Genre: Drama Romance | AU | Reincarnation
Pairing: (mainly) Rivaille x Eren
Summary: Being woven in his dreams and memories, Rivaille was at a loss. The second encounter with a certain boy made it even much worse than he thought it would be, especially when the boy is reaching his hands out to him again.
I don't own Shingeki no Kyojin, but this fanfiction is mine.
©AsakuraHannah at Ffn
Chapter 8 : Memory
Rivaille gazed sadly at the sleeping boy who was lying in his bed. He went through all the trouble of bringing him back home, ignoring Irvin's surprised expression when he saw Rivaille with Eren on his back. Takeaway foods were in the plastic bag, dangling from his hands. He had considered stopping by in the park with Eren for a few minutes until he'd wake up on his own, but that was not a good option in the freezing weather, so he just called a taxi to take them home.
As he waited for Eren to regain consciousness, Rivaille bent down on the bed for a closer look when he saw the boy was frowning in his sleep. He wondered if he had pushed him too far when he attempted to make him remember everything. He brought his hand up to run it across his face in frustration.
"He's the one after all…" Rivaille raised his head to look at the clear glass mugs surrounded by a cold mist on top of the tray Irvin was holding. Irvin had watched his every movement from the entrance of the room. Never had he seen Rivaille lose his stoic expression like that. Never had he seen Rivaille looked so desperate and worried over something.
"What do you mean?" Rivaille asked, squinting his eyes at the older man. Irvin did not directly reply his question, setting the tray down.
"The boy who was from your past and the one that got caught up in that accident." Irvin stated. Rivaille didn't flinch at the sentence, but Irvin knew he winced on the inside.
"I find it hard to believe that you finally acknowledged it. You almost sounded like my parent every time I brought that up, although you are not as bad as them." Irvin looked at Eren instead of replying to Rivaille's statement. Rivaille followed his gaze back to Eren's features, letting out a soft sigh.
"He's precious to me, Irvin. I don't even know why I have to meet him again. I… I tried to get away from him once. He almost lost his life during the accident because of me. Why do I have to meet him again now? Without knowing I've hurt him again, he kept running towards me, extending his hands to reach me and my painful memories. This is the second time. Last time I recall, he was in Germany. Why Japan?" Rivaille whispered. Irvin leaned against the wall, arms crossed over his chest, studying him.
"I think they had been in Japan for a long time. Maybe it has something to do with Eren's mother. Either way, it was your fate to meet him again." Rivaille clenched his fists at the last word.
"I need to remind you though, Rivaille. Be careful, even if you are only an internship, a teacher is a teacher. Your age gap between Eren will be questioned and your teacher-student relationship will be claimed as an inappropriate by small-minded people." Rivaille snorted at that.
"I will contact Armin to let him know about Eren." Rivaille could only give a silent nod. Surely, as their homeroom teacher, Irvin had almost all the student's emergency contacts. While the older of the two busily searched for the numbers on his phone lists, Rivaille eyed Eren carefully. The brunet's eyebrows furrowed and his lips mumbling incoherently. Rivaille wondered what kind of dream he was having, hoping it wasn't the nightmare Rivaille was having almost every night. He took Eren's hands into his, holding them tightly.
"Levi." Armin walked inside the room towards his internship teacher. The raven's gaze made him feel slightly frightened for when their eyes met, but he knew Rivaille was a quiet person who loved to think a lot while gazing at others. Being his student for some time in the school had made him learn little by little about the older man. Not only that, the person before him was his childhood friend, even if Rivaille was now different from the cheerful boy Armin knew back then.
He was thankful when he had received the news from Irvin, having immediately ran towards his house. Rivaille had insisted on carrying Eren in his arms instead of letting Irvin drive them there. His will was turned down when Rivaille realized Eren's house was pretty far after he had walked a few stations, especially with Eren on his back. In the end, he borrowed Irvin's car for the drive to Eren's house. Armin even unlocked the door to the house when they found it was empty. Mikasa hadn't come back home, probably having gone straight to her part-time job. Luckily, Eren brought his own key along with him everywhere he went so that they could walk inside.
