The Year of 845
The sprawling field is home to a wide blanket of blue wildflowers. They choke out the grass in their haste to grow, bobbing their perfumed heads as if straining to reach the sun. A single, lonely tree stands a midst the colony of blue.
There is no sound. Only the white noise of Nature's fingers brushing through the the leaves.
You sit in the middle of this peaceful scene, reaching a small hand out to grasp the flowers and yank them from the cool soil. Your wide (e/c) eyes stare in childish wonder at the soft petals. You tuck the bouquet into the pocket of your woolen sweater. Your mother had hand knitted the itchy garment last winter, putting all her concentration into crafting the dark-blue monstrosity. It had ended up being too large for your slight frame, but you refused to take it off anyhow. It swallowed up your pink dress, reaching the top of mud speckled boots.
Your mother had died that same winter of a fever that never got better. Leaving you in the care of your eldest brother, Lee, and the middle child, Dan. Your brothers took on any odd jobs they could around Shiganshina. But no matter what they did, every night it was the same watered down soup in the small, rented room you called "home".
Beside you Mikasa sits under the shade. Eren is sprawled on the ground in a quiet dream. His face seemingly tranquil. Mikasa has trained her dark eyes on him, watching over her adoptive sibling protectively even as he sleeps.
The three of you were supposed to be gathering firewood; you found yourselves basking in the warm sunlight instead... thanks to Eren. He was always such a slacker when it came to work.
Beneath the tree canopy his slightly tan complexion was marbled with shadows, his dark brown hair wild about his face. As you watched he breathed in and out, slow and regular.
Eren awakes with a jolt.
His bright eyes stare into the branches above him with something like horror written in them. "Huh? Mikasa..._____?" He lifts himself unto his elbows and looks all around as if he didn't remember where he was or how he got there. You frown at his behavior. Why didn't you notice if he was having a bad dream? Only a few seconds ago he had seemed perfectly fine.
"We need to head back." Mikasa stands and looks back towards the wall to the south. It was a gargantuan structure fifty-meters tall and incredibly thick. It was a barrier to keep the monsters called Titans out. Though it felt to you as if it was a cage to keep you in. Without it mankind would have been devoured by the giant creatures but you couldn't help but to detest it.
"What are we doing here?" Eren asks. He scratches his neck and wipes the sleep from his turquoise-green eyes. He seemed rather tired for someone who had just gotten up. "It feels like I had a really long dream...but I can't remember what it was." He mutters profoundly.
"Eren, why are you crying?" Mikasa wonders, her face as full as concern as her stoic features will ever be. A small trail leaks down both of his cheeks. He touches his face lightly, shocked when his fingertip catches a salty drop.
"Are you okay?" You shift towards him, concerned. Stubbornly he wipes the moisture off on his sleeve.
"Y-you two better not tell anyone about this!" He warns. You give him a warm smile moving over towards him and running your fingers through his tangles. Ignoring the protests coming from him.
"Don't you ever comb your hair?" You ask teasingly. He scoffs, blushing from the attention and crossing his arms with a dissatisfied grunt.
"I swear, you're such a mom sometimes." He complains.
Afterwards the three of you had all hoisted the bundles of firewood unto your backs and made the trek back to Shiganshina district. Eren and Mikasa lived nearby the tavern that your eldest brother rented a room out of. You often played with them in the street and the Yeagers even let you come over for dinner sometimes when both Lee and Dan worked late.
"What are you looking so down for Eren? Did Mikasa and _____ get on your case?" Mr. Hannes stood with his hands on his hips, leaning over to look Eren in the eye. A playful smile sat under the stubble he called a mustache. His eyes were pink with bloodshot and a light blush spread across his cheeks from drunkenness. His short blond hair stuck out in unkempt sprigs.
"You reek of alcohol!" Eren exclaims, stealing the words right out of your mouth. Mr. Hannes only smiled more brightly. It was a sadly normal thing for many members of the Garrison Regiment to slip a few drinks into their lazy schedule. After one-hundred years of inactivity they became complacent.
"What if something happens? Can you fight like that? What if they come?" Eren challenges.
One of the other red-faced Garrison soldiers ambled over, a drink clutched in his fist. "If they bust down the walls we'll take care of business. But...nothing has happened in a hundred years so don't get your hopes up." He hiccuped. Eren stared at the state the two were in with disgust.
