A/N: A new fanfiction and this time it's SnK! (My first one!) Thise fic is inspired by an amazing comic I saw on tumblr. I hope you like this!
Diclaimer: I don't own SnK! (obviously)
moves in, she touches your arm
and it's too late for logic
too late to stop it
stand up and hurry away
'cause you know the place where this will lead
and it can't touch the endless need inside you
- The Highest Cost by Son of Rust
"This is never going to work. Never. You don't look like a boy at all, Mikasa. At all!"
Mikasa drew her brows together as she looked at herself in the mirror. Frankly, she really didn't fill that part yet. She had cut her hair already but her lips were still too round and her lashes too long.
"Don't worry. I can make it work," she whispered and thought about ways to make it look more believable. "I could cut them, too. My lashes," she concluded and turned around to her brother Eren and her best friend Armin. Both of them just stared at her, expressing their distaste for her idea. It wasn't like they mattered much to her anyway. They were just lashes. If sacrificing them meant that she could stay with Eren, then she wouldn't hesitate.
"You two should go to bed. We'll leave tomorrow morning right? I will make this work," she said again and with those last words, she opened the door and waited until both of them left.
It wasn't that she really wanted them to leave actually. But she didn't need any audience for what she was about to do.
Slowly, Mikasa pulled her dress over her head and let it fall to the floor. Hair, lashes and all those kinds weren't the real problem. She could always cut them. But she had one issue - two actually - she couldn't just cut off. Mikasa sighed and got the bandages she took from her adoptive father's working case. She'd have to do it this way from now on. Patched up and pressed together by strong, cotton. It would hinder her and yes it eventually would hurt.
But it was worth it.
The man looked up from his list and eyed the recruit suspiciously. Before him stood a young boy who was unbelievable pretty. If he didn't know better, he'd think he was a girl. He had short, raven hair and equally dark eyes, framed by many dark lashes. He was rather slender but visibly fit. But his chest was flat as a board and his gaze was so hard, he couldn't believe that any girl could pull this off. So he listed down his name and let him through.
Mikasa sighed as they finally let her go on after she got observed a little too much for her liking. She tried not to let her nervousness show, however, and it worked out in the end.
She quickly found Eren and Armin in the crowd and stood next to them, waiting for God knew what. Probably they would wait until everyone enlisted and stood accordingly so their Commander could come out and welcome them. She didn't really know. It wasn't like she has ever recruited herself for the military before.
"I can't believe you are actually doing this. You know, you can't go back now, right? And they will kill you if they find out," Eren whispered next to her. Mikasa's expression didn't even falter for a bit under Eren's words as she whispered back: "If you keep quiet, then no one will find out."
She could feel how Armin got even tenser as he joined their whispers: "I hope you are right… Masaki."
And with that they stayed silent. Mikasa let her eyes roam her environment. They were outside and people kept joining the formation, chatting. It wasn't anything like she expected. She always thought of the serious and disciplined military. Not this. It was just a bunch of guys joking around. Even Armin and Eren talked to each other while Mikasa kept staring ahead.
The minutes dragged along until a suddenly everyone fell silent at once. In front of them two men appeared. One of them was a very tall and blond man with prominent features. He was obviously very important, as he stood there before them all and silenced the entire crowd.
Next to him was a rather small man. Very small. For a man at least. He had black hair and a very bored expression without any emotions.
Mikasa exactly knew who those two were. She wasn't stupid or unprepared. Those were Commander Erwin Smith and Corporal Levi. Their superiors.
"Welcome recruits. Welcome to the 104th Squad. I can see many eager faces. Eager to join this force and to offer their lives for humanity's sake. I will be very blunt with you. The life of a soldier is not an easy one. It's rough and merciless. In the last year we lost more than one third of our people. Most of their corpses never returned home. This year we expect even more to find their end in this fight against our shared enemy. If you cannot live up to this reality, then you should really think about joining the force. You are not a coward for turning your back now. This is your last chance. If you choose to leave then do it now."
The Commander's voice echoed through their lines and Mikasa felt how intense the whole atmosphere was. And then it started; people started moving. They turned their backs and really left. She heard how Eren angrily gasped, probably cursing everyone for leaving, but Mikasa still didn't move at all. She didn't acknowledge those that passed her, heads down. She wondered whether she would have left if it wasn't for Eren. But then again, without him she wouldn't even be here. So there was really no sense lingering on that thought.
Eventually, it got quiet again and the Commander observed the ones that stayed despite his "warning" speech.
"Welcome to the Training Squad, soldiers."
