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That Night in June | AU

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For the first time in a long time, you didn’t wake up to your parents’ having a hissy fit or the reminder that death was playing Ding Dong Ditch at your doorway to life, so you were quite proud of yourself this morning. You had a full breakfast, you actually remembered to brush your hair, you didn’t run into your parents at all and you made it to school somewhat on time. Today was a good day. So far. You dipped your fingers into the fountain in front of your school and sat down on the ledge. The water was cold despite the warm weather in September. Sadly, it did nothing for your nerves that felt like they were on fire. No matter how many times you tried to reassure yourself that today was going to be fine, a part of you knew it wouldn’t. It was as if you could feel the eyes of your fellow peers on you. You knew they were staring. Everyone who lived in your district did.    
“I didn’t think you’d try to be early today.” 
Your best friend, Bonnie Moreo, stood behind you, hands on her hips. Her blonde hair was let down today and hung just below her elbows. She wore a beige cardigan and black leggings. “Did your mother kick you out of the house again?” 
“No, I can’t handle being in that house for more than twelve hours. Especially for dinner,” you explained. 
Bonnie hummed in understanding and sat down beside you as a sudden weight was pressed on your shoulders. “Well, if eating alone ever gets boring, you can pop over to our house, isn’t that right, Bonnie?” Bonnie hummed again, obviously not fazed by the boy’s antics. Clyde gave your shoulders a good pat before taking his place between you two on the fountain ledge. “So, how is our dear (y/n) doing today?” Clyde asked, amusement laced in his tone. 
“I wanna die.” 
“Oh, that’s nice.” 
Bonnie snorted. “You two suck.” 
Clyde placed one hand over your heart and another over his own as he leaned back, mouth wide open in fake offense. “If we suck, then why continue to hang out with us, dear sister?” 
Bonnie narrowed her eyes at his hands. “Watch where you’re touching, Creep.” 
Clyde moved his hand away and blew a raspberry at his “dear sister”. “How rude. If (y/n) was uncomfortable, she’d be sure to tell her hero.” 
You raised an eyebrow. “My what?” 
Clyde shook his head. “Oh, I get it. You prefer ‘savior’?” 
Clyde’s hair was like Bonnie’s, long, blonde, but tied up into a neat ponytail that hung off his left shoulder. He predicted that it would drive the girls crazy while you and Bonnie had other ideas. He wore a green hoodie with grey jeans. He did a little twirl when he noticed your stare. 
“Like the new look? I bought them yesterday. I’m going for a fancy casual.” 
Bonnie raised her eyebrows. “How are hoodies and jeans considered ‘fancy casual’?” 
“You’re forgetting a very important part. The hair.” 
Bonnie rolled her eyes. 
Small groups of students had started to gather around the school entrance. You noticed that all of them seemed to either come from Rose District or Sheena District, based on the look and condition of their clothes. You searched the crowd, not sure what you were trying to find until you found it. You paused when your stare caught another’s. Krista seemed to stop her conversation and looked a bit surprised to see you before smiling in your direction and giving you a small wave before resuming with her conversation. Bonnie and Clyde looked in her direction. 
Bonnie just sighed while Clyde leaned towards the blonde goddess's direction. “Are you going to be okay today?” he asked, worry etched into his features. 
You nodded, still watching Krista’s blue orbs as they passed from person to person in the group she was standing with. You then noticed that Ymir had yet to make her appearance. You leaned in different directions, trying to spot the freckled girl, but to no avail. You scolded yourself, remembering that if the said girl was present, you’d probably be put into an unwanted and very uncomfortable situation, so you looked back to your friends and tried your best to make conversation. 
“Have you guys come up with any goals you want to accomplish by the end of the year?” you asked. 
Bonnie shrugged. 
Clyde began to grin. “Actually, yes I do. Thank you for asking.” Bonnie gave Clyde a pointed glare, but the blonde boy ignored it. “My goal is… drum roll, please.” you snickered and started to repetitively tap on your legs with the tips of your fingers. “My goal is….. To get a girlfriend!” he exclaimed. 
You stopped your drum roll and gave him an odd look. “Seriously?” 
He raised an eyebrow. “What, a guy can dream, can’t he?” 
“If you keep acting the way you are now it’ll stay a dream,” Bonnie mumbled as she flipped a silver coin into the fountain, joining many others. “I never really understood why they build these things.” 
“I hear there’s a lot of them in Sheena and Liberio Districts. Not many of them in Rose though. The rich like those fancy things.” Clyde commented. “Good thing we’re not rich, huh, Bon Bon?” 
Bonnie’s right eye twitched a bit. “I thought I told you not to call me that.” 
As the two siblings began to argue, you looked back at Krista, only to see that she was walking in the opposite direction of you, towards the sports fields. You sighed and decided to try to find amusement in your friends’ bantering about money and nicknames. 
“I better head inside, though,” Bonnie suggested. “I’ve been assigned to help set up club booths for the freshmen inside the gym.” 
Clyde groaned. “I almost forgot, I’ve been given a very special and important duty too.” 
“What kind of special and important duty?” Bonnie asked, skeptical.
“I’m not exactly sure. I think I’m just supposed to walk around and answer questions Freshmen have or something stupid like that.” Clyde hummed. “They said they wanted me for my ‘friendly and energetic personality’.” 
The two said their goodbyes to you and left you to your own devices. You pulled out your sketchbook from your backpack and started to sketch the fountain. You never really had an interest in art until last year and you still weren’t exactly very good at it, but you began to like it nonetheless. When the bell rang you quickly shoved everything back inside your bag and took off to where your locker was supposed to be. The day was uneventful and dramaless so far and that’s how you’d like it to stay. As you shoved everything into your locker, locker 206, you didn’t notice the locker beside yours open. 
“There’s no reason to drop the courses, Jean.” 
You stopped what you were doing, recognizing the voice. 
“You’re not my mother, Marco.” a deeper voice argued. “If I want to drop a course, I can.” 
“You’re throwing away your talents for no good reason.” 
Jean scoffed. “Just because I won’t tell you why doesn’t mean it’s not a good reason. It’s a good reason to me, at least.” 
You grabbed your textbooks and slowly closed your locker door, praying to whatever god that’s out there that the two boys wouldn’t notice your existence. The gods hadn’t bothered to listen to your woes and at that same moment you closed the small door, the freckled saint had looked over and their conversation had come to a halt. The three of you stood there, not sure how to react to the sudden realization that your lockers were together until Jean came out of his daze. 
“Oh, hey, (y/n),” Jean grumbled. “I wasn’t sure they’d allow you back.”
“Jean…” Marco said with a warning tone. 
“What Marco? I’m not doing anything wrong.” Jean took a step closer to you. The boy was about four inches taller than you, so he had to tilt his head down to make eye contact, making him seem more intimidating than he was. And he really wasn’t. “The MPB didn’t rough you up very much, did they?”
“Jean, you’re making it sound like she did something wrong.” Marco fretted. His eyes glancing back and forth between you both skeptically. 
“Did it go on your criminal record or were you left on a clean slate? Did they believe you? How long were you behind bars? Were your parents mad?” 
“Jean! You’ll be late for class! You’re also being rude.” the freckled boy scolded. 
Jean sighed and closed his locker door. “Sorry, (y/n). I’ll see you later.” 
You and Marco watched Jean stride down the hallway until he disappeared into the crowd of students. You both stood there in awkward silence, not sure what to say to each other. You hadn’t seen both boys since the last day of school last year. It wasn’t a memory you were fond of.
“What classes do you have first?” you asked, breaking the silence. 
“Music and Business. You?” 
You looked down at the slip of paper in your hand that had your schedule on it. “English and Mathematics.” 
Marco sighed. “Jean has English first too. You may be in the same one.” he gave you a slight pat on the shoulder. “Good luck,” he said as he joined the sea of people. Your anxiety erupted again at the thought of sharing a class with Jean Kirstein. You knew it might happen, you both were in the same year, and as much as you tried to prepare yourself you still felt unready to properly socialize with people. You shook your head as if it would dispel your worries and set off towards your class. 

“Did you watch the news last night?” 
“Yeah! Dude, I’m never going to Liberio District, ever.” 

“I heard the Warriors killed another political leader again.” 
“Who?” 
“Birch Pasternak from Sheena District.” 
“Those guys from Sheena have it coming for them.” 

“The Warriors are so cool!” 
“Hey, shut up! If any of the teachers hear you talking like that...” 

“God, those Warriors are just a bunch of terrorists.” 
“Yeah, but isn’t it weird that the Military Police Brigade hasn’t done anything with them yet?” 
“Yeah, now that you mention it…” 

You scoffed as you walked past the conversations going on all around you between your peers. You didn’t have any interest in the news and personally thought most of it was false garbage, but you did believe in the Warriors. At first, it was just a tale mothers used in the Liberio District to scare their children into behaving. Now, it’s a gang whose methods are unclear to the public, so they just decided they were terrorists. You guessed they were if you thought about it. You turned the doorknob and entered your class. 
“Damn it, Eren! We don’t stand a chance!” 
“Especially if you keep up that attitude, Jean!”
“Uhm… guys… you’re making this a bigger issue than it needs to be…” 
“Jean should leave if Eren is such a big problem.” 
“Mikasa….” 
You swore under your breath.
Eren and Jean, who for some reason were sitting right next to each other, were currently head to head and looked to be trying to glare right through each other. Mikasa, who was sitting right beside Eren, was pulling on his sleeve, frowning at the two’s antics while poor Armin, who sat on Jean’s other side, was begging the two to stop. Without a second thought, you strode to an empty desk at the front of the room and started to doodle in your notebook. 
“I’m just saying that Eren doesn’t need to always be screaming about how much he wants to beat the Titans. Yeah, sure I want to beat them in our first game too, but right now, it honestly looks impossible with the current condition of our players. We also still need to host tryouts.” Jean stated, shrugging and turned to Armin. “Don’t you agree?” 
“I’m keeping up moral! If you have thoughts like that on the battlefield then you’ll die for sure! And stop bringing Armin into this! Like he’d defend your idiocy!” Eren spot.
“My idiocy? You’re the one who isn’t thinking clearly. I’m just asking you to calm down and save the energy for the game. Also, I’m not bringing Armin into anything! I’m asking for his opinion!” Jean scoffed. 
Eren started to growl a bit.
“Guys, please. I’m not taking sides.” Armin whined. 
“Eren.” 
“What is it, Mikasa?” the boy snapped. 
“Look.” 
They all went silent. You pressed your pencil harder to the paper and continued to randomly sketch across your notebook.
“Oh...yeah.” Jean sighed. “I was rude to her earlier. Her locker’s next to mine and Marco’s.” 
“That’s unfortunate,” Mikasa remarked. 
Armin gasped. “Mikasa! She might hear you!” 
“Do you think I care? Better question, do you think she cares?” 
Armin didn’t answer. 
Eren groaned. “Mikasa, that doesn’t matter-” 
“I wonder where the teacher is.” 
“Mikasa! Don’t cut me off!” Eren screeched. 
“That’s enough of that, young man.” 
You hadn’t noticed when the old man in the dark blue suit entered your classroom you didn’t notice him writing down his name on the blackboard either or watching you with a particular interest. “It’s loud enough in this school with the Cheer Squad and the Glee Club.” the man pulled out a chair and sat down at the front of the class, a few steps away from you. He spent a minute or two to get a good look at you all. He didn’t look like he liked what he saw. 
“My name is John Martzen, though, of course, you’ll be addressing me as, Mr. Martzen. Now, I know that I’ve only been here for a few minutes, but from what I’ve seen so far I can tell…” he gave one last survey of the class. “That you’re all a bunch of losers and idiots, aren’t you?” 

“Hey!” 
“Hey!” 
“Don’t copy me, Jean!” 
“I’m not copying you!” 

Mr. Martzen sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose. “This is going to be an interesting semester,” he mumbled. “I’m sure we all want to have a good time, right? Well, luckily for you, I’ve only got three rules, or conditions, if you’d prefer to call them that.” Mr. Martzen stood and picked up a piece of chalk. “Rule one; what happens in this class, stays in this class. Does anyone know what I mean by that?” 
Armin’s arm shot up. 
“Name?” Mr. Martzen asked. 
“Armin Arlert… Sir.” 
“No need for the Sir, son.” 
“It’s just as you said, what happens here, stays here. No one is allowed to talk about it.” Armin answered. 
“Tch. Well, that’s just stupid and obvious.” a boy at the back laughed. 
Mr. Martzen walked over to the boy and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Name?” 
The boy looked nervous for a second before regaining his confidence from the encouraging looks his friends sent him. “Haslett Carthy.” 
Mr. Martzen nodded and walked back to the front. “That’s Sir to you, boy.” 
The class erupted into small giggles. Even you couldn’t help but let out a small laugh at the boy’s face. Your teacher started to write down another rule onto the chalkboard. 
“Rule two; I don’t care about your family status, your relationship status, or which District you come from. As long as it doesn’t interfere with your education, it doesn’t concern me. Just because your rich and from Sheena or your broke and from Maria, doesn’t matter to me, got it?” 
You nodded. 
“No arguments, alright. You’re learning. Rule three; I’m your teacher, not your friend. This may seem obvious to some of you, but many of the students I’ve taught in the past seemed to be confused by this. I am here to teach you, not talk to you about the upcoming football game, or how your girl broke her ankle in cheer practice. Simple, right? Any questions?” 
Nobody raised their hands. 
“Oh, and you two.” Mr. Martzen pointed at Eren and Jean. “Both of you, move. I don’t care where, just away from each other.” 
Eren and Jean gave each other one last glare before leaving to find another seat. The only problem was, all of them were taken except one, which was the desk beside yours. Mr. Martzen seemed to have noticed this and smiled as he walked towards you. “Name?” 
“(y/n) (l/n), Sir.” 
Your teacher nodded before looking back at the two boys who were eyeing the spot beside you skeptically. “Which one of you would like to sit with this lovely lady until you can both learn to calm yourselves?” you glanced behind your shoulder to see their answer. Jean immediately raised his hand. Both boys kept their eyes on you. “Well, aren’t you both just rays of sunshine. Green eyes, what’s your name?” 
“Eren Yeager, Sir.” 
“Well, isn’t that nice of you to volunteer, go sit down next to Miss (y/n), please.” 
Mikasa abruptly stood up. “But, Sir, he didn't-” 
“Sounded like he was volunteering to me. Besides, you have no problem with it, do you, Eren?” 
Eren shook his head, grabbed his bag, and sat down at the desk beside you. Mr. Martzer seemed content and began a lesson on descriptive writing. From behind you, you swore you could her Jean grumble something to Armin about teacher’s pets. Though you were trying to take as many notes as you could and answer as many questions as you can (only when Mr. Martzer called on you, of course), your thoughts kept drifting off to the boy beside you. Out of the blue, you pressed down harder than you should have and broke the lead in your pencil. 
“Shit,” you mumbled, quiet enough so that Mr. Martzer wouldn’t hear you. 
Eren leaned over to you. “What’s up?” 
“Nothing,” you said as you continued to watch Mr. Martzer write down expectations on your writing forms. 
“Here,” Eren whispered, holding out an extra pencil. “I don’t have a pencil sharpener on me, so that'll have to do. You can give it back to me later.” 
You nodded and stuttered out thanks before resuming your note-taking. Before long, an hour and a half had gone by and it was time for your next class. You and Eren both stood up and you tried to hand the boy back his pencil. 
“Nah, keep it for the rest of the day. I want it back, though.” Eren insisted.
“Eren, hurry up,” Mikasa called from the doorway. 
Eren gave you a small nod before running to catch up to Armin and Mikasa, who were waiting by the door for him. Jean was nowhere to be seen. Before Mikasa left, she turned to you and sent a glare, then continued after her brother and friend. You sighed and started to twirl the pencil in your hand as you cleaned up. 
“I can help you with that,” Clyde said, gathering all of your stray doodles and notes. 
You yelped. “How’d you get out of class so early?” 
Clyde smiled. “I skipped the end to see you. School is boring without you and Bonnie anyway.” 
You sighed. “You shouldn’t do that. You’ll get in trouble.” 
Clyde waved you off. “Nah, Miss Honan doesn’t care. Either that, or she’ll believe anything you tell her. Today, I was just seeing where the boundaries lay and apparently, there are none.” 
The two of you set off for your next classes, and though they didn’t happen to be the same ones (yours was the one he just had), he still dedicated his services to you and carried your books until you both had to part. 
“I saw the famed Maria Trio leave the classroom before you, how was that?” Clyde asked, fully aware of the past you all shared. 
“It was fine,” you replied. 
“In the wise words of someone very precious to me, and I know she said this a long time ago, I hope she hasn’t forgotten,” Clyde said, raising his eyebrows up and down. “Fine and okay are two very different things. Fine is when you don’t want to admit you’re not okay and you’ll try and get through it on your own. Okay is when everything isn’t the best, but it’s darn well better than fine.” 
“I hate you,” you announced. You started to walk at a faster pace than him. 
“No, you don’t. You miss them, just admit it.” Clyde grinned. 
“Whether I missed them or not, isn’t the issue,” you argued. “There’s not even an issue.” 
“Sure there isn’t.” Clyde teased, but not before dropping your books nonchalantly in front of the classroom door. “Here we are, M’lady. Oh, and a bit of a warning, the teacher’s a nice lady.” 
“Why are you warning me about nice ladies?” you asked. 
Clyde shrugged. “Nice girls are devil spawn. That’s why I like you and Bonnie.” 
“Should I be offended?” 
“Maybe, I wouldn’t know.” 
Clyde laughed and dodged your failed swat. He screamed a “sorry” as he ran the other way down the hall. You sighed and decided to push the events of the last class into the back of your mind. 

