Disclaimer: I don't own 進撃の巨人
A/N – I decided to write Erenmika that was devoid of smut. So I wrote this. It really is just a bunch of random moments from when they were kids… and then this moment at the end… no point explaining it actually, it kind of wrote itself when I was thinking… I guess just read it, and hope you enjoy!
Also sorry if it gets kind of repetitive at times… I really suck at proofreading my own work (in that I never do it, pretty much) – though if someone is free/wouldn't mind/could volunteer to beta for me, I would be highly obliged!
Warning: I guess the only warning I can give is that it gets sickeningly sweet at times... but I guess I'm allowed some amount of artistic liberty.
Why won't you let me protect you?
When Eren first saw her, curled up on the ground, her delicate hands tied behind her back, her dark hair covering her pale face and a smear of blood at the corner of her mouth, he felt something stir from deep within him.
And then he saw her eyes – such beautiful, dark eyes like inky pools – but they were so dead, so hopeless.
It was like she'd given up on the will to live, and the will to survive.
That's when nine-year old Eren Yaeger knew, that no matter what, he had to protect this little girl. He didn't know why, but he was so overcome by emotion in that moment, and a sudden desire to put some life back into those eyes…
He wasn't sure what it was about her, but Eren felt drawn to her, and he knew from that moment on, that he would go to any ends to save her.
Before that day, he'd never so much as killed a fly, but he rushed forward then, stabbing again and again, blood splattering over his arms and his face.
When it was all over, Mikasa sank to her knees, shaking.
Eren walked over to her, massaging his throat.
"Mikasa," he said softly, kneeling down, "Are you alright?"
She stared at him, her dark eyes wide.
Her voice quavered. Her eyes were glistening and Eren thought she was going to cry soon. He didn't want to see that.
"Don't worry," he told her soothingly, placing a hand on her shoulder.
She seemed so fragile, and yet those same trembling arms had been so strong just moments ago.
Eren wanted to hug her then, but he felt embarrassed at the thought. Besides, it would be weird given he'd just met her a few minutes ago.
He wasn't sure why he felt so drawn to her, so protective of her.
She still gripped the knife between her small hands. It looked so out of place, standing out starkly against her pale skin. Eren didn't like seeing it there. She shouldn't be holding it.
"Let go," he urged her, his hands covering hers as he gently tried to pry it away from her fingers.
Her grasp tightened on it.
"You don't need it anymore," Eren said, looking into her eyes, "I'm here now."
The knife clattered to the floor.
I'll protect you forever.
"Yaeger-sensei… where should I go from here? It's cold… I've got nowhere to go home to anymore."
Eren felt his heart clench at her words.
He walked towards her, unwrapping his scarf from around his neck.
Mikasa continued to stare at the ground.
He placed it around her.
Her eyes widened and she looked up.
"You can have this," Eren said, wondering why his voice was choking so, "It's warm, right?"
Mikasa touched the scarf.
Eren looked pleadingly at his father.
"Mikasa," Dr. Yaeger stepped forward, "Come live with our family."
"Huh?" Mikasa gasped.
"You've suffered a lot," Dr. Yaeger continued, "You need to rest."
Mikasa turned to look at Eren, as if asking his opinion on the matter.
Eren quite liked the idea of her living with them. It would mean he could always stay by her side.
"What?" he asked her, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, "Come on. Let's get going..."
He slipped his hand under her coat, tugging on her sleeve.
"To our home."
Their eyes met.
Come with me, Mikasa. I'll take care of you.
Tears glistened in her eyes.
"Home…" Mikasa's voice cracked, and she allowed Eren to lead her along.
They walked in silence, a few steps behind Dr. Yaeger.
Eren slid his hand under her sleeve. Mikasa's hands were cold.
He slipped his fingers through hers, and she let him.
A few minutes later, her fingers curled around his own.
Eren smiled to himself.
Mikasa didn't cry at all again that night. Eren's mother fussed over her, dabbing at her face with a napkin, cleaning away the blood and applying medicine to her bruises.
"You have beautiful hair," she told Mikasa as she brushed at it gently.
"Thank you," Mikasa said quietly, sitting perfectly still on her chair.
Eren watched from the corner, wondering if he'd ever be able to see the girl smile. Maybe he'd do something, something silly or something funny, and it would make her laugh?
She probably had a pretty smile, and a pretty laugh too.
Eren studied face. It was different from the faces of girls he was used to seeing – paler, with sharper, more delicate features. Her eyes were different too, larger and more slanted, the color of the night sky.
Eren decided that she was very pretty, prettier than anyone he'd ever seen.
She looks like an angel… or what angels would look like if they were real.
And he never wanted to see blood, or a bruise, on that angelic face again.
