AN: Well here we are! the final chapter and its a long one! Sorry it took me so much longer to get this one out, I was trying my best to re-work the pacing so it would move the day along but not seem rushed. I hope you find it well paced! Just a fair warning: I have dialog lifted right from chapter 42 so if your not caught up to that point yet, you may want to get caught up. See you at the end notes. Please leave a review if you liked it!
"No… No, no, no, no, NO!" Eren screamed out as he shot up from the bed. Eren was gasping for breath, his left arm clutching his chest as his hear raced at a dangerously high rate, his right hand down on the bed supporting his weight. He had fallen asleep some time ago, still in is uniform. After many deep breaths Eren let go of his chest, his hear slowing down a bit. "It was just a dream, it was just a dream" Eren was rocking a bit as he told himself this over and over. Looking around his room Eren could see that many of the candles had burnt out but there were still enough lit that he could see around the room. His eyes fell upon the wash station and its mirror. Eren was too far from it to see his reflection, and he wasn't sure that he wanted to look but knew he had to. Standing up on shaking feet, Eren slowly made his way to the mirror, terrified of what he might see. Swallowing hard, Eren stepped into range of the mirror and looked into its reflective surface. There he was as he should be; short hair, round ears, his lips pressed shut and the nostrils on his rounded nose twitching as he breathed. Eren breathed out deeply in a sigh of relief as his dull green eyes surveyed his reflection the true image of him looking back. Eren looked back at his bed, the sheets a mess, he was thrashing about in his sleep. Deciding that he was unlikely to fall back asleep any time soon Eren put his boots on and made his way up to the castles main floor. Eren took a torch off the wall of the lower level to guide his way up the steps, keeping his footfalls as light as he could. Once on the main floor Eren made his way to the door that would lead to the back fields. He pushed the heavy wooden door open and saw the darken field lit by the moonlight as he walked out of the castle. Walking for a bit, Eren found a fire pit next to a bench and sat down after tossing a few branches into the pit with the torch. The moon was still up high on its course threw the sky, it must have been about one in the morning.
After watching the sky for a while, Eren turn to watch the fire as it crackled and burnt. It was just a dream Eren thought to himself again, but what if it became a reality Eren continued his train of thought. I lost control once before and hurt Mikasa… "Even if you were stuck as a titan, with or without conscious hold, I would remain by your side" Eren remembered Mikasa's word from before he fell into the nightmare "…and see to it that no harm would befall you." Eren gave a nervous laugh as he started talking out loud to himself "How could she do that if I was trying to kill her?" Eren turned his head to look at the sky again "I don't want to become a titan ever again… but what's that matter, I will be told to and forced to eventually. I don't even have any control over my life anymore." Eren remained quiet for some time, just staring up at the stars before turning to look at the fire again. I could run away, Eren thought to himself but where could I run to? Back to Shiganshina, the basement? Eren shook his head and spoke out loud again "I would need to become a titan to pull that off on my own, and there's no guarantee I could get there by myself" "you couldn't." Eren turned to see Mikasa and Armin standing behind him in their night cloths, Mikasa with her red scarf on. Mikasa continued as the two sat on the bench next to Eren "rather to say, I wouldn't let you go off on your own." Eren looked into Mikasa's face as she spoke, his eyes once again falling on to the scar he gave her "but it's not safe to be around me anymore." Armin gave a little laugh and then spoke up "Eren, it's never been safe to be around you, when you were young you would always pick fight and now you're always rushing off into battle." Eren fought with himself not to shout out his next words "that's nothing compared to the damage I could do as a titan and you know it!" Why couldn't they see the risk of staying with him, Eren thought to himself. "But you've gotten so much better at controlling it now! During the last fight with Annie I was in your hand as we made our way to the wall" Armin was speaking with a fierce determination, desperate to make his friend see past his fears. "And after Mikasa cut Annie off the wall, you held her down and helped us get her out" Eren couldn't remember much of what happened during the fight so most of this was new to him. The three sat silent for a while as the fire burnt on.
