summerbutterfly: (Excalibuuuurrrrrrrr)
[personal profile] summerbutterfly posting in [community profile] kinkfest
Title:
Illuminating Manuscript
Author:
[livejournal.com profile] ehvul_butterfly
Rating:
G
Word count: 1590
Summary: For the May 1 prompt: Soul Eater, Maka/Kid: Books - The quickest way to a girl's heart. So many apologies for being a couple days late!





It was strange that he couldn’t identify when it happened. Given his penchant for uniformity and organization, he should have been able to pinpoint the exact moment something changed. The exact moment Maka stopped being simply “Maka” and became some sort of sort of new, italicized version of herself, complete with (perfectly symmetrical) hearts and sparkles and fancy little rainbows. It was sometime between the beginning of Spartoi and the current moment, but the specifics eluded him, causing him much anxiety and distress. Amazingly, hardly anyone noticed.

But Liz did.

“What’s wrong with you?” They were walking home under the fading sun, Patty bounding ahead like always, and her question caught him off guard.

“What do you mean?” he asked. “Do I seem ill?”

“No, not exactly. But you don’t seem well, either. Does that make sense?”

“No.”

“Hm, okay.” Liz pursed her lips. “How about this- normally when you’re broody and sullen, you find fault with everything. But today, you’re broody and sullen and you haven’t said a word. You’ve been like this ever since that sparring exercise Stein made us do against Maka and Soul. Did you get hurt?”

“No. I’m fine. Perhaps I’m not talking because I have nothing to say.”

“Well, I guess that could be true, but...wait.” Liz turned. “You’re not in love, are you?”

Caught off guard yet again, Kid stumbled, cursing as he banged his left knee hard against the cobblestone street. “Damn, stupid, asymmetrical paving stones,” he growled. “Don’t these people understand the importance of making everything even?!?”

“Actually, the stones are just fine. That was you.”

“No. It was the stones.” Kid brushed the dust from his knees. “You can see the problem right there. That one by my left foot is 3/8 of an inch higher than the one by my right. Also how did you get from ‘are you hurt’ to ‘are you in love’? Those two things have nothing to do with each other.”

“Actually, studies have shown that the emotional effects of being in love can be strong enough to cause all sorts of physical ailments. Anxiety, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping....”

“And you know this how?”

“Oh, I read it in this book. The Ultimate Guide to Love and Relationships- Finding A Rad Romance by Dr. Q. Pidsarrow. It’s in the library.”

“Library?” Kid tilted his head. “You went to the library?”

“Yes, why?”

“Because you hate books.”

“I don’t hate books. I hate boring books with too may words. This one had words, but it counteracted that by having lots of pictures.”

“Ah, yes. Pictures. The hallmark of any serious scientific study.”

“Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. And it couldn’t have been all that bad if Maka was reading it.”

Kid stopped short, a bolt of anxiety making him wobble. “M...Maka?” he stuttered. “Maka was reading it?”

“Yeah, how do you think I found it? That library has a ton of floors, and I wasn’t about to go searching for where they kept the interesting stuff. So I went to the back and there she was, in one of the cubicles, with this book. And she seemed a little embarrassed when I asked her about it, but there was nothing to be embarrassed about. It was actually really informative reading and...”

Liz continued talking, but Kid’s brain had already tuned her out. Maka was reading. Maka was reading books about love. Why was Maka reading books about love? Was Maka in love? If she was, was it with him? Was it someone else? Was it possible she’d picked up on his amorous feelings and was starting to piece things together?

“Kid. Kid! Earth to Kid!” Liz poked his arm. “You’re going to trip again if you’re not careful, and not because of any asymmetrical bricks!”

“Stones, they’re stones.” Maka was reading relationship books. “Liz, do you think you could find that book for me? Or at least write the title down so I can find it myself?”

“Sure, why?”

“I think I’ve suddenly become interested in this topic.”

Somehow, Liz managed not to smile too widely or too brightly. “No problem. I’ll do it as soon as we get home, okay?”

Kid nodded, feeling a strange sense of relief. “Thank you.”

*~*~*~*

Maka was reading books about love. That meant Kid needed to read books about love. Because books held the answers to all things and surely, amongst the weatherworn pages of Q. Pidsarrow, the answers to the great mystery of Italicized Maka would be revealed. Surely such a thick, professionally bound study would tell him everything he needed to know about why he felt the way he did. Surely, well-documented research would never let him down.

