Poisoned Scarlet

Part 2 – Maka

It was Blair's fault.

But Soul believed it was Maka's fault, too.

Halloween was around the corner and Maka had been fretting over what costume she would wear for this years Halloween Bash at Kid's house. The last year had been a disaster since Blair turned Soul into a drooling mongrel, but this year Maka had been sworn by the cat that she would behave.

Trusting a cat had been a fairly dumb idea – especially since deals didn't matter much when said cat was annoyed with Maka because she refused to give her crème that morning for molesting Soul again.

Maka had been going through a costume catalog while Soul watched TV that evening when she made the joking remark that she'd ask Blair to transform her into a cat for Halloween to make it easier on herself.

Blair heard.

And then it all went to hell...

"Maka, stop it—no, wait—! Damn..." Soul sighed when Maka caught her nails in his shirt. His favourite shirt. She tugged her hand back to disentangle the sharp claws to no avail. "Here, let me do it before you rip my shirt." He carefully unhooked her nails from his shirt, sighing when she just proceeded to leap on top of the couch. "Maka, stop it. You'll fall."

She didn't reply: she just sunk into a pounce, her tail swishing predatorily behind her, but before she could lunge to the dining room table, Soul grabbed her by the hips and yanked her back down.

He winced when her nails tore down the sofa.

When she transformed back in the morning, she was going to be pissed...

"Stay still!" Maka made a low noise in the back of her throat, not wanting to be set on the couch. Her luminescent emerald eyes were fixed on something behind him, something that had ensnared her attention. Her ashy blond cat ears were perked attentively on her head. "Maka, just sit still and watch the movie with me, will you?"

Maka growled low in her throat.

"What the hell are you looking at?" Soul snapped. He was sure he hadn't been this difficult when he had been cursed into a dog – although, he conceded, dogs were usually easier to deal with than self-sufficient cats.

Whatever had caught her attention disappeared and she finally turned to him.

She had pretty eyes when she was normal but now her eyes reflected a different glow, almost smokey; deeper and richer, too, when the light hit it. Her cheekbones had been enhanced, almost sharp, and there was an elegance to each of her movements, no matter how abrupt they were.

Her eyes locked on something on his face and before he had a chance to question her sudden fixation on his nose, she adjusted herself on his lap and leaned in curiously.

"What're you doing?" He flinched when her nose touched his experimentally. "Hey, quit it, that feels funny!" He cracked a smile when she sneezed, shaking her head out. His arms wrapped around her waist, pressing her close to him, and she happily leaned into him, stroking the soft end of her tail on his shoulder.

The soft purr that came from her throat took some getting used to; especially the small, pleased, noises she made when she was happy. She was just like a cat... only human, female, and terribly oversized.

"Huh, I wonder..." He rose his hand to scratch between her ears experimentally, as he usually did to Blair when she was a small cat, and grinned when her purring grew louder. Her fluffy tail flicked back and forth, expressing her contentment, and Soul, despite the fact that he adored his meister when she was normal, wished she would stay in this form for a few days.

He bet she wouldn't beat him with a book in this form, although she might scratch his face off if she felt like it...

He would take his chances.

"Soul, Soul!" Maka chanted, curling her tail around his hand when he touched it. "Soul!"

"You're so cute." Soul crooned, scratching her head a little more vigorously. "Damn. You're making me sound so uncool right now." Maka laid on her back on the couch, her head pillowed on his lap, and took his hand in hers without paying heed to what he was saying.

She played with his hand for a while, as he distracted himself with the television.

He would never admit it – never in a million years, even if you gagged him and threatened to cut him up with his own blade – but Blair was useful sometimes.

Even though she was dead when Maka returned back to normal in the morning and he would most likely receive verbal abuse for doing nothing more than smothering her. Because he had a small, tiny, weakness for small animals – which was probably why he kept Blair, although he didn't appreciate being smothered in her bosom when she was human.

However, Maka wasn't a small animal: she was just part-cat and suffocating on the magic from Blair's spell (which, if he remembered from his own experience, felt like you were high on some sort of drug).

But the fact that she was part cat meant she was impersonating a small animal, and that was all the information Soul needed.

"Soul..." Maka whined, pawing his shirt for attention. "Soul!"

"What?" He tore his attention from the television screen to her eyes. He could faintly see the slit of her iris and he wondered if it would also dilate like a cats...

"Soul..." She nuzzled her head into his palm, unable to convey what she wanted in any other way. The only thing she seemed to be able to say was his name... not that he minded.

He wondered how long it would take for her to regain higher functions, like he had.

Blair had laughed something about perfecting her transformation spell right after she cast it on Maka... who knew how long the spell would last now? He halfheartedly hoped it wouldn't last too long.

"You want me to scratch your head?" Soul asked, scratching behind the ear this time. She purred contently, her eyes drowsily shutting. "Cute." He dryly commented, when she yawned to reveal small fangs in place of where her regular teeth would have been.

"Looks like you're having fun with Maka there, Soul-kun." Blair's sly voice came from behind him. He quickly stopped scratching her head, making her frown. "You know, Blair can keep her like this if you want!"

"Don't," Soul began, dangerously, "even think about it, Blair! If you change her back now, maybe she'll let you visit sometime."

"Mouu, how mean! Maka wouldn't kick a cute kitty-cat like me out!" Blair pouted, batting her eyes with an impish grin.

Soul snorted. "You're right – she'll run you out of Death City... or take two of your lives. Maybe three, if I help."

