A/N: I decided to start another AU because this idea has just been eating away at me for some time. Fair warning that there will be blood, tears and death though you should be good for the first couple chapters. This is essentially the prologue of the story. This story is also dedicated to my wonderful beta and morail: Guessesandhunches! Enjoy!
Maka pulled nervously at her new uniform as she stood in the front row of her squad's formation. It still felt like a costume for an act she wasn't sure she was ready for. It hid her erratic heartbeat with the mark of the brave and fearless soldier. She swallowed hard.
She didn't know if she was doing this to defy her father or if she just had an unconscious death wish.
Either way, Maka refused to let her hands tremble, keeping them firmly clenched at her sides. She focused on her breathing, in and out, that was it. Her jittery heart slowed ever so slightly.
"Don't look so happy, pigtails."
"H-huh?" She jerked back to reality with a start. A boy with white hair grinned lazily at her, hands propped behind his head in a relaxed manner. His teeth looked as sharp as the sharks she'd read about in books. His blood red eyes-unlike any eye color she'd seen before- studied her face.
"You look like you're about to have your teeth pulled." Unlike her, he looked completely at home in his uniform. Happy even.
What a weird kid.
"Well it's not like we're signing up to go on a picnic," she snapped tersely.
"Oh that isn't what this is for?" his grin turned into a smirk.
She shot him a glare, half annoyed and half amused. "Don't mock me."
"Don't frown like that, pigtails. You've got to have a sense of humor to make it in a world like this."
"It's hardly a world we live in at all," she mumbled darkly.
He shrugged casually. "You may be right about that. But look on the bright side-you might get to see some of the outside before you're eaten alive."
She eyed him incredulously. "You're planning on joining the Recon Corps?"
His tone turned mock-offended. "Why the surprise, pigtails? Anyways, I hear the view from Titan's height is amazing. Not that anyone's ever come back to confirm it."
Maka snorted. "Pessimistic much?"
"Nah, just realistic." His voice was light but Maka noticed his hands, which were still placed casually behind his head, clenched ever so slightly.
"But why the Recon Corps?" she insisted, narrowing her eyes.
"Wings are a lot cooler than a magical unicorn or withering flower."
"Ow!" He rubbed at his head furiously. "Where did you even get that book from?"
"None of your business," Maka sniffed. "You asked for it anyways."
"I was just talking to you," he said crossly. Then he eyed her curiously. "And where do you plan to go after you graduate?"
"There's lots of time before graduation. Things can change," she replied, dodging the question.
He let the question pass but followed up with an even harder one. "Why did you enlist in the military?"
Several words, some of them not-so-kind, leapt to her tongue but instead of anything coming out, Maka made a strangled kind of noise.
He raised an eyebrow. "You okay, pigtails?"
"Maka!" she spat. "My name is Maka, not pigtails. And maybe the answer's complicated." She wished he'd stop staring at her like that. "Maybe it's personal." By all rights, he should have been backing away from her but he break his gaze with her. "Maybe…maybe, I don't know," she whispered the last three words, looking down.
"I don't know either."
She raised her head, eyeing him questioningly.
He paused for a moment before continuing. "It's not that I want to do this. It's because I couldn't go on doing nothing and I don't know why."
Maka nodded vigorously. She couldn't speak because her throat had suddenly grown tight. She extended her hand. "Maka Albarn."
Recognition lit up his eyes at her last name but he didn't comment. He took her hand. "Soul Eater."
Choosing not to question his name as he did for her, Maka shook his hand. It felt warm in hers, slightly calloused from she didn't know what.
She hoped it would always feel warm.
The formation broke up as Sergeant Barett dismissed them to their barracks. As Tsubaki made her way to the girls' barracks, she glanced around the grounds. Had her brother felt the same nervous excitement she did?
She tightened her grip on her brother's cloak.
Well, she supposed it wasn't his anymore.
"For you, brother," she murmured.
