Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater.

Double Dare
Poisoned Scarlet

"It was Patty's idea." Liz protested, lounging like a cat on Maka's bed. Several vials of nail polish were laid out before her, a rainbow of bright blues and pinks and yellows, and she blew on her straight-cut nails conceitedly. "Patty might look naïve and stupid, but she's the one who comes up with some of Kid's smartest plans, you know."

"That isn't smart, it's—it's immoral!" Maka sputtered, on her stomach with her elbows keeping her propped up. A pillow laid by her, where she had been resting her head, and Tsubaki had thrown a fleece blanket over her legs to keep her warm. "How could Kid even agree to it?"

She honestly couldn't understand that type of logic. She had high regard for Death the Kid; he was one of the few men that Maka was convinced were different, better.

"How could he not? She was basically throwing herself at him!" Liz smirked. "Don't look at me like that – Kid's alright. He wouldn't let some other girl do what Patty did to him. He only did it because he liked her."

"He...does?" Maka blinked.

"Duh, why else would he do it? Kid isn't like that. A lot of girls have tried, you know, to go out with him and stuff like that." Liz explained, twisting open another bottle of nail polish; this one was sparkly purple. "But he's rejected all of them. Patty is usually pissed when they ask him out, but Kid doesn't notice. He's dense like that. Guys usually are. So, what else is a girl to do? I don't blame Patty for doing what she did."

"But..." Maka rolled over on her back, staring at the ceiling. "It's just not right. It sounds like she forced him to do it. Poor Kid."

"What? You like Kid or something?" Liz laughed, but when Maka didn't respond, Liz shot up with a horrified gasp. "Maka, you don't like Kid, do you? I thought you were into Soul!"

"What? No! I mean, no, I don't like Kid, Liz!" Maka exclaimed, bewildered. "I just meant it didn't sound right that Patty forced him to 'help' her with... that."

Liz relaxed, sinking back down on the bed. "Hmm, I guess it does sound kind of awful, huh?" She thought, out loud. "But, although none of you have noticed, Kid has always had a soft spot for Patty. He let her get away with things that even I couldn't. I'm also convinced he wasn't aware that he liked her until she did that. He locked himself up in his study and he spaced out a lot afterward – he didn't even notice when one of his cuffs was unsymmetrical one day! That's how out of it he was."

Maka listened, silently.

"Then he figured it out." Liz smiled, genuinely. "Just like that. He understood why, and since then Kid's been at Patty's beck and call!" She tossed her head back, laughing. Her blond locks, moist from her shower, clung in thick strands down her back. "It's so cute to watch. Patty can be so mean sometimes."

"Hmm, so that's why Soul and Black Star have been teasing Kid so much lately." Maka mused. "Kid likes Patty..."

"And Patty likes Kid." Liz added, cheerfully. "She just likes to make him work for it." She winked, and Maka looked away hastily. "Soo... anything juicy between you and Soul? Huh? You two live together, something's gotta' give someday!"

"Wh-what?" Maka stammered, knowing exactly what she meant. Hanging around with them, it was difficult to be ignorant to the otherwise obscure concepts of couple-hood. "No! Nothing's going on between Soul and I, Liz, don't be ridiculous."

Liz softened her smile at her dejected sigh. She rested her cheek on a palm, and said: "You read all of those romance novels but you still can't tell, huh? I guess your simpleness is what makes you so cute."

"Simple?" Maka arched a brow. "I'm not simpleminded, Liz, if that's what you meant to say."

"Oh, yes you are!" Liz laughed, good-naturedly. "Once you set your mind on something, nothing can stop you. It's not a bad thing, really. Sometimes it's better to have that sort of drive – you get things done that way."

Maka couldn't help but notice that Liz appeared somber, as if the word had strung along a collage of melancholic memories.

"Ah, when is Tsubaki coming back?" Maka asked, hoping to break her of her glum thoughts. It seemed to have worked, because the light returned to her eyes.

"I bet that idiot Black Star's holding her up again." Liz sighed, frustrated. "Weren't they supposed to be gone by now? How can we ever start our sleep over if there's boys around! It doesn't work that way!" She capped her purple nail polish and slid off the bed, padding to the door purposefully. "I'll be right back, Maka! Don't move!"

