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Catalyst

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One could only hope this prison was indestructible. That no matter who or what came along, nothing could shatter the final piece left behind. She was an eternal secret not meant to ever be cracked, only created to confound humanity. Yet as these thoughts processed for her, the temperature had been rising within this cold crystal cage.

This had been her escape, the only way for her to get away without having to deal with either side's conflicts. Within this prison lain a sanctuary known only to her, where she could forever rest in peace.

Everything had been a distant memory, simply a dream she could alter in any way she wished. This had been the freedom she had sought for, so she could no longer cause any pain, nor could she receive any. Yet the warmth inside her resonated brighter, almost to a scalding degree, as this sanctuary she created with her own hands now fell under the same weight.

The world she created began to fall as a harsher reality formed, taking place of the safe-haven she had known for so long. The dreams that she had sought for solitude were replaced with memories that she had wished to forget and each one came back as if she had just experienced them, leaving the blonde's thoughts to fall on her comrades; both those who she had betrayed and those that she had left behind. She was now trustworthy to no one, nor was she allowed to extend her trust onto anyone else. She had created her own side and no matter what path she chose from this point on, she knows it will always end in the pointless demise of those around her.

The fog, which had overtaken the small room that she was housed in, slowly began to fade away as the steam resonating from her body finally stopped, its purpose complete.

Darkness consumed her vision, leaving only faint outlines of the objects around her to be seen. Each carefully guided step followed the other as the palm of her hand pressed up against what seemed like a damp wooden table. There she stood, balancing her weight against the surface in order to hold still and give herself time to rest. The strain in her eyes could probably be noticed if anyone were there to see, they recovered at a sluggish pace; a titan's body was not meant to regenerate well under these conditions and as her eyes began to focus, a tall object she had previously glanced over stood in front of her.

This was not merely an object though, rather a man who she felt a faint familiarity with.

"Why now... Why you?" Her voice was weaker than that of a whisper.

Her thoughts leapt back towards her trainee days; the time she spent alone, secluded from everyone. Yet as time went by, however small they were, bonds were formed. Reiner and Bertolt were all she had from the start, but even then, she only spent what time was required with them. Then there was Eren Yeager, the 104th's very own "Suicidal Bastard". Her interest in him grew as each day passed, even to the point of offering to train him personally in close quarter combat.

"It's over, it's finally over." The man had a gentle tone to his voice, you could feel the relief in the words he spoke as he moved forward and brought her into his embrace. "We don't have to fight anymore, we made it."

And then there was that blonde boy, standing just a few centimeters taller than she. Armin was the only one who truly understood what kind of position she was in and the kind of person she was. He had known just as well as she did that no alternate routes existed. However, it had been enough just to know that she had been able to be a good person to him one last time before her departure.

Tears welled up in her eyes, a release she had longed for all her life. No longer would she have to rely on a false freedom. The distance she had created was finally gone, fully dissolved in the warmth that once again resonated inside her.

His embrace grew tighter as his body began to tremble. "Thank you Annie. You've been a good person to humanity."

One last tear ran down her cheek as the soldier walked away, a crimson trail behind him as he faded within the shadows of her thoughts.