The restaurant was bustling with activity. Nearly every table was filled, with large quantities of food and alcohol being consumed by the upbeat patrons. Amidst the snatches of conversation one could hear toasts of "Dedicate your hearts!" and "To Eren, our savior!" accompanied by the clinking of glasses. Waiters and other employees were struggling to keep up with their customers demands, but despite the stress they also looked happy, savoring the freedom that was finally theirs.

There was, however, one room tucked off to the side where the atmosphere was different. Rather than being happy, the room's occupants were more subdued. Mr. and Mrs. Blouse and their children were finally finishing the meal Niccolo had promised them, given that it had been interrupted the first time, but the deliciousness of the food couldn't distract them from the concern they felt for Gabi and Falco, as there had been no news about their whereabouts or well being.

Or at least, none that they had been privy to. For inside the kitchen just beyond the Blouses room were two people who had some idea about what had become of the two young warriors.

Niccolo frowned as the other person in the kitchen began to chop up some carrots. "You know you don't have to do this."

Historia shook her head as she brought the knife down. "I've spent too much time sitting around lately. It feels good to do something useful."

She didn't mention how it was also nice to get away from the farm where she had been cooped up for months now.

Historia's expression softened as she thought of the Blouse family in the other room. "I'm just glad the kids are doing alright. Some of them used to be at my orphanage."

Her forehead creased. "They don't know what's happened?"

Niccolo grimaced. "No. It's been hushed up, since it would dampen public morale. The only reason I know about it is because I still have a few friends among the new military."

He rubbed his head with a sigh. "Armin, Mikasa, Jean, Connie, and all the rest... I figured they wouldn't be happy with Eren's plans, but I never imagined they'd turn traitor to stop him."

While the battle at the port had been kept from the public, most of the Yeagerists knew what had happened, how several former members of the Survey Corp had turned traitor and were now working with Marley in an attempt to stop the rumbling. As if that wasn't bad enough, it was confirmed that Marley now had the Armored, Female, Cart, and Jaw Titans on their side.

With Eren having full control of the Founding Titan, an unfathomably large Titan body, and millions of Colossal Titans at his command, it was deemed unlikely that this new alliance would pose any real threat to him. Still, the battle had been a bitter defeat for the new military, and having it delivered by former comrades and enemies who were thought to be dead was rather demoralizing. And yet…

Historia scooped the chopped carrots into a bowl with a thoughtful look on her face. "They probably wouldn't be able to live with themselves if they didn't at least try to stop Eren. It's moving to think of how far Eren is willing to go to protect us. But when you consider the price…"

Niccolo lowered his eyes. "Well, Jean's proven again that he's a better man than me. I mean, if I was in Eren's position I would never be able to go all the way like he is. And if I had known about his plans ahead of time I would definitely have tried to stop him. But now that it's already happening, I have to admit I wouldn't have had the courage to try to stop it. While I feel bad for the people out there, if I'm perfectly honest, all I can think is 'better them than me.'"

Historia knew the feeling well. She'd known about Eren's true plan for months now, and yet she had said nothing. She wondered what that said about her…

"Don't you have family in Marley?"

Niccolo winced. "Yeah, but no one I'm really that close to. Even my parents...our relationship wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. They were always incredibly strict, and they're the ones who pushed me into joining the military despite my wishes. Though that seems to have worked out in my favor. I guess at a certain level I don't really care what happens as long as I survive."

He glanced at her nervously. "I know that makes me sound like a selfish bastard."

Historia waved her hand absently. "No, I get it."

She frowned, and absently rubbed her protruding belly.

I wonder, what kind of world will you be born into little one?

Without warning, everything changed, and Historia froze.

The kitchen was gone. In its place was an endless expanse of sandy ground that stretched in all directions as far as the eye could see. A massive pillar of light shone brightly in the distance, with numerous smaller branches reaching up and merging with the darkened sky above.

She had seen this only once before, when Eren had made his announcement to all the Eldians in the world. At that time, she had seen countless other people in the distance dotted throughout the barren landscape. Now, however, she was alone.

