Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater


Dig Through the Ditches

by. Lacrow


-The Fourth Night-

A shiver ran up the girl's spine, causing her normally soft skin to erupt in goosebumps. She instinctively reached for the bunched up blankets at her feet, promptly covering herself as the moonlight from outside bathed her in an eerie glow through a single hole in the curtains. Even in the desert that was Death City, nights were still cold. And although Blair was cuddled in the space between her legs to help keep the cold out, Maka just couldn't seem to stay warm. It was almost as if something was missing, like it was draining her.

She shook her head. He was the only thing missing from her life.

Book sprawled out across her chest as she lay there half conscious, Maka's mind wandered. Four days without her partner, without so much as a call to tell her that they had arrived safely. She had a pretty good idea of what it entailed when they said covert, but even knowing this important fact, the ash blonde girl still found herself irritated at his silence. With her hand she wiped away the blur from her eyes. It was nine o'clock on a Friday night, and already she was in bed. The following morning would be a late one, that much she already knew.

Is this what she was reduced to when he left her? Early to bed, late to rise, plainer than usual Maka? How could his absence make even school seem dull? The academy library was the only form of comfort that she'd had in the past half week, and even that barely kept her going. With a scowl she flipped over the book on her chest and glanced at the title through the moonlight. A Harvester's Soul.

Maka checked it out from school for the weekend, but she had hardly even read it past the first few pages. She kept eyeing the cover, always falling back on those four letters at the very end. Every mention of his name, whether it be in passing conversations or written out on paper, always gave her a new experience in worry. Was he ok? How was the mission? Did he miss her...

...as much as she missed him? Maka shook her head at the concept. There was no way a 'cool' guy like Soul would obsess over being away for a week. So then if he wasn't worried, why was she?

There was no logical answer for it, and she sure wasn't going to stay up long to try and figure it out. So, letting that pitiful novel of her's fall to the floor, Maka allowed her exhaustion to take over. Her muscles loosened and her head fell gently to the side. As she closed one eye, another peeked through heavy lids to catch the time on clock atop the dresser nearest her bed. Ten o'clock.

As if satisfied with the result, she gave a weak smile. Knowing the time gave her further resolve to fall asleep faster and let the night pass her by. The quicker she did, Maka reasoned, the sooner Soul would come back and everything would return to normal. It was almost too good to be true, but like a child waiting for Santa Clause to come, she bought into it without hesitation.

Besides, Maka thought to herself, letting the cool of the night slowly creep over her. It's one o'clock in Brazil. He's probably already asleep.


Stein retracted his blade from the corpse of their latest victim. Magic infused blood trickled from the blade of his scythe onto the ground, splattering off the dirt and into one of the many puddles of water scattered through out the area. Muttering something to the weapon before releasing it, the professor watched as Soul Eater transformed in a flash of light. His white hair standing out against the backdrop of dark jungle night, the boy begrudgingly ran a hand through it. He wasn't happy.

"Yeah, well, it's not like I asked to be your partner Stein."

The teacher looked flatly at his student, hoping to approach things civilly. "I know where you're coming from, Soul. But Maka's not always going to be there-"

"-I'm tired." he cut the man off plainly, pivoting with his heels in the opposite direction. "I'll see you back at camp."

A trace of a frown painted on his face, Stein watched as Soul disappeared behind some brush in the direction of their new campsite. Knowing well that he meant every word, the meister was fully aware that he was now on his own in the dangerous jungle that was the Amazon. Unfazed and unafraid however, Stein simply let his attention fall to the mutilated corpse that lay next to his feet.

"I suppose you won't leave me, will you?" he smiled, taking a cigarette from his coat and placing it between his lips. "Then again, it's not like you can."

Fucking idiot. The thought crossed Soul's mind more than once as he made the short trek back to his teammate's location. Attacking branches and leaves in his path with a scythe sprouted from his wrist, the bleach haired weapon silently fumed to himself as he recounted Stein's words to him right after the fight.

Your form is sloppy. I'm not Maka. You need to stop worrying about her, and focus on resonating with me.

