Levi hated feeling useless. Sitting guard outside of a cell holding Pastor Nick while Zoe was leading a nighttime expedition to take Jaeger and his friends to Wall Maria…
He should be there. Ever since he had joined the scouting legion, he had gone on very nearly every reconnaissance mission they had taken beyond the walls. And knowing that Hanji would be leading the charge… His glare at Pastor Nick was turning so intent that the frightened man behind the bars was beginning to pray to an entirely different God.
"…scum." Levi spat at him.
Pastor Nick was startled by the sudden curse, his body shaking and trying to maintain what little control he still had over his bowel movements.
"I don't give a fuck about your god. Do you know how many men I've lost while your sorry ass sat safe and sound behind the central wall preaching nonsense while all along, you knew the truth about everything?"
A small whimper escaped him. The Lance Corporal might be short in stature, but he was by no means any less terrifying. It was likely that he'd be doing most of the… questioning to which he was about to be subjected.
"Even now, my soldiers are out there risking their lives to protect cowards like you."
His soldiers… his love… With the discovery of the titans in the wall, Levi finally felt after all these years that they were making a dent in the mystery of the foul creatures and from where they had come. Now that his heart finally dared to hope for a breakthrough, for some hint of an answer, he was stuck, unable to be beside his men, beside Hanji.
He couldn't remember the last time he had sat behind while she had gone on a mission. He had never before doubted her strength before now. But after losing his special squadron to the cursed female titan… Erd, Petra, Auruo, Gunter… They were the best of the best; the strongest soldiers that the scouting legion had to offer, and they were gone. All it took was one mission. One mistake. Before he knew it, he had grown used to the idea of not losing them on missions. Hope was a dangerous thing, but it always crept up on you, and it was only human to want to form lasting relationships with whomever you could. But the four people he had depended on most to stay alive were gone. And of all the people he had accidentally let too deep in his thoughts, Hanji was the worst offender.
He knew she had been in the recon corp for more than twice as long as he has been. She was more than capable. He had memorized every detail of her body from their nights together. She had more scars than he did, both physically and mentally, but still…
He wanted to be out there with her. He wanted to fight by her side. He wanted to know that she was safe and to see her smile behind those shitty glasses.
Please… be safe.
Hanji had never been one to worry too much about things other than the task in front of her. When she was out on a scouting mission, she could restrain herself from wanting to capture every single titan to bring back alive for research. When her comrades were in danger, the scientist was put away, and she was a soldier first and foremost.
But at the current moment, she was only half a soldier as she found half of her thoughts preoccupied by the newly gained knowledge of the titans in the wall. She had long forsaken rage as her motivator, as her default, but when she thought that her years of careful research, research that came at the cost of human lives, could all have been so easily avoided if only the bastards in Wall Sina had only spoken. The answer to all of her questions lay not in the titans, but in the scum behind the central wall.
Years spent bashing open the heads of titans when she should have been bashing open the heads of those wall cultists. It enraged her to think how many lives had been wasted.
And behind her rage, there was fear. Irvin had suggested to her long ago, just before he had assumed command, that the true enemy was within the walls. She had dismissed him, if only because she didn't want to listen. Back when she was fueled by rage, she didn't care about such deep questions, she only wanted revenge on the creatures that had killed so many of her friends. When she threw away her anger to approach the problem from a scientific perspective, it gave her a renewed terror.
She wanted the answer to come from some yet unknown mystery about the titans. She could easily accept that it was something she didn't yet understand. But humans she understood perfectly. There was plenty of data to show how cowardly and selfish they could be, that they would stoop however low to protect themselves… She had been disgusted at the edict to "retake Wall Maria" using the refugees that had fled from there. Everyone knew it was essentially an order of execution.
If the enemy was within the walls, then the 100 years of peace had been nothing but a farce; humanity had never been truly safe. If the answer came not from titans but from humans, then she knew that the root of it all was nothing but cruelty and selfishness. And she couldn't predict or protect anyone from that.
Even though she held the command, leading Eren and his friends through titan-infested territory, she was worried more about what was truly happening behind the wall… and for Levi, incapacitated, watching over a man representative of a force as dangerous as the titans. He might carry the title of Humanity's Strongest Soldier, but that only proved his effectiveness against titans, and there was a far more insidious threat very near to him at the moment.
She knew that in battle, his skills would see him through. She had grown used to the idea of him always returning from his missions. Levi had been the first in ten years to truly remain by her side aside from Irvin, whom she thought of as her brother. In her ten years as a soldier, she had lost countless friends and lovers to the onslaught of war, and she had grown so very weary of love. Levi made her finally feel it again. Even if she would never admit it out loud.
She wanted to be there for him. She wanted to help him brave the torrent of political corruption and aristocratic lies. She wanted to know that he would be safe while he stood small next to those inner wall bastards.
Please… be safe.
A/N: I was rewatching SNK and noticed that Hanji was in the Recon Corps with Irvin in 845 (verrry beginning of Ep. 1), reinforcing her claim in Ep. 15 that she had been in the Recon Corps for more than ten years. That fact made the Levihan relationship take on many more dimensions for me, so I was inspired to write this drabble.