Dedication: To my dear friend Revolveroftheloom, for encouraging the development of my morbid sense of humor… and for introducing me to some really awesome music. I hope you enjoy all the hidden MCR jokes!
Disclaimer: I don't own Soul Eater. All things considered, though, I ought to get a share of Ohkubo's profits. If it wasn't for Elizabeth Thompson, after all, why would anyone bother reading the manga in the first place?
Note: Completely inspired by the instrumental intro to the song "Dead!" by My Chemical Romance from their album The Black Parade.
By Eeveebeth Fejvu
Beep… Beep… Beep… Beep…
The Dispensary was quiet and still.
The florescent lights above him were too bright. They stung his sensitive eyes as their light reflected and bounced off the blank surfaces around him. The white cotton weave of the blanket draped over his lap, the shimmering white plastic of the divider curtains, the grainy white of the ceiling tiles, the opaque white of the hospital gown… Everything was white, a sterile and austere hue. Everything, that is, but the bandages bound tightly around his chest, which were tinged with spots of bleak, ominous red…
He breathed in a rough, coughing breath. He was hyper aware of the needle bedded deep within the exposed skin of his limp arm and the hushed plink of sanguine fluid in the IV drip chamber. He relaxed further into the hospital bed, as much as he could while propped up into an upright position by the elevated mattress. The florescent lights caught in his lidded eyes again, and he blinked lazily, allowing them to gradually fall closed.
And the Dispensary remained quiet and still. Quiet, but for that steady, rhythmic, hypnotic tone…
Beep… Beep… Beep… Beep… Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-
Patty burst into laughter. Kid opened his eyes again just in time to see Liz come barreling around the side of the divider curtain, her expression openly panic-stricken and her long golden hair streaming wildly behind her. Patty – who was sitting cross-legged at the foot of his bed – began to laugh louder, her amusement escalating at the sight of her terrified sister. She wrapped her arms tightly around her stomach in an attempt to contain her hysterics, rocking back and forth so hard that, for a moment, Kid was worried that Patty would fall right off the bed.
A small smile on his lips, Kid finally looked away from his youngest Weapon to his eldest, who now stood next to him, paralyzed in shock. Her horrified eyes were wide and her mouth was hung open in disbelief.
"Hello, Liz," Kid said pleasantly over the ongoing, high-pitched sound of the heart monitor's flatline.
"You… you jerk!" Liz suddenly shouted, her face twisting in an instant into an expression of indignant rage. "I told you not to do stuff like that!" She smacked his bared arm once in irritation, then a few more times rapidly for good measure.
"Ow…" Kid retorted lightly. His pale skin stung and grew pink under her abuse. He tried to move his arm out of the line of fire, but it was the arm hooked up to the IV line, so it didn't get very far. Even as he draped his arm awkwardly over his lap, Kid felt the smile on his face grow a little more pronounced. "That's not very nice," he told Liz, with mock hauteur.
"Cut it out, Kid! I mean it! ...Stop it right now!"
"I did," Kid pointed out innocently, tilting his head towards the EKG. Its screen still displayed that ominous horizontal line of red.
"NOT YOUR HEART!" Liz screeched. Patty fell onto her side, cheek crushed into the mattress, so overwhelmed with laughter that tears were beginning to run down the side of her face. "Stop this stupid- My God, Kid, this isn't funny! C'mon!"
Catching sight of Liz's upraised palm, Kid tried again to pull his abused arm out of the way, but then her hand came down hard against the upper-left side of his chest. A low grunt escaped him just as a distinct beep sounded from the EKG, signaling a momentary break in the flatline.
"Come… on…" Liz growled, thumping his chest with each word. "Make… it… start… again…" Her frantic actions were an amusing mockery of CPR, but Kid felt a twinge of pity anyway at the disturbed look on her face.
"Alright, alright," Kid finally said. "Here." He closed his eyes and, after a short pause, the monitor's long tone began to break once more into the distinctive beep… beep… beep… that Liz was clearly waiting for.
"Awww~" Patty whined in disappointment, wiping her damp eyes. She sprawled haphazardly over the foot of the bed and fixed Kid with an exaggerated sad face. Kid shrugged, gesturing for her to send that sentiment to their mutual partner instead.
"It's not funny, Patty," Liz said, whipping around to glare sternly at her sister.
"Yes it is!" Patty replied. A glimmer of a grin began to grace her features once more. "It's really funny! Hee hee, that long beeeeeeeeeep~ and then, boom! Kid is dead!"
