In my darkest day I can find you

He's staring, and he knows it, but he can't really help himself-doesn't even want to bother. For a while, he thought this was the last he would see of her-busted and bloody, one eye half swollen shut, mouth twisted in a "come at me," smirk that makes his blood boil.

That they make it out of the book feels like a miracle, that she's not leaving him on his own eases the tightness in his chest right up until the point at which they emerge into another battle, and he's still having to support Maka to make sure she stays upright.

"It's fine," she says to their comrades. "Just a little while longer," she murmurs in his ear, and against his better judgment, he transforms.

She's visibly upset when Gopher escapes, but he's got an arm under her, careful of her bloody back before she can run off and do something stupid. The battle is over, and Blair takes one look at them and shoos them away, informing them that she can make her way home later and not to worry. He takes them home, ignoring her pleas to go to Shibusen for a debriefing.

"We've got a mirror at home, yeah? Lord Death can take a call in the morning."

She grumbles into his back, but scoots a little closer and pulls her arms in a little tighter around his waist. It hurts a little, but not enough that he's going to tell her to stop. He doesn't even bother with his proper parking space, just leaves the bike on the street and figures he might be able to swing any tickets as business expenses. There've gotta be some perks to being a Deathscythe apart from getting the shit kicked out of you, right?

They hobble up the stairs together, trying not to wince with every jarring step. Soul knows he's jostling her a little, but she doesn't complain, just tries to take as much weight off of him as she can. He fumbles with the key for a moment before the door unlocks and they slump into the apartment. Soul can see Maka eyeball the couch, and he tightens his grip on her and steers her to the bathroom.

"Come on; we oughta get you cleaned up."

"I can do it just fine, Soul."

He raises an eyebrow and runs a finger around the impressive bruise starting to form across her shoulders. She winces and toes off her boots before preceding him into the bathroom. She hits the lights and lowers herself gingerly onto the toilet seat lid. Soul notices how she doesn't even glance at the vanity's mirror. He slips past her and turns the water on in the tub full force.

They've done this enough-too many times, he thinks sometimes, that Maka is already undoing the tie on her uniform and tossing into the corner of the bathroom. "Laundry is going to be a bitch," she says tiredly, and he chuckles as he gets out the antiseptic.

"Isn't it always?"

She undoes the buttons on her jacket, and he helps her cringe out of it. "At least we can bleach these uniforms...not that it's going to matter much for my poor coat."

"Maybe you can get a new one? I think we can argue pretty strongly for a reimbursement." He crouches in front of her, and holds up the peroxide bottle. Maka sighs, but stretches out one leg obligingly. He raises an eyebrow. "Really? You got the boots off, but left the socks?" From her position above him, she just smirks a little.

"You wanted me to get cleaned up," she reminds him with false innocence. He growls a little, but takes her sock off anyway. He has to peel it from her skin, the cotton soaked through with blood from the countless cuts on her legs. Soul wonders at the probability of getting his meister to start wearing pants, then scoffs at himself. He is brusk with his movements, but keeps his hands as gentle as possible, cradling her ankle on his thighs while he soaks a gauze pad with peroxide.

She flinches before he even touches her cuts, and Soul snickers. "I haven't even touched you yet-don't be such a wimp."

"But it's gonna sting~"

"Deal with it, nerd," he says, and presses the pad to the first of many cuts. She hisses through her teeth, and Soul contemplates how utterly laughable it is that his meister would be afraid of a little disinfectant-the woman who has faced down countless demons and pre-kishin, who's spilled blood and sweat and tears, weathered broken ribs and dislocated shoulders with nothing more than a faint grimace. Still, it is kind of endearing the way that she pouts as he carefully wipes the blood and dirt from her skin. "Here," he says and blows lightly across her cuts, as the peroxide bubbles and stings. "Is that better?" Maka sighs a little in relief. He had meant it as a joke, but he doesn't stop.

She won't admit it out loud, but she kind of likes this-the feeling of Soul's warm hands on her skin. She even likes the faint roughness of his calluses as he tries to sooth away her wounds. She stretches over, ignoring the pull of her cuts on her back and turns the faucet off. The tub is nearly full, but that doesn't stop Soul from shooting her a little glare.


"I could have gotten that."

She sniffs. "Yeah, and so could I, so I did. I'm not broken, Soul. I can still turn off the damn water before the tub overflows."

He grumbles a little more, but his touch is still light and gentle as he moves past her knee. Next to them, the trashcan becomes increasingly full of little red gauze pads. She tries not to think about the way Soul's breath feels ghosting across her skin, and chalks up her light-headed feeling to blood loss.

"Lift," he orders quietly, and she doesn't hesitate raising her leg for him to access the back of her thigh. Soul slips his shoulder under her knee, and Maka grips the edge of the toilet seat, white knuckled as he dabs aways the blood, and stares intently at the crown of her weapon's head, bowed between her legs. Her heart pounds as his hair tickles the inside of her thigh.

Gingerly, he lowers her leg off his shoulder, and scoots back far enough to start the process all over again with her other leg. Maka can't decide if she likes the fact that he's taking his sweet time or not. Part of her still keyed up, fidgety and wired, and she wants to kick him out of the bathroom, and just scrub away the battle grime. The other part languishes in the way he's taking care of her. Soul flings her other sock away and rubs a thumb along the arch of her foot. Maka's toes curl in pleasure and she hums, happily slamming the door on that lingering voice of doubt in her head that looks like a busty little sycophant. She doesn't have to rely on Soul, but she can, and she lets that feeling wash over her.

