Mikasa sat heavily on the stool next to the bed and looked down at Eren as he slept. His condition was rapidly deteriorating and there was nothing she could do. She felt truly helpless for the first time in a long time. All she had wanted to do was be by his side, to see him happy, to see him realize his dream and now… now she was doomed to simply sit here and watch him die.
The thought made her sick to her stomach and she stood, pacing the small room as her mind though back to what years she’d had with him; the first day they met, how he saved her life and gave her purpose, waking him up when he’d been lazy napping beneath a tree and watching him grow from scared little boy to the man he was today.
The room felt too small, too sad and Mikasa found herself walking towards the door and into the hallway, her footsteps carrying her forward even as she continued to be lost in thought. It was the sound of the guard stopping her that made the girl realize where she had ended up. She was deep underground, deeper than even the city's sewer tunnels and at a door that had almost become as familiar as Eren’s.
That name brought with it a range of conflicting emotions; anger, sadness, confusion, unwanted desire, love and hate just to name a few. So far Mikasa had resisted going past that door to the girl who lay within. She wanted to see the small blonde, to demand answers to so many questions but what good would it do now. Mikasa had put all of it behind her when Annie had retreated behind her crystal. What good would it do now to ask why she had killed all those people? Or why she had betrayed her comrades or what possessed her to try and take Eren away KNOWING what he meant to Mikasa?
The last thought had the brunette slamming her fist to the wall, startling the young man on duty. She felt his eyes on her and ignored him as she continued her pacing, letting herself get lost in thought, dreams and memories; memories like what had happened after Shadis had pulled the two of them apart before they could determine who would best the other in hand to hand combat.
“You kids knock it off? This is not the time to brawl. Now go run laps, both of you.”
Mikasa had saluted and then immediately turned to begin her punishment, pacing herself for what she was sure would be a long sentence. She could feel Annie’s eyes on her and hear her close behind. Her fighting instincts rose. Would the blonde try and take her down once they were out of Shadis sight? Mikasa tensed and fought against putting more distance between herself and the small blonde. Instead she shifted her position so that she could see Annie more clearly in her peripheral vision and adjusted her pace so that they were almost even. They lapped the entire base four times before they heard Shadis yell at them to hit the showers.
Mikasa had partially stripped before the door had even closed and wiped the sweat from her body with her discarded shirt. Every inch of her felt disgusting and Mikasa crinkled her nose as she peeled off her boots. The only way she could smell worse was if she were dead. She stiffened as the door opened once more and watched as Annie walked in and sat on the opposite bench, back turned. For a moment Mikasa felt the urge to throw one of her boots at the girl but she refrained and worked on getting out of the rest of her clothes. She walked naked over to the closest shower and turned it on, not even bothering to let the water warm.
Mikasa shivered under the ice cold stream but the water felt good on her skin, washing away the sweat from the day. She grabbed the block of soap and lathered up, determined to clean everything at least twice. She flinched slightly as she heard the other shower turn on and pointedly averted her eyes. The brunette had seen the small girl unclothed before and knew Annie naked did nothing for her. It wasn’t the nudity that made her avert her gaze but the anger she could feel still bubbling close to the surface. A part of her had wanted the fight to continue, to answer the question on everyone’s mind as to who would win in a one-on-one match. Mikasa was convinced Annie was her equal and it was only the other girl’s laziness that kept her from rising in the ranks. The girl had already said she didn’t care, that as long as she made the top ten she would be satisfied.
“Are you done yet?”
That voice was colder than even the water and Mikasa turned to glare down at the girl (secretly pleased that she was over half a head taller) and frowned when she saw a slender hand outstretched as though waiting for something. Her frown deepened as those slender fingers snapped twice before unfolding, ice blue eyes glaring back up at her in annoyance.
“The soap. Are you done with the soap? You’re not the only one who got sweaty you know.”
Mikasa felt her lips curl into a cruel smirk as she held the bar up over her head.
“You want it? You’re gonna have to work for it.”
She saw Annie’s jaw tighten, surprised when the small girl jumped over a foot off the ground and Mikasa felt those small fingers brush against her wrist. She heard the small girl curse and suddenly found herself pinned to the wall by a muscled forearm.
“Just give me the fucking soap.”
Mikasa scoffed and started to drop her arm when the brush of something firm and soft pressed against the underside of her breasts. Startled she looked down and saw Annie’s body leaning into hers and she flushed as an electric shock rocked through her and felt the bar of soap slip through her hand. Mikasa watched as it slid across the wet floor just a step away. She felt those cold eyes on her, surprised when she heard a soft sound that might have been a laugh coming from the other girl.
Mikasa felt the tight hold loosen and lift as Annie turned around bending over to grab the discarded bar. Mikasa gasped as the other girl’s ass pressed against her hips, digging in briefly before Annie straightened up and sauntered away. The brunette watched as slender hips rocked provocatively. She felt frozen as she watched Annie take the bar and rub it slowly down her front, blue eyes flashing as her hand crept between her legs before Mikasa snapped out of it. Blushing furiously the taller of the two turned and finished, dressing quickly before retreating back to the dorm rooms. Glad to find them empty for once she stripped back down, tugging on a tank top and her second pair of uniform pants. She hurried to the dining hall, grateful to lose herself in routine while her mind furiously tried to rationalize what had happened.
