Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater nor the lyrics to Colourblind by Counting Crows.
by. Poisoned Scarlett
I am folded and unfolded and unfolding—stuttered shook and uptight
Pull me out from inside, I am ready, I am fine
"I made a promise to Akane that I'd keep you safe," Soul told her, lips barely moving. His arms tightened around her and he ignored the warm blood that seeped into his shirt from her hand. "I couldn't," he didn't dare look at the boy who cried openly, every hiccup a punch to his heart. "I couldn't do it."
"It's not your fault, you wouldn't have been able to stop me," Maka told him, leaning her head on his chest. She buried her nose in his jacket, taking one last breath of him before she became unable to differentiate him from another human. "You should go—!"
"No, I'm not going to leave you here like this," he shook his head. He met her eyes fiercely. "I'm going to help you."
"Help me? You can't help me, Soul, I've been bitten. You know what happens to people when they're bitten," she forced out, trying not to think about what would happen soon. "The kids—!"
"Have Tsubaki. You know as well as I do they don't need me, they need you!" He met her eyes intensely, just like that day so many months ago when she refused to stand after losing Tsugumi. So intense it almost felt intimate. Maka's own watered and she looked down, her head bowing. "I'll save you. I'll," his eyes widened, "the CDC!"
Maka shook her head morosely. "There's no way they'll open the door for you, Soul, especially not if I'm infected. Whoever is in there won't risk themselves for us."
"They can't be doing nothing inside, even you told me that!" Soul said, urgently. "This is our best shot right now! We're going – I'm gonna' get that shithead doctor to cure you, one way or another! I'm not leaving you like this!" Soul roughly said. She tried to pull away but he was stronger, forcing her to stay next to him. She shook her head sadly, knowing it was useless to try, but he only grabbed her underneath her knees and swiftly picked her up. "You're gonna' be fine."
"Open the door, Black Star!" Soul snarled, kicking away the twisted body of one of the Biters vindictively.
"What? No way!" He shouted back, shocked. "Soul, you know you can't do this! Leave her here! She'll be going for your neck any second now!" Black Star grit his teeth and shut his eyes when the door rattled from the force of his bangs, Soul's rabid snarls to open it scaring Akane. "Soul, dammit, listen to me! Look, I know she means a lot to you but she's sick and there's no cure—!"
"OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR OR I'LL DO IT MYSELF!"
"Shit," Black Star cursed, switching the flip before switching the door back closed when the moans of the undead became louder. They were out there, alright. He sent Tsubaki a meaningful look over his shoulder and she understood, hurrying to hide Akane inside the store before things got out of hand. They couldn't risk anymore of their group becoming infected and although it pained Black Star to know they would need to leave Maka, there was no way he was leaving his closest comrade, too. He needed to try and convince him to stay before they lost one more to the undead.
Soul walked to Black Star, carrying Maka in his arms. "Let me borrow the car," he demanded, strangely calm.
Black Star pressed his lips together. "We need it."
"Give me your gun."
Black Star caught on quickly. "There is no way you can hot-wire another car out there, Soul, you'll be killed before you even manage to break the window!"
"Give me the gun," Soul repeated.
"Where the hell are you planning on going, anyway?" He shouted. "We're stuck here! There's nowhere she can go to get better, she's a goner!"
"The CDC," Soul replied, frighteningly calm.
"CDC? That bastard wouldn't let anyone inside before! He isn't gonna' let you in just cuz Maka's infected!" Black Star snarled. "You'll die trying to get to him!"
"I'll take my chances."
"Maka," Akane sobbed, trying to detach himself from Tsubaki when she tried to force him inside the store again.
"You know what to do already. We made a second plan. Don't diverge from it," Soul locked eyes with Black Star. He saw resolve in his eyes and Black Star knew Soul was far from being convinced to abandon her. "Don't wait for us. She'll be fine. I'll make sure of it. You make sure to keep those kids safe no matter what. We'll meet up with you later."
Black Star grimaced but forced himself to nod and did not look to where he was going. He rubbed a hand over his mouth to muffle the way his teeth ground and his mind raced for other ideas; alternatives, reasons to keep the man there with them rather than let him dive head-first into his own death.
