I'd love to own Soul Eater, but sadly I do not. Probs be maturish later on. I hope it's only the slightest of AU until I can wrangle it into submission, and I try so hard not to OOC anyone but...it happens. Forgive me?

I tend to edit as I go and post in fits and starts. I use italics when I have no idea how else to express myself.

I still don't like this beginning. Everything is always a WIP.

Reviews/favorites/followers are yummy! Like souls! Nom, nom.


The first time it happened, they were fighting. Everything always happened while they were fighting.

Maka noticed it with the first singing arc of Soul's blade body as it cut a path through the demon Nosferatu's flesh—a freckled, bile-yellow pile of flesh with two eyes on stalks and at least seven, maybe 10, tentacles with razor-sharp spines.

She normally felt almost no hesitation. Soul was the youngest Death Scythe in recorded history and she was the youngest Meister ever to wield such a weapon, ever to make such a weapon. Demons, ghosts, animatronic clowns—there was a lot in her world to be afraid of, but on most days, she wasn't.

They were demon hunters. They were the ones to be feared. Badasses, that's what Soul called them. Badasses were never afraid.

But their attacks this time weren't getting deep enough. Soul's weapon form was powerful but still only metal. A slice was a scratch. Every time the sharp edge of his blade went in, the demon's skin just oozed whole again, yellow blood spilling in pools and flying through the air as it struck out at Maka again.

Nosferatu laughed, a blast of foul air and a sound like bones crunching. Maka gagged.

"We need Resonance!" She gripped Soul tighter and rolled as Nosferatu lunged and the earth beneath its body rippled like the surface of a pond.

"What? You mean you can't defeat this slime ball on your own?" The one red eye on Soul's scythe body regarded her dubiously. She twisted him around and glared in his face…er blade. She supposed it was his face. She never thought to ask.

"Not the time!"

Even their lowest Resonance rate, aptly named Witch Hunter, could make short work of this thing. She reached out for Soul's wavelength, the unique aura of energy he carried, expecting the pulsating rush of it to hit her immediately. Instead she felt something strange—a pinprick of worry tickling her spine.

The budding connection fizzled out like a match.

"Soul, what's-"

Nosferatu screamed. A tentacle hurtled toward her, spines grazing her cheek. She ducked, rolling painfully on a sore knee to the left and felt the air from a second arm as it went for her gut.

There it was again—that tickle—a niggling, twisting, panicky sort of…doubt?

She pushed through it, demanding the connection anyway. If it was Soul holding them back, he'd better have a darn good explanation. As it was, she could practically force him into Resonance if she wanted to. Her wavelength was manipulative in that way. It would take a particularly strong-willed weapon to resist the call once she made it.

"Get your lazy butt in gear! Soul Resonance!" She cried.

And there it was—that heady rush of blood and adrenaline through her veins, a full-body vibration like a shock wave through her nervous system, and something without name that felt familiar and warm and strong, something she could only describe as Soul himself, his essence, all pouring into her.

"Witch Hunter!" She screamed as another yellow tentacle reached for her.

::Maka, move your feet, you idiot!:: Soul cried, his reflection snapping at her from the Scythe's blade. She listened, dodging the wet grinding slap of the thing; its blades left inch-thick gouges in the cobblestone street.

"Nice of you to join me," she grumbled.

::Pay attention!:: He snapped as she narrowly dodged a second limb.

"Yeah. I got this now." She raised her weapon, feeling the curving blade of him hum pleasantly through her gloves as it expanded with their Resonating wavelengths, doubling and tripling in size.

It was hard to think of Soul's weapon form as him even though she knew it was. His Resonating form, on the other hand, was the manifestation of their partnership, of the strongest parts of their souls—a twin-bladed scythe with all the glow of a full moon able to cleave whole pre-Kishin in half with barely a tap. It was deadly, horrifying, and beautiful.

The blade touched her shoulder gently, a nudge from an impatient finger. She could see the white blue light of it reflected in the puddles beneath her feet. In the water it looked broken, twisted, wrong. Not today. Together they were strong. She'd never let him break.

She swung.


The demon blood was like paint—thick, yellow, greasy, paint. Luckily it didn't smell. It did, however, sting like hell. Each and every cut and scrape was burning and it was all Maka could do not to fall into an impressively girly heap and cry. A glob of the stuff was slowly dripping its way down one pigtail and the sight nearly made her lose her breakfast doughnut.

