Stein sat in his study, surrounded by darkness as he wrote into a scientific journal.

'Log one forty two,' he thought as he wrote, 'It's been one month since the Kishin was defeated by Maka Albarn and her partner Soul Eater. Shibusen's repairs have at last been completed, Shinigami-sama and the others have made full recoveries, and classes have resumed. Things are finally settling back into the norm, which means I can now focus on more important things…'

"Like Spirit-kuuuun..!"

The last part was proclaimed giddily, the background suddenly becoming bright and flowery. Stein snickered devilishly to himself in a cartoonish manner.

"K-shew!" Spirit sneezed, and then gave an unsettled shudder.

"Gesundheit." said Maka blandly, slupping at a purple smoothie-type drink.

Spirit looked paranoid around the café in which they were seated, then hunched and whispered, "Maka…that was no ordinary sneeze. I fear that someone may be plotting something for your papa..! Something evil…"

"Neh, Papa, who would want to plot something against you?" asked Maka.

Instantly, Spirit perked, going into Father Mode and sparkling as he thought, "Oh, Maka, trying to cheer your papa up with such supportive words! You do care after a-"

Maka continued, "Who would waste time for that on an idiot like you, anyway?" As her father started and then slumped into gloom, she sucked away at the last of the smoothie she was obviously in a hurry to finish.

"In any case, is Father-Daughter Time over yet? I'm done." She stood in preparation to leave.

Spirit looked up. "Ah! No!" he said, and stood also to grab her wrist heartily, "I declared this Father-Daughter DAY!" He clutched Maka to his side and pumped an eager fist in front if him. "A whole day for Papa and his little girl to bond! But if Maka wants to leave, then we're off, to the next family-related activity!"

Maka's eyebrow twitched in irritation, and her father twirled happily, dragging her after him as he raced down the street, leaving a waitress calling after him to pay his check.

"Boat racing!" declared Spirit as he and Maka were beside a stream, holding little strings attached to paper boats. He crouched eagerly by the water, but Maka stood detachedly off to the side.

"Badminton!" Spirit launched a birdie over the net cheerfully, dressed in a tennis outfit, and Maka just stood there in hers as the projectile bounced off her chest.

"Origami!" Spirit presented a paper fortune teller to Maka, who merely sat at the table, covered in paper objects her father had made, her own paper lying untouched before her.

"A refreshing evening walk!" Spirit attempted to lift his daughter up onto his shoulders, strained immensely, nearly straightened up and then collapsed heavily. Maka hopped off and landed gracefully next to him as he fell.

"Oi, Papa, I'm not six you know." She groused, glaring somewhere to the side.

Spirit looked up in surprise, ceasing to rub his head. Standing, he seemed to grasp the serious tone Maka was using and glanced to the side as well, placing a tentative hand on her shoulder.

"I…I know, Maka-kun." he told her, "I only wanted to bond with you, like I never got a chance to..!"

Maka looked into his eyes, shooting daggers. "Then don't you think you should have tried when I was six, rather than cheating on Mom and never coming home?"

Spirit flinched largely. He hated this to be brought up. "Noo, noo! I'm sorry, Maka-kun!" He moved to a pleading position, hands clasped in front. "I always loved you and mama the best! You must understand! But I don't know what girls your age like! Do you want to shop for skimpy underwear or something?"

Maka blanched, affronted and embarrassed at such a suggestion. "Ugh, Papa-san, you're impossible!" She turned and huffed away up the cobblestone street.

Spirit looked after her for a moment before coming to his senses and reaching out, yelling, "Ooooi! Maka-chan! Please don't go! Just give Papa another chance..!" But the only answer he received was the steady clack of Maka's shoes walking away. Spirit slumped sadly.

"Problems with Maka-chan again, huh?" A voice from the shadows cut in suddenly. Spirit jumped away several feet and looked tersely into the nearby alley. He relaxed, but only a bit, when Stein revealed himself and walked over with folded arms and a smirk.

Spirit crushed a fist through his bangs. "She'll never forgive me, and she'll never open up to her poor old Papa-san..." He pulled a pathetic puppy pose.