He wants to be professional-a partner and friend, but her skin is smooth under his fingers, and he can't help but linger just a little longer than he should. Even still, her right leg missed most of the brunt of Giriko's attacks, and before he knows it, he's got a palm under her knee.

"Lift," he says again, voice just a little more rough. She knows where this is going and lifts her leg high enough to place it on his shoulder unassisted. Soul gets another new piece of gauze and presses it to a cut. He can see her muscles trembling as he blows lightly on the cut. She's lucky that that slice missed her femoral artery, and for a moment, Soul is reminded how precarious their lives are.

He inches further up her thigh, and if he brushes his nose against her skin just this once, he prays that she doesn't notice. She shifts carefully on her perch, and he shudders faintly, inhaling the slick copper smell of blood and dirt must and something that is just entirely Maka. She smells warm and alive, and he holds that knowledge close.

Too soon, he slides out from under her leg and tosses away the blood-soaked gauze. Kneeling between her legs, he straightens, hand brushing her chin softly. She lets him direct her head, eyes never leaving his.

"This isn't too bad," he murmurs, and begins to wipe away the dried blood.

"Head wounds rarely are," she replies, trying not to fidget with his nearness or the way his slim hips fit so snugly between her thighs. He tilts her chin once more, and brushes a finger across the slight swelling she can feel near her eye. She winces a little, and he leans back, giving her space. Her hands grip the toilet seat, tight and tense and he frowns slightly.

"Did I hurt you?"

She blinks and stares at him like maybe he might have hit his head too many times in that last fight. "N-no. Of course not," she says, and her hands loosen just a tad.

"I'm probably about to," he says softly, thinking of the mess her back is in. Maka shrugs a shoulder.

"You won't. Not on purpose, anyway." Her fingers play with the hem of her shirt.

"Do you need help?" he asks, and he can't quite look away from the bottom button of her shirt. Maka shakes her head, and in a sudden burst of movement, begins to pop the buttons. Soul swallows and stands quickly. He washes his hands and checks the temperature of the bathwater, and by the time he turns back around, Maka is staring up at him, irritated.

"Help me up," she mutters, and scowls a little at his chuckle. He pulls her to her feet and she stumbles a little. He steadies her, hands on her shoulders, long fingers slipping under her open shirt. She shakes a little as he skims her skin, pushing the ruined shirt from her shoulders. It clings to her wounds, dried blood crusting the material to her skin and she bites her lip hard enough to leave a mark as her hands fist into Soul's shirt.

"Shh," he murmurs, wincing along with her. He hates this part, hates everything about her blood on her clothes and the way she trembles against him. Soul places a hand on the back of her head, pressing her close while his other hand slips along her skin and begins the process of prizing her shirt out of the cuts. It takes longer than he wants, but to go any faster would mean more pain, and he is having a hard enough time not shaking himself as her silent tears soak into his collarbone. At last, the shirt is free, and he gently disentangles her hands from his shirt to slide the damn thing the rest of the way off.

It isn't the first time he's been faced with a nearly naked meister, but something feels strange and altered as she stands there in her skirt and tattered bra. Maka cocks her head to the side, trails of wet starting to dry on her cheeks. She ignores them.

"What about you?" she asks.

"What about me?"

Her eyes narrow and she steps into his personal bubble. "I know you're hurt too. What about your wounds?"

Soul rolls a shoulder. "It's cool. I'm fine." She gives him a skeptical glare. "Look, would you just...get in the damn tub already? I can wait, ok?"

"No." She pokes him in the chest and he cringes. Maka raises a triumphant eyebrow. "Off," she demands, and then her hands are at his collar. His jacket is lying somewhere in the living room, and nimble fingers make quick work of his tie and buttons.

"Dammit, ok, fine. I can do it myself, Maka-"

She scoffs a little, and tugs the hem of his shirt out of his pants. His shoulders are sore from too many hits on scytheblades, and Maka can't stop staring at the faint bloody lines that mar his forearms. She gingerly takes one of his wrists in her hand and unbuttons his cuff, then repeats the gesture with his other hand, fingers skating along his wrist. Soul twitches a little, but Maka has already moved on, and is peeling back his shirt past aching shoulders and arms to pool on the ground.

"Can you lift your arms?"

"I got it, geez." He grabs the back of his tank top and manages to haul it over his head with minor pain and discomfort-from where Soul stands, he'll consider that one a win. "Are you going to get in that tub now, or what?"

Maka hums noncommittally, her eyes fixed on the way his shoulders are starting to purple up. She runs a hand over them lightly, and Soul exhales noisily. "Maaaakaaa." Her fingers brush over a cut that parallels his scar and she looks up at him. He gives her a small, lopsided smile and hooks a finger in the waistband of her skirt. "Come on, Maka. I promise you can fix me up after we get you clean, ok?"

She sighs a little, but her skirt slides to the floor in consent, and she brushes past her weapon to step into the tub delicately. The water is deliciously hot still, and Maka can feel all of her muscles begin to unwind like magic. She balances carefully on the edge of the tub and looks back at her weapon.

"How do you want me?"

It kind of feels like he's been punched in the guts, and his nervous system sizzles and pops for a moment before he swallows.

