Authors Note: I'm back, bishes. You'll be happy to know that yes, I reached my goal of five-hundred reviews, and the claimer is none other than AnImE KaRaSu, whom was one of many that made my day last time around. Sorry for the wait, but yes, Piano has returned, and if it's able to gain as great of a turnout as it's predecessor, I daresay I might just squee to death.
There is no time skip between the final chapter of Piano and the first of Walk By, so if you think it's weird, well… I don't care. I'm in love with a guy in my French class and nothing is going to being me down at the moment. By the way everyone, happy Christmas – I will probably just revamp my old Christmas one-shot this time around and add in a few more scenes 3
Oh yes, and I did use the quote Ambrie-chan gave me in a review in the summary. Ha! If you're new to this story upon seeing the amazing summary, I'd suggest you read Piano, since I know if I attempted a summary I would fail oh-so-epically.
Disclaimer: I don't own Soul Eater, Soul Eater owns me. See this? –holds up paper– they tricked me into signing it by bribing me with instant noodle. And now I belong to them :C FREE ME I SAY. THIS IS BLASPHEMY.
Now that everything had been brought into the light and Maka had managed to tie up so many loose ends, there was only one thing left to inquire about. In the rush of emotions that had been storming through her being for the last few hours, she'd completely forgotten the reason she'd come here in the first place.
"Shinigami," Maka asked the cloaked figure, "I know, for sure, that back when Lova was talking to... to me, that something happened. Somehow, I was saying... what Soul was thinking... or something? I don't understand."
He nodded, able to sympathize with why the blonde still had that troubled look on her face. He could barely believe it had happened, but then again, this was Maka Albarn and Soul Eater Evans. Strange circumstances seemed to follow their every move.
"What occurred was something called Mind Resonance. It's extremely rare, but I'm guessing that when Lova offered to switch partners, the reluctance to be torn from each other overwhelmed both of you, and you couldn't take it. Soul was outright panicking, so with thoughts that revolved around the fear of losing each other your minds automatically pulled towards each other. Soul's thoughts were just more strong or potent, I suppose, or more concentrated. You began to–"
"Then all that screaming," She interrupted him, "was what he was thinking?"
"Well, yes and no," He answered cryptically, and she gave him a dry look.
"He was thinking along those lines, but the combined distress of you both as well as the synchronization rocketed those emotions to the point of insanity. I'll admit Soul is far from mentally stable, which is no surprise given his conditions, but he's not crazy. You were both scared."
Her eyes dropped to the ground, only just realizing that she'd yelled at him over something that wasn't even entirely his fault. They'd both played a part in that scene, and she found now that she'd have to track him down and apologize profusely. Soul had most likely been just as freaked as she was.
"Maka," Shinigami said, as if sensing her need to depart "don't lie to him, alright?"
She shot him a strange look, wondering what he meant by that, but nodded all the same. Turning towards the door, she gathered up all her courage and smiled over at Shinigami.
"Thank you – for everything," She told him, and he waved her off.
"Alright alright, now go find Soul and work things out."
He didn't need to tell her twice – the blonde was already gone.
Maka had already searched the building, and to her complete shock, when she returned to the classroom, the door had already been fixed. Death the Kid, she thought almost amusedly, turning a corner and heading out of the school's doors. She looked around –still no Soul in sight– and decided to head home. But just as she started towards the road, she saw noticed something out of place sitting against a tree a few feet away from her.
The first thing she noticed was that the person was Soul. The second thing was that he was sleeping– quietly, with no signs of fear or distress on his face present. Something about his relaxed form brought a smile to her face, and she wandered over to his shaded spot.
"Were you… waiting for me?" She murmured quietly, kneeling down to push some stray hair off of his face to get a better look. It was strange how he was able to sleep so peacefully, and able to throw away his entire awareness of the world, even if it was only for a few hours.
"Soul," She murmured, and watched as his hypnotizing ruby eyes began to reveal themselves, leaving the two hunched over each other outside the school, with Soul looking groggily around, evidently confused.
"What time is it?" The teenager asked, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as if situations like these happened all the time. He didn't question her at all about where she'd been the whole time; Maka could only guess that he probably knew. Glancing at her watch, she replied,
"Five thirty... almost six."
"Five thirty? What were you talking to Shinigami about that took two and a half hours?!"
Guilt set in. The thought of making something up briefly passed through her mind, but then Shinigami's words seemed to sink in for the first time and she decided that lying wasn't the way to go at this point.
"You." She told him, trying to hold his gaze by ending up dropping it to the ground. He was startled, and at first looked a little confused until he realized just what she meant.
"Well, someone had to!" Maka's temper flared up. "It wasn't as though I could sit here in the dark forever! Why does it matter? It doesn't change anything!"
