WARNING: This fanfiction contains spoilers from the manga. If you're not up to date with the manga, you have been warned. The plot will follow certain parts of the anime and manga, however, there's a twist to it.

Genre: Humor/Romance/Adventure/Hurt&Comfort/Angst

Rated (T)een: For suggestive themes, strong language (mainly from Levi's cursing and toilet jokes), graphic depictions of violence, source material, torture, and characters' death. Does include not-so-innocent fluff and Titan gore.

Author's Note: Includes original characters. The romance in this fanfic will be a slow burn. I own nothing from this fanfic, apart from my original characters. This is my first full-fledged multi-arc fanfiction, constructive criticism and reviews would be highly appreciated. Arcs, full fanart albums, and FAQs are at my profile. Enjoy!

Current Arc Poster Credits: Drawn by apririnn on twitter for this fanfic!

Full summary:

In every kingdom, there is an epic era that defies the boundaries of time and immortalizes itself in the history books. Humanity has been plagued by giant humanoid creatures called Titans for over a hundred years. For mankind, an epic era they will never forget has finally emerged.

As the war with the Titans rages outside the Walls, the dark secrets of humanity were slowly beginning to resurface. This was year 849, and four years had passed since the fall of Wall Maria.

Caught in-between everything, was the illegitimate daughter of a noblewoman, Ida Starke.

Her world was left in anarchy when she was captured by her estranged father and forced into being a soldier for the Survey Corps. With the dangers of the world beyond the Walls slowly crashing in on her, Ida's only grip on stability lies within the guidance of a certain crass Captain, and the dark secrets that her mysterious bloodline has hidden from mankind, holding a faint promise of ending the war.

Betrayal, secrets, attachments, love. Their ending will conclude an epic war wrought with heartache, blood, and endless tears. Love will never conquer in a time like this, and by the end of her borrowed time, Ida Starke will find out if love in such a cruel world is truly worth it.


|. Prologue

"Weak? Yes, maybe you're right. I knew that if I were to survive, I'd have to be strong... But I'm strong for the simple fact that I'm a daughter, a lover, and a mother in a world like this. Don't you see it? I have the strength to live in this tainted world, through everything, and in the end, I still desire to live even when I know how horrible living in this world could be. To be strong is to have a will to live and an acceptance to die when it calls for you."

.

.

Year 849.

Captured, failure, agonizing hatred.

There was a persistent acidic burn in her stomach. She could hear her thumping heart in her ears, could feel the warm, salty tears trailing down her cheeks. All of her senses had been intensified tenfold, and her tears seemed to be searing into her skin as if to constantly remind her of her miserable defeat.

Helpless, a voice inside her echoed. Completely and utterly helpless.

Beaten, broken, bitter…

Clenching her jaw tightly, the metal handcuffs that held her wrists prisoner felt crippling as she twisted around uncomfortably, not caring if the rough steel grazed her skin and bruised it. Physical pain reminded her that she was still alive at the very least.

There was a burning fury in her chest that wouldn't die out — it clawed into her heart, a blazing fire raging so violently that it spread throughout her entire body.

The fury, the endless hatred, and resentment burned relentlessly, and all she wanted was for it to stop. It was so uncomfortable, so tiring. It drained her of every last bit of energy.

She just wanted everything to finally come to an end. To be this corrupted, this hateful, this vengeful for so long — it was enough to drive anyone insane.

More than anything she wanted to scream to the high heavens above, cursing them for condemning her to live like this, and she would have, but her mouth was drier than an oven.

There was always a strong belief that there was a heaven and a hell. It was said that the kind, the innocent, the 'good' people went to paradise, relishing in an eternal, peaceful afterlife. It was the condemned, the sinful, and the corrupted that went to the depths of hell. But then again, the existence of an afterlife was always debatable.

But she knew for a fact however that there was hell in this world. She had seen it, witnessed it, lived it, caused it even.

Why?

