Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater.
A/N: Um, hey. Remember me? Sorry.
Welp, here it is – the final chapter of Control! Again, thank you so much for your reviews and toleration of my erratic updates. This goes for those who have stuck with me from the start to those who are just starting to read. This story has helped me improve my writing in so many ways, which is why I started it to begin with, and having all your input and help through the long run has helped me! You guys rock. I hope you stick with me for my other Soul Eater stories if I decide to write more! (Nudge, nudge… One is in the works).
This is an epilogue. The characters are a little more mature because of the time jump!
Maka straightened her yellow cardigan and tugged at her black skirt almost uncomfortably. She wasn't used to wearing such nice clothes, but she felt more like a professor that way.
It had been almost ten years since Medusa's defeat and a twenty-six year old Maka was getting ready for her first teaching job at Shibusen for a newly founded class called Witch Education. It was hard to believe that, after everything she went through in her teenage years, she was finally settling into the profession she had always secretly admired and craved. The job seemed to suit her nicely – it was what everyone had said when she told them.
"What a boring job!" Black Star shouted with a pompous laugh. "A big guy like me would never settle for something as lame as being a teacher!"
"That's really great, Maka-chan," Tsubaki gushed in order to buffer her partner and newly labeled boyfriend's rude remark. "I'm really happy for you!"
"Thanks, Tsubaki," Maka replied warmly – pointedly ignoring the unchanging annoying manner of Black Star – as she took a sip of her tea.
The group of long time friends had met up early in the morning to hear Maka's big announcement, despite the fact that it was two weeks too late. They were all so busy with their three-star meister and death scythe missions that this was the only time that they were all able to get together.
"I'm not at all surprised," Liz almost sighed. "I wish I could find a career path that I would be able to stick with for more than a month... Other than being a Shinigami-in-training's house keeper, of course."
"Let me be your teaching assistant!" Patty shouted gleefully.
"Um, I don't really think that I'm going…" Maka trailed off when Patty's eyes turned into something that looked like the pits of hell.
"I said, let me be your teaching assistant," the younger girl repeated in a slow, deadly tone. "I want to help the other children."
Maka felt that she had two choices at that moment: allow Patty to have what she wanted, or suffer an inevitable death.
"You can't be obligated to something like that, Patty," Liz said quickly, jumping in to do some damage control. "You have to help Kid and me on missions! You know how he doesn't like to only have one gun; we'd be dysfunctional without you!"
Patty seemed satisfied with this reasoning and Maka was saved from having to take care of the reckless girl as well as three hundred students.
"I'm very pleased that you decided to become a staff member at my father's school," Kid said professionally as he cleared his throat. His face softened with a smile and he ruffled Maka's wavy brown hair. "I think the new class is a great idea."
The class had been Maka's idea. After graduating from the DWMA, she came to realize just how outdated the text books were and how misinformed the students were on witches. She was hesitant about raising the issue up with Shinigami-sama, but after a little coaxing from her peers she decided to do it anyways. Witch Education was made an official mandatory class almost so instantly it made Maka's head spin. She hadn't expected to get the job as the teacher, but she figured that Shinigami-sama thought no one else was better to teach a class about witches than a witch.
"Thanks guys," Maka replied again genuinely. She frowned a little. "The kids still haven't warmed up to the idea that I'm a witch, though. I know they're nervous about having me as their teacher."
"They'll get over it when they see how lame you are," Black Star replied in attempt to cheer his friend up. Instead of thanks, he received a heavily overdue Maka Chop.
"I think you're over thinking it, Maka," Kid said with a shrug. "My father hasn't received any complaints from students or teachers about it at all. When Sid came back as a zombie, we were swamped with complaints. Don't worry about it too much."
"Really?" Maka's spirits climbed. "That makes me feel a lot better. I want to be able to teach those kids the right things about witches, but I can't do that if they refuse to let me. I guess, now that I think about it, they're not so bad after all with the idea."
"See?" Tsubaki smiled. "I bet they find it more exciting than scary. You're not the scary witch that they were told about growing up, so I'm sure they already know better than to assume all witches are bad."
"Yeah," Maka agreed. "I feel a lot better now."
"So where's Soul?" Liz asked as she glanced around the table checking to see if she missed him before.
"He's on a mission with a meister from Oceania," Maka said quietly. "He should be back later tonight. I'm hoping, at least."
The idea that her partner, and boyfriend, was with another meister hurt Maka more than she'd like to admit. She had grown so used to always being together on every mission that she had expected it to stay that way when she got her teaching job. Teaching took too much time and dedication for her to leave post for more than a week – especially since there were no other teachers qualified to control her class – so she wasn't able to go out on missions as often as she'd like. Soul was now a death scythe and, as soon as he ranked up enough points and the current one retired, he would eventually become Shinigami-sama's personal weapon.
He didn't have time to put his life on hold for Maka and she understood that, but it didn't make it hurt any less. The hurt was a mix of jealousy and fear. Jealousy of the other meisters for being able to use Soul because of the intimacy it took to wield a weapon like him. Fear that Soul would see that his long time partner wasn't as good after all.
She shook her head, moving the negative thoughts to the deepest, darkest corner of her mind and shut them up in a little box.
