It's like coming home.
Soul's fingers hover above the keys. He can almost feel the piano whispering to him, notes he hasn't pressed yet beckoning him forward. He tries to breathe in, but the instrument seems to suck all the air out of the room like it's a life source and he would die without it. As extreme (and terribly uncool) as it sounds, he probably would. It's not something he likes to share, but the way the piano breathes music is what really keeps him alive. Not slaying kishins or becoming a Death Scythe or even eating and sleeping – just this. This is his heartbeat.
The weapon slowly lowers his knees until he's perched on the bench, fingers still ghosting over the black and white teeth of the piano's gaping mouth, waiting for him to give it a voice. The gloss ebony reflects his half-lidded eyes and the spikes of his ivory hair. His lips are slightly parted, taking in each breath slowly and softly. It's easier now that he's close to it, like he's reattached the hollow pipes that connect his mouth to his lungs. In. Out. He straightens his back and flexes his fingers, the digits already poised expertly over keys to notes he memorized before he even knew how to write or read. He imagines notes tattooing his insides.
And then he plays.
His eyes close. He doesn't need to see. That's the way his father always played, with his body rolling in waves and his eyes fluttering under the lids like he was in a trance. To others, he probably looked like a total freak and so not cool, and that was half the reason he refuses to play in public. He had played for Maka once but since then he had only played when he was trying to resonate with the others. But the more he avoided it, the more he pretended that music didn't mean half of what it really did, the harder it became to ignore it. The desire gnawed at him like some parasite, tearing away at the tendons and ligaments within his hands. His fingers twitched, a kind of phantom playing, and he found them rolling on whatever surface he was near, aching for music. It became unbearable.
So he snuck away. He told Maka he would return in an hour, that he was going for a jog, and he had slipped into the open doors of the Academy and stole away into the music room. It was a Saturday, but the school was almost always open for students studying or practicing or teachers holding extra sessions in their respective rooms. The music room wasn't even supervised, simply left open, the piano nestled in the corner pumping a pulse out to him. He had closed the door before he started, but he might as well have been in another world. He definitely wasn't in the Academy, let alone Death City.
His heart throbs as he sways through the music, feeling the notes shiver out of the body of the piano. In. Out. Arms flex over the keys, his back bowing over the instrument like he's worshipping it and, really, this is the closest he has ever gotten to praying. Soul never really understood spirituality until he realized it was like making music. It isn't so much an out of body experience as it is diving deeper inward; he isn't really human here. He is notes and strings and keys and black and white, black and white.
The climax of the song claws its way out of his hands. It's loud and makes the whole room shudder, the walls standing still and silent, absorbing the sounds that echo from Soul's body. His fingers fly across the keys, pounding without mercy – it is beautiful abuse. Red orbs flicker under the hoods of his eyelids and he's seeing something, watching something, but there aren't really words to describe it – none that he knows of, anyway. He's not one for words, but he's certain there isn't one even close to accurately capturing what all of this is. Playing – in. Out.
Like descending a hill, the end of the song is slow and light, the dips of the keys now gentle and soft. Asking for forgiveness for his earlier assault; this is his 'sorry', his 'thank you', his home.
The last note rings through his body and he can't contain the gasp that rattles out of him, the jaws of his ribs releasing tension he didn't know he had been holding in. His hands fall into his lap, body slightly bowed forward. He's panting. The air is gone again, sucked in and locked within the vacuum of the piano. Soul smiles faintly.
"You're even better in person."
Soul jerks, whipping around with his eyes already narrowed. His once relaxed muscles tighten to the point of snapping, fingers in claws on his knees.
Death the Kid, standing with his hands buried in the pockets of his black trousers perks a brow at him. His golden eyes are tilted by a half smile and the raven-black shards of his hair slip over his forehead. Soul huffs loudly, spinning back to face the piano, but the same pattern meets him – black and white.
"Not cool, Kid."
Lord Death's son releases a soft chuckle as he swings his leg into the room. Soul doesn't turn around – god damnit. This is exactly what he was trying to avoid. Playing so they could resonate was bad enough because Kid had to hear it, but now he had seen – oh, shit. Soul tenses even more, his shoulders hunched forward. What had he seen? How long had been there? Had he seen Soul waving back and forth like a maniac?
"How long were you standing there like a total creep?" Soul shoots a glance over his shoulder. The young meister is only a few feet behind him now, head down as his eyes fall on the piano. Soul feels like he should protect it for some reason, his body angled in a way as if he's trying to block it from the other boy's view.
"Long enough." He smiles but Soul just scowls at him, twisting the stare down at the keys. "You play really beautifully, you know."
