Woot, i love all the reviews i got for the last chapter, You guys are amazing and make all of this worth it. Next chapter will take me a few days this time but expect it soon just like this one.I still haven't been able to contact my beta so it won't be up to the usual quality, enjoy guys
Edit: Edited chapter 12 also, will be updating 13 as soon as my Beta gets back to me, thanks for being patient guys! =)
Chapter 12 : Scent
There was a word for this, she knew there was, but for reasons unknown it kept slipping her mind. Karma, maybe? She really didn't believe in past lives but if she did she must have been horribly cruel to puppies to have this kind of bad luck.
"I can't believe they assigned three of us to guard a door..." Ymir sighed and leaned against the wall, a standard issue rifle strapped across her side.
"Think of it as our first test as real soldiers!" Krista exclaimed
Annie wished that they would stop talking for just a few minutes at a time.
their incessant chattering was beginning to wear on her already frayed nerves.
"I wonder how the runt managed to pull it off..." Ymir wondered out loud. It had been a question that had been assaulting the minds of the 104th ever since they had found out that Armin had indeed been involved with the incident. After all, the last time they had seen him, their fellow trainee had been in pain and incapable of walking.
"I guess we can only wait and see...I'm just glad he is alright."
Ymir patted Krista's head, admiring her kind soul. She turned to the silent lone-wolf in the room. "So Annie, any secrets you want to reveal about your boy toy? Hidden abilities? Extreme powers of persuasion?"
resisted the urge to roll her eyes and met Ymir's mischievous smile with blank regard. "Not as far as I know..."
"You sure about that?" Ymir urged, raising a playful eyebrow. "There has got to be something..."
Annie felt a little confused by her actions, but didn't allow it to register in the muscles of her face, "You make it sound like we were close. These are questions that you should be aiming at Mikasa or Eren. Not me."
"Ymir, leave Annie alone..."
Annie sent Krista a mental thank you. At least her fellow blonde knew how to read the mood enough to know when to stop testing her already miniscule patience. They delved into silence as the three of them went back to guarding the door. Unfortunately for Annie, the peace died away in record time as Ymir decided to once again break the silence that she had been savoring.
Annie looked up at the teasing smirk.
"Try not jump him when he comes by."
"I'll try to keep my panties on, Ymir..." She retorted. Ymir laughed and Krista mirrored her Without understanding where the humor lie, "You two make the worst jokes!"
Ymir suddenly pulled Krista's brown Trainee Corps jacket over her head, causing the girl to shriek in surprise. "Ymir!"
Unable to see, Krista stumbled a bit before reaching out blindly to try and find Ymir's location. As soon as she managed to grasp Ymir's arm, she calculated her center of gravity and unleashed a head-butt to the taller girl's ribs. Ymir winced and collapsed.
"That's what you get!" Krista huffed, pulling her jacket back to its proper place.
Annie was half expecting Ymir to get mad. Instead she just laughed like this had happened a thousand times before. Considering how close the two were to each other, Annie would not have been surprised if it had.
Armin swallowed what felt like his heart as he heard the absolute chaos that was no doubt the result of the hundreds of people that were now outside Wall Sina. Erwin had explained that there was
something going on, but he hadn't expected this to be what he was referring to.
He jumped when he heard a scream quieted by the sound of a single gunshot.
"W-what was that!?" He was blind, surrounded on all sides by the thick canvas of the carriage walls. His panic rose. If sound alone dictated anything, it was that he was being driven into a den of lions. The last time he had been in the rear of a carriage for transport, with only sound to feed his mind's eye visuals, he had been led into one of the worst experiences of his short young life.
Armin felt a hand begin to ruffle his hair. "Don't you worry, little buddy! Probably just a warning shot." Hanji said.
Mike nodded in agreement and smiled, "Yeah, kid. Just stay looking pretty and be ready for when Erwin shows up."
Armin kept still for a brief moment, his eyes shifting attention from Mike and Hanji. Their faces didn't betray their reassurances.
"Okay..." he managed to say, and it was through the shaking of his voice that he realized his entire body was trembling.
He laid back down and waited. The noise outside began to get increasingly louder as time passed by. Eventually Armin began to have trouble hearing his own thoughts as the uproar outside reached an all-time high.
