Author stuff: Just a shorty to make up for my absence and lack of Amp. Iloveyoudon'thurtmeeee. Thanks to CV for being witness to my terrible grammar and habit to slip into present tense.
Marsh of Sleep does not own any part of Soul Eater or Incubus or the Smurfs?
Maka found herself at the wrong end of an impassive scythe.
This was new for her. She'd taken for granted the sharpness of blades. Maka had always considered Soul's weapon form as a part of her own body, like another arm or foot. So familiar with him, the scythe had felt about as dangerous to her as her own fist.
Her first instinct was to become indignant. Perhaps this was her first mistake.
"Soul, what the hell?" Maka pushed against the flat of the blade that protruded out of his forearm with her palm. "Are you seriously threatening me?"
He held his arm steady as he moved in closer, allowing him to peer flatly at her from only a foot away. "Sorry, this was the best I could come up with on short notice," he deadpanned with a glance over to the hall table. Resting on its surface was the answering machine that displayed the current time.
The table's edge was digging uncomfortably into her hip. The point of his blade was a hair's breadth from her windpipe, which gave her little to no chance of escape. She knew that all she had to do was order him away, but it was the principle of the thing! He shouldn't have been threatening her in the first place!
"Soul, you're acting like my father. I'm going to be late," she insisted, trying to move to either side of the deadly blade aligned with her throat. He gave her zero room for error without the threat of marring her neck, and even less consolation.
"That's the idea," he said, emotionless.
"Why are you making such a huge deal about this?" Which was a strange question to feel on her lips in the first place, as Soul's version of 'a huge deal' was to apathetically hold her hostage with a bored tilt to his head.
He answered her question with another, with the tiniest bit of irritated undertones. "Are you having a contest with Oni to see who drives me insane first?" Fiery slivers watched her as she groped the table beside her, searching for something to chop him with. "No encyclopedias here, bookworm."
So she smashed him in the head with the cordless telephone instead. The plastic shell covering split open and clattered loudly to the floor along with the weapon.
"I can improvise, jackass!" Maka stomped to the entryway of their apartment, angrily flinging on her shoes. She kept fumbling with the dainty ankle straps of her dress heels because her fingers wouldn't stop shaking in fury.
Her partner peeled himself off the floor. Soul hurriedly raced to the door to force it shut just as she tried to wrench it open. His body pressed against her back, herding her into the door like livestock. Penned between twin curving blades that dug into aged wood, Soul's words cut into her as deftly as his arms could.
"You say 'improvise', but I didn't think that applied to men, as well."
Just what was he implying? Maka jabbed him in the gut, proud of her bony elbows. He didn't budge, his blades helping anchor him to the door. Soul grunted and hissed angrily behind her, the first emotion-filled sound she'd heard from him in awhile. Warm air crashed against her left temple while he tried to regain his breath.
"The hell would you know, anyway. He came to me, okay?"
"Kirikou?" Skepticism. What, was Kirikou too much out of her league? "Do you even like that guy?"
"I don't dislike him! He's funny, he's responsible, and he probably doesn't turn against his partners, either-"
"I. Would. Never. Hurt you," he said in a contradictory warning growl.
"Then why the hell are you threatening me?"
"Because this is wrong!" His tone was accusatory, emotion slowly seeping in. "I can't..! I don't understand why you're..."
This was dangerous. She was so close to the finish line, and she needed to get out of here before things got even more complicated. "Soul, let me g-"
He cut her off before she could finish the order. "Why did you say yes?" He suddenly roared at her, his voice ricocheting off of the door and ringing painfully in her ears.
The urgency in his voice spurred her to yell back just as loud, her forehead pressed against trembling wood. "Because I didn't have a reason to say no!"
Soul had never given her one.
Kirikou was friendly and attractive, and she respected him as a meister - so when he had asked her out, she had agreed. She had taken a step for herself, hoping that it would be the first of many to dissolve unfulfilled dreams. So here she was, dolled up and smelling like a girl, legs still stinging from razor burn, testing uncharted waters with a brave face.
Here she was, facing a splintering door, caged by her overprotective, enigma of a weapon that had decided to make things difficult just as she was one step away from letting him go.
Soul's breathing became more even and controlled against the side of her head. His voice was collected when he spoke again. "If I give you a reason, will you stay?"
Maka's heart leaped despite the firm grip she had thought she had on it.
No. She had given up already. She was finally doing something constructive with her stunted love life after having waited years for something that would never happen, and then he- her weapon, her partner- had the nerve to threaten her with the blade she trusted because...?
"A weapon at my throat is not enough reason," she seethed.
Quietly, almost so silent that she barely heard him, he said against her hair, "All I am is your weapon, Maka."
Her eyes burned. There. Was that so hard? Finally, an answer to her endless waiting. A weapon and nothing more. He could not or would not love her. Fine.
Maka wondered why her heart suddenly felt a few thousand feet lower than before, melting in the earth's core, obliterated. Soul waited silently for her reply, as if his 'reason' had somehow justified his confusing actions.
"If you're my weapon, then let me go," she whispered, afraid that the waver in her voice could be detected at even that volume.
Blades slowly phased into taut, tanned skin. Instead of steel, his nails dug into the scarred door, the noise grating and making her spine crawl. From the corners of her eyes, she saw his hands clench and unclench, and then suddenly his right hand made a fist and collided into the door, the noise deafening her and thundering through the apartment. Soul abruptly backed away from her with a frustrated howl that made her insides uncomfortably pinch. Maka didn't move, waiting until she heard him go down the hallway to his own room, slamming the door behind him. Her breath came out shakily- half like a sob.
