“23 hours on a stand alone operation and no sight of anyone. Where the others had gone to was just an absolute mystery. Why would there be an op with such little information?” Armin spoke aloud to himself.
Leaning harshly on a wooden fence in a field on lightly coated snow. Wearing a heavy grey winter jacket that bore the Legion’s crest. The boy warmed his hands and the crossed his arms for more warmth.
The mission was suppose to be simple and clean. There wasn’t anything important to it, just meet here, move there; shoot a few flairs and then go home. A unit was suppose to meet up with him and then they move onward.
From where he stood, there was no one in sight. Not for miles, maybe further than that. On a map, the walls that guarded the last of humanity was pretty small. But there was actually more than it seemed to be.
Taking in a deep breath, Armin stood up right, stretched and walked over to half covered road and looked both ways. Again, nothing. Shrugging, he dropped his head. On the other side of the road was a forest that was the main plot of the mission.
Taking a deep breath, Armin glanced back towards the main land and saw only the field he left behind. Snow had began to fall and it seemed that a storm was brewing in his direction.
“Oh dear, that wont be good for me. Maybe I can find Eren and Mikasa or at least a place to stay warm while to storm passes.”
Using the gear strapped to his waist, Armin flew through the trees in pursuit of shelter. Passing trees at about 35 miles an hour, time almost seemed to pass smoothly while the snow fell gracefully. In every direction snow was falling with a sharp bitter cold to it.
Dashing from branch to branch the cold only became sharper, the faster he moved the colder it got. The storm wasn’t helping either. Briefly, Armin stopped on a sturdy branch to warm his body before moving again. It was bloody cold out there.
Suddenly, a gust of wind blew past him and sent a chill down his spin. Shaking his head free of the ice that formed in his hair and rubbing his eyes, another gust of wind blew past. Only this one was strong enough to knock him off the branch.
Before he could use his gear, he had smashed against and nearby branch. The air in his lungs were forced out with such force that he could barely make a sound. Crashing his body from one branch to another Armin spiraled down to the earth.
What was mere moments, were hours to Armin as he slammed on the ground. Laying flat on the cold, bitter winter floor. His face buried into the snow, body flattened against the colorless blanket. Eyes sealed shut as the pain flowed aggressively throughout his body.
Armin opened his eyes and slowly scanned the area. He was completely alone, no one around for miles. It almost seemed that he was forgotten in this world.
“Shit, this isn’t good.” The boy hissed.
Fighting the pain, he tried to stand. Moving one limb at a time seeing if they had been broken. First his left leg, then his right. Both seemed to be in working order until he moved his right arm.
A sharp pain shocked the nerves in his whole body as a scream followed it. His right arm was broken with a small part of the bone showing, and his left shoulder was sprained. Multiple burses and lacerations covered the majority of his body and was worried him the most was that a large piece of wood had jammed itself into the left side of his chest.
The wound had buried deep due to the fall. He could feel the shard scratching around causing more blood to evade the veins from his body and stain the white snow.
Using the functioning limbs of his body, he strained against the pain and hauled himself over onto his back. At the moment, he found that there was something else that hand been damaged in the fall from the tree tops.
Laying in the cold, lifeless snow, Armin fought to stay conscious. Though his efforts were useless. His vision was slowly fading in and out as the storm pushed more snow over his body.
“Is this how its all going to end for me?” Armin asked.
With the world around his becoming a blur, he felt himself slipping. Suddenly, a figure appeared over him. It was covered in something, as to what it didn’t matter. But Armin’s heart began to race as fear flooded his veins..
When finally, he slipped. Slowly, the world grew darker and the figure faded away with it. Into the nothing. His memories flew in and out of sight as though he were merely dreaming. Times of when he was with Eren and Mikasa as children. Before the attack….
His eyes crept open to something carrying him. Pressed against something soft and warm, he didn’t question what it was. What mattered most, was that it had warmth to it. The pain wasn’t there anymore but more numb. The cold must have gotten to his core.
Putting little faith into the figure that held his tightly, Armin fell asleep only for a moment. Though in that moment, he felt safe.
Soon after he closed his eyes and let the darkness cradle him into sleep, he could feel the numbness again. Slowly throbbing to the beat of his weak heart.