“H-hey! Lady, get out of the way!” 
You turned your head. Coming down the hallway was a girl riding on a skateboard, sitting down. Why someone would ever think riding one of those on the second floor of your school was a good idea, you had no idea and at the moment you didn’t care because the thing was aimed right at you. You pressed yourself up against the door as the board sped past you, barely missing your feet. You sighed in relief and leaned past the locker beside you to see the board crash against the wall and flipped on its side, allowing the tall, auburn-haired girl to fall sideways.
“Damn it, Delaney! You pushed too hard!” the girl yelled, smacking her fist against the floor. 
Suddenly, you were pushed back against the wall as a small girl ran past you. “Ashley! Oh my god, are you okay?!” 
Ashley grinned and shakily stood up. “Yeah, I’m fine. Delaney isn’t though when I find her. Where’d she go anyways?” 
The girl who pushed you sighed and pushed her blonde bangs back. “She ran after she realized how mad you’d be.” 
Ashley groaned. She grabbed the skateboard and inspected where her skateboard met the wall for dents and/or marks. “Looks okay.”
The other girl gave her a nasty look. “You’re just going to leave it at that?” 
Ashley looked at her questioningly. “Yeah, that’s what we did at our old school.” 
The blonde girl shook her head. “This school is different and students don’t usually ride around on wheels.”  
Ashley nodded before catching your gaze in hers. She frowned and started to stride towards you. You looked around at the groups of people staring at the girl in awe. Your anxiety started to kick in as the culprit came closer and closer until you were both a couple of inches apart. You noticed that she was pretty close in height with you when she got closer.
“Sorry about that. We almost ran you over, huh?” Ashley laughed sheepishly while scratching her neck. 
The blonde girl frowned and raised her eyebrows. “We?” 
“Oh, shush, Viole,” Ashley mumbled, waving her small friend off. “Anyways, is this your class then?” 
“Umh...yeah,” you answered, iffy about the two girls in front of you. 
Ashley pushed her glasses higher up the bridge of her nose. “Great, can we sit with you? We’re both kinda new to the school, haha…” 
“She may also be new here.” Viole pointed out. 
You shook your head. “No, I’m not. I was here last year.” 
Without any kind of warning, Ashley took both of your hands in hers. “Great! Do you think you could show us around after class? We’re still a bit confused about where everything is, even after all the tours.” 
“None of them were informational, to be honest,” Viole mumbled. “For such a big and popular high school, it is a disappointment.” 
Ashley kicked open the door with her foot. She let go of your other hand to grab Viole’s then entered the classroom with the two of you right behind her. She dragged you both to a spot near the middle and plopped herself down on a chair. “If you’re in the middle, you meet more people and friends,” she explained. 
You felt awkward and out of place as the two girls began to converse about how their first day of school was going so far. It made you feel like a third wheel, and though it was uncomfortable, it was a feeling you were all too familiar with. The class should have started by now. You looked around the room, occupying yourself. Your search ended on a young woman sitting at the teacher’s desk opposite the door. Her brown curls framed her face perfectly and unlike Mr. Martzer, this woman was wearing casual clothes and not some fancy dress. 
Ashley elbowed you. “Who’s she?” 
“I think her name is Miss Honan.” 
Ashley made an “oh” sound as she went back to talking with Viole about god knows what, but as they were getting into it, Miss Honan stood from her desk and skipped to the front of the class. She picked up a nearby meter stick and smacked the blackboard. 
“Who wants to play a game?” Ms. Honan shouted, hurting your ears a bit. “An introduction game! I’ll show you how it goes.” she strode over to her office chair and wheeled it over to sit. “My name is Vinita Honan. You may call me Miss Honan or Vinita, whichever one suits your comfort level. My favorite thing is hanging out with kids like you and my least favorite thing is yelling out of anger.” 
She’s a hippy, isn’t she? 
“Now you go. Any volunteers?” unsurprisingly, Ashley’s hand shot up, unlike the rest of the class, including Viole and yourself. “Ah, go ahead. It’s nice to see some excitement in young minds.” 
Ashley stood and grinned. “My name is Ashley Millett, you can call me Ashley or Ash, it doesn’t matter. My least favorite thing is sleep and my favorite thing is an adventure with a bit of drama!” 
You were starting to think that this girl was the devil’s child or the incarnation. 
Miss Honan, who wasn’t fazed at all by Ashley’s statement, smiled and clapped. “Alright, how about you, sweetheart?” 
Viole snorted at the nickname. “My name Is Viole Slawson. I don’t have a favorite thing in particular. Same answer for my least favorite thing.”  
Miss Honan hummed, her smile shrinking at Viole’s answer. She turned to you and your heartbeat sped up rapidly. “And you?” 
You shakily stood, not a fan of speaking in front of the class. “My name is…” you hesitated and looked around at some of your classmates. Some of them looked as nervous about speaking as you did, but others watched you with smirks, their amusement obvious. “(y/n) (l/n)-” 
“Wait?! You’re (y/n) (l/n)?” Ashley asked, eyes wide open in awe. 
Miss Honan frowned, giving you a look of pity. There, right there, for a second, you thought you had seen Marco in her. But that was stupid. She was your teacher. “Oh, I know you. I’m sorry to hear about your sister.” 
Which one? 
You bit your tongue, not wanting to be snarky to your math teacher on your first day, but all of the sudden attention was making you antsy. “Thank you. Anyway, my favorite thing is…” you paused again. “Drawing and my least favorite thing is writing.” 
Miss Honan smiled, nodded and called for the person beside you. You allowed yourself to zone off again, deeming this activity useless. If you knew their names or not didn’t help you get along any better. Your thoughts involuntarily drifted back to Eren’s kindness, and what Jean had asked you earlier. The pit in your stomach grew as old memories started to surface. 
“Armin Arlert, M’am. My favorite thing is reading and my least favorite thing…. Is probably fighting.” 
You turned your head to face the owner of the voice. You hadn’t noticed the small blonde when you entered the classroom and part of you wished you hadn’t noticed now. You did find it strange how you didn’t notice him enter, though. Armin sat back down, peering over in your direction. You swiftly looked towards the girl standing up beside Armin, pretending to be listening with interest. Except, she wasn’t interesting. No one in this class was. Well, maybe except for the odd exceptions. 
“I thought this was supposed to be a math class, not a social get-together.” you heard Viole sigh from Ashley’s left. 
“Shh, I’m trying to listen.” Ashley murmured, placing a finger lightly on her friend’s lips. 
The class seemed to have ended much faster than the one before. It was a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, you got away from Miss Honan who you were pretty sure, by just spending under two hours with her, she was crazy. She went from talking about the altitude of an equilateral triangle to chicken farming, to the area of a rectangle, to her asking some of you to help her plan her grocery list. You collected your unused books and you and Viole both sighed out of disappointment simultaneously. 
“I can see why Clyde likes her so much,” you mumbled to yourself. 
Ashley placed a hand on your shoulder. “So, how about that tour? I’d like to know more about you.” you hesitated, remembering the thermos full of kraft dinner you had waiting for you in your locker. “Unless you’ve got lunch plans with someone else?” she motioned her head over to Armin, who was in mid-conversation with the teacher. “You kept looking at him. Do you know each other?” 
You felt your face heat up. You hoped it wasn’t obvious, but by the teasing smile, Ashley wore, it probably was. Ashley gripped your hands and started to spin you both around, causing you to yelp in the result. “(y/n)’s got a crush! (y/n) has got a crush!” she sang. 
You tore your hands from her grip and stormed out of the classroom. Armin watched you, his expression neutral. 

 

“Sounds like you had an interesting time,” Bonnie concluded after you had finished retelling your story. The two of you, along with Clyde, of course, were sitting outside the campus, lunches spread out around you. 
Clyde scooted himself closer to you. “So, how’d he react?”    
“Who?” 
“Armin, duh.” 
Your face started to heat up again. “I don’t know, I didn’t see.” 
“He probably didn’t care. It’s not like you two are friends anymore, so he shouldn’t be sticking his nose in other people’s business. Armin knows his boundaries. That’s why I always liked him.” Bonnie claimed. 
Clyde gave his sister a nasty look, leaning across you to make sure she saw it. “What’d you have to go and say it like that for? Are you trying to make her upset?” 
Bonnie shook her head. “No, I’m pointing out the blatant truth that none of you seem to get. I had hoped you’d get over it during summer break, but I guess not.” 
“You guess not?! What the hell, Bonnie!” Clyde growled. “You're making it sound like everything that happened was her fault!” 
“No, I’m not.” 
“Yes, you are.” 
You sighed in defeat and curled yourself into a ball. Bonnie and Clyde continued to argue, oblivious to your dampened mood and hopeless state. Bonnie was right in a way. You should’ve been over everything that happened last year. You had two whole months to mourn and feel guilty. Your only comfort was that from the looks of things, they hadn’t gotten over it either. 
Clyde let out a frustrated yell, stood up and stormed off down the grassy hill and into the school. Bonnie watched him until he disappeared, then looked at you expectantly, as if waiting to see if you’d follow. After a few minutes of silence and it was evident that you weren’t moving anytime soon, Bonnie spoke up. 
“I didn’t mean to be mean. It’s a bad habit of mine.” 
“I know.” 
“I just want you to smile like you used to.” Bonnie paused. “Like you used to with them. Clyde and I could never make you laugh as Connie and Sasha could.” 
You shrugged and Bonnie took that as an “I don’t want to talk about that” sign. You both rested your head on your arms and laid on your backs, watching the vast blue sky for any peculiar clouds. Then, if you see any, you’d name them and guess what kind of creature or thing they were. Dragons and dogs were popular guesses.

Chapter Text

When the bell rang, Bonnie followed you to your class, even though hers was on the opposite side of the building.

"Will you be alright?" she asked as you reached the music room.

You nodded, waved goodbye and entered the classroom.

Almost immediately after, you wished you had begged Bonnie to stay. Then maybe you'd get a free pass out of this hell. Not only was Connie, Eren, Jean, Krista and Mikasa here, but so was Armin and, of course, because those with higher power like to see you suffer, Ashley Millett, sitting beside a girl you didn't recognize. You began to wonder if death was still a suitable option for you at the moment.

Ashley noticed your presence right away and jogged over to you, only to wrap you in her arms. "I'm really, really, really sorry about earlier! I didn't mean to embarrass you! I have a nasty habit of doing things without thinking! I don't think he cared though, which is a good thing!"

You froze, tense from the sudden contact. The only people who ever hugged you were Clyde and your older sister, Mara, but she was gone. Ashley didn't seem to notice your uncomfort but pulled back anyway. She kept a good grip on your elbows just for good measure, though. "When you ran off, I felt really bad, so I went to go find Delaney here and ask her for advice," she explained, nodding to the ravenette she was sitting with before. Delaney grinned at you with a wave that you returned.

"Are we good?" Ashley asked.

Your whole class was watching the interaction and as much as you wanted to deny the girl, the look of despair on her face and the entertained gazes of the class changed your answer to the other direction.

"Yeah, we're good. Forgive and forget, right?" you scratched your neck.

Ashley nodded, then practically dragged you to the three-person desk Delaney was currently seated at. Said girl welcomed you with a "howdy" before going back to making faces at your classmates.

"Delaney, Viole and I, all came from the same high school. It was a small one in Maria District for those who couldn't afford to bus their kids here. Hell, we didn't even have buses where we lived. Have you ever been to Maria before, (y/n)?" Ashley inquired, trying to make some sort of small talk before class started.

"Yeah, a couple of times." you answered, remembering the thousands of times you visited Armin, Eren and Mikasa without your parents' permission.

"It's not really a nice place to be. Luckily we moved closer to the border between Maria and Rose, so we could come here." Ashley hummed.

"Alright class, if I could have your attention, please?"

A woman, who looked like she was in her mid-sixties, called out to you and your peers. She didn't dress as fancy as Mr. Martzer, but definitely fancier than Miss Honan. Her black hair was tied in a neat bun, but her grey streaks made it seem Halloween-ish. She wore a white blouse and a very long green skirt. "My name is Mrs. Champlin and I will be your music teacher for this semester." she started to walk around the room, eyeing us and taking in our appearance. "Whether you'll be doing instrumental or vocal doesn't matter that much to me. Instrumental and vocal will be separated for lessons, though the song assignments will be mixed."

"I want to see what you're able to do, so I've come up with a small activity that I ask to be handed in on Friday. You shall pick a song and perform it, simple as it was said. You will be put into groups of three," Ashley looked back and forth between you and Delaney excitedly. "By random. Pulling names out of a hat, to be exact." a couple of students at the back groaned. "If anyone has any questions or problems about that, they can speak to me privately about it after school. My lunch will not be wasted for watching you all practice either, so you can get that idea out of your head. Practice on your own time."

Mrs. Champlin walked up to the black fedora that lay on the table in the middle of the room to begin pulling out names. There were a lot of cheers and moans throughout the process of choosing groups and you couldn't help but feel anxious. What would you do if you got placed in a group with one of them? That wouldn't be awkward at all. Not at all.

"Ashley Millet,..." Ashley grinned at you both, holding both of your hands. You tried to pull away, but her grip suddenly tightened. "Syd Kozlowski and Frederica Morabito."

Ashley frowned but quickly shrugged off the fact that she was not put into the same group with either of her friends. "This a chance to make more new friends!" she declared. "Don't worry, we won't forget about you, (y/n)."

Oh goody.

"Connie Springer, Delaney Mussio and Sully Ciregna."

You flinched when you heard Connie and Delaney get put together. You looked over to the bald boy, but he had spotted you first. He didn't look happy about the situation either. Delaney leaned over Ashley to elbow you, before pointing over to Connie.

"You know him?"

"Yeah."

"What's he like?" Delaney whispered, trying not to catch Mrs. Champlin's attention.

"He's nice and optimistic as long as you don't get on his bad side. He's funny too. You'd like him, I think."

Delaney leaned away and scoffed.

"Mikasa Ackerman, Jean Kirst-"

Jean jumped from his spot. "YES! GOD YES!" it took a moment for him to realize what he had just done and when he did, his face became very red and he apologized quietly. Glancing back at him, you could see Connie pass Jean twenty dollars. Ah, he was dared. It makes it even better that he was placed with Mikasa, his old crush, too. You could bet that Connie and Sasha would never let him live it down.

"I won't have those kinds of interruptions in my class, Mister Kirstein. Next time, it'll be detention. Do you understand me?" Mrs. Champlin demanded.

Jean nodded and you could hear Connie giggling and snorting from where you were sitting.

"The last person to join your group will be... Eren Yeager."

You couldn't help but snort when you tried to imagine how well that'd go over. Mikasa must've heard you and started to glare in your direction until Eren told her to stop.

"Why do I have to work with Yeager?" Jean asked, eyeing the boy beside him.

"Mister Kirstein, I told you this already, if you have any problems with the groups, then you may see me after school or quickly after class." Mrs. Champlin chided.

Jean sank deeper in his seat, much less happy than Connie was in his group.

"Alright, Nettie Medici, Morgan Briggs-Hale, and Corabelle Booth."

With each name that was pulled, your anxiety started to grow until you really became really scared of what would happen. Another part of you scolded yourself, demanding that you get a grip. What're the chances of getting placed in the same group as them anyway?

"Armin Arlert, Krista Lenz...."

"And (y/n) (l/n)"

Mrs. Champlin was about to read out the rest of the names in the hat, but she was interrupted by a loud bang which just so happened to be your head smacking against your desk.

"Is there a problem, Miss (l/n)?"

Ashley started to laugh and pet your head. "Oh, she's just tired today! First day back and all!"

"Does it look like I was asking you, Miss Millet?"

Ashley, like Jean, felt the need to slide deeper in her seat. You would've been amused by this if you hadn't already been planning your own funeral. It'd be a small one. Only a few people would be there, Bonnie and Clyde would make a speech, Ashley would crash the thing and then you'd finally be able to die in some form of peace. Luckily, Mrs. Champlin didn't go on about your impulse to smash your head in and continued to call out names. It took a while, but she finally got through them all.

"For the rest of the time we have, you may work on your projects. I'd prefer it if we could get through the rest of the class without more interruptions, don't you think so?" Mrs. Champlin declared before heading back to her desk.

Ashley patted your shoulder reassuringly as she left for her group. You walked over to your two blonde partners and stood there awkwardly as Mikasa watched you, clearly suspicious of you. Eren and Jean had started an argument that you didn't have the patience to care for, but it kept them occupied from looking at you.

Both blondes smiled and waved as you came over.

"I'm lucky I've got you both in my group," Armin admitted. "Krista, you're fantastic at singing and (y/n), you're incredible at the piano."

"Don't forget the violin and the cello." Krista teased.

You laughed sheepishly, scratching the back of your neck out of embarrassment and awkwardness.

"I can find sheet music sheets, songs and such and you guys can do the actual performance if you'd like?" Armin suggested.

"Oh, Armin. You've gotta sing too! You're great!" Krista exclaimed.

"Y-you have?"

"You're really good, Armin," you said.

Armin's face became very red and he looked in the other direction of the two of you. Krista couldn't help herself and started to giggle.

You three commenced swiftly afterwards, keeping the conversation at a minimum, only speaking up to ask for the other's input. Thankfully, the class ended quite quickly and it was time for your last class of the day. You swore, if another one of your old friends was in your last class, you were going to drown yourself in one of the girl's bathroom toilets. You felt like you were going to have a heart attack soon. All you wanted to do was lie down and sleep, but no, this world loved to see you suffer awkwardly. For good measure, you stubbed your toe on the edge of the desk you were sitting at as you stood to collect your things. Armin looked at you, worriedly, before catching up with Eren and Mikasa, who were waiting for him by the door. He gave you one last wave before he turned the corner. At least Mikasa wasn't trying to shoot lasers through your head with her eyes as she left anymore. You were about to leave this class behind but paused suddenly.

"Mrs. Chaplin, I'd like to talk to you about our group selection."

"What can I do for you, Miss Lenz?"

Krista cleared her throat before continuing. "I'd prefer it if (y/n) wasn't in our group. She's been through a lot of stress lately and I think putting her with us won't help her much. Maybe later in the year, she can be with one of us again, but today she looked like she wanted to crawl into a ball and die. Maybe you could put her with that Ashley girl? They seem to get along."

Mrs. Chaplin seemed to take it into consideration, humming as she thought. "Miss Lenz, I'm glad that you're looking out for your fellow classmates and friends, but I really don't see the problem here. Miss (l/n) will have to get over whatever she's going through fast because in the real world things just don't work like that."

"Well, she's not very nice is she?"

You yelped, almost smacking Delaney in the face as she leaned her arm on your shoulder, watching their interaction from beside you. "You seem like a nice person. Awkward, slightly lame and odd, but nice."

"Thank you?"

Delaney grinned, her long black hair flowing straight behind her. How is it so straight? "You're welcome. Ashley asked me to fetch you when she noticed you weren't with us. Sorry about that."

"Didn't know I was a dog now," you grumbled, pouting at her wording.

Delaney snickered. "Alright, let's let these two ladies talk in private. Wouldn't want to waste their gossiping time."

"Miss Mussi-" Delaney closed the door quickly, cutting your music teacher off before dragging you down the hallway. From the small door window, you caught a glimpse of Krista's hurt face before it disappeared as fast as it came.

Luckily, for your last class, the only people you knew were Bonnie, Clyde and two other kids from your music class whose names you forgot. Clyde ignored Bonnie for the rest of the day, making it awkward between you three as Bonnie tried to get him to talk to her, You know how this goes. Tomorrow he'll have you talking to her for him and he'll embarrass himself by acting like a child. You wanted to tell them what had transpired in your last class, but you felt that telling them would just bring up their previous argument again. As soon as class ended, you grabbed your bag from your locker and immediately left the school, almost bumping into Jean and Marco on your way out. They didn't care though since they seemed to have been in a tense conversation. So, here you were, laying on your bed at eleven at night, staring at the ceiling and wondering about what you were going to do about tomorrow when suddenly, your phone buzzed.