Mikasa was mostly silent throughout dinner. After dinner, Eren led her up to his room, where she'd be sleeping.
"We're getting a bed for you soon," he told her, "But for now, you can have mine."
"Where will you sleep?" Mikasa asked him.
"Right there," Eren said cheerfully, pointing to the mattress next to the bed, "I told father to put it next to the bed, see, so we'll be together."
"Hey, you don't need to thank me," Eren said, "We're family now."
Mikasa didn't say anything, but her eyes were shining brightly.
"Oh, also, you can borrow my clothes for tonight, since you don't have any others," Eren said, rummaging in his cupboard for a pair of clean shorts and a shirt, "We're the same height so they'll fit you. Mother said she would take you to buy new ones tomorrow."
Eren's heart practically melted when Mikasa stepped into his room, wearing his clothes. They looked very different on her, different from the white dress she had been wearing.
Still, he decided that she would look pretty no matter what she wore.
Mikasa twisted a lock of hair in her hand, chewing on her lip. She seemed unsure of what to say.
"The clothes are fine, right?"
"Yes! Thank you!"
"Mikasa," Eren sighed, "I told you not to thank me."
Eren took her hand and led her over to the bed.
"You can sleep now, if you're tired."
"Are you sleeping now?"
"No… I'll sleep a little later."
"So… what do you want to do till then?"
Mikasa fidgeted with the sleeves of his shirt.
"What?" Eren asked.
"I look like a boy," she mumbled.
"Don't be stupid," he rolled his eyes, "You're way too pretty to look like a boy."
Her cheeks flushed pink.
"R-really?" she asked.
She sounded almost pleased, and Eren liked her rosier countenance. It made her look livelier.
"Of course," he told her frankly, "You're prettier than any girl I've seen. Mom said so too."
And then it happened. Mikasa looked away, her bangs sliding across her eyes – but Eren caught a hint of a smile on her upturned lips.
I did it, he thought triumphantly, plopping himself down on the bed next to her.
"So, what do you do in your free time?" he asked, swinging his legs.
Mikasa turned back towards him. Her eyes had more life in them now, he thought.
"Well… I know how to sew," Mikasa said.
Eren scrunched his face.
"That's boring," he said, "I meant fun things."
Mikasa pouted slightly.
"Oh, I was only joking," he said quickly, "It's probably fun for a girl!"
"…actually, I kind of think it's boring too," Mikasa said after a moment.
She gave him a small smile, and Eren's heart lifted.
She had such a sweet smile. He wanted to see it more, much more.
"Do you like running?" Eren asked, "We can play tag, down by the field."
"Yeah," Mikasa nodded, "I like running… and anything that involves exercise actually."
"Oh good," Eren said approvingly, "I like you even more now."
Mikasa wasn't quite sure how to respond to that.
Eren then realized that she was still wearing his scarf.
"Are you cold?" he asked her, "You can have my blanket."
Mikasa shook her head.
"Why are you wearing my scarf then? It's warm in here."
Mikasa reached up, touching the red cloth.
"Do you want it back?" she asked.
"No, you can keep it," Eren said, "I'm just wondering why you're wearing it if you're not cold."
"I – I like it," Mikasa murmured.
"Really? It's just a plain old scarf," Eren said.
She gazed at him out of her wide eyes.
"You're funny," he told her, "But it's fine, I guess. It looks good on you."
She tugged it closer to her, and Eren found her rather cute at that moment.
He was overcome by that weird feeling again, of wanting to hug her, or just pet her, though he'd never actually act on it, of course.
They talked a little more, and Eren gradually found it harder to keep his eyes awake. He really didn't want to go to bed. He liked talking to Mikasa, and he wanted to spend more time with her.
But eventually, sleep won him over.
"Mm, I'm really sleepy," he said, "You should sleep too, Mikasa. We can talk more tomorrow."
"Okay," she said softly, "Good night, Eren."
It was the first time she'd said his name.
He smiled at her.
The early morning sunrays filtered through the window. Eren stirred, cracking his eye open.
It couldn't have been later than 4 am…
Mikasa's probably still asleep.
He turned over, looking up at the bed. He was surprised to see Mikasa very much awake, huddled at the edge of the bed, her arms wrapped around her knees.
"Mikasa?" he asked scratchily, "Why are you awake?"
She turned her head slightly, and Eren suddenly realized something was wrong.
"Mikasa?" he jumped out of the covers, and slid on to the bed next to her.
He then noticed tears streaming down her cheeks.
Eren's heart broke at the sight.
"You – you're crying?" he whispered, "Mikasa? What's wrong?"
"I – I'm sorry," Mikasa sniffed, "Did I wake you?"
