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BTW – strong language in this chapter. Viewer discretion is advised.

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"The people at the office were confused. Each time they asked why he refused to go back to talk to me, he would shake his head and say nothing more on the matter. This was big because up until that moment, Soul had never acknowledged their presence before, never mind give any kind of response to their questioning, even if it was an irrelevant one.

"Four days passed before Soul was finally forced into speaking with me again. They were convinced I'd lied about something, even though I showed them the tape of what had gone down in my quarters. They were sure I'd committed treachery to make him like this... ridiculous."

Maka's wide eyes reflected wonderment in Shinigami's direction. He seemed slightly unnerved.

"Don't go thinking I can read minds or something Maka, I'm just good at gauging people's body language and responses. I also knew a little about his family's past as well, anyone could have gotten him to talk–"

"No," she interrupted him appraisingly, "not anyone. You opened his eyes in your first meeting." He shook his head, answering simply,

"I can't take all the credit – because I'm Shinigami and he's a scythe, his own instincts were telling him to hear me out. That was something I had over the rest of the people that had tried to get him to speak." Maka shot him an amused look, moved by the modesty the ordinarily bubbly headmaster was now displaying.

"Alright, it doesn't matter. Please continue."

He abided, but the man was still impressed with how she was handling the scenario. Rather than getting angry about the whole thing, or overly sympathetic to the point of annoying, she was taking it all in stride, drinking up the information coolly and professionally like it could help her better understand her partner. It showed just how mature Maka was becoming, and it reminded him painfully of her mother.

"On the second time around, I apologized to him for prying so carelessly. He kept up his perfect facade of silence, but he understood that neither of us was fooled. Soul was always very talented when it came to reading people, much like I am. Although I must admit, the cold and indifferent way he was handling his trauma had me concerned. I hardly had time to admire it back then... by the time he got around to saying anything to me, it was proven just how damaged he was."

- -x-X-x- -

"Soul-kun. Thank you for coming back!"

Soul ignored him, taking a seat in the same place he'd sat in last time. He stared at the floor, waiting for his companion to start so that he could get out of here as soon as possible. The quicker this interrogation went the better.

"I'm sorry for attacking you like that before. The last thing I want to do is pressure you."

His hands balled up into fists, and he bit his lip. He was so ready to lash out at the man that seemed to be able to tear down his defenses so easily. Months had passed without speech, there was no way he'd break down his protective walls just for one stupid diss in the arrogant man's direction.

"Are you angry?"

No response. Shinigami sighed, speaking out quietly with a, "I believe that's a yes. Soul, the three steps to recovery are anger, denial, and acceptance."

Shut up, Soul wanted to rage. Oh how he wished he hadn't let himself be dragged back here again. What makes you think you know everything now? You weren't there. I've never even spoken to you before. But Shinigami continued.

"You're mad, I get it. What happened to your family–" –he wanted to hit him so badly, so badly– "–wasn't fair. Of course you're going to feel resentment. But you need to acknowledge your past– it's there, no matter how much you wish it wasn't. Tell me what happened, okay, Soul-kun?"

Don't call me that! He thought, silently fuming.

"You aren't going anywhere. You'll never be able to get past this if you keep up the show of apathy."

I know what I'm doing! Even Soul knew he was grasping at straws now.

"...You need to move on."

He snapped.

"What the hell do you know anyways, huh? What do you think I've been working to do this whole time!?"

If Shinigami was surprised in the least that after such a long silence the kid immediately began speaking out, he didn't show it. There was no way that Shinigami was going to suddenly yell out, "Holy– you can talk?"

"Your methods are all wrong. You're just holding yourself back–"

"And you'd know! Who do you think you are?"

"I want to help you"

"Bull! I can do this by myself, alright? Where has trust ever gotten me? Like hell I'm gonna sit here and listen to you talk like you know anything!"

Once again, Soul stormed out of his chair, but before he could make it to the door, Shinigami had caught his wrist. Furious, Soul lifted his eyes to meet Shinigami's black ones the man almost gasped. Now wonder the boy wouldn't meet anyone's eyes – he was most likely trying to spare them the heartbreak of seeing what had happened to them. It was hard to keep his cool when faced with the very incarnate of unfairness and distrust. This kid was barely thirteen, so why was he looking into eyes such as these? Soul should be going to school, not therapy.

"Face it, Soul. You're running away." The teen wrenched his arm out of Shinigami's grasp, stumbling a few steps back while clutching the appendage to his chest.

