Despite the fact that she had all but been kidnapped, Maka was glad to be invited. Blair had gone home for Christmas this year and she had spent the day of Christmas Eve with her father, more out of obligation than any real will to do so. He was always out in the evenings though so she had nothing to do at home without her roommate but sit and watch cheesy Christmas specials.
Which was actually what she'd been doing when Liz had called to see what her plans for the night were. When Maka had replied that she'd had no plans in particular besides sit at home and possibly go to bed early, Liz had all but threatened her with violence if she was not ready to go by the time she and Patti arrived at her apartment. When they had, they had only given her enough time to tie her hair back and grab a jacket and her keys before she was dragged out the door, stuffed in the back seat of their car, and all but dragged back out of it once they'd arrived at Soul's house.
Now here she was, watching Black Star cackling madly at something he'd said. She honestly hadn't been paying attention, but it was apparently good, because even Liz and Kid were laughing too. Maka shook her head. The blue haired boy had had way too much eggnog and the sugar rush was starting to show.
Patti and Tsubaki had moved Soul's Wii upstairs and were playing some Michael Jackson dancing game he'd bought. Deciding that that might be more entertaining than listening to Black Star's sugar fueled ramblings, she headed up to see how the girls were doing.
The second story of Soul's house consisted of only one large room with a balcony that overlooked his driveway and the rest of the neighborhood, and a small hallway that led to a bathroom and Soul's bedroom. She had no idea what the large space was for, as all his instruments and recording equipment were downstairs, but there was a large TV, a beanbag, and a few couches, so she guessed it was either for whatever few social gatherings Soul cared to have that didn't involve his small group of friends, or the house had just come that way and he'd had no other idea what to do. She'd never asked.
She was mildly surprised to see that Tsubaki was on one of the couches facing the TV and was taking a break, and Soul and Patti were dancing to “Speed Demon,” and that Soul was winning.
She hadn't been surprised when he told her that he was a fan when they'd been wandering around town and he'd bought the game on a whim. His taste in music was rather eclectic, and she, like him, had also grown up listening to Michael Jackson and watching his performances, but Soul seemed to have the dances memorized, and Maka couldn't help the small smile and shake of her head when she leaned against the wall to watch.
Patti yelled in mock frustration when the song ended, and Soul just smirked at her before moonwalking back to the couch to rub it in further, to which Patti simply snorted, before he flopped down across from Tsubaki and grabbed a glass of water off the side table. He chugged half of it before nodding over at Maka. “Wanna play?”
She shook her head. “No thanks, I'm no good at those games.”
Soul raised an eyebrow. “All that skill and coordination for martial arts and you suck at dancing games?”
Maka rolled her eyes at him. “You saw what happened when you made me play DDR last week.”
He chuckled back at her. “Touché.”
Tsubaki went back into the game with Patti and Maka moved to sit next to Soul on the couch to watch, trying to figure out the game. After a few minutes of watching the gestures necessary, she shook her head. The game made no sense to her, but it looked fun to play. Soul told her to look at what the figures scrolling up the side of the screen were doing, then to see how Patti and Tsubaki mimicked the motions. She still didn't quite understand, but was eventually convinced to try “They Don't Care About Us” with Tsubaki. She didn't do horribly, but her score wasn't incredible either. She shrugged, at least she had been able to figure it out with Soul's help. She had more luck watching the digital Michael Jackson on the screen than the gesture indicators, which made her reactions a little slow, but still passable. She'd still had fun in the end, which Soul and Tsubaki had said was the whole point.
After a while Black Star dragged Liz and Kid upstairs and demanded a Smash Brothers tournament. Maka smirked. A game she was actually good at. Poor Kid hadn't lasted the first round against Patti, and while Soul was pretty good at the game, his opponent was Black Star so he eventually lost. In the end it had come down to Maka and Black Star, and while Black Star eventually won, she had given him a run for his money. Literally. He had bet her twenty dollars she wouldn't last through his first life. She'd gotten him down to his last before he'd finally defeated her. After grudgingly tossing a 20 at her, he swapped the game over to MarioKart again, which everyone present was decent at save Maka, so she settled on the couch to watch, Patti dragging her into a race every now and then.