"I'm just scared of what could happen. This has all been so much to take in these past few weeks." Eren's voice softened as he looked to the ground as he spoke. "I've become the thing I hate most, I'm more of a monster then even the titans are… can I even call myself human anymore?" Mikasa and Armin both placed a hand on Eren's shoulder and Armin spoke first "of course your human, to even ask that question proves it." "You have the heartbeat of a human too" Mikasa added. "But that can change, can't it? One day I could lose control again and hurt you both, badly" Eren's fist clenched, his eyes still turned downwards. "You've lost control once before and we were able to get you back" Armin reminded Eren. "Yah but that was luck. What if your words couldn't reach me and I end up killing the two of you? It would be best if I never become a titan again or just left here." Mikasa stood and pulled Eren up by his shoulders, causing him to look up at her in shock "would you really be that selfish?" Eren was as confused at her words as he was shocked at her actions. "You would just abandon your friends and family over a fear?! You know we would never abandon you so the least you can do is the same for us!" Eren tried to say something but couldn't find any words, he had never seen Mikasa so angry with him. Looking over Mikasa's shoulder he could see Jean walking up to the three of them. "Your humanities greatest hope, remember?" Armin stood and turned to see Jean walk up to them "Sorry, I could hear you guys from my window" Jean told them with a slight smirk on his face. "If you guys are going to beat some sense into Jaeger, I want in." Mikasa turned her head to look at Jean, her eyes turning to steal but Jean just waved it off. "Jaeger, we're all scared of your trick but we're also relying on it" Jean sat down at the far end of the bench and faced Eren and Mikasa. "And well not ALL of us would do so happily, we would all lay our lives down for you so the least you can do is get a grip."
Some of the tension left Eren's body with Jean's words. Jean was right, Eren thought to himself. There's so much riding on me, I need to be stronger for everyone's sake, not just my own. "I'm sorry" Eren said to all three of them "I let my fears and nightmares get the better of me." Mikasa let go of Eren and sat down next to Armin, Eren sitting between Jean and Armin the four of them watched as the fire pit began to burn itself out. When the last of the glowing embers floated up and faded out Armin stood first. "We should all get back to bed, before the Captain finds us missing" the other three nodded and they all turned to discover that it was too late for that. Captain Levi stood behind them, arms crossed over his chest. "Well I'm glad to see you all had a nice heart to heart but it's well past lights out." The four teen stood in stunned silence Eren giving a quick salute as he feared another beating from the Captain. "As it seems you all still have energy to spare, this late at night I want you to run five laps around the castle, ten for you Eren, as you have your boots on. Now." The four quickly started their run as Levi sat down on the bench, tossing some more wood into the pit and lighting it so he could see when they finished a lap. Eren had two more laps to go when Armin finished and he was already exhausted, Levi has sent the others in to wash up and return to bed when they finished, not allowing them to wait up for him. He passed Captain Levi who held up a finger to show what was left. Once out of shot of the Captain, Eren slowed down to catch his breath and started a light jog to pace himself. Eren reflected on his talk with Mikasa, Armin and Jean and his fears as he jogged along. The nightmare has scared him unlike anything else and well it started to fade, parts were etched into his mind. There was still so much unknown to Eren about his powers but that gave him new resolve "My goal the past few time were to become the master of this power and test its limits. I just need to always keep that in mind, be the master of this power." Eren sped up as he turned the last corner of the castle and saw the Captain come into slight.
