A/N: URGH. I told some people that I'd have this up before the New Year AS A JOKE, meaning I'd update earlier, but OH LOOK it's January 5th. Kill me now.

For those who have me on alert, you may have seen a lot of video game fanfics. Yeeeaaaah... So I'm working on 3 other fics. 2 of them are rated M. And they are yaoi. OHGOD WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME.

Soyeah, that's one reason for my absence. The others are the usual-school, procrastionation and writer's block. ALSO because the only thing I had to write/type fanfics was my dad's laptop because my computer decided to completely die and is now collecting dust in my basement uselessly. LUCKILY I got my own laptop for Christmas! I was able to type half of this chapter in class in the last two days~

And HOLYGOD over 300 reviews? I am just... speechless. I didn't think this fic would still have so much attention. Thank you all for the amazing support!

Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope you enjoy~

Disclaimer: I was finally going to buy the rights to Soul Eater but then the Bed Intruder Guy went all up in my face about some rapist in the neighborhood and kept telling me to hide my kids and hide my wives in a remixed song fashion. Then I spent a long time wondering how I obtained said children and when I became a polygamous lesbian (No offense to anyone). Anyway, soyeah. I don't own it.

Maka walked through an empty hall. The graffiti on the lockers reminded her of her school, but she couldn't remember how she'd gotten there. Stranger still was the fact that it was snowing inside, flakes seeming to form from the ceiling itself, falling into piles lining the walls or straight through the floor, creating a path. The hall looked endless; floor, ceiling and walls seemed to meet at the end of her vision like the sky and land meet on the horizon. She turned once to see if she could go back, but the doorless wall behind her followed her as she went, shrinking with each step she took.

She walked for what seemed like hours, or even days. As she went, the snowflakes slowly became slushy, and then turned into freezing rain. She felt it prick her skin—so cold that it burned—but her brain refused to register the pain and she kept moving forward, hall stretching forever no matter how far she went. A shape suddenly formed in the distance. Maka wanted to run towards it, but her legs kept at a slow walking pace, as if scolding her for being so impatient. As she approached the shape, it became apparent that it was a person. They weren't moving. As if… they were waiting for her.

The rain began to lose its cold tinge, slowly beginning to feel more like a spring drizzle. The dim light above the person began to flicker erratically, impairing Maka's ability to identify who it was. It was only when she was within talking distance that she could tell.

"Soul?" she mumbled, mouth moving without her thinking, "What's wrong?"

Soul's head was down, arms dangling at his sides. He didn't move for a few minutes. He began to look up, the motion so slow it took Maka a moment to notice. He stopped when his eyes just barely peeked through his ruffled white hair. His crimson irises were piercing… unnaturally dark… The rain suddenly started getting warmer, like water slowly boiling in a kettle.

"I can't tell you…" Soul breathed. His voice seemed to echo off the walls. But it wasn't an echo. There seemed to be a voice overlapping his, as if two records were playing the same thing and one was less than a second off. She felt the rain start to burn her skin, but ignored it. Her brows furrowed.

"Why not? You can tell me anything." Her voice was slightly muted by a strange but familiar sound. It was the sound a TV made when there was no reception—static. The sound was far off, somewhere behind Soul. It started getting louder. Soul finally looked up, looking at her full-on with a glare as dark as coal. But she hardly noticed his eyes. No… something else caught her attention.

He had no mouth.

"Why not?" Soul's disembodied voice echoed in two parts, his gaze somehow becoming darker. The boiling rain suddenly became flaming embers. Her skin began to smoulder and burn while he stood there untouched. The static became impossibly loud. He spoke again, but his voice seemed to be right in her ear despite the distance between them.

"You wouldn't understand."

She fell to her knees, pain overtaking her ability to stand. He gave her one last glare before turning and walking down the hall. The source of the static sound became clear. It was not a TV, but a giant wave of water, barrelling down the hall, engulfing the walls and falling embers as it went. Soul only took a few steps before it engulfed him; the waves seemed to fold around him instead of drown him.

