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Author Topic: Family crisis. [Armin]  (Read 231 times)

Family crisis. [Armin]
« on: October 23, 2019, 02:42:30 AM »
[ april 845 ]

The news hadn't shocked him. It had disrupted his entire world.

Armin's grandfather had been the last link to the adult world of Shiganshina. The oldest and most responsible for the three of them, though Eren (not voicing it) would have rather they were alone. Until they were. Four became three.

"Armin." Mikasa was out getting their rations - Eren wished they'd stick together, but he was also unwilling to force them into that frenzied chaos every day - when he spoke up. "You know, when he comes back... you should stay with him." If he came back. There were whispers, but he tried not to listen to them. Rumours were abound here, and plenty were false. He'd heard somebody say the Colossal Titan - the name they'd given that monstrously tall titan - was a thousand feet tall.

"We can visit you, I expect. But you can learn more about the outside," he added, keeping his voice low. "There might be other people who know. You can ask, and you'll--" be safe. Doubting the smaller boy could handle cadetship seemed horrid, but he only wanted to preserve what was right in the world. Armin was better fit out here. He should cling to life within the Walls while he could, figure things out better. As soon as his grandfather was back.

Armin deserved to keep his family. He and Mikasa didn't have a choice, but one of them still did.
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Family crisis. [Eren]
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 03:03:27 AM »
Though he knew he was not alone, and he hoped he would never truly be, Armin felt as lonely as his feeble heart could stand to without splitting in two. With the last link to the life that had formed him severed without a second thought from those that commanded it, he stared down a reality that was uncertain and cruel in its lack of explanation. The future was difficult to contemplate, though that wasn't to say that he hadn't already begun to do just that.

The sound of Eren's voice drew him from his quiet contemplation. When things were so bleak, the only thing he knew to do was begin to find solutions. Armin could cry, day in and day out- and really, he wanted to- but that would never begin to fix a single thing. If it was planned out, constructed with materials infallible, would he have done enough that it was alright to hope for the best?

Armin looked up at his friend with an expression that hardly suited him. Bitter as unripe fruit, smiling but mirthless. "That doesn't matter, because he's not coming back," he replied, the words breathed with a wintery chill. He thought that he understood what was happening and why, as best as one with his limited, childish perspective could. There was no chance that he would see his grandfather again. Both of them had known that, he thought, and the mutual understanding brought him no comfort. Was it valiant to rush into a death set up like a mouse trap?

"And even if he did... why would I leave you and Mikasa out here, just to stay with him?" he asked. "Visiting isn't the same, we both know. Aren't you just as much my family, too?" There was an edge of desperation in his tone, the weakest plea that he wouldn't be spurned when everything already felt like sand slipping through his fingers. Armin shifted, legs pulled up tighter to his chest. This made him so terribly uneasy. Why would Eren suddenly suggest that they separate, after all of the time they'd spent pulling through together? "Even if I found somebody who wanted me, somebody who thought of the world the same way we do, what would it be worth if I left you behind to have it?" « Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 03:04:08 AM by Armin Arlert »
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Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 05:33:58 PM »
He couldn't believe that Armin's grandfather wouldn't come back. They couldn't lose everything, surely. Could life be that cruel? And yet, reflecting on his mother... that his father too had vanished... Mikasa's family...

Yes. He could believe life could be that cruel. He simply wished it wouldn't be. "Of course he'll come back. He wouldn't abandon you," he said, though the slightest uncertainty entered his voice. No matter what was out there for them, some would come back. No matter his age, he'd come back. For Armin's sake. What if he didn't? Of course the military would be the only place for him, but Armin wouldn't have a choice.

As much as his friend argued good points - didn't he always? - Eren felt himself growing annoyed all the same. "Of course we're family!" That was why he wanted Armin to be safe, wasn't it? To have one person he could rely on to be there. No, that was selfish. To have one person who wasn't in danger. "You wouldn't leave me behind, Armin. We're going to go to the outside - together. But why not get more information before then? Prepare ourselves. Find more people who can help. I'd argue your case! You know I would." How good it would do he couldn't tell.

His jaw set, and he looked around - everybody was always squashed together. They never had peace, either. Or privacy, for that matter. "I'll write. All the time. You'll be safer out here. When people enlist for the cadets, there will be more food! Maybe you can find a better place to stay."

