Forget Me Not
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story they belong respectfully to the creators of Shingeki no Kyojin and Karneval.
Warning: Themes of shounen-ai/yaoi/homosexual relationships and whatever, you know all that good stuff, crossovers and some mild OOC-ness… If any of this bothers you then you have the option of not reading.
Music: "Trust You" by Yuno Itou & "Tomorrow" by Tsunematsu Ayumi
A/N: When I first watched Attack on Titan, I was watching Karneval around the same time so when I heard Gareki's voice actor, Kamiya Hiroshi as Levi, I had this jaw dropping moment. I don't know why but I imagined Levi being a cold person because of some unexplainable incident, much like how Gareki is an ass because he was sold off into slavery as a child by his parents and such (I'm too lazy to go into detail) but moving on, I ship GareNai and began to wonder what would happen if Levi had a person like Nai by his side. I know some people don't like GareNai, I don't mind but please don't bash me for it because I love their dynamic T.T Anyways, I stuck Levi with Nai and I'm just writing this blindly and seeing where it will go.
His name was Nai Muhinyi. Rivaille has no idea why such a naïve boy like him is in the military academy but low and behold, he's enrolled and surprisingly is very good with the 3D Maneuvering Gear if not spacey as he leaps and flies in his intricate ways. His movements alone are unlike any other the former criminal has seen before. They are unconventional yet graceful; almost too eccentric, like the boy had been raised by a traveling circus. His skills have too much of a focus in showing off rather than flying away from danger unfortunately, so it is only natural for the albino to receive a low score in teamwork despite his enthusiasm in cooperation.
Rivaille doesn't know how they become friends, but Nai's persistence is startling. When he makes the teen cry one day after lunch because of a misunderstanding, he's absolutely terrified by the albino's tearful wailing a few moments later. Embarrassing is hardly the right word to use and Rivaille has never regretted making another person cry until that very moment.
"Soldiers don't cry! Quit being a crybaby already!" Rivaille exclaims nervously but that only makes Nai cry even louder.
Without thinking, Rivaille clasps his hand against the other's mouth in an effort to muffle the albino teen's tearful shouts. Nai continued to whimper behind the large hand and though he wanted to stop crying, it was oddly enough, quite a difficult task for him to do. Rivaille surprises himself when he reaches out to wipe away the teen's tears and pat his back awkwardly and when Nai senses the comfort in the older male's actions, he attaches himself immediately to him much to Rivaille's distain.
The pair become an inseparable force as trainee's. With Nai being the weakest, both physically and emotionally in comparison—Rivaille quickly establishes himself as the teen's caretaker and closest friend. Though he comes off as annoyed every now and again, Rivaille comes to understand that he genuinely cares about Nai and wants nothing more than to protect him from all the things that wish to bring harm to him.
When Nai talks about a man named Karoku, it is the first time that Rivaille feels inferior since the teen speaks so highly of him.
"See, Karoku gave me this bracelet!" He says, showing him the leather trinket wrapped securely around his wrist. "He told me that I'm his most important person and if I want to, someday I can give this same bracelet to the person whose most important to me too."
"Really?" Rivaille humors him a little. "Say, whatever happened to this Karoku?"
Nai goes silent at that moment and when he looks down at his feet, Rivaille knows that he's hit a sore spot and instantly wishes he could take his words back.
"I don't know." Nai admits. "He never came back home after he left with the Survey Corps one day. That's why I'm here, because I want to find him."
Rivaille realizes then that Karoku is probably never coming back if he already ventured beyond the wall. He wants to tell Nai that his efforts are in vain, that Karoku is most likely dead but if he makes Nai cry—he'll regret that even more than taking away his wishes to see the outside world and finding Karoku.
With a heavy heart, he ruffles the teen's fluffy white tresses. They are soft between his fingers and for a moment he relishes in the feeling. "I'll help you find him." He says, abide reluctantly but the smile Nai wears on his face is blinding—beautiful and Rivaille blushes darkly knowing that the other's expression was meant for his eyes and no one else's.
By some miracle, Nai makes tenth in the top ten while Rivaille takes first place. It is mostly thanks to Rivaille himself that the teen was able to improve so drastically during their three years together. Many trainee's find the albino undeserving of his place and find it to be an even greater waste when he joins the Survey Corps but Rivaille is quick to come to Nai's defense and he joins the younger boy if only to protect him and to be closer to his idol Irvin Smith.
His relationship with Nai takes a dozen leaps after their first expedition together. Nai is nearly eaten by an aberrant when he is literally plucked off from the back of his horse during the chase and it is only by chance that Rivaille manages to save him in time before he is swallowed whole.
