Eren had his first vision when he was seven years old.
He was in the backyard, playing in the snow with Mikasa and Armin while his parents talked with Armin’s grandfather over their Christmas dinner inside the house. Eren had been so excited to finally get Armin and his grandfather over for Christmas to celebrate with him and his family.
Dinner itself had gone normally, as normal as Christmas dinner could go. The adults had sat in the dining room while the three kids sat in the kitchen, eating ham and mashed potatoes. Then as soon as they had finished eating, they had rushed into the dining room and told their parents that they were going to play outside before they opened presents.
Eren had just started to throw a snowball at Armin with spectacular aim when suddenly he wasn’t outside anymore. He didn’t see his friends, and the cold was suddenly in the back of his mind.
It was like he was seeing something from someone else’s perspective.
His vision was slightly blurred, but it was clear enough to make out that he was outside. He saw grass and felt warmth. It looked like it was summer time. His vision turned towards a car that was driving towards him, and then he was obviously running towards it as the car pulled into the driveway to a house.
He was running towards the car door, and then it opened and a dark haired woman he didn’t recognize stepped out. When she saw him, her face relaxed into a tired smile and she knelt down in time to catch him as he ran into her arms. Very dimly Eren almost felt like he could feel the woman hugging him gently.
She was speaking. Maybe greeting him? But the noise was garbled; confusing and unintelligible. Maybe she said a name? He wasn’t sure. But then she stood, detaching herself from him and grabbing his hand. He noticed that his hand was small in hers, and was a lot more pale than he remembered.
She pulled him towards the passenger’s side of the car, and then opened the door, letting go of his hand to reach inside and grab a small box. She turned back to him and knelt down, opening the box. As he looked inside, he finally was able to understand her, though her voice was still fuzzy.
“Do you see what’s inside here?” She lifted a piece of tissue paper and pulled out something attached to a cord. An ornate key. She smiled at it before looking back at him and holding it out. “It’s yours to give to your Promised One when you grow up.”
Eren watched his pale hands reach out and take the key gently, holding it as if it were something special. His vision darted from the key to the woman several times, before she laughed. It was a beautiful sound.
“Just remember, once you find your Promised One, don’t give it to them right away. Once you learn to love each other, then give it to them, as a sign that they have the key to your heart.” The woman brushed her long locks out of her face before smiling again at him. She closed his fingers over the key and then whispered gently,
“Take care of it for them, will you?”
Eren’s vision bobbed, as if he were nodding, and then everything started to get fuzzy again. The warmth of the sun ebbed away, and he could start to feel the cold seeping through his winter coat again. The light dimmed, and he caught one last glimpse of the woman’s smile before it disappeared and everything went black.
More fuzzy voices came to his ears. But this time, they sounded familiar. He recognized Armin’s frantic voice, along with his mother’s. He heard his father’s calm voice, clearly in doctor mode. His eyelids felt heavy, but he still worked to open them and assure everyone that he was alright.
He forced his eyes open and blinked slowly, trying to ease the bleariness away. As he tried to focus, he caught blobs of color hanging over him and realized he must be lying on the snow covered ground. He reached up with a gloved hand to rub at his eyes, but a hand caught it and held it there.
Eren realized the voices had stopped completely. He blinked a few more times, and then finally his vision cleared and he could see his parents, adoptive sister, and best friend all hovering over him. He slowly sat up and took in everyone’s faces, confused at what he saw.
Armin looked surprised, and maybe a little bit amazed. Mikasa stared with a single eyebrow raised. But it was his parents’ faces that he was confused about. His mother had a hand over her mouth, and looked horrified. His dad looked at him, a grim expression on his features.
Eren blinked again before trying to speak. “Why are you all staring at me?” Armin looked at Eren’s parents and asked in a quiet voice, “Did you see that, Mr. Jaeger? Did you see his eyes?” Grisha nodded once, the grim look deepening. Eren cocked his head, suddenly worried.
“Um, what about my eyes?” he asked cautiously. His parents looked at each other almost nervously, and Armin looked at the ground, as if wondering what to say. But it was Mikasa that finally told him.
“Your eyes were silver for a bit there.”
Eren finally got the whole story from Armin and Mikasa. Apparently his aim had faltered when throwing that snowball and he had simply fallen over into the snow. After a moment of realizing he hadn’t been hit with anything and that he wasn’t getting up, Armin and Mikasa had rushed over to him and shaken him. When he didn’t respond, Armin had rushed inside to get Eren’s parents while Mikasa had stayed outside. They had been trying to get him to wake up for a minute or so before his eyes blinked open.
And they had been a silver color for a few seconds before returning to their normal bright turquoise.
Eren sat in the living room next to the fireplace in his pj’s with a warm blanket wrapped around him as he watched his mother pace back and forth. She would occasionally shoot him glances, and finally his little seven-year-old self had had enough.
“Mom, what happened to me?”
Carla stopped her pacing and sighed. She turned to Eren and saw his bright eyes. Not silver at all. But she knew. Oh she did indeed know what her son had just experienced. She sighed again, this time full of resignation.
“Well, if you’re going to find out about it, then Armin and Mikasa should probably hear about it as well. I thought I wouldn’t have to have this conversation with you for about five or six more years, but…” she looked at Eren again worriedly, “...I guess I’ll have to explain now.”