"There's a truck in here!" Kilik offered, making himself known again. Soul turned sharply to him and Black Star froze. "It's got half a tank. Enough to get into the city and back."
"That's enough," Soul nodded.
"Soul, think this over! You're leaving these kids without her or you!" Black Star roared as Soul made his way to the second car as fast as possible. Kilik managed a weary smile but stepped aside for his friend, closing the door for him once he and Maka were situated inside. It wasn't long before the car came to life by just pressing together a few wires. "She'll die before you make it there! Just leave her and come back with us—stay with us, we need you!"
"She needs me right now!"
"I promised," Soul shouted back, glancing down at the sick girl who slumped against the door of the truck. "She'll make it." She was sweating cold now, her cheeks flushed with a fever. He could see her chest rise and fall rapidly with her labored breath and that knot in his gut grew tighter. He didn't waste anymore time trying to explain his irrational actions: he floored it when Black Star flipped the switch again and he and Kilik ran inside the store to avoid the onslaught of the undead, keeping their thoughts far from the two they had just lost to focus on the next phase of their plan.
Inside the store, near the cash registers, Akane stared at the far wall as the girls tried to distract them with silly stories and forced laughter; knowing too well that the two people who meant the world to him were driving right to their deaths but not without the naive hope that they would make it back alive.
The city was overrun by them.
Soul had run over various of the undead unflinchingly when he made it back, placing a hand on Maka's forehead to keep her head still whenever the car bounced. He lost most of them by taking various obscure streets and didn't lift his foot from the gas until he came to the enormous building that was the CDC. He parked hastily and threw his door open and stormed up to the bullet-proof glass, peering through it to find it absolutely empty. But he knew he was in there – he knew that bastard was inside, probably looking at him right now.
"OPEN THE DOOR, YOU BASTARD!" Soul shouted, stepping into the camera's range. It was still on and it followed his movements, that meant he really was watching him. He would not leave until he opened the door and saved her. "Maka's sick! You gotta' have something, something to slow it down until you find a cure!" Soul stared at the camera desperately. "SAVE HER!"
Nothing happened. Nothing happened, no matter his pleading and eventual begging. The doors remained closed and the lights inside off. The camera continued filming, filming his final stand because he knew he wouldn't be able to do this without her. She completely changed his mindset; she gave him a reason to keep going and he was not going to watch her die like he had watched his brother die. Not again. He would not be the reason for why someone he loved died again. He would not be able to live with that much guilt inside of him, guilt that was already climbing up his throat and making it hard to breathe.
Soul shot two Walkers that tried to get close to him. He shot the ones who tried to get close to the car and went back to close the door so they would not be able to reach Maka. And when he ran out of bullets, he let them stagger close so he could grab them by the neck and twist it until bones snapped, taking some sick joy in it with every one he grabbed. He would not be deterred by them, as he shouted for the doctor to open the door. He would stay there until that bastard responded.
"I left everyone for this," Soul shouted, shoving away another Walker that tried to go for him; its nails raking down his arm, jaws opened wide like that of an animal. He punched him before it could get any closer and hissed when another one staggered from behind him, grabbing his injured arm so fast he barely had time to twist its neck, and then the other that came behind it, reaching for his elbow with a growl.
He grabbed that one by the neck and swiftly brought it down, cracking its neck. Soul gripped his elbow, cursing, but he wasted no more time. He needed to get the doctor to save her. "The car only made it ten miles before it gave out on me. I can't go back," he lied. "She has a kid she needs to go back to!" Soul shouted in a last-ditch effort for sympathy. But nothing moved, the building remained as cold and distant as ever. He could see a lot more Walkers come, too many for him to fight off on his own. His heart ached. "Shit," he clenched his jaw, his eyes pricking with bitter tears. "SHIT!" He jerkily turned back to the car, crawling into the drivers to seat to see how she was holding out. She was barely there – she was so pale, so weak, and when she opened her eyes, she couldn't find it in her to smile but her eyes showed it.
