Episode Two: CloserMature

     We had lived in our new home for about a year now. We lived next to this one family, who had a son and daughter. The dad was a doctor! My dad and his talked a lot. I believe their son's name is Eren...and his sister is Mikasa. I liked it here, they were my friends and only a couple years younger than me. I was 15 now, my birthday just passed a couple months back. I was sitting outside in our tiny front garden when Eren walked over.

"Hey, Ava. You ever been in a fight before?" Eren asked me, kneeling down.

"No, Eren. Why you ask?" I picked off petals of a dandelion.

"Your dad's a Garrison soldier! How have you not gotten in a fight after living in a district that's such a downsize of your original one?" Eren plopped down next to me in the dirt.

"I don't like fighting, Eren." I was piddling with rocks when He drug me off by my dress sleeve.

"You'll change your mind, Ava." The hazel eyed boy smirked as we ran through alleyways and around corners.

"Eren, this is one of my new dresses!" I cried in protest, unable to break free of his grip.

     We happened to stumble upon this group of thugs verbally abusing and punching a kid I knew, Armin Arlert. My eyes widened in shock, even though I knew Armin got bullied a lot. Eren let go of me, stepping back. I stood there, motionless for a moment before one of the boys saw me.

"Ey, it's that there rich girl again! I hear she's got some fancy clothes..." One taunted, popping his knuckles. I charged to the group, only to stop once more in front of them. Armin whimpered helplessly against the wall, his arms covering his head.

"Watcha gonna do, rich girl? Did living life as the King's lapdog soften ya up?" Another laughed, speaking to me like one would a child.

"I...I..." My words failed me.

"That's what I thought. Let's get her!" The third taunted, punching me straight in the cheek.

"Ava!" Eren screamed, running at the guys now surrounding me.

     They continued to punch and kick at me, while one slammed their shoe down on my wrist. I could catch occasional glimpses of Eren trying to pull them off, but to no prevail. Soon, however, all three of them turned their heads and gulped. I kept my eyes shut after that, for fear they would start beating on me again. They all ran away, as I lie on the concrete in the fetal position. 

"Ava, are you alright?" I opened my eyes once more to find Mikasa. My brain took a mental sigh of relief.

"Y-Yeah, I'm fine..." I mustered, wiping my eyes.

"Eren, I've told you! Don't get this poor girl mixed up in your folly!" Mikasa scolded, helping me stand.

"Armin, how are you?" Mikasa helped the blond boy stand, noticing he was holding a book against his chest.

"Ava, I'm so sorry. I didn't-" I put a finger on Eren's mouth.

"Don't bother." I forced a smile, which made his gaze lighten.

"Come on, let's get you two back to my dad." Eren chuckled, as we all began to walk back to his house.

     Eren's dad's name was Grisha, Grisha Jaeger. Since he was a doctor, I got bandages put on my cuts and a splint made for my wrist. Judging by outside, it was about 6:30. I ran over to my house to talk to my parents.

"Ava, that Jaeger boy is a bad influence on you." My mother insisted, still after a year later trying to get used to her smaller kitchen.

"I think it'll toughen her up!" My father chuckled, reading the newspaper.

"Lennord!" My mother stomped, scolding my father.

"Armin has a new book he wants us to read. I'm gonna go do that now." I ran out the door before anyone could oppose.

     Turning back to Eren's house, I noticed him, Armin, and Mikasa standing at the edge of their sidewalk. Armin held the large book in the air, waving it excitedly. We all walked calmly to the river that ran through the very back of Shiganshina, sitting down on the concrete where people would stand to get on. Armin laid the large book down, blowing air on it to clear it of dust.

"This says, that there are these large bodies of water that wrap around the whole planet! They're called...oceans." Armin made a dramatic hand motion, which wooed all of us.

"Bodies of water bigger than the rivers?" I inquired, turning my head to the side.

"Way bigger! There's these things that animals from the ocean leave behind when they die. It says they're called seashells." Armin smiled, turning the page.

"Appropriately named." Eren added in, nodding.

"Armin, can we get to the ocean?" Mikasa asked, brushing her black bangs from her eyes.

     Armin solemnly nodded, saying that attempting to venture outside the walls without a purpose for humanity was illegal. We all bowed our heads in upset, as I gazed out onto the water, the sunset casting shimmers along its waves. Armin folded up the book, and we headed back to our respected homes.

*Time Skip* 

     I awoke to muffled screaming. Instantly being woke up, I looked around to see if the source was Jared or someone in my room. Ever since we'd moved, Jared and I had to share a room. Throwing open my curtains, I noticed Eren outside his house, yelling at his mother with tears in his eyes. I gasped, and instantly ran by my bed to get my shoes. Jared groaned, opening his eyes slightly.

"Ava, what on earth are you doing?" Jared groggily asked, placing hands on his face.

"Something's wrong with Eren. Tell mom and dad I'll be back!" I slung myself out the room door, practically sliding down the staircase.

     Making my way outside, I noticed Eren running off, his mother reaching for him. She turned to Mikasa, who had been standing behind her. She grasped her shoulders, looking into her adopted daughter with eyes swimming in despair. I made my way over, to hopefully find out what was wrong.

