Soul Eater: VOID
Going home wasn't an option at this point.
He was an emotional wreck, and his Parents were highly suspicious of him over the missing spell book. They would be awake for another eight hours or so and there wasn't a chance in hell that he'd get out of an interrogation in the pitiful state he was in without cracking under the pressure. They would question him all day until the sun set and leave him to rot away in his seat; skin burning under the hot light of judgment hanging over his head. Then he would snap and let everything pour uncontrollably and he knew he wouldn't get out of a beating from his Father and an ashamed cold shoulder from his Mother.
They already hated him enough; why add fuel to the fire?
What on Earth had he gotten himself into, he wondered? Honestly, he should have done what any regular Witch Hunter would have done when he found Maka sitting by the waterfall all those weeks ago. He knew he should have killed her and he knew that his life had become a mess in less than an hour because of it, so why couldn't he find any reason to regret it all? Was it because he actually loved her? Was it too soon to say that? Was it too soon to even question it? Maybe that had been the reason why he crumbled into a pool of depressed muck when she left. Maybe that had been the reason why he had to be dragged out of the forest by Black*Star. Maybe that was why he was alone by Black*Star's dining table, sitting on his knees on a comfortable pillow.
In the end, Soul tried to pretend that it all didn't faze him as much as it actually had. He told himself that Maka was still sitting in her house down by the creek with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book opened up in her lap. He told himself that Maka hadn't left. He told himself that the cove hadn't been filled up with water up to the point where the mossy ground couldn't be seen anymore. He convinced himself that Maka would still be there when he returned with Soul Eater after he completed The Exam the next day.
However, just as his mind had been cleared of his distraught, it was clouded with doubt again while he bit down on the inside of his cheek in anticipation. He forgot for a moment that his teeth were sharp and swore he could taste copper even after cleaning himself up from the result of the fight. The question that remained irking his thoughts was 'how was he going to win Soul Eater'? Soul stared down at the small table with thoughtful eyes, stuck on a single point in the wood as if it would help resolve his conflict. How would he be able to win Soul Eater by killing a Witch at the end? He couldn't kill a Witch. He despised the thought of taking the life away from any Witch other than Mabaa herself. She was the only one he wanted to tear apart. He would mutilate her if he had the chance.
"Here you are, Soul."
As a sweet voice absorbed the quiet air around him, a small cup was placed down onto the table. A hot steam drifted from the dark liquid inside and filled his nostrils with a pleasant scent that relaxed his tired muscles. "…thanks." He normally didn't drink tea, but Tsubaki had been nice enough to brew something up while Black*Star took his turn in the shower. He still wasn't quite sure why the "Class C" Witch was even at the ninja's apartment during this time of day but hadn't paid mind to question it until then. "…what are you doing here anyway? You were cleaning earlier when we first got here…"
Tsubaki sat herself down on the pillow across the table from him and she too had a small cup of tea in one of her hands. She placed it on the flat surface and looked up at him with a peaceful gaze he knew was meant to soothe him. "Ah, well…he said I could stop by whenever I wanted." Her finger idly tapped against the surface of the cup and her lips curved in a tiny, almost unnoticeable, smile. "I came by this morning before he left for school and noticed everything was a mess. So I decided to clean while he was gone." She heard about what had happened back at the cove from Black*Star while Soul was showering earlier, so she understood why he looked gloomy before she came by with the warm beverages. "I'm sorry about Maka. She can be quite rash sometimes."
For a moment, Soul thought he could forget about what happened. When she brought it up, he felt his lips pull into another frown and he brought the tea cup to hide it.
"Don't worry about it too much; I'm sure she'll realize soon what she's done." Tsubaki held up one of her hands and waved it around to try and brush his sour look away. "Maka just needs time before she comes back. She can be very fierce and strong…but sometimes her fear can overcome her courage and she runs away thinking that it will help her." Her words were reassuring, but Soul still couldn't bring himself to smile completely. "With time, her determination and stubbornness will return and she'll come back ready to face Mabaa on no matter what!"
Soul couldn't even blink before her hand had reached across the table to place itself over his.
"She loves you. She will return soon. I promise."
He felt an embarrassed pang in his chest and turned his face away from her. "You don't know that."
"She told me herself."
He gripped the cup tightly and shook his head. "Then why did she leave—"
That was when he felt her hand smack against his shoulder and he jumped up to see that she was looking at him sternly. "She left to protect you. She cares about you." The scolding crease of her eyebrows lifted and she was relaxed again before he could even argue with her. "If she didn't care, do you think she would have done something so risky in the first place?"
"She's an idiot." Soul replied. "She's reckless and—"
"—in love with you. Why is that so hard for you to believe?"
