**If any of you have read my other stories, you know that when the POV's start shifting, shit's gettin' real. Well, that's exactly what'll start happening, beginning with this chapter. Also, this one will be longer than the others (fair warning). I'm glad to be back at home with solid wifi. Enjoy!**
"Erwin! We can't do anything! There's too much blood!" Levi screamed at my father, who had just landed next to him, panting heavily. "Levi, come on, there has to be something...she's my daughter!" He pleaded with the shorter, black haired male who refused to leave my side. This was something I've never seen before, people crying over me. Levi grabbed two fistfuls of my cloak, clenching the fabric and sobbing emphatically. He stared down at me, his normally flawless face stained with blood and cascading tears. "Levi, there's more titans! We have to go!" Erwin soared off once more, attempting to deal with the approaching threat of the carnivorous monsters. I felt my body being picked up, Levi holding up my head so that he could look at me one last time. I wanted nothing more than to scream and say that I was okay, but only my sight and hearing still functioned. My body slowly went numb in the arms of Levi, his tear-stained face burying itself in my neck.
I shot up in my bed, breathing erratically. Another nightmare...I looked over to find Levi still curled up asleep. That's right, I'm in his room. I put my palm to my forehead, feeling the sweat dripping. I sighed, realizing there was no use in going back to sleep. Exiting the bed, I folded my side of the blankets and went to retrieve my folded uniform from the table. I poked my head outside the curtains after changing, and realized that the sun hadn't even risen. Ever so silently, I left Levi's room, shutting the door with extreme ease.
What would I do now? No one else was awake, and I couldn't train without running the risk of waking someone. But...there was one person who'd never been bothered too badly by being woken up by me. Making my way to the area of the castle that housed the cadets, I counted the doors until I found Jared's. Slowly turning the door knob, a thought occurred to me, and I turned it back, leaving the door shut. There was something else I had to do first...Turning around, I walked to Eren's door. I went to wrap my hand around the nob, when I heard a voice.
"I know you're there, come in." Startled, I entered his room slowly.
"E-Eren, I had a nightmare and couldn't go back to sleep." I admitted, closing the door behind me.
"Yeah, you're not the only one. C'mere." Eren patted the spot next to him on the bed.
As I sat down, Eren lit the oil lamps in his room before sitting back next to me. As the pulsating light illuminated our surroundings, I noticed bruises and cuts all over Eren's bare torso and arms. I reached my hand over, placing my palm upon a bruise on his chest.
"I guess this is what I get for laying hands on the Commander's daughter." Eren forced a smile, obviously fake.
"Eren...I'm sorry for what they did to you..." All I could manage was a shitty, half-hearted apology.
"Ava, it's not your fault. A part of me knew you didn't remember, and that you had a concussion. I guess I was just torn up about being removed from your squad." The boy shrugged, glancing over at me.
"That reminds me. I'm going t-" Eren cut me off by engulfing me in a hug.
We sat there for a while. Just me sitting in Eren's embrace. At one point, we heard shuffling shoes outside in the hall, giving the impression that other people were up. Once he let me go, I turned to see the sun slowly trying to poke through the curtains. I remembered that I was supposed to give a call to everyone in my squad, since they were supposed to wake up early.
"Eren, I have to give the wake-up call. I'll be right back." I got up from his bed, opening his door, and standing outside it. I cleared my throat, ready for the announcement.
"Attention! If you are in the elite Squad Ava, please suit up and head down to the mess hall for breakfast immediately!" I heard distant groaning, which made me chuckle.
Walking back inside Eren's room, I noticed he had gotten dressed in the time I was out. We sat and talked for a little bit, avoiding the intensity of the day ahead. Yes, we both knew what was happening and the risks it entailed, but we tried not to think about it until the moment arose.
*Time Skip: 20 minutes before departure*
"Ava, is your squad prepared?" My father asked, handing me my fresh blades.
"Yes, Commander." I situated them into my 3DMG, saluting the man before me.
"You know, you can still address me as your father." Erwin looked a little disappointed.
"This is a mission, all emotional and personal ties are to be left behind until it is completed." I simply stated, walking back inside the castle.
