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“Ackerman, you’re up.” 

The sound of the captain’s voice this early in the morning was enough to make Eren wish he was still in bed, sound asleep and oblivious to anything going on within a 50-foot radius. He had taken a five minute breather to nurse the ache on the left side of his torso, courtesy of a nicely aimed kick Sasha threw to take him down. 

In addition to the training and experiments Eren's Titan underwent to learn how to crystalize, Levi was in charge of hand to hand combat training sessions. It was to ensure that he didn’t overuse his shifting abilities, ultimately leading to an inability to use it later, while making sure he stayed sharp. Squad Levi was definitely taking advantage of this down time they had, since it was not guaranteed that they would be free to be sitting ducks for very long. It also made more sense, Eren mused, and he suddenly felt foolish taking these hand-to-hand combat training sessions for granted back in their cadet days. 

Today, however, marks the first time he was graced with the opportunity to spar against Mikasa, since the smiling titan incident had rendered her out of commission for a while (despite her protests). It was absurd, though, and Armin could agree, how willing she was to do this and how easily the corporal had agreed to let her in the ring just because she insisted she was feeling better already. Just the other day he had scolded her when she was busted for doing sit ups. Either he had that much faith in Mikasa, or he really thought that lowly of Eren’s skill.

“I really don’t think we should be doing this,” he stands up, the pain in his muscles still aching, though significantly less. 

“Eren,” she looked at him seriously, “I’m fine.”

He was about to shut her argument down when the captain answered for her.

“Mikasa is the only one who’s skill can rival the other titan shifters; you need to learn from her,” Levi explains, unamused. Eren scowled; he was so biased. He looked back at her and she was expressionless as usual.

Their relationship had improved since escaping the last mission, and it showed the most in how Eren looked at her differently: gentler, maybe even affectionately, though he would never admit that out loud. Ever since she gave her little speech to him expressing her infinite gratitude, he realized that maybe he may have been starting to take her for granted. Before he knew it, he was on his feet punching a fucking titan , and being far more gentle with her in the days that followed.

Despite this newfound confusion, the boy did his best not to read too much into it. He essentially promised that they would be together, forever. It seemed like an appropriate response to her declaration of gratitude when the heat of the moment dictated it, but in retrospect he wondered what the rest of its implications held. What exactly did he mean by it? And what did it did mean to her?

She has been treating him the same as always, with her annoyingly protective Mikasa-ways. But it felt different to him, like there might have been this unspoken understanding between the two of them. Eren had never been so glad in his life that she just understood what he meant without having to verbalize anything.

When she pushes him into submission, his mind takes a dive into the deep end.

First of all, he didn’t even realize he was on the ground, pinned underneath her unrelenting hold. Not until he heard some snide remark from Connie about how quick that was and, subsequently, a snicker from Sasha on the sidelines.

Eren cursed a thousand times in his head as she increased the pressure on the arm pinned above his head. And before he could even register that his other hand was free, it was in her grasp as well. Both of his legs were held down neatly with one of hers. He felt the pressure of her other knee on his stomach and he sighed.

He was trapped; she won.

“Yield,” she commanded, and her soft yet demanding instruction sent a wave of chills down his spine.  If he gave in now he would no doubt have to go another round against her, and she knew this. Of course, the mighty Mikasa seemed anything but interested in this, and his ego flared.

“No,” he squirmed, lamely attempting to throw her off of him somehow, until he realized that she had effectively immobilized him. 

Eren’s gaze shifted to Armin, who’s sympathetic expression only made him feel worse. Levi, who seemed indifferent, also hid a look that might have told him he was proud of the younger Ackerman, though he had no idea why. Connie was holding in a laugh, while Sasha wasn’t even trying, and Jean just looked disgusted (admittedly, he welcomed this reaction the most).

He took a deep breath, as if that was all he needed to muster the strength to shove her off, but she barely budged. When the hell did she get this strong?

“Eren,” she scolded, increasing the pressure enough to elicit a frustrated grunt. “He’s going to make us go again, there’s no use in fighting.”

“No,” Levi cut in, “He needs to know what to do to get out of a situation like this; we’ve seen him fight Leonhart and Braun before. They always take the fight to the ground.”

