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What honest words she can't afford

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She's been compromised.

That's the only word she can come up with for this, damp grass on the hillside by the barracks pressing lines into her naked backside, her shirt half undone and her pants and jacket and harness in a tangle off to the side somewhere, leg thrown over the shoulder of her fully-clothed fellow trainee as he--

She shudders at his breath huffing over the slick of her thighs as he pulls back to look at her. "Is something wrong?" he asks.

Yes. Fuck yes. Everything.

She props herself up on her elbows to get a flash of the lamplight on clear blue eyes. "No," she says. His finger is stroking gently up and down the length of her slit. She doesn't move.

After a moment of looking wordlessly at each other, communicating absolutely nothing, he leans back down. Strands of his hair brush the inside of her legs, and he tucks them behind his ear.


He turns his head to kiss the flesh on the inside of her knee. "Yes?"

She sits up fully--Armin sits back on his heels, blinking at her--and, pressing her insteps on either side of his hips like a reminder of the grappling hold she isn't going to use right now, she reaches for his harness, loosening and freeing the strap around his chest before moving to the one around his hips.

"Oh--" Armin's hands are there, tangling with hers, flicking them away from the buttons of his pants. "Annie, what are you doing?"

She doesn't manage to keep the teeth out of her smile. "Not that I don't appreciate all your attention," she says, smacking Armin's hands out of the way and making another go for his fly, "but if you're not careful, your balls'll go permanently blue from doing this all the time. Isn't it about time I even the playing field for you a bit?"

"Annie--" Armin grabs her hands, fingers clamping firmly down on hers. "It's okay. I don't mind, I swear."

She stares at him, stamping down the frustration. Why won't he let her do this? Why isn't he--

What? Weak? Manipulatable? Thinking with his cock?

She wrenches her fingers sharply out of his grasp and goes back to work, skipping over his fly--he's barely even hard--in favor of loosening the buckles on his thighs.

"Annie... no."

His voice is quiet--gentle, goddamn him--but firm. His hands are hovering just centimeters away from hers, but he's not stopping her. Not yet.

Annie gathers her feet under her and stands, and maybe she's just a little more precise than she needs to be as she stalks to where she'd let her gear--and her clothes--drop earlier, when Armin was smiling and reaching for her and the need was coiling hot and sick and urgent in the space between her hipbones. It's still there, but it's cooling now into a hard, angry cramp. She crouches down to disentangle her pants from the leg-straps of her harness, ignoring the sound of Armin pulling his own harness back over his shoulders and approaching behind her.

The knowledge that he's there, standing in her blind spot, raises the hairs on the back of her neck.

"A--" Armin stops himself. She can hear his intake of breath. "Please don't do this."

"No?" She says, keeping her voice even as she gets her harness back into its proper shape and reaches out to pluck her boots from where they've tumbled away in the greenery.

Armin's hand lands on the nape of her neck, small and warm, brushing slow down her spine. She presses her knuckles on the ground between her feet to stabilize herself, cursing her body for rocking forward at his touch, for responding.

"Please?" He whispers.

She doesn't flinch. She doesn't flinch.

"I--it's always been like this, for me," he says, fingering the vertebrae at her shoulders with a seriousness that could almost make her laugh. She doesn't. "I mean, I've done it before, it's just... I don't like it very much."

She puts the clothes aside, leans her elbows on her knees, and looks up and over to where Armin is standing, backlit from the lamps, his face in shadow. She can't see his eyes.

He seems to understand the question in her stillness. He shakes his head in answer, huffing out a laugh. She's suddenly too aware that his hand on the nape of her neck is trembling. "I--I mean, I do see what people see in it, it feels good physically, but--it's as though... There's a balance inside me, an equilibrium. It messes that up. And then I just--feel wrong, and it doesn't go away..." He sighs, fingers stilling, and turns away. "I'm sorry, I'm not making much sense, am I? Maybe it is better if you go."

Annie catches his hand as it falls away from her shoulder. His fingers are still shaking, the slightest of tremors that she can feel against her skin, bringing his knuckles to her lips and brushing her thumb over his nails. His hands are--always--far too soft for a soldier, as if his skin just refuses to hold the callouses.

