Pfff. Just an idea that I had.

Unclaimer: Maddy owns and gains nothing.


A swift prologue:

"Hey, Spirit?"

"Yes Lord Death?"

"I feel like we may have forgotten an important detail in Maka and Soul's mission."

"..."

"Don't freak out too bad, now, Spirit! They're lively children who should be able to figure it out!"

"MAKAAAA!"

"I said don't freak out, Spirit. You're doing the opposite of what I asked!"


Delicately

The mission was simple: go to the dingy little town in western Germany, collect some ancient scythe of Lord Death's, bring it to the DWMA, receive extra credit for the semester.

Yes, there was not a thing to it. Save for the fact that said dingy little town was something of a labyrinth and the scythe was nowhere to be found. Maka had asked around, poured over the town's personal history books in the local library, poured over the general history books in the local library, wandered through the streets with her (useless) partner, Soul, in tow for hours, yet, still, her search came up dry. The meister and weapon in training had exactly one week to complete the mission; they left on Sunday and where expected to return on the very next at the latest, no later than two-thirty in the afternoon, when the sun was at its seasonal highest.

Maka checked her planner for the umpteenth time that day; it was already Wednesday.

"It's also about time for lunch, Maka," Soul said after Maka had finished yet another rant about how ridiculous their mission was turning out to be and how they were wasting their time. She grumbled sourly. Leave it to Soul to think about his stomach when they should be thinking about completing the mission. She turned to snap at him, but the look he had stopped her. She wouldn't have described it as worry on his face, but it was obvious that he was only thinking of her when he suggested they take a break. Soul always new how to not be stressed, didn't he? Her glower faded and she gave him a week smile.

"Yeah, okay," She wasn't very hungry, but maybe a cup of tea and a chance to sit down and sort through what little information she had collected would help. Soul gave her his usual shark toothed grin.

"Great! I saw a café that was serving that tea you like not too far away," he said, pointing down the street. "I think they also served cakes. Cake sounds good right now." He had turned mid sentence and started walking off in the direction that he previously pointed in, mind obviously set on the (admittedly delicious) German-style cakes. Maka let out a small sigh. He may have been thinking mostly of her, but food was still a priority on his list. She cracked a tiny grin and shook her head.

"Soul, wait up!" She jogged to catch up with her hungry weapon.

The meister and weapon sat across from each other in the café, the first drinking her tea delicately while reading a book she picked up in a book store about the ancient lore that surrounded the town and the latter was contentedly inhaling his third chocolate torte.

"Hey Soul?"

"Mhmf?" Maka made a sour face, but at least Soul wasn't opening his mouth.

"Why do you think Lord Death hid a weapon here anyway? I mean, yeah, this place is pretty low key, but it's nowhere near any of the Branches and so out of the way of any major cities that getting here is almost impossible." Then again, they were talking about the same Lord Death who thought it was a good idea to hide a very important piece of the Demon Tool in an ever-moving train in the Sahara desert.

"Well if you're trying to hide something, it sounds like a pretty good place to me," Soul replied. "Besides, taking the feel of the place into account, some ancient looking scythe would blend in pretty nicely with the gothic Transylvanian look this town's got."

"What is it with you and architecture?" Maka asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Well what's with you and books?" Soul shot back. Maka gave him a warning look. "B-besides, architecture is cool."

"I don't get it," Maka deadpanned.

"Well I don't get what's so great about books so we're even," Soul said, shoveling more cake into his mouth. A man walked up to the table and tapped it for their attention. Maka and Soul blinked owlishly up at him. He was quite old, with tanned, leathery skin, very little hair, and somewhat grimy looking farmer's clothes.

"Wei bitte?" he asked.

Soul said, "Bless you." just as Maka asked, "Pardon me?" Maka glared at her partner and the elderly man laughed.

"Hallo, young ones!" he rasped out, smiling wide."You look for die scythe, ja?"

"Y-yeah, how did you know?" Maka wondered.

"I hear. You speak of old scythe who sleeps in die church, ja?"

"It's in the church? After all that searching it was right in front us?! Why is it in a church?" Maka was pleased and pissed at the same time; the two didn't go well together.

"Old heirloom, mein fräulein. Mein family watches it for many years. He rests in back room, away from thieves."

"Oh, I see," Maka said, standing. "Sir, my name is Maka Albarn, Scythe Master in training at the DWMA-er...There's a lot of people here, could we go somewhere more quiet?" Some of the other café-goers were giving them strange looks. Apparently tourists weren't all that common.

"Ja, ja. You come to church and see him, yes?"

Maka looked over at Soul, who was giving the man a rather cold look. He looked up at her and shrugged. It was her call, it seemed.