He wanted to yell at the Witch sitting across from him but the second his lips parted to do so, they clamped shut again. Now her indigo eyes shined with amusement as she brought the tea cup to her lips. "You know…" She began talking again when she set the cup back on the table. Since he hadn't responded or spoken up after her last question, she went ahead and changed the subject. "She would always tell me about certain things you two did together. She told me that you play piano too, and about how you think you're such a cool guy...and she always tells me about your progress in combat and how proud she is of you." He had begun to tune the Witch out around the time she mentioned the piano, but when the word 'proud' was said, he found himself looking up at her with a silent wonder. "It's really sweet that she thinks so highly of you… there's no doubt in my mind that her feelings are genuine."
His finger twitched against the glass surface of the container in his hand and he knew his heart fluttered just the way it normally did when Maka would smile at him.
"I don't think she'd see you as being all that cool right now…" Tsubaki's shoulders shrugged slightly when he immediately became flustered by her comment. "Maybe you should turn that frown upside down and think of the positive things that will come from this."
Finally, the edges of his lips dared to tug upward. "Mabaa will get off of our ass..."
"That's a good start."
"Hey hey! What are you guys talking about?!" Black*Star had finally returned from showering and his chipper mood had returned. He'd been pretty gloomy for his friend on their way to his apartment, but now that he'd gotten cleaned up and in new clothes, he was back to his usual self. "Oh hey, do I get some tea? There is tea leftover for me too, right?"
Tsubaki smiled sweetly up at the boy and gestured to the kitchen. "I left the pot on the counter."
When the ninja padded out of the room and entered the kitchen area, the black haired Witch turned her attention back to the musician sitting across from her. "If you can't get your mind off of her leaving then maybe you should put your mind on a goal." He looked back at her and quirked an eyebrow curiously. "Here's something for you to think about: Maka wants to be a regular human girl…and now that you're bonded, that's a possibility." Her smile spread across her face when she noticed the realization glimmer in his red eyes. "Try thinking about what you can do about it. That and Soul Eater is just a day away from being yours."
Soul smiled bitterly. "Black*Star will definitely get it if I have to go up against him in the end. There's just no way."
Tsubaki eyed the kitchen area as the mentioned warrior whistled a tune while he walked back toward them. "Sorry for being absent for so long, that shower was exactly what I needed." Black*Star huffed out a short laugh and opened up the comic book he had tucked under the table so he could look through it over his tea. Beside him, Tsubaki let out a soft giggle and held her own cup to her lips. It was then when she whispered something over to Soul that would have him thinking nonstop until the next day.
"Don't just assume. You would be surprised of the outcome of things…"
He didn't stay at Black*Star's house forever. Soul had made his way back to his house when he was sure his Parents were dead asleep. They were sure to get their rest so that they could watch over The Exam that would be put on the next day. Even if they were suspicious of him, it was possible that if he woke them up on his way to his room, they would just go back to sleep and leave everything for the early morning conversations. He would have to set an alarm so he could wake up before them and get out the door before something happened. Even though Tsubaki had helped him considerably with just a simple pep talk, there was no way he would be able to lie his way out of such a close situation.
When he first entered his bedroom, everything was out of place and nothing had been where he left it. The blankets had been thrown off of his bed and were sprawled across the floor like someone was in a rush to see what was hiding underneath. He could tell that the bedframe had shifted as well, as if that person had tried to look underneath it or behind against the wall. Every drawer on his dresser and desk were slightly out of place, indicating that someone had gone through those as well and when he saw that his closet door was open and his clothes had been spread apart in a desperate search, he held back the urge to yell out in frustration.
His Parents really had suspected him. They had gone through his room in search of the book.
If only he knew that he wouldn't be alone in his room when he stepped through the threshold, then maybe he would have stayed at Black*Star's after all. His anger had disappeared and was replaced with terror when he noticed that something had begun to knock against the glass bedroom window hung above his bed. He jumped about three feet in the air and hesitantly looked toward it and spotted something out of the ordinary staring back at him with crystal blue eyes and curled brown hair hanging over its shoulders.
"…I'm on the second floor." Soul uttered out as he incomprehensibly stared at the woman behind the glass plane. Just how on Earth was she standing on the other side of it? He moved across the floor with uncertainty and crawled onto the bed when he realized she was there to get his attention and he reached up to slide the window open. It was then when he realized that the mysterious woman was sitting on something solid and frosty and was floating just a couple feet above the rose bushes below. His first instinct told him to slam the window shut, but he hadn't had the chance to do so when she thrusted her hand forward and held it out to him.
"Ciao. My name is Natalie."
"S-Soul…" He took her hand and it felt cold to the touch. "Are you—"
"A Witch? Si." The woman smiled and leaned onto the windowsill separating them and he sat down on his bed to listen to what she had to say. He was tired, but he was awake enough to talk for a little while. She didn't come off as a threat either since her cheerful attitude seemed to lift his spirits again after his thrashed room brought him down. She definitely wasn't there to hurt him. "I am an escaped Witch from your school." Her lips were plump and played off an amused chuckle when she saw his perplexed expression. "I am able to leave whenever I wish. They cannot keep an escape artist in their clutches forever."
