Title: It's Enough
Summary: Their noses sought the salty smell of the ocean; the sound of waves splashing was welcomed in their ears; the warm air softly caressed their faces. The outside world was no longer a dream. But the vision of it can only be dreamt upon. /Ereri/
Soft footsteps padded on the sand, leaving marks as the two men walked. The shorter of the two stopped in his tracks, glaring upward at the sky, cursing the sun's brightness. A squeeze of his hand stopped his trail of thoughts. He glanced back at his companion who tilted his head in question. Sighing, Rivaille continued to move forward, his grasp on the other's hand never leaving, with mixed emotions sheathing him.
"Corporal, I can hear the water," said Eren enthusiastically. Rivaille turned his head once more, seeing the bright smile of the boy, yet he couldn't bring himself to do so, too. He returned his attention to the water, watching as the folds of the liquid crashed through the sand. Once more, he gazed back at the brunet, his beaming face making his heart clench.
"It seems endless," said Rivaille softly. "The water that is."
Eren nodded. "Armin and I read it in his book. In the book, it looked so beautiful, and mixed perfectly with the horizon. It says there that it looks even more gorgeous during sunrise or sunset. Nature is really wonderful, isn't it?" He laughed.
"The water has humps with white foam on it, then crashes on the dunes and the rocks," said Rivaille. "It continues to do it on and on."
"Waves, eh? Did you know the wind is the cause of that?" asked the younger one.
"I know, you shitty brat. Stop being a know-it-all."
Eren simply laughed. "Hey, Corporal. Don't you think we should be heading back soon? They might get worried about us," asked the titan shifter; the wind brushed off his brown locks, revealing his eyes, although closed as if in a prayer.
Again, another clench.
Tearing his eyes away from the boy, he answered, "No, let's wait for the sun to set." A nod was all he received from his companion.
Comfortable silence drifted between them; the chirping of the birds, the howling of the breeze, and the noise of the water kissing the sand were all that filled the void. The serene blue sky was already on its way to become a darker more vibrant shade. Rivaille watched as the heavens slowly turned orange. It was absolutely breath taking, beyond beautiful; indescribable.
"The shitty sun is finally taking its dump." Rivaille grunted, earning a light laugh from Eren. He continued, "It's slowly coming down. The sky is mixed with shades of red, orange, purple, and blue. The colors are actually really calming," he mumbled the last part, continuing to watch the show of varied colors being brandished in front of them, the hues successfully shutting his mind from stress.
Eren squeezed his hand again. "That's good to hear. Now I'm sure all the pain everyone endured wasn't in vain."
Once more, a clench.
He continued, "Humanity finally won, and it was worth all the suffering."
"I'm sure Petra and the others would agree. I'm not sure about Auruo, though." Eren gave a light laugh.
"I can't wait to hear Armin and Mikasa's reaction once they're here. I bet they'd be ecstatic. We've been dreaming about this since we were kids, although I'm sure there are others who had the same dream, too...But I kind of feel special now since they allowed us to go outside first before the others."
—and a third time.
"And maybe Jean—"
"Shut the fuck up!" he yelled. Eren clamped his mouth shut, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. The corporal's grip on his companion's hand tightened, trembling in suppressed emotions. Not bearing to look him in the eye, he directed his orbs on the sand, choking, "H-how can you be so happy? It was your dream, too."
Lifting his right hand that rested on his side the whole time, Eren placed it on top of his superior's quivering one. Rivaille raised his eyes to meet his—or was supposed to—and was caught off guard at his face. So gentle, so serene, so loving…
"Humanity finally won," he repeated his words earlier. "Corporal, we won."
"You paid a price too high." Rivaille gritted his teeth.
"But I am happy."
"It was your dream along with those other brats."
"And we achieved that dream."
"No...," said Rivaille lowly "you didn't."
Eren didn't reply, but instead directed his head towards the ocean. Sighing, he opened his eyes, unveiling his once full-of-life green orbs turned dull. Rivaille watched silently as Eren returned his attention to him. "Our dream was to go to the outside world, Corporal. Not necessarily see it."
"You deserved better. No, you deserved the best," he corrected.
"Eradicating all those titans is reward enough. It was one of the earliest things I've said to you when we first met, right?" Eren grinned at the memory. "And the next meeting on the court after that hurt." He chuckled.
Rivaille grimaced at the memory, but still disagreed. "You wanted to see the world, and you should have been able to. I...," he whispered, his other hand turning white as he clenched it tightly, "should have been able to protect you."
Shaking his head, a small smile graced Eren's lips. "I took my titan powers for granted. I thought I was strong, invincible even. But I was wrong. I turned arrogant and endangered many lives in the process. How many soldiers had given their life for me? How many people had danced with death for my sake? Corporal...," said Eren gently, "this is just a small price compared to the others."
"You achieved your dream, yet at the same time you didn't."
"No, I did achieve it a hundred percent. You'll be my eyes, right, Corporal?"
Rivaille glanced up.
"Seems like there's a full moon tonight."