This omake is mostly at the request of Lue, who was heartbroken when I told her PineTree would not have smut like I had originally intended, haha. So here we are!

I do not own Soul Eater.

A collection of plants has accumulated in her apartment. He keeps 'adopting' things, like moss growing in a crack in the sidewalk, or a vine twining around a chain link fence. She guesses he has a thing about loneliness, and maybe anyone with a kind heart does.

Whenever he visits her at work, he invariably ends up sneaking home discarded flowers and leaves from completed arrangements. With advice from Mira, he's learned how to propagate just about anything from cuttings, and now her apartment has ferns growing out of mugs, tiny rosebuds blooming in coffee cans, and a single cluster of hydrangea floating in a fishbowl.

He's too pleased with his little stray menagerie of a garden for her to tell him to stop. Also she's found that it has become refreshing having a little bit of green strewn about her home. It reminds her that she is technically half tree-spirit, and maybe living amongst other living things is beneficial.

Still, she's not sure what to make of the avocado pit skewered with toothpicks and resting in a glass of water that has appeared on her bedroom window sill. She needs to set boundaries, else her apartment will become a jungle in no time.

But he's very diligent with his gardening. She likes that he's taken on responsibilities that he has created for himself. Likes watching him learn to become human, interacting with people as he buys potting soil and rooting hormone and fertilizer, all the while still being his spirited, slightly strange self. Likes watching him when he discovers the small shoot of green coming out of the top of the avocado pit.

She visits her father more often, these days. It's kind of a relief that it's still mentally exhausting keeping up with Spirit's unending doting over her- it reminds her that just because he hadn't been born human, it doesn't mean her present reality changes a whole lot.

Spirit works a seven-by-seven job- seven long days working, followed by seven days off- and as much as he enjoys Blair's company, he eventually asks Maka to take the cat back, feeling it unfair for the animal to be alone for the majority of the day for a week straight.

Today's trip had involved gathering all the cat's belongings, which included prying out all nine of Blair's felt mice from underneath Papa's refrigerator, and trying not to wreck her car after the cat had escaped her carrier. Eventually, Maka manages to get everything, Blair included, into her apartment, and a hissing fit begins.

It's a one-sided competition, though, and Soul wins by a landslide. Blair, already over her anxiety at moving in, rubs up on his pant leg. Soul stands stiffly, glowering at the feline. "YOU. Why are you back here?" he complains, holding a pitcher of water that has become used exclusively for watering plants, now.

Maka laughs, hanging up her coat. "She missed you."

Soul is Frownie Face made flesh as he says, "You're just a squirrel in disguise," to Blair.

"No, you can't have 'Eater' as a last name."

Maka watches as Soul tilts his head to the ceiling of Mira Nygus's work office and groans. "What the fig, why not? It would be so cool!"

Nygus continues to sharpen her axe, which Soul eyes warily. "Because nothing is more conspicuous than having 'Soul Eater' as a real name. These papers we're getting you aren't exactly legal, kid."

"You look weird enough as it is," Sid Barret says from the corner of the room, digging through a filing cabinet. He only laughs at Soul's affronted look. "Humans also don't say 'what the fig', just so you know."

Maka attempts to find progress with something Soul can't ignore. "Didn't Wes take 'Evans' as a last name? You guys should stay related, right?"

Soul scuffs his sneaker on the tile floor. "Yeah, I guess." He's already given in, but he's still grumpy about it. "Gimmea cool sprout-date at least," he demands as Nygus peers at the edge of her blade, admiring her handiwork.

Sid sighs. "BIRTHDAY."

She takes on two jobs, since Soul requires more as a human to keep fed than some water in a tree stand. She doesn't mind the hours, and enjoys having something to do, though she does worry about what her roommate does while she is away, and if, when she comes home next, her apartment will have turned into a greenhouse, or if Black Star has taught him new ranks of obnoxiousness.

Sometimes her two jobs do overlap in such a way that she sometimes is required to close up shop for one, only to immediately open another the next morning, and on days such as these, she takes to brewing coffee to help her along.

Maka may not have been completely awake when she'd offered Soul a sip of her coffee, but he'd looked so curious that her reaction had been automatic. At his disgusted and horrified face at the taste, she makes him a different cup with more sugar and cream and maybe a little bit of chocolate, which he likes a lot better. She's pleased with her troubleshooting for a whole of fifteen minutes before she's rueing the day she was born.

Soul responds to caffeine much the same way anyone who's never had any beforehand does. In the half hour she spends getting herself ready for work, he nearly runs laps around her while simultaneously asking her every question mankind has ever asked the universe, and, frazzled, Maka resorts to shoving her laptop into his hands before fleeing to her job.

"Google knows everything. Just... yeah okay bye!"

Google also knows how to brew coffee, as it turns out, and for the next several days, Maka learns to fall asleep to the bright glow of her laptop as Soul fills his brain with everything the internet has to offer, long into the night. She kicks him in bed when he snorts too loudly as he chats online with Patti.

