Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater nor the lyrics to the song Heartlands (cover) by Bell X1.

the delta sun burns bright and violet
Poisoned Scarlett

"OHHHH! I'll drive the get-away, and you bring the glueeee!" One of his friends sang drunkenly, using a bottle of whiskey as a microphone. He stopped suddenly, face scrunched in concentration. "Er. Wait. No, that's not how it goes! Wait, I remember now!"

"Black Star, that's the fourth time you've said that!"

"No, I got it this time!" Black Star insisted. "I'ma start over! I DEDICATE THIS SONG TO MY FUTURE GODDESS...whoever she is! HAHA!" He continued his ridiculous song from the top, his voice hitching whenever he swallowed down his belches, and despite the laughs he received, he only sang louder.

Soul Evans, sprawled on the sofa pushed against the wall, blew out another weary mutter of uncool under his breath when others began to join him on the drunken babble.

The rocking of the boat was hardly felt by him now despite the storm that battered the sails outside. He could hear thunder boom in the dark pewter sky, wind and rain rattle the windows and churn the bitter cold sea until their boat rocked dangerously; water washing violently upon the deck, sometimes managing to spill inside the warmth of the lower cabins. But it was nothing Soul was not used to already although he admitted to being terrified out of his mind during his first storm a year and a half ago.

Given, it had been far more furious and twice more violent than the one thundering outside currently. It had been quite a rough night, even their Captain Sid Barett had said so when he reminisced on the day that brought them all together. Soul remembered feeling completely out of his element—he'd even regretted acting so rashly and leaving his warm and decidedly safer home for this new reckless but more adventurous one.

His reasons for abandoning his parents and everything that was entitled to someone of the prestigious Evans family was simple although it was a topic that he refused to breach again, even to his close friend Black Star. Soul couldn't match up to the standards set before him by dozens of previous generations and, knowing so, had nothing more to offer except a letter of goodbye and a warning not to go looking for him—more for his brother than his remote parents. His parents had invested a lot in him—thousands of dollars in tutors, instruments, music books and of course music itself. He had spent hours upon hours of practice with his piano yet those painstaking hours never brooked the results his parents hoped for.

He always fell below the standard.

So he had only one escape, given he had no other skills: become a Weapon, as he'd been the only one in his family to be gifted with the weapon gene. He liked to think that was why he never succeeded with his music career, as Black Star chugged down the rest of the bottle, because he was never meant to be a musician. There had always been a wildness in him, a thirst for adventure and freedom that his parents never understood and were often unnerved by.

Of course, his parents were not the adventurous type. They would never let the thought of leaving their quaint manor, with a stone seawall curved around it that gave way to the gold sand of the beach. They would never dare to tread past the fence that surrounded their spacious backyard, where flowers grew in abundance, tended to and nurtured by the gardeners and his mother when she was in the mood for nurturing. They would snort at the thought of leaving a place where the mornings were soft and thin fog skimmed the ground unlike his usual bitterly cold mornings where mist would cover the tumultuous ocean as far as the eye could see. Sometimes he awoke trembling, his lips blue and his face pale and his stomach grumbling loudly because he had been denied dinner last night for a screw up out on deck.

His parents would never sacrifice their luxurious lives for something like this, where every meal was earned and where respect and loyalty was something that was held above all else. Even as he watched his fellow crewmates roar and have a laugh at Black Star, who was now swinging play shots at Ox, another friend, his parents would be horrified by their display and would never be able to understand the brotherly undercurrents that laced their shouts and laughs and even threats. They would be incapable of understanding that they would never really hurt each other because family looked out for one another—this he'd come to learn the hard way, after a good scuffle and stern talking to by the Star himself.

Nearly two years he'd been gone and not a single letter he'd received. Sometimes he brooded on it, wondering if his parents had really thought so little of him. But then he would remember he didn't leave them any sort of contact information—he'd barely left them with a viable reason for his sudden disappearance. Only a formal goodbye and a promise that he would return someday. He mentioned he'd put his weapon skill to good use but hadn't said where. So really he had only himself to blame for the emptiness in his mailbox as well as his heart.

"SOUL, GODDAMMIT! Get those damn things out of your ears!"

"I'm not on duty!" Soul shot back but did pull his earphones out of his ears, sitting upright with a grumble. "What'd'ya want, Sid?"

