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Stranger in the Walls

Chapter Text

"That would be all. Good day, Smith."

The words echoes through Erwin's head as he blankly stared out the window. Put on a two month leave after his plane malfunctioned and nearly killed him, he decided to visit his father in his childhood home. It wasn't like he had anywhere else to stay, anyway.

Coming out of his daydreaming when the train stopped at the station, he quietly waited for the others to exit first, taking his time with his things. Carrying his bags of belongings on his back, Erwin was the last to leave the train, happy to find there wasn't a crowd at the station. 

Deciding to go by the bakery on the way home, Erwin purchased a bienenstich to share with his father. It had been months since they had seen one another, and it had become a sort of ritual to share dessert when he came home. 

Walking through the streets towards home, Erwin gazed at the stars from time to time. He couldn't recall the last time he'd looked at the night sky. The blond made a mental note to take time to enjoy the small things when he could. 

Feeling his heart skip a beat when his childhood home came to view, he crossed the bridge as he approached. The sound of rushing water, the smell of the white lotus flowers, the leaves crunching beneath him were complete bliss to him as he fought the smile on his lips. Walking as quickly as he could towards the house, he was sliding a hand along the fence in no time.

Unlocking the gate quietly, Erwin watched the windows of the home. His father seemed to be reading a book in the living room, making the blond chuckle. No matter what, he always had that same image of his father always had a book in most of Erwin's memories of him.

Brow furrowing for a moment, he realized his father seemed to be talking to someone. Figuring there were visitors or his father simple talking to himself, Erwin closed and locked the gate as quietly as it was opened. 

Walking up the walkway and onto the porch, Erwin gently knocked on the door, taking a moment to tidy his appearance. Waiting longer than usual for the door to open, he bit his lip, curious as to what was happening inside. 

Door opening before he decided to get too nosy, Erwin's eyes met those of his father's, whose features lit it upon seeing his child. Seeming relieved, Erwin didn't complain when his father pulled him into a hug, ignoring the pain from his bruised back.

"There you are, my boy! I've been worried about you," Augustine spoke, excitement in his voice, "I've been meaning to ask when the next visit would be."

"There's were some...well, complications, and they've put me on leave for the next two months," Erwin explained, handing the cake to his father while he adjusted the bags in his arms. 

"Well then, come in and settle back in! Tell me all about it," Augustine responded loudly, making the younger blond smile. His father seemed excited about the surprise visit, something he should try to do more often. 

Heading towards his room upstairs, Erwin was interrupted by his father. "Why are you on leave, specifically?"

Sighing bitterly, the younger male responded, "We were out on routine flights when a lose nail and lodged into the engine. My plane went down, but I was lucky enough to have a parachute. I have some injuries; major bruising. Nothing serious, but they put me off for safety reasons"

"My, that could have gone very wrong..." Augustine replied, worried as looking at Erwin while he scratched his beard, "I'm happy you've come home safe and sound," he beamed, happy for his child's safety.

Unsure how to respond, Erwin simply nodded. Turning back towards the stairs, he began going up, telling his father he'd be down for a meal after he had cleaned up. 

Dropping the bags of belonging at the foot of the bed, Erwin sat down, lazily pulling his boots off. Setting them aside, he began undressing, hanging his uniform in his wardrobe while he hummed to himself. Walking out of the room towards the restroom, he noticed the books on the shelves weren't in order. 

Arranging them quickly, he sighed quietly, smiling in thought. He didn't mind his father reading his books, just as long as they were reorganised afterwards. 

Walking down the hall towards the bathroom, Erwin found himself humming. It was simple, not any song in particular, but he decided he liked the pleasant tune. 

Closing the door behind him, Erwin let the water heat up while he undressed his remaining garments. Stepping into the hot water, he groaned as the warmth soothed his aching muscles. Taking his time to enjoy his first warm shower in months, Erwin became suddenly aware of how tense his body felt. Massaging the soreness away from wherever was stiff, he groaned to himself as his body began relaxing.

"I made you some dinner," Augustine turned to Erwin as he walked through the doorway, drying his wet hair in the towel around his shoulders. 

"Thank you," he responded, putting the damp towel on the back of a chair. Sitting across from one another, they exchanged simple small talk. Speaking of their time while apart, simple politics, and even plans about what they could do while Erwin was home, the younger blond set his plate in the sink as he washed it. 

