- Where the hell have you been?!?
Jean’s shout scares the hell out of me.
- Are you crazy?? Don’t just jump out of nowhere, and shout like this!
- Don’t change the subject! You were gone the whole night.
- Are you my stalker, or something??
- Look here, Desi, don’t get on my nerves any more than you already have! Where were you all night? Don’t tell me you spent the night with…
- That’s none of your business!
Most of the cadets forget about their breakfast, and are looking at us curiously. It doesn't really help that both of us are shouting.
- Come with me!
Jean pulls on my arm hard, and drags me outside.
- H-hey, let go!
- Not a chance.
- What the hell is your problem?!
Jean pushes me against a wall, ignores the small whimper I let out, and slams one of his hands next to my face.
- You really want to know what my problem is?? You are my problem! Do you have any idea how I felt?! I couldn’t sleep at all.
- And why should I care about that?!
Anger is clouding my better judgment, and I am not even trying to be careful with my words.
- Why, you ask…I’m very tired, you know…I’m very tired of you and your infatuation with the damn Commander.
He’s more than twice your age, damn it! Do you really miss your father to such an extent, that you felt you needed a new one??
I slap him hard.
- How dare you bring my father into your stupid argument?? It’s none of your business what I do, and with whom!
He looks at me with what I can only describe as deep hurt. But I can’t bring myself to care. He crossed the line big time.
- Move, Jean.
- I won’t.
- I said, move.
- And I said I won’t.
- Don’t be an idiot.
I am trying hard to hold back from making things worse than they already are, but he isn’t helping me one bit. I let out a deep frustrated sigh.
- What do you want from me, Jean?
- I want you…
And with that he closes the distance between us in one swift motion, and presses his lips against mine. I can't react for a bit, shocked by his sudden actions.
He tries to deepen the kiss, and I can hear a voice in my head scream for him to stop. I try to push him away, but he refuses to let me. So I do the next thing I can think of.
I bite his lip hard. I can finally breathe properly, and not sure what to do with what just happened, I will myself to get the hell away from here.
- Why can’t it be me?
I stop and turn my gaze back at him.
- Why can’t you look at me for once in your life? Is he so much better than me?
- Jean, stop this…it’s stupid. You are jumping to conclusions.
- Am I, really? Are you going to deny you have feelings for him?
- What I have, or don’t have isn’t what’s important. Nothing will ever happen.
Nothing happened last night, and nothing will happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or at any point in the future. So, just…stop…will you?
Jean refuses to answer in any way, so I take my leave.
- As you all know, the end of your training days will soon come. You will go through a special mission, which will determine the top ten graduates.
Only they have the privilege to apply to the Military Police Brigade, if that is what they decide to do. The rest of you can only choose between joining the Survey Corps and the Garrison.
Some of you have shown a great deal of potential, and I can’t wait to see what you will accomplish in the near future.
Captain Levi is giving us one of his usual speeches, which I would enjoy any other day, but I feel horrible. I feel someone poke my arm, and I turn around to look at Eren.
- Hey, is everything alright? Did horse-face do something stupid again?
Before I can answer him in any way, the Captain’s voice rings around us.
- I suggest you don’t interrupt me, unless you don’t want to graduate, Jaeger!
- Yes, Sir! I’m sorry, Sir!
- Tch, I swear I have to deal with the biggest brats around here.
His remark makes me smile slightly, my heart a bit more at ease.
- Now, everyone, grab your 3D Maneuver Gear, and show me what you can do. You have 5 minutes to locate all Titan dummies, and subjugate them. Now, go! And don’t forget to work as a team!
- Yes, Sir!
We all exclaim together.
I swear, nothing feels better than moving in the air like this. I probably won’t enjoy it as much when I am against actual Titans, but one thing is for sure – I will do the best I can.
I glance to my side, and a big smile forms on my lips. I found one of the dummies. I look around me, and I can spot Bertolt, so I call out to him.
- Hey, Bertolt, I found one!
He moves closer to me, and gives me a big smile.
- Go for it, Desi!
I nod, and aim for the dummy’s “neck”. I can already taste my success when Jean comes out of nowhere and slices a chunk of it instead.
That takes me by surprise, and I struggle to properly handle my 3D Maneuver Gear to avoid colliding with him, which results in me falling on the ground in a loud thud.
- DESI! Are you alright?
Bertolt quickly lands next to me, and helps me up.
- Argh, that hurts.
My body is trembling in pain from the bruises on my arms and legs.
I see Jean approach me, but I don’t pay any attention to him. Instead, Bertolt is the one who speaks up.
- Do you have any idea what you’re doing? She could have been seriously hurt. Pay more attention to your surroundings!
I’ve never heard Bertolt raise his voice before. He’s one of the calmest people I’ve ever seen.
- Bert, I’ll be fine. We need to continue with our task; otherwise we’ll be scolded by Captain Levi.
I want to avoid any further conflict, if possible, so I fix my equipment and reassure him I’m fine.
- Alright, if you say so. Let’s go.
I follow after him, and try to move my body in ways that won’t make it hurt too much. We leave Jean behind in his spot.
- Seems like your task was successful. All the dummies were taken care of on time.
Everyone is visibly proud of themselves, and celebrating our little success.
- Don’t let it get to your heads now. Facing the actual Titans will be much different, and you need to always be careful, and give your best in battle.
- Yes, Sir!
- There is one thing I am disappointed by, though.
Everyone goes quiet.
- I am certain I told you to work as a team. Isn’t that right, Jean Kirstein?
- Is there something you would like to share with the rest of us?
- I wasn’t careful…and I caused the injury of another cadet…I apologize.
- This should never happen during an actual fight. Do I make myself clear?
- Yes…Yes, Sir.
- Captain Levi!
I raise my voice. Captain Levi looks my way.
- Do you have anything to say?
- Yes, yes, I do. Jean wasn’t the only one responsible for the incident. I wasn’t being careful myself, so he isn’t to blame! If you want to scold him, please scold me as well!
Jean looks at me in bewilderment.
- Alright, then. In that case, both of you will receive the appropriate punishment. I want the two of you to clean the cabins before dinner.
If I see a single speck of dust, you will have to do it all over again. Is that clear?
- Thank you, Sir!
I salute Captain Levi, and he makes a gesture for all of us to be on our way.
We start cleaning in silence. I try to avoid being around Jean as much as possible, but at one point I don't have that luxury anymore.
So, instead, I try my best to focus on my task, and not pay attention to the pain.
- Um, Desi…
My whole body flinches when Jean finally breaks the silence.
- I’m sorry for everything that happened today…You know…what I did earlier and your injuries…I screwed up big time…
I clench my hands in fists. I'm not angry, not anymore, I am just in pain. It hurts me to be this distant from Jean, and to be in bad terms with him.
But I don’t really know how else to face his feelings.
I turn around, and look at him.
- I don’t want to fight with you anymore…But there’s nothing I can do about what happened today.
I knew you liked me for quite a while now, but because I couldn’t return your feelings, I was hoping they would go away with time. I’m sorry, but I can't change how I feel.
- I understand…I don’t want to fight either. It was selfish of me to behave this way, and I want our friendship back. Can we…somehow be friends once more?
- What are you talking about, silly? We never stopped being friends.
I ruffle his hair, and try to sound as cheerful as possible.
- Hey, don’t treat me like a kid.
He tries to protest, but can't hide his smile.
- Then don’t act like one.
I wink at him, and resume cleaning. Jean lets out a sigh of relief, and does the same.