"There should be a Captain somewhere in there," he growled at him. Soul gave him a blank look. Sid sighed in defeat. "Go check the sails for me,I'm hearin' something loose out there!" he ordered, holding a casserole of mac and cheese. Kilik, their cook, followed close behind with the plates and cups and a shit-eating grin on his face. Ah, so he'd been the one who suggested Sid should ask him to go check the damn sails. He'd get him back later.

"What? It's pouring out there, no way!" Soul complained. "It's probably just the wind!"

"Don't smart mouth me, kid!" Sid sharply warned. Soul rolled his eyes but knew better than to snark back at the Captain. Too much. "I know the sound of a loose turnbuckle when I hear it! Go check and I'll let you have seconds! I doubt Black Star will be eating tonight…" He sighed when said man toppled off the table during a particularly rough tilt of the boat. He did not get back up.

"Aye, don't go tripping over your feet now, Scythe Boy!" A fellow Weapon, Clay, jeered and the others followed with chuckles. "Wouldn't want ya' to go overboard!"

"Fuck off, at least I didn't get my blade stuck in the mast like you did!" He smirked back and the laughter turned on Clay, who jutted his lip out in defeat and mumbled something about that being below the belt.

With that settled, Soul took his glass of whiskey with him to his room. He placed the cup on his nightstand, frowning when it nearly slid off it from the boats violent rock. He pushed it back in place and quickly changed into warmer wear, zipping up his thick water-proof jacket and flipping the hood over his head to ensure the rain didn't totally soak him. He only took another mouthful of his drink before he tossed the rest out in the sink. He'd rather do kitchen duty for three weeks than drink himself silly in front of all these bastards. When he came back out, he found them all roaring in laughter at another tale Ox Ford was telling about his femme fatale sweetheart Kim.

"Hurry up, Soul!" Sid shouted, already serving the rowdy bunch of boys. "Before this glutton here," he swatted Clay's hand away from the casserole with a spoon, "eats your share! Again!"

"I don't think he'd mind, neh, Soul?"

"Hands off my food, Sizemore!"

"You're looking a little tipsy, maybe you should just skip out on the cheese!" Clay suggested.

"You eat my food, I throw you overboard," Soul glared.

"Eater lives up to his name," Harvar murmured with an amused smile.

"Oh, so you guys meant this kind of eat?" Clay gasped with mock-innocence then laughed, grinning mischievously. "But of course you guys meant this! What was I thinking? Like Soul could get a chick in bed even if she's the easiest bitch on the block!"

"Clay," Soul snarled, about to march on over to put the little shit in place when Kilik stood up, waving him back with a hearty laugh.

"C'mon, Clay, chill out! Soul's been a little blue lately! Cut 'em some slack, will you?" Kilik gave Clay meaningful look and the man grumbled a bit but promised he'd leave Soul's share alone and stop making jokes about Soul's pathetic sex life.

Soul just rolled his eyes at both of them and made his way back out... only to wish he'd put up more of a fight the instant he did. It was absolutely freezing. Soul braced himself against the harsh winds and icy rainfall. His boots screeched against the slick wood as he walked and he held on tightly to the wall as the water rose and fell below. His ears caught the noise that Sid had been concerned about and he ran to it when there was a calm, his fingers gripping the loose turnbuckle in seconds. The bloody thing always gave them trouble and the last time they'd ignored it, it had caused some unsightly problems. Soul tightened it again, shielding his face from an onslaught of sea spray when the tide slammed against the side of the boat. His hood flew off his head and he cursed, trying to get it back on, but in seconds his hair was flat down his head and he could feel water dibble down his back and seep into his shirt.

Stupid sea. Stupid storms, stupid cold, stupid Captain, stupid Clay. He could honestly say this job he'd gotten himself involved in was something of a love/hate thing. He was all for it at times but could hate it on a dime. There were other jobs Weapons like him could do: maybe something in the forest or joining the DWMA to hunt the real big and nasty things that haunted the most daunting places of earth. But he'd chosen a more nautical route, more out of urgency to get away from his parents than because he wanted to hunt the nasties that lurked beneath blue waters. It'd been his decision, though, so all he could do was suck it up and deal with it.

It'll be over in a couple of months, he thought as he made his way back to the hatch. Weapons who took the sea route could only be in service for two years before they needed to find employment elsewhere: such was the law and Soul wasn't about to try his luck by squeezing in a third year. Maybe I can join the DWMA and hunt Kishin—sounds way better than drowning out here cuz I fucking slipped or some stupid shit like that. His eyes caught movement and he looked, staring out at the violent sea that hurled their boat. Streaks of lightening speared the sky, the boom of thunder was deep and reaching, but the seas were clear of any life. He figured it was the trick of the eye but then he saw a head bob in the waves.

