She hadn’t been sleeping. And he could tell.
Mikasa still showed up for training bright and early. She still worked hard at every task he handed her. She still topped the rest of the team. But only barely.
She had slowed considerably.
There were bags under eyes this morning. Her 3DMG times were shit before lunch. During afternoon sparing, Sasha had actually almost caught her with a simple spin kick. Sasha wasn’t even good at the hand-to-hand combat. That would have been embarrassing. Luckily, Mikasa was Mikasa and even on three-days-no-sleep she managed to duck, then land Sasha on her ass.
None of the others seemed to have noticed her sleeplessness. Levi Heichou was perceptive to these sorts of things in his underlings, though. The Special Ops team had been home for three days since their last scouting mission and Mikasa had not been sleeping. Apparently trying to train the shit out of her did not tire her enough to sleep at night. Levi had been keeping the team busy since their return. There wasn’t time for breaks in training and they could not be out of shape. Teams who weren't in top condition every moment were eaten.Titans were unpredictable. With the Colossal and Armored Titan still running amok, who knew when the next attack would land. No one could afford to be caught off guard or sleepless.
Especially not Mikasa. She was the best. Well, besides himself of course.
Sasha, Connie, Armin, Jean, Eren, and himself were seated around a table in the Survey Corps’ dining hall. After training and dinner they all generally spent the hours before curfew in the dining hall. Mikasa had already excused herself to go to bed sometime ago. The brats were yakking about some shitty topic that Levi had no interest in. He was more than content to drink his tea for the evening and to stew about how to get Mikasa to turn her damn brain off. Her body was obviously tired but her mind would not let her sleep. Probably something to do with Eren and his safety. He knew all too well that you couldn’t sleep if you were consistently worrying over the fate of your teammate. Or whatever Eren was to her.
And suddenly a thought occurred to him.
They obviously had chemistry. Anyone could see that. Her constant fussing over him and his constant whining to her was their way of flirting, Levi guessed. Fucked up and unproductive but whatever. The real issue was Mikasa was too afraid of fucking things up or of him pushing her away to say anything and Eren was just too focused on killing everything, everywhere and protecting her to take notice of her actual feelings. Levi knew everyone would sleep better if they just got together and quit worrying over each other like Goddamn morons.
Perhaps they just needed a little push in the correct direction. Maybe a nighttime visit from Eren is just what Mikasa needed.
Eren perked up at the insult. “Huh?” The rest of the team peered down at the end of the table, listening to whatever Levi was about to order Eren to do.
“Bring Mikasa a cup of tea in her room.”
A look of confusion crossed the idiot’s face. “But… she went up an hour ago. She is probably asleep, Heichou!”
Levi sighed as he poured a steaming cup of chamomile tea and offered it to Eren. “She isn’t asleep yet. Trust me. Just bring her the fucking cup of tea would you.”
Oh. And kiss her already, you brat.
Eren wandered up into the Special Op’s portion of the fortress with the cup tea of Heichou had given him. What the hell? Mikasa hardly drank tea. Was it even appropriate to be visiting her at this hour? Curfew was soon and guys in the girls room after hours was frowned upon. Wouldn’t she already be asleep? She had said she was tired.
She’d been weird these past few days. On edge. But, like, not as sharp as usual. Sasha had almost landed a kick on her today, actually. Now that Eren thought about it, ever since that last scouting mission she had been off. Though it was just a short scouting mission with two other teams, it had turned out to be deadly. The team on the right flank had been practically wiped out by just a few Deviants that had formed a pack. The Deviant pack had caught up to them in the middle of a plain. The wide open expanse was crippling to their fighting style. Without the use of the 3DMG, the teams were practically sitting ducks. They managed to run into the ruins of village and sliced the Deviants up but only after losing most of the right flank team.
Afterwards, Heichou turned them for home. No use in going on if we already lost a third of the company. The week long scouting expedition turned into less than a day. Another wasted attempt at moving into Titan territory.
Eren sighed when he approached Mikasa’s door. It was stressful to be constantly in danger. And often times it seemed like they never made headway. How were they going to get to the basement if they couldn’t even manage a simple scouting mission? He shook his head. No. No thoughts like that. We will get to my basement and kill the Titans. I swear.
But the task at hand, he remembered, was much simpler. Give Mikasa tea. I can manage that. If she is even awake. He knocked quietly on her door. And to his surprise, she answered with a huff of, “Hn? Who is it?”
