Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater. If I did, I would be doing other things than writing fanfiction.
A/N: First Soul Eater fic! I'm really into it - I already have three chapters written and they're all around 10,000 words, so be on the lookout. If you're reading this for romance alone, I'm warning you that there's going to be a lot more to this story than that. When I first started writing this story, I wanted to keep it generally close to the plot of the manga, but I decided against it. I don't want to look like I'm re-writing Soul Eater, and since it is AU I might as well run with it. Anyways, I hope you enjoy! Reviews are always appreciated greatly! xx
!!important edit: Later on in this chapter when the 'Kishin' is mentioned, I mean a Kishin egg, not THE Kishin! Sorry for any confusion!
"Now, Maka, Shinigami-sama is a very understanding being. Don't let his appearance fool you," Spirit Albarn told his daughter as they walked down the hallway to the Death Room. "I know you're nervous, but try not to show it. That shows weakness and Shinigami-sama has no tolerance for it!"
"Papa, you're the one shaking, not me." Maka Albarn replied simply to her father, pulling away her hand from his. "Why are you walking me here? Do you think I'm too little to handle this myself?"
"Of course I do!" Spirit exclaimed bluntly. "You're my baby girl, Maka-chan!"
Maka flushed with embarrassment and quickly glanced around the area to make sure no one heard. She didn't need her stupid father making a fool out of her on her potential first day. But, of course, she wasn't sure what was going to happen. She still had an obstacle to jump over, and it was the size of the Great Wall of China.
"Shinigami-sama," Spirit called with a wave. "I've brought Maka-chan, as promised!"
Maka looked directly at the towering figure that stood in front of the mirror. Her eyes didn't widen like her father expected – this wasn't her first time meeting Shinigami. It was actually just one of dozens. Today was different, though. Today she was going to finally apply for Shinigami Buki Shokunin Senom, or simply Shibusen. Unfortunately, her application wasn't as simple as the others who came. She had to go straight to Shinigami-sama himself.
"Ah, Maka, I'm surprised. Why do you have your Soul Protection on?" Shinigami asked curiously, turning to face Maka and her father.
Maka bowed quickly. "So that I didn't startle any of the new applicants, Shinigami-sama. I don't need to cause a wreck before I am even a student, do I?"
"That's the answer I was looking for!" Shinigami sang out, holding up two fingers in a gesture that clearly stated Maka had passed the first question. "Now, can you please inform me why you, of all people, should become a student here at Shibusen?"
"Because she is my daughter!" Spirit shouted, thrusting his hand in the air. "I am your loyal Death Scythe, am I not? What more reason do you need? She takes after her Papa so well!" Spirit gushed and doted over Maka by petting her light mouse brown hair that she fashioned in pigtails.
In a blink, Spirit was on the ground, cradling his head in agony. Shinigami had taken his large hand and literally chopped him in the center of his skull, drawing a bit of blood. Maka couldn't help but giggle. She'd seen this happen many of times before.
"If I want you to answer a question, I will ask you, Spirit-kun! I'm talking to cute Maka right now, not stupid you!" Shinigami shouted forcefully. Despite his cartoon like voice, he could be intimidating when he truly wanted to be. Maka stood her ground, staring intently in the black depths that were his eyes.
"Now," he began, clapping his oversized hands together loudly. "You can answer for yourself, Maka! Your father seems to be taking a nap."
Maka smiled. "What was your question, Shinigami-sama?"
"Why do you, of all people, belong as a student in the halls of Shibusen?" Shinigami repeated, looking curiously at the girl standing in front of him. "Surely you know the rules of this school."
"Because I don't like the life everyone expects me to have," Maka admitted. "I want to be… me."
"And who, may I ask, are you?" Shinigami had meant the question to be hypothetical in order to get inside Maka's brain. She was a strange girl and very difficult to read, especially with her Soul Protection on.
Maka understood the deeper meaning in the question and stood straighter, getting as tall as she could.
"My name is Maka Albarn," she began with purpose. "My mother is a witch and my father is a weapon. I cannot control who I am, but I have a say on who I can be."
She had sheepishly rehearsed that line for nearly hours at her father's apartment. She had meant to say it as her introduction, but it seemed as if all the cards were on her side today as that was the perfect play. Her voice was strong, masking the fact that she was weak underneath it.
"Ah, yes, your mother was indeed a witch. Sometimes I forget that do to her kind deeds." He looked at Spirit who was still on the ground. "Turning him into a Death Scythe being one of them. Maka, if you're anything like your mother, Shibusen would be more than happy to accept your application!"
Suddenly, with a burst of energy, Spirit leapt up with a shout. "Maka-chan is just like her mother! I say that to her every day, don't I Maka? I say, Maka, you are just like your mother in every way possible! I know she –"
"Shinigami Chop!" Shinigami shouted once more, sending Spirit down to the floor again. "I like you much better that way, Spirit-kun!"
"Papa, cut it out! You're going to ruin my chances!" Maka begged. Her chances were slim enough without her father having parental outbursts.
"Eh? Maka, you've been accepted. Not even your father can change what has been done!" Shinigami sang out happily.
"Really?" Maka shouted with joy, doing a small jump. "I'm really a Shibusen student?"
