Tag, You're It
Soul Evans was a petulant child.
He was well aware of this fact as he shook the can of black paint in his hand a few times, staring up at the newest street sign that was to be the newest victim in the 'Soul Likes to Piss off His Brother' Game that seemed to span from their apartment building, all the way to the fancy university, where his brother worked. He had chosen a sign that Wes wouldn't be able to avoid either; Soul glared at it through the bangs his favorite black beanie pushed against his forehead.
Wes had never really understood his little brother, and Soul had never faulted him for that. He was still offering to try, which was why Soul lived with him in Death City, while going to school. He and his parents had a bit of a falling out, that had ended up being more death match than actual conversation. He could still feel his father's voice shaking the table, and his mother crying while he and his father's fight had just escalated since neither side was willing to waver. Wes had stepped in after a few days, and told his parents that Soul could come live with him, and go to school in Death City. It had worked for him, and his father had only agreed if Soul promised to keep playing the piano while he was with his brother. It was a rule Wes had never tried to enforce, and Soul was grateful.
However, it wasn't enough to stop him from continuing the game. It wasn't much of a game though, he mused as he pulled the black bandana up over to cover both his mouth and nose, because his brother didn't really have a way to fight back. As understanding as his older brother tried to be, he really was not a fan of Soul's little late night hobby. Soul could almost understand where his brother was coming from, it had to be annoying when you came home and your apartment smelt of nothing but spray paint, but still, it's not like his brother's ravings about his 'delinquent past time' and 'blatant law breaking' were ever going to hit home. If anything, they just annoyed him, which pushed him to insist on "vandalizing" the street signs on his brother's commute. Wes always saw them, and he knew it was his little brother, and he got more than a kick out of it. There was something satisfying about having his brother come home, face irritated, knowing that Soul was the one who had blatantly destroyed the city property, and Wes being able to do absolutely nothing about it.
Well, maybe next time his older brother would think twice before making fun of his drawings.
Carefully, Soul brought the nozzle up to the sign and pressed lightly, a stream of black paint following the predetermined path set in the young man's head. It was quick, and even, with the mastery of someone who knew exactly how to handle the airborne paint, to create a smooth even backwards 3, mirroring the one already one the sign that declared the 30 mile per hour speed limit. Well, it had been 30, now after his slight alteration, the sign read 80, and his work for the night was done. Sure, he hadn't actually done anything big, but he did help Black*Star find a few new places to keep adding his tag, which he hardly counted as street art, but his friend had a talent for tagging untaggable places. It wasn't Soul's style, but he was impressed by his friend's ability to squeeze it in anywhere, and still have it be the most noticed. With a final glance at the new sign, he smirked, and tossed the paint into his backpack, and pulled the bandana back down, starting his trek back to the apartment.
It was halfway back that he realized something was wrong. He blinked once before looking to his left, down a familiar alleyway. Flowers. He was facing flowers. Four flowers. All done in an intricate line work pattern that was completely dependent on the thin lines that shaped each petal. They weren't bad, not in the slightest. Actually, he was impressed with the line quality, which was damn near flawless, but the lines were thin, neat and precise. Had to be from a marker, it was the only way it could be so fucking neat, but even that wasn't what bothered him. What bothered him was that it was painted here. Painted on that particular wall.
That was not how he left the thing.
"What the holy fuck is this shit?!" He shouted into the black night, his voice echoing against the worn walls of the alley. "You have got to be KIDDING ME! God, as if buffing me isn't bad enough, look at those fucking lines, those are way too fine, bastard's using markers too! Cop-out, pansy, dick! It's almost more insulting this way, and I just-"
Someone had buffed him! Him! Soul wasn't vain enough to consider himself all-city, but he also wasn't modest enough to not be insulted by this blatant disregard for his work. Actually, he was livid about it. His piece, which now lay dormant underneath the flowers, and line art, and, God help him, markers, used to be a crumbling city. Adorned with chunks of broken buildings, the cityscape had been dark, desolate and beautiful, pain embedded in the pull of the paint, and the splattering of color he'd managed to use to create the army of the forsaken. It had been his first real throw up, something that hadn't just been his tag, or for fun. It had actually meant something.
And some fucking newbie shows up, after two years, and covers it, like they didn't give a shit about the artist who had put it up. His rubicund eyes scanned the wall, searching to see who had done this, checking for familiar tags, or styles but it was new. All of it was new, new lines, new style, nothing he'd ever seen before. Finally, down in the corner, nearly hidden by the line art, was a pair of wings.