"I dunno, ah. In the damn tub would be a good start." He thinks that might be relatively safe. She nods from her perch, and her hands snake behind her. She grunts and struggles for a moment before her fingers latch onto the hooks of her bra. The realization of what she's getting at dawns on him like one of those slow motion scenes. But even with her injuries, Maka has years of practice, and her bra pops off before he can stop her.

Soul hopes the noise he makes isn't audible on the sound spectrum as his meister slips into the tub. She sighs contentedly, and folds her legs akimbo, taking care to keep most of her back free of the water. The water stings, but it's not as bad as the peroxide on her legs, and she closes her eyes, relaxing.

Her pale green panties do precisely nothing to preserve her modesty once she's in the water, and Soul concentrates on his breathing because this isn't the time or the place and god what is wrong with him.

He's going to have to climb in the tub with her. On some level, he knew that it was going to have to happen if he wanted to clean her back effectively, but the reality of the situation is much more daunting. Maka cracks open an eye and shoots him a look.

"If you're not actually going to clean my wounds, I'm getting back out of the tub to take care of yours instead." Soul groans a little, but shuffles over to the tub. Maybe he can compromise. He kneels, leaning over the edge of the tub, and ignores the aching pull of his shoulders as he wets the washcloth. "What are you doing?" she asks, eyes fixed firmly ahead.

"I'm cleaning your back."

She scoffs a little. "Get in the tub, Soul," she says, echoing his earlier words. "Or do I have to drag you in here myself?"

"You could try," he hedges, and she looks over her shoulder at that, eyes trailing up and down his body speculatively. After a moment, she dismisses him with a confident,

"I could take you."

He sighs and stands, and can't help but notice the way her the tips of her ears pink when he unbuckles his belt, or how the flush spreads down the back of her neck when he unzips his slacks. He kicks them over into the corner with the rest of their hopeless laundry and tries not to think of the implications of their clothes tangled together.

His feet are cold, and the hot water sends pinpricks through his toes as he adjusts. He can't stop staring at the elegant line of her back as she leans forward, the way her hips flair, slightly rounded and erotic in a way he really can't pinpoint, and Soul kind of wants to punch himself in the dick because this is entirely inappropriate, and not conducive AT ALL to getting them both clean and fixed up. He exhales heavily and lowers himself into the tub, hissing a little at the sensation of hot water soaking his boxers and junk.

"You ok back there?" she asks, mostly teasing.

He grits his teeth. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you." He scoots forward, and lets his legs settle on either side of her. She winces a little, but scooches back towards him. "Are you ok?"

Maka rolls her eyes. "Yes, but I'll be even better when we get this over with."

Soul wets the washcloth and gently presses Maka's back. She leans forward obligingly. "Patience," he hums, and she heaves an extra noisy sigh in his direction. He snorts, and begins the careful process of wiping away the dried blood. The wounds are not as bad as he thought originally, and Soul relaxes marginally, but there are several, and as he cleans, Maka's muscles begin to tense up again. Her breathing is shallow, and Soul stops for a moment. "Hey," he says. Maka glances back at him. "Need me to take a break?"

She kind of wants to say yes, but more than that, she wants this to be over with, so she shakes her head. "No, it's fine. Just...keep going." Her hands leave her lap to grip the edges of the tub. Around them, the water darkens as Soul continues to wipe her wounds clean. He's partially through the third cut when she starts trembling.

He hates this.

Soul scoots a little closer, taking as much care as he can to not bump Maka more than he already has. He steadies her with his free hand, palm resting against her ribcage, thumb making small, soothing circles.

"Almost done," he murmurs, and she nods, shaking subsiding slightly. Maka hunches her shoulders forward a touch more, and Soul struggles to ignore the fact that the warm weight of his meister's breast is resting against his fingers.

The skin of her back is angry, but at least it's clean, and the gashes Giriko left as a reminder have clotted well. Around them, the water is a sickly pink color, and Soul is more than ready to get out and rinse the tub clean.

"I need you to help me up," Maka says quietly, back still to him.

"Yeah, of course." He hauls himself up, shoulders protesting enough that he's glad she can't see the grimace he makes. Soul is a little at a loss until she cautiously turns herself around, one hand laced protectively over her chest. He holds out a hand, and she grips it tightly, letting him pull her to her feet.

"I, ah, I need to rinse off," she mumbles, and he nods, making a valiant attempt to keep his eyes above her collarbone.

"Not a bad idea. I should, too." He turns his back to her, and turns the shower on cold long enough to elicit a small yelp from him and a faint giggle from Maka. He glares at her over his shoulder, and she blushes, looking up and away from his ass. He warms the water back up and ignores the sharp ache of the shallow cuts on his chest and arms and the way the water that sluices off of him is still tinged with blood as it circles the drain.

"Here," she says from behind him, and then there's something on his back, and he doesn't have to look to know that it's her pink, froofy loofah that skates lightly across his shoulders. He swears he can hear her breathing even over the pounding of the shower, and closes his eyes to drink in the sensation. She covers his back, slowly inches down his spine, and he freezes as she skirts the top of his soaked boxers, and then there's flesh pressed against his back, and Soul thinks he might have to turn the water back to cold as she runs the loofah over his abdomen.

Her heart feels like it's going to pound out of her chest, and there's no way that Soul doesn't feel it the way that she's brazenly glued to his back. But she gently scrubs back up his chest, making sure that she doesn't hit his scratches too hard. Soul lets out a muffled noise and jerks against her, and belatedly she realizes that she might have just done a drive by on one of his nipples. Her face is scarlet, but at least he can't see it.

"Switch?" she asks softly, and he grunts, eyes still closed, head tilted like a saint towards the ceiling. Maka peels herself away from his back and they shuffle awkwardly around, trying to make sure that Maka doesn't get a backful of hot water and Soul desperate to keep the fact that, despite his best intentions, he's got one hell of a boner right now. She runs the loofah over her own shoulders and chest quickly and efficiently, and when she starts to lean over to shut the water off, Soul puts a hand on her shoulder.

"You can go ahead. I'll turn it off." She gives him a quick glance over her shoulder, and he gives her a crooked little grin. "It'll be easier on your back," he says, and she shrugs a little, and pulls back the curtain. Behind her, she hears the creak of the knob and another muffled curse from Soul before the water shuts off completely and realizes that she's in trouble.

Her bra is on the floor and barely functional, not to mention that the band cuts far too close to the raw parts of her back. Her shirt is in tatters. She squeaks a little as she grabs Soul's button down and struggles into it. She's still fumbling with the buttons when he flings the shower curtain back and hastily wraps a towel around his waist.

"What-" She hadn't bothered to dry off before putting his button down on, and it is effectively useless when it comes to hiding her tits-the soaked material clings to just about every curve she possesses, and Soul is floored. He swallows and tries again. "What are you doing with my shirt?"

Maka has the grace to look a little embarrassed. "I can't wear my bra, and my shirt doesn't anymore."

Soul raises an eyebrow, and attempts to keep his eyes trained on her face. "Yeah, whatever, shirt stealer."

She shoots him a look and taps her foot. "I haven't forgotten," she says. "Your turn."

"I'm fine, really. Shower got everything fine."

"Soul Eater," her voice is hard and brooks no argument. "You took care of my wounds, and I am going to take care of yours. Now. Come here." Soul sighs, but goes. "Arms," she demands, gauze in hand. He obliges, and she grabs his hand, all business. The gauze is gentle against his cuts, though-careful dabs that catch any stray bits of blood or dirt. He twitches a little and she raises her eyes to his. "Stings?"

Soul nods. "A little."

She gives him a crooked little grin and mimics his earlier actions, breath washing softly over the bubbling antiseptic. Her palm still grasps his, and she makes little circles with her thumb across his knuckles. The other arm gets the same treatment, and it's all he can do to keep his forearm from trembling under her touch.

Maka moves on to his chest and then stops, eyes going a wide. "What the hell?" She goes up on her toes and swipes a finger along his hairline, pulling away with a bloody finger. Frowning, she tries to scramble onto the counter. She slips a little, and Soul's right there, hands are on her hips in an instant, steadying her.

"Maka what-"

"Your head is bleeding and it wasn't doing that before and I need to reach it."

"What, really?" Soul brings a hand to his forehead, but Maka smacks it away.

"Bend your head a little," she demands, and he obeys. Her fingers are light as they skim through his hair, and Soul finds that he doesn't really care that he might have a head wound because really that just feels fantastic. His hands are still on her hips, but she doesn't say anything, and he leaves them there and tries to ignore the way his thumbs curve over her hipbones. His shirt is too big on her and gapes open. He wants to lick the thin sheen of dampness from her collarbone.

Her hips wiggle underneath his hands as she scoots a little closer and the towel around his waist, the damp boxers, do precisely nothing to shield him from the heat of his meister's thighs as she tightens them against his hips. Soul lets out a deep breath as slowly as he can and tries to calm his thundering heart.

"AH-ha!" she exclaims, and she's dabbing gently at a small slice on his scalp, one hand still tangled in his head, holding him steady. Maka struggles to remain clinical; her breasts ache as he exhales onto her skin, nipples pebbling against his damp shirt. She wants to get this done and escape into her room where she can try and forget about this fucking bizarre day and the way her body aches and her heart slams against her ribcage when they're like this. She can sleep and forget about the despair and helplessness she felt, the way her own brain betrayed her.

He's taken such good care of her, though. Physically, mentally-his faith in her, in them, steadies her as much as his hand on her waist or hip. This is the least she can do, she thinks, wiping away the last of the blood. She wants to do so much more, but this she will settle for. Her fingers untangle from his soft hair, and he leans up a little, giving a small sigh that sends goosebumps down her arms.

Maka drenches the last piece of gauze and touches it to his chest gingerly. His scar and the small slices across his chest stare back at her, mocking reminders of her failures, of his loyalty and devotion, and of what a coward she is. She keeps her head bowed as she cleans, and tries to fight off that creeping sensation the Book of Eibon has left her with.

"Hey." Soul's voice is soft, his fingers are under her chin, tilting her head up. "Stop it," he frowns.

"Stop what?"

"Stop your nerdy circular brain thoughts. I can feel you thinking."

She gives him a little smile. "Stupid, huh?"

"Yeah, pretty much," he smiles back. "All done?"

Maka nods mutely, green eyes wide.

"Good. C'mere," he says, and tugs on her hips gently. She squeaks a little, sliding off the counter, body caught between the sink and the hard lines of Soul's chest. His shirt rides up a little, but she doesn't bother to tug it down. He keeps one hand on her hip, the other reaches up to brush damp bangs from her forehead. "Thank you," he murmurs, and before he can think about it, before she can react, he presses his lips against her forehead.