"Yes, I think things will turn okay. After all, I never make a bad decision!" Shinigami paused, his childish face turning as serious as it could. "However, I do have a few conditions considering your well being."
"Yes, Shinigami-sama, anything you request!" Maka nodded feverishly.
"No matter how little of it you inherited, you are still a witch. You have done well fighting off the sway of magic, and I expect you to keep it up. I understand that you have done a few simple spells in your lifetime, but I want you to cease now. Under no circumstances will you use your magic, unless I say it's okay. I highly doubt that day will come, but I'm being cautious. Also, I think its best if you keep your Soul Protection on at all times so not to confuse anyone with Soul Perception. In fact, perhaps you should keep the fact that you're a witch under wraps from the other students completely. This is, so to speak, a witch hunting school, and it may make the other's feel uncomfortable."
Maka listened earnestly, surprised that the conditions weren't as horrible as she expected. The few spells – if you could even call them that – were nothing more than casting charms on household appliances out of sheer laziness and curiosity. Of course, they all failed miserably. She was hoping she would be a better Shibusen student than a witch.
"I promise to live by those rules on my life, Shinigami-sama. I have a question though… My partner and I will have to match soul wavelengths – won't I have to tell them that I'm part witch?" Maka asked hesitantly. She wasn't trying to bargain with the Shinigami and she hoped it didn't seem that way.
"Ah, yes, of course you can tell your partner. I suppose you have no other choice. Speaking of partners, what are you exactly?"
"I am a technician," Maka replied certainly. "I haven't had any weaponry awaken, so I guess that I gathered being a meister from either my mother, or my father's mother."
"Guess work is no good," Shinigami said slowly. "Take of your Soul Protection. I want to see for myself. Quickly, before anyone notices."
Maka did as she was told, closing her eyes, seeping beneath her skin. She found her small soul and unwrapped it, letting her true self shine through. She bit her lip, hoping no one busted in and killed her right then and there. It was dangerous being a witch here; it was even more dangerous being a new witch.
"Yes, you were right. You have a soul of a technician." Shinigami-sama looked pleased and clapped his hands together. "This is so wonderful! It's always great having a witch on the other side of the fence!"
Maka smiled warmly. She liked Shinigami – she always had. Despite his strict witch hunting rules, he understood anyone who was willing to help out his pride and joy Shibusen. He had known Maka since she was a newborn, so she was trusted easily by him. It felt nice not being judged by the ultimate judger.
"Opening ceremonies are bright and early tomorrow! See you then, Maka-chan!" Shinigami sang with a wave, signaling it was okay for Maka to pick up her father and go. She did so gladly, leaving Shibusen with a wild, almost fearsome smile.
The next morning, Maka was up before the sun. She had barely gotten any sleep the night before, but she felt wide awake. She pulled out her clothes that Shinigami had instructed her to wear – a red plaid skirt, white dress shirt, and a light brown sweater vest – and laid it on her bed. She stared at the uniform for a while before walking over to the window. She looked up to the moon who grinned down at her with the same silly smile as always. Usually she found it a little morbid, but that morning she saw that it was beautiful.
She got dressed quickly though she was in no rush. She stood in front of her mirror a bit longer than usual holding her brush, wondering what she should do with her hair. Should she put it up in her normal pigtail style, or should she leave it down? Where the pigtails too childish? Was leaving it down a sign that she was a slacker and put forth no effort? She'd never obsessed over something as small as this – it was proof that Maka was indeed nervous.
She decided on the pigtails – she had the style since she was a child. It seemed safe. When she was stepping out of her comfort zone, it was nice to keep something familiar. Even if it was just a childish hairstyle.
"Maka-chan!" Spirit sang out from his living room. "Today is your first day of school! You don't want to be late!"
Maka frowned. It seemed her father was having more fun with this than her. She stepped out of her room and padded down the hall. She put on her boots and stood tall, glancing in the mirror proudly. For a moment, she saw a witches hate on head, but in a blink it was gone. Her eyes widened as she shook her head in surprise. Was it possible to be nervous enough to imagine silly things?
"What's wrong, Maka?" Spirit asked curiously, looking in the mirror his daughter was staring at as if she saw a ghost. He searched for what she was looking at with such intensity, but saw nothing but their reflections. He smiled and ruffled Maka's hair a bit. "Sometimes I'm surprised at how cute you are, too!"
Maka shook her head – she was just imagining things… She really shouldn't let her fears get a hold of her. She had to be strong. Her life was finally turning in the direction she wanted to, and she wouldn't let a stupid thing like picturing herself in a witch hat bring her down.
"I'm fine, Papa. Let's go to school before you become a puddle of goo. Shinigami-sama can't use a Death Scythe that he can't grab." She pushed past her father who was still cooing over her. She rolled her eyes in affectionate annoyance. For a while, it was just Maka and her mother, but when everything went wrong, her father was there for her with wide open arms, ready to take her in without a second thought. Spirit was the only one Maka had any contact with in a year now.
That was all about to change, however. She was a student of Shibusen now. She would make friends, and have a partner that she would have no choice to grow close to. Most people would feel pressured, but Maka was excited.
