**Hey guys! Author-Chan here :) This is book 2 of Unbeknownst <3 Have fun reading!**
The walls have been sealed for 5 years. Ava, Eren, Armin, Mikasa, and basically the entire 104th trainees from the Corps have retired to the innermost side of Wall Rose, serving only when needed. Ava and Eren birth their first child, out of wedlock. Her name is Emery Smith Jaeger, taking mostly after her father in appearance, but mother in attitude. Emery is barely a newborn when her parents are called away on an emergency mission to deal with a horde of titans threatening the new reinforcements on Wall Maria. While they are gone, Emery is left at home in her crib. Their house is robbed, and Emery is found by a pair of bandits from the Underground. They take her away, leaving no trace behind of where they went...only several broken frames and a messy house. Emery is raised by them, completely oblivious of where she actually belongs.
~Flashback, 3rd person POV~
It had been a week since Ava gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Emery Smith Jaeger. Eren had been with her when it had happened, everyone else waiting outside. Her daughter was already showing how much she took after her father. With her energetic green eyes, to the thin brown hairs starting to form on her soft skull.Emery was sitting in Eren's lap when Ava entered the room. She wiped her hands on her dress, and smiled at her two favorite people.
"Eren? Emery? What would you like mommy to make tonight?" Ava ran a careful hand over her daughter's head.
"Dad says biscuits!" Eren exclaimed, raising his daughters tiny hands up above her.
"Yes, but what does Emery want?" Ava laughed, kneeling in front of her daughter who only cooed and drooled.
"Biscuits it is." Ava went to the kitchen and prepared the dough.
Eren placed Emery down on a rug while he went to bring her sewn doll and a blanket. The newborn rolled around absentmindedly as her mother prepared their meal, and her father returned. Emery gripped her handmade doll eagerly, thumping it against Eren's chest as he picked her up. Her father smiled, kissing his daughter on the forehead. The small child laughed and drooled, as she usually did. Emery never cried, which came as both a shock and relief to her parents.
Ava hummed to herself as she continued to knead the dough, a sun set filtering through their glass kitchen window. The family was living well, enjoying themselves. That is, until a rather harsh knock came to the door. Eren looked at Ava with a concerned look, and nodded, signaling he would be the one to get the door. As he carried his baby with him, Eren opened the door with the other hand, revealing Commander Levi, the 14th leader of the Survey Corps. Since Ava's father became physically unable, Levi was appointed in his place.
"Uhm... H-Hello, Commander. What can I do for you?" Eren shakily asked, shifting Emery's weight in his arms.
"May I?" The man asked, gesturing inside.
"O-Of course. Ava, It's Commander!" Eren called, going to place his daughter in her crib.
"Good evening, Levi. How can we help you?" Ava ceased making the biscuits, and washed her hands of flour and stray dough.
"It's urgent, let's wait til Eren finishes putting your daughter away." Levi took a seat, glancing around the house.
"I'm back, Commander. What do you need?" Eren stood next to his wife, holding her close.
"It's Wall Maria, again...the reinforcements are starting to fail." Levi cleared his throat.
The room stayed stagnant with the feeling of dread and upset. Eren finally sighed, taking Ava by the shoulders and staring her in the face.
"We're being called to serve, Ava. You know what we have to do." Eren sternly spoke, not skipping a beat.
"But Emery! She's just a newborn!" Ava cried, tears welling up.
"Ava, if I may, your daughter will be just fine. We can send Petra to pick her up later." Levi stood and nodded, as Eren walked Ava by the hand out of their home.
A few hours had passed, yet Petra did not arrive to pick up Emery. Instead, the hungry infant lay wailing in her crib, yearning for her mother. Her cries were like a banshee, yet no one came to help. Just as she began to slow her crying, a large racket was made at the front of the house. The door had been kicked down, followed by a pair of criminals.
"Search it all! Take everything!" A man commanded, throwing his arm around.
"Valuables, weapons, the whole lot!" He continued yelling until he broke open the door to the room where Emery was.
"Hey, uh, Kaden...might wanna check this out..." The shorter, more built man stepped back so a taller, skinnier one could walk in front.
"What the hell have we stumbled upon this time... a child?" Kaden questioned, placing both hands on the railings of the crib.
