Fandom: Soul Eater
Summary: Beyond sadness, Tsubaki discovers, there is more grief.
Spoilers: Everything before episode 24.
Word Count: 1,356
Notes: I actually posted this a long time ago on LJ, but from prompting from hope_assassin, I've posted it here, too.
Contrary to popular belief, Tsubaki is not kind. She remembers - before Asura, before Medusa, before everything - a brilliant view of pre-Kishin souls floating in the day breeze, and the tears of a young witch as she plead with them - her - to not kill her bodyguard.
"We might not get a chance like this again." The soft words had been spoken as Black Star held her above his head, hesitating, as if he'd forgotten he was an assassin. She was willing to go along with whatever he decided to do - anything.
Tsubaki knows that she would learn to sleep with blood on her hands if it meant helping him.
She's a weapon - an extension with a heart and soul and human body.
She's brave, and strong, and loyal to the core.
Across from her, Black Star gives her his biggest grin and a thumbs up. For a moment, he's normal - a fading image that clings to something long gone. He promises her they'll end this.
She smiles back at him, and agrees to fight with him.
And for that reason alone makes Tsubaki unkind.
It happened for the first time after the mission to kill Arachne failed. Wounded and exhausted, they stumbled home with sunken eyes and heavy hearts.
"Hey, Tsubaki..." Black Star mumbled. He looked older somehow, ragged with loss. "I feel kinda weird." He wouldn't mention it unless it was really bothering him.
Tsubaki gazed at him through blood-stained bangs, and carefully moved a hand to feel his forehead. Her fingers felt cool against his heated, sweaty skin. "I think you have a fever," she told him, concerned.
Black Star raised an eyebrow at her and laughed, short and slightly raspy. "What are you talking about, Tsubaki? Gods don't get sick!" He continued walking, giving off an air of nonchalance he loved to flaunt.
Tsubaki bit her lip and followed him.
That night, Black Star awoke in screaming, burning agony.
It took all of Tsubaki's strength to restrain his torn hands from ripping at the skin on his shoulder.
They called it insanity.
It was the same thing that made Stein want to dissect his students, the thing that made him twist the nail further into his skull as he insisted he was innocent.
It was what made Shinigami-sama change his mask and say, "The only way to get rid of it is to get rid of Asura," to a room full of technicians and weapons not fully ready, but ready enough.
There were many faces she recognized. Maka, Soul, Kid, all friends of hers who looked grimly up and nowhere else. She recognized Black Star, stiff at her side, eyes set.
They'd failed once, but Tsubaki promised herself - Black Star - that she wouldn't fail again.
She would save him.
The only way to get rid of the insanity was to get rid of Asura, but the only way to get rid of Asura was to -
- assassinate him.
They set out the next day to hunt one hundred souls.
It doesn't take long to discover that Tsubaki is a calming presence to him in these moments.
He's twitching, mumbling something that sounds like a curse but is cut off by his fist in his mouth. It hurts to watch him.
"Black Star!" she calls to him, holding him by the shoulders. "Snap out of it!" She looks at him with narrowed eyes, and she feels his soul quake beneath her hands.
He blinks, and the fist inside his mouth comes out slowly. "Tsubaki..." The look he gives her makes her shiver down to her toes. "Sorry."
She just nods, and understands his need to look away.
When they reach twenty-seven souls - a record unheard of for them - it is raining, and they decide to stop for awhile to wait out the storm.
Black Star holds her in his hands, and she stares back at him through the metal. "Do you feel any different?" he asks, poking at her weapon-form.
She feels them all inside of her, melting into a pile of tar and a vortex of strength that tears at her insides. It makes her wonder if they're being affected by the insanity wavelength, and she feels her stomach curl.
It makes the dark look in his eyes brighten, and the only thing she can think is:
This is worth it.
At forty-one souls, Tsubaki begins to wonder many things.
One: how are their friends?
"Tsubaki-chan - ?"
Two: where are they going tomorrow?
"I heard there were villagers being attacked by giant spiders –"
Three: what is Black Star thinking?
"If I'm the black sky, then Tsubaki must be the –"
Four: why was this so hard before?
"Get out of here, Hoshizoku –"
Five: why is this not so hard now?
"…Tsubaki? What's wrong?"
It's not long before they can't be separated at all. Too deep, too connected.
Black Star faces away from her, and tries not to let his eyes wander as he taps insistently against the dirt.
Tsubaki heaves a sigh before sinking further into the hot spring they had come across one winter day and eleven souls later. She can hear him sneeze.
His close proximity doesn't bother her so much anymore.
She wonders if it ever really did.
He cracks his knuckles, and the grinning moon above them drips blood.
Somehow, he looks beautiful standing against the night.
Maybe she's going insane as well.
Only fifteen left.
And then –
- it takes over.
It happens when they meet up with Soul one day, after months of endless searching.
There's yelling, and hitting, and maybe even tears - she can't tell against her own as she runs toward the fighting, Soul with his scythe arm and Black Star with his fists.
"Get out of my way," Soul says, eyes tight with anger and an old pain rubbed raw. In that moment, she wishes she were a Death Scythe, and almost hates herself for wishing she had taken Al Capone's minions and Angela's soul when she had the chance. "I have unfinished business." All for Maka.
Black Star comes at him, blind fury replacing friendship. Insanity creeps like tendrils over his heart. Restricts, punctures, bursts. "Die—"
And then everything stopped altogether.
Soul looks at her with wide eyes, watching his friend struggle against Tsubaki's chains. Waiting takes only a minute before Black Star slumps against her, and she transforms into warm arms.
She's crying against him, muttering broken words strung together with war and death. She can hear Soul's footsteps thud against the ground as he passes them.
Beyond sadness, Tsubaki discovers, there is more grief.
She wants to take him home. She wants to lead him to the right path, but she's not entirely sure how to do that anymore.
Fleetingly, she wonders what it'd be like to kiss him under the stars – if he'd whisper her name against her skin, or tell her he trusts her with his soul, or -
She doesn't want to hold his soul in her hands like her brother.
When they reach ninety-nine, they go back to Shibusen. It's void of most life, save for Shinigami-sama, the current Death Scythes who had survived to become one, and Death the Kid, who looks over at them and nods once before another figure steps beside him and pulls the hood off her head.
"Use me," Medusa says.
They question with eyes, with words, with souls.
Medusa stares at them with hateful, narrowed snake eyes that shrivels and dances along her arms and to her fingertips.
"They killed Chrona."
She places a hand over the star on her breast, and remembers.
In the end, she becomes a Death Scythe. One full of anger, and love, and power and loyalty to the core –
And then she opens her arms, and hugs him.
"We've needed this for awhile."