He heard the faint hollers of someone barking out orders in the distance before an accumulation of the din boomed suddenly just outside the canvas. He stared at the silhouettes against the thick tapestry that shielded him in shock, and wondered if it was really enough to protect him.
"The soldiers are just pushing back the civilians so none of them can get in while they open the gate to let us through." Mike told him.
Armin accepted the answer as the rhythmic plodding lilted and the heavy concrete gate opened with a terrifying rumble that eclipsed even the voices of the crowd.
After a few minutes, Armin felt the caravan move again. It was as if an agitated beehive had just been sent whirring past his head. The buzzing of the riot faded, sealed away by the thunderclap of the gate closing once more. He felt a strange sense of relief flow through him as he knew for sure that he was, finally, safe in Wall Sina.
"Connie, help!" Sasha screeched. She and several members of the 104th were trying desperately to hold back the wall of people that were pushing against them. Despite being overwhelmed, each of them had, at one point or another, managed to witness the caravan that possibly carried Armin stroll in through the gate.
The only tools they had been provided to stand against the mob, were heavy wooden shields.
Connie was close enough to hear Sasha's cry, but not free enough to get to her. He was giving as much effort as he could to keep the worked up civilians at bay.
"I'm smaller! Why don't you help me?"
"But you're stronger!" The brunette countered, and Connie rolled his eyes.
"With the way you eat potatoes? I doubt it!"
"I ate one potato! One time! And now everyone holds it against me!"
Despite himself, Connie laughed.
"Connie, Sasha- now is not the time!" Reiner said, trying to be stern with his younger peers, but a few stray chuckles escaped from his mouth.
Eren was directly to the right of Reiner, and barely managed to get his head out of the way as a wandering hand reached out for him. "That was Armin wasn't it!? Goddamn it!
We should be over there!"
"Jean and Marco were the only ones assigned to be inside the debriefing room! We will just get them to tell us what happened later on." Mikasa said, attempting to calm her adoptive brother. She was just as worried for Armin, but aside from what she was already doing, it was clear that there was no assistance she could offer him. The best effort she could afford to extend was spent trying to ease Eren's concern.
"Focus, you stupid trainees!" A member of the military police overseeing them snarled.
Sasha grumbled at being reprimanded and went back to trying to stop the crowd. Then she felt it. The sixth sense that she had honed from years of growing up in a hunting village. The instinct was raw and wild, blinking and flashing, demanding her body to move. Before Sasha Blouse was aware of what she was doing, she had spun to avoid the hand that reached over the shield for her
hair and lashed out with an elbow that landed directly against the stranger's nose.
There was a loud crunch and a small amount of blood sprayed from his broken nostrils onto Sasha's horrified face.
"I'm-I'm-I'm..." Sasha stuttered, her eyes wide and frightened.
A short silence followed after as the stranger collapsed. Now one stooped to collect him from the ground. Every resident had simply stopped and watched with disbelief as one of their soldiers assaulted a civilian.
It should be said that, in lieu of recent findings, the citizens had been volatile for the entire day as it was. It was a mechanical, toxic violence, but it had been built on more of a righteous fury than a heated one. It had not yet fully spread to a truly uncontainable mass of destruction. Now, they faced each other and without any words to disperse misunderstanding or understanding, they surged forward. If they had truly needed a reason to ignite their wrath beyond a flame to an inferno, they had just found it.
There was an explosion of noise and chaos, and the trainee's along with the military police found themselves being pushed back by the sheer strength they were exhibiting.
Eren bit his lip and struggled to maintain his position along the wall of people but before he could think any further, he was blindsided by a woman who managed to snake her arm above the shield and land a vicious hook across his face. His teeth split the skin of his lip where he'd been biting it. Something else felt wet and broken but he didn't have time for a crude self-examination.
"Everyone get back! The Caravan is inside and the gate has been closed!" The Superior officer shouted. The 104th trainees and the Military police officers could not have heard happier news as they slowly retreated into a small barracks meant for the soldiers. They had barely managed to close the door behind them and barricade it with a metal pole, when the citizens pounding against it caused it to shake and tremble.
Sasha bowed onto the ground as tears rolled down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry! It's all my fault! "
Without really looking for him, she suddenly grabbed a shocked Connie and buried her face against his chest, letting out all her sorrows onto his shirt.
