Utterly Useless II

Soul and Maka Pt. 2

“I can’t believe we’re actually on time today; not just me, but you as well. You made it to class before class even started!” Maka stared at the clock on the school wall. Soul hadn’t been this early to a class in forever. Sometimes, he never even made it to class. Maka wasn’t sure if this should be considered a miracle or a sign of the apocalypse. Earlier that morning Soul had gotten up on time, made breakfast, finished all of his homework, gotten ready to go, and after that he’d still had enough time to clean up their apartment. Then he and Maka walked to school without any arguments or even a sly comment about Maka’s something or other from Soul. The more she thought about it, the more confused she was. after class Tsubaki pulled Maka aside and asked if Soul was ok. Maka, not knowing the answer herself, said she was sure he was fine. But she still made a mental note to interrogate him during their lunch period.

“Soul!” Maka called to her partner as he made his way to the cafeteria tables.
“Yeah?” he asked as he sat down beside her.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah I’m fine, why wouldn’t I be?” he looked almost annoyed, but then again that was his usual expression.
“It’s just,” Maka stopped. Was it a bad thing to be on time? What bothered her so much about the fact that Soul was finally being responsible? Maka thought this over quickly. “Never mind, you just seem tired.”
“Yeah, I wonder who’s fault that is.” Soul smirked and took a bite of his lunch.
Maka tossed him an annoyed look before calling out to Tsubaki and Crona.
Crona and Tsubaki made their way to Maka. As they sat down beside her and began to talk and eat Maka decided that she would just have to keep an eye on Soul.
“what are you eating?!” black star asked, his tone full of disgust.
“It’s… I have no idea what it is, but it doesn’t really have a flavor so it’s not that bad.” Soul stared at the grey goop filling his bowl. He took a bite and slowly forced himself to swallow.
Black star nearly gagged as he watched his friend’s face.
“it’s not that bad, I mean have you ever had Maka’s meat loaf?”
Black star shivered. “I think I’ll stick to Tsubaki’s sandwiches. Didn’t you pack your own lunch?”
“I meant to but I forgot.” Soul took another agonizing bite, he convinced himself it was edible. “luckily I had some cash on me so I figured I’d buy something at the cafeteria, but three coins doesn’t get you much here.”
Black star turned away as Soul took yet another bite. “I can’t take it anymore! Here have some of mine!” black star shoved one of his two sandwiches into Souls hands and slid the bowl of death goop across the table.
“Thanks, this should be easier to eat.” Soul took a bite of the sandwich. “Wow, Tsubaki really can make good food.” Soul took another bite.
“Of course she can! What, did you think she was Maka?” Black star began laughing so loudly the entire room stopped to stare at him for a moment.
“She’s getting better,” Images of last night’s incident flashed through Soul’s mind. “...sorta?”
The bell rang, Soul and black star shoved their sandwiches in their mouths and ran to class.
Two agonizing hours later Soul walked out of class and met Maka in the court yard.
“Anything?” he asked.
“Just a few assignments, but kid and black star took the good ones, the rest are for younger students.”
“So then we have the rest of the day off?” Soul looked up at the sun, he felt like he was forgetting something.
Maka smiled brightly. “Yep! I’m gonna go grab some books from the library first, and then we can head out.”
“Whatever, don’t grab too many, we don’t want a repeat of last week.” Soul smirked.
“You promised to never mention that again!” Maka shouted angrily.
Soul took a step back and raised his hands defensively. “Alright, alright, calm down and go get your books.”
Maka turned around and stomped off to the library. Soul smiled. She’s so cute when she’s mad. He thought to himself. He looked up at the sun again, he could’ve sworn he was forgetting something.
Maka ran up a few minutes later with three books in a bag. She smiled.
“Ready to go?” she asked.
Soul reached out and took her books. He swung them over his shoulder and began walking. “Ready.” He said.
Maka walked beside him, gazing at the sky. It was a cool, comfortable afternoon. Perfect for a stroll through town or the park. Soul pondered the thought. He looked up at the sun again. Now he knew he was forgetting something. Maybe he should ask Maka? He decided not to, he didn’t want to seem forgetful today. It was too perfect of a day for him to mess up.
“Maka?” he looked at his partner.
“Hm?” she continued to stare at their surroundings.
“Want to go out?”
“Like to the park?”
“And maybe walk around town? We could get ice cream.”
Maka turned toward Soul. She smiled. “Okay.”
Soul smiled back. He grabbed her hand and ran down the sidewalk. She ran with him, laughing as they passed apartments and offices.
Soul stopped at a cross walk. He leaned down with his hands on his knees as he caught his breath.
