- Eren, snap out of it!
Why did I think this will work? I’m running out of escape routes. I can’t play tag with the Eren Titan all day long. I take out my signal flare and fire a smoke signal.
Commander Dot Pixis joined Erwin Smith up on Wall Rose. He was curious about the operation, and wanted to see if it has any chance of success.
- To what do I owe the pleasure, Pixis?
- Oh, I’m simply here to enjoy the view. Don’t you think the weather is quite nice today?
- I hadn’t really noticed. I guess you’re right.
- Would you like to take a sip?
Erwin was offered a bottle of alcohol.
- No, thank you, I will have to decline.
- Suit yourself.
Commander Pixis took a big gulp.
- Say, Erwin, do you really believe your plan will work?
- There are many things that can go wrong, but success is never achieved unless we take risks. I chose to gamble once more, and to believe in the abilities of my soldiers.
Commander Dot Pixis smiled wide underneath his moustache.
- I’ve always liked you, Erwin. You never seize to amaze me.
- The feeling is mutual, Pixis.
Their conversation was interrupted by the smoke signal that immediately caught Erwin’s attention.
“The signal came from way too close to the wall. It’s probably someone from Levi’s group. Something must have happened.”
Thoughts of Desi being in trouble ran through his mind. He turned to Pixis.
- Excuse me, my friend, but I must leave you for now.
Erwin didn’t wait for an answer, and left in a hurry.
Dot Pixis watched after Erwin, and enjoyed his drink.
- Hey, you idiot, follow us instead!
Jean makes a cut on Eren Titan’s arm to distract him, but he isn’t stopping. On the contrary, he starts to run even faster.
At this rate, he will catch me in no time, and I am slowly, but surely running out of gas. Jean turns to Armin.
- What do we do? You’re supposed to be the smart one. Think of something!
- I’m thinking!
Mikasa climbs on top of the Eren Titan, and is trying to talk to him. As if that will work at this point. I turn to look at her.
- Mikasa, get away from him, unless you want to be attacked again!
But she, of course, doesn’t listen to me.
I’m not paying attention to where I’m going, and when I finally look in front of me, I almost crash against the wall of a house, but am able to avoid it at the last second.
As a result, I fall hard on the ground. I swear under my breath, and try to get up. It hurts all over. And then I hear it – the Eren Titan’s roar.
- Do something about him!!
I scream to whoever can hear me, and pray I can escape on time.
- What do we have here? A troublesome brat that needs to be punished!
Captain Levi comes out of nowhere, and aims for Eren Titan’s leg, cutting it off. I see him stumble and fall in my direction. Damn, I need to get away from here fast!
The Commander manages to grab me on time. I hear the crash behind us. I cling to him like a small child, just like back then when he rescued me for the first time. I can hear his loud heartbeat.
Was he…worried about me? We land on one of the houses, and the Captain lands next to us.
- Levi, can you take care of the rest?
- I might have to beat some sense into that kid, but I’ll make sure he learns his lesson.
- Good. I am taking Desi off the operation.
- What?? No!
The Commander turns to me.
- You’re injured, and I won’t allow you to risk your life any further.
- I can still fight!
- That’s an order, Desi!
I bite my lips, and refrain from any more objections. The Captain shifts his gaze between the both of us, shakes his head and goes back to the others.
- Come on, Desi. Let’s head back to Wall Rose.
- Anyone mind telling me why everything went to hell, and we still don’t have a plugged gate?
Armin is the one, who explained everything to the Captain.
- We can’t get through to Eren. He’s completely out of control.
Jean joined in.
- This is totally different from the first time he was a titan. He only attacked titans back then. He almost injured Mikasa back there.
- I’m sure he didn’t want to!
Mikasa tried to defend Eren.
- Maybe we should try to take Eren out of the titan’s nape.
- That won’t do. We can’t risk stopping now. If we do, and the operation is a failure, Eren will be taken by the Military Police, and you all know what will happen then.
This mission needs to be successful at all costs.
- Yes, you’re right, Captain…
- Let’s try to knock some sense into him instead.
The Captain headed to the Eren Titan, whose arms and leg have started regenerating. He landed on the back of his neck.
- Your limbs should be around…here.
And he stabbed the spot deep with one of his blades. The Titan body reacted, and let out a loud roar.
