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Acts of Atonement

Chapter Text

Somewhere Underground, Shiganshina District

Year 845

 

It’s remarkable truly that something so incredibly extraordinary and advanced could ever thrive underneath an insignificant town. Could the people above, the bustling citizens and the money-hungry merchants, feel the immense power and knowledge that flowed through the temple? If he had disclosed to them that right underneath their feet laid a place of supernatural wisdom and strength could their microscopic minds even begin to absorb that fact alone?

 

Probably not

 

Fair-skinned fingers ran themselves up the large stone pillars. Triangles and other basic shapes were carved elegantly on the stone and illuminated in a pure white glow. These pillars were erected on both sides of the long pathway to the center where he stood. He dropped his hand to his side and slowly turned his head to the prized possession. 

 

The center was circular and there was an elevation, a podium. Levitating on top, was a sphere no larger than a  melon. It was made in stone and carved with similar designs like the rock that surrounded it. The male took steps overdue to the sphere, taking a second to leap over the body of a hooded female long dead. Towering over the sphere, he smiled to himself and he raised his wanting hands, with fingertips throbbing to unite and to feel what true raw power was. 

 

But the male withdrew abruptly as if struck with an income realization. He shut his eyes in exasperation and reopened them once more. He believed he had gotten rid of those nuisances from the start. But of course, those idiotic Assassins could not grasp the full fact that he and the Order had won. 

 

“Having a grand ole time Assassin ?” he spat eyes still transfixed on the item before him, “It is finished.”

 

There was a thud of feet that fell delicately to the ground. Fingers clasped around the sphere that rested on his fleshy palm. At once his hazelnut eyes widened in absolute shock and his body acted as a cloth absorbing the sphere’s indefinable power. Once entering the temple hours ago, he knew there was a transformation somewhere inside of him. He felt drawn to its center, craving for more knowledge that only this Piece could provide.  

 

But that sensation long ago was nothing compared to what he went through at that moment. He then turned his attention to his supposed killer, the last barrier between him and his escape. He eyed the sinister black hood that casted a thick shadow over the features of the Assassin.  There had been a time, long ago, in which the very sight of the infamous hooded beasts would strike freezing terror in his heart faster than their secreted blade ever could. Yet seeing it now, things had changed for the better. He had the upper hand, and if he wanted he could command the Assassin to exercise its knife and impale their own throat, suffocating on the same claret blade that so many of his brothers and sister had done in the past. 

 

But he would not grant the Assassin such a death. For only a true opponent was worthy to experience the work of the Fragment. No..he would kill the Assassin with his own hand and prove to those who come searching for the body that the New Order was about to commence. 

 

His killer spoke breaking the void of silence. “You have no idea what you’re doing” 

 

Based on the deep baritone owned by the Assassin, he made the conclusion they were a male. His words almost made him laugh. He had no idea what he was doing? Ridiculous. The Creed the Assassin’s followed had no order or understanding. He was well versed in their beliefs and knew it to be filled with ignorance of their world and a sense of lawlessness. He’d be damned if he allowed such a dysfunctional Order attempt to disrupt what those before him died for.

 

A new world, A New Order

 

“It is not me who does not understand, your organization believes such immense power must be locked up for the betterment of others!” He snapped eyes narrowed and dark ”But this Apple and so many more could help heal this perishing world.”

 

“By destroying it?” the Assassin exclaimed parrying his words at once,” because that will happen if you attempt to master its power!”

 

Again with the foolishness . His mind was starting to hurt and his patience was growing transparently thin. The Assassin was lost in darkness his Grandmasters blanketed over his eyes. He was blind to the truth and deaf to the promulgation of a better future. His fate had been decided and the only thing left was for it to reap its consequences.

 

You are misguided! ” He growled, “and for your ignorance, you will die .”

 

Tap tap tap tap! 