Eren stopped running once he past Captain Levi and buckled over, placing his hands on his knees as he caught his breath. Levi stood from the bench and walked past Eren to make his way back into the castle "Wash up and get back to bed." Levi barked at Eren "and tomorrow when Hanji asks you to transform, you will and when I give you a command in your titan form, I expect you to follow it." With that Captain Levi entered the castle leaving Eren on his own in the field. Once Eren caught his breath he stood back up and took one last look around, the moon was far lower than when he first came out indicating that at least three hours had passed. Eren made his way into the castle and down to the basement, taking another torch of the wall to guide his way down. Once in his room Eren got changed for bed and flattened his sheets that were still a mess from the nightmare. Eren fought with his sleepiness at first, unsure of what might face him in his unconscious mind but eventually gave in and fell back asleep, too tired from running. Eren awoke several hours later to a rapping at his door, groaning Eren got out of bed to answer the door. Armin had come down to wake him up, just as he has promised the night before. Eren smiled to Armin, thanking him for the wakeup call and told Armin that he would be up shorty. Lighting the candles around his room, Eren started to wash up and get dressed for the day, reflecting on the events of the last night. Eren tried to recall if he had another dream but it seemed the last few hours had nothing to show. Content to find he had a dreamless sleep, Eren finished dressing and made his way up.
They day was passing pleasantly enough. The five members of the scouting legion shared a quiet breakfast, the teens a bit more wary from their lack of sleep. Captain Levi was instructing them on what training they would be going through, after spending a few hours cleaning various rooms of the castle for being out past curfew. They would each spend two hours cleaning a floor on their own and for every minute late for training they would run a lap. Not surprizing Eren got the basement to clean, guessing that the Captain wanted him to be late. After cleaning a number of rooms in the lower level of the castle Eren went up to check the time and saw Jean coming down to get him "It's nearly time so let's get going." The two meet up with Armin and Mikasa and made their way to the back fields where Levi would be waiting for them. "Get geared up! You all have ten minutes to get ready, full gear too" the Captain barked out at the teens. Once they had donned their 3DMG and sword box's they returned to the Captain and gave a salute "today we'll start with some accuracy." Levi pointed up to the trees behind him "In the lower canopy there are four branches with red X's painted on them. You will each cut one branch down the center of the X and bring me the cut branch, you must retrieve it before it falls to the ground or I will count it as a fail." The four nodded to their Captain and then he called the first name "Armin, ladies first." Armin took the insult and ran to the trees and pulled the trigger for the 3DMG, Eren however though it was more likely to be an insult to Mikasa. After a while Armin returned with a branch, a clean cut down the X though a bit far to the left. Levi scolded him a moment and then sent Jean up.
Jeans cut was better than Armin's but it was still off a bit, to the right this time. Mikasa was next and it took her half of Armin's time to return with a branch cut clean down the middle of the X. Levi scoffed and told her she could have been faster, trying to get a rise out of Mikasa but getting nothing from his comment. Finally it was Eren's turn, Eren shot into the trees the moment his name was called by the Captain. Searching the canopy for his target, Eren turned his head back and forth to scan the many branches. Eren past two that had been cut already as he moved further in, still looking around for any hint of red. A bird cawing caused him to look up and that's where he saw his mark, right past a magpies nest. "Great" Eren sighed out, he HAD to be precise with his cut or he would risk knocking the nest over, causing the bird to peck at him. Eren shot a hook into a branch a few feet above his mark and positioned his blade to cut the center of the mark. The four on the ground could hear a fair deal of cawing all the sudden as Eren emerged from the trees, a branch in one arm and shooing a bird away with the other. Eren handed the branch to Captain Levi who inspected it "tisk, tisk Eren, you cut a bit too far to the right." Eren said nothing he knew the Captain was trying to get a rise out of him too, Eren wondered if the Captain was picking on them all so much more than usual was because of his injuries. Levi then tossed all four branches into a nearby fire pit and walked over to a clearing, motioning for the teens to follow him.
