Pairing: Eren/Mikasa & Connie/Sasha
Setting: Right after Levi joins them in the cabin between chapter 50 and 51
Rating: T (Language)
Notes: A request from Ryvius who asked for Eren and Connie sneaking out to have a drink and discover the serious and tragic things they have in common, with Mikasa and Sasha coming in to drag their boys back. The whole end half I didn't have planned but I liked where it went so I kept with it. You all know chapter 50 still gives us countless and endless stories and feelings. The title is from "Alcohol" by Brad Paisley. I wanted a good country song about drinking for the title okay lmao
I Can Make You Believe Any Lie
Eren stared at the dark ceiling from his bed. No matter how many panels of the wood he counted, sleep just refused to come. Again. He should be exhausted; he spent his days scrubbing this place before Levi got here and yet only images of death came to him when he closed his eyes. So many people died for him…so many people almost died for him and what for? Was it even worth it? Was he even worth it?
The voice made him jump before he glanced over at one of the other bed's in the room. Eren was used to Mikasa's voice at night when she couldn't sleep, well, when they were kids at least, but not Connie's voice. He was normally out cold before anyone else.
"Yeah?" Eren responded, seeing his comrade sitting up in bed.
"Can't sleep either?" Connie said.
Eren pushed himself up onto his elbows. "Not even a little bit."
Connie nodded. "Do you want to…?" he gestured to the closed door.
"Yeah, not like it's gonna do me any good just siting here." Eren swung his legs over the edge of the bed, feet hitting the cold floor. Connie was already at the door, opening it just enough to slip the both of them out without waking Jean.
"Hey, I heard Hanji talking." Connie started walking down the nearby staircase. "There's a town nearby, she was saying, and I know we're technically supposed to stay put but…" he looked back at Eren with a sly grin. "I gotta get outta here. I just never wanted to go alone, but I figure since you couldn't sleep either…wanna go?"
Eren's feet hit the main floor of the cabin as Connie watched him, waiting for an answer. Eren's first thought was Levi would kill them not if but when he found out and that Mikasa would probably worry if she found him missing but in a brief moment, none of that mattered. Eren was tired of being up all night and he was tired of thinking of everyone else before making a choice for himself. "Yeah, let's go. I'm tired of being locked up here." He had a feeling he might regret this later but as he pulled on his boots, Connie holding it a long jacket for him, but Eren still didn't care.
The night was cool, the mountain air blowing by them as they followed a small path through the high trees that surrounded their hideout
"Are you sure you even know where you're going? Getting lost in the woods isn't my idea of fun." Eren looked up at the moon shining through the dark night and lighting the path.
"So little faith," Connie scoffed from next to him. "I did stay long enough to make sure I heard the directions from Hanji. Down this path is a town and…" A wide grin spread across his face. "A tavern."
"Really? You dragged me out of bed to go drinking?" Eren arched an eyebrow.
The smile fell from Connie's lips as his eyes looked ahead again. "Don't you have things you'd rather forget for one night."
Eren shoved his hands in his pants pocket. "Yeah, don't we all."
They were quiet as they followed the slightly hidden path winding down the mountain. Eren never really spent all that much alone time with Connie, who generally spent his time with Jean and Sasha, while Eren spent his time with Mikasa and Armin. He felt a pang of guilt in his chest at the thought of them. Hopefully the both of them would sleep through the night and never know he was gone. Regardless, it was nice to feel like he was going somewhere as opposed to just working around the cabin.
"There!" Connie said, pointing to a bunch of lights that didn't seem all that far away anymore. "That has to be it."
Eren couldn't disagree with that, not when a few minutes later they were walking in the streets of a very quiet town; granted it was probably very quiet because it was some ungodly hour of the night. A few people were walking the street, mainly travelers and people already drunk but no one paid mind to the two boys walking down the road.
Connie was the first one to notice the tavern sign waving in the wind and ushered Eren in quickly. It was a dimly lit place with a few people sitting down at the bar and a few spread out over tables. The door behind them shut with a slam making Eren jump but like outside, no one seemed to notice their presence. Connie seemed far more eager than Eren felt as he sat down at a table near the wall. Eren took a seat too, looking out at the room and hoping no one realized who they were.
"What do ya want?" a bored voice called from the bar towards them.
"Two glasses of whisky, please," Connie responded and the bartender nodded and got to work on their drinks.
Eren had a brief memory back to when he took a sip of Pixis' drink and how horrible it tasted, how much it burned his throat. He hoped this was nothing like that, but Eren didn't have high hopes. He remembered how much he used to get on Hannes for drinking all the time but the thought only gave him a sharp pain to his chest remembering how Hannes died trying to save him. It was so useless cause even after his sacrifice Eren and Mikasa had still been stuck. He risked his life for them and Eren still couldn't stop it. What good was power you couldn't even use to help?