"Blair will not turn her back." Blair stubbornly said. "Soul-kun looks so happy when she's like this! Why would I take away your fun? That would be cruel." Blair's hands slid down his chest from behind seductively. "But, Soul-kun, Blair can be much more fun—ouch!" Blair jerked back, blinking at Maka's hiss. Her tail flicked back and forth with an air of menace, her sharp emerald eyes watching Blair viciously.

"As much as I'd love to keep Maka like this," Soul sarcastically began, wary on Maka's claws. "I like her way better when she's human." Maka sat on his lap again, tilting her head to the side curiously at his soft smile. "At least when she's human, she can cook something for me..." And he wanted her to understand his devotion to her, not simply go along with his actions because they felt good.

He understood that she wasn't herself because he had been like that, too, last year.

The impulsive reactions to everything was something that still disturbed him; how he had just followed his instinct and nothing more. Following that type of thought process was primitive, and not to mention troublesome. He still remembered how he'd pounced on Maka and nearly cracked her skull open from the force... not one of his coolest moments, he'd admit.

"Humph." Blair pouted, rubbing the scratch wound on her hand. "She's still a violent little thing!"

"Yeah..." Soul caressed a perked ear, smiling when she nuzzled into it. "Not to me, though." He sounded smug.

"But Blair's magic is very special this time, Soul-kun! I fixed it with a new spellbook Blair found in her dresser!"

"Don't you mean my dresser?" Blair basically kept her clothes in there, shoveling out all of his clothing. If it weren't for Maka, who folded and arranged the clothes in his trunk, his room would be a mess of jackets, jeans, and t-shirts...

Blair just giggled excitedly, watching Maka's eyes glaze over with every scratch on her head. The more he showered her with affection, the more heated Maka became. It was silly of Soul to assume that was all to her magic; especially when she had had a whole year to perfect it using other willing people and her spellbook. "Every magic has its own quirk, and my magic happens to have seduction laced through it!" She sighed, dreamily.

"Seduction? Yeah, right!" Soul laughed. How ridiculous. The words 'seduction' and 'Maka' should never even be said in the same sentence! "Maka is about as seductive as Black Star is when he's wasted!" He snickered. And that wasn't seductive at all.

"Are you sure?" Blair purred, mischievously.

Soul frowned. "Of course I'm sure—!"

"Nya~! Soul!" Maka exclaimed. Her lips crashed on his and Soul froze as Maka forced his mouth open to slide her tongue inside. The purring in her throat was magnified two-fold, reverberating in his chest, and he could feel her nails gently scrape his neck as she brought his head closer to her.

He could almost see that damned book slam down on his skull; the stars that accompanied it, as well as the white-hot pain.

She was not going to be happy about this, no matter how much he didn't mind – that much was evident to Soul in those short, blissful, seconds.

"M-Maka! Get off!" He choked against her lips. This was bad. It had gone from PG to R before he could even blink. He could pretended he had never petted her when she returned to normal but could he really pretend they'd never kissed? Maka would slaughter him if he did! And then he'd castrate himself for not stopping and having the audacity to pretend it never happened...

He would have to... explain himself in the morning if he did that and she asked.

And words had never been on his side.

He reluctantly tuned away, gasping: "Maka, stop it—!"

Blair muffled her laughter when Maka forced him still. "Oh, my! Blair didn't know she would get like this so quickly!" Blair chimed. "Maybe Blair shouldn't have added that extra incantation..." She mulled to herself, then shrugged it off and continued to watch Soul's desperate struggle to disentangle himself from his meister.

Blair wondered how Soul would handle Maka in the morning.

He'd have to explain himself if he pretended nothing happened...

And she'd watch from the safety of the window when that happened; it was bound to be a riot!

"Have fun with Maka, Soul-kun!" Blair blew him a kiss as she transformed into a cat, leaping onto the windowsill. "Blair is going to work and will be back tomorrow! Bye, bye~!"

"No! Blair, you bitch, get back here—!" Soul groaned when Maka turned his head back to her and pressed her lips against his own passionately. "Damn it!" This was going too far. He wouldn't be able to hold back with her making such sweet noises. "Maka, this is wrong—stop!" He shoved her back, feeling automatically guilty at her crestfallen face.

Her ears flattened on her head and her tail abruptly stopped swaying, dropping down limply.


"No, you're—I didn't mean it like that!" Soul awkwardly amended, her wide and watery green eyes making his heart weigh. He supposed rejection still didn't feel very pleasant, even if she was part cat. "You're just... it's just Blair's magic that's making you like this." He rubbed the back of his neck, not knowing what else to do. "You can do that when you're back to being Maka, not now."

She ducked and rested her cheek on his shoulder, ears still flat on her head. Her tail still didn't sway.

Soul scratched behind her ears again, gingerly. "...when you're back to being Maka, we could do that all the time." He cringed at his own words. So uncool – he was relieved Black Star wasn't here to hear that. He'd die laughing if he had. "But not now because you'd knock me out with a book when you returned back to normal, and that's not cool. Okay?"

Maka mewed, her eyes shutting once the excitement drained.

"Cool." He breathed out a sigh of relief. "Tomorrow you'll be back to normal and you can beat the shit out of Blair with that new book your dumb dad bought you."

That seemed to perk her up. She snuggled into his shoulder and soon, due to the fading magic in her body, slumped forward in unconsciousness.

He licked his lips, dropping his head on her shoulder in defeat and impatience.

He never wished it was morning more than he did there.

He glanced at the clock.

Only fifteen more hours to go.

