A Living Nightmare


Having a boyfriend has never been high on Maka's priority list. She's quite certain that it doesn't even rank in the top thousand. Still, after reading hundreds of books detailing romantic relationship and playing video games that dealt with the pure love between the protagonist and the leading female, she has from time to time fantasized what her ideal relationship would be like with a guy.

At night, they would snuggle up with each other, relying more on their body heat to keep them warm than the covers they shared. He would hold her close while they slept, making her feel safe and secure in his arms, and she would rest her head upon his shoulder or chest. At some point she would entangle her nimble fingers in his soft hair, massaging his head whenever they woke up together.

When they did wake up, it would be slowly and gently. Her eyes would flutter open, and she would smile graciously up at him. He would peek his eyes open and smile back down at her, telling her how happy he was to wake up to her lovely smile.

Waking up with Soul is an entirely different experience altogether. For starters, she doesn't slowly or gently wake up. A loud, nasally snore rips through the peace and quiet, causing Maka to snap her eyes open. The morning sunlight is the first to greet her eyes, and she can almost picture it laughing as her as her eyes practically burn from the sensation.

Somehow, Maka and he had shifted at night so that Maka is now lying on her back with Soul partially sprawled out over her front. One of the covers has fallen onto the floor, and the sheets seem to be missing, allowing a nasty draft to freeze every part of Maka that is exposed to the cold air.

Soul's left arm hangs off the edge of the bed, and his right arm is practically bent around her head, trapping strands of her blonde hair beneath it. He also has managed to get his left leg entangled between her legs, but she can't move her head without ripping her hair out to see just what sort of position they are in.

The cherry that tops this dish of reality is that Soul's face is buried in the crook of her neck with a steady dream of drool spilling from the corner of his mouth and onto her skin, and don't get her started on the disgusting smell of morning breath assaulting her nose.

"Soul," Maka grounds out, keeping her anger in check. He's sleeping. He has no idea what he's doing. He has no idea that he's drooling on her. "Wake. Up."

Her partner grunts, but his breathing doesn't quicken nor does he move to signal that he is awake. Maka's eye twitches.

"Soul!" she shouts in the sharpest tone she can manage at 7:00AM. Her tactic works, and Soul jerks awake, lifting his head up in a daze and looking around the room. He blinks his ruby red eyes a few times, accustoming them to the morning light. Familiarity soon sinks into his orbs, and he looks down at Maka.

"It's t' early," he mumbles, looking at her with drowsy eyes.

"No," Maka says, though her patience is wearing thin. "It's seven, and I need you to get off me."

"Mm." Soul slowly blinks at her and dips his head back down a bit, looking ready to go back to sleep on top of her. He finally succeeds in bringing Maka's temper and embarrassment over the edge.

"Off!" Maka uses her strength to jolt herself forward, sending Soul reeling off her body and onto the floor below. He grunts in pain as his body collides with the hard floor, but Maka ignores him as she hastily moves about her room, grabbing her school outfit and toiletries as she heads to the bathroom, intent on taking a nice, hot shower to get Soul's drool off her neck.

Thirty minutes later, Maka is squeaky clean and walking with Soul to school. He offered to drive them there with his motorcycle, but Maka could only equate his motorcycle with having to hold onto him, and she has honestly had enough physical contact with him for one morning.

They fall into a sluggish step with one another as they approach the school grounds. The adrenaline rush from this morning is gone, and Maka is starting to feel languid from lack of proper sleep. She doesn't want to add to Soul's worry, but those nightmares leave her breathless. Her entire body feels sore and her chest constantly feels tight. It may be just normal anxiety, but Maka doesn't like the weak feeling either way.

"HEY!" A loud, obnoxious, and familiar voice interrupts Maka's thoughts, and she looks up to see her childhood friend and his weapon in front of them. "How can you lowly beings be so tired in my presence? Is the great Black*Star too much for you to handle? Haha! Of course I am!"

"Maka-chan," Tsubaki's soft voice follows Black*Star's harsh, loud one. Her worried eyes look over Maka and Soul's tired forms. "Are you alright? You look unwell..."

Out of the corner of her eye, Maka can see Soul looking at her, waiting to see if she will unveil the truth to their closest friends. She smiles tightly, shaking her head in a convincing motion.

"I'm fine. It must be the change in weather that has me so tired."

Soul snorts, but he doesn't contradict her statement, and Tsubaki and Black*Star do not notice their nonverbal exchange.