Death City was bustling with noise as people rushed around her. The majority of them were humans, but Maka knew that some of them were Shibusen students by the way they carried themselves. Most of her itched to start talking to them, while a tiny part of her told her to run. Even though she didn't embrace her witch blood, it was still there and liked to remind Maka of it quite a lot.
Maka was more than pleased to see that her father and gotten distracted by a pretty woman and turned his back to his daughter, giving her a chance to run off without him. She would never be able to make friends with her over protective clingy father breathing down her neck; scaring off any males that – god forbid – approached her.
She entered Shibusen and glanced around the familiar large ballroom that was usually empty. However, it was full of kids her age talking, laughing and joking around. Maka suddenly shrunk into herself, feeling a bit intimidated. But it only lasted a second before she had a burst of energy and started smiling greetings to strangers.
"Yo, Maka!" a somewhat familiar voice shouted. "Yahoo! Look at me!"
Maka made a face and slowly turned, fearing the worst. What she found was exactly as she suspected – Black Star was hanging off of the large drapes and flailing his arms wildly in attempt to draw attention to him. It was working for the most part, but there were still a few eyes that were pointed elsewhere, and this was not acceptable to Black Star.
"Back Star, get down from there!" Maka hissed, tugging at the end of the curtain. "You're going to get in trouble!"
"Me? Trouble?" Black Star let out a loud laugh. "Trouble runs away from me out of fear! I am the man who will surpass God! One day, this will be my house. So you see I can do whatever I like with its curtains because they are mine."
Maka sighed. She'd known Black Star since she was an infant – he was born a year before her. Her father had informed her that he was the last of his people and Shibusen had kindly taken him in, raising him to be a strong technician. He'd always been arrogant and over the top, but that was his charm. Maka and Black Star got along for the most part, but at times their assertive personalities clashed resulting in a large argument. She was careful not to let it turn physical, of course – Black Star was bound to beat her there.
"Don't you want to start looking for your partner? We only have one week to find one, or else we have to wait another year. You learned the hard way last year, didn't you?"
Last year no one had been able to stand Black Star and, no matter how compatible their souls were, refused to work with him. It hadn't bothered him as much as it would have Maka, however. He simply said that he knew it would take longer than others because of how important he was.
"I already found mine yesterday morning before you arrived! Tsubaki is really nice; I think you would like her! She's not as amazing as me of course," he leapt down from the curtain, "but she's pretty close."
"You found someone that quick?" Maka asked worriedly. She'd forgotten that yesterday was opening day, not today. What if she was the only one standing in the room without a partner already? Had Shinigami-sama changed the rules this year about the time limit of getting a partner? Did she really only have one day now, instead of one week?
"Don't freak out, Maka-baka," Black Star teased, calling her by her old childhood nickname. "Shinigami said that our soul wavelengths are a perfect match. Guess luck decided to hop in my pocket this year, huh? That's to be expected, though. I am, after all, Black Star!"
"Don't call me that," Maka snapped, but followed it up with a smile. She only allowed Black Star to call her that without physical damage. Not because she was scared of his retaliation, but because he had been the one to stand up for her when the other children chanted the name over and over back when Maka was five and Black Star was six. He had gotten into a lot of trouble, but he later told Maka that it was worth it because he was able to finally have an excuse to beat someone up.
Because Black Star has known Maka since she was born, he knew her secret. When he found out, he was eleven. He had accidentally walked in on Maka's mother teaching her daughter a simple spell that would help her reach the sink so she could clean the dishes. Instead of being scared and running away like Maka feared, he was excited.
"Why didn't you tell me you were a witch?" A young Black Star asked pointedly, thrusting his hands on his hips.
"I'm sorry," a ten year old Maka replied shamefully, hanging her head. "Papa told me it was best not to tell anyone for my safety… It's not that I don't trust you…" Tears welled up in her eyes and she wiped them away as quickly as she could. She liked to pretend she was strong whenever she was around Black Star. "Please don't be scared, I promise I won't hurt you like the other witches would."
"Scared? Why would I, Black Star, be scared of a witch? Ha! I'm not scared, I'm mad you didn't tell me sooner! This is so cool, Maka-chan, how could you hold out on me like that?" He flashed his friend a wide grin, causing her worries to melt away.
Despite his arrogance, Black Star was a great friend and could always make Maka feel better.
"Well, I guess you should start looking for your partner, right?" Black Star said, his face turning serious for a moment. "Be careful about who you chose. You're going to have to tell them you're a you-know-what, right? I don't want to have to beat a memory out of someone, but I will if I have to!"
Maka smiled warmly. "Yes, I'll be extremely careful, Black Star. But with my Soul Perception, even though it's weak with Protection on, I can see if a person is truly trustworthy with my secret or not. Everything will be fine."
With that, she turned on the heel of her boot and clasped her hands together as she scanned the room for someone she could begin talking with. A group of girls were huddled in the corner talking feverishly to one another. Too stand offish. Her eyes moved to the opposite corner. A group of buff males were guffawing and pointing at one of their friends as if he told a hilarious joke. Too scary. Her eyes drifted to the center of the room where a small group of three stood awkwardly, talking rarely to one another, obviously too nervous to go any deeper. Perfect.
