Training Corps, Year 849
- Cut it out, Jean, or we’ll be late!
- You make it too easy to tease you.
Jean grins at me, and hurries ahead.
- Oh, I’ll show you once I make it in the Survey Corps.
I catch up to him.
- With your tiny body? I don’t think so. Besides, why would you even want to join them? You’re out of your mind, I’ll tell you that.
- Hey! My body is just fine! In fact, I am the same height as Captain Levi.
- Why would you even be proud of that? And it’s not like you are as strong as him.
- I could be!
Jean only snickers at my comment.
- In any case, it’s much better than joining the Military Police. They only know how to slack off, and their attitude is the worst.
- Maybe, but they’re safe inside the walls, and that’s more than enough for me.
- There is no such thing as being safe inside the walls.
Remember what happened to Wall Maria? Besides, I prefer to be of help to humanity, rather than rot inside the walls, and live in fear of the day the titans will break down another wall.
Jean only shrugs his shoulders.
- Suit yourself. Just don’t get yourself killed.
- Don’t worry; I won’t give you that satisfaction.
We walk in silence for a bit, until Jean remembers something.
- Are you sure it has nothing to do with Commander Smith?
He nudges me playfully. I can't help but blush slightly, and get annoyed at his insinuation.
- O-of course not! My sense of duty has nothing to do with Commander Smith! No way!
- Alright, alright, no need to get all defensive.
“Two can play this game, Jean”.
- Are you sure you’re not just jealous, Jean? You can be honest, and tell me you like me.
- JEALOUS?! Why would I be jealous?? Besides…BESIDES, I don’t like you! Like at all! Who would even like a girl like you…?
Jean’s deep red blush is much more honest than he would ever admit. It makes me chuckle, and satisfied with winning our little argument.
I run ahead, leaving a very irritated Jean to try and catch up to me
I make it just in time, and join the rest of the cadets. When Jean finally makes it, he is trying to catch his breath.
- Jean Kirstein!
Captain Levi’s voice makes him jump, and Jean immediately salutes him.
- Yes, Sir!
- What was more important than being here on time?
Jean gulps hard, and sends an angry look my way.
- Absolutely nothing, Sir! I apologize!
- Thanks to you, everyone will have to train longer than usual.
Jean feels shivers down his spine when everyone’s gazes are turned towards him. He quickly takes his proper place.
- Nice job, horse-face!
Eren quickly snaps at him.
- You have something to share with us, Jaeger?
- No, Sir!
- Now, if you two are done with being idiots, we can begin today’s training.
- Argh, my whole body hurts.
Me and Jean are taking a small walk before dinner.
- That’s what you get for being late, Jean. – I answer him.
Jean clenches his teeth in irritation.
- How about you? Why aren’t you in pain?
- I am. But I don’t whine about it like you do.
I stick out my tongue at him. He gets annoyed at first, but then smiles mischievously.
- Oh, really, I’ll show you.
- H-hey, don’t tickle me! That’s not fair! Stop it!
I try to squirm away from him, but end up tripping and falling on the ground, with Jean moving quickly and trapping me under his weight.
- I win, Shortie.
- Get off of me, Jean!
- Not a chance.
We hear someone approach us, and I look up. In a matter of seconds I push Jean away from me with all the strength I can manage, and jump up to salute Commander Erwin Smith.
Jean does the same.
- Good evening, cadets. Is everything alright?
I try not to pay attention to his deep voice, which practically makes my legs jelly, and answer quickly.
- Yes, Sir. We were just…going through a bit of combat training on our own, right, Jean?
I jab him in the ribs.
- Ouch…I mean, yes, yes, that’s true.
- Is that so?
Commander Erwin smiles slightly.
- I like hard-working cadets, but it’s already dinner time. You should join the others.
- Yes, Sir, we will.
I answer him, and gesture for Jean to follow me. But the Commander stops me in my tracks.
- Desi, I would like to speak with you in my office after you’re done with dinner.
My heart is hammering in my chest.
- Is everything alright, Sir?
- Yes, don’t worry, but I need to discuss something with you. Don’t be late.
- Y-yes, Commander.
When the two of us are alone once more, Jean can’t help himself and pokes my cheek.
- You’re blushing, Shortie.
- Oh, shut up.
I swat his hand away, and stomp impatiently towards the cabin where the others are. A low dissatisfied growl leaves his throat, before he follows me in a visibly horrible mood.
My stomach is tied up in a big knot as I slowly make my way to Commander Smith’s office. I barely touched my dinner, and had to deal with a very moody (for whatever reason) Jean.
And now I can’t stop myself from being as nervous as one can possibly be. I try to clear my head, and knock lightly on the wooden door in front of me.
- Come in.
I hear Commander Smith’s muffled voice. I will myself to move, and slowly open the door. Erwin Smith looks up from a pile of documents.
- Ah, it’s you, Desi. Come here and sit down.
- Yes, Sir.
I make my way to the chair in front of his desk. After he puts his signature on one of the documents, he looks up at me once more.
- Excuse me, a lot of these were sent to me today, and are apparently urgent. But, if you ask me, that’s what they say about every single document.
He shakes his head, and smiles to himself.
I’ve seen quite a bit of his expressions these couple of years, and at this point I can easily discern the different types of smiles he uses on a daily basis.
For someone of his rank he sure smiles a lot. But that’s what makes him even more special. I am awoken from my daydreaming (well, nightdreaming) state when the Commander speaks up once more.
- Desi, there is something important I must speak to you about.
A cold shiver runs through my whole body. There it is, a feeling of panic that I’m about to hear something very bad.
- Are you alright? You look very nervous.
The Commander moves next to me, with a look of concern on his face. I gulp hard, in an attempt to clear my throat.
- Yes…I will be fine. What do you need to discuss with me, Commander?
- It’s about your parents.
- My parents?
I relax a bit, but I am still on edge. I mean, I am already pretty much used to the news that I'm practically an orphan.
Furthermore, I have no memory of what happened before I was rescued by Commander Smith. Afterwards Jean’s family took me in.
My life with them and joining the 104th trainee squad with Jean wasn’t bad at all. On the contrary, I am actually very happy.
But somewhere, in the back of my mind, remains the need to know who I really am, and what happened to my real family.
- As you already know, I’ve been trying to locate them, but to no avail. Until…
The Commander makes a brief pause. My heart is aching in my chest. I have a very bad feeling about this.
- Today, I finally received news about them. I have a good friend in the Military Police. I spoke with him today, and he told me he found your parents.
I will myself to speak.
- Where…I mean…Are they…okay?
- They’re…dead, Desi. Their bodies were discovered last night. They were murdered. I’m very sorry…
I can't react in any way. My mind is completely empty; I'm unable to comprehend the Commander’s words. They’re…dead…My real family…is dead…murdered…What...
What if I can’t get my memory back? What if I never remember anything about them for the rest of my life? How can I possibly face myself?
I was fine with living a lie, as long as I had a tiny glimmer of hope. But now…now…
I have no idea I'm crying, until the Commander wipes a tear that leaves my eye.
I can't control my body anymore, and cling to him, pressing my face against his chest, and letting the tears fall free.
He gently holds on to me, and cradles me in his embrace until the very last tear drop is out of my system.