AN:The same author note as last chapter: As a badass as Rivaille is, he is still human and humans feel.

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The Steps For The Future

Rivaille arrived at the apartment he shared with his daughter and her mother – the man refused to call Hanji his girlfriend: she was hardly a girl; or his lover. They were just Rivaille and Hanji in a relationship – and was surprised to see that the woman was still awake.

It was almost two a.m. when he entered the living room. He saw Hanji, hair loose falling on her shoulders, glasses almost falling off of her nose, some loose old shirt and no pants, of course (the woman hardly ever had decorum outside her house, inside, she was almost like a wild animal); look up from some papers – that were scattered all over the floor in a patter only she could understand – and smile at him and as always, a little of the weight he carried on his shoulders lifted just a tiny bit.

She must've seen something in his expression, because the smile vanished in a moment, as she got on her feet and went to stay close to him. Rivaille was a mess, she could see the dullness of his eyes was an indicative that the mission was not successful and that there were casualties.

"Who?" Hanji asked softly and secretly hoped that it wasn't anyone she knew.

"Henri, Pierre, Hugo, Shea, Julius and Michelle." Rivaille informed her with a heavy sigh. "It was meant to be an easy mission and ended up being a massacre."

"I am sorry." The woman said, sincere. She had met them a few times and they were good people; knowing that Rivaille was always overly emotional when someone from his squad died (not that he let it appear at the time, only much later), the brunette wrapped her arms around him, in a hug. "I'm glad you are home, though."

"Yes." Rivaille patted her back awkwardly. "What are you doing?" The man asked, looking at the papers on the floor.

Letting him go, Hanji looked towards the papers as well. "Reading more journals some scouting members found during their last mission." Hanji sighed. "I'm needed in one soon."

"Yes." Rivaille nodded. He knew that the time for Hanji to return to missions was close, now that Nadine was sleeping through the night and eating solid food. The Lance Corporal didn't want her to, but it was her choice. She did keep her promise after that incident with the Titan and hadn't been in a danger situation for over a year.

"I want to go, but I don't want to leave DeeDee; mother's instinct, Maria says." Rivaille shrugged and the woman sighed once again. "Go. Go look at her for a while. It always helps. I'll heat up something for you to eat." Hanji squeezed his shoulder as she went to the kitchen. And even though Rivaille hated to fall into his emotions, he couldn't help but notice that seeing their daughter sleep was a much appreciated relief after what he been through.

Carefully opening Nadine's bedroom door, the first thing he noticed was her smell: of powder and some light rose perfume, then he saw the child sleeping on her crib. Rivaille felt at ease almost immediately with the sight. She had a bunch of dark straight hair, provided by his genes, but the warm chocolate eyes that came from Hanji and so far, she was a happy smiley child, which he was certain didn't come from him.

Feeling a little better, Rivaille decided to take a bath, eat and go rest. He wasn't going to bother Nadine, not when she was still in an age where you are so blissfully innocent. In the future, she would fear the Titans, but at that moment, she was just a clueless baby sleeping through the night.


In the next morning, he woke up to an empty bed. Granted that it was rare for him and Hanji to stay together for too long in the mornings, but that day he wanted to have her there, not that he would say it, of course.

Rivaille put his clothes on and exited the bedroom, going to the living room, where Hanji was, Nadine on her arms. The woman was making the child laugh by tickling DeeDee's belly and after looking at the scene for a moment to make sure he would never forget it, he cleared his throat.

"Good morning."

"Da!" Nadine exclaimed happily in her mother's arms – she couldn't speak properly just yet, but could name her father, mother, Maria and a few others with just a syllable – and immediately held her arms towards him and Rivaille was about to walk towards her when Hanji told him to stop. Frowning, he did like she said.

"Now, baby." Hanji leaned over the ground and placed the child on it, while speaking. "Daddy is sad, so let's make him happy, alright?" The baby mumbled a few intelligible things. The brown eyed woman looked up to Rivaille. "Kneel. And call for her."

Doing as he was told – not before rolling his eyes in protest –, Rivaille kneeled on the ground. "Nadine."

The baby looked at him with a big smile, showing her little baby teeth, and, with wobbly legs, she started to walk towards him, Hanji still holding her arms up, but when the woman saw that the child could do it on her own, she let go and Nadine took the steps on her own.

Rivaille's arms raised on its own as he saw his daughter come towards him with such happiness in her expression, so much love and naiveté.

After only a few steps, Nadine reached her father and was embraced in a hug as soon as Rivaille had her close enough to it. "Since when can she do this?"

Hanji laughed with his question. Nadine was ten months old, a nice age to start to walk. "A few days. She could stand on her own by grabbing the furniture – she would fall a lot on her butt – and then, a couple of days ago, I saw her do it and when I call her name and she just…" The woman let Rivaille complete her line of thought with his own.

"This was very nice." The Lance Corporal shifted his gaze to the child. "You did good, Nadine." And, in an unusual moment of softness, he gave a kiss on one of her chubby cheeks.

She didn't want to interrupt the moment, but had to. "I need to leave her at Maria's before work." Hanji told the man. Maria Smith was kind enough to look Nadine while Hanji was working, and the woman practically begged for the chance: she missed having babies around. Even though it was customary for him to stay with Nadine whenever he was in town, the day after a mission he always took to sleep and write reports.

After a moment of thought, Rivaille dismissed Hanji. "No, it's alright. I'll stay with her today."

"Are you sure?" Hanji hesitated.

"Yes, Hanji." The man rolled his eyes.

Stepping closer to the people she loved most in the world, the brunette leaned towards Nadine and kissed the opposite cheek Rivaille kissed and then gave a peck on the man's lips. "I'll let Maria know that you are babysitting today."

"I am not babysitting," Rivaille said it like it was a cuss word. He never babysat in his life and would never do. "I am taking care of my offspring, like a parent ought to."

"Yeah, yeah. Bye bye." Hanji took the papers that were now gathered and gave them a good-bye, and then they were alone.

Rivaille stared at his daughter, who was immensely entertained with the buttons of her pink dress, and he smirked a little. He liked to spend time alone with DeeDee, she was the most interesting person he knew, always with something new to show him.

"It looks like it's just us today." Rivaille said to his daughter, who just let out a big amount of baby babbling. "How about you do the walking again? You looked pretty good at it, but should practice more since people in our family are always the best in whatever we do."


AN: Hi there! Thank you so much for reading this far and hopefully, you liked it! Let me know, okay? :)

Thanks to: maplecat, Mrs Murasaki-sama, (I'm so sorry about your country state of war: they are so pointless and both sides lose every time a person dies. I hope it stops soon. Be safe and have faith that you'll get through it.), helloricecake, MrsGooglyBear, Lushi, cuteandfierce99, felicity2hawt4u, ev661, crystallized cherry, YammyK, Seirin, JC-zala, .7, Esthellar, p0l-anka, ThatGirl35, GangstaSummonerand Sasukarin's tomato, who reviewed! Thank you so much, guys!

09/26/2013 ~ BonneyQ