Soul grits his teeth. He hates compliments. He hates compliments more than anything. He doesn't play for praise or for the glory – if he did, he knows he could be a famous pianist by now. Easy. A young boy, weapon turned musician with a famous piano player as a father – it would be cake. That path was always open for him and yet he continually stepped away from it. He's a weapon first. He's going to become a Death Scythe if it kills him.
"I've never played an instrument." Kid perches beside him. The bench is small and their thighs are almost touching. Soul glances sideways, watching as the other boy's hands raise to clumsily touch the keys. He presses one note out, the low sound echoing between them. "They're not symmetrical and it would just drive me insane. I don't know how you stand it."
Soul presses his lips together before he turns to the piano again, lifting a hand to caress the keys. He, too, releases one note, the high pitched 'ding' fading into the confines of the room. "Not all of us are horribly crippled by obsessive compulsive disorder."
"It's not a disorder. There is nothing disorderly about wanting things to be symmetrical."
The weapon finds himself smiling – which is weird, because usually Kid's whole symmetry banter annoyed the hell out of him, but the way he's defending it, the way he's all tensed up and the pink that's gathered in his cheeks – it's almost, like, cute. Or something. Soul gets the same way about music. It's a part of him, as embarrassed as he is, and he wants to protect it, too.
"How come you never play for anyone?"
Soul turns slightly, frowning at the other boy. Kid's watching him, golden eyes jumping between Soul's red. He turns back to the keys. He drops his finger on another note. Shrugging, he says, "It's not cool."
"According to who?"
"Only everyone on the planet." Soul presses another key.
"I think it's cool."
Soul cuts the note off, jerking his gaze to Kid at his side. The Death Successor smiles at him, straightening his back and curling his fingers above the teeth. Soul's eyes study him in silence for a moment as the other youth begins to experiment with the instrument before him, hesitant music exhaling through the belly. His hair is black and white like piano keys and Soul wonders what his music sounds like.
"I could teach you." Soul surprises himself – he said that out loud? He blinks, meeting Kid's yellow eyes with the same amount of alarm. The weapon twists away, chewing his lip. "I mean, if you wanted –"
"Yeah." Kid grins, tapping another key. "That would be … cool, as you say."
It feels like all the air got sucked out of the room again, except this time, Soul doesn't think it's the piano.
He doesn't even have nails anymore.
Soul spits the last remaining crescent he had left on his left pinky onto his desk. Maka, green eyes narrowed, makes a disgusted face at him before turning back to Professor Stein down below. Soul's feet are hooked at the ankles and tossed atop his desk, red eyes boring into his lap.
He doesn't really know what he's expecting – that Kid is going to go around telling everyone that he sneaks into the school to play the piano on the weekends? That he agreed to teach Kid how to play? That there's more to him than the cool front he puts up? For the thousandth time, Soul throws his eyes to the black and white meister on the other side of the room. Kid is innocently watching Professor Stein, but there's tenseness in his shoulders like he knows he's being watched. Soul tears his gaze away. Damnit. This is stupid. This is stupid and not cool, he scolds mentally, crossing the yellow sleeves of his jacket tightly over his chest. Kid wouldn't just blab about him. He's not stupid. He's a cool guy, right?
Soul peeks at Maka, the girl's eyes slid to the corners with her face still front and center. God forbid Stein thinks she wasn't paying attention or something.
"Nothing," Soul replies under his breath, feeling the muscles in his shoulders begin to lock up. He stills, eyes on Professor Stein, trying to pay attention, but he just sees the teacher's mouth moving with a bunch of gibberish clouding his ears. His brows tug over his nose and only when his back relaxes does he dare another glance to the other boy's direction. Liz is frowning at him, nudging him with her elbow and he's shaking his head and saying something that must be reassuring, because the blonde weapon backs off.
Class is dismissed. Most students launch for the door, Black Star at the lead (and being particularly loud about it) and Soul trails behind, a book tucked under his arm. He slinks out of the classroom and into the hall, eyes on the white tops of his shoes. He's never had a reason to not trust Kid before. He's always thought of him as a cool guy, an excellent meister, and when he wasn't freaking out over symmetry, he was a great fighter. Of course, Soul would probably sooner choke to death than say any of that out loud – compliments didn't come from Soul very easily, much like how it was almost impossible for him to take them. Still, Kid's a good guy, right? He wouldn't go spreading stuff around and –
There's an elbow in his side. Soul jerks his eyes up, red locked in gold. He hesitates. "Uh, hi."
Kid hesitates, too, his faltering clear in the way his lower lip becomes victim to a pearly row of upper teeth. "Are you all right? You seemed kind of tense in class." His hands smooth over the front of his black and white suit – the boy is always prim and proper, like he's on his way to some kind of meeting. Every crease is in place, every button of his shirt perfectly lined up. Soul wonders just how long it takes for the boy to get dressed in the morning.
