Disclaimer: I don't own Soul Eater. I do own the plot and all OCs (and yes, I mean the dogs).
Snips, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails
Her life had taken a downward spiral, as of late. She had once been your typical seventeen year old young girl getting ready for her first day of her senior year. She had spent the entire summer doing odd jobs around her neighborhood to make money. She had then spent that money on all sorts of new clothes for her to wear to school. She had been so excited because this was going to be the best year ever; she was the top of her class, her schedule was set the way she wanted and she was taking all the college-level courses that would give her a jump start to her future career.
And then, suddenly, her parents dropped the announcement that they were splitting up in her lap; needless to say, it sent young Maka Albarn reeling.
For the first few months after the divorce Maka lived with her mother and she was relatively okay with that. She knew her father had a bit of a flirtatious nature but didn't know until the documents were filed that he was actually having multiple affairs. But just three weeks ago, her mother announced she was going to go on a tour of other countries to try and find what she really wanted out of life, now that she was single. Due to this, Maka had been forced to pack all of her belongings and move into the two bedroom apartment her father owned.
The only upside was that her father lived two blocks away from Maka's friends. Her first was a young Japanese exchange student named Tsubaki Nakatsukasa. Tsubaki had transferred to their New York school because her older brother, Masamune, had offered her free room and board since he knew she had wanted to test her English skills. Tsubaki was pretty fluent in English, though she did make the occasional mistakes. She and Maka were working together to help one another improve their foreign tongues; Maka aiding Tsubaki with the task of tidying up her Japanese while Tsubaki helped Maka tidy up her Japanese (since Maka had some Japanese blood in her). Tsubaki lived about two blocks away in a nice and modest apartment.
Next was her friend Black*Star, a loud-mouthed moron that Maka sometimes wondered about. Black*Star was not well liked around campus for various reasons; the main one being that none of the rich kids that went their wanted to spend time with a poor orphan like him. Maka never asked Black*Star how his parents passed away since she didn't want to pry and he never really brought it up. Despite not being too good in academics or dealing with people, Black*Star excelled in anything that was physically testing. He always got the highest marks in physical education and it managed to somehow balance out his grade point average. This didn't stop Maka and Tsubaki from trying to help him crack down a bit more and actually study though. He lived in the same apartment complex as Tsubaki.
So aside from her morning walks to school with her friends, she couldn't think of a single reason for her to be happy about staying with her father.
When she was younger, Spirit Albarn had meant the world to her. She admired and loved her Papa like no one else; they were thick as thieves. He was always supportive of her decisions, would take the time to help her study, and was the one who got her so absorbed in reading literature for fun. Any time she did well in school he would take her to the book store and let her pick out three books that sounded interesting to her as a reward. As she grew older, however, these things started to gradually stop happening. He'd explain that it was because of work and, for the longest time, she just accepted that was the way things were going to have to be. Now that she knew the truth, however, everything between them was tense and muddled.
On a good day, Maka would spare her father maybe two words; her nose would always be crammed into a book when she said it, however, because she loathed making eye contact with him.
One day, she decided to do something very un-Maka like as all; she agreed to skip classes with Black*Star. He had suggested it right before their first class, Math (his worst subject), as more of a joke than anything else. When Maka had gave him a casual "Sure. Where should we go then?" his jaw literally hit the floor.
"M-Maka, we have to go to class!" Tsubaki squeaked lightly, her cheeks flaming to life as she spoke. Maka glanced at her and raised one brow, green orbs glinting in curiosity.
"Why? Missing one lesson isn't going to do anything too bad for our grades. Plus it sounds like fun," She answered back. The blue haired male of their group whooped in delight and led them to a wall they could jump to get out undetected. Tsubaki, though still anxious and frightened, followed the pair over the fence and out of the school grounds.
They ended up taking a bus to the other side of town and visiting some little stores around there. They enjoyed an expensive lunch as a fancy restaurant (courtesy of Spirit, since he had given Maka one of his cards to use when necessary) and then a little bout around a park.
