I forgot to post this at the beginning of the first chapter, so here's the disclaimer.

Pay attention, because I'm only posting this once:


I don't own anything legally related to anything or anyone other than myself.

Allies Abroad

Snow fell as light as feathers on London's Tower Bridge. Maka pulled her coat tight around her as she looked out over the icy Thames, her partner slouching angrily several feet away. Tsubaki looked back and forth between the two with a worried expression while Black*Star screamed his glory at the mute lights of London. The compassionate Demon Weapon tried in vain to reconcile the embittered partners, but was quickly interrupted by an impatient Black*Star.

"Hey Maka, I can't use Soul Perception, so if you can check it..."

"Sure." She closed her eyes and laced her fingers together in concentration, struggling to banish the thoughts of her intolerable Weapon partner and focus on the task at hand. "Well... are there any bad guys on Shinigami's list around here?"

No Future.

Maka's eyes shot open as she spun to face the sudden presence. "He's here!"

The others followed her gaze to the immensely tall and muscular man standing at the far end of the bridge. He wore the ragged striped cloths of a prisoner, complete with a ball and chain firmly clamped to his ankle. Unsmiling, he stared the four students down with unnerving intensity. Maka shivered involuntarily at the tattooed words over his strange left eye.

No Future.

His voice was gravelly, laced with malicious intent, almost as cold as the frigid air that turned his breath into fine mist.

"Hey yourself."

Alexa let the hot water run over her shoulders, sighing happily. Nothing quite like a hot shower to start the morning. Roland had woken up a good half hour before her, as usual, and had already taken a shower and had begun making breakfast. She enjoyed coming out of her room in the morning to be greeted by the refreshing scents of whatever he was cooking.

She turned off the water and stepped out of the shower, grabbing a knee length black towel to dry off with. Wrapping the towel tightly around her body, making sure she was respectably covered, she stepped out of the bathroom and walked down the short hallway that led to the main room. Poking her head around the corner she saw Roland standing over the stove in his olive green Shinigami T-shirt and blue jeans.

"What's for breakfast?"

He poked at the skillet in front of him with a spatula. "How do omelets sound?"

She smiled. "Sounds great. I'll be right out."

The Weapon retreated back down the hall and into her room, closing the door behind her and placing her towel on the back of the chair that sat in front of her desk. She dressed quickly before leaving her room and walking barefoot to the kitchen where she poured herself a glass of orange juice and stole a peek at Roland's omelets before sitting down. The scarlet headed Demon Sword took a seat at the kitchen table as Roland brought two plates over, each with a generous helping of omelet and a couple slices of toast. Alexa dug in as Roland poured himself a mug of chocolate milk and sat down across from her, sipping it silently as he watched her scarf down her omelet.

She noticed him watching her and looked up at him quizzically, a forkful of omelet headed for her mouth pausing halfway to its destination. "What?"

He put down his mug.

"I was thinking that we should find a mission. It's almost been a week since we fought that witch, but we should really get started on turning you into a Death Scythe."

Alexa grinned at the thought. They hadn't really fought together during the impromptu battle with the strange Raven Witch, and she was eager to show her new Meister what she could do.

"How about we swing by the mission bulletin after class today and take a look at what's available?"

Roland nodded. With the matter settled, they both turned to eating their breakfast in silence, thinking about the mission to come.

Isabelle looked thoughtfully at the entrance of the decrepit building whose doors hung precariously from their hinges. It had once been used as a great dining hall, but had been long abandoned.

Jackson had his hands in his armpits in a futile attempt to keep warm while Isabelle adjusted her blazer, smirking at the memory of Jackson scoffing at her suggestion to wear something suited to the cold. And now he was regretting it.

The nights were brisk in Normandy, just as she remembered them to be.

"Why exactly are we here again?" Her partner sounded irritated, but he was prone to such foul moods when the weather was uncomfortable. For the most part Isabelle ignored them, but his question was still deserving of an answer.

She started towards the building and Jackson followed close behind, eying the structure suspiciously.

"Since its abandonment, this building has been occupied by travelers who couldn't stay in the town inn. But according to the townsfolk, it has recently become haunted, and those who enter to spend the night are never seen again."

He snorted. "Why is the academy even bothering to send students to investigate some haunted house in France?"

Isabelle heaved a sigh as they stepped inside. She was fairly certain they had this exchange every time they went on a mission.

"Because Lord Death thinks the disappearances might be linked to some one on his list."

