by. Poisoned Scarlet
Summary: "Why was this girl breaking all his beliefs so easily?" A small peak into the somber memories of Soul Eater Evans from his childhood to the day he met Maka Albarn.
Rating: T+ for coarse language.
Authors Note: This was going in a totally different direction than how the final result came to be. It wasn't supposed to be about memories, it was actually supposed to be a small introspection of Soul. Funny how these things work. I know it's long. But it's only because there are so many spaces. I'm also trying out a new writing style, too!
Story Notes: These shards of memories, as you shall soon see, are randomly placed. There isn't a time-line to follow and you'll see why. I think I made myself pretty clear whenever it's a memory and when it's not. If not, well, damn, I fail.
Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater.
"Would you stop looking at things with such sober eyes?" Little Ogre asked, dusting his sleeve.
He wasn't saying that because he was concerned, he was saying that because he grew bored with his analytical thoughts and cold reasoning.
They were, after all, two sides of the same coin.
Soul sat in a floating chair in an empty pit of darkness, the black room's welcoming door ajar behind him.
He was dressed down in fancy slacks with a cleanly-pressed pinstriped suit, just like every other night so far. His shoes gleamed under the dim lights from the candles set about the checkered tiles and he closed his eyes as his personal monster drug himself out of the room; so close to him he could hear its heavy pants in his ears.
"Don't look at things so objectively, Soul, it takes the fun out of life."
He knew he was wrong but at the same he knew he was right.
It would be a humongous mistake to look at the world with anything other than cold logic.
But it would also be a very bland and terrible life if he did.
His coolness was merely a pretense in the beginning; a reason for why he appeared as apathetic as he did. It wasn't a very good reason, honestly, but people tended to not think, and Soul was just fine with that.
He didn't need anyone.
He certainly didn't need family – he never really had one to begin with. Perhaps that's why he didn't need one: if you have not tasted the warmth of a family, you couldn't crave it, right?
Friends? They were replaceable.
Lovers? They were replaceable, too. And an annoyance.
He only needed himself.
At least, he thought he did.
Then she came along and changed the whole game.
But before, he was a heartless monster.
Much like the very thing that was currently snickering inside the room, observing the film of memories he reluctantly had to share...
"That was... it was—horrible."
He isn't so sure about that.
It might be bad, yes, but horrible? Isn't that too harsh of a word to use? He is only nine – certainly his music isn't as terrible as they're making it out to be?
"Go back to your room. I want you to study this piano score here – and when you memorize it, come back to me and play it."
That was easy.
That was all he did.
Memorize, memorize, memorize.
He memorized hundreds of composed piano scores; he practiced until his fingers felt stiff and cold; he studied the music books kept in the family library and poured all his being into improving his gloomy music; into making it more lively, more interesting, and less macabre and gruesome.
"Good. You're improving. I'm proud of you."
And it worked fantastically in the beginning.
Memorize, memorize, memorize.
Memorize, memorize, memorize.
Memorize, memorize, memorize...
"Now, I want you to write me a song. You shall play it for all of us during the family dinner next month in place of Wes."
"I know you're nervous but I'm confident you can do it. I made sure you can."
No – no, he was wrong.
He had to create his own score?
"Your mother would be so proud of you if you did..."
That was below the belt.
It wasn't fair.
He can't compose music – he's not talented like Wes is. He could only memorize, memorize, memorize and recite it down to the very last note like a good boy; like he was trained to.
But he can't compose music because his music sense is all wrong.
He can't express the tumbling emotions inside of him because his emotions were all wrong, too.
He can't bring forth any amount of good-nature or happiness because he is not a happy child nor is he a good-natured one, either.
"Hurry up now. You have a long thirty days ahead of you!"
Damn, damn, damn.
Why? He can't compose music. It's horrible. It's terrible. It's the worst shit in the world and they all know it.
But if they all know it, why do they insist on making him create a music sheet?
But his hopes do rise.
Maybe he had improved?
Maybe all that memorization had had an impact on him; perhaps he had memorized something useful that he could use in his own creation?
Maybe, maybe, maybe...