This goes on until the kitchen runs out of coffee grounds and he suffers from a violent weaning from caffeine that leaves him irritable and squinty-eyed for days. He swears off 'that magic stuff', but still takes full custody over her laptop.

Six months after Christmas, with the help of his human 'birth certificate' and social security number supplied by Sid, Soul takes his newfound knowledge of the world and attends Driver's Education. He bemoans this, rather wanting to learn how to ride a motorcycle, but Maka tells him he should learn road laws first, and what benefits driving a car in bad weather have over a bike.

It's rough for him. He has no problems with the material as he takes the class, but he hates tests, they won't let him listen to music, and the things the books and videos and instructor teach is sometimes the exact opposite of what he's seen people actually doing on the roads when he rides with her in the car. "Humans are so backwards," he exclaims after one session.

Things get better when it's time for him to actually practice driving. Though the first day he drives with the instructor, he hits a squirrel. He comes home, disgruntled. "The guy got kinda teary eyed about it. He loves them or something. I said I was sorry a million times 'cuz I was scared he was gonna fail me."

"Do you not feel sorry?" Maka worriedly asks. It seems strange and kind of frightening to picture Soul dispassionate about a living thing.

"Because tree-turds are unbelievably stupid? No," he seethes, kicking off his shoes with frustration. "I don't inherently like killing stuff though, so don't get the wrong idea," he grumbles.

He takes extra gentle care of his plant collection that evening.

Aside from this incident, the rest of his Driver's Ed course goes smoothly, and when he comes home with a smug grin and a bone-crushing hug, she's caught up in his celebratory mood and kisses him. It was mostly an accident on her part, but he reads the moment and kisses her back as chastely as he can manage (which still leaves her blood tingling even without the use of his tongue), and doesn't press the subject. Instead, he says, "Okay, now for motorcycles!"

Blushing, she replies, dismayed, "You don't even have a motorcycle." She doesn't pull away from his embrace.

"Oh," he says. He tilts his head slightly and gives her a hopeful look. "Don't suppose you could buy me a-"


He announces he'll get a job. "It can't be that hard, right?"

"Shut up, wood stain. Don't be jealous 'cuz you can't rock it like I do," Soul says around a mouthful of orange Slurpee. Black Star has made a habit of visiting Balanced Bouquets during lunch break since the advent of Soul's new job and the resulting smugness of riding a moped everywhere downtown.

Black Star gives Maka an incredulous look before opening a bag of cookies. "Dude, you're a flower delivery boy on a Vespa. I dunno what misconceptions Twig's been feedin' you, but it's impossible to 'rock' a scooter."

"You're the one with the misconceptions. Maybe you're just not cool enough."

"You have the most uncool job ever created."

"Actually," Patti pipes up, tossing her cheeseburger wrapper over her head and expertly aiming for the waste basket behind her, "it's a pretty sweet job. Flowers're always delivered to babes."

Maka scoffs, munching on a crouton. "Says who?"

"Sis," the younger blonde off-handedly replies. "She was the old driver before she got that radio gig."

Black Star finds this increasingly offensive to his god-like existence. "Are you for real?" He grills Soul, "Is it true? Is everyone hot?"

Soul blinks, straw in his mouth. He looks up for a moment, recalling everyone he has delivered flower arrangements to. He shrugs. "Pretty much." He glances to Maka as Black Star attempts to reassemble his rocked world, and it's this moment she realizes she's been intently watching Soul for his response. "Not my type though," he adds, giving her a suggestive look.

Flustered, Maka focuses on her salad.

"Urgh, get a room. I'm outta here, peons! We still on for basketball Saturday?"

Their relationship is strange, at best. He's flirty, obnoxious, and quick to embarrass her with sexual innuendos, but he doesn't initiate any kind of intimacy. She'd said she needed time to get used to this new, tree-spirit reality that has been unveiled, and he respectfully keeps his distance.

His desires escape him though, despite his best efforts. She can nearly feel them radiating from him, burning under his skin. They come out as sudden, heated glances, lingering touches, and warm expressions. But he hasn't asked to kiss her since last Christmas, and doesn't run his hand down her side though they share a bed.

It's not that she doesn't want to fool around with him- in fact, she's become so worked up living with him for several months that she thinks she may just jump him in a moment of weakness- but she's still watching him become human, still working to understand the foundation that makes up his personality.

And really, she's afraid that she might not live up to the expectation of five year's accumulation of word-of-mouth. She wants Soul to get to know her better, too.

Presently, she thinks there's a bird in her chest.

It's a treat to watch him become independent, to hear him talk about what he's seen and what was said, to answer his questions about people and society and living. Even if, on some days, they sometimes see little of each other, Soul will catch up with her at night before bed, listen to her day, and offer support when she's frustrated or morose. It's an easy routine to fall into, and a pleasant, daily reminder that no matter what they may be to each other, they are now partners in this life.

But then, a night arrives in late summer when Soul only says, "Oh, you know, hung out with Star. Just stuff. G'night, Maka," and the routine is skewed.