He wasn't even convincing himself. "I just want you to be safe," he confessed, turning back to his friend.
Logged


Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 07:11:52 PM »
Grief made him tired. Always teetering at the beginning stages of starvation made him tired. His exhaustion was insurmountable; no amount of sleep could ever take it away. Armin had already come to accept that, really, to be happy was to be hidden from all of this, deep in the walls. With the dreams and hopes he clung onto nonetheless, that meant that he simply could never be happy. Nothing was sacred, promised, or safe. His acceptance was solemn.

"He wouldn't abandon me, and he hasn't," Armin said, sounding certain of that much. To abandon someone meant to act with some level of choice. It had never been a choice for his grandfather; it was a decision made by those who had the authority to ensure it was not his choice to make. Even knowing all of this, Armin had the faintest flicker of hope that he would be wrong. Maybe, if that flash of optimism didn't fail him, he wouldn't get the news that he was already preparing himself to be given.

Such things were futile, but humans still existed because of hope and determination, didn't they? It had a purpose, to believe in spite of all the reasons logic insisted one shouldn't.

Too worn to even get angry, Armin only shook his head. Perhaps later, he would. He would shout and clench his fists and demand to know why when his mind willed him to be more furious than heartbroken. "I know you would try, anything and everything. But no one's going to help us, you know that. Why would they?" he asked. "Do you think that people are going to be more willing to hear what we have to say now than they were before? Now, when the outside world is the very thing that's taken their friends and family and thrown them into poverty? If we were outcasts and heretics back at home, we'll be martyrs here if the wrong people hear about it."

Being safe was useless, and he knew it. Nothing was accomplished by never taking risks. Even so, it was the human weakness in him that wished for it to be that easy. Safety could be an end goal, but now, it only meant being complacent. Wasn't it Eren who believed that more than anyone else? "And what would I be leaving you to do?" Armin asked, though his mind was already beginning to give him worst case scenarios and nightmarish ideas where the information was lacking. "A letter can't keep me company, Eren. Then what if I stopped getting them-- am I supposed to think that you've both only run out of ink and no one has any to spare for months? Years?"

Armin spoke a little more gently, trying to soften the beginnings of irritation in his tone. All of this was said out of love, he reminded himself. "Nothing you do will make that certain. Forcing me away... won't make that certain."
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Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2019, 10:22:13 PM »
It was a crushing weight that burned his lungs and made him want to scream out into the void. A black hole of anger and upset and loss and feelings that made him feel as though he were suffocating. Every breath he took was one he knew others wouldn't take. That, if they failed, he wouldn't take for long. Enlisting as soon as possible was the only way he could begin to fight back and save them all.

He wanted Armin and Mikasa by his side - always - but the fear that gripped him was that fear of loss. Of losing the few he still had. Hannes would cope well enough on his own, he was a soldier already. Mikasa was stronger than anybody he had ever known. But Armin... he was strong in his own way. In mind. But was it enough?

"Armin," he choked. Every nightmare that plagued his nights seemed to be dragging him down into their terrifying depths even at day. The false memory of running to the boat but Armin wasn't there. Looking for him but only seeing blank faces before they faded. Alone. Defenceless. The titans bearing down on him and smiling in that horrid way and the sound of his mother's scream--

He was crying before he knew it. Pathetic and weak and nothing like a soldier, but the beads of tears glistening at his eyes were refusing to be swallowed back. His tear ducts stung and were immediately soothed by the trickling water. It was a stupid thought really, but he wondered if it would dehydrate him if he cried too much. Water shouldn't be scarce, but clean water was.

Eren wiped at his eyes with the back of his wrists, one after the other. "I know it won't! But I'd try anything. I want to tear every single one down but I'm scared of losing you! I don't-- I want-- What if you're not strong enough? What if they won't let you enlist? I'd rather you choose not to come with us than us be separated."

He'd had nightmares about that too. Of being dragged apart, the three of them alone, forced into those orphanages his father had spoken about once, where nothing was your choice and yes, some would be turned into the military, but otherwise they'd be shoved into factories. Coughing and choking on soot and all manner of things until they needed a doctor. When a doctor could hardly help, because it would be too late.