"Today's the ten year marker of our battle with Medusa," Kid said in sudden realization. "Are you going to go visit your mother's grave?"
"Yeah. I was going to stop by after my afternoon class with some flowers. I think my dad is supposed to be there, too, but you know him." She stuck out her tongue to hide her uneasiness. She knew very well what day it was; there wasn't a moment when she didn't recall what had happened ten years ago.
"Maka," Soul said softly as he shook his partner in order to gain her attention. "Hey, Maka, come on. A rescue team is here."
Maka stared at the glowing purple soul in her bleeding arms without moving. Blood from open wounds trickled down her forehead and stung her left eye, but she still remained unblinking. In her arms was the soul of Medusa – the witch that had tortured Maka for years was finally dead. Maka's hands still tingled from the feeling of slicing through the stolen body of her mother; it was an uncanny feeling of satisfaction.
"Is there anything wrong with this girl?" an unfamiliar, gruff voice asked.
"She's not responding to anything I say," Soul said in a rushed, almost panicky tone. "Medusa still can't posses her, can she…?"
"Medusa?" The rescue worker blinked for a moment of confusion before shaking his head. "Oh, the witch. No, she's long gone. If she didn't do it before her soul was exposed, then there is no way she can do it now."
"Then what's wrong with her?" Soul asked with a slight sound of relief playing with his voice.
"It looks like she's in shock. It's common in the younger fighters. They don't seem to register that the battle is over."
Maka was hearing everything the two were saying. She knew the fight was over – there was no use of denying something as obvious as that. Medusa's soul was clutched tightly in Maka's arms; no amount of shock could ignore that fact. She wanted to move and respond to Soul, but her brain couldn't make the correct waves in order to make her limbs and mouth work. Maybe it was the shock.
She felt herself be picked up and put on a gurney, but she didn't lie down. She allowed someone to remove Medusa's soul from her hands, but she didn't know who. Her arms fell limp into her lap and she stared blankly out of the window of the ambulance. She saw two others that carried her friends and Sid, but her mind was racing too much with replays of what had happened less than an hour ago to ask if they were okay.
A hand grasped hers tightly.
"It's going to be okay, Maka," Soul said. "You were really cool out there."
"Thanks, Soul," Maka managed to whisper, moving her warm green eyes to look at her partner. "You were pretty cool, too."
"I stopped by your mom's grave on my way here," Kid responded, pulling Maka out of her flashback. "It looks like your father was already there. Someone swept the alter and laid fresh flowers out already."
"Huh." Maka smiled. Despite his fickle ways, her father was always consistent with visiting her mother. When she was younger, she refused to believe that her playboy dad ever loved her beautiful mother, but now that she was older, she could see that he did.
"I say we all go out on a mission!" Black Star shouted happily. "Like old times! I can show you all how big I've grown. Someone who will surpass god never stops growing."
"That sounds like a great idea!" Liz exclaimed excitedly over Patty's cheering. She turned to the young Shinigami. "What do you think, Kid? Can you arrange something like that?"
"Sure," Kid smiled. "Making our schedules clear enough for one mission definitely shouldn't be difficult at all."
"Why don't you see if Crona and Ragnarok can join us, too?" Maka suggested. Black Star moaned before she could finish her suggestion but he was the only one who showed signs of objection.
"That kid is so weird, though!" The blue haired ninja complained.
"You're one to talk," Maka retorted with a huff. "Crona isn't weird; she's just… socially inept. You have to admit, she's a lot better now than she was when we first brought her here."
"Yeah, I guess," Black Star mumbled. He sat up a little. "When I first saw her, I couldn't tell if she was a boy or a girl. How did you find out? Can you see that with souls?"
"No. Souls can't tell gender. And, well, I never did find out if Crona was a girl or not," Maka admitted slowly. She shrugged. "It's just that I thought she was cute. So I decided on calling her a girl."
"So you mean she could be a he?" Liz asked in bewilderment. "What the heck, Maka! You didn't think to even ask?"
"I thought it'd be rude to!" Maka defended herself. "Besides, she hasn't objected to it so I don't think she cares either way."
"Or maybe she's too, as you say, socially inept to say anything," Kid mused thoughtfully.
"Shut up, guys! Boy or girl, Crona is Crona." Maka swiftly changed the subject. "This mission is going to be a lot of fun. I haven't done anything for Shibusen in forever."
The group of friends shared excited smiles. It had been at least a year since their joint mission and they all craved the power they were able to feed each other. Their Team Resonance had nearly perfected over the years due to the increase in their strength and minds. Of course, the clashing of their personalities – namely Black Star and Maka – caused them to slip up every once in a while. Time changed a lot of things for the seven meisters and weapons, but the ability to tolerate Black Star was limited still.
Somewhere in the center of the city a bell tolled in a flat tone, causing Maka to grab her bag and smile at her friends.
"That's me," she said as she laid money on the table to take care of her tab. "I'll see you guys soon."
The friends said their goodbyes and went in their own directions. Maka hurriedly walked to the DWMA, feeling official and satisfied with the greetings that the students gave her. She remembered all of their names and reminded them that they were going to need their text books for class. The halls of the school that shaped her into who she was that day looked exactly the same as they did the day she stepped foot in here to request permission to become a student.
