Maka, you're taking zoning out to a whole new level," he teased. "Why is the television on so loud? I could hear it from the hallway."

Maka mumbled something incoherent back. He looked at her pale face quizzically and shut the loud electronic off.

"What did you say?" He asked her to repeat her words again.

"You're leaving." She replied in a tiny voice. There was no hesitation or even quivering in her voice. It was matter-of-fact, and neutral. "You're leaving because you got into a music school overseas."

"Where did you hear that?" He demanded, his expression immediately turning stiff. "Who told you that? It's not true, Maka."

"So you didn't get into a school in Europe?"

"W-Well, I did, but -" He stumbled to find the right words.

"I knew it," she angrily said, glaring at him. "I knew you were going to leave me, you're just like everyone else. You liar."

"Wait, just listen," he reasoned, prepared to explain everything.

"I don't want to," she snarled, covering her ears with her hands. "All you do is sprout out lies! I can't believe I actually...I actually believed in you."

"Maka, just listen!" He shouted, starting to get aggravated by her stubbornness. "I'm not leaving. I went home the other day to decline the offer."

"You...you what?" She confusedly asked, staring deep into his clear ruby eyes.

"I rejected the offer, Maka. You don't have to worry about anything because I'm not leaving you," he reassured her, looking directly into her eyes as he said those words.

"B-But I thought-" She stuttered, doubtful that he was telling the truth.

"Well you thought wrong." He interrupted her before she could sprout any untrue ideas of his leaving.

"S-So you're not leaving?" She asked him once again, stuffing her shaking hands inside her sweater pocket. "You're staying right here?"

"I'm staying right here." He grinned, and somehow it had such an affect that all her worries washed away. "Geez, stupid!" He lightly flicked her forehead with his fingers affectionately. "Don't even entertain ideas like that!"

"O-Okay." Maka nodded her head in agreement, finding herself somehow smiling once again.

"Also, come somewhere with me this Saturday," he eagerly asked her. "I want to show you something."

"What?" She asked, widening her eyes in curiosity.

"It's a surprise." He smirked, his sharp jaws clearly visible. "Just be sure to have no other plans that day."

"Tsubaki!" Maka waved frantically, trying to be noticed by her black haired friend among the sea of people.

"Maka!" She waved back, walking towards the blonde haired girl. When they somehow managed to reach each other, Tsubaki decided the crowd was too much. "Let's go somewhere else to talk!"

"Okay!" Maka agreed. She looked around the street and pointed to a tiny coffee shop. "How about there?"

Tsubaki nodded in approval and they both headed towards the cafe. When they were seated and comfortable, Maka looked up at Tsubaki expectantly.

"So what did you want to tell me?" Maka asked her friend, who suddenly grew quiet.

"Uhm..." Tsubaki hesitantly started, avoiding all eye contact. "It's something very unpleasant about...Soul that you probably don't want to hear. B-But you have the right to know...no, it's something you deserve to know."

Maka stared at her overly nervous friend and sighed. "Tsubaki, if this is about Soul's move, everything's fine."

"W-What?" She widened her dusky blue eyes in shock. "You knew?"

Maka nodded, and shrugged in ambivalence. "Soul's not really moving, he went to his house yesterday to reject the offer. He's staying right here."

"Oh..." Tsubaki lowered her eyes and played with the rim of her coffee cup. "Black Star was right..." She softly whispered to herself.

"What?" Maka slit her eyes at her friend's downcast eyes. "What did you just say?"

"Nothing..." Tsubaki bit her lip, stirring her drink with a metal spoon. She refused to look directly at Maka.

"You're acting strange!" Maka frowned. "You and I are friends Tsubaki, you can tell me whatever it is you are thinking."

Tsubaki flickered her eyes back and forth at Maka and her coffee cup, before sighing in defeat. "To...to be perfectly honest Maka, I'll speak from two points of view. As your friend's point of view, I'm really happy for you. You finally found happiness, and no one has the right to take that away from you...including me."

Maka slowly nodded her head, and encouraged her to continue.

"But as Soul's friend's point of view, I don't think it's right. He finally found a path to fulfill his dreams, and no one has the right to take that away from him..." Tsubaki paused dramatically for a few seconds. "...including you."

"But I'm not taking his dream away from him!" Maka protested, feeling overwhelming guilt take over. "I didn't tell him anything, he just decided to reject the offer on his own. You can go ask him, I had nothing to do with his decision!"