The interior of the building appeared to be a single large room. There were a couple of long wooden tables strewn about, left over from the hall's heyday. The ceiling had begun to cave in, and the occasional moonbeam illuminated the room with an eerie light. The floor was littered with little bits of trash, but other than that it seemed the place was uninhabited.

"Well… now what?"

Isabelle walked over to one of the tables, sitting on it and crossing her legs.

"Now, we wait."

Jackson eyed his partner as they waited in the abandoned dining hall, chucking inwardly. You look pretty goddamn out of place, you know that Isabelle? She wore a black blazer, a white dress shirt, black slacks, and a pair of formal looking black shoes. Her shoes had always fascinated Jackson. They looked classy enough to wear to a stuffy dinner party, but were some how durable enough for her to wear on most of their missions.

His attire was in stark contrast with hers. He was dressed like any teenager might be; a plain white T-shirt, a plaid short sleeve over shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. She wore her blonde hair in a bun, while his rusty brown hair went uncombed.

Jackson grinned, looking up at the shoddy ceiling, shivering a bit. Well, if the ceiling doesn't fall and kill me, the cold sure will. Growing impatient, he cast a cursory glance around the room, and upon seeing no one he stood up and stretched.

"Well I think our little stakeout has debunked this ghost story. No one's here, so how about we head back to town and get some shut eye?" He looked at her, but her dull coppery eyes were locked on something over his shoulder. He turned to face the direction she was looking and frowned. "I stand corrected."

Someone was standing in the corner of the room, silhouetted by a shaft of moonlight. When did he get here?

Isabelle stood and walked to Jackson's side. "Who are you?"

Jackson sighed. "I think we can do away with formalities at this point Isabelle."

The figure stepped forward. It was a man, with tattered and blood spattered clothes clinging to his almost skeletal frame. His eyes were blood shot and sunken, staring at the pair with laser focus while he fidgeted with his rusty fireman's axe. He grinned, baring sharp and jagged teeth. Jackson couldn't tell from so far away, but he could swear that they were also flecked with blood. The man cackled, then began loping towards them unsteadily, gripping the axe with both hands and laughing maniacally.


"Got it."

Jackson glowed blue as he changed into weapon form, Isabelle deftly snatching him out of the air. He had taken the shape of a double edged, two handed battle axe. Each blade was a solid half circle, colored deep blue, with an edge than shone like silver. His haft was steely gray, with a section wrapped in blue fabric that served as a grip. Isabelle smirked as the axe-toting maniac approached.

"Mine's bigger than yours."

Jackson face palmed from within his weapon form. "Great Isabelle, a penis joke. Real classy."

Isabelle caught her attacker's axe just under the head with Jackson's haft before smacking him in the face with the pommel of her axe, using the blow to position herself to swing the axe back towards her opponent. But he ducked the swing, bending backwards at a ninety degree angle and causing his spine to emit a series of sickening pops before straightening and bringing his axe down over her head.

Again, she caught his axe with hers, but this time hit him square in the chest with the pommel of her axe before attacking with an overhand swing. He side stepped, letting the axe crash through the wooden floor where he had just stood before viciously swiping at her. Isabelle managed to raise her axe in time to block the attack, their axes locked together as they each tried to overwhelm the other's defenses.

She grunted as she struggled against her enemy's axe. He looks like he hasn't eaten in weeks, but he's still so strong. How many innocent souls has he consumed? He was gaining the upper hand, slowly forcing her back. His pupils were dilated, his eyes blood shot, his mouth beginning to drip with saliva as he thought of the meal to come.

Suddenly, Isabelle stepped back, freeing her axe and causing him to fall forwards. Isabelle swung her axe with blinding speed, cutting him in half at the waist before he could react. The murderer gasped, then disappeared, leaving only his twisted soul floating peacefully in his place.

Isabelle took a deep breath, exhaling slowly through her nose. Jackson changed back into human form, casually eating their unlucky opponent's soul while she adjusted her blazer.

"We're done here Jackson."

He grinned, patting her on the back as he walked towards the door. "Another one down for the count. Now, let's get back to town. It's goddamn cold out here."

Isabelle nodded, following him out.

"We'll leave for Death City in the morning."

Roland and Alexa were on a train bound for California. According to the mission tag, some miner had struck a gold vein on his claim in the Sierras, and when a mining company had approached him to buy the property he killed them all and ate their souls. I guess greed can create a monster just as well as fear can. Or is greed simply the fear of having nothing? Alexa watched the scenery pass by the window as Roland crossed his arms and slouched in his seat, deep in thought.

Kyla was sitting on a bench looking out over the docks when her Weapon, Sonya, arrived with a bag of fast food. Sonya handed her Meister a double cheeseburger and sat next to her, mumbling angrily.