"No! But you should have!"
"You're upset, and you're crying," Eren said softly, "You should have woken me."
"I – I – " Mikasa's voice broke, and a fresh wave of tears streamed out of her eyes.
"No, no, don't cry," Eren said urgently, "I'm here now, tell me what's wrong."
"My – my parents-" Mikasa sobbed, and Eren felt absolutely terrible.
He had tried his best to make her feel at home, to make her smile… but he knew that he would never be able to replace what she had lost… he had never experienced the pain of losing a loved one, but he imagined that Mikasa was going through hell.
Eren wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her towards him.
Mikasa froze, her sobbing quieting for a moment.
"I don't know what to say to make you feel better," Eren said sadly, "I'm sorry."
Mikasa started crying again then, softly, and he squeezed her tighter, his cheek pressing against her wet one.
"It'll be okay… I promise… I know it's hard, but I'll never let anyone hurt you again…
"And I know it's not the same, but you've got me now, Mikasa," Eren said, pulling away.
"And I swear to you… I'm never going to leave your side!" Eren declared, "So please, stop crying, Mikasa."
And then he felt her small fists clutch as his shirt as she buried her face into his neck.
They were both silent after that.
"Your hair smells nice," Eren observed, after a few moments.
She didn't respond.
He shifted his head so that he could see her face.
Her eyes were shut, her long lashes brushing against her still wet cheeks.
Eren sighed. That meant he'd have to stay like this until she woke up… it wouldn't be very comfortable in a few hours.
Still, he liked holding her there in his arms, and the poor girl looked so peaceful that Eren would hate to disturb her.
"Fine…" he mumbled, adjusting his arms around her to a more comfortable position, "Whatever you want…"
Whatever you want, Mikasa, tell me. I'll try my best to give it to you.
"Good morning, sleepyhead," Eren greeted, when Mikasa stirred in his arms.
Her eyes widened, as she stared up at him.
"You finally woke up," he grumbled, "You're heavy, you know. I hope you were comfortable, 'cause my back sure hurts."
"I – I'm so sorry!" Mikasa practically squeaked, her eyes widening as she untangled herself from him.
"I'm just kidding," Eren grinned at her, "I didn't mind… though my back does hurt."
He stood up, stretching his arms out.
"C'mon Mikasa, I smell breakfast!"
The next few days… or rather weeks – were probably the happiest of Eren's life, and would be, for a very long time.
They were carefree, filled with sunlight and grass and Mikasa.
It was clear to anyone who saw them and knew them well enough, that Eren adored Mikasa. He spent literally every moment of the first few weeks dragging her around with him everywhere.
She was his new playmate, his new best friend, and the girl he had made a vow to protect.
He was fiercely protective of her at first, refusing to introduce her even to Armin.
"She's my friend," he had insisted when his mother first suggested that he do it, "I want to play with her first. She can meet Armin later."
The truth was, Eren didn't want anyone else around Mikasa at that time, other than his parents. He didn't trust anyone, and he didn't want anyone interfering in the time he got with her.
He heard people whisper, and he saw them stare, as they walked together through the streets. Mikasa looked different, exotic, and she drew attention. Eren was quick to glare at anyone who so much as looked her way, and that's why he preferred playing in the fields. There, they could be alone and undisturbed, away from the rest of the world.
"Close your eyes, open your mouth and I'll give you a surprise."
Mikasa obediently did as she was told.
Eren grinned, popping the strawberry into her mouth.
Mikasa's eyes flew open.
"Eat it!" he told her.
"It's delicious!" Mikasa cried, "I've never tasted anything like it."
Eren was pleased.
"Here, I have more," he said, "I picked them right now."
"Are you sure they're safe to eat?"
"Of course they are," he said, dangling another one in front of her, "Here, open your mouth."
She did, but he tossed it into his own instead, green eyes sparkling mischievously.
"Eren!" she pouted, and he stuck his tongue out at her.
She giggled, and he offered her another one. This time she snatched it out of his hand, quickly gobbling it up.
"Geez, so greedy," Eren said, "You're like a Titan…"
Eren scowled suddenly.
"No. No, I didn't mean that. That was a bad joke. I'm sorry."
"I hate them, you know," he said suddenly, "The Titans… they're evil."
"Have you ever – seen one?" Mikasa asked.
"No," Eren shook his head, pointing at the wall, "But see that wall… beyond it… out there… that's where they are, the Titans…"
Mikasa was quiet.
"They're terrifying and huge and they ate all the humans a hundred years ago."
"That's scary, isn't it," Mikasa murmured.
"You don't have to be scared!" Eren told her quickly, "They can't get inside the wall."
