No one was really sure about what had happened or how it happened but they all knew it was a day no one in the Special Operations Squad (plus Hanji) would ever forget.
It happened on a day not too long ago. A bright, sunshiny day where seemingly nothing could have gone wrong but...
"What are you trying to say, four-eyes?" The corporal says, not too amused by the fact his morning coffee break was interrupted by Hanji's problems.
"I said that Eren turned into a child! One minute he was helping me carry boxes to the room, the next minute he was already a child!" Hanji yelled exasperatedly. Tears were starting to well in her eyes and her body started to quiver.
The corporal sips his coffee, eyes closed and seemingly apathetic like always, "Where's the brat, then?" And with that, Hanji sobbed out loud, "That's the problem! After he turned into a kid, I tried to bring him here but he kicked me in the shins and ran away!"
Rivaille sits his cup down slowly, then his eyes suddenly flashes open and Hanji screeches in fear. "So you're saying that Eren's running around somewhere unprotected? What if he goes out and runs into a titan, you do know how stupid and impulsive that brat is, right?"
"Don't worry, I already set the other members to look for him." Hanji reassures lightly and Rivaille just stares at her. "What are you waiting for? Start looking!"
Around an hour later, Hanji goes into the corporal's room to report that they still hadn't found Eren when she sees that the boy was in the room, watching Rivaille intensely as he does his paperwork.
"I forgot to tell you but I found Eren about 50 minutes ago." Rivaille says, not looking up from his work.
Hanji twitches. "You mean to say we've spent an hour looking for nothing?"
"Well, it was your fault he ran away."
Hanji sighs. "Whatever," she approaches Eren, whose eyes were still glued to the corporal, "Hey Eren, where have you been? Why did you try to run away?"
The boy doesn't reply, instead, he wiggles and stretches in his seat in an attempt to see Rivaille over Hanji's frame. Hanji repeats the question over and over again until,
"Eren, answer the question." the corporal says as he looks at him and Eren feels his body tingle and he smiles brightly.
"I ran away because I didn't know who you were and dad always told me not to talk to strangers."
Hanji looks confused. "Eh? You don't know who I am?"
"Nope! Say, what's your name, mister and why do you sound like a girl?"
Rivaille snorts and Hanji fumes in annoyance. "Geez, you're such a troublesome little kid, I am a girl!"
Eren looks genuinely surprised as he looks over Hanji once, then twice. "Really? You don't look like one. You don't even have-"
"You better drop the topic Eren, though I'm someone who can't keep his mouth shut, I'm not so stupid as to mindlessly insult someone."
Still fuming, Hanji redirects her attention to Rivaille and glares at him. "Really? Are you sure, 'cause I have a looong list of people you've insulted, and that's just this month!"
"I said mindlessly, didn't I?"
Dinner that night was slightly tense. Hanji was still sulking, the other members of the squad (mostly Auruo) glared at Eren and the remaining two were peacefully eating.
A pregnant silence loomed over them until Auruo slammed his fists on the table. "What the fuck is happenin'? Why did that brat turn into a... a brat?!"
"Auruo, calm down."
"But sir, I-"
"Even if you questioned him, I'm sure he's just as clueless as the rest of us."
"But sir, how can you be sure? What if it's part of his plan to catch us unguarded?" It was Petra this time, eying Eren with unease.
"Intuition. Is what I would say but I hardly think that's necessary, just look at him, he looks dumb as shit." And with that comment, they all looked at Eren who was peacefully stuffing his face without so much as a single strand of care.
"Well, I suppose that is, erm, true," Erd begins, clearing his throat a bit at his superior's comment. "Though it doesn't explain this."
And everyone stared harder at the boy who was happily eating, seated on the corporal's lap.
Rivaille took a glug at his drink, "The brat refuses to eat on his own and besides, it's much easier this way." He punctuates by wiping Eren's face clean. "He eats like a friggin' pig."
That night, the Special Ops Squad's jealousy grew tenfold.
One: After dinner, Rivaille took Eren to the bath and unsurprisingly bathed together.
Two: When they were done bathing, Rivaille took his time clothing the boy and drying his hair.
Three: When he was groomed, Eren began prancing around yelling, "I want milk and cookies" and that was the day they discovered that the corporal knew how to bake.
Four: Stomach filled and content, Eren spent around thirty minutes snuggling into the corporal, asking him to read him a bed time story.
Five: After long minutes of coercion, the corporal finally agreed to read him a story on the seven dwarves (much to his chagrin).
Six: "Corporal, I'm feeling sleepy." Eren yawned, curling up cutely on Rivaille's lap.
"If you want to sleep then hurry up and sleep you damned brat." He rubs the boy's forehead in a manner akin to petting a dog.
