This is the reason why I went on hiatus for some time.. ;_; I really don't know how to fix this chapter without getting all cheesy and shit. Please forgive me for being gone for so long. I don't know if this chapter is any good. Feedback is welcome! D:
Eren groaned as he blinked the foggy haze off of his mind, running his fingers through his hair. Walking with a headache seemed quite normal to him now, ever since they started his treatment. How long has it been? Weeks? Months? It seemed like he lost track of time since then. Everything fades in and out into a blur, dissolving amongst the darkness and the voices in his head.
If anything, it made training difficult more than ever. But at least he was back into training. At least, he's not being monitored in the infirmary the whole day, doing anything but retch his guts out. At least now he's feeling more alive, more like himself. The things that had taken place seemed like a distant memory and he feel like he will have a new beginning. No serious threats had surfaced since the event in Trost, and everybody was able to sleep again in peace.
"Doesn't it hurt or something?" Mikasa asked, as Eren landed on his feet. He was doing backflips with his 3DM gear for some time now and she was getting a little worried.
"No." Eren replied shortly, tapping his foot on the ground as he said so.
Mikasa can't help but smile. Hanji told her that Eren can go back to his normal routines, but she still does not want him to force himself into it. But he looked healthier now, and she felt like they are actually moving on from that horrible event in their lives. She wished they would stay like this, having nothing to worry about, feeling safe in their own home. And, yes, this has become their home, the military, and the Legion. And they will defend it at all costs; from whoever or whatever it was that would want to take away their simple happiness, and their freedom.
"Yo, Eren." Jean called as the brunet stretches his tired limbs.
"It felt like a long time." Jean continued, leaning on the tree beside him.
"Yeah. Sure it was." Eren answered shortly.
"What's up with your short answers? Is that the effect of being with Levi all the time?" Jean said half-joking. Eren was not looking impressed.
"What the hell Jean?" Eren said, fighting the urge to roll his eyes.
"Have you decided yet?" Eren asked suddenly, his back facing him once again.
"I'm staying. This is what I wanted for so long now, don't I?" Jean said as he looked beyond the afternoon sky.
"With the Police then." Eren stated flatly.
Eren whipped his head to Jean. His face was curious.
"What?" Jean asked but continued.
"Don't think ahead of yourself idiot. I'm just staying because of Mikasa."
"I didn't even say anything." Eren fired back quickly.
"Whatever. All I'm saying is that I'm worried about her because you're always too busy looking the other direction. So I'm gonna look after her instead."
Eren knew Jean was being serious as he stared through his eyes, him doing the same, both of them not backing down.
"Thanks." Eren finally said.
"You know.. I really love her."
"But only as a sister."
"This fucking heat is killing me. I'm so thirsty." Jean said as he walked sluggishly beside Armin. It was three o'clock in the afternoon and they have been patrolling around town with the Legion since morning until they were finally relieved from duty for the day.
"Well, there's a public well in the middle of the town. Wanna go?" The short blond asked Jean.
The short blond stretched his hand to pull on the rope from the bottom of the well, watching as the kids, the elderly, the townspeople and the police men relieve themselves with the cool water it provided. He was about to pass the pail to Jean but decided to drink first. A look of slight bewilderment crossed his face.
"Is something the matter shorty?" Jean asked.
"Hmmm.. It's just—I think.. the water taste different." Armin said as Jean walked to his side to take a closer look.
"It's not murky or anything." Jean said, staring at the rippling water in the bucket.
"Yeah. But I dunno Jean.. Let's just head back to the headquarters to be sure, eh? We surely don't want to catch a diarrhea or something."
"What?! But I'm so fucking thirsty! Can't I just take one frigging sip?"
"What?!" Jean said disbelievingly.
"C'mon." Armin said, as he threw the pail back down the well.
"You won't die today Jean. Let's go."
"What did you just say?" Jean asked, following the blond boy that walked away. Jean didn't know why, but he felt a chill run down his spine even through the afternoon heat.
"Where's Armin?" Eren asked as he sat down beside Mikasa at the dining table. It was early in the evening already but since Jean and Armin went back from patrol, he was not able to see the short blond.
"He's not feeling good. He was puking his brains out. Guess he ate something bad.. Not sure really. I mean, he was doing fine earlier." Jean explained before he began to stuff his mouth with food.
"Ohh. Is he in his bunk?" Eren asked once more, getting a little concerned.
"Yeah." Jean garbled incoherently.
Eren went immediately to their bunk after dinner to check on how Armin was doing, with Jean and Mikasa on tail. The blond boy looks a little sick and pale.
"Hey Armin, how are you feeling?" Mikasa asked urgently.
"This whole afternoon is such a pain. I don't know what got to me."
Mikasa raised her hand to the boy's forehead, checking for a sign of fever. There was none.
"You're temperature seems normal. Have you gone to the infirmary yet?"
"No. I wasn't able to walk that far without vomiting." Armin replied tiredly.
"Maybe it's food poisoning?" Mikasa tried once more.
"If it was, then why is Jean not affected at all? We ate the same thing." Armin tried to explain with difficulty.
"Hmmm… Maybe it's water, but we all drink from the same source." Mikasa thought aloud. A look of enlightenment passed Armin's face.
"Well to think of it.. I drank some water from the well at the city earlier." The blond boy said.
"I guess it really was dirty after al–Ughhhhh."
"Well, let's take you to the infirmary just to be sure." Eren finally interjected as Mikasa tried to soothe to blond.
"Let's see what Hanji will say about it."