And then he's opening the bathroom door, cheeks a little pink, as she tries to pull her heart from her throat. "You hungry?"

"Wha-um. No, not really. Just really tired." She takes a deep breath, tries to steady herself. "I think I'm going to go ahead and go to bed."

Soul cocks his head to the side. "Are you sure you're all right?"

She smiles, and mostly means it when she says, "Yeah." Maka brushes past him and makes it all the way to her door before he calls out,

"So you're planning on keeping my shirt, then?"

She glances over his shoulder and smirks a little. "What, you gonna to take it off me?" It's strangely gratifying to see the pink in his cheeks darken.

Soul contemplates taking his shirt back, but he finds that he rather likes the idea of her sleeping in his clothes, that it makes his blood burn with a strange sort of proud possessiveness. "I guess you can keep it," he says, and while it isn't quite the cool rejoinder he wanted, at least it doesn't come out as a squeaky mess.

"Thank you," she says mockingly.

"Yeah, whatever. No big. Let me know if you need anything, all right? I'll check on you in a bit."

Maka wonders if perhaps she is more injured than she has previously assumed. Her heart keeps squeezing painfully when she's around Soul. She smiles softly at him and nods, then disappears into the safety of her room. Maybe, she thinks, if she lays down, things will be normal again when she wakes up.

After her door shuts quietly, Soul takes the opportunity to shuck off his towel and still damp boxers in favor of warm flannel pj pants. He already feels orders of magnitude better, and caps off his recuperative process by making a giant pot of mac and cheese.

He burns himself on the pan because he's lost in his own head, thinking about things he has no business thinking about, like his meister's stupidly perky nipples and flimsy green panties. His thoughts focus on the curve of her spine, and then the sight of Giriko with tits slashing Maka across the back is on instant replay. He finds he's not terribly hungry anymore, but he finishes his pasta anyway.

He tosses his bowl in the sink and tries to think of anything that will get the sight of her falling out, the sound of his scream as he dares not transform out of his brain. Her closed door beckons to him, and he twists the knob quietly.

She's on her stomach, face turned towards the wall, breathing even. He sighs a little, feels the tightness in his chest ease slightly just from being near her. Even asleep her soul's wavelength calls to him and calms him. That fight was closer than he would have liked for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was the way she just gave up. He wonders if that thought, that moment is going to haunt him, but really, he already knows the answer.

"Stupid," he murmurs to himself, and lets his back slide down the wall. It's her, it's him-he tells himself that he's just going to rest his eyes for a second because being near her means he might not have nightmares.

His eyes shoot open a moment later because Maka's hand is twisted in his hair, except it's more like an hour later, if the blinking red numbers next to Maka's bed are any indication.

"Wha-" he blinks up at her blearily. She runs her hand through his hair a little more.

"I could ask you the same question."

He pinks and hopes she can't see it in the dimness of her room. "Sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep."

"Do you frequently sit against my bedroom wall and watch me when I sleep?" she asks, untangling her hand from his hair, and holding it out to him. He takes it and lets her help him up, though he deliberately watches how much of his weight he lets her take. Soul knows his face is scarlet now.

"Whatno! No, I don't I just-" he runs a hand through his hair. Maka hasn't let go of his other one, and her palm in his is a burning reminder. "You make-you relax, I..."

"Nightmares?" she inquires softly. He nods. She tugs on his hand. "C'mere."

She drags him over to her bed and pushes him lightly. Startled, he lets himself be pushed, and then he's falling into her mattress, which is harder than he would have thought, but the sheets are soft, worn cotton, and he's surrounded by his meister's smell.

"Scoot over," she mutters, and then she's climbing into bed with him-into her bed with him, and Soul wonders what kind of parallel universe he's stumbled into, and if this is really just a dream in and of itself. But her elbow is digging into a bruise, and he yelps, so it's probably real. "Shit," she hisses. "I'm sorry-"

"It's cool," he mutters, and moves over a little more. He's not sure if he's supposed to lay on his side or his back or his stomach; is there protocol for this kind of thing? Soul remembers romantic comedies his mom used to make him watch, but he'd always kind of ignored the cuddling parts and was this a cuddling time? Was he supposed to be doing something other than getting prodded in bruises by his meister? From next to him, Maka sighs.

"I thought my bed was bigger," she apologizes, wriggling to get comfortable. Soul is pretty sure that one of her bare legs is pressed against him, and she's still wearing his shirt. She wiggles a little more, and then grunts in frustration and pain. "This is awkward," she says bluntly.

"I-I can leave," he starts and begins to shift away.

"N-no! It's fine, please. Just stay," she grunts, "put, dammit." She shifts again, bed squeaking, and suddenly things are awkward in a very different way. Maka drapes a leg over his hip and one arm over his chest, and Soul figures at least this solves the question of cuddling.

"Are you sure?"

She's quiet for a long moment, fingers clenching and unclenching slowly against his scar. When she finally speaks, he has to strain to hear her. "I got up to find you," she mumbles into his chest. "I thought I was alone, and I couldn't-"

"Hey, it's ok." He slides a hand through her hair and lets out a deep breath, and says, "I'm here." He wonders if he can get away with it again, and then decides that he doesn't care because she's curled against him and she needs him as much as he needs her. He presses his lips to the top of her crown and keeps them there for a moment.

