A/N: Once again, thanks for your patience! Here's a cute fluffy chapter that I've been meaning to post!
"You should totally go out on a date," Tsubaki cheerfully chirped.
Soul cocked a curious eyebrow at her. "A what?"
As she scrubbed the dishes, arms dipped into the sink with the hot water running, she turned her head to frown at him. "Y'know, Maka's been really down lately. She barely leaves her room nowadays, except to eat dinner and wish you off on your…'missions,'" she pointed out.
It had been two weeks since the incident. Although everyone in the household was on high alert, nothing had happened between them and Asura. Soul, fearing retaliation from his enemies, raised the security and men around the area. But nothing had come of it.
Soul lowered the newspaper he had been occupied with. "Hah, but I don't do dates," he answered sullenly.
"I think the number one thing she needs right now is fresh air," Tsubaki continued. "She needs to get out and do things."
"I know, I know," he answered. "But…what if Asura is still planning things? He can strike at any moment for all I know. I need to keep her inside so she can be safe –"
Tsubaki sighed, cutting him off. "I know it's still dangerous for her to be outside and vulnerable, but it's not healthy for her to be cooped up like this."
"You make it sound like she's my prisoner," he grumbled.
Tsubaki's frown deepened. "She isn't, but you should really check on her more."
"Alright, I will," he said, standing up slowly and setting the paper down on the tabletop. He sauntered down the hallway and to her room. The door was slightly ajar, with the afternoon sunlight seeping through the door from her open window. He knocked softly.
"Come in," she said. As he entered the room he could see books on the floor, stacked in piles around the area. She was sitting on the floor, legs crossed, holding a book closely to her face. On both sides were stacked books, some on her bed and a book or two sprawled across the floor.
"Hey," he began, waving a hand up.
"Hey," she answered, glancing at him and then back down the book she had been engrossed with. She looked slightly tired, as if she had been up all night reading.
"Having fun with the library, I see," he nodded, impressed.
"You have a lot of interesting novels, some of which I've already read," she answered. He knelt down and scooped up a book that looked like it had been read through thoroughly, some of its pages slightly frayed. She looked up to look at the title. "That one's my favorite one," she smiled softly.
"Dark Side of the Moon, eh?" he said. "This was my dad's favorite, too." He set it down.
"So, what are you doing here?" she asked.
"Tsubaki wanted me to check on you," he answered. There was a pause between them. Maka finally tilted her chin up to face him. "…Y'know, you've been here for a while. You haven't been out a lot since…Asura happened." She kept a steady gaze on him as he used one hand to brush back his white bangs. He cleared his throat. "Do you…want to go out later?"
She cocked her head. "Outside? What do you mean?"
"Like…go out to a restaurant later, or something?" he answered, averting his eyes to the floor.
She seemed surprised, lowering her arms to rest the book on her legs. "Like, on a date?"
He scratched the back of his hand, slightly embarrassed. "…I guess that's what you can call it." He glanced back up at her and met with her widened gaze. "Tsubaki suggested it," he quickly added in. "She thinks you should get out more."
He was right. She realized she was so enveloped by her reading that she hadn't really been outside the house, especially after his warnings about more people trying to come after her to assasinate her. After all, her run-ins with the other mobsters had been turning into one close call after another—first with Capone and Giriko and now with Asura. She figured that he felt guilty for making her stay inside, but also something else entirely. She felt a warmness rising from her chest. She hadn't ever been on a date with anyone, too busy with her studies and investigating her father's disappearance. She never imagined enjoying a nice meal with anyone else, much less a crime lord. Her expression brightened. "Sure," she blurted out, more willing than she had wanted to sound like. She studied the expression on his face, which seemed to be a mix of confusion and relief. There was another brief moment of silence. She could've sworn she saw his lips curling up into a smirk.
He stood up suddenly and turned away from her. "I have to take care of some business first. I'll be back later to pick you up around five," he said, and then continued to walk out.
Tsubaki was still in the kitchen cleaning up and quietly humming to herself as he walked past the kitchen to grab his coat. "I'm taking her out to a restaurant tonight, if that suffices," he told her, slipping his jacket on.