"Yeah." Maka said, watching Liz disappear down the hall. She smiled when she heard her authoritative yells drift from the living room, Soul's loud swear when she no doubt smacked him for saying something smart. She heard Black Star claim he didn't want to listen to a bunch of girls gush about boys and make up anyways, and heard Kid mention something about needing to finish his mission report at home.

It wasn't long before the house became silent, Patty's giggles the only real noise in the entire apartment.

"Maka-chan, I hope we didn't keep you waiting too long!" Tsubaki said, entering the room with a bowl of popcorn and a few bags of chips under her arms.

"Of course not, I kept her company half the time you were out there trying to get your dumb meister to leave!" Liz spoke up from behind her, carrying a few bottles of soda and one mineral water. "Black Star's such a pain sometimes – at least Soul listens the first time!"

"Hah!" Maka snorted, that statement ridiculous in her ears. "He only listened because he didn't want to be here in the first place. He never listens to me when I tell him to do something!"

"It might be because Soul is afraid of sissy!" Patty suggested, carrying a bag-full of what seemed like candy. "Sissy can be really scary when she's mad, you know!" She giggled madly, sitting right beside Maka and taking out a bag of gummie's, which were in the shapes of little skulls and coffins.

"We're pigging out tonight, right?" Maka asked, eying the bag of chips in Tsubaki's hands.

"Totally." Liz paused, pursing her lips. "And then we're hitting the gym! Got it, Patty?"

"Roger, dodger!"

"So, what will be the schedule for the night?" Tsubaki asked. She was munching on some popcorn, resting her back against the bed. "We haven't had a sleepover since we were so young... Maka, you just turned thirteen when we had our first sleepover, right?"

"Oh, yeah, she was such a scrawny thing!" Liz giggled. Maka sent her a dark look. "Can't say the same now, though. I bet Soul's regretting calling you tiny tits, huh?"

"Ugh, don't remind me!" Maka grimaced. That name always stung, even if he meant it in jest. "I'm still nothing compared to you guys."

"Eh, don't worry about it. It's a pain having huge boobs." Liz dismissed. "Everyone always talks to them, not you, you know? It's annoying, especially if you're serious about something."

"And, besides, you're a meister, Maka." Tsubaki helpfully added. "Having large assets would hinder your ability to move on the battlefield!"

"Yeah," Maka popped open a bag of Cheetos moodily. "That's what I keep telling myself."

Liz and Tsubaki laughed nervously.

"Oh!" Patty suddenly exclaimed, mischief lighting her eyes. The look on her face was absolutely terrifying, from her wide grin to the way her eyes shimmered with dangerous glee. "I know what we can do all night!"

"What?" Liz asked, unaffected by the mischief in her sisters tone.

"Truth, Dare... or Double Dare." She wickedly smirked.

Maka would say it had been a terrible idea to agree with the terms the youngest Thompson sister had laid out. The look on her face, promising moments that will change her life for better or for worse, had been a warning, and the dares and questions said were red flags Maka had studiously ignored.

Now Maka stood before Soul's bedroom, dread making her palms sweaty. She knew her friends had cruel streaks but this was over-kill. She had high hopes he would understand her dilemma and let her get it over with, but there was always the doubt that planted itself in her thoughts; unfurled like a rose at its peak, and only made her shaky with anxiety.

There were many reasons he didn't have to do this; so many Maka was pained to know she couldn't ignore them like usual.

For one, she wasn't beautiful: she was cute, but that wasn't good enough, at least in her eyes. She was no Blair, she was no Liz or Tsubaki or Patty. She was Maka Albarn, and she hid what she inherited from her mother under thick trench coats and a frigid, no-nonsense, glower. She also had the tendency to stay away from society. If it weren't for Soul, her social skills would be severely lacking.

Two, she would admit to being boring. And Soul was an extroverted soul. It just didn't work sometimes.

Three, this could very well count as weapon abuse. He had absolutely no obligation to agree to try this with her. He was her weapon, used for fighting and training, not some tool to expel her frustrations with. Not that she was frustrated or anything.

Four, well, she was Maka!

Maka Albarn didn't ask for these sorts of things.

Maka Albarn didn't even consider them!

Maka Albarn would have stopped while she was ahead, she would have rejected all dares instead of asking her partner, practically her best friend, if he could teach her how to French Kiss.

