With him, Annie couldn’t help but be a little selfish.
She had Armin pinned by the wrists, his back against the dirt as he squirmed and fussed to gain back some leverage. Well, whatever little bit he had to begin with. Annie sparred with him knowing she had the clear physical upperhand. He wasn’t like Eren. Or Mikasa, for that matter. His strength was in his mind, not his body.
Though she did enjoy getting to touch that as well.
Hand to hand combat training was possibly the furthest thing from either of their minds. Not when her knee rested between his legs, pushed up against his crotch with no signs of letting up.
“You’re a tease,” Armin hissed through his teeth with a playful smile at his lips. “You keep this up and I won't hesitate to throw you on the ground.”
“You’re not making much of an effort to, tiger.”
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like you on top of me.” He groaned a bit as her knee shifted up against him harder. “I really would love to flip you over and lift your hips up in the air. Maybe shove my tongue up-”
“Sh-Shhh. Armin, you and your filthy mouth.” Her knee moved back, and she reveled in the distress that morphed his faced. “You need only say the word, Armin, and all this torture could end.”
She began to whisper, leaning over as to let her lips brush against his increasingly red ear. Armin melted into the touch, biting back a whimper.
“I won’t give in.”
“Is this really a battle that’s so bad to lose?” Annie grabbed his wrist, stealing the knife from his hands. As she pushed her knee up, she stuck the wooden blade against his neck. “You can take me and sneak off anywhere, hm?”
Armin growled low as he tilted his head back, shamefully feeling the constriction in his pants twitch. She was dragging the fake dagger down his throat, and he could’ve sworn she was rutting against his thigh. “Never. I won’t give in to you, no matter how crazy you drive me, I won’t.”
She bit her lip. In truth, she was getting increasingly impatient. Annie could feel him against her leg. Taking in an audible gulp, she looked around for any wandering eyes. Of course everyone’s distracted. Despite her best judgement, she leaned down, pressing her lips against his exposed neck.
He let out a gasping sigh, and let the grin slip over his cheeks. “Feeling risky, are we?” He asked just above a whisper as he shifted his thigh up, watching as Annie shifted against his leg. He could feel the friction of her pants against her core, and the thought made him shudder. “God, I just want to suck at you until you can’t walk-”
Annie’s free hand found his crotch in an instant. She palmed the clothed area, holding very little back as she gave him a tight squeeze.
“What was that? How rare of you to stop talking so suddenly.”
Armin bit down hard on his lip while he pushed his hips up into her hand. “You, fff-uck, You won’t be able to stand when I’m done with you. I’m gonna- Hnnnnghh- ”
“You’re gonna have to speak up, tiger. I’m having a little trouble understanding you over all those moans.”
“God, fffuck you, I hate when you do this- Hnnnngh, Annie, please- ahnnnghhh!!”
“Aw, do you hate me right now? I’m hurt.” She pressed a kiss against his ear, a smile pulling at her lips.
Armin slid his hands into hers as he took his hand to her side, and pulled her in closer. “You better stop testing me, I won’t give in.”
“One of us will have to.” She teased, leaning in closer to his lips before that sweet moment was ripped away from her.
The sound of a pistol went off in the near distance. A familiar sound, informing the recruits that the exercise for the day was over. With a sigh, Annie sat up.
“Next time, I suppose, Arlert.” She was quick to compose herself, making it seem as if their position and red faces were the results of intense hand-to-hand combat training on a rather hot Summer day. She got up, and put a hand out to hoist Armin back onto his feet as well. “You’re improving. I think you almost tripped me up a couple times.”
“I appreciate it, but I know it wasn’t based on actual physical skill I possess. I know it’s because you go weak when I touch you.”
“Shhhhut up, Arlert.”
“Why? It’s true. That’s why your thighs are all clenched up.” He leaned to her to whisper slowly in her ear. “I wonder how soaked you are right now. How much noise my cock driving into you would make-”
“Armin.” Annie hissed, darting her eyes away from him.
He bit back his laugh, and vaguely listened to Shadis’ words. They were released for the day, and Armin relaxed. Annie stuffed her hands into the pocket of her hoodie, trying her best to stay close yet just far enough from Armin as the group of cadets walked toward their respective barracks. As soon as Armin watched the last boy walk into the room, he closed the door quietly, and snuck around the back. His back pressed against the wood, and he tapped his foot impatiently. He was eager, and he bit down on his lip trying not to pay too close attention to his throbbing erection constricted in his pants.
Annie stood on the other side of the little cabin, wringing her hands together as her heart beat out of her chest.
Why do I keep doing this…? Butterflies burst in her stomach as she walked forward, slowly seeing the boyish face of Armin Arlert come into view. You’re selfish. You know this isn’t right.
“You look like you’re waiting for someone. People might get suspicious, Arlert.”
“Say I was waiting for someone, do you think people would actually question what I choose to do? Or, well, who , I choose to do.” He laughed at himself as he pulled her in close by her waist. His hands pushed her against the wall, and he pulled on his lower lip with his teeth. His hands slid around her back, dipping under her pants to squeeze.
A smile pulled at her lips. Before she could even think, she leaned forward and captured him in a kiss. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and his teeth caught her lip. The breath she had been holding caught in her throat as his tongue teased her, and she happily let him take control of her mouth.