"That should be interesting," Tsubaki murmured to herself.
Maka sifted through her closet of belongings; before she had settled into Soul's house, Kid had taken her back to her old one to retrieve her things. She sighed as she saw that most of her clothes were plain—her usual sweater vest and plaid skirts. Nothing particularly nice, or worthy of a date. She found one pair of two inch heels and a dress that she had possibly worn during her middle school graduation.
"Tsubaki, do you think you can help me with something?" Maka asked, calling from her bedroom.
After tidying up in the kitchen, she was settled in the living room with a cup of tea and a book. "What's wrong, Maka?" she asked.
"I…don't seem to have any nice clothing for tonight," she answered. "I mean, you're supposed to look nice on dates, right?"
She helped Maka in her search for the right outfit. "Hmm, you're right…" Tsubaki said, secretly glad that Maka was taking this seriously. "I think I might have some old dresses that will fit!"
She trotted happily out of Maka's room and returned in a moment, draping a few colorful outfits over one arm. Together, they tried each one on and deliberated on which one was the best, giggling to each other. It was the first time she had seen Maka smile since two weeks ago. Finally, they had settled on one light blue dress. It was a modest, loose fitting dress that draped down to the top of her knees. "This is great!" she smiled.
"Should we do your hair up fancily too?" Tsubaki asked.
Maka was hesitant. "Hmm, I wouldn't get too fancy."
"Oh, alright. Your pigtails are cute already," she smiled, seeing Maka blush slightly. "So…I've been meaning to ask you something."
Maka turned to start to reorganize her closet. "What is it?"
"What do you…think of Soul?" she asked.
Maka paused halfway through hanging up a dress and hooking it back on to a rail. "He's crude, dark, cold, and sometimes overprotective," she answered squarely, taking Tsubaki by surprise.
"You really think so?" she asked, slightly disappointed.
"Well…" Maka continued thoughtfully while she put the outfits back in place. "He can be cocky at times, but he knows what he's doing. He's also really strong, and he has his own soft side, and –"
"He's cool?" Tsubaki interjected.
Maka scoffed. "He likes to think he is."
"Do you think he is?" Tsubaki asked with a sly smile.
She paused again. "Of course not," she giggled. "What do you think of him?"
"Ah, there's a lot to say about him. I've known him for a few years now," she began, thinking reminiscing fondly. "I'd say I thought like you when I first met him."
"Was he…different back then?"
"He was younger of course, and his father had still been in charge at the time before he—" she cut herself off forcefully. "Well, Soul was still learning the way of a mobster. He was definitely aloof just like he is now, but he's grown a lot. He's always like this to a lot of people—distant and cold at first, but when you really get to know him, he's kind and sometimes even gentle. Anyways," she said, changing the conversation topic. "Aren't you trying to take this date seriously?" she asked.
"You're picking out nice clothes and getting all dolled up to see him!" she pointed out.
Maka turned away as a hot flash of pink streaked across her face. "I…it's because I've never been out on one before!" she blurted. "I mean, I never had time to do things like this. I always prefer to concentrate on my studies before any boy. I just never thought about it before now, I guess."
"Oh ho, so you're trying to make your first date experience a good one, right?" she mused.
"I suppose so. But I never imagined going out with a guy like him," she said, chuckling softly at the irony.
"Oh come now, give him a chance," she answered. "He may not be very romantic, but that's partially because he can't afford to."
Maka frowned. "Does being a mob boss ever…take its toll on him?"
"I would guess so, both physically and mentally. Soul's the type of kid who never gets to hang out like a regular kid, do regular kid things…" she trailed off. "It's nice to see him finally interacting with another person who can relate to him, you know?" She sighed. "Ah, I'm beginning to sound like his mother now. But after seeing such a big burden being placed on such small shoulders, I can't help but worry," she said, smiling sheepishly.
Maka was glad that Soul had somewhat of a motherly figure looking after him. Soul was just another person, just like her. He could be sitting with her in a classroom, like every other normal person. But he didn't have the luxury of doing so.
