Disclaimer: if I owned Soul Eater I would drive a lambo
Author's Notes: I know there are many other stories I should be working on (namely Compression) but my life has been beyond my control lately. I'm also graduating college in a month and I have no job and no desire to sit at a help desk which is the only job I qualify for. I also haven't written anything since January, and this is what I had written. I hope by posting this series that I might write, even if it's just a little bit... which is a stepping stone to a lot, right? I posted this on my tumblr after I had written it, but not here. So I suppose if people are interested in this story I might update it. I have ideas for it, anyway.
Let me know what you think. :)
It's strange to find the milk carton she purchased three days ago the way she left it. Full, not marred by razor-sharp teeth. She can leave her things around the apartment now without worrying he might destroy them in his own way. But she misses his touch on the house. She would never admit it to him, but she misses having to yell at him for drinking out of her carton; she misses picking up his scattered shoes on the livingroom floor and reorganizing them for him by color, and his music humming from behind his aching, crooked door that she wrecked only a few weeks ago when she heard him screaming in his sleep and couldn't get it to open fast enough.
She longs for his head on her lap while she reads, the swish of his soft, spiked hair between her fingers. His light snores and snark that kill the silence that overtakes her now as she slouches on the couch and watches a rerun.
Maka cannot find Blair, either. Her only companion is quiet, and she yearns for his background noise more than any other. But she knows it could be another month before he returns - maybe a year. He is the last Deathscythe, now. She made him that way.
Now, as she focuses on the mind-numbing ticking of the clock, she almost regrets it.
She considers calling Tsubaki, or Liz, but knows they're both out on missions of their own. She thinks of Patty, but isn't in the mood to pull pranks on strangers for kicks, or make arts and crafts.
Maka gazes at the letter her father sent her a few days ago the way she would look at slowly-rotting fruit: it's disgusting, but still edible at the edges. There are parts of it that are tempting, that stem from the enormous gape in her life without her best friend and roommate. It's desperation, she tells herself.
Her father only wants to meet her for dinner, no strings attached. He would pay, "even if my baby girl wanted twin lobsters". He wrote that also he would let her steer the entire conversation, or would settle even for her "adorable angry glares" if it meant he got to see her in tense silence.
She groans as she grabs the phone, and bites her tongue from a crude remark about call girls when he picks up after the first ring.
"Hello?" His voice is cautious, as if he's never received a legitimate phone call in his life; she wonders briefly if he ever had, but remembers how Stein proudly regaled all the times he prank-called her father.
"Um, Papa?" She fiddles with a dust-blonde pigtail.
"My darling! How are you?"
His shouting shatters all the quiet in the apartment, and she exhales slight relief, but still pulls the phone away from her burst eardrum. "F-fine." She clears her throat. "I got your letter."
"You want to go to dinner with your papa? This is the greatest day of my life! We can go anywhere you want, even if it's three countries away! I'll take you there!"
Maka frowns; Soul is at least three countries away. She considers asking him to fly her there, but refrains. There will be no reunion for a while. "The burger place up the street is really fine with me. I'm not really in a traveling mood."
"Ok! Papa will be there to pick you up in a few minutes."
She ignores the anxious flutter in her chest. "Ok."
Maka slides into the red-leather booth across from her father. When she looks up, he's gazing at her like the last free puppy in the box. Her stomach acid churns. "Papa, you're really creeping me out."
He leans back, brushes a hand through his red hair, and sighs. "I'm sorry. I'm just so excited to see you. And more excited that you initiated it."
"Technically, you did."
He smiles. "But you answered. That's what matters to me." He slides the extra menu across the dinner table to her.
She peeks at him from behind her bangs and from behind the black-and-white list of Wednesday specials. He's ecstatic, in every fraction of him that she can view. The jumpy aura of his soul surrounds her, but saddens her at the same time. She's denied him this simple happiness for so long, because of a bitter grudge that did not even belong to her, but to her estranged mother.
They order, and she places her hands on the table. "So, Papa, how are you?"
"Happy as can be. And you?"
She likes the civil conversation. Maka wants to start simple, and build up to the issues that she knows sit between them in the space the table provides, in the cracks and crevices of their hearts. She wants to fix this. She can never have a whole family again, but she can have part of it. The rot will always be there in some places, but she can work around it, or through it. "I'm okay. Just dealing with not always being partnered with my Deathscythe. I feel kinda useless now." She doesn't mention the abyss Soul's absence created in her soul; she can't even say his name in the moment. She doesn't mention how lonely she gets when she goes home to an empty apartment, no lights on. No one to tell about her day.
"See, in my situation, I was the one that went away."
"You know what I mean." He places a hand on hers. "You're not useless. You're only lost. You'll find your way without him, I promise. Just because you were partners doesn't mean you can't function without each other. You two are separate, strong people. And you'll see each other again. He's not dead, Maka."
She sighs. "I know." She takes her free hand and pats over her heart. "I can still feel him. I think that's the hardest part. I can feel him, but I know he doesn't have the ability to feel me anymore."
"All humans have that ability if they try hard enough." Spirit tightens his grip. "Trust me."
Tears gather at the edges of her emerald eyes. "Thank you, Papa."
She's glad she dialed his number. She's glad she wants to give her father another shot.
Maka knows there's still one last number to call before she curls up in her bed.
She drops her leftovers on the coffee table and reaches for the corded phone with an overweight hesitance. She takes out the crumpled wad of paper from her pocket, and dials it.
"Hey?" The voice forces her to sit. It's what she used to hear when she would shove him out of bed before school. What she used to hear on Saturday late mornings when he would get his revenge on her for the early weekdays. It's crackled with lack of sleep; she hopes his nightmares have subsided while he's away.
"Maka." She pushes back the extra skip in her heartbeat when she hears the softening of his voice against her name. She tries to steady her breaths at how happy he sounds.
"You wouldn't believe what I did today."
"What did you do?"
"I had a date with my papa."
His laugh bursts through the noiseless livingroom and swathes her. "No way! Did you ask him?"
"Wow, I'm only away for a little bit and you're already totally reckless. I'm impressed, as always."
"Being brave without you is frightening, I will admit. No one is watching my back anymore when I'm impulsive."
"Before you know it, you'll be moving back in with him."
She cringes. "That's a little much."
He chuckles again. "Good. When I come back home, you better be there."
Maka nods. "Always. And when you come back, drink out of the carton. I'm getting bored."