"Don't call me that. I'm… not Levi. I'm not longer an aristocrat, I threw that name away." Armin's eyes glistened in surprise when he heard those words. He gave a hesitant nod, shifting his eyes towards Eren.
"How's Eren?" The question was immediate.
"He is alright."
"I see…" Rivaille gave an indecisive look at the taller boy beside him before deciding to ask the question that had been nagging him.
"Can I ask one more question…? Did Eren also lose his past memories during the accident?" His heart clenched when Armin gave a sad look and nodded. Grimacing when he felt a pang of pain in his chest, he hastily turned his back to Armin.
"Do you… mean it?" Armin eyes looked up to Rivaille's back, waiting until the man turned his face towards him.
"The time when you said that we were your underlings in those… past memories you have." Armin was now fiddling with his own fingers nervously. Rivaille's expression never changed, but the teacher gave a short answer.
Armin remained silent; eyes casted downwards.
"Eren… did not know his condition about the loss of his memory." Armin said, earning a blink from Rivaille. Surely the raven did not expect him to talk about it. Raising his blue eyes to meet Rivaille's gaze, Armin gave a thin smile.
"You left to France because you felt guilty, but Mikasa took it in the wrong way. I don't know if I should be grateful about the way you tried to explain to Eren his past memories from his childhood. He had been desperate, confusing dreams with reality. I'm kind of glad that you could see those dreams yourself and tried to guide him. Even though Mikasa insisted that it was all just a nightmare." Armin's expression turned sour as he recalled the memory. Rivaille remained silent, allowing the boy to continue.
"I might be such a bad friend, being happy about the fact Eren lost his memory along with his past life. That time, you tried to catch him when he fell off of the tree. He misunderstood what Freedom Wings meant."
"It's my fault." Rivaille said, looking down with a harsh look on his face. Armin shook his head.
"Maybe it's for the best that Eren lost it all. He would suffer more if he continued remembering the past. If all those memories were painful, it's best if he just forgets it. I just want him to be happy in this life."
Rivaille gave a small nod. "I won't force him." He felt his heart being torn apart now. He shouldn't have tried.
"I hope you can understand." Armin whispered, giving Rivaille a last firm look, before walking outside the room. Rivaille leaned against the wall once again, biting his lower lip to the point blood started dripping down his chin.
"I'm sorry…" he whispered as he closed his eyes, eyebrows furrowed in deep regret. He pressed his palm hard against his temple, biting his lip painfully to suppress his sobs. A flash of memory ran in his mind.
Rivaille's eyes stared up in worry when he saw the boy climbing up the tree. The balloon that was stuck on the tree branch was too high for him to reach. Not only that, the branch wouldn't be strong enough to hold his weight. He gave a gasp when Eren fell right after he grasped the balloon in his hand. Running as fast as he could, Rivaille stretched his arms far enough to catch the boy in his arms. Armin and Mikasa were shouting at them as the adults who were nearby started to run in their direction frantically.
Rivaille fell onto the dirty ground with the boy in his arms, trying to shield him as much as he could from having an immense injury. He could hear his own breath hitch, and he ignored the pain shooting through several parts of his body. Having landed harshly, Rivaille rolled onto his back with a groan. As he sat up with Eren in his arms, his eyes widened when he saw blood trickling down the child's forehead. His face turned pale; he couldn't even hear the questions the people were throwing at him.
"Mikasa, you wait here. I will call Doctor Jaeger!" Armin shouted, already running off before Mikasa could stop him. Rivaille quickly pulled his handkerchief from his pants pocket and wiped the blood away with trembling hands. His mind swayed with countless worries. He picked up Eren in his arms, thinking that he should head to the clinic near the park as soon as possible.