"I don't get why I had to go and get the food, you're the one who speaks Cantonese. I looked like a total tourist. Some one else in line had to order for me, and you get to sit here and look at the water."

Kyla chuckled as her partner pouted. "The reason you looked like a tourist is because you are a tourist. And the reason you had to go get the food is because I'm the one with Soul Perception. You wouldn't notice this guy until he started killing people in the street."

Sonya huffed in indignation but was quiet all the same. Kyla quickly ate her burger, crumpled up the wrapper, and stood. Sonya looked up at her.

"Is it time?"

Kyla started for the docks, ignoring her question and throwing the burger's wrapper into a nearby trash can. Sonya followed quickly. They walked in silence to the end of one of the piers, where they stood, looking out across the bay at the twinkling lights of Hong Kong. The short pier was lined with small boats, which bumped rhythmically against the dock in time with the lapping waves.

Sonya stole a glance at her enigmatic Meister. She was wearing an orange hoodie and a pair of skinny blue jeans with gray tennis shoes; while Sonya wore a blue hoodie and a short red skirt over her skinny jeans with white tennis shoes. Sonya had shoulder length wavy brown hair while Kyla's hair, though the same length, was straight, and while appearing to be black was in reality a very dark shade of blue.

Kyla turned suddenly. Standing behind them was a tall man, dressed in what appeared to be an old diving suit, complete with a fishbowl shaped helmet, holding a long and brittle looking harpoon in his hands. Sonya noticed her partner was looking the other way, and turned to see what she was looking at. She gave a little squeak when she saw the diver.

"Is that him?"

Kyla nodded slowly, holding her hand out to her partner. "That's him. Let's make this quick Sonya."

Sonya glowed red as she took her weapon form. In size and shape she resembled a hoola-hoop, but a razor sharp blade ran along the entire perimeter of the circle, except for a short portion that was wrapped in purple fabric which served as a grip.

Kyla held her casually, waiting for her enemy to make the first move. The diver leveled his harpoon at her and charged without uttering a word.

Sonya laughed nervously from within her weapon form. "What a nice surprise, normally the guys on Shinigami's list are all about obnoxious noises."

Kyla caught his harpoon with the inside of the hoop, redirecting the thrust so that it passed harmlessly by her. The diver withdrew his harpoon and lunged again, and again, each time having his weapon deflected by Kyla's.

By some cruel stroke of luck, the harpoon grazed her, leaving a small cut in her orange sweatshirt.

Kyla blinked, then her face contorted with rage. "This is my favorite sweater you stupid son of a bitch!"

She did a back flip, deftly catching herself with her hands precariously close to the end of the pier before springing towards him, kicking him square in the chest with both feet. He staggered backwards, regaining his balance only to have her jump at him again and punch him in the chest, sending him even further back. Kyla arched her arm back over her head and threw her hoop at him with blinding speed, the Weapon spinning towards the diver in a blur. He held his harpoon across his body in an attempt to block the attack but the hoop simply cut through its brittle shaft and continued through the diver's body, lodging itself in the dock several feet behind him. He stood for a moment, stunned, and then disappeared, leaving a faintly glowing soul in his wake.

Sonya reverted to her human form, consuming the soul of their fallen opponent before turning to face her partner.

"Jeez… when you said make it quick you weren't kidding."

Kyla was busy examining the hole in her sweatshirt that the diver's harpoon had left behind. She poked her finger through it experimentally, cursing under her breath. Sonya frowned.

"Sorry about your sweatshirt Kyla."

Kyla sighed, waving off her apologies. "Don't be, it was totally my bad." They walked back to the shore, heading towards their hotel. "Let's get out of here. We've still got a thirty hour flight back to the states tomorrow."

Roland and Alexa were standing on a dirt road, looking up at a crooked sign that read "STAY OUT: PRIVATE PROPERTY". Alexa felt her excitement build as she read the garish block letters, but Roland was busy looking at the clouds passing over the tops of the towering redwoods that surrounded them. It's beautiful here.

She gave him a nudge with her elbow. "Come on already, let's go get this guy."

He nodded, following Alexa past the sign and down the road. The forest gave way to a barbed wire fence with several more "warning" and "keep out" signs hung on it. Alexa stifled a laugh at one that read "TRESPASSERS WILL BE SMASHED". They followed the road past the fence and found a twisted black SUV near the side of the road.

Alexa chuckled. "I guess he wasn't joking."

