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Bat Country

Chapter Text

"Bat Country"

"Can't you help me as I'm starting to burn?

Too many doses and I'm starting to get an attraction…"

Chapter 1—"Rebirthing"

"I lie here paralytic inside this soul

Screaming for you 'till my throat is numb."

There are some things Stein remembers in vivid detail. There are some memories that seem to fly over his head, as if they had never happened.

This is a combination of the two.

It's always a combination of the two, especially when it concerns his favorite activity.

Like always, Maka is at his beck and call. Such a good girl. Such a sweet girl.

Such a perfect girl.

Stein always wonders why Maka plays along with all of his antics. Why she even bothers to come over when she knows just what will happen. When she knows just how wrong the very idea of it is.

She's a perfect student. She should know when to listen to her professor, and when he's just being insane.

But she's always there, that damned pleasant smile on her face that makes Stein want to cut open her mouth and make it even bigger so he can see it all the time. She's always ready; always willing to do whatever she can for him.

And it's not even for extra credit.

The merit of a true perfect student—the student who does whatever she can to help others.

Ah, that's just what makes her soul so damned perfect.

Stein can't help but read it, all the time. He's sure she does the same to his, sees all its flaws and mistakes.

Oh, how similar and different she is to him. He sees that possible insanity behind her eyes as well, like at any moment she can cross the threshold into total freedom from set rules. He can read into just how determined she is to make Soul a Death Scythe, and how conflicted she feels about him.

He feels exactly the same about her. Conflicted.

He loves her lithe, tiny body and skin as soft as the inside of a seashell. He loves her fragility, her false innocence, her slender muscles. He loves her willingness to let him in and let him taint her in the only way she'll ever let him.

He doesn't love her.

She knows this, because she doesn't love him either.

He thinks about this as she shows up to his doorstep. That's why this memory is nothing but a blur of time.

A blur of everything that is Maka, save what he loves about her. He focuses on what he loves, focuses on how he wants to do things to it that will cause her to never want to see him again.

He wants a scalpel in his hands.

And suddenly, it's there. Suddenly, he's in his lab, not in the main room or his bedroom. There's a scalpel in his hands, and Maka is heavily sedated, unconscious, bound by leather restraints.

Right on the examination table. Right where he always wants her. Her smooth skin is his to command, to turn into sandpaper just by using a few tools.

He's never seen anything more perfect or beautiful in his life.

Usually Stein remembers the sex. That's usually the most vivid thing for him, because he's ripping Maka apart from the inside, and she welcomes it. She lets him touch her and kiss where he wants, because she knows he's actually visualizing something different when he moves inside her perfectly.

Today, he has a slight recalling of it, of her small hands curled around his lapel at the peak of ecstasy and her legs tightly wrapped around his waist.

That's all. And now she is here. Stein does not remember how. He's sure it has to do with his mind slipping into insanity. Yes. That has to be it.

And now he's here, gaze shifting from her perfect body to his perfect scalpel.

He's finally going to do it.

He's finally going to dissect her.

Oh, how long he's wanted this…

Without thinking, Stein gets to work. There is no time to waste, because he also wants to see her reaction to when she wakes. He wants her to know just how beautiful she is, and how much more perfect she will become with the perfect scars blemishing her smooth skin.

His lines are precise and calculated, taking his time to make sure she's cut into properly. He draws a straight line down her middle, wanting to see every organ within her body. He wants to kiss her heart; wants to drench his hands in her blood and taste that metallic perfection.

Stein wants it all.

He doesn't like to wear gloves while doing dissections. He doesn't want a layer of latex between his hands and her crimson blood. He wants to feel it between his fingers, wants it to stain his lab coat and wants it to be everywhere.

The sight of Maka's blood is everything he's ever wanted to see and more. He can't describe how beautiful and perfect it is. He can't describe how he's longed to touch and taste it. Just a taste. Nothing more.

He's going to stitch her back together, of course. He wants to play some more afterward.

As he continues to cut into her body, past layers of skin and tissue and muscle, Stein begins to give himself into the insanity, letting it consume him more and more. It starts in his core, then travels outward, making him realize that he no longer has control.

Without Maka conscious, Stein realizes that she can't keep him in the right mind. Without Spirit, the same happens. He sees just how much he is affected, sees that it's starting to become harder and harder for him to just rip into her and tear her heart out just to feel it beat for a moment in his hands.

"Oh, you're so perfect…" Stein murmurs to her, though he knows she can't hear him. Still, he imagines she does.

After this, he's going to make her smile permanent. Give her perfect stitches in perfect crescents across her cheeks.

At this point, Maka is perfectly exposed to Stein, her blood and muscle and organs for him to see. He gives a crazed smile, chuckling softly to himself as he places the scalpel aside, not wanting to clean it.

Now it's time to drench them both in that perfectly red blood.

Stein sanitizes his hands before touching her. He takes her into consideration, of course. Why wouldn't he? He wants her to be as perfect as possible.

He leans down and kisses her limp lips briefly, finding them as soft as ever. They have not changed. The edge of his white coat brushes against her opened body, staining it in the blood he craves.

Stein looks down into Maka, seeing her perfect organs and fantasizing about ripping them out. He knows he can't, but at least he's gotten this far. He runs the tips of his fingers against the perimeter of what he's opened, feeling its smoothness.