"I can't do that!" Maka gasped, horrified. "Patty, I can't do that! Give me another dare! That's just way too extreme!"

"Nu uh! No can do, Maka!" Patty shook her head, firmly. "A dare is a dare."

"But—but—you can't honestly think he'll even CONSIDER it—!"

"If he doesn't, who cares?" Liz said, offhandedly. Maka gawked at her in disbelief. "You're just doing a dare: you asked him if he could teach you how to french a guy and he said no, so just find someone else until you get one that says yes—and yes, you CAN find someone, Maka. You're not ugly, you're actually pretty hot, so a lot of guys would jump for the chance to make out with miss Long-Legs!" Liz winked at her flushed face.

"But—it'll be humiliating if he says no!" Maka argued, hotly. "I won't be able to look him in the eye again for years! It'll affect our soul wavelengths – and-and our resonance rate and – !"

"But what if he says... yes?" Liz challenged, with a Cheshire grin spreading on her lips. At Maka's flabbergasted stare, Liz added: "I mean, you keep saying he'll say no but... what if he says yes?" Liz twined her fingers under chin, grin still plastered on her face. "Then what?"

For once, Maka didn't have an answer for a question.

There was no use.

She had to get it over with – it was that, or take the cowards way out and ask someone else. Perhaps she could ask Tsubaki for help, if she begged enough, and she could complete her dare without harming the friendship between her partner and herself.

But Liz would expect her to ask him - it was the reason she had chosen that particular dare in the first place.

"If you don't want to do it... then you'll have to do the bail-out dare." Patty interrupted Maka and Liz's bickering.

"Bail-out dare?" Maka perked up. She missed the smirk that crossed Liz's face. "I'll do the bail-out dare! What is it?"

"Hmm... are you sure?" Patty asked, with mock-thoughtfulness. "The bail-out dare is WAY worse than the Double Dare! Hehe."

Maka hesitated. Worse? At the moment, nothing seemed worse than asking her partner of five years to give her french kissing lessons but, knowing Patty, it could be worse. "Can you tell me what it is?" Maka asked, slowly. "And then let me choose?"

"Nope!" Liz chimed. Maka groaned. "That's not how it works, Maka! It's either you do the Double Dare or you bail and do the bail-out dare! We can't tell you the bail-out dare unless you give us your word that you don't want to complete the Double Dare!"

"You guys are so mean." Tsubaki interjected, concerned at Maka, who appeared to look as she usually did when she thought she did badly on an exam. It wasn't a pleasant sight. "Maka-chan has never even played this game before, can't you cut her some slack just this once?"

Liz pursed her lips, mulling over her suggestion.

"Oh, fine!" Liz blew a strand of hair from her eyes at Tsubaki's pleading eyes. "But only this once, and only because she's never played before! Patty, tell her the bail-out dare so she could choose."

"Okay!" Patty madly cackled."For the bail-out dare, you have to make out with BLACK STAR OR OX for two whole minutes! And if they both say no, then we get to choose who you make out with and it won't be Soul – hahahaha!"

Tsubaki gasped.

Liz rolled on her back in hysteria, laughing until her eyes watered at the utterly white color of Maka's face.

"I..I think I'll take the Double Dare." Maka rasped.

Patty smirked, pleased with herself. "I thought so, too, Maka."

That was the last day Maka thought of Patty as simpleminded and slow.

Patty Thompson was a mad genius in the making, cleverly able to trap her in her sticky web.

Maka had no choice, really.

"Soul?" Maka called, anxiously. She pushed the door open, and felt her hopes crash when she found him laying on his back; headphones on his ears. He cracked an eye open at her arrival, pushing the headphones off his ears.

Despite appearing inattentive, Soul always listened to her. Liz had been right about his listening skills – he just chose to ignore commands that required him to put in extra effort, like picking up his shoes from under the coffee table or putting his dirty dishes in the sink and washing them.

"Yeah, what is it...?" He trailed off at the sight of her troubled face, the brows that refused to smooth her face into confidence, like Liz had suggested. She had also suggested to simply ask, to not think about the consequences, but Liz had forgotten that Maka was unable to do such a thing.

