Themes: 11, Jump; 41, Skyward

Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater.

A Game

She asks him to kiss her on a Wednesday afternoon, after a one-sided game of basketball. Naturally, she loses. He laughs at her as she sits, defeated, on the park bench, watching him dribble up and down the court with a poor attempt at a scowl on her face.

"This game isn't fair," she insists, taking another swig of water. She bats her ponytail out of the way, wiping at the sheen of sweat on her face.

"C'mon, Maka," Soul goads her playfully, "it's easy. You just have to practice. Let's go one more."

"You just want an excuse to win again," she replies disapprovingly. Basketball really does favor the taller player. Even if she's faster, lighter on her feet, and more flexible, he still has the upper hand because whenever she tries for a basket, he blocks her with his impossibly tall body; and whenever he goes for a basket, try as she might, she can't manage to get her arms high enough to knock the ball from its trajectory. It frustrates her to no end. Her mental musing manifests itself into a groan of dissent. "No way, Soul."

He stops dribbling—show-off, she can't help but think—and smiles lazily, approaching her. "No?"

"I said no," she repeats, though his face doesn't fall as she expects it to. "I'll watch you, if you want, but I'm just going to lose again. I told you, it's not a fair game."

"I play fair," he objects. "What's not fair about it?"

"You're too tall."

He openly snickers at her for that one.

"No, I mean, I'm at a disadvantage because you're so much taller than I am."

He leans over her, amused. "I'm supposed to be taller than you, Maka. I'm a guy. It's not cool for a guy to be shorter than a girl."

She stands, and is once again reminded of her height against his. "Fine, if I play again, you have to promise not to block me."

"What?" The corner of his lips curl up, and it looks as if he's making an effort not to smile. "What does that have to do with anything? Are you saying it's not fair that I'm trying not to let you win?"

She pokes him in the chest. "I'm saying that I can't block you back!" She takes a step closer to him, until they're practically chest to chest. She tries not to be proud that she's gone up a cup size in the past two years, but after all the sardonic remarks about her bust—or lack thereof—it's nice to tease him with the irony of it all. She notices with a sly smile that he's trying not to look down her jersey.

He takes the ball in both hands, voice suddenly serious. "Try it. I know you can do it, Maka." He doesn't like to see her doubt herself.

She frowns, but obliges. Her arm shoots out, but he anticipates it, and tosses it into the air. They both watch it wobble in space for a moment before it comes back down. He leaps for it, and she backs up so they don't crash into each other. His snatches it back, brings it down to his waist and takes a step, feinting left. She twists against him, pressing her body against his right side so his arms are wedged tightly to his body. She feels him slip it from one hand to the other, and he bounces it against the pavement. She runs for it, catching it in both hands. She instinctively turns and launches it at the basket, but like her shadow, he's there. They both jump simultaneously, arms raised. They bump chests, but just as predicted, he knocks it backward.

It ricochets off the fence and back into his grip. "C'mon, Maka. Try something creative!" he yells, retreating. She huffs, because he's turning it into some kind of combat challenge. "Remember, you may think you're at a disadvantage, but that only means—"

"There's an advantage you haven't thought of yet," Maka murmurs contemplatively, brows furrowing. She stills, watching him.

He raises a single brow at her.

Suddenly, she knows what to do. She dashes straight for him. He doesn't try to elude her. He knows things won't work if she uses the traditional method, and he's curious about her new one. As the space between them dwindles, he automatically yanks his arms skyward. Her arm flies out, but not up. She grabs a fistful of his jersey with a triumphant smile.

"Hey!" he protests. "That's against the rules!"

She reels him in. His eyes go wide. "What are you—"

"Kiss me, Soul."

"Wh—what?" His voice cracks. His arms go limp and the ball drops to the ground.

She gets on her tip-toes, her lips just grazing his cheek. "Kiss me," she reiterates softly.

His eyes seem to grow heavy as he stares at her parted mouth. He licks his lips. "Are you sure?" he asks nervously, although his body's already reacting to her request. He leans down and kisses her.

Maka smiles, her free hand taking his. She's found her advantage.

A/N: Over a year without so much as a peep? I have nothing to say in my defense. Apparently, this is what I like to do instead of studying for exams.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading.