Disclaimer: First story, please R&R. I do not own Soul Eater.
Right jab. Left swipe. He thought to himself tiredly, in unison with the pitiful barrage that he continued to dodge just as easily in real life as it seemed in his head. Slice up. Crush attack follows. Once again he predicted the actions as they happened in real time, his vermilion eyes glazed over from going through the motions for so long, and once again did he regret the entire situation altogether.
"Soul, quit messing around! I know you can do this, now get your act together!"
His dulled eyes brightened a bit and a smirk of amusement graced his face. His meister was taking the match much more seriously than he was, but that was probably to be expected. It might not have been a fight in the conventional sense, but if her father was to be his sparring partner, there was no way she would let him ease up, even for a moment.
"Well Death-scythe," He started, his meister's voice still ringing in his ears. "It's been dull, but I've gotta wrap this up." A sharp grin spread across his face that bore every single one of his serrated teeth.
"Don't even think about it, Soul Eater!" Spirit heckled, annoyed as he threw another attack Soul's way which the latter quickly dodged. "You're not gonna weasel your way out of this; we keep this up until the training's finished!"
"You don't get it do you, you old perv?" Soul snorted, catching hold of the predictable follow up punch he had already seen coming, much to Spirit's surprise. "I mean, I'm going to end this."
Put all your force behind it. Remember how Giriko did it...remember the way it looked...
The way it felt.
Soul pulled Spirit towards him with his own captured fist, catching the older death-scythe off guard. As their faces came closer together, the younger of the two suddenly dropped to the ground, his right leg outstretched, catching Spirit's foot and sending him tripping forward. Falling face first, he had only enough time to get on his knees and throw a glance back.
Without missing a beat, Soul rebounded back on his feet. And as he came up, instinct took over, his eyes growing wide as he took his right leg and swung it as high into the air as he possibly could, trying to imitate the one person whom he had seen perform the move last.
Miniature scythes formed along his leg in a row vertically, stretching from the front to the back. Together they resembled, what looked like, a chainsaw.
Heart racing from adrenaline, and throwing out a roar from deep within his throat, he sent his leg careening towards his opponent with all the force he could muster behind it. Spirit had no time to react, too shocked at the sudden strength from his pupil to defend himself. He had only the few moments to register as Soul's leg flew mere inches from his eyes.
His leg rushed past Spirit's face, but did not make contact. Instead, the saw blade swiped at the ground nearest the death-scythe's face with devastating efficiency, sending a cloud of debris into the air that lingered for a moment or two, only to be rushed away by the desert wind. After the dust settled, a neat cut about a foot deep graced the landscape, Soul's foot midair as he held it above the last point of impact. Spirit could do nothing but breathe a tremulous sigh of relief.
The maneuver itself was quick, but the scope of the damage was immediate.
"S-Soul! Papa?..." The awe of her weapon's death-scythe abilities nearly drowning out the concern for the two men, Maka couldn't help but gawk. "...Are you two okay?"
"Yes, angel..." Spirit replied weakly, a small bead of sweat dangling from his cheek as he glimpsed the destruction of the desert earth next to his face.
Soul panted as he wobbled his leg slowly, blades disappearing in small balls of glow. "Yeah, but I don't think I'll be doing that again for a while."
"Yes, I'd prefer that you didn't."
Maka spun around and found Professor Stein approaching as he called out to them, returning to them from the farther out spot where they had witnessed the entire match. Ms. Marie was in tow as was usual, her face beaming in delight at the apparent progress her student had made during the training.
"Wow Soul! You've certainly improved in such a short time…" Marie congratulated, suddenly trailing off as she glanced at Stein's face, which looked slightly annoyed.
"So what do you think Stein?" Spirit called out, tossing himself on his back to re-cooperate.
