This is a birthday fic for the lovely bravelionne! She's the one who got me into SE in the first place, so this is my way of saying thanks. This is based on a drabble I did on my tumblr (fabulousanima) as part of SoMa NSFW Week. This explores Maka and Soul's first date in a college AU. Happy Birthday Lion!
"Your hair is so silky!" crooned Blair.
"I don't do anything fancy. I barely remember to wash it, sometimes," Maka said.
"Well, it's great," Blair said, running her fingers through it. "We'll do something fun with it for tonight."
Maka felt a swoop of nerves in her stomach as she contemplated where the rest of her evening was going to take her. Her roommate was helping her get ready for her date with the strange young man whose piano she had trashed. She still couldn't believe she had been so careless. Soul had shocked her by actually being grateful for her mistake, so he had insisted he take her out to dinner.
She had actually run into him a fair bit before tonight. He lived on the floor below hers and was in her freshman seminar class that met twice a week. She had eaten in the dining hall with him once for lunch, so she was already familiar with his eating habits: namely, that he ate a lot. Thank goodness he was paying.
She had never been on a real date before. Well, she had "hung out" with a few guys in high school, but it hardly counted as anything since neither party could drive anywhere. She had gone to senior prom with her friend Kilik, but they'd agreed ahead of time that it was only casual. She felt overwhelmed with the prospect of an actual date.
Blair picked up the brush again and dragged it through Maka's hair, a determined look on her face.
Maka had been surprised to discover her roommate was not a freshman, like herself, but a junior in college. She couldn't believe Blair wouldn't have made friends with anyone to room with – certainly she seemed likeable enough, if a little enthusiastic – but after a few days of living together, Blair had opened up to the younger girl.
"I like sex," she said matter-of-factly. "And I have sex with anyone I'm interested in. Surprisingly, not all girls are cool with this." She crossed her legs underneath her. "Lots of girls play hard-to-get. And that's fine, whatever, but if you play really hard-to-get and you don't let anyone know how you feel, then you can't be too surprised if someone makes a move before you do. As a strict rule, I don't go after any guy who's dating someone or who's about to be dating someone, but if nobody tells me they're interested in a dude and that dude doesn't know they're interested in him, then stuff is gonna happen and people are gonna get bitchy." Her face was more serious than Maka had ever seen it.
"I'm not interested in anyone," Maka said. She picked at the hem of her skirt. "But I do have a date on Saturday. With the guy whose piano I killed."
Blair propped her chin up under her hand, placing her elbow on her knee. She smiled gently. "Want him to be off limits?"
Maka colored. "For the moment," she said, returning Blair's smile.
"Done. Piano Man is off the table. I won't touch him." She grinned cheekily. "Okay, well I might flirt with him, but I will make no moves towards him."
"Flirting isn't 'moves'?" Maka asked with a chuckle.
"Oh hon, lemme tell ya, when I'm putting the moves on a guy, you will know it. When I see something I want, I go out and get it."
The conversation had then turned back to Maka's impending date, with Blair promising to help her pick out an outfit and do her makeup. So here they sat, early on a Saturday evening, Blair meticulously combing Maka's hair.
"We want something sophisticated but cute," she said, gathering the ashy blonde hair into her well-manicured hands.
"I don't wanna look too, y'know, provocative," Maka said nervously. "But I also don't want to look too young."
"I gotcha covered."
After Blair tried at least six different hairstyles, she eventually settled on just curling the ends of Maka's long locks, giving them a bit more bounce than usual. She then set to digging through both their closets.
Maka had originally been a bit wary of accepting Blair's help – the older girl had a flair for the risque and that wasn't really her – but her roommate was actually quite tame in her choices. Maka ended up in her own black skirt and strappy sandals, and a green top of Blair's that stretched tightly over the older's girls assets while fitting the slimmer Maka much more naturally. "I might just let you keep that," Blair said, hands on her hips as she inspected Maka, who turned in front of her. "All right, let's just do a bit of eyeliner and a hint of eyeshadow and see where that takes us. Let's get your war paint on."
When the knock on the door to their room sounded through the tiny space, Maka was fidgeting nervously on the edge of her bed. Blair, who was still dressed in an oversized T-shirt and gym shorts, sprang up out her desk chair and strode to the door to wrench it open. Maka heard a deep, rumbling voice ask, "Hey, uh, is Maka here?"
"She is, but you ain't leaving with her 'til we get one thing straight," she said, leaning against the wall to peer haughtily at Soul.
"Maka does not owe you any favors for smashing your stupid piano that you left in the middle of the parking lot where anyone could hit it. If you want her to pay for it in cash, she can do that" ("Blair!") "but she doesn't owe you anything between her legs or yours, and if I find out that that's what this date is about-"
"It isn't, I swear. She really honestly did me a favor, I didn't want the stupid piano. I'm paying for her dinner, yeesh."
Blair scrutinized him for another moment, then opened the door wider. "All right, she's here." Well, it was a good thing Blair had foregone applying blush, because Maka was red enough as it was.
