"It's been a good day, Papa," Maka said quietly. "I got a perfect score on my test. Soul didn't do so well; he was too busy trying to cheat."
Soul just huffed from beside her, but didn't interrupt.
Maka smiled a little. "Soul and I are going on our mission to kill a witch soon. She's in Prague, so we'll get to do some sightseeing afterwards. Then we'll come back and I'll make you and Mama proud."
Maka waited a second, but there was no reply. Tears pricked at her eyes, despite knowing that there never would be again. Soul's hand fell on her shoulder and he tugged her slightly. She collapsed against his chest, letting the sobs tear through her that even nearly a month of mourning hadn't been able to dull.
"Maka, we have to go now if you want to make it to the church on time," Soul said gently, guiding the distraught teen towards his motorcycle.
She sniffled as he sat a helmet on her head, but nodded. A moment later they were leaving Hook Cemetery behind them. Maka couldn't help but glance in the direction of Stein's lab as they left.
Maka sat between Soul and Black*Star on the cold bench in the church. Some pastor or father or reverend was droning on about the afterlife and the peace that it afforded, but Maka wasn't paying attention.
Professor Stein would have scolded her had he been there.
'Your mind is too brilliant to waste. You need to pay attention to everything, even if it isn't something that you're overtly interested in, because you never know when the knowledge will come in handy, Maka. You have to be prepared for everything.'
His words echoed through her mind as she stared vacantly at the front of the church. The clergyman continued his eulogy, and Maka found that she couldn't completely tune out the man's words.
"He was preceded in death by the two people that were closest to him. It has been said that when a person loses their loved one, it can sometimes cause them to feel that there is no longer a way to continue. Unfortunately, our dearly departed had few to turn to in his time of need.
Regardless, he touched a great number of lives. There is not a soul in this room that he did not effect in one way or another, and he was a great man. Is there any that would speak on his behalf?"
Sid stood, his voice ringing through the small church. Azusa stood next and spoke as well. Maka buried her face in her knees and sobbed as Soul rubbed her back gently.
Black*Star, not to be outdone, bounded to his feet and told a story that glorified him more than the deceased. Maka trembled, anger and pain running through her soul as others stood to speak of him.
They all skipped around the true point of why Stein was in a coffin- of why the man was dead.
He had killed himself. Shinigami-sama had called the man to check on him and been able to see the last few moments of the scientist's life. Maka's fists clenched in anger as she recalled what Shinigami-sama had told her had happened.
"Maka, Professor Stein passed away this morning."
"We were too late to help him- it appears that he fell into madness and without your father or Marie there to help him he was completely lost."
Shinigami-sama looked at her sadly. "He killed himself, Maka. From what we can tell, he was hallucinating. He was… well, he was trying to save your Papa and Marie from something. I sent people to stop him, but they got there too late. It looks like he killed himself with his own wavelength. It was… an accident…"
With a wordless sob she stood and ran from the funeral.
Tears streamed down Maka's face hours later as she sat beside her father's grave. Marie's was one plot over, and just beside Marie's was Stein's. Soul stood, leaning against his bike, just as he had for the last hour.
"Papa, you and Ms. Marie died to save him and then he killed himself. How is that fair?!" Maka raged again, the tears nearly choking her up.
"Hey, Maka… we all knew that Professor Stein wasn't stable. He shouldn't have been left alone. He obviously wasn't in his right mind…" Soul said.
"I'll never forgive him. He took my Papa away…"
Soul's arms wrapped around her and she squeaked, unaware that the boy had left his perch. He pulled her against him and sighed. "Maka, your dad was a great death scythe, and he did what any weapon would have done. We protect our meisters, no matter how crazy a stunt they've pulled."
"Loves you. He wouldn't want you balling like this. Neither would Ms. Marie and the Prof wouldn't understand it. Let's go home. We'll come back to visit tomorrow. I promise."
Maka nodded, letting the boy guide her away from the three graves.
Three souls floated together, and Shinigami-sama watched them. He hadn't been able to bring himself to send them on. The three souls had such potential and worked so well together that he was loathe to remove them from the world.
Perhaps, just perhaps, he would make a deal and have all three returned.
A/N: I hope that you enjoyed the twist. It's been planned since the first chapter and while I know that it isn't exactly what I was prompted, I hope that you enjoyed.
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I don't own Soul Eater.