A/N: This was inspired by a song. And the autumn weather outside. Hooray for indecisive California weather! Seriously. California goes through too many climatic mood swings. And since this is about them dreaming, expect some nonsense and sudden shifts.
Underneath The Sky We Sleep
Soul yawned beneath the shade of the tree. The intertwined branches above him formed cracks and holes through which he could catch glimpses of the afternoon sky. The sun was enough to blind him and he felt his eyelids fall in sync with the autumn leaves. The cool grass against his back and the soft breeze teasing the tufts of his hair was, to him, the perfect idea of skipping class. Nothing could ruin his state of peace…unless perhaps it was the sound of someone else's footsteps.
"Maka," He sat up, alerted by her presence.
"Soul! Is this where you were the whole time?"
It took the weapon a second to think of a decent excuse, but the moment he opened his mouth, he was cut short when his meister continued.
"You knew today was an important day. And you know how Professor Stein gets."
"He can make you guys dissect horse crap, but not me." He sniffed the air. "I'm surprised you're not reeking of stench."
"It was the feces of a donkey," Maka corrected.
The girl sighed. She muttered something along the lines of not knowing what to do with the boy sometimes. Then she said, "You know you miss out on a lot whenever you ditch."
He smirked. "Oh yeah? Like what."
"Like…" Maka pondered on the matter for a short while and found herself a vacant patch of grass to sit on beside her weapon. "Like how Black Star got kicked out of class for putting a lump of feces on Kid's seat. You missed a pretty eventful day."
Soul chuckled. Both at the mental image of Kid's face when his rear came in contact with Black Star's mischief, and at the fact that Maka wasn't bombarding him with the more educational things he could've been filled in with.
Maka decided to drone on about Shibusen that day—from Stein's class, to Marie's, to Sid's, and back. She piled up on events Soul had missed out on and exaggerated some of them to juice some regret out of him. All the while, Soul would respond coolly with "mmhm"s and subtle nods of the head until he eventually faded and fell back asleep.
"…And then new microscopes were brought in, and Tsubaki and I…Soul? Ne, Soul?"
She looked to her weapon as he slept soundly beside her; his head fell limply to the side and his mouth hung open, revealing a row of jagged teeth. Not quite snoring, but not quite silent either. He kind of gurgled faintly as he breathed. Maka looked at him distastefully until she decided out loud: "I really don't know what to do with you." But looking at her partner again, she couldn't help but to admire the capacity he has for making bold decisions, while still having the ability to look so serene by the end of the day—saliva and snoring aside.
She couldn't really blame him either. It was a long day at Shibusen and the tree was a nice contrast to Professor Stein's chaotic classroom. As a decision to allow Soul some minutes of rest, she pulled out her current book. She'd wake him up after a chapter or two. Much to her disappointment, she was only able to read two pages until the autumn breeze began to play tricks on her, as if casting a sleeping spell. The leaves became some sort of hypnosis as they floated slowly down and her vision grew narrower. She tried not to give into it, but the breeze had triumphed sooner or later. The backs of her lids became a pitch black screen, waiting for some kind of film projection—the depths of Maka's unconscious mind. The land of slumber awaited her.
When Maka opened her eyes, she knew she was in a dream. What she saw was herself, lost, in a dark place. She was in too deep of a sleep to be consciously able of manipulating her own thoughts. If she were able, she wouldn't be putting herself inside a creepy corridor alone.
What is this place, she thought. It looked like a carnival funhouse to her. But to an outsider, it could've been a random, abandoned alley in the city with mirrors and neon lights. Nothing was ever perceptibly certain. Her immediate vision was a blur, but at least her imagination was somewhat clearer. She could at least identify herself amidst the narrow hallway of mirrors.
Her feet seemed to act on their own. She sauntered forward across the multicolored tiles, hoping to reach an exit. Along the way, she witnessed her reflection morph from one to another. There were wide mirrors, narrow mirrors, triangular, circular. She spotted fat Makas, skinny Makas, tall, short, upside down. In one particular mirror with an elaborate golden frame, her reflection revealed silver hair, a letterman's jacket, and red jeans. She took a double-take.
