The Cure for the Nightmare

A/N: I seriously considered splitting this chapter in two. It's just SO LONG…But, I have been convinced otherwise. :3 If you thought the last chapter was huge, well...you're in for quite a read. ^^; So, here it is! The LAST chapter, actually! Both fluff and witch battle are sure to be included. Oh! And keep in mind that, with this chapter, I decided I'd try to be more descriptive at times. My style may differ a little. Let me know whether or not it still works. :) Oh, and I would like to note that this takes place after the kishin god is revived, but before the Arachnophobia arc. Based off of the manga, though you've probably guessed that by now. ^^ So, keep that in mind.

And another reply to my anonymous reviewer…

To "K.": Haha, I make it a point to respond to every review, anon or not. ^^ I'm glad you liked Chapter 4! I can honestly say I worked particularly hard on that one. And it's okay that you're anon. Your reviews are still very much appreciated. :)

Well, I guess it feels like I'm a slow writer, to me, because I work almost literally non-stop on each chapter till it's done and sometimes it takes me three days. XD Which makes me feel like a slow writer. And, oh, thank you! I always worry that my muse will start to get tired and start failing me after a story goes on too long. Glad it hasn't, yet.

Yes. We KidMaka fans all very much hope that Ohkubo will give us something to squeal like the insane fangirls we are about. XD

Agreed. Not too many of us out there. Heh. Although my story seems to be changing that. I now know of four people who have begun to like this pairing because of my story. :3 They know who they are. But, yes. I've never really liked the stories that have Kid acting that way. Love for symmetry should not automatically mean love for Maka. Stories that present it like that just never feel real, to me.

:) Yes, I have seen that page you're talking about! It was very lovely. And I did see (though it wasn't as obvious as it was on the cover of manga chapter 54) a KidMaka *STARE* moment. :D …Unfortunately, though, I can't seem to find that picture again! I think the person who scanned it may have moved it or gotten rid of it. :/ Such a shame. Ohkubo seems to ship a little KidMaka on the side. XD Don't worry. You're not the only one who saw it that way. I have a friend who agrees with us both.

Haha, that's all right! If you weren't anon, I'd probably be able to fangirl about this with you for days on end! XD But! This reply is getting long. It's filling up a page.

And, as you can see, I am continuing. ^^ I hope you're happy with this chappie.

All right. Ready for the start of the story. :) I hope you all enjoy the LONGEST chapter so far! Because this really is the END of this little fic. :/ Oh. And…The T-rated language will really come up at some point in this chapter. And from a place you'd least expect it. XD Keep that in mind, young readers…

-

Chapter 5: Final Confrontation, Final Contemplation

Kid sat bolt upright from his sleep, breathing rapidly and in a cold sweat as he looked at the clock to see that it was now five o'clock in the morning. That's strange. He thought, wiping the moisture from his brow. I wasn't having a nightmare or anything…

Death the Kid's eyes wandered over to fall on Maka. Thankfully, she still lay sleeping under her bed covers peacefully, a small smile on her face. Kid couldn't help but feel himself calm down slightly and admire the nice view. But then, he shook his head and wiped a hand over his face.

What is wrong with me lately? His thoughts were straying from the current issue, which was: Why had he woken up this way?

Kid remembered something like this happening a long time ago, when the shinigami was perhaps four years old. He'd awoken in the middle of the night for seemingly no reason at all. And he'd been shivering with fear at something he didn't know. He'd gone to look for his father and was terrified when the elder shinigami was nowhere to be found. But, eventually, father and son met up in the halls and Kid was informed that a kishin egg had drawn near to their home and that Shinigami-sama had destroyed it. What had probably woken Kid up were the beginnings of his shinigami soul perception alerting him to the pre-kishin. Sometimes, Honorable Father said, the soul perception could still kick in while a shinigami slept.

So, that was what Kid suspected had happened to wake him up, since this situation was practically identical to the one years ago. He immediately tuned in his soul perception. There was nothing. Nothing but human souls. And, yet…

Couldn't it be possible that Death the Kid's soul perception had picked up on the witch? It would explain why her soul might have blended in on his radar…

Kid was shocked out of his thought process as a flash of movement passed the corner of his eye and he whirled around to look out the window and see the familiar, red-haired, woman flying through the night on a broom stick.

Locking his target's soul in his perception, Death the Kid's first impulse was to wake Maka and everyone else up to go after the witch. But, then…He remembered how exhausted Maka probably was. And to wake her up again? And only to put her in even more danger since most of them would be chasing after a witch while half-asleep? What had Kid said, earlier…?

"I should never have held the mission priority over Maka." That's right. I said that, didn't I? Damnit…

So, rather resignedly, Kid took the time to try and memorize the witch soul while he was still locked on to it. That way, at least, they would be able to find her again the next day without having to rely on her releasing of Soul Protect.

After using what he thought had been decent effort mentally painting a permanent picture of the witch's disguised soul wavelength, Kid decided to lie down and go back to sleep.

"Hmm…" Morgan the witch droned as she flew through the night riding side-saddle on her broomstick. "So strange…I expected those children to come after me again once I released my soul protect." She mused suspiciously before relaxing a bit. "Maybe, my fiery pets really did manage to do away with them. That would explain why I'm not being chased, right now."

The teens that she had spotted looking at her earlier were obviously Shibusen students. How could she tell? Because they were floating on a small flying machine of some sort and they were staring at Morgan. Now, to anyone else, Morgan looked pretty much normal. The only reason any stranger would have for staring at her would be because they knew she was a witch. And the fact that they were using some sort of supernaturally powered flying machine only proved that they were not your run-of-the-mill humans.

Nevertheless, Morgan decided that it would be all right to continue taking two souls per night, like usual. After all, those kids were most likely dead. And the weapons they'd most likely left behind were probably useless without their technicians. The fox witch would be safe as long as she continued her standard routine of releasing soul protect, killing a human, taking the soul, using soul protect, and jumping into a crowd of people.

Nevertheless, there had been something very…unusual about one of those that were obviously hunting her earlier that day. She couldn't see him clearly from a distance. But, he gave her a strange chill and she could almost swear that there were peculiar white markings in his otherwise raven hair…or maybe that was just the sun reflecting off of it?

Morgan decided she'd have to think about this. But, for now, she took mental inventory…498 souls left. Two souls per night on average meant…249 more nights left of having to do this. Less than a year left! Less than a year left until the witch would be able to see her beloved return to the living world. It had taken six or seven years, but she was finally close to getting all the ingredients she needed.

Ingredients for a spell that would reverse death itself.

-----

By the time eight o'clock rolled around, Soul was still wide awake. He literally had not slept. At all. Not even lightly. So, when the alarm clock went off, he literally plucked the thing off of the room's nightstand and threw it straight through the glass window. Something else for Kid to pay for. A car alarm was heard from down below along with someone cursing loudly and profanely enough to make Soul himself proud.

Or, at least, he would have been proud, had he not felt like taping both Patty and Liz's mouths shut so that he could finally get some sleep. Maybe if he was lucky, Kid would let him sleep in, the way Maka had the previous morning.

Obviously, not. After half an hour, there was soon a loud knocking on the door.

"Liz, Patty, Soul, wake up! It's already 8:30! Chop-chop! I saw our target last night and I've memorized her soul wavelength! We'll get her today, I promise you! Haha!" Even from the other side of the door, Kid sounded utterly fired up. Like he was ready to take on the Kishin god single-handedly. Heck, Soul half-expected Kid to follow Black Star's example and cry out, "YOHOO!" for good measure.

Around Soul, the Thompsons started to stir sleepily. Liz began to mutter in a drowsy drawl.

"Huh? What? Silly Kid. The alarm clock hasn't gone…" Liz trailed off as she blinked at where the alarm clock should have been. "Where the hell is the alarm clock?"

"Probably through the windshield of that nice Ferrari I saw in the parking lot." Soul deadpanned.

"Come on, guys! We've gotta go!" Maka sounded just as excited as Kid. "It's a miracle Kid's soul perception alerted him while he slept last night! It'll be even more of a miracle if he doesn't forget what the witch's soul looks like by the time you guys are ready to go!"

"All right, all right, already!" Soul groaned as he sat up and threw a pillow at Patty, who had still seemed like she was trying to sleep. The scythe joked dryly, "Wake up, you two. The drill sergeants are going to make us do push-ups if we take any longer."

On cue, a chorus of,

"We heard that!" rang out from the other side of the door.

"Haha, I hoped you two would." Soul grinned. It wasn't long before he and the Thompsons were ready to go. As they left their room, Maka glared at Soul.

"I'm going to give you a Maka-chop later." She threatened.

"Ha! Yeah, right. You don't have a-"

"And I'm going to buy Maka a dictionary today." Kid smirked evilly.

"…Shit." Soul had messed with a very crazy person and her wealthy shinigami friend. You couldn't be much more bone-headed than that.

-----

Unless you were Black Star.

"Shinigami-sama, why won't you let the big me go help them hunt the witch?!" Black Star was confronting the headmaster of Shibusen. Spirit had apparently begun to whine at Professor Stein that his "poor, lovable, daughter Maka had been gone for days, staying at hotels, doing God knows what with two guys in her entourage". So, being the assassin Black Star was, he had listened in a little more and had found out all about this big "elusive witch" mission that was going on in New York City. And now Black Star wanted in on it.

What was a Shinigami-sama to do?

"Because you're too loud and noticeable." He bluntly answered the ninja's question. "Sorry~!"

"Ah! So, the big me is too much for this little mission, right?"

"Ah…I never saaaid…"

"All right. Fine! I'll just go find some three-star mission, like…killing an army of kishin eggs. Yeah! That'll help make Tsubaki a death scythe! Yohoo!" Black Star turned and started to walk off. "Bye, Shinigami-sama!"

"Well, you actually aren't allowed to take those missions without permission, but…Umm…Bye!" Shinigami-sama tilted his head to the side and waved an overly large hand as the teal-haired idiot left the Death room.

