The survey Corps is made up of a bunch of different people from different villages, with different cultures and traditions. So I figured a culture-fic was due, where Eren misunderstands what appear to be straightforward orders. Because ater the fall of Shingashina, he's been a kid without a home. Not to mention I just personally love imagining everyone trying to figure out all the weird traditions Eren follows. Please review and check out my other Attack on Titan Fic- (it involves Eren dancing!)! Please tell me if I should continue!
Eren was sitting in a chair in Captain Levi's office. He only trained when Levi was nearby, that way incase he was accidentally hurt and went titan, he could be controlled. He was allowed to be on his own when he slept, in the dungeon, and when he was with Hange, but otherwise he was to be within ten meters of Levi at all times. Which, most of the time, meant he was sitting in the man's office hile he did paper work, trying not to twitch too much or annoy Levi.
Sometimes he got to staple papers, too, or make paperclip chains just so he wouldn't bother Levi, but most of the time he was just sitting, trying to do his best to remember he was a soldier and that soldiers sat still...
"Jeager." Levi's voice startled him out of his revere, and he snapped to attention. "Sir!"
"At ease. I need you to do me a favor."
"Captain Erwin is returning from the capital tonight after negotiations and a lengthy report. I want you to be certain there's chicken for dinner tonight, as it's his favorite. Can you do that?"
"Yes sir!" Eren grinned, excited to actually be doing something.
"Alright then." Levi went back to his paper work, and Eren bounded down the hallways of the castle, heart pounding- he had a mission.
Eren burst into the barracks, eyes alight. "Mikasa! I need your help!"
Mikasa looked up from the knife she was sharpening to see Eren pratically vibrating on his feet...
"What is it?"
"Captain Levi said they need chicken for dinner! We need to get Armin, too..." Eren was already about to bound outside the barracks, but Mikasa caught him by the wrist. "He wants you to make chicken for dinner? For everyone!?"
"Yes! That's why I need you help! We can do it, we've made chicken before, I just need your help..."
Mikasa stared, eyes wide.
"Please, Mikasa! He's the Captain and I can't let him down!"
Mikasa bit her lip. Making chicken for everyone in the mess hall by tonight seemed impossible- but Eren looked at her with those green eyes, and she couldn't refuse.
"Alright. I'll go get Armin. You ready the horses."
His face split into a grin. "Thanks, Mikasa."
"Just go. I can't believe Levi would order you to make dinner for the whole mess hall..."
"Don't think about that right now, Mikasa. Let's go!" and he was off, sprinting towards the stables to ready the horses.
Eren had saddled three brown mares- horses not fast enough to be used on missions, but not completely useless, either. He'd leave the faster horses incase they were needed for some sort of emergency- he knew these ones wouldn't be missed.
Armin stumbled into the stable after Mikasa, looking breathless and afraid. "Captain Levi wants you to make chicken for the entire survey corps!?"
"That's what he said. Now c'mon-" Eren fairly tossed his friend onto his horse. "Talk and ride, goshdangit. We're wasting time!"
As they forced their horses into a slow gallop on the path to the nearest village, Armin was struggling. "B-but- you're just one person! How can he expect you to make chicken for all those soldiers!?"
"I don't know!" Eren admitted over the pounding of hooves. "But I'm not alone! I have you guys- right!?"
"Right! But still, Eren, it'll be near impossible..."
"That's what you said the first time!" Eren said, flashing his friend a grin.
Five Years Ago...
"What's the matter, Armin?" Eren sat down beside his downcast looking friend, back against the building as they took shelter in an alley, Mikasa standing guard to make sure none of the older boys came to harass them.
"N-nothing, I guess." Armin stuttered, not meeting his friend's eyes.
"Armin..." Mikasa started, and Eren looked at his friend dubiously. Even he could tell his friend was lying...
"Grandpa's really sad and I don't know what to do! He hardly talks and he won't eat anything and I'm scared he's gonna die!" it all came bursting out of the petit blonde like a thundestorm, then, before he was clining to Eren, crying into the larger boy's chest.
Eren just stared for a moment, shocked...
"It'll be okay, Armin..." he wrapped his arms around the boy, rubbing his back soothingly.
"It won't be okay! I don't know what to do for him!" Armin pulled back, his face red with tears streaming down them. "H-he's going to die... and it'll b-be my f-fault, a-and I'll be a-all alone..." the boy choked out.