Setting the plate on the rack to dry, Erwin nearly dropped it when a loud thump was heard upstairs. Looking back at his father, he was simply met by nonchalance. 

"Rats in the attic. Don't go up, there's traps. I don't want you getting rabies from those vermin," Augustine responded calmly, sipping from his cup of tea while he brought more plates to the table for the cake. 

"Alright....must have been a huge rat," Erwin responded quietly, looking overhead. 

"About the size of opossums, they are. They'll be taken care of. Grab some silverware, won't you?"

Reaching into the drawer and grabbing two forks and a knife, Erwin went back to sitting at the table. 

"Any ladies, yet?" Augustine asked suddenly, handing Erwin a slice of cake. 

Smiling, Erwin ignored the sly look on his father's face. Cheeks suddenly warm, he replied honestly, "No. I've been too worried about work to worry about women."

Setting the plate on the table, they shared the dessert in a comfortable silence. 

Cleaning the plates after they finished breakfast, Erwin watched his father leave the room with a, "be right back." Glancing to the clock, he realized it was eleven. Letting his father get ready for bed, he wiped down the table while he planned what to make for breakfast; if he was the first to wake up, that is.

Putting the towel in the laundry room before he walked up the stairs, Erwin went to tell his father goodnight. Finding him closing the door to the office, Erwin walked down the hall to him, a hand running along the banister. 

"Wanted to say goodnight before I go the bed."

Smiling, Augustine nodded, hugging Erwin, "Well, Goodnight. I hope you sleep well, my boy."

"You too, Dad. Goodnight."

Walking down the hall to his room, Erwin closed the door behind him. Closing the blinds, he changed into loose pajama pants and a white t-shirt. Sitting on the bed as he put some socks on in the darkness, he froze, looking around. 

Getting the sudden sensation that he was being watched, it passed as soon as he took note of it. Sighing and rubbing his heavy eyes, Erwin pulled the covers over his form as he laid down. Almost instantly comfortable in an actual bed, it didn't take long until his gentle snores filled the room. 

"I can't have you slipping up like that. He's apart of the military. Luftwaffe. He can't know you're here," Augustine whispered, handing the girl a glass of water. 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it. The cup just-fell," she responded, cherishing the cold drink. 

Silence. That same damned silence again. Looking up, her eyes met his. There it was again, that pity. If she could do something about her situation, she would; but she  simply couldn't. Instead, here she is, being hidden by such a kind man.

Why did she have to drag him into this? Put him in so much danger? How long would this even last?

"He'll be home for two months. It's been three. We can get through this, (Y/n)," Augustine spoke quietly, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. 

Nodding, she set the cup on a blanket covering the dusty floor. Biting her lips, they sat in silence again. 

"I should get to bed before he gets suspicious. I'll try to run by the book store tomorrow, get you something to read. I'll leave the newspaper on the desk in my room, make sure you put it back," he told her, ruffling (Y/n)'s hair. 

Pausing before he closed the crawlspace, their eyes met, "I'll go by the mail tomorrow as well. See if I can get a letter from your brother. Hopefully we can resp-" 

Listening to the sound of someone walking up the stairs, they looked at one another again, exchanging a quiet goodnight as (Y/n) stood and quietly walked through the crawlspace, leaving Augustine to close the panel. 

Finally finding her bed in the maze of space in the walls, she sat on it as quietly as she could. Sighing silently, (Y/n) looked through a crack in the wall. From the inside of the room, the crack was partially hidden by furniture, but in the crawlspace, you could see almost everything out of it. 

(Y/n) saw a handsome young man, one that simply looked exhausted in her opinion. He had to have been Augustine's son. Looking away as he got dressed, she glanced back, finding him sitting on the edge of his bed, putting on socks. 

Wishing that she could simply come out and talk to him, the daydreams were cut short when he froze. Pulling away from the crack, she laid back in bed, pulling the blanket over her body carefully. Staring up at the ceiling as she listened to him getting settled in bed, (Y/n) became suddenly aware of how lonely she really was. 

Finding herself smiling when his gentle snoring met her ears, she couldn't help but steal another look at him. 

(Y/n) could see his face, the exhaustion missing from his gentle features as he faced the wall. Wishing that she would have the chance to talk to someone, anyone like him, she found herself mentally berating herself. 