Thinking ahead was absolute for her; she could not remember a time when she had not at least thought ahead to what might happen if she made this decision or that. Even when she was reckless, willing to throw herself into a bloodbath for the sake of winning, she knew exactly what she was getting herself into, and the possible consequences that came along with that choice.

"Are you alright?" Soul arched a brow when she stubbornly refused to move from the threshold of the door. "Maka?"

"Yeah. I'm fine." She answered, crisply. She was glad for the long sleeves of her sherbert orange sweater. They covered her tightly fisted hands as she strode closer to him, heart pounding in her chest. She wondered if he could hear it. "Um... Soul, I have to ask you something."

"Alright, go for it." He relaxed, crossing his arms behind his head without a care in the world. "What's up?"

She hated how casual he could be. She wished she could be like that. It would make her life awfully easier if she could simply brush everything off.

She took a deep breath but no words came out. Her hands unintentionally fidgeted with the hem of her sweater, throat choked with the words that needed to be said. She would strangle Liz and Patty once she overcame this, she promised!

"Any time now would be nice, Maka."

"I know! Shut up!" Maka snapped, swallowing thickly. The question that needed to be asked refused to cross the border of her lips. "Just—just give me a second..."

"For what?" Soul snorted, finally turning to look at her. "Just say what you have to say. It's not that hard."

It was when you were asking for something of this magnitude, Maka thought bitterly. The urge to run was beginning to build on itself. But she knew that if she ran now, she would not be able to summon the courage to knock on his door and try again later.

She considered just leaving, however. She could find someone else; find someone who wouldn't reject her, or someone who didn't matter – not as much as her partner did. She treasured what they had; the carefully constructed friendship they had built together. It was rather cruel of Liz and Patty not to take that into consideration but, Maka guessed, they probably had no idea how much she valued her friendship with her scythe.

But bailing now would be forever rubbed in her face, and if there was one thing Maka couldn't stand aside from her papa's flirtatious habits, it was having someone one-up her.

Steeling her resolve, Maka set her jaw and shot her eyes up to meet his. He wasn't complaining anymore, he was measuring her up; wracking his brain for a reason as to why she would be acting so strange. He looked somewhat concerned, but anyone would if a close friend of theirs was standing before them, lips grimly set, eyes uncertain and afraid, with flushed cheeks.

"Soul..." She began, carefully. Although the consequences made her head feel cramped and stuffy, and her stomach fluttering to the beat of her hammering heart, she did it without stumbling over her words once, something she would later be proud of: "I need a favor from you."

His tense shoulders relaxed at the sound of her collected voice. "A favor? That's it? Yeah, sure, what do you want?"

"I need you to teach me how to french kiss."

"You're gonna' have to think about it someday, Maka." Liz persisted, to her utter annoyance. "I have no clue why you have such a low self-esteem, maybe it's because Soul and Black Star were bastards to you when you were younger, but you're hot, so why wouldn't anyone wanna' make out with you? Don't take this the wrong way, but I'd totally make out with you if I were a guy!"

Maka grimaced at that. "Thanks, Liz?"

"No problem!" She cheerfully said. "So, yeah, when you ask him...?"

"Please drop it already." Maka groaned, throwing a pillow on her face to hide her blush. "I really don't want to think about that right now."

"Liz, stop it." Tsubaki sternly said, casting her a warning look. "The dare you and Patty set up for Maka is bound to stress her, and the last thing we want is for her to feel too stressed to enjoy herself tonight. It isn't often we get days off on mission days, so we might as well enjoy this short grace period before we're back on our daily assignments."

"Ugh, fine, whatever!" Liz mumbled, going back to filing her nails. "Patty! Is the pizza guy here yet?"

"NO!" Patty's voice boomed from the living room. "But I found Soul's Xbox! Hyahaha! It was under the couch!"

"What, seriously? Awesome! Let me see!" Liz raced out of the room with an excited giggle, leaving the two girls alone together.

"Thanks, Tsubaki." Maka thanked the shadow weapon, gratefully. Tsubaki rewarded her with a warm smile.

"Any time, Maka-chan." Tsubaki's smile became encouraging. "And I'm sure you will do just fine with your dare! Although you may think Soul-kun will reject you, we're all positive he won't." There was something about the way she said it that made Maka actually believe there was some truth in the statement; something about the way her eyes lit up almost deviously, a rare occurrence in the usually timid and shy shadow weapon.

