Disclaimer: I own nothing.


She won't allow herself to cry. Not now. Not ever.

This thought runs through her head repeatedly as she stands outside the perky little French restaurant, bundled up in her warm coat and cute pink mittens. The girl stares up at the sky, holding back the tears that threaten to escape if her resolve weakens even the slightest bit. Her breath escapes her lips in white clouds as she stares up at the stars, looking for patterns and constellations.

Or rather, looking for anything to keep her mind off of what she's been through in the past 24 hours.

The door jingles behind her and she twirls around, quickly placing a joyous expression on her face to mask her sadness. Her ebony locks twirl with her, and the small purple crystal spheres she has tied into her hair gently thump against her chest. The girl smiles brightly at her new companion, trying to seem as happy as possible.

The man in the maroon suit with the silly frills slowly strides to her side, and without a word, he turns and stares up at the stars. His gray hair shines even in the dim light that flickers from the streetlights, and she can't help but admire it for a few moments. Eventually, she returns to her stargazing, not asking him the obvious question that lingers on her tongue.

A few minutes pass, and she finally speaks. "...Shouldn't you be inside, celebrating?"

"Shouldn't you?" The gray haired man's rebuttal stings slightly.

The odd couple stands there in silence. Sounds of joy and laughter and sharp cracks of a whip float out from the restaurant. Every few moments, the girl shuffles her feet or the man sighs softly, but neither one dares to break the dead silence.

With nothing left to distract her, she lapses back into her sadness. She closes her eyes, holding back the tears that threaten to escape once again. Her nose stings slightly, and she bites her lip to stop herself from sniffling like a pathetic little girl. She can't do this. She can't cry. Not now. Not while she has to remain strong for Pearl. For Nick. For everyone.

"Everything will be okay in the end."

Her thoughts are abruptly interrupted and her eyes quickly snap to the man beside her. For a moment, she wonders if she imagined his words, for he shows no sign of ever having spoken. She arches a brow and begins to turn away once more, but she's interrupted in the middle of the action.

"If it's not okay…"

She freezes on the spot, and it's not because of the cold.

"…then it's not the end."

Her nose stings. Her vision blurs. Her knees wobble. The girl shakes for a moment, and then weakly collapses into the man's arms.

And, for the first time in a long time, Maya begins to cry.