Soul's first crush was the younger sister of the girl his parents were trying to set him up with. She was mean, grouchy, loud, and angry. She liked to hit and bite. She was often quite rude to anybody she came into contact with. She was wildly unpopular with all of the other kids in Soul's social group, and that's why he was completely enamoured of her.
She didn't know he existed, of course, and most of the people he was supposed to be friends with pretended like she didn't exist.
After she bit the president of the social club, her parents were forced to leave 'in shame'. Soul never saw the girl again.
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Soul couldn't remember feeling that same way – sweaty, empty, nervous, his heart racing a million times a minute – about any other girl.
Well, he felt that way about Maka, but that was different.
Maka herself was different. She did as she was told and played by the rulebooks, but she was just…different. She was more dedicated, more passionate, more compassionate, smarter, cleverer, and even more adjectives he couldn't identify than any of the other girls he'd met at Shibusen. She was a tomboy. She didn't giggle or spread gossip or go on and on about boys. She actually cared about what Soul was thinking and going through, and that terrified him. No one had ever cared so much about him before.
So Soul dealt with it in the only way he could think to: by being rude to her. He didn't really mean it, and he was glad Maka knew that as well.
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They were taking down their 38th soul the first – and only – time someone accused Soul and Maka of being boyfriend and girlfriend. (In hindsight, Soul figured that this was what made Maka so upset the following day when Hiro asked him to be his partner.)
Soul felt his heart start racing.
He started sweating.
He was blushing.
"SHE IS NOT MY FUCKING GIRLFRIEND! I DON'T EVEN LIKE HER, OKAY? AND WHY WOULD I GO OUT WITH SOMEONE SO SHORT AND SO UNAPPEALING?"
Maka just stared at him. "Well gee, Soul. I'm sorry I'm such an embarrassment."
Maka swung him straight into the hard armour of their enemy, knowing it wasn't going to work. But it sure hurt Soul a whole Hell of a lot, and he never made that same mistake again.
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"Okay, Soul, I don't know what's going on."
"That's okay. You don't have to know, you just have to…to feel."
He undid her blindfold.
"You asked me to be more open and more honest about what I felt…this is how I'll express it."
Maka listened calmly, hands behind her back. Soul had been rehearsing – so unlike him – for several months now, making sure the notes were just right, but he was still sweating. At one point in time, he even slipped on a note, accidentally making it sharp when it was supposed to be flat. His hands shook for the rest of the performance.
When he was done, he didn't move. "So…that's…that's how I…feel." He couldn't hear her walking up behind him. "About you."
She sat down next to him on the bench. "That was beautiful."
He considered using a cheesy line. And then reconsidered it. "I messed up." He consciously moved his hand so it was over Maka's. "It skipped. Like a heartbeat…skipping. Going incorrectly when everything else is. And it feels weird."
"I'm not sure I understand."
"I'm not good with words. That's why…I tried to play it for you…" Maka still looked clueless, her eyes blank. "I…feel…my heart…speed up…when I'm around you. And it skips. Like the piano did. And I mess up my words, I slur on them. And I wish I could say something fluid, and nice…but I can't. I don't know how." Maka still didn't seem to be getting it. "I –" Soul gave up on his words, instead leaning forward to Maka and kissing her.
He was terrified, at first. She didn't seem to be kissing him back. That wasn't the way things were supposed to go. This was all wrong. This had to be some sort of nightmare. He was embarrassing himself horribly. Now he and Maka were going to have to find different partners, because what the Hell was he going to say to her now? He couldn't possibly continue working with her.
He tried to jerk back. Maka grabbed his wrist, holding him still. "I'm sorry, I don't – I don't know how." Soul figured Maka couldn't have been much more experience than he was, but he figured she'd read several books on it. But love was like music: not something you could study, but something you had to experience.
They tried kissing again. And again. And again.
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"I don't want your fucking approval, I'm asking your daughter to marry me, whether you like it or not."
Spirit blinked. "All I asked is how your job was going."