She's thrown off balance. This happens the next night, and the next, and she worries he's hiding things from her, and deeper, in her selfish heart, she worries he doesn't need her support at all.

He keeps coming home late at night, and Instead of cinnamon, Soul smells like something unfamiliar. She wants to demand to know where he's been and why he's been going there every day this week, but she's not his mother, and neither are they dating. And although she had (by strange means out of her control) 'adopted' his tree, that doesn't make him solely hers, so she keeps her mouth shut and her back turned in bed like her worry and doubt doesn't stretch from shoulder to shoulder across her chest in a burning pang.

A few more days of this, and she catches him on his way out again and blurts, "Ah, wait-" without thinking. When she asks him if he wants to come with her to her father's house, she doesn't mention it's for her birthday dinner, or that it's the first one she's had back home since she's moved out, or that she would really appreciate his company.

"Uh, no, sorry," he says, preoccupied with tying his sneakers. "I gotta do stuff. I can stop by when I'm done, if you want?"

Maka doesn't know why this feeling of disappointment is so new and raw to her when she had been used to it for many years before Soul Eater had arrived in her life. She goes back to casually towel-drying her hair. "Don't worry about it," she says, turning away. "Have fun!"

From the bathroom, she hears him shut the front door behind him. 'Roots go deep' he'd told her, but she hadn't asked how far.

As she finishes getting ready to leave, she wonders when she'd fallen into this pit of wanting him near. She thought trees were supposed to bond with their caretakers, not the other way around! Though, she admits, her particular problem may not be so much a tree thing than a human thing.

The solar flower is still sitting on her car's dashboard, but as she drives to Papa's house she finds that, instead of keeping her company, the flower only makes her feel more lonely.

Well, she's a grown woman and her life is filled with spirits, trees, and conspiracies, and though needs and wants are different, she can do things on her own if she has to. It's her sprout da- her birthday, rather, so she will handle it and make the most of it.

She opens the front door of her father's house and enjoys the cool rush of air-conditioning before noticing that the air is laced with a familiar-unfamiliar smell. Maka hears voices coming from the kitchen and, suspicious, quietly shuts the door and refrains from announcing herself. Footfalls silent, she inches past colorful balloons tied to various surfaces.

"-you little-!"

"Get petrified, back off!"

"Make like a tree and get the hell out of my house-"

"NO, and that doesn't even make sense."

"And gimme back my apron!"

"Then gimme the frosting!"

Maka rounds the corner to see Spirit Albarn holding a bag of frosting hostage while Soul protectively blocks passage to a lopsided, layered cake. The kitchen smells of buttercream icing, and the moment the scent is matched up with the mystery perfume that's been plastered to Soul for the past week, she bursts into laughter.

She's such an idiot. She laughs even harder when she sees Soul has stolen Papa's 'Kiss The Cook' apron, and puts her face in her hands.

"I told you she'd be here any second," Spirit groused.

"Hey, Maka," Soul greets. "He was gonna write something stupid on it like 'Happy Sprout Day Baby Darling Munchkinbutt' and I had to intervene 'cuz I worked too hard, dammit!"

Maka walks into the kitchen, still giggling, and stands on tiptoe to kiss her papa on the cheek, and turns to do the same for Soul. "Thanks you two. I'm glad you managed to not burn the house down."

While Soul is busy trying not to flush and grin after having been kissed, Spirit seizes the opportunity to slide the cake on the counter over to himself while the younger man is unaware. He begins piping frosting onto the fragrant spice cake. "No, that was last Tuesday," he says sourly.

Long after dinner and dessert and more candles that ought to be on one cake, she and Soul return home and he confides in her that night.

"I don't like lyin' to you, ya know? But Star said it was your birthday soon and I knew your old man was gonna do stuff and I thought if I could help make a cake or somethin'..."

Maka curls into his side, hand pressed over the fluttering wings trapped under his ribs. "It's okay, Soul, I was really happy today."

"...I still don't like it."

"I didn't like it either," she admits. In a tiny whisper, she adds, "I was lonely."

His arm wraps around her in apology. "I won't do it anymore."


"...Also, I feel the need to mention your dad tried to kill me four times. A day. On average."

Tsubaki's birthday is in October, and Maka sits on the floor at the foot of the couch, wrapping her gift in celestial-printed paper, when a switch is unexpectedly flipped in Soul.

She's not immediately aware of it, asking him to hold his finger on the ribbon so she can tie a knot. It's only when she's finished that she looks up at him, crouched in front of her, and notices his searing gaze. She opens her mouth to ask anything, but nothing comes out save a shaky exhale.

Soul places his larger hands flat atop the present and leans over it, rocking forward on his feet until his unruly hair brushes her forehead. His voice is low and gravelly, tuned to a frequency that controls her toes and forces them to curl. "I really, really want to kiss you right now."

