A/N:

"Ahhahhahahaa~" The clearly fake laughter drowned out what Oluo might have said next, and before he could open his mouth to repeat it, Petra had grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out the door, slamming it shut behind them.

Wanna know what happened? Well, make sure to read then :P

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Disclaimer:
«I do not own any of the following pictures, music, characters or the original universe. Nor do I own the Christmas Calendar or its content. I only own this Christmas story and the mixing idea.»

For practical purposes, Hange Zoë will be referred to with female pronouns. The character's gender has not been confirmed by the creator, so there is still a mystery about what is the truth of it. However, because it is hard to write around the pronouns, I chose the female gender because this is what they used for the English dub of the Anime. I hope that you all understand my reasoning for this, and that if you have another opinion on the gender, you can still replace the pronouns while reading.


DECEMBER 13TH


It had been another hard day for the scout members.

However, due to their hard work, Erwin had decided to give them the evening off. Although a few had gone to sleep, and Annie had went for a walk, most had decided to spend the time in front of the fireplace.

The chat was light and friendly, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Memories were shared and stories from times long ago came back to life. They were laughing and joking, and even though some of the stories seemed a little too amazing to be true, all were in too good a mood to point it out.

"Ahahahhahaaaa~" Petra burst out in laughter. "He didn't really do that, did he?"

"Sure did!" Gunther grinned as he posed. "Like this."

The laughter continued, and in the midst of it, Oluo's cheeks were gaining a nice shade of red.

"It wasn't like that," he protested. "It was… it was..." The words died in his throat.

"Aw," Petra walked over to her friend. "You know we don't mean anything by it."

For a long second, that seemed to be it, but then a queer smile grew on Oluo's lips. "Really? So, Petra, how about those stocking-"

"Wha- I-I" Petra stuttered as a pink glow filled her cheeks. "You wouldn't…"

"Oh, my dearest Petra..." Throwing his hands up, the man shook his head in amusement. "Tsk, tsk, tsk… How could you ever do anything so, so-"

"Ahhahhahahaa~" The clearly fake laughter drowned out what Oluo might have said next, and before he could open his mouth to repeat it, Petra had grabbed him by the arm and pulled him out the door, slamming it shut behind them.

"Oooh..." Connie whistled. "What was that all about?"

As none answered, all turned to the one person in the room that might know.

"What?" Gunther shrugged. "Don't look at me. How should I know?"

"You're the one living with them. Also, you've known them the longest."

Mikasa's point was a valid one, but Gunther had never cared too much about the constant squabbling between his teammates. It had been that way ever since they were picked out by Captain Levi. In the beginning he had seen it as a nervous habit, that the newcomers weren't used to their now role and were picking on each other simply to calm down. However, as time bassed by and they truly became one team, the bickering continued. It was at that point Gunther, and Eld too, had given up on spending time with the juniors. Not that they had anything against them; no, both of them were a delight to be around - so long as it was only one of them.

Still, although Gunther honestly hadn't paid much attention to the pair, he had noticed a few things. First of all, their quarrels, no matter how serious they seemed, were never mean spirited. Their insults just seemed to roll off without doing any damage. And, second, it was always Oluo that initiated the fight. It wasn't always verbally him who spoke first, but if the situation was traced back, it was always Oluo who made it happen.

"I don't really know." Gunther finally said. "I don't know much except that they always find a way to fight. Hell, the only times I've seen them agree are when it comes to saving lives and religion."

Jean raised a brow. "Religion?"

"Yeah," Eld sighed, joining in on the conversation. "They are both… well, let's just say that they have an interesting perspective."

"I mean, most people are either with or against the idea of religion, but those two."

"I guess I see their point, though." Eld noted. "It does give something to the people."

"But…" Scratching his neck, Connie seemed to be in deep thought. "Is the God they talk about in the story is the same as the one those wall-sects are talking about? Did the God from the story really create the Wall?"

The room got quiet, all considering the words of the short haired soldier.

