I'M KILLING MYSELF! AGH! DYING… jk. But seriously. I can feel the life force seeping out of me! Nuuuuuuuu! I think I'm overworking myself. But no matter. *sigh*
I had to write this. I would have exploded if I hadn't. I woke up this morning and was all like, 'oh, I think I'll check the Soul Eater manga site to see if chapter 96 is out. It probably isn't, but oh well!' So I checked it. and thereby doomed myself. IT'S OUT! ZOMGGGGG! And I read it and I feel terrible because I have to wait another freaking month for the next chapter to come out! And because I ate five donuts and a cup of pretzels… *gag* XD
So ya. If you haven't read chapter 96 of the Soul Eater manga, turn around RIGHT NOW and go read it! I suggest either mangafox .com (remove the space) or mangareader .net (again, remove space). This will not make sense unless you read chapter 96. I just think that Kid isn't getting enough attention! It's all focused on that damn Maka! *pulls out knife* Maka was a terrible main character. No offense Maka lovers. But the two main characters should have been Kid and Stein! After all, the whole freaking point of the story revolves around the grim reapers and the madness. Therefore, Kid and Stein! NOT YAOI. NO. NEVER. Sorry yaoi lovers, but I hate slash. Hate it. it annoys me. Sorry. But if you wanna read slash, go find some other author. You will not get any from me. Ever.
Okay, now that we've gotten that taken care of… *claps hands* LET THE FUN BEGIN!
(in case you didn't read that block of text, READ THIS: sorry if I bored you by ranting. But the point is, no slash, focus on Kid and a little Stein, and this takes place directly after the end of chapter 96. There. Shortened version. :P now read!)
"She's getting away!" BlackStar yelled. He motioned to Tsubaki, who transformed into Enchanted Sword. "We're going after her!"
"BlackStar, wait!" Ox ordered. "We need to find Killik first."
The sound of panting and the pitter-patter of feet stumbling towards them turned the group around. Killik was breathing heavily and clutching his sides, groaning about running across half of Rome. "I'm here," he gasped. Soul nodded tersely and shook Maka's shoulder, then flashed into her hands as a scythe. His meister didn't acknowledge it, just simply stared after Crona's retreating form with a number of emotions flickering across her face – bewilderment, a slight tinge of anger, pity, and worst of all, betrayal. How someone could feel like that all at the same time was a mystery, but the only thing that snapped the scythe meister back to earth was the small shock of electricity her weapon anxiously zapped her with.
"What was that for, Soul?" Maka mumbled, all her usual bravado blown away like a leaf iin the autumn wind. Her wavelength felt half-dead, just leaden with worry and confusion. "Let's go." Despite whatever her wavelength said, the death scythe meister managed to resonate per usual with Soul. Only her trusty scythe really felt what was swirling around inside her.
The small fluffy wings on either side of the handle extended. Maka glanced at them, and a little fire returned to her eyes. "What did I tell you last time, Soul? I can't fight with these half-assed wings!" Just before the blade retracted into his handle, a small glimpse of the scythe's face on the gleaming metal showed his trademark shark-tooth grin.
"You got it."
The wings grew slightly more spiky and much larger, and they roared up into the sky. Kim came soaring up next to them, Ox and Killik clutching Jackie's handle tightly. BlackStar soared high, suspended on his scarf, and when their limit was reached he gave a mighty leap – or as mighty as can be in midair – and grabbed onto the end of Soul, in between the wings. Scythe and meister lurched for a moment at the unexpected weight, then they adjusted and streaked after the witch who had passed them. Soon they came across the clouds that blocked the moon from their view. Small thorn-shaped holes that seemed to be eating themselves up like black acid marked where Crona had flown. This isn't good, Maka thought. The madness of the Kishin is only going to make her stronger. We have to find a way to heal her.
Guessing what she was thinking, BlackStar glanced up and frowned. "Hey, Maka. You know that Crona's gone off the deep end. There's no way any half-witted Genie Hunter is going to change her."
"Shut up," Maka hissed. "I will save her." Nobody commented, and they flew in silence, carefully avoiding the peculiar black cloud-acid spots. "I can't see…" the meister muttered as an afterthought. The others murmured assent. The thick fog was obscuring everything, until the far-off sounds of explosions broke through.
"I can hear something!" Killik exclaimed quietly. "We're getting close."