Soul eventually gave up on trying to survive a racetrack inhabited by both Black Star and Patti and pulled out his phone as he squeezed between Maka and Liz on the couch and amused himself with Angry Birds, which Maka decided was more entertaining than watching Black Star and Patti destroy each other, and laughed at the silly little game as Soul repeatedly had... mishaps.
“I'm not very good at this game,” he admitted to her after a while. “But it's funny as hell.”
Maka had to agree with him. The silly little noises and hilarious premise had her laughing hysterically whenever he'd screw up royally. Usually he joined in her hysterics, but sometimes grumbled about the game being impossible.
Sometime near midnight, Maka glanced over at the large sliding door that led to the balcony and shuffled off the couch with her cocoa mug to go take a look outside. Everyone else was still busy with their various games and didn't notice her leave, which was fine with her. As she slid the door closed behind her she was surprised at how quiet it was outside compared to all the yelling and laughing inside. Which she had no problem with, as she had been part of the cacophony herself, but the sudden contrast was nice, too.
Soul had decorated the balcony a bit, there were lights on the railing and the roof above her, as well as the rest of the house, though the house was mostly a group effort that she had actually been a part of. Apparently it was a Christmas tradition among all of them to decorate Soul's house. As a result, his was one of the brightest in the neighborhood. She smiled at a bush in the front of the yard that was more meticulously decorated than others, as Kid was only allowed to decorate that one bush. Maka chuckled at the memory that it had taken him all day to do. She, Soul, and the others had already finished the house and the rest of the yard and Kid was still making sure every light was perfectly distanced from the other. He had worked on that one little bush well into the night, and she had to admit, each light was perfectly spaced and aligned.
The door sliding shut behind her interrupted her thoughts and she glanced back over her shoulder to see Soul shuffling towards her with a blanket draped over him. “Hey.”
Maka grinned back. “Hi.”
“What'cha doing out here? Black Star too loud?” He smirked.
Maka grinned back. “Nah, I'm used to him by now. Just looking at the neighborhood. It's so quiet out here... seems like our elephant parade in there doesn't even exist.”
Soul settled behind her with a noise of agreement deep in his throat, resting his chin on top of her head and looking out down the street at his neighbors' decorations. Maka glanced up at him and smirked. “Oh what, I'm your personal headrest now?”
“Yup,” he replied without missing a beat. “Perfect height too.”
Maka rolled her eyes, but had to admit he was right. She was quite tall herself, but she only came up to Soul's chin. The only other person in their little group who was taller than Soul was Kid, and only by half an inch (Liz had made them stand back to back one day when an argument between her and Black Star over who was taller had gotten out of hand).
A cold gust of wind blew by and she shrank back into Soul without realizing it. He glanced down at her before unfolding his arms from his chest and wrapping his blanket around them both, his arms crossed over her collarbone and resting on her shoulders. Maka flinched and looked up at him, hoping he'd attribute the red on her face to the cold. He simply shrugged back at her with a lopsided grin.
“Don't look at me. You were cold. Just trying to help.”
Maka nodded and looked back out to the street, trying to ignore the fact that she was still leaning on him and he was technically holding her. They'd grown close over the time she'd known him and this wasn't the first time she'd been this close to him or in a similar position, but this just seemed... different, somehow. More intimate than the usual friendly gestures they shared as close friends. She shook her head slightly. Maybe it was just the holiday.
Soul had just settled his chin on her head again when the door opened and something hit him in the back of the head. “Ow! Son of a...” He trailed off as he realized what was possibly on his head. “Black Star... that had better not be what I think it is.”
The snicker behind him told him all he needed to know, and he sighed before lifting one arm from Maka's shoulders to peel the mistletoe out of his hair. “Why do you even have this anyway? Tsubaki finally make you toss it?”
“Actually,” Black Star replied, sounding way too happy for his own good at the turn of events. “Liz gave it to me and told me to put it to use. I was gonna use it for myself but then I saw you guys.”
“And you chucked it at my head because...?” Soul grumbled, glaring at the other boy over his shoulder while Maka simply looked from the offending plant to Black Star a couple times before turning bright red and joining Soul in scowling at the blue haired idiot.
Completely unfazed by the looks he was getting, he simply smirked back. “Gotta get your attention somehow.”
Soul sighed and put the plant down on a small table beside him, resting his arm back on Maka's shoulders. “Whatever.”
