DISCLAIMER – I don't own anything except a beat up Volvo station wagon.
AN: Just because Mikasa is too cool and I can totally picture her going Super Saiyan out of nowhere, couldn't think of a good way to write that.. but this came easily enough with her character. The story is complete as is for now, but if I get inspired later I reserve the right to write more.
When Mikasa was a very small girl her mother had told her stories. Her favorite were the stories about the shinobi. The asian fighters that had become a secret legend, whispered in the night from parent to child, the only light in a dark world. Her mother said they lived far out beyond the wall, so far it could take years on the fastest horse and you'd still have to sail a lake of water so vast you couldn't see from one end to another. The shinobi weren't afraid of the Titans, the Titans were afraid of the Shinobi.
Her mother had believed that somewhere out there were the people of their ancestors, and one day they would defeat all the Titans, even the ones here. Mikasa had believed in them too, they had kept her nightmares at bay and filled her thoughts with hope, right up until her mother had died. It wasn't shinobi who had saved her, it was Eren and his determination.. and she had learned to believe in that instead.
She had never forgotten the stories though. They weren't her only hope but they had shaped too much of who she was, who her mother was, they were part of what it meant to be Mikasa. When Eren talked about joining the survey corps and seeing the world, it reminded her of them, the warriors that were her ancestors and their will of fire. Eren she thought was better than the heroes from the stories, better than fire shadows and copycats, because Eren was flesh and blood and his will of fire burned brighter than anything she had ever seen. She knew she was a moth to his flame.
When the Titans had attacked, when Eren's mother had been eaten, when they had lost their home... Mikasa still hadn't forgotten those stories. When they were hungry and tired she sat alone, watching Eren and Armin sleep, and she remembered. Just like her mother before her she whispered stories of hope in the night, forbidden stories of the world beyond Wall Maria, stories in an older tongue from a long lost people. She sometimes thought on those nights, that maybe Eren was an old spirit sent by the ancestors to protect her.
When they joined the Army she felt closer to home than she ever had before. Not just the feeling of rightness that came from being with Eren, but something more. This... this was right, she was made for battle. When her lungs burned and her legs were cramped beyond usefulness she could almost hear her mother whispering, a shinobi must never show any weakness. So she didn't, she couldn't, she might not be perfect but she understood that the weak would die, you had to fight to survive. She had to fight for Eren and Armin and all that remained of her own life. The Titans would come again, and this time she would protect them.
When Eren died everything changed.
Mikasa had taken the first opportunity she had to leave her posting and join his unit. She had only delayed as long as she was forced too. They weren't hard to find, they were the last of the living left in Trost and stationed well above the streets. The rest of Trost's population, if she had done her job well, had been evacuated. She maneuvered onto the roof with a practiced ease and took in her surroundings, the enemy was present but not currently advancing, there were no injured in sight, except perhaps Armin.
"Armin, are you hurt? Are you okay?" She asked, kneeling down in front of him. Armin sat shaking, unspeaking. What had happened?
"Where is Eren?" She asked, suddenly aware of the hollow feeling inside herself, and the absence of his presence on the rooftop. Where was the bright light that was Eren? Where was he?
She looked at Armin, at his wild eyes, and before he spoke she knew. If she admitted it to herself she had known the minute he died, how could she not have? Every second she had waited to come, waited for the citizen to evacuate had felt like an eternity. The useless fool that delayed them, she was sorry she had spared him. Eren had died for an overpacked cart of his products.
Her mind flared to life with old words from another era, a shinobi must follow the commander's orders... she had... but it hadn't saved Eren. She shouldn't have listened... she should have known better.. she should have remembered.. those who break the rules are trash, but the ones who leave their comrades behind are worse than trash. She had left Eren and Armin behind, she was worse than trash.
I didn't matter now though Eren was gone, she had failed him, but Armin was still here. She could still protect him. She forced her attention back to Armin's shaking form, he was speaking but she hadn't heard.
"...mas Wagnar, Nack Tias, Milius Zermunksy, Mina Karolina.. Eren Jaeger! These five died valiantly in the line of duty." Armin finished, looking just as hollowed out as she felt.
Was there such a thing as a valiant death though? Wasn't death just losing?
"No..." Sasha gasped.
"Team 34 was almost wiped out then?" Jean called out from behind her, "If we try to face the Titans the same thing will happen to us."
"I'm sorry Mikasa..." Armins cried, on his knees in front of her, as if he had anything to be sorry for. It was her failure. "Eren he sacrificed himself for me. I.. I couldn't do anything! Sorry."
With those words her world snapped back into focus, everything suddenly clearer and sharper than it had ever been before. She would kill the Titans that had taken Eren, but first she needed to survive, they all needed to survive.
"Armin." She called, her hand resting on his leg. He looked up at her.
"Calm down. This isn't the time to get emotional." She said firmly, her voice calm and controlled. A shinobi must never show their tears. A shinobi must never show their weakness.
"Eh?... Mikasa... Your eyes..." Armin gasped.
"Now, stand up." She demanded, a voice that couldn't be disobeyed.
Armin back on his feet behind her she turned to the others. It was useless standing here, they needed to get back behind the wall. For that they needed fuel for their tanks, and so they needed to take back the Headquarters. A strange feeling filled her at the thought, there would be Titans there, maybe the one that had devoured Eren... she would devour it. She couldn't help a slight smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth at the thought.
"Marco, if we eliminate the Titans swarming HQ, then we can refuel and climb the walls. Isn't that right?" She turned her attention to him and he wavered under her gaze, refusing to meet her eyes.
"That's right, but... But even with you here there are too many..." Marco replied hesitantly.
"I can do it." And as she said, she knew she could. She could see herself killing them, they were slow and predictable, they were beneath her.
"Mikasa... " Marco gasped, frozen in place as his eyes locked with hers, they were different.
"I am strong! Stronger than you guys. Very strong. Therefore, I can defeat those Titans. Even on my own. You are not only weak, but you are spineless cowards. I am disappointed in you. Just stay here... stay here and watch."
"Hey Mikasa what are you saying?!" Ymir yelled.
"You're going to fight those titans all by yourself?!" Reiner questioned.
"There's no way you can do that!" Bertholdt protested.
"If I can't, I'll die" She said, remembering Eren and his words to her so many years ago, "But if I win I'll live. If I don't fight, I can't win."
She ignored their shouting behind her and launched off the rooftop. They would follow or they wouldn't. She knew that she could do this. Instead she focused on what was ahead. The Titans were moving slower than she expected, she could read their movements, so predictable.
She could hear Jean shouting behind her as she upped her speed and twisted to slice out the crucial piece of a mindless Titans neck. The world was crystal clear as her blades sliced into the monster, she absorbed every detail perfectly in a way she never had before. Is this, she thought, what a shinobi is like? Would the Titans fear her? They should she was Mikasa Ackerman... no.. not really... not anymore. She was her mother's daughter.. Uchiha Mikasa.