Blindly, she drops her scissors and spool of ribbon to opposite sides, and tugs the collar of his tangerine colored shirt. He tastes like candy corn and she knows he and Black Star must have broken into the trick-or-treating candy early. Tsubaki's gift is scooted aside before he's hovering over her lap, their feet tangling, and her spine complains at being pressed into the foot of the couch. Maka clings to him, falling to one side and bringing them both completely to the floor in an awkward mess, unable to help remembering the last time they'd kissed this way and how his tree had burst into flames.

His hand holds away her hair so he can give his exultant regards to her neck, whispering spirited, bone-aching promises against her throat.

It isn't until much later that she suspects he has a thing about people wrapping presents.

There's something special about kissing him. She thinks that maybe it has something to do with his short time so far as a human, and the long time he may have spent thinking about things while he'd still been anchored to his tree. When his lips are touching hers, it's as if all his attentions are focused on the act of kissing, alone. She knows that this isn't true- his hands will wander her body and silently ask for more, and his hips will anxiously grind into hers- but the emphatic, precise way he kisses her leaves her mind whirling and startlingly blank while her body becomes attuned to his every touch.

He'll find any chance, any event, any spare moment to caress her lips with his own. His teeth are slightly hazardous, so he takes his time. He's gentle when he nibbles her bottom lip, careful and thorough. It's difficult to keep her blood pressure down when he takes advantage of a quiet moment in an elevator, or during commercials airing on television, or even at a stoplight. He kisses her so often that she's starting to expect his mouth whenever they have a minute to themselves.

As well as he uses his hands, he prefers to taste everything. Flavor is something he hadn't had a lot of experience with as a spirit, and every bit of territory she gives up as she discards a piece of clothing lights up his eyes with an eagerness that never dims. His tongue is so warm on her skin that it should probably be soothing, but all she can do is squirm and squeak and throb.

Soul savors her breasts, her sternum, her stomach, and his hair tickles across her abdomen as he plants his mouth on every square inch available. He doesn't understand her shyness in being naked, and announces that he will assure her that her body is wasted being covered by dumb things like pants, and he'll do it with his mouth.

As her lower spine arches to the ceiling, she wonders, astonished, how he knows so much about oral sex, and she wants to be angry, because she thinks it probably has a lot to do with all the viruses that had popped up on her laptop a few months ago. At the moment, however, as Soul hoists her by the hips and presses her more firmly into his face, she enjoys the benefits of having a perverted tree-spirit in her bed.

Air is sucked between his teeth, his chest rising under her ear. She's in her usual spot, curled against his side, but she can't sleep and his heart hasn't slowed down, so her hand slips under the hem of his shirt and traces the lines of his abdomen. Soul's legs shift in bed, trapped underneath one of hers that she's hooked over. His usual arm tucked around her back is constantly moving, his fingers pouring encouragements along her shoulder and side of neck.

His breathing stutters when she follows a thin line of hair and bumps into the waistline of his sleep pants. She's not brave enough yet to slip her hand underneath the fabric, so she gently palms the front, searching out the shape of his still-hardening erection and tucking her fingers around it. She hears his free hand fisting in the bed sheets before he groans out her name.

Quietly, she asks things in his ear that make her cheeks burn, and he nods when he can, or tilts his head back and moans with assent, or urgently replies, "Urgh, Maaaka-" while she massages his cock through thin flannel. She doesn't expect him to come with such little attention, and so quickly, but his hips attempt to pop off the mattress with his sudden orgasm.

The front of his pants are damp, and when she looks up into his face, he gives a smile that's torn between sated and nervous as he runs his hand bashfully through his hair.

"M'supposed to last longer'n that, huh."

He borrows her cellphone from time to time- he doesn't have his own yet, and Maka is beginning to think he's overdue for one because the message she listens to when she's on break at work consists of Black Star laughing hysterically.

"You need to practice your lumber jacking more if you wanna last longer than ten seconds, knothole!"

She can't decide if she's furious that Black Star is privy to hers and Soul's sex life, or if she's guilty because her boyfriend is apparently worried enough about his stamina that he's sought advice from Nuts for Brains. She's still balancing this dilemma when Soul walks into the break room with lunch and spies her face.

"You okay?"

She could lie- could say Black Star left a message but she hadn't understood it and Soul should call him back later, or likewise could delete the message and pretend nothing had happened- but she won't lie to him because he won't lie to her, so she just presses the number on the keypad to repeat playback and blandly hands the cell over.

Soul frowns. "'Lumberja-'" he starts to say, confused, but then his cheeks turn the shade of his eyes. He snaps the phone shut and deliberately places it on the table, while Maka attempts to calmly dig through the Chinese food takeout bag for her order.

Maka knows she shouldn't open her mouth, but staying silent seems like a terrible option judging by the embarrassment on his face, so she ends up shakily blurting, "W-we'll work on it," as she unwraps her disposable chopsticks, ears steaming.

He puts his forehead on the table, and she hears a faint, muffled, "...okay."