"There's a name over here... Emery Smith Jaeger." Kaden's partner picked up a frame, but threw it to the ground, allowing it to shatter.
"Jaeger...Jaeger, Jaeger, Jaeger... That name sound familiar, Jensyn?" The two men stood over Emery's crib, her green eyes red and puffy from tears.
"Eren Jaeger! That dude said to be one of humanity's strongest! And Smith..." Jensyn grabbed his hair in frustration.
"Retired Commander of the Survey Corps... Must be Eren and his daughter's kid. Damn, Jensyn...imagine the strength she could hold!" Kaden grabbed Emery, racing out the house.
"Hey! Wait! What about their stuff? We could sell the lot of this and finally have money to live on the interior!" Jensyn stopped in the living room area.
"Dude, do you see where this kid could get us?" Kaden chose a random blanket, wrapping Emery and taking off once more.
I took my favorite jeweled dagger from the leather strap around my waist, dragging its tip along the bricks of the rooftop I sat upon. This was my gift from the brotherhood on my 17th birthday, which passed a few weeks back. The brotherhood is the Underground's main association of thieves, crooks, fighters, and others of the like. Me? I'm a little bit of everything. My name is Emery Takeshi, named by Kaden and Jensyn. I'm not too sure on their relation to me...they claimed to be cousins, so I just went with it. Hell, anyone who says they're family down here...you have to give them a chance.
"Heya, Emery." I bolted up, readying my weapon at the sudden words.
"Dammit, Noah. You can't just scare me like that." I punched his arm, laughing a little.
"Yeah, yeah. I never learn. So, what's got you up here?" He stood next to me, staring out at the oddly charming scenery of the Underground. When I didn't respond, he stared down at me.
"You're thinking about it again, aren't you Emery?" Noah's voice seemed almost parental.
"Y-Yeah...I have been..." I sheepishly admitted, puffing my cheeks.
"Emery, your home is down here. Those greedy bastards upstairs can't dream of the life we have." He nudged me, looking out onto the city once more.
Truth is, I hated being down here. Sure, I had a roof over my head most nights, some rations every now and then, but most of all... people who cared about me. Despite all that, the life of living up top seemed so appealing and gorgeous. Having clean clothes to wear everyday, a real bed to sleep in, and a reliable income of food. I'd been devising plans to escape, but the only way was up the stairs... and you had to pay. Plus, you couldn't even stay up there forever.
I looked back up at Noah, his navy hair scraping by his forehead. The boy'd been there for me since I can remember, and if I did get the opening I needed to leave, there was no way I'd leave him behind. He tugged on my sleeve, pulling me to the edge of the roof that overlooked the street below.
"Come on, Emery. I hear they've got some stale bread back at your place tonight. Just for us!" His cheeky laugh is what convinced me to stay most times, even when my thoughts went dark side and I thought about suicide.
"Oh boy, I can't wait!" My sarcastic laughter echoed through the small cavern we were near, as my boots parted ways with the brick roof, landing on the next one.
"Last one there has to split their rations!" Noah yelled as he tried to catch up.
We skipped from rooftop to rooftop, our worn leather boots pounding on the stone and brick tops of houses. Our laughter attracted the eyes of merchants and others down on the streets, derogatory remarks and scowls made towards us. My kind of people were harshly looked upon, even in a place such as the Underground. Once I saw our tucked away base, made up of broken down houses and sheds, I smiled, sure I was to beat Noah.
Once I stopped running, my boots skid across the earth and onto the cement of our main building. I put my fists on my hips in a triumphant manner. Smiling broadly, I opened my eyes to find Noah, standing next to Jensyn and Kaden. feeling deflated, I slumped down and sat on my knees.
"You can keep your bread, Emery. You'll need it if you want to escape this place." Noah teased, ruffling my hair.
"She on about that again?" Jensyn joked, helping me off the ground.
"As always." Noah poked his tongue out to the side at me.
"Hey, now. Give the girl a break. We've all got dreams." Kaden patted me on the shoulder, a little too hard.
"Yeah, like getting home to that stale bread." Jensyn rubbed his stomach, earning laughter from everyone.
