Thank you to everyone who kept this fic on your alert, even if you'd forgotten about it by now. Last week I noticed it was nearing the one-year anniversary of this, and I still thought it had potential. This time it's obvious that this story isn't over yet.
Disclaimer: Soul Eater is a licensed anime/manga not owned by me.
Death City. Douce winds.
Soul Evans shifted in his sleeping bag, turning to face his meister. Her hair was loose, her neck bare and porcelain in the weak sunrise light. She looked like a kid.
"Hey," he prodded her gently.
She moaned softly, her throat raw from sleep. "…what?"
"I'm going to water the horse and get a fire started."
She opened her eyes full, pulling the blanket up to her chin. "Is it morning already?"
He sat up, resisting the urge to kiss her. "Yeah."
He started the fire first, working quickly. He didn't know if there were Kishin or animals about, so it would protect Maka while he walked the horse down to the thin stream they found the day before. They were close enough to town today to do some shopping. They didn't have any assignments, either, so maybe they could spend the night in an inn.
When he got back to the tent, she was leaning over the fire, starting some bacon. The clashing daylight and firelight made her look less like a kid. Her nightshirt gaped open and he had to tear his eyes away quickly to cut off the reel of film in his mind, replaying the gentle bounce of her chest as she rode him.
It was fucking difficult to be in love with a girl who cried the morning after they first made love, saying it had been a mistake.
That had been five months ago.
"I think… it was too soon," she'd said later that night.
Five months. She barely let him touch her, even though they still shared a tent when they were out on the road, looking for work. It was surprisingly easy, mostly because there were very few active meister/weapon teams around California/Nevada/Arizona or even north Mexico. They'd gotten fairly good at it and it paid pretty well.
"Breakfast smells good," he complimented her. She smiled.
A few days after that first night he'd considered leaving. He could buy a train ticket to anywhere, really. They'd been somewhere near Las Vegas. He could have walked into a casino and taken a pianist's gig again.
She seemed to sense it and stopped talking to him altogether. He made his bed outside the tent, unable to sleep for wanting to shake her and demand to know if she really loved him, if she wanted to run away from him the way her mother obviously had from her. He watched the fire die and tried not to remember her voice screaming his name to the open desert.
Sometime before morning, the Kishin attacked, and he'd reacted instinctively, running at it. He wasn't sure when Maka joined him, but he remembered her shouts, commanding him to transform. He tore himself from his flesh and bones immediately and was in her hands the next moment. It had been a long fight, and he could feel them losing.
The thing was smaller than the first one they'd encountered together, but it was faster and Maka was wearing down. The metal of Soul's handle seared her skin but she ignored it and he ignored it until she was knocked out cold. The thing had no neck but its mouth was nothing but teeth. Soul slipped back into his skin and shook her hard by the shoulders as it prowled up to them.
He called her name, cried out that he loved her and he couldn't beat it without her.
The second her eyes fluttered open he stuck his arm into the things mouth and transformed, reaching out for her soul with an intensity they'd only shared under the stars, intimate. She reciprocated and swung upward with all of her might.
That night they talked for hours. She repeated that she loved him and after gathering her courage, begged him to stay with her. Begged him not to give up on her.
They'd found Spirit again two months after that. Maka was unprepared, but fought again because Spirit was drunk and in his potvaliancy challenged Soul. They'd won too easily and agreed to drag him to a hotel for the night. They paid for a bed for him and warned the manager not to remind him how he got there.
"Do you think you'll ever forgive him?" Soul asked as they rode off into the sunset.
"I don't know."
The first place they went once they made it to town was the Death Sythe Office to turn in their monthly report. It had been a good month, so they pocketed a great deal more than the month before.
"We need flour and beans…" Maka muttered, scrawling out the items on a piece of paper with a thin graphite pen. "Is there anything you want in particular?"
He shrugged. "Whatever you get will be fine."
She added a few more things to the list, then handed him some bills. "Get us rooms for a few days. I'm putting a lot in savings today but if there's something else you want to buy, like a new shirt or something…" she peeled a few more bills from the roll.
