Soul and Maka. Anyone who can't see it coming is blind or emotionally stunted.
I'm still not certain if this little strange story makes sense, but I hope you like it anyway. Soul Eater belongs to Ohkubo, not me.
The music scared her at first.
It tickled over her spine and sunk needle notes into her skin, the melody strangling her lungs until she could barely breathe. And there was something about the way he played; the hunch of his back, the tension in his shoulders, the fingers spidering up and down the keys at dizzying speed. She couldn't see his face, only the shock of white hair on his bent head and the strangely delicate stretch of skin travelling from the back of his neck and down into the collar of his suit.
He played like he was possessed, and she felt like he was baring himself completely, like his soul was standing naked in front of her.
"This is what I'm like," he told her.
Trying to warn her off? What was it?
But her hand reached out without her permission anyway.
He was so laid-back that sometimes she thought the word catatonic would be a more apt description.
She watched him out of the corner of her eye as she pretended to read—for whose benefit she was pretending for, she didn't know, considering they were alone. Maybe she was trying to trick herself.
He was sprawled on the couch, his feet hanging over one edge, shoes still on (how many times had she told him not to do that?). His headband had slipped down over his eyes, but she knew he was asleep by the rise and fall of his chest, and the slight movement of his mouth as he breathed.
Her eyes caught on that movement, as they often did. She had a strange fascination with his mouth—why had he named himself Eater? Why was he always drooling? What was up with those teeth?—and she found herself looking at him when he didn't know. Like when he was unconscious. His lips, relaxed in sleep, not stretched taut in some sort of slasher smirk like they usually were, parted slightly with each breath, and she could see the glint of teeth underneath.
Did he like to sing? He loved music, she knew that. But there were so many things she didn't know.
Maybe that was why she watched his mouth. Because someday he'd open up, and really trust her with himself.
He could be so stupid.
"You tried to cheat on the test? I thought you were holed up in your room because you were studying, not creating cheat sheets to hide all over your body!"
"We can't all be Miss. One-Hundred-Points. Besides, I still passed, so suck on that!"
Right from the start, they were an equal team. They both cooked the meals at their house, and each battle was fought as partners. They were in balance, which was how a Weapon and Meister should be.
Equal share, equal blame, equal credit. They both had their goals, and the other person was the perfect medium to help them work towards it. Their partnership has always worked that way. But if she went down, Soul shouldn't stop for her. If one side of the balance was broken, he should just hop away. Contract done. He didn't need to hurt himself. Not for her. Or for anyone.
Maybe she just didn't want him hurt.
The nurse's office was filled with light, splashing against the curtain surrounding his bed. She sat very still upon the stool next to the bedside, staring at her own hands. She'd been there all day with him. Earlier, she'd brought in some music for him to listen to and had gotten lectured on her awful tastes. They'd eaten lunch and talked for a very long time. She'd reminded him to take the medicine the nurses had left for him, and then he had slowly drifted off to sleep.
She liked that he felt comfortable enough in her presence to simply fall asleep like that. His eyelashes fluttered against his cheeks, and he frowned slightly, as though he was trying to figure out a math problem while unconscious. Her gaze flickered to his mouth, and then away again.
Her hands twisted together in her lap, and then reached up, slowly towards him, easing the blanket down. She hesitated when her fingers touched the edge of his shirt, but then she slipped her palm underneath.
For a split second, she forgot her purpose. His warm skin felt strange against her own, his muscles tensing and retracting automatically at her gentle touch. She froze, her eyes shooting to his face, but he was still deep asleep. She flattened her palm down on his stomach, testing it, but when he did nothing more than give a slight shudder, his breath hitching once, she moved her hand up his chest.
The scar was even larger than she had thought. It felt like a huge pitted ridge on his body, a mottled sort of wall dividing his flesh. She bit her lip, delicately touching a stitch. When she had seen all of that blood, she had somehow not believed it, even when she was cradling him and he was still—still!—telling her to run, to leave him. It had felt like a dream. But now it felt very, very real.
She carefully pulled her hand away from him, rearranging his blanket around his sleeping form once more.
"Never again," she whispered, gritting her teeth and clenching her eyes shut against the threatening tears. "Never again."
She liked the Black Dress.
She liked how it felt on her, the smooth swish of it and the thin straps of the black high heels winding around her ankles. The room itself was strange, not so much in what was in it as in the fact that she could never see the edges quite clearly. It was as if there was something beyond the room, but she could never see it.
And he would be there, wearing that same suit—she liked it on him—and then they would dance in his soul, gliding to the sound of cheap jazz, her hand held in his.
Sometimes she wondered about it all. They were in his soul, so was this how he saw her? The same girl with small breasts and pigtails, just wearing a beautiful dress. But then again, maybe she was just fooling herself. After all, he would never have chosen to play that jazz if he was truly in control here. Maybe it was the demon, that little red being that watched from the corners. But why would he put Maka in this dress?