The ticking of the clock seemed loud as they waited for the result of Armin's blood test. After some physical examination, Hanji decided to check the Armin's blood to figure out what was causing his upset stomach. Since they arrived, Armin has managed to vomit twice, but was unsuccessful for he had nothing to release any more other than bile. He was getting uneasy and was starting to complain about a headache. He had also gotten a fever.
They all looked up as door slammed open, with Hanji storming to their direction. The look on her face was undeniably horrible.
"Hey Armin, you got to come with me now, okay? You need to be treated fast. Can you stand up?" Hanji asked, eyes wide. They were all beginning to have a bad feeling of what was happening if anything else. Jean was the first to snap and asked why.
"Hey, squad leader, what's happened with his blood test?"
Hanji whipped her head in his direction, her mouth pressed tightly. Beads of sweat are trailing now on her face.
"You said earlier, Armin drank from that well at the center of the city. Didn't he?" The spectacled woman asked.
"Yeah. He said it tasted weird or something." Jean replied, trying to contain the growing nervousness in his gut.
"Well—" Hanji's voice strained as she tried to fix the perfectly placed glasses on her face.
"I think we're in serious trouble here, guys." She replied, her wide eyes boring through their skulls.
"I don't know how much time we got left—" Hanji stopped short, suddenly trailing off. Her voice turned low, urgency seeping through.
"We've got to prepare immediately."
"I strongly believe that they poisoned our waters. There is no other way that Armin could have gotten it. I don't know how long it had been there. I don't know how far it had already travelled. But one thing is for sure, if that really is the case, then the eotenum virus had already spread across this town."
"It has been multiplying, breeding in the water. Armin got infected within hours upon contact."
Everyone's stunned faces revealed the fears they contained in their minds. They struggled as they fought for words, trying to grasp upon sanity and away from sudden wave of horror they have just heard.
"I don't believe this.. I don't fucking—"
"Who in their right minds would do that?!"
"Where did it come from?"
"I don't understand this at all!".
"A biochemical weapon." Hanji retorted, her tone deadly.
"They wanted to overthrow the kingdom, once and for all."
"I don't see any other reason behind this, Eren."
"I need to set up a meeting immediately. I'll administer an antidote for Armin. I need somebody to stay by his side."
"Mikasa." Her gray eyes became alert at once, her mind and body already prepared.
"Can you take a look at him until further notice?" Hanji asked.
"Okay. I got him." Mikasa nodded, eyeing the sick blond.
"Good. Please stay here. We'll get back to you as soon as possible. Eren and Jean will come with me."
Nobody dared to talk as the three of them strutted through the now seemingly endless hallway. The dimming afternoon sun seeping through the windows felt foreboding, painting an eerie bloodshot colour to the skies beyond. Just upon reaching the commander's office, they saw a familiar blond man accompanied by a young boy at his side. They immediately approached the two, hearts pounding altogether.
"Hey Irvin. You really need to hear this. Now. "
"They are trying to infect everyone!" Hanji stammered, gripping Irvin's arm.
"Hanji, what are you talking about? Calm dow—"
"What the hell?!" Levi spat as the sudden ringing of the sirens fill the Military fortress, cutting off their conversation. Hanji and others stood wide-eyed frozen on the spot, looking outside to the setting sun.
"Hanji. What's happening?" Irvin asked urgently, feeling a sudden chill.
"The Eotenum virus. I think they contaminated our waters with it." Hanji replied, her voice a mere whisper against the alarming signal.
"What!? Are you sure about this?" Irvin asked, dumbfounded, as goosebumps formed in his already sweating skin.
"Armin, he's got it."
"It infected him immediately. He drank from the well in the city earlier. Now he's sick, and his body was trying to force it out. He has been vomiting since. I already checked his blood."
"I already gave him some. He's still lucky you know. I don't know how many people have been infected, and we have not and cannot mass produce that antidote right now. We aren't prepared for this."
"We need to know what the hell is happening outside now, –Irvin." Levi butted in, his piercing eyes turning alert, grave.
"Eren, Jean." Irvin snapped, facing the others.
"Assemble everyone you can find. I need all the squad leaders to be informed of a probable situation immediately."
"Tell them to prepare for the worst. We're going to check the situation outside. Assemble everyone in the parade ground and wait for my orders."
"Understood." Eren managed to reply, as he sorted out the whirling thoughts inside his head. Irvin surely was able to think fast. The look in his eyes tell it all, how his mind was already thinking of plans and resolutions the same time he hears and tries to fully digest a problem.
Jean and Eren split up to cover more space as fast as possible. Eren was able to relay the message to a couple of soldiers and squad leaders he met, and he can tell that they were all shaken from the sudden alarm through fortress. He took a quick turn to the infirmary to check on Mikasa and Armin, and decided that it was best to for them to stay behind for the mean time. Armin was in no condition to fight but Mikasa can surely protect him if anything happens. He afterwards went outside to meet Jean and the others after he had covered as much area there was, his gut feeling heavier every passing minute.
Eren felt like it was just yesterday, that day when he saw them, his mother, those soulless creatures that fed on the living, those creatures that are damned and forsaken by humanity, are now rising once again to take what's left, of what little that was left of their hope, their happiness, and their dreams.
Everything seemed like an awful nightmare, but the resounding sirens all over Rose district sucked him back to the reality that he never wanted to see. .
"It all went according to plan. What now?" A blond girl asked discreetly, whilst feigning attention to the babbling squad leader in front of them.
"We wait." A blond guy replied, scanning through the soldiers and checking upon the vicinity.
"We can surely go home after all of this, right?" Another guy asked, looking as nervous as everybody else.
"Of course. This is all or nothing." The blond guy replied, his darkening eyes full of resolve.