"Why'd we have to come all the way out here?"

"Because, Soul, we need to practice our soul resonance," huffed Maka, pausing to smooth the pleats of her plaid mini skirt.

Soul grumbled a reply.

"What was that?" Maka asked, growing frustrated with Soul's irritable mood.

"I said why couldn't we just stay where the others were?"

Maka squeezed her eyes shut along with her dainty fists, trying to keep her temper in check. "Because I think we need to get away from the distractions. We still haven't mastered this fully."

Soul simply sighed and rolled his head back in his impatience. Maka had that determined look in her eyes, which he had come to know meant her will was immovable.

"Fine," he finally said, looking lazily upon his meister.

"Alright! Then let's get started!" Maka fist pumped the air.

"Whatever."

A gentle breeze ruffled the trees around them, bringing a calm to the two hot headed partners. They stood side by side on the outer reaches of Shibusen, in a wooded clearing often used for training sessions by the older students and instructors. Once both their breathing slowed to bring a stillness within, Soul hesitantly reached his hand out, Maka's meeting his half way. Soon, Soul was a scythe in Maka's skilled hands.

"Ready?"

"Ready."

Maka closed her eyes and reached deep within her consciousness, searching for Soul's wavelength. They were a perfect match, this she knew, but as of late they struggled with making a complete connection. What was holding them back? They had easily succeeded many other tasks.

Soul twitched within his mind's world. Was that her? Something warm seemed to brush past his own consciousness, but was it really her? Why didn't it grab a hold? Suddenly he felt himself being dropped. He returned to his human form.

Maka knelt on the ground breathing heavy.

"WHY?!" she shouted at the ground. She was near tears.

"What's wrong? We almost had it," Soul responded, kneeling by her small form.

"No, we didn't! I can't seem to sense you anywhere!" Maka began to tremble.

Soul stared helplessly at the ground. He hated it when Maka got all emotional on him because he never knew what to do, especially when it involved her psychotic perfectionism.

A flash of blue light caused Maka to look up and see Soul in scythe form again lying on the ground in front of her. He looked up from his blade and grinned menacingly.

"I'm not leaving until we try again," he said.

Maka smiled sweetly back. As lazy as Soul was, he had a good amount of determination too. Picking him up in her delicate hands, she could feel his energy, his life force, thrumming through the pole. Holding him, maneuvering him, fighting with him had become as easy as breathing these past few months, but this was new. They had to resonate before going any further in their studies.

"Soul resonance is a delicate process, easily overlooked if you're too ambitious. Don't search for your partner, feel them, know them. Don't let anything hold you back from making that vital connection with them."

Maka recalled these words spoken by Sensei right before they began training for soul resonance. Something was holding them back.

The thrumming of Soul's energy changed slightly, becoming more random, more agitated. He was getting impatient. What was she waiting for?

Maka gripped the staff harder. That's it! She's felt that thrumming before when he wasn't in scythe form. In his touch. Lately, touch has become rather important to the both of them: a comforting hand on the shoulder, a hug, even a playful shove. Now Soul had even been holding Maka's hand when transforming. It was new . . . it was kind of scary.

"Maka . . ." Soul sighed, almost ready to call it quits. His partner just wasn't responding to him.

"Will you trust me, Soul?" she suddenly asked, slightly startling him.

He thought about it a little. Maka felt the thrumming change once more, something melodic and dark.

"Of course, Maka."

She closed her eyes and focused on that thrumming. It was a path; a path to his soul.

Soul felt the warmth of her touch, her own energy pulsing through her hands. They were even, methodical, and warm, just like Maka. He loved that feeling. Recently, this has become like his drug, craving more and more of her soul rhythm he so endearingly called it. A comforting hand on her shoulder, a brief hug, even a playful shove; he'd do anything to feel that rhythm. He'd even begun reaching out for her hand before transforming into weapon form.

Soon her steady rhythm began to shift. It went up, it went down, it sped up, it slowed down. . . what was she doing?

Then it suddenly penetrated him, like a warm blade, piercing the very depths of his soul. Their souls surged with power and harmony. They had done it: soul resonance had been accomplished.

It only lasted a matter of seconds, until they broke the link, falling back and panting heavily. Soul lay on the forest floor in human form, spread eagle; Maka crumpled opposite him.

A sole pair of hands clapped in the distance.

The partners wearily lifted their heads to see who was clapping. Sid-sensei emerged from behind a tree, still clapping, and smiling.

"That was quite a power surge," he commented, bending down towards Soul. "That's really something special you've got there." Sid extended his hand to Soul, who took it and was pulled up. Maka joined them shortly, still breathing heavy.

"All I had to do was match my wavelength with Soul's," she panted.

"Baka! You make it sound so easy!" Soul barked. "And it took a lot of energy!"

"It'll get easier the more you practice," Sid chuckled. "For now, you've passed the lesson."

Maka smiled wide at Soul as they high-fived.

"Good! Then can we go home? I'm exhausted as hell!" Soul exclaimed, putting his hands behind his head.

"For once, I agree with Soul," Maka said, slouching to make her point.

"Fine, I'll let you guys off just this once."

"Alright!" Soul and Maka weakly cheered.

Sid watched as they stumbled through the woods, Maka leaning gently on Soul. He could tell already their resonance was strong.