Stein gave a tilt of the head and a predatory smile. "Maybe if you showed her you can actually commit to a relationship. Bring in someone as an example?" He shifted to place a hand on his hip, subtly suggestive.

Spirit folded his own arms stubbornly. Nose in the air, he declared, "No, no, no! Never again! I've said it before and I'll continue to say it: I'll never love another woman other than my wife, no, ex-wife, as long as I live!"

"That's what I'm counting on, my little guinea pig." returned Stein, beaming. He moved close and slipped an arm over Spirit's shoulders. Taken off guard, Spirit seized up, drawing his arms protectively close and giving Stein a weird look.

"O-oi, what's the big idea?" he asked suspiciously. Anytime he'd seen Stein leering that way at him, it never ended well. He might be knocked unconscious and wake up with all of his limbs in all the wrong places! And with extras! He shivered to think about it.

Stein's glasses glinted mischievously as he brought his lips close to Spirit's ear. "See, I never said it had to be a woman. Haven't you ever been…curious?" Without warning, he nipped the ear he was so close to.

Spirit shivered again, this time from involuntary pleasure, turning bright red as he did so. "N-neh, you can't mean…"

"Of course." Stein replied, "You know I have loved you since you were mine. My death scythe, for my use only; my partner. I know you think I was insane, but I only operated on you so much because you fascinate me..!" He rubbed his face through Spirit's hair warmly.

Visibly disturbed, Spirit answered, "No…I had no idea…but that's…not much of a persuasive argument, is it?"

"Well, you were already married back then." Stein shrugged, "I couldn't tell you, so I settled for a different kind of intimacy." He mimed dragging a scalpel up Spirit's torso. Spirit shuddered from a mix of pleasurable tingles and horror of the implications.

Stein continued, "It seems I wasn't subtle enough, however, because I caused some problems with you and your wife. Sorry, sorry." Here he waved apologetically. "And then it seemed too awkward after the divorce. I didn't want to seem insensitive moving in so quickly. But then I didn't see you for a while, and the Kishin broke loose, and I never got the chance to tell you. But now, finally, things have settled down and I can tell you my true feelings..! I've always loved you, Spirit-kun; please accept my affections!"

He clutched Spirit tightly, a childish, cat-like smile on his face. Something about it seemed predatory, though.

Spirit blushed a softer, more touched sort of blush. He thought to himself, 'He couldn't really love me like that, could he? Not even my wife ever said such things. He could just be messing with me…but no, why would he do that now? And besides, he said he's loved me ever since…' Suddenly, a flood of memories rushed back to Spirit. He remembered dark, cold lab tables, blinding overhead lights and night after night of a looming, bespectacled figure holding a scalpel.

Letting out a haunted cry, Spirit broke free of Stein's hold and backpedaled several feet. Pointing to the memories that filled his background, he wailed, "That isn't love!" and then scurried away, the background following him and laughing evilly.

Stein chuckled, watching him go. "Ah well; it was to be expected the first time, but the seed has been planted." With a happy whistle, he meandered off back into the shadows.

...

The hour somewhat late, Spirit stumbled home with a heavy head, his soul floating out of his mouth to show his dead disbelief. As he practically fell through the front door, he found Maka seated in the main room with Soul Eater and Chrona. They had cards on a table in front of them, and were apparently teaching Chrona some games, as she was the only one holding most of her cards upside down or backwards.

Soul and Chrona looked up at the racket Spirit's arrival made, but Maka made sure to pointedly ignore her father.

Catching sight of Spirit's overwhelmed appearance, Chrona asked, "Are you alright, Albarn-san?"

Seeming not to hear her, Spirit called to his daughter, "M-Maakaaaa..! Papa-san needs to talk to you…pleeeease? He needs your help..!"

Burying her face behind her cards with a crossed vain appearing on her head, Maka inquired of the others, "Do you hear the sound of a wretched dog barking?"

Chrona and Soul exchanged a look, and then shrugged apologetically to Spirit.

Spirit sighed and made his way upstairs to his bedroom, figuring he'd have to sort out what to do on his own. He lay down on his bed and considered hard.