He watched her walk down the street in the direction of the bank, grateful that she always dressed to protect herself from dust, heat, and the stares of other men. Maka didn't think she was much of a beauty. The greatcoat and the pigtails attested to that. She kept herself clean with her health and routine in mind, unaware of how beautiful she really was. The line of her face as she combed her hair by firelight, the intensity of her eyes. Even the way she walked.
Soul groaned and sulked off. As soon as he found rooms for the night he was going to get a drink.
The heavy leather book – one about Kishin biological psychological whatever – wavered an inch over Maka's head, her knuckles white. Soul flinched and prepared himself for the blow.
"I guess it can't be helped."
He looked up, disbelieving.
Maka lowered the book, stroking the spine tenderly. The action ran a vague jolt of jealousy over his skin but he shrugged it off easily. "It's not like it's your fault," Maka continued in her sweet monotone. "We really should have telegrammed ahead with a reservation for two rooms."
He nodded slowly, determined not to provoke her when she was suddenly in a good mood.
"I'll sleep on the floor!" he said suddenly. "I'll just use a sleeping bag…"
Maka shook her head, blushing a little.
"The floor will be hard… and we might get a patrol job tomorrow. I want you to be well-rested."
They ate dinner together in the tiny dining hall and then went up to their room. Thankfully the bed was not very small. Dimly, as he dressed with his back to Maka and hers to him, he was aware that this would be the first time they shared an actual bed. He tucked himself in first, watching as she let her hair down. She wore a long shirt that was once his that fell to just above her knees. It was difficult not to admire her legs. She slid between the sheets beside him, resting her head on his chest.
"Soul… I love you."
He wrapped an arm around her, breathing in the scent of her hair.
"I love you, too."
The bed was empty the next morning. Soul sat upright so fast his neck tightened. Immediately, he thought back to anything he could have done last night to make her run. He'd told her that he loved her. They'd kissed and drifted off to sleep in each other's arms. Nothing. It briefly crossed his mind that he was having a nightmare, but after pinching himself and running a mental check, he knew he was awake.
She stood framed in the narrow doorway that separated their bedroom from the washroom. Her hair was mused and eyes bright.
"…good morning," he allowed, reining in the relief he felt rushing forward.
"I don't feel like volunteering for patrol today," she said. "We're doing well enough without having to resort to that."
Her hands dropped to the row of buttons on the shirt, slowly undid the top one, then the second one. He swallowed hard.
A third button. Something lacy peeked out from the panels of the shirt.
"Is this okay?" she asked softly. There were only two buttons left and he could see that the lace was from a set of pale green lingerie. He reached up and pinched his nose before it started gushing. She laughed lightly. "I think that's a yes."
He threw his legs over the side of the bed, opening his lap up to her, muttering "No, shit."
Carefully, she stepped into the circle of his lap.
"This would probably be more fun if my breasts were bigger…" she murmured.
He grinned, ghosting his fingers over her abdomen, cupping her breast firmly in his palm, making her gasp.
"You fit perfectly in my hand," he whispered. "And my mouth." He growled low, fingering the clasp.
"…S-ssoul!" her fingernails dug into his shoulders.
He chuckled, undoing the clasp deftly. "I've been patient, Maka. So patient."
She started to shrug the shirt off, climbing into his lap. "I know." Her eyes bore into him and he felt her soul reaching out to touch his.
Suddenly, the door swung open. Soul grabbed at the nightshirt and pulled Maka close to preserve her modesty.
"Kishin!" the innkeeper shouted, barely risking standing in their doorway another moment. Outside, screams began to domino off of each other. Maka scrambled to secure her chest and button up the shirt, the pulled on some pants and her boots. Soul followed, irate that they'd been interrupted.
"I'll make it up to you, I promise!" she called as they ran out the door, holding her hand out to him. His flesh melted into metal the second he took it.
The main street was chaotic. a few buildings had been crushed, and it wasn't immediately clear what they were up against. Citizens ran past, screaming.
