After the calm and reflective mood that had swept over the regiment the previous day, the excitement that usually came with the approach of Christmas returned as many of the scouts prepared to receive civilian visitors, mainly their families whom they would unfortunately be denied the pleasure of spending time with over the festive period.
Feeling bored after breakfast and having nothing to do, you had decided to try and volunteer your services to the kitchen staff to help with setting up refreshments for the visitors which were expected to arrive shortly after lunch.
Unfortunately for you however, your offer was instantly shunned with a long list of excuses as to why you couldn’t...mainly to do with your pregnancy.
“No! Absolutely not!” One of the chefs had shouted in horror. “You can’t be on your feet slaving away over a stove in your condition!”
“You should be resting!” Gasped another. “You’re pregnant!”
“We have enough volunteers thanks, besides Captain Levi would lynch us if he found out we were letting you do any work!”
Eventually you had given up protesting that your mother had managed to help run a bakery up until her eighth month of pregnancy with no problems, simply electing to roll your eyes and walk away before you said something you would probably regret later...something that wouldn’t have been very pleasant.
“Ugh I might be pregnant but that doesn’t mean I’m not capable of filling up a few tea drums or putting out some cups and saucers!” You snorted in annoyance, exiting the mess hall and almost bumping into Eren, Mikasa and Armin.
“Hey f/n what’s wrong?” Questioned Armin with a concerned frown.
“Apparently being pregnant means I’m suddenly incapable of doing any damned work!”
An awkward silence descended over the four of you before you huffed and folded your arms.
“I volunteered to help out with preparing things for when the civilian visitors arrive and got fobbed off with a million different excuses, most of them in reference to my pregnancy.”
“Oh, I see.” Mused Eren, scratching the back of his neck. He wasn’t actually sure what to say in response to that, but he could clearly see you were annoyed by it.
“They’re just trying to look out for you f/n.” Reasoned Mikasa.
“It’s only filling a few tea and coffee drums, oh and a small amount of washing up!” You complained. “It’s not like I’m going to be hauling heavy weights up onto each shoulder and running around the castle with them!”
Eren and Armin looked away, desperately trying to hide their amusement while Mikasa simply stared at you blankly.
“Nothing.” Chuckled Eren, however he soon came to regret it when you narrowed your e/c eyes at him and your lip curled into a brief sneer.
“So what are you guys up to anyway?”
“We’re um...actually on our way to help out the kitchen staff.” Replied Armin worriedly, mentally preparing himself for one of your hormonal rants.
“Oh yeah the titan shifter, the bookworm and the super slayer can help them out, but walls forbid the a pregnant woman should offer to do some damned work!”
“You are on maternity leave, you make the most of it and relax.” Stated Mikasa.
“Isn’t there anything you can do around your private quarters?” Asked Eren, trying to diffuse the situation.
“Not really. I’ve finished my Secret Santa present, Baby Ackerman’s first teddy is also done and everything else has been put away ready for next year...Ugh I’m just so bored of not having anything to do!”
“Try brushing up on your teaching skills ready for your instructor training?” Suggested Armin with a small smile.
“Hmm, maybe...anyway I’m out of here. I might just go see if Hanji wants to have a cup of tea and a chat, Levi’s busy and everyone else is preparing for their families to visit them.”
“Aren’t your parents coming this year?” Questioned Eren, cocking his head to one side and narrowing his emerald eyes.
“No, not this time.” You sighed. “Ever since my mum started doing custom cakes for special occasions business has really taken off, everyone wants her to make them something. Anyway, I’ll see you guys later.”
“Bye f/n.” Said Mikasa evenly.
“Try not to tear the place apart through boredom.” Advised Eren with a grin.
“Yeah, yeah.” You grunted, waving back at them as you walked away.
“Do you think she will be okay?” Quizzed Armin.
“She’ll be fine.” Shrugged Mikasa. “Come on, let’s get going.”