Armin awoke to a new environment unlike the harshness of the one he remembered. He was bandaged and his right arm was in a sling, no bone showed. Most of the wounds were cleaned and sealed. Forcing himself to rise, a shout erupted form his lung. Another bone must have been broken in the fall.
Footsteps rang out from another room as someone ran to his side. Before he could see the person a hand smacked his forehead, covering his eyes and gently he felt a hand on his chest.
Flinching at the pressure, “Agh! Stop that hurts!”
Wiggling the hand off his face, Armin’s jaw dropped at who it was that ran to his side.
“Annie?” Armin asked, his voice full of confusion.
Pulling the covers over his body to keep him warm, Annie didn’t make eye contact with him as she tucked him back into bed.
“What’s going on, where am I?” Armin questioned loudly.
Quickly, Annie covered his mouth with her hand and came so close to his face that their noses almost touched.
“Quiet! We’re in an old hunting lodge in the middle of the forest. Now, I suggest that you keep quiet unless you want to reopen your wounds and bleed out,” she whispered.
Removing her hand she sat on the edge of the bed, folding her arms and taking in a deep breath. She dropped her head and pulled the tie that held her hair together letting it all come undone.
“Are you warm enough?” She asked running her fingers through the freed hair.
“Better than I was before,” Armin said softly.
Glancing down at him she pushed off the bed and walked into the other room for a moment and came back with a dinner tray. On it was a plate with some bread and water. An apple and a few grapes. Just a simple fix for a morning meal.
“You’ll need to eat. There is more food if you’re still hunger.”
“I’m not hunger.”
“I didn’t ask if you were, just shut up and eat,” Annie ordered.
Before he could argue another word, Annie ripped a small piece of bread off and crammed it into his mouth. Tearing more pieces into smaller bits, Annie sat on the edge of the bed like a mothers caring to her child.
While Armin was stuck there, he let his eyes drift across the room. It was a normal sized bedroom, it had a fire pit on wall. To the right of it was the other room where Annie had came from. Opposite of the fire was where she sat.
Down by Armin’s feet there was a window. Not too large, but big enough to let a good amount of light to pass through it. Draped over it was a thin fabric that blocked most of the light. Although, it seemed like that sun was setting.
“Here, drink some water. Don’t worry I didn’t do anything to it,” Annie reassured.
Taking a sip then swallowing, “What’s going on here? Where is the rest of the unit?” Armin questioned.
“I don’t know. I was walking around and saw that there was a storm brewing and stumbled crossed this. While I was out gathering more wood I heard a crash and that’s when I found you,” Annie explained.
“Has anyone come looking for us?”
“No. They’re probably going to wait for the storm to clear up, then look for our bodies.”
“What?!” Armin shouted, this caused the pain to come back again.
“Keep that up and you’re going to hurt yourself even more than you already are!”
Armin lay in silence, she was right, straining now would only make things worse than they already where. At least for now, he needed to wait until he could stand. Then he could make his escape.
“The sun is setting. It’s going to get a lot colder now. I’ll get more fire wood. Don’t bother getting out of bed,” Annie said walking towards the door.
“Why can’t I get out of bed?”
“You’re naked,” Annie simply said as she walked through the doorway.
Armin’s face instantly turned red as he tired to cover up as much of his body as possible. This wasn’t the best way to be around a girl, even if Annie fought like a man, it still didn’t change anything. But at the very least, he was warm for now.
As Armin laid in bed, he let himself doze off once again to save more strength as he did before. Only this time, the darkness lingered a few seconds to his mind.
While Armin slept, the window was forced open and the fire put out from the wind. Snow fluttered in stealing all traces of heat. It didn’t help that the window was right by his feet as well.
Struggling to move, The boy fought the pain and forced his body to move and in turn that caused the pain to sting he whole body. But he fought it regardless, and finally he sat up. The cold was getting bitter with each passing moment.
“Damn it Annie, why didn’t you leave my cloths on,” Armin cursed.
With his arm broken and the other barely able to move, Armin thought little on how he could do something so simple as close a window. Just moving as much as he did caused his head to spin. The room was coming in and out of focus and it didn’t help that it was swaying from side to side.
