When Mikasa lost her first child, she planted a garden.
She hadn’t been pregnant for long—in fact she had just found out and it wasn’t but a month later that she lost it. It hit her hard, absolutely devastated both her and Eren, and it was hard for Armin to watch his best friends in so much emotional turmoil. But, the thing with his best friends was that they could overcome anything when they had each other and with time, Mikasa and Eren healed.
The garden grew with fruits and vegetables alike, as well as a small bush that bloomed blue flowers when the weather got a bit warmer.
Sometime later, Armin came to visit and saw her tending to the garden, adding another bush to an odd and strangely separate part of the garden.
“What’s Mikasa planting?” Armin asked from the back porch, hoping his voice was just loud enough to carry to the kitchen where Eren was making lunch—Mikasa was too far away to hear him.
Eren didn’t look up from his place at the counter. “Oh, uh, tomatoes, I think? She said some of them were lookin’ kind of sad so….” He trailed off, sounding casual enough, and despite Armin’s better judgment he decided to let this one slide.
When spring came and Armin returned to visit his old friends, the other bush was as bright blue as the other.
He didn’t see any new tomatoes.
Several months later, after a long expedition down some coastal beaches, Armin returned home with anticipation, hoping the Ackerman-Jaeger household would have two extra little feet running around on creaky floorboards.
It wasn’t two little feet, but two extra bushes he found hidden in the back of the garden. He sat down among the scent of flowers and waited for his friends’ return.
Mikasa came back from a day’s trip to the market with another plant in her arms.
Armin wanted to cry.
“You have to tell him.”
Mikasa shook her head, pressing her shaking frame into his chest. “No, I can’t….the first one was so hard on him, I can’t do that.”
Armin held her closer, not caring about the dirt on his uniform as they lay in the garden. “He wouldn’t want you to keep this from him.”
She only whimpered in response, rubbing her damp cheeks into his shoulders.
He knew the answer, deep down he knew, but he wished it was mistaken. “….Five?” and his voice cracked on that one word. Armin never knew he could hate a number so much.
“I can’t do it anymore,” Mikasa sobbed.
“Eren wouldn’t want you to.” He thought about the four children Mikasa lost and grieved on her own. “He doesn’t want you to be in pain.”
It was like she didn’t hear him. “I can’t do it anymore,” she repeated, over and over again until the words were raw in her throat.
He kissed the top of her head over and over again and rocked her until she stopped crying.
Eventually, Eren came out to look for them.
"What's wrong?" he asked, picking his wife up and cradling her in his arms. "What happened?"
Mikasa started crying again.
The next morning, they sat in silence on the back porch for two hours before she says a single word.
He turned his head to find her looking dead center at the horizon, her chin shaking as she tried to warn off tears. “Alexander,” she continued, the word even shakier than before. “Peter, Lily…” She took a breath, and she finally broke. “Carla, Oh God,” she sobbed, burying her hands in her face.
Armin looked to the sky and prayed for the first time.
He took a chance.
“Where are we going?”
Armin looked down and saw the little boy rubbing tiredly at his eyes, clinging closely to Armin’s pant leg as they strolled down the long path to his old friend’s house. “We’re going to meet some of my friends, buddy,” letting out a grunt as he lifted the three year old up in his arms.
Mikasa was around back gardening, and Armin did his best to slip around unseen to surprise her first. It did the trick, her eyes going a bit wide as he set the boy down.
“Hey, Gabriel,” Armin whispered gently, leaning down to his level. “This is my very good friend, Mikasa. Can you say hello?”
Gabriel was shy, a skinny and timid figure built of tan skin and warm brown eyes. “Hi, Mikasa,” and her name was almost completely butchered.
But she didn’t mind as she wiped her hands back and forth on her skirt. “Hi, Gabriel,” Mikasa whispered, and Armin didn’t think he’d ever heard her tone so warm in such a long time. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
It had him giggling for whatever reason, and it was enough to make a smile split Mikasa’s face. He continued to lean into Armin as he pointed a bony finger down the garden path. “Flowers.”
She turned her head to follow his gaze and Armin’s trained eye caught the falter in her smile. “You like them?” Gabriel nodded, and Mikasa extended her hand. “Why don’t we go take a closer look? You can help me water them for the day.”
Gabriel’s eyes lit up, and Mikasa laughed.
“I like blue.”
“You have a lot.”
“…Yeah, I do.”
“Very pretty indeed.”
“Can I water them again?”
“We just watered them. They aren’t thirsty right now.”
“….Yeah, Gabriel. Tomorrow.”
He felt Eren sit beside him on the porch, their knees bumping together. “He’s an orphan, just like you two.”
Eren hummed, sipping on a cup of coffee. They watched as Mikasa tugged Gabriel over to the bench Eren had built to sit underneath a shady tree. She was leaning in close, listening intently, unaware of the blinding smile on her face.
“Well, not anymore,” and Eren practically ran to join his wife on the bench.
Armin never heard so much laughter in that garden.
He was packing his things to leave when he felt a pair of strong arms wrap around him from behind.
“Thank you,” she whispered into his shoulder, squeezing him tight. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Mikasa.”
It wasn’t until he left that he noticed the blue flower she’d left in his hair.