“So are you going to get back at me? Hm?” She parted for only a second, nudging her nose against his before pulling him into another kiss.
“Hmm. You’ll see. I have a few things up my sleeve.” Armin murmured in her ear as his hand slid around to slide up her shirt. His hand moved to squeeze and palm her breast in his hand as he kissed down her neck. “I’ll get my revenge. You’ll see.”
She tilted her head back, smiling as chills ran up her spine. He always knew where to find her sweet spots, and it never failed to drive her crazy in all the best ways. I only have two months left of this.
“Armin-” She gasped out in a breathy moan. “Someone will hear if we stay here.”
“Mm… You’re right. Such a shame that I’m not allowed to make you scream right here. Hmmm…” The bell sounded for dinner, and Armin rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Option one: We go eat dinner. Option two: I finger you right here and now and we have at each other for the next few hours. Which?”
Her stomach answered for her with a low growl.
“Can I...would your friends throw a fit if I sat with you guys?”
“I don’t think so! Eren might pester you with questions about your technique, and Mikasa might get a bit jealous, but they wouldn’t mind. Mikasa sorta figured out about us… doing things. You left a huge mark on me. She noticed… I’m bad under that pressure… She’s scary sometimes.” He scratched the back of his neck, snickering nervously as Annie smiled against his lips.
“Understood. Luckily, she doesn’t scare me.” She pressed a kiss against his neck, taking the skin between her teeth in order to leave a bright mark. “Oops.”
Armin whimpered at the feeling of her mouth on him, and he growled low in response. “You know, if you weren’t so hungry right now I’d be having my way with you up against this wall. You’d be so sore….”
“Such harsh words from such a cute face.” She leaned over and stole one more kiss before pushing off. “And people think you’re so cute? Well, you are, but still.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, I’m pure.” He laughed as he shooed her into the cafeteria. He took his plate of food and sat at the table across from Mikasa. Eren was sitting at his side, and Annie slowly moved next to Mikasa. Armin beamed at her, and he felt his heart pound. How can one person be so damn cute? God, Annie. I’m in love with you.
He couldn’t help but keep his eyes on hers as they ate. However, he hadn’t been expecting Annie’s socked foot to run up his leg. He choked on his water, and coughed into his napkin, earning pats from Eren’s back. His eyes were wide as he gave Annie a nervous look.
The grin he received in response only caused the hairs on the back of his neck rise up. Ohh.
Annie moved her foot up between his legs, which he eagerly spread open for her.
Oh lord, was it good for her anxiety. She pressed her foot against his crotch, laughing softly at his quiet little keens. Keeping herself occupied, the others didn’t try so hard to make conversation with her.
Plus, Armin’s increasingly red face and bashful gaze brought another genuine smile to her face. Not to mention how hot it made her feel under the collar of her hoodie. She pressed the ball of her foot against his concealed sack, and the feeling of Armin’s hips pressing into her foot only made her snicker.
“What are you laughing at, Annie?”
Her head snapped up at the sound of Eren’s voice, cheeks growing increasingly red as her face remained as stone as it could.
“Nothing.” She answered low and blunt, leaning forward on her elbows as she met Mikasa’s suspicious stare.
Armin’s attention was still on the pressing matter (foot) at hand (well, crotch.) He rut against the arch of her foot slightly as he swallowed the groan in his throat. You damn tease.
It was that moment, where Armin realized he was about to release. His abdomen tightened, and Armin’s breathing became rushed and forced. He came then, against the ball of her foot, with a crimson face, and drooped eyelids.
“Armin, are you alright? You seem flushed.” Mikasa’s voice was flooding with concern, but he didn’t miss grey eyes glaring into a triumphant set of blues.
“I’m great, actually.”
A little grin on her face, Annie crossed her legs and finally focused on eating the meal in front of her. She could feel his gaze, a mix of embarrassment and affection, and her chest felt warm. It was too easy for him to make her feel that way. Lord knows she wasn’t supposed to.
Out of the corner of her eyes, she could feel two other pairs of eyes on her. They, however, were much less welcome. She tilted her head slightly, meeting Reiner and Bertholdt with daggers in her gaze. Don’t make me feel worse than I already do.
Luckily, they turned away from her, and she was free to continue her meal in peace. Almost on instinct, her hand started to reach for Armin. Annie pulled away, cheeks growing pink. It was wrong, she knew it, but she couldn’t help herself.
Especially when she looked up to meet his bright blue eyes, so full of hope and wonder. For a world that in her mind was nothing but shit.
Was it a special form of punishment for what she had to do? Finding a little bit of happiness, only to destroy it all in the blink of an eye? Not to mention, hurting him in the process. Betraying him.
It was all a part of being a traitor, after all.
She took a deep breath, and ended up glaring at her stew.
Armin couldn’t help but notice her frustration, and under the table, he tapped his foot against her. Look at me.
She perked up, feeling a familiar sting of guilt as his eyes once again met hers. He was always perceptive. She couldn’t help but wonder just how much he saw when he looked at her.
“You know…” Annie began, tapping his foot as she decided to lighten up her own mood. “Armin’s really been improving with hand-to-hand. He’s much more impressive than you, Eren. Catch up.”
