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Title: Wings of Freedom
Rating: PG
Prompt: They did not know it was impossible, so they did it. – Mark Twain
Fandom/Series: Shingeki no Kyojin
Word Count: 1889
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights
to the characters belong to their original creator, Hajime Isayama
Summary: On the wings of freedom, we soar. As humanity makes it’s last stand, Captain Levi Ackerman knows that they need never fear the impossible.

Wings Of Freedom 

It was only fitting that the sun was setting as the battle drew to a close, bringing an end to the day’s carnage and the final chapter in humanity’s struggle for survival. He watched as the fiery orb slid further and further down the horizon, extinguishing the last rays of light and along with it, the last embers of hope they harboured.

Turning his eyes to the heavens, he spotted a pair of pigeons taking flight from the ruins of Wall Sina. Possibly out of sheer amusement, the grotesque Titan closest to him swiped its enormous hand at them but thankfully, its sense of direction seemed nowhere as developed as an Abnormal and the two birds continued their flight onwards and upwards to the clouds and…freedom.

The only thing we’re allowed to do is to believe that we won’t regret the choice that we made.

Sliding a hand over the remaining cylinder, he estimated just enough gas for one last attack; two if he could get a clean shot at the first. Meaningless – given there were more than a hundred of them still roaming around the city but if he could go down taking another few dozen of those monsters, he could think of no better way for a man to mark his departure from the world.

Flecks of crimson whipped his cheek as his boots squelched over the bloody ground. Dark shapes littered the corners of every silent alleyway he turned into, some mangled beyond recognition while others still languished beneath the rubble that had crushed them as the Titans swept through the city, turning everything in their path to nothing more than dust and ashes. Every now and then his ears would catch the faint sounds of human life, but he forced himself to keep pressing on. It was too late for them, too late for them all anymore…the voices in his head were growing to a deafening crescendo but he pushed them away.

It sounds like a hopeless plan to me, Erwin.

Just as he always did during those late night strategy councils, the blonde Commander would merely give one of his slightly morbid chuckles; sipping a small glass of the precious oak-matured whisky Levi had gifted him from some of his old contacts in the Underground as he uttered the same rhetoric over and over again. But really Captain, when have our plans ever been hopeful of success?

Yet every time the gates rose and his horse stood to attention, as Erwin delivered yet another rousing speech about how their mission would be a step forward in reclaiming their world and their freedom against the Titans – Levi believed him, wanted to believe him. Erwin hid the doubts and fears he expressed to his second-in-command in the darkness of their midnight meetings. He made every soldier believe that they were a part of humanity’s great crusade and their sacrifice would not be in vain.

He had a gift for that.

So they kept following him, fighting for him, dying for him.

And they kept believing him and his dream – his promise to humanity that one day, they would be free again. Through every lost battle and fallen soldier, Erwin rallied his troops and made them believe again.

Maybe they did not know it was impossible, so they kept doing it.

Was it a lie? A fantasy? A false hope? If you really believed in something impossible, could you turn it into a reality if you tried hard enough or were the hands of fate simply too difficult to turn around? Had Erwin truly believed in his dream of a world outside the walls he would be free to explore or deep down, had he always known it was nothing more than the flicker of light before the candle of humanity burnt out? In these last moments, Levi wasn’t even sure why he was suddenly doubting the man he had vowed early on to follow and trust with his life. But then again, perhaps when faced with mortality maybe every man should be allowed to question and reexamine the things that he may have been too blind to see in life.

Circling the crumbling remains of what had been the Military Police Headquarters, Levi scanned the perimeter for movement but all remained silent and still. Traces of military paraphernalia lay scattered on the ground, battered and torn: a torn jacket, remnants of a 3DMG gear. Not like those pigs had probably even remembered how to use them; such was the insulation their sister garrison had enjoyed within the confines of Wall Sina, far removed from the threat of Titans that constantly lurked outside. The Commanding Officer’s frantic last words had been something along the lines of "How do you use this damn thi..." before the line had been cut. Levi turned away contemptuously.

He froze as he caught a hint of movement from the corner of his eye. Bracing himself, he drew his blade and swung a backhanded slash expertly in the intruder’s direction - only to be met by the clamour of steel against steel.

Levi abruptly stopped as onyx eyes met his own stormy blue, coupled with a flash of red as they both lowered their swords. Heart beating wildly, he resisted the sudden mad urge to rush forward and envelop her in a hug so he just cleared his throat. “So you’re still alive, brat.”

