Reluctant Heroes

Paradis => Wall Rose => Training Corps Barracks & Grounds => Topic started by: Bertholdt Hoover on November 05, 2020, 05:50:42 AM

Title: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on November 05, 2020, 05:50:42 AM
January 14th, 846

To say that the last few months had been stressful would be an understatement in Bertholdt Hoover's mind, to say the least. Joining the Cadet Corps, weathering his first harsh winter on the locked away nation of Paradis, and noticing the beginning cracks in the foundation of his best friend's mentality, he had not been in his happiest mood recently. Still, he was nothing if not patient, able to adapt to the situation as it was needed, and open himself up to the people who were going to be their comrades for what seemed to be at least the next year and a half.

Speaking of which, one particular cadet, a young boy named Eren Jaeger, had begun to form something of an acquaintanceship with Bertholdt. Well, most would call it a friendship, but he still wasn't so certain he wanted to go down that rabbit hole yet. Befriending the people he'd caused so much anguish and pain for? It seemed only a recipe for future disaster.

But here, inside an almost entirely empty classroom, sat the older teen, shrugging off the coat he wore to protect from the cold and the snow that was falling outside. They'd agreed to meet in here, for something of a tutoring session for Eren, who was struggling greatly in.. well, pretty much every class. Against his better judgement, Bertholdt had taken pity, seeing how determined he otherwise was in the face of the seemingly insurmountable odds of graduating from the Corps, he knew the kinder option would be to offer help where he could. And- if Eren was a lost cause, too incapable of learning what he was trying to teach, he could just back out, right? Maybe, but that would require and extra step of initiative that he wasn't so sure he had.

Pulling out one of the chairs before the rows of desks and rolling up the sleeves of his dark grey button up, Bert clasped together his hands and began to patiently wait for the arrival of his tutoring subject. Hopefully he remembered the time they'd agreed on. And the place. And the day...

Ah, he was being too pessimistic, counting Eren out before the challenge had even begun. That was too unfair, something that Annie might do. He could at least give the younger cadet the benefit of the doubt, and wait around for about ten minutes to see if he ever showed up. That was fair- and that was what he decided on. Getting up briefly to bring a lantern from one of the walls to the table he had picked, Bertholdt sat down, and started to count the minutes.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on November 06, 2020, 12:59:09 AM
Eren wished he didn't need quite as much help as he did. In the biting cold of January, he felt like it would be even more difficult, though it still didn't compare to the frozen tundra of the winter aptitude test. The cold made everything more difficult, though the least troubling was when it came to books.

All the same, he was determined to learn, and do well, and succeed. A good soldier had to be prepared for anything, and he was well aware that he needed help. It was of great relief that Bertholdt was even willing to help him. He seemed top of the classes, all the time, from his experience at least. Learning from those who weren't just there to make fun of him was never a bad thing... even if he did have trouble really listening to people.

But studying titans wasn't like fighting. It was one thing he had to get right, and he had no reason to fail it. To know one's enemy was to find a way to defeat it.

If he was going to kill every last one of them, he had to know his enemy.

The boy rushed to the classroom, breaking out of the cold air and breathing a plume of mist as he made it through the doorway. He closed the door sharply before him, teeth chattering, before he mumbled an apology for being late. Not that it was by much. Truly, he'd dashed from the barracks to the classroom, but a bit of black ice had caught him by surprise.

"Thanks for this, Bertholdt," he said, collapsing in a chair across from the tall, older boy. "So... I get all the basics. Obviously. I'm not dumb." He spoke as if he expected Bertholdt to think he was, but there was a sheepishness and indignation under the tone at the same time. "But there's so much missing, it feels like! Some titans in the pictures don't even look like they have napes, and I don't get the diagrams on how to handle those. If a titan doesn't have a neck, do they still have a nape? How far does it go?"

Really, he should have waited for Bertholdt to lead this tutoring session, but he couldn't help questioning what he'd been stuck thinking on last lesson.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on November 06, 2020, 05:00:41 AM
The creaking door signified to Bertholdt that somebody had entered the structure. Looking up, he could see that, obviously, it was Eren. Even from his seat, the older boy could hear the chattering of his teeth. No doubt he'd felt the full brunt of the frigid temperatures out there. Thankfully, the classroom they were occupying wasn't as far away from the barracks as some of the others, so it wasn't as bad as it could've been.