The world was composed of too many maybe's, he realized that day.
"If you need any help, you can ask your brother Wes or I. I'm sure if you ask him for help, he will help you! But don't bother him too much! Your brother has a lot of work to do for his upcoming concerts."
Because Wes was the jewel of the family.
Wes was perfect.
Wes was talented.
Wes was handsome, well-mannered, and polite.
Wes was a prodigy.
Wes was so perfect it hurt.
Wes was everything he wasn't.
Why did they even bother with him?
He can hear the gasps from his family members, as his hands race down the keys quickly; insanely. The despondence and grievance come alive in every sound and he vaguely hears his mothers sharp calls for his father as he reaches the end of his recital and finishes it with a discordant clash of notes that hold seemingly no order yet had all been plotted out with perfect scrutiny.
He always ended up disappointing someone.
Why'd they have to pound so much hope into him by saying he had improved? Why'd they have to inflate his ego? Why?
"Soul, to your room now."
His music wasn't good.
"I said, now, Soul."
He was shit.
He wasn't good enough.
Compared to Wes, he was nothing but a washed out imitation.
"NOW SOUL EVANS!"
Why did they even bother?
Or, more importantly...
Why did I even bother?
"Such despairing memories you have there, Soul."
Soul cracked one eye open, gazing coolly at the little monster that watched him curiously. It was sitting atop the piano, the size of a doll now that he had regained control of his soul, and it was reading through the fragmented memories that crossed through the reaches of his being and crashed into his consciousness in a wave of despair and sadness.
He wasn't floating in a black abyss now and he briefly wondered when he had been roped inside the oppressive room...
He closed his eye again.
"I see now."
He pretended not to hear its knowing voice.
"You were untalented before and you are untalented now. The mere reason you have gotten as high as you have was because of that girl...Maka Albarn, was it? It's a shame you're only bringing her down with you—!"
He threw his chair at it.
It was a direct hit.
His knuckles were snow-white, jagged teeth bared because he knew for certain that wasn't true.
Maka was one of a kind; she didn't need him, she chose to be with him, and like hell would he ever bring her down to his pathetic level.
She was strong, courageous, funny, brave, intelligent – she was his opposite but he felt no resentment.
He would be damned if he let that snobby little demon down-talk her like that.
"Shut up." Soul hissed fiercely. There was a reason the little demon was talking to him. It was planning something... building up something he dreaded. "Whatever you're planning to do... just give up." He rose dark scarlet eyes as the little demon pushed the chair off its body and rubbed its head with a largely disproportionate hand. "I'll crush your plan before you could even put it in action."
"How terrible of you, Soul." The demon clucked his tongue in disappointment. "To assume the worst in me..."
"... Just like you assume the worst in everyone." He rose knowing, conniving, sly, eyes. He wished he had another chair in his hands. "Just like you assumed Maka Albarn was merely a stubborn, single-minded, girl who had nothing going for her."
He threw another chair at it.
"Mm, Soul? Do you think all of my stuff will fit in here?"
Of course not.
She probably had so much shit with her it wouldn't even fit if he combined both their rooms together.
But he didn't say anything.
It wouldn't be cool if he said what was on his mind.
And he'd probably get hit on the head with a damn book or something if he ever did...
"Haha! I guess I'm a little paranoid, huh? I forgot I don't own that many things!"
And it's unsettling.
A desk, a book shelf filled to the brim with books, a bed, a lamp, a laptop computer, and a closet half-full of clothing; mostly composed of drab uniforms and two pairs of the same belt-strapped boots she adored so much.
Didn't girls have more stuff than that? Didn't girls carry around bags and bags of make-up, clothes, shoes, and other such things?
Where were the lip sticks and eye shadows?
Where were the mountains of shoes?
Where were the collection of girly magazines?
She only owned textbooks and novels.
Shelves full of them, actually.
And they were books that mildly interested him, too.
Why was she so different?
He supposed he shouldn't have been so surprised – she had felt different, unique, to him when he felt the call of her soul that fateful day.
"Let's make a deal: I cook one day, and you cook the next day? That way it's equal!"