 

The boots of the Assasin hit solidly against the stone as he darted toward him. In the way, he was impressed. Even facing certain death, his killer would stick and die for his Creed to the very end. Something in him shifted and he concluded that this lone Assassin was a warrior charging into a battle he knew cannot win. But even so, fear had no hold on him and he fought anyway. He raised the Apple of Eden before him. This Assassin was worthy of a release. His death would commence the beginning of a beautiful, established world free of Assassins. The sphere glowed a bright yellow light in his hand and a large grin curled his lips. A narrow white beam of light shot towards the Assassin who lunged to the side narrowly missing the fatal contact. The beam of light had instead blasted at pillar which crumbled at the very contact. The temple began to rattle violently, small pebbles from above fell and pattered on the ground.

 

The rumbles had not ceased and seemed to be growing even more climactic. What was going on? Was it simply an occurrence above ground? All too soon, a scent infiltrated through his nostrils. It was hot, sharp, and rotten. His hand snapped up to his nose attempting to block it out. 

 

It was blood.

 

The smell was overwhelming but the thought of its source was greater. What was happening above ground? Jolting himself back to reality, he began to escape, passing the assassin who made a grab for his leg. He clutched the Apple to his chest retracing his steps, that was falling apart with every second, back to the top. He could no longer dodge the bloody air he continued to breathe in. It was getting stronger and more defined. There were women and men shrieking followed by the guttural growls of beasts. 

 

Hugo Frosch had slipped from death’s clutches in the Temple, yet at the hands of humanities greatest enemy? He and thousands would meet their dreaded conclusion. 

Chapter Text

Barnes & Noble, Bridgeport

Year 2014

 

Through the automatic sliding door, a male in his twenties or so stepped into a local Barnes & Noble. His limbs tickled with jitters and his heart race anxiously. His mind was set on purchasing a copy of the booming Attack on Titan manga for himself. Ever since it launched last year, he has seen nothing but praise around it. Everyone fell in love with its gory and very depressing storyline and its characters-including himself. While walking toward the only section of the store that sold various mangas, he could vividly picture the rest of his evening. He would purchase his copy, grab some dinner on the way, and savor the food while his eyes danced gleefully from section to section. To avoid silence from filling his apartment room, he would probably switch his TV  to some random but favorited channel. He could only imagine the heart-dropping truths he would come to learn and could taste the cliffhanger that lay in store for him when he neared the very end.

 

He couldn’t wait.

 

There was another potential buyer that stood in front of the shelf. It was a male probably his age or somewhat older. He was fair-skinned and a foot or two taller than him. He had rectangle glasses that he pushed up, once Andreas arrived at the shelf, as he consumed himself in his manga. Paying no mind to the male, Andreas looked eagerly for the row of Attack on Titan. His dark blue eyes shimmered as they caught the bold title written on the spine of each issue. Fingers graced each manga while his eyes scanned every one before finding his desired copy. 

 

He slid it out of its position and opened its content. He allowed the pages to flow with the mild guidance of his thumb. He grinned to himself for a moment before closing it up, the last thing he wanted was to get hooked by the first page. It usually resulted in him remaining at the bookstore and finishing the book there. It was an occasional occurrence  and he regretted it every time. Not today.

 

From the corner of his eye, he noticed that the other male was nowhere to be found. It shocked him that he was so immersed in his findings he hadn’t noticed his disappearance.

 

And that would prove, in mere seconds, to be his downfall.

 

Andreas at once felt a presence behind him. It was a body, that much was certain, and the proximity of this person had long broken what was socially appropriate. A million thoughts were racing through his head and his hands clutched his book with slightly trembling hands. 

 

“Do not move.” A strong british accent whispered in his ear, “Because currently, you have a 10 inch blade directed in a fatal position.”

 

“What do you want?” Andreas asked after swallowing thickly, “Money or something?”

 

The male scoffed, “Come with me and act casual as if your life depends on it.”

 

That’s because it does , Andreas thought angrily. He nodded firmly and turned to exit the shelf. He nearly yelped when he felt the man  pinch his shirt stopping him in his tracks.

 

“Tsk, leave the book.”

 

Damn it.

 


 

 

With no manga or certainty of his survival, Andreas was escorted out of the bookstore and into the parking lot. He was brought not to his car, but to another that was parked a fair distance from his own. It was small, black, and lean and by the symbol on the front, it was a Lexus. He was ordered to open the door and he got in at once.