What did he care? It's not like anyone asked him if he wanted to go on vacation for a week in No-Man's Land, Brazil. No one asked if he minded switching partners, which he most certainly did with a passion. It was the the same for Jacqueline and Harvar too. All three of them belonged to their respective meisters, and no one else. So why was it then that Lord Death suddenly found it necessary to wrench them away and put them in a make-shift team together with two strangers?

A low hanging branch was quickly cut down by his blade. "Fucking idiot."

Soul continued to seethe under his anger, but at the same time began to question his own emotions as the faint sound of his teammates became slowly clearer. He wondered why exactly it bothered him so much that Maka wasn't there with him. It was strange, considering that he mostly felt relieved that she wasn't there to suffer long nights and life-threatening situations constantly. She could handle it to be sure, but if it was a choice between him suffering it and Maka, then Soul Eater would practically volunteer for her.

But, why exactly?

That nagging thought finally took up so much of his concentration that he stopped dead in his tracks to ponder it. Between the soaked air and noises of buzzing insects, it was hardly the place to come to any sort of revelation. But sure enough, that's where he was. In the middle of a jungle, asking himself a question he wish he knew the answer to. What did Maka mean to him?

Ultimately, there was no answer in words. Instead, it came in the form of the scar that dug deep into the spread of his torso. With a dirtied hand, he felt for it against his shirt and stopped at the point where the cut had been deepest, above his heart. A quiet snort escaped him as he recalled how he had gotten the wound in the first place. Jumping in front of a sword, just to not have to watch her being cut down in front of him. Soul figured he was just selfish that way. How could he live with himself if she ever got hurt they way he had? The short answer was, he couldn't.

"Dam you, Maka." he chuckled painfully, clenching his shirt with a fist.

"You two have another fight, or something?"

Soul looked up, knowing already from the sound of his voice that it was Harvar. Standing there atop a fallen log, the statue of a boy looked down on the expressionless scythe, both giving little acknowledgement as to the other's presence for a moment. Finally, Soul's grip on himself loosened, and he let his hands fall back to their usual place inside his pockets.

"I haven't even talked to her in four days, what could we be fighting about?"

Harvar's face eased about a degree. "Actually, I was talking about you and Stein.

Soul's eyes fell flat. An 'oh' was all he could muster. The thought of his temporary meister still sent him a sour mood, and quickly he found himself taking up a seat on the ground next to Harvar, his back pressed firmly against the rotted out log. Picking up on a silent cue, Harvar obediently fell to Soul's side, the two not even so much looking at each other. They simply stared back at the direction Soul came from, back where Stein still was all by himself.

Surprisingly, it was Harvar who made the first move. "You haven't gotten along with him lately."

"Yeah, no shit." Soul spat, putting his elbows up on the log behind them. "The guy's been an ass all week long!"

"That's not true, and you know it."

The demon scythe scowled at his friend. "Whatever! Nobody asked for your opinion!"

Harvar closed his eyes. "At least I'm not acting 'uncool' by getting all defensive about the subject."

Soul bit his tongue. Was Jacqueline rubbing off on him? Because even though the guy had no emotions, he still seemed pretty capable of ripping someone apart verbally. Or maybe just everyone on his team was trying to piss him off that week? Either way, Harvar's words immediately hushed his venting, and the two continued to stare out into the unknown.

"So why exactly are you upset at him?"

"How should I know?" Soul mumbled, taking a deep breath to cool himself off. "He's been pissin me off since we got here."

Truth was, the bleach haired boy knew exactly why that gray haired teacher of his angered him so much. The fact that he wasn't Maka was only partly to blame. He would've been annoyed by anyone trying to take her place, but it had little to do with Stein as a person. What ate at Soul was the fact that his usually somewhat cool teacher was doing three completely contradictory jobs at once, and completely brushing off the fact as though it was all so natural.

To be a mentor, you have to connect with your students. He had already done that. But being a team-leader means that you have to focus on the big picture, and any hiccups that happen along the way are irrelevant. If someone dies, it doesn't matter as long as the mission is a success. Stein didn't think that way at all, but he still had to fill in those shoes as leader of the group. Using your students as tools would pretty obviously break any connection you previously had with them.