His fingers dip down, brushing lightly against her intestines, her stomach, her ribs, her lungs. He licks his fingers and hums in delight, loving the metallic taste. He wants more, more of that perfect essence, but at the same time he doesn't want her to lose too much blood at the same time.

She looks so peaceful, so perfect and content with everything that Stein is doing to her.

In reality, she's not, and he knows this.

In mere seconds the wonderful dream turns into a horrid nightmare.

Stein shoots up quickly in a cold sweat and tries to forget just how vivid his dream was. They're becoming more and more intense, to the point where he almost can't distinguish fantasy from reality.

He wants to dissect her.

He can't dissect her.

Stein runs a hand through his hair, then quickly lights a cigarette to calm himself down. It helps keep his insanity down, as he finds himself entranced by the patterns he can make with the smoke that curls from his lips. It calms his nerves, his mind. His heart rate slows, and he can think more clearly.

He has to see Maka again.

He shouldn't see her here.

As soon as he finishes this cigarette, he realizes something.

A familiar hardness between his legs.


Not again.

Chapter Text

"Bat Country"

"I've been sane too long my vision's so unclear

Now take a trip with me but don't be surprised when things aren't what they seem…"

Chapter 2—"One More Night"

"I'd be waking up in the morning probably hating myself

And I'd be waking up feeling satisfied but guilty as hell

But baby, there you go again making me love you

Yeah, I stopped using my head; let it all go…

And now I'm feeling stupid crawling back to you

So I cross my heart and I hope to die; that I'll only stay with you one more night…"

Maka hates when the phone rings in their home.

She's changed the number so many times—one for each time her father somehow found it. Soul asks why, and she just pouts in return. She can't explain her relationship with her father.

Sometimes she hates him, despises him with a burning passion.

Other times she wants to be in his arms again and feel his assuring fingers in her hair. Sometimes she wants him to read to her again like she was a little girl.

Today, however, she hates him. She hates the fact that the phone is ringing, because she can feel that it's him on the other line.

Soul, of course, reads her mind.

"Should I get it and tell the bastard to stop calling?"

Maka nods, brows furrowing as she sits on the couch, crossing her arms and legs tightly.

Soul picks up the phone after the third ring and immediately goes off on him. "Listen, you bastard, if you think you can just keep calling here, you're sorely mistaken—"

It stops there.

Soul's face slowly contorts from being angry to a flushed, embarrassed crimson. His knuckles are so white; he's clutching the phone so hard.

Maka looks over, blinking as she wonders just who is on the other line.

Suddenly, Soul starts stuttering and apologizing, which piques Maka's curiosity as to who's on the other line.

"N-no, of course I didn't mean it…! I-I thought… Well, I… It's just…"

Still blinking, Maka is on the verge of demanding to know who it is.

"Y-yes, Sir. She's right here."

Soul shakily hands her the phone, and Maka looks at it as if she's never seen it before.

"Professor Stein," Soul mouths, eyes widened in that same embarrassment.

At the mention of his name, Maka's eyes widen as well. What could he possibly want? She takes the phone in curious hands, timidly putting it to her ear. "Yes…?"

"I need to see you." His tone and voice are shaky and desperate. Maka knows something really isn't right if he's calling her. It's an unspoken rule they have. Calling only increases risk of being caught. And neither can afford for that to happen.

So the fact that he's calling means this is really an emergency.

"W-well, Professor, is this urgent…?" she asks softly, moving into her room so Soul can't hear this conversation.

He only speaks one word, because he can't articulate any other: "Please."

It sounds so needy and desperate. That's not who Stein is. Therefore, Maka knows that she has no choice in this matter. He really doesn't sound well.

"Okay," she replies timidly, unsure of what the remedy for this is. She doesn't even know what's wrong.

All she knows is that she has to find out.

With that, she hangs up, then hands Soul the phone so he can put it back where it belongs.

"What did he say?" Soul raises a curious eyebrow, seeing as their teacher has never called them before.

Maka tries to think of some excuse. "He wanted to congratulate me for scoring well on last week's test," she says quickly with a nod.

"Oh." Soul still seems confused. "Why would he call about that?"

Maka shrugs slowly, hesitantly. She isn't sure about this excuse now. She's about to go see Stein, after all. "Who knows?" She turns on her heel, grabbing a leather jacket.

"I'm going out," she tells Soul, pulling the jacket on as she opens the door.

A half-truth. Soul says nothing.

"Oh, and, make sure Blair doesn't go through my clothes again to throw them out and replace them with her own."

Stein is usually very calculated with his movements around Maka. He knows just how to position himself, how to hold himself around her and how to speak, using the most concise words for their brief conversations.

This is nothing like that.

When Maka arrives at his door he immediately pulls her in and is hugging her tight before the door is completely closed. Maka gasps, feeling the life getting squeezed out of her for a few moments before he quickly pulls away and turns on his heel.

She is utterly confused; she doesn't know how to deal with this. "Professor…?" she asks in a timid voice.

Maka reads his soul, trying to get a semblance of what he's feeling.

There's nothing more complicated.

There's that sense of lust, of course, his want for her. There are all his conflicting feelings. And something dark that Maka can't place.

It's all increased tenfold, and Maka is genuinely scared.

There is no escape, she knows. Not unless he stops himself.

"I made you tea," he announces, going into the kitchen for the first time since they started meeting like this.