Looking away and facing the other way, (Y/n) found herself lost in her own doubt once more. She looked around the dusty, dark room. It looked how she felt. Accepting that she would more than likely never be allowed to have a normal life like the man on the other side of the wall, she didn't fight the tears that escaped her eyes. 

This was how it usually went, crying herself to sleep. (Y/n) simply let them escape, keeping in mind her volume so she wouldn't wake Augustine's son. 

Holding the blanket closely, (Y/n) laid in a ball in the center of the bed. The only comfort she found was his snoring. She hadn't had that sort of comfort in almost two years. Always fearing the night, she decided to cherish it while she would be able to.

Sighing to herself, she pulled the the blanket even closer, closing her eyes as she tried to fall asleep. 

Chapter Text

Sitting up in bed, (Y/n) rubbed her eyes with her sleeves, yawning quietly. Rubbing a cheek when her jaw popped uncomfortably, she froze when springs on the other side of the wall shifted. Deciding to risk a peek through the crack once more, the girl looked through. 

There he was, messy hair and shirt riding up as he laid in bed, staring at the ceiling. Looking away from him when she saw his torso, she bit her lip; it was probably the most she'd seen of a man, if (Y/n) was to be honest with herself. Pulling her knees to her chest, the girl looked up at the beams supporting the ceiling.

Staring at nothing in particular, she listened to him as he got out of bed. The main thing that drew her attention was his humming. It wasn't anything familiar to her, but it was pleasant, a comforting tune.

Disappointed when he left the room, (Y/n) ran her hands along her socks. Her eyes wandered along the floor. There was paint on the floorboards, where ever didn't creak. Augustine promised he'd be replacing it soon, which was apparently going to be delayed for an obvious issue. 

An issue that she heard getting in the shower. He hadn't even been home for twelve hours and he's been in the shower twice. (Y/n) wished she could have that careless freedom once more. 

Usually by now, she'd be downstairs making breakfast for Augustine. It had become their daily routine, a comforting routine. Walking towards the office in the tight walkways, (Y/n) found herself humming the same tune from the blond.

Hopefully, she'd be alone later. If that's the case, (Y/n) would be able to enjoy her own shower. She needed to do laundry, as well. 

Approaching the crawlspace as it opened, (Y/n) gave the glass from last night to Augustine as he handed her a new glass and a plate with a slice of Bienenstich. Looking at him for a moment, she was curious as to why he had the cake. 

She was only met by him ruffling her messy hair with a smile as he closed the crawlspace, quickly leaving the office. Sitting on her bottom, (Y/n) scooted back against the wall, enjoying the pastry. It reminded her of her brother; it was his favorite, something he'd said he missed in the last letter. 

Hoping she'd be receiving another letter from him soon, she was worried about the other one she's been waiting for.

"Good morning, Erwin," his father called from the table, reading the newspaper, "There's a plate for you, by the stove."

"Good morning, father," Erwin replied happily, taking the plate as he sat beside Augustine, "Anything important, lately?"

"Nothing new, just lousy propaganda..." the older blond responded, drinking from his cup of black coffee.

Humming, Erwin began to eat his breakfast, ignoring his father's comment. Eating his owl meal shortly after his son, Augustine watched him. He looked so much like his mother at certain angles.

"We've made a trade pact with the Soviets..." Augustine spoke quietly, looking away from Erwin as he offered a confused look.

"Why them, of all people?" 

"I'm not sure. But it's been done," he responded, adjusting his glasses as Erwin quietly asked for the newspaper. Letting him read the news, Augustine started eating his own plate.

"I was thinking we go by the market today? Bookstore, too. Maybe get some lunch while we're out," he told Erwin as he swallowed his breakfast.

"That sounds nice," Erwin responded, still reading the paper in his hand, "They're really rounding up all the minorities, eh? I thought it was all talk, if I'm to be honest."

"Yes, well, never question the government," Augustine spoke behind his coffee.

Watching his father for a moment, Erwin but his lip, "You don't agree with it, do you?"

Silent for a moment, Augustine sighed, "I've never liked violence, you know that."

"Yes, I do. You've always been a pacifist...just please, be careful who you talk to about it. I don't want them rounding you up too..." Erwin responded quietly, reading the newspaper once more. 

