Maka Albarn opened the door to her professor's room. The muted thump of her soles brushing against the hard tiled floor echoed in the large empty room.
Suddenly, a loud 'click' was heard and Maka swiftly turned to see her professor sitting on the opposite side of the room, in his usual rolling chair. Professor Stein had his hand on the large screw bulging out of the side of his skull, turning it until another loud click sounded.
"Papa told me you called for me, professor?"
"Yes. About that…" Stein closed his eyes thoughtfully as Maka tilted her head curiously.
"I've noticed there are still some kinks in your and Soul's soul resonance. You were able to perform the move Genie Hunter in your last battle. However, the black blood in Soul is still trying to take over. What will you do if that happens?"
Maka's face went very pale. She gripped her hands into fists tightly. She tilted her head towards the floor.
"If that does happen…I'll do everything I can to bring him back! Even if I'm taken over, too."
Stein grinned. "Oh? How sweet."
What do you say…we experiment?"
His grin got wider with every word and his hand went back to turning the large screw.
"Huh?" Maka was intimidated by Stein's creepy suggestive expression and shuddered slightly.
"Oh, come now, I'm not that frightening…" Stein's grin subsided and he stood from his chair. "I think if you tried to resonate with my soul that a bit of my madness could help you resist Soul's black blood if it does ever boil down to that."
Maka looked up at Stein and considered the proposal. "Will…it effect Soul when we resonate?"
"No. My madness will increase your ability to resonate with Soul. Though it is a little risky, it may give you the ability to save Soul if the black blood does ever take over. You may be more immune to the black blood if it tries to take over you."
Maka nodded in determination. "Whatever the risk, I'll take it. If it boosts my chances or saving Soul if the black blood takes over, I'll do anything."
"Good…Now that that's settled…" Stein mounted his chair once more and sped down to the center of the classroom. Suddenly, an eraser rolled and got lodged in between Stein's wheel and the floor, causing him to fall violently face-first onto the linoleum tiles.
"Dammit…" Stein quickly got up and removed his lab coat. 'This will take a lot of concentration…In the process, I hope I don't get lost in my own madness...' He lightly placed his coat on the chair and offered Maka a hand.
Maka firmly took it, closing her eyes.
"Now," Stein said, closing his hand tightly around hers, "We need to resonate our souls…So take a deep breath. I'll let you start."
Maka nodded and they both said, "Let's go! Soul resonance!"
Their souls sparked and a strong wind blew about them. Sweat fell from Stein's chin. 'No…This isn't good…I'm giving her too much…I can feel it.'
Maka felt a warmness shroud her soul. 'Is…This the madness? I feel something…'
The warmness covered every point of her soul, covering her in it entirely.
Maka began to hear Stein's voice. 'Maka…Can you hear me?'
'Yes…Loud and clear.'
'Good. Listen to me, on the count of three, we'll break. I'm leaking too much madness into your soul!'
Maka began to respond but she felt another feeling overcome her.
'I…I love…what?' The feeling overtook her legs, then stomach, up to her chest, down her arms, and up to her neck, slowly submerging the last part, her mind.
'Maka! Listen to me! On the count of three!'
'I love…This voice…'
Maka opened her eyes in a dream-like state and saw Stein's soul and her soul becoming one.
'This…Is love? I can feel it…I love you, professor…'
Stein's eyes suddenly opened wide and the resonance violently broke, sending neon yellow and blue sparks everywhere.
"Ah!" Stein and Maka both were thrown to opposite sides of the room in the explosion.
"Maka…Are you alright?" Stein panted and slowly got up from the rubble and stared in Maka's direction.
Maka eased off of the now uneven floor and got up.
'Pretend nothing happened…' Both of them thought simultaneously.
"Oh yeah, I'm fine!" Maka said with a smile, brushing the dirt from her coat.
Stein stared at her. 'Is she really alright..? What she just thought…And my madness…What's going to happen?'
"Anyway, thanks for your help, professor! I'd better get home to Soul, it's my turn to cook tonight!" With a quick smile and wave, she quickly ran out of the classroom before he had the chance to say anything else.
Stein gritted his teeth in frustration. 'Did my madness make her think she was in love with me? No…It was just a thought.' He shook his head to clean his mind as Spirit ran into the room.
"I heard a loud commotion so I came right away! Wait…Where's Maka?"
Stein kept his head down.
"She's fine. The training didn't go as expected but she's alright. She went home."
With this, Stein walked past Spirit and made his way quickly down the hallway.
~Later, when Maka gets home...
"Maka! Where have you been? This crazy witch has been trying to feed me burnt fish for an hour!" Soul threw the fish in the trashcan while Blaire bounded after it.
"Oh, sorry! I got caught up at the academy." Maka quickly put on her apron and unwrapped the vegetables laid out for the meal.
'Why did I think that last thought…? It was so clear, yet it was sudden…'
Maka began to chop the carrots for the stew.
'Did I really think it? I felt it so strongly at the time…Is it because of the madness? Or do I really—'
Suddenly, the knife slipped and nicked the tip of Maka's index finger.
"Ah! Dammit!" Maka quickly popped the finger in her mouth and groaned noisily.
"Concentrate, you airhead! You're chopping carrots!" Soul exclaimed. He was watching the whole time. Maka nodded soundlessly and went back to cutting.
"Maka...You alright? You seem a bit out of it…Did something happen at the academy?"
Maka abruptly swallowed hard. Then, not a second off-beat, turned to Soul with a huge grin. "Oh, no! I'm fine! I'm just a bit tired is all…" She steadily went back to chopping the carrots as Soul watched her hard.
~Later that night…
"Night, Blaire! Night, Soul!" Maka closed her door and switched off her light.
She climbed into her bed and stared out at the sky, at the pulsing moon.
'I don't understand…The feeling before…It feels…Stronger somehow. The thought, in the beginning, was absurd…But laying here…In the dark of the night…Alone on my bed…I feel lonely…And I want to see him…'
Maka realized what she was thinking and shook her head from side to side hard to clear her thoughts.
'Just sleep…You'll feel better in the morning.'
~That same night, in Stein's laboratory…
'Why can't I stop thinking about that? She just slipped is all…She didn't mean to say it…And she was under the influence of the madness…'
Stein laid in his bed and stared up at the ceiling, dangling the cigarette from his lips. His hand was on the large screw on the side of his skull, resting from continuously turning it for hours.
"Stein? Is something bothering you?" Marie walked into the room with a beaker of water and gave it to him.
"Hm? Thanks. And no, nothing's wrong." Stein casually removed his cigarette and drank the cool water. The water did serve to be some help. Stein closed his eyes and felt the cool liquid flow from his throat to his chest, down to the middle of his stomach.
Satisfied by Stein's look of relaxation, Marie smiled and walked to the doorway. "Night," Marie said as she pulled the door closed behind her.
Stein sat the beaker on the stitched nightstand and lay back on his bed.
'If she really did mean it…How would I react? I've got to stop this…Sleep it off, Stein.'
Stein let his eyelids grow heavy and his mind slipped into the uncertain darkness.