Maybe it was better not to ask some questions. Maybe she should just focus on the steps and the sway of his body near hers.
"But Papa loves you!"
She rolled her eyes, turning away from the red-headed man prostrating himself on the floor. If he was going to be late coming to see her because he had women hanging off of his arm, she wasn't going to forgive him. A bitterness swelled in her chest, and she narrowed her eyes at him in disgust before turning away.
"Sorry, but I have plans with—"
"With that stupid scythe kid?" her father asked indignantly, peeling his face off the linoleum to glare accusingly at her. "That little bastard, daring to get near my daughter..."
"He's my weapon," she replied coldly. "And I trust him."
It was only when she was walking away that her last words registered.
It was strange to realize that she meant them.
What if they were right?
"A failure of a meister. Not good enough for him, not talented enough. Others would be far better, far more compatible with him."
Hadn't they chosen each other just on a whim? He had known nothing about her when he agreed to be her partner. Even now, she didn't understand his music, that huge part of him, even though she tried to so hard. He didn't really need her. Why would he need a meister who could barely do anything on her own? He was always having to cover her, protect her.
He always had to take the lead.
How could she really deserve all that he gave her?
The truth was, she didn't.
Maka peeled her eyes open, staring blankly at the ceiling through fuzzy, sleep-filled eyes. Her head pounded, and her throat felt like it had been coated with sandpaper. This was the second day she'd been sick, and she couldn't even work up the effort to get out of bed to shuffle to the kitchen and make herself some soup.
Soup...that would be nice right about now. She could almost smell it now: potatoes and spices and warmth...
Wait a second. She was smelling it.
She turned her head—why did that simple motion feel like trying to push the Earth's rotation in the opposite direction?—and saw him standing there in the doorway.
He walked to her bedside and set the bowl of soup down on the dresser next to her head.
"I made you soup. Drink it."
"Don't you mean eat it?" Maka said groggily. "Soup is a food, and it's not a complete liquid anyway..."
She pushed herself up onto her elbows, raising her head so he could grab the pillow and rearrange it into some sort of backrest. Scooching slowly backwards, she shifted into a sitting position, resting against the pillow and resting for a second.
"I thought Shinigami-sama sent you out on a mission with some of the other Death Scythes," she said.
"It was just so I could learn from observing them," he muttered. "Wasn't important, so they let me come back early."
"Why did you need to come back early?"
"Doesn't matter. Just have some of the damn soup!"
She turned her head to look at the bowl, but somehow couldn't lift her hands to reach for it. He rolled his eyes, curling his lip in exasperation, and plopped down on the bed, picking up the bowl. He filled the spoon and carefully brought it to her mouth. She stared at him.
"I've done this before, okay?' he said quietly. "And you have to be pretty sick if you're moving like a centuries old grandma."
She opened her mouth and allowed him to push the spoon in, swallowing the soup.
"Geez, you didn't even hit me for saying that," he said quietly, bending down to scan her face. He raised his hand and pressed it to her forehead. "Tsubaki said on the phone that you were in bad shape, but not this much..."
She closed her eyes, concentrating on the sensation of his hand against her skin, the way his thumb was absentmindedly stroking over her bangs. When he started to pull it away, she let out a small sound of protest, and he froze.
"Don't take it away," she murmured. "It feels cold..."
He didn't say anything else, just slid his hand down to her cheek and held it there.
Even through the haze in her mind, she could still register the tiny tremor that went through his arms.
Power exploded through her arms, her soul wavelength rocketing outwards and mingling with his. She gripped him tightly, raising him up over her head and spinning him around, whistling through the night air. She could feel his power blending with hers, and his scythe form shuddered, bursting outwards into a huge, glowing curve.
"Witch Hunter!" she cried.
"Let's go!" He said, his voice thrumming with anticipation.
They plunged forward together, leaping high into the air.
The creature they were facing never stood a chance. With one swing of the scythe, she split right through it.
"Your soul is mine!"
With a burst of blackness, the body dissolved, leaving behind a glowing red Kishin egg, hovering in midair. She loosened her fingers, white light shooting from her palms as he changed back, stepping lightly onto the pavement and casually sauntering forward.
He glanced over his shoulder at her, grinning as he plucked the soul out of midair and raised it above his head.
Something had changed.
How else could this be explained?
She stood in the doorway to the kitchen, her hand resting on the doorframe, and she stared.
He was standing in front of the open refrigerator, a glass of milk in his hand. He was shirtless, a pair of grey cotton pants hanging precariously from his hips, as though they could slip down any second. He raised the glass, chugging it back, and she couldn't help but watch the movement of his throat as he swallowed. A droplet of condensation on the bottom of the glass dripped off, landing on his collarbone and streaking down his bare chest, sliding over the scar. Her eyes followed it, watching it run over the subtle lines of the muscles in his stomach before it vanished, absorbed into his skin. Her mouth grew dry as she realized there was a faint line of hair trailing down from his navel and disappearing into the waistband of his pants.