Mikasa shook herself from the memory, feeling the tips of her ears burn with the fact that even now, almost 6 years later, she could still recall the feeling of that firm flesh pressing against her and she could feel her fingers twitch from the desire to reach out and hold the girl there. She hadn’t then and Annie had avoided her after that, but the tension had remained, unchecked and not fully realized until after the battle of Trost when she had found the blonde sitting alone staring out into the night with a stricken expression on her face.
The battle had shaken Mikasa to the core. Losing Eren only to be reunited again had exhausted her emotions. She had fought to remain at his side as he was taken into custody but her squad leader had pulled her back, telling her there was nothing more she could do. Mikasa had resisted at first, determined to not be separated again but it was no use and she watched as the only family she had left was taken away. She had wandered from corridor to corridor, taking in the grief of those who’d been left behind and feeling lost. The girl’s dormitory was empty save for Krista and Ymir, the two of them wrapped up in each other, oblivious to everyone and anyone who may or may not want to share the room. Mikasa had turned, content to give the two their privacy, it wasn’t as if she could sleep right now anyway - not with the knowledge of how easily she’d been willing to give up.
She took another long corridor, pushing open the door at the end of the hallway. She felt more than saw the hard gaze from the girl who sat near the only window in the room and Mikasa was startled to realize it was Annie. Feeling the awkwardness that had been building between them for months, Mikasa turned to leave stopping only by the faintest whisper to stay. Curious the brunette turned and looked at Annie, truly, for the first time in months. This was not the Annie she had grown accustomed to seeing. Gone was the bored expression and that cold glare. No, here sat an Annie she had never seen before, raw emotion bleeding through the cracks in that aggressive facade. Mikasa stepped into the dark room and closed the door, slowly sinking to the floor with her back pressed against the wood, content with the silence.
She could feel Annie’s eyes on her, watching her, assessing her. The memory of the last words she had said to the blonde played back in the asian girl’s mind and she cleared her throat softly, breaking the silence between them.
“I want you to know that I don’t think you are a coward.”
Mikasa watches Annie look back at her and stammers out the rest of her words in a rush.
“Everyone else was standing there and I needed - “
“You don’t have to explain. What you said worked.”
Mikasa finds herself at a loss of what to say back. She is no hero. She had led recklessly, selfishly, caring for nothing but her own sorrow. A sudden movement caught her eye and she looked up to see Annie standing over her, expressionless and realized that she had been speaking her thoughts outloud. The brunette felt her cheeks burn and looked away from that piercing blue gaze only to find her chin caught and turned back, forcing her to look back at Annie.
“What matters is that you lived and that you didn’t lose anyone today.”
The words are soft and Mikasa can barely make them out past the pounding of her heart as a calloused finger traces her lower lip, pulling it down slightly. She is reminded suddenly of that time in the showers, of the way that memory made her feel all the times she examined it. Mikasa finds her head tilting up and she holds her breath when she sees Annie lean down, the first brush of their lips full of hesitancy, wonder and fear. It is the kind of mixed emotion that changes things but Mikasa can’t worry about how she is changing, only that she wants to feel that again, harder and more. She wants to focus on the heat it brings, to lose herself in the experience and forget how she almost lost herself completely earlier that day.
Annie is pressing her against the door, pulling her forward and then her back is on the ground, shoulders pinned as the small blonde straddles her waist, lips slanting at just the right angle so their teeth don’t clang in the heated rush of their first real kiss. Mikasa can feel the heat radiating off that small body, so much heat from someone she’d always thought as cold. It feels like it is burning through her and she moans as she pries Annie’s hands from her shoulders, lacing their hands together as she sits up before cradling the girl in her lap.
She knows that what she feels is want but she hasn’t the slightest clue how to sate that need. She wishes she had paid more attention to the things Ymir and Krista do with one another but she has always turned away from such things. Mikasa lets those small hands slip from hers and she trembles as nimble fingers unbutton and unstrap and peel back all the layers between them. And when it is over and all she can taste and feel is the girl resting in her arms, does Mikasa finally stop thinking and let the sleep her body needs take over.
Mikasa stands at that doorway remembering that night, remembering all the nights after when she would think back on it and wish that things could be different. It is only wishful thinking. There is no going back now that Annie has revealed herself to be an enemy of humanity and all Mikasa can think of is to wonder how can she love Annie despite that. How can she forgive a girl who is directly responsible for the destruction of her home, for trying to take Eren away, for killing all those people? She thinks back to what she said to herself after the battle of Trost, of how the world was cruel and yet so very beautiful. She thinks of the way those cold eyes resemble the clearest sky and makes her decision.
Slowly she opens the door and sees Annie lying on her side staring, once more, at the world outside but there is no look of longing on her face, only resolve until those eyes turn to fixate on Mikasa once more.
“Annie, I forgive you.”
And she does because all the people she has left in this world, that she loves are titans now and the time she has left with them is scarce and too precious to be wrapped up in hate and misunderstanding.