Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater. I do own the plot.
Chapter One: Unchartered Territory
There was a soft creak as he pushed open the door of his dingy apartment. There was very little light in the room; the windows were very dirty and he could only afford one lamp to light the whole apartment at current. He saw a mass huddled up on the musty old futon and sighed, knowing all too well it was his mother. There were also a few bottles of pills left spilled over on the tiny table that sat near the futon; the table functioned as a coffee table, a dinner table, and a desk when needed. "Soul? Soul, darling, are you there?" He heard her usually bubbly voice rasp out meekly.
Life hadn't been very fair to Soul Evans lately.
His father had passed on about four months ago because of a heart attack. His family was once on the top of society, the elite of the elite, but after his passing a few secrets about William Evans were pushed to the surface; for one, he had a small gambling addiction. He owed tons of money and now, with Willie unable to afford those expenses, they fell on the young shoulders of his two sons.
Well, one of them anyway.
Wes Evans, Soul's older brother, had turned tail and disappeared after the funeral. He had heard lots of rumors and received only one letter from his brother. Wes claimed that he had met a woman of bountiful beautiful and unrivalled heart that he was going to travel the world with. And that was all Soul really knew.
So Soul had been forced to sell everything the family owned (since their so-called friends out right refused to help the family battle down the large debt) to try and get some of the weight off his back. Now they lived in this crappy place, paying about three hundred a month for just the bare essentials, and his mother was trying to fight off depression; she was on medication but her son was dubious that it was really doing its job.
He was currently thinking about putting her in a treatment facility, but he didn't have the money for that; it didn't help that his job hunt wasn't exactly working out either. He was honestly amazed that not many people wanted him. Sure, he hadn't really had a job before (Think about it; you wouldn't work if you could just live on your parent's tab and all for free) but that didn't mean he wouldn't work hard. As soon as people heard his last name, however, they would seem less interested in his skills and more about what was just idle gossip and what was true.
"Yes, Mother, I'm here. I just went and picked up a little food for us," He said softly, setting his bag of take out down on the table. It was from a cheap Chinese joint just down the street from his abode. "Here, you need to get something other than just the pills in your stomach. It's not healthy to take those things without a meal." He said, fishing out a box of orange chicken for his mother. He set it before her with a pair of chopsticks and smaller container of rice. He had gotten her something he remembered she was fond of in hopes of convincing her to eat that way.
"Oh, thank you baby," She cooed softly, flopping over on the couch. One of her hands slipped out from the blanket, just swaying near the carpet. Her visible skin looked almost yellow in the poor lighting and Soul's heart almost leapt into his throat. "My… My tummy s a little upset right now so I'm… I'm gonna let it settle for a little it before I eat. Okay?" She asked gently.
He sighed. 'Figures. She's going to kill herself if I don't her some professional help,' He thought bitterly as he opened his own container. He smiled a little at the sight of the broccoli and beef, using his own chopsticks to shove a mouthful down his gullet.
"I'm sorry Soul," She groaned softly. He perked up and looked at her arm curiously (given it was the only part of her visible). "But soon Wes will be home and he'll be able to help you. And soon enough I'll feel better and we can get back on top." She murmured lightly.
His shoulders tensed slightly at this. 'Wes isn't going to come back; he's smarter than that,' He thought angrily. He swallowed hard and shoved another large chunk of food into his mouth. 'He knows that there's nothing left for him here. He's probably setting things up for himself somewhere. That's why he left; getting a stable position somewhere here in Death City won't be possible with all the rumors being spread; in another country the word won't hit them until he's been there a while. And then, it'll be too late for them to fire him without having to worry about lawsuits.'
"Everything is going to be okay, darling," She grumbled, a small undertone of hope in her voice. Soul stayed quietly, making sure to plow through his food as quickly as possible. He couldn't stand the thought of being here any longer, watching his mother drift in and out of thoughts due to her meds, and needed to get out; he couldn't really afford anything but he could surely go walk and clear his head.
"I'm going out for a little bit, okay, Mom?" He said, standing and tossing his empty food cartons in the large brown bag. His mother's hand lifted toward him and, because he couldn't just brush her off like that, he reached back and gave it a little squeeze. "I'll be home a little later. Get some rest and, if you're up to it, try and eat a little of your food before it gets too cold."