Fucking angel wings.
No, he'd never seen that tag before, ever. Wings…who the fuck was "Wings"!? He'd never seen it before…
This was not happening. The anger already singing in his blood soared to epic proportions, and he had to resist the urge not to immediately start into retaliation right then and there. He'd need more time to look at it, to plan, and he'd need to see it in the daylight. But, fuck it all, he had never been angrier in his life.
He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath, hoping it had just been a trick of the yellowing streetlights and shadows up against the wall that made him see thing that weren't there. Maybe this abstracted flower field done with intricate lines and marker strokes wasn't actually there, and his red world was still burning, maybe there weren't actual angel wings in the corner, the tag as mocking as it was ironic...maybe Soul just hadn't slept well for the last few days, and was seeing things.
Slowly, he opened his eyes again.
"OKAY, FUCK THIS. I AM NOT GETTING CALLED OUT BY A FREAKING ANGEL OF ALL THINGS!"
Wes knew something was wrong when his brother slammed the door, in an obvious conversation with himself.
"Some freakin' Angel. An Angel. How am I even supposed to justify them buffing me?! I didn't do anything to them, and that fucking piece has been up on that wall for two fucking years-"
"Hey Soul." Wes called from his chair, book of sheet music in his hand. He was trying to figure out exactly what he was going to teach his students next, while his brother walked right past him, the strong scent of spray paint following him. "And how are you?"
"-And not only that, but they didn't even give warning or anything!? How long ago did they even try that?! It looked new, and fuck, how did I miss that going up!? I should've seen it right away. Fuck!"
Wes sighed, and went back to his sheet music, leaving his brother to his one sided conversation. When Soul was upset, talking to himself was how he dealt with it. Although, it often worried Wes, Soul never seemed to actually answer his own questions, so the eldest Evans just thanked God for small victories as he listened to his brother's continued ranting.
Finally, after a plate of food had been heated up, and Soul had come back into the living room dressed in a pair of sweats, scratching at the tattoos covering his arms, his hair freed from the black beanie and flying in every which direction. He finally stopped his bitching, and took a minute to breathe. Wes decided this was as good a time as any. "So, what's got your panties in a twist?"
"I got fucking buffed."
"…You know I don't know what that means."
"It means some bitch covered up one of my pieces." His little brother snarled, and shoved a forkful of old Chinese into his mouth. "Like completely. It's fucking gone now."
"Oh." Wes lifted an eyebrow. As much as he hated his little brother's stupid hobby, he could understand how that would absolutely suck. Soul did put a lot of effort into his work, usually, if it wasn't another one of the street signs his brother kept sacrificing to see how many it would take until Wes did completely lose his mind, and it couldn't be easy to see it covered. "Well, that's shit."
"Complete shit." Soul agreed, but his look was less angry and more thoughtful. "It's okay though, I'm already working on how to get them back-"
"Whoa! Nope! Gonna stop you there!" The eldest dropped his music, both hand in the air. "Shhh! I don't want to be an accessory, or have any part in your delinquent hobbies, little brother."
"Well, you're no fun. Besides, it's not like you're not going to see it anyways."
"I like to drive to work and pretend it's someone else's little brother causing them such a headache."
"That ain't me." Soul argued through bites of food. "Tha's the paint. I'm awesome."
"You're both equally good at giving me headaches; don't make me choose a victor."
"Don't pick on me Wes, or I'll see how interesting I can really make your commute."
Wes could see his brother smirk as he felt his own face pale at the idea. "I'll send you back to mom and dad, don't you test me."
"No you won't."
A sigh filled their living room. "No, I won't."
She woke up to her father's yelling.
Maka was already annoyed, because her early class had been cancelled, and she could've gotten at least another hour of sleep before her father had busted in, raving and ranting about something as usual. With the undeniable knowledge she'd be unable to sleep again, she got herself out of bed, and stumbled downstairs, towards the noise her father was making.
In the kitchen, she found him slamming cupboards, his anger apparently leaving him to forget where they kept the coffee cups. "You alright, Papa?"
"Oh! Good morning, Maka sweetheart." Her father smiled before continuing his tirade against every appliance and plate in their kitchen, still trying to search out of coffee cups. She only rolled her eyes, before fetching him a cup, and handing it over to him.
"Oh, I just got pulled over for going 75 in an 80." He growled, and filled the cup he was handed with the coffee he'd brewed before he'd gone to guest lecture at Maka's school. "Which, was actually a 30 zone, but me, and the rest of the driving world had been screwed over because some little asshole somewhere thought it would be funny to tamper with street signs."