"You should just call yourselves Wall Construction instead." Eren stalks away moodily, followed by Mikasa. You take the time to stick your tongue out at Mr. Hannes and run to catch up with them.
"I'd forget about the Scouting Regiment if I were you." Mikasa tells Eren as the three of you dart past vendors, carts, and arguing adults. Eren whirls on her with a sparkle in his eye.
"You think they're a joke too?" She looks back at him, narrowing her eyes slightly.
"It's not about what I think--" She was cut off by the sound of clanging bells.
You perk up at the cumbersome song. "The Scouting Regiment is back!" You burst with excitement. It had always been your favorite thing to see the Scouting Regiment passing by in their proud green cloaks. You admired them for their courage. You had always imagined that your father had been a Scouting Regiment soldier. That was why he wasn't there beside you, because he had died bravely in battle...it wasn't like he had abandoned you.
"Let's go see the heroes return!" Eren grabs your hand and pulls you along. Mikasa sighs at the spectacle her two friends were making and trails after at a slow trot.
The sight that greets you once you reach the gate is far from the pleasant march you had expected.
The captain leads back his discouraged soldiers atop a tired stallion. His cloak stained with blood, his knuckles scratched from fighting. His eyes are dull and depressed. You knew of the Scouting Regiment's reputation for failure. But every time you seemed to expect them to come back victorious. A child's silly wish.
Everyone's countenance spoke of immeasurable pain. Many were wounded, covered in soiled bandages, or missing limbs. Wagons carried the corpses (that they could salvage) of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, friends, and lovers.
Whispers begin to circulate among the thick crowd. "Everyone must have gotten eaten...another failure...waste of money..." Tears burn you eyes at the horrid picture.
"_____..." Mikasa begins, but you are already running through the mass of bodies and away from the feeling of loss. You were rather sensitive and couldn't take the mass of negative emotions radiating off of everyone.
A cup of tea sits cold and untouched before you. The kind woman that owned the tavern had fixed it after seeing you come home a crying mess. But you didn't have the stomach for even a little hot drink. Seeing the Scouting Regiment return had ruined the rest of your day. Lee and Dan were not off work yet and so not there to comfort you. They got up very early in the morning and came back very late in the evening.
It isn't until the sound of yelling comes from the street that you are roused from your dark thoughts. The sound was faint but you recognized the voice of Armin. Instinctively you run out of the heavy tavern door and rush down the narrow street.
Armin is being held against the stone building by a dirty looking boy. The three bullies looked to be a couple years older than either you or Armin. They called him dirty names, throwing insults and punches.
"Hey! Stop that!" You grab the arm of the boy holding Armin up by his clothes. "_____!" Armin calls out as his attacker backhands you. The blow to your cheekbone surprises you. You stumble backwards. You were smaller than them and they were certainly more vicious than you. But you still tried to pry the ugly boy off of your friend.
"Stay out of this runt." He seethes. Armin's scared blue eyes flicker between you and the small gang.
"I'm the one you're angry with! Don't hit her." Armin only receives a lazy blow to the stomach in response, causing him to flinch.
"Stop!" Eren was running full speed towards the scene. He wore an intense expression but the offenders only laughed off his heroics. That was...until they saw Mikasa charging behind him. Her eyes sparked with animosity and their bravery wavered.
"S-screw this!" They ran off like the cowards they were, leaving Armin to fall to the street.
"_____ are you alright?" Armin tries to get up but winces and sits back down. You touch the now bruised cheek.
"I'm fine. You got the worst of it anyway." You smile at him bitterly.
"Tch...losers." Eren puts his hand on his hips.
"I said humanity needed to venture into the outside world at some point...and they called me a heretic and..." Armin explained what got him into the fight with an air of dejection. He was constantly being picked on for his abnormal views. You had always known the blond to be intelligent with a natural curiosity. He didn't have a violent bone in his body and never fought back against the numerous bullies who demoralized him.
"You need to be careful what you say. No one likes talk like that...right or wrong." Both Eren and Armin made a face at your comment. Both of them had the same idea that the outside world was for humans and that the human race should reclaim it against the Titans. At all costs. They had crazy dreams of exploring strange lands with liquid fire, large bodies of salt water, lands made up entirely of ice and snow, and towering mountains. You couldn't say you didn't like the idea of adventure. But you feared such a world would be dangerous for them.