As the girl inched towards the mirror, her not-so identical reflection mimicked every move. When she rested her hands against the glass, she felt flesh. But for some reason, she couldn't grasp onto anything.
"Soul, is that you? What are you doing in my dream?" It wasn't often that she had dreams about Soul. But whenever she did, she was never able to question his presence and it would never feel as real as it did now. Something strange lingered in the air.
"Don't you mean what are you doing in mine?" Behind the glass, his voice was distorted as if coming from an intercom.
Astonished, Maka took a step backwards. Soul followed accordingly with an accurate stride. Suddenly the place wasn't as dark anymore. It was as if their odd encounter triggered a number of lights to go on. She giggled.
If she spun around, he spun around. If she leaned forward, he leaned forward. He mirrored her every move.
"Copycat," She teased. She experimented with some of the moves she learned from a ballet class she failed to remain faithful to as a child. And one, and two…
"Hey, stop that," The boy dryly requested as he struggled with a Pirouette.
"Stop what?" She curtsied innocently.
"That!" Soul lunged forward. The force was enough to break through the glass and he stumbled onward until his partner got a hold of his shoulders and regained his balance. The pair watched the shattered glass pieces dematerialize to a place unknown.
"Hey, look," Maka pointed beyond the broken mirror's frame as Soul made sure his limbs functioned the way he wanted them to.
No longer part of her reflection, the human weapon followed Maka's glance to discover that the mirror wasn't a mirror anymore, but some kind of window or portal. The image of a cloudless sky on the other side seemed tangible, as if they could just jump through it and enter another world. It invited them in.
"Let's go," Soul charged, taking initiative. He grabbed Maka's hand and they crossed the strange threshold together.
Maka gasped as she felt the immediate sensation of freefalling. Freefalling in a dream was different than it was in real-life. She felt lighter and more protected, especially the way that Soul held onto her for more than the necessary amount of time. Although it was just a dream, Maka could feel her companion's warmth. Them falling together could've been almost pleasant if it weren't for Soul veering sharply and driving Maka like a vehicle through the air as he held her protectively in front of him.
"What are you doing?!" She hollered.
She spoke louder to override the sound of the wind whizzing past them. "I can't focus if you swing me around like that!"
"I'm trying to find us a place to land safely!"
"It's a dream! It won't matter even if we land on rocks!"
"Don't be stupid! If you're here, and I'm here, do you really think this is a dream?"
"What?" Maka asked, although she heard him loud and clear. The thought just hit her rather hard that the possibility of this being more than just a dream could be true. Soul was not stupid. So if this wasn't a dream, and it wasn't reality, what was it? Some by-product of their ability to tune their soul wavelengths well? Then again, what if this was a dream and Soul was part of it and it was all just some mind game? Would Maka have been able to reason and question the dream if it were a dream? Whatever the situation was, she was currently in a hypothetical life-or-death situation. That used to be harmless excitement turned into panic and fear. Quickly, she pointed a finger at a spot in the near distance. "Soul! Over there! A lake! Steer us over to the lake!"
It would be a hard fall, but it was better than landing on rocks.
"Wh-what do you mean you can't?" Maka tried to maneuver her way through the sky herself, but the dream kept its dreamlike qualities in a way that neither one could control the circumstances. Their bodies remained stiffly falling through the sky like rocks, won over by gravity.
"I think we've been falling for too long that the force is too strong and suddenly we can't—"
It never felt as real as it did now.
"Soul! What if you're right? What if this isn't a dream? We'll die!" She screamed as she failed to avoid panicking. Why did jumping through the mirror have to be one of Soul's bold moves?
"No! We won't die! Just hold tight!" Soul had enough strength to bring his meister even closer to him. They watched the buildings below grow larger and larger as they drew nearer to the surface. They closed their eyes and held each other in an embrace as they screamed like fools in what they believed would be their last living moments.
"What is wrong with you two?"
A crowd waited for the pair's screaming to die down. The wind whizzing through the duo's ears ceased and Soul slowly opened his eyes as Maka merely peeked with one of hers. Both were breathing heavily with their hearts pounding even when they realized they weren't dead. Rather, they were hanging upside down.
