I Hate That I Love you (Eren X Reader)
I just ran and found myself a place to hide from everyone, Shadis, Levi and Petra. No way would I be allowed to stay if they ever found out about this whole thing!
I hid on top of the cabin where our bunks were, staying on the shady part of the roof to avoid being spotted when the cadets were gathered. Shadis raised his voice and I couldn’t hear from where I was but I was able to see Eren step forward with my baton in hand. I felt my cheeks heat up and my body tense up. Shadis took the baton and said something to Eren who stood saluting him then responded by pointing…directly at my hiding place! Shadis looked over at my spot and bowed his head before turning back to Eren.
I shivered in my place as I tried to piece together my dignity and consider my next option when Shadis suddenly called my name and my stomach dropped. I knew what came next and I stood up, preparing to flee but turned and ran directly into Levi who stood with his arms crossed, glaring down at me. He wasn't that tall himself but I was still pretty damn small compared to him, the screwed up bit was I think that pleased him a little; being taller than someone.
“Oh no,” I said low as he stepped into my space.
“Is that anyway to welcome a Captain?”
“Sorry, please tell me you’re here to say hi,” I asked.
“Please don’t insult my intelligence like that.” He said bluntly.
“I know…” I said bowing my head in shame.
“We need to talk about today, what happened?” he asked, slightly leaning forward to be eye level with me.
“I don’t…really know-OUCH!” I shouted when he smacked the back of my head.
“What did I say about insulting my intelligence?” he said, his glare intensifying.
“I mean it! I don’t really know what happened!” I said holding my head now, feeling even smaller!
“Then walk me through it, it happened moments ago there is no way you’ve forgotten!” he said evenly.
I sighed and tried to think it over carefully. “I was sparring with Eren and I started remembering when the walls fell; what happened I mean, then I remembered that I used to live close to Eren. I think I heard his mother die; her blood rained down on my mother and me, it was awful-“ I felt a chill race up my spine at the memory of the copper smell in the air around us.
“How are you sure?” he asked, lowering his voice to a softer tone.
“I just am; something in me is telling me that it was her…also I think I heard Eren’s voice calling out to her.” I said and lowered myself down into a curled up position, hugging my knees to my chest as I recalled the ache I felt in my chest at the sound of Eren’s broken scream. I was no taller now than Levi's knees with my (h/c) pooling behind my rear.
Levi lowered himself into a squatting position before me and stared out over the dusty plateau of land. “You can’t dwell on things like that, it doesn’t help you. Though it is a painful memory, you grew from it and learned from it, you might be a little different if you hadn’t experienced the things you experienced.” He said low and I lifted my head to look out over the land as well.
The dried out dusty earth kicked up with the wind and danced in small tornadoes; a beautiful mess of a ballet and I remembered my early days training here. Push-ups, runs, sparring; I remembered how that dust would cling to my clothes as dew clings to leaves in the morning.
I sighed softly at the memory and smiled a little when Levi continued talking.
“We sometimes have to go through hardships because we are always being tested and those tests are getting harder the longer we pretend the walls will always protect us.” He looked over to me and I spotted something odd in his eyes…a strange look, a fondness of sorts. “Sometimes, important people are lost during those tests and that just makes it harder to go on but if we make it to the end, then we have won.” He looks away and stands up, only then do I notice that he isn’t wearing his cloak; probably not wanting to be noticed so easily. “The tricky part is deciding where the end is.” He cast a glance down at me and I shivered. “I certainly hope your end isn’t now,” he said before stepping back and pointing to Shadis and I knew everyone was watching. “Now you get down there and take your lumps like a good soldier!” he ordered and I moved to salute but he stopped me.
“Knock it off, while the formalities are appreciated, you don’t have to salute me when it’s just us.” He patted my shoulder and I smiled a little before taking off toward the group.
I reluctantly left my place and soon I stood before Shadis and the entire camp with my head bowed in embarrassment and noticed Eren holding my baton, my shoulders tensed; I knew I was in for it.
“Here, sir.” I answered, sounding like a mouse to his booming voice.
