She tentatively leaned against the alley wall, skillfully tapping the box before catching the cigarette that slid out in her mouth. A sparking grind of flint and she held the lighter up to the end of the thin roll, taking long drag of the cancer stick, ignoring the sharp, burning sensation at the back of her throat. She exhaled slowly and watched the smoke draw patterns in the air before the billowing wind blew them away. In a way, watching the smoke shoot from her own lips, twisting and swirling in the air soothed her as much as the light-headed effects of the nicotine.

She was ashamed of it; the small rectangular bulk she could feel brushing against her thigh in the pocket of her skirt. She wasn't addicted to it, per say. It was just a way to calm her nerves when she got too restless. Still, the shame lingered just as the potent as the smell of ash and smoke clung to her skin and clothes. She never would've had to resort to sneaking around to get her fix if Liz hadn't made her try one in the first place.

"It'll help you relax, I promise."

Despite the avid pictures of stained fingernails and teeth and worse that flashed through her mind, Liz kept true to her word and she'd taken to the habit, consequences be damned. Post-war times were too calm. Her body itched for action, craved for the adrenaline rush battle provided. She had tried other distractions at first, increasing her workout regime in length and intensity but it didn't work. Her body was too accustomed to adapting to strenuous activity.

And worse, the quiet allowed her mind to wander. Without the looming threat of death over everyone's shoulders, epiphanies and confessions had gone flying all around, weapons and meisters pursuing their romantic interests with reckless abandon. Maka had never bothered with them before, the defeat of the Kishin God and collecting wayward souls taking priority in her list.

But now that the war was over and her weapon had achieved Death-Scythe status, she became restless. Even her pursuit of knowledge couldn't quench the curiosity in her that puberty had awakened. It was long over-due but now that she was no longer preoccupied with saving the world, her hormones had free reign over her body and mind.

She wasn't stupid; she knew that it was going to happen eventually but she'd hoped that it wouldn't have been as...intense as it was at the moment. She would catch herself ogling some of her classmates even Black Star, for Death's sake. The only upside to this was that Soul had noticed and seemed slightly perturbed when his all-seeing eyes noticed her own orbs appreciating his best friend's masculine build. Not that she cared for his opinion.

She maintained that majority of the stress she felt that was Soul related was purely a hormonal problem. She couldn't afford for it to be anything other than that or the results would be disastrous - changes in their relationship, awkward exchanges. pining gazes (on her part, probably) and the inevitable split and perhaps, a restraining order. Maka's family didn't exactly have the best track record when it came to affairs of the heart. Not to mention that the whole concept of love was not exactly in her good graces at this point of her life.

She'd read a few romance novels but was too familiar with the harsh ways of the real world to be enamored by knights in shining armor. She was no damsel in distress and she certainly did not have enough patience nor control over her hormones to wait for Sou-some other guy to climb her metaphorical tower.

So, being the active, independent heroine she was, she set out to fix the problem.

Ever the observant one, she caught the appreciative looks she received from the male populace albeit with a certain level of disdain but she couldn't deny that it felt good to be noticed in that aspect. It was also inevitable that she'd wonder whether her weapon noticed her in that same way as well but she chalked that up to curiosity and tucked into the back of her mind.

She eventually confided in Liz about her frustrations who promptly introduced her to the art of coquetry. She had read a few books on human interaction but nothing prepared her for the awkward crash course on flirting she'd received nor did she expect the surge of pride and pleasure at the positive results. She enjoyed herself thoroughly but always kept herself in check, never going further than the bat of her eyelashes, coy smile and the rare innuendo.

And though she hated to admit it, it was a little satisfying to see Soul squirm in her flirtatious moments; to see his tightly flexed jaw and clenched fists shoved into his pockets as he rigidly walked away. It was a little sadistic on her part but she could finally understand why Blair enjoyed her job so much - it was about power.

The power to make a man sway to their whims, to drive him up the wall with jealousy, to know that she was the source of such pleasurable torment.

But she hated herself for it. She could never be like Blair; to toy with people's emotions for the her own amusement. It was too cruel for her liking.

Hence, the smoking habit. She figured it was a better alternative.

Truthfully, she enjoyed being quite the flirt more than she would have liked to admit. It made her feel desirable, beautiful even. But she didn't want to base her idea of beauty on such shallow behavior. She had refused the Thompsons' numerous offers for a make-over, completely adamant against the whole idea. She liked who she was and would never change that. Besides, Soul didn't seem to mind who she was.

She took another long drag of cigarette as his voice rang out, crystal clear in her mind.

"In the end the shape and form don't matter at all, it's only the soul that matters right? Nothing else."

She wondered if he really meant it and if Soul found her attractive. Did he like her being assertive? Were his reactions to her behavior a sign of some sort? Was he being over-protective because he saw her as his own?

Such were the thoughts that plagued Maka. She sucked on the cigarette with finality, watching the orange embers engulf the crackling tobacco paper before throwing it down and crushing it under her heel. She leaned back and rested her head against the wall, watching the tumbled clouds slowly creep across the sky.