Taking the plated to the sink once they'd finished, Erwin began to clean them once more. Glancing back to his father, he watched as the older man took the newspaper a left the room.

"What time are we going?" Erwin called out, looking towards the doorway. 

"Whenever you want, I'm just going to check the mail and get ready," Augustine responded as he opened the door.

"I'll get dressed once I finish cleaning in here," Erwin hummed, setting the plated aside as he began wiping the counters down. 

Finishing the cleaning, Erwin walked upstairs to get changed. Throwing the dirty rag in his hamper, he went towards the wardrobe to pick out something to wear. 

Picking out a light yellow button up, a pair of black trousers, and some leather shoes, Erwin set the clothing on his bed as he began to undress. Folding his pajamas and leaving them on the foot of the bed, he picked up the shirt and began putting his arms in the sleeves.

Looking towards his shelf, he noticed a crack in the wall. Puzzled, he walked towards it as he buttoned his pants. Looking back towards the door as his father appeared in the doorway, he asked what caught his attention.

"A crack, is all. Makes sense, I guess. The wallpaper is about as old as the house," Erwin chuckled, tucking his shirt into his trousers. 

"If it bothers you, I can fix it?" Augustine offered, fixing his cuffs.

Shaking his head, Erwin slid his shoes on, "No. It's alright."

Nodding, Augustine covered his yawn with a hand, "Well, I'll be in the car."

"I'll be right down," Erwin called, watching the doorway. Standing, he walked back to the wardrobe and pulled out a coat before he ran out the door. 

Carefully walking down the stairs, Erwin's eyes caught a girl's ring on the table beside the door. Picking it up curiously, it was a simple band with a flower engraved on it, a snowdrop, he thought.

Personally one of his favorites, it led him to wonder why his father had the ring. His mother's wedding ring was different, with real diamonds. 

Putting it in his pocket to ask his father about it, Erwin walked out the door, locking it behind him. 

(Y/n) was so bored, she wished she would have brought a book up. Sighing, the girl listened to the muffled sounds from outside. 

Sitting below the window, she wanted to steal a look at the weather. Not wanting to raise suspicions, she sat where she was. Augustine was a widow with only a son, if someone saw her, (Y/n) was sure it would backfire. 

Finding herself humming the tune she heard from Augustine's son, (Y/n) found herself smiling. She wished she could ask him what song it was, even ask if she could listen to it. Just once, would be enough. Looking towards her bed when she heard a door opening, boredom brought her to stand up. 

Deciding to take a peek through the crack, (Y/n) saw Augustine's son looking through the wardrobe. Briefly watching him, part of her wished she could go out with them, enjoy a nice day in public. 

Thinking about the last time in public she could remember, (Y/n) stopped thinking when he froze, staring right at her. Quickly ducking away, panicking silently, (Y/n) cursed to herself. 

Listening as he approached, (Y/n) was already thinking about jumping out the window. Freezing once more, she heard Augustine's voice.

"What is it?"

"A crack, is all. Makes sense, I guess. The wallpaper is about as old as the house."

Sighing in relief, (Y/n) stood to the side of the crack. Listening to the conversation, she played with the buttons on her shirt.

"If it bothers you, I can fix it?"

Groaning mentally, (Y/n) hoped not. As much as the voyeurism was unnecessary, it provides entertainment. She could even see out of his window, when the curtain was open. 

"No. It's alright."

Sighing in relief, she mentally berated herself. Promising herself she wouldn't just spy on him for the hell of it, she bit her lip, needing to go to the restroom. 

"Well, I'll be in the car."

"I'll be right down."

Peeking out once more, (Y/n) saw him grabbing a coat from the wardrobe. Happy once he leaves the room, she waited to hear the door closing before coming out. 

Realizing her ring was missing, (Y/n) cursed to herself once more. Rushing along the painted floorboards towards the office, she hoped that Augustine had remembered to close the curtains. 

Walking out of the restroom and down the stairs, a quick glance showed that it was safe. Looking around the counters for the ring, she'd spent an entire hour and a half looking for it. 

Giving up, (Y/n) hoped that Augustine had just picked it up. Walking back up the stairs and towards his room, she found the newspaper on his desk. Skimming over it, she wasn't satisfied with the news. Waiting for any time that England, France, hell- anyone- would come and tell Germany off, it was a hope that was quickly dying. 