The more he struggled to get a hold of himself, the harder it was to do much of anything, he lost too much blood and it had a bigger effect on him than he thought. Finally, he was able to stand and making that first step was the next challenge.
Once he took that first step he just let his legs do what they did best. One step at a time, he made his way to the window and as he walked the cold struck at his body harder and harder. As if he were sparing against Reiner
Suddenly, Armin’s knee gave way and he fell to the floor landing on he left arm. Even though it hurt, he tired to hold back form shouting. Keeping calm under the pain.
Rolling his head to the sound of the voice, he saw Annie. She held in her arms more fire wood and a few matches. Dropping the wood she dashed to his side and curled him up in her arms. Picking him up with a little struggle, she managed to get him back into the bed and wrapped the blanket around him.
Rushing back she shut and locked the window then started on the fire. Throwing small piece and then progressing as the flame grew. Turning back, she ran to Armin and placed her hands on his forehead and around he body. Legs, hands, and feet.
“You’re getting colder by the minute. We have to warm you up quick,” Annie spoke quickly.
Before he could do anything, Annie ran into the other room and grabbed a few more blankets and a bedroll. She then placed it onto the floor and threw the rest of the blankets on top of it.
“Just help me to the fire, I’ll be fine from there,” Armin stuttered and he shivered.
“No, that wont do. You’re too cold and you need to have your core temperature higher.”
“I’ll be fi-…” the shivering boy tired to say before he noticed that Annie was taking off her jacket and removing more parts of her cloths.
“What are you doing?!” Armin shouted
“Like I said before, we need to get you warmer. Now don’t complain about it.” Annie said as she removed her second jacket and slipped her pants off.
Now only in her unders, she stood Armin up and walked him to the warmth of the fire and laid him down on the bedroll. Removing the last remaining cloths on her body, she threw them aside and wrapped themselves in the blankets and she curled around up to his frozen body.
Laying completely motionless, Armin couldn’t bare to look at her while they were in this state. Here he was frozen solid in the middle of nowhere with a damaged shell. Laying next to a fire with a girl that he’s had little to no relations with. To top it all of, they were both naked.
While he lay there gazing at the fire trying to forget what kind of situation he was in. Annie would shift her body to warm different parts of him, it didn’t help that he could feel her chest brushing on his. With her arms around his torso and a leg across the lower half of the body.
“What?” She said sounding annoyed.
“Why are you helping me? Why save me?”
“I don’t know.”
“That’s not an answer.”
Annie sat there in silence watching the flames grow and flutter as the rest of the wood was now burning. Time seemed to slow in this moment, the day was taking forever to set while they lay naked before the fire.
“Thank you,” Armin finally busted.
“Finding me, and taking care of me in this pathetic state.”
“You’re not pathetic. Something bad just happened to you and I’m just being a good person and helping. Besides, things would be as exciting without you around.”
“Without you to find me I would surely have died.”
“Don’t say that, you’re not going to die. Don’t say that…” Annie whispered as she buried her face into his chest.
Feeling her sudden shift made him flinch a little. Why would she have a hard time with people dying? She’s stone cold on the inside and you can see it on her face. But was it all just an act? Something to keep people away so she wouldn’t have to deal with it all?
Or was it something from her past that could have this kind of effect on her? Either way, Armin thought it was very odd.
Again, silence consumed the world around them while the fire slowly died out. The whole room was silent. Except the wind battering at the window and the whole house.
“Annie, the fire is going out. Where did you put the rest of the wood?”
There was no response when he asked her the question, just a soft snoring sound. When he looked down at her, she was fast asleep. Snuggled tightly under the blankets, Annie shifted around, bringing an arm up and hooked onto his shoulder.
As he watched her, he noticed that there was a small gap that opened up and he could clearly see her breasts. Closing his eyes, he shot his head up and away form them. His face red with embarrassment.
Maybe the fire didn’t need anymore wood, it was plenty warm as it was thanks to her body and the fire. As his thoughts splashed from one thing to another, he finally fell asleep.
As day turned into night, and back again. Armin woke feeling a little better than he had the night before. The storm was still fighting the locked window and the fire was finally out. Yet, for some reason, it was a little hard to breath.
