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To Be A Titan, Is To Be Cursed

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To be a Titan, is to be cursed. You aren’t a citizen, you are a monster. It’s not hereditary, specifically; though if you were cursed, it stands to reason that your children were. Most mothers crush the heads of their children if they’re one of the cursed, many are abandoned by their lovers if the child their bare is born as one of them. But to the ones that get to live their life, the situation isn’t any better. Hatred, and shame about their situation and appearance comes. Some countries use Titans instead of animals, using their strength and resilience to work fields, labour in mines and factories; to be a Titan is to be the backbone of the empire, they aren’t hated, but treated as a necessary evil of life. Some countries use Titans in their military, where the cursed give their lives up for the pure, the noblest sacrifice. Some have figured out how to trigger the true powers of a Titan, believing them to be angels sent by god, should this true power be discovered… it could mean the deaths of thousands.

 

Armin walked quietly through the streets, it was dark out, he had to get home quickly. He could feel eyes on him. He hoped it was nothing more than an alleycat. He didn’t know where he was, he assumed it was the market district, with all the banners. He clutched the book close to his chest, he’d been lucky to find it, most books like this were destroyed; it told of the time before empires and kings, when it was just man and beast, man and Titan. He knew immediately, as the symbols on it matched some he had in the loose scraps of paper he kept. Information like this was highly illegal, but his curiosity was higher. Titans weren’t educated, least of all about their history, well… human history doesn’t paint Titans in a good light either… but regardless he had to know if what they were teaching him in school was true! Most people, if they weren’t going to execute him, would think he was weird for wanting to know the history of the cursed ones, but he is just fascinated by them.

He looks at humans and sees the same eyes, same sets of clothes, same hair styles. Yet Titans come in all sorts of different shapes and types and with all sorts of unique features. He didn’t exactly want to liberate them… more just… research them, and know all there was to know about these creatures. Once he was older he knew he’d leave this backwater empire and make his way to one of the more… Titan friendly ones… there he’d become a renowned scientist of Titan biology! But first, he had to live long enough to get out of this place. And he had to get away from the eyes that were watching him. Beady eyes, staring, unblinking, locked, focused, hidden. They sent a cold shiver up his spine. He heard voices and jumped into an alleyway as he spotted two soldiers walk by, carrying a lantern. It was past curfew. He’d be beaten and locked up for being outside, if they didn’t notice the book he was carrying. Their lantern and armour clinked off into the distance and he breathed a sigh of relief. Then, he shivered, the feeling of eyes on him had increased ten fold. He was next to a house which sat abandoned, and upon a slightly raised wooden foundation. Taking the risk, he leaned to look under the house, and saw them. A set of small yellow eyes watching him. A gentle wisp of steam escaped whatever was staring at him, like exhaling in the cold. It was a Titan, no doubt. Alone… with a Titan. It made no moves towards him. He made no moves towards it.

“Hello?” He asked softly. “Can you understand me?”

The eyes moved up and down in the dark, it nodded.

“My name is Armin. Do you have a name?” He was hoping it would make some sort of noise for him to call it, not what it actually did:

“Annie…” She said softly. A shy, young girl’s voice. She must’ve been two years younger than he was, maybe younger.

“You can talk?!” He inhaled sharply.

Slowly she slid out from under the building and he saw her. Most Titans were able to resemble humans quite well, meaning it isn’t noticed at first that they aren’t human, but she… she didn’t look human at all. Well… not a living human. Her body had no skin on it. The exterior was pure, dirt stained bone. And her raw red muscle was all on display. She didn’t have eyelids, and her eyes resembled gemstones more than true human eyes. The top of her head was adorned by a small bob of blonde hair, almost like his. There was no other way for him to describe it, she was beautiful. A biologically unique specimen. Looking at her body he could see her full skeletal structure, how muscles contracted and stretched when she moved. He was mesmerised by her body; in a purely scientific way - they were both too young for any sort of sexual interest in a body.

 

Her name was Annie.





Armin lifted the floorboard under his bed and opened the box up. Inside were the scattered and burnt notes he had managed to salvage from many of his excursions over the years. Sat on top of them was the one complete book he’d ever found. His parents had gone out drinking again, leaving him alone to read. Well, he had hoped that was the case, but twelve pages in he realised that the effort would be useless; the whole book was written in a language he’d never seen before. A Titan language. Most historians would have you believe that the Liberi diaboli (Devil’s Children, or Titans) were a race of savage monsters, created as God’s way of showing humanity their sins; in a physical way. One should think therefore, that the Titans would be respected or protected, sadly, this is not the case. But, if he couldn’t read the book… he knew a certain girl, who might be able to.

He carefully climbed out the window at his room and down the ivy which grew up the side of his family home. It was close to the city wall so nobody would notice him in the shade. He hopped down and stuffed the large book under his shirt and made his way down the cobbled streets. It was a festival day, so none of the drunken adults cared for the child making his way down the streets. Curfew had been pushed back to allow the celebrations to last longer. He pushed his way through partying crowds until he finally reached the market district, then it was just a matter of trying to retrace his steps in the dark now in the light to find that abandoned home. He stuck close to the city walls as if he were in a maze, lingering to them until he found the crowds begin to filter out, gatherings becoming distant and music of a thousand parties diminishing. He sighed a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding as he saw the abandoned parts of the market district. The empires warring with its neighbours had been catching up with it, less merchants were willing to do trade, and worse yet the money they needed to fund their army was drying up; not many people could afford to pay the increased taxes. There were abandoned districts like this popping up everywhere, except the noble class district. After half an hour of searching, numbering two hours since he left home, he spotted the home in the alleway. It was even more run down in the setting sun than it had been in pitch darkness. He heard the sound of rapid movement, and glanced up at the broken window towards the top of the rundown home, a set of yellow eyes flashing into the darkness and he called out, a smile gracing his lips.

“Annie? Annie, it's me Armin! Do you remember me from the other night?”

Slowly, the fleshless face reappeared at the window, looking down at him. Realisation dawned in her gemstone like eyes and he saw a smile graced her unusual lips, displaying her flawless white teeth.

 

He lit some of the candles that she had scattered around the room. It stunk of rotten wood. The rag clad girl sat next to him on the carpet as he showed her the book. Her yellow eyes ran across the symbols in the candle light.

“I… can’t read it…”

“What?!” He cursed his own stupidity, Titans didn’t go to schools, they couldn’t read. He had maybe hoped her own kind had taught her how to read, but… given she was living in an abandoned shack alone… she probably didn’t know any of her own kind. Kind of like him… he didn’t have any friends.

 

So that’s what they’ll do. Instead of having nobody at all, they’ll have nobody together!

Chapter Text

Armin smoothed down his dress and gave a shaky sigh. Only another hour and he wouldn’t have to wear it any longer. 

He worked at a library, distributing and restoring the approved texts from the empire. He liked working there, the books, the words, it was all so… him. A palace, all for him, after all, wasn’t like anyone ever came in. Any time he found an illegal text, he would inform his superiors and head to the burner room, where he stuffed it down a hole in the wall and replaced the brick, then when he went home, he collected it and brought it to the rest of his stash. Though, mostly it was a few scraps he found, very few related to titans in an illegal way, the most illegal thing he found while here was a book which described sex in vivid detail… yes he kept it.

For educational purposes only! Not like the orphanage he lived in taught this kind of stuff. Yes, an orphanage. He downgraded, and certainly not by choice. A fire ravaged the quarter he lived in, destroying many of the texts he’d collected. His parents, once again drunk off their asses, burned with it. He spent six months on the streets until the empire decided to do something about it. Of course his androgyny helped, to any passerby, he’d look like a poor frail girl. It’s partly why he kept his hair long, people tend to pay more attention to a cute girl. The hour dragged on, working on bland, empire sponsored text after bland, empire sponsored text. Finally, the sun reached that point where it shone perfectly through the hole in the wall, that meant it was time to go. He entered the crematorium. Undressed, and put on a much more comfortable shirt, pants, and vest, tying his hair back into a neat ponytail, and stuffed his dress into his bag, grabbed today’s contraband and headed home. Well, most people would think so, but Armin diverted down an alleyway first. It was narrow, reeked of human excrement, and worse scents, and most importantly, was quiet. He found the sign, it hung above the door. It was a vulgar image, and the words emblazoned upon it were worse.

Think of the worst slur you can imagine, then attach the worst and most demeaning thing you can call a sex worker, put those together and that was the equivalent of what the sign read, the slur of course being about Titans. Armin stepped in, nodded to the woman on the check in and she let him pass the curtain behind her. Inside, the cigar smoke filled chamber was a series of raised circular platforms, on which either cages or poles, or both rested. Dancing inside or on, were women of a variety of shapes. All perfectly smooth in their body, not a hole or crevice of sexual nature to be found, and yet it was that sexual desire of the other, that the men here craved. Since the titans had no rights, and came to work here, they couldn’t object to anything done to them here. So just about everything was, short of murder of course. He looked away from a poor girl, probably no older than twelve, being urinated on by a gang of men. Particularly drunk ones would cut a hole for them to use on these girls, paying off the bouncers to avoid searches, or just being let through anyway. He made his way to the far back, towards a large stage, a band was playing while a woman sang, a beautiful sheer silk strip covered her body, her body which bore no skin, only raw muscle. She danced and sang a song of love and lust, throwing her body for their pleasure and entertainment. Tossing the silk away. Leaving her in lacy red lingerie, which she playfully pretended to tease them with, of course, with nothing to display underneath, it left much to the imagination. While simultaneously leaving nothing.

He sat and watched through two songs, though certainly not with his shrunken member in hand, like the other men, before making his way around the stage. Pushing his way into the back changing rooms, there he waited until after a final song, he was joined by the skinless woman. Annie. The two were 19 years old now. She joined the brothel at 12, using the little money she earned to allow him to buy food, and clothes. Since Titans lacked digestive organs and got their nourishment from water and sunlight, her living costs were 0, since her home was a sewer section.

“See you’re putting your birthday present to good use.” He suggested, nodding to the lingerie she carried in her hands.

She rolled her eyes. 

“Don’t act like you weren’t staring.” She scoffed.

“Masturbating and admiring biology are two very different things Annie.”

“Yes, keep talking like the scholar you aren’t!” She teased, making him flush more than the sexual sights around him, though it was an angry flush. “So, get anything good?”

“Not today… but more stuff which works with my running theory so I can get that down in my papers.”

She sighed, grabbing her things and gathering them up into a cloth bundle. There wasn’t much, her silk, her lingerie, a set of shoes, and a dress, not unlike the one Armin wore to work, plain, simple, unfitting of her. Her long blonde hair stretched down her back and flowed down her front over the muscle mounds on her chest, adding to the extra mystery of perhaps there’s something there. When there always wasn’t.

She slung the cloth bag over her shoulder, put the boots on and looked at him expectantly. With no naturally exposed reproductive organs, Titans could go without clothes, and in their own districts, they did.

“We have to walk through the military district to get home, don’t you want to wear something?”

“Why? I’m not going to hide my body from them, God knows I don’t hide it here. I’m a Titan, but you always told me there’s nothing wrong with that!”

“There isn’t, but I’m getting tired of picking glass out of you.”

He cupped her cheek when he said this, and she half nuzzled his hand.

“Why do you put up with me?”

“Why do you put up with me?” He responded.

“Well it’s obvious I’m madly in love with you.” She chuckled and slapped his shoulder, making him stumble. 

“Careful, you could be beheaded for that.” He warned, very sternly. To all involved it was clearly an affectionate joke, but the wrong person watching and it could easily be mistaken for a noose.

They walked out of the backdoor, leading them into the same fifty alleyway they used to get into the club, he walked ahead, putting a polite distance between himself and the afflicted girl. If they were to walk too close, there would be questions about the two of them and their relationship, if they stayed their blades for long enough. Which was a shame, since there were no specific laws against friendship with Titans, it was just so heavily frowned upon by society that it is treated as the harshest heresy. The end of the filthy alleyway led directly into the military district.

 

It was called that for the obvious reasons of intense military presence, military offices, but also because of the presence of guilds. The merchant district was home to most travelling merchants and vendors of goods such as food and clothing, but the guilds here were those of blacksmiths and masons, the ones needed to build forts, siege weapons, armour and weapons, everything a military would need. It's one of the quieter districts as only those who specifically need to be there will be, and the soldiers would either be patrolling around or relaxing in their bunk houses instead of roaming the streets. Though there were still many in the district today. Several who were drinking outside a tavern caught sight of Annie and scowled. Armin tried his best not to catch their eye as well. If they moved quickly hopefully-

There was a loud shattering sound and laughter from the guards in the bar, Armin turned and saw Annie dripping with a brown, strong smelling liquid, bits of glass sticking out of the muscle, some blood leaking from her head. She was half crouched on the ground and whimpered, holding her head.

“Enjoy your bath, filth.” One of them called.

Another one walked over with a bottle, and emptied it over her head, ruining her clothes and drenching her.

“Hey!” Armin called out before he could stop himself. “Leave her alone! She didn’t do anything wrong.”

Another guard grabbed him from behind, and started groping his chest through his clothes.

“Woah there missy, best not to get involved. Else we might have to punish you too.”

“Get off me.”

“Why should I?”

“Because I’ll scream.”

“Now why would you go and do a thing like that? We’re all guards here, I say one word against you and they’ll believe me.” He purred into his ear, the booze rich on his lips, making him gag, lamost as much as the fact he was now unbuttoning Armin’s shirt.”

“Yeah, but there’s other people here, I scream and they’ll see you grabbing me before they see the titan.” He said firmly, and it was true. Anyone working in the guild stores, passing through the district, or just outside would run to the sound of a feminine voice screaming, and they’d see him immediately. He released his chest, and Armin fixed his clothes and glared at the soldiers as they left the two and returned to their drinking, their fun ruined.

Armin helped Annie to her feet, the titan remaining silent, and the two quickly made their way out of the district. The gate to the titan district was heavily fortified, because it was a way out of the walled city. The titan district was but a shanty town built up around the main city. The large gate was guarded on both sides by an elite force, you needed an approved access slip in order to leave the district, child or adult, attempting to leave without one usually resulted in a beating, or worse, depending on the mood of the guard or even who was on duty.. It was almost impossible to get ahold of those slips in the district. So most titans working within the city were scouted by business men who entered their district. Or simply dragged away during the night, not like anyone was going to miss them. Most titan families in the district were usually two titans who were ‘married’ ‘adopting’ titan children who were abandoned by their human parents. Their marriage would not be conducted by the church or legally recognised by anyone but a titan, and the adoption isn’t recognised either. Legally it isn’t a family, nor is it in the eyes of god. But, in Armin’s experience, it's more of a family than the god-respected parents that birthed him. But the gate was not where they were heading, instead they went to a nearby sewer outflow pipe. Armin preferred to go in as close to the district as possible, but he knew that that attack was likely just going to be the first of a few if they kept walking along the district. 

