First shot at this fandom, and jumping on the bandwagon, no less. n.n (waves flag) Granted, I don't really have an OTP in here yet...

Juxtapose
By – Hime no Ichigo

Genre: General/Romance
Rating: G
Pairings: light Soul x Maka
Story Type: Drabble/one-shot
Summary: I thought you don't like to play basketball.

Disclaimer: Soul Eater is the property of Ookubo Atsushi and bones.

Spoilers: I don't think there are any?

Warnings: None.

-----

Tap, tap, tap.

What are you doing here at this time of night?

Tap, tap.

I thought you don't like to play basketball.

Whoosh.

And here, I find you, with another. The concentration and the laughter cannot be hidden in a blanket of darkness, when all – any reasonable, sensible person – should be tucked safely in bed, sound asleep. I do not particularly belong to that category, and even if I do, I do not care. Night is, after all, a very good time to relax and think, things we cannot do during the day.

Tap, tap, tap.

But you do. So how can you still be awake and full of energy, after a whole day of work and stress?

Sometimes I believe I think too much; jump to conclusions too quickly; keep things in me too often. Like now, for instance. I do not believe I will ever ask where you go every night (and most definitely will not admit that I was worried; cool guys do not worry so much, like a girl), nor question your relationship with him, nor why everything you cook seem to be burnt recently. It is all part of the pact, per se, when we became partners and began living in the same apartment. Unless something really serious happened, there should be no questions asked.

Tap, tap.

These days, I often wonder when you grew on me so much. I wonder if this means anything, my attention on your every detail. I wonder who we will have to defeat next. I wonder where our next mission will take us. I wonder what will happen when we finally meet the requirements of turning me into a Death Scythe.

It's not as if my being your partner in battle means partner in everything else, I remind myself bitterly.

Whoosh.

These days, I wonder why I know less and less about you every day.

-----

"Are you feeling all right?"

"Aah."

"You don't look or sound like it."

"I'm fine. Go read your book or something."

"What's wrong with you? You've been ignoring me for the past few days."

"Have I? Sorry, wasn't aware of that. Isn't it usually because you don't want me to bother you?"

She stamps her foot. It is a rather endearing gesture. "At least I don't sound so pathetic, like you do right now. We haven't gone on a single mission since—" she counts her fingers and holds them up to prove her point, "four days ago. There's something wrong with this picture, and it's your refusal to co-operate. Didn't we agree to try our best and turn you into a Death Scythe for Shinigami-sama?"

"People need breaks."

"Four days is enough of a break!"

"..."

"..."

I hate how our normal conversations can so easily turned into arguments, then just as easily lapse into an unpleasant silence. At this moment, the apartment seems to shrink, and the air compresses all too much. "Take a look at yourself in the mirror. If you still want to go on a hunt, then I'm game; just don't faint halfway through the battle. Don't expect me to haul you back though." That is a lie, of course; we both know I would never do that. But like always, words come out of my mouth sooner than I can process them properly in my brain.

It is abrupt, how she tenses at the mention of her (fatigued) appearance. She turns without another word, and closes the bedroom door behind her. There is an unmistakeable sound of the lock turning.

The day has not even reached noon and already I want night to come and take me away.

-----

And there you go, once more. I do not think you realize that even when you are – trying to – being stealthy, your movements can wake me up. We should get the floorboards checked. And the door hinges, if we ever manage to start.

I wait a good few minutes before hopping out of bed. There is no need to trail you; I know where you are heading to anyway. As if the last four nights had not told me of a pattern. Yet I still stick to the shadows of the buildings, preferring the false security they provide.

A streetlamp flickers. Ahead are two silhouettes. Very familiar silhouettes.

You are conversing. It is, obviously, not cool to eavesdrop, but I cannot help it.

Then the two of you break apart, and the tap, tap, taps begin the night. Part of me wants to go back, before jealousy consumes more of my rationale. The way he arranges his body behind yours to teach and miraculously moulds perfectly; the way his hands lay on top of yours; the way you smile at him. For a moment I only see red and I want to run away. But there is something about the way you hold yourself when you make that ball go through the net noiselessly that makes me rooted to the spot.

It is a little unfair, how I have not noticed how well you were filling out until now.

-----

"You're back, huh?"

The door stops creaking. I do not need to actually look to know her hand is on the knob, suspicious and rigid at my presence in the living room at such a time, since she makes sure I am asleep before she sneaks out, every night.

She finally stops pretending to be quiet (relatively; otherwise the neighbours would complain) and throws her keys on to the coffee table. She sits on the other end of the couch, looking resolutely straight ahead. It would have been convincing had it not be a blank wall.

"Were you following me?"

Of all the questions I expect her to fire at me, this is not the first one. I forget at times that we are linked somehow, even outside Resonating. "I—" There is not even enough time to come up with a decent response.

"How long?"

Again, she catches me off-guard. How does she do that, twice in a minute?

I opt for that horrible silence I want to condemn.

She sighs heavily, and mutters, "I suppose there's nothing to hide anymore, seeing as how you found out..."

"No, no, it's all right, I won't force you to say anything, that won't be cool," I interrupt hurriedly. It has nothing to do with the fact that I do not want to hear of a boyfriend, of a prospective presence I have no desire to put up with; nothing at all. "It's late, we should sleep anyway. I mean, look at the bags under your eyes—"

She fixes me with a stern stare, and my voice fades. Her gaze softens slightly. "...It's a stupid reason anyway."

I give a snort when I realize she will not elaborate unless I prompt her to. "Fine, I'll bite. Why do you have to sneak out at night to go play basketball? And with another guy, no less." I huff, trying to sound nonchalant about the last part.

"Well..." The confident front gives way to her shy personality. Her soft side is quite adorable. She mumbles to the couch, a small blush on her cheeks. Her fingers start to fiddle with the strings on the khakis she changed into after dinner.

I raise an eyebrow, not that she can see when she is looking down and in the opposite direction of me. "Haa?"

She jumps a little bit. "I've been, ah, practising basketball—"

"Yes, I know, I saw it with my own eyes."

"—Well, it's so that I can get better at it."

"Then why didn't you ask me to teach you? You know I'd gladly do it!"

For some reason, her face reddens.

"Don't tell me—" She looks hopeful that I can guess correctly. "—it's because of him that you'd sacrifice your own sleep to spend more time with him."

Her shoulders slump down a few centimetres. I suppose that is the wrong guess, then. I try to come up with more possibilities, but nothing makes coherent sense.

I blink at the paper suddenly in front of me. She is pouting and blushing and still not looking at me. I bring the words into focus.

It really is a stupid reason.

She looks up at my chuckle, chagrined that I am not taking her seriously.

"You're an idiot," I stand up and move to sit in front of her on the coffee table, ignoring the chance that I can be severely injured given my choice of language. "It's one thing to have a cool partner, and another to have a perfect partner. No one is ever perfect, and I don't expect you to be. Stop trying to be someone you aren't; you're cool enough as is." I bump my forehead to hers, making sure the message sinks in. Her eyes are glassy under the moonlight, as if in disbelief. "I don't want a technician who wastes time learning how to shoot hoops while she can be hunting down would-be Kishins. We can deal with basketball later, yeah?"

The silence that follows is, for once, warm and welcoming.

- Owari -

Authoress' Notes: Managed to get through this without using their names...which was hard, since I was sorely tempted to insert a Maka Chop!! in there somewhere.

Feedback very much appreciated, as I still have a long way to go to properly grasp their characterizations. :D