She called Mikasa and Armin into the living room and soon had all three sitting by the fireplace looking at her with interest. She took a deep breath before beginning.
“Well, there’s something special that can happen between two people when they get older. It only happens to some, but it’s something that is frankly considered wonderful.” She paused, seeing if the kids were still following her before continuing. “Some people are connected together. They’re destined to meet and fall in love and be together. You might call them soul mates.”
Eren’s eyes widened as he processed this information. Carla continued. “You know if you have a soul mate when you get a vision. Typically, the vision is of a favorite memory of the other person. But that only happens when-” She paused and exhaled heavily before saying, “- one of the two turns eighteen.”
There was silence besides the warm crackling of the fire. Eren’s mind tried to process what his mother had just told him. It was hard to understand. Armin spoke up.
“So basically what you’re saying is that Eren has a soul mate out there somewhere and they turned eighteen today? And that’s why Eren blacked out? Because he saw a vision?” Eren shot a look at the blond, who looked back at him with sudden interest. “Eren, did you have a vision? Did you see something weird?”
Eren paused before nodding. “Yeah, it was weird alright. It was really blurry and fuzzy, but it was like I was seeing through someone else’s eyes for a minute! It was warm too.”
By now he had caught the attention of everyone in the room, and Armin’s grandfather and Grisha, who had been talking in the next room over, poked their head in to listen. Carla leaned forward, kneeling in front of Eren. “What did you see?” she asked quietly. Mikasa scooted closer, listening in.
Eren scrunched up his nose, leaving behind a cute face as he tried to concentrate and remember. “Well, first it was all bright. Then I was outside somewhere, and then I ran towards a car that was pulling into the driveway of this house. Then a woman came out of the car and she hugged me.”
Carla tensed up for a moment before relaxing, remembering that it had just been a vision and not some random woman actually hugging her son. Eren continued. “She looked pretty tired, but then she took my hand and brought me to the other side of the car and pulled out a box with a key inside. Then she said some stuff about how I was supposed to wait for my Promised One and then learn to love them before giving them the key because it was the key to my heart. Then she made me promise to take care of it until then.”
Eren tilted his head to the side before his eyes lit up as he remembered something. “Oh yeah, my hands were really pale and small!” He looked at his mother and was surprised to see something akin to shock on her face. “Mom? What is it?”
Carla blinked before pulling Eren close. “Sweetie, most visions don’t have sound in them unless...the bond between the two is strong.” She hugged Eren tightly and looked around the room, settling on her husband and sending a mental message to him that they needed to talk. He nodded before retracting and heading back to talk to Armin’s grandfather.
Armin looked thoughtful again before posing a question. “So, will the soul mate get a vision of Eren now?” Carla shook her head. “Not until he turns eighteen himself.” Armin nodded slowly and lay down next to the fireplace, curling himself up on a pillow that lay there while Carla looked on.
She stroked Eren’s hair, and Eren hummed in her hold. “Mom, is my soul mate an adult now?” She tensed up at his words, and Eren felt dread wash through him. He shouldn’t have said that. But she just continued to stroke his hair, Armin and Mikasa watching.
“Yes, they are,” she mumbled. Eren yawned, curling up against his mother. The heat from the fire along with the feeling of his mom gently carding her fingers through his hair was quickly luring him to sleep.
Carla noticed and laughed softly before gently pressing a kiss to his head. “You can go to sleep, Eren,” she said. “The presents will still be here tomorrow.” Eren nodded sleepily before dozing off in his mother’s arms.
Carla let him be for a few minutes before looking up from her job of messing with her son’s hair. She smiled when she saw that Armin and Mikasa had also fallen asleep by the fire. She gently lay Eren down before heading into the other room where her husband and Armin’s grandfather waited.
“The kids have all fallen asleep.” Grisha nodded once and Carla sighed, knowing that they would be having a conversation later that night about what had happened. She turned to the other man sitting by her husband. “Since Armin is asleep, do you think it’d be alright if he spent the night? I’m sure Eren would love to open presents with him tomorrow.”
“Oh course,” the man nodded, getting up and heading to the front door. “I’m sure Armin can borrow some clothes, if it isn’t too much trouble.” He grabbed his hat and coat before putting them on. Carla shook her head. “Oh no, it’s no trouble at all.” The older man nodded. “Thank you. And thank you for inviting us over. Armin was incredibly excited for the chance to spend Christmas with his friends.”
The three adults exchanged a few more words before Armin’s grandfather bid them goodnight and left, clutching his coat close to him against the cold. Grisha exhaled loudly, earning a shush from his wife. Carla sighed. “I’ll bring the kids up to bed, then.” She went back into the living room not waiting for her husband to reply.
One by one Carla picked up the kids and brought them to their rooms. Mikasa was placed in her bed in her own room, and Carla made sure to prepare the extra pull-out bed Eren had for whenever Armin slept over before carrying the small blond upstairs.
Then she gently picked up Eren and carried him to his bedroom, gently laying him on his bed. She leaned down and kissed his forehead goodnight before straightening and looking at him hard. Then she sighed before smoothing his hair down over his face.
“My poor Eren,” she whispered. Her little seven year old boy had a soul mate eleven years older than him. And they wouldn’t know themselves until they were twenty-nine. Carla sighed again sadly.
She could only hope that whoever her son’s soul mate was really would protect Eren’s heart, just like they had apparently promised in that memory.