He motioned for Eren to step forward and he did and moved to hand Shadis the baton but Shadis only gestured at it, didn’t take it. “What the hell is that?”
“My baton sir,” I said, my voice still shaking.
“Why do you have that?”
“For safety purposes sir,” I tried to keep my answers clipped and simple; no reason to pry further.
“Did you use this on fellow cadets during training?”
“Just Cadet Jaeger, sir,” I said feeling my cheeks burn.
He finally took the baton from Eren and patted my head with it.
“I’m very disappointed in you,” they froze.
Eren’s eyes were wide and scared, wondering why he was talking to me like that. It wasn’t because I was a girl because he’d made Sasha run until she almost died her first day.
“Luckily you didn’t hurt anyone but that kind of behavior is unacceptable.” He held the baton before me. “I’m keeping this,” he said.
I expected as much. “Yes sir,”
He sighed, knowing that to be fair he had to dole out a physical punishment as well as a verbal one but…because of our past, he couldn’t really raise his voice at me…which meant my physical punishment would be even worse.
“Go run 250 laps around the camp.”
250?! He couldn’t be serious, that’s more laps than I ran when I accidentally dislocated his wrist once!
“But Uncle Keith-“I started, accidentally using my childish name for him and he glared down at me, I should know better! “Yes sir,” I said, a small squeaking sound coming from me.
He nodded off in the direction in which I should start and I took off, without my baton.
Later, in the evening just after dinner time I began my 237th lap around the camp. My legs felt like logs, my chest felt like fire and my head-don’t get me started. I passed by the camp and spotted a few kids on the porch watching me run and I looked away, the fact that they watched me now didn’t shame me, the fact that I’d slipped up by calling Shadis ‘Uncle Keith’ which I was ordered not to do during training and they’d all heard me. I felt like a child, trying to use a cute trick to get out of punishment and I know better than to try that!
I looked up; the light tower meant I’d begun my 238th lap. Just 12 more and I’d be done, I’d be going to bed hungry though, and that’s the sad bit. During my 126th lap, I caught a whiff of the food and sighed with longing; oh they’d made mashed potatoes with chicken! I knew we wouldn’t be eating as well tomorrow since there’d likely be nothing left over.
I sighed…just another part of the punishment I suppose. I then picked up on a sound that started up behind me and I turned to see Eren running up and falling into step beside me. I just stared for a moment when he glanced down at me. “Hey-“
I suddenly had a face full of dirt and I was on the ground, I’d tripped on a gopher hole because I’d been staring at him. I felt all of my limbs begin to shut down, my dignity fading and my face heating up when I felt an arm under my elbow pulling me up. I looked and Eren was trying to get me to my feet.
“Get up, quick, if you lose your momentum that’ll just make the last few laps seem longer, now let’s go!” he ordered and I rushed to get up. My whole body fell back into the slow rhythym despite my momentary stop. Such a short stop and my body was perfectly ready to settle in right there in the dirt!
I was soon running again and Eren at my side this time, I cast a glance at him, careful not to trip this time. We ran in silence for a moment when I decided to talk. “Why are you doing this?”
“Are you Shadis’ niece?” he asked, ignoring my question.
“No, I’m just a kid that trains here, like you.” I said.
“I’m not dumb, you called him Uncle and he didn’t completely rip you apart for that baton thing. You’ve gotta be related to him somehow,” he said as we passed the watch tower that signaled lap number 239.
“Look, I’m not really supposed to talk about it; I don’t want you guys thinking he gives me special treatment or something.” I admitted.
He laughed at me, a hooting noise but almost lyrical. “You call this special treatment? Now you really owe me an answer because saying that while doing this doesn't make sense.”
“Yeah…I guess so.”
“So are you his family?”
“No, I um…I’m an orphan, it was just my mom and me when the wall fell. My sisters were killed and my dad died of fever the year before.”
“I’m sorry, it’s hard to lose your parents.” He said lowly.
“So how do you know Shadis so closely?”
“He watched over me when my mother died.”
“I could understand you falling into someone’s care but…I don’t understand how you’d end up with him?” he said and I tried to hold back, just a little.
“It’s a really long story that I don’t think I’m ready to tell yet.” I said.