“Soul look!” Maka shouted excitedly. Soul looked up and followed Maka’s pointing finger to a store window.
“Oh no.” he said quietly. Maka grabbed his hand and dragged him down the side walk and into the store.
A bell rang as they opened the door. The sound of the bell was followed by multiple sounds of barking, squawking, meowing, and many other sounds. Soul groaned quietly so that Maka wouldn’t hear. He didn’t want to dampen her mood. He watched her run to a wall of cages. She looked in each kennel and studied each animal. Soul smiled, she was absolutely adorable. But the noises annoyed him. It wasn’t that he hated animals, he just wasn’t a pet person.
Soul sneezed. Then he groaned. He watched Maka. She looked at each and every animal. But there was one kennel she seemed to keep coming back to. Soul walked over and peered inside. There sat a very large, very mean looking, very dirty, and very quiet husky. Soul looked closer. It was black and white, it had one green eye and one blue eye. It was missing a small part of its tongue and its left ear had been pierced, two silver studs protruded from it. He sneered in disgust at. It had a spiked collar. It was covered in dirt and dried blood. Its leg was bandaged and it was skinny as hell.
“Isn’t he cute?” Maka asked. Soul looked at her. Her smile was so innocent and happy. He looked from the dog to Maka and back and forth.
“Ohhhh no. I know what you’re trying to do, sorry Maka. You’re not that cute.” Soul leaned back and crossed his arms. “Absolutely not.”
Maka stood up. “Please? Soul please?”
“He’s already grown and trained.”
“How do you know?!”
Maka pointed to a sign above the kennel. “Trained and full grown, male. Husky, Siberian.”
Soul rolled his eyes. “No Maka.”
“He won’t cost much! And he’ll be a good guard dog!”
“Maka we don’t need a guard dog, and look at him! He’s a pure breed Siberian husky! He’s going to cost a fortune!”
Maka grabbed Soul’s arms and yanked him back and forth. “Please Soul? Please?!”
Soul grabbed Maka’s arms and held them high. He leaned down until their noses were almost touching. He whispered in the most serious way he knew how. “No Maka, no”
Maka began to pout. Soul was irritated. He had wanted to have a fun afternoon with her, not upset her. But he simply could not agree to the dog. There was no way. Maka knew that as well and she would regret having bought the dog in a few weeks if he let her. No, there was no way he would let her convince him.
Soul opened his mouth. He was about to suggest she get a gold fish when he began sneezing uncontrollably. Maka frowned and walked him out of the store. After a moment, he began to calm down, and his sneezing stopped.
Maka glared at him. He grabbed her shoulders and stared her in the eye.
“Maka I can barely breathe near dogs and cats, you know that! I am not letting you get a dog.”
“But Blaire!” Maka’s face was red.
“Makes my eyes itch. And she makes it hard to breath, why do you think I keep a spray bottle in every room?”
Maka looked down at the sidewalk. She knew he was right but she didn’t want to admit it. Soul let go of her shoulders and grabbed her hand.
“How about some ice cream?”
Maka stared at their shoes.
“Ice creeeeaaam.” Soul sang with a smirk spreading on his lips.
Maka sighed. “Ok.” She said quietly.
Soul frowned. He gently pulled on Maka’s hand as he lead her down the side walk. They stopped at the ice cream shop and Soul opened the door for his meister. A small brass bell above the door rang as she walked in.
The boy at the counter smiled. “Hello there, Maka.” He said happily.
“Hello!” She said cheerfully.
Soul rolled his eyes and pretended to be focused on the menu.
“You look beautiful today.” The boy said.
“Thanks.” Maka said with a smile.
Soul began to grind his teeth. Just pick a darn flavor already! He said to himself.
Maka and the boy behind the counter started talking. And because there were no other customers in line, their conversation just got longer and longer. Again, the back of his mind itched, he was positive that he’d forgotten something. He turned his back to the counter and leaned against it. He looked out the store front window and watched the pedestrians rush around.
What am I forgetting?! He asked himself. It had to be something important, at least it felt like it was. Many times he wanted to ask Maka, but she was busy talking to the counter boy and Soul was sure he’d Upset her. Though he wasn’t sure why. After about eight minutes of thinking, Soul felt a tug on his sleeve. He turned and saw Maka smiling at him.
“Know what you want?” She asked.
“A sundae with extra fudge and no nuts.” He said blatantly.
“Coming right up!” The boy said as he grabbed an ice-cream scoop. “And you Maka?”
“Umm. I think I’ll just split the sundae with Soul.”
The boy smiled. “As usual.” He said, adding two extra scoops of ice-cream to the sundae.