Taking the letters that were tucked into the newspaper, (Y/n) went back to the office, walking through the crawlspace and passages back to the hidden room. 

Opening the first letter, it was relatively innocent; it always was, in case it was confiscated. Setting aside the money he'd sent, she got a paintbrush from her bedside table. Dipping the paintbrush into a cup of tea, (Y/n) painted the back of the letter with the tea, revealing the white crayon. 

Reading it over, it earned plenty of smiled and chuckles, even a photograph from her brother. It was him and his partner. All it really did was make her wish she was able to travel. Her brother had always promised he'd take her in, but it was always too much risk to her, he'd say. 

Setting the paper on her bed so she'd remember to write back, she reached for the other letter. This one always made her anxious. 

Of course, it was simply a blank piece of paper. Walking over to the oil lamp and lighting the flame, (Y/n) hovered the paper over it, waiting for the words to appear. Pulling the paper away from the flame once she was satisfied, she read over the writing. 

Of course it was bad news. He was in the SS, providing information to those in hiding. It was only bad because (Y/n) knew it was all true. August had indeed been an interesting month so far, just unfortunate for anyone considered a minority by Germany.

The last paper was a tiny notecard from Augustine. It was him telling her to grab some snacks and a book or two from his room, some water, and to do her laundry. He'd be aiming to be home at three in the afternoon so she'd have time to take care of it all. 

A glance to the small clock on the dresser showed that it was only ten. Standing, (Y/n) started stripping her clothing until she was nude, wrapping herself in a robe that Augustine had given her. Putting all her clothing in her own hamper, she walked through the house to the laundry room. 

Leaving her things alone and heading to the restroom, (Y/n) made a trip to her room to get her shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Stepping in once the water was warm, she happily took her time to clean her body, taking the opportunity to shave while she could.

Stepping out and putting her things away, (Y/n) put her clothes into the dryer. Taking a mint from the kitchen, she sat on the couch and opened her sketchbook.

Glancing at the clock again, she smiled when it was only eleven thirty. Deciding she was going to enjoy her time to be out as long as she could, (Y/n) settled the sketchbook on her legs as she opened it to a new page.

Chapter Text

"Have you seen my ring?" (Y/n) asked, biting into a bratwurst. Covering her mouth with a napkin, she looked at Augustine through the dark office.

Shaking his head as he scratched his beard in thought, he met her gaze "Not that I recall. Did you leave it downstairs?" 

"Yeah, I took it off when I made dinner the other day," she whispered back, drinking the apple juice he'd brought her.

"Where'd you leave it?" He asked, shifting in the chair.

Thinking about it for a moment, (Y/n) swallowed the potatoes, "On the table downstairs, I thought. By the door?"

"Hmmm. I haven't seen it. I'll look for it," Augustine told her, offering a warm smile.

"What if your son found it?" She asked after a moment of silence, looking at him as the candle flickered.

"Well, I'll tell him it belongs to a student of mine. He doesn't ask many questions unless necessary," he responded, eating a mint.

Humming for a moment, (Y/n) swallowed her food, "What's his name, anyway?"

"Erwin. Erwin Smith," Augustine smiled, "My only child, and I'm more than proud of him."

"Erwin...That's nice, it suits him."

"...His mother picked it out. She was so excited to have a baby," he replied thoughtfully. 

Sitting in silence for a moment, (Y/n) set the empty plate aside. Emptying the cup, she looked at Augustine as he asked her a question.

"What'd your brother say?"

"Just talking about how he's been lately. Sent me a picture and 1500 in American dollars."

Whistling, Augustine nodded, "What are you going to do with all of that, anyway?"

"Well, half of it is supposed to go to you. And I dunno, probably just gonna save it," she responded, rubbing her forearms.

"I would reject the payments, but I would be lying if I said they weren't convenient, especially with the economy lately... Thinking about trying to talk Erwin into going to England with me," Augustine mumbled, rubbing his hands together, "You'd be allowed to come, too."

Silent, she only watched him. There seemed like there was a catch to the offer, even if she wanted to believe there wasn't. All the other people who hid her only seemed to want the money, throwing her out when their bills were paid.

"Of course, you'd rather go to America to be with Levi, wouldn't you?" He chuckled, almost sounding disappointed from the lack of response.

