”You have got to be kidding me!” Maka couldn’t help but exclaim in outrage. Stein threw her an annoyed glance before addressing the class once more.
“It was Lord Death’s idea in order to put the people of Death City at ease. Rumours have surfaced that have thrown our image into exaggerated proportions, making people believe that we are the ‘monsters’ which have killed the innocent.” Stein withheld a scoff at his own words. “So, in light of that, the whole school will be holding a festival on the fourteenth.”
“But that’s Valentine’s Day,” someone commented.
“That’s the theme...” Stein sighed. He’d much rather be at home, in his lab, preferably dissecting something, but instead he had to babysit the class and even acknowledge this ridiculous ordinary human ritual.
“Fine, so what are we meant to be doing in this festival?” Liz drawled, more interested in her chipped nail polish than the answer.
“The usual, game stalls, kissing booths, food stalls-“
“Wow, wait. Kissing booths?” Liz perked.
Stein just looked at her, a look that made her subside and apologise for interrupting. “Yes, kissing booths as well as dunking booths-”
It was BlackStar’s turn to perk up, “ALRIGHT! Who’s gonna be in the dunking seat?!”
Stein’s eyes shone dangerously, “Why, BlackStar, are you offering yourself as a sacrifice for the cause?”
Murmurs roused through the class, half excited about the prospect of dunking BlackStar and the other still complaining that they only had a few days to prepare.
“If a single person skips out on this festival the whole class will be punished,” Stein relished in the worried glances between those in the class. “The bell’s about to go, you can all go early and sort out the festival details amongst yourselves,” Stein twirled on his chair and wheeled backwards towards the door only to fall through the doorway. The class rolled their eyes at this familiar sight as they began planning who was in charge of certain stalls.
In the end, after some rather loud discussions and shouting at BlackStar, the stalls were equally distributed between the classes. Maka finally walked out of the school, a dark cloud hovering above her head with Tsubaki hurrying to catch up. “Cheer up Maka, it could be worse,” Tsubaki tried unsuccessfully to lighten Maka’s mood.
“Doesn’t have to be...” Maka huffed, blowing her bangs from her eyes.
“Hey! Maka, Tsubaki!” Liz called from behind them. The two paused long enough for Liz and
Patty to reach them. Liz was practically glowing where as Patty... Was being Patty. Liz, though she had wanted to be on the kissing booth, was rather pleased with being on the Make-over stall and with Patty to top it off. “Are you excited?” Liz joked.
Maka only glared while Tsubaki offered a small smile, “Maybe we could swap stalls?”
“No way! With this I could easily persuade one of the guys into getting a make-over,” Liz winked at Maka, drawing a reluctant smile from her.
“Okay, that would be a great sight,” Maka grudgingly agreed.
Patty pounced at her, hanging from Maka’s neck beaming wildly, “We’re gonna have so much fun!” She giggled when Maka tried to wriggle away from the sudden embrace without much success.
“Well, see you at the preparations tomorrow,” Liz uttered, catching a glance of Kid who was looking around in search of them. Liz walked off, and after a moment, Patty released Maka and ran after her sister, her giggling still audible from meters away.
Maka sighed as she said goodbye to Tsubaki and walked off towards her apartment. She was gonna need some major sleep before tomorrow or she could guarantee her rotten mood. Lucky for Maka, she didn’t encounter Soul till dinner where they ate pretty silently, apart
from Soul’s one sly comment which received him a book imprinted head.
“Hey, Soul, are you going to visit Maka’s booth tomorrow?” Kid causally asked as he measured the decretive banner he was going to hand up above their stall.
Soul glanced over at him, a little surprised at the abrupt question, “I wasn’t planning on it.” Kid gave a look filled with disbelief. “We’ll be too busy anyway,” Soul offered an excuse as he hammered another nail from under the table that was going to be filled with treats to sell. Soul wasn’t expecting too many customers to their booth, his blood coloured eyes and sharp teeth scaring them away and all, but the excuse had left his mouth before he could pay it any real mind. Kid studied his handiwork, checking if it was perfectly symmetrical.