"My pleasure. Now let's-" The attempt to begin the tutoring session was short lived, as Eren interrupted him. It wasn't malicious, and didn't seem to be on purpose. No doubt Eren's ears were numbed slightly by the cold, that certainly could've explained why he hadn't heard the raven-haired boy speaking. At least he was eager to learn, and had come prepared with a few questions, even if they did ignite a spark of confusion in Bertholdt himself. Titan's without napes? Personally, he hadn't heard of those.

But- that's what being a teacher was all about, even if Bert technically wasn't one. "Don't worry, I'll try to explain everything to the best of my ability." He provided a crooked smile, staring at his younger comrade from across the dark wooden table.

"Now- I'm pretty sure every single titan has a nape, Eren. I don't know if you were listening to some of the fools in the back of our classes or what, but they all should. If you ever encountered one that didn't... I don't know, but you shouldn't worry, that probably won't happen." He nodded quickly, making a fair attempt at reassuring the one-time resident of Shiganshina.

Shiganshina. Why had that been what he'd thought of? Nightmares still crept up now and then- but it was best to move on, and quickly.

"Why don't you tell me exactly where you are struggling in the classes so I can focus my efforts to help you? That'll be easier for us both if I know what parts of the lessons to teach you about." Bertholdt explained, clasping his fingers together, and dipping his head for a moment. "Otherwise... We'll be here all night trying to explain titan physiology."
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on November 09, 2020, 01:06:54 AM
Bertholdt was patient, and that was what made him a good teacher. Sure, Eren had Armin, but he didn't like getting frustrated with him. He didn't mean to, but when he got stuck on something, he got frustrated. Didn't most people? Maybe he did more than most... but still! It was like when he'd done his literacy with his mother and she'd... she'd be so patient, but he'd end up tossing the pencil across the room and yelling he couldn't do it.

But he wouldn't give up now.

He reddened slightly at the fools in the back line, but he didn't protest at it either. At the very least, Eren was trying his utmost best to focus and learn as best as he could. It could be a struggle at times - but one-on-one, and without anyone like Jean about, it didn't seem too difficult. Or at least not as difficult as usual.

"Right. Okay." He bobbed his head and thought about it. "I guess what I struggle with the most is how all the titans have different proportions... like the neck thing. Just, you know, when they're drawn with massive heads on their shoulders and they don't really have a neck, and others have... have really long necks." That titan... that smiling titan. It'd had a long neck.

The boy shuddered at the thought.

"Or really long arms, or legs, or really short legs. I don't get it. How do they work? Why's it like that?" He almost sounded like he expected Bertholdt to somehow hold the secret to all knowledge about the titans. There was a hint of frustration in his questions, like it was something obvious he was missing, yet all the same he wasn't making a whole lot of sense either.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on November 10, 2020, 05:45:47 AM
Bertholdt wasn't so unobservant as to not notice the reddening of Eren's face, in fact, he felt a little bad. Had the younger boy taken his comment about fools in the back to mean him specifically? Certainly, that's not how it was meant. More so he'd tried referring to those like the air-headed Connie, or antagonizing rubes like Jean and Shay.

"Well.. humans have different proportions don't we? My neck is longer than Reiner's, he's bulkier than me, my legs are longer than his, etcetera. Why would it be any different for Titans?" He asked. Hopefully, if he could teach in as effective a strategy as he'd have liked, Eren would believe he was truly learning things, and not just that Bert was telling him the answers to all of his questions.

Some titans were as small as three meters, not much higher up than the roof over their heads, while others towered at fifteen meters. And others still rose higher than the walls themselves. Well- other.

"As for why, I can't really say. I didn't create them, I don't think we'll ever know the answer to that. But that's precisely why you need to know how to handle them. Just because one is taller and fatter than another one doesn't mean it's any less vulnerable to a good slice across the nape. Remember that Eren, all titans have napes, even the abnormal variants."