"Hey, what the hell!? Let go!" Connie squirmed, trying to slip out of her grip, but this only caused her to hold on tighter and wail even louder.
"Eren, are you alright?" Mikasa was hovering over him to stare at his bleeding nose.
He pinched his nostrils and tilted his head slightly to prevent more blood from escaping.
"I'm fine, Mikasa. It's not broken or anything," He said nasally and shooed her away. She remained at his side, trying to see if she could be of any help to him.
A few minutes later, Reiner and Bertholdt walked towards them, each carrying several slices of what looked like stale bread in their long arms.
"Here. Everyone should get something in their stomachs," Reiner said, handing out the pieces of bread to his fellow trainees, "I have a feeling that this is probably just getting started."
He approached Eren and Mikasa and gave them each a piece that they took gratefully.
"You alright there, Eren?" Reiner asked, bending over slightly to look at the extent of the injury.
Eren nodded and gave him a thumbs up.
Mikasa pulled his hand away to scrutinize it, "I think it's broken," She then scowled, her sharp eyes narrowing dangerously. "If I ever see that stupid woman again I'll cut her up."
She muttered the vicious promise to herself, but both Eren and Reiner were close enough to hear.
"Mikasa, you can't just go around cutting people down because Eren got hurt."
She blinked at him, her demeanor returning to her usual calm, "Why not?"
Reiner paused and gaped slightly at the Asian woman.
Was that a serious question...?
"Worst part is that she would do it too." Eren stated, his voice still annoyingly nasal. Reiner looked between the two of them before laughing and giving them both encouraging slaps to the back before walking away to help Bertholdt pass out the rest of the bread.
After Reiner left Mikasa faced her
adoptive brother and frowned, "Eren, I just want to pro-"
"I know," Eren spoke, cutting her off impatiently. He already knew full well the words that were about to come from her mouth. Fortunately for her, between the revelation that his best friend was somehow involved in some crisis in Wall Sina and the painful throb of his nose, he really didn't have the energy to yell at her and have them descend into one of their usual arguments.
"I know okay. Just sit alright?" he said, his voice uncharacteristically subdued.
Mikasa stood still for a moment before nodding and taking a seat beside him.
Eren stared after her, a bit surprised that she had not protested in any way. Usually it took extreme bouts of shouting for messages to get through to her.
He decided not to question the good fortune and instead let his thoughts travel to his best friend. He wondered where he was now, what he was thinking, and most of all if he was safe.
He suddenly felt a soft hand on his shoulder. He met the dark eyes of his adoptive sister "He'll be alright. He's strong."
Eren smiled at her, unable to convey how much her assurance meant to him. She was right. Armin was strong, and like him, there was not a thing in the world that would prevent him from accomplishing his dream.
Connie stared at Eren and Mikasa, holding a hand to his heart and a luminous smile on his face, "That's so nice, and sweet, and tender, and I can feel myself absolutely melting with the fuzzy wuzzys and will someone get her the fuck off me!"
"Here let me help..." Bertholdt towered at Connie's side before he crouched in front of Sasha, dangling the bread above her head. Her body visibly stiffened and Connie felt her sniff the air. Before anyone could move she had lunged at the bread at inhuman speeds, catching the baked good in her jaws.
Bertholdt let out an awkward laugh as Sasha absolutely murdered the bread, the animalistic sounds coming from her catching the attention of every single person in the room.
"I think she's okay now..." Bertholdt whispered to Connie.
She finished the bread and burped loudly.
Connie felt his eye twitch, distinctly aware of the wetness of his shirt "Oh yeah, she's just fine..."
Armin had a hunch about where they were wheeling him to.
Another room. He was seriously becoming tired of this endless routine of being transferred from room to room then being left alone while everyone went about their lives. He felt so stagnant, as if he had frozen in time the moment his bone had snapped while the world moved on without him.
On the bright side, he had the pleasure of meeting the many personalities of the Survey Corps. He had not expected Levi to be such a clean freak. He had watched in fascination and slight amusement as the man had scrubbed and dusted his room clean...twice. Not only that, the shorter man had taken the time to inform him about the intricacies of the broom.
It had been an odd yet...fascinating conversation.