She viewed him as her equal?
A stupid, flat-chested, bookworm, girl wanted them to be on the same platform?
"Jeez, I was just saying, you know! You don't have to make that face!"
He wasn't making a face.
Far from it – he was as blank as humanly possible.
"Alright then, how about this: I cook once a week and you cook the other week?"
She was probably just saying that so they didn't lapse into uncomfortable silence.
"Okay! Now that that's all settled, I'm going to go finish my homework! Make sure to finish your own, okay? I'll cook dinner tonight and call you when it's done!"
He thought girls were only worried about their looks.
Like his mother.
Appearances to his mother were her only concern – the primary concern.
Next came Wes, then her husband, then the family dog, then her work, then the maids, then him...He guessed.
It was hard to tell when it came down to her; her priorities always changed.
He wondered why this girl was breaking all the damn stereotypes he believed in...
"Oh, and... Soul?"
At least she proved one belief right: girls sure could talk...
"About last week... when you were playing the piano..."
It's cold in the hall now.
Like a bucket of snow had dropped on his head.
Who cranked the AC up? He felt like breaking into a thousand shards of ice...
"...It was beautiful."
"You're really talented, you know that?"
No, no – she was wrong.
What was up with this girl? Why was she so damn weird? Why was she so original and extraordinary?
Why, why, why?
It felt colder now but the cold dissolved into a burn that threatened to consume him.
Now it felt too hot.
Her sweet look was too sugary.
Her smile too wide.
Her laugh too genuine.
What the fuck?
"You should play for me sometime! I'd really like it if you did!"
Why was this girl breaking all of his beliefs so easily?
Why didn't he feel as cold as he was supposed to?
"It's true, you know! I might not understand music very much but...I thought that was really good, did you write it all by yourself?"
But why didn't she think it was horrible?
What the fuck was wrong with her? He thought that connection he felt to her was only weapon-technician compatibility – not this he was feeling.
Not something – something weird in his chest that felt warm and, well, weird – !
"You'll play for me again...right?"
"Oh...well... It's okay if you don't want to."
Fuck, stop sounding so disappointed.
Why did she have to sound so disappointed and hurt?
"I still think you're really good!"
Why was he starting to believe what she said, too?
"Yes..." Little Ogre hummed, the memory dissolving back into his unconsciousness.
Soul felt his anger simmer down to nothing.
Only Maka could tame his anger.
"She completes you, doesn't she?" The red demon set the chair rightly and crawled up to sit on it. "It's sickening, to be quite honest, but it is amusing to see you being so submissive to her – especially when you're well-aware she'll leave you in the end."
He clenched his fists.
He shouldn't have kept that shitty little ogre—!
"Just like your family left you for the dogs in the end."
He sure liked to dredge up bad memories, didn't he...?
He kicked the chair he was sitting on into the wall this time.
There was a sick twist in his stomach and he knew it was because of what he was about to do.
He discovered his underdeveloped talent while being beat up by a couple of boys from school, whom he had personally verbally kicked their asses previously.
They hadn't appreciated that, apparently.
"Make it quick – Your mother and I will miss our flight to Evansville if you dawdle!"
But he had a power now.
A power like no other.
Something no one could take away from him because it was literally engraved into his genetic structure.
The Weapon Gene.
"What...? You mean to tell me you—you inherited the weapons gene..? But, how? There hasn't been a weapon in the family since your great-grandfather..."
He didn't believe it either but, with a jerk of his arm, it became a curved blade sharp enough to slice through concrete, startling his father, who hadn't expected the sharp blade at all.
He finally got a shot at something good; they should be happy with his decision, right?
Maybe he could happy now.
Maybe he could find a so-called "technician" and make a living out of killing human souls that have strayed off the lightened path.
It's a morbid job but he didn't mind it.
Killing sounded like a good stress-reliever.
Maybe he could even learn to enjoy it.
Life was composed of too many maybe's, huh?
"What? You're leaving for Shibusen Academy? How—well..."
He wasn't cut out for the musician life.
