Oh my Batman.
So let me just say, watched all of Soul Eater (for the first time) in one weekend. Possibly one of the best/worst decisions of my life. (Do with that what you will.) And now I have an excess of feelings so, here you are - my first non-superhero story. This is, how they say, one of my "headcanons."
P.S. This is sort of a two-in-one, because if I split it up, the parts would have been very short.
In a dark cavern, dripping with moisture and far away from anywhere, a small girl was stroking the black ink on her arm. A smile curled her lips as she ran her fingers down the twisting black snakes that seemed to snarl and hiss on her skin, and she hummed a haunting tune without words as she gazed into a crystal ball that swirled with purple fog.
Distance meant nothing to a witch - at least not one of her caliber. With a twitch of tiny fingers above the billowing purple mist, she could see everything.
"It's been a little too quiet in Death City," she whispered, and a ghostly rattle accompanied her small chuckle. "I think it's time to stir up a little mayhem."
It was every weapon's worst nightmare. But more importantly, this was his worst nightmare.
He watched, too slow, as the blade pierced through her chest, so hard and deep that the tip showed through the back of her black coat. He heard, ears ringing, the wet sound of hard steel slicing through soft skin, and the sickening crack of her severed spinal cord. He felt, too late, the quick burn as his form changed from metal to flesh, and the strong fingers that had twirled him with ease moments ago dropped limply. He knew, with the instinctive sense between meister and weapon, that she was gone.
He was alone.
It didn't stop him from rushing to her side as the blade withdrew and she fell to the ground. Nothing could stop him from bending over her, from calling her name, from cradling her crumpled form to his chest and pretending that the hot liquid dripping from her back and coating his arms and hands wasn't from her.
For a moment, he thought he saw her eyelids flutter, and he would have given anything to have seen those enormous green orbs glaring out at him from under furrowed brow, but then he felt the last weak breath slip from between her lips, and knew that he would never see that scowl again.
Time passed as if in a dream.
He remembered only pieces of things: the arrival of Death Scythe, the obnoxious jerk who had the gall to cry over the small body on the ground; meeting with Lord Death and Sid and Stein, answering questions mechanically, without looking up from his shoes - there was a small drop of red on the toe of his left boot; sitting with the others on one of the Academy balconies, watching the sun fall asleep to the sound of soft crying; returning to the empty flat and sinking to the floor in the dark, completely disarmed by a stack of books on the table she had brought home from the library just the day before.
In school, they taught that meister and weapon were each half of an indivisible unit; neither could function at full capacity alone. There was nothing more efficient or beautiful as two souls that could connect on such a fundamental level. The matching of frequencies was only the scientific part of the soul wavelength phenomenon - the grace and strength of two souls combining was a marvel that had to be appreciated from the spiritual perspective to be fully understood.
At least, that's what she had told him. He'd always slept through philosophy class. But now he was alone, with no one to tell him what he was missing in class because he hadn't left the flat in days.
It was his fault. It was the weapon's duty to sacrifice for the meister, not the other way around. If he had been a better weapon, the weapon she'd needed, he would've been able to protect her. Stupid mistakes, and now she was gone. If he had trained harder, been more on his guard, paid attention in philosophy class, she would still be alive to kick his ass for not washing the dishes and skipping class and putting his shoes on the furniture.
The shoe with her blood on it.
Time passed as if in a dream.
The Effect of a Dream?
Someone was calling his name.
He jerked awake, accidentally too far, and fell out of bed. Blood pounded through his veins, his breath came in sharply, and his gaze leapt to the doorway.
"Hurry up, you're going to be late." She paused, halfway out the door, and frowned down at him. "What's wrong with you?"
"Maka?" he choked, and the noise was more squeak-and-gasp than whisper.
Before she could blink or he could gather his thoughts, he was disentangled from the mess of sheets and across the room in a single bound, arms thrown around her and pulling her in. It was impossible, but there she was - flesh and blood and green eyes and pigtails and suspicious frown and Maka, all Maka.
"What - what are you doing?" she spluttered, and shoved against him with bony elbows. "Soul, stop, you're crushing me!"
"You're alive," he croaked, and tightened his grip.
"Of course I am." She stopped struggling. "Why wouldn't I be?"
He pulled back just enough to look at her. Big green eyes - green as a toad, he used to tease - watched him with concern, and the feel of her pulsing soul so close was exhilarating. Even if he couldn't technically feel her soul, knowing it was there was the warmest comfort after so many nights in the loneliest of cold.
"What's wrong with you?" she asked again, and he heard the sharp note of impatience.
