Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater. Never will.

A/N: 2,268 words. Soul/Maka, kind of. This idea actually popped up after reading the Book of Eibon arc in the manga but I just never got around to writing it. Specifically, gender bent Maka was kind of the inspiration; judging by her gender bent self, I took that as her not having any interest in dating or romantic relationships. I haven't read Soul Eater for a while now, though, so forgive me for any mistakes in characterization. I love this duo so I hope I didn't botch their personalities or the ending. Happy holidays, guys.


Maka doesn't understand men.

Why do they cheat?

She hates them — okay, most of them; her male friends don't count. As a little girl, she saw her father walking down the street with his arms draped over women other than her mother, laughing frivolously. They say that between men and women, the latter are easier to tempt, but Maka believed otherwise: if anything, men succumbed rather easily when tempted by women. Specifically, they were easy to seduce. That, and it was simple to know what they looked for in women: a bouncing chest (being scantily clad also helped). The point was, Maka thought men could be so easy. It reminded her of her father's cheating ways, and that disgusted her. Sometimes, she wondered why people ever wanted to get married, especially the female populace. She believed that most of the male population hated being bound to a single woman and would prefer to live the bachelor life instead, never having to worry about marriage commitments but even then, there were married men that would end up breaking the marital contract anyway, running off with a mistress (or two, maybe more). So Maka didn't understand why so many women wanted to get married; most men would just end up cheating on them anyway. Recently, she read in a report that divorce rates were steadily increasing every year. This detail only furthered proof for her that women were glorifying the idea of matrimony. It was only a train wreck in waiting.

Which is to say Maka had no intentions of getting married.

But she wondered if she was perhaps abnormal for thinking this. It was completely logical in her mind, but the general population of women didn't think like her, so she didn't really know if she was normal or not. She tried to rationalize it by concluding that she was the lone sane person in a world of crazies (given her reasoning for her distaste of marriage or romantic relationships), but she was probably the only female who was thinking that way, which meant, in essence, she was abnormal. Maybe she was the crazy one — but her reasoning was understandable, right? — and that was a feeling she couldn't shake. It was all quite complicated for her; on one hand, she should just let go of the thought, and think the way she's always thought, but on the other hand, there was a certain uneasiness to being the only person she knew who thought this way.

Really, what other reason for that uneasiness, but the thought that nobody could understand her? If nobody understood her, then she might as well be considered crazy, or at the very least, weird, even if her brain was lacking any rational deficiencies.

Would Soul think she was strange, too?

"Hey."

"Hmm?"

"Have you ever," Maka was straight-faced, staring at her plate of spaghetti, "thought about marriage?"

Soul, who was in the middle of eating his lunch (also spaghetti) stared at his meister with one eyebrow raised, the other lowered. A brief silence ensued, wherein Soul chewed the last morsel he had in his mouth, while Maka continued tossing her spaghetti, immersing each and every noodle strand in meat sauce.

Meticulous. As always.

"Where did this come from?" Soul wondered, swallowing his food.

She stopped swirling her spaghetti and began poking at it instead. Each strand she aimed for, though, fell under the gaps between the prongs. Soul decided not to prod her with any further questions.

"Well, no, I've never really thought about it," he replied in his usual solemn tone.

Soul wasn't one to map his life out in front of him; he didn't even plan that far ahead in life. Instead, the white-haired teen thought about his life day-to-day or week-to-week. Or at least, that was how he lived now.

As a kid, all he could ever think about was his future. It was never about marriage, though; instead, he was busy worrying whether he even had a musical bone in his body. He used to think about his future so much that those thoughts consumed his very being, manifesting into a fear that stiffened every muscle in his body, struck every chord in his heart. With each passing day, his doubts grew:

'Will I be successful like Wes?'

'How much musical talent do I have?'

'Do I even possess any talent?'

And so on and so forth.

His future seemed dim at best. He wasn't as talented a musician as his brother, and as he grew, Soul began to question his musical prowess. What talent? What improvement? He could only lie in the shadow of his older brother; a shadow that only seemed to grow and darken, narrowing his horizons. If he couldn't even find joy in music, the one thing he loved, then what else was there waiting for him in life?

The audiences he played for would applaud him, but they never knew — they could never tell — that the sound of his piano was lacklustre, inferior compared to the strings of Wes' violin. They didn't know. They couldn't hear it.

But Soul could hear it; he felt it. And it killed him.

So he ran away.

He finally had a reason to. With the blood of a weapon flowing through his veins, Soul could leave behind that life he lived so apathetically and bury the Evans name with it. He didn't know where he was going; he didn't have to know.

He just wanted to leave.

So he ran and he ran — until he met Maka.

She didn't understand music — she admitted as much, and she didn't know about how inferior he felt in comparison to his brother Wes. Living as Soul Evans, the only real value he felt as a person was through his music, but if he couldn't even accomplish anything in that, then what merit did he have as a person — as Soul Evans — when his talents were inadequate? He had lost the one thing he had found meaning in in life.