 

The city’s sewer district was a large network of tunnels from which clean water flowed. Yes, clean water. The city itself didn’t have a major sewer system. There were ‘dump zones’, in which waste water flowed directly into the titan district and the farms, to be used as fertilizers, it isn’t a complicated network, one point in each district led to one water channel. The actual sewers were connected to a network of ancient aqueducts and passageways beneath the city, over the years Armin and Annie had spent a long time down there, exploring, hiding, and growing up. Orphans vanished off the streets every day, nobody would complain that he went missing for a week or three. 

 

The outflow pipe was where fresh water flowed to be collected by residents who needed it, however this particular one was located in an old residential district, which now lay abandoned. It was abandoned for all the same reasons as others, nobody rich enough to survive there, though its proximity to the Liberi diaboli district likely was also an influence. The pipe, is a modern term, it was a hole in the wall with bars, old rusted bars, which had been snapped off, allowing the two to squeeze their way inside. Annie kept one hand on the wall, feeling the grooves that they had sliced into the wall, snaking around the tunnels in the wall and mountain the city was built into. The sewer system was simple, however the tunnels also acted as a way to get around the mountain. It was another question Armin had, why had these tunnels been built? The walls were human made, constantly in need of repairs. But something about these tunnels felt… different. Like they served a purpose. They snaked their way under the entire city, into the mountain, so much so, that they stopped trying to map it years ago. After a few minutes of walking, Armin finally broke the silence.

“Annie-”
“Save it.”

“Annie…”

“Armin enough!” She spat. “Why do you put up with it? With me? Stop pretending to be my friend and live your life.”

“This is my life, you are my life-”

“I’m your science experiment, and you keep getting put in harm's way by associating with me.” She yelled before trying to run down a tunnel, but Armin grabbed her hand.

“You’re my friend Annie, one of the first I ever had. I stick by you because I care about you. I’ll be the first to admit, I only became friends with you because you were a titan, but I stick around because you’re my friend. If I’m spending the rest of my life with someone, it's you.”

Annie whimpered and he pulled her close, holding her in his arms as she cried into his chest. This happened every time she was attacked. Indoctrinated into the belief that every piece of abuse she got, she earned with her existence, he’d tried to protect her from it, but he couldn’t be there for her every moment. The blood she was leaking stained his shirt, but he held onto her still.




Some time later, they reached home. A soft silk curtain covered an antechamber in which they had made their home.. The wide circular space was stacked high with metal barrels, the barrels bore no markings and were made of a material stronger than either had ever seen, it also possessed one bed, built by hand by the two of them, a privacy space for relieving one’s self, and their living space. Annie was pretty good with her hands, and they’d half built, half stolen, a stove. The smoke of which flowed up into a small hole in the roof, allowing the smoke to escape. They could cook simple meals here. Annie didn’t need to eat, so it was more for Armin. Annie still liked to eat, her body rejected solid foods though, so she would usually have to eject it once Armin was asleep, she didn’t want him thinking his cooking was bad. Liquids could evaporate inside her hot body, this meant that alcohol didn’t affect her, and she had no need to drink. Unlike eating, she didn’t like drinking. The water or other substance would hiss and scald its way down into her stomach, where it would boil, making her sick. Armin had several burns on his hands. He blamed them on mistakes with the incinerator. But she knew it was from her body or her blood. He usually got plenty on him, picking glass and dirt from her injuries. Her body healed rapidly, but he had to make sure she healed properly. The two had a quiet rest of the evening. They didn’t speak too much. Annie really didn’t like the sound. It distressed her so, when they were alone they tried not to speak. Obviously, if she’d had a good day they wouldn’t have a problem, but on days like these, it was better to speak in the language they’d invented. A series of hand movements and gestures, what you would know as sign language. Annie was very proud of coming up with it, an uneducated girl coming up with alternatives for simple phrases so they could communicate without words. It also meant they could speak their mind without being overheard. Armin had often seen her saying horrible things about guard’s mother’s using their language.

He ate on the bed, looking over the papers he’d found, Annie resting her head on his lap. His long hair down, his ‘disguise’ wasn’t very convincing if you got close. The world viewed him as a woman, yet only Annie seemed to understand, he was a man, regardless of the growths on his chest. Annie. A chance encounter that had changed his life, a little lost titan girl. He reached down and stroked her head. There was plenty he didn’t know about her, she refused to talk about why she was hiding in that house and out of the district. He never pressured her to talk about it, he had never talked about his life at home.

 

If he had, and if he had learnt the truth years ago, he might have survived.

Chapter Text

If there was ever a single day which gave him nightmares, it was that day.

As previously stated, the city in which Armin and Annie lived was the capital city of an Empire. Built into a mountain. This made it very hard to siege. So for centuries, it had held itself as a seat of power in the world. That was until today. 

 

Armin could hear screaming then devastating bangs. The ground shook, and Armin rushed out of the door of the library, only to see something impossible. A figure, larger than he’d ever seen, a man, fifteen metres. He had blank eyes, and no lips, or rather, the teeth were simply laid into his lips, the flesh outside of the mouth was the mouth. His horrifying face aside, he was completely naked, and steaming, yet his body was perfectly smooth, no finer details aside from the definition of his intensely muscular body. It was a titan. Yet, titans weren’t that big. He was able to step over the walls of the city, not not step over, kick down. He didn’t care if he killed people or crushed infrastructure. Catapults bombarded the city with flaming rocks- no not catapults, tians, hurling the rocks themselves. Twelve, massive titans, all in the range of five to twelve metres high. The tallest he’d seen a titan was 8ft2. He ran between the legs of the large titan, narrowly dodging as it scooped up several guards, and squeezed, popping them, like fruit. Blood splattered everywhere, including Armin's dress. He didn’t have energy to scream. One thought, one idea, burned in his mind, Annie. She was visiting her friends in the slums. Armin hazarded a glance to the spot where the wall had once been and saw more giant hands gripping the side of it, crushing the districts below them as they climbed up the mountain to the imperial palace. There were around fifty titans, all climbing the mountainside capital. The remaining five hung back and launched their artillery at them. Armin’s heart pounded in his ears, his body ached with fear and all he could hear was screaming. Then a new scream pierced the heavens, one so sheer and loud it made the ground shake. Armin fell to the ground and gripped his ears tightly, now finding the voice to scream as the loud sound rocketed through him. His ears felt hot and he could feel blood running out of them against his hand. The titan with the teeth, it was roaring, its head thrown back and producing the outrageous noise. Armin was blinded by tears and pain, but knew what he saw. Soldiers, who spent all their time beating up titans, running in fear. For all their talk, all they did was run. But Armin could hardly blame them. He was terrified, for the first time in his life, as much as he regretted it, he saw these things as monsters. 

 

The wind kicked under him and he struggled to his feet, removing his hands from his ears and exposing them to the full force of the roar. But he had to keep moving, all he could hear was his heart beating, but he pulled himself up and sprinted, as hard and fast as he could, tears streaming down his face as his feet slammed into the ground. Straight to the slums, which he found, flattened. He could see twisted and mangled bodies, streets running with blood, and arms half twisted out of ruins, reaching towards the sun and towards freedom. 

“ANNIE!!!” He screamed in sheer horror, not worried about being caught. If there was any luck, any god in heaven that loved him, she was right where he had left her, asleep in bed. He ran past the crushed gate of the slums, passed the titan that had flattened it, and straight to the sewer entrance. It was right in the rockface of the mountain, so it couldn’t be destroyed. He pulled himself into the sewer and ran, he never stopped sprinting, splashing through water without a care, following the route he knew until he found the antechamber. He pushed in and saw the sight he didn’t want, an empty bed. She was gone. And he would be too if he didn’t hurry. He grabbed his things, stuffing all his note into a back and tossing it over his shoulder, he ran back into the sewers, following the waterway as the ground shook around him, titans roaring and devastating the city above and around him. His layer of the city was only around the middle, it was just another stepping stone. Annie had just been a stepping stone. 



He’d been running for several minutes before he finally had to stop, doubling over as he felt breakfast force its way out his throat and onto the stone floor. He slumped down and shivered in terror. Tears spilled down his face as he sobbed out into the echoing darkness. Annie.

 

Annie







Mikasa paused, looking up from the flowers she glanced around.

“You seem distrubed.” The voice next to her rumbled.

She narrowed her eyes and looked about.

“If it's what I did, we both know I don’t have a choice. I regret it. With every fibre of my being.”

She sighed, remaining silent, but turning to look at him. Her mismatched eyes met his green ones. Solid green, like big emeralds in his head. She reached forward and cupped his face. He gently nuzzled into her hand. The strong features of his face, like a well constructed fort, the exposed teeth of his maw, the only feature of him she’d complain about was his long hair, it annoyed her… though mostly because he wouldn’t let her braid it. He was bigger than her, seven foot tall, no taller. She was only five foot seven. He was a titan. Yet, Mikasa was the strange one. There wasn’t another person like her documented in the world. She was a circus attraction. Behold, the ghost girl.

They called her that, due to how pale her skin looked compared to most people. The rumour was that she dwelled in purgatory, hence her split eye color. Neither dead nor alive. This was also supposed to explain her brain damage, her mind had been destroyed by her time on the other side. Her hair being so dark was also something people found entertaining. The circus had sold locks of her hair.

Of course, there was another rumour. That she was the child of a human and a titan. Which was scientifically impossible, right?

In truth she was asian. Her country and people no longer existed. In truth, she was the last of her kind, but she never knew of her kind. The only thing she knew of her land was its language. The language she spoke. She couldn’t speak the other languages of the world. But she did have a limited understanding of their language. She could respond to basic ideas. They dressed her in imitations of her people’s silks. Put her on a stage, and charged people to watch the caged animal. They shone lights at her to distract and confuse her. Made her sing her childhood lullabies. There had been many offers from scientists to purchase her and dissect her to figure out what she was. But they had been turned down, because she was making more money each day than they offered for the one time purchase. The circus realised that she was getting older one day and were worried that they might lose money if she stopped being pretty, so paid for some men to come and… show her a good time.

 

It was one of their children that was growing inside her as they sat in the flowers. His hand ran gently down her back, a sharp claw like fingernail, making her shiver.

“I take it you aren’t mad?”

She shook her head.

“Good. Next time I’ll make sure they verify the reports. I couldn’t find her anywhere.”

“Why do we need her?” A voice said. They turned and spotted him approaching. Clearly a titan, but his body was made of muscle, like Annie’s, but that muscle was hidden behind a thick layer of bone like armour, this same armour framed and covered his face. Short white hair crowned the top of his head, short like she wished a certain other titan would cut his hair. “Because knowing you, Jaeger, you squished her.”

The titan to Mikasa’s left narrowed his green eyes.

“I didn’t. And here I was about to thank you for looking after Mikasa.”

“She’s one of us, obviously I would have agreed.” His words were rough and blunt, rougher than her titan lover’s. One of them, Mikasa’s face lit up with a soft smile.  “I’m serious, Eren, why do we need the girl?”

“There’s very few true royal families left. If we’re going to uncover the truth, we need someone of royal blood, as well as all nine. Currently, we have two. You, and me. Following me on this big guy?” Eren teased.

The armoured one clenched his fist, but did nothing.

“According to the rumors, the royal child of that kingdom was a stillborn. But more rumors say that the child did live, but was born puer diaboli, but the emperor couldn’t bring himself to kill the child. So he abandoned her on the streets.” Mikasa hugged her stomach softly as Eren explained. “Which… is noble… considering the disgrace her birth likely brought upon him. It’s probably why he committed suicide in secret. But during the raid of the imperial archive, my brother found the record of what she looked like, deep within the vault. A perfect match to what we were looking for.”

“One of the nine.”

“So we played it carefully when we crushed the nation, but we couldn’t find her.”

“So you think she died?”

“On those streets? Yes. Living would have been a fate worse than death. They had a saying there, Esse diaboli est esse maledictus, which roughly translates into ‘to be a titan, is to be cursed.’”

The armoured titan raised an eyebrow, though nobody could tell.

“You sure seem to know a lot about this place.”

“Where do you think I was born?”








Standing at the sewer entrance, hours after she’d moved all of the rubble, she felt around in the darkness for her carvings, her fingers softly catching on the grooves and she used them to guide herself. Armin could barely see in the dark of the sewers, at least in the entrance. But titans are blind at night. Darkness clings to their eyes, blocking out the light from their gemstone like eyes. With all honesty, it was the light of her knife that allowed her to see, reflecting off of lamps and lights from people’s windows. She could barely see in front of her, but she could hear. Her the sounds of the guards hunting her. She dove into an area of pure darkness, hoping they couldn’t see either and hid. Then, she saw him. The little girl who carried a book, of course that was her assumption, but he was a boy. She wouldn’t lose him. Not the only good thing in her wretched life. If only she hadn’t lied about where she was when the giant titans attacked, Armin wouldn’t have risked his life looking for him.

“Armin!” She cried out, hoping, somewhere, somehow he’d hear her. Being the only titan capable of speaking was an agony, she couldn’t get any information out of the surviving titans. Had they seen him? Anywhere? Of course, they’d just assume she was talking about another titan, and point towards the pile of blonde haired female corpses. The idea of befriending a human was so alien to them. She staggered though the darkness, drunk on the hope that he was there, ready to patch her up, offer her a meal she can’t eat, and deliver his latest theory about titans. Did he have a theory about the giant titans? 

600 people confirmed dead.

200 survived.

137 missing so far.

 

She didn’t know numbers, but they sounded like a lot and just looking around as what used to be her home, it was easy to say yes, those were very big numbers.

 

She drifted mindlessly through the tunnels until she finally felt it, the soft fabric. She pushed past it only to walk into a wall of rubble. The antechamber had caved in, the hole in the ceiling they used for the stove, it was something they should have thought about. Her home. Once again, it was gone.

She screamed. A noise which endlessly danced along the tunnels. A roar, feral and unhinged. And she fell down onto her knees, and stared at the floor. It was covered in dust, and wet footprints. Someone had taken off their shoes, perhaps to run better?

Armin would have had to do that to-

 

Annie didn’t even remember getting to her feet, she just pushed herself up. Light. It was reflecting from something onto the floor, letting her see the footprints. She traced it, and saw her knife. The blade was smooth and impossibly sharp. Flawlessly black, rather than a metallic silver. She then climbed back over the rubble and ran out of the antechamber, hunched over and dragging her hand along the ground, feeling for the wet footprints to know she was on the right path. And then, in the very faint room of vision, she saw the curled up figure and she began to cry again.

