Happy Valentine's, y'all! This fic is dedicated to hotapplestrider and justagirlandhersocks. Also, I've recently gotten into the Harry Potter fandom, so those interested in reading my romione fics should PM me. And to everyone that has requested a fic, I have not forgotten! As always, thanks for reading and reviewing.
Soul would be the first to admit there were many things about Maka that still confused him. Even after six years of being partners, and seven months of being in a relationship, she could still come up with something that left him scratching his head. Still, he assumed he knew the important things; all the stuff that mattered to her, what bothered her, what made her happy. For instance, the phrase, 'I'm fine.' Figuring that one out had been tricky, but eventually he could tell when it meant she was pissed but didn't want to talk, when she was hurt and trying not to show it, and, on rare occasion, when she was actually fine. So when he set out to tackle the issue of Valentine's Day, he had been confidant that he could read her.
He had asked what she wanted to do, and she had replied that it didn't matter to her, that she didn't mind if they didn't do anything. Soul had been a bit disappointed. This was their first Valentine's as a couple, and he had wanted to do something to celebrate, even if it wasn't a big blowout. But no matter how many times he asked, her answer never changed, so he finally resigned himself to the fact that his girlfriend had all the romantic inclinations of a turnip. Now, passion she had in spades, as she had demonstrated quite often, both in bed and out, but he had had his heart set on something a tad more...emotional. Once he saw that wasn't going to happen, he pushed it to the back of his mind, letting her set the pace, as he always did. Maybe next year she would feel differently.
This is how he came to find himself roaming the mall on the thirteenth of February, on his monthly CD/DVD/video game run. The building was jam-packed with last minute shoppers, and he felt like a worn out salmon fighting his way upstream to spawn as he headed by the foodcourt, slick plastic shopping bag in hand as elbows jostled him from both sides. Over the noise of the crowd, he could hear his name being called, so he slowed down and scanned the area. He found Liz, Patty, and Black*Star waving at him from a table, so he headed in their direction, the mixed smells of hamburgers, Chinese, and pizza reminding him that he hadn't eaten dinner yet. Holding up one finger, he stood in line for some chicken strips, carrying his tray over to the group and sitting in the chair they had pulled up for him. Black*Star had a mountain of burger wrappers in front of him, and Patty was gleefully munching away at a Happy Meal, while Liz watched with a strangely nauseous expression.
She saw his confusion, and explained wearily, "Patty is trying to collect all the toys, so we go to McDonald's every day. Every. Damn. Day." She ended on a small, strangled sob.
Soul winced in sympathy as the other two laughed. "Where's Kid? Doesn't he get to share in the joyful experience?"
"Smarmy bastard slipped away before we left. But I plan on getting some payback." Liz muttered darkly. Then her mood changed abruptly, a knowing smirk forming on her face. "Soooo, Soul! Nothing like leaving things till the last minute, huh? What did you buy your lady love?" She peered at his bag with blatant curiosity.
Soul nearly snorted a chicken strip out of his nose at the cheesy endearment. It made Maka sound like one of those damsels in distress that needed rescuing from a dragon. He knew better. Maka was the type to be found roasting the dragon over a campfire and grousing at the knight for taking his sweet time while she did all the work.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but this isn't for Maka. She told me she didn't want anything, so I took her at her word."
The others stared at him in disbelief, Patty and Black*Star froze in the act of fighting for the last container of fries.
"You're saying...she told you not to get anything...so you didn't? Are you at least doing something special tomorrow?" Liz spoke slowly, as if she were trying to make sense of a foreign language.
He shrugged. "Nope. I kept offering, but she didn't want to."
"DEAD MAN WALKIN'!" Patty crowed, earning stares from the tables around them.
Soul rolled his eyes, swallowing another bite. "Look, I wanted to do somethin'! But she said no, so I won't force it. And I ain't gonna be a dead man, Patty. You know Maka, she's not the shallow type of person that expects a present for every red date on the calendar."
Black*Star grunted. "Dude, you're missin' the point. Yeah, Maka ain't the kind to make you bend over backwards doin' somethin' you don't want, but that isn't what this is about. This is a chance to find some way to show her you appreciate her. Doesn't have to be a big deal, just somethin' to let her know you care. And who doesn't wanna be appreciated? Nothin' shallow about that."
"What about you? It doesn't look like you're here shopping for Tsubaki." Soul countered, trying to shrug off a mounting feeling of unease.
"Nope. She's somewhere around here picking up my present, somethin' short and see through that I can appreciate while I remove it with my teeth!" Black*Star laughed.
"Oh, that sounds real thoughtful. Truly, your romantic skills are right up there with Don Juan." Soul said dryly.
Black*Star blushed, rubbing the back of his neck. "Yeah, that's what I was expectin' her to think, at least until the delivery guy drops off the lilies I bought her tomorrow."
His three friends stared at him, impressed. Soul thought about what they had said, and how happy Tsubaki was going to be tomorrow (not about whatever she was buying. He didn't want to know. There were few things he didn't know about those two, and he would happily keep that as one of them).
He slumped, speaking in a tiny, forlorn voice. "I've fucked this up, haven't I?"
Black*Star pounded on his back in a misguided effort to cheer him up. "Hey, you got time! As long as you find somethin' before tomorrow night, it's all good!"
Perking up, he gave a confidant smile. "Sure, how hard can it be?"
Liz rubbed her forehead, a throbbing pain developing behind her eyes. Patty wore a small, hard smirk as she threw away her trash. Honestly, sometimes men could be such complete and utter twats.
Soul slid quietly into the apartment, pausing on his way to his room to fondly watch Maka from the hallway. His little nerd was curled up on the couch, watching an episode of Jeopardy, blurting out the answers before the contestants. Bemused, he shook his head as she cackled gleefully in reaction to getting the answer right while the player failed. He went and tossed his bag on his desk, kicking off his shoes before heading back out to join her. He sat next to her, and wondered if she even noticed his arrival, or if the way she snuggled into his side was purely reflex. After a few more rounds, the show broke for a commercial break, and she blinked in confusion, jumping slightly away from him.
"Soul! You're back!"
He rolled his eyes. "You know, for someone who's so alert on missions, that's pretty pathetic. What if I had been some crazy person that had broken in?"
"You are some crazy person, but since you have a key, there was no need to break in." She quipped, stretching across his lap while he began to fiddle with her hair.
"If I'm crazy, what does that make you for dating me?"
"Hmm, what is, certifiable?" She replied, as if answering a question from the show.
Soul pretended to pout, and she laughed, sighing as his fingernails scratched along her scalp. They sat in companionable silence through two more episodes, Soul working Maka's hair into dozens of teeny tiny braids that would drive her crazy when she tried to get them out later, but that would make her hair crinkly and wavy.
Noticing that her eyes were beginning to droop, Soul fumbled for the remote and clicked off the tv, scooping her up and carrying her to bed. With a grunt of thanks, she wiggled under the covers, leaving room for him to crawl in after he had stripped to his boxers. Once he had gotten into place, Maka rolled over to lay her head on his shoulder, draping an arm and a leg over him.
"Did you get the game you were looking for while you were out?" She asked sleepily.
"Mhmm. Good thing I went today, they only had three copies left." He almost mentioned running into their friends, but didn't want to bring up the conversation they had had.
"Good. I invited Tsubaki and Black*Star over to play Friday. Losers have to take the other team out to dinner. We have to win; I want to see the look on Black*Star's face when he finds out he has to take us for curry. After last time, I just know he's going to turn a wretched shade of green!"
Soul barked a laugh. "You are a devious woman, you know that, right?"