"Okay baby. Be careful and enjoy your walk," She said with a small giggle. He could just see the hazy glint that would be in those tired red orbs, the droopy smile that would somehow twitch itself to life. It made his stomach churn and guilt eat away at him. Sure, he hadn't known about his father's gambling either, but why couldn't he just find a way to make things better now? Why was getting a job so damn hard for him?
Soul headed out quickly, forcing his own bitterness down his throat.
There were a few beams of bright sunlight streaming in through an open window, jarring him from his sleep. Soul let out a groan, fingers combing through his silver tinted spikes, before he sat up and stretched. He looked around curiously and then froze when he realized that he wasn't at home.
The fact that these walls seemed to have fresh lavender paint on the walls instead of the holed and grey walls of his own home were the biggest hint of all.
He looked down and saw that he was actually in nothing but his blue and white striped boxers. Panic gripped at him as he got up and looked around, unable to locate his clothes. He remembered that last night (against his better judgment) he had used some of his money to get shitfaced. He just wanted to forget everything and liquor seemed to be his best bet. He looked to the floor and paled considerably; he saw a pink tank top, a pair of denim shorts, a black and red spotted bra with red ruffles on the rims and matching panties not far away. 'Did… Did I end up getting laid?' He thought fearfully.
He heard the sound of a shower being turned off and darted over to where he thought he heard it from.
He waited a moment or two, hoping that whoever was on the other side of the door would be decent, before throwing it open. He was actually sort of surprised that the door was unlocked but then realized that, if his theory was correct, the girl had nothing to hide from him. He was greeted by a curiously pair of jade orbs fixed on him.
The girl before him was cute and currently in nothing but a fluffy orange and blue checkered towel. Her hair was long, dripping over her bare shoulder, and a light brown, dark blonde due to it being wet. He assumed that, after drying, it would more resemble a honey-like tone. Her skin was a peach tone, implying that she was a bit more of a fan of inside but still did go out now and again. "Hey," She said patiently before turning to the bathroom sink. As if a stranger standing in her doorway while she had nothing but a towel guarding her goodies was a typical occurrence for her.
He blinked a few times as well. "Uh… Hi," He said cautiously, responding as such most likely because of how casual the young woman was being about this whole situation. She calmly filled a nearby cup with water and picked up a purple toothbrush. She then began rummaging through a drawer, her towel held up because it was tucked in. "So… Um…"
"My name's Maka Albarn, by the way," She said, holding out her hand to him while holding a tube of mint toothpaste in one hand. He reached out and shook her hand slowly. She then turned her attention back to the sink, putting toothpaste on the toothbrush and setting to scrubbing her teeth calmly.
"So… Uh, Maka… Did we have sex last night?" He blurted out, quickly slapping a hand over his mouth. When the hell had he become so damn graceless? It was properly since he became friends with that kid Black*Star three years ago. Ever since they started talking, Soul felt more like being honest and straight forward when he spoke.
She paused, her mouth frothy from the paste, and looked at him slowly. She then started laughing, removing the toothbrush so as not to choke on it. Her free hand landed on the edge of the counter and she spat toothpaste into the sink. "No, we didn't. Didn't your boxers sort of give that much away to you?" She asked before resuming her brushing.
"Well, I thought that maybe you were trying to maintain our modesty," He said, rubbing the back of his head nervously. She looked at him blandly through the mirror and he took the hint. "Yeah, I know; if we had sex without knowing each other than we don't really have that much modesty to protect but still. I've never been involved in a one night stand so I don't know the exact protocol." He said, trying quickly to validate his theory in her eyes.
She calmly rinsed off her toothbrush while swishing some water from the cup around in her mouth. She spat out in the sink and set the toothbrush back where it belonged. "Considering that I let you sleep in my bed, which isn't quite clean right now, I wasn't too worried about modesty. And, to be honest, you didn't have any modesty left after what I saw you do last night either," She shrugged calmly. She then opened another drawer and pulled out an unopened package for a bright yellow toothbrush. "You can use the shower; we still have more than enough warm water for you to use. Also, you can use this toothbrush to take care of that with. Your clothes are in the dryer right now but they should be done in five more minutes or so; I'll fold them and set them in here for you. There are towels right in that cabinet." She said, pointing to a brown wicker cabinet above the toilet. He followed her indication and then turned back to her.
"Why did you wash my clothes? And do you have a surplus of brand new toothbrushes for a reason?" Soul asked skeptically. Rather than answer, the girl pulled a hair brush and a red headband with a black rose on the top of it from another of the many drawers of the sink cabinet. She paused once she was standing beside him, moving to the side a bit more to get past him a little easier.