He was snapped out of his thoughts when the bar tender dropped down to glasses filled with an amber colored liquid. "Thanks," Eren murmured as the guy walked away without another glance.
"Well," Connie said, holding up his glass towards Eren. "To forgetting a bit."
Eren tapped his glass against Connie's and placed it to his lips. He could already smell the strong scent of alcohol long before the whisky hit his mouth. Yeah, it was about as bad as the drink in Pixis' flask. Eren had to practically cover his mouth so he didn't spit it out all over the table. He swallowed it down and took a deep breath, trying not to cough.
"You okay?" Connie asked, though Eren could hear the amusement in his voice.
"I'm fine," Eren wheezed. "How can you, uh, drink it so well?"
Connie shrugged. "Just swallow it fast. My dad used to slip me a little when my mom wasn't looking. I guess I just got used to it."
Even Eren could hear the tone of his voice change when Connie mentioned his father; Eren understood it all too well. "I'm sorry about what happened to your home, and…your mom."
"I guess you'd understand better than anyone," he said, taking another sip of his drink. "Though I expect it was worse, since you were there when it happened."
"Nah, it's not worse one way or another, still hurts regardless." Eren tried another sip himself; it went down a little easier this time, though it still burnt.
"Ain't that the truth." Connie paused as silence settled between them. "Did you…actually see it?"
Eren nodded slowly. "Yeah, me and Mikasa did. Hannes too, he was the one who got us away before we were killed."
"Was that one of the people who were killed when we…oh, shit, I'm sorry, Eren, I shouldn't have-"
"It's okay." Eren tipped his glass back again, this time taking a much larger sip. It stung and he wanted to cough it back up but he held it down; he already started to feel his head swimming. "Yeah, Hannes died trying to save Mikasa and I, again. You know, everyone always tells me how important I am, and how valuable I am. I couldn't even save half the people who went out to get me, probably more."
"You know that's not your fault, they volunteered to go. I was there when we went after you."
Eren shrugged. "But they shouldn't have had to risk their lives for nothing like that. What good did it bring? I'm back. Look what good that's doing for everyone."
"Because we all would've died, if you hadn't done whatever you did in the fields."
"But the point is they shouldn't have been there in the first place." Another sip. "No one should've risked their lives for me. No one should've gotten hurt. Mikasa couldn't even walk. She should've never been there; she should've never gotten hurt because of me."
Connie made a sound of understanding. "So that's what's makin' you so upset."
Eren coughed into his drink, choking down a sip that made his limbs feel light. "What the hell is that supposed to mean."
"You've been significantly more protective of her since we got back from the fields. It makes sense since you had to see her get hurt in front of your eyes."
"Connie, she almost got eaten in front of my eyes when I was tied up with nothing to do but watch her die. If that wasn't bad enough I then almost faced the prospect of watching her die at the hands of the same Titan that killed my mom. It wasn't exactly a good time."
"I was only saying you've just been showin' like you actually care about her." Connie was down to half his glass now, far more than Eren had finished, and he wasn't sure how Connie was managing it. Eren felt like his head was in the sky, that his body was floating on a cloud, and that nothing in his mind wanted to stay in his mind; especially not when he felt so angry.
Eren slammed the bottom of the glass on the table as he wiped some of the whiskey that was falling down his chin with his sleeve. He felt a whirl of rage fill up inside him, one he couldn't control even if he had the mental capacity to try. "Don't you fucking dare say I don't care about Mikasa. I've cared about her since we were nine years old and not once has that changed and it never will."
"Hey, calm down, there." Connie held up his hands in defense. "I didn't mean to offend. I was just saying you had been kinda harsh to her in the past so it's more noticeable now."
Eren felt the anger go as quick as it came leaving him only with a sense of guilt, both for snapping at Connie and at the memories of how he treated the person who meant so much to him for so long. If people around them didn't think he cared about her, then Eren could only imagine how horrible Mikasa herself must have felt at his words and actions.
"I never meant to treat her that way," Eren mumbled into his glass as he picked it up. "I was just so frustrated. I'm supposed to be the one who protects her, who looks after her, who makes sure she doesn't get hurt and what do I do? I'm the one who needs the protecting from her and I'm the one who hurts her. I never even wanted her to join the goddamn military let alone the Scouting Legion. I wanted her to stay somewhere safe, somewhere I knew she'd be okay and what does she do? She follows me here and nearly gets herself killed because of me."
Connie was silent for a moment as he watched Eren, and it dawned on him, that was the first time Eren ever vocalized his feelings about Mikasa to someone before. He suspected Armin knew without him having to say but even just saying it made something lift off Eren's chest, much like when he managed to carry Mikasa out of that hell.
