Author's Note: So, fairly new to the SnK fandom. I'm a big fan of this ship. I haven't written anything in over two years. I'm rusty, so forgive me. This was enjoyable to do. I think I've covered the bases.
"This is it—one of my favorite spots!"
Eren proudly gestured to the large tree that loomed before them. Mikasa blinked, looking it up and down. She tightened her grip on the handle of the picnic basket.
"You were right, Eren, it's quite lovely," she said. For the first time on this particular outing, she acknowledged her surroundings. All around, a sea of foliage: grass with various types of flora in small patches. The wind blew softly, causing the greenery to almost whisper to the pair of nine year olds. Mikasa's gaze fell upon an assemblage of dark blue flowers not too far off. In the distance, windmills spun at a deceptively slow speed. The breeze kissed her face, gently brushing her dark hair past her ears. Her head followed the subtle current, and she tilted her head backwards to look up at the tree once more. This was certainly unlike the mountain home she had once known.
The sunlight was peering through the branches, and it was warm. Mikasa closed her eyes for a moment, letting the brief breathes of heat gently caress her cheeks. When she opened them, she looked back at her new companion and smiled.
Eren's expression changed slightly. "Oh, aren't you warm with that scarf on?" he asked, motioning towards her.
With a sudden uneasiness, she took a step back. "No, no…I'm comfortable." She gave another smile to assure him. He shrugged his shoulders. "If you say so!"
Eren reached out and snatched the basket from her hand. Kneeling down on the grass, he opened it and pulled out the plaid blanket, placing it upon the earth before him. When she made an effort to help him, he gently swatted at her hand. "No, let me do it!" he said. Mikasa remained silent, nodding in acceptance. As Eren continued to set up their picnic, the raven haired girl looked out among her surroundings once more.
Is this…a dream? Surely, she was still fast asleep in her bed, inside her house in the mountains. Her parents were up an about, running errands, fixing breakfast. Her mother would surely be waking her up soon. And surely, this Eren Jeager was merely a figment of her imagination. No…no, this is my life now, she thought to herself. It had been her life for over a month now. She had spent her first week or so crying herself to sleep, but she woke up every morning seeing their faces. Eventually, the tears ran dry, but her heart remained heavy. The most she could do was keep going, keep moving forward. And there was only one way she knew how at this moment. She glanced at Eren, who was determined to make their lunch look as appealing as possible.
When he was finished, he met her glance and smiled. "Sit!"
The warmth in his voice was inviting, and she took a seat beside him. Eren removed the first meal from the basket, handing it to Mikasa. She opened it, finding snap peas, rice, eggs, and meat all nicely packed together in an appetizing fashion. She realized the depth of her hunger and proceeded to take her first mouthful. Eren waited, and he watched her take her first few bites of the meal.
"Any good?" he asked.
She swallowed, "Yes, delicious!"
He nodded. "Good to know… I made it myself this time. I was worried it was going to taste bad…."
Something jerked within Mikasa and she had to look away from the boy before he could notice the tears that had formed in her eyes. She blinked them away quickly. "No, it's great, thank you."
The children remained silent for a few moments.
"How are you liking Armin?" Eren asked, shoveling food into this mouth. Mikasa had met Eren's best friend shortly after arriving in the Jeager household. Armin Arlert was a smart little thing, though quite frail in size, and she had seen a lot of him lately. Mikasa tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, nodding. "He seems like a really nice guy, I like him a lot. I'm surprised he isn't here."
"Oh yeah…he said he had to spend time with his grandfather today. I've never heard him say that before, so I honestly don't have any idea what that means," Eren shrugged. "But it's ok, this is nice too. Maybe he can come over tomorrow."
Mikasa nodded. She looked up again at the environment. The shade provided by the tree was delightful, and her picturesque surrounding inspired a new sort of sensation in her. "It really is beautiful here, no wonder you like to come out."
"Well, I'm supposed to be collecting firewood, but sometimes I get distracted. It's not like I come out here for naps or anything. And I know we're still within the walls, but I feel like I have more room to breathe over here. I want to know what it's like outside of the walls, you know?"
"I do. And Armin too, right?"
"Yeah, him too."
She'd heard the conversation a couple of times before: both boys, so passionate, wanting to travel the world. Both of them wanted to escape the walls and find out for themselves what was really out there. It was almost blasphemous, the way they expressed such ideas. But such a fantastic dream would never come true though. Everyone knew it. Those things that lurked out there would never let it be. There wasn't much more to talk about, really. But, if he wanted to dream, she'd let him dream.
"What do you dream of doing someday?" Eren leaned against the thick base of the tree, swallowing his last few bits of rice. Mikasa put her food down. It was something she had not thought about in a while. She didn't know much about what there was for her to do in the world. There were a lot of thing she didn't know.
"I don't think I know yet," she admitted sheepishly. "I don't know what I like, or what I'm good at yet."
He shook his head. "That's ok," he said. "I'm sure you'll figure it out someday."
Mikasa gave a sound of agreement and adjusted the scarf around her neck. She closed her eyes and nuzzled it gently. She scooted closer up beside Eren, and leaned her head back against the trunk. Her head was angled upward and she admired the sunlight poking out between the leaves once again. Birds chirped overhead. "So beautiful," she whispered. The gentle sounds of her surroundings were almost enchanting, hypnotizing her into a post-meal slumber. Her eyes closed and she heard Eren sigh. She struggled to keep her eyes open, and simply let them shut themselves. She could feel herself slipping down the three, and deeper and deeper into sleep…
It was the sound of light snoring that woke her. Her eyes flew open but she dared not move a muscle. She was now at a different angle than she had last remembered being in last, her body now angled to the side, now somewhat resting upon Eren's. They were still leaning against the tree, but she found herself on his torso as opposed to his shoulder. He was still sound asleep, and it could not have been much later in the day. Mikasa felt her body relax, comforted by the feeling of her new friend beside her. Her mind began to recall the events of the day: Eren had brought her to this special spot, had prepare lunch himself, showed interest in her dreams, and had contentedly let her rest upon him.
She touched the scarf around her neck—it was almost as if he had repeatedly been putting it on her since that fateful night. She smiled softly to herself, and felt liquid at her eyes. Biting her lip, she struggled to withhold her new tears. Tears of happiness? The child could not tell. All she knew was that with Eren, she knew that she was home. And she knew that she had to reciprocate, in any way she possibly could.
One day, I'll take care of you, she promised silently, feeling a tear slip from her eye. The way you are taking care of me now. I don't know how, but I will.
Despite her tears, she was quite content in her position, and she felt herself slip into slumber once more beneath the tree, lulled to sleep by the sound of Eren's steady heartbeat beside her.