"You threw up all over yourself last night; rather than wake up in your own filth I decided to leave you in a clean, comfy bed until your clothes could be washed. Hope you don't mind," She grinned impishly, her perfect teeth glinting at him when he blushed at the words. She then turned back around, tossing a few of her damp locks over her shoulder in the process. "And my Papa tends to bring his drinking buddies home with him very rarely; he only brings the ones that can handle more than him home to celebrate. You're just one of the lucky few who happened by when I had a spare on hand."
And with that much ease, she shut the door and left Soul to enjoy a nice hot shower.
'My hangover is either so terrible I don't realize it's a hangover,' Soul thought as he slipped on his dark blue jeans, 'or I am a lot better at handling my liquor than I thought.' He then yanked on his long sleeved blue shirt and sighed, looking at himself in the mirror. There weren't any bags under his crimson orbs, his skin was just as tanned as before he'd gone out, and his hair was now fresh, clean and a little wet. There weren't any of the typical outwards signs of a hangover and he wasn't ill or have a headache. After he finished his once over, he decided to head out and explore Maka's home.
He left the bathroom calmly and heard a soft sizzling noise coming from the other room. The bedroom door was opened and the dirty clothes were no longer littering the floor. He spotted a tall white hamper in the corner, next to a mahogany desk covered with books, journals, writing utensils and a laptop that was currently shut off. When the delightful scent of bacon filled his senses he abandoned his once over of the room; he hadn't had bacon in forever!
He hadn't had anything outside of cheap Chinese and omelets in a while, admittedly, but that just aided in his excitement.
He headed out and saw that Maka's abode was a pretty nice little apartment. It had a decently large living room with a black leather couch and matching black entertainment center against opposing walls. On the same wall as the entertainment center was another door that lead to, what Soul assumed, was a second room. By the front door was a small wooden rack for shoes (he saw his own set beside themselves there as well) and a large sliding glass door that was currently open, letting the morning breeze and cheeps of the birds slip inside. There was a small kitchen area where he saw Maka (now fully dressed) at the stove making the meaty concoction he'd smelt moments before. At the table were three plates, three glasses and three sets of silverware set on some placeholders. In the center of the table was a larger plate with tons of warm pancakes on, a plate of scrambled eggs, a plate of hash browns and even a platter of tasty looking sausage. There was also pepper, ketchup, maple syrup, a carton of milk and a jug of orange juice there as well. "Wow," Soul gaped without realizing.
"Good, you're all clean and ready for breakfast!" Maka beamed happily, peering up briefly from the frying pan in front of her. She then turned back to it and calmly moved it, depositing the food to another plate and turning off the stove. She then walked over to the sink and ran cold water on the hot utensil, not even flinching when it hissed in protest. She left it there and picked up the plate with quite a bit of bacon on it, heading to the table. "Papa, time for breakfast!" She called out.
The door creaked open and out walked a man Soul vaguely remembered seeing at the bar that evening, right before his memories started to get a little fuzzy. He had red hair that was cut to his shoulders, curving in a bit until a small fringing at the ends where it reached his shoulders. One of his bangs fell against his forehead, trailing down between his eyes and against his nose. His eyes were sapphire tinted and gleamed merrily as he walked out. He was wearing a long sleeved white Oxford collar shirt and black slacks. "Thank you for making such a wonderful meal, Maka-Chan! Today is going to be very hard for Papa!"He declared, heading over and giving the young girl a kiss on the forehead.
Lack of family resemblance made Soul wonder if they really were related. He was then again distracted by bacon.
The blonde haired girl set the bacon down and giggled lightly. Soul took this chance to assess her as well. Her hair was combed back and held in place by the headband she'd grabbed earlier. The rose on the top was actually tilted slightly to the left, giving a bit of a cute effect to it. Her face was free of make-up (which he thought odd, since she appeared to be close to his age and all the girls he knew wore make-up) and her clothes were rather basic. She had tossed on a long sleeved white blouse and a pink skirt. She had tied a white sash around her waist to do with the skirt instead of a belt and he had to admit it did look better somehow. He also noted that she wasn't the most curved girl he'd seen, but she did have a petite little form that he just had a hunch worked perfectly for her. "Well, you do need to get together with Miss Marie today and check out the finances on the restaurant; you've never been very good with that stuff. Remember to call me if you need help at all, okay?" She asked delicately as she sat down. She then looked at Soul. "You can start eating; drooling isn't going to help you fill your belly up any." She teased lightly. He blushed and wiped at his mouth, horrified when his sleeve came back damp.