A clear mountain stream ran through the center of the compound, and on the side opposite them was a ramshackle cottage. Various pieces of mining equipment were scattered among disorganized supply crates, and holes were scored haphazardly into the ground in several places. Suddenly, the cottage shook.


The cottages door was thrown of its hinges as a huge man emerged. His entire torso was covered in his coarse gray beard, the wife-beater he wore underneath it barely visible. He wore a pair of grease covered jeans and combat boots, and toted a huge mining pick. Roland stepped forward, mustering his most heroic tone.

"Are you the owner of this claim?"

The miner growled, eyes narrowing. "Damn straight I am. You another corporate lap dog, here to try and buy my land off me?"

Roland held his hand out to Alexa, who promptly took weapon form. The miner blinked.

"No sir. We're here to take your soul."

The miner gave a course laugh, gripping his pick firmly.

"Here to take my soul, huh? Yeah right, more like here to take my gold!" He pointed a grimy finger at the crumpled SUV by the entrance. "They came for my gold to, and you know what happened to them? I smashed their car, killed them, and ate their souls!"

He laughed again, taking hold of his pick with both hands. "And now I'm gonna do the same to you!" He bellowed, charging them at a dead run, swinging the pick wildly.


Roland held Alexa at the ready, taking a few tentative steps towards the approaching behemoth. They met in the stream, weapons locking together with a crash.

Roland knew immediately that the miner outmatched him in physical strength. He just hoped that the miner wasn't so strong that it would make up for his lack of technique. They separated, circling in the ankle deep water before lunging again, weapons clashing, water splashing up around them as they struggled back and forth in the stream.

Despite her size Roland found that Alexa was almost weightless in his hands, an extension of his body as he attacked the miner with a dizzying series of stabs and slashes. The miner wasn't fast enough to block many of the blows, and soon bled from many small cuts. But despite his wounds he showed no signs of weakening, tearing the creek bed asunder with every swing of his pick.

The combat suddenly paused and Roland smiled. He had caught the miner's pick under the head with his sword. With a heave, he pulled the weapon from the miner's hands and sent it sailing away from the fight. The miner's face was all fury, his fist a blur.


The miner punched Roland in the gut with one of his tree trunk like arms, sending him flying backwards nearly ten feet into the side of a large metal crate. Roland coughed, struggling to sit up, only to see the miner walk right past him.

Alexa cursed. "Come on Roland, this guy's all brawn and no brain. He's gonna give us an opening eventually." Staggering to his feet, he saw the miner nearing his pick.

But the miner paid his former weapon no mind, instead walking to the smashed SUV. With a grunt he lifted the entire car over his head, turning to face the gaping Meister.

"Take this you little prick!"

Roland dove out of the way as the SUV rushed by him and leveled the miner's cottage. The miner roared as he leapt at Roland, who rolled out of the way as the miner's fist shattered the ground where he had just been.

Alexa saw the opening just as Roland drew her back to exploit it. "Take him now!"

Roland slashed at his hamstring, causing him to fall to one knee, and with a cry, he slashed at the miner's midsection. Roland blinked when Alexa simply lodged herself in his thick muscle, and the miner laughed even as blood poured from his wounds.

"Come on you son of a bitch, if you keep hitting me like that your sword's gonna break!"

Roland withdrew his blade, face stony with determination. He reversed his grip on Alexa, raised her over his head, and plunged her into the miner's back. The miner's laughter stopped suddenly. The hulking man shuddered and his arms fell limp to his sides. Roland placed a foot on his shoulder, pulling his sword from the miner's body and kicking him forward into the dirt in one fluid motion. His body lingered for a moment and then vanished, leaving his soul floating peacefully above the ground. Alexa reverted to human form, quickly consuming the miner's soul, as if she was worried he still wasn't quite dead.

Roland took a moment to catch his breath, and Alexa threw her arms up in a little cheer.

"We got our first soul!"

Roland smiled sheepishly, cleaning his glasses with the hem of his shirt. "I guess we did."

She turned to beam at him. "We did pretty good for our first mission huh?"

He nodded in agreement. "But it only gets harder from here."

Maka fell to her knees, trembling. It's over, we won. She'd come close to following the Werewolf into the icy Thames, but Soul and Black*Star had come to her rescue just in time. Her partner knelt by her side currently, carefully examining her burnt hands.

"Looks like I'll need to do the cooking for a while."

She gave him a weak smile. "You'd better make nice dinners for me."

He grinned, exposing his pointed teeth. "Sure thing."

The wounded Scythe Technician loosed a hacking cough into her cupped hands, blinking at the dark liquid that remained on her gloves when she pulled her hands away.