Annie Leonhard was the sort of girl who was insanely popular, but didn’t really look like she fit the role. Everyone who was anyone knew her at Sina High, but Annie herself never went out of her way to prove her popularity. Some guessed it was her looks—striking, bold, sharp angles and cheekbones. Her eyes were like razor blades ready to slice into waiting hearts. Her personality wasn’t that great either. She was grumpy most of the time, but if there was one thing Mikasa had learnt since transferring to Sina a year ago, was that Annie had one of the biggest hearts she had ever seen.
Annie liked to look like she didn’t care, but truthfully, she cared more deeply than anyone.
Annie herself didn’t even know when she’d become the school’s most popular girl. Scrap that, most popular person, period. Was it her attitude? Her glare? Who the fuck knew. Mikasa didn’t. It was probably the rugby.
Annie Leonhard was fucking tiny.
She was built like a fucking Chihuahua on steroids. When Mikasa had first been told to attend one of Sina’s games and watch their star rugby player, she at first hadn’t been able to believe her eyes.
“Who let a child on the field?!” she’d asked, flabbergasted. Her new friends had all proceeded to hose themselves laughing.
“Dude,” Ymir had snorted, face purple. “Don’t ever let Annie hear you say something like that. She’d kill you.”
“Yeah. She’d rip your boobs off with her bare hands,” Historia had agreed. Mikasa had been both shocked by their admission that Annie was not, in fact, a young child let loose during a rugby game, and also by the crude manner in which Historia, a petite, dainty little thing, spoke. It was in complete contrast to her looks. Mikasa needed to not judge people on their looks, seriously.
So after that first game, Mikasa had grown a little curious. With each game Mikasa found herself sitting there in the crowd, a book on her lap. She hated rugby, to be honest. Knew the rules, but thought watching people chase after a ball was boring. Clearly the school loved it, though. The passion on the pavilion was quite staggering.
So it was quite apparent that Annie had a fan-base. More specifically, a pack of fangirls. They watched each game, hanging as close to the field as they could, screaming and waving their arms. Sometimes Annie would shoot them a wave or a smile or a wink, but other times she just ignored them. Mikasa learnt that these instances were dependant on Annie’s mood. She would deny it if you told her that she was obsessed enough to have figured out the way Annie’s moods worked (she wasn’t).
Fast forward a couple months and the two of them finally met in person for the first time. Mikasa had known that Ymir was friends with Annie, but Annie being, well, Jesus to the kids at this school, they’d hardly ever seen her. Ymir claimed to hang out with her after school, and Historia claimed that they texted often. Mikasa had been content thinking they would never cross paths. Annie fascinated her, but also frightened her.
Because she was definitely developing a crush on her. From nothing but staring at her tiny, muscled body running across the field. From nothing but hearing raunchy rumours of all Annie’s girlfriends to her skipping class and somehow still passing. Mikasa wanted to know her, but she also knew that would take a lot of effort. She preferred staying in the shadows and reading her book.
But then they met, and Annie was really everything and nothing the rumours and whispers had said. It hadn’t been planned, really. Mikasa was sitting with her group, as per usual, and Ymir had been droning on about some weird porno she had seen (Historia pointedly ignoring her through the whole speech), when something warm suddenly dropped onto her lap and Mikasa glanced down. Piercing blue eyes stared up at her.
“You’re new,” Annie had said simply. “Hi.”
Ymir continued yammering. Mikasa’s face started to burn. She tried to return the greeting, but croaked like a moron, had to clear her throat, and ran a hand through her short hair to somewhat hide her embarrassment.
God, Annie was so beautiful this close up. Much more than she’d imagined.
“Hey,” she finally greeted, the pinnacle of awkwardness. Annie didn’t seem disturbed though. If anything, she was amused, and that was worse.
“Annie,” she said.
Mikasa shut her book and set it aside. “I know your name.”
“Of course you do.”
She avoided looking into Annie’s eyes again. It was warm where they were pressed together. Annie turned onto her side, pressing her forehead against Mikasa’s stomach—she totally did not make an inhuman noise in her throat in response—and then let out a sigh.
“Um, Annie, you… you’re kind of…” She couldn’t finish the sentence. She hated how her nerves were getting the best of her. Mikasa Ackerman did not stutter. She did not blush.
But fuck, she surely did now.
“Just relax,” Annie mumbled sleepily. “Your lap is really comfy. Lemme sleep?”
She didn’t seem at all the strong, imposing person Mikasa had built in her head. She was unsure how to sit there the rest of their lunch, with Annie’s warm breaths bathing the tingling skin of her stomach, but how could she say no? So she didn’t. She retrieved her book, opened it up and used Annie’s shoulder to keep her hand up. Annie didn’t mind. Before long she was breathing softly, clearly asleep, and Mikasa tried her damn hardest to focus on the words on the page, but all she could think about was how warm Annie was, how nice she smelt and how hot her breaths were.
It took Ymir until the end of lunch to realize Annie had joined them (and she had been quite offended that Annie had chosen to nap instead of converse with her).
Their relationship was complicated after that. It was like, since Annie had napped on her, there were no boundaries between them. Mikasa didn’t usually let people touch her so easily, or talk to her so easily, or anything, really. She was a private person, and to an extent she could be shy. She had no trouble saying what was on her mind when the right time called for it. But Annie made her tongue tied and jelly brained.