It was when they stopped to get ice cream that they got caught; a truant officer had been there, specifically looking for the three rogue students.
He ended up shoving the trio into his car and driving them back to the school, where they were forced to sit in the Dean's office to await the arrival of their guardians. Masamune was the first to show up, since he'd been called during his lunch break. The Dean explained that, since this was Maka and Tsubaki's first offenses, they'd be given a small community service assignment to atone for their misbehavior. Masamune had thanked them for their leniency and left, muttering soft words in Japanese to his sister. Maka felt guilty, knowing that her friend was basically getting the scolding of a life time.
The next to arrive was the man who watched after Black*Star; a martial arts instructor named Sid. Sid had been good friends with Black*Star and he and his wife, Nygus, had taken him in. Since Black*Star had several charges against him for different misbehaviors on campus, he was to be suspended for a week. The pair had left in a bickering mess and then only Maka was left to sit and wait.
She wasn't surprised her father was the last to arrive; he had probably been spending time with some loose woman.
Spirit had bowed and thanked the Dean several times for his leniency on Maka. "I'll have their community service task assigned tomorrow morning; they'll be expected to head there right after school for the next two weeks," He explained. Maka blinked then looked up with a small scowl.
"How is that fair? Black*Star misbehaves more than we do and you just suspended him for a week! Why do we have to do two weeks' worth of work?" She argued. Spirit twitched and looked between his daughter and the head of the school nervously, not sure what to say or do.
"Because, Miss Albarn," The Dean said while leaning forward and looking at her calmly, "Black*Star never learns, no matter what I throw at him. You and Miss Nakatsukasa, however, can still learn that his behavior should not be parroted. Report to my office first thing tomorrow morning and I'll give you the information you'll need to get to your assigned location. For now, you may go home to mull over what you have done." With that, he calmly gestured to the door. Maka picked up her bag, still scowling deeply, and stormed out of the office with a flustered Spirit hot on her heels.
"This isn't like you, Maka," Spirit said once they were in his car. She glared out the passenger side window, arms crossed in front of her chest. "You don't normally act out like this."
"What would you know? You're too busy having play time with a bunch of skanks to know anything about who I am anymore," She snarled out without glancing at him. Spirit twitched and fought back tears. When had his little Maka learned such harsh words?
The rest of the evening was quiet, awkward and tense; more so than usual, Maka realized.
The next day, after school, she and Tsubaki headed to their community service location. They were surprised to find that it was an animal shelter. They opened the door and were greeted by a bubbly woman at the register. She had purple hair, golden eyes, a headband with purple cat ears on it, and an hourglass shape. Maka decided right then that she didn't like her. "Hello there! You two must be the girls from the academy, right?" She asked cheerfully. She then extended her hand to both girls. "I'm Blair and I'll be making sure you two do your jobs~!"
"What's with the cat ears?" Maka asked flatly as she took her hand back from the other woman's grasp. Blair blinked then grinned at her merrily.
"I like cats! They're, like, my favorite animal ever~!" She beamed then went back behind the counter. She put two large black bins with tons of cleaning supplies in them on the counter. "Now, you two will be helping me give the animals baths while two other employees clean out their kennels. This is going to take us at least two hours all together and I hope you both don't mind getting a little wet; the baby animals tend to get really frisky." She announced before leading them both back with her. Maka and Tsubaki exchanged looks, mutually deciding that they were in Hell.
The cats were the worst animals to clean for the duo. They were each actually given a pair of heavy-duty gardening gloves to wear so that they wouldn't get torn to pieces. The cats were so fussy and temperamental it took them a total of eighty minutes to get them all cleaned and dried off. Next were the dogs and Maka felt her heart sink immediately; that would mean lots of whining and yelping and the strong aroma of wet dog. "We'll be starting with the German Sheppard's that just came in yesterday. Be careful, though; the littlest one in the litter is really traumatized," Blair advised as she led them to the kennel they were kept in.
