Full summary: Humans used to think that aliens would come from outer space. One hundred years ago, they were proved wrong. Emerging from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, kaiju wreaked havoc and drove humankind to the brink of extinction- that is, until human s took matters into their own hands. Cue the founding of the Jaeger Program. Using the jaegers, humanity was able to evacuate as far inland as they could, building walls during their retreat. But humans aren't the only adaptable species, and after decades of peace, kaiju are starting to find their way ever further inland. The Jaeger Program is on the rise once more, but as Eren Jaeger finishes with training, he has to wonder if he's bitten off a bit more than he can chew (he's told this is a common reaction for anyone working with Rivaille).
As Rivaille crashed to the ground, flipped over his opponent's leg and staring down the long red pole pointed squarely at his throat, he came to a realization. This is the one. There had been a few other recruits who had tried, briefly, to partner up with him and prove themselves worthy of being his co-pilot; after a quick trial, most were unable to return. But this one.
He had come back two times- no, three, this was his third round on the training mats with Rivaille- each time having improved. He didn't know how, or why- but he figured, if he trusted his instincts (and Rivaille always did, it had always- well, almost always- served him well), the two would soon exchange a neural handshake and he'd know.
Though, if he was honest, he still preferred talking to being in someone else's mind. There was something about the ability to keep information for yourself that Rivaille greatly appreciated about face-to-face conversation.
Speaking of face-to-face, Rivaille was abruptly brought back to the mat by bright green eyes and the softly murmured "That's two to two, now". Rivaille snorted, bringing his body up in a twisting motion, catching his opponent's pole in the movement and bringing his own to tap lightly on the other's head.
"Three-two, you shitty brat," he said, loosing his hold long enough for the other to regain his footing, before brutally launching him back to the mat.
"Four-two and I win. Again," Rivaille snorted, leaning his pole against the wall and pulling a clean cloth from the pocket of his pants. As he wiped his hands, he walked over to where Erwin was waiting, making a point to step over the fallen trainee, who was lying on his back, panting. Or he might have been groaning, Rivaille wasn't too sure (he nonetheless made a mental note to throw less strongly). Erwin raised a single brow in questioning.
"I want this one," Rivaille said, blunt as usual. Erwin's brow, if possible, rose higher.
"Rivaille, you realize that he is fresh out of training, and-"
"This one. Surely you felt it too. We have drift compatibility."
"You also had drift compatibility with the girl, didn't you?" It took Rivaille a second to realize who Erwin was talking about- the Oriental girl, the one who had gone four-four with Rivaille, humanity's strongest. Rivaille grunted, acknowledging Erwin's statement. "She is also the top of her class, if you insist on having a rookie as your co-pilot."
Rivaille snorted again. "He has more compatibility than her," he said. Erwin sighed.
"Do you even know the kid's name, Rivaille?"
Rivaille opened his mouth to retort, then closed it again, realizing that Erwin was right. He'd sparred with the shitty excuse for a person three times, and he hadn't even bothered to learn his name. He huffed, deliberately inspecting his fingernails and more importantly avoiding Erwin's gaze.
"It's Eren. Eren Jaeger," Erwin supplied. Rivaille looked up at that.
"Jaeger, you say?" Erwin nodded.
Turning back to face the now empty mat, Rivaille allowed one of his rare smiles to show through. "Do you believe in fate, Erwin?"
"No," came the decisive reply.
"Me neither." Rivaille walked back to where he had left his pole, gripping it and giving it an experimental spin. "So," he said, turning to the group of potential candidates (unscreened; Rivaille had rejected the entire screened batch offhand), "Which of you fucks is up next?"
"…and then he flipped me over completely and I'm pretty sure I landed on my kidney because fuck man, it still hurts. But there was a moment in the middle of our fight when he seemed a little out of it, and that never happens with Rivaille. And then afterwards he went and talked with Commander Smith. So I'm kind of hoping this might be my big break, you know?" Eren ended, recounting his escapade against Rivaille to Armin and Mikasa, neither of whom seemed particularly interested in what was, as far as Eren was concerned, a definite highlight in his life.
"So you're really sure you want to become a pilot?" Mikasa asked, pushing her food around with her fork.
"More than anything," Eren replied around a mouthful of his own. Mikasa looked down at her plate, tugging at the scarf she wore.
"They're in the process of building GenVI jaegers, you know, if you just waited a bit we could-"
"We've been over this, Mikasa. I don't want to wait. Plus everyone says I'm drift compatible with that douche bag over there- " Eren flicked his fork at the nearby table, where Jean Kirschstein was sitting, "-and no way in hell am I taking the chance that I might have to share my mind with that guy."
Armin actually looked up from the book he was reading at that. "You mean that the thought of sharing your mind with Corporal Rivaille doesn't?" At that, Eren stopped eating for a moment, and Mikasa's eyes flicked up to his face.
"I… well, I mean, it does, sort of. But not as much. I don't hate Rivaille. I do hate that jerk though," Eren said.
"Hmm. You know they say that Rivaille once piloted a jaeger on his own for six hours?" Armin asked.
Eren nodded excitedly. "He's the only one to ever have done so! Although, he was a lot shorter than I imagined…"
"You've sparred with him twice before already. You didn't notice that before?"
"Well I mean I did but it just really hit me today, you know?" Eren paused, looking mournfully at his empty plate. "Say, Mikasa. Are you going to eat that?" he asked, indicating her still uneaten food.
"Sasha has dibs," Mikasa said, pushing the plate a bit away and tucking her nose into her scarf. As if summoned, Sasha appeared then, sliding into the seat next to Mikasa. She was followed by Connie, Ymir, and Christa, and soon their table was full with lively chatter.
As he watched Sasha make short work of Mikasa's leftovers and begin to bother Armin about his ("I swear Sasha, I just eat slower than whatever species you are!"), Eren thought about his engagement with Rivaille earlier.
Sure, he'd had his ass handed to him and probably bruised a kidney, but… he hadn't imagined the connection, had he? For those few, brief moments before he knocked Rivaille down in which the two had seemed to come to an understanding of sorts, their motions flowing in synchronous opposition? He hadn't been the only to notice that, right? Eren sighed and sank deeper into his chair.
All he wanted was to get into a jaeger and kill the damn kaiju. No, not kill; obliterate the infernal creatures that had pushed humanity back to the brink of extinction. If he didn't get to pilot with Rivaille… he knew both Mikasa and Armin would pilot a GenVI with him, but neither was very drift compatible with him.
"A kaiju has been sighted. Trainees please report to the standby area. Pilots and maintenance crew please report to the docking stations. Over." The crackling intercom voice brought Eren out of his reverie, and launched him into action along with the rest of his companions.
As they made their way to the standby area, out of any possible danger that the docked jaeger could present, Eren felt a hand on his arm. Turning, he found himself looking down at Rivaille.
"Oi, shitty brat, you're coming with me. You'll probably be useless for today but it's always better to hedge our bets," he grumbled, letting go of Eren's arm and turning on one heel before proceeding to the elevators. After a moment's hesitation, Eren looked around for Mikasa and Armin, but both had gotten lost in the flood of people. Shrugging, Eren followed Rivaille.
Hello, readers. Lazy authoress here. I have elected to ignore official name spellings a umlauts for the duration of this fic.
Also I will be uploading The Case of England soon, so worry not.