CAN TITANS LAUGH?
Oh joy! Yippy fucking skippy, Levi thought sarcastically to himself. Another fucking checkup from the council asswipes! He stood beside the subject of the 'checkup', namely Eren Jaeger, the titan shifting teenager in his custody. Eren was only a fifteen year old boy and Levi couldn't help but be impressed with how well the teenager put up with the "asinine bureaucratic bullshit of the aristocracy" as Levi put it.
Today, several members of the council were present to verify that Eren was properly under control and not a threat to humanity. More importantly (at lease in Levi's view) they needed to see that Eren was actually learning to properly control his titan form.
"The fact that you saved all their sorry asses in Trost is completely lost on those imbeciles," Levi said aloud out of the blue, startling the fidgety and nervous teen beside him. "And they're fifteen fucking minutes late! They wanted us out here on the training course by 8am and they probably decided to take a long shit at the last possible second!"
Eren chuckled. He was getting used to his captain's crass humor. "People being late sure makes you talkative," he observed.
"I'm always talkative," Levi said, his perpetually bored looking expression belying nothing of whether he was serious or joking. After a few moments of silence, Levi spoke again. "You seem to have finer motor control in your titan form now. When you change, the first thing I want you to do is put up both middle fingers to the audience."
Eren's eyes widened, a little surprised. "Can I really?"
"That's an order," Levi said dryly. "I'll take responsibility."
"Yes!" Eren said as he did a fist pump.
It was another ten minutes before Commander Erwin Smith finally led the band of Councilmen out to the edge of the training grounds. Levi didn't hesitate to express his displeasure at having to wait. "Is it really so hard to arrive at a meeting on time? We've been waiting here for almost a half hour. A half hour that could've been spent training."
The Councilmen looked insulted, Section Commander Hanji Zoe laughed and Section Commander Mike Zacharias sneered. "My apologies, Captain," Erwin started. "Hanji was explaining her latest discoveries regarding Eren and titans in general."
Levi growled softly. "You couldn't have waited until after the meeting to let her ramble on about titans? We're lucky you didn't leave us standing here all day. Now that you're here, can we get this demonstration over with? I have real work to do."
Erwin pinched the bridge of his nose. "We have to wait for the other commanders and Premier Zackary."
"Oh for fuck's sake!" Levi groaned.
It was another five minutes before Premier Zackary came out, followed by Commander Pixis of the Garrison and Nile Dawk of the Military Police. Commander Pixis' second in command, Rico Brzenska immediately came up and shook Eren's hand. "Nice to see you again, Eren. You're looking well."
Eren smiled. "Nice to see you too, thanks."
"Well, now that all are present, shall we get this demonstration underway?" Erwin asked.
"Indeed," Levi said flatly, then to Eren, "Jaeger."
Eren nodded and bit down hard on the heel pad of his thumb, drawing blood. Before anyone could protest about the shifter standing to close to them, in a thunderous burst of steam, Eren went from a normal fifteen year old boy to a fifteen meter tall titan. All except Levi, Erwin and Pixis were currently on their asses, knocked over by the blast, and staring up in horror at the massive creature before them. As instructed, Eren stood there, both hands in front of him, middle fingers sticking up straight in the air.
Pixis didn't hesitate to roar laughing, and Hanji joined in. Rico giggled and Mike just nodded and said, "Nice," with a smirk on his face. Erwin shook his head with an amused chuckle.
"It takes 42 muscles to frown, but only 4 to extend your middle finger," Levi stated, still standing only a few feet from Eren's massive foot. "The two muscles that keep the other fingers down are the flexor digitorum superficialis and the flexor digitorum profundus. The extensor digitorum extends the middle finger, countering the digitorum superficialis and the flexor digitorum profundus in the process. The interosseous muscle allows the finger to be moved toward or away from your midline so it can stand straight up. One more group of muscles may be used; lumbrical muscles in the hand helps you make fine adjustments in your finger position. This demonstrates the fine motor and cognitive control that Eren has achieved in his titan form since being remanded to my custody." He then turned to look up at Eren. "You can put them down, Jaeger."
