Chapter Six: Light Me Up And Watch Me Go
Trying to find Eater's red was slowly killing her.
Enthusiasm well and thoroughly crushed, Maka slumped back into the warm leather seat of the bus and unlocked her phone, searching for another hardware store. She'd already been to every hardware store, grocery store, and paint store in the city and she only had two left.
After the day she'd had, she was starting to think that the red color he used for his demon was a personal mix, because she was completely unable to find it anywhere. A permanent frown was scraped onto her face while she scanned the last two art stores that came up on her phone. One was two blocks away, and labeled Art Supplies, and the other was halfway across town and labeled bArRetT. Going with her gut, she locked bArRetT into her GPS and waited for the bus to take off.
Eyes closed, she brought her plan back to the front of her hand, watching as her design was place over Eater's, and she smiled to herself. It was going to look amazing when it was done, but it wasn't going to work if she couldn't find that exact red. That was the entire point of what she was planning, and it needed to be Eater's red. Hopefully this shop would have something she could use, or this entire plan was going to be a bust.
The loud snap of the breaks snapped her out of her planning, and she slipped off the bus quickly, feet hitting the scorching pavement while she scanned her phone again. Following the approved path of the pulsing blue dot, she was able to maneuver her way around the part of the city she wasn't as familiar with. Several blocks later, and stopping to buy a water bottle, Maka was finally in front of the small building splattered in color.
The bells on the door signaled her entrance, but no one was at the counter. Shrugging, she slowly maneuvered around the store, eyes landing on a wall filled from top to bottom with the entire spectrum in cans of spray paint. She gaped at the wall for a few minutes, running her fingers over a crystalline blue that almost looked like the exact color of tropical water, before she followed the color gradient down towards the reds. Maka pulled out her phone again, looking up the picture of Eater's demon, and she began comparing the reds with her picture.
"Well hey! I almost missed you down there!" A voice boomed behind her, and Maka jumped, her phone falling to the ground. The man who the voice belonged to laughed, and knelt down to grab her phone. "Sorry little lady! I didn't mean to frighten you!"
"I...it's okay, you just snuck up on me." She gave a small smile while he glanced down on her phone, and grinned.
"That's a nice piece. Is it yours?"
"Wha-? OH! No, no that's not mine." Maka quickly assured, and accepted her phone back from the man. He was a Giant, in fact, he might actually be taller than Eater. His dark skin contrasted against the white of his jersey. His hair was pulled back in a headband, and he obviously worked here, but she couldn't see a name tag on him anywhere. She was about to pocket her phone again, but she paused. "Actually though...do you know if you sell the red that the artist here used?"
"Oh? Yeah let me see again?" The giant man held out his hand, and Maka handed him the phone. He scanned the mural on her screen, and a grin nearly split his face. "You do this?"
"Hm? No, actually, no I didn't. But I do need that shade of red. That exact shade of red."
"Eater giving you a hard time still then?" The man grinned down at her, and Maka froze, catching her jaw before it could hit the ground.
"Oh yeah. The little shit. This is called Royal Red, we're the only place I know of that keep it stocked, and Eater is the only one who buys it."
"Do you have more?!" Maka gasped, her smile breaking across her face. The guy holding her phone smiled. "Yeah, let me check the back, okay?"
"That would be amazing!"
"Okay." The man handed her phone back then turned back towards the counter. "MIRA!"
"WHAT DO YOU WANT SID!?" A voice from the back yelled back, and the guy who answered to Sid rolled his eyes.
"How much do you think you'll need?"
"Do you have that color in marker by chance?" Maka asked, and Sid shook his head.
"Uhhh then I'll take three. Just to be safe."
"Sure! No problem. MIRA I NEED THREE ROYAL RED."
"IS HE BACK ALREADY?!"
The man's grin somehow managed to get even brighter. "Nope Mira. It's a girl who's asking. A girl is looking for Eater's red." Rapid padding of bare feet slapped against linoleum ended with another woman taller than her running into view. Her hair was littered with beads, a white mask similar to the one Maka used across her face. She had starling blue eyes that locked on her face. They crinkled in a smile, and she put her hands on her hips. "Well, I'll be damned. You need some Royal Red?" the woman held a can out to her, lid first, and Maka's heart nearly stopped when she saw the color.
That was is.
That was it. That was the color.
