Attack on Titan Alternate Ending
After reading the ending of AOT, I was, quite frankly, extremely disappointed. Having read the entire series, I had taken the idea that Isayama had world-class writing skills for a given, as 99% of the story was crafted with extreme intelligence, patience, and foresight (we all know what the 1% is). That furthermore makes the lack of all these qualities in the ending pretty unfathomable. Nevertheless, that didn't kill my hunger for a fulfilling ending, and so I decided to craft one of my own. Of course, I do not claim to be the better writer (I could never write the first 99% of AOT), or that my version will be to your liking. I just feel I need to finish this unbelievably fantastic story, in a similarly satisfying (at least for me) manner, as it began. Though this unfortunate turn of events is the sole reason this piece exists in the first place, this is the first and last time, it will be mentioned. Enjoy.
***Our story picks up at the end of chapter 132. A quick reminder (as that was like 15 years ago): Hange is about to sacrifice herself, in order to buy time for the whole crew to repair the plane and escape from the impending colossal titans. Everything up until this point, with a few minor exceptions, will stay unchanged in this version of the ending. Here, our first major change takes place.***
Levi: I will slow them down until you can get that thing flying." Having been eaten by feelings of guilt and powerlessness, Levi sees this as his last opportunity, to redeem himself.
Armin: "What are you saying, are you mad? You can't go there alone, against all those colossal titans. You'll die instantly"
Hange: "Captain, your injuries are too severe you won't be able to do a thing."
Jean: "Captain we can't do this without you!"
The decision is already made though. There is no hesitation. Only devotion. While everyone is crying, Levi takes off, partially limping, hurting with every step. Nevertheless, there is a sensible focus on his face. As the colossals approach, he bursts into a sprint, graciously avoiding the titans' stomps, cutting at their ankles. The first row falls down like collapsing mountains, causing a minor earthquake in the area. The team at the plane can feel the trembling. Using the fallen titans as an obstacle, slowing down the ones behind them, Levi starts using his ODM gear, flying ferociously, in his signature, rapid rotating style, cutting down dozens of colossal titans in mere seconds. With every kill, boiling hot steam viciously melts the remaining skin on his body. No hesitation. Only Devotion. This ballet of death and pain endures until Levi's gas supplies are about to run out. At this point well over a hundred titans have been defeated. Though the mountain of colossal corpses does serve as a wall, slowing down the others, in the face of unending numbers, it doesn't pose much of a challenge. Even though he has no more gas, Levi isn't done yet. Using his last fumes, he jumps on one last titan. He kills it, not by slashing, but by stabbing. The hot steam comes out under extremely higher than usual pressure, due to the small opening in the titan's nape. Levi uses this torrent of steam to launch himself onto the next titan. This time, the burns are way more severe. The pain is unimaginable. He is no longer recognizable. His consciousness is being held up by sheer will. Even so, there is no hesitation. Only devotion. He keeps using this method, time and time again, destroying his body to the point of no return. Jumping on the next titan, he tries to pierce him, only to find out that the tips of his blades have melted from the heat, making them practically unusable. Having lost his momentum, Levi starts falling off the titans' neck towards the ground.
Levi: "Damn you bastard. I'm really starting to look like you Erwin."
As Levi falls to his death, he sees the plane flying away towards the sun, rising over the sea.
The moment Zeke and Eren make contact, they are sent to the founder's plane (*the dimension in which Ymir resides*). They find themselves in a dimly moonlit, white desert, the founding tree standing tall and shining in front of them. And in its base- little, frail Ymir. Just standing there, looking into the emptiness. Zeke is overjoyed that his plan is about to succeed, crying and hugging Eren.
Zeke: "We did it Eren! We saved our people! See father, look at us, we did it- your sons did it!"
Eren looks unfazed, walking away from Zeke, and toward Ymir. Zeke seems a bit confused but doesn't think much of it. Eren reaches Ymir.
Eren: "How long have you been waiting?"
Eren: "I know your pain, your suffering. I know what it is to long for freedom, but to be bound."
Eren: "The time has come Ymir, the time for your revenge. The time to destroy all of this disgusting thing we call life".