"I'm not sure...He keeps saying he's trying to figure things out, but of course, Everyone knows who our grandfather is. Everyone knows us. They'd see me and send me back to those ghettos immediately...I've heard of the camps, too...besides, he's worried I'll get hurt if people know I'm there, you know his line of work..." (Y/n) lamented.

"The offers there, (Y/n). I'm not going to leave a little girl to struggle just to get by and survive. You can stay as long as you need to," Augustine whispered sincerely. If he were to be honest, he was started to look at the girl as his own child. 

Conversation cut short when there was a knock on the door, (Y/n) quickly sat in the farthest corner with her plate and cup. Watching as Augustine blew out the candle and walked out, she took a moment to think about his words. She couldn't remember the last time she'd heard someone speak positively, let alone genuinely, to her like that. 

Pulling her knees to her chest, (Y/n) rested her chin on her forearms until it was safe enough of open the panel to the crawlspace. 

"Who were you talking to?" Erwin asked as his father suddenly emerged left the office.

"Myself, grading papers is all. Say, have you seen a ring?" 

"Yeah, downstairs on the table," Erwin responded, holding it out in his palm, "I was going to ask whose it was?"

Taking the small object, Augustine put it in a pocket, "A student of mine. I found it on Friday after class, brought it home for safe keeping. I'll give it to her tomorrow."

"Alright, happy to hear," the younger blond smiled, happy there was an owner. He was a bit confused by the sudden change in demeanor from his father as of lately, but figured it was just the time of night.

Feeling bad for lying to Erwin, Augustine had to remember (Y/n) and her own safety. He'd raised his son on honesty, and found it hard not to tell him everything in hope Erwin would know how to help.

Nodding, he looked at his son, "Any plans for tomorrow?"

Shaking his head after some thought, Erwin scratched his leg with his other foot, "No, I was just going to stay home. Maybe go bike riding and probably some reading."

"Sounds fun. It's been a while since I've gone out riding. Been busy with work lately, you know?" Augustine yawned, suddenly aware of the time.

Chuckling, Erwin hugged his father, "Go to bed. Goodnight."

"Goodnight, kiddo," he responded, patting Erwin's shoulder as he walked down the hall. Turning around, Augustine slowly walked into his room, deep in thought.

Deciding it was safe to move around, (Y/n) set the plate and cup on the desk. Walking to the far wall, she slid the knife into the hidden crack, opening the crawlspace. Avoiding making as little noise as possible, she made a mental note to tell Augustine to oil the hinges.

Closing it behind her, she made sure it was latched before walking along the painted floorboards. Going slowly in the darkness, she eventually made it to the far room. 

Quietly slipping off her stockings and skirt, (Y/n) put on some loose trousers before changing into a lose shirt. Putting the blouse on the chair in the corner, she turned around to go to bed. 

Freezing when the floor creaked beneath her, (Y/n) listened for Erwin. Hoping he was already asleep, her heart skipped when she heard him walking across his room, approaching nonetheless. Rushing to the bed, she almost yelped when her toe slammed right into the wood. 


Looking towards the cracked when she heard his hum, (Y/n) desperately hoped he wasn't looking right at her. Listening as his bed springs creaked, she sighed as she realized he was just getting comfortable. If he'd seen her, he'd definitely react differently; this wasn't a terrace house.

Laying in bed, it didn't take long for her to get comfortable. Unable to sleep, (Y/n) found herself thinking about  Augustine's words. She'd go to England in a heartbeat if it meant she wouldn't be stuck hiding in someone's crawlspace for God knows how long. 

(Y/n) found herself smiling when she heard Erwin snoring again. It wasn't loud, she even found it cute. Even though he was a walking deathwish for her, (Y/n) wanted nothing more than to have a conversation with him, even just one. 

Suddenly aware of how heavy her eyelids were, (Y/n) yawned as she rolled onto her side. Looking to the window, the curtains blocking most of the moonlight. Deciding to close her eyes, she waited until she finally fell asleep.

Chapter Text

"(Y/n)? (Y/n), get up."


"Sorry to intrude, but I brought you some things for today while I'm away. Erwin plans on staying home, so you can't come out, alright?"

Finally making out Augustine's silhouette in the pitch black room, (Y/n) nodded, rubbing a hand through her messy hair. Listening for a moment, Erwin was still snoring. 