"Yes, we'll come take a look," she nodded to the man for good measure. He seemed harmless enough; there wasn't anything off about his soul as far as she could tell. Maka just wondered how they could have such a stroke of luck. Soul stood up next to her.

"I'll go pay quick," he said before walking to the front counter.

"Let's go outside to wait," Maka suggested, pointing to the door. The old man nodded with a smile. Once outside, she turned to him.

"Alright. As you know I'm Maka Albarn of the Death Weapon Meister Academy. My partner Soul and I are here searching for a specific scythe that we are to bring back to Lord Death."

"Ja, ja. Death needs his scythe, no?" the man nodded. "Mein family keeps it safe for Herr Death-" he pulled a chain attached to a key ring out of his front pocket that has Death's mask on it.-"He entrusted my family with it after the first fall of Arachne, after it lost its Meister. With Madness in die air, I see why he wants it."

"So you work for the DWMA too?" Soul asked the question as he walked up, noting the pin.

"Ja, I received word that kinders from Amerika would take it." The answer seemed to relax Soul a bit, though Maka could tell he was still on edge. He was about as antisocial as he was hungry, it seemed. "I have looked out for you for past days, but young ones are hard to find when they move about." The students glanced at each other then to the old man sheepishly.

"If we had known, we would have found you immediately," Soul said, shrugging. Maka nodded.

"Hmm, I was told you would know where to meet me. When you did not show, I searched. It is small town; not to worry," the old man waved off her apology.

"Nobody told us we were supposed to meet with you," Maka said, looking surprised. Leave it to Lord Death to leave out important details. Maka mentally ground her teeth together in frustration.

"Not to worry!" he repeated with a smile. "I am Franz, by the way. It is a pleasure to meet you! Now, we go to church, ja!"

"Yes, lets!" Maka said, the fresh feeling of a new mission returning to her with the sudden turn of events. "C'mon Soul!"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm right behind you," Soul sauntered after them, not really making an effort to catch up.

The church was small and made of bricks that where probably a nice red color at one point, but had long since faded to grey. Stained glass windows illustrated Lord Death and his great deeds and the alter was decorated with a single, cracked mask of Death's, one from before the foundation of the DWMA.

"Welcome to our humble church," Franz said, looking around fondly. Soul whistled softly.

"Quite the church," Soul murmured. Maka nodded in agreement. It definitely had some of the Transylvanian flare that Soul had been talking about. Franz motioned for the students to follow him.

"He is in the back room," Franz said, pointing to a door behind the alter. It was painted the same color as the wall, making it hard to see. Franz pulled the same old key ring from earlier out of his pocket and flicked through the many keys, locating a smaller, bronze one. He then shoved it into the key hole of the door, gave it a twist and a good shake, then opened the door.

The room was dark and somewhat musty. Maka squinted into the gloom from the doorway, trying to make out the shapes of furniture or perhaps the scythe. Franz stepped past them and flicked on a light. There was a long table attached to the wall on the far left with an black wooden stool sitting under it. Many different polishing tools and products were scattered about on the table, which was long enough to reach the wall that had the door on it as well as the wall opposite to it. There was a large padlocked, wooden box in the center of the room that looked like it was resting on an old stone slab. It was painted black and its top reached Maka's waist-just tall enough for someone to open comfortably and see every inside without straining themselves or moving around. Aside from the box and table, there was no other furniture in the room. Franz walked up to the box and began flicking through the keys again, this time pulling out a long iron one. He bent down slightly, grabbing the padlock. A twist and jiggle of the key had the padlock unclasped. Franz removed it and set it down on the table before unhooking a small latch and opening the box.

"Here he is!" Franz chirped happily. "Mein family keeps him clean and comfortable, no?" Maka peered in curiously. Soul remained further back, watching the door.

The scythe was a bit larger than Soul was when he was in scythe form-it was completely made of iron. The handle was black with what looked like sheepskin leather wrapped around the middle, where the user would have held it. Upon closer inspection, Maka noticed many intricate carvings on the handle, all filled with gold. There were many cracks and scars in both the handle and blade; the deeper ones were filled with gold as well. There were three little spikes on the head of the blade, where it attached to the pole, and there was a somewhat familiar insignia painted in red underneath them. On the very end of the pole, there was a small loop that had two chains attached to it, which were neatly coiled around the perimeter of the box, which Maka was somewhat surprised to find was padded like a high-end coffin.

"Why do you keep calling it a he?" Soul asked. "It's just a weapon."

"Just a weapon?" Franz asked incredulously. "He is like you, boy! A man with soul and body who sleeps in die scythe."

"But, if it's as old as Lord Death says then..." Maka trailed off, not knowing how to or wanting to finish her question.

"How is he still here?" Franz finished for her, thankfully not using the words 'dead' or 'corpse' or any other word that would have made Maka imagine the worst things possible happening to her partner. "His soul sleeps inside, sealed away with dark magics. Witch magics. Unable to wake, unable to synchronize his soul with another's, unable to change back to his human form."