Armin:

Hey (y/n). Sorry to text you so late. We decided that it'd be better to meet at Krista's place tomorrow afternoon for practice. Does that sound alright to you?

Mrs. Champlin didn't remove you from your group? You were surprised, to say the least. You tried to imagine Krista's reaction when Mrs. Champlin refused her pleas.

You: Yeah, sounds good to me. It's not like I have much of a choice anyway.

Armin: Oh, you're awake! Also, if you don't mind, I want to talk to you about what happened last year, but I can never find the right time.

Armin: You always look so nervous and almost scared for your life. You, Annie, Bertolt, Eren, Reiner, and Ymir are the only ones who truly know what went down that night. The rest of us can only go by what Annie, Bertolt and Reiner told us. Eren and Ymir haven't said anything about what went down and...

Armin: I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want to know what happened from your point of view, please?

Armin didn't say anything else for a few minutes, waiting to see if you'd say anything back. But what were you supposed to say? There was no way you could put what happened that night into words. It was almost like it was something sacred. Something that should've only stayed between you, Annie, Bertolt, Eren, Reiner and Ymir. But it didn't.

Armin: I'm sorry for rambling, it's fine if you don't want to talk about it. Have a good night (y/n).

You placed your phone on your bedside table, happy that he understood where you were coming from. Finally, you could have some peace and quiet.

"My fault?! How was that my fault, Harriet?!"

"Carl, don't even get me started! It was your idea for her to start a blog!"

"Yeah, when she was nine! I never thought she'd remember that!"

"Just admit it, you're proud of what she did!"

You groaned and pressed your pillow to your ears, hoping to drown out the noise of your parents bickering so you could finally get some sleep. It helped, but you could still hear them clearly.

"I want her stuff out of this house, Harriet." your father declared.

"Carl! We could've helped her! We could've got her into some sort of therapy as we did with Mara!"

You heard something that sounded a lot like glass break and you concluded that the two were in the kitchen.

"And look how well that ended up! Mara killed herself! And, y' know, your other daughter that exists! She's still here too!"

"(y/n) is strong, unlike her sisters! She knows what's right and what's wrong!"

"She's depressed, Harriet!" your father cried, his voice starting to break. "Her anxiety is ruining her."

"We should've been focusing on Sarah, Then (y/n). Besides, I think once we solve this blog thing with Sarah, everything will come back in place for (y/n)."

You clench your eyes shut and pulled the pillow tighter into your head, waiting for sleep to take to its nightmarish routine. For the memories of funerals and what happened that night that everything changed for you and your friends, to replay in your mind on a loop.

Chapter Text

Like you had agreed with Armin last night, as soon as the bell rang, the three of you met up outside the school by the fountain to head to Krista's place in Sheena to practice for your performance on Friday.

"My mom is working right now, so she can't pick us up. We're going to have to take the bus," she explained as she leads you both to the nearest bus stop.

"Hey! Krista, wait up, Cutie!"

Ymir hadn't changed since the last time you saw her and in her eyes, neither did you. She slowed down as she neared you three, a grin still plastered across her face. "Woah! Is that (y/n)? It's been a while, how are you?"

You awkwardly swayed from foot to foot, scratching the back of your neck. "I'm alright. How're you?"

Ymir shrugged. "Same old, same old." she stopped smiling. "So, are you back with our group?"

"She's been assigned to our group for Music class. She's just coming along to practice." Krista answered.

"Sounds fun. I'll tag along."

Krista sighed, but smiled nonetheless, shaking her head. Armin snickered to himself, hiding his smile with his sleeve. The bus was running late, so the four of you decided to quickly run into a nearby cafe. You, being the awesome person you were, only brought enough money barely enough for the one bus trip. Armin noticed this, and your obvious whimpers at the sight of your favourite drink, and offered to pay for you.

"Really (y/n), it's no problem," he said after ordering for both of you. "You don't even need to pay me back. I'd prefer it if you didn't."

"One day I will pay you back and you will smile." you declared, narrowing your eyes at the blonde male.

Armin's eyes widened before sighing, smiling and shaking his head. Just like Krista.

"Y'know, you and Krista look a lot-"

"I will make you pay me back."

You and Armin continued to banter back and forth as you exited the cafe and only stopped to pay the bus driver, which Armin managed to pay for you, again. Ymir dragged Krista to an empty spot in the back. You obediently followed, not wanting to get lost from your small group. The only real reason you ever went to Sheena was to visit Krista, but those trips ended a while ago. You assumed that Sheena must've changed from the last time you'd been there, even if it was just under a year ago. Armin stepped out of your way, offering the window seat at the back of the bus.

"Thanks..' you mumbled as you sat down. Krista and Ymir took the seats from across you.

"I'm glad you came with us today. To be honest, I wasn't sure you would." Armin admitted sheepishly.

You snorted. "What? Did you think I'd just skip out on you guys? You should know I'm not like that." Armin looked down at his folded hands that laid in his lap. He smiled to himself. You immediately felt bad. "Sorry. I didn't mean to be rude."

Armin shook his head. "You weren't. You're right. I'm still happy you're here, though."

You didn't really know what to say to that, so you just listened in on Krista and Ymir's conversation about the upcoming Cheer tryouts. Even though Krista was just in grade ten, she had become the Cheer captain last year with her optimistic and loving personality. You thought it fit her very well. You turned your head to watch the buildings fade away behind you. You wouldn't mind if everything went back to the way it was now, but you couldn't help but feel it was wrong. The only one who had brought what happened up so far was Armin, Jean and Ymir, who just grazed the subject. Nobody had gotten mad at you, or anything like the reactions you thought you'd receive.
When the bus stopped at your destination and you all got off, you couldn't help but stare in awe of how much the district actually hadn't changed. The place still looked like it came out of a fairy tale. The roads were actually paved and not gravel like they were in the Rose District, or dirt in Maria. The houses didn't have holes in the roofs either which was a nice change. Krista led the way as Ymir kept a hand on the small of her back, eyeing a group of boys around your age, watching you four as if you were a turkey dinner. You and Armin both stepped closer to each other.

When you got to Krista's place, Ymir immediately made herself home on one of the plush sofas in the music parlour. You strode over to the piano while Armin made his way to the collection of glass cabinets lining the walls, filled to the brim with sheet music, small instruments and autographs from many different musicians.

"Does anyone want anything to drink?" Krista asked from the doorway that connected the music parlour to the kitchen. You swore, Krista's house looked like a castle coming directly from one of your dreams as a child.

"How about some of that fancy wine your father bought last week?" Ymir joked, laughing to herself.

Krista frowned. "Ymir..."

"I think we're okay with the drinks we already have. Thanks anyway, Krista." Armin said from the other side of the room. He hesitantly turned away from the cabinets and walked over to you. "Do you need to do a run-through by yourself or do you think that you can do it with Krista's voice?"

You sat down by the piano and started to stretch and flex your fingers and hands. "I think I can do it with Krista." you lean your head back, putting the girl in your sights. "What do you say?"

Krista nodded, smiling. Armin went back to the cabinets, actually focused on the assignment now, and started to search for the appropriate sheet music. After a minute or two, he came back, two slips of paper in hand. Krista stood beside you and cleared her throat before giving you a thumbs up.

"Not tryna be indie

Not tryna be cool

Just tryna be in this

Tell me, are you too?

Can you feel where the wind is?

Can you feel it through

All of the windows

Inside this room?"

 

Your fingers glided across the black and white keys.

 

"'Cause I wanna touch you baby

And I wanna feel you too

I wanna see the sunrise

On your sins just me and you"

 

It wasn't difficult. In fact, it exceptionally easy.

 

"Light it up, on the run. Let's make love tonight."

 

Krista's voice sounded exactly like it had when you last heard her sing. Still angelic.

 

"You'll never be alone

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

Baby, I'm right here

I'll hold you when things go wrong

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

Baby, I'm right here"

 

When Krista used to invite you to her house, it was almost always to personally perform for her or for the guests her father invited to the house. Why she never invited Bertolt, who taught you how to play these instruments, always amazed you.

 

"I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

Baby, I'm right here"

 

You glanced back at Armin and Ymir who were sitting together on the beige sofa behind you. Armin's mouth was wide open in awe, but he wasn't staring at Krista. He was staring at you. Ymir kept glancing back between you two, a smirk playing on her lips. It was as if she was proud to know you both, not just Krista.

 

"We were shut like a jacket

So do your zip

We will roll down the rapids

To find a wave that fits

Can you feel where the wind is

Can you feel it through

All of the windows

Inside this room"

 

Ymir leaned into Armin, whispering something into his ear. She must've been making fun of him because his face had probably turned a thousand shades of red before he hid his face in his hands. He still watched you from the space between each finger, though.

 

"'Cause I wanna touch you baby

And I wanna feel you too

I wanna see the sunrise

On your sins just me and you"

 

Ymir gave you a thumbs up, her grin growing bigger and bigger by the second.

 

"You'll never be alone

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

Baby, I'm right here

But you'll never be alone

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

Baby, I'm right here"

 

You turned back to your instrument, almost playing the wrong note. You had played the song many times before for your sisters. You frowned.

 

"Go, give love to your body

It's only you that can stop it

So, give love to your body

Give love to your body"

 

You caught Krista watching you from the corner of your eye. Her smile got bigger and she caught herself before she could laugh at your concentrated expression.

 

"I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

Baby, I'm right here

I'll be with you from dusk till dawn

Baby, I'm right here"

Your sister's faces popped up in your vision. You blinked a couple of times before ending the song.

"Baby, I'm right here"

Armin and Ymir erupted in applause. Krista allowed herself to finally laugh while you tried to hide the blush that was forming on your cheeks.

"Jeez, Armin. You sure lucked out for your project, huh?" Ymir exclaimed, shaking her head.

"Yeah. You guys did great!" Armin agreed.

"How would you know? Your eyes were on (y/n) the whole time!"

"Ymir! Leave him be!" Krista scolded.

You scratched the back of your neck. You were positive there was going to be marks there when you get home.

"Seriously, you guys were great!" Ymir repeated.

Krista linked your arm with hers and did a small curtsey. You panicked and bowed, making Ymir snort. You sat down on the small armchair beside the sofa Armin and Ymir sat on as said girl practically shoved the poor boy off the couch to make way for Krista. Armin sat on the arm of your chair.

"Hey, (y/n), Ymir? Can I ask you a question?" Armin asked.

Ymir chuckled. "You just did, Coconut."

"What happened on that night in June?

Ymir stopped laughing, her smile fading into a frown. "Why do you want to know?"

"We only know what the Military Police Brigade told us. And Annie, Bertolt and Reiner, of course," he explained. "I just wanted to know what happened from your point of view."

"Yeah, I know that. I want to know why. Don't you believe them? What'd they tell you anyway?" Ymir inquired.

Krista leaned forward in her seat, her large blue eyes gleaming with interest.

"A Military Police Officer made an announcement with the principal on the last day of school addressing the rumours that were related to you guys and that two students were killed. One because of self-inflicted harm and the other's was unclear."

Ymir nodded. You folded your shaking hands in your lap.

"Reiner called for a group meeting and told us that he, Annie and Bertolt tried to help Sarah and that he saw you ... (y/n)..." Armin's voice drifted off.

Ymir groaned and massaged the bridge of her nose. "Lemme guess. He saw her push Sarah off the cliff? The same cliff Mara jumped off the day before?"

Armin hesitated before nodding in conformation. You hide your face in your hands, unable to meet his eyes which were now on you.

"W-we don't think you killed her though, (y/n)! At least I don't!" Krista stuttered out. "Ymir, you were there, right? (y/n) didn't kill Sarah, did she?"

Ymir didn't answer for a few moments, leaving you in awkward silence. "It's not my position to say."

"What do you mean?" Armin asked.

"Eren and I are the only ones who seem to get this. It's not my right to say what happened that night because it wasn't my business. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, things got out of hand and people died. That's all you guys really need to know."

"What I really want to know," Ymir continued. "Is what you're going to do about the gazette, (y/n). Are you going to restart it? Or are you going to make up for your 'sins'? And what about Sarah's blog? Are you just going to continue to let it exist or are you going to do something about it?"

You didn't answer. Ymir sighed. "One day, when you find the words to say, when you find what you want to say, tell me. I'll be waiting."

Armin and Krista went silent. You tried to swallow the lump in your throat as a hand appeared in front of you. Armin helped you stand up and led you towards the door. "It's starting to get dark out. I forgot to tell Mr. Yeager I was at your house, Krista and left it to Eren. (y/n)'s parents may start to worry too, so I'll walk her home."

"You'll walk?" Krista gasped. "Why don't you take the bus?"

"The bus doesn't reach my house, (y/n) only had enough for one ride and I don't want her walking alone with all the Warrior activity that's been happening lately," he explained.

"I think she'll be fine. She was on the news for a while, remember? They won't mess with her. You, on the other hand, Armin." Ymir gibed.

Armin started to blush while you couldn't help but stand there awkwardly, half offended and half flattered. Armin abruptly took your hand in his and led you out the front door, thanking Krista for her hospitality on the way out. He kept his pace in silence, not letting your hand go until you tried to take it back.

"O-oh sorry." Armin stuttered, fully realizing what he had just done. "I just... you looked like you were uncomfortable, so I... I'm sorry."

"Why are you sorry? You didn't do anything wrong?" you asked.

Armin stopped. "I started that conversation. I was the one who asked stupid questions I shouldn't have. Ymir is right. It's none of my business." You shook your head and walked past him. Armin quickly caught up to you. "What did Ymir mean by what she said? That last part before we left?" you shrugged. "Also, why did you lie?"

You raised a brow. "What do you mean 'why did I lie'?"

"When Miss Honan asked us what our favourite and least favourite things were, you lied. You love writing and the only reason you got into art was that Jean used to draw you all the time. He left the drawings in your locker, remember?"

"Don't remind me," you mumbled.

You both were silent for the rest of the walk. Your usual thoughts were overrun by the memory of Jean surprising you with all the beautiful sketches of you and him that he left in your locker, upsetting and making all the girls jealous. Armin stuck to his word and walked you home, but instead of walking you right to the door, he sped past your house, calling a "goodnight" to you as he went. You could understand why. You looked up to Sarah's pitch black window. This was the place where all of his pain and suffering started.

Chapter Text

Your English and Math classes had been very different today because for once, you actually got work done. In English, you're normally too focused on your classmates looking at you every five seconds, so you'd always have to take your work home to finish. Eventually, Eren had seemed to notice what was happening and addressed it... by screaming his head off. You were flattered, but was the screaming really necessary? In the end, everyone stopped staring at you and you actually got work done, so you were kind of thankful. In math class, nobody purposely distracted Miss Honan from the lesson she was teaching so you were actually given a group assignment. Unluckily, you have partnered with Armin once again.

"Hey, (y/n), do want to sit with us during lunch? I want to talk to you about something that's been on my mind lately. Ashley asked as she collected her stray papers. "I don't think I've actually seen you eat before."

"Uhm yeah, sure," you replied. It wasn't like you didn't need a break from Bonnie and Clyde's squabbling anyway.

"Great. By the way, it won't just be Delaney, Viole and myself. There are two others who are joining us."

You were starting to get a bad feeling about this.

You entered the cafeteria and immediately Ashley dragged you to a table that Delaney and the two others she had mentioned, who you recognized from two of your classes, were sitting at.

"Howdy, (y/n). This is Morgan Briggs-Hale and Corabelle Booth." Delaney beamed.

Morgan was a tall boy with tanned skin, blue eyes and sandy blonde hair. In your opinion, he looked like a lifeguard whose freckles didn't come close to rivalling Marco's. He grinned and gave a thumbs up in greeting. Corabelle's dirty blonde hair was tied up into a messy bun and her clothes looked baggy. The only real thing you knew about the two was that Morgan was from Maria and Corabelle was from Sheena.

Ashley motioned her head to you. "Well, go on. You guys wanted to ask her something, didn't you?"

Corabelle rolled her eyes. "You were curious too."

"Anyway," Morgan started. "We wanted to ask you about the Kyojin Gazette and your plans for it. Everyone who was in it graduated last year and normally only grades eleven to twelve could join, but you got a free pass because of your sisters, so technically, you're the only member left."

"Wait, you have siblings?" Ashley asked, raising an eyebrow in surprise.

You groaned. "Why does everyone keep asking me this? I can't have plans for something that doesn't exist anymore."

"Technically, it's still registered as a club. I checked this morning after you two came up to us."

You all turned to the blonde, eyes wide. Viole shrugged. "What? I can be useful."

Ashley grinned. "Look at you! I told you this school would change you for the better!"

"We've been here for three days."

Morgan cleared his throat. "So, now that we know that it does exist, when are you going to start it up and again because Cora and I would really like to join. We've both always had a passion for writing stories."

You fold your hands together and laid them on the table.

"Ashley, Viole and I would really like to join too, y' know!" Delaney but in.

"We think it'd be fun! Wasn't it last year?"

"I think it'd be nice for the school."

"Imagine us as writers and editors! We'd make the greatest team!"

"Yeah, c' mon, (y/n)! Won't you do it with us? You can be our leader."

You clench your eyes shut and covered your face with your hands. You couldn't take very much of this anymore.

"(y/n), plea-"

"What're you going to write?" you asked, cutting them off.

"What'd you mean?" Cora asked.

"You heard me."

"Well, y' know. We'll cover the sports games and the clubs and all that fun stuff." Ashley explained.

"Will you write the truth?"

"What?"

You slammed your hands down on the table as you stood. "The truth, god damn it!"

You stormed out of the cafeteria, not caring about the abrupt silence you caused or the sets of eyes watching your exit. You'd apologize later for the overreaction, but right now you needed to find Bonnie or Clyde. They'd know what to do and maybe you could get that nightmare of a club shut down this time. All the Kyojin Gazette ever did was cause a lot of pain and not just to you. You opened the classroom door after classroom door, trying to search for your friends but to no avail, until you came across the gym. You weren't going to check in there, Bonnie and Clyde hated the class, but the sounds of a ball bouncing, shoes squeaking across the floor and faint voices lured you in. You slowly opened the door as Reiner had just shot the ball into the hoop.

"Woohoo, that's another point for me, Bertl!" he cheered. "Annie, are you still keeping score?"

Annie, who was sitting on the bleachers against the wall, looked up, nodded and returned to her book. You looked around as fast as you could while Bertolt and Reiner went back to the middle of the court. You wanted to get out of there as fast as you could. You didn't feel like dealing with these three today.

