There were surprisingly a lot more trainees than it seemed. All of my friends had gone, and I was among the very last to go. Once my name was called, I could feel my palms get clammy with nervousness. What if I couldn't balance? What happened if I fell? Attempting to push those thoughts back, I stood with my arms out in the center of the three beams, waiting for my straps to be set.
"Alright, Oliver. We're going to slowly raise you up. Just try and balance, you should be fine." Our drill sergeant clicked his pen, reading to begin writing things down.
As I was being raised up slowly, I could feel my entire body struggle to stay upward. It was difficult, yes. I was proud of myself so far, even my friends and fellow trainees were amazed at how well I was dealing with it.
"I'm amazed. You're doing even better than Ackerman was earlier." The drill sergeant put his pen back behind his ear, and instructed for someone to lower me back down.
"Th-Thank you, sir!" I laughed, hearing that I was better than someone of Mikasa's caliber made my beyond happy.
As I was being lowered down, people all around me were clapping. Mikasa had a smile of pride, instead of offense. Eren was being held back by Armin, since all Eren wanted to do was rush over to me. Just before I could touch the ground, one of the cords snapped. I yelled in shock as my body was tossed around, my head hitting a rock on the ground. I tried to steady myself, but ended up going face first into a large bolt that was coming from one of the metal beams.
I had a splitting headache, and couldn't remember much. Why am I in pain? How come my head feels constricted? I opened my eye, what? Why is only one eye opening? What the hell is going on?! My body sprang up from its laying down position, to be met with Eren attempting to lay me back down.
"Eren, what's going on? Why am I in the infirmary?" I placed a hand on the left side of my face, feeling a bandage wrap around my eye.
"You hit your face, or your eye, rather, on a bolt while 3DMG training. There was a lot of blood, so I rushed you here." He smiled warmly, attempting to calm me down.
"How long's it been?" I groggily asked, sitting myself back up.
"It's about time for dinner. You've been out almost 8 hours." Eren nervously laughed, flashing me a toothy grin.
I slumped back down in the bed, groaning in pain once I did. A body entered the infirmary, walking over towards Eren and I. He must've been a trainee, since he had the same uniform we did. His hair was short, black, and had a middle part. His face also had freckles like mine.
"Eren, us guys are doing some extra training if you would like to join. Oh, hi, Ava! I'm Marco!" He smiled, walking over to pat my shoulder.
"H-Hey, Marco." I smiled, still laying down.
"I'll be out in a second, man." Eren waved as Marco left.
"Ava, don't you dare leave until a nurse says you can, okay?" Eren sat me up, keeping a firm grip on my shoulders.
"Yes, nanny." I chuckled, giving Eren a side smirk.
Eren sat there, keeping his lips pursed like he wanted to say or do something. He then got up and left, the door to the infirmary slamming shut. I laid back down in my bed, staring at the wooden ceiling. My eye didn't hurt, but then again who's to say that wasn't just the pain meds totally numbing me. After 10 or 15 minutes went by, I gave up waiting for a nurse and left myself. I stumbled and almost fell from my bed to the door. Seeing out of one eye is more disorienting than it sounds, you know!
As I walked outside the infirmary building, I could see Eren and some other guys trying to balance themselves with the maneuver gear simulators. I tried my best to walk straight, making my way over to them. Jean was the first to notice me, casting an apologetic look in my direction. He outstretched his hand, asking if I would forgive him.
"Yeah, whatever. Don't have any time to make enemies this early anyhow." I shook his hand, looking up at Eren who was currently the one balancing.
"Hey, Ava! Look at what I can d- woah!" Eren lost his balance in an attempt to talk to me, falling forward and smacking his forehead on the ground.
"Jean, go get bandages from the infirmary!" I yelled at him, dropping on my knees to lift up Eren.
"Wow, I guess today's just an all around suckish day." A shorter boy walked forward, rubbing a hand over his bald head.
"And you are?" I questioned, setting Eren's head in my lap.
"Connie." He simply answered, propping himself against a beam.
As me, Connie, Marco, and another pair of men who I had not been introduced to yet awaited Jean's return, I began to grow angry. What is it with this kid and pissing me off? That horse face better hurry up! Just as I stood and picked up Eren bridal style, Jean came running back. I glared at him, my annoyance beginning to boil over.
"It's about time." I stated, walking up to him.