“Any word on the bridesmaids outfits yet?” Questioned Erwin, resting his elbows on the desk and interlinking his fingers, his icy blue eyes staring directly into Hanji’s puppy brown orbs.
“Sadly not, I’ve heard nothing from Mikasa, Sasha or Krista. So I’m assuming that the seamstress hasn’t been in touch with any of them.”
“What do you suggest we do?” She questioned worriedly.
The wedding was due to take place in three days and everything was sorted ready to go.
Everyone had confirmed their attendance, the rings were currently being kept safe in Erwin’s private quarters while the reception and ceremony were to be prepared for on the day.
“F/n’s parent’s will most likely be in the planning stages for the cake now, possibly even starting to make it. We really should inform them of what’s happening, they have a right to know.”
“Yes, I’m well aware of that.” Said Erwin evenly, leaning back in his seat and folding his arms.
“If there is no word from the seamstress by the end of duty today then have a word with the bridesmaids, tell them to message her again.”
“Will do.” She nodded, a frown spreading across her features. “By the way, we need to do something about f/n.”
Erwin raised his bushy eyebrows, indicating that he wanted her to elaborate.
“She was down in the basement yesterday listening to Moblit practicing his piano skills, she outright asked him to play at the wedding next year.”
“I’m failing to see the problem.” Said Erwin, confusion evident in his voice.
“She also happened to sneak up on me when we had the two deliveries intended for the wedding items, I’m sure she thinks there’s something going on!” Stated the bespectacled brunette worriedly.
“She’s voiced this to you?”
“Actually yes, she has. When I had the first delivery she accused me of being cagey because I refused to let her help me check and make sure everything was present and correct, although the second time she didn’t seem too interested thankfully.”
“Do you know if she’s mentioned any of this to Levi?”
“He’s not said anything to me about it.”
“Then we keep calm and carry on with our plans for a Christmas Day wedding, that’s an order.”
“Understood.” She nodded, however she couldn’t fight back the feeling that sooner or later you would uncover everything.
Deciding to take Armin’s advice and go through some of the books you had borrowed from the library to swat up on your teaching skills in preparation for your instructor training commencing in the new year, you returned to your personal quarters.
Before you could put the key in the lock, the smell of someone baking in the nearby officer’s kitchen caught your attention.
“Hmm...I smell cookies!” You curled your lip thoughtfully, sniffing the air and deciding to investigate.
Making your way along the corridors towards the officer’s kitchen you stopped outside the door and reached for the handle, carefully testing its give in case the occupants were planning a surprise for someone and didn’t want to be disturbed.
Upon finding it unlocked you stepped inside and found Mike and Nanaba stood near the main workbench, each of them holding a mixing bowl and vigorously stirring what looked like cake batter while glaring at each other in a competitive manner.
“Hey good looking, what ya cooking?” You giggled, leaning against the door frame, making the pair of them jump.
“What? Oh hello f/n.” Said Nanaba, putting down her bowl and wiping her hands on her apron. “What brings you here?”
“I could smell cookies, so naturally I had to come and steal some.”
“Sorry Pine Scent, they’re not ready yet.” Said Mike evenly.
“Damnit.” You muttered. “By the way Mike, I didn’t get a chance to say thanks for those photographs Hanji gave me yesterday. I’ve sent copies to Mishka on Wallbook she loves them.”
“Good.” He smiled. “You seemed a little down at breakfast yesterday, so I figured you could do with some cheering up.”
“Well I appreciate it, thank you.”
Mike gave you a silent nod before resuming concentrating on his task.
“So does this mean you and Hanji have kissed and made up because she found out you were her Secret Santa for this year?”
“I may have “accidentally” left her Christmas wish list on Wallbook open when I called her to my quarters to give her those photos.” Mike confessed as he flashed you a knowing grin. “So if she wants that limited edition Godzilla poster, which I know is the only one missing from her collection. She’s going to have to start being a little nicer to me isn’t she?”
