Author's Notes: This is the culmination of a number of drabbles that I have been writing over on tumblr (fabulousanima). This is actually the first story I came up with for Maka and Soul's children, but I decided to explore them in short stories before attempting this one. I've collected all those drabbles and posted them as well. So here's my interpretation of SoMa offspring!
Maka pounded down the hallway of guillotine arches in stockinged feet, her sensible heels clutched in her hand. When she had been called out of the middle of the class she had been teaching, she had taken them off to allow her to run to the Death Room faster. She felt her heart thudding in her chest, but it wasn't from exertion. She could see two figures in the distance as she drew closer.
Without hesitation, she flung herself at the one with a shock of white hair. Strong, familiar arms crushed her to a sturdy chest. Soul signed into her hair, glad that she was finally there. Maka pulled away slightly to address the other person.
"What's happening, Kid? What's going on?" she demanded.
Kid ignored the use of his nickname; Maka was one of few he allowed to address him as such. "It seems Shade and Sophia are having a difficult time with soul 27," he said, lifting his mask to look his frightened friend in the eyes. "They're in-"
"Virginia," Soul said. Kid nodded, pausing. Of course Maka and Soul already knew where their son and his partner were – they were perfectly aware of these things – but he had been hoping to start from the beginning in an attempt to keep them calm.
"Yes," continued Kid. "Virginia. They were chasing a kishin egg that had been giving the locals some trouble. It was not reported to have done too much damage and it seemed an appropriate mission to send them on; unfortunately, it seems the reports were mistaken or the true extent of its power was not included in them, because they are struggling."
"Are they all right?" asked Maka, her voice becoming shriller.
"Sophia has sustained heavy damage to her shoulder. She was acting as all weapons should and protected Shade, who seems to have superficial lacerations but is otherwise unhurt. For the moment."
Maka closed her eyes. She was glad Shade was all right, but her heart twisted painfully at the thought of Sophia getting injured. She was a sweet girl, and had been living with them for almost a year now. And, oh no... what about her parents? Maka couldn't remember the time difference between Nevada and London. Seven hours? Eight? She couldn't even imagine what she might say to Sophia's parents; she'd only spoken to them a few times, and how could she ever tell them their daughter might die so her son might live?
"'For the moment?'" repeated Soul dangerously. Maka glanced up at his face from her place in his arms. He stepped away from his wife to glare ferociously at Kid. "Do you know where they are? Have you been able to contact them?"
"Yes," Kid said "I can bring them up in the mirror."
"Then why the hell are we not out there looking for them?" growled Soul. "Why are we sitting here on our asses while we know where they are? They're in trouble, and you're sitting here doing nothing. Where is my son?"
Kid met Soul's angry red gaze evenly. The Death Scythe was one of his most loyal and steadfast lieutenants, but there was no mistaking the mutiny in his eyes. His own son was in danger, and it was clear from Soul's expression that he would go through whatever – or whomever – stood between him and his child.
Kid smiled at the thought.
Soul's glare faltered at Kid's expression. He glanced at Maka, whose hands covered her mouth, a look of apprehension in her eyes.
"Don't worry," Kid said reassuringly. "There was someone much closer, someone equally qualified to handle the situation. It's being taken care of as we speak."
"See for yourself," said Kid, turning towards the mirror.
Shade staggered through the trees, his heart racing. Sophia leaned on him heavily as they weaved in and out of the bracken, splashing through small streams and stumbling over fallen logs. He could feel his pulse pounding against his temple. There was a gash on his thigh that had actually broken through his jeans and was bleeding sluggishly, but the rest of the cuts across his arms and his face and his torso were small and shallow. It was Sophia he was worried about; her face was paler than ever, the freckles that spanned the bridge of her nose stark against her drained complexion.
He wanted to scream and cry and swear all at the same time. Sophia wasn't too heavy, but she was barely moving under her own power, and her right side was drenched in blood. The kishin egg had managed to surprise them, and Shade – like a fucking idiot – had accidentally swung her in too wide an arc and stuck one of the blades of her double-bladed naginata form into a tree. He had had to jump out of the way, leaving her wedged there, screaming his name and sounding terrified. He had managed to dodge most of the blows from the creature, but with a crack like a whip, the kishin egg had slammed him against a boulder with a flick of its tail. Out of nowhere, Sophia, back in her human form, had thrown herself in front of him as the kishin egg snapped its jaws. Her shoulder had been trapped between its jagged teeth. Shade swung his foot hard into the creature's skull, dazing it, but he could hear it pursue them as they staggered forward, getting closer and closer as it crashed through the brambles.
"'M'fine, Shade, not to worry," Sophia mumbled. "I just need to nip in somewhere for a bit and have a spot of tea, it'll be just fine."
"Sophia, you're bleeding out, you need medical attention!"
"Nonsense, I'm British, tea cures all our ails."
"Sophia, stop talking! You're really injured, stop it!"
She cracked open her eyes to look at her meister. "Shade," she said, and his blood ran cold at how different her tone was now. "Shade, please don't get killed on my account."