"Ava -huff- there's been a -huff- request for you in the -huff- infirmary." Jean coughed, trying to catch his breath.
"Reiner, Bertholdt, Connie, let's get to the mess hall. Dinner is about done." I looked back at the pair of men I didn't know earlier, and kept in mind their names were Bertholdt and Reiner.
I ran as fast as my short legs could carry me(as well as Eren). Kicking in the infirmary door, I was met with a full team of nurses, about 5. A pair took the unconscious boy and put him on the bed I was laying on. The one I assumed was in charge, lead me to the other side of the building and sat me down on a bigger bed. They pulled out a clipboard, lifting up the papers and reading each one carefully. Finally, they rolled over a stool and sat in front of me.
"Ava Oliver," he began, scratching his head. "the incident with your eye, is far worse than you could imagine." He reached onto a counter, handing me a paper with a bunch of medical terms.
"I-I don't understand this, what does it mean?" I handed the paper back, my head tilted in confusion.
"I'm afraid you're now permanently blind in your left eye. The bolt that you hit out there, it damaged your eye severely." Those words hit me like a train.
"Is that all?" I solemnly asked, my body beginning to sulk.
"To avoid any major infection for a while, I'm going to give you this bag of eyepatches. Change them when necessary." He pulled out a bag from a drawer, handing it to me.
I slid off the bed, walking over to the door. Eren was standing there, a bandage wrapped all the way around his head. I smiled lightly, relief washing over me that he was alright. We left together, walking side by side to the mess hall. We were in silence until Eren began a conversation.
"So, what's the verdict on your eye? Do you know?" He turned to me, immediately noticing my grief.
"Eren, they said I'm going to be blind. Blind, Eren! How will I become a soldier if I'm blind in one freaking eye?!" I felt myself tearing up, flinching slightly when I felt warmth around my left hand.
"Ava, you can still be a soldier. Don't let petty stuff like that bother you. I'll help you through it, okay?" Eren smiled at me, his green eyes twinkling in the light of the setting sun.
"Yeah. Okay, Eren." His smile was contagious, to which I did so back, my dimples showing.
We walked into the loud and bustling mess hall, a few stragglers still in line for their food. Eren went and sat down, insisting that he wasn't hungry. I got in line behind this blonde girl who was a few inches shorter than myself. I smiled at the fact, since the only other person who was shorter than me was Krista. She seemed to have a seriously bad case of the frowns, which put me off. I looked on her jacket, finding a tag that read "Annie". Once she left, I got my tray and headed for the table with my friends.
All of us joked and laughed all night, which is what I really needed. Even the sadness about my eye was gone. I was sitting next to Jared, whom I could tell just by his looks wanted to say something about my eye, but decided against it. Krista, Ymir, and I left ahead of everyone to go back to our cabin. As we got there, I sat down on my bed and reached for the box of my belongings.
"Ava, how were you able to keep all that?" Krista inquired, sitting next to me on my bunk.
"Well, while I was taking refuge in Wall Rose, there was a small expedition that went out and tried to reclaim belongings. This was all they happen to find from my house." I started to feel my nose burn, and I smiled weakly.
"That's so cool! What's in there?" By this time, Ymir had sat down in the floor, looking up at Krista and I.
"Just a bunch of pictures and newspaper clippings I've saved. This one's my favorite clipping." I dug through and pulled out the one with Levi on it.
"Why'd you save that?" Ymir asked, taking the newspaper piece from me.
"W-Well, you see..." I began, but someone knocked on the door.
Once Krista had announced that they could come it, the door opened to Eren, who was blushing slightly. He stood there for a second, before asking if I could come with him. Skeptical, I shut my box and set it by my pillow. Walking with Eren, we could hear the crickets chirping. The moonlight was beautiful, and since I didn't know what he wanted with me, I appreciated the moon. Eren lead me to the very outskirts of our training base, where there was a small forest. So I guess this is what he does while he's slacking off...
"Eren, why'd you bring me here?" I questioned, as we sat in front of a small pond.
"Well, I figured since you've only got one eye, I figured I'd try to fill your working one with all the beauty I can." Eren nervously laughed, bringing his knees up and resting his arms on them.
"That's so sweet..." I whispered, in awe.