Surprising Maka, Soul's next words were, "… it doesn't?"
Her hands balled up into fists in frustration. "Of course not, you idiot! Just because I look like her, doesn't mean I am her!"
She should've known he'd say something like that. Did this mean he still didn't trust her? Would he ever trust her? How many times did she have to prove she wasn't like Mia until it finally set in?
Her thoughts were banished when warm arms wrapped around her, and she found face resting on Soul's shoulder in a tight hug.
"I know that," he told her softly, "I know…"
"Then why don't you trust me? What else can I say to get you to just –"
"You've said enough."
"No, I haven't!" Maka told him severely, but neither was willing to let go of another. In fact, at these words it seemed as though both grips tightened. "It's never gonna be enough for you! I'm going to have to live in her shadow forever!"
"No." He stated fiercely, pulling back enough just so that they could see into each other's eyes. "You're different; I know that, I always knew it. It's just… old habits die hard, you know?"
"Can I believe you when you say that? Can you tell me honestly who you see when you look at me?"
"Trust me." Those were two words she really couldn't refuse without becoming a complete hypocrite.
"I already do."
Soul sighed. "You know I would've told you when I was ready. It just seems so wrong you had to hear it from someone else, you know? I mean, it's my life, and now that's just in the open, and I wasn't even there –"
"It's better this way," she explained calmly, "you would have waited too long – don't even try to argue, it's true. Soul, the reason hearing that doesn't change anything is because I already know you. I've already found out first-hand just how much of a killer you aren't."
"Mia was weak," she told him, "feeble-minded and easily tricked. You also can't forget it was a year ago and I'm sure both of you have grown a little more. Next time there's something I should know, I want to hear it from you."
They studied each other for a moment, soaking in all the information they'd been handed, until Soul smiled and moved so that he had his arm around her neck, grinning at her mischievously.
"Well, you know a lot about me. Tell me something about you."
Maka bit her lip, not liking where this was going. "Ah… my favorite color is green?"
He shook his head as they began to head back to the front gates of the school. "Not something stupid, something secret. I deserve to know, don't I?"
"Soul! How can you–"
"It's only fair, Maka."
Soul laughed at her distress. "You can tell me later. Right now, I'm starving."
"Cheshire Cat?" She asked pointlessly, already knowing the answer. He nodded, turning towards the road and shielding his eyes from the heavy sunset with a hand, wincing slightly.
"I'm gonna eat everything in sight." He decided when a growl emerged from his stomach, and with a jolt, Maka realized that breakfast had been quite sparse that morning. She punched his shoulder playfully, and under reflex his hand caught it in a tight hold, even though it didn't hurt at all. She was still laughing and making comments out his stomach's rudeness when they flagged down their ride, directing the driver of their destination before taking off towards their favorite café.
Soul took a bite of his sixth bagel, amazing Maka after she'd filled herself up on no more than one. He'd managed to take down not only the bagels, but two cinnamon buns as well – she was beginning to doubt the whether or not his stomach was just a bottomless pit. Still, despite the large intake of food, Soul looked unsatisfied, so the blonde tipped her head to the side, asking lightly,
"You're eating a lot, but you don't look pleased. What's up?" To her surprise, he smiled, answering lightly after he'd swallowed the food in his mouth,
"These are fine, but..."
"... but?" She prompted.
"Well, I prefer souls, that's all." For a second, Maka was confused, thinking he was referring to himself, until her eyes lit up in understanding.
"Oh! When have you ever had one?" Soul's eyes shut as he took another big bite out of the cinnamon bite, not bothering to finish it this time when he replied,
"A few times when I was younger." He didn't elaborate any further, and this time, she didn't prod. Instead, she leaned forward and let her finger brush the tip of his nose, momentarily paralyzing him. It was only when she pulled away did he spot the icing she'd wiped away did he relax again.
She laughed at his expression, her mouth closing around the finger and leaving it to reemerge clean.
"What do they taste like?" She asked curiously.
"Toast." He replied casually, biting into the bagel hungrily. She burst out laughing, earning the pair a few amused looks from nearby tables.
"Why don't you order some toast then?" she asked him, even though both knew how meaningless this conversation was. It was nice to just unwind without having to worry about the past or the future. Joking around was something they needed to learn how to do more often.
Soul shook his head sadly. "If I want toast, I have to order the tomato soup."
They continued to chat amicably for the next little while, exchanging stories and learning random facts like one's favorite flavor of gum or least favorite time of day as the minutes passed. It would have been so damn nice to have just stayed there in the café, laughing and smiling and getting to know each other through their strange process of bonding, but, unfortunately, all good things come to an end.
And those two knew that better than anyone.