"Why is that puppy like that?" Maka asked curiously. She looked in to see a large mother with five rambunctious puppies playing at her feet. In the farthest corner from the others, sat one little black and brown ball of fluff. His little form was trembling and his tail was invisible from view.
"Their owner was a bad person who was trying to raise purebred champions. Since runts don't typically get that big and have health risks, the man decided to turn the poor little guy into a punching bag. His girlfriend found out and brought them all here, hoping to find them new owners," Blair explained sadly. She pulled a leash out from her apron pockets and hooked it around the mother dog's next by leaning over the fence. She then carefully opened the door and led her out; three puppies followed them mother eagerly. Blair slipped the leash around her wrist and picked the three pups up. "Can you two get the other three?" She asked, giggling at the wriggling masses in her arms.
Tsubaki went in next, picking up the last two playful pups. Maka swallowed and then carefully entered, kneeling a few feet from the smallest little pup. She extended her hand out slowly, letting the little guy sniff her fingers. He looked at her, large brown eyes filled with fear and distrust. Her own eyes softened on him. "I know how you feel, little guy. Don't be afraid; I won't hurt you," She said soothingly, not once letting her gaze falter from the small beast.
Blair and Tsubaki both gasped in surprise when the little pup walked right over to her and let the petite blonde pick him up. "That's incredible," Blair gushed excitedly as Maka exited the cage. The other blushed lightly and mumbled a small thank you. The purple haired woman then led them back to the grooming area and showed them how to properly wash the puppies. "We have to give these little guys temporary names. Since they're only six weeks old they still have a little more time with Mommy but we'd like to have ideas in mind to give their future owners."
"Can we call this little guy Benedict?" Maka asked as she toweled of the runt. The little guy actually tried to nip at Maka's fingers through the cloth playfully, awarding him a giggle from her. "I've been reading Much Ado About Nothing (1) and I like that character a lot." She explained without looking back over at the other two women.
"That sounds like a great name," Blair agreed cheerfully. She made sure to get out the paperwork and the pups were all named; Benedict, Kusanagi, Agi, Sebastian, Monica and Flint.
For the four months after her community service was done, Maka continued to go by and help out with the puppies. In specific, she would spend time playing with Benedict. The rest of his family had been adopted out but, because of the amount of time she spent with him, other people seemed to think that he was Maka. They just assumed he was being held here until the preparations were finished at her home. 'I'm being selfish,' She thought one day as she brushed his fur. He had gotten slightly bigger but was still small enough that she could carry him without too much difficulty. 'Papa can't afford the pet deposit right now and I don't have a job so it's not like I can take him home. Plus Mama is allergic to dogs so I know she wouldn't approve of me getting him. But…' She sighed again and cuddled with the warm ball of fluff. He responded by licking her cheek and burrowing into him even more.
Given that it was the holiday season (Christmas was only a week away now and she was on vacation) and tons of kids would want puppies, she knew it was only a matter of time before Benedict would be adopted out. It didn't soften the blow, however, when she showed up after her last day of classes to find he was gone. "I'm so sorry, Maka-Chan," Blair said sadly, her tone filled with so much sincerity it hurt. The two were now friends, thanks to their shared love of animals.
"I… It's okay, Blair," Maka said, forcing a smile on her lips. She had to swallow past a hard lump in her throat to continue on. "I wouldn't have been able to take him home anyway. It's better that he go some place where he can have a real family to take care of him." She said but the words tasted bitter in her mouth. Some selfish part of her didn't think it was fair, wanted to continue being a selfish little brat and hoard the young dog all to herself.
When Blair's arms wove around her, pressing her face into the other's shoulder, she felt the pained tears pricking at the back of her eyes even more. "You may say that but that doesn't mean you still can't be sad, Maka-Chan," Blair said gently, her tone softening so much more on the young blonde. Maka sniffled lightly, trying to force the tears away, but she couldn't hold it back anymore. She latched onto Blair and sobbed harder than she had in a long time. "Oh, Maka-Chan." Blair whispered over and over again, tightening her hold on the younger girl and stroking her hair affectionately.