Our house was one built in an odd spot. Made entirely of wood, the entire back part was built into the earth and rock, while the front was built outside it. I enjoyed it, for the fact it was near a large opening where the sun shined down inside the Underground. Sometimes, a bird would fly in and I could see it from in front of our house. Kaden liked to tell me that my dreams went with that bird, and that it'd see the world for me. He'd told me that since I was a toddler, and it stuck with me.
Once we entered our house, 8 small loaves of bread lay on our measly wooden table. I began to drool, and eagerly ran over. Biting into the bread, my teeth ached as I struggled to tear at the stale food. If you could call it food. But hey, it was edible, and down here, that's all you can hope for. As Noah left, I decided to sit under that sun spot on the rocks. Sitting with my legs crossed, I squinted as the bright light shone upon me.
"Someday... You watch out, world. Emery Takeshi is coming soon." I whispered to myself, laying down.
The warmth got to me, and eventually I fell asleep. Dreams and visions of a better life danced through my mind. I felt euphoric, like everything was perfect and I lived in my own utopia. Then, about an hour later, I was harshly awakened. The warmth I had fallen asleep to was replaced by a drastic decline in temperature, and fat, constant rain drops. Standing up, I shook my head to try and relieve my hair of some rain. But, much to my dismay, it only got my clothes even more wet.
I walked inside our house, knowing no one else was up. Kaden and Jensyn always went to bed early. I sat at our dingy table, scooting a chair by the one window that showed me outside our home. I could still sort of see the rain falling through the hole in the earth, allowing minimal moonlight to filter in. Placing my cheek in my palm, I propped myself up on the windowsill.
"Can't sleep, huh?" I was startled at the sudden voice.
"Kaden, I thought you were asleep?" I asked, scooting back towards the table.
"I was, until I heard you come in." He took a seat across from me, casting a half smile.
"I uh- why didn't you guys come get me?" I replaced my original statement with a question.
"You looked so peaceful under the sun. I know you want out there, believe me, so do I... We'd already gone to bed when the rain came in." Kaden shrugged, leaning back in the wooden chair.
"I'll do it, Kaden. I'll get out of here, and take you all with me! You, Jensyn, and Noah!" I pounded my fists on the table, before realizing how loud I was.
"Nng... Kaden? What's all the noise for?" Jensyn stumbled out of the bedroom, in his rags that passed for pajamas.
"Emery just got back from her nap outside. Heard her come in so I got up." Kaden pulled a chair over for Jensyn.
"I want to go above, Jensyn... I want to see the Walls! I want to read a newspaper! I want to experience the real world!" I cried, gripping handfuls of hair.
"Now, now. Let's not get too hasty. Instead of acting like a caged bird, why don't we do something about it?" Jensyn usually wasn't one for my ideas of going above, but for some reason tonight was different.
The three of us spent the next several moments talking over ways to get up there. We didn't have 3DMG, since Queen Historia had stricter rules on using them now that the Walls had been fortified. That could've been my only escape out that large hole by our house. As we were talking, multiple harsh knocks came to the door. I instinctively reached for my dagger, which was still sheathed at my hip. Jensyn and Kaden looked at each other, and then me. I nodded, allowing Jensyn to answer the door.
Upon opening it, there was a large group of people, from what I could tell. Most had torches and pitchforks, almost like a witch hunt.
"Can we uh...help you?" Jensyn asked, chuckling nervously.
"We've had enough of your kind polluting our life! You thieves and muggers can't stay here anymore!" The man thumped his pitchfork, saliva spewing from his mouth at the end of the sentence.
"Yeah, about that. You see, we can't just live where ever we damn well please. We're stuck here." Jensyn cast us a side glance.
"You'll be living in the heavens when we're through with you!" The man spat...literally.
"Well, it just so happens that this funky town down here is just right." There it was. Jensyn had given us the code word.
'Funky town' to us, meant run like hell. Which is exactly what Kaden and I did. The window at the front of the house was just large enough, so I bolted for it. Crashing through the glass, I landed harshly on the earthy and glass covered ground, earning some more scrapes and cuts. Kaden followed, both of us sprinting for a nearby house to climb. Some of the mob had followed, giving us very little time to reach Noah.