But that was nothing new. The first lesson they learned in the Titan Physiology class was about the one known weak spot of the beasts. "Now- what other questions have you got for me? We can stay here all night talking if you need to." He had nothing else to do. Reiner was likely off with some new friends, and Annie was... Annie, no doubt cooped up in her dorm so she didn't have to face the frigid outdoors.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on November 28, 2020, 11:30:20 PM
Bertholdt made a lot of sense, and enough sense at that that he felt like it was fresh information, even though at the back of his mind he knew it. Because it was common sense, and because they'd already gone through it. Maybe it was because he wasn't distracted imagining all the titans he could take down, like he daydreamed in class. Or because he was actively seeking out the information instead of having to be told it and not really being able to concentrate so long.

Perhaps he just learned better one-on-one.

Thinking about the differences between Bertholdt and Reiner made it easier as well. He could almost picture them as titans - Bertholdt would be the really lanky sort, the one that had the vague shape of muscles in his arms and his head'd bob along on top of that long neck of his. Reiner would be stockier, more bound for thundering down the street and looking far scarier than the average titan.

"All titans have napes," he repeated, and then whispered it again beneath his breath as if that would commit it to memory better. He had to think and decide on his next question. It was another simple one. "What about the smoke? The textbook said it'd be hot, but it didn't say where it came from or how bad it is. Do all titans turn into smoke too?"
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on December 01, 2020, 07:23:05 AM
"Yes, all Titan's have napes. Even those big new ones that look way different." He offered, lacing his own fingers together over the top of the table. The next question was a little surprising, given the topic of the steam was one still unknown to the people of Paradis, at least as far as the reasoning was concerned. So why Eren expected Bertholdt to have a concrete answer, he wasn't so sure.

Shrugging lightly, he answered back. "I'm not entirely sure. It's likely just because they have such high body temperatures. It only billows out when they've been sliced and the skin is gone. I would assume that all titans turn to smoke, yes, just like how their blood evaporates."

It wasn't too detailed an answer, and he'd be able to easily explain that they were only hypothesis thought up based off the information already conveyed to them through the classes.

"You really haven't been paying much attention in class, huh?" He joked, laughing gently at the other boy's expense, though it was clearly just a playful jest. Having his mind clouded by such strong thoughts of revenge must do a number on one's confidence, clearly they had on Eren, at least.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on December 01, 2020, 06:31:06 PM
He wanted to say it. Desperately willed himself to, but he couldn't bring himself to. Even the colossal? Because surely it should. But as fresh as that wonderment was, he couldn't bear to surface thoughts of the beast responsible for his mother's death. Not least because of how much it plagued his nightmares as its head rose above the top of the Wall, as that thunderous strike hit the gate and blew it wide open.

Besides, Bertholdt wouldn't know. Nobody did.

With a slight hum on that answer, he thought about Shiganshina again. On the boat, he'd seen wisps of smoke amongst darker clouds of it, and hadn't been sure which came from titans and which from fires. Certainly there had been much fire at the time. But what if the Garrison had managed to take down so many titans, and that had been the signal of their victory? It hadn't been enough... but perhaps it was good to remember.

Flashing an embarrassed grin at the jest, Eren rubbed the back of his neck. "I try," he said in some protest, but it was feeble, and he had to confess, "mostly I just... daydream about defeating them. I run back through... through what I saw, and I pretend I'm back there, but I'm a soldier, and I can defeat them all." On the worst days, he pictured saving his mum.

"I'm no swot like you," he added more quickly, jesting too, a wide grin on his face.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on December 01, 2020, 06:46:41 PM
Truly, Bertholdt couldn't blame Eren for daydreaming away instead of paying attention in class. For such important military knowledge as they were being bestowed, it really was boring sometimes. But Bertholdt felt it was important to soak in the knowledge, even when the plan was for him, Reiner and Annie to head off to the interior as members of the Military Police after they'd graduated.

I'm no swot like you,

"Hm. Apparently not." He accepted Eren's own jest with a light laugh, rapping his knuckles against the wooden table gently.

For a moment there was silence. Well, it was as silent as could be if they disregarded the crackling fire and the heavy wind blowing just outside the comfort of this structure. "You say, you want to kill all the Titans. For revenge, or to get your home back. But..." Bertholdt trailed off for a few seconds, unsure of whether or not to pull the trigger on the question that had been nagging at the back of his mind for a little while. "What then?"