"Annie, can you throw the ball up for us?" Reiner asked, dribbling the basketball as he walked up to her.

"No, but she can," she said, pointing in your direction.

Bertolt and Reiner looked over. The last time you had talked to these three, one of you were behind bars and you were a crying mess. Reiner's expression darkened, probably remembering that night too.

"I was surprised when Eren told us that you were proved innocent. It's going to be hard getting a job for yourself now, won't it?" Reiner asked, tossing the ball to Bertolt. "What do you want?" he spat.

"I was looking for Bonnie and Clyde," you mumbled, backing up against the door.

"More lives for you to ruin. I'm surprised that they haven't been pushed to suicide by being around you yet."

"Reiner, unless you want more rumours about you taking steroids passed around, I'd quit it." Annie glowered.

You placed a hand on the door. "I'm not pushing anyone to suicide, I never...." you paused.

Reiner scoffed. "When did you become such a liar, (y/n)?" he started to walk towards you. From behind him, Bertolt nervously glanced between the two of you before looking to Annie, who only shook her head.

"People talk about you in the halls. Your trial is common news now. Everyone knows about it, especially the teachers. I heard that Mrs. Champlin likes to push you harder than anyone else in her class so far. Have you come up with a reason why yet?" Reiner was almost standing chest to chest with you. Reiner was a whole seven inches taller than you are and it made you feel much shorter than you actually were. "Has anyone else you know died recently, (y/n)?"

You shook your head furiously.

"Krista told us about your conversation with Ymir last night. It doesn't matter if it was our business or not. Someone died and people were in danger so we told them. Eren and Ymir just don't seem to care about others' lives anymore. Either that or they cared about you too much. People look at Sarah's blog all the time, y' know. Are you going to do anything about it? Sneak onto her computer and delete everything? Don't think that I don't know you, (y/n). You'll restart that club and then people will get hurt all over again. It's an endless cycle. The criminal always goes back to the scene of the crime. You're drawn to that place, (y/n). You can't outrun karma forever."

"God, Reiner. You are acting kind of creepy, I am not going to lie."

Connie kicked the gym door opposite of you open with Sasha trailing right behind him. Both of them were carrying paper bags that were emitting steam from the tops. "Who wants tacos?" he asked.

Annie shook her head and went back to reading her book as Bertolt went to go sit beside her. Reiner took a few steps back while Connie and Sasha came closer. The brunette placed a warm hand on your shoulder.

"Are you okay? You look like you just saw a ghost, (y/n)," she asked, her tone soft. Connie was watching you from behind the girl, a concerned expression on his face.

"No, I'm fine," you answered. You had only seen Reiner act like that once before, and you honestly hated it. It was the complete opposite of the Reiner you had befriended long ago.

"You were looking for someone, right?"

"Well, yeah."

"Would you like some help? I can eat and search at the same time." the girl offered. You shook your head, thanking her.

"You should go find em' then! There's no telling where they're gone now." Connie handed his paper bag to Reiner and practically shoved you out of the gym. He quickly grabbed your shirt collar and leaned into your ear. "Don't listen to Reiner. He's just being an ass."

He slammed the door shut before you could argue and you were left on your own, Or so you thought.

"(y/n)?" Viole called out from the other end of the hallway. "What're you doing?"

"Getting kicked out of the gym apparently," you said, holding your hands behind your back to hide the trembling.

Viole raised an eyebrow. "Do I need to kick some ass for you?"

"No, I think I'm okay." honestly, no offence to Viole, but she didn't stand a chance. Annie has been taking boxing and karate lessons ever since she could walk, Bertolt, Connie and Reiner are all football players, and Sasha's had to hunt for her food for her whole life. Viole's just had to endure Ashley, which is an accomplishment, just not a useful one for what she was insinuating.

"We got worried when you left like that. I'm sorry we made you upset. We were just curious. Though, curiosity did kill the cat after all." Viole apologized. "If you don't mind me asking, why did you leave the Kyojin Gazette?"

You both started to walk back towards the cafeteria. "It's difficult to put into words," you whispered thought you meant your words to come out louder than that.

"Yeah, a lot of things are like that and unfortunately, they're not all good. Let me guess, information got out of hand and people got hurt?"

You nodded. "That pretty much sums it up."

Viole placed a hand on your shoulder. "I think you'd be a good editor for that. I feel like you wouldn't let that happen."

"Me too. Except you can't edit what people say."

。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・ 。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆

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Chapter Text

"Reiner actually said all that?" Clyde growled. His hands curled into fists. "I'll kill that bastard!"

You flinched at his wording.

Bonnie swatted her brother on the back of the head. "You need to calm down a bit. So, Reiner was an ass. What else is new? He didn't hurt you, did he?"

You shook your head. "No, thanks to Connie and Sasha."

"Those two did something nice?" Clyde asked, raising a brow.

You shrugged. "Connie's a nice person, he just doesn't think before he speaks. His heart's in the right place. Sasha just doesn't do well with people in general. She didn't even want to socialize with other human beings besides her family anyway, much less actually go to school. She's better around her friends, but I'm not sure I happen to be one of those anymore."

Bonnie smiled. "You're starting to accept this. I'm glad. That's the last stage of guilt."

From behind her, Clyde imitated her silently, mouthing her words and making you snort. Bonnie was incredibly confused as Clyde continued to do this for the rest of the walk. Bonnie rambled about how proud she was of you. Whenever you laughed, Clyde's whole world got brighter while Bonnie felt a sense of pride at being able to make you smile. You loved both of them dearly, you really did. Bonnie kept you both in check and if anyone touched you, they got their ass kicked into next week. Clyde was the comic relief of the group and tried to make you smile in every way possible. He was very protective of you two, yes even Bonnie though he never acts like it. You got to school just as the bell rang. You said your goodbyes as you went over to your locker. Oddly enough, Marco was there alone and looking quite upset. You paused opening your locker midway to listen to him mumble to himself.

"Should've never agreed to this..... She'll get hurt, I don't want her to hurt..... I'll kill them for this..."

"That's a bit aggressive, don't you think?" you blurted. You quickly covered your mouth, embarrassed that what you thought you were thinking, you were actually saying.

Marco froze and looked over to you, eyes wide. "You heard all that?"

"Just a little bit. You good?"

Marco hastily nodded, looking around at each person as they passed us. "I'm okay. Perfectly fine."

"Are you sure about that?" you were skeptical of his behaviour. He was obviously not okay, you could tell that just by his body language alone. "Maybe you should talk to Jean. I'm sure that if he knew you were upset he'd try and help."

"Say, (y/n), don't you have somewhere you should be getting to? Like class perhaps?" Marco asked sarcastically, though his tone sounded stressed.

You furrowed your brows. "Well, geez. You don't have to say it like that."

"Well, it shouldn't matter since we're not friends."

You sighed, grabbed your books and closed your locker door shut before storming off to your next class. Marco glanced back at you, trying to hold back his urge to run after you and apologize. What Marco said hurt a lot more than it probably should have. At least Armin and Eren seemed to like you. When you entered your English class, said green-eyed boy waved to you.

"Sasha told me about what went down between you and Reiner yesterday, Sorry about that." he apologized as you sat down.

"Do you guys tell each other everything?"

Eren shrugged. "Nah, I'm not actually sure why she told me."

Suddenly, Mr. Martzer tapped you on the shoulder. He was wearing his usual suit and tie, but something about him seemed different. Maybe it was the cautious look on his face when he approached you. "(y/n), Mr. Wanderstock would like to see you after lunch today, okay?"

The name sounded familiar. You thought for a moment before remembering that the man was your Guidance Counselor. You nodded and Mr. Martzer began his lesson on Dramatic Irony. Unbeknownst to you, Eren glanced back at you from time to time throughout the class, smiling as you furrowed your brow and stuck your tongue out as you concentrated on your notes. When the period was over the boy helped you gather your things.

"Thanks..." you mumbled, a blush starting to form in your cheeks. You could faintly see Eren's ears turn red.

"No problem. Have fun in Math," he said as he caught up to Mikasa, who still made it her daily routine to glare at you viciously before leaving any room you both happened to be in.

"Ready to go?" Armin asked from behind you. You yelped and raised your arms in defence as if you were capable of doing harm. Armin quietly chuckled to himself. You both walked out together, side by side, making you sour. You had missed the blonde coconut the previous summer, but being with him like this felt wrong. Like you were still friends. Marco's words replayed in your head.

"Can I ask you a question?" you started to play with your hands.

"In the wise words of Ymir; you just did," Armin replied snarkily.

"Why're you being nice to me?"

Armin froze, his blue eyes widening for only a second before he hastily collected himself. A second that you obviously noticed. You've known Armin for a long time. You'd be disappointed in yourself if you never thought to observe his patterns. His shoulders were tense and his voice sounded much more level than a few moments ago. "What do you mean?"

"I think you know." you avowed.

"You were always nice to me, even when the rumours came out. You didn't listen to them and reassured me that they weren't true when I started to think they were. Even though they were your-..." Armin's voice drifted off, but you could still tell what he was going to say.

"Even though they were my fault." you finished for him.

Armin looked at anything but you.

"Do you hate me?" you asked, honestly curious.

Armin opened his mouth to say something, anything, but nothing came out.

When you got to your next class you both went to your respective seats. Ashley and Viole were not long behind you and they instantly took their usual seats beside you. Ashley was grinning from ear to ear. Even Viole had a small smirk adorning her features, so something must've happened.

"Delaney got called down to the front office. Her homeroom teacher was doing a locker check and they found 'drugs' in hers." Ashley explained when she saw your confused state.

You stood up, completely prepared to bust into the office to save your ravenette friend. "And that's funny how?"

"It's actually just flour. The teacher was overreacting, though Delaney definitely didn't help much." Viole contributed. "Why are you standing?"

You sat back down, embarrassed by your instinct. It wasn't like you'd be able to help Delaney anyway. Ashley glanced behind her and started to snicker to herself. Viole kept looking back and forth between you two, completely confused as you were. "What's so funny?" she asked. Ashley pointed behind her. Armin was watching you two, amusement glittering in his eyes. He was covering his laughs with his hand, not really caring that your attention was on him. It suddenly occurred to you that Armin knew you just as well as you knew him.

You puffed out your cheeks and pouted, blush evident on your cheeks. Ashley coed and started to play with your hair. "You're so cute! Honestly, sometimes I just want to cuddle you!"

You swatted her hand away, but she dodged and continued her assault. "Yeah, cuddle me to death."

Miss Honan stepped up to the blackboard and Ashley stopped her attack, allowing you to breathe easy and fix your hair. "I've decided there will be a seat change," she announced out of the blue. "Don't worry, only one of you will be moving," she assured the mortified faces of the class.

Ashley started to cling to you and Viole as if her life depended on it. Miss Honan's eyes landed on you. "(y/n), why don't you go sit beside Armin?" she proposed with a wink.

Viole facepalmed while Ashley looked conflicted. You collected your things and sat beside the blonde boy. He smiled to himself as he went back to focusing on Miss Honan. The rest of the class went on as usual as Miss Honan began a lesson on discounts before retelling some of her weird Walmart runs. When the bell rang Armin waited for you with Ashley and Viole.

"Hey, if it's not a problem for you, would you like t-" Armin immediately tensed again as he had earlier. "Jean?"

Jean Kirstein leaned against the locker to your left outside the doorway. His arms crossed against his chest. The fact that he was here didn't surprise you much, you assumed it was because of Armin. What surprised you was how he looked. He wore a white button-up shirt with a collar and black jeans. It wasn't very fancy, but it was probably one of the nicest things you'd ever seen him in and you've known the boy longer than anyone else. Well, maybe except for Marco.

"Hey, Armin," he said, nodding to the smaller boy. "Oi, (y/n). Walk with me," he said, signalling down the hall with his head.

Ashley gave you a thumbs up, grinning madly. Viole shrugged from behind a very anxious looking Armin. You hesitantly followed Jean as he started to walk farther down the hallway towards the staircase leading to the first floor. He was silent until he reached your lockers. Half of you hoped Marco would be there, while another was glad he wasn't.

"Figured you'd want to eat," Jean stated, reaching inside his locker only to pull out his wallet. Your heart rate sped up. "Did you bring a lunch?"

You shook your head. Your parents were having their daily tantrums when you woke up and you wanted to get out of that house as fast as you could. There was no way you were allowing yourself to get caught up in another one of those. Lunch just wasn't on your mind for once. Jean nodded. "I'll buy you something. You can pay me back later."

The brown-eyed boy led you outside to the courtyard. One of the things you loved most about your high school was that around the courtyard were strategically placed small restaurants along the perimeter. students used to come back late all the time because of failed busses, so they decided it'd just be easier to bring the restaurants to them. Clyde decided it was because all of your teachers were just lazy fat asses.

"So, what's up?" you asked, addressing the elephant in the room- no, hallway. "Why are you taking me out to lunch? Not to be rude, I like this change, but it's suspicious to me."

Jean sighed and ran a hand through his two-toned hair as the bus pulled to a stop in front of you. You entered the bus and found two empty seats at the very back. Jean stepped out of your way, offering the seat next to the window. You thanked him and sat down.

"To be honest, I did it on impulse," Jean explained. "Everything happened so quickly last year. It didn't feel like you and I got any closure. Everything's confusing now. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to hate you or like you anymore. I'm stuck in the middle."

You nodded, understanding completely. After everything that had happened in those last few months of grade nine, it felt fake whenever you talked calmly to any of your old friends, especially with Eren and Ymir. They had seen everything, they knew what you did and yet they weren't the ones who called the Police. Suddenly, you felt bad for leaving Armin earlier. The poor boy only wanted to be your friend again and know the truth of what happened. He honestly gave you the benefit of the doubt and you ran away with Horse Face. Though, you had to admit, talking with Jean like this brought you a sense of nostalgia that you tried to welcome with open arms, no matter how wrong it felt to you.

"Talking with you guys seems fake after everything. It feels too soon. Like it was just yesterday, or someone just ripped off a band-aid, or..." you paused, taking in Jean's smirk. You groaned. "You get what I mean."

"I'm still mad at you," he admitted. "Someday, maybe I won't be, but right now I'm livid. It doesn't matter if I like you as a person or not, it doesn't change the fact. Because of your naivety, people got hurt."

You bit back a retort, feeling a pointless need to defend yourself. Jean was speaking the truth. If you had realized what your sister was doing sooner, you and Jean would probably be laughing over Eren's excitement for the next football game. He'd invite you to dinner afterwards with Connie, Marco and Sasha and the five of you would joke around and plan pranks on the green-eyed boy.

"I know you're sorry," Jean continued. "I'm sorry too. But it's too late now. Too late for everything we never got to do or say."

Immediately, a memory of Ymir holding your shaking, sobbing form appeared in your vision. The things you never got to do or say, huh? Out of the blue, you remembered Jean and Marco's conversation from your first day.

"On the first day, I overheard you and Marco talking about you dropping courses, is that true?"

Jean snorted. "Yeah, no shit."

"What're you dropping?" you asked, continuing to press on the subject.

"Art."

"Art? Why are you dropping art, Jean? You're great at it! I thought you loved it!"

"Keyword 'loved'. I'm just not interested in it anymore."

"But last year-"

"God, you and Marco don't know when to shut up, do you?" he snapped. "That was last year."

"Don't say that about him! He's not having a good day!"

He pulled you over a bit harshly to a cafe. He didn't ask for your order, he knew it off by heart, and said it for you. He even paid.

"What do you mean by that?" Jean finally asked as you both sat down on a bench surrounded by flowers and trees. It was a shady spot surprisingly abandoned.

"He was talking to himself by our lockers. Something about not wanting to do something to someone and that he'd kill someone for something. Is he in trouble?"

Jean groaned and massaged the bridge of his nose. "You should ask Armin. It'd come better from him."

"Ask Armin what?"

"Actually, knowing him, he'll tell you soon enough. He was never good at keeping things from you, now was he?"

You pouted. "Neither were you."

"Tell me one secret I let loose to you." he challenged.

"Jean, you can't host a surprise party without the surprise."

"Hey, that's not fair. You were upset everyone forgot your birthday!"

"Yeah, wouldn't you? At least they didn't ruin it though!"

"Are you kidding me?! Both Connie and Reiner almost spoiled it! Bertolt had to slap his hand over Reiner's mouth!"

"That's what he was doing?! I thought he was burping!"

"Why would you-... Never mind."

You both erupted into laughter at the fond memory. Those were the good days. You didn't have to worry too much about grades or relationships. You didn't have to worry about rumours. About stealing to survive. About losing your house. About saving lives.

About being accused of murder by your best friends.

"He really likes you, y' know..." Jean declared without warning. "Marco, I mean."

"He didn't seem like that this morning," you grumbled.

"He cried when he heard about you going to court. And when you got arrested in front of the whole school.."

"Thanks for reminding me."

You weren't upset at him for bringing it up. It was almost always on your mind anyway. The glances, stares and glares were enough to make sure you'd never forget how different you were from everyone else now. You were a bit upset because he told you Marco cried. You'd never seen him do that before and knowing that it was your fault hurt. A lot.

"He actually yelled at Bertolt."

Your eyes widened. "He what?!"

Jean smiled in reminiscing. "Yep. Poor Bertl didn't know what to do. Nobody has ever seen Marco get angry like that before, not even me. He really cares for you. I know he's not angry at them now, but he's still not exactly happy at what they did."

"What did you do?" you couldn't imagine that Jean would just sit by and watch his two, normally calm and composed friends scream at each other.

"I dragged Marco away for him to calm down, of course. Bertolt looked like he was about to cry. It didn't help that Eren and Reiner started fighting too."

You hummed in response and glanced down at your almost empty glass. All that was left was a lonely cube of ice that you were currently swishing around the area of the container. Jean watched you. In his opinion, you had changed too much. You didn't smile as you used too, you didn't talk like you used to either. He was worried about you, though he'd never say it aloud. He'd leave that to Marco.

"Hey Jean!" you looked up to meet grey eyes. "Oh, hey (y/n)."

Jean nodded to the boy in greeting. "Hey, Connie. I heard you saved (y/n) here yesterday from Reiner. Thanks."

Connie raised an eyebrow. "Did Sasha tell you that? I didn't do anything, but you're welcome."

"Why are you thanking him anyway?" I asked.

Jean shrugged. "I don't know. I just felt like I need to. Like it was right."

"Oh because that's totally not confusing at all."

Connie laughed at your retort. "Yeah, Jean. You should be more clear about your feelings."

"Oh piss off, Connie." he spat. "Pot calling the kettle black much?"

The boy started to laugh harder, a blush painting his cheeks. He elbowed Jean in the ribs and pointed over to a raven-haired man reading a few tables away from you. "Guess who that is."

