Armin excitedly rapped his knuckles on the door of the Jaeger’s home, pleased with himself after finishing all his chores with his grandfather early for the day which meant more time to spend with Eren. Maybe Mikasa, the girl that his Eren’s parents had adopted a month earlier, would join them, but she seemed to like to keep to herself for whatever reason. Eren wouldn’t tell Armin why, but he knew that Eren had something to do with whatever it was. Armin chose not to dwell on it or push, knowing Eren would come around and hoping Mikasa would come out of her shell soon enough.
Armin raised his fist about to knock again after half a minute, until the door was swung open and revealed Mikasa on the other side of it. He noticed that she was wearing the burgundy scarf that Eren always used to wear, despite being inside and the warm weather. He also noticed her warm, yet steely eyes and her sleek black hair that went past her shoulders, and he couldn’t help but blush at himself finding her very pretty.
“Hi, Armin, right?” Armin was snapped out of his thoughts at her soft voice, realizing this was the first time hearing her voice or even talking to her.
“Yeah. Hi, Mikasa,” his voice trailed off slightly, continuing once she acknowledged his greeting with a small nod. “Is Eren here?”
“Yeah, but he’s still doing his chores with Carla right now. I would be helping him, but she won’t let me.”
“Oh..” Armin couldn’t help but feel disappointment wash over him, letting his eyes fall to the ground and away from Mikasa’s eyes. “Could you let him know that I came by, then? I got done with my chores early so I wanted to stop by.”
“Well, he probably doesn’t have much more work left,” Mikasa cut in, a reassuring tone in her voice. “I’m making flower crowns while I wait for him, you can come in and sit with me if you want.”
“Flower crowns?” Armin turned his head to the side as he looked back up at Mikasa’s face, curious.
“Come in,” Mikasa urged him, “I’ll show you.”
Armin nodded and followed her into the house he was familiar with, it may as well be a second home to Armin after all the visits after getting bothered by bullies then spending many nights here after countless sleepovers with Eren. Armin stopped at the end of the table as he looked over the different colored plants scattered among the tabletop as Mikasa sat herself down on a chair close to him that already had some sort of started project in front of her.
“Where’d you find all these? I’ve never seen so many different colored ones,” Armin marveled at all the vibrant colors.
“Eren and I are sent out to the meadows outside of the gate sometimes to gather firewood and sticks,” Mikasa explained as she started working carefully, “I pick a bunch as I gather wood and brought them back here to give to Carla, but I started bringing so many home I figured I do something with them.” Armin looked around and noticed an unusually greater presence of vases around the kitchen and living area, all with different numbers of flowers in each of them. Armin decided that he liked the new addition, the added color giving more life to the monochromatic room with brown paneling on the walls and the matching wood floors.
Armin broke his gaze from the table at the creaking of a chair being moved and he looked up to see Mikasa’s hand still on the chair next to her, turned to the side to let Armin sit himself next to her. He quickly shuffled behind Mikasa and accepted the seat and scooted himself closer to the table. He craned his neck to watch Mikasa’s hands work, trying to get an idea of what she was doing and trying to make. He quickly came to the conclusion that what she was making were essentially headbands, but they didn’t seem to be for anything other than for aesthetic purposes rather than keeping hair out someone’s face. Mikasa seemed to have picked up on Armin figuring out exactly what she was doing, since she discarded her current project and picked up two new flowers.
“My mom and I used to do a lot of sewing and threading together,” Mikasa started, “I finally figured out how to do it with these a week ago. They don’t really last long, but they look pretty and they’re fun to make.” The small smile she gave didn’t seem to meet her sad eyes when she mentioned her mother. She handed the flowers in her hands to Armin and he took them gently, scared to split or squish the stems with his fingers. She then proceeded to show him the motions and technique of tying the flowers together and making it look consistent throughout the accessory, then showing him how to finish it and connect it all together.
Armin ended up with a pretty red and blue flowered crown, following Mikasa’s lead as she placed her own crown on top of her head and doing the same with his. He had noticed that his wasn’t as tied as neatly or sturdy as Mikasa’s, but he knew it took some practice and patience, especially since he didn’t have the same skills as she did.
“Yours looks really nice,” her eyes lit up at him with the crown on his head. “It turned out a lot better than the first one I tried to make. I accidentally killed almost 20 flowers before I figured it out.” She then let out a breathy giggle which surprised Armin.
“You said you only started doing these a week ago?” Armin asked incredulously. “Yours look so nice and like you would find at a booth at the town square!”
Mikasa blushed at his words, bringing her hand to her scarf and raised it slightly as if to hide herself. “Thank you. I just had to figure out which way was best to do it, remember what I learned and do it to flowers instead of fabric.” Armin smiled at her flustered and modest response, then turned back to make another one for Eren.
They continued while keeping friendly conversation, Armin telling Mikasa that he lived with his grandfather alone and Mikasa telling him about how different it was living in a town as opposed to the countryside. Armin could tell she was leaving a lot out when she talked about her old home and she would stumble on her words or pause when talking about certain things, but he didn’t push. It was still so easy and comfortable, they both almost missed Eren quick stomping down the stairs behind them.
“Hey Armin, when did you get here?” Eren asked, then leaned his elbows on the table as he looked to see what they had been doing without him.
“Not too long ago,” he answered, tying the last knot on his gift for Eren. “I got done with my chores early but Mikasa told me you still had some to do so I waited with her.”
“Oh, okay.” Eren accepted his answer. “Mikasa tried to get me to do this with her yesterday, but it’s way too hard! I don’t even know how you’re doing it.”
“It’s because you gave up after five minutes,” Mikasa replied, not looking up from her own work.
“I’m not the artsy type like you and now Armin!” he protested, resting his head in his hands, a slight pout formed on his lips at Mikasa’s comment. “At least you two are getting along, which is good.”
“Yeah,” Armin agreed and he felt his cheeks slightly warm up. “I made this one for you! It has your favorite colors.”
Eren hesitated for a moment at Armin’s offer but then took it, putting it on his head like he saw it on Armin and Mikasa. “Okay, now let’s go outside and explore!”
Armin nodded and stood up from his seat, pushing his chair back under the table as he started to follow Eren but stopped himself before he passed Mikasa.
“Mikasa, you should come with us! It’ll be fun to have you there with us and we can show off our crowns.” Armin giggled as he adjusted his.
He saw Mikasa’s hands stop moving and she sat still for a moment, contemplating her decision before she looked up at him with a shy smile. She nodded and put her unfinished crown on the table and bunched all the other flowers together carefully in one spot on the table, Armin feeling his smile grow bigger as he grabbed her hand and led her out of the house.