She eyed the music room in the lobby as she passed it, just as she did every day, and thought fondly of the time where she met the strange boy with the silver hair who changed her life.
When she arrived in the classroom, she noted that two students – a brother and sister duo – that were always late sitting in their chairs. She frowned at the strange sight for a moment before feeling happiness – it seemed like she was finally getting her students interested in something she was passionate about.
"Good morning, Maka-sensei," the weapon named Theo said with a slightly strange smile.
"Good morning, Theo," Maka greeted as she sat her bag on her desk and removed her lesson plans. "Nice to see that you guys decided to be here early. Do you have anything you need to talk to me about?"
"Nah," responded Theo's meister and sister, Meagan. She leaned back in her chair and allowed her dusty blue hair to fall over her shrugging shoulders. "There was nothing else to do, so we just decided to come in here."
"Oh." Maka couldn't deny that she felt a little disappointed, but she knew that none of the students really wanted to come to school; they were obligated. She knew that she was a bookworm and she also knew that she shouldn't expect that from everyone else, too. Soul taught her that well enough early on in their partnership.
"Maka-sensei?" Meagan caught Maka before she turned away. "What star meister are you?"
"A three-star," Maka replied proudly. "I'll be a four-star meister soon enough."
"So you're strong." Theo's eyes narrowed a bit. It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes, I like to think that I am." Maka's chest swelled with pride again. She had worked hard to get to where she was today – most meisters were only two-stars at her age. She had even felt it was necessary for her father to dote on her when she received her third star.
"Do you think being a witch has anything to do with it?" Meagan asked. Her red eyes were wide with interest.
"Um, I'm not quite sure," Maka replied a little nervously. She felt like she was being drilled with questions from the two. A slow trickle of students started so the noise in the room grew to a sea of low mumbles and laughter. "It might, but no one knows for sure. Personally, I'd like to think that's its just normal power."
It was then she noticed that Meagan was starting to look a little uneasy. When Maka went to question her, however, she moved her gaze and turned around to talk to someone else as if she hadn't seen her teacher's worried eyes at all. Maka sighed. Teenagers were a mysterious lot. Even if she had been one only a couple years ago herself.
A higher toned bell rang, signaling class was beginning. Maka waited for a few students that were lagging behind to run in and grab their seats before starting.
Maka began to speak and her students listened – for the most part. She noticed in aggravation that a few had fallen asleep, but thankfully she only had to give out three Maka Chops instead of the double digits today. She wanted everyone to listen to what she was saying, especially with that day's topic. In respect of the ten year anniversary, she was going to teach about Soul Possession.
"How many of you know of ways that witches can posses a soul?" Maka asked, not expecting a verbal reply. A few hands went up and she nodded towards them in acknowledgment, continuing her lecture. "Humans don't have to give permission for their soul to be taken over since the difference in power is too strong. For you weapons and meisters, your soul can be taken against your will, but you have a chance to fight off the witch if your wavelengths are somewhat similar. Does anyone know how a witch can posses another witch?"
A girl in the front who reminded Maka a lot of herself raised her hand.
"Isn't it the same way for weapons and meisters?" the young meister asked, pausing from writing notes.
"That would be the common answer," Maka clasped her hands and shook her head, "but that isn't how it actually works. In most cases, when a witch posses another witch with a similar power level, permission needs to be granted. These deals are usually done with both witches benefiting, of course, but I know of at least one where it was not that case. I'm sure there have been others as well."
She took a slow breath and gave a few seconds for her students to catch up on their notes before she started her story. For ninety minutes, she told bits and pieces of what she went through ten years ago without disclosing that it was from personal experience. Most kids had already heard the story – it was almost a legend – of the half witch who defeated not just one witch, who happened to be her mother, but two witches in one body. Over the years the story became twisted and exaggerated, so it felt nice to finally clear it up.
"From what was seen, if it is not truly a mutual possession, the witch that was taken over will slowly be consumed until there are no remains of their wavelength. So far no one has been able to save a parasitic possession because the cases are so rare." Maka finished up her lecture in a timely manner, grateful that there were twelve minutes left in class so that there was more than enough time for questions.
As if they had read her mind, hands went up all over the classroom.
Maka called on Cassie, the girl who had answered her question before.
"Is it true that the half witch from that story was only twelve?" Cassie asked as she pushed up her glasses. Her black eyes were hungrily searching Maka's face as if the answers were written on there.
"No, she was sixteen," Maka answered swiftly. "She did fight a group of witches when she was fourteen, however."
"How could someone be able to kill her own mother? I would never be able to do that." a boy in the back asked without being called on. He often did this, Maka remembered, but at least this time he had his hand raised.
"Wait until you're called on, Alex," Maka chided before answering his question. "When you're fighting for the oath you took for Shibusen at your entrance ceremony, relations to your enemy shouldn't matter. In this case, her mother's soul was already consumed – she was killed by the witch Medusa, not her daughter. I'm positive it was still difficult, but it was the only option."
Maka bit her lip. She hated how professional and cold the answer sounded, but she was afraid that if she told the class it was her who had destroyed her own mother's body, they wouldn't be taking it with an unbiased mind.
"Why would a witch take over a weapon or meister if they knew there was a chance we could fight them away?" Theo almost challenged. "It seems stupid. Are witches all as stupid as the ones in the story?"
