The day after the ceremony was when our one week break started. The final break before we got stationed at our regiments.
Mikasa, Armin, and I had only one place to go. That one run-down building in wall Rose. The one we were standing right in front of.
"We're back, Mom." I announced as we went inside the musty smelling room.
She looked over from the window but her reaction was stale.
It had been two whole years since we last met, but her state didn't change in the slightest. In fact, she looked content with her emptiness.
The only thing that had changed was that instead of a bed, she was sitting in a wheelchair and that she looked a lot smaller than before. But that was more so because I grew.
She had meat on her bones, and her legs were still neatly cut in half. But she was clearly being taken care of properly.
'What am I going to do here for a week? Being here is just painful. Watching her like that was painful.'
"I'll go and unpack." I told Mikasa and Armin before leaving the room.
I wanted to stay longer, but looking at her in a state that was just a husk of her previous cheerful self made my heart sink.
So I left.
A part of me also left because of the guilt I felt after looking at Armin and what I said to him the day before.
In the end, he chose to go to the Military Police regiment with Annie. But it felt more like a choice I forced on him than one he was comfortable with.
I don't think that he held any animosity towards me... but he was still a little awkward around me.
"You're all grown up now!" Hange saw me while I was on the way to my allotted room.
"Of course, I have. It's been two years already."
"Hehe... that's not what I meant. You look a lot more 'dense' now." She hit my torso. "I didn't think a human could grow that quickly."
Her eyes pierced through me. Nothing got past her, huh?
A science enthusiast.
"You're just paranoid." I walked past her. I wanted to avoid any confrontation I could have with her.
"I really hope that's the case." I heard.
Thinking back, I never knew why they chose me. When I agreed to their proposal, I was desperate and took their need to repay my Dad's favour at face value. But if they knew more than that, then it would've been dangerous for me to stay there. And not just me.
The heroic image that I projected on them faded. Of course the gratefulness I felt from Captain Levi saving me was nowhere near gone. But to the young me who thought of them as superhumans, the scouts just grown into the role of other soldiers bound by the regime.
In some ways, it made me safer, in some ways, I lost any trust I had in them.
It was too late to go back anyway.
I got back in my room and fell onto the bed.
I was too tired for this.
The sound of a cloth whipping around woke me up.
"What's goin- HWACHOO." I looked around at the colloidal landscape around me. Dust particles floating around the air, glowing under the morning sun. There was a man with a handkerchief wrapped around his face. "Captain Levi? What are you doing here?"
The captain looked around with me with a straight face.
"Can't you see? I'm cleaning. I can't live in filth as you can." His voice was nasal.
"Let me help you." I was already up so I might as well.
The morning ended with cleaning and the week ended without anything productive being done.
It was already time to leave again.
XXth August 847
"Guess what I just got my hands on..." Sasha opened a box.
We were on top of the wall guarding the Troste district. Today was the day we got segregated into our squads. Our inauguration ceremony of sorts.
And it was about to begin below us, come ten minutes.
"It's meat! Fresh smoked meat!" She yelled.
The smell of the meat made almost everyone's head and my stomach turn.
"Let me have some!" Connie jumped and Sasha hopped back.
"Now calm down... this is for all of us. But we need to hide before we eat it." She pointed at the guards next to us.
"Where?" Connie whispered.
"There's a building right under here, where we can hide." She really did her research, huh?
"Ehh? Is that safe?"
"Nhh... I checked."
"Let's go then!" Connie attached his gear to the wall and jumped off.
"What are you waiting for?" Sasha shouted while holding onto the slab of meat.
The rest of the squad also jumped off.
"Are you going Eren?" Mikasa asked as Armin looked over.
"I'd much rather stay up here with the view. But I'll be down in a minute. You two go ahead."
They both jumped down too.
It was already time.
I had been smelling something different for a bit. That filthy familiar stench. I couldn't place it in my memories. But the thought of it was disorientating.
I looked over the wall but there was nothing.
And then a drop of blood fell from the sky. I immediately turned my eyes upwards. The sky turned grey and got masked by thick clouds. A flash of orange lightning fell from the sky and a boiling gust of steam rose out of nowhere.
The guards around me started to get burned but my skin sustained. The impact from the air threw me over the wall.
Suspended in mid-air, I immediately activated my gear and it dug into the wall.
That was when, like deja vu, I saw a bloody head rise over. A being so large that it could compete against the towering walls.
It was the colossal titan.
I pulled on the gear and flew straight at it without the tiniest bit of terror. These two years had changed me.
If I killed it, I can get away with staying away from the battlefield for a while. If I killed it, I could secure Mom's treatment for a lifetime. If I killed it we can all be safe.
I glided over the wall and watched as the titan's eyes followed me.
It was standing up against the front gate. The weakest link of the walls. This titan was intelligent.
As if confirming that I was not a threat, he grabbed the wall tighter and pulled his leg back. In one fell swoop, the leg pierced through the wall.
The wall I was attached to shook and the gate went flying off into the town.
And just like that, the Troste district had already fallen.
But that didn't matter to me! As long as I killed it...
As long as I killed it!
The titan released another gust of burning steam from its neck. But it didn't do me any harm. My body could withstand it.
Overshooting its body, I turned back around to attach my gear to him.
The rope darted forward and missed.
"HAAAH?!" I shouted in disbelief. This attack was perfect!
Or at least it was supposed to be. As I was falling under the steam it became apparent why I couldn't kill him.
The titan had disappeared into thin air.