Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater.
by. Poisoned Scarlett
She can't tell if they're bored or just plain playful.
She watches them from her seat a few rows up, her nail polish brush in one hand and her free hand spread out before her. Kid is absently shading the 'i' in his name while her sister colors an animal in the coloring book she bought yesterday. Tsubaki is knitting underneath the desk ( something that looks like a scarf, a hat, a sweater? ) and Black Star is playing a video game underneath his desk, ignoring Stein's frowning looks when a particularly loud sound comes from his game console.
They don't seem to notice the pair only a few rows down, poking and giggling and swallowing down laughter and snorts. Liz watches Soul grab Maka's stomach and snickers when she squeaks and bites down on her lip to keep in her laughter, swatting at him with her pencil. His cheek rests on the desk, chair turned to her as they continue their risky game. Maka reaches over and pinches his cheek in retaliation, smiling when he tries to bite her hand but misses. Her other hand grabs his cheek and she gasps out giggles when his fingers find her tickle spot a little below her ribs in revenge. His grin is viciously victorious when she tries to jump away from him, swatting at his hand away while struggling to contain her laughter.
And somehow their obvious display of typical flirting is missed by everyone. Tsubaki is frowning down at her scarf/sweater/hat abomination, likely wondering where she went wrong, and Black Star looks pained. He probably forgot to save the game. Kid has moved onto the 'd' in his name. Party is scourging her bag for an orange crayon. Everyone else is either half-asleep, messing around on their phone, or is asleep.
Liz slams her nail polish brush back into the bottle. Her eyes stray towards Soul and Maka again. Maka is leaned over very close to Soul now, gesturing to something on the board. She's probably giving him the dumbed down version of Stein's lecture. The thing is, Soul doesn't seem very attentive to her Physiology jargon: he has a faint smile on his face, cheek resting on his knuckles and shoulders slumped as usual. That's nothing out of the ordinary. But his usually lazy eyes are studying her, observing every expression, every twinkle of her eye, and every fluctuation from pink to red on her cheeks. That isn't ordinary.
Suddenly, Soul raises a hand and pinches Maka's nose between his index and middle finger and smirks when she stops mid-sentence and stares at him before her face turns red and she growls at him to behave.
That's about all Liz can take.
"Patty! Pat!" Liz hisses, slapping her desk with her hand.
"Hmmm?" Patty hums, looking up from her coloring book.
"Okay, call me crazy-"
"Patty." Liz scowls at her giggling sister before continuing, "Call me crazy but are Maka and Soul getting a little too touchy-touchy over there?"
Patty checks, tilting her head to the side in confusion. Maka is hunched over her work for the day and Soul has his head down, possibly asleep.
"What're you talkin' about, sis?"
"I mean - what?" Liz blinks at the normal-looking pair, not a hint of mischief anywhere. "No! I swear I saw it – they were touching each other! I swear it!"
"Hehe. Touching each other. Sissy, do you need a bed warmer?" Patty doesn't wait for a reply before she's leaning all the way towards Kid, whispering loudly: "Liz needs a bed warmer!"
"I'll be sure to buy her one after school," he answers absently.
Patty laughs perversely. "You don't need to buy one, Kiddo, you can do it for free if you wear that outfit we got'cha last Christmas—!"
"I do NOT need a bed warmer! Patty, shut up! Just keep looking at them, okay – THERE!" Liz suddenly shouts, pointing at Soul's mischievous hand snaking towards Maka's exposed thigh; or stomach to tickle her, although Liz likes to think he's just trying to cope a feel. A few dozen pairs of eyes flash towards Liz at her outburst and she growls when Soul drops his hand and turns to look at her with a raised brow. Maka also turns, curious, seemingly not aware of Soul's previous actions.
"Sissy, are you okay?"
Kid looks up, eyebrow arched perfectly.