Well, that had gone better than the shinigami had thought it would…

-----

After buying replacements for their ruined books (as well as another special book used for Maka-chops…), Kid, Maka, and their weapons decided that it would be best to eat some breakfast before going after their target. You couldn't kill a witch on an empty stomach, as everyone knew. Kid was pretty sure he could keep her soul memorized anyway, so even he said it would be no problem.

So, there they were sitting at the diner for their third day of witch hunting, Patty and Soul eating waffles with syrup. Liz was forking ham into her mouth noisily while Maka ate hash-browns and Kid enjoyed his perfectly symmetrical pancake. And other customers were starting to wonder if those five peculiar kids would finally just leave. People had been starting to complain. The white-haired guy was usually rude to the waiters and waitresses. The handsome kid dressed in a suit would order for his food to be made "symmetrically" and would often complain if his food wasn't symmetrical enough. His record for sending it back was four plates in one meal. Even worse, peoples' teenage daughters would often try to flirt with him. They'd all go whining to their parents after being politely (yet painfully) rebuffed. The two similarly dressed girls were a bad influence on children, supposedly, because their navels showed. Plus, the shorter girl had a loud voice. The green-eyed girl hadn't been a problem, customers would say, except that she'd start shouting at the white-haired guy whenever he was a problem. This caused many small children to cry.

The same result occurred when Maka would somewhat absent-mindedly glare at the girls who tried to flirt with Kid.

Interestingly enough, the five of them didn't really seem to notice the disruption they caused half of the time. It was as if most of it was just a daily routine for them that they'd gotten used to.

In any case, though, the customer complaints were all pretty much ignored. The handsome rich kid left 88$ in cash for every meal, no matter how much money the overall cheap food was priced at. And they ate two meals at the diner per day. Great tips and customers like that were hard to come by.

"So, let me get this straight: Your soul perception activated in your sleep?" Soul sounded disbelieving.

"Yes." Kid shrugged, beginning to organize the syrups, ketchup packets, salts, and sugars on their tray so that they'd be symmetrical. "It doesn't happen often. But, it is indeed normal for a shinigami. I suppose we're just lucky it happened on this mission."

Maka nodded.

"Really lucky! Finding the witch will be easy, now." She sounded excited.

Kid frowned.

"Although I'm not too certain how easy it will be to fight the witch…" He sighed. "She seemed very powerful, yesterday."

"Yeah." Maka admitted. "But, I'm sure we'll be able to take her! We're such a great team, after all…"

"Right…" Kid nodded, smiling at Maka. But, then he snapped his fingers in realization. "Oh! That's right." He turned to Soul and the Thompsons. "Maka and I want to share a room again, tonight."

For the third time that week, time slowed and reality forgot what it was supposed to be.

"Why?" Soul asked rather anti-climactically.

"Well…" Maka spoke, rubbing the back of her head. She decided to be honest. "I…I liked sharing a room with him yesterday. And I'd like to do so again. Plus, I want to get to know him a little more. That's all…"

Soul stared at her for a moment, unconsciously bending the fork he'd been using to eat waffles with. Something else for Kid to pay for. But, he sighed through gritted teeth,

"Fine."

"Soul…" Maka began, concerned.

"I said, 'fine'." Soul murmured quietly.

"Umm…" Liz stood up. "Emergency meeting!"

"Okaaaaay~!" Patty also rose, so they both jerked Maka up by the shoulders and dragged her off to the table at which they'd all been speaking privately the previous day. All the way on the other side of the room.

After Maka was allowed (forced) to sit down, she blinked at the Thompsons.

"What's going on? What's the emergency?" She asked.

"There isn't one!" Patty laughed.

"Ugh. Well, I guess it isn't an emergency, but…It could kind've be important." Liz sighed. "All right. Maka, is there something going on between you and Kid?"

"Uhh…Wh-What?!" Maka blinked. "You mean…" Then, she shook her head and blushed. "No. There's nothing like that going on."

Liz almost smirked, thinking that it was a little funny that someone so unaccustomed to "girl talk" had been able to understand what the question had meant.

"All right. Then, why is it you seem so much more eager to spend time with Kid even after Soul apologized?" Liz was non-confrontational, but her voice had a hint of urgency and suspicion in it. She thought that there was something going on. And, if there was, then she wanted to know what it was as soon as possible. Liz always had been curious about this sort of thing.

"Because I live with Soul. I already know him really well. I hardly ever get to talk to Kid one-on-one." Maka shrugged.

"Ohhh…But, so…" Liz decided to try something. "Does that mean you're going to try to talk to every person, one-on-one, at some point? Like…Black Star? Or Ox?"

Maka gave her an intent look. That was a rough question.

"Well…I've known Black Star since we were little. So, no. I know him pretty well, too." And she wouldn't want to talk to him for longer than five minutes and wouldn't be physically capable to talk to him for more than ten. "And Ox…well, I know him enough." She smiled weakly. "Yeah. We're intelligent allies. Grudging respect. That's all there is between us. But, Kid…" Maka paused and got a misty, far-off look in her eyes. "He's sort've a mystery, compared to all of them. I mean, there's a lot about him I don't know. So, that's why I'd like to talk to him alone so that I can get to know him more. That's all."

Liz stared infra-red beams at Maka as she spoke, like she was waiting for the green-eyed girl to slip up and give something away. But, at the end of it, the elder sister sighed.

"All right, Maka. If you say so…" It wasn't that she was unhappy with the answers. It was more like she thought Maka was still hiding something. But, there was nothing she could do about it.

"Agh, I'm bored! Let's go baaaack!" Patty groaned, bouncing up and down in her seat. Realizing she didn't have anything else to try and ask, Liz agreed.

-

Meanwhile, Kid and Soul had been having their own conversation.

"So…" Soul began. "You and Maka seem like you're getting…close."

"…Closer than we have been, I suppose." Kid nodded calmly. "We've been getting to know each other. And we'd like to get to know each other a little more. That's all."

Soul tilted his head at Kid.

"That's…all? Is that why you've been staring at each other? Really?"

Kid was now backed into a corner. If he answered, "yes", then that would be admitting he'd been staring at Maka. And Kid doubted Soul would believe that that was the reason, anyway. If he answered, "no", he would still be admitting that he'd been staring at Maka! And then he'd get more interrogation, to make things worse. And then, if Kid just told Soul that he hadn't been staring at Maka, the scythe would interpret it as dodging the question. Which would make all kinds of theories pop into that paranoid, over-protective, brain of Soul's.

So, Kid did what he was apparently starting to pick up from his father's skills. He changed the subject.

"By the way, I know about what happened to the lamp in your hotel room."

Soul looked shocked for a moment.

"You…You heard it last night?"

"No, Liz whispered it in my ear on the way to this diner." Kid hissed. "Oh! And, thanks to the doors being practically hollow, I also heard about Liz wondering where the alarm clock was. And I heard you saying something about it being through the windshield of someone's Ferrari. Which would mean it would have to pass through a hotel window first. Now, then, how many hotel-provided videogames have you been playing? Hm, about fifteen hour's worth? I'd say that's a conservative estimate. Oh! And that fork you bent earlier. Let's not forget about that. Now, I wonder who's going to have to pay for all of-?"

"All right, all right, already!" Soul sighed. "I'll pay you back."

"Soul, we both know this routine by now. The day you pay me back is the day Maka kisses me full on the mouth." They both laughed at that one, though Kid unconsciously ended up sounding a tiny bit bitter about it if you listened carefully enough. Then, Kid got serious again. "You're lucky I'm so rich and generous, you know. Otherwise, I'd be collecting your soul as payment for your debts right about now..." He was half-joking, half-not. "I'm not expecting you to pay me back."

"Thank you, Kid." The scythe sighed with exasperation. He realized that his cross-examination would have to be set aside for when a huge debt didn't have the possibility of racking up numbers on Soul's tab for all eternity. Because that was what would happen, if Kid got pissed enough.

"You're welcome." Kid replied politely.

It wasn't long before Maka and the Thompsons came back over.

"Hey. So, what've you guys been talking about?" Liz asked casually.

"None of your-" Soul began, but was cut off.

"Soul's debts." Kid answered.

"Oh." Liz laughed. "Got it…"

"The lamp! Why the hell did you rat us out, Liz?" Soul asked.

"Oh, he would have found out anyway…" Liz shrugged.

"She's right. I would have." Kid grinned. "By the way, Maka, weren't you planning to…?"

"Oh! That's right. I almost forgot." Maka reached into one of the shopping bags situated near the table. What she took out was a brand new, four inch-thick dictionary that Kid had bought for her. "MAKA-CHOP!!!" The book spine landed down upon Soul's skull with a deafening "THWACK".

"OUCH! Shit! What was that for?" Soul growled after he'd recovered slightly, skull bleeding.

"For keeping me up with your videogames all night, three nights ago." Maka answered.

"But, I apolog-"

"Yeah, but you're still overdue the Maka-chop I would have given you before you apologized. MAKA-CHOP!" Maka whacked him again. "And that was for being the reason I lost my soul perception focus two days ago. Which counts as a second offense."

"YeeOW!" Soul held his still-bleeding head. "That hurt…"

"MAKA-CHOP!" Down the book came once again on Soul's battered skull. "That was for this morning, when you called Kid and I 'drill sergeants'."

Soul was now on the floor, unconscious. He would be fine, though. Maka and her other friends knew that. Kid actually had to stifle a chuckle or two at the scene. He thought that Maka was really an impressive sight to behold when she was angry. Probably because she'd never gotten angry at the young shinigami himself, though.

After a few minutes, the scythe woke up and the five of them finished off breakfast as if nothing had happened. Other customers at the diner were shocked and horrified by the scene, many of them taking their children and leaving because of the "bad influence" most of these kids had.

Apparently, the Shibusen students didn't notice, though, as they left to drop off the books at their hotel room. Maka asked Kid if he still had the target in his memory and he was glad to say he did. After further consideration, however, he decided that they would confront the witch at night. There would be a lower chance of having to deal with bystanders when the inevitable battle finally came.

