Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater or the song Wonderwall by Oasis.

Authors Note: No, this is not Crow, better yet! It's Scarlett XD Going back, Crow made this for my birthday because I once insisted that he needed to make his own version of Gray Zones, since he'd inspired the idea in the first place. I got something better than that: I got a sequel! And he gave me permission to post it up, instead of me hoarding it to all to myself, because we care about our readers :P We hope you enjoy it!

Because I had to up the rating to M... ._.

Shades of Crimson
by. Lacrow


The convoy rumbled on. Like an unstoppable train it continued forward, not stopping for anyone or anything in its path. All the while, dirty faced children clamored along the edges of pitted streets to catch glimpses of the intimidating vehicles as they passed by. Their expressions were nonexistent, just as his was. Red eyes melted into the stares of black and brown, both sides watching the other as the distance between them quickly grew. It wasn't long before the ragtag group was far away and out of sight, though their broken spirits still burned holes into his psyche in ways unfathomable.

He threw his head to the left, catching Kilik's vacant stare to the floor beneath them as their Humvee shook from the less than solid road. His gun stood erect between his legs, forehead rested firmly against the shaft of the barrel. Metal dog tags flung about aimlessly in the jumble as he continued his absent thoughts, with Soul falling into a tired lull next to him. The sun didn't let up, though it's not like there was anywhere for it to go. Clouds were nonexistent in the desert, as was any form of relief or break from the stresses of a fucked up war that none of them had anything to do with.

"Kilik, the fuck are we doing here?" Soul heaved above the sounds of engines and shouting soldiers.

"Doing our job, I guess." Kilik sighed, looking up slightly from his uncomfortable position. "At least that's what they tell me."

Sharp teeth broke into a lidded-eyed grin. "Yeah, that's what I told her too. The only problem is I have no idea what the fuck that means."

Kilik shrugged, not saying anything more on the matter. It wasn't that he didn't care, only that he felt it best to let his buddy wallow in his thoughts before it was game time. That girl had fucked with his mind, though he could hardly say he blamed her. She was a sweet girl, something that was obvious even from the brief time that he had seen her. And for Soul, who had more than enough screwed up memories of the desert from when he was deployed previously, Maka was the kind of thing he needed. At least that's what he had told him on the plane ride over, anyway.

Maybe that was why Soul had been so out of it lately. Why he couldn't seem to wrap his head around all the basics Kid had taught him before his untimely passing, though that probably had more to do with the fact he hadn't had the opportunity to return the late soldier's ring back to his father. In the end, Kilik could only shake his head and bang his assault rifle against the car floor in thought. Soul had a lot of heavy shit to deal with, and he knew it. But if it was going to start affecting his performance on the front lines, then that was a problem that needed to be addressed. Now.

"Soul, you better make damn sure to keep it together." Kilik said tersely, staring at his friend dead in his eyes.

The red eyed soldier snorted, his brow upturned. "Since when have I been one to breakdown, Kilik? I'm no greenhorn."

Shaking his head, the black man narrowed his burning stare. "Kid let his guard down for a second. You've been out of it for months."

Before he could muster up the bitter 'fuck you' that mounted in the back of his throat, Soul quickly threw his head in the opposite direction at the sound of another soldier shouting something out his window. He couldn't make it out a word he was saying, but in the end he didn't have to. The driver of the Humvee slammed on his brakes as the one in front did the same, sending everyone inside lurching forward as the truck came to an abrupt halt. Both Soul and Kilik looked at each other, the latter instinctively reaching for his gun as the former leaned over to the driver.

"The fuck's going on out there!" Soul shouted, barely audible over the commotion happening right outside his window.

Before the driver could tell him anything, the small group of soldiers got their answer from a chilling call outside. "Sniper fire! Sniper fire!"

And that's when he finally heard it. The booming sound of a stray 50 cal bullet being fired somewhere from out in front, it thundered so loud around them that for a moment it felt as though their eardrums were about to shatter from the blast. Soul reeled immediately, turning to Kilik who had already grabbed both their weapons and was clamoring to open the door. He tossed him his assault rifle, the white haired soldier immediately hopping out of the truck along with the driver and passenger up front. Another gunshot echoed from a nearby building as they scrambled for cover with the other soldiers in the convoy, and another, and another. By the time Soul had found a wall to hide behind, five shots had already fired. There was more than one sniper.

"There's two in the three story! 10 o'clock! I need suppression fire!"

At his Captain's orders, Soul leaned his head around the corner as soldiers on the opposite side of the road opened fire. Bullet casings fell to the ground as they pulled their triggers, the air erupting in a sea of muzzle flashes and tracer rounds. Kilik was among them, following orders like the rest of them in an attempt to stave off at least two of the snipers. Soul sucked in air, knowing that there had to be more as the sound of another shot whizzed by him. Too close for comfort this time, he ducked behind the wall again, readying his rifle as he searched around for any kind of opening.

It didn't take long. About a foot away from his head, a chunk of brick was missing from the decrepit structure he leaned against. Not wasting any time he scrambled towards it, resting the barrel of his gun right on the edge and immediately looked down scope. A soldier somewhere close by screamed for him to get down, but it was already too late to hide. Not noticing him, one of the snipers shot recklessly from a two story window. With no suppressor or silencer of any kind, the bastard's weapon gave him away quickly. Soul's eyes narrowed as he took aim, realizing it would be a long shot.