 

He exhaled realizing that the entire time he was leaving, he had not taken a normal breath. He wiped his hands harshly on his blue jeans where he imprinted the outcome of his nerves onto its material. The driver door was opened and his abductor slid in. It took only a glance to realize this man was the same one he had spotted reading when he arrived at the shelf. Now he began to wonder if all of this was planned from the minute he stepped in. Did this male stalk him before acting? Was he a psychopath and simply doing this for the hell of it? Or was he about to find himself a victim of human trafficking? 

 

”Before anything, put this on.” The male said his arm outstretched behind and in his grasp was a black blindfold. 

 

Andreas was well aware, from the amount of movies involving kidnap, that this was a precaution done to make sure that only the male knew where their location would be. Based by the icy tone of his voice, Andreas assumed that this guy was not to be messed with. It’d be best if he just followed orders for now.

 

He tied the cloth over his eyes, his heart racing as he engulfed himself into darkness. He tied double knots to secure it around his head, not wanting the cloth to fall from his eyes at the wrong moment. 

 

“Good.”The male said, “I was told to give a brief overview of everything and the rest will be explained when we reach our destination. My name is Shaun Hastings and there is a good reason why you are in this predicament. No, I’m not going to sell you and your body parts. Rather, in short, you have a vital connection to an ancestor of yours who fought for our Cause. In addition,  your ancestor had dealings with an artifact we are trying to find. I will answer three questions, go.”

 

Andreas didn’t know where to even start. He had been abducted from a bookstore because of his ancestor that’s supposedly important to this man? And this same person from long ago knew of an artifact this man is trying to find? And what is this Cause he’s fighting for?

 

He only had three shots in getting answers and would then have to wait who knows how long until he can get the full story.

 

“O..Okay then, who exactly are you?”

 

“Shaun Hastings, a member of the Assassin Brotherhood”

Chapter Text

They had been driving for what felt like hours. Andreas hadn’t asked a question since they arrived at the car mostly because he was trying to filter out what he should ask Shaun. This man was part of a brotherhood of Assassins. When Andreas heard such a word he saw people dressed in all black with snipers and silent pistols positioned on rooftops overlooking their target. He hadn’t expected to get such a reality shock.

 

 Coughing lightly, Andreas could feel that Shaun had grown irritated by his lack of question. He didn’t know how, but he could feel it, “So.. why are these Assassins trying to find this artifact?” 

 

“These artifacts are fragments of a civilization that existed before mankind.” Shaun went ”The artifact your ancestor dealt with was one of the Apples of Eden. These apples hold an extraordinary power and if placed in the wrong hands, could affect our entire world negatively.”

 

“How did you all find me?”Andreas blurted out his hunger for answers got the better of him

 

“An associate of mine hacked into the database of a company called Abstergo Industries. I know you’ve heard something about them. “Shaun sighed, “They practically have a toe dipped in every aspect of our lives. They’ve been trying to find a direct lineage to an assassin or templar who lived during the time the artifact was discovered and they found you and your ancestor. Luckily , we got to you before they did.”

 

Andreas shuddered. Shaun made it seem like he did him a favor by abducting him, but how could he be sure that he was on the right side? Assassins didn’t bring comfort to his rampaging nerves. But Andreas had picked up Templar from Shaun's explanation and he guessed they were enemies of the Assassins. Andreas didn’t know what to make of such a name. It could go both ways...

 

“Who are the-”

 

“You’ve asked three questions, now you’ll just have to wait till we get there.”

 

Figures, Andreas thought rolling his eyes under the cloth. Instead of thinking of what could be next he busied himself with thoughts of his ancestor. Shaun had said that this person was an Assassin. Andreas amused himself with an image of a guy that looked somewhat like him chasing down Templars, but the picture made him wonder what century his ancestors lived in. The 18th century would be fun to learn about once more and the role his ancestors played. Or perhaps they lived during an ancient time? He knew that he was mostly from german descent, maybe his ancestor was a warrior assassin in Germania? 

 

But, I’m feeling generous, ask two more,” Shaun spoke

 

Andreas grinned excitedly, “Okay! Do you know who my ancestor is?”

 

“His name is Roman Kesselman”

 

“What period did he live around?”