He was fortunate enough to have the weapon gene running miracles through his body and lucky enough to finally have it make itself known when his body hit the age of twelve (although he had brushed off all the signs that should've told him he wasn't normal) and his life became threatened at the age of fourteen.
He could transform into a scythe at will although it left him severely sore right afterward.
But he was working on it.
Because he was not a happy little boy and he wasn't the best good-natured kid out there.
A job like that would be best suited for him.
After all, hadn't his whole family stuck the ugly stigmata of heartless on him because of his discordant piano playing? Because he fit the definition with his intimidating rogue eyes, sharp teeth, and stark white hair? The only one in the family with such eye-sore features?
He was no Wes Evans.
He wasn't going to be known for his musician skills.
He wasn't going to create this outrageous song that would earn him thousands and everlasting fame.
He wasn't going to bow to a crowd; to hear the glory of claps and whistles after he finished his brilliant recital
But at least he could be known for his position as Death's Weapon.
At least he could be known as an instrument for defeating evil and malignant forces.
At least he could be known as a hero rather than some puny, slacker, kid who couldn't even play the piano right.
But his father didn't need to know those things...
"Well, your mother and I have discussed it and if it is your final decision... I wish you luck on your career as a weapon. I assume you shall be renting an apartment nearby the academy? It is located in Death City, am I right?"
Where else would he live?
Certainly not on the streets or the damn desert.
Not only was it not cool but he wasn't that much of an ill-mannered slob.
He had manners and expectations, too.
Although having expectations was a fairly new thing for him.
But his father didn't need to know that, either.
"Your things shall be packed and shipped to your apartment as soon as possible."
His father didn't need to know a lot of things, he realized.
Like how he felt utterly deprived and cold at his casual dismissal.
Or how he had secretly wanted more of a reaction; more of a fight than such an easy acceptance.
Or how he could have at least given him a lingering embrace and not a cold nod of the head while his mother reached forward and enveloped him a tight hug.
At least he knew she cared.
She looked like she was on the verge of tears but it was too late: his luggage was packed and he had planned this confession very, very carefully – made it so they would have to agree with him since like hell would they miss Wes's violin recital in Evansville to make sure he didn't leave the house.
He needed to go, he conveyed to her with his bright red eyes; the eyes he inherited from his father dearest, only the red in his eyes was lighter and more pretty than his own bloody dark ones.
He needed to go.
Live his own life.
Make his own path.
Since he just didn't cut it as an Evans.
He hoped she understood.
And she did, by the way she smiled weakly.
But he shouldn't have expected anything more than a cold nod from his father.
Catch you never, you fucking bastard.
Little Ogre grinned pleasantly. "Such a harsh family you were blessed with, neh, Soul?"
Soul merely ran his fingers over the glossy piano top, ignoring the demon that eyed him hungerly; expecting a waver in his otherwise strong emotions.
Showing weakness wasn't cool.
He touched the fallboard silently, raising it up and running fingers down ivory keys.
But neither was hiding it...
"Oh, I hate this part." Little Ogre deflated, slumping in his wrought iron chair moodily. "Her again."
A slight smile lifted his mouth, made the dark shadows that had been slowly closing in on him abruptly vanish.
She showed him the correct path.
She helped him.
She found the pieces to his broken soul and tried her best to fit them back together. It was still cracked and bruised but she was slowly mending it until it was once again a glimmering, glowing, sheen of purity.
She was taking the darkness away.
She was gluing him back together.
She was doing everything he wanted someone to do...
"...and you love her sooo much!" Little Ogre finished patronizingly. "Yes, yes! We all get it!"
He smirked, a hand jammed into his pocket. "Who's 'we'? Is there another shitty ogre lurking around here somewhere?" He mocked a gasp. "Or, don't tell me, you have a sister?"
Little Ogre merely glared. "Very funny, Soul Eater."
He closed the fallboard smugly.
"Yeah, I know."
So, leaving home and trying to find a technician wasn't as simple as he first thought it would be.
Applying to Shibusen Academy was the easiest part of the whole ordeal, finding a partner who was willing to work with him and accept his issues wasn't.