Holy shit, is that a person? He thought, eyes wide. He rushed to the gunwale and searched the sea but he found nothing. He cursed and had been about to run inside to report what he'd seen when the head popped up again, closer this time, and now he could see that it was a girl, which made things about a hundred times worse.

"Hey! HEY!" He saw dark blonde hair when lightening scratched the sky and when he blinked she was gone again and that convinced him to go the fuck inside and get help. Soul very well scared the living crap out of all the others when he shouted there was a girl in the water.

"A girl?" Sid shouted, alarmed. "Shit! Move it, Evans, there's a girl out there whose probably drowning as we speak!"

Sid was one of the first ones out, barely having time to pull on his jacket and boots before he was stepping into the bitter cold of a storm full-swing. Soul followed closely behind, the others running into their rooms to change into better-suited attire than boxers and shirts.

"Where'd you see her?"

"Over there! That way!" Soul shouted, an eye shut against the particularly violent downpour. "You see her anywhere?"

Sid leaned over the rail and Soul saw his hands clench into fists, his shoulders and back going rigid. "Yeah, I see her…" he replied, sounding more gruff than panicked like he expected. "I didn't think we'd be seeing any of them so soon. Whatever they're doing so close, I don't like it, and taking things for chance isn't the type of man I am!"

"What're you talking about? Who's them?" Soul asked, watching the girl move with the waves without any hurry. Another strike of lightening and he thought he saw green eyes. "Sid?"

"Mermaids," Sid grimaced.

"Mermaids?" Soul repeated, having heard tales of them from the others and even Sid himself. He'd warned against them and their treacherous ways and cautioned not to let themselves be enchanted by their dulcet songs. They were scornful, he'd said, and no matter how beautiful or enrapturing they might appear, their goal was to lure them close to the waters edge and drown them. Many had fallen for mermaid traps and rare was the sailor who managed to capture the mermaids interest.

There were legends that said mermaids could either bring a man the greatest agony or the greatest pleasures. But they said the man needed to be a good man, with pure intentions at heart, and Soul admitted that in this world the worst of the worst were often the ones toughest to venture into the seas. It didn't help that mermaids were finicky things, malicious and brutal, so more often than naught they hurt rather than loved. But it was that shred of hope that they could love and love forever that lured a man into their honeyed trap, Sid had told them. It was better to plug their ears and ignore the stirrings than to take a leap of faith.

Mermaids were something that Weapons like him hunted as well, Soul thought without remorse. And if they'd already reached mermaid territory, no doubt Sid would be hauling out their best equipment and giving them another lecture on not removing the earplugs lest they be led to their deaths. Mermaids had not been on their hunting agenda, Soul thought, but if they became an issue he was sure the other guys would have no problem hunting them, too.

"We weren't supposed to encounter them for another month or so," Sid frowned. "They must've widened their range. Get back inside, we don't need this one to start her song. Warn the others we've got mermaids on our hands while I ask Kidd to steer us away from here for the night. With any hope, they won't cause any problems while we hunt for serpents!"

Soul nodded but not without giving that girl one last look. Another flash of lightening and she was gone; gone under the rough waves and to wherever. There was a sense of restlessness, almost guilt, at the thought of using his scythe to impale a creature who had never wronged him and whose nature it was to lure in lecherous and unworthy men to their deaths.

But this is what he signed up for, as he warned the others of mermaids. He took particular notice in Harvar, a Spear weapon, who fisted his hand in what Soul thought was anticipation. Not that he blamed him: Soul and every other weapon on the boat, save for Black Star and Kidd, the second in command, had been waiting for this: the chance to hunt a mermaid and bloody well survive. A year and a half they'd been crewmates and not once had they seen mermaids—mostly because their objectives were to hunt down other sea monsters and Sid steered clear of them. Not anymore, if they reached mermaid territory already.

Just bringing in one mermaid could bring them more money than he could begin to count. And even if Soul wasn't in it for the money (although having some extra cash was always nice), that didn't make his ambition any less true.

This would be it: he would hunt down a mermaid and he'd very well survive it and return home with his head held high, able to say that there was actually one damn thing he was good at.

A/N:So, this was originally Shi's idea! The whole mermaids/weapons idea, anyway. I just took that concept and gave it my own little twist :)