"Maka, if it isn't for you, what reason does he have to stay here?" Tsubaki gently asked. "Black Star said becoming a famous musician has always been his dream, and he's giving that up because he doesn't want to leave you."

"No one asked him to give it up," Maka defensively pointed out. "Besides, he can go to a school here! If he's so great at playing that he can get into such an elite school, I'm sure he got into other schools closer to where we are!"

Tsubaki shook her head sadly. "I thought the same thing, but according to Black Star he only applied to schools overseas. He applied to colleges before he met you, when all he could think about was getting as far away from his broken family as he possibly could. He was planning on leaving this place for good...but then you came along and changed everything."

"T-Then he could just wait a year, can't he?" Maka frantically tried to find a loophole in Tsubaki's statements. "He can apply to schools here after taking a year off, can't he?"

"...Maka, truthfully speaking, would you yourself want to take a whole year off from school?" Tsubaki asked her in the nicest way she could. "Besides, the school Soul got into basically guarantees their students will become successful...what will you do if his musical career sinks just because he didn't take this once-in-a-lifetime chance?"

"Tsubaki, you're my friend." Maka stated, feeling tears welling up. "Aren't you supposed to be on my side? Even if I make stupid decisions, shouldn't you blind me to the truth and say whatever makes me happy, even if it's a lie?"

"Maka, I'm saying this because I care," Tsubaki argued, hopelessly looking at her friend in the eye. "I thought about it, and no matter how Soul is infatuated with you now, he's someday going to blame you for this. He's going to always get angry at you for ruining his dreams and I won't bear to see you take blame."

"Soul's not like that!" Maka confidentially replied. "Soul would never do that!"

"That's what you say now," Tsubaki struggled to say the next hurtful few words. "Wake up from your fantasy, Maka. This is reality. Think about what's best for the both of you...please."

"So you're basically saying I should let him go?" Maka bluntly said, holding in her tears.

"All I'm saying is that you should really think deep about it." Tsubaki deftly avoided the question. "I don't know about anything else, but all I want is for you to be happy...and this is the complete, whole truth."

Maka stared into the old photograph, the one where the rim was torn apart and the ink was starting to fade. It was one of the few pictures she had of her father and herself. She played with it in her hand, as the words Tsubaki had said replayed over and over again in her head.

What Tsubaki told her made sense- it was very logical and reasonable. Maka knew Tsubaki meant no harm by her words, and meant it only with the purest intentions, but it still hurt; being slapped of reality by her best friend was painful.

Sure, Maka knew she was being selfish. She was being selfish, unreasonable, stubborn and stupid; she understood at least that much.

Tsubaki probably realized that with the right words, Maka would be convinced to let Soul go. She was almost right. But what Tsubaki didn't realize was that Maka had changed. She was tired. She was so, so tired. She was tired of giving things up, pretending to be happy and putting a smile on her face. She was seriously so tired. She already gave up her parents, her past and basically everything that gave her happiness. How much more did she have to give up until life would be satisfied and would leave her alone? At this point, it didn't matter about anyone else's future. All she wanted to do now was care about her own future, her own happiness.

Maka smiled sadly at the photograph she held in her hand before placing it back in-between the pages of a book.

Not this time. She wasn't going to let fate win over her happiness, at least not this time.

"There, there." Kid rolled his eyes, patting Tsubaki's hunched up shoulders. "It's okay."

"But it's not!" She sadly cried, wrapping her arms around her legs. "I bet you Maka hates me now!"

"Maka would never hate you," Kid dismissed her worries. "Besides, what you did was right."

"R-Really?" Tsubaki looked up at her symmetrically-obsessed friend with watery eyes. "You really think it was the right way of approaching things?"

"Yeah, I do." He sternly replied. "Someone had to tell her the truth, you did well. Although...when you told me the whole conversation, I have to admit you sounded uncharacteristically strong. Mean, even."

"I did sound mean, didn't I?" Tsubaki agreed in agony. "I tried to do my best because Black Star had so strongly pleaded me to speak to Maka...I didn't realize how much I must've hurt her!"

"Wait, Black Star is the one who asked you to speak with her?" Kid asked in disbelief. "Why couldn't he just talk to Maka himself? Or better yet, why couldn't he just put some sense into his stupid white haired friend instead? If anyone needs a talk about reality, it's that asymmetrical music freak."

"Black Star said he already tried to speak to Soul about it, but he completely ignored him...and since Black Star isn't really close with Maka..."

"So he basically gave you all the dirty work?" Kid squinted his honey colored eyes.