"Not 'dead,'" Kid corrected her calmly. "'Death.'"
"Yeah, yeah, you're 'Death.'" Patty waved this trivial difference away with a dismissive hand. "But see, Sis, that's why it's funny! 'Cause Kid's a Grim Reaper, and he-"
"I know!" Liz interrupted. "I get it, okay? Irony and all that. But it's still not something to laugh about..." She trailed off at the wide grin spreading across Patty's face, just in time to hear the monitor skip one beat, then another, and then… Beeeeeeeeeee-
"KID!" He actually flinched at the livid expression Liz shot him and quickly allowed the EKG to resume its normal rhythmic activity. Patty had egged him on again, though, with that playfully daring glint in her sky-blue eyes, and he had indulged her silent request. He was used to giving both of his Weapons what they wanted - Father knew, he enjoyed spoiling them and basking in the happiness their exuberance gave him - but when, as it sometimes happened, Liz and Patty wanted conflicting things...
Kid always ended up getting himself into trouble, one way or another.
As it so happened, Kid was rather on Patty's side this time. He didn't find the ringing tone of the flatline hysterical the way she did, but he wasn't bothered by it, either. So why not indulge Patty's often unpredictable sense of humor? Especially when he could make her laugh on purpose, rather than have her laugh at something he did accidentally.
And it wasn't as if stopping his own heart was a particularly risky practice anyway. Kid leaned back against his elevated mattress - staring up at the perfectly square ceiling tiles in order to avoid Liz's glare - and thought. While it was true that, even as a god and a Grim Reaper, he could be killed... the beating of his heart wasn't the crucial deciding factor of whether he was alive or dead, not the way it was for mortal humans.
If it was, Kid thought wryly, he would have been deceased a long time ago, considering just how many times he had lost dramatic amounts of blood, had his major arteries severed, or had something sharp and pointy driven all of the way through his chest… Much like what had happened this morning, in fact, in their battle against that scorpion-like kishin egg. A particularly vicious stinger to the heart had resulted in Kid's current stay at the Dispensary. His inhuman body had fortunately been immune to its poison, but the ragged hole its barbed tail had left behind had taken a while to fully close up, with his blood making a ridiculous mess everywhere in the meantime.
"Why you always gotta kill the joy, Sis?" Patty pouted, rolling onto her stomach and propping herself up on her elbows. Fists jammed into her pink cheeks, she stuck her tongue out at Liz and made an obnoxious blowing noise.
"Because that's what I do. I'm a killjoy," Liz deadpanned, though Kid could hear no hint of humor in her voice. After a long moment, she added, "Why don't you go clean up your face, Patty? If you leave those tear tracks alone, you're just going to be all sticky."
"Ohhh-kayyyy~" Patty acquiesced unhappily.
With a sluggish groan, she scooted down the hospital bed and slid off the high mattress, leaving behind a thoroughly crumpled mess of a blanket. Kid grimaced, at both this untidiness and the short blonde hair sticking up on only one side of Patty's head. He wasn't forced to look at the wild tangles for long, though, as Patty shuffled away to find a restroom. She paused, however, one hand on the white divider curtain, to look back at him and Liz with an intent, inquisitive expression before disappearing out of sight.
Kid turned his attention back to his eldest Weapon and waited for her to catch his gaze. Like Patty, he easily saw through Liz's ruse and knew that she really just wanted a chance to talk to him alone. He sat quietly, hands folded neatly in his lap, watching as she leisurely walked to the foot of the bed and, without being asked, straightened the wrinkles out of the blanket. Liz's face was hidden behind her golden hair, but Kid could sense her tension in the sharp slope of her shoulders and the way she angled her body away from him. Kid looked away, remaining silent and just listening to the electronic beat of the EKG as the minutes ticked by.
Beep… beep… beep… beep… beep… beep… beep… beep…
"Why would you do that?" His eyes rose immediately at her abrupt words. Liz stared back boldly, expression nearly unreadable. Kid was tempted to examine her soul, to see if he could get a better understanding of what his Weapon was thinking that way, but then decided against it. Liz never liked it when he inspected her soul, and she had gotten quite good at recognizing when he was doing it, too.
"Why would I do what?" Kid asked, stalling, but Liz only narrowed those piercing blue eyes at him. He sighed. "Patty asked me to," he finally said. "She was playing around with all of the equipment, and putting things in the wrong place, and getting all the cords tangled up. So I distracted her… She thought it was funny," he added a bit defensively.