Incredible, I never knew he was capable of doing that. Maka beamed within her mind; she was so proud of him, and impressed! Why wouldn't she be impressed? Soul, the deathscythe SHE made, had just taken down her papa. Lord Death's personal weapon! She admitted to herself that it was just a training exercise, but still, no one had expected him to win!-
-But he beat him without me
The thought surprised her, and her eyes widened at the realization of what she was thinking.
Of course he beat him without me…this is his training. What else could he have done? Snap out of it Maka, you're being unreasonable!
She tried to convince herself to ignore the random comment that her own mind had concocted, but the longer she tried, the more she ended up dwelling on it and made herself feel worse.
"I think Soul is indeed progressing in his ability to fight on his own, and he's become far stronger than when he first initially became a death-scythe. I believe the advanced form control that he demonstrated just now proves it."
The comment brought a contemptuous grin across Soul's face, and he looked for a confirming smile from his meister. Finally, after all the hard work they put into the rigorous training that all Spartoi members must go through, they were seeing tangible results.
He could see Maka notice his gaze, and she quickly smiled back. But something was off about it, like she seemed to be forcing her happiness. He also noticed that her usually bright emerald eyes just weren't all that bright at the moment, and her usually calm, collected shoulders that screamed confidence just seemed to droop at the moment, as his usually did when he was trying to look 'cool'. His own smile slowly faded from sight and was instead replaced with a blank, bewildered stare. What's with her?
"However," Stein continued unexpectedly, causing everyone to refocus back on him. "He's still nowhere near, shall we say, an autonomous weapon. He simply just does not have the ability."
Quickly he turned his attention to the young scythe. "Soul, you may have produced a chain of blades along your leg, but you can't manipulate them in the way which I know you intended to." He took his glasses and gently wiped the sand and debris from them. Then, putting them back on, the professor continued. "No matter how much you and your meister train, you will never make them vibrate like Giriko, or shine like Justin Law's. All of your moves are strictly reserved to knife like, albeit them more elegant, movements. And it would be foolish for the two of you to not focus on that as your strength."
Elegant knifing, huh? Maka's attitude seemed to perk almost instantaneously. The bright of her eyes returning, the dull green of her irises shifting to a silky viridian. That extra perk in her shoulders came back as well, as if her confidence had made a complete recovery and then some. Soul's not into that sort of thing. No way can he pull that off without me, I've got to be there to keep him in line!
Soul sighed to himself, annoyed. Guess that settles that. Slightly disappointed in Stein's verdict, he figured that although his new technique had just been ousted, at least Maka must have cheered up, as he noticed with a soft stare the way her lips curled into a barely concealable grin. Even so far away he could recognize her smile.
"Wonder what's got you all perked up." he called to her, smiling at her return to normalcy.
She turned to face him and gave let out a quick scowl that masked her thoughts. She didn't dare let Soul catch on that she was thinking about him. He'd never let her live it down. "Nothing Soul, I'm perfectly alright. Why wouldn't I be?"
"Oh, alright." He replied, casually reaching for the back of his hair as he scratched his head slowly. "I just assumed that since Stein told me not to use that move anymore, you'd be happy that we could fight together all the time? Or something like that."
Her mouth suddenly parted for a second. Did he really know her that well? Soul's expression stayed the same, but his brows quickly rose. He had her in the palm of his hands...but did he know it?
You're such an ass. She could hear her father's hurt gawk at her previous statement, but simply ignored it like she had at his earlier request for her to cheer for him during the fight. Instead, she just focused on the gaze of her partner and glared his way in return.
She hated the way he seemed to get inside her head without even trying anymore. It wasn't even fair at that point, because she couldn't let her mind wander at points when he was around, or else she'd be subject to whatever kind of teasing or snide remarks he could come up with. She was annoyed at how calmly he seemed to handle everything that came his way. She didn't really care for that innocence in his tone though, because she didn't really buy it, although she liked to think of him that way sometimes...