"I know." They lay there for a few more moments, and Soul wonders if this the meaning of contentment when Maka groans a little. "Hngh. My baaack."

"Can I do anything?"

"Yeah. Hold still," she commands, and then she's sliding her leg across his hips and her chest is pressed against his and Soul is forcefully reminded that she's wearing his shirt and a pair of panties, and that's it.


"Gonna make you my mattress," she mumbles into his collarbone. Her nose is pressed against the column of his throat, and she can feel him swallowing thickly. She breathes him in shallowly, she can't help herself between the scent of his shirt and his body and the way it mingles with the familiar smell of her bed and her room. It smells like home.

Soul smells like home and safety and warmth and light; she can feel their souls mingling together in something that isn't really resonance, but it's more than just their mutual coexistence. Maka shifts again, trying to get closer to him, closer to that feeling. Beneath her, he groans.

"M-maka-" Her lips brush against his jaw and he fits his hands to her hips. "You should stop that."

""Why?" she murmurs, breath tickling his ear.

Soul is lost in her voice, in the way she's moving her hips against his-how they feel under his fingers, in the way the collar of his shirt leaves her neck exposed-he can feel her breasts flush against him. He grips her hips a little tighter and holds her still for a moment. He can feel her blush against his skin.

"Do-do you want me to stop?" Her teeth sink into her bottom lip uncertainly. Soul blinks in surprise.

"You were doing that-" he says incredulously. She nods. "Oh. Oh."

She rolls her hips again and Soul makes a noise in the back of his throat. "I can stop," she offers, voice marginally steadier.

"N-no. You don't have to stop if you..." he swallows, "if you don't want to. You can. Keep, ah. Doing that." He lets out another small moan as she continues to shift against him. It isn't like she doesn't know that he gets erections or masturbates. He's a teenaged boy and they live in a small apartment, share a bathroom in the morning-they have moments like this afternoon where they clean each other up in various states of undress. It's all a matter of course.

But this, the feel of that hardness rubbing against her-she presses her hips down onto his, and asks, face buried in his neck,

"Do you want...this?"

Soul removes one of his hands and clicks on the reading lamp she keeps on her nightstand so she can see him, really see him. "Maka." He runs his hand along her cheek, up through her hair, and she trains an eye on him. "What I want is you."

There is a part of her that hates the fact that he can read between her lines so well. He bursts through her defenses before she can even put them up.

It's annoying. It's kind of why she thinks she's in love with him.

He cups her jaw, and she leans forward to press her lips against his. They bump noses awkwardly and it's wet and a little sloppy where their lips meet. She pulls away slightly just as Soul angles his head and finds her lips again. It's much smoother this time; he parts his mouth, worries her lower lip a little with his teeth, and she makes a muffled squeak against him before her tongue darts out to taste his mouth. Soul groans, and his free hand squeezes her hip, his hips finally pressing upwards into hers.

Maka lets out a relieved sigh as she wiggles her hips against his. She peppers his face with tiny kisses before she moves on to his neck. She can feel the jump of his pulse below her mouth, and she places a wet kiss there as well.

"Maka-" he whines. She hums against his neck, hips grinding into his. She can feel him panting beneath her, and his lips attach to her collarbone. His hand pushes at the collar of his shirt and Maka breaks away from the taste of him to sit upright.

"What, this?" she asks, fingers playing with the top button. She's glad he turned the lamp on. His red eyes drink her in, and she feels strange and powerful. Everything is changing, nothing is changing, and she pops the first button on his shirt.

"Can I?" he asks, reaching up. His fingers brush against the lapel, and she smiles a little, and nods. Soul pops the next button, and fumbles with it a little. Maka giggle softly and he gives her a little glare. "Shut up. It's harder when I'm not wearing the damn thing."

Maka laughs, "I'm sure it is," but her hand covers his and she guides his fingers. He runs his other hand up her side, and she squirms in a way that has nothing to do with his erection pressing into her crotch and everything to do with being ticklish. He grins up at her as she snorts and tries to avoid his searching fingers while still staying seated. She sends him a little glare. "I will button this shirt back up," she threatens, but he's propped up on an elbow now and running a thumb over her exposed nipple, and she lets out a little moan and swirls her hips in response.

Soul is a man on a mission though, and her soft skin is just begging for his mouth. He pulls her forward and takes her nipple in his mouth, rolling the nub with his tongue. She moans a little, and he palms her other breast, thumb rubbing slow circles around her areola. Maka threads a hand through his hair, clutching him to her chest, and he raises his eyes to hers, mouth still hot around her tit. Gently he scrapes his teeth across her nipple.

Her nerves are on fire, and she throws her head back; the strangled gasp that escapes her throat sends a pulse of want straight to Soul's cock and he jerks his hips against her, ignoring the steady ache of his muscles. Her underwear continue their trend of being effectively useless as she grows increasingly wet, and between her pussy and his dick, his flannel pants aren't much better. He moves his mouth to her other breast and wraps his arm around her lower back, holding her tightly against him, trying to direct her excited hips.

His shoulder is starting to burn, and through his distracted haze, Soul can see the way Maka's arm is beginning to tremble from propping up her weight on one arm, though she doesn't slow her relentlessly fantastic gyrating. Soul reluctantly turns his attention from her succulent tits only to immediate latch onto her neck, kissing and sucking his way back up to her mouth. She bites his lower lip and he bucks against her.