"We're gonna be fine, we're gonna get out of here-"
"It's the weapon's job to protect her partner," she said, sliding out of his grasp a little as she tripped over a protruding root. He shifted his weight and tightened his grip around her waist, dragging her arm over his shoulder more firmly. He tried to ignore the dampness of her shirt in his grip, because he knew it was soaked in her blood.
"C'mon, Sophia, please."
"Shade, look out-"
Too late. They both cried out as they tumbled over the edge of the riverbank ahead of them. They slid and rolled their way down the muddy bank until they splashed into the water below. Shade swore and jumped to his feet, wading over towards Sophia's struggling figure. He got her upright, watching the water around her swirl red with her blood. Now he could see her wound more clearly, and he felt sick to his stomach. There was a row of oozing puncture marks peeking out from under the flaps of her ruined blouse, stained from blood and dirt and river water. Shade reached out to touch the wound, but she recoiled, and he wondered if it looked infected. What if there was some sort of bacteria in the water? He needed clean the wound, but he had nothing on him, and he cursed himself.
"Look," she gasped out. She pointed to a tree growing out of the side of the riverbank. Its roots hung in a curtain, protruding from the ground. "Leave me there and keep going," said Sophia. "I'll wait and you can come back with reinforcements."
Shade blinked at the hiding spot for a beat, then turned to her and growled, "No way." He snatched her hand, pulling her in front of him. "We're getting out of this alive, and we're getting out of this together." He guided her to the opposite bank of the river, trying to urge her forward with aggravating her injury. He heard the roar of the kishin egg, but it was farther away than it had been before, and he hoped it would lose their scent. Maybe the water would wash it away and disguise them?
Sophia struggled up the slippery sides of the bank, keeping her right arm tucked against her stomach and only using her left. Shade climbed behind her, trying to give her a boost when she needed it. He attempted not to notice the sheen of sweat that had broken out across her lower back where her shirt was riding up, willed himself not to think of infections and bacteria and fevers and concentrated on exhaustion and exertion; she was going to be okay. He knew he must also look the worse for wear, his short crop of ashy hair stuck to his face and thin cuts crisscrossing his body.
Finally they reached the top, but another, much closer roar from the kishin egg echoed between the trees, and Shade forced himself to stand, pulling her up with him. She let out a faint cry, but she stood, shivering. The sun was setting, and Shade kept it to his left, knowing the town they had left was to the north of the forest.
"Sophia, we're close, c'mon, we can make it." She said nothing, panting hard, but she tightened her grip on his hand.
The kishin egg grew closer, snuffling and growling behind them. Shade felt his chest contract as he dragged his partner. He thought he saw light up ahead, and he will himself forward.
They stumbled into a clearing, and Sophia fell to the ground. "No!" cried Shade, turning. She clung to his hand and met his gaze.
"I'm sorry," she sobbed breathlessly. "Please, Shade, please, please go!"
"I won't!" he croaked, sinking to his knees in front of her, his jagged teeth pulled back in a grimace. "I won't." Tears streamed down her pale face and she hung her head.
The kishin egg burst through the line of trees, stopping short when it found its prey on the ground. It wheezed a laugh out between crooked teeth. Shade glared over Sophia's shoulder at it, his lips curled back in a snarl. The creature had a vague crocodile look to it, a scaly tail and a protruding snout full of wicked teeth. But Shade was not intimidated by fangs; his sneer, which so rarely graced his gentle face, could frighten the best of them. He stood up slowly, Sophia's hand slipping out of his. If he was going to die, he would do it fighting.
"Look at you," the kishing egg chuckled in a raspy voice. "Look at you." It snapped its jaws eagerly.
"You stay away from my partner," Shade snapped, but the kishin egg kept laughing.
"I know you. You are the Death Scythe's brat. You are his puny son."
Shade felt something unpleasant stir in his gut, and he willed himself not to shrink back. "I'm a meister from the best-"
"You are no match. You are the puny son of a legend. People tremble in fear of the mad scythe, but not his small son." Shade clenched his jaw. "The angel of death, they call your mother, but you are no meister like her. You are no match."
"You are not a worthy opponent. You are the spawn of fearsome enemies, but you are no match. I will kill you easily." Shade could hear his heartbeat in his ears and he felt adrenaline course through his veins, along with a familiar feeling: doubt.
The kishin egg launched itself at him, and he only just managed to dive to the side. Shade hit the dirt hard and felt the wind get knocked out of him. He spun onto his back, unable to prevent the creature's words from reverberating in his head. A large fist pounded into the earth next to him and his eyes widened in horror. His mind felt as if it were racing a mile a minute: he would never achieve the high score in his video game contest against Blue*Star, he would never actually kiss a girl, he would never live up to his parents' name, he would never see his sister-
The kishin egg let out a high-pitched scream of pain and blood splattered down, splashing onto Shade's clothes. A blur from behind the creature moved into view, and something slammed into the creature's head. There was a whirl of green and the tendons in the kishin egg's shoulder were severed, its arm dangling uselessly by its side. It screeched, staggering to the side.
There was a blinding flash of white this time, and strong hands gripped Shade's arms. "Get up!" someone shrieked at him, and he turned to look dazedly at his rescuer. Kari's face swam into focus. "Get up!" He obeyed his older sister, tripping over himself in his haste.
