A/N: Kyonshi = Reanimated Corpse. I really love this idea. So, I couldn't help myself and try writing it. This is my first time something with zombies/undead in it. but I'm not sure if I can turn this into a chapter fic. However I want to get this down on paper and see how it looks. Please tell me what you think of this. Perhaps your feedback can help! Please enjoy!
Rating: T (with the some mention of gore)
Setting: Snk AU
Honesty in Final Moments
A Shingeki no Kyojin fanfiction
It's been five hours. Their bodies ached from exhaustion—no food, no water, no means of escape nor rescue.
Mikasa Ackermen and Corporal Levi both laid trapped in a prison dungeon room. Half the ceiling collapsed inward, huge chunks of stone debris blocking the roof from where it fell. It took up half the space of the room. The prison gate was partially covered by the stony boulders. The remaining exposed prison bars were coated with undead climbing on top of each other extending their arms and legs.
They gnawed and gnashed their jaws against the metal, growling snarling and hissing; spitting bloody bile out of their mouths. They uttered incoherent moans, persistent, desperate for human flesh. Their prey rested farthest from them, huddled in a corner. The corporal's eyes keenly eyed them for any changes of their usual pattern. He looked weary—the dark circles well pronounced under his steely gaze.
"I'm going to be honest with you," he muttered, "We're going to die in this place."
His words weighed the air, like lead. Mikasa however, kept her silence as she used her blouse to prepare a proper bandage. During the fall, Levi landed on uneven footing causing a sprain on his left calf muscle. He had keep insisting it was unnecessary hours before, but as it swelled over he stopped protesting.
"We're going to get out of this place," Mikasa said with quiet certainty.
Levi looked away from her steady eyes and snorted.
"Open your eyes, Ackerman. Chances are, your companions didn't survive the cave in. And if they did, most likely they're trapped in a similar situation. I'm done dealing with this shit.." he muttered bitterly.
Mikasa securely knotted the torn strip of fabric and pulled a small stone to elevate his foot. Levi wrinkled his nose and used his right foot to kick the stone away from them.
"Why did you—," She began but Levi cut her off.
"Don't you get it? There's no point in taking care of me. Of doing anything," He threw his back more against the dank dungeon stone wall. Mikasa watched as he heavily sighed. The sound of kyonshi filling air with their unnatural noise.
"All these years, struggling to stay alive, looking for a damn vaccine... Dammit to hell," He grabbed a tiny rock and flinged it, piercing the eye of decaying woman, the pupil bursting in watery gray matter, "I'd kill for a large bottle of wine right now... Fuck, I'm even willing to ignore how fuckin filthy this place is."
He heard a whine and directed his gaze towards Mikasa. He saw that she had wrapped her arms around herself and shook slightly; her eyes squeezed shut. She only wore a white undershirt that embraced her athletic frame.
I guess it's starting to sink in for her now... Levi thought.
He leaned forward and addressed her, "Hey,"
She lifted her head and saw him looking straight at her. Her bottom lip trembled—a moment a weakness he had never seen in her before. But now in such a moment of desperation was plainly visible in her person. He felt guilt for pushing away her help earlier.
"Pass me the rock. For my leg."
"No," she hissed. She stood up, sealed up tight in her strong facade, and walked toward the mass of boulders caved in and sat on the one that jutted out, "There's no point in helping a dead man," her eyes were cold as ice.
Levi leaned his head back against the wall once more. There was no conversation between them but the hissing snarls of the kyonshi. The single-eyed woman Levi had attacked before, finally manage to wedge her head between the bars—denting her skull in process. She was trapped by her shoulders, her mouth hissing and snapping like a rabid dog.
Levi watched and then looked over to Mikasa. Her breath hitched in agitation as she grabbed a reasonably large rock and lunged it over slamming down over the kyonshi's head. It splattered and cause a large garble of noise to come from the rest. It also bent two of the bars. It caused a greater number of limbs slipped through, waving around like tentacles in front of them.
"I hate you," she hissed at the undead in a voice pulled from her gut.
"Ackerman wait," Levi ordered
But she pulled out her revolver, a colt single action, and started shooting off the faces in frustration.
"Mikasa!" Levi shouted.
The clicking of the empty chamber caused Mikasa to drop the gun and sink to her knees, "Oh god... this can't be happening..." she buried her head
Levi watched her with bitter eyes. It hurts to see her like this. To be stuck like this, injured and trapped like animals. His mind mulled over his own thoughts. He raised his hand and ran them through his unkempt hair. It took him so much to talk, to say what was running through his mind.
"I'm sorry," those were the only words he could muster.
Mikasa lifted her head from her bent knees and saw the Corporal watching her with a look she couldn't interpret. He pulled up his good leg and rested his arm over it, "Maybe... maybe there can be a way out of this hell hole..." He looked away from her when he felt her stare penetrate him.
"But you were an idiot to go and waste the last of your bullets."
Mikasa smiled softly to herself, "You know... there's something I've always wanted tell you.."
The noises of the monsters on the other side continued.
"Go ahead, shoot," he replied in weary voice.
"You are my hero."
Levi's eyes grew wide.
"I admire you. Just as much as Eren does... I admired the way you threw yourself in the mess. The way you would take off in the air. How it seemed that nothing ever stopped you. I wanted to be like that. More than anything... I guess, I've forgotten that you're human as well. Seeing you give up, it was something I never expected from you."
Levi smirked ruefully, "Can't say that I'm not surprised."
Mikasa's cheeks glowed after she hid her lips behind her bent knees.
"There's really no need to look up to me," Levi mused, "I'm a pathetic excuse of a man, pushing myself mechanically to keep living. But you..." he keenly eyed her, "You're alive. Your emotions boil beneath the surface. Sure, it serves for your undoing, but it's better to feel than to not feel anymore."
Mikasa pulled herself suddenly and sat on her knees. Her eyes filled with protest, "That's not true. You are very much alive. You're strong. Surely there has been an overpowering desire that has forced you to keep your life. To keep trying and trying. Even if it looks hopeless. To have ambition. A strong desire, a will, that's what makes you alive."
He watched her speak the entire time. Dropping his guard bit by bit. He just looked so tired of it all. But at the same time felt grateful.
"Levi..." Mikasa whispered. His first name, without its title, just rolled so easily from her tongue—even though it was the first time she said it in that way. She turned and picked up a rock and propped his leg up to keep it elevated. She crawled over to his side.
"Promise me you won't give up anymore," she begged.
He looked ahead of her, "I'm glad that you're here, Ackerman. I'm grateful, cuz you're the only one I wouldn't mind being with in this shitty state. Fuckin' pathetic really."
"Stop talking like that," Mikasa pressed, "We're going to get out of here—we can figure something out!"
He turned his head in her direction, as she was still seated next to him on his right side. His head resting against the wall.
"I love you, Ackerman."
Her heart pounced sharply in her chest.
Levi lifted his arm resting his hand on her cheek. He quietly gazed at her, the calloused hand sliding slowly underneath her jaw. Tears streamed down her face as she moved close and kissed him.
The flavor of his mouth was bitter, the tart of blood and sweat mixed in. It was the sweetest thing she had ever experienced. Their foreheads touched, their lips hovering in front of each other.
"You never cease to amaze me..." Levi whispered, "Time and again, you would come though with the strength of a hundred men."
"It was because you me made me feel strong," Mikasa replied, "Strong enough to protect the ones I care about... I love you too, Levi,"
He smiled satisfied with a sense of relief.
"Do you really?" he asked slowly.
She nodded, "Yes..."
Their faces remained hovering close over each other. His lips inches away from another kiss, moved in a form of a rueful smirk. His voice hissing out in a bare whisper.
"It honestly took for me to be stuck in here with a bad leg so I can be finally honest with you. I had to be pushed to the brink of contemplating the last moments of my life to finally realize how much I wanted this moment to happen..."
Mikasa's hand slipped under his jaw cupping his face in her warm hand.
"Levi...," she whispered, her eyes tender.
It was rare for him to ever see her eyes this way. A soft gaze that was now only directed, only meant for him. He had seen it so many times directed to Jeager, to Armin even.
"I now I have no regrets..." Levi murmured leaning forward.
His tongue melted in her mouth as they kissed again. Mikasa's hands slipped down and fondled his chest feeling the muscles carved underneath the fabric. His chest heaving up and down in heavy breaths. His back was pressed firmly against the wall as Mikasa crawled on top of him. Her lips descending and decorating his neck in kisses.
"Did you want me that bad, Ackerman?" he breathed. Levi felt her tug and loosen the cravat to land her tongue and lips, warm to touch, against his cool skin.
"Stop calling me that," she hissed, "Say my first name," she added with a small peck of her lips against his earlobe.
Levi closed his eyes, the sounds of the undead in the background died out in his ears. "Mikasa..." he whispered. It sounded so strange to hear her first name in the sound of his voice, for long before he had accustomed to mentally chanting it to himself.
Levi pulled her body closer, wrapping his arms around her. It slid down and rested at her hips. She was still on her knees in front of him as he still sat against the wall. She had stopped and gazed down at him. Her hand caressed the side of his gritty dirt-stained face, as his eyes remained plastered on her.
"I love you, Mikasa," he said again.
Everything around him no longer mattered. It was this moment. This last moment.
She leaned forward and tenderly kissed his forehead her arms softly embracing his neck and shoulders, "I wish you would have told me..." she whispered bitterly.
"Why?" he asked, his voice coming out dry.
"Because I respected you too much to change my relationship towards you. You had always been the corporal. The man that came into the lives of me and my friends to give us hope. I always pushed back these feelings... because of your age and position. I was afraid..."
"I apologize. I do realize that I needed to make the first move in all this. But I didn't want to betray my position, to misinterpret my intentions. That and many other factors," Levi explained. His hand reached up and pulled her by her tank top towards his lips. He savored them as her eyes fluttered shut. When they parted she saw his eyes looked steady and calm with such serenity.
"But none of that matters now," he whispered, "Nothing."
"Levi," she whispered.
There they were, both trapped in that small dungeon room, with the undead slowly making their way through the bars.
"Are you afraid?" he asked.
Slipping his hand behind her neck he pressed his forehead against hers, as he whispered, "Me too. But it's normal, to be afraid. It's normal to be this way. You are not a coward. You never were. Remember that."
Mikasa's eyes were squeezed shut as small tears barely trickled from the corners of closed eyelids. She did a small nod, their noses touching, catching the warmth of his breath.
Suddenly there was a loud sound and more moans.
They both looked towards the bars of the cage, over the unmoving corpses that Mikasa had previously shot, the undead climbed and keep pushing the bars. The sound of bending metal, debris drizzling down from the ceiling where the bars were attached gave signs of almost giving way.
"Shit," Levi hissed.
Mikasa got off of him and stood up.
"Wait, what are you going to do? Mikasa?!"
"Maybe... maybe, we don't have to wait till we die," she looked down at him, "Maybe we can find a way," she said sternly.
He caught the look of her fiery gaze, and for a moment felt injected with her vitality. Mikasa began moving the rocks, in an attempt to make a barricade. Levi used the side of the wall to pull himself, wincing, to his feet.
"Be careful. If you pull the supporting stones they're going to come crumbling down," Levi warned.
"We're going to have to let that happen at any point. The only way I see us getting out is through that hole in the roof and we need to unclogged the rocks that caved us in here.." Mikasa commented.
"This is crazy," Levi muttered, "There is no space to dodge it when they fall. It will crush us," he protested.
"So you wanna face that?" she cried, pointing to the hoard. The bars they pushed were ratting to the point of coming loose within seconds.
"Jesus fucking christ," Levi muttered, "Alright," He limped over to her, "Do you have a knife on you somewhere?"
"What are you planning?" Mikasa questioned as she laid another stone to the barricade. It was nowhere complete with only several stones in place. The column of rocks failed to show any sign of falling. Mikasa noticed Levi keeping an eye on the kyonshi when he spoke to her. He didn't reply to her question as he kept his palm open toward her, waiting. Mikasa placed a dagger that she pulled out from behind her left boot.
Two of the dungeon bars gave way, falling down, a small rain of debris raised dust as the swarm came rushing towards them. They tripped over the bodies, the other behind climbing on top of them.
Mikasa planted her feet on the ground lunged off a heavier stone the way a person would lung a discus but with both hands. She released the stone with good timing impacting two corpses crushing them under with it's weight—a splatter echoed like wet mud as it knocked several behind them out of the way. Their shrieks and growls pitched in an irritating sound.
REVISE THE FOLLOWING—
Levi was attacked by a larger male corpse. It knocked him to the ground, the heavy body weighed on top of him, gnashing it's teeth. Levi was able to keep it inches away from his face by bracing his arm across the dead man's chest.
Turning his head to the side, he wrinkled his nose in disgust,"Dammit your breath smells worse than toxic shit."
"Levi!" Mikasa cried. She ran over and kicked the corpse man against his ribs, knocking it off Levi's body. She helped him up.
"You idiot, watch out!" he said shouting, as another corpse quickly approached them. He lunged the knife he held stabbing the corpse right in the eye. Mikasa then lifted her foot and stomped on its chest knocking it back. He kept a grip on the knife as it was retracted while the body as the body fell back.
Levi then with a shove urged Mikasa to fall back, "Climb up the stones and create the cave in."
"Go," he urged. She watched as he placed his hand on his leg, his face etched with slight pain. Mikasa very well knew what he was doing and it aggravated her.
She took the knife from Levi's hand as she moved in front of him. The kyonshi surrounded them.
"You're the idiot. We just confessed our feelings to each other. You'd think that I'll let you sacrifice yourself?"
Mikasa used the knife fighting some of them off while Levi back away climbing the rocks. Putting away the knife, Mikasa also stepped back, going up the pile of stones after Levi as well. The kyonshi closed in attempting to crawl upwards.
Dammit, thought Levi. This doesn't look good at all.
"Ack!" Mikasa cried as her foot was grabbed by an undead.
Levi quickly moved to her aid, descending low enough to reach her. Using his good foot, he stomped muttering, "Piece of shit," as the arm tore off from the body. Mikasa used her hand to wench off the rotting fingers that remained clasped around her ankle.
"Quick take my hand, I'll pull you up," she called out to him. She extended her hand downward for Levi to grab it.
But just then Levi was dragged backwards.
"Levi!" she cried. She snatched up his hand before he was sucked in.
"No! Let me go," he cried.
"I can't. I won't!"
Levi winched as one of the corpses bit into his leg.
"Just do it," he urged between his teeth. There was this strong lingering look in his eyes.
Mikasa's lips trembled as she slowly released her hold on Levi's hand. She climbed higher on the stone pile. Mikasa watched on horrified as the corpses covered the site of Levi's body.
As they bit his arm and grabbed his legs, Levi pushed away the thoughts of the pain. Cracking the neck of the corpse that faced him. It turned a complete three-sixty.
Mikasa could see signs of him still fighting them, attacking the horde's attention to himself. Blocking away her emotions at the moment, Mikasa looked up and noticed the structure of the stones in place to see which one she would be able to move.
She had to cause the stones to collapse inward. It will fill the rest of the room crushing the kyonshi. There was also the risk that she would be caught up in the rock slide once it started.
Mikasa however knew that she had to take that risk. She wrapped her arm around one of the supporting pillars and she gave it another good tug. Her feet was grounded to give her support. Still there was no sign of budging. Smaller pebbles fell about.
Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. Mikasa cursed to herself.
She gave another strong tug the stone budged a bit. The muscles of her arms ached as she pushed her body to keep going with the task.
Just then something strange happened. An eerie silence filled the room, and all of the kyonshi present in the area stood up, as if they were listening to something. Then they started to slowly walk away.
Mikasa immediately looked down towards Levi. His body was left uncovered for her to see. Bite marks, exposed torn tissue in parts of his arms, ripped pants, and his chest was partially bared skin.
Mikasa rapidly descended the pile of stones dropping to her knees at her side.
Levi's eyes were closed. He was filthy—covered in zombie bile, blood and grime. Across his left cheek he had a freshly cut gash. When Mikasa cupped the right side of his face, she felt his skin burning under her cold fingers.
He was turning.
Though she knew this. She knew. Having seen the signs numerous times—she still didn't want to leave his side. She didn't want to kill him.