"Most witches have the ability of Soul Perception, so they can see if their victim's soul is strong enough to be taken over. It's extremely rare for a meister or weapon to fight off a witch, but it can happen," Maka replied with a sigh. "Theo, please don't use the term stupid. You can find other words that are less offensive to make your point."
"Oh, right. Didn't mean to offend you, Miss Witch," Theo replied coldly.
His dark eyes were still holding a challenging glint to them, but Maka chose to ignore it. She was seething with anger and annoyance, but with her teaching title, she wasn't allowed to go around beating up kids. Professor Stein had told her it was alright and perfectly healthy when necessary, but some of her morals just didn't allow her to listen to the mad scientist.
The idea that Theo and Meagan were up to 98 souls eased Maka's anger. Though Meagan wasn't troublesome, her brother had a rude attitude and frequently disrupted the class. She felt that he was entitled to his opinions, but he was completely missing the sole purpose of this class. It was to spread awareness about witches so that their predators, so to speak, wouldn't kill them all thinking that they were evil no matter what. She wanted to educate the Shibusen students and show them that evil was a mankind trait, not a certain race.
The bell rang and class was dismissed. All three-hundred students piled out of the class room impatiently – Maka was going to have to ask Shinigami-sama for permission to make the door larger. She had already used an enlarging spell on the classroom and was satisfied with the size of it, so she figured the spell would work just fine on the door as well. Due to it being in the middle of the year, she was unable to have multiple classes and piled all of the of age students into one class.
After packing her things and saying goodbye to the other teachers, she walked out of the school and into town. She went into multiple flower shops until she found the specific flower she wanted. She bought a dozen tiger lilies and walked to the outskirts of town where the cemetery was located.
The late afternoon sun hung low in the sky. Its soft panting signaled that it was almost time for the grinning moon to rise. Maka looked at her watch and almost gasped at what time it was – Soul would be walking through the door to their apartment any minute now. She paused at the gate of the cemetery and frowned. She wasn't used to managing her time poorly like this so now she wasn't sure what to do.
Eventually she decided that Soul could wait. She opened the rickety gate and walked in the dimly lit grave yard, moving the arrow tipped branches out of the way until she reached her mother's grave.
Kid was right about someone cleaning it up. Even though Maka tried to do it monthly, the trees were shedding unusually early so she knew it had been covered with decaying leaves. She squatted and ran her hand over the cool slate, moving her fingers along the groves that read:
A mother, a friend, and a savior.
Maka laid the tiger lilies next to the pink orchids her father had probably brought and smiled. The orange glow made the cool stone look warm and almost welcoming despite it being her least favorite color. It reminded her too much of Medusa's eyes and that was one thing she hated being reminded of.
"Hey, Mama," Maka said softly as she twiddled a blade of grass between her fingers. She knew that there was no body underneath the ground – all bodies disappeared once the hearts inside of them stopped beating – but she liked to talk to her mother's grave marker anyway. She felt it was the closest she could get to the woman. "Today is a special day for us, isn't it? I won't cry this time, promise."
Even though she was saying the words, tears stung her eyes and threatened to spill over. She wiped the tears away with a sad smile and mumbled, "Oops."
A cool breeze caused her hair to tickle her face and she sat on the ground, crossing her legs. She looked up at the slowly darkening sky as a memory of the first time she saw the grave swept over her.
"Maka, c'mon, where are you going?" Soul called after his running partner. They had been in the middle of dinner when she suddenly jumped up and took off out the house.
"I'm going to see Mama!" Maka shouted as she tried to hide her tear stained face. She had been putting it off until she realized it had been a year and a half since she defeated Medusa. It wasn't fair to herself or her deceased mother to not visit the memorial that was the last thing to represent her on earth. She didn't want Soul to think she was childish and weak for being so sentimental.
Her boots sloshed in the puddles left over from the rain that day and she felt her bare legs get muddy but she never stopped running. She made a few wrong turns and she hoped to god that Soul wasn't still following her because she knew he would laugh later. She bumped in to people without saying sorry and her feet wouldn't stop running long enough for her to help anyone up that she knocked down.
When she reached the tall wiry gate, she shoved through it and let it slam behind her, shaking the fence it was connected to. She slowed down into a jog, remembering that she didn't know where her mother's grave was exactly. As she was scanning the names on the headstones and flat marble markers she heard the gate slam again behind her. She ignored it.
She had to continuously wipe her eyes due to the nonstop flow of tears in order to see in front of her but, despite her ailment, she found what she was looking for.
Her knees collapsed when she let them rest. The ground was soft from the rain and she felt the mud ooze around her legs. She was almost sure if it weren't for the hands that grabbed her by the arms she would had sunk as far as the core of the Earth.
"Idiot," Soul's voice grunted from behind her. "If you wanted to come here all you had to do was ask."
Maka felt Soul slump down next to her and she leaned into him, feeling his heart beat as fast as hers was. Both of their chests heaved with heavy breaths from running across town, but neither of them complained. Maka clutched his arm for support and stared at the slab of marble until her mind stopped racing as fast as she was earlier and her breathing became normal.
She smiled and hung her head. "Sorry."
