A/N: Thanks for clicking on my story!

This is my first one, so please send me any comments or criticism by reviewing. Please note that the story in the anime differs significantly from the manga. This story is based off the anime, and will veer from it.

The story takes place after Crona joins the DWMA, after the Kishin Asura is released.

Edit: The first chapter is now split into 2 parts. I've also made some other minor edits.

"Verbal dialogue."


Disclaimer: I do NOT own Soul Eater.

Chapter 1

A high scream rent the cold night.

Nearby, a black cat startles from its window ledge, hair standing on end, its fanged mouth hissing with surprise. Leaping to the stony ground, it runs off, perhaps to find a new window to curl up under. One that was brighter and warmer, and far away from this one.

x X x

Earlier that Evening:

"Alright that's it, class. Have a great weekend." Marie dismissed her class with a smile. Talking and laughing, they packed up their things and were gone, plans for the weekend filling their heads.

She sighed as the last student exited her class. Her glued smile dropped. Her shoulders drooped.

How long can I keep this up? she wondered. Looking out the window, she watched the students walking down the steps of the school. She turned to collect the student's papers. She stacked them, sat down at her desk, and dejectedly, began to grade them.

Usually, her happiness and positive attitude were genuine, but today was not a good day. Marie felt devastated and depressed. As she finished grading papers and tidying up, she frowned, her mind concentrated on other matters.

Stein was sick, and she was worried.

Marie had been filling in for him at the DWMA on Lord Death's orders for almost two weeks. At first she would accompany him at all times, both to his classes and at home. Marie made sure she was always there for him. At first it was okay. Do able. But it hadn't helped him in the long run. No, not in the least. Despite Stein's desperate attempts to stave off madness, it would come anyway. Take him over. Multiple times a day he suffered uncontrollable madness, He tried to hurt those around him; including one particularly close call with Maka. Marie had stopped him only just in time. The poor girl must have nightmares...Marie knew she herself did. As Stein's condition grew exponentially worse, and the weeks went by, eventually they reached the point where Lord Death felt it would be best for him to be away from the children, and people in general. Marie would teach the class in his stead, and Stein had to be confined to his house. Any other way would be too dangerous.

She still lived with him. She went to him whenever she wasn't at school. She was supposed to have an anti-madness aura, which was supposed to help him. She might have once, but now? She was too depressed herself to help anyone. She felt like darkness was seeping into her heart. A depression which had never previously existed. She felt helpless before it.

She couldn't do this anymore. It was not that she didn't want to help him. Marie loved him. Once you love someone, you can't just take it back. It becomes ingrained into your whole being; no matter how many years passed, no matter what happened, there would be a place in your heart for them. Seeing him like this was...hard. She do whatever it took to help him through this. And she was. There simply wasn't anything she could do. This, this was pointless. This was a futile waste of time.

While Marie didn't like to acknowledge it, Stein's condition was deteriorating her own: lately her appearance grew unkempt, and despite her fierce efforts to remain positive, dark circles shadowed her eyes, her smile was starting to seem fake, and her positive attitude forced. Her hope was slipping. A war loomed ahead; powerful forces were emerging to strike the DWMA down. She was a small person to make any difference.

She stretched, lost in dark thoughts; the grading work was going much slower than it should have been. She was used to supervising Oceania. She couldn't do this! While teaching was a great experience and she loved the children, she felt she wasn't the best person for the job; especially during this time of fear. All she could think about was the horror the future could hold. What if the children got into a fight they couldn't handle, and don't make it? And what if it's all my fault, because Stein is a better teacher than me? I could've forgotten to tell them something vital, the thing that could have saved them. What if Death City falls? It's so fragile. One little disaster and it's all over. What if Stein becomes consumed by the madness, and I can't save him? She shuddered at the thought.

Where did this negativity come from? It must be the Kishin's madness, she thought sadly. She shouldn't let it get to her. She knew her worries were abnormal, but she still didn't think she could deal with that kind of loss. It's not going to happen. Everything's going to be okay. I need to trust in my friends.

Stein was better at dealing with hardship than she was. She admired that about him, and the children did too, she knew. He was someone they respected and trusted when it came to the serious things. Marie couldn't be Stein for them. Despite her efforts she- she got lost, and she panicked. Count on bright Marie for cheering up, friendship, and advice. Count on her for loyalty and spirit! But whether it was geographical directions, teaching, or leadership, Marie wasn't your girl.

She looked at the papers in front of her again. She found her pen mindlessly going over the same essay line, over and over again. She frowned, and started concentrating on the words. This needed to get this done! She didn't want to be here forever. She wanted to go home, and see Stein! To talk to him, even if he was barely there.