Rolling her head, she cracked her neck and basked in the light-headed feeling the nicotine provided. This was what made sneaking around worth it - that brief moment where she couldn't care less about school, her raging libido and even Soul. She was simply another cloud in the sky, slowly making her way through the unseen color spectrum.

Unfortunately the moment never lasts long. Oscar Wilde once said that the most beautiful thing about cigarettes were how unsatisfying they were. She sighed and ignored the itch to light another one and once the feeling had passed, she kicked off the wall and headed home.


The door had barely clicked into place before Soul was pestering her again.

"Where'd you go?" he asked from the couch. He was trying to look bored but Maka knew better.

"Oh, just went for a walk," she replied. She was a terrible liar, especially to Soul but it was half-truth which was technically not lying.

Soul only replied with a short hum before lazily getting off of the couch. It took her some effort not to visibly flinch when he walked past her into the kitchen, but she had no doubt that he noticed it anyways.

She thought she was safe when he began to rummage through the fridge and was about to make a bee-line to a very long, cleansing shower when Soul spoke up.

"You smell like smoke," he commented nonchalantly as he inspected a carton of milk. She felt her heart skip a beat and she swallowed hard, trying to think quickly.

"Ah. A big truck passed by me as I was crossing the rode. The exhaust pipe nearly blew my skirt up," she replied, forcing her voice to take on the same cavalier tone. She leaned on the kitchen counter and watched his Adam's apply bob as he chugged the milk down, straight from the carton.

"Hey, I've told you before, use a glass! It's right next to you!" she halfheartedly scolded. She felt really hypocritical for it but she needed to keep face right now.

"Can't be bothered. I finished it all anyways," he dismissed as he threw the empty milk carton into the trash bin. Maka turned, anxiously leaning against the counter and waited for Soul to leave already so she could wash her shame away. She felt him, rather than saw, leaving the kitchen and sighed quietly. Unfortunately, her relief was shot-lived.

"Besides that," he spoke up, walking deliberately towards her and effectively trapping her against the counter,"I meant that you smell like cigarettes."

She could feel her heart thumping against her chest and briefly wondered if Soul could see her chest actually moving from the force of it. He was too close for comfort at the moment, in more ways than one. Damn his alluring smirk and masculine smell!

"Oh, some guy sitting beside me on a bench was smoking," she muttered with her head down, trying not to make eye contact with him.

Soul hummed thoughtfully. "That doesn't explain why your breath smells like it, though."

She could feel the warmth in her cheeks (among other places) grow. She cursed herself for not having the foresight to buy some gum on the way back. Then again, she never expected herself to be in this particular situation.

"Have you been smoking, Maka?" he asked her, his tone playfully scolding.

"N-no," she squeaked.

Soul slowly brought a hand up to her face and Maka felt her heart stop. He gently lifted her chin before sliding it to cup her face and tilt it to the side. She had an inkling as to what this was going to lead to; either he was going to head butt her or her was going to...physically attach his face to hers via lips.

As he slowly drew closer to her, she could feel denial kicking down the door to her consciousness. He was probably just messing with her. He was going to get real close and then say something like,"Gotcha" and then leave her gaping at him as he walked away. There's no way he'd ever-

Oh. No, hold that thought. He was definitely kissing her now.

She stood there dumbly as their lips interlocked, arms hanging limply by her side. She didn't know what to do with them - Soul seemed to know as one gently cupped her face and the other snuggly held her at the small of her back.

It wasn't until she felt his tongue coyly slide across her bottom lip that she jolted back into her body and spurred into action, her hormones taking the driver's wheel. She quickly granted him access and worried about her lacking skills and inexperience. As if sensing this, Soul's thumb smoothly ran circles on her back which strangely relaxed her. Things quickly became heated, nerves on fire and quiet moans exhaled.

She felt as if a switch in her had been flipped into overdrive; her hands tangled into his hair, his intently smoothing over her back and side. It was somehow not enough and too intense all together.

And then suddenly, it all stopped. Soul pulled away from her, leaving her wanton and dazed.

"Liar," he said triumphantly, a condescending smirk in place.

"Wh-what?" she exhaled, confused and out of breath.

"You totally smoked," he grinned, clucking his tongue at her.

Watching as his Cheshire grin only grew as realization began to dawn upon her, she felt rage begin to boil within her. Her breath quickened and at the moment, her hormone-marinated mind could no longer distinguish between fury and sexual frustration.

So she settled for both.

Soul let out an undignified yelp as she grabbed his collar and pulled him towards her.

"Got a problem with that?" she asked hotly, trying her best to ignore the way his body heat made hers burn with such pleasant electricity. The surprised look on his face turned into his signature smirk.

"Not at all," he replied before she decidedly crushed his lips against hers.


A/N:

A little OC but I felt like Maka could be pretty badass sometimes. Also, I do not endorse smoking. Stay away from them cancer sticks, kiddies.

Advanced Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! folks. Enjoy your holidays! :D