And of course, the gall to try and act fatherly to the three weapons. Stein had always sort of done that, albeit it in his own creepy way. But now that they were being forced to hunt witches like the tools they really were, what right did he have to try and act like he actually cared for them? You can't use someone as a piece of meat one minute, then try and help them set up camp the next. It confused Soul so much, he always found himself scowling behind Stein's back. What was his problem? Who the hell was Stein?

Harvar shook his head. "It's not his fault, Soul Eater. He didn't ask to be put in this position."

"I guess." the scythe replied, too tired to start another argument. "Doesn't make it any better, though."

"You just have to get used to it."

Another snort came from Soul, but the subject was dropped. Both boys knew that Harvar was right, but between his simplicity and Soul's pride, neither of them would say anything further. Instead, they let the sounds of buzzing insects and bats in the background fill their ears. It was almost a serene place to be in, if it weren't for the sweltering heat and constant threat of danger. That aside, Soul let the cool noises put him at ease. A few minutes passed, putting him in a better mood. Harvar of course had remained silent till that point, and his team-mate figured it was his turn to break the ice.

"So," the Deathscythe started coyly, flashing a contained smirk Harvar's way. "How are you and Jacqueline holding up?"

The sight of the normally steely eyed boy flinch was enough to turn Soul's smirk into a full fledged grin. Rattled, the demon spear broke his unshakable gaze forward and averted his eyes in the opposite direction. It was a simple question, but no doubt one that had some deeper meaning.

Harvar straightened his back. "That business with the witch, it shouldn't have happened."

"I know, you keep saying that. But it's not like you could have stopped him."

"We could have." he responded, a trace of guilt in his voice. "Stein and I had the capability, it should have been easy."

Soul threw his arms behind his head and looked up at the muffled sky. "Point is, it wasn't. So don't go beating yourself up for something you can't change."

"That's not the point, Jacqueline was hurt because of me."

Something in Harvar's words caused Soul to look over at his fellow weapon. His face was turned away from him, but the twisted muscles above the corners of his brows let Soul know that the boy was clearly angry. It was a side of Harvar he had never seen before and, quite frankly, barely knew existed. The mood grew somber as Soul realized that the incident clearly ate at Harvar. For what reason specifically was none of his business, but he knew that it wouldn't have been cool to let a man beat himself up over nothing.

"You mean, you and Stein?" he reasoned, trying to let Harvar down gently.

At Soul's words, Harvar seemed to lift his head up and looked back to the jungle in front of him. "Yeah. Stein and I."

"She doesn't blame you for it, you know?" Soul said casually, again staring up at what little stars there were. "If anything, she was happy you were still alive."

"That doesn't make it any better." Harvar replied bitterly, eyes narrowed at nothing in particular.

"You just have to get used to it."

A simple scoff came from Harvar's throat, being yet another aspect of him the scythe had never seen before. At least he understood humor, because a very controlled smirk seemed to appear at the corner of his lips. Soul grinned as he caught the sight, proud of the fact that he'd not only got the boy out of his funk, but also cracked his solid exterior. Again things fell silent between them, only this time the air was much lighter, and anger slowly started to recede from the two of them.

With little light to see in front of them, the darkness was the only thing that greeted their eyes. Staring into it, indescribable shapes seemed to sprout forth from the void, dancing across their field of vision as they focused for no particular reason. It was mesmerizing, but mostly the two of them did it just to kill some time. What exactly was there for them to do? Something nagged at the back of Soul's mind, probably being important, but he just couldn't think of it. Was there something he was supposed to be remembering...?

Suddenly, a scream from the void. Soul's eyes shot wide open, his head reeling to face Harvar's. Both of them realized immediately where it had come from. Stein had never made it back. How long ago was it? Ten, twenty minutes before? Dammit, why the hell hadn't they noticed!

"Harvar!" the Deathscythe scowled, immediately jumping to his feet.

The demon spear followed suit. "I know!"

"I'll go ahead, you go back to camp!" Soul instructed, two sickles sprouting from either sides of is wrists. "Bring the others!"

Both nodding in confirmation, they went their separate ways. Harvar dashed off towards Jacqueline and the others, hoping to bring reinforcements as soon as possbile. Soul bolted towards the path he had just come from, merely hoping that it wasn't already too late. Annoying vines and branches from earlier gave Soul little grief, his mind too occupied with focusing on making it back to his temporary meister. It wasn't far, a mere hundred yards from where he sat. But every second that went by without seeing Stein's face, it sent his heart racing all over again.

