A spring breeze flowed through the district of Shiganshina, like a river meandering through tightly packed streets containing the hussle and bussle of early morning merchants and shoppers.
However, what went unknown to these civilians was that something big was about to occur. This involved a small, quaint cottage in the middle of the town containing a not so normal family as meets the eye.
--"Daddy, where we are going?"-- a young child, around the age of nine, inquired. He was ignored once again as the man holding his hand focused on the women by the sink. --"I'm going to take Eren and he will inherit this power."-- A powerful voice came from this man, strong-minded and certain in his choice.
The boy, now dubbed Eren, inclined his head sideways, allowing chestnut brown hair to sweep over his eyes. Confusion was evident on his face. His eyes narrowed, trying to understand the meaning behind these complicated words spoken. They were tiny gems, green and blue fighting for dominance in the small space as the sun shone over them, allowing speckles of gold to flaunt themselves. His skin was tan proving all the time spent in the sun with his good friend Armin.
The boy was the spitting image of the women opposite, different emotions conflicted on her dainty face. Her worn, calloused hands found their way to her side ponytail, the same colour as her little boy and started to fidget nervously, twirling long strands between her slim fingers.
-- "I know we already discussed this Grisha, but really? Now?"--the women struggled between words, almost begging. --"He's just started to form proper sentences, he has a new friend and is doing great in school. Isn't it unfair? "--
Grisha pinched the bridge of his large nose and sighed a long deep sigh. He knew this would happen, trust Carla to get too attached when they had already discussed this before Eren was even born.
--"Yes, I had planned to do this when Eren would be around 13 but time has caught up to me and I've had change my plan." -- Grisha was once again bold in his statement, as if it had nothing to do with the gate off his child.
--"But Grisha, the underground is no place for a child"-- Carla answered back.
--"Carla, nowhere is safe for a child. Whether it be the underground, the walls of outside the walls, there will always be enemies everywhere"-- Grisha fired back almost immediately, like he had predicted that statement would be said.
And with that heated discussion came the result of what came next.
Tender kisses were shared. Small "I Love Yous" and a brief "I'll find you Eren, I promise" we're uttered then the large man and the small child were whisked away into the warm breeze. Carla watched as they turned the corner then they were gone. Grisha her beloved husband gone forever. Eren, her dear baby boy gone for not quite forever, she hoped.
Eren skipped as he hopscotched along the cracked cobblestone pathment. He greeted the locals in a faint hello buried in gibberish rivering out of his mouth. Grisha chucked at the 9 year old’s antics. --'I'm sorry, but this is the only choice'-- he thought as he smiled sadly, his eyes forming crescents as he tried to fight back rare tears.
As soon as they had appeared they had disappeared. Gone. Never to be seen again in a very long time.
From then on is when his memory got blurry.
His father's weeping face radiated seeming innocence. But that quickly changed as the air grew hot and the sky became deep red. The trees bled and the grass became needles on his skin. Grisha sounded terrified and struggled for his words but the 9 year old managed to pick up quickly on a few words.
"Use" "Power" "Everyone" "Depends" "You"
Then a bright flash had temporarily blinded him and as he awoke the man in front of him was no more. All that remained was the small round spectacles that was surrounded by a halo of light which quickly diminished into nothing. The steam around the young boy dazed him as the sound of blood dripping off the trees became a permanent ticking in his head, until all he could focus on was that. He had snatched up the glasses and turned to the gaping black hole behind him, which his father had briefly told him to go into before dying.
He stood, not without stumbling on his shaky legs first. He made his way down the hole not knowing that would be his last time seeing outside for years.
The damp tunnel glowed with weak fire casting shadows off the skinny figure stumbling over the rocky floor. He wasn't fearless by any means. He was 9 and knew nothing about the world. However, he thought of this as an adventure, a joyride. Oh how wrong he was.
He was slightly sad over his father's quick demise (of course) but the young child barely saw the man so there were no memories to fawn over anyway. The doctor had a tight schedule and was always out and about with new patients. He was fully invested in one family who he always spoke feverishly over. How they were rare and "have a beautiful daughter around your age Eren, maybe you could become friends? " He was told how he was spoken about in conversations a lot too and the little girl called Mitusu? Mikaus? Ah, Mikasa, wanted to be friends too. But he’d never met her and didn't know how his father wanted him to be friends with someone he's never met.
Recently though father had said she would become part of the family because her parents had been brutally killed.-- "Her father was shot through the head till you could see the other side and her mother had been cut through the throat straight to the jugular where she had bled to her death." (A/N Imagine this with more childlike speech i guess)-- Of course his father had told him off for speaking so bluntly about it when he repeated it later to his mother after seeing the very explicit crime scene drawings, in a surprisingly coherent sentence with quite mature words, however that was quickly ignored. But it was the truth wasn't it? So therefore it was okay to say surely? he had thought.