Maka made her way over to them quickly. She would dominate this group and pick out a weapon best suited for her. Half way there, she stopped suddenly. A feeling pierced through the atmosphere of the room and straight through her heart, causing her soul to jump. She looked sharply in the direction it came from and walked towards it, not allowing it to register.
She came across a closed door, but she found it wasn't locked and opened it slowly. There, in a dark room, was a small stage where sat a grand piano. There was a dim light emitting from a few candles surrounding it – obviously the person who was sitting in the room had lit the candles themselves, not knowing where the light switch was.
Maka took a cautious step forward, not saying a word. A glimmer came from behind the piano as an arched figure emerged. It was the shape of a traditional scythe with red designs on it. But it wasn't a full scythe, just the blade. The blade was in the place of an arm of a boy who looked around Maka's age, if not younger. He had a slouched posture and stared at his arm in wonder, as if it was all new to him.
"You might as well just leave now," the boy said in a monotone voice. "All the others left pretty quickly when we started talking. No one's soul length matches mine. I'm going home today anyways. This place holds nothing for me."
Maka didn't move. Instead, she shut the door, closing the rest of the room except the stage in darkness. There was something about this boy she couldn't quite place and she wanted to so badly.
"You're just like the others, you know. No matter how many chances you give me, you'll end up leaving."
"Stop whining," Maka snapped, finally getting the motivation to walk over to the piano, standing on the opposite side. "I didn't come in here because I heard of you; I came in here because I felt you."
The boy smiled, flashing razor sharp teeth. It almost looking menacing. "You're bolder than the others, that's for sure."
"How many 'others' were there exactly?" Maka asked curiously, ignoring the meaning behind his statement. She wasn't going to give up that easily, not when she felt something that strong just a moment before.
"Ten in two days." His voice sounded hard, but Maka could tell it was sad.
"What's your name?" she asked, staring at him with the intense stare her father claimed would drive him mad some day.
It's like she can see my soul, she'd over heard him inform Shinigami-sama once. She smiled – little did he know that she could literally see his soul thanks to the genes his mother passed down through him, to her. It was impossible for a witch to have Soul Perception, but Maka was only part witch. She could do things the other witches couldn't. She could choose her fate.
"Soul. My name is Soul Eater." Finally, the boy made eye contact. He had liquid crimson eyes that looked like they were eyes of a warrior. They were strong, and most important of all, trust worthy.
"Soul," Maka tasted with a smile. "Ironic… But I like it. I'm Maka." She warmed up her smile to show that she was friendly.
"Listen, Maka, I know that you're trying to find a partner, but believe me, I'm not that guy. I thought I belonged here, but…" he drifted off, ripping away his stare from Maka's green eyes, forcing it to face somewhere in the distance. "But I don't belong here after all."
Maka frowned and bit her lip. She never thought she could relate to someone as much as she did in that moment.
"I know what you mean."
Soul looked sharply at the girl beside him – who was she? She had a different aura about her that he couldn't quite place. It was warm and almost welcoming. The other girls – and two guys – had tried to say that they understood what he meant, but he knew they were lying. However, when the words came out of this strange girl's mouth, he actually believed them. For the first time in weeks, Soul felt hope that maybe he did belong somewhere, and it was with this girl. As her weapon.
"Maka-chan?" A voice sang outside of the door. "Maka-chan, its Papa! Come out of this room! Papa will help his Maka-chan find a nice partner just as amazing as she is!"
Maka ducked her head in embarrassment and grumbled a few curse words. She looked up and smiled apologetically at Soul. "My father… He's a bit, ah, stupid."
Soul smiled – a real smile, not a cold one. "I understand. You should go out to him."
"Go and look for another partner. I'm not the one for you, Maka." It was almost shameful how those words upset him.
"That is a lie." Maka was blunt. "I have to go and calm him, but I'll be back."
She turned her back on Soul, smiling to herself. From what she could tell, their wavelength was a perfect match… Perhaps she had found her partner already? He seemed trustworthy and nonjudgmental – but she would have to find that out later after many careful hours of inspection.
She opened the door to find her father standing in front of it with his arms crossed. He tried to peer over his daughter to see what was in the room, but she shut the door quickly. She didn't want Spirit to find out she was in a dark room with a boy, even if it was innocent. Her father tended to overreact when a boy even looked at Maka. His womanizing ways caused him to expect the worst intentions when it came to boys.
"What were you doing, Maka-chan?" Spirit asked curiously. "Did you meet your partner already?"
"It's none of your business," Maka replied coolly. "I don't need a shadow, especially not my father!"
"But Papa will help you!" Spirit looked childishly hurt. "Please let me help you find a weapon, Maka!"
Maka sighed and agreed – something she soon regretted passionately. Her father advertised her like a showgirl. It was embarrassing and, of course, a fail. No one was interested in the girl the Death Scythe was bullying others to partner up with. Besides, Maka didn't feel a connection with anyone else. If she did, it was no where near as strong as what she felt with Soul. She wanted so badly to go back to the piano room and convince him to be her weapon, but with her father breathing down her neck it was difficult.
