In the midst of his laughter, Spirit and Azusa turned a corner. And around that corner was petite, sandy-blonde haired meister.
She hadn't heard from her father since he embarked the plane back to Death City.
She certainly hadn't heard that her father had a new girlfriend.
Her eyes flicked from the now frozen redhead to the raven-haired woman next to him. Her eyes then flicked to their intertwined hands, Azusa's pulling away as she saw the girl's gaze.
Spirit looked across the corridor to see his daughter, Maka, her eys wide and her face holding a puzzled expression.
"Maka?" he replied.
"Azusa?" Maka asked. Azusa took a sharp breath in and looked at the redhead beside her.
"…Spirit?" she managed. Spirit's eyes remained wide and his eyes flicked between the two women. He muttered only one thing as he imagined everything that was to come.
Azusa's eyes were wide as the sandy-blonde haired girl stared her down. She tried desperately to pull her hand away from Spirit's, but he tightened his grip.
"Don't. It's okay." he murmured. Azusa was not one to be easily scared, but this was terrifying. This girl was barely five-foot tall but her brows were furrowed and her arms crossed, and the resemblance she bore to her mother sent shivers up Azusa's spine.
"Maka, are you goi-"
"You've got another one?" Maka asked, derisively. Azusa's eyes widened, almost imperceptibly, and Spirit raised his eyebrow.
"I'm sorry?" Spirit asked.
"You heard me. What number is this, huh, Papa?" Maka asked. Spirit stood, dumbfounded, and Maka sighed and shook her head.
"That's what I thought." Maka turned on her heel and, as quickly as she had appeared, she left. Spirit's eyes were wild with bewilderment, and when Spirit turned back to Azusa, her expression was the same.
"Yumi, I'm so sorr-" Spirit began, but Azusa shook her head furiously.
"Don't be. I… I have to go. I'll… I'll see you later." Azusa took her hand away from Spirit's and rushed out down the corridor opposite the one Maka had huffed down, leaving Spirit standing, looking lost in the middle of the hallway. His knees went weak and he collapsed in the middle of the quiet corridor, the only noise being the approaching wheels of a desk chair.
Stein arrived, along with that sound, and saw Spirit, his body shivering with his legs sprawled underneath him. He sighed and stood from his seat, walking over the the redhead.
He sighed begrudgingly and stuck his hand out.
"Come on, senpai. Get up." Stein said. Spirit looked up at him and blinked.
"I've screwed it all up, haven't I?" Spirit asked, taking Stein's hand and pulling himself up.
"Well, Maka just huffed past me that way, but that's nothing unusual." Stein said. Spirit gave a small smile and dusted his knees off.
"You're telling me." Spirit replied, scratching the back of his neck.
He looked at Stein, eyes slightly wide and brimming with something to say.
Once again, Stein gave a begrudging sigh and walked over to his chair, grabbing it by the back and walking towards the faculty room. Spirit followed quickly, and Stein's eyes flicked to him. He gave one final sigh and, despite the fact that past experience told him he'd regret it, he asked.
"Go on, senpai. What's the matter?"
"She just… stared at me." Azusa's face was affixed in a quizzical expression, and Marie paced backwards and forward in front of her.
"Well… was she angry at you? Or Spirit?" Marie asked. Azusa shrugged.
"I don't know. I have no idea!" Azusa threw her hands in her lap in exasperation. Marie walked over and sat down next to her.
"Well… it's Spirit's right to date. Right? How does Maka think he felt when she started going out with Soul?" Marie asked. Azusa stared at Marie, and she raised an eyebrow.
"What? What did I do?" Marie asked. Azusa crossed her arms.
"You… nothing. You're trying to help, I know, it's just… did I forget that he had a daughter?" Azusa asked. Marie smiled and clasped her hands near her heart.
"It's because you're finally old enough. It's called love, Yumi." Marie giggled, and Azusa shoved her in the arms and crossed her arms aggressively, turning her nose up in the air indignantly.
"Sorry, geez!" Marie exclaimed. Azusa sighed and shook her head, sitting forward and dropping her head.
"We're not in a plane crash. That's not going to help you deal with Maka." Marie said, sitting up. Azusa looked at Marie and her head fell into her hands.
"You didn't see how she looked at me. It was like she was looking through my soul." Azusa groaned.
"She's a very powerful young woman… but you're Yumi Azusa. You're the youngest ever female Deathscythe. Being a Deathscythe in itself is something special. You can stand up to a teenage girl." Marie said. Azusa sighed and flopped backwards onto her couch.
"I give up. I just want a cat." she groaned, and Marie laughed and leant across on top of her.
"Well," a devious grin crossed Marie's features, "I'm sure you could make Spirit purr if you tried hard enough." Marie giggled and Azusa stared down at her.
"I will hurt you." Azusa snarled.
"Yeah, yeah." Marie brushed the comment aside.