“Here you go!” he said sliding the ice cream across the counter. “That’ll be $7.56.”
Soul reached into his pocket for his wallet. Maka grabbed his hand. He stopped and gave her a questioning look.
“I’ll pay!” She said sweetly. She handed the boy some money, but he refused.
“Absolutely not, I won’t let you pay! Especially not today,” he pushed the ice cream dish closer to Maka, “Think of it as a birthday present!” he said.
Soul’s head shook. He felt dizzy and his legs nearly failed him. So, that’s what I forgot. He felt a bead of sweat drip down his face.
“Aw thanks Gideon.” Maka leaned over the counter and kissed the blonde boy’s cheek.
If Soul hadn’t been so distracted by the fact that he’d forgotten Maka’s birthday, this action would’ve pissed him off to the point of ringing the blonde’s neck. His mind was screaming at him; all his fears and doubts from the night before came rushing at him. He had tried so hard today to make it up to Maka for all the times he’d let her down. And in the process of that, he’d completely forgotten his own Meister’s birthday!
“Come on Soul! Let’s go eat on the patio, It’s so nice out.”
“C-cool.” He said following her out the door.
“Hey Soul?”
“What do you want for your birthday?” She turned around and he nearly walked into her.
“Maka it’s your birthday, why are you asking about mine?! We can talk about that later. Today is about you.”
Maka looked a little surprised by his answer but soon smiled. “Ok then.”
They sat down and began eating the sundae. Maka hummed a quiet tune as she took small spoon-fulls of chocolate and strawberry ice cream.
Soul smiled at her. She was so sweet and thoughtful; she had even tried to pay for their food on her own birthday. And here he was refusing to let her get a dog and forgetting the most important day of the year. A pang of guilt struck him like lightning. He caught Maka staring at him and quickly shoved his mouth full of ice cream. But that only resulted in him having a horrible brain freeze. He grunted and held his head in his hands.
Maka giggled lightly to hide her concern. She took another small spoonful and watched her weapon out of the corner of her eye. Why is he acting so strange? Is he alright? Maybe he’s fed up with Gideon? I guess he can get annoying at times, but he’s too sweet to ignore. Is Soul still upset about the dog? I guess I kinda acted like a child. I know he can’t handle animals. Maybe I should’ve just gotten a gold fish. Maka took another spoonful. Soul’s head seemed to be feeling better as he was now holding his head in one hand while poking at his ice cream with the other. He seems distracted. Is he bored? Maybe we should head to the park now. Maka wondered what she should do to get a conversation started.
“Want to stop by the fireworks stand on our way to the park? We could set them off from the balcony tonight when we get home.” She hoped this would make him smile, seeing as he always loved doing this.
He looked up at her, but then quickly looked away. “It’s your birthday. If that’s what you want to do, then sure.”
Maka frowned but then quickly took a bite of ice cream when Soul looked back at her. She didn’t want to upset him. She didn’t really care what they did. She just liked spending time with Soul. She took the last bite of their sundae, then felt guilty for it.
“Sorry.” She said sheepishly.
Soul smiled at the ground. “It’s your birthday Maka stop apologizing and enjoy it.”
Maka felt awkward but she was determined to fix the situation. She stood up and towered over Soul with her hands on her hips.
She smiled innocently. “Let’s head to the park then!”
Soul looked up at her and then chuckled to himself. She reached down and grabbed his hand, yanking him out of his seat and out into the street.
“Oi! Maka! Wait a sec- “
“Come on Soul!” she turned and smiled at him. He smirked and pulled her towards him. He threw her over his shoulders and ran across the street and down the sidewalk with her laughing and yelling.
“Put me down Soul!” she tried to sound serious but she couldn’t help laughing.
Soul stopped and gently set her down. They laughed and then continued on their way to the park.
Maka studied her partner closely. He noticed her staring and looked away. What’s gotten into him? She thought to herself. Upon their arrival at the park, they were surprised to see Tsubaki walking around by herself. When she saw them she stopped dead in her tracks and giggled nervously.
“Tsubaki?” Soul asked.
I guess everyone’s just acting weird. Maka decided.
“Um, Uh, Hi Soul hi Maka. What’s up?” Tsubaki said with a fake smile. It was clear she was trying, and failing to hide something.
“We’re just going for a walk in the park, but weren’t you supposed to be on an assignment?” Soul inquired.
“And where’s black star?” Maka looked around, she saw no sign of the blue haired, attention seeking ‘ninja’.
“Oh well, I’m, we’re, uh erm. I mean- “
“Soul, Maka! How’s it going?” Maka immediately recognized the loud voice and looked up. sure enough, black star was standing on a tree branch above them. He jumped down, landing hard on the dirt path and causing a small explosion of the loose dust.
