When Saturday came, Eren felt a slight change in his sudden gaming routine with Armin. Since that faithful Wednesday, their routine was always: Wake up. End School. Play Games. And when he woke up very late that day, he was just in time for lunch. It wasn’t an ordinary day for him. His system needs the daily drug, his required dosage of playing Shingeki for two hours. And his head was hurting. His vision was blurry as he sat down at the dining room, facing Mikasa who was laying down the placemats, getting ready for lunch.
“Where are mom and dad?” Eren finally talked after consecutive yawns. He was sleepy due to his never ending argument with Annie Leonhart until two in the morning last Friday night which started as a debate on their classes’ role in the upcoming festival. It ended as a personal conversation though. Too personal…
Mikasa sat down on the cushion and passed a bowl of rice towards Eren. “They had to buy cleaning supplies.”
Eren thinks otherwise. “Together?” He receives his bowl warmly as his stomach grumbles quite loudly. “I bet they’re on a date.”
Mikasa splits her wooden chopsticks. “It’s too early.”
After thanking the supreme ruler up there for their food, the not blood-related siblings started eating the food prepared on the table. This time it was Mikasa who cooked. She was taught by Karla to cook basic house dishes at the age of thirteen since the mother thought that when Mikasa grew more, maybe she’d want to live independently. At least, she knows how to cook. But until now, years since that faithful day she was rescued by the police, Mikasa never wanted to part ways with this German family of three.
The perfect wife material—as mentioned by Jean during his frequent visits—prepared roasted pork chops for lunch. And since Eren just woke up, it seems that he has to eat this for brunch, even though his stomach is not prepared for rice so early in the morning.
Eren picks at his food despite being physically hungry. “Don’t you have class today?” He refuses to eat, and so he uses his casual sense of conversation to distract his sister who at times acts like Karla, to the point that Eren feels as if Mikasa was his mother—since she frequently scolds him—even though he is one whole year older…which was very weird as they’re mutual friend say. Mikasa was the younger but she was the more successful and the one who wins in maturity.
Mikasa blows the hot meat at the end of her chopsticks. “I’ll be taking remedial classes tomorrow.”
“Why? Is there something wrong? Are you sick? Is it your time of the month? Mikasa spit it out!” Eren flooded the raven head with questions out of boredom. Whenever it’s just them eating together the atmosphere was always silent. Mikasa doesn’t have much anything to say. She eats. She rises. She goes. But when Karla’s around, the dining room was lively with rants and ramblings, reminders and pointers for Eren, and only Eren, because he was the failure in the family.
“Have you forgotten, Eren? Mom and dad got called to school because of you. Remember the Parent Teacher Conference that Ms. Hanji demanded?” Mikasa raised a brow at him. “It’s today, at 2.”
Eren remembered and he was startled—startled enough to work his chopsticks very fast to eat his food. He picked a piece of meat up, swallowed it without chewing and stuffed the cheeks of his mouth with rice, rice, and rice! He stress eats when he knows he’s in trouble or there was something bothering him.
Bits of white rice started flying over the place when he started opening his mouth. “You’re going to the Conference instead?!”
It was hell indeed. If Karla goes on ranting like a sailor, Grisha goes on, on how disappointed he is…Mikasa was the opposite of all that. She’d be giving his the look of shame and the silent treatment. And it was the worst punishment of all, coming from his little sister. The teachers know her and they might compare her to him again.
“I’m forbidding you to hang out with Armin in the internet café after school.” Mikasa wasn’t even looking at him. It’s like she had a script somewhere hiding in her food. Oh and how did she know that?
Before Eren could swallow all the chunks of food he stuffed in his mouth and say a rather sassy comeback, Mikasa was one step ahead of him. “I have eyes everywhere.”
“You can’t stop me from playing,”
“Yes, I can.”
“No you can’t.” Eren thinks of something smart to say. “I’m older than you.”
Mikasa anticipated this and already recorded a comeback in her head. “I’m in charge. Mom says I’m in charge.” She wasn’t cocky or arrogant. Actually, she still wore her plain serious face, the one without any emotion. It was the face that intimidated Eren. It’s a hard wall to climb. It’s higher than the 50 meter walls in Shingeki no Kyojin, Eren thought.