Maka's heart skips a beat. She didn't know it would all end this soon.

Stein hands her a hot mug, his own hands shaking on top of hers for a moment before he pulls away.

Her voice is still timid. "Thank you." She puts the cup to her lips, preparing for the end. The end of all of this, this strange and twisted affair. After she politely finishes this cup she'll leave and never return.

"Professor… this is coffee."

Hopefully this means they are still on this roller coaster together. She wishes she wasn't so drawn into all of this; she hates and loves it…

"Ah. Yes. Right." He clears his throat. Maka sets the cup on a nearby surface.

She sits down in her usual spot on his couch, perched on the edge with her fists in her lap. This time they are shaking.

Stein stands this time. He's not on his rolling chair as usual.

Taking a deep breath, Maka decides to look into Stein's soul again. She has to read him more clearly.

After a moment of delving in, she can see that he's on the precipice of insanity.

She can see that she is both the remedy and the cause of Stein's mental demise.

"You should smoke," she suggests, though she hates it. But it's the only thing she knows that will calm him down.

"It won't help." Stein looks away and shakes his head. "Besides… I'm out."

There really must be something wrong with him. Maka's mouth opens slightly, wanting to say something but not finding the right words.

In this case, actions are necessary.

And they both know what the lesser of two evils is here.

Maka stands. Her hands do not shake as she removes her jacket and throws it to the floor. They do not shake as she rids herself of layers of clothing that he usually peels off. They do not shake as she lets her hair fall down her back after taking it down. But her breathing is labored and uneven; she fears what will happen.

It makes her feel alive.

Stein's eyes do not stray the entire time. He is finally focused on one thing: her.

She brings a hand behind her neck. He hasn't made a move and she's starting to feel uncomfortable though he has seen her like this many times.

Maybe he really did want to break this off…

Before she knows it he's carrying her. This time upstairs instead of down to his lab.

His bedroom.

Maka does not take in petty details like the type of bed he has or the color of his curtains. She does not care if the room is dark. She does not care about anything else but this.

Stein kisses her with animalistic need, sparing no time to be caring. Maka can tell he doesn't want to get this over with; he wants to just touch her roughly because he can and he knows she won't complain.

She does not fight back as Stein's slimy tongue ravages the inside her mouth, despite the fact that she doesn't react very much to the feeling. She just closes her eyes and swallows a moan, her arms slowly wrapping themselves around his neck because that just feels right at the moment. Holding him close, pressed to him like this… it's an intimacy that only they will know and understand.

Maka pulls away to lightly pant for air, emerald eyes slit. Her chest heaves up and down, and she can't help but notice Stein's eyes there. She says nothing.

He doesn't see developing breasts.

He sees her heart underneath layers of skin and tissue and muscle and bone.

He looks at it longingly, like he wants to eat it.

She knows if she ever lets her guard down, he probably will.

Maka has never put a label on this relationship, this level of intimacy. Is it sex, fucking…? She feels too young to really know. But she likes to think she's mature enough to understand.

In reality, deep down she knows she's just a baby when it comes to this complex act of familiarity.

When Stein buries his head in her chest, Maka's breath hitches. She knows he loves this position best, and he tries to encourage it though she presses for more experimental ways to express all these pent up feelings.

Today, though, he seems desperate for it in how close he holds the small of her back to his stomach. He grinds softly against her and she moans—she's already wet and he's getting hard.

"Why won't you see me…?" he asks against her skin, and she can decipher the question through the vibrations of his voice.

She sighs and tilts her head back slightly. "Because we don't love each other," she simply answers. It's brutal, but true.

He grunts in reply. One hand stops her hand from grinding a moment so they can really start this.

Maka refuses to see, touch, or taste it.

Stein doesn't really care; he just likes to tease her.

She gasps as she feels it bare right against her—oh, God, she needs it now; it's not just him.

Stein kisses her again, and Maka curls her toes, steeling herself for the pain and pleasure.

Her back arches and she breaks the kiss, her eyes closed as she lets a moan rip through her throat at the initial penetration. It never gets old. It never gets boring.

His mouth clamps to her left breast, sucking the sensitive flesh, licking and kissing the area just above her heart. It's what he wants to do underneath all those layers.

The thing about this position, Maka knows from previous experiences, is that she has to do most of the work. She soon lifts herself almost entirely off him before slamming back down.

Stein grunts.

And that's how it goes. Occasionally Stein gives Maka a hungry kiss, as if he'll eat her whole face off. Maka speeds up her pace over time, her moans becoming more high-pitched and needy. Stein's mouth seems permanently attached to her chest—not that Maka minds at all. She's too caught up in the pleasure.

The greatest thing to do is to just let go and focus on that desire—and that's just what Maka does. She lets Stein do as she pleases as her body starts to move instinctively. She doesn't notice, but she's starting to get better at this.

Stein's pants and intermittent moans begin to grow as well, and his hips rise to meet her downward thrusts. Maka sighs as she rides him, completely engrossed in how everything is blurred and imperfect.

Yes, that's the word to describe this.


This realization brings her to clarity.

With a few more hard thrusts on both ends, release arrives almost prematurely, yet also at the perfect time. Maka is sure that any longer and she would have completely lost herself. Thank God.

Stein sighs and rests his chin where his lips just were, staring up at her through half-lidded eyes.

She stares back, panting softly. Her heart beats erratically and she tells it to shut up.