"Were you watching me?" It comes off a lot harsher than Soul intended. He stops, a hand subconsciously rising to rest on Kid's shoulder. "Sorry, I kind of sound like an ass on default. It's not you."
Kid's face is calm, if a bit nervous, and Soul doesn't really understand why. "It's okay. I wasn't watching you so much as being observant. I'm usually the only one who notices those kinds of details. It's that crippling disorder you mentioned."
"I thought it wasn't a disorder." Soul smiles and the two fall into step again. The hallway is loud and clustered but Kid is close, their shoulders brushing as they maneuver through the other students. Kid smiles back at him. Over the meister's shoulder, Liz is hovering, her brow furrowed, lips pursed. Soul frowns at her before shifting his attention back to Kid. "Your weapon is stalking us."
The other boy flushes. It's strange, seeing Death the Kid the color of roses, and he throws a desperate glance at the girl. He waves his hands wildly and the girl backs off her younger sister crashing into her back.
"Nosy women," Kid mutters.
"Hey. You didn't, uh –" Soul frowns, his hand sliding to rub at the back of his neck. "You didn't tell anyone about yesterday, did you?"
Kid's nervous smile falls away. "No, why?"
"I don't want people to know."
The meister halts. Another student nearly knocks him over from behind and Soul skids his feet to the floor, frowning. "What?"
"If you don't want to hang out with me, Evans, just say so."
Liz is really staring now. She's trying to duck behind other students, but she's far too tall to not be noticed. Soul scowls in her direction before turning back to Kid, his brows twisting. "What are you talking about?"
" 'I don't want people to know' – you don't have to pity me. I'm a big kid, Soul. I can handle rejection."
Soul doesn't like the stern look on the other boy's face or his forced neutral tone. "Reject – no, Kid, you moron, that's not what I meant. It's not you I care about –" He flinches, shaking his hand, hands spreading flat between them. "That's not what I meant, either. I don't care if people see us hanging out – you're my friend – it's the, you know. The ianopay."
Kid's black brows screw. "The what?"
Soul's eyes roll. Why does no one understand pig Latin anymore? That stuff used to be cool. "The –" Soul's fingers flex and move back and forth quickly. He perks his brows.
"Oh. Oh!" Kid laughs, his hand landing on Soul's shoulder. The weapon blushes.
Wait. Wait, he's blushing? What the hell for?
"No, I haven't mentioned that to anyone. Secret's safe with me." And then he taps Soul on the nose with the tip of a finger. Teasingly. With a smile.
Soul's cheeks are seriously sizzling. What the hell.
"Uhm. I'm going to go to class. I'll see you later." He gives a tight smile before starting to turn away – he can't be seen all flushed like this, it's not cool and completely humiliating – but a hand curls around his elbow. Soul jerks back, lips pressed in a flat line as he meets Kid's gaze again.
"You didn't answer my question." The meister's hold relaxes but doesn't let go and Soul can feel the heat from his touch through his coat sleeve.
"If you're all right."
Soul blinks. Other than Maka, no one really pays attention to his mood all that much. Maka doesn't even really count because she's a girl and she's always been motherly when it comes to Soul, which he finds endlessly annoying. It's different, though, and strange, hearing it from someone else, someone like Kid. Before now their interactions had almost always occurred on the battlefield or surrounded by others at the basketball court. This was twice in two days they had been talking one on one. Soul realizes with another blink that there's really very little he actually knows about the meister, that what he does know is just surface stuff; he's Lord Death's son, he's obsessed with symmetry, he does well in school. He wonders just how much Kid knows about him, if it's anything much at all.
His eyes pointedly glance at the grip on his elbow. Kid's fingers jerk backward and, for whatever strange reason, that almost … bugs him, the way his eyes are suddenly ringed in panic.
"I'm fine." He swings a foot backward. "Look, I've gotta get to class but … I'll see you at lunch, Kid."
Soul manages another awkward smile before ducking his head and turning sharply down the next hall, jogging into the door of his class. Maka's already there, glaring at him from her desk. He's nearly late – again – and she never shuts up about his constant tardies. Usually it's because he's taking his sweet time to get there (Soul's convinced that nothing he learns in class is as valuable as what he could learn on the streets) but at least this time he was actually doing something important.
Soul huffs as he sits down beside his sandy-blonde partner who does very little to hide her disapproving glare. Well, he didn't have to worry so much about Kid anymore.
The weapon brushes his thumb against his nose.
Secret's safe with me.