"I won't," she murmurs into the back of his hand. "Unless you want me to."

She hears his breath whuff out in a shaky sigh, feels him step toward her, and it's far too easy to turn and sweep his feet out from under him, to roll him smoothly--gently--down onto the grass with her and lock him in a pin so weak it's pitiful. He doesn't try to struggle.

She nuzzles her lips into the crook of his neck, licks and nibbles and relishes the way he jumps, the fluttery laughs and sighs that escape him. He turns his head and catches her, eyes wide, soft and wet and willing against her lips, tongue pressing out to meet hers. She can taste herself on him, a sharp musky undertone, and she moves one of her hands to grasp his chin, to hold him still while she licks that taste out of his mouth.

Armin's now-free hand sneaks its way down between them to stroke a line down the curve of her stomach and back, wriggling one finger in and down, squirming pressure inside her that makes her legs ache, sweat sparking at the small of her back. She shifts her hold, locking him in place with her knees and flipping them over. Armin smiles against her mouth as he settles, finger still lodged inside her and stroking gently. He starts kissing a line down her sternum to her breasts, taking her nipple in his mouth and swirling his tongue on the soft flesh, sucking lightly, sparking prickles of heat at the base of her spine and sending her arching up into his mouth.


Armin hums and moves over to the other side, cupping her breast and scraping his teeth over the bright-flushed skin of her nipple, nipping lightly. She bites her lip, tastes blood, feels the zap of electricity on her tongue like a promise that won't be kept. At least for now. "I need--" she whispers.

"Yes," Armin murmurs back, pressing his thumb hard against her mound. The ache of it could almost--almost--be enough to keep her grounded. She groans, pressing her knees hard into his hips, arching uselessly. Armin hums soothingly and strokes a hand down her stomach and slips in another finger, pressing in and in, settling deep before withdrawing and pushing in again--again--

Her muscles spasm, thumping her shoulders against the ground, and she makes a reflexive grab to tangle her fingers in his hair--to hold, to control--and she's pulling far harder than she meant to, and she immediately lets go, smoothing his hair down in apology. But he grabs her retreating hand and returns it to where it was, glancing up at her with a smile she can just make out in the darkness. She strokes her thumb over the smooth strands, curls her fingers and gives an experimental tug.

Armin makes pleased sound, leans down and pushes the flat of his tongue down in the sodden curls amongst his working fingers, slick and strong, nuzzling in and pressing hot, sucking kisses and god she's so ready for it she can't--she wants--her legs are shaking and spasming and his tongue is pushing inside her, and she can't choke back the cry that pushes its way out of her throat, fisting her hand in Armin's hair and pulling--

She comes down, twitching and overstimulated, to Armin slowly pulling his fingers out of her, licking one last stripe and pressing a kiss to her sex like an apology.

She rolls forward and drags him up towards her with one hand on his wrist and the other looped around his half-done belt straps, pulling his wet fingers into his mouth and sucking. Delicately he strokes her hair back away from her face, just one tiny brush of his fingertips against her brow. She looks up and catches his eyes, clear and blue and watching her. She cleans each finger individually, sucks them clean and licks them dry, tongue flickering over his nails. She lets his hand go, lets it drop away, and lays back on the grass.

Armin's hand ends up resting on her chest, his spit-damp fingers absently rubbing the notch between her collarbones. When she cuts her eyes towards him he's leaning up on his elbow, looking at her with a carefully blank expression hiding the softness she can still see in the part of his lips.

She knows what he wants--what he won't ask for. She's seen him in the infirmary watching Eren sleep, curled up half-on the bed with his ear against the boy's chest, listening, intent; she's caught glimpses of him huddling with his friends on nights with a chill in the air, the three of them like an echo of the scared kids they must've once been, trying to ward off the bone-cold of winter alone; she's seen Mikasa lean silently against his side when he's upset, pressing close as if her closeness could chase away the shadows of his doubts for good.

Annie won't be chasing away anyone's doubts, anyway.

But she settles her hand over his and closes her eyes. When his fingers curve and intertwine with hers, she doesn't stop him.