Everything froze in that instant, embers floating in the air, droplets of water from the wave looking almost solid. Soul turned as if unaffected by the sudden freeze of time and the fact that he was surrounded by water. He looked back at Maka. His eyes were filled with sorrow. His disembodied voice sobbed into her ear, so quietly she almost missed it.

"Will you ever understand…?"

Time flowed again, and the last thing Maka saw was water rushing towards her.

-Smile-

Maka woke, gasping from the end of her dream. She took in a few deep breaths as consciousness returned to her and her mind processed the fact that what she'd witnessed hadn't been real. After she calmed down, she realized she was sweating—and the culprit was not the dream. As she struggled to sit up from the bed, the blonde noticed that she was wrapped, cocoon-like, in a blanket… scratch that. Two blankets. Her eyebrows furrowed at this, and she unwrapped herself from the covers to keep from boiling. But when those were gone, the confusion became complete disbelief.

She wasn't in her bed—or house, for that matter. She also happened to be wearing sweatpants and a baggy logo t-shirt. Neither was hers.

In a panic, she screamed and flailed, trying to stand up but ending up falling off the bed instead. As she lay on the floor, breathing heavily and trying to calm herself, she recollected her thoughts. What happened last night? Where was she? Why was she here? She shut her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to rid the headache that seemed to accompany her recollection.

Oh, wait, that's right. She was in Soul's house. She left her house because… because… because of that.

Her shaking breaths became a groan of annoyance as she stood, rubbing her forehead. She looked around the room. Soul's room. Woah, what? Immediately she left, face growing red in embarrassment. The blonde walked around the house, looking for her companion. God, she felt stupid. The last thing she remembered was standing on his doorstep. She couldn't imagine how lost Soul must have felt; how confused. She needed to find him and apologize—explain what had happened.

Wow, his house was huge. It took her a good ten minutes to get downstairs and find the kitchen. She'd checked every room… but he was nowhere. Or he'd gone to a room she'd already checked within the time it had taken her to look around. Maka shook her head and leaned against the counter, eyes drifting about as she thought. Then something hot was pressed against her back. She yelped and moved away from the counter, whipping around to observe the offending object. It was a metal thermos, and whatever was inside was clearly still boiling. She quirked an eyebrow at this before realizing there was a piece of paper lying beside it. She picked it up and read the words that were scrawled hurriedly across the lines.

Maka, please drink this. It's green tea. I'll be back soon. Soul.

Maka gaped slightly at the message before staring back at the hot thermos. Was he… taking care of her? She'd stumbled into his home and passed out without so much as a word to explain her sudden visit. Yet he'd taken her in, given her his clothes—his bed—and he'd even made her tea. It was as though she'd been living there forever.

Maka smiled to herself, setting the paper back down to take the cup off the top of the thermos. She poured the brewed tea into the mug. Grabbing the container of sugar that stood behind the thermos, she spilled about a teaspoon's worth into the warm liquid. With one whiff of the steam rising from the cup, she put it to her lips and took a small sip. The pleasant warmth cascaded down her throat.

She felt at home.

It must have been her fifth or sixth sip when she heard the front door open. Without a moment's hesitation, she set the mug down and headed over to the front room left of the kitchen. Snow rushed in through the opening doorway, obscured slightly by the shape making its way into the house.

Soul blinked at her from beneath his winter hat and puffy jacket, setting a large bag that looked like luggage down on the floor. "You feeling better?"

Maka stuttered at the simplicity of the question. No anger? No confusion? No need for an explanation? None…? It was so weird—standing there, waiting for him to ask so many questions… and then being asked something that totally disregarded what she'd expected.

He didn't need an explanation. He was okay with her just being safe.

"Uh… Yeah, much better… Thank you for the tea…" she mumbled. Soul nodded slightly in response, taking off his hat and opening the closet to put it away. His white hair was ruffled but still held the same shape she'd always seen. Coughing gently, she continued, "Um… so, what's in the bag…?" Soul turned to face her at this question, blinking as if she should already know.

