Soul purposefully sat himself in between Tsubaki (much to Black*Star's chagrin) and Maka during class. There was no way in Hell he was going to sit next to Kid while he whispered, passed notes, and corrected Soul's posture based on the theory that a symmetrical stance meant a healthier and happier life and a better attitude. Soul had shown Kid exactly what he thought of this theory last night by adjusting all of the paintings to hang two centimetres off of where they were "supposed" to be, and Soul had no intention of taking accountability for his actions.
Maka cocked her head at Soul. Soul pretended not to notice. He got that sick feeling again, the one he had last night where his mind went blank and all sound dulled and his pulse raced and he felt about to vomit, which was just weird.
"Soul? Why aren't you sitting next to Kid?"
"Why aren't you sitting next to the Thompson sisters?" he countered.
Maka grimaced. "Don't ask." Soul nodded.
Professor Stein walked in, cigarette between his lips. "Someone has stolen my rolly chair." Soul noticed Maka slouch in her seat, her bangs forming a shadow over her eyes. It was Soul's turn to gaze – no, look – at Maka with curiosity. "Unless you give yourselves up willingly –" his stare rested on Black*Star, who made a bring-it-on gesture "I will dissect you." When no one came forward (although Patty and Liz did some very unsubtle giggling), Stein began the lesson.
Soul didn't pay attention during class. He attempted to; the lesson was actually relatively interesting, not that Soul needed it. As a Death Scythe, the kind of thing Stein was explaining came naturally to him. Soul smiled on the inside, knowing that for once he wouldn't have to cheat to pass a test (Maka and Kid both kept insisting that if he just studied he wouldn't need to cheat to begin with). Instead, Soul found himself staring at Maka's hands as she took down notes on a lesson for which she, too, was already privy to the information. Soul watched her hands going back and forth, pausing occasionally to think of new abbreviations and drawing a diagram here and there. Watching her write was fascinating. He noticed that, now that she was working with guns, she no longer wore gloves. Her handwriting was so smooth and so legible that he wondered how strained her hands were by the end of a typical class. He got so wrapped up that he actually began reading her notes without realizing it, and was surprised to find that he actually understood what they meant.
Soul didn't realize that class had been dismissed until Maka was straightening up her notes. She reached out and touched Soul lightly on the shoulder. Soul whipped around, nearly falling out of his seat. "Are you okay, Soul?" She frowned at him. "You've been acting strangely all morning. Are you running a fever?" She pressed her hand softly to his forehead. "You're all flushed…" Soul indeed did feel flushed. In an unnatural move, he leaned forward. He'd never noticed before how soft her hands were. Maka's frown deepened. "Come on Soul, let's get you home."
"I moved Kid's paintings" he blurted.
"I know, he won't shut up about it." She smiled slyly. "Don't worry, by home, I meant our apartment."
Our apartment, our apartment…I miss our apartment…
"Maka, Soul, may I speak to you for a moment, please?"
Maka wrapped a hand around Soul's arm and pulled him down toward Marie and Professor Stein. "Yes?" she asked tentatively.
"I was just wondering…how are you two getting along with your new partners?"
"Liz and Patty are pretty energetic, so our lifestyles don't always match up, but we're doing fine when it comes to battling. Soul, on the other hand –"
"I want to shove a scalpel through his head most days" Soul finished. Stein burst out laughing.
"You know, Soul, you remind me of myself when I was your age." Soul felt his stomach drop, but not in the weightless way it did around –
"But you two still seem close," Stein commented. The words She is not my girlfriend crossed Soul's mind but not his lips.
"Yeah" Maka switched her weight to her other foot. "I actually need to get Soul back, he's not feeling too well."
"That's too bad. I guess I'll see you both later."
Marie waved happily as the two left the classroom and she entered it, Maka switching from her hand being around Soul's arm to her arm being around Soul's shoulder. Marie paused. "Huh. I wonder if they'll go back to being partners when the month is up, or if Soul will stay with Kid?" she asked no one in particular
"I don't think Soul could stand to stay with Kid if he wanted to. I honestly think the tradition is going to be changing soon – those two clash worse than…" Stein responded. He paused to scratch his head. "Well, I don't think I've ever seen a pair so poorly matched. Kid's meant to work with the Thompson sisters."
A thought suddenly occurred to Marie. "Stein, when did your hair turn white?"
"Hm?" He lit a cigarette. "It didn't turn white, it's always been that way."
Marie put a finger to her lips, letting the cogs work things through. Blonde, can combat insanity…white hair, goes insane now and then… "They remind me of someone. I just wish I knew who."
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Soul felt slightly embarrassed to be taken care of. For some reason, the image of Ragnarok hitting Crona over the head came to mind. It probably had something to do with the way that he was thinking: God Soul, you are so stupid. Why do you keep acting like that? You know she's going to freak out, you know how she reacted when Crona…however long ago it was. It's amazing she doesn't hold a funeral service every time you break a bone…
Maka walked Soul past his room and straight to hers. "I'm sorry, but Liz and Patty have kinda…redone your room." Soul figured the look on his face must have been pretty horrified. "I'm really sorry, I'll put everything back together before you come home –" before you come home… "But for now, I think you'll be more comfortable in my room…it doesn't smell quite as bad and it's not quite as…pink."
"It's okay…" Soul mumbled.
Maka set him down on her bed, making sure to remove his shoes. Soul tried to sit up, but Maka shoved his shoulders back down onto her bed. Maka blushed horribly, imagining how this would look if her papa were to suddenly show up…and she wouldn't put it past Blair to make that happen. "You…you should lay down." Maka scurried off to the kitchen to get a wet washcloth.
Soul stared at the ceiling of Maka's bedroom. The cracks looked like clouds and bunnies and…why was he thinking about bunnies? Shit, Liz and Patty didn't find my –
"Liz and Patty, um…found your…" Maka coughed. "Magazines." She was staring mortified at the floor. She knew that he must have had them, but she never wanted to know about it. She wanted to call him out on being pervy or something, but she knew in her heart that it was normal for guys his age, and she didn't want to yell at him when he was already feeling so poorly. "They threw them out…sorry." She wasn't really sorry.
"That's okay…I don't really care. I was gonna throw them out anyway." Soul wasn't even really sure what he was saying, but he somehow felt like he didn't really need them anymore. Truth be told, he'd kind of forgotten about them. Since Blair had come to live with them, there wasn't that much of a need for them. In fact, everything over-sexualised had become grotesque to Soul. He'd meant to throw them out, but he'd also wanted to keep them a secret from Maka. There was no need to upset her. If she didn't know about it, it wouldn't hurt her. Blair, shockingly, was also not that big a fan of the magazines. He'd heard her yelling at Spirit about them one day, and when Blair got angry...
"I'm sorry, Maka…"
She was now applying a cool washcloth to his forehead, sitting next to him on the edge of her bed. She looked puzzled. "What for?"
"Magazines…Boobs…mocking…stuff." Soul closed his eyes, letting his body relax.
Maka actually giggled. "Oh, okay…" She trailed off. Soul's breathing evened out, and Maka began humming to herself as she eased his jacket off, tucked him in, and kissed his forehead softly before putting the washcloth back on his forehead.
But Soul wasn't quite asleep yet. He was trying to figure out where, exactly, he'd heard that song before. The song she was humming, it sounded so familiar. So dark, mysterious, but beautiful and flowing. It occurred to him, as his left hand fell to his side and his right hand fell off the bed, that the song she was humming was the song he played for her when they first met.<< pt 2 pt 4 >>