It was so utterly unfair; she didn't want to be like this. To harbor such strong rage, resentment and time-binding agony — these emotions were forced onto her, craving to destroy her very soul.

She never wanted to kill, she never wanted to hate, and she never wanted to live in hell. All she had asked for was peace, happiness, a sense of belonging. However, it seemed that all those wishes were far beyond her reach.

"Oi, get up."

She slowly lifted her head to face the sudden cold voice in the vicinity, and her piercing emerald gaze met with the stranger's dull gray eyes.

Haunting green eyes, he observed with an apathetic countenance when their gazes met. Eyes that know of misery.

The man's expression was turned down in a scowl that creased his face and made it seem like it was a permanent expression for him. His short black hair swayed when he bent over, and he released the chains attaching her to the pole with a click to the lock. She observed that he was still keeping the metal handcuffs bound around her wrist.

"Erwin wants to see you in his office," he informed her in a flat monotone. "Hurry up."

Breathe, she mentally prepared herself. You're not going down. Not like this.

Reluctantly, she stood up, firmly maintaining her ever-impassive expression.

Despite the turmoil raging in her heart, she wasn't going to show anyone any sign of fear. She couldn't look weak, especially not in front of him. One would have never known the whirlwind of emotions she was currently experiencing with such a cool, stoic face.

Her escort led her through the narrow hallways of the Survey Corps' headquarters in a thick and tense silence.

"Who's that brat beside the Captain?" She had heard someone say when she passed. Through a curtain of disheveled and dirty red hair, she found herself staring at a couple donning military uniforms; a dirty blonde male and a petite ginger female.

"Leave her be, Oluo. Orders from above," the woman beside him reminded sternly, swinging her disapproving eyes up to meet his. She elaborated when her companion gave her a frown, "She's an underground mercenary that got captured. Other than that, no further information has been given."

Oluo Bozado scoffed haughtily, taking in the unknown woman's appearance — bright red hair tied messily into a side-braid, a tattered and torn black shirt, and bits of dried hardened blood clinging to the sides of her face and temples.

"Huh?" he said loudly in stunned wonder when he saw her, turning back to his teammate. "Why was that disgusting bitch given to the Captain to handle? Shouldn't she be handed over to the Military Police?"

Petra Ral sighed, holding onto her obnoxious friend's shoulder. She already knew what he was about to ask. "I don't know anything," she admitted with a shake of her head. "Truly."

Her response left him looking rather confused, but the redhead was sure that his gaze was full of contempt and disgust when he looked back at her. "Well, we can't be having filth around here while we work. Best she be gone soon."

"It's Commander Erwin's direct orders. We have no right to doubt him," Petra chided her friend for his insensitivity and gave him an immediate frown. "I did hear that she's quite good at using gears though."

Oluo's thin brow immediately arched at her words. Crossing his arms on his chest, he eyed the redhead dubiously.

"That girl? Just look at her!" He threw a sharp glance at Petra, wanting her to see his point. His voice was laced with nothing but disdain. "She's as frail as a twig and she's basically shivering like she's about to piss herself!"

What he didn't know, however, was that she was shivering with rage, not fear.

He sighed in defeat after Petra threw him another disapproving look. "But if it's Commander Erwin's orders, I'll overlook it," he added softly with an awkward scratch to his head. "I just can't stand filth while I'm working."

His comrade beside him heaved an exasperated sigh. "You're trying to talk like Captain Levi again, aren't you?" she berated him sharply, annoyed at Oluo's weird obsession to mimic their captain. "Stop that! You don't sound like him at all!"

She could hear them as they bickered childishly, their voices getting more distant as they traveled further down the hallway.

Ignorant people, she cursed inwardly.

But then again, how could she expect understanding from people like them?

Soon enough, they arrived in front of a wide oakwood door. Her heart sank into the pit of her stomach when she realized the time had come.

The man beside her knocked a few times before swinging the doors open, pushing her in aggressively. She stumbled with the sudden shove. The door slammed shut after he had stepped in behind her. Her escort was now glaring at her with a brazen dislike — probably in an attempt to be intimidating. She would never admit it, but it worked.