"Mikasa, he is truly a reckless boy! You have to look after him!" Carla pleaded, as her daughter nodded and ran off for Eren.

"Mrs. Jaeger, what's the matter?" I asked, standing in front of Eren's mom.

"His father went off on urgent business this morning, just after Eren told me he had desires to join the Survey Corps..." Carla began to cry, and I knew I couldn't get anymore answers. 

     Running after Eren and now Mikasa, I called their names every time I turned a corner. They weren't by the river, and they weren't where Armin and I got beat up yesterday. I began t lose hope of finding them for now, when the last time I called their names, I was shushed and pulled next to Armin.

"Ava, take a look up there..." Armin whispered, unable to take his eyes off what was going on.

"Is that a...titan?" Eren stammered. Mikasa was speechless, standing next to her brother.

"N-No..." I whispered to myself, as a monstrous hand reached onto the walls, cracking the stone it grabbed to hold on to.

     Everyone who was in the square was speechless, unable to talk or move. The only sound in the air was the occasional gasp and short sob of someone, or the cracking of more stone by the titan. Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse, a large gust of air flies by just as chunks of the wall and houses do. The titan has broken the gate and wall, allowing for the entrance of smaller titans. The people in the square began to scream horrendously, as large chunks of stone and pieces of buildings came crashing down on them.

"Mikasa! We have to go check on mom!" Eren screamed against the commotion. His sister nodded, and they began running for their house.

"Armin! You go get the hell out of here! I've got to go get Eren." I placed my hands on Armin's arms, tightening my grip for emphasis.

"Ava, you can't! There are titans in the city! THERE ARE TITANS IN THE CITY!" Armin repeatedly yelled at me, his eyes swelling up with tears.

"Armin. Get to the docks. I bet there's boats there. Eren, Mikasa, and I will meet you." I pushed off him, barreling for Eren's house.

     Dodging my new obstacles of stone, wood, and a part of a clock-tower, my run to Eren's took longer than it should have. Gazing up at nearby screams, I noticed an all too familiar face. Alisha, my mother, was being lifted up by one of these monsters. I stood in horror as I watched the titan squeeze its hand, shattering her bones and causing blood to ooze from her mouth. I climbed up on some debris nearby to get closer. This titan was cursed with an unforgiving smile. I screamed at it, trying to get its attention. My mom glanced over, and her eyes were about to crash shut.

"A-Av-Ava...leave while you c-can..." I turned my head, my father lay without legs a few feet over.

"No! Dad!" I tried running to him, but my attention was stolen by the sound of a final barrage of screaming.

"I love you." My mother mouthed, tears cascading down her bloodied face as the titan closed its gargantuan mouth on her body.

     Lost in a trance of what just happened, I ripped off the bottom part of my dress and wrapped it around where my father's legs would be. He was almost too heavy for me to carry, but I jumped off the debris with his body in my arms. Before I made it to the steps leading up to Eren and I's house, a Garrison guard carrying him and Mikasa raced by me. Eren ordered him to stop and allowed me to climb on his shoulders. 

"Mom! No! Turn around, turn around!" Eren pounded against the man's shoulders.

"There's no time, Eren! She's gone, I'm sorry..." I turned my head just enough to see Eren's mom brought up from the remnants of their house, ripped and eaten by a titan.

     The man carried us to the boats, where one was about to depart. The Garrison guard that had carried us forced the others to let us on the boat. Mikasa stood motionless, propped against the center cabin. Several people from our district were in a state of post-traumatic stress, but I just looked at them with woeful eyes. Eren was on the edge of the boat, gripping the handles harshly. I could see tears running down his cheeks, and got up to go over there. Just as I had, Armin walked up to Eren's side. A tide of relief washed over me. Armin made it. As I was making my way up to the pair, a thought hit me like a train. Jared. Where's Jared?! I turned my head frantically, searching for my maroon haired brother.

"Jared?! Jared Oliver?! Jared, are you here?!" I cupped my hands to my mouth, shouting frantically. Other passengers didn't seem to mind my crying, since some were doing the same.

"Ava...? Is that you?" I turned to find the voice that was barely a whisper.

"Jared!" I screamed, crying at the same time. I hugged my brother so tight that I'm surprised he didn't pass out.

"Hey, pipsqueaks gained some strength." Jared still made jokes even in a time like this.

"Hey, watch it. I'm 5'6 now." I smiled through the tears.

     We both sat down by Mikasa, who hadn't moved. Eren and Armin walked over, and we all gave each other gracious hugs. Everybody sat in a circle, making sure not to lose sight of each other. We turned to look at the gate, with sorrowful glances. We heard rumbling, which caused us all to stand and look towards where it was coming from. Just as we had, a titan not quite as large as the one that shattered the wall, broke through the gate with a single punch. He had more than just muscle and skin, and had shaggy hair on top of his head.

"You've got to be kidding me." Mikasa grumbled, almost with a hint of sarcasm.

     As all of us sat back down, I made sure to stay extra near to my brother and Eren. The boat drifted on down the river, and into the next wall. We were all forced to take refuge in somewhere I'd only passed through, Wall Rose.

The End

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