"I know that," Mikasa said, "But isn't it scary to think they're all out there, waiting…"
"I think so too," Eren said, "I think we should kill 'em all."
Mikasa looked taken aback.
"I'm gonna become a soldier one day, y'know," Eren declared, "A soldier that fights Titans."
"I'll do that too," Mikasa said.
"No, you won't," Eren snapped at her, "What do you need to become a soldier for? I'm there to protect you, from Titans or from anything."
Eren finally introduced her to Armin, about two weeks after she'd moved in.
"This is my best friend, Armin. He's really nice. Armin, this is Mikasa."
"Hi, Mikasa!" Armin said cheerfully, shooting her a sunny smile.
"Hello," Mikasa nodded, "Armin…"
"So what have you and Eren been doing?"
"We just – we mainly play by the fields," Mikasa said.
"What do you guys want to do today?" Eren asked.
"Oh, I know!" Armin said, brightening, "Hey, Mikasa! Do you want me to read you a story? It's really interesting."
"Sure," Mikasa nodded, looking over at Eren, who just shrugged.
"It's about a princess who has black hair, just like yours," Armin said.
"You kind of look like a princess, you know."
"…thank you?" Mikasa cracked a smile, her eyes crinkling slightly.
"Doesn't she, Eren?" Armin asked, nudging the other boy.
Eren narrowed his eyes.
She does… but she looks more like an angel than a princess, and she's mine!
Mikasa and Armin got along well, very well. Eren should have been glad. After all, he had wanted the three of them to be friends.
And Armin had such a sweet personality, it was natural that he would be extra-nice to Mikasa.
Eren wasn't sure why it bothered him though,
"He's really nice," Mikasa said to Eren as their made their way home after spending the day playing with Armin, "I like him."
Eren didn't respond.
"He seems really smart though," Mikasa went on, "I guess it's because he reads all those books."
"You're not replying."
"Eren," Mikasa said after dinner, "Let's go to that place by the river Armin was talking about!"
"I don't want to."
"But Armin is coming too! He invited us, remember!"
"You can go. I'm staying home," Eren said stubbornly.
"I don't care!" Eren snapped at her, scowling, "If you want to run off and play with Armin, go ahead, but why do you have to drag me with you?"
"Huh?" Mikasa looked taken aback. It was the first time he'd been angry at her.
She reached towards him, placing a hand on his arm.
"Eren, did I do someth-"
"Leave me alone," Eren shrugged her hand off, and stormed away.
Mikasa stared after him in shock.
Eren slumped onto his bed, fuming.
Eren wasn't sure why he'd acted that way. For one thing, he'd snapped at Mikasa. She looked so surprised at him, but she hadn't even yelled back.
Guilt curled in Eren's stomach.
He figured her should apologize to her, but she was probably on her way to meet Armin.
Eren considered Armin his best friend. Armin and Mikasa getting along was a good thing, right? Eren didn't know why he was getting so worked up about it.
Eren looked up sharply as the door creaked open.
Mikasa slipped in, and settled on the bed next to him.
"Didn't you go to the river?" he asked.
Mikasa looped her arm through his, resting her chin on his shoulder.
"Not without you?"
"I want to be with you," Mikasa said simply, snuggling closer to his side.
Neither of them said anything for a few moments.
Eren suddenly felt rather ashamed of himself.
"Mikasa, I'm sorry about before-" he began.
"I'll always like you most," Mikasa told him, "You know that, right?"
Eren blushed, his heart leaping at words. He smiled widely at her, unable to hide how pleased he felt.
"The very most?" he couldn't help but ask.
"The very very most," she promised.
"Oh. Um. Okay. That's good then," Eren said, his blush intensifying.
Mikasa giggled then, and he looked at her, surprised.
"What are you laughing at?"
"What?" Eren exclaimed, "Why?"
"Because you're funny."
"How am I funny?" Eren demanded.
And then she laughed out loud, and it was a beautiful sound, and Eren didn't want her to stop.
"Come on," he said warmly, taking her hand and pulling her up, "If we keep Armin waiting for too long he'll whine…"
It was two months since Mikasa moved in, when they'd encountered the first group of bullies.
They'd been returning from the fields, carrying firewood, when two boys, tall and stickily built came across them.
One of them whistled.
"Well, look at her," he said, pointing to Mikasa, "Isn't she a beauty."
"Haven't seen a face like that around here," the other boy said, "Come over here, pretty girl, we'll have some fun."
Eren's wood fell to the ground as he whirled around, eyes blazing as he clenched his fists.
"What did you say?" he growled.
"Eren," Mikasa tugged at his sleeve, "Let's go home."
"Well, look at this brat," one of the boys sniggered, "What are you getting so worked up over, kiddo?"