"What are you going to do with her, Erwin? Why did you even bring her here in the first place?" The raven-haired male took no time in confronting his superior. He went forward and kicked the back of her knees, causing her to fall over to the floor with a muffled groan. "Kneel, brat."

Erwin Smith frowned distastefully, holding a hand up before her escort could continue. "Levi," he chided in a harsh voice. He walked towards the prisoner, hovering above her with an indescribable expression. A pause, and then, "What is your name?"

It sounded more like a demand to her than anything else and she scoffed at his audacity to ask her such a question.

Silence ensued, the tension between the three growing thicker with each passing second.

"Speak," Levi demanded hotly, gritting his teeth in obvious frustration at her silence.

It was clear that Levi did not enjoy wasting his time doing something as unproductive as this. When Erwin had informed him that he had brought back an important prisoner from the underground, the last thing Levi expected was a shivering, weak-looking brat.

Why was she so important to Erwin Smith? So important that he had to personally seek her out himself?

Levi made an angry sound through his nose. He sprinted forward and grabbed her by the collar, pulling her closer to him as he growled, "Oi, do you really need me to knock all your damn teeth out? I told you to fucking talk."

She didn't cave into his intimidation as Levi had expected. Instead, she held his glare without so much as a flinch. She was determined to hold her silence. She wasn't going to break, she wasn't going to cave in. This would not shatter her, for she had endured much worse than that.

Just as Levi looked ready to explode, Erwin intervened.

"Levi," Erwin admonished sternly. The man acknowledged his superior with a brief, stiff stare before releasing her hold on her with a grunt. The Commander of the Survey Corps focused his attention back on the redhead on the ground. "I'll ask you once more. What is your name?"

At his prompt, she tilted her head up in an exaggerated slowness. Her emerald eyes were searing with pure hatred as she glared at the blonde figure.

"You…" she spoke harshly through gritted teeth.

In an infimenstial moment, she stood up abruptly and charged towards him. She should've known that it was a futile attempt — that the man beside her would've held her back. He did. She didn't even get the chance to launch her attack before Levi violently pulled her back with her chains.

She groaned in agony when she fell backwards, crashing into the ground. She was exhausted both emotionally and physically. Being held captive had taken a toll on her; she was sure she could've easily defeated them if she wasn't so worn out.

"Tch." Levi scoffed at her feeble attempt.

"Why did you capture me?" she asked, gritting her teeth as she struggled to get off the floor. "Why? After all this time?"

Will killing him take away all of this rage, all of this misery? — that question hovered in her mind as she glared at the unfazed Erwin. She couldn't find an answer, but she needed something — someone to distract her from this time-binding agony.

"… Take her away," Erwin commanded after pensive consideration, turning his back on the girl as if to hide his expression.

"She seems to possess a strong hatred for you, Erwin," Levi analyzed smoothly, his eyes narrowing down into suspicious silts.

Over the years, Levi had learned to see through some of Erwin's more subtle actions, although not with complete accuracy. He knew something was unsettling his usually composed commander. In fact, his suspicion first roused this morning when he heard that Erwin and a group of soldiers had traveled to the Underground City in search of an important criminal.

Initially, even if Erwin hadn't said much, he had expected that the man had a lead on one of the corrupt nobles within the walls, but what Levi hadn't expected was that he'd bring back a beaten-down woman. Who was she and why was she so important for Erwin to assign his own soldiers to capture her?

"Who is she?" Levi demanded when Erwin remained silent. "You know her, don't you?"

Erwin threw a definite glance at his leading soldier, swift and emanating with guilt. He exhaled when he saw that Levi would not relent. "… Ida Starke. That is her name."

At the sound of her name leaving Erwin's lips, a flash of disgust crossed the woman's face. She clenched her hand tightly, her nails digging into her palms. She had waited for years for this — to see the infamous leader of the Survey Corps — but not under these circumstances. Not on her knees.