Eren was immediately, yet playfully, fuming with anger, distilled slightly as Mikasa put a hand on his shoulder.
The other girl shot a look at Annie, and she couldn’t help but find it hard to tell whether it was in jest or not.
“I’m a bit disappointed that you and I never got to finish our duel, Annie.” Mikasa spoke in her usual calm, controlled tone. “We could have seen if your technique isn’t as invincible as you seem to think.”
“Someday, Ackerman.” Annie took a sip of water, smiling at Armin. “Someday.”
Armin was almost as relieved as Annie when dinner was over, everyone filing out fast as each cadet was no doubt eager to get to bed.
Armin tapped the wall next to her three times with his knuckle, and he grinned when her attention snapped to him. “Usual.” He murmured softly in her ear. With a quick smile, she snuck behind the girls barracks as the others stepped inside. Once she was in the clear, she grabbed the blanket she had hidden underneath the foundation and made her way toward the barn on the other side of the training grounds.
“I kind of wish we picked a place that smelled a little less like horse, sometimes, but I’ll take what I can get.”
Armin waited for her near the barn doors, cape tied tight, a lantern in his hands, and a near face-splitting grin across his cheeks. There were times when he was far too cute for her to take, and that was definitely one of them.
“I’m sorry it’s so cold!” He whispered, taking her hand in his own. She shrugged, and squeezed his shivering hand tight. Of course, she barely felt the cold. Though that wasn’t something he needed to know.
Annie led him in toward a nearby pile of fresh hay, as if it was prepared in advance specifically for them. He took the blanket from her hands, and kissed her cheek before setting it down on the softest spot he could find.
“So,” He began, patting down the edges. “Are you going to tell me what was bothering you at dinner?”
“...Nothing.” She stood off to the side, shrugging off her jacket before laying down next to him.
As Annie laid down on his chest, reveling in his warmth, she knew he didn’t believe her. He was more than a little tense.
“Is it because training is almost over…?”
This time, Annie was the one to go tense. He wasn’t wrong, per say.
She clutched at the fabric of his shirt. “I’m sorry.”
“You know, it won’t matter that we’re in different military branches. We’ll figure it out. Like we always do.” Armin kissed the top of Annie’s head as they lied there under the stars.
She kept her mouth shut. The less he knew, the better. Her stomach was in a tight knot, and at any point she could swear she would be sick. In a moment of weakness that she was never sure ever quite went away, she rolled on top of him and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
From there, she couldn’t stop. Her lips met his ear, hands pushing up into his blond hair.
Armin moaned softly as she started kissing and nibbling at his ear. His hands ran down her sides and to her hips, squeezing as her fingers threaded up into his hair. His hands slid lower.
“You are incapable of being subtle.” She whispered into his ear before blowing a stream of hot air. The feeling of him shuddering of her gave her an odd sense of gratification. In that moment, for the time being, she was in complete control of her life. No following orders. Just him.
And he was all that mattered in the end.
She sat up, straddling his lap as she unbuttoned his shirt.
“You aren't very subtle either, Annie.” His fingers moved under her hoodie as he pushed it up over her head. His hands moved over her breasts before pulling off her bra as well. His fingers brushed over the perks of her breast. “You’re so cute.”
Annie’s hand pulled his hand in harder to squeeze. She loved the feeling of his hands on her chest. Her breath hitched. “I don't think ‘cute’ is the right word, tiger.”
A pull had caught her off guard as she realized he was tugging her in to kiss her. She happily slid her fingers back into his hair.
Armin sucked on her lip. He was too gentle, and he was driving her crazy.
Now, Armin would be lying if he said he didn't notice her hips rolling frantically on him, catching the friction at the tip of his cock. He was buzzing as he pressed his lips to her neck, snatching skin between his teeth and sucking until he left a prominent peach mark. It was quickly turning purple and blue, and he couldn't help but feel a bit proud.
Especially as she let out a barely muffled moan before going back to capture his lips in her own. His tongue was languid against hers, and she felt his hands squeeze her hips. Nice to know you’re as into this as I am, wonderboy.
Annie felt the abrupt motion of him pulling her under his body. His hands were holding her wrists down. His pupils were blown wide, and he was panting. Annie couldn’t help but feel like he was looking at her like a piece of meat for a split second.
Strangely enough, it was still turning her on.
“I love you.” His voice was stable, even if she could feel his hands shaking as he held her down. “Annie, I love you.”
“Armin, where’s this coming from?” She asked, pressing her hips up. He shuddered, and Annie’s ears grew hot. There’s still some fire in him. “One might think you’re trying to pull a dirty trick to trip me up. It’s not necessary right now, just so you know.”
Before he could answer, she pulled him back against her, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.
Armin’s lips met her neck, and he moved up to her ear to whisper. “You’re beautiful. I love you. I love you, Annie.”
Annie shuddered under him as he nibbled her ear, sucking gently before moving down to her collarbone. He couldn’t tell if the harsh breathing was coming from her mouth, or his, but it didn’t matter. It was still sending sparks down his spine, sending buzzes through his abdomen. Her leg slipped up and pressed against his apparent erection, and Armin yelped softly.