"Mikasa, wait here until Armin comes back with your father. Tell them I took Eren to the clinic near here."
The girl could only nod in silence; Rivaille knew that she wouldn't cry. She was a strong child.
Holding on to Eren's hand, Rivaille sat down onto the bed. His eyes were staring down at the boy who was yet to be conscious.
'This is my fault. If only I was there sooner. If only I had explained to him what freedom wings actually mean. If only I didn't tell him all the stories about them. But… Eren remembered almost all of it, I couldn't help it. If only the 3D Manuever Gear existed in this world.'
Rivaille gave a murky glare as his hands trembled greatly. The doctor had said that the child was alright, excluding the wound on his head. All he could do now was wait for Eren to wake up and see if the things would be alright with him.
"It's your fault, Levi." Rivaille raised his head when he heard a girl's voice. His eyes met with Mikasa's furious glare.
"Mikasa…" Armin raised his hands to stop her. She walked closer to Rivaille instead, eyes never leaving him.
"It's your fault that this happened. Tell me, where are those wings you were talking about? This is not how it was supposed to be. You're a liar!" Mikasa was now biting her lower lip after the final outburst. Rivaille could only stare at her wordlessly. He didn't say anything back to her, nor did he try to defend himself. He brought his palm up to his eyes, trying to cover them as they started gleaming with tears.
'Why? Why do I have to meet him again? I thought when he'd remember his past life, we could be together again and have a happy life in this world. I almost endangered him. I almost made him lose his life.'
"I'm sorry." Those were the words that Rivaille repeated several times, over and over until they turned into a haunted whisper. He needed to get away from Eren, so that he would never be in any more danger. He had taken the risk too far; Eren was too small to know about the most dreadful of nightmares. He tried to cover up some of the information he had given to Eren about the violence and brutality which mankind had encountered, but the outcome turned worse than he thought it would be. He should have never spoken about the past life he had.
Grisha shot Rivaille a look when the raven-haired boy told him he would be going back to his country. He couldn't stop himself from asking though, since he knew about some of the issues with Rivaille's parents.
"I… don't want to wound him any further. I will get away. When he wakes up, please tell him I've gone home, back to France." Rivaille was surprised when Armin stood up from his seat. The blonde opened his mouth only to shut it again, not knowing what to say. Grisha put his hand on Armin's shoulder, shaking his head.
"Just tell Mikasa I'm moving away. I'm sure she'll be happy."
Armin wiped at his tears as Grisha wrapped his arms around Rivaille, pulling him closer. He had looked at the boy as if he was his own son. The first time he had walked up to him, Rivaille was alone, confused and broken. Grisha then took him into his house, listening as he spilled his frustrations about his nightmares and past. Grisha listened sadly to all those memories that caused Rivaille to be thrown out of his parent's home. He was being tossed into Irvin's hands, burdening the man with another useless boy who only knew how to dream even though he was already fifteen. Irvin was feeling pity over the fact he brought Rivaille outside of his country to try and take Rivaille's mind off of his problems.
Only later did Grisha realize his stories were similar to his son's dreams. It was then that he saw the two boys were related and meant for one another.
"Be strong, Levi. Be strong." Grisha whispered into his ear.
"I'm sorry, Doctor Jaeger," Rivaille contorted his face as he felt the lump forming in his throat; he let a single tear slide along his cheek. Grisha shook his head again, soothingly caressing the boy's back. He shouldn't be apologizing, it was an accident, and Grisha understood the cause of it.
When Rivaille told Irvin that he wanted to go back to France, he insisted that he did not want to return to his parent's house. He stayed with Petra, Irvin's childhood friend. He threw his name away and changed it to Rivaille, since it was the name he was supposed to have, according to his past life.
What he did not anticipate was Eren losing his memory upon awakening, of both Rivaille from the past and Levi of the now.