"A noble girl?" Levi asked for clarification, recognizing her last name as one of the prestigious great noble households from Wall Sina.

When Erwin only nodded once, Levi grimaced.

"I don't need to know this useless brat's name," Levi growled, throwing a glare at her that could rival glaciers. "What I want to know is why you went through all this fucking trouble for her. You could've enlisted the help of the Military Police instead of the Survey Corps."

"Because…" Ida lifted herself off the floor with all the strength she could muster. Her voice was cool as ice as she spoke. "My real name is not Ida Starke…"

She glanced in the direction of the composed blonde, her raging forest-green eyes loathing the sight of him. "My real name should've been Ida Smith… isn't that right, father?"

A raw, tense silence hung in the room as both men stared at her speculatively. She could sense Levi's shock from his apprehensive silence, but Ida couldn't discern what Erwin was feeling. Finding it redundant to keep her focus on Erwin — especially when she was starting to get annoyed with the disapproving glint in his judgmental eyes — she lowered her apathetic gaze with a scoff of disbelief.

Twenty years she had waited and dreamed of this day, but never in her wildest dreams imagined that Erwin would be the one looking for her. What was he playing at? What did he want? After twenty years, it was clear to Ida that Erwin wanted nothing to do with her.

So why now?

"Shit." Levi was the first to break the silence that Ida expected to go on forever. He folded his arms, scowling at the news. "You really fucked up big time, didn't you?"

Erwin didn't appreciate his jest. "Find her a suitable room and tend to her wounds," he finally breathed out, tearing his gaze away from Levi's intense stare. "At the moment, I leave things to you, Levi. Do as you see fit, I'll come to a decision on what to do with her later."

Levi's disapproval was apparent when he spoke. "You're making me play the shitty role of babysitter now?"

A sharp and intense look from Erwin was all it took to send Levi hissing in defeat. He forcibly grabbed the reluctant girl by her collar, bringing her up to feet none too gently.

"You fucking heard him. Let's go," he grumbled frustratedly.

This is a one-time favor, Levi told himself. He knew that Erwin could use some time to sort out his emotions. I'll not be held responsible for this brat.

o o o —xπ{Ö}πx — o o o

"In life, you don't always get what you want."

It was a fact that Levi Ackerman had known all too well. He had grown up as an infamous thug in the slums of the Underground City, after all. Stealing, plundering, and killing was all he ever knew before he joined the Survey Corps — or to be more exact, before he was blackmailed into joining by Erwin Smith.

Was it his choice to live as a thug? No. Was it his choice to kill? Perhaps.

Life was all about choices. Some we regret, some we're proud of, and some will haunt us forever.

But what if your ability to choose was taken away?

For Levi, there was no such thing as destiny or fate. One way or another, he knew that he was always responsible for his life. He couldn't choose how he lived from the start, but he could choose how he would meet his end.

He'd grown up as a vicious thug with no purpose in life, and now he was Humanity's Strongest, the revered Captain from the Survey Corps — he had offered his heart to the benefit of mankind, he had a purpose.

How things had changed.

But Levi had never expected that even after gaining the position of Captain, and the renowned title of Humanity's Strongest would he ever have to resort to doing redundant things like this again. It was a waste of his time and Levi certainly didn't like being unproductive.

He stormed into the room without even knocking, aggravated that he had to play babysitter. "Oi, brat. Change into this."

Ida was seated on the bed. She snapped her head up and looked impassively at her visitor before returning her gaze to the ground.

Levi raised a brow at her silence. "Are you going to keep silent forever, or what?" His irritation doubled when she stubbornly continued to hold her tongue. "Oi, I'm fucking talking to you."

With exaggerated slowness, she tore her gaze away from the ground again and her emerald eyes met his gaze.

Levi scowled, dumping the clothes on the bed beside her. "Tch. You don't look like Erwin at all," he commented after a tense, awkward pause, musing over her looks.

"I take after my mother," Ida replied. There was an undercurrent of warmness in her stale voice as if she found pride in that fact.