"So. Not thrilling enough for you guys, huh?"
"Kid?" Maka blinked.
"Pahaha! Tell me about it," a blue-haired boy boasted, slapping the back of the other.
"Is this still.. a dream?" Maka whispered to the human scythe, skeptical about the sudden change of environment. They released from each other's embrace and realized they were both in red jumpsuits, bounded together by a long, elastic cord sturdy enough to hang them some feet off the ground. The cord extended high up from a tall mobile crane.
"I don't know anymore," Soul responded, still not fully recovered from the last time his eyes were open. He noticed the upside down vision of Black Star approaching them. "Maybe it's a nightmare."
"Man, if only I knew you'd be such wussies about it, I would've caught it on tape!" Black Star barked after failing to hold in his laughter. He settled down after a while. "Ya-hoo! Our turn to bungee jump next! C'mon, Tsubaki."
"In other words, it looks like you two had a hell of an adrenaline rush swinging from this giant rubber band. It was my father's idea, of course." The young shinigami smiled good-humoredly at them as he helped them unfasten their harnesses.
Once they were upright, they ignored their need to rejoice for being back on their feet, and instead, asked the shinigami where they were.
"Death City's new amusement park. Where else?"
It was only until he stood near the pair that Maka observed something bizarre about Kid.
"Wha…Kid, y-your face!"
Kid placed a hand on his cheek. "What, is there something on it?"
"No," Soul interjected. "It's blank."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Kid opposed, seeming rather offended. With that, he turned around and stormed off, leaving Soul and Maka bewildered.
But in fact, Kid's face was blank. Same goes for that girl at the cotton candy stand, and that boy in line for the roller coaster. Everyone's face was faceless, their bodies all a glowing blur. Yet they could still distinguish Kid from Black Star, and Black Star from Tsubaki. It was something weird about their ghoul-like appearances that sent chills down Maka's spine. At least it gave away the fact that they were still dreaming.
"I can see your face just fine," Maka gathered.
"Yeah, I can see yours too."
Soul watched the face of a young boy as he shrieked at the loss of his balloon, a young girl enjoying herself in a spinning teacup. Nothingness. He had to rely on his own imagination of them crying or laughing. "And just when I was beginning to think the dream was over…not cool."
Soul and Maka walked among the blank faced multitude of people. It began to bother them less and less. Besides, it would've been a normal dream if they hadn't had each other to compare the faceless populace to. They decided that for the time being, they could at least enjoy themselves on a couple of rides until they would finally wake up. Their dream eventually lead them to the most dangerous looking roller coaster. Neither weapon nor meister argued against it for the freefalling experience made them feel invincible.
They reached the front of the line after a long wait. But just when things settled down and got better, they got worse. The backs of two men blocked them at the front of the queue, just as they were about to step into their car.
Maka politely nudged them. "Excuse me," She requested.
The red-headed and silver-haired men pivoted to greet the minors.
"Papa? Professor Stein?"
"Maka-chaaan, Soul-kuuun. I'm sorry, but neither of you are tall enough to ride on this ride. Unless of course you're accompanied by an aduuult," informed Stein in an eerie sing-songy fashion.
"What, that doesn't make any sense. We're tall enough," protested Maka.
"Well aren't you just the cutest little rabbit!" squealed Stein as he lifted each of Maka's pigtails. "You would fit nicely into our zoo…"
Maka felt herself shrink at the way there was something sinister about Stein's mentioning of a zoo. She stared into what appeared to be the eyes behind the man's lenses. She sensed something wicked coming their way once again. "Soul?"
"Soul! Papa, what are you doing! Stein, let me go!"
Already, Stein had Maka in a secure grip and Spirit had dragged Soul into a coaster car with him. Maka and her professor remained on the platform as they watched the other two begin to accelerate, trapped behind a steel bar.
"Bye-bye, Maka. Have fun," said Spirit, almost robotically as if under someone else's control.
"C'mon, Maka. Let's go to the zoo."
"No! Where is Papa taking Soul? Are you insane?!"