Hanji and Rico stood side by side, giggling helplessly at Levi's explanation. Eren just nodded and put his hands down.
"Have a seat, Jaeger," Levi ordered.
The titan raised a brow, but then plopped down to the ground, lotus position, with a ground shaking thud. Levi remained where he stood, unshaken and acting as if nothing were going on around him. The councilmen, however, all lost their footing again and again fell on their asses. At least all the soldiers remained standing this time, Levi noted.
"Write something," Levi commanded.
Eren broke a branch of a nearby tree and drew a face in the dirt, the eyes crossed and a tongue sticking out towards the observers. "Not bad," Levi commented. "But I said, 'Write something,' not draw something."
The titan sighed and then wrote SOMETHING in the dirt. "As you can see, this not so little smart ass' cognitive abilities have increased since first discovering his titan abilities. Though his jaw prevents him from actually speaking, he has developed enough motor control to write legibly on the ground," Levi explained.
"So what, exactly, does this have to do with killing titans?" one of the councilmen asked.
Erwin was the one to answer, giving a long winded explanation as to why motor control was necessary and how they were working on getting a large sword for Eren to use on the battlefield. Normally, Erwin preferred short, concise explanations, but he knew the aristocracy preferred things unnecessarily wordy. Eren's face immediately developed a 'wow. really?' expression.
It wasn't long before Eren opened his jaws in a huge, gaping yawn, tears showing at the corners of his eyes. "Literally bored to tears, huh?" Levi asked him.
Eren nodded as Hanji began hopping up and down and exclaiming, "Did you see that?! Eren just yawned! Titans can yawn! I never knew that!"
Eren's jaw fell slack and he face palmed as Hanji began a rant that had the councilmen enraptured. "Probably because they've never heard such big words spoken so fast before," Levi told the titan beside him. The titan just groaned in response.
After several minutes, with Hanji showing no signs of stopping, Eren's face lit up as he got an idea. He took the branch he'd written with, drew a 3X3 grid on the ground and place a large X in the middle of the top row, then looked expectantly down at Levi.
Levi looked at the grid with his usual bored expression, then up at Eren. He then shrugged. "Why not?" he said as he picked up a large stick and drew an O just below Eren's X. Soon, the ground was covered in grids of Tic-Tac-Toe, most ended in a draw.
Eren huffed in boredom, then his face lit up again. He picked up his drawing stick and began drawing furiously on the ground. When he was satisfied with the result, he used his massive finger to ever so carefully tap Levi on the shoulder and pointed at the drawing in the dirt.
Levi actually raised an eyebrow at the artwork. It was a surprisingly good facsimile of a pile of horse dung with the words 'JUST ANOTHER SHITTY DRAWING' written above it. "Not bad," Levi said.
The titan let out a soft sound that almost sounded like a chuckle, then drew a horse's head in the dirt. Next to the drawing he wrote 'JEAN'. "Good likeness," Levi told him.
Not to be outdone, Levi picked up his own drawing stick and drew a remarkably realistic horse's backside in the dirt, and wrote 'NILE DAWK' under it.
Eren placed a massive hand over his mouth to stifle what again sounded like a chuckle. He quickly drew what looked like a potato with a face, pony tail and wearing 3DM gear. Beside it, he wrote 'SASHA'.
Levi raised an eyebrow again. Having heard the stories of the 104th Cadet Corps from Keith Shadis, he added a poof of air coming from the potato's backside and wrote the word 'FARTED, SIR' under the word 'SASHA'.
There was no mistaking the chuckle this time. The other's present were so engrossed in Hanji's ranting, that the sound went unnoticed. Levi next drew a snarling she-wolf, and wrote beside it 'MIKASA'.
Eren nodded his agreement. He then drew a near perfect image of Erwin – except with the eyebrows grossly exaggerated. At the same time, Levi drew Mike's face with the nose exaggerated. They proceeded to draw and write all over the ground around them. Eren's giggles became more pronounced with each funny drawing or statement. When Hanji finally finished her spiel, the group turned to look back at Eren and Levi.