How could he get out of this situation? Had he ever managed to escape Stein before? Thoughts of the old days, waking up with mysterious sewn scars flashed turn by turn through his head. He couldn't remember an instance, and so kept mentally flipping through old memories; but then a couple flashes of what Stein had said that evening snuck in. Gradually, any thoughts of trying to run away or avoid Stein disappeared, and Spirit found himself remembering things like Stein's smile, Stein's friendly embrace, how compatible they'd been as scythe and meister, he himself accidentally glomping Stein in the nurse's office…and then the road tonight. The look in Stein's eyes, so intent and wanting, yet playful. The ghost of Stein's teeth on his ear. The nuzzle he'd given Spirit. Unable to help it, Spirit smiled minutely at the recollection. He found himself lost in thoughts of good moments, and in the love he'd been longing for since his wife left him. A love she'd never quite given him.

Spirit caught himself, eyes blinking wide. No…he couldn't actually be considering…

An anguished wail rang throughout the house. The kids downstairs looked up at the muffled cries coming through the ceiling. Soul Eater and Chrona looked at Maka.

"Oi, maybe you should see what's wrong with him." suggested Soul.

"Why? It's probably something stupid." Maka replied, playing a card, "He's probably just wailing about Mama-san and me again."

"…You shouldn't be so hard on your father." Chrona said meekly, "He really does love you. I wish my mother had loved me as much." She looked down, biting a knuckle shyly.

Maka looked to Chrona sadly, remembering Chrona's horrible witch of a mother, and then looked up to the ceiling and sighed. "Alright…" she relented, and set her cards down before standing. As she walked reluctantly up to her father's room, her friends looked after her, smiling almost proudly.

Maka entered her father's room to find him writhing in bed with a pillow over his face. This was nothing new, so she merely inquired, "Ok, papa, what's wrong?"

Spirit paused in his twisting to raise the pillow and see his visitor. "Maka..?" he asked in surprise, but then his face lifted excitedly. "Maka..!" He leapt from the bed, coming in for a hug as he ranted, "Oh, how joyous! My sweet little daughter has come to cheer up her papa in his darkest hour and-"

Maka blocked his flying leap with one hand and shoved him to a sitting position on the edge of his bed. "Don't get the wrong idea!" she said angrily, "Your noise is interrupting our card game. And I want to make sure you're not going to kill yourself over anything stupid. So…what's wrong?" She posed toughly, trying to look like she really didn't care.

Spirit smiled gratefully at his semi-snubbing daughter before sighing and admitting, "Oh, Maka-chan, this day has turned out nothing like I planned. I only wanted to bond with you, and yet now…"

Maka looked at him flatly. "Is that all this is about? Your Father-Daughter events never work, papa. Don't moan over something like that."

"No, no," pressed Spirit, "I'm always happy to spend any time with Maka-chan, even if she doesn't open up like Papa-san wishes."

Maka looked sideways, perhaps a slight flash of guilt crossing her face before she asked, "So what is it?"

"After you left, Maka-chan, Stein-kun approached me." Spirit told her.

Somewhat surprised, Maka echoed, "Stein-sensei?"

"Yes," confirmed Spirit, "And he said some…very strange things."

"Well, this is Stein-sensei…"

"No, not like usual. He started talking about how he was glad I'd never love any woman but Mama-san, and about back when I was his partner. He says I'm fascinating and kept talking about his true feelings. He said…he said he loves me."

A tinge of pink swept Maka's cheeks. "Really? Stein-sensei said that?" She never would have guessed he

"Yes!" answered Spirit again, "I don't know what to do about it. And the worst part is, I actually felt something when he told me! It's like the missing void in my heart was briefly filled by a sudden burst of unconditional love…what can I do, Maka? Papa-san doesn't want to fall in love with Stein!" He wrapped himself around her waist, sobbing again.

Maka looked at her begging, tear-leaking father, stunned. "Papa-san…and you have feelings for Stein-sensei?"

"Maybe." Spirit admitted, "But even if it wasn't a woman, Papa-san wouldn't want to replace Mama, especially if Maka-chan wasn't ready for it! What can I do, Maka?" He demanded desperately, enlarging with an action line background.