Black Star puffed up at that. “Hey, you know the rules, man. You agreed to them when we started doing this.”
Soul sighed and his forehead hit Maka's shoulder with a frustrated thump. “Seriously? You're pulling rules now?”
“Either that or I go get Liz.”
Maka felt Soul stiffen. “You wouldn't.”
Black Star's hand was already on the door, and the smirk could easily be heard in his voice. “Try me.”
Soul groaned into Maka's shoulder before grudgingly reaching out for the discarded mistletoe and dropping it back on his head. “Fine. Go away.”
“How do I know you won't just ignore it once I leave?”
The muttered curse under his breath told Maka that was exactly his plan. She inwardly sighed, as it was more or less hers, too.
“Fine,” Soul sighed. “Go get Kid.”
At this Black Star was confused. “Huh?”
Soul sighed. “Don't the rules state there has to be at least one witness?”
“Kid came in seventh last race. He was still freaking out when I came out here. Chances are...” Maka and Soul heard the door slide open a bit and then close again. “Yup. He's still freaking out.”
Another muttered curse.
Black Star sighed. “Look, it's not like I'm gonna tell the girls about it. That'd be like throwing you to the dogs with a steak around your neck. The only people who are gonna know I beaned you with the stuff is you, me, and Maka. I may be a dick, but telling Liz? That's just mean.” After a brief pause, he added, “Plus I'm pretty sure Xena there would kick my ass.”
Soul lifted his face from Maka's shoulder and rested his chin on it, looking at her to gauge her reaction. She shrugged, as if to say it wasn't really like that had a choice, desperately trying to fight off the notion that she wasn't entirely against it, and that he didn't seem to be either.
Soul lifted his chin from her shoulder and the back of his hand raised from her other shoulder to rest on her cheek and nudge her face closer to his as he leaned over her from behind. It wasn't a long kiss, no more then a second or two, but she was amazed at how gentle it was.
He pulled away slowly and shot Black Star a flat look over his shoulder. “Happy now?”
“Hey, I didn't see! That doesn't count!”
“That's bullshit and you know it. Plus the fact that the witness has to actually see the kiss was never part of the agreement. Here,” He pulled the mistletoe off his head and tossed it over his shoulder at Black Star. “Go pester Tsubaki for a while.”
Black Star grumbled, but seemed to take Soul's suggestion, as Maka briefly heard a, “Hey, Tsubaki! Look what I got!” before the door slammed shut again.
Soul sighed and rested his chin back on her shoulder. “Sorry about that... Black Star's an idiot and... well.. it's been a while. I'm out of practice.”
It took Maka a moment to figure out what he was talking about, but she sighed when she did. “I'm... out of practice too.”
Soul chuckled slightly. “You're pretty good for being out of practice, then.”
Oh God, the blush. “So... so were you.”
A long, but not necessarily awkward silence followed for a few minutes before Maka decided to speak up. “So... do you want to pretend this never happened?”
Soul was silent in thought for a moment before he replied. “No point in that, really... it happened. Be stupid to deny it.”
Maka was about to comment on how artfully he'd dodged the question before he went on, his expression thoughtful as he gazed down at the ground.
“As for me wanting to... honestly? No.” Maka blinked at him as he went on. “As for doing anything about it... that I don't know. And it's not entirely my decision to make.” He squeezed her shoulders at that. “But for what it was... by itself... was kinda nice. I don't really wanna forget that.”
Maka was speechless. “Soul...”
He looked back at her with a lopsided smile. “Not really something I'm gonna worry about right now though. I'm happy like this.”
Maka sighed, half in relief and half... some other emotion she would never admit to identifying. She leaned back into him and leaned her head against his shoulder as he rested his chin on top of her head again. They stayed that way in a comfortable silence before Soul's watch beeped, making Maka flinch at the sudden noise.
“Ah,” Soul glanced at his watch. “Midnight. We may be dragged in soon. Liz's family always played charades at midnight on Christmas Eve. She's pretty much forced it into our Christmas game night thing.”
Maka nodded but made no move to leave, and neither did Soul. She leaned back to smile up at him, and he glanced back down at her with a raised eyebrow. “Merry Christmas, Soul.”
Soul responded with a jagged grin. “Likewise.”