Jean hit the ground as he felt a wave of pain flowing through his body, what happened? Why can't I move? Why am I feeling so numb? Everything happened so fast he couldn't even understand the situation, he couldn't focus on anything but the wave of pure unbarable pain his body was experiencing for the first time.
Pushing her out of the way had been like a reflex. He didn't have any time to think about it, he just did it, without thinking for a second. He felt like he did the right thing, and didn't regret it at all, he just found it ironic that he was going to die for the girl who he always loved but that was never able to love him back.
He stared blankly at the sky, not beeing able to move or think, he was stuggling to keep his eyes open. He watched as birds flew freely above him, they weren't feeling any pain, they weren't trapped in these walls, they were so free and all he wanted at the moment was to be like them. He heard indistinct shouting around him but he payed no attention to it, he kept looking up at the sky… the beautiful puffy clouds and those free birds flying towards the unknown. He started feeling out of breath and closed his eyes slowly, he wanted to keep them open, he feared he would never open them again if they closed but he couldn't help it, they were now shut.
He heard a big thud, the titan who ate his lower half must have been quickly killed, he was guessing by Mikasa or the Corporal.
He felt a pair of arms pulling him up and shaking him.
«Jean!» It was her voice, his favorite voice, he tried his hardest to open his eyes just to see her one more time as he enjoyed the sound of her beautiful voice calling his name.
Tears were streaming down her gentle features as she desperately tried to get her friend to wake up, he tried his best to do as she asked but it was like his body didn't want to respond to his commands anymore.
When he finally managed to lift up his eavy eyelids, a weak smile formed on his lips.
With the little strenght he had left, he brought his hand to her cheek, wiping the tears away.
«Please, stay with us…» She whispered. Jean moved his hand to her hair.
«You have… beautiful…» He stopped for a second, every word he said made him feel like a thousand kives were stabbing his chest. «Hair.» He finished and dropped his arm on the ground, not having the to force to keep it up anymore.
A scream escaped from the girl's lips.
«Mikasa…» Said a voice behind her, it was Armin, he put a hand on her shoulder, trying to console her, but he was in no state to do it, his eyes were also filled with tears of sorrow and he felt a painful sensation in his chest, where the heart is. He couldn't believe that his friendship with Jean could just end in that horrible way, he always took him for granted.
He looked back to everything he went trough with Jean, from thier first encounter while instructor Shadis was interogating the new recruits up to that moment, the image of his friend jumping in the mouth of a titan to save Mikasa was still so vivid in his mind, he couldn't help it, sobs started escaping his lips, he had always been emotionally weak and unable to control his feelings, but in that moment he didn't care if he would come off as weak or a cry baby, Jean was all over his mind, every moment passed in his company flashed before his eyes.
Armin wished that Marco hadn't died… If he were still alive, Jean would be in the MP with him, he would be alive and happy, safe, just like he wanted from the very beginning.
He clenched his fist, trying to push the thought away, it was happening and he couldn't change the past, no matter how hard he wished he could.
Everything they had been trough together was going to end just like that? He kept sobbing quietly, drowining in his thoughts and memories.
The full squad was now around the dying boy, Eren brought a hand to his mouth, in shock.
«Jean! What the fuck..?!» Shouted Connie when he saw him, he brought his hands to his head as his eyes widened more and more, he couldn't believe what just happened, how could it be? «No, no, no, no, no…» Connie kept repeating that word as if it could help him wake up from that horrible nightmare.
Sasha was screaming in despair, no one paid any attention to her though, she kept screaming and screaming, she knew it wouldn't help but she did it any way, she couldn't hold it back.
Eren had seen Jean push Mikasa out of the way but he handn't realized how badly wounded he was. He felt his sight get blury, he wasn't going to cry for horseface, was he?
Eren felt incredibly guilty for all the times they fought, for how many times he called him a coward or horseface. He felt so proud of how much Jean had changed since the 104th trainee squad, he went from a coward who just wanted to hide behind the safest walls to a true, respectable, brave, hero. Eren pressed his hand to his lips a little harder, he couldn't cry, he had to be strong, for Mikasa and for Jean. Dammit, he was gonna miss him so much even if he would never admit it out loud. His annoying hot-headed personality, his arrogance, the way he would always speak his mind, no matter the consequences… everything. He became like a brother to him in the last years.
«Dammit! Jean wake the fuck up!» Shouted Eren, not being able to believe what was happening. «You can't die like this!» He shouted again, salty tears were filling his green eyes.
«Stop yelling at him you moron!» Scolded Levi, Eren bit his lip and brought his hand to his mouth again, trying to keep his calm.
He wished with all his heart that his friend's life wouldn't end just like that, he didn't want everything Jean had been trough to be useless. What use was fighting or living at all if everything could just end and disappear like that.
Tears were streaming down Eren's eyes, he decided to let them fall so he took the hand away from his mouth and placed it on his heart, doing the military salute. If there was a way to say goodbye to a hero like him, that was it.
Armin kept sobbing softly as Levi just looked at the dying member of his squad with a sad look on his face, not letting his emotions show too much but they all knew how much the Captain hated casualties. Jean was the first member of his new squad to die, he cared about him too, even if he wouldn't admit it. Connie and Sasha were crying their eyes out and screaming the loudest.
But Jean could only see her, he only cared about her, everyone else was so distant and unimportant for him in that moment.
«It's my fault! If only I didn't let my guard down...» Said Mikasa between soft sobs.
