Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater nor the song Loud Pipes by Ratatat.

Loud Pipes
Poisoned Scarlett

"Maka," she began, soothingly. "We needed five men to restrain you. You almost hurt one of them. Can you tell me why you wanted to leave so urgently?"

She was a svelte thing with wide emerald eyes that shone with the last rays of the sun. Behind the loose white clothing laid layers of muscle; enough strength to fend off three orderly's like they were pillows. Yet she sat on her bed with her knees drawn up to her chest insecurely; her fingers steeped into her knee; the sheets barely creasing with her weight. Her ashy blonde hair was loose from her struggle a few hours ago. Yumi Azusa had offered to tie it back into their usual pigtails but she had shook her head against it. This concerned Yumi – Maka had told her during one of their sessions that the significance of her pigtails ran deep. The habit stemmed from a burning desire for her mother and, in tying her hair up in twin pigtails, it helped bury the intrinsic yearn for a missing parent.

"He needs help, miss Azusa," Maka repeated, looking at her with those wounded emerald eyes of hers. Yumi always felt swayed by them, something that was not professional at all. She should not be swayed by simple things as glances.

"Call me Yumi, Maka, there's no need for such formalities," Yumi Azusa politely corrected. "And why does he need help? Is he in trouble?"

She hesitated and looked back out of her barred, curtain-less, window. The latches drilled into the sill were locked tight. She could still see the sun that bled colors of mauve against the skyline as it descended. She was quickly running out of time. "Yumi, I know this sounds crazy. I know you think I'm insane, that I'm not able to rationalize correctly, but please just listen to me this once: he's in trouble. I know he is. I saw it!"

"You saw it?"

"I know what I'm looking for so I can see them. They like to disguise themselves from mortal sight but once you've seen one, the rest become easier to see with time." Maka fumbled with the hem of her white shirt then fisted her hand. When she looked up, her eyes flamed with that familiar stubbornness she was renowned for. "It took Soul! I saw it from my window – he was coming to see me and it took him because it smelled his sou -!"

"Ah, wait! Let's backtrack a little, Maka!" Yumi straightened in her seat, fixing her glasses on the bridge of her nose. "Who is this 'it'?"

Maka exhaled noisily. "Miss Azusa, there isn't any time to talk! I need to save him! It's going to hurt him, don't you understand?" Maka released her knees from her chest and stood up, desperation straining her face. "Please, please let me out! Just for an hour – I just need an hour!"

"Maka, calm down!" Yumi stood up and placed her clipboard on her seat. She held a peaceful hand out to her patient. "Relax. Don't be rash now, there is nothing wrong with Soul. Soul is fine. He's home. He's safe, Maka."

"No, he's not!"

"Yes, he is. We've made sure."

Maka stilled, boring her eyes into hers unnervingly. "How."

"We called him and he said—!"

"You're lying."

Yumi looked at her over the top of her glasses sharply. "I can assure you, I'm not lying, Maka. We called him and we've ensured his safety. He is fine!"

"Then why didn't he ask to talk to me? If you told him about my situation, he would have asked to speak to me! He would have and you know it, too, Yumi! You of all people should know! You're lying and the longer you keep me here, the more chance there is that he's getting his soul—!" Maka broke off, clutching her sweats to hold back a swell of blind panic.

"His soul?" Yumi instantly understood. Her tone was soothing as she said, "Maka, there's no such thing as demons. You were hallucinating that day, remember? The medication keeps the visions under control, we went over this—"

"I KNOW!" Maka screamed, her eyes darkening. "I know, Yumi, I know what the medication does and it hasn't helped! If these are so-called 'hallucinations', then you have better give me a higher dosage because they've only gotten worse! But that's impossible, because you can't give me a higher dose, which leads me to believe that they are real. They are real!" Maka fiercely shouted, "and one of them took Soul and if I don't stop it it's going to kill him—!"

"There is no such thing!" Yumi snapped. She closed her eyes, took a breath, and when she opened them again, her face regained that pleasantness from before. "Maka. Soul is fine. These demons—!"


"….Demons," Yumi smiled, tightly. "They do not exist. They are a figment of your imagination. You made them up. Maka, please don't make this any harder than it already is—!"

"No, they're real! And Soul's in trouble! If I had taken care of it before…" Her voice cracked before it steeled over again. "I led it to him because it knows who I am and now it's going to kill him! It can smell me on him and it's not going to stop until it sees me dead!"

Yumi walked to the door and knocked on it a two times, shaking her head at the orderly who stood guard through the square window. He nodded and began to shuffle out a sedative for Maka. "What you saw – it was because you refused to take your medication again. Remember we had a talk about this, too? If you take your medication, they go away."

"No, they don't. They won't ever go away," Maka whispered, harshly. She took a deep breath and when she looked at Yumi, her eyes welled with unshed tears. She almost looked sincere. She really, truly, believed in these visions. Yumi pitied her. "Please…please, I have to save Soul. Please…"

The orderly walked in bearing a caring smile, hiding the syringe behind his back, before Yumi could respond. The psychologist stepped towards the wall as another orderly came in and she watched with troubled eyes as Maka was strapped onto the bed again kicking and screaming for Soul. Her voice cracked with desperation and Yumi needed to turn away from the scene. She walked out into the hall and shut the door behind her, blocking out Maka's hysteric cries, before she slumped against the wall. She rubbed her eyes out. This job could sometimes drain her unlike anything else.