"We're not interested in you, only your little friend."
"You touch her, and you die," Eren spat.
"Eren," Mikasa repeated, "Ignore them, it's not worth it."
"See, she doesn't mind," the taller of the two boys said, walking towards Mikasa, "My, what pretty hair…"
Don't you dare touch her-
He leaned down to take a lock of it between his fingers.
And then Eren saw red, and flew at him.
"Eren!" Mikasa ran towards him as he flew backwards.
"Ah-" Eren clutched his swollen cheek, spitting out blood – he was pretty sure he'd broken a tooth from the impact of the punch.
"That'll teach you, fucking brat," the boy who had punched him said, "Trying to take on someone twice your size and age. Show some respect!"
"Eren, are you alright?"
Mikasa's eyes were wide, and her hand came up to brush his cheek.
"Stop fretting over him, gorgeous, come to me-"
"Don't talk about her like that," Eren snarled, spitting out blood and struggling to his feet.
"Eren, don't," Mikasa began, but he ignored her.
"Oh, you want another round?" the boy leered at him, "Be my guest."
Eren charged at him, but found he couldn't move, stopped by an iron grip on his arm.
"Wha- Mikasa?" Eren spluttered.
Mikasa's face was expressionless, but her dark eyes were glinting dangerously. Eren had never seen such an expression on her face before.
"You guys wanted to have fun?" she muttered, "Alright."
"Eren, stay back!" she commanded him, and he stared at her in shock.
She'd never spoken to him like that before.
And then what happened next shocked him even more.
Five minutes later, both the boys were clutching bleeding noses and black eyes, from where Mikasa had socked them straight on. One of them was limping as well, holding his shin.
"Bitch," he rasped, "That hurt-"
"You punched Eren," she said icily, "You had it coming. I went easy on you, too. If you want, I can do it again."
"Fuck – she's a psycho," the other guy muttered, "Yo, let's get out of here…"
"That's one crazy bitch…"
"Eren!" Mikasa cried, immediately rushing to his side, "Are you alright?"
He stared at her out of wide green eyes, shaking slightly.
You protected me? But why? I'm supposed to be the one protecting you!
She touched his cheek, worriedly.
"Let's get you home, your dad can fix you up," she said, helping him up, "Oh, Eren…"
She fussed over him once they got home as well, tucking him into bed, running around to get him water and food, insisting on being the one feeding him tiny bites, so that he didn't hurt his already injured mouth chewing too much.
Normally Eren would have enjoyed the attention she was lavishing on him… but he was too shocked, his mind reeling from what had happened.
Of course, he'd always known Mikasa was strong. Two months ago she'd killed a man by stabbing him in the heart.
But he'd become so used to taking care of her and she had always acted so gentle… he'd nearly forgotten that part of her.
And he had never expected her to be so freakishly strong, possibly even more so than him.
It's my fault, Eren told himself, my fault that I wasn't strong enough to protect you.
He looked over at her sadly as she carefully cut an apple into tiny bite-size pieces.
Turns out you didn't need my protection after all, Mikasa…
After that incident it became pretty evident that Mikasa was more than capable of taking care of herself. It also became evident that she was certainly stronger than Eren.
As her confidence grew, she began to rely on him less, and fuss over him more instead.
And Eren hated the fact.
He had liked protecting her, and he had liked being the one fussing over her and taking care of her and lavishing her for it.
But now the tables had turned and it was evident that Mikasa didn't need him around all the time.
And he couldn't help but resent her for it.
"Eren?" Mikasa asked, once she'd literally sent another bully flying, "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Eren snapped, trying to hide his hand.
Mikasa, quick as ever, noticed, and caught his hand between hers.
"Let go," Eren growled.
Mikasa pressed his wrist with her fingers, and he yelped.
"What the heck!"
"You sprained your wrist," Mikasa told him disapprovingly, "You punched him and now you sprained your wrist. This is why you should let me handle them-"
"Well, I'm sorry I can't be more like you, Miss-I-Can-Punch-Anyone-I-Want," Eren yanked his hand away, glaring at her, his ego wounded.
"What? You think you're better than me, don't you?"
"No, I just-"
"I told you for the hundredth time, Mikasa. I don't need you babying me around!"
He stormed off, and Mikasa stared after him sadly.
She knew it bothered him, the fact that she was stronger than him, but whenever she saw him charge into a situation that could potentially hurt him, she just couldn't help but come to his defense.
Just like he had, about a year ago… Mikasa was also willing to go to any length to protect Eren.
Eren slammed the door shut and flopped onto the bed, pushing the sweat-drenched hair from his face. He scowled at the ceiling, replaying the events of earlier that day.
He'd been saved, by Mikasa, again.