“Sorry, did I scare you?” Annie asked softly as she arched up to kiss him. He met her lips and grinned softly.
“A little bit.”
Annie smiled softly as she moved to thread her fingers back up to his hair. She surged up to meet his lips again, and she wrapped her legs around his waist to pull him in. The heat and weight of his body against hers was everything she could’ve wanted. She felt him against her, hard and eager, and she sucked at his lower lip. I need you.
Armin realized then she was rocking up. He was starting to get dizzy again, the friction driving him mad. He pulled down her pants and underwear, biting his lip as he looked at her naked form. This wasn’t the first time they had sex, no. But it didn’t seem to matter if it was the first or a thousandth time he saw her naked– she always managed to take his breath away.
“Stop staring at me like that.”
“Like what?” He asked as his hands moved to brush down her sides and hips.
“Like food.” She turned her gaze from his, eyeing the white daisy next to her face.
Armin pressed a kiss to her sternum then, watching as her attention snapped back to his. Her fingers tangled in his hair, catching knots from her previous ruffling. He was starting to kiss lower, and lower. Annie arched her hips up right as he pressed his lips at the line of her core.
His arms wrapped around her thighs, squeezing them gently as he pressed his face against her. He lapped his tongue against her, watching as she squirmed and spasmed at the touch of his tongue against her clit. Her grip on his hair tightened, as did her clenching thighs around his head.
How do you undo me so quickly? “Armin, ah-nn, please–”
The boy couldn’t help but enjoy her desperate noises, her moans, whimpers, her pleasured sobbing. Flicking his tongue now, brushing her clit with little strokes. She was pressing his face into her, as if suffocating him against her core would make his mouth work the way she wanted it to do.
You fucking tease–
Finally, he began to suck. Annie’s hips were rutting against his face now, and Armin could taste her wetness, feel it dripping down his chin. Then he felt her thigh muscles spasm, and she collapsed.
He sat up then, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. She was panting, and her thighs were sore now.
But one look as him unzipping his pants and letting them drop over her clothes, she couldn’t help but bite her lip, and pull him in close. She was tugging him gently, watching as he shuddered and whined.
“Annie– fffffuck, please– Annnbggggh! D-Don’t tease me like that.”
The gratification of his hips bucking against her thumb was too much for Annie at that moment. She pushed him over and straddled his lap, lining herself up. She sunk down slowly, shuddering at every passing centimeter.
Height is an indicator of nothing.
“I love you,” He moaned.
“I love you too, Armin.” She started rocking her hips forward. The squelching noises of his cock driving up in her was sending shivers down her spine, and the shocks going up from the pleasure of him hitting her sweet spot only made her work faster.
Armin squeaked loudly before grabbing her hips and pulling her against him to a stop. “No, not… not this fast.” He shifted then, holding her close to his chest as he sat up.
Annie remembered then, Armin telling her about a little fuzzy grey creature called a koala, that held tight to trees or its mother. You are everything to me. “Okay, Armin.”
“I want you to marry me one day,” He whispered in her ear as his hips slowly began to drive into her. “I want us to be together.”
“Fffuck, Armin–” Annie clung tight to him as she tucked her face into his chest. She bit down on the crook of his neck and shoulder, and Armin bucked hard. She squealed, and Armin wrapped his arms tighter around her waist.
“Please, Annie.” He whined. I can feel how close you are.
“Armin, hhhnn...a-ahh, Armin.”
He was moving faster now, pulling her hips down in assistance to her movements. His left hand then went to move to her clit, rubbing in small quick circles. “Come, Annie.”
And on cue, they came together. Armin rocked through his orgasm without thinking, watching as Annie shuddered and whined. Her fingernails dug into his skin and dragged down. He hissed at the pain but grinned the same. Annie shifted then, letting him slip of out her. “That was… incredible.”
Armin nodded numbly, a little glazed over from the crazy amount of lust he released. He looked down at her, and noticed then white slipping down her thighs. “Fuck, I forgot to pull out.”
“No, really? I hadn’t noticed at all.” Annie commented snarky, before taking his lips between her again. “Come help me clean up this mess.”
It didn’t take long for them to make it over to lake and clean themselves up. His hands were soft against her thighs, helping her wash the sticky stain away from her skin. “Did you mean… Armin do you really want to marry me?”
“Of course I do!” He smiled at her, warm, inviting.
Everything I’m not.
“I want to grow old with you.” He murmured to her as he ran his hands over her waist. “Honestly, Annie. I want us to have a family. A life together. A long… long, happy life.”
I want that too. I can’t, Armin, this is torture beyond anything I’ve known before. “Armin….”
“You… you want that too, don’t you?” He asked timidly.
Annie bit her lip for a moment. Whether because of the question, or the fact his hand was darting into dangerous territory, she didn’t know. “I love you, Armin. I-I want you to be happy.”
“I am happy. I’m really happy when I’m with you.” He kissed her forehead then, moving his hands back to her waist. “Let’s get dressed. We can stargaze for a while. Is that okay with you?”
Armin held her close to him, letting her head rest on his chest. He was still shirtless, much to his avail. He was shivering, but Annie nustled into him made his heart warm. Her own natural warmth, of course, certainly helped.
