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In the Deepest, Darkest Depths (Reflections from the sea)

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To everything I was, when I was young, impressionable, and everything my hot-heated teen years carried with me, the sea was something of great comfort to me. It was a metaphysical existence barely formed out of imagination and childish innocence, and it led to an obsession with seeing the world outside, leading with the belief that the world existed for us humans.

But I'm older now, older than I was, at least, perhaps not so much in actual years as in experience and in sorrow. I have watched my friends die, one by one, I have watched the people I cared about, however briefly, betray me, I have watched the world crumble as humans fought each other while trying to fight titans.

I have seen the death of everyone I loved and still love, and yet I'm here, still breathing, because I cannot die. Even the titans have long since abandoned me, and I'm truly all alone. What I would give to go back to those transient times, where I could see the youthful faces of the people I knew, who had never gotten the chance to age.

But back to the sea. I sit here now, in a destitute hut right beside the crashing waves, a structure I had to create myself because there is no one else alive. At least, none I know of. None I knew either. The rebellion had costed far more than the loss of the king's crown, for it had failed. And the people I knew, executed. It little mattered, for in the weeks passing, the walls began to fall to multitudes of titans. I fought, I kept fighting, but it was never good enough.

Who knew, for certainly no one in the walls did, that the sea laid only a few, perhaps a good twenty, miles away. A short distance running as a titan, and at first I could only stare at the scenery around me when I first arrived. It must've certainly been some ironic twist the thing that symbolized freedom from a place anything but was so close in our grasp. The Survey Corps members must've come at least relatively close to the water, but I knew none had seen it. For, why would back if they did?

The world I knew lay in ashes, humanity dead, the titans dead with them, most of which had killed themselves soon after the flood of the cities. It was nothing but wasteland, and I was a creature who should have died far longer ago.

The weight of humanity's lives were on my shoulders, and I had failed them. But I couldn't even atone for my sins, I couldn't die, and sometimes I believed that was the cruelest thing of all. And I had tried, and tried and tried and tried, but I couldn't. No noose, no razor, no blade seemed to have any affect on my lingering mortality.

I thought, perhaps naively, the sea would provide comfort, it would wash away in some form or another the burdens I carried. I thought I would've learned by now to not believe in anything. All my wishes, in everything I do, are never completed.

I truly was a monster, echoed in the pure flesh I could never etch deep enough to leave a mark in that stayed. I felt a ghost in a world that should've stopped existing. Perhaps it had, and I was in the plane of nonexistence with my consciousness still stubbornly turning. When I had everything to live for, I had died, and I came back again, but I have nothing now, and yet I cannot even manage to get into the barest hint of the afterlife. I wanted to die, and yet here I was, watching the sea day after day, alone, and so very cold.

Inside, the day I saw the sea, I was disappointed. I couldn't pinpoint it, yet it lingered like the stench of a candle flame, burning into the crevices of my mind. It was cold, grey, and seemingly lifeless. It pulled back and leapt in again, but to me, it looked merely mechanical, as if it was reluctantly being pulled to the shore only to gain back its hold and begin to leave, to finally be forced to come back again in a agonized cycle. To me, it was painful to watch; why did the ocean, so far and great, have to come to the measly shore in a show of nature?

Humans, caught between their hatreds and fears, could only do the same to the walls. No matter how far the Survey Corps went, they always came back. Because, I was sure, they felt they had to. I wondered now whether they never should've, because maybe Erwin, Petra, Levi, Hanji, the rest of them, they would have been alive. He would have never entangled them into the web that consumed them.

The walls were poison, deadly, but they just kept crawling back. Even with titans surrounding the area, they would've had a better chance with them than their brethren. I couldn't help but think it was duly unfair. To have lived such a life saving people from visible monsters, only to be killed by the ones hidden in the shadows, of the courts and lords of the king.

Perhaps I only wanted to believe humans were worth saving. But I've seen hell and back, and I am not sure I can say that anymore. But I don't need to because there's no one to say it to.

I watched the dirty grey water stroke the shore, near opaque with its color. It looked nothing like the picture in Armin's book. I wondered whether those people had truly seen this sea, the sea of humanity, or if they had been writing about some faraway sea of great beauty. Somehow, I didn't quite believe so. There seemed to be few things of true beauty, and I didn't believe any sea, with its cold demeanor and grey surface, duly connected across the world, would truly be beautiful.

I didn't believe anything was beautiful anymore. The red of Mikasa's scarf, that was beautiful. Armin's eyes, Petra's smile, Levi's hands, Erwin's demeanor, Marco's freckles, those were fleeting things of beauty. But this eternal being, like me, so unchanging and static, could not be beautiful, for beauty came only with the fleeting.

It was this cold, grey sea I walked into one last time, as the rain shimmered around me. I was calm, I wasn't afraid. I had waited for a storm like this one for months on the beach, and had just received it.

I did want to die, and I hadn't tried this. I never had the chance to. If anything could do it, it was this immortal, my equal, my rival. I wasn't afraid.

The waves pummeled my chest. I barely felt them, for it was frigid. I had been cold inside for far longer and harder, so I didn't care. What did it matter anyway? It would only probably help the dying part along.

I closed my eyes and I sunk to the sandy floor. The waves rushed over me, but it was perfectly calm underneath. It reflected my mind. I was truly at peace with myself, for I was getting what I deserved. I was a monster, but I would live no longer.

I didn't bother holding my breath. The cold water rushed into my lungs, but I didn't bother coughing either. I was done struggling. What was the point when I had nothing left?

And so, on that cold rainy day, I died. Surely I wouldn't be lonely anymore, being dead, wouldn't feel that crushing guilt.

The water rushed through me, filled my lungs, shut off my oxygen, and all I could do was feel relief I had killed that final monster.