The disembarkment from the plane was swift and easy, and their luggage was picked up without any suspicious onlookers or trouble. From the airport, with Eren in the lead, the three assassins and one civilian get on a bus heading to the outskirt fields, advertising some rare type of flower that only bloomed during that season in the wild grasses of Mongolia. The driver of the bus takes them to an old, sturdy cabin that looked unused, but he assured them repeatedly that it was often used by sightseers such as them and the occasional shepherd.
They spend a year there in the disused cabin, sometimes herding sheep with the occasional traveling shepherd that was passing through the area, gathering wild plants that were edible according to the books left behind by the previous occupants and a few tips from the rare, near seasonal passersby coming to see the flowers or rolling hillside. Sometimes the travelers would leave a bit of money for some wild-grown snacks, or a story or few told around a small campfire as the sheep sleep around them. The donated money was enough for them to get by, helpful in cleaning up the cabin and when purchasing other necessities.
Cal swiftly grew in that one-year time-period, gaining about a foot in height, one size outwards in her bra size, and was beginning to wear her hair in a straight ponytail instead of the curling twin tails that she had before. Eren noted that Cal looked exactly like the third Phantom in appearance, confirming her suspicions about Drei's origins in her past, along a future that would never happen again. Reiji confronts her about it one night on the repaired porch steps to the cabin, the gaze in his eyes matching the many stars above in the half-moon's light. "Are you planning to do something with Cal?" he asks her, eyes lingering on the small silver scar on her neck.
Eren turns her gaze from the sky above and looks at him out of the corner of her eyes before replying with the barest hint of curiosity in her voice. "Do you want me to?" Silently with eyes closed he shakes his head, and that was all that was ever said on the subject between them.
The time-traveler stands in the doorframe, wearing clothes that matched the ones she wore when she had traveled to the past, a small smile on her face listening to the sound of carrots being chopped in the kitchen by Elen. Eren watches Reiji and Cal chase some sheep with the sheep dogs, the sun just beginning to set behind them, painting the sky a almost-familiar pink-red hue. She knew her time was approaching, in the same way she knew what had to be done to accomplish each mission, to make Reiji and her past self come to the warehouse in this life. The question "Is something wrong?" that comes from Elen, approaching with the knife being wiped with the helm of her grey shirt, startles Eren; a wistful frown appearing at the other girl's question before she replies.
"My time is running out. I don't know when I'll be gone, a few weeks, days, hours… I just know that it will be soon."
Elen pauses next to the wooden table in the center of the room, both arms limp at her side as she states "I see."
The other girl turns her head away from Elen and watches the clouds slowly change from pink to light orange, her chest aching with a familiar hurt that had visited her far too many times in her past.
"I wish I could stay here a little longer, by his side."
Elen's next words are full of such conviction to fulfil the promise held in the single sentence that Eren does not respond for a few seconds, the sensation similar to what she felt when she had killed Scythe the first time in a too distant past.
"You will. You gave me this name that he had given you, so even when you are gone, some of you will still be here, inside of me."
Eren turns her head to stare in slight awe at Elen before smiling, the tears falling from her eyes bathed in a glittering orange from the setting sun outside.
"Yes, yes you're right… You'll remain with the two of them forever, in my place."
Elen shares a smile with her as Eren wipes the tears away, before walking down the steps to shout to the two sheep chasers that dinner was ready.
A few days later Eren sits on the front steps that lead into the cabin, her chin resting on her folded hands with a ghostly orchid flower with white petals that were light purple around the edges twirling between her fingers. It's as she watches the others successfully catch a rather energetic and rambunctious white lamb that Eren feels it, several waves of warmth and chilled cold sending shivers all across her body. It was the same sensation that she had felt when she had found herself on the corner of Normandy Street, hundreds of miles away from where she had been moments before. The flower slowly falls from her hand as the warm-grey-haired assassin closes her eyes for the last time in acceptance, the scenery before her seared into her final memory, vibrant and clear. Eren does not feel the flower as it lands inside her leg, no more than a person without existence to the world around her…
The three sheep chasers are laughing and teasing the bleating lamb wrapped in Cal's red jacket when Elen notices the change, a shift in the wind, a brief lack of warmth from the setting red sun behind them. She looks up towards the cabin, the hand scratching the lamb behind the ear ceasing in its movement as Eren begins to fade before her eyes. Reiji and Cal, both noting that Elen had stopped and tensed in movement follow her gaze to the cabin steps, where the pair see the last of Eren vanish the moment the flower touches the wooden steps where she had been sitting just a few moments before. The hollow bleat of the lamb echoes in the empty sense of sorrow, and confusion that follows the living assassins for the next several days.
