Title: The Truancy Officers
Fandom: Soul Eater, either canon
Characters: Spirit Albarn, Mika Albarn (his wife), Franken Stein
Misc. Notes/Warnings: Yes, I named and made up a personality for the ex-wife because I can. This can be seen as a prequel to another fanfic I wrote, "Contradictions and Compromise."


"Spirit, you are such a wimp sometimes," Mika said, dragging her husband by the arm. It was Spirit that Lord Death had instructed to check up on the truant Franken Stein, but Spirit had begged Mika to come along for moral support. This was turning out to be a good thing, because the closer the two got to Stein's ratty apartment, the more reluctant and whiny Spirit became.

"Five years! He cut me up in my sleep for five years!" There were distressed tears in Spirit's eyes. "Last time I tried to go talk to him, he just gave me this huge grin and waved a scalpel at me. I thought he was going to start dissecting me right there!"

Mika wouldn't have put it past the boy, to tell the truth. But she still kept dragging Spirit along. "Look, all we have to do is knock on his door, tell him that Lord Death says to come back to school, and go home. You're not gonna get cut up. If he tries, you transform and we'll see if he likes being sliced open."

"I couldn't do that," Spirit sniffed. "He was my partner."

"Didn't stop him," Mika muttered. They'd arrived. Mika banged on the apartment door. "Hey, Stein! Stein! It's Mika and Spirit—"

"N—don't tell him I'm here!"

"Stein?" There was no answer from inside. Mika tried the door; it was, of course, locked.

"He's probably too busy experimenting on something to answer," Spirit fretted. "If we interrupt that—"

"Lord Death told us to tell him to come back to school, and we are going to do just that." Mika eyed the door. "You could break this down, easy."

"Or we could slide a note under the door?"

Mika considered. Perhaps property damage was not absolutely necessary, even if she did want to show Stein just what she thought of his experimenting on her husband. So instead she reached into her bag and pulled out a notebook.

Lord Death says you're to come back to school immediately or face expulsion and/or investigation into your activities with the potential for harsher punishment.

All the best,

Mika & Spirit Albarn

She slipped the note under the door without a second thought, but Spirit protested. "Hang on, Lord Death didn't say anything about an investigation or harsher punishment."

"Maybe not to you," Mika said, "but haven't you heard the rumors?"

"There've always been that kind of rumors about Stein. They never mean anything—"

"I don't think Mrs. Minnie is spreading idle gossip."

Spirit paled. "Pince-nez Minnie?"

Mika held back a sigh. "This is how he was able to experiment on you for five years, you know. You don't pay any attention to what's going on around you.

Spirit was visibly shaken; Mrs. Minnie was the strictest, most no-nonsense teacher at the Academy and, as Mika had said, was not one to gossip. Still, he shook his head. "But that wasn't the message Lord Death said to pass on. If he wants to talk to Stein about that, he'll do so himself. C'mon."

"Fine." Mika crouched down and reached her thin fingers under the door to reclaim the note. After feeling around for it for a moment, she pulled it back out and was about to crumple it up when she got a good look at it. Seeping into the upper-right corner was a spot of what was clearly blood. Barely breathing from shock, Mika showed the paper to Spirit, who had already seen and transformed his arm into a blade.

"Out of the way," he said, his voice low and serious.

Mika scrambled to her feet. "Be careful," she said. "He could be near the door—"

"You can't sense him?"

Mika focused her Soul Perception beyond the door. "I'm sensing something. It might be him. But it's so weak…" The wavelength of someone near death.

Spirit made a shallow X across the upper half of the door and then rammed his shoulder against it. The door was flimsy; that was enough to open a hole in it, through which they could see Stein's body lying a few feet away. Now that he knew how much space he had to work with, Spirit attacked the door with more vigor, demolishing it in seconds. They rushed in. Spirit went straight to Stein. "Find a phone!" he called to Mika, his voice shaking. Mika ran past him, but not before she heard, "Shit, what the hell happened to his neck…"

Suppressing a shiver, she scanned the walls and tables of the unfamiliar living room. No phone in here. She tried the kitchen next, and stopped dead for a few moments. The contraption of mirrors and magnifying lenses, the table with bloodied surgical tools before her cold only mean one thing—he'd done this to himself. Normally brave, Mika felt her knees weaken, and she had to clutch the door frame."

"Mika! Did you find one?"

She tore her eyes away and scanned the room. "N-not yet!"

"Hurry up! His breath's getting weaker!"

A quick glance into the bedroom confirmed what Mika had already started to suspect. "He doesn't have one!"

"Shit!"

"I'll get a neighbor." As she darted by, she glanced clips holding Stein's shaved skin away from the cut on the back of his neck. Her eyes met Spirit's for only a second, and in that second she saw that he'd reached the same conclusion she had and that his mind, too, was full of shit shit shit what the hell is wrong with him.

She turned right and banged on Stein's neighbor's door. But there was no time to wait; she shouted, "Don't come to the door, just call an ambulance! Hurry!" And in case that neighbor wasn't home, she did the same to the next door and was about to move onto the next when someone opened the first door with a phone in hand. Mika practically ripped the phone away.

"What is the nature of—"

"Resident of 24 Hook Street cut open the back of his neck. He's barely breathing and his wavelength is really weak—" With a chill, Mika realized she couldn't even feel Stein's wavelength from here. She ran back to his apartment. It was not until she got within five feet of him that she could feel his soul again. Having confirmed that she could, she turned her attention back to the phone, took a deep breath, and gave them the details they asked for. When she hung up, she felt shaky, but calmer. The horror was out of her hands now.

Still kneeling next to Stein, Spirit looked up at her, his face as numb and terrified as she felt. "What the hell was he trying to do?" he asked, his voice coming out as a whisper.

Mika shook her head. She didn't like Stein—she'd always thought he was a screwed-up little bastard—but this horrified her beyond words or reason. It wasn't like him. It was too careless, too stupid, too desperate.

"We should call Lord Death," she said finally, and gave a laugh that was all nerves. In the kitchen, there were plenty of mirrors for that.