"I mean," Connie continued, "Both of them seem to have a bad feeling about the number thirteen."

Jean raised a brow. Of all the things that Armin had read and shared about the world in his Calendar, THIS was what the bowl-head had remembered. He was about to open his mouth to deliver a poisonous retort, when-

"It doesn't matter."

The blunt comment from Ymir made every head turn.

"What do you mean?" Armin asked, happy that the tall woman had finally joined the conversation.

"Whether you believe in the wall or this foreign religion, it makes no difference. It's all the same. Religion… There is nothing worth believing in. There is nothing out there - at least, nothing that wants to help us." Her eyes growing distant, she turned her head away from her friends, choosing instead to look out the windows. "Believe in yourselves. Only humans themselves can damage their lives, and only humans themselves can save what has been lost."

"Well, although I cannot agree with everything you said, I see that there is a point to it." Jean nodded. "But still, although I'm not a fan of religion, I have to say I don't mind my mom's celebratory food."

"Yeah, traditions are nice." Connie nodded. "Aren't there any of those in this religion?"

"Actually, there are." Armin grabbed ahold of the new subject. "And actually, today is such a day."

"Oh?"

"Yes. It is a day called 'Saint Lucy's Day' or 'The Feast of Saint Lucy'. It's a feast day celebrated on the 13 December, commemorating a heroine named "Saint Lucy", using a candle-lit wreath to "light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible".

"Really?" Sasha leaned forward on the bench, clearly intrigued by the mentions of food. "So will we have a feast tonight?"

Unsure, Armin looked over at Eld.

"Sure," The blond man laughed. "I'll ask the Commander. I think it should be fine, though."

"Yes!"

"Not only is this tradition centered around food," Armin continued, "it is also common to sing songs about Saint Lucy and her doings."

"Speaking of," Sasha looked over at her roomie. "Don't you write songs, Krista?"

"Huh?" Krista blinked, confused.

"Or was it a poem? I found it by the bed."

"No, I-" the words stuck in her throat, and suddenly the girl paled. "It's not..."

"Sure it was. I even remember parts of it." Sasha cleared her voice and straightened her back.

"How can anybody live in a world that's so cruel and beautiful?
Always asking why- Hey, Krista!"

The young blonde had stormed out the door.

"Why did-"

*SMACK!*

The sound reverberated through the room like a gunshot, leaving everyone quiet, except for the whimper Sasha made as she held her hand up to where Ymir had struck her. Realizing what had just happened, she wanted to fight back, but Ymir had already left the room, doubtlessly in search of Krista.

"That was badly done." Eld scolded.

"Badly done, indeed!" Gunther agreed.

Waving her hands in front of her, Sasha did her best to defend herself. "What- I didn't mean anything mean by it-"

"Even so..."

Before the situation could get any worse, Armin cut in:

"Should we, maybe, read today's Calendar piece?"

As he had hoped, all eyes now fixed on him, and he hurried to bring the little piece of paper. Sitting down, he looked around, and smiled as he saw Mikasa staring at him with anticipation in her eyes. Smiling, he offered her the note, and she began to read:


The thirteenth of December: The sixth sheep

… just as lightning sweeps across the sky,
pouring out a flood of light over the landscape for a second or two …


A little procession was running down the steep mountains in the Alps from the St Bernard Pass. They spent only half a second in each place, for they were running, not just down the steep slopes towards Val d'Aosta in Northern Italy — they were speeding down through history too.

So a party of monks, who were on their way up from Val d'Aosta one day in June, in the year 998, saw them for only a short moment — just as lightning sweeps across the sky, pouring out a flood of light over the landscape for a second or two.

'Look!' exclaimed one of the monks.

'What?' asked the other.

'I thought I saw a strange procession on its way down through the valley. There were people and animals. Behind them all ran a little girl with an angel.'

The third monk agreed. 'I saw them too. It was like a heavenly host.'

The monk who had seen nothing shook his head in disbelief.

'Are you sure you can stand the thin air up here?' he asked.

He said that because he had looked down at an azalea at the instant when the pilgrimage had passed.