She started to bump into Annie everywhere after that. It took a while to realize that Annie was purposefully seeking her out. It took Ymir’s keen observation—and snide remarks—for the nail to hit the mark. Annie had blushed for the first time then, and Mikasa had realized that she was most definitely in love.
After school that day Mikasa paused by the school entrance, where Annie waited.
“Hey you,” she greeted softly, shutting her book. “Are you going to beat me up?”
Annie rolled her eyes, but her lips twitched. “I am not a violent person.”
“Tell that to the guys you keep flipping over your shoulder.”
She gave a long suffering sigh. “They think they can just touch me whenever they want because we’re in the popular crowd.”
Mikasa slipped her book into her bag. She could sense Annie wanted to talk about something, and when Annie was like this, she needed all of Mikasa’s focus. Mikasa also just enjoyed listening to her. Annie was the sort of person that deserved it.
As expected, Annie shifted her eyes to the floor and shoved her hands into her hoody pockets. She bit down on her lip while Mikasa watched, heart pounding.
“There’s something I want to tell you,” she said.
Mikasa smiled. “I know.”
Annie lifted her head to stare at her. No matter how often they spoke or hung out, or how close Mikasa thought they were, just one chilling glare from Annie could send her running in the opposite direction. It was unnerving. Mikasa felt like the next victim in some crime drama. But her heart also skipped a beat, because she had never seen Annie look so nervous before.
“Whatever it is,” Mikasa told her, reaching out to grip the edge of her hoody by the elbow, “you can tell me.”
Annie snorted. “Miss goody.”
“Don’t be mean. I’m a friend.”
The word caused a strange reaction. Annie’s face darkened and her brows drew together. “Look…” She stepped away, making Mikasa’s arm drop, and inhaled deeply. Almost like she needed to calm herself. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now. Actually, since day one. And it’s all I can think about. And I just think… you should know, because… well…” She pulled her hands out of her pockets and waved them around, as if Mikasa would somehow guess what she wasn’t able to verbally convey.
Mikasa tilted her head to the side. “I’m not sure I follow.”
Annie closed her eyes and pressed her face into her hand. “Of course. This is such a mess. I promised myself I’d just tell you, but I…”
She straightened suddenly. Mikasa was all colours of concerned and confused, trying to figure out what Annie was attempting to tell her, but then Annie suddenly surged forward, grabbed the front of her shirt and tugged her down.
Mikasa really did love their difference in height.
Their lips touched firmly, and electricity sparkled along her skin. She heard herself gasp and Annie inhale, and then those lips were gone and her eyes fluttered open and Annie was staring at her, open and vulnerable and scared.
“Oh,” Mikasa blurted.
Annie narrowed her eyes. “’Oh’? I just kiss you, and all you have to say is ‘oh’?”
Mikasa let a slow, purposeful smirk take her lips. “What, did you think I’d fall to my knees and kiss your feet?”
Annie’s face darkened with pink—ether anger or embarrassment, or both. “No, I just—”
Mikasa bent down and kissed her again, interrupting her flurry of nervous, irritated words. No words were needed. Their kisses were more than enough. She didn’t let Annie pull away too soon again, and ran the tip of her tongue along her bottom lip. Annie’s mouth opened, and then their tongues brushed together and Mikasa’s lower back tingled, and she lost her hands in Annie’s soft blonde hair. When they eventually pulled apart, their cheeks were pink.
“I think I’m in love with you,” Mikasa said first, unflinching. Inside she felt terrified and giddy at the same time, but outwardly she knew she was as calm as a clam.
Annie’s eyes widened comically. Mikasa had never seen such an expression on her before. “What?”
She nervously took Annie’s hand and gave it a light squeeze. “You heard me.”
Annie inhaled. “You’re in love with me?”
“You, Mikasa, with me, Annie?”
Mikasa started laughing. Instead of getting irritated with her, like Mikasa would have expected, Annie only watched her with an odd expression of surprise and awe. “Did you really think I wouldn’t feel the same way?” Mikasa asked her. “You… well, you’re amazing.”
Annie shook her head. “You’re beautiful, Mikasa.” She looked away, the tops of her cheeks colouring darker. “I really mean it. Not just physically—which you are, no lie there—but you’re just… you’re not perfect. So far from it. You have this stoic look on your face all the time, and people are afraid to approach you because of it. But you’re so soft and gentle underneath all that muscle and intimidation. You care so much. I think I fell in love that very first day.”
Mikasa felt like she was floating on clouds. “When you napped on my lap?”
Annie shook her head. “No, when you came to watch my first game.”
She took in a sudden breath. “Wait, that far back?”
Annie shrugged. “I’m really fucking gay. You’re a girl. A really, really beautiful girl. Us gays notice pretty girls.”
Mikasa snorted on her laughter. “You’re such a dork, Annie. No one would believe me if I told them.”
“Good. They need to think I’m Jesus.”
Mikasa rolled her eyes. She still had Annie’s hand in hers, so she pulled her closer and leaned down to kiss her again. The afternoon sun beat down on them even in the shade, but everything about the moment was perfect. Annie’s lips tasted like Annie, and Mikasa never wanted to taste anything else.
“So who’s going to break it to the world that the great and popular Annie Leonhard is dating a nobody like me?”
Annie squeezed her hand, grinning. She scoffed. “Let’s kiss in the busy hallway. Give everyone something to gossip about for days.”
Mikasa shook her head. “You’re awful.”
Annie grinned at her. “Yeah, but you love me anyway.”
There was absolutely no reason to disagree.