But her words were enough to allow her to enjoy the rest of the night.

"... Maka, are you coming onto me?"

Maka flushed a horrible red and stuttered, losing her solid streak for a second: "N-no! I'm not, you moron, it-it was a d—!" She abruptly shut up, her eyes wide. It was one of the rules that she could not forewarn him of her reasons for doing this.

Soul stared at her, then sighed. "A dare, right?" He sounded disappointed but Maka didn't have enough time to question it before a smirk lit his face up. "Some dare. So, you want me to teach you how to french kiss?"

"Yes." Maka said through her teeth. At least he knew why she was asking such an outrageous question; some of her dread had subsided because of that. He wasn't rejecting, right? That had to be a good sign.

He seemed to inspect the ceiling for a moment, infuriating her with his coolness. She bet her face was flaming, making the color red turn its head in shame, yet he laid there on his back, headphones hanging around his neck, as if she had just asked him what time it was.

"... What if I say no?" Soul asked, and her stomach plummeted to her ankles.

"I-I'll have to ask someone else." Maka uneasily whispered.

His lip quirked down, telling her that he didn't like the idea. "So, it's not just asking, huh? You actually have to go through with it? Geez, Patty and Liz sure are evil. That was a big dare to lay on you."

Maka blinked, taken aback. He was testing the limits of her dare? Relief made her sound normal: "How did you know it was Liz and Patty who gave it to me?"

Soul shot her a sarcastic look. "Well, it couldn't have been Tsubaki, right? Besides, it sounds like something Liz would make someone do. What'd you pick? Dare or Double Dare?"

"Double Dare." Maka muttered, and flushed further at his laugh. "Shut up, Soul! Liz was baiting me and I fell for it! I'll never let that happen again! The bail-out dare was even worse than this dare, so I'm not really complaining!"

"What was the bail-out dare?"

Maka made a face, a cross between pain and disgust. "I had to make out with Black Star or Ox for two whole minutes."

Soul gagged. "I can see why you kept the double dare." He sat up, tossing his headphones beside him. "I'd rather hang myself than do that."

She tensed, watching him run his fingers through his hair in apparent laziness. "Um... you know, you don't have to do this if you don't want to. Th-there are other guys who would be willing to do it with me if I asked them..."

He sharply looked at her. "You sound pretty confident there, Maka."

Maka frowned and crossed her arms over her chest, irately. She didn't like the way he sounded so skeptical! "I'm not exactly twelve anymore, Soul, I'm seventeen and a half."

He scowled. "Yeah, whatever. Get over here."

Maka became nervous again. "But..."

"While the sun's still out, Maka." He impatiently said, and she reluctantly conceded. She supposed he would be able to teach her that, given that he had been to his fair share of dates over the past few years. Maka had to grudgingly admit that he must have kissed those girls sometime, too. Although, she was smug to say the longest relationship he had lasted a total of three and a half days. He was picky, she had noticed, and either they were too dumb, too talkative, too clingy, too annoying, too smart, too dull, or too something for his tastes.

He always found something to pin on them.

It had been a few months since he last went on a date, or had some semblance of a relationship with someone. She had started to believe he gave up on dating when she remembered that Soul wasn't like that; either he was biding his time, bored, or he had found someone but couldn't do anything about it quite yet.

The last prospect was the one that made her sick.

Maka had only been on a total of three dates and neither of them had resulted in a relationship. She just didn't like them, and she had gone out with them due to Liz and Tsubaki's insistence. The most she had gotten was a chaste kiss on her cheek and a hug. One had tried to take it a step further but she had hastily pushed him back, making up an excuse to avoid contact.

"So, how many times do you have to do this?" Soul drawled, pushing a few stray locks of hair behind her ear almost absently. She flinched, leaning away from his touch with anxiety pounding her nerves into dust.

"Just once." Maka mumbled, staring intently at her lap. "Liz didn't say anything about doing it any more than once. But it has to last for at least two minutes or so."

"Cool, it isn't as bad as I thought it would be." He said, and was amused with the way she bore holes into her lap. Her fidgeting was cute. "Maka, if I'm going to teach you, you're gonna' have to look at me."

She hated the amusement in his words. She couldn't make it anymore obvious that she really didn't want to do this, not like this, but she swallowed her embarrassment and looked at him. He was sitting close to her, close enough that their knees would bump if she weren't sitting so rigidly.