I passed by Jared, who smirked at my remark. I haven't seen Levi since I left the room this morning, which is a little worrying. I was all finished and ready to go, I just needed to gather my squad. Once I gathered them all, they were ordered to stand in a semi-circle in front of me. I eyed Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Jean, and Jared all individually, before starting my announcement.
"As your superior on this mission, I have made the decision to trade." I bowed my head to the people in front of me.
"Trade? What do you mean, trade?" Jared asked, puzzled.
"I'm afraid I don't understand, Squad Leader." Jean added, tilting his head sideways.
"Guys, shut up and let her speak." Eren spat, clearing his throat.
"Thank you. Now, what I mean by that, is I hereby assign Mikasa Ackerman to my support team, and return Eren Jaeger to his rightful position in my elite." Everyone's eyes opened in surprise, especially Mikasa and Armin.
"With all due respect, Squad Leader, we need all the strength we can get on this mission. Trade someone like me!" Armin pleaded, walking forward.
"Armin, silence. I accept Ava's decision, as should you." Mikasa saluted me, walking to her new assigned area.
Jean, Jared, and Armin mumbled under their breath as they went back outside. Eren playfully punched me in the arm, smiling broadly.
"What's that for, Eren?" I laughed, punching him back.
"It's my way of saying thanks." He responded, as we both walked outside together.
The entire Survey Corps was preparing for our leave to Shiganshina, which was in roughly 10 minutes. I walked over to my horse, its sandy/white main contrasting its rather dark body. Once I had successfully mounted the horse, I looked around at the cadets and supporters bustling around to make sure everything was ready. My squad was fixating their gear and mounting their horses, some already trotting over to me. Eren was the first, positioning his horse to be right next to mine. We smiled lightly at each other, before setting our eyes upon the sight of Levi, who had finally emerged from the castle.
He had the help of my father for getting on his horse, which still made me laugh. Levi had the impression he was intensely annoyed, which wasn't good at all. I told Eren to sit back as my horse slowly carried me over to him.
"Levi, are you alright?" Upon further inspection, I could see he seemed more depressed than annoyed.
"Y-Yeah, Ava. I'm fine. I just knew this day would come." Levi turned his horse away, heading for the gates of the castle.
"Levi!" I called out, before feeling a tug on my cloak.
"Ava, your dad's about to speak." Eren motioned to the blond man, who had his horse facing everyone at the front of the formation.
Everyone got in their assigned spots, my squad directly behind Squad Levi. I still couldn't get the Corporal's attention, which worried me. Levi seemed perfectly fine last night, what caused him to act this way? I felt Eren grab my hand, squeezing it faintly. We both looked upon my father, waiting for his speech.
"This," he began, his voice booming over everyone. "is what we are. Those of humanity who weren't born with the drive, the capabilities, the requirements to be a soldier, are whom we fight for on this day. Will you allow the titans to continue taking our land?" Erwin grabbed the reins on his horse, as did everyone else.
"No!" The Corps exclaimed in unison.
"Will you allow humanity to fall victim to their onslaughts? Or will you fight?!" Who knew my dad was so great at giving pep-talks, hmm.
"We will fight! For the glory of humanity!" I looked around as everyone saluted, ready to fight the titans.
"Then let's go take back our territory!" Erwin raised a blade in the air, turning around, and charged out the gates.
My squad quickly followed behind his, the hooves of horses digging relentlessly into the earth. I kept my head straight, even as titans roamed by in the distance. We had a mission to fulfill, and nothing was going to stop me from completing it.
*Time Skip: Outside Shiganshina*
The entire Corps had dismounted about 2 miles out, in this old abandoned farmhouse area, so we could stash all the horses. As we approached the battered gate, support squads stayed on guard to take out any titans that stood in our way. Once they had been cleared, Erwin gave the 'all-clear' for my squad to advance first. As we did, Levi looked up at me with pure sorrow in his eyes. I still didn't know why he was acting that way, so I shook the thought and continued soaring to the top of the wall. As I made sure my squad had made it successfully, I was approached with a question.
"Squad Leader, what are our orders?" Jared approached me, a stern look on his normally peppy face.
"Jean, Jared, Armin, head out and take down any titans in the West area. Eren, stick with me." I readied my blades and gear.