"That's really creepy," Soul stated, a somewhat disgusted look on his face. Maka gulped, a whole new plethora of scenarios that she didn't want to think about wormed into her mind.

"Not even Lord Death could fix him?" Maka asked, feeling sort of depressed.

"Nein. Only two people could handle such a powerful soul-even when he was made into a Death Scythe, keeping up with his power was difficult," Franz said.

"Who were the two? Death and his original Meister?" Soul questioned, walking closer to stand next to Maka. She took his hand in her's.

"Ja, perhaps his partner could have woken him up, but he was killed in the same battle that left this one here buried away in this form," Franz shook his head sadly. "To lose a partner who was also a brother, he may not wake for a reason all his own."

"Do you know his name?" Maka asked, turning to Franz.

"I do not know his given name, but Herr Death liked to call him der Fullmetal," Franz informed her.

"Fullmetal," Maka repeated softly. She stepped closer to the Death Scythe, letting Soul's hand fall from her's.

"Maka..."Soul said warningly. "If you do something stupid and I have to carry you back to our room..."

"It's fine," Maka replied. "I just want to see..."

She reached out and placed her hand lightly on the staff, looking for any trace of a soul. She didn't know the sleeping weapon's wavelength, though. There was really no way to reach his soul unless there was some sort of a connection, like when she was able to synchronize herself with Chrona. There was no doubt that there was a soul though; there would be no weapon if there wasn't. She reached out with her own soul, eyes closed, heart searching, grasping at nothing. She waded through blackness for a moment, trying desperately to find the little light that a wandering, lost soul would emanate like a sad cry for help... There! She looked around in the blackness, sensing something, but she wasn't sure what. She looked again and, for a moment, she felt the smallest of pulses. She urged her own soul to follow, to call out, but she was shocked away when what was definitely an old but still very lively vex snapped at her, hissing and snapping angrily. A bright "NO TRESPASSING" sign, oddly modern, flashed in her mind. Maka let out a rather embarrassing sounding squeak and fell backwards, only to be caught immediately by Soul, who had been hovering next to her.

"Fräuline, you are unhurt, ja?" Franz asked quickly, looking worried. Soul gave Maka a slight shake.

"Hey! Maka?! Are you okay?" He gripped her shoulders tightly from behind, letting her lean against him as they both sank to the floor.

"Uhnn..." Maka groaned unhappily and grabbed her head. "You were right, Soul. That was a bad idea."

"Idiot," he said, sounding relieved. She turned to look at Soul, giving him what she hoped was a goofy grin and not a grimace.

"Thanks for catching me," she said.

"I won't if you try that again, but you're welcome anyway," he replied.

"No worries," Maka ground out, finding that turning her head only made it hurt worse. "I'm not gonna do that again any time soon."

"Good," Soul stated. "Can you stand?"

"Y-yeah, I think," Maka rose shakily to her feet, leaning on her partner for support. The world swayed beneath her drunkenly.

"How about we go to my place for drinks, ja?" Franz offered, looking over Maka nervously. "You will feel better then, of course."

"Sounds like a plan," Soul said. "C'mon Maka, we'll get you something to drink, 'kay?"

"Yeah okay," she mumbled, drooping so low she was practically hanging off Soul. "I don' think I can walk there though." She could feel Soul say something, the way his chest seemed to reverberate slightly, a garbled echo of words coming from it, and how his jaw moved against her arm, which was slung over his shoulder. Hearing him was becoming difficult, though, like someone had stuffed cotton in her ears and stuck her in a stuffy room-Soul sounded far away and rather garbled.

"Maka?" she managed to hear him say. "Maka!" She tried to say something back, something good-humored; let them she was okie-dori, in good spirits, all that. Nothing came though. Maka watched in some sort of exhausted fascination as the world swam out of focus then disappeared altogether in a tunnel of black.


When she awoke, she was surprised to find a pastel pink fan rotating lazily above her. It had delicate little roses painted neatly on each blade. Since when did such a girly fan exist in her room? ...No, wait. That wasn't right. She was in Germany with Soul and they were living in a small inn on the edge of town. She was pretty sure that their room didn't have a pink ceiling fan though. In fact, she was pretty sure that they didn't have a fan in their room at all. Cheap rooms never come with simple luxuries; Maka was pretty sure her mother had told her that at one point.

So, where was she again?

Maka attempted sitting up, noting that the soft sheets covering her were of the same sweet pink. A heavy quilt (handmade, if she wasn't mistaken) was draped over the sheets. Though dizzy when sitting up, she was able to get a good look around the room. The theme was clearly 'pink'. There were dainty little roses painted around a small, shuttered window to her left, underneath which was a victorian style dresser with gold-painted knobs, and to her right was a wooden door that might have been cedar if Maka actually cared to examine the wood and find out.