"Stein, I'm coming for you dammit! Don't you die on me!"

His legs carried him faster than he thought possible, adrenaline filling his muscles and veins in a desperate attempt to stop the execution of his professor. Eyes wide to see in front of him, bugs smashed into his face as he blitzed closer and closer to the area he had last seen Stein. How the hell could a witch get to him so quickly? It was the last one, they had made sure of it! How the could Stein be caught so off guard? He was the one who made traps, not the one to fall into them!

Then of course, as Soul entered the small clearing where had been twenty minutes before, he got his answer. There in front of him appeared his meister and teacher, on both knees, staring up into the eyes of the same witch they had killed not even a half hour ago. Her eyes were bright yellow, and her teeth peeked through her lips in a strange, cat-like way. Soul watched in horror as Stein made no attempts to move, with even his chest completely still. Was he breathing?

He caught her eye. The witch turned, licking her lips as a playful smile graced her somewhat pleasant face. "You're that scythe from before, aren't you?"

"Got that right." Soul growled, bringing the sickles across his chest in an x-formation. "Why the hell aren't you dead?"

"Oh, don't worry. You killed me. I wouldn't dream of bruising your ego. It's just that..."

Soul's determined glare gave way to wide eyes as the witch stepped out from in front of Stein, letting him see her full body in what limited moonlight they had. A gaping hole in the middle of her chest let him see clear through to the background behind her, blood still flowing in bulk to the ground below. A dry heave filled his stomach as he looked on, unable to pry his attention from her sickening wound. The witch merely gave a smug cackle, letting her fingers dance along the edges of the grotesque hole in her body.

"...as you can see, cats tend to have nine lives." she finished, licking the blood off her fingertips. "It's no different for a feline-esque witch like me. You want me? You have to kill me eight more times."

Soul bore his teeth at the creature. "All you witches need to fucking die."

"Don't flatter yourself, kid. You're just as bad as we are."

Body trembling from adrenaline overload, Soul watched carefully as the golden eyed witch made her way back to Stein. He had to remain calm and not rush in. She was close enough to him to cause serious damage before he could make it to the teacher, maybe even kill him. It didn't look like the meister could even breathe, let alone defend himself. All he did was kneel there, looking up the witch through the glasses on his nose. It must've been some sort of spell.

Cautiously, he took a step forward. That simple action sent the witch into a frenzy, grabbing Stein by the hair and pulling him up to her level. The statue for a professor stood on his own, but seemed only able to by her allowance. Soul stopped dead in his tracks, afraid that any more motion would cause the witch to do something drastic. As if satisfied by the result she had produced, the cat woman let Stein drop to his knees yet again. This time, his head remained facing forward.

"Tell you what." she cooed softly, running her hand along Stein's frozen cheek. "I'm in a giving sort of mood."

Soul scowled at the demented woman. "What the hell are you planning you crazy bitch?"

"It's simple really, I want to repay you for putting this lovely hole in my chest."

"If you're looking for sex like your friend was, I'm not in the mood." Soul hissed, though still careful not to anger her.

The witch muffled a laugh. "I like you kid, you're ok for a Shibusen brat. Which is why the only one who's going to die tonight, is your meister."

Eyes wide and heart thumping, there was little Soul could do as she began to mutter something under her breath. Both he and Stein watched in horror as the golden eyed witch lifted her palm up in front of the professor's face, obviously preparing some kind of incantation. In any moment the spell would be complete, leaving Stein helpless in the face of an attack that he could nothing to stop.

It was at that moment the young Deathscythe faced a tough decision. Jump in and risk his teacher being killed quicker, or sit back and watch as Stein savored a few more seconds of life. There was little time to choose, and Soul wasn't one to let his friends die in front of him. With barely a hesitation, the bladed weapon ran as fast as he could to intercept them.

"Pathra...Panther..."

Ten feet away. So close, yet still so far! His lungs ached for air, but he ignored their pleas as he continued to go full speed. In his mind he tried to relay what to do once he arrived, but his body just couldn't handle two things at once. Putting all of his focus on making his feet go, all thoughts were tossed aside in that final bid to save his team-leader and teacher.

