A/N: So Levi's spin-off thingy got released! And it turned out that he didn't join the scouts as a trainee, like most people did. So fuck all the back-stories I wrote *insert sobbing here*. I'm that kind of person who hogs all the canon stuff, and reinvents headcanons based on new released canon info, so ye, the chapter you are about to read just goes on about Levi joining the scouts the unconventional way.
On another note, sorry for not updating for so long! I was awfully busy, as always.
WARNING: spoilers ahead if you're not updated alright friend uwu
8 – Infinity
"I-I'm sorry for yo– "
Pastor Nick cleared his throat, beads of sweat trickling down the sides of his face to his chin. Up came his hand to wipe it away, making his palm damper than before. Hange was at his side, the woman who fearlessly and very nearly hauled him off the wall into Death's welcome arms out of fury. She's wounded at the moment, skin a little pink from the scorch of the colossal titan's steam, or so she said. Burns and bruises were everywhere, both shown and hidden by bandages and clothes. The man felt a twinge of guilt in him, remembering his earlier deed of not speaking the truth to her – to all of them, but duty is duty. Honorable or not, he had to fulfill it. If he had the strength to stand knowing that thousands died before because of this dishonesty, then he could stomach seeing an injured woman now.
"At the moment they are pursuing Eren." Her voice is unfamiliar to both of the men's ears, her tone more so. "I haven't had any new news till then."
"Neither have I received any." The Lance Corporal was at the Pastor's left side, arms knotted, with one hand still on that gun beneath his coat. "You're the only person who came with one."
"I suppose the chase is still on, then, if there are no new news," She chuckled, her teeth showing as she smiled. "Man, I hope I had the strength to ride out."
"You only just got here and that's what you feel like – imagine how I feel like," Scoffing, the shorter man gave a sideways glance to the Pastor, his eyes sharp as ever. "I'd fuck a horse and sacrifice a few lambs if that's what it takes to heal me."
"Bestiality and animal cruelty won't get you anywhere, Levi." Shaking her head before chuckling again, the brunette turned toward her superior, lifting her back from the wall she was leaning against a few moments ago. "Even the Devil doesn't listen to prayers. That, or all the gods are deaf."
"One is listening," Levi met her eyes. "I think Death has been blessing us with his shit from the beginning of time."
Hange laughed, loud and clear, though abrupt.
"I-If only you – "
"Have I offended you, Pastor?" The Corporal had returned his attention back to their captive since he had spoken, his demeanor returning to that usual stern and cold manner. All traces of emotion from the Squad Leader had been wiped clean by now, as the shorter man spoke. "Well, let me tell you something interesting today, old man."
"Not today," Softer, her tone was, surprisingly so. Pastor Nick had been so accustomed to the harshness of her voice that sometimes he forgets that it is a woman who is speaking.
"Today is the perfect day."
"All your sacred walls are going to fall, Pastor."
"This is ridiculous." Hange had to look away, her back meeting with the wall once more with a dull thud. The Pastor merely swallowed hard, keeping his arguments hidden.
"Maria had fallen. Rose, just starting to. And one day a big ass bastard is going to force right through virgin Sina and fuck as all up. When all the walls are cracked and broken, what do you think will happen to the titans sleeping within them? Right – there'll just be more titans invading our land, only taller and much bigger than the rest. And then we'll all get devoured. End of story."
"Wall Sina won't brea-"
"Yeah, well, that's what they believed a few years ago about Maria. Look what happened to her now."
"Don't you have any faith, Corporal?" Disbelief is starting to show on the old man's face. "I know neither of your men believe in what I believe in – that, I understand. But to be faithless... People call you Humanity's Strongest, for crying out loud! Don't tell me you have lost your own cause."
"Lost my own cause? Would I still be accompanying your stinking ass here if I lost my own cause? I haven't lost any faith on being free. I just lost faith on people like you a long time ago, and unfortunately for me, there's a whole bunch of you out there who prefers grazing in a cage like cattle than enjoying the land over the cage where the grass is greener and the soil doesn't smell like pig shit. There are no gods that will save us, Pastor Nicholas. There are no demons either. There's just men who love acting like gods and demons, men who are idiots like me, and then there's titans."
"You know what I think? Today is a good day to take a shit."
