42_souls, table 3, theme #21:) "you plus me is bad news."
I have no idea what to think of this. While writing it, I was barely awake, had a slight headache, and was being driven by nothing but vitaminwater. It was spawned from the "what if Stein was actually very interested in Marie?" type of thinking.

I can see where you are
I can tell you're enjoying it so far
I would love to escape, but now I'm bound
By the burn of your eyes

Early on Stein realized that Marie Mjolnir was a little insane.

She palled around with the most un-pal-ish girl that had, quite possibly, ever existed. She had a violent streak that ran a thick course through her warmth. She was a kind person in general, but one wrong word could send a person (mostly Azusa) careening into the wall on the opposite side of the room. She was a good student; not as zealous toward perfection as Azusa was, but she appealed to the teachers, and she wasn't a stupid girl. She worked hard, and was rewarded for her efforts.

In that offhandedly observing way he had, he took note of her power as well. Not only did she have physical strength to match that of an ox, but her very being seemed to affect people. They were drawn to her like moths to a flame. It was indeed fascinating.

And with that mere thought, Franken Stein's interest was piqued.

I've been sleeping with the sunrise watching hours pass away
Incidentally, I'm just waiting for the dusk to kill the day

Years pass, and nothing is the same. His unimportant, irrelevant little side-project had gone away to Oceania, leaving only Senpai to cater to his mad scientist-y needs. So every night, slit by slit, Stein took Spirit apart, and briefly wondered if Spirit, too, had ever been touched by Marie's odd power.

Another year slid by, and it was obvious that that was not so. Spirit had left him for another meister named Kami.

It was bothersome.

Stein was once more left to his own devices. He reverted into his laboratory, and further into his mind.

And from then on, the madness steadily approached.

As the roses dip their heads a little further to the ground
There's a season change, and all the pinks and whites have turned to brown

He could honestly say that it had been years since he'd had her power on his mind. And then suddenly, in the mere span of a day, she had returned to him so quickly that he had to brace himself for whiplash. However, this time, instead of existing in his peripheral vision alone, she had effectively moved all of her belongings into his house and settled there, as if it was, without a doubt, the only place for her to be.

Once more, he was met with the thought, She's insane.

Great. We match.

He gradually adapted to her, and she to him. She was absolutely not allowed to exceed the four-plant-limit in the kitchen, or any other room for that matter. He must eat three square meals a day. She would make his coffee, and he would do the dishes. Aside from the lockdown, house-arrest, madness bit, it was almost normal. Normal as in normal for others. It was quite foreign to Stein. But he didn't mind walking pulling his toothbrush from a patchwork cup and noting almost a second too late that he'd grabbed the wrong one. The fact that there was a wrong one to grab gave him feelings of mixed irritation and... wholeness.

He knew that he was beginning to feel the full force of Marie's power. And he was more than ready to meet the challenge.

Will we make it through the fall?

They could sit shoulder-to-shoulder like it was perfectly normal. She could worry and cry and hold him up while he was spiraling further and further into an abyss. He could hold her hand and tell her that she was doing the right thing, and that everything would be all right.

They could touch. Fondness could grow. But he could not love her. Happiness could not thrive among ever-growing weeds of despair, no matter how she tried. It was almost as if the tragedy before them as was already mapped out; all they had to do was follow through.

Marie held his arm, determined to fight the ropes of fate to keep him by her side.

And Marie felt him slip through her fingers when he was so willingly pulled along.

It's a thrill I can't shake
Yeah, I know we've been writing a mistake
But it's hard to erase the feelings I've drawn

Giving into the madness at Medusa's hands was more painless than he'd ever imagined. It was easy to be with her. She welcomed the insanity that consumed him with open arms, coaxing it out of hiding where Stein had so painstakingly tried to stow it away before. He no longer had to suppress his discord. They were so alike, he and the evil woman at his right hand.

He would gaze into her mesmerizing crystal orb for hours, and they would sit in silence, or he would listen to her silkily spinning her words of demise to him like a lullaby. In the moments where he tired of writhing on the floor, he would just sit and stare while she wove tales of tragedy into his mind.