Peering down he noticed that Annie was still asleep and had rolled on top of him. Dropping his head back, he just let it all go. He wasn’t about to wake her now, and besides, it was warm with her next to him. A small feeling of comfort came to him while he lay wide awake staring at the ceiling.
The sun broke through the clouds and shined into the room for a short time, then was covered up once more.
“The storm must be pretty bad out there right now,” Armin sighed.
When he spoke, somehow it woke Annie up and she buried her face into his chest. Slowly, she rose up from the covers and was now face to face with the boy. Her eyes slightly open , hair a little messy, and the fact that Armin could now see her whole body made him blush a slightly.
“A-Annie,” Armin stuttered.
“How are you feeling?” She asked pressing her forehead against his.
Taking in a deep breath, “Good, maybe now we can work on having you stand up.”
“…Right, stand…” Armin was too focus on trying NOT to stare at anything.
“But before we do anything, I need to check your ribs, make sure that you’re able to move those without hurting yourself,” Annie said as she sat up right.
The blanket slid off her shoulder and on her lap where she pulled over the rest of the covers form Armin’s upper body. His ribs were bruised and one was broken, it didn’t seem that bad though. But the wound from the wooden shard still lusted to open up again. He could still be able to walk in he had to.
Pushing her hair back, “You should be fine walking. But we wont be able to use our gear. Luckily, we’re inside the wall so we’re fine.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“Well, we’ll have to wait for you to get better. There is no point on moving you now, besides. The storm is still too rough for you to go outside right now.”
Armin nodded his head, “Alright.”
When Annie stood and walked into the other room, Armin had caught himself watching her in a way that he’d never done before. Somehow, in that moment he felt something about her that would question everything. No one had ever done what she did for him, not even his best friends.
They wouldn’t dare strip down in front of him like Annie had done. Feeling the warmth of another person, another woman in fact, was more pleasing than he’d thought.
When she returned, he felt a sudden cheer as she walked up to him. While she was away, she had thrown on a shirt and her undies. Her hair still hung loose and she was still tired.
“I brought you some cloths.”
He tired to reach for a pair of pants when Annie grabbed them first and began to raise the blanket.
“Wha, Wait. I can do this part myself!” Armin blushed.
Annie smiled slightly, “ Don’t worry. I wont tell anyone.”
“Its not that, I mean…”
Ignoring his attempts at stopping her, she pulled the rest of the covers off his body and came to realize that it was just a little early for him right now…..
Armin quickly covered his shame with the blankets and tried to sit up, but Annie pushed him back down.
“You’re being childish. Just relax already,” Annie said calmly.
Doing as she said, he tried to remain calm as she wiggled his pants up his legs and around his waist. Once his pants were on, she snagged the shirt and eased him up slowly. Annie popped his head out from the top and he was able to weave his left arm through the shirt.
When it came to the right side, she tried to take off his sling and in turn the pain caught him off guard and he pulled back a bit. As he pulled his arm, Annie lost her balance somehow and pressed up against him causing them to fall back down onto the bed.
Pressed so close to each other again, this time more free to move away. But Armin couldn’t find himself wanting to move away. In fact, he wanted more the feel the same embrace that he did last night. Just the feeling of being in someone’s arms again was worth it all.
“I’m sorry,” Armin said childishly.
Annie said nothing, but the expression in her eyes said it all. He could see that she was lonely in this world as well as he felt. Slowly, she lowered her head brushing their noses and then pressing her lips softly against his.
Time almost stopped while they held that embrace. Nothing else really seemed to matter, and for this single moment in his life, he was happy.
Finally, Annie pulled back and connected their foreheads and smiled beautifully down at him. Even though they came from two different places and grew up differently, it was as thought they understood each other perfectly.
“I’ll go get us some breakfast, you just…just wait here,” Annie said smiling brilliantly.
As the days went by the storm continued and pushed forward, as did they. Talking about days past before this happened and all the funny and sad moments in between. With each passing hour they talked and worked on making Armin stand and walk perfectly.
The sun broke through a few times in the horrid storm as time past and with each minute Annie was running about getting more fire wood or food for the two. Going in and out of the house to a pile of wood that was stored on the side of the house.