Mikasa dropped to one knee beside the boys, placing her hand on Armin's forearm. "How long has he been like that?"
Armin's eyes seemed to bleed emotion. "S-since my mom and dad..."
Eren pulled the boy into a fierce hug without warning. "It'll be okay, Armin. I'll make it okay..."
"Maybe we can get him to eat something." Mikasa sounded thoughtful.
Armin shook his head. "N-no... I've tried everything. He won't..."
"What about his favorite food? Maybe we could make that?" Eren suggested.
Armin shook his head, wiping his eyes. "No, you can't. H-his favorite food is chicken, and the only one who knew how to make it was my mom..." he was trembling with emotion.
"Didn't she keep her recipes somewhere? My mom keeps them on paper cards in a box..." Eren piped up.
Armin sniffed, wiping his nose on his sleeve. "I... yeah, actually, she did! She kept them in a little book..." his eyes looked hopeful for the first time.
"Then let's go get it!" Eren grinned, jumping to his feet and grabbing Armin by the wrist. "C'mon!"
Armin actually laughed as he stumbled after Eren, with Mikasa following along...
Armin's house was dead silent. The three tip-toed upstairs- the livingroom door was open, and on the sofa sat Armin's grandpa, asleep. The man had dark circles under his eyes, his mouth was frowning, and he looked- broken.
Armin looked down at him desperately, but Eren shoved him along- Armin's grandpa would be fine as long as they could make him some chicken.
Armins lower lip trembled when they got to the bedroom that'd belonged to his parents, and his body began to shake. Eren realized he wouldn't want to go in.
"I'll get the book, Armin. do- do you know where she kept it? What it looked like?"
Armin nodded. "I-it's small. About as big as your mom's hand, a-and it's red. S-she kept it somewhere on the b-bookshelf..." the smaller boy was biting his lip to keep from crying, and Mikasa wordlessly moved to the boy's side and took his hand, doing her best to comfort him so he didn't wake his grandpa downstairs.
"Go. I'll stay with Armin."
Eren nodded, giving his friend one last concerned look before ducking inside.
Things were covered in a thin layer of dust- three weeks could do that to an untouched room. Eren tried not to look around too much, steppng over a well-worn rug and grabbing a wooden chair beside the bed and dragging it over to a dusty bookshelf. His hands groped the top shelf, eyes barely over to see over it- but he jumped down a moment later, book in hand, triumphant.
"I got it, Armin." He brushed some dust from his hair and handed an elated looking Armin the book. The boy hesitated for a breif second before he opened the book, flipping through the worn pages carefully.
"There!" in the curly handwriting of Armin's mother was a recipie.
Armin looked up, eyebrows wrinkled in thought, before he spoke- "Where will we get a chicken?"
"The market, silly." Mikasa looked at him like he was dumb.
"B-but- we don't have any money."
"I do. Mikasa and I sold some extra firewood. Do you mind using the money to buy a chicken, Mikasa?" Eren asked.
"Nope. Not at all."
Armin looked like he might burst into tears again. "You guys are the b-best friends I could ask for..."
"Quit crying and get a move on." Eren chuckled, slapping his friend on the back. "We gotta chicken to buy!"
The market vender was filled with squawking birds and peddles selling their wares.
"Fish! Fresh fish!"
"Hot pastries! Good and warm!"
"Flowers! Get your flowers!"
They were nearly overwhelmed by the voices and adult customers- the smell of fresh fish on a hot day mingled with the sticky-sweet scent of fresh cut flowers and the smell of freshly baked bread.
They eventually reached the stall for chicken- Eren pointed to a black hen, paying the man before leaving with it under his arm, holding hands with Mikasa while Armin's held Mikasa's hand on the opposite side.
They retreated back to The small dead-end alley behind an old house in their neighborhood, one that bent in an L-shape to hide them from the street.
"We gotta kill it somehow." Eren said, reading the recipie book carefully. "How do you kill it?"
Mikasa turned and ducked out of the street, coming back with something stashed beneath her dress. Eren saw it was one of mom's large cooking knives and nodded. "That'll work." he held the chicken's body while Armin stretched out the bird's neck with his hand, and in a swift move the bird was headless and flailing.
"Hold onto it!" Eren yelled to Armin, desperate.
"How is it still moving!? It doesn't have a head!" Armin sounded terrified.
