A/N: Where does Marie sleep? Does anyone.. know? O_o If it's shown in the manga or anime, then I'd think I missed that. x(

Warning: Fluff ahead.

Enjoy reading~


Mutual Understanding


When Marie asked if she could stay over at his place for a while, Stein said "okay", because it was a necessity that their souls learn to resonate properly, and it was really OKAY because up 'till that time, it was OKAY for someone to live with him.


That same afternoon, he helped her move in and it wasn't a hard job, because she only had two bags and a girly flower pot. That, and a big teddy bear.

Marie became pushy when they reached the bedroom.

Oh - Stein raised an eyebrow then. He actually had a bedroom..? Uh, nevermind.

"Wait - this bedroom is.. yours. Right?"

"Right."

"I.. I.. thought.. uh, Death Scythe said.. you have two guest rooms?"

Stein scratched his head. "That.. uh, one became my lab..."

She looked up, looking like a child with her stuffed teddy. "And the other one?"

"A museum."

"A... museum?"

"Yeah, of dissected animals."

Stein watched as Marie held her lunch back, and tried to nod. Then she asked, "One.. bed?" They both stared at each other for a moment, and then at the white hospital bed.

Yes, it was a hospital bed. She has accepted that her.. ahem, housemate, is eccentric like that, but it was kind-of a problem if they share a bed.

Stein must have sensed her discomfort, because he pat her head and nodded. "Yes. One bed. That's yours."

"How about you?" she asked, brows furrowing, lone eye confused. "Don't tell me you get the couch."

Stein couldn't think of anything to say. He couldn't say the couch - uh, he HAS a couch? really? - he couldn't say he'll get a new bed either - and he couldn't say the truth. He couldn't just say "Actually, Marie - I even wonder why I have a bed. When did I get that bed, anyway? I don't sleep. Or.. if I do, I sleep on the lab.. or infront of the computer."

He couldn't say that. So, he simply smiled reassuredly. "Why don't you go change the bedsheets?"

He knew it. It works.

Because her beautiful eyes sparkled. "Can I change them yellow?"


The next morning, Stein discovered that Marie could be scary when she's really angry. Not that he hasn't heard stories about her massive energy, and not that he didn't expect something big from a Death Scythe, but he didn't know that a one-eyed glare could ever be scarier like an eight-eyed one.

"Uh.. good morning, Marie-"

Even the ketchup on the sunny-side up was drawn in a frowning face.

"Franken. Stein. I HATE YOU!"

His jaw dropped. "..Uh-..?" Didn't he let her changed the bedsheets yellow and decorate the bed with red and pink pillows? He allowed her to put stickers in the closet and put her teacups on his kitchen. So what did he do to upset her this much?

"Why didn't you tell me you have no bed?!"

Stein stared. Second day-.. no. HARDLY second day and Marie was crying already. "Uhhh--.."

"STOP SAYING 'UH'! You don't have a bed! You didn't tell me! You gave me your bed! Do you know how I feel?! I thought you were dead when I found you sleeping on the bloody operating bed!"

"Marie-"

"You could have told me and I could have shared!!!"

"I don't sleep-"

"You DO! And you slept like a dead man, dammit!"

"I didn't intend to sleep-"

But she was sobbing already, and he felt bad, because he knew he made her feel bad. Marie sniffed, and continued to glare. "...Eat." He handed her a glass of water and she accepted it, still sobbing. And then he handed her a piece of cloth and she blew on it, then handed it back. "Thanks you. S-Sorry for.. for.. crying.. and shouting."

"It's okay." Stein said meekly, looking down at the cloth she handed back and letting go of that part of the tablecloth. (Good thing she didn't notice. At least he didn't hand her a dishrag.) "Marie, I usually don't sleep. If I do, that's just when I'm.. tired enough to collapse at work-"

"That's not work."

"For me it is. Understand me, alright?"

She nodded, still ashamed of her outburst.


That was when Stein discovered that Marie is TOO understanding.


The next days he wakes up in his laboratory, slumped down on his desk, he'll wake up with a blanket on him, with his papers stack neatly on the table, and with his glasses folded neatly beside him - not the usual when he falls asleep and wakes up with his glasses on.


Sometimes Stein visits the bedroom - not his, nor theirs, not hers - and he finds himself raising an eyebrow.

Marie was sleeping soundly, like a little girl, wrapped cozily in fluffy blankets and hugging her teddy bear tightly.

He always wondered why she never occupied the center of the bed.