Mikasa put her last piece of clothing away and sat on her new bed. She shared a room with three other boys of whom two luckily were Eren and Armin. There was another one called Connie Springer but Mikasa didn't really care for him. She had to distance herself from anyone anyway. No one could find out about her gender because her life literally depended on it. Also, she couldn't leave Eren behind and she was pretty sure that he would get in trouble, too. Not that she would ever tell that he was confided in her plan. But it wouldn't get that far. It just wouldn't.
The recruits had one hour to check-in, change and then appear at the training field again. There they would prove what they could already do so they would be set in groups.
Mikasa didn't know what she would face then. They would probably teach them to use the gears and the blades and all that. Eren was soundly excited about this and couldn't stop talking about it as they made their way to the field. Armin listened to every word he said and Mikasa would just stay quiet – like so often – until they reached the others.
They got in formation again as the Corporal appeared – this time without the Commander. Of course, the Commander had other problems than training recruits. That was the job of Heichou; Lance Corporal Levi.
And there he stood before them; still an emotionless and rather bored expression dominating his face and Mikasa was yet again struck by how small he was. It was almost comical but she chose not to express her delight. There really was no need to draw extra attention to her.
"Listen up, brats," Levi's voice sounded just as bored as his expression, "fun time is over for now. Get your asses over here."
They all set in motion immediately and followed the (tiny) Corporal to the open field. Here Mikasa could see nothing but sand and occasionally a little grass that hadn't been trampled dead.
"We will see how long and how much you can take from now on. Right now, you are pretty much nothing. We will make men out of you. So everyone: Run laps until your lungs explode. Go!"
And with that they had to start running.
Levi's eyes followed the new recruits as they passed him round after round. He could immediately see who could be useful and had potential, and who was simply embarrassing to watch. Of course, the majority fell into the second category. It was almost disgusting to see how quickly many of them fell back, heaving heavy breaths and running with sloppy movements.
Some of them, the ones at the top, were not too bad, though. Especially one guy stood out. He was the first and passed him the most without looking very troubled at all. Of course, he was sweating and the exercise was visible even for him. Yet his movements didn't falter and he continued a steady run at high speed. Maybe there was someone who wasn't a total disappointment.
After another twenty minutes he called them to him again. He watched how some of them looked close to exhaustion and Levi instinctively wanted to step back from the sweat and smell. Just looking at them wanted to make him shower again.
"Good, now that you are all warmed up," he announced and he could see how many faces fell because they could only have one consequence: It was not over yet, "we can move on to the real training. Drink something and then get your asses over to the gear training devices. Make groups of four and get to one of the devices." With that he walked away and didn't look back.
Clearly, supervision the new recruits wasn't one of Levi's favorite jobs. It honestly was below his standards and he could do plenty other things in his time which would contribute greater things to this world. He could work on the next mission. He could train himself. Hell, he could even dust his shelf again and maybe wash his cravats. Anything but watching children getting their ass busted. Maybe he should tell Erwin that they needed someone else for this job.
Levi thought about other possible candidates for the job. Well, there was Mike but Levi quickly dismissed that idea. Probably because they would have dozens of complaints for sexual harassment because of his "smelly habit". Auruo talked too much for his own good, even though he was a very good soldier. He could see how Erd or Gunter filled the job expectations. But then again, he needed his team himself and they already did help him out.
In the end it would stick with him anyway because Erwin wouldn't have it any other way and Levi was the last person to stand against their Commander.
After making a short trip inside to get a chair and something to drink, he went to the training devices. Fortunately, one advisor – Erd, speaking of the devil – was already there and he had instructed the recruits so they could start. This was actually a part of training he enjoyed. Because nothing was more fun than to watch how the newbies fell flat on their faces. At least some of them and their expressions were usually priceless.
And finally the first of them fell just after one second. Pathetic.
Levi eyed the brown-haired kid that seemed genuinely angry about this, his eyes almost popped out. Maybe it was just his face, who knew. Next to him however was one recruit who stood straight and stable, almost not moving at all. It was the top runner. Levi could now see him from up close and he wasn't really what he expected.
He had short raven hair and a usual feminine face. His expression was almost bored, drained of any emotions at all.
"He's pretty good," Erd said next to him and his eyes were also focused on the same guy. Levi had to agree but said nothing. He turned his face and started to wander off to inspect the others. Let's see how long he could stay that straight and hardly move at all. Eventually, he'd have to fall like the rest of them. Like everyone.
