A/N: I would like to thank OHSHC and also my perpetual sense of desperation for helping me write this chapter


Maka stared at her cereal, contemplating drowning herself in the left over milk in her bowl. Maybe she'd drown Ayla instead. Or, better yet, Soul. Maka groaned and yanked on her pigtails, trying to shake the pathetic from her head. The heaviness in her chest was weighing her down, slowing her movements, her thought processes, everything. She felt coated in molasses, the unrequited love in her heart turning her insides to mush.

Love.

Love.

Maka let out an audible squeak, tightening her grip on her pigtails. She should have seen it coming; she berated herself. A boy, a girl. In close proximity. At a young age. Feelings were bound to develop.

Well. It was more like a Meister, a Weapon, absolutely and utterly loyal, living together for years, getting to know each other's idiosyncrasies, their bed time routines, what their preferred breakfast was, how they each dealt with Mondays. She knew his soul, how it glowed and buzzed for hours after swallowing a pre-kishin soul. She watched his soul constrict and sink when he screened call after call from his brother and parents. He knew her. She could rely on a cup of milky tea and a slice of cheesecake sitting on the coffee table after a long day.

Now it was Ayla who ate Maka's cheesecake and drank her tea.

Maka pushed her bowl away, her stomach churning.

The front door opened and Soul burst in, breathing heavily.

"'Sup, Maka," Soul said, casually wiping the sweat from his forehead.

He was so stupid. And handsome. And a jerk. The idiot.

"What are you doing home? I thought you were going out with Ayla?"

"And Kilik and the twins," he said as he rubbed his scalp. He slumped over to her, and sat in the empty chair beside her. His chair, the one with the sticker in the shape of a soul stuck under the seat. He claimed it when they first became partners, when they were territorial about space. Their things were overlapped now, ownership a suggestion, but his seat remained marked. He reached over to her and her heart leaped up into her throat. His finger crooked into the edge of her cereal bowl, and he dragged it towards himself. He dug in to the rest of her cereal. It must have been soggy, because he winced at the first bite. He continued to scarf it down, the glutton.

"Soul," Maka blurted. "I love you."

Soul's entire body froze. His heart beat in his ears and the spoon laded with corn flakes hung in mid air in front of his gaping mouth.

"Maka," Soul said, slowly. "I'm sorry."

Maka pressed her hand onto her mouth, trying to stifle the sobs that were struggling to get through. His face paled in front of her eyes, the olive tint fading away to gray.

Her chest ached. Someone had torn a bloody gash from her throat to her navel, though no one could see it, she certainly felt it.

Soul ran his hands though his thick hair, gripping the strands tightly.

"Cool guys don't cheat, Maka." He wanted to touch her. Hug her, hold, her, keep her together because he could see her falling apart. He felt it reverberate in his own soul, their mutual hurt amplified and echoing. He wanted to take away her pain. But he had his own to contend with.

Under the table, Soul jammed his hands into his pockets to keep them under control. He was her weapon. He was supposed to prevent her pain, not cause it.

"It would be unfair to Ayla. It would be uncool." He repeated, more for himself than for her, really. He had been waiting so long for this. The confession he thought would never come.

"If you had told me earlier. Just by three month, I would have been yours."

Maka abruptly stopped crying and looked at him. Her hand still over her mouth, she gave him the worst glare he had ever received. Her green eyes blazed with fury.

"MAKA CHOP!"

Soul clutched his bleeding head but managed to stay up right in his seat. He almost smiled. It had been a solid three months since he'd been chopped.

Maybe he was a masochist.

"Don't you DARE tell me that!" She chopped him with her book again. He feel to the floor, his hands over his head. "Don't you dare give me that kind of hope. Lie to me! Tell me you hate me! Tell me you were never and could never be attracted to me!" Another hit. "But don't you DARE. GIVE. ME. HOPE!" She punctuated her last four words with chops.

Soul bled steadily from the crown of his head. His hollow eyes stared her down. Maka didn't bother hiding her sobs.