Chapter Text

Mikasa blinked. They’d taken her collar off. The chain was no longer squeezing her throat. The blindfold had been removed too.

“She’s genuine?”

“Yes. 100% it's why the price is so damn high. So, why do you want it? Got a taste for exotic whores?”

“Well she’s one of them orientals, right? People will pay a pretty penny to see her.”

“You’re paying me a pretty penny, remember.”

“Look at that, sea green and ocean blue. So, just to check, where did you find her?” He got close to her cage bars, she blinked at him softly, tilting her head in confusion. She didn’t understand half of what the two men were discussing.

“Out in the woods, there were two of them, mother and child. Mother came at my men with a knife, they’re selling her for parts since she had to be put down. The girl here just sat and watched in confusion. She cried after a while, but that wasn’t nearly as bad as the singing.”

“Singing?”

“Every night she sings in that nonsense language of hers, sings herself to sleep.”

“She can’t speak?”

“She seems to understand us a little, but speaking like us is something she can’t do. Though I’d prefer that, don’t want scum like her thinking she’s human.”

“Well the price seems worth it, a little bit of makeup and maybe one of those oriental outfits on her, we can make up this lie she’s a princess.”



“Princess.” Eren cupped her chin softly, lifting her head up to meet his eyes, he then released her chin, only to tie something around her neck, a scarf. Crimson.

“Did you buy her a scarf?” Reiner, the armoured titan, raised a hidden eyebrow again.

“Yeah, why?”

“It’s the middle of summer.”

“She seems to enjoy having something around her neck, I’ve been noticing it for a while. I think they must have had her collared or something. She’s so used to the sensation that being without feels off to her.”

Reiner growled. “Scum… chaining her up like an animal.”

Eren then reached down for Mikasa’s hand, snapping her attention from the rose tinted world she entered the moment he tied the scarf around her. Holding her hand he led her down the cobbled streets. The scent of salt was in the air, as waves washed gently onto the black sand. The streets were alive with the sound of people, but quiet. Nobody spoke but them, because everyone here was titan. People assumed that it could be possible for titans to learn how to speak, because they possessed vocal cords and were capable of making simplistic noises, not entirely mute, however they can’t make sounds complicated enough to speak. Then there were what those in the know refer to as vocal titans. These consisted of Eren Jaeger, Reiner Braun, Gabi Braun, and a few other less notable titans. These vocal titans were assumed to have special blood, as both of the titan children in the Braun household were able to speak. But they were the first in documented history until Eren appeared, and he looked so dramatically different to the others that all preconceptions of vocals were thrown out the window.

 

Reiner and Gabi were birth siblings, a real family. They had grown up in the woods together, their parents were shunned from their society for having a titan child, but they loved their son and would rather live as exiles and exile their son. Their second child was born four years before they died. Gabi. When a forest fire destroyed their home, Reiner promised to protect Gabi, and he did, until he found a home in the titan city of Panin. Panin was a coastal city, not a port city. Though since it was the largest titan only settlement, it was called a city, however it wasn’t nearly large enough to truly be acknowledged as such. It lacked a cathedral too. The two existed in the south of the nation of Yosmad. Yosmad is historically known as a nation of equality, as titans have full rights as people there. To give birth to a titan isn’t a sin in Yosmad, but a gift from God. A child who cannot be killed, possesses intense strength, and is devoid of the sin of sexual desire. That last one is a lie, but the statement is over the titans’ lack of genitalia. In Yosmad, most titans work in manual labour positions for equal pay as humans, those most humans won’t work in those jobs with titans, who would outperform them constantly. Titans also play an active role in the military, by choice. They had free speech and could elect their own leaders to their cities and boroughs. They lived in tandem with humans, and could love and marry whoever they wished. Though given the otherwise near global hatred towards their kind, many titans chose to live secluded or away from humans. To this effect, many banded together and built a beautiful city in a coastal cove. Panin, the black sand city. Their main export was the resources dragged up from the ore rich mines in the nearby hills, as well as the fishing industry. The people there had a good life. There were no rules that humans couldn’t be there, in fact there were many human merchants who frequented the city. But its population was mostly adult titans living their long lives in silent peace, the children there were orphans, who were sent there to be raised by loving families. The exception being Mikasa.

 

Reiner led the two through the cobbled streets, nodding at passing titans as he did, several throwing weary glances at the girl with the scarf. Passed the main coastal area and into one of the several circular tunnels into the rockface of the coastline. Torches lit up the circular highways of the city. One would think it odd that a titan city would be built in a place with limited access to sunlight. But, there simply wasn’t enough surface room for all the people, two hundred people took a lot of room, so tunnels were dug into the coast as opposed to spending mothers hacking away at the coast to create rooms for new homes. In a way it was like paying homage to the early titans, who lived in caves to hide from hateful society. It was Yosmad which first used the name titan, from a speech from a ruler of old who called them ‘titanic pillars’ which supported their kingdom. The homes were hidden behind circular doors inlaid into the walls. Reiner found his street and brought the three to a circular door, painted blue. Seashells were stuck into the door, decorating it and making it look rather cute. The word Braun was written in big bold letters on the door. Reiner knocked three times, and was only halfway done with the third knock when the door flung open. A girl opened the door, wrapping her arms around his waist.

“Reiner!” She cried out with glee. She was a short titan with exposed muscle, like Reiner, except she lacked the mass of bonelike armour that decorated Reiner’s massive body. Reiner wasn’t as tall as Eren, but he was much bulkier. The girl didn’t have Reiner’s shock of white hair, but rather brown hair, long and messy. He kneeled down and pulled her into his arms for a proper hug. Mikasa smiled at the soft site. During the eight months she’d spent with them, Reiner had been the voice of reason and seriousness, so to see him so gently holding this girl was a beautiful sight. The girl was maybe in her early to mid teen years, around 15 to Mikasa’s reckoning. She didn’t look anything like Reiner, though she was expecting another armoured muscle mass, as opposed to a thin feminine form. She knew Reiner’s armour was organic and he could regrow it, so she assumed that Gabi hadn’t grown her’s yet. Maybe she was too young? The girl in question then looked up and spotted Mikasa, Mikasa waved softly and her bright yellow eyes regarded her with a mixture of shock and confusion,

“Frater quare is ibi a humanum hic?!” She gasped and muttered to Reiner in a language Mikasa didn’t know. Reiner and Eren had been speaking to Mikasa in the regional human language of where they found her. Sometimes they’d speak in this strange language too but, usually when they assumed she was asleep.

“Ea a amica, Gabi, nice eius.” He muttered in response, sternly, or maybe that was just how he always spoke. “Item, quomodo tuus Anglicus?” He continued.

“Fairly good.” She responded, in the language Mikasa could understand. “Why?”

“Please speak in that language while her and Eren are staying here, so she can understand.”

Gabi groaned lightly, but accepted it.

 

The inside was not at all what Mikasa had expected as the interior. Firstly it was square, the circular tunnels and doors really messed with her head, so four walls made her feel more at ease. The home was alive with plants, hanging baskets, ivy growing out of cracks, potted plants on every table, all two of them. There was a large table, around which four chairs were haphazardly placed. A kitchen kitchen space which was placed as standard in every first generation home, Panin was originally an abandoned human settlement, it lay mostly barren and unused. Off to the side of the kitchen space were two doors, one leading to the main room and one leading to what had, eight months ago, been Gabi’s room, but she overtook the main bedroom.

“Mikasa and Eren can share your room Gabi, you can sleep with me.” Reiner said as he led them inside his home. Wall candles, as well as a few around the space gave the room a dancing light. There was one other table, a small one before a fireplace, and several pillows were scattered around it.

Reiner took a match out of one of the kitchen drawers and used it to light his fireplace. Where the smoke went, Mikasa was unsure.

 

The group sat and talked for a while. Gabi begged to know everything they did while they were away on mission. Reiner refused to elaborate, stating it was classified. Gabi then tried to ask Eren, who simply shrugged, claiming he didn’t have any idea. This made the girl rather annoyed at them both. She asked Mikasa a lot about herself, and Eren explained as best as he could. Reiner cooked Mikasa a simple meal and promised to get her some real food tomorrow, as well as proper clothes. She still wore the clothes the circus made for her, an oversized imitation kimono. Designed to show off her cleavage and legs, just barely covering her private parts and rear. Her pale skin was flawless and beautiful, which had been the circus ringleader’s excuse while Eren beat him to death. Stepping into the room, she stood up onto her bare toes and pressed her lips to Eren’s teeth. The titan had to hunch over so she could kiss him. He smiled and reached down and untied the sash around her kimono, making it fall away, it landed on the stone floor with a soft noise, her only modesty now being the scarf. Not that it bothered either of them. He reached for the scarf to remove it, but she made a noise of objection and he smiled, his hands gliding softly down her skin until they reached her hips, he picked her up and pulled her close to him so he could kiss her with eased passion. He carried her over to the bed, it was surprisingly large. He laid down so she was on top of him, once she found a comfortable spot on his chest to curl up in, he ran a hand softly through her long black hair. Black as midnight. He dragged the blanket of the bed over the two of them and blew out the candles. Mikasa’s voice crept out from the darkness.

Mori mo iyagaru, Bon kara saki nya

Yuki mo chiratsuku shi, Ko mo naku shi

 

Bon ga kita tote, Nani ureshikaro

Katabira wa nashi, Obi wa nashi

 

Kono ko yō naku, Mori o ba ijiru

Mori mo ichinichi, Yaseru-yara

 

Hayo-mo yukitaya, Kono zaisho koete

Mukō ni mieru wa, Oya no uchi

Mukō ni mieru wa, Oya no uchi”

 

A soft, soothing sound came out of her as she sang herself to sleep in her native language. The only times he heard her voice was when she sang at night. He’d stop everything just to listen to those few minutes of noise. It was why he viewed her as the same as him. Her silence was like the so many mute titans in the world, but like him she was capable of the right languages. He was so glad that one of those languages was love.

Chapter Text

Armin sat limply in the tent, there was… nothing. No sound, no joy. He’d survived but at what cost? The one solace in the whole world to him, was that Annie had survived, she dragged him out of the tunnels where titans performed first aid to make sure he was alright. They figured out pretty quickly that he was deaf. The proximity to the fanged titan when it roared ruptured his ear drums. It was sheer luck the force exerted on him didn’t kill him. Annie and him could still communicate through their simple language of hand gestures. But he could never talk to a human again. The titans worked on the rubble for weeks, but slowly, every single one just packed up and wandered off. Everyone had lost everything, not just him. At least he still had his notes. Annie was asleep at his side, holding his arm to her chest, as if she was worried she’d lose him.

 

And he did, he carefully lifted his arm out of her grip without disturbing her sleep and walked out of the tent. His bare feet crunched in the ashes of the merchant’s district. A storm the previous night had set the buildings a blaze, and all they could do was watch. That was the straw that broke the camel's back, the last stragglers, save them left. Now the two were alone… truly alone. He didn’t know how long he walked, it was sort of a trance really. Climbing over the rubble of the city walls, making his way higher and higher until he reached the district that started this all. One right turn and…

He knew it wouldn’t be there anymore, but part of him had hoped. The abandoned house, under which his beloved titan hid. It was gone. The wall behind it didn’t exist, and he could see the shattered hills and peaks and the rest of the collapsing empire. He wondered if other cities had suffered as they had? Did the titans travel from one city to the next?

Armin didn’t believe anyone was truly evil, but… whoever did this, was definitely worthy of the title demon. It reminded him, standing at the peak of all this death, the air rich with iron and smoke, of a poem, no less.

I met a traveller from an antique land,

Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal, these words appear:

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”



Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare. That was his home. A colossal wreck. The library he worked in was gone, crushed underfoot and burnt. The paper’s he’d been saving, gone. He knew they couldn’t stay. Without any food, he’d wither and die. Annie was strong, but she couldn’t work all those fields by herself, she couldn’t spend her days working to keep him alive. He stepped towards the edge, where the wall had been, looking down he could see the various lower levels. He’d had a good life, and he’d loved every second of it. He closed his eyes, and stepped forward.







“Now where is that little shi- there you are! Your father has been looking for you, go go.”

“Hello my little angel.” He chuckled, happily, rubbing her cheeks. “You’re filthy, where have you been?”

“I found a secret passageway! It led into the mountain!”
“Well… maybe that’s an adventure for when you’re older. The mountain is dangerous S̶̛̫̘̮̜̩̩͇̲̟̥̈́͗͂͌̈͂̎̐̾̈̐͜͝ä̴̱͕́͊͂̓͐̿̑̇̿̈́̋t̸̳̯̭̻̱͂̋̍̎́̂͆̿̑̊̕͘o̶̡̠̭̜͇̐̇͑̈́̒̅̃̇̊̈͛̎̋̀̕r̶̜̮͔͍̅͒́̒͗̎į̴͚͇̖̠̫̩̱̯͔̮̾̄̏͝ͅḧ̷͖̤̻̙͉͎̖̗̥̻͈̞̌̓͑͊͌͐̈̓͆̇͝ͅi̷͇̞̅̈́̄̋̊̿̅̋͂̈̕ you must always remember this.”

“Why can’t I go in anymore?”

“...You’ll understand when you’re older.”

“When I’m Queen?”

“...when you’re older.”



“S̶̛̫̘̮̜̩̩͇̲̟̥̈́͗͂͌̈͂̎̐̾̈̐͜͝ä̴̱͕́͊͂̓͐̿̑̇̿̈́̋t̸̳̯̭̻̱͂̋̍̎́̂͆̿̑̊̕͘o̶̡̠̭̜͇̐̇͑̈́̒̅̃̇̊̈͛̎̋̀̕r̶̜̮͔͍̅͒́̒͗̎į̴͚͇̖̠̫̩̱̯͔̮̾̄̏͝ͅḧ̷͖̤̻̙͉͎̖̗̥̻͈̞̌̓͑͊͌͐̈̓͆̇͝ͅi̷͇̞̅̈́̄̋̊̿̅̋͂̈̕! S̶̛̫̘̮̜̩̩͇̲̟̥̈́͗͂͌̈͂̎̐̾̈̐͜͝ä̴̱͕́͊͂̓͐̿̑̇̿̈́̋t̸̳̯̭̻̱͂̋̍̎́̂͆̿̑̊̕͘o̶̡̠̭̜͇̐̇͑̈́̒̅̃̇̊̈͛̎̋̀̕r̶̜̮͔͍̅͒́̒͗̎į̴͚͇̖̠̫̩̱̯͔̮̾̄̏͝ͅḧ̷͖̤̻̙͉͎̖̗̥̻͈̞̌̓͑͊͌͐̈̓͆̇͝ͅi̷͇̞̅̈́̄̋̊̿̅̋͂̈̕! Listen to me! I’m sorry my child, I have tried to protect you from this world, but I can’t, I can’t protect you. Not from them, not anymore. To me, you are my impossible child, an angel sent from God, but others believe you to be the spawn of the devil. They want me to kill you, and burn your body. I will never, but you must leave, and make sure nobody sees you. Get into the city, get to the titan district. You’ll be relatively safe there.” He said all this while pushing her into one of the castle’s many secret passageways. “RUN!”