"It's cool," Soul replied with a small flash of his sharp teeth.
"Mama, this is Soul," Maka whispered to the unresponsive marker. "You met him kind of before, but I never got to introduce you two. He's my partner. He's the one you made a death scythe."
"Ah," Soul muttered uncomfortably. "Sup, Miss Kami."
"Kami-san," Maka corrected. "She's Japanese, dummy."
"Don't embarrass me when I'm trying to impress someone," Soul hissed as he gave his meister a little shove.
"Brush up on your culture then!" Maka exclaimed.
"You gave me no time to prepare!" Soul huffed exasperatedly. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants and gave a shiver – he hadn't had enough time to grab a jacket.
Maka giggled and wrapped her arms around him, bringing herself closer. She put her face into his warm chest. "Thanks, Soul."
"Yeah, yeah. Next time give me a heads up when you want to come here. I think I left the oven on."
"What are you? A middle aged woman?"
"No, I'm just someone who doesn't want to come home to a burnt down apartment!" Soul stood up with Maka. "You done here?"
Maka took one more look at the grave sight then brought her eyes back to Soul. She nodded.
"Yeah, let's go."
A small clatter and a whispered curse brought Maka out of her personal frame story and she jumped with surprise. The sun was still out but, thanks to the trees, the cemetery was dimly lit. The shadows were long and jumbled causing Maka's normal sight to betray her. She grabbed her Soul Perception and looked around, searching for the person who made the noise.
She found the two souls easily. The weapon and meister were crouched behind the nearest tree, shielding their bodies from being seen by the naked eye.
"I can sense souls, you know," Maka called out carefully, unaware of exactly who was there. "A sneak attack won't work on me."
"Che, should have known," a familiar voice replied. A figure stepped from behind the shadows and the orange dusk enveloped Theo. His glasses gleamed in the light, making his smile look almost sinister. "You did tell us that most witches have Soul Perception, didn't you?"
"Nice to see that you pay attention in my class, Theo." Maka stood up and wiped off the dirt on her black skirt, feeling less threatened than before. He was just a kid, after all. "What are you two doing here?"
Meagan stepped into the light as well. Her blue hair that was normally down was pulled into a tight bun and her red eyes looked like she was a little afraid. "We came to see you, Maka-sensei…"
"You could have waited until tomorrow," Maka replied with a sigh. She wasn't threatened, but that didn't mean that she wasn't uncomfortable. What was so important that they had to practically stalk her and invade her personal time with her mother's grave? She knew something was up. Her stance tightened.
"Your class has really opened my eyes, Maka-sensei," Theo continued, ignoring his teacher. "Enrolling in Shibusen really was the best idea that I've ever had. Your class told me exactly what we need to do to kill you." In a sudden flash, he turned to his weapon form and landed in Meagan's hands safely. He was a long pipe like object that funneled out on the end pointed towards Maka. She had never seen what weapon form he took before, but she knew that his attack had something to do with altering sound waves.
"Wait a minute," Maka shouted, backing up and covering up her ears. "As Shibusen students, you aren't allowed to harm anyone who isn't on Shinigami-sama's list! Witch or otherwise!"
"I don't care what you say," Theo snarled. "I don't care about that stupid oath, either! They were just a bunch of words. My brother and I joined for one reason and one reason only. That is to get enough training in order to kill every single witch we come in contact with. All we have to say was that the witch teacher Maka-sensei snapped and we resorted to self defense. Everyone would be on our side."
"But why?" Maka asked as she ceased her backwards stumbling. "Why would you want to do that?"
"The only people we have in the world are each other," Theo shouted, his reflection appearing in the stereo part of his weapon form, "thanks to a stupid witch! We've been alone for years preparing for this moment. Now we can finish our stay at Shibusen and I can become a death scythe, all in one go!"
Maka's heart beat hard against her rib cage until it felt like it would burst out. She was defenseless and at a loss – she couldn't use magic on the kids because it would give them a reason to attack her, but she couldn't just wait for them to attack first, either. Low hums of purple static sparked from her hands on pure instinct. She had no choice but to wait on the latter.
"I know what you're going through," Maka said desperately in attempt to gain time. "My mother was taken away from me by a witch and my father's time was consumed with his bad habits and Shinigami-sama! I've been alone, too."
"Don't put yourself on the same level as us," Meagan snapped. Her eyes narrowed into a dark glare. "You couldn't possibly understand anything. You're a witch! Just like the one that killed our parents."
"No, I'm not." Maka's voice was firm. "I'm not the witch that killed your mother and father. I'm nothing like her."
Meagan paused. For a moment, it looked like she didn't want to start attacking Maka. It seemed as if Theo was the dominant one in the partnership and Meagan was being manipulated to do whatever she was told.
"Meagan, calm down," Maka said slowly. "Just put Theo down and think about this. You know I don't want to hurt you guys."
"Shut up!" Meagan shouted. "Let's just get this over with, Theo."
"Just say the words, Meg," Theo growled in response.
Maka wanted to hear what Theo's starting words were, but the screech coming from him drowned everything out. The air around her vibrated and her ears rang loud enough that she thought her head was going to explode. Her hands still covered her ears, but it did little to nothing to help.
"Damnit," she cursed angrily. "I really don't want to use magic on you!"