A moment to collect her thoughts though, and she was instead thinking about his positives, going strictly against her own policy of not letting her mind wander. She did like how his bloody red eyes seemed to want to follow only her at the moment, even so far away, and with so many people around who might notice and think it was 'uncool'. How that desert sun just bounced off his bleach white hair and matching jacket, making him seemingly glow in the middle of the day. And those teeth…
"I think," Marie started again, effectively ending their well concealed stares. "We can practice a few more drills. Stein, would you like to have Soul learn a few more maneuvers before we go?"
"I don't see why not. We have this particular area to ourselves for the next several hours; we'd mine as well use it while we have it."
"Great!" Spirit sprang up with a sudden vigor, surprising both Soul and Maka as he hopped to his feet and wrapped his arm around his training partner's neck. "I can't wait to fight this one for real." The sneer on his face was almost palpable.
"Actually Spirit," Stein began, taking his coat off and neatly folding it as he handed it to Ms. Marie. "I think it would be more appropriate if I carried on with the training myself. After all, there's a bit too much…tension, between you."
Stein looked in the direction of Maka, who replied with a slightly embarrassed smile and a look in the opposite direction. Soul closed his eyes in annoyance. Spirit merely squeezed his hold on Soul tighter.
"Anyway we should probably get started. Spirit, if you'd please let go of Soul."
Maka's father gave a half-hearted scowl as he released his captive, throwing his hands in his pocket as he walked towards Marie to get out of the way of the training. Soul immediately regained his composure, fixing his jacket as he made a b-line for Maka, an equally half-hearted scowl still lingering on his lips.
"Fuck him." He spat as he came to his meister, hands shoved deep within his pockets.
"Chill out Soul, don't let him get to you." She replied flatly, annoyed at his use of language.
"How do you put up with that fucker anyway?"
"Language Soul, I've warned you once before."
"What the hell, Maka! He acts like an ass and you get mad at my fricken lan-"
Book square in his head, Soul's eyes boggled. His legs buckled, and he slid quickly to the floor, mouth wide in comedic fashion as he landed on his butt. Maka stood over him, hands on her hip.
"He might be an ass, but he's still my dad. And when I tell you to do something, I expect you to do it. Got it?" she commanded, chest puffed out in dominance.
Soul looked up at her with his hand on his head and right eye wincing. He was tempted to defy her, but the loaded book in her hand convinced him otherwise. With a pain induced whimper and a nod, she held out her hand as a gesture of good will.
"Where do you get those things, anyway..." he huffed, pulling himself up with her help.
She smiled lightly. "I have my ways."
"Any day now you two!" Stein beckoned out of nowhere, his voice noticeably more cross this time around. The two children turned their heads in his direction, both of them completely forgetting why they were there in the first place.
"Yeah, I hear ya!" Soul called back to him, stretching his neck out to the side so as to not end up yelling in Maka's ear.
"Well, as soon as you two part ways, we can begin." Stein called back out, taking off his glasses for added measure.
Soul nodded in confirmation and quickly returned his attention back to Maka. "Why don't you go over there and watch with Ms. Marie and that perv of a father of yours. We'll meet back up later."
"Yeah, ok." she said simply, already turning around with her hands behind her back. She started off casually.
Suddenly his brows perked at the prospect of asking her the question that was secretly eating at him, and he genuinely wanted to know the answer to it. "Wait a second…" he called out to her, instantly stopping her in her tracks. "Why were you so happy a minute ago?"
Realizing what he was asking, she spun around and caught his gaze, slightly irked. Her lips pursed and that annoyed blush that occasionally hinted at her cheeks was obviously present. "Papa lost the fight, why else would I be happy?"
Couldn't resisting, he grabbed a hold of the top of his tie and gave her a soft smile. His eyes twisted in a playful look. "You sure it's not because you still get to grab onto me the way you like?"