"N-No, I mean, I don't mind!" Tsubaki immediately defended him. "It was something that had to be done!"

"I would never be able to understand how a girl of such class such as yourself could possibly like such a disorderly person like him." Kid shook his head in disapproval, and left a bewildered and very red Tsubaki alone in her room to slowly evaluate his words.

"W-Where are you taking me?" Maka asked nervously, as she tried to peel off the blindfold on top of her eyes. She could tell he brought her at the beach from the salty smell of the waves and the cool sand she walked on. What she didn't understand was what could possibly be on the beach that he wanted her to see so late at night on a Saturday.

"Okay, you can take off the blind now!" He told her excitedly, letting go of her hand. She immediately pulled it off and let her eyes properly adjust. When they had clear vision again, she gasped.

Maka's eyes glinted at the sight in front of her, the scenery looking more like something out of a movie than real life.

"Wha- how?" Her eyes grew bigger, as she stared at the glossy black piano in front of her. It wasn't the reflection of the brilliant moon on the shine of the sleek piano that amazed her. It wasn't even the way Soul had dressed formally once again, complete with a cherry silk tie and gelled hair that made her eyes gawk in wonder.

It was the fact that there was a piano in the middle of a beach, snugly placed in the sand.

"There was a movie shoot for the past week," he shrugged, trying his best to seem cool about the whole thing. "They're removing the piano tomorrow. Remember when I promised I'd play the piano for you when the time was right, like a month ago? Well, what better time than right now, right here?"

"Are you serious?" Maka breathed out, her eyes still drinking in the magic of the picturesque vision in front of her.

"I don't joke around when it comes to music," he absentmindedly said. However, the words started to eat at Maka. He interrupted her chain of thoughts when he continued, "Make yourself as comfortable as you can while you listen to an original piece by the Soul Eater Evans."

She happily obeyed, feeling all her worries evaporate with each word and action of his. Stretching out her legs, which looked very pale as the liquid silver of the moon above spilled into a puddle around her form and onto the sand, she turned her head towards his direction. Her fingers dug in the soft coolness of the sand, and she allowed her eyes to flicker towards the ocean. The ocean was like a photo, an undulating black mass with diamond sparkles of light created by the reflection of the stars. It was a beautiful night, she realized, staring into the nothingness of the oceanic abyss. It was calm.

When he saw that she was content and relaxed, he began to softly play a melody that Maka could only describe as nostalgic. The sound of his playing was beautiful, and as musically challenged as she was, she could still tell that he had a tremendous amount of talent.

His playing gradually started to get faster and deeper, so much so that it seemed even the sound wasn't able to catch up with his notes. With every key he pressed down on, she felt more and more weak. Looking at him playing the piano was like gazing into a mirror on a waning moon night: chilling and mesmerizing.

As his frantic playing continued, something in Maka changed. It was an irreversible change - something that she couldn't back out of to even if she desperately tried to: she came to terms with the truth.

She in no way had any right to take away anyone's dreams. Especially not one as spectacular and beautiful as his. She thought she could live with being selfish, to sacrifice others for the sake of her own benefit without any guilty feeling. But she was wrong. Tsubaki was wrong. The person who would hate her or blame her the most for taking away his dreams wouldn't be him- it would be herself.

"What did you think?" He grinned manically, waking her up from her never-ending spiral of thoughts. It was then that she realized he had stopped playing.

"...It was indescribable." She replied, talking more to herself than answering his question.

"That good, huh?" He smirked, stretching his arms out in front of him.

"I don't think I can do it anymore." She smiled sadly, and looked up at his puzzled face. "We're done."

"What?" He asked, positively confused to what was going on. Was it something he said?

"We're done," she repeated. "Whatever we had, whatever it was called, it's done. We're done."

"Does this have to do with the school?" He worriedly asked, trying to grasp the situation. "I'm not going to go, I don't want to go. I refuse to go."

"No, you better go." She firmly said, looking straight at him with cold green eyes. "If you don't, I will seriously never speak or even look at you ever again. You're going to go and you're going to achieve your dreams, like how it was supposed to be before you met me."

"Maka, I don't -"

"Don't message me again." She interrupted him before he could convince her to change her mind. She could feel hot tears forming at the tip of her eyes, and her heart wrenched. She always hated overly dramatic parting scenes, but now she realized that they were never on purpose, they were unavoidable. "Don't text me, don't write to me, don't call me, don't even pretend you know me. It's over. Everything's over."

And with that, the two silhouettes that were sketched under the radiance of the moon reduced to one.

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