A Day In Your Shoes

The One Where Things Break

"Because you're worthless," the older man, ripe with age, spat into his son's face. His son's misty red eyes stared blankly back at him; not even an ounce of fear or sorrow could be reflected in them. After all, he had to endure this type of treatment since he was five. His childhood was not defined by happy trips to the park or friendly family dinners. It was this shit.

"I bet you that they hate you at school too."

That's when something in him flipped.

"I'm fucking popular as hell at school!" He yelled, his voice dropping down a dangerously low tone. He tried hard to quarantine his anger, but his bastard of a father always found a way to wiggle himself in and release the closely guarded pandora box in his mind.

"Oh really?" The silver-haired man quirked his eyebrows in sarcastic amusement, his beady black eyes looking devilish. His eyes looked as though they might swallow the boy in front of him and trap him inside pure darkness with no avail. "Are you sure you're not just making shit up in that mentally insane head of yours? After all, you're a fucking murderer."

He knew it; he knew it was coming. That's what he had been labeled by both his father and his brother ever since he was born, and he should have gotten used to it by now. But why, why did he still have that feeling, as though his throat closed up when he heard those dreaded words?

"I-It's fucking true!" Soul exploded, plugging his hands on his ears so he wouldn't have to hear those spiteful words anymore. He didn't think he could take the mental stress of it; this was his limit. It was that time of year again and the taunts were becoming more and more as the date drew closer.

"Fucking leave me alone!"

The adult just sniggered in reply, content with himself that he had mentally tortured his son and went about with his business.

"Don't fucking kid yourself, Soul," his father called out, as he walked out of the music room. "Lately I noticed you're much happier, but you'll never be completely happy. People who kill their own mothers just don't live a happy life. Face it, you little devil, you won't ever be accepted or loved. Ever."

"Maka, what are you doing?" Tsubaki asked her blonde friend in curiosity, looking over her shoulder.

"I'm drawing," Maka hummed happily, as she picked up a darker sketch pencil.

"Drawing?" Tsubaki asked in disbelief. "For art class?"

"Yep!" Maka answered cheerfully, as she started to shade her picture in absolute concentration. "We got an assignment yesterday, and it was to draw a memory that's filled with lots of emotion and feeling."

"That sounds interesting," the raven haired girl hesitantly replied. She looked down at the picture, and might have been surprised to see that the drawing was not all that bad, if the contents of the picture had not caught her full attention the minute she set her eyes on it.

It was a picture of a girl and a boy sitting next to each other. Their faces weren't draw in detail, but Tsubaki instantly knew Maka had drawn Soul and herself. The setting of the place was dark, and looked cramped with only one window in the left corner. Tsubaki was speechless.

"Maka, is that you and S-" Tsubaki started, just to be interrupted by the flaxen haired girl.

"No!" Her friend instantly denied, a bright blush coming onto her face. Tsubaki looked at Maka sternly with her marine blue eyes, and raised an eyebrow. Maka cracked. "O-Okay! It is us two, but it's nothing really! I couldn't think of anything else really that triggered so much emotion, well positive emotions anyways, so I thought-"

"Maka, calm down!" Tsubaki stopped her. "I never said anything! It's okay, I like the picture. It's nice...although I am wondering when you two were alone like this...?" A mischievous glint in Tsubaki's eyes made Maka cringe.

"It was during the trip, while we were stuck!" Maka defended herself instantly. "Nothing happened for God's sake Tsubaki! What the hell are youthinking of?"

"Okay, okay..." Tsubaki quietly gave her flustered friend a break, before perking back up with a sparkle in her eyes. "But yesterday at his house while you were taking care of him the hell I'm thinking of happened right?"


I'm popular. I'm popular. I'm popular.

"What's up?" Soul uncharacteristically asked the more "popular" kids of their school after classes that day. He had to confirm his unwavering status in the school.

Harvar and Kilik looked at Soul in amazement, but stopped themselves in time before someone noticed the retarded, shocked looks on their faces.

"No, what's up with you?" Harvar asked coldly. It had been months since Soul last spoke to them; he basically ignored their very existence and now he wanted to talk to them casually, as if they were best friends?

"What do you mean?" Soul asked in irritation, not quite sure why he was associating himself with these type of teenagers. He hated the whole status quo in high schools, how fucking cliched and stupid the whole concept of it. Honestly, they were only 17, 18 at tops- what did they know about living the cool life?

"That Maka girl," Kilik said in disgust, as if her name was some sort of deadly disease. Soul wanted to punch his mouth in and crack a few teeth- not because of the way Kilik said her name, but because he said her name. How dare he address her like that, so casually?