There was always a free space beside her, spare pillows beside hers - as if there's some space reserved for one more occupant.

For him. Stein knew subconsciously - it was for him, if he somehow decides to scoot in and be sane enough to sleep on a regular bed for once.


Marie learned to wake up extra early - and Stein was half-pleased, half-not to her almost systematic behavior. She'll go straight to the lab to check up on her housemate. If she finds him asleep, slumped down on his desk, she'll put a blanket and drape it on his shoulders, take off his glasses and set it aside, and pile up his papers and drafts neatly on a free shelf. If she finds him awake, she'll simply sit in and watch him work - yeah, like when she observed him dissect a lizard - until it's time to make breakfast.

Sometimes he thinks she's like an automated machine.

Built to watch over him, but Marie was really just like that.


One time he stumbled upon Marie sleeping over by his desk as he was finishing off some experiment. She shouldn't have woken up early because she stayed up late last night, finishing up papers.

That day was the first in months that he touched his stove and cooked breakfast.

He may not need it, but Marie does.


When she woke up that same morning, that was the first time she saw the nearest expression to 'angry' or 'displeased' on Stein's face. Or was it exasperation? Maybe a mix of both.

"..G-Good morning, Franken."

Frowning ketchup faces in the sunny-side up seemed to be a trend in their household.

"Marie Mjolnir. How stubborn can you be?" he said, arms crossed in front of his chest. He watched her poke at her meal with her fork, and then the woman pouted.

"..What..?"

"You have a bed. You don't have to tire yourself, waking up early just to check. Do you like those eyebags?" he scolded lightly, perhaps he couldn't stand pretending to be angry at her.

"Thanks for the blanket...and.. sorry, I was just worried.." she ate meekly. Perhaps she wasn't that quick to catch the hesitation on his voice as he scolded her.

"You're welcome." - because he didn't know HOW to be angry at Marie, and and he didn't know just how to say he's worried that she's growing eyebags already.

Marie stared down at her food, blinking. "Uh, didn't you add... salt in here?"

Stein stared back. This time, scratching his head and avoiding her eyes.

It's just been so long since he cooked.

His housemate giggled. "I thought so."


"I thought you'll be staying over there only for a while..? While.. looking for a place to stay?" Yumi had asked in the faculty room once.

Marie shrugged. "I'm okay at Stein's. He's really accomodating."

Yumi raised an eyebrow at her friend.

Marie pouted. "..What?"

"Nothing." the woman looked away, still bemused - someone must be crazy to be "OKAY" with living with Franken Stein.


Stein dropped by for a clean shirt one ungodly hour of the night.

He blinked.

The teddy bear was on the floor.

What a kid Marie is - he picked it up.


"Have you seen my teddy bear, Franken?" she asked that morning.

"Hm? No."

"Did you.. perhaps... dissect it?"

"Hm? No, of course."

"Stein, what are you doing locked up in the bathroom? You usually don't take too long."

"Hm? No-.. nothing, I'm.. um.. releasing bodily wastes produced by my digestive system."

It was a good thing that she was well-educated in biology - and that she was understanding. "Oh! Uh, okay.. Hurry up alright? We're going to be late for work."

"Hm? Okay."

Inside the bath, Stein must have been completely insane working on something that was just absurd.

Oh well, Stein knew he had always been crazy.


That same night Marie slept alone of her bed, hugging a spare pillow in place of her lost teddy.

She woke up in the ungodly hours of the night to realize that someone was beside her.

A.. screw?

"Franken..?"

A small shine of the moonlight from the open window gave view to her bed-mate.

Her teddy bear was wearing glasses, a mini-lab-coat and a giant screw on his head.

With a giggle, Marie cuddled up to her new, cosplaying teddy bear and went back to sleep.

That was the first night that she slept on the center of the bed.


"I thought she'll be looking for a place?" Spirit had asked a month after Marie's move and a week after he noticed that Stein's hair was ACTUALLY brushed, and that the meister's robe clearly underwent a change of laundry detergent brand.

"We're doing fine together. And I could use edible meals." Stein said, with his usual air of nonchalance, engrossed in checking test papers.

"Eh." Spirit smirked. "Is that so...?"

Professor Franken Stein didn't fail to notice the sarcasm on his ex-weapon's voice. "Shut up, sempai."


.FIN.


A/N: Yeah, it's kinda long, I know. ^^~ I'm starting to get the hang of writing SteinMarie already! YAY!

Review?

Because I'm summoning up plot bunnies and they should come to meeee!