Pastor Nick looked at her, slightly affronted. Levi merely raised an eyebrow at her sudden statement.
"I haven't had the chance to for a day or two now. So, if you'll excuse me, gentlemen," Pushing herself up, Hange dusted her pants and marched off, her stride long and swift. The shorter of the two men stared at her as she disappeared after turning at a corner, his gaze lingering at the spot where he had last seen her. The older of the two let out a sigh, bringing his hands up to his face to take cover from the stress he had continuously been put through. This was not good for his heart.
"Pastor Nick, listen to me."
Reluctantly, the other man retreated from his fleeting abode and met the Corporal's eyes once more.
"You will not speak. You will not make any sound, not even a bit. Hold your breath if you have to. And most of all, do not try to run away, or you'll find yourself with one less arm to worship your walls. Now stand up, old man." Even with his injury, Corporal Levi was quick. With one hand, he dragged the Pastor up, and began treading the same path Hange had taken.
"Where are we going?" Asked Nick, his steps uneven and hurried so that he could keep up with the younger man.
Levi looked at him and answered like he was pointing something so obvious to him.
"To the bathroom."
Loss is infinite.
Zoe had to bite the flesh of her hand to stop herself from wailing like a child. With haste, she reached for the faucet and turned the knob to its limit, clear water turning white as pressure forced it out of the metal hole, the sound of it drowning everything else around her.
Mike Zakarius is dead.
Hot, stinging tears rolled down her pink, sore skin as she let out a soft sob. She knew all of them had to die at some point, but Mike... He was one of Humanity's strongest. He wasn't allowed to die, not so soon. He was the best.
This is the last straw, she thinks bitterly. Hange had persevered through all the bullshit life had thrown at her but this – this is just too cruel. With a strangled breath she lifted her head up, eyes slowly focusing on the mirror before her, hands at either side of the sink as the water splashed about still.
Dying is much easier, compared to knowing that your friends had died – and died miserably.
Another wave of tears squeezed out of her eyes, drops rolling down her cheeks, the salt in them making her skin burn lightly. They survived this hell for so long. They dreamed of seeing vast bodies of waters and mountains of sand together. They laughed together, cried together, suffered and triumphed together. They would ride out to the plains of untouched lands and sail unnamed seas one day, when humanity is free... But these promises will remain as promises, now.
Gasping, Zoe tugged at the harnesses of the 3D maneuver gear. Even these wings that enabled her to fly felt like chains that held her down. Shaking fingers clumsily forced them off, leather belts hanging loose around her waist as she managed to remove them in her sobbing state.
Breathing was difficult.
Hange wanted to curse all the gods, to scream at them until her lungs had no more air to supply her voice. Her palm, sweaty and trembling, landed on her dirtied yellow shirt, just above her chest. She could feel her heart hammering against her ribcage, her lungs struggling to inflate and deflate amongst her many sobs. It was painful. Everything was painful.
The call was muffled, but it was there. Hange took a sharp breath, her sobs ceasing altogether at the presence of Levi's voice. He was not supposed to be here.
"You're taking awfully long." He commented. The Squad Leader could picture him standing just in front of the door at the other side.
"I'm constipated, go away," Even she had to admit she deserved a pat on the back for that – there was no quiver in her tone as she replied.
After a few seconds, there were footsteps, slowly fading away, one by one. Zoe had to let out a silent cry, unable to keep her sobs in any longer. Levi didn't need to see her like this. Weak. Broken. Soldiers weren't supposed to bawl like a child.
Quickly she searched for the end of the binding cloth around her chest. Breathing is too laborious now, too hurtful. Never mind the trouble of putting the binds on again later. She cared too less about anything else at the moment anyway.
Once they were loose enough to permit deep breaths, the sobs took over her again, wracking her body, blocking out every sound, every sight, every feeling – until all that existed in this world is the pain, the crisp, clear truth, the salty taste on her tongue that reminded her that Mike was gone. The hurt was all-consuming, choking, constricting to a very powerful degree that she did not notice the door opening, the foot falls approaching; not until Levi put a hand to her naked shoulder and called her name.
Zoe shrunk away from his touch, clamoring for the abandoned yellow cloth on the ground that once covered her body. Being bare before him did not scare her – but she thought that if she hid her chest from him he wouldn't see how broken her heart was.