He couldn't hear what she was saying until a horrible thought raced through his mind I'm never going to see her again, am I? His eyes were now filled with tears too, he was so young, so many things he hadn't done yet, so many feeling he hadn't felt yet. It was too late now, he would never see his mother again, he would never taste her cooking again, he regreted not treating her better, he regreted so many things he had done. He regreted being an asshole to everyone, particularly Eren, not being able to save Marco and so many other things, he had made so many mistakes in his life… but one thing he did not regret, at least the last thing he did was right and he was sure of it: he saved Mikasa, the girl he always loved.
So many thoughts filled his heart with sadness, he didn't want to give up but he knew there was nothing else he could do, no matter how hard he fought or wished to stay alive.
Mikasa grabbed his hand and squeezed it softly.
«I don't want to die...» he whispered. Those words shattered her heart into a million pieces, she felt so guilty about never loving him the way he did, about always puting Eren before him. She wished she could be in his place, he did it all to save her life… she should have been be the one dying, not Jean. The guilt in her heart was killing her but she couldn't do anything to change what happened.
«I'm sure you'll join Marco a better place...» She said, squeezing his hand a little tighter, wishing it would keep him awake. «You won't feel pain, sadness, envy...» She pause to let out some sobs. «You'll never have to suffer again, ever, I promise.» He closed his eyes softly, thinking about how good it would feel to be realived of all the pain he felt in his miserable life, how funny that the only thing that ever got her attention was jumping in a titan's mouth to save her life.
Hey Marco, I'm finally going to join you up there... I missed you a lot, lad. He thought, remembering his freckled friend somehow reassured him as if he had always been there by his side, he knew he would be there when it was over, he wasn't alone, Marco would be there for him the same way he was when he was alive.
He started feeling gradually better, he wasn't feeling the unbarable pain anymore and everything around him started to get blury, the world was getting darker and quieter. The last thing he felt was panic as he realized he was dying, what was going to happen now? Was there anything after life? He braced himself for what was about to come.
He tried to fight it but uncounciousnes was getting the better of him. His last thought went to his comrades, all around him, Mikasa's hand in his, there was no way he would have rather died..
His whole life started flashing before his eyes, all of the most important moments he lived were now vivid in his mind: his mother; the 104th trainee squad; his fights with Eren; the training; the battle of Trost; Marco's pyre; joining the Scouting Legion; his cook-off with Sasha; the mission where they encountered the female Titan; Armin's plan to capture Annie; joining squad Levi; learing that Reiner and Berthold were traitors too; finding out that Christa's name was actually Historia Reiss; fighting the Military Police that he once wanted to join; Armin killing a man to save his life; defeating Rod Reiss; Historia being crowned queen and now the mission to shiganshina… he would never see it's complition. He would never see the outside world, the ocean Armin always talked about and he would never experience true freedom.
«Thank you all…» He paused, he couldn't find the breath to go on. «Thank you…. For being my comrades…. No, my brothers and sisters…. For caring about me…. » He didn't have to force to go on anymore but he did it anyway, he had one last thing to say. «Eren…. Humanity is counting on you….. don't let them down…. Please, don't fail you suicidal bastard….» His words were interrupted by strong coughs.
«I swear I won't fail.» Shouted Eren between his sobs. «Goodbye, brother.» He added, biting his lower lip no stop himself from sobbing.
«Thanks….. you guys…. Goodbye…» He said his last words as a chilling darkness surrounded him, he took one last long breath and slipped into oblivion.
Nobody dared to move as each of them dealed with different feelings and different memories.
Armin fell on his knees next to Mikasa and put his hand on Jean's chest, his expression looked even sadder when he realized his heart wasn't beating anymore, sobs escaped his mouth until he spoke the words nobody wanted to hear.
«We lost him.» He shouted between sobs.
Nobody spoke in response, they stayed quiet for a couple of minutes, as a sign of respect.
«I swear you did not die in vain. I will avenge you!» Shouted Eren as tears streamed down his face. «I promise, Jean, I promise!»
«Thank you Jean, you saved my life…» Whispered Mikasa between loud and heartbreaking sobs. «You are a hero.» She added. I will never thank you enough… I'm so sorry, about everything.
«We're gonna miss you so much dude….» Wispered Connie, holding back his sobs, he was hugging Sasha to stop her from shouting in despair, they were sort of consoling each other. Sasha wasn't able to stop crying to say some last words to his friend but she was thinking them without a doubt.
Armin sniffled. «I always belived in you… say hi to Marco form us..» He burst to sobs again.
Silence filled the area again (besides Sasha's loud sobs) until the group heard loud footsteps aproaching.
«We have to leave him here, they are coming.» Said Levi. His whole squad looked at him as if he just killed Jean himself, none of them wanted to leave him. Levi sighed as he gave Jean a last sad glance. «Fine then, this is a order: we are getting the fuck out of here.» Mikasa got up and dried her eyes with the palm of her hand and nodded. Armin couldn't stop sobbing, no matter what he did but he still listened to the order and turned away from Jean. Levi started walking away, Mikasa and Armin following. Connie tried to dethach himself from Sasha and follow Levi but she didn't let go of him so he decided to carry her away instead.
Eren looked at the lifeless body one last time.
«Goodbye Jean… you are one of the best friends I ever had.» He wiped his tears away and ran after the rest of the squad, leaving Jean forever.
Jean's body was lying limp on the ground but his face looked somehow relieved, all of the pain he ever felt was now a distant memory, he was now happily reunited with his best friend Marco.