"Yes, Squad Leader!" The three boys I had assigned saluted in unison, heading out to their posts.
"Oli, what will we be doing?" Eren asked, walking to my side.
"You know why I sent them to the West area of Shiganshina?" I looked over at him, putting my blades back in their holder.
"No, Oli. We have a mission. This isn't the time for personal ties!" Eren demanded, grabbing my wrist.
I tore myself free of Eren's grip, using my 3DMG to shoot off the walls, straight for the direction of my old house. I-It may be destroyed, but I have to see it...no matter what. I pushed on, using as much gas as the tanks would dish out. I had to go sparingly, however, the support squads stayed a decent distance behind the main ones, since they carried the supplies. I stopped just a little ways from my house, a safe walking distance. Yes, it still stood, but without a roof and most of the chimney.
Walking in, I was overcome with memories. Dirtied bowls still sat overturned on the wooden kitchen table, torn fabrics from various clothing items clung to wood splinters, and a toppled bookshelf lay silent in what used to be the living room. I stood in the center of it all, feeling waves crash into my body with compelling momentum. The waves, being everything I'd ever experienced in that house. I started getting dizzy, to which I passed out.
"No! No!" A muddied voice yelled, pleading for help.
"I-gah!-I can't fight! help!" They continued to scream. Why isn't someone helping them?
"Oli, I need you! Help me!" I snapped to when I heard my nickname, only given by one person only. Eren.
I stood up immediately, not seeing the brown haired boy anywhere near me. His distressed screams still pierced the air, allowing me to pin-point his location. Grappling across various rooftops, I finally found him. Eren was trapped on top of this roof, a few houses over. Upon squinting my eyes, I discovered he was gravely injured. With one leg ripped off, and the other bent awkwardly, he was incapable of moving. I felt fear strip every other emotion out of my body, leaving only it.
"Eren, I'm coming!" I called as loud as I could, rushing towards him.
I approached Eren from the side, a plan in my head that had no reason to fail. Once I got close enough, I unleashed a grapple, hooking Eren and pulling him rapidly towards me. Moving out of the way, I called back the hook as Eren slid further back on the rooftop. Reaching for my blades, my hands were left empty. Shit! They must've fallen out at the house! I mentally yelled at myself, looking back up.
The titan that was going after Eren, now had its sights on me. If I ran, the beast would continue going after him. There is no way in hell I would ever let that happen. I stood, my fists clenched, ready to make my stand. The titan drew nearer, my stance not wavering. All my ears could hear was Eren coughing behind me, the bellowing steps of the approaching titan, and...Levi?!
"Ava! What the hell are you doing?!" I shift my gaze slightly to find Levi several tens of yards over, zipping by. I turned back to the titan, who was now directly in front of me.
"I'm a soldier of humanity! Come get me, you ugly sack of shit!" I put forth the best salute I had in my entire career of being a soldier.
The next thing I felt, was the titan lifting me by my cloak hood. My body felt weightless in that time, as it opened its mouth, dropping me in. Before the titan shut its mouth, I pulled myself up on its tongue, keeping its teeth parted for a little longer. I look out to find Eren, forcing himself to sit up. He had tears mixing with his blood, and his mouth agape as he screamed gratingly for me.
"Ava!" He screamed, his voice cracked at the apex of his scream.
"Eren..." I whispered, the titan's mouth finally clenching shut, closing me off from the outside world.
I had just witnessed Ava staring straight at an oncoming titan, with Jaeger critically injured behind her. What the hell was she thinking?! She could've been fighting that thing, probably saving them both. I circled back around, just in time to watch the jaws of that titan close on Ava. She seemed to be mouthing something, but I couldn't make it out. I halted on a wraparound that was on a pillar connected to a cathedral, watching this atrocious scene unfold. Hearing more cords zip, I turn to see Erwin, and my face immediately freezes.
"Levi, what's the status on Squad Ava?" Erwin is followed by Petra and Hanji.
"We're sorry we couldn't come sooner, we got held up." Petra walks out from behind the Commander, along with Hanji. I kept my silence, still staring at Erwin.
