Marie didn't wake him. Stein cracked his eyes open much later than he had grown accustomed to waking. He didn't smell coffee. He didn't hear anything from the rest of the lab. He readjusted his glasses and noted the lack of a blanket on his shoulders.
He stood and left the lab area, his back cracking as he stretched. He didn't use Soul Perception. He knew what he would find, and he didn't want to accept that right now. He wandered the halls of his empty lab for a short eternity before sitting down on the purple couch.
Her purple couch.
He lay back against it, letting his head rest against the top of it, and exhaled a long stream of smoke before glaring at the cigarette and extinguishing it. He had wanted to believe that she wouldn't leave him. He had wanted to believe that when he woke this morning she would have come to her senses and retired from being Oceania's death scythe. He wanted to believe that she would be here with him until the end.
The truth was stark and glaring. She was gone, and it was his fault.
"And what reason did she have to stay?" He whispered to himself. "The kishin was finally defeated. I've not had any episodes of insanity that were bad enough to warrant someone with me since then. Oceania needed its death scythe."
A knock on the door drug him out of his thoughts. He just looked at it, his soul perception looking through it. The soul on the other side wasn't interesting. He leaned his head back against the sofa again as the door swung open and Spirit stepped in.
"You know, Stein, you're supposed to answer the door when someone knocks." Spirit chided.
"Marie did that."
"Yeah… well… it's something that you're going to have to start doing again, Stein."
Stein was silent for a moment. "I don't want to."
Spirit sat down beside the scientist. "So, what does your science and anatomy lessons tell you now, Stein?" Stein turned his head to look at Spirit as the man continued. "I may not know exactly what's going on in what's left of your brain, but I can tell you one thing. You're acting like me right after Kami left me."
Spirit pulled a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket and tapped two out, handing one to Stein. The man took it and placed it between his lips without lighting it. Spirit lit his own and then tapped Stein's shoulder, handing him the lighter. Stein hesitated before handing it back. Spirit looked at him strangely.
"She didn't like my smoking." He said plainly, his head lying back against the couch as he resumed staring up at the ceiling, the unlit cigarette still hanging from his mouth. "Funny how I don't want to smoke now because of her, but when she was here I never gave a thought to quitting."
"It's easy to explain." Spirit said, exhaling a stream of smoke before snuffing his cigarette against the bottom of his shoe.
"Enlighten me with your wisdom, Senpai." Stein drawled out sarcastically.
"You love her."
Stein gave a dry laugh.
"It's true, Stein. Look at you. You're moping. Since when does Franken Stein mope? Since when does the brilliant Doctor Franken Stein not have an experiment to be working on?" Spirit asked, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, turning his head to look at the other man.
Stein was silent, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling.
Spirit took his silence as permission to continue. "Look, Stein, I know that you've had issues understanding emotions, but this is one that you have to let yourself figure out. Marie deserves to know that her leaving hurt you."
"There's no pain, Senpai." Stein said with uncertainty in his voice.
"It's not physical pain, Stein. That aching hole? That's what I'm talking about. You feel like you have no reason to even get up and move. Hell, I bet that you haven't even eaten today, have you?" Stein just shook his head. Spirit stood. "Get up, we're going to go and get food."
"I'm not hungry. Besides, Marie wouldn't be cooking until around 6 and its only 4. I'm not ready to eat." Stein looked at the other man as Spirit laughed.
"That's what I'm talking about, Stein! Marie this, Marie that! You love her and you just don't understand the feeling. She's been gone two days and no one's even seen you since she left; you didn't even see her off."
"You weren't busy." Spirit replied, throwing Stein his lab coat. "Let's go." Stein sighed and stood up, following the death scythe out the door.
"No, I wasn't." Stein said as they left. The door shut behind them with the resounding clang of metal on metal and the two men started walking.
"Then why didn't you go, Stein?" Spirit asked, slipping his hands into his pockets.
Stein twisted the screw in his head, and when he answered it froze Spirit's heart with the mournful tone he had. "Because if I watched her leave she would really be gone. That way I could fool myself into thinking that she was just on another mission, not half way around the world and gone forever."
Spirit was silent for a long minute as the two walked. When he spoke, it was just to repeat something he had already told his friend. "Stein, you have to tell her."
The scientist just sighed. "I know."
A/N :D I hope that wasn't too terribly OOC- but I have to imagine that Stein would have taken her presence for granted and even become attached to her. :)
I don't own Soul Eater.