Once he gets over his ego issues, Soul begins to rather enjoy 'practice', and is quick to eagerly participate. Maka figures his enthusiasm stems less from the benefit to his stamina and more from just getting to see her naked as frequently as possible.

Not that she's exactly complaining- he returns every favor, and loves giving just as well as receiving.

They blaze a trail through Heavy Petting Experience until he catches the flu for the first time, grinding everything to an abrupt halt:

"Can I kiss you," he rasps from the bed.

Pulling on her socks, she shakes her head and smiles. "Sorry."

"Aww," he complains.

"If I catch your sickness and we both miss work, Kid'll have to come in and he'll have a conniption everywhere." Maka pats Blair on the head- the cat has glued herself to Soul's chest, taking advantage of the man's fever as her personal heating pad.

Maka laces up her winter boots and Soul asks if he's going to die. She stifles her laugh, because he looks half-serious, and brushes his hair off his warm forehead. "Not from this. Believe it or not, humans can be sturdier than trees every once in awhile."

He replies with, "Blergh."

"Stay in bed. I'll take care of the plants on lunch break."

Maka scrunches her eyebrows when he mumbles something and pulls the covers over his face. Blair meows, annoyed.

It's a little over a week before Soul starts truly acting himself again, his relatively new body conquering the flu.

This is a momentous occasion, because, during the interim, Maka had come to realize that a week of not being able to kiss him (amongst other things) is not enough time to wean from addiction.

She's craving his body, his touch, his warmth, and she is having issues. Whenever she thinks of how his mouth had been off-limits due to illness, it's only a small mental shuffle over to the memory of his mouth pressed between her thighs.

To make matters worse, every time his fever had broken during his flu, Soul would strip- which hadn't been a total problem as long as the windows stayed curtained, but the habit of wearing as little clothing as possible had reminded him how much he hated wearing pants.

Soul Eater has no qualms about being naked. At all. Shame in nudity is not something that had ever applied to him. So now, if he has nowhere to be, he claims to see no need to wear pants. Maka had pleaded that he at least wear boxers- just in case he needed to answer the door when she wasn't home- but to be honest, the plea had been mostly made in a desperate attempt to keep herself from constantly staring at the snowy trail of hair leading down to his crotch.

Arg, all her perverse friends are influencing her! Because she's only just walked in the front door of her home, and already her face has that tea-kettle-about-to-whistle feel to it. She numbly shuts the door behind her, leaning on it as she watches in bemused, grudging arousal as Soul waters the plants at the windowsill.

He's in boxers and headphones, mp3 player clipped to his waistband. The weight of the device drags the fabric down an inch, exposing more hipbone than she can handle with a straight face. He's making humorously accurate noises, emulating hi-hats and snares in a jazz swing with his mouth, occasionally breaking into trumpet. Maka is fully aware that this is the same mouth that is no longer banned because Soul Eater is officially flu free, and before she knows it, she's across the apartment. Her arms wrap around his bare torso, and he screeches because the nylon sleeves of her parka are still cold from being outside.

Soul hisses uncomfortably, tensing while he tries to resume watering the garden. "W-was that necessary, because goddamn-" he says in a voice that's three steps too loud due to the massive headphones still over his ears.

She will not be deterred. "It's time for bed," she announces, even though it's only six thirty in the evening.

"What?" He pauses in watering an ivy plant, craning his neck to see her over his shoulder.

She says it again, but without a voice, watching him read her lips.

(It is time. For bed.)

Soul blinks at her a few times, silvery eyebrows arching behind messy fringe and out of sight. "Yeah, alright," he agrees hurriedly, voice still too loud. He's halfway attempting to water what plants he still can, like he isn't transfixed by her and watching her every move. He doesn't complain when she tugs him out of reach and pries the pitcher from his hands to be discarded in the Not Important Right Now zone.

They're in the bedroom in seconds, and he fumbles with the clip of his music player while she sheds her million-mile-long scarf, gloves, hat, coat, boots, socks, sweater, shirt, bra, and pants in less time. Maka watches him still struggling with the damned thing because he'd apparently been distracted, and decides that he's taking too long and pulls off his headphones. She ignores the mp3 player, and drags his tenting boxers down his legs. All three items are then introduced to the floor, Soul's jazz music faintly playing from the abandoned cans.

One shove and he's on the bed, and he watches her so blatantly, shameless of his own arousal, that she relishes how comfortable he is with her and his body and nearly dives into bed right after him. She crawls over him, feeling his palms slide along her hips as she hovers over him and finally, finally catches his mouth.

Echoes of Louis Armstrong reach them while she sucks his tongue and rakes her fingers down his chest. Soul kisses her back heartily, making up for the days he was not allowed. His hands grasp her ass and he grinds up into her, cock pressing against her inner thigh and the edge of her dampening panties.

His skin burns under her hands, her lips, her tongue, as she inches down his body and kisses his chest, laving at nipples and navel and hip bones and erection. She derives satisfaction in feeling his body clench and shift with pleasure under her hands; in seeing his teeth dig into his bottom lip as she gives a long lick up his shaft; in hearing his voice falling into the vowels of her name.