It seemed that Eren's entire existence revolved around fighting the beasts, in killing them and avenging all of the Paradisians who had died because of the initial attack on Shiganshina. "Will you settle down in the Walls?" Or would he be too curious to need to explore what was beyond the Walls? Bertholdt knew, as did his comrades, but nobody else. At least not anyone that they'd met since arriving on the island.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on December 06, 2020, 04:43:43 PM
Eren didn't know what to say, his mind caught back up in those thoughts of his nightmares and dreams. Sometimes they blended so well together that he couldn't work out which he was experiencing. One moment he'd be cutting down titans, and then that smiling titan would rear its ugly head and he'd heard his mum's last words before CRUNCH. And then he'd have to screw up his eyes and remind himself it was over and that she was gone and then his mind would be off all sorts of paths that it shouldn't be like it was doing right now and he couldn't snap out of it until--

Someone interrupted them.

What then? Eren blinked once, twice, thrice at him. "I'm going to go to the ocean with Armin," he confessed, feeling that, at least, Bertholdt might understand. "There's stuff out there, outside the Walls. You don't have to believe me. Most people don't. But I know there are things out there that I can't even dream of yet. Like wide expanses of water - that's the ocean," he explained, for his benefit, seemingly. "And tall mountains with fire inside them, or large fields of sand, and all sorts of creatures that we don't even have here. There'll probably be a lot more threats out there, not just the titans, and all that time... I'm going to explore it all. And I'm gonna help others see it too. We'll see what's beyond the Walls. We won't need them any more."

He couldn't possibly comprehend that there might be others out there who'd try and stop that.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on December 07, 2020, 03:26:53 AM
The ocean.

Bertholdt's lips parted but no words came out. He could scarcely even comprehend the words he'd just heard. How in the actual flying fuck did Eren know what the ocean was? The people of Paradis shouldn't even be able to know that they were on an island, let alone surrounded by the largest body of water in the world. But, Eren had mentioned Armin. Of course that kid would know what the ocean was, he was probably the smartest person in the entire cadet corps.

The other things Eren mentioned, various geographical features he probably couldn't even comprehend, but that Bert had either seen photos of or viewed with his own two eyes. Deserts, volcanoes, not to mention the nigh endless varieties of flora and fauna that Eren would never get to witness, doomed to the limited life that just barely scrapped by inside these desolate, disturbing walls.

"You are... certainly imaginative. I bet if you applied the gusto you have to see this giant lake you speak of to the class room then you might not even need my help." Bertholdt joked again, though his life was a little less genuine this time. He really was concerned as to how anyone could know of the ocean.

"Sorry. That was a bit rude. You've got a dream, I can understand that. I just want to go home to be with An- to go home with Annie and Reiner." Bertholdt sputtered over his own words about halfway through the sentence, seemingly confused about what he wanted to, or was trying to say.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on December 08, 2020, 05:14:57 PM
Bertholdt didn't understand, and that surprised him. Perhaps especially due to the joke he made. Eren blinked at him, then furrowed his brow, though he didn't launch into an immediate verbal assault on the tall boy. Imagination didn't come into it, not half as much as anything else. A real desire, for a real goal, because it was out there. It had to be. Maybe it wasn't the same as the book had shown, but there must be similarities and more to it.

"I get it, if you don't believe me, but I'm not making it up," he told him seriously. "I saw it, and I know it's out there. And I'm gonna prove it to everyone when I'm a Scout. We're going to reclaim Wall Maria and then we're going to the ocean." Did anyone really think that it was easy to transfer a desire for freedom to a desire for knowledge?

For him, he was pretty calm, considering.

"Where is your home? Wall Maria?" he asked, trying to remember if he or Reiner had ever mentioned where it was. "You're gonna help us reclaim Wall Maria, right? If you want to go home." He figured that was it, surely. Bertholdt and Reiner were strong cadets - Annie too, but she was... much odder. He didn't really understand her as much.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on December 08, 2020, 07:58:07 PM
"I guess we'll see then. If you're so confident about it then I look forward to seeing you proven right or wrong." He chuckled once more, shaking his head lightly, still a tad confused as to how either boy could've gotten a hold of such contraband from the outside world.