Levi was surprised that she actually responded, and he couldn't help but probe further. As much as it didn't seem like it, he was intrigued by the sudden news and appearance of Erwin's flesh and blood. "Where is she now?"

"Dead," Ida answered simply with half-lidded eyes that held no emotions. "Titans killed her."

Levi considered her dubiously for a moment. "Shouldn't you be safely tucked away behind Wall Sina, being a noble brat and all?"

Ida's eyes flickered at his ignorance. "I was born out of wedlock, abandoned by my father and frowned upon by my mother's noble family." Her fist clenched as she took a brief pause. "Do you really think I would be able to live a comfortable life indulging in luxury like those swines, sir?" she rebuffed sarcastically, slight anger anchoring her tone. "My disgraced mother and I were cast out to live in Shiganshina district."

So she's a frontline survivor... Levi noted with a frown. She knows the threat of Titans.

He regarded the woman in front of him, still trying to decipher just what kind of person she was. "Is that why you became a mercenary in the Underground City? To earn a living?"

As much as he didn't want to admit it, Levi could empathize with her situation. At one point in time, he too was part of the underground society. He knew how hard life was down there — the things that people did, the things that they had to do.

"It's none of your damn business," Ida spat with venom. Having enough with idle conversation, her narrowed eyes started scouring the room.

Now that her handcuffs were off, Ida felt much more comfortable. It also meant there was a chance for escape — but where would she even go after she had fled? It wasn't as though she had somewhere she belonged to or somewhere to call home.

"Don't even think about it, brat." Levi deadpanned. "You're not going anywhere."

Ida gritted her teeth, her fists curling with a rigid clutch on the bedspreads beneath her.

Sharp, she concluded inwardly. Very sharp indeed. Almost as though he could predict my movements.

She made a mental note of his perceptiveness before speaking again. "Is that the bastard's order? To lock me up in here?"

"Tch," Levi scoffed at her tone that spoke of nothing but defiance. "Sorry to burst your bubble, princess, but it's mine. You'll have to wait a while longer to sort out your daddy issues."

Ida was surprised by his bluntness, but she supposed he had spent all his patience already.

After a resigned sigh, Levi stepped forward. "I'm going to cut to the damn chase. Since Erwin left things to me, here's my proposition: join the Survey Corps, or I will hand your useless ass to the Military Police. At least this way, you'll have a purpose for your shitty life."

Her expression was as cool as a statue, but it was her tone that showed the intense rage sizzling inside her. She was trying hard to compose herself, but she couldn't hold back the disbelieving, sardonic scoff that left her lips. "Do you even know what you're saying?"

It was only when she saw that Levi was, in fact, serious with his proposal did she begin to frown. Not out of confusion however, but disgust. "I'm not joining this shitty excuse of a legion," she stated flatly. "Wings of Freedom? Hope for humanity? Don't make me laugh! What have you, or any of the 'elite' soldiers of the Survey Corps done for humanity? How many people have you saved? How many people can you save?"

"Tch." Levi made an irritated sound, meeting her gaze with a challenge. "You really are a genuine brat. Well then, what are you going to do? Go back to the shitty slums? Rot in a dingy alleyway? Rob, plunder, kill? What purpose would you have?"

Was it sympathy he felt? Perhaps, but maybe Levi just didn't want to condemn his superior's daughter to prison. He owed Erwin after all. Still, the anger he was feeling was surprising, even to himself.

He was offering her a choice. A different life, a different future — like Erwin had offered him — or life in jail. Levi was offering something that gave meaning to her insignificant existence. For a moment, he couldn't even comprehend what he was trying to do — him, pretending he was righteous and compassionate?

Levi Ackerman knew for a fact that he was rotten to the core, and he'd never once denied it. His hands had been stained scarlet long ago. But maybe this was why he wanted to help the woman in front of him. He could see it in her the moment he laid eyes on her: she was a person with a name but nowhere she belonged. She was just like him in the past.