"Ow..." Maka groaned, her hand coming up to hold her throbbing head. It was pounding, like how she usually awoke when she had been knocked unconscious during battle. "My head..." Her hand slipped on something hard when she tried to sit up and she grappled for the edge of the couch, lifting herself up firmly this time.

She was surprised to find Soul asleep below her, snoring with a trickle of drool running down his chin.

"Soul?" She whispered, in confusion. Then it all came back to her. Her joking comment, the sudden crash of colorful lights, the whirling euphoria that swept her away before she crashed on his chest and slipped into a magically induced sleep...

Her face flushed when she remembered what she had done, so unlike herself, how much she had wanted to drag her nails down his chest and tear his shirt off. The unusual freedom of doing what she desired to do, whenever she wanted, was bewildering. There had been an unnatural amount of want that welled in the pit of her stomach, too; almost infectious, as she had caught that same shade of lust in Soul's eyes before he pushed her away.

She was glad he hadn't let her have her away: she would have pounded his head in with a book if he had!

At the thought, her eyes darted to his lips.

She remembered how they felt – soft, hot against her own – and she remembered how she had desired for his teeth to sink into her lip, how she'd wanted to swipe her tongue against them to test if they were as sharp as they appeared to be.

Some of that same strong desire began to build in her stomach again, but she didn't go for his lips – not immediately, anyway. She hovered, as his breathing began to change, and she didn't move her hooded gaze even when his eyes sprung open.

"Maka?" He croaked, voice thick with sleep. He blinked, several times, but she didn't move, addicted to feeling his skin against her own. His hand gripped her arm, to move her away, she thought, but it only added to the fire boiling her blood. "What the hell are you doing?" He wiped away the drool on his chin, grimacing. Not cool.

"Nothing..." She answered, truthfully. She really wasn't doing anything, per say. She swallowed when he frowned. The action was enticing; she wanted to kiss him again.

"You can talk." Soul observed, aware of how she still didn't remove her eyes from his mouth, even when he nudged her. "Does that mean you're back to..." His eyes strayed to the top of her head, the set of ears the perked on either side. "...never mind. At least you can talk now. That's better than nothing."

"Yeah..." Maka distantly replied, struggling to contain her savage lust. She cursed Blair to the deepest pits of hell – that cat had tampered with her spell! Soul had certainly never tried something like this on her, at least not when his higher functions had been temporarily out of bounce, and she did remember the cat cackling something about making a few 'adjustments' to her spell...

Where was that cat, anyway?

Maka was tempted to look at the window but then he spoke again, snatching her attention again.

"...Are you gonna' move any time soon?" Soul asked, slowly. She noticed his gaze kept straying to her lips, too. The corner of her mouth twitched at that – maybe she would be able to satisfy some of the heat that was bordering on painful. "I need to take a piss... now."

The words were enough to snap her out of her daze and she quickly lifted herself off of him, quelling the embers that burned within her immediately. "S-sorry..." Maka mumbled, rubbing her eyes out to hide her red cheeks. "I was just—my leg fell asleep." She lamely lied.

"Yeah, sure, whatever," was all he said. She was annoyed to hear amusement in his tone, as he padded to the bathroom to relieve himself.

Maka sank back in the couch, her hands pressed against her mouth furiously.

The pangs of longing were difficult to ignore.

Damn you, Blair! Just wait until I see you... Maka slid off the couch. Her footsteps made no noise as she walked to the window, where she threw it open. The fresh gust of air, taking away the suffocating press of lust that had swamped her body, was welcomed, as were the warm rays of the sun.

A delicious scent wafted to her, something that made her mouth water like her partner whenever she placed food in front of him...

"Fish." Maka realized, her knee already up on the sill. She leaned out of the window dangerously, inhaling the angelic scent that drifted from down the block. Fried fish. Her tail flicked behind her excitedly, and just as Maka had been on the verge of hopping out of the window, hands grabbed her hips and pulled her away.

She hissed.

"Don't lean out the window like that, Maka, you'll fall!" Soul scolded, closing the window, to her great horror.

"But—but—!" Maka sputtered, trying to disentangle herself from him. "Why did you close it?"

"Because you were about to fall out?"

"Someone's frying fish close by and I'm hungry..." Maka groaned, looking out the window pitifully. "I would've landed on my feet anyway..."

"Highly doubt that." Soul deadpanned, adding: "I thought you hated fish?"

"I do! Well, not right now, but—shut up, Soul!" Maka glared when he laughed. Her tail slapped his stomach as she walked away from him, disappearing into the kitchen before he could blink.

"Maka?" Soul said, following her. "What are you doing?"

"I told you already, didn't I? I'm hungry." Maka restated, digging in the refrigerator for anything good. She gasped, taking out a bottle of crème. "I was supposed to give this to Blair yesterday!" She exclaimed, although she was already popping open the top. A delighted smile climbed on her face, illuminating her emerald eyes devilishly. Soul tried hard not to stare. "It's a good thing I didn't!"

She downed the bottle. Soul watched her throat, each swallow, and wondered how she could make something as simple as swallowing appear so seductive. Was it just a natural charm all felines had? Or was it Blair's spell influencing her actions...?

She licked her lips, a motion Soul's eyes followed faithfully.

His throat tightened when she licked the mouth of the bottle, tipping it over her lips again in hopes of a few more drops of the milk.

"Do we have any more?" Maka asked, placing the bottle back inside. Soul rolled his eyes, successfully snapped of his fixation.