The Shibusen Weapon-Technician Convention was set up as a formal party in order to relieve stress but he felt even more stressed in his suit.
He had already gone through five technicians and none of them were feeling him – nor was he feeling them.
Three of them, all the girls, ran away when he began to play his piano; the only way he was able, he realized eventually, to express himself fully. It was the only way to show them just what they were diving into since he got the orientation that being 'partners' was like a life-commitment and honesty was necessary - least they experienced the bitter taste of a 'break-up', as they dubbed it.
To Soul, it sort of sounded like he was choosing out a girlfriend but he tried to keep it professional; after all, he didn't think it'd be wise to think he was going out hunting for evil souls with someone he considered a girlfriend...a life-partner...
Besides, he kind of wanted a guy to be his partner – it would make things way easier that way.
Too bad the guys were even more cowards than the girls.
The last two heard the recital but one had been polite enough to say sorry, I can't and the other simply couldn't sync with his soul – he was probably too freaked by the score to concentrate.
I mean, he did leave running right after.
He blamed the fucking suit...
What... the fuck was that?
He felt it – inside of him; sort of like a pulse.
Like a pull.
It felt like he needed to be somewhere but his feet stayed bolted to the floor, finger pressed down on the key and extending the note.
The squeak of the hinges of the door behind him alerted him of someone entering his current domain.
The pull disappeared.
There was nothing else urging him to search for that strange pull so he didn't think much of the person who dared to enter the gloomy room.
He practically gave up trying to find a freakin' partner but that pull he felt, that sensation of elation...nah, it couldn't be...
He wasn't cut out for the weapon life either, huh?
Then what the fuck was he good for then?
And his next candidate: a flat-chested girl who hadn't come in a dress like the others, strangely, but in her school uniform with the tag 'Technician' pinned on her right breast neatly.
He wondered how much he could scare her shitless.
He smirked darkly.
He'd show her just what he was really made of...
Clap, clap, clap...
He didn't understand.
Why was she clapping? And why did she look so happy? And why wasn't she running away in tears since that was his darkest and most lunatic score yet?
"That was great!"
"My name is Maka Albarn."
Smile, smile – the thing he couldn't do very well since he looked weird and it made him appear creepier and even more demented than how he already looked.
Why was she so smiley?
And how could she do it so well?
"I'm a scythe technician and it's my dream to make a weapon for Lord Death!"
Lord Death, huh? They both had the same goal. At least they shared something in common, not that he really cared – even if it felt kind of nice to have someone clap for you after you played your instrument of choice...
He allowed a slight smile to cross his face.
There is was again.
He felt like the breath had been knocked out of him and he flashed his eyes to her immediately, watching her own eyes widen before a smile broke on her face.
It—it came from her.
The lure to be near that person – it was her.
The call of her soul, he heard it clearly now.
The reassurance that everything would be alright so long as he was held in her capable hands...
And he suddenly grinned, showing off sharp rows of teeth in a burst of glee, and extended his hand to her.
Sure, he wanted a guy to be his partner so things would go more smoothly but she didn't have boobs so there wouldn't be any temptation. He would be safe, yeah, and not only that, he felt a certain connection with her...then it dawned to him that he didn't really care how she looked like on the outside – he could feel that her soul was far more beautiful than her body, and in that instant he understood what Sid had been ranting about during part two of the orientation.
Maybe he thought too fast – maybe he really was cut out for the dangerous life.
Now the only thing that was left was agreeing to be partners...
"Well, Soul Eater... want to be partners?"
She still wanted to be partners with him?
Knowing he was full of issues; full of shit; full of darkness and sorrow and—!
Damn her smile.
Damn her eyes, so green and fierce.
Damn her soul, so welcoming and warm.
"Sure, that sounds cool."
"Great! Hey, where do you live? My papa is probably embarrassing himself looking for me right now since I left without telling him. I can't stay here much longer... I'll drop by your place tomorrow so I can test you out!"
Test him out?
"You're a scythe, right?"
"Great! My papa is Lord Death's current weapon. My mama made him into a Death Scythe...so now it's my goal to make you stronger than my papa! And you will be, since tomorrow we're starting our training!"