Her eyes sparkled as she looked up at him. "I learned from the best." She said simply, lifting her head to kiss his jaw before plopping back down.
He watched her face as she drifted off. The others had been right. Maybe he didn't need to do anything for her tomorrow, but he wanted to. She was special to him, this thing they had going on between them was special to him, and he wanted to let her know that. The least he could do was put in the effort to find some small token to convey his feelings. Millions of men did it every year. As he had said earlier, how hard could it be?
Several hours passed before he was confidant that she was asleep for the night. Stealthily, he army crawled backwards out from under her arm to slide off the foot of the bed, pausing when she shifted and muttered.
"Mmmm, Shoul, thas kinky...I like it."
His teeth dug into his lip to hold in a whimper. She was having one of her 'special' dreams, the ones that were always worthwhile to wake her up from and coax her into trying in real life. He was tempted. Sorely . It would be so easy to shimmy back up the mattress, wake her up, work her up...but no. With one last look of regret, he awkwardly walked out of his room, trying to send his hard-on the message that there would be no late night dip.
He closed the door to her room softly behind him, flicking on the desk lamp, squinting until his eyes adjusted to the light. If he was quick, he might be able to go back and ravish his partner after all. Flipping her laptop open, he waited impatiently for it to start up, opening the web browser to begin his search.
Forty-five minutes later, he had to admit defeat. He had looked up every nice restaurant in Death City, and every damn one of them was booked solid for tomorrow night. That left him with the option of either whisking he away to the food court at the mall, or to the dubious diner on the outskirts of town that served meat of a...questionable origin.
Shutting down the computer, he slunk back to his bed in defeat, contorting his body to fit in the tiny space remaining to him, as she had spread out like a map while he was gone. And he knew from experience, that just like a map, there was no folding her back into a tidy shape. He was apt to bend something the wrong way, ending in inevitable pain for both of them. Situating himself so that his sensitive bits wouldn't have an unfortunate collision with her knee if she rolled over (again, something that he had experienced once and did not wish to repeat), he mentally crossed off a nice dinner from his list of options. Deciding that the only thing to do was to wake up early and go out in search of inspiration, he closed his eyes, batting away the small voice that was telling him that this just might be a tad more difficult than he had first thought.
For the second time within a period of six hours, Soul found himself once again sneaking from his own bed, something he firmly told himself he would not let become a habit. If all else failed, he could hold up this voluntary sacrifice of a prime chunk of his sleep cycle. Maka knew how much he loved to sleep; anywhere and everywhere, as had been proven on several missions, so he knew she would appreciate what he was going through on her behalf. Still, he thought he could do better than that, so he quietly danced around in the dark as he put on his clothes, nearly getting tangled in the legs of his jeans.
He had thought about staying in bed a while longer, but couldn't think of a plausible excuse to give her later when he tried to leave. This left him cruising up and down the streets in the frigid morning air until the coffee shop opened, where he grabbed a large steaming cup to thaw his insides while he sat at a table to plot. Clothes were most definitely out, because if he made a mistake with the size, there would be hell to pay. He had gone through this at Christmas, and his mind had been boggled at how women's clothing sizes could change so drastically between brands. He had carefully checked her shirt size before buying what he thought was a nice sweater, only to have her become furious when it was too big and she took that as a stab about how she was lacking in the chest department. It had taken some fancy footwork to calm her down, and he had no desire to risk a repeat performance.
Candy didn't feel right either. While Maka had something of a sweet tooth, she wasn't particularly partial to any of the specialty Valentine's candy that would be on the shelves. Now, Easter was another matter entirely, and her eyes would gleam with covetous fanaticism whenever they went to the store. If he had heard her right, 'Cadbury caramel eggs make the panties drop,' a fact he had tucked away to be tested later. But that was still months away and did nothing to solve his current problem.
Flowers seemed rather cliché, but at this point, he told himself that he couldn't afford to be too picky. Roses were always good, right? They were practically fool proof. Granted, they weren't as special or unique as he would like, but he had left things a bit late to want to get creative now. Tossing his empty cup in the trash, he went to the phone booth in the corner of the shop to look up the addresses of the florists that were the closest. There were only six to choose from, and one was only two blocks away. Checking his watch, he saw that he still had a good hour to kill before it opened, he sat back down at his table after grabbing a newspaper to read.
He missed the shop the first two times he drove past it, having to slow down and peer past the crowd to see in the windows. Bustling in and out of the doors were men of every age, some looking smugly pleased with themselves while others gave of a feel of sick desperation. Soul stood out of the way as one man walked stiffly by him to the door, lips set and hollow eyed. He stared after him curiously, before turning to the lady behind the counter.
"Um, weren't those funeral lilies?"
She gave a small shrug and smiled. "He was desperate. It would be interesting to see the reaction he gets; he may just have a use for them later on."
They shared a chuckle before she became business-like. "So, I assume you have an order. What name would it be under?"
The smile slipped from Soul's face. This didn't sound good, but he would be damned if he walked out of here with flowers meant for mourning. "Uh, I didn't actually order anything in advance...I was hoping I could get some roses?"
She stared blankly at him...and then burst into the most manic sounding laughter he had ever heard in his life. She slid down the wall, crying so hard she almost choked. Someone from the back heard her and came to investigate. The second lady looked from her coworker to Soul, trying to figure out what was going on.
"Cyndi? What is it?"
The blonde tried to pull herself into an upright position, but was only marginally successful. "He...he wants...roses!" She wheezed.
The new lady began to giggle, and Soul wished they would let him in on the joke. He needed a laugh.
"I'm sorry sir, but all of our roses are reserved. It's hard enough to get them on Valentine's at the last minute as it is, but our supplier shorted our order. Is there anything else that would work?"
Glumly, he shook his head. It looked like he would be making the run of the flowershops today, not a prospect he looked forward to.
The next five shops were no better, each reacting as if he had burst through the door on a unicycle, honking a giant red nose. Every one of them had used the same supplier, and one had even been shorted so much that they wouldn't be able fill all the orders they had taken. A few had taken pity on Soul and offered to let him look through the rose rejects that they couldn't sell. These roses were already open, and in many cases were already shedding petals, while others had brown and black rotten spots. One of the florists, more unscrupulous than the rest, and tried to convince him that all he needed to do was pluck off the outside petals with the bad spots, but when he was done, he was left with little more than thorny stems. In a last ditch effort to make a sale, she suggested adding a few drops of glue to some overblown roses, but even if he had agreed with that idea, he knew that they wouldn't survive the trip on his bike, even if they were boxed.
The next few hours were filled with a roller-coaster of ideas and failures. His method was to drive aimlessly around the city, darting into stores when inspiration struck. He steered clear of the jewelry, firmly believing that nice jewelry was a gift saved for a minimum of a year of dating. Still, a department store caught his eye, and he wondered into it and several others to look at the perfume. After having his nasal passages assaulted with every conceivable scent known to man and one throbbing headache later, he realized he should have spared himself the trouble. Maka rarely wore anything more than a light body spray anyway, a fact that he was newly thankful for.
His next attempt was a a card; surely there was one out there printed with a message that he wished to convey. He read the headings for the different sections, each one detailing the relationship it contained. There were cards for husbands, and cards for wives. Cards for granddaughters and grandsons, nephews, nieces, and siblings. There were even, oddly enough, cards for pets. He shuddered at the thought of what would happen to him if he brought one home for Blair. Finally, he found the section for significant others. The stock had been seriously depleted, leaving only a handful to choose from. Weeding out the ones for men, he was left with several with beefcakes on the cover with raunchy suggestions on the inside, which he quickly discarded. While Maka wasn't the type to get hung up on looks, and seemed more than pleased with him in that department, he saw no need to promote the competition. He looked at the last card, then quickly shelved it as well. While the wording had been humorous, even he thought the idea of breaking up via Valentine card was tacky.