 

That was the last time she ever saw her father. Around a week later, she learnt of his suicide. The only other thing he told her, before the secret door closed, was the fake name to use.




Annie made a growing sound, her hand gripped tightly around the back of his shirt, her feet firmly planted into the ground.

She screamed something he didn’t hear. Holding only him as he dangled over the edge.

“LET ME FALL!” He ordered.

“Never!”

“LET ME FALL!”

“I won’t. I’m done saying goodbye.” And with a scream, she pulled back, with enough force that he slammed into her, knocking her down and onto the rub-

She felt cold, incredibly cold. All feeling in the world was cut out. An intense numbness spread through her. Then a hot feeling, scorching blood gushing down her back, leaning forward she spotted the metal beam she’d been melting with her blood. Her neck was cut open, just below the nape. She reached to touch it and the moment she did, all the pain hit her at once, and she screamed out, knocking Armin out of her arms and she gripped the agonising cute and cried out into the night, her body rocked by the pain of it. Armin looked at her in horror, she was bleeding all over the ground, steam hissing up. He couldn’t get close. Her body was trying its best to heal, which only made the pain worse.




“S̶̛̫̘̮̜̩̩͇̲̟̥̈́͗͂͌̈͂̎̐̾̈̐͜͝ä̴̱͕́͊͂̓͐̿̑̇̿̈́̋t̸̳̯̭̻̱͂̋̍̎́̂͆̿̑̊̕͘o̶̡̠̭̜͇̐̇͑̈́̒̅̃̇̊̈͛̎̋̀̕r̶̜̮͔͍̅͒́̒͗̎į̴͚͇̖̠̫̩̱̯͔̮̾̄̏͝ͅḧ̷͖̤̻̙͉͎̖̗̥̻͈̞̌̓͑͊͌͐̈̓͆̇͝ͅi̷͇̞̅̈́̄̋̊̿̅̋͂̈̕!”



“ANNIE!”



Lightning struck. The force of the explosion ignited her blood into blue flames and knocked Armin over the cliff. He screamed out in fear, but the noise was cut short as he felt the hot ground beneath him, but upon opening his eyes, the true horror of it was revealed. He was sat in Annie’s hand, her giant hand, connecting to her now huge body, 14 metres tall to be precise. At first Armin thought he’d shrunk, but upon looking at his surroundings, the opposite was clear. Annie was massive. The pain triggered this somehow.

“Annie…?” She was just like the monsters that destroyed their home. The same thought must have filled her head, as it showed in her eyes, true fear and horror.

 

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them

 

Two vast legs, a giant face, a look of unhappiness, and a hand that mocked him, with its size.

He’d always had questions about titans, but now… he simply had one.

Why did God make them?

Chapter Text

Zeke was rather fed up. Hange had spent the last two and a half hours talking. Of course he didn’t want to leave, like everyone else, because that’d be rude: but more so because he was the last one left, and Hange would definitely notice if he left. His porridge had gone cold, though that was his fault, for attempting to take notes during their lecture. As much as he adored them,  they did tend to get a bit too excited when they came up with a new theory.

“Hange… Hange…” He eventually called, holding in a yawn mixed with a sigh. Trying desperately to get their attention. But they persisted in continuing, not noticing his callings over their enthusiastic murmerings. Eventually he reached forward and placed his hands over their ears, tilting their head and bringing it close to his own, so they were looking eye to eye. As soon as his hands cupped their ears, their voice seemed to die down, completely hypnotised by the action. “Good girl.” He purred.

 

Zeke and Hange were royal scientists. Zeke Jaeger and Hange Zoë. Chief of their positions, guided by royal charter. Their Queen, the Queen of Yosmad, employed many learned people, though most took either a medical role or a military science position. As that was Yosmad’s claim to power. Despite being a small nation, quite tiny in fact, they had one of the world’s most powerful military forces, not due to size, but due to power. Coal, combustion, canons. Yosmad’s main borders had a grand wall stretching around it, combining that with their technological superiority, and that explains why the resource rich but tiny nation remained superior on the global stage. The country had no active military, instead, it had a defensive one. They would guard the borders, and should you violate them, the military becomes active. 

Zeke never had the best relationship with his parents, but he obeyed them, for being his parents. That was until his younger brother was born. Eren. His parents treated him like a disease, a curse on their family. He watched his mother take her own life when Eren called him ‘mommy’ for the first time, slitting her throat at the dinner table. He took Eren and ran, ran as far away as he could, until they were taking into Yosmad as refugees. Zeke swore to himself one singular thing, he’d learn to understand Eren, what he was, why he was, and how to fix him. There was something wrong with him, that was the truth that only he seemed to understand. So when he graduated and was asked for his role in the science guilds of Yosmad, he began a path of titan study, alongside someone else from his academy, Hange Zoë. Upon meeting and interacting with other titans, he discovered a shocking truth, that Eren was the only one who could speak. In their village where they had been born, Eren was the only titan, yet in this titan rich land, he found more questions. Then came the arrival of the Braun children. Their ability to speak jarring, especially since they spoke a different language. 

 

Zeke’s first breakthrough came when he took a blood sample of himself, Eren, and from a woman belonging to a family which had never borne a titan child in the last one hundred and fifty years. Under a device which significantly magnified what the eye could see, his own personal invention, he noticed something dramatic, there were significant differences between his blood and the blood of the titanless family, and the blood of Eren. His own and Eren’s were very similar, though there were some changes, but the titanless family looked almost completely different. He compared Eren’s with another titan and found differences again. After comparing a number of samples to remove any reasonable doubt, he published his findings in the first titan science paper, and gained a royal charter. What his research uncovered was that titans were only born from families of a specific blood type, and that the more concentrated that blood type is, the more likely that a child of that type would be born. Reiner’s parents for example were most likely both of the titan blood type, creating two titan children. A 100% titan birth rate, while his own parents only had a 50% rate of titan births. Meaning either only one of them had titan blood, or their mixture of titan blood to human blood was low. Eitherway, this meant that they could tell who would have titan children and who wouldn’t. People were worried that this would cause divides, like labelling people who had this blood, but their queen made a statement, if titans are treated no different than humans, so too will the ones who bare their blood. But, another question loomed over, if titans had specific blood that was needed, and titans are incapable of sexual reproduction… Where did the blood come from?

 

So for answers he searched for clues to the earliest records of titans. There he found… references to a kingdom of titans, but they just seemed to be folklore and spirit boosting ideas from endangered titans. It wasn’t until much later that he heard the first mention of the Nine Titans. A Warrior, a Living Suit of Armour, a Female Warrior, a God, a Beast, and a Giant. Nine kings of old. For one reason or another they sat on the thrones of the nine kingdoms. But now their kin were slaves. Of course, his brother showed impossible reflexes, like he could see things before they happened, his strength dwarfed that of any other Titan, he was capable of speaking, and when his life was put into danger, he could change, all of this pointed to the possibility of him being a descendant of the Warrior King of Old. This combined with Reiner’s suit of armour felt all too obvious. But then what of the others? Where did their descendants lie, if they still lived?

The legend stated that titans once ruled, guiding and protecting humans. One day a human king befriended the lonely female warrior, and she bore his children, together she learnt to build rather than destroy and built a kingdom together where human and Titan were equal, unlike the oppressive rules of the growing human nations. Eventually the other titans fought back against the humans and died. She refused to harm humans anymore, as she fell in love with a human who died long before she faced death. It was said that in face of death, she walked with life, and together the two saw the true essence of what it meant to live. And when she was torn apart by her foes, her life faded by choice, to be reborn in another child, as her husband had been and in every life they would meet again, to fall for one another, in the perfect love, until the end of all life. All titans would be gifted this same change, and the children of these ancient kings’ children were born as humans, not giants. As for the children she had, when their kingdom fell, it sank into the ocean, taking its secrets with them, but the humans and titans fled to the land which became Yosmad. Another legend said that only with the nine who built the world, will it rise again.

 

“One would think it would be known that there was a giant Titan wandering around, I mean surely that’d kill the mother?” Hange had once said, bottle in their hand.

“Well perhaps they resemble a normal Titan until they transform, like my brother, in which they take the true form of a giant. But Braun is always covered in armour, and his sister isn’t.” He had suggested, while buttoning up his shirt and combing his hair back into place.

The action made Hange laugh. The moon shining down upon them… perfectly.

“Or maybe we’re wasting our time?”

“Possibly, but at least we have fun doing so.”

 

“Zeke.” Eren muttered, blinking him back from reminiscing. 

Zeke cleared his throat and fixed the glasses resting on the bridge of his nose. “Eren… when did you get back?”

“Three days ago.”

“Did you…” He looked around, Hange had left the room. 

“No, not a sign that there had ever been anyone other than the king and queen living there.”

“As for the tunnels?”

“Yeah, I checked. You’re right. I had someone sketch the whole thing before disposing of them. Though I made sure their remains were returned to their family.”

“Oh… May I see the sketch?”

“Only when you tell-“

“Eren, this is critical. I’m so close to understanding. Life has the power to change titans from giants to mere men! Surely… it can make them truly human?”

“What if Life isn’t a person, like you're suggesting? What if there is no cure?”

“THERE IS!” He slammed his fist into the table, making his bowl jump and cracking the wood. “There has to be a cure…” His voice was quieter now. “You have a condition, Eren, a disease, transmitted from parent to child. All I want is for you to be able to choose who you are.”

The irony of which wasn’t lost to Eren. Ordered around by his brother, made into his weapon, his word didn’t matter compared to that of his brother’s. He existed only to be used - so that in the future Eren would have a choice.

Eren opened the satchel over his shoulder and handed his brother the drawing. Zeke’s eyes lit up, he rapidly folded it into his pocket and raced to his feet, Eren rolling his emerald eyes at his brother’s excitement and followed him as he raced through their ‘laboratory’. Dancing from room to room until they reached a circular room which spiraled upward, a castle towel; just like the entire facility, a long since abandoned castle left to Hange. Leaping onto a ladder, Zeke climbed up the bookshelves, running his hand along the spines of books and counting until he ripped one out and flicked through the pages, nodding. His eyes wide, electricity crackling behind them.

“Hey, genius. Verbally, please.” Eren groaned.

The sketch was that of a doorway, one deep within the tunnels. It held a cup, made of solid gold. Carved into the rock which held the cup was a set of hands, nine hands. Each with slit wrists dripping blood down into the cup. 

“The blood of the nine! That’s what this means, Eren, this is a clear sign.”

“Or it could have nothing to do with us.”

“It could, but fuck you, let me be excited!” Zeke grinned like a wild animal. 

Speaking of wild animals, the door to the towel shot open, Hange’s leg raised on the other side, like they’d kicked down the door. Though they lacked the strength to do so. Gabi was standing behind them.

“ZEKE! SHE’S HERE!”






Armin paused, his eyes looking around at the forest space ahead of them. It had been three days since the incident. Annie wouldn’t speak, verbally or nonverbally. He’d be worried that she wasn’t eating, but that was no different to normal. The wounds on her neck had closed, but over her nape had scarred. She was putting a healthy distance between him and her, as if all of a sudden she’d become a giant again. Armin’s mind raced, what could possibly be the reason for such a dramatic change? But right now, Armin knew he couldn’t stop and debate these ideas, he had to protect Annie. He a deaf… girl… pretending to be a man. He felt sick to his stomach. With little choice in clothing his body felt more exposed, his breasts pressed against the fabric of the tunic, nipples grinding against it as he moved, the lack of anything between his legs when the wind kicked up the lower half or he stopped to relieve himself. He. No…

She…

She’d been in this state since Annie had rescued her, the titans who looked her over and bandaged her wounds had left her naked, to them they saw nothing wrong with it, but seeing her body for the first time in years filled her with grief, despite everything, she was still she. 

The lack of noise was… something she had to adjust to as well, she could feel a stick crunching beneath her bare feet, her stomach growling, her heart beating, but he couldn’t hear those noises. He couldn’t hear if he was in danger, couldn’t hear Annie’s impossible voice.

“Armin?” Annie asked softly, to no response. Remembering, she reached out and put a hand on his shoulder, pulling him from his depressive musings.

He turned.

[You’re tired, let me carry you.] She said, using her hands to make the necessary movements. Their language.

“I’m fine.” He yelled, he couldn’t hear himself, he had no idea what his voice sounded like. Annie flinched. “Sorry…” He whimpered, seeing her response.

[It’s fine. You can’t hear yourself can you?]

[No.] He responded the same way, would this be his future?

[Don’t worry, you’ll get your hearing back.] She put on a brave face for him.

[Annie… we need to talk about it.] His face was stern.

Annie looked away softly, her face dropping.

He reached forward for her face, tilting it back to him.

[Did you know?]

[Of course n-]

He grabbed her hands.

“Did you know?”

[NO.] She finished, sternly, and seriously.

He nodded. [Once we’ve found somewhere safe, we’ll discuss it, because… we can’t just ignore it.]

She nodded, and he turned and continued walking, and then she answered his question.

“Yes, I knew.”





“She’s beautiful.” The men crowded around her, inspecting her, prodding and poking her, feeling her body. If she was a normal girl, someone would object to a bunch of old men feeling up a naked girl, least of all in front of her father.

“And you say she wasn’t born like this?”

“No, originally she looked like any other titan, then she changed.”

“Changed?”

“Changed.”

“Most interesting. We had a very similar scenario in our own kingdom. But if I remember correctly your royal blood doesn't activate till puberty, correct?”

“Yes, the traits aren’t noticeable at first. If you’d believe it, she had her mother’s midnight black hair just yesterday. But you said you had something similar?”

“Yes, she was like a normal titan, until her teeth changed and she grew claws.”

“Like a beast?”

A few of them chuckled.

“Oh no, far more terrifying.”