The elder Thompson merely seethes, brooding with her arms crossed over her chest until everything dies down. "I know what I saw! Those two are so through when I catch them in the act," Liz promises. Patty shrugs and goes back to her drawings. Kid glances down towards the famous weapon-meister pair but cannot see what has Liz so riled up.
"Are you sure you're not just imagining things, Liz?" Kid asks.
"Of course not! I know what I saw, Kid, and I saw Soul totally trying to grope Maka!"
"I find that hard to believe," Kid dryly says. "Maka would murder him."
"Not if she wants him to grope her."
"I...would like to think she does not condone those things during class." Kid begins, slowly. "After all, it's quite degrading, and she does like to think of herself as better than those other women who would allow such a thing to happen - and in class, nonetheless! How uncouth!"
Liz stares at him. She slits her eyes. "Fine."
Kid tenses, brows furrowed. He knows he said something wrong. "Liz?"
Liz turns away from him, muttering choice words under her breath, and swears to herself that she will get evidence regarding Soul and Maka's blossoming romance if it's the last thing she does before she goes to the salon.
"Shut up, Kid, or I'll force you into that outfit we got you last Christmas."
"NO!" Kid screams, chair screeching back in his haste to scramble away from her. He points an accusing finger at both of them while the class turns their attention to the trio. "You promised me you burned that abomination!"
Patty grins maliciously. "Nu uh. It's in your room, Kiddo, watching you...always."
Liz just wonders what method to use when she catches them in the act: pictures or film?
"Liiiiiiz!" Kid sobs, on his knees before her, his arms wrapped around her waist like a child. "Tell Patty to stop! She's threatening to place that horrible, asymmetrical, outfit on my person when we get home!"
"Ooooo! Evil, asymmetrical, clothes gonna' get'cha, Kiddoooo!" Patty coos, forcing a sniffling Kid to huddle closer to the elder Thompson sister.
"Patty, quit it before he passes out again." Liz absently says, mind entangled with thoughts of Soul and Maka and cameras.
Somewhere down the rows of seats, Liz just catches Soul's sighed out, "Idiots..." and Maka's humming agreement.
Liz curses the gods when Soul pokes Maka in the side and somehow no one notices how Maka giggles and tries to poke him back, their fingers locking together instead, lingering, before dropping back to their sides. This happens twice, with Soul acquiring that softness in his eyes and Maka dropping her eyes shyly before pulling away; ever the innocent virgin, to her amusement.
Liz will catch them... eventually.
But it's harder than it sounds. Over the past few days, she has been observing their every move critically: every smile, every word, every movement, every glance, every stare, every awkward stumble and nervous laugh. She has come to the conclusion that their suggestive flirting is really just that: suggestive.
It's like watching a very interesting basketball game, Liz has come to relate it to. You watch the players dodge and run and miss a block or get blocked. The players get hurt, there are arguments, there is joy, there is frustration, there is fear, there is tension, there is a high and there is a low. You watch the players dribble, dart their eyes to the next opening, make snap decisions, and shoot to the basket only to miss it by an awful inch and return to the drawing board. It's a constant game to shoot the ball in the basket.
Maka and Soul are just like that, missing the net by a hairsbreadth; always just a fraction off.
She wonders when the ball when swing through the basket, and just how this will change things in their group. She knows they've all gotten used to the idea of Soul and Maka being nothing more than very close friends (best friends) that anything else is disconcerting. That's why the idea of both Soul and Maka flirting so obviously disturbs Kid, causes Black Star to snort like it's an awful joke, makes Patty giggle, makes Tsubaki dreamy with ideas. But Liz knows; she sees it in everything they do now.
There is nothing platonic in the way Soul always trails behind her like some loyal dog. There is nothing platonic in the way Maka smiles at him, with the corners of her eyes crinkling and her eyes filled with so much warmth. She can't remember the day it happened, it surprises her that she's never noticed before since Maka used to complain about it all the time, but Soul's stopped teasing her about her body. And Maka has stopped Maka Chopping him so much – in fact, Liz can't remember the last time she did it. To Soul, anyway.