On his way out, he decided to swing by the holiday aisle to check out the stuffed animals. It wasn't the best idea, but he was coming up empty. Luck had abandoned him again, however, and the shelves were almost completely empty, except for an unrecognizable blob in a hideous shade of puce green with bulging, orange eyes and tiny, lavender wings. Before he could even bring himself to touch it, it was swooped up into the arms of a pudgy little girl with pigtails, who looked up at her parents with huge brown eyes like a sad cocker spaniel's.
"Can I get this one? He's the last one left, and he's lonely!" She pleaded.
Soul shared a sympathetic wince with the couple, who obviously didn't want that thing coming into their house. But it seemed like this was a common occurrence, and after a few minutes of trying to convince her to part with it, they relented, the girl skipping along happily with it clutched to her chest, having declared it's name to be Reginald. This left Soul to stare at the shelves. Empty. Empty as his hopes of salvaging this disaster of a holiday.
Late afternoon found him at the porch of a shabby but clean house, pounding on the door. He paced back and forth, then hammered again, jerking back when the door was angrily yanked open by Black*Star, wearing a pair of inside out and backwards boxers, his hair sticking out even more wildly than usual.
"Sorry, we didn't order the fuckin' cockblock. You must have the wrong street." He growled, already in the motion of slamming the door in Soul's face. Soul shot out his foot to block it, yanking his grumpy friend closer to him by the neck, giving Black*Star a good look at his crazed expression. Soul's hair was worse than Black*Star's, though sadly not for the same reason. His eyes were wide and bloodshot, dark purple bags attesting to that fact that he had gotten less than his required hours of sleep. His eyelid was twitching, along with a nerve on his cheek and a vein on his forehead.
"Um, Soul? Should I call Maka? You ain't lookin' so hot, maybe you ne-"
"NO! NO MAKA!"
Soul punctuated this by shaking Black*Star like a rubber chicken, his head flopping rapidly back and forth.
"Oooookaaay, chill! What did you come here for, anyway? In case you can't tell, we were a little...busy."
"What do I do?! I've tried everything I can think of, but nothing is working! It's almost time for supper, and I don't have a damn thing for her!"
Black*Star's eyes lit with comprehension as he slid from Soul's grip.
"Dude, you are so fucked. And not the good fucked; the, 'I'll never get this library unstuck from my skull, celibate for life' kinda fucked."
Before Soul could release his pent up tension by committing a friendly bit of murder, Tsubaki came to the door, holding a fuzzy blue robe closed over her chest.
"Soul? What are you doing here?"
His eyes flicked from her ruffled hair to the red marks on her neck, and then down to the furry handcuffs dangling from one wrist. He felt his face turn as red as his eyes. He did not. Want. To know. Seeing where his stare was directed, she laughed nervously, jamming her hand into her pocket.
Soul snapped out of it, back to his main mission.
"Guys, I've looked everywhere for a gift. Please, just give me some ideas."
"WE DO NOT MENTION THOSE. EVER."
"Every damn place is booked solid tonight. And I really don't think I can pass off a fast food hamburger as a deeply romantic experience."
"Dude, strip naked, wait for her to come to bed, and tell her that you're her present and you've saved her the trouble of unwrappin' it!"
Soul and Tsubaki both smacked him on the head, Soul growling, "Yeah, if I remember right, you pulled that last year, and it didn't exactly win you any points."
"Oh, I know!" Tsubaki interrupted excitedly, not wanting to think about last year, "You could write her a song! You know she loves it when you play for her!"
He stared at her flatly. "Dear god no. Do you have any idea how hard that'd be? I only have a few hours left, and that's not somethin' an pull out of your butt. Besides, there would be no place to play it. And if you suggest whisking her away to the school where the rest of you could be a backup band, I will projectile vomit on you, I swear to death."
"Well, if you're gonna shit on every idea we come up with, then maybe you should ask someone else!" Black*Star spat with obvious irritation, hands on his hips.
Sighing, Soul rubbed the back of his neck, grunting an apology. Deciding that he wasn't going to get anything out of them, he turned to go, waving over his shoulder when Tsubaki called out to wish him luck.
Needing to think, he drove outside of the city, to a small group of rocks where he sometimes went to get away from things. Spreading out the blanket roll from the back of his bike, he stretched out, the sun just warm enough to keep him comfortable. Stretching out, he closed his eyes against the glare, intending to sort out his problem and go home, surprise Maka with whatever he came up with, and then proceed to do a variation on Black*Star's idea, with more favorable results.
Predictably, he fell asleep instead.
The coldness seeping in through his jacket woke him, the night stars twinkling down on him from the desert sky. He sat up sluggishly, struggling to remember what he was doing out here. His stomach growled, loudly protesting the fact that he hadn't eaten this morning. The days events hit him forcefully, and his eyes snapped all the way open. Shit. Shitshitshitshitshit. He had totally fucked up. It was far to late to come up with anything, and even if he did, he knew Maka was going to be furious that he had disappeared so long without letting her know where he was or when he would be back. They had come to an agreement a long time ago that they would leave a note, just in case anything happened to them, so the other would have an idea of where and when to start looking for them. And he had forgotten his phone, so he couldn't even call to tell her he was alright. Standing up, a wave of dizziness hit him, and he groaned. No wonder he had slept so long; he hadn't eaten since this morning, and even that hadn't been much. It wasn't a major health issue, but if he didn't eat on a fairly regular basis, he suffered from low blood sugar, and would crash like he had today. Digging in the saddlebag on the bike, he came up empty. Usually he kept a few energy bars in there for emergencies, but it looked like he had forgotten to put more in. Kicking a rock in frustration, he started the engine, hoping Maka at least let him make it to the kitchen before she tore into him.
Twenty minutes later, he opened the door cautiously, peering around the edge before he shuffled quietly in. He made it as far as the living room before she popped up behind him, the shout of his name forcing a shrill scream from his throat.
"Where the hell have you been, Soul? Do you have any idea how worried I was? You left before I got up, no note or anything! And when I tried to call you, guess how I felt when I found your phone ringing on your dresser! That was at eight this morning, and it's already after ten!"
She had punctuated her yells with an index finger driving repeatedly into his chest, and Soul thought absently that she was going to leave a permanent divot there.
Gently, he wrapped his hand around her finger to prevent her from doing any more damage, and it was a sign of just how worried she was that she didn't snap his wrist in two.
"I know, and I'm sorry, alright? It wasn't supposed to take this long. I only meant to be gone about three hours, tops, but absolutely nothin' has gone right for me today. It was supposed to be a surprise, and that's why I didn't say anything."
Maka huffed, clearly still not pleased, but thankfully opting not to yell anymore. "So what is this thing that you had to keep so secret? I...I had hoped that you were going to be around here today." This last part was said a bit stiffly, making Soul feel even worse.
Leaning against the back of the couch, he sighed, trying to explain. "You know what day it is, right? And you remember how I asked you what you wanted for today, and you said you didn't want anything?"
She nodded, puzzled about where this was going.
"Well, in spite of my first instinct, I took you at your word, and didn't do a damn thing."
"Oh." That one word was spoken in a tiny voice, and Soul talked faster, hoping to get her to see his side of things.