And then a question came to him on the subject of his own home. Where he came from and his intentions were mostly left untouched in any sort of personal conversations that he chose to indulge in, except for if they included Reiner or Annie. "My home is in Wall Maria, yes. A small village, we never got word about the titan attack, like we told you before. I'd... really like to see my home again, but I think I'm going to head to the Military Police if I can rank high enough." Bert explained, clasping his hands together atop the table and staring at the wooden top for a moment, before staring at Eren again. "But you seem strong enough, Eren. Conviction is something that comes to people naturally, and you have it. I don't.. I think I'm too much of a coward to fight titans head on..." That wasn't entirely untrue. Bert hadn't a desire in the realm of his mind to come anywhere near the titans, even though he invariably had an ace up his sleeve that could always be used if he needed to.

"Plus you have Armin and Mikasa, right? They're smart, talented. They can help you reclaim all of our homes."
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on December 13, 2020, 11:05:28 PM
He didn't take Bertholdt's words as either support or mocking. "I'm sure of it. And everyone else is gonna get to see it as well," he said. Determination bled into every syllable. They'd be free of the cage of the Walls, and humanity will take back the world stolen by the titans.

"You'll rank high enough," he told him. "Ranking needs smarts and skill, and you have enough... from what I've seen in lessons, you're going to rank high." It was frustrating how good Bertholdt and Reiner were. He desperately sought to catch up to them, not for the sake of ranking, but instead to give himself the best opportunity to defeat the titans and reach his goal. "But what's the point? Going into the Military Police... you're just wasting those skills! You could do much more with the Garrison... you don't even have to see titans in the Garrison! Or if you do, you'll be safer anyway." Arguing for the Garrison wasn't something he regularly did. But if someone wouldn't kill the titans, surely they could at least help the Walls?

"You and Reiner..." He shook his head. "Armin and Mikasa can help me reclaim the Walls, sure. But what's the use in that if nobody's left to see the outside with us?!" Nothing would convince him to give up. He'd always keep on fighting, he knew that. But Walls!! how stupid could the other cadets be?
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on December 13, 2020, 11:30:40 PM
Shrugging again, Bertholdt was fairly sure Eren wouldn't live long enough to see such a claim proven one way or the other. With how eager he seemed to be to confront the Titans, it pained Bertholdt to assume that Eren would likely become titan lunch on his very first scouting mission.

"I'm hopeful. I just want to be safe as far away from them as possible." He lied nonchalantly, tossing his eyes to the far window, where the snow continued to fall down freely. "The Garrison...? Hm, I suppose you have a point. But I'd feel safer inside. Here's how I see it..." He leaned back in his chair, hands clasped together over his stomach as he nodded off at the same window he'd just been staring out of.

"You and me are in here, like the Military Police. We don't have to worry about the pesky snow unless all the Walls around us come down. The Garrison is like the door, it might not be getting the worst of the weather because of the awning, but there's still a chance of some snow getting on it. I see the scouts as the people who stand out there trying to catch flakes on their tongue- I don't see the point and thus far in our history nothing has been accomplished by it." Perhaps it was a harsh analogy, but Bertholdt couldn't help but feeling correct in the comparisons.

Looking at Eren once more, he shook his head. "I know you really want to get your home back, and you and Armin want to explore the world and everything, but... don't you think one of these days you'll just have to realize that it's... not really possible?" Again, he hated how harsh it sounded, especially since he really did like Eren, but what purpose would there be to letting this kid go off and get himself killed? He could at least try to live something of a happy life in the walls if he tried to.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on December 15, 2020, 08:46:51 PM
All he wanted to be was safe? Eren's jaw dropped, practically agape like the most mindless of titans, at the admittance. He didn't think Bertholdt could be that... dismissive of it.

But Bertholdt's continuing speech just confirmed it, and it felt like betrayal, before he recognised it as anger at the injustice of it. The analogy was simple enough that Eren could easily understand, but frustrating enough that his mouth closed and his teeth grit together instead. What the tall boy said wasn't just insulting, it was plain stupid!