Head lined up off to the side to account for the distance between them, he didn't hesitate for a second. There was too much riding on his trigger, so it wasn't a hard decision to make when he pulled it back with vigor. A few contained bursts of bullets, a quick look down his scope, and immediately his Company became just a little bit safer. Soul's stomach churned as he saw the enemy go down, but there was little time to dwell on it. He ducked back down, catching his breath before having to take aim again. The snipers were far too close, there had to be other targets somewhere-

"-Grenade! Everyone get the fuck out of there!"

Soul's head couldn't turn fast enough. By the time he looked to his side, there was already a harmless looking green capsule laying there innocently on the ground. His eyes widened, the other soldier's shouts for him to get away not registering with his mind as he stared at the thing. It was just like basic. Those dummy grenades the Training Instructors used to throw from time to time to fuck with the recruits. Only, this time it was real. This time, he only had a few seconds to react before it was too late. Before it ended for him the same way it ended for Kid. In pieces.

Throwing his gun to the ground, he made a break for it. He didn't even know how much time he had left before the dam thing went off, but it didn't matter anyway. Adrenaline pumped through every vein in his body as his mad dash for safety seemed just within his grasp. Eyes wide, he stared at the others as they motioned for him to hurry and get the fuck down. And for a moment, it looked as though he'd be able to follow through with their orders. He was so far from the grenade at that point, it didn't even seem like he was in any sort of real danger.

Then of course the dam thing went off, and the pain started shooting along his backside. That's when he fell to the ground, and passed out.

In all honesty, it didn't really come across as that much of a surprise. He was just a Corporal. He never was good at following orders.


"Well, Soul. I can honestly say, you're gonna get so much pussy when you tell her what happened."

Already shaking his head, the scarred soldier pulled the shirt back down over his shoulders to conceal the mass of tiny scars that sporadically dotted his back. Born from the shrapnel of the frag grenade that detonated right behind him, the little things were thankfully the only thing he had to remember the occasion with. That, and the other scars he had received, though there was no way he'd be pulling his pants down for Kilik. It was bad enough he'd gotten flack from the others for passing out so early in the game. It'd be another thing entirely to show him the scars on his ass.

"Lay off her. She isn't like that." Soul growled, tossing his head around to look for his BDU jacket.

Kilik laughed. "Why's that such a bad thing? You said you needed her anyway, right?"

"I didn't mean for that." the man grumbled, still searching for his clothes.

Finally finding it on top of some other guy's bunk, Soul snatched up the desert themed camo and fed his arms through it. A slight twinge of pain shot through his back, making him cringe slightly as he buttoned up the jacket. Kilik noticed, but didn't say anything as Soul finished his business and took his seat on the opposite end of his bunk. He tried to lie back, but quickly found out that it'd be much less painful for him to remain sitting straight. The man grumbled to himself as he shifted in place, Kilik raising his brow at the obvious discomfort his friend was suffering.

"It might not have been life threatening, but it was surgery, Soul." he cautioned the stubborn soldier.

"Really? I couldn't tell with the way they stuck a knife in my back and fished out lead." Soul snorted, waiving his buddy off.

Kilik could only shake his head and fall backwards onto the bed. "Say what you want. There's a reason why they're sending you home early."

After that, things fell silent between the two of them. Soul looked to the 'ceiling' of their tent, thinking about what exactly getting shipped back early meant. For one thing, he'd be far away from the shit hole he'd called home for the past four months. That was immediately a huge plus, though the deal was further sweetened by the prospect of getting to see Maka again after leaving her the way he did; suddenly and without warning, it was the last thing he wanted to do to her. The thought of getting to check up on her progress with a guitar however sent a noticeable smile snaking across his face.

Meanwhile, Kilik watched as his buddy slipped into his own thoughts, practically forgetting there was someone else still in the room. He sighed, shaking his head again as he knew exactly what Soul was thinking. Probably nothing but Maka, and not about any of the other things he should have been worrying about. Like the fact that he could hardly lay on his back without wincing in pain, or that with the injuries he sustained could very well land him a medical discharge. And where would that land him? On a street corner somewhere, begging for money? Soul had no higher education, no other job experience other than shooting another man in the fucking head. If he were to get the boot, then there'd be no place for him to go besides the gutter.

All the more reason why he couldn't fight back his glower at the scarred man's smile. "She better be worth it, Soul. Don't fuck things up with her."

Soul reeled back, wide eyed at how his friend could read him so easily. "There's nothing to fuck up. I'm too old for that shit, anyway."

"Too old? Soul, you're twenty-three, not fifty." Kilik frowned, saddened by the bitter snort from Soul at his comment.

He knew what the white haired fool was thinking; so what? For someone his age, Soul had seen things nobody should ever see in their lifetime, let alone at such a young age. He'd been cut along his chest, resulting in his first session of surgery and an untold amount of stitches. Kid died, in his arms, not even a full year ago. And now ten months later, here he was again. Beaten and battered in a new way, only this time he had an escape. It came in the form of a return trip home and the thought of meeting up with an old friend, though Kilik wondered if even that would be enough to bring him around. Soul was like the ring Kid had given him right before his death; rusty, worn out, and caked with his own blood.

The dark skinned man opened his mouth to say something, but the moment escaped him. Before he could say anything, two men walked into their tent unannounced. Both Kilik and Soul's heads shot up in preparation to ask them what the hell they were doing there, before one of the men called 'officer on deck.' As if on cue, a man appeared from behind the flap of their quarters, immediately forcing all four lower ranking soldiers to attention. Soul lagged behind the others, taking longer to straighten up for obvious reasons though unable to fight back a pained growl when he finally did.

