A/N: I haven't read or watched Soul Eater in a while, but it's still one of my favorites. So I got this idea... Maka freaking out about asking someone out. And a few paragraphs in, I had an idea to improve upon it... you'll see ;)

This is one of my favorite couples. Soul's always protecting Maka, and she's always so sweet and yet so stubborn. Plus, she has Daddy issues. Anyway, please enjoy!

Disclaimer: No, lawyers, I don't own Soul Eater. And now you can't sue me, either.

The brick wall smelled like warm clay and old cigarettes. Maka was in a good position to know- she'd been huddled against it for half an hour now, trying not to have a panic attack. Oh for Pete's sake! She told herself, clenching her gloved hands into fists, I destroyed a Kishin! This should be way easier. Ugh, I need to get control of myself.

"Maka-chan?" a worried voice called, and Maka looked up. A shadow had passed over her, and if she squinted through the gloom she could make out the tall, slender figure of her friend Tsubaki. "Are you okay, Maka-chan? Are you hurt? It's not safe to sit there, you know. There's broken glass," Tsubaki told her, pointing to the gleaming shards that littered the alley.

Sighing heavily, Maka pushed herself to her feet. "Sorry, Tsubaki-chan. I was just worried about something, that's all!" she assured the black-haired girl. Why did Tsubaki have to come by now? He should be here any second! Don't tell me I'm going to have to wait till tomorrow again, and spend another night freaking out. Fretting, Maka pushed her pigtails back from her face, hoping they hadn't absorbed the odor of cigarettes that permeated the alley. He would never like her if she smelled like cigarettes!

"Are you sure, Maka-chan? You look really pale. Maybe you should go home. Why are you out here, anyway? Isn't your apartment just a few blocks away?" Tsubaki pressed, a look of concern in her dark, wide eyes. Maka summoned up a weak grin. It was pretty much impossible to hate Tsubaki, who was sweet as sugar without the teeth-rotting effects.

"It's okay. Sorry for making you worry. Yeah, I guess I will just go home now," Maka said, feeling the pit in her stomach grow larger.

Back in the apartment, which was deserted, Maka fell to pacing. This should not have been so difficult, really! Why hadn't she just told him a week ago, anyway? She, Maka Albarn, was worried about asking out a boy? She reminded herself again that she'd destroyed a Kishin, survived Shinigami's school, managed to summon the self control to not kill either the loud Black Star or the obsessive Death The Kid. If she could do that much, this should be no trouble. Yet her heart was pounding in her chest; her knees felt wobbly; her mind kept randomly seizing on random details like the way the light bounced off the coffee table. Vaguely, she wondered if her beloved mother had had this much trouble when she tried to talk to Spirit.

Courage, Maka reminded herself. It was too late today, but she swore that she'd definitely ask him tomorrow. Definitely. No matter what!

The door opened with an eerie, drawn out creak. Maka rolled her eyes. "Soul, I told you not to do that!" she shouted. "It's not even scary anymore, it's just annoying. Anyway, just go put some WD-40 on it or something," she ordered, as the white-haired boy chuckled.

"Geez, Maka, what's your problem today? You're not normally that bitchy," he commented in his slow drawl. Maka flushed.

"Just shut up, Soul. I'm not having a good day, that's all." Great. Now Soul was going to annoy her all evening, and she'd have absolutely no chance at all to dwell on her crush. Actually- that might be a good thing. Maka turned to face Soul, taking in his wide grin, the sloppiness of his hair, the signature slouch. Maka could not remember a single occasion when Soul had looked genuinely presentable.

"Sorry," Maka muttered, aware that she had, in fact, been a bitch already and he hadn't been in the apartment for five minutes yet. "I'll make dinner tonight, okay? What do you want?" she asked, attempting to atone. But Soul shook his head, grinned at her again.

"No, let's go out to dinner to celebrate that mission we just finished," he suggested lazily, and Maka could hardly say "No, I'd rather slave away in the kitchen." She nodded eagerly, feeling her bad mood dissipate. It was hard to be angry around Soul. For some reason, even if he was the most frustrating boy on the planet, he was still her best friend, the person who could undo all the knots that lingered in her weary shoulders. It was Soul who was there to remind her that she didn't have to carry the entire world by herself.

The shadows were lengthening, the air taking on the silvery quality of twilight as they walked down the street. Above them, a cloudless sky did nothing to trap the quickly escaping heat, and Maka wished she'd brought a heavier jacket. It was tolerable now, but by the time they headed home she would be just freezing. Well, it's too late to head back now. We're already half way to the restaurant.