Directly next to her was a little night stand made of the same material as the dresser. It had a fresh glass of water on it, still perspiring and filled with ice. A vacant chair was also next to the bed, though it looked very out of place.

"Maka, you're awake," Maka turned to the door, where Soul was standing with a small plate of finger sandwiches. "How do you feel? You're not hurt are you? Do you want a sandwich?"

"Haha, no I don't want a sandwich. I am okay though. Just a bit dizzy," Maka replied. Soul took seat in the chair and nodded to the glass of water.

"That's for you," he said. "It may help." Maka nodded and took the cool glass from the table, holding it carefully with both hands, which were still a bit shaky with exhaustion. She took a small sip, enjoying the way the cool water ran down her dry throat. She placed the glass back on the side-table and leaned back into the plush pillows of the bed, deciding that she sort of liked how girly and frilly the room was. It certainly wasn't her taste, but it had a warm feeling to it, like many good memories where stored away in every corner.

"So what happened?" she asked Soul. "Where are we?"

"We're at Franz's house and this is his daughter's room," Soul said with a glance around. He had a small wrinkle in his nose, the only sign of his dislike for all the frill. "I was actually about to ask you what happened." He turned his burgundy eyes to her olive ones, giving her a serious look.

"Um, well I wanted to see if there was a soul in Fullmetal or not but I got shocked by an old vex," Maka said, recalling the sign. "Then you caught me and then I woke up here."

"Yeah, I had to carry you back," Soul stated, then smirked. "You know for someone with such a flat chest you sure do weight a lot." Maka narrowed her eyes and glared at Soul. Where the hell was her book? She was looking around for it when Soul continued on.

"So did you find anything?" he inquired, all business again. Maka nodded.

"It was only for a second, but I definitely sensed a soul in there," Maka said, suddenly feeling a bit excited. "Maybe we could try to get him out, Soul! Wouldn't that be cool?"

"Let's not," the wrinkle was back. "I don't like that scythe. Plus didn't Franz say that it may not have changed back for a different reason?"

"Oh yeah...his brother who was killed," Maka nodded. It was sort of a shame though. To be trapped in that form with no contact for centuries, wondering if your partner was safe or dead, probably having no real perception of time, if he was conscious at all... She shook her head, not liking the train of thought.

"We'll see what Lord Death has to say on the matter when we get back. Maybe the reason that he wanted us to get the scythe in the first place is because he found a solution."

"That could be!" Maka said, smiling. It was a long shot and probably not the case, but hope was a good thing to have.

"Anyway, once you're feeling better we'll head back to the inn to get our stuff, then we can get the hell outta here and back to Death City," Soul said, giving her one of his shark grins.

"I'm not looking forward to the treck back," Maka grumbled. As she had said earlier, the little town was well out of the way. So out of the way, in fact, that the cab they hired wouldn't take them all the way out.

"You'll live," Soul stated, leaning back in the chair. What a hypocrite; he had complained about having to walk just as much as she had-though she was the one who threatened the cabbie.

"Whatever," Maka grumbled, rolling her eyes. Soul laughed softly and reached forward to ruffle her bangs.

"Get some sleep," he told her.

"Yeah, okay," Maka murmured back, closing her eyes. She listened to the sound of Soul standing and walking out of the room, his footsteps soft on the hardwood, even with his boots on. The door creaked closed and clicked shut. Maka opened her eyes again to watch the door, wondering where her partner was going. She sort of wished she had asked him to stay, his presence her only real comfort in the new setting, but she resigned herself, knowing that she was as safe as she could be at the moment.

Besides, she thought, he's not far away.


Apparently, at some point, Maka had dozed off. When she woke again the sun was setting. It's spikes were drooping sloppily and it struggled to keep its eyes open. Maka leaned out the window of her temporary room, watching it sink. Some part of her wondered what would happen if the string of drool hanging from its mouth were to fall to Earth. She spent a moment imagining all the natural disasters that could occur if the sun actually did drool on the earth, but was shaken out of her musings by the sound of the door opening.

"Hey sleeping beauty," Soul greeted, entering the room. "Nice nap?"

"Yeah, actually," Maka replied, rolling her eyes with a smile. "Didn't think I'd sleep so long though. I hope I didn't cause anyone any trouble." She glanced Soul, noticing for the first time the duffel bags he was carrying. One was hers and the other his.

"Naw. To be honest, a sleeping Maka is way easier to handle than an awake-" Soul was cut off when Maka threw a book she grabbed off the dresser at him. The book slid down his face and tumbled to the floor, landing in a sad pile of binding and pages.