"I wanted to do somethin', but you acted like it was a dumb idea, so I dropped it because I didn't want to annoy you. Then last night, I ran into everyone at the mall, and they made me see what a stupid decision that was. So I stayed up most of the night tryin" to think of what to do, and then left before you woke up. I had hoped to be back, but everywhere I went, they were either booked, or out of anything half-way decent. Then I got frustrated, took a drive out of the city to think, and ended up fallin' asleep. Once I woke up, I came straight home. I'm sorry I fucked everything up...not exactly stellar boyfriend material, am I?"
Maka let out a puff of air, loosely wrapping her arms around his waist and resting her head against his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Soul. I should have just let you do what you wanted in the first place, but I didn't want you doing it because you felt obligated to do it just for some holiday. I would have been perfectly happy if you had just told me 'Happy Valentine's Day', then spent the day with me watching stupid movies and eating take-out. And then possibly having wild animal sex to finish up."
He whimpered at this revelation, and her lips quirked up in a smile. She had been worried when he had vanished without a word, but there was no way she could stay mad at him when he had been trying to do something sweet. Thinking that maybe they could at least check one thing off the list, she stepped away to lead him to the bedroom, then became alarmed when he swayed, his face an unhealthy pale, beads of sweat on his forehead.
"Soul! What's wrong, you look awful!"
His mouth worked a few moments before he got out weakly, "Haven't eaten since this mornin'. Got busy and forgot, and didn't have any bars with me."
The slurred words were barely past his lips before she was dragging him to the kitchen, forcing him into a chair while she quickly poured him a glass of orange juice. After a few gulps, his hands stopped shaking and a bit of color returned to his cheeks. Seeing that he wasn't going to pass out on her, she began to fix him a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich, knowing that the juice wouldn't be enough after a day without food.
Soul rested his head on his arms as she moved about the kitchen, listening to her mutter something along the lines of being a mother of a six year old instead of the girlfriend of a grown man. He grinned behind her back. They were both independent people, and it was rare that they needed the other's help outside of a battle type situation. They both found it a little embarrassing to rely on someone else, but he had to admit, it was nice to have someone fuss over you every once and a while.
Maka watched as he devoured his meal with an abandon found in small children and wild animals, wondering how he had managed to get a small string of cheese on his ear. It wasn't long before he was pushing away his plate, letting out a satisfied burp that had her wrinkling her nose. He took his plate over to the sink, and Maka was pleased to see that he was steady on his feet. Standing, she padded to the bedroom, his footsteps behind her letting her know that he was following. Regretfully, she decided not to start anything tonight. She knew Soul would gladly go along with it, but she also knew that his energy was always seriously depleted after one of these episodes, and what he needed was a full night's sleep. Giving him a brief kiss to show that she wasn't upset, she snuggled into the bed while he got undressed and climbed in next to her, his hand rubbing sleepy circles on her hip.
At first, Soul was a bit hurt that she didn't want to do anything, but then he realized that he would probably only last an embarrassingly short time, so maybe it was for the best. He sighed, nuzzling the back of her neck. He really was lucky to be with her. Today alone, she had worried about him, not been upset that he hadn't spent the day with her like she had hoped he would, fixed him something to eat instead of making him try to do it himself, and was now letting him sleep, even though she was most likely up for more. And all she had wanted for herself was for him to spend the day with her...his eyes fell on the calendar in the moonlight, already showing the fifteenth, today already having been ripped off. Suddenly, an idea struck. It was a longshot, a crazy idea, but maybe he could make this up to her.
Maka wasn't sure what woke her the next morning; one minute she was wrapped in a fluffy cloud of sleep, and the next she was blinking around in confusion, looking for the source of the noise that must have pulled her from sleep. Once again, she found herself to be in bed alone, a habit she felt she was going to have to break Soul from. Forcefully. She let out an aggravated growl and was about to go in search of her errant weapon and bed warmer, when the bedroom door opened, and her shark-toothed hot waterbottle entered the room with a tray of food.
"Crap, you're awake. I was gonna surprise you."
"Oh, I'm surprised." She said faintly as she sank back against the pillows. Soul was many things, but a morning person was definitely not one of them. Even if ten was sleeping in late for her, she knew he had at least another two hours longer, but here he was, bearing bacon, eggs, and juice.
"Soul, what's going on? If you're trying to make up for missing yesterday, you really don't have to. It wasn't a big deal, and I'm not mad."
He grinned, nodding his head in the direction of the calendar. "What do you mean? Today's the fourteenth, see?"
Following his indication, she saw that the date was indeed Valentine's, and felt herself experience a very Groundhog's Day moment before noticing that the page had been taped back on. Catching on to what he was doing, she laughed. She loved him, even if he was a cornball.
"Too cheesy?" He asked, worried he was just making himself look like an idiot.
"Cheesy as a bowl of macaroni, but I love it." She snickered, leaning forward slightly.
Pleased, Soul took the last few steps to his bed to hand her the tray, when his foot caught on the edge of the rug, sending him stumbling forward. He managed to save himself, but the motion of the tray jerking in his hands sent the eggs sliding off the plate and into the air, where he watched in fascinated dread as they plopped right down the neck of her over-sized shirt, landing on her chest. The orange juice chose that moment to tip over, directly onto her lap.
Letting out a strangled, 'urk', her eyes widened as the feel of warm eggs dripped down her chest. They stared at each other, the silence stretching between them like taffy.
"You, um, have eggs. On your-"
"I could help you get them off. I mean, not like that, eggs really aren't a sexy food like chocolate, it'd be kinda weird, I just meant-"
"I think I should just take a shower."
"Right, right. Lemme just go start it for you!" He set the tray on the dresser, darting out of the room.
Maka sighed, holding the mess against her carefully as she stood and shuffled to stand over the trashcan, letting the eggs drop in. It had been a nice idea. Poor Soul, he had looked so mortified! She felt bad for him going through the effort for nothing. Grabbing the bacon, she nibbled at it on her way to the bathroom, the cold juice making her pants cling to her in a damp and disgusting manner. Soul had the shower ready for her, hot steam puffing out off the edges of the curtain. Maka put her arms around his neck, carefull not to press her juice covered pants to him.
"Want to join me and help me clean up?" She asked coyly, brushing his lips with hers.
He deepened the kiss briefly before pulling back. "As much as I hate to, I think I'll pass until you don't taste like eggs." He chuckled.
Maka raised an eyebrow, and he raised a hand to the back of his neck, rubbing it sheepishly. "Alright, that's not the reason. I just figured I better go clean the kitchen before you see it."
"I take it I would be pissed to see how bad it is?"
"Uh, maybe? Don't really wanna risk it."
"Fine. I'll take my shower before the water goes cold, then." She said as she pulled her shirt over her head, making sure to give him a good look of her breasts as they bounced with the movement, enhanced by the shine of grease from the eggs.
Soul whined at the back of his throat, torn between staying to wash her with his tongue, or going to clean so she didn't find how big a mess he had made and kill him.
"You did that on purpose." He growled accusingly, his face set in a pout.
Maka stuck her tongue out, wiggling out of her pants and tossing them in the hamper.
"I did. Now go fix whatever you've done to the kitchen, please."
Giving her a final, longing glance, he headed out the door, throwing over his shoulder, "Fine, but only because you said please."
Rolling her eyes at his immaturity, she stripped off her underwear, sending it after her pajamas. She was curious to see if he had anything else planned for the day, or if the ill-fated breakfast was all there was to it. She suspected not; she had known Soul had originally wanted to do something on a larger scale, so this was probably only step one. Her mind on other matters, she stepped into the shower without thinking, then immediately leapt back out with an ear-piercing shriek that had Soul pounding down the hall and bursting through the door.
"Maka! Are you okay? What the hell happened?" He questioned, his eyes scanning her for injury.