For a man with such an intimidatingly monstrous reputation, he was surprisingly human. He had also been acquainted with Levi's squad who, for some reason, kept insisting that he join them for poker night. The only problem was that Armin had no idea what poker was and more importantly, judging by the glare that she had fixed them with, Petra did not seem to approve of the idea in the slightest.
Armin was happy to realize that if and when he joined the Survey Corps, he would be surrounded by capable and friendly people.
"Hey little buddy, snap out of it. We're almost to your room."
"Right, sorry" Armin answered, feeling embarrassed that the habit of losing himself in his own thoughts had surfaced in front of other people once again.
"Don't worry about it kid," Mike said smelling the air, "Just about everyone ignores her."
Armin didn't think anyone was capable of ignoring Hanji Zoe. She was a storm of emotion and titan enthusiasm, and you never ignored a storm. You barricaded the walls and stocked up on supplies and hoped for the best.
"Hmm, the air smells weird..."
Armin looked at Mike oddly, wondering what the man was talking about.
"Oh wow, it's the runt..."
"You should probably stop calling him that..."
Armin felt his eyes widen at the sight of Ymir, Krista, and Annie standing in front of him.
"You got three beautiful girls here to greet you kid. Aren't you the lucky one?"
Armin hadn't heard a word Mike had uttered. It had only been a few days since he had last seen them, but he had not expected them to be here at all. How did they get into Wall Sina? And why were they standing in front of him? But none of those questions really mattered as he took in the view of Annie. He was overjoyed at an opportunity to see her again.
"Annie! It's so good to see you."
Annie adjusted a few stray pieces of blonde hair from her face, trying to act nonchalant. Inside however, she was glad that he seemed so pleased to see her. It was such an unusual sensation for someone to actually enjoy her presence, let alone welcome it as much as he did.
"Annie, they're dropping..." Ymir whispered to her, her lips twitching in barely contained amusement.
"Shut up," She growled. The urge to punch Ymir's jaw clean off was increasing each second that she was near the girl.
"Armin, I'm so glad you're okay. We heard about happened!" Krista approached and greeted his two caretakers with a bright smile.
"Hello, my name is Krista Renz. It's nice to meet you-" Krista stopped and all of a sudden froze when the tallest man bent down and took a long whiff of her.
She squeaked as Armin had and flushed, unable to move a muscle at the bizarre action.
"You smell really good..."
Behind them Annie raised an intrigued eyebrow while Ymir gaped, "Did that asshole just sniff her!?"
Hanji laughed gaily, she was clearly used to disarming situations that involved Mike and his odd habit. "Don't worry. He does that all the time..."
Krista highly doubted that. If he did, this man would likely be in prison.
Armin gave her a look of sympathy, "He did it to me too, and it's a one-time thing so he won't do it again."
Hanji and Mike wheeled Armin to the door where Ymir and Annie were standing and guided him
in past them. For the briefest of seconds, Armin locked eyes with Annie and offered her a smile. Annie shifted her eyes from his in response. She wasn't really keen on exchanging pointless social gestures.
Armin paid her reaction little mind as he took in his new room. The first thing that he noticed were the pair of crutches placed neatly near the wall.
"Miss Hanji, can you get me those please!" he said, unable to contain the jubilation from his voice.
Hanji was a bit confused as to why he seemed so happy, but obliged nonetheless, walking over to the crutches to pick them up and hand them over. "Here ya go, little buddy..."
"Thank you!" With a grunt of effort, Armin lifted himself from the chair, putting the crutches underneath his armpits. Little by little he walked over to the bed that was laid out for him. His small and cautious steps were like leaps and bounds to him. Unlike the other times he had foolishly decided to walk, there was no blinding pain, no overwhelming sense of urgency, or dread, or fear.
It felt like it took ages, but in reality it was over in a few seconds. Armin reached the bed and put the crutches nearby and slowly laid down. There were jolts of pain that ran through his body as he adjusted himself on the comfortable bed, but nothing that was out of the ordinary.
He let go a breath of satisfaction. It had been far too long since he had done something with his own effort.
"I have a couple things I have to do so I'm going to leave you to yourself, Armin. Erwin said he was going to come by and visit you in a little while so expect him to drop by. Other than him, your guards outside were specifically ordered to not let anyone else enter the room, so you should be safe."
Armin nodded, mentally taking note of all the information he received, "Thank you, Miss Hanji."
