IMPORTANT NOTE: This fic will only be continued on A3O. An edited, complete version of this chapter will be up on A3O in less than a week. For an explanation, read the A/N at the bottom of the preview.

First Battle

Eren and Mikasa arrived to an empty house, as was normal. Eren's father somehow had managed to drop by a sports store and return home between appointments. There was an unopened foam roller in the living room. His father had left a note for Eren to roll his thighs out, as shown on the packaging.

It felt like he was driving bolts into his legs, but Eren rolled out both thighs for an hour in front of the TV. Later he connected his laptop to the TV so he could watch martial art tournament sets on a bigger screen. It was self-gratifying to be able to match the onscreen footwork to specific names and categories. They were the foundation of martial arts, as Levi had said. It didn't matter what style a fighter preferred, Eren noted.

In some matches, participants only wore teeth guards. It was easier to see their techniques without the bulk of the padded gear. It was hard to commit every detail to memory. Eren let the new techniques wash over him in waves, but it was tempting to store each technique for later use. He wanted to copy the fighters.

If he studied effective fakes and counter attacks, learned how to find openings to fit them in, and successfully used them, he would make one devastating fighter.

He rolled his thigh out faster. He would become a devastating fighter. With Levi, the best fighter in the dojo, as his instructor, he had the tools to become the best.

"You're rolling too fast," Mikasa said. She threw a couch décor pillow at his head.

Eren threw it back. "When did you get here?"

"You didn't notice me walk in?"

"I was focusing on my studies. You know, being a good pupil." Eren slowed his rolls down until he could feel the knots in his thighs spread out.

"You've been watching videos for an hour. Take a break."

"Make me."

"I'm going out with Jean."

"WHAT?" Eren slipped off the roller. "WHAT?"

Mikasa left the living room without another word.

"Wait! Did you just say you're going out with Jean?" Eren shouted at the hall where she vanished into. "Mikasa! Come back! Did you say Jean?"

When the only sound that answered Eren was the soft knock of a door setting into its frame, Eren stood up to go after her. Something in his thigh moved, and in fear of something popping out of place, Eren dropped onto the couch. He massaged his thigh and didn't think of anything other than how Armin and Mikasa were changing, and it made his stomach pool with something disgusting. It was the same bitter jealousy from when he saw Armin speaking with some of the kids from his martial arts class. This time, Eren could taste it.


The next day Levi called Eren on his cell phone.

"How'd you get my number?" Eren asked.

"It's part of your registration forms. I called your home phone, but it seems that the line is being used."

Eren looked at the home phone on his desk. There was a black bar on the small display that said that the line was in use. The only person home at the time was Mikasa. Eren put aside his respect for personal boundaries and pressed the talk button. He held the phone to his ear and gasped when the first voice he heard matched an oval, horse-like face.

Jean. Mikasa was talking to Jean.

"Eren?" Levi said.

"I'm still here," Eren said, forgetting that he still had the home phone up to his other ear.

"Eren?" Jean said.

"Eren," Mikasa sighed. "What are you doing?"

"Sorry!" Eren yelped into both phones.

"What the hell?" Levi said.

"Are you listening in on us?" Jean asked, his voice only amused.

"No! I was just checking the phone line to see if it was being used."

"What are you talking about?" Levi asked.

"Now you know the line's being used," Mikasa said. "You can hang up now."

Eren hung up and put his cell phone down.

"Sorry, I was just checking something out," Eren said.

"Um, we can still hear you," Jean said.

"Oh shit! Wrong phone!"

This time Eren hung up the right phone. He called back Levi...

IMPORTANT NOTE: This fic will only be continued on A3O. An edited, complete version of this chapter will be up on A3O in less than a week.

I'm moving all my multi-chapter fics (maybe some of the one-shots) to my A3O. The link is on my bio.

A3O is more visually appealing to me and it seems that a lot of my fellow tumblr users are moving over. I already have the current chapters of "Knockout" moved. Kudos and comments on my A3O would be well appreciated.

It was a pleasure posting on ffn for the short months I was here. ^^ BTW, Eren gets his ass WHIPPED in the next chapter. Not literally. But you know what I mean.