Disclaimer: I don't own these characters or their world… sadly!
A/N: My first time writing these characters, I hope it turned out okay. I just couldn't go any longer without indulging further in this ship XP.
PS: Anyone looking for me to continue Mai HiME stories, check back in December :D. For now, enjoy my attempts at the Attack on Titan universe!
She'd never seen someone work that hard in her life. Mikasa found herself gazing over at the blonde across the training fields. It was only for a split second before Eren was swinging yet another punch at her. Deflection was easy with him. She admired the boy's tenacity and drive – and it certainly served him well – but he was…
Their spar was brought to a quick halt when Mikasa grabbed his wrist and twisted it while sidestepping. Eren stumbled over his feet and landed face first in the dirt. Grinding his teeth, the boy first moved back onto his knees before looking up at the concerned eyes.
"Eren! I'm sorry!"
"It's fine," he smirked and accepted the hand which helped him to his feet.
"Really, Mikasa," the boy patted her on the back casually – much like a brother would, "We're soldiers. If I can't handle that then I don't stand a chance against titans!"
"Right," the girl looked aside until the next screech of the training whistle.
As per the routine, sparring partners came and went. And even if hand to hand combat was a joke amongst most trainees, Mikasa thanked the opportunity to push her limits further. More than that, it was a chance to see who would take her seriously and who still saw her as the exotic beauty. The ratio had balanced itself over the past few months, but the occasional string of male recruits would still try their luck.
One after another they landed flat on their backs, or fronts, or sometimes twisted up in their own limbs. None of which seemed to put any strain on the girl who was taking note of their expressions as they walked off. It wasn't like she was trying hard to give off this image of herself. She wasn't trying hard at all.
And here's someone who works harder than anyone else here.
Mikasa's ebony irises glanced over her shoulder, straight into the crystal blue guarded by raised fists. It was rare to see Annie take an interest in something that would not – in reality – have any effect on her assured spot in the top ten. She hadn't even been fighting any of the other trainees.
"Why do you only fight me?"
"Yes you do."
"I've sparred with everyone here and beat them all on the first try. All except you."
Mikasa's brow furrowed slightly as she took a fighting stance, giving the other girl a few more seconds to speak.
"They say you're a prodigy. No one will be surprised if you're number one when we graduate."
"I'm not doing it on purpose…"
Leather scratched against the dirt as Annie's boot kicked off the ground to propel her charge. Her strikes were precise: aimed for Mikasa's vital points with inhuman speed. They had only been here a few months, but were already fighting with the intent of true soldiers. There was no need to say it; that this was the one person Mikasa enjoyed fighting. Annie was the only person who would push her to block on a regular basis, and her footwork was certainly flawless. Her only downfall was that, given its defensive style, her emotionally driven offensive left her out of her element.
Truly the top trainee, Mikasa managed to duck beneath a kick and rise swiftly enough to capture Annie in a chokehold. The blonde grit her teeth and struggled, but an arm was pulled back to immobilize her torso while the leg between hers prevented any more kicks. The duo finally caught their breaths, stilled by this anti-climactic end to yet another spar. Annie stared ahead, blindly oblivious to the other fights all around her – focused only on the tight grip she was in.
"… I don't think you have to be perfect."
Azure eyes blinked as her muscles unconsciously relaxed. She didn't want to be still; quite the opposite, she wanted to turn around and punch this girl clean in the teeth. The only thing which had stopped her were those words that cut deeper than anyone knew at that time.
Mikasa let go a few seconds later, but lingered in fully stepping away. Annie was still frozen in place, if only for a couple beats until she walked away without so much as a nod to the victor. No matter how many steps she would take, she could never walk away from those words. It started then… Something unstoppable.
Months turned into years. Trainees grew into full-fledged soldiers with only a few weeks left to choose a division. Most had already made their decision from before they joined, and a few more had been inspired by Eren to join the Scouting Legion. Nevertheless, the lone wolf of the 104th squad didn't budge from the division she had appropriated for herself.