"I love you."

They're his words, not hers.

"No you don't," she ekes out softly.

"I wish I did," he confesses.

Maka gulps. "But you never will."

His soul seems quite content.

"I never will," he repeats. "I just like to imagine I do."

Maka can't help but smile softly at this. It's quite tragic, actually. She knows there's only one thing he loves.

And it's definitely not her.

With a sigh she lifts herself off him and lays down on the bed, closing her eyes a moment, content with the world as well.

She lets her guard down without realizing it.

It's her biggest mistake; she knows better.

Even still, that barrier is taken down.

Stein hovers over her and sighs, pressing his lips to her neck, right on the nape.

Her vertebrae.

Maka doesn't notice and allows the kisses, leaning slightly into those callused hands brushing lightly down her back.

For this moment, they are lovers. They are pretending they love each other. Like they are not imperfect.

Maka doesn't notice the light shaking of Stein's hands on her soft skin.

It's not sandpaper.

Not yet, at least.

"I love you," he lies, pressing her back to his chest, where they lock perfectly. His arms wrap protectively around her abdomen. Perhaps a bit too tightly.

"I love you, too," she fibs back.

Because she's never played pretend before this.

It's fun.

Chapter Text

"Bat Country"

"I've known it from the start

All these good ideas will tear your brain apart

Scared, but you follow me

I'm too weird to live but much too rare to die…"

Chapter 3—"Pistols At Dawn"

"Oh, temper, temper, Missy

Resorting to violence if you disagree

Oh, the rhythm is slow

Have to admit you're the star of the show

Oh, temper, temper, Missy…"

Surely she should be home by now… Blair has probably replaced her closet with lingerie and Soul has probably concocted some disaster in the kitchen in an attempt at cooking.

Maka doesn't care about any of that right now.

All she cares about is the fine line she walks between insanity and comfort.

And Stein isn't helping that one bit; he's just making it worse.

But she can't leave. Not when Stein's soul is still so insecure. She needs to stay here.

Maka hunches over a pillow that is pressed to her naked chest, hugging it to her tightly. She thinks of what to do.

Stein leans over her, brushing her hair over her shoulder so he has access to her neck. He kisses it softly, his hands resting lightly on her sides.

She's been here for hours. They've been corrupting each other the whole time. They haven't left the bed.

"What are you murmuring…?" Stein inquires, his lips meeting her shoulder now with a hum.

She doesn't realize that she was even speaking.

"Sometimes I like to come up with poems to calm myself down," she confesses. She doesn't mention that she does it when she's bothered by something. In this case, Stein disturbs her.

"Can I hear it…?" he asks. She can tell he just wants to hear it just to hear her voice.

She nods. Maybe, just maybe, it will help him.

Maka recites her little poem, taking her time to be slow with delivery. She talks about the thread they both walk between insanity and serenity in the simplest terms she knows how, making sure to utilize iambic pentameter.

Stein hums in approval. "Ah… no wonder you're my top student…" he utters. "You really need to stop impressing me."

Though he can't see it, she blushes. "Don't say things like that," she warns, closing her eyes. "You're my teacher, not my…"

She trails off. She knows Stein can fill in the blank easily.

"I don't know what to call myself around you," he admits softly.

"If it's any consolation, neither do I." She turns and smiles at him.

They don't say anything for a few moments.

This time she breaks the silence.

"You're a good person, Professor." She does mean this.

Smirking, Stein holds her a bit tighter, a bit more lovingly, for lack of a better word.
"Flattery will not raise your grade, Miss Albarn," he jokes back, kissing her neck again.

"That's okay." Maka decides to play along. "I'm sure my grade won't suffer too much." She shivers a bit at the feeling of those lips against her skin. "But I do mean it." Despite his flaws, he's on their side. The good side. It could have easily gone the other way.

Which means that he has at least some semblance of ethics.

There are another few moments of silence. Maka thinks up another poem and a reason to go home. She comes up with the former, not the latter.

She instead tries to think of why Stein is about to go insane.

She has a few theories, and she wants to know.

Maka goes with her first instinct. "Did you want to see me because you want to dissect me?" he asks softly.

Stein's breath hitches a moment, then he hums, amused. "Honestly, you could be considered a genius in some contexts," he replies. He takes a moment to think up his own response. "Does that scare you?"

She turns to face him again. "I'm here, aren't I?"

Again, he's amused. "You have too much faith in me. It's tragic, really. I'm no soul worth saving. I can—and probably will—turn against you at any moment."

Maka can't believe what she's hearing. She pouts and leans more into him. "Your soul is worth saving, and you know I'm not the only one to think this. What about Miss Marie? Your students…?"

"You'd have to really care about me, wouldn't you?" His lips trail up her neck to her jaw. "Perhaps even… love?" To him, it's kind of a joke.

Then again, he might mean it.


He couldn't.

Maka knows he's incapable of loving her. He's just confusing lust for love.

"I don't love you," she answers truthfully. "And I know you want me to so you could have some sort of power over me, but that's just wishful thinking. I care about whether or not you'll go mad."

Stein smirks against her skin and holds her even tighter, almost uncomfortably. "If either of us loved each other, I'm sure it would mean the end of the world."

"It would." This isn't playful banter to Maka anymore. She slits her eyes slightly, pleading for Stein to just stop it.