“What’s her name? Her name is-”



Annie bolted upright. She was sweating. She looked around and spotted Armin’s spot in the cave, it was empty. She jumped to her feet, heart pounding, body sparking, which only heightened her stress. She rushed to the edge of the cave, hearing the sound of a splash. There had been a large lake in the forest that they’d set up camp at. She spotted Armin’s rags near the water, and then the blonde haired human in the lake. The moon shining down on them in the cold dark liquid. Their face downcast and broken. Annie sighed, looking at her hand; the same one she caught Armin in, and then ran her hand down her neck, shivering when she ran her fingers over her nape. She’d always reacted like that when touching it but… this was different. Armin had told her what he saw, the giant titans stepping over the city. He wasn’t sure if there were as many as he thought, he was terrified out of his mind, several times when he looked up, he saw the devil himself, not a giant titan. Annie knew there was something special about her… but…

She stood up, and walked over to the water, tossing a stick in to catch Armin’s attention, who covered their exposed chest with a crimson blush.

[I’m going to try something, want to come with?]

[Try?]

[Yeah… just… just a thought. But first back to the cave if we’re doing this.]

Armin nodded reluctantly and stepped out of the water, hiding something Annie didn’t mind seeing. Not like she hadn’t seen him undressed, or anyone for that matter, she was a stripper after all. Back in the cave, she pulled him into her arms, her warm body drying him as she hugged him. His body tensed, his exposed flesh being held. Her… her exposed flesh, she tried to shake the idea from her mind as Annie’s hands cupped her chest, her feet folded and went between her thighs to hide her womanhood. As if… Annie understood the fight within their mind. Then tilting her head up, she pushed her hands forward so Armin would only see her hands.

[Hey, we’re both struggling with our body right now. You told me, a few days after we met, that I was just a special human, not a devil. You told me I was normal, the same as you. Is that still true?]

“Of course Annie…”

[Well… regardless of what’s between your legs, on your chest, it's what’s here that matters.] She poked his forehead, and then his chest, where his heart would be. [You told me I was who I wanted to be, a normal girl. You want to be a man? I think you are one, after all, your name is Armin, that doesn’t sound like a girl’s name.]

 

She reached into their limited supplies and pulled forth some bandages, and one strip at a time, wrapped them around Armin’s chest, tying it back, flattening it between the layers, and trapping it; making sure it couldn’t move, and Armin couldn’t see it.

[If it makes you feel better, no titan men have penises.] She joked, making Armin chuckle. [And I prefer you without one, no penis has ever done anything good for me.]

 

They sat for a while, Armin drying off within the girl’s arms, her intense heat drying him hours ago, but still they sat. Hand in hand now. Whatever Annie had planned, it could wait till the morning, right?




Eren glanced at Zeke, he was rubbing a ring on his hand very frantically, Hange busy trying to tidy him up. Personality wise, Hange the more wild and messy one, and yet Zeke was physically the more feral of the two. And hairy too, Eren often thought of him like a big monkey.

“They said yes?” Eren asked, glancing down at his brother’s ring once Hange had stopped fussing over his appearance.

“Yes, it was only natural after all.”

“Did you two…?”

“We aren’t having a ceremony, it takes too much time and effort.”

“Aww, but ceremonies are the best part of getting married.” Gabi whined.

“Gabi, where is your brother?” One of the other scientists asked, noticing the lack of an elephant sized man in the room.

“He’s not here?”

Rapid muttering broke out throughout the ten other scientists. Reiner was the poster child of their guild. Eren was… unfortunately very human looking; which in all other situations would have been great, but the concept of having a naked man be their image was a bit… questionable, so instead the organically armoured brute was their icon, so for him not to be here today…

“Relax, we still have two verbal titans here.” Hange calmed the other scientists.

“Wasn’t what I was asking.” Eren murmured.

“Hm?” Zeke raised a confused eyebrow.

“Well, have you fucked yet?”

 

The door swung open, as Zeke staggered backwards, face crimson and eyes wide.

“EREN! WHAT THE FU- Y-You’re majesty!” Zeke gasped, even more crimson upon spotting the woman looking at him, he immediately kneeled as did everyone in the room, except for Eren. Everyone stared at Eren in the mixture of abject horror and confusion. The Queen’s Guards glared at him, but she simply laughed.

“Eren, always the jokester.”

“Well everyone got all formal, it was annoying.”

“Bow to the queen, titan.”

“He has a name, and it is Eren.” She said softly, silencing her guards. “And he is a friend.”

Zeke’s eyes spun rapidly between his smirking brother and the giggling queen. 

“H-How?”

“What? I have a social life.”

“Unfortunately Eren, this is not a social call.” The Queen’s jovial attitude vanished instantly, even managing to make the titan unsteady. “Zeke Jaeger, Hange Zoë, if I remember correctly you noted in your research an interesting ability only documented in the two verbal adult titans, correct?”

“You majesty… some clarification, we’ve noted many fascinating phenomena!” Hange beamed, glasses fogging up in the process.

“Correct… I believe you referred to it as Shifting.”

 

Zeke paused, he hadn’t published his findings on that yet, worried it’d draw too much attention to his work with Eren and Reiner. Did...Hange…?

“The act of the verbal titans being able to dramatically enlarge themselves?”

“Yes… it appears we aren’t the only nation to have noticed this.”

 

The room fell silent. Sweat ran down Eren’s face.

“That sounds like an accusation.” Growled the titan. Gabi looked up at him in confusion.

“It isn’t an accusation, unless it should be? The matter is… The Alimer Empire has fallen, and significant regions of Elswire are under siege from Talos.”

“Talos? But if I remember correctly…”

“You don’t have to, the army they lack plays no role in this, reports say a giant titan is leading the siege of the lands, bringing with it an army of other giant titans with it.”

“Do...Do we have any specific details about this titan?”

“It reportedly has rows of razor sharp teeth, not unlike Eren.”

THAT sounds like an accusation.”

“Zeke, I will trust you on this, and ask for your honest word, because personally I do not believe Hange capable of this.” They were certainly capable of publishing papers without his permission, Zeke thought. “Are you playing some role in this, as Eren is frequently leaving the safety of our nation with your permission, so I have to question-”

“The two matters are entirely unrelated. When Eren leaves he is delivering money and food to our home village, reparations for what… our presence did there.” He muttered solemnly.

“Good.” The queen relaxed, smiling softly. “I was concerned, especially since they’ve changed directions, and are now sieging land in our direction.”

“Wait, Talos would be foolish to engage in a war with two nations, especially with it’s pitiful military, even with a giant titan!” One of the scientists objected.

Hange nodded. “Which could mean the titan is entirely unrelated and the military is just taking advantage of it.”

“But then would a rogue titan be conquering territory?” Gabi asked, raising an eyebrow. “What’s their endgame?”

“Talos has titan slavery, correct?”

“Yes, they're the single worst nation for titan treatment.” Eren snarled, steam leaving his mouth. “Elswire is a middle-ground nation in terms of it’s titan treatment, due to its nature as a series of free states and cities, banded together by a council. Some places have near equal rights, some have slavery, some titans are euthanised at birth.”

“But, I don’t think their titan treatment is the reason. Elswire, Talos, Yosmad, Alimer, four of the nine most powerful nations in the world.” The Queen mused. “Though I’ll admit the Alimer reports are slightly different, but that nation fell first.”

“Fell?”

“Yes, it’s capital city was flattened, and every major city was torn apart in the days that followed.”

“But that still doesn’t explain the change in direction-” Eren’s eyes widened, his body sparked and then he let out a distorted scream of pain, falling to the floor in sheer agony.



Meanwhile, back at his home, Reiner too doubled down in pain, gripping the back of his neck, the same way and time Eren did to, holding their hands over their napes as they screamed. Gabi felt a dull throbbing pain but nothing major. Mikasa ran to Reiner’s side, eyes wide in terror. Gabi and the other humans stared at Eren in confusion. Then it clicked in Zeke’s mind.

Eren had done this before, when Reiner first shifted into his enlarged form, Eren explained the feeling like a thousand bolts of electricity shooting directly through his spine

Something… or someone, had just shifted for the first time. And at this same time, miles away, Armin had attempted to throw himself down the mountainside, to end his suffering, only to be caught by Annie. 

Chapter Text

Annie concentrated, her mind trying its hardest to focus on the sensations she felt during that time. The pain and agony and fear, pure terror, she felt during her first transformation, hoping that somehow that would trigger the change again, but nothing. Three hours now she’d been trying her hardest. Of course Armin was plenty supportive of her efforts but… she could see in his eyes that… part of him definitely didn’t want her to succeed. But who could blame him? Some monster attacked the city and killed hundreds of people in front of Armin. She gave an exhausted sigh and stared up at the clouded sky. Her body feeding on the sunlight. How long had they been on the road now? A few weeks? Months? She couldn’t count, so she had no idea. Armin’s hair was getting pretty long now. His clothes, threadbare. Annie abandoned clothes a while ago, instead offering them to Armin to keep them warm. Her high body heat was enough for her. But she could see Armin’s breath, she knew he was struggling with the cold, and out in the forests and fields, how on earth could he survive?

 

So Annie concentrated again, she had to be able to defend him. She refused to be a crutch, a burden, another weight on his shoulders. That’s what she’d always been, this wide eyed child, this little girl who followed him around, who got involved in a job she shouldn’t have, who had to be walked home to be protected. He’d been looking out for her at risk for himself, and his reward? Dying of starvation with her. After several more hours of sheer willpower she screamed. Nothing was happening. Why?! Why couldn’t she do it? 

After screaming till her throat bled, she slumped down next to a tree, and looked across at Armin, fast asleep a gentle distance from her. Completely undisturbed by the noises around him. It hurt. Their thing was the fact that she could hold a conversation, that he could ask her opinion and it mattered, because she could give it verbally. Now, she might as well be mute, because they no longer share their voices.

“Armin… are you safer without me? I keep wondering if… if those titans attacked… looking for me? I’m… I’m more special than you realise Armin… but I don’t know what to do… I… I…” Tears steamed down her cheeks. “Do I leave you? So you are safe around other humans? Or stay so I can hear for you?”

Armin rolled slightly in his sleep. Turning away from her.

Softly, she nodded, standing up and making her way over to him. She pulled off his clothes and reapplied his bandages, tying them around his chest to flatten and suppress them. Then moving down to the spot between his legs, wrapping it with bandages to help hide it, before moving his clothes back onto himself.

“No matter what anyone else says, you’re a man, and the nicest one I’ve ever met. Armin…… I love you.”

 

Armin bolted upright, eyes snapping to attention as his head swivelled around. The trees swayed softly and he noticed most importantly, she was gone. At first, he didn’t panic, he woke up most mornings to her missing. Trying to unlock that power, collecting water or food, or just looking about. His chest hurt, and as he looked down, he noticed the bandages. Armin wanted to reject it, wanting to feel like a failure and suffer with his incorrect body but… part of him understood that this was Annie’s final gift. 

He walked for almost three hours, calling her name, and yet she didn’t appear, and by the time the sun rose, he knew he was truly alone.

 

He reached the end of the forest by the end of the week. His body properly on the mend now allowing him to cover more ground with less breaks. Though without something nice to look at, the presence of someone comforting by his side, it felt like a hollow achievement, just as hollow as his life felt. But not as hollow as the sight before him. At the edge of the forest, from maps he’d seen during his life, he knew there to be a series of villages and a large city; it was a bulk farming area of the empire. Generally where war rations were made. There was little value in taking or destroying it, at times of war, however this was not a war. It was a massacre. The villages were torn apart. Blood splattered up every wall, and the city, just as flattened. Like the city he grew up in, possibly like every single city in the world. What could one do against such reckless hate? What could he do?

 

So distracted by thoughts of hate, and grief, and disconnected from the world of sound, Armin never heard the sound of men creeping up behind him.





*

 

When Armin awoke again, he was laying on his side in some kind of prison cell. The ground was covered in straw. His head ached and felt sticky at the back. His legs were bound behind his back, same with his arms. He blinked and looked around at the darkness encompassing him, trying to tell apart his surroundings, when someone approached. A man, ruggedly handsome with blonde hair. His face showed that of a life of conflict and his muscular body stretched his shirt. A simple white shirt and brown pants, his boots looked worn. He knelt down before Armin and started speaking.

“Good, you’re awake, I was starting to get worried. You frightened the men, so they lashed out, but when you woke up you were particularly aggressive, you even bit me; so it’s why we had to resort to such archaic measures.” Armin could see him speaking, but couldn’t hear him. For all he knew this man could be reading him his last rights. “But hey, guess it's a good sign, you’ve got plenty of life in you! Some of the folks we find are pretty… dead to rights… well; let's get you untied.”

He reached forward with a knife and Armin’s eyes widened, he began squirming and whimpering behind the gag placed in his mouth.

“Woah…Woah calm down, I’m just gonna untie you, like I said…” He opened his hands calmly, offering a reassuring smile.

Armin continued to squirm away, moving into the back corner of the prison cell. The ground shook softly, alarming him. Armin’s body felt like it was in motion constantly.

“Can… you hear me?” He asked, and Armin gave no response. “Oh… I gotcha… you aren’t the first.”

He placed the knife onto the ground and pushed it towards Armin and raised his hands in surrender. Armin couldn’t grab it, but he clearly meant it as a sign he meant no harm. Once Armin seemed to acknowledge it, he returned and picked up the knife and effortlessly cut open his bonds.

Then he offered his hand to help Armin stand. The vibrations of the dim metal room made it hard for Armin to make it to his feet, but with the help of the man, it was easily done. Gently holding onto the boy’s hand, he pulled him out of the prison cell and towards a door. Armin could feel the rush of wind from beyond the metal door. The man twisted a circular hand and pulled it open, daylight flooded into the room and Armin saw his surroundings blur around him as whatever he was on moved at high speeds. Though Armin didn’t know this at the time, he was on a high speed train. One which had been retrofitted into a settlement. The carriages are divided into homes by curtains, if you consider sleeping on the floor and basic privacy the makeup of a home. The man led him through the carriages, stopping occasionally to speak to the residents. Most of the hollowed out carriages had three ‘homes’ in them, some managed to squeeze four in. Eventually they reached a carriage where the door was metal and another circular seal. Separating that carriage from the others was an open platform. He turned open the door and stepped inside, still leading Armin by the hand. Inside was what seemed to be an animal storage carriage, but lacking in the animals. Tables and chairs had been set up in the far side, with shelves constructed making a makeshift bar area. 

“Ymir.” The man called out, causing a girl to poke her head out of one of the animal pens. 

“What?” She looked less than pleased to be called on. Her skin was tanned and her hair dark and cut short. But upon her face were twin scars stretching across her mouth, making it appear elongated into a smile. The wounds were shoddy like they were manually inflicted by someone who didn’t know what they were doing. She had a baggy sleeveless white shirt, and brown pants which had been torn at the knees into shorts, their feet were bare. 

