AQUA

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Chapter 21 - Exchanges

"Who?" Jayden tilted his head.

"I can see him in you." She rested her palm onto his chest, feeling the steady beat of his heart beneath the tips of her fingers.

His soul... was it the reincarnation of Walter? She's made that mistake once. The mistake of believing Ruth was somewhere within Brooke's soul simply by just seeing the necklace she's given her as a gift then, back in the past. But this time, she felt Walter's presence. Instead of making an assumption, she truly sensed him.

"Woah there." Jayden chuckled, stepping back. "I'm no Walter. Pretty sure my name is—"

"I know what your name is, I'm talking about your soul. It's Walter's."

"I, uh, think you kinda forgot that I don't have the ability to steal souls from others."

"That's not it. Souls have infinite lives. At the end of each life, the soul gives up the body and moves on to be reincarnated, all knowledge and wisdom restored but all memories and faces faded."

"So what you think is that... this Walter's soul has been reincarnated as me?"

"Not directly. Walter lived all the way back in the past. Almost five hundred years ago. You must be one of his many reincarnations. Nevertheless, you're still him."

"Who was he?"

Aqua paused, contemplating whether to confide in him or not. "A friend. A very special friend."

"Aqua..." He hesitated, deciding to just go for it and ask her straight. "When we were teleporting back into our physical bodies, I saw one of your memories. I'm sure you saw it too. What was it about?"

The idea of trusting him with her past was beyond her. She never wanted him to know anything about; never wanted him to be so involved with her. He's seen many snippets of her memories, like that which Igujin took him to visit, nonetheless, she hoped to keep the rest for herself. But if he really was Walter, wouldn't she want him to know he once saved her?

"You won't understand if I just explain it to you. Nobody does." She shook her head, pain residing in her chest as she became reminiscent.

"Can you..." He hesitated. "... Show me?"

She took a deep breath, sharp and brief, almost choking her. She looked to the side, facing away from him in, faltering.

"If I do, I won't come with you."

"Why?"

It's too painful. That was all she wanted to say. But she fought her emotions. "I don't want anything to do with that part of me."

Jayden could easily tell from the way her voice wavered that she was hurting. And to make her less tense, he decided to make a deal with her. "How about we make an exchange. A memory exchange."

"Huh?" She turned to him. "What do you mean?"

"Look, we all have that one memory that we wish to escape. So if you were to show me such a huge piece of you, it would only be unfair if I showed you nothing about me. I want to prove to you that even me, as a human, have gone through things which I want to forget."

"Deal. A memory exchange it is." She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Lay down." Gesturing to her bed, she followed him and sat by his side.

As Jayden fell asleep, tired after having been out of his body and ready to travel outside of his body once more, Aqua realized that Jayden began to win over a soft spot in her heart.


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