"Just follow my lead," he said, voice taking on a surprisingly low tone. She felt his hand turn her chin up to him, angling her to his tastes. She hadn't noticed she was trembling, out of fear and nervousness, until he slipped a hand to the back of her neck to lock her in place.

His hand was cool, she noticed faintly, but that might be because her entire body felt as if it had caught flames.

"Relax," he whispered. She looked anywhere but his eyes. "First step to making out is relaxing, Maka." He smirked, and she had enough strength in her bones to punch his thigh, making him cringe. "Second step: don't abuse the guy you're gonna' make out with. That's a total turn off."

"I don't care about all that, let's just get this over with!" She stubbornly said, growing more and more anxious with each stall.

"Someone's impatient..." He mused, and caught her fist before it hit his stomach. "Alright, alright, I'll quit joking around. I was just trying to lighten the mood..."

"Not working."

"Duly noted—okay! Okay, I'm serious this time. Chill out, you have to relax if you want this to work." He placed her hand on her lap, keeping it there with his own. He noticed just how hard her hand, fisted as it was, felt, and tried to ease the tension by stroking his thumb across her skin. "You'll get the hang of it quickly but you need to relax."

"What do you think I'm trying to do?" Maka snapped, tossing him a sour look.

He heaved a sigh but softened his gaze. He knew his meister; she didn't want to do this, but her pride was too big for her to ignore the dare. He was, however, relieved she had come to him instead of any other guy. She made it obvious, although she probably hadn't realized it yet, that she had chosen to go to him first out of any other suitor she might have had.

It made him feel smug, and he knew exactly why.

"Don't forget to breathe." Soul reminded, and she frowned in confusion for a second before tensing again when the hand on her neck pulled her closer to him. She was trembling again, and he squeezed her hand to calm her down. "Close your eyes." He demanded.


"Just do it."

She did, but slowly.

He never thought he'd kiss his meister quite this way, because of a dare. He expected something – different. Perhaps with her actually wanting to, not being forced before she was really ready, but Soul knew better than to deny her her 'favour'. Knowing Maka, she would probably find someone else, and that left a bitter tang in his mouth.

He looked at her for a moment, her smooth skin and pink lips. His eyes lingered on her mouth and before he knew what he was doing, he was kissing her. For a few short seconds, he was still, as if allowing her to grow used to the feel of his lips against hers, before he began to move them.

She panicked.

She didn't know what to do; she was utterly clueless, and this type of ignorance scared her. She didn't like not knowing; it was unnerving. Her eyes flew open, heart threatening to lurch out of her ribcage with the tide of emotions that washed over her the instant his lips met hers.

"Relax," he warned softly. His eyes were still closed, Maka noticed. Maybe she should close them, too? "Just follow my lead..." She squeezed them shut in the end, and although she was very rigid during the first few seconds, she took his advice and relaxed.

When he felt her fist loosen, no longer tense, he lifted his hand to better angle her mouth. He felt her hand clutch the front of his shirt and, although she did not pull, he found himself leaning forward anyways.

It felt different. She couldn't say if it was because it was her partner she was doing this with or because it was just kissing in general, but she suddenly understood the fixation of this act. She never understood because she had never experienced it before, although she could still firmly say it wasn't something to gloat about for entire class periods.

In fact, it wasn't something to gloat about at all. It felt far too intimate to boast of; or perhaps that was just her.

"Breathe," he whispered, and she only managed a sharp breath before her mouth was pried open.


Now she really understood why girls made a fuss over this.

It felt incredible.

It was confusing, at first. She had absolutely no clue what had happened, aside from the fact that, somehow, someway, her partner had managed to slide his tongue into her mouth. That in itself would have been disturbing enough five hours ago, yet now she found nothing at all repulsive about it. She surprised herself when she responded to his teasing, almost instinctive.

Her face was already flushed from everything that had happened, it just darkened when she felt him smirk against her mouth. She caught the faint words of approval, sounding similar to you're doing fine, before their mouths were melded together once more.

She understood the bit about breathing now, too; breathing was hard to do when kissing. Soul seemed to understand she needed to breathe, but he only allowed her quick gasps before he dove in again. She didn't know if this was ritual or if he was simply impatient; either way, she couldn't find the fire in herself to really complain.