Finally, he snapped. "Just because you're a coward doesn't mean everyone else is!" Standing sharply, Eren rested his hands on the surface of the table and glared at him, his eyes sparking in anger. "There's nothing here for me in the Walls, not without Wall Maria. Not without my home! I'm going to make the Colossal Titan pay for what it did!!" He snarled out the promise, thumping the wood with a fist. Leaning over the table, he looked at Bertholdt and added, "All you're doing is holding yourself back to protect yourself. You're never going to get home without me and the Survey Corps doing the work for you. But you're looking down on us like we're dirt under your boot. You're so scared of dying that you can't see how selfish you're being!"
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on December 15, 2020, 09:05:53 PM
Though he hadn't expected quite the reaction he got, Bert would be fibbing if he had said he wasn't expecting to irritate Eren with his words. The boy was clearly aiming for the Scouts, and though it was rude, he was just being honest to the younger boy about how the various regiments operated.

I'm going to make the Colossal Titan pay for what it did!

That line made Bert cast his gaze from the window to the floor, wondering how many other people had such vindictive feelings for the Titan that had started all of this? For him? Probably thousands. Every single person who lost a family member in Shiganshina, or in the ensuing aftermath caused by the loss of Wall Maria. When the boy's tirade was finished, Bertholdt leaned forward again resting his own hands on the tabletop as he locked eyes with Eren. "You're right Eren. I know everyone isn't a coward like me, that's why I'm helping you. I won't- can't fight the titans myself. But you can, so I want you to be well prepared."

The intensity in Eren's voice hadn't seemed to quite carry over to the anger in his eyes. It was still there, but nowhere near as heavy as his verbiage. "I am scared of dying Eren. I want to live a long and happy life, and fighting the titans won't really achieve that for me. It might be selfish, but that's just the way it is."
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on February 27, 2021, 10:04:03 PM
Eren didn't back down or relax, not even a little bit. He stared at Bertholdt with the ferocity of a hunter, not the hunted like he felt he was, and grit his teeth as the older boy replied. It didn't matter that Bertholdt was twice his size and almost age. The small firebrand could have leaped across the table there and then and tackled him, but he knew he'd be blocked and Bertholdt was agreeing with him anyway.

Even if the agreement still pissed him off.

"What good is living if we sit in this pit just waiting for titans to pick off everyone we love until they finally get to us?" he asked bitterly. "How happy can a long life be then? Especially if they come back! You're smart, Bertholdt. You're fast and you're good at lessons. Not every Scout goes out on every expedition!" Part of him felt like begging him to see sense. To see that having him on his side, not behind the scenes, would help him more.

But he wasn't going to turn down Bertholdt helping him either. "But if you can't do that-- the least you can do is help as many of us as possible," Eren determined. Armin was smart, but he wasn't strong. Mikasa was strong, but she followed more than led. He was... he was different. And he did need every bit of help he could. "Help all of us going into the scouts, and maybe we'll get rid of those damn monsters once and for all. But if you can help, if you can find the strength you need to conquer this... this selfishness!... then join us."
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on March 02, 2021, 08:58:15 PM
Bertholdt supposed that even if he were honestly what the younger boy saw him as through his stated intentions, history, and character as a whole, he would still have to give him the answer of cowardice. If he were just a teenager who'd come from a small village in a remote part of Wall Maria, who'd joined the Survey Corps a few months after his life had been taken away as he knew it, he would likely opt away from the Scouts. If he couldn't rank high enough for the MPs, he'd go to the Garrison instead.

"A long life can be as happy as I chose to make it. If I can prosper, and start a family, and live, then I'll be happy. I don't need to change the world for the better to feel at peace, Eren." He stated frankly, keeping his green eyes locked on those of the other boy.

A sigh escaped his lips after Eren was finished shouting. Being impassioned was a good thing sometimes, there were certainly a few things that could make the otherwise reluctant young man stand up straight and put his back into it. But Eren was almost zealous in his cause to retake the ground that was currently crowded with Titan footprints. "You call me selfish, yet you are asking me to join the scouts..? Eren, If I'm selfish for wanting to live a happy life, then you are too for wanting me to give it up." Bertholdt proposed, bringing a closed fist up to rest his cheek on as he continued to gaze across the table.

