Chapter Eleven: Connected Minds - Part I

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The gusts of wind blow my hair every which way and pull my jacket up and down as I hold Maka's tender hand in my own.

I need to know if she felt that spark too. Even if it won't change anything. I can't just ignore it. But I can't just ask her straight out about it either. That would be totally uncool.

How am I gonna bring it up? Ugh! Come on, Soul. Think! Wait... What's that feeling? It's like I'm being looked at straight through my very soul...

I floated there, thinking to myself in the dark atmosphere, when it hit me like a truck speeding down the highway. I gasped. "Maka! No! I can't let her see it! She'll never trust me after that!"

My body began to twitch and soon I was practically trying to shove her across the room to keep her from seeing anything more. She kept pushing forward, trying to reach deeper, but I wasn't about to let her succeed without a fight. Oh no you don't, I thought as I struggled to end the resonance against her own attempts to continue.

God! It's like trying to swim against the frickin' current with her right now!

Launching myself back to my physical consciousness, my eyes clenched shut and teeth baring, I took back my fingers and pushed her shoulders, sending her body far away from mine, completely breaking our connection.

I snap my eyes open to see Maka, hunched over, holding her gut, looking at me, wide eyed, and gasping lightly. I scowled down at her and whipped my head to the side so I wouldn't have to look at her worried expression. I don't need her pity! No matter what she saw, I thought angrily.

"What do you think you were doing?!" I yelled at her. Her eyes grew bigger. "I-I'm sorry," she sputtered. "It's just, well, your soul started to open up to me a little, a-and I just wanted to know what it was trying to show me. I-I'm so sorry, Soul! It was uncalled for and I'm so sorry. I don't know what came over me..."

Her apology only made me more aggravated by what she did. My eyebrows furrowed causing my forehead to crease in the middle. I was going to cut her off and let her have it when she trailed off. "Yeah, well-...!" I watched her eyes as a small glimmer shown in the far corners and her head bowed, making her bangs fall limply and sway over her green eyes.

"Ah- Mm..."

I huffed through my nose and my forehead relaxed some.

She looked like she was about to cry. Oh, that's just great. Now I've made her cry. So not cool, bro. Cool guys don't make girls cry. They make them smile, and giggle, and happy.

I sighed.

She couldn't have seen it. I didn't let her get that far. I looked down at the floor, released my breath through my nose and looked up at her hunched figure.

"It's fine. But don't do it again! Some things aren't meant for everyone to see, okay? Some things I'd like to keep private and just to myself." She nodded her head, staring at the ground. "Okay..." she muttered quietly. I sighed again.

This has to work between us as partners. Even if I don't want one. She's already seen too much to just be ignored. Besides... She's becoming too important to me to give her up now...

I'm taken by surprise by my own thoughts. Did I seriously just think that? Lord Death, I hope she didn't see that in there.

I turn back to her hesitantly, regretting my words before I even say them. "O-Oi... Do you wanna try again? As long as you don't pry, that is..." Her head lifted cautiously and she searched my face for any signs of joking. When she was satisfied that I was being serious, a sliver of her past excitement played upon her thin lips. "Y-... Yeah. I'd like that."

Maka's posture straightened and she took one careful step towards me. When her left foot lifted to take another, she paused and placed it back on the floor where it had previously been. I watched her eyebrows crease and I could see the conflicting emotions and thoughts racing through her mind as she stood there, fists clenched gently at her sides, head down, and looking at the floor.

Closing my eyes, I let a reluctant sigh pass through my nose, knowing I was going to hate myself later for what I was about to do. Pushing away my pride, I closed most of the distance between us, grabbing her hands roughly, but making sure she was still at arms length.

If I'm being honest, I missed the touch and feeling of warmth and security her forehead pressed against my own gave me, but under the current circumstances I knew doing so wouldn't help my case.

Her thumbs, which felt as if they hadn't seen a day of work her entire life, were resting delicately on the palms of my hands. She squeezed them, giving a single quick pump, my muscles clenched at the electric shock that was sent whirring through my chilled veins. As if sensing my tension, her thumbs began to tantalizingly stroke and circle themselves on my cragged skin.

I had to hold my breath to keep the pleased hum from escaping my slightly parted lips. Maka's soft fingers continued in their spine tingling motion and she quietly spoke - "Let's go, Soul Resonance" - once more, and our consciousnesses were once again thrown into each other's souls.

In the darkness I see her glowing yellow soul bobbing beside me. I stroke it carefully with my index finger. "Why are you so curious to know more about me?" I ask no one as I continue to run my finger along its small, pointy pigtails. It closes it's eyes and smiles at my touch. My finger freezes.

Huh... Her soul never did that when I touched it... I gaze genuinely curiously at Maka's smiling soul with a wonder in my eyes.

I float there for a little while, gently caressing her soul with the palm of my hand, watching it's happy face, when I hear a soft whisper, coming from what seemed to be nowhere, and twist swiftly in the direction of the sound to hear it better. Nothing came. I keep listening, urging it to make another appearance for my ears to hone in to its angelic melody.

Minutes pass and I almost give up on the feathery chime.

Just as I begin turning away, I hear it again but much louder. A soft melodic voice. A girl's voice. "Maka...? Is that you?" Professor Stein's voice echoes in my mind.

"If a pairings' soul connection is strong enough, they will be able to communicate with one another simply by speaking while resonating and being in the other's soul. After a time, the connection - if it is well balanced with the partners' conjoined souls', minds, and bodies - then the pair will be able to talk to each other through a telepathic connection that can span great distances apart from each other."

That must be what's going on here, then. Is our resonation really that strong? Wow. I thought. Actually listening to Stein's lectures helped! I should pay attention in class more. ... Nah.

I wait for a response once again and finally one comes back, much stronger than any of the times before. Two syllables. One voice.

"Hi, Soul..."


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