Soul transformed back into his human body to look at her, cocking one impish eyebrow and smirking. He, of course, was completely un-slimed. He had a yellowing bruise along his jaw and a nick in his eyebrow, but otherwise he looked no worse for the wear. Even his clothes—black leather jacket, jeans, and blood-red tee—were clean.

"You look like shit," he said.

She growled. At present no dictionaries or other hardbound volumes seemed to be handy, so she couldn't express her displeasure fully.

He just laughed. "Come on, tiger," he said. Making a move to ruffle her hair but stopping short of actually touching her slime-soaked head. "Let's go back to the motel and get you cleaned up."

As he turned and left her standing in that putrid puddle, Maka had the satisfying mental image of herself scooping up some of said slime, forming it into a nice snowball-shape, and hurling it at his perfectly mused white hair.

"Maka! I'm gonna kill you!"

Oops, she thought with a not a small amount of glee. Guess it wasn't just a mental image after all.


A shower, some bandages for her knuckles, and a pair of fluffy warm pajamas later, and Maka was curled up in the recliner by the window with her novel in their sparse motel room. It was past three a.m., but she'd just gotten to the good part.

"Maka, please, can I turn off the light?" Soul begged from the bed. He'd fallen into it in just his boxers (bone print), damp hair sticking up all over.

She'd asked him years ago how he got his hair to stand up like that. She'd seen the rows and rows of hairspray at BlackStar's apartment, so she knew men did, on occasion, style their hair. But Soul spent approximately seven minutes in the bathroom every morning, shower and all, so she knew he didn't have time for elaborate fussing.

I just came out this way.

Came out?

Like, I was born this way?

Oh.

Yup. A baby with red eyes, shark teeth, and a massive head of this shit; surprised my mother didn't leave me on Lord Death's doorstep sooner.

He'd grinned, using one finger in the corner of his mouth to show off the rest of his impressive molars.

It was hard to believe Soul was really that naturally strange looking (he'd once joked about actual demon blood in his family tree if that was even possible) but somehow it worked for him. Enough that at 17—post the drooling stage—he'd turned into a bit of a heartthrob at the DWMA, not that he'd noticed.

"Soul to Maka! I want to sleep, damn it!"

"I'm almost done."

"I'm tired, woman."

She sighed, snapping the cover shut. Soul jerked a bit at the sound and she smiled, pleased at the thought that he might be nervous around her when she was thus armed.

"I don't see why you're so tired. You hardly did anything. I wield you, remember?"

Soul sighed deeply from his position. "I don't mean to question the Almighty Maka—hey, that sounds creepily appropriate—but anyway, you're wrong. Weapons spend all their energy amplifying their Meister's wavelength and delivering killer blows."

"And?"

"And it's a lot of frigging work."

"Ppff."

"OK. You try transforming into an inanimate yet deadly object."

"That's silly. Meisters don't have to transform. We wield."

"Oh yeah, I forgot. You get all the glory while we take all the risk."

Maka swallowed. He wasn't totally wrong. He'd taken the fall for her more times than she could count. He'd nearly been gutted from one swing of Ragnorok when Crona was still under the influence of black blood. And he'd protected her from a rather deadly fall when the Kishin that lived beneath the school first awoke.

She remembered that twinge of reluctance as they merged during the fight just hours ago. It must have been from him. She certainly didn't have any hesitation. They'd Resonated a thousand times.

Maybe it was hurting him somehow and she didn't even know. It would be just like him to keep it from her just to prove how strong he was.

What did Resonance even feel like for a weapon? They'd never talked about it. Once they'd achieved it, the action had simply become an admittedly intense yet perfectly appropriate tactic to add to their arsenal. But maybe it was different for him. Maybe it felt different. Maybe it was uncomfortable to have her wavelength suddenly rocketing through him and then have to simultaneously amplify and turn that force back around (how he did it she couldn't fathom, something having to do with a weapon's innate ability to channel and harness energy) and pass it back.

"What does it feel like for you?" She asked suddenly. Soul had childishly thrown one arm over his eyes on the bed, blocking out her reading light. She couldn't make out his expression, but he seemed to tense. The muscles in his stomach twitched.

