Rain Soaked Tears
Disclaimer: I don't own Soul Eater.
Rain didn't make desert cities a very habitable place, and Death City was no exception. Water flooded the streets as fast as rapids, inches deep in some curves and strong enough to tug at the ankles brave enough to ford them. It made the air heavy and the ground soggy, the sky dark and the city shiver.
Soul Eater liked the rain. Black*Star might call him an angsty emo ass for it, but Soul liked the rain. It cleared every street, meaning he could have a relaxing walk without someone talking to him every twenty minutes. With his trusty umbrella and his favorite jazz playlist on his iPod, Soul Eater was perfectly comfortable trudging through Death City's water-flushed streets for a nice long walk.
He found her in an alley twelve blocks from his apartment. At first, he thought he was seeing things. Nobody was around, certainly not anyone his own age. Plus, this was the one person who would've been the last one Soul expected to be where she was when he saw her.
Maka Albarn, number one student, huddled against a Dumpster and using a newspaper as a makeshift umbrella.
He paused his music and tugged an earbud loose. "Maka? What are you doing in there?" he called out. When she didn't reply, Soul moved closer. "Hey, did you hear me?"
Maka didn't appear to hear him. When he looked closer, Soul noticed that she was wearing her school uniform, a plaid skirt and white shirt under the overlarge black trenchcoat. Her trademark pigtails were gone and her hair hung in thin, limp wet strands around her face.
But when he saw her face, he was instantly worried. Maka had a blank expression on her face that made her look almost broken.
"Maka? Maka!" He knelt down and held out his hands to her, cradling the umbrella on his shoulder to block the rain from hitting them both. "Maka, it's me. It's Soul Eater."
"Soul?" she whispered, staring from underneath her hair. "Soul?"
"Yeah, Maka. It's me." Edging closer, Soul grasped her hands in his. They were ice-cold to the touch, and when he looked closer, he could see she was shivering. "You're drenched. Jesus, how long have you been out here?"
She blinked slowly, then dropped her gaze to their hands. "I don't know," she murmured. "I remember running..." She looked around. "Where am I?"
"Off Main Street, on the south side."
"Wow, I ran a long way from home."
Her words puzzled Soul. "You ran away from home? Why?"
Maka looked away. "I don't wanna talk about it."
"Fine. Be that way." Pulling out his phone, Soul pressed eight on his speed dial.
Her hands tightened their grip on his. "Wh-Wh-What are you doing?"
"Calling for a ride," he responded. "I don't have my bike, and there's no way to get you home without getting you sick. I'll ask Kid to - "
"Don't make me go back!" Maka practically screamed, pushing away enough to look up with crazed green eyes. "Please Soul, don't make me go home! I'm begging you, please!"
The sheer amount of panic in her eyes and her voice made Soul pause for a brief second. Then he heard the call connect and Kid's voice saying, "Hello?"
"Kid, it's Soul. You and the Thompsons still at that little cafe on Main Street?"
"I'm about five streets south of there, in an alley by the bridge. I found Maka and she's in a bad way. Mind giving us a lift back to my place?" Soul asked, looking at Maka as he spoke. The gratitude in her eyes was staggering.
"Yes, of course," said Kid, sounding concerned for their mutual friend and classmate. "May I ask why she was so far from home?"
"Later." Helping Maka to her feet, Soul handed her his umbrella and led her towards the street. "Just get us out of here, okay?"
After getting Maka inside his place and pushing her in the bathroom to dry off, Soul called Black*Star. As usual, his roommate Tsubaki answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Hey Tsubaki, it's Soul. Is he around?"
"Oh, hello Soul! Yes, Black*Star is here. Hold on, he's playing on his XBox...BLACK*STAR! IT'S SOUL!" she shouted away from the phone.
His blue-haired friend was on in seconds. "Yo! What's up, man?"
"Hey. You talk to Kid recently?"
"Yeah, he called me after he dropped you off...what did her deadbeat dad do now?"
"Don't know," Soul admitted. "I found her twelve blocks from my place in an alley."
"DAMN! Her house is clear across town! She ran that far?"
"Look, she's gonna crash at my place for a while. Can you and Tsubaki do your B and E ninja thing and get some stuff from her room? Clothes and stuff?"
"Why not just borrow from - oh yeah, that wouldn't work." Black*Star chuckled a little. "Sure, we can go right now. Tsubaki will do the clothes run. I'm gonna see exactly what made Maka run so far."
Soul could hear the steel in his tone. "This isn't the first time she's gotten upset like this, is it?" When Black*Star didn't respond, he knew the answer. "That dick. What's his problem?"
"That's her story to tell, man. We'll stop by in an hour with her stuff."
"All right. Thanks, man."