But Maka didn't know about any of that. She knew him as Soul Eater, her partner, confidante, and closest friend. Without knowing of his musical roots, she accepted him as he was. When he was with Maka, he felt lighter — happier, even. All the anxiety he had as Soul Evans evaporated under his new identity. He stopped worrying about his future as a great musician. He stopped dreading each new sunrise and sunset. He stopped thinking about what he'd be ten years down the road. He started looking at life day by day.

And most importantly, Maka allowed him to find something worth working for again in life — something meaningful. He found merit through being Soul Eater, who could protect his friends, who could become stronger with Maka. He'd become stronger so that he'd never have to run away again. And he'd make damn sure to help his partner whenever she needed him.

He owed her as much.

Maka lifted her fork. "Oh."

A second passed and she spoke again.

"Do you think you'll ever get married?"

Soul stared at his meister with a frown. When Maka said something strange, it was worrisome.

He narrowed his eyes, confused by all of Maka's strange questions, before deciding to give an honest reply. "I dunno. I don't really think about things like that."

Maka donned a listless expression, poking at the spaghetti with her fork. "Huh..."

"Aren't you going to eat?" Soul asked.

"Oh," Maka gaped, as if realizing a mistake, "yeah."

She hurriedly began eating her plate of spaghetti, twirling her fork around each sauce-coated noodle. The plate of spaghetti was no match for Maka, as she wolfed it down with gusto. Soul merely watched as she devoured it.

"Why do you ask?" he finally questioned, eyeing her nearly empty plate.

Maka had her mouth full, but looked up from her plate to acknowledge she had heard him. Soul waited for her to finish chewing, as the tick of the seconds hand on the clock reverberated throughout the room.

When she was done chewing, the scythe-wielder replied with nonchalance. "No reason."

"There's always a reason with you."

Maka stiffened under his seemingly omniscient stare. More often than not, he saw right through her. She wasn't sure if Soul was conscious of it, but he was very perceptive. Any underlying suspicions he had about things were usually proven to be true, as if he had a sixth sense.

"Okay, fine," she relented. Soul made no change in expression, still with his piercing stare. "I was just wondering," she rolled her eyes, "what all the fuss was about marriage."

This time, Soul stared at her, his countenance thoughtful. "What, you don't want to get married?"

"No, not really."

"Really," Soul said flatly.

"...Is it weird that I don't want to?"

Soul thought about it for a moment.

"Well...maybe," he finally answered, although it wasn't like he understood the minds of women well enough to give her a completely correct answer. Across the table, Maka seemed to slump in her chair.

"Well, I guess it would be hard to find a suitor for you, anyway," Soul drawled. "You're flat-chested and have no sex appeal."

Maka seethed. "Oh, come on! That's getting a little old."

"I'm not lying."

This made her blood boil. "Ugh," Maka stabbed a noodle with her fork, "this is exactly why I don't want to get married! Because men are like that. It's a disgrace!"

The death scythe stared at his glass of water, reticent. It wasn't as if Soul didn't know where she was coming from. He knew about Maka's circumstances with her father. His constant knock on her lack of sex appeal was just a joke, but maybe he shouldn't have mentioned it in this scenario. A chilly atmosphere enveloped the room, as their conversation ground to a halt, the two teenagers choosing to finish their meal instead. Whereas Maka did so with an angered determination, Soul ate in the same mundane manner with which he had started. Soon enough, they were finished eating, and Maka sloshed down her glass of water. Soul blinked, trying to formulate a sentence in his mind.

He decided to test the waters.

"Hey," he tried.

Maka slammed the empty glass onto the table with a thud. "What," came the irritated reply. Soul decided to ignore it.

"You know," he started, "You're flat-chested and you've got zero sex-appeal—"

Maka rocketed out of her seat and slammed her hands against the table. "Are you trying to pick a fight here?"

"—But," Soul stood up, placing his hands gently over hers. He could feel her flinch as he faced her, his gaze never faltering. "But any guy that doesn't value you because of those things is a moron."

Maka stood across the table from him, stunned into silence.

Soul lifted her hands off the table, holding them so that her palms were up. Her fingers were slender, but if someone were to hold them and look at them closely, they would notice the calluses along them.

'Hardworking.'

'Determined.'

'Loyal.'

'Reliable.'

Her fingers trembling slightly, Maka flashed a dim smile. It was funny how she was in a fury one moment because of Soul, but just as quickly, he was also the one that made her smile, encouraging her. Well, this time, he should have. He owed her as much .

But she was just as indebted to him as he was to her. She didn't think there were any guys out there she could trust, but ever since she had met him, Soul had never betrayed the trust she put in him. Never.

"Hey Soul."

He looked up from her hands, not letting go of them. "What?"

"You know," her eyes softened, "I don't need something like marriage." Loosening her hands from Soul's gentle grip, she clasped their hands together. Soul almost thought they were assuming a wrestling stance, but Maka's beaming face told him otherwise as she drew their locked hands together in front of her — in front of him.

"Because I've got something much better than it."

Soul smiled softly, knowingly. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," she grinned.

"Well," Soul cracked a smile, "I've got something a lot better than marriage, too."

They never shared it in so many words, but their souls knew, and clicked, as if in resonance:

'You.'