"What does what feel like?" He asked. His tone was careful, bored. She couldn't tell if she'd imagined his initial reaction or if he was just getting better at hiding things from her. Since he'd turned 17, his normal stoicism had blossomed into full-blown, completely infuriating, unaffectedness.

Oh, who was she kidding? He'd always been a pro at hiding things—the black blood infection, the madness creeping up on him. She, on the other hand, had trouble sneaking past his bedroom door with anything bordering a problem without him knowing—and demanding—that she fess up.

"If you keep spacing out like this I'm gonna tell Stein you're losing your mind. Of course, then he'll want to study you." Soul warned.

She shuddered at the thought of their teacher, a genius and an incredible fighter, but a madman nonetheless, taking a particular interest in her brain. Professor Stein's "interests" generally included but were not limited to: dissection, scalpels, painful psychological evaluations, fighting, and dissection-that one should really be listed twice.

"Nothing, never mind," she said, yawning. In truth she'd forgotten what she was even trying to figure out. Maybe she was just too tired. Back-to-back missions in this nearly frozen country had taken their toll.

Tomorrow they would learn if it was finally time to head home to Nevada and back to school. They both had classes to finish and new training. They were hardly old enough to be full-time demon hunters. She stood up, stretched, and moved to the edge of the bed.

"Scoot over," she commanded. He did, turning off the light as he did so. They could have sprung for two queens but why? They'd fallen asleep head to foot on the one ratty couch in their flat since they were 13. She slid under the covers and stretched out, feeling each muscle complain, each joint pop.

"For Death's sake, you sound like a grandma other there," Soul grumbled. It sounded like he still had his arm over his face, muffling his words.

"Like I said, I do all the work. I'm probably going to look old before my time thanks to you."

"Bah!" He snorted.

"Glad you think it's funny."

"I'm laughing at the idea of you—who still look 13 by the way—growing old overnight. Ridiculous."

She scowled and gratefully let the complete and utter darkness of their motel room hide the burn in her cheeks. She couldn't stop herself from running a hand self-consciously over her woefully underdeveloped chest. She'd fleshed out a bit since they'd first met but still occasionally received the children's menu at restaurants. The last time she'd nearly had a nuclear meltdown when the snarky Bimbo Hostess with the magnetic D-cup had asked if she'd like crayons. Said Bimbo had also blatantly flirted with Soul, and that just wouldn't fly. Soul had to be focused. He was a Death Scythe.

"Yeah, whatever. Are these the only blankets?" She pulled at the thin sheet and scratchy coverlet. Her toes were ice.

"They only gave us the one."

"But I'm freezing!"

Soul sighed dramatically and the bed shifted, as if he'd gotten up. She felt him moving around by her side of the bed, shifting things out of the way and grumbling. What is he doing?

"Where are you?" He asked. He grabbed for her leg in the dark, hitting much further up on her thigh than he probably, surely, intended. A completely alien shock rocketed up her spine. For a half a terrifying second, she had no idea what was going on or what he was planning.

He wouldn't…I hope he doesn't think…Her thoughts tangled together.

"Here." He grunted. Something warm and smelling of leather and boy hit her in the face—his jacket.

"That'll have to do." She could almost hear him smirking in the dark as he climbed back under the covers, the mattress groaned.

Ugh. The smell alone would drive her nuts all night. How could boys stand smelling so…so…she let herself take an experimental sniff in the dark and came away surprised. She had imagined the jacket to be more odeur d'locker room than…spicy? Like curry and a little gasoline from his motorcycle—not unpleasant—and something else unidentifiable that made her simultaneously wrinkle her nose and want to take another deep whiff; in the end she gave up trying to analyze it. At least he didn't use cologne, she thought of BlackStar's latest attempts at being overpowering to both olfactory and auditory systems. She covered her lower half with the jacket and sighed.

"Thanks."

"Mmhm," he mumbled, the bed rocked a bit as he rolled over again.


The second time she noticed it during training. Two weeks after returning from Denmark, Stein had called them into his lab and announced that it was time to take their Resonance to the "next scientific level."

"You two should still be progressing, yet it seems your powers have plateaued," he'd said.

His reasoning was sound. The best fighting pairs could Resonate across cities and through two-way radios, let alone while in the middle of fighting with the motivation of not being decapitated fresh in their minds. They needed to be able to push themselves, amplify their connection, intensify the readings, without adrenaline motivating it. It needed to come more naturally—like breathing.

