Even Humanity's Strongest could make mistakes.

The first of all had been to wander off on his own. That way, he reasoned, his squad wouldn't follow into the swarm of titans and he would not have to keep an eye on them. He trusted them, sure, but less than his own skills.

That was how he ended up in this situation in the first place: alone and surrounded by half-a-dozen of ten- to fifteen-meters class. Nothing he couldn't handle, but it was definitely demanding all of his concentration.

The second mistake was to let the retreat signal distract him. Levi turned to look at the green smoke for just a second, but that was enough.

He felt a tug on one of his wires, and suddenly he was dragged backward, the ODM belt digging into his skin, knocking his breath away. His blades caught the morning sun as he raised them; one expert slice across the hand that had taken a hold of his gear, and hot, steaming blood splattered on his face.

A quick glance around was enough to tell him that the titans were closing in, drowning him in their enormous shadows, and that escaping was going to be one hell of a feat.

He barely avoided the monster's second hand, tried to get higher up, and came face to face with the blood-shot, hungry eyes, of a fifteen-meter bending over the little insect that was bugging them. Levi fired a hook backward, twisting to see what was ahead and- it took all of his skills and talent not to end up in the gaping mouth in front of him. He took a sharp turn, hearing the yellowed teeth snap way too close, and fired the next hook in the inside of one of the houses that still sported a roof. It should give him the time to gain the upper hand again, and-

His shin collided violently with the windowsill and he tumbled down inside the room, crashing hard against the wooden floor. He felt his blades falling out of his hands, the clatter of steel drowned out by the ringing of his ears.

Get the fuck back up.

Levi blinked hard, willing for the world to stop spinning.

NOW.

His entire body hurt from the impact and there was something warm dripping down the side of his face. He could only hope he didn't have a concussion. He placed his palms flat on the ground and, with shaky arms, tried to push himself back up. He-

I can't feel my leg!

A horrifying thought crossed his mind – what if it had been bitten off? That mere possibility sent adrenaline cursing through his veins, clearing his head enough that he could clumsily try to sit and survey the damag-

White-hot pain shot through his leg and he bit back a scream. There was no blood, no visible cuts, just this barely-bearable burning sensation radiating from his shattered tibia.

As he was slowly realizing the implications of a broken leg on the battlefield, his attention was drawn by a much more urgent matter, in the form of the giant hand sneaking by the window. The walls shook as another titan hurled its enormous body against it, excited by the smell of human meat inside. A bit of dust came out of the ceiling as the wooden beams creaked. Levi felt behind him blindly for his blades, not taking his eyes off the threat, and he gripped the cold handles tightly. He tried to scramble to his feet, fell back with a strangled cry, opted to half-crawl to the opposite side of the room, as far away from the searching fingers as he could.

The entire house shuddered once more from the monsters' assaults, and a beam above his head snapped.

It's going to collapse!

As the air filled with dust and a thunderous rumbling, he somehow managed to climb out of the window. The familiar whirring of his gear pierced through the noise and he escaped the house seconds before it completely gave way under the attacks.

There were two small titans on the street below, and it was only a matter of seconds before the others caught on his presence, and his leg hurt so fucking bad, and no matter how hard he blinked, his vision just wouldn't clear up completely.

He spotted a grotesque hand reaching towards him and his instincts took over.

Fire a hook. Follow the movement, adjust the trajectory with the wire, dodge, another hook, use the wall to gain more speed. His blades cut through flesh as if it was nothing. He went lower, out of reach from the taller titans, tapped against the floor with his valid leg, propelling himself up once again. He flipped one of the blades in his hand and went down on an offered nape. The monster collapsed, taking one of the smaller ones with it.

Levi grabbed the edge of a roof, balancing his weight with his foot flat against the wall, trying desperately to catch his breath. His head was spinning and he felt like he was going to be sick.

His break was cut short by a titan hurling itself at him. Levi set off a mere second before it crashed face-first against the building, sending shards of stone and wood flying around. He just didn't have the time to be weak, to give in to the pain, that simply wasn't an option. The adrenaline dulled things quite a bit, thankfully. He steeled himself before landing another deadly blow in one swift motion – but the titans just kept coming.

It felt like an eternity. The rushing of his blood drowned out the eerie whirring of his gear and the hungry growls all around, his vision was a mess of flesh tones, red and stone grey, and black dots. He couldn't feel much of his body, couldn't quite think straight, form a strategy, find an escape, anything. It took all that he had just not to die and even that was becoming increasingly hard with each passing second.

He barely dodged a prying hand, coming down on the exposed neck. One of his blades shattered and it didn't cut deep enough to kill the fucker. The large fingers he just avoided now curled up around his body, ripping him from the sky.

So this is how it ends, eh?

Levi was fully prepared to end up between the gaping teeth but instead, the titan squeezed. His scream was cut short as all air was forced out of his lungs. He heard the sickening sound of his bones snapping and the broken remains of his blade cut deep into his stomach. He choked on his own blood.

Fuck, just eat me already!

Instead, the death grip loosened a tiny bit, and in a last, desperate attempt to break free, he slashed his remaining blade across the palm holding him. Blood sprayed over his body, sizzling as it touched uncovered skin, but he couldn't care less.

His hook shot from in-between the titan's fingers, sinking into a half-collapsed roof, and it tore him away from the titan's hold. He crashed against the tiles more than he landed, stopping his sliding just an inch before he fell down the edge. By that point he couldn't even pinpoint which parts of his body were screaming in agony, only knew that he had to fight to solely stay conscious.

Through his darkened, distorted vision, he could still see the titan's mangled face closing in. Its eyes were uneven and glistening with nothing but animalistic hunger. Levi felt an unexpected surge of anger burning up in his chest and his hand tightened around his last blade, knuckles turning white.

You're going down with me.