"You don't have to explain to me. I understand." Connie's words snapped Eren from his thoughts, causing Eren to be the one to look at him confused. Connie took another large sip of his whisky. "Sasha was missin' for months it felt like. I had no idea where she went, if she was okay, hell, I thought she was dead. She was always the one I was closest to in this place, and then she was suddenly gone. It wasn't exactly a good time."
Eren couldn't stop himself from cracking a smile at Connie mirroring his words, letting Eren know Connie understood how he felt. Eren never thought he'd sit here and find something in common with Connie. Eren tipped his cup forward to hit against Connie's again but they both missed causing whisky to slosh out on their hands. They both erupted in laughter before they took sips again.
"So," Connie said, placing his cup back on the table. "What made you wanna join the Scoutin' Legion? Was it what happened to your mom?"
"Well, that was part of it." Eren's head felt so light he could barely focus on Connie sitting in front of him. "I just want to see the world, ya know? It's like, we are born into the world but we can't ever even see the world. It's our birthright, and I wanna live to see that. I wanna take Armin and Mikasa to see the ocean." He took another sip; he couldn't even feel the burning sensation anymore. "What 'bout you?"
"It was my family too but my family made me want to join the MPs not the Scoutin' Legion. I wanted to make them proud."
"I still think they'd be pretty proud."
Connie snorted. "Yeah, proud that I'm not dead."
"I think my mom would be too."
"She won't be too proud when Levi finds out and he whoops your ass until you're dead."
Eren nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of Sasha's voice; he was not expecting that. He looked over, a little too fast causing his head to spin, only to see Sasha, standing by the table with her arms crossed and looking down at both him and Connie. "Hey, Sasha…?" Eren tried but he had to grab onto the table so he didn't fall out of his chair. "What brings you here?"
"Her." Sasha jutted her thumb over causing Eren to glance over and see the dark haired girl he knew too well standing behind Sasha.
"Hey…Mikasa," he tried weakly, knowing he wasn't just gonna get his ass whooped by Levi.
"Sasha!" Connie exclaimed like he had just seen her there. "Want some?"
"Not tonight, Connie," she said, though she herself didn't look very angry. "I'm gonna pay the bartender since I'm sure you numbnuts didn't think to bring any money and then we're going back before we all get in trouble."
Well, she had that right at least.
Eren watched Mikasa who still hadn't said anything, not that it was surprising but he still couldn't help but feel a lump in his throat; all he needed to do was make her mad at him again.
"Alright, let's go." Sasha reached over to Connie who was dropping off his chair and reached her arm around him, tucking his arm over her shoulder.
"Aww, Sash, c'mon, I can walk." Connie tried to protest but the way his legs gave out when Sasha lifted him off the seat told him another thing.
Eren stood up to follow them out the door but as he did he felt like the floor was going up to the ceiling; he could barely even see the door, let alone walk to the door. He stumped a few steps forward before hands reached out to catch him. Eren looked up to see Mikasa standing in front of him, her hands against his chest to keep him upright.
"I'm okay," he mumbled but the more he stood the less okay he felt.
Mikasa reached an arm around his waist, much like Sasha had done with Connie, and started to help him towards the door.
Eren wasn't sure where they were going since he could only keep his heavy head down at the ground. He saw the ground turn from wood to dirt, the night breeze hitting him and letting him know they were outside. He heard Connie blabbing to Sasha somewhere in front of him but Mikasa was still silent as she took him back up the way they came down first considering he saw the rocky path underneath his feet.
Mikasa held him as he tripped over every rock, stump, root, leaf, whatever was there Eren couldn't pick his feet up over it. He thought about the words he had spoken to Connie, how he didn't want Mikasa to always take care of him, but here she was, taking care of him when he had been too stupid to think of the consequences.
His head spun as he tried to look up to see how much longer they had. It wasn't a good idea. The moment he lifted his head the world turned upside down around him and his stomach lurched. One hand clenched onto his stomach while the other reached for his mouth, but it did no good. He pushed away from Mikasa, falling to his knees while his legs gave out underneath him. He didn't even make it to the ground before the contents of his stomach came rushing back up and onto the forest ground.
His whole body felt disgusting as his hands hit the ground, trying to choke out what was coming back up due to the alcohol. He felt a hand against his back, rubbing in a calming way that could only be from Mikasa.
"I'm sorry," he managed out, before another wave of nausea sent his head down again.
"It's okay." Her voice was soft, not angry or hard like he expected it to be. "Go on a head, Sasha," he heard Mikasa call out but he couldn't hear much after that as his stomach lurched into his throat.
