DISCLAIMER : I do not own Shingeki no Kyojin or any of its characters. Hajime Isayama does.

WARNING : This fic contains a mildly graphic nightmare scene. Nothing too descriptive or serious, but fair warning to you nonetheless!

A/N : This story takes place during Mikasa's first night at the Jaeger household. It lays the foundations for Mikasa's pure love for Eren in the series. :) I'd like to think it's canon. :D (Update : After watching Episode 8, this fic seems so canon now. :P What with Mikasa putting her ear to Eren's chest to check for his heartbeat after he emerged from the titan-body! I re-read Chapter 9, Mikasa does this too, but it never occurred to me that she was checking for his heartbeat. Thought she was just holding him lol. Yayyy, it's canon!)

Credit to :

-Cat-Stat-Ave for actually giving me the idea for this fic! She came up with the idea for the scene and gave me permission to use it! Thanks very much Cat! Without you, this fic would never have come to be. :)

-Salaeren for just being all round awesome. Proof-reading, editing, discussion. He's done it all for me. This fic would never have come to see the light of day without him! Or at least, it would have been a much worse fic than the one you are about to read! Thank you, my friend!

Without further ado, please enjoy the story. :) Remember to leave a review! Always a good motivation for me to write more!

Oh yeah, go check out my poem entitled 'Mikasa'! And leave a review after you've read it! Just do it. This isn't shameless self-advertising. It's more like. I don't know. YES IT IS SHAMELESS SELF-ADVERTISING. DON'T JUDGE ME. ARARARRARA

Mikasa couldn't move. Her breathing became labored and frantic as she desperately scanned the darkness for any sign of movement. The knife at her throat inched ever closer, exuding a stench of iron and blood that made her eyes water. A scream filled the room as the rusted metal bit into her flesh, but it didn't come from her. Swift and merciless as a torturer's leather whip, a crack of lightning illuminated the blackness.

"Run, Mikasa!"

But she couldn't run. All she could do was stand and watch as the man...no, the monster that stood before her slashed at her mother's thrashing body again and again. The knife her mother's executioner used was not unlike the one that was currently resting on her neck, threatening to open up a new orifice on her body. Rusted. Jagged. Cruel. When his grisly work was finished, all that was left on the ground was a butchered piece of meat Mikasa used to call 'mother'.

The murderer turned to face her, a freakish grin plastered on his bloody face. The knife was still dripping with her mother's blood. Mikasa could hardly see through her tears and the darkness that shrouded the room. She wanted to move, to run away and keep running, but the man holding her would have none of it.

"Oriental!" The murderer cooed as he started to walk towards her. "Ori-" he tried to say the word again but stopped mid sentence. Still smiling, the man lurched forward and fell face-first to the ground. There was a knife in his back. Mikasa looked up to see Eren standing atop it, his eyes as fierce and striking as they were the first time they had met.

"Eren!" Mikasa yelled. She reached out to him with her hand but he was too far away. The knife at her throat bit deeper into her skin, causing her to cry out in pain. She looked to Eren once again but he hadn't moved any closer. He was just standing there. Then, just like the recently deceased man at his feet, Eren suddenly lurched forward. He fell heavily onto the dead man and to Mikasa's horror there was a knife sticking into Eren's back.

It was happening again. Everyone was dying. Eren. Eren was dead. With a violent jerk the knife at Mikasa's neck ripped open her throat. She dropped to her knees and clasped her hands around the gaping hole in her neck, desperately gasping for air. The blood flowed out of the wound like water from a burst pipe, spraying out in all directions. With her dying breath she reached for Eren's corpse with a shaking hand, desperately trying to call out his name, but all that left her lips was a bloody gurgle.

Mikasa awoke with a start. Her clothes were soaked through with sweat and her face was wet and stained with tears. Her violent trembling shook the creaky metal bed-frame, causing it to screech in protest. A nightmare. That's all it was. A nightmare. Mikasa hid her face in her palms as she fought to control her emotions. "No, no, no, no..." she muttered between sobs.

"Eren?" Mikasa croaked pathetically. She got up and stumbled over to the sleeping form of her new friend. Eren's room was small and not meant for two people, so he had elected to sleep on the extra mattress his parents kept for guests. They had placed the mattress on the floor next to Eren's bed.

Mikasa wiped away her tears so that she could see him more clearly in the half-light of the cold night. She couldn't tell if he was breathing, the rise and fall of his chest so subtle that it might not have even been there at all. The morbid thought sent another shudder through Mikasa's body as she felt her heart sink. She quickly fell to her knees and shook the boy violently with her hands. "Eren! Eren!" she begged repeatedly.

"What is it?" Eren mumbled with an annoyed tone as he woke up. He pushed himself up onto his elbows and looked at her, his eyelids fighting a losing battle to stay open.

"I...I thought you were dead."

"What? Dead? Why would I be dead? Go back to sleep, Mikasa." He sighed as he laid down to sleep again.

"Eren!" Mikasa called again as she continued to cry.

Eren sat up and turned to face her. His eyes widened when he finally noticed the tears running down her cheeks. The trembling in her voice reflected the quivering of her lips. With a sigh, he took Mikasa's hand and pressed it against his chest. She stopped sobbing the moment she felt a soft thump. "Do you feel that? That's my heartbeat," he told her. " Dad said everyone has one. As long as our hearts are still beating, we're alive. When it stops beating, we die. My heart's still beating. See? I'm not dead."

Mikasa stayed silent. She felt the rhythmic beating of Eren's heart against the skin of her palm and it soothed her greatly.

"I'm going back to sleep, okay? You should too. I'll show you around town tomorrow, and I'll bring you to see Armin. He's my best friend, I think you'll like him," Eren said with a smile.

Mikasa nodded meekly but didn't move from her spot next to him. The exhausted boy let out a deep sigh and laid back down to sleep. Mikasa just sat there motionless, her tear-stained face locked in a pitiful expression. Eren was still as a log as he drifted back to sleep. Sleep... or death?

Tears welled up in Mikasa's eyes again and her heart broke into a frantic rhythm. She pressed her ear against Eren's heart. The steady, unrelenting beat and the gentle rising and falling motion of his chest calmed her down immediately. She even managed a thin smile.

"Mikasa? What are you doing?"

Startled, Mikasa jerked her head up to see a slightly annoyed expression creeping into Eren's features. "Go back to sleep, Mikasa. You must be tired," he said a little more firmly this time. Eren gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze before laying down to sleep yet again. After a few minutes and no weight on his chest, he was satisfied that Mikasa had finally given up. But just as he started to drift back to sleep, he felt her head on his chest again. He opened his eyes and looked down at Mikasa. Her face was a picture of serenity, a far cry from the bawling baby girl she was being not too long ago. The moonlight slipped off her smooth skin, framing the slender smile her lips had stretched into. She had finally fallen asleep.

Eren's features softened, and soon he found himself smiling as well. He noticed that she was still wearing the scarf that he had given to her earlier. It looked great on her. He gazed at her for a few moments longer before dropping his head back onto the pillow in resignation. "Fine, you big baby," he whispered as the sweet scent of Mikasa's hair filled his nostrils. "Mmm...smells like oranges," Eren mumbled as his mouth stretched open to let out a yawn. Half asleep already and fading fast, he gently wrapped his arms around the girl, thinking she was his bolster. Before long, the both of them were fast asleep. The only sound to be heard in the room was the gentle breathing of children. And for Mikasa, the reassuring beat of Eren's heart.


Thank you very much for taking the time to read my story! :) Please leave a review! :D