"Your stuff," he stated simply. The look she gave him must have been horrifying or angry, because he immediately followed up with, "If you didn't want me to get it, I'll bring it back."

"No! No, that's okay… But… but… how? Why?"

"I found your house key in one of your shoes, and no one was home so I packed some of your things and came back." He seemed to have missed the second part of Maka's question, because he didn't continue. Something squirmed inside of his coat, and there was a muffled cry that she vaguely recognized. Soul cringed a bit before unzipping his jacket slightly. There was a tuft of purple fur… then Blair jumped out onto the floor. She mewed in contentment at seeing her owner. Maka frowned.

"Actually, Soul, I was… I was planning on staying at Tsubaki's…"

"Don't leave." Maka was taken aback at his abruptness, looking up into his eyes. There was fear in his red irises. Fear and panic. It was weird, seeing that much emotion spill out from his monotonous exterior. Only a few months ago, all she could see in his expression was anger and disapproval. Now… now he was so much different. So different, in fact, that he wanted her to stay instead of being alone. She racked her mind for a moment and realized, slowly, that no one else had been in the house.

Did… did he live by himself?

"But… But you don't know what happened, or… or how long I'd have to stay here…"

"That's okay. Just don't leave." There was a strain in his tone, as though he were holding his breath. Then, exhaling, he said, "Please."

Maka faltered at that. He was so sincere. So desperate. She knew he was probably just doing this for himself, but it meant so much to her. That she didn't have to tell him anything about what had happened to be accepted. To be given a salvation away from anger and frustration. To be offered a home away from home. Despite herself, a smile began to form on her lips, and after a moment of not-much-contemplating, she nodded slightly.

"Alright. I'll stay."

-Smile-

Wow… he… he'd brought everything. It's like he'd cleaned out her shelves. All of her clothes, all of her toiletries, her backpack, her work, her cellphone… It was all there.

It took them no more than a half-hour to unpack and put all of her stuff into an extra room. It was a guest bedroom, but there were no sheets on the bed, so they ended up fixing that up as well. By the time they finished it looked as though she'd never left home. Afterwards they sat in his living room, watching TV mindlessly. Maka was paying attention to what was on—some crime show—but Soul seemed to stare past the screen, off in his own little world. It must have been around noon when she finally spoke up. So many questions plagued her mind, and she felt that they were the only things that could raise this comfortable-yet-awkward silence.

She asked, and—surprising Maka once again—he answered without hesitation.

Yes, he did live alone, and for how long he didn't know. He'd just always remembered it being that way in this house. Food was supplied to him via a box appearing at his doorstep in the morning twice a week. Maka could understand that, since he didn't really talk to others and would have a hell of a time going to the grocery store. When she asked where the boxes came from, though, he said he didn't know. He also had no idea what mortgage or taxes were. In the end she ended up having more questions than what she'd started with.

It was only at dinner when they were sitting at the table digging their forks into a pile of mashed potatoes (And damn did Soul know how to cook) that he finally gave her a question of his own.

"So..." Soul cleared his throat, obviously a little nervous, "What happened?"

Maka stayed silent for a moment, not sure how to begin. She placed her fork on her plate and chewed her bottom lip for a moment before stating quite bluntly the reason for leaving home.

"My parents are getting divorced."

"... What?"

She sighed, fingers fiddling with the hem of the logo shirt. "You remember how my dad left suddenly yesterday?" He nodded his acknowledgement. "Well it wasn't for work. He went to... to see another woman." Maka hung her head and bit her lip again. It had been going on for so long and she'd had no idea. Even her mom knew and she didn't say anything. It was the reason she'd hardly seen them in the same room together. The reason her dad seemed to work longer hours than was needed... the reason their 'money was tied up.' Because they were getting divorced and they were splitting their finances. She huffed angrily at the thought of last night—her father coming home and her mother suddenly yelling, spewing out the truth with every harsh word. And now her mom was gone. Left while telling them not to wait up for her because she didn't know when she'd be back. So Maka left as well, refusing to stay in the same household with him. With that deceiver. "I don't understand... why he would do that. I thought he loved mom and me."

