Chapter 1: Waiting
It happened so fast... A terrifying nightmare she could not leave. The voices never stopped tormenting her. Begging, screaming. It was all the same. Nothing more than a quiet mumble. How long would it go on?
And then it stopped.
Her crystal torn apart and piercing her skin, cutting her open. Blood running down her skin. It didn’t matter. Her wounds would end up healing one day. Cold.
Two arms pulled her into a tight embrace.
“I’ve waited... I’ve waited all these years.”
Head pressed against a hard chest, she cried, her tears soaking through his shirt.
“I missed you so much, Annie. Please.. Don’t leave again.” The embrace tightened around her and his head came to rest on top of hers. His long hair brushed against her neck with his tears following he same path.
Another voice echoed trough the space: “Sir. We don’t have any more time. We need to leave now if we don’t want to raise suspicion.” His head rose and he put one of his cold hands onto her neck as if to shield her.
“Go on, Floch. Prepare everyone to leave for Shiganshina...”
Then he addressed her again. He used a tone of voice she could not identify. It sounded kind, almost like a whisper compared to the harshness he used to address the other man. “Come on.”
He stood up and she fell down as she lost her support with him. The ground was hard and she struggled to get up onto her knees. She was too weak to move her limbs. She wouldn’t be able to use her ring or even bite her tongue. She was at his mercy.
He took her hands into his cold ones and pulled her up. Now standing in front of him, she finally dared to use her strength open her eyes.
Their eyes met and he slowly let go of her right hand, now steadily holding the other within his left. He looked so much older. How much time had passed?
“Let’s go home.”
Why did he look at her with eyes so kind?
The chains rattled as the sobs escaped her body. The soldier took off the cold eye bond she had worn and the world around her became uncomfortably bright.
Annie’s gaze never left Eren when took her hand. It had happened over and over again since he took her away from the remnants of her crystal.
She didn’t believe his ideals and despised the members of his cult. They weren’t better than Marleyan soldiers. Only following orders and never thinking for themselves.
But she never voiced her thoughts. Eren was all Annie had left.She would never see her father again. Liberio lying in pieces, but she wasn’t there.
Sometimes all she felt for Eren was hatred.
But in the end he was always the one to take her hand and she’d let him.
This would be their last dance. The rhythm between them was harsh. It was almost like back then when they didn’t know what the future held for them in the training corps.
They weren’t made for slow romantic dances.
“I could’ve been happy with you, in another life.”
Eren chuckled but the laughter didn’t reach his eyes. “I would probably have asked you to be my girlfriend way too soon and you would have rejected me. But I know...”
He pressed her close to his chest.
“I would have stayed determined and eventually you’d agree to meet my parents. My mom would like you. She’d be able to see you for who you are, just like I do. My father would have been distant but slowly warm up to you. I can already imagine him asking me why I haven’t asked you to marry me yet. But I would wait. Not doing the same mistake, I would stay patient.”
“What would happen after that? Would we marry?”
“Yes, we would. There would be children playing in the garden of a house we built together and one day even grandchildren.”
“I would have loved that.”
Her breathing grew slow as she felt the numbness fog her mind. She heard heavy steps growing quieter until they were gone.
Annie was truly alone.
Will you be the one to bring peace to this world, Eren Jäger?
Annie doubted it, on the inside he was just like everyone else. A pathetic mortal and not the god he was made out to be. He desired her, wanted to consume her very being. Gods didn’t feel the need to desire. Their wishes were the law and had to be fulfilled. But he.. He would never own her. It wasn’t his destiny.
Her heartbeat quickened as his eyes looked into hers. He was dead inside just like her. Their eyes betrayed the truth. They weren’t gods. They weren’t the saviors of the Eldian people. She was a murderer and so was he, they were willing to kill for their cause. She wished with all of her heart that there might still be something left inside of them of the innocent children they had been once.
The music stopped.
“Leave us alone.”
She was his salvation.
With her he felt like he was whole again. Not the Founder, Warhammer or Attack Titan. Not Frieda, Grisha or Krüger, he was none of them when he was with her.
He could be Eren again, the boy who had hopelessly lusted after her all those years ago, the boy whose heart she’d shattered in Stohess, the boy who’d grown into a man while waiting for her and had truly begun to love her and not the idealized version Armin and Bertholdt had desperately clung to.