Maka coughed, shocked beads of sweat on her face. "Uh…"

Spirit curled into a moping position in the far corner of his bed, a cloud of gloom hanging over him. He mumbled, "Stein…Stein…why Stein..? What should I do? What should I do? Why do I feel this way?"

As Maka recovered from the shock of this information, sympathy crept into her features to replace it. She walked forward and placed an unsure, nearly reluctant hand on her father's shoulder.

"Um…" she started, "I-if you really do have feelings for Stein-sensei, then I guess you should do something about it. Go ahead; tell him you like him back. So long as it's not just another one of your cheating sprees, of course."

"Huh?" questioned Spirit, not expecting to hear that, "But even if I wanted to feel like this, wouldn't that be awkward for Maka-chan?"

"You're already the most awkward person I know, papa." she tried joking, "But y'know…I understand not wanting to admit those sort of feelings. I, uh…" She faltered, catching the curious stare Spirit was giving her, but looking away, she finished, "I didn't want to admit when I fell for Chrona. But eventually I just told her and am now very happy being with her."

Spirit's eyes opened wide with wonder. Clasping his hands, he spouted, "My special little girl is in love? Ah, Maka, Papa's so proud of you! Why didn't you tell me sooner? That's wonderful! My daughter is in love with a…girl?" He puzzled.

"I…think she's a girl." agreed Maka. The two pondered on this for a moment, thinking about Chrona and trying to discern a gender from appearance.

"Ah, it doesn't matter!" Spirit concluded, pulling Maka into a crushing hug, "My daughter is in love and that's all that matters! Spectacular!"

Maka growled, "Grrr, papaaa! Let go of me!"

"Ah, sorry, Maka-chan, I'm just so excited for you..!" He released her, but continued beaming.

Maka huffed. "I told you that for a reason, papa. Don't you see how it connects to your own situation?"

Spirit now smiled blankly, clearly not getting it and hoping for her to elaborate.

"Ugh, papa-san, you are impossible! I give up!" said Maka, and she left him alone to his confusion.

The next morning, Spirit woke up feeling much better. His talk with Maka hadn't actually helped him in any way, but it had distracted him from his troubles, and avoiding the issue always made him feel better. For the moment, anyway.

Humming to himself as he thought about his daughter and Chrona together, he prepared his morning soup and rice, and sat down to eat alone, since Maka no doubt would have been in a hurry to leave before he got up. She always was. However, as he munched on his food, a tented piece of paper in the table's center caught his attention. He picked it up and opened it inquisitively.

It read: 'Papa-san, I'm sooo sad that yesterday didn't go well for us! I feel really bad about leaving you all alone and everything. Why not come visit me at during homeroom class today? I know you aren't busy then, and this way we can spend at least a little time together as a happy pair! Love, Maka-chwan' A smattering of hearts adorned the message.

Spirit imagined a tearfully apologetic Maka writing this note, and sniffled.

"Oh, Maka-chan!" he burst, clutching the note to his chest, "Reaching out to your papa in such a heartfelt way! Of course I shall be there!"

In no time flat he had himself ready and out of the house, speeding towards Shibusen's doors.

"MAKAAAAA!"

All of Class Crescent Moon tensed in shock and was blown sideways at the sheer volume of the unexpected, excited shout that rang throughout the room, not to mention the hallways that Spirit was running through.

As he arrived at the right room and burst through the door, Spirit locked onto Maka's presence immediately and singled her out. "I'm here, Maka-chan!" he called to her, filled with fatherly love.

Completely frazzled and embarrassed, Maka stammered, "P-P-Papa-san..? W-what the heck are you doing here?"

Prancing up the aisles and barging his way between Maka and Soul Eater, Spirit answered, "I found your note, Maka-chan; so here I am, ready for some quality time with you during morning classtime!"

Maka looked confused and angry as her father pressed in too close for comfort. "What? What note? And why would I want to spend my class hours with you? I get more than enough of you outside of school!"

Spirit paused. "Huh? You didn't write..? Then who..?"