A person with no purpose, living and breathing, yet dead like a lifeless doll.

"Why do you care?" Ida barked back fiercely, not backing down from his glare. "I'm not joining your pathetic excuse of a legion. Where were the Survey Corps when the Titans invaded Wall Maria? The most actively involved in Titan combat, the so-called 'Titan-killers', the great heroes that fight for our liberation? You lot couldn't even protect humanity from losing a third of its territory."

Levi scowled. "So, you're blaming us for the death of your mother?"

"Is there a problem, midget?" Ida snapped back with hostility, not liking the tone of his voice. She could feel the condescending judgment that radiated off him.

"Tch. I thought you were an idiot, but you certainly didn't inherit any of Erwin's traits," Levi said mockingly, glaring at the seething redhead in front of him with contempt. "Also, from what I can see you're a damn midget yourself."

Ida fumed. It was true that she was short in stature, but that wasn't what she was furious about.

"Do not compare me with that bastard," she warned with a snarl.

"I can do whatever the hell I want." Levi spat, clearly unaffected by her subtle threat. "It's not a good idea to piss me off right now since your shitty fate depends on me."

Her brows clashed together in a confused furrow. "Just what are you trying to say?"

"You're just looking for someone to blame for your mother's death and all the shit that had happened to you," he pointed out without any tact. "You're weak and cowardly."

Her anger hit her like a backup reserve and she stood up. Ida was insanely offended by his insensitive remark. "Who the fuck are you to say that?!"

"Listen, you damned brat," Levi growled, clearly having had enough of her insolence. "In case my words are too hard to comprehend in that pea-size blockhead of yours, I will put this in simpler terms; you couldn't protect your mother or save your home, you were weak and useless, but you refuse to acknowledge that, and you blame your tragedy on others instead. Here's your damn reality check, brat. Things just turned out that way — it's nobody's fault."

Her body moved without thinking. Ida grabbed the fruit knife by the table and aimed it for his neck. She had just about had enough with this man, and her patience was at her limit.

"You don't know who you're talking to," she threatened, her eyes flashing with rage and malicious intent.

Though her outward appearance was intimidating and composed, an emotional hurricane was ripped through her. Denial, hatred and rage sat like a package in her chest and Ida just didn't know how to lock it all away.

Levi knew she wasn't making an idle threat, but he remained unaffected. He met her determined gaze with a steady stoic look. His lips twitched upwards into a smirk, intrigued by the woman in front of him. Levi had to admit, she had guts, but she was reckless with her actions.

He didn't know what happened to her, and neither could he claim to know what misery she'd endured. But Levi could conclude one thing with relative ease: she was also a victim of circumstances.

From the moment she was born out of wedlock, to the day she was cast out, to the fall of Wall Maria.

Ida Starke, like many others, was simply a victim of their twisted world.

With a confidence that he wouldn't miss, Levi landed a fast kick to her legs and grabbed her wrist, twisting it and forcing her to drop the blade. She tried to resist, but he effectively subdued her further with another sharp twist to her arm and pinned her against the table.

A groan escaped her as her head collided with the table with an unearthly crack.

"The same could be said to you," Levi deadpanned coolly, still holding her down. "The only reason why I'm assigned to this ridiculous shitty babysitting task is because there's no one else here more skilled or more capable of disciplining cocky incompetent brats."

Fast.

Ida couldn't even believe how quick he was. She didn't even see his counter-attack coming. Knowing that it was futile to resist, she closed her eyes. "Just kill me and get it over and done with."

A tense moment passed between them. Ida had expected him to say something, but he never did. Just as Ida was growing annoyed at his silence, Levi pulled her up by the wrist and forced her to look into his eyes.

For reasons beyond her, she felt her breath hitch in her throat when she met his haunting gaze. Ida thought that there was something special in his gray eyes, a certain type of coldness that had her throat closing up.

A scoff escaped him when he released his hold on her. "As much as it pains me to admit, you've got spunk."