No! Think about something else! She pushed the dark thoughts out of her mind once more. She refused to continue in this rut of sadness, however, and Marie's focus shifted to the happy glow the thought of the children brought her; how brave and talented they were. Their teamwork. Her class was filled with so many powerful partnerships. One day they would all grow up to be great meisters and weapons, and Marie knew it wouldn't be because of her. She began humming quietly to herself to fight of the coming darkness of her thoughts. As her pen flew over the papers, she was interrupted.

"Hello?" a voice called. A young girl entered the room. She looked about twelve of thirteen, with short dark hair and dark eyes. "Um." She bit her lip. "I was wondering if you have seen my younger sister? She was supposed to meet me after school, but she didn't. I went home, because I thought she might have gone without me, but she wasn't there either. So I came back here...-" she trailed off, nervously. "You haven't seen her, have you?"

"No, sorry I haven't. Who's your sister?" Marie asked, setting down her pen. The sun was beginning to set.

"Oh, um. Her name's Arrie...she's seven."

"Alright. Don't worry; I'm sure she'll turn up. I'll send a message to Lord Death. How's that sound?" She smiled at the little girl before her comfortingly.

"No thank you, I think she might be playing a joke on me again. You see, she often runs off."

"Oh, okay. Bye then." She waved as the girl left.

The papers in front of her seemed to glare at her. 'No more interruptions!' They seemed to tell her. "Finish!' they demanded. She felt stressed just looking at them. C'mon, just a few more left. Picking up her pen, she steeled herself and forced herself to finish.

An hour later, she was done. Sighing with relief, she stood up, and straightened out the classroom a bit. Then, gathering her bag, she exited the classroom herself, and started for home. Out the main door, down the steps. Her thoughts had kept her from home for long enough. Stein! Please get well soon!

Time would bring her friend back to her, just as he had returned from the darkness before. All she could do now was wait for him.

Buried deeper now, but ever present, a dark question lingered.

What if she failed?

x X x

Tsubaki walked down the steps of the DWMA with her friends. It was the weekend, the school week was over and she and Maka had planned a sleepover. It had been a few weeks since they had all become friends, and between school, constant missions, and extra lessons the group had grown close rather quickly. However, nothing beat the bonding power of a girls' sleepover, she mused.

Black*Star was going to spend the night working out, so he wasn't going to miss her (or so he said, waving off her concern when she asked him). Tsubaki laughed softly at the memory, happy to have such a strong and great meister as Black*Star.

Lost in thought, she had fallen slightly behind the now splitting group. Everyone was starting off in the direction of their respective homes. Tsubaki jogged a bit to catch up to Maka and Soul, and waved goodbyes to Kid, Patty, Liz, and Black*Star.

The rest of the walk back to Maka and Soul's apartment was filled with the chatter and laughter of the two girls. Soul did not take part in the conversation, deeming it 'uncool'. He kept slightly behind the girl, just listening with his hands on either side of his head, elbows sticking out in opposite directions. The trio walked home in the late afternoon light.

After dinner (arranged by Maka), Soul said goodnight to the girls, and Tsubaki and Maka stayed up, continuing to talk about all manner of subjects and performing basic girl sleepover rituals, before falling asleep in the living room, bundled up in sleeping bags, fluffy pillows, and stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes.

x X x

As Marie walked home, she thought about how much time she was spending with Stein. Her time at school was really the only time they spent apart. She would have spent all her time with him; given his descent into madness, he only needed her more, but Marie needed a break from Stein. His constant presence could be quite overwhelming. Walking in on him alone at any time, she would find him grinning insanely, and muttering to himself. After a day with the children, however, she could look forward to seeing him, and believe that she had the strength to help him.

As she approached his house, she paused in her thoughts. As usual, the place looked odd, with its unconventional architecture, the lines of stitches running up the grey-blue surface. Not uncommonly, mist eerily crowded the place, but an ominous feeling permeated the air as well. Drawing closer to the unfettered black gate, she gasped. Stein's front door was open. An explosion of horror combusted in her chest. She cried in a frightened whisper, "No Stein, why?"

x X x

From the teeth of the grinning moon drips wet dark blood; its yellow surface gives the city below it light. From above, this sleepy city is peaceful and still. Deep in the night, in a dim alley way, lay a girl. Upon entering the alley, one can see her more closely. She is on her back, staring up at the figure above her. She can't see who it is, for they are wrapped in shadows, clothed in the night. She tries to sit up, but finds she cannot.

A knife descends into the path of vision, a segment alight solely by the faint light of the golden crescent moon. A hand appears, next. Closer. The knife is coming closer. An arm. The girl stared transfixed at where she guesses the person's face should be.

Darkness. Horror gripped her, and her eyes stain to see in the gloom. I can't see the face! How horrid! Who stands above her?