The unknown officer raised a brow before waiving them all back to go at ease. "You with the bad back, I take it you're Evans?"

"Yessir." the soldier grunted in return, squirming uncomfortably as a tingling sensation ran up and down his spine.

Taking a deep breath, the officer removed the cap from his head. Hidden underneath was a matted mess of long red hair, far too long for an enlisted man to get away with. Soul cocked his head, watching the man try in vain to smooth his hair out into something presentable. Deciding it was a lost cause, he simply gave up and motioned for the two bunk mates to take a seat. They obediently followed through, the other two men at the door deciding to wait outside as it closed silently behind them. Soul flashed his friend a wary look, the latter acknowledging it with a concealed nod.

"I'm first Lieutenant Albarn." the man said sternly, watching the Corporal's eyes widen immediately. "And I believe you're the man making friendly with my daughter."

Kilik snorted. Hysterical laughter immediately followed, encouraged by the sudden loss of all the color from Soul's face. The fair haired soldier's jaw hung wide open as words tried desperately to make it through, but for some reason just couldn't. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Albarn just stood there like a statue. Arms crossed, he looked down on them knowingly, his expression being being somewhere near furious.

And it was at that point Soul realized just how far he'd deep he'd fallen into the thoroughly made trench he'd dug out for himself four months ago.

The funny part was, all he did was hug her. And if this is what awaited him after that, then he shuddered to think what the other things he had planned warranted.


"Maka called me for the first time in months, and all she could talk about was her amazing guitar teacher."

Again riding in the back of another vehicle, only this time thankful it was just a taxi cab, Soul stared out the window. Admittedly, it wasn't quite what he had expected when he hopped on the flight out of that hellhole of a war zone. There was no heartfelt exchange of words between him and Kilik before he left, nor anyone waiting to pick him up at the airport when he arrived. The world didn't seem to pause for even the slightest moment for him, especially not the desert that had stolen away so much of his life already.

"I've been asking around for you at every Company I've come across for the past three months."

It didn't bother him. At least, not as much as one would assume anyway. After watching the other soldiers around him walk off with family members and friends, Soul quickly found out just how much of a loner he'd become over the years. Being the last one to leave, there was no one to hitch a ride home with. In the end, he broke down and decided to shell out money for a cab, thus landing him in the back of a yellow taxi belonging to a driver that reminded him quite frankly of that sniper he'd shot back a few weeks ago. Needless to say, the ride was awkward from the start.

"Imagine my surprise when I found out you got blown up by a fucking grenade!"

All the more reason why the first place he could think of going was the one place he had thought of almost constantly for four months straight. It was almost pathetic how quickly he had told the driver her address, not even considering for a moment whether or not to return to his own house first. But, they were already nearly there and it made little sense to call the entire thing off this far into the game. So with his duffle bag next to him and Spirit Albarn's 'words of wisdom' to keep him company, the white haired soldier waited patiently as the seconds ticked by slowly.

"If you touch her, I'll fly back and personally chop your nuts off Evans."

How the hell would her father know exactly? Not that the thought crossed his mind, necessarily, but it's not like if something like that were to occur she'd be calling him to explain everything in detail. In fact, he was surprised Maka had even called him up in the first place. The most she'd ever gotten from him were a few letters and vice versa, so why did she suddenly find it necessary to go through the trouble of talking to him directly like that? Better yet, why didn't Maka call him? Granted he hadn't thought of calling her either, but still the thought irked him slightly.

"Last thing I need is her dating a funny looking Corporal."

Everything else aside, that last part was uncalled for. Since when the fuck was a long haired, red headed Lieutenant in the fucking army normal, anyway? Quite frankly, Maka's father had nothing to talk about, but still he held his tongue even as the bastard kept up with his empty threats. Kilik must have been impressed with him for keeping himself in check, because after all was said and done he went ahead and treated him to dinner in the mess hall. In all honesty, it was more for Maka than anyone else. Somehow, beating on her father didn't seem a good way into her graces...

"...This the place?" the driver asked slowly, looking around to find a street sign of some sort.

Soul looked up, taking a deep breath when he caught sight of her home. "Yeah, those apartments over there."

Again, things wound up less exciting than expected. The cab driver dropped him off in front of the steps leading up to the metal door of the complex, driving off the moment he'd received his payment. Soul watched him go for a moment, before turning around with duffle bag in tow. He didn't have a key, something he had failed to plan for as he approached the door apprehensively. The only thing around being a small intercom on the side of the gate, Soul had no choice but to press the button and wait for someone to answer. Thankfully, it didn't take long.

"Can I help you?" a gruff voice called out, probably belonging to a doorman.

"Uh, yeah." Soul squirmed, not knowing exactly what to say. "I'm here to see Maka Albarn."

A small pause left the soldier standing there for a moment, before the voice came back. "One moment please."

Soul nodded, but then quickly berated himself for doing so. It's not like someone could see him anyway. Or could they? Now that he thought about it, there were probably cameras watching him that very moment, capturing his every move. Quite frankly the thought sent a shiver down his spine. In the desert, if people saw you, chances were so could the enemy. Obviously the same thing didn't apply to a regular old city in America, but his instincts begged to differ. Suddenly, the thought of eyes on him sent him eyeing the area around him warily. The fuck were the bastards at-?