Soul sits next to Kid at lunch. The meister throws a glance at him and smiles and Soul can feel Liz's eyes boring into his back because that's usually where she sits and Soul isn't entirely sure why he chose to sit there but he's a cool guy and he doesn't need a reason and he does whatever he damn well pleases and today he just feels like sitting next to Death the Kid, okay?
Their knees knock under the table. They both pretend not to notice.
They also pretend not to notice when Kid's hand brushes over Soul's when he leans across the table to take something from Maka. Soul doesn't know what it is because the other boy's touch scorches the back of his palm and that narrows his focus quite a bit.
They also don't mention when Soul yawns and raises his arm to cover his mouth and his elbow balances on Kid's shoulder.
They also ignore Kid's lingering stare and Soul's pink cheeks and his fingers rolling on the edge of the table.
No one else notices. Except maybe a particular blonde, but she just glares from the other end of the table and bites her tongue.
Soul's glad she does.
Everyone else chatters away and there's silverware scraping trays and laughter and Black Star's voice filling the cafeteria to the brim and then there's Kid and Soul sitting side by side barely speaking a word but saying so much. Soul rubs his cheeks and Kid fusses with his white-striped hair, mumbling about the strands being uneven and Soul chuckles at him and the skin under Kid's eyes turns red.
The bell rings and they don't talk about it.
It's every Saturday for a month. And then it turns into Sundays, Tuesdays, Friday nights – Kid having dinner with him and Maka at their house and watching as the boy sweats when he sees their furniture askew, the pictures on the walls not measured to be straight, Maka's skirt is crooked and a handle on one of the cupboard doors is loose.
Soul touches his shoulder to comfort the boy and it works every single time.
He's invited to the Death manor. It's huge, nearly as big as the block Maka and him live on. It's black and white and perfect, every hallway and every room measured with back-breaking precision to make sure it's all symmetrical. Kid had watched on with wringing hands and Soul had smiled, said the place was great. That had made Kid smile wider than Soul had ever seen before.
Kid's room is big but has barely anything in it. Soul had sat on his bed and tried to ignore the sparks that flitted across the sheets when Kid sat down, too. And it's hard to sum up what they talk about because it's not the same stuff he talks about with Maka or Black Star – it's stuff like music, about being little kids, the way Kid was teased all through elementary school until his father decided to teach him at home for awhile, the way Soul's parents damn near disowned him when he refused to pursue music professionally and wanted to become a Death Scythe instead, meeting Liz and Patty, meeting Maka – all of these stories that have been holed up in their heads and have never had the chance to come out.
The words string around Kid's room, Soul's, the Academy balcony and the park bench while they watch the others scream at one another while tossing a basketball.
Their hands rest between them – just barely touching.
"Sit up. Straighter, Kid. Jeez, you'd think an OCD nutcase like you would know what sitting up straight means –"
"Come off it," Kid grumbles, his shoulders moving back to accommodate for the stiff positioning of his spine. "I don't see what posture has to do with making music."
"That just goes to show how little you know about it." Soul folds his hands together and cracks them loudly. The sound echoes in the empty music room. Another warm Saturday. Another jog he was supposed to be taking. Another lie to Maka. "Now, do your scales, like I showed you."
"I've done the scales a thousand times." Kid frowns when he meets Soul's narrowed gaze. Kid sighs. "Yes, Mr. Evans." Kid smirks and places his fingers on the keys. He moves through the scales rather fluidly; they weren't difficult, and Kid seemed to be picking up on the whole thing pretty well. Soul finds himself smiling in approval, nodding. He slides closer to Kid, choosing to ignore the heat of the other boy's thigh against his as he does so.
"Okay. Now, do." Soul pushes the key, the low sound vibrating the body of the piano. "I make my cookies out of do," he sings quietly, moving through the scale. "Re, like on a sunny, sunny day."
"Aw, you're reciting poetry –"
"Shut up. Mi, there's no one else I'd rather be. Fa, as in fa la la. Stop laughing."
"I'm not laughing."
"You're laughing. So like a solo, la la la. La like the lava, make my lava lamp glow."
"Soul, I can't take you seriously."
"You have to learn this. Ti, have a cup of tea with me, and we'll drink it with our cookies made of –"
"Mi, la so mi." Kid's fingers flew down the scale for the final time. "Do. Stop. Laughing."
Kid shakes his head, his wrist pressing against his nose between his eyes. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry – it's not, I'm not laughing at you, it's just, you singing –" He broke off for another spout of laughter. "It's just – you're cute when you teach."
Soul feels the color drain out of his face. All the blood must have gone to his gut, because that's where he can feel it. He swallows and turns his head away, fingers rubbing almost furiously at his cheek.