“Fine,” she relented, and turned her attention back to the squirming boy beneath her. It was almost endearing, actually, he looked like a small puppy stuck under a couch the more he struggled. But she would never tell him that, lest she want his ego to deflate miserably and his temper to take its place. 

But it was too late when she attempted to conceal a giggle, and it came out as a half-chuckle, bringing his attention back to her face.

Big mistake.

The cold, emotionless facade she held not two seconds ago was replaced with something soft as she bit her lip to keep from humiliating him. What she didn’t know was that this had evoked another emotion inside him, one that burned much hotter than embarrassment at his shortcomings in fighting her.

Eren stopped moving altogether when he realized he was suddenly aware of the details. He felt every inch of her body that was pressed up against him and then the battle became internal. 

He wondered when she had gotten this strong, but more importantly when she had the curves to compliment her insane strength. The way she bit her bottom lip and held his gaze with those wide, innocent eyes made his breath hitch, and the fact that her face was so fucking close that her hair tickled the sides of his face stopped his heart altogether. Something about her was so paradoxically innocent and naive, yet tempting and almost sultry. He wondered if this is what she looked like in bed.

Nope .

He had to get out of here.

Determined, Eren attempted to weasel a leg out of her grasp. Mikasa, caught off guard from that brief moment of intimacy (if either of them dared to call it that), faltered for a second and unintentionally gave him the opening to free a leg. But before he could get any closer to escaping, however, she retaliated by swinging a leg over his torso to restrain him.

Panic took over him when he realized that he was physically powerless to stop her at this point. So he opted to take whatever coherency he had left in his mind to call out to her, his voice breathy, panicked, desperate :

“Mikasa, don’t-!”

As soon as she sat herself down and applied miscalculated pressure with her hips, her eyes widened and she gasped just loud enough to send him over the edge.

In an instant, his eyebrows met and his jaw tightened. 

Whether she got the message or not didn’t matter, for it was enough to render her distracted. He successfully shoved her off to the side and stood up hastily, too fast for Mikasa to react. His back was against everyone else, eyes focused on the ground as he dusted off his clothes and tried his best to maintain composure. For all he could do now was hope to whatever gods were up there, watching, that nobody knew what was going on in his mind, and in his pants.

“I’m...done for today,” he grunted and stalked off.

Mikasa remained on the floor, her gaze shifting up to Levi, who she half-expected to scold Eren for leaving just like that. But the captain had an unreadable look on his face, as if he had understood something that nobody else did. And was he...trying not to laugh?

The young soldier cleared her throat and picked herself off the floor gracefully, ignoring the curious gazes as she dusted the dirt off her clothes in silence. Her whole body felt warm at the thought of Eren underneath her just moments ago. She pictured his eyes boring intensely into hers in such a compromising position, like he was trying to tell her something that she just couldn’t comprehend. The idea of him laying under her, under different circumstances, arms pinned down with a devilishly dark look on his face had admittedly crossed her mind once or twice before. But she never actually anticipated that the real thing would make her feel like this

But the flustered girl took a deep breath in an attempt to expel the dirty thoughts. He must have been on the same page as her then, because why else would he storm off like that? Did he truly find the idea of her in that way, really that repulsive? 

Much to everyone’s surprise, Levi had dismissed the group for the morning after that. He approached her coolly, still looking like he was trying to hide his amusement.

“Heichou-”

“Yeah, tell your boyfriend to keep it in his pants,” he tells her, almost expressionless, as he answers all her questions in one snide remark. Mikasa groans, but not before giving the captain a look of absolute mortification. Eren was definitely going to avoid her for a while.

--

Eren, predictable as he is, did attempt to avoid her for the rest of the day. There was no other way to deal with the fact that he's frustrated and embarrassed and needed time to think. It seems that every time he closed his eyes all he saw was her, so close, so warm , so inviting. And he was powerless to the primal thing inside of him that made the images more and more lewd as they came in higher frequency the more he tried to avoid her. He tried his best not to think of his best friend this way, it was so... wrong. 

Or was it?

No, it was definitely wrong. If he gave into these thoughts he would be just as gross as the boys in the barracks with their dirty locker room talk that he was always forced to listen to in their cadet days. If he entertained these urges, he would never be able to look at Mikasa the same way again.

