Disclaimer: I don't own Soul Eater.
He was the one who first caught her eyes at the masquerade ball.
Her delicate heeled footsteps made their way across the hall filled with elegant nobles and aristocrats who were all dead silent and watchful through their masked faces. The ballroom that had once been boisterous with hearty laughter and distant conversations was now completely quieted. The polished marble floor gave way to the majestic girl and her flowing pink dress tailed behind her as the music came to an abrupt stop. A copious amount of muffled gasps rose up from the crowd. She stopped mid-way on the cleared floor, facing a single boy who stood out from the mass of people. Their gazes, one a deep sea-green and the other a burning ember red, met and seared into each other. He gazed at her unwavering fixation and straightened out his suit that was covered in a cascading grey cape, holding her stare through his concealing mask. She was wearing the same as him, a mask that covered half of her face and outlined her eyes and barely revealed her identity.
The two advanced towards each other, slowly, until they stood directly in front of each other. Wordlessly, she curtsied and he bowed, then the mysterious boy offered a hand that guided her into the center of the floor, where everyone observed carefully. She nodded at the musicians and they began to play a somber yet dreamy melody. She took her other hand and placed it gently on his shoulder as he reached for the back of her arm, and the two of them began to sway back and forth to the tune of the violins, gracefully and carefully. The others soon followed, finding their partners to join them on the hall.
"Princess, who do you wish to dance with?" Her guard had asked, bending down to whisper in her ear. She sat on her royal throne next to her Papa all the way in the front of the ballroom on a risen platform, and observantly scanned the room with a glazed look of boredom as she watched the nameless and indistinguishable faces hidden by their disguises. "Princess?"
She remained quiet, lightly brushing her fingertips against the surface of her masquerade ball mask, and continued her search with frustration. "Why is Papa forcing me to do this?" She grumbled a response instead and leaned her elbow on the arm rests.
"Please do not slouch like that, mistress. You will look unladylike in front of all the noble families."
The girl sighed and continued to rest on her elbow, the tops of her knuckle digging into her cheek. Her olive eyes were still wandering about the room of dancing people wearing smiles that were as fake as their masks, and gaudy dresses and suits embedded with countless jewels and accessories just to impress her. They all waltzed together in unison with the music, each stepping together in a charming dance.
As the guard persisted and tried to make her more feminine, she finally straightened her back and folded her hands in front of her. She held back the urgency to twiddle with her curled blonde pigtails as she did, and sucked in a gulp of air to puff out her chest.
Then she spotted something that made her heart twist and her stomach turn in knots and made her head do a double-take.
Well, not really something, rather, someone.
A boy who stood all the way in the back across the room from her, his back leaning up against the wall, his head tilted downwards towards the floor, seemed to mystify her from afar. His bleach-white and spiky hair was hard to miss. He wore a suit that was not nearly as captivating as her fellow aristocrats, and a cape that draped down from his shoulders. His mask made him unrecognizable. She'd never seen him before.
She found her hand raising itself towards the unknown figure, and the guard followed its direction. "That boy," she said, almost breathless. "I want to dance with him."
She followed every step he took until they both were in perfect sync, mimicking the path of each footstep and sway. They had yet to speak, but her words were about to leap out of her throat. "With whom do I have the honor of dancing with?" She tried to sound like royalty.
The boy revealed a brimming row of shiny white shark teeth as he grinned. "My name is Evans. I am honored to dance with you, Princess Maka." His tone was firm, monotonous and deep. He eyed her cautiously.
"The same honor goes to you as well," she said, holding his hands carefully and lightly. "May I ask what kingdom you hail from?"
With one strong sweep of his legs they drifted towards the center of the floor, separated from the rest of the others. "I do not hail from a kingdom that you are familiar with," he answered solemnly. "But I would prefer it if you did not mention that."
"I see," she replied, her tone slightly dampened by his unwillingness to give up information. "But will you at least tell me your name?"
"I said Evans, your highness."
"No, I mean your real name."
He paused as their motions slowed and began to falter. "I fear if I tell you my name, it will displease you," he tapped the edge of his mask slyly.
"I don't mean to offend you, your highness, but I feel that it is important to emphasize that this is indeed a masquerade ball."
She pouted and her pink cheeks puffed up indignantly. "But what if you leave me tonight without any leaving me any notion of who you are? I won't be able to remember you," she said, nearing closer to the warmth of his body.
"I wouldn't worry if I were you, princess. I am highly doubtful that we will ever forget this experience," a soft, mischievous-looking smile formed with his words. He let the melody guide them as he clutched her delicate hand gently. "Besides, I am confident that we will see each other again.
"How could you be so sure?" She asked, slightly suspicious.