I am weak…
Annie took an early leave from their dinner, invisibly leaving the hall to take a walk under the night sky. Everyone inside wanted to see beyond the walls; even if they didn't have the courage to directly seek out their suicide with the Scouts, that was their ultimate goal.
And all I want is to save myself and hide inside. As deep within the walls as I can.
A chill ran through her as it always did when remembering what Mikasa had told her a year ago. It always seemed to come to mind when she felt depressed in this way; Annie noticed. She was confident in her ability to defeat anyone in her class. But this girl…
She can kill me...
"What are you doing out here?"
Annie turned around with a start at the familiar voice. Apparently one person did notice her slip out, and furthermore chose to follow her. Where the blonde would have normally become indignant, in her current mood she simply didn't have the energy. For at least one night, Mikasa would have to stop being a rival and instead be no more than a girl standing a few feet away.
"I was thinking of training some more. That's all."
"So I can get into the Military Police."
"… You're that afraid, aren't you?"
Annie had only heard those kinds of things from people mocking her. Whether it be her fellow recruits, or her father, or anyone who reacted to her honest reasoning for joining the Military Police. It was never spoken so earnestly as it was by Mikasa that night. A shiver struck her again.
"Yeah, I am-"
"I told you before," jet black hair swayed in the chilled breeze, "I don't think you have to be perfect."
Annie's fist clenched.
Why don't I? Are you telling me I don't have to be a warrior? Do you mean that no matter what I'll never be as good as you?!
"Not all of us can be as brave and skilled as you," Annie turned, beginning to walk away quickly in frustration, "But for someone who doesn't even try, don't talk down to me."
She thought it may have just been the cold of the night that brought heat to her cheeks when her arm was grabbed. It was hard to tell in the darkness, but from what Annie could see in the shadows of candlelight, Mikasa's expression appeared to be one of regret.
"I'm not brave."
Mikasa wouldn't let go.
"Annie… You keep your distance, and definitely left the competition behind when it comes to skill. But you still push yourself this hard and I can't understand why."
"Because I am weak."
"Because you want to be safe? Because you're not a suicidal bastard like Eren?"
"It doesn't matter," the blonde forcibly pulled her arm free, "You don't have to understand. Why do you even care?"
Mikasa followed her swiftly, this time grabbing both of the girl's arms and spinning her around to stay face to face.
"Because I don't want you to change."
Annie's shock was evident in her silent stare and lack of resistance.
"Wanting to save yourself, and working so hard to make sure that you'll stay alive… Annie, that's what makes you human."
Blue eyes glistened with the faintest of tears.
Mikasa finally gathered the strength to let go, having said her piece to the girl who remained staring at her with a gaze that only confirmed her innate vulnerability. For all she had done to remind Annie that her fear was normal, she now looked more scared than ever. Another cold wind brushed against them, this time without any way for either to hide their tremors. Mikasa had only meant to reach her arm out as a guide to bring them both back inside, but her hand ended up making contact with another of surprisingly soft skin.
Her breath hitched in the moment that Annie closed the gap between them. Mikasa could feel the contrasting warmth of the girl's body resonate from sheer proximity, if only for a moment before their lips were pressed together. At first the kiss was very still and nervous, much like the one who initiated it. But when Annie stepped away quickly, fearing repercussions for her spontaneous burst of emotion, she was pulled back in. Mikasa's kiss was deeper, slower, tenderly setting her heart free.
Arms wrapped around their bodies, holding close to the sources of rising heat. To this day, neither could remember how they managed to separate. It had perhaps been the purest form of love they would each feel in their world: a love grown from fear. Love that bled into them with each recurring kiss. To this day, there was nothing more true than the words:
"I don't think you have to be perfect."
This day… standing on opposite sides and burnt out of any remaining emotion.
You betrayed me!
You're the one pointing your blade at me.
Those eyes, black as death, reflecting on the shining steel. Mikasa's final glance was a pit of emptiness.
"I'll tear you apart again, Female Titan!"
A/N: Who knows if I'll write these two again? XD