"...Jaguar...Jagura!"

A yard from where they stood, Soul's hear sank in his thumping chest as the witch completed her spell. Immediately following her words, claws erupted from the tips of her fingers. Curved and jagged, they were soon met with hair that burst forth from the woman's silky smooth hand. The shape of her appendage quickly twisted into the tell-tale form of a puma's, it black hair and claws melting perfectly into the ultimate natural weapon. A terrible sneer graced the witch's otherwise pretty face.

"I'll be sure to see you in hell."

She lifted her arm high above her head, ready to bring it crushingly down on Stein's head. The helpless meister could do nothing but stay in his frozen position, eyes glued in front of him as he awaited his imminent fate. Another demented cackle filled the air, followed by the swoosh of flying claws. Things quickly became dark and, all emotions leaving him, Stein accepted his fate. There was no way out, no chance at making a great escape. Just the inevitable fate of a dying man during his last moments of life. Wholeheartedly, his only regret was that he couldn't be there to see things through till the end. That he would miss out on his student's lives. Soul's progress as a Deathscythe...

...Not today, witch...

...and just like that, his thoughts were interrupted. Reality dragged him back to his senses. Vision returning as quickly as it had went, Stein at first didn't comprehend what was going on. Nothing but the view of somebody standing in front of his fixed eyes. But as the moment carried on and the sounds of heavy panting filled his ears, Stein soon realized what had happened. In his mind, the professor screamed out into an empty void at the futility of it all. The scene was painted perfectly in his thoughts, even though from his compromised position he could see nothing.

There Soul stood, arms outstretched. A slightly annoyed witch in front of him, her arm was still fixed at the last point of contact. Blood spurt from the open gash in his chest right above the sternum, eerily reminiscent of the gaping hole in the evil woman's torso. Stomach filling with air as he gasped for breath, the scythe's toothy grin wouldn't leave his face as he stared back into the golden eyes of his enemy.

"No one touches my meister." he wheezed, trembling as the sickles on his arms quickly disappeared.

The witch, in no mood for him, curled her fingers still inside his body. He let out a sickening screech. "Then I'll just finish you off first."

Tugging slowly at his flesh and bone, the hag began playing with his insides as Soul continued his agonized shrills. He could feel as the fur and claws mixed with blood between his ribs. With no strength, he grabbed her wrist with both hands and tried to pry her away, to no avail. Taking sick pleasure in all of his pain, she gave a quick thrust into his guts.

That pain. He had felt it once before. It was with Maka, the night he'd received his scar. So close to death, the feeling of a sword plunging into his body didn't even register. It overloaded the mind and went straight to the soul, leaving him blissfully unaware of just how bad his wounds were. Now, thousands of miles from home and his meister, he felt it once again. His screaming ceased, and he no longer cared. The witch, bewildered, removed her bloodied hands and scowled at the weapon as he stared back at her with wide, open eyes.

"You're no fun if you're not going to scream." she spat, licking clean her dirtied paw.

No response came from Soul. He just stood there, halfway between awake and dead. Thoughts raced through his head, but none of them could make it to words. He was alive and well on the inside, but on the outside he was the exact opposite. Stein knew all of this, though he could not see to be sure. Again he cursed himself, unable to move and save his own student.

"Well," the mutilated woman huffed, putting a hand on her hip. "If you're not going to entertain me, I'd mine as well just-...!"

From Stein's perspective, words disappeared.

He knelt there, wondering why all of a sudden the witch wasn't already finishing the two of them off.

In his confusion, the professor found quickly that motion had returned to him. What started off as a simple twitch turned into a complete reeling of his head, eyes desperately scanning in front of him in a new found sense of vision. What just happened? Did the spell wear off on its own? Had he somehow broken free? Or something else...?

The unmistakable voice of Harvar graced his ears. "How could you live through that?"

Snapping himself out of it, Stein looked up from behind the battered body of a still standing Soul Eater. There in front of them stood the witch, completely silenced by a yellow, jagged spear sticking out the side of her skull. At first it seemed to the professor that the hag was finally killed. He would've bet money on it. But as her eyes spun in their sockets and refocused on the meister holding the spear, he realized that even such a blow wasn't enough to bring her down.