 

This time Shaun didn’t speak at once. Andreas fidgeted in his seat concern creeping up from the silence. 

 

“Ask another.” Shaun finally said

 

Andreas decided he wasn’t going to bother asking why, although the question did seem innocent enough. Nevertheless, he settled on another question that had dwelled into his head, “Who are these Templars you said before?”

 

“The Templars believe that they can create an ideal perfect world . However, they believe that mankind is too corrupt to do it themselves and thus strive to create this New Order with them as the leaders.” Shaun explained and Andreas could hear the resentment

 

Whether the information was true or not, what he heard didn’t sound pleasing to him at all. These Templars want to make mankind its subjects in this New World they wish to create. If what Shaun said was true, Andreas would gladly follow the footsteps of Roman Kesselman to the very end if it meant thwarting the plans of these so-called Templars.

Chapter Text

  Undisclosed location, Connecticut

Year 2014


Andreas jolted awake with a start as if harshly tapped. His body had registered that they stopped moving for some time and simply woke him up. The excitement seemed to be the only feeling Andreas could produce. He had been stuck in the car for hours and the blindfold was starting to hurt his eyes. He refrained from saying anything though, he didn’t think he could bear the disappointment if his assumptions were proven incorrect.


But he couldn’t ignore the nagging voice in his mind that pressured him to say something-anything. He swallowed thickly as if attempting to shove down the words inching up his throat. Ultimately, he failed and gave in.


“A-are we there?”


There was a thick pause from Shaun and Andreas grinned when hearing the sound of the engine being shut off followed by the popping noise of the driver door opening, “Yes, but do not take off the fold.”


Andreas nodded and sat perfectly still as the door was shut. His was opened just seconds after and unkind hands guided him out of his seat. Shaun gave him no time to stretch as he was escorting forward, but Andreas was alright with it. The drive had been mind-numbingly long after the scattered conversation he had with Shaun. Anything was better than being stuck in the dreadful vehicle any longer. 



“Becs, we’re here open the door won’t you?”


Andreas assumed that Shaun had gotten on the phone. He could faintly hear a female voice brightly responding with a, “you got it!” before silence befell them once more. Shaun continues to guide him forward telling him shortly there were a set of small stairs up ahead.  His warming came quite late and Andreas nearly fell face front. They stopped walking right when there was the sound of a metal door being pushed open, “Good work Shaun, Lucy’s gonna be stoked to know the plan went smoothly!”


It was the cheery female voice from the phone call just moments ago. 


“What did you expect?” Shaun spoke with an offended scoff, “Plus Mr. Glehn isn’t much of a fighter-or much of anything really.”


Andreas decided not to show his clear offense to that statement.


“Oh well, let’s take off that fold hm?” The woman spoke


“Please do.” Andreas went with a small smile


He stood still feeling as small thin fingers undid his work from hours ago. The cloth fell from his eyes and his palms went to rub them to adjust. After several blinks, he stared back at a woman with short black hair and ecstatic matching eyes. She grinned and handed Andreas the blindfold.


“Great! I’m Rebecca, don’t bother introducing yourself I already know who you are!” She teased, “Come on, there’s someone else who wants to meet you.”


Andreas nodded and looked back at Shaun who raised a brow in question. He followed Rebecca down a dark hallway then up some stairs. They reached an open room that had windows covered up with all types of material. In the corner were a desk where a laptop sat and piles of books. A thumbtack board was also set up with various images and text. Opposite of that was a red and white chair that reminded him of the exact ones used for patients for therapy. However, this one was hooked up to a computer and other tech beside it. Sitting at a chair that sat beside the red one was a girl with blonde hair styled in a pixie cut. At the sight of their arrival, she leaped up and dashed over to them.


“Oh thank god the mission went well!”She sighed with relief and she looked to Andreas, “I’m Lucy it’s a pleasure to meet you, Andreas.”


She held out a hand and he shook it with a small smile. She did the same but it dropped a second later, “I’m sure you have many questions.”


Andreas chuckled nervously, “Some were cleared up by Shaun, but I still have so many.”


Rebecca laughed, “Lemme guess, he did the ole ‘you can only ask 3 questions’.”