Maka eyed the two-tone fragments of wood that jutted out at odd angles before her. If he didn't love her, why had he tried so hard to make her stay?
She rapped lightly on his door. Her feet already hurt from her stupid dress heels, though she'd only worn them for twenty minutes. Bass-less music from his laptop blared from behind his door, so she knocked again with more force. After a moment, the din quieted and his door slowly opened. He was draped in yellow-tinged silhouette, courtesy of lamplight that painted the walls of his room and poured over her carefully-picked outfit and wasted effort.
He sounded genuinely surprised to see her. "What're you still doing here?" he blurted.
A fine question. Why was she there? She could have been eating steak or something, but instead she had wrapped the phone together with electrical tape and cancelled with Kirikou. She could have been enjoying her evening- why had she even knocked on his door?
Perhaps she sucked at improvising after all. "I really don't know." She crossed her arms, looking off to the side plaintively. "I told him I had a sore throat," she glowered at him in the corner of her eye for emphasis a moment, "-but I'll need a better reason to say no next time."
With a stupid, die-hard spark of desperation, Maka had abruptly wished for him to check her neck for damage that wasn't there. Soul didn't, of course. He lurked in his doorway, leaning on the jamb to eye her with a wary look she could feel. Guitar riffs and driven beats hollowly echoed to her and down the hallway.
He merely stated, "Liar. I would never hurt you."
Maka waited five breaths. Background music changed to a different track. Her weapon only exuded more silence.
Nothing again. She didn't know why she even bothered to give him another chance. She sighed, lifelessly waving him off with a hand while she turned away. Her high heels noisily clip-clopped on the floor as she headed to her room. Behind her, she heard Soul quietly close his door, music fading into a muffled thrum.
She tried to tell herself that steak would have tasted like ash and defeat anyway.
Facing her own shadowy door, Maka glared at the uninjured wood. Raising her arm, her hand made a fist to deliver a deathblow. Her knuckles smashed into flesh.
"Wouldn't do that if I were you. It hurts like a bitch."
"WUAAHH!" Maka's eyes became dinner plates. She backpedaled away from the weapon who she'd thought was back in his room. Soul's grip on her hand made fleeing difficult. Maka tripped on her heels, and her partner skidded along the floor, belatedly letting her hand go. She fell backwards with little elegance, the wall catching her.
Soul stood awkwardly before her, arms out and confused. He idly shook out the hand he'd caught her fist with. He sounded like he didn't really expect an answer when he asked, "You okay?"
Maka tried to catch her breath while she slid down to the floor, her dress noisily skimming drywall and baseboards. "Just scared shitless, thanks," she breathed.
"My bad." Was that a hint of guilty amusement? The weapon squatted to the floor and lightly untangled her foot caught underneath her opposite leg. He unbuckled an ankle strap, gently pulling the blasted torture device off her aching and possibly twisted foot. He continued with the other. "You're a lot more graceful in combat boots."
She made a displeased noise in the back of her throat. "I'll try to mention that the next time I get asked out."
Her words froze him with her right ankle resting in his palm. His voice was gravelly. "I'd rather you didn't go on another date."
This again. What was his problem? How many mixed signals could one person have? Maka scoffed, pulled her ankle out of his grasp, and placed her heel on the floor. Her head rolled to the side, resting on the wall to glare at nothing in particular in the dim hallway. "Soul," she said tiredly, "I don't want to end up a spinster, so you're gonna have to get over...whatever your problem is."
"You're seriously winning against the demon," he muttered. She heard a rustling of jeans as he shifted, and then an annoyed sigh. "I mean to say that... I don't want you to go without me," he said in his frustrating, bored tone.
Now he was just being ridiculous. Maka ruthlessly smothered her dying ember of hope under her combat boot of sarcasm. "What," she said haughtily, "so you can be the third wheel? Or so you can double date with the Smurfs?" She turned her face to him so he could get the full benefit of her scowl.
He was a lot closer to her than she had recalled, and continued to advance. Soul hovered over her outstretched legs. His knees pinned the skirt of her cocktail dress to the floor. Maka felt more than saw his hesitant fingers reach up to trace across her neck, exactly how she had wished for him to do earlier. Soul leaned forward, messy hair tickling her face. The familiar smell of his skin invaded her senses. His breath slid over her ear as his fingers caressed her collarbone.
"Maka, listen," he said, placing his hand on the wall behind her. But he said nothing for her to hear. His lips ghosted across her face, faintly mouthing across her jaw and tickling the corner of her mouth like feathers in a very deliberate not-kiss. Her partner continued to haunt her skin, hinting down her neck.
Maka could only breathe for awhile. Her trim nails dug painfully into her palms, desperately desiring to not desire him. "I really don't understand you," she choked out, realizing her weapon was at her throat yet again. Lips skittered back up her neck and across her cheek.
His nose lightly nudged against her own. "All I am is your weapon," he said on the tail end of a weary sigh.
But this time, Maka heard Soul's delicate emphasis on 'your'.
Slowly, and with much difficulty, Maka allowed her hope to seep through the cracks. "...If you're my weapon, then," she started, but her voice died. Soul carefully breathed in a semblance of calm that she only now understood had been fake the whole time she'd known him. "-then..."
Then everything. She pecked him on the mouth quickly, and after a moment of shocked silence with distant, muffled lyrics from behind a closed door, he lightly returned the action.