You laughed and shook your head.
“Wow, you’re terrible Panty Sniffer!”
The tall blonde male simply shrugged, handing Nanaba his mixing bowl and taking hers from her.
“I’m not interrupting a date or anything am I?” You asked, suddenly feeling slightly guilty that this might be the case when he subtly brushed the tips of his fingers against Nanaba’s while giving her the bowl he had been working on.
“No you’re not.” Smiled Nanaba, however a slight blush rose on her usually pale cheeks when she exchanged a quick glance with Mike.
“Okay good.” You nodded, clicking your tongue thoughtfully.
“Just kinda bored.” You replied. “I offered to help the kitchen staff out today since most of the families of our comrades will be visiting today and got turned down flat.”
Mike chuckled and shook his head.
“Don’t let it get to you, they’re only looking out for you.”
“I’m more than capable of doing a few odd jobs here and there.” You complained. “As long as I don’t do any heavy lifting and take a break when needed.”
“So pestering Levi is out of the question then?”
“He seems to be a lot busier than usual too, plus he’s been acting kinda strange lately too.”
“In what way?”
“Well…” You rubbed your stomach when the baby started moving around. “He seems a little moodier and cagier than usual, I dunno whether it’s because Kenny is suddenly back in his life or whether it’s something else.”
“Have you tried asking him about it?” Suggested the blonde squad leader, starting to spoon out the thick cake mix from Mike's bowl into a large baking tin.
“Yeah, I asked him a few times but I just don’t want to push too hard…I dunno maybe it’s just me seeing things that aren’t there.”
“Why don’t you sit down and I’ll make you some tea?” Offered Nanaba. “Those cookies should be ready now.
“You sure I’m allowed to pull my own chair out from under the table?” You smirked sarcastically.
“As long as your waters don’t break!”
You giggled and shook your head, taking a seat at the table opposite the workbench, finally glad to find someone to talk to who wasn’t going to treat you like you were made of porcelain and would probably break if they so much as breathed on you.
Not long after lunch the road leading to the Survey Corps HQ was full of carriages, horses and other civilians walking towards it. Many of them were bearing hand wrapped gifts of varying shapes and sizes to give to their loved ones.
The sentry scouts greeted them at the gates and directed them into the courtyard where several squad leaders took charge of arranging the carriages into a holding pattern before the occupants disembarked and were shown into the castle, before being led towards the mess hall where they would await the arrival of whoever they were coming to see.
To the untrained eye it may have looked rather chaotic, however this was a precisely planned operation that spanned over all three regiments.
The Stationary Guard and Military Police however had a much easier time of it with their headquarters always being placed at the center of the respective districts which they were assigned to and so took much less preparation.
The Survey Corps however, being out in the middle of the open countryside so they could capitalize on their training regimes thanks to the nearby forest and open grasslands that made up their training fields, took longer to organize.
Still, every year they managed to succeed and provided everyone stayed calm, the day would proceed with barely any problems.
“Are you ready?” Questioned Nanaba, her pale blue eyes scanning the mess hall for anything that might have been out of place.
The tables had been cleaned down after lunch, the presents around the tree in the corner tidied up and another table was set aside for the kitchen staff to use for putting refreshments on.
“Just waiting on Mikasa and then you can start letting people in.” Replied the head chef, motioning to the smokey eyed scout who was currently carrying a large tray of cups and saucers over to the table where the tea and coffee drums had been placed to the left of the serving hatch.
“Alright good.” She nodded. “Do you need any more volunteers?”
“No we can manage thank you.”
“All done Squad Leader.” Said Mikasa, placing the tray down and returning to the kitchen.
“Okay, start allowing them in.”
Eren and Armin pulled open the heavy wooden double doors, instantly being greeted by a small crowd of civilians that had already been escorted into the castle.
“Welcome.” Greeted Nanaba evenly. “Help yourselves to some refreshments and find a seat, everyone else will be arriving shortly.”