Eren: "Take my hand Ymir. Be mine, and mine alone, and I will be yours and yours alone. I won't betray you as they all did. Take my hand, and let's destroy this pathetic race of liars, murderers, and betrayers together."
Ymir starts crying, taking Eren's hand.
Zeke: "You bastard, what is the meaning of this? We were going to be heroes! We were going to save the world! Father was going to be proud of us!"
Eren: "I am saving the world. Goodbye."
As Zeke is running toward Eren and Ymir, he starts crumbling to sand.
Zeke: "I'm so sorry father, I failed you…"
Crying, Zeke becomes part of the desert. Eren makes contact with all of the eldians in the world, using the power of Ymir.
Eren: "My name is Eren Yaeger, and I have control over absolute power in this world. I will use that power to protect my home and my people of Paradis. Everyone in this corrupted world is my enemy. For years the world's hatred for my people has been growing, and it will not stop until they have killed every single one of the subjects of Ymir. I reject their desire. The titans of the walls will trample and rumble all the lands beyond this island until all of the life there is eliminated from this world. That is my goal."
The eldians on Paradis cheer and celebrate, proclaiming Eren to be a god and a messiah. The eldians outside start running around like ants, panicking, knowing it is for nothing, while all the non-eldians laugh at "them crazy dogs". Eren finds himself back in the present moment, traversing the ocean, with his armada of titans. He had been thinking about what he had done to Zeke, and what he is about to do to the world. There is no regret at all. Not in the name of justice.
A train of eldians is headed toward Fort Salta- The last active airship port in the region. This is their last chance of escape.
Marleyan Soldier: "What are you chattering about, you Eldian dogs, keep it down. Even if there are any airships left, none of you devils would be allowed to board them"
Eldian children start crying. All of a sudden, the people in the train see an armada of airships, headed toward the ocean. And on the horizon. Eren.
Marleyan Commander: "Blow these devils to hell on my mark."
The airships fly directly over Eren and his titans.
Marleyan Commander: "FIRE!"
Hell starts raining upon the titans. The people on the land start cheering.
"We are saved! That's what you get you devils!"
Some strange mass starts forming from the back of Eren's titan. As the bombs are about to hit him, several beast titans start throwing hardened crystals back at the bombs and the ships. The bombs explode in the air, completely nullified, and all of the ships start blazing down into the ocean. A wall of flames and blood erupts into the salty water, and Eren walks over it, looking like the devil himself. Back on the Hizuru ship, Annie is talking with Kiyomi Azumabito.
Annie: "Where to now?"
Kiyomi: "We'll be traveling a couple of days to Hizuru. I'm sure that Mikasa and the others will manage to stop the rumbling."
Annie: "Sounds like fish is the only thing I will be eating for a while."
Kiyomi: "I am the one who brought Eren and Zeke together. The blame for this slaughter all falls on me. I doubt there is any way for me to atone for my sins."
Annie: "Okay. Say you could do it all over again. Would you just watch from the side, as Paradis gets destroyed?"
Kiyomi: "We can never turn back the clock. My regrets will stay with me forever. I acted with the profit and the honor of my clan first and foremost in mind. I wonder. Why can we never feel when we have lost the feeling of respect for others."
Annie: "It's too late…"
Falco: "Miss Annie. I… I had a dream."
Annie: "A dream? Galliard's?
Falco: "Mister Zeke's. No… A memory.
Annie: "Zeke's memories?"
Falco: "Yes… I became a titan because of his spinal fluid."
Gabi: "He's been showing some of the characteristics of the beast titan."
Falco: "My most clear memory… Is one of flying above the clouds. I feel like that I something I can do. And so. We are going to leave!"
Annie: "You are going to turn into a titan here?! If the ship can't take it it's just going to sink and kill us all on the spot! And anyway! Why are you so confident you can do something like that when you couldn't control your titan power at all before? What's lost isn't coming back! It's too late!"
Kiyomi: "Miss Leonhart. I do not mind if this ship sinks. Not if the alternative is living with more regrets."
The plane catches up to Eren, just as he is destroying the flying ship fleet.
Armin: "I can't believe this is Eren's doing"
Jean: "That's not Eren. It hasn't been for a long time. Eren is dead. And if we want to save anyone else, we must kill whatever that is as well."
