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“Do you soldiers ever have like a day off?”

Your voice is a low disturbance in the otherwise very quiet room. There’s hardly any noise coming in from outside, even if it’s the busy evening hours. The lowering sun throws a shady, deep orange in the room.

You sit up to stretch your back. The sheets are soft on your skin and they smell like citrus, it’s something you’re not really used to –– sleeping in beds in general. You work as a nurse and most of the times, whenever time allows you to, you take quick naps in the next free chair you can find.

You love your job, you love helping people and offering aid, but nurses and doctors are rare and extremely hard to find, especially around this area. The government already offered you a lot of money multiple times, offering you a comfortable life and safety in the centre of the walls, where they have, comparatively, more doctors and nurses than necessary. And while the money certainly is tempting, you could never abandon Trost and its people like that.

“Do you have days off?” Hange counters without looking up from her papers, an amused tone hidden in her voice. The orange light of the sunset shining through the window lights up her entire body and her skin looks like melted caramel, covered in a faint layer of sweat. There are rosy scars and brownish marks scattered over her body, signs of her fights as a soldier, the deep cuts of blades and the carved-in imprints of her Maneuver-Gear.

She’s got her glasses on her head, holding back some dark strands of hair while the rest sinks all over her back. It’s rare to see her with open hair.

Earlier, she spread some papers all over the white sheets and she’s sunken in them completely, rethinking about their plans and tactics.

You scoff. “I’m a nurse. There’s no time for a day off.” – “Today’s the expectation that proves the rule?”, Hange grins without looking up to you. And yes, today is the expectation that proves the rule. There is a break of illnesses and accidents at the moment, less people are pouring into the hospital and you decided to use that little shimmer of time for good. You’re tired and worn out, despite loving your job with all your heart, and the constant night shifts and double shifts are taking their price, finally, making your muscles stiff and your body heavier than usual.

So you sink back into the sheets, pulling the blanket up to your chin without disturbing Hange’s paper jungle, and you sigh deeply. “Mhmmm”, you hum affirmatively. You close your eyes, ready to dig into the sweet embrace of sleep – or rather, unconsciousness, in your case.

You feel her eyes on you but you refuse to look back, too appealing is the idea of just sleeping and dreaming but it’s hard to not stare back into her eyes – those deep, brown eyes with so much knowledge hidden behind them. Sometimes their color changes into something more, depending on how the light falls, and her eyes look like fluid gold, or glowing autumn leaves, or raging wildfires, and each and every impression takes your breath away, quite literally sometimes.

You hear her shoving the papers aside and you open one eye because curiosity got the best of you again but she’s just sorting them.

“You know, working in the interior of the walls would give you better working days”, she says, a little out of context and it’s the first time ever she says anything positive about all those job offers.

You open both your eyes now and you stare at her in silence for a few seconds before shaking your head. “No. I love my job because it’s here, as exhausting it is sometimes. Any other place wouldn’t be the same.”

You stretch once more, trying to get the tiredness out of your body, but your eyes fall shut again. Hange remains silent, knowing very well that there’s no way you’d ever accept any of those offers. Instead, she sighs deeply and her fingers sort through the papers. “So much to work on…”, she mutters, more to herself than to you and you open your eyes again, incited by the tone she spoke in. You turn onto your belly, moving over, closer. Your hand climbs on her lower back, your fingers stroking faintly over her skin. You lean over her shoulder.

“It’s for the next expedition?” – “Yeah”, Hange nods and yawns. “We’re going in three. About to finish one of the outposts.” She sinks a little deeper into the sheets, pressed down by your fingers pressing down gently on her skin. “Mhm. Be careful out there”, you say, like every single time you talk about an upcoming expedition. You know that she’ll be safe, being the damn good soldier she is, but you can’t help but worry and whenever your colleagues and you await at the wall for them to come back, you’re hoping that she’s not with the injured and especially not with the dead.

So far, you’ve always spotted her on her horse surrounded by her squad each and every single time and you’re hoping, no, praying to all the Gods you know the names of, that it stays like that. You know there’s no need to worry – no matter how carefree Hange looks, she’d never get herself killed before knowing all there is to know.

“Maybe we’ll capture one”, Hange says and her eyes glow up in anticipation, glowing all dark and heavy. “Erwin said I could bring one with me if we get that outpost standing”, she adds and there’s an almost sinister atmosphere lingering in her voice while she speaks.

“Just make sure it doesn’t go wild on all the people”, you mutter, too distracted by the way her hair flutters over her back. “Safety’s tight”, she replies, “I don’t think he’d actually let me bring a Titan in the walls.” She sounds pouty at the end of her sentence. “Gotta do my work on the outside, then”, she adds, and she then turns around, pressing her back into the sheets and she looks up to you hovering over her.

There it is again – her brown eyes flashing like gold, deep and endless, the very same sparkle she holds for her inexhaustible thirst for knowledge about those damn Titans, the very same sparkle you fell in love with.

Her fingers wraps around your wrist before you manage to touch her skin, intending to continue to draw random symbols on her skin, like you did on her lower back earlier. You stop in your movement and your eyes flatter up to hers and, god, she’s all you can take. You stare at her from under heavy eyelids, partly tired, partly aroused, and there’s silence between you.

Those moments are rare – you hardly even see each other properly because you are always working and well, she’s a soldier and always on the move, always busy with military-stuff you don’t understand.

These rare evenings when there’s only the two of you, when there’s no need for rushed kisses in the shadows or inconspicuous touching while others are around, those are the evenings you’re living for.

“You should sleep”, she says, a faint smile on her lips softening her facial structures. “I can sleep later”, you respond, suddenly not tired anymore and she laughs. “Sure.” – “I don’t want to waste our time with sleeping”, your murmur and she shakes her head in amusement.

“We’ve got all the time in the world.”