Soul stayed silent. His fork had stopped moving, the points resting against the porcelain surface of his plate.

"If it weren't for him, I could still be going to Private School," she sighed angrily, "If it weren't for him, I could see Crona every day! If it weren't for him... If it weren't for him..."

"I'd never have met you."

Maka raised her head to look at Soul, but he had his head down, fork fiddling with a piece of potato. He looked sad... unappreciated. The blonde opened her mouth to speak, but no words formed with the action. She wasn't sure how to feel. Thankful that he'd turned a horrible situation in on itself, or ashamed that she'd completely overlooked that important part of the outcome.

"Soul, I... I'm sorry. I didn't mean..." she trailed off when he didn't make a move to look back at her. She decided to go for the positive. "Thank you."

He looked up at that, meeting her gaze, looking just a bit shocked. She smiled back at him. No, he didn't smile back. But she could see it. The happiness radiating from his red irises.

After a moment of silence, Maka coughed and stood from the table. "I need to, um... Make a phonecall. I'll be back in a second." She wasn't lying. She needed to call Crona to make sure she didn't call her house, and maybe find out where her mother went. She took her plate from the table and placed it in the sink, muttering quietly that she would wash it later.

Still a little unfamiliar with the house, Maka searched around for her bedroom to get her cellphone. In her search, she passed by the home phone placed on the wall in a hallway by the stairs. The message light was blinking. The blonde furrowed her brows, curiosity getting the best of her. She stood before the phone and clicked a few buttons, and before long a woman's voice answered in a monotonous tone.

"You have 312 new messages."

She had to blink at that. 312 new messages? On further inspection, Maka noticed that all of the messages came from one phone number. Hesitantly, she looked down the hall, back to where she believed the kitchen would be. She could hear the TV humming softly—Soul was probably watching something now. Quickly, she memorized the number and ran up the stairs, looking about for her bedroom and finding her cellphone. She typed the number in and hit the call button. She listened.

One ring later, the phone was picked up. But there was nothing. No hello. No breathing. Nothing.

"Hello?" Maka asked hesitantly. A sharp intake of breath from the other end. "May I ask who this number belongs to...?"

Silence followed. It went on for a good minute before Maka heard whoever was on the other end hang up. The busy tone rang mockingly in her ear.

The blonde furrowed her brows and looked at her cellphone as though it would give her an answer, or maybe the person would call her back spontaneously. That was a long shot. She sighed and put her phone in the front pocket of her borrowed sweatpants before walking back towards the living room, confusion making her forget about calling Crona and her mother.

"... Maka?" Soul's voice called from down the hall. There was a hesitance in his voice, as though something was wrong. She paced down the hall and reached the entrance to the living room, seeing Soul sitting on the couch, wide-eyed.

"What? What's wrong?" she asked. He pointed his finger at the television screen.

"What are they doing?" He looked completely baffled, and she wondered what could make him so shocked. She looked at the television... and froze. There, on the large screen, was a couple making out. Maka blushed at the picture, turning to walk out of the room.

"I... I don't know!" she lied, embarrassed by the prospect of having to explain what it was. Maka sighed roughly in frustration, slapping a hand over her reddened face as she stomped down the hallway.

She seriously needed to make those calls.

-Smile-

Maka woke with a start, sitting up in bed and rubbing her eyes. It was night now. She'd gone to bed early—around nine o'clock. The dishevelled blonde yawned and looked at her phone. It was two in the morning. She groaned an wondered what had woken her as she stood. The dull pulse of a migraine prodded the side of her temple. Ah, that was it. It wasn't some external source that had woken her, but her own distress. When she'd called Crona's house, Ragnarok picked up and said something about her being out of the house for a while. When she'd tried contacting her mother, there was no answer. God, not to mention all those misterious messages on the answering machine. Worry and anger and frustration bottled themselves up into that annoying pounding that had been her unplanned wake-up call. Deciding she wouldn't be able to sleep for a bit, she left her room to get a glass of water.