He had whispered those words to her in one of the seldom nights he’d crawled into her bed and embraced her tightly.
“I love you.” He’d said to her one night after arriving in clothes splattered with blood. But it wasn’t his, it never was.
They’d undressed quickly that night, leaving those clothes on the floor, the blood reminding them of the monsters they were. He was gentle with her and she clung harder onto him with every thrust into her. She longed for the words he told her.
They never kissed.
Afterwards he held her until they fell asleep and their thoughts disappeared towards a place they could never reach. He was gone in the morning. She’d stopped crying a long time ago.
Cold sweat rolled down her forehead.
Her heart ached but she didn’t know what for. Was it her Eren, her father or her freedom?
She didn’t know. Annie was about to fulfill her destiny.
She could almost taste the tension in the air.
In front of her stood a young girl. She was shaking and didn’t meet Eren’s eyes.
She looked a lot like Annie.
Short blonde hair, small, sharp blue eyes, however, the nose didn’t fit.
Eren’s voice didn’t bear any of the kindness he held for Annie, it was sharp like glass.
“This is Louise.”
She was never the one for long introductions. It didn’t need to be said, they all knew why they were here.
Annie has chosen her as her successor.
The future Female Titan fighting for Eren’s Eldia.
Louise was a particular girl. She reminded Annie of a wild animal willing to do anything to keep itself alive. She was perfect.
Annie’s mind grew blank and she felt herself confronted with another woman similar to the girl in front of her.
Mikasa... And then even further.
Annie was drowning within a sea of memories. The deeper she sunk the fewer she recognized as her own.
Suddenly a hand pulled her out of the endless paths entangling her.
Louise looked at her with a coldness rivaling he own as she grasped Annie’s hand within her own.
“I want to protect the ones I love... To avenge the fallen empire. Show me how to, I beg you.”
Annie hoped that Louise would never have to deal with the pain of experiencing memories that weren’t hers and simultaneously were hers to claim.
Losing ones mind was quite easy.
But Annie was strong.
She prayed for Louise to be too.
A ear shattering explosion echoed through the cave and Annie’s knees buckled from under her.
She had visited Mikasa once.
It wasn’t clear what she had hoped to achieve by doing that. Did she hope for a feeling of accomplishment after having triumphed over the other woman? She didn’t know.
Mikasa hadn’t uttered a single word while Annie looked at her trough the bars separating them.
Mikasa stayed silent.
Wasn’t that what she would have wanted to hear?
“I’m sorry for taking Eren from you. I’m sorry for murdering all those people.”
Why was she down here begging the person that had always hated her for forgiveness?
Annie stood up from the small wooden chair she had been sitting on.
Her steps echoed throughout the prison cell and through her hollow heart.
“I’ve never had him.”
She stoped and turned around to look back at the woman sitting on the sole bed within the big cell. Her gaze was looked onto the empty space parallel to the bed she sat on. There was another bed in here once.
Mikasa did not answer.
The mindless Titan slowly came towards
her with heavy steps. It didn’t resemble Louise at all. Hadn’t she known who I was in it, Annie could never have guessed.
A small laugh escaped her. It was quite fitting that she would be eaten by such an ugly Titan. A monstrosity her memories would reside in after she’d passed.
It was the one thing she could never give Eren, her memories would be hers to keep. The one set of memories he wished to obtain, to be plagued with was the one he could never possess.
A god did not desire.
He would have to keep on fighting to keep her memories, everything that would be left of her, safe. Louise would be Annie’s legacy and Eren would never let harm come her way. It was madness.
“I’m sorry father...”
The Titan opened its mouth. Razor sharp teeth about to pierce her. The disgusting breath hit her in the face.
The memory of Eren awaiting her as she left her crystal prison engulfed her only to be replaced by an almost forgotten scene under an old tree behind the training fields. Annie remembered her breath hitching as Eren’s lips met her for a chaste sweet kiss.
Their first and only one.
They would never be free.
The Titan closed its enormous jaw and bit down. Blood splattered its face, intestines flying onto the high edge Annie had been kneeling on mere seconds ago.
Annie Leonhardt was no more.
I hope you enjoyed reading this short story.
It’s not really a happy ending but in the world of Shingeki no kyoujin no one ends up truly happy.
A follow up story has been published.