Soul brushes her hair away from her cheek with one hand and slowly props up his cock with the other, nudging the head against her lips and silently asking her to take him in her mouth. She does, but slowly, only a little at a time, watching him follow her movements with his intense gaze. "Makaaa," he sighs, body stretching and arching to find more of her mouth, which she denies with a thick lick that makes his dick pulse on her tongue.

"That look," he growls when their eyes lock, "gets me so hot, Maka." And he loudly moans when she rewards that admission by sucking all of him into her mouth.

He lasts longer these days, even with his 'sick-leave', which is both good and bad news because she's proud of their progress, but her lips are numb and tingly by the time he finishes. Still, she feels more accomplished this way, and Soul enjoys kissing and making use of her sensitive lips.

"My turn," he says after a few minutes, fingers dipping under her panties. "Barely got to touch you, but you're so wet already, Maka?"

They get a fake tree for Christmas. She doesn't want to take any chances, and both of them feel kind of uncomfortable cutting down a perfectly healthy tree just to decorate and then throw away at the end of the holiday. Blair still enjoys terrorizing the artificial pine, but there's no way for her to kill it, so Maka feels more at ease.

It's hard to believe it's been nearly a year that Soul has lived with her. When she walks in shops around town and is surrounded by familiar smells of cinnamon and mulling spice, she's reminded constantly of the year prior, of Soul as a yet-to-be human ghost that had left her warm mugs of cider and soothed her at night.

She feels sturdier now. Less prone to sink into bouts of Christmastime loneliness. More aware of the kind-heartedness of others. Patti had warned her that the Grinch loved Christmas the most in the end, and Maka thinks she may be right.

She likes everyone's festive mood, the sight of Tsubaki itching to bake desserts nonstop, and Black Star tromping around in jingle bell socks and light-up antlers.

She likes helping her dad staple absurd amounts of twinkle lights to his roof, watching Stein adjust his glasses when she brings him his own pumpkin pie he had enjoyed last year, and seeing Maddy awkwardly thank her for a present she wasn't expecting.

She likes visiting Sid and Mira's tree farm, where fledgling spirits are eager to meet the half-human Twiggy girl.

She likes hearing the joy in Liz's voice on the radio, after having scored her own radio show.

She likes Wes showing up in hideous argyle sweaters to pick on his scowling little brother and gift him with even uglier ones.

She likes the music, the taste of cold in the air, and the warmth of her gas fireplace soaking into her skin as she curls up against Soul on the couch. They tend to watch black and white Christmas movies on her laptop, his scent lulling her to sleep. It's a feeling she doesn't want to trade for anything in the world.

It's during one of these impromptu naps that she dreams of a voice. It's a creaking of boughs and a whisper of swaying branches, and though she can't be absolutely sure of the meaning when her eyes snap open, she has a feeling she got the gist of what had been said.

Maka sits up on her couch, a blanket that had been draped over her falling to her thighs. She sees her laptop on the coffee table, shut and turned off. She hears the thumping of the water heater and she determines Soul is in the shower.

He'd whispered to her in her sleep, and she wonders if he'd meant for her to hear him or not.

If he ever says it to her again, she's too asleep to know. For the last few days leading up to Christmas, Soul is his usual, spirited self, trying to find ways to attach mistletoe to every available surface. He's busier during this time of year, making more deliveries on his Vespa than should be possible. Maka lets him borrow her gigantic scarf (or rather threatens him to wear it under punishment of death) so he doesn't get sick again riding around downtown on delivery.

There's only ever one discrepancy in his behavior: whenever she gives him another arrangement of poinsettias to take out, as he says his usual 'be back later', there's a single hesitation. His eyes say something enigmatic before he stoops to kiss her on the corner of her mouth.

When it's Christmas Eve and the last day of work until New Year for the both of them, she sends him on his last delivery and tells him she'll be waiting at home. "Don't forget, Wes is on tonight instead of Liz. Maybe he'll dedicate something to you again," she teases.

Soul scoffs, his breath coming out is a large puffy cloud. "Yeah, yeah," he mumbles, cheeks tinting, as he adjusts the dial on his music player to pick up the FM station. "I'll see ya in a bit," he says, pecking her lips after a tiny, almost-imagined thoughtful look, and kicks off into traffic.

Once he's out of sight, it's time to initiate The Plan, and Maka quickly finishes up her work and clocks out, wishing Patti a Merry Christmas. She drives home in the seemingly endless traffic, little solar flower wobbling precariously the whole way, and the moment she's inside the apartment, she whips open her laptop and searches for a phone number.

"Uh, well, we've never had a caller on our show before so... Hello! This is K-DWMA, and you're caller number one. Literally. What's goin on?"

Maka holds her cellphone away from her face a moment so she doesn't laugh too loudly over the airwaves. "Hi. I'm calling to see if maybe you could take a request?"

She can tell by Wes Evans's voice that he is starting to recognize hers. "Aah, sure! What did you have in mind?"

