To Catch a Butterfly

I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. -Charles Dickens

I couldn't remember the last time I felt warmth. The countless number of deaths and suffering left me cold. It numbed my heart, and left me to build walls as high as the ones humanity itself had built. The pain cut deep into my heart. I wanted to save them all; I wanted to protect them, but there was nothing I could do. I watched so many of my friends, comrades, brothers and sisters die that I'd lost count. Their faces would flash through my mind whenever I closed my eyes. Their faces would haunt me in my dreams. Every night I would see them again. I watched their eyes, once so full of passion and life dull and die out before my very eyes. No matter how hard I ran, I couldn't reach them.

As I grew older, my heart grew harder. I stopped letting anyone in. I shut myself away from any feelings or emotions that could weigh on my already heavy heart. I couldn't bear losing anyone else. I let the faces of all the soldiers blur together. If I couldn't remember their faces, how could they haunt me? So I let the cold envelop my heart, and I began pushing everyone away. I stopped feeling. I felt myself slipping away into the cold.

Everything melded together until there was no color. My life was black and white and occasionally stained red by the blood of the fallen. I worked hard to rid myself of the foul red. The blood of the fallen cried out to me and haunted me once more. I scrubbed and cleaned to obsessive levels. I spent countless hours bleaching and disinfecting. The color was a stain in my otherwise guarded life.

I lost myself as I fell deeper. The thirst for revenge was thing only thing that kept me sane. The pain was my only reminder that I was indeed still alive, no matter how dead I felt inside. The passion and the flame that once ignited me was long dead. It seemed like time was frozen, until I met him.

A surge of electricity burned through me when I met those green eyes. The passion that resonated from the boy was like a roaring flame. The flames licked at my cold heart and stirred a part of me I had long locked away. His eyes were wide and defiant. They were the brightest shade of teal green I had ever seen, and stuck out like a sore thumb in my black and white world. He looked so young, with a round and angelic face. His hair was a fine shade of chocolate brown, and despite being covered in dirt and filth, I could tell the boy was beautiful. He was like no other. He watched me with wonder when I saved him and an unfamiliar feeling flowed through me.

It would be a few days until I would see the boy with the teal eyes again. The next time we met, it seemed like his life was once again in my hands. I was determined to save the boy again. As I watched him in court that fateful, I was pleasantly surprised at the vigor of the boy when he mouthed off. His flame burned through me and ignited my cold heart. It hurt me a bit to deliver such a beating to the angelic boy with the burning heart.

Eren Jaeger.

His name rolled off my lips with ease. After ensuring his enlistment with the scouts, I demanded Erwin to let me have the boy as my charge. He was shocked, but agreed none the less. He was surprised by my sudden demand, whether it be my angry insistence or sudden bout of passion, I don't know. I stood for hours in that filthy dungeon until the boy awoke. My stomach stirred as his eyes fluttered open. He didn't even bat an eye when I spoke to him with harsh words. He words and his wide eyes answered the question that had been plaguing me since I met him at the battle of Trost. Nothing would be the same anymore.

I wasn't able to push him out like the others. Eren Jaeger was different. He initially captivated me with his roaring passion, and somehow I began inadvertently ensnared by those teal green eyes. They were bursting with so much life I found myself drowning in them. His eyes could be wide with childlike innocence one moment, and shift to undying rage in the next moment. It didn't help that the boy was completely enamored by this hero pedestal he had placed me on. I couldn't cut him down with my angry words. He didn't even flinch when I resorted to physical reprimands.

I found myself haunted by his big green eyes in my dreams. I would hear his laugh, like tinkling bells tickling my ears as I slept. It lulled me to sleep, and for the first time in a long time, I wasn't plagued by the gruesome horrors of my usual dreams. I would dream of his smile, wide and toothy, and found myself oddly at ease. It made my heart ache.

What did it all mean? I was always eager to see the green eyed boy. I relished in his passionate emotion, although I preferred it when his features settled in a smile. Eren's smile was like a ray of sunshine. It was eager and genuine; unlike the fake smiles I had become accustomed to seeing. His smile made my heart flutter, in a way that it hadn't in a very long time. Could it be that I had developed feeling for the youth? After years of shutting everyone out, how had I let Eren slip past my walls and into my heart? I would be lying if I said his warmth didn't warm my cold heart. I didn't have much experience with friendships, and what I felt for Eren was different. My heart fluttered when he smiled at me. I even felt a smile tug at my lips whenever I watched the clumsy boy's antics. A wave of jealousy hit me whenever I watched Eren with his little friends. I wanted Eren to smile, and I wanted to be the one to make him smile. Shit, I was in love.

The thought hit me like a 10 meter Titan. Humanity's Strongest was in love, with an underage boy. Yes, I had fallen for the boy. It seemed as though even I was susceptible to Eren's boyish charm. He was so similar to me, stubborn, strong, and determined. Yet, we were vastly different (aside from the age gap) he was headstrong and I was tactful, he was hotheaded and I was levelheaded, Eren was a whirlwind of emotion, and I simply was not. Eren had stirred the flame within me and I was determined to tell him of my feelings, before it was too late. I'd been hiding from my emotions for too long. War was never a time to indulge in love, but if I didn't try now, I might not have a chance later on. It was now or never.

"Hanji, Petra, I need to speak with you privately after lunch" I said. I waited until lunch ended and everyone left the mess hall and I locked the door.

"Levi Heichou?" Petra asked me as I sat down, "What's this about? What's wrong?"

"Are you feeling alright? Do you need some medicine? Should I experiment on you? You know it's a proven fact that Titan saliva can cure the common cold," Hanji squealed.

I kept my normal emotionless expression as I addressed them, "It's about Eren."

"What about Eren?" Petra asked worriedly, "Has he done something wrong?"

"No—"

"Did he accidently turn into a Titan? Do I have to run more experiments? Should I collect Titan saliva for him?" Hanji asked.

"No."

"Then what?" the two women asked eagerly.

"I need your help. I think I'm in love with him, and I want to woo him," I deadpanned.