"Idiot – don't just put it back!" Soul stepped forward, taking the empty bottle out. He was aware of her interested eyes on his face, specifically his mouth, as he placed the bottle on the dining room table to dispose of properly later. "What?" He mumbled irately, self-conscious with her stare. "Do I have something on my face?"

She brushed a strand of his unruly hair from his eyes in reply. He didn't move: he watched with veiled interest as she stepped closer and her fingers pushed his hair back again. Her eyes were fixed on the way his hair always fell back down his eyes...

He sucked in a sharp breath when she dragged her fingers through his hair, marveling the silk strands between her fingers.

"What's up with you?" Soul muttered, albeit with no conviction. "I thought you were back to normal..."

Maka added her other hand, tensing when his chest pressed against her own. She felt his hands rest on her hips, as if to anchor her in place, but Maka wouldn't have moved either way. The lustful pull inside of her had lessened the longer she was awake, until it only served as an incentive to spark the longing she had repressed for him.

"I am back to normal..." Maka said, stroking her fingers though his hair. "At least, I-I think I am..." She added, unsurely. Her hands stopped. This certainly wasn't something she'd do if she were in the right state of mind.

Maybe she needed a few more hours to get her head back, Maka nervously thought.

She felt a hand trail up the curve of her spin tantalizingly, his fingers touching the perked ears on her head. "You've still got ears and a tail." Soul observed. "But you're Maka...right?" The way he said it was hopeful.

"Yeah." Maka affirmed. She recalled him saying that before, after she basically pounced him. Then he said... her cheeks flushed, and she dropped her eyes timidly. "I'm myself again." She dropped her hands from his hair hastily.

"Are you sure?" Soul asked anyways, tapping a finger on her hip contemplatively. "The Maka I know wouldn't do something like this... she'd be too chicken to try." He grinned at the scorn that crossed her face.

"I would not!" She yelled. "Just because I haven't done this before doesn't mean I wouldn't do it, Soul!"

"Oh, really?" He said, skeptically.

"Yes, really!"

"Then what changed?" Soul challenged, startling her. She tensed back when he leaned closer. Suddenly, she didn't want him to be so close. The magic that had allowed her to react to his advances had declined too low for her to use. She felt like the usual Maka; the one who shied away from such advances, the one who couldn't stand to look into his sensual gaze because it made her embarrassed and inexperienced. "And don't say you're under Blair's magic because you seem pretty sober to me."

"Sober? I'm not drunk, Soul, I've been cursed...and, for the record, I've never been drunk before!"

"Sucks for you – it doesn't feel half bad." Soul teased, with a grin at the disapproving press of her lips.

"I don't want to know what you and Black Star do when you're alone." Maka crisply said.

"Just sayin'." Soul shrugged. "Although playing video games while you're wasted isn't fun...since you keep dying 'cause you can't hold the controller right."

"That's why you're so stupid." Maka said flatly, flicking his forehead. Her eyes softened at his slight scowl, and the overwhelming lust vanished as if it had never been there before. Her head felt clear, far clearer than a few minutes ago, and Maka wordlessly lowered her head in relief.

She felt in control again.

She wouldn't do something stupid, again – not like yesterday, letting her lust get a hold of her so appallingly.

"Well, since you're back to normal... guess the fun's over." He shot her a leering grin, which she removed with a sharp jab to his ribs. "I was kidding! Learn to take a joke, Maka!"

"That wasn't funny in the first place, you perv!" She was startled when Soul led her back to the couch, pulling her beside him as if it were the most natural thing to do. He did that a lot – when school was out and she was not studying or completing homework. She had long since stopped questioning why he liked being so close to her, dismissing it as nothing because nothing ever came out of it, but it felt...different, now.

There was a gentleness to his touch, a softness to his smile, that she could not mark off as a trick of the light.

She found she didn't mind anyway, being held in his arms, because it always made her chest warm and light. Because she liked him, a lot, and with the way he kept stroking his thumb across her arm, utterly lax and comfortable with her resting against him, it was giving her the impression that maybe he liked her, too...

But that was impossible. She knew this.

"Well, whatever." Soul yawned. "You're more of a pain when you're a cat than when you're normal."

And sometimes he was just a jerk who she was sure didn't deserve her utmost admiration...

"You weren't so easy to handle, either! You nearly knocked me out when you jumped on me!" Maka hotly said, smug when he cringed.

"Yeah, that wasn't cool, I know... how many times do I have to apologize for that?"

"It's fine." Maka sighed. "You didn't know any better then."

Soul turned on the TV to drown out the silence that had settled between them. After a moment, her ears twitching on her head as she experimented this new sensitive hearing, Soul commented: "You know – cat ears really compliment you. They make you look cute." He grinned at her flushed face.

"Wh-when are these things going to go away? They went away the next day when Blair cursed you!" Maka stammered, desperate to change the subject. Compliments usually made her giddy but compliments from him made her clumsy with nerves, and the last thing she needed was to do or say something uncool. "They're annoying!"

"They're cute." Soul flatly pointed out.

"They're—!" Maka pressed her lips together at his smug look. "They're inconvenient." Maka finally said.

He rolled his eyes. "How? They're pretty handy for hearing things."

"I don't want to know what the neighbors are doing!" A slow grin began to grow on his face, and Maka hastily amended: "Mrs. Harbor is yelling at her son again! He broke a glass or something." Maka's ears flattened. "And now he's crying..."

"And here I thought you were listening in on something interesting." Soul cackled at her glower.

"Shut up! This isn't funny!" She snapped, but his laughter only became snickers. "It's painful!" Maka slapped her hands over her fluffy ears. "His crying is really pitched, I never noticed before..."