Of course Rivaille is furious because the teen was being absentminded as usual and in a situation like that, it is not an excuse and he loses his cool in seconds the moment they return to the castle and step into their shared bedroom.
"You idiot! You could have been eaten if I hadn't been there!" He screams at the top of his lungs. It is a rare occurrence that Rivaille ever loses his composure but when it comes down to Nai, the usually stoic soldier has no restraints.
"I-I'm sorry I—"
"Sorry isn't an excuse Nai! Don't you understand?! You could have died!"
"I—I…" Before he knows it, tears are already welling up in his ruby colored eyes.
Rivaille groans. Here comes the water works… "Nai, no please don't cry…"
"I can't help it!" He wails and it's too late to stop him as the tears stream down his face.
Frustrated and exhausted, Rivaille takes the teen's face into his hands and silences him with a firm kiss. It feels natural in a sense as their mouths massage against each other and instantly Nai is parting his lips for him and Rivaille takes the plunge. They do nothing more other than kiss until their mouths are red and swollen and for the rest of the night; Nai sleeps next to him in his bed with his body curled up against the older male's side.
Yes, their relationship takes surprising leaps and bounds, all of which are for the better and by their third expedition, Nai has grown stronger and more adapt at killing titans than ever before. Still, Rivaille can't help but worry constantly over his lover's safety and to increase the albino's chances of survival, he implores Irvin to assign them together during their missions.
By Nai's fifth expedition, he doesn't need Rivaille to explain to him that Karoku is never coming back because by some stroke of luck they find what looks to be a graveyard and among the bones and trashed gear, they salvage a journal belonging to Karoku. The last page is found to be dedicated to Nai and when Rivaille reads it aloud to him, the teen can't help but cry the entire way home.
For a long time, Nai is saddened, but because he has Rivaille by his side, he seeks comfort and Rivaille gives it to him without question.
One day, when they're horseback riding together by the river close to headquarters', Nai finds a patch of blue wild flowers.
"Rivaille! What are these flowers? They're really pretty!"
The dark haired soldier hardly gives the plants a glance, but he knows what they are regardless. "They're called Forget Me Nots."
"Forget Me Nots? Do they have a meaning? Karoku told me all flowers have a meaning! Do you know?!" He asks excitedly.
Rivaille wants to tell him no, that he doesn't know but Nai's eagerness sways his decision and he groans inwardly at how easily the teen can get what he wants from him without even trying.
"They're supposed to mean eternal love or remembrance. Cheesy romantic crap."
"Really?" Nai's eyes grow and before Rivaille has any time to stop him, the teen is already jumping off his horse and picking the flowers one by one.
While Rivaille waits patiently on his horse and acts as a lookout, Nai sits on the ground tying the flower stems together into a flora crown. He makes one for the older male and himself. When he climbs back up onto his horse and leads the animal closer to him, Nai reaches out to place the flora crown on top of Rivaille's head.
"Nai…" He growls but the albino merely giggles at him. By this point, Nai has grown used to Rivaille's hostile nature and embraces it despite usually being in the man's line of fire.
"I really love you, Rivaille." Nai suddenly says with a blushing smile. "So, if anything ever happens, to you or to me… Promise that we won't forget each other!"
Rivaille is instantly smitten by the teen's words. He wants to tell Nai that no harm will ever come to him but he knows that it would be a lie because in their world, danger could be lurking around any corner and even though he already works desperately to protect Nai, there's no telling when something could go wrong.
When they head back to the castle, Rivaille takes him to their bed and makes love to him for the first time. He feels like he is stripping the teen of his innocence completely each time he thrusts into the writhing body beneath him but he has no regrets as Nai moans and cries out his name until they reach completion. Nai is a panting mess and Rivaille is no better off but he quickly learns that the albino is insatiable and within the hour they are at it again; only faster and harder than before.
From then on, Rivaille starts giving him Forget Me Nots and in no time, there is a sizeable garden of them in the back just for Nai. The teen loves them and the castle becomes flooded with the blue flowers as he puts vases upon vases of them around to brighten the headquarters up.
Everyone knows that Nai is both Rivaille's strength and weakness. The albino is a double edge sword. Although Rivaille is already strong (even before he became a soldier), mistakes are still bound to happen on the field and he doesn't take into account how tactful the deviants he faces are until it is too late. The moment he manages to dodge one titan and work around to slice at its neck, another dives forward, intending to take a bite out of him head first. It would have happened, Rivaille was sure of it but Nai's lightning speed is unanticipated and he encounters the aberrant first.
