"Thank you..." Her fragile voice echoed faintly throughout the cave, which was followed by the rolling clouds of thunder from up above.
Soul answered with a weak grin and lifted a gentle hand. Coaxing the tangles from her silky hair with slow strokes, he ran his fingers through her wheat-blonde hair. Her shoulders relaxed and dropped against his chest. Soul kept a sullen gaze planted at the hole in the ceiling of their cave.
They let their own personal silence overcome them, and nothing else filled their ears. A calmer atmosphere filled the air, and washed over Maka and Soul. Exhausted, the two drifted off to sleep, covered by the warmth of each other.
"Hey!" There was a muffled, hazy voice that roused him. "They're down there! Over here!"
It was a familiar voice, and his eyes shot open. A bright light was shone on his face and he cringed at it, shielding his eyes with his hand. "Hey! Soul! Wake up!" Another voice shouted, but it was a girl's. With the flashlight's glow away from his gaze, he spotted two people hovering over the hole.
"Tsubaki? BlackStar?" He muttered and shook Maka's shoulders. She opened her eyes and groggily looked up.
"So you two are alive," joked a relieved BlackStar. "How'd you end up down there?"
"We obviously fell, genius," Soul shot back and sat up from the mud. His back ached terribly, and so did his arm.
"Soul...?" Maka rose on her knees and held her head in her hands. "What's going on?"
"Maka! I'm so relieved we found you! When we couldn't find you during the dance, Liz and I went to look for you around the back. We found Herklander instead. He looked very upset, but he said you two ran into the woods after having a lover's spat," Tsubaki informed them. "But I'm glad you two are safe!"
"What time is it?" Soul wondered aloud, and Tsubaki told them it was 12 in the morning. "It felt like we've been down here for longer, though."
Maka smiled softly. "So I guess we've been rescued." BlackStar threw down a rope for the both of them to climb, and they successfully reached the top of the hole and into the abandoned shed with relief. She let out a gasp as the light reached his arm, and revealed a swelling blue bruise right on his left shoulder. "Are you okay? We should get you to a hospital!"
Soul peered at his wound and shrugged. "It's okay. I think I can manage."
"That's one hell of a bruise, Soul," BlackStar gaped at his shoulder.
"Seriously, Soul. We need medical help," Maka said with worry as she gently caressed his injury carefully and examined it. "It's my fault, after all..."
"Actually," Tsubaki admitted. "We've already called an ambulance, just to make sure that you two were safe. They're back at the school, searching for you. Come on!"
Soul tried to hide his limp, but he was unsuccessful. Tsubaki and BlackStar continued on ahead, making sure their friends were behind them. "It's okay, I've got you," Maka reassured him and aided him as he walked, slumped over her shoulder.
Maka leaned up against the side of an emergency truck as one of the paramedics rubbed her scrapped knee with alcohol, and she bit back a cry of pain. Soul sat in the trunk of the ambulance with his legs hanging out while another person tended to his shoulder and wrapped it with a bandage. The woman who was taking care of Maka gave her a smile. "You two were lucky," the paramedic, who introduced herself as Nygus said. "I don't think any of you would've been better off if you didn't have each other down there. Hypothermia is a dangerous thing, you know?" Maka blushed at the thought of curling up in his chest.
The man helping Soul chuckled in response, while Soul grimaced at the pain. He bandaged Soul's scratched leg and stood up. "That's all you need. Just get some rest over the weekend, and there'll be no need to take you to the hospital." Soul nodded and the paramedic packed up his first aid kit and so did Nygus, who walked away and back to her truck as soon as she confirmed that Maka didn't need anymore medical attention.
"Are you okay?" Soul asked her, even though they weren't facing each other.
"Yeah...I'm fine." She answered.
"What is it?" She asked.
"I want to restart it," he answered.
"I want to restart our...relationship," he admitted. "I want to make up for what I did. Because...I really like you."
"I like you, too..." Maka admitted. "But what do you want to do now?"
He paused to think. "You wanna go for one more date, then?" He asked.
"Sure. Just for old time's sake?" She asked.
He smirked. "Same restaurant as our first one?"
"Yeah. Same time?"
"Yup," he stood up slowly, feeling the pain streak up his leg and into his back. He peeked over the side of the van and saw her leaned up against the red side. Her face burned a bright red and she clenched her fist over her heart. She turned her flustered face towards him and walked over slowly, her head tilted slightly downward. She looked up quickly and with her eyes squeezed shut, and placed her lips on his cheek for only a moment. When she opened her eyes and drew back she saw that he was staring back at her with disbelief in his eyes. "What was that for?" He asked, startled.
She felt like burying her head in the ground from embarrassment. "That was p-payback, o-okay?" She stuttered and huffed away, but stopped. "I'll s-see you tomorrow."
"See ya later then," he said, his mind drifting off into dreamland while he tried to make sense of what had just took place.
They met after school and strolled together down the street to where it all started - Death Bucks Cafe. Soul opened the door for her, just as he had done for her on their first date, and they both took a seat right next to the windows. Maka absent-mindedly fiddled with the spoon in her tea, and Soul sipped his coffee. "Now that Herklander is out of way, we can finally relax," Soul began after setting down his cup. "And now we can start new."
She agreed. "Does this mean you won't be able to pay off your debt anymore? I mean, you didn't take any of the money."
He shrugged. "That's not important to me anymore. That's not what I care about."
"But what will happen if you don't pay it off? Will they take your house away?" she asked, visibly concerned.
"I'll find some way to pay it. Don't worry about it, Maka," he said. "Right now, that's none of my concern."
"But what if you get kicked out? Where will you live?" She pressed on with questions.
"I told you, I'd find a way. I don't care about it right now."
"Soul, that's not gonna help you if you don't know what to do later on..."
"Maka, you're not getting it, I don't care about it," he insisted.
"I care about it Soul, I care about you," she continued.
"I know, I know," he gave up trying to convince her. "The reason why I don't care about this right now is because my priority is focused on you right now."
She went silent for a second. "Wait, remember when I told you that you were welcome anytime to my house?"
"Are you saying that you'd let me crash at your place?"
"Well, what else can you do?"
He shrugged. "I guess I might have to take you up with that offer." They sighed together, the burden of debt lifting off their chests. "So...about starting new," he continued.
"Do you want to start back at square one? Was that what you mean?" She asked curiously.
Soul nodded. "I want to start completely new with you, Herklander free. I want to make up for my mistake. So, Maka..."
"Will you go out with me, for real this time?"
Maka smiled. "Why would I say 'no?'"
"So that's a yes?"
"Of course it is, Soul."
"Then it's official. Stage five is complete," Soul said.
"Stage five?" She asked, giggling.
"Yeah, remember? Last time we were here it was stage one. Actually, I forgot how many stages I said..."
She laughed. "The last time we were here, I hated you. I told you that it was impossible to make me fall in love in just a week. And I was wrong."
"And you told me that you'd never be fully mine," Soul continued, reminiscing. "Is that still true?"
Maka gave a playful chuckle. "We'll see about that."
A/N: Yay! I finally finished this story, but I had to get over the worst writer's block. I would appreciate it so much if you guys checked out my other stories, like my newest one Stockholm Syndrome. Thanks for reading!