Levi stared out of his office window at the civilian carriages currently crowding the courtyard, his cold steel eyed glare watching with disinterest.
“So there’s still no word from Ackerman, Lenz or Braus regarding the bridesmaid outfits?” He questioned.
“Sorry Shorty, nothing yet.” Replied Hanji, pushing her glasses back up her nose with her index and middle fingers. “Erwin says if we don’t hear anything by the end trade today then I’m to have a word with them again and tell them to send the seamstress another message.”
“Tch, why wait?” Snorted the raven haired captain. “The wedding is three days away, this needs sorting now!”
“I know, but Erwin clearly said that we should carry on with the preparations as normal.”
Rolling his eyes, Levi finally turned back to face her, silently regarding her with a look that showed his annoyance and contempt for the current predicament all too clearly.
“We can’t give up yet.” She reasoned, meeting his gaze full on. “We’ve come so far and...well okay f/n is starting to become suspicious, but we only have to hold out for another few days.”
Levi clicked his tongue in annoyance, he knew he was taking on a hell of a lot when he chose to bring the wedding forward without informing you first.
Everything was being done at such short notice there was bound to have been something that would go wrong somewhere along the way, but he had hoped it would happen a lot sooner so at least they would’ve had time to rectify the problem.
“Does it really matter if you can’t marry her on Christmas day?” Questioned Hanji, however she soon shot herself in the foot when she was unable to stop herself from making an inappropriate joke. “I mean, it’s not like she was a birthday present to yourself that you could unwrap later on in the evening like last year...if you catch my drift.”
“Aw come on Shorty, you didn’t find that the slightest bit funny?”
Levi narrowed his eyes, a low growl sounding in the pit of his throat as he started to march forward towards the bespectacled brunette.
Yanking her out of her chair by her ponytail, Levi dragged her across the office, opening the door and throwing her out of it a split second later before slamming it closed and locking it behind her.
“I’ll take that as a no then.” She winced, rubbing her sore skull before shrugging it off and making her way back to her laboratory.
With the civilian visitors now seated in the mess hall, the corridors of the castle soon began to fill with scouts of all ages and ranks making their way there.
Many happily chattered away to each other, conversing about who they were hoping had come to visit and what news they had to discuss with them during their stay.
The new recruits who were spending their first ever Christmas away from their families as fully fledged soldiers were the most excited about telling their parents and siblings about the training they had undergone and whose squads they had been assigned to.
Those that had survived their first expedition were also keen to brag of their exploits beyond the walls and there were sure to be many who exaggerated the details to try and impress their relatives, but that was nothing new. They were just happy to be alive and their families would probably be feeling the same.
Upon reaching the mess hall doors, the soldiers filed into the large space and started to eagerly look around, hoping to catch sight of their visitors before it became too crowded.
Once they were seen however, the reunions were truly special to all.
Lovers embraced and shared passionate kisses, many parents cried with joy at seeing their offspring alive and well with all four limbs intact while siblings greeted each other with snide remarks and fist bumps before taking their seats and filling the mess hall with loud conversations and laughter.
Eren, Armin and Mikasa were hard at work helping the kitchen staff fill up extra tea and coffee drums as several people started to make their way over to the refreshments table.
“Are you three alright to cope on your own while we start preparing for evening meal?” Questioned the head chef, glancing over to the crowd gathering on the left of the service hatch.
“We can manage.” Nodded Mikasa.
“Okay good, if you need any help just ask.”
No sooner had they walked away, then a certain bespectacled brunette appeared in front of the serving hatch, a mad glint shining in her puppy brown eyes as she stared intently at the young trio.
“Section Commander Hanji.” Said Eren nervously. “What...what can we do for you?”
“Mikasa, have you heard anything from the seamstress yet?” She questioned in a demanding tone, staring straight at her.
“I haven’t had the chance to check my laptop yet.” She replied calmly, concentrating on her current task.