He stumbled forward, his sister's hand like a vice around his forearm, but she spun him back around to face the kishin egg. Blue*Star was crouched next to them, his vivid sapphire eyes on the enemy. "Take care of Sophia," snapped Kari, but Shade was surprised to see her look at her meister instead of him.
Blue*Star grinned. "You got it!"
"No!" Kari said, whirling on her brother. "How dare you let that thing say those things to you? You're going to do this. You're going to kick his fucking ass to the ground and you're going to defeat him." The creature, still hissing in pain, struggled upright while only using one arm, preparing itself for another charge.
"Kari-" Shade gasped, tears stinging his eyes.
"Shut the hell up! You're a strong, powerful meister and this is your fight to win. You are not going to let this garbage say such bullshit to you. Mom and Dad would say the same if they were here! They know you're a great meister, and I know you're a great meister. Do you?" Her green eyes blazed as she stared into his red ones. Shade felt his heart beat against his chest, his ears buzzing. Something threatened to overwhelm him, but he steeled himself and nodded.
"Let's do this!" Kari shouted, the kishin egg bearing down on them with a roar.
"Soul Resonance!" Kari transformed into her wicked green scythe, and Shade swung her in a wide arc behind his back. The kishin egg's huge jaws loomed over him, but he sneered his fierce teeth at it, and slashed the scythe forward. It landed with a perfect hit to the bottom jaw of the creature, and with a scream that pierced the heavens and a gush of blood, the kishin egg's lower mandible fell to the ground, its tongue flapping uselessly against its chest. Shade spun his sister's weapon form in his hand, their bond thrumming with energy. The grin that spread across his face rivaled his father's in the heat of battle, and even Blue*Star and Sophia, who was sitting up allowing herself to be doctored by the older meister, thought Shade looked a bit unhinged. But Shade could hear his sister's cackles in his ears, and he couldn't help but chuckle himself.
The kishin egg slammed into the dirt with a well-placed blow to its back by the bottom of Kari's scythe, and it crumpled. Writhing and flailing, it struggled to get its feet under it while Shade slashed at its back, leaving gashes that bled freely. It squirmed away, staining the flattened grass red as it went. It flipped over, something Shade was not expecting, and lashed out with its hind claws, catching him on the leg. He fell, cursing. His sister's weapon form slipped through his fingers. The creature tried to get back on its feet, but Shade recovered first. He grabbed the scythe and rolled backwards as the kishin egg slammed what was left of its snout into the dirt with a gurgling cry. It whipped its tail out and cracked Shade across the face, and he staggered. The kishin egg scrambled forward but Shade twisted again, his sharp teeth pulled into a leer, blood staining his teeth a dull red as he swung his sister's scythe through the air with a loud schwing. The creature's head thumped to the ground. There was a whooshing sound and its form collapsed in on itself until there was nothing left but a pulsing red orb. Shade dropped to his knees and Kari transformed back into her human form.
It took Shade a minute to be able to wipe the crazed grin off his face, and Kari slowly eased her fingers out of her mouth, both of them coming back into themselves. At the same time, they stood. Kari looked down at her brother and put her hands on his thin shoulders. She gazed at him for a moment before crushing him to her chest. He allowed his arms to snake around her waist and breathed in the most familiar scent in the world, the smell of family. He was alive. They broke apart a few moments later, and Kari reached out to snatch the red soul out of the air. They approached Blue*Star, who high-fived his weapon, and Sophia, still pale but now bandaged by Blue*Star.
"Sophia's gonna be fine!" said Blue*Star happily. "I mean, she still needs to go to a hospital to get it really clean and maybe get a blood transfusion, but other than that, she's good!"
"Other than that," Shade said weakly, and he leaned down to hug his partner. She was still a bit fragile, but she returned the gesture warmly.
"Here," Kari said, kneeling down to look Sophia directly in the eye. "It's yours." She held out the small red orb.
"Oh!" Sophia gasped. "No, I didn't earn this at all."
"You did," Kari insisted. Shade turned to look at her. Kari was looking down at the younger girl with a warm gaze. "You kept my baby brother safe. That's worth more than a stupid soul."
"But it was you who defeated it," said the weapon.
"Sophia, it's okay. That's what families do."
Sophia's eyes welled up with tears as she gazed at the gentle emerald eyes of the scythe and the warm red gaze of her meister. She burst into tears, and Kari wrapped her arms around the younger girl while Shade put an arm around her shaking shoulders. After a moment, Blue*Star seemed to decide the hug needed a little more meister and flung himself at the huddle, knocking them all flat on the ground.
Back in the Death Room, two more sets of red and green eyes gazed at a tall mirror, blinking through tears. Maka and Soul stared at the scene reflected on the glass, their hands clutched together, as they had been countless times in the past.
Author's Notes: I imagine that Kari and Shade, though not infected with Black Blood per se, would be prone to having slightly mad tendencies when they're fighting. Their partners tend to dampen those effects, but when they fight together, as they did here, the little bits of madness in them are amplified.
Hoo boy. It's been really fun to explore these characters! Lemme know what you think!