Three days passed, and Kidd's condition steadily worsened.
Maka didn't attend school. Instead, she spent the entirety of her day at the hospital; she visited him as much as she could.
On the fourth day, he'd been moved to the intensive care unit.
He didn't have much time left.
Maka realized this as she saw the empty room and a note left for her in shaky, sloppy writing.
She walked as fast as she could down the halls that twisted and turned before she found him.
He looked terrible.
His hair was dulled (it no longer held the striking vibrancy she'd come to love, and his stripes didn't stand out in stark contrast anymore; rather, they seemed to blend into the rest of his hair.) and he was unhealthily thin. His eyes lay closed and his frail hands rested, folded, on top of his chest.
Like porcelain, she thought. As fragile as a vase.
"Is this it, then?" she asked, studying his face.
His eyes opened and she was upset that the disease had taken away the shine in those, too.
"I guess so," he mused. "Can I hold your hand?"
She nodded and entwined their fingers together, before resting her head on his chest to listen to his heartbeat.
His other hand then moved to the top of her head and tangled itself in her hair.
"I'm glad you came sooner than later." His breaths were shallow. "I don't know how long I could've lasted."
Quiet tears leaked out of her eyes and stained the hospital gown.
"You're the most symmetrical, beautiful person I've ever met, Maka."
She hiccupped and stifled a sob.
"You're smart and strong and you're kind and caring even to people who are mean to you."
His heart rate was slowing.
"Which is why…you'll be okay."
"I'm not worried about me, stupid!"
He exhaled through his nose with a smile on his face.
"I love you, Maka."
"I love you too, Kidd…"
"Don't…keep things bottled up. Come and…talk to me sometimes…okay?"
"Okay." Her voice betrayed her—it wavered and cracked.
He opened his mouth to say something else, but instead exhaled and closed his eyes. His breathing slowed to a stop, and the monitor beside the bed flatlined.
He was dead.
Nurses rushed in, checking the equipment and prodding his lifeless body.
Tears streamed freely down her face and she lifted his head, trying to get some kind of a response.
Two weeks passed, and she still hadn't left her room. Spirit brought her meals to her and tried to get her to talk to him, but to no avail.
"Maka," he called gently one day, knocking on her door. "Your friends are here to see you."
"I don't want to see anyone right now."
"They're worried, Maka. We all are."
"I just need to be alone."
"Would Kidd want that?"
"Don't you even dare."
She threw the door open, livid, to come toe to toe with her father. She heard the muffled voices of her friends downstairs, but didn't care.
"'Maka' what?! Are you going to lecture me for being sad?!" She held up her hand, shoving her ringed finger in his face. Her teeth clenched and she prepared to yell again, but instead fell to her knees, gripping her dad's shirt.
"Papa," she said weakly, tugging him down as well. "He wanted to ask you permission first, but there wasn't any time…"
"I know, sweetheart. I know." He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tight.
Maka screamed and cried herself to sleep. Spirit carefully tucked her in, adding an old stuffed animal for good measure.
"He wouldn't want you to be sad, Maka," he murmured, lightly ruffling her hair before exiting the room.
It was another two weeks before she started going to school again.
She didn't reach out to her friends much, or really ever participate in anything. That was fine, though—they initiated socialization with her ten times as much as they used to. They did their best to keep her distracted. Keep her happy.
And it worked. Maka began looking at the bright side again, and decided that breaking down every time she thought of Kidd was practically the same as disgracing his memory.
So she smiled when she thought of him; she smiled when she looked out her window and saw his, and she grinned ear to ear whenever she looked at the ring that she never took off.
But something didn't feel right, she noticed on a Saturday evening while reading.
Her chest felt tight, and it was difficult to breathe.
So she did what any other person would do: she coughed.
Once her small episode had ended, she pulled away from her elbow.
And she dropped her book when she saw the red dots speckling her sleeve.
She wasn't sure what to feel.
After a minute or two of contemplation, she looked at her ring and then up at her ceiling. She smiled.
"Getting a little impatient up there, are we, Kidd?"
She finally understood how Kidd was able to stay so calm, as she turned her head to stare at the white wall.
There wasn't anything she could do, so why worry?
The heartbreaking thing was the looks on the faces of the people closest to her.
Her Papa the most.
He'd cried. Not silent tears like her friends, but outright sobbing.
He reminded her of herself.
"Is this it, then?"
The voice startled her, and she winced at the sharp intake of breath she took.
In the doorway stood Kidd.
"…I guess so." She smiled sadly. "Let me hold your hand."
He strode over and clasped her hand between both of his, resting his forehead on them. "I'm sorry."
"Getting you sick."
"I forgive you."
"I'm glad you managed to be happy again, as short-lived as it was."
"Will you stay here…with me? Until…you know…"
"I...I'm tired, Kidd…"
"Go to sleep, then. It doesn't hurt."
Her eyelids slid closed and he leaned over, lightly kissing her forehead.
The nurses came in soon after.