The snow fell gently on the streets, cushioning the footsteps of the hurried New Yorkers as they pushed their way through crowds to get to malls. Five day before Christmas, and there were still plenty of people who had yet to buy presents for family and friends.
In one of the most especially busy stores, a worker set out a pair of black gloves, the last in stock. They were a lovely little pair; wool, with small golden buttons on the bottom. They were not stunning enough to be fought over, but pretty enough to catch the eye of two particular people.
The woman pushed through the crowd, shoving various people out of her way to get to the counter. Once she felt she was close enough, she reached for the gloves, only to have someone else grab them at exactly the same time.
"Oh!" She gasped. The other person, a man, jumped a little, looking startled. "Oh, I'm so sorry, did – did you want these?"
"Oh, no," the man replied, in a voice that caught her attention. "No, you had them first. Please, they're all yours."
That made her really look at him. Maka Albarn wasn't used to men being so kind or thoughtful, she was fully expecting him to take the gloves and run. So when he immediately offered them back to her, she raised her eyes to his.
He was honestly the strangest looking man she'd ever met, and she lived in Nevada. He had white hair, and it didn't even look dyed. It looked natural. And his eyes! Red, the colour of rubies, twinkling like Christmas lights. Almost without even her noticing, the corners of her mouth turned up.
He smiled in return, and she noticed his teeth were sharp. "What, you don't want them anymore?"
Looking down in surprise, she realized she was still holding on to the pair of gloves. She snatched her hand away. "Oh, no please. You take them."
He shrugged. "You got here first, technically they're yours."
"No, we got here at the same time!" She argued. He smiled wider.
"What are you suggesting, we rock-paper-scissors for it?"
She puffed out her cheeks. And straightaway wondered why she did such a childish thing; Maka hadn't done that since second grade when Tommy Brown wouldn't stop pulling her pigtails.
"Just take the gloves already!" She shot at him. He shook his head.
"I insist you take them!"
"No, I won't. You have them."
While they were in the middle of pointless arguing, another man cut between them and snatched up the gloves.
"Hey!" The white-haired man yelped. "Excuse me, we were discussing those."
The newcomer, a middle-aged man with mousy hair, furrowed his brows. "You were discussing gloves?"
"Yes," Maka cut in. "And it was a very heated discussion, so if you don't mind leaving-"
The man snickered, while the newcomer looked bored. "Ma'am, it's five days before Christmas. I still have to buy almost all my presents-"
"But this is for someone very important!" The man protested. "It's for my-"
"Boyfriend," Maka said just as the man said "Girlfirend."
The newcomer shook his head. "Whatever."
As he walked off into the crowds, Maka looked back at the strange man. He caught her eye, and burst out laughing. In seconds, Maka hand followed suit and the two were doubled over.
She quickly snatched the gloves off the rack. "All right, you win. But what about your girlfriend?"
Still chuckling, he searched the sale rack and grabbed a black cashmere scarf. "This'll work."
She nodded her approval. He grinned that sharp-toothed grin, and moved to pay for the scarf.
Instead of walking away, as Maka knew she should have done, she lingered by the kiosk. And surprisingly enough, so did the man.
"You wanna get something to drink?"
She was having trouble stopping from grinning like a maniac. "I'd like that."
Soul was having a hard time keeping his eyes off the woman sitting across the table from him. Sipping their coffee, and giggling over silly jokes, and he had yet to ask for her name.
She was, in all senses of the word, the most eye-catching woman he'd ever met. Beautiful, but in an understated way, with ashy blonde hair that curled at the tips and emerald eyes that twinkled like Christmas lights. Smart, from what he assessed of the conversation so far. Funny, too; she had made him laugh more times in the last five minutes than the last five years.
"So, do you live here in New York?" He was asking her.
She shook her head. "No, Nevada."
"Nevada?" His eyebrows rose. "You mean, like, Vegas?"
She giggled. "No, but close. Maybe an hour's drive away?"
"Ah." He wondered if the woman had ever been to Las Vegas. She looked like the kind who could win at every single card game. "I've always wanted to go to Nevada."