"What are you talking about?" Theo thundered. His voice was somehow able to be heard over the sound waves that were attacking Maka. "You want to use magic more than anything. You want to kill us, don't you?"
"Honestly?" Maka shouted in reply. "Yeah, I do. You two brats are really starting to piss me off!"
Maka shot off a little bit of her magic in order to damage Theo enough to quiet him down, but Megan deflected it with ease. Right now, they were in control of the air. There was really nothing she could do other than hope someone heard the god awful screaming noise and came to help. She was at a heavy disadvantage here, even if she was half witch.
"Do you really think we would attack you knowing that there was a chance you could fight back?" Meagan frowned. "Just stay still so we can make your head explode."
For a moment, Meagan looked almost identical to Crona when they battled each other years ago. They had the same expression in their eyes. They were both similar, so maybe they both worked in similar ways…
The intensity of Theo's noise was insufferable. Maka covered her ears and whispered a silencing spell, but nothing happened. Her magic was stronger in the defensive area than any other since that's what she focused her training on. It was hard to believe that kids like Theo and Meagan were going to defeat her this easily. Anger boiled in the pit of her stomach – who were they to govern whether she lived or died because she was a witch? She was tired of it already.
She dropped her hands from her ears and grimaced. The sound Theo kept screaming was enough to make her ears bleed, but she didn't allow the amount of pain she was feeling to show on her face. She sent all of her magic pressure to the palms of her hands and began backing away calmly once more from her students. She knew she was going to have to keep a sane mind and a calm outer appearance if she wanted to stop these two.
Kid's voice boomed through the air, causing Maka and Meagan to jump in surprise. A red and black scythe landed in front of Maka and she instinctively grabbed it. Kid followed, clutching Liz and Patty in his hands.
"Theo and Meagan Sindz, in the name of my father, the Death Lord of Death City, I command you to return to your human form and stop this nonsense at once!" Kid thundered. His voice was filled with enough authority to cause Maka to freeze and Theo to stop his unbearable screaming.
"Shit," Meagan cursed. She obediently dropped Theo who landed with a thump on the ground.
"Idiot!" Theo shouted from his now silent weapon form. "Don't surrender that easily!"
"That's Shinigami-sama's son, Theo," Meagan whispered. Her eyes were wide and fearful of the young reaper. "Going against him is going against God himself."
"Cut your superstitious crap. I'll handle this on my own then." Theo flashed into his human form partly. His arm was in the shape of an elongated speaker that vibrated as he picked up enough sound waves to manipulate.
The scythe in front of Maka flashed and Soul appeared in the reflection of the blade. He looked awful with his hair shooting in different directions and dried blood on his chin. It was probably from his previous mission, Maka thought. His eyes were narrowed into a menacing glare.
"Don't even think about it. You're no match against a death scythe, idiot," Soul growled.
"Maka Albarn is an important friend of mine, as well as the rest of Death City," Kid continued. He had planned a speech on the way over here and he was going to force everyone to listen. "You may have heard of the legend of the half witch who defeated Medusa, the strongest witch Shibusen had opposed in years. The half witch would be Maka."
Meagan's eyes widened. "That was you?"
"I never said it wasn't," Maka huffed. "Sorry, my soul is a dud if you want to become a death scythe. I was trying to tell you that earlier."
"There are witches on my father's list that you can attend to if you'd like," Kid said as he lowered Liz and Patty, no longer feeling threatened by the two kids. "Anyone that kills a person that isn't on that list is considered someone on their way to becoming a Kishin. I don't believe that you would want your fellow classmates to begin hunting you, do you?"
"I don't care." Theo's eyes were hard. They were glaring at Maka with such intensity, she felt herself falter.
"Stay strong, Maka," Soul whispered. It was disappointing that those were the first words he spoke to her in weeks. "We'll take care of this punk."
"Theo, what are you saying?" Meagan looked worried for her brother. "I didn't know all of this… Now that I'm thinking about it, it's not really worth it! She's not even a full witch!"
"Are you telling me you don't remember how our lives have been for the past six years?" Theo was still aiming his stereo arm at Maka, but his cold dark eyes were set on his sister. "Are you saying that you don't care that our parents were killed for nothing but the fun of it?"
"Of course I care! Why else do you think I've been going along with your ridiculous plan for this long?" Meagan snapped. Her face softened. "You're my brother and I love you, but this… I know this is wrong."
"There's nothing wrong with taking out the trash," Theo snarled in response.
"Your sister is right and you're wrong. Be a man and face it," Kid sighed. "This is really troublesome. I have important manners that I need to be handling at my own home and you are putting a damper on my strict nightly schedule. You do realize that I haven't measured all of the portrait's distance on the walls, correct? There could be an uneven amount of space between my pictures and do you know what that means? Where there is evenness, there is symmetry. Where there is symmetry, there is happiness." His golden eyes narrowed, giving his face a frightening glow. "Do you really want to be the sole reason of my unhappiness?"
Theo gulped. He didn't want to be apart of any reason for the young grim reapers lack of happiness, much more the sole reason for it.
"If we are at a clear understanding now and you promise not to attack any of my friends or citizens of Death City, I'll escort you to the Death Room. My father would like to have a word with you." Kid spun his pistols around his pinkies and tossed them in the air. Liz and Patty appeared and landed safely on their feet, looking just as pleased as their meister was for having the conflict end so soon.