"A-hem!" a sudden voice interrupted. The class looked to the door to find the arrival of their teacher, Stein.

Spirit blanched. "Ga-ah..! Maka, your teacher for homeroom is-?"

"Quiet, please, everybody." Stein cut in, though Spirit was the only one speaking, "Ah, I see we have a special guest today. Hello, Death Scythe-sama." He sent Spirit a quick sultry look that gave the weapon shivers.

"Well, sadly, it seems that today we cannot dissect a rhinoceros as planned. It arrived a little early last night, and I, hee hee! Couldn't help myself…" His creepy titter sent chills rippling across the entire room.

"Instead," continued Stein, "Today we shall be focusing on…poetry!" He whipped out a small yellow booklet and held it aloft dramatically. Now the class was confused.

"Poetry?" called out Black Star, "What's that got to do with anything?"

"And didn't we already do poetry?" Soul whispered to Chrona.

"Um, no, that was just with me, I think." She fidgeted.

"Oh, yeah." recalled Soul, becoming depressed as he remembered that venture.

"By writing poetry, you'll learn to channel your emotions and therefore reach better synchronicity rates with your weapon or meister." Stein shrugged Black Star off as though he'd rehearsed answering that question, "Now, I want you all to listen to my example poem and then write one of your own, about something you really care for."

He opened the little yellow booklet to a certain page and cleared his throat, everyone in the room having no idea what to expect.

"My Favorite Experiment…" began Stein, glancing discreetly, yet directly to Spirit.

"You are my favorite experiment

I study you every day.

The way the sun glints off your face

And hair in a shimmering way.

Your eyes are of purest beauty

They turn me into a nut."

Spirit blinked in surprise. That was actually kind of…nice. He let his head rest on his hand as the tiniest of smiled started onto his lips.

"I want to dissect that pretty face

Cut! Cut! Cut!"

Spirit's face flash froze into a look of terrified disgust.

"Look inside your pretty brain

And see what makes it tick.

I want to rearrange your organs,

Digging deep inside you.

And sew us so we'll never part,

Come here my darling, quick!"

"Nooo-oooooooooo!" Spirit cried out suddenly, drawing the class's attention. Hurriedly, he darted from Maka's side and fled from the room as though Hell were at his heels.

As the class stared in awkward silence at where Spirit had been, Stein muffled a strong chuckle behind his book at Spirit's extreme reaction.

"Alright class, you have your example," Stein told his students, taking hold of himself as he too crossed to the door, "Take the rest of class to compose your own poem. I expect to see masterpieces by tomorrow. Ciao!" And he was gone, leaving every student with a sweat drop on their head and not an idea in their brains for a poem.

"Oi, Spirit-kun."

Spirit froze upon hearing the chipper voice and smelling the tell-tale cigarette smoke outside the toilet stall he was currently hiding in, knees pulled to his chin.

"Neh, Spirit-kun, you know I didn't mean all that stuff. I'd never sew us together…though it would be really interesting to see if two human organisms could survive that way…"

Spirit made a little disconcerted grumble as his brow furrowed in a creeped out manner.

"Ah, sorry, sorry." Stein apologized, "I know that stuff bothers you. But really, I only meant it in the most loving of ways." He took a drag audibly.

"Loving?" repeated Spirit, "You call that loving? T-that was a stalker killer's poem, is what it was! And what's worse, you used my Maka-chan to get me there..!"

Smiling, Stein leaned against the support between the stalls. "Ah, yes. Well, I knew you wouldn't come for me…really though, all I meant was that I want us to be together, souls entwined like the bodies I sew. I want to know you intimately, as though I am digging through your guts…oh, sorry again. It's just what I know, is all. I don't think I could put it differently. You are adorable when you get all twingey, though."

There was a brief silence, and then the door to the stall cracked open. "A-adorable?"

Stein turned his head to meet Spirit's peeking eyes and nodded. "Not that you aren't cute anyway, but when you're paranoid, or afraid of something, somehow I just want to hold you close and hug you so tightly your eyes burst. A part of me just wants to keep you in that state so I can fawn over you, like a psychotic nurse with a need to keep her patients sick." He clutched at the air eagerly, an evil shine on his glasses.