"That bad?"

"Oh, Stein!" Yumi straightened upon the appearance of her superior. "Good evening. What brings you to this part of the hospital?"

Stein glanced through the tiny window on the door, watching Maka succumb to the drugs. "He isn't answering."

"Ah, you mean Soul? Well, maybe he's busy!"

"Perhaps," Stein murmured. "What did she tell you?"

Yumi sighed. "It's the same story only now it has to do with Soul! I honestly thought he was a good influence on her but she's only involved him in her delusions! She insists he's in grave danger and that only she can save him. She says if she doesn't, these so-called Kishin's will hurt him – specifically, take his soul. Her delusions, they've gotten progressively worse, Stein. The medication doesn't seem to have any effect on her, we've changed it more than thrice and nothing has worked! I haven't even noted a marginal change in her behavior, it doesn't add up..." Yumi trailed off, frustrated.

Stein spoke after a pause. "You're implying she isn't taking her medication."

"She isn't, of course, what else would explain why her delusions have become worse during her stay?" Yumi sputtered. When Stein didn't reply, she pursed her lips. "Do you have a theory, Stein? I'd like to hear it if you do!" She demanded, crossly.

"…Outside," Stein reached into his pocket and pulled out a weathered black wallet. He let it fall open, revealing the ID of a handsome but cocky-looking young man with stark white hair and glaring garnet eyes. "I found this on the steps earlier."

Yumi stared at the ID, feeling her heart pick up. "What about it? He could've simply dropped it when he came in yesterday. He's always losing things – his keys or - or even his wallet! How many times has he lost that around these parts?"

"There was nothing on those steps yesterday. The janitors sweep every day. They would have found it and brought it in; he's quite friendly with the staff from what I've seen." Stein returned the wallet to his pocket and finally tore his eyes away from Maka's door. "He was here earlier but he never entered, which strikes me as strange for a variety of reasons. He always comes to visit Maka; he has never faltered and I see no reason for him to start now. Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until visiting hours are over he's here. It's been this way for the past three months, Azusa. Today is Sunday. He is five hours overdue."

Yumi swallowed. "What are you proposing, Stein?"

Stein smiled unnervingly, the glare of his glasses hiding his knowing eyes. "I just find it strange, that's all. But you're probably right – he must have lost his wallet, that fool. Here!" Stein tossed her the wallet and Yumi scrambled to catch it. "You're free for the day. I'll be in my office if you need me. Ta-ta!" And he left whistling, hands in the pockets of his lab coat like always.

"That moron," Yumi scoffed, acerbically. She glanced down at the black wallet with troubled eyes. "What am I thinking? This is ridiculous! He's just fine!" She briskly shoved the wallet into her blazers pocket, marching down the hall to the nearest lounge. "Just fine!"

"Soul!" Yumi peered through the peep hole on the door and pressed her lips together when she couldn't see anything. He had to be in there somewhere, most likely sleeping. He was infamous at the hospital for being able to sleep just about anywhere. "Soul, wake up! It's me, Doctor Azusa! It's about Maka!" She knocked harder but no one answered. After a few seconds of standing by the door, Yumi reached in her pocket and pulled out his wallet. She skimmed through a few scrapes of paper she found inside until she came across a number scrawled on a piece of worn yellow paper, the name Patty scratched onto it. "Hmm...well, there's no helping it."

She punched the number in her phone and waited for someone to pick up, tapping her foot impatiently. She tried to ignore the nauseous feelings of dread in her gut. Things weren't adding up, she couldn't deny that. What if something had happened to him and what Maka had seen, while not necessarily a demon, was true? Soul didn't strike her as the type to be easily overpowered (God knew he flaunted his built arms and hard abdomen whenever that moron could) but he wasn't invincible and anyone could be caught off-guard.

Yumi shook her head of these poisonous thoughts. She refused to believe anything other than her own truth. Soul was fine and she would make sure of it – even if the little shit got on her nerves half the time.

"Hiiiii! Who's this?"

Yumi cleared her throat. "Hello, you must be Patty. My name is Yumi Azusa, I'm a psychologist at—!"

"Oh! We don't want any, miss, but thanks for calling! Bai-baiiiii!"

"Ah! No, wait! Wait!" Yumi scrambled, sighing in relief when the girl on the other line hummed curiously. "I was just wondering if you have seen Soul recently? I am assuming you are an acquaintance of his?"

"Ohhh! Teehee, I'm not dating him if that's what you mean! He already has a girlfriend and he thinks cheating isn't cool so—!"

Yumi brightened. "His girlfriend! Great, just great! May I have her number, if you will?"

"Ehhh, how come? Who are you?"

"I work…as a doctor, Patty. I'm a doctor and I need to speak to him immediately!"

"Hmmm, okay, but I dunno' how it's gonna' help! Here ya' go anyway!" Yumi listened intently as Patty rattled off a number but confusion knit her brows once she finished.

