Fandom: Shingeki no Kyojin
Characters: Levi, Eren
Summary: Every soldier has his last battle.
Warnings: Character death, angst,
Spoilers: Eren's changes, implications about Levi's squad.
Every soldier has his last battle.
All it took was one split second of hesitation, one moment of distraction, a delayed reaction because of fatigue – and Levi was falling, his legs cut out from under him.
(or maybe it wasn't hesitation or distraction or fatigue. maybe it was just that sometimes all the skill in the world wasn't enough. he would never say his comrades lacked ability or drive, and they had fallen)
He tried to catch himself, slammed hard into the wall, and collapsed on the torn leg he had left. The loud crack of bone deafened him momentarily, and the blaze of pain that reddened his vision was enough to mask the form of the titan that was reaching out for him.
He was still breathing. His swords were still in his hands. He wasn't dead yet, so he had to fight. Plans ran through his head, quickening his breath. If the titan picked him up, maybe he could get one last cut in before he was devoured. If the titan swallowed him whole, maybe he could go for the neck from the inside.
(his swords were still in his hands. he could choose to be eaten dead rather than alive)
The hand grew closer, the leering face of the titan behind it, framed by watery blue sky.
Promises unkept made his hands shake, and he clenched them tighter around his swords.
(he hadn't killed them all. he never would)
A blur cut across the sky, and the titan jerked back, spraying blood. It took Levi a moment to realize what had happened – his mind was growing hazy. Blood loss. Blood flying. He hoped none of it would land on him; he was dirty enough already.
The titan was dead, and Levi wasn't, and somebody was coming towards him.
(why couldn't he have died in battle, like the others?)
It was Eren, the stupid brat, and when Levi saw his green eyes widen in shock, he was forced to look away.
"Corporal, hang in there! I'll – I'll stop the blood, you're going to be okay-"
Eren was fluttering around him, tearing his (filthy) coat into strips, trying to do something about a vein gushing blood.
"I've got no legs, you idiot," Levi said, and cringed at how weak and breathy his voice sounded.
"That's not – it's just broken, I mean, I don't think the bones should be sticking out that way, but I think we can push them back in – and – and the other one – it's just one leg gone, okay, I'll stop the blood and it will be fine –"
Eren's arms were bloody to the elbow, and he was leaking tears all over the place. Levi thought it was kind of silly. The kid wasn't hurt. The kid was a damn titan, he didn't have to worry about losing limbs.
(so many promises weighing him down, how would he keep them? so many trusted him, how would he meet their eyes again and admit failure?)
The ground was shaking, and Eren jerked up out of Levi's line of sight, his body tense.
"H-hang on, I'll be right back-"
He ran off with a scream of rage, and Levi was left to stare up at the sky.
Theoretically, he could pull himself up, assess the damage. Considering his legs felt like they had been through a meat grinder, he didn't think he wanted to. Even breathing hurt.
The sky blurred.
(why could he not have been granted a clean death?)
His hands were no longer tight around his swords. He tried to strengthen his grip, but his fingers wouldn't obey. Maybe this would be over before the brat had a chance to return.
(why did he have to have enough time to think about his failure?)
No such luck.
(when post-death was usually in a titan's stomach it didn't do to think much about what came after, but perhaps they were waiting for him…?)
"I'm going to transform – I'll get you to the doctors-"
"Don't you dare," he growled. "I'm dead already. Forget it." He had seen wounds like this before. The only choices were between a fast death and a slow one.
"You can't," Eren said. "You're humanity's strongest. You can't die!" He flopped to his knees beside Levi, saying the words that Levi was really trying to avoid hearing.
(he wasn't the strongest. he was a dead man. he would never fly again.)
The weight of his promises was choking him, but surely… surely someone stronger, bigger, could bear that weight…
Agonizingly, he raised his shaking hand towards Eren, who clasped it, getting the hint for once in his stupid life.
"Do… one last thing… for me."
Eren's eyes – already ridiculously large – grew even bigger. Oh, for goodness' sake, he wasn't going to ask the brat to kill him. These last few minutes weren't worth scarring the kid emotionally.
"Promise me… kill them all." Pushing the words out took more and more effort, but he felt lighter, somehow. Free. Though it would have been nice to be able to get a full sentence out properly. " And don't... cry… on my hand… until after 'm gone. "
Eren gulped guiltily. Levi didn't have strength left to roll his eyes.
"Now you're… humanity's… strongest. "
"I'm not," Eren whispered. "That's Mikasa, I'm – not even human."
"Shut up," Levi breathed. "You can' contradict… someone dying. Promise."
"I promise," Eren said. "I'll kill them all. Every single one."
The last of the weight evaporated from Levi's heart (like a titan's death), and the pain receded. He didn't even care anymore that Eren hadn't listened, and was probably getting snot all over his hand now.
His turn was over. He had done his best.