- Bingo. Now, listen to me, you little brat. Wake up from this daze you’re in. We have a mission to do.
He stabbed the other side of his nape as well. The Titan let out another roar.
- Wake up, Eren! You want to avenge your mother? Protect your friends? Exterminate all titans? Then wake up, and do it!!
Inside the Titan’s body, Eren’s eyes snapped open.
- Huh? Was that a dream? I thought I heard the Captain’s voice…
Captain Levi moved away when the Eren Titan proceeded to get up. He went back to Mikasa, Armin and Jean.
- Do you think he’s back to himself?
Jean couldn't help but ask.
- I sure hope so. – was Armin’s reply.
The Eren Titan turned to look their way, then walked past them and made its way to the boulder.
- Well, it was about time. Come on, we’ll follow after him.
- Yes, Sir.
In the meantime, the Commander and I arrive back on top of Wall Rose. He makes it up first, and I follow after. I walk up to him in anger, and when he turns around, I slap him hard.
His expression is one of pure shock.
- That is for taking me off the operation! I’m not a little kid you need to protect! I want to be out there, and fight, like I’m supposed to!
- Then why did you fire a signal flare?
- That’s…To be aided, of course! Not…this!
- My order stands. If you act against it, I will take you off the Survey Corps.
- Excuse me??
- You heard me. And I will forgive the slap this time. I deserve it…for many things.
- You’ve got to be kidding me…
- Excuse me for the interruption, but I couldn’t help overhear.
A visibly drunk Commander Pixis makes his way to us, his cheeks flushed in red.
- C-commander Pixis…I didn’t know you were here.
In my embarrassment, I turn as red as his cheeks. He probably heard the whole thing, and I slapped Commander Smith…I’m in so much trouble.
- Hmm, have I seen you before, my dear?
Commander Pixis studies me intently.
- Y-yes, yes, you have, Sir.
- Oh? That’s weird; I wouldn’t forget a beauty like you.
- Thank you…I guess.
My mind is practically going haywire right now.
- You two can go back to your quarrel. I don’t want to be in the way. I’ll just sit over there.
He points to a spot with his finger, pats Erwin’s shoulder and walks away. The Commander turns his attention to my troubled face.
- You don’t need to worry so much. He probably won’t remember this conversation, and even if he does, he’s not one to poke his nose in other people’s business.
I am thankful for the reassurance, but I’m still very upset, so I refuse to apologize, or thank him in any way.
- I guess that’s fine.
I give a vague answer, and walk to the edge of Wall Rose. I sit down, and my gaze follows the Eren Titan, who seems to finally be under control and is carrying the boulder to the broken gate.
At least today’s operation might actually end up successful. I wish I didn’t have to be here, and watch from a distance. The Commander sits down next to me.
I want to look at him, but refuse to do so. A slap isn’t enough to make me forget.
- I apologize.
His voice takes me away from my inner fight.
- I apologize for what I said before. You might not believe me, but I didn’t mean any of it. You’re actually very important to me, and if anything happens to you, I won’t be able to take it.
I clench my hands in fists in an attempt to stop the tears from relief, which threaten to spill out any second.
- I…I want to hate you. I want to hate you so damn much, but…I can’t. How can I hate someone I’ve always…
No, I can’t say that.
- Always what, Desi?
- I accept your apology. But I’m still angry at you.
The Commander smiles.
- That’s fine with me.
He moves a hand closer to mine, and intertwines our fingers. Before I can protest in any way, he leans his body to mine.
- W-what the hell are you doing? Commander Pixis is here!
- I don’t care.
And he shuts me up with a kiss. My body instantly betrays me, remembering how good it feels to be kissed by him. He breaks off the kiss.
It didn’t last very long, but my heart refuses to calm down. The Commander whispers in my ear.
- “You’re too cute, my dear. I can’t help but tease you.”
- Y-you, perverted old man!
- You’re beginning to sound just like Levi.
But the question I was about to ask remains hanging when we hear a loud crash in the distance. I instantly move my gaze in the direction of the sound, and can’t help but let out a happy cry.
- They did it, Commander! The gate is plugged!
In my happiness, I forget how angry I was, and capture the Commander in a hug. My heart is leaping with joy. He answers my hug.
- Yes, my dear, they did.