“But it doesn’t bother you that she’ll have guys going to see her?” Kid checked Soul’s expression. Soul kept his cool, but his mind unexpectedly growled. He’d hate to admit it, even to himself that he despised the idea of Maka kissing random guys and that he’d have to withhold the urge to shed the blood of those who dared to touch her delicate lips with their own filthy pair.
“She won’t get any customers. Guy’s don’t go for such flat chested girls,” Soul commented, smirking up at Kid who remained quiet, unconvinced. Soul couldn’t help but spare a glance over at his Meister’s booth, its pink banner and red lip prints covering the table cloth contrasting with the rest of the surrounding stalls, seeing the blonde glaring at BlackStar who had went over to help set up their table but was now hanging around annoying the girls, and slacking off from his own stall it seems. Seeing Maka’s annoyed face made Soul smirk unconsciously, oblivious to the fact that Death the Kid was craftily watching him and rolling his eyes. Despite how much this guy goes on about being cool, he’s completely clueless which was so uncool; Kid chuckled amused at his own wit. That was before he noticed the slightly tilted banner of the group next to them and his body acted accordingly, rushing over the fix their ‘problem’ regardless of the pair’s disapproving glares.
Soul didn’t sleep well that night. He twisted and turned in his sleep only to wake with a start. Someone had been shouting with a hysterical edge to their voice. Soul sat up just as Maka barged into the room, her face a mix of concern and fury. “What the hell Soul?!” Soul looked her blankly, rubbing at his chin to rid himself of the dried drool that stained it.
“What do you...” then realisation dawned on him. He’d been the one shouting, disturbing the once silent night and waking a rather sleep deprived Maka judging by her dark circles. “Sorry...” Soul didn’t have anything else to say. He pushed away his embarrassment of his uncool behaviour and gave Maka a tired smile, “Sorry I woke you. Go back to bed, Maka.”
Maka just stood there glaring down at the albino haired boy, “What’s going on Soul? You’ve been restless for three consecutive nights now.”
“Nothing, Maka, just go to bed.” Soul rolled over onto his side, his back facing a progressively more agitated Meister.
“Soul,” Maka growled.
“Just go to bed.”
Maka would have argued till she turned blue if she had been in her right state of mind but her worn body mourned for its bed and Maka could practically feel herself sway on her feet. With a sigh Maka wished Soul goodnight and wobbled back to her room only to flop back onto her bed. Maka cuddled up into the quilt and promised that she would bug Soul tomorrow about what’s been making him act so strangely. She drifted off swiftly after that whereas back in Soul’s room he laid there staring out of the window, one arm propped underneath his head, thinking about tomorrow with a strange sense of dread which rose higher with the mocking sun.
Maka stretched in her bed, groaning as her muscles clenched then unravelled with a satisfying sigh. She swung her legs out of her bed, yawning, she pushed off and went to the calendar next to her desk. She glowered at the date with vicious disgust. February 14th, festival day, had finally arrived. Maka grumbled to herself as she left her room, deciding that maybe after breakfast her mood may have improved. Since today was going to be a long one, Maka threw on some bacon and eggs and shoved a few hash browns into the oven. While the food was cooking Maka sipped at a cup of water, leaning against the counter thinking about last night. What had Soul so disturbed? Was he still having those nightmares from the black blood? Maka closed her eyes. She hated knowing that Soul was suffering... All because of her and her weaknesses.
Maka glanced at the clock and slammed down her glass. Was he ever going to get up? Maka walked down to stand outside Soul’s door but she couldn’t bring herself to barge in and wake him. He must be knackered... Even if he has woken her at the same time she settled for just popping her head in to see if he was awake already or not. Maka gently pushed open the door and carefully peered around it only to freeze in position. He wasn’t in his room, and his bed was made. Made! Maka’s eyes widened. He must have a fever! This certainly wasn’t like Soul.
Maka flew into the room calling out his name, knowing full well he wasn't there. She stood there in his room just staring at the neatly made bed. What was going on...?