"That's because," Soul sniggered, pressing his own hands over her ears, "you weren't half-cat before."

Maka didn't move, her hands still on her ears long after the little boy next door stopped crying. She liked the feeling of his hands over her own. She liked the feeling of his hands in general.

"Hey, Soul..."


Maka swallowed. She didn't know how to get the words out. They choked in her throat, rendering her speechless. She didn't want to humiliate herself by asking something dumb – especially if there was nothing special in his careful, almost tender, movements...

"What is it?" Soul asked, in a considerably softer tone. She didn't look at him, preferring to bite her lip thoughtfully, but he had a feeling she was going to bring up the dreaded topic. "Maka...?"

"How come..." She began, then swallowed her cowardice and outright asked: "How come you always hug me?"

Not exactly what he was waiting for, but close enough. "You're really asking me that?"

Maka flushed, feeling embarrassment color her face. "I-I just can't understand why you would, that's all, so I'm asking..." She left off at a miserable mumble.

"Because I want to." Soul replied, simply.

"That doesn't answer my question."

"Yes, it does." Soul contradicted. His sharp gaze went unnoticed by her, as she grumbled about his vague answers. "Unless that isn't what you meant."

"What do you mean?" Maka asked, hesitantly.

"Isn't there something else you'd like to ask me?" Soul asked, hopeful. He might as well get it over with – beating around the bush wasn't cool. Nor was being kept in sick dread for her answer, either.

Maka pondered over this. There were a lot of things she'd like to ask him: why he didn't play the piano for her or their friends (even though they'd heard it before and enjoyed it), why he didn't open up to her when he was troubled, why he wanted to hug her, why he always got so aggressive when guys spoke to her, why their friends always smiled secretively at her whenever Soul said or did something strange...

Instead, she said: "Not that I can think of," and pushed herself off his lap. It was strange and rather stupid to think Soul would like her, considering just how much he patronized her chest size and her dull appearance. She wasn't his type. She got it the first ten times he said it. "Nothing that I don't know." She stated with a tone of dull finality.

She missed the shock that crossed his face as she stood up.

His hand caught her wrist, tightly. "You know, leaving me without an answer is definitely uncool." He forced, through his teeth. "It's the least you can do, since you know and all."

The bitterness in his tone surprised her. She asked, without thinking: "What answer?" Then added: "What do you mean?" She turned to him, watching his confusion slowly melt into realization. Her confusion didn't waver. "Soul, what are you talking about?"

He stared, calculatingly. "What do you know?" He finally asked.


"You said it was nothing you didn't know, so... what do you know?"

"About what?" Maka frowned. "Soul, if you're talking about the question you asked me before, there are a lot of things I'd like to ask you. And a lot of those things are questions you will never answer, because I've tried before." She shook his hand off. "So, why bother? You'll just get mad, make me mad, and then we'll both be mad! I'm already angry enough at Blair... "

Soul frowned. She sounded pretty sure of herself. "Alright then, ask me one of those questions!" Soul defied coolly. "I'll answer it right now." He leaned back, spreading his arms over the top of the couch in his typical 'cool guy' pose.

Maka narrowed her eyes at his challenge. "... How come you don't like playing the piano for me?" She relished the unease that crossed his face. After a few seconds, she said, with bitter triumph: "See? Told you so," and continued on her way to her bedroom to change out of her sweatpants and tank top, when his voice stopped her.

"It's embarrassing."

Maka faced him again. He was looking out the window passively. "How... how is it embarrassing? You're really talented at playing the piano – Liz, Kid, Patty, Black Star – all of our friends think so!"

"It's still embarrassing." Soul quietly said. "Especially when you're used to people cringing away whenever you play." He added, bitterly.

Maka sat back down beside him, not liking the darkness that filled his tone. "Just because those people didn't like it doesn't mean everyone else does, too." Maka softly said, taking his hand and easing away the fist. "I like it when you play – it makes me happy." She confessed, not looking at him. But she could feel his surprise. "I might not get it, but... it still makes me happy, so it doesn't matter to me if I get it or not! As long as I hear it, I..." feel so much closer to you, she added, mentally. Like I'm not drifting away from you.

Soul tangled their fingers together, surprising her. "Ask me another question." He said, avoiding her eyes by looking at their hands. "You said you had a lot of them."

Maka bit her lip. He seemed... open enough right now, for some reason. "How come Black Star always calls me clueless whenever we're hanging out?" Maka recalled every moment the 'great' star grinned and proceeded to call her 'clueless' or 'blind' or 'flat-chested'—although, Soul called her that, too, and she Maka Chopped him just as she Maka Chopped Black Star. She didn't discriminate. "Just what am I missing? He always looks at you when he says it—it pisses me off! Are you hiding something from me again?" Maka ranted. Soul grinned. "Did I miss something or are you guys just being jerks? Even Tsubaki doesn't want to tell me! What am I missing?" Maka shook in rage, unable to take not knowing something. "Soul, you better tell me before I hurt you."

Sometimes, Soul was glad for her compulsive need to know things.

"Soul Eater—!"

"I can't believe you're asking me that, too." Soul sniggered when she looked up furiously. "You know, we've been partners for around four years." He mused. "You'd think you'd know, since we basically live together and all."

"Know what?" Maka hissed. Soul swore her tail was spunky with rage, too.

"Know..." Soul began, then, for the hell of it, dramatically said: "Well, if you can't see it then maybe I shouldn't tell you..." He kind of regretted it, because the look in her eyes spoke of murder.