"Wow, you, uh, look great," said Soul, who was apparently blushing as badly as she was.
"Thanks," she said in what was a far squeakier voice than she would have liked. "Uh, should we get going?"
"Yeah," he grunted.
As Maka passed her roommate, Blair said, "Have fun! I won't be back tonight" – Maka recalled another of her strict rules: 'don't bring the guy to your place, go to his' – "so you'll have to tell me all about it tomorrow morning!"
"Bye Blair," said Maka, and Soul nodded at her as he closed the door. They stood awkwardly in the hallway for a few moments, Soul's hands jammed into his pockets and Maka's sandal tapping against the carpet.
"Well," Soul said, and they took off down the hallway. "I really am tryna say thank you for smashing the piano," he said quickly, once they were far enough away from her room that he felt it safe to talk. "I hated the idea of having it in the lobby and being expected to play it and have everyone know I was that guy who brought a fucking piano to school, but now I've been able to convince my folks that it was a bad idea now that it's gone anyway."
"Is it gonna cost your family a ton of money?" Maka asked with trepidation.
"Nah. They insured it, so no big deal. And now I get to play piano in private. If I ever feel like it."
"Are you very good?"
He shrugged. "Eh."
They left the dorm building and stepped into the warm September air. It was still early enough in the season that neither of them needed a coat. Soul wore a T shirt under an open button down shirt and jeans, but his sneakers looked new. Maka was glad they weren't going somewhere too upscale.
"So how about sushi?" he asked, glancing sideways at her.
"I don't like fish," she said, a note of apology in her voice.
"Whaaat," he said good-naturedly.
"Sorry," she said in a sing-song voice. "How about Italian?"
"Works for me," said Soul. "I'll pretty much eat anything."
"I noticed!" she giggled. "So where are we going?"
"I haven't explored town much, but I know how to get to Main Street. There's gotta be some place good there."
They strolled across campus, passing the academic buildings and wending their way down the bike paths. There were still large groups of people sitting on blankets and strumming guitars, and Maka noticed a hookah or two balancing precariously between lounging students. A sickly sour smell drifted across their path. Soul waved at someone he recognized as they passed.
"I wonder if Black*Star is out here somewhere," he mused.
"Your roommate, right?"
"Yeah. Nutjob if I ever met one. But he's a chill guy so far. He likes his parties though."
"And you don't?"
"I mean, I'll go, but I don't love being in crowds of people that much. I dunno."
"No, I know what you mean. Parties tend to tire me out after a while. So what's your major?" she asked. They stepped onto the sidewalk that would take them down the hill to the rest of the town.
"Well, so far I'm getting a major in classical music training. But I'm kinda thinking about focusing on music production. I don't like playing as much as I like listening, and it would be kinda cool to help people make new music."
"Is that anything like being a DJ? Or like techno music?"
Soul snorted. "I'd like to only work on good music."
"Techno is good music!"
"Are you kidding?" Maka's face made it clear she was not. "Oh man. Really?"
"I like it," she said a bit haughtily, and Soul chuckled.
"All right, all right. Maybe you'll change your mind after I show you some real music."
"So what's your major?"
"Undeclared," Maka declared without hesitation. "But I am interested in a number of different subjects..." And she began to prattle off some of the classes she wanted to take as the sun dipped below the trees. Soul listened, looking nonchalant and bored, but she could tell that he was absorbing every word she said. They made their way into town, eventually reaching Main Street, the bustling thoroughfare of the city. Maka had left campus before with Tsubaki to do some exploring and find the best coffee shops, but she hadn't paid attention to the restaurants. She and Soul meandered down the crowded street until he held out an arm to stop her.
"Let's try here," he said. They entered.
The interior of the restaurant was cooler than Maka had expected. They were seated and after a few minutes, a young woman approached, looking a little haggard.
"Anything to drink?" she asked.
"Aren't you my RA? Liz, right?" asked Soul, looking up.
She peered down at him. "Oh yeah, hi."
"You work as an RA and as a waitress?"
She rubbed her temple with her neat French tipped nails. "School is expensive," she said. Maka and Soul nodded. "My sister just started this year too, so we really gotta stretch our budget. Luckily we pay in-state tuition, but still..." She smiled at them, and though she looked tired, her expression was genuine. "We'll work it out. Want anything to drink?"
"Any kind of Coke," Soul said quickly. "Maka?" He gave her an intense look.
"Sprite," she said, startled by his gaze.
"Be right back!" Liz chirped, and left them alone.
"The more we order," Soul explained in a low voice, "the bigger tip we can leave her without it looking like charity."
"Are you sure you can afford it?"
"My parents can, and it's their money." He looked a little uncomfortable. "Might as well spend it somewhere worthwhile." Maka smiled at him.
She peered at the menu in front of her. Despite what Soul said, she wasn't going to take advantage of him too much, and was determined to find something reasonably priced. She settled on a risotto dish. When Liz returned, they both ordered, Soul asking for a shrimp pasta dish.
