They didn’t know when it all started. Was it when they captured the Female Titan Annie… or when she would spend time to help him with things while his leg healed. She would spend hours on end with him and not think of it as much help but still relentlessly did it anyway. Perhaps it was when they started their training together? Maybe it was when she got assigned to his team. Whenever it was, it was too late to stop now. The locking of the eyes, cold grey against a deep black, the soft touches and caresses, the sweet but short-lived time together spent in each other’s company. The time where kisses had melted their stone cold hearts, and as they dripped, so did their walls. The flow of the walls of fear was beginning to vanish. The state of vulnerability blooming, like a new flower popping out for the first time. Their fears of the outside world, the titans, the bastardly plans going on, passing day by day, vanished when they were alone. Though, it felt like time, circumstances and even fate were against them in this barren waste they would call their lives.
This was a dangerous but also demanding job they had both volunteered for. She knew that any day she could lose him. The only thing as important to her as her “adopted” brother. He knew that he wouldn’t always be there and one day that could be the reason for her undoing. The reason that the only precious person to him, since his original team, could die at any possible moment out there. And the sad reality is he wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. He didn’t doubt her abilities, but her emotions can and will lead her to her demise, if she can’t stop them in time. But that was an if.
It was a night where Mikasa was roaming the hall. The night was filled with the demons in her head, they were slowly draining out from her mind and into her reality. Some nights she couldn’t tell what was real and what was not. In her nightmares, she didn’t just dream of losing Eren but also him. Levi was one of the most important people in her life, beside Eren, and she couldn’t even picture herself living without them. She would be plagued with the visions of a bloody half eaten corpse of either of the boys and as she sat there sobbing, another titan coming after her, the other man would come and try to rescue her, but they never made it to her. Some days it would be Levi’s bloody half-eaten corpse, limbs spread gracelessly all over, blood gushing everywhere, coating the forest floor and the huge ass trees. Then Eren, coming to rescue her, disobeying his orders and making his unfortunate way to only protect her, only to die in the process. Other times it was reversed and even if she really wanted too Mikasa couldn’t tell you which one made her cry more.
She would always wonder the hall and just try to think through her horrific nightmares and to tell herself it was only a dream, that… horrible scene could never possibly happen. Then the other times, she would let herself sit there and suffer, this is what she deserves to deal with. While everyone else had died and she continued to live, she would continue to deal with these cruel, beastly dreams. She supposed if she couldn’t handle these little tiny nightmares, how was she supposed to be able to defend and protect the people she loves? When the nights got to tough she would go to the Lance Corporals room and they’d sit in each other’s arms.
Mikasa went and knocked on the door one night. She could hear movement and steps being taken towards the door. With the turn of the knob the door would open and there was the man she was looking for. She looked at his eyes. It felt as if he was reaching down into her soul and holding it, gently in his hands, as if it were glass.
“Ackerman.” He would state with a bored tone, where if anyone decided to pop up out of the blue, they wouldn’t suspect anything or jump to, more than likely, wrong conclusions or judgments. Levi would move out of the way and let her in. Levi was never surprised to see her. He got use to the nightly ritual, the two of them shared as a way of coping through this heavy and merciless time.
She walked by and stood in the middle of his room until he shut the door and turned to the distressed girl. He then went over grabbed her by the hand and led her to the bed. He first leaned against the wall for support while he let Mikasa sit in his lap. She would either put her arms around his neck or kept them tucked on top of her stomach. She would slouch so her face would be in the crook of his neck. He would wrap his arms around her and hold her. He would breathe smell of her hair; a mix of the forest in with her lavender smelt shampoo.
“Why are you still up?” Mikasa asked him quietly as she spoke her breath grazing his skin, giving him a false sense of warmth, only to be rewarded with oncoming goose bumps.
“I was waiting for you.” As he lifted his hand and started playing with a strand of her hair.
“How was your day, I didn’t see you much.” She replied, sending another wave of goose bumps over his creamy colored skin.
“It was demanding as ever, strategy plans to sit through, meetings… more and more by the day I’m telling you.” He let out a low dry laugh. “I just wish…”
Mikasa knew what he was going to say and what would lead up to it. She them removed his hands from her body and held them in her own. She would kiss every single digit and whisper why he shouldn’t feel guilty. Why he shouldn’t let his comrades deaths haunt him. Sometimes she would throw in a compliment about him or a reason why he shouldn’t change anything about himself. Levi was thankful for her. If not for her he wouldn’t know how many nights he would wake up in a sweat with seeing nothing but blood covering everything. He was thankful that she kept the nightmares away from him, of his past and of everyone he knew he could have saved. Though he was also in despair from not being able to help her also.