As he gazed at her, she looked like her mind was anywhere but in that moment. Eyebrows furrowed softly, her usual neutral expression plastered on. Annie found herself mindlessly tracing patterns on his chest with the tips of her fingers. It should have been peaceful, she thought to herself, but there was no peace in her life. No lasting peace, anyway. It’s not what she was born for.
Not like you. Her fist clenched. It would only be two months before their graduation. Two months before they were separated, and she knew it would be for good. Yet she let herself indulge in the warmth of his skin. The stars and wonder in his eyes that made her heart pound.
In two months time, he’d no longer look at her with warmth and sincerity. With the curiosity and intelligence that was just as apparent in his voice as with his gaze. How would he look back at their quiet conversations in the woods after he found out she was a murderer?
The thought of it made her sick. She took in an audible gulp, willing it away like she had tone dozens upon dozens of times in the past three years.
She nearly jumped at the sound of his voice, soft as ever.
“Yeah? Sorry, I...fatigue. You know how that is.”
She didn’t need to look up at Armin to know he didn’t believe that. Of course it had to be the incredibly perceptive and clever boy she got close to. As if her mission was fucked the moment their eyes met during formation.
To his credit, he still didn’t push further. She felt him squeeze her shoulder, and a smile pulled at her lips.
“I meant what I said, you know. I… I really do want a life with you.”
The knot in her stomach was quick to resurface. “I do too.”
There was a lump in her throat that was hard to choke down, but she managed. It shouldn’t have been his concern. She’d be hurting him enough in a few months, anyway.
I want him to smile.
Annie took a deep breath, shifting her position as to meet his eyes, chin resting on her hands against his chest.
“Tell me, Arlert. Was it my dry sense of humor, angry face, or large nose that first attracted you to me? I’ve been told my tendency to sleep in class is a very alluring habit.” Annie gave him a small grin, powering through the unending guilt.
“Your eyes.” He said without hesitancy. “Your eyes are beautiful. I know you think you look angry, but you’re just… intense. Your eyes are striking, and beautiful, and I… I can’t seem to look away. People are afraid of intensity. They’re afraid of something so strong. I’m not. I think I’ve figured you out.”
Had he been looking, he would’ve seen the fear in her eyes.
“You’re actually kind. Sweet. Introverted. You distance yourself from people, but… it doesn’t change how beautiful you actually are. I love your nose, your lips, your smile. Your heart. Your mind. But… I think I fell in love with you when we met eyes.”
“...I think I’m just selfish as hell.” She grumbled under her breath, nails digging into the palms of her hands from how hard she squeezed.
“If love is considered selfish… Then I am too. I want… I want a lot for us…”
Annie found it harder to breath. Even so, she took a deep breath, painful as it was. “That was cheesy as hell. You do have a silver tongue, Arlert, I’ll give you that.”
And apparently a talented one. I’m still wheezing. “...I know you’re getting in the MP. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
“There’s no doubt in mine, either.” She snickered, though the bittersweet taste in her mouth was more than strong. “If you join the garrison, you could probably have a chance to maybe see my mug every now and then.”
Stop it. Don’t get his hopes up more.
She was almost relieved to hear Armin chuckle, though she knew it meant he was still set on the goals he’d always have. The Survey Corp. Of course, right in her own line of fire.
“I know you don’t want me in the Corp… but I think I’ll be of use there… I know we won’t be physically together but… Would you write to me? Would you…. Would you be willing to try to keep this? I love you… I really, really love you.”
Once again, she went rigid. “Yes.” Shut up. “Of course.”
Armin’s smile widened and he leaned in to kiss her slow. His heart was soaring. Truly, he wondered if Annie could feel it pounding against his chest. “Annie?” He asked softly against her lips. “How do you feel about kids? I-I mean, not right now obviously not in this mess… But… someday, maybe… Maybe we could have a few kids of our own…?”
“Slow down, Arlert, please, for god’s sake, let my lower half live.” She propped herself up on her elbows, giving his forehead a small flick. “We’ll get there when we get there.”
Armin pouted. “Humor me? For a little while?”
“...Uh,” The pout on his face was more than hard to say no too. She sighed, and again rested her head against his chest. Annie allowed herself to be selfish for a little longer. “Fine. One mini Armin and half an Annie.”
“Damn… Honestly, I was sorta hoping for a little bunch of kids. Two… three…maybe four?”
Annie shot up again, brows furrowed as she met his eyes. “Maybe if it wasn’t my lower regions being shredded, how about-”
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry!” He snickered, leaning up to steal a kiss. “Maybe we should have a wedding first anyways. A little one. You, me. Eren and Mikasa maybe. I can just picture how you look with flowers in your hair.”
There was the lump in her throat again. This time, Annie found it particularly difficult to will away. Her eyes were downcast, despite already facing away from Armin’s. “...Yeah. I’m getting really tired.” She began to stand up, putting out a hand to pull him up as well. “Walk me back?”
“... Of course.” He took her hand and stood up. She still wasn’t making eye contact with him. “Did I hurt you?” He asked. He had stopped in his tracks gently. Her fingers were laced with his. “Hey… I know it’s going to be hard…. But I love you, Annie. If anyone can, we can, right?” Her cheeks were wet, he noticed when his thumb brushed the bone. “Look at me.”
