It Is What It Is
Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater or the characters.
"Mmmmm feel that tropical breeze!" Liz inhaled as she stretched her arms.
"Sis, sis, look at this turtle!" Patti shouted, holding up the terrapin high in the air. "Think we could have it for dinner?"
Kid looked up from his guide book and frowned at her. "Patti, put that down. And the island is actually in the subtropics."
"Okaaaay," Patti pouted, but she did as told. Liz on the other hand just rolled her eyes.
"Subtropics, tropics. I really don't see a difference."
Kid ignored Liz's comment and returned to looking through the maps.
"As promised, we can look around the city, but this is doubling as research, understand?" With a sharp snap, he closed the book and pocketed it before looking at Liz in specific. "We are here for a week, so you won't need to do all of your shopping right away."
"Oh relax," Liz waved dismissively at him. "We're in Bermuda! Filled with beautiful beaches and—" Her eyes trailed after a group of surfers entering the resort the trio had just exited. "—hot guys," she sighed. "That bat thing won't be going anywhere anytime soon."
An eyebrow twitched, but Kid just let out a breath and shook his head. "Just remember we're here on a mission and not on vacation?" Though he knew that until they actually started searching, it really would seem like a vacation. "Now come on."
"Riiiight," the sisters said in unison as they followed after their meister.
The team had been sent to Hamilton, Bermuda to help with the recent string of attacks occurring all over the Bermuda islands. However, from the outset they looked more like a group of teenagers on spring break than agents of Shibusen on the hunt for a corrupted soul. This was more by design as Kid wanted them to blend in with the other tourists rather than attract attention. Of course Liz did not care much about the reason—as long as she could wear whatever she wanted, she was set.
Despite Kid's initial statements, their excursion did end up turning more into a sight seeing trip than a research trip. Whenever they passed a store, Liz would ignore Kid's protests—"It'll just be a minute!"—and duck inside. Forty-five "just another" minutes later, they would have at least one new bag to carry. Of course Kid was also guilty of distracting them from their cause. Whenever they came upon a notable landmark, he would quickly rush over to read over the facts and spend quite a bit of time admiring its history. There were also times where he would waste time straightening and dusting off certain monuments and plaques. Knowing there was no point in stopping him, Liz would let him do what he wanted while she looked through the windows of any nearby stores.
Then there was Patti, who was a distraction all by herself. She would run ahead chasing after some animal or another and the two would have to run after her. The last thing they needed was to cause some international incident over a protected animal (at least Stein was not there). At one point she actually climbed up one of the taller palm trees and it took over ten minutes before she descended back down. In the end, it wasn't Liz's frequent shopping stops or Kid's constant rearranging. It was Patti who exhausted the other two.
By the time the late afternoon rolled around, Kid and Liz were sitting back to back on an open, shaded seating area in one of the parks while Patti continued to run and play around. Kid had purchased them some smoothies from a local vendor, and they were both taking the moment to re-gather their strength.
"Well there went that plan," Kid said dryly before taking another sip out of the mango smoothie he ordered. Although the heat did not really bother him, the drink was still wonderfully refreshing.
"At least you weren't lugging around ten bags of clothes," Liz countered, the cool glass of the tropical fruit smoothie pressed against her cheek. Unlike her meister, the heat did bother her. "You could have helped, you know."
He just glanced back at her with a smirk. "You were the one who insisted on buying all of that. I warned you it would only get in the way." He let out a small "oof" as the girl pushed all her weight against his back in response, but the smirk remained.
"So where do we go from here?" Liz stared up through the large palm leaves above them. She could see a few coconuts still hanging and hoped they did not decide to fall on their heads.
Reaching back to pull out the guide book, he flipped through the pages. "Hm…we're near one of Shibusen's agents. We can get the information from him and by then it should be time for dinner. There are a few local places we could try if you want to choose." He held the book over his head and Liz reached up to grab it.
"Seafood, seafood, seafood," Liz murmured as she scanned the list. "Well if you have a craving for fish, there's plenty of it," she joked. "Oh, but—" As she straightened, Kid turned to see what she was looking at. "This one seems interesting."
"The 'Blue Seashell'?" he read before glancing at her. "Let me guess. It's because they offer free pearls."
"I don't see anything wrong with that," Liz huffed, though it was completely true.
"You realize they aren't really free, correct?" he continued as he read more of the promotion. "You still have to order a certain meal and it's a random oyster. It could end up tiny."
"Oh stop sticking to the details," she said as she closed the book in his face. "It's the experience that matters!" And she wanted the pearl, anyway.
