Of course the scar from Chrona was always the big thing, but she remembered the first time she noticed all the little ones. The lines on his lips most likely from where teeth dug trenches in them over, and over again. The crisscrosses on his ribcage, and the cigarette burns on the insides of is wrists.

There was a thin line of pale white slashing across part of his throat. It must have bled a lot. She had fixated on that one a long time before she finally asked, and laughing, he had told her about it's origin. A bad relationship. The girl got mad. Was his fault mostly. Came at him with a letter opener. He sobered, and looked a little guilty when he told her that he'd hit the girl in a moment of panic.

Soul always got a little shy around violence in a home situation. Family members, girlfriends, wives, children. He had a habit of flinching at the thought of them being hit. The fact that he'd been serious enough about another girl to feel guilty about defending himself from her hit Maka as a bit of an awakening. She felt horribly jealous for no reason, and kind of hated herself for it.

The crisscrosses on his ribs were explained about three months later as Soul doubled over a bit complaining about old bone breaks.

"Is that what those scars are from?" she asked, and he laughed lightly.

"No. Those are from falling out of a tree, and getting into one two many scrapes with busted up bottles," he said.

That was the first time that she'd every really wondered about Soul's life- not his love life, his life- before Death City, and her. How much violence had been involved. She kept thinking about the Outsiders, and Ponyboy's broken coke bottle.

She asked about the burns late one night, when he'd had bad dreams, and couldn't sleep. She came in, and slid under the covers with him, and despite his protesting he eventually wrapped his arms around her.

His t-shirt left his wrists uncovered, and in the dim light she could see the angry outlines.

"Where did those come from?" she asked, rubbing her fingers over them.

He gave her another laugh. Like his old pains were nothing more than comedy in the eyes of the world. "When I was younger, I used to hang out with these other kids, and we fancied ourselves a gang. Only thing was we couldn't get any tattoos 'cause we were like eleven, and most of them couldn't afford matching clothes, so we burned our wrists. Turned into a kind of initiation rite. We used to re-burn them every time our loyalty was thrown into question." he stopped sighing almost wistfully into her hair. "Mine are pretty deep."

"Why would you do something like that?" she asked. "It must have hurt."

"Not so bad," he said.

She gave him a half visible look of incredulity.

"I'm used to worse," he said, and the kind of wiped all the traces of anger away from her brows.


The look on his face made her shut her mouth, and think about all the things she'd never told the world for her father's sake, and the sake of her own shame. She could hear Stein in her head saying, "Sometimes people don't like to talk about the difficult things they've been through".

"I'm sorry," she said, trying to back pedal as quickly as she could. "You don't have to tell me."

"No." And his arms tightened when she tried to pull away, holding her in place. "It's fine." There was a long silence then. Long, and empty, stretching on into the dimly-lit room for several minutes with no relief.

"I guess I lie a lot," he said finally. It turned the corners of her brows upward, because the statement seemed to have nothing to do with the conversation. "I say all this stuff, and I like to pretend that everything's well, and good, but it's not."

He rolled onto his back, body sprawled out under the covers, and sighed heavily. "I didn't have the best home life. Dad was a twat, and my mother was a bint."

That's where he left it. Hanging in the air, above them like a cloud of implied horrors. She wondered if she ever left little clouds like that around the house.

Maka tried not to put both twos together. Used to worse. Home life not so great.

She made a small sound of understanding, and curled closer to his body, pretending that was enough to soothe the anonymous hurt hiding somewhere beneath his surface. "I'm sorry, Soul," she said, and again he laughed. The gyration of his ribcage shook her.

"Don't say sorry to me. You're not a douche bag who can't raise children."

"That doesn't mean what I'm saying is funny," she said, hitting his chest lightly.

He took a deep breath, and sobered. "I guess not. But still. It seems a little strange, doesn't it? Apologizing for someone else's mistakes. Especially if you don't even know them."

She sighed. "Forget it. I'm sleeping here tonight." His hands slid over her waist when she turned her back to him, and he shifted aligning himself behind her, nose tickling the top of her head.

"Goodnight, Maka," he said, and she closed her eyes, trying to will away all the unspoken monstrosities of his past, hating that the deepest scars weren't even visible. Not there to be soothed.