"What happened? You almost boiled me alive! Did you use any cold water at all?" She asked, while rubbing at her red streaked skin.
Soul tentatively stuck his fingers into the stream of water, instantly jerking them back with a hiss. "Fuck! Sorry, I had no idea it was that hot. Here, let me fix it."
He dialed the knob for cold water, then tested it once more. Satisfied, he stepped back, allowing her to see for herself. Sighing at the feel of the water on her sore skin, she thanked him with a smile, reaching for her washcloth. Soul retraced his steps to the kitchen, hoping the rest of his plans would go better. He had had high hopes for the day, but, like the eggs, things weren't turning out so sunny side up.
The kitchen had just been restored to it's former glory when Maka walked in, wearing a black sweater with large yellow polka dots over a pair of black jeans. She surveyed the area, but could find nothing amiss.
Seeing her, he smiled. "Feelin' better now that you're not wearin' breakfast?" He asked.
"I admit, it's not how I pictured breakfast in bed, but it could have been worse. It was a sweet idea; thanks, Soul."
"Yeah, well, hopefully the rest of it goes better. Do you have a nice dress you can wear tonight?" He didn't want to give too much away, but knew that she would kill him if he didn't give her enough time to get ready.
Maka scrunched her nose in thought. "No, I don't think I- wait, I have one that Liz got me on her last retail therapy spree. There hasn't been a reason to wear it, but it fit when I tried it on. Are you going to tell me what we're doing, or is it supposed to be a surprise?"
Checking his watch, he answered, "All you need to know is that it's nice, and I think you'll like it. Anything more than that has to wait till tonight. We need to leave here by seven-thirty, okay?"
She shrugged. "Fine. It won't take too long. Does this mean I can read for the rest of the day?"
They were interrupted by a knock at the door, which Soul seemed to be expecting. "Hey Maka, can you get that? I need to check on somethin'."
Not giving her time to answer, he disappeared down the hall, leaving her to answer the door. She opened it to find a smiling lady on the other side, holding a large vase of yellow flowers with red tips. They weren't roses, but something about them niggled at the back of her mind. Ignoring it, she accepted them with a thanks, shutting the door and turning to the living room to find a place to put them.
"Are those alright? I know they aren't roses, but trust me, every flower shop in the city were sold out. The people who work there told me these were another popular kind for Valentine's day, and I thought the two color look was pretty cool."
Maka smothered a giggle by burying her nose in the flowers, even though they didn't really have a scent. Soul was adorable; she didn't think he was this flustered when he tried explaining that when they went out on their first date that it was an actual date, and not just the two of them hanging out as friends.
"They're beautiful. I know I've seen them before, but I can't remember the name."
"Oh! Um, waitaminute...oh yeah, she said they were carnations."
He watched as she froze, her expression one of horror, before thrusting the vase in his direction. "Soul, I'm allergic to carnations!"
"What? No. What? Oh, fuck, your skin is turning red!"
Taking the flowers and setting them on the coffee table, they both stared at the red streaks that began to emerge on her arms. She started to itch furiously, and as Soul looked up to apologize, he saw that her cheeks had puffed out like a squirrel storing nuts for a long winter.
"Maka, you're swelling! We need to get you to a doctor. Can you last on the bike, or do I need to call an ambulance?" His voice was strained as he fought back panic.
However, Maka's initial shock had worn off, and she was calm when she replied, "Soul, it's alright. My mouth and throat aren't swelling, so I'll be fine. I just need you to pick up some medicine from Stein. He knows my history, and what I've taken for this before. There's no way I'm going out like this though, so you have to go alone."
His eyes narrowed. "No way! What if you get worse while I'm gone?"
"I won't! I'll be perfectly fine for the short amount of time it will take you to get there and back again!"
Rubbing his face, he repressed the urge to yell. He knew by the set of her swollen jaw that he was not going to get her to budge. An idea struck him, and he picked up the phone, forcing her to take it.
"I'll go, if you promise to call Tsubaki and stay on the phone until I get back."
She rolled her eyes, but accepted, knowing he had a point. "Fine, just go before I claw my skin off!"
Jogging to his room, he shoved on his shoes and grabbed his keys, racing from the apartment without another word. He knew he should have gotten the damn tulips. He just knew it! Even if she got better in time, he was having second thoughts about dinner. The way things were going, it was just too big of a risk. Revving his bike, he shot off in the direction of Shibusen, visions of food poisoning dancing in his head.
A hurried explanation and some fancy Spirit-avoiding footwork later, Soul returned to the apartment, small paper bag clutched in his fist. Maka was on the couch where he had left her, and when she saw him, she ended the call with Tsubaki, reaching for the medicine, desperate to relieve the infernal itching. Soul opened his mouth to offer to get a glass of water, but the words died as she dry-swallowed the correct dosage, gagging slightly at the taste.
"Ugh, that's disgusting! Thanks, Soul. Did Stein say how fast it would work?"
Soul decided to get her a glass of water anyway, just to wash the taste from her mouth, so he yelled back at her, "He said they were pretty strong, and you should start to feel better soon. The only downside is, they're probably gonna knock you out for a few hours."
She took the glass from him with a grateful look, the cool water washing away the remaining grainy texture that coated her tongue. "Then I guess I'll go take a nap until I need to get ready. Could you make sure I'm up by six?"
Standing, she stretched her arms over her head, wondering how she could already be so tired when the pills hadn't even kicked in yet.
"Maka, look. We don't have to go tonight, you know? You've already had a rough enough day, and I don't even wanna think about what could go wrong tonight."
Maka took in his glum countenance and slumped shoulders, and new he was serious. Her eyes narrowed. Yes, the day may not have gone according to plan, and yes, she could give the gum chewing girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a run for her money in the swelling department, but she had her priorities strait damn it, and it was time Soul learned that.
"Soul," she began in a tone that brooked no argument, "do you or do you not have plans for us tonight?"
His eyes snapped up from where they had been tracing patterns in the green, threadbare carpet, and searched her expression, wondering what she was implying.
She raised a hand to forestall him. "And you were going to wear a suit tonight?"
"Well, yeah, but like I-"
"And have you, even once since we have been going out, worn one?"
Soul waited, wondering if he would manage a full sentence this time before she interrupted. He settled for, "No, I don't think so."
"That's right. You haven't. Well, let me tell you now, I've had years worth of sexually frustrated dreams about stripping that thing off of you, and I'm not about to let a little thing like an allergic reaction get in my way now, understand?"
Soul blinked rapidly, suppressing the sloppy grin that threatened to erupt. When she appealed to his...heart like that, who was he to argue?
"You win. If you still feel up to it when you wake up, we'll go ahead and go."
Maka beamed at him as if she had won the prize winning pig at the fair. "Good! Now, c'mon, nap with me."
He allowed her to take his hand and drag him to his room,where they both crawled into bed, the tension he had been under the last two days easing as he spooned behind her, her even breaths lulling him to sleep.
Maka awoke for the second time that day, feeling fully rested and refreshed. Raising a hand tentatively to her cheek, she was relieved to find that her face had returned to it's normal proportions. Examining her arms, she saw only her usual pale tone, the angry red streaks from the rash totally erased. Soul shifted behind her, releasing a soft snort as her elbow collided with his side. Used to her nocturnal thrashings, he continued to sleep, his lips parted as he breathed deeply. She contemplated letting him rest longer, but a glance at the clock told her they had slept most of the day away, and it was now time to start getting ready if they wanted to leave when they were supposed to. Soul could get ready faster than her, but she knew that he needed awhile between waking up and moving around for his brain to fully function. Sitting up, she shook him by the shoulder, his face twisting as he tried to pull away before his eyes fluttered open. He blinked at her in confusion, clearly having forgotten that he had something to do.