There's a hand on his thigh. Kid's hand. On his thigh. Kid is touching his thigh. The blood in his gut tightens, warms up, stirs around, and Soul can't decide if he's about to throw up or something worse. His eyes cut across the space between them, probably more angry looking than he intended, because Kid starts to shrink backward. His hand lingers, however, and the heat continues to kindle between them. Soul swears he smells smoke.
"I'm sorry." Kid gives a good natured smile. "I don't have fun very often. I'm enjoying myself, really." He ducks his head and his hand slips away, folding on his jeans. It's weird, seeing Kid in normal clothes – his shirt is blue and his jacket is white. He doesn't look so pale and shrunken like he does in his meister outfit. Soul blinks when he realizes he's staring, that his eyes have grazed over the slope of a collarbone and the apple in Kid's throat and the white circles of his wrists. Soul turns away.
"You don't have to do this, you know."
The weapon looks back. Kid is playing with the zipper on his jacket. "What?"
"Hang out with me."
Soul's eyes roll. "Will you stop it? Since when are you so insecure?"
Kid raises his eyes again. His smile, this time, is lost and weak. "I don't have many friends, Soul."
"No, really. I mean, Liz and Patty, but they're my weapons. We don't see each other unless we're practicing or fighting. Same goes for you and Maka, and Black Star and Tsubaki. I don't hang out with them like you do."
"You play basketball with us all the time."
Kid's eyebrows rise. "You really are unobservant, aren't you?" He shakes his head, trailing his fingertips over the white of the keys. "Being tolerated isn't the same as being liked. No one wants to hang out with me – I fuss over stupid details and nag everyone and in general bug the hell out of all of them. Liz and Patty are constantly making fun of me and – yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be some big shot and not care because it's manly or whatever – but, you wouldn't like getting teased about the piano anymore than I do about liking symmetry. They say it's my weakness." He presses a key down slowly – so slowly, no sound comes out. "I'm just the son of Lord Death and they're afraid to avoid me. They actually enjoy your company, Soul. They don't like me."
Soul's hands are shivering fists on his knees, eyes glaring down at the piano. It almost … hurts him, in a way that doesn't fit the pain he's used to. It isn't like being scratched and punched and kicked or even stabbed. The scar beneath his shirt seems to simmer at the thought and even that doesn't compare to this; not that it's worse, it's just different and foreign and it's under his scar, under his ribs, plucking at the strings around his heart to make some kind of morbid song that he doesn't want to hear.
"I like you."
Soul is just as surprised as Kid is to hear the words flutter across his tongue. They hang between the two for a long time, neither looking at each other, the piano the only other witness to the confession. Soul's sure his cheeks are burning but he's much more focused on the furnace of his chest, how he's suddenly hot all over the place, and how warm Kid is next to him. The weapon takes a hard, deep breath in – he hadn't realized how long he had been holding it, and not a moment later Kid mimicked the action.
It isn't the piano's fault this time.
"Thanks." Kid breathes the word and Soul can feel the other boy's eyes burning on his profile but he can't look, can't turn. His spine is locked in place, frozen on the piano, because he doesn't want to think about the hammering of his heart or the throb of his brain or anything not cool like that because he's a cool guy and cool guys do not think about other guys the way he's thinking about Kid right now. They don't. They do not.
"Yeah." Soul stands. His fingers drift against the keys before he slips away from the sleek, black bench, stepping off to the side. "I think that's enough for today. I'll talk to you later."
Soul counts his steps. He just needs to get to the door. These walls are too private and the piano makes him feel too safe for him to be around Kid right now because he's confused – it's confusing, it's uncomforting and the heat is strange and he doesn't like it. It isn't cool. He just wants to go home, bury his face in the couch of his and Maka's house and listen to her babble away about useless things so he can forget about telling Kid something so unlike him. He wants to pretend it hadn't happen, that it would all just go away –
He's gotten exactly ten paces away from Kid when the meister yells out, "Soul."
The weapon turns and Kid's just right there, all wide yellow eyes and piano keys shielding his gaze and Soul stands there for a moment, just staring at him, just really seeing him.
"I'm going to kiss you now." The boy's voice is even and Soul can tell it surprises Kid even more than himself. The Reaper swallows, the white apple of his throat bobbing like a buoy being tackled by waves and he takes another step forward. Soul can smell him; laundry detergent and some faint cologne. "Okay?"
Soul doesn't move, his red eyes jumping between the two tiny suns set in Kid's face. He watches as the lines of Kid's lips twist, his brow screwing as Soul tries to remain as blank as possible. If he doesn't register any emotion, any thought, then he doesn't have to deal with the fact that the idea of Kid kissing him doesn't seem all that bad right now.