After dodging stones, torches, and other thrown items, I spotted Noah's house with the chimney. He'd had it altered a few years ago in case he ever needed to slip inside on emergency. I leapt in, hitting harshly on the ash and bits of wood at the bottom. I crawled out, just in time for Kaden to land behind me. Noah came rushing out of his room, his little sister trailing behind.
"Oni...why's these people here?" She tugged at his pant leg, a small fist to her mouth.
"Just go back to sleep, Lainey." He guided her back up the stairs, turning to us in alarm.
"What the hell happened?!" Noah whisper-yelled, helping each of us up.
"Mob came to our place, said something about killing us off to make life better and easier." Kaden dusted his clothes, as well as my back.
"And Jensyn? Where's he?" Noah went to the kitchen, bringing Kaden and I a wet cloth to clean our faces.
"He's either still there, or catching up." Just as I'd responded, Jensyn came tumbling down the chimney and through the ash.
"Hey, guys. I miss the party?" Instantly recovering and standing up, I sighed and went over to him.
"No, you idiot. This wasn't a party in the first place." I scoffed, using my cloth to wipe his face.
The four of us sat around in silence, waiting for any sign that the mob had found where we went. Noah extinguished all of his candles and drew the curtains, hoping that would help.
"Emery, what will you do about getting outside now?" Noah plopped next to me on the ground, whispering.
What he said, actually, gave me a brilliant idea. That mob of people we saw was mostly a quarter of the merchants and such. Probably, if it was a planned out and joint effort that they would mob on this night in particular, then the stairs were probably unguarded.
"If the lot of those mobbers were there...who's guarding the stairs?" My question caused everyone to look up.
"You mean to say..." Jensyn began.
"...that we could escape tonight?" Kaden finished, looking intrigued.
"Yeah, probably. IF we left right this second." I stood up, as everyone else did too.
"I'll keep guard, you guys run onto a roof and I'll catch up." Noah poked his head out the door, nodding that it was safe.
Me, Jensyn, and Kaden all climbed our way up to some rooftops on the opposite side of the street. Noah followed close behind, but far enough back to warn us if anything came up. Shortly thereafter, the stairs that let above were in sight. My hunch was right, they were currently unguarded. Adrenaline coursed through me, causing my legs to push harder than they ever had. Freedom was in sight, I just had to reach out.
"Emery! Wait!" Noah screamed behind me, just as I'd jumped onto the ground in front of the stairs.
"Noah, what? Aren't you coming?" I whirled around, curious as to why he'd stopped.
"I guess you didn't notice...the mob caught up, Jensyn and Kaden are a ways back. They're holding them off... for you." Noah closed his eyes, furrowing his brow.
"What?! We have to go back for them!" I started to run, but was pushed back by him.
"Emery, this is a once in a million chance. You can't pass it up now." He had his hand on my shoulder, giving me a reassuring grip.
"Noah...they're my...family..." I sniffled, feeling the familiar sting of tears in my eyes.
"And family always comes through for each other." He gave me the cheeky smile I'd grown used to, and placed a bag in my arms.
"W-What's this...?" I pulled the string away, looking inside.
As my hands curiously felt around, they discovered a grand amount of things. There was clothes, shoes, and... Money?! I took my hand out of the bag, giving Noah a perplexed look. He shrugged at me, as the sounds of approaching yelling came to ear.
"I've always been preparing for you, never for me. I need to stay and take care of Lainey. Now go, you don't have much time." He turned, his back to me.
"Noah I can't..." I started, reaching out.
"Just go! Now, dammit!" Startled by his yelling, I hugged the bag to my chest and began climbing the stairs.
1...2...3... I began to let out choked cries as I heard the mob approaching Noah. 4...5...6... My legs, in incredible pain, still pressed on up the agonizing staircase. 7...8...9... How many more were there? Surely not many...
I stopped counting when I heard Noah's yelling at the people. I heard metal clanking, and what I assumed to be a fight breaking out. I stopped counting the stairs, and forced myself up the increasing incline. Meeting the top, there was a small tunnel. I sluggishly trekked through, meeting the rising sun, for the first time. My green eyes, once drowning in sorrow and madness, widened to drink in the newfound hope and life.