"Please," Her tears dropped one after another, decorating the tiles with circles of water. "I can't do this with you here..."
Levi didn't say anything at first, opting to retract his hand. He sat cross-legged in front of her, her bruised back facing him.
"You told me loss is infinite. You taught me –"
"Death taught you," Zoe laughed, all mirthless and mocking. "He taught all of us."
"- loss was the first step in gaining something equally valuable. An infinite cycle of gaining and losing. That is the logic behind life."
"Well I was wrong!" Brown locks whipped around her as she turned, eyes ablaze, dignity abandoned. "Life is unfair! Life is illogical! Losing is just a reminder that we're fighting in a battle that favors the opponent! Did you honestly believe that losing someone you love is gonna bring us something equally important? Lies! They're all lies, lies I made to make you feel better, and to make myself feel better, because we all need something to drive us through the fight! And if ever heaven would return something in exchange for Mike's life well its never going to be enough! Nothing is going to be enough to make it up for it!"
"You weren't wrong, Zoe." Shifting to remove his coat, Levi draped it around Hange, concealing her nakedness. "'Gaining' doesn't necessarily mean 'to acquire something new'. It can also mean 'retaining the people you love' or 'seeing the rest of your soldiers breathing' or 'returning home alive together'."
"Tell me then, since you're so good at these things. What do I have to be thankful for today?" Hange croaks out, her voice tired and taunting. Tear-trails are beginning to dry on her cheeks, just like the drops on the floor. "What did I get in exchange for Mike's life?"
"There are plenty: the chance to know the truth about the titans. The chance to figure out what the hell is really happening. The chance to know that your co-soldiers are still alive."
"You could die the next time you stepped out of the walls and I would have only cried harder. Getting the truth after that – after I have lost everything – would have been pointless," A new set of tears marked her skin, all hot and burning. "I'm tired, Levi. I'm so tired. I just want it to be over."
"Its not pointless. You could explore the rest of the world after – wasn't that what you always wanted?You could have freedom. Your children could have freedom. Loss is infinite, but so is gain."
Hange brought her palms to her eyes, wiping the wetness away that poured continuously, uncontrollably. She sighed, lips parting, soon to form a small smile.
"Our life sucks so bad," She said, sobs in between her laughs. "We made terrible life choices."
"Tell me about it," He scoffed, and he too, brought his own hands up to help Zoe wipe away her tears. "Are you good, now? Or do you still want to wail about all these 'ungained' shit?"
"Sorry," Zoe laughed again, shaking her head easing her breaths into regular rhythms, so that sobs didn't reduce her into a trembling mess. "Sorry for making you listen to my gross sobbing noises."
"Yeah, you were pretty gross," To this Hange laughed again and hit him on the chest, but Levi merely retracted his hands and took the hit without any complaint. "Dress up and spare Pastor Nick from seeing your tits hanging out – he might have a heart attack."
"Oh, where is he? Where did you leave him?"
"He's obviously outside, but a good earshot away. I told him I'd cut one of his limbs off if he tried escaping."
"I think he'd prefer me hauling him off the walls than losing a limb and dying slowly," Once up, Hange picked up her articles of clothing, faced the mirror and began binding her chest once more, uncaring if Levi watched her or not. "Oh man, my eyes are all puffy!"
"You lost a lot of tears, you gained swollen eyes. Logic of life."
Grinning, Zoe turned back to the Corporal. "Get out."
A/N: and that my friends, is the end of it. I wanted to end this in 10 chapters but 8 seemed to be the perfect number since you know, it signifies infinity. I edited this chapter dozens of times, because writing for Levi is so frickin hard omfg. I don't know what he's supposed to say when comforting someone and just lakshlfhilalnlken ugh goddamn man why can't you say more shit so I don't have to think so much.
Also I'm moving on to a next project which is fuel and fire. I probably won't finish that shit, but hey, I'm trying. So if you like Levihan, then watch out for it okay because it will contain nothing but levihan and probably a lot of pain.
Anyway, ye, that's it friends, thank you for staying with me for 8 excruciating chapters of jokes that weren't that funny and drama that wasn't really sad and grammar mistakes that are just... there. Sorry about that. And if you're just passing by and stumbled upon this, well, I hope you enjoyed reading!