The last time was yesterday, to Black Star, who was being particularly obnoxious because he received a high grade on a test for Professor Stein. Higher than a D, that is.
"Are you still trying to prove they're dating, Liz?" Tsubaki asks curiously as they stand outside of Shibusen early that morning, tucking her chin into her scarf. Liz had called her last night to meet up with her at seven am. There is an icy wind that's blowing from the north, sweeping through Death City and blanketing the entire town in cold wraiths of mist. The cold feels as if it's seeping down to their bones from just standing there, waiting for something to happen between the weapon-meister duo.
"Yeah," Liz sighs, making sure she's not visible to Maka or Soul. "But it's not that they're dating… well, they're not. That much is obvious. They're… getting there. It might happen today!"
"Do you think so?" Tsubaki murmurs, casting a glance at the spotlighted pair. She stands straighter, eyes wide, when she catches Soul tugging on Maka's gloves for her, his mouth tilted in a frown and a creased between his brows. "Oh…"
"What is it? Oh! See? Oh, my God, please tell me you saw that! Look!" Liz fervently points at them, to Maka whose fingers linger on Soul's palm. Both girls scramble towards a nearby pillar, watching intently when Soul closes his hand over them. Maka looks up, startled, and his gaze is burning. It's as if the atmosphere around them has thickened, become a sweltering cloud of the heat Nevada is so infamous for.
"Are they… going to…?" Tsubaki breathes, her eyes widening by the second. "Here?" She chokes out. Given, there is no one around at this time of morning. Maka has the habit of arriving an hour early, and Soul had taken to waking up early to go with her, although, from what Maka has told them, he takes more naps during the evening to compensate.
"Yes! Yes, yes, yes!" Liz hisses victoriously, taking out her camera phone. She prepares it for the shot of a lifetime, her teeth gnawing her bottom lip in anticipation. "C'mon, Soul, do it. Lean down. Come…on…just a little—!" Both girls hold their breaths, watching intently as both weapon and meister gravitate towards one another. Maka takes a step towards him and so does he, until the only thing that's keeping them from pressing together are their held hands, which Maka presses to his chest softly.
Then, it's as if a switch turns in Maka's mind, and she suddenly jerks back, wide-eyed and red-faced. Soul tenses, and their hands fall away, the mood completely collapsing. Suddenly, it's become an awkward state of confusion, both unsure of what to do now. Soul closes up, blanking his expression and reaching up to tug on his jackets collar, coughing out something. Maka snaps her head down, letting her grown-out bangs cover up the evidence of her embarrassment. She nods, a tiny jerk he catches, and they both stiffly make their way to the entrance of Shibusen; standing two feet apart, silent.
"...What the hell just happened?" Liz asks, numbly.
"I think… Maka rejected him?"
"No… no way. She did not just do what I think she did."
"I think she did, but she looked a little scared…" Tsubaki adds, sympathetically. "Could it be that she's afraid of taking that extra step? It is an awful lot of risk…although the percentage of couples having more satisfying and lasting relationships amongst weapon and meister's is very high…"
"I don't care if she's afraid Soul might chomp her neck off if she lets him near her, it's going to happen." She slits her eyes, determination burning in them. "C'mon, Tsubaki, we're gonna' have a little talk with Maka about this! Time for some Thompson intervention!"
"Come on, before we're late for class," Liz announces briskly, storming to the entrance Soul and Maka disappeared through minutes ago.
Tsubaki merely sighs.
It turns out they didn't speak to Maka immediately after the grim near-confession scene by the front of the school. Maka does a fantastic job at avoiding people when she wants to; not heading straight towards the library, where everyone expects her to, but taking refuge elsewhere, where no one can find her. When Liz asked Soul where she had been hiding, his defensive answer coupled by the troubled look in his eye told her he had no idea as well.
But Liz found her, eventually.
It was only a matter of time...and following Soul around while he searched for her.