Mikasa: "No! There has to be another way. We can talk to him. Maybe he is being controlled. There has to be a reason for this. Eren is not a monster!".
Armin: "Yes, killing him is our last resort. We should try arguing with him. I'm sure he is in there somewhere."
Reiner: "Ok, try to reason with him. But if he doesn't stop this madness I am going to kill him myself. I must do at least one right thing in my disgusting life."
The scouts jump out of the plane onto Eren's back and start heading towards the titan's head. Before they can make even a step though, they are transported to the founder's plane. Eren, and Ymir sitting in him, holding hands, are waiting for them.
Armin: "EREN! WHAT'S THE MEANING OF ALL OF THIS? KILL EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD TO SAVE US? I DON'T WANT THAT. ARE YOU COMPLETELY FUCKING INSANE?"
Everyone looks at Armin, shocked by his reaction.
Eren: "Do you remember what we promised to each other, that day when we were kids? Freedom? Adventure? Happiness? Peace? Well… we were kids. It's only natural we were so naive. There cannot be any freedom, not peace, not ANYTHING, without paying the price. And in our case… This wretched world is the price. I am just the only one who is willing to pay it."
Armin: "No one asked you to do that! Who are you, to do that to the world? What gives you the right? Are you some kind of deluded god? You must stop this Eren. It isn't too late. You can stop this. I don't want it to come down to our only other option.
Eren: "Oh, and what is your only other option?" –smiling ominously
Eren: "You think you have options? You think you have freedom? Don't you see your hypocrisy? You are talking about there still being time and having options, yet you are not ready to pay the price, believing in some nonsense that someone has to give me the right to murder all of the people in the world if I wanted to. There are no gods nor devils Armin. There are only men. And every man has the freedom to do what they want, so long as they are ready to pay the price. This world… has taught me that the hard way. I was hoping that we'd at least agree on that…"
Mikasa: "Eren! What are you saying? Snap out of it. Is that little bitch controlling you?"
Eren: "Huh… not you too Mikasa… I even told you I hated you, and you still came after me to save me… well I thought that that would probably not work. No. She is not controlling me. And I am not controlling her. We are doing this together as one. As the only ones who understand what it takes to fix this world."
Reiner: "Listen to me, you delusional bastard. If you don't stop this madness right now I will end you. Do you hear me!?"
Eren: "You will end me? Ahahahaha… Don't make me laugh. You are all powerless against me. You have no chance of possibly defeating me."
Reiner: "And why is that? Because you are all bigger and stronger than us and have more titans than us? All problems that we've dealt with before."
Eren: "Nah… not any of that. I guess you will see."
Armin: "Please Eren, I know you are somewhere in there. This can't be you."
Eren looks at Armin. His smirk shifts to mild sadness.
Eren: "I'm sorry Armin… This is me. This is Eren. This is your best friend. You cannot stop me. You cannot kill me. Because… I am doing all of this for our people… and for you. For my family. I won't fight you. I don't need to. You are powerless against me. And that's for the better. If I had to kill my own family in order to save it… well then I'd be the hypocrite. Goodbye, my only friends and family."
With a frown on his face, Eren sends everyone's consciousness' back to the real world, only to find that the whole time, they've been sleeping. Eren had placed their bodies on the land, destroyed their plane, killed everyone in Fort Salta, and continued to march on ahead.
Armin: "He was right… we are completely powerless…"
Reiner grabs Armin by the collar and lifts him up.
Reiner: "You bastard, I told you that we should have instantly killed him".
Jean: "Reiner, put him down!"
Reiner lets Armin go and starts crying.
Reiner: "Why can I never do the right thing…"
As the sun is setting, a shadow falls upon the squad. A shadow of a bird. A shadow of a titan.
Jean: "What is that? Is that a bird? There are people on it?"
Gabi: "HEY THERE GUUYS CAN YOU HEAR ME?"
Connie: "Look, it's Annie and that brat".
Pieck: "Gabi, I'm so glad you are alright."
Annie: "Hop on fast, I'll explain on the way."
Everyone gets on Falco and they start flying after Eren.