"He means both of you," Liz grunted as she grabbed Meagan's collar while she was trying to escape. She sighed heavily. "Really, kids in Death City don't have what it takes to be delinquents. None of them would last a day on Brooklyn's streets."
The five walked out of the graveyard with two of them holding their heads low, leaving Maka and Soul alone. Maka blinked; she wasn't sure if it was really over or not and neither did her witch blood – it still boiled and sparked almost excitedly inside of her.
"Are you alright, Maka?" Soul asked as he turned into his human form. His tired eyes scanned her to see if she had any visible wounds.
"Yeah, I'm fine. My ears are ringing a little, but that's all." Maka smiled at her old partner. "You always seem to come at the right time."
"Yeah, well, a few of your students caught wind of what those two were planning and alerted Shinigami-sama. Kid met me right at the door to our apartment complex and said that you were in trouble." He yawned. "Glad that's over, though. I'm beat. Good thing they aren't half as stubborn as you are."
"Good thing your death scythe status scared them," Maka corrected as she looped her arm in Soul's. "What do you want for dinner?"
"Anything. I'm starved."
"Can do," Maka smiled again and started walking. She shot one last glance at her mother's grave and wondered if she was watching the whole time. It seemed ridiculous but somewhat plausible. The two walked in an awkward silence for a few blocks before Maka broke it. "So, how was your mission?"
"Like the rest of them, I guess." Soul shrugged. "Three witches were trying to start an army, but we stopped them. Callie works crazy fast."
"Ah, Callie." The name felt foreign on Maka's tongue and sparked a flow of jealousy. "Is she a good meister?"
"She's really good," Soul nodded enthusiastically. "We have the same favorite band, too. We listened to their CD most of the time we were together and it got us really pumped."
"Oh," Maka squeaked. "That's great." The tone of her voice didn't match the words she was saying even if she did try. "She's the one you went out on a mission with last month too, right?"
"Oh yeah. Huh. I forgot."
Even though he didn't know it, Soul's forgetfulness made Maka feel a little less jealous. Take that, Callie, she thought with a somewhat spiteful smile. Just because Callie understood Soul's love for music, shared a love for the same band, and was able to be his meister, it didn't mean Soul shared a love with her. No, that wasn't Callie's territory. It was Maka's.
"Well, I'm glad you're back in one piece," Maka said when they reached their apartment building. She stole a glance around them to make sure no one was watching before placing her lips on Soul's cheek. She felt her cheeks redden and she quickly ducked her head before Soul could notice; he would never let her hear the end of it if he knew that he still made her blush like a little girl.
"Hey, Maka?" Soul asked once they got inside of their apartment. He plopped down on the couch and signaled for Maka to follow. When she did, he continued. "Do you miss being my only meister?"
"Wha… What do you mean?" Maka stammered in embarrassment. She was sure to be careful about her expressions when she was around him and maintain face so that he wouldn't get worried. Unless Soul was a mind reader, he shouldn't know how she felt.
"I mean, do you ever feel a little jealous of the other people who are my partners on missions?" Soul uselessly elaborated; Maka knew exactly what he meant the first time, she just didn't want to admit it.
"No," she lied stubbornly. "Why would I?"
Soul got so close to Maka's face that she could feel his cool breath on her cheek. His red eyes were intense with his serious question, but they held a playful glint as well. A shiver ran up her spine and she turned her face away from him, blowing her cover.
"You know what I think?" he asked quietly.
"It's probably stupid," Maka mumbled as she crossed her arms, moving away from him.
"I think you're a liar," he whispered. "I know when something's up with you, Maka, and after talking to everyone else, I know what it is." He closed the new distance between the two and smiled a wicked smile. "You're jealous."
"I am not!" Maka huffed in aggravation. "Why can't you just accept it? Jeez, Soul. I knew you were conceited, but this is –!"
He cut her rant off by catching her lips with his. She put her hands on his chest and tried to shove him away, but something didn't let her use all of her strength. She'd missed him too much in the past two weeks to allow herself to push him away, but it didn't mean that a small part of her wanted him off. He was too close. If he got even an inch closer, the truth would come out and he would laugh.
"So where is this jealousy coming from?" Soul asked casually when they separated. He leaned back on the couch and looked at her through one open eye. "If it's not of the other meisters, is it because the other meisters are mostly girls?"
Maka swallowed and shook her head while trying to recompose herself. "I don't care about that. I don't care about any of it!"
"Why can't you just be honest with me?" Soul almost snapped as he sat up and looked at her crossly. "We were partners for over a decade. You can't tell me you feel nothing after all that." He paused, quirking an eyebrow. "And if it's about the girls, you don't have to worry about that. You kind of blacklisted me on the girlfriend department since not too many people would be happy to know that you're a witch."
"Yeah, well, having a death scythe as a boyfriend isn't a walk in the park for finding guys," Maka snapped in retaliation. She was a little hurt for Soul not taking this seriously enough. If he wondered why she wasn't being upfront about her envy, the way he was handling it was an answer in itself.
"Why? Have you checked?" Soul accused.