"Judging by the volume, I'd estimate we're about five minutes away from our destination," Ox announced. BlackStar snorted at his hoity-toity tone.
"You sound like a train conductor," the assassin snickered.
Ox flushed. "Oh yeah, mister-"
"Be quiet!" Maka snarled, focusing her soul perception. "The madness is incredibly strong here. It's amazing. No wonder Crona's drawn to it." Sensing the question BlackStar was about to ask, the scythe meister sighed and continued, "I'm trying to pick out souls. I can… feel Justin. He's almost dead. And Stein! His soul is being surrounded by madness… but he's holding it off, and using it at the same time. Amazing."
"What about Kid?" Tsubaki whispered. Everyone fell silent. The sounds of the battle were growing louder – screeches of dying people, roars of what could only be beasts. And suddenly…
"Come on! Is that all you can do! Show us the power of a true Shinigami! Brat, you can't ever be as strong as your father! You're PATHETIC!"
"KID, GET UP NOW!"
Horrified glances were exchanged between Spartoi. "Damnit…" BlackStar whispered. "He can't be… shit! Let's get moving! Go faster, Soul!"
"I'm trying!" the scythe cursed. "This is the fastest we can go without being so tired when we get there we won't be able t- fight…"
They'd broken through the cloud barrier. And the sight that met their eyes was not exactly pretty. Bodies, of Shibusen agents mostly, littered the ground. Clowns were dissolving then popping up from the ground, leering and good as new. A particular… was she naked? No, not quite. But a particular clown seemed to be having a lot of fun tossing around her latest 'toy,' or so they gathered from what she was shrieking happily. Unfortunately, that toy had a rather familiar mop of black hair marred by some peculiar white stripes…
"KID!" Maka screamed. It was enough to distract the clown for a moment and she looked up, startled. Kid took the opportunity and slammed his knee into her gut, then barrel rolled to where Liz and Patty lay, snatched them up, and unleashed a volley of furious bullets at his opponent. "You okay?" Maka asked anxiously, touching down a second after BlackStar, who had leaped off full of fury. Pulling Soul upright, the wings disappeared and the blade shot out with a snick, glittering and sharp.
"Fine," he panted, wiping his forehead with the back of one hand. To their dismay, their friend seemed at his limit. Blood was spattered across one side of his face, and his black suit that went along with the madness was flickering, only sustained by the rush of power flowing from the two connected Sanzu lines that glowed in his jet-black hair.
BlackStar frowned. "You don't look that fine."
Kid shot him a glare. "I can keep going. Go after Crona… wait. No. I'm not doing any good here." He seemed to confer with his weapons through their link momentarily, then smiled slightly at his friends. "Kim, you should stay here and help with the wounded. Ox, help Shibusen keep the clowns back. Maka… BlackStar… you're coming with me. We're going after Asura." With that, the silver guns he held glowed and molded themselves into Death Cannon – except this time, instead of being silver, the barrels and most of the designs were a deep midnight black. He quickly fired a few rounds at the snarling clowns, then lowered them until they were pointed down. "Stand back."
And the ground beneath their feet exploded.
"Urgh…" Maka moaned. Then she jumped up, remembering where they were. Kid was leaning against the wall of a tunnel, catching his breath, and BlackStar was just waking up. Above them was a gaping hole. Some of the clowns started make their way down, but they were charred instantly by Kim, who was standing guard. "Go!" she yelled.
Kid nodded and sighed. With a flick of his hands, shadows extended from the tunnel and lifted chunks of stone back to the ceiling, molding them together. A moment later, they were shrouded in absolute darkness. Maka strained to see, clutching Soul's handle tightly, when a small glow emanated from Kid's palm. A writhing ball of dark gray light illuminated their faces, and with a small look, the reaper continued into the tunnel. His team hurried after them. After a while of walking, Maka shivered and let out a squeak. A wave of pure, undulating, untamed madness washed over her and she felt like falling to the ground, limp, to give up. But the urging from Soul kept her on her feet. "What… was that?" she asked nervously.
"Asura," Kid said quietly. "Let's keep moving."