"You'll wake up at six—!"
Oh, hell no! He didn't function til nine!
"Fine. Ten sound good to you?"
"Good! I'll catch you tomorrow at ten then! Bye, Soul Eater!"
Well, at least she had guts.
He liked people with guts – that's why that Black Star dude was alright in his book.
"Gag." Little Ogre blanched, lolling his head back and gazing at the ceiling moodily. "Whenever she comes into the picture, you get all—happy. It's disgusting."
"Tch." Soul grinned, taunting him. "You're just jealous she loves me and she can't wait until you rot because of her Anti-Magic Wavelength."
Little Ogre sneered at him. "Don't play with me, boy, you wouldn't want to get stuck in a nightmare, now, would you?"
"Nightmare?" Soul snorted. "I'm not asleep."
He blinked and suddenly he wasn't facing the piano but sitting in the wrought iron chair Little Ogre had been lounging in previously. His fingers dug into the armrests when he felt something beside him, something breathing heavily with rancid breath...
"Or are you?"
His eyes widened.
"Maka?" He snapped his head to the side, bile rising up his throat when he saw that she wasn't clean and neat but messy and bloody. Her frayed, elbow-length, silk gloved hands came up to cup his cheek and her grin was wide and crazy; eyes a faded lime that made him sick to his stomach; her black dress in shreds and tears.
"Soul..." She breathed into his face, a trickle of blood running down her chin. She grinned. "I hate you."
"DON'T FUCK WITH ME!" Soul snarled, shoving the bloody girl away fiercely and throwing the chair back in his haste to stand. He clutched his skull, shut his eyes when he heard her crazed giggles come from behind him.
Hands wrapped around his neck from behind and he felt her body push up against his back; her giggles making his chest clench painfully.
"But I'm not fucking with you..." She repeated snidely, choking him with her arms; planting a twisted kiss on his temple before saying: "You're just fucking with yourself, dumbshit."
Soul woke to a blank ceiling.
He shot up in his bed, body trembling as he tried to get a hold of himself. The emotions that ran through his veins and made his heart pound harshly in his ears were unsettling. He was breathing heavily through his mouth like he had just run around Death City twice, too, and his shirt was slick with sweat...again.
"Damn..." He ran a hand through his soaked locks of hair.
He checked the alarm clock on his nightstand and groaned.
School didn't start until 7:30 am and he didn't usually wake until 6 am...
He hopped off his bed, throwing Blair off while he was at it. The cat hissed at the nasty wake-up call, the hairs on her back raised in threat, but he ignored her for the sake of going to the kitchen to pour himself a cup of much-need water.
He'd had that nightmare, different memories attached each night, repeatedly now, but it always ended the same: with a mad Maka saying all the things he never wanted her to say.
He stood by the counter silently, taking gulps of his water every few seconds while the sweat that coated his forehead dried and he calmed down. When he finished the glass, on the verge of pouring himself another one for extra measure, he heard the stritch-scratch of a pencil writing furiously on paper.
There was only one other person living with him...
He peeked his head into the living room, surprised to find Maka lying on her stomach on the floor with a small desk lamp lit by her side; writing something down with a book splayed out beside her.
What's she doing up so early? He thought curiously, making his way over to her. It wasn't like Maka to study so early in the morning but knowing her he wouldn't be surprised. But, damn, he hated when she pushed herself so hard.
He stopped a few steps behind her and rounded her so he was facing her.
She didn't look up; she must be very immersed in her work if she hadn't noticed him yet.
Maka gasped and whipped her head up, pencil clattering out of her hand in panic. "Oh. Soul!" She sighed in relief. He was relieved to see she wasn't bleeding or messy; even in her sleeping clothes, she was neat and primp. "You scared me! What're you doing up so early?"
"That's what I should be asking you." He kneeled, tilting his head so he could catch a glimpse of what she was working on. "You do know it's four in the morning, right?"
"Oh, uh, yeah, I know!" Maka, strangely, reddened. He narrowed his eyes. She slammed the book shut and stuck her work inside of it; flipping the book so he wouldn't read the title.