It's not like Soul has a lot of time to think about it, anyway. Kid's fingers brush against Soul's cheek, fingertips pressing behind his head and bringing him forward. Soul's eyes close as a hot mouth molds against his own, hands pinned to his sides. Kid's lips are warm and soft which surprises him for some reason; he thought boys were like him, all calloused and chipped up, but Kid's kiss is just as gentle as any girl he had ever given the time of day (which wasn't a whole lot, honestly). Neither of them breathe, lungs stilled by fear and nerves rattling like trapped birds inside of their skin.
And maybe Soul leans forward a little bit. And maybe the muscles in his neck start to relax. And maybe one hand starts to hover by Kid's hip like he wants to draw him closer, and maybe his heart is hammering under his ribs and maybe electricity is sparking in his brain and maybe, just maybe, Soul starts to kiss him back.
He can feel Kid's soul wavelengths pulsing inside of his bones.
It feels cool, but Soul knows it shouldn't.
He doesn't think about it. It doesn't even really feel like him, it just happens – Soul's fist lands in Kid's shoulder. The meister stumbles back, a gasp of alarm beating against Soul's mouth before there is distance between them again. Soul's eyes are narrowed because now that the bond is broken, the link is severed, all the thoughts that had been blocked before come rushing to his frontal lobe. Kid just kissed him. Kid. A boy. Kid.
Soul turns. He doesn't have words – he barely has coherent thoughts, just images and angry words blipping in front of his eyes. He doesn't think about his feet carrying him out, either, they just do.
Kid doesn't chase after him that time, and Soul wanders to the very edges of Death City where he looks down at his hands like he doesn't recognize them anymore.
Soul can't stop licking his lips.
" – and you have three missing assignments for Ms. Marie's class and if you don't get them in you're going to get a detention –"
He traces them with his fingers, scrunches them under his nose, sucks them between his teeth, chews, bites, nibbles, like he's trying to get the very last bit of Kid off of them. His lips taste like chapstick.
" – are you listening, Soul? If you fail school then you'll never become a Death Scythe –"
His fingers roll on the edge of the table, eyes on his still steaming dinner. He wants to play. He wants to make violent music so loud it shakes the house – no, the entire street, all of Death City. He wants to give the piano bruises, make it weep and cry and scream.
He feels like screaming.
Without a word, he stands from the table and moves toward the stairs. Maka's high-pitched voice squeals at him as he ascends, not even looking up as he moves into his room. It's dark. His bed is disheveled, clothes litter the carpet, and his window is cracked to let in a late evening breeze. The sky is purple.
Soul closes the door behind him. He takes a step forward only to pause, his hand slowly drifting behind him to twist the lock on the door. He isn't sure why. Or maybe he is, but he just doesn't want to think about it.
The weapon dips onto the edge of his bed, hands on his knees. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath in – and he can't let it out, because he can see Kid behind his eyelids, sweeping his fingertips across Soul's cheek and drawing him forward, and he can feel his lips warm and soft on his own and Soul's hands are shaking on his knees and heat is pooling between his legs and, fuck.
He damn near rips the belt in his haste to get it off. The ache in his center is killing him, straining against the denim of his jeans. He tears them down, slamming his fist on the power button his radio. A guitar screeches out of it and Soul falls on his back on his bed, his hand wringing around his arousal and – oh.
He's done this a few times, because he's a guy and that's what they do, but it's always been to girls on paper with cheesy winks and bitten lips. It's never been to a boy, it's never been to Kid, and now he knows why guys are supposed to do this more often than he does – because, with the right image, it feels fucking good. Fire shoots down his thighs, his hips shaking, and he bites the inside of his opposite wrist to muffle to cry that strangles his throat.
Stars explode behind his eyes and his body grows limp, hot and spent, and he blinks at the ceiling.
This is not good.
This is not cool.
"Soul. Hey. Soul. Soul!"
The weapon hurtles back into the present, his mind having drifted off. When he blinks, he realizes that a boy in black in white is what meets his eyes and he shakes his head, spinning toward the sound of his name. "What -!"
Shit. Shit. His red eyes meet the narrowed, cold cobalt of Liz's. Her hands curl around her hips as she bends at the waist, two thick walls of blonde hair slinging off of her shoulder.
"I need to talk to you."
Soul shifts his eyes desperately down at the floor. Stein is talking to Ms. Marie and it doesn't seem like class is anywhere near starting. He swallows before shaking his head, trying to wave her off. "I'm busy."
"Doing what? Gawking at Kid?"