"You said you'd answer my questions!" Maka accused.

"Never promised I would!"

"SOUL!" Maka's claws sprung from her fingers and she hooked them on his shirt, bringing him down to her level. She hissed, showing him sharp and glinting fangs; no longer the neat, straight, rows of teeth he'd grown used to seeing everyday. "You better tell me. I don't have a book on me... but I still have these for a couple more hours." She threatened, showing him her sharp nails.

Despite the situation, Soul was able to smirk easily. It baffled her – maybe he just wasn't used to being threatened with claws? Maka was sure claws were more scary than books.

"The reason they call you clueless," Soul began, bracing her hand back to avoid having her nails dig into his skin, "and Black Star laughs at you, is because..." He hesitated, but the eagerness in her eyes encouraged him "... I sort of..." She bit her lip, earnest to know. "Like you." He ended flatly, watching her expression crumble to confusion.

"What?" She whispered, wide eyed.

"I like you." Soul repeated. It was easier to say a second time. "That's why."

"I-I like you, too..." Maka replied, unsurely. There was a shock, an overwhelming relief, that flashed past his eyes until she said: "You're my partner, Soul, practically my best friend, so I don't understand...?"

Soul deflated. She was so dense sometimes. "I meant, I like you!"

She stared.

"Not like my meister! Like a girl!" He stressed, watching realization light her eyes.

"Oh..." Maka stared. She was befuddled. She had played, more often than she'd like to admit, with the idea of becoming more to her weapon than a meister but it seemed unlikely whenever she counted in the facts: the jokes made of her chest size, of her pigtails, of her childish face, of her body in general; of her attitude, of her quirks, of her habits, of her violent tendencies.

She wasn't his type.

She'd never be; he'd made it clear.

Her eyes darkened. She tore her claws from his shirt, ignoring the flash of surprise on his face. "That wasn't funny, Soul." Maka said, darkly. "Don't say things you don't mean – especially things like that." She slid off the couch, throat tight. She turned away from him to hide her hurt. "It's cruel."

"Wait a second!" This definitely wasn't how he thought it would go down. "What're you talking about? I wasn't lying!"

"Yes, you were!" Maka shouted, her claws sinking into her palm. She felt a little sick. "You know I hate liars, Soul..." Maka's voice dropped to a quivering whisper.

Soul scrambled up, his heart sinking at her hurt whisper. He didn't know what was going on through that brilliant mind of hers, but it wasn't anything good. "Maka, I'm not lying!" Soul insisted. "I like you – is that so hard to believe?"

"Yes!" Maka shouted, startling him. "Because you've made it clear to everyone how you could never like me!" That sinking feeling in his stomach grew worse, because he technically had. How many times had he denied it in public? "Because I'm dull and boring and I'm a flat-chested, violent, bookworm!" Maka cried, holding back tears. It hurt to say it out loud. "And now you're telling me you like me?" She shook her head. It was getting harder to breathe. "Don't make me laugh, Soul, you're just being an ass again. And this time you took it too far. What is this? A bet from Black Star you lost?"

"Maka, hold up, I didn't mean any of that!" Soul was hot on her trail when she stormed to her room, intent on locking the door and soaking her pillow with tears for a few hours. "Maka, that's not—!"

"Don't say it's not true because you know it's not!"

"Look, I know I said those things, big deal, I didn't—!"

"BIG DEAL?" Maka bellowed, swiveling on her heel. The hurt on her face made him feel sick—maybe he shouldn't have put it quite like that. "You don't even care that you've said those things to me? What, did you think it was funny?" Maka shouted, far too furious to stop. She needed a book to beat him up; fast. "Did you think it was funny to basically put me down in front of everyone? Do you honestly think it doesn't hurt me? I know I'm not pretty, I know I can get boring sometimes, Soul, I know I'm violent – it's just humiliating when you say it out loud and then laugh about it!" She was crying now; hot, thick, tears ran down her cheeks. Her ears were flat on her head, claws bloodying up her palm from breaking the skin. "Just because I'm not as pretty as Blair or Patty doesn't mean you have to rub it in my face all the time—!"

She tried to push him away, the last place she wanted to be was wrapped in his arms, but his grip was strong, and the closed bedroom door behind her only caged her in place. The tears she willed away only ran faster down her cheeks and the hurt from saying all of those faults out loud, all those insecurities she'd never dared to breathe a word to anyone, was tearing her up inside.

"That's not true." Soul whispered, holding her tightly. It was a bit of a challenge – she wasn't weak, far from it. "Maka, listen to me: I didn't mean any of those things. I haven't for a long time."

"But that doesn't mean you did." She insisted.

"Maka, I was thirteen and thought jumping off a roof with my motorcycle was cool." Soul dryly said, making a strangled scoff rise out of her throat before her tears snuffed that humor. That short huff gave him hope he could fix the situation, however. "Maka, just listen to me! I just need five minutes!"

"You have two!" Maka snapped nastily.

Two would be more than enough. "When we were thirteen...after we fought Blair and I took her soul... what did I tell you? Do you remember?"

"You..." Maka stopped struggling, trying to recall his words. "You told me... th-that it's not the shape of the body that matters, it's the soul that matters."

"Right...because I didn't partner up with you for your body, Maka, I partnered up with you for you." Soul sincerely said. "I couldn't care less how you looked like. I thought you understood what I meant that time. I guess you didn't."

"But..." Maka continued, helplessly. "You—you kept saying all of those things – in fact, you called me a bookworm just yesterday!"