Eren smiles sloppily as he opens up his arms, "I can't sleep like this, carry me to bed~"
"You've got guts kid," And with that, he carries the boy to his room in the dungeon.
Seven: He drops the boy on his bed, intending to leave as soon as he'd done so but a grip on his leg tells him otherwise.
"Aren't you gonna tuck me in?" He looks annoyed, offended, even.
"Well aren't you a spoiled little brat? I'll make sure you'll regret this one day." He says, annoyed but the smile on his face betrays him.
Eight: "Is there anything else you'd like, princess?" Rivaille mocked once he was done tucking the boy in.
Eren glared at him and trashed about in the bed. Satisfied with the mess he made, he smiled up at Rivaille and said, "Fix it."
Rivaille smacked him on the head but did as he was asked.
Nine: "Eren, go to sleep." He ordered. It had been thirty minutes since he'd brought the boy to his room to sleep but Eren showed no signs of trying to doze off.
"But I don't want to." He pouts, turning to his side.
"Because, it's because I'm scared." He sniffs, "We're outside the wall, right? What if Titans are going to attack? Where's mom and dad? Why am I here?" He spills out one by one, his firm voice slowly disintegrating into soft sobs.
The corporal began to awkwardly pat his head in an attempt to soothe him but all it does is cause him to sob harder.
Eren slowly sits up and buries his face onto the corporal's torso and Rivaille just lets him be.
Ten: The two of them ended up laying down on the bed some minutes in Eren's crying. A halcyon moment of stillness surrounding them.
"Are you all cried out?" Rivaille says as he smooths out the wrinkles on Eren's shirt.
Eren nods. "Good, now go to sleep."
Eren burrows himself under the tangle of sheets and blankets and of Rivaille, "Only if you stay here with me." He whispers, sleep was beckoning him and only through immense struggle does he manage to stay awake.
"Fine." Came the corporal's reply and with a pleasant warmness encircling him, he welcomes the calls of Hypnos and falls asleep.
Only once the boy was snoring softly did Rivaille close his eyes. "What a pain in the ass you are." He seemed to mumble as he followed after Eren.
The morning after, Eren wakes up feeling sketchy and weird but decides to ignore it in favor of washing up.
The very moment Eren arrived at the dining room, he was bombarded with glares from his squad mates.
"Had a nice sleep, Eren?"
"How was it like, sleeping with the corporal, Eren?"
"Did it feel nice to have the corporal pamper you, Eren?"
They all seethed and Eren cowered from all the animosity.
"Men, stand down." Rivaille commands as he stands up, striding towards the boy.
"Hey Eren, I know you forgot all about it but I promised you something last night," He starts, still walking towards the boy until he successfully backs him into a corner. "And a man never backs down on his word."
Wincing at the look in his superior's eyes, Eren squeezes his eyes shut and squeaks, "Wh-What was that p-promise about, sir?"
Rivaille smirks sadistically. "I promised that I'd make you regret everything you did yesterday."
After getting punished by the corporal, Eren limped to the living room. His everything ached and everyone seemed to hate him and he didn't even know why.
"Poor Eren, getting tortured by Rivaille again. What'd you do this time?" Hanji asked as she plopped down beside Eren on the couch.
"That's the problem, I don't even know what I did to make them hate me so much." Eren cried.
Hanji looked thoughtful for a moment but then her usual smile returned, "Well, I don't know about the others but I'm sure that Rivaille's just upset that you don't remember."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, the two of you were so lovey-dovey yesterday, to the point where you even bathed together." Hanji sang as she made various heart shapes with her hands.
Eren flushed a bright red as he stuttered "E-Eh? Did that really happen?"
"Yes Hanji, did that really happen?" A third voice joined in and suddenly, the room was tense. Eren immediately ran out the room but Hanji wasn't as lucky.
"Ah, Rivaille, didn't see you there! I was just-"
"So two soldiers got injured today?" Irvin asks as he reads the report.
"Yes sir, two. Squad leader Hanji and that new recruit, Eren."
"And these injuries weren't from fighting Titans?"
"No sir, it was said to be a training incident."
"I highly doubt training incidents would result in damages such as these." Irvin reads over the files once more, Eren Jaeger: Two broken ribs, the rest cracked. A cracked bone in the arm and a lot of bruises on the throat, abdomen and inner thighs. Hanji Zoe: Four cracked ribs, bruises and cuts on her arms and legs. Similar cuts on her cheeks.
"Sir, I heard it was training with lance corporal Rivaille."
Irvin sighed. "I see, you're dismissed then."
That day, the Scouting Legion was reminded that Rivaille, humanity's strongest soldier and resident neat-freak, was a man not to be crossed.