Before Rivaille's eyes, he watches, horrified as Nai tries to defend him. Nai should have gone for the nape of the titan's neck, he should have but his only goal is to protect the one he loves rather than go in for the kill. The results are devastating and before Rivaille can maneuver behind the deviant fast enough, the titan already has Nai's left arm in his mouth.
The second he hears Nai's first screams, something snaps inside of Rivaille. He shoots his hooks into the titan's forehead and as he propels himself forward, he discards his blades and flings them straight into the monster's eye sockets. The titan screeches from the pain and Nai falls from his mouth with a thick trail of blood to the ground. Rivaille can already see that the teen has lost his arm and he moves in for the kill without wasting another second. As the titan falls on its back in a crumpled heap, Rivaille acts fast and collects Nai's wounded form.
They ride on horseback until they reach a wagon and when he places Nai inside, he finally takes the time to inspect the damage that'd been done. It is a horrible sight and Rivaille lurches forward while trying not to vomit. It was gone—his left arm was gone, bitten right off from the shoulder and to see what was left of the boy's bloody shoulder blade, (the bone exposed) had Rivaille quivering. And blood… there was so much of it and Nai was losing it fast.
"Nai! Nai stay awake! We'll be back behind the walls soon I promise you!" He exclaims desperately while trying to put enough pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. It's no use though. Nai is already as pale as a ghost—as white as his own hair. He won't make it but Rivaille refuses to believe that a person like Nai can die this way.
Nai smiles weakly at him. All he sees is that Rivaille is safe and that he was able to be useful in the end. He wants to reach out and touch his cheek, but he is far too weak to lift up his other arm. He feels tears begin to collect in his fading red eyes. It hurts…
"Rivaille… You're okay, right? Please tell me you're okay…"
"Nai please don't talk, save your strength until we reach the wall!"
"B-but, you're okay?..."
"Yes I'm okay!" He shouts.
"Really?..." Nai sighs contently. "That's good, I'm so glad…"
"No, Nai don't close your eyes!" Rivaille begs him and he keeps putting pressure on him.
"But, I'm tired…" There's a hint of a whine in his voice as he begins to cry. He knows he's not going to make it. "Rivaille? Can you hold me?..."
Rivaille nods his head hastily and he scoops the dying teen into his arms and holds him tightly. He feels Nai nuzzle his cheek against his chest weakly. His breath hitches and his grip tightens.
"My bracelet from Karoku…"
"What about it?"
"Please keep it…" Nai says, his voice becoming even weaker—more forced.
"But Nai, its—"
"You're my most important person and I want to give it to you…" Nai interjects. "Please?..."
He swallows thickly. If this is the albino's way of saying goodbye than it is the worst because Rivaille doesn't know how much longer he'll be able to stomach it before he starts to fall apart inside... "Of course… I'll wear it for you, just stay awake a little longer and we'll get you a doctor and—"
"Rivaille…" Nai says his name again and he stops mid-sentence. "I really love you…" He smiles that stupid smile of his and when he slowly closes his eyes, the older male knows that it's all over. "Don't f—forget me…"
"How could I ever forget someone like you? Nai…" Rivaille holds him close, pressing the other's face closer to his chest. "You little brat! I love you…" He chokes. "I love you too, do you hear me?!"
Nai smiles and he takes his last breath as Rivaille releases a painful cry.
By the time they reach Wall Maria, his body is cold but Rivaille still cradles him closely. The soldier's expression is blank and his eyes are empty. He doesn't know how to feel and no amount of sympathy can be gained from the other soldiers around him because they've all felt the same degree of loss. When they burn the teen's body, Rivaille can't bear to watch his body melt into dust. As the sunshine of the Survey Corps, Nai is given a separate burial from everyone else—close to the garden where he loved to sit and admire the sun. When they collect his ashes, Rivaille takes them to the place where they found the Forget Me Nots and from there, he scatters them into the river, into the dirt and into the winds.
Several years later…
"Oh, it's that time of year again, huh?" Hanji remarks absentmindedly, her eyes settled on the vase of flowers that sat idly in the middle of the dining table.
"Oi, what's with all these flowers?" Jean comments with a hint of annoyance in his voice.
"They're so colorful! Don't they brighten up the room?" Christa adds excitedly.
"I saw them in the library too." Armin says. "They're everywhere."
"Yup, it's definitely that time of the year." Hanji smiles sadly and she gets up to leave the mess hall.
"Hey, what's Hanji-san talking about?" Eren wonders aloud.
"Tsk, who knows?" Jean shrugs. "One thing's for sure, if these things really are everywhere as Armin says, my allergies are going to kill me even more than it already is…"
"Still, who would have put all of these around the castle?" Mikasa questions.