She looked around nervously. "Eren?"

Historia. I am about to die. Armin, Mikasa, and the others have achieved their goal. The rumbling will stop. Marley is gone, but the rest of the world has been saved.

Historia's eyes widened. So, they must have been able to stop him. I wonder if they're alright…

However, as a direct consequence, it will only be a matter of time before the full uninhibited wrath of the world falls upon Paradis island. I cannot allow this to happen. Since I have failed to secure a peaceful future for the people of Paradis, all I can do now is end their suffering.

Historia felt an icy numbness grip her at Eren's words.

"What?"

"You okay?"

She jumped, and realized she was suddenly back in the kitchen, with Niccolo looking at her in concern.

But before she could answer him, a loud crash came from the nearby room.

Niccolo groaned. "Great, sounds like someone dropped something."

He went around the corner, then abruptly stopped, his face overcome with shock.

"What the hell?"

He rushed into the room.

Historia quickly followed, and froze at the sight before her.

The entire Blouse family had gone limp in their seats. Mrs. Blouse's head was on the table, while the glass of water Mr. Blouse had been holding lay shattered on the ground below his limp arm. Kaya had fallen out of her chair, with her plate right next to her, its contents spilling onto the floor. The other children were also in similar positions, as if they had suddenly been knocked out without warning.

Niccolo walked over to the table anxiously. "Mister Blouse? Are you all right?"

Niccolo grabbed his shoulder and gently shook him, but Mr. Blouse gave no indication he had heard him, his head lolling limply around.

After failing to wake him up, Niccolo pressed his fingers against the older man's neck.

Niccolo's eyes widened. "No way. He's...he's dead."

As if struck with a horrible realization, he checked the others pulses as well.

He stumbled back in disbelief, his hands shaking. "This can't be happening. They're all dead. How...how?"

Historia swallowed, becoming painfully aware of how dry her throat had become. "Niccolo...I...back in the kitchen...I had a vision...from Eren."

Niccolo looked at her sharply. "What?"

Historia averted her gaze from the deceased Blouse family as the true horror of their situation began to sink in.

"And he said...he said that he had failed...the others had stopped him...and in order to spare Paradis's people from the world's wrath...he said...he would end their suffering."

Niccolo's eyes widened. For a moment he didn't speak. When he finally did speak, it was a single, whispered word.

"No."

Without warning, he dashed from the room, ran down the hall and toward the main dining area of the restaurant, and flung the doors open.

Every single patron in the room was still and quiet, just as the Blouse family had been. Some were still sitting upright, while others had fallen to the floor. A large amount of food, water, and alcohol had been spilled from plates and glasses that had been dropped or knocked over, with the resulting mess staining the floor.

"No!"

Not stopping to look more closely at any of them, Niccolo ran past the silent patrons and pushed the front doors open.

The normally busy and noisy street had become as silent as the restaurant, and as Niccolo looked up and down the road he could see countless bodies lying all over the place, denizens of the city that had been going about their day when something suddenly caused them all to stop.

Niccolo fell to his knees.

"NOOOOOOO!"

Tears began to pour down his face, his body wracked with sobs.

Historia slowly walked out and came to a stop next to Niccolo. She didn't cry, but her eyes were wide as she took in the sight before her.

Less than five minutes ago, all the people of Paradis had been going about their lives, oblivious to what was happening outside of the island. They believed that they were finally safe, at last free from the threat of enemies who wanted to destroy them for crimes they did not commit. And rather than allow this comforting belief to be taken from them, rather than allow fear to once again take over their lives, rather than allow them to struggle in vain against an enemy that would eventually overwhelm and annihilate them, Eren had acted. With the rumbling having failed to wipe out all their enemies, Eren had chosen to end their lives before their happiness and freedom were taken away once more.

After a few minutes, Niccolo calmed down slightly. He slowly stood up, and wiped his face with the back of his sleeve.

His voice shook. "We...we can't stay here."

Historia whispered. "No."

Niccolo gestured back at the restaurant. "We...we should go back inside. We can stock up on food and supplies. Then...we can look for survivors."