Eren didn't even know what was left in his stomach to come out but Mikasa just sat by his side, rubbing his back. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve as he sat back on his heels, looking over at her. He felt disgusting; all he wanted to do was go to bed and forget this ever happened. He was glad it was Mikasa but at the same time he was embarrassed she had to see him like this.
"I'm sorry," he said again, his voice hoarse.
"It's okay, Eren. It happens to everyone." She put her arm around him again and helped him up to his feet.
His legs felt like jelly but he managed to lean against her as she helped him up the rest of the path. He just wanted to get to bed, to just go to sleep, but he couldn't help but look over at Mikasa in her button up shirt and her long skirt, holding him up like there was nothing wrong in the world. "Hey, Mikasa?"
"How'd you know I was gone?"
She didn't answer for a moment as she kept walking. "I couldn't sleep, so I went to see if you couldn't either. I noticed you were gone and then I noticed Connie was gone as well. I went to wake Sasha, and she had an idea of where you two went."
Eren felt guilt hit the pit of his stomach. She came to him and he wasn't there when she needed him, but she was always there for him. She deserved so much better than him.
"You're gonna be a good mom, you know." Eren wasn't quite sure what possessed him to tell her that, but at that moment he could see her with little kids, maybe a little girl with dark hair and bright eyes, being sick all night and Mikasa's calm presence just keeping her at ease, just like she always did with him.
"I'm not trying to be your mother." There was a certain tone in her voice, and Eren knew he hit a nerve.
"No, no," Eren said. "I didn't mean that you were. I don't think of you as my mom, or my sister for that matter. I just meant I could see you, havin' kids of your own and takin' care of them." Eren could see the cabin in the distance, there were almost there. "Do you want kids?"
She was quiet for a moment and Eren only heard the sounds of the forest around them. He wasn't sure what possessed him to ask her that; he always refrained from speaking about anything involving the future with her. He knew it would be too hard for him if it didn't come true.
"Yeah, someday," she finally answered, looking over at him.
Mikasa snorted, though he wasn't sure if it was because she found the thought funny or if he just caught her off guard.
"I mean it." They entered the small opening in front of the cabin. "Don't think I'd make a good dad?"
"No, Eren, I think you'd make a great dad." Her voice was full of an emotion that Eren couldn't quite place. "Just don't make a habit of drinking whiskey at the dinner table and drive your wife crazy taking care of you."
Eren thought about what he had told Connie in what seemed like ages ago; about how much he wanted to be the one to protect her, to take care of her, to make her happy for once. He knew how much a family meant to Mikasa, he always knew as much as he hadn't been ready to hear it but he felt differently now. He had almost lost her right in front of his eyes, and he ever wanted to lose her.
"I dunno, she's done a pretty great job so far."
Mikasa halted in her tracks right in front of the steps. She looked over at him, her eyes wide as she looked over at him, the weight of his words hitting her.
Eren wanted to say something more to her, to let her know without a doubt how much she meant to him, how much she always meant to him but the slow creak of the front door opening was enough to make his head snap over.
"If you're gonna sneak out to drink, at least drink something you can fucking handle, Jaeger." Levi didn't quite look like he was amused at Eren and Connie's late night adventure. In fact, Levi looked more like he was gonna kick Eren's ass as expected. "Hangover or not you and Springer are cleaning the entire house tomorrow. You better damn think twice before you risk everyone and our plan just to have a drink. Get your ass inside now and without Ackerman's help."
Levi didn't look like he was about to move until Eren did what he said, which wasn't too much of a surprise. Eren carefully pulled himself away from Mikasa's grasp, mainly so he wouldn't fall on his face in the process, and managed to stand by himself. He took a few wobbly steps, his whole body still feeling dizzy and light. He made it all the way up to the second step before the ground came up to his face.
His head would have hit right against the wood if Mikasa hadn't reached out to grab him before he did.
Levi made a disgruntled noise and said something insulting Eren was sure, but he was having a hard time focusing on anything but Mikasa carefully pulling him back up. For so long told himself to be angry at the hands that always came to save him because it was supposed to be the other way around.
Mikasa helped him up the rest of the stairs without a word, just holding him up when he could barely stand himself.
Why should he be angry when those hands always saved him when he needed her the most? She was always there for him no matter what the circumstances were. There was nothing to be angry over, not anymore, not when Eren felt her compassion in her touch. Since the moment in that field when he used his own hands to fight off a Titan for her, to carry her to safety, to hold her hand when she was hurt, he understood why she did it for all those years.
Mikasa held the door open while Eren tried not to trip over his own feet. If Levi said anything else Eren wasn't listening. He just wanted to give back Mikasa everything she had ever given him.