“This is our latest rescue, they can’t hear us, would you mind translating for us?” He said it in a way which was very clearly not a question, but an order.

She rolled her amber eyes and began to… use the same hand symbols that Armin and Annie used?! Armin’s head spun, Annie had taught him that secret language and yet… This random girl knew it?

“Hello, my name is Erwin Smith, welcome to the Railroad. Specifically Rose, that’s the name given to this train; one of three, Rose, Maria, Sina. These trains are running rescue operations across the three tracks, visiting any major cities or towns along the way to try and find survivors; as for our destination, that lies in the last city in the former empire. It used to be a very corrupt place, the nobles in charge of it abusing their people, but when the empire fell and the protection of the crown vanished, I led my soldiers into a coup d'etat against my own masters. But when the dust settled, they still looked to me to lead, a role I have taken until proper rule and law can be settled. I can tell just by looking at you that you’re one of us, the blonde hair and blue eyes give it away. This here is Ymir, as you can tell she isn’t a native of our land; however we found her injured and left for dead and took her in, and she’s been pretty useful to our efforts. Now, what’s your name?”

“Armin… Armin Arlert.”

“Arlert… trade guild?”

“Same family, but not personally.”

“I see. Well Armin, we’ve currently out of rooms aboard, but you’re free to remain in my living quarters until we arrive in the city, should be another two days, ask Ymir any questions you might have.” Ymir quickly signed “Don’t” after he said that, deadly serious. “Now if you’ll excuse me.” and with that, he walked to the other end of the carriage, and stepped out of it, closing the door behind him.

He missed Annie…









*

 

It was raining, Annie was sitting under a tree, watching lightning crackle in the trees above. Her arm was bleeding, ending in a stump where she’d cut her own hand off. She knew it’d regrow perfectly fine, she thought that maybe the pain would trigger a transformation. But nothing could match the pain in her heart. She slammed her head down into her arms. She should never had left.

Chapter Text

The rumbling of the train could be felt, even if he couldn’t hear it. He stood out on the flat section before Erwin’s quarters and stared at the world moving past him. It reminded him of how the ground shook when those giant titans destroyed his home around him. He felt sick. He’d already vomited twice already, once emptying his stomach and the other bringing up nothing but his stomach lining. He didn’t even notice Ymir joining him, she made no effort to make herself known to him. Not that he minded all that much. Honestly his mind was still racing in the events of the recent days. From the death of everyone he had ever known, to Annie abandoning him and finally being kidnapped. He honestly didn’t have the capacity for anything else. He just needed the time to work things through.

 

He opened his mouth, allowing a shaky breath to fill his lungs. What would Erwin do with the people he now leads? They wouldn’t survive against other nations if they tried to rebuild themselves as a kingdom. Their only hope in his eyes was to appeal for mercy from whichever kingdom would give them the most pity.

He was ripped from his thoughts when Ymir tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to see Erwin standing in the doorway.

“Can we talk?” Ymir signed, her hands speaking for Erwin.

“Sure…” He lied. He desperately did not want to speak but… he couldn’t exactly say no to the man who kidnapped him. 

Armin stepped into the carriage behind them and they sat down around a table. Ymir planted her bare feet up on said table while Erwin poured him some tea.

“Can I ask something?” Armin murmured.

“Of course.”

“How… how did you know about…?”

“The hand signs? Ymir prefers to speak through them, in fact she actually only releases her voice to me alone. And, there was a piece of paper in your belongings which informed us.”

“A piece of… Annie…” He caught his breath. Erwin offered him an intrigued glance.

“As for the specifics of why you know this language the same as Ymir, I cannot answer that. Ymir is… reluctant to share personal information. But this is getting off topic. I wanted to ask you about this.” Erwin then revealed and placed on the table everything Armin had on the titans, his stuff. “We investigated the ruins of the capital and found something rather interesting, and these notes bear the same handwriting as some of the ones you carry on you. I am a scholarly man Armin, the thirst for knowledge is something I can relate to intensely. You have an archive here, texts and theories which are wild and interesting. The world watched in silence as giants crushed our homes, now it's up to us to pick up the pieces and solve this mystery, before anywhere else discovers how to do this. Armin, do you have any idea how giant titans appeared out of nowhere?”

 

Lightning struck. The force of the explosion ignited her blood into blue flames and knocked Armin over the cliff. He screamed out in fear, but the noise was cut short as he felt the hot ground beneath him, but upon opening his eyes, the true horror of it was revealed. He was sat in Annie’s hand, her giant hand, connecting to her now huge body, 14 metres tall to be precise. At first Armin thought he’d shrunk, but upon looking at his surroundings, the opposite was clear. Annie was massive. The pain triggered this somehow.

 

That is what had happened. Annie could do it. Perhaps any titan could? The one with all the teeth that he saw, it wasn’t fleshless like Annie. Perhaps only titans that could talk?

 

“Armin, do you have any idea how giant titans appeared out of nowhere?”

“...No.”







Annie wasn’t her name. It had been the name of her doll. But when he asked her name, she had no answer to give. She knew she couldn’t use her real name, her father had told her not to. And yet, her father had also said that things would make sense once she was older. Yet here she was, alone, and more confused than ever. Lost and alone, she decided to return home. All the way home. Back through those ruined gates, to the broken districts and up to the flattened royal palace. She could see the little blonde haired girl running around happily in her new dress. Oblivious to how the maids cursed her, her mother threatened to slaughter her, and her father struggled for her life. Her father… she wondered what might have happened to him after she left. Who had been coming for her? And why?

No… she knew why. She was special. A titan of royal blood. There was something important about that. Something very important. She shifted through the rubble, attempting to reconstruct the layout and rooms of her family home, not noticing as sword fragments severed toes or she stepped over crow-eaten piles of flesh. She didn’t notice the sun nor moon, she just dug. Soon enough there was a pile of stone forming a crown upon the mountain. Father had once told her that every king sat upon a mountaintop throne. They were so high up because they had to reach something… something up in the clouds, in the heavens.

“Well well well… look what we’ve got boys? A devil whore scavenging!” Someone growled behind her, but she ignored them continuing to look for what she needed to find

“You deaf bitch? We’re talking to you!”

Annie continued to ignore them. Though admittedly they were starting to annoy her.

“Dumb bimbo can’t fucking hear us. Or maybe she’s just too fucking stupid to notice.

She reached between her legs and slashed herself with her finger nail, letting out excess water stored inside her body, as if she was urinating. A simple sign of disrespect.

 

That was when the sword plunged straight through her stomach, sending blood splattering over the rubble as hands gripped her throat. 

Now, she was pissed.

She spun around, his blade cutting through half of her hips until she was facing him, and she brought her head back to headbut him, causing him to stagger back. Four men, all dressed in solen armour. One had a bow.  She ran towards him, plunging her fist into his stomach with enough force to cause blood to gush out his mouth, and nearly sent him plummeting off the mountaintop. A man swung his sword but she dodged it using the hole in her body, steam hissing out as she healed, shielding her body from visibility somewhat.  He swung again and she grabbed it between her palms and with a quick motion yanked it from his hands and snapped it. But she continued to spin until her foot came up and collided with his neck, but it didn’t slow her down, her moment continued until it tore head from neck.

“HOLY FUCK!” One of the men swore, and she went straight for him next, repeating her treatment to the archer, but this time with enough force that her blood soaked hand was visible on the other side.

 

Then she calmly turned and faced the other two. The archer shook as he held his drawn bow. The first man, having recovered his senses, punched her in the face. This atleast staggered her, giving him the time to swing towards her throat. She deftly evaded it, but it did slit open her throat. She swung herself, letting scalding blood spray in his direction, forcing him backwards as she ran towards the archer and leapt into the air and slammed her leg down over his skull, with a painful crunch. But, the moment she landed, the air felt hot. The whole world became still. She could feel pressure on her neck, on the back of it. A blade being swung against her nape. Her life, milliseconds away from ending. She glanced upwards at the stars, seeing a wave of light dancing across the clouds, and far into the distance. She could see them waiting for her on the other side of that light. Her father, her Armin. No, she wouldn’t die here. Not while she had to find them both. She had been a fool for leaving him, even if she thought she was protecting him. Knowing who she was, she knew how to keep him safe. One place, one kingdom. She would find him, and then she’d take him there. 

 

“Historia! Historia! Listen to me! I’m sorry my child, I have tried to protect you from this world, but I can’t, I can’t protect you. Not from them, not anymore. To me, you are my impossible child, an angel sent from God, but others believe you to be the spawn of the devil. They want me to kill you, and burn your body. I will never, but you must leave, and make sure nobody sees you. Get into the city, get to the titan district. You’ll be relatively safe there. You are a titan of royal blood, the last titan of royal blood. With you, the world can begin and end, with but a drop of your blood, the world could be made right. I wished to spare you from this, I wished to keep you here, and happy. But… you must’ve worried, you mustn't cry. Armour, Attack. They will come and find you. You must go with them. Unite the nine. It’s the only way to stop him, my daughter.”

“Stop who, d-daddy?”

“The devil… NOW RUN!”

 

Yes, that had been his last words… that had been her name once. Her destiny once. But… she just wanted to be Annie… to be his Annie… For the first time it felt like the whole world loved her, the first time he looked at her. Hiding underneath that house.

 

The blade sunk into the back of her neck. The steam stopped instantly and her blood ignited into blue flames. Lightning struck her and when the steam cleared, she was 14 metres tall and holding the man in her giant hands.

“W…WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU?!”

“My name is Annie.” And she squeezed until he popped.

She knew who she was. But she had the right to choose who she would be, until that day.

 

Why had she come home? What had she hoped to find?

 

Peace.

 

Out of the stones she built a grave for her father. She knew he was dead, but she wanted to know why he had to die. And once it was built, she picked up the doll. It had been kept, after all this time. A child’s toy with blonde hair. She had named it Annie.

 

At last, she had managed to say goodbye to her father, and she understood one key thing about her power. If her life was endangered, that feeling, of being seperated from Armin, that would unleash it. And assuming the form again, she leapt from the mountain, her giant legs shaking the ground as they carried her towards where she had left him, and the world beyond.

Chapter Text

Eren hated the idea of walls. 

And his nation was surrounded by them.

 

He stood atop them, Gabi sat on his shoulders, telling him all about the journey. It was her first visit to the wall. But him? He wasn’t listening. His eyes were cast out over the landscape. Something had happened last night. Reiner’s unusual silence during training that morning meant he’d felt it too. Obviously he informed Zeke, who frankly didn’t seem to care. He was still pouring over the notes stolen from the archive and every piece of information he could find. He was looking for someone. That was obvious. But whenever Eren tried to ask, it always seemed to be a bad time.

 

Eren hated walls because while some see them as a sign of safety and protection, to him, they’ve always been like prison walls. Keeping him trapped. It’s why it brought a true smile to his face, to be able to step over them.

 

“Eren… when do you think I’ll be able to go big like you and Reiner?”

“Hmm… that depends.”

“On what?”

“Your willingness to fight.”

“Why would I have to fight?”

“...Everyone has to at some point.”




“It’s not a curse, it’s a disease Eren, a medical condition. I know I can cure it. It’s nothing more than a birth defect. And when I find the cure, no child will ever have to suffer as you did.”

That had been Zeke’s promise of freedom. A declaration of war against Eren’s very birth. At the time Eren was amazed, overjoyed. But now? Now it felt… wrong. If he wasn’t a titan he never would have met Gabi and Reiner, Mikasa would still be a slave, and so many friends he had now he’d have never met. Perhaps he wasn’t cursed, but he certainly wasn’t sick. As far as he was concerned now, he was exactly who he was meant to be.



“Is that where you and Reiner go? To fight?”

“We’re trying to stop the fighting, before it happens.”

 

“Eren. Don’t go filling her head with nonsense.” Reiner grumbled, his shock of white hair visible as he climbed up onto the side of the wall.

“Hey Gabi, want to know where babies come from?”

“Eren-”

“I’m joking.” He chuckled, knowing just how to get under his… armour.

Gabi blinked in confusion.

“When you’re older. Speaking of which, why don’t you go with Mikasa to the market? I need to discuss something with Eren.”

Gabi climbed down from his shoulders reluctantly and obeyed her brother. Rushing off down into the interior of the wall.

“Orders?” 

“From the queen herself.”

“Let me guess… elimination.”

“Don’t know how she expects us to do that… where would we even start? Slaughtering our own kind outside the wall until we find them?”

“I imagine they’ll turn up eventually. But, truth be told, I did actually want to speak to you too.”

“Hm?”

“About last night… you felt it didn’t you.” It wasn’t a question.

“Given the spark and now this… you don’t think…?”

“First you, then me, then the target and now whoever else… That's clearly four. Four very distinct titans.”

“...The nine you mean?”

“You saw it right, the first time you enlarged, right? That tree?”

“Yes… thought I’d hardly call it a tree…”

“Point is, there were eight branches when I saw it.”

“Seven.”

“Wanna bet there’s nine now?”

“Fuck…” The implications were… catastrophic. “Let me guess, you want to go find her?”

“It might take us years to find one random titan, but her… it’d be pretty easy to find her in a crowd.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Just… something Zeke said once… that we always meet the people we’re destined to.”

“Soulmates?”

“Nothing like that… I’m talking more… fate. Everyone has an ultimate destination.”

“Yeah… and I don’t like ours… you didn’t give Zeke what we found did you?”

“No, Mikasa has it. I don’t trust Hange enough to give it to Zeke.”

“So I’m not the only one who felt that way? Good. Besides… if the map is to be believed, it means the spine is… right beneath the castle.”

“How are we going to break the mission to Gabi?”

“We aren’t, she’s coming with us, Queen’s orders. We should bring Mikasa too, she’s not safe on her own, and we can’t let her anywhere near the nerds.”

Eren laughed, it was a nice noise.

“Fair enough.”

Then there were a few moments of silence between the two men, just staring at each other, in quiet respect. 

“Do you love her?” Reiner finally broke the silence.

“Mikasa?”

“Yes.”

Eren looked away, thinking. Eren didn’t trust easy, nor did he love easy. He’d been betrayed before. He won’t play his hand until he knows he’s playing with friends.

“I do.” He admitted. “Though… I’m not completely sure if it’s a romantic love or not… I just… see a lot of myself in her.”

“I’v e noticed you call her your Avis inclusas, it’s cute.”

Eren’s cheeks flushed and he looked away harder.

“Shut it.”

Reiner chuckled, it was a rough and gravelly sounding noise. But it was still fairly pleasant. 

 

Avis inclusas; caged bird.