Their jaws fell open as they saw Eren, down on his knees and drawing on the ground with his ass in the air behind him and his tongue sticking out the side of his toothy mouth. There were drawings everywhere on the ground around Eren and Levi.
"Jaeger," Levi said.
"Huh?" the titan huffed as he looked down at his captain.
Levi simply pointed at the group. Eren looked up at the stunned group, eyes wide and a completely guilty expression on his face. He drew his tongue back into his mouth, straightened to sit back on his heels and set his drawing stick down beside him.
"You're both pretty good," Pixis commented. "Wish I could draw like that. I don't know which one is better; the drawing of Erwin or the drawing of Nile. Oop, never mind, I like the one of me swimming in a glass of whiskey best! I look genuinely happy."
"I am not a horse's ass!" Nile yelped indignantly.
"Look at Mike's nose and Erwin's eyebrows!" Hanji howled with laughter.
"I kinda like the one of you with those huge glasses," Rico told her.
"I know, right?" Hanji laughed.
"Well, as you can all plainly see, Eren's dexterity and fine motor control is above average for both a human and a titan," Levi stated blandly. "I suppose you expect to see a demonstration of his strength."
"Of course we do," Premier Zackary said, still trying to suppress a laugh.
"For those of you who were not privileged to witness Eren lifting a boulder several times his own weight and mass in Trost, he will now move the 365 ton boulder from behind the stables to over by the lake a half a kilometer from here," Levi explained. "We will begin once you have all moved over to the lakeshore."
As the crowd moved away, Levi looked up at Eren, who still sat on his heels in the middle of the drawings. "Alright, Eren. You know what to do. I'll be following in the trees. Let me know if you have trouble."
Eren nodded and stood. He let out a very obvious chuckle as he looked down at all of the drawings. Levi noted the sound and looked at their handiwork. "Not bad for a couple hour's work."
As planned, Eren let out a deafening roar to psych himself up and then lifted the massive boulder. He then walked towards the lake, carrying the massive rock on his shoulder, just like he had in Trost. As he approached the lake's edge, he turned his head to look at the group gathered a short distance down the lakeshore. In doing so, he tripped on a fallen tree he had failed to notice.
Levi's eyes actually widened as he watched the titan stumble, but not quite fall. The boulder, however, fell from Eren's grasp and flew out over the lake. It hit the water about 30 meters out, the resulting splash sending lake water everywhere. Levi's eyes widened further, as did Eren's, as a tsunami raced out from the impact zone in all directions, swamping the observers on the shore before they could even react.
For a moment, both scouts just stared in shock at the disarray of bedraggled and fallen soldiers and councilmen. Levi actually had to cover his mouth to keep from laughing. Eren didn't even bother refraining. The fifteen meter titan fell onto his ass on the beach and roared (quite literally) laughing. The deep, booming sound of titan laughter echoed across the lake and tears soon began rolling down Eren's face from his glowing green eyes. He wrapped his arms around his belly as he continued to laugh, doubling over as he did so.
In spite of being very nearly washed away, Hanji leapt up in excitement and began hopping around like a little child that needed to pee. "OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD! HE CAN LAUGH! I had no idea titans could laugh! Listen to him! Doesn't he sound wonderful?"
As Hanji continued her excited ranting, Rico just sat on the ground, dripping wet and laughing hysterically and said, "That was GREAT!". Even Mike, usually so quiet was laughing loudly. Nile Dawk looked over at the bedraggled councilman next to him, who had a tangle of water weeds wrapped around his balding head, and began laughing. Erwin just sat there, wondering how . . . and deciding he really didn't want to know.
Levi regained control. "Well done, Jaeger. You can get out now."
Still laughing, Eren's titan form fell forward as he pulled himself out of the nape of the thing's neck. "That was fucking hilarious!" were the first words out of the teen's mouth.
"Agreed," Levi said blandly.
Pixis stood up from the ground, and though drenched, still managed to look completely composed. He took a quick swig from his ever present flask and said, "That was the best military demonstration I've ever seen!"