He gets the hint, but doesn't comply. "And on that day, if and when that happens, my scalpel will finally get to touch you…"

Maka tenses. This isn't sweet anymore. This is scary.

"Professor. I need to go home."

"No you don't. You wanted to see me. You want to keep seeing me." He chuckles, and Maka's heart beats faster, afraid.

"You wanted to see me," she clarifies, trying to break away. It doesn't work. "I wanted to see if you were okay."

"And I am."

"No, you're not," she says sternly. "And this is getting to be too much for me to handle, Professor."

He rests his chin on her neck and licks the outer shell of her ear, making her gasp and shiver. "Oh, darling. You can call me by my name in private."

Oh, God, what has she done? She's let her guard down and he's giving in to that insanity.

And for a moment, she realizes she wants her father, the only one who knows Stein better than she or Lord Death do. She wants to be in hisarms, as a small child, as he reads to her and assures her there are no monsters in the closet.

She realizes she's just let one out.

And now he wants to devour her.

"Professor…?" Her voice is nothing but a small whimper now, letting the fear really get to her. "Please. If you care one iota about me, please just let me go…"

She feels so helpless.

"But if I let you go I won't be able to see your heart…" he protests, much like a child, with a childish grin and a laugh that sends shivers down her spine. "Just one snip… I'll make sure to stitch you back up, my dear…"

The pet names just creep her out. If she screams, no one will hear. She saves her energy. She also knows she can't fight him. She's much too weak, and he is brilliant, though demented.

"No, I need to get home…"

What can she say to make him change his mind or make him at least let her go…?

"I want tea!" she exclaims, frightened eyes meeting his dark, crazed ones.

He seems to snap back, his grip on her instantly loosening. "Maka…" he murmurs.

She can't do this anymore. Not when he's like this, at least. It's too much for her to handle. "Please. I want you to make me tea."

With a nod, Stein slowly lets her go. His soul wavelength has calmed. Maka knows she has gotten to him. Even at the cost of something she hates to admit she holds dear. Yes, she admits to herself that she enjoys these times with Stein, despite how wrong and unethical they are.

Maka takes a deep breath. Stein stares at her for a moment, then gently carries her down to the kitchen, even though she can walk. But she still allows this, still hesitant. He doesn't speak.

That is, until he sets her on a counter in his kitchen. "Excuse that, Maka. You know why I lost control so suddenly."

Maka bites her lip and looks in another direction. She sits on her hands, finally comfortable with not wearing anything while Stein is fully clothed. "It's fine. I'll leave after this." Forever.

Stein approaches her and gently cups her face. "Don't," he replies, his look pleading like a child begging for a Christmas present. "Maka… I need this. I need you."

She shakes her head. "No you don't," she says. "I know why you keep me around. We're only putting ourselves in harm." She has to put a stop to this.

He doesn't deny it, and she wonders why he still wants it. Wants her when he knows she doesn't believe in the thing he holds most precious. He lets her go and starts on the tea.

Maka looks away and lets her guard down again.

Big mistake.

Stein heats up water, but he's not making Maka the tea she wants.

No. Stein isn't letting her go. He wants her. He wants to keep her. She's even more perfect than her father, only because she's so brilliant. And female. And extremely beautiful, despite the fact that she's still growing.

Though Stein's heartbeat has calmed, he is not feeling composed at all. If anything, he has already gone insane. He just hasn't physically expressed it yet. In his insane mind, he knows just when to attack and when to show her his true colors.

When he senses Maka isn't looking, he slips something into her drink.

Odorless, tasteless, and she will fall under its influence within the hour.

Stein will have her right where he wants her. On his operating table.

And instead of making her tea like she requested, he makes her hot chocolate.

He hands her the tainted drink. "I'm sorry; I don't have tea."

It's a lie. Marie has left too much of it here and he should be making it as much as possible.

But he hates tea.

Maka nods slowly, and hesitantly drinks it. "Thank you, Professor," she whispers.

He casually sits up on the counter next to her, leaning his head on her bare shoulder. He's not one to do this, but in this state he can't stop touching her.

"Are you cold?" he asks after a moment.

She shakes her head. Stein knows she just wants to make him happy. And he is. She has such a nice, developing body. Seeing her like this only makes Stein want to look further into her. And he will.

It's all about seizing the opportunity, and they both know this well.

Yet Maka hasn't reached his level of brilliance just yet. She's close, but no dice.

She's not willing to take as many risks as he is. Not yet, at least. She's taking a large risk now, in being with him, but there's still an element she's not giving herself into.

Her instinct.

Her feelings.

"Will you still dance with me?" he asks, sitting up again. He adjusts his glasses and twists the knob on his head, calming himself down. Not yet…

She nods, hesitantly. "I don't have much of a choice," she admits.

"Oh, I may be leading, but you still have some influence over this. Let's not forget who started this." He smirks slightly as she blushes.

They sit in silence as Maka finishes her hot chocolate. She consumes it all, and Stein knows he has mere minutes, twenty at most, before she starts feeling those effects.

He has to distract her, as if she really is tired out.

"Come here," he murmurs, pulling her in for a gentle kiss. She complies and sighs into it softly, her eyes fluttering shut. Stein cups her face again with one hand, and the other wraps around her waist to draw her close. Doing this on the kitchen counter is kinky; maybe they should move somewhere else…

Maka gives in, he sees. Good girl.