This would be the last night for witch-hunting.

-

"So, that's her, huh?"

Those were Soul's quiet words as the three weapons and two technicians tried to blend in with the crowd in the late evening moonlight. A short distance of ten meters ahead of them was a woman with red, curly, hair reaching down to her mid-back. She was wearing casual attire, including a jean jacket, as she walked the sidewalk in the same inconspicuous manner as Kid and Maka had witnessed the first time they'd met her. Kid nodded at Soul.

"Yes. We'll follow her until she separates herself from the main crowd. That's probably when she will be collecting another soul." He answered, his voice low. The reason he knew this was because no one ever talked about seeing someone burned to ashes. Which meant that the witch probably walked among people so that she became a common sight, welcomed among her community, but then she would hunt in secret and no one would ever suspect her of anything. To everyone, she probably just seemed like that quiet young lady who kept to herself and wouldn't hurt a fly. So, she was usually left alone.

After perhaps a half an hour of patient (as in Kid and Liz's case) and impatient (as in Maka, Patty, and Soul's case) walking, the Shibusen students finally watched the witch calmly diverge from the main street and duck into an alley.

"Let's go." Maka murmured.

"Wait." Kid held an arm out to stop her. "This seems too easy. It might be a trap."

"Well, if it's a trap, then we can probably still handle it." Liz shrugged.

"Maybe, Kid's right. We should use a sneak attack." Soul suggested.

Kid nodded, being sure to keep the witch in his perception.

"I think I remember how this part of the city's laid out. Follow me. There's a road we can use to cut the witch off." And, with that, he quickened his pace and the others followed suit. Not caring about the stares he got, he ran down the street, stepped around a corner, and took a side road. They ran for what felt like ten minutes, ducking into alleyways, taking all kinds of abandoned roads, until they finally turned one last corner and met face-to-face with the witch herself. Right as she was turning the key in the lock of what was probably her house's front door. In fact, Kid had timed it so perfectly, the woman gasped and took a step back in surprise. This was understandable – She was now an arm's length away from the kids. And they were now all alone in a low-populated part of the city where she'd decided to live for the past seven years.

"Liz! Patty!" Kid held his arms out at his sides.

"Right!"

"Okaaay~!"

The Thompsons transformed into guns and Kid caught them both at once, aiming them at the witch. At the same time, Maka spoke.

"Soul."

"Let's do this." Soul transformed into a scythe and was caught by Maka, who swung him around her arm once before turning to face the enemy.

"Witch." Kid spoke directly to the woman. "As punishment for the murder of roughly 4,500 humans and the stealing of their souls, we are here to take your soul!"

"So, you two survived, huh? That doesn't surprise me. Oh, and just so you know, my name is Morgan." She laughed, regaining her composure. "Release Soul Protect." The woman whispered as a small, fiery, fox crawled out of her sleeve and sat on the palm of her hand. "Although what does shock me is that you'd be stupid enough to attack me even after barely getting away!" And, with that, Morgan sent the flame fox straight at Maka. The scythe-meister began to spin her weapon in a counter-clockwise fashion directly at the fire until it eventually was blown out like a candle light.

"Don't underestimate us, Morgan!" Maka warned, knowing the attack had been a weak one compared to what she and Kid had had to deal with the previous day.

Immediately, Kid opened fire at Morgan. The fox witch dodged the soul bullets by leaping up above the shinigami and landing on a roof top. By the time Kid had summoned his skateboard, Morgan had already called her own witch's broom. So, after Kid and Maka hopped on Beelzebub, a fast-paced chase began with the meisters in pursuit.

The moonlight cast eerie shadows across the faces of Death the Kid, Maka, and the witch as they flew above the city. Kid wondered how long the witch would let things go like this. He and Maka were prepared to chase Morgan to the ends of the earth and back. But, this witch seemed to have a set purpose in mind and she wouldn't want to waste time with Shibusen students. Why else would she so systematically collect all these souls and be so secretive about it? And it couldn't be that she just thought the extra human souls might come in handy. According to records, this witch hadn't been murdering any humans until just seven years ago. So, what had triggered this killing spree?

Kid had the feeling he was going to find out. It wasn't long before Morgan pulled her broom in for a landing at a large park. With it being night time, there were no children around. A pretty fountain made of marble shined in the distance. It apparently operated at night as well, with water catching the moonlight as it flowed and shimmered. A play set occupied half of the space, with a green field filling the other half.

Kid and Maka touched down just four meters behind the witch.

"Finally decided to stop running, Morgan?" Kid spoke evenly.

The fox witch turned to face him with a smirk.

"I finally remembered what those lines in your hair are…You're a young shinigami, aren't you? The son of Shinigami-sama himself?" She chuckled.

Kid nodded, trying to ignore her mentioning his sanzu lines. He held his pistols ready.

Morgan seemed to be thinking for a moment.

"Oh! That's right. A shinigami's soul is worth 5,000 human human souls, isn't it? Listen, Child, you fancy yourself as the future guardian of the world, right? Well, if you'd like to protect innocent souls, you could always hand yourself over to me! Your soul would be more than enough to complete my spell! So, how about it? You could save a great deal of lives…"

After doing this, she murmured, "Zifox familiar…" A small, fiery, fox crawled from her jacket sleeve and ran off to the side to watch the scene. It looked as if it was waiting for something…

"That won't be necessary." Kid answered as he moved so fast, he seemed to disappear from his original position before reappearing behind Morgan. "We'll kill you here and now to save just as many lives!" He landed a strong kick at the back of her head. She fell forward, but caught herself and did a hand-spring to land back on her feet just in time to dodge a slash from Maka's scythe. Kid immediately fired at Morgan and she yelped in pain before stepping back to make some distance between herself and these two kids. All the while, the flame fox familiar she'd called earlier simply sat and watched the show.

"Fox storm!" The witch then sent a hail of small fire foxes straight at the shinigami. Maka ran in front of him, though, and twirled her scythe in a fan-like motion so that the magical fire diminished before it could hurt either one of them.

"Maka. She's a long-range fighter. Try to charge at her directly, while I cover you." Kid instructed, beginning to gun down the witch with a deadly accurate stream of shots.

Maka nodded.

"Right." And, with that, she charged forward and sliced at the witch. Morgan managed to shift her body, even while being fired at, so that the scythe simply hacked her arm off. She called her broom to her and hopped on before flying out of Kid's line of fire. The witch now sat recovering on her broom, high above the teens below. Blood seeped from where her arm had been, but witches were strong stuff and she knew about a potion that would heal this later. Kid summoned his skateboard to him, but he didn't get the chance to use it as Morgan brought her broom in closer to them and began to send another cascade of flaming foxes down at them. This time, there was even more fire.

Nevertheless, Maka spun her scythe above her and Kid's heads so that the fire was reduced. However, it was not completely wiped out and Maka soon let out a hiss as her shoulder suffered a nasty burn.

"Maka!" Kid and Soul both exclaimed with alarm. The shinigami was at her side, examining the burn.

"It's all right, Kid. We can fix it later." Maka assured him, smiling slightly as she straightened up. "Right now, we have a witch to deal with."

Reluctantly, Kid nodded. Trying to dress a burn in the middle of a battle would be nothing but suicide. And something about that seemingly docile fox of fire, still sitting off to the side, was beginning to seriously unnerve him…

"Poor children. You're fighting so hard, but you'll both only end up being added to my collection." Morgan sighed from eight meters above. She smirked. "Although, if the young shinigami were to give me his soul, I could spare the girl he obviously cares so much about. How does that sound?"

Kid then turned to look at the witch, choosing not to answer that question. It was almost a tempting offer with how this was going.

"You just started collecting souls seven years ago. You must have a purpose. Otherwise, you wouldn't have so suddenly decided you needed more than 4,500 human souls. What are you planning to do? This reminds me of a spell I've heard of, that could bring the dead back to life…" He wanted to know if there was something serious going on. So many souls would have the potential to bring anything back to life. Human, witch, monster, demon…Kid wanted to know if this was bigger than Morgan. If she was part of an organization or conspiracy of some sort…

The witch's smirk became a frown as she began to speak in a solemn tone.

"You're a very intelligent young shinigami, you know that? So, yes, I do plan to bring someone back to life. You see, a long time ago, I fell in love with a human. His name was Nicholai. And he loved me as well. We lived peacefully together for forty years. I never harmed a single creature. But, the poor dear grew old and caught an illness. My magic isn't of the healing type and I couldn't find the proper potion ingredients fast enough. I couldn't save him, so he died. That was about seven years ago. Ever since then, I've been working on the spell that would bring him back to life. But, it requires 5,000 human souls as sacrifice. So, that's why I've been collecting them all this time." She heaved a long sigh before turning to look at the meisters. "Don't you see? I don't like doing this, but I loved Nicholai! Isn't it only natural that I'd want him back?"

"So sad…" Maka whispered, beginning to sympathize with the witch a bit. Morgan had probably been left inconsolable. She clearly would have done anything to bring her lover back. Morgan wasn't evil. Just brokenhearted.

"Any spell that requires the taking of so many human souls before their time is not worth the unnatural return of a soul that has met its inevitable fate." Kid stated coldly, staring up at the witch. "Death rules you all. And you have no right to reverse it by ending the lives of others."

Ouch… That made Maka wince slightly, even if what Kid said was true.

There was a harsh silence as Morgan narrowed her eyes at the young shinigami.
"Oh, really?" Her tone was icy. "Well then, it seems that death has chosen your friend for its next victim!" And, with that chilling note, she swiftly gathered all her magical ability and threw a barrage of fiery foxes directly at Maka in one concentrated attack.

It all just happened so quickly.

A split second before the onslaught of magical fire, the flame fox that had been watching and waiting harmlessly off to the side for so long, finally sprinted forward and bit on to Soul before ripping him away from Maka's hands.