Kid did not quite appreciate having a book almost snapped shut on his nose, so he gave Liz a small glare. In return, she just smiled, tilted her head in what he could only assume was supposed to be some sort of coy expression, and stood up.
"Anyway, I have a better idea. Why don't you go see the informant guy while we," as in, she and Patti, "continue shopping around?"
"How much more shopping could you possibly do?" he sighed. He had stopped keeping track after the fifth outfit and second pair of sandals. There were also three pairs of earrings in there somewhere. Though he never liked the idea of them separating when in a foreign location, particularly while on a mission, he supposed it would be fine this time. The girls would most likely be bored and recalling the last time Patti had trashed an agent's office, it would be easier if he went by himself. So after a moment of hesitation, he finally assented. "All right, but we should set up a meeting point. It's about four now, so let's try to meet back here at around six?" That would give the girls ample time for shopping and allow him to do a bit of extra investigating.
"Works for me," Liz said before holding up the book. "Since we'll be walking around, we can hold onto this, right?"
Kid was starting to feel as if she was becoming leader of their little group. "Yes. But if you have any trouble, just call me." He then finished his drink and held out his hand to take her glass.
"Got it. Have fun," she said before calling out for Patti (the girl had climbed up a chestnut tree this time). They had two hours, and she was not going to waste a minute of it.
As like most of their offices, the agent was located in an obscure, "off the beaten path" location. And like always, when Kid stepped inside he was greeted by a wave of musty air and had to resist automatically picking up the loose papers and start reorganizing everything. The inside was cluttered with books, files, and papers, with this one having an additional bonus of empty brown bottles scattered about, all of which he could only assume to have once contained alcohol. The only thing that prevented him from cleaning everything was the painful memory of a prior experience. Having to put everything back in the state of disarray had been one of the most anguishing moments of his life.
After tearing his eyes away from the many precarious stacks of papers, he studied the room. The office was small with only two doors—the one Kid just entered from and one near the back. He could hear a parrot squawking from the adjacent room. At the center was a large, old wooden desk. The mountain of disorganized loose papers made Kid cringe. "Captain Morgan?" he finally called out as he stepped over a crate.
"Aye," a gruff voice answered from behind the pile. "You must be the Shibusen student." A large hand appeared and plucked a blue sheet of paper from a nearby stack. "Death the Kid, eh? The royal son himself."
Kid frowned at the last remark. "We're not royal," he said as he made the perilous journey closer to the desk. If the papers did not bury him, the bottles would likely trip him.
"Close enough," the voice yawned before the end of a pipe suddenly appeared from the side. "While you're over there, pick up that red folder."
How that man could see from behind that huge pile was beyond the young death god's comprehension, but after a quick look to his right he spotted the red folder and did as requested. It was rather thick and worn, held together only be several layers of duct tape.
"You'll find all that you need in there." A loud creak of an old leather chair. "It's a pretty interestin' read."
Kid frowned as he opened the folder and flipped through the pages. He had to be careful as like the room, the contents of the folder were less than secure. There were several smaller sheets of paper and photographs loosely clipped to certain files, and there were at least two sticky notes for every page. "All of this is about the attacks?" he asked in disbelief.
"They date all the way back to the '50s."
That long ago? But as Kid skimmed over the file names, his eyes lit up in recognition and he quickly looked over toward the desk.
"You're familiar with the stories, aren't ya?" The papers shifted and moved, sliding along the surface of the desk like a glacier flow before two burly arms shoved them roughly off the side and, to Kid's horror, onto the floor. But now he could at least see the man he had been talking to. The captain smelled of alcohol, tobacco, and the sea, with the stains on his shirt to prove it. Morgan tipped his captain's hat at Kid with the tip of his black pipe, smoke still billowing from the large open end. A large, round monocle rested over his right eye, though it looked less like a traditional monocle and more like a telescope lens. "Pardon the mess—though I know yer havin' a fit about it," he chuckled. "A good bottle of rum should clear that up. Don't look like a minor anymore, anyway."
In other words, Kid realized, Morgan knew about his condition and the paper throw down had been deliberate. "I'll manage," Kid answered through clenched teeth and ignored the drinking remark. "But if you are referring to the Bermuda Triangle tales, yes. However, I thought they were all debunked and explained by more rational reasons."
"Some were," the informant said, "but a few weren't." He then reached down and pulled out a large, rolled up paper. As he unfurled it, Kid recognized it as a sea navigational chart focused on the Bermuda islands.