"Is that why I haven't fought you in the arena then?" Soul questioned, eyeing her carefully. The outfit she wore wasn't revealing but the fabrics were thin and showed off just about every inch of her curvy chest as she leaned into his room. It was a silky white tunic, as if she had stepped out of ancient Roman times. He was surprised she didn't have a green laurel crown wrapped around her head, but instead had a small witch hat pinned into her curly locks. "You're not familiar at all…"
"I only go up against the more advanced students." Natalie leaned her chin into the palm of her hand and let her blue eyes travel around the room. Somewhere to his left, she stopped and stared at a single point and he was certain she had begun to examine one of his compositions pinned up to the wall. However, the second she spoke up again, he had a feeling that she was looking toward the room next door. "That is how I met your big brother."
"…Y-You know my Brother?"
Was that why she was there; why she had suddenly appeared to him this day of all days?
She nodded to him and smiled softly to herself. "He and I are lovers."
Natalie's expression shifted from being dazed to full of alarm and she reached out to slap one of her hands against his mouth. "Shh. You will wake your Parents." He stared at her in disbelief with wide crimson eyes and her sky blue hues narrowed apologetically. "My English is terrible. My mistake. When I mean that, I say I love him. We have not bonded or anything of such, but I care very much for him." When she was certain he wouldn't yell again, Natalie took her hand away from his mouth and leaned back. "He originally sent me here because he worries for you. He knows of your Witch partner in the woods."
Soul would have yelled again but the look she gave him the second he took in a sharp breath of air caused him to hold it back and sit still without another word. If his Brother knew about Maka, then why hadn't he done anything about it? Why hadn't Wes approached him about this or told his Parents? Or had he already told them now that suspicion about the book had been raised? No…the real question here was 'how'? How did he find out? How did Wes know about Maka?
"…How does he know?" He tried to whisper but his voice shook and came out a little stronger than he planned it to be. "When did he find out about her? How long has he known?"
"He saw you a few days ago." Natalie gestured over her shoulder to turn his attention to the forest behind her. "Said you were going to a party for a friend of yours." The second she said this he knew exactly what night she was talking about. "He saw you go into the forest so he followed and witnessed a cute little dancing lesson being put on between a human Boy and Witch."
"Why that little—" He growled in frustration and clenched his fists, about ready to storm into the other room and knock his Brother's teeth in. He was undoubtedly grateful that his Brother hadn't done anything in response to what he witnessed, but the fact that he followed him out there and saw what had happened between him and Maka raked on his very last nerve. "I'll kill him."
"Please do not." Natalie gave a sheepish smile and waved her hand. "He is important to me. Do not kill him until I am killed first." He was surprised to hear that and was rendered speechless for a short moment. It was then when she reached out and brushed her hand through his white hair. "You look a lot like him. It is funny." She was quick to change the subject, but he was sure it was because of how grim her last words had been.
"Why are you here…talking to me?"
"I told you already, did I not?" Natalie's head tilted to one side. "Your brother wished of me to speak to you."
Soul looked at his clock to find the time. "It's late."
She too looked at the clock and her cheeks were hinted with a light pink. "Oh! My mistake. I did not mean to keep you." As her icy eyes laid on him again, he saw that her smile hadn't faded but only grew to be more sincere. "If you ever need me for anything I will be glad to help you. Your Brother would like that." Sense when did he care? "For now I will let you sleep. I will return to my cell."
"Why go back?" He asked. "If you have the power to escape, why the hell would you want to return to that place all the time?"
Natalie was thoughtful for a brief moment, her eyes rolling up toward the sky to stare at the moon. It was almost as if staring up at the star lit sky reminded her since she had immediately looked back down at Soul again and held up a knowing finger. "That is easy." Her cheeks were flushed brightly, smile even brighter than before and it was then when Soul finally found out why his Brother day dreamed and hummed with admiration and love in his distant gaze all the time.
"I get to see Wes every day!"
In the morning, he felt as if his encounter with the Witch Natalie had been a dream. On top of that, everything was still a mess in his room, the window was cracked open and the sun had yet to peer out from behind the distant horizon. His vision was hazed and he sat up groggily, mumbling something about staying up too late being uncool. The Witch, if she actually existed, visited him during the late hours of the evening and kept him up for a little longer than he planned. Instead of allowing her to leave, he asked more questions about his Brother and how exactly she met him. She enlightened him with the story and he was sure he was being told a revised version of Romeo and Juliet.