Before her mind could dwell on that train of thought any longer, she glanced up to see him set down the now empty glass, his tongue running over his lips. She could barely peel her eyes away from his mouth. Would those shark teeth hurt if he were to-
She had not given herself permission to think thoughts like that, so they had to get out.
She must have shifted, or done something to announce her presence, because he suddenly looked over. For a second, he just stared at her, and she returned the gaze, her face blank. The air hummed like an electrical current was passing between them.
"Hey," he said quietly, gesturing towards the glass. "You thirsty too?"
She smiled slightly and shook her head.
The music didn't scare her anymore.
Though it never really had.
When he played, he was someone very different than he always seemed. At first, she had felt as though it distanced her from him. After all, she didn't understand music.
But she didn't really need to understand music itself. She just needed to understand him.
It was strange really. He didn't like to play in public, but he'd play for her. In his head, in the Black Room, he'd play the piano for her.
"Listen to Maka's melody."
He'd said that once. Even though he was the one playing, he still called it her song.
It wasn't monumental when it happened.
But maybe that's what made it right.
His hand clamped around her wrist and spun her around to face him. She raised an eyebrow, deliberately trying to look as emotionless as possible.
"What, Death Scythe?"
He winced at her use of his title rather than his name.
"If you could listen to me first—"
"Why?" she asked politely. "I wasn't aware that there was anything that needed to be discussed. Of course, as you told Professor Stein, it would be better if you were to get another partner. This one is obviously not working for either of us."
Anger kicked across his face and he grabbed her shoulders, fingers digging into her skin.
"That's not what I said, okay? If you're going to eavesdrop, than at least do it properly!"
"You aren't acting like yourself, Evans-kun," she replied, getting a vicious thrill out of the blackness that swept over his expression. "Not cool at all. What, pray tell, did you mean then?"
"Stop talking like that," he hissed.
Her facade cracked, and she abruptly shoved back at his chest, breaking his hold on her.
"What am I supposed to talk like then?" she yelled, hating the hint of vulnerability in her tone. "all I'm saying is that you're a Death Scythe. You can do what you want now. Just because I made you one doesn't mean you need me to be your meister! Just do what all men do eventually! Leave!"
"I told you that wasn't what I said to Stein!"
"Then what did you say?"
His face closed down and he pushed his hands into his pockets, leaning back on his heels nonchalantly.
She swallowed hard, nodding briskly.
"Fine, then. I don't care, okay."
He seemed to register her brittle tone, alarm appearing in his eyes.
"If you want a new partner," she said slowly. "Get out of our apartment. Pack up your stuff tonight and go."
"What the hell, Maka? That's not what I want!"
"Then tell me what you were talking about with Stein!"
He ran a hand through his hair in frustration, tapping his foot against the ground.
"Shit," he whispered. "Fucking shit, shit, shit..."
She waited, her body cold, feeling as though there was a black hole in her chest, draining everything out of her.
"I asked him," He began, his voice low. "I asked him if he thought I should get a new partner because I'm in love with mine."
She froze, hands hanging at her side. Her mind had become blank. Her lungs felt like they were going to collapse in on themselves.
He looked up from the ground, his eyes meeting hers, and she still couldn't bring herself to move. Her mouth opened, but words didn't come out.
Suddenly he lunged forward, crossing the space between them. His hands cupped her face and he leaned down—
His lips were on hers, pushing, coaxing, moving. There was warmth emanating from every part of him that touched her: his fingers in her hair, his palms cradling her face and his mouth, pressing hesitantly. When had her own hands moved? Her fingers were curled in his shirt, pulling her to him. His tongue probed gently at her bottom lip, tracing along it and she opened her mouth automatically, a crazy, heady rush spreading through her when he dipped inside.
The cautiousness that was in him before was gone. His hands left her cheeks, sliding down the sides of her body and curving around to her back. Their teeth banged together painfully, but she didn't care, winding her arms around his neck. She was being lifted off her feet. Her head was so cloudy that thoughts couldn't make their way through at all, not to where she was. He was kissing her. Her.
He pulled back, his mouth still hovering over hers.
"Please," he muttered. "Tell me I don't need to get a new partner."
She was dazed. She was scared. She was euphoric.
He didn't pack his things.
He didn't leave.
She didn't sleep in her own room.
"Are you afraid?"
He asked her that, his breath blowing hot over her bare skin.
It's a half-lie, an omission. She's not afraid of this. She's afraid of what could happen because of this.
He sat back on the bed, and held out his hand to her.
"I'm not your Papa," he said quietly.
She somehow knew that if she took that hand, if she accepted this, that she could ruin everything. Everything would change, and everything could come tumbling down around her.
But her hand reached out without her permission anyway.
"I know, Soul."