"You're going to be fine," he whispered, caressing her cheek. He bowed his head, feeling the weight of failure in his soul. "I'll be with you." He looked at her, managing a twisted version of his crooked grin. His arm burned and Soul grabbed it, barely looking at the blood as dark as wine that smeared his hand. "I'll always be here," he promised her and she did manage a smile that time, her eyes sliding back closed to sleep longer.
Soul jumped when he heard the door behind him slide open a few minutes into his dark thoughts, revealing a tall but thin man in a black suit with a white coat thrown over him. He looked no more affected by the catastrophe than a king looked affected when one of his servants succumbed to illness. His hair was perfectly kept and although the three stripes that marred it were disconcerting to most, Soul barely noticed them as the man stopped a few feet away from him.
"How long did you say you traveled?" He demanded, hiding the hope in his tone.
"Ten miles. I came from the Costco by the edge of town," Soul answered, slowly climbing out from the car. "I left my group to bring her here."
"Ten miles. Give me a time estimate."
"I don't know," he frowned. He didn't know what he was playing at but they were wasting time. "Half an hour?"
"Plus the hour you spent shouting at no one," he added, his eyes darting to the car. "And she's still breathing?"
"Bring her in," he demanded immediately. "We've wasted enough time. We have a chance!" He swiftly turned and ran back inside and, for a delirious second, Soul wondered if he were dreaming. But when the man snapped at him to pick up the pace, he grabbed Maka and ran inside, following the doctor deep within the bowels of the Center for Disease Control.
They reached a lab area, that was all Soul could describe it as, after climbing many stairs and going down a long, long hall. Two women, baring physical similarities that made him think of sisters, immediately came forth when they entered another hall. This one was just as clinically white as the others, walls bare of any frames save for the plastic plaques beside the doors that told a person who or what they were for. One door was wide open and when Soul approached it, he saw it led to a laboratory. The cold-eyed doctor shouted orders from right to left, sticking his foot into an orange suit that Soul realized was to prevent himself from being infected. As the girls rushed to suit him up, Maka groaned in his arms.
His brows creased with worry when she opened her eyes and gave him a pained, sick, look. They were bloodshot and hazy. "Maka, you're gonna' be okay. He'll fix you, alright? Just hold out a little longer," he soothed. "Just a little longer. I know you can do it."
"Bring her inside," the doctor ordered crisply. "Now! There's no time to dawdle! Patty, make sure to conduct a Level 6 decontamination after he comes out. Liz, you're coming with me. Bring the vials, we'll need samples. Bring DGM-19 with you as well."
"Roger dodger!" the younger blonde, Patty, saluted with a smile. The older one, Liz, only nodded and rushed down the hall. Soul didn't bother to see where she went: he made his way inside a lighted lab room and when Kidd swiftly cleared one of the metal slabs of any of the equipment on it, laid Maka there. The doctor slipped on his gloves and tapped his wrists so he would not be exposed to whatever they both had. Late precautions but he needn't put himself in anymore risk than he already had, as Liz brought a syringe and he took it, pushing the man away to face the ill patient.
The girl was going through Stage 3 of infection, meaning the virus was beginning to take over her defenses. It would accelerate soon. But for now, there was no other change in her body aside from the redness of her eyes and the severe, flu-like, symptoms. Her body was somehow fighting the infection, that was the only thing Kidd could sum it up to, as most people skipped through these stages and arrived at stage 5, the final stage, in less than a few minutes. It could mean she was becoming immune to it but when she hacked, sucking in harsh breaths and whimpering, he knew that was not it. He took the blood samples he needed and handed them back to Liz, taking the needle that held DGM-19. He injected the girl with it and he could only hope that this temporary fix would delay the spread of the virus in her bloodstream enough for him to conduct more tests on her—save her.
"Is she gonna' be okay?" Soul asked, startling the doctor.
"What are you still doing here? Didn't I tell you to follow Liz out?"
"Forgot to mention that, doc," he sneered back. "So answer my question: is she going to be okay?"