Her presence had been confirmed when he took a glance out his window and spotted the thick layer of frost covering the grass and rose plants at the base of the house. That was where she had hovered over, so there was no doubt that her cold touch and frozen chair had been responsible for the ice that coated the edge of his window as well.
To even further guarantee the truth of her words, Soul had wandered over to his Brother's bedroom to question him before their Parents woke from their slumber.
He rapped on the bedroom door quietly but strong enough for the other white haired male to hear, and when the door opened, he ignored Wes's befuddled greeting and let himself in completely. He made sure he shut the door behind him and watched as the older of the two took a few steps back toward his bed.
"Explain Natalie to me."
"You heard me."
Soul stepped away from the door and stared down at his brother with an assertive glare. It was then when Wes smiled in defeat and leaned his hands back on the sheets below him. "Ah…she really did talk to you didn't she? I told her not to do it so soon." When he noticed Soul's brow twitch up in interest, he looked away to stare at the vase stuck on his dresser. There was a blue flower sitting inside, standing tall as if it had been freshly picked. "She's a Witch that I've grown quite infatuated with. She and I face each other in the arena sometimes."
"Is that why you're so respected? Does she let you win?"
Wes chuckled and shook his head. "No no, you've got it all wrong. That's not why I advanced." He looked up at him since Soul had become taller once he sat down on the edge of his mattress. "She fights fair and square. She specializes in ice too; quite troublesome indeed." His Brother didn't seem to be satisfied with this information so he continued on with his explaining. "…I noticed that you've become quite close to a Witch yourself. The "Class B" Mother and Father spied on in the woods awhile back, I assume?" Considering the fact that Soul's eyes had flickered toward the forest behind the window pane, he figured it was true. "…I heard explosions coming from that direction yesterday. I was worried; especially after hearing you ditched class just as they started up."
"…Maka was being attacked." Soul tiredly brushed his fingers through his hair and aimlessly paced in front of his brother. "It was a Kishin. I had to help her."
His Brother watched calmly and immediately questioned him. "How did you know she was in trouble?"
That was when his pacing came to a sudden stop and Soul knew he should have just left this alone. His brother was a good guy, yes, but he was never someone who got his hands dirty for the benefit of the black sheep in the family. He was the goodie-two-shoes that would stop at nothing to make sure their Parents liked him best. If he said something stupid, there was a chance Wes would just use it against him in the future. He always did.
"You're bonded. Aren't you?"
His shoulders tensed and he looked down at his feet, responding with nothing but silence and a nervous shudder.
Instead of being laughed or yelled at, Wes's voice seemed content and kind when he spoke up again. "I suppose it can't be helped. If she likes you enough to give up her bond, then it's justified." Soul looked over his shoulder at him, eyes now reflecting a hint of sadness instead of the cold glimmer he had before. White eyebrows knit together in concern as Wes's smile formed into a frown instead. "Little Brother? What happened? She wasn't hurt, was she?"
It was as if he could read him like a book.
"…No." Soul sighed under his breath and crossed to go sit by him on the edge of the bed. He then rested his arms on his legs to stare down at the dark colored carpeting below their feet. "She left. The kishin that attacked her had a good enough reason to scare her off." Sensing the melancholy in his brother's tone, the older of the two set his hand on his back to relieve the tension. They didn't spend very much time with each other, and when they did it always ended with bickering and toxic words sent back and forth. So when they came together in an agreement and both shared the same feelings, it was a rare and short moment. "I don't think I can stand being away from her for too long."
"I understand how you feel." Wes pat Soul's back a few times before glancing over to the clock. Any minute now and the sun would be lighting up the sky and waking up anyone left still snoozing: including their parents. "Try not to think about it and just hope for the best. For now, you should focus on The Exam. Father asked me to come along to observe it. We'll be right there if you wind up in a pinch."
"I feel so safe." Soul muttered sarcastically.
Wes grinned and threw his hand down on the younger boy's back one last time. "I have complete faith in you!"
That wasn't the first time Wes had ever said something like that to him. It was like a ritual to him when they were younger. Before either of them worked to fight against Witches, they both focused on their compositions and instruments. They would play for an audience in recitals normally ending in the older of the two being praised, but they always started with him wishing the younger one the best of luck and telling him that he had complete faith in him. However it never turned out in the end: Soul was eventually told he could no longer play for the people. He was told that he had to keep practicing and maybe one day he'd be allowed on stage again.
He was never allowed on stage again.
"…I'll do my best I guess."
"That's the spirit."
Wes was blind. That or just plain horrible.
Sorry for the somewhat fillerish chapter after waiting for so long but it actually has some key points that are brought up/useful later on in the story so yeah
I went through some tough personal issues so that's why this update took so long. I also went to Colorado for a good couple weeks to visit family. Also the weekend around my birthday was hectic. Didn't even see my computer at all.
I'm still having some issues but I should be able to update more often again. I love you guys. Thanks for being patient with me.