By the time they stepped into the place, with its dim golden lights and greasy counters, Maka's stomach was rumbling. She'd forgotten, in her anxiety, to eat lunch. Soul noticed, raised an eyebrow at her. "I skipped lunch," Maka explained in a small voice, looking down. For some odd reason, the intensity of Soul's gaze made the floor seem very interesting and her face feel very hot.

"Skipping meals," Soul told her in his low voice, "is not cool." Maka almost laughed at that. It was so- not predictable, no- reliable. Soul could be counted on to sort the world into cool and not cool, and for some reason it made Maka feel safe, like a routine. "Sorry," she said, but her face had split into a smile.

"Oh, it's Maka-chan!" a voice called, and Maka looked away from Soul, startled. Who…? OH. MY. G-D. It's him! OMG OMG is my hair a disaster? Why'd I wear this! I bet I look like a cow, Maka fretted, trying to subtly smooth out her skirt. She had had no inkling that her crush worked here, at the very diner she and Soul liked to frequent.

"Oh, um, hi!" Maka squeaked, and she felt that cold intensity of Soul's gaze. She suppressed a sigh, knowing exactly what was going through his mind: how uncool of her to act like this.

"Here, Maka-chan, you two can sit here," the boy said, directing Soul and Maka to a pleasant booth by a window. Maka took deep breaths, drawing in the air that smelled of oil and grease and frying potatoes. "So," the boy continued, sweeping back his hair, "are you two on a date? I didn't know you had a boyfriend, Maka-chan."

"N-no! That's not it at all! He's not my boyfriend," Maka protested loudly, drawing a few stares. She felt her cheeks burn, and glancing at Soul saw an unreadable expression in his suddenly hard eyes. "We're… we're just friends, that's all," Maka muttered. What's wrong with Soul all of the sudden?

"Oh! I'm so sorry, I just thought you two were going out. So you don't have a boyfriend, Maka-chan?" the waiter asked, and Maka looked down at her fumbling fingers. "Well…," she began, unsure what to say. This was exactly the sort of opportunity she'd been waiting for, but… she couldn't very well ask Mr. Dreamy out in front of Soul! There was something incredibly and inherently wrong with that situation. She'd rather confess her love in front of her father Spirit; even that would feel less awkward.

"Just give us the usual," Soul said, too sharply. Maka looked up at him, surprised. Sitting across from her, he seemed oddly tense, his posture hard and unfriendly. Why are you being like this? I don't understand! Maka fretted, her brow furrowing.

"Uh, o-okay," the waiter said, placing them down quickly and backing away. He shot Maka a look that she couldn't read, one that was something of concern and some other, alien emotion.

Maka turned on Soul, upset. "Soul! Why'd you have to be like that? You… you do realize, don't you, that I like him?" she demanded, her voice soft but shrill. Tears were beginning to form in the corners of her wide green eyes. It wasn't fair! Now the boy would never speak to her again, all because of Soul.

"Yeah, I did know! Why? Why do you like him, Maka? What's he ever done?" Soul pressed, leaning forward. It occurred to Maka with a start that they were only a few inches apart now, and she fell back against her seat, blushing for the umpteenth time this evening.

As she tried to think of a response, a waitress brought the food, setting it down wordlessly and stalking off. Maka wrinkled her nose at the sound of cigarettes and went back to fighting with Soul.

She glared back at him, angry. How dare he insult her crush! "He, he's really nice," Maka proclaimed, wracking her brain for the exact reason. He'd helped her once, hadn't he? Helped her pick up some things she'd scattered on the street, then flashed her that dazzling smile he had while looking at her with those dreamy eyes… Yet as she tried to focus on the details, they slipped away. She couldn't quite picture the scene, the way the sun had felt on her shoulders, the way her heart had sped up when she looked at him. Instead, her mind would only summon an image of Soul grinning at her in that reckless way he had, or Soul leaning over a bridge, grabbing her just as she fell. What's going on here? I'm so confused.

"Fine. He's really nice. And I bet you think he's hot or something," Soul said, and Maka found the bitterness in his voice at once frightening and amusing. I get it now! Oh, Soul, this is too funny, Maka thought, suppressing a giggle.

"Ne, Soul, are you… jealous?" Maka asked, and from the way he flinched she knew she'd hit the nail on the head.

"Shut up! Of course not, that's not cool at all," Soul muttered. "I just don't get why you'd fall for a guy like him!"