Jean narrowed his eyes, leaning towards the man before his eyes widened and he raised his brows in disbelief. "Is that... Levi?"

Jean was correct. There, in his full stoic glory was Levi Ackerman, another one of your old friends and someone you look up to a lot. Well, technically, you had to look down to see him, but that wasn't the point!

"Maybe you should go say hi, Jean." Connie grinned. "You might not wanna though, (y/n). I think he might kill you."

You rolled your eyes. "Like I needed the reminder." You wondered how the man was doing. Was he still living with Erwin and Mike or had Hanji finally convinced him to move in with her and Moblit? The last one sounded very unlikely.

"Why don't you go say hi, Connie? I'm sure Levi missed you during the summer break." Jean deflected.

"What? No way! He's still as scary as the first day I met him!"

"Go on, Connie. I dare you. You don't want to back down from a dare, do you? Are you chicken?" Jean provoked, wiggling his eyebrows.

Connie huffed. "Fine then, watch me, Jean. I'll show you who's chicken," he grumbled. You and Jean watched the bald boy with horrified faces, realizing where this was heading. Connie tapped on Levi's shoulder gently,

"Oh my god..." Jean laughed.

"What is it, Brat?" Levi asked, looking up from his book with a glare.

Connie gave out a shaky laugh that honestly sounded more like a wheeze. "Oh, nothing. I just wanted to come over and say hello. How are you?" he asked in a caring tone. You and Jean couldn't help yourselves as Jean started to laugh louder. You clasped your hands over both of your mouths.

Levi glanced behind his shoulder, his gaze connection with yours before quickly turning back to Connie. He returned to his book. "Go back to them."

Connie strode back to your table, his back straight and shoulders tense. He pulled up a chair and sat down between you and Jean. "I almost died."

Jean rolled his eyes. "Stop being so dramatic. That was a beautiful performance, though, I have to admit."

You gave a small clap to which Connie replied with a smile and a slight bow. You looked back at the raven-haired man. When Levi had gone to your school, he had started a club called the Janitorial Squad. Its purpose; cleaning the school of germs. Originally it was just him, Eld, Gunther, Oluo and Petra before Levi had decided to branch out and get new members. He had come across you and Sasha throwing a plastic bottle in the trash instead of recycling it during the first month of last year and the rest was history. Unsurprisingly, Armin, Eren and Mikasa had joined before you and Connie and Jean weren't far behind.

"(y/n)?" Connie waved a hand in front of your face. "You still alive in there?"

You scratched your neck, your mind coming back down to earth. "Yeah, sorry. What were you saying?"

Connie frowned. "You seem different from last year."

"Connie, don't be stupid. We're all different." Jean asked, giving Connie an 'are you serious' look.

From behind Connie, you could see Levi put away his book and stand from his spot.

"Yeah, but you don't look like a good different, (y/n)."

Levi started to walk towards your group of three, keeping his eyes on yours the whole time. You started to fidget with your hands, hoping that he wasn't coming over to talk to you.

"I can't put my finger on it." Connie continued. "I don't like it."

Levi walked past you, breaking eye contact and you sighed in relief. You could breathe easy now.

"(y/n)."

You jumped in your seat. Levi had stopped and was looking at you over his shoulder like he had done earlier. "You look dead," he stated before walking on. You swore you heard him mumble something about Erwin making him volunteer as he left.

Jean snorted once he was out of earshot. "You looked like you were about to shit yourself."

Connie's eyes widened. "Did you?"

Jean slapped him on the back of his head simultaneously as the bell rang, You throw your garbage in the correct bins (old habits die hard and besides, who knows where Levi went? For all you knew he was right behind you.) and pushed your chair in.

"Thanks for lunch, Jean. It was... Nice." you faltered.

"No problem. We should do it again. Y'know, for old time's sake." he proposed.

You smiled. "Yeah, that'd be nice. Better than listening to Clyde whine or Ashley ramble on about black cats."

You started to head towards the direction of your guidance counsellor's office. "Hey, (y/n)! Where are you going? Music's this way!" Connie called.

"Wanderstock wanted to see me after lunch! Tell Armin and Krista that I'm sorry and for him to text me the details of what happens!"

Connie shook his head as he and Jean ambled in the opposite direction. "One day, Mrs. Champlin will kill her and all we'll be able to find is her body."

"Jeez, Connie." Jean cringed. "That's kinda dark, don't you think?"

Connie shrugged.

You've had Mr. Wanderstock as your guidance counsellor since the beginning of last year. At first, you were open to the idea. Not everyone got one, only those recommended for them from past or current teachers. Now, you're not really sure why you keep coming. Though you're definitely not at terms with everything that happened, you seem to be more kept together than your counsellor ever was. Ever since day one, the roles became reversed in his office.

"I've been nothing but patient, really!" Mr. Wanderstock cried, after blowing his nose into a tissue you gave him seconds earlier. "I've supported every decision she's made and yet she still stepped out on me! How could she?!"

You wanted to point out that he looked worse than you did. His dark hair looks greasy and unbrushed. His brown eyes had bags underneath them and looked clouded. His clothes had stains on them and were baggier than last week. You spun around in his office chair, spinning his favourite pen between your fingers as you continued to listen to his woes.

"I mean, what does this 'Sylvester Magoveny' have that I don't?" he whined.

A cool name. You can't get any worse than Derward Wanderstock. Well, maybe if your last name was Sanders, but that's a bit unrelated.

"Maybe, she's a lesbian," he said, sitting up properly in his chair.

"What?"

"No, she would've told me," he mumbled to himself.

"Just like how she told you she cheated on you?" you asked, raising a brow. Immediately after, you felt bad.

Mr. Wanderstock's eyes widened and he slammed his head down on the desk. "She's a lesbian!!!"

You sighed and started to doodle on a blank slip of paper. You half listened, half tuned out to what your guidance counsellor was saying, not really focused on your drawing either. By the time the bell rang, telling you to get to class, Mr. Wanderstock had cried himself to sleep. You glanced back at your drawing. You smiled and tossed the paper into the garbage. You could never get Jean's hair right, but at least you got the chin.

When you got to your last class, Clyde was nowhere to be seen. Bonnie was engrossed in her school work, probably trying to get a headstart in her homework. Corabelle and Morgan waved to you from the back of the class.

"Where's Clyde?" you asked your best friend.

Bonnie looked up. "He skipped today. Said he wasn't feeling well. I could care less."

You gave a slight nod and began to organize your schoolwork on your desk. Bonnie nudged your elbow with hers. She leaned into your ear. "Is there a chance I can stay at your place for a while?"

You looked at her worriedly. "Is everything alright at home? Do you need help paying rent again? You know my parents won't be afraid to help again."

Bonnie's eye twitched. "No, can I just stay over? Please?"

"Yeah... I don't see why not."

"Thank you."

Chapter Text

"It's not just me that thinks this way!" Ashley asserted. "People all around the world believe this to be true!"
Clyde sighed. "You've got to admit it, though. It is peculiar."
"The only peculiar thing about it is that people aren't taking action yet!"
You watched the two silently while you stuffed your face with the pancakes and french toast Bonnie had made minutes earlier. Said girl was supposed to be eating with you three but as soon as you saw Clyde she swiftly abandoned you and your sanity for the safety and comfort of your room. You were thankful your parents had left for work early. Being with them wasn't really that bad, as long as they weren't together. Your father never talked about your sisters and treated you like royalty. Anything you ever wanted, you got. You didn't have to lift a finger with him around. Your mother, on the other hand, brought up your sisters on a constant basis. You could get why. It was weird without Mara running around the house, organizing everyone and everything. You almost missed the moments when your house lost power because of the number of utilities Sarah had been using in her room. She had a bigger and better sense of humour than your dad and was always prepared for any situation from uninvited, random appearances of friends to a zombie apocalypse. They still seemed the same, yet much different.
"(y/n), what do you think?" Ashley asked, turning to you and pulling you back down to earth.
You prop your elbows on the table and lay your head on your hand. "About what?"
"Ashley says that wearing mismatched socks is a sign of bad luck." Clyde explained, rolling his eyes.
"And how did this conversation come about?"
"Bonnie was wearing the wrong socks! She could get seriously hurt!" suddenly Ashley gasped, clutching her face. "Maybe she's hurt right now! I better check!" she slid out of her seat at the kitchen table and slipped through the hallway, out of sight.
Clyde shook his head, a small smile adorning his features. "That girl... what're we going to do with her?"
"Stay out of her way so we don't get run over by rolling laundry baskets?" you suggested.
"Fair point. Let's stick to that idea."
Ashley barged down the stairs, pulling Bonnie behind her by the girl's wrists. Bonnie kept her eyes on Clyde the whole time until she was situated in her seat, for you, she smiled before continuing to glare blades at her twin.
"Can you stop that, it's kind of creepy," Clyde said, finally digging into his food.
Ashley looked between the three of you, anticipating the older girl's reaction. "Only if you apologize."
"Apologize for what?!" he screeched, making you flinch in surprise to his sudden raise of volume. "I did nothing wrong! It should be you who apologizes!"
"I was only speaking the truth, therefore I am not the one at fault."
"How does that even work!?"
"What did you guys do now?" you asked after shoving the last bit of breakfast down your throat.
"We're arguing about you," Bonnie explained.
"Bonnie! There you go, being a dip again!"
You deadpanned. "Why are you arguing about me?"
"Never mind, it's not important right now. What's important is when you're going to start studying for your music test next week, (y/n)."
"Oh c' mon, Bonnie! It's almost the weekend! We can study during the time the teachers actually give us and take it easy today." Clyde whined.
Bonnie glared harder if it was even possible. "Do you want (y/n) to fail?"
"No, of course not."
"Great, then we'll study at lunch."
"Why do I even try anymore?"

When the four of you got to school, Bonnie and Clyde immediately went their separate ways, leaving you and Ashley by yourselves. The four-eyed girl was slowly being accepted into your group bit by bit and you had to admit that you did enjoy her company. You both evened out. She did all the talking for you and you did all the thinking for her. Clyde jokes that it's a match made in heaven. It's been a little over a month since school started and you weren't feeling any better than the first day you arrived back.
"Want me to walk you to your locker? Mine's not far from yours anyway." Ashley offered.
"As long as you don't make any stupid comments about Armin and me purposely in front of Jean to get a reaction." you compromised.
"Yeah, yeah. Sure." you both started to head towards your locker. "Hey, I haven't seen that freckled boy that always hangs around Jean lately. Is he sick or something?"
You shrugged. "I don't know. Why don't you ask Jean?"
"Maybe I will."
You'd be lying if you said you weren't worried about the so-called 'Freckled Jesus'. You recall your conversation with Jean about said 'Saint' two weeks earlier.

You opened your locker and collected your necessities for your morning classes. Dread pooled in the pit of your stomach as you envisioned your third class of the day. Sure, working with Armin and Krista wasn't bad, but having to spend an hour and a half with Mrs. Champlin wasn't something you looked forward to. It was almost better than Mr. Wanderstock ranting about his wife cheating on him for the same duration as a class. Almost better.
"Hey, (y/n)." Jean greeted as you as he opened his locker. "Ashley."
"Kirstein," she said back. "Still no 'Mister Freckles'?"
Jean raised an eyebrow. "No, I went over to his house today. His mom said he was sick. I call bull."
"Why?"
He closed his locker door shut and leaned back on it. He looked up at the ceiling and shoved his hands inside his football jacket pockets. "I tried to talk to him, but he won't let me inside his room. I just hope he comes for our first game or Eren'll have a temper tantrum. Don't tell Armin or Mikasa I said that, especially Mikasa."
"Huh."
The bell rang.
"Oh shoot, I'm totally gonna be late! Shi-"
"Miss Millett!"
"Gotta run, cya guys!" she called as you ran down the hallway and quickly slid around the corner.
Jean grabbed the books you were carrying and added them to his stack. "They're probably heavy," he explained.
You frowned. "I carry them every other day. I think I'll be fine, Jean."
"Well, I want to carry them so let me."
You puffed out your cheeks and watched Jean's heels as you both went to your next class, not noticing the annoyed look on the boy's face. You could practically feel your peers' eyes trained on you as you journeyed through the hallways. When you looked into their eyes, you never really knew what you saw. Were some of them amused? Probably. Were some of them curious about you? Absolutely. Were some of them afraid? You weren't really sure. If you were afraid of yourself, there's bound to be someone afraid of you too. Armin, Eren and Mikasa were in their usual spots when you entered your English classroom. Jean placed your books on your desk while Eren watched him from his spot beside yours, brows furrowed. Jean gave your shoulder a light pat before going to sit beside Armin who greeted you with a slight nod, unlike the usual grin and wave. Mikasa continued to glare Ackerman Produced Eye Lasers into the back of your head, probably hoping that your death via APEL would somehow allow her to sit beside her younger brother.
Your class finished faster than you preferred and before you could fully comprehend it, Armin and Clyde were walking you to Math.
"She's crazy. She's actually crazy!"
You raised your eyebrows, knowing who he was talking about was. "What'd she do this time?"
"So, here we were, going on a lesson about grammatical errors and then she reads out this story about betrayal and murder and this kid at the back of the class just randomly brings up murder techniques. Guess what we talked about for a whole hour?"
"Murder techniques?" Armin guessed.
"Do you want a prize?"
"No, not really."
"Clyde!" Ashley grinned, wrapping her arms around the boy's neck from behind.
Clyde screamed "Holy shizzle nuggets!!!" but quickly relaxed when he realized who it was.
"Do you know how many of our peers are wearing mismatched socks today? Lemme tell you, there's a lot!" The girl with glasses exclaimed.
Armin looked to you for clarification.
"Ashley believes that wearing different socks brings bad luck," you explained as you entered your class. Clyde waved goodbye from the doorway, being careful that Miss Honan wasn't around.
"Oh, that makes... no sense." he faltered.
"That's why it does make sense, Armin." Ashley hummed.
The poor coconut looked utterly confused, trying to wrap his head around Ashley's 'theory' or 'folklore' or whatever she called it.
"What doesn't make sense?" Miss Honan asked, eyes bright, while you three took your usual seats.
You tried to cover Ashley's mouth with your hand but you were too late. "Mismatched socks cause bad luck."
Miss Honan's face turned serious and for a second, you were hoping she didn't believe your friend. "Ashley, you are absolutely correct." your teacher strode to the front of the room. "In fact, because of this newfound study," study?! "Mismatched socks are no longer allowed in this classroom," Ashley grinned, sending you and Armin a thumbs up. "Actually, all socks are forbidden."
You almost laughed. Ashley's eyes widened and her mouth slowly dropped open in shock. "What the actual fu-"
"Ashley, please don't swear in my Christian classroom."
"You're not even Christian! Wait, are you?"
"Keep up with the times, Young Pupil."

 

For the rest of the class you, Armin and Viole had made a silent agreement, it was almost telepathic, that you would never repeat what had occurred in your math class today. Not only for the greater good of your school and your own sanity but for Miss Honan's job because you three were pretty sure banning socks in the classroom wasn't exactly allowed. You honestly wondered how that woman became a teacher or even got hired for that matter. After class ended, Armin pulled you aside, taking you to a less crowded hallway. Viole waved to you, notifying you that she had seen you leave. For a while he was silent, leaving his hand on your arm and leading you around the school aimlessly. At one point, you had passed Connie and Sasha. You lowered your head, praying that you were invisible to them and begged Armin to walk a bit faster. When the small boy finally stopped it was only to unlock a door. He held it open for you, motioning for you to enter the... Janitor's closet? Armin flicked on the light switch before closing the door behind him. You waited for him to speak, to answer your questions and confirm why he brought you here, but he didn't. He just stared at his feet, fidgeting with his hands. His shoulders were obviously tense and you fought back the instinct to run away. You didn't want to feel like a coward anymore.
"So, is this where you take all your friends or just those 'special ladies' because if so, then I'd suggest better hiding-"
"I'm sorry," he mumbled, cutting off your joke. Normally, you'd be annoyed, but Armin didn't look mad or angry or anything like that. He looked depressed and kind of like a zombie. Like how you looked that summer. "It's all my fault."
"Armin, are you feeling okay? Did you catch what Marco got?" you walked over to the blonde and placed a hand on his forehead, moving his bangs out of the way. "You don't feel hot..."
Armin swatted at your hands. "N-no, (y/n) I'm fine. I mean, I'm not sick."
"Then what's bothering you. Not gonna lie, but I don't really want to spend my lunch in the cleaning closet. This room screams 'Levi'."
"Well, you do eat your lunch in the girl's bathroom or Mr. Wanderstock's office most of the time, so I don't really see how this is very different."
Your eyes widened. "How did you find out about that? Did Ashley tell you? Mr. Wanderstock let it slip when he was getting high in the parking lot after school?"
"Yeah.. um... no? I just know you and I also kind of followed you too, but that's beside the point."
"Is it?" you asked, your voice going up an octave.
"Yes."

 

 

 

"Armin?"
"(y/n)?"
"Why did you drag me here?"