The bespectacled woman smiled and pinched his cheeks before waving goodbye.
In the other room, Krista stared up at the towering figure still in front of her.
"You're big..." She whispered, a bit awed by his stature.
Mike Zacharius was busy rubbing his nose from the odd stench in the air and barely heard the small blonde girl.
"I said...You're big." Krista repeated.
Mike Sneezed loudly and then blinked "Well...you're small."
He snorted and sneezed again.
"Are you alright sir? Are you sick?" She asked.
Mike continued to itch and rub vigorously at his nose.
He waved her off. "Don't worry about it kid. I've always had kind of a sensitive nose. It's not a big deal. There's just something weird about the air here."
Krista did not looked convinced "If you say so..."
Hanji suddenly opened the door of Armin's room, rejoined Mike and the trainees and closed it behind her. Mike watched as the normally jubilant woman became dead serious. Her amber eyes, starkly not so much amber as shadowed black by her lowered head. She turned to the three young trainee's.
"Listen well, you three. I want one of you guarding the door at all times, and two of you patrolling the surrounding hallways and entry points. All the other rooms are empty but I want you to check them periodically just to be safe. Lastly, I want you to rotate who guards the door and who patrols. Since you three seem like capable young women, I will let you decide the finer details for yourselves, am I understood?"
"Now, I want to be perfectly clear that no one is allowed to enter this room, including the three of you. If I learn that any of you directly spoke with Armin, severe disciplinary actions may be enacted upon you. The only person that will be allowed to enter the room is Commander Erwin Smith and he will arrive shortly to speak with him. Only he and I may relieve you of your duties."
"I remember when I used to be important..." Mike Muttered to himself, before sneezing again.
Hanji continued without missing a beat, "Shadis had good things to say about the lot of you and believe me when I say that he is not one to handout compliments easily, so don't disappoint me."
Hanji gave them a salute before pulling Mike along with her.
Krista, Ymir, and Annie watched as they turned a corner and disappeared, taking with them all sound in the room. It became silent afterward. The three of them stood unmoving beside each other, not too sure where to start.
Krista took a look at her companions before frowning. She had thought that they were sharing the air of uncertainty, but she could tell what they were planning to do just by the looks on their faces.
"You two are going in aren't you...?"
"Yup." Ymir chirped
"Damn straight." Annie said.
Krista looked left and right to make sure no one was there, the thought of doing something that could warrant discipline went against her very being "A-aren't you two afraid of what will happen if you get caught!?" She reasoned in a last ditch effort to get them to stop.
Ymir smirked at her "Nope."
Annie already had her hand on the knob "Sorry, I left my fucks back at the Academy, I can't give any right now."
"Aren't you the least bit curious as to how he managed to do all this crap with a broken foot?" Ymir asked her.
"Leg." Annie corrected.
"Whatever, the point is that I still say he's been hiding some kind of super secret ability."
Krista despite herself felt her interest peek "Ability? Do you know what kind?"
Ymir shook her head, "No but we sure as hell ain't gonna find that out if we stay out here twiddling out thumbs."
"If you three are going to come in, you should probably do it already!" Armin's slightly amused voice rang through their ears causing them to pause.
Annie shrugged and turned the knob to push the door open, the three were greeted with the sight of Armin chuckling softly behind his hand "Sorry to disappoint you, but no secret abilities here.
Another Chapter done fuck yeah, I bet you guys are happy aren't you! Aren't ya!
Toto Yoshio: I know right, i am so tired of everyone in aot being recognized for something and Armin getting nothing at all, not even a nod of approval for all the shet he has done. and don't worry Connie is used to it XD.
Stiller3: aww no long review? XD well not alot happened that chapter after all, any thoughts on this one? =P
Seseorang: Thank you, and Erwin will be being sly in the next few chapter hehe. Im really happy that you think everyone is in character.
Mikila94: Heh thank you, you got your wish XD, and it is not last you see of them together either.
lionharts: Annie and Armin reunion is right around the corner, trust me it;s killing me too (Aruani Lyfe)
rockytaing: Yes it is definitely fun to write, and thank you for sticking with the story, i hope i can keep thing's interesting for you.
silentsirenofdeath: im really glad i updated too, and yeah ill be bringing the feels in this story =)
BloodLily16: HAHAHA, hallelujah indeed XD