Rivaille was long gone when Mikasa got home. She had received the news about Eren from Armin. It was almost sunset by the time Eren had regained his consciousness and she had never left his side ever since she had gotten home.
Her worried features turned to relief when Eren opened his eyes for the first time. His gaze scanned his surroundings, realizing that he was in his own room. The brunet slowly sat up, wincing as his head pounded with pain. He recalled a vivid childhood dream about the way Rivaille had caught him in his arms before he had fainted. He couldn't feel the pain, but the state of his mind made him as if he was really injured.
"Eren," Mikasa called out, causing him to turn his eyes onto her. She kept still in her chair, watching the boy's gaze slowly change from confusion into anger. Mikasa blinked in surprised when the glare was thrown at her.
"Why did you keep it a secret?" Eren's husk question made her stiffen in alertness just in time as Armin walked into the room with a tray of soup in his hands. He glanced up at them in surprise when Eren's question reached his ears.
Armin hurriedly walked over to the nightstand to put the tray down. He then moved to stand by Mikasa, and the both of them exchanged a meaningful look, before finally turning to Eren.
"Why did you keep a secret about me having lost my childhood memories?" Eren was now gritting his teeth, fisting the blanket on his lap in barely-controlled rage.
"Eren, what did you hear from Rivaille?" Mikasa rose to her feet, unfazed.
"Not much. He just said that I lost my memories when I was 7. Why did you hide it from me? I… think I remembered them now… somehow."
Mikasa looked away from the hurt written over Eren's expression. Armin was the one to step forward.
"Let me explain, Eren. We did not mean to hide it from you forever. It's just that… we wanted to avoid the painful memories from your past." Armin nodded when Eren shot him a surprised look. Mikasa touched Armin's hand, trying to stop him, but she didn't protest when Armin shook his head, signalling he intended to continue.
"Are you telling me that I also have past life memories?" Eren ran his palm over his forehead, wincing. Too many things had happened, he wasn't sure if he was ready to face all of them. Armin put his hand on his shoulder in reassurance.
"Please don't be mad at Mikasa. It was my idea, actually. That time we were in Germany, I came along with your family for the holiday. And since your father's hometown is in Germany, we stayed in your relative's house. Do you remember?" Armin stopped, letting Eren recall the events little by little. He felt relieved when Eren nodded at him.
"You told me before that you had a dream where you fell off a tree because you were trying to reach for a balloon. Then you got into an accident, do you remember that now?" Armin was now sat on the edge of the bed beside him. Mikasa sat back down, fiddling with the edge of her scarf with trembling hands.
Eren gave another nod. He remembered. Armin gave a smile as he continued; letting his best friend take in the information, just to make sure he remembered everything without a doubt.
Carla called out Eren's name a few times when she saw that her son was stirring up. It had been five days since the accident and finally, Eren regained his consciousness. Armin's face lit up, while Mikasa quickly ran towards them, eyes gleaming with hope. As the boy sat up and green eyes finally focused on his surroundings, he let out a groan.
"Eren, are you alright?"
Eren stared at his mother for a moment, wincing as the pain shot through his temple. "Mother?"
His mother was overjoyed when he called out to her, hugging him tightly. Eren's eyes focused on the two children beside her. Frowning at them, he opened his mouth to question his curiosity.
"Who… are they?"
Armin's eyes widened when he heard him. Mikasa's mouth dropped open. Carla sucked in a breath, looking at him in bewilderment, hoping that he was just joking. Much to her chagrin, the joke never came.
"Mikasa, call your father," she ordered, earning a nod from the girl. As Mikasa ran outside the room, Armin asked Eren if he remembered his own name. Strangely the boy nodded at him. It didn't take long for Grisha to rush inside and examin his son. After a few examinations, he came to a conclusion that Eren had lost a few of his memories. He didn't remember most of the things that had happened during the accident, nor did he remember the boy who had saved him from crashing directly to the ground. He didn't even remember his own 'vision' anymore.