"I'll help you study and train. Anything you want from me that I can do, I will do. But I won't throw my life away because of what happened to all of us. Revenge is a fool's game, especially against those with no comprehension of it."
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on March 05, 2021, 10:34:03 PM
Eren couldn't see it - he saw his point of view alone, not the one that he thought might be Bertholdt's. Incapable of comprehending the other's spoken desires, the boy saw only the dark herald that had taken everything from him. Cowardice. Hannes had not been brave enough, fear of titans had turned the Garrison into a shell of what they were meant to be, and a lack of soldiers had driven the Scouts into the ground each expedition.

That was the truth as he took it to be.

So he could not see the selfishness in his words, and nor could he understand the truth in Bertholdt's words. Instead his anger flared once more, this argument spinning around his head. Bertholdt was strong, but he wasn't brave. If there was another Carla Jaeger out there, a cowardly Bertholdt would surely contribute to her death.

Years later, he might look upon this thought and scream at his younger self.

"Being a soldier is about dedicating your heart!" he spat. Once more incapable of understanding that Bertholdt's words kept that in mind. His dedication was swept in blood and blade, the symbols he sought to live his life by. "You want your home but you're too selfish to fight for it yourself!"

Tears beaded at his eyes, angry and hot. They swelled at his cheeks and rolled down without notice.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on March 08, 2021, 06:34:01 PM
Eren had already shown himself as heated during this conversation, but until now, he hadn't exactly seemed to be that close to a tipping point. Bertholdt blamed himself for it. A lot of people often didn't want to hear logic when they were discussing something emotional. Bertholdt personally hadn't ever felt that way, it simply wasn't in his character- but it made him feel a little inconsiderate that he hadn't taken such a factor into account when talking to the younger boy.

The tears rolling down Eren's cheeks didn't go unnoticed, and even someone as sin-ridden as Bertholdt could feel bad for him. His parents were both dead, his home was gone, and everything he'd known for his entire life had been upended.

Bertholdt stood up from the table and walked around to the other side, sitting beside the young boy and placing a hand on his back. "I'm sorry..." Not just for being a 'coward', but for what he'd secretly done. Reiner's decision to join the Cadet Corps continued to have lasting effects on them all, especially in the form of increasing the guilt that they already felt. So many of their new comrades had experienced incomparable loss, because of the three of them, and all they could do was stay silent and feel shame and sin.

"It's okay to feel angry."
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on March 17, 2021, 09:14:50 PM
Eren practically buzzed with rage and upset, his shoulders shaking as he worked to keep himself under control and his head in one piece. He could have split into sobs or screams that would make no sense to even himself. But he fought to keep it together. Up until Bertholdt touched him.

Sinking to his knees, Eren bent his head and let the tears, hotter than the fiery water Armin had shown in his book, run down his face. Was it okay to feel angry? It wasn't okay that any of this was happening! But he didn't say that, not immediately. He let himself be consumed by the internal rage and the grief that had never been fully processed. He'd mourned his mother and questioned where his father could be now, but he'd never been able to really think about what happened to them. One dead in front of him, one disappeared into nothing.

Every time he thought of them he broke down and buried it again.

"This... is all... because of the titans," he sobbed out, not even sure if Bertholdt was listening. Didn't care if he wasn't. "If they hadn't kicked down Wall Maria-- if-- if we were still h-home..." He sucked in a great, shuddering breath. "We wouldn't have to f-f-fight to get back home. N-none of us. You wouldn't have to be here. Most... most cadets wouldn't, the ones who... who like y-you don't want to be here..."

He knew that much, though he still couldn't comprehend how they actually felt. But he knew that, with Wall Maria, a lot less cadets would have to face up to the question on how selfish they were.
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on March 18, 2021, 04:26:13 PM
Bertholdt was fine sitting at Eren's side for a while. What had been originally planned as a tutoring session had soon turned to a discussion of life choices, and no apparently to a counseling session. Bertholdt wasn't quite sure what he'd gotten himself with this boy, but he couldn't very well leave him to sob and cry all by himself in this otherwise empty building. He needed someone right now.