"Liz! Liz, are we really going to do this?" Tsubaki asks, desperately. Liz nods firmly, parting the crowd of students in the hall with her intimidating glower, her smile as dangerous as the sparking edge of a razor.
"Oh, yeah. It's been one whole week already! They need to do something! Anything!" Liz growls, fed up with their awkward skirting around. Every since that day, when their bodies had drawn so close, their hands so tightly woven together, there has been an unsettled aura around the both of them. Even Kid had noticed although he believed that they had gotten into another fight, something that Black Star and all the others also believed.
Liz can't wait to prove them wrong.
Call her crazy, huh? Call her too much of a girl, too much of a romantic, huh? Liz thinks with a furious scowl. They'll see just how wrong they are when she convinces Maka to go for it!
"Liz! Shouldn't we let them work this out between them themselves? We shouldn't rush Maka if she's not ready!" Tsubaki begs, biting her lip anxiously. They both make a sharp turn, the flow of conversation from the crowd of students slowly fading with each step. "She'll be mad…"
"I don't give a fuck, I'm still—oh, Tsubaki, hide!" Liz suddenly says, grabbing hold of Tsubaki's arm and swinging them into another corridor. They both peek, watching Soul and Maka argue loudly down the otherwise empty hall. They don't know what they're fighting about this time but they can both see the tension in Soul's muscles, his tight jaw, his glaring eyes. Something has to give, Liz suddenly realizes. Even without her intervention, something has to give because their attraction runs deeper than she believed it did. She can see it in Maka's furious emerald eyes, the faint trace of regret and conflict that furrows her brows, and the way she shakes her head, rubs her forehead, looks so terribly unsure.
It continues like this for a few more minutes, both getting up in each other faces, snarling out things that makes Tsubaki wince or Liz shake her head at.
"Look! He's…" Tsubaki trails off.
"Way to go, Soul!" Liz cheers quietly, watching him bring her knuckles to his lips. Liz can practically see the walls between them fall at the tender gesture. Maka takes a breath and a swallow and Tsubaki smiles kindly when she suddenly throws her arms around him. Soul wraps his own around her shoulders, his nose nuzzling her neck in a way Liz never believed the cool guy would do. He always did say such romanticism was uncool and lame.
"No, Liz, are you serious?" Tsubaki gasps when her friend brings out her camera. "This is private! This is something very special that is happening, you're not really going to just…just ruin it like this?"
"How am I ruining it?" Liz mutters, squinting an eye and zooming in. "If anything, I'm just immortalizing the happiest moment in their lives!"
"But…" Tsubaki struggles, twisting her hands together nervously. "But… I wouldn't like it if someone took a picture of me while I was… trying to confess my love for someone. It's embarrassing and – and humiliating…it's bad enough if someone was watching…"
Liz falters, stealing a look at her friend.
"Oh, look!" Tsubaki points, eyes shining now.
"What—…I called this. I so called this. Kid can suck it, I called this!" Liz triumphantly grins, lowering her camera instead of taking a shot at the lip-locked pair ways down the hall.
"So what are we going to do now?" Tsubaki asks, tearing her eyes away from the newly-formed couple. "Do we… just keep it to ourselves?"
"I guess. That would be the right thing to do but I really, really want to tell Patty and Kid so I could rub it in their faces!"
"I, too, want to tell Black Star, simply because he said it was impossible." Tsubaki smiles, faintly. "He said Soul would never go after someone who reads for fun."
"Black Star's a shallow idiot." Liz snorts. "Don't listen to him, Tsubaki, he'll see. This will blow his mind and totally reconsider everything he knew about relationships. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just have to keep working at it. And you definitely can't judge a person just by what they do for fun," Liz nods, firmly.
Tsubaki glances back at them, Soul whose whispering something to Maka that makes her slowly smile and then laugh, her nose burying in his shoulder while he grins that toothy grin of his. A smile of her own quirks Tsubaki's lips and she turns back to Liz, hoping she's right about Black Star, but before she can voice it, an obnoxiously familiar guffaw stalls her.