Her face turned bright scarlet, mouth agape in embarrassment as she caught the expression on his face; pure amusement. The soft grin on his face with those bright bloody eyes...it almost made her not so mad at him. Almost. And she knew that he was referring to his weapon form, and not the obvious phallic symbol he was implying. But the bastard knew it was a double entendre and he had meant for it to sound dirty. She only hoped within the deepest parts of her heart that it hadn't been loud enough for anyone else, especially her father, to hear.
"I hope it was worth it, Soul." She choked, quickly regaining her composure as she strode towards the other spectators, a bright shade of red still noticeable in her cheeks. "You're gonna get it when we get back to the apartment."
"I'll take my chances." He chuckled, grin turned from soft to wild as he watched her stomp her way off the field.
She made it about half way though, when she suddenly stopped. Soul looked on curiously as she cocked her head for the same reason, herself wondering who Professor Stein was suddenly talking to in a secluded place like this. She could make out two figures in the distance, one was Stein, with another unknown person right in front of him. She tried to listen to the conversation from afar, and was hard to hear, but she could make out the words just fine.
"I'm sorry, but only authorized Spartoi members are allowed on these grounds at the moment. I'd ask that you leave and return to the academy immediately."
"Actually that's something I'd like to change if possible, sir."
That first voice was most definitely Steins. But whose did the other belong to…?
She watched in bewilderment as the figure from afar suddenly began running towards her, waving as he approached. Soul looked on in equal fascination as the figure (who he had then confirmed as a boy) very quickly neared her and outstretched his hand to shake hers.
Taking his hand in politeness, she stammered. "Um, yes, I'm Maka Albarn. What's your name?"
"Please, excuse my manners." The boy replied, removing his brown hat as he bowed his head in respect. "You can call me Leon. Leon Camp."
She looked him over fleetingly. A dark brown tan, blue checkerboard button up with white shirt underneath, (which reminded her vaguely of Soul's red one) and dark tan cargo pants. His black hair was smooth and slick, giving off an air of coolness which was accentuated by his blackened converse. His blue eyes matched the desert sky; crisp and navy.
"Nice to meet you Leon, can I help you with something?"
Leon let go of her hand and returned his hat to its previous spot. Then, putting his thumbs in his back pockets, he continued his introduction. "Yes ma'am. I've been here at Shibusen for a good two months now, and I have to say that the greenhorn meisters here aren't exactly what you'd call professional. I've been looking all over for one, but no one's really met my standards."
Ms. Marie, suddenly intrigued with their conversation, grabbed a hold of Spirit's arm and guided him over towards Stein, who was nearest the pair. "Spirit, do you know who that is?"
"No." He said nasally, a deep throbbing vein appearing at the corner of his forehead. "And I don't care. What's he doing out here talking to my darling Maka! Stein, why the hell didn't you kick that punk out of here when you had the opportunity!"
Stein, now accompanied by Spirit and Marie, watched attentively as the weapon and meister carried on their conversation. He ignored Spirit's dramatics and instead focused on remembering who this stranger was. Was he one of his students? No, he remembered all of his students well. Maybe he was one of Sid's kids? In the back of his mind he knew that face from somewhere…but where exactly?
Back across the field, the boy named Leon continued with his conversation. "I've been interested in this whole Spartoi business. I hear you all are the best of the best, and I've been wanting to take a crack at joining the team. Only problem is though, it takes two to tango as they like to say. Being on your own only gets you so far, and I need to take it to the next level..."
"I don't see how this involves me, though." Maka whined, now oblivious as to any point this strange weapon was trying to get at. "We're very busy right now, so if you'd please-"
"-lemme cut straight to the chase then ma'am." He interrupted, dropping to his knee instantaneously as he snatched her hand back from her side, sending Maka into an uncontrollable fit of red.
"Would you please do me the honor of allowing me to be the weapon of a beautiful creature like you?"
Her heart jumped. Spirit's jaw dropped. Marie's eyes widened. The only one that didn't react was Stein, too deep in contemplation to care. Maka's heart beat at a thousand times per second and it was growing ever faster. What did he just say? A beautiful creature? Me? She kept trying to reason everything but it was happening so fast that she didn't have time to sort it out. Why does he want me?