"Well- I don't get why Blaire gives you a nosebleed!" Maka returned, and was rewarded by seeing Soul's face flush crimson. Ha! Point for me.

"I'm a guy, okay? It's like that. Do I have to draw you a picture or something?" Soul shot back, his hands palm down on the table now, using his height as an advantage. In the past few years, he'd shot up past her, so that she had to look up to meet him in the eye.

"No, no, I get it," Maka said, sighing. "It's still annoying, though."

"Why? Are you jealous, Maka?"

"Wh-what? No way! I'm not jealous at all! Nothing like that! Hey, stop laughing," she ordered. Soul was indeed laughing now, chuckling darkly into his hand.

"Fine. Whatever. But you are jealous," Soul said, and she flushed. My head's spinning so much I might be jealous, Maka thought. Do I like Soul? Is that possible?

Maka opened her eyes, not realizing she'd even closed them, in time to see Soul's face drawing closer, and closer. His red eyes were only inches from hers, and she felt her heart pound suddenly, a message drum to tell her mind to short-circuit. Thought fled, and the only thing Maka could concentrate on was the way Soul's breath felt against her face, then the way his lips felt against hers- Wait a second! His lips! Omigawd, he's kissing me, Maka had time to think before that thought, too, scattered like a cloud in high wind.

It felt so good, so perfect, so right. His lips were hard but not insistent, and she wondered how she'd been able to survive so long without this feeling. Heat flooded her body; her heart was so loud the whole diner must be able to hear it.

When they broke apart, finally, they were both blushing; both had uneven breath and an awkward smile. It was Maka who broke the silence. "Soul… does this mean I'm a liar now?"

"What, for telling the waiter we're just friends? Probably. Maka, don't you know it's uncool to lie?" Soul teased, and Maka grinned.

"Well, it wasn't a lie when I said it," she defended.

"Maybe it wasn't for you," Soul told her, and looked down for a second. I didn't know Soul could be cute.

Walking home later that night, Soul grabbed Maka's hand with a swift, almost guilty gesture. Maka looked up at him, laughter in her eyes. The buildings of Death City were spread out around them, the desert sky full of stars high and cold above their heads. Maka clutched his fingers tightly, happiness spreading through her body like never before. Even though she was freezing, just as she'd predicted, she felt warm inside.

"Are you cold?" Soul asked, his voice gruff with embarrassment. Maka remembered that Soul had never had a girlfriend, didn't know what he was doing. She found it totally endearing. The cold, clear air was whipping through her clothes, but before she even opened her mouth to say "yeah" Soul had taken off his careworn jacket; he draped it on her shoulders with an odd, unexpected tenderness.

"Thanks, Soul," Maka whispered, stepping closer and bridging the distance between them. They walked back to the apartment in silence, their shoes sharply tapping the pavement so that echoes followed them down the deserted streets.

Things had changed, Maka could already tell. He held the door to the apartment building open for her, which he had only done before if her arms were full; his protectiveness had somehow changed its aura from that of a weapon to its meister to that of a man to his beloved. Maka read volumes in each gesture, and her heart felt so full that it might spill over.

"MAKAAAAA-CHAAN! AND YOU! GET YOUR HANDS OF MY PRECIOUS DAUGHTER! WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING HER? MAKA-CHAN, GET AWAY FROM HIM," a voice yelled, histrionic and grating. Maka and Soul, in the hallway that lead to their apartment, turned to face their door. A man, suit-clad and with unkempt red hair stood by the door, tears streaming down his face. The young woman beside him curled her catlike mouth in amusement.

"Papa! Go away! I hate you," Maka shrieked, trying to run forward. Soul refused to relinquish her hand, so they stood together, facing the man who was, unfortunately, Maka's un-beloved father.

"Why are you with that boy? Why are you holding hands? You can only hold your Papa's hands, don't you know that? Get away from each other!" Spirit wailed, clutching his face in his hands. Soul muttered, for Maka's ears alone, "So uncool," and Maka could only agree.

"We're holding hands because I like her, old man," Soul said, and then, to get the point across, he kissed Maka again, with Blaire's cackle lingering in the air.

To get into the apartment that night, the two had to step over Spirit's unconscious form. He'd fainted, of course, and neither his daughter nor her weapon was inclined to nudge him awake.

A/N: So what'd you guys think? Please take a moment to review. Remember, when you don't review, the Norse god-squirrel Ratatosk tells everyone, because he's the original gossip. Anyway- if you review, I promise to review something of yours!