"Ha! Like the weather could stop the great, magnificent Black*Star! Hurricanes, blizzards, tornados—whatever the gods throw at me, I will surpass! Nothing can stop me!" With that declaration, the ninja-assassin turns on heel and starts shouting this new statement out to anyone and everyone within earshot. Tsubaki gives Maka one last look of concern before following her ostentatious meister.

While Black*Star is a never-ending source of earache to Maka, she cannot help but feel jealous of his disposition. Even after nearly being pulverized by Asura, her childhood friend still comes out on top, acting as though nothing in the world could get him down. There is no sign of fear or worry in his actions. Telling him about her recurring nightmares would just give him something to rave about when it comes to how much stronger he is than her.

"Yo, tiny tits, are you coming?"

Blinking, Maka looks up in almost a daze to find that Soul has walked a bit ahead of her. His head is titled to the side a tad, and for some strange reason, Maka feels as though he has been trying to do a soul connection with her. Since there is no sign of danger around, Maka knows that this has to be a mistaken sensation, but it still bothers her along with everything else.

Without a word spoken between them, Maka follows Soul into the school, thinking through their entire school day of how she would handle her problem. Soul seats himself next to her, occasionally prodding or poking her when she would drift off into thought. It's so hard to concentrate on what is being taught and lectured when she feels so drained and weak. At some point she can even see how Soul and Black*Star could sleep through their classes.

School doesn't end soon enough for Maka, and as soon as they're dismissed, she tries to book it from the classroom. A little walk will wake her up some more. Physical exercise is good for the soul and the brain, after all.

Just as she reaches for the classroom door, a dark-haired boy with three white lines in his hair stops her. There's such a look of distress on his face that Maka barely recognizes the son of Lord Death.

"M-Maka," Kid stutters, shaking. "You-You-You're hair! It's unsymmetrical! Criminally unsymmetrical!"

While Maka is well aware from her morning rush that she has not put a lot of effort into her looks—not that she ever does—she doubts that having her pigtails be unsymmetrical isn't a criminal offense in anyone but Kid's book.

"Kid," Liz says in a patronizing tone, specifically the tone she reserves for Death the Kid's irrational and obsessional compulsion to have complete symmetry, "stop bothering her." Her sister, Patty, simply giggles at Kid's antics from Liz's side.

Death the Kid doesn't listen to Liz, choosing instead to step closer to Maka while reaching out his pale hand towards her. "No worries, my dear friend! I can restore your symmetry and put your mind at ease!"

"You're the only one who's bothered by it," a few people throughout the room point out in exasperation. Maka's attention isn't on them, though. All she can see is a hand reaching towards her, and all she can hear is the sound of her own heartbeat. Her pupils dilate, fixated on the hand in front of her, and she takes one last breath before it hitches in her throat. In a split-second, she pushes her hands out in front of her with an accompanying cry of fear, shoving the hand away from her.

On instinct, she jumps back to distance herself from her attacker, keeping her hands out and ready in case of a counterattack. It's then when she has enough distance to just step back and analyze the situation does she realize just how pathetic of a situation she is in.

Death the Kid still has his hand reaching out towards her, but his fingers are bent into a weak grip, as if he's trying to retract his move but is too occupied with being shocked to do so. Patty is no longer giggling, giving her a curious look with a slight cock of her head, and Liz has a fine, inquiring eyebrow raised at her.

Black*Star and Tsubaki, who had been watching their display from the back of the classroom, are also giving Maka questioning shares. Tsubaki's gaze is filled with utmost concern, probably thinking back to their meeting this morning. Black*Star, on the other hand, is frowning without a hint of amusement in his expression. It's perturbing to have the naturally rambunctious ninja completely silent.

She dreads looking to her left, but her wracked nerves endorse the onslaught of humiliation and guilt and crimson red eyes catch olive green. There's shock and confusion evident on her partner's face, but what strikes her is the curl of his lip and inexplicable anger in his face. It startles Maka, as she's unsure where that anger is being directed. It couldn't be Death the Kid since he really didn't do anything, so would that leave her as the only other logical option?

"M-Maka-chan?" Tsubaki's gentle voice ends the awkward silence. "What is wrong?"

Everyone's eyes remain intently on Maka, waiting for her reply. She rifles her brain for a good response, but no suitable lie surfaces. Instead, she slowly moves around Death the Kid and towards the door.

"I, uh, gotta go. Bye!"

She sprints, leaving five very confused people and one very angry person behind in the classroom. A clear destination forms in her mind's eye, and she beelines it towards the school library.

Author's Note: Thank you for reading and to those who have taken the time to review! The next chapter will hopefully be out soon. :)