"Mm god, Maka." She hums in distracted agreement, hips attempting to rock his dick into sweet oblivion. "Hold up a second."

She pulls away, half-lidded eyes confused and a little annoyed as she pants, "Wha-why?"

Soul tucks a piece of hair behind her ear. "Because my shoulders are about to give out on me, and you look like your arm is about to collapse." She whines a little. "Just help me grab that pillow?"

Maka obliges, and together, with a great deal of Maka's tits in his face and her giggling and Soul's teeth peppering her shoulders with little bite marks, they arrange the pillows on her bed into something resembling a backrest.

She lifts her hips enough so that Soul can prop himself up on the pillows, but gets distracted by the way his pajama pants ride low on his hips, the tantalizing cut of his abs-Maka licks suddenly dry lips and runs a too warm hand down his chest. She follows the line of his scar, fascinated by the way the muscles jump and twitch under her hand. Maka has seen her partner shirtless countless times, has turned away blushing, heart pounding, at the sight of low-slung jeans slipping lower and the tops of his boxers peeking out.

He wriggles to sit up, pulling the waistband a little lower, and her fingertips trace the curve of his iliac crest. Soul stops moving, frozen halfway upright as she strokes the pale hairs of his happy trail in fascination. Her ears pick up the way Soul's breathing quickens and her fingers dance along the edge of his pants. His cock is right there, and she wants with a fierceness that startles her.

Soul is torn between not breathing at all and hyperventilating when she looks up at him, green eyes wide and inquisitive. Still holding his gaze, she slips a hand into his pants and runs a finger up his erection. Soul jerks and lets out a short groan. She can't be doing that, can she? Is this really-emboldened by his response, she wraps her hand around his cock and Soul's spine arcs forward.

"Haaaaaaahh!" His shoulders shake as she jerks him slowly, motions hesitant. He thinks that this might not be a problem normally, but his day has been fraught with frustration and blue-balls and this is Maka, so he carefully grabs her wrist and stills her hand before he completely and utterly embarrasses himself. She makes a frustrated noise in the back of her throat. "Sorry, I just...I'm a little wound up, you know?"

Maka nods, swallowing. There is a burning ache in her body, suffusing all of her nerves whenever they touch, whenever Soul gives her that stare. She knows, and slips her wrist out of his grip. She rests her fingers just underneath the elastic of his pajama pants.

Soul lets out another shaky breath. "Are we really doing this?" he asks soflty.

"Do-do you want to do this?" She knows what she wants. She wants all of him, she wants to feel his soul permeating hers, to surround him, to be surrounded by him. She wants lazy Saturdays and missions and movie nights with his burnt popcorn and mornings where they fight over who gets the sink first. She wants to know he will be there, that she will be there for him. She hates her hesitance, but more than anything, she wants him to want the same things, to want them as badly as she does.

"Stupid," he mumbles and leans his forehead against hers. "I just want you. However you want me, I am yours."

She lets out a little breath and then her lips are on his, fierce and possessive. "Off," she mumbles, hand pushing at his pants. He chuckles a little against her mouth.

"Impatient," he teases, and she glares at him and wraps her hand around his shaft again. "Fffuuuuhhok, ok. Hold on, woman."

She gives him a little grin and shifts her grip. "I am," and Soul lets out a bark of laughter.

"Little perv." He lifts his hips, and she releases him to tug down the flannel. He's absurdly grateful that he didn't bother to put on a new pair of boxers as he kicks off the pajama pants because his dick is free that much faster, and fuck, she's leaning down and pressing a quick kiss to the tip. "Hng~" Naked, he shifts until he's leaning upright against the pillows, and then beckons to Maka. "C'mere."

She crawls up the bed towards him, and he's mesmerized by the slight sway of her breasts and hips and the dusting of pink across her cheeks because she can't help but keep glancing at his cock. She's still fully clothed comparatively, his shirt slipping down her shoulders, hips still encased in cotton. She straddles his hips again, and rubs against him.

Soul grits his teeth and concentrates on just breathing because her panties are soaked through and it feels weird and good but mostly weird to grind against. Soul nuzzles her neck, which is so much more accessible now that they're not having to bend and lean and licks at her collarbone lightly. She shivers and he hooks long fingers into the sides of her panties.

"How about these?" he asks, and she makes a frustrated noise.

"Get rid of 'em," she mutters into his ear, teeth setting into his earlobe ever so delicately. He groans and shifts a finger into a little mini freedom scythe. Razor sharp, the thin cotton doesn't stand a chance, and he mimics the gesture on the other side and slides away the remnants, tossing them somewhere that's away. "Never liked those anyway," she says and then he's sliding one of those long fingers against her slit, and Maka doesn't have words anymore.

Soul holds her hips still with one hand as he rubs her, soft pants and mewls sounding in his ear. She slips a hand between them and grips his shaft again, stroking in slow time with the gentle thrusts of his finger. He teases her entrance and she whines, hips rocking against his hand. He adds another finger and her grip slackens, concentration completely shot as his fingers pump into her. His arm wraps around her lower back as she loses control over her hips, and she can feel the way Soul's hips rock in time with hers as she bites back a sob.