"No I'm not!" He threw back, glaring at him. His humiliation only grew when he felt tears well up in the corners of his eyes, but there was no way he would let the damnable shrink see him cry.

"You're in denial!"

"I am not in denial!"

"You knew this was going to happen. Don't fight it, Soul. Just let go – all we want to do is help you."

"Don't tell me what I think! You don't even know me!"


"Fuck you!"

Suddenly the door slammed open, revealing the woman with a few of the other officers.

"We heard screaming" She began to explain before she saw Soul standing a few feet behind his chair, teeth clenched and hugging himself. It was clear that he was panicking. Obviously, by the way the boy was looking around for an escape route, he felt cornered.

"Give him some room," She told the quickly advancing men, who all stopped in their tracks and looked at her for further instruction. After showing such concern, she had been placed in charge of his case.

Soul's eyes also flickered to hers, and the amount of built up stress, trauma and terror held in them nearly brought her to her knees. They had thought he might have been a victim of child abuse, but she could see now that they had underestimated the kind of damage they were being faced with. This was psychological, not physical – something much, much harder to repair than simple flesh wounds.

"Soul Eater..." She murmured his name. He shook his head, biting his lip so hard it began to bleed as he backed up until he hit a wall, staring around at them as if he thought they'd jump on his any second.

"D-don't," he whimpered, and then his knees gave out until he slid down the wall, staring at his hands as finally tears fell down his face. The woman took a step forward, and when he gave no more protest, she made her way over to his hunched form, offering a hand. He didn't take it. He was still trying to get over the fact that he was crying –his pride had some serious issues with that. In fact, he'd allowed himself to completely fall apart in front of these strangers, and the smartass in black. How did it end up this way?

"He still has a long way to go," Shinigami said quietly from his place behind her, and she nodded.

"Soul, would you like to go back now?"

A numb kind of nod was the only response she managed to get from him as he picked himself up off the floor and headed back the way he came, keeping his head low and hiding his face in his hands. He couldn't believe it. He'd actually shown tears. The shame he was feeling couldn't even compare to his anger from moments ago.

How could he let himself become such a wreck?

- -x-X-x- -

"The next day he came back again, to my astonishment, and began to tell me what happened. In the span of a week he'd told me everything, and then from there on out I enrolled him in Shibusen. His class mostly ignored him, and he hadn't made any progress in the trusting-other-people department until you came along. You've shown some serious growth, Maka-chan."

She blushed a pretty shade of pink, looking at her hands which were resting on her lap. So that was it, huh? Why Soul wouldn't speak what he felt, why he was so reluctant to tell her anything about himself, and why the amount of trust he'd placed with her seemed so little to her and so huge to him.

It only made her that much more determined.

I'll show him, she thought fiercely, eyes narrowing in resolution, how people are meant to treat others. I'll give him a reason to trust people. We'll make it,

Shinigami eyed her approvingly,

I know it.

- - - - -

Happy Halloween, my kittens. Two sorries for you today – sorry for the language (was NOT going to have Soul saying Golly Gee in this chapter or anything else like it), and sorry I took a while to update– I went through a Black Cat obsession again, and lost a considerable amount of muse. It's not much of an excuse, but for me, writing for a story while I'm in over my head for a different one is really hard. Anyways, after reading practically every TrainxEve oneshot on the site, since I'm cool like that, I've decided to update XD

For everyone staring at the word "complete" up there in astonishment, allow me to explain. I have zero intention to end the story here – how mean would that be? No, I just thought it'd be better if I started a sequel and uploaded new chapters rather than keep making this chapter get loner and longer. I prefer reading stories in parts, since I usually loose interest in excessively long stories, so... my advice? Toss me onto Author Alert to catch the next update. I'll be uploading under Walk By. Look forward to it.

To everyone for reveiwed, I read all of them. I never really get around to replying to most of them, but I want you to know I loved each and every one. Novalia1001 made me squee inside with her words - greatly appreciated, it was a major ego boost to hear that. Prieva left a really nice long one too, and one last thing. To Fantasy Fan Girl, who has been with me since the very beginning, cookiesx10. Everytime I look through my reviews and see your Edward Elric avatar, I smile :)

Alright, question to the reviewers: what did everyone do for halloween? Let's hear it, I love hearing stories like these. I was a deviant housewife ;) I spent it watching reruns of Halloween specials with my bff. Help bring me to 500 reviews!

Hope to see you all in the next portion of Piano. I love you!