Four years earlier a party of merchants from Milan had seen the same as the two monks. That had been a few kilometres further down the valley.

The godly throng stopped for a little while to enjoy the View over the beautiful Val d'Aosta. Ephiriel pointed up at Mont Blanc and the sharp peak of the Matterhorn. Elisabet was more interested in studying the Advent calendar she had been given by the Governor of Syria.

She pointed at opening number twelve where there was a picture of an Advent calendar exactly the same as the one she had in her hand, turned to Quirinius and asked, 'Can I open the doors in the tiny little calendar as well?'

Quirinius shook his head. 'Unfortunately not. That calendar is sealed with seven seals. Dixi!'

'We are such Wise Men that we can reveal what is inside it, all the same,' said Caspar the first Wise Man. 'Something mysterious is written there in tiny little letters.'

'Tell me, then!' said Elisabet.

'Behind the first door is written Elisabet,' Caspar began. 'Behind the second is written Lisabet, and behind the third Isabet. Then come Sabet, Abet, Bet and Et. That's the first seven doors.'

'And what then?' said Elisabet, with a broad smile.

Balthazar, the second Wise Man, replied, 'After that come Te, Teb, Teba, Tebas, Tebasi, Tebasil and Tebasile. Then there are only ten doors left.'

'What's behind them?'

'Elisabet, Lisabet, Isabet, Sabet, Abet, Bet and Et.'

'But then there are still three doors left,' said Elisabet.

Caspar nodded solemnly. 'Behind door number 22 is written Roma, behind door number 23 is written Amor, and behind door number 24 the name Jesus is written in very beautiful and artistic lettering. One letter is red, the second is orange, the third is yellow, the fourth blue, and the fifth violet. Altogether that makes all the colours of the rainbow. Jesus was like a whole rainbow.'

'Why?'

'When it's been raining heavily, and the sun breaks through the dark clouds, the rainbow appears in the sky. It's as if a little bit of Jesus is in the air, for Jesus was a rainbow between heaven and earth.'

Joshua lifted up his shepherd's crook and struck a stone with such force that it echoed all round the mountains.

'To Bethlehem!' he said. 'To Bethlehem!'

And it was as if the mountains replied, 'Lehem, Lehem, Lehem . . .'

It didn't take long for them to reach the Valley of the Po. That is the name of the fertile country that lies around the great River Po, which flows from the Italian Alps in the west to the Adriatic Sea in the east. Ephiriel told them they would be going the same way as the river.

They travelled through the countryside until the River Po met another big river called the Ticino, near the trading city of Pavia. Ephiriel told them that the angel watch showed 904 and that Pavia already had a university that was famous throughout Europe.

Joshua was about to strike the ground with his shepherd's crook in order to say something Elisabet was about to say, but Jacob the shepherd spoke first. He pointed down at a large raft that was lying by the river bank and said, 'We'll borrow that.'

So the whole of the long procession of pilgrims jumped on board the raft.

As they were about to push off from the bank, a man came running towards them with a sheep in his arms.

'Accept my sincere offering!' he said.

So six sheep had to be crammed together on the narrow raft.

When they were out on the river, Quirinius said that Elisabet could open door number 13 in the advent calendar. Behind it was a picture of a man carrying a sheep.


"Interesting, then does that mean..." Armin mumbled to himself as he accepted the piece of paper. He hadn't had the time to look at the picture as he opened it earlier, as he was eager to get downstairs again. He looked around at the faces surrounding him, noticing that he wasn't the only one who seemed to be in deep thought. This calendar was certainly much more than he had expected it to be as he read the note for December 1st.

However, he realized they had read it without informing the Commander. So, in order to make it right, Armin got up and headed towards the office. After that, he thought to himself, he would have to find Krista.


"Krista?"

"Ah, Ymir." Wiping her tears, Krista sent a welcoming smile to her best friend. "What's up?"

Ymir rolled her eyes. "What do you think? Looking for you, of course." She walked over to the younger girl and embraced her. "Are you alright?"

