Adante ed Lacrimoso

(Life in the Key of G)

1: In which there are awkward family issues, a mother leaves, and Soul starts learning out to speak "crying girl". Maybe

And today I will trust you with the confidence

Of a man who's never known defeat

But tomorrow, upon hearing what I did

I will stare at you in disbelief

Oh, inconsistent me

Crying out for consistency

"Let It All Out"- Relient K

It was years before she realized just what the cool guy pose was covering up. Before she saw that all the energy he refused to spend on excelling in his classwork, because she knew he wasn't stupid, was focused on becoming the best weapon and partner he could possibly be. He threw himself into his role as her scythe with such a single minded ferocity that it when she thought about it, it scared her.

At the time though, all she knew what that she finally had a weapon partner, and now her training (and therefore his) could really take off. She didn't understand when he spent hours studying how to cheat on a test instead of just trying to pass it, or how he could sleep till noon and then crash at ten. She'd try to get him up for some extra training and it was like trying to move a mountain by kicking it in the metaphorical shin. Nothing happened. She'd try to get him to study and instead he would sit in front of the TV like he'd grown roots there. It was around that time she started copying Lord Death's chop to the head that her father was always telling her about. Complaining rather. Only she found a book much more useful than her hand.

And then the bottom dropped out of her world. One day she knew what life had in store for her. Her papa would chase women, her mama would cry, and she'd hide in a book to ride out the storms that raged through their living room on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. Soul, once he'd become her weapon and moved in, had made himself scarce during these. At the time she had been hurt, thinking he was abandoning her out of some misguided sense of politeness. Later she learned that he just couldn't handle families and their issues and had dealt in the only way he'd found that worked. All that came to a screeching halt when her mama finally kicked their father out, telling him that he could go find a room at the Academy and see if Lord Death like him bringing his hookers in there any better than she liked finding him with them.

For one heart wrenching week, her papa had tried extra hard to mend his ways and the rift with his wife. He followed Maka home from school, tried to get her to talk to her mother. He waited outside the front door, hoping one of them would come out. Maka took to climbing out her bedroom window, dragging a strangely quiet Soul behind her. He'd stuck close to the apartment and therefore her (she found out later that her mother had terrified him) that week, and she hadn't complained about tripping over him every time she turned around. Her mother had hardly left her room except to go to work and the she was just a bit lonely without her.

And then one morning she was woken up by a shift in her mattress and a shadowy form leaning over her, cutting off the moonlight from her window. For one panicked moment she thought it was her papa, come to plead with her again, but the hand that brushed her hair back was smaller and calloused the same way hers would be after years of wielding a weapon. She'd opened her mouth to say something, to ask her mama why she was getting her up so early, but a finger across her lips kept her quiet and she lay there, waiting. After a long moment her mother had gathered her up in those strong arms and given her an incredible squeeze. Hot tears dribbled down her neck and Make realized that it wasn't her eyes that were watering. One whispered "I love you dear heart," later and her mother was gone.

Frantic, she'd clawed at the sheets, trying to untangle herself and follow but by the time she'd managed to get unwrapped and stumble out of her room the apartment door was swinging shut and even over Soul's raucous snores in the guest bedroom she could hear the click of the latch. Gasping. Panting. Refusing to believe, she ran for the door and wrenched it open. Out into the street she ran, calling franticly, looking around corner after corner. The night was lit with the laughing moon and she should have been able to find her mother if she was anywhere near, but there was nothing. Nobody. Not even a shadow of her slipping down the street.

She staggered back to the apartment, unable to stop the tears but managing to hold in the wail until she'd shut the door on the outside world and all the people she didn't want to know about her agony. She'd forgotten Soul. He'd only been there a few months. Not long enough really. And too long. But when she collapsed in the middle of the living room and howled, he was there. The boy who couldn't be bothered to get up in time for school, to move a muscle before noon on a day off school. The boy who couldn't be fussed to put out any extra effort on something not related to fighting would-be kishins was suddenly there, next to her, radiating worry and fear.

He tried to get her to look up; he tried to hold her hands. He did everything but physically haul her to her feet and shake her like a rag doll. He had no idea what to do with crying people, much less crying girls. And he really didn't know what to do about this horrifically competent girl who'd agreed to become his meister. Finally he settled for sitting next to her and patting her back in possibly the most awkward and uncool way he could have imagined. At first she didn't seem to notice him; and he quit asking what was wrong, what had happened and was about to get up and find a blanket or something to cover her with when she seemed to see that he was there. That occasioned another bout of extreme uncoolness as he suddenly found himself with his arms full of crying, wailing meister. It took a minute or so to get her knee out of his crotch and her rearranged so he could keep her upright, but it was hard to focus on that and the words she was trying to hiccup out. Finally, limbs all in their correct places and the pain of being kneed in his most vulnerable spot clearing just a bit, he managed to decipher a word or two.

"G...g...go..gooooone!" she gulped and wailed and he winced as she finished the word right in his ear.

"Who? Who Maka?" he tried to bring her head around, and although she didn't resist, she was shivering so hard now that he finally gave up.

"Ma...mama! She...she's gone!"

He froze and looked around. His mother had never come for him when he cried. Until that moment he hadn't registered the fact that Mrs. Albarn was nowhere in sight and obviously nowhere in earshot. Broken his meister's family may be, but he'd always thought that neither of her parents was the type to leave their daughter uncomforted. Apparently he'd thought wrong. Very wrong. Now he was stuck here, alone, and without a clue as to how to deal. "Wha...what do you mean gone?" She couldn't mean it. It couldn't be true. They were too young to be on their own. And no way was he letting Spirit back in the house to torment his daughter. She couldn't mean gone.

"She...she...left! She h...hugged me and leeeeeft!" The words ended in another and she buried her face in his shoulder, clutching convulsively at the arms wrapped around her, heedless of the fact that her partner wasn't wearing a shirt. Her partner however, was very aware of that fact, and had a sinking feeling that he'd be the recipient of a great many salty tears before this was over, if it was ever over. With a great internal sigh he decided that he was just going to have to live with being uncool for the moment. A little more wiggling and gentle maneuvering and he managed to free one arm long enough to drag a blanket from the couch where he'd passed out just a few hours before. Carefully as he could he draped it over his meister, wiping her cheeks gently with one corner. She sniffled a little, but only buried herself deeper into his shoulder.

Neither realized it at the time, although they would each come into the knowledge later, but that night, as he sat in the middle of the floor and held his crying meister was the night that their partnership truly came into being. How could it not? Who else in the world would they be able to trust not only with their lives, but eventually the deepest secrets of their souls?

AN: Soul Eater and the characters in it are NOT mine. Dangit. First chapter in a set of linked one shots. I'm lumping them all together because it's easier than saying "read this, then that, then the other one before you read the current story". There's about ten of them after all. I started this series watching the anime, but we're going to end in the mangaverse. I hope you enjoy! Please R&R!