"Whatever this thing is, it's gonna pay," Soul's voice reverberated within his blade.
Maka nodded firmly, her face set.
They set to work tracking the path of destruction, letting the sheriff and his troop evacuate people to the safest location. Maka knew very little about tracking, but as soon as they arrived in the small town square where the common well sat eerily empty, she felt that she was on the right path.
"I'm going to try something…" she murmured, concentrating.
"I read about this…" she said. "I know it in theory, but not in practice." He could feel her reaching out, prodding gently. He answered her, letting his soul mingle with hers. After a moment, he felt it. Their combined power had become hyper aware.
"There!" She cried, a spilt second before the well burst open, drenching them. Something massive darted out in front of them and Maka gave chase, wiping damp locks of hair from her face. She noticed right away that whatever form the Kishin took, it didn't have legs. They chased it back to the main street, most of which was in shambles. Maka squared herself in the middle of the street, Soul held at the ready. They didn't have to wait long.
Reminiscent of a high noon showdown, the Kishin burst out on the opposite end of the street, its huge golden eyes locked on them.
"A snake," Maka whispered.
It was enormous, nearly as wide as the street, scales black and gold flashing in the sunlight. A hard, dark rattle tipped its tail.
Maka's body was tense. In an instant she had sprung out of the way, a huge set of fangs flying at them. She cartwheeled back and slashed at the body in a right hook left swipe right jab combination, landing one blow. Soul fought to keep their soul connection steady. They'd been working on a technique that required their connection to resonate at a high frequency. But before that they had to keep it steady, and Soul was worried about the snake's agility. What they really needed was its blind spot.
"Keep attacking behind the head!" he cried out through his soul.
She kept up the dodge, aerial slash combination until they found a spot where they landed a perfect combination.
"Here comes the hard part," she said, starting a defensive maneuver. Now they had to tire it out while keeping their connection stable. It was wounded, so as soon as it tired they would resonate and attack its vulnerable spot. The snake's movements had become erratic, and dodging its assult was considerably harder. However, the damage they'd done was evident.
"Just a bit longer!" Soul called out.
Maka dropped low and prepared to throw herself out of the way. The rattle swept forward from behind and knocked her off her feet. Their connection spiked and Soul frantically tried to bring it back, to keep himself from transforming to shield her. The snake wrapped itself around them, reared back to strike.
Something silver flashed and arched around to the Kishin's blind, knocking it into the ruins of the saloon.
"MWAHAHA HA! TAKE THAT YOU UGLY SNAKE! HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE DEFETED BY A GOD!?"
Maka sat up and blinked the sun from her eyes, trying her best to make out the silhouetted figure standing before them.
"IT'S ALRIGHT TO BE DAZZLED IN THE FACE OF YOUR SAVIOR, PEASANTS!"
Soul transformed and punched the guy in the gut. Immediately, his weapon shifted back into her human form and caught him.
"Soul!" Maka admonished. "He did save us."
Soul gave a grunt and chalked it up to sexual frustration, making her blush.
The weapon looked up with them with a pleasant smile. "I'm so sorry about that. He's so enthusiastic."
The body of the snake deteriorated quickly, leaving a dark atmosphere and a glowing remains.
"You made the kill," Soul offered it out to the other weapon. She smiled and took it while Maka watched with interest. She'd seen Soul eat before, but his teeth were unnaturally sharp, his smile wide. He somehow seemed more weapon than human when he ate. The girl bowed her head in a prayer of thanks, then delicately pulled at the glowing orb until its shape was thin and long like a long strand of spaghetti. She slurped it up politely and bowed her head again.
"I'm Tsubaki," she offered. "And this…" she hefted her meister to his feet. He blinked, a little befuddled before straightening right up and posing like a muscle builder.
"HO HO! BLACK*STAR IS INVINCIBLE! I'LL TAKE YOUR TRIBUTE NOW, UNWORTHY PEOPLE!"
This time it was Maka that knocked him out.
As they headed back to the inn to find a bed for Black*Star and a proper meal for those who hadn't already eaten, a smaller snake hissed from the shadows.