Quite absurdly I've been writing this since the summer. It's actually taken me ages and has ended up around 22 chapters long, but obviously, I'll post this gradually, in less this gets no reviews, of course.

It's basically another angst-ridden Maya's-leaving-and-they-fall-in-love-and-stuff-happens-and-there's-a-trial-at-the-same-time type thing. Only, y'know, I haven't exactly sold it by pointing how this story's been done 5 zillion times...

So please give it a try and feedback. I mean, I think everyone can predict how it'll end, but come along for the ride anyway? I swear, it gets way less angsty around chapter three or four. :')

Don't go

Prologue

How did we get here again? I wonder, my eyes meeting hers at a distance, long ebony hair falling down her back and grey eyes swimming with tears. To me, she's never looked more beautiful.

Those eyes were the second thing I saw that fateful day we met. It seems like everything has changed. Her eyes haven't though. Though they were sad, it took nothing away from them. They were still breath-taking, but now I feel a different kind of heaviness in my heart. The day we met, the first thing I'd seen was Mia's body. This time, it was a suitcase.

There are people everywhere. Busy with their lives; saying hello, saying good bye. Today, I didn't plan on saying either of those things. I know exactly why I'm here and I stride over to her, not breaking eye-contact at all. Hoping I look more confident than I feel, I grab her hand without looking down and press my body against her.

"Maya?"

"Nick-"

" . . . Don't go." I whisper.

Please don't go.

One

I suppose it started about a week ago when I found her staring at a photograph. Before this I'd seen the subtle glances towards it when she didn't think I was looking, but I had and I knew why she stared like that, so I finally spoke up.

"I know you miss it, Maya. It's fine, you don't have to pretend or something, I understand."

She had an odd look on her face, a sort of half-smile; as though she wasn't really sure what to feel. Not speaking for moment and staring solidly down at the photo I walked in and sat on the end of her bed. The duvet was colourful and decorated with a huge picture of the Steel Samurai grasping a spear, and as much as I hated to admit it, looking impressive.

"It's hard to explain, Nick. I don't exactly . . . miss it as much as I feel like . . . I ought to be there, for Pearly." she added, a slight tear in her voice.

It had been weeks since the incident at Kurain. Slowly, but surely things were getting more normal; at least, they were for me. It wasn't hard to see Maya was struggling still, despite the brave face she often would put on.

In all honesty, I wasn't sure what to do. For now, it seemed I just had to wait for time to repair what I couldn't and watch her come to terms with everything. The problem was that while I knew she needed time, I wasn't sure what else she needed. How was I supposed to know what was best for her? Was my law office a good place for her to recover?

"Maya, do you want to stay here?" I wasn't sure what made me say it. Days had passed since the thought had first occurred to me, but I hadn't wanted to ask the question and hadn't thought to question why this was either.

She was still turned away from me, but I could see she was quivering slightly. Instantly, I knew she was crying.

"Maya, shh, don't cry-" quickly I got up and rushed over to her, pushing my arms around her and stroking her shoulders in what I hoped, was a soothing fashion. This had been one of the reasons I hadn't wanted to ask. Maya crying was almost painful for me to watch. To see her so emotionally broken and in pain and the real clincher was there was nothing I could do but comfort her.

Looking down I could see huge tears leaking from her eyes that were scrunched up in anguish. "Shh," I stoked her hair and breathed in. Her smell somehow had to ability to calm me and I took her by the shoulders and held her at arms length. "I'm sorry if I upset you, but I need to know if this is what you want, because if it's not, you just have to say-"

She sniffed and avoided my gaze, "I don't know, Nick. I don't know what I want now. I just feel so . . ." she trailed off and I supposed she just couldn't find the right word.

"Sad?" I asked, "that's fine and really understandable." I was uncomfortably aware of how much like a counsellor I sounded. Taking my thumb to her face I wiped a tear and kissed her on the nose. "Whatever it is you want to do is-"

But suddenly she turned away, pulling herself free from my grip, her brow furrowed, with tears still running down her cheek.

"You don't get it, Nick. It's not about what I want." she paused, and looked at me again, "...It's about what's for the best. I have to think about Kurain and- and Pearls and how can I be here for her when she's an hours train ride away? A-and the elders keep trying to get into contact with me. A-apparently it's time I st-stepped up and became Master-"

"Yes, but if you don't want to be Master-" I said, almost predicting her response before she said it.

"Like I said, It doesn't matter what I want-"

The thing I hated the most was how much it sounded like she meant it. As if she truly believed that what she wanted wasn't a factor in what would happen.

"It does though," I replied, before I could stop myself. "It really does, Maya. There's always compromise, right? You don't necessarily have to leave and live up in the mountains-"

That was when I had to accept what I was doing. I was trying to convince her to do what I wanted, because for me, the idea of her leaving filled me with dread. How was I any better than the elders if I was indicting she should shirk her responsibilities and stay here as my aide?

I wasn't and there was no away around this.

"If I become the Master, I c-can't live here, Nick. It's impossible . . . and I'll never be able to visit or-"

"But is it what you want? Do you want to become Master, Maya?" I'd made a choice. If she wanted to become Master I'd whole-heartedly support her, just as long as it was what she wanted.

Sniffing again and wiping her eyes she straightened up, "With the elders and Pearls and the fact that Kurain now doesn't even have an absentee Master . . . I don't think I have a choice."