"Come on, we don't have time to sit idle with this. Tell me the status on my daughter's squad." Erwin pressed, walking closer to me.
"Erwin..." I started, at a complete loss for words.
"Oh...did she...?" I nodded, looking back over to the titan that had begun walking by Jaeger, completely ignoring him.
"Petra, Hanji, join Levi and myself in retrieving the rest of Squad Ava. We will go for Eren Jaeger first." The two girls nodded at Erwin's command, and we all got ready to head for him as a bright light blinded us all.
Electricity violently cracked, and an orange/yellow light burst through the air, lighting up nearly the whole city. Everyone was knocked down at the harsh, super heated winds that followed the explosion. Once the dust had settled, a hissing of steam was heard from near Eren's direction. We all slowly stood, appalled at the sight before us. A titan stood in front of Jaeger, its side to him, and back to us. It wasn't just a regular titan, however, this one stood at 25 meters with similar features to the armored titan that had broke the gate originally.
The titan threw its arms out at its side, the hands of the monstrous beast facing upward. It lead out a deafening roar, the nails on its fingers elongating like talons. Me, Erwin, Petra, and Hanji stood dumbfounded, unsure what to make of this. The titan turned to face us, revealing a female-type body. Its hair was short, but I couldn't tell the colour, due to the sun glare. Its pale blue, almost grey eyes stared at us. Before it turned to the side facing Eren. Opening its mouth, the female titan took a bite. Raising its head back up, Eren was no longer on the roof.
"Capture this titan at all costs! Consider it an abberant until proven otherwise! Go, go, go!" Erwin harshly commanded.
"Ohhh, yes! I can't wait to run sooooo many tests!~" Hanji yelled with glee as she rocketed towards it.
I did as Erwin ordered, following the female titan at a safe distance. It didn't pay us any mind, and if it wanted to eat us, it would've done it already. Once the female titan neared the exit to Shiganshina, it encountered a horde of smaller titans. I readied my blades, but was pulled back by Petra. I swung around, staring at her with curiosity and annoyance.
"What the hell, Petra?!" I screamed, putting my blades back in the metal canister.
"Corporal, look! It's fighting the other titans!" Petra pointed out, just as Erwin and Hanji arrived.
"Well I'll be damned..." Erwin muttered, walking next to me.
The female titan stomped, kicked, punched, and tore the bodies apart of the other titans, each time cutting the nape of their neck with an elongated nail. We took this opportunity to scale the walls, emerging on the other side. I ordered Petra to fire a flare, signaling the failure of the mission. She did so, and soon the rest of the Corps made it across the wall. Everyone was babbling about the female titan, when we heard the fracturing of stone. Everyone turned around, to find the female titan emerging from the wall.
It let out a final bellowing cry, before collapsing face first onto the earth. Its ginormous body caused some to fall over, due to the massive shockwaves it produced. Raising our arms to shield our faces from the dust and small debris, we lowered them a few moments later when the dust had cleared. Steam slowly began to rise from the already diminishing corpse. Erwin had to hold Hanji back, since all she wanted to do was begin to take samples. I began to walk closer myself, to get a better look at the female titan's body. Turning away, I was stopped by Mikasa this time, a member of Ava's support.
"Corporal, you might want to see that." She nodded her head in a gesture, to which my eyes widened as much as humanly possible.
"I-It can't be..." I stuttered.
Dragging my boots on the grass, I eventually made it to the neck of the female titan, where a body lay face down. A human body, nonetheless. I cut the person out of the muscle entrapment that their body had been singed to, and turned them on their backs. What awaited me, I was not prepared for. I started to speak, but was interrupted by a slimy, choking sound. Looking over, I noticed Eren's unconscious body emerge from the mouth, covered in a gooey sack. His wounds had completely healed.
Turning back to the female I held in my arms, I was still amazed. Both of her eyes were healed, and I couldn't help from dragging the backs of my fingers across her face. Her eyes fluttered open gently, both of those light blue orbs piercing into my soul, but with contentment. Her lips curled somewhat at the edges, forming a weak smile. She reached a hand up, cupping my face. Her eyes closed once more as she fell limp.
"Ava..." My voice quivered, bringing her forehead to mine as I sobbed faintly.