"-Oh my god!"

His head snapped back. So fast that he nearly broke his neck, it was her voice that brought him to her. That sweet, singer voice he'd last heard in the bar they'd first met in, it came as no surprise that four months later it still captured his full attention. At least until he caught her face, which in all honesty made him chuckle. Maka's expression was priceless as she stood there looking through the gate, hand over her mouth in pure shock. Soul smiled lazily, letting his duffle bag fall to the ground as the blonde wasted no time opening the door for him.

She stood there in the open doorway for a moment, still shaken by his sudden appearance. He could only shrug and continue to smile at her, the moment between them beyond the need for words. In the end, it didn't matter anyway. Maka practically threw herself on top of him, the force almost sending him falling backwards. Thankfully he kept his balance as she hung off him, only giving a tiny growl of pain as her arms tightened themselves around him. Soul didn't care though, he was too busy getting lost in the sweet smell of her hair as she pressed up against him.

"Miss me?" he sneered into her shoulder, already knowing the answer.

Maka nodded her head quickly. "I even called my dad to ask about you! You owe me!"

Soul laughed as he tightened his grip on her, the latter doing the same. They didn't let up, even as a few people walked by them on their way to their apartments and stared. They must have been quite the sight: a soldier in full dress, a girl hanging off of him for the first time in months. That fear of eyes watching him suddenly didn't make him cringe anymore, with the feeling being immediately dashed away as a new sensation took its place. Maka's hot breath and tears mixed into his shoulder, making his skin tingle at the strange mixture of hot, cold, and wet. And though it may have been strange to say, he honestly didn't want it to stop. For the first time since he'd last been back, he was feeling something other than booze and pain.

All good things must come to an end, or at least that's what Kid might have said if he were still around. Regretfully, it ended up being true. Maka released her hold on him and took a step back, a blissful smile masked by red, watery eyes. Soul's lips disappeared as he picked his bag back off the ground, knowing it was over sooner than he would have liked. For a moment, he stood there wondering just what exactly what was supposed to happen next. He hadn't planned ahead this far, the main plan simply being to see her when he got back. Thankfully, Maka was the smarter one of the two. She took his hand and tugged him to follow, which he obediently and eagerly did. The door closed behind them as they made their way up the stairs to her apartment.

"You never wrote. You never called. You're such an ignorant asshole!" Maka tried to scold him, but her smile proved otherwise.

Soul smiled behind her, staring at his hand in hers. "My handwriting sucks. You didn't give me your number. And I know."

"I told him to call me back!" she growled, obviously referring to her father. "Of course, he never did. The bastard."

"He found me. Said he'd been looking for me for months." Soul replied absently as they reached the door.

Maka shook her head. "And let me guess. The fool went and gave you a hard time? Am I right?"

The soldier shrugged and smiled, making his friend roll her eyes in disgust. She said not another word on the matter, instead letting her unlocked door open with a simple push. Soul raised a brow, wondering why she had left her door open and slightly ajar. It may have been a secure apartment, but no one could be that trusting to leave their home unattended like that. Or was Maka more naive than he thought she was?

He got his answer almost instantly. Following her into the small apartment, Soul's eyes happened to fall first and foremost on the distinct image of another man sitting on her couch. At the same time, the other guy looked up from a sheet of paper in his hands and raised a brow at the man in military dress standing there directly under the doorway. Immediately, Soul let his bag fall to the ground. His eyes narrowed considerably, first at the stranger, then at Maka. The blonde blinked, wondering why all of a sudden she was on the receiving end of such a threatening look.

"Who the fuck is that?" Soul asked bluntly, pointing to the other man as if he were going to beat his lights out.

Maka's face immediately turned bright scarlet. Out of embarrassment or anger, he couldn't tell. "Soul. This is Akane, my pianist?"

The dark haired man on the couch waved awkwardly at the soldier, to which the latter silently did the same. It was only two hours back in the real world, and already he was making an ass out of himself. Soul looked to Maka, who was still bright red. Thankfully she didn't have the heart to beat him with her textbook, or at the very least didn't have one handy. All the woman did was walk away and disappear behind a wall into what he assumed was her kitchen, leaving him alone with the man whom not even a few seconds ago had been on his to-kill list.

Needless to say, when Maka came back with a plate of food for him a few minutes later, it should have come as no surprise that he remained firmly in place.

Akane ignored him for the rest of his visit, only looking up from his musical sheet to give the white haired man the occasional bitter scowl.

-Candy Apple-

His perceptions about what and what not to expect were severely underdeveloped, as he quickly found out.

First of all, Maka gave into him so easily that for a moment Soul wondered if she was kidding when she agreed to play hooky from college for a day to be with him. Much to his surprise and delight, it turned out to be the exact opposite. The woman was completely serious, despite having told him four months ago that there would be no way she'd risk losing the chance of graduating early. Even more surprising still was the fact that she seemed to already have a place in mind for them to go, the local amusement park that neither had the opportunity to visit in the past.

Second, Soul expected to be able to adjust to civilian life again almost instantly. This too came as a shock however, when he realized very quickly on the bus ride over that such close quarters with people he'd never met before sent him breaking into a cold sweat. His eyes darted back and forth between the other passengers, watching them warily as Maka sat next to him, oblivious. He was grateful she was too caught up in her own stories of college life to notice him squirm from the presence of the others around him, his breath quick and shallow under their nonexistent stares.