It was embarrassing, it was distracting, it was...so enticing.

The guilt was definitely intensified by the unsolicited ways he had imagined her in the same position, with significantly less clothing between them. He pictured her, clear as day, sitting atop him, hips straddled across his own. He pictured her eyes, vividly, half-lidded and clouded with lust. And this time when she said his name, soft and breathy, it was not to scold, but out of pure, carnal need and sheer pleasure-

"Fuck," he sighed.

Eren shook his head and turned the shower on to the coldest setting.

--

Try as he might though, given their situation, there was only so much avoiding the troubled boy could manage. He saw her again for dinner that night with the rest of the squad, Of course, the only seat open is the one next to her as it was part of some implicit principle that they always sat together. His fellow teammates watched as the tension in the room spiked as soon as he sat down beside her. 

“Hey,” she greeted quietly. 

“Mikasa,” He returned the greeting, but refused to make eye contact, for he was genuinely afraid that engaging in such an intimate act would elicit those thoughts again, and at the dinner table no less.

In theory, dinner could have gone just fine, if she didn’t reach across the table to hand Armin some salt. She brushed her whole left side against him unintentionally in handing Armin the salt shaker, and when she leaned over, her chest was inches from his face. Nevermind the fact that Mikasa always dressed so modestly, Eren’s raging hormones somehow managed to give him some sort of imaginary x-ray vision in the moment. Shortly after that, they both reached for napkins simultaneously. When her hand brushed his lightly enough to send tingles up his arm, he withdrew his hand and muttered a clumsy apology. 

“Oi, Eren,” Connie’s voice broke his train of thought abruptly. “You’re not still mad at Mikasa, are you?” 

Eren looked up to see everyone’s eyes on him, as if Connie was the only one brave enough to address the elephant in the room. He waited a moment, calculating his response, before shaking his head and casually taking another bite of food, “I wasn’t mad at her to begin with.” There, simple, easy, and he felt her relax a little beside him at his response.

“So we can make jokes then?” It was definitely not supposed to backfire like this.

“Come on, let’s not make jokes about him,” Sasha countered, but then she turned to the boy in question, a mischievous glint in her eyes, “Eren must already feel embarrassed from getting his ass handed to him by Mikasa today.”

“Oh, shit!” her partner in crime reached over and praised her crass teasing with a high five. “Yeah, from the looks of it earlier, looks like we know who wears the pants.”

Armin’s face contorted into some sort of guilty expression, like he wanted to put an end to this. But he understood that there was no need to start anything, especially when those two weren’t intentionally trying to upset Eren and Mikasa with their naturally vulgar humor.

“Oh, please, we already know Mikasa’s such a top.”

“Sasha!” Jean scolded from across the table, face turning red.

“What?” she looks at him, “not like it matters to you! It’s Eren who-”

“Okay!” Armin speaks up once he sensed the impending implosion his best friends were nearing.

Mikasa glanced over at Eren, who had been uncharacteristically silent though this whole thing and looked like he was about to choke on his food at this point. She hesitated for a moment, but in an attempt to ease his mind and make him feel a little less ganged up on, she rested a hand gently on his thigh. Her touch was comforting at first, until he remembered the reason behind this whole mess in the first place was her damned touch.

Eren froze, and she wondered if maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do after all. It was odd, the feeling of something like betrayal crawling up in her chest. It was an unspoken thing between them, these lingering touches and intense moments of eye contact in which each party understood everything they needed to know just from a prolonged glance. Except now he looked even more uncomfortable, so Mikasa felt panic surge through her.

When the titan shifter set his own hand on top of hers for a moment, she thought maybe she overreacted. But then he sighed, and removed her hand from his leg with a simple, “I’m fine,” and she felt like her heart sink fifty meters into her stomach.

“Excuse me,” he mumbles, a few bites left on his plate as he mysteriously walks off again. It wasn’t long before Sasha was asking for his plate.

--

The next day really wasn’t that much better. Eren had kept himself busy asking Levi for pointless chores to continue on his quest to avoid the problem.