"Patty…that's the number for Patchwork Hospital."

"Uh, yeah! I know! That's where his girlfriend's at!"

"Um, oh! I see! She's been in an accident recently?" Yumi laughed, tightly. She didn't want to believe anything else; she prayed she was wrong. "That's why he can't see Maka, because he's visiting his—!"

Patty laughed hysterically on the other line. Yumi felt her stomach plummet even before she spoke. "Silly goose! Maka IS his girlfriend! Hyahaha! Eh, wait, how do you know about Maka? Helloooo?"

"…Thank you, Patty. It was an, ah, pleasure to speak with you." Yumi hung up before Patty could even finish her sentence. She wet her lips anxiously, slipping her phone back in her pocket. She closed the wallet and pressed it tightly to her pounding heart. This was quickly spiraling out of control and if she didn't find Soul soon, she would be forced to take drastic measures.

Yumi briskly made her way back to her car, rounding the front to get to the drivers side. She had no other leads to go on except that one number in his wallet and so far it'd only made things worse. She squeezed the steering wheel tightly and thought harder. She needed to calm down, she was panicking. If she panicked, she would commit mistakes; possibly deadly mistakes. As Stein had pointed out, Soul was much overdue for his visit. He faithfully visited Maka whenever he could; sometimes he even surprised them and came to spend his lunch break with Maka. Yumi had allowed the visits because they calmed Maka's anxiety and she always responded better to their sessions after his visits. She was the most receptive and relatively sane during and after Soul visited. Yumi believed it was therapeutic for her to talk to Soul, as Maka hardly got along with the others. Then again, she spent much of her free time reading instead of socializing...

"Stein? Has Soul arrived yet?" Yumi cursed at his flippant no and hung up without another word. She gnawed on her bottom lip before she turned on her car and shifted into drive. She couldn't think straight; all she was thinking about was homicide and Maka's tortured eyes when she broke the news. Maka was a smart girl; she'd connect the dots. But it didn't have to end in tragedy - it could be that he was just out of town! Yumi deflated instantly - why would Soul go out of town without telling anyone? There was only two solutions she trusted at this point: one was possible kidnap, the other led inevitably to murder. But who would want to murder Soul Evans?

A lot of people, Yumi dryly thought. That haughty boy, with his sharp grin and tongue to match. Never mind he knew he was handsome and often liked to say it aloud, but his sarcastic and caustic attitude toward things only made matters worse. Yumi wouldn't be surprised if he pissed off more than a few people in his twenty two years of life.

"Shit!" She squeezed the steering wheel when she hit a red light. She brushed off those surly thoughts and focused on where Soul worked – at a studio? A restaurant? Where had he said he worked at again? Yumi knew she should have paid more attention when Stein asked. Stein! "Stein! It's me again, where did Soul say he worked at? DC Records – got it! Thank you!" She hung up and switched lanes, deciding breaking a few traffic rules would be worth it when she found Soul safe and sound.

But she didn't find him.

He hadn't checked in since Friday, one of his usual work days.

Her heart was pounding hard by this time. She could feel blood rush to her ears; drown out everything until it was just white noise. No one had seen or heard of Soul Evans all day, which was virtually impossible. There had to be someone who saw him. There had to be someone – !

There's Maka, Yumi thought but shot the thought down immediately. No, no. She's asleep right now – and even then, she'll only say he was abducted by the demons! Dammit, where is that good-for-nothing slacker? Yumi saw a flash of orange from the corner of her eye when she pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. When she looked, her heart quite literally stopped.

She braked, hard, and lunged forward with the force. Her breaths came out ragged. She undid her seat-belt hastily and crawled out of the car, gripping the side of the door; her panic made it hard to think. She ran to the lone motorcycle, the ostentatious thing Soul prized above anything else, parked in its usual space. She ran her fingers over the handlebars, the cold metal, and took out her phone again.

"Stein. Has Soul arrived?"

"No, not yet. You sound odd – are you okay, Yumi?"

"His motorcycle – it's parked outside but…" Yumi looked around but found the grounds bare of anyone. He wouldn't just leave his bike out in the open like that if he weren't nearby. But there was no where else to go; there was pure forest surrounding them! There was absolutely no way he would be able to go anywhere else but the hospital – and even if he, for some damned reason, wanted to go to town on foot, it would be a two mile walk. The bike appeared to be in impeccable condition, as expected: Soul Evans treasured his motorcycle and he performed maintenance on it every month upon Maka's insistence. There would be no reason for him to walk back to town when his motorcycle was in excellent condition. He wouldn't be able to do much of anything but visit Maka…

Yumi turned back to the hospital, her eyes darting to the third floor window.

Maka stood there, her hand pressed against the glass.

Her eyes reflected Yumi's turmoil.

A/N: If anyone can tell me from what TV series I got this idea from ( I've dropped obvious hints but they're in the next two chapters...), you can request a story from me! :D

LACROW. YOU DON'T COUNT, OKAY? YOU DON'T. Why? Cuz I've been fangirling to you too much, so you of all people should know by now XD