Finally, the soldier thought he was good for a day of fun at the park. His surgery had been three or so weeks ago, and they told him if everything went along as planned then he'd be functioning normally by this time. Only problem was, he wasn't. And he didn't find out until he and Maka decided lightheartedly to work their way up towards the big rides by taking little ones first. They hopped aboard a little roller coaster the moment they'd spotted it, probably the tiniest one in the park. It seemed so harmless at the time, and it was only supposed to be a joke. Something to get the laughter going.

"Soul? Are you feeling okay now? Can I get you anything?"

Now, as Maka fussed over him at one of the benches across from the ride they'd gotten out from ten minutes ago, the last thing Soul wanted to do was laugh. His back was stiff beyond words, with any slightest movement causing a few spots to erupt in pain like needles through his skin. Part of him wanted to try lying down to get some relief, but the other part knew that if he tried to, it would probably end up being much worse. So instead, Soul simply bit his tongue through the pain and thanked god that Maka couldn't see the sting in his eyes due to the dark aviator shades he wore.

"I'm fine." he said tersely, taking a sharp breath in search of relief. "I just threw out my back, that's all."

Maka frowned, not at all convinced. "Soul, it was a kiddie ride. There's no way you could have."

"Well then I ate something, it's not settling right." the man growled back strenuously.

He knew that it was shitty excuse, but with his mind handling nothing but pain at the moment it was the best thing he could come up with. Not surprisingly though, Maka didn't buy any of it. She fell into place right next to him on the bench, looking him over as he tried to pass off his sitff position as casual. That didn't really work either, being that there was no way to make completely frozen seem nonchalant. If anything, he only ended up making himself look even more pathetic. A random park-goer came up to him, asking if he could move over so she could sit down. All he could was shake his head no, and watch through darkened shades as the lady stormed off, cussing under her breath about disrespectful kids. Needless to say, Maka had seen enough.

She grabbed hold of his shoulder, gently of course. "You know, you never told me why you got sent home early."

Soul again thanked that god she couldn't see his eyes, otherwise she would have noticed them open immediately. In his head, he stumbled upon the realization that out of all the time he'd had to work it all out, he still had no idea how to break it to Maka exactly what had happened. Should he just outright tell her that he almost got blown to fucking bits by a tiny little plastic shell? That probably wouldn't be the right way to approach it, though he was never one to sugar coat it. Either way Maka needed an answer, and the longer he held out on one, the longer he'd have to endure her persistent questions.

"I was injured." Soul muttered finally, hoping the woman would just leave it at that.

Unfortunately for him, Maka only tightened her grip. "How were you injured?"

He groaned, though only to himself. The last thing he wanted to do was tell her he had fricken surgery, especially considering just how much she had worried about him when he was over there. Maka called her deadbeat dad for Christ's sake, just to check up on him. And from what she had told him on the bus ride over, it didn't end there. She actually did try to send a letter or two, though she didn't have any other information on him other than his name. Not that it should have matter, considering there was only one guy named Soul in the whole fricken army, but that was the military for you.

In the end, he settled on keeping it simple. "Some stray shrapnel got lodged in my back."

"You were shot?" Maka immediately piped, her hand suddenly becoming painfully tight on his shoulder.

"No Mak- Agh, dam! Careful!" Soul growled, causing the girl to retreat back. "I didn't get shot! It was a grenade, alright?"

Admittedly, his confession didn't come out the way he wanted it to. That became immediately apparent when from the corner of his view, he caught Maka's usually bright green eyes become peppered with red and water. Soul moaned as he took off his shades, quickly feeling like even more of an ass than usual. The tiny drama unfolding before him took his attention off the pain in his back, allowing him to lean over the bench and put his face closer to Maka's. She didn't seem to care or notice, her stare off into space causing Soul to scratch his scalp out of ignorance.

"It wasn't bad, Maka." he tried to reassure her, not used to comforting others. "I passed out at the time, I didn't feel a thing."

Maka surprised him by putting her forehead to his, eyes still hung low. "That's not the point, Soul! You were hurt!"

The soldier shrugged. "I'm a grunt. It was only a matter of time before I got injured again, not that anyone-"

"-Don't you dare say it, Soul!" Maka growled, thoroughly hushing him. "I care if you get hurt or not!"

At first taken aback, the red eyed man fell into a smirk as he looked into the blonde girl's eyes. She stared back into his own, determined, as if convincing him she was going to save his life one day. Not that he had to wait for such a promise, Soul mused. He pulled away from her, convinced that this girl had already done more for him than anyone else had since Kid's passing. If anything, she'd already saved him.

"You're such an idiot." Soul grinned, throwing his head back to stare at the sky.

Maka scowled, quickly wiping away her tears. "That's because I've known you for too long!"

"Not long enough, apparently." the solider chimed, looking at something in the distance. "Come on, let's go."

"Where are we going?" she sniffed as her hand fell into his, following him absently as they left the bench to follow the crowds.

He didn't say anything to her. With nothing but a lazy smile, the once crippled man somehow found the energy to drag Maka along the edge of the concrete path. Passing by street vendors, kiosks, and the occasional ride entrance, they dodged other people as Soul led them to somewhere. The blonde had no idea where, though the thought of him being well enough to suddenly spring to his feet made her smile. Whatever it was, they must have been getting closer. She could tell from the way his smile started to grow that it couldn't have been far.