"Why… What…" Liz put her hands to her face, rubbing her forehead as she grumbled to herself. Finally, she let her hands fall to her sides with a light slap and fixed him with an incredulous, bemused expression. "How on Earth do you even do that?"
"Asystole?" Kid asked. She gave him a blank look. "…Stop my heart?" At her pinched expression, a small smirk slipped past his defenses. "I guess it's a Reaper thing…"
As he continued to consider her question, Liz walked closer and pulled herself up to sit on the edge of the bed to his left. He carefully shifted his arm to give her more room and to get the IV line out of her way, and as he did, Liz took his pale hand in hers and settled them on her lap. Kid forced himself not to contemplate this too much, though it was difficult with the way her hands formed such a soft, warm cocoon around his cold one.
"Does it hurt?" Liz asked delicately. Kid blinked.
"Wha- Oh, my heart? No… no, it doesn't hurt." He gazed at her, wondering at her sudden curiosity. He trailed his eyes inattentively down the length of her hair, with a wordless thought of appreciation for the way the golden locks draped perfectly over her shoulders and curled around the column of her neck. "It… just feels like it's paused," Kid continued after a moment. "Like it could beat again in the next second, but then it doesn't. And it's not difficult for me to do, either. I just relax, close my eyes, and… will it to stop, I guess. Then will it to start again whenever I want." He tilted his head reflectively. "I'll admit, it's a pretty useful ability, particularly when I'm critically injured and need to focus all of my attention on healing myself…"
He trailed off as Liz pulled her right hand out of her lap and laid it gently against the upper-left side of his chest, directly over the place she had thumped him earlier… the place bound tightly in white bandages… the place the kishin egg's stinger had plunged through his skin to pierce his beating heart.
As she pulled her hand away, Kid suddenly grew numb at the sight of the tiny brownish flakes of dried blood stuck to her palm.
"Maybe it doesn't hurt you to stop your heart," Liz whispered, "but it hurts me."
And that was when Kid realized the answer to his unformed question - why Liz hadn't been at his side earlier, why she hadn't been in the Dispensary to distract Patty herself...
She had been cleaning his blood off her hands.
After the kishin egg had stabbed its barb into him, Kid had collapsed, no longer able to fight. It had taken all of his strength just to keep himself from falling unconscious, but he had, half-watching Liz wielding Patty furiously out of the corner of his blurry vision. Time had passed in a haze, but he could just remember Patty heaving his limp form onto Liz's back, telling him not to worry, that they had finished off that ugly scorpion monster, and they were going to get him back to the school real soon.
And then, a flicker of a forgotten image, as he was laid gently backwards onto a gurney… an image of Liz's terrified and frantic face hovering over him, the overhead florescent encircling her golden head to crown her with a nimbus of white light. And her face and hair flecked in red and her white jacket drenched in red and her delicate hands absolutely soaked in red as they pressed desperately against his chest to stymie the relentless flow…
Kid stared down at the dried blood on her palm, feeling a sickening twist in his stomach. To think, he had been stopping his heart as a thoughtless joke while she had been standing in one of the school's showers, washing pint after pint of his crimson blood off her fragile body, discarding her irreparably blood-stained clothes…
What an insensitive partner he was.
"I'm… I'm sorry, Liz," Kid said quietly, averting his eyes. "…I didn't mean to hurt you."
A second later, he found his arms full of Liz as she launched herself at him, burying her face into the right side of his neck and gripping his hospital gown in a trembling fist. Kid's right arm came up automatically to wrap itself around her shoulders, his left arm trailing the IV line as it wrapped around her lower back to support her. A small oof escaped his mouth as he was pressed back into the elevated mattress by her weight. He felt his cheeks and the tips of his ears grow warm; even with her legs dangling over the edge of the bed, Liz was all but sitting in his lap.
"I know, I know," he heard her mumble into his skin. "You were just playing with Patty, but when I heard that monitor start to go off…" Liz lifted her head up a bit, so that Kid could see her eyes, the deep cobalt laced with fear and regret. "…You be careful, okay?" she continued solemnly. "Because I… I'm not a god, Kid. I can't just will my heart to do whatever I want it to do…"
Her eyes pierced his, blue into gold.
"And when your heart stops beating… mine does as well."
The Dispensary was quiet and still. As Kid's mind worked furiously to soak up all of the meaning in her words, he found himself mute, tongue-tied and blinking rapidly beneath her steady gaze. He shifted his arms uncertainly. Their close embrace was caught somewhere between awkwardness and comfortable familiarity, and Kid wasn't sure whether he was supposed to end it himself or allow her to linger.