And so they walked. And walked. And walked. With every step, the madness grew thicker, stronger, like molasses. It was in fact, becoming difficult to walk. Even BlackStar could feel it. The only one who didn't seem affected was Kid, who just pushed on without a word. His injuries might be paining him, but he wasn't showing it in the least. When they finally reached the cavern, it took all three a while to realize they'd stopped walking in endless twilight. Kid extinguished his light and looked around, then realized what was in the center with disgust. "Asura," he spat.
The word echoed around the space, bouncing back and repeating itself. "Asura… Asura…"
Suspended in the middle of the cavern was a bag, that looked ironically like the one made of the Kishin's skin that he'd been imprisoned with the first time. But it was clearly empty, and strung out like a platform, held at four corners. Sitting on top of it, cackling softly and wiggling his toes, was Asura. An unconscious Sid lay prone near the wall. BlackStar ran over and checked that he was alive – er, dead. But… alive. You know what I mean.
Of course, that moment had to be the one when four other people came skidding out of two separate holes that led to other tunnels – one a group of three, one a single person. Everyone but Asura glared at each other. The group of three; Noah, Gopher, and an exasperated Akane. The group of one; a giggling Crona.
This wasn't going to turn out well.
BlackStar cursed and leaped to his feet, brandishing Tsubaki. Maka raised Soul defensively, staring at Crona, and Kid carefully removed Liz and Patty from his pockets and clenched them tightly, almost like he was saying goodbye. "Liz…" he muttered. "Who's a better fighter, you or Patty?" he asked. Liz's face flashed on her barrel and she pointed at Patty nervously. Kid nodded. "Then you know what to do."
He threw both weapons behind him. Patty transformed and caught her sister. Spartoi was astonished to see a tear running down her face. "Kick their asses for me, 'kay?" Kid asked, trying to smile. She sniffled and nodded, then adopted a murderous look that few had seen before. Her meister turned to Maka and BlackStar, and in one look conveyed everything that could not be put into words. With that, the reaper turned, summoned Beelzebub, and flew carefully up to the platform where the Kishin sat in a hunch. A platform of shadows mirrored Asura's, with a gleaming white skull flickering in the middle instead of the three slanted eyes on his counterpart's. A glow of purple announced Beelzebub's return to Kid's hand, and the reaper just sat. And began a war.
With a fierce battle cry, BlackStar charged Noah and Gopher. Akane recognized him and the two worked together, fighting furiously. Steely determination settled over Maka and she raced towards Crona, parrying his sword thrust and knocking him into the wall. "We'll finish this here," she snarled. If I can't heal you, I'll send you off peacefully. No matter how hard it is. You deserved an honorable death once. Maybe you don't now, but I'm not worried about the present. It's your past that I'm judging you by.
Soul's blade gleamed and went to Genie Hunter, and Maka began the battle of her life against one of her truest friends. And above, Kid just watched sadly. He knew that his fight would only begin once the meaningless ones below had finished. Asura sensed it too, and he stopped cackling and sat up straight, now mirroring Kid. Order and madness faced off.
And they waited.
"Hah!" Maka panted, slicing Crona again with Genie Hunter. Even though her attacks were taking their toll on her opponent, the effect was rebounding on the wielder twofold. It was rather exhausting. Patty blasted her again and again, but was having less effect than the anti-magic wavelength. Still, her rage and frustration was proving powerful enough to hinder the demon swordsman.
BlackStar fared a little better, due to his strong physique. Actually, his battle was finishing quickly. Wrapped up in powerful emotions, Noah was easily distracted. And Gopher was simply an idiot. Once his henchman was gone in a lucky slice from Akane, shadows held Noah down while BlackStar stabbed him three times even with Enchanted Sword. Both bodies ribboned away into glowing blue souls. The two boys hurried over to where Crona and Maka's fight was ongoing, and joined in. Soon enough the purple haired meister was on her knee, minus a leg and still grinning, infused with madness. "Too bad," she giggled. "I was looking forward to meeting Asura. Oh well. Guess this is goodbye… Maka."
A single swing from a scythe ended the misery of more than one person. Ragnarok cursed at them before melting into a black puddle.
"That was too easy," Maka whispered. BlackStar nodded grimly.
"She'll be back. The madness here is so strong, even I can feel it. Now… what's Kid doing?" BlackStar continued. They all looked up. The young reaper was still just sitting there. It was almost like he was having a staring contest with each other. A strong gust of wind blew out of nowhere, ruffling the hair of both order and madness. But neither moved. All was silent.