"What about her?" Soul growled, not liking where the conversation was going.

"Stop associating yourself with her, it's so uncool it's blinding." Kilik continued to bash Maka. Soul held in his trembling fist. "Do you know what people in this school are saying about you now? All the girls are starting to lose interest in you."

"Like I fucking care about them," Soul answered truthfully, ready to turn around and end this conversation for good.

"Well, you're starting to get super unpopular," Harvar stated harshly, adjusting his sleek black sunglasses. "You're unpopular because of Maka."

Soul stiffened. Maybe it was the conversation he had with his father just that morning and the fact that the damn bastard was right or maybe it was the name- her name- that was spat, but the last flimsy strand of sanity that Soul had tightly grasped onto snapped.

"It's...it's finally done," Maka said in absolute pride and astonishment. She nudged her sleeping friends sprawled out on the floor in excitement.

Tsubaki remained asleep- that girl could sleep through anything, really- but Kid woke up with a groan, and slowly opened one of his sunny yellow eyes. He glanced towards the clock and complained, "Maka, it's fucking three in the morning."

"But look, Kid!" Maka smiled, shoving her completed sketch in front of the clearly annoyed and drowsy Kid. "It took me six whole hours, but it's finally done!"

When Kid's eyes had adjusted to the brightness of the room, he gaped his mouth wide open in surprise. Seriously, Maka had the weirdest hidden talents. The picture was drawn absolutely beautifully, all complete with perfect shading, balance in color, and right use of view point perspective.

"Wow..." Kid breathed out, Maka beaming at his reaction. She had thick bags under her eyes, and she knew when tomorrow rolled around, she would fall asleep during class, but it was all worth it. Somehow, when she thought about a certain he and what his reaction would be, it was all worth it.

Maka energetically arrived in front of the school gate the next day, her prized picture tucked carefully inside a thick folder inside her messenger bag. She thought that maybe she could give a preview to Soul, and she feasted on this particularly delightful thought as she stood near the entrance. However, when she saw his familiar silver colored hair coming towards the school, she was shocked to see him walking in a group with four others- Harvar, Kilik, Kim and Jackie?

Walking with Harvar and Kilik was one thing, but Kim and Jackie?

Maka, not really knowing why she felt such a strong need to hide, found herself leaping into the nearby bushes as they drew closer. They stopped dangerously close to her, about five or six feet away tops...

"Soul, that is so funny!" The pink haired girl gushed, batting her mascara caked eyelashes at him.

Soul simply smiled; it was a horrendously fake one, but the entranced girl did not seem to mind one bit. Maka shifted uncomfortably at the hard soil.

"So really, Albarn means nothing to you, right?" Maka heard Harvar say to Soul.

Maka froze.

"How many times do I have to say it Harvar?" Soul forced a laugh. "That girl means nothing to me. She's annoying as hell, I'm forced to talk to her because of our stupid baby project. The only reason why I deal with her and pretend I'm interested is because she's a great time killer, you know?"

He didn't mean it. He really didn't, and something inside him was crumbling down as those venomous, poisonous words escaped his mouth. But she could neither see or feel that, and so it didn't matter that he inwardly felt guilty for his words.

Maka's bright emerald eyes widened, the words not fully absorbing inside her mind. She felt hot and heavy, and the picture in her bookbag was long forgotten.

I am not going to cry, she told herself sternly, barely believing her own words. This very thought was contradicted by the hot tears she felt stinging at her shut eyes, refusing to evaporate, trying to escape from their fragile prison.

She knew it all along, that it was impossible for someone like him to like someone like her. She knew what she was expecting was far from reality but still…she didn't know that it would hurt so much to hear it from Soul's very own mouth. She didn't realize how torn and broken her heart would feel upon the dreaded words escaping his lips. She hadn't realized how literal the pain would be, as if he had physically reached into her bare chest and ripped out her heart, tearing it to shreds of nothing.

She didn't love him as a lover- this, she knew for a fact and had no doubt about it- but she did love him as a friend. She trusted him; she opened herself up to him. Just the very idea that he thought so low of her crushed her.

Leave, leave, leave, she thought to herself, muffling in her cries to her best ability. But of course some idiot had to see her blasted pigtails and call her name out.

"Maka?" Ox's voice rang out from behind, instantly halting the conversation the five member group was fiercely having. Soul's crimson eyes widened, his palms grew sweaty, and he stiffly turned around.

When Soul's dull scarlet eyes met with her own emerald ones for a split second, he realized the amount of pain she felt with his untrue, hurtful words. It instantly brought him back from the insanity he was dealing with at the moment, and the inferiority complex he had with his father was forgotten.