This isn't how it's supposed to be… I'm the one… I'm supposed to be…
I'd do anything for him, Mikasa thought, as she made her way back to their house, alone this time.
An image of his angry green eyes flashed in her mind, and her heart sank.
That time, his anger had been directed at her.
Still, it was better than letting him get injured.
Even if it meant he'd resent her.
"Damn you, Mikasa…" Eren muttered aloud.
Damn it, Eren… why -
"-won't you let me protect you?!"
He banged his uninjured fist on the bed.
(five years later)
Eren swung through the air, twisting his body to the right to the dodge the enormous incoming fist.
The Titan grasped at mid-air, and Eren shot his hook upwards, piercing the tree bark. He managed to launch himself upwards, out of the reach of the outstretch hand.
He flipped over mid-air, maneuvering himself till he landed on top of the Titan's head.
"Take this, you giant bastard," he shouted, pulling out his swords and flipping backwards so that he could slash cleanly through the Titan's neck.
The beast toppled over, and Eren pulled himself back up as another Titan lumbered towards him, displaying rows of teeth in a disturbing grin.
It was moving haphazardly, leaping up and down sporadically, and jabbing its long neck out like a snake.
"Eren!" Mikasa cried, from a few meters away, as she spun around mid-air, slashing two thick necks at once with her blades, "Be careful!"
"I got this!" Eren yelled back, diving sharply to avoid the Titan's open mouth.
He yanked the hook of his gear out of the tree and aimed it at the Titan's back.
The hook dug into flesh, and Eren swung forwards.
The abnormal suddenly jumped up, pulling Eren with it.
"Fuck," Eren muttered, finding himself flying upwards through the air with a crazy Titan, unable to attach himself to anything for leverage – they were too high up above the trees, and the Titan had jumped ridiculously high.
He slashed as the Titan's hand headed for him, chopping off two fingers, and spraying himself with steaming blood.
He scrambled up the Titan's arm, sticking his other sword into its eye as it attempted to bite at him.
The Titan roared, enraged, and it's other hand loomed above him-
Eren's eyes grew wide as Mikasa's form came flying up out of nowhere.
She spun around mid-air, neatly slicing out a good chunk of the Titan's flesh.
Eren realized she'd launched herself off of a tree using her 3DGM – but they were too high up, out of the range of the 3DGM cord – which meant that her hooks weren't currently connected to anything, and she was free-falling, as they began to plummet down.
His hook was still attached to the slowly dissolving form of the abnormal Titan, and Eren reached out towards her.
"Mikasa – quick, take my hand –"
Her fingers brushed against his, but slipped away.
He knew she'd managed to latch onto a tree before she hit the ground – but the problem was that the 3DGM needed to be attached to a point, which the user could use as a fulcrum around which to project their momentum around.
Given that Mikasa wasn't attached to anything – it limited the amount of movement that she could achieve. And there were two large Titan's charging through the forest below, their mouths gaping, waiting for her to fall down into their reach.
"NO!" Eren roared, launching himself off the crumbling body of the abnormal Titan.
It was reckless, he knew, since his movements were now as limited as Mikasa's, but he wasn't about to watch her try to fight her way out of that kind of situation.
"Eren!" she cried, as he zipped past her, grabbing her around the waist.
"You deal with them! I'll get us out," he yelled, shooting his cord at the first Titan's head.
It was a messy swing, and he nearly got his leg bitten off, but there was no way even Mikasa would have been able to maneuver herself out of the situation.
She only had two hands, and if she'd tried to hook onto a tree at that point, she wouldn't have been able to attack.
However, with Eren using his 3DGM to outmaneuver the Titan's, Mikasa managed to reach out as they flew behind the first one and lop off a sizeable portion of its neck.
Eren fired his hook at another tree, yanking them forward just as the second Titan lunged at them.
It missed and Eren and Mikasa hurtled to the air towards the safety of the tree.
Eren landed on a thick tree branch and released Mikasa from his arms.
She crouched, ready to leap towards the second Titan that was barreling towards them, but Eren gripped her wrist with enough force to cut off her blood circulation.
"Wha-" Mikasa began, but he glared at her, a glare of such astonishing ferocity that Mikasa was taken aback.
And then he launched himself forwards, slicing the Titan's neck in one rapid motion.
"Eren, wait-" Mikasa cried, leaping after him.
"Stay away from me!" Eren shouted, whipping his head back to glower at her, "Don't pull that shit again, Mikasa!"
"Deal with your own fucking Titans!"
And then he disappeared into the trees, as a Titan pounded along behind Mikasa.
She sighed, swinging around to face the beast.
Mikasa knew that Eren would be furious with her once the expedition ended.
