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"Don’t weapons get dull if you don’t sharpen them?" she muses aloud. It’s something she’s never really thought about. She’s looking at him with that curious analytical gaze that’s not at all frightening, except to the recipient.

He only gives a noncommittal shrug in reply, because it is something he’s thought about. As their relationship has gone from meister and weapon, to living together, to … whatever they are now, he’ll admit to giving too much thought to the ways she touches him when he’s in his weapon form. It’s a little ironic, perhaps, that they’re closest while he’s not human.

And he’ll admit that the idea of being sharpened is bizarrely appealing to him, enough to make him sit up and pay attention when she fetches a whetstone from the kitchen. Soul can practically hear the gears in her head hum as she stares into the distance, fingers curling over the stone as she contemplates it.

"Transform into scythe form," she says, because she’s his meister, and he does, because he’s her weapon.

She lays him out on her lap, and he trembles internally with a strange sensation of anticipation. That some very strong part of him wants this is something he is absolutely sure about, but why the idea should have any appeal is wholly a mystery.

She’s careful with the first stroke, taking long painful seconds to make contact, as if the hundreds of times she’s driven him blade first into the body of some monster meant nothing. When she does finally draw the stone from base to tip, it scatters his thoughts completely, a long stroke of alien pleasure. “Does that hurt?” she asks with frank innocence, and he has to take a minute to compose himself lest his tone betray him. There’s no way in hell that taking this much pleasure in being sharpened is normal or acceptable or okay. “Nah, s’fine,” he finally says.

She grinds the stone against him again, a little harder this time, and he wants to shiver all over from the careful, delicate way she’s touching him. He knows this is impossible and bizarre and wrong—he has no nerves to feel Maka’s hands touching him, no blood to rush to the surface of his skin. She touches him again and again, settling into a slow rhythm. There’s no sound in the room except for the shhhck of stone on metal, and her breathing, even and deliberate.

Maybe it’s the fact that she will never be close to anyone else in precisely this way that’s stirring him up like this. All he knows is that he could spend forever receiving these feelings from Maka, sharp and hot and intangible but undeniably pleasure. She handles him like he’s more than a weapon, a living being that can be hurt or comforted, and he’s glad for that, of course. He wouldn’t have it any other way. But to be at the same time her weapon, wholly and deeply, is a desire that burns hot in the hard metal of his blade.

She pauses and puts the stone down to examine her handiwork. The calloused pads of her fingers rest gently against his blade; she’s careful not to cut herself.

After a long moment of staring at him, looking lost in her thoughts, she sets him down without a word and walks out of the living room. She returns with more implements: a soapy cloth and a damp one, and sandpaper. A fresh swell of affection hits him as he realizes that she’s going to clean him.

"How does that feel?" she asks casually, running the cloth up and down the length of him, still with the same slow deliberation rather than the aggressive determination he might have expected.

"Fine," he answers immediately, but regrets it. "I mean, it’s a lot more than fine, actually. You would think that all touch would feel the same, I guess, but it’s better than that. It’s sorta sensual, and intimate." The words slip out before he has a chance to catch them, and he half expects her to give him a smack for that.

Instead she flushes red and works a little harder at cleaning the side of his blade. “Yeah, it is, huh?” She wipes off the suds and grit with a dry spot of the cloth, and switches over to the sandpaper, losing herself in the laborious task of coaxing a shine from his battered surfaces. “Soul?” she asks eventually, her voice too timid to match her position as his meister.


"You wouldn’t … let just anyone do this, right?" She peers intently down at the paper in her hands as if it will let her evade his perception.

“‘Course not,” he says hurriedly. “You’re my meister, after all. This is our thing.”

She lets out a sigh and a nervous laugh at the same time. “Okay, I think you can transform back now.” His skin feels tingly and hot, and from the way she’s looking at him he must be red in the face.

But neither of them have to speak before Soul sits down next to her on the couch and Maka rests her head on his shoulder. The space between them is too slight for just friends: it’s a little bit intimate, a little bit sensual. But that’s just how their relationship works.