"Oh, whatever you think's best. He's your brother. But I have a message I would like to give, if that's, um, alright?"

She thinks she hears Liz in the background, laughing from another part of the studio. Wes replies, "Absolutely. Go ahead."

She's super nervous and feeling a little sweaty, but she looks at her laptop and then the little red lights glowing in their artificial tree, and it just spills out of her. "I heard you the other night. I don't know if I was supposed to, and I'm not even positive if you said what I think you said, but I just wanna say I love you too, Soul. ...Umm, dinner's in twenty."

"That's it?"

"T-that's it."

"Cool. Alright, I got just the thing... Okay, we're off the air. Oh man, I bet he's flipping his needles right now! He better've been listening..."

Maka's legs bounce restlessly from her seat on the couch. "He was," she says, certain.

"That was classic. Okay, I gotta let you go, I'm supposed to run commercials after this song. Merry Christmas, Maka! Good luck~"

"Thanks, Wes. Merry Christmas," she replies, shutting her phone shakily.

Well, now that The Plan has been carried out, she's left with a very silent apartment and too much adrenaline. She wonders what song Wes had picked out, and trips over herself as she shuffles over to her trusty radio over the fireplace.

She finds the station just in time to catch the last few lines of 'The Christmas Waltz' sung by Frank Sinatra. The words carry her to many places in her memory, bringing up images of her mother, Chitchen-Itza, and trying to decorate Soul Eater's tree.

Just as Maka's eyes automatically search for a particular, slightly crispy postcard, the front door bursts open.

Soul is out of breath, staring at her for a moment before wrestling with the giant purple scarf tangled around his head. He makes a noise like he's just escaped from death as he shuts and locks the door behind him. He's kicking off his sneakers as his eyes go back to staring at her.

Oh no! She hadn't expected him to be home already! Traffic must've taken her longer than she'd thought. "You're home," she says, dumbly.

He shrugs off his thick coat. "Might've broken a few laws," he replies evasively. His fingerless gloves turn inside out as he peels them off. "...What's for dinner?"

Maka gulps. Yep. He'd heard her message. "I... I choked, I have no idea what's for dinner," she admits, hesitantly smiling. Soul stifles a laugh and slowly approaches, a hand ghosting over the back of the couch as he rounds it to stand near her.

"Did you mean it?"

She tries to look offended, but she thinks her face is too brightly-lit to pull it off. "Of course I did. Did you?"

He kisses her abruptly, chilly hands warming through her sweatshirt as he grips her stiff shoulders. When he pulls away, eyes nearly glowing with excitement, he tells her he loves her much in the same way he had first spoken her name: in multiple forms and cadences, with different emphasis on each word.

"-you. Maka, I love you. Maka, are you listening?"

"Yes I am listening!" Her hands clamp over his mouth while she tries to keep her blood pressure under control. She can't handle so much giddiness in her heart at once. The smile that curves underneath her hands is her only warning before she's being lifted up and kidnapped to the bedroom. "Ah! What'reyoudoing!?"

"We're gonna do it!" he exclaims happily as she clings to him in terror, afraid to be dropped.

"Excuse me?!"

"Yep. Christmas Eve tradition starting now."

Maka snorts despite herself, eyes going wide as he half trips on the way to the bed. He doesn't drop her though, and instead, deposits her on the mattress and smothers her with his body. He smells like warming cinnamon, and she buries her face into his neck, inhaling deeply.

His voice rumbles against her cheek. "Say it again?" he asks quietly, settling his hips comfortably between her legs.

"I love you too," she murmurs into his skin. She blushes when she hears him grin, and blushes harder when he leans back to look at her directly. He's wearing that crooked, rakish smile, the ends of his crazy hair tickling her forehead.

"So," he presses, shifting against her heating body, "you wanna...?"

Maka gives him a weak glare. "Yes, I do," she deadpans, but he's used to her contrary faces, and he teases her lips with his, grinning broadly between each kiss.

His urges her out of her sweatshirt, mouthing the tops of her breasts while pressing her into the bed with his hips. She tells him he's been wearing pants for too long today, and less than a minute later he's not only pantsless but devoid of all other clothing as well, and wrestling with the fly of her jeans.

Distantly, after she's as naked as he and he's settling between her legs again, she hears her radio diligently playing Christmas music out in the living room, choruses swelling and pianos ringing, running counterpoint to Soul's occasional, meaningful reminders that he loves her and how he can't stop and how he will make sure she hears it every time.

Her arms wrap around his shoulders, body bucking under his to get more of their skin to touch and slide and rub together. She mewls encouragements when he brushes his fingers along her slit and delves inside her body.

Where all their practicing had built up Soul's stamina, it had inversely destroyed hers as he had become more familiar with her body. Maka is breathless and buzzing within minutes, her hands searching over his arms and chest, touching and grasping and ineffectually pleading with him to do anything but just lean back and grin smugly at his handiwork.