"But... I won't stop you. I won't. We'll find a way. I know we will." He was still crying, but his determination shone through like anything, even his tears hot with certainty and confidence. They'd figure a way through it. Armin would think of something, if anything.
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Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 03:51:59 AM »
At times, Armin wondered if Eren forgot that they were only children. The horror that unfolded before them had aged them, of course, but that meant so little when the determination that Eren possessed was clouded as the violent, vengeful ideals of a child. He watched him try to hold back, then fail to, because that was what kids did. What was tearing him up? What was he thinking that hurt so terribly?

Everything was careful, measured. Armin had learned to gauge things like this, yet the scale was different and more overwhelming than it once was. Observation had once made him believe he knew what he was meant to do, yet he now doubted that there was an answer so clear-cut as that. What Eren needed was something Armin could not offer. Extermination, large-scale operations to wipe out every trace of their greatest threat, while the most that he could do was allow him to believe that it might be possible.

For now, he needed... he needed to calm down. That was it. Nothing could be achieved this way, could? Starting there would help, so long as he didn't fall victim to the very same vice. Armin's heart ached, twisting inside so that his throat got tight enough to make him cough. Again, that insistence that he just wasn't strong enough bit through the rest. No one thought him capable, yet it only made him more certain of what he must do. "If I'm not strong enough, that's why we go to camp. Plenty of people would be weak, so that's why we all train. That's really the point of them, isn't it? And if they won't let me enlist, we'll think of something else."

Armin shuffled over to his friend, placing his hands on his shoulders. His touch wasn't light, instead being a hard, grounding grip. "You're right. You can't stop me, and you won't. No one can decide for me." He hated to see Eren cry, but he was firm in spite of the natural inclination to grow softer. "I'm still here."

"And I'll stay here, with you. Wherever you are, I want to be there, too. So don't go... where I can't follow."
Logged


Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2019, 04:14:55 PM »
Armin spoke plenty of truth, and though his words were realistic, though they were all not strong enough, for that was why they had to train in the first place... Eren wondered if cadets died during training. The weaker ones, or those caught in an accident. Surely training would be gruelling, and only the very best would make it through enough to even face a titan. Most of the Garrison would never face one! Had Hannes ever even seen a titan before that day? He would have to ask.

But that wasn't important now. The only one who needed his attention was Armin.

The comforting touch soothed him some, a warmth that settled on his shoulders and reminded him that he was not alone. That would have been far worse. He had to hold onto what he still had. Armin and Mikasa. The burning need to cull the titans. The ambition to join the Survey Corps. All that was still there for him, stretching down a path that led into the future. One where they would all have plenty of choices to make.

And it pained him to think on those last words. That perhaps, indeed, he would go somewhere Armin couldn't go. If he wouldn't go into the scouts, what then?

Eren sniffed, wiping at his face. "I won't stop you," he said, with ferocity in his voice and the determined glean in his eyes. "You're right. I'll never stop you. You know what I want - where I want to go. And we'll find a way. We have to." If Armin couldn't enlist, they would find a way around it. He'd fight for him, or they would find an alternative. Somehow.

"I'm sorry." The words weren't quite an afterthought, but it came after a slight pause. "He wouldn't abandon you," he added, looking down at the ground. "And he hasn't." But that still didn't mean that Armin's grandfather wouldn't have a chance to come back. Or a choice.

He didn't think he could take any more loss.

There was that childish fire in him that determined that nobody else would die. Not yet. The titans weren't a present threat within Wall Rose. But they were in Wall Rose. What happened out there, with all those people who had accompanied the old man... They couldn't foresee what would happen. Those whispers were shunned by a determined ignorance that wished to remain safe. « Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 04:15:04 PM by Eren Jaeger »
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Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2019, 06:26:37 PM »
Armin’s grasp on his own mortality was not lacking. Though he aimed to be optimistic about the years ahead, he understood full well that he was not invincible. No amount of drive or passion by itself would manage to keep him alive. Skill, reaction time, raw physical strength— those things would help one’s chances, yet foolish, weak people like him still managed to survive while seasoned soldiers perished. It wasn’t luck or fate- he doubted such a thing existed- but it wasn’t nothing, either.

Still, that was all he needed to know: that Eren wouldn’t find some way to stand between him and that goal they were meant to share. He could trust him on that; not that he had any choice but to do just that.