But then the separation anxiety gets the best of him, and he decides maybe to just steer into the skid. It was that exact impulsive thought that landed him at her door at one in the morning, asking her to spar with him again. He needs to get better, he concludes; maybe if he can just learn to beat her, then that should eliminate the need to be embarrassed in front of everyone again. 

It definitely was not because he craved the proximity that he had been missing for the last day and a half. Nope. Eren Jeager absolutely did not want Mikasa to trap him in another compromising position that had him questioning everything he’s ever believed about her and their relationship.

But, you know, if it happens then it happens.

“You woke me up to spar.” It was half an inquiry, half a statement, confusion dripping with the question. She seemed annoyed, he thinks, but it was probably just from being woken up. “I’m not even dressed for this, Eren.” 

His attention is suddenly brought to the fact that the girl before him was indeed looking a little immodest, only wearing a loose-fitting white sleep shirt and shorts that just barely showed underneath the hem of the shirt. Whatever support her usual bra gave was gone, seeing as these sleep undergarments were designed for comfort, not working out. Eren swallowed thickly, now aware of how dry his mouth was.

“It’s fine, you look fine,” he chokes out quickly, and she’s about to protest about how this wasn’t about how she looked , but he cut her off first with a, “please? I need to get better. I feel...more comfortable when it’s just you.” 

But when he realizes the implications of this request, he started stuttering a correction, “I mean, you know, without everyone else watching me make a fool out of myself.”

“Nobody thinks that.”

“I’m pretty sure Jean thinks that.”

Mikasa sighed, assuming her fighting stance. “Fine. Hands up.”

At first Eren was successful in avoiding her takedowns. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line of avoiding irritating her injury even more and the fighting the scandalous thoughts that were harassing his sanity, his determination ultimately lost to the distractions. He eventually finds himself incapacitated yet again. Although, maybe he didn’t mind so much this time.

"How…ugh…" he whines underneath her. He looks up at the sky, just past her dark eyes, sifting through plans A-Z as to how he can make this predicament less frustrating. It just seemed to get more and more difficult each time he tried to fix it. 

Then an urge bubbles inside him again, and he couldn’t help feeling so curious and craving that eye contact he missed so much. Helpless to his own doings, Eren relents and initiates eye contact, wondering when she ever had this strong of a hold on him. 

To his surprise, Mikasa looks down at him coldly, because maybe she's also a little mad that he's been acting up with no explanation.

"You leave too many openings," she answers simply.

"How is this even fair, you watch me spar other people so you can study my style. Of course I'm predictable to you."

She looks puzzled, "So, you don't watch me?" 

Oh, Eren thought, how naive of a question. But at least it confirmed that she was oblivious to the way he has been looking at her lately. 

She shakes her head nonchalantly, dropping the question, and he's glad that her lack of emotion and physical distance (despite being on him) is keeping this from getting really awkward. Perhaps there was hope for him after all. ”Annie studied you too, that’s why she had the upper hand.” Eren winced at the bluntess of the statement, and at the fact that she was opening that old wound up again. “Look for an opening and take me down before I get you first. If you insist that I find you predictable, then change it up."

"Well...you're too good at this,” he tells her before he can think about it.

She blushes a little, caught off guard because she half expected him to jump on the defense, and he can't help but smile. The funny feeling in his stomach returns. 

"Again," she stands up and offers him a hand, and for some reason that is what sparks something in him: her compassion perhaps. The fact that she’s always willing to help him and is there for him no matter how impatient and irritable he can get. That he was confident that even at one in the morning he could wake her up and she would- maybe after protesting a little- ultimately give him what he needed (at this thought turned dirty, Eren huffs in annoyance). 

Mikasa really was his ride or die.

It really didn’t help that she was so fucking enticing either, and she honestly didn’t even have to try. Though he would never admit it to anyone else (even himself), Eren believed Mikasa was a pretty girl when they were younger. But then all these distractions came along in his adolescence and he had been completely oblivious to the firm grasp that puberty had on her until, well, today.

The realization hits him hard, slaps him in the face, and he almost wasn't ready when she came at him again. 