Maka had to hide a laugh with a quick, and sudden coughing fit, but her father still sent a halfhearted glare her way. "And the cop that pulled you over didn't cut you a break? You're brothers in blue."
"Not when the cop that pulls you over happens to be the husband of your last-" Spirit tried to stop himself, but it was too late. Maka flinched, and shook her head.
"Sounds to me like you deserved it just fine."
"And I don't need the ride today, Papa. I'll walk." She turned her back on her father, and went towards the stairs, where a warm shower would help her restart her day, this time, without her father's slutty ways bringing her down. Besides, she needed to walk home. She wanted to check on the work she'd done a few days ago on the other side of the city.
Swallowing hard, she started up the water in her shower, and pulled off her shirt. God, she still got a rush of energy from just thinking about what it had been like to take the colors in her hand, and with a few short strokes, completely create something new and beautiful. And she knew that it was still illegal, and it was vandalism, and a bunch of other horrid words, she couldn't quite bring herself to care.
Under the spray of the water, Maka let out the breath she had been holding since her father had come back, and she allowed herself to breathe. She only had to make it through finals week, and then she'd be free. The house would be empty, with her father taking more shifts at Death City PD, but she'd be free to roam around the city without her father interfering, or anything other than her job at the bookstore tying her down. She knew that once summer was officially hers, she would be spending more time sneaking around at night, leaving her mark on Death City as often as she could.
Illegal or not, it was something she couldn't ignore anymore. She'd always had the urge to try a street piece but as the daughter of a detective who instilled a strong belief in rules and regulations, Maka had been hesitant it though, right up until her father's faults began making themselves more known.
It wasn't just withheld teenage rebellion for her either; she wanted to work on something bigger, something that she could really get into. She'd filled countless canvases with lines, brush strokes, patterns and emotions, but it just hadn't been enough for her. But what she'd done on that wall four days ago, that had felt real, it felt real, and tangible, and more honest than anything she'd done in a very long while. She didn't even care that they were flowers, or if they were girly, they had looked freaking amazing, and she was proud of them.
Yeah, she'd go check them out after school, stop and get some more markers, because she got paid last Friday, and she had yet to even touch any of the money. Yeah, if she closed her eyes, and took a deep breath, she could make today be alright for her.
Nothing was going to make today alright for her.
Not that school was especially difficult, but with finals week coming up, Maka had been nothing but stressed. Her father wasn't helping, work wasn't helping, and nothing had gone right today. She had at least three study guides to do, and work had called asking her to work double this weekend, which meant more money, but it also meant she'd need to get all her work done this week, and she just wanted to be done. She was convinced that she really couldn't have a worse Monday.
Oh, she had been wrong.
She stood where her mural should be, but it wasn't, not anymore. Instead, there was something she actually couldn't identify. They could be classified as radioactive tadpoles, or maybe even glowing semen. Regardless of what they were, they completely encompassed her flowers. The bold, fat chunks of color that blended into each other, giving the radioactive whatevers a luminescent glow, told her that this was the work of a spray paint purist.
What a traditionalist, snobbish asshole.
In between four glowy sperm, was written something in the most obnoxious script she'd ever seen in her life. Maka had spent the last ten minutes trying to figure out if it was even in English much less what the fucking thing said.
"Eater." She hissed as the scribbling in front of her finally matched up with the alphabet. Oh, she'd seen his tag before, although, she couldn't for the life of her understand why Eater would use something so nondescript and weird for his tag. Maybe the fabled street artist was, at heart, just another idiot like the rest of the male world. Oh yes, Eater was male, of that much she was sure.
And he had just pissed off the wrong person.
She didn't care if she was a newbie, or if she wasn't a fucking traditionalist, Eater wasn't going to do that to her, she wasn't just going to let this fucking disrespect happen. She was Maka fucking Albarn, and she would not take the disrespect of her work so lightly. In fact, she already had a plan formulating in her head, and it was time to scrap any trace of Eater from this wall.
This wall would belong to her in the end, she was fucking sure of it.
So, once again, Awesomeasusual strikes. Hope you like it Awesome! And ladies and gentlemen, Tagger AU! Will be rated for swearing, and well, future things. Future adult things.
Also, HUGE THANK YOU TO ODAT. SHE'S GOT 15% OWNERSHIP, AND SHE'S BETA, AND SHE'S DRAWN ME STUFF. FOUR FOR YOU ODAT! YOU GO ODAT! I LOVE YOU!
Hope you all enjoy!