If she felt hurt by the rough callousness of her superior officer’s greeting even on the brink of humanity’s ultimate defeat, she did not give it away. Levi could see the dark red marks congealing slowly on the shimmering metal as she calmly wiped it on the gravelly path. Only Kami knew how many of those abominations she must have killed to make her way out of that ring of hell they had abandoned her squad to. “Where are the others?” he asked with no real conviction.

Mikasa met his gaze again silently, knowing that he already knew the answer. Braus, Kirschtein, Springer... Her mouth crumpled momentarily, before disappearing behind that blank, porcelain mask he had grown so used to seeing over the years but Levi knew better. Just because Mikasa Ackerman was an emotionless killer, that did not make her a heartless one.

“Heichou, the plan?”

Levi pushed up his fringe, which he realised had become sloppy with sweat. Giving her a long, hard look, he exhaled slowly as his chest filled with a renewed sense of relief mingled with...acceptance. “Now that you’re here, I can go ahead with it.” Her eyes flickered with something difficult to describe, but he cut across her before she could open her mouth to protest. “Erwin would have wanted it.” Levi checked his gas cannister casually for the umpteenth time, his sweaty fingers mindlessly running against the cool metal; anything so he wouldn’t have to meet her gaze. His throat was constricting again. “Goodbye, Ackerman.”


He stopped.

“If you ran away now, no one would blame you.”

“Not even you?”

The dark-haired Captain saw the grip on her sword tighten. Without waiting for an answer, he strode forward and grabbed her chin. “We are the members of the Survey Corps, the wings of freedom on which humanity’s hopes fly upon...even if that flight takes me into the path of death. I made that choice a long time ago.”

She was so close, he could feel her hot breath ghosting over his lips. Her eyes were hooded, tired and ringed with shadows from the fighting over the last few nightmarish hours. Yet they continued burning with a blazing fire, that same raging inferno that had fuelled their battles on the field and in his bed for so many nights. As she whispered his name in the dark and he allowed himself to drown in their shared passion, he had foolishly indulged in his dreams of a better future. A future where they could be free of the burdens and hopes that came with being “Humanity’s Strongest Soldiers” and where they would have all the time in the world to make their hopes a reality...

For now, Levi would carry their hopes for a chance at making them a reality.

He released her and starting walking back into the main square of the ruined city. They were closing in on them, and fast. “Ackerman, distract them and draw them towards the eastern side of the perimeter. On my signal, get inside the underground tunnels as fast as you can and whatever you do, do not. Look. Back.”


Levi was sure his eyes stung from the chilling wind, but he kept walking. The scent of blood and unmistakeable Titan flesh was sending his senses into overdrive and a familiar bloodlust was rising in his veins.


He turned back just as she mouthed three words.

A small smile cracked his lips.

He had not known it was impossible, but he had no regrets that they had done it.

Gripping his twin blades with renewed determination, he launched his 3DMG and positioned himself on top of a cracked spire. As the ground trembled behind, the Survey Corps Captain spotted an unmistakeable flash of red dart out below him, followed by a series of crashes as a group of 15m classes hurried in pursuit. “Still not there...” he muttered, his eyes hurriedly scanning the enormous bodies as more and more Titans were drawn to the centre where Mikasa was darting in and out, easily dodging their outstretched hands and gaping mouths. He knew that this game of cat and mouse was more hide and seek for the Girl worth a Hundred Soldiers but his heart involuntarily gave a lurch whenever she wriggled just a second too close from certain death.

As she gradually drew them closer and closer to the eastern side of the perimetre, Levi finally spotted their target. The 17m tall ape-like Titan was currently engaged in combat with a badly injured Eren, who looked on the brink of exhaustion. His right arm was badly mangled and half of his skull had been torn out. Levi fired a red flare in the air. “Ackerman, move!”

Quick as a flash, Mikasa swung herself onto Eren’s nape and cut him free from his Titan shell. The Beast Titan gave a roar of surprise, but Levi was onto him in a second. Spinning furiously, he counted to five to give the two trainees a headstart before directing two vicious slashes at the Titan’s hamstrings in a bid to immobilise him and buy them more time. With a furious howl, Zeke slammed his fist against Levi in a series of ferocious attacks. As he parried the strikes, Levi glanced towards the ground and noted in relief that Mikasa and Eren were nowhere to be seen.

Twisting his body, he leapt behind Zeke and swung his blade downwards, opening up a deep wound on the Titan’s back. As he had hoped, Zeke bellowed in pain, summoning the rest of the Titans to come to his aid. With the last of his gas, Levi launched himself into the air and released the Survey Corps’ final parting gift and Hanji’s best creation into the sea of Titans surrounding him.

“Die, you scum.”

As the capsule exploded, he felt a millisecond of elation before the flames swallowed them all.

On the wings of freedom, we soar. We will never give up.


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