"You fucking brats!" the woman screeched high into the night. "You'll never kill me! I've got seven lives left, and I'll rip you all to shreds before they're gone!"

Instinct took over, leaving the once helpless Stein to quickly regain control. "Alto! Jacqueline! Burn through her!"

"I'M GOING TO TEAR YOUR FLESH OFF AND FEED IT TO THE-!"

The witch's furious roars were hushed instantly at the touch of another chunk of steel against the back of her head. Unable to turn due to the spear in her skull, the pitiful creature was left only to guess the identities of her killers as the soft 'click' of a lamp turning on flooded her senses. No time to say anything else, the once golden eyed witch's head was quickly engulfed in flames. Only her loud shrieks and shrills could be heard in that otherwise silent clearing. Nobody spoke. Everyone listened.

Harvar's meister quickly retracted the spear from her still burning head, leaving Harvar to transform back. The two boys were left standing there as Jacqueline and her meister Alto stood across from them. Soul on the other side with Stein behind him, all six watched in bittersweet victory as the witch fell to the ground amidst scarlet flames. Screams long since died down, the only audible thing left was the sound of sizzling flesh and crackling bones. When a sphere of purple soon rose from the burning heap, they knew that it was finally over.

"Guess no matter how many lives you have, you still need a body." Jacqueline said meekly.

Harvar shook his head. "Dam witches. Stein, what do we do with the soul...?"

Ironically, the four of them turning their attention to the professor, they immediately found him tending to the other Soul. The demon scythe lay on his back, sucking in air as Stein cut away at his uniform. Throwing each other a quick look of worry, both Harvar and Jacqueline dragged their meisters to their friend's side. Hoping to help in some small way, they clamored around him in subtle desperation. Pain gripped the young weapon's face, but that signature toothy grin was still present on his lips.

"Dammit, Soul Eater!" Stein hissed, ripping off a piece of his coat for bandages. "Why'd you throw yourself in front of me like that? You could've been killed!"

The boy wheezed, but still mustered a chuckle. "You're welcome."

"I appreciate the sentiment, but do you realize how serious your injuries are?" Stein breathed in, carefully dressing his student's wounds.

"Bad." He replied meekly. That grin of his was quickly fading, along with his sense vision.

The meister shook his head, still getting a handle on the bleeding. "Why'd you do take the hit for me, Soul?"

"I don't know."

After that, things started to get blurry in Soul's mind. He remembered saying a few more words after that and hearing the others say something else, but other then that, the outside world was quickly shut off to him. It was kind of peaceful really, not having to worry about what others were doing. Being trapped inside his own mind and at the mercy of fate, it felt almost liberating. So close to death, but he knew he'd never cross over fully. He was too stubborn to die. There were still some things he needed to do.

Like figure out why exactly he jumped in front of Stein, although deep down, he already knew the answer. No offense to that leader of his, but he didn't do it for him. Nor did he actually consider doing it for him. Instead, it was more of a response to a feeling. One in which, if put in the exact same scenario again and again, would probably react the same way every time.

Because watching Stein helpless like that, so open to danger, reminded of that night in Italy with Maka. How she had almost died if he hadn't stepped in the save her.

Inside Soul's mind as well as on the outside, a smirk appeared across his face.

He might've saved Stein, but he thought of Maka as he did it.


"Maka? Are you sick or something?"

Spaghetti seemed to lose it allure. Though it was the only thing available in the Shibusen cafeteria, the lonely meister just couldn't bring herself to touch it. Black Star had no problem gobbling it down, and Tsubaki still grazed at it even though she said she wasn't hungry. Maka, on the other hand, was hungry. Very much so, in fact. But even with a rumbling stomach and the smell of fresh bread wafting through the air, the girl found herself always putting the fork down the minute she picked it up.

"No." she said softly, still eyeing the plate in front of her. "I just can't seem to eat today."

Maybe it was the fact that Italian was always his favorite food? Even if it was school lunch food, it just didn't seem right to take a bite out of something like that when he wasn't there to enjoy it as well. Or perhaps it was the fact that five days without a call from him really had made her sick with worry? Lately she could barely bring herself to school, let alone make a decent breakfast in the morning. The past two days she'd even forgot to bring lunch money, Tsubaki being kind enough to give her a loan both times.