It was almost time for them to move on, to leave the cabin and travel someplace else to avoid being found by Inferno, as they had agreed upon doing after spending six months in the same cabin. And yet it felt as if something needed to be done, something to remember, something to show that they each had been there and had existed outside of the memories that the three shared. It was Reiji's idea to build a lantern and place it in the ground, the reasons behind left unsaid yet spoken clear enough to the others. He finds the empty glass bottle from last week's trip to the nearby town, and a half-full oil can that was left over by the previous occupants provided the fuel for what they planned. Cal cuts the wax around the wick on the long candle stick with swift defying strokes of the military knife that Eren had given her a month beforehand, handing the wax-covered wick to Reiji without saying a word. He sits at the table, a bowie knife carefully shaving away the remaining chunks and slivers of wax with a calm look of concentration. The fading daylight barely glints off the knife and the two objects on the table, a small see-through plastic oil can with its bottom half darker in color, and a see-through copper-colored bottle that had been placed on the table in preparation for the task.
Once the flat wire of wick was cleaned free of wax underneath his care, Cal takes it from him and places a small section of the long wick into the bottle while Reiji pours the oil into the bottle from the side. When the bottle was half way full he stops pouring in the same moment that Cal inserts the rest of the wick into the bottle which ends just inside the opening of the bottle. She turned to glance at Reiji as he picks up one of the bottles that litter the floor, remnants of their sorrow held inside before he leaves her sight when she passes the threshold of the cabin. Cal walked forward to where Elen was planting familiar flowers into the side of the mound, a sad look of acceptance on the former assassin's face. The blonde's face matched the other girl's as she closes her eyes briefly while crouching down next to the mound and handing her the bottle, the liquid inside sloshing around with the action. After the bottle is nestled into the hole made in the center of the mound and lit by Elen with a lighter, the two girls pray, the ache of someone who they knew would eventually leave still all too fresh.
The night is spent in silence, each person drifting off to sleep with the aid of painful memories and drink, Elen being the last to sleep herself. Her memories however, were not as painful as the moment that she woke up before the others, the burden she took upon herself heavy on her shoulders. She stands up and walks to the doorway, the early morning breeze cool on her heated skin and soothing to her heart. The mixture of nightshade and geranium flowers planted on the grave move gently in the breeze, as if to say 'go on, be with him'. Elen walks forward and crouches next to the grave without a body, silent as she waits for the morning grey to fill the sky. It's around six o'clock when she hears Cal behind her, Reiji stumbling outside after the blonde towards the packed car with a bottle in his hand.
Reiji watches Cal walk towards the back of the car, opens the door for him, then holds it open as if expecting him to get in like a VIP. A few seconds pass, and fed up with waiting, Cal struts towards him, her eyes flashing like a cat's in the pre-morning light.
"Come on, Sappy-Reiji." Cal grunts as she grabs the arm that held the drink and pulls him into the back of the car on top of her, Reiji's feet kicking the door close behind him with the action.
"Sorry..." He half-grunts in a whine, his brown eyes not quite fully focused on anything in particular as they flicker from Cal getting off of him to the driver's seat at the sound of the driver's door being opened and closed shortly after.
Reiji continues talking "I'm a sap when I drink… sorry about that…"
Cal lets out a sad huff at him as she puts on his seat belt then her own before saying "You're worse than Judy with your drinking; Reiji…" Elen glancing at the two in the rear view mirror as she turns the key, the sorrowful tears streaming down her face contrasting her smile at the pair's antics. The wind blows, carrying a faint whisper of 'thank you' across the sea of sun-stained grass as the three drive on towards the darkness to newer, less special meadows, the sun rising behind them.
No one looks back.