Maka then caught the scent of something beginning to burn and she twirl so fast her head was still spinning by the time she had pulled the food from the oven. She quickly ate and left the dishes in the sink, choosing to wash them when she got back. Maka changed into her usual attire, brushed her teeth and released her hair from their nightly bun cases. Her blonde hair tumbled down to graze at her shoulders. Barely glancing in the mirror Maka hurried out of the apartment and off towards the festival sensing that something was going to change, for better or for worse.
It was very busy around the school grounds, surprisingly busy. Maybe Lord Death's idea wasn't so bad, Soul remarked as he sold a little boy a generous slice of chocolate swirl cake. His mother smiled her thanks as the boy happily chomped down on the rich sponge but her eyes still shone a weary gleam, one Soul was all too familiar with having lived with predator-like features all his life.
Death the Kid had wondered off to fetch another round of goods leaving Soul to his own amusement and he spent most of his time watching BalckStar get dunked multiple times while his partner snapped at him to keep in line, his obnoxiously loud bellows of overtaking God scaring away a few potential customers.
Soul, dare he think it, was actually beginning to enjoy himself. Well, that was before his eyes were drawn to a quickly accumulating line near the prominent rosé booth at the edge of the festival. His mouth became a desert, his eyes alright with a dangerous flame, his muscles tense to the point of rupture. Someone had joined Tsubaki behind the booth where they quickly exchanged a few short words before pleasantly greeting their customers.
Death the Kid had returned and was placing down the delicious treats when he noticed Soul's tense figure. He followed his gaze to land on the kissing booth not too far away. Kid turned to Soul, about to suggest that he should go collect the other items from the ovens, sensing that Soul needed to calm down before going over to the booth he was so fixated on, but Kid didn't have the time as before a single syllable could pass his parted lips Soul was moving.
Maka scanned the line that had swiftly formed at the table she now stood behind. She cast Tsubaki a distressed look which Tsubaki returned discreetly for a moment but then she was smiling at the elderly man before her, her smile seemingly dazzling the poor man, drawing the poor fool in with her beauty. Maka was a little dazed herself, impressed with her friend's acting abilities, and noted that Tsubaki's line was a lot longer than her own which came to no surprise. Tsubaki was a radiant creature, hypnotising all who were in her presence, and Maka couldn't believe that her knuckled headed partner couldn't see it.
Speaking of BlackStar, Maka thought as she looked just beyond the fishing game stall to see a damp blue haired boy shivering on the diving board as he glared at the next who dared to attempt to send him plunging under the cold water again.
Maka giggled but a subtle cough drew her attention back to the tall boy that was waiting patiently in front of her. Maka smiled apologetically, but she couldn't help but stall. She was still counting on BlackStar to run a riot and save her from her fate but it looked like BlackStar was going to leave her dangling above the lake of hungry piranhas'. It wasn't that the boy who had just dropped his money into her awaiting empty jar wasn't handsome, he was, but she felt sick at the prospect of brushing her lips against his for money. Is this a form of prostitution? Maka wondered as she awkwardly began to lean forward.
Maka breathed in, the strong smell of cologne tickling her throat making her want to cough. Maka suddenly panicked. She didn't know how to kiss! Was she meant to breathe? Was she meant to hold it in till he either pulled back or she passed out? Why hadn't this occurred to her before?! She'd read plenty of love stories, the beautiful, romantic scenes playing in her head on repeat, but she had never paid mind to how the events would happen in reality. Cursing herself, Maka's lips dangled a breath away from the strange boy's. Maka shut her eyes.
Rage. Pure animalistic rage ran through his body almost replacing his blood in his veins. Screams echoed through his ears, the sound of feet fleeing from the scene shuddered through his being. Or was that his fury shaking his body?
Soul didn't care as he teased the skin of the delicate neck at his disposal. He enjoyed seeing his blade gently rest against the tanned skin of the boy who was breathing extremely shallowly, eyes wide enough to be a very amusing version of a deer trapped in headlights. Soul grinned at the boy, automatically attempting to make him wet himself, his sharp dagger-like teeth drawing the boy’s attention. Fear fluttered past the boy’s eyes, his body shrinking back as if he could disappear all together if he contracted in on himself enough.