"Insane?" laughed the scientist. Then with a hair-raising grin he conceded, "Yes, that may be it. The little truant must undergo punishment for missing out on today's horse crap. Here you go, little rabbit."
The insane professor shoved Maka into a cage. Where it came from, she didn't know. The zoo wasn't even within reach. Everything began to move too fast and the dream was shifting again. The air grew cold, night fell, and she squinted at the vagueness of all that surrounded her. Sounds of a roller coaster train clanking against a steel track echoed through the darkness, taunting her. Although it was night, there were no stars and no moon to laugh at her. A bowl of carrots materialized at her feet.
"I'm not a rabbit," she snarled. She expected Stein to say something dim-witted in return, but all she got was silence. "Hello?"
"Huh," the girl scoffed. "If it's so dark, how can I still see—ah!"
She squinted as her eyes came in contact with the bright beam above her. A spotlight as bright as the sun.
"Ugh, where did that come from…" She rubbed her eyes and when she tried opening them again she realized it wasn't just the light that blinded her or the dark that took away her eyesight. Things just weren't as vivid without Soul around. Her visions were no longer that borderline between dream and reality; rather, this was now just a regular dream—or nightmare—where everything and everyone was a blurry glow and nothing was as perceptible as Soul's face.
"Leave her alone, Patty. We gotta go now, it's time."
"Yes," said the voice of a man in between sobs. "It's..almost..time."
"Aw, senpai, don't cry. Be happy for Maka."
Maka forced her eyes open once again. Where am I this time, she thought. A museum? A theater? A cross between a museum and a theater? Everything was bright and orderly and people filled rows of seats ahead of her. She was glad it was daytime again.
At the corner of her eyes, she noticed two sisters rushing to be somewhere.
"Liz, Patty, you look nice."
"Aww, thanks. But don't be silly now, Maka, today's your day! Have fun out there."
"Break a leg, hot stuff!" The younger sister added with a childish laugh. When they both vanished, Maka felt wetness at her shoulders.
"Quit crying already, you sap. It's time," said the man behind him. It was Stein, yet it wasn't. Maka squinted. The friendly smile formed upon his lips could not have belonged to Stein the last occasion she saw him.
"Professor Stein? Where's Soul? Where's the zoo?" questioned Maka, still hating the dream for repeatedly making her adjust to so many new and random locations.
"Zoo? Haha, April Fools, Maka! You look great." Stein winked.
This part of the dream was fuzziest. Maka realized that the deeper into the dream she was, the less control she had over herself. As much as she wanted to beat Stein senseless for acting innocent after caging her and separating her from Soul, she couldn't.
The last she clearly remembered was Stein urging her and her papa forward somewhere, much to both their dismay. However, Spirit kept his chin up for it was, after all, an honorable day for his daughter...supposedly.
From what Maka could perceive, there was a mass of people parted like the Red Sea in a giant room. As she walked through the middle of the people, reaching closer to the front, her face lit up when she saw Soul standing there with a man in a funny cloak. They, and a couple of others dressed in fancy clothing, awaited her. She felt the weight of her clothes making the walk difficult—a big dress it turned out to be.
"Soul!" She called out once she reached him, "Where were you?"
"Where were you?"
"Are we—are we in a chapel?"
Now that she was reunited with Soul, a sense of clarity overcame them.
"Ssshhh!!" hushed the people in the pews.
"I think so," Soul whispered with a smirk. He joined his hands with hers after the man in the funny cloak uttered some matrimonial words.
"And we're getting married?!" The staggered bride nearly choked.
"…You may now kiss the bride."
"Uh…" Soul began to fret as an invisible force began to pull on his shoulders and chest.
Maka froze as Soul leaned slowly in.
"Wait, Soul, what are you doing? Stop," she pleaded.
"The dream. It's forcing me, I can't. Just go with it."
"Don't be stupid, Soul! You're the one who said this might not be a dream."
"Sssshh!" The crowd silenced them again, as if this were some anticipated scene from a movie. Ridiculous. Maka wanted to run away, but Soul was already leaning in so slowly, yet everything was moving much too fast, and none of them could move at their own will.