Of course, it would have been an easier idea to wrap her head around if it hadn't been presented by a certifiably mad scientist in a room smelling of rust and formaldehyde, a single florescent light flickering overhead casting twisted shadows into the corners. She wondered if he liked living this way or if it was all some elaborate stage presentation to scare the freshmen.

Stein pushed his obnoxious spectacles further up on the bridge of his nose. "I'll need you two to practice," he said, his monotone ruined by the maniac glint in his eye. "And I'll watch."

"Now?" Maka felt slightly uncomfortable in Stein's presence already, though he was her teacher and she respected and admired him on many levels.

"You'll be graduating soon. I'd like to have all my tests complete before then."

Tests? Apparently not the kind she liked, the kind that she could study for. She wiped her palms on her skirt.

"Don't mind me. I'll just sit here and monitor your heart rates and blood pressure while you work on it." He rolled himself away quickly from where they sat on two uncomfortable metal stools.

She turned to face Soul, expecting him to passively grumble or possibly swear but acquiesce. He nearly always went along with her or Stein's crazy plans unless they were downright insane (and his measuring stick for insanity was…more forgiving of late).

"No," he said, red eyes focused on Stein. He looked like a statue—a glaring, white-haired statue.

"Wha-why?" Maka squeaked. She cleared her throat. "What's wrong?" She really needed to work on being less of a girl around him.

"I'm not about to become Stein's lab rat again just for the sake of science," Soul snapped.

Stein's glasses flashed as he shifted his attention from Soul to Maka, clearly expecting her to convince him. Or maybe he was just observing their behavior. You never knew with the doc.

"Come on. It's for research," she said, poking Soul in the shoulder. His eyes darted to her for a fraction of a second and she thought she saw it again—hesitation? Nervousness? No. No way. Soul was a lot of things—blunt, uncouth, self-absorbed, antisocial—but nervous?

"I don't care. Not until Stein tells us what's so damn important about Resonating stronger than we already do."

"Where is this coming from?" She asked. "I thought you always wanted to be stronger."

"That was before I became a Death Scythe. Now I want to know what it is I'm working for. I have a right."

Stein smiled, the stitches in his face pulled in such a way that Maka felt her own skin tighten. She shivered.

"You're right, of course," Stein said flatly. "I just thought it would be obvious."

"Humor us." Soul crossed his arms over his chest.

Finally Stein nodded. "OK. If you must know, Lord Death has been asking your teachers when you might be ready for a new appointment—a permanent reassignment."

Maka's mouth went dry. Soul stiffened beside her.

"Eventually he has to assign you to a post, just like all the other Death Scythes. After all, Spirit is still his personal Death Scythe and until he retires…Of course you knew this. You also know that once you go on active duty your previous partnership will be dissolved. You may be reassigned a more experienced Meister at your new post or you may become an independent like Eric. In order to match you with prospective posts and partners, we need to know how strongly and deeply you can Resonate."

Dissolved? Maka shook her head—of course. That's what they'd been working toward for years. Soul was a Death Scythe. He should have an incredible future with or without her. She'd just hoped the without wouldn't be coming so soon.

"So he wants to know if I'll jump when he says so." A muscle in Soul's jaw twitched. Maka had the sudden urge to smooth the wrinkle that had formed between his eyebrows. She stuffed her hands under her legs to keep them still.

"Partially. He also knows you two are able to connect on a very deep level. If we can figure out why, we might be able to recreate it. To do that, we must see the most extreme expression of your Resonance ability. We have to push it to the limit. Then we will test it with others."

"And what about me?" Maka asked. "What am I in all this?"

Stein turned his glinting gaze on her. "Your ability to Resonate so strongly also bodes well for your future as a four-star Meister and potential teacher at the school. I shouldn't have to say it but this is a test. Pass it and you'll both have bright futures in your respective fields."

Maka's eyes ticked back to Soul. She knew—despite his strange behavior of late—that he wanted nothing more than to be the best, most powerful Death Scythe in history. If he could prove that his ability to Resonate a Meister's wavelength was uniquely strong…

"Soul, we have to." She reached out to touch his arm. He felt stiff, wound up like a rubber band a moment from snapping. He shrugged her off.

"No. We don't. At least I don't. You can stay and play with the doc if you want to. I'm gonna bail." He looked back at her calmly, stood, and walked out of the lab. Maka stared after him.