Soul barked in his head for the voice to shut up but the voice didn't stop, instead it called for others to join it till Soul’s name was being chanted rhythmically.
Suddenly Soul was jerk backwards, pulling him away when he was about to spill the boy's pathetic dirty blood all over his blade changed arm, but the strength of the force pulling him away was surprisingly vicarious and unyielding. Soul stumbled back, growling for his release as he lashed about, glaring at the his once prey shrink back around the wooden stand only to have a tall dark haired girl step in front of him, blocking him from Soul's bloodthirsty slashes.
"Soul, knock it off," a voce growled from behind him, lifting Soul off his feet as he jerked around. "I'm meant to be the star of this festival!"
Swiftly, another pair of hands grasped Soul which he howled at in outrage. "Soul, stop this foolishness right now." Soul whipped his head to the side to snarl at the new comer trying to control him. Death the Kid glared back at him, pushing at him with his soul wavelength as a warning. He would subdue him if he had to and he wanted Soul to know it. Soul gnashed his teeth at him as he wriggled in Kid’s vice like grip.
"Soul!" This voice got through to him, the shock and confusion lacing with the hauntingly beautiful voice Soul couldn't seem to get out of his head. His eyes locked onto wide emerald orbs, their beauty astounding and yet the confusion and slight anger directed at him stopped him from basking in their attention. Why hadn't she realised why he kept tormenting her through all these years? He narrowed his eyes as he caught movement by the weasel that was about to take his pure flower's lips with his own.
"Hi, hey, hello! What's up? Thanks for coming!" A high playful voice rung out in the strange silence. Soul's blood red gaze swung to the side to see Lord Death greeting the scared cowering humans, his mask showing no real emotion as he continued to draw closer to the source of the commotion.
"What's happening here?" Death queries with his light-hearted voice.
"Soul was just leaving, Lord Death," Stein smoothly strolled next to Soul, placing a warning hand upon his shoulder.
"Oh, it's a shame to see you go Soul." Death turned to the rest of the festival and cheerily raised his hands, "Let’s get back to the celebrations everybody!"
People began to rise, seemingly assured by Lord Deaths presence, though they stayed way away from Soul's area for the time being.
Soul twisted under the hard palm crushing his shoulder, a sharp pain spiking his blood stream enough to make him go down on one knee. BlackStar and Kid who were restraining him realised him quickly so not to be shocked as well by the professor. Panting slightly, Soul peered up at Stein. "Go home, Soul." His eyes flashed at the white haired boy, his glasses reflecting the suns mocking light.
Soul blinked, as if waking from a long restless dream. He stood up, trying to recover what little pride and cool factor he still had, he avoided everyone's eyes and strolled purposely out from the festival. People withdrew back from him, giving him a large walkway down the centre of the festival's grounds. Soul tried not to think about it; in fact he tried not to think about anything.
When he got home he didn't even turn on the lights but instead sat on the sofa, clutching his pounding head in his shaking hands. He'd totally lost it. Soul heaved a sigh and raked his hands through his unruly hair. He couldn't hold it back any longer. His mind flooded with images, of Maka's face as he was about to commit the one major sin a student of DWNA, the boy he was about to slit the throat of, his eyes filled with utter terror, his friends wary glances as he walked away.
Soul couldn’t sit still any longer with those thoughts pooling in his mind, drowning him in his shame, chocking his breath with the humiliation. He stood up and began to pace; back and forth, back and forth. Hours passed and Soul continued obliviously, his being becoming progressively more agitated, his movements becoming increasingly more aggressive and sharp. Darkness descended into the apartment, seeping into all corners of the room casting Soul a devilish back glow. Soul twirled on his heel and rubbed absently at the scar that bore into his pale skin from shoulder to opposing hip.
The sound of keys giggling caused Soul to tense and freeze in his step, keeping his back to the doorway. Soul hadn’t bothered locking the door behind him when he came in so the keys slipped from the lock with a huff and the door swung open quietly.