He wet his dried lips and was cobbling together some pathetically inadequate response when, abruptly, Liz raised an eyebrow in silent question. Kid blinked, curious, until he became conscious of the background noise of the EKG again.
Beep-beep… beep-beep… beep-beep… beep-beep…
As he registered the quickened pace of his own heart, Liz's mouth slowly curled up into a knowing smirk, which made him grin nervously back despite himself. Now Kid knew he was blushing, and there wasn't a single thing he could do about it. She had, after all, caught him fair and square.
"Kid…" Liz said, drawing his name out playfully. There was a distinct twinkle in her eyes that caused his stomach to twist in a much more pleasant way than it had earlier. "You have anything to say for yourself?"
"No… No... Well, I…" Kid stumbled over his words, his mouth now involuntarily stretched into a stupid grin unbefitting of his status. "Ha… Maybe… Maybe I…" Her right hand slowly slid up his chest - momentarily distracting him – before anchoring itself against his shoulder. When his eyes flicked back to hers, she was somehow closer than she had been a moment before, their faces only inches apart. With a swallow to get rid of the lump in his throat, Kid smiled sillily and murmured, "Maybe I can't control my heart as well as I thought…"
The EKG rather seemed to agree with his conclusion.
Liz didn't seem displeased, either. Her cheeks flushed and she let out a little airy laugh that caused Kid's eyes to fix themselves on her lips. They were so close now, it wouldn't take much… He tightened his arms around her, just a bit, and felt her lean forward willingly into the motion. Sensing the rapidly shrinking distance between them, Kid raised his own head away from the mattress and was just in time to meet her in the middle.
As their lips pressed together, Kid felt the world come to a sudden stop. Despite the fact that they had never done this before - that he had never done this with anyone before - it felt as natural and as right as anything he had ever known. Her lips were so warm against his, her breath gentle against his mouth, the side of her nose rubbing smoothly against his as they sought the most comfortable position. After a long moment of successful experimentation, he felt Liz sling her left arm tighter around his neck, guiding him up and further into her lips, and he willingly obeyed. He slid his right hand up into her long hair, weaving his fingers into her tresses until his blunt fingernails scraped lightly against her scalp. She groaned at this, a low sound deep in her throat, and Kid felt the muffled vibration shoot from his lips all of the way down his body. He shuddered happily. Every nerve in his body was suspended in ecstatic disbelief at what was happening. He didn't know how to process it all. He had barely gotten used to the sensation of her lips on his before he felt the damp tip of her tongue prod delicately at his teeth. At her unyielding insistence, he cracked his lips open a little wider, only to have her mouth pressed impossibly closer to his. An unprecedented swipe of her tongue along his own made him whimper out loud, and he tilted his head further to the side, trying desperately to close a gap that no longer existed...
And then Liz pulled back, disentangling herself from his mouth and leaving Kid stunned and confused. Why had she stopped? Kid had not been ready to stop at all. It had felt so... so... absolutely perfect...
Then he noticed how Liz was breathing, how her breast - so gloriously pressed against his own a second before - rose and fell in a rapid, choppy movement. She placed her right hand over her chest, wide-eyed and nearly gasping. She had run out of breath, something that Kid didn't have to worry about as a Grim Reaper because he didn't necessarily need the oxygen for his-
Kid whipped his head around to stare, startled, at the EKG.
He had been flatlining since their kiss had begun.
Liz laughed. Kid looked back at her with a bit of apprehension, unable to focus on his body long enough to pull himself out of cardiac arrest. But she just continued to laugh happily, still trying to catch her breath, an unfettered smile spread across her face. Slowly, Kid grinned back.
"You caused my heart to stop," he observed, with playful chastisement. Liz only laughed harder. Kid let his head fall back against the mattress, gazing at her fondly. "You didn't think it was so funny a minute ago."
"No, no, it's not funny, is it?" Liz said, sobering a bit. The smile didn't go away, though, for which Kid was glad. He had always thought she had the most beautiful smile. "Well, then..." she continued, almost ponderously, "...I guess I better find a way to jump-start that tricky heart of yours, huh?"
He chuckled a bit as he felt her body shift, felt her comfortable weight press back down on his chest as she leaned into him. "You wouldn't happen to have any ideas about how to accomplish this feat, would you?" Kid asked, immediately embarrassed by the unexpectedly sultry tone to his own voice. She cupped the side of his face in her warm hand.
"Mmm," Liz murmured, lips hovering just over his. "I think I have one..."