Title: I Need a Reason

Characters: Rivaille, Eren Jaegar

Pairing: Slight RiRen

Genre: Angst, Hurt/Comfort

I Need a Reason

"Right here, please."

He smiled, round-green orbs so forlorn, but with a small twinkle of bliss.

His index finger glided gracefully over to the center of his chest, though a bit more towards the left side. He tapped over where his heart should be, the beat of it rhythmic like a drum, but soothing like godsend calmness as his finger lingered.

The smile appeared once more on his lips, the corners of it were twitched upwards despite the heaviness in his heart or the tears that formed in his eyes.

"Through your chest?"

"Through my heart." He corrected with a shake of his head, his finger tapping at his chest once more. "That way, it'll be quick."

"Are you stupid?"

It was infuriating to watch him have the nerve to actually think it over, the finger at his chest now tapping away at his chin. The thoughtful expression that quickly clouded over the former forlorn one played a frustrating sight to witness, almost as if he had nothing else to be concerned about.

"I'm not that stupid. I know I'm not." He grunted out, a bit miffed at the given suggestion."And you don't think so either, Corporal Rivaille, which is why I'm right when I say that it should be right through my heart—"

"Don't even finish that, Eren." Rivaille growled, hand gripping around Eren's, who had begun returning it over his heart.

He peered up at the young brunet, whose eyes, which used to be so filled with brashness and risk, had now mellowed down to submission and defeat, an aftermath that was annoyance in his opinion. Rivaille released Eren's hand to grab at the boy's shirt, receiving not a pinch of complaint or protest.

Narrowed eyes glared at Eren, as Rivaille glowered. "I'm not about to stick a blade through your heart, you damn brat."

But Eren went unaffected by the threat, his own eyes now indifferent with a smile. "But, if not you, sir, then who?" He whispered, his body shaking at this as his hands gripped at his superior's, uncertain and frightened. "You're the one who declared that he would eradicate all the titans." Eren then growled. "I'm the last one, sir. I'd rather die by your hand than be killed by those military dogs."

Eren reached for the bare blade held in Rivaille's other hand, unconcerned as its sharp edges pierced and sliced into his own skin, the crimson blood seeping out. He directed its tip over his heart, just inches apart, as he murmured, "Please kill me."

"Sure, but I'll kill you my own way." Rivaille glared, retreating back one step so as not to accidentally puncture the brunet's chest. "I'll kill you, find a way to bring you back alive, and then kill you again for even suggesting that I should kill you."

Eren frowned, as his eyebrows furrowed together. "Sir, even I have to say that doesn't make any sense—"

Unfortunately, Eren couldn't finish the sentence before his mouth released an unrestrained howl as he toppled down to the ground, hands rubbing and massaging at the area where Rivaille had just fluently kicked. From the ground, he watched with a glare as Rivaille hovered over him with an apathetic expression, arms crossed.

"Say Eren," Eren inwardly groaned as he shut his eyes closed, mentally preparing himself for the next insult.

"What makes you think that you're going to die now?"

His eyes blinked open, dumbly at first, but then tearful the second time. Eren shook his head. "Sir," Eren began, his eyes hardened as he looked up at his superior. "Don't you think that mankind finally deserves its full victory against the titans?"

"They do."

"Then why—"

"Mankind can wait another seventy years or more until all titans have been eliminated." Rivaille spoke, his head turned as he watched the sunset on the horizon, the skies painted a beautiful shade of orange mixed with a little pink. "And as long as you don't reproduce more damn titan-babies, then you can die as the last titan."

"Well, sheesh, Corporal, if I was still able to live," Eren started with a scowl on his lips as he raised an eyebrow at Rivaille. "What makes you think that I would die alone?"

"I don't know a girl who'd want to marry a brat."

"Yeah, but—" Eren had begun to retort, but halted in his words, the situation sinking back into him. He shook his head, as he looked up at his superior, somehow hopeful. "Corporal," He let out an exasperated sigh. "Please just kill me."

"I won't." Frustration began to drip from his tone, but Rivaille still held firm. He continued to glare down at Eren. "You won't die by my hand, brat. Not now, not ever."

"But, sir," Eren said as he looked up at Rivaille with tear-stained eyes. "That's treason."

"I know, and I don't care if I'm a criminal to them." Rivaille said, nothing more in his tone. "There are just some things you can't do, and some things you have to do."

"And what about me?"

"You can't die." Rivaille's lips pulled into a thin line. "And I have to make sure that you don't die."

Mouth opened, Eren made to speak, but found that he couldn't. In fact, what slipped through his lips were the sounds of his cries, the tears that felt hot gliding down his skin. It's been a few years since mankind had managed to drive the titan population to one, and he's grown up—he's learned to finally keep his emotions in check. But the tears refuse to stop, despite the fact that he tries to force himself with slaps to the fact or pinches on his skin.

"What reason do I need to stay alive now, sir?" Eren cried out, hunched over the ground in agony. "I used to be the special weapon against the titans, so what now? For what purpose do you need to keep me alive this time?"

Rivaille watched as Eren pounded his clenched fists at the ground, the mix of conflicting emotions prevalent in the brunet's face. This is the Eren that he knew—the conflicted, brash, emotional brat that he'd been watching over during the entire titan elimination project.

The brat is back, and Rivaille would make sure that he would stay.

"Your purpose is to keep me alive."

He didn't miss that look that crossed Eren's eyes—that curiosity, that bewilderment, that final sense of belonging.

"I didn't think that you'd want me dead, Eren."

"I-I don't, sir." Eren spluttered with teary eyes and an incredulous look.

"Good." Rivaille then leaned down to meet Eren at eye-level, the brunet's expression filled with shock. He reached down to ruffle the brunet's locks, watching as the boy fell into the touch with comfort and a bit of understanding.

"Not one titan has yet to kill me, brat." He murmured. "And I still refuse to die because of one."

[ Notes ]:

Right. Not one of my best fics, but this idea has been floating in my head so much that I just gave it a shot. Reviews are appreciated, no matter how small.

And in case it wasn't understood: it's the whole 'there's death in loneliness' thing. It's an exaggeration, of course.

Also, it should be a few years for titans to be eliminated, I would assume. I mean, it takes a while to kill off a small group of them, and with the number of troops, I would also guess that it shouldn't take less than a year or two or finish them off. Therefore, assume that Eren and Rivaille have a grown a bit older.

Eren is conflicted again. ;_; I'm sorry for this.