The next few hours were spent by Levi having the teens spar amongst each other. Eventually they were allowed to break for lunch, heading into the dining hall today after refilling their gas tanks, except for ever who removed his gear as ordered. Hanji and her men were already in the dining hall when they arrived, Hanji turned her head up when she saw them enter. "Eren! Over here!" She waived for him to sit next to her well patting the empty seat next to her. Sighing inwardly to himself, Eren sat next to Hanji. She looked over every aspect of Eren's face as he sat down, frowning once she saw that he was back to normal. Eren took his lunch that Hanji passed to him, nodding as she went on about her research on Annie with little progress. "I've also come across something interesting about some others in your training corps, but we'll discuss that matter latter." This caught Eren's attention but she was already moving on to other topics, he would have to wait until later that night to hear what she found. After lunch Hanji called for the teens to come with her so she could fill her notes. She handed Levi a stack of papers for him to look over, Eren guessed that was the report on the others. The five made their way out to Hanji's research tent in the front field and Mikasa, Armin and Jean sat on the ground well Hanji has Eren take the chair next to her. Hanji then asked Eren and the others endless questions about how Eren looked and reacted after the transformation. After an hour of questions she finally stood up and geared up then told the others to follow her. "OK Eren, walk out a few more feet and you'll transform above ground today" Hanji told him. Eren nodded and walked out till Hanji said he was far enough. Eren looked down at his hand and froze up, keeping his hand held near his mouth but not biting. "Any time now, Eren" Hanji called to him but he remained still "You can do it Eren, we know you can and you'll be fine!" Armin called out to try and help his friends' nerves.
Eren knew he could and needed to transform but he was scared about not returning to normal again. Just as he was about to put his arm down someone else spoke up "you will transform, that's an order Eren!" Captain Levi was now standing with the rest, he had on a 3DMG with extra straps to help keep the pressure off his injuries again and no sword box's. Eren turned to face everyone and spoke "but what if I can't return to normal this time?!" "You can" Armin and Mikasa said in unison "you will" the Captain said "and that's an order too" he added. Eren understood that the Captain was cheering him on, in his own cold way and nodded, raising his hand to his mouth once again. Eren found a more personal goal this time I will prove that I'm not a monster Eren thought calmly as he breathed in and bit down on his left hand. The five that were standing shielded their eyes as a flash of light and smoke covered Eren, when they lowered their arms they could see the 15 meter titan standing before then. Captain Levi moved first, striding up to Eren and then yelled for him to kneel down, pointing to the ground. Eren nodded and lowered himself to one knee and held out an open hand, expecting the Captain to hop on. Levi walked up to Eren's open hand and raised his own to it, not to pull himself up but to smack it away, to little effect. Pulling the trigger on his bladeless hilt Levi shot up onto Eren's shoulder and then sat down cross-legged and planted his cables into Eren's shoulder for extra support. "Armin! Jean! I want you two on either side for me for extra support" Levi barked out and the two teens ran forward and then swung onto Eren. Once they were beside Levi they planted their own cables into Eren's shoulder, Armin who was to Levi's left shot his right cable out past Levi behind him and Jean shot his left cable in front of Levi. Hanji grabbed Mikasa's hand calling from them to get on Eren's left shoulder.
Once all five were secure on Eren's shoulders Captain Levi shouted "Up!" and Eren carefully stood up, trying his best not to disturb the people on his shoulders. The five humans looked around their surroundings, unless on top of the walls they couldn't see over the treetops. "Start running laps" Levi said clearly to Eren who nodded and ran slow at first. Last night it had taken Eren fifteen minutes to lap the castle once at full speed now it only took five at a light jog in his titan form. Hanji was shouting something at Levi but Eren couldn't make out their conversation, it was moving too fast and was too complicated for him to understand in this forum. After a while Levi gave another command "Eren, Speed up!" Eren nodded to show he understood and picked up his pace a bit, still not going near his full speed for the sake of those on his shoulders. "Stop" Captain Levi shouted and Eren came to a slow halt, trying to not jostle those on him. It had only taken a minuet now for Eren to make his way around the castle and he lapped it ten times before Levi gave the command. Eren turned his head to the left to see the Captain as best he could and saw that the Captain was looking back at him "I. Want. You. Too. Run. The. Whole. Area. Of. The. Castle. Ground." Levi had spoken each word as loud and clearly as he could so Eren would understand the command. Eren tilted his head, not sure if he caught the entire request. Levi then thrust out his right arm and pointed to the edge of the small forest behind the castles field and then continued to draw a circle around the area. Eren then nodded and walked out to the edge of the castle round and then started running at a light pace. After a few hours Eren's pace was slowing down and Levi shouted out "Enough" and pointed to the front field and Eren walked back to where he started.