The second time around, Eren actually manages to take her down...but the moment of victory was cut short when he realizes how she looks underneath him. He has never seen her like this before. He's seen her vulnerable, of course, in battle, but never in this light: at night under the stars. It was just the two of them and no looming threat close by, so that they had the luxury to simply be immersed in some intimacy for once. 

She was just looking up at him, displaying this kind of voluntary weakness, some sort of unspoken submission, just for him. 

Eren's mind goes wild once more. He suddenly becomes hyper-aware of all the details again, especially since she wasn’t wearing her usual layers of uniform. He understood what she meant by she wasn’t dressed for this, seeing as this thin, flimsy sleep shirt was barely a barrier between them. He felt the way her chest curved nicely underneath his own, and how toned her torso was beneath that. His pants rode up a little, allowing him to feel how soft her legs were where those damn shorts exposed her.

The young soldier was completely slack, beneath him, but she wasn’t frozen in panic quite like he was. His figure towered over hers as he sat there, just drinking in the sight beneath him. He honestly expected her to push him off, chew him out for being such a pervert, and never speak to him again. What he didn’t expect was for her to blink a couple times and lick her lips before his name escaped her in such a way that drove him absolutely mad. 

Fuck, fuck, fuckfuckfuck.

When he feels the blood rushing down south at an alarming speed, Eren makes the attempt to flee. But then her eyes darkened and it's like her fighter instinct flickered on once more. Before he can remove himself from the situation, he finds himself under her once again (how the hell did she move that fast anyway?).

She maintained eye contact and an expression that was completely unreadable and almost...predatory. Not that he wasn’t used to her being so indecipherable, and he had certainly seen this unforgiving, predative look on her face before in battle. But it was never directed towards him.

And shit, this was scary . And if he was going to be honest, he really couldn't tell if she was gazing at him with violent or lustful intent. 

Mikasa was seated dangerously close to his lower half, and the way her thighs just seemed to fit nicely around his midsection was making it increasingly difficult to think rationally. Her hands, he expected to be as calloused as his, but they were soft against his wrists. He briefly wondered how they would feel on less innocent parts of his body, if she ran those smooth hands down his chest, his abs, his…

Would it really be the worst thing in the world to reach up and just kiss her? Nobody would know.

He squirmed under her, hoping to any of the gods above that she couldn't feel him, again . Where did that thought even come from?? With each passing moment that silence enveloped them, Eren grew frustrated in anticipation. There was a sparkle in her eyes that seemed to be enhanced by the moonlight, and although he found himself entranced, it was still inconclusive.

He broke eye contact, turning his head away in an attempt to regain the composure that he felt slipping away way too quickly. She gives him a moment, then turns his attention back to her with a gentle finger to redirect his chin towards her. 

Eren felt his chest ready to explode and his pulse quicken dangerously. His heart was suddenly in his throat and his stomach was somewhere in ass. The anticipation of what she was going to do next was going to be the death of him, he thought. It really wasn't like Mikasa at all to be this bold and forward; was she actually going to...make a move? Come to think of it, he actually had no idea how she behaved when it came to these things. 

His questions were finally answered though when she looks down at him darkly and says, as aloof as ever, "never let your guard down." 

Suddenly he's mad. 

Suddenly she isn't on him anymore, discarded to the side, confused and dazed at his erratic behavior. Suddenly he's trying to catch his breath, irritated, angry, confused, hurt .

He cannot possibly be the only one who feels something else from this, especially with how she was looking at him just three seconds ago!

He runs his hands down his face, trying to calm down. Mikasa doesn't say anything- and her ambiguous silence is driving him absolutely nuts. Maybe steering into the skid was a terrible idea after all.

The walk back to the rooms was awkward and agonizing, and the fight between Eren’s rationality and raging hormones was at a high. He watches as she prepares to disappear into her own room and his mind flashes through a hundred different ways this next conversation could play out- none of which would be possible if he didn’t take action. Not to mention having to deal with this painfully annoying arousal that would more than likely keep him up all night. So he pulls her into his room instead at the last second, pushing her against the door and locking it behind her quickly. His hands are on either side of her and hers reflexively landed on his chest.

It was a completely impulsive decision, but there was no turning back now.