"Rude," she stated, eyeing her partner with distaste. Upon recovery, Soul grumbled to himself about flat chested, short tempered girls who need to stay in bed and not be a nuisance as he tossed their luggage into a corner. Maka walked over to the other side of the room and picked up the book. As he turned she smacked him the face with it, broad side.

"Say again?" she asked sweetly, holding the book to his red cheek so that he would face her.

"You're a real piece of work, you know that?" Soul ground out, shoving the book away and rubbing his face angrily.

"Well you're a gluttonous slack-off, so I guess we're even," Maka retorted. The two lazed around in the room, bickering good-naturedly, until there was a nock at the door. It was Franz.

"Hallo, young ones!" he stepped into the doorway, smiling at them. "I have made German special of Bratkartoffeln for you!" Upon the blank stares of either teen, Franz attempted to elaborate:

"Ah, potatoes and meat?" he tried, scratching his head. Soul lit up like a lantern and Maka was a bit surprised to discover that she was actually very much starving. Of course, her last 'meal' had been a cup of tea a bit before noon and they were now pushing 7 o'clock, based on the Sun's whereabouts in the sky...

Yeah, she could eat.

After a rather late dinner, Maka and Soul began discussing plans for their trip back. The scythe was still in the church, unmoved, waiting to be brought to its new home in Shibusen. Franz had insisted that the teens spend their final night in town at his house instead of the inn, which had been why Soul had their luggage (he had checked out of the inn and picked it up during her second nap). It was actually more convenient that way anyway; they could sleep in and fetch the scythe when they were good and ready and they wouldn't have to worry about meeting up with Franz again, who had even offered to bring them to the next town in his (old, very old and very vintage) automobile. From there, a rep from the DWMA would pick them up and bring them back to the academy. The situation had done a 180 and Maka did not think that she could be more pleased.

...Okay, 'pleased' was the wrong word.

There was no room in the very old, very vintage automobile, which was a Volkswagon Beetle, one of the original designs, according to Soul. It had no backseat so Franz, Maka, and Soul where all thoroughly cramped on the one bench seat up front. Soul was a lucky asshole and got the window seat, leaving Franz at the wheel and Maka smushed in the middle, holding Fullmetal at an extremely awkward angle so the entire scythe would actually fit in the tiny car. (Logic states that tying objects to the roofs of vehicles when they do not fit inside is the best option, but that is usually not so with a very large, very dangerous weapon.)

At least she didn't have to carry the old scythe; solid iron was heavy.

"Soul, move over a bit," Maka demanded.

"No can do; I'm completely against the window," Soul growled in reply. "Maybe if you weren't such a fatty..."

"I will hurt you," Maka hissed. She was the scythe master. She was holding the scythe. Heads would roll if she did not have at least an inch more room.

"There's no room for you to do that," Soul said. Franz looked completely oblivious to their annoyance.

"I'll make room," Maka insisted.

"You are just like mein grandchildren," Franz said, smiling fondly. "You bicker like cats and dogs in das auto but play so nice once out of it." The teens quieted, not knowing how to respond to the statement. Maka looked to fill the sudden silence.

"There's the inn," she said, glancing at the building as they passed it. It was on the very edge of town; nothing but gently rolling hills and green pastures were beyond it.

"Wait, what is that?" Soul gasped.

"What's what?" Maka questioned, trying to see around him. Franz pulled into the little parking lot, angling the vehicle so they cold all see. There was a gaping hole on the side of the building, as if a bulldoser crashed into it, but only once in one specific spot.

"That was our room," Maka whispered. Was somebody after them?

"We will go now," Franz said, turning the Volkswagon around. "You need to be made safe."

"No, wait!" Maka cried, squirming in her seat. "There could be people in there who are hurt!" She reached for the wheel, only to be grabbed by Soul.

"It's not a good idea, Maka," he said. "Besides, if anyone was hurt, they've probably been taken to a hospital by now."

"But..." Maka trailed off, knowing Soul was right.

"Whatever did that could still be around," Soul continued. "so we gotta get back to the DWMA before it finds us, since we seem to be what it's after."

Maka tried to turn her head, survey the damage one last time before it was out of sight, but there wasn't enough room for her to move. Instead she ended up face to face with Soul, their noses where almost touching.

"It's fine, Maka," he said.

"If whatever did that tries to kill us, I'm going to beat the tar out of it," she said, dead serious.

"I'll make sure you get a good punch in," Soul said.

Nobody spoke after that.

They continued down the road, bodies cramped in the vehicle and minds cramped with worried thoughts. What did that? Who was after them? They had left so quickly that there was no time to question anyone, let alone investigate. Maka's stomach churned uncomfortably.

