Disclaimer: I do not own Shingeki no Kyojin
falling to fall
Her ears are ringing from all the screams. It's a wonder she hasn't gone deaf-it's a wonder she hasn't gone insane.
Her glasses have cracks running down the upper right lens and her brown eyes dart around the flaw, trying to catch the action from below. They strain against the glass, searching desperately for that one special person.
Her heart plummets as a 10 meter class titan rushes towards her, mouth open and still stained with the blood of its last meal. Hanji resists the urge to vomit and quickly moves behind it with her 3D maneuver gear. The black wires bend and snap behind her as she flies forward to slice the back of the titan's neck. She wastes no time flying back toward the high tower she'd been standing on.
It's stupid, and she knows it, but she tries to remember the time-only a week ago-when she had been passionate about the titans. Obsessed with them, even. She'd thought that they were misunderstood, Hanji wanted to figure them out, find the truth. And she had finally gotten close-she was finally getting somewhere with her research! People stopped thinking she was crazy and began relying on her and her discoveries. Eren had shown up and then the female type made an appearance, and just when she'd thought it couldn't get any crazier...the colossal and armored titans had been found to be humans too!
Hanji's head had been brimming with experiments and hypothesis and project ideas-but they all crashed and burned.
She can feel it in her stomach-She can feel all the hate she had originally had for the titans resurfacing and swallowing her whole. She doesn't want to feel like a misguided teenager again-all filled with hate and unrestrained anger, trying to reach some impossible goal.
She still feels it though. She feels her face get warm and her fingers clench. She feels her gaze turn hard and her back stiffens. She had never wanted to turn into a hate driven immature little girl again! But it's happening. It tears through her as she watches her comrades-her friends, get eaten one by one. As she watches the walls fall, gate by gate, district by district.
And everyone is getting eaten.
Eren's cry of anguish reaches her ears and she flies back into action, killing as many titans as she can until one manages to kill her. It is inevitable, but she doesn't mind, she has always wanted to die a fighter. A soldier. Her ears tingle as Eren's titan growls again somewhere in the distance. Eren is their only hope...but there's only so much one titan can do.
The more ground she covers, the more titans she kills, but it's never enough. As she runs and flies through the air, her eyes never catch who she is looking for. Her heart feels tight as if an invisible hand is squeezing it. She wishes it would burst already, she's seen enough people die for more than one lifetime.
She shoots her 3D gear towards another tower and feels herself being pulled towards it; she quickly redirects a wire as a titan's hand comes to slap her down and narrowly avoids the hit, twisting away from the large hand and towards safety.
Safety, she snorts. Nowhere is safe anymore.
Her eyes look towards wall Sina; the last standing wall. Eren fights for it with his life. It is humanity's last hope, after all. There are several titans surrounding him, and many of his comrades have fallen trying to protect him. His enraged cries hurt Hanji's ears, even from so far away.
This area of Rose is quiet. Everyone must already be dead. Shivers run down her spine as she pushes herself forward, and then down as the wires take her swooping from being attached to a higher point. Hanji's blade slashes through yet another titan's skin. Her 3D gear jets her forward and up and she stands with both feet atop a building. She glances down at the stubs of metal that used to be her blades. Well this set is done for, she muses. Only one set left unless I can restock. She doubts she'll be able to do that. She doesn't have time, and she has something more important to do before she dies.
She needs to find Levi.
She looks at the broken, blood covered blades, before chucking them off the roof. They hit the ground with an audible 'clang' but seem to make the loudest noise in the area. No titans here, she thinks. There are no more humans in this area, after all.
Her fingers grasp her last set of blade when she notices a problem. She's shaking. Her fingers cannot hold the blades steady no matter how hard she tries. They fumble and twitch and she puts all her willpower into being able to hold the goddamn things straight.
Her body stiffens when she hears the sound of a titan behind her. The squad leader has no time to worry about having steady hands when she flips off the roof, heading straight for the ground. The wires of the 3D gear fling out from around her and attaches to a building across from the titan. She feels herself behind pulled up backwards, and quickly sends more wires to pull her higher.