“How long did you get to sleep tonight?” He would ask after he was able to settle down and contain his nerves.
“A few hours…” She would always reply, and he’d always feel guilty. The fact that she was able to sit there for 10 minutes and help him get through his crap but he couldn’t do the same… it made him feel like crap.
Mikasa was always able to read his expressions, even though most couldn’t. She looked up and gave him a soft smile. “It’s okay, don’t worry. I have you and Eren. That’s what helps. Don’t beat yourself up over it.” She said as she would straighten up and give his temple and kiss. Though it still didn’t help that much, but Levi knew better, he let it blow over though.
She would lie in his lap some more and her face placed back in the crook of his neck, the two of them getting back into the former positions, before he would ask her about the dream. “So who was who in this one?” He asked as he felt her breath hitch a little and her body tensed a quick moment. He kissed her head and she answered him with a shaky breath.
“Eren was the dead one this time and you were trying to save me this time. It just makes me so frustrated that I just sit there and watch the two people I care about the most get torn apart.” She said quiet, in a broken voice. Levi’s heart clenched at her words before rubbing circles in her back.
“Yeah, I bet though…” he paused to give her a kiss on top of her head. “That you’d kick a titan’s ass in real life before letting Eren and I die.” He knew that probably wasn’t the best time to try to make her laugh.
She answered him sadly “Yeah… maybe…” He huffed and moved and grabbed her by the chin and looked her in the eye.
“Mikasa Ackerman. The girl worth 100 soldiers. The girl who would never sit down by the sidelines while her loved ones die. She is a beautifully, deadly girl who doesn’t regret her choices… most of the time. She is a girl I find very interesting and couldn’t stand her disobedience at first.” He paused and let go of her chin, knowing she wouldn’t turn away. He then wrapped his arms around her shoulders and brought her in for a hug. Mikasa snaked her arms around his waist and held on tight. “The Mikasa I know and the Mikasa you described in that dream are two different people. I know which one is sitting in front of me…”
He could feel little droplets of wetness on his shirtless shoulder. He just sat there and held her, while rubbing small circles in her back. She stopped after a little bit and they just sat there in each other arms.
Absorbed in each other, nothing would tear them apart in those hours of darkness that usually consumed both minds into insanity. The coldness of the nighttime eventually got to the both of them. As her night clothes did little to protect her from the cold and the same for Levi, with the little that he was wearing in the first place. They shifted in unity to move and pull the bed cloth up to them and wrap it around. The night’s darkness was only broken by the pale lifeless light of the full moon. He never had let her stay the full night, afraid of rumors spreading to the upper levels and all, but tonight he didn’t care. Though even after all the times that he didn’t initiate the departing of the two, she would thank him for his time and give him a kiss on the cheek and then leave. Although they both knew she’d return to another nightmare.
Their lives have had some rough times. And Mikasa was only 15. How was he ever going to get through to this stubborn, hardheaded but yet loveable girl? Levi couldn’t tell you when he finally fell for this girl but it didn’t matter to him. He bet she couldn’t tell him when she fell in love with him either. But that didn’t stop whatever they had going on. They don’t know what to call whatever this was, but he hoped it wouldn’t be diminished one day. He wouldn’t know how to deal with losing both his whole squad and the girl he had come to grow fond of, what most people would call love.
Mikasa was slowly falling asleep at that time, to his heartbeat, in his arms and Levi knew from their position both of them would have some bad knots in their back if they didn’t move. He slowly shifted the two of them until they were lying down, on their sides, under the mixed tangle of bed sheets and legs. Mikasa’s arms now pressed against Levi’s chest as she snuggled closer. Levi didn’t mind that much as he wrapped his arm around her waist the other under his head. He gave her a forehead kiss goodnight and he saw a faint smile on her face.
Levi stayed up until he knew that Mikasa was asleep and mentally marked down a victory for himself as he saw her sleeping quite peacefully for the first time in months.
At least for this night, there would be no more nightmares plaguing the two, cuddled in the security of each other’s arms, the blanket and the soft pale moonlight.