"I'll need a hand down" Eren looked to the Captain and nodded, understanding the words hand and down. Eren got to one knee and lifted his left hand to his right shoulder and saw Armin and Jean assist Levi onto Eren's hand. Once they were in his hand Eren slowly lowered his hand to the ground and saw the three hopped off. Once they were down Eren lifted his right hand to his other shoulder for Hanji and Mikasa. The five stood back as Eren's titan form started to break down. The flesh that clung to Eren's human body started to melt away, steam rising all around the human Eren. Eren looked up once his face was free from the flesh and saw red fade away as the titan's skin fell back and Eren saw the sky from the opening. Eren pulled himself free of the last bit of flesh and made his way out through the opening, his body hot from the steam around him. Once free of the titan's body Eren saw he was still several feet off the ground. Flipping himself over Eren climbed down the large body, slipping after a few feet he fell to the ground with a thud. Pain surged through his right leg and the rest of his body, the leg broke from the fall. Mikasa and Hanji rushed to Eren when they saw him fall and the rest joined in when they saw him clutching his right leg. The five surrounded Eren and Hanji spoke first "looks to be broken, how do you feel Eren?" She asked with genuine concern. "It hurts, a lot and I'm tired from the transformation so I feel like shit" Eren said plainly as Mikasa lowered herself to Eren and began to apply pressure to the leg. "Someone go inside and get a splint!" She called out to the rest and Armin nodded and ran in, calling for Jean to help him. The three that remained behind turned to Eren to see if there was anything else they could do to help him. Mikasa quickly removed her hand from Eren's leg as it became hot to the touch, Eren was feeling too drowsy to notes the pain anymore. That or it may have been the fact that the pain was fading away as steam rose from the injured leg.
Hanji quickly bent down and put her shoulder under Eren's right arm to help him up "quick Eren let's get you seated over at my research." Mikasa was about to toss the woman across the field but Eren got up with her help and soon found her pulling away with him. Eren hobbled along with Hanji at first but she pulled herself from him as they got close to the table, causing Eren to set his right leg down finding that it didn't hurt any more. Hanji looked over to Eren with a wide grin "legs all better I take it?" she was already filling up paper with her notes. Eren was groggy he wanted to sleep but Hanji was keeping him from doing so, Mikasa was behind him now and she led Eren to the empty seat. Hanji was asking endless questions again and Eren felt like he might as well still be in the titan as he couldn't understand her again. This caused Eren's head to jolt up and he quickly felt his face, his hand covering his ears, hair, nose and chin. He was relieved to find that everything was normal and with a sigh of relief, Eren lowered his head and drifted off. Jean and Armin had returned shorty after with the splint but were informed that Eren had already healed by Levi. "Like a damned lizard" the Captain intoned causing Hanji to turn her attention to him "jealous much?" she said with a grin. It was well past sunset when Eren came to, glad that this time he wouldn't be shocked by his surroundings. The five others were still there when he came to, he was actually surprised that the Captain would let them wait for him. "We'll be leaving shortly after dinner" the Captain told Eren and got a confused look in return. "Is your brain still as small as a titan's? I thought I told you to return to normal!" Levi sighed and then elaborated "The meeting with those shit head from the MP is tomorrow." Eren then nodded in comprehension and quickly added "yes, sir" Eren then stood up as the other stood. Captain Levi gave Eren an incredulous look as he stood "Sir?" Eren asked but Levi just turned his back to Eren and made his way into the castle. Eren could see that the Captain still had his 3DMG harness on, with the extra straps and Eren thought that perhaps the Captain was annoyed that he could recover from his injury so quickly well the Captain still has days to go.