The boy sighed and ran a hand through his blonde locks. "You're going to hate me, and I can accept that, but you have to promise me something."
"Promise what?" you were starting to get a bad feeling about this.
"Promise me that you won't get mad at Marco. It's not his fault."
"What's Marco got to do with you dragging me into a storage closet? Armin, what's going on?"
"Remember when you asked me why I was being nice to you after everything that happened?" you nodded. "Well, I partially lied."
Your body grew tense and your mind became more alert. You knew it.
"Connie, Reiner and Sasha came up with this plan of revenge. At first, we all agreed to it, except for Eren and Ymir. But then Krista backed out and Mikasa said it was too much of a hassle. Jean followed Mikasa's lead. Marco and I tried to get out of it, we really did. But then they went on and on about you deserve it and how we need to show our loyalty or something, I don't know." Armin let out a shaky sigh. He didn't say anything, waiting for your reaction so far.
"What kind of 'revenge plan'?" you asked, the question coming out harsher than you meant it to, but at the moment you couldn't really care. This feeling was worse than betrayal. It was almost nostalgic of a time you found haunting your every thought.
"Reiner called it the 'Karma Affect'. He was trying to-"
It was your turn to cut the boy off. "Have me spill some juicy secret to you two. Then you'd let the rumours commence, right?"
"(y/n), I'm sorry. The reason Marco hasn't been here lately is that he can't face your or Jean anymore! He feels so guilty, so I thought if you talked to him then maybe..."
You opened the supply room door. "Thanks for telling me, Armin."
He reached out to you. "(y/n) wait, about Sarah's blog-"
You closed the door and strode down the hallway. You didn't know where you were going and like a lot of things today, you didn't really care. You were just happy you weren't sobbing on the ground yet like the crybaby you were. You don't know how long you walked around for before collapsing on the ground. You were just so tired and not just physically, but mentally too. Maybe, Sarah was right. Maybe it should've all ended for both of you that night. Then maybe things would be different. You curled yourself into a ball and wrapped your arms around your legs, comforting yourself because nobody else could. You thought you could trust Armin, but now you weren't sure. He apologized and he told you, so he was trustworthy, right? At one point, so were you. Things change so fast.
Everything hurt. Your legs, your arms, your bum, your stomach and definitely your heart. You just wanted to go to sleep. Only then could you escape from this nightmare only to enter another one, just less lifelike. Your thoughts drifted off to Eren and Ymir. They didn't agree to the plan. You could trust them. You started to rock yourself back and forth. You reached up to your neck and started to scratch. You hummed the song that was stuck in your head. You didn't know the name of it, or who it was by, or even how the whole thing went, but it was soothing.
"Should I ask why you're like this or should I continue walking?"
You looked up, your (e/c) eyes meeting sullen blue ones. Annie stuffed her hands in her signature sweater pockets.
"I'm fine," you said.
Annie eyed your hand that was scratching your hand. "You do that when you're upset or nervous. Just like how Armin's voice becomes leveller and his shoulders go tense. Like how Bertolt starts to stutter and Eren's nose and ears turn red and his eyes got big."
"Your observation skills will forever amaze me, Annie."
The girl looked around for a moment, checking for other students or teachers like she didn't want to be seen with you, then sat down beside you, tucking her legs to her chest. She didn't say anything, so neither did you. When you were friends, whenever you were with Annie it felt awkward. The weight on your shoulders had suddenly grown heavier. Right now, all you wanted was to be left in peace and to sort out your feelings alone. Annie knew what you did. She was there, she saw it all. She knows. She knows. She knows. Your other hand, that wasn't still scratching your neck, went up to grab onto your hair. You started to pull some strands lightly.
"Do you remember when we first met?" she asked abruptly.
"Yeah, five years ago. I was in the fifth grade and you were a year ahead. Reiner introduced me to you and Bertolt after school one day. Neither of you talked to me for a long time. I thought you didn't like me." you recalled.
"At first, I didn't. I thought both you and Reiner were annoying. He still is, but you, not so much. You used to look up to him so much. You guys were so close, Bertolt and I could never wish for that with either of you."
You sighed.
"You used to be a happy kid." she continued. "You were like another Krista, but with fewer manners and more oblivious to the world around you."
"Oh, thanks."
Annie stood and offered you a hand up. "We all thought of you like this cute kid that needed to be protected. You've changed a lot, (y/n)."
"That's what Connie said a while ago. Is it a good change or a bad change?"
Annie shrugged. "I think that's for you to find out, not us. And don't listen to Connie, he's an idiot."
The bell rang. Annie waved goodbye and headed in the opposite direction of your next class. On the way to music, you ran into Eren and Mikasa. The boy tried to strike a conversation with you, but you were too far into your own thoughts about what Annie and Armin have told you. In your opinion, your friends had changed. Sure, Eren still argued with Jean and got short with Mikasa, but he seemed more together and calmer. You also noticed that Annie was slowly becoming more social, at least to you. And you had no idea what was going on with Reiner. It was like he became another person over the summer. He wasn't the 'Big Brother' you felt you'd known.
"(y/n)!" Eren was pulling on your arm roughly, trying to gain your attention,
"Yeah? What's up?"
Mikasa narrowed her eyes in suspicion while Eren looked incredibly worried.

"You're bleeding."

You stopped scratching your neck, not even realizing that you had still been doing it, and felt a wet stickiness drip down from your fingers. You looked at your hand. Your fingertips were coated in blood... Your eyes widened and without warning, you weren't at school anymore. You closed your eyes, trying to block out the scenery. You could hear the wind, rain and the ocean below the cliff. You fell to your knees and covered your ears, not caring if one got blood on it or not. You felt someone shaking your arm. You could faintly hear voices that you recognized as Annie, Reiner and Ymir, but you couldn't make out what they were saying.
As soon as it had started, your episode ended.
"(y/n)! Seriously, are you okay?"
You realized that it was Eren who was shaking your arm. You looked up at Mikasa who was standing over you. Her stance almost looked protective, but you knew better. Groups of students were starting form around you, watching you warily and curious. Armin, Connie, Jean and Sasha stood together. Armin looked absolutely terrified and tried to walk over, but Jean, who's expression was unreadable, held him back. Connie looked around at everyone, before leaning in to whisper in Jean's ear. Whatever he had said, Jean disagreed and shook his head. Sasha, on the other hand, was looking not at you, but behind you. You turned your head, missing Eren's worried gaze and your heart seemed to stop. Annie, Bertolt, Krista, Reiner and Ymir stood there alone, other groups making way for them. Bertolt and Krista wore the same expression as Armin, worried and wide-eyed. Annie and Reiner were talking to themselves, glancing back at you every other second. Why was Annie there? She was going the other way. Ymir gave you a pitying look, one that looked almost identical to Marco's signature one.
Marco.
What would he say or do if he saw you like this? What about Bonnie and Clyde? Ashley? You shakily stood and smacked Eren's hand, resulting in him removing it from your person.
"(y/n)?" Eren reached for you again, but you walked away.
For a second, you could've sworn you saw Mikasa's expression soften as you passed, but you assumed it was just your mind playing tricks on you. If you hated yourself, they have to too. They just have to. Right?

Chapter Text

"So, I'll see you tomorrow?" a thirteen-year-old Reiner asks in your dreams. You could always tell when you were dreaming ever since Mara died. Your dreams were always either plagued by her and Sarah or your time with the Military Police Brigade. This one was new. Reiner had never made an appearance in your dreams before. You were outside of your house on the front porch. Reiner had walked you home after hanging out with him, Annie and Bertolt for the day. It was dark out now and you were thankful for the streetlights, even if they barely worked. Bertolt was waiting for him on your driveway, humming a melody to himself. This felt like a memory.

"Are you sure you don't want a ride home? I'm sure if I asked my dad he'd drive you guys." you offered.

Reiner shook his head and wrapped you in his arms. You laughed and hugged him back. "It's okay, (n/n). If worst comes to worst, Bertolt can run for help with those long legs of his."

Bertolt's eyes widened and he shook his head. You couldn't help but giggle at his expression which, you couldn't tell from where you were standing, made the boy blush madly.

The boys soon took off and you were left by yourself on your front steps. You quietly opened your door. "I'm home," you called.

No one answered.

You entered the kitchen. The lights were on, but the room was abandoned. "Mom?"

You tried the living room and the bathroom, but no luck. "Dad?"

You ran upstairs and knocked on your older sister's door. "Sarah! Sarah, are you there?"

No answer came.

"Guys, this isn't funny. It's not even Halloween yet...."

"(y/n)?"

You turned around. Down the hallway, you could barely make out Sarah in the dark. She wore her Christmas penguin pyjamas and her hair was let down from its usual ponytail. You ran over to her and hugged her tightly. Your sister smiled and rubbed comforting circles on your back.

"Were you afraid?"

You nodded making your sister laugh.

"It's okay now. I'm here and I'll protect you. Here, let me take you to your room."

She steered you to your room on the other end of the hallway. As you approached Mara's room, you noticed the door was open. You peered in and instantly regretted it. Sarah covered your eyes with her hand, keeping the other on your shoulder.

"Was that... Mara?" you asked, your voice cracking. Your heart felt like it was beating a thousand miles per hour.

"It'll be me and you against the world, right? I'll protect you from the monsters."

"Sarah, that was Mara. We need to help her or she'll..."

You entered your room and she took her hands away. "Do you want me to sleep with you?"

You were shaking now. "Sarah, Mara's dying-"

Sarah led you over to your bed and got you both situated under the covers and blankets. She shushed you and forcefully closed your eyes. "I'll keep you safe."

You were hit with a wave of drowsiness and it became hard to keep your eyes open any longer. You screamed at yourself to stop and help your eldest sister, but you couldn't move. Sarah's arms were like chains and kept you still. You fell asleep with the image of Mara hanging from a noose fresh in your mind.

You woke up in a cold sweat, tears trailing down your cheeks. You looked down at your hands, clean and clenched. You glanced at your alarm clock on the bedside table. It was currently 7:30 in the morning, around the time you were supposed to get ready for school. Your attention drifted to your door as it was knocked on. You didn't bother saying anything. It was too early for you and a lot had happened yesterday. Your mind hasn't completely comprehended what happened and you really wanted it to be all a dream. You searched your room for any sign that Bonnie had slept there at all, but all there was was a dark red sleeping back. She must've left for school early.

You yawned, finally deciding you might as well address the person knocking. "Who is it?"

Nobody answered.

Was it just your imagination? You groggily sat up, not yet awake and stumbled to the door. You peered out into the hallway, searching for the cause of the noise, but no one was there. Your father should be at work now and your mother never knocked on your door for anything. You wouldn't be surprised if there ever were a fire, your mother would rather save the shrines of Mara and Sarah downstairs than your life. You quickly got dressed and, thanks to the yellow sticky note on your door, remembered to brush your hair. All the lights in the house so far were off, the place too quiet for your liking. Just like your dream. You'd never had that happen before, memories turning and mixing into dreams. It terrified you. As if your memories needed to become more haunting. You stopped on the stairway and clung onto the railway as if your life depended on it. It kind of felt like it. You focused on your breathing. In and out. In and out. In and out. Just like you and Bonnie had practiced.

"Are you just going to stand there or are you going to school? Don't tell me you're dropping out." your mother said as she passed you on her way downstairs, laptop in hand.

You swallowed the lump in your throat and bit back a retort. "Can you drive me today?"

"Drive you?" she stopped midstep. "Why? Are kids making fun of you again? That happens to everyone. Bullying builds character."

You entered the kitchen, opened the fridge and brought out the leftover french toast you had made with Bonnie two days ago. Now that you thought about it, you had french toast a lot. Maybe you should hold back a little bit? "So, does that mean Mara's character was built when she died?"

Your mother gasped and almost dropped her laptop as she made her to the kitchen table. "How dare you say that (y/n)? Making fun of a dead person! Especially your sister! Mara loved you more than anyone and anything."

"I'm not making fun of her, Mom." you sat down across from her. "I was just commenting on what you said."

"Oh, so it's my fault Mara died?"

"No, I never said that."

"Well, you're making it sound like that."

You sighed and shoved your food away, losing your appetite. "Can I get a ride or not?"

Your mother thought about it for a moment and eventually shook her head. "I'm working from home today. Maybe see if Reiner or Ymir can drive you?"

"I'm pretty sure Ymir hasn't gotten her license back from the MPB and I'm not on the best of terms with Reiner right now," you explained.

"Well, then get a boyfriend. Maybe Marco? I always liked that boy. He never made fun of Mara."

You shook your head and put your uneaten french toast back in the fridge. If you had to choose between starving until lunch or talking about your lack of a boyfriend with your mother, you'd rather starve. You weren't going to stay and pity her just because she had some sort of mental illness your father refused to tell you about. You grabbed your bag and opened the door. "Bye, Mo- Marco?"

Said boy had his hand out and looked quite nervous. You assumed that he was about to knock on your door.

"Oh, Marco's here? Fly from the nest, (y/n)!" your mother urged.

You facepalmed and Marco let out a small laugh as you closed the door.

"She hasn't changed much, has she?" he asked.

You shrugged. "In some ways, she has, a lot. That was actually the first 'normal' thing she's done since Mara's funeral."

Marco flinched. "How's your dad doing?"

"I'm not sure. I don't see him much anymore and when I do he's always arguing with my mom."

Marco nodded and held out his arm. He cleared his throat. "I was going to see if I could walk you to school. Is that too much or.. I mean when I left... " You crossed your arms as you made your way down the driveway. "I'm sorry. Armin told me that he told you what we were supposed to do and the reason I wasn't at school and...."

"I didn't take you as someone who'd purposely skip school, Mar" you joked. You'd only realize it until much later that you had called him by his old nickname. His cheeks flushed red and he smiled.

"I'm ashamed. You're my friend and I said all that to you and it wasn't fair. Everything that happened last year wasn't your fault. Not the rumours, and definitely not Mara's death. You didn't know. There was nothing you could've done."

Nothing you could've done. Lies. There was so much you could've done. You could've realized what Sarah was doing. You could've said something, anything else to Mara that would've changed her mind, stealing her away from her deathbed. You could've stopped Sarah. You could've been in the right place at the right time. You felt like your ribs were tightly bound as if they were digging into your lungs.

Marco placed a hand on your shoulder. "I really do believe you're a good person, (y/n). I respect you as my friend and a human being. I'm sorry about what I said. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness. I'll work hard to gain your trust again."

Every word that came out of his mouth was like a punch in the stomach. You desperately wanted to tell him to shut up. Marco moved his hand toward your neck, his gaze turning softer. "Hey, were you scratching again?"

"No." you lied. "The marks are being mean and don't want to fade. They're from last year when I almost..." you didn't want to continue that sentence.

"They're fresh cuts. I'm not stupid. What happened?"

"Nothing you need to worry about. And I don't need people pitying me, okay!"

Marco gave you that look you hated. You just told him that you didn't want pity and yet here he was, giving it out like it was free real estate. "What do you mean?"

"You, Armin, Eren, Jean, Ymir, you all pity me. I see it in their eyes," you explained. "I hate it."

"I don't pity you, (y/n). I worry about you. Believe it or not, some of us still care about you." he revealed as you set foot onto school property. You could see Ashley, Bonnie and Clyde sitting together on the fountain ledge. You wanted to walk over to them, getting sick of the conversation, but Marco's hand moved to the small of your back and he led you along, further and further from your friends. You looked around, wondering where he was taking you, silently praying it wasn't to a storage closet. When you did realize where you were being led the storage closet started to sound pretty good. You were pushed closer to Armin and Jean. Both males were surprised to see you and hid it behind their smiles.

"Are you feeling better? Both of you?" Armin immediately asked, bringing up the dreaded subject. Through all of Music class you didn't talk to him nor Krista. When class ended you had practically run out of the room. "I didn't want to bring up what happened in class."

Marco sent you an accusatory glare. The poor boy wasn't very good at it though. "So something did happen!"

You waved him off. "It wasn't anything big."

"Anything big? (y/n), you had a panic attack." Jean sighed.

"It wasn't a panic attack! It was..." you paused. "It was insulin shock!"

Jean took it as a sign of defeat. "How often do those happen?"

"Never."

"You're a horrible liar." Armin chimed in.

You took a step back, almost backing into Marco.

"Hey, (y/n), watch out-"

You continued to back up until you hit a wall. Or what felt like a wall. Armin's eyes widened and he shook his head as if it would stop you from turning around.

Reiner placed his hands on his shoulders and frowned. "You need to watch where you're going, (n/n). You might back up into someone meaner than me."

You turned around, your back facing Armin and Jean and slowly backed away from the taller male. Bertolt watched your interaction with an anxious expression.

"Why do you look so afraid? Did Jean try and pull something?" he asked, reaching out for you.

You flinched.

"Thanks for having faith in me, Reiner," Jean grunted. "Look what you're doing, you're scaring, (y/n)."

Reiner frowned. "What's that mean? (y/n) and I have been friends for years. She'd tell me if I made her nervous. Right?" Reiner waited for an answer that would never come. "Right?"

"Reiner, maybe now is not the best time to sort this out. How about at lunch?" Marco proposed, trying to ease the situation for you.

Reiner ignored him and stepped closer to you. "Are you sure you're okay? You do look a little pale..."

You looked to Bertolt for help, but he was completely focused on Reiner.

"I'll go catch up with the others now," you said as you strode towards your cherished meeting spot. Bertolt had his eyes on you as you passed.

Reiner sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose once you were out of earshot. "Thank god she's gone. I despise her."

The three boys sighed, assuming that the act was part of his revenge plan, but Bertolt knew better. He would never say it aloud, especially not to you or Reiner, but the boy was worried about your well being. It was his fault you both were stuck like this, after all.

Ashley leaned into you. "So, back to my question from earlier."

"What counts as earlier?" you asked as you reached your locker. Ashley had grabbed her stuff earlier so she could walk you to your class. Unbeknownst to you, your three friends had started a schedule on who would walk with you to and from classes.

"Last month. Have you decided on your answer yet?"

"Yeah, what was the question again?" you asked, closing your locker door shut. You both began to stroll to your class.

"Are you going to start the Kyojin Gazette, yes or no? We'll respect your opinion either way." she quickly added.

You crossed your arms and stared straight ahead of you into the swarm of students trying to reach their classes. Ashley waited silent and patient, purposely trying to give you space. She didn't know your full story with the club or exactly what happened to you, but she heard the whispers as she went from class to class. She saw the lasting stares as you walked from place to place, on school property and off. You loved the club, you really did. It was Mara's pride and joy. She was the one who founded it. She always joked that it was her legacy and that one day she'd hand it down to you. You bet it never once crossed her mind that it'd bring about your family's demise. Maybe, just like Mara, the club should have its peace. Your heartbeat sped up rapidly. It was becoming a regular occurrence lately. You were sure on your grave it'd read:

(y/n) (l/n)

Killed via heart attack

You tried to think of what Mara would do in this situation. Would she agree with Ashley and give it one more shot? Or would she disagree completely and destroy what ruined everything once and for all this time? You wished that ghosts were real somehow. Then you could ask her for advice. Life would be so much easier if she was still here. But she wasn't and it was your fault.

You took in a deep breath. A part of you knew you were going to regret it later, but you knew the girl along with the rest of her friends would continue to ask about it until you gave them an answer. Besides, no one said that you have to be in it.

"Let's do it."

Ashley grinned. "Actually? You're serious?"

You let out a shaky laugh. "Yeah, why not?"

Ashley started to laugh. Actually, it was more like a crazed cackle. Students stopped and watched you both as your friend grabbed your waist and swung you around in a circle. You tucked your legs up, not wanting to accidentally nail someone in the face with a flailing foot. After a moment or two, Ashley places you on your feet.

"God, I'm so happy I could kiss you!"

You took a large step back. "Please don't."

"C' mon, just a peck on the cheek." she chirped.

"Nope, nada, no, nein," you said, backing up more.

"Cmere, (y/n)!" the girl said, reaching for you. You dodged the swipe and ran in the opposite direction, laughing, leaning and ducking around the confused students in the small hallways. You could hear Ashley calling out your name between laughs as she raced after you. Some of your peers cursed after you for almost bumping into them while some laughed along right with you, your smile becoming contagious. You burst into your English classroom, startling your 'friends'? You slid into your chair and swiftly sat down by the time Ashley caught up with you. She held onto her knees, panting.