I hate how much I love you. When the time comes, I won’t be able to do it….
Armin’s lips took hers, then, and Annie didn’t mind feeling so selfish when his hands held her.
Annie felt disgusted with herself in how easy it was to remain stone faced as she stared down at Marco’s gear. Arms behind her back, standing side by side with the classmates that suspected nothing. Dealing with their own trauma, no doubt. The previous days had been hell, after all. No thanks to me.
The class was noticeably far smaller than it should have been. Nearly a third were absent. Already a pile of ash. Faces that stood tall at graduation a mere few days prior were grim, pale, sickly. Though at least they were breathing.
With her knowledge, that was barely an improvement.
But he was standing. He was there. Next to her. Out of her peripheral, she could vaguely see his hands itching to grab hers.
Resisting him is hard. Especially as he still spoke so fondly of the kind girl he thought she was. He’d soon see otherwise, and she knew it well enough.
When they were finally let go, Annie was one of the first to make it out of the stuffy headquarters, face meeting the welcome burst of fresh air. She took it in, letting herself relax as her stomach began to settle for the first time that day.
She fliched, turning around quickly with hands up to defend herself.
To both her relief and dread, she stared back at Armin.
“...Are you okay?”
“....” It took her a moment to relax, starting with lowering her arms. “Yeah. I think. Okay-ish.” She stuffed her hands in the pocket of her hoodie, momentarily feeling lightheaded before taking in a deep breath. “Long week.”
“That’s….a bit of an understatement.” He chuckled lightly, scratching the back of his neck. Slowly, she moved closer to him, and tentatively reached for his hand. Though as she held it tight, there was an odd limpness to it she’d never quite felt before. “... I know what you saw out there.”
Her breath caught in her throat.
“What exactly did I see out there?”
There was something in Armin’s eyes she couldn’t quite read. The anxiety welling in the pit of her stomach was only made worse as she thought back to another set of eyes. Marco Bodt’s, tear stained and fearful as he begged her for help, to not do what she had to do. To spare his life.
She spared his gear instead. Nothing resembling the actions of a good person. A few days later and she still couldn’t rationalize it, not quite like the two that had pushed her to do it at least. Annie squeezed Armin’s hand, for once trying to get him to look at her instead of the other way around.
The moment dragged on, and she felt increasingly nauseous.
“Armin, I...I’m so sorry….” She bit her lip, not even completely sure what she was apologizing to him for. Well, there was certainly a lot to start with. Perhaps it was simply the fact that he’d been so quiet, something that was so rare and a little unsettling. Please speak up.
Finally, his gazed rested on hers, and a familiar smile pulled at his lips. Armin tipped up her chin, pressing his lips against hers. Annie shuddered and pressed her palms to his chest. “It seems it doesn’t seem to matter how many of them I see… it’s not like they get any less scary.” He hushed to her quietly as he pressed his forehead against hers. He paused, in contemplation. “We lost a lot of people… We lost Marco. I mean… I don’t know if you were very close to him or not… but he was dear to me. I’m… I’m-”
“You’re still joining the survey corp, aren’t you?”
“Of course I am.”
She didn't expect him to change his mind in the five minutes since he said it last. Still, she couldn't help herself. Annie rested her head against his shoulder, brows furrowing as their separation drew closer.
“Hey, look at me,” He spoke just above a whisper, “this isn’t the end of the road for us. We’re going to write to each other. We’ll be together again… someday.”
Annie couldn’t bring herself to say anymore. Instead, she simply reveled in the loving presence she’d lose soon enough. The silence was surprisingly welcome, but she still felt sick. His words burned slowly into her mind, especially as the class was drawn toward the stage at nightfall. That was it. That’s how she would remember his voice.
Warm, affectionate, earnest.
When she walked away from the group she’d spent three years of her life with, off toward the next stage of her mission in Stohess, her stomach sank. She clutched at her abdomen, and slumped against a tree out of the sight of the dispersing crowd.
You pieces of shit. She thought to herself as Bertholdt and Reiner stayed behind and stood in front of Erwin Smith
“Hey, cadet. We’re leaving in a few minutes, hurry up.” She heard a member of the military police shout in her direction. He’d have to wait. She had a little too much to process in that moment, and the contents of her stomach were quick to come back up.
It was barely two weeks later when her roommate stood over her, waving a concealed piece of parchment in her hand, and a cat-like smile spread across her face.
“Hitch,” Annie spoke up from her spot on the floor, rudely woken up from a perfectly good nap. “If you’re going to hold something over me, at least make it worthwhile. I’m tired as hell.”
“To Miss Annie Leonhardt: Dotted the “i” with a heart. Awwwwwww Annnnnieeeee.” The other woman cackled, ready to rip the letter open. Annie, however, was quick to shoot up and snatch it out of her hands.
“Don’t go through my mail.” She bit back, glaring daggers at her grinning roommate.
“You didn’t tell me you have a boyfriend! And I’ll be honest, I never would have guessed.” Hitch stood to the side as Annie walked over toward the window. “I mean, you’re kind of quiet. And a bit scary lookin’ at times, no offense. What’s his name? Is he cute?”
Annie willfully ignored her, and instead focused on the parchment in her hands. The familiar handwriting brought a warmth to her chest she had started to miss.
