In which Soul has insecurities and doubts.

"74% of weapon-meister relationships result in a romantic connection at some point."

It took ten minutes of him staring at the words for him to get it.

He'd become a fucking statistic.

Soul slammed the book shut and reached up with jerky, shaking movements, slotting the book back into it's place on the bookcase. The library was shuddering around him, unreal, and he abruptly wanted to be anywhere but there. He felt like his feelings were oozing out of his pores with his sweat, blatantly obvious to everyone in the room. He ducked his head, jammed his hands into his pockets, and shouldered his way through a group of people standing at the entrance. The second his feet hit the linoleum of the hallway, he was running, bursting out a side door and into the fresh air. An unseasonally cool breeze swept at the tension in his body, trying to ease it, to slow him down. He ignored it and blew on through, letting his feet carry him far away.

Eventually he came back to earth, finding himself wandering listlessly along some back streets. He traced the cobblestones with his eyes, ignoring the few other people who passed. He slouched and walked and thought about a sentence in a book and a girl with pigtails.

He wished he'd never come across that stupid book, lying open on the floor at the foot of the bookcase. All he'd meant to do was shove it into the shelf, but no, he'd paused to read a little of it. Mistake.

It couldn't be true.

He pictured Maka, his partner (his everything), in his head: long, slim legs, gloved hands and sharp grin, ash blonde hair whipping against her cheeks when she turned her head to look at him, green eyes glowing. The pull in his chest was so familiar now that it didn't even hurt anymore, and he refused to believe that a book could tell him how to define that.

They were partners, and yeah, that was a big part of whatever was building between them, but that wasn't just it. It couldn't be. If Liz had been his partner, or Tsubaki, or something, he wouldn't have grown to feel this way about them, he knew it. It had to do with her, with Maka. It wasn't just some partner's thing. Even if she wasn't his partner, he'd still love her. He had to believe that.

It wasn't the meister he was in love with; it was the girl.

Wasn't it?

Or was it just that he was the same as any other weapon who had fallen for their meister? Was it just the resonance, the trust, the fighting—had it been inevitable that he would one day look at her and realize that he wanted to be by her side forever? Had it ever been up to him? Was he really just one of many, feeling the same things that hundreds of weapons had felt before him? Part of a formula, a phenomenon.

He couldn't. He couldn't think that way. Because if there was one thing in his life that he was certain about, it was loving her. Book or no book, statistics or not, he couldn't stop this, and he couldn't doubt it either.

He shoved his hands in his pockets and kept walking, letting his tangled thoughts slip away. At home, his meister was waiting, and he didn't want to be late.