Her hands are still shaking and her gear feels terribly heavy against her legs. She suddenly feels so tired, like it's time to give up already, but she knows she can't. Not until she finds him. She raises her blades, prepared to strike from above when the Titan turns around a makes a grab at her. Its big eyes would have reminded her of her dear Bean any other time...if it hadn't been such a dire situation.
That's when she knows it's over. She feels herself falling forward when one of her wire snaps under her. She hasn't the will to try to stay alive anymore. Or at least...that's what she thought. She's almost confused when her body jerks and flails trying to catch herself instead of just letting herself fall to her death. Her mind is working in overdrive, trying to think of a plan. The titan opens its mouth, as if to accept her into the pits of its stomach and Hanji snaps.
She allows herself to slide down the building, when she reaches a lower roof, much closer to the titan, she manages to balance herself. Since one of her wires broke...her 3D gear won't work as well...it will be off balance and unstable, but she can work with that for a little while. If only to escape this titan and find him.
She shoots forward, her body moving awkwardly if not clumsily through the air, narrowly avoiding the titan's slow grabs. She supposes that she's lucky, that she's lucky she isn't in a populated area. She just happens to be where everyone else is dead.
She'll join them soon enough. Her body continues to jerk through the air, trying to avoid the titan when suddenly, it stops chasing her. The wires pull her up to hang off a window sill and she squints. Did it...lose interest?
"We'll that's it for my blades." She hears a voice call out. It's sounds low and bored and full of annoyance and Hanji feels like the hands squeezing her heart have suddenly released it. "Damn."
Hanji clings to the windowsill as she hears the whirl of wires approaching. She uses her own unstable ones to pull herself up to building. It towers over the rest of them and Hanji knows that this is probably the safest place she can go before a taller titan comes along. Her tank makes a low hissing noise and Hanji knows she's done for. She's really done for, this time. She even takes off her gear and sets it on the ledge beside her, watching the titans pass below and waiting for one big enough to come and grab her. Yeah, it's all over now. She's all out of gas.
She's all out of hope.
"And just what the fuck are you doing?" Levi's boots clang against the building and for the first time Hanji feels smaller than him. She shrugs and even allows herself to sit on the ledge; she's going to die anyway.
"Hi Levi," She greets with a smile, tilting her head, "Fine day, isn't it?"
"Tch. You wouldn't know a good day if it bit you in the ass." The shorter leader runs his hands through his hair, "What are you doing Zoe? Put your gear back on."
"I'm out of gas." Hanji sighs. She feels better now...she really does. Now that she's seen Levi's annoyed little face, she can die in peace.
"I'm out of blades," he gestures to the empty slots, "Guess we're both stuck."
Hanji flicks the elastic of her glasses and slides her last two blades out of her discarded gear. She shoves them at Levi, not looking at him. "Here. Take mine." She feels him take them out of her hands and water gathers in her eyes.
She shakes her head back and forth, and pushes her glasses off, her fists rubbing harshly into her eyes. She can't cry. Soldiers don't cry.
"Be realistic, Hanji." Levi's voice is softer than usual. He glares at the crystal clean blades in his palms, watching the sun glint off the metal. "Even with these, I wouldn't survive. Besides, who do you think you are? Some kind of damned martyr?"
"Something like that." Her eyes flicker down at a titan moving below them. She almost feels grateful that none of them are paying attention to her and the corporal. She knows their time will come soon enough. "I've been looking for you everywhere."
Levi picks up her discarded glasses with haunted eyes, "Yeah, me too shitty glasses." He shrugs and slides down to sit next to her. Their shoulders bump and he leans his head back to look at the clouds.
He hates them. They're so...pretty, so peaceful, so carefree. It's almost like...when he looks at the sky, he can forget this hell going on below him. When he looks at the sky he sees blue, he sees happiness. When he looks at the ground there's just...red.
And when he looks at Hanji, all of it, the sky, the ground, heaven, hell-all of it just goes away. There's just her. Something...constant. Something safe. Something...dear to him. "I couldn't just die knowing that you could still be out there somewhere."
Hanji's eyes water even more; she opens her mouth to respond but is cut off when the most terrible sound rips through the air, and makes the hair on the back of her neck stand up.