I’ve been dying to send this letter for quite some time! You wouldn’t believe the things that are happening over here. Training is going well, and I’ve been finding that the strategists have been really interested in my skills. I guess the hours and hours we spent playing chess have really paid off! Hehehe.
The real reason I decided to write to you though, was to say how terribly I’ve been missing you. I love you. I really really hope we’ll see each other soon. I love you. I miss the look in your eyes when you smiled.
With All My Love,
Annie could feel butterflies in her stomach. She folded the letter, and slipped it under her pillow with a smile on her face that was alarmingly obvious.
“Wow….he must be really cute, then.”
“Shut up.” Despite it all, a little snicker passed her lips. Annie made her way to the nearby desk, and pulled out a fresh sheet of paper. Before the pen could hit the parchment, there was an abrupt pause.
She took in an audible gulp. Her cheeks tingled as her face grew flushed, stomach churning with each deep breath. Annie clutched at her abdomen, bending down as she tried to will it away. Stop it, stop it, stop it-
“Someone looks pale.” Hitch cut in, making Annie jump. Instead of a response, she took another deep breath and straightened herself out.
Guilt, she’d come to realize, manifested in many different ways. Sleepless nights, and a loss in appetite were among the most common. Annie, however, found she’d had no problem with either sleep or eating. It manifested itself by simply making her feel like constant, utter, physical shit. At least, that’s what she rationalized.
After a moment, she once again focused on the paper in front of her. She pushed everything else to the back of her mind, instead focusing on the boy that mattered most.
It’s rude as hell to keep a girl waiting, but you’ve never been into social norms I suppose. I miss you too. More than I should probably, but that’s neither here nor there.
Her fist clenched on her lap. For a moment, she contemplated crumpling it up and tossing it away. He needed to forget about her. The more she wrote, the worse she would make it for him. Her own desires won over.
I’m glad to know they haven’t chewed you up and spit you back out. The survey corp, I mean. Though I knew you’d do fine. You’re a lot stronger than people think. Far braver than I. I’m a filthy coward, but you don’t need to know that. For some reason you think otherwise. Not for long, I guess. I wonder if you’ll still want to write to me in a few weeks. Perhaps it would be better to just forget everything. I may not be able to. It’s my punishment to keep it all close. I love you.
She sat back, and stared at the letter in front of her. Her stomach started twisting again inside of her. With a deep breath, Annie folded the letter.
Before getting up, she slammed it into the bottom drawer of the desk.
“You’re not gonna send it?” Hitch asked from the rooms vanity, brush in hand and running through her hair.
Again, Annie didn’t answer. She got up, and quickly tossed on her hoodie before making her way outside. The fresh air did little to soothe her nerves, or her stomach. She bent over near the wall, unable to keep the contents of her stomach down. Vile burned her throat, and she felt her stomach wretch forward, as if it was trying to jump out of her.
Annie remembered only one other time in her life she’d been that sick. At the age of eight, hacking her lungs out and barely able to keep anything down. There was little sympathy from her father. “You’re wasting time. Your body will learn and become stronger.”
Sometimes she questioned her desire to return home.
I’m not sure if you’re getting my letters, or if you’re not sending yours back, but it doesn't bother me any. I’ve found a therapeutic way to let out my emotions. Of course, I’d love to think about you reading them. I wonder if you shove the letters under your pillow like you used to with the poetry I would slip to you back in training. I hope you do.
We’re learning more and more. I can't tell you, even if I wanted to, about what we’re learning, but we are still discovering more and more. I only hope that one day we will eliminate them. I still want to show you the ocean. I still desperately want to spend my life with you.
I think about you. I think about you all the time. I can't seem to stop. You know, I may have become addicted to you. I miss the way you would melt in my hands when I kissed you. I miss how warm your body was against mine… There are many things I miss. I wish I could see you. I miss your eyes. I miss your smile. I miss you.
I love you. I’m beyond in love with you. I'm lost in you.
I still want to marry you. Be with you. Have a family with you. Spend my life with you. I love you so much, Annie.
I don't think it's possible to love anyone more than I love you.
With everything I am,
“Well...that’s just the most pathetic thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
Annie was in no condition to respond. She crouched on the floor, face over a large bucket smuggled from the nearby barn. It was a week before her mission, yet she barely felt in any condition to walk down the block. Hitch handed her a damp rag, and slowly rubbed circles on her back.
“You know how lax these people are. I’m sure they won’t spare a second thought if you skip out on patrols today.” The other girl assisted Annie as she stood up, brows knit. “I mean. You could have something serious.”
Annie nudged her off, slumping on her bed with a heavy sigh. “Believe me. I’ll be fine. My system’s a bit tougher than most.” Besides, if I was really sick, you would be, too. “ It could simply be anxiety. I’m a bit frail, if you haven’t noticed.”
“Aw, bullshit, Annie!” Hitch chuckled, handing the other girl a glass of water. “Well, if it’s food poisoning, you better tell the cook. You’re useless as an MP like this. And that’s saying something.”
“It’s not food poisoning.” Her voice remained deadpan, and while she wanted more than anything for that conversation to end, she didn’t have the will to make Hitch leave. “It’s not the flu. I’ll get over it. I heal fast.”