"I know Eren. But.. we can't change what's already happened. I'm sorry about everything you've gone through, I can't even begin to imagine what that day was like for you." He assumed, like most others in Shiganshina, Eren had been transfixed on the giant, skinless head that peered over the wall that evening. Bertholdt's head, in the form of the Colossus. He'd not seen any distinguishable features on any person in the district, but surely Eren had been terrified in that moment. And then, according to the boy himself, that debris from the kicked in gate was what crushed his house, sealing his mother's fate. "Eren, just get it out.." Bertl pat him on the back a few more times, gently, just trying to make sure he was alright.

"I'll.. tell you what Eren. If I don't rank high enough for the MPs, I'll join the Scouts and help you take back our homes." The promise was about as empty as one could be. Bertholdt had no doubt, even being just a few months into the cadet training, that he was going to take one of the spots in the top 40 overall. Annie and Reiner would too, undoubtedly. Their path to the Military Police was all but assured, but Eren didn't need to know that right now.

"Uh... my dad told me something once, a long time ago, when I was a little kid. If someone takes everything you have, they still won't be able to take your tears..." A rather depressing anecdote to tell an adolescent, but an applicable one, nonetheless. "So.. it's okay to cry, and to feel sad. Especially if that's all you can really do."
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Eren Jaeger on March 27, 2021, 08:52:17 PM
Bertholdt was soft-spoken, with the sort of voice that didn't seem all that capable of anger or upset, at least in Eren's opinion. There were plenty of cadets in their year who had seen death march towards them as they struggled out of Wall Maria. With that came several types of people. Those who were so overly emotional that they could break out in tears within seconds, like Eren. Others who seemed hardly to shed a tear and were seemingly incapable of feeling it, and others yet that kept it contained within them, a storm brewing and waiting to be released.

Eren's tears settled quickly. He'd found that since the fall of the Wall. He'd always been very emotional but it was to a new height. Perhaps it was his body's way of coping?

Whatever the reason, he listened in silence and let himself calm down, knowing the tears would stop flowing. Then the ride of emotions would return. It was inevitable, really.

"It's just frustrating," he said, half-replying and half... just spilling his guts. "Knowing how much people give up but everyone is too wrapped up in their own lives to give a damn about everyone else. And everyone's always judging the Scouts for dying for them, as if that's really what they're doing! It's not fair... it's not fair how much the Scouts give up for everyone else and only ever get shit in return."

More than that, it wasn't fair that people could be so selfish. How could anyone be content with being trapped in the Walls?

Eren drew in a sharp breath. "We're not meant to be caged up in here. I know we're not! Why can't anyone see that?"
Title: Re: In Plain Sight [Eren]
Post by: Bertholdt Hoover on May 31, 2021, 10:26:28 PM
It's just frustrating

Bertholdt could certainly relate to that. He, maybe more than either of his other comrades, understood the meaning of that word. And, even to his own surprise, Bertholdt realized just how similar a feeling he'd had so much recently compared to what Eren was expressing. The sensation of utter helplessness, while those around you simply made choices that served their own self interest, when they could've been a great help.

Perhaps no situation was more apparent for this feeling than when his longtime friend, Marcel Galliard, was devoured before his eyes. Bertholdt could do nothing then. His titan was useless, his affinity for firearms even more so, but his long legs had worked harder than ever before in his life to flee the scene. But Annie and Reiner, as much as he hated pinning the blame for what happened that morning on them, could have saved Marcel. It would've been close, but if they had transformed with their titans, they would've had a moment of opportunity in which they could have killed that titan and saved their one time leader. Alas, no such split-second decisions were made.

"I know how you feel Eren. That the world beyond should be accessible to us. That there shouldn't be killers blocking our path and keeping us from seeing everything the world has to offer. But there are, and... we can't change that. Most people have realized that. We can only make do with what we have. To change the whole world is a seemingly impossible task, nobody wants to be the one to give up what they have, to sacrifice themselves so everyone else can have a better life." Again, none of this was likely what Eren wanted to hear, but Bertholdt couldn't help it. Being pragmatic was simply part of who he was.

"I appreciate that you want to be that change, and you want others to feel the same way as you.. but you just can't."