"No, I haven't. Have you?" Maka shot back, narrowing her green eyes.
"What kind of idiotic question is that? Of course I haven't!" Soul exclaimed. He slumped down and huffed like a child. "Stupid woman."
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Maka looked everywhere in their small living room except for at Soul. She noticed that the shelves needed dusting and that a picture frame wasn't straight enough. She would have noticed more, but she was too hyperaware of the man breathing in annoyance next to her.
"How would you feel if I decided to wield another weapon?" Maka finally asked, still refusing to look at her boyfriend.
"Nothing," Soul admitted nonchalantly. When Maka shot him a glare finally, he cracked a smile large enough to reveal all of his sharp teeth. "Just kidding. I'd probably beat them to a bloody pulp." His eyebrows furrowed. "No, not probably. Definitely. I'd definitely kick the shit out of them."
"What if it was something I had to do?" Maka whispered, hiding her happiness that came from his violent answer. "What if it was my job?"
"Oh," Soul frowned. He finally understood what Maka was trying to say. He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. "I guess I would be quiet about it and let you do your thing. But I'd still be pissed."
"Exactly." Maka leaned back against the couch and looked at the ceiling, too.
"Listen," Soul started. He was being more careful with his words now that he knew what was going through Maka's mind. "You were right to keep quiet about how you were feeling for the most part in your mind, I guess, but you have to tell me what's going on up there." He tapped his head. "It pisses me off when I know something wrong with you, but I don't know what."
"There's tons of things wrong with me, Soul," Maka said crossly. She had a rough night – Theo and Megan's confrontation upset her far more than she let on – and she didn't want to deal with Soul's games. "Ten years ago today, I watched my own mother be eaten and then I had to destroy her body. I'm stubborn. I made straight A's my entire school life, but even with that under my belt I'm only book smart. I'm a three-star meister but – let's face it! – I'm not that great of one. I don't understand music on your level and we don't have the same favorite band. Just an hour ago, two of my students who I tried my hardest to make understand witches tried to kill me. Everything I worked so hard for is leaving me because I'm a witch!" She threw her hands up in defeat. "You, too! Even you're leaving me!"
"I'm not leaving you!" Soul shouted, grabbing for Maka's hands. He grasped them tightly. "I'm not going to deny the fact that you're stupid because, well, you are. Are you the best meister in the world? No. But you're still really good at it. You can't be the best at everything, but you're the best at a lot of things. Even though you were attacked by two students, I know just as well as you do that tomorrow you're going to go back to that damn school and continue trying to teach those close minded pricks. There are tons of things wrong with me, too, Maka!" He let go of one of her hands to tap hard on his skull again. "I've got a frickin' demon in my mind from the black blood that's been pumping through my veins for ten years!"
Maka stared at him in stunned silence. They fought a lot like they always had, but Soul rarely ever mentioned the demon in his mind. The last time they brought it up was when they were fighting a strong witch a few years ago and they were forced into a corner with no way out. He hadn't wanted to use the demon's help – he never did. But they ended up using it – they always did.
"No one is going to leave you, Maka," Soul said with a sigh. "If they do, they weren't worth keeping anyways. Look at Black Star. He's been your friend since you guys weren't old enough to even think about going to Shibusen and has he once said anything to make you think that he didn't like you because you were a witch?"
"No," Maka replied hesitantly. Black Star had said a lot of things to her in the past that could have ruined their childhood friendship, but that was never one of them.
"Did you see how Kid protected you tonight? He's the future head of Shibusen and you've shown him enough to know that not all witches are bad. Liz is scared of everything and can't even look Sid in the eye, but she's your friend. Tsubaki and Patty…" Soul paused. "Well, they're friends with everyone, but they don't have to like you and they do."
Maka blinked. It was all she could do. She had no idea that Soul was capable of saying something like that before and it rendered her speechless. She wanted to thank him, but she didn't think a simple 'thank you' would suffice the relief he fed her.
"And me," he continued, pulling her closer. "For some reason, I love you. You're a pain in the ass, but there's something about you that makes me want to keep you around. You really are the biggest idiot I know, but it's going to take a hell of a lot more than that to make me want to leave you. Got it?"
Maka nodded dumbly, not knowing what else to do. She hated her insecurities but she hated voicing them even more. Most of the time, she stayed quiet about them but moments like this came around every so often.
"Thank you," Maka whispered into Soul's ear. She saw a satisfying shiver run through him and smiled. He wasn't as tough as he claimed. She knew that she had just as much hold over him as he did her.
She meant it, too – her thank you. She'd always believed the things Soul had just told her, but a small voice that sounded much like Medusa's always said she was too full of herself to think such things. Her insecurities didn't all go away in that instant, but she really believed that they eventually would. She was still young and had tons of time to correct those nearly fatal flaws of hers. With her friends – especially Soul – always by her side she felt it was more possible than ever.
"You've definitely put some sort of spell on me," Soul accused mockingly. "Why else would I want a woman as stubborn as you?"
"They do say to never trust a witch, right?" Maka teased, twirling her fingers into his white hair.
His red eyes met hers and a lazy smile spread against his lips. "Guess I should have listened to them, huh?"
"Nah," Maka giggled.
"Yeah," Soul said slowly in a low voice. "You're right."
Then he kissed her.