Soul let out a strangled shout from his scythe form,

"Maka!" His cry rang out simultaneously with that of another's, however. Death the Kid had realized what would happen as he saw Maka's scythe ripped away from her. In some freak burst of shinigami adrenaline, Kid flung himself between his friend and the witch's attack.

"Kid!" Maka gasped out just as the searing flames engulfed her friend. The female technician was safe in his shadow. After the flames diminished and the smoke cleared, a heavily burnt Death the Kid fell to the ground face-first. His pistols slipped through his fingers and clattered to the ground. "KID!!!" This time, Maka screeched.

"God-damnit, Kid!" Soul shouted in concern from his scythe form, still between the teeth of a fire fox.

As the Thompsons began to transform into their human shapes, Maka stumbled over to Kid and flipped him on his back to get a good look at him. His face, hands, everything, was pure scarlet. His eyes were rolled back into his skull and his clothes were riddled with scorch marks, some areas of material charred and looking brittle enough to flake off at any given moment.

While Liz and Patty had their own reactions, Maka felt numb as she checked the young death god's pulse. She heaved a heavy sigh of relief. It was weak, but, when it came to Kid, she knew that weak meant alive. He was just unconscious. And, as long as he was alive, she was sure that he'd heal. Maka couldn't count the stories she'd heard from Liz about this sort of thing happening, after all…Stories about Kid taking absolutely monstrous beatings that would easily kill a human in the same circumstances.

"Oh, poor, little, shinigami…" Morgan chuckled as she applauded mockingly. "He learned his lesson, though. But then again, I guess it's really your fault, isn't it, little girl? I was planning on killing the child quickly and painlessly after capturing him and taking him home. But, since you were here, he just had to put himself in so much…"

"SHUT-UP!" Maka screamed, clasping her hands to her ears and shaking her head vigorously. She didn't want to hear this, right now. No. Right now, her only coherent thought was to send this bitch straight to Hell.

But, how would she do that? Without her scythe…

"Patty!!!" Liz whined desperately. "We have to get Kid to cool down!"

"There's a fountain over there!" Patty pointed. She did have her moments.

"Then, quick!" And, with that, they both lifted Kid into their arms and dragged him off to the fountain where they began to splash handfuls of water all over his face. Sometimes, they'd even dunk his head in quickly before pulling him out to resume dousing him with the cool water.

So, that meant they'd be no help at the moment. Here Maka was, facing the witch with her weapon in the jaws of a fiery fox monster. What would she do? Maka did the only think she could do: She began to chase the fox that was holding her scythe captive. She chased it all around the park area.

Morgan couldn't help but laugh at the whole scene. Despite not really enjoying the prospect of killing people, she felt it had to be done. And these two kids had gotten in her way. So, she would show absolutely no mercy and would, in fact, play with her little enemies after what that shinigami had said to her. Shinigami-sama always was cold and calculating, in her mind. This child was hardly different, even though he had made the effort to protect (what Morgan viewed as) his sweet-heart.

So, the witch toyed with Maka. From her spot five meters above the ground, she guided the little fox round and around the area while Maka chased it hopelessly.

Liz watched this and sighed.

"Patty, go over and help her, will you? I'll stay here with Kid."

"Okaaaay~!" Patty jumped up and ran off to help Maka chase the fox while Liz continued to splash water on Kid's face.

"Heeere, foxy-foxy! Heee-re…" Patty called out with a giggle as she helped Maka try and retrieve Soul.

"Agh! That's it." Soul spoke. "I think I'm gonna have to transform at this rate…This is getting nowhere!"

"No!" Maka called out. "Soul, if you do that, you'll get burned."

"How long do you think the witch is going to keep messing with you like this?" Soul asked to make a point.

But, before Maka could answer, Patty made a vicious dive for the scythe and managed to rip it away from the fox's jaws.

"WHOO! I won!" She laughed, waving Soul up in the air. It had probably felt like a game of 'Keep-Away' to her.

"Quick! Throw me to Maka!" Soul's voice sounded desperate.

"Okaaaay…" And so Patty threw the scythe over to Maka, who caught it easily.

"Thanks, Patty!"

"You're w-" Patty ducked as a fire fox headed her way. "WOW! That was close!" She ran over to Maka and mock-saluted. "Gonna go back to Big Sis and Kiddo, now!" And, with that, she skipped off.

Maka hardly heard a word of what Patty had just said. Right now, there was a witch to kill. And now it was actually personal.

"Let's do this, Maka." Soul sounded ready.

"Right." Without another note of hesitation, Maka dashed off to her left over to the park's swing set. She knew that the witch was too high up right now for her to fight normally. And Kid was in no shape to summon Beelzebub. So, Maka would have to get some lift. Hooking Soul's blade over the top bar of the swing set, she swung herself up and over the bar before catching it and lifting herself to stand on top of the swing set. She was now that much closer to the witch's elevation.

Seeing this, Morgan began to try and drift away from the scythe meister. Kid had called it right. Close-range combat was not the witch's favorite practice, especially not when one of her arms was missing. So, she had to try and put some distance between herself and the female technician. But, it was too late. Before Morgan could get far, Maka leapt high into the air and hooked Soul over the broom handle to catch herself before she fell. Before the witch could react, Maka swung herself up and on to the broom stick in the same method as when she'd gotten on top of the swing set.

"Damn!" Morgan hollered as she turned to the new passenger. "Fox, zifox, vulpenes!" And she sent another fox of flame at Maka, who dodged it and slashed at the witch. Morgan ducked the attack and sweep-kicked Maka so that the female technician soon found herself clinging on to the broom by one hand. Apparently getting what she thought was a brilliant idea, Morgan began to rise higher from the ground on her broom stick. What was frightening was that she was taking Maka with her.

"Now, then, you poor little girl…I wonder how gravity affects you?" Morgan snickered as she strolled across her broom handle to step roughly on Maka's hand. The girl winced, biting back the pain as she hung on for dear life. She tried, once again, to swing Soul up an on to the broomstick. But, Morgan wouldn't allow it. She kicked the scythe away with her free leg before it could make contact.

"Damnit!" Soul cursed, at a loss for what to do. They were now at least sixty feet off of the ground. If Maka fell this far…

No. No, that couldn't happen. No way. But, what could they do?

As it happened, someone was watching out for them.

-

While Maka and Soul had been dealing with those problems, Liz and Patty had been dealing with their own.

"I hope Kid wakes up, soon…" Liz whimpered in concern as she continuously splashed water all over the young shinigami's face.

Patty, apparently leaving Kid's situation in Liz's hands, was watching Maka's actions.

"Wow! She's trying to climb on that swing set!" She laughed.

"What is so funny?!" Liz asked rhetorically before she heard a low moan from her technician. "Kid! Are you okay?"

Kid shook himself to his senses for a minute before he looked up at Liz weakly.

"I'm alive, yes. 'Okay'…? It depends: Liz, is my suit scorched symmetrically?" He was red as a cooked lobster and the first thing he thought about was his clothes.

Un-be-lievable.

"Uhhh…" Liz turned around to see that Maka was now hanging on the witch's broomstick by one hand. She turned back to Kid. "Y-Yeah! Yeah, you are scorched symmetrically! Funny thing that, hahaha." She laughed nervously. "Now, call Beelzebub. Maka needs your help! Right now!"

In ordinary circumstances, Kid would have been able to call Liz's lie on the spot. But, these were not "ordinary circumstances".

"M-…Maka?!" Kid began to stand on unsteady legs. "Maka…Is she all right?" He sounded frantic.

Liz chewed her lip nervously as she glanced over her shoulder at Maka, who now had her hand being stepped on by the witch.

"She…She might not be, in a minute! Kid, we've gotta go!" Yes, she knew that Kid was in bad condition. But, he was a shinigami! Even if he couldn't fight so well, he could at least ride his skateboard and shoot…right? Whether he could or not, though, Liz knew that this was probably Maka's only hope.

Kid nodded sluggishly as he called his skateboard to him and stepped on.

"Liz. Patty."

"Ready to go!

Patty had finally tuned in.

"Okay~!" She transformed along with her sister.

Kid caught his pistols both at once, his hands stinging horribly at the feeling of metal to his now delicate flesh. But, he was beginning to regain his senses as he soared off on Beelzebub. Kid watched in horror as Maka desperately held on to the broom stick, her hand being stepped upon. When she tried to swing her scythe up and on to the broomstick, but had it kicked away…

Well, Kid just about lost it. As he flew in close, he began a fierce, rapid, fire at the witch. Each press of each trigger felt like a branding of hot iron to his pinky fingers, but he didn't care. That didn't matter, right now. Only Maka did. Maka, who had expressed such a fervent intention to get to know him…Her life mattered more than any ounce of pain Kid was feeling.

Startled by the sudden onslaught of soul bullets, Morgan stepped away from Maka's hand and over to the other side of the broom to escape Kid's gunfire.

"Ha! Amazing!" The witch laughed as she dodged more bullets. "I knew you'd live, but I didn't think you'd get back up! You're really something." But, then, she supposed that she'd be the same way if her beloved Nicholai were in Maka's position...

Except Maka wasn't in that position anymore. While Kid had begun his attack, Maka had taken the chance to swing her scythe up and over the broomstick. She was now lifting herself back up to a standing position. Morgan was helpless against her, however. She had put herself into a situation where one kid was shooting at her and the other was probably about to slice her into splinters.

"Maka!" Kid called out, continuing to unleash Hell upon the fire witch while she dodged some soul bullets and was grazed by others.

"Right! Let's go, Soul!" Maka could worry about Kid later. Right now, she was just grateful for Kid's very existence. Extremely grateful. As in, "I think I owe you my life three times over" grateful. But, to repay him, Maka felt that the death of this witch would do nicely for now.

"SOUL RESONANCE!" She and Soul cried out. Instantly, the scythe amplified in size and shined a bright blue. Maka began to swing Soul with all her strength at the enemy. "Witch Hunter!"