"See these red dots?" There were a clusters of red stickers centered around two specific locations, all of them near a few of the reported locations where ships and planes had allegedly crashed. "Those are the ones in that folder," he jerked his head to the red folder still in Kid's hands. "We suspect that it ain't no supernatural phenomenon, but a kishin egg."
Kid frowned. "But to last this long without being detected?"
The captain waved a thick finger. "It was playin' smart, but now we're onto it. We had a recent string of disappearances, usually timed durin' storms."
"It was using the storms as cover so the bodies would never be found and no one would give a second look due to the high volume of crashes that happened already," Kid murmured. "Clever."
"Until some recent wreckage washed up." Morgan drawled. "Problem is we still haven't been able to pinpoint its nest and there might be more than one of 'em." He leaned back in his chair and took a swig from one of the nearby bottles of rum. "Gonna have your hands full."
"We'll manage." Although Kid had anticipated the possibility, dealing with multiple kishin at once would still be difficult, especially if one of them was as old as the files suggested. The mindless ones were easy. It was the ones who lived long and were cunning that were dangerous.
"Anyway," Morgan jabbed a finger at a particular cluster near St. George. "You should start there. There're a few small islands that we think might serve as one of their homes. You should have a copy of the map in the folder."
Kid studied the map. "When do you suggest we head out?"
"There's a storm comin' from the north within the next few days so it'll be on the hunt. I'd try and get out there quick if I were you. But when you do head out, start in the morning. Seems like it's mostly active at night so if you want to do some investigatin' or surprise it, daylight's your best bet."
"All right." That seemed simple enough, though the storm did mean they would have to hasten their efforts. The last thing he needed was to be stranded on some remote island while having to fend off a giant bat, or worse, two.
As he turned to leave, Kid heard the creak of the old leather chair and the heavy thump of boots as the captain stood.
"One last thing," Morgan said. The sudden heavy silence made Kid glance back. "Got another little bit of info you might wanna hear. Curious?"
Uncertain by the man's expression, Kid looked at him with some reservation. "…If it relates to Shibusen or the mission, then yes."
"Oh it's related all right." The captain pulled a yellow folder from atop a different stack and flicked it over. Kid caught it easily with his free hand and glanced at Morgan before opening it. What he read was not what he had expected. At all.
It was a quarter until six and the girls were still all the way across the small town. But Kid could wait. Liz was far too happy with her recent purchases.
"You just can't find these styles in Death City," she sighed as she held out her wrist to look at the new set of bracelets she had acquired. Of course she had a matching set on her other arm—Kid would have a fit otherwise, and she did not want to hear him complaining about it. "Hopefully the others will like their gifts."
"Look, sis!" Patti exclaimed, completely ignoring her sister's thoughts. "Isn't that you and Kid?"
That was not what she expected to hear. "…Huh?" Liz looked up to see where her sister was pointing only to almost drop her bags.
There was a small vendor table that displayed various small drawings and colored sketches across the street from them. Each picture depicted some aspect of the social life—people walking through streets, walking their pets, entering and exiting buildings, whizzing down streets on their scooters. For hand drawn sketches, they were pretty impressive. But the one that caught her eye was the one that Patti alluded to—the one of her and Kid. It was when they had been sitting together back at the park and he was leaning over to look at the guide book.
"Aaaaaah!" Feeling a rush of embarrassment, she ran over and quickly picked it up. "Why is that here? Who did this?"
"Hey, if you want it, you're gonna have to pay for it," a female voice said gruffly behind her.
When Liz turned around, she found herself looking down at a small but robust woman, her skin tanned dark from the daily exposure to the Bermuda sun. Heavy beaded necklaces draped around her thin neck and she had enough piercings and tattoos to rival a street gang. A stick of lollipop protruded from her mouth and moved up and down as she stared up at Liz. The woman then peered closer at the sketch, eyes narrowing before lighting up. "Aaah yeah, I remember that. I was just walkin' through the park when I saw you two together. Cute," she grinned.
Before Liz could retort, Patti pushed her way between them. "Did you really draw all these?" she asked in awe.
"You got it," the woman winked and took out the half eaten lollipop. "I was never into painting fruit and all that shit. Capturing the moment of one's life is more interesting."
"I can draw, too!" Patti bounced.
"Oh yeah? Show me."
As the woman brought Patti around the table to give her some paper, Liz just sighed before looking back at the small paper in her hands. It was no larger than a standard book yet the details were unbelievable. It really looked just like them. And, she was loathe to admit, it was kind of cute, though she attributed it to Kid's expression. It was rare to see him so relaxed like that. It also probably did not help that light, pastel colors softened the tones.