He felt terrible. Absolutely, fucking horrible. There weren't any words to describe the disgust he felt about himself, and he wanted to just go kill himself right there. He didn't even have time to register or remember what exactly he said to Harvar. All he could find himself doing was idly chase after her retreating figure, not giving one shit to the empty threats the group threw at him.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. Stop following me. Why are you following me? Leave me alone.

Eventually, Maka stopped running and turned around to face him directly, wondering why the fuck she had to be the one avoiding him. He was bound to catch up to her anyways, so she might as well face him now than later. When he saw her abruptly stop, he slowly walked towards her, his face filled with remorse and regret. They were far away from the school now, near a famous lush green forest park.

"Maka, I-" he started, not exactly sure what he was going to say.

"Fuck off Soul," Maka hissed in reply and unlike the many, many times she had said this exact phrase to him, this time she genuinely meant it.

"Maka, I really-"

"Fuck you!" Maka cried, her tear stained eyes boring into his. More tears rolled down her alabaster skin. "I'm not surprised, I fucking knew it. Didn't I tell you specifically that you didn't have to hang out with me? I told you I was happy with my own fucking life, the fuck is your problem? Fucking following me and shit, and then talking about me that way to your 'real' friends, the fuck are you playing at? Am I toy to you? Look at miserable girl, let's have fun talking shit about her, while pretending to infatuated with her. Well you know what? Fuck you!" Maka screeched at him, as she reached inside her bag and dug around for the picture she was so proud of just moments before. She found it and took it out, pointing it at the direction of his stunned face.

"We had to draw a memory that was particularly meaningful for us," Maka spat at him, explaining the picture to him. "I stayed up until three in the morning drawing this fucking shit. To think I thought it was worth losing sleep for you, what a fucking idiot I was. I can't believe I seriously put all my emotions into it," Maka scorned herself.

"It was my fucking heart Soul," she finally concluded, before crudely ripping the picture in half and in quarters, and in smaller and smaller portions until it was more than fifty tiny pieces. Each piece flew around in the harsh wind, various parts of the picture getting lost in the current.

Soul stood there, unable to speak out a single word despite his mind screaming at him to say something- anything. He couldn't even react to her when she walked right past him, the pieces of her picture still flying around as she passed by him. All he could think about was that he fucked up with the one person- the single person in the whole world- that he cared for and was cared for back by. She was leaving him, and that very thought terrified him. It scared the shit out of him.

"Maka, what's wrong?" Tsubaki's concerned voice rang throughout the bathroom stall. Tsubaki saw a wrecked up Maka mindlessly roaming down the hallway to her next class, and immediately pulled her over.

"T-Tsubaki," Maka trembled, cursing at the way she was acting so weak. Why was she being to be so...sensitive? She was a cold, calculating person. Such strong emotions were not needed nor desired.

"Maka you have to tell me what's wrong," Tsubaki gently told her friend, rubbing her shoulders in a soothing massage.

"I-I want to go home," Maka announced, her voice nasally from all the crying.

"Alright," Tsubaki agreed, knowing that whatever had happened, it was monumental. Maka never, ever cut a day of school, even if she was half dying.

Ever since that encounter, Maka had completely stopped talking to him.

She avoided making eye contact with him in the hallways or during class. Before he could even have a chance to approach her, she would rush out or her friends would come in to the rescue. She didn't even bother with the phone, and any text messages or e-mails were deleted.

But exactly one week later, Maka found an anonymous package sent to her house through express mail. There was no return address, and she opened it in curiosity, not even thinking about the possibility it might be him.

She was flabbergasted to find that inside the envelope was the picture of her and Soul she had drawn a week ago. The picture she had worked so hard on, the one she mercilessly tore apart, was there in front of her, glued back together in one piece and laminated. Not even a single piece of the previously butchered drawing was missing.

Maka's hazy green eyes widened at the thought of him going back to the place where she blew up on him to pick up all the parts of her drawing. She had ripped the picture into really tiny pieces, not to mention the wind scattered them around everywhere, some even landing in the woods of the park. Did he seriously search through the entire forest, through all the pointy twigs and branches, just to find the numerous microscopic pieces of paper? Maka's eyes broadened even more when she thought about his appearance.

Was this the reason why he had bandages all over his face and hands the whole week?

The thought lingered in her head, as she flipped the picture over to find out that there was also a small post-it stuck to the back of the picture. On the yellow sticky was a single message in his familiar, messy handwriting:

"If your heart ever breaks, I am willing to pick up the pieces and put it back together again."

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