Shingeki no Kyojin belongs to Isayama Hajime.


Levi remembers his childhood, the time spent alone in the darkness where daylight doesn't dare to sear through. He remembers thinking that, yes, definitely, I'm going to see the outside world, to where he would get to discover the warmth of sunshine and the summer wind, and the endless stretch of sky. He remembers the excitement and the dreaming and the fantasies about how wonderful it'd be, away from the horrible stench of misery and the manifestation of the worst humanity has to offer.

Then he remembers seeing the walls for the first time, and realizing what a lie it was in the world above, realizing that he was trapped, still the same as ever. He remembers how a part of him had crumpled at the thought of not seeing it all - because all that he can see inside these cages is merely a speck in all there is. He remembers growing to hate the corrupted rich, the military police turning the other way, remembers studying the Recon Corps' emblem on his new jacket and his new cape and wanting more than ever to escape.

(That was his original intention.)

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(He forgets which expedition it was - 57th or 58th? There are no remains, and the trees all look identical, but he recognizes the eerie view immediately when he flies overhead of it.)

(He remembers avoiding looking directly at their bodies, their expressions, as they dangled from a branch, lay mangled on the grass.)

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He'd always been alone - people entered his life at a pace that he can't truly fathom, and left just as quickly. They'd (Erwin) seen him at his most vulnerable, they'd (Eren) admired him with eyes that held such unconcealed hope, they'd (Petra, Auruo, Erd, Gunter) put their faith in him, trusted him when he still sometimes secretly doubted himself.

It's fragmented - they saw a part of him, and he saw a part of them; but not the whole, no, just a glimpse of the whole picture. He didn't know them completely, and they didn't know him. That's fine and all, but it still hurts.

Levi would preferably do without most people, because every time they found a place in his consciousness, they added a bit of weight to his mind - and he wonders how long it would be until he finally collapses from it, pulling him away from the skies and back down towards the earth. (It's insufferable, because each time they leave, it wouldn't even relieve that weight; in fact, it adds to it.)

It gets heavier with each expedition, each mingling responsibility and emotions together, and it's so hard to separate the two and to learn to not care.

He's wondered more than once or twice about how the hell Erwin can deal with it all.

He keeps trudging forward, feeling weak under all that weight, feeling more and more tired. At first he tried to count the number of those who left, for what reason he can't understand, but after a few dozen he gave up, because then came the inevitable human feelings. He remembers a bit of everyone that had gone, can still attach descriptions to their names: one had exceptional courage, the other had a focused mindset, that one admired him to ridiculous extents, and how this one was understanding, and at the age to get married, or so her father had told him.

(How they all had a life ahead of them, how they're not really ready to die - none of them were - but they gave themselves anyway. And he lives.)

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(He'd expected empty sockets staring up at him, but there's nothing there - though when he lands at that same spot, he finds her cape, the wings faded and old.)

(He still remembers it, and it's terrifyingly lucid; how their eyes had accidentally met when he couldn't tear away quickly enough, how hers were dead and his alive with emotions, how he forced himself to feel dead so that he can suppress those emotions.)

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They give him the title of strongest, but when he pulls back, and sees the entire canvas of humanity laid out in front of him, it makes him realize just how small he is in this vast, vast world: how he doesn't know anything and how he can't carry the weight of all those lives.

He isn't cracking under the pressure, not yet, but his thoughts wander at night, when the black washes out blue and the presence of stars makes his existence shrink even more, makes him wonder - whether he's searching to be freed from the walls, or to be freed from those burdens of the ones who left.


A/N: reposted from tumblr with slight changes, written for seiryuus :o uh so this will probably be a compilation of random snk drabbles i spit out when i'm bored idk *crawls under bed*