This is enough. She faintly thought, discovering that his teeth really were as sharp as they looked. It was only one time. It's just for a dare... But she found herself not wanting to stop. She knew it was wrong; it was just two minutes at most, perhaps even less, yet she was sure it's been around six minutes and her hands weren't supposed to be tangled in his hair like they were; just as his hands weren't supposed to be clutching her hips.

"S-Soul." Maka broke the lip-lock, panting out: "I was only... supposed to do this for... two minutes."

"You said lessons." He pointed out, also breathing heavily. He hadn't let her go yet. His eyes were hazy, glazed over, and she wondered if she looked the same. "I'm your teacher, right? I think you still need more practice."

Somehow she knew she didn't. He hadn't complained once; in fact, he had made sure to let her know she was doing fine by breathing out slight praises and encouraging her with groans. But that didn't stop her from agreeing with him with a few short nods.

"A lot more practice," she agreed.

He grinned briefly. "We better get to it, then."

Liz tossed a baseball up and down in the air, catching it with a bored stare to the bright blue of the sky. She could hear Black Star and Patty bicker about something or the other near the basketball courts; perhaps Black Star had tried to cheat again and Patty had caught him this time.

"Do you think she did it?" Liz asked Tsubaki, who sat on the bench sewing a button back on one of her shirts.

"Who? Maka?"


"I think she did."

"What makes you so sure?" Liz questioned, suspiciously. "She can easily lie to me, or force Soul to play along or something."

"Maka isn't like that." Tsubaki calmly assured. "She won't go back on her word – a dare is a dare, and she will go through the consequences of putting her pride ahead of her logic."

Liz seemed to accept this for she stayed silent for the next few minutes, resuming her idle game of catch. "You really think it'll be Soul, though? I wasn't kidding about all those guys who would kill for a chance to show her how to french."

"I hope so." Tsubaki said, sounding slightly unsure. "I think she did ask him... I doubt Maka would feel at all comfortable doing such a thing with a complete stranger. It would be better to do it with Soul, someone she trusts."

"Anonymity is always great." Liz shrugged. "Especially if you suck. But Maka's a fast learner, so..."

"It isn't the same for Maka..." Tsubaki trailed off, casting a troubled look at the cloudless sky. "I suppose we can only wait. She should be here any minute now – her time limit is nearly up."

"She's still got time." Liz absently said, propping herself up on her elbows. She glanced around, finding Kid measuring the basketball with a ruler for some strange reason. Liz didn't know much about geometry but... could a ball be symmetrical? Knowing Kid, it probably could, she decided, then Tsubaki's sharp breath caught her attention.

"They're coming!" Tsubaki alerted, clutching her shirt to her chest.

Liz snapped her head to the sidewalk and grinned at them. She critically observed Maka, the way she was smiling and her eyes appeared brighter. Then she darted her eyes to Soul, who appeared to be in a very good mood by the way he held a lopsided smile on his face and his eyes kept straying to his meister every few seconds.

"I guess you were right, Tsubaki." Liz said, standing up to dust herself. "If we had bet, you would've won."

Tsubaki giggled. "I don't gamble, Liz."

"Lucky me..." Liz muttered, calling out to the duo approaching: "Hey, Maka! So, your time limit is up and I'm clueless here. Did you do it or do I have to give you a nice shiner for bailing?" She cracked her knuckles for effect.

"You don't have to give me anything: I did it!" She stated, somewhat smug, and came to a stop before them. "I completed my dare before the time limit, like you said."

"Oh?" Liz quirked a brow, casting a sly look at Soul. "So? Who was it? And for how long?" For the hell of being a troublemaker, she added: "Was it that Irish guy you have for sixth? The one with the red hair, hot bod, hotter accent?"

"Who? Cato Odair?" Maka blinked. Liz was pleased to see Soul grimace, then scowl outright. "He's my assigned project partner for the meister-only class. We're just friends..."

"That's not what his eyes say, since he's always checking you ou—!"

"Maka-chan, who did you execute your dare with?" Tsubaki asked nervously, clasping a hand over Liz's mouth at the sight of Soul's murderous glower. "We still need the name. Um, there's no need to tell us how long you took. That's not necessary..."