"What the fuck, Black Star? Go away!" Soul snaps, releasing Maka for the moment.
"You've gotta' be kidding me! You and Maka? Seriously?" Black Star laughs, hysterically.
"What's so wrong with that, huh?" Maka snaps back, hands set on her hips. "You've dated those airheaded girls before and you don't see us calling you out on it!"
"That's because they were hot."
"And Maka isn't?" Soul raises a skeptical brow. "That's not what you told me yesterday…"
"What?" Maka flushes.
"HE LIES!" Black Star suddenly shouts, horrified. "I DIDN'T SAY YOUR ASS GOT BIGGER, MAKA, HE'S LYING!"
Soul slaps a hand over his face. "I didn't say that, but whatever…" He rubs his eyes out and sends Maka a lazy smile. "C'mon, let's go home. It's getting late and I'm missing the game."
"Oh, man, I can't wait until I tell everyone! No ones gonna' believe this! They're gonna' trip out when they hear!" Black Star chortles, both Maka and Soul ignoring him as they walk down the corridor to the exit. "Don't fuck too hard! Remember you have neighbors!" He cheerfully bides them farewell, cackling when Maka turns on her heel and storms back to him with a book in her hand, murder in her eyes – the only thing preventing her from cracking his skull in half being Soul, who manages to drag her away from Black Star with choice words mumbled under his breath.
"Black Star, that was uncalled for!" Tsubaki makes herself known, stepping out of the other hallway.
"TSUBAKI! JUST IN TIME! You'll never believe it! Soul and Maka are—!"
"I know, Black Star." Tsubaki smiles, wryly. "I was here when it happened."
"You're such a moron, Black Star, now everyone within a five mile radius will know!" Liz scoffs, flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder. "Maybe they didn't wanna' tell everyone? Ever think of that?"
"Keh, so what? It was a long time coming." Black Star sticks his nose in the air. "Soul's been after her for a while, probably before he even realized it himself. It's about damn time!"
Liz stares. "You mean… you noticed?"
"Duh, it's kinda' hard not to when he's trying to stick his hand up her skirt." Black Star sends her a weird look. "You gotta' pay more attention, Liz, seriously, your nails can wait. They're ugly anyway."
A mad grin spreads her lips as she raises her fist, cracking her knuckles. "Wanna' run that by me again, you little shit—!"
"Okay!" Tsubaki loudly says, with false cheerfulness. "Please stop fighting you guys this should be a happy day because our close friends have found love!" She claps her hands, a happy smile on her face. Black Star regards her silently. "I say, we celebrate!"
"I could use a drink," Liz nods, gravely.
"I meant food, but, um…"
"No way, Tsubaki doesn't do beer!" Black Star says, sticking up for her. Her face brightens at this, eyes shining. Liz raises a brow. "'Sides, we got some training to do today. We can't be shitfaced for that. Oh, and before I forget, Liz, Patty asked me to tell you that she got you a bed warmer, whatever the hell that is."
"She what?" Liz gapes. "Who is it?"
Black Star shrugs, uninterested. "Beats me. All I know is that Kid is involved somehow."
"Aw, hell no.." Liz groans. If Patty somehow cheated Kid into agreeing to be what Patty fondly calls a 'bed warmer', she can only hope she can talk Kid out of it without disgusting him too much. That is, if Patty hadn't already stuffed him into that asymmetrical outfit they got him last Christmas...
"See ya' around, Liz!" Black Star waves, clasping his hands behind his neck. "C'mon, Tsubaki, we're falling behind on our training. We'll do an extra hour today and wake up earlier for our jogs." Tsubaki gives Liz a quick bow before trotting happily after her meister, hands clasped behind her back.
Liz stares at their retreating forms, watching Tsubaki step closer to Black Star, and her fingers twitch on her camera.
"Tsubaki and Black Star, huh..." She mutters, a smile growing on her face. "I call this one, too!"
This time, she'll get evidence for sure.