“Pretty well, you?” soul said as he and his friend did their handshake.
“I’m doing fine!” Black Star proclaimed.
“Then do you mind explaining what you’re doing here?” Maka was clearly confused.
“I do actually.” Black Star turned to Soul and the two began to chat as if none of their meeting here was strange. It annoyed her but at least Soul wasn’t frowning.
Maka smiled. Now Soul was genuinely happy. She suddenly felt guilty. She had tried so hard, yet she hadn’t been able to cheer soul up. but when black star appeared, soul’s spirits were immediately lifted. His mood had completely changed. Maka smiled at the ground as she heard the two whispering and laughing like fools. Of course black star can cheer soul up, they’re best friends after all. Maka still felt bad. But Soul and I are partners! We know each other better than anyone, right? I know what bothers him and what makes him happy, and he knows the same about me. We’re stronger together than we are apart. I’ll make him the strongest death scythe ever. Lord Death will toss Papa aside when he sees how strong soul will become. Just you wait soul. I’ll make you the strongest death scythe yet!
“Maka?” Tsubaki’s voice had a concerned manner.
“You looked distraught.”
“Oh. I was just- “ Maka looked up and turned to where Soul and Black star were. She didn’t see them.
“Where’d the boys go?” she asked.
“Oh you know them; they probably ran ahead to jump out and scare us.” Tsubaki smiled innocently.
“Yeah. So, what were you two doing at the park?”
“Oh, haha, the assignment wasn’t to Black Star’s liking, he passed it off so no we’re just enjoying the day.” Tsubaki’s nervous smile had returned.
“Oh. Okay.” Maka smiled. But the thoughts swarming her head were too much; they began to corrupt her expression until it reflected her worry.
Tsubaki stopped smiling. “Maka what’s wrong?”
“Hmm? Oh nothing, just lost in thought I guess.” Maka faked a smile, but much like Tsubaki, she wasn’t very good at lying.
“If you don’t want to talk about it you don’t have to.”
Maka felt even worse. She loved Tsubaki, she didn’t want to upset her or make her feel untrustworthy.
“It’s nothing really, I was just wondering about how strange soul’s been acting today.” There, that wasn’t a lie. It certainly wasn’t what was bothering her the most but it was vague enough to suffice without letting Tsubaki know what really was bothering her.
“Oh, I think he’s just trying to help out today. Since it’s your birthday, don’t you think?”
Maka laughed. “No I’m pretty sure he forgot today was my birthday.”
That was the thing about soul; if you didn’t make a point about something to show him it was important to you, it would more often than not slip his mind. I’ve never stressed much about my birthday. And he’s never done more than take me to the bookstore. I guess sometimes I felt he was selfish, but then id remember that if nobody reminded him, he’d forget his own birthday. Growing up, I know soul had a rough time with his family. His birthday might have been forgotten, or just a day that was dragged out and dreaded. I heard him screaming for me in his sleep last night. It sounded like he didn’t think I’d get to him in time. Like he had decided to put his faith in me, but I’d been unable to save him from something he feared. Like I failed him. When I confronted him about it, he just denied it. I was tired, I was worried that I might lose him, and I’d even dreamt that he died whilst trying to save me. It all accumulated into one big sob and he once again had to comfort her. She had woken up soon after and heard him crying. She felt so awful for just sitting there while her partner poured his feelings out on the hard, cold floor.
“Why don’t we head further down the path? I brought some bread crumbs for any ducks* we might come across.” Tsubaki smiled sweetly, offering her understanding support and happiness.
Maka smiled weakly and nodded. “Ok.”
As they walked Tsubaki hummed. She respected Maka’s silence.
Maka felt guilty, wishing she could explain it to Tsubaki. But she knew Tsubaki would disagree. She had discovered the root and reason for her feeling this way. Soul had sacrificed himself to save her multiple times, nearly dying each and every time; yet she hadn’t been there when she should’ve. I never comfort him when he needs it, sure he denies his emotions but we both know they’re there. I still haven’t turned him into a death scythe. I’m such an annoying roommate. I’m a horrible partner, I can’t even talk to him about how I feel. I can’t even bring myself to comfort him. To hold him the way he holds me when I need him. He gives me his everything and I do nothing in return. I’m so detestable, I’d hate having myself as a meister. I’m terrible at this. I’m useless. I’m utterly useless. I am utterly useless to myself, to my friends-
Tsubaki gave Maka a concerned look, but still her friend said nothing.
But worst of all, Maka looked down at the path and fought back the urge to scream. I’m Utterly Useless to Soul!