The mild-mannered weapon placed her hand on Maka's. "Is this about Soul?"

"Of course not!" she outright denied, though not entirely sure why it was so difficult for her to admit.

"You can't fool us Maka! I'm no genius like you, but it doesn't take one to figure out you're depressed!" Black Star scowled at her through puffed up cheeks, his mouth full to the brim with pasta. "Soul's a Deathscythe. He can handle himself. If anything you should be worried about Harvar and Jacqueline, those two are probably clueless!"

Maka's eyes flattened at her fellow meister. "That's pretty rude, Star. They're part of Spartoi too, they're perfectly capable!"

"Whatever. They're probably bleeding all over themselves as we speak..."

The blonde haired girl immediately straightened at his words. Something about that last sentence just started to make her think. Looking down warily at that plate of spaghetti of her's, Maka realized why all of a sudden she was so turned off to the prospect of Italian. It wasn't because it was Soul's favorite, or because she wasn't feeling well. The real reason was that sauce that flooded itself all over her plate. It was thick, and goopy. But most of all, it was red. The color of blood.

Stomach quickly becoming queasy, she shoved the plate away from her without hesitation. Black Star and Tsubaki watched in bewilderment as Maka excused herself from the table, eyes hung low as she quickly made her way through the cafeteria and out into the hallway. Sucking in air, the normally collected girl tried to calm down, but the damage was already done. Terrible thoughts ran through her head as to what this dreaded feeling meant. Did something happen to Soul? Was he alright?

"Maka?" a familiar voice called to her, its owner having followed the girl into the hall. "Is everything ok?"

"Yes Tsubaki, I'm fine." Maka replied crossly.

The brunette could hear the pain in her best friend's words. "It's Soul Eater, isn't it?"

"Why is it always about Soul! My world doesn't revolve around him!"

Tsubaki twiddled her fingers meekly at Maka's anger. "Maka, you can tell me anything. If something's bothering you, let me know. I'm sure Soul would-"

"-Soul isn't here now!" the meister practically shouted into the empty halls. "He's off doing some mission and I'm left stuck at home! Who cares if he's off being successful and partying it up in Brazil? I don't! Who cares if he never calls or tells me he's ok? Or that he needs my help..! Or that he's hurt..."

Maka's eyes starting waver as she continued, Tsubaki could sense what was wrong. Without a word, she put her arms around her best friend and embraced her, the latter giving no resistance. Weakly, Maka did the same and together, the two girls stood there in the hallway as emotions spilled over. They needed no sentences to let them know how the other felt, as was the advantage of being such close friends for so long. It didn't take long for Maka to feel more at ease, to which Tsubaki promptly released her.

"Maybe we should go see Lord Death?" the weapon asked gently, still holding onto the other's shoulders.

Maka took a deep breath. "Why would we do that?"

"Well," Tsubaki smiled. "Perhaps get some information that might make you feel better? Or better yet, maybe he'll even let you talk to Soul through his mirror!"

The blonde's air to her immediately perked. Why hadn't she thought of that sooner? There was no way Lord Death could deny them, he was just too nice of a person to let a girl stay depressed for a whole week. Without much prodding, Maka quickly agreed to the proposition. With a nod and a newly cheerful smile, she immediately turned around and headed off for the Death Room with Tsubaki in tow. Black Star might start to wonder where they had went in a few minutes, but Maka hardly thought about that at the moment.

"I'll finally get to check up on him!" she sang, more to herself that Tsubaki. The latter couldn't help but smile at her friend's newly found optimism.

Because in a few minutes, they were going to prove once and for all that Soul was perfectly alright.


A.N.

This chapter was so much longer than expected...it was originally much shorter, but I tossed it because it sucked. Ah the curse of being a writer...

Oh well, curses aside. Harvar and Stein both got a little fleshing out this time around, and I even named one of the mesiters (yay!) Doubt they'll have a backstory, but who knows? We'll see. Chapter 3's a for-sure. I might make more than four chapters, so just keep your eyes peeled before I give you a definitive answer.