Gently he lifts Maka into his arms, and she wraps her arms and legs around him.

Time to go to the lab.

She pants, clutching to him tightly. Why does she feel so tired all of a sudden? Maka holds tightly to Stein, struggling to keep her eyes open.

She's been here too long, that has to be it. She should have gone home hours ago.

She shouldn't have worried about Stein so much…

"Shh…" he whispers in her ear, placing her down on the operating table. And Maka tries her hardest to stay awake but she can't…

Has Stein done something to her?


Stein smirks, stroking her face as he pulls out, then tucks himself away again. He places a kiss over her heart and then her neck. Then her lips.

"You can take a rest here; it's fine."

If she's so tired, why isn't he? Is it because he's used to that sort of thing, unlike her?

Sex, she thinks. Even you can say it in your head.

Right, no need to be embarrassed.

Is it because Stein has more experience with sex, unlike her? She's only starting to explore this side of her, after all.

But it's never made her so tired before. Is it because she's been here so long?

Maka convinces herself that it's just her, that she's just tired and she should just let sleep take her over, because Stein isn't the cause of it.

She hates denial.

"Professor… please tell me something…" she ekes out, eyes staying closed even longer. Her eyelids feel so heavy…

"Hm…?" Stein raises a curious eyebrow and twists the bolt on his head a few times, waiting for what she has to say.

"Tell me you don't love me." If she has that assurance, she knows she is in no danger at all. Then she's just tired.

Stein smirks and Maka is scared. He produces a cigarette from his pocket.

"I thought you were out…" Her heart beats faster. She can't even move. And she's pretty sure that's not just nerves.

He shrugs, and the smirk just grows. "Looks like I lied." He chuckles softly.

Maka's eyes slit, and it's not just because she can't really keep them open.

She's been tricked.

"Damn you…" she curses, and those are her last words as she starts to fade into the blackness.

His chuckle becomes an uncontrollable giggle. The last thing she sees is him hovering above her with that absolutely insane grin.

"Oh darling… One more thing. I realize I'd be lying if I said I didn't love you…"

He kisses her until she fades into that blackness and completely loses consciousness.

But it's not true.

Stein doesn't love Maka.

His insanity does, though. It craves for her stability and brilliance and beauty.

Because it is his total opposite.

Knowing he has no time to spare, Stein begins to restrain Maka, strapping down her wrists to the operating table to make sure she can't get away. He ties down her ankles as well, wanting to ensure she won't leave him. Stein makes sure her restraints are secure, then chuckles to himself as he sees just how perfect she looks. Nothing could be more amazing than to see her so helpless, so needy…

So dependent. It's a rare occurrence.

"Maka…" he whispers, kissing her limp lips again. This is much better than doing this to Spirit; she's so tiny and perfect and pretty... Stein gives himself over to the madness without any realization—it's so seamless. There's no gap between where he contemplates his ethics.

He has no time for tedious, frivolous matters.

Stein sedates Maka and makes her numb, so she can't thrash about once she does wake up. She's going to witness all of this, and not feel a thing.

Ah, modern technology.

She's going to wake up in a few minutes.

Even still, Stein takes his time, sanitizing his hands, his tools. They will be stained permanently with her blood—he doesn't intend to wash any of it off. He wants it thick and red and messy.

He can't stop giggling at the idea. It's uncontainable. He wants it, wants her.

And he's going to get her, no matter the cost.

Though Stein has the one cigarette, it is tucked safely away. No need to calm down right now. He is composed. Cool. Collected.

Yet at the same time his insanity brewing inside him is almost unable to be controlled. It boils, begging to be released tenfold.

Stein has to have Maka. He's waited too long for this.

He sanitizes and cleans his hands and tools, preparing everything to be perfect.

As her eyes flutter after a few minutes, Stein smiles maniacally, ready for this.

Nothing will stop his scalpel from making sweet, sweet love to her.

Maka follows the light at the end of the tunnel and wishes she hadn't.

She wakes, blinking slowly and languidly to see Stein smiling down at her like an experiment.

She can't feel anything.

She can't move anything.

She is his experiment.

Her eyes try taking in her bound wrists and ankles, how she is hooked up to sedatives. Her heart beats rapidly in her ears.

She can't speak.

She is completely helpless, and she has no one to blame but herself.

Eyes half-lidded, she realizes that she has no way to really communicate with Stein and tell him that this is wrong.

She has underestimated her professor.

And now she is about to pay for it.

Maka tries to send any sign she can to Stein to signal that he is not right in his mind right now. He would never do this sane. Think about it, yes. But never would he act upon it like this.

As he occasionally chuckles and smiles largely at her, Maka tries to think of any way she can make Stein see the error of his ways.

Please, Professor, she begs in her mind. I know you don't really want to do this…

Stein comments about how beautiful she is, how much more beautiful she will be when she is cut open.

Maka cannot hear his words over the rapid, pounding beating of her heart.

Please… I know you care about me enough to not do this…

Her eyes plead for her, convey every emotion she can't express. It's work, but the last thing she wants is to be Stein's next experiment.

If he reads her soul, maybe that will be the trigger for him to stop…

But the scalpel is so close and he hovers above her, so close, so close…

She doesn't know if she can stop this. The last time she felt so helpless was the first time they battled, and she had Soul to help her out.

This is so much different.

Please read my soul…

The blade of the scalpel grazes her skin.