A humming stopped her from heading down the stairs. She was standing on the top step when she heard it—a low, calm humming. Not a machine like a dryer or a dishwasher, but... a voice? Maka turned hesitantly, looking for the source.

Soul's room. Huh... was he awake?

The blonde padded quietly towards his door that was directly across from the top of the stairs. Even as she stepped up against door, his humming was low. Maybe he was still asleep? Maka placed an ear against the hard wood surface and listened. He was... humming a tune... Maka's eyes (that had closed without her realizing it) shot open. A shiver of recognition ran down her spine.

It was the tune from a couple months ago...

All Maka could do was listen, wide-eyed as his sleepy hum captured every note perfectly. She'd forgotten about the song completely. Forgotten about that terrified look he'd given her when he realized she'd been listening. He liked that song so much, yet he didn't want anyone to hear it... What did it mean? If he hummed it in his sleep, then it must be something unconscious... something so ingrained into his mind that it didn't even leave him in his slumber...

But why...?

A thought came to mind. It was Christmas, and she hadn't gotten him a present, so what if she...?

Maka walked back to her room and opened her school bag, shuffling through binders and papers until she found what she was looking for. Taking the pencil and blank music sheets to her desk, she began to write music notes. Thankfully, she had good memory.

G...

-Smile-

Maka woke up late the next morning, despite having gone to bed so early. It was probably karma for staying up so long writing music... and worse, she still had a migraine. Her hair was all over the place, the slightest hint of eyebags beneath her green irises. The blonde mumbled groggily to herself as she dragged her feet across the floor, her destination being the bathroom. Wait... where was that again?

Though surprisingly, she was coherent enough to notice that Soul's bedroom door was open... and that he was sitting there, looking rather sick.

Maka aborted her goal to find the bathroom and shuffled down the hall to stick her head around Soul's door. He sat there rigidly, arms straight as he rested his hands on his knees... or rather, constricting his knees with a vice grip. For a moment, Maka was too afraid to speak, sure that if he noticed she was there something in him would snap. But if she didn't say something, well...

"Soul?" she whispered. He looked at her within the second she'd said his name. But there was no anger or fear. His red irises looked glazed... depressed... "Is... is something wrong?"

He seemed to hesitate at that, eyes searching. Then, "What day is it today...?" And the look he gave her was strange. It was like... he was hoping for something.

"Um... December twenty-sixth?" The question seemed to add itself unconsciously. Her answer only seemed to make him tenser, as the hope dropped from his gaze. He looked away from her, suddenly finding the floor in front of his feet more interesting.

"Oh... it's tomorrow..." he breathed, so low that Maka almost didn't hear it. She raised an eyebrow.

"What's tomorrow?"

He was silent for what seemed like forever, as if conjuring the very words would break his composure and he'd fall into a crumpled heap. A shaky breath escaped him, and as he closed his eyes, he spoke.

"My birthday."

A/N: Weak cliffhanger is weak. Well, in my opinion anyway. Hurrderp.

If you're still wondering how Maka found Soul's house, keep in mind that she sees him get off the bus and walk up his driveway every school day. Any other questions, you may ask and I'm quite willing to answer. Except for spoilers. You're just going to have to wait~

Anyway, so this fic is almost done. 2 or 3 chapters more. I'm not sure whether to feel sad or happy... maybe a mix of both.

Yeah, again, not making any promises (Sorryyyyyyy D: ). I plan to work on all 4 fanfics at the same time in intervals, since at the moment I'm feeling inspired with ideas for all of them. If you're willing to wait a while, thank you so so much! It means a whole lot to me. Reviews, as always, are greatly valued. They bring a smile to my face C: