Hanji swore, pressing her fingers to the space above her eyes. "This is terrible. What are we going to do?"
"We'll go back and look for him in the morning," Levi said, rubbing soothing circles on Mikasa's back. Armin was staring at the walls, scolding himself internally. Connie sat numbly on the floor, while Sasha and Jean gawked at Levi's compassion.
Mikasa struggled to breathe. She was in the state of a mental avalanche, and she was frustrated at her brain and its inability to function properly. "Won't tomorrow be too late?"
She didn't get an answer, and she bit her lip to keep herself from sobbing. It was too much. The memories. The confusion. The emotional and physical pain. It was as though her body was reacting on its own, leaving her mind lost and left with no choice but to follow.
Armin shuddered. "It's all my fault."
Jean shook his head. "Shut up; no it's not."
The teen wiped his eyes. "But it is. It's always my fault…"
They sat in silence. Sasha made the group tea, but nothing could warm them. Eren was gone. Possibly dead, and possibly in the hands of the enemy.
Then a loud thump had them turning towards the door. It was open, and a figure lay collapsed on its threshold.
He was covered in blood and mud, and he clutched a red piece of fabric to his chest.
"Eren!" Armin yelped, after a moment of stunned silence. Before he could approach him, Mikasa sprinted over to Eren and fell to the ground, her tears blurring her view.
She quickly placed his head in her lap, her hands checking the pulse around his neck. The unmistakable heartbeat thumped against her skin, and she breathed at last.
His eyes, crusty and red, found hers above him and glimmered in the light of the cabin. His hand reached up and covered hers, squeezing. "Mikasa," he whispered, his voice scratchy and raw.
He closed his eyes.
She started. "Don't die!" she commanded, worried he had decided to let go.
He blinked, the brilliant green orbs squinting with wrinkles from his widening smile. "Tch." He sat up, wincing, and faced her.
"You're alive." She didn't know what to say. She didn't know what to feel. She was confused and emotional and scared.
He seemed to catch on to her mental state and smiled hesitantly. Nervously, he unraveled the red bundle in his hands and lifted his arms, wrapping it around her neck gently, with a certain meticulousness and concentration. She gasped as the material sank over her shoulders, her eyes flooding with tears.
Her world suddenly dissolved, and she was back in the woods. She was cold and so afraid and lost, similar to how she felt now. And the boy with the brown hair and glowing emerald eyes wrapped his muffler around her small form, a little precariously, but it didn't matter. It was a promise. It was a seal. To them, then and forever and always.
He'd grabbed her hand and spoken to her, dragging her along to their new home.
And she'd never take the scarf off.
She'd told herself she'd never forget what he'd done for her that night.
"I found your scarf," Eren murmured lamely, trying to smile.
Mikasa let out a choked sound as all at once, things seemed to fall into place, and the puzzle was complete once more. It was as though Eren was tied to all of her memories, so remembering him connected her to all the others, and brought them back in a prolonged tidal wave.
Her eyes released the tears and she collided into him, shaking as the world around her stretched out of the shadows, as her mind raced with new memories. New, but very old, and very precious.
Eren's eyes bulged as she sobbed into his chest, his arms afraid to touch her. Mikasa was…back? His shock morphed into relief, and he returned the embrace. He was soon crying against her as well, his tears sinking into her clothes, into her hair. They melted into one, and she gripped him so tightly that she knew he had to be in pain.
If he was, though, he didn't pull away. Instead, his grasp on her tightened too, as if at any second she might disappear from his reach, as if she might fade away with the wind and leave him behind again. He moved his head to the side and his lips brushed against her ear. "I thought I'd lost you, Mikasa."
She pulled him closer, breath shaking. "I know. But you didn't. You won't."
They didn't release each other until Jean cleared his throat, earning the guy a couple dirty looks from both Hanji and Sasha, whose eyes were glistening at the reunion.
Eren sat back, his hand on his side to keep his guts from spilling out on the floor. Not really, of course, but it felt like it.
Mikasa wiped her eyes, noticing him attempting to hide his pain, and Levi helped her get Eren off the floor and over to the dining table.
"What the hell happened to you?" Levi muttered, taking in the teen's injuries. He pulled his arms away, and his eye twitched at the blood on his hands. "Shit that's disgusting."
"It's a long story…" Eren said, eyes crammed tight as he fought the throbbing in his leg. He'd limped the entire way back¸ once he'd found a gentle enough slope to clamber out of the gulley. He'd thought he was going to die several times, but as his body attempted to heal, he trudged on, clinging to the hope of seeing Mikasa, of spotting the cabin light poking out through the trees. And he had, and he'd never been so happy to see Levi's grumpy countenance in his life.
Then Hanji was over him, pouring water and alcohol over his cuts, and probing him with medical supplies.
Once Eren was patched up and sleeping, the group decided to discuss events in the morning, after everyone had a night's rest. It was nearly three in the morning, and they were all emotionally and physically exhausted.
Armin began to head up the stairs when he saw Mikasa take a seat at the table Eren was resting on, and he came back down.
"So you remember now?"
She nodded. "Most of it. It's still a little shady in some areas, and I feel like there's still some basic things I don't recall. But I remember Eren."
Armin smiled, "I'm really glad…I was worried about you. Both of you." And he really had been. Seeing Mikasa incapacitated was terrible on its own, but watching as Eren deteriorated with self-loathe and guilt had been equally as awful. He'd nearly lost his two best friends, his family. And now, they were both okay, and he could breathe once more.
He blinked away the tears burning in his eyes. There was something he had to tell her. "So uh…how much do you remember about how you felt about him? You know…"
Her eyes widened. "What? You mean…when you…when I…"
"Yeah, that…" he scratched his head. "You see, when Eren was having his 'crisis', I may have let it slip that you, I don't know, loved him or something…" He waved his hand in the air dismissively. She gaped, and he patted her on the back. "Just a heads up. I gotta go now, bye."
She watched him dart up the stairs. She loved Armin, but the little twerp might not be able to use his legs tomorrow...
Mikasa drifted her eyes back to Eren.
So he knew then? He knew how she felt? She flushed at the thought. What did that mean? What had he been thinking?
She shook herself. Come on, Mikasa. It's Eren; he doesn't love you.
And yet, he'd come back. He'd still held her in his arms and cried, and he'd seemed so happy she was better.
She wrapped her hand around his, rubbing her fingers over his familiar calloused and scarred ones. She rested her head down on her other arm—so she could watch his eyes flutter as he slept —unable to believe that she'd forgotten her best friend. She felt guilty, and sorry, and very upset.
And she also felt so…whole knowing he was by her side again.
Mikasa knocked lightly on the door, hoping not to disturb the rest of the family. They were so kind to her, after all. She didn't want to become a burden. At least, more than she already had.
When no one answered, she sighed and hung her head, the darkness of the hallway starting to swallow her whole. She could hear the rain and the howl of the wind bite at the unfamiliar silence of her new home.
She should go back to her room; Eren was asleep. Besides, she was not his responsibility. She was just a girl who had nowhere else to go.
Yet her feet didn't budge, her legs didn't respond. Instead, she found herself staring blankly at the door, biting her lip, hoping desperately for Eren to answer.
Just when it seemed a lost cause and her heart had cowered away with fear and uncertainty, Eren was there.
The door cracked open and she started, stepping backwards and hiding her embarrassment behind the warm cloth of the scarf.
"What is it? Are you okay?" he mumbled, wiping his tired eyes.
She opened her mouth to respond, but only nodded. Her eyes started to water involuntarily, and she hated to think that that was all she ever did. Eren probably thought she was such a big cry baby.
The boy's bright eyes flickered in the moonlight from the window. "Are you afraid of the storm, Mikasa?"
"Yes," she got out, as though a great weight had been lifted from her small shoulders.
As if on cue a sudden blast of lightning illuminated the hallway, followed by bone shattering thunder. Mikasa yelped.
She was being childish; she had never feared storms before. She had never feared much of anything before her parents...before they...
Eren watched her with concerned eyes, and then he grabbed her arm and pulled her inside the room.
"Come on, you can sleep with me tonight."
Mikasa waited for him to get into his bed, unsure of what to do. It seemed strange to just climb in after him. He turned and patted the bed insistently.
"Come on. Don't just stand there."
Mikasa complied and followed him under the sheets. They smelled used, unlike hers. Not used in an unclean kind of way, but worn, like the scarf around her neck. That along with the warmth of Eren's body next to hers caused the fear gnawing at her insides to fade away.
She glanced at the brown haired boy. His eyes were closed, and he seemed to have already drifted back to sleep. She blinked at him curiously, but then he opened his eyes and smiled at her.
"The rain's not so bad. It's like the sky is having a big party or something."
He nodded, snuggling closer to her. "Yep. Mom says that when we die, we go to heaven, a place up in the clouds. Maybe the sky is just awake when we're not, and everyone up there is just staying up late, having a good time."
Mikasa tilted her head at Eren, eyes of coal wide and deep, like pools of dark water. "Do you think my parents are up there, Eren?"
Eren yawned. "Yeah. They're probably trying to send you a message with the lightning, like some kind of cool code, and you just don't get it."
"You think they're trying to talk to me?"
Her fingers closed around the covers curiously. Another cackle of lightning filled the air, and she smiled. Eren had made the fear go away. He always made the fear disappear. She closed her eyes, listening for the wind. "Goodnight Mom, goodnight Dad."
Eren watched her, eyes drooping as he fought sleep.
Her arm ached terribly, and she yawned, opening her eyes.
Eren was already awake, his head to the side, facing her as he watched her with a calm, thoughtful expression.
Her eyes widened. "Eren!" she snapped to attention and prayed that she hadn't been drooling in her sleep. "How are you feeling? Do you still have a fever? Are you hungry? Thirsty? I'll get you some water; you're probably dehydrated…" she trailed off.
He was laughing at her.
"What?" she asked, unable to suppress a smirk as he cackled relentlessly. He was so happy; it almost didn't seem like Eren at all.
He clutched his stomach. "Ow, ow, ow. Fuck Mikasa, stop making me laugh." After a moment he finally quieted and glanced at her, a grin spread across his face. "I never thought I'd enjoy hearing you pester over me so much. I missed you. A lot."
She brightened; he'd never said anything like that before. "I missed you too." She scooted closer, her voice softening. "A lot."
He continued to smile, and she couldn't help but return one. It was so rare to see him so happy.
"Thank you," she said abruptly, and he blinked in confusion. "I'd still be lost if it weren't for you. You—you stuck by me even though I pushed you away." Tears started to well in her eyes, and she felt herself smile from both the nervousness and the genuine emotion inside her. "And then, you found my scarf and wrapped it around me, again...it made me remember and I...I can't thank you enough, Eren."
He shook his head, lifting his hand and brushing a strand of hair out of her downcast eyes. "Mikasa, you don't have to thank me. You know, something like that, I'll wrap as many times as I have to. As many times as it takes."
Her eyes grew wide, heart fluttering at the words. Did he really mean that?
He glanced away then, swallowing, and his hand fell back to the table. "I uh...Armin told me that um...that you..."
"Eren," she interrupted, making him falter. "It's okay, we don't have to talk about it."
Oh no, he really did know, and it was awkward. Awkward! This is not what she wanted. She just wanted to be with him, friend or lover, it didn't really matter. If he couldn't carry on a conversation or make eye contact, she'd lose him all over again. "Let's just forget about if for now, okay? I don't want you to feel...uncomfortable."
"…Mikasa, I don't want to forget about it..." he whispered urgently, his gaze landing back on hers.
She inhaled sharply. What?
His eyes searched hers, glinting in the morning light. "I realized that…that you're uh ...what's it called? A necessity...you're a necessityin my life, Mikasa. I'd taken you for granted, and I couldn't stand not having you with me; I couldn't fucking handle it when you hated me. I needed you. Shit, I need you now. You're the one thing that kept me alive last night. I was on the verge of death, but you brought me back. I can't risk...I...I feel..."
But he couldn't finish. Because her lips were on his.
His eyes bulged, and Mikasa started to pull away, fearing she had misinterpreted his words, that perhaps he did love her, but as a sister, as a friend. She'd messed up.
She broke the kiss and turned away, hiding her face behind a curtain of hair. She could feel his wide eyes burning into her, and it was horrible. She'd ruined it.
"Mikasa…" he said sadly, and her heart may have torn in half.
Then his hand grabbed her forearm and pulled her down against him again, harder this time.
Her eyes fluttered close as his lips collided with hers. Mikasa breathed in his citrus scent, feeling the softness of his jaw line under her fingers. Their tension and years of buried feelings seemed to emerge in the hunger of their kiss, and the warmth spread through their touch, stirring their nerves in a web of electricity. Eren's hand traveled to the back of her head, allowing him to press into her and deepen the kiss.