A sudden outburst of noise distracted her from her thoughts. She peered over the heads of her fellow comrades. Just ahead of her, two boys broke out into an impromptu sparring session. One of the boys was bald save for two strange pillars of hair jutting from the side of his head while the other had blue hair.
The blue-haired boy wrangled his opponent into a headlock. "Give up yet, Ford?"
The bald boy waved his arm in the air in surrender. "Yes! Please, let me go-your armpit smells disgusting!"
He released Ford with a laugh. "That's the smell of a future god, friend! The titans will be quivering in fear when they lay eyes on me!"
"They'll be quivering from something all right," Ford replied, wrinkling his nose. "You win this time but next time, you won't be so lucky."
"Hah! A god like me doesn't need luck."
Ford was about to respond when he caught sight of a pink-haired girl.
She shook her head. "Pathetic."
"Kim! Angel, please! I tried for you!" As she sauntered away, Ford followed, continuing to try to grab her attention.
Meanwhile, the blue-haired boy was rambling on about the strength of a god and how his very stare would slay a titan.
Tsubaki smiled slightly. Those two boys reminded her of her brother a bit.
As the boy grew more long-winded in his speech, the crowd that gathered around him began to dissipate rather quickly.
Tsubaki shifted nervously in place. She wanted to settle into her spot in the barracks but she also felt it'd be rude to leave. Not that the boy had even noticed anyone except himself, but still. Well, they still had an hour before they were due to gather in the mess hall, she reminded herself.
He talked for another fifteen minutes before he finished his speech. "They all left?" He caught sight of Tsubaki. "Except for you! What's your name, O wise one?"
Tsubaki walked up to him. "My name is Tsubaki Nakatsukasa. That was a very nice speech," she said politely.
He puffed up in pride. "Well, Tsubaki, you were the only one wise enough to listen to the words of a future god therefore you may have the honor of shaking the maginificent Black*Star's hand."
Tsubaki laughed internally as she took his hand. He was crazy. But in a good way.
"And in addition, you shall have the ultimate honor of being by my side when I kill the last of the titans." He looked at her with an almost-nervous look. "What do you say?"
She smiled. We're going to be okay, brother.
Between her sister's hate for extreme heat and Kid's insistence that they all travel with eight bags, Liz is going to go crazy.
"Do you even know how late we are?" she complained as their horses plodded down the road, the military training camp still a dot in the distance.
"Shut up," Patti grumbled. Her usually cheerful face was twisted into a threatening leer.
Liz bit back a retort. Building a sand castle with her sister a couple hours ago had calmed the incoming storm but the effects were quickly wearing off. If she didn't get Patti inside soon, then she'd have bigger problems to contend with.
"We'd have to be late anyways," Kid replied reasonably. "You know, there are special circumstances where we're involved."
Liz tried to rein in her slowly worsening temper. But she couldn't hold back everything. "Yeah, but are you sure we can't go faster, Kid?" She wriggled the reins, impatiently. "I can practically feel the moisture draining from my skin!"
Kid sighed. "I told you this was my decision. You didn't have to come."
Liz's angry reply was cut off by Patti riding up to Kid. "Shut up," she said again, her face dangerously close to Kid's. She fell back into place without another word.
Snickering slightly at Kid's face, Liz said, "Patti's right, Kid. There's no way we'd let you go off on your own with something as dangerous as this."
She swallowed hard. "Even if the titans are scary." She thought for a second. "Terrifying, really. And gross." This time, it was her turn to ride up to Kid. She grabbed him by the collar. Her voice crept up into a nearly hysterical pitch. "Are you really sure you want to do this?"
"Liz, please." Kid removed her hand from his collar and patted it comfortingly. "I made my decision a long time ago. If you chose to go back now, I won't blame you. You've been through enough."
She sighed. It would be easier if Kid was one for anger and yelling but that wasn't his style. That was probably why she and her sister had trusted him in the first place. He'd seen them as people.
"Oh hush," she grumbled. "I'd ruin my complexion even more if I decided to go back now."
Kid smiled. "I just want you to know it's your choice."
Patti rolled her eyes.
Liz said, "Yeah, we know."