This time when Annie went outside to get more fore wood, she took a little longer than usual. Armin sat in a chair while he waited for her to return from her trip and as he sat he let his feet soak up the rest of the heat.
When she finally came back inside the house she was dragging something behind her, she had found a sled and loaded it up with enough wood that would last them all night long. Setting it near their chairs, Annie falling into the seat next to his.
Annie, glanced at the fire and determined if it needed more wood or not. They had to save as much as possible if they wanted to make it last the whole night. Then up at Armin who was smiling at her again.
From time to time she noticed that he would just stare at her and smile, she didn’t have to say anything or do anything funny. She could just walk into the room and he’d be smiling.
“What?” Annie asked curiously.
“Oh, uh, nothing. I was just thinking about something,” Armin said turning his gaze to the fire.
“Right, what is it?”
“Come on, out with it.”
“Well, I was just thinking about all of this. My injuries have almost healed and I’m able to walk now.”
“So, what’s your point?”
“I was just… Are we going to pretend that none of this happened when we get back or are we going to really be something?”
“Well, everyone is going to want to know what happened. And it looks like we’ll be able to return to the city pretty soon.”
“That’s why I want to know what we’re going to be,” Armin said shifting around his bandages.
Annie sat there in silence like she did and then let out a little cough. Following that was a sneeze, the caught his attention.
“Are you catching a cold?” Armin asked.
Standing up, he stepped over to her and placed a hand on her head, “Annie, you’re burning up! Come on, lets get you in bed.”
“I’m fine. Besides, you’re the one that’s injured,” Annie said as she was pulled up with his free hand.
“Do you have any other ideas that can cure this cold that you have?” Armin asked as she began to take off her boots and coat.
“Well, I have one idea. Its not precisely a medical practice. But it gets the job done,” Annie said sliding into bed pulling Armin’s shirt with her.
Landing on the soft bed was better than the floor and to his surprise, somehow Annie got on top of him and sat on his waist slipping one hand into his and running her fingers through his hair. Without a word, she sealed her lips to his, pushing in for that same embrace that they had before
From one kiss to another, she continued this until she pulled away and ripped her shirt off. Armin’s eyes were wide but a smile still formed on his face.
“I hope that its still early for you,” Annie said undoing his pants.
Armin was speechless at what was happening, but he didn’t argue in anyway. In fact, it helped in anyway possible. Which lead to something that they would have never done while they were in the city. This unexpected turn gave them a chance to really open up to someone.
The sun held the morning sky in it rein, while the moon crept behind it enveloping the world in darkness. All through the rest of the day they embraced until the sun set. Laying in bed just holding each other until sleep took hold of their minds.
The next day Annie woke to an empty bed and a freshly lit fire. Rising her head, she looked around the room to find nothing.
“Armin?” Annie called out.
“So, you’re finally awake?” the boy’s voice replied from the other room.
Armin walked in with a try of food and a glass of water. Sitting on the edge of the bed where she did before, he handed her the same meal that she did for him.
A laugh busted out, “So is this you repaying me?”
“Well, its actually me being nice and making you something.”
“Well, thank you.,” Annie replied.
The two ate their meal and cuddled on the bed for the remainder of the morning. Playing with food and talking about what had happened last night.
While they spoke, Annie noticed that the storm was passing and the sun was shining out. It was a prefect time for them to make their move. A small town was not far form here and they could sure get word to the Legion.
Quickly, they dressed and took what ever supplied that they needed to make the trip. It was about a day’s hike to the town and form there, home.
Just as they were about to step outside, Armin pulled Annie in close and kissed her sweetly. He thought that this could be the last private moment for something that might not happen again for a while. None the less, she leaned into it as well.
Once they departed the wind had picked up a little but not enough to force them to turn around. They were going home now and this time. They weren’t going alone. No longer would they feel that they were alone in the world after what had happened.
By chance, they met and became closer than they would ever think to be. They knew that there was going to be a wave of questions. But what mattered most, was that they made it through this ordeal together. And who knows, maybe they could continue this relationship into something much more as the years go by.
Either way, Armin knew that she would be by his side, like he would for her. No matter what the world threw at them. Though, explaining what happened and where they stand would be rather difficult for the rest of the unit to understand…..