After thirty minutes too long, Maka finally put a stop to her father by pointing out a woman across the room, noting that she was pretty. As expected, Spirit ditched his daughter with a pat on the head and booked it to the unfamiliar woman, immediately starting to flirt. Maka sighed – how did her mother ever put up with him?
She made her way to the room again and opened the door. The candles had faded greatly and there was barely a glow to the room. Maka shut the door, blinding herself, but kept her hand on the doorknob.
"Soul?" Maka called out softly. "Are you still here?"
A small grunt of acknowledgement came from behind the piano – exactly the spot she'd left him in before. She frowned. Why had he stayed still? Did he really not want to be a Shibusen student anymore and chose to stay locked in the dark room so no one disturbed him? Or did he not want anyone else to bother him because he was interested in being Maka's weapon?
Maka made her way over to the piano and sat down on the bench once more. She ran her hand over the smooth keys and pressed a key lightly.
"Do you play?" Soul asked curiously, leaning forward on his arms, which rested on the piano. His bright red eyes were unreadable.
"No," Maka admitted. "I always wanted to, but I never found the time. Do you?"
"A little." He was too nonchalant with his answer.
"Do you lie a lot?" Maka teased with a small smile.
Soul's eyes widened for a short moment, but they quickly narrowed. His mouth spread into a grin, showing off his sharp teeth once more. His hand snaked its way to the keys as he played a small melody in the high note section. It was short, but it was still beautiful.
"Not too much, but some things should be found out over time, not during a game of twenty questions." He slid around to the bench and sat next to Maka, running his hands over the keys in the same fashion she had, but in a more expertise way.
"Will I be able to find things out over time about you?" Maka asked shyly. She wasn't usually this bold with strangers, but she felt like she was meant to be Soul's technician no matter what.
Soul's answer was blunt. Maka blushed furiously in embarrassment. She was so silly to think that it would be so simple to find a partner. She accepted long ago that she didn't have good luck – over time, she learned not to let her hopes up. Why had she let her guard down in front of a boy she just meant an hour ago?
"Why not?" Her voice came out sounding a little angry. No matter how childish it was, she was hurt by the rejection.
"You have no sex appeal," Soul replied, leaning back a little in his bench.
Anger welled up inside Maka. He was ignoring their connection because of her looks? He wasn't supposed to reject her until he had a decent reason – like finding out she was part witch! Her fists clenched as she threw a hard punch at Soul's head.
"Pig! You men are all the same! Why do my looks have a say in becoming partners? It's not like we're getting married. I'm only 13, how sexy do you expect me to look?" She was shouting over a crumpled Soul who cradled his head in agony. He looked eerily like her father after being chopped by Shinigami-sama. Her fists clenched again, ready to hit Soul once more.
"Don't punch me because you have no boobs!" Soul shouted in reply, sitting up with his hand over his pounding wound. It looked as if it was forming a bruise already.
"Maka Chop!" Before he was able to sit all the way up, Maka hit him again.
"Is that really necessary?" Soul yelled, jumping up. "You really shouldn't jump to violence so quickly!"
"You really shouldn't be perverted to someone you just met! No wonder no one can put up with you. You're ridiculous." Maka snapped, hiding her hurt with anger. She had been so sure he was trustworthy, but it looked like she would have to find a girl weapon since they seemed to be the only species she could even consider trusting.
Soul laughed. It wasn't a small, teasing chuckle, but a loud laugh that sounded foreign to even his ears. He leaned forward, grasping his side in attempt to slow his laughter down. It didn't work, however, as he kept laughing.
"What's so funny?" Maka asked crossly. "Now you're laughing at me?" Her throat caught for a moment and she swallowed tears. "Anything else you'd like to point out? How about my stupid hairstyle? Or my clothes? My shoes, perhaps?"
Soul stopped laughing suddenly. He hadn't meant to hurt Maka – her reaction was just so… adorable, he had no other way to express his reaction to it. He tried to form the words in his defense, but before he could even begin to say them, she was gone, slamming the door hard behind her, enveloping him in darkness.
"Welcome to the opening ceremonies!" Shinigami exclaimed happily with the clap of his oversized hands. "We're so pleased to have so many new children this year at Shibusen. As most of you know from your student handbook – which I assume you all have read because you were quizzed on it before you could even apply – here at Shibusen we promote peace, not violence. At times violence is called for, like when hunting Kishin and witches souls, but any misconduct with a human is uncalled for and is enough for immediate expulsion." His black eyes narrowed threateningly as his voice darkened. Though he was quite the character, Shinigami could get very scary when he wanted.
"Now that nonsense is covered, I'm pleased to see so many of you found your partners! If you haven't, then that's fine, we'll assign one to you by using a series of compatibility tests and Soul Perception. We want to make sure every student has at least one partner – and those with multiple ones can handle it.
"And now, without further –"
A loud screeching sound pierced the air, interrupting Shinigami's speech.
"Shinigami-sama!" a voice belonging to a dark skinned teacher Maka knew was named Sid boomed. "A Kishin has entered Shibusen! Where is Death Scythe?"
Alarmed voices began humming through the large room. Frightened expressions took over the excited faces of the new comers as they glanced nervously around the room, waiting for the monster to burst in.