Mikasa only had her knife to use, and she hesitated raising it over his head. Her body shuddered violently once. Dropping the knife, Mikasa cupped her mouth, shaking in a sob that she forced to keep back.
Why? Why does this always keep happening?
Mikasa uttered an incoherent noise, a loud whine, unable to withstand the wave of grief that took over her. Her body rattled as the tears began to flow silently past her cheeks, collecting in droplets at the tip of her chin.
Her hands smoothed over his chest slowly resting her head over it. She squeezed her eyes shut, the tears stinging them. She felt movement. As a reflex, she jerked her head away from his body, picking up the knife.
"Levi?" she called. Her clammy fingers tightened their grip around the handle.
"Why haven't you killed me yet..." he slowly drawled.
"Levi!" she cried. Mikasa drew herself close again. She looked into his eyes. The whites of them were still normal. She slid her hand under him, to place his head on her lap.
"Mikasa... don't," he grumbled. His lips thinly pressed, failed to hide the misery in his eyes.
"I can't," she whispered, "I can't bring myself to do it."
Neither of them spoke of it. But they both knew. He could also die of blood loss from his wounds alone before turning. The process of turning was fast, in general, but not immediate. Five to ten hours—with the gradual decrease of human intelligence.
However if he, now infected, were to die before turning, the process would become immediate—because death is the necessary factor for reanimation.
Levi heaved a sigh, coughing a bit as a result. Mikasa cradled his body in her arms.
"I'm filthy... just stop it..."
"I don't care.." she whispered softly. She pulled off his cravat and wiped what she could from his face, cleaning off the dirt, stains of blood. She saw that the gash on his cheek didn't clog or close, but it stopped bleeding as she carefully dabbed it.
"Feel any pain?" she asked
"...not really, just numb now," Levi replied, "What... happened?"
"I don't know. They heard something, I think," she replied softly, "And they just walked off, I'm just as confused."
They both reserved silence with only Levi's ragged breathing filling the emptiness.
"Mikasa..." Levi began, his eyes barely able to see her at this point, "Travel north to the base of Fort Sina... tell Erwin that I want you... to take my place."
Her eyes fluttered shut. Inside, she wanted to scream out in refusal. She wanted to deny all of this.
She nodded, "Okay."
"I gave up. But... you never did... not even in this predicament."
"It's because of you," she said in shaky tone.
"Don't waste time mourning for me. Move on... become stronger... find the vaccine." Levi mumbled hoarsely. He wanted to lift his hand to touch her face, her lips, but he was unable to feel it anymore. It refused to respond. He was sweating out in fever.
Her tears streamed down and in drops, landed on his cheeks.
At this point his fading grey eyes could only catch a faint outline of her. His ears received the sounds of her sobbing.
"I love you, Mikasa.."
Eren and Armin who spent almost an hour searching for them entered the castle's ground level dungeon floor. They both looked they went through hell them selves. Their clothes tattered and worn, dotted with blood stains and grime.
"Mikasaaaa!" Eren called out.
In the last dungeon cell, at the very end of the hall, Eren and Armin found Mikasa standing in front of a body. Her head was lowered her bangs hiding away the look in her eyes.
Eren in that split second recognized the body on the ground and took steps forward.
"Corporal!" he shouted.
"Don't." Mikasa uttered in a definite tone. It wasn't loud but it was steady, strong and cold.
Armin didn't need an explanation. He immediately pulled out his pistol.
"Armin—what are you doing?" exclaimed Eren. He desperately looked at Mikasa. Being in a state of shock. The scene wasn't sinking in his head. He was in disbelief.
"Oii?! What's going on?! Mikasa! What happened to the corporal?!" He shouted.
Mikasa didn't answer him.
The fingers of the body started to twitch.
Armin pulled the trigger.
"Armin! Nooo!" Eren cried as the shot rang out.
He shot again. A third time.
Miaksa turned her head away.
Eren ran his fingers through stopping at the top of his head as he crouched to his knees suddenly sick to his stomach. His stricken eyes saw the splattered matter the disfigured image before him, the discolored fingers relax and stiffen.
"Oh my god, no. God no. No. No. No...," his eyes stung with tears, "FUCKING SHIT! This can't be happening! NO! NO! Dammit!"