But, Morgan would not allow herself to be cut down so easily. That "Witch Hunter" attack was certain doom, no doubt. She couldn't even dodge an attack like that, with the shinigami's bullets impairing her movements. Now, falling...Well, that was perilous as well. But, at least Morgan had a better chance of surviving than she would after getting sliced by that weapon. So, the witch did the only thing that she could do: She jumped backwards away from the "Witch Hunter" attack, away from her broom, away from Kid and his bullets.

But, the shinigami and his demon pistols were on the move. All three of them yelled out their own,

"SOUL RESONANCE!" With his unnatural speed, Death the Kid hopped quickly over to the witch's broom. His foot touched down on the broomstick for barely a moment as his guns became cannons.

"5…4…" Said the sisters. He leaped over to where Morgan was falling. He landed down upon her, straddling her shoulders before jamming Liz and Patty directly into the witch's eye sockets.

"3…2…1."

"Ready to go!" Patty finished.

"…Death Cannon."

It was over.

Kid back-flipped over to his skateboard, expecting a "neat and tidy" finish. After all, the witch was now dead and her body was dropping lifelessly to the park below, its soul left floating in the air.

What Kid got was the closest thing to a shinigami heart-attack as the broom (devoid of its owner's magical control), that Maka had still been standing on, began to plummet to the ground. Without even wasting the time it would take to scream out the foulest curse word he'd ever heard Soul say, Kid nearly broke the sound-barrier plunging into a skateboard nose-dive after his dear friend.

Kid managed to catch one of Maka's gloved hands and pull her up and into his arms. He steadied his skateboard and set his friend down on the other end.

"Kid…" Maka sighed and shook her head. Again, she was having her ass saved by the shinigami. She hoped he wouldn't have to do this for her too often.

"Let's go get that witch soul." Kid said with a smile as he rose up back towards the floating witch soul. Maka grasped it in her hand with a sigh of relief.

"I guess we did it, huh, Kid?" She looked at him.

Kid nodded.

"It was difficult and I now feel like I have one horrible sunburn, but…Mission mostly accomplished."

"Hm?" Maka blinked. "'Mostly'?"

"All those human souls the witch took…She's probably storing them somewhere." Kid frowned thoughtfully. "I need to collect them, unless we want a New York City overrun by ghosts. And I'm guessing that Morgan was probably keeping them wherever she lived…"

"So, that would be the house we saw her trying to open the door of. Right?" Maka recalled.

Kid nodded.

"Exactly right."

"But, wait…So, that means we have to break into her house?" Maka was alarmed. "Wh…What if we get caught? What if she has an alarm? What if someone else lives with her?"

Kid nodded once again.

"It's just what we have to do, no matter what. Those souls need to be brought to a proper resting place. It's my duty as a shinigami. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if this was another reason Honorable Father sent me with you on this mission."

Maka nodded slowly.

"I guess you're right."

"But, before we do that…" Kid pointed at the burn that was still on Maka's shoulder. "We'll have to get that treated." Not only did it ruin Maka's symmetry, it also looked very painful for a mortal to have to deal with. And Kid was worried that it would get infected, somehow.

Maka agreed with Kid, trying not to think about her shoulder.

"We should find the souls tomorrow, though. I could use some sleep." She sighed. Kid gave his silent consent.

They soon landed Beelzebub down into the park below.

"You deserve this one, Kid. You really do." Maka said with a genuine smile as she handed him the witch soul. He seemed to be all right, even if he had scared Maka half to death with that stunt of his. He just seemed to have a really bad sunburn. She would find a way to truly thank him later.

"Thank you, Maka." Kid took the soul with a nod after the Thompsons transformed back into their human forms. "You have only forty-nine kishin eggs right now, right, Patty?"

Patty nodded as she transformed into a gun and was caught by Liz. Kid tossed the witch soul over and it was consumed by Patty's ammo magazine before she became her human self again.

"We're half-way there!" Liz said, high-fiving her sister.

"Indeed." Kid smiled. "Ninety-nine kishin eggs and one witch soul left before you two become death scythes. It will truly be a momentous occasion."

Soul transformed into his human form and grinned.

"Ha. If you only had one weapon, you'd have a death scythe right now, Kid."

Kid nodded.

"True. But, I like using these two. I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Aww…Neither would we, Kid!" Liz and Patty tackled him in a hug before they turned to start talking to Soul and give each other compliments on their performance as weapons.

But, then disaster struck. Fire is not good for clothes. And Kid's already brittle jacket had crunched under the pressure of Liz and Patty's hugs. A few bits of fabric began to flake off with audible crackles. Kid looked down at his suit and saw, to his extreme terror, that it had been ruined by the fire.

More to the point: It was asymmetrical.

"Damn it all!" Kid suddenly crumpled in on himself and fell to his knees after fully examining his clothes. He raised a fist and began to punch into the grass and soil around him. Maka walked over to Kid while he continued to rant. "My clothes. All these scorch marks and soot stains! The symmetry is broken. I'm a pig! Worthless scum, that's all I am! I should just die. Die! That's what I should-"

A deafening "CRACK" rang out at that moment, cutting the shinigami off mid-sentence and startling the weapons into turning to see what was going on. The noise was shortly followed by a second, identical, sound.

Standing before Kid was Maka. Her eyes were filled with fury and indignation. A maroon welt had been left on each of Kid's cheeks where she'd smacked him with all her might. Because of his burns, the pain was even more intense. After recoiling for the second time, Kid raised his head slowly, to stare up at her with a wide-eyed, shocked, expression. The expression silently pleaded, "Why, Maka?"

"Damnit, Kid!" Maka suddenly screamed before gripping Kid's shirt collar and pulling him up to look into her eyes so that their noses were almost touching. Tears were starting to form in Maka's deep olive green eyes. "What? Are you crazy?! You saved my life, for God's sake! FOUR TIMES! You put yourself through Hell to do it the second time! Don't you dare call yourself 'scum' in front of me! What?! Was my life saved by scum?! Kid, you're amazing! Everything about you i-…is amazing, damnit! Why the hell would you call yourself anything less than that?!"

Kid stared up at her, absolutely speechless. He didn't even look like he was trying to form words, the whole thing was just so stunning to behold. Soul, Liz, and Patty spoke about as much as Kid.

Maka suddenly sank to her knees, dragging Kid back down with her. Tears were finally raining down from her eyes as she struggled to continue speaking.

"It's…It's not r-right that you give more value to a…to a symmetrical suit than yourself, Kid! Damnit. I know you can't h-help it, but, but…I care about you! It hurts me that you don't care about y-yourself like you should and you don't even sound like you're joking when you talk about being garbage and dying and everything! It just…It just seems so…" She choked this all out, but never finished. Before she could realize it, Kid had his arms around her in a warm, gentle, hug. It hurt his burnt skin like hell, but he really didn't give a damn at the moment.

"K-Kid…" Maka gasped out in surprise. This was actually the first time she'd been deliberately held so close by any guy but her own father. Soul, the other man close to Maka in her life, really wasn't much for "touchy-feely" stuff. Although, he had hugged Black Star before…but, they were both guys and that was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Otherwise, though, it just wasn't cool…But, Kid didn't seem to care. And that was nice.

"Heh. Maka." Kid whispered affectionately in her ear. "I think you're as crazy as me."

Maka began to chuckle, even as tears continued to fall. She slowly wrapped her own arms around Kid, bowed her head, and started using his chest as both a pillow to hide her laughter and a tissue to dry her tears. Kid reached over and tilted her chin up before giving her a kiss directly on the center of her forehead and smiling at her, a gesture which Maka returned. His lips had felt hot on her forehead. Apparently, every part of Kid had been torched. Still, Maka didn't mind. Kid let go of her chin to pull her closer to him. She resumed laughing and crying on his jacket. Though they hadn't started that way, what she now shed were tears of joy. And she wasn't quite sure why.

For the moment, it didn't seem to matter that only half of Kid's tattered jacket was being cried on. He would fuss about it later, they both knew. But for now, that obsession took a back-seat to the beginnings of something similar to a new obsession…but, not quite.

Liz smiled hugely while Patty giggled. With just one look, Soul could tell that Maka was exactly where she wanted to be. Probably where she was happier than she'd ever been, actually. It wasn't with Soul, maybe. But, looking at Maka and looking at Kid…Soul couldn't find it in himself to be angry seeing his technician's apparent bliss. What mattered was that she was happy. And, if Kid was the one to make her feel that way, then Soul realized he had no right to separate them. Ha. Separate those two? As if anyone could without getting their head ripped off on the spot by Maka or the shinigami.

They sat this way for at least ten minutes before their embrace ended and the two stood up to face each other. Suddenly, Kid stifled a chuckle as a look of realization crossed through his eyes.

Maka blinked.

"Hm?"

That was enough to cause Kid to start laughing as if he'd lost his mind, before grinning at a very perplexed Maka.

"I just noticed – you slapped me symmetrically!" And, in fact, he was right. One dark red mark now stained each cheek where Maka had struck. But, the point was this: Kid had just noticed.

For a moment, Maka just stared back at Kid with a blank look. Then, her lips twitched upwards, a giggle escaping. Soon, that small chortle was replaced as she began to howl with laughter along with Kid. In this way, Kid, Maka, Soul, Liz, and Patty, contentedly began to leave the park. The shinigami didn't complain about his clothing along the way. Not even once. It was difficult to complain when you were laughing so relentlessly you could hardly breathe.

Kid and Maka eventually calmed down as they neared a pharmacy. Realizing that a bright crimson Death the Kid and Maka with a horrible, exposed, burn on her shoulder would probably draw way more attention than need be, Soul and the Thompsons decided to enter the pharmacy alone to get some burn salve and bandages. Kid would probably heal on his own well enough (any bacteria that infect his burns would be instantly killed by biologically superior white blood cells), but some ointment would help to relieve the pain he was going to be feeling for a while. Maka was really the one who needed her burn to be dressed, though.

So, there Kid and Maka were standing across the street from the pharmacy, chatting away.

"So…Does your skin really just feel sunburnt?" Maka asked.