Kidd thinned his lips. He was never one to lie to his patients; he was never one to lie at all, actually. "I cannot say. But I can tell you that she should be dead right now but she isn't. Her body is resisting the infection," and before he could let Soul savor this piece of good news, Kidd added: "But this might be a false alarm. It could be that it's only taking her longer to succumb to the virus. Simply because she's fighting it now doesn't mean she will recover..."
Soul clenched his jaw, looking back at Maka. When Kidd told him to go out and decontaminate himself, Soul refused. He stayed where he was until he felt the man grab his shoulder. He replied by grabbing Kidd by his shirt and glaring into his cold eyes. He pulled his lip back, enunciating: "I am staying with her," as clearly as he could before he dropped the doctor and turned back to Maka.
"Yeah, one of them scratched me outside," Soul answered, coolly. "Never heard of anyone getting infected from a scratch."
"You'd be surprised," Kidd stared at his arm. "Now look closer."
He did. He looked at the scratch marks that ran down to the inside of his elbow shallowly. His eyes widened suddenly and his gut knotted. He touched the black blood that was bleeding through the scratch marks in panic. That could not be his blood, could it? It couldn't be his blood! He squeezed his arm and more spilled out, darker than before. When he looked up at the doctor, he found him staring at him with a tiny smirk. "My blood is black," Soul said, mouth dry.
"LIZ!" Kidd shouted. "BRING IN MORE VIALS. I'LL NEED TO RUN SEVERAL TESTS ON OUR NEW PATIENT!"
"Me? But I'm not sick!" Somehow, he thought, bewildered. "It's Maka who's—!"
"Yes, you're not sick even though you've clearly been exposed to the virus. Yet you express no symptoms whatsoever," Kidd stated and Soul stared at him, digesting his words, before Liz ran in carrying a bucket full of supplies.
"I just brought everything!" She panted. "New room?"
"Here will be fine! I just need to check something," Kidd grabbed a syringe and grabbed Soul's arm. He tried to jerk it back but Kidd's grip, despite his bony hands, was strong. Soul grimaced when the needle stabbed into his arm and when Kidd pulled the plunger back, both stared at the black blood that filled the syringe.
"...Why is my blood black?"
The corner of the doctors lip twitched. "Why, indeed. You're already infected." He lifted the syringe so he could see the blood better using the light but it was pitch black. It was like he had pulled out black ink from his arm. "You're immune."
Liz gasped, looking at Soul, who stared at the doctor uncomprehendingly.
"We might just have a chance to save your girlfriend after all, Mr…?"
"Soul," he rasped, clearing his throat. He looked at Maka, able to say he was keeping his promise. She would be fine now. His blood would save her – this doctor would make sure his blood would save her and all others who had fallen victim to the pandemic. "Soul Eater."
"Real name, please, I doubt you would like to be recognized as Soul Eater when this goes global," Kidd drawled, rather condescendingly.
"Evans," Soul said after a pause. "Soul Evans."
"It'll be a pleasure working with you, Mr. Evans. I'm Dr. Death," he smirked at his wide-eyed surprise. It was something he received often. "But I prefer Kidd. It's a lot less ominous, as you can see. Now, go get decontaminated while I analyze your blood. Your girlfriend will stay here under observation until I finish my work."
"She'll live if you let me do my work," he sharply replied. "I'll save her." They both sized each other up before Soul reluctantly nodded and let himself be led out of the room by Liz. Kidd glanced back down at Maka, who had stopped sweating as profusely but still breathed rapidly. He lifted the lid of her eye, finding it still red but no longer watery. Her heart rate was still high. But the temporary fix was working, at the very least. And without this blood cure he could produce, she would surely succumb to the infection...
"Kidd?" Patty peered into the room.
"Prepare my equipment and call Stein out from his room," Kidd stated. He gripped the syringe in his hand. "We have work ahead of us."
It was time to make that cure and end this madness.
A/N: And this is the end everybody! I promised a hopeful ending and this is about as hopeful as it gets! I was surprised by the sheer amount of people who begged for me to have Maka somehow immune to the virus because of her girgori soul. Well, not immune, but close enough, right? Besides, it wouldn't be fun if I had gone along with that idea. Soul needs more screen time for these things :P