Rattled by Eren's voice, Armin used his left hand to steady the shaking of his right that still gripped the gun. His large blue eyes, unnervingly steady. He observed that Mikasa's hand that held the corporal's bloodstained cravat crunched in a tightened fist.
Eren clenched his jaw tightly, tense in pensive silence. His hand gripping fist fistfulls of his ruffled hair.
Armin continued to watch Mikasa. He noticed that there was something different about her presence. He slotted his pistol back to his strapped holder.
"We can't stay here long. They'll come back," Armin called, his voice echoing in the room.
He had to remain strong. With a clear head, because they are both emotionally unstable. For their sake, he had to.
Neither of them replied to him, but Eren stood up. He took off his jacket and placed it over the shattered visage.
"He's coming with us," Eren explained as he carried the heavy body in his arms, "He wouldn't want to be left in this place."
"Yeah..." Miakasa whispered.
Eren turned his head and looked at her. The edges of her eyes were red from the tears. She looked battered and defeated, more in spirit than her very body.
The look in his blue-green eyes lingered in hers, worried for her well being.
"Let's go," Armin gently called, "I'll lead the way."
The three of them had gone a long way. Experienced terrible things. Throughout it all, it had always been the three of them. The corporal was a man that they always admired. In a hopeless world, he became a beacon of light. Now it felt like a darkness had settled in their hearts. None of them spoke of it. But it was palpable in the air around them. In the look in their eyes, in the slow sullen foot steps that echoed the deteriorating halls.
Once out in the open, they prepared a pyre with the debris and combustible materials they found. Eren rested the body in the center as Mikasa hovered next to him. Armin kept a look out. Eren placed the body's arms across its chest. Mikasa's hand reached out and held the cold stiffened hand. Tears flowed from her eyes once more.
Eren placed his arm around her, resting his head in the nape of her neck. She felt his body heave in a sob as he cried into her shoulder. The tears soaked into her skin.
"Don't waste time mourning for me. Move on... become stronger... find the vaccine..."
Mikasa release her hold of the corpse's lifeless fingers, "Eren," she spoke tilting her head to nuzzle Eren's, "It's time."
He lifted his eyes to meet hers. There was a calm fire within them. It gave him strength. He gave a nod and stood up.
With the three of them lined up next to each other, they watch the pyre light up in after it was ignited. They remained silent throughout it all. Each of them kept inside their final farewells and wishes.
"So what now?" spoke Armin hopelessly. They were shoveling dirt to extinguish the left over embers.
"We head north. To Fort Sina"
Eren and Armin stopped and looked at Mikasa.
"Did the corporal...?" asked Eren his voice trailing off.
"Yes, he asked me to send Erwin a message."
Armin's eyes opened wider in realization.
Why didn't I notice this before? He thought. What I found different about her back at the dungeon. It's so obvious to me now...
"We can camp out in the ruins over there. And then in the morning, we'll head north.
His spirit. The corporal's ambition, his desires—she inherited it all...
"Yeah!" cried Eren.
Armin beamed a bright smile as he nodded, "Mmm!"
Mikasa kept Levi's last words to herself. She wasn't sure if she was ever going to tell them exactly what happened in that dungeon room. But those words—his honesty in those final moments—were raw and cut out. The weakness in his eyes. The sense of defeat and hopelessness—those were things that aren't meant to be witnessed with those that placed their burden on his shoulders.
She saw it all, and became the sole living testament of his defeated humanity. He bled painfully, felt fear—like everyone else shattering the iconic epitome that he himself established.
It's because of this—that Mikasa decided to keep his last words to herself. Words of selfish desire of something personal—the true honesty of his final moments.
This has been published on my tumblr but I decided to put it up there since it has more than 5,000 words. I was going to put up another one-shot, but I'm putting everything aside for a RivaMika week event in tumblr. There will be eight prompts that I just can't pass up. When the week is over with all the prompts I have completed and posted on tumblr, I will put them all together and publish them here on FFnet afterwards. In the meantime those that read my story Living Together sadly there won't be an update until sometime after this event. Thanks for understanding.
- Zerolr -