"I'm sorry, Professor Stein. I don't know what's gotten into him."

Stein wheeled his way back to her and—much to her disgust—took both her hands. She half-expected his skin to feel cold and clammy like a corpse, but he was warm and his palms were rough like any fighter's.

"Maka, I know how important Soul is to you."

"He's my partner. Of course he's important."

"But you know he has too much potential to squander it just because he's afraid."

"You think he's afraid?"

"Don't you?"

"I don't understand any of this. I don't understand why he wouldn't at least try." She felt the hot ache of tears in her throat, threatening the backs of her eyes. She blinked furiously. You have to be strong!

"Soul needs to learn to Resonate with others. As a Death Scythe, it is his duty. Otherwise he'll always be chained to you."

Chained? Her throat constricted. She didn't want to be the thing that held him back, the thing he used as an excuse to hide and not to try.

She dug her nails into her palms, the bright pain clearing her head, battling back the tears.

"I'll bring him back tomorrow."

"Thank you, Maka. We're counting on you."


Self-righteous. Nosey. Pig-headed. Brat.

He punctuated each thought with a vicious stir of the spoon. Granted, making curry wasn't the absolute coolest way to relieve anger, but it was his turn to cook. And hell if he was going to let Maka make him feel guilty about one more thing.

He was less angry with Stein even though it was that demented mother fucker that put the idea in her head to begin with. No, it was Maka that deserved the full force of his anger. She should know better. They were partners. She didn't own him. If he didn't want to Resonate deeper or get any further inside her damned head than that should be that. No arguments. It was him that powered their Resonance. If he didn't want to do it in front of Stein like some circus freak then he didn't have to.

He smacked the wooden spoon on the edge of the pot a little too hard. The spoon's handle snapped cleanly off, its head falling with a plop into the curry. He swore.

Get a freaking grip, Eater. He dug the head out of their dinner and threw it in the trash along with the rest of its decapitated body and began searching through the drawer for another spoon.

Which was why he didn't hear her come in until she was right behind him.

"Um, Soul?"

He jumped. He fucking hated that she could make him jump. Little stalker.

"What?" He growled. Her green eyes fell. Damn how she made him feel like the dirt under his fingernails sometimes. Maybe it was that anti-insanity thing—probably rubbed his own particular brand of crazy the wrong way.
"Don't you think we should talk?"

He harrumphed. No. No we should not talk, he grumbled internally. We just should go back to being kick-ass partners in the demon-hunting trade and stop worrying about scary, potentially life-altering futures.

But those God damned green eyes were already reformatting his response into something more acceptable to her by the time he opened his mouth.

"Sure. Fine. Let's talk." He said through clenched teeth. He'll be damned if she didn't miss her calling as a frigging CIA interrogator.

They sat. Her spine was so straight it hurt to look at her. Soul picked at the frilly lace on the side of his apron. (Yes, his apron. Long story involving BlackStar and a bet about girl's underwear—he preferred to block it out.) Of course, he'd prefer to block out the Crazy Annoying Guilt Inducing Green Eyed Walking Heartache sitting across from him too.

Maybe I should get my own place, he mused.

"What?!"

Shit balls. I said that out loud, didn't I?

"I'm just getting the feeling that you expect more from me than I can give." He bit the inside of his cheek raw. Was that it? Really? You wanted to shrug her off because she thought you had the potential to be awesome? Lame, Eater. Even for you.

"Soul...I...I don't want you to do anything you aren't comfortable with. And I don't want to force you to be someone you're not."

Good. That's good. Now let's drop-

"But this isn't you." She gestured to the pathetic apron with the yellow curry stains and the apparently equally pathetic boy wearing it.

"Funny. Feels like me."

"It isn't. You're the most driven person I know besides BlackStar and BlackStar is borderline manic. You love being a weapon. You've always wanted to be the best Death Scythe ever."

"Always as in when we met when I was 13?" He snapped. Her spine caved a bit and her eyes fell. Well, good. She should be disappointed in him. He was perpetually disappointed in himself; it was pretty much part of his identity at this point.

"Look, I know you haven't pulled your bookbrain out of your own ass for more than a few hours the last few months with all the exams and getting ready for graduation, but I'm 17 now, not 13. I've changed. I want-"

He looked into her face, which—if he was being painfully honest with himself—had changed significantly over the last four years-along with the rest of her...personage.