They stayed like that for over an hour; not once did Blair complain or try to release Maka until she was finally all empty of tears.
The walk home was bleak and cold. Maka wondered if this was because of how she felt or the light snow beginning to fall around her. When she got home, she found her father stumbling about in front of their Christmas tree like an idiot. "Hey, Papa," She mumbled vacantly.
"Ah! M-Maka, Papa didn't expect you home so soon!" He yelped out with a nervous laugh, rubbing the back of his head. He blinked when Maka merely dropped her bag and fell face first on the couch. "Maka, what's wrong?" He asked worriedly, walking over and gently touching the top of his daughter's head.
"It's nothing, Papa. I'll be fine in a little while," She mumbled softly. She closed her eyes as more tears threatened to spill out. All she could think about was the black and brown pup with the warm chocolate eyes that had become her friend. She saw his tail swishing, mouth opened in an excited grin, and his little ears jolting to attention at the sight of her. Why did this have to be so hard?
"Would you like to open your big present from Papa? That might make you feel better," He suggested cheerfully. She sat up and looked at him curiously, then the large box he indicated with one hand.
It was a large square shaped bow that was tall enough to reach her father's hips. It seemed to be an about eight by eight perfect square. It was a green box with a red ribbon tied all around it to help secure the lid. "But, Papa, Christmas isn't for another week," She said softly. She got up and approached the box anyway, squatting down to better examine it.
"Papa says it's okay if you want to open this one present early; I just want you to feel better," He said merrily, kneeling beside her. His smile was large and proud though his eyes shimmered with nervousness and hope. "It took a lot of time for papa to figure out what you'd like most for Christmas and I want to make sure I got it right."
"Okay," Maka said slowly before tugging the bow apart. As soon as the ribbon yielded, the top popped open like a jack-in-the-box that had been cranked to its breaking point.
Maka gasped as a small head poked out, two very familiar brown pools looking around the new environment curiously.
"I heard you talking with Tsubaki on the phone a few days ago," Spirit confessed shyly. The little creature in the box shifted and toppled the box over, rolling out and landing on its butt. It quickly got up and rushed to Maka's lap, whining and wagging excitedly. "You mentioned the animal shelter, and how you were afraid of Benedict getting adopted out. Today I left work a little early, rushed over, and asked the clerk about any animals with that name. She said she could think of only one and seemed rather sad to hand him over to me; that was how I knew I had to have gotten the right dog."
Benedict looked up at Maka happily, tongue lolling out of his mouth sideways. There was a red collar around his little neck with golden tags glinting in the light from the Christmas tree. Maka felt tears fall again and she hugged Spirit as hard as she could. "Thank you, Papa! Thank you so much!" She sniffled happily. Spirit almost wept in joy (his daughter was thanking him!) but controlled himself; he instead hugged her back and kissed her forehead. Maka then picked Benedict up in her arms, holding him so that they were nose to nose. "You're gonna be so happy here with Papa and I, Benedict."
The young pooch responded by barking and licking her face.
(1) Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. I read this play in my Senior English class and it was my favorite of the plays we read. My favorite characters were Benedict and Beatrice, who are tricked into falling in love.
I had serious writer's block the last few days (I'm stuck on Chapter 17 of Sonata) and this idea popped in my head while I was coddling my fat fluff ball cat called Reina. Since I am the kind of person to take a lost little plot bunny home and tend to it, instead of just flattening it beneath the cruel wheels of my car, I decided to run with the idea and see where it got me. Turned out to be a Maka-centric story involving a German Sheppard. Who'd a thought it, huh? And I will still be updating in two days; I just wanted to post this a little early since I finished it.
Do you think I should keep going with this and turn it into a SoulxMaka fanfic? I actually have an idea that could work with this but I don't want to write it if no one really wants to see it. Tell me in your reviews; if I get lots of positives then I'll do it.