“No butts until you give me a good reason why I should let you diddle dawdle after school and not focus on your studies.”
This silenced Eren. He knew she was smart and responsible. But convincing Mikasa was the easiest thing to do. And to gain support from her, he had to exercise all his strength. He knew just the thing to do.
“I need to play Shingeki. It’s my life now.” He didn’t let his shrewdness out. He cried out, genuinely. He was a gamer in need of support, of care.
“It’s just a game. Life is different.” Mikasa stands up and puts her dish on the washing area of the kitchen. “Reality check! If you don’t graduate high school how are you going to get a stable job? By just playing some game that can actually danger your life!” Now her tone was serious as hell. Her frail voice was rising. Truly, she was concerned about the future and the well-being of her foster brother.
“Danger? Dude, the naked giants can’t just jump out of the screen and eat my face off! What's the danger in that?”
“Other than sleep paralysis due to a nightmare, the people you play with can be a threat. You don’t know who the others are. They might be criminals who will use you to their advantage. You don’t know this online companionship.”
“I use the local server. Besides, you can try playing if you want.”
Mikasa found this a very convincing act. She wanted to test out this game. She wanted to not because she still finds time to play childish things, but because she needed to. She wants to protect her brother and she’s willing to put herself out there to prove that it’s dangerous to trust.
Mikasa was getting out of a cab she took from the train station to their house after her afternoon appointment with Eren’s adviser, Hanji Zoe—who also holds a high position in the Ackerman Corporation. The talk was short. Hanji straightforwardly mentioned Eren’s usual antics during class, during break time, and after class hours within the school premises which were inappropriate. His tardy record was also another story. Though, the talk about Eren was not the reason why she took long in Hanji’s office. They bump into each other from time to time in the office.
Mikasa nodded and understood the racket Eren has done throughout the semester. “He really hasn’t change throughout his years in this school, huh?” She sighs. “I’m truly sorry for my brother. Thank you for notifying us.” Mikasa was about to stand and leave when Hanji grabbed her by the wrist.
“Hey,” Hanji pouts. “I was expecting for Grisha and Karla to come so I thought this appointment would end soon. But, it’s you!” Mikasa has memorized the phrase Hanji was aobut to say. She’d always say this every time they meet unexpectedly.
“It’s me, you favorite student?” Mikasa continuous Hanji’s unfinished sentence, poker-faced.
Hanji claps her hands. “Yes, my favorite student! I remember you being the top of your class when I taught you. Everybody else failed…”
“But I didn’t?” She knew her former teacher too well.
Hanji punched the air upward using her right hand with a bright smile on her face. “Yeah!”
Mikasa was about to turn to leave but Hanji dashes from behind her desk to block the raven-head’s way.
“Wait… let’s talk first.”
Mikasa sighs. “About what, Ms. Zoe?”
Hanji pouts again. “Aw, don’t call me that. We’re workmates. Call me by my first name. And, I always wanted to talk to you about work. I mean, you’re close with Levi. He’s my little brother, literally, and I haven’t been around the office lately to see what he’s up to.” Hanji Zoe was the adopted child of Levi Ackerman’s father. She was older and more ambitious. The only thing that kept Hanji from inheriting the corporation in the future was her immense love for learning and teaching. Their father gave her W.A. as a birthday present.
“Hanji, we’re not close.” Mikasa corrected, a frown forming on her lips. She’d always ask why people think they’re close. “I only work close to him. He doesn’t even talk to me unless he needs to scold me for messing something up or give orders.”
“Well I just want you to observe him, okay? I heard he’s always on his laptop or pc.” Hanji frowned too, concerned. “Levi is getting ignorant. I also heard him type nonstop during midnight.”
“I’m sorry but his personal life does not concern me.” Mikasa abruptly exclaimed, pushing through Hanji and leaving the room.
She hated the midget with all her heart.
She’s used to the spotlight and the recognition without being prideful, but Levi Ackerman was the only person who made her feel so low.
Mikasa doesn’t bother to get her house key and merely presses the doorbell outside of their gate before going in. she stood by the door, patiently waiting for her mischievous brother to answer it. After a few minutes of silence from within, she knocks.
Not a soul to be found.
She knocks again, this time, with force applied on the wooden door.
Eren does not answer.