And, sure enough, about a second later they were already there. Although Maka thought he was kidding at first, Soul's raised brow told the woman that he was being deadly serious. All the more reason why she couldn't hold back the strange mix of expressions that spread across her face. Some kind of mix between amused, confused, and slightly surprised. Again, Soul didn't say anything.

"Seriously? A tough guy like you?" Maka teased, tossing him a playful look.

The soldier shrugged. "Say whatever you want. I'd take another grenade for a candy apple."

Maka shook her head and smiled. His humor was dark. He was a borderline asshole. But every man had a soft side, something she realized it when he bought them their apples.

Like a child, he showed off just how sharp his teeth were after taking a single bite. As a joke she did the same, and they held theirs together to compare: hers had a bite mark on it, his was half gone.


Wherever the bastard was, whether it be back in the middle of the fucking desert or living it up in the states somewhere, Soul had to find him. He had to find him and tell him the one thing he needed to hear.

"Kilik, you were right." Soul muttered to himself, eyes wide as Maka hovered half-naked over him on her couch.

She either didn't hear him say anything, or quite frankly didn't give a shit. Whatever the case was, her bra-covered chest pressed again his shirtless self as she let her mouth tease his for a moment before breaking away. Finding the perfect place to straddle his lap, the blonde smiled against Soul's lips as she kissed him again, the growing bulge in his pants telling her just what he wanted as it rubbed up against her. The soldier could only accept everything as it happened, too dumbstruck to fight back as his tongue slowly became acquainted with hers.

How in the flying fuck did this happen? For a moment, Soul's mind went completely blank save for the amazing feeling of Maka starting to grind herself on him as it registered in his head. Somehow though, he pulled it together just enough to remember the events that led up this woman taking her clothes off for him. Even then, he had to try with everything he had to keep his train of thought as he watched Maka with eager eyes, the blonde deciding to quite literally bear everything she had as her bra pulled a Houdini in front of him. Fuck, her breasts were bigger than he thought.

In retrospect, he probably should have seen it coming. The signs were there, staring him dead in the face when she asked him if he wanted to go to the pool with her. In any normal case, he'd have jumped at the chance. The only problem was he didn't know if he could or not, and even worse still was the fact that he had to say his little quandary out loud for Maka to hear. She was a smart girl, dam her, and immediately she knew what he was talking about. Quickly the sadness over his condition she had experienced at the park three days ago returned, only this time was different.

Because they were alone. In the privacy of her home, away from prying eyes that would otherwise convince him to immediately shoot down her request. Unfortunately for Soul, at the time, Maka was rather convincing when she had tears building up. So against his better judgment, he begrudgingly granted her wish, which was to see the scars on his back. And from the moment he had lifted the white shirt up over his head, Soul knew he had made a mistake. The entire room fell silent as Maka stood behind him, his eyes staring at the ceiling awkwardly as he waited for her to say something.

She never did. After a minute or two of waiting and still nothing, the scarred man threw a glance over his shoulder to see what was up with her. No sooner had he done that however did he feel Maka's arms wrap around his torso, her body suddenly crashing against his as hot breath tickled the nape of his neck. Needless to say he had no idea what was going on, although he didn't question it. Especially not after the way he felt her tears trickle down along his spine, the sensation causing him to shiver and become stiff again from the pain that went along with it.

Soul didn't care though, nor did he want the feeling to stop. The pain was worth it if it meant getting the chance to have Maka's arms around him, and he wouldn't be content with just that either. Her father's words still echoing in his head, the Corporal told his conscious to fuck off as he turned around and met Maka face to face. Their arms finding new places to wrap around, it didn't take long before they were keeping the other's lips company. And, though it still confused Soul as to exactly how, it didn't take long after that to find himself in his current predicament.

Not that he minded. "Holy shit, Maka-"

"-What?" she smiled before cutting him off with a kiss.

Maybe if he still had his mouth, Soul could have told her just how unbelievable she looked at the moment. Maka's panties were gone now, somehow, and it fucking killed him knowing that he couldn't see the rest of her as she continued to grind on and straddle him. Her hair hung loosely, flung about in some places that gave it that amazing, sex-crazed look that almost made him lose it completely. Best of all, the blonde beauty tilted his head back as she brought hers down to meet him, putting his face inches away from those perky breasts that surprised him so much.

Soul broke away, fed up with the teasing. He grabbed her ass hard, causing Maka to give an audible squeak. "Let's do this."

The woman came right back to him, kissing the base of his neck. "I don't think so, Soul. Aren't you still crippled?"

"Like I give a fuck." the soldier grinned, cursing Maka's playfulness as she bobbed her head back up.

She tried to give him some fake bullshit about letting her do all the work, because he might hurt himself if he tried anything. Soul knew it was just her trying to be hot and take the lead, and he appreciated the effort, but he was never one to bitch out of anything. Especially when he had her naked self on top of him, practically begging for the one thing they both knew they wanted from each other. It should have came as no surprise then when he stood up with her, although Soul could tell from the way she yelped and clamored for a grip on him that it clearly was a surprise to her.

The pain started sprouting in his back as expected, but between the rush of hormones and adrenaline coursing through him at the moment it barely even registered. The fact that Maka was light as a feather helped greatly, despite the fact she was being a handful by cursing at him in mild irritation. Soul bucked into her as he walked, grinning at her audible gasp of surprise at the sudden stimulation. Again telling him a few choice words, Maka's comments went unnoticed by Soul as he searched for the perfect place. Her bedroom was too far away, the floor was too cliché, which left only...