“Uhh… Eren! With tea! Heichou sent me up.”
“Oh. Come in. Door’s unlocked.”
Eren opened the door and entered Mikasa’s room. It was tidy, as usual. The small twin bed was snugged up in the far right corner and her spotless desk was to the left of the door. He had expected her to be tucked into bed with her nightshirt on, possibly yawning when he came in. Instead he found her bed empty with the sheets pulled back and Mikasa herself on the floor doing crunches in her training shorts and tank top.
“What are you doing?” Eren questioned. His headed tilted slightly to the side as she continued to curl up and into herself. She was strong. Though now that they were alone together he could tell she was tired. Dead bone tired. She is exhausted! How did I miss that?
“Crunches,” Mikasa replied shortly.
“I can see that, Mikasa. We trained hard all day. I thought you said you were going to bed.”
She sighed, “Yes. I meant to. But I can’t sleep.”
“Can’t sleep?” Eren wondered incredulously. He plopped down on the woven rug next to her, tea still in hand, when she paused in mid-crunch. “But you’re tired. Exhausted! I can tell. Get in bed.”
“Eren, you are interrupting my workout. I’ll sleep later. Leave the tea and go back downstairs.”
“You get in bed,” he insisted.
Mikasa’s eyes narrowed. “Did the midget suddenly die and make you captain of my sleep schedule?”
“Then fuck off.”
That was it. Mikasa hardly ever swore at him. She really must have been tired, then. Really, really tired. Eren, huffed, got up and turned to face the door. Mikasa, thinking she had won, closed her grey eyes and went back to doing her nightly crunches. What’s a better way to spend a sleepless night after all? A smug grin tugged at the corner of her lips. She liked winning, even when she was tired.
Mikasa thought he had turned to leave. She thought she had won the argument. But apparently Eren was being persistent tonight. She needed his help, you see. She needed him. It was not often that Eren got this kind of opportunity.
Mikasa yelped when she was suddenly picked up. What she had taken for Eren leaving wasn’t leaving at all. It was getting up to put Heichou’s tea on her desk. He had turned swiftly on his heel and picked her up, then in two quick strides across the rug, dumped her into bed. She was too tired and slow to really register what was happening until her back hit the bed. Dammit!
“Eren! You can’t just—“ She turned and made a move to get back out of bed when he climbed in after her. Too slow, again. Eren pulled the sheets and quilt up, curled his body around hers so she could not escape.
“Eren. What are you doing?” Mikasa growled into his chest. He was warm. And his arms around her felt nice. Safe. Comfortable. Eren.
“I’m helping you fall asleep.”
“No you aren’t. You are suffocating me.”
“Am not. Now let me help you.” Eren wasn’t really sure what he was doing. He was winging it at this point. Seeing her on the floor, desperately trying to hide her insomnia by doing crunches for the next six hours triggered something inside of him. Must protect. Must help. Must… nuzzle the crook of her neck.
She growled into his chest again but her body began to betray her. She was relaxing. He was comfortable to rest against. And his hair tickled her face when he nuzzled her, trying to get himself in a comfy position. It was nice. She could feel her anxieties begin to fade. He was here. He was safe. He was alive. That was what was important. That was what was keeping her up. Eren.
He could tell she was starting to relax. His grip on her loosened, allowing her to push to the other side of the tiny bed if she chose or to turn away from him if she wanted. She didn’t. Instead, she tilted her face up to look at him. In return he tilted his face down to study her.
“Can I help you?” He questioned with a stupid grin plastered to his face. The only person who liked winning an argument more than Mikasa was Eren.
“I think you already are.”
“Why can’t you sleep?” Eren’s grin faded and turned into a small frown.
“I worry about you… Sometimes I can’t turn my mind off after missions like that,” Mikasa admitted.
“Well, don’t worry so much.”
She snorted. “If only it were that easy.”
Eren’s eyebrows knitted together over his great green eyes. He was thinking hard about something. Mikasa yawned and buried her face into his chest. Maybe she could sleep tonight. That would be nice. She was tired of being stressed. She was tired of the anxiety. She was tired of being tired.
“Hey,” he said suddenly, pulling her from her thoughts.
When Mikasa looked back up at him as he spoke, Eren surprised her by kissing her gently. Just a peck but it was enough. Her entire body then relaxed against him, her mind completely quieted as a faint blush crept onto her face.
“I’m here, okay?”
Finally, a good night’s rest.