She shrugged. "What's stopping you?"
Soul shrugged right back at her. "I dunno. I lack conviction."
She giggled again, the sound so infectious and lovely. "So have you lived all your life here, then?"
He had indeed. The prestigious Evans family was never too far from where they could grace the pages of high society. Soul's mood soured at the thought; the farthest away he'd ever been was to Jersey and even then he'd snuck out. He'd gotten in quite some trouble when his mother found out.
Rather than bore the charming stranger with his mournful family stories, Soul Evans merely took another sip of coffee. "I make it a plan someday to travel most of Europe."
"Sounds like fun," the woman hummed. She glanced at her watch, and immediately sat up a little straighter. "Oh, is it that time already? I should probably get going home, I..." she glanced up at him, cheeks flushing. "That is, my boyfriend might worry."
Ah, yes. Soul stood. "We wouldn't want that, would we?"
She sent him a look, but it was spoiled by the half smile on her face. "You should be getting back to your girlfriend, too."
"Right, my girlfriend." Soul held out his hand. "Well, thank you for the coffee."
She shook it, with a firm grip. "It was my treat." She said warmly. "You let me have to gloves, after all."
"Yeah, I hope your boyfriend likes them," he replied. Soul hoped he didn't sound too unkind. He had a bad habit of scaring people away like that.
Waving, the woman dashed out of the coffee shop. Soul watched her disappear onto the street, and cursed internally. He should have at least asked for her name.
Maka was halfway back to her hotel when she realized she'd left the damn present at the coffee shop. Cursing loudly, she spun around, dashing back down the street. By now, evening had fallen, and the sky was already pitch black. Not wanting to be caught out in the dead of night, Maka ran almost the entire way back to the shop, breath coming out in small puffs.
They were closing as she reached the wooden doors. Maka raced forward, determined to get that present. Wrenching the door open, and completely not looking where she was going, she ran straight into someone.
"Oh!" Maka gasped. "I'm so sor-"
She stopped, and burst out laughing when she saw who she'd ran into. "Well! If it isn't my old friend!"
The man with the white hair grinned. "What are you doing back here?"
"I left the stupid present," Maka sighed, heading back to the table they'd sat at. Luckily for her, it was still sitting nicely. "Thank goodness it's still here." As she headed back out the doors, she turned to the mystery stranger. "What are you still here for? Shouldn't you have left a while ago?"
"I did." He held up a black leather wallet, and she laughed. "I left this behind."
Neither one of them moved, standing awkwardly but neither refusing to move from the doorway.
When Maka was younger, there had been a saying in a book that stood out to her. Perhaps fate wanted us to meet here tonight. The phrase flashed through her mind now. The man seemed to think the exact same thing, because the next second he held out his hands. "Would you like to do something with me?"
She grinned widely up at him. "I'd love to."
The place he ended up taking her to was Wollman Rink. Maka shrieked with joy as she spun around on the rental skates, wobbling ever so slightly.
"Careful, there!" She heard the man call to her, words intermingled with his own laughter as he skated out towards her. "You're going to fall over."
"Oh, nonsense." She swatted at him. "I go skating all the time at home!"
"They have rinks in the middle of the desert?" The man asked, sounding amused.
"Oh, yes," Maka sighed. "But they're all indoor. I've never been skating outside before."
His smile was back, larger than ever and showing off every single one of his sharp, white teeth. "Then I'm glad I brought you here."
They skated around in wide circles. Maka was astounded at how good of a skater the man was, he glided over the ice as though it were nothing. She was normally a much better skater than this, but was quite distracted by all the twinkling lights surrounding them. So she tripped a few times. One time, she fell right into his arms.
"Careful." His voice was warm against her ear. She flushed, and righted herself, skating off quickly.
"So if you live in Nevada, what are you doing here?" He was asking her. Maka sighed, skating with her hands behind her back.
"Just a vacation," she sighed. "You know, out here for a weekend, buying Christmas presents and all. I'm going home tomorrow."