“Three weeks isn’t very fast. Hm.” For a moment, Hitch was silent, mindlessly moving around the room to tidy up the messy space. Suddenly, Annie heard all movement stop. With brows furrowed, she looked up to see Hitch staring at her rather intently.
“Hm. Don’t take this the wrong way, but, uh...you’re not...you know... late , are you?”
“Late for what?”
There was another silence. The girls stared at each other for almost a minute before Annie shot up from the bed, almost hitting her head on the top bunk along the way.
No. No no no.
She covered her mouth, feeling increasingly light headed as Hitch’s implications crashed down on her.
“No. No, absolutely not, I...what day is it?!”
She barely heard Hitch’s response. She didn’t need to. Annie leaned against the bedpost, barely propping herself up as everything seemed to hit at once.
“Wow, uh. Hon, I was half joking when I brought that up. You can’t seriously be-”
“ Don’t say it.” She spit back, though her usual icy glare seemed unwilling to stick.
“...up the spout?”
In a moment, Annie was on her ass once again. Her thoughts were swimming.
We weren’t always careful, sure, but-
She buried her face in her hands. No matter how many deep breaths she took, it wasn’t enough. As if her situation could be more fucked up. Now added onto it was something she was, until fairly recently, sure was impossible. A heightened immune system had to make it impossible. No, that’s...that’s not completely true is it…
Her fingers combed up into her hair, eyes widened. “This...how did…”
“Do you really need me to explain how babies are made, Leonhardt? When a boy loves a girl very much-”
Annie shot Hitch a scowl, practically snarling at the other girl. To her credit, Hitch was quick to back off, her face softening to something akin to sympathy.
“Are you going to tell him?” Her voice was gentle as she moved over next to her, sitting down. Hitch replicated Annie’s ball, and rested her head on her knees as she looked at Annie. “I mean, I’m sure the MP will more than compensate any expenses, or…”
Annie shook her head. “He’s in the corp.”
“Ohhh.” Hitch took in a slow breath before asking. “You don't talk about him much. He seems to be really in love with you.” She tucked her hair behind her ear before asking. “Tell me about him.”
Her eyes were downcast. One hand still threaded in her hair, her other traveled down, resting tentatively on her abdomen. Hello there…?
Part of her wanted nothing more than to tell Hitch to shove off. That it was none of her business. Tell her to keep her mouth shut, and in a week it would all be over anyway. Even if it had survived this far, Annie doubted it would survive the transformation. Her stomach ached at the thought. Another casualty to add to her growing list. Another part of Armin she was going to destroy.
“He’s uh,” She took in a deep breath, willing away the nausea. “He’s a little younger than I am. About six months. Kinda baby faced. Not very tall. Blond hair, blue eyes…”
“Don't tell me he’s your brother or some shit.”
“Fuck off.” She nudged Hitch’s shoulder with her own, earning a chuckle from the other woman. “His eyes, they’re far older than he is. Wise, knowing, full of the stars in the sky. Not to be a poet, or anything. They search for things in me I didn't know I had. He’s...important. To me, I mean. He’s one of the few people in this shit world that may actually do some good.” If it’s at all salvageable. “He’s clever. Smarter than anyone we work with.”
“Not very hard to accomplish that.”
“Even so.” She bit her lip, and wondered how she got to be such a blabber mouth in that moment. Hormones, or hopelessness. “He...makes me question everything. I...I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” Slowly, she got up, despite Hitch’s vocal protests. “Excuse me.”
Annie snatched her hoodie from the bed, and rushed outside before Hitch could grab her. If she ever needed the fresh air, it was at that moment. When she walked out of the building, she couldn’t stop. She didn’t know where she heading. Anywhere but here.
The wind hit her face, and she realized tears were beginning to run down her cheeks. It wasn’t long before she was choking, sobs racking through her. She managed to slip into an empty alley before anyone took notice to the sobbing teenage girl rushing down the street.
She slumped onto the ground, clutching her abdomen as she hugged her knees to her chest.
It wasn’t supposed to be like. She felt numb, truly, compared to the stoic facade she tried so hard to keep up. There wasn’t a point to acting otherwise, after all. Despite Armin, despite the odd warmth of the last hug her father gave her, Annie was clear about one thing. She wasn’t born for happiness, certainly not in that world. Not even in the cabin in the woods waiting for her back home. She was a tool for destruction, and the world made sure she remembered it.
I’m sorry. Hoping I could just take everything I’ve done, and everything I’m about to do back is pointless. I’m not going to ask for your forgiveness. Frankly, I don’t deserve it. I’m a failure as a human being, though maybe I can succeed at the thing I was born to do. Make sure the blood I’ve spilled wasn’t absolutely in vain.
I wish it didn’t have to be like this, but it’s the reality of the world we live in. I hope you at least live to see something else in it. Something I’ll never see. Take care.
p.s. I was pregnant, by the way. No need to worry about that.
Without a second, thought she slammed the letter into the drawer containing dozens upon dozens of others. Unsent, and likely to never be seen by the individual they were meant for.
She had nothing now. Only to wait for her purpose to be fulfilled. In a few days, everything would be over.
Maybe she could forget, too.