Mikasa blinked. They’d taken her collar off. The chain was no longer squeezing her throat. The blindfold had been removed too.

“She’s genuine?”

“Yes. 100% it's why the price is so damn high. So, why do you want it? Got a taste for exotic whores?”

“Well she’s one of them orientals, right? People will pay a pretty penny to see her.”

“You’re paying me a pretty penny, remember.”

“Look at that, sea green and ocean blue. So, just to check, where did you find her?” He got close to her cage bars, she blinked at him softly, tilting her head in confusion. She didn’t understand half of what the two men were discussing.

“Out in the woods, there were two of them, mother and child. Mother came at my men with a knife, they’re selling her for parts since she had to be put down. The girl here just sat and watched in confusion. She cried after a while, but that wasn’t nearly as bad as the singing.”

“Singing?”

“Every night she sings in that nonsense language of hers, sings herself to sleep.”

“She can’t speak?”

“She seems to understand us a little, but speaking like us is something she can’t do. Though I’d prefer that, don’t want scum like her thinking she’s human.”

“Well the price seems worth it, a little bit of makeup and maybe one of those oriental outfits on her, we can make up this lie she’s a princess.”

“Yeah, there was another one, but she got away from us, nasty bitch, killed three of my guys on her own.”

“Hmm well if you find her too I’ll name you a price depending on the quality of the good.”

“I think the boys will want to break her first.”

“Heh, poor shit.”



“Come one! Come all! Welcome to the circus of mysteries! Bizarre animals! Exotic food! Devil whores! And a gem from a lost civilization! The last of her kind! A SPIRIT! NEITHER DEATH! NEITHER LIFE!”

Mikasa tugged on the kimono softly. It was dark with red patterns. It mimicked the one her mother always wore. But it wasn’t. The men had ripped that one apart when they killed her and took off their pants. She watched them… doing whatever they did to her, but she never really understood what they were doing. But they seemed to enjoy it. One of them tried to do that to her too, but another stopped them. How long had it been since then? A few years? The robe was parted enough to allow almost a complete view of her chest. It was short enough that it just barely covered her modesty. The night air was cold and the metal of her cage froze her to the touch. Her hair was long enough now to trail down her to the floor. 

She made a soft noise, tugging on the chain collar around her throat. A circus hand came over with a bucket of water and gently brought it to her lips, he reached forward and softly stroked her hair while she drank. Treating her like livestock. Well cared for livestock. But an animal nonetheless.

“Good girl.” The handler praised as he continued to pet her.

She made a gentle noise once more and the bucket was parted from her lips and the cage was covered in a cloth. Someone or something then picked it up and began to carry it. At first this had startled her, but by now she was used to this. She could hear the cheers and comments of the crowds. She couldn’t understand what they were saying but she knew she didn’t have to, her limited understanding of their language meant she could obey and when she obeyed, she was treated well. The cage was placed down and the front of the cloth lifted, the gate opened and her chain unhooked from the cage. She stepped forward into the larger barred room. Just a bigger display cage. Her collar was released and the door behind her shut. The great red curtain around it was then lifted. Exposing the pale girl to the audience. Many who gasped in surprise at her. There was a lot of muttering and she glanced nervously about, all the eyes upon her in that moment. Comments on her skin colour, hair colour, how pale she was, and then of course her eyes, which always seemed to shine in the lights of the circus. So, she began her show.






“I’m going too?!” Gabi cried in amazement.

“Calm down.” Reiner shushed her. “The queen wants you to come along, she wants to see if you’ll manifest abilities like mine when pushed into a real situation. Plus, you’ve got first aid training and that might come in handy if we have to deal with any humans.”

The young brunette titan jumped with excitement and Reiner rolled his eyes, he couldn’t deny his sister’s antics were adorable. “Yeah, but don’t expect me to let you rush off to fight enemies. You’re my little sister before anything else. I’d sacrifice anything to keep you safe.”

“That’s not very soldier-like.” Eren said

“I’m not a soldier.” Reiner grunted. “I’m a warrior.”

Chapter Text

“So?”

“They’ve made decent progress, should we be concerned?”

“They know nothing so far, I don’t even think they understand what they’ve stumbled upon.”

“And your disguise, Warhammer?”

“Ministers I assure you.” They pushed up their glasses. “Nobody suspects a thing. Though I’d rather not resort to such crude methods as this, it is effective nonetheless.”

“And your hunt for the Adaptive Titan?”

“It’s not much of a hunt. There’s only five places she could possibly be, and I’m at the most important. She'll turn up eventually.”

“Very well then, but I hope you don’t get too infected with your role.”

“Me? This is the fifth life you’ve had me live. I know how to not get caught.”

“We’re only asking as this is the first time you’d married someone in your false lives.”

“Harder to seem like a traitor when you’ve got something to lose.”

“Very well, Warhammer, continue your work, and ensure the fragments aren’t found.”

“I’ll slaughter anyone who comes close.”



They sighed, letting the flesh fall away onto the floor. Exposing their body to the cold night air. The raw muscle steamed and they smiled. Movement, a sword manifested in their hand, long enough that the tip poked into the throat of the person.

“B-Begging your pardon.”

“These are my personal chambers, I asked not to be disturbed.”

“I…I understand that… but we have a new mission for you.”

“Is this directive to overlap my current one or replace it?”

“Overlap. You’ve no doubt heard of the recent attacks?”

“Yes. You wish for me to find the perpetrator?”

“And kill them.”

“Consider it done. I am God’s servant. I will depart in the morning. Is there anything else I am required for?”

“No, my lady.”

“Then would you please have the suit washed and purified?”

“Of course.”

The servant picked up the clothes and limp bundle of discarded flesh and carried it away, leaving them alone under the moon once again.

“Feeding them false information is so difficult thanks to that Zeke… he’s too smart for his own good… at least his obsession with a cure should keep him from the truth. My hands bleed with the lives my hammer has taken in your name, my lord, I hope that one day you would see it fit to let your servant back into Eden.”






They pulled the reins on their horse back, dragging it to a stop. Climbing down from it, they planted their hands into the soil and concentrated. In a flash of white light a flawless white spike emerged and split off like a small tree, before the branches combined into one, pointing in a direction. It was only a small tree, meaning the target was close. One again they removed their flesh, slinging it over the back of their steed before walking through the ruins. Indeed they found her. Bloodstained and smiling in a frenzy.

“Are you the Jaw Titan?”

No response. Their mouth was elongated and wide, filled with razor sharp teeth.

“That power did not belong to you. So I wonder, how did you get a hold of it?”

Silence.

“Talk, I know you can.”

“I know who you are. The Inquisition's secret weapon. Come to kill me?”

“In the name of the lord, yes.”

 

Lightning stuck them both simultaneously and their forms broke apart and enlarged. The raw muscle instead being replaced by a flawless white suit of hardened flesh, like armour. Broken apart into lined sections at the throat, mouth, eyes, and neck. It now stood at a staggering fifteen metres. Comparatively the other was only 5 metres tall, and remained locked onto all fours. However now its hands and feet ended in claws, and there were at least six rows of fangs within its maw. It surged forward, mouth wide, a deafening screech leaving its mouth, however regardless of its swiftness it could not match the brilliance of the Warhammer. Immediately out of the ground shot a colossal pillar of white, made of the same material as the Warhammer’s armour. The pillar was crowned in a spike which tore straight through the middle of the Jaw as it was blasted into the air. It’s blood and organs spilled out of the middle as it was bisected. White light coalesced at the hands of the titan and a longbow was formed in one hand, the other gripping a singular arrow.

“Miserabilis, vilis creatura, quae post mortem et mahemium concupiscit. Minas pacem Dei. Tuus belli malleus mundum evocet.”

The arrow was fired and pierced through the shoulder of the titan, the weight of it dragging it to the ground much quicker. The pitiful creature slammed into the ground with a wet thump and writhed in agony. Blood gushed out from where it’s body had been split. The bow returned to light which then reformed into a large warhammer.

“Requiesce in pace.”

They then brought the hammer down over the Jaw, slamming the spiked edge into their body, piercing holes through it and splattering blood over the landscape. They raised the hammer again, and brought it down again, and again, and again. The earthquaking impacts echoed for miles as the blood curdling screams of the Jaw too reverberated to the heavens. Perhaps it was begging for mercy? Perhaps calling out to God? There wasn’t enough of it’s skull left to make intelligent noises. The warhammer pulled their weapon away once more. Blood, sinue, and brain matter attaching the spikes still to the corpse before they too snapped and the weapon vanished. They then reached down, and gripped the side of their lower jaw, and ripped it out. Tossing it to the side, before checking the pulse. It was faint. Steam erupted from the titan and it dissolved back into the normal sized form. Brutalised, mouth torn open, and bleeding out.

“I do not kill, I leave time to thank God and beg for his mercy. Use that time.”

The Warhammer too dissolved and returned to its ordinary unarmoured form, and said nothing more, simply returning to their horse, dressing in their false flesh and clothes and saddling up.

 

As consciousness faded from the dying Jaw, she looked towards the horse, and studied every detail of the face they now wore. Swearing not to God, but to revenge. And darkness took them.

Chapter Text

The chanting continued, much to his dismay.

“Primo, cum Deus caelum et terram creavit, homo peccavit. Hoc peccatum orta est diaboli, antitheta Dei omnipotentis. Peccatum eius tantum erat ac validum, quod omnem virum, mulierem et puerum in nostra terra inficiebant. Misit ergo Deus diluvium magnum ut lavaret slate munda. Diabolus tamen alta adhuc stetit. Missus itaque Moyses, iussu domini sui, cum diabolo pugnauit; homicidium autem nolebat peccare sub mandato Dei. Sic diabolum pro occidendo; in quinque distribuit. Brachium sinistrum. Brachium dextrum. Reliquit Leg. Right Leg. Spina. Deus hanc levem condonavit ac Mosi remuneravit adiuvando ut populum suum a servitute liberaret. Sed diaboli sanguis in terram manavit et omnia infecit. Sic nati sanguine nati Titanis.”

Priests and bishops marching forward, calling out in the words of old, the words of the Church and Inquisition.

“Eren?” An excited voice said, causing him to stir from his negative musings to focus on the tall brunette bounding towards him, Hange. “I didn’t take you for the religious type.”

“I’m not.” He snarled, a gutteral animalistic noise escaping him. “Why would I worship a scripture written by old men saying I’m the child of the Devil. My parents weren’t perfect but I’d hardly call them the antithesis of God.”

“I suppose I get your meaning, however the text here is much more friendly to Titans, from my limited understanding of Latin. Though you seem to understand it more, what are they saying? You’re like a cat, with all its fur spiked up.”

“At first when God created heaven and earth, mankind sinned. This sin led to the birth of the Devil, the antithesis of God almighty. His sins were so great and mighty that they infected every man, woman, and child on our earth. So God sent the great flood to wash the slate clean. Yet the Devil still stood tall. So Moses, sent under the orders of his lord, did battle with the Devil; however was unwilling to sin with murder under the command of God. So instead of slaying the Devil; he divided it into five. Left Arm. Right Arm. Left Leg. Right Leg. Spine. God forgave this slight and rewarded Moses by helping to free his people from slavery. Yet the Devil's blood seeped into the earth and infected all. Thus, those that bear it's blood are born: Titans.”

“Wow, you caught all of that?” Hange’s eyes widened. “I just kinda heard owoooowooooloooowooooo.”

He chuckled and they smiled.

“You know, I’ve heard stories that Moses was a Titan too. Obviously the scripture says Titans didn’t appear till after the Angel of Death. But you’ve got to consider…”

“How was one man able to take down a Titan that even God’s flood couldn’t.”

“And then there’s that magic staff of his, parting the sea, performing miracles. What’s up with that?”

“Are you referring to the Warhammer Titan?” Eren tilted his head, the procession continued.

 

“Primo, cum Deus caelum et terram creavit, homo peccavit. Hoc peccatum orta est diaboli, antitheta Dei omnipotentis. Peccatum eius tantum erat ac validum, quod omnem virum, mulierem et puerum in nostra terra inficiebant. Misit ergo Deus diluvium magnum ut lavaret slate munda. Diabolus tamen alta adhuc stetit. Missus itaque Moyses, iussu domini sui, cum diabolo pugnauit; homicidium autem nolebat peccare sub mandato Dei. Sic diabolum pro occidendo; in quinque distribuit. Brachium sinistrum. Brachium dextrum. Reliquit Leg. Right Leg. Spina. Deus hanc levem condonavit ac Mosi remuneravit adiuvando ut populum suum a servitute liberaret. Sed diaboli sanguis in terram manavit et omnia infecit. Sic nati sanguine nati Titanis.”

 

“I might be.”

“The mythical hand of Christ, the Warhammer Titan? Said to be the angel that guarded the Garden of Eden? You think that Moses was the Warhammer Titan?”

“No, I believe he became the Warhammer Titan, that magic stick, clearly the hammer itself. Think about it, a Titan with biblical strength could easily part the seas, topple an empire-”

“Slay a giant?”

“Or at the very least split him up!”

Eren rolled his eyes.

“Okay genius, where are they?”

“Where’s what?”

“The parts of the Devil? There should be five giant skeletal parts well known by now.”

“Hmm… well if we take the concept of the kingdoms and look at how the four greatest and longest lasting were built upon colossal mountains. Perhaps you could assume that those mountains grew over the limbs.”

“Yeah, but that only means the limbs. What about the spine?”

“Ain’t that the thrilling mystery?! I know with a… 75% confidence. But I’m not going to spoil it for you!”

“What?”

“Trust me Eren, the fun’s only just starting!”




Eren bolted up. His eyes failed to adjust to the dark of the night. The fire had died out. He felt something clamped around his chest, and looking down, he could just vaguely make out the shape of Mikasa, cuddling into his body. Her robe was wrapped around their sleeping bag for extra warmth. Her bare human body squished into him. Soft. Fragile. And the other felt small and rough. Gabi. Which meant… Reiner was sleeping alone, ha. 

His chest was rising and falling rapidly. His heart was racing. Steam filtered out of his mouth. Why… Why was he so frightened?

 

“I imagine they’ll turn up eventually. But, truth be told, I did actually want to speak to you too.”

“Hm?”

“About last night… you felt it didn’t you.” It wasn’t a question.

“Given the spark and now this… you don’t think…?”

“First you, then me, then the target and now whoever else… That's clearly four. Four very distinct titans.”

“...The nine you mean?”

“You saw it right, the first time you enlarged, right? That tree?”

“Yes… thought I’d hardly call it a tree…”

“Point is, there were eight branches when I saw it.”

“Seven.”

“Wanna bet there’s nine now?”