Armin: "Is this really Falco's titan? I didn't even imagine that they could be flying ones. Although, after that thing we saw, I don't think that I should be particularly surprised."
Annie: "So, you fought Eren, and he kicked your asses?"
Jean: "More like he put us to sleep like toddlers. He said he didn't want to fight us because he is doing this for us."
Annie: "What a maniac..."
Reiner: "This time there will be no negotiating. I am going to kill that bastard, whatever it takes, whatever the fucking "price" is."
Armin: "I am afraid we don't have any other option. We must kill Eren."
They fly over the ocean the whole night. Nobody falls asleep though.
Armin: "If the circumstances weren't so tragic, this wouldn't be so bad. Flying around the world, seeing all these new places, being so –"
Reiner: "Free? Just don't start talking like that insane murderer."
Connie: "Look at that in the distance. Waves. Big waves."
Falco starts lowering their altitude.
Reiner: "It's him."
Before anyone has a chance to react, Reiner jumps off Falco and transforms into the armored titan in the air.
Jean: "That idiot…"
Everyone jumps off on a couple of surrounding little islands, in front of Eren, transforming into titans. All of the remaining titan shifters stand before the enormous form, that is Eren's true founding titan. Projecting his voice through a beast titan on his back Eren starts speaking.
Eren: "So… you just won't stop until I kill you or you kill me. Is that what you want? I told you, you cannot stop me. But I guess, if that's your hearts' desire, no words can stop you… At least you got that part right."
Reiner: "Shut the fuck up you psychopath!"
Reiner charges at Eren, everyone following after him. The mouth of Eren's founding titan opens, screaming at everyone in front of him. All of the shifters stop moving, their napes opening. Falco falls down in the water from the sky.
Annie: "What is this?"
Reiner: "I can't transform back?"
Eren: "I took away your titan powers. As I said you are powerless against-"
Mikasa flies towards Eren, shooting thunder spears at Eren's nape, but they don't affect him. Mikasa starts falling down, but a titan hand comes out of Eren's back and catches her. Eren puts Mikasa Down, after which some more titans start forming from his back. They are flying titans, similar to Falco's. The titans grab everyone from the ground and the ocean.
Mikasa: "No, let me go, NO! EREN!"
Jean: "You bastard…"
Annie: "He really won't kill us…"
Reiner takes out a sharp shard of the armored titans' surface and cuts the leg off of the titan carrying him. Reiner falls down in the ocean and starts swimming after Eren.
Reiner: "Come here you bastard, I will kill you, I will do something right!"
Eren: "If that is your most sacred wish, I can't deny it."
A white spike comes out of the ocean, impaling Reiner, blood gushing from his stomach.
Reiner: "So I was the pathetic bastard after all…"
Crying Annie: "You idiot and your fucking pride…"
Eren continues to move forward. The flying titans are taking everyone back to Paradis. Armin's face is blank. Mikasa is crying in anguish.
Eren Yaeger is killing every single human outside of Paradis. Nothing can stop him. He keeps murdering and murdering, hearing every scream, feeling every crushed bone, witnessing all of the carnage that he is causing. Killing people from all over the world. Guilty people, innocent people, people, who didn't even know titans exist, people, who don't know who the eldians are. Every country, every city, every village, every human being. Dead. Eren doesn't react at all. A month passes by. Historia has given birth. Armin, Mikasa, and the others have returned home. All human life outside of Paradis Island has been eradicated by Eren Yaeger. Eren finds himself at a black mountain, spitting out rivers of flame, just as the book he had read said. The colossal titans stop moving, lay down, and enter a deep slumber. Eren comes out of his titan, holding hands with Ymir, sitting on a rock. Ymir embraces him and whispers in his ear.
Ymir: "It's not over Eren. You know what has to be done. We must kill all the humans. That's what you promised me right?"
Eren: "Yes my dear. Just let me have a moment of rest."
Ymir and Eren kiss.
Ymir starts crying.
Ymir: "NOT YOU TOO… NOOOOOOOOOO!? NOT YOU TOO?"