Until an explosion sent everyone flying.
Kid didn't move. Couldn't move. As much as he wanted to help his friends, they were irrelevant. All that mattered was his soul versus Asura's. The third, unfinished line, crept slowly around his head. The minute it connected, his full power would be unleashed. But the Kishin did nothing.
It was as if he didn't care.
But Kid cared. He had to save his friends. His family. Shibusen. The world. All dependent on order. All dependent on madness. There had to be a balance, and both reaper and Kishin knew exactly what had to happen. Although one was less willing than the other to pay the price. Asura wanted only chaos. Kid understood the balance, yet hated it. Balance was required. Balance lasts for eternity. Unless order or madness steps out of line.
Yes, for now his father was order. But the minute the third line connects, all that will change.
Kid will become order.
Kid will become Death.
Death the Kid.
Child of Death.
Asura is madness.
Asura is the Kishin.
And together – balance.
Always balance. Kid shook his head and glared at Asura. "You're not going to do anything to kill me. Or stop me." His voice didn't shake at all. Spartoi started to wake up, groaning and glancing around.
"No."Asura smirked. "You say there must be balance for the world to be saved? But then what point does balance serve? The world stays peaceful. Life goes on and Death rules all. Blah blah blah. Kishin are defeated and 'good' triumphs once more. But really… is Death good? Is peace good? Give in to madness and all your fears are gone. You can be free. Free to do whatever you like. Free from Death."
"Like hell I'd join you," Kid snarled. "You forget. I can never be free from Death, for I am Death. I am immortal, like you incidentally. But you obtained immortality through cowardice and lies. You devoured innocent humans and sucked away their lives for your own convenience. That is not freedom. You are a coward and so you shall always be."
"Ah, but you see, little reaper, the greatest power is always derived from corrupted innocence. And you are not Death yet. You're more like… a fragment." That made Kid start.
"So you do know the Black Mass that resides within the Book of Eibon."
"Once upon a time, yes."
"Interesting. And my father?"
"Naturally. But what point do all your questions serve, may I ask?"
"Understanding, of course. Why else do humans do anything? Oh wait. I forgot something…" Kid's eyes narrowed, his tone sarcastic. "I'm not human. And neither are you. So what purpose do we serve? The endless cycle of life and death, humans caught in the middle. The purpose is balance. You will never realize this, therefore you shall stay a coward. I will defeat you."
Asura surveyed the young reaper with a raised eyebrow. "Will you? But… can you defeat me before I destroy everything you hold dear? Let's start with your friends over there." Two long scarves split into dozens, sharpening and elongating as they sped towards the scattered members of Spartoi. At the last second a thrum resounded through the cavern and a wall of shadows knocked the scarves back. Asura retracted them and regarded his opponent. "My, you've gotten stronger than the last time I saw you. Before… it only seemed to take a tap to knock you down."
"Of course," Kid said levelly. "We don't all spend our days lounging on the moon like lazy fools."
"Lazy fools? Don't blame me when you eat your words."
"I don't think I will."
"We shall see."
Their battle was entire waged between Kid's shadows and Asura's scarves. The two barely moved a muscle themselves, aside from small hand flicks and finger twitches directing their attacks. Those below watched in amazement – it was purely a fight between souls. Kid's third line was nearly complete when Asura actually went for him directly. The scarf was unexpected, but Kid still managed to dodge enough that it only grazed him, slicing his right shoulder open. Maka let out a little gasp and Tsubaki clamped her hand over her mouth, but they stayed still. Again and again Asura lanced his scarves at the young reaper, and again and again Kid barely evaded a fatal blow. Lines of red opened all over until…
Kid shivered slightly as his third line connected, and his outline glowed with incredible black power. He grinned, albeit rather shakily, and his soul expanded to eight times the size of a normal human's. Even more power swirled beneath the outer layer. Smiling cruelly, Asura allowed his soul to match Kid's. Reaper and Kishin let their souls push against one another, neither gaining the upper hand.
"There's only one way this battle will end," Asura commented matter-of-factly. Kid nodded, grim and determined. "Are you really going to pay the price?" the Kishin cackled.
"I said I'd defeat you, and I will." Kid's tone was even, but his golden eyes flickered with regret. This was not lost on his opponent, but they both stayed silent as the blue and red orbs around them crackled with lightning – black and white. Red and blue. Chaos and Death. Nothing was decided yet.