"We've had a hundred years of peace by staying inside the walls." Armin had his arms crossed over his knees. His bangs partially covering his downcast eyes. "They're worried that by going outside carelessly it might invite them inside. The government's policies have made having any interest in the outside world a taboo." Everyone listened to Armin as he went on, sitting by the waterside. You stare numbly into the shifting water, watching specks of light shimmer over the surface. The sun made everything look warm and tinted the houses with oranges and yellows. It was strange to you that the government would call the last one hundred years "peace". The Titans waited somewhere out there. Patiently knowing a time would come when they could feast on the flesh they didn't actually need. This wasn't peace...it was a momentary lull in a war that wouldn't end until one side was exterminated.
"By the way, why did you tell my parents I wanted to join the Scouting Regiment?" Eren asks Mikasa out of the blue. You gasp. Eren had told everyone to keep it a secret from them because they would surely disagree with his choice.
"I never said I wouldn't tell them. You shouldn't do it anyway, it's a careless risk." Mikasa retorts coldly.
"Well, it's my life I can risk it if I want--"
"Absolutely not!" Mikasa cuts him off. "Just forget about it." You watched them glare at each other in both worry and curiosity. It was unusual for them to be at odds with each other.
"How did they take it?" You ask him.
"They're...not very happy about it of course." Eren fixes his glittering eyes on you and bites his lip. It wasn't surprising. Most people believed joining the Scouting Regiment was a death sentence.
"I think people are crazy if they think we'll be safe inside these walls forever." Armin's voice sounds ominous as he stares far away, looking at a future you can't see. His words send chills down your spine.
"There is no guaranteeing it won't fall."
A yellow spark of lightening dashes across the sky and strikes the ground with tremendous force. The earth shook violently, tipping you over. Thunder rumbled through Shiganshina. At first you thought it was a storm. But from your position you saw there was little to no clouds in the sky. Something wasn't right.
Shop owners, pedestrians, and curious children filled the streets. You felt the ground vibrate gently. As if someone had taken a giant footstep. Or maybe a giant had taken a step.
Two men pointed down the road at something hidden behind a two story building. You got up and rounded the corner, followed closely by your friends.
It was a hand. A giant hand without skin curling around the top of the wall. Steam rose from behind the thick fingers. Parts of the wall cracked and crumbled away as it clutched the wall tight, falling to the ground in a cloud of dirt.
Your heart skips a beat.
Eren, Armin, and Mikasa stood behind you; frozen in identical horror. "N-no way...that wall is fifty-meters high!" Armin exclaims.
Slowly a head begins to rise above the wall, matching the ghastly hand in all its skinless splendor. The muscle tissue glinted bright red and pink, contrasting with the milky white tendons and bone showing here and there. It's pearly chompers visible.
But the worst part was easily the eyes. Intelligent, cruel; glaring down at the mere ants below.
"A Titan!" Someone in the growing crowd screamed.
The wall exploded in on itself as the Titan's foot smashed through the gate. Rubble crushing houses and bodies alike. Blood covered the streets in no time.
Everyone except Eren had the sense to speed away. He moved towards the gate slowly at first, as if in a haze, but then broke into a run. Even though Titans had already passed the threshold he continued towards them. "My house is in that direction!"
You remember that tavern you live in and possibly your brothers were also closer to the now ruined gate.
"_____! EREN! MIKASA!" Armin yelled after you with tears brimming his large eyes. His shaggy hair wild about his terrified face. He was ignored as the three of you stumbled through the frenzied mob.
Screams. Fire. Smoke. Blood. Crimson, salty, warm, thick, blood...everywhere. It covered everything.
You gasped, nearly toppling over as you came to a halt in front of what used to be the Yeager's home.
"MOM!" Eren screams.
She lay underneath the ruin of roof tiles and beams. She look up in shock and horror, "Eren!" She was only able to move one arm and look about helplessly. Where was Mr. Yeager?
You couldn't contain the uneven breaths you took or the hot tears boiling down your sweaty cheeks.
This isn't real. This isn't real. I'll wake up soon. It'll all just be a bad dream...
"Lee! Dan!" You scream at the top of your lungs. You forsake your two best friends in search of your own family. The tavern is still standing a ways down the street, but no one answers you.