Lighting cracks the sky. Ymir falls dead on the ground, stab wound on her chest. Eren unhardens his hand, wiping off Ymir's blood on her white dress. Eren starts climbing towards the mouth of the volcano. The rocks are as deep black, as the night sky. There are no stars. Eren reaches the top, looking down the maw of the infernal abyss. Eren hardens his hand, cutting his nape. He starts pulling the shining centipede out of his spine. It fights him but to no avail. Eren rips it out of him and slashes it in half, throwing it in the fiery pit. A flash of lightning comes crackling from the magma, lighting the night landscape as if it was day. The lightning courses through Eren's mind, showing him fleeting images of a comet in outer space, crashing down on primordial earth. Out of it emerges the centipede. Millions of years pass by in an instant, images of strange, long gone animals making contact with the alien creature invade Eren's mind, showing him the whole history of the centipede and life on the planet. An unfathomable number of images flow through him until a familiar image presents itself. Ymir, beginning it all. Eren comes to his senses, overwhelmed by what he just witnessed. Nothing has changed though. Eren goes back to the founder's plane. A slight breeze shuffles the sand grains between his legs, the world tree shining in front of him, connecting to every eldian that has ever lived. Binding every eldian that has ever lived.
Eren: "At last. Freedom. No more titans. No more suffering."
Eren waves his hand, and the tree starts crumbling down, cosmic lights flashing around. All of Eren's dearest memories start flooding his mind. Eren puts his scarf around Mikasa. Eren swears to fight for freedom. Eren joins the survey corps. Eren seals wall Rose. Eren frees Paradis from titans. Eren frees Paradis from the world.
Grisha: "So, this was your solution."
Eren: "At least I had one. Just leaving the most powerful weapon in the world inside your unknowing child doesn't seem like a very thoughtful plan to me."
Grisha: "Maybe. Even so, my goal is accomplished, so I guess it wasn't that bad. As you said. I paid the price."
Eren is now a child back in his old house in Shiganshina.
?: "What is it Eren? Why are you crying?"
Eren: "I don't know. I did what I had to do. I don't know why it is so sad."
?: "The things we must do, do not always lead to joy. Come now, come here, rest a bit."
Eren begins crying uncontrollably: "I'M SORRY MOTHER. THIS WORLD HAD TO DIE. I'M SORRY."
As the tree crumbles all of the colossal titans' napes open all over the world, people emerging from them. People of all races and ages. People with no memories. People with no guilt. Eren wakes up from his dream state, a single small tear, running down his face. His back bleeding out from the wound, not healing. After what he has done, thoughts of coming back home are not something he is capable of producing. There is one last thing to do. Eren takes a deep breath, looks at the pitch-black sky, and lets himself fall to his doom.
Paradis Island is the last bastion of civilization left in the world. The people that came out of the colossal titans have made primitive settlements around the world. Armin and Annie have married each other and have two kids – Sasha and Erwin. So have Gabi and Falco. Connie has returned to Ragako village to help his mother and the citizens who have been turned back into humans rebuild their home. The monarchy has been abolished, moving Paradis in a democratic direction. In the meantime, a temporary council has been established, with Armin as its leader to help restore Paradis from the war. Jean is also a member of the council, working in the capital. A lot of people are looking at Armin as the future leader of the island. The yaegerists have transformed into a religious movement, with Eren Yaeger as their ultimate deity. For the first couple of years, the Marleyan soldiers who survived on the island were sent to prison, but after that Armin let them live freely on the condition that they won't see vengeance upon Paradis. Of course, many people didn't agree with that decision, and it's yet to be seen if it was wrong or not, but it seems that most of the people are too tired of war and destruction. For now. Pieck is traveling around the world, looking for survivors, offering them refuge on Paradis. A small group of Eldian settlers together with ex-Marleyan soldiers have populated the Marleyan coast. Historia is celebrating her son's eleventh birthday back in her countryside house. Inside on the bedroom wall, a framed photo of Eren kissing Historia's stomach, before he leaves for Marley for the last time.
Historia: "Eren, come on, your friends are here".
Mikasa is sitting under the old tree in Shiganshina, where she and Eren had been sitting all those years ago. Softly crying her scarf comes undone, but she doesn't reach to fix it. A white bird comes and wraps it back around her, flying off on its wings of freedom.