"When will you be home?" She asked, laying back against the pillow.

"A little after three. The students are getting out early today," he responded, pushing the blanket back over (Y/n).

"Alright....I should use the restroom then," she responded, reluctantly standing. 

"Erwin had your ring," Augustine chuckled, holding the small item up. Sparkling as it caught the moonlight, (Y/n) happily took it.

"How did I know?" She responded teasingly, slipping the ring onto her finger. 

"Our luck. Try not to pull that again?" 

"I will. Have a good day," (Y/n) whispered, walking towards the office with him.

"You too. Hurry up so I can tell Erwin I'm going," he teased, nudging her as they got to the hall. Watching as he went down the hall, (Y/n) walked into the restroom, assuming he was going to make his coffee.

"Erwin," Augustine said gently, nudging his son.

"Father?" Erwin responded, confused. Yawning, he rolled over the face the room, closing his eyes.

"I'm going to work. I'll be home around three. Make sure you behave," he responded, pulling the covers over Erwin when he shivered. 

"Alright. Have a good day. I love you, Dad," Erwin responded, finally opening his tired eyes with a smile. 

"I love you too. Have a good day," Augustine responded, smiling at Erwin's face; he always looked so much like his mother at times.

"Alright, I need to go. There's leftovers in the fridge and make sure you clean up after yourself," he said, turning towards the hall. 

Walking into his room, Augustine turned on his lights as he looked out at the street. It was raining, earning a sigh from him. Walking to the wardrobe to look for his umbrella, he realized he didn't see (Y/n) go back into the office. 

Looking into the hallways in time to see Erwin walking into the restroom, a slight panic set in when he watched his son enter the lit room. 

Hoping all would be fine, he waited beside the doorway, pretending to read the paper as he drank his coffee, waiting for Erwin to go back to bed. 

Drying her hands on the towel, (Y/n) took her time as she fought the heaviness of her eyelids. Wishing that Augustine didn't wake her but also thankful for it, she looked into the mirror, inspecting her hair.

It was long now, a length that only a handful of people-family- had seen. She looked completely different from the (Y/n) everyone used to see. "Maybe I should talk to Augustine about 'supposedly' letting me rent a room," she whispered to herself, genuinely debating the idea. She hated the crawlspace and just wanted to be able to ride bikes, see friends, and travel like she used to.

Mind suddenly going blank when the faintest sound of humming reached her ears, (Y/n) silently cursed as she quietly moved into the bathtub, barely moving the curtain at all. Sitting in the tub just as the door opened, she could see Erwin's silhouette through the curtain. 

Hoping that he wouldn't be getting in the shower right this moment, she was both relieved and embarrassed as he lifted the toilet seat. Letting him have his business, she waited for him to leave. 

Eyes going back to him as he started washing his hands, he sighed. It wasn't a normal sigh, she noticed. It was a tired, exhausted, lonely sigh; one that's only released when times are hard. Really hard.

Watching as he left and turned off the lights, a silent panic set in as she sat in the dark. It wasn't fear, but discomfort. Too many bad memories came with darkness.

Seconds turned to minutes, minutes that only seemed to drag on in the darkness as (Y/n) held herself, thinking about her family. Flinching when the lights came back on, the curtains flew open on one side, "Come, hurry now."

"Don't scare me like that," she huffed quietly, concerned about Erwin's room being so close to the bathroom with him talking so loud. 

"That boy falls asleep as soon as he lays down, always has. Sleeps like a rock, too," Augustine chuckled, leading her towards the office, "I should have made sure I heard you go back before waking him, I'm sorry."

"It's alright, don't worry about it," (Y/n) smiled, ducking into the small space as he opened it. Thinking for a second, she turned to him, "Hey, Augustine...."

Freezing when he heard her voice, he stopped closing the door, "Yes?"

Suddenly aware of the time as she looked at the window, the sun was already peeking over the horizon. He liked to be at the university by now, of course having to wait for them only delayed it.

"Get to work. Have a good day,"  (Y/n) told him, "and thank you...for everything." 

"It's nothing. Have a good day, sweetheart," he responded, rubbing her messy hair. Closing to door as she began to tip-toe back to the bed, she paused for a moment just inside the room, looking at the mirror by the small hallway.