"Hey, you need to get up. We were going out somewhere tonight, remember?"
The fog seemed to clear from his eyes a bit, and he smiled up at her. "Mmm. You're face doesn't look as bad as it used to."
She stared at him silently, hiding her amusement as he heard his own words, and how they could be taken.
"Shit! That's not what I- it's just that you- oh hell,you know what I mean!" He moaned, flailing his arms around, as if the motion would explain better.
Laughing, she crawled over him, earning an, 'oof!' as her knee dug into his stomach. "Thank you, Soul. It means a lot that I can go out tonight without looking hideous."
He pulled himself into a half-sitting position, rubbing his stomach, suspicious that that had not been entirely accidental. "You know I didn't mean it like that." He sighed.
She pecked him briefly on the cheek. "I know. If I thought otherwise, you'd be running for cover about now." Not giving him a chance to answer, she trotted to her room to get ready, leaving him to slugishly pull himself together. Gathering his energy, he shuffled into the bathroom and wet his hair, combing it into as much order as was possible for him, which wasn't much. A quick tooth brushing and he was done, returning to his room to finish. His suit was still in the bag from the last time it had been to the cleaners, and he carefully removed it, along with the dark red shirt that Maka liked paired with it. He opted out of wearing a tie, but put on the onyx music note cufflinks that had been a Christmas present. As an afterthought, he sprayed on a small amount of cologne, then slid his wallet into his back pocket, and checked to make sure that he had his keys. He heard Maka moving back and forth between her room and the bathroom, muttering to herself as she always did whenever she was getting dressed up. Glancing at his watch, he saw that they still had twenty minutes before they needed to leave, so he killed some time by checking his e-mail. After sending a quick reply to his brother, he went into the hall and knocked on her door, asking if she was about ready.
"I'll be out in just a second, I'm just putting on my shoes. Could you get my coat out of the closet? The long black one."
He went to the hall closet, pushing back hangers until he found what he had been sent for. Kicking back some boots that had fallen over, her shoved the door closed, turning at the sound of her footsteps behind him. A familiar, burning sensation hit him in the pit of his stomach when he saw her; she was always attractive, but even after knowing her so long, she could still make his heart thud and his mouth water. He made a mental note to thank Liz for the dress, because it suited Maka perfectly. It was a dark red material with a metallic sheen, tight and strapless, then flowing into a full skirt that hit mid-calf, with a scattering of various sized black lace hearts on the skirt. Her hair was swept up in a twist, except for a few strands that curled around her face, and her lips had been stained a slightly darker shade. Around her neck was a small gold locket that had been sent by her mother, and on her feet were the high, strappy heels that were his weakness.
"Huh? Wha?" He blurted eloquently, snapping out of his daze to find that she had walked up beside him, a small, knowing smile on her lips.
"You have some..." she gestured at the corner of her mouth.
He raised his hand to his own, wiping away the trickle of moisture that he found there.
"I take that to mean I look alright?" She teased, taking her coat and shrugging it on.
"You look absolutely...edible." he waggled his eyebrows lecherously, causing her to laugh.
"So are you going to tell me where we're going?" She asked as they stepped into the hall, where she eyed his suit covered ass appreciatively as he locked the door.
"Nope. I told you, it's a surprise. You'll just have to wait another fifteen minutes."
They bickered good naturedly as they made their way down the stairs Maka taking extra care not to trip on her heels. Leaving the building, Soul led her to a familiar cherry red convertible parked on the street. She halted, gawking at the sight.
"Soul, that...is that Liz's car?"
"It is. What, did you think I was gonna have you ride the bike in that dress? Or walk all over the city in those shoes?" He asked with an amused twinkle in his eye.
"But how on earth did you get her to...you'd have had to go down on her at the very least!"
Soul snorted as he opened the door and slid behind the wheel, waiting for her to move to the passenger side. "Thankfully, I didn't have to go quite that far."
Maka waited for him to explain, curious as to why his voice was laced with amusement.
"She just made me promise to play one song at the next party she has. I agreed, and the car is mine for the night."
She was dumbfounded; Soul loathed playing in public, and there was no way he would be looking this pleased about it. "And you're okay with that?"
He chuckled darkly, the satisfied sound of someone who has put one over on an accomplished con artist. "I never said what song I would play. Which means she gets Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The one key edition."
"Soul, that's horrible!" She exclaimed with a matching wicked grin. She would be sorry, but she vividly recalled the porn calendar Liz had given Soul for Christmas, with Maka's face photoshopped on every page.
He shrugged, carefully driving to the end of the street and turning left. He decided not to mention the threat to his testicles if he brought the car back in less than perfect condition. If there was even one tiny scratch, he was going to have to broach the subject of adoption with Maka.
They made it to their destination unscathed, despite one close call when an idiot in front of them threw on his breaks with no reason. Maka bounced excitedly in her seat when she saw where they were.; it was the new restaurant, Roulette, that she had read about in the paper several months ago. It specialized in dishes from all over the world, but what made it even more interesting was that there was no set menu; twenty different main courses, along with several appetizers and desserts were offered, but they changed randomly, so you never knew for sure what you would be having beforehand.
Soul gave an inward sigh of relief. He had been almost positive that this was the place that she had been talking about, and was glad to see that he hadn't fucked it up like everything else today. They entered the small, unobtrusive looking building, finding a welcoming atmosphere of low lighting and dark wood. They were led to a booth in the back once Soul had informed them they had a reservation, sitting across from Maka on the navy blue leather seats. They were handed menus and told that their waiter would be with them shortly, and Soul began to scan for anything that didn't look too exotic. He didn't mind trying new foods, but when it was this expensive he preferred to stick to something he knew he would like. Outside the window, rain began to fall, picking up speed.
Maka noticed this, and frowned. "I hope it let's up before we're done. If I had known, I would have brought my coat in."
"If it doesn't, I'll run out and get it for you." He offered as he found what he would be having; steak in a garlic butter sauce with herbed mashed potatoes, and a side salad to appease Maka.
A shadow fell across the table, and they looked up into the flushed face of what must be their waiter. He was tall and thick-set, with wavy brown hair and small, round glasses. He swayed slightly, the smell of alcohol hanging around him like a cloud.
"Heeeeeey, my name iz Trevor, an' I'll be yer waiter this evenin'. Wha can I get you two for drinkies?"
Maka and Soul shared an uncomfortable glance, Soul with a heavy feeling in his gut telling him that his streak of bad luck was still holding. They both ordered raspberry tea and watched as the waiter lurched to the back, knocking dishes off of a table that was waiting to be bussed.
Smiling brightly, Maka tried to distract Soul. "So, have you decided what you're going to get? It all looks pretty good."
Soul shook off his sense of impending doom and attempted to carry on a conversation, one eye out for their waiter on the rocks. Sure enough, it wasn't long before he returned, carrying four glasses, one of which was tucked under his arm, sloshing over with each step. Maka caught him staring, and followed his line of sight, both of them wincing when he plunked to of the glasses down on another table, his fingers jammed into the beverages to the last knuckle. He made it to their table without further incident, beaming down at them as he served their drinks.
"You two out fer a late shelebrashun? All dessed up, lookin' shlicker than shnot onna glass doorknob! Whatcha wanna eat?"
Part of Soul was saving this interesting description to use later, while another part of him wanted to flop on the floor and make dying whale noises. Both reactions were pushed to the back of his mind as the waiter placed his hand on Maka's shoulder and leaned over her, making her visibly uneasy as she ordered a number twelve with soup. She tried scooting further towards the window, but the waiter just followed, sitting beside her and showing no sign of leaving.