Spirit hung his head, trying to rid himself of those images. He knew Stein was trying, however, and heaved a sigh before emerging from the stall. "Just quit trying to compare yourself with things, alright? And please, no more poetry." he requested with a heavy slump.

Stein gave him a cheery grin and a peace sign, little flowers dancing around his face.

Spirit straightened and struck a thoughtful pose, one hand on his hip while the other went to his chin. "It's not like I don't like you," he started, "You're really the closest person to me, we've been friends for so long. And well, I hated to admit it, but the stuff you said yesterday really got to me. It seemed like you really meant it all, and somehow that l-l-looo…looo…feeling, seemed to fill the hole my wife left."

Stein sent the awkwardly-standing weapon the softest of smiles. "I was hoping it would. Our souls are 100% compatible you know."

"Yeah, I know," sweated Spirit, "We are the best weapon-meister team available."

"Mm-hmm." Stein put his cigarette to his lips again and waited for Spirit to say what he really wanted to.

Spirit continued to stand awkwardly in the stretching silence. He began to grow nervous and considered leaving, eyes darting to the door, but knew that would only make it even more awkward for next time.

"Would you like to take this discussion somewhere else?" Stein offered, "The bathroom probably isn't the best place for this, after all."

"Oh, uh…yes." concurred Spirit, and they exited into the hallway, Stein halting to discard his spent cigarette only.

They walked the halls silently, the tension on Spirit's side growing each second. He looked everywhere but at the man walking casually beside him. He knew Stein wanted him to speak, but he didn't want to have to do this!

Eventually though, he stopped walking and cracked. "…Alright!" he said, "Maka told me I should tell you how I feel. Well, it's true. Our souls are the most compatible I've ever seen, in more ways than fighting. I know my wife left me because I knew she didn't fill my heart right, and I couldn't fill it with the affairs I had, either. When you told me you lo-loved me, and looked at me with that unconditional stare, suddenly I felt like I had all the love I'd need, without making everyone I could like me."

"But..?" Stein asked knowingly.

"But…I still don't want to replace her." finished Spirit, "It feels like I'm confirming that I lied to her all those years, even if I do still love her in a way."

Stein turned and hugged Spirit, catching him off guard. "You didn't lie to her." he assured, "Like you said, she knew you knew she wasn't quite right. She was close, but not perfect. She probably hoped that was enough, but it wasn't. You're going to be miserable forever if you don't accept that you just made a tiny mistake. The perfect soul for you was there; you just sensed it in slightly the wrong place."

"You're…right." Spirit realized, "I guess in some way I knew that. But…the perfect soul for me…a guy? I've always been such a ladies' man..!" He broke from Stein and hunched tearfully in the corner of the hall.

Stein scoffed at him. "Now you worry about this?"

"Maka-chan and Mama-san's feelings come first!" burst Spirit, outline ridging defensively as he stood again.

"Hm," laughed Stein, "What a good father. So Maka-chan was ok with it, was she?"

"She surprised me by saying I should tell you I liked you, actually. She said it didn't matter so long as it was real. Such a smart girl." He beamed proudly. "Oh! Suddenly I understand! That's what she meant by mentioning Chrona..! It doesn't matter!"

He caught sight of the question mark popping out of Stein's head and lowered the arm he had raised in a 'victory of understanding' pump. "Uh…never mind…" he said sheepishly.

Stein closed his eyes in happy amusement. "So cute…so enthusiastic…you're practically a kid yourself."

"Oi, watch it..!" warned Spirit, folding his arms.

Stein moved to throw his arm over Spirit again. "But I like it..!"

Upon seeing Spirit's expression remain adamant, Stein smirked, "Alright, if you'd rather be mature about it, there is one thing we could do."

"Mm? What?"

Stein brought his mouth close to Spirit's ear, just like he had the first time, and said lowly, "Kiss."