The hours stretched on lazily. The high-noon sun began to slink towards the horizon, a nervous look plastered on it's usually mirthful face. Maka rested her head on Soul's shoulder, watching it edge towards the dimming tree line in the distance. The sky was blood red and grey clouds stretched across the sky. Altostratus clouds, Maka recognized. They looked like scales. She thought about snakes.

She must have dozed. Maybe Soul dozed too. The rickety car lurched to a halt so suddenly that the passengers where thrown violently into their seat-belts. Soul had a glazed expression for a moment, like he couldn't figure out what was happening, before struggling to get himself upright, turning to Maka. She watched him dazedly as he turned towards her, mind a-fuzz with static, dreams of bogey men and snake pits still lingering at the front of her conscious. It took her a moment to register that he was talking, no, shouting at...not her; he was looking out the windshield. She followed his gaze and ignored the aching in her chest and collar bone.

The hood of the vehicle was dented badly, like something far too big had jumped on it. The end of Fullmetal's handle was going through the windshield, leaving a spiderweb of cracks extending from it like a broken halo. Franz was slumped over, unconscious. Soul's bright eyes were looking out beyond the wreckage though; she looked up.

Several feet in front of the car was...a man, maybe? He was short, round as a pumpkin, and two bright red eyes gleamed in his shadowed silhouette. His head skewed to the side curiously, gleaming eyes watching the weapon meister pare. Maka and Soul shared a quick glance before climbing slowly out of the car. The little man didn't seem to notice though, his eyes were trained on the car.

"Hey!" Maka called out. She was about to question the newcomer, when he cracked a nasty smile, red sunlight glinted off his square teeth, beady eyes feral.

"It's there, right? I can eat it, right?" He crouched a bit, his little legs almost disappearing under his mass and his hands outstretched. "Lust said I could eat it! I'm so hungry!"

He let out a shrill squeal and lunged for the car. Maka felt the familiar weight of her weapon appear in her hand and she reacted. Like a baseball player she used the broad end of the scythe like a bat, slamming into the man's midsection. She grunted as she pushed him back the other way, sending him toppling into the ground. He let out a sad cry, standing up shakily.

"That hurt!" he whimpered. "Maybe I should eat you first so you don't do that again." He finally looked over to Maka, who froze. Where was his soul? She sensed...something, at first believing it to be a Kishin egg, but now, she realized it was not a soul. He felt like a Kishin, but the essence was different. There was an off-ness to his not-Kishin absent soul. She dared to prod closer and stiffened. Many souls. Many, many souls. All writhing and tumbling inside that, that...thing. It wasn't human, it wasn't a Kishin, it wasn't anything she had felt before. It was very fucking wrong.

"Maka..." Soul warned, snapping her out of her terror. The thing was moving toward the duo slowly, like it wasn't quite sure how safe it would be.

"Right," she ground out. "I don't like this. Not one bit." She sank into a fighting stance, scythe at the ready, poised to strike lest the monster try anything. She was surprised by how fast it could move with those stubby legs.

It was in the air above her, eyes gleaming, large hands aiming for her head. She swung upward with Soul, arms crossing over one another, blocking the creature from sinking its teeth into the soft flesh of her neck. It halted the monster, who stood in front of her, arms swinging by its sides while it gnawed gently on the length of her weapon's handle, like a baby exploring a new toy. Maka heard Soul utter a disgusted "Oh my fucking God." She was paralyzed for a moment, the creature's vacant, beady eyes locked on her bright ones.

There was a soft whining sound from the back of the monster's throat. Its eyes seemed to widen and a smile formed on its face suddenly, flesh contorting and folding around it. Maka let out a battle-cry that might have been a shriek of disgust and rotated the scythe just as the monster opened its mouth slightly, intending to chomp down on the handle. She hadn't even realized how much force it took to hold the monster in place as Soul was being held in the its jaws; swinging him away made her feel like she was a rubberband that had just been stretched and shot across a room. She ducked low and let the head of the scythe glide up, hitting the monster square in the temple. It staggered back, looking confused. She took the opportunity and slashed out, cutting through its plump midsection. Her arms jerked and the scythe stopped moving.

Maka blinked. The blade of her weapon was loged in the thing's side, unmoving. How could that be? It howled furiously and grabbed Soul, yanking him out like a thorn and taking Maka with him. She hung freely in the air, dangling by Souls handle. There was a snapping noise and Maka caught a glimpse of the wound she created, which was sparking and sizzling as it healed itself.

"He can regenerate," she whispered, eyes wide. The revelation was short lived however, as the monster grabbed her by the ankle and ripped her away from Soul. A sharp pain flew up her leg and knee as she was hurled non-too gently onto the car.

"Maka!" Soul shrieked. The monster threw him too, half transformed, in the opposite direction. He changed in midair, arms flailing wildly, only to land heavily several yards away. He didn't get up.