"Very sunburnt." Kid sighed, rolling up his sleeve to take a look at his now bright red arm. "Every inch of my skin, right now, apparently. But, at least it's symmetrical." He shrugged, glad that Maka's tears on the left side of his jacket had now dried. Even if Kid's clothes were ruined, he could at least tell himself that the scorch marks and soot stains made some kind of alternate method of symmetry.

Maka winced, hating the idea of how her own shoulder burn would feel spread across the rest of her body.

"Why? Why did you put yourself in that kind of danger for me?" She asked, taking a step closer to Kid to look into his eyes and examine his horribly reddened skin.

Kid rubbed the back of his neck with a flinch. He would have to try not to apply pressure to his own flesh too much, he realized. It would be painful if he did. The death god was already forming blisters on his pinkies from the time he'd been using them to fire incessantly at the witch. With a sigh, Kid looked at Maka and answered,

"Because I'm a shinigami. I knew I'd have a better chance against that much fire than you would. And I…I would hate to lose you. I'd blame myself."

Maka kept her gaze on his eyes as she spoke.

"You're really very selfless…aren't you?"

Kid shrugged and shook his head modestly.

"It's my duty as future guardian of the world. My Honorable Father is the same way."

"You say that, but…" Maka smiled up at him. "Protecting others is really just something that you and your father would do, duty or not…Right? It's just in your nature…I can tell."

Kid looked intently at Maka as she spoke. He'd been moving unconsciously closer to her the entire time and they were now standing so that their foreheads were close to touching.

"I…I guess that's true." He admitted quietly, not used to that aspect of his being pointed out like this. Normally, it was just "Intelligent Kid", "Powerful Kid", "Polite Kid", and "Handsome Kid". Or, when people didn't feel like praising him, "Symmetry-Obsessed Kid". It was rare for someone to actually compliment him on his deeper personality. Maka had been the first to do so. Then again, she had also been the first to make an assertive effort to get to know the young shinigami. So, Kid smiled genuinely. "Thank you, Maka."

Maka felt her cheeks color as she realized how close their faces were.

"…Y-You're welcome!" She stuttered out, looking away to hide her expression. Why am I acting this way, right now? The girl wondered. Like some sort of…ditzy school girl…I mean, I know that Kid has this effect on other girls at Shibusen, but it's never seemed to get to me before…Maybe, I'm…Maybe, I'm actually starting to…

"Hey, Kids! You got any change…?" rasped a voice from behind Maka.

And the moment was ruined.

Maka spun around to see a man wearing old and tattered clothing, holding out a tin can with a few nickels in it. After taking one look at Maka, though, the man grinned.

"On second thought, how much would a night with you cost, Girly?" He snickered lecherously.

It took everything Kid had in his soul to keep from gagging and stomping this man into the ground then and there. Before Maka could respond, Kid stepped between her and this repulsive stranger.

"You want money, right?" Kid snarled, reaching into his pocket and pulling out four twenty-dollar bills before fishing for eight dollar bills. Eighty-eight dollars. He shoved the money towards the man. "Take it. Please, take it, leave my friend alone, and buy some food for yourself as well as some clean, symmetrical, clothing." Or booze. Or drugs. Or a prostitute. Kid really didn't care at that moment. As long as this person was not here for more than three more seconds, that would be enough for the shinigami.

It took longer than three seconds.

"What? Is she your girl or something?" The man asked after taking the money and shoving it in the folds of his clothes.

Kid shook his head slowly. Must…not…kill…possibly innocent person…

"Go away, please." He tried to keep his tone sounding cool, but ended up tinting it with a hint of exasperation.

Maka nodded.

"We'd like to be alone, right now…" She was frowning as she tried to be as courteous as Kid was. If she had her dictionary with her, right now, being polite would become increasingly difficult.

"Oh, so you two are a couple." And, without another word, the obnoxious man walked away.

Once he was gone, Kid looked at Maka.

"Did…that come out right?" He chuckled.

Maka shrugged, avoiding Kid's gaze.

"I don't see why it wouldn't have…" Okay, so she'd said that she and Kid wanted to be alone. It had mostly been said that way so that the creepy stranger would leave them to their own devices…right?

Okay, so…Lately, Maka had wanted to be alone with Kid, when she thought about it. For some reason, she'd begun to feel very comfortable just being in his presence. Maybe, it was because she didn't have to keep an encyclopedia or dictionary at hand or feel her temper rising with every second, like she did while listening to just about everything Soul said? Or maybe it was because she didn't have to try and engage in "girl talk" like she did with the Thompsons. She didn't feel the need to smack her head against the wall repeatedly, like she did while dealing with Black Star. And didn't find herself feeling exasperated towards Tsubaki's lack of ability to stand up for herself and speak her mind. Kid was a great guy who expressed his opinions honestly. Maka could have good, deep, civil, conversations with him. What was most important, she could be herself and it would please him just fine.

Being with him felt…uplifting.

"Oh. All right." Kid smiled slightly at her, deciding not to pry, despite how awkward Maka's words had sounded. Kid focused on other things, like the burns that covered his body. He felt his skin starting to heal more quickly than a mortal's would. And now he was definitely becoming aware of blisters where his clothes rubbed most. That was the one issue with rapid shinigami healing and burns. Despite healing at a faster pace than a normal human, he still healed with the same process. And blisters were part of the healing process, when it came to heavy burns and friction.

Kid decided that, when he got to the hotel room, he would take a nice, cold, shower. Before getting his face covered with burn salve, of course.

Speaking of burn salve, Soul, Liz, and Patty were soon seen walking out of the pharmacy and across the street. They were bickering and carrying a couple plastic bags the whole way.

"Patty, you cannot make giraffes out of items that you have not bought!" Liz was asserting strongly.

"Awww…But, those birthday cards fit together so perfectly!" Patty whined.

"Ugh. Sounds like Kid's starting to rub off on her." Soul groaned as they finally made it over to Kid and Maka. The two meisters pretended that they hadn't heard him.

"Well, let's go, I guess." Maka sighed, taking the two small grocery bags from Liz.

Kid called Beelzebub. Soul, Patty, and Liz transformed to be caught by their technicians before Maka and Kid rocketed off into the sky on the skateboard.

It was time to make it back to the hotel for some well-deserved rest.

Er…Almost.

A blue-haired ninja stood atop an insanely tall building just a block away from the pharmacy and shouted into the sky.

"I am looking for a witch!" He proclaimed proudly to the entire world. "If anyone sees one, please let me – the GREAT and POWERFUL Black Star – know right away!"

From their spot on Kid's skateboard, Kid and Maka glared at the side of Black Star's head.

"That idiot." Maka hissed.

"I should have known he'd come here." Kid facepalmed as he glided over to the roof top Black Star was standing on. Tsubaki, who was standing at Black Star's side, turned to see Kid, Maka, and their weapons. Tsubaki quickly began to shake Black Star's shoulder.

"Umm…B-Black Star…"

The ninja continued to yell like the moron he was.

"And, if no one has seen a witch, I am also looking for my friends! One of them is a dirty-blonde haired girl with a really bad temper! There's a guy with white hair and red eyes, too. And two girls who look alike, except one of them has bigger breasts than the other! And then there's a black-haired guy with lines in his…"

"BLACK STAR, YOU IDIOT!" Kid and Maka roared.

"I'm really sorry." Tsubaki apologized while Black Star turned to look at them. He grinned.

"There you guys are! Hey, wait…" He looked over at Kid. "Why are you so red?"

Normally, it would have been because Kid was righteously pissed off at Black Star. But, of course, there was a different reason this time.

"I got burned by the witch when we were fighting her. You're too late, Black Star." Kid said sadistically.

Maka nodded and pointed at her shoulder.

"Me, too. We've defeated her without you."

"WHAT?! Why the hell did you do that?!" Black Star whined.

"I'm starting to think I should carry dictionaries with me twenty-four hours a day." Maka confided to Kid while ignoring Black Star. Kid nodded in agreement with her.

"I…I'm really sorry! I tried to stop him, but…" Tsubaki sighed. "Well, you know."

Soul shrugged as he transformed into his human form.

"Well, the witch is gone, anyway. It shouldn't be much trouble if we all just stay at the hotel till tomorrow. Right?"

Kid sighed.

"I suppose not. We do have an end to tie up tomorrow, anyway…So, Black Star might have some use." "Might", was the operative word. As long as he doesn't make too much of an ass of himself, Kid wanted to say, but didn't.

"YOHOO!" Black Star jumped up into the air and grinned. "I knew you would need the help of Big Me!"

Kid facepalmed again. They really didn't need Black Star's help for this. But, since he was there…Kid supposed they really had no choice.

The teens established that the room assignments would be as follows: Kid and Maka, Soul and Black Star, Tsubaki and the Thompsons. They would have to book another room, Kid realized with dread. He hoped that one would be open on the same floor. But, then he realized that there was another issue.

"Uh, Black Star? Think you can just sort've…run to the hotel and meet us there if we give you and Tsubaki the address?" Maka read Kid's mind out loud. Three people on a skateboard just didn't work. Especially if one of them was Black Star.

"Sure! One of you guys have a map?" The ninja asked.

Liz and Patty transformed into their human bodies before the older sister handed Tsubaki a map and told her the address. The chain-scythe weapon nodded and it wasn't long before the ninjas were running off to find the hotel. They'd jumped off the roof, apparently. This earned them many stares from those few who happened to be taking a walk this night.

"All right. Let's get going." Kid hopped back on to Beelzebub as the weapons transformed again. Maka nodded before hopping on as well.

But, first, Kid had to pick up a change of clothes for himself to wear this night and the next day. Asymmetrical clothing would not do. But, while his suits may have been custom-made, he was still perfectly happy with a red shirt, basic black jacket, and a pair of black slacks. That was what he usually liked to wear on the most casual occasions and it was an outfit that was very easy to compile at just about any store.

Then, they headed over to meet Black Star at the hotel. He'd beaten them there, with Tsubaki's help reading the map.