She found him by the campfire that night, and when he met her eyes, his gaze hardened.
"Eren – can we talk?" Mikasa asked tentatively.
He ignored her, but stood up swiftly and walked towards the edge of the campsite. She followed him.
"What?" he spat.
"Look – I'm sorry for earlier, I –"
"Nearly got yourself eaten?" Eren glowered at her.
"I could have handled it without you-" Mikasa began.
"And I could have handled the abnormal without you!" Eren snapped, "That was fucking idiotic, what you did – launching off the trees like that with nothing to hook your gear to!"
"You were fighting an abnormal, mid-air-"
"So you thought it would help if you flung yourself up there too?"
"I killed it!"
"I would have, eventually!"
"Its hand was coming at you-"
"I would have chopped it off, or done something! I didn't need you endangering yourself like that to save me, Mikasa!"
"I know you think you're some kind of superwoman who can do whatever the fuck she likes, but you need to stop focusing so much on me and think, for a second, about your own life, and what you nearly did to yourself!
"You're way too confident in your abilities, and it's going to get you killed. Besides, I am sick and tired of you babying me around all the time, whether it's during training or on expeditions – why can't you just leave me alone?!"
Mikasa stared at him, her dark eyes widening at the last part.
Eren noticed then, that her lip was quivering slightly, and her eyes were moist, glimmering with unshed tears.
He was suddenly reminded of a younger Mikasa, staring up at him with the same expression, the same wet eyes.
He had hugged her then, and comforted her, and promised to protect her.
What the hell am I doing… I just made her cry…
"Mikasa," Eren sighed, his gut wrenching at the expression on her face, "This isn't – this isn't how it's supposed to be."
His hands gripped her arms, and he pulled her towards him.
"No, it's okay," Mikasa said softly, "I get it… I mean, I guess I've always known, I just…"
She sounded so hurt, and Eren wanted to punch himself for having been so harsh on her.
"No, no you don't," Eren said, shaking her slightly, "You don't get it at all, Mikasa…"
"So please – please explain it to me," she said brokenly, "You're always angry at me, Eren, and I – I don't know what to do…"
"Because you've got it all wrong! You're not supposed to risk your life for me! You're not supposed to put yourself in danger for me! You're not supposed to be taking care of me, every moment of every day!"
"I'm sorry, I-"
"Stop apologizing," Eren snapped, pushing her up against a tree trunk, "And listen."
Mikasa met his gaze, her mouth slightly open, but she didn't speak.
"Ever since – ever since the first time I rescued you… you looked so sad, and so – so frail… and I thought… I thought I'd do anything in the world that I could, to prevent anything bad from happening to you.
"When we were kids – all I wanted, Mikasa – was to protect you. I wanted to take care of you – but eventually, I figured you didn't need that from me.
"That's why I get so mad now, when you act like this. I hate it, Mikasa. It's all wrong. I'm the one who's supposed to risk my life for you. I'm the one who's supposed to beat up anyone and anything that tries to hurt you.
"But you're always ruining it, acting over-confident – and that's okay, because everyone knows how talented you are. But what if something happens to you? What if you overestimate yourself? What if you-"
Eren broke off, digging his fingers into Mikasa's arms, tearing his eyes away from hers. He couldn't stand to look at her, not when she had that kind of expression on her face, that kind of look in her eyes.
He knew what it was. He'd seen it before, but it was so intense, and it did funny things to his heart.
"Don't look at me like that," he muttered.
"Eren…" Mikasa's hand came up to cup his cheek, her fingers cool and smooth against his skin.
"Why won't you let me protect you?!" Eren burst out, "You're so – frustrating! I feel like nothing I can do, in human form or Titan – will ever be enough! You're always too fast, too strong – and if I can't protect you, Mikasa…"
"Eren," she repeated softly, stroking his cheek, "You know I feel like that about you too…"
"You've got it all wrong," he glared at her, though he felt his eyes watering.
"No, I haven't," Mikasa pressed a finger to his lips, "Listen to me."
"You can't just-"
"Fight," Mikasa murmured, "You have to fight. Never stop fighting. If you win, you live, if you lose, you die… and if you don't fight, you can't win…"
"It was you, wasn't it, Eren? Six years ago? You told me those words. And I have lived by them.
"Whenever I do fight, Eren, it is for you. I remember the words you told me, I remember you, and it gives me the strength to fight. The strength to move on. The strength to never give up."
"Mikasa…" Eren felt the tears welling in his eyes.
Mikasa's other hand moved up, and she cradled his face, leaning in.
"You understand, don't you," she said softly, "You are protecting me. Wherever I go, whatever I do…"
She took his hand in hers, placing it over her heart.