"A Kishin? Here? Why at Shibusen of all places?"
"He must have decided to wipe us all out at once!"
"I don't want to die! I don't know how to fight a Kishin!"
"Relax; Shinigami-sama has this all under control."
"Yeah, he won't let us get hurt!"
"This is definitely not cool."
Maka turned abruptly, looking behind her towards the semi-familiar voice. She narrowed her eyes at the form in front of her. Soul. Now that he wasn't washed out by candle light, Maka could see more than his red eyes and dangerous smile. He had messy white hair and pale skin – he didn't look Japanese like Maka was, but she wasn't sure what ethnic he was exactly. His posture was slumped over and his hands were shoved deep in the pockets of his simple yellow and black jacket. His headband covered the top half of his eyes. He looked tired – it would have been alarming if Maka wasn't already annoyed by him.
"What would you know about being cool?" she asked childishly, pushing past him. She paused when she was behind him, closing her eyes and zeroing in on her target. Her Soul Perception inked its way out of the ballroom and quickly found the evil human. He was in the entrance ballroom where the students had been gathered earlier, meeting with others while also searching for their partners.
She began walking towards the exit quickly with a determined expression. She wasn't sure what exactly she would do, but as a Shibusen student she felt it was her duty to at least try. The murmurs of the other students surrounded her and did nothing but make her angry – why were they just standing there, talking? There was a kishin out there on their property and they just talked about it? It seemed a little twisted to her.
"Oi, Maka, what are you doing?" Soul called, reaching out and pulling her back slightly towards her. "You're not thinking about going out there, are you?"
"Yes, I'm going out there. Why wouldn't I?" Maka yanked her arm back towards her and continued walking. Why did someone as shallow as him care about where she was going? She kept weeding her way through the crowd without hesitation or looking back.
Soul kept following her, though. She felt his eyes burn a hole through the back of her head, but continued to ignore him. She was extremely aware of his presence but she wouldn't let him know that.
"You can't go out there alone; it's not cool to be dead." Soul called, grasping her sleeve again. The sad part was about his statement was that he was serious. Maka stopped and looked at him with disbelief for a short moment, but then she smiled slyly.
"I'm not going alone – you're coming with me." She wrapped her hand around his wrist and began dragging him through the students. Most were talking about how they should do something, but no one was bothering to move, saying that the teachers would take care of it.
Maka thought Soul would at least object, but he didn't. Instead he pried her hand off of him easily, but kept following her. She smiled secretly to herself – it seemed as if she was going to get him as a weapon. No one else was good enough for her. She wanted to make a death scythe for Shinigami-sama; Soul seemed like the only person who would make her dream possible.
"Maka!" a voice called excitedly. "Are you going to go fight that pathetic kishin? I'm coming with you!"
Black Star bounded next to Maka and Soul excitedly. He was being trailed by a pretty girl with her dark hair tied tightly on the top of her head. She looked happy – as if going off to battle a monster was something cheerful.
"Hello, I'm Tsubaki." She smiled warmly at Maka and bowed a greeting as they ran out of the ballroom before anyone could stop them. "Nice to meet you!"
Maka smiled silently as she attempted to keep up with Black Star. Of course, he was ahead of every one else. She had always been jealous of Black Star – without even trying he was able to surpass anyone in his path while Maka had to try as hard as she could to even follow closely behind him. The unspoken competitive nature in their friendship was a reason why they stayed so close. It was strange, but what wasn't in Maka's life?
It took about three minutes to get to the other side of the school. When they arrived, Maka saw Sid jumping back, shielding himself from the kishin's blow. In his hand was a hunting knife that didn't look like it was doing much good – was this his weapon?
"Tsubaki," Black Star called, holding out his hand.
Tsubaki nodded, understanding. A flash of light caught Maka off guard for a short moment. When her vision blotted back to normal, Black Star was grasping a chain scythe – two blades connected by a chain. It seemed to fit him perfectly.
"Yo, freak!" Black Star yelled. "How does it feel to know that you're going to be killed by a future God?"
Maka saw Soul appear by her side and she turned to him. His eyes were narrowed as he curiously studied Black Star.
"Is he always like this?" Soul asked in a way of disbelief.
Maka nodded with a smile. "Yeah, he is. But you get used to it."
"So, should we do this?"
"You know, me turning into an ultra cool scythe and you killing that kishin," Soul explained coolly. He flashed his sharp smile again.
Maka froze. She was so stupid – why did she think this was okay? Surely Soul would notice that he couldn't sense her full soul wavelength and get suspicious of her. What will she say? Oh, sorry, my Soul Protection is on so I'm not accidentally hunted. That would go well.
"Um… Soul, there's something I need to tell you before that," Maka said hesitantly.
"Maka, I don't know if you've noticed, but we don't have enough time for that." His eyes were locked on the kishin that Black Star was charging.
"We don't have time!" Soul shouted, diving for Maka and dragging her down to the ground. A loud crash sounded from the area they were standing before.
Dazed, Maka looked at a giant blade sticking out of the ground exactly where she had been standing before Soul shoved her out of the way. His arms were still wrapped around her protectively. She shook her head in order to get out of her foggy brain and narrowed her eyes in determination. She smiled up at Soul.