"I-I'm fine..." Krista replied, a string of sadness playing in her voice.

"That Sasha," Ymir let go of Krista and sat down on the bed. "To be so mean to my Krista - even after you let her stay in our room."

Krista shook her head. "No, it's okay. It's just me, I was overreacting."

"She went through your things, Krista. YOUR things."

"Not really," Krista hurried to say. If it continued like this, she would not be able to calm her guardian angel down. "I kept it underneath my bed," she explained. "Sasha probably thought it was trash and wanted to throw it away for me - so nice of her."

Ymir let out a grunt. She had a hard time believing the story, but what else could she do.

"So it really wasn't her fault." Krista smiled.

"She still read it out loud."

Krista opened her mouth to answer, but nothing came out.

For a second it seemed as if Ymir was about to get up to chase down Sasha, but Krista's next words made her stop dead.

"It's my fault for writing those things..."

"What? What do you mean?"

"What she saw… I know we're supposed to hold our heads high, and that we are to believe in a world where everything is better, but..."

"But that's impossible." Ymir finished. Then, in a swift move, she pulled Krista onto her lap, wrapping her her once again in her arms. "No world can be like that. Not ours at least."

And so they sat, comforted in each other's arms, until Krista broke the silence.

"Do… Do you want to hear it?"

Ymir nodded, and so, with a voice as clear as crystal, Krista sang softly:

There's a dream my heart just can't seem to leave behind
Like a flower holding on for life, inside my mind
Time and again, I push it away from me
But it finds a way back in sleep

My beating heart drowns my thoughts away
Tearing apart this dreamer's way
But still I know deep inside my soul
That I never can let it go

How can anybody live in a world that's so cruel and beautiful?
Always asking why we're really here
Losing all of our control to our fears
Some of us are strong, some of us are weak, but still we seek...
For a new day that can offer more
Do we really know the world we're fighting for?

Up above the grey of the sky reflects my eyes
All the air that sweeps around me seems to coldly sigh
And to join us in our despair the heavens weep
As we wait on eternal sleep

Try to escape from reality
By searching for a fantasy
But still I know that I have to go
Can't hold on to a dream of home

How can anybody live in a world that's so cruel and beautiful?
Always fighting to survive the day
Giving all we have to keep death at bay
Are we really here, is it really clear despite the fear?
Should we fight on for the ugly truth?
Or should we hide behind the lies of distant youth?

What if I could turn into a melody
And traverse the world at the speed of sound?
I'd go all the all the way around
Like a song of hope profound
For the ones who need answers to distant pleas

How can anybody live in a world that's so cruel and beautiful?
Always asking why we're really here
Losing all of our control to our fears
Some of us are strong, some of us are weak, but still we seek...
For a new day that can offer more
Do we really know the world we're fighting for? ***

During the song Ymir had her eyes closed, listening intently to the the words from Krista's heart. Now, a little smile appeared on her lips, and she gave her friend a squeeze.

"How you can be so talented... I don't know anyone who would be able to put it like that."

"But isn't it too gloomy?" Krista asked, surprised by the seemingly positive feedback.

"It is," Ymir agreed. "But the world is gloomy as well. We mustn't forget that." She let her nose brush against the blonde's fair skin, nuzzling it gently. "It's a good thing that you don't forget. It's a quality. If others think differently, it's their own bad. You're you, and there's nothing wrong with that."

Encouraged by Ymir's words, Krista climbed even closer to Ymir, letting out a giggle as Ymir whispered in her ear:

"You're what makes this world beautiful."


A/N:
Question of today: Do you celebrate Saint Lucia? How?

Please leave a review with your thoughts, okay?

*** Disclaimer:

These are the english, fanmade lyrics for "Beautiful Cruel World" made by Adrisaurus. The original version by Yoko Hikasa is the first ending of Attack of Titan: "Utsukushiki Zankoku na Sekai". If you like the lyrics, make sure to pay tribute to the creator - you can find it on YouTube.

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