He gives her a once over and Mikasa finds herself utterly flustered at how intensely and hungrily he was looking at her. He presses closer, unsure of what his goal or endgame even was, he just wanted to be close, closer. He craved her touch, and at this very moment he wanted nothing more than to run his hands all over his best friend and feel her skin on his. Whatever rational reasoning that previously told him this was a terrible and inappropriate idea was making its way to jump out the window. The closer he pushed, the more magnetic she felt. 

"Mikasa…" he all but purrs, and he could have sworn she blushed profusely in the darkness. "do you have any idea…” he fished around for words, but the whole situation seemed to render him frustratingly incoherent. 

“What are you…” the words seemed to die out on her tongue.

When he looked up to meet her piercing gaze, Eren’s deepest fears from the last two days came true: he was instantly lost in the sea of emotions that her eyes held. And suddenly his mind was off, imagining her in the most lewd, titillating ways.

Eren rests his forehead gently against hers, her scent making his mind race faster as he realized he was probably overstepping a hundred boundaries at this point and crossing over into a whole new territory neither of them ever knew existed. Glancing down at her lips was the second mistake of the night, for the way she bit her bottom lip in anticipation nearly sent him over the edge. He was so close to giving in to these stupid, stupid urges, the only thing stopping him was the lack of reciprocation. 

Mikasa doesn't push him away, but he can feel how tense she is: her breathing was hitched, jaw clenched, hands keeping him a set distance from getting any closer. She seemed entranced by him, like she wanted to know what he was going to say and do next, but it didn’t seem like she was going to let him. 

He notices these little details; she's upset.

"Why are you frowning?" He deadpans. She softens, and one hand instinctively goes up to his nape, stroking his hair lightly, affectionately. He sighs, comforted by her touch, and she smiles gently at his submission.

"You've been very confusing lately," then she cuts right to the chase. "I know why you were upset yesterday."

Eren’s eyes snap back up to hers as he pulls away, cheeks growing warm. "Are you serious?"

She shifts the tone to catch and redirect his inner turmoil, her voice now just as breathy and needy as his. "You can talk to me, Eren. You can tell me anything," she was looking right into his eyes, taking him apart little by little. Did she even know what she was doing to him? But then she asked him something he was not at all expecting.

“Do you really find me that repulsive?”

“What?” it was his turn to be confused. Had he not made it crystal clear in the last five minutes that he wanted her, pretty badly? 

“You’ve stormed off twice now,” is all she said and suddenly it made sense why she was so confused and upset.

“No, god no, Mikasa,” his answer came quickly, almost desperate, like he was scared he would say the wrong thing and all of this would just go away. “You've been on my mind all damn day. I just...I didn’t know how...I thought you were…”

"You could have talked to me,” she offered, almost bashful as they danced around the real issue.

"I-! I wasn't gonna...that was embarrassing, Mikasa!"

She seemed to understand, but she wasn’t going to let him win. Taking a deep breath, she tugged at the hem of his shirt until he was pressed flush against her (and oh, she could feel him again). Eren gasps, his face falls onto her shoulder and a low groan escaped him before he could stop it. 

"Same thing," she breathes, feeling her face grow warm at his proximity.

"No," is all he can muster at this point as he slowly became aware that she was actually the one in control. Whether or not she was falling apart inside as much as he was, she hadn't made it obvious, and she got him to talk. He swallows and wills himself to explain in the least amount of words possible. "everyone was watching before."

"They didn't know," she countered easily. Eren watches as her eyes flicker to his own lips and he wonders if that was his go signal.

"Stop being so difficult," he growls. Whatever rebuttal she was planning to throw at him was forgotten when he pulls her in and finally kisses her, a final attempt to let her know exactly how he's been feeling in the last couple days. 

Mikasa’s lips were soft and warm and her hold on him was so gentle. It was nothing like the intimidating demeanor she displayed in forcing him to yield in battle. Yet, it brought him to submit anyway, wondering briefly how he managed to keep from giving into her like this. But Eren was a vindictive little shit, and after getting a taste of what he had been missing out on, he wanted more .

He leads her off the door and onto his bed, and studies how flustered she looks. It occurs to him that maybe he wasn't the only one frazzled and heated over all of this. So a sense of personal victory surges through him and manifests itself in some newfound confidence as he closes the distance between them once more.