"It's a dream. How could this not be a dream? Seriously, if I could laugh right now, I would."
Maka hadn't wanted it. Although it was just a dream, she could still feel the warmth of his lips against hers. How real could a dream get? The warmth felt nice. But she hadn't wanted it. She wasn't prepared. She was inexperienced and Soul was still too cool for her. Ditching class and protecting her all the time, Maka wasn't ready.
In spite of what she told herself, her unconscious mind took over and she sank into Soul's kiss. Maybe she did want this. Just go with it, she remembered. Maybe, in the back of his mind, he did too. She heard the church bells ringing, she heard the assembly cheering, she heard papa crying tears of joy, and she let them.
She felt Soul's gentle grip around her hand squeeze tighter. His other hand maneuvered its way to her back in order to pull her closer.
Maka gasped at full volume just as the kiss intensified. Her eyes flew open and realized she was undoubtedly awake when she felt the familiar grass beneath her legs. She wasn't sure why she was awake if she had finally wanted to continue dreaming. Perhaps her papa had been a reality check. He'd never approve of Soul as a proper groom.
Just go with it. The tender feeling of Soul's mouth against hers lingered, leaving her a little woozy. When she made sure her partner was still beside her, it turned out he was still asleep. She remembered the book on her lap, the page she left hanging before she entered one of her wildest dreams. But this was reality. Reality was when she didn't question it anymore. She was relieved and curious and mystified all at the same time.
Maka looked to her partner again and found it funny the way his brows were furrowed the way they did when he concentrated on a test. But Maka was most taken aback when she discovered their hands were still connected. Was the dream still continuing for him? Nervous at the thought, she slipped her hand away from Soul's.
"Hey. Hey, wake up," She mumbled at him with a gentle nudge. He stirred a little. The dimness of sunset began to blend in with the shade more and more. "Come on, it's late."
"Mm..Maka..?" He moaned.
"…Soul?" She chuckled nervously.
Soul gasped as his eyes rushed open. When their eyes met, Soul felt his face heat up. The subtle pink on his cheeks only made Maka turn a deeper shade of red. That one glance acted as an exchange of a swarm of unspoken words that each chose not to say out loud. The dream was neither his, nor hers, but theirs. They shared it.
"What?" She asked after too long of a while of blank staring.
Looking beyond Maka's shoulders and seeing Shibusen in the distance was a reality check for Soul. He regained some of his composure and disguised himself with a straightforward but natural-sounding remark, "Nothing, I was just making sure this wasn't another part of a weird dream I had."
"O-oh, another weird one, huh?" she pretended.
"Yeah, a real roller coaster. But I'll tell you about it some other time. Let's head home." He stood up with his back turned to Maka, ready to lead the way, not ready to reveal his face again just yet. Maka watched as Soul shoved his hands into his pockets—the hands she felt she had held onto for the longest time that evening.
"Anyway, what was that about Tsubaki and the microscopes?"
Though Soul would not turn to face her when he spoke, she could visualize the smirk on his lips.
"Ah, don't think you can get away after falling asleep on me!" cried Maka as she followed closely behind. She argued because she knew awkwardness really wasn't Soul's kind of thing. Then again, even for the less cool types, who's was it?
As the sun entered dreams of its own, the moon glowed with a leer on its face as it listened to the pair's masked conversations on their walk home. They would never know if that afternoon was a result of them being highly compatible souls, or if it was simply because they were two beings coexisting in the same world and things like that just happen sometimes. No kind of dream interpreter would ever understand. All certainty rested with the fact that neither weapon nor meister would be able to sleep that night.
A/N: This turned out much longer than I had hoped! xD I hope I was able to do them some justice as this was my first SoulxMaka fic. Dreams are very hard to capture. I wanted to write a KidxMaka one, but SoulxMaka is cute too. And canon! While writing, it also dawned on me that someone should write about the gang in Vegas if it hasn't been done already. :shot: (I mean, I thought about locations a lot in this fic. Nevada being one.) I was going to have them get married in the Little White Chapel (or whatever it's called), but I thought it'd be better to just get straight to the point. xD Reviews are appreciated.