They chatted animatedly while they waited for their meals. Maka was surprised at how easy it was to talk to Soul. He was an excellent listener, and though he teased her something fierce, she could tell that he was not mean-spirited in his jokes. She was so caught up in their conversation that when Liz set down their dishes with a flourish, Maka had to shake herself mentally to thank her properly.
Maka soon found herself distracted by the delicious food. She didn't realize the gusto with which she had been eating until Soul said, "Wow, you can really pack it away."
She cleared her throat, setting her fork down. "Yeah," she said, shifting on the booth seat. "Fast metabolism."
"Hey, whoa, it's not a judgment," he said, gesturing at her plate. "I'm just impressed."
They finished their meals happily. "Dessert?" he asked her. She sank into the leather and groaned.
"So full," she moaned. He grinned his sharp smile at her.
"Tiramisu," Soul said to Liz when she returned to clear their plates.
"Aughhh," Maka said, sliding half under the table.
Liz chuckled, and disappeared again. Soul draped his arm over the back of his seat, watching Maka with a smirk on his face.
"You're so mean," she said, hands on her stomach. "I'm stuffed and you're fattening me up."
"You could use it," he chuckled. "You're tiny."
"Blargh," Maka said, flapping her arms in the air. She noticed a little belatedly that her skirt was riding up her legs under the table, but Soul had kept his eyes on her face. She scooted back up into a proper sitting position, straightening her shirt.
"That matches your eyes really well," Soul blurted out suddenly. She glanced up at him, and he slid his gaze away, a dusting of pink across his cheeks. "I noticed it back in your room, but uh, I kinda forgot to say anything."
Maka smiled slowly, feeling flushed too. "Thanks," she said, and he met her gaze.
"Here ya go!" Liz said cheerfully, placing the dessert in front of them.
They dug in, spoons clacking against one another. They sword fought with them over the last piece, Soul acquiescing at the last minute. Maka triumphantly popped the last spoonful into her mouth.
Liz laid the check on the table and Soul slid it towards him before Maka could make out the numbers of the total.
"Are you sure you don't wanna split it?"
"Positive, Maka." The sound of her name on his lips did funny things to her heart.
The bill paid, they stepped out into the night air. It had turned cold, signaling the beginning of autumn. Maka wrapped her arms around herself, but Soul shrugged out of his overshirt.
"Here. It's not much, but it might help."
"Aren't you cold?"
They trudged back up the hill. Maka noticed that Soul's shirt smelled of boy deodorant. They chatted quietly, still digesting their large meals, and Maka found her feet dragging. The green was empty now, save for one group of giggling girls on their way to a party. It was clear from the way they were tripping over their own feet that their night had started much earlier.
"Is that Soul? Hey Soul!"
"Hey Kim," he returned.
"Wanna come with us? There's a party in Davis."
"Whatever!" she said cheerfully, and the tittering among the group grew louder. Maka flushed.
"What are you gonna do with the rest of your evening?" she asked, her voice carefully neutral. Was he looking to come back to her room? She wasn't sure if she was ready for that, as fun as the evening had been. She remembered Blair's rule, and felt conflicted.
"Honestly? Pass the fuck out. After a week of classes and seminars and group meetings and orientation activities, I am completely dead."
Maka giggled. "That actually sounds like a great idea."
"But we should hang out again," he said, not looking at her. "I bet Black*Star is gonna be totally hung over tomorrow, so he'll probably just wanna chill. Maybe we'll put a movie on? I have Netflix."
"That sounds great," Maka said, swiping her ID card that allowed them entry into their dorm. Soul held the door for her, and she entered. "I'll bring my friend Tsubaki, if you don't mind. I knew her in high school, and she's really sweet. She's a bit of a movie buff."
"Sounds great," said Soul as they ascended the stairs. They reached the landing for his floor, but he made no move to open the door. She gave him a quizzical look. "I'll walk you to your door. Not that I'm looking to come in! Just isn't a proper date unless I do." He glanced away from her as he said this to stare at the wall of the staircase, but there was a large banner encouraging safe sex posted there, with pithy phrases like "Don't be a fool, wrap your tool!" and "No glove, no love," and he quickly moved his gaze back to her face.
She smiled, and they climbed the next flight of stairs.
Once in front of her door, Maka suddenly felt shy. Soul appeared to be unsure what to say.
"Well," he said, hand rubbing the back of his neck. "Thanks. For destroying my piano."
"Thanks for not suing me over it."
He grinned at her. "All right, I'm definitely gonna hit the hay. G'night." He leaned forward suddenly and pressed his lips to her cheek in a light kiss. He pulled away before she could react and started back towards the staircase.
"Yeah, same. Goodnight," Maka managed, fumbling to put her key into the handle of her door and slipping inside, but when she pressed her back against the cool wood of the inside of her door, she realized she was still wearing his shirt, and judging by the heat that was coming off her face in waves, she wouldn't be getting to sleep any time soon.