Fandom: Soul Eater
Word Count: 1504
Summary: The sway of magic begins striking poor Angela in earnest, and Kim's magic cannot fully stop it. Future Mifune/Tsubaki in the background.
Warnings: Little girl who is not having a good time of it.
Thank You To tobu_ishi for her wonderful work as Beta.
The first time it strikes her, she is nine years old. She is not even aware of it until it is already over, until her eyes are blinking open to discover that her mother is wrapped around her (literally, having taken the form of a chain), and Aunt Kim's hands are pressed against her forehead, glowing with magic.
The living room is all but destroyed: the couch snapped in half, as if something far too large and heavy had decided to sit on it, the windows blown outwards, the glass coffee-table shattered. Unable to remember, to understand the chaos she had suddenly found herself at the center of, Angela begins to cry. As Tsubaki reverts to her normal form and sweeps her up in her arms, whispering to her over and over that it's okay, it's okay, Angela realizes that there is blood on her face, and she has no idea how it got there or even who it belongs to, and cries all the harder.
She spends the rest of the day going between her bed, hiding from the sun and nursing a headache, and the bathroom, to throw up. Professor Nygus makes a house call, and confirms what they had suspected: It was a temporary side-effect from bringing her magic back under control so suddenly, and should pass soon. "Take two aspirin, drink plenty of fluids, and call me if she's not better in the morning," is all the advice she could give.
She takes the aspirin, but vomits them up ten minutes later, and neither Mifune nor Tsubaki can coax her into taking any more. She spends the night turning fitfully in her bed, whimpering softly whenever the pain spikes, and pulls her out of her restless sleep. It is several hours before she is able to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time, and by the time she is able to attain true, restful slumber, it is almost morning.
Mifune stays with her all night. He says little to her, which is not unusual for him. He comforts her, as needed, with a squeeze of the hand, an adjusting of blankets, and by his simple presence. He is wracked by guilt, for when the magic came over her, he was elsewhere. He was in the park, playing with her younger brother. At the time when Angela needed him most, he was not there for her, and that cut him in a way that no sword ever could.
He says nothing of this to Tsubaki, but she knows anyway. After several years of marriage, she knew him well enough that he need not speak a word on the matter in order to be understood.
When Angela wakes, she feels tired and worn down, but otherwise none the worse for wear. The debris in the living room has been cleared away, and her stained clothing has been washed, erasing the evidence of the incident as if doing that could erase the incident itself. Only the furniture's conspicuous absence and the taped-over windows still bore witness to the events of yesterday, and soon enough they too would be replaced, and then the incident would be behind them completely. Time's passage would erode even their memory of it, until it no longer seemed particularly significant.
Or so Angela dares to hope. But she knows the truth, deep down in her bones. None of them admit it aloud, but it's there, never spoken but always present: Their problems are only beginning.
She learns to recognize when an attack's coming, the subtle warning signs her body sends that the magic is about to take control away from her. A headache, fatigued eyes, numb hands, difficulty focusing...any of these could mean that an attack was on its way. It might only be one or two of them, it might be all of them. Or it could come on suddenly, with no warning at all.
The worst part was that she has no way of knowing. Until the actual attack comes over her, she has no way of knowing whether a headache is just a headache, or a sign of things to come. If she thinks one might be coming on, she has to drop whatever she is doing, excuse herself, and go somewhere safe. If Kim can be found, a preventative shot of her magic will usually hold it off...but Kim has other duties, and is too often on the other side of the planet. Too often, Angela has no recourse but to go home and wait, frustrated and afraid, to see what happens.
She cannot remember the attacks, but the physical evidence - damaged rooms, torn clothing, and injuries, both her own and others', serve to remind her of what she is capable of. It does not happen often; once every few months, at the most. But that is often enough to send her into a panic whenever she thinks one is coming.
Professor Stein explains it to her in more detail, when she asks him:
"A witch's magical power carries with it a set of destructive instincts we call the 'sway of magic'. It compels witches to, for lack of a better description, behave like witches. Kim's magic cancels it out, so we're using it to keep it from affecting you. Thing is, it's not a hundred-percent effective. Every now and then, it'll break through and then boom, you go off like a firecracker."
"You can't fix me?" she asks, disappointment creeping into her voice. Everyone always spoke of him as a great medical genius. She'd thought for certain...
Stein shrugs. "Not even my skills can fix this, because there's nothing to fix. It's hard-wired into who you are. In a few years, it should start to fade: The sway of magic is strongest when a witch's powers are emerging. Eventually, you probably won't even need Kim to help you. But until then, I'm afraid you're stuck with it."
To a suffering child, a few years is an eternity. His assurances mean less than nothing to her, and only serve to make her face fall even further.
He leans in uncomfortably close. "If you want, I could try. I've always wanted to dissect a live witch..."
Tsubaki, who had been lurking nearby, stepped forward and wordlessly steers Angela away.
They could try rewiring her with the Morality Manipulation Machine (lovingly renamed the Personality Perfector by Shinigami). It's something Mifune and Tsubaki - Angela's parents, though neither of them are related to her by blood - have discussed, late at night when they think that she's asleep. They do not fight, or argue; for that, they would both need to know where they stand.
They are, both of them, torn. On the one hand, the device represents the best hope for a permanent solution to Angela's problem. But on the other...they do not trust it. They do not trust it to return their little girl to them, her personality unchanged. And even if it did, how would they know if it was stunting or altering the way her personality develops? They could never know for certain, and that's frightening to them.
But anything that could save Angela from any further attacks is tempting to them; they suffer almost as much as she does, from having to watch her go through it, and be there for her. The sight of Angela in pain is painful to them as well.
So they go back and forth, unable to decide, unable even to truly disagree, and after a while, Angela starts to wish that they would change her into someone different; someone who wouldn't be so much trouble for them.
They do their best to treat her like any other child, to keep it from affecting her, but it is largely a futile effort. For most children, a party, sports game, or other event is a casual matter, notable only in the time it takes up and the effort involved in organizing it. With Angela, it is a harrowing affair for everybody involved. It is all but impossible to relax until she is safely at home, and the danger has passed.
Angela dreads her classes. The hours she spends there are like her worst nightmare: trapped in a space for six hours, with all of her friends. She is certain that, if she had an attack and they got caught up in it, they would hate her, and that scares her more than anything. Every day is spent on edge, watching herself anxiously for signs of an attack.
This is no proper life for a child, Mifune is certain. She had done nothing to earn this sort of torment, and yet here it was. If it was a person who was inflicting it on her, he would cut them down in an instant...but the only enemy here is her body and mind. Try though he might, there is nothing he can do against that. All he can do is support her, and do the same thing that she is doing: wait. And wait. And hope that Stein is right, and there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
Crossposted to shibusen