He glanced over at me and smiled. “I understand,”
Soon we passed the tower again and I suddenly grunted. “Damn it! How many times have we passed the watch tower, I lost count!”
“We passed it twice now, why?”
“It is how I kept count of the laps I ran.” I said thinking a little.
So if we passed it twice then that means I should be on my 241st lap, nine more to go. I ran on with Eren at my side. We talked a little, mostly his friends and what they went through after the walls fell. Soon I began thinking about the things I said today.
“Eren, I'm...I'm sorry about the stuff I said today.” He kept running quietly, glancing over at me as I continued talking. “It was a little intense but I should have been more sensetive to you and the situation with your mom-”
Suddenly Eren pulled me to a stop and my lungs finally let me have it, as did the rest of me.
“What are you doing, we still have one more lap to go.” I said with a slightly raised voice.
“We…? I joined you because I wanted to, I could have quit whenever I wanted to.” He said chuckling at me.
“Then why’d you stop me?” I asked, furrowing my brow.
“Because you miss counted while we ran, that last lap was your last lap.” He said pointing behind him with his thumb.
I didn’t think I was finished, “Wait a minute, if you knew I miss counted then why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Because you feel like you got off easier now, a pretty good feeling when your being punished.” He crossed his arms and looked down at me. “By the way...” He said and smiled at me. “It's Ok, we all had a rough time when the wall fell and to be honest, I can't exactly remember everything about that time either. I don't blame you for remembering something, it's not your fault. I'm a little surprised that you lived close to us and I can't remember you at all.” He chuckled and I grinned a little, still trying to catch my breath.
“You aren’t as dimwitted as you seem Eren,” I extended a hand to him and he shook it strongly.
“Nice to know we’re on better terms now,”
“Yeah, well I’m gonna go wash up…um, thanks for running those last few with me Eren, that means a lot.” I said before stepping away and walking towards the camp while Eren stood there staring after me.
Later I entered the mess hall, everyone was gone and there were no lights on until I spotted the single candle over where Armin was sitting with a book in his hands. I saw an untouched plate of food beside him and when he looked up-no doubt sensing my presence-he waved at me.
“Hey there, come here.” He gestured at the plate and I tried not to hurry.
I walked over to the table and stared directly at the food, still steaming a little-it was warm!
“Eren managed to save some food from dinner, it was a real challenge with Sasha insisting that she get to eat it but Mikasa kept her at bay while we hid the plate.” He smiled up at me and I sat down next to him and shifted my gaze from the food to Armin.
“Thank you Armin, but why are you just sitting here by yourself?”
“You technically won the fight earlier so I’m your study buddy for the next two months.” He grinned a little.
I looked up at Armin and his face got pale and terrified as tears welled up in my brown eyes. “What’s wrong, why are you crying?”
“I’m…happy and sad; you guys are so nice to me after everything that happened today!” I said and Armin set a hand on my shoulder.
“No, it’s alright. We could kinda see that there’s something important there between you and Shadis and we felt bad, that must have been pretty embarrassing to be scolded right in front of us all.” He said. “I mean for us it’s one thing because he’s in charge but it’s different I guess because you’re family.”
“No I’m not family…it’s not-ugh it’s such a long story!” I sighed putting my head down in my hands.
I bit my tongue and wiped the small tears away, and steeled myself then looked down at the food. I leaned down and sniffed; bringing a smile to my face instantly. A warm sheen reddened my cheeks as the smell of boiled chicken and buttery mashed potatoes overwhelemed my hungry senses.
I looked over at Armin who had put his book down and seemed to be pondering on something, his brow was furrowed and his eyes seemed as if they were looking elsewhere. “How do you know Shadis?” he finally said.
I sighed and put my hands on my lap, I knew someone would ask after today. “Well, it's a long story...”
“I'm a good listener,” he smiled up at me and I grinned, he seemed way too cheery to be a soldier then again you can never tell what's in a book by the cover.
“Ok, two years after Maria fell, I lost my mother to the titans and the Scouts saved me but didn't know what to do with me. They didn't want to just leave me at an orphanage, especially since they were already brimming with chidlren orphaned from the fall of Wall Maria. After some consideration they brought me...here.”