His smirk widened and spread across his face. He edged away from her body as the music also faded away. The dance was over. "If you are so interested in me, then I suggest you come see me after this ball is over. I will be in the courtyard," he said and swiftly turned. "I hope to see you afterwards, your highness." She watched his cape-covered lean figure stride away from her and disappear into the crowd, leaving her standing dumbfounded in the middle of the dance floor.
"Princess!" Her guard trotted out from the platform to aid her. "How was your dance with the boy? Have you chosen yet?"
Her gloved hands dropped to her sides and she paused. "I still have yet to decide," she answered.
"Please do not fret, I'm sure there are other eligible boys here as well as him."
"Excuse me." She heard a shy voice behind her and turned, facing another young man who looked at her expectantly. "But I, too, would like a chance to dance with her highness," he said and offered a hand.
The princess reluctantly accepted and stepped out for another round of waltzing. But she didn't feel the same warmth as she felt with the other mysterious boy, named Evans. She couldn't hold that same fiery gaze as she did before.
When the serenade of instruments came to a permanent stop, and all of the guests made their leave, she sat on her throne and watched them all exit. She waited for the boy to appear, for his silver shawl to come flowing towards her, for that glint of ember to stare her down, but he never came. "Come, princess. It is time to leave."
Her father rose and adjusted his crown, wrapping his maroon cape around his shoulders. "Wait, I think I must do one last thing," she said, picking up the ends of her dress and trudging down the steps of the stage. She and her heels clamped across the emptied floor and towards the back, where the courtyard was.
Her shadow crept through the open door of the enclosure, and she gazed out into the soft haze of the full moon that was partially obscured by clouds. The air was as silent as her shallow breath. She ventured out into the vacant garden, its beauty veiled by nightfall. Making sure her mask was still against her face, she reached up tentatively and brushed over it with her fingertips once again. She was about half-way down the darkened path until a deep rumble of a voice startled her. "So you came, princess."
She jerked around and saw his ember gaze set on her. "It's you..." He emerged from the bushes behind her and blocked her path.
"I've been waiting quite a while for you." He no longer wore a broad grin on his face, but a serious look and tone with the same getup as he had worn during the ball. "Although I wasn't actually expecting for you to come."
"Tell me, now that we're alone...tell me your true identity. I wish to see who you finally are."
"As I've said before, princess, you might not like who I really am," he said, and his royal accent seemed to disappear.
"What do you mean?" She asked, suspicion creeping up in her voice. The boy's lips curled into a deviously victorious smile as he ripped off the cape and let it slip to the ground. She drew back carefully as he reached for his grey vest and unbuttoned it, revealing the plain black suit underneath. "What are you doing?"
He snorted, fully loosing his fake accent. "Well, you asked me to show you my true identity. But with all introductions aside, I have a good feeling that you will recognize me immediately," he said with a devilish smirk, as if he were enjoying himself thoroughly. "I was actually surprise by you, that you'd actually pick me to dance with you. It seems that my poor disguise was good enough to fool you." He loosened the suit and tore it off as well, and she imagined that his undershirt would be showing. But under the suit was not the undershirt, but another outfit. A chill streaked down her spine as she finally figured it out. It wasn't a noble that she had been dancing with.
"Y-You are..." Fear consumed her emerald eyes as she gaped in shock at him. She backed up a few steps as he reached into a knapsack behind his back, pulling out a black cloth from the bag.
"Do you know who I am now, your highness?" A black cape dangled from his skinny yet firm shoulders and the brim of a fedora shielded his eyes and covered his white hair. Underneath his outfit was another one which she recognized clearly. He wore a long black trench coat with a white shirt under, and black pants and boots with a buckle on them.
"But...I thought you were captured a long time ago!" She cried.
"Do you think a notorious thief like me would ever get caught so easily?" He tipped the hat and uncovered a crooked grin, and the burning-eyed gaze that she had been drawn to was now inducing panic within her.
"What are you planning on doing now?" She asked.
"A thief can steal whatever he wants, can't he? So I'm sure you've figured out what I'm here for..." He reached into a side pocket and pulled out a pink rose with tiny thorns.
"You can't - !" By the time her words had reached his ears, he had already plucked the flower from its stalk, scattering a strange white powder towards her. The girl froze mid-sentence, her eyes filled with sudden shock, and then they began to slowly shut. The thief boy grinned and strode over to catch the falling girl, who collapsed with ease into his arms unconscious.
"You're mine now."
A/N: I think you guys would love to know how I randomly and unintentionally came up with this story idea by lying awake in bed at 2 am and having a sudden writing epiphany right when I was about to close my eyes. Yup, this is pretty much what happens every time I come up with a new story. Just in case you were curious.
If you don't know what Stockholm Syndrome is, just Google it, I'm sure you'd appreciate the whole story after you discover its meaning.