"Leon…" She gulped, palm starting to sweat in his outstretched hand. "I-I…you see, I…well…"
He held onto her hand for dear life, and brought it to his lips for a kiss. Then pushing his hat up so he could meet her eyes, he smiled. "I won't ever disappoint, and I promise to always keep you safe."
She couldn't answer him on her own. She had never had this problem before! Soul was the one who got partner requests, not her! If he was there, Maka was sure he'd know what to do. He was always so cool in situations like this, why wouldn't he help her? Then, suddenly, her heart stopped its incessant beating and came to a screeching halt within her chest, which made her heave as if going to throw up. She had come to a horrible realization, too caught up in the moment to think about it before. Where is Soul?
Maka took a sudden breath and looked to her left, just as the white haired boy she trusted so well appeared right next to her, seemingly out of nowhere. She could see his solemn face as he immediately pushed her behind him, breaking their hands apart in the process and putting himself between her and the other boy. The meister looked on from behind as Soul stood before her, hands in his pockets, glaring at the other weapon as though defending her from some sort of terrible threat.
She took the brief moment and breathed in deep, trying to let the huge blush of red to disappear from her face. But even as Maka tried, she couldn't help but feel the shade return to her face at the sight of that broad shouldered weapon of hers, standing watch over her like a bodyguard. She breathed a huge sigh of relief. Soul…
"Soul Eater." Leon sighed, echoing Maka's thought. He shook his head as he got up from his knees casually, slowly dusting himself off as the red eyed boy in front of him leered menacingly. "You'd be happy to know that I know all about you."
"Lots of people do. Now get lost." He replied coldly, fingers tightening in the privacy of his pockets.
"I'd tell you to learn your manners, but you're an Evans boy, so I figure you know all about those already. Either way, I'd recommend that you let this young lady make her own choices regarding who she partners up with." Leon retorted, sticking his thumbs into his back pockets.
Soul scowled. "We're a team and we stick together. Any problems with that and you settle it with me."
Leon glanced over Soul's shoulder and snuck a peek at Maka behind him. What he saw wasn't the confident woman whom he had been studying the past week. Nor was she that symbol of courage and strength that so many other students looked up to. Instead, she was a blushing mass of goo, a silly school girl who was helpless in the face of that one particular boy with the snow capped head. Her disgraced state infuriated the greenhorn weapon, but most of all, it strengthened his conviction to partner with her. He just had one obstacle to overcome, in his eyes, the source of all her problems both past and present; Soul Eater.
"Actually…" Leon started, bringing out his right hand from behind his back and holding it out to the side. "I'd much rather settle it with your blade."
Eyes fixed on his opponent's, Soul saw the determination, and it infuriated him. Within his mind he kept wondering to himself why this stranger had come all of a sudden to ruin his partnership, and what right did he have to mess up this thing they had together? Breaking his own conduct, Soul removed his hands from his pockets and stretched his fingers as if preparing for a quick draw with a pistol. His own resoluteness grew within his chest, and after taking one last look at his instructors and meister, he made up his mind. Mimicking his opponent's movement with his own right arm, he nodded.
"Wait, what?" Maka suddenly called out, hands besides herself in anger at witnessing her partner suddenly agree to a fight in front of her. "Soul, you're not going to actually fight over something stupid like this, are you? It's not worth it!"
"Stay out of this Maka." he replied quietly, eyes still fixed on Leon's. "He won't leave until we do this."
She shook her head in anger. "Don't do this Soul! He's just a new student, there's no reason to take this so far. There's better ways to handle this you idiot!" Maka turned her attention to Leon and her voice became noticeably sweeter, which angered her weapon further. "Please Leon, I appreciate your offer but Soul's my partner. I'm not interested in changing weapons right now, so please, if you could just leave-"
"-In a body bag." His mouth parted, flashing razor sharp teeth at the opponent.