Mikasa ran her hands through his hair, something she'd longed to do for so long now. They were so close, she could feel his heart beating, echoing hers in a sweet, perfectly imperfect rhythm. They were united; they were a mingled soul, two halves dependent on the other.
Mikasa gasped for air, and Eren's teeth scraped her bottom lip tenderly, pulling her back in for more. His lips were relentless, stubborn, just like him, and she delved into his mouth, feeling her stomach leap and flutter like never before. She was partly on the table and partly standing, and it was extremely uncomfortable. But none of that really mattered. She had Eren. She had his love, his devotion, his heart.
And he had hers.
Eren stroked her cheek, brushing his lips against her neck, eliciting a soft moan from the girl above him. He pecked her skin a few more times, unable to kiss enough of her, unable to attain enough of her love. Slowly, his hands made their way down her waist, and then to her thighs. He smiled as she rested her forehead against his, panting slightly.
"Oh sweet shitting potato, MY EYES!"
Mikasa never moved so fast in her life. In the blink of an eye, she was half way across the room, glaring at Connie and Sasha.
Connie had his palms over his eyes, rubbing his hands in circles as if to erase the scene before him. Sasha was covering her mouth, from shock or from laughter, no one could tell.
"We were just –"
Then Levi entered from the rear of the kitchen, and Mikasa was positive she was red from head to toe. How long had he been back there?
"Do us all a favor and molest Mikasa on your own time, Eren," the man said, glaring at the two of them.
Eren gave a shout of indignation, but the others descended the stairs and drowned out his objections.
"Eren! What happened yesterday?!" asked Sasha, hoping to change the subject as soon as the group was gathered around.
He looked at her gratefully and sat up on the table, his back tender. His wounds seemed to have healed up rather well overall though, diminishing to a dull ache. He sighed.
"I killed the titan that ate my mom..." he said bluntly, and Mikasa ran into the table, knocking over a chair.
"Eren!" she gasped, reaching out to hold his arm.
"It's okay!" he said, lowering his voice. He smiled at her. "It's okay."
"Then what?" asked Levi, his eyes moving back and forth between the two teens and the new atmosphere about them. So Eren had finally done it, then, and gotten some balls. At least that would ease some of the teen drama and hormonal shit around here. Hopefully.
Eren scratched his neck. "Well, for some reason I had a hard time getting out of my Titan form, and all these Titans started attacking me at once-"
"Titans! Here?!" shouted Connie.
"-and I couldn't get out, and then I..." Thought of Mikasa and how much I wanted to see her again, he didn't add, "...Sort of yelled at them to stop, and... and they did..."
"What?!" Hanji exclaimed. Jean looked about ready to burst into tears.
"Yeah...I don't know how I did it, but they just stopped fighting. And then I fell off a cliff, and almost died, but I didn't die, and so I walked back here..."
There was a moment of complete silence, so quiet, that Eren could distinctively hear Sasha's stomach rumble.
Armin gaped. "Eren, that's…that's…incredible. You can control the titans?!"
He shrugged. "I don't know. But...I think so, at least in a really dire situation."
They all stared at him in awe. Even Mikasa, and Eren felt her squeeze his arm proudly. He had made it through alive, somehow.
Levi tilted his head, ever so slightly. "I think—"
"WE SHOULD EAT A HUGE, AMAZING BREAKFAST TO CELEBRATE!" Sasha gasped at herself, and Levi glared at her. She squeaked, holding up her hands to protect herself from his wrath.
"…Sasha…is right. Let's eat, and then we can contact Erwin and figure things out from there," Levi concluded. He walked into the kitchen, leaving a room full of stupefied teens.
"I think I died and went to heaven, Connie," Sasha whispered.
Things seemed to start drifting back to normal. Or, as normal as they could get with a band of misfit soldiers, a titan shifter, and…Sasha.
As they prepared for the meal, Eren's eyes never left Mikasa's for more than a few seconds, and vice versa.
They had become something new, something bonded. They weren't exactly sure what they were, of what series of paths their lives would take, but they were positive of one thing.
Whatever road they took, they'd take together.
And there you have it, proof that I'm awful at writing fluff.
SO SORRY FOR THE LONG WAIT. I FEEL LIKE IT DIDN'T REALLY MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS, BUT I HOPED IT WAS ENJOYABLE!
This is the end of this story, and I might upload another in a set of drabbles. (I have some stuff already written) But, we'll see.
Enjoy your summer, or if you're not on vacation, then...that sucks...