"Soul!" Maka tried to stand up, but the pain in her leg stopped her. She looked down and bit back a scream, bile rising in her throat. She would be on crutches for a while, no doubt. She wheezed and sank back to the ground, using the automobile for support. She shrank against the bumper as the monster tottered forward, eyeing her hungrily.

"You're annoying," it stated. "Just hold still so I can eat you."

"N-no," Maka protested, scooting up the hood of the automobile. She looked around desperately, trying to find something to protect herself with, anything. Soul was hurt; she had to get to him, make sure he was okay. They would get out. They had to. The monster got ready to lunge and she scooted back farther, eyes never leaving the creature. She flinched suddenly as something poked her in the back.

Fullmetal.

There it was, the handle right within reach. She grabbed it and pulled. It came stretching out, the chains clinked as they fell onto her lap. She let out a howl and swung the heavy blade out, only to have her arm jarred painfully. Her voice caught in her throat. She turned shakily to the windshield; the blade was caught on the door frame.

So it was all over then.

"Oh, ohh!" the monster crooned, jumping up and down like a little child. The glint never left its eyes. "Lust says I'm supposed to eat that scythe!" It ambled to the automobile and grabbed the large scythe's handle. He ripped it through the door frame easily, Maka completely forgotten. She clung to the handle, not willing to give up without a fight.

"Let go!" she screamed, aiming a kick with her good leg. She got the monster in the nose, who let out a surprised squeal and dropped the scythe. Maka tumbled to the ground along with it. She cringed and bit back a cry as she landed on her bad leg.

She gasped in surprise as she felt the monster's large hand close painfully around her waist. She squirmed and tried to lift the old scythe, but his meaty fingers dug into her ribs, stopping her from doing much of anything.

"Skinny girl," the monster said thoughtfully. "You'll be stringy, but I'm so hungry." It grabbed Maka's right arm and tore her hand away from the scythe, bending it back painfully.

"No, don't!" Maka cried, trying to pull free. Any further and her arm would dislocate. "Stop it! Stop! STOP!" She screamed bloody murder, voice jumping up several octaves as her arm was bent back in ways it wasn't supposed to go. Bone ground against bone in her shoulder. There was pain from her shoulder blade to her elbow; the rest had gone numb. There was fire in her left hand, in the one that was still holding Fullmetal. Her legs wouldn't move and white lights danced across her vision, even though her eyes were screwed shut. Then, just as she was sure her arm would break, the pressure was suddenly gone. Her arm fell to the ground with a thump. She pushed herself up slightly, craning her neck to see what had happened.

There was a chain wrapped around the monster's face. Its fat hands scrabbled at the chain and it's mouth was agape, tongue lolling and teeth snapping. It was dragged back, away from Maka, and flicked away like a bug. The monster landed several yards away, thankfully nowhere near Soul. Maka sat up fully, careful of her leg.

"W-who...?" Maka looked around, trying to find the meister responsible for her rescue. There was no one in sight. "What? B-but how?" She looked left, then right, tried to see around the automobile, but there was nobody around. Her eyes fell to the chains, which lay innocently in front of her. She followed them, looking for their source. Her eyes fell to the scythe in her left hand.

She was suddenly very aware of how hot the iron scythe was under her touch. She yelped and pulled away. Clutching her smoldering hand to her chest. She peered down at it and was surprised to find that there were no burns; her white glove was only a bit singed, despite the heat.

Maka looked over to Soul. He was still unconscious and probably sporting a broken arm, from the look of it. Well, at least they could be cast buddies. She looked back down at Fullmetal and ran her hand over the handle gently. Little blue sparks jumped from her fingertips. She didn't flinch though.

"You saved me?" she asked the scythe wonderingly. It only lay at her side in response. There was an unhappy groan in the direction that the monster fell. Maka turned around, looking for the thing that almost killed her. It was sitting up a ways away, looking rather lost and confused. It scratched its head, stood up, and noticed her staring at it.

"Maybe you could save me again?" she offered the scythe shakily, grabbing the handle. It hissed under her hand, but she ignored it. The monster ambled toward her, picking up speed. Maka grabbed Fullmetal with both hands, dragging it in front of her to semble some sort of defensive stance. The handle sparked and hissed. The entire weapon hummed and pulsed. Whoever had been sleeping inside the weapon was stirring, soul rife with pent up energy. Maka pushed for resonance, focusing past the hex and to the soul sleeping underneath it.

Maka focused, ignoring the hungry thing hanging in the air above her, searching for a spark, a connection, something.

She was on her feet. The iron blad was over her head. There was a spray of red and then the monster was behind her in two pieces.

What?