"...the table." the man sneered, coming upon the eating area in the small dining room.

Maka's eyes widened, not at all sure if she just heard right. "What about-?"

Soul hushed the woman the moment he put her on the table, which didn't much effort on his part. All he had to do was push her back on the bare piece of furniture and capture her left breast in his sharp toothed mouth, earning him another lust-filled gasp as she ran her fingers through his hair. Maka was a smart girl. She knew that at this point there would be no talking the eager solider out of whatever he had planned, so it was best to just go along with it. At least, that's what she told herself. In reality, as Soul switched breasts and suckled on it eagerly, she wanted it just as bad as he did.

"Do you have a condom?" Maka asked absently, thinking she already knew the answer to her own question.

"Nope." Soul replied casually, leaving her swollen teat for a moment to fiddle with his pants.

It took a moment for his comment to register. "Wait, what! What do you mean, no?"

"I don't have anything on me." he reaffirmed, revealing his bare self to her.

"Soul! We can't do it if you don't have a con-!"

That last part of Maka's sentence trailed off into a sex induced gasp, courtesy of Soul sliding himself smoothly inside her without warning. He chuckled deeply at just how quickly her protests disappeared the moment he leaned over and nibbled on her ear, the woman's sudden breaths filling his own as her legs spread wider to accept his continued strokes. Soul was all too eager to take her up on the invitation and after a few more gentle pumps to get her ready, he soon had Maka mewing his name as the table started to shake from his increasingly forceful thrusts.

"...Oh-!" she said breathlessly, tensing up when Soul gave her a sudden, hard shove. "God..."

The soldier shook his head, biting the pit of her neck with zeal. "No god, Maka. Just me."

Maka's back arched underneath him as she ran her hands desperately through his hair, and Soul knew right then and there that she was completely his for the taking. There would be no holding back; he was going to give Maka exactly what she wanted. And from the way her legs wrapped around his waist to keep him firmly placed inside her, he could say without a doubt that what she wanted was for him to fuck her goddamn brains out. Something he was all too willing to do and quite frankly, was doing as he gripped the woman's waist to give him even more leverage inside her.

She started to squeal as the table struggled to stay on its legs, though neither the blonde nor Soul gave a fuck as his strokes began to grow ever faster. She wanted desperately to dig her nails into his back as the pressure built up inside her, though she knew it wasn't going to happen. Instead she reached up and clutched the man's sweaty shoulders, begging between heavy pants for him to come back down to her. Soul obeyed, though not before giving a few choice shoves that sent Maka's mind reeling in pure ecstasy. The moment they were level with each other, she pounced. Her arms wrapped securely around his neck, the woman's moans and groans were muffled as their lips crashed together permanently.

And that's when Soul heard the first sign that Maka was getting close. She practically screamed into his mouth after a certain point, her body becoming tense as his own started to shake from the sheer force he was fucking her with. Both let up briefly, allowing their heads break away to suck in precious air though it only lasted a split second. They came right back to each other, neither wanting the moment of passion to dissipate for any amount of time. And soon enough, yet again, Soul could feel Maka heave another scream into his mouth, just as he heaved all he had into her.

He knew they were both reaching their peak, and fast. Him especially; the man hadn't accounted for just how tight Maka could hug him, both inside and out. So, fearing that there wouldn't be much time left anyway, Soul decided to go out with a bang. He propped his lover's legs up into the air and gave it his all, the latter responding by breaking her lip-lock with him and screaming out his name uncontrollably. The table rattled, and the sounds of their affair must have filled the entire apartment, but in the heat of their final moments together the pair just didn't care. It was all worth it in the end, as they soon found out when sweet release hit them at the same time. Soul shuddered, both him and Maka letting out a final gasp as he left the last of himself inside her.

Maka's legs fell. Soul slumped forward. Their hearts beating so fast their lungs just couldn't keep up, but still they found the strength to share one weak, heartfelt kiss. And in the end, two things happened.

The first was the feeling between them as they looked into each other's eyes. The realization of just how their relationship had changed in an instant, and how okay they were with all of it.

Second was the discovery they made right after. Maka picked herself up, resulting in the immediate collapse of her now-broken dining room table. Soul, meanwhile, just stood there and laughed.


"...I don't believe that anybody, feels the way I do about you now..."

She was beautiful. For once in his life, he was alright with saying that about someone while sober. Because before her, no woman was anything more to him than pretty, or at the very most hot, which was dam sure different than beautiful. Not a single woman could keep his attention with any of their fucked up conversation pieces about their social lives or hair, which only added to the impressiveness that was this blonde haired, green eyed singer up on stage. Not only was she smart, a wonderful singer, and a sweet girl when she wanted to be, Maka had much than that going for her as well. She was a deadly killer with a textbook when she was pissed, a goddamn amazing partner in bed and, thanks to him, not too bad with a guitar now either.

"...and all the roads we have to walk are winding, and all the lights that lead us there are blinding..."

So then, was it love that he was feeling right now as he continued to stare up at her with the rest of the crowding bar-goers? That feeling in the pit of his stomach that he got as she looked back at him while she sang, in a voice that made even his own sarcastic heart want to melt? Maybe, with probably sounding much nicer in his head. Life had fucked him over more ways than one in the short time he'd been on this earth, and to say that he outright loved Maka Albarn would just be another temptation for god, or karma, or whatever else was out there, to take away from him. All Soul could say was, without a doubt, he'd die for this girl. Over and over again in a heartbeat because, whether she knew it or not, Maka had been the one to put it all back into perspective.