"Well!" The man's face was alight. "I'm glad it was today you decided to shop at the same place as me."
Maka's cheeks glowed with pleasure.
"All right, you got your question, now it's my turn."
Soul wasn't certain when this had become 20 Questions, but he certainly wasn't complaining as he skated backwards, listening as the woman fired off anything she could possibly ask him. "What's your favourite colour?"
"Red," he answered.
"Don't read books."
"Impossible! Don't lie to me, mister!"
"All right, all right," he laughed, holding his arms up in surrender. "I do like Carrie."
"Stephen King," she nodded approvingly. "Very dark, I like it."
His stomach fluttered in happiness. No one had ever mentioned his penchant for dark things in a good sense before. She continued. "Favourite movie?"
"Oh, easy. Chicago."
"Really?" The woman skidded to a halt, staring at him incredulously. "As in, the musical?"
He began to blush, embarrassment flooding his system. "What, is it bad for a guy to like musicals?"
"Wha-oh, no!" She cried, flustered. "No, it's just, I was just surprised is all!" When he frowned at her, she tried to explain further. "That's my favourite movie too."
The butterflies were back. "Really?"
"Oh, yes!" Her eyes sparkled with excitement. "I love all the dark humour and satire, and the theme of scumbag guys getting what they deserve."
"And the murderesses getting off scot-free?"
She giggled. "Added perk."
Soul shook his head. This one was a real piece of work. She frowned at him, and placed her hands on her hips. "Well, what do you like about it?"
"Alcohol. And babes in skimpy clothes," he answered without thinking. He ducked when she moved to throw something at him. "And the music! I like jazz music!"
She lowered the book, and Soul found himself wondering where on Earth she'd gotten it from. The threat of cranial damage gone, he moved a little closer to her again.
"So you like jazz, huh?"
He waved it off nonchalantly. "Yeah, I play the piano a bit."
He half expected her to go gaga at this, fawning about how much she loved music. After all, it was what most of his previous girlfriends had done. But the woman merely sighed. "I don't really understand music, I'm afraid."
He was liking her more and more every minute, and it was starting to scare him. Nonetheless, Soul pulled himself a little closer to her. "Tell me your name."
She giggled at him, and skated away. "Now, why should I do that?"
"Come on!" He chased after her. "Don't you believe in destiny? Or fate, or whatever that crap is?"
"You just discredited yourself by calling it crap!" She called back to him.
He sighed, and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Please! Just a name! Or a number, or address, anything!"
The woman stepped off the rink, wobbling now that she was off the ice. "Come and get it, then!"
He grinned. Oh, she was a wild one.
They ran down the street, Maka nearly out of breath. Not even from the running, which she thought was so strange. She was out of breath simply from being in this man's presence. He caught up to her, wrapping arms around her waist. "Gotcha!"
Maka gave a little scream, spinning around. "Took you long enough."
What had gotten into her? Maka was never this spontaneous, or irresponsible, or flirtatious with men she didn't know. But all reason aside, she leaned a little closer to him. "Do you really believe in fate?"
"Oh, totally." He was breathing heavily as well, she noticed. "Yeah, whatever you want to call it. I'm all for it."
She spun around out of his grasp. Snow whirled up around her legs as she did so.
"Please just tell me your name!" He sounded on the verge of begging. "Look, I'm Soul! There now? Was that so hard? You can do the exact same thing, you know!"
"Soul," she mused, trying the name out on her tongue. "What an interesting name."
"Yes, so everyone tells me." He grumbled.
Maka glanced up at the building they'd stopped in front of. A sudden, wild, crazy, wacky idea hit her suddenly, and it spiralled out of control until she was completely unable to stop it. She grabbed the man, Soul, by his jacked and dragged him towards the building. "Come on!"
They stumbled inside the Waldorf-Astoria, and she led him quickly to the hall where the elevators were. "What are you doing?" Soul demanded of her, as she pushed him towards one elevator and stood in front of another.
"A test of fate," she proclaimed. "We both get into an elevator, choose a random floor. If we choose the same one, it's fate we met."