"No ... fair...." she gasped. "You're really fast... For someone who doesn't... Like to exercise."

Mr. Martzer cleared his throat. "Miss Millett, should I assume you're now joining my class or should I request for your departure."

Ashley nodded and was about to leave until she stopped in the doorway. "Hey, I just realized something," she said. "I think that's the first time I've seen you laugh, y' know." then she left, leaving you with her discovery.

Mr. Martzer commenced his lesson immediately and you obediently jotted down everything he said and wrote. Eren leaned back in his chair, sighing loudly, but not enough to catch the attention of your teacher.

"You really don't smile much anymore, do you?" Eren asked, his voice barely above a whisper. "I remember when you used to laugh all the time. I've known you for years, not as long as Connie, Jean and Marco, but still longer than almost everyone else. Before what happened to your sisters, I'd only seen you frown around once or twice."

"I guess there's just not much to smile about anymore," you replied, not breaking eye contact with your notes once.

"Well, apparently whatever just happened was good enough. What did happen?"

"You wouldn't like it."

"Try me."

"I'm starting up the Kyojin Gazette."

It sounded bitter coming out of your mouth. It almost felt like a bitter after taste. Not once over the summer had you thought about restarting it or even doing anything close to it. You barely went on the internet anymore, everything reminding you too much of Sarah's blog, that was still as active as when she was alive. You expected Eren to frown, to disagree with your decision and make it obvious by yelling and screaming,

But he just smiled.

And that was worse than what you expected.

"Good, I think that'll help you," he admitted. "Y'know, give you some sort of closure?"

Closure? You didn't think of that.

"I always thought you'd be a good editor. You used to write almost as much as you used to smile last year. It was Mara who got you into it, right?"

"Yeah, she did."

"Well, I'll be happy to accept an interview," he smirked. "I can see it now. Eren Yeager, Most Valued Football Player of the Year."

You rolled your eyes. "I'll make sure to spread your name."

When class ended Ashley and Clyde were waiting by the door since they skipped the end of their classes to walk with you. You three waited for Armin until he finished his conversation with Eren and Mikasa. As the two siblings were leaving for their next class, Mikasa pulled you aside and leaned in your ear.

"Eren told me you're restarting the Kyojin Gazette. Is that true?"

You nodded, not trusting your voice. Mikasa was much scarier up close than afar, though you never told her that. Maybe it was because she had a better chance of killing you if you were in close range.

"Why? There's no good reason for it."

"Because people want it back. I'm just pleasing the crowd. It's not like I'm joining it."

You pulled yourself from her grip, grabbed Armin and Ashley by the wrists and strode to your next class. Neither Armin, Ashley or Clyde said anything for the journey there or for the rest of the class. Viole kept the conversation light, thankfully noticing the tension.

"I'm not upset or anything. I'm not going to murder you in your sleep if you talk," you told them as class ended. Clyde waved from the doorway, once again skipping the end of his class to find you.

Ashley let out an overly dramatic sigh of relief. "Oh, thank god."

"I'm curious as to why you're doing it though?" Armin asked, furrowing his brows in confusion.

"Why shouldn't she? We had a newspaper club at our last school and everybody loved it! I think it'd be good for this place! It'll help them connect with each other and everyone can know what's going on!" Ashley claimed.

"It's not that. I think a newspaper club is a good idea. Just not here. I want to know why you're doing it, (y/n)."

"Because Ashley wouldn't let it go," you said.

"I'm not sure where I stand on this."

Ashley put her hands on her hips. "That's perfectly fine, but you're not going to change her mind."

Clyde was silent beside you. You elbowed him in the ribs. "What'd you think?"

"Whatever makes you happy," he replied, staring straight ahead.

"I want to know what you think."

"I want whatever makes you happy," he repeated.

You held back a sigh as your group of five entered the cafeteria. Ashley and Viole were immediately waved over and invited to sit at a cramped table full of people you didn't recognize. Ashley contemplated whether to stay with you or join the noisy group. One nod from you allowed her to give in to the table's cheers and calls as she ran over. You followed Armin, not really sure of where to sit. The boy seemed fine with your company anyway.

"Sorry about yesterday." he apologized. "Y'know, with the closet."

"There's a first time for everything. I just wouldn't take your girlfriend there."

Armin smiled. "Yeah, that'd be for the best."

The three of you sat down at an empty table by the back. Small quiet groups surrounded you. You didn't feel like eating today.

"I'm glad you're not eating in the bathroom today." Armin teased.

"Felt like company."

"Felt like company." Clyde mimicked. Armin snickered while you tried to hide your blush by turning your head. Clyde gave your hand a soft squeeze before taking a try at Armin's voice. It was a mix of creepy and amazing how good he was at copying and imitating voices. Bonnie used to say it was because he was destined to work in a circus or as a criminal. They were named after criminals after all. A tray was placed down beside you on the bench.

"Mind if we sit here?" Krista asked politely. Ymir stood behind her, frowning at you. You had a sneaking suspicion that she'd heard about your plans through the grapevine you used to call your friend group,

"It's not like we rule the table," Clyde said.

Krista sat down beside Armin and Ymir beside her, the freckled girl never breaking eye contact with you. She leaned towards you, her smile turning into a grin. "Guess what Mikasa told us!"

"That the Kyojin Gazette is starting up again." you, Armin and Clyde said simultaneously.

She nodded. "Is it true?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"You're still going to do it? Even after everything that happened?"

"You all have the wrong idea. I'm not joining the club. Ashley will take everything over and I can get through this year in some sort of peace." all you really wanted to do was focus on your grades anyway. "Things are different now. As long as I don't get wrapped into it, it should be fine."

"Just be careful," Krista advised. "I just don't want to see you get hurt again."

For a moment, that feeling of suffocation that occurred with Marco earlier had reappeared but disappeared just as fast.

"Who at this table would like to be volunteered to sing in front of the whole lunchroom when the performance?" Clyde asked.

"Did you just change the subject?"

"I vote Armin," he said, resting his head in his palm.

Ymir laughed. "You're an interesting guy, Clyde Moreo."

You forgot about the performance. Every Friday, one of the grade eleven music teachers held karaoke in the cafeteria. You always managed to volunteer Krista, Jean and Marco every time It pretty much became a routine.

Clyde ruffled up your hair. "There's the smile. Are you going to go up there?" he asked, pointing to the makeshift stage. Students were currently setting up speakers and microphones while Mr. Voss, the teacher in charge, set up a table for him to sit at.

You shook your head. "No, but you guys should. Unlike the rest of you, I can't sing."

"Lies." he hissed. "Liiiiieeeeesssss."

"You're better at playing instruments, but you're still a good singer," Krista added.

Armin nodded in agreement.

"In fact, I'm going to volunteer you." Ymir declared. "That's karma for always volunteering Krista."

"Ooh, what're we volunteering (y/n) for?" Jean asked as he took the seat beside you.

"Do you teleport?" you asked.

Jean furrowed his brows in confusion. "What?"

"I feel like you just appear out of thin air."

"Um, no. No, I don't."

"Ymir's going to volunteer (y/n) to perform," Armin said, answering his question.

"Oh, well have fun with that."

"What? That's it? You're not going to stick up for me? At least if I'm forced up there come with me." you appealed.

"What? No way! I've had my fair share of going up there."

"So have I!"

"Ymir apparently disagrees!"

"I'm sure if you ask him nicely, Armin will go with you," Krista suggested.

"I'll do what?"

You leaned towards the boy, giving a horribly fake smile. You looked more in pain than happy. When that didn't seem to work you decided that it was time for the puppy dog eyes. Armin looked to his friends for help and quickly realized that he was on his own.

"No, I don't like public speaking."

"Technically you won't be speaking," you argued.

Armin groaned. "You know what I mean."

"And you're great at public speaking, Armin! You always look like you know what you're talking about, unlike someone I know." Ymir grinned, winking at Jean. You couldn't tell if that was a jab at him or Eren. Jean looked equally as confused.

Armin shook his head. "There's no point in adding your two cents if you don't know what you're talking about."

"I've always admired that about you, Armin," Jean revealed.

Armin's cheeks flushed red and Ymir slapped him on the back.

You silently watched on as your old friends bantered back and forth between each other, Armin and Krista sometimes adding their own opinions. Friends. Clyde has been uncharacteristically quiet for the whole day so far and you couldn't help but worry for him. Your shoulders felt heavy and your heart ached. You haven't been paying much attention to him or Bonnie lately. You pushed your tray over to Krista, catching the attention of everyone at the table.

"Give it to Sasha if you see her," you told the blonde girl. You motioned your head towards the door. "Wanna go on a walk?"

Clyde instantly nodded and excused himself from the table. The two of you left in comfortable silence and didn't break it until you were out of the cafeteria and alone in the hallway. Clyde grasped onto your hand and gave it a tight squeeze. "Was there any reason for a sudden walk?"

"No, not really." you lied. You knew Clyde would see through it anyway. You were a horrible liar and he had a sharp mind. But Clyde didn't say anything about it, allowing you to hide behind your white lie. Instead, he caught you off guard.

"Are you happy with all this, (y/n)?" he asked, finally looking into your eyes. "Because sometimes you look happy, but then there are other times, like in there, when you look genuinely in pain."

Were you happy? That was a question you've been asking yourself a lot lately. Clyde didn't know about Reiner's plan or Armin and Marco's involvement with it and you planned to keep it that way. You didn't need him getting himself killed by the mountain of muscle just because he was overprotective of you. You didn't exactly overly trust any of them, but their company was still appreciated. Of course, you'd like things to go back to the way before what happened with Mara and Sarah, but that was impossible, no matter how hard anyone tries. The suffocating feeling comes back.

"I know you carry a lot of grief, guilt, rage and confusion inside that big heart of yours. But you don't have to carry it alone. I'm here for you, Ashley too..." Clyde bit the inside of his cheek. "Even Bonnie."

He slung his arm across your shoulders and brought you in a tight embrace. You wrapped your arms around his waist and pulled him closer. You sighed contently, the suffocating feeling almost going away. Almost. "You can be happy. Let us make you happy."

Clyde reluctantly pulled away. "We should probably get back. Don't want our friends to worry now, do we?"

There were twenty minutes left of your lunch break when the two of you made it back to the cafeteria and by that time you had missed Krista's beautiful cover of 'Hey Jude' by The Beatles. You did, however, catch Ymir volunteer Jean to sing Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' with Armin and Clyde as his background dancers. It was a performance you were definitely never going to forget.

For the rest of the day until you had to separate for different classes you followed Jean around like a lost puppy, annoying him with horse-related jokes until he threatened to pour wasabi and mustard down your nostrils in your sleep until you somehow choked on it. You threatened to rat him out to Marco, he shut up after that.

As you approached your locker at the end of the day, you could see someone standing in front of yours, glancing around the hallway anxiously. It took you a moment for you to realize that the mystery figure was actually Marco. When the male noticed your presence, a smile lit up his face like a Christmas tree and Jean patted your back, giving you a knowing smile.

"I'm glad I was able to catch you both!" Marco's smile disappeared. "(y/n), there's something I need to talk to you about that I didn't get to say this morning. Jean, do you mind waiting for me so I can still walk with you."

Jean tched. "Yeah, sure. Whatever."

Marco thanked him and tugged you along to an empty classroom, He looked both ways before closing the door shut. You raised your eyebrows in amusement. This is the second time this week you've been brought into an empty room to talk things over. Hopefully, this time the subject would be more positive.

"Have you noticed anything strange lately?" Marco asked after making sure the door was properly locked. If you didn't know any better, this looked a lot like the beginning of a murder scene straight out of an old fashioned horror movie. "With Bertolt and Reiner, I mean."

"Besides from his bipolar moment this morning and that he acts like he wants me killed every other moment of the day, no. Why?" you were almost too afraid to ask. Marco was smart, if he thought something was wrong, something was probably wrong.

Marco looked you in the eye and you thought it was fair to say that this was the most serious you'd ever seen him. "Just, be careful. Something's up and I can't tell what it is, but I don't like it. Just don't...." he sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Don't trust us, okay?"

You were taken aback by his request. Just this morning, he had been apologizing, hoping for your forgiveness and saying how he'd rebuild your trust and now he was telling you not to trust him?

"I'll explain more when I get more information. I just want you to be careful, okay? I have a feeling Reiner's planning something and it's nothing good." Marco said, noticing your confusion.

Before you could say anything Marco had unlocked the door and left, closing it behind him, leaving you in the darkroom alone. The only light coming through the large windows lining the far walls which were covered in dimmed curtains. It gave the room a nice, soft glow, but it was still too dark for your liking. You followed Marco's lead and exited the room. Jean and Marco were gone by the time you made it back to your locker. Instead of them, there was Ymir with no Krista to be found.

"So, how's life treating ya?" she asked with a grin.

"I'm fine. Not to be rude or anything, but you never come to me for small talk unless you're bored to death and you look anything but. So, what do you need?" you asked in a demanding tone. You hoped it made you sound tougher than you actually were.

Ymir saw right through it. "I was- okay more like Krista- was wondering if you'd like to hang out with us this weekend? We're going to try out this new fancy dinner Sasha heard about in Trost and before you ask, yes Annie, Bertolt and Reiner will be there."

You'd be lying if you said you weren't flattered that Krista had invited you along with them, but with the promise that they were going to be there, especially Reiner, you knew would cause problems.

"You don't have to go if you don't want to. I don't really care either way. As long as Krista's happy." Ymir added.

"If I don't go, then Krista will be disappointed. If I do go, I'll ruin the night," you explained, going over your options.

Ymir turned her head to the side. "You won't ruin the night, stupid. Krista obviously wants you there, so you'd be making her night."

"I guess I don't really have a choice. It's not like I have anything else to do this weekend...."

Ymir nodded and left it at that, leaving you once again alone, not that you didn't mind, of course. You pulled on your jacket and tied up your boots before slinging your bag over your shoulder and heading on your way. The air was cold and you were thankful that you had left your jacket in your bag last week and were too lazy to take it out.

People are confusing, you thought as you made your way through the cold wind.