"Yes...thank you…This is perfect." Maka wrapped her fingers around it and smiled. Eater was the only one who bought this color, only one who used it. She had spent years walking this city. Each piece of graffiti was as familiar to her as her own skin, and she had never seen this red used anywhere else. It was something that simply belonged to Eater. Holding this was almost like holding his hand.
"So three huh?" The woman asked as she walked to the register. Maka followed with a smile, and placed it on the counter.
"Yes please...and…these as well." Maka added four black paint markers to her purchase, and the woman rang it up for her. Handing over her card, the young artist found herself bouncing back and forth on her feet, her goal becoming closer and closer to reality. Card returned, and paint in her hand, Maka thanked the store owner profusely, and the woman's eyes smiled at her again.
"Just start soon. He's worried he scared you off."
"He hasn't. Not even a little."
Death City's smog covered sky was never more beautiful.
Maka was riding on a high, she loved everything on their wall. His paint had been near impossible to work with for her. She didn't have an inch of Eater's skill when it came to the spray paint. It was messy, hard to control, and she wondered if that applied to more than just paint. Maybe it was just his art style, or maybe Eater was just as messy and impossible to control. Or maybe her high was progressing to the point of euphoria.
She loved her art, and she couldn't really remember ever being completely satisfied with her art before, but what she had in front of her had evolved into something she'd never actually done before.
The spray paint had been impossible to work with at first, she'd never really worked with it seriously before. It just wasn't her style, it was too wide, too messy. There wasn't much in it for her. Starting had been impossible. Eater was able to create angles, sharp and strong. She didn't create anything like it. Her first spray was massive, bright red and wet, and took up much more space than she had wanted. Maka had swore up and down at the wall, before tilting her head to the side.
There it was. It wasn't ruined. It was right there. Maka beamed, and shook the can in her hands. Perfect, perfect! She sprayed another dot, more and more. They dripped into each other, intermixing, laying at the demon's feet. Once there was enough red on the wall, she went back to her bag to find the cans of spray paint she'd found in her garage. A scarlet red joined the royal red, dots increasing and dripping and it was so messy, and so unlike her usual work. It wasn't like Eater's either. It was nearly a mix of their two styles, well the best she could do without him being there.
She went through again, adding white dots to the mix, watching her colors blend and bleed, intertwining and twisting together. She grinned again at her work, and settled down across from it. The paint was too wet right now, it needed to dry just a little before she took to it with the markers.
Hopefully, the poppies she was attempting to create would be recognizable. She wasn't sure if everyone in the world was as verse in the world of flowers as she was, but she hoped Eater would at least have some idea what she was trying to tell him. When she was sick, her mother brought her flowers to make her feel better. She was trying the same basic approach with Eater. His demon was scary, the fact that he carried it around with him was scary; his very soul had to hurt.
The poppies she had painted with his red was supposed to represent consolation, something to let him know she was there for him. The scarlet was extravagance, her respect of the effort he put into his work, the strength with which he fought her, and his demons, she found it all commendable. Digging through her bag, Maka dug out her markers, and found her nearly empty white one. She kicked an empty bucket over to the wall, and stood up on it. Uncapping her pen, she carefully created a poppy on the demon's lapel.
White poppies: sleep, my bane, my antidote.
Maka just wanted him to know that he wasn't alone.
Even if it was just her, he wasn't alone.
Soul always considered himself a patient guy.
But twenty minutes before the end of his shift, with Imagine Dragons playing nonstop, and the new hire being completely worthless, he was ready to kill someone. Soul would admit that working in the shop wasn't easy to learn on your first day, and it took time to master to the point he and Black*Star were at, but still. He was ready to just fucking kill someone.
Some common fucking sense wouldn't kill the kid.
No one in the store had seen the rush coming. Marie had scheduled Soul and the new hire, (whose name he didn't bother to learn, Soul just called him Dumbass) on what was supposed to be a slow day, but the entire shop had forgotten to account for the stupid craft show, which sent a flood of old ladies, bored teenagers, and even more bored husbands flocking into the shop. At the same time.
Normally, Soul could handle a rush, so long as Tsu kept orders going quickly, while Star put together the breakfast sandwiches. But that was when they were stocked, that was when they were ready, that was when Dumbass wasn't behind the counter. His five hour shift had quickly become a 9 hour shift, and he'd been worked to his bone. The kid was an idiot of the highest caliber, and having him in his space was distracting, and making it hard to focus. If that wasn't enough, the kid was fucking shit up left and right. Skim milk in the whole milk drinks, losing tags left and right, a huge group of preteen girls ordering blended, over sugared iced drinks. The Dumbass got all 7 drinks wrong.
