Mikasa Ackerman.

Her father had given her the English name. He deemed it only fair to allow her mother to give her the Japanese name. When meeting with the rest of her family, it was always easy to spot her amongst her cousins. She didn't look like the other girls in her family. It was because she wasn't like the other girls in her family. The white man known as her father had given her features foreign to her nationality. Her black hair held more volume with a less silky texture. Her porcelain skin held much more pink undertones, especially around her lips. Of all the differences, the most outstanding features had to be her eyes. They were slimmer than the caucasian average, yet nowhere near the almond shape the Asian often had. "In between" was the only way to describe the eyes that held a deep dark shade of indigo. No, she looked nothing like the Geisha girl in the painting of her grandmother's house.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful showered the women of her family. The word was so accustomed to their ears, but most would always accept it with the same humble gratitude. However, Mikasa's ears stayed hollow. Even though no ugly words were said to her, no compliments created the same kind of pain. She waited for the day when she would feel like the Geisha girl in the painting of her grandmother's house.

That neighborhood boy Eren Jaeger had always been by her side. She and he would often protect his friend, Armin, from bullies when they were young. She never thought too much of the two goofballs and only stuck around them for company. They were nice and all, but she didn't want to keep having to save them from trouble. She just wanted to try to become the Geisha girl in the painting of her grandmother's house.

As Mikasa grew into a woman, her hormones betrayed her. She did not gain the delicate curves and the slim frame of her family's women. Her father's genes gave her more hip than she wanted and stronger definition in her arms and legs. While most girls wished they could trade their baby fat for Mikasa's muscle mass, Mikasa wished to trade her muscles for the slimness of the Geisha girl in the painting of her grandmother's house.

The bright smiles were replaced with an indifferent expression, just like that of the Geisha girl in the painting of her grandmother's house.

Thirteen years old was the age she was when she sat in the nursing bed. Her indifferent face held the dried remains of her last meal around her mouth.

Dr. Jaeger sat on the edge "You do understand that this is bulimia you're dealing with," he said.

The girl remained silent. Eren sat in the corner with her dirty pink jacket in his hand. He didn't care about the vile smell emanating from it.

"Are your parents home?" asked Dr. Jaeger.

Mikasa shook her head, still looking at her lap beneath the blankets.

The man's shoulders slumped in disappointment "I'll take care of you until they get home, then. Your father is working the night shift, right?"

Mikasa nodded.

"And your mother gets home around…five, six in the evening?"

Another nod.

Dr. Jaeger's eyes filled with more pity than before, but he tried to be strong for the frail girl "Just relax," he said "I'll get you some water and call your parents."

He carefully got up from the bed, walked past Eren and exited the room.

Silence filled the air like fog, that is, until Mikasa heard sniffling.

She looked over to the prepubescent boy burying his face in the red scarf.

"Eren…?" she said. She slid out of the bed as he continued to sniffle. "Eren?" She made her way over to him with a concerned expression "What's the matter?"

The brunette's eyes snapped open, allowing the tears to flow "What do you mean "what's the matter?", Mikasa?!" he choked "Y-Y-You're destroying-g your body!"

Mikasa held Eren's arms "Shhh, Eren, your dad's going to hear you and wonder what's going on-"

"I don't care!" the boy protested, wriggling the girl's hands off of him "Why did you do it, Mikasa? Why!?"

Mikasa's eyes took a form they often never took; stern.

"Because," she said. The contrast of her soft voice behind Eren's hiccuping made it more clear "I wanted to feel pretty…"

The frustration in Eren's face faded. His soft expression was now facing Mikasa's stone face.

"B-But…" he whimpered "You are pretty."

Mikasa's ears rang with that sentence. At a loss for words, she just stared at Eren with her mouth agape. Did someone finally call her…pretty?

Eren removed his red scarf and wrapped it around Mikasa. She allowed him to do so. The scarf was damp and cold with Eren's tears. She didn't care.

At seventeen years old, Mikasa was finally able to meet at eye level with the aged painting of the Geisha girl. She was surprised at what the image was to her. Now, the woman looked…ugly.

They were at their favorite restaurant, the one with the shrimp salad that Annie loved so much. The two women spent the evening smiling and laughing at subtle jokes that only introverts like themselves could understand.

At some point, their waiter came by with a smug smile on his face and a single plate with a cupcake on it. Annie hadn't noticed until he set the plate down before her.

"Oh I'm sorry, but we didn't order any desser-" she stopped.

Perched in the blue icing of the cupcake was a silver ring with a crystal. Not just a crystal. The crystal.

"Really? Aquamarine?" Mikasa questioned as the blonde looked at the array of jewelry before them.

"Yes, without a doubt," confirmed Annie "They're my favorite crystal type."

The two women had come to the mall after Annie had received a bonus check from her job. On their quest to spoil themselves, they stumbled upon a jewelry store that neither had ever really given a more than a glance before.

Mikasa shrugged "I mean, they're pretty, but...you would really consider getting one as an engagement ring?"

"Of course. Aquamarines are more than just their appearance," Annie looked back at the set of jewelry "They were the treasures of mermaids in lore, and they were used by sailors for protection, courage, and good luck. They represent everything related to the ocean and the heavens reflected on the surface. It's...like a mirror."

Mikasa stepped up to look at the jewelry "That certainly sounds meaningful."

Annie gave a soft snort "Much more meaningful than a typical wedding ring whose value is based on its size."

The blonde moved over to a stand of earrings, but Mikasa's eyes lingered on a single aquamarine ring.

Annie's hands cupped her own face, the rouge color spilling out from the side and her tear-brimmed eyes blown wide in shock. Before her, Mikasa rested her chin on her hands with a knowing smile.