Chapter Text

“SO, DON’T YOU WORRY, DON’T YOU WORRY CHILD! HEAVEN’S GOT A PLAN FOR YOU!” Ashley sang at the top of her lungs from the seat beside you. Both of you, Bonnie, Krista and Ymir were currently taking Ymir’s car to the diner she had invited you to yesterday. Knowing that you had no way to get yourself there, Krista had offered Ymir to drive you. When you told your friends this they had demanded to come along. The only problem was there were only five seats in the car and there would be seven of you coming. Finally, it was decided that Ashley and Bonnie would go with you and Clyde would finish studying for his upcoming tests. Why anyone needed to go with you period, you had no clue.
Ashley wrapped her arms around Krista’s shoulders from the backseat. “Sing along with me, Krista!”
The girl laughed. “I don’t really know this song!”
“That’s okay! Neither do I!”
After about another fifteen minutes of screeching from Ashley and harmonizing from Kirsta, Ymir had enough and turned off the radio. “We’re almost there anyway.”
When you arrived at the diner, you could see Annie, Bertolt and Reiner through the window. Annie was looking down at something, probably a book or her phone, while a blushing Bertolt had Reiner laughing his arse off. You followed Bonnie out of the car and towards the restaurant. When you entered, all conversation stopped and everyone’s eyes were on you.
“(y/n)! Come sit with us!” Sasha called from the right end of the oversized booth. Connie was waving you over by her side.
Krista grabbed your arm and smiled. “See, this won’t be so bad.”
“You can tell me that when it’s over…,” you grumbled as you slid into the seat next to the brunette, also making room for those behind you. You were surprised this place had a large enough booth to fit all of you. The place looked so small from the outside.
“Oh hey, Ashley. I didn’t know you and Bonnie were coming too.” Eren said, resting his head on the table.
‘Way to greet Bonnie too, Eren.” Armin scolded jokingly.
Eren’s cheeks turned slightly red. “Ah, sorry, Bonnie. It’s nice to see you. It’s been a while.”
Bonnie nodded in acknowledgement, but that was about it. She never was a people person. From the corner of your eye, you could see Reiner watching you as he took a sip of his drink. Ashley cocked her head to the side. “How long have you all known (y/n)? Since last year?”
Connie scoffed and leaned over Sasha to wrap his arm around your shoulders. “We’ve been partners in crime since the first grade! Which also means I’ve known her the longest, by the way.”
Jean shook his head. You just realized that he was here, sitting beside on Bertolt’s right and Connie’s left. “Yeah, I remember that. Connie would always place stuff in Mr. Petriv’s drinks and whenever he’d get caught he’d blame it on (y/n).”
“How could you remember that? You and Marco weren’t even in our class.” Connie sighed. “You guys were lucky and had Mrs. Villemaire.”
“You used to have a huge crush on her, remember Connie?” you asked.
Jean laughed. “I think he still does.”
“I know I could’ve treated her better than that Mattheus guy! I mean, c’ mon! Who in their right mind names their kid Mattheus?” Connie exclaimed, raising his arms in the air in exasperation. The whole booth erupted in laughter, Jean, Reiner and Ymir being the loudest.
You placed a hand on Connie’s shoulder. “I’m pretty sure that would’ve gotten her arrested, Connie.”
“Nah. The MPB is useless anyway! Just ask Ymir! She does tones of illegal stuff everyday and she never gets caught.”
Krista glared at her best friend accusingly as Ymir did the same to Connie before facing the small girl and shrugging. “Gotta make a living somehow.”
“Hey, Jean? Where’s Marco?” you asked, quickly changing the subject. Ymir sent you a small nod of gratitude.
Jean checked his phone. “He said he was going to be a few minutes late. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from him though…”
“He’s probably helping some old lady cross the street or something.” Ymir joked.
“Y-yeah, you’re probably right,” Jean mumbled as he glanced back at his phone.
“What? Do you think your boyfriend is cheating on you?”
Reiner suddenly spat out his drink, most of it landing on Armin, who was on Reiner’s
right. “A-ah, shit. Sorry, Armin.”
Armin looked down at his milk-covered chest. “Um, I’m going to go clean up.” he declared before having Annie, Eren and Mikasa m0ve out the way so he could reach the bathroom.
“I’m gonna go help him,” Eren said with Reiner right behind him.
Jean crossed his arms. “Marco’s not my boyfriend! He’s my best friend. There’s a huge difference.”
Ymir grinned. “Best friends with benefits?”
Jean flipped her off. “Fuc-”
Sasha clapped her hands together. “Okay, who’s ready to order now? Connie, call the waiter.”
You looked down at the menu. Everything looked pretty good, you weren’t going to lie, but it was a bit out of your price range. Ashley nudged you with her elbow and leaned to whisper in your ear. “Um, some of this stuff costs more than my parent’s rent….”
Krista smiled. “No worries. I’m paying for everyone tonight!”
Ymir kissed her cheek. “My hero~”
When the waiter came around to ask for your orders, you felt bad for having Krista pay for you and you knew there was no talking her out of it, so you decided to order the cheapest thing there which just so happened to be a B.L.T. Not that you were complaining, of course. You facepalmed as Ashley ordered practically the most expensive thing on the menu while Krista didn’t even bat an eyelash. Armin, Eren and Reiner were still in the bathroom so Mikasa ordered for her friends and Bertolt tried his best to order for Reiner. When the three of them came out, you almost couldn’t hold in your gasp. Reiner had his arm wrapped around Armin who was wearing Eren’s shirt. Eren, on the other hand, was wearing Armin’s, which was way too small for him. You felt the heat rising to your cheeks.
Jean snorted. “Didn’t know you were into tight clothes, Yeager.”
“Didn’t know you were into saddles, Kirstein.” he retorted.
“Does it look like I’m wearing one?”
“Yes, yes it does.”
Jean stood up from his spot and with no Marco to pull him back down, he clumsily made his way out of the booth and over to Eren. “You wanna say that again?”
“It’d be my pleasure.”
“Guys,” Armin whined, tugging on Eren’s sleeve. “You’re going to get us kicked out.”
Eren scoffed. “What’ve you got against Armin’s choice of clothing, huh, Jean?”
“Nothing. I just find it creepy, y’ know. You two are always attached by the hip. I get it when it’s you and Mikasa. You two are siblings. But with you and Armin, it’s kind of creepy. Especially now when you’re wearing each other’s shirts.” he explained.
Armin’s face turned red and he looked down at his feet.
Eren picked Jean up by his jacket collar. “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?! Armin isn’t creepy and I didn’t want him to be cold and wet for the whole time!”
You stepped forward and placed your hand on Eren’s. “Eren, calm down and try and sort this out nicely. Armin’s right. If you keep going on like this we’re going to get kicked out and you don’t want to ruin Krista’s night, do you?”
Eren looked conflicted as he glanced back between you, Armin and Jean. He sighed in defeat before letting go of Jean and intertwining his fingers with yours.
“Thanks, Eren.”
Suddenly the positions were switched and Eren was forced to let go of your hand. Jean picked him off his feet by his AC DC t-shirt and glared lasers into his eyes. “Damn it, Eren! I hate you!”
Eren’s eyes widened before hardening. He pressed down on Jean’s nape with one hand and kicked him in the shin. Or that’s at least what it looked like he did to you. It really all was just a blur of movement and the next thing you all knew, Jean was on the ground, eyes wide in shock.
“I get it now,” Eren said, standing over the boy. “You’re jealous of me because (y/n) keeps her attention on me more than you. That’s really petty.”
Jean scoffed. “You’re one to talk.”
“There’d have to be something to be jealous of, Jean.”
Jean stood and grabbed a piece of Ymir’s meal (you hadn’t even realized the waiter had come back and served you) and shoved it in Eren’s face. Armin gasped and covered his mouth with his hands. Eren just stood there, silent and unmoving. You waved your hand in front of your eyes. Eren swiftly pushed you away from him, grabbed a handful of mashed potatoes off Mikasa’s plate and repeated Jean’s actions. The restaurant had gone quiet and you weren’t sure what to do. Out of nowhere, Connie jumped on top of the table with a fistful of fries and hurled them towards Eren.
“Don’t worry, Jean! I got ya, buddy!” he exclaimed, grabbing another handful.
Just as fast as Connie was up, he went down and Mikasa was victorious. She climbed out of the booth and over to Eren. Ymir grabbed onto Krista and dragged her over to an empty table which she soon flipped over and used as a barricade/ shield. Reiner and Bertolt were not far behind them. Sasha grabbed her plate, jumped out of the booth and ran out of the building, screaming about how she would protect her food until her death. Ashley grinned, grabbed her steak and flung it towards Jean. except, she missed and hit Mikasa who caught it reflected it back at her. You grabbed Ashley and Connie and dragged them over to the table fort Jean and Sasha (who had come back in after wolfing down her food) had made. You peeked out at Ymir’s ‘fort’ to see Bertolt handing Reiner his tray of food. Said blonde closed one eye and stuck his tongue out as he tried to his best to aim at whoever he was planning to hit. He swung his arm back and you watched the celery sticks fly across the room all the way into Annie’s lap. Reiner’s eyes widened. He had barely missed Armin. Annie closed her book, sighed and grabbed the rest of her cheeseburger and flung it at him so hard it knocked him backwards on his ass.
“When I was told we were going out for dinner, I didn’t know it’d mean that I’d have to get myself dirty to beat all of your asses.”
Standing by the door was Levi, oddly enough dressed in a waiters outfit. Eren immediately tried his best to wave to him, but Mikasa’s death hug or grip or whatever she wanted to call it was making it difficult for him. Levi looked around, taking in the mayhem before him. Reiner was still on his ass, rubbing his forehead as Bertolt loomed over him, checking him for any injuries while Krista was scolding Ymir for laughing. Mikasa was holding onto Eren as if their lives depended on it while standing protectively over Armin who was hiding under their booth table. Annie was under there with him, probably telling him about her book. Jean had gone to pull over some more empty tables and Sasha was currently arguing with one of the staff, convincing them to let this all play out. You were surprised the manager hadn’t been called yet. Ashley was laying on the floor beside you, dramatically acting out her ‘death’ to Bonnie who had her arm draped around your shoulders, ready to pull you to safety any second now. Levi strode towards you and crouched down beside you.
“Who started this?” he asked.
“Eren.” Jean butted in as he set up another table for defence.
“Jean!” Eren called from across the room.
Levi sighed and stood. You watched as he pulled Eren out of a growling Mikasa’s grasp. Jean took that as the perfect opportunity to hit Eren in the side of the face with a cob of corn. Levi latched onto Eren’s hair and brought his knee up to his head. Mikasa lunged for the smaller man, but Armin had grabbed onto her first, pulling her onto him and Annie. You wanted to intervene, but you knew better than to get in Levi’s way when he was like this. This wasn’t your first time seeing Levi kick the crap out of Eren for no reason.
“How many times have I told you not to start public disturbances?”
“But isn’t this right now a public disturbance?” Eren asked.
Levi kicked his face. “Wrong answer.”
He dragged Eren over to Jean, who by now was shaking like a leaf. Jean quickly accepted his defeat and handed you his phone and wallet. Levi pushed his head down onto the edge of the table at a terrifying speed after dropping Eren to the floor.
“H-hey! Stop that! It’s illegal!” a staff member exclaimed, holding a phone to their ear. “I’ll call the Police!”
“Since when does the M.P.B ever do anything useful?” Levi said, stepping over Jean to reach the employee. “I apologize for the mess these brats caused. I’m sure those two would love to pay for any damages they may have caused.”
“I-i… I…” the boy stuttered, his face turning very pale.
“Well, I guess I’ll be going then.” he walked over to the door, not before beckoning for you to follow him. “Oi, Eren, Krista. You still owe me a meal.”
Eren groaned. Krista gave overly exaggerated nods. Levi held the door open for you and led you, Ashley and Bonnie to his car. Bonnie had Ashley on her back, who still hadn’t comprehended exactly what had just gone down.
“That… that escalated quickly.”
“You get used to it fast,” Bonnie replied.
“Wait, you mean this happens often?!” she looked at each of us as if waiting for one of us to admit that this was in fact not normal.
“I told that brat to stop trouble literally just a day ago, and what does he do? Get’s himself kicked out of a restaurant. And why was he wearing Armin’s clothes?” Levi grumbled as he unlocked the car.
The ride home was long and mostly quiet. Ashley kept rambling on and on about how awesome the fight was and decided that Bonnie’s lap was an exceptionally good pillow. After dropping her off, Bonnie asked to be brought home with you, but Levi denied it and said that he’d get you home safely himself. Bonnie didn’t like that but knew when to fight her battles and this was a battle she wasn’t going to win.
“Need anything else?” he asked once he pulled into your driveway. As if you needed him to drive you in the first place.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you.”
“It was nothing. Just don’t go thinking that I’m going to help you again, you disappointing shit.” he spat.
“Well, it wasn’t like I wanted your help! And I wouldn’t call abusing your friends ‘helping’!”
Levi shrugged. “It’s just my opinion, but I think pain is the best way to discipline someone.”
As he pulled out of the driveway, you made an indecent hand sign which he returned. You groaned and entered your home. Your mother was in the kitchen, typing away on her computer and humming a quiet melody to herself. She looked up when you cleared your voice.
“You’re back already?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah, Levi drove me home,” you said, making your way towards the fridge since your food had turned into Mikasa’s ammo.
“The drug dealer?”
You froze. “No, mom. That was a rumour.” a rumour your daughter started.
“You never know. I swear, if I hear that you’ve been caught up in that stuff, especially with the Warriors, I will personally kick you out of this house.” she threatened and returned to her laptop.
You made yourself a sandwich and brought it up to your room. You had homework and studying to catch up on, so you were mentally preparing yourself for an all-nighter. Most of it wasn’t too difficult. At one point you had called Armin for help which he gladly gave you. It was around three or four in the morning when you finally finished and saying that you were exhausted would be putting it lightly. You turned off your lamp and got yourself comfortable under your mountain of blankets. Everything was peaceful until your phone started to ring. You ignored it, assuming that it was just random spam or a salesperson, but the culprit called a second time. And a third.
On the fourth time, you had enough and was planning on using all the swear words Levi had taught you over the years when you noticed the caller ID.
It was Jean.
“What the actual fuck took you so long!?” he yelled once you picked up the phone.
“Walls, Jean! Chill for a second, you’re screaming and it’s three-thirty.”
“(y/n), I don’t have time to calm down. We don’t have time to calm down! Just get your ass over to the hospital and quickly!”
“Why what’s wrong?” you were praying that this was some sort of prank call. That this was something you’d both be laughing about in the morning. His answer was anything but a laughing matter.

“It’s Marco. He’s been in a car accident.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, (y/n)? What’s Pythagorean Theorem again?” Ashley asked, tapping her cheek with the end of her pencil. You both (and Bonnie who was keeping an eye on you from afar) were currently alone in one of the less popular corners of the Trost Library catching up on assignments.
“A squared plus B squared equals C squared,” you mumbled, keeping your eyes on your paper.
“You got any plans tonight?” she asked. “You’re not going to visit anyone?” You didn’t respond, knowing full well what she was hinting at. “Are you okay? You’ve been acting weird ever since the news about Marco came out.”
“I’m fine.”
You were fine. You were doing absolutely fine. You were keeping up with your schoolwork, for the most part, you hadn’t gotten into an argument with your mother in the past week and neither had Bonnie and Clyde. You had started cleaning up the old Gazette office and showed Ashley the ropes on what she was supposed to do as the editor.
“Have you ever visited Marco at all since his accident?”
“I’ve been busy.” you lied.
“With what?”
“Schoolwork.”
“Sure.” she sighed, returning to her work.
You tried to get back to your work, but your thoughts kept drifting back to Marco. Eren had informed you last week that he was currently comatose and the doctors thought there was something very wrong his legs. You wondered if he’d be scared when he woke up and if there’d be anyone by his side. Would it be his parents? His sisters? Jean? You? Suddenly, a loud bang came from the entrance of the Library causing you to jump up from your seat and Ashley to yelp and fall out of hers. Out of nowhere, you found yourself being dragged out of the building and slung over someone's shoulder with Ashley running behind you, yelling for you both to wait up.
“Ymir, what the hell!?” you yelped, hitting her back with your fists and swinging your legs like crazy as if that’d convince her to put you down. Armin and Krista observed the two of you with worried expressions.
“Why’re you avoiding us?” she asked, continuing with her pace.
People stopped and stared as you passed by them. You covered your face in embarrassment though you should’ve been used to it by now. It’s been happening ever since Mara died. No, even before that. You prayed Sarah was burning in some sort of hell.
“Ymir! She can walk on her own! Why don’t you let her down?” Krista pleaded, struggling to keep up with the taller girl’s strides. Behind her, Ashley was tugging Armin along by his wrists while Bonnie had a look on her face that looked like she was planning a murder.
“Let her go, Ymir,” Bonnie demanded. “Or I’ll use force.”
“Kid, I grew up in the slums of Liberio. If you think that you’re enough of a match for me, you’re sadly mistaken.” Ymir replied.
You waved Bonnie off. “I’m fine. I don’t need you to be my guard dog twenty-four seven.”
Bonnie didn’t happy about that at all but backed off.
It didn’t take you long to reach your destination and you were relieved when Ymir placed you on one of the many benches that lined the walls of Trost’s only hospital.
“Don’t make me ask again, (y/n).” when you didn’t answer, the freckled girl sighed. “Why’re you avoiding us?”
“I’m not avoiding you,” you mumbled. “I just need space.”
“You haven’t seen Marco yet.”
“How’d you know that?”
“I checked the guest logs. You haven’t visited once. You have, on the other hand, been spotted on the property many times, but you never go in the building. Care to tell me why?”
You shook your head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Damn it, (y/n)! Stop playing stupid.”
“But I am.”
“Don’t say that! You’re incredibly smart, (y/n)!” Krista assured.
“I’m stupid for believing the bull that comes out of your mouths,” you growled. Everyone’s eyes widened, even Bonnie raised her eyebrows in surprise by your outburst. “How can you act like what happened last year was nothing! You asked some questions and you barely got any answers, probably none and yet you act as calm as usual! As if we’re still the best of palls or something! How can I be sure if every nice thing any of you do for me is just part of Reiner’s revenge plan?”
Ymir sighed. “Oh, so you know about that?”
“You can thank Armin and the storage room for that.”
Ymir glanced at the blonde. “Why a storage room?”
“I-I couldn’t find an empty room fast enough!”
She smirked. “Are you sure talking is all you did in there?”
“Yes!”
“Can I go now?” you ask.
Ymir sat down beside you and wrapped her arm across your shoulder, something you’d only seen her do with Krista. “Back to what I was saying.”
“You can trust us, (y/n)! All Ymir and I want is for you to be okay! We don’t care about what happened last year!” Krista exclaimed.
“Liar.”
She looked down at her feet as Armin stepped forward. “What Krista is saying is true. Just because Reiner, Annie and maybe even Bertolt, just because they want to get back at you doesn’t mean the rest of us share the same goal. I want to be your friend again.”
“Please trust us. What can we do to gain your trust again?”
“(y/n)...”
You clutched your ears, hoping that it’d help block the sound of their voices. They were pitying you. They were pitying you. You were just a charity case to them. And to everyone else? You were in the perfect mental state for them to get even. Poor (y/n) lost half of her family, her reputation and most of her friends. Not only that but she can’t even keep her grades up anymore and can barely talk properly to other people without an accident. You pressed your hands harder. Bonnie, who was getting tired of this fast, pushed Armin and Krista out of her way and started to rub comforting circles on your back. She pressed hard, too hard for it to comfort you, but it pulled you out of your thoughts.
“Are you okay, Krista?” Ymir asked.
The blonde nodded.
“(y/n),” Ymir began. “If you don’t want to believe us that’s your problem, not ours. But I think I figured out why you haven’t visited Marco. Care to guess?”
She took your silence as a no.
“You’re too scared, aren’t you? I mean, look at how you reacted to just them begging you to trust them. Imagine that but with Marco. He’d also be wrapped up in bandages, there might some blood and the odd chance that Annie, Bertolt and Reiner could be visiting.”
You shook your head, a weak and failed attempt to prove her otherwise.
“Y’know, I was really hoping you’d changed from everything that happened. I’m honestly disappointed that I’m wrong,” she admitted. “You’re still the same coward from when we met.”
You abruptly stood, not wanting to stay any longer and started to walk back in the direction of the library. Ashley and Krista called out for you, asking you to come back. You ignored them and kept your pace with Bonnie right by your side. You weren’t scared. You were protecting yourself. If you saw Marco in that room, you didn’t know what you’d do. You definitely did not want to cry in front of him, that was for sure.
“Do you want to go back home?” Bonnie asked.
“No,” you replied. “I want to get my stuff from the library first.”
“I already grabbed it.”
“Oh.” you hadn’t noticed the second backpack that was hanging loosely off her right shoulder. “Home it is then, I guess.”

.
.
.
.
.

“(Y/N)! (YYYYY/NNNN)!”
You turned around out of habit and you were surprised by who you saw. A couple of feet away from you was Jean, huffing and panting, brows furrowed, and a determined look on his face. “Jean?”
He ran a hand through his hair and scoffed. “No, I’m Bertolt.”
“Well, you’re sweating like him,” you said as he got closer.
“It’s hot out.”
The three of you stood there in awkward silence. You didn’t know why Jean had chased after you and right now you didn’t really care. All you wanted to do was go home and catch up on missed sleep, which was currently a lot.
“Have you seen Marco at all?” he asked.
“No.”
To your surprise, Jean didn’t seem upset by that. Maybe he already knew.
“Did you hear anything about his accident? Did anyone tell you anything?”
“Eren told me enough to know it was bad.”
“They still haven’t found the other driver and Marco has this weirdly shaped scar on his neck. When he gets back to school all of the ladies will be all over him. Girls think scars are cool, right?”
You cleared your throat. “Jean was there any reason other reason that you stopped me besides telling me about Marco’s scar and the fact that the idiot who crashed into him is still out there?”
Jean blushed. “I just wanted to tell you to be careful, 0-okay?”

Marco’s last words to you replayed in your mind.
Marco looked you in the eye and you thought it was fair to say that this was the most serious you’d ever seen him. “Just, be careful. Something’s up and I can’t tell what it is, but I don’t like it. Just don’t….” he sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Don’t trust us, okay?”

 

You nodded and started to walk in the opposite direction. You heard Jean sigh behind you and you bit the inside of your cheek before halting.
“Hey, Jean?”
You couldn’t see it, but there was an almost hopeful look in his eyes when you called his name. “Yeah?”
“There’s something I think I should tell you. Something Marco told me.”
That hopeful look was gone now. “What was it?”
“He told me that he thought Bertolt and Reiner were acting strange. That and to not trust him, or you, or anyone else. He told me to be careful.”

 

“Jean, what if Marco’s crash wasn’t an accident?”

Chapter Text

So, I've been looking into the plot of this story and what I want to do with it and it was then that I realized that I wrote some of the characters in a way that I shouldn't have. Now I'm upset at myself and debating whether I should go back and fix it or leave it be? I mean, there are only nine chapters so there wouldn't be that much of a change really. The plot would stay the same and all, but some characters opinions on the reader may change a bit.

*Disappointment and unhappiness intensifies*

I don't know anymore, I'm just kind of ranting? Tell me what you think I guess...? Sorry to bother you.