His fingers move faster and his thumbs brushes past her clit, wet and hot and she bites his shoulder. Soul's voice is low and urgent in her ear as he encourages her to come, lips brushing against her ear and all she can think of is his hand and the stars and she doesn't bother to silence her gasping shout as she comes apart in his lap, fingers clenching into his back, chest heaving against his. He's painfully hard as he carefully removes his fingers from Maka's heat. She shifts against him, sighing, and he can feel her smile on his skin.

Everything is slow and deliciously hazy as she comes back down from the stratosphere. Lazily, she moves her hips and Soul shudders beneath her. She can feel the hard length of him against her pussy, and experimentally, she rocks her hips forward, and oh. Oh. Maka moans a little as she glides along Soul, his dick is so close-

"M-maka, I- condom-fuuuck-"

She kisses him then, understands his concerns and appreciates them. "Pill," she says, and grinds her pussy against him. Their breaths catch, souls align, and she lifts her hips and he grabs his cock and with only a little bit of fumbling, she sinks down onto him. Soul's heart pounds, his blood racing as he presses lips to every inch of her skin he can reach. She wiggles, adjusts, and he thinks that he's going to die for a moment before she settles and like a magnet, his hands are back gripping her hipbone. She moans a little, presses her hips down.

He thrusts into her, directs her hips with his hands-forward, back. Her thighs tremble with exertion, but she can't bring herself to care as Soul's eyes bore into hers. Their soft pants mingle, foreheads press together as he slowly pumps into her. Maka thinks she could go mad with desire, but she's hypnotized by the moment. His tempo is steady and languid, and he can feel the way her soul seeps into his, twines about him like a lazy, satisfied cat. He responds, can feel the tingling pleasure building in the base of his spine as Maka's pants come faster and faster, her hips rocking against his with increased urgency. His soul is hopelessly, wonderfully tangled with hers. Her green eyes, half-lidded in slow pleasure, meet his, and he cries out as his world implodes, spine bowing, voice raspy and low, and she's clenching around him, voice high soft. He shudders against her and she shakes in his arms, and they can forget about the sting of sweat that drips into their cuts and the dull ache of strained muscles.

He nuzzles at her jaw, and she lets out a quiet wuff of laughter and finds his lips sloppily. She revels in the feel of him under her hands, maps muscle and bone and skin with her fingertips the same way she's done so with her eyes for years.

"'m exhausted," Soul mumbles into her neck.

"You're exhausted? I was on top. My legs are killing me," she grumbles half-heartedly.

"Hmm. Poor Maka." He runs reverent hands across bare skin. She's still wearing his shirt, and they smell like sex, and he can't think of anything more right. "I guess I could let you be on bottom next time."

"Next time-" The concept is terrifying, exhilarating; her heart speeds up and she stares at him. Part of her is still expecting some kind of trick; surreal doesn't even begin to cover her life right now. Soul meets her gaze, and she could read the expression in his face even without their souls still being tangled together.

"You don't have to say-" he starts.

She smiles softly, brushes her lips against his cheek. "I know I don't have to," and that's why she doesn't want to run. She thinks she should want to run, but he's here, solid and steady. "I would like a next time," she says. "I would-I would like a lot of 'next times'," she admits quietly, eyes searching his.

"Stupid," he mutters, and pulls her forehead to his, knocking them together gently. "You can have all the 'next times' you want."

It takes them a little while to extricate themselves from her bed and make it back into the bathroom. Soul almost convinces her to stay, but she just gives him a little horrified look that says he's insane if he thinks she's going to sleep covered in sweat and sticky sex smell, among other things. He smirks and takes a moment to stare at her ass, peeking out from underneath his poor abused shirt because he can.

She climbs gingerly into the shower, and he climbs in after her, reenacting the awkward cleaning shuffle they went through earlier. He manages to keep it PG, if only because he hadn't been lying when he said he was exhausted. Soul checks the wounds across her back, and feels a kind of pulling guilt when he finds out they'd started bleeding again, even if it was just a little.

"Stop that," she mutters, her cheeks scarlet. "Technically, it's my own fault."

Soul grins smugly at that. "Little temptress," he murmurs into her ear, and she smacks him lightly on the upper arm. They brush their teeth and contemplate who's bed they're going to sleep in when Maka, queen of neatness, stares at her rumpled, damp bed and says,

"Fuck it. I don't wanna deal with it right now. Let's use your room."

It's not much easier to find a comfortable position the second time around, but Maka manages to only use half of Soul as her pillow, and that keeps her back pretty free of the mattress. Eyelids heavy, stuck somewhere between waking and sleep, Soul wonders at the ease with which they've slipped into their new roles. Then wonders if these roles are really new at all...there's just an extra physical component. Her hair smells like Maka, and a little bit like him under his nose, and his arm wraps around the top of her shoulders easily, comfortably. Her breath is steady, and her wounds will heal.

"I thought I was going to lose you," he murmurs so low that she almost doesn't catch it. Her fingers reach across his abdomen and tangle with his other hand.

"I thought I had lost you," she says, just as quiet. "I almost lost everything, threw it away."

His fingers tighten around hers. "It takes more than that to get rid of me." She smiles against his chest, drinks in the warmth of his skin, the strong sound of his heart beat and knows that she needs him, even as she knows she is needed.

"Thank you," she murmurs. She can feel the gentle press of his lips against her forehead as she drifts off.