It's a sound of sorrow-of pure and utter hopelessness and despair. Hanji stands on her feet so quick she almost falls to a waiting titan. Levi's fingers grip her arm tight and they both peer over houses and rooftops towards the direction of the sound.
Her heart drops.
Wall Sina has fallen. And so has Eren.
"It...really is over, isn't it?" The dam finally breaks and she lets the tears fall freely. Levi's hand slides down her arms and grips her hand, squeezing it so hard it almost hurts. "Everything was a waste."
Levi's mouth goes dry and he can just see titans rushing into the gaping hole. "Did I do it, Hanji? Did I help humanity?" He can't count how many times he'd heard a soldier utter those words. He never thought he'd be the one saying them.
Hanji has to stop to comprehend his question. Before she knows it, her hands grab the sides of his face, she tries to look him in the eyes but she's crying too hard to see straight. She wipes her eyes and then touches his face again, amazed at the question. "God Levi." Her fingers swipe blood from his cheek, "God Levi, yes. Yes, of course you have." Her voice comes out in short gasps and she sees all the tension leave Levi's body like he's relieved. "Don't you realize how much you've done? How many lives you've saved?" Her hands fall to her sides uselessly, "You've been amazing. You're mankind's strongest soldier."
He nods slowly and he turns away from Hanji, staring at the titans looming below them. Their mouths are stretched open wide and their eyes are big and hungry—they may have dumb expressions, but they're still downright terrifying. He could take down several titans in the area with his half-tank of gas left and the blades Hanji gave him, but it would all be in vain. Even if he's humanity's strongest soldier...there's just no way he could survive.
More importantly, there's just no way he'd leave Hanji here. There's just no way. He's known her since their trainee days and ever since then, she'd become the rock in his life.
He had never needed to admit it before, and had never planned to do so, but now...now she's crumbling. She's crumbling like the rest of this world. The world he had tried so hard to save.
He turns his eyes away from the titans below them to look at the woman beside him. The sleeve of her jacket is ripped away, her shirt has holes in it, and her pants are stained with blood and dirt. He watches her wipe her eyes again, her lips press together into a scowl like she's trying not to make any noise.
Levi's hand jerks up before he can stop it, and wipes her face...maybe a little too roughly because she flinches, but he continues anyway. "Stop making that face. You look like you need to take a shit."
Hanji snorts and moves his hand away, "Just make sure those aren't your last words." She sniffs and wipes her eyes one last time before looking below them, "We don't have much time." She turns to the corporal, "Say Levi..."
"Hm?" He shoulder brushes hers as they stand side by side, looking down at a world on fire.
"Are you afraid of dying?" Her fingers reach, blindly searching for the man's hand, before finally grasping his cold hand in her own.
He threads his fingers through hers, feeling content. Three months ago he would've been uncomfortable doing this, but three months ago he hadn't had Hanji. Relationships make you get used to physical affection-especially if you're not a man of many words. He had to learn a new way of communication.
He swipes his thumb across her knuckles, "Not really."
Hanji bites her lip, watching the titans under them, still waiting for one big enough to scoop them up and end them. Maybe it's selfish...but she wants to die first. She doesn't want to watch Levi get eaten.
But she's sure he doesn't want to see her get eaten either.
"No?" She questions. Well she is. She's terrified. She knows the strength and size of a titan's teeth, she knows how strong their jaws are, how quick they are to snap them shut atop their prey. She's studied them for years, she knows. She knows how terrible it is to be eaten by one of them. "I'm terrified."
"Me too," Levi agrees, confusing her a bit. He grabs her hand and pulls her down in a sitting position. He lies on his back, knowing the danger of being off guard, but not caring enough anymore to stop himself. He wraps nimble fingers around Hanji's waist and pulls her back to him, making her head lay on his chest. "Hell, I'm terrified too, four-eyes."
Hanji almost sits up, but is too at peace to move, "But you just said-"
Levi closes his eyes and traces patterns into her arms with his fingertips. "Be quiet for a second, will you?" His chin rests on top of her head, "I'm not scared of dying. Not really." He feels her breath on his neck as she looks up at him and all he wants to do is lie there forever. "I'm terrified of losing you, though."