Eren has a strong hunch that Hanji probably knows the culprit. Being the curious individual that he is, the titan hybrid gets up only to follow after the scientist. He feels bad for sneaking about but the sadness twinkling in Hanji's eyes tells him that this is probably a sensitive subject.
He trails after her as far as the garden and when she stops there, he finds that she is talking to no one other than Lance Corporal Levi. The stoic soldier is leaning against the stone wall of the castle, his arms crossed and eyes glued to the numerous flowers that'd been grown in the garden. Eren remembers weeding it clean when they first arrived and since then no one has been allowed to touch it other than Levi himself. Eren finds it amazing that he was able to cultivate such an abundance of plant life and despite filling up the castle with the beautiful flowers, he's even more amazed that there is still so much of the floral beauties left.
Was he the one that placed all of those vases around the castle?
"Still at it huh Levi?" Hanji asks.
"It's been nine years since he passed away." The corporal says. Although he seemed like his usual self, the lack of authority in his tone said otherwise. To Eren, he sounded tired—less of a soldier and more human for once. "Besides, I told him I would never forget." He grips the leather bracelet tightly in his hand.
"If he was still here, I can imagine him dancing around this place like a carefree child."
"I know. Once an idiot, always an idiot."
"But you loved that idiot regardless." Hanji comments and Eren's breath hitches.
Levi's acute hearing picks up on the subtle sound Eren makes. He knows someone is eavesdropping. "Whoever you are back there, show yourself." He commands and Eren winces as he steps forward from behind his hiding place.
"Oh, Eren." Hanji says, surprised.
"What are you doing here brat?" Levi snaps at him.
"I'm sorry, I was just curious. The flowers, they're really beautiful and I just wanted to know where they all came from since they're placed around the entire castle."
"Well, now you know so why don't you get lost already." Levi says and Eren shudders under the older man's intense gaze.
Slowly but surely, Eren back treks and when he's close to the corner again, he turns heel and scampers away like a dog with his tail hanging between his legs. Hanji gives her fellow soldier a light glare but she can't blame Levi for being colder than usual because it is a sensitive time of year for him. Instead she follows after Eren swiftly and when she is just a few steps behind him, she manages to grab his hand.
"Eren! Don't be upset with Levi, he's just going through a tough time."
"I—I'm not mad!" Eren stampers. "I understand he's not being himself—well I mean he is but then he's not at the same time… He's just grieving and I understand, I really do…"
"Maybe, to some extent you do understand his pain but in another sense, you don't." Hanji frowns. "It's really complicated. I want to explain it to you, but I don't believe that it's my place to tell you Levi's story."
"I know and it's okay. I'll just wait, I can do that much for him." Eren murmurs as he looks down at his feet. "I want him to open up to me at his own pace. It's the right thing to do after all if I want him to trust me."
"That's a logical way, but in the past someone did the very opposite and got away with it scot-free." Hanji chimed sadly.
"Mmhm." Hanji nods. "I shouldn't be giving it away though, so if you want to wait for Levi to tell you go ahead. Or, you can be like that person and bug the hell out of him. Whichever you choose." She advised with a mischievous glint.
An hour later, Eren returns to the garden. He finds Levi still there, obviously enjoying the sun and light breeze as he sits on top of a cloth spread on the ground with a woven picnic basket beside him. He seems lost and when Eren releases a soft, 'Ahem' it is only then that Levi considers his presence.
"Get over here brat."
Eren goes to him without question. As he looks down at his superior, he notes the extra silence and the fact that he isn't making rude remarks. Instead, he's just sitting there, idly and it looks like he is daydreaming or remembering something from long ago.
When Eren sits down next to him, they stare at the Forget Me Nots together. He knows the meaning behind them after asking Hanji and the female scouts. They symbolize true love and remembrance and he finds it to be a romantic notion that Levi would place them around the castle. It is captivating.
"What was his name? The person you grew this garden for?"
Eren doesn't understand why it hurts to hear another person's name from Levi, but it does. He doesn't stop the conversation though and instead presses on. "Was he a soldier?"
"He was a scout." Levi says. He isn't sure why he is telling the brat any of this but his lips move of its own accord. He has no control. All he knows is that after all this time; Nai's legacy cannot be forgotten so he talks if only to remember the life he had before. "He shouldn't have been a soldier though because he was an overall child, a big crybaby with an even bigger heart and he was as innocent as a fucking sheep." He sighed. "Because he was a scout—because he had such a big heart, he died saving me. His last wish was that I don't forget him, so I won't and I never will."
Eren wants to ask more but when he sees the glossy sheen of Levi's dark eyes, he stops himself and instead goes to hold the older man's hand and squeezes it tightly in his.
A/N: If I write anymore I'll probably cry… xAx That is all…