When she's more in control of higher brain function, she yanks him down with his hair tangled between her fingers, kissing him heatedly. She feels his shark-like teeth worry her bottom lip as his warm cock presses against her. This is as far as they've been together, and she's both nervous and impatient to go further, heart swelling at the thought.

"Soul," she says, and writhes under him, rubbing her damp folds on him and memorizing the sound he makes at the sensation. Catching on, he slowly begins to rock against her, groaning as he slides his erection along her pussy. With this, their bodies move together in such a close approximation of sex that Maka thinks they may just actually do it.

Soul's tongue drags across her neck as his hips press into hers, dick slipping and grinding against her wet core. He murmurs her name in her hair just behind her ear. "Aah- I wanna be inside you."

"Y-yeah," she gasps into the room. She reaches between them and strokes his excited flesh. His breath stutters across her neck in surprise. Maka swiftly slips him inside, guiding him into her aching body, her jaw falling open as she moans her relief at finally being filled.

Soul's voice dips with pleasure, and he tells her his amazement in whispers and groans: she's so warm inside, so soft and wet and supple and hot, she's melting him, ah. His arms tuck around her, squeezing her tightly. He forgoes thrusting and merely rests inside her, twitching when she twitches when he twitches. His lips scatter kisses all over her face until she convinces him with her mouth to stay with hers, tongues tumbling together wetly before he sinks more deeply into her pussy.

Her fingers dig into anything she can grab as she pleads for more, and he moves his hips experimentally, hissing. "Maka," he says against her mouth, all apologies. "I'm not gonna get very far..."

Maka's hips roll against him. "It's okay," she replies before her breath hitches from his slow thrusting. "It feels really good," she pants.

Sweat builds between their chests as Soul moves within her, their loud breaths overheated and mingling with each other. Her mind is filled with flame and burning red suns, her body molten and melding with his, and she lifts her hips to garner more of Soul to herself until she can't remember they were ever separate.

The closer he gets to orgasm, the more bold his movements become- finally unwrapping his long arms to prop himself high above her and driving into her with long, intense strokes. Pleasure singes Maka's nerves, and she strokes her clit searching desperately for release as she watches Soul over her. He rumbles as she does this, saying, "Wanna come so bad, but don't wanna stop-"

She makes harried pleas to not stop, just go a little bit more, because she's so close and she can already feel the rush enveloping her, can feel her muscles trying to wind beyond the last coil, while Soul plunges into her clenching body and her fingers keep circling, circling, circling-

"Aah, S-so- hmm!"

She thinks she hears him swear, but she's too enthralled by her orgasm to complain as he pulls away from her and begins to recklessly stroke himself to climax. Maka writhes on the sheets, body pulsing with release, her legs shaking around Soul's clenching thighs. She runs her hands everywhere she can reach on him, and smiles, exhilarated, when he spills across her stomach.

Her face feels so light it's as if her smile is involuntary and her lips float up with ease. Voice hoarse and dry as she gives a pleased giggle, Maka's hands find Soul's damp shoulders and give a comforting squeeze. "You made it," she congratulates.

He scoffs, hair blowing out of his eyes. He heaves a sigh of relief head hanging tiredly. "Merry Christmas," he pants, exasperated, before he cracks up.

Somehow, Christmas lunch at her father's house has become a new tradition. Gifts are exchanged, pies and a lopsided spice cake are devoured, and Maka makes sure to give Tsubaki a good, meaningful hug, even if she can't explain in words what it's for.

It's days later, when Soul is packing up the postcards and ornaments in the living room, listening to Liz and Wes on the radio, that Maka opens the front door to a postal carrier with pale pink hair. Her eyes lock with the other person's, and she thinks she might have seen christmas lights in that shade before.

The androgynous carrier apologetically hands her a package. "S-sorry it's so late, it slid underneath the seat." The person's posture is vaguely tree-like, and Maka has to shake her head to pay proper attention.

"I remember you from last year! It's alright, accidents happen. Thanks for delivering it to me," she smiles.

"Uhm, you're welcome. Happy New Year!" they say, before turning to go down the stairs. Maka leans in her doorway and watches the carrier go, hopeful for a few last words, and she's not disappointed. "Y-your tree turned out pretty cool, Miss Albarn!" The carrier smiles shyly before leaving the front door of the building.

"Thanks," she says quietly, smiling to herself when she shuts her apartment door.

Gazing, confused, at the package in her hands, she notes she doesn't recognize the sending address. She peels back the tape and pulls out a heavy shoebox, discarding the original on the coffee table.

Maka opens the lid of the shoebox and peers inside. When she realizes what the contents are, her body freezes into a solid statue.

Worried of her sudden change in demeanor, Soul abandons his tree-dismantling and curiously picks up the box the package had been sent in.

"Who do ya know in Mexico? Maka."

A wondrous smile slowly blooms on her face. In the box are hundreds of postcards, dated this year and all addressed to 'My Darling Daughter'.


Marsh: Thanks so much, everyone! I hope this little extra at least got a laugh or two. Have a good New Year!