"You're right there, Eren, protecting me from anything and everything in the world. So you don't need to worry, because it's exactly how you wanted it to be, and you've done more than enough for me, okay?"
She leaned forwards and kissed his cheek then, and suddenly, Eren's arms were around her, crushing her to him.
He buried his face in her hair.
"…I'm glad," his voice cracked.
They hugged for a long moment, before Mikasa finally pulled away, smiling at him.
"I haven't seen you smile like that in a long time," Eren murmured.
"I haven't seen you smile in a long time," Mikasa pointed out.
"You know… when we were kids… I always thought you had the prettiest smile. I always wanted to make you happy, just so I could see it."
Mikasa blushed at his words.
"When we were kids, huh… does that mean you don't think that anymore?" she teased.
"Wha – I didn't say that," Eren's ears went red, "What are you even talking about?"
Mikasa noticed that he had yet to retract his arms, which were wrapped loosely around her waist. She wasn't quite ready to move either.
It had been a long time since she and Eren had been so close… far too long…
"See," she said softly, "Isn't this better than always biting each other's heads off?"
Eren's dark green eyes locked with hers.
"Yeah… I'd prefer it too…" he murmured, biting his lip.
His hands slid down her waist, till they rested at her hips, and suddenly, Mikasa felt something change between them.
The atmosphere was suddenly electrifying – altogether different from how it had been when they were kids.
His eyes never left hers, as he leaned forwards, slowly, gradually. Something in them changed though – his gaze suddenly seemed much more intense, and it send shivers down her spine.
His thumb circled her hipbone and Mikasa's breath caught in her throat.
Eren's hair brushed her forehead and she could feel his breath ghosting against her lips. She thought she saw his eyes flick downwards for a moment, and when his nose bumped hers, she was positive that he was going to kiss her.
Mikasa inhaled sharply, her heart pounding so hard she was scared it would burst out of her chest.
She saw Eren's eyes flutter shut.
Mikasa cursed Armin's timing as Eren's eyes flew open, his expression darkening for a moment, before going back to normal.
"We should go," he said softly, and she felt rather than heard the words, as he pulled away from her.
She missed his touch immediately, and her brain was inundated with emotions, and a rushing exhilaration at what had almost happened between them.
Because Eren had to have known it, too, didn't he?
Eren had nearly kissed her, she was sure of it… and that kind of kiss, that look in his eyes… it wasn't something they would have done as kids.
Eren had to have known that.
He didn't speak of it, however, and greeted Armin normally.
Mikasa's heart was still pounding as they walked towards the campfire for dinner.
And then just when she'd calmed herself down, Eren's hand brushed against hers.
Two of his fingers curled against two of hers, and for a moment, there was nothing else in that world for Mikasa – nothing but Eren, their linked fingers, and the feeling of him standing beside her.
When Eren's eyes met hers, they reflected the firelight, and she could see something familiar sparkling within them.
His lips turned upwards.
"C'mon," he said, his thumb brushing over her knuckles, as he tugged her forwards, "I'm starving…"
A/N – sooooo I just shojou-ified Shingeki no Kyojin (hides face behinds hands)
Not quite sure what that was. It was supposed to be just the bit about Eren wanting to protect Mikasa and then the fight at the end without any near-kiss but then it sort of wrote itself and all these other random scenes from when they were kids snuck in… sorry if it was kind of disjoint. I literally wrote it without thinking, as like a – collection of random moments/drabbles? I don't even know.
I am aching to write Erenmika kid scenes though.
I am proud that I didn't end up extending this into a hot, steamy scene that had Eren and Mikasa on the ground ripping their clothes off… since my last couple fics have kind of somehow escalated into that… I wanted this to be more innocent… though I already messed up on that with the near-kiss, lol.
I'm sorry if the OOCness/over-fluffiness bothered anyone. But in all fairness, Eren does go to great lengths to save Mikasa. And we don't actually really see much of him directly after he rescues her. We do a see an adorable scene of happy Eren making silly faces so that his mom will laugh - and then looking adorably proud of himself once she does. So, I can see him kind of being like that with Mikasa, and doting on her for at least a short while, at least before he realizes she's way more badass than himself. And hey, that's what fanfics are for anyways!
As for older Eren... well, we do see him having his emotional outbursts. The court scene in episode 14, how he practically screamed his lungs out to defend Mikasa, the expression on his face when he realized he attacked her... I think it spells out that Eren can be pretty emotional when he likes... we just haven't seen any emotional resolution with Mikasa yet, though I hope we will eventually!
Please review and let me know what you think!
I think my next story will feature a one-sided Mikasa/Jean and jealous!Eren... because we've been getting a good amount of jealous!Mikasa, I'd like to give that a try!