That was weird: she was blushing and she just hid a book from him – was his little Maka doing something naughty?
Like, looking up the male anatomy in a biology textbook or something...pfft...
"What're you working on...?" He asked mischievously, a smirk stretching on his mouth. Maka only gulped, steeling herself for what was to come. "Something you shouldn't be, bookworm?" He tried to make a grab for the book but she was faster – snatching it out of his grasp and clutching it to her chest possessively.
"NO! It's nothing!"
"Give it to me!"
"No way, Soul!"
"Ugh – no – stop it – SOUL!"
Soul ended up pinning her to the floor in a headlock, her cheeks puffed out in defiance as she tried to loosen his arm around her neck. "C'mon, just give me the damn book—!" His wrist bent wrong and the book toppled to the floor, splaying awkwardly cover-side up.
It went eerily silent.
Soul stared at the book – the book that read Piano Method 5 in bold letters in the front.
A book, actually, he had read cover-to-cover before when he was younger and beginning to learn how to read the music sheets his father left him to memorize...
He heard Maka groan, in what he believed was embarrassment, but he was too shocked by the fact that she had been studying this under his nose the entire time.
"How long..." He started, mouth dry. "..have you been reading this?"
"... A couple of months." She mumbled back, turning her head away from him. "There. You know what I'm doing. Can I have it back now?"
He let her go absently and she didn't look at him when she grabbed the book and brushed the papers between the pages once more. He watched her set it on her lap and look away from him, a troubled crease between her brows.
Why hadn't she just asked him to teach her if she wanted to know so badly? Was everything she had said about his piano playing skills a lie? It made him feel cold and frightened inside.
What if...everything had been a lie?
Then what would he do?
"I..." Maka bit her lip, mustering every bit of courage she could. It wasn't everyday your partner caught you red-handed studying the very thing they loved without their knowledge. "I just...wanted to understand what you liked so much about music!" She finally said, sighing.
His blinked, uncomprehendingly. "Huh?"
"You spend all your time in your room composing music!" Maka declared, fidgeting. "I just—I wanted to know what was so interesting about the piano so I decided to learn some of it myself! That's all!"
So, it wasn't because she didn't trust him...
Maka was being Maka: stubborn and curious.
A soft sigh escaped his lips, as he scratched the back of his head awkwardly. He might as well, right? He knew he wasn't going back to sleep anytime soon. "How far did you get?"
"Eh?" She blinked.
"I mean, how far in are you?" He eyed the book on her lap. "Method 5 is...average, right?"
"Oh..." Maka nodded nervously. "Yeah, it is..."
"So, you know the basics, right?"
She hesitated. "Yeah..."
He grinned, crookedly. "Good." He stood up and offered his hand to her, asking: "Then how about you help me out with this sheet I've been working on? I'm stuck in the middle, maybe you've got some ideas I could use."
He'd never seen her eyes light up as brightly as they had in that moment and he made a mental note to ask her to help him out with his music sheets more often.
He wouldn't mind dreaming of this when he fell asleep tonight as he led her to his room, trying very hard to ignore the fact that she was still clutching his hand; asking so many questions about his current project that they all seemed to blur together in the end...
"If you're going to be this noisy, I might as well kick you out now!" Soul rolled his eyes, letting her plop down on his bed while he gathered the document folder that kept all his finished and unfinished music sheets neatly within. "Here! Read this and tell me what you think!"
Maka took it and scanned it over while he leafed through some papers.
"What's this mean again?"
Soul face-palmed. He knew it was too good to be true. "... You skipped the basics, didn't you?"
Her nervous laughter told him yes but he wasn't angry. He just chuckled into his palm, tossing the folder on his bed sheets and taking seat beside her, pointing to the first note and beginning the long lecture on what each and every symbol on the paper meant.
Throughout it all, her eyes were still glowing; her smile soft.
Soul decided that tonight he wouldn't mind dreaming about her bright green eyes and happy smile – maybe the shine from them would be enough to stave off the darkness that still lingered inside of him.