Andreas nodded weakly which fueled Rebecca's elated laughter. He could hear Shaun mutter something and his figure briskly passed him to the desk with the books. Immediately he began to busy himself with the items. Lucy took his wrist at once and guided him to sit in the red chair. He pivoted around kicking his feet up to stretch his body out against it. The chair was somewhat comfortable and Andreas noticed that beside his head was a piece of tech that didn’t seem all too friendly.  Guessing by its placement, Andreas assumed that it would lock onto the individual’s head. But why did the three own such a device?


Lucy returned to her previous seat beside him while Rebecca stood behind her leaning on the back of the chair for support.


“Alright, let me explain everything.” She said in a calm voice, “as you should know already, we are all Assassins fighting against Abstergo Industries, the Templars. We are trying to find an Apple of Eden that has been discovered before they do. What we know is that the Apple is in Germany, the location-neither us nor the Templars know. So far so good?”


Andreas nodded, “so my ancestor, Roman, he’s from Germany?”

The three Assassins made eye contact with each other. Shaun made a scoffing sound the busied himself once more. Rebecca bobbed her head as if trying to find truth in his words. 


“Not exactly.” Lucy began, “But we’ll get to that soon. First, we want you to know that finding this Apple is vital. Apples of Eden can practically control our entire world which is what the Templars are trying to do. If we can find this apple before them, it’s a victory for the Assassins.”


“However if you fail, just know that humanity's enslavement is all your fault” Shaun piped coldly


Andreas’s mouth parted in shock and Rebecca shot a look at the British male. Shaun had made it seem that finding this Apple was important, but the way Lucy described it made him feel that this artifact was much more than simply ‘important’. Doubt began to creep in causing Andreas to sink into the chair, what if he did fail to find this Apple? How would he do it? Would he have to go back in time somehow?


“U-Um how am I going to find this Apple?”He questioned, “because I swear, I don’t know where it is!”


“That’s where this baby comes in!”Rebecca exclaimed excitedly motioning to the chair he sat upon, “This here is the Animus 2.0. Basically, we’ll hook you in using this-” She picks and held up a large needle and the sight alone made Andreas blanch, “And you’ll experience and live through Roman’s memories.”


“Within them, you will find the exact time and location Roman found the Apple of Eden and where he placed it.” Lucy added, “It’s quite simple.”


Andreas nodded still nervous about the needle, but he knew it would be a temporary thing. He still wondered why Lucy or the others hadn’t explained to him the background of his ancestor. Was it more complicated than he perceived it to be?


“Not to be rude, but this is a race you know.” Shaun added, “The Templars have also found a descendant during the period who also was heavily involved with the Apple.”


Lucy nodded softly while Rebecca waved a hand, “Yeah we know, it was that Smith guy.”


Andreas inwardly smiled to himself. The moment the name came out of Rebecca’s mouth, he thought of Erwin Smith, Commander of the Survey Corps and a notable important character in Attack on Titan. Erwin was his second favorite character mostly for his reasoning and purpose. At the thought, his heart sank into his stomach realizing that as long as he stays here, he wouldn’t be able to catch up on anything Attack on Titan related. The sadness grew deeper as he further realized he wouldn’t be able to read more about his most favorite character Levi-


Ackerman you idiot” Shaun scolded, “He was involved with the Apple and Roman Kesselman. If only we got to him instead…”


Andreas picked his head up at the same time Lucy lightly scolded Shaun for his rudeness. Surely he hadn’t heard Ackerman ? He wasn’t aware that the name was based on someone else’s. But excitement bubbled in his stomach would he get to interact with an Ackerman even if it wasn’t the same one? As if she could visibly see his thoughts run across his face, Lucy bit her lip and leaned slightly forward.


“Hey, Andreas.” Lucy asked slowly and he hummed in response, “How much do you know about Attack on Titan?”

Chapter Text

Undisclosed location, Connecticut

Year 2014

 

Andreas remembered vividly how he was introduced to the world of Attack on Titan. It was in December of last year and he had been scrolling through Tumblr mindlessly liking artwork and blogs of topics he knew or didn’t. He stumbled on a particular drawing of a pale man with a raven undercut, clutching strongly two twin blades. Interested, Andreas checked the tags underneath it and saw Attack of Titan as one of them. Out of pure curiosity, he typed it up and various posts of art and gifs appeared on the screen. It didn’t take the blonde male long to completely fall head over heels for the storyline he managed to connect based on the blogs and such. 30 minutes later, Andreas was waist-deep in the first issue of the manga and its original and twisted plot appealed to him. 