"Oh, it's almost time for him to come back!" Tsubaki suddenly spoke.
It was five minutes before five, and there was a sound of a vehicle stopping outside of their house. Maka glanced out the window and saw that black car that Soul usually rode in, watching as the door opened and the white-haired mobster stepped out in his pinstriped suit.
She quickly slipped on her heels and patted down her dress, and made her way towards the door with Tsubaki following behind her. When she opened the door, Soul stood at the doorway. As soon as his eyes scanned her appearance, he seemed to be taken by surprise.
"You look…quite dapper today," he said observantly. Tsubaki couldn't help but smile as she saw him, looking slightly flustered.
"Thanks," she answered with a smile.
He held out a hand for her to take. "Shall we?" he asked, donning on his smirk.
She took it and walked with him towards the car, turning slightly to wave to Tsubaki with her free hand. "You two have fun!" Tsubaki said, standing in a doorway with a glad expression.
The car pulled up to a traditional-looking Italian restaurant. It was a brick building with a maroon awning that stretched across its entrance. He escorted her out of the car and through the door. Inside, they were sat at a table in the far corner of the restaurant, as Soul had asked. Kid had driven off and would come back in and hour, after they were finished. The lighting in the place was purposefully dim so that each table could have their own candlelit dinner, with a bouquet of brightly colored flowers at the center of each table.
Soul made some small talk with the waiter, and finally ended the conversation with "Just whips us up some of the usual." He nodded with agreement and scrawled something down on his writing pad, then walked away. "I come here often," he explained with a subtle grin.
"This is a nice place," Maka said, observing the fancy atmosphere.
"Yeah, we use this restaurant as our meeting place from time to time. Plus they serve some good food," he answered.
Before they knew it, their food was served although Maka hadn't ordered anything. It was just a regular pizza. "Enjoy."
After they had eaten, they both had a moment to finally talk alone. He remembered that after the incident, they hadn't gotten to talk much. Of course, they did small talking about his day and her day and at dinner and occasionally when he had free time on his hand to spend at the house. But they hadn't really finished their talk about Asura, and everything else—he figured that it all happened too fast for her to comprehend.
"Are you feeling okay?" he asked.
She gave him an odd look. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"No, I mean, after what happened and everything." He looked down. "That night happened so fast."
She shrugged. "…I guess. After what Asura said…about my father being alive…I don't know what to think. I'm so glad he's alive, but ever since I met you we're still no closer to finding him." She let out a frustrated grunt and started to sip her drink quietly.
"Sorry about that," he finished, still looking down.
She looked at him suddenly. "No, no. It's not like it's your fault. It's just…so complicated. At least I know that he's alive, and he's probably worried about me…" she managed, trying to lift of the conversation's mood. She rested her chin on a propped elbow and stared out the window behind Soul.
"I'll still continue to do whatever I can," Soul said. She nodded.
"By the way, I forgot to say thanks."
"Saving me from Asura," she said. "Who knows what would've happened to me." She managed a smile.
Soul smirked sheepishly. "No problem at all." There was a sudden thunderclap outside, and rain fell furiously from the sky. He cleared his throat. "So, since we're out here, do you wanna get anything?"
She leaned back and thought for a moment. "Well, I think I've gone through every book that you have so far. Do you think we can stop by the local bookstore?"
He checked his watch. "Definitely. And Kid should be here in fifteen minutes to pick us up."
A burst of excitement welled up from within her. "Yay!" Soul found himself struggling to hold back a grin at her happiness. As the waiter took away their plates, she gazed back out the window. Her smile was suddenly doused. "Hey…" she began. "Is that Kid's car outside?"
Soul turned around in his chair to see what she was looking at. Outside the restaurant were two black cars lined up at the restaurant's entrance. Three men in long black trench coats and black hats tipped low over their faces were sulking towards the entrance. Soul watched as they walked in and talked to the waiter at the entrance, whispering something low to him. "Ah, shit!" Soul cursed under his breath. "Get low," he hissed at Maka.