"...there are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don't know how..."

Then again, maybe Maka did know. Maybe that was why she couldn't take his eyes off him the entire time she sang, or why she had specifically asked for him to come and listen to her play that night at the bar they'd first met in all those months ago. Perhaps this was the present he'd been promised in honor of his medical discharge from the Army, to celebrate not only the fact he'd being stay home, but the final promotion that went along with it. He was now a retired Sergeant of the U.S Army, and when Maka had heard the news that the military found him unfit for duty due to his injuries, Maka didn't know whether to break down and cry or jump for joy. Soul took it upon himself to explain it to her as such; I'm not going anywhere and they're paying me to do it, so be happy.

"...because maybe, you're gonna be the one that saves me, and after all..."

If only Kid could have been around to experience the same thing, the thought looming over Soul as he paid a quick glance to the late soldier's ring in his hand. He fiddled with the rust a bit, before taking a shot of his scotch to let the somber feelings float away on their own. He hadn't thought much about Kid lately, his attention focused mostly on keeping up with a doctorate bound girl and her neat freak ways of living. It took him swallowing all of his pride to accept the offer to move in with her last week, since he couldn't pay his own rent with government checks alone. And it took her completely denying him sex in order to get him to accept staying home for the moment, at least until the civilian doctors could give him the okay to search for another job. Preferably, one with less killing involved.

"...You're my Wonderwall..."

Maybe it really was time to let his buddy go. Or, at the very least, accept that it really wasn't his fault that he died the way he did. If his own injuries has taught him anything, it was just how suddenly one's life could change. In an instant, you could be alive one second and dead the next, and no one will give two fucks if you're one or the other. Except, after finding Maka, Soul knew there was an exception to that little guideline to life. The world might not care if you make it or not, but there will always be at least one person out there who cares if you make it back. Thankfully, he found that out before it was already too late. And now that he knew, the thought of being that same person for Kid gave Soul hope that somewhere, his friend was looking out for him as well.

"Alright Kid, you win." the once-soldier choked, taking one last shot of his scotch. "I'll mail it to your dad first thing Monday."

Soldiers don't cry. He had said that once before. And though he still believed it, Soul knew it was something he didn't have to worry about anymore. Both he and Kid were free from the pain that had gripped them for varying amounts of time. For him, it was four long years. For Kid, it was a brutal split second. And though he wished that his friend could have found the same escape he did, Soul knew that Kid would have been happy for him no matter what. He was a nice guy, far nicer than anything Soul could ever hope to be, and he knew the late soldier would have approved of his angel in disguise as she made her way off the stage amidst an unanimous round of applause. Soul was the only one not clapping, but for some reason, Maka already knew why.

"You were great." he cleared his throat, looking away to hide his face.

She smiled, wrapping her arms around him from behind. "I've got great inspiration."

"I try." Soul replied absently, causing his girlfriend to laugh. He ended up cracking a smile too.

Maka released her embrace and took up the seat in front of him, their bodies facing each other as the bar around them continued about its regular business. The bartender asked them for any drinks to which the young singer immediately declined and, after giving him some obvious looks of disapproval, convinced her boyfriend to pass as well. Maka never had much of a taste for alcohol in the first place, but lately she seemed to avoid it outright for some reason. Whatever it was, Soul didn't find it important. Instead he let his eyes fall to the empty glass of whiskey, the fleeting thoughts of his comrade hanging on for one last time before disappearing for good. Maka frowned at his absent expression, and reached out to grab the back of his head.

"You sure you're all right?" Maka asked gently, green eyes soft as he looked up at her.

After a moment or two of thinking, Soul shook himself out of it. "Never better."

"Soul, you can tell me." she continued to pry. "I promise, I'll listen to-"

Soul cut her off before she could finish, grinning against her lips as she turned bright pink at the touch of his kiss. Maka was flustered, he could tell, but not above kissing him back. It ended sooner than both would have liked, but a bar was no place to get intimate in. To compensate, Soul reached for his woman's hand and together they sat. Silently at first, then eventually falling into conversations about guitar tricks and what song Maka should sing next time she performed. All the while, Soul staring at his girlfriend with a smile on his face.

Because she wasn't like all the other women. She wasn't a ditz looking for love from the wrong guy. Maka was special, and he knew it from the song she'd picked that night. He realized after thinking about it for a while that she hadn't made sung it about him, but rather for him. It was his song that she was singing, if only because he couldn't sing a song to save his life. Maka was his wall; the one thing he could always count on to be there for him no matter what, and to keep him grounded during the times when life just keeps on knocking him down. She was stronger than he ever was or ever could be, and Soul knew it from the way she'd put up with him so far that whatever fate had in store for him, Maka would be there with him every step of the way.

"You know," he said suddenly, interrupting his girlfriend mid-sentence. "I forgot to buy you a rose."

Maka blinked at first, then immediately smiled. "I don't need any flowers, Soul. I've got you."

The once-soldier snorted before cracking into a grin. "In that case, I'm gonna get you a dozen roses on our way back home."

Maka's face turned bright red, and it was at that moment when Soul told himself fuck it. He didn't care about God or the Fates, or Karma or whatever else there was.

He loved Maka Albarn. More than anything he'd ever had before. And if anything tried to take her from him, well then he'd fight for her faithfully until he bled all the different shades of crimson.