Maka stepped into the apartment, quietly not to disturb Soul encase he was asleep, locking the door behind her and dumping her keys in the bowl besides the coat hander. Maka turned only to freeze up at the sight of her partner who stood deathly still. Maka had been thinking of how to confront Soul all day but now it came to it she lost all her words and all that came was annoyance. What the hell was wrong with him? That outburst could have been avoided if he had just talked to her when she had asked the night before.
Maka stormed past him, going to get a glass of water from the kitchen before she blew up at her weapon and say something that would worsen the situation.
Soul stayed quiet for a moment but when Maka passed him without a word Soul caught her fresh scent and began pacing again with irritation. Maka leaned against the counter sipping at her water, watching Soul intensely. Finally she spoke softly, for reasons she didn’t understand for all she wanted now was to shout at him till her throat was sore, “Have you eaten?”
Soul stopped and glanced at her from the corner of his eye, “No...” A lengthy silence followed, “Have you?”
Maka shook her head, her eyes glinting in the small amount of light that came from the silver moon, their beauty captivating him for the briefest of moments. He felt compelled to ask, “Did the festival go on alright after...”
Maka tilted her head contemplating the question, making him suffer in his strangling thoughts. Had she continued at the booth? Had she kissed all those...? Soul couldn’t finish the question in his mind, his gut twisting too painfully at the idea. “It went fine. BlackStar started a fight with one of the guests but Tsubaki smoothed over his ruffled feathers rather quickly.” Soul nodded, his eyes glaring into the floor so that even the shadows that were cemented there quivered at his blazing eyes. “Soul?” Soul lifted his head to look at her but he didn’t turn completely to face her, hiding half in the shadows of the room. Maka thought it was eerie how the darkness played with his dangerously criminal features, drawing her eyes from his handsome face to the mouth that concealed the deadly shark like teeth she was so fascinated by. “Soul, why did you-“
“Did you like it?” he interrupted, the words tumbling from his lips before he could restrain himself.
“Did I like what?” Maka backtracked, temporarily forgetting her train of thought, confused.
“Did you like kissing him?” Soul’s voice dripped venom.
Maka flushed and glared at him, “Why would you care?”
Soul twisted more into the shadows, hiding his expression, having the strange feeling of being kicked into the stomach. “I don’t,” he fired back. “I was just wondering if you’d found yourself a boyfriend or several.” It was a low blow but Soul didn’t care. He had become numb at the sight of her and all he could think of was that strange piece of trash closing in on her elegant rosy lips.
Maka’s hand tightened on the glass she held, yet her voice was tighter than her grip. “For your information, after you left I asked Liz to switch places so I was working on the make-over booth. And even if I did have a boyfriend I don’t need anyone’s permission, not my fathers and certainly not you-”
“You didn’t kiss anyone?”
Maka was sick of him interrupting her and she set him a scowl, “No.” Maka wasn’t sure but she thought she saw relief pass over his features but it went too quickly for her to be certain. Maka shook her head and sipped her water frowning. “Soul...”
He looked at her, his eyes showing he had calmed down some.
“I’m grateful for what you did.”
He raised a brow.
Maka fidgeted, “For... For pulling him away.”
Soul stayed quiet for so long Maka was about to shout for him to say something, “Didn’t you want to?”
Maka frowned at him, “Does it matter?”
Soul clenched his teeth, “No... Yes. Yes it does.”
“It’s the past. There’s no point disguising it,” Maka turned from him, taking a long sip of water for something to do. She was no longer thirsty but for some reason she felt she had to stay and talk to him. “Soul, what’s been going on with you? Tell me the truth this time.”
Soul shrugged, “Nothing’s goin’ on.”
Maka coughed, “Nothing?! You call almost murdering someone nothing? You call screaming yourself and I awake at night nothing ?” Soul shrugged again.
Enraged, Maka pushed herself from the counter and stalked over to him, taking one long moment to stare into his face before throwing her water into it. Soul blinked shocked. “Would you say that’s nothing?” Maka smugly peered into Soul’s face. Water dripped from his hair and chin, his lashes glued together into vicious spikes framing his vivid blood soaked eyes. Soul’s lips curved, teeth glinting at Maka.