Spirit made a very interesting face as it filled with red color in about a second flat. "K-k-k-k-k-k-k…"

"I'm not going to rush you into anything; it's barely been twelve hours, after all. But, it is a good way to check if you still have any doubts." Stein informed him while the arm around Spirit played with the weapon's hair, "Plus, I have been waiting about fifteen years for this opportunity, so I'd really rather, if you don't mind."

Spirit kept looking at him, still blown away by the suggestion; and now, saying that much with such an expression..! There was such logic in Stein's words. How could Spirit deny it?

"So, seal the deal?" asked Stein.

"S-sure…" Spirit heard himself answer.

That was all Stein needed. He leaned himself back against the wall and pulled Spirit towards him by the tie.

Cautiously, Spirit found himself following and leaning in towards Stein's mouth. A million thoughts rushed through his head, but mostly 'holy crap, I'm going to kiss Stein!'

At last, contact was made. It wasn't the best start to a kiss ever, but that probably had to do with the fact the Spirit merely stood there stiffly in disbelief. Stein, however, nudged it along by taking the back of Spirit's head and moving his lips against the ones on his.

Spirit responded to this eventually, his eyes moving closed as his own lips started to work with Stein's. He pressed into Stein, and Stein pulled Spirit to him. As this happened, an energy swelled between them; a sense of unity. Spirit's blush was born anew as he felt sparks and jitters fly over his body. He was practically melting. Stein visibly was enjoying it too, and he let out a contented sigh as the kiss went on. It was an intense feeling, and eventually Spirit pulled back from the sensory overload he was getting.

"Amazing…" Spirit awed quietly, "Such energy. It really feels like our souls are together. I think…I must love you."

"Then it was worth the wait." agreed Stein.

Spirit chuckled, but then looked wary. "But…this is so fast. How can it feel so right?"

"Idiot," mumbled Stein with a roll of his eyes, "If it's like that then clearly it's true love, right?"

"Mm…" Spirit had to acknowledge, "I just wish it wasn't with such a creepy sadist!" He clutched his head, twisting as more tears fled his eyes.

"Eh? I am not creepy!" was the argument. After his outburst, Stein folded his arms and leaned heavily against the wall, almost pouting.

Spirit looked back to him and their eyes met. He saw hard, impatient offense in Stein, but under it, a clear glow of adoration, as if he still found these extreme reactions cute on some level.

Spirit felt himself warming up to the notion of liking Stein this new way, just a little bit, and after a brief stare he couldn't help but come back, leaning in for more of those somehow alluring, grumpy lips.

"So I guess this is all sorted out, huh?" a voice cut in not seconds later.

Stein did nothing and kept the kiss up. Spirit jolted in shock, eyes bulging, and quickly removed himself from Stein, but it was all too late. He turned, mortified to find his daughter standing behind him.

"Maka? N-no, it's not what it looks like!" he flustered.

"Oi, Papa-san, you really are impossible…you admit you love Stein-sensei but you won't admit kissing him? How rude."

"Hear, hear." groused Stein, a crossed vein on his head.

"Ah! No, Maka-chan! I mean Papa still loves you and Mama-san the best!"

"Hmmm?" came from Stein.

"No, I'll still love Stein-kun best too, naturally!" Spirit assured.

"Which is it already?" demanded Maka.

Spirit looked agonizingly between the two of them. "Waaaah, I just have too much love to give!" he cried, and fled the scene, sobbing.

Maka sighed. "Treat him well, Stein-sensei. Hopefully he'll be too ashamed to cheat on you."

Stein gave a good-natured laugh. "So, Maka Albarn, why are you out here interrupting a very long-awaited cosset, anyway?"

Maka pulled a sheet of paper from her books. "I came to find you so I could turn in this poor excuse for a cover-up lesson and get some free period. I didn't expect you to turn him so easily. Sorry for interrupting, but I also had to know how he was doing."

Stein took her paper. "I'll forgive you the next time I get to kiss him."

Maka smiled in acceptance. "Yes, sensei. I understand."

As she walked off down the hall, Stein cast his eyes to her poem curiously. What could her 'something she cared about' be? A smirk found him as he read it, for he couldn't agree more.

It was called "Impossible Idiot-san".