“Damnit!” Cursed Hanji, her brows furrowing in frustration. “What about Sasha and Krista, have they heard anything?”
“I don’t know, I’ve not seen them since breakfast.”
“Krista went out riding with Ymir this morning.” Said Armin. “Sasha should be here soon though, she has family visiting from Dauper Village today so you might manage to catch her when they leave.”
“We need to know what’s happening regarding your dresses.” Hanji pressed on urgently. “Levi is on the warpath at the moment and he’s only going to get worse the longer we’re left without an answer.”
“Um when you say Captain Levi is on the warpath…” Inquired Eren nervously, not entirely certain he wanted to know how bad things were. He’d been on the receiving end of Levi’s bad moods more times than he cared to remember when his cleaning wasn’t up to scratch, so he didn’t want to imagine the current mood he was in as far as his plans for you were concerned.
“He threw me out of his office for cracking a joke.”
“Is that all?” Questioned Mikasa, knowing full well that this was a regular occurrence and so completely normal even when Levi wasn’t in a bad mood.
“He grabbed me by my hair and literally threw me out of the door.”
Eren and Armin swallowed hard, only Mikasa seemed unfazed by this information, but then again, she would remain calm even in the direst of situations.
The only time she ever seemed to show any signs of fear was when Eren was in danger, then it was all hands on deck to try and calm her down and stop her from doing something stupid.
“Yeah.” Said Hanji sternly. “So I need to be finding out as soon as possible whether she’s been in contact with any of you, otherwise I’m going to need to speak with Commander Erwin about locking Levi up in the basement for a few days to cool him down! Anyway I better go, if you hear anything at all, no matter how minor, let me know.”
“I will.” Nodded Mikasa, barely even batting an eyelid when the titan loving section commander rushed off to try and find Sasha.
“Wow, this surprise wedding plan really isn’t going well is it?” Remarked Eren, folding his arms and leaning against the wall.
“Well there’s still time to pull it off.” Mused Armin.
“Pull what off?” Questioned a familiar voice, making all three of them fall silent and slowly turn to face the source of it…
“Ugh, so bored!” You groaned, throwing your head back over the armrest of the sofa in yours and Levi’s shared quarters.
After lunch you had returned there and decided to try and do some more reading up on teaching techniques, however there was a slight problem.
All of the books you had read through so far stated that the best way to learn how to teach was to actually stand up in front of an audience and conduct a “lesson” to help build up confidence.
You would’ve jumped at the chance to try this out...if you actually had anyone to try this technique out on, at the moment they were all busy.
“Hmm.” You scratched your chin thoughtfully, there might not be anyone around today to help you, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t ask them to help you out tomorrow. That way you could concentrate on studying the parts which emphasized writing lesson plans, it would certainly kill some of the boredom that was currently smothering you.
“Worth a try I guess.” You shrugged, sitting up and reaching for your boots. “Plus it will show Erwin that I’m willing to take this seriously.”
Standing up and straightening your uniform you left your private quarters and headed down to the mess hall, chances were you would still find Eren, Mikasa and Armin in there helping the kitchen staff. They were always willing to help you out when you were in a tight spot so they were to be your first test subjects, you were also pretty sure a few of the new recruits would offer themselves up for a bit of extra tuition too, especially the ones that had high hopes for achieving officer status.
Upon entering the mess hall your eyes widened at how crowded it was, you were surprised that there was even room to move considering how many people were in there.
Looking to your right you saw Sasha sat with her father, talking animatedly about how her hunter’s instincts were coming in handy on expeditions.
A few tables away, Jean was with his mother and father who were visiting from Trost, there were also several other civilians from the nearby Colenith District that you recognized since some of them were traders that provided wares for the other two military branches as well as the Survey Corps.
Turning away to head over to the serving hatch, you were immediately stopped by a certain titan loving section commander almost running into you.