They both bent down lower towards the tabletop and tried to seem inconspicuous. "What? What is it?" she whispered to him.
"They're...Capone's men," Soul whispered back. The three men spread out across the restaurant, seemingly looking around. Soul couldn't tell where they were looking with their hat's shadows covering most of their eyes. "We gotta get out of here."
Thankfully, Soul was prepared for something like this. He purposefully sat near the back entrance, where the staff would enter from the back alley, so that he can make a quick escape. He made a gesture to the door a few feet away from Maka. As calmly and casually as possible so they wouldn't draw attention, they rose and crept towards the door. Maka was already half-way through the doorway when Soul turned back once more to glance at their positions, but he could see that one of them was facing in their direction. One of his hands was dug into his pockets, and pulling a black and shiny object from it.
"Get down!" Soul shouted as he dove through the doorway, pushing Maka through. They landed on top of each other, behind a large dumpster placed next to the door. "Shit, I think they saw us," he muttered, drawing his gun from his pocket.
"Wait, how did they find us here?" Maka asked, leaning her back against the dumpster as they untangled from each other.
"They've probably been watching us for a while now. Stay here, it's dangerous if they make it into the alley with us," he said. Before he rose, he took off his jacket and placed it around her, remembering that she had no protection against the rain thanks to her thin dress. "Don't worry, I just need to keep them away until Kid comes to pick us up."
"Be careful," she warned as she pulled the jacket against herself, the lingering warmth in his jacket keeping the coolness of the rain away. He cocked his pistol and kicked open the back door, both hands on his gun. He ducked into the restaurant and out of Maka's sight.
Jumping behind the bar, he heard a rain of bullets towards his direction. Glassware shattered around from the shelves and showered him in tiny shards. The bartender ducked, and he could hear screaming from the other restaurant patrons as they fled amidst the chaos. Once in a while, when he could hear the sound of them reloading, he would poke his head out to retaliate in his own gunfire. He didn't intend to kill or wound them; he just wanted to keep them at bay until Kid came around. Another barrage of bullets forced him to retreat back under the bar again. He could tell that they were advancing towards him, taking their chance when he had to go under.
Still sitting outside and peeking in occasionally to see what was going on, Maka heard the screech of a van at the end of the alleyway. About twenty feet away was the van. Kid rolled down the window and shouted, "Get in!" Maka crawled to the doorway and leaned in, seeing Soul pressed up against the bar with the bartender cowering next to him.
"C'mon!" she yelled at him, motioning for him to come to the door. Under gunfire, he crawled over the shards and darted back through the doorway, turning around to empty his magazine on them. Together, they made a mad dash towards the van, knowing that their pursuers would most likely come after them. But, strangely, they didn't.
Even so, Soul practically ripped the door of its hinges as he swung it open and rushed inside, making sure Maka went first. "Book it!" he huffed as Kid slammed on the pedal, jerking them forward and down the street. Out of breath, Soul turned to look out the back window. There was no one there to chase them.
Maka, still wrapped in his oversized coat, sighed with relief. "That was a close one."
"Are you two okay?" Kid asked.
"Yeah, we're good," Soul answered. He dejectedly sat back in the cushy leather seats. "Sorry my business ruined the night," he grumbled. "I can't take two damn steps outside my door with a giant target on my back."
Maka sat down next to him, slipping the coat off her shoulders. "I had fun," she said, smiling softly despite the ordeal. She handed it back to him, which was soaking wet from the storm. "It was nice just to go out like normal people."
His scowl softened. "Well, I'm glad you liked it. And at least they didn't follow us out of that restaurant." He looked over his shoulder for one last glance, finding no suspicious black vans on their tail. "Hey, Kid."
"Do you think we still have some time to make a quick stop at the bookstore?"
Maka's expression brightened. "I suppose so," he said. "The one on 53rd street?"
"Yep," he nodded.
"Soul," Maka said. He turned his eyes to meet with hers. "Thanks for today."
He grinned. "Not a problem at all."
A/N: Hope you enjoyed! Leave a review as always!