Finally, after grimacing smiles of bitterness and sorrow, he managed to offer something more honest. No, he wasn’t happy, but he still looked the part for a moment. Armin was sure that they would talk about this again, eventually. Despite his agreement, it was clear enough that Eren held onto some doubts. That was alright. He could say the same things for as long as he had to, if it might ever make a difference.

“And I still want the same,” he affirmed, ”so neither of us are going to give up on it. It’s okay.”

Armin didn’t need an apology to move on. Not that he minded to get one anyway, though. ”Yeah, I know. But… thank you.” Forgetting about the wounds that this type of loss left behind would take years, if it happened at all, he knew already. All of them had such similar scars, now. Family lost, all in different ways but unrecoverable in each one. All the more reason that it was important that things not change too much among the three of them. ”Mikasa will probably be back pretty soon, and you know she’s gonna start asking questions if she sees you upset,” he said. She would go wherever they did, he knew, but she didn’t always like to talk much about it. Strange, when he was certain that out of all of them, she had the least to be afraid of. Mikasa had always been smart and skilled with all that she took on.

But maybe that was why she spoke of it less than they did. When one didn’t have to fear for their life as much, something else had to take the place of that ultimate fear. Like being the person to survive when no one else did.
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Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2019, 08:11:40 PM »
Eren nodded, swallowing back as much of his boiling emotions as he could. Hot and sticky, full of pain and regret, tinged with anger and desperation. It was almost as vile as the stew they'd been offered by one of the kinder refugees, the sort who tried to look after kids like them. The lost, the orphaned, the forgotten. He wasn't grateful for this. He couldn't bear to keep feeling it.

"Yeah. I know," he muttered, wiping at his face more to erase as much of his upset as possible. It left his eyes ringed in red, but it was the best he could do. "We'll get there, Armin." The words came up without thought, as impulsive as ever, but at least it was still connected to his previous tangent. "We're going to see everything that's outside. All of it. And we're going to help everybody else see it as well."

He looked around, briefly anxious that others would overhear - they didn't, and he relaxed. Still, he lowered his voice, more for Armin's sake than his. At home, Armin had been a heretic by kids like them. Here, he could see some of those bastard Military Police, the ones who skulked around infrequently enough to be unpredictable, take it into their own hands. No matter what happened, if Armin joined him in the military or not, he wouldn't risk his friend being subjected to that.

"We'll get out there, and we'll see the ocean, and the desert, and everything out there. Nobody is going to stop us," he said firmly, grabbing hold of Armin's hand. "We'll find a way." One day. Dealing with the titans would come first, or after, or at the same time. But they had to figure it out.

Giving a harsh sigh, he let go of him. "Not yet. But we will," he added, leaning back against the wall.
Logged


Re: Family crisis. [Armin]
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2019, 04:21:33 AM »
Armin's observations were quiet. He was looking, trying to form a whole out of the pieces that Eren presented to him on the outside. There was no one that he would call his best friend with such confidence and adoration, but he feared for him. The things that made Eren Eren were little sparks in a dry forest, harmless until they caught something and the wildfire ripped through the trees. What Armin felt was not fear of him, but fear for him. Even so, he knew himself to be much the same. Wanting and desperate enough to sacrifice it all for it; was that not what they formed their idea of the future around? Was it even a shared idea, anymore?

A smile tugs at Armin's lips. Yeah, the outside. Together. "We will," he affirmed once again, tone as sturdy as he could make it when the wheezy squeak of tears still haunted him. The world was never going to be on their side, he knew. Maybe they would never want what the two of them did. But that was alright, because things like this were never a choice in the end, were they?

His heart and expression was soft for him, as it always had been. It was the least he could do. What little he could offer came in the form of this, for now. When he grew stronger and better, he was sure that he could still show that warmth as easily. He had to. The uncertainty of it all sank its teeth into him, the scrape of tooth against bone vibrating through his whole body. For a second, Armin had his fingers laced through Eren's. "We're gonna see it all. I know it's out there. Whatever happens, we're going to make it, Eren." Making eye contact was uncomfortable, really, but Armin still tried to look at Eren's and their sorrowful tints. "I'll be here."

Armin might have seen the titans and felt the shockwave of the end, but he was still only a child. Too young to comprehend what was in the way, what must be lost or accepted or forgotten to see their dreams to the end. When Eren let go, he too leaned back against the wall. He closed his eyes, and thought of waves colored in seafoam green.

Someday, maybe.
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