Soul hung up and heaved a sigh. Obviously there was more to Maka's life than her perfect honor-student persona let on. He'd only heard rumors around school about her horndog dad, but they'd been consistant about the cheating aspect. Sighing again, he ran his fingers through his hair to rake it out of his eyes.
Thirty minutes later, Maka lay curled up on a plush couch under a thick blanket, listening to music as she watched Soul bustle around his little galley kitchen fixing tea. After a hot shower, she wore borrowed dry clothes from Soul while hers tumbled in his dryer.
Kid had been wonderfully understanding when he picked them up, only asking if Maka was hurt before driving them to Soul's apartment. Liz and Patti had taken Maka and began patting her hair and clothes dry with towels, fussing over her like mother hens.
Hearing a muffled swear, Maka glanced at her classmate as he stood by the stove. The strange albino Soul Eater. The cool, popular guy at Death City High School's freshman class. He just showed up on the first day of school, dressed in almost lazy-casual attire, with his spiky white hair and sharp teeth and those hooded red eyes. He was in a few of her classes, but Maka really didn't know much about him. Nobody did.
Suddenly curious about her secretive classmate's home, she sat up to look around. Contrary to his lax attitude and sloppy desk, the living room appeared to be quite clean. A set of shelves held what looked like albums, dozens and dozens of them. On the top shelf was a record player, which was where the music was coming from.
The most prominant piece in the room was the black piano dominating one corner, its glossy frame lit by the window behind it. Maka gasped softly at how beautiful it was. It looked quite expensive, though she didn't know much about pianos in general to be sure.
"Mint tea all right?"
Soul's voice brought her out of her thoughts. "Oh. Yes, thank you," she said, taking the offered cup. After a few sips, she smiled. "Very good. Thank you."
"No problem." Soul plopped down beside her and set his cup on the coffee table. "You seem to be better now."
"Hot shower and dry clothes really help."
"You ready to go home yet?"
She shook her head. "No. I'm not going home tonight. And you can't make me," she said childishly.
"Like I'd be able to." The albino boy sighed heavily. "Well, you're welcome to hide out here for a few days."
"But we have school tomorrow!" Maka objected.
"No we don't. Teacher's meeting day, remember? And it's Thursday, which means we have a long weekend." Soul grinned at her. "I've got a spare bedroom. You can crash there til Sunday."
"Really?" He was acting weird, but Maka couldn't sense any ill intent. "You don't mind?"
"Are you messy?" She shook her head. "Are you a noisy early riser?" Another negative head shake. "You gonna harp on me every chance you get?" Still a no. His grin returned. "Then it shouldn't be a problem." Soul glanced over her attire. "But we gotta get you your own clothes. I doubt you wanna wear my hoodie and sweats for the next three days."
Maka crossed her arms. "And how would you see to that?"
"Let's just say, I've got a friend who's good at this kind of thing."
"What friend?" she asked suspiciously.
Her answer came in the form of a loud barrage of knocking on the front door. Maka instantly ducked under her blanket like a mole gone to earth. Soul just got up and went to check the peephole. "Relax," he told her as he unlocked the deadbolt, "it's just my delivery service."
"Delivery service?" came an affronted shout that Maka recognized instantly. "Bastard, I am a GOD! Just because you're a newcomer doesn't mean you get a free pass at insulting your God!"
She sat up in surprise. "Black*Star? You called Black*Star?"
"Hello Maka," Tsubaki said in greeting, edging past her roommate with a shopping bag in hand. "We got you a few outfits to choose from. I hope they're all right."
Maka, however, was still focused on Soul. "You asked Tsubaki and Black*Star to break into my house?"
"Psh, break in," Black*Star scoffed. "Please. As if it was that exciting. We just slipped through an open window."
"That's breaking in!"
"You're such an idiot!"
Ignoring the shouting match of childhood friends, Soul went to Tsubaki and took the bag from her. "Thanks. Really. She's probably going to be here til Monday."
"It was no trouble," said the older girl. "I brought all the things she usually brings for sleepovers."
"Thanks." Soul looked back at Black*Star. "Did he find out anything?"
Tsubaki's smile flattened like a blown tire. "Her father was passed out on the couch. That's all he told me. But Black*Star didn't speak all the way over here."
"Tell him to call me tomorrow, and thanks."
"Okay." Regaining her tolerant smile, Tsubaki walked back to her roommate and grabbed him by the scarf. "Black*Star, let's go now. Good night, Maka!"
"NO! TSUBAKI, I'M WINNING THIS ARGUMENT! YOU DON'T INTERRUPT A GOD'S ARGUMENT!" whined the blue-haired boy at the top of his lungs.
"You were losing anyway! Bye, Tsubaki!" Maka yelled after them. Turning on her heel angrily, she stalked toward Soul. He held out the shopping bag, which she grabbed, and watched her head back for the guest bedroom and slam the door shut.
This will be an interesting weekend.
Another Soul Eater fic for you great readers!