By survivors, they both knew he meant non Eldians. There were a handful of volunteer soldiers left, and an even smaller number of Marleyan prisoners of war. Both groups would have been unaffected by Eren's power. But everyone else…

As they slowly walked back into the restaurant, doing their best to avert their gaze from the deceased, Historia wondered if this was her punishment for remaining silent.

She knew she was the worst girl in the world, and didn't deserve to be the only one who was spared.


Author's Note: Towards the end of World War 2, when it became clear that Germany would lose, there were many German officers who killed their families and then themselves in order to spare them from what the Soviets would do to them. I can see Eren doing something similar if his plan fails.

The world was already prepared to destroy Paradis island even before Eren launched his attack at Liberio. Add in the rumbling, and there is no way in hell the world would leave Paradis alone once the rumbling stops. There's a good chance that with Eren's death the power of the Titans will cease to exist, which would leave Paradis completely defenseless. And even if the power of the Titans persists beyond Eren's demise, that fleet of airships makes it clear that the era of the Titans is coming to an end, and it won't be long before conventional weapons are strong enough to withstand even the rumbling.

So if Eren loses, I think this is something that he may very well do in order to spare the people of Paradis from the suffering they would experience because of his failure. Plus, it would free his friends from the burden of having to spend the rest of their lives fighting a losing battle.

There's also been some foreshadowing with Mikasa and Kiyomi. Kiyomi offered her a place in Hizuru, which Mikasa declined, saying Paradis is her home. But if Paradis is destroyed, Mikasa will almost certainly reconsider. Also, in chapter 133 Kiyomi mentions how she will do everything to ensure Eldia's future. So, if Eren loses and destroys Paradis, I think all the Eldians who lost their homes in the rumbling and any surviving members of the alliance will find refuge in Hizuru.

But that's just my theory. It's probably wrong, but I thought I'd share it anyways. A few months ago I had a vague theory that Eren might use the Founding Titan to communicate with the alliance once the plane had taken off, and that turned out to be true. And the flying Titan theory that's been floating around turned out to be true too, so I think my theory has at least some chance of happening.

When it comes to Historia, personally I don't think Eren's the father. If he is the father, then I'm pretty sure it was a mutually beneficial arrangement that Eren and Historia had, not the product of some secret passionate romance that has no evidence backing it up. However, I think there's a pretty simple answer to this question. If Eren is the father, this fact will be revealed before the manga ends. If the manga ends and the identity of the father is left ambiguous, that almost certainly means it's not Eren. And also that Isayama is a massive troll, since it will give the diehard shippers something to argue about for years, logic be damned. Still, I left my story open to either interpretation.

Niccolo in the kitchen was basically saying what my thoughts would be if I were in the same situation. (Minus the bit about his parents, I actually have a pretty good relationship with my parents) And everything after Eren's message to Historia was partially inspired by the scene of Hohenheim in FMAB when he woke up to find everyone in Xerxes dead.

Anyways, be sure to let me know what you thought. Also, for those interested, the next chapter of A Second Chance is in the works.

Edit: Welp, this story is already partly out of date, as in Chapter 134 Historia went into labor, meaning the scenario I set up can't happen. In my defense, the information we had before chapter 134 strongly indicated that Historia still had a few months before she would give birth. So either Isayama made a mistake with the timeline, Historia went into labor prematurely, or she lied about when she got pregnant. The ErenxHistoria shippers obviously jump straight to option three, but personally I think the first two are more plausible. Isayama has made some continuity errors (Eren's magically reappearing pants say hi) and it is definitely possible to go into labor prematurely. Several years ago my cousin went into labor when she was only 7 months into her pregnancy, which naturally freaked her and her husband out a lot, though fortunately everything worked out. And it's obvious the real reason why Isayama had Historia go into labor at the same time that the rumbling is happening.

Insert the Persona 4 meme here: IT'S SYMBOLIC!

Come to think of it, that pretty much sums up everything Isayama has done with Historia post time skip.

Still, while the specifics of this story have been falsified by the canon, I still think the overall idea is a very real possibility. But we'll have to wait and see.