For the most part, Stein's eyes are focused on Maka's beautiful, pale, perfect, unblemished body. His scalpel and fingers graze that numb skin, feel how warm and soft she is.

"Oh, Maka, Maka, Maka…" he murmurs, kissing her skin again.

His scalpel is poised, ready to cut into that skin and start to be intimate with her.

His eyes continue to wander over her body. Not once does he look at her face.

He does not read her soul.

It's like his insanity is forcing his eyes to not read her soul or her face.

It knows that he's subconsciously trying to fight against this.

After what seems like forever Stein finally makes his first move, starting to cut a bit into her skin.

He hasn't even gotten an inch.

Something inside him snaps, and Stein sees that, as he cuts, he reads her soul.

She doesn't want this.

She wants him back.

She knows that she can fix him, even like this.

Horrified, Stein pulls away slowly.

The scalpel drops to the cold floor.

He can't do this to his star student. Not even when she's this helpless.

Quickly Stein unstraps her from everything. In around half an hour she'll regain all consciousness.

Shaking, he starts to clean the one incision he's made. Luckily it isn't enough to permanently blemish her skin. He bandages her up and makes sure she's as perfect as before. His lips kiss her new wound in apology, though he's sure she'll never see him privately again.

He brings her in for a tight hug and just holds her, feels her shaky breathing and stunned expression. He hasn't expected this either.

He can't find any words to express how sorry he is.

Stein's face buries itself in her neck. He inhales her perfect scent deeply, his breathing just as shaky as his hands.

Until she starts to move again, he's going to hold her, just like this.

Slowly, slowly, her hands start to hug back, only hesitantly.

A few more moments.

Stein pulls away slowly. He can't even look at her. She is so disappointed in him letting her down, he knows.

He can read her soul.

Finally he lights his last cigarette and starts to inhale. Already he feels better.

"Go home, Maka," he says solemnly, unsteadily. "I'll see you in school."

She can't get out of there fast enough.

She's so disappointed in him. He let her down.

He will never do this to her again, he vows.

As soon as Maka can feel her legs she starts to dash upstairs, gathering her clothes and throwing them on as fast as she can.

She is haphazard. By the time she runs out the door and slams it behind her she is not wearing her shoes and her hair is down. Her leather jacket is bunched in her arms though it is chilly out.

Maka keeps running, even after Stein's house is out of view.

She keeps running until she gets home, her feet scratched, her face sweaty.

The door slams as she enters.

Blair greets her from the kitchen. "Hi, Maka!"

Maka says nothing. She goes straight to her room, avoiding Blair and Soul at all costs.

Running a hand through her disheveled hair, she finally lets a few tears shed. She is dirty and sweaty and defiled in every way.

Even the most scalding of showers won't wash her clean after everything she's done.

Maka cries softly to herself, making sure she locked the door so no one will pry.

What has she done?

She blames herself for Stein's insanity. There's no way he could have gotten there all on his own.

And now she must continue to face him, as if nothing is wrong.

That will be her hardest task to date.

Professor Stein… I'm so sorry…

Though she is defiled and filthy, she falls asleep like that, her jacket clutched tightly to her new wound.

She's never seeing him in private again.

Even with no tea, she knows this is over, because nothing can fix this.

Chapter Text

"Bat Country"

"We may get some solutions but most just pass us by,

Don't want your absolution cause I can't make it right.

I'll make a beast out of myself, gets rid of all the pain of being a man."

Epilogue— "No Church in the Wild"

"I live by you, desire

I stand by you; walk through the fire

Your love is my scripture

Let me into your encryption…"

The day ends quicker than Maka anticipates, and nothing makes her happier. She rushes out of class as swiftly as she can, not caring if Soul and her other friends aren't keeping up with her.

She can't bear to have Stein ask her to stay behind. She can't bear to even look at him, as much as she makes herself do so to keep up the illusion that there is nothing wrong with their relationship as strictly teacher and student.

"Maka? Maka!" That's Soul calling out to her. Maka just looks down and gets out of school as fast as she can.

It's been a few weeks since the incident at Stein's. He has obviously seen better days, but she notes, by looking into his soul when her mind wanders, that he is doing much better.

She still refuses to see him again at his house. It's poison. And she needs to drain herself of desire through withdrawal. It's the only way.

It's harder than she thinks.

Everything in Maka's body tells her to go back, but she needs to know better than that. She can't have something so dangerous and destructive in her life anymore. Not when she really knows the risks.

She sits at the top of the stairs, looking out at the city. Her fists clench in her lap, and her brows furrow in thought.

She tries not to think about Stein.

He is all she can think about.

Damn it.

She sighs, feeling defeated again.

Soul and her friends approach her a few minutes later.

"Hey," he says, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Let's get your mind off this."

He hasn't asked what has happened since the incident. He doesn't know anything about her affair with Stein. Maka is grateful for this.

Soul just knows when something is wrong with her, and no matter what it is, he'll make sure she gets better.

Slowly she looks up at everyone and gives them a weak smile. "That sounds nice," she replies.

Soul lends her his hand and she takes it.

She's never been more grateful for him and all her other friends.

Stein doesn't stay too late in his office. For the most part, he is trying to get his mind off of what he has done to Maka. He can't begin to explain how horrid he feels for making her fear him.

For making her hate him.

For making her stay away.

Even still, he misses her spirit and brilliance, and how she has made him feel controlled.