Deciding she'd try talking to Augustine about the idea later that day, (Y/n) turned around and laid in bed, pulling the thick covers over herself. Listening to Erwin as he snored, she grabbed a book from the nightstand, as well as a cookie from the batch she had made the other day. 

Laying on her stomach, she began reading the book as she snacked on another cookie. Deciding today wouldn't be that bad, she fought a laugh when a quiet thud and a mumbled, "woah, okay, how about we not fall off the bed," was heard from the other side of the wall. 

Hoping that Erwin would stay in his room for amusement purposes, (Y/n) brought her cup to her lips. Setting it down, she wasn't surprised when Erwin started snoring less than a minute later. 

Turning the page quietly, (Y/n) couldn't help but feel a little optimistic as she excitedly waited for Augustine to get home. Kicking her trousers off for comfort as she laid under the thick blanket, she happily started reading the book Augustine had picked out for her.

Chapter Text


"You didn't even let me finish!" 

"And it's a horrible idea, no."

Staring back at him, (Y/n) didn't really know what to do. Of course she hoped he'd at least let her finish. "No one would recognize me though...all the pictures in the papers look completely different..."

"And if someone asks for your papers?" Augustine asked, the most stern she'd ever heard him. She felt like a child being berated from the tone of his voice alone. 

"I didn't think about that..." (Y/n) mumbled, playing with the table runner.

"I could tell. I don't want to take any risks. If I didn't see any holes in it, then it would be a big maybe," he sighed, scratching a temple. The poor girl's hasn't seen the light of day in the last year and a half, he couldn't help but understand where she was coming from, but he didn't want her to get hurt.

"I won't lie, when you first came to me, I didn't even recognize you. It would work, I guess. The only problem is, they seem like they're asking for papers everywhere you go," Augustine spoke softly with a sympathetic look, hoping the pain would leave her eyes.

"I know that...I just wanted to hear your input; you're the smartest guy I know. Even if I had my papers on me, they'd just send me to one of those...places," she sighed, "Fake ones are too dangerous to get. I'm not going to ask that of you. I just...want to go for a walk, ride a bike, read at the cafe, go to the library, travel," (Y/n) lamented, recalling all of the things she'd be doing just two years before. 

"Well, hopefully someone like England or France steps in-hell, America- and puts an end to this quickly," Augustine scoffed, drinking his coffee. 

"Germany's planning on invading Poland," (Y/n) hummed after a moment of silence, looking at her lap. The sound of Augustine gently setting the cup on the table was enough for her to know his position.

"So...war is going to be imminent then," he huffed, checking the time to see when Erwin would be back from his ride, "I can try talking to Erwin about it, see if he knows anything."

"Letter said they're trying to keep it under wraps. I doubt he'd know anything. Besides, don't raise suspicions," she said bluntly, thinking about the future. 

Of course, if (Y/n) weren't stuck here, she'd be in college right now. Maybe even one of Augustine's students; She comforted herself with the idea that they would still have had the chance to meet. 

"He'll be back soon. You should go back," Augustine spoke with another glance to the clock.

"Alright. I'll see you later," (Y/n) responded, taking her glass and a pitcher of water as she stood. 

"Hold on, I got you something," he called after her, leading the way upstairs, "It's going to start getting really cold, the heater won't reach your room. I'll try to buy you one as soon as it's safe."

"Alright...if it's too much trouble, I don't mind taking a ton of blankets," she joked, curious as to what he was up to.

"Then Erwin would want to know where all the blankets went, keep him warm and comfortable while he sleeps and he won't cause any issues," he retorted with a scoff, handing her a large bag from his wardrobe.

Setting the pitcher down, she took it from him. Pulling out the blanket a little, she could already tell how thick it was; the softness only made it better.

"You didn't have to-"

"I didn't, but I wanted to."

"Thank you," (Y/n) chuckled, happily embracing him. 

"Okay, shoo, he's gonna be home soon," Augustine hummed, leading her to the office. Following with the water, he waited for her to open it before following through into the crawlspace, ducking along the way.

Setting the water on the dresser, Augustine looked at the small photo album in the corner. Turning to see (Y/n) throwing the blanket over the bed, he grabbed the blanket she was using before, "Erwin was asking about this one yesterday, you know. It's been his favorite since he was a baby."

"So