Was that the right word? Fuck it, Maka would know. But what the hell do I want?

Death Scythe Soul Eater. He loved the sound of it. He loved to roll it around on his tongue in the privacy of his bedroom at night, imagining himself graduating and traveling the world saving people, kicking epic demon ass and taking names. But he always imagined it all happening with her. Not some shadowy maybe future partner, someone else he'd have to pry open the recesses of his mind to. What if they couldn't appreciate the dark shadows and hollows and twisted songs of him like she did? What if they just didn't get his soul?

And while he was giving himself honesty pains at this moment (which were a bit like post-taco binge-eating contest pains, GoddamnitBlackStar), staring at the cracked Formica table and smelling burning curry, he'd been feeling that panicky sense of What If a lot lately. What if Maka stopped liking it in there, in his head? What if she saw something or felt something from him during Resonance, like, say, how very awfully much he enjoyed pouring himself into her mind, and decided he was scary? Perverted? Too messed up even for her to unscramble?

"What? What do you want?" She pleaded.

He dropped his head onto the table and sighed. "I don't fucking know."

"Then tell me this: what does Resonance feel like for you?"

His head shot up so fast he felt his brain sloshing around in his skull. "Come again?"

"It's a perfectly simple question. If it's the Resonance that's been making you hesitant lately, I should know about it. If I'm hurting you somehow-"

"It isn't." He almost wanted to smirk. How did this girl manage to turn everything around and make it about something she should do differently? It was him that was broken, him that was taking their Resonance too far into the something kinky category.

"Then tell me how it feels, Soul."

"You tell me first." How was it that his mouth decided to make words without his brain's consent? Not that his brain had any brilliant strategy for getting them out of this line of conversation either but he didn't much like being usurped...by himself. And he definitely didn't like sounding like a 13-year-old girl.

She blinked, immediately grabbing and adjusting the tie in one of her pigtails. At 16 she wore them less and less often, which he hated. He didn't want her to change and get all sophisticated and crap-giving about things like other girls.

"OK. Way to dodge the question, but fine." She closed her eyes. "And take the curry off the stove before it burns any worse."

He dove for the pot, gratefully hiding behind stirring and turning the temperature down and spooning it all into two big bowls. When he turned back around, she was still sitting with her eyes closed, a little line had appeared between her eyes.

Damn. She was really going all out and actually thinking about this. Not good strategy mouth. Now we will have to come up with something equally well thought out or we're doomed.

"It feels good, I guess. It feels like..." She bit her lip in a fascinating way, eyes still closed. Why was it her mouth garnered so much of his attention lately? It wasn't like it had changed significantly. Maka Lips at age 13 were pretty much the same (give or take some lip gloss) as Maka Lips at 16. But the last few months that damned mouth had become yet another source of anxiety for the weapon, along with her legs, and sometimes her voice, and often her hair...

"Well it certainly doesn't hurt or feel uncomfortable anymore."

"Anymore?" He set her bowl down in front of her and dug into his own.

"When we first started, I-I don't know. It felt weird having your wavelength in there messing with mine."

"Ah." He chewed and swallowed, concentrating on not inundating her with questions that he all-of-a-frigging-sudden desperately wanted to know the answers to. How serious was his recent transformation into prepubescent girlhood? He looked down at his frilly apron. Point taken.

"So it feels...good?" He encouraged.

She opened her eyes. He thought her cheeks looked a little pinker. Probably the heat in this place. He stood up to crack a window.

"Yeah. I can see why it might be hard for you to describe. I'm having a little trouble myself." She laughed.

"Start from the beginning." He suggested. So, he, Soul Eater, was either turning into a marginally more muscular Mrs. Doubtfire or Doctor Phil. Either way, if any of this ever got back to BlackStar, his balls would soon be joining Stein's collection of fascinating yet sadly extinct creatures. BlackStar would simply feel obligated to confiscate them since Soul obviously wasn't using them.

"Well…I always call for Resonance first. I don't know if I have to or if it just seems right but—"

"You're over-analyzing."

"Then I get this tingly rush. It starts in my chest, I think, and then it goes everywhere. I think that's when we first match wavelengths."

He nodded. "Same here."

"Then there's heat. It always makes me sweaty for some reason and weak. And I feel like I might drop you."

He grunted. "You did the first like twelve times."