"You are a bookworm." Soul smiled at her indignant gasp. "But you aren't boring. And, hate to sound like your dad, but... you haven't exactly been flat-chested and dull since you hit fourteen." She went still in his arms. Soul swallowed, suddenly nervous. "And I just say I wanna' be with some big titted girl 'cause it was a stupid and cool thing to say at the time. I don't mean it – Black Star does, though." He added weakly. He brought her closer. "I just want to be with you..." His jaw was taut, tight, mouth unwilling to continue. It was difficult to continue; to expose his feelings like this. But he had to make her believe him, somehow. "I've always wanted to be with you." She had been the only one to listen to his recital to the end and not cringe away – quite the opposite, she smiled brightly and introduced herself.

She was different; she was Maka.

She was his meister, and he... loved his meister.

He breathed out in relief when her arms wrapped around him, returning his impromptu embrace.

"Do you... really mean that?"

"Yeah, I do. I wasn't lying, Maka. I wouldn't lie about this."

Her arms tightened around him. "... I believe you."

His smile was soft. "Sorry I was such an ass before." He muttered, glumly. "I won't say those things to you anymore. I didn't know they hurt you this much."

He felt her nod against his chest.

"... Don't say that word again."

"What word?"

"You know what word!" Maka groaned.

Soul suddenly smirked. Oh, yeah, he knew what word. But he still used it: for the sole reason that it made her all squeamish. "Tits?"

"Soul!" Maka cringed. That word sounded terribly dirty.

He chuckled at her embarrassment. "You're so cute." He felt more comfortable now that he had evaded serious damage to their relationship.

Maka was starting to believe her cheeks would never go back to normal. Her most basic senses were alert on every little thing he did – his smell was amplified, the sound of his breathing loud in her ears, his skin hot as it brushed against a strip of bare skin on her shoulder.

"Hey..." Soul said, lifting his face away from her. "Your ears are gone."

"They are?" Maka reached up to pat her head, finding that they were, indeed, gone. "Then that means—!" Maka pulled away from him, straining to look behind her to see if she still had a tail. Her cheeks pinked. "What? It's not gone yet!" Maka groaned. "Oh, great, this is embarrassing!"

"What is?" Soul looked for himself, amused when he saw the fluffy, tawny, tail still there. "The tail is the last thing that goes away." He reassured, remembering his own experience. "At least you don't have the urge to chase it."

Maka giggled, and Soul felt all previous gloom wash away at the sight of her smile. But the sight of her lips brought back pleasant memories, and he grinned with mischief. She hadn't necessarily accepted his confession but... she hadn't rejected it, either.

Limbo, he decided, wasn't so bad if you knew how to maneuver through it.

"So," he drawled, "since I basically cleared everything up, and you're not pissed anymore, care to continue from where we left off last time?" He smirked at her confusion. It was until he was dangerously close, that haughty smirk still plastered on his face, that she understood, and her cooling face heated up twice-fold.

"W-who said I still wasn't mad at you?" She was cornered against the door. She didn't mind this time.

"You're not moving away."

"I can't."

"You can," he said, letting his arm drop to his side. There was the exit; all she had to do was move to the side and leave. "Well?"

Breathing hard, she realized she wouldn't have moved even if she wanted to. She felt bolted to the floor by his smoldering stare.

"I'm still mad at you..."

"That's cool..."

And when he pressed his lips against hers, something sparked inside of her, reminiscent to the heat she had felt earlier that morning.

It was a suffocating, painful, type of heat, that coiled in her abdomen and made her skin itch to feel his own. Heart echoing in her ears, blood running rampant through her veins, she moaned when she felt his teeth sink into her lip like she had ached for hours ago. Her hands tangled in his messy hair, the last traces of magical influence in her body sparking at the sudden stimulus from his mouth.

High on a sudden, final, crash of magic, Maka drove him against the wall opposite to her bedroom door, one hand dragging down his shirt while the other pulled his hair back needfully. She wanted to tear off his shirt again. She faintly noticed her hands no longer bore claws before she became aware of the hands that groped her ass, a faint groan making it past the pounding she heard in her ears.

Despite the thrill that had shot down her spine, she had been on the verge of telling him to get his hand off her when a low, impressed, whistle came from down the hall.

Maka felt the color drain from her face at the familiar, booming, laughter that followed.

"Holy crap, now I know why Soul likes to hang out with you so much! Soul, you dog, you've been getting some all along, huh?" Black Star's grin was palpable in his words. "How long has this been goin' on? I thought you weren't gonna' tell her until Christmas! Did you dare lie to your god, Soul?" He demanded, in mock-authority.

"Black Star!" Maka gaped in horror. Soul still looked a little dazed. "What are—how did you get in here?" She was sure she'd hear the door if he was the one going through it.

"Window." He innocently answered.

Maka groaned, ducking her head to hide her embarrassment. "Why don't you use the door like normal people do?"

"'Cause the last time I used your door, you hit me on the head with a goddamn book!"

"Because you broke it off the hinges!"

"It's not my fault I don't know my own strength!"

"Black Star, what do you want?" Soul interrupted, annoyed.

"I was gonna' invite you to play some video games and chill at Kid's house but since you're busy..." Black Star snickered at Maka's silent embarrassment. At least Soul had dropped his hands from her butt when he realized who it was. "You better be there in two hours, man – we got beer and chips!"

"Yeah, 'cause I don't have beer and chips here." He sarcastically replied.

"We don't." Maka stated. She narrowed her eyes at Soul's uneasy grin. "Soul, don't tell me you—!"