"Can you get off me and transform? I can't fight lying on the ground."
Soul flashed another dangerous grin and closed his eyes, allowing his body to transform into a classic scythe. At first, he was disappointed it wasn't anything super cool and original, but then he decided that being a weapon was cool enough itself.
Maka reached out and grabbed the handle before Soul hit the floor. She grasped it tightly and her hands, weighing it. She liked the feel of it – it didn't feel anything like when her father let her practice with him. It felt right, not forced. With a yell, she followed Black Star's footsteps, charging for the large monster that had blades as fingers and from what she saw, teeth, too.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Sid-sensei unconscious on the ground and a woman hovering over him and calling desperately. She turned and looked at the two students and widened her eyes in terror.
"What are you doing? Get back to the ceremony room before you get hurt, you idiots!" she shouted, but yet she didn't move. Maka assumed that was Sid's weapon.
"The only thing getting hurt here is this ugly thing," Black Star replied with a whoop. He jumped high off the ground and kicked the kishin square in its side.
The kishin tried to swing his blades at Black Star, but he was too slow. Black Star was already on the other side, kicking him again. Maka saw what he was doing – slowing it down so she could take the kill. He knew that Maka wasn't good at speed but could finish the job with his help. She smiled as she ran across the ballroom.
"You think you can enter Shibusen whenever you want?" Maka yelled, tightening her grip on Soul. "For being so stupid, I'll be taking your soul!"
The kishin laughed an awful, screeching laugh and swung one of his long blade clad limbs. She kept running straight ahead – right into the area of the kishin's blades.
"Maka, look out!" Soul called, his faded image looking panicked. "If you keep being so careless, you're going to die!"
"Can you just trust me?" Maka replied as she swung the scythe through the air, making contact with the kishin just below the wrist, slicing all the way through. The hand covered in blades fell down with a thump.
The kishin, not liking that he was short a hand, let out of a scream of annoyance. With his only hand, he swiped at Maka, making contact with her side.
"Damn!" Maka yelled in aguish, holding onto the wound just below her rib cage. She felt the warm liquid trickle down her waist and some into her hands. She narrowed her eyes, fighting the pain. She had to in order to kill this thing – she wasn't going to act like a baby and cry over spilled blood.
With another yell, she charged the kishin again, pulling Soul back behind her head. Black Star was distracting it by throwing one of the chain scythes at the arm that Maka had gotten a hold of before. She jumped as high as she could, bringing Soul down. She felt the power surge through her hands for a moment, and then it was gone.
The kishin began shaking violently, and in an instant, it disappeared. In its place was nothing but a red glowing soul. Maka felt the weapon in her hand vibrate and she let go and stumbled, only to be grasped again by a hand. She looked up and smiled at Soul who had returned to his human form. She applied pressure to her wound, hoping it wasn't too deep.
"You four are possibly the most idiotic students here," Sid's voice boomed groggily. "But you acted as all Shibusen students should."
"Come on, Maka, we need to get you to the nurse," the dark skinned woman covered in bandages from earlier said while helping Maka stand straight. "My name is Mira – I'm your physical education teacher."
Maka nodded absently, allowing Mira to half drag her away. She turned to face Soul and smiled, trying to read his face. Did he suspect something? If he did, he hid it well because the only thing she saw on his face was his sharp smile.
"Meet me in the piano room when you get out," Soul called. He shoved his hands in his pockets again slumped over once more shuffling over to Black Star and Tsubaki.
Shibusen had different, awful techniques at torturing its students whenever they did something wrong. As soon as the nurse fixed Maka's wounds – which were thankfully shallow – she called her father.
Spirit came bonding into the infirmary noisily, slamming open the door and leaping into Maka's bed. Tears welled up in his eyes as he cried out things about how stupid Maka was, how proud he was of her, and how lucky she was to be alive.
"Papa isn't going to let anything like that happen to Maka-chan ever again!" Spirit shouted, holding his daughter close to him.
"Get off me!" Maka shouted, hitting her father over the head. "I'm a Shibusen student now; you can't expect me to let my stupid father be my shadow!"
"Maka, I don't think you understand just how dangerous this is. Maybe we should drop you out and let you wait another year until you're a big, strong girl!" Spirit's face went serious. "I didn't know how much I would worry about you."
"No." Maka tightened her grip on the pure white sheets that surrounded her in the bed until her knuckles turned white. She gritted her teeth in anger. "You are not doing this to me. Being a Shibusen student and turning a weapon into a Death Scythe is my dream. You're not going to take that away from me! I know I'm weak, but I can get stronger. I will get stronger!"
Spirit stared at his daughter for a while. He trusted her with everything he had – he had no choice not to. With a reluctant sigh, he patted Maka on her head softly, ruffling her hair in the process.
"I trust you, Maka."
With that, he turned and left, giving Maka the freedom to do so as well. The nurse told her to go straight home and rest – of course, Maka lied and said she would. Instead, she was going to the piano room to meet up with Soul and make him her weapon.