With one last squeeze - to reassure himself that she was real - he stepped back and turned, gathering his fallen sheets and tossing them back on the bed. He took a steadying breath. His heart was still pounding.
"I saw you die."
"You're quiet today, Maka."
Tsubaki smiled at her, friendly and heartfelt. They were sitting on a bench at the basketball court, watching the others race back and forth across the pavement, whooping and laughing, Soul only a little less enthusiastically than usual.
Maka sighed heavily and turned to her friend. Tsubaki was waiting, patient as ever.
"It's Soul," Maka confessed, and her eyes flicked involuntarily to the head of white-blonde hair bobbing around five yards away.
"What about him?"
She sighed again, kicking a pebble near her foot. "He had some bad dream where I died."
Tsubaki made a sympathetic noise. "That must've been scary. What happened?"
"I don't know. He didn't say much about it."
Cheers and groans echoed off the walls of the place as Black Star launched the basketball into the hoop from halfway down the court. He immediately began prancing about and praising himself, even as the others grabbed the ball and resumed play.
Beside her, Tsubaki chuckled at the younger boy's antics before turning back to their conversation. "But you're clearly fine, so why are you so down?"
Maka sighed one more time and leaned back against the bench. "Because now he's following me everywhere."
Tsubaki laughed, but tried to catch herself at the heated look she received. She hid a few giggles behind her hand. "Forgive me, Maka," she smiled, "but you two are inseparable anyway. What's the difference?"
Cheeks tinging pink, Maka crossed her arms and scowled. "We are not inseparable. But now he goes with me everywhere! Yesterday, he even went grocery shopping with me, and he hates going to the store."
"What's so bad about him going to the store with you?"
"Okay, maybe that was a bad example," Maka huffed. "But I'm telling you, Tsubaki, he follows me everywhere. At school, around the flat. He won't let me go anywhere by myself!"
"It sounds like he's just trying to protect you. Which is really sweet, if you think about it for a second."
The pink flushed darker. "He won't even let me go to the bathroom by myself."
"What?" Poor Tsubaki. Her second-hand blush was almost as prominent as Maka's.
Maka picked at her thumb, sending a blazing look Soul's way. He was passing the ball to Liz, only inadvertently glancing towards the bench on the sidelines every once in a while. "He walks with me and then waits outside, every single time. It's infuriating."
"Um," Tsubaki hummed, half-nervously. "What about in the middle of the night? He can't follow you if he's asleep."
It didn't seem possible at that point, but Maka flushed an even deeper shade of crimson. Her cheeks were redder than shined apples. "That's what I thought, until he started sleeping on my floor."
They were quiet for a moment, listening to the slap of sneakers on the concrete and the happily huffing breaths of their friends nearby. Much to Maka's chagrin, Soul seemed to have been eavesdropping on their conversation, because he suddenly seemed overly absorbed with the game during their silence.
"Well, I think it's sweet." Tsubaki's smile, if not entirely good-natured, was just the slightest bit too intuitive for Maka's taste. "That dream of his must've been pretty bad."
Maka released the skin near her thumbnail and watched the angry red spot calm back to its normal shade. She looked up and caught Soul's eye. "Yeah," she sighed, and all the bluster drained out of her. "It must've been."
"When is it going to be safe enough for me to sleep on my own?"
The lights were out, and Maka was curled up on one side under the covers, looking down over the edge of the mattress at the dark shape of Soul stretched out over the floor on his back. He reached up with both arms, extending them as far as they would go, and folded them under his head.
"Just go to sleep, Maka," he grunted, and she frowned.
"What do you think this is going to accomplish, anyway?" she asked, and heard the rustle against his pillow as he turned his head towards her. "It was just a dream."
He didn't say anything for a while, and she thought he had fallen asleep, when his low voice reached her in the darkness. "It felt too real."
"You don't have to take care of me. I am a meister, you know, which means I can hold my own in a fight." He was so stubborn sometimes. Didn't he understand that they were partners?
She didn't see it in the black room, but she heard and felt one of his hands reach up and grasp one of hers that was hanging over the edge of the bed. "You're not invincible, Maka." Without making the decision to, she gripped his hand tight, and he squeezed back. "So for now, I'm going to make sure there aren't any stupid mistakes."
In the same dark cave, the little girl pouted, digging sharp nails into the inky snakes on her arm. Her angry disappointed huff was accompanied by hissing protests. She glared into the spiraling wisps of fog within the depths of the crystal orb.
"Well," she said, and leaned back on her hands, rolling her head around her shoulders. "That was a little less mayhem than I was going for."
Oh my Batman.
First non-superhero story. I'm a little jittery. Am I too late for the Soul Eater fandom? Sou sumimasen gomenasai.