He remembered as he walked, how his father had told him how they were part of the "Ackerman" clan. He hadn't understand the importance of this name but what normal 9 year old would? So his father told him the entire heritage of the family, despite his young mind, he had managed to wrap his head around most of the words. He said the Ackermans were rare and if I ever met one I should not only treasure them but be scared too due to their powerful fighting skills and intelligence.
Armin would miss him yes, who else would he be able to share his illegal knowledge with? After all Eren was the one that protected him (barely) from the bullies without even a scratch (in Eren's mind anyway).
His mother. She seemed to understand what was going on. He would go back to her but well...He doesn't know the way.
He walked further into his doom, lost in his thoughts, when he crashed right into a taller, female figure. They both fell to the floor in a heap.
The women, in her late 30s, was very skinny with her collarbones sticking out and little to no fat clung to her thighs. Her cheeks were sunken in and large bags hung under her eyes. However despite these flaws she made up for it in beauty. Her long black hair was shiny and uncharacteristically clean for someone from the underground. Her eyes were a beautiful gunmetal grey with hints of blue. Her malnourished body was dressed in a loose white dress which reached her knees and she was caked in a light layer of flashy make up.
The women groaned and hoisted herself up making quick work of picking up her discarded apples she had snatched from the entrance of the underground. But her previous plan of getting home before getting caught above, were quickly ruined when a body from behind came barrowling into her. She hastily picked more apples up, trying to act natural and casual in front of the guard who could kill her faster than a click of a finger. She heard a groan and the shuffling of clothes. She worked faster, scared of her fate if she stayed around any longer. As she grabbed the final apple, a tan small hand was already under her own grabbing the apple, her apple.
She scrambled backwards, snapping her hand back as if she had just touched burning coal. 'I'm sorry. I've failed you as a mother and now I’m leaving you alone. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Levi' she recited in her head, as this wasn’t her first time in this sort of situation.
As she lifted her head she was met with a haunting sight. Unlike a burly, ruthless man she had expected she made eye contact with a young child around 9 years of age. His eyes were full of the sort of innocence impossible to find down in the underground. They were a beautiful shade of every colour possible and his body was skinny but still filled with enough baby chub to not look terrifyingly underweight. He wore clean clothes despite the rips and tears. He smelled nice like laundry and the world above.
"What are you doing down here child?" Unlike his mother's who's voice reflected the sun, filled with optimism and happiness. Her voice was smooth and deep, similar to rich honey as it slowly falls from a spoon. He liked it.
"My daddy left me here just before he died" he said matter of factly.
Kuchel shook her head in pity as she understood and could relate to this sort of situation. "Well child i wouldn't normally do this and I don't recommend it but you can come home with me if you wish. "
'Wow she's pretty and kind' Eren once again bluntly thought. Just to realize he said it aloud. However the women just laughed a sweet noise and held out a hand to the small child. Eren of cause knew the 'dangers of strangers ' as his mother always used to drill into his head. But he was alone in an unfamiliar place and he felt a connection with this lady not only because she was beautiful. It was only when they joined hands did he notice it.
They began to walk as Kuchel spoke softly to herself about what she needed to do when they return, mentioning briefly about someone called Levi, who he could only guess was her son.
As they walked he finally decided to let loose his question. "what does the A on your wrist mean?" straight to the point as usual. This question was referring to the red scar on the inside of her wrist which looked to be burnt into the skin. Engraved and very much permanent. The tissue around the symbol was pushed backwards making room for it. It looked painful but seemed old and healed despite the raw red colour of the neighbouring markless skin.
Kuchel sighed, if she was taking the kid to her house then she might as well tell him to gain his trust, as he seems like he maybe good for her Levi. Then she realised she didn’t even know his name. “What’s your name child?”
—”I’m Eren Jaeger and I’m 9”—he said proudly, holding up 9 fingers high in the air.
—”Well Eren it’s lovely to meet you” Kuchel replied kindly, as she shook Eren’s hand playfully, “My name is Kuchel Ackerman and I live here”—
Ackerman? Oh. He reminisced on what his father had wistfully told him. She must be special, he thought as he looked up at Kuchel with sparkling eyes.
—“Wow”—his mouth open wide in awe. Kuchel looked completely confused at this display and asked what was the matter.
—“You’re an Ackerman. Daddy told me lots about you’re clan and how you are strong and all very beautiful.”—
Kuchel just stood in shock. This child was very clever for his age. She was suddenly pulled to a stop as the hand in her own yanked downwards. She turned towards the smaller figure and knelt on her knees.
He grabbed both of her scarred hands in his own, like a friend would, despite only knowing each other for merely 30 minutes. His eyes grow so wide, it was comical.
And in a loud voice he said something that would change everything he once knew. That would resonate with him and her forever. That would change his future.
” You are special and the Levi you spoke about is also. You are brave and strong living in this pigsty full of rats and dirtbags.” He said with determination. His mother had told him briefly about this place and the conditions.
“So therefore I promise to protect you forever”