She doesn't want to see him anymore, he knows.

He reads her soul, though, when she is not aware, during class when she is focused on another task.

Stein can tell that Maka still has the same conflicted feelings as he does. She wants to stay away, but she does not realize how hard that is.

Neither does he.

It's been so difficult, keeping away from her. He wants to grovel and apologize, wants to kiss her feet and tell her just how sorry he is for ever causing her harm.

In that way, perhaps, he does love her.

But then again, he can't and doesn't.

Stein sighs and rubs his temples a moment. He twists the knob in his head a few times. He smokes a cigarette indoors though he knows he shouldn't.

He doesn't know what he can do to fix this.

He can't talk to anyone about it except Maka. Anyone else and he's fired, rejected and shunned, or faced with a father's wrath.

But she doesn't want to talk to him, he knows.

He's on his own here.

There are so many ways to apologize, to say that he made a mistake and he will never repeat it.

But to prevent it from happening again?

Not possible.

The dissecting dreams are getting worse, and much more vivid. At this point he's afraid he'll kidnap her just to see her again and actually get the job done.

At this point, neither of them can win. He can't stay away from her.

And with his luck, neither can she.

This is the first time in a long time that Maka has felt truly happy. Anything with her friends makes her feel better.

Dinner and karaoke have worked to make her forget about her problems. At least, just for a moment. Even still, anyone who can make Maka ignore all the troubles in her life is definitely a good person. She really couldn't ask for better people in her life.

She smiles over at Soul from her place on the couch, feeling more relaxed than she has in a long time.

It's getting a bit hot in here. She needs some fresh air.

At least, that's what her brain says.

It also says she'll stay close by.

Her feet tell her something else.

As if she's on autopilot, Maka stands slowly and grabs a jacket. She puts it on with unshaking hands. Her breathing is steady and her mind shuts down any protest.

"Where are you going?" Soul asks. It's the first time he's concerned about where she is going.

"I need some air," she replies immediately, stepping out quickly with a short slam of the door.

Soul isn't going to follow her.

He knows when he needs to back off and give Maka her space.

That, and he's too comfortable and lazy to move.

It's like her feet know where she needs to go.

Not where she wants to go, that's for sure.

She hates how her body is always right; it knows just what to do when she gives it enough space to think for itself.

She can't control it.

She's gone on these walks so many times and she can't help but notice each time she gets closer and closer to Stein's house.

She doesn't want to.

She isn't sure if she needs to, though.

Maka's feet keep moving, one in front of the other, against her own will. She knows where she is going and she can't stop herself.

This time, she's at his door.

Even in the happiest of moments, she needs this chaos.

He watches the smoke swirl above his head. Stein's arm supports his head as he looks up at the smoke to calm himself down.

He feels emptiness within him and even though he can explain the cause of it, he chooses not to accept it.

He doesn't know how long he's laid here after class has ended. He has but one face on his mind, one image of perfection.

Stein wants Maka again. But the last thing she wants is to come crawling back to him, he knows.

He closes his eyes, letting his eyes focus on a body he knows he will never see again.

But he can imagine.

A hand sneaks down his pants, that image burned into his mind. This feels so wrong, even more wrong than what he'd been doing with her before.

Nothing feels right about this.

The doorbell rings.


Stein scrambles to his feet and tucks himself away, then stubs out his cigarette.

It's probably Marie.

He quickly opens the door, wanting to get back to his previous activities. He wants to be alone with his thoughts because that is the closest he will ever get to Maka again.

At least, that's what he thinks before he sees her standing right before him at his doorstep again.

Maka shakes as she pushes the doorbell. She shakes as she waits for any response.

Please be out, please…

But she feels his wavelength and knows it's just wishful thinking.


When he opens the door her heart skips a beat and she catches her breath. Why is it that these feelings haunt her so? Why is it that he has some power over her, just as she has power over him?

Why is it they both know they can never win?

I will pay the price later. For now I am bound to lust and endless madness.

Stein invites her in and she accepts. He is just as conflicted and hesitant.

As soon as they are behind closed doors, she goes in for the kill.

She has never kissed him first before now. She wraps herself around him, despite their significant height difference.

Nothing has ever felt so right or so wrong before.

Wordlessly Stein lifts her and carries her to the couch, not breaking the heated kiss. She moans as she tastes his freshly stubbed cigarette in his mouth and closes her eyes, letting her feelings guide her.

He places her gently on the couch with all the tenderness he can and kisses her jaw and neck. He then sits up and licks his lips. Her legs are still wrapped around his waist.

"You just couldn't stay away…" He shifts her legs so they rest on his shoulders. Slowly he takes off her boots and tosses them aside.

His lips glide up her leg, using the softest of caresses.

"Neither could you," Maka whispers in return, shuddering at the feeling of his lips like licks of fire against her pale skin.

"You know what's at stake," he murmurs against her inner thigh, and Maka's toes curl in pleasure.

"As do you." She gives out a small moan. "Yet here we are."

We will not get caught, she vows. He's so close…

"Here we are…" Stein repeats, his thumbs hooking around the waistband of her panties, tossing them aside like her boots. Maka's breath hitches and she arches her back. She needs this just as much as he does.

"Beautiful," he compliments, then Stein leans in and laps at her very essence, making Maka moan loudly as she gives herself completely to him.

Welcome to bat country….