She was already pissed because of the Levi-talk and now Eren was being a brat again. She takes out her key, opens the door, goes upstairs with the inhuman speed she acquires when she’s mad and knocks the hell out of Eren’s door.
Surprisingly, the green door was open.
She does not hesitate to open it fully despite the handwritten sign hanging on the door, Do not Disturb, only to see Eren on his bed fiddling with her laptop again.
He lay on his belly as her laptop was placed at the foot of the bed. Gigantic grey headphones were placed on his head, connected the laptop.
“So this is why you didn’t open the door for me?!” Mikasa intended to modulate her voice making it sound stern yet calm; instead it came out as a scream. She was boiling with irritation, her veins were popping. Her eyebrows were twitching and her lips were quivering with anger. It was a moment she showed most emotion.
The brunet heard her muffled voice through the think headphones. When he turned to face her, he yelped in shock, taking off his headphones and throwing them away. “M-Mikasa…I didn’t think you’d be home so soon!” It looks like his attempts to change the subject failed when Mikasa kicked a part of the wall.
“I went home from a meeting with your adviser on how you perform in school! And I go home, tired, with no one to open the door. And you’re just here, playing?!”
Eren shifted nervously on his bed. “Well…I didn’t hear you…”
Mikasa unplugged his headphones from her laptop and snatched everything away from the brunet’s grasp. “Yeah, and you shouldn’t have been messing with someone else’s laptop without their permission!” After that, she stormed out of the room with the laptop with Eren’s unfinished game inside of it.
Mikasa went in her room which was a bathroom away from Eren’s and locked the door in frustration. She did not want to talk to anyone as of the moment. “Damn…” She set her laptop on her study desk and purposely fell on her queen-sized bed. “I shouldn’t have shouted Eren like that.” Guilt was eating her.
Eren was an unpleasant child while growing up but he was still older than her. He was the older brother she always looked up to. When she was bullied about being adopted during their elementary days, he’d always be there to beat up those bad bullies and Mikasa would laugh at their pain. She shouldn’t have done that.
Standing up, she proceeded to her desk, sad on the wooden stool under it and opened her laptop to see if he messed up some files about work or school. “But I can’t believe I wasted one day of class for that.”
All her files were present. There were no corrupted documents whatsoever. The only thing suspicious was the incognito tab in her web browser. “What’s this?” Without hesitation, Mikasa opened Eren’s live game, a new world waiting for her.
She never knew that, that would be the last normal day of her life.
Mikasa glided in the air from the rooftops of the ruins of Shiganshina with ease, lots of air releasing from her gas tank. A notice appeared on the upper left portion of the screen. 15-meter class, spotted.
It was an abnormal titan coming her way at a fast pace. Mikasa ran on the brown rooftop then took hold of a tall pole with her maneuver gear, swinging towards the titan. She catches it by the neck then punctures both of her sharpened swords deeply into its nape. Two big cuts appear and then bright red liquid realistically oozes out the wounds. The titan turns into fine dust and vanishes completely.
The words ‘TOP NEW SCORE’ appeared on the screen in bold golden letters. It was the fourteenth time Mikasa broke her record tonight. She started playing in Eren account around 4pm.
Eventually after being curious she got engrossed in the game. From the graphics, to the story plotline everything was so surreal to her. It was also fascinating that the customizations of characters were so intricate that they can possible be real people.
After winning Eren’s AngryGermanKid character a few awards, she created her own account and started playing in the same server. After one hour of scouting, she forced herself to let the next one be the last time she scouts for the night. But, when she gets too comfortable in her cushioned stool, she loses track of her scouts and scores.
“Noooooo!!!!” She shouts at her laptop as another player advanced in front of her character, attempt killing a 17-meter class titan in their lane.
Unfortunately, the caramel-haired character named, Hana-Banana, got caught in the titan’s grasp and was soon eaten fully.
Mikasa smirked at her comrade’s slip up as she took the opportunity to slay the monster since it was distracted with the taste of the sight of blood. The moment the titan vanished, the air around it turned into coins which Mikasa collected.
This happened match after match. She did not move from her seat. The only breaks she took were for dinner and when she had to go to the bathroom. Somehow the concept of winning pushed her to stay up all night.
Mikasa Ackerman found a whole new world.