-----

And there they were, once again, standing in front of the three hotel rooms now reserved. Apparently, Soul's loud videogames had begun to ward off business on that floor. So, the teens were the only ones that had rooms on Floor 8. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Kid almost had the rooms changed to 86, 87, and 88 (guess which room he wanted), but Maka reminded him that all their food and groceries were still in rooms 84 and 85. And she managed to convince him that the door to room 84 (where he and she would be sleeping) was at the exact middle of floor 8's hallway. This was no small task.

The seven teens, after wishing each other "goodnight", walked into their assigned rooms.

-

"I'm going to take a shower, all right, Maka?" Kid spoke as he took off his asymmetrical jacket and tossed it into the garbage can.

"That's fine, Kid!" Maka nodded while she took off her own coat. "I need to dress this burn, anyway." And, considering it was on her shoulder, she'd rather not take her shirt off with Kid in the room. Even though she was wearing a bra and she knew he wouldn't look, anyway.

Kid nodded in agreement.

"And you should wash the burn before you do that. I believe we have some bottled water in the fridge. Help yourself."

"Okay, will do." Maka headed over to the tiny corner kitchen that had come with their hotel room. It included a small refrigerator, a cheap microwave, and a small supply of coffee mugs. For a hotel, this really was pretty nice. Especially, in Kid's opinion, when you took into account the mostly symmetrical rooms. Maka took a bottle of water out of the fridge while she heard the bathroom door open and close behind her. She gathered the burn salve, bandages, and a towel before she sat down on her bed, checked to make sure the blinds were closed (they were), and carefully took off her vest, then her cotton shirt and tie. Maka poured the cool water all over her burn. It stung at first, but then felt a lot better. She quickly dried the water before it could drip down her arm and all over her bed covers. Maka then examined her burn. It was bright red, probably a second-degree burn. But, she couldn't be sure. She was no expert on this sort of thing. The best she was able to do was just spread some of the burn salve over her injury. Which stung horribly at first before her nerves were flooded with a short-term relief. The bandages turned out to be more difficult, but she did her best. And she even managed to carefully slip into her cotton shirt without disturbing the rather sloppily wrapped bandages. It was time to get back to reading, "Great Expectations".

Kid, meanwhile, was in a Hell of his own. He knew that he had felt what no other human had – He had been torched by thousand-degree flames and lived.

And now, he was paying the price.

"Damn, damn, damn, damn…" Kid murmured repeatedly while standing at the exact center of the tub as freezing cold water pelted his raw skin from above. At least, though, his numerous blisters were now exposed to the air and not being tortured by his own clothing rubbing against burn and blister alike. Of course, even standing up was painful now, with the blisters and sores forming on Kid's feat. Why is the healing so much more painful than the burning? He wondered at the irony as he attempted miserably to dry himself off with his towel after stepping out of the shower. The towel felt like steel wool and, as he gently put on his change of clothes, Kid wondered whether or not he'd be able to sleep that night. Heck, he wondered whether or not he'd be able to lie down at all!

Kid just hoped that his blisters would start to disappear by the time he was ready to go to sleep. That was the good part about fast healing, after all, right? Well, he supposed he'd find out. After he was dressed, he called out through the door,

"You finished in there, Maka?"

"Yeah, Kid!" Was her response.

Kid nodded to himself before stepping out of the bathroom and walking over to the bed Maka was sitting on curled up with a book. He smiled at this before sitting beside her and flinching slightly. How would he be able to deal with blisters on his back-side?

Maka closed her book and set it down to look at Kid with concern.

"You look like you're in a lot of pain. Do you want to use some ointment?" She held the small canister out to him.

Kid nodded.

"A little." He took the salve and spread some on both his forearms as well as his face, wincing the whole time. He made sure to rub it all the way in and use no more ointment on one side than he did for the other. Once he was finished with that, he handed the ointment back to Maka. "Thank you, Maka. How is that burn of yours doing?"

Maka laughed.

"It's hardly anything compared to what you have, Kid." But, then she sighed. "I don't know why you don't use some for your other burns..."

"It's all right." Kid smiled weakly. "I'm immune to all infection. And, besides, I should be able to heal by tomorrow morning." He really just didn't want to waste too much time spreading salve all over burns that would be gone soon enough. Instead, he wanted to talk to Maka. While they still had the chance. "So, Maka, do you like to listen to music?"

Maka tilted her head at Kid for a moment. Music. Well, that was a new subject. But, she nodded with a smile.

"I like slow jazz or alternative pop, usually, but rock can be nice to listen to sometimes. You?"

"Mostly classical." Kid shrugged. "I've listened to some rock, though, when Liz has played it too loudly." He chuckled.

Maka laughed.

"Right...and I like some classical, too."

In this manner, they talked for a while, maybe an hour or two, about their favorite this and their favorite that, their daily lives, and their school work.

It was late in the conversation that something struck Maka as she looked at Kid. Something she'd wanted to ask for a while. And, since they seemed to be trying to get to know each other…

"Hey, Kid, out of curiosity…What does your father look like? Beneath the mask, I mean…"

Kid blinked. Well, that had sort've come out of nowhere. But, then he realized, so had his question about music. So, Kid thought very hard for a moment before finally answering,

"He looks…basically, like me. Just older. It's been a while since I've seen his face, actually. But…" He twitched suddenly. "…I remember very clearly that all three of the sanzu lines in his hair were connected. Perfectly symmetrical…" Kid was collapsed in fetal position on Maka's bed in seconds. "Unlike mine! I'm worthless garbage! A pig! Scum! Asymmetrical trash! Not worthy of being a shinigami! Let me die. Die, depression, kill me n-"

Maka had all but pounced on Kid before he could continue. Her hands were gripping on to his shirt collar. Her eyes were glaring into his. She was straddling him.

"Shut-UP!" Maka shook Kid like a maraca, forgetting that she was disturbing his burns and blisters. It was obvious that she was tired of the usual pat-on-back, praising, way to get Kid out of his little "depressions". "Damnit, Kid! I told you, you're not scum! You have never been scum! Or garbage. Or a pig. Or worthless. And you'll never be any of that, in my eyes! Gah!" She shook her head like it was driving her insane. "You're always obsessing about symmetry and perfection, but don't you see, Kid?! You don't need to try to be perfect! You are perfect!"

The silence that followed seemed to have its own echo.

Shocked by her own words, Maka let go of Kid and stumbled backwards to the other side of the bed. To…To me, at least… She finished in her mind.

"Wh…What?" Kid's voice was just above a whisper.

"Nothing, nevermind." Maka had her chin resting on her knees as she tried not to blush.

For a good, long, time…The two teens just stared at each other. The way they had several times before. But, this time, for some reason…It felt different.

It wasn't until eleven o'clock that Kid spoke.

"Maybe, we should get some rest."

"M…Maybe, you're right…" Maka nodded as she got under her covers.

Kid climbed on to his own bed.

"Goodnight, Maka."

"Goodnight, Kid."

The lights went out. Both found themselves unable to sleep at first for a number of reasons.

But, unlike Kid, Maka eventually nodded off.

-----

"I kind've feel sorry for Tsubaki." Said Soul as he brutally and effortlessly kicked Black Star's "God-surpassing" ass in the videogame they were playing.

"Uh…Huh?" Black Star didn't seem to be paying so much attention to what Soul was saying. He was more concerned with not getting his God-surpassing ass kicked.

"It's going to be nearly impossible for Tsubaki to sleep while sharing a room with the Thompsons." Soul shook his head.

Black Star had apparently decided to tune in.

"I dunno. People tell me my snores cause hurricanes." He drawled. "Tsubaki's been able to sleep through that when we've been on missions like this before…"

Soul laughed.

"Then, maybe she'll have no problem."

They played their videogame a little longer before Black Star spoke.

"Hey, Soul?"

"Yeah?"

"How come you're not sharing a room with Maka?"

"…She said she'd rather share a room with Kid." And that was all he wanted to say about it.

"Oh." Black Star couldn't seem to think of anything else to say.

Neither one would speak anymore till they would eventually wish each other "goodnight" at four o'clock in the morning.

-----

Tsubaki, meanwhile, was wondering how in the world anyone could sleep through the torture that Liz and Patty inflicted in their own slumber.

Black Star's snores were easily dwarfed by Patty. And Liz's muttering and suddenly yelling out in her sleep was enough to make Tsubaki creep towards insanity.

When Liz abruptly woke up from what Tsubaki guessed was a horrible nightmare, there began a long story-telling time with the elder Thompson as the narrator and the chain-scythe weapon as the victim.

"And-And then, there was a HUGE piece of cheese! But, it had legs! And it was chasing after you and me, and Kid and Patty and Maka and Black Star and Soul!" Liz declared. "S-So, Kid kicked the cheese. But, he got stuck and was absorbed! And then giant dominoes started to fall from the sky. So, we all got squished and died!"

"That's nice, Liz." Tsubaki droned sleepily before covering her head with a blanket. She was not used to staying up till three o'clock in the morning, obviously. "Night-night." She yawned. Despite Patty's near-apocalyptic snoring, Tsubaki was soon so far in dreamland that she could have slept through a pre-kishin attack.

"Oh…Okay. Night!" Apparently satisfied, Liz crawled back over to hers and Patty's bed. She soon fell asleep and didn't have a single nightmare for the rest of her snooze.

-----

But, Maka was having nightmares of her own.

"No…No…Kid! Anything, but…No…Don't…You'll get…I couldn't…NO! Agh…" She mumbled.

"Maka?" Kid reached over and shook the sleeping Maka's shoulder.

"Wha!?" Maka woke with a start, gripping Kid's arm as knee-jerk reaction.

"Having nightmares?" Kid smiled weakly as he climbed out of his bed and turned the lamp on without moving his hand from Maka's shoulder.

Maka nodded.

"It's nothing, though. You can go back to sleep."

"I wasn't sleeping, anyway." Kid shrugged as he sat beside his friend on her bed. "Would you like to talk about your nightmare?"