The light that shone from the orb inside out was almost familiar to him in a way he couldn't place. He was sure that if he reached out to touch it, it would warm his clammy hands and soothe the irritation in his soul. After all, wasn't that what inner light did?

So he extended his arm over the table, and between Medusa's hands he placed his own on the glowing ball.

Its chilly lack of heat confused and picked at him for reasons he could not place.

As the roses lift their heads to catch a glimpse of my demise
You'll be throwing lines around like ocean waves throw down the tides

And one morning, he sees it while looking drearily into the cold orb.

The familiar face.

The warmth from within.

Because she was coming for him, a child with pink hair in tow. The kid was the one Medusa was interested in.

But not Stein.

And they are breaking on my shore

And it was so clear to him. That was the face of his desire to stomp out the horrid insanity that consumed him. Those were the eyes that seemed to glow with warmth from the light within her. That was why he preferred caramel to silk. That was why he was always searching for warmth.

She had come for him, determination clear on her face.

Stein laughed. Medusa did not know whether or not to bother with the fact that the sound was not of the insane giggle variety, but of the what an insane, stupidly brave woman sort.

And the rescue team won't save me now, that I'm out too far

He wasn't looking for forgiveness, but knew to expect it anyway. The madness clawed away at him every day, finding its way out much easier now that he'd simply let go once before. But Marie fought valiantly at his side.

Stein sat on the couch, staring blankly at his bleeding hand, in the process of getting it treated by a quiet Marie. A look of determination was set on her face and her hands were steady, though as she had dragged him away from the broken mirror he had felt them shaking.

"I'm sorry," she murmured, holding the wrapped hand in between her own.

He knew that if he listened hard enough that night, he would probably hear the soft sound of her tears against the floorboard.

I was caught in an awkward silence
Broken down by the sound of your prelude that you played to open our symphony

When her old flame, the mole, died, even through the haze of insanity he could see her pain. Marie's exterior was tough, and she was a strong woman, but her heart was torn to a painfully obvious extent.

The murderer could have been Stein. Might have been Stein. Was probably Stein. Even so, they all wanted to protect him, and Marie, who was most stricken by the most recent change of events, volunteered to keep him safe. He couldn't help but stand in silent agreement at Neigus' words.

"Stein has no love in him."

It was true, too true and too painful, surely, for Marie to handle.

But she looked forward with her heart and refused to take back her proposal.

And then, on the very edge of town, she could hold it no longer. She stopped walking, fell back only a few steps before he took notice, and buried her face into her hands, shoulders wracked with unimaginable grief. Stein could do nothing. Words of comfort always went badly on his part. So he reached out and gently, so tenderly, pressed her to him.

He could say nothing, and do nothing but watch her cry. He was, without a doubt, useless. But he could hold her close. Touching was okay. It was the lack of love that remained unchanged.

And this is where my heart is cold and torn
As I read the words you wrote last night, the butterflies are creeping through my spine

"Marie, why are you here?"

She gazed at him across the campfire and folded her hands in her lap, her smile a little sad, a little weary, and very, very soft.

"Because you are important to me, Stein. I love you." The words tiptoed from her heart, knowing full-well that now there was no reason to mask the obvious.

He stoked the fire, and she fell asleep against a most uncomfortable tree.

Stein would take everything from Marie.

Marie would give it all.

As for an ending, "happy" wasn't a word Stein would use. The end was simply too far away to determine. But in summary, the warmth, the laughter, the brief touches, the tears, the sacrifices, the hope, and the love... that had a name.


And somehow, it was terribly fitting.

So I'll waste these nights for a while
But I'll be holding on to you forever
(I'm trying, we're dying, yeah)
And this is where my heart is cold and torn
I'm taken by your hope-filled lines
They're well-designed and dragging me along
I'll be waiting for this chance and I'll be gone

Lyrics: Making April- Roses and Butterflies
I find a lot of the lines from this song to be Stein-esque, but the song itself isn't Stein/Marie it all. It's waaay more Stein/Medusa. But I don't care~!