- Don’t you dare take another step, Erwin!
Erwin Smith stopped dead in his tracks.
- Where do you think you’re going?
Erwin turned around to face Levi.
- Do I really need to remind you of our conversation? And the things you told me back then?
- No, I remember them clearly.
- Your actions speak otherwise. You were about to go after that girl again, weren’t you?
Erwin hesitated for a second.
- No…No, I wasn’t.
- Bullshit. Are you really going to lie to me?
Erwin felt incredibly foolish.
- You’re right…I lied…I apologize, Levi.
- Tch. Are we seriously having this conversation? For God’s sake, why can’t you just stay away?? You are a grown man, damn it! Act like one!
Erwin Smith was shocked. He had never seen Levi get so worked up over…anything, actually. He was usually pretty much expressionless.
So was Erwin, but he had changed from his usual self, and even if he didn’t want to admit it, he knew the reason why.
Erwin was aware his behavior was immature and incredibly foolish, but he couldn’t just stay still.
Doesn’t matter how much he tried to stay away, sooner or later he got lost once more in those innocent green eyes.
- How long are you going to stand there, and keep your mouth shut?
- Ah, I’m sorry, my mind was somewhere else.
- Of course it was…that’s how you’ve been for a long time now.
You are losing your good judgment, and that is going to cost you not only your life, but the lives of the people under your command. Are you ready to take that risk for a fling?
- She’s not…just a fling…
- Excuse me?
Levi couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
- I mean…I don’t know, Levi…I understand what you’re telling me, and I realize how stupid I’m being right now.
I am trying my best not to fall victim to these desires, but this is one battle I can’t win. I got tired of struggling against my feelings, and holding myself back.
I don’t want to let anyone down, and for the longest time I believed I can remain distant and detached from any feelings that could cause me to be anything but rational in my decisions.
If it’s a Titan, I can take it down, but her…I think I fell for her…
Levi punched Erwin hard, and the latter lost his balance for a second. He tasted blood in his mouth.
- Are you out of your mind, Erwin?? Want me to knock some sense back into you? ‘Cause I’ll do it with pleasure!
- Punch me all you like, if that will make you feel better. I deserve that. But it won’t change anything.
Levi’s hands were clenched in fists; he stood in front of Erwin angry, but mostly disappointed.
He believed pain to be the best discipline, but he also knew Erwin well enough to tell it won’t work on him.
He was as stubborn as a mule, but he was also someone who dedicated his whole life so far to one single goal, and never wavered, or looked back.
For him to discover something new in his life, something that would steal his ability to think straight to this extent, that means he won’t let go of it. Or at least not like this.
On the contrary, he will just want it more and more.
Levi relaxed a bit, and decided it’s better to change his approach.
- Fine. Go to her.
That was the last thing Erwin expected to hear.
- I said, go to her. If that’s what you wish, do it. Do whatever the hell you want. But remember one thing.
You are Commander Erwin Smith, and you are the one who has to lead humanity to victory.
Do whatever you wish in your free time, but when you are on the battlefield, you must never forget your mission. You need to be as cold and collected as always.
You can never put your feelings first when you are out against the Titans. Even if it means to watch her die. Do you understand what I’m telling you?
Erwin knew Levi was right, he knew it painfully well. Yet, that didn’t stop the horrible sensation, brought by the mere thought of her dying, or even worse – being eaten by a Titan.
Even so, that was the decision she made for herself, just like he did a long time ago. They are both aware of the consequences, just like every other Survey Corps member.
Funny, he felt a little better.
- Yes, I understand, Levi. Thank you.
Erwin walked away; he was a bit more at ease for the first time in a while.
- Tch, just how long does this idiot think I can babysit him? He’s lucky I still tolerate him. It’s not like I don’t understand…
Levi thought about everyone he lost in his life, and only felt more upset.
- Damn idiot…
- Erwin! It’s an emergency!
Hanji stormed into Erwin’s office. She struggled to catch her breath.
- What? What is it, Hanji?
- The…the Colossal Titan…he’s back!
Erwin jumped up from his chair.
- Wall Rose…Wall Rose has been breached!
Erwin was left speechless. The horror from 5 years ago was happening once more. No, not this time. He can’t allow another catastrophe to take place.
- Take your squad with you, and leave as soon as you're ready! Where is Levi??
- He has already gathered the new graduates, and the rest of the Survey Corps. They are going for the titans that made their way inside.
- Good! I will grab my gear, and follow after you.
- Got it!
Hanji left the office, just as fast as she had made her way in. Erwin cursed loudly, and hit his fist hard against the desk.
- There’s no place for mistakes. I need to lead them to victory.
- Listen to me carefully. I don’t want anyone to act rashly, and become titan food. Focus on your task, and take care of those filthy creatures. Is that clear?
- Yes, Sir!
Captain Levi gathered us on the top of Wall Rose. There is no sign of the Colossal Titan. Just like the first time, he vanished in thin air right after destroying the gate.
A lot of titans made it inside, and it is up to us to stop them. This is going to be our first real mission as a part of the Survey Corps. I can’t help the slight shaking of my body.
I do my best to concentrate. I refuse to allow fear to take over my mind. Just when we’re about to leave, Commander Smith makes his way up. We welcome him with a salute.
- Levi, what is our situation?
- Wall Rose is breached, titans are swarming around in Trost District. The Garrison was able to evacuate as many citizens as possible, the casualties were minimal.
- What about the Colossal Titan?
- He was already gone when we got here.
The Commander turns to us.
- I trust that you will do your best, and fight bravely. I believe in you. Shinzou wo Sasageyo!
Everyone takes off. I turn to look at the Commander once more, and go after them.
“This is what I’ve been training for all this time! Failing is not an option!” – I tell myself and spread my wings.