“F/n!” Squealed Hanji excitedly, her puppy brown eyes widening upon seeing you. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m bored out of my skull, so I thought I’d ask around for a few volunteers of my own for a special mission tomorrow.” You grinned, knowing that the words “special mission” would spark her interest.
“Oh do tell!”
“Well, I’m making a start on honing my teaching skills for when I become an instructor, so I’m looking for some test subjects who would be willing to let me conduct a lesson on them.”
“As much as I’d love to help out Sweetie I’m afraid I have important matters of my own to deal with, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty of willing volunteers.” She smiled sincerely and nodded approvingly. “I do wish you the best of luck though, I personally think you’ll be a great instructor.”
“Anyway I gotta run, have fun!”
Making your way over to the serving hatch once more, you noticed Eren, Mikasa and Armin stood near it talking.
They didn’t appear to be occupied with anything at the moment so this was proving to be a perfect opportunity to ask them to help you out.
However just as you were about to speak, you caught the end of a very...interesting conversation.
“Well there’s still time to pull it off.” You heard Armin say in a thoughtful tone of voice.
“Pull what off?” You questioned, folding your arms and leaning in through the hatch, making him jump around in fright.
“F/n!” Gasped Eren worriedly. “How long have you been stood there?”
“About two seconds.” You smiled deviously. “So what are you three plotting?”
“We were just discussing a prank we’re planning to play on Jean, he’s been trying to chat up one of the equine veterinarians.” Said Mikasa, stepping in when Eren and Armin failed to come up with an immediate answer to your question. “We’re going to convince him that she’s finally agreed to a date.”
“Damn that’s a bit harsh isn’t it?” You questioned with a frown. “I know Jean annoys you, but that’s a little savage even by my standards!”
“Yeah well he deserves it!” Snorted Eren, becoming so convincing embroiled in this little lie that he was actually tempted to try and make it actually happen. “We need to work fast though as there is another scout who’s expressed an interest in her.”
“Ah I see.” You giggled. “Anyway, changing the subject. I want to ask you three for a little favour.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“Well as you know, I’m going to be starting instructor training next year when Section Commander Ness retires. I want to try and brush up on a few essential skills before then and I was wondering if I could use you three as test subjects to hone my teaching techniques on.”
“I’m willing to help.” Smiled Armin.
“Count me in.” Nodded Eren.
“I’ll volunteer too.” Said Mikasa solemnly, adjusting her scarf.
“Great.” You smiled enthusiastically. “I’m gonna see if I can rope anyone else in and then I’ll arrange all the details with you on Wallbook later.”
“Sounds good.” Said Eren, glancing over towards the refreshment table after hearing someone complaining that the tea drum was empty, something which you had also noticed.
“I better leave you guys to get back to work then, keep an eye on your inboxes for details.”
“That was not good!” Muttered Eren, waiting until you had walked away before speaking. “She’s coming far too close to finding out about Captain Levi’s plans.”
“Then we’ll just have to be more careful won’t we?” Shrugged Mikasa, picking up a fresh tea drum and leaving the kitchen to take it to the refreshment table.
“Should we warn him?” Asked the emerald eyed titan shifter worriedly.
“No, best not.” Mused Armin. “You heard Hanji, he’s in a foul enough mood as it is because we don’t know if it’s actually going to go ahead yet.”
“Yeah you’re probably right, although I wouldn’t want to be him if she does find out what he’s planning!”
The two young scouts both struggled to suppress a shiver of pure terror at the thought of what you might do if you found out what your fiance was up to behind your back, especially considering that it was your wedding as well...however they could guarantee it certainly wouldn’t end well for the raven haired captain!
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Uh oh, Levi better watch his back, Reader is getting close to discovering everything!
Baby Ackerman's Gender Vote: VOTING CLOSES FRIDAY AT MIDNIGHT!
Baby Ackerman's Gender Vote: VOTING CLOSES FRIDAY AT MIDNIGHT!