The winding halls of Shibusen were confusing, but Maka remembered the way Mira had brought her. Every time she moved her right side she winced due to the tiny shots of pain from her wound. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it wasn't exactly the bowl of ice cream either. She found that when she put pressure on the spot, it didn't hurt as much. So with each movement of her right leg, she pressed onto her wound.
Finally, she arrived at the room where she first felt Soul. Hearing something outside of the door, she paused, straining to listen. A dark melody was being played on the piano from inside. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to get lost in the notes that were being struck softly, but had a violent nature to them. Was this Soul playing?
Absentmindedly, she opened the door and stepped in. It was a lot brighter than the last time she stepped in – someone had turned on the over head chandelier. The piano was illuminated by the flickering candlelight and the shadows danced on Soul's profile playfully. His eyes were closed in concentration as his fingers did a purposeful dance across the keys. With each note, Maka's soul was tugged towards him. She felt the pain from her wound be replaced with the feeling of loneliness. While playing, Soul's emotions were completely vulnerable. The song he was pouring out was laced with sadness and hatred – it was angry and dark. When Maka closed her eyes, all she saw was black.
She sat next to Soul on the bench, listening a little longer. After five more minutes, Soul slowed to a stop, ending the low song with a few high keys, changing the mood completely. Maka smiled and put her hand on his shoulder.
"You play a little?" she teased.
A grin stretched across Soul's face and he nodded – his eyes were still closed. A minute of comfortable silence passed and his smile faded.
"That song you just heard… It's how I am. I'm not one of those cheery guys, and I'm not very fun to be around most of the time." He opened one eye and glanced at Maka. "I'm cool, though."
Maka gave a small smile and ran her hand over the keys. Another fit of silence passed. Maka's smile faded as well.
"The song describes a part of me very well," she said, putting a hand over her heart. "I'm sure you have a few questions to ask me."
Soul gaped at Maka for a moment – how could such a dark song describe even an inch of someone like her? She was happy and determined. A light, fast song would describe her, not something like that. He shook the expression off his face and donned a more serious one.
"When you were fighting, I was trying to touch your soul for a stronger connection, but you wouldn't let me. It could have preventing a lot of things." He paused and looked pointedly to her hand which covered up her wound. "Why didn't you let me?"
"Before I tell you," Maka said slowly, "you have to make a promise to me."
"What kind of promise?" Soul asked curiously. She was withholding the information for him on purpose.
"You have to promise that no matter what, no matter what situation you're in or how much you hate me, you won't tell anyone. Ever."
"Is that it?" Soul blinked, a little disappointed. He thought she was going to ask him to be her weapon again. Of course, he would have coolly accepted. After seeing the way she fought before there was no doubt she would some day turn him into a Death Scythe. Did he ruin that chance from before? "Okay, I promise."
"The reason I didn't let you near my soul is because I have my Soul Protection on." Maka said quickly, ducking her head. She breathed a sigh of relief, glad to have finally gotten it out. Her eyes were shut tightly in fear. Was he going to shun her?
"You're a witch?"
Maka's head shot up as she stared in disbelief. Soul's face wasn't twisted in horror or disgust, but was surprised and curious. His head cocked to the side a little, waiting for her to answer. Why was he acting so nonchalant about this? Was he insane?
Maka stared in silent shock. How could someone be so strange? Everything he said came as a complete surprise. If someone had informed her that they were a witch in a witch hunting school, she would say a lot of things, but cool wasn't one of them.
"Do you really think that?" Maka asked slowly, dumbfounded.
"Yeah, it takes a pretty cool witch to do something like this." Soul shrugged. He paused. "Unless you're planning something evil. If so, I'm going to have to kill you."
Maka giggled and shook her head. "No, Shinigami-sama knows who I am. My father is the Death Scythe of North America. I was raised to believe that everyone was born with a good soul; they just seep into darkness over time. My mother and father tried their best to make sure that I didn't."
"So your mother is a witch?" Soul asked curiously. Everything about this girl was interesting.
"Yeah," Maka nodded. "She was good, like me." Her voice was barely a whisper now as she rubbed her arms sorrowful.
"Was?" Soul was hesitant to ask, but it seemed as if Maka wanted to tell him everything.
"It's a long, boring story. But she isn't so good anymore. I haven't seen her a long time."
She remembered the last time she had seen her mother – though her mother hadn't noticed her. It was a year ago when her father took her to the next city over for a mission. They were walking in a café and bumped into someone. Immediately, Maka noticed the wavelength of the soul and turned sharply to see the woman who deserted her two years before.
In an instant, though, the cloaked woman rounded the corner. When Maka chased after her and turned around the wall of the building, it was too late. Her mother was already gone.
"That's so not cool," Soul said softly, not knowing what else to say. He never had a close relationship with his own mother, but it seemed like at some point Maka had been close to hers.
Suddenly, Maka's head shot up as she pulled herself out of her gloom cloud. She turned and looked at Soul straight in the eye, her face full of determination and stubbornness.
"Soul, I want you to become my weapon. You're the only person I can see turning into a Death Scythe, and I won't settle for anyone else." Her voice sounded strong to her ears, she hoped it sounded that way for Soul, too.
Soul's sharp teeth appeared in a large smile.
"Sure, sounds cool."