"Yeah well, you lost the phase the first few times. Do you know how annoying it was to have your giant boy body landing on me over and over? I had bruises from your elbows for months."

"Hey!" He dropped his spoon with a clatter. "Do you know how hard it is to keep your entire physical body solidified inside a metallic weapon while being groped by some flat-chested girl with control issues?"

"Groped?! As if!"

He wondered how she managed to latch onto what was probably the least problematic part of that question.

"Oh Death. You did not just say 'as if'." He shook his head. "All that book learnin' and blondie still sounds like a valley girl."

WHACK!

We own a cookbook? Lovely.

"As I was saying." She cleared her throat.

"Do...continue." He said, cradling his head.

"That's when I can first feel you in my head. And I'm in yours at the same time. It's disorienting but it's a huge...rush. I don't know if it's just the adrenaline of the fight or Resonance itself, but..." She took in weird breath, like she was shaky.

He, on the other hand, was maintaining his textbook cool as usual. He simply channeled all his pent up desire to simultaneously run away and grab her (and do what after that he didn't allow his imagination to breach) into one hand, which was currently gripping his spoon so tightly he could feel the cheap little rosette design on the handle tattooing his palm.

He swallowed. "Sounds like fun." He shoveled another mouthful of slightly burnt luke-warm curry into his mouth. He wasn't even hungry, but he felt the need to occupy his tongue to keep it from coming up with other mind-numbingly brilliant things to say in this moment.

"Yeah. It's a bit like a drug, or what I imagine using a drug would feel like. Sort of surreal and euphoric."

Whatever that means. Maka on the Black Blood had been wicked scary. Maka on real drugs would probably make him want to lock her up underneath the school and never let her out again. He swallowed, gagging on unmasticated curry. Apparently chewing is a prerequisite.

"What about you?" She turned back to her food while she asked, not meeting his eyes, probably hoping she didn't look as eager as she obviously was to hear him spill.

"Uh, yeah. That's about how it is for me too." Give or take 10,000 times and a billion more sensations and hell, she'd freak if she knew what it was really like for him. Or, what he let it be like. He was 100 percent convinced the feeling was all in his head—one part over-stimulated maleness to 99 parts under-stimulated maleness. Basically he was just horny. And Resonance was an incredible release. He just had to make sure Maka never figured out she played a part in his...release, which would be a guaranteed braining by the biggest encyclopedia she owned (probably the Britannica version) coupled with a goodbye-see-you-never again weirdo.

"Sooul." She whined. It was kind of cute (in that way only men turned into prepubescent girls could think something was cute). If you showed him a unicorn right now, he'd probably swoon.

"Please? I told you how felt for me."

"Honestly, Maka, it's nothing special."

Ooooh. Wrong thing to say. And he knew it was all wrong the minute he opened his mouth and his tongue started flapping and damn he was fucked now.

"So, the feeling of merging your soul with another person's is nothing special to you?"

He really had to stop using his mouth for communication. He wondered how long it would take to learn sign language.

"That's...not what I meant exactly."

"Then what EXACTLY do you mean?" Her tone was edging back into book/brain collision territory.

"I mean I don't think we should talk about this at all. I mean you should stop being so...so..." Stop now, Eater. Your testicles are begging you.

"So what?!"

Now is not the time to be honest. Give her a good line about not wanting to worry her or about how her feelings are the only thing that matters.

"Soul!"

"Close! You're just too damn close!"

Fuck it. Your brain is done trying to save this situation and your testicles. You're on your own, buddy.

"You're not making sense. Close to what?!"

"Me! You're too close to me!" He grabbed his bowl, threw it in the sink—it shattered in the most satisfactory way—and stormed off to his bedroom.

He didn't turn around to see how his tone and words had broken over her face and the totally unmasked hurt that bled through the cracks in her armor. If he had, he'd probably have fallen at her feet and begged for forgiveness, admitted his stupidity and fear of losing her to his obsessive and completely inappropriate affection for her. He would have given in to her and confessed everything because that what she did to him, what she'd always done. It was her unique power.

But he didn't. And surprisingly, in the darkness of his room, he felt better, like he'd gotten at least one arm out from under the heavy-ass weight that had been crushing him for months. A weight named Maka, cloaked in confusion and desire and guilt.

So, yeah, his brain had officially washed its mushy hands of the whole thing. Soul Eater was a new man.