Soul flinches. The girl is damn loud. Not only do Maka and Black Star both turn, but he's pretty sure he can feel the heat from the sun-like eyes of Kid burning into the back of his neck. "Will you shut up?"
"No." Liz gives a tight smile. "In the hallway. Right now."
Soul ducks his head before sliding to his feet. Liz's hand curls around his wrist and yanks him off the level. "Jesus Christ-"
"Professor, I need to have a word with Soul outside, we'll be right back!" She rips open the door and all but throws Soul into the hallway. Stein doesn't even get a word in before the door slams behind them, the sound echoing down the school hall.
Soul straightens his back when the taller, older girl comes face-to-face with him, her blonde brows screwed together. The tip of a pointed finger nudges into Soul's sternum.
"I don't know what you did, but you better fix it."
Soul's eyes narrow. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Don't play stupid. You hurt Kid's feelings and unlike you I give a rat's ass about him and now he's all mopey and sad and he hasn't said a word to me or Patty in, like, five days and you better –"
"You have no idea what you're talking about, Liz, so why don't you keep your nose out of other peoples' business –"
"He's my meister! My friend! I'm not going to stand by while you – you do whatever it is that you did –"
"Your friend? He thinks you don't give a shit about him." Soul feels his blood boiling under his skin, bubbles releasing angry words out of the chimney of his mouth. "He told me himself he feels like you only tolerate him, that you don't make him feel like he's wanted at all and –" Wait, is he defending Kid? Liz's eyes are confused now, the anger fizzled away. Soul's mouth clicks shut for a moment, his arms crossing. "Before you go accusing me of being a bad friend, why don't you look at the way you treat him; teasing him because of his OCD? Making fun of him? Going out of your way to tick him off, saying his deal with symmetry is some kind of weakness? You're his own weapon for Christ's sake and you think it's just me that's made him upset?"
Liz's hand falls to her side. Blue eyes drop to the floor. "I never –"
The door rips open. Soul expects Stein and doesn't even look at first, but a flash of shifting golden orbs tears his gaze from the crestfallen Liz to fall on Kid. The boy's eyes jerk between the two weapons. He swallows. "Stein wants you two back in here."
Soul's lungs still when Kid's eyes rest on him for a few precious seconds. And then he's gone.
Soul moves toward the door. Liz's hand rests on his elbow and he pauses, his eyes staring straight ahead as she talks.
"Then both of us need to work on being better friends." Soul can hear her swallow. "Okay?"
Soul's hand pushes the classroom door open. He gives one brief nod before leaving her in the hallway.
The girl blinks over the edge of her book. The TV is screaming some kind of advertisement at them. Soul is supposed to be studying, but the way the yellow rays of sunlight filter in through the window are distracting him and reminding him of a pair of eyes that have been haunting him in his sleep.
He sighs, threading his hands into his hair. "Would it be cool or not cool if – if you liked someone, and you avoided them because of what other people thought?" Even saying it, the answer is obvious, but he doesn't want to have to think it.
Maka chews her lip, her book slowly closing. "Not cool. The cool thing to do would be to – and ignore the girly phrasing here – follow your heart, you know? If you really like someone, go get them. Before it's too late." She furrows her brow. "Why? Who do you like?"
Soul's mouth opens and closes several times. And he trusts Maka, really, but having to acknowledge any of this kind of makes him want to throw up. He takes a deep breath. "This … guy."
It takes a beat or two for Maka to understand. "Oh. Oh."
The couch dips as she sits beside him. Her arm is around his shoulders and Soul turns despite himself, bringing her to his chest. God forbid he ever admit it out loud, but Maka is his best friend.
"Go get him, then."
Soul huffs into her hair. That's far easier said than done.
Apparently Kid is not done avoiding Soul because the weapon can't find the damn boy anywhere.
"What do you mean he's not here?" Soul's fists clench in the pockets of his pants. "Where else would he be?"
Patty shrugs her narrow shoulders. The short-haired blonde his half leaning out of the Death manor, cowboy hat tilted sideways on her head. "Dunno! He just left earlier this morning, said he'd be back later. Oh! But last night, Liz and I took him to see a movie. It was so nice! He even laughed with us! Can you believe that? He didn't even fuss over the actress' different sized boobs – okay, maybe a little, but it was still fun!"
Soul blinks. So, Liz meant it when she said she was going to be a better friend. Now, it was Soul's turn. "And he just left – just, walked out?"
"Yeah. I'm not too worried about him, Kid's a big kid now – hey! His name is Kid, and he's a big kid –"
Soul spins on his heel and jogs away. He checks the basketball court, the scattered coffee shops, a couple book stores – everywhere that's open.
It's Saturday. He didn't tell Maka he was going on a jog this time, and she had smiled at him from the doorway as he dropped into the street.