Dinner was a quick affair as Hanji and Levi needed to gather up their notes for Commander Erwin and left the four teens with an hour to gather what they would need for the next day. Once all six were prepared they made their way to the side stable where Hanji's men were prepping the horses for their side into the inner walls. Levi called for Jean to help him get their items loaded into the cart and Hanji called for Eren, Armin and Mikasa to come with her to another part of the stable. Once the three were standing across from Hanji she took out some of the reports and read them to the three teens under the light of a few lanterns. "The results of Annie's full background check finally came in… Among the trainees of the 104th trainee squad, there are two more people originating from the same area as her." Eren gave a stern look well Armin put on his traveling cloak as Hanji turned the page. "Ryner Braun and Bertholdt Fubar" Eren's face lit with shock "huh?" was the only response he could think of. Hanji read o, pulling another report out to read them both "Ah, well, we have to take into account the fact that due to the chaos five years ago all the family register documents are more than a little sloppy and sketchy… It seems it took them this long just to dig their way through all those poorly organised data." Hanji continued on "according to the bluff-out-the-enemy plan, during our expedition to the outer lands the two I mentioned were in the group that was told that Eren was on the right flank. Annie Leonhardt "the female type" came to attack from the right flank as well." Hanji looked up to the three as she continued "now, just for the record, this alone doesn't really mean anything yet. I'd like to know more about the relationship between the three of them during their trainee days, though."
The conversation with Hanji continued on as they rode into the inner walls, by the end Eren had a lot on his mind. What Armin had said about Ryner and Annie, how more of his friends could not only be traitors but the one's responsible for so much death, including his mother. Eren shook his head, not sure what to think anymore. He was still tired from the day and even though everything was normal on the outside, he still seemed weak from his transformation. It seemed this was a different after effect, weakness from pushing himself and not getting enough sleep, healing a broken leg didn't help the recovery process ether. Over the past two days he had transformed multiple times and the last time, well not fighting he remained a titan for hours on end. No, the first transformation two days ago was to fight Annie so he had every right to be worn out. Eren was wishing he could side in the cart with Captain Levi and Jean but it was too late for that, holding up his torch in one hand and the reins in his other he rode on. A new though popped up in the back of Eren's mind, though he tried not to pay it much attention as this thought involved Ryner and Bertholdt to be guilty of being the titans. If this were true then he thought it would be Bertholdt who was the colossal type, as he was the tallest person Eren had ever known, even taller than the commander. Ryner would then have to be the armored type as he was the most well-built, second strongest only to Mikasa but still way above the rest. This triggered Eren's concerns from last night, what if he starting taking on his titan's traits as a human? Eren tried to brush it off as a coincidence, after all, how could monsters like that pretend to be human…
AN: And there we are! I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read this! Some end notes: I didn't use Hanji's full conversation as it spans like 6 pages and we don't need a transcript, right? Most of what happens after chapter 34 is a flashback until they get to wall rose so that's why I placed this story between chapters 34 and 37 and Jean is M.I.A in the manga from chapter 34 until chapter 45 where he shows up with the other members of the scouting legion and MP's so that's why I had him in the story, seeing as he wasn't held for observation. About Levi's injury; that exact nature of his injury is never made clear so I amuse he can use a 3DMG with extra caution but not in action. I tried my best to keep everyone as in character as possible and I hope you enjoyed my little story, the idea for it came from this piece of fan art art/Eren-Titan-AOT-379028386 and after seeing that no one had played with this idea in story form.
As for whats next for me? a SnK crossover/AU with Haibane Renmei, though this is still in the idea stage and will be at least a week before release