Levi pressed his right fist to his chest in a salute to the dead before him. They were soldiers that had died in battle, perished at the hands of monstrous Titans. Having been piled on top of the pyre, their cremation was now taking place. The pyre’s incense scented smoke wafted up into the chill night air, carrying their souls to the infinitely better afterlife.
The Titans were beasts that roamed the earth, everywhere outside the walls that protected the last remnants of humanity. He hated those foul beasts, despised them to no end. Why? The reason was simple. They were the sole reason for the demise of mankind, herding them into this great walled city, like so many sheep into a corral.The flames of the fire flared, the light reflected in his blue eyes as his gaze hardened. The blue-grey orbs landed upon the bodies of his former comrades whom had been retrieved from the battlegrounds. All of them were bruised and bloody, it was a wonder that the medical staff could recognize and identify anyone from the heap of mangled limbs.
He was used to seeing the bloody corpses that were wheeled in, and had learned to keep an uninterested and cold front in any situation. For it would only demoralize others if they saw humanity's strongest grieving openly. It was an unspoken rule that the higher-ups could only mourn in the privacy of their offices.
Averting his eyes, he decided to head back to his office and finish up paperwork that called for his attention. No matter how many deaths had occurred, they were the past now, no amount of lament would bring their lives back. Thus, he had to keep moving forward, despite what he may feel within.
As he sat down on his chair, he reached for his steaming cup of tea that would always be on his right. But his hand grabbed naught but the air, looking over, he saw that his desk was cleared of anything except for the pile of forms and reports that were to be read and signed. Then realisation hit him like a brick.
You...you were no longer there.. No longer would you be serving him his nightly cups of tea. No longer would you be smiling at him during long expeditions. No longer would you be there to comfort him at the end of every mourning. You... were simply...gone.
He saw as the strings of your 3D Maneuver Gear were snapped by the Female Titan. He saw as your body flailed in the air like a meteorite falling out of the sky. Gravity pulling you down until the giant hand grabbed hold of your body, which was limp in its grip. Raising up it's hand as if to devour you, instead it flung you to the earth, your figure landing against a tree.
How he had wanted to turn back and kill it, but he would jeopardize the whole mission. One life would always be exchanged for a hundred, he had told himself then. So he had steeled his gaze forward and focused on the road before him.
His eyes had become glassy with tears, the traitorous liquid threatening to spill down his cheeks. How he had wished that he turned back to save you, now that it fully occurred to him that you were never coming back.
Glancing at the piece of paper that lay beneath the paperweight which sat on his desk. He pulled out the photo from under it, it was a picture of you and him.
The smile that set itself on your face was as bright as ever, whilst he wore his usual bored expression. But if you looked under the surface, you could just barely make out the corners of his lifting to form a miniscule smile.
Droplets of salty liquid fell onto the paper, which was already wrinkled from his tight grip of it. His hand reached up to wipe away his tears furiously, as the picture was crushed in his fist. His knuckles were clenched white, the paper compressed into a small ball.
Why was someone so unimportant making him feel like this? You had never been the best. In fact, you were the person that stayed in the background, never really in on the action. He didn't get why you were content, always working hard in everything you did, the smile always stuck to your features. But now that you were gone, the compound suddenly felt so hollow, like an empty bucket on a cold winter day. Perhaps it was the truth when they said that a person's presence is only felt when their souls have left.
Levi grimaced, the thoughts of your smiles, your laughs and even the way you talked, had seemed to be inscribed into his brain with permanent ink, haunting him till the end of time.
Glaring at the paper ball still encased within his had, he cursed you for all eternity. For how you, a single soldier, had made humanity's strongest shed tears of grievance. He knew that he needed to forget, how he would never feel your calloused fingers on his skin, how you would never be by his side comforting him.
The memories had once been happy, filled with laughter and warmth. But now they were painful to recall. He would have preferred them to have been buried, lost in the endless sands of time, remembered by no one. That was not to be, it would seem. For you were engraved into his mind, tainting every cell in his body with your essence, and reminding him how he was responsible for your cruel fate.
He found his fist against his chest, over his heart.
"I, Levi Rivalle, Corporal of the Survey Corps, solemnly swear that I shall remember Cadet (Y/N), along with everyone who have served their purpose to humanity. And that I shall defeat the titans, so their deaths were for a purpose!" He found himself vowing with tears running down his cheeks.
He couldn't stop the deaths that happened in the past, but he could stop the ones that would happen in the future. He would do anything to make up for your death.
If anything, (Y/N). I just hope wherever you are now, that you're happy. And last of all, that you were proud of me.