"Gooooood choice! An' you?"
"Number seventeen!" Soul barked, about three seconds from transforming and slicing the man's hand off.
"Kk. Imma be righ' back with that!" He bounced off, slapping another customer on the back as he passed. Stopping at a station area in the middle of the room, he picked up some cheese and a grater, and proceeded to wave them over a woman's plate, narrowly missing her nose with his elbow.
"Soul? You're whimpering."
Soul tore his eyes away from the floor show at her words, watching as she (rather bravely, he thought) took a sip from her glass.
"I knew we shouldn't have come. We should have just stayed home, barricaded the windows and door, turned out the lights, and hidden under the bed until morning."
She patted his hand sympathetically. "It's not that bad. And on the plus side, I'm not swollen up to twice my normal size anymore, so it isn't like anything permanent has happened."
"Don't say that! Saying it makes bad things happen!"
"Soul, our waiter's name is Trevor, not Voldemort. I think we'll be fine."
He privately disagreed, but saw no point in arguing. And, since this was supposed to be a special day, he wouldn't even tell her he told her so when things inevitably spiraled downwards.
Since Soul's salad was coming with his meal, Maka's soup was the next thing to arrive, once again without a tray. Things happened in slow motion as Trevor tripped, the contents of the bowl spilling over. Miraculously, he managed to catch it all before it rained down on Maka. The spectacular save was ruined, however, when the bowl then slid from his fingers, landing with a splash in her lap, a large amount flying up to splatter across her chest. As if it couldn't become any more awkward, he then yanked her napkin away and began to dab at her, all the while mumbling about the slippery tile floor.
Which was actually hardwood.
Maka batted him away sharply, her temper finally beginning to show. Soul meekly suggested that they go ahead and leave, but a fierce glare kept him in his seat. They had both missed breakfast, and only had a small snack for lunch, and she was not budging until her stomach was full. Even if it meant eating her meal off her dress. She ignored the sticky sensation as the soup cooled, and grumpily wished that Soul didn't look as if he was about to sprout a beard and hit the streets to rant about doom.
The conversation was dead, and they both sat in wait, neither sure what to expect. Thankfully, the service, inept as it was, was also fast, and soon their waiter from hell was delivering their plates, this time without mishap. As his plate was set before him, Soul gazed mournfully at his meager portion. He knew that you were mostly paying for the atmosphere and novelty in places like this, but he was positive that he had had pet goldfish larger than this cut of steak. To add insult to injury, his order had been messed up, and he didn't have any mashed potatoes, or even his salad. Instead, he had a double portion of what appeared to be some kind of seafood jello, which he poked distrustfully with the tines of his fork, repressing a gag as it jiggled. Maka fared much better, and he shot a jealous glance at her Greek sampler platter.
Maka had taken a bite, but had caught sight of his plate. She felt bad; Soul had had more filling meals consisting of a single soul. She cleared her throat to get his attention from his meat, which he was gamely cutting into slivers to stretch it out.
"After we get done, let's pick something else up for you. My treat."
The look he gave her was full of puppy-like adoration. This was one of the things he loved about her; even when they were trying to have a nice night out, she didn't expect him to be pretentious and say that he was satisfied with a serving that would starve a bird. For her, he would face a thousand more of the Lovecraftian horrors like the one beside his steak. He glanced at his plate. Well. Maybe not a thousand.
Just when he was thinking that they just might get through the rest of the evening peacefully, he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Before he could react, a pitcher of tea was overturned on his head, completely soaking him to midchest. With forced calm, he wiped his face with his napkin, the silence only broken by Maka's loud gasp from across the table. When he felt like he had control, he spoke without turning his head.
"Are ya shure ya don' want any dessert?"
Once they were alone, Maka spoke. "Soul, I'm so sorry! You must be freezing! As soon as we get home, we'll order some take out, okay? I know you're starving."
He gave a feeble grin. "At least now we match. Hope you weren't expecting to go out dancin' after this."
They were pleasantly surprised when they were approached not by their waiter, but a woman in a slim black skirt and a cream silk top, who turned out to be the manager.
"Please let me apologize for your service tonight. I was only made aware of Trevor's condition just now, and I want you to know that this is not our standard of business. Your meal is, of course, free. Again, I'm very sorry for the treatment you've had to endure."
Soul's anger melted at the obvious distress the woman was in, and any further complaint died in his throat. "You don't have to do that. We can still pay."
"Thank you for the offer, but I believe you already have." She said, scanning their outfits. "Please send the drycleaning bill so we can reimburse you. And I hope you give us a chance to serve you correctly next time."
With half-hearted reassurances, they left the building, where the rain had thankfully turned into a light drizzle. They were just about to cross the street when a car sped by, drenching them from head to foot in a deluge of muddy water. They stood there, spluttering and shocked.
"Why did I not see that coming?" Soul fumed. "God knows I've sat through enough crappy romantic comedies to recognize that set up!"
Maka was caught between crying and howling with laughter, until one thought sobered her completely. "Soul! Our clothes! There's no way we can get into the car like this, Liz will kill us for sure!"
Soul was brought up short. Empty death threats he didn't mind, but the very real possibility of becoming a dead end in the Evans family line was a deeper concern. He was just about to suggest they call someone, when a woman across the street spoke loudly, beckoning them closer.
"I saw what happened! Come on over here. I own this store, and if you come around back, you can use the shower in the employee bathroom while I get you some clothes from off the rack."
Brightening at this bit of fortune, they set out across the street and into the alley, their sodden clothing squelching with each step.
The shopkeeper was holding the back door open for them, and ushered them down a short hall, clucking over their misfortune. They caught a glimpse of the main shop area, and saw that it was a fairly large clothing store, with dressy casual clothing for both men and women.
"Here's the bathroom. If you'll just tell me your sizes, I'll go get some things from out front."
They protested at first, but the woman waved them off, claiming it was her good deed for the year. Soul let Maka shower first, stuffing her dress into a plastic bag that they had been given for their wet clothes. Hearing a knock on the door, he opened it a crack, so he could take the outfits that were handed to him. For Maka, there was a pair of light wash jeans, pale pink camisole, and a fluffy, mint green button up sweater, along with a pair of white and green striped sneakers. Soul had been given black jeans and t-shirt, with a dark blue and green plaid shirt to wear over it, and navy blue Converse sneakers. He set them on the counter, mentally approving the woman's taste. It was something he might have picked for himself, and he made a note to try this place the next time he needed to shop for clothes. Maka quickly traded places with him, and it felt wonderful to peel off the cold, wet clothes and stand under the stream of cold water. Maka had rummaged under the sink and found a blow dryer, which she used to dry most of her hair while Soul finished with his shower and dressed. Once they had gathered their things and stepped out of the bathroom, they felt better than they had since getting their table at the restaurant.
Once more, they tried to pay for the clothing, but the woman remained firm, telling them that if they wanted to make it up to her, they could stop by and do some shopping some time in the future. Promising that they would do so,they ducked out of the store, running to the car and tossing their bags in the backseat as they got in.
"Well, at least one thing turned out alright." Maka stated in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Soul merely gave an affirmative grunt, as his mind replayed the events of the day, like a highlight reel of a losing game. The rest of the ride home was quiet, Maka watching as he slumped up the stairs and into the apartment in a depressed fashion. She went to the kitchen for a drink of water, returning to find him on the couch, hunched over with his head in his hands.