Soul, as active manager (there at least), spent the next forty minutes being screamed at by a bunch of teenage girls, and had to replace all the drinks, and promise them free vouchers. By the end of their screaming, Soul caught himself twitching so badly he could barely type the refunds into the register, and Tsu had to take over for him.
And that was only the first hour or so.
The rest of his shift went by like hell, no breaks, and finally a call into his manager Marie had the kid on his way home, and Tsu and Star were finally let off, leaving Soul to clean the store by himself.
Long story short, he was pissed as shit.
The walk home was his last hurdle before he could pass out on his bed, hide in his mountain of pillows, and if he looked pathetic enough Wes would bring him a beer. Soul rubbed his eyes, and checked out where he was. Ah. His wall was around here. His body screamed at the idea of waiting even a second longer to get into bed than he actually had to, but his curiosity always got the better of him, and he deviated so he could check the wall really quick.
He sort of just wanted to leave a new sticky note for Angel, describing his day, and why he's been so busy, and more because he was slightly afraid. He hadn't gotten a new sticky note in at least five days, and he was kind of worried he actually had scared her off with the demon. So...maybe he was sort of panicked, and maybe he was sort of hoping that the demon would be covered.
He nearly jogged down the alley, and looked up at the wall and froze.
That was his demon still, but…it wasn't his demon at the same time. Angel had been through and she had drawn all these different colored-
That was his red! That was his red! That was the Royal fucking Red! Angel found it! How did Angel find that?!...Angel went to see Sid. Oh…Oh fuck him.
But...she found his red...and she drew more...he wanted to call them flowers, but they weren't like her other ones. They were messy, they were messy and darker than anything she had ever done. They almost reminded him of his own work, but her spray painting was next to...bad...not that he'd pretend he'd be any better with markers, but the splatters of his red, and scarlet, and white were each outlined in her black markers. There were so many, all interconnected with each other, each outlined with her black markers, and he noticed a tiny white flower of the lapel of his demon.
Angel...she had done this all for him.
The spray painting, the colors, the way it almost seemed to soften the look of his demon, the darkness surrounding it.
It almost looked like she purified him.
Soul felt himself smiling under his sheer exhaustion, and he exhaled. Angel did all of that for him. There weren't any new sticky notes on the wall, but there wasn't any reason to be. She told him everything with those flowers she connected around his demon.
God, he felt…accepted? What a fucking stupid thing to think.
"You did impress me though Angel." He muttered, kicking at the ground at his feet. He blinked at the white thing by the wall a few times, before he knelt down to pick it up. One of Angel's markers again. Huh, girl didn't know how to pack up her stuff. But then again, a marker was much less incriminating than a can of spray paint.
He flipped the marker between his fingers, enjoying the way her paint looked on their wall. He smiled to himself again, and looked at the marker in his hands. She did all of this for him. He had to do the same for her.
Carefully, he started drawing lines out from Oni's shoulder blades. Angel's style was difficult to mimic, especially with the focus each one of the lines took, focus that he barely had after his long day at work, but it was for Angel. And...he felt like Angel deserved more than his best right now.
It took him another two hours that he really didn't have in him, and he had to take a break halfway through to calm down his twitching, but he'd finally finished. He'd created a set of wings coming from out Oni's shoulders. They weren't anything similar to Angel's, they were much sharper, much less inviting, but they had been done completely in lines. Soul stood back, letting the throbbing in his hand subside while he grinned.
"Back atcha, Angel."
Soul had the next day off, and he somehow contained himself enough that he waited until the sun had been down for a long while before taking off back to the wall.
He knew he was acting like an over excited puppy, but there was a chance she might have done something. Since they apparently weren't covering each other's art anymore, there really wasn't much of a need to take days to wait between responding…
And maybe he was hoping Angel might actually be there? Maybe?
He shrugged as he ducked into the alley, and was instantly assaulted with the smell of fresh paint. Soul grinned under his breath and jogged down the alley, trying to see what would be on the wall. He finally skidded to a stop, nearly tripping over his feet, and looked up at the wall.
What he saw didn't make sense.
Grey…? It was...it was all grey? Why was it…
The wall was blank.
All their work.
I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry it took so longgggggggg, and this is all I give you...just...ENJOYYYYY I HOPE YOU LIKE IT~