"But we have better beer – and chips! The good kind. So, you better hurry up and tap that already, or else I'll come back and pick you up!" He laughed at the dark look he shot him. "And I don't wanna' see your bare ass—!"

"Shut. Up." Soul ground through his teeth, as his comrade laughed.

"Tap that—what does that even mean?" Maka questioned, looking distinctly repulsed by the term. She'd heard it come out of Black Star and her papa's mouths before but she never really understood what it meant. "Black—!"

"It just means hanging out with someone." Soul interrupted, slapping a hand over her mouth. "For a while."

Maka blinked owlishly.

Black Star leered. "For a long, long time – or short, since it's Soul—!"

"Fuck you, Black Star!" Soul snapped.

"Not if you're already doing her!" Black Star winked audaciously, causing Soul to blanch. Maka appeared torn between being furious at what Black Star said and annoyed that Soul wasn't denying anything. Or doing much, for the matter.

"Dude, that was wrong on so many levels."

"Hey! I can't help it if guys and girls want me." He smirked. "Of course they'd want me – they can't help but feel attracted to me, those poor souls. My sexiness is out of this world—no, universe!" He flexed his arm, hardened muscle contracting underneath smooth skin.

Soul snorted, highly doubting his claims.

"Black Star, don't you dare say a word to them!" Maka threatened after she got Soul's hand off her mouth, knowing that Tsubaki, Liz and Patty were at Gallows Mansion, too, and would be blown away by the sudden news. And then she would be swamped with questions—questions that she did not want to answer.

Personal questions – because that's what Liz and Patty did: invade her privacy like a bunch of giggly, hormonal, high school girls. And Tsubaki wasn't so innocent herself...

"Why not?" Black Star taunted, wickedly. "Can't stand the fact that you totally went crazy on Soul? It's alright – although you could do better, like me for example, but I don't go for flat girls so I'm sure Soul will—WAH!" Black Star stared wide-eyed at the pencil that narrowly missed his head.

"I don't just carry books around, you know." Maka hissed, reaching into her sweats again. "The pens work better—GET BACK HERE!" Maka screeched, running after the ninja who had darted for the window when he saw the chance.

"NEVER! AND I'M TELLING EVERYONE!" Black Star cackled, leaping out the window. "LIZ IS GONNA' FREAK—OWWW!" He howled in pain at the pen that managed to stab into his thigh. "I'M STILL TELLING!"

"Black Star! Just wait until I see you later!" Maka slumped over the sill, glowering at the figure that disappeared in the distance. His laughter ghosted through their home, making her shiver. "That idiot is going to ruin everything..." She bemoaned. She could just see the lewd grins from Liz and Patty, the sly but coy look from Tsubaki, once Black Star finished his tale. "And why didn't you do anything?" She snapped at Soul, who looked no less perturbed than usual by the chain of events. "You could have helped me stop him, you know! Some help you were! All you did was stand there like an idiot!"

"Chillax, Maka." Soul eased, placing his hands on either shoulder. They were tense, muscles coiled and ready to launch, so he gave them a reassuring squeeze. "It's just Black Star. No big deal."

"How do you expect me to relax when that idiot is going to tell everyone something that isn't true!" Maka screeched, scorching him with a furious glare. He was unfazed. He was far too used to them already.

"They'll never believe him." Soul deadpanned. "They know how he gets." She felt his arms snake around her waist again, his breath feathering the sensitive skin of her collarbone. She sucked in a breath, her heart pounding again. "I'm still gonna' punch him when I see him later, though," he murmured huskily, causing shivers to run down her arms. "He insulted you... and that bastard killed the mood."

Maka's face reddened. She would never get used to this...

"Mewr – why can't you talk to Blair like that, Soul-kun?" Blair whined from outside the sill, smiling coyly at their surprise. Maka started forward in shock, Soul following her lead.

Then Maka's eyes narrowed dangerously. She was reaching into her sweats again. "Blair! You are in so much—!"

Soul immediately snapped the window closed, shutting out Blair. "No way – I've waited too long for that stupid cat to ruin this for me!"

"But, S-Soul, Blair—!"

"You can get her back later." Soul grinned, almost menacingly. Maka had reason to feel as if she were going to be devoured like the souls she fed him after a mission. "Right now, it's just you, me, and that wall over there."

"But—Soul, no, put me down!"

When Black Star tried to sneak into their apartment two hours later, he was ambushed by a stack of books Maka had set up by the window.

He didn't wake up until Soul nudged him with his shoe a few minutes later, smugly stating that all the beer at Kid's house had been drained by Liz, and the young Death God would not be hosting any more of those parties ever again since Liz and Black Star broke the chair they had been arm wrestling on before he left to retrieve Soul.

And the chair had not been broken in two equal pieces...

That was probably the worst thing Black Star ever heard in his entire life – the beer thing, he meant.

At least, before Maka ran into the room and dropped kicked him with one of her famous battle cries.

Tsubaki had to drag him back home a few hours after that - but not after sending Maka a look that conveyed they would speak of the new developments between she and her partner at school.

Maka dreaded going to school on Monday for two reasons:

Liz, Patty and Tsubaki would milk out the most important details from her and draw their own conclusions...

And she had a feeling all of Soul's admirers would hate her even more when they realized she'd basically made out with him.

A few times.

A.N: I warned you it would be massive.

This has an abrupt, lame, ending because this story could go on for... at least six more pages, knowing me, and I deemed this LONG enough already. Jesus, this is a monster.