We sat in silence for a little while, staring at the water and creatures that passed through it. The moon cast its fragile glow on us, illuminating our surroundings. I felt myself getting sleepy, and tugged on Eren's sleeve.
"Eren, it's late. I'm tired..." I yawned, rubbing my one good eye.
"Alright, Oli. May I?" Eren stood, giving me his hand.
"You may." I smiled, speaking in a tired but happy tone.
Instead of just helping me up, Eren swung my body into his arms, carrying me like a princess. He held me close to his chest as I was slowly and gently carried back to my cabin. My ear was against his chest, which allowed me to hear his heart beat. The gentle thumps of his heart and smooth sway from walking slowly lulled me to sleep.
*Time Skip to day before graduation*
My breathing was erratic. The bloodcurdling screams of people reaching out for me as I ran by them, ignoring their pleas. The titans were in the city, and I had a squad to protect. My brown boots pounded furiously against the rooftop I ascended to, trying to reach the wall so I could escort my group. Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Jean, and the others were already there. I was the one who decided to stay behind and make sure it was safe. Once I got to the last big jump before I could grapple the wall, my gas tank went dry. Screaming, I fell to the ground with a harsh thud. Swearing every other bone was broken in my body, I felt myself being picked up. Fearing the worst, I opened my eyes to the most horrifying titan I'd ever laid my eyes on. I could feel blood dripping from my skull, as the titan brought me closer and closer to its mouth. I closed my eyes, waiting to be bitten in half. Instead, my ears were graced with the sound of slicing flesh. I felt myself falling again. I then felt the impact of one arm grasping me by my hips. Slowly opening my eyes, I was so dazed from the falling and blood loss that I was seeing double. From what I could make out, a head topped with a black choppy undercut was looking at me and then in front of him. "L-Levi..." I choked, passing out.
"Ava! Ava, wake up!" Ymir was shaking me by my shoulders.
"Wha-What the hell?" I stammered, running both hands across my face.
"You had another nightmare." Krista looked at me with extreme concern.
That's right, another stupid nightmare. I'd been having these things ever since I screwed up my eye and got blinded all those months ago. The nightmares were all over the board in randomness. Sometimes, I was a child who couldn't find their way home in the dark at night. Others, I was watching Eren get eaten by a titan. Or like the most previous one, I was about to get eaten. I sat up in my bed, grabbing my uniform and walking to the bathhouse. There were other girls in there, whom of which I had made friends with over time here.
"How'd you sleep, Ava?" Sasha asked, pinning her hair up.
"Another nightmare." I sighed, throwing my uniform on the counter and going into a shower stall.
"So, whatcha think about us graduating tomorrow?" She called as I stepped beneath the hot water.
"Time flies, Sasha." I responded, running fingers through my greasy midnight hair.
The rest of my shower, no one talked to me. I heard Ymir and Krista walk in, as they struck up a conversation with Sasha. While I was stepping out, Mikasa joined the group. I walked out in front of the mirrors wearing my towel-dress, as everyone stared at me. Then, it hit. I forgot, they haven't seen my eye since the accident... I blushed heavily, looking my now white eye, stripped of its colour. A jagged scar tore through the center of it. Quickly throwing on a fresh eyepatch, I made my hair into a wet braid.
All of us girls got dressed and left together for the mess hall. I noticed some guards and the drill sergeant preparing sets of actual 3D Maneuver Gear. Curious, I almost walked straight into the door frame. Shaking my head, I walked inside and took a seat across from Eren and right next to Jared.
"So, little sis. How you feel about graduating tomorrow?" Jared gave me a noogie as I sat.
"What? Is that a height joke?" I growled, but in a playful sense.
"N-No, Ava!" He stuttered, putting his hands up in defense.
"I feel fine. I'm just amazed at how fast time went by." I admitted, tearing some bread off a loaf that was on the table.
"Hey, Ava, any idea what sergeant and those guards are doing out there with the 3DMG?" Eren asked, looking at me.
"I believe we're going to actually practice using them in the forest today." Mikasa interjected, situating her red scarf.
As we all finished talking and eating, every trainee was called outside for an announcement. Mikasa was right, we were actually getting some first hand experience with 3DMG. After instruction was given on how to attach it, we all followed the sergeant to the large forest. I smiled at a small body of water, surrounded by fluffy green grass and cattails.
"Since you've only got one eye, I'll fill the working one with all the beauty I can."