“Fuck…” The implications were… catastrophic. “Let me guess, you want to go find her?”

“It might take us years to find one random titan, but her… it’d be pretty easy to find her in a crowd.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Just… something Zeke said once… that we always meet the people we’re destined to.”

“Soulmates?”

“Nothing like that… I’m talking more… fate. Everyone has an ultimate destination.”

“Yeah… and I don’t like ours… you didn’t give Zeke what we found did you?”

“No, Mikasa has it. I don’t trust Hange enough to give it to Zeke.”

“So I’m not the only one who felt that way? Good. Besides… if the map is to be believed, it means the spine is… right beneath the castle.”

 

So the story goes, there was once a Titan, singular in entity. Capital T Titan. It was larger than any other in history. The largest creature in the world. Too great and strong to kill, so it was divided into four, as the legend goes. Other cultures have adapted the story into ways that made sense to them, like Kronos, slewn by his children Zeus, Poseidon, Hades. Much was the same in the true history, except legends dictate eight, not three. Nine Titans of unknown origin. Warhammer, Attack, Adaptive, Armoured, Jaw, Cart, Royal, Beast. Under the leadership of the Warhammer they fought against this Colossal Titan, but were unable to kill him. Instead they split his body up. His arms, legs, and Spine (centre of his self and power.) They then remained, five of them, on the spots they hid the parts to protect them. However, future wars and revolutions led to the loss of power and importance of these legends and myths. The only one of these legendary titans still known and found today is the Warhammer. The power passed from parent to child within the Theocratic Nation, Eden. Centre of the Church. The Warhammer is their secret weapon, alongside their murderous inquistiors. Eren wonders if the day will come where he comes face to face with it.

 

Eren sighed softly and Mikasa glanced at him gently.

“It’s nothing.” He deflected. “Just a bad dream.” He rubbed her arm lovingly and the naked slave girl looked up at him from within the water of the nearby lake.

“Not in front of Gabi.” Reiner growled, in the middle of helping said titan clean collected dirt out of the sinew of her body.

“Reiner, we both know we can’t do that.”

“She can.”

“You’re jealous~”

Reiner grumbled something and looked away. Gabi giggled.

“He’s jealous.”

Mikasa made a gentle noise and stood up on her tiptoes to kiss his exposed teeth. Eren lifted his hands further up to feel her neck, the skin there was still rough and marred by the collar.

“You’re the one who said she could go naked.”

“Just because we do anyway.” Reiner was still looking away in embarrassment.

Eren waded over in the water and cupped Reiner’s chin, bringing their mouths together to kiss. Though obviously, a man with no lips, kissing a bone armoured face… with no lips… was an interesting concept of a kiss. But it was the same loving gesture. “E-Eren?!” Reiner gasped.

Mikasa clapped in excitement and Gabi giggled.

“What? Worried the Church will get mad?”

“W…When did you get so rebellious…?”

“People change Reiner, I’ve got things now… a real family. I don’t plan on giving it up. I love Mikasa, Gabi is like a little sister to me, and… words can’t really describe your importance to me.” Eren’s cheeks were red. “I’d do anything for those I love. Sacrifice… everything.”

“...As would I.” Reiner grumbled softly.



The mission was simple: kill the mystery titan. The Queen’s words had been absolute, that it had to be found, and it had to be killed. However, she admitted that this mission could last for years. The royal family had a number of safe houses in other kingdoms. In those places, updated information and new orders can be sent, that way, should they need to return for whatever reason they could. Gabi was to be sent with them, to avoid her being left alone again, but to try and prompt the development of her powers. And legally… Mikasa was Eren’s property.



Eren stepped into the tent, the hood of his cloak hiding who and what he was. The crowds were enraptured by the creature singing in the cage. He cracked a smile, seeing dozens of just happy people. He couldn’t quite see what was in the cage, but that wasn’t important. Stepping out, he glanced around the circus. There were animal areas, games, and… a brothel? Hardly child friendly. He walked over closer to it and poked a glance in. It was not as nice as he’d expected honestly. But… then he noticed the girls. They were all titan women. None of them looked happy to be there. A low guttural growl escaped him. Frightening the small man on the door. Eren was only supposed to be here to meet a contact. But this was… not freedom.

Trying his best to regain his focus he returned to the big top tent, hoping the joy of the collective people would improve his mental state. But this time he saw what was in the cage. A girl… a teenager… human. Her skin was as pale as snow. No paler. Almost ghost-like and translucent. But in sharp contrast was her long black hair. It was the darkest colour he’d seen on a person, and dragged on the ground behind her. She was singing in what was clearing another language. But the circus master was describing it as a spell, a curse, or some sort of insane babbling from an animal. Eren’s eyes met hers. They were split coloured. Mismatching, and full of fear. They were treating this girl like an animal. Dressing her up in clothes imitating, mocking her culture. They were calling her… a thing. But she was just the same as them? They’d taken her freedom.

This was the last straw for Eren, and lightning struck him.

 

He knelt down and snapped the collar off the frightened and confused girl.

“Hey… everything is okay, you’re free.”

And the girl… pouted angrily. Like she was just a little annoyed at what he’d done.

“What’s your name?” He tried, but she couldn’t respond in a language he knew. So he called her the noise he heard. Mikasa.



Eren hated walls.

Eren hated cages.

Eren hated status and titles.

What Eren loved was freedom.

What Eren loved was Mikasa.

What Eren loved was Zeke.

What Eren loved was Reiner.

What Eren loved was Gabi.

And he would do anything for those he loved.

Chapter Text

Zeke rubbed his eyes beneath his glasses.

He’d spent hours pouring over the notes and information that Eren had provided him with. He trusted Eren more than anything in the world. But of course he did. Eren was his younger brother. Eren was committed to this mission. He’d seen the desire for Titan liberation gleaming in his eyes and Zeke would grant him his wish, by curing them all. In most countries; esse Titan, maledictum est. In Yosmad though; Titanas esse, est purus. But to Zeke; Titana esse, morbida est. To be a Titan, is to be diseased. Zeke never viewed it as a disgusting fact. Like a child born without a leg. Not a slight on one’s eyes. But a tragedy.

What Zeke needed was to find a source. Once he found a source, he could understand them, and then find a cure. He needed to know about the first, the founder of their disease. 

 

Birth records, they were a key source of information to him. Tracing back every family with a titan, back to the earliest point. But families died out, split up, changed names, people disowned. Forming clear branches on family trees was nearly impossible.




“So I thought about family records, maybe that would point us to early titans, maybe we could figure out where they came from?” Armin explained

“And therefore a logic and reason behind the situation.” Erwin nodded, while Ymir signed his responses.

“Yeah, but there’s so many reasons for why that wouldn’t work, plus it’d be impossible for me to get a hold of something like that. So instead I looked for old books that might have information deemed heretical or illegal now. And while I only ever found one book, I did find scraps of notes and things, kept within my notes here.”

“Luckily we sent a team into the sewers…” Erwin muttered. “Thought maybe there would be survivors in there.”

“Most survivors moved on in the hours that followed. Me and Annie remained behind for a long time before moving on.”

“I see, well, tell me about these tunnels.”




“Tunnels?”

“Yes, Eren described their being a network of complicated, almost naturally forming sewer tunnels snaking their way through the mountain, too many to just be the sewer system of the city.”

Hange tapped their chin.

“You think there’s some kinda higher purpose to them?”

“Well maybe, it’s all something from this drawing that Eren got.” He produced a sketch. It showed a solid wall with lots of symbols carved into it, as well as an alcove showing a chalice. Behind the chalice was a carving of cupped hands dripping something into a chalice. Then a second piece of paper, which had the symbols written down in detail. “I believe this liquid dripping to be blood, a specific type of blood.”

“Royal blood?”

“Maybe… After all, it is said that what makes royals is their blood… But my thoughts lead back to these impossible tunnels. What if they were made by a specific type of titan?”

“Like a mole titan?” Hange chuckled.

But Zeke didn’t laugh. “Like the Warhammer Titan.”

“The Church’s Titan?”

“No, the first Warhammer Titan. Doesn’t the scriptures mention it creating structures? What if it created the tunnels?”

“But for what purpose? What do they do?”

“I- … don’t know…”

Zeke chucked and sighed.

“But on that topic… How did you and Eren find out about these tunnels and this carving? What was Eren doing there?”

Zeke smirked. “If you’re wondering if Eren is the one flattening cities, I’m afraid you're mistaken. Eren heard about the situation while out on a mission and investigated, I requested he do so as well. This was what he discovered while looking for survivors.”

“Did he find any?”

“No.”



“What happened to the other survivors?”

“They were mostly Titans, but most of them dispersed after the city fell, most attempts to rebuild fell apart.”

“Understandable, the capital faced damages far worse than any other.” Erwin nodded. “Well it's clear that you’re far more than an ordinary deaf survivor. If you don’t mind Armin, I’d like to put you up in some lodgings near mine, so that we can continue to work on these mysteries together.”

“Mysteries?”

“They’re my favourite thing.”

“Isn’t that risky, what if he’s a spy?” Ymir muttered.

“It’s a gamble, but so is everything I do.” He smirked. “And, a deaf expert in sign language is exactly what I need at the moment.”

“To deal with her?”

“Deal implies killing. I’d rather not spill more blood at the moment.”

Armin watched the two discuss. He couldn’t read lips, and Erwin’s eyes were a swirl of seemingly random emotions. It was impossible to tell how he was feeling or what he was thinking. It was wholly unnerving. Especially when those powerful eyes looked at him. Armin felt his legs tremble.



With a mighty hiss, the train slowed to a stop, steam gushed up around the hulking metal shell and Armin watched people climb off. There had been more people on the train than he had imagined. Armed and unarmed, men, women, packs of children. Armin glanced around for the two, expecting to see another looming mountain, but that’s not what he saw. In fact, he saw nothing. There was a rubble built wall a short walk away from the station, it stretched around for miles and miles. Slag, loose rock, waste resources, mixed in with chunks of reinforcing iron, built up against a concrete wall, topped with barbed wire and patrolled by armoured men. The colours of the empire faded from their metal. Armin’s opinion of soldiers had never been too high. He’d seen them drunkenly joke and flirt, grab and grope him. How they abused and misused Annie. Having to clean up the holes they made in her. Honestly it lessened his opinion of men as a species. Yet Erwin seemed wholly different. Gentle and driven and when he talked about the progress he and the people under his care had made, his eyes gleamed with pride. He carefully followed behind the tall soldier and his quiet companion as they made their way past the wall and into the city itself, which was actively worse than the wall. The city was a giant circular pit, which had been hollowed out and mined as people dug to the very bottom of the world, planks of wood, bits of metal, and any sort of structure and supporting agents people could find jutted out of the sides of the pit, spiralling down into the dark and linked together by chained up plans of wood, which he believed her supposed to be bridges. It was a shanty town built out of the rubble of… possibly the entire kingdom. 

“This land was colonised for the purpose of mining, these shelters were the homes of the miners when this was only supposed to be a short term operation, however now it’s a permanent home as the digging continued deeper and deeper, and as it did; more permanent structures were required, so deep in the mines is actually rather nice.” Erwin explained as they walked along the creaking wooden planks of the city down and down. The area was packed with people which made moving, and breathing, rather difficult. 

Yet downward they continued, walking down the spiralling wooden shanty town until Armin couldn’t see the sun anymore, and as they continued to walk down the wooden planks beneath their feet became more stable, then reinforced with stone, then just stone. Houses became carved into the rock face, stacked on top of each other and fused together. And yet for another two minutes they continued down, with Erwin continuing to speak of the wealth of history of the town, but Ymir wasn’t signing it, so Armin had nothing to go off. Finally they reached the bottom, the walls lit up by lamps hanging down on chains beneath the juttering out bases of homes and buildings, a single bead of light shining down upon them from high above. Before them was a grand and fortified stone gate. Which slowly opened forwards, and a portcullis behind it slid up slowly. The space inside was not what Armin expected. 

 

A vast and open cavern system, impossibly wide. The ceiling was covered in glowing blue crystals which almost mimicked the sky above them. The area stretched out wide and far and there were dozens of homes built along the ground and climbing up the walls. Columns of rock spiralled up from the ground where they met the ceiling, with houses built on platforms around them. Erwin led them along a gravel path as they exited a more village-like area into tight nit streets and brick built grey homes, all stacked on top of each other in modern square building styles. It was very much a city, and Armin began to lose count of homes in the hundreds, and he could see more tunnels and ways deep and down further which perhaps led to more homes. Children played out in the streets and people mingled socially. The guards here patrolled, helped elderly people cross the streets and entertained children. They were… doing their job? This place felt safe and these guards had nothing to do so they did anything they could? The concept seemed so foriegn to him. He was so distracted he barely noticed that Erwin and Ymir had continued walking, and he had to run to catch up with them. When he did they were standing outside a black iron gate, all of the poles capped in spearheads. The empire’s banner hung before the gate and fence. Behind that was a grand black stone mansion, there was no better way to describe the palace before him. Guards behind the gate nodded at Erwin and it swung open for them.

“Welcome to the Administration Building, here the nobles in charge of the area rules the mines and trade of our land, and this was where I was installed as commander.”

“You still use the imperial colours?”

“We still represent that land, but hopefully a better version of it.”

“Erwin, welcome back.” A man in fine clothes exited the house, holding a glass of wine in his hand. He was bald, and his cheeks rosy, though his eyes were narrowed and cunning and his bushy grey moustache half covered the smirk on his face.

“Pixis.” Erwin nodded. “Armin, this is Commander Pixis, the leader of the soldiers before the coup, he distanced himself from the nobles and enabled our coup.”

“Violence isn’t my forte, so I focus on the running of the city.”

“Do you have titans in this city?” Armin asked.

“No not many, unfortunately there was a genocide shortly before our coup, it’s which I stepped down. Most who remained left out of the hatred that still lingered.”
“Oh…” Armin couldn’t help but understand, seeing Annie’s enlarged form had awoken vile, primal thoughts in his mind. It was so easy to hate them, but that didn’t make it any less wrong.



Pixis led Armin to a small room, it had an empty bookcase, a small desk and a simple bunk.

“This was Erwin’s room before the coup, so you’ll have to forgive the blandness of the space, that man is all business.” He chuckled.

Ymir lounged on Armin’s bed and translated for him. “You know, you might want to keep your eyes out, you seem to be getting special treatment, must be because your so pretty~”

Armin blushed softly and Ymir laughed.

“Huh?” Pixis raised an eyebrow.

“Nothing.” Chuckled Ymir dryly. “Come on, let’s leave him to adjust.”

 

Adjust?

There was so much to adjust to.