It's dark, is all, she reasons with herself. Yes, that's all. The face must be in the shadows. For some reason she feels she has to know. So familiar...she struggles to sit up.
The knife descends further toward her, and she glances at it.

Realization floods her. Flinching at the sight of what she now understands is a scalpel, her mouth and eyes widen into 'O's', causing her attacker to giggle horribly with mad glee.

Her attention shifts back to her attacker's shadowed face. There is no escape. She is paralyzed, she realizes, though with fear or otherwise she knows not. The scalpel descends into her flesh, and she stares earnestly at the shadows, waiting for a glance of her attacker. It never comes.

A white wave of raw pain shoots through her. Her vision shrinks to black. She screams, and screams, and cruel, mad laughter is all she can hear. She tries to struggle, but her limbs don't respond. Her voice is soundless to her ears, and she tries to scream louder, harder. Someone will hear me!

But her voice is gone.

x X x

Someone is screaming, Tsubaki thought, her sleep interrupted.

She sat up before she realized she was awake, remembering she was having a sleepover at Maka's, and was at her friend's side in an instant.
Another nightmare, she quickly realized, and twisted to turn on the lamp beside them.

She shook Maka, begging her to wake up. Maka continued to scream.

"Please!" Her voice trembled, and she shook Maka harder.

"Maka! Maka...wake up!" Tsubaki vocalized her desperation, and Maka stopped screaming abruptly.

But Maka was not awake. Her mouth was open in silent horror, her eyes clenched shut. Maka's hands were claws, fingers curling awkwardly, grasping at the polished wooden floor. She was covered in sweat, her body twitching as though she was wracked by seizures.

"Maka! Wake up!" Tsubaki shook her desperately once more. Maka remained inside her world of terror. Heart racing with panic, Tsubaki sprinted to the kitchen. Grabbing a large cup from a cabinet, she filled it with water from the tap, and rushed back to her still writhing friend, and thrusting the contents of the cup into Maka's scrunched, frightened face.

Immediately, thankfully, Maka sat up, sputtering in shock, dripping wet, green eyes wide with terror, as the tears begin to flow down her cheeks and chin.
Tsubaki was overwhelmed with relief.

"Oh! Maka! You're okay, Maka, calm down. It's okay now, it didn't actually happen!" She crouched next to her friend and gave her a long hug and softly soothing her with a continuous supply of comforting words as Maka continued to cry, soaking wet, into her friend's shoulder.

Poor Maka...

Tsubaki wanted to ask Maka about her nightmare, and to comfort her, as Maka had had nightmares like this before. Tsubaki decided against this however, because last time she asked about it, Maka told her that she didn't remember the nightmare.

While unsure if that was the truth, she knew Maka would tell her, or not tell her, and Tsubaki wasn't going to force it out. Maka didn't look as though she wanted to talk, any more than the last time.

After a few more minutes of tears, some hot aromatic tea, a good shower for Maka, and new pajamas and sleeping bags (the other ones got very wet), they both returned to bed. Tsubaki fell asleep quickly, tired from a week of school, from staying up late into the night, and from the recent shock of Maka's nightmare. They hadn't been asleep an hour, before Maka's nightmare interrupted both their sleep.

Soul, it seems, could sleep through anything. I hope Maka's nightmares will stop, Tsubaki thought as she drifted into sleep. She doesn't need this...

x X x

A short silver blade, flashing in the moonlight.

Maka's eyelids were haunted by the image: she saw it clear as day whenever she closed her eyes.

The "sight" kept her heart pounding, an effect of the adrenaline that had been coursing through her system. Though thoroughly exhausted, Maka knew she'd never return to sleep. She couldn't. Fear plagued her, hours after she had awoken, as if the shadowed figure still crept in the back of her mind.

She lay awake in her sleeping bag, with the top tucked over her wet hair, hiding from the shadows and cold. Tsubaki, she knew, lay on her right. Her quiet, steady breathing was still audible through the sleeping bag.

Maka knew she couldn't stay in the stuffy sleeping bag; she was starting to suffocate inside the thick insulation. Poking her head out would mean exposing herself to the night. But Tsubaki was there, and so was the lamp.

She couldn't breathe! This is ridiculous... Making up her mind, she threw off the top of the sleeping bag, and unzipped it partially so she could slip out. She was going to face her fears. She couldn't stand waiting around in fear, cowering from a simple nightmare. If she couldn't sleep, she could go for a walk. Only a few hours until morning anyway.

After donning her usual clothes and grabbing her jacket, she headed into the night.

A/N: Thank you for reading! I'll try to update as often as I can, but as this is my first story, I have yet to figure out my writing pace.