 

There had been many nights and sometimes during the day, where he would wonder how it would be to live in a time where human-eating monsters threatened the earth. Andreas knew well that he would be scared shitless even if he desired to be strong like Levi Ackerman or even Eren Jaeger. The whole idea behind 3DMG  baffled him and he wondered how the characters even mastered such complicated gear. Not to mention how mentally strong one had to be when watching comrades get torn apart by the Titans. It had to be madness.

 

With all those unending thoughts and questions, Andreas simply could not believe that the world he fell in love with, once existed.

 

Andreas was concerned why Lucy even bothered to bring up Attack on Titan. It was a manga, a story thought up by a single man, so why did it relate to the Assassins and Templars? When Lucy explained how the story was built behind a history forgotten by humans, Andreas took a moment to let her words settle. Yet they couldn’t because it was absurd, impossible. Andreas spent years in school and suffered many hours of history lessons and not one mentioned anything about Titans or walls built to protect the human race. Andreas knew that mankind’s history was still not completely known. There are a few things in the past that remain a mystery, but Andreas refused to believe that Titans once scoured the earth.

 

“I know it sounds stupid” Lucy spoke slowly, “But the Templars have managed to gain memories that do relate to the storyline of the Titans and the Walls.”

 

“And with their vast influence, they managed to keep quiet about such a monumental time period of mankind. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t make some profit from it.” Shaun added

 

Andreas swiftly turned to the male, “So the author, Isayama, is a Templar?”

 

“That could be a potential factor or he’s simply an accomplice,” Shaun said, “But all of that doesn’t matter. What does, is that you understand Attack on Titan is based on lost historical events and within it, an Apple was discovered.”

 

Andreas fell speechless, disbelief still clung to him, but he had no choice but to swallow the truth. Rebecca came over and nudged him playfully on the shoulder, “Don’t look so grim dude, you get to actually live in the world of your favorite manga! Wish that could be said with others.”

 

Rebecca was right and anticipation began to sneak up on him. If Attack of Titan was based on historical truths lost to the world, then that means Levi Ackerman existed since the Templars found his modern ancestor. Andreas couldn’t wait to interact with him along with other characters. Yet he was still wary about the whole idea. Interacting with Titans was the last thing Andreas wanted to do. No to mention the food shortages that occurred within the walls. It was those little facts and much more that stopped him from being totally on board.

 

“I don’t think I could handle going head to head with a Titan” He chuckled nervously looking over to lucy

 

“You’re lucky, the period takes place before and during the Revolution or known to you as the Uprising Arc” Lucy explained, “You know better than all of us that all activities outside the walls were frozen for a time.”

 

Andreas heart sunk, “I’m...not exactly caught up.”

 

Lucy’s lips parted and she gave him a remorseful look. Despite the small spoiler he smiled and brushed it off.

 


 

Andreas winced when Rebecca injected the catheter into his arm. He ignored Shaun’s mockery for his reaction and took a deep breath. He wasn’t expecting for his day to end the way it did. In a few moments, he was about to relive the memories of his ancestor in the world of Attack on Titan. It had been Shaun’s words that made him persuade Lucy and Rebecca to start up the Animus. With every minute they wasted sitting around, the Templars were getting closer and closer to finding the Apple. In a way, Andreas felt sorry for Levi’s descendant. The Templars probably brainwashed them into thinking they were helping a good cause. Yet in a way, whoever Levi’s descendant was, they probably felt bad for him too.

 

“You’ll do great Andreas” Lucy spoke, “And while you’re in we’ll help you on the way.”

 

Andreas nodded and Rebecca came into his vision and pressed something on the sides of his face. As soon as she disappeared from his sight, his eyes began to get heavy and soon surrendered to the drowsy feeling his heart thumping away in his chest. When he finally awoke, Andreas found himself in a tavern.