Grisha was confused about how that could have happened. He assumed that it probably because of the painful memory of him that Eren's mind was reacting that way. Deep inside the conscious state of his mind, Eren really wanted to forget the painful past life he was having. That's why he lost the memory. It was just a matter of time until Eren inevitably regained them again, but Grisha couldn't be sure when that would happen.
He concluded that if it was triggered by something related to them, his past memories could come back. Mikasa and Armin were alerted to that last piece of evaluation.
Much to their relief though, Eren's life could be considered as normal aside from forgetting small little things here and there. They assumed that introducing their names and other things for him wouldn't hurt. At least the boy seemed much happier. He seemed refreshed. He could laugh a lot. Armin was happy that his friend was changing. Maybe it was for the best after all. That was why he decided to tell Mikasa and his parents to just keep the past life a secret, along with the accident and Rivaille.
"Not long after that, we went back to Japan… You… also forgot about Rivaille who we were calling Levi back then. He changed his name to Rivaille now, since he disliked the aristocrat's ties in his name. I don't know why he chose Rivaille though; the pronouncement is almost identical. Maybe he has his reasons…" Armin grew silent, studying Eren's expression.
Armin and Mikasa exchanged looks.
"I'm sorry, Eren. I don't want you to confuse dreams with reality. I must really be a bad person, feeling happy about the fact you lost your childhood memories. I don't want you to remember those painful dreams anymore. Maybe that Freedom Wing really does exist, you fly off towards freedom without any painful memories at all."
Eren gave him a look at that last sentence. Somehow it sounded rude. But he did not retort back. He felt hurt, not because his friends were hiding the truth from him, but because he couldn't remember his past life anymore. Maybe when he was little, he did wish those crazy nightmares would vanish. Maybe he did wish to forget about all of it.
Until he met 'Levi'. Now Eren wished to know everything, he wished to remember everything. He mistook the meaning of Freedom Wings. In the end, it was just a logo, a symbol and nothing else. It was just a 'hope' for humanity, as Rivaille had said. Knowing the fact that Rivaille still remembered those visions…
Eren bit his bottom lip. Rivaille's wings had been broken; he couldn't fly towards his freedom anymore. He was burdened with those aching feelings over him for who knows how long, as if to atone for something. Eren foggily remembered Rivaille telling him about 'taking a custody' on Eren. He remembered from one of his dreams he saw a desperate looking man, with tears and blood splatters on his cheek. What about that man? What did Rivaille have to atone? Does it have something to do with that man in his dream?
"Can you… leave me alone for now?"
Armin and Mikasa looked at each other before nodding. Both of them slowly walked outside the room, retreating as silently as they could. As soon as their steps went further and further away from the front of his room, Eren released a choked sob.
He wanted to know what had happened in the past. He wanted to know more about what was going on with their relationship. Why was he so attached to Rivaille, and why did the man seem to look at him with that hurt and yet longing gaze whenever their eyes met? Knowing that Rivaille couldn't share those memories anymore with someone who understood him fully, it had to be painful.
That night, Eren cried himself to sleep.
Rivaille's eyes stared at the street ahead of him, mind recalling each scene that happened during the day. He was supposed to be storytelling to Eren about their past as much as he could, yet it was all spoilt. Rivaille stopped the car when the red light lit up. He brought both trembling hands off the steering wheel to rub them across his face. After a few minutes of trying to hopelessly calm himself down, he slammed his fists against the steering wheel. Rivaille's broken gaze turned at the sunset before him; he felt sadness overwhelmingly crushing his heart.
He needed to create a distance… as far as he could for the last few of the months he'd spend in the country.
Okay, I think this chp had enough information for now. O.o'' Anyway, reviews are much appreciated! :D thank you for all the feedbacks~ -hugs all-
Made a lil strip from chp 5 ;D Go here if you want to see, just delete the spaces and [ :
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