"Woman, you are crazy!" he gaped. "This is so dumb! Screw fate! Why leave something so obviously right up to something like chance!?"
She winked at him. "Better tell your girlfriend that."
He stuttered, trying to make out words, but both elevator doors opened and Maka stepped inside one. Shaking his head, Soul stepped inside the other. "It was nice meeting you, crazy woman," he grumbled.
At the last second, she spoke. "I'm Maka," she called to him, just as the doors slid shut.
Inside the quiet confines of the elevator, Maka took a deep breath and with a shaking finger, pressed button 23. The machine jerked to life, bringing her upwards slowly.
Maka leaned against the wall, and let out a deep breath. Now that the rush left her, reality was starting to sink in, and the possibility of never seeing Soul again was suddenly very real.
The elevator dinged. Maka forgot how to breath for just a moment, and the doors slid open.
There at the other side of the hallway, the elevator across slid open revealing a distraught looking young man.
He caught sight of her, eyes widening almost comically, and Maka felt all breath leave her. Now she knew exactly what her crazy idea was for; subconsciously she'd hoped it wouldn't work. Because falling in love with a man you met less than five hours ago was completely absurd, and the kind of stupid thing Maka had promised herself she'd never do. So the test had been simply to bring her back to reality.
And yet, there he was, staring at her in open-mouthed shock, having passed the very test of fate she didn't believe in.
Maka stepped towards him, towards Soul, very slowly. He stepped forward too, at exactly the same time, until their footsteps brought them nose-to-nose with the other.
"Hi," she said, very quietly.
"Hi," he replied back, in a voice huskier than she remembered. "Maka, huh?"
The sound of her name coming from his lips broke whatever damn was holding Maka back, and all of her feelings came flooding out, causing her head to spin and maybe just a few tears to leak from her eyes. "I don't have a boyfriend," she blurted out. He looked taken aback.
"The gloves are for my father." She wiped her face on her sleeve, sniffling pitifully. "I just, I hate telling people I still buy him presents even though he's such a scumbag." Another thought crossed her mind, and a few more tears spilled over. "But it shouldn't matter, should it? Because you have a girlfriend-"
"I don't." His voice was low, and now it was her turn to look taken aback. "I just said that, because... well, cool guys don't like to be caught buying presents for their mom."
She stifled back a laugh, covering her face with her hands. Soul reached forward, and pulled them away, a thumb gently wiping the few errant tears off her face. "I'm starting to think fate really does exist," he murmured softly. Maka leaned into him, taking a deep breath to calm herself.
"Maka Albarn," she formally introduced herself. "Solid believer in fate and all she has to offer."
"Soul Eater Evans," he replied. "Solid believer in whatever you just said."
They leaned forward and kissed each other, the warmth of his lips spreading through Maka like a fire. She pressed into him, standing on the very tips of her toes and wrapping her arms around his neck. His arms came to wrap around her back, pulling her even closer to him and deepening the kiss further. The inside of Maka's jacket buzzed, and she reluctantly pulled away from Soul.
Her face fell as she flipped her phone open. " 'Reminder,'" she read. " 'Bus leaves for Nevada tomorrow afternoon.'"
"Hm." Soul frowned. "Now that presents a problem."
She raised her eyes to his, shyly pulling on his scarf. Maybe it was a little early in whatever strange relationship they had, but if fate was giving her a push, might as well make it a shove. "Come with me?"
His face rivalled the Fourth of July as he leaned in and kissed her again.
So I watched Serendipity for the first time today. And the plot bunnies attacked within the first two minutes and I was already writing this. Which is why it differs so much from how the movie went, so for anyone who's seen the movie and is going 'blarbargh that's not how it ends' I'm sorry!
Anyway it's super late so this is probably riddled with mistakes, I've only proof-read once and once is never enough, but eh. I hope people enjoy it anyway!
(I totally think Chicago would be Soul and Maka's favourite movie, and if you've seen it you'll understand why :D)
Reviews would be totally super special awesome!