"Is that supposed to be a fucking compliment?"

"I heard you're skilled in using 3DMG." Levi ignored her and refocused the conversation. "So lend humanity your strength. If not for humanity, do it for yourself. Fight for your freedom, fight to avenge, or at the very least, fight for your damned self." His voice was firm and unwavering, as if he already knew her answer. "Take your pick."

He turned around, his back never turning back to the perplexed woman as he took firm strides toward the exit. Levi stopped just before he closed the door, his grim voice denoting his seriousness.

"Decide, and fucking make it quick."

Ida felt all her remaining strength disappear when Levi left. She fought hard to keep herself on her feet. Looking at the bed where he had left her a change of clothes, she picked up the cloak, smoothing the dark green fabric with the Survey Corps insignia imprinted on it.

The wings of freedom.

She didn't know how long she stared at it, nor was she aware that she was holding her breath. The raw silence was suffocating as the seconds passed.

"Fight for myself…?" she murmured sullenly. "You should've just killed me when I asked you to…"

She shut her eyes and breathed, remembering her past. She was exhausted, both mentally and physically. After all the tragedy that she had been through, Ida wanted nothing more than to rest. But as she thought of this, a mental image of Levi's gray haunting eyes flashed in her head and her face creased in disgust.

It was strange really. Ida was certain that she would be more repulsed by the thought of fighting a futile war with Titans. After all, she was a first-hand witness of the never-ending war that mankind fought with the beasts that roamed outside the Walls.

No, Ida shook her head. It wasn't a war; it was a one-sided massacre. Humanity was helpless.

Her cynical thoughts left her feeling hollower. Ida wanted to throw the cape back to the bed, but she found herself staring at the wings of freedom insignia instead.

Her lips thinned. It was like a splash of icy cool water on her skin, and she couldn't exactly pinpoint this strange influx of emotions. It was only moments later did she finally have a name for this odd feeling.

Hope.

Was this what she was waiting for? Her redemption? A purpose to continue living when she had long resigned herself to death? A choice that she could make?

The realization left an agonizing stinging in her heart and a nauseating churning in her stomach. But Ida willed it to fade and composed herself. She would not cry. She no longer had any tears left.

Ida Starke had lived a cursed life. Anxiety, rage — and not to mention hate — that she couldn't hold in. All these emotions simmered in the pot that was her soul while she had done nothing but curse her own existence.

So many things she had lost, so many people that she couldn't protect. Even after Wall Maria fell, Ida had experienced more agony and heartbreak than she could ever dreamt she could experience in a lifetime.

In life, people had to make many choices. Some are important, some trivial, and some insignificant. The choices people make, however, determine a large part of their happiness or unhappiness, because one always has to live with the consequences of their choices.

A choice had befallen Ida Starke.

With a loud exhale, she grabbed onto the uniform and changed into it. She caught sight of her reflection in the mirror when she was done and she felt a rare flicker of hope in her stale heart.

"A soldier..." she echoed out in disbelief, her fingertips softly touching at the reflective mirror.

It wasn't as though she hadn't done horrible things — she had. Cruel and vicious things, void of any compassion. The thought of her being a righteous soldier for the Survey Corps was baffling even to herself.

But too often in life when something happens, one blames others for their unhappiness. However, no matter the circumstances, everyone has a choice — to accept the situation or to curse it.

For once, Ida decided to accept the situation. It wasn't like she had anything to lose anyway; people who had nothing feared nothing. If she would have to gamble with fate, then so be it.

Survive. That was what she needed to do for now.

And Ida Starke knew for a fact that she was a survivor.

Because she was strong — not just because of her skills, not just because she was able to accept and adapt quickly, but because of her innate ability to live through hell.


The prologue begins one year before Eren and the others join the Survey Corps, they will be appearing in this story very often and I plan to make them the main supporting characters! Thank you for giving this fanfiction a shot!

Prologue revamped: 21 May 2020

A big thank you to my dear beta-readers: Jikola, Lucifae and ShadowedNara