It all happened suddenly after that. Maka was up against the wall, her glass shattered forgotten at their feet, Soul crushing his body into hers, his hands clamping her wrists to the wall behind her. Soul towered over Maka, slightly confused at how they had gotten into such a situation, with his body pressing against the quivering one of his meister while water soaked his shirt and his hair dripped onto her alarmed expression. “No, I wouldn’t call that nothing,” Soul spoke quietly; eyes drooped gazing at the lips he’s dreamt of kissing on multiple occasions. “I wouldn’t call anything that’s happened to me recently nothing. I wouldn’t call what I feel nothing. I wouldn’t call the nightmares’ nothing .” Maka was stunned. She gazed from Soul’s eyes to his murmuring lips and back.
“Then what do you call it?” Maka spoke softly, very awe of how close their bodies were and how their hammering heart’s were in sync. She spoke carefully as not to brush her lips with Soul’s.
“Insanity,” Soul’s voice was hollow. Maka’s chest tightened painfully at the sound. “You drive me insane, the thought of losing you haunts my nightmares, and the knowledge that I can never have you drives me inane.”
Such agony , Maka thought. How could he survive such torturous misery? “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“What would I have said?” Soul asked, his anger beginning to forsaken him to his despair.
Maka didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know anything anymore except the delicious intoxicating scent of her weapon smothering her, her reddening cheeks and her aching chest. Maka looked into the eyes of her partner, her closest companion, the person she would throw everything away for to protect despite Soul’s offhanded comments at how stupid that was of her reversing their roles. “W-why...” Maka took a shuddering breath, “Why can you never... have me?” Maka felt more than heard Soul draw in shaky breath of his own.
“Maka?” He spoke so softly Maka shivered at the low velvety feel that ran over her skin. Maka swallowed thickly, her body having a strange urge to push against Soul’s. Soul began to lower his face so his lips were dangling over his hearts desires own. Maka’s eyes started to flutter closed, and she wondered why she didn’t feel the same nausea she had when she was about to kiss that stranger. Did she want this? Maka felt herself tilt her head slightly for a better access... Yes, she wanted this. She really wanted this.
Soul felt like he was going to be the one to be sick. He had dreamt of this moment for so long that he worried that he’d disappoint Maka. Once his lips brushed hers those thought’s evaporated. It was sweet at first, tender, but it began to change to a passionate deep kiss. Maka moaned into Soul’s mouth which surprised them both and surged on Soul. Soul slipped in his tongue to tenderly touch Maka’s. Maka reciprocated, grabbing a handful of Souls spiky hair and giving a teasing tug. Soul groaned to his embarrassment, but how could you hold back when you were kissing your first love? A guy had to have a break from being cool once and a while.
Maka suddenly withdrew laughing. Soul peered at her confused. Maka stuck out her tongue at him and he noticed the beads of blood that were seeping from her. Soul’s eyes widened as he apologised. Maka just giggled at his and playfully touched Soul’s sharp teeth with her finger. “You really do have a mouth like a shark.” Maka saw the hurt in Soul’s eyes and quickly continued, “Maybe that’s why I like you so much.” Before Soul could answer Maka planted a quick peck on his lips. She pulled away smiling.
Soul grinned down at her, twirling one of her pigtails in his hand carelessly. “Want something to eat?”
“Are you offering?”
Soul shrugged, “It’s Valentine’s Day. I guess one day of cooking won’t kill a cool guy like me.” Maka rolled her eyes and went to push away from Soul towards the kitchen. Soul twirled her back and kissed her with enough force that Maka’s head spun.
“What was that for?”
He smirked, “I’ve wanted to do it for so long, and I guess I can’t get over it just yet.”
Maka blushed and waved him off, stalking towards her bedroom instead. Maka looked over her shoulder to see Soul staring after her, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Soul.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Maka.”
Maka disappeared with a smile on her lips and a rosy blush threatening her cheeks. Soul turned to make dinner and almost regretted offering. He remembered the kiss that had made him senseless enough to suggest cooking and thought, almost regret it. Almost.