She was so focused on the sketch that she jumped when the woman spoke to her again. "If you want it I'll give you a discount."
Before, Liz had been embarrassed at the thought of herself in some random painting displayed on the street. Now she was not sure why she felt the heat rush to her cheeks as she scowled. "Who said I wanted it?"
"Your eyes," the woman smirked. "You've been staring at it this whole time your sister drew me this little gem." She held up the doodle of two pigs and a giraffe—trademark images from the one and only Patricia Thompson.
"Then it wasn't that long," Liz muttered as she slammed the picture back down on the table. "Besides it's not like we don't already have enough pictures of us." However, those pictures usually had all three of them, if not just the sisters or just Kid whenever they could sneak a picture for laughs.
"Ah, but do you have any like this?" The woman asked, as if reading her mind, and held the sketch back up, much to Liz's displeasure. What was worse was the fact that the woman was right. They really didn't. Kid would probably feel the picture was unbalanced if there were only one of the two sisters with him. It was a little sad, but that did not also mean she wanted one either.
"I think you should buy it!" Patti said in her usual jovial manner, either ignorant or because of her sister's apparent discomfort. It was never easy to tell with the girl. "And show it to Kid!"
"What—no, Patti we don't need it."
"Then I'll buy it!" she continued happily while Liz groaned. She had forgotten she had given Patti some money to spend for herself, most of which had remained untouched.
"Thank you for your patronage," the woman sang as she pocketed the cash and placed the sketch in a small folder. The folder's design was rather intricate, with swirling patterns that looked almost tribal. Something that Liz would imagine on a Henna tattoo. "In exchange for the work of art your sister did," she winked as she handed the reluctant Liz the small packet. "Enjoy your time in Bermuda."
"Yeah…thanks," Liz could only mumble as she stared at the object in her hands. But she did not have time to dwell on it for long. Her cell phone was ringing in her purse, and after a few moments she managed to fish it out.
"Kid? Yeah we're—"
"Finish up whatever you're doing and come back to the park right now. Do not get distracted, understand?"
Liz furrowed her brows at his tone. Either he found something that was in dire need of rearranging, or something serious came up. "Uh…yeah, okay. We'll be there soon," she said and hung up after they exchanged good-byes. Still puzzled, she shoved the folder into one of her many shopping bangs and grabbed Patti's hand. "Come on, Patti, we better go."
"Bye-bye, lady!" Patti waved before the girls took off, leaving the table full of its snapshot sketches behind.
The two girls ran through the streets, nimbly weaving through the crowds. Their hard lives on the streets had taught them every trick to stealthily and quickly get through large masses of people, though Bermuda had nothing on Brooklyn. The streets were small with the alleys and side streets even smaller. Ducking through some back alleys, Liz could not help but be reminded a little of their old days.
They did not arrive at the park until fifteen minutes past the scheduled meeting point. As they jogged the last few steps, Liz had to pause to catch her breath. It took longer than she had thought. Of course it did not help that they had gotten turned around a few times.
When she looked up, she found Kid standing in front of the place they had been only a few hours before. But instead of the calm, serene atmosphere that remained hidden in her shopping bag, it had completely changed. He was tense, and it looked like he was about to try and call her again. Before she could call out to him, Patti beat her to the punch.
"Kiiiiiiid!" Patti shouted as she ran over to him, breaking both the silence and Liz's thoughts.
"What took you so long? I thought I told you—Hey!" Kid exclaimed, as the smaller girl jumped onto him and clung onto his waist. "Patti, get off!"
"Give us a break, we ran as fast as we could," Liz sighed. Wedges and fifteen shopping bags did not help.
Kid managed to pry Patti off, but the look of haggard exasperation hardened once more as he straightened his shirt. "We'll have to cancel dinner," he finally said.
"Huh?" the sisters said in unison.
"We're going back to the hotel. There's been a change of plans."
The two girls glanced at each other. Something was definitely up, and whatever it was, it wasn't good.
A/N: Somehow, what originally was supposed to be a simple fluff fic turned into…well some kind of complex, multi-chapter action/suspense romance fic? I don't know. It keeps changing with every new chapter and I keep rewriting and reorganizing sections. In other words, this is a fic with a mind of its own. But there will be a lot of emotional development involved. Because love is complicated. So complicated. Bermuda may be their starting point, but where will it end…?
And as a side note, all OCs used only serve as plot devices to help further the story along. In other words, they're only minor side characters. Though I will admit Captain Morgan is growing on me, haha. If you don't catch what he's a parody of, you will in the next chapter |D
Also, I hate FF's formatting. With a burning passion.