Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Soul Eater.

Soul had been in the medical wing all week.

He hadn't been to a single class (not that he minded, it's not as if he'd be able to concentrate on anything else anyways).

The reason he was MIA from his studies was lying unconscious in the bed in front of him.

. . .

"Maka you have to guard better," Soul shouted in weapon form to his meister who seemed to be avoiding using him to defend herself.

"I know that, Smartass," she growled.

The kishin they were fighting had turned out a lot stronger than anticipated. It seemed like they'd been fighting for hours and both students were on the borderline of exhaustion. Maka could tell the monster was near death, but wasn't going down without a fight. The kishin had been so fast it was hard to time an attack; she mostly ended up just trying to block him from hitting her. She wasn't sure Soul could survive another hit though without being severely injured, if not killed. So when the enemy came in for the kill, Maka turned away and thrust her weapon as far from her as she could and he could only watch helplessly as his partner was knocked down with a terrifying blow.

"MAKA!"

. . .

So here he was, sitting next to his unconscious partner. She was alive; thank the Gods, but just barely. Her ribs had taken quite a hit, breaking three and bruising everything from her shoulders to her hips. Stein had stated she might have a concussion or even brain damage, but they wouldn't know until she woke up. Her arm was also bloodied from a stab wound that cut her far too deep.

She had been out cold since the battle a week ago. Soul had rushed her to the school and Professor Stein had taken care of her straight away. Soul had been at the bedside ever since, talking to her and reading to her from her textbook (he bitterly smiled reminding himself that even with such injuries, Maka would not want to get behind in her work) when no one else was in the room, and not taking his eyes off her when someone was.

He didn't like this. He wasn't used to being the one sitting on the sideline and hoping for a miracle. He was supposed to be out fighting and assisting his meister, not wondering if she was going to live long enough to see tomorrow.

He was right in the middle of a particularly long passage about the history of soul resonance when he heard her stirring. Tossing the book on the table, he waited impatiently to see if she would wake. When she did, hazy green eyes blinked away the sleep. She seemed utterly confused until her gaze met his, and he watched relief wash over her sickly-pale face.

"S-soul?" Maka's voice croaked hoarsely, "where are we?"

"We're in the infirmary," he replied, crimson eyes suddenly averted to the ground, "how are you feeling?"

"Okay," she winced while attempting to situate herself in the stiff bed, "but I'm kind of sore."

Soul couldn't keep the low growl from audibly forming in the back of his throat.

"Okay? How can you be okay? Have you looked yourself over lately?"

Her jade green eyes widened as his usually level voice raised a few volume notches. He released a heavy sigh and she noted the way that with it, his body released its tension, arms now hanging limply at his sides and his eyes hidden by his bangs.

"What the hell were you thinking, you dumbass?"

She smiled the smallest of smiles.

"I am your technician partner, Soul; that means I am always prepared to die for my weapon."

He looked up from the ground, glaring at his female companion with a mixture of shock and annoyance at the stupidity of his own echoed words.

"What the hell is that supposed-?"

"I'm your meister," she repeated, smile widening just a smidge, "therefore, I am always willing to die protecting you."

"That's not how it's supposed to work, stupid." Soul watched Maka feebly attempt to reach the book he had been reading her on the nightstand with her injured arm, managing to catch her hand before she could break a bone from trying to Maka-chop his head.

"It's my job to be the protector, not yours.You're the technician and I'm your weapon."

"So?" She retorted as forcefully as she could in such an unstable condition, "what does it matter who's what?"

"Because you idiot! Do you really think I want to see something bad happen to you?" he bellowed, voice exploding throughout the small medical room.

"Oh, and I suppose you think I am just going to stand by and let you get killed because of me? How is that fair, Soul?" Maka screeched in return, trying desperately to sit up properly.

The room was silent for a moment. The only noise was of students wandering the halls after class seemingly unfazed by the shouts of frustration from beyond the infirmary door.

Green collided with red in a battle for dominance, neither party willing to break the stare, both harboring scowls on pursed lips.

Soul only broke off his gaze when he noticed the way Maka's body trembled from being held up by only her uninjured arm. He closed his eyes for just a moment, released a breath he forgot he was holding and silently took a gentle hold of his partner's broken form. Slowly and gingerly he laid her fragile body back down against the bed, hardly noticing how she continued to glare daggers at him. Before he removed his arm from her body, he absentmindedly ran a hand across her face, pushing her bangs out of her eyes.

"What you did back there was reckless and dangerous, Maka. You almost died."

Her gaze softened as a blush made it's way across her cheeks.

"That wasn't the first time one of us did something reckless to protect the other, y'know," she reminded him tenderly, hand reaching up to grip the hem of his shirt that hid the scar across his torso from a time their current roles had been reversed.

"Look Soul, we're partners. We are trained to fight. Things like this…they're going to happen," she moved her hand from his shirt to grasp his hand with as much strength as she could muster, "all we can do is watch each others back and become stronger from it."

He plopped down in his chair, but didn't let go of her hand. "I know that. I just…" his eyes bore straight down into the ground and his face flushed a deep red, "I don't know what I would do with myself if I let anything happen to you."

Soul looked up when he felt a squeeze to meet his technician's soft smile.

"I promise I'm not going anywhere. Who else is going to put up with you long enough to make you into a death scythe?"

He grinned, "You're one to talk, tiny tits, and don't even thinking about trying to pick that book up. You'll only hurt your arm more. Any more broken bones would be completely uncool."

"Fine," she huffed, "but you better be ready for a headache when I get better."

"Gee, I can't wait," he rolled his eyes, but couldn't keep from smiling, "hey, how about I finish reading to you so you can actually put that book to normal use?"

Soul saw her eyes glimmer with appreciation and maybe…just maybe something else as she said, "I'd really like that."

He wouldn't trade creating the joy on her face for anything else.

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