He didn't look up when she sat beside him, or when he felt her hand on his shoulder. This day had sucked from the moment the eggs went sailing through the air, and now he was tired and defeated, wanting nothing more than to pull the covers over his head and forget it ever happened.
"Soul? What's wrong? You look like someone just scratched your favorite record."
"What's wrong?" He repeated bitterly. "I try to make it a nice day for you, and everything gets fucked up. Every. Single. Thing."
"That's not true! Not everything has turned out that badly!"
"Oh yeah? Name one."
"Um...well, there was...,oh, no, it wasn't...um..."
Maka pulled him up so she could see his face. "You know, you didn't have to go all out. I would have been more than happy to spend the day at home. I appreciate the effort you put into all this, but next time, you should just remember K.I.S.S."
Soul squinted at her. "You're sayin' next time we should just kiss?"
She rolled her eyes. "That would be nice, but what I meant was K.I.S.S.; Keep It Simple, Stupid."
"Gee, thanks," he huffed. "that makes me feel a lot better!"
"It just means if you stick to simple things, there's less of a chance of them going wrong. Now, I don't believe we've done the last thing on our list, and although I'm disappointed that I'm not going to be removing your suit, I'm willing to work with what I have." She had whispered this into his ear, nibbling on the lobe.
A shudder went through his body, his mind already turning from his failures to discovering exactly what she had planned. Although, he couldn't help asking, "Are you sure? I hate to think about what could go wrong."
A mischievous smirk lit her face. "Well, hopefully this time you'll manage to find your way in without too much trouble."
He glared at her with affronted dignity, flushing as he recalled their first time awkwardness. "That wasn't my fault! It kept moving!"
"It did not!"
"Soul, I do not have a-a traveling vagina!"
"It. Moved. End of story."
"You're so damn stubbo-"
He cut her off with a kiss, pushing her down onto the cushions. Moving over her, he felt her hands thread through his hair to pull him closer, her lips working against his with enthusiasm. As he trailed kisses from her mouth to her neck, his fingers undid the buttons on her sweater, exposing her collar bones and upper chest. The kissing became more heated, her legs wrapping around his waist as he rubbed himself between them, both moaning at the created friction. Soul was lost in the pleasant dizzy haze that always occurred during these sessions, fueled on by the encouraging noises she was making in the back of her throat. She had slid her arms out of the sweater, and was working on pushing his shirt off. He leaned to the side to make it easier, but was so caught up in the moment, he lost his balance. He ended up tumbling off and landing on his back with a thud, a flustered yipping sound leaving his mouth.
Maka did her best to smother her laugh, but the expression on his face was so like that of a disgruntled cat that had been doused with a bucket of water that she quickly gave up the battle.
Miffed, Soul covered his eyes with his arm. "I don't fuckin' believe this! I can't even fool around on the couch right! That's it, I give up. I'm moving to a convent and becoming a nun."
As a weight pressed down on his hips, he peeked out from under his arm to find that she was straddling him, her face an odd mix of sympathy and amusement.
"It doesn't feel like you're ready for celibacy just yet." She said, shifting over him. "Now, let's try again."
Soul let her take over, raising his hips to meet her thrusts, his hands slipping up under her camisole to feel her bare skin. Fingers dancing higher, he found that she was braless, her nipples already tight and hard. He flicked them with his thumbs, earning a hiss at the feel of his nails on the tender areas. She sat back, arching her back as she removed her shirt, watching his eyes shine as she was exposed to him. No longer content with the pace with which they had been moving, she crawled backwards, grabbing at the waist of his jeans, popping open the button and unfastening the zipper. She then took them along with his boxers and began to pull, wordlessly requesting that he lift himself to help her. Once she got his clothing to midthigh, she abandoned them, instead focusing on her final destination. He was already hard, with pre-come leaking from the tip. Using her thumb, she spread the moisture, dragging her hand down to the base of his shaft. His breaths came in heavy pants, as worked up over the absolute lust in her eyes as he was over what she was doing with her hands. She bent over and gave a single, firm lick, and he raised himself shakily to his elbows as she took him into her mouth and began to suck, her tongue flickering over him while one hand squeezed him at the base, and the other gently rolled and tugged on his balls, numbing his mind from the stimulation. His eyes were half lidded as he watched her, grunts of what could have been either curses or her name being the only sounds he was capable of.
He had been careful not to thrust into her mouth too hard, but as his orgasm hit him he lost control, his movements sharp and sporadic. Maka didn't seem to mind, finishing him with a final suck before releasing him, although the nip she gave to his hip bone was sharper than usual.
Recovering himself, he slid his pants the rest of the way off and sat up, motioning for her to stand. With hands still clumsy from release, he stripped her as she had done for him, careful of her knees as she kicked his clothes away. She was left in nothing but a pair of tiny black mesh panties, the front clinging to her from the wetness of her folds. He smirked up at her as he traced her with one finger, but before she could say anything, his mouth was on her, sucking her through the almost non-existant material. Her legs shifted farther apart to make room for him, and he shoved the crotch of her underwear to the side so he had better access. His hands held her in place by her thighs, his tongue seeking out every spot that he knew to drive her crazy. Her hands were back in his hair where they were yanking almost painfully hard, but the gasps of his name as she begged him to go faster more than made up for it. Her body began to shake in a tell-tale fashion, and he pulled away, despite her loud protests.
With a hand at the back of each knee, he pulled, buckling her legs so she collapsed forward. He kissed her roughly, a mash of tongues and teeth that left both their lips raw, hands skittering over hot skin, ripping the t-shirt over Soul's head so she could drag her nails down his chest, leaving red trails that she was careful to follow with her mouth. With a low growl, he pushed her off of him, spinning her to land on her hands and knees. Understanding what he wanted, she braced herself, excited at the feel of him at her entrance.
With a smooth roll of his hips he was inside, moving at a pace that never failed to get them both off quickly. He leaned back on his heels with one hand braced on the floor so he could angle himself upwards, the loud cry she gave letting him know that he had hit the spot he had been looking for. She was shaking around him, her slick walls spasming as she gripped him, her body fitting with his perfectly as they moved together. Shifting forward, he gripped one swaying breast as he drove into her harder, the sound of their skin slapping together drowned out by their increasingly loud voices. Biting down on her shoulder, his voice rumbled as he told her to come for him, the words hard to make out. She understood, and after a few more thrusts let herself go, tossing her head back as wave after incredible wave hit her, threatening to overwhelm her senses completely. Her release was the trigger for his, and he roared her name, his voice hoarse with the effort.
Spent, he slumped to the side, landing next to her with a moan. They laid their like that for several minutes, trying to hang on to the feeling as their sweat cooled and their breathing evened out. When the floor became too uncomfortable, they moved to the bedroom, clothes left scattered and forgotten.
Snuggling under the covers, they lazily trace patterns over the other's skin, silently marvelling at the way their bodies work so well together, how each time seems better than the last. Even though there wasn't much light, Soul noticed the smile on her face.
"What're you thinkin'?" He asks softly, curious, but not wanting to break the mood.
"I was just thinking...you were so sweet, putting so much effort into the last few days, trying to do all these wonderful things for me. And it just made me wonder..."
"How on earth you're going to top all this for my birthday next month." She said sweetly, rolling over onto her side before he could see her wicked grin.
"You're joking, right?" Panic bubbled in his chest.
"Maaaaaaakaaaaaaaaaaa!" He wailed despairingly.
In another part of the city, Spirit Albarn leaned across the damp railing where he had gone out to have a smoke. The embers from his cigarette glowed in the darkness, smoke trailing upward into the cold night air. Hearing a distant sound, he chuckled.
"Now, doesn't that sound familiar. Poor bastard."