Mikasa was surprised that her first day of training was easier than expected. Running was no real challenge for her. At home, she used to wake up early every day and she would go for a walk, sometimes even run, too. It cleared her head and eased the tension in her body. Every kind of exercise did. Physical training never has been challenging for her. So running laps for 30 minutes was no problem at all. In contrast to her companions, though. Eren didn't have such a bad time, either. He seemed a little more exhausted than her in the end, but he also was in a good condition. Armin, however, was at the very end of line and he looked like collapsing any minute. Mikasa passed him several times and considered helping him for a moment but she couldn't think of a way and further, it wouldn't be very beneficial for her or him. She was sure she wasn't supposed to help him anyway.
So she just passed him time after time and round after round. Like all of them, actually and she didn't even try that hard.
Just like the next training, the gear training. All it needed was enough strength and tension. She fixated one point behind all faces and tried not to move at all. It wasn't a challenge. Actually, it was rather relaxing since she didn't have to move so much. So she let her thoughts fly to all kind of places beyond the training fields and the walls of Trost. She thought of her home that was destroyed and her family that was lost. She thought of Eren and his never-ending determination to avenge their mother and to kill the Titans. The reason why they were here in the first place.
Mikasa didn't want to kill all the Titans. Of course, she also despised these creatures and she got sad and angry at the picture of her adoptive-mother getting eaten in front of their eyes. It wasn't like she didn't want to fight at all. But Mikasa wanted to fight alongside Eren. She needed to stay by his side and to protect him. Because he was reckless and he was emotional.
But who was she to talk; she was just as bad as him. Maybe even worse.
Their first training ended soon and they were dismissed to go to dinner. So they all sat in one big hall, eating their bread and stew that wasn't exactly gourmet but Mikasa didn't really care. After she had stepped down from the device, one of the instructor had praised her for her talent. She had just nodded and went to Eren who was beyond furious. Apparently, he couldn't master the training as good as she could and was visibly troubled. Even Armin did better than him. Eren just fell on his face over and over again without any process, whatsoever. He had imagined it very differently, since he was actually one of the few that survived the Titan's attack and was so eager to fight in this war.
Mikasa looked at her stew without really wanting to eat it but she knew she needed to so she'd be fit enough. She would just eat it fast and then train with Eren because she promised him to.
At their table some other boys sat and Eren talked virally with them. He didn't really try to include her into the conversation but it wasn't like that bothered her much. She could just feel the stare of one guy sitting right in front of her and it annoyed her. She didn't want people to stare at her. It could make them realize her gender.
"Hey, you are that guy who did so well with the straps, right?" he finally said and Mikasa set her eyes on him. He was a tall guy with blond, messy hair. She just shrugged and stood up, excusing herself. She would just meet up with her brother later.
Mikasa left the hall and headed to her room to change. The bandages around her chest started to ache but she couldn't take them off yet. Connie being their dorm mate complicated things a lot. She was afraid to take them off for sleep because he could spot her dead give-away in the morning if she wasn't careful enough. She would take a shower now, though, and then they could get off for a while at least. It was a comforting thought.
Just when she was at her dorm, a small figure crossed her. Mikasa recognized him immediately and saluted – the Corporal.
His eyes met hers and they didn't change their bored expression; then again, hers didn't either.
Corporal Levi observed her for a moment, as if she reminded him of something and Mikasa wanted to just get away quickly. She just wanted a hot shower and fresh clothes.
"I think I heard of you. Erd couldn't stop talking about how good you were today. It was annoying," he said and Mikasa just looked at him without saying anything. He smirked. "Can't really believe it, seeing you in front of me now, though. You look like a weak little girl. I should worry about Erd, I suppose. His judgement, I mean," he continued and Mikasa tried really hard not to show any emotion. What was with him? Did he just stormed around and insulted others?
Well, you are a little girl, aren't you?
No, she wasn't.
"Well, I am not as little as you, sir," she said without thinking about it. Immediately she wanted to punch herself for it. What was wrong with her? She couldn't talk to her Corporal like that!
Levi's eyes wided for a fraction before falling back into the too-cool-for-school-expression of his.
"Excuse me?" He moved closer to her and Mikasa simultaneously took one step back. "I think I must have heard wrong. I think I just heard you begging me to let you scrub the kitchen floor with your tooth brush," he hissed and Mikasa eventually averted her eyes.
"I'm sorry. I didn't want to disrespect you, sir. It will not happen again," she whispered and didn't dare to look up to him.
"It better not." And with that he went on, leaving her in the hallway.
Great first day, great first impression..