Of course, Maka realized he wouldn't easily just let her keep it bottled up. So, she told him.

"Well…This may seem stupid, but…I dreamt that the kishin god demanded one sacrifice to let the world live. It could be anyone. You…You volunteered, as the future guardian of the world." Without warning, Maka began to cry.

Kid raised an eye brow. That was all?

"Maka, you know I would never do that, right?"

Maka blinked away her tears before turning to Kid.

"Wh…What?"

"I would kill the kishin god, with your help. And Black Star's help. We would destroy the kishin god with our strengths. Like we destroyed the witch today. Not a single life would have to be sacrificed. Not mine. Not anyone else's." Kid insisted confidently, doing his best to comfort her in this way.

Maka breathed a sigh of relief, which actually surprised Kid a little.

"Right…Of course, you're right." She sounded convinced enough. "Sorry. My dreams can be stupid sometimes."

Kid shook his head and chuckled, giving Maka's un-burnt shoulder a playful squeeze.

"It's perfectly fine. Your dream wasn't stupid, Maka." He knew it was probably just her subconscious reaction to his blocking that fire attack for her earlier today. Speaking of which, Kid was glad that his skin seemed to have healed slightly and hurt a lot less. A lot of his blisters had apparently disappeared as well.

Maka smiled weakly.

"I…guess I have heard ones that are more ridiculous." Like Liz's. "Thanks for listening, Kid. You can go back to-"

"Trying to sleep, I suppose?" Kid gave a wry smile.

"You're having problems sleeping?" Maka sounded a little concerned.

"Can't stop thinking." Kid sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. He really hoped she wouldn't ask…

"Really? What can't you stop thinking about?" Maka tilted her head to the side, gave that little smile of hers, and looked at Kid with curiosity.

Why does she look so cute like that? Kid was thankful that his sunburnt-looking skin, though no longer bright red, was still pink enough to hide any extra color that would creep into his face. Unable to lie to Maka with how she was looking at him, Kid answered cryptically,

"Everything."

Maka pouted.

"Aw, come on, Kid! Maybe, it'll help to talk about it…"

"You really want to know?"

"Yes." Maka was determined. And, when she was determined, there would be nothing that could stop her.

"All right. You." Kid answered honestly. He'd given up trying to hide it.

"H…Huh?"

"You." Kid repeated. "That's what I've been thinking about."

It was an honest answer with an honestly dumbstruck silence in response.

Maka felt her face heating up.

"Why?"

Kid groaned quietly.

"I don't know." He sighed, but then he looked Maka straight in the eyes. "Maka…Do you really think I'm…perfect?"

Maka gently wacked Kid in the back of the head.

"Don't get an inflated ego about it!" She laughed, blushing. Kid chuckled along with her, rubbing the place that Maka's hand had struck. His skin was still somewhat tender, so it had hurt more than Maka had meant for it to.

"But…" Maka spoke again. "Yeah…I do."

Part of Kid wanted to tell Maka that he thought the same way about her. But, it wouldn't come out. So, he just smiled and avoided her eyes.

"Thank you…" He then decided to change the subject after glancing at the clock to see it was 3:30 in the morning. "Maybe, though…You should get some sleep."

Maka frowned.

"I don't feel tired anymore." The combination of her horrible nightmare, talking with Kid, the thoughts now on her mind, and the lamp's light had somehow made her feel like she'd have no more luck sleeping than Kid did.

"Oh…" Kid blinked, thinking for a moment. Then, he snapped his fingers and smiled. "You know what the cure for that is? Warm milk."

Maka chuckled.

"How do you know that?" Kid didn't seem like the type to get nightmares…

"It's what Liz uses." Said Kid. "She sometimes has really bad nightmares that keep her from sleeping…"

"I know." Maka deadpanned, twitching slightly.

Kid stared at Maka for a moment, and then laughed. She laughed along with him.

"So, how does warm milk sound?" Kid asked once their laughter finally subsided. When she nodded, they climbed off of her bed.

Kid wrapped one of the blankets (as well as an arm) around her shoulders and they headed over to the kitchen. The shinigami opened the fridge and took out the quart of milk that they'd bought a couple days ago just in case they had to stay here much longer. He poured some of the milk into a mug and set it in the microwave. All the while, his arm stayed around Maka's shoulders and she didn't try to shake him away. Spirit, had he been watching, would have flipped his lid.

As the two teens drowsily watched the mug spin in the microwave, Maka spoke.

"Kid, I want you to promise that you won't put yourself in that kind of danger for me again."

"Ah…What?"

"Today, when you jumped in front of all that fire!" Maka looked at him. "It terrified me. For a second, I forgot that you were a death god…I was so afraid that you would…" She sniffed and suddenly buried her face in Kid's shoulder.

Kid sighed and held Maka close.

"I'm sorry…Maka. But, I won't make that kind of promise. And it's not just because I'm the future guardian of this world. I care about you, Maka. And I'm more likely to survive that which would kill…"

"But what if you don't survive, if something like this ever happens again?!" Maka protested, looking up into her friend's golden eyes. "You're important! To everyone. You keep saying it, after all – You're the future guardian of the world! The only freely moving shinigami…If you died, then what? You're needed in this world. But, if I died…" She frowned and looked away. "Well, it wouldn't be that bad."

"What the fuck are you talking about?" Kid was taken aback by her last statement. So taken aback that he said the absolute rudest word that had ever passed through his lips. It was rare enough for the shinigami to curse at all. But, to use that word? Unheard of. "'Wouldn't be that bad'?! Maka, you-…I mean, you are…Damnit, Maka! You mean so much to-"

Before he could get anything else out, however, he was interrupted by the microwave beeping to signal that it was finished. Kid let out a ragged sigh as he removed the warm milk and handed it gently to Maka, who seemed to be more than a little shocked by Kid's outburst, before they walked back over to sit down on her bed so that she could drink the milk.

She sipped slowly at it for a few minutes while Kid sat beside her and pensively stared at the opposite wall. Eventually, however, Maka spoke.

"Hey, Kid, can I ask you something?"

Kid was almost afraid to know the question, but he nodded anyway.

"What's your mother like?" Maka asked before drinking a mouthful of milk.

"I don't know." The death god answered honestly. "I've never met her. And Honorable Father has never brought her up in conversation…Neither has Professor Stein or your father. And they'd be the only other people to know anything about her."

Maka nodded slowly. Their fathers did know each other pretty well, didn't they? She sighed as she rested her head on Kid's shoulder.

"Funny how our fathers are partners, and yet…you and I haven't really gotten the chance to talk like this until these past few days."

"It is funny." Kid smiled slightly. He remembered seeing Maka briefly years ago, on a day when Spirit had come to give Kid's father some parenting advice. This being a talk regarding how to be a father, Spirit had brought Maka with him to use as an example. She and Kid, while their respective fathers conversed, had mostly just stared at each other from across the room. Little did either of the five year-olds know at the time, this would become an unspoken tradition when they met again as teens.

"Talking like this has been…really nice." Maka spoke, jolting Kid out of his wistful reminiscence. "Do you think we could spend time like this again…sometime soon…? Maybe…for a day?"

"Wait…" Kid's eyes widened. "You mean, like a da-"

"Uh, a f-friends' day out!" Maka laughed nervously, blushing considerably at the implications of her offer. She took a heavy gulp of her warm milk before turning to Kid. "So, what do you say? Day after tomorrow sound good?"

After recovering from the initial shock, Kid smiled. A knowing smile.

"I would be honored."

And they sat this way in silence for a few moments, just enjoying each other's presence, before Maka finally finished her milk.

"Mm…You were right, Kid. I am getting tired." She yawned, looking like she was about ready to fall asleep on Kid's shoulder then and there. Kid chuckled before taking the empty mug from Maka's hands, setting it down on the nightstand, and beginning to tuck his friend into bed.

"Goodnight, Maka." He whispered into her ear. Kid was about to walk over to his own bed, but Maka's hand quickly shot out to grip his wrist. Kid didn't even have enough time to blink before he was pulled back towards her.

"Night, Kid." Maka gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before letting go and burying herself under her covers.

For a moment, Kid just stared dumbstruck, eyes looking ready to pop straight out of his skull. His face heated up (to an even higher temperature than it had been since getting burned) and he sluggishly climbed into his own bed and turned out the lights.

Many thoughts crawled into his skull. The first was, Why didn't she kiss me on the other cheek, too? Then, it would be symmetrical…Does she just want to torture me? But, then he thought, Why isn't it torturing me as much as it should? Maybe, I'm just happy Maka gave me a kiss on the cheek at all…But, then, that brings up all sorts of really confusing questions…Like…what exactly is this…the start…of?

Kid's thoughts drifted into nothingness as he fell asleep to dream of symmetry and Maka.

Maka, meanwhile, was having a peaceful rest herself. The nightmares were gone, replaced with some particularly happy dreams, and she wouldn't wake up again till eight o'clock in the morning. But, it had little to do with the warm milk in her belly.

To all beings evil, Death the Kid was their worst nightmare.

To Maka, Death the Kid was the cure for the nightmare.

-----

A/N: YES! My very first finished story! X3 AND the very first romance I've ever written! So, how was that for an ending, huh? Yes. It was insanely long.

Rough word count: 16,800

O_O Yeeeah. Well, for all those who've been patiently waiting for an update, I hope you haven't been too disappointed. Even if you were, you should still be somewhat grateful. XD I worked almost nonstop till 2:00 AM in the morning for three or four nights to get this done. And the only reason I'd stop at that time was because the head-aches would start to kill me…Oh, yes, and…

ANNOUNCEMENT: Because this series has been so well-liked, I've decided I am going to write a sequel to "The Cure for the Nightmare"! :D I haven't decided on a title, yet. But, it will be done! ^^ So, I hope all of you look forward to that. The first chapter should be out in, maybe…a week or so. :p My plot-bunnies still need time to chew on that one.

In any case, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the reviews, the favoriting, and the story alerts! :) It makes me feel warm inside.

Happy reading and writing, everybody!