The fate of the world rested on Kid's shoulders. He didn't want it. He didn't want to be responsible for everything. Even though it was his duty, it hurt. His father should be here, fighting this war. His father wanted to be here. It was the fault of the flawed creature in front of him that he wasn't. It would have spared the world so much pain and suffering. It would have spared him this burning pain, inside and out. But no matter what he felt, Kid didn't shy from his duty. He'd perform it to the best of his ability.
Until the day he no longer could.
"Kid!" Liz called frantically. "What price? What's he talking about?"
"A deal." Kid didn't turn around. "One that must be agreed upon. I have two choices – what my father did, so long ago. Or the only other way to end this misery. And I have to choose the latter."
Maka frowned. "Yes, but what is the latter choice?"
"Quiet, girl," Asura interrupted. He used a scarf to knock her off her feet again and into the wall. Kid flinched and let out a gasp, but only his enemy noticed. "This matter is for the gods to decide. Not you puny humans."
And for once not even BlackStar protested. It was like staring reality in the face for the first time – Kid was a god. A god of Death. No longer just their friend, their teammate. Immortal. Powerful. And that hurt him the most. None of them would ever look at him the same way again – there'd always be that flicker of awe, hatred, or fear. Maybe it was better if Kid didn't come back from- no. There was everything to live for, back home. His father. Shibusen. The world.
There was everything to die for.
Those six words replayed over and over in Kid's head as he realized what he had to do – exactly what he had to do. He mouthed them several times as he turned to gaze at his friends, deep sadness burning in his golden eyes. He watched their expressions turn from confused to horrified to pleading. Pleading him not to do it. Maybe they understood why, maybe they didn't. But they understood what for. And that was all they needed to know.
There was everything to die for.
Kid turned back to Asura, creating a bubble-like shield out of pure soul wavelength around his friends – and up above, around the spaceship and the surviving Shibusen agents. He infused it with all the regret and hopes he'd once had, and carved into it the six words that made up his existence for this small moment. He cherished the memories he was pouring into his wavelength, the laughs and smiles, the tears and sobs, the voices and happiness. Everything he'd come to hold dear. All of this, he charged his wavelength with, until around the chosen people the shields were humming with energy. Hopes and dreams that he'd wanted to see blossom.
There was everything to die for.
Even if he lived, Kid knew that it would only be harder. He was immortal – just not in the way most people think. He'd still be there. There and not there. Not quite alive and not quite dead, either way. But he could watch and protect, guide and help, laugh and cry. Everything he needed to be assured. To rest easy. Knowing he'd saved them, with his last breath no less, but he had saved them. The hum of his wavelength echoed through the cavern, rebounding off the walls and creating a haunting melody that spoke of his sadness, and his joy. Regrets and mistakes. Achievements and those special moments to be proud of. All that he'd known.
There was everything to die for.
Asura realized what he was going to do, but didn't seem overly concerned. The Kishin just smiled. A smile that said everything – too bad. You won't come back. My madness will. Pity. Kid still didn't care. None of that mattered. All that mattered was what he knew he could do, what he would do, what it meant and what it would be remembered as. He didn't care that he'd be called a hero – Death doesn't need glory, nor glorification. The last thing he had to do was the most important decision of his life. The last decision of his life. But his friends would live, the world would survive, and that was what mattered.
There was everything to die for.
Kid held that last thought in his mind as he spun ever so slowly to face Spartoi. He gave them one last smile, then spun back and let his soul finish its final task in the world of the living. The memories he loved were the only shield his friends had, but it was enough.
Fiery eyes, ringed twice – one caramel, one sunflower yellow, a glimmering pool of gold. They flashed once, burning with every emotion, before closing one last time. Blackness hid everything, and nothing. It shrouded the truth and the lies. It covered the simplistic things, like a sob from Patty or a cry from Liz, a frantic call from Maka or a curse from Soul, the gasp from Tsubaki and the utter silence from BlackStar. Unforgiving silence. You're not supposed to die. I said I'd kill you before you walked away from a fight – you can't take that last promise from me. You have so much to live for.
Yet he had everything to die for.
Kid saw nothing, and everything, as the moon exploded around him.
'Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.'