Armin's eyes were wide. “You mean, here here?”
“Yup, you guys are training in what used to be my playground.” I said whilst leaning back in my chair.
“Wow, so they had Shadis raise you?” he asked putting an elbow on his book.
“Sort of...if you want to call kicking my ass in training everyday raising me then yeah, he raised me.” I said, recalling how the training happened everyday before she even wanted to join the Military.
Armin smiled. “Wow, so what do you plan on doing when we graduate, where are you gonna go?” he asked awkwardly, trying to draw the conversation in a more positive direction.
“I’m joining the scouts, there’s a research branch there and I’d like to be a part of it. Maybe I can help give humanity a chance.”
Armin nodded at me. “Sounds like we’ll be seeing you on the other side then because that’s what we plan on doing too.” He grinned.
“Really, why are you guys joining?” I asked.
“Well, we want to see the world beyond the walls, we read all kinds of things in an old book my grandpa used to have hidden away.” He said, lowering himself and whispering like it was a secret so I lowered myself as well.
“What kinds of things?” I whispered.
“We used to read about bodies of water called oceans that are full of salt and beaches of sand! It’s what we hope to see when we travel outside the walls.” He said, getting excited like a small child and I grinned…none of those things sounded realistic but…he seemed dead serious and happy about it. Even if it was just a dream, maybe one day it could be real?
I smiled. “Hey Armin, you can go ahead and get some rest, we can study another night but thank you and tell Eren I said thank you too.”
Armin nodded before standing up and putting a hand on my shoulder, making me look up at him. “We've got your back Ok, don't worry about what happened today. You can tell us about it when you're ready.”
I smiled and looked down to my cooling plate and began eating, I decided to let today fall away for now, I was starving!
When Armin came back into the room a few of us sat up and looked at him, he had a book under his arm and seemed flustered when we all sat up.
“Did you all stay up waiting for me?”
“We wanted to know what happened.” Jean said leaning over the edge of his bed lazily.
“If you wanted to know so bad why didn't you guys come with me?”
“Armin,” I spoke up and he looked over at me. “Is she Ok?”
“Yeah, she appreciates the plate...” he stopped and looked at the floor before sitting on the edge of his bed. “Did you guys know that Shadis practically raised her?”
“I had a feeling they were related somehow after she called him Uncle Shadis today,” Jean said, lying back in bed with a yawn.
“But that's just it, they aren't related, it's just a pet name I guess.” Armin added.
“So then how'd she end up with Shadis?” Connie asked, settling as if listening to a story.
“Her mom was killed after the wall fell by titans and she was left in the care of some Scouts. They're the ones that left her here with Shadis.”
“When did her mom die?” Reiner asked, his booming voice no more than a whisper.
“She said two years after the wall fell.”
“Wait, then how did the titans kill her mother?” Sasha put in from her place beside the door. “Two years after the wall fell she and her mother would have been behind Wall Rose, so how did the titans get to her mother?” she said.
That didn't make sense, if the titans killed her mother than they had to have been outside the wall...but how is that possible, no civilians were allowed outside the walls without protection or notification. Certainly news of someone getting out without help and dying would have been all over the place if it had happened that way.
“She's right...what would her mother have been doing outside the wall at that time? And how would she have gotten out without help?”
“But why would she lie to me?” Armin questioned, seeming rather hurt by the idea.
“Maybe there's more to her story...” I offered.
“She did say it was a long one, maybe she gave me the short version for now?” he offered, hoping that she wouldn't just lie to him.
“But there's one thing I don't understand;” Connie added sitting up again.
“What's that?” I asked.
He motioned for me to come closer and I leaned over the gap between our beds and he leaned over, cupping one hand around his mouth. “How long has Sasha been here?” he whispered pointing over at Sasha who was settled into a bed beside the door.
We all suddenly felt a pang of intrusion, we changed for bed less than 15 minutes ago! Had she been here and we didn't even see her?
“SASHA, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?” We started yelling and wound up waking everyone; a perfect start to a new day.