Hanji shivers at his words. She buries her head into the crook of his neck and he immediately raises a hand to stroke her hair. She inhales, breathing him in like she's trying to memorize his smell. His scent is warm; like coffee and the woods, mixed in with a tiny bit of cleaning liquid that almost makes her nose twitch. With her face still buried in his neck, she raises one arm and awkwardly traces his features.
Her fingers brush over his eyelids, and then brush his eyebrows. She smoothes the lines in his face, concentrating on him instead of the sounds of titans thundering below. She would have never thought that it would be possible for them to have this moment together...and she's not going to waste it. Her fingertips slide down the length of his nose before finally resting on his lips. She traces the top one slowly and has to pause when it begins to move.
"What are you doing, shitty glasses?" He's whispering because it just feels right. He keeps his eyes closed and Hanji doesn't move.
"Memorizing you." Her fingers trace his ears and she reaches to touch his hair. She doesn't know if there's an afterlife, and she doesn't know if there's such a thing as reincarnation, but if either or both exist, she wants to remember him. If she is reborn she will always want his scent to be a comfort to her. She hopes to love the scent of cleaning products and the smells of coffee beans and the woods will calm her down.
She wants to remember the lines of his face wherever she is; whether it be heaven or hell or something in between. She wants to always have him with her.
She almost feels pathetic and clingy as she wraps her arms around his neck, and then remembers that they are going to die. There's only so much time left. Levi's eyes slowly open to stare into hers; mirroring hers, holding oceans of sadness.
"What do we do now?"
"We fight." Humanity's strongest soldier says into the scientist's hair. He tightens his grip around her waist, strong fingers holding tight as if she'll fly away if he let's go. "We will die as soldiers, like our late comrades."
"There are two of us with one set of blades and a half full tank in our 3DMG." Hanji doesn't want to sound like she's giving up, but there's no way they can fight correctly like this. It is more practical for them to just wait for the titan's to get them by this point. "Only one of us can go."
"Fine." Levi twirls a piece of her hair. "Take my gear."
"What?" Hanji frowns. "No. It doesn't matter who takes the gear." We're gonna die anyway, is what she wants to say. She knows Levi wants to die fighting though, she knows he wants to be down there. She quickly speaks up, "You take it."
"What?" A pause. "...off this tower?"
"What do you think shitty glasses?" Levi says, annoyed. He mutters the rest sarcastically. "We get to choose our own death. Romantic isn't it?"
"Very." Hanji agrees, rolling her eyes. She lifts her face to his, her heart pounding terribly in her chest. "Are you sure?"
"I'm sure." Levi sits up, pulling Hanji up with him. He grabs her chin with one hand and pulls her face towards him as gently as he can. When their lips touch, the world around them fades to oblivion. It's not like any kiss they've ever shared before. It's passionate, it's longing, it's desperate.
It is their last kiss.
It is their last kiss and Hanji is crying. She grabs the back of Levi's shirt; pressing her lips hard against his while Levi does the same. Her arms lock around his neck and his around her back, and they can't breathe. They can't breathe and it doesn't matter.
Hanji just hopes that she doesn't start sobbing. Levi wipes her tears and tries to contain his own. He feels Hanji run a hand through his hair and their kisses become soft. Soft like an apology, soft like reassurance. Soft like love. Hanji's hand releases his shirt and Levi's hands come to cup her face again. They melt into each other, mixing both of their regret for lost time into bundles of sorrow.
When they break away, they're both teary-eyed and broken. They stand and dust themselves off, reaching for the other's hand and helping each other forward. They reach the edge of the building, near a section where no titans gather. Below them is only earth.
They are regretful, so regretful it burns their cores; they had wanted to die as soldiers.
But it's okay. They can't bring themselves to care too much. They are dying together, on their own terms.
They jump off seconds later, hands clasped, wind blowing.
Muted "I love you"s mix in the air with the roars of the titans…
And then silence.
falling to fall
an. What am I doing someone take the computer away.
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