"I...just hold on!" Eren cried. Mikasa wordlessly kicked the flailing bird away- it hit the dead-end wall of the alley, blood and feathers spattering onto the stone wall and the dirt. The bird finally stopped flailing.
"I'll read the book- you two are all dirty." Mikasa said. The boys looked down at themselves, surprised, to find they were covered in chicken blood and feathers. "Good idea." Eren admitted sheepishly.
Mikasa frowned. "It says we have to pluck it."
"How do we do that?" Armin asked, blue eyes wide.
"Eren- go get some firewood. I've seen Mom do this before." Mikasa said simply. Within half an hour they'd gotten a small fire going, and Armin had rigged up a stand to hang the pot full of water Mikasa had brought.
The water started to boil, and Mikasa wordlessly tossed the chicken in. The water turned with red with blood.
"Wait a few minutes and pull it out with a stick. The feathers will come out easy, then. I have to go mix the spices, like the says." Mikasa said simply, before she was gone.
She came back to find the boys with a nearly-nude chicken, throwing handfuls of feathers at each other. She rolled her eyes before finishing the recipe, coating the chicken in spices and placing it in the covered pot over the fire.
Eren and Armin looked over at her, interested.
"Now- we wait." Mikasa said simply, sitting on the ground. Eren threw a handful of feathers at Armin, who shouted in joy and jumped on his friend in retaliation, before they were play-fighting in the dirt.
By the time the fire had burned down, Eren and Armin were lying in the dirt, exhausted, and the chicken was done.
"It's done, you idiots." Mikasa announced, handing the pot to Armin. "Go give it to your grandpa." Armin looked elated. "T-thanks guys!" "Just bring back the pot tomorrow before mom misses it, okay?"
"Sure thing Mikasa!" and Armin was gone, heading off home.
Eren smiled, standing and trying to shake some dirt from his hair. "We did a good thing, Mikasa."
"Yeah. Armin would do the same for us. Grab the chicken head- mom can cook it tonight." Mikasa replied, and the two headed home.
"Mom, we're home!" Eren bellowed as the door opened.
His mother whirled to greet her children to find Mikasa holding her best kitchen knife and Eren covered in blood. Her face turned from warm to horrified, and she dropped to her knees, screaming and grabbing Eren. "Grisha! GRISHA!"
Eren's father rushed in from the next room over, looking horrified as his wife clung to his bloodied son, tears streaking down her face.
"Where are you hurt, Eren!?" Eren saw a look of fear he'd never quite seen before on his father's face.
Eren was confused. "Mikasa and I just killed a chicken, mom."
Carla's eyes fell on the feathers stuck to the boy's bloody clothes and she began to sob in relief, holding Eren close to her chest. Grisha rose back to his full height, looking stern.
"Go get cleaned up. Both of you should know better than this- to scare your mother half to death! Clean up and go to your rooms!"
"Yes sir." Eren sighed, looking berated, before he trekked outside to find a bucket of water to wash up in, Mikasa trailing behind. As the door closed, Grisha could be heard trying to comfort his near-hysterical wife.
Eren sighed. "How much trouble do you think we're in, Mikasa?"
"Lots. At least Armin's happy, though."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. At least Armin gets a happy day."
Tears streamed down at old man's face as he took a bite of the chicken.
Armin looked up at him cautiously, hands folded behind his back, suddenly shy. "I-I really tried m best with it, Grandpa, honest! We used mom's recipe, we really did the best we could- I'm sorry if it tastes bad."
Armin was cut off mid-sentence when his Grandfather pulled him into his arms. "It- it tastes wonderful, son."
Armin's face lit up. "Really!? I'm glad, grandpa..."
The light seemed to be back in the old man's eyes as he hugged his grandson tighter to his chest, a few tears streaking from his eyes. "So am I, son. So am I." for the first time in weeks, he realized it- even though his son-in-law and daughter were dead, he still had a little something left to live for.
"Remember? Back in Shinganshina, we did it. So what's to stop us from doing it now?"
Armin nodded hesitantly, before smiling slightly. "You know- I guess you're right. We've done it before- it can't be that hard. We can totally do it!"
"That's the spirit!" Eren grinned, and Mikasa smiled slightly and dug her heels into the side of her horse, smiling slightly. They probably could do it- it'd be just like old times.
Well? Please review if you want me to continue!