Where did that power come from? Her leg throbbed angrily, yet she was able to stand on it. The scythe was still heavy in her hands but she was able to swing it around like it was a featherweight. There was a snapping and crackling behind her. She turned to find the two pieces of monster disintegrating and reforming. She tried to take a step back, but found her legs paralyzed in place. It wasn't fear that kept her there, she knew. She looked down and found the chains were winding around her legs, flattening into what looked like metal shin guards. They were coiling around her wrists and flattening over her hands, binding them to the scythe's handle.

She let out a surprised shout and tried to let go of the scythe, but it was stuck in her hands. She felt the fragile connection she had with the soul dissipate; the resonance shattered. Her leg was suddenly feeling far more broken than it had a moment ago and was buckling underneath her. Her hands were aflame, still locked around the scythe in a death grip. The chains seemed to constrict around her and lose form.

"No, no, no!" She struggled desperately. "Let me go!" She tried to bend forward to stretch the links, stay on her feet. The handle sizzled painfully.

Trust.

"W-what?" she stopped squirming, looking around with terror. The monster was almost done forming.

Trust. The voice echoed in her head. The weapon vibrated.

"Trust you?" she asked breathily, looking at the scythe. She looked over at Soul, then to the monster. Its flesh was forming on its face. "I can do that."

Maka calmed down and searched for the soul she had linked with. It latched back onto her almost greedily.

She could have sworn she heard a soft chuckle from somewhere deep within the weapon, but it was lost to her as she felt a surge of power from within her. Her broken leg simply went numb and Fullmetal's handle cooled. She relaxed into the chains-turned-to-armor, letting them take her weight. They creaked softly but held. Her body shifted on its own accord. Fullmetal intended to fight through her, she realized. The power she felt was his soul manifesting through her's.

"Amazing," she whispered. The weapon seemed to ring in response as it rose into the air. The dark steel blade caught the red sunset and glinted vibrantly. For whatever reason, the look of it pleased Maka greatly. She eyed the monster, suddenly feeling far calmer. The last of its skin grew over the muscle. It eyed her warily, taking several steps back.

"I'm going to eat you," the monster whined as he shifted from foot to foot, looking uncertain. Maka shifted into a fighting stance. Her leg protested, pins and needles shooting up the length of it. Fullmetal seemed to sense this and shifted more of her weight to the other leg.

There was a split second as the monster came upon her again, but this time she was ready for it.

It was intriguing to watch. Her arms swung the scythe in a graceful twirl, the kind that would make a color guard flagger jealous. There was no rebound when the blade hit the monster full on; the chains took the brunt of every blow. It was like a dream; her body was still her's she could feel what it was doing, but she was just watching the motions. Everything was in slowmotion and sped up at the same time. She noticed all the little details she never got to notice while fighting. The way that the world looked around her while backflipping, the expression of her opponent mid-strike...the list went on. Each time Fullmetal landed a hit, though, the monster still regenerated.

Good thing it wasn't as persistant as she had first thought.

Its strikes became more halfhearted and it began to move more slowly and with less fervor. This was all well and good with Maka, who found herself growing more and more tired, despite hardly doing anything.

Only two people could handle such a powerful soul...

Right. Maka wasn't one of those two people, was she? She wondered how long she would last; how long it had been.

They were hardly resonating, her and Fullmetal. She had just accepted him and he was devouring her because of it. She wondered what it would be like to see Fullmetal and his original meister in action. She closed her eyes.

-shlunck-

The soul of Fullmetal and a soul powerful enough to control it could probably move mountains.

-shinngg-

Powerful enough to kill witches without Witch Hunter.

"AAEEEIIIIII!"

Powerful enough to kill a monster.

It squirmed and writhed on the ground, body hissing and fizzing. A new wound was on its stomach that was bubbling and sizzling as it tried to heal. The wound stayed open and fresh and dark, murky blood poured out of it lazily. The creature staggered to its feet and whined pitifully. It turned tail and staggered off into the sunset, a trail of blood, snapping and crackling with red sparks of light, in its wake.

"Could I have my body back?" Maka asked. She sighed softly as she regained control of herself. The armor turned back into chains and fell around her. The wild soul inside went silent.

Maka pulled a little compact mirror from an inside pocket of her coat; one she always kept handy, just in case. Bleary eyed, she dialed Death's number. Her vision swam and the world bled around her. The next thing she knew the ground was in front of her face. The grass was cool on her cheek.

"Maka?"

Oh, there's Papa. I had better tell him we got the scythe before he throws a fit.

"Maka!"

Right.

"Answer me, damnit! Maka! MAKA!"


Okay. So this was going to just be a one-shot, but it's getting to be a bit long. I mean, not that any story that happens to be 9,000+ words is bad or anything, just long. Plus, I feel that if I stared the next bit after this, the story would simply become somewhat tiring to read. So many line-breaks and time-skips - it's exhausting.

That said, I'm going to make this a two-shot instead.

~Maddy