Soul scowls as he stops on the edge of the block, eyes darting down buzzing streets of Death City. Pedestrians shrugs past him and he searches wildly for white streaks, black hair, a white jacket, jeans, two yellow eyes to shame the chuckling sun above them.
And then his gaze comes to rest on the perfectly symmetrical Academy and he thinks, duh.
Do. I make my cookies out of do. Re, like on a sunny, sunny day.
Soul watches him from the door. Kid's just about mastered the scales. Mi, there's no one else I'd rather be. Fa, as in fa la la.
He waits until the scales are done, watching as Kid's shoulders flex under the pink t-shirt he's wearing. Soul's hands are shaking. His knees are weak. But this is the cool thing to do – more importantly, the right thing, and for once, that trumps whatever society deems as 'cool.'
As the last note rings through the empty music room, Soul sucks in a breath and swings his leg inside. "Hey."
Kid stiffens but he doesn't turn. His hands hover over the keys for a moment longer before dropping into his lap. He bows in front of the instrument, fingers pinched between his knees. Soul takes a few slow steps forward and slides between the piano and the bench. Kid doesn't move. The weapon sits beside him and their thighs are touching.
"I want to play for you." Soul's fingers caress the keys adoringly. A lover returning home, he thinks, casting his eyes to Kid beside him. The boy isn't looking at him with his eyes but he knows he's being watched. "It's one of my favorites by Beethoven. Reminds me of you. It's called –" His throat closes. He straightens his back, hands coasting over the keys. "It's called 'Love Story'."
He senses more than sees Kid freeze beside him. Soul shakes his head slightly, eyes falling closed – he doesn't need to see. This is how his father plays.
For once, he doesn't care if he looks like a lunatic. He lets his body roll with the music, feels it rattle his bones, his lungs, his heart, and feels every note flow through him better than his own blood. As the song climbs and builds and the notes grow stronger, they shatter everything inside of him and his breath shakes out in broken, sob-like heaves of his chest. The room is gone, the city, everything – everything except Kid and his thigh touching his and the memory of the kiss they shared in this very room. And he hopes Kid is listening and watching and he hopes he knows who this love story really is about.
It ends softly as it always does, his fingers gently apologizing, one last breath accompanying the final note as it hangs in the room. Soul's fingers slid away from the key. It's like waking up from a good dream, reluctantly pulling his eyes open to see the real world again except this time, when he turns, he sees Kid, and he thinks that the piano keys in his hair are just as good as the ones beneath his hands.
"I'm an asshole and I'm sorry," Soul says with much more ease than he expected. Kid's mouth is open, golden eyes dancing between the weapon's. He stutters, hands shifting on his knees beside him, and Soul thinks about giving him ample time to get his words in order but then he decides he just can't wait that long. His hand lifts, fingers shaking, and he touches Kid's cheek. "I'm going to kiss you now." His calloused fingertips travel behind the meister's head, urging him forward, and then they both stop fighting it.
When Soul kisses Kid, it sounds even better than the piano.
For hopeless virgins, they sure do know how to figure things out pretty quickly.
"S-Soul, oh my good God-"
If his mouth wasn't already preoccupied, he probably would have chuckled at the naked, shivering mess Kid was at the moment. As it was, however, he was too busy making him squirm and sweat and clench the sheets so hard his knuckles paled. He doesn't know what he expected it to taste like, but it's sweeter than he would have imagined, and he's licking is lips as he coasts up Kid's torso to lock lips with him again.
Soul, honest to God, doesn't even initiate it. It's Kid who whispers those words into the hollow of Soul's ear that are much more persuasive than any music note he's ever heard before. It makes Soul's arms shake and his arousal strain and his mind to whirl.
I want you inside me.
And when he is, and it's tight and hot and waves of fire are scorching him from the inside out, he wonders why in the hell this didn't seem cool when he first imagined it. His hips pick up a smooth rhythm, back and forth, in and out, and it's like breathing at the piano, bowing, worship, spirituality. He comes hard and there are stars and Kid is moaning ecstasy into the pillows and he has severely messed up the perfectly lined sheets in his bed but the mesiter doesn't seem to care and Soul thinks, absently, that this is the coolest fucking thing. Ever.
Their number starts to draw to a close when Kid rests his head on Soul's chest.
Their 'I love you's are in sync. It's the final note.
A song ends that night, but there's a whole symphony waiting in the morning.
A/N: "Love Story" by Beethoven is, in fact, a real song! Go listen to it, it's way pretty!
I've been writing this story for a straight week and I quite happily avoided homework in order to finish it. I hope you guys enjoyed it; reviews are much appreciated!