"Why are you acting like this all of a sudden?" Azusa asked. Marie sat up and a wide smile graced her features.
"Yumi, you've got a boyfriend. I don't know if you had anyone on your Deathscythe travels, but this is the first boyfriend I know and have heard about. You're my best friend – can' t I be excited?" Marie asked, brimming with excitement. Azusa sighed and smirked in defeat.
"Fine. Go for it."
"He's dating again."
"C'mon, can't you talk to Soul about this or something?" Liz droned, tipping her head backwards. Maka had summoned her, Patti and Tsubaki to hers and Soul's apartment after school for a 'girl talk.'
"No! I need feminine advice! My father is dating again, just… help!" Maka exclaimed, her pigtails flitting angrily at her shoulders.
"Fine, fine, calm down, Maka." Tsubaki said, gently. Maka took a deep breath in and sat back.
"Okay!" Patti bounced happily on her knees next to Maka, and Liz resituated herself, sprawling across the chair.
"Who's he dating?" Tsubaki asked. Maka sighed and fiddled with her hands, before murmuring.
"Y'know… the lady Deathscythe." Maka knew her name very well. But the fact that she wanted to be anywhere near that loathsome creature that was her father made her less appealing.
Unfortunately for Maka, the girls jumped to an all-together wrong conclusion.
"Maka, she's with Doctor Stein!" Liz exclaimed.
"Your papa's gonna be Stein-hakase's next dissection tutorial, Maka!" Patti exclaimed.
"Maka, no! Marie-sensei wouldn't cheat on Doctor St-"
"Not Marie-sensei! No! Yumi Azusa!" Maka clarified, squeezing her eyes shut in exasperation. The girls stopped and all looked at one another. The three weapons looked back at the meister and Liz spoke up.
"Yumi Azusa? She's… she's amazing, Maka! Why are you freaking out?" Liz asked. Patti nodded in agreement, as did Tsubaki.
"You guys, she's a Deathscythe. I appreciate the time and dedication that takes, but… I'm a meister. I don't idolise her like you would. Plus… she's dating my father. What does that say about her taste?" Maka asked.
"Maka… you need to think about this. Your papa has every right to date, doesn't he?" Tsubaki asked. Maka crossed her arms.
"He cheated on Mama. He shouldn't have dating rights." Maka groaned.
"But he does." Liz spoke up. Maka stood up, feeling rage building in her stomach.
"No, he doesn't! I… I'll be back later. Soul can let you out." Maka picked up her bag and stormed out of the apartment. The three girls looked at each other.
"She's just shaken. She'll calm down." Tsubaki promised.
Maka ran up the stairs, tears threatening to fall from her eyes at any second. She approached the building and hit the door with three solid knocks.
The door opened, and Maka looked up at the man who answered.
"Maka?" Spirit asked. Maka's eyes widened.
"Why are you here?" she spat.
"I… Maka, please…" Spirit begged, but Maka turned back around.
"I don't want to talk to you. I want my mama!" she bellowed, turning around and running full pelt down the stairs. Spirit went to run after her, but he felt a slender hand on his shoulder.
"Leave her be now, Spirit. I know it's hard. She'll calm down." Marie said, gently. Spirit dropped his head and turned back around, shutting the laboratory door behind him. He shuffled back over to the couch, sitting down next to Azusa, who looked terribly tired and frazzled. Spirit looked at her and she collapsed onto him, giving a heaving sigh.
"How did we cause this much strife in a day?" Azusa asked.
"It'll settle down. People will stop talking." Marie said. Spirit looked at her.
"I sure hope you're right. I can't keep this up for much longer – and we can't just seek refuge at the lab all the time." Spirit said.
"Damn straig-" Marie clamped her hand over Stein's mouth and gave Spirit and Azusa a sympathetic smile, removing her hand.
"You can stay here whenever you need to. Ignore Stein. I do most of the time." Marie smirked. Stein looked up at her and raised an eyebrow.
"Thanks." he groaned. Spirit laughed and looked down at Azusa.
"Why do people have partners?" Azusa asked.
"Why not cats? Yeah, we've had this conversation today, Yumi." Marie sat down on the purple couch, Stein rolling over to be next to her.
"Maybe she hates me." Azusa mused.
"No, I'm pretty damn certain it's me." Spirit told the raven-haired woman. Azusa shrugged.
"Split it?" she asked. Spirit nodded.
"Sounds good." Spirit replied. Stein looked at Marie, Marie looked back at him, and they both looked at Spirit and Azusa.
They were fond of each other – that was obvious.
They just needed to weather the storm of the situation, and, with all hope, they would.
A/N: Welcome back! Good to see you back in this series. If you read it, I hope you enjoyed my little tie-over one-shot, Resentment.
Just a note about this chapter – Maka won't be like this the whole story. Like Tsubaki said, she's just shaken. Things will settle, I promise. I say this, because I'm pretty sure if I had to read a whole fic with Maka like she was in this chapter, I couldn't do it.