Camp's eyes flashed. He was done talking about the entire situation, and was ready to win a chance at his newly found partner. His arm outstretched, it glowed momentarily, form shifting into one that looked somewhat like a blade. It wasn't until the glowing ceased that the full scope of his transformation became apparent, and a fully formed blade with a gauntlet-like hilt had fully replaced his right hand. He made no noise, only pointing his weapon self at the opponent in a clear challenge of will.
"That's it?" Soul called out, a clear annoyance in his tone. His own arm flashed quickly, resulting in a long scythe on the underside of his arm. He flicked his arm and the glowing ceased. "Let's get this over with."
Across the field...
It took a moment to sink in, but Stein, who had been completely abstained from the entire situation at this point, suddenly found himself back into reality. He finally knew who this new student was and his transformation just then had revealed it.
"That's Leon Camp." Stein spoke suddenly, surprising both Marie and Spirit enough to break them out of their dedicated stares and make them jump.
"Yes, this has already been established Stein." Marie sighed, palm to her face in annoyance. "We know who he is. He's a student here at Shibusen."
"No you don't understand." He replied rather hurriedly, causing Marie to take notice. "That weapon form…that's called a 'Pata'. It's an Indian sword that is held like a gauntlet and swung around with the full force of one's own arm. It's a highly dangerous tool when wielded by a proficient user."
"Well, then that shouldn't be a problem." Spirit replied, eyes closed with his arms crossed. "Don't get me wrong, I don't want either one of those little twerps near my precious Maka. But assuming that we're rooting for Soul Eater on this one…"- he looked to Marie who flashed him one of her rarely used evil looks- "…then I don't think we have much to worry about. Leon's just arrived here, and he doesn't have the training to fight on his own yet."
Stein grabbed the bridge of his nose in frustration. "You two are both missing the point here. You heard that he's been here for two whole months, and hasn't found a partner yet, correct?"
The two nodded in unison.
"Then," he continued. "It's only logical to assume that he's been fighting on his own for the past two months. Weapons are not like meisters, they can still be allowed at Shibusen if they can't find a partner, assuming that they can take care of themselves and fight alone, just as Justin Law did."
Suddenly Spirits eyes widened, realizing the purpose behind the conversation. "So what you're saying is-?"
"-Correct." Stein finished, analyzing the situation from afar. "This Leon character is an autonomous weapon. I remember him from the student briefings that we have every month. His family's a group of well established weapon lineage from the East, so I assume that he's had plenty of experience in sparring at the very least. I'm surprised neither of you remembered as well."
Marie and Spirit looked at each other in comical fashion, then quickly regained their composure. Marie then walked up stein, and handed him back his lab coat.
"Should we stop the fight then?" she asked calmly, realizing the implications of Stein's words.
"No, I don't believe so."
Taking out a loose cigarette from his coat's breast pocket and bringing it to his mouth, he revealed his lighter from his pocket. Lighting it for a moment until the smoke streamed out consistently, he took a deep puff and blew, his detached composure returning immediately.
"Leon may be dangerous, but he's still just a student. We can monitor him safely, and the training benefits this situation presents are more substantial than what we could offer Soul at the moment. And besides..." he trailed off for a moment as he watched the two boys run off farther into the desert. "...this should be entertaining."
Marie payed a glance at Spirit beside her. He stood there adamantly watching the situation play out, his arms crossed. She then looked back at her associate, who was more than complacent with his decision as he continued to smoke his cigarette. She rolled her eyes in annoyance. Simply grabbing her right arm with her other, she accepted the ruling and conceded.
Guess I'll play along for now
A.N: You would not believe how much time I put into this one. I guess the first story's always the hardest!
Major credit goes to Poisoned Scarlet, if it wasn't for her I wouldn't be posting this right now. Again, please R&R, and Chapter 2 should be up relatively soon.