Drooling in front of a cute girl? So not cool.
"Thanks," He said shyly. The two smiled back and began fixing their own plates as well. After a few moments of comfortable silence (which Soul really wasn't used to since every silence before this point in his life had felt like a heavy under toe dragging him down) he peered up at the pair of them. "So do you own a restaurant or something like that?" He asked interestedly.
"Why, yes we do," Maka's father said cheerfully. He was glowing with pride, glancing at his daughter and then back at Soul. "Have you ever heard of Ace of Hearts?"
Soul twitched and his eyes widened. Ace of Hearts was one of the most popular restaurants in Death City; he had never been personally but he always wanted to. When his family was well-off they said the place was beneath them and now, living in squalor, they were too far beneath the eatery to visit. Not only that, but Black*Star worked there too. The other male was always bragging about how he was the top server and always got employee of the month. "Yeah, I have. Are you hiring, by chance?" Soul asked nervously, swallowing hard.
"Sure. Do you have any references or experience?" Maka asked curiously, her tone and manner become more business-like.
"I don't have any work experience but my friend Black*Star works there. He's one of your best waiters," He said. He decided not to say "the best" for fear that speaking too highly of the other would end up being a bad thing. Maka stared at him with a skeptical frown and raised eyebrow.
"Black*Star isn't a server; he's a busboy," She answered blandly. Her father made a small grunting noise as he swallowed. "Did he tell you that load of bull?"
"Yeah… I guess I should have known better than to believe him," Soul mumbled with a heavy sigh. He looked down at his plate before looking back up, his eyes sparking to life. "But I need this job. I may not have worked before but I am willing to learn and work my ass off! I… If I can't find a job, like, today, I don't know if I'll be able to afford food and rent and everything I need." He confessed shakily.
Maka looked over at her face, who feed her a pleading look. Ever since she was a child, Maka had been taught to help the weak and down-trodden. Her father always told her that the people who are in the harshest conditions are the ones who will work the hardest, who will make you glad you put your faith in them. They had built an entire business out of helping people to help themselves; almost all their employees needed their job so badly they'd do what was necessary and sometimes even more. "Well… We don't need any more people in dish, grill, prep, retail or hosting," She said, glancing sideways at the silver haired teen. She saw his eyes widening with a strange mix of terror and hope. "We did, however, just have two servers quit. One was a morning server and one was an evening server. Would you be willing to work doubles(1) on a few days?"
"I'll work doubles everyday of the week if I have to!" Soul declared sternly. He didn't know what the hell a double was but to him it meant more money. Maka perked up,a bit surprised by the response, before she smiled and nodded.
"Okay then; we're closed today so that we can take care of all our paperwork and such, but I'll give you a test run before I make a final decision. Come in to the restaurant tomorrow at eleven o'clock in the morning on the dot; wear a long sleeved button up shirt, in black, white or red preferably with a pair of good slacks and all-black shoes. I'll get you set up with an apron," She said with a small nod. She then tilted her head at him curiously. "What's your name, by the way?"
And, for fear that his last name would again ruin everything, Soul let the first name he thought of pop out: "I'm Soul Eater."
(1) Double – "Working a double" is a term used in restaurants; it's basically where someone works two eight hour shifts on top of each other on the same day. I work at a restaurant (hostessing) and I hear that term a lot in regards to servers.
Notes before I go pass out in a hole:
Crappy first chapter is crappy.
Usually Soul gets to be the one from the privileged upbringing while Maka's living in Crap-City; I felt like showing it slightly reversed.
Maka is probably really OOC in the bathroom scene but… To be honest, I just think it'd be hilarious if that happened to them. And I hope, if you found it worth it, you can excuse that little bit of OOC-ness from me.
Tell me what out think in your reviews! In a drinking contest, who would win; Soul or Spirit? (I think it'd be Stein, personally… Wait, Stein ain't a choice? Well… Damn."
Soul learns what the word "Server" really means; the hard way. Maka decides to test little rookie Soul the only way she knows how; by giving him a shit ton of tables. Tsubaki begins to wonder if her best friend is a sadist.