"But I want to know!" Liz tore Tsubaki's hand from her mouth. "That's juicy gossip, Tsubaki, and Maka is almost never involved in gossip – not even at school! It's always Soul, or Kid, or Black Star... or us." Liz coughed into her fist, Tsubaki sighing softly. "So? Spit it out, come on!" Liz excitedly asked.

"Um..." Maka clasped her hands behind her, gnawing on the inside of her lip. Her face warmed, causing Tsubaki to smile because she knew who it was already. Liz waited with baited breath. "It was...It was just Soul."

"HA! I knew it! Oh, yeah, I knew it all along!" Liz cackled, fists pumped in the air in triumph. Maka watched dryly as Liz cheered: "Who's good? I'm good! I knew it – see, Tsubaki, we were right! Hey! Patty! Guess who our little Maka made out with!" She ran to her sister with a squeal.

"Don't mind her, she's just excited." Tsubaki smiled, weakly. She glanced between them with a bigger smile, truly happy for this jump in their relationship. Perhaps, Tsubaki thought, Soul would finally be able to have a long and substantial relationship with someone.

"Good, now that this is out of the way, I can go back to my usual schedule." Maka sighed in relief, earning a scoff from Soul.

"Which is what? Read, read, read, bathroom break, read, read, read, abuse me—!"

"I don't abuse you!" Maka protested. "You deserved all of those Maka Chops and you know it!"

"Not true! Sometimes you just hit me for no other reason than you're bored!" Soul argued.

Maka rolled her eyes. "Please, if I'm bored, I have better things to do than dumb you down even more."

Soul glared. "Piss off, you're not so easy to handle, either."

Deciding this banter could continue indefinitely, Maka pivoted on her heel with a huff and marched back the way she came from, leaving both her friends confused. "I don't have time for this - I'll see you two later! I have something important to do right now!"

"W-wait, Maka-chan, where are you going? Aren't you going to stay for a game of basketball with us?" Tsubaki called after her, hand cupped around her mouth so she could hear her.

"Another time! I have to get to Shibusen by six since I'm working on my project with Cato!" Maka shouted over her shoulder, waving as she did. "Order pizza if you're hungry, Soul! I'll probably be back late!"

Soul stared at her retreating backside blankly.

Tsubaki snuck a glance and bit back a smile at the flash of conflict she caught on his face. He collected himself a few seconds later, looking no more affected than usual.

"You can follow her, if you want. Black Star and the rest won't mind. They're too busy fighting over teammates right now, anyway."

"You sure?" He asked, more out of habit than really asking.

"I'll tell them you went to drop Maka off at Shibusen." Tsubaki promised, with a beam.

Relieved, Soul sighed: "Thanks, Tsubaki, I owe you one!" and disappeared down the sidewalk his meister had turned to without another word.

"So are you guys dating now—hey, where'd Maka and Soul go?" Liz asked, a whine lacing her words. "Tsubaki?"

"Maka-chan had an assignment to complete at Shibusen, so Soul-kun is giving her a ride there." Tsubaki swiftly said. "I believe it's that Soul Theory project the meister's all must do for their final grade."

"Meister's...?" Liz mumbled, confused. Then a grin cracked her face. "Ooh, do I smell a love triangle or what?"

Tsubaki giggled, shaking her head at her friends overactive imagination. "I doubt Cato-san will be much competition for Soul-kun, Liz."

Liz pouted. "I guess you're right. He's too pigheaded for her, anyway. C'mon, since Soul and Maka aren't here, we're getting into teams of two! And you're on my team!" She hauled her to the center of the courts, deciding she'd interrogate Maka, and then Soul, for all they were worth after a refreshing game of basketball.

A/N: I just realized I could continue this. I wrote it in a few hours, since I was feeling creative today. I'll play with a few ideas and see if I can make something out of them. If not, this still makes a nice one-shot.

I'll keep this story 'Incomplete' for the time being, however.

And, for the record, I think I will continue another one-shot called Soul Bond. Someone requested a second chapter and I was feeling nice so I tried and then I discovered I had at least forty pages on the second chapter, so I split that in half... Point of rant: it's most likely going to be updated, so keep an eye out for it if you're interested.

This story is for aviechan, who requested the idea in another story of mine. I decided it would be too long to add to that collection, so I made it a separate piece.