Author Notes: Everything from here forward was written in the last year and a half so I'll only be editing and updating chapters where Crona appears and needs editing for pronouns. Other than that, original chapters and notes will remain.
Maka swings her legs and flicks her eyes between her book and the clock. She feels terrible about snapping at Soul and has resolved to go to his room after work to apologize, if she can figure out what to say to him.
Just then the bell on the door tinkles and he's standing in front of her; her mouth is open and her speech unprepared.
"Hey," she manages to squeak out.
"I have a show playing piano for some Beatles cover band on Friday," he slides a flyer across the counter and makes his way to the door.
"Soul, I'm sorry about yell- "
"Maka you don't have to apologize, I actually get it," he walks back and hops up to sit on the counter. "My brother Wes was always the better musician and my parents were always trying to force me into pursuing classical music."
"I don't quite get what this has to do with me," she responds, perplexed.
"Just hear me out," he holds up his hands, "I hated it because I could never be as good as him and I hated being in his shadow, so I went into Jazz so I could make my own way. I just want you to do whatever makes you happy and makes you feel good about yourself."
"Yeah ok." She's embarrassed that she's hearing this from him, but grateful to hear it nonetheless.
"So you want to come this Friday?"
"Yeah that actually sounds really fun," she responds, eyes still firmly on the book that she is absolutely not reading.
"I'll pick you up."
"Ok." No eye contact.
"What?" she looks up to see his face right in front of hers.
"I'm glad you're not mad at me."
"I'm glad you're not mad at me either."
She finishes tying her hair up just as she hears the knock at the door.
"Coming!" she slips out the door and takes the offered motorcycle helmet from Soul.
She hops easily on the back of the motorcycle and they ride off to a slightly different part of town from their usual venue.
"Now this could be a little interesting," Soul warns as they go in the back door of the cafe, "I was practicing with these guys earlier and they honestly have a hard time all staying in the same rhythm."
"I'll just pay attention to you then and I'm sure it'll be great," she laughs, taking her coat off to sit with the sound technician.
Soul goes out on stage and she winces a little as they start in on Eleanor Rigby and the drummer and guitarist are both lagging behind the singer. Soul winks at her and grimaces a little, dutifully following the erratic tempo of the vocalist. Her phone buzzes on the table, her mom's number popping up on the display. She holds it up and waves to Soul before ducking out the back door into the alley to take the call.
"Well, don't you look delicious."
She drops her phone.
Her stomach plummets and her eyes dart from the closed door from the alley and the huge man with white gloves and a strange mask.
"I don't know how to deal with this," a wispy person with pink hair waves a knife languidly in her direction.
"Shut up Crona," the huge man smacks the other one before grabbing Maka's wrists.
"Get off of me," she yells and stomps on his foot with her boot.
"Slice her Crona," the gloved man lets out a ghastly screech.
The pink haired kid, Crona, staggers towards her, raising their arm to slash when Soul bursts out into the alley.
"Maka, watch out!" he lunges in front of her just as Crona swings the knife down straight into his chest, dragging it through his flesh.
"Soul!" Maka jabs her elbows out, wrenches herself free and crashes into Crona, knocking the knife out of their hands.
"Ragnarok, I don't know how to deal with this," Crona sways a little, stepping backward.
"Get the fuck away from us!" Maka yells, swipes the knife from the ground and brandishes it at the pair of attackers. "Get the fuck away, or I'll kill you both." The larger man took a hesitant step forward before disappearing down the alley, followed by his accomplice. Maka falls, shaking, to the ground where Soul is hunched over, his hands clutching his chest. "Soul, you're bleeding so much."
"It's fine," he grunts.
"Soul, you need to go to the hospital," her voice is shaking so much, "where's my phone?" She fumbles around for her phone, she briefly notices the repeated missed calls from her mother before punching in 9-1-1.
"Hello, what's your emergency?"
"I um, need an ambulance," she quavers, "my friend has been attacked; we're in the alley behind the First-Cup Coffeehouse."
"We'll send someone to assist you right away."
Maka ends the call and drop back to Soul's side.
"Soul, I'm so sorry."
Soul laughs weakly, "It's not your fault some freaks attacked you."
"But I should have handled it," she murmurs, her voice cracking. "Here, lie down, we have to keep pressure on the wound." He puts one hand down to lower himself to the ground while Maka wads up her cardigan to press it against his chest.
Her heart rate elevated with adrenaline, it seems like ages before Maka hears the wail of the ambulance. But then the EMTs are pulling Soul onto a stretcher and time starts to fly again. She's sitting in the front seat of the ambulance, and then in the waiting room at the hospital until a nurse calls her in.
"The wound was pretty deep but there was no organ damage, so we've got him all stitched up, and he's resting so you can come see him." The nurse explains, fidgeting with her hair. Maka nods solemnly but secretly lets out a sigh of relief. "The doctor can answer any other questions." The nurse opens a door and ushers her inside where Soul is lying, blinking slowly.
"Hey Maka," he slurs, holding a hand up; Maka holds it, rubbing circles on his palm with her thumb.
"Geez, how much morphine did they put you on?" she laughs nervously.
"Quite a bit," the doctor answers from behind her. "We put in something like twenty three stitches, there was no organ damage however so he shouldn't have to stay here more than a few days, are you his girlfriend?"
"Oh, uh, no, not really," Maka blushes.
"Oh, well, he may need some help changing bandages and such; even after we send him home he shouldn't move around too much," the doctor explains.
"I'm sure I can manage well enough," Soul mumbles sleepily.
"Well, I'll leave you for a bit, do you need a phone to call someone or call a cab?" the doctor says.
"Oh no, I have a cell, thank you," Maka guiltily remembers the calls from her mother after she dropped her phone.
"Get home safe then," the doctor smiles kindly and shuts the door.
"Hey Maka," Soul squeezes her hand.
"What? Do you need anything?"
"I need you to get my bike towed."
"You're such an idiot," she yells, dropping his hand.
"Seriously, I can't have those assholes fucking with it," he mumbles, eyes heavy lidded.
"I'll get your dumb bike towed." Maka laughs, relieved that he's alright. "Do you want me to bring you anything tomorrow?"
"And some music."
"I think I can manage that, I'll let you get some sleep then," she gets up and flicks the lights off.
"I'm glad you're alright."