And yet, four pages in, Finding A Rad Romance was doing exactly that.

Lesson One, Step One: Determining your love style. Answer the questions below to find out which type best describes you." Kid’s brow furrowed. “If you got mostly A’s, you’re a Divine Diva. Cute and Confident you rule your roost. If you got mostly B’s, you’re a Restless Romantic. Waiting for Mr. Right makes you almost as giddy as finding him. If you got mostly C’s, you’re a Shy Sugarplum. Sweet on the inside, you’ve got a tough rind that isn’t always easy to peel back. Dudes and dames don’t always dig this, so up that flirty femme fatale mojo!

Kid sat back. Excessive alliteration and confusing analogies aside, he was hard-pressed to understand how four questions could be used to reach such decisive conclusions. Divine Diva? Shy Sugarplum? Restless Romantic? Did girls really fit into only three categories? And if they didn’t, why three? Four would have been so much more symmetrical. Pidsarrow couldn’t have come up with one more?

Kid read on.

Lesson One, Step Two: Determining the love style of your of your dream dude. Is he a Hunky Hero? A Gifted Geek? A Little Bit of a Loner? It’s time you knew so we can teach you how to get together!

Kid grit his teeth. Now he knew something was wrong. Not only were there only three options, so many of the males he knew didn’t even fit into such narrow classifications. Where were the Black Stars and their pompous blustering? Where were the Spirits and their constant womanizing? Who was this Q. Pidsarrow and what type of falsified research was he peddling? Kid flipped to the back, looking for endnotes and a bibliography.

Neither existed.

“Preposterous,” he hissed. “A reference book in the library with no citations? Father will certainly hear about this.”

Infuriated, he slammed it shut and went to stand.

And pushed his chair straight back into Maka.

“Ouch,” Maka said. “Watch where you’re going you...oh. Hi, Kid.”

Torn between his righteous indignation and a sudden attack of butterflies, Kid had to grab the back of the chair to steady himself. “Maka,” he said. “Hello. I’m so sorry!”

“It’s okay,” Maka said. “I didn’t realize it was you. What are you doing back here?”

“Me? Nothing, I...” Kid glanced down at the book he still held in his hand. “This title was out of place and I was just going to put it back.”

He tried to walk away, as if he really were going to re-shelve the offending literary culprit, but Maka grabbed the other side of the binding, holding it so she could see the gold-embossed title.

The Ultimate Guide to Love and Relationships?” Maka made a face. “That book is so silly. I pulled it out thinking it was going to help with a paper I was writing on courtly love for Miss Marie, but all I got was a bunch of fake research and dumb quizzes.”

“Oh. Really?”

“Yeah.” Maka opened to the page Kid had just been reading. “I mean, just look at this. The Shy Sugarplum/Hunky Hero combination is a dark horse, but you can make it work with a little wit, charm and flirty fashions. Hunky Heroes love a girly sundress, so pop on a frock and light up the night with your best red lipstick? Not only is that horrible advice, what on earth is a Hunky Hero?”

“Or a Shy Sugarplum for that matter. I don’t know a single girl who would fit into such a narrow category.”

“Exactly!” Maka shut the book with a flourish. “Not an ounce of science. What is it even doing here?”

Kid felt a smile tug at the edges of his lips. “Funny, I was just going to say...”

A loud “shhhhhhh” cut across their conversation. Both Maka and Kid winced and shuffled a little deeper into the stacks.

“We’re upsetting people,” Kid said. “Perhaps we should try and be quieter.”

“Or, maybe we should head somewhere else. I hear the new coffee place has a really good reference collection. Want to help me finish my paper?”

Maka blushed prettily and the butterflies in Kid’s stomach fluttered again.

“I’d be happy to help,” he said. “Though I’ve never had coffee. Is it good?”

“It’s different.” Maka fell in beside him as they made their way down the aisle. “A little bitter. I find I have to add lots of sugar. And milk.”

“Hm.” Kid found Q. Pidsarrow’s rightful shelf. “I don’t know how I feel about that, but I suppose I can try.”

“That’s the spirit!”

Kid slid the book into the empty space. And paused.

He looked back at the fraying binding.

Perhaps, he realized, he hadn’t been as betrayed by faulty science as he originally thought.

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