"Mama! Mama! The soldiers are back!" A little girl with short _(color)_ hair and _(color)_ eyes dropped her red jump rope and ran inside of the small isolated house. "Mama, Papa is back! The scouts are back!" The small child ran in to see a large bellied woman with glowing _(color)_ skin sitting in an old rocking chair. She turned to her daughter and smiled. The eager little girl ran to her mothers side and pulled on her arm.
"Come on Mama! We gotta go see Papa before he leaves again!" She tugged on her mother in attempt to get her up. The woman let out a low chuckle and slowly stood up, wobbling a little to hold her balance. The girl squeaked in excitement and ran out of the house at amazing speed. She ran as fast as her surprisingly long slender legs would carry her, maybe even faster.
The woman stood at the door and chuckled softly looking at her daughter run towards the district gate. She put a hand on her stomach and smiled at the soldiers that started to ride into the village. "Maybe today you'll get to see your father." She whispered. She smiled contently when she felt movement underneath her fingertips and started walking towards the gate.
The little girl went through the crowd saying 'sorry's' and 'excuse me's' as she pushed and bumped into a few people. She found her way to the front and waited for Captain Erwin and Corporal Levi to pass her. She smiled brightly and giddily jumped up and down on her toes biting her lip in anticipation. Her smile soon faltered as she realized something.
There where a lot less scouts than what they started with. She heard people whispering and murmuring about the soldiers. The girl heard the group of men behind her complain about them waisting taxes on lousy soldiers to keep them fed and happy. "Great, there goes all of our taxes, waisted on them," One of the men said. "Why keep them fed and happy if half of them are dead anyway." "It does look like they took a bad hit." The other man whispered back. The _(blonde, brunette, etc.)_ child fiercely turned around and stared at the two men. This caught their attention and they looked down at her.
"Be quiet! They do their best to help keep us safe! They risk their lives for us and you say it's a waist to support them," she yelled catching the attention of other people around her. "They are brave heroes who willing die for you and for humanity! My Papa is one of them and I couldn't be more proud of him! Don't say mean things about people who you know nothing about! Just because you're a coward doesn't mean you have to blame others for the things you could never do and are too afraid to understand!" She finished.
Everyone who heard her stared at her in shock. No one had ever heard a three year old say such things. The two men turned red in embarrassment. "Why you little --" "_(first)_." A deep voice cut off the man. _(first)_ turned around to see Captain Erwin starring down at her with ice blue eyes shadowed by his thick blonde eyebrows. Behind him was his new Corporal, Levi.
"Uncle Erwin, Uncle Levi!" The girl gasped and ran up to the two men. People whispered in wonder of why the young girl was stopping such important men. "I know you guys got hurt real bad and you gotta go," the child said sheepishly. "But, d-do you know where my Papa is?" she said looking up at the men with big _(color)_ eyes. The Captain's breath hitched and he averted the eyes of the oblivious child. Corporal Levi looked down at the girl, his eyes showed the slightest bit of pity.
"_(First)_!" A woman's voice called. _(first)_ turned around to see her mother jogging slightly. She pushed through the crowd and met the two soldiers and her daughter in the middle of the path made for the soldiers to get through. Many injured soldiers and horses passed them. "Oh, Erwin, Levi." The woman called as she caught up with them. "Mrs. _(last)_. My I see you've... grown." Erwin smiled sadly.
"Why thank you Erwin. It won't be too long before this one gets to see their father." The woman smiled brightly. Corporal Levi turned to the pregnant woman and sighed. "Mrs. _(last)_, I-" "Oh Levi, I think we are friendly enough to be on first name bases." The woman smiled kindly. The petite (*cough*short*cough*//shot) male grunted and continued on. "Michelle, I am afraid to inform you on the... Conditions of your husband."
The young woman chuckled nervously. "W-what do y-you mean Levi? He isn't... Dead. Right?" The mothers heart quickened and her hands started to shake. _(first)_ gasped and she looked up to the raven haired man. "I-It isn't true, right Uncle Levi! P-Papa is alright, h-he's always alright!" Erwin looked at the young girl and her mother solemnly.
"No. Sergeant _(last)_ is still alive." He said relieving the small family. "Then what was Levi talking about?" The woman asked. "He was servilely injured. About two thirds of his body is missing." "Dear God." She choked. "P-Papa!" The child yelled. "His life hangs by a thread. He won't make it through the night." Levi finished averting his grey eyes from the family of his fellow soldier.
"Where is he? Where is my husband? I want to see him!" The _(brunette, blonde, etc.)_ woman croaked, clasping the hand of the blonde captain, eyes pleading. "He will be at HQ resting. He is ahead with the other servilely injured soldiers. Come with us and you can see him." He replied. The woman thanked the blonde man as he helped her on his horse. Levi had picked up the small child and put her in font of him. "Hold on _(first)_, I don't want you to fall." He warned. The three year old shifted so that her back faced the front of the horse. She clutched the front of the Corporal's uniform and buried her face in the warm fabric.
"_(first)_, you don't need to hold on like that." He sighed as his face turned slightly red. She just held tighter and pusher her face deeper into the twenty-two year olds chest. The Corporal sighed and kicked the side of his horse in motion. _(first)_ turned to see her mother on the back of Erwin's horse. The three year old couldn't help but wonder, how would her little sister or brother grow up without a father. The thought made the young girl's heart burn. She felt a tear fall down from her cheek and onto Levi's shirt.
She couldn't help but think that they would be too late. What if by the time they reach HQ her father would already be dead. She couldn't hear his voice one last time. Feel his warmth when he hugged her. Tell him that she loved him to pieces. She also feared that he could not talk to his youngest child growing inside of her mother one last time. Imagining such things managed countless tears to flow and her grip tighten on Levi's now damp uniform.
"_(first)_, don't cry. We are going to make it in time I promise you." He said in a monotonous voice. _(first.)_ wondered how he knew what she was thinking but put it aside and nodded, whimpering a muffled "Okay..." The stoic man patted her head and rubbed a few circles on the child's back. "I promise you, _(first)_. You'll see your father alive one last time." He whispered, his voice sounded determined, like he was on on a mission. He pulled his hand away from the fragile girl and back on his horses reigns. Erwin looked at his new Corporal questioningly. The Corporal looked back with a determined frown. His ashen eyes flickered with sorrow. Levi then looked ahead and kicked his spur into the side of his horse allowing it to increase great speed, Erwin then following after.
As the four arrived at the Survey Corps HQ just before sunset. Levi quickly dismounted and picked up the three year old from his steed. Erwin was helping the over-due pregnant woman carefully off his horse. A man ran up and took the horses to the stables. Levi carried _(first)_ into the Survey Corps castle as she held her tiny arms around his neck. The four walked in to the chaos of soldiers trying to attend their fellow injured soldiers. Erwin stopped a passing soldier and whispered something in his ear. The soldier nodded and walked towards the staircase.
He led the group to a room four doors down from the stairs. "This is is Commander Smith." Said the soldier standing in front of the door. Erwin nodded in order to dismiss the private and turned to the woman anxiously waiting at the door. "We will be out here if you need anything." He said to the woman. She nodded and turned to Levi. He placed _(first)_ down and she walked to her mother, holding her hand. The mother thanked the gentlemen and went inside of the room.
It was quiet. The room was small and smelled metallic. There were drops of red liquid that started from the middle of the floor to a bed in the corner of a room by a window. There was a lump on the bed wedding and coughing up some fluid. The mother and her daughter turned to the figure as the light revealed a man in his early to mid thirties with oddly pale _(color)_ skin and dull_(color)_ eyes. "P-Papa!" The young girl cried as she let go if her mother's hand and ran to the bed that held her dying father.
The man turned to see his daughter and mother run towards him with tears in their eyes. He smiled bittersweetly. He was happy that he could see his family one last time before death kissed his lips, but he didn't want them to see him in such a gruesome state. His daughter clasped his bloody hand and held on to it for dear life. "P-Papa." _(first)_ let out an airy sob. "Y-you're so cold." "Oh John, what have the done to you?" His pregnant wife cried. _(First)_ looked down at the foot of the bed. The once white sheets were now red with blood. Her mother's hands shook as she grazed the lining of the sheet. "M-Michelle..." The mans voice was hoarse. It slurred and gargled from the blood filling his mouth. His wife grasped the bloody bedding in order to pull it off. The man lying on his death bed coughed wildly from anxiety. "N-No, Michelle don't!" He croaked between coughs but it was too late. His wife threw the heavy covers clotted with blood off, revealing his lower half. Revealing what was once his lower half.
His legs seemed to have been torn off at his mid-thigh. Flesh loosely hung from his nubs. Blood oozed out every time he breathed. Bone was visibly seen poking through his skin, and his stomach looked like it was flattened with great force.
_(first)_ heard her mother scream in horror. It was so loud that even the soldiers downstairs had heard. She sobbed and patted the blood filled bed where her lover's legs should be. _(first)_ just stared wide eyed. She felt as though she was going to throw up. She could taste the bile in the back of her throat. She didn't say anything, she didn't even blink. She wanted to scream, she wanted to cry, vomit, something; but all her emotions were stuck in her throat. All she could do was stare. It was like time had stopped and reality had hit the three year old sooner than it should have.
_(first)_ felt a bloody hand grasp her shoulder and faced back to the dying man. Her father was staring at her with half-lidded eyes. His once _(color)_ orbs looked clouded and dull. "My dearest _(first)_ I'm sorry you have to see me like this." He wheezed and caught his breath. "I know I promised you I'd come back... But it seems I have broken it." "N-No P-Papa." _(first whispered tears prickling her eyes. "I am sorry baby girl. I should have retired when you were born like your mother said." "N-No papa you were brave!" The man smiled sadly and caressed _(first)_'s cheek.
"No _(first)_ you are brave. You helped your mother by yourself while I was gone. You grew up faster than anyone your age. You are kind, you are smart, and you are important to this family. You have the biggest heart I have ever seen. You are brave enough to speak your mind and do what others are afraid to. You even stayed strong and hopeful that I would come back. Your faith and determination is what got me going out on the field ready to fight and to come back home to see you and your mother." Tears slid down the mans face as he stared at his daughter. He turned to his wife and grabbed her hand. The woman's body was shaking and she hiccupped with every breath she took. Her husband reached up and tucked a stray piece of hair behind is lover's ear. "Michelle. I know I wasn't the man you needed me to be." "N-No John..." "You needed a husband that worked on the farm all morning and would back in time for dinner to tuck the kids in. I was too driven with pride I forgot that I had a family that needs me more than anything. I failed my duties as a husband and as a father." "No John! Stop it! You are the husband and father every family needs. You are caring, you are determined, and brave. That is what a child needs: a hero. You are a hero John, and don't you think about leaving us thinking you were anything but."
The man stared at his wife in awe. He couldn't believe that his family still thought he was a hero even though he lost his battle. In his mind he failed his family and his Legion; but knowing that he made a difference and his family saw him as a hero was enough to make the soldier cry tears of joy. He could rest knowing his sacrifice was worth it. John _(last)_ was ready to let go. "Michelle, tell me, will you tell our unborn child about me?" He asked. "Everyday." "_(first)_," the child looked up from the ground, her drowning eyes stared into her father's. "You'll be strong for your mother and your younger sibling." He ordered. He reached up to his chest and grabbed his badge. "These are the Freedom Wings, the symbol of the Scouting Legion," he placed the badge in his daughter's hand. "Give this to your sister on her fifth birthday. Tell her that I love her and I will be watching her as long as she has this badge I will watch over her." _(first)_ nodded and grasped the badge tightly. "For you my beautiful little girl..." _(first)_'s father shifted, with the help of her mother, and removed his uniform jacket. "I want you to have my jacket."
The girl gently grabbed the slightly bloody jacket and looked up at her father with questioning eyes. "Are you sure you want me to have this Papa?" "Yes, _(first)_. As long as you wear it I will always protected you and guide you. I will always be with you." _(first)_ put on her father's jacket. It was a big on her small frame, but she'd grow into it one day. It smelled like trees, wild flowers, and a running river. All things her father got to see on the outside of Wall Maria. "_(first)_, I won't be here for much longer... But I just want you to know how much I love you, how much I love mother and your baby sibling. I will always be with you no matter what." He coughed once more and his breath slowed. _(first)_ leaned to he father and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I love you too Papa. And I promise, I will be strong for the family. I will protect them just as you did. I'll be brave." The girl released her father and put her right fist over her heart and he left arm behind her back in salute. "I promise you Papa, I won't let you down." She cried. Her father smiled, "That's my little soldier." He turned to his wife who was still hiccuping softly. He Kissed her hand and rubbed circles on it with his thumb."Don't grieve long for me." He whispered. "Let my death be of peace and love. Celebrate my life dear and let go. Be there for our children, they need a mother now more than ever, so please don't continue to mourn for me. Continue living for me. Okay?" The woman's lip quivered and she nodded vigorously. "Okay." She murmured. He placed a hand on his wife's stomach and gathered all his energy to say his final words to his unborn child. "As for you sweet child of mine, I need you to be loyal and respectful. Obey your sister and your mother while I'm gone. Remember, I will always love you, no matter what." He dropped his hand and took in one last deep breath. He closed his eyes and shed one last tear. His chest sunk and it didn't rise again, his face holding a faint smile of peace.
_(first)_ stared at the lifeless body of her father. She let a whimper escape her lips and soon a choking sob. Millions of tears flowed from her eyes as she furiously wiped them away. "N-No," she hiccupped. "I promised I'd be strong for Papa." She sniffed and held back her tears."I promise you Papa. I will be brave and strong for you. That is my mission." The young girl turned around to walk out the door. Her legs felt numb and her stomach churned. She opened the door to see Commander Erwin and Corporal Levi still waiting outside the door. When they heard the door open and saw the child with a blank expression they knew that Sergeant _(last)_ had died. They could hear a woman's sobs come from the room. The two men looked at the child. Her face was drained of all color, her eyes were not as bright as they used to be. If the little girl felt anything in that moment, she didn't show it.
Erwin noticed that the child wore her father's jacket. It went to her waist and the sleeves hid her hands. He kneeled down to her hight and placed a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry you had to go through this. Your father was a great man, he will be remembered honorably." "Was it worth it?" _(first)_ whispered. "I'm sorry?" Erwin's eyebrows furrowed together. "Was it worth it?" the child lifted her head, her expressionless _(color)_ eyes burned into his. "My father didn't die for nothing, right? Did he go out fighting? Did he break the status quote? Tell me my father's sacrifice for humanity was worth it. Tell me it made a difference."
Erwin had a look of shock. He always knew the girl was smart like her mother, but never once would he think those words would flow through her lips. Even Levi looked the slightest bit surprised. _(first)_ grabbed Erwin's, hand waiting for an answer. Erwin squeezed her hand in reassurance. "You father's sacrifice was for the better good. He went out fighting and he accepted his chances of death willingly. He was one of the greatest fighters we had and one of my closest friends. Your father died honorably _(first)_."
_(first)_ nodded, acknowledging his speech. When her mother came out of the room she looked as expressionless as her daughter. Tears still shed from her eyes. Erwin and Levi apologized for her loss and offered to take the two back home. Of course the grieving mother took the offer. They exited the castle getting pitiful stares from the people that passed by. Levi helped _(first)_ onto his horse and Erwin did the same for her mother.
The ride was silent. No one spoke or made contact. Their purpose was to go back to the Shiganshina district, and they'd do it with respect for Sergeant _(last)_. Not only did Erwin and Levi lose a soldier, the lost a good friend, and that was something that hurt the men deeply, but they wouldn't show it. They were soldiers, and soldiers are strong. Crying over a loved one was not an option. That's what they signed up for, to protect humanity. They don't have time to cry, no matter how much it hurt. That was the price. That was the price of joining the Scouting Legion.
It was now night and the Shiganshina district was quiet. All of its residents were either asleep or getting ready to. The only sound heard was the horses hooves on the stone street. The four rode up the hill to a small brown shack-like house. Its shingles where a vibrant blue and the door a burgundy color. Off on the left side was a short cherry blossom tree. It wasn't in full bloom but _(first)_ thought it gave the house character. Her father had picked the house. She remembered planting the cherry blossom with her father on her birthday. She was turning four soon and he said they would plant a Japanese Maple tree right next to it to start a garden. _(first)_'s heart panged as she remembered that beautiful day. The other residents of the Shiganshina district hated the odd colored house, that's why it stood alone at the top of the hill, so that it didn't clash as much with their houses. _(first)_'s mother, being the social woman she was, wanted to get rid of the house her husband was so set on because all the other residents judged her for it, but now, the woman couldn't bear part with the ugly house. It was a part of her late husband, so it was a part of her as well.
Erwin lead the woman off his horse and gave her another apology. The woman forced a smile and patted his back to assure him it wasn't is fault. _(first)_ was lifted off the horse by Levi and placed down on the ground. He kneeled down to her and lightly kissed her head. He grunted as he got up and swung his leg over his saddle. "Goodnight _(first)_." "Goodnight Uncle Levi..." The girl whispered not looking up into his eyes. The man rode to his Commander's side as he was getting up on his horse. Erwin looked at the depressed child. This was something the girl would never forget. She was traumatized and scarred for life. Her brain isn't fully developed and half if her first five years would be a blur, but this, this would stay there forever. Erwin saddened at the thought but his face remained straight. He nodded at the family. "He was a great man. We thank him for his service." He stated before he turned his horse back into the direction of the Survey Corps HQ, Levi following after. _(first)_ And her mother stared at the silhouette of the two men, the summers night breeze caressed their skin. _(first)_ held he fathers badge to her heart and focused on the blonde man's figure.
"You didn't say that it made a difference." She whispered, and single tear shed down her dry skin.