Chapter Eight: Lost

In all honesty, the thought that Aqua, the beautiful water-girl, was suffering and as lost as Vanitas had never crossed his mind. It's just… she was so strong. Never before had she shown any sign of the pain she was going through. It should've been obvious, Vanitas had figured. After all, Aqua was a patient, not a nurse or doctor. She had been diagnosed with something, and she fought that something while it brought her pain and tears. How had he not noticed? The harrowed look in Aqua's eyes—surely he had seen it before and brushed it off as nothing. Or was she that good at hiding her heart?

"Aqua!" Vanitas ran back the direction she'd gone. Where had she gone? Where was his precious water-girl? As if whatever god that existed had heard his unspoken prayer, he could then hear her sobbing in a nearby room. Her room, he supposed.

He entered with out knocking to see her crying into her arms. "Aqua?"

She hadn't heard him and kept crying. Vanitas walked up to her, knelt behind her, and set a hand on her shoulder. She jumped and looked behind her. "Van?"

"Aqua, don't cry. I hate it when girls cry."

"Many boys have said." Aqua said bitterly.

"Do you want to know why?" Aqua didn't respond. "Because we're not sure what to do to make you feel better. We just want you to smile, and when you're not, we have no idea how to fix it." He grinned. "Just a little guy's secret."

And sure enough, that small smile was back on her face. And then she wrapped her arms around him, pulling him closer to her. She cried softly in his shoulder. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell… I'm so sorry."

He hugged her, gently rubbing her back. "It's okay, Aqua. It's okay."

And then she pulled herself free to look into Vanitas's eyes. "Van…" And then she kissed him. It was brief, but in that moment, Vanitas could feel all of Aqua's pain and sadness, everything she hid from everyone else.

She rested her head against his shoulder and he stroked her hair gently. "Van… Please don't leave me…" She whispered.

Vanitas was slightly shocked. Him? Leave Aqua, his sweet, precious Water-girl? Never. "I will never leave you, Aqua. As long as you want me, I'm here."

She sobbed slightly. "I'm so scared… I don't want to lose you…"

He gently caressed her cheek. "It's okay, Aqua. Everything will be okay." And then she hugged him tightly, still crying. He hugged her back, still a bit unsure of what to do to help cease her tears from flowing. "I'm here, Aqua. I'm here for you. Whenever you're lost, I'll come and find you. No matter what."

And then Aqua said, "I believe you."