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Stay Young, Go Dancing

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“Just give us whatever room you’ve got,” Maka mutters, yawning as she hands over her Shibusen-issued card. The woman at the front desk studies the card and then studies Maka carefully, as if she were some sort of toddler demanding a hotel room at midnight. (The more Soul thinks about it, the more the description seems fittingly accurate.) After careful consideration, the woman hands Maka back her card and starts typing away at her keyboard, scrolling through until her amber eyes meet theirs again.

“We’ve got one on the third floor, number 3-1-2. Here’s your keys. I hope you enjoy your stay with us.” Maka nods her head as she takes the key cards, nudging Soul with her elbow as she passes by to motion him towards the elevator. He follows behind, as always, just like the dutiful watchdog he is. He presses the button for her when they arrive at the metal sliding doors and then waits, leaning his back against the wall with a sigh.

They’ve had a long night.

When the doors finally slide open, they amble inside, lethargic. Soul finds the number three button on the panel and pushes it, joining Maka’s side once the doors slide closed. He eyes her curiously when she bends over, realizing a moment later that she’s removing her shoes.

“Hold these, please?” she says once they’re off, dangling them in front of Soul’s face. He grabs them from her grasp with a grumble, but doesn’t complain. It’s only temporary, after all (and he can’t find it in himself to deny her anything.) Maka hums in appreciation, an added measure just in case he doesn’t already know she’s grateful of him. He knows.

The doors open several seconds later and they file out, Maka’s finger raised as she searches for their room number. When she finds it, she quickly swipes the key card and ushers him inside, shutting the door abruptly. After Soul flickers on the lights, he notices a problem: there’s only one bed.

It’s silly that after all this time being partners they can’t just share a bed for one goddamn night, but he soldiers on anyway, grabbing a pillow from the bed and tossing it on the floor.

“What are you doing?” Maka inquires of him, watching with one brow raised as he lowers himself to the floor.

“Getting ready to sleep, what does it look like?” he grunts back at her, unable to stop the bitterness from exhaustion slipping through his tone.

“Stop being dumb, Soul,” she says softly, her vivid forest-green eyes boring a hole into his heart. “Get on the damn bed already.”

“No, you stop being dumb, Maka. I’m not letting you sleep on the floor.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Oh. Oh.

He watches her as she shuffles to the other side of the room, pulling her ties out of her hair, allowing her wheat-blonde locks to fall loosely onto her shoulder. Soul never says it aloud, but he likes it when she puts her hair down. (His only qualm is that it makes him desperately want to run his fingers through the soft strands.) She jumps onto the bed after she’s unraveled a bit, emitting an “Ahhhh” as she relaxes. Soul slips carefully in bed next to her, leaving a reasonable amount of space between the two of them, an appropriate distance. He lets the minutes tick by as he waits in agony for the moment she’ll tell him she’s changed her mind, that she doesn’t feel comfortable residing in the same bed as him, but that moment never arrives.

It takes him a second to realize she’s fallen asleep, her gentle breaths barely escaping her delicate, pink lips. Soul turns on his side to face her, his crimson eyes trained on her peaceful face.

He wonders to himself if there’ll ever be a moment where that empty space won’t feel like miles between them. He’s not sure when his want for isolation changed into craving her closeness, and if he’s being honest, it terrifies him. He desires his meister’s porcelain skin against his, to be able to run the tips of his fingers over every hill and valley that form the expanse of her body. He wants Maka so badly, and she wants nothing to do with him in that way. The thought of it tortures him, even keeps him wide awake at night.

The bed shifts underneath him all of a sudden, catching him off guard as she nestles up against him, radiating heat like a furnace.

“I’m right here, Soul,” Maka murmurs softly into his arm, her hands clasping his shoulder. Soul turns to stone—she’s never done this before, and the whole situation lights a million neurons in his brain at once, none of them daring to fizzle out. His mind is fireworks and his heart is a snare drum about to beat wildly out of his chest.

“Maka . . .” he whispers, her name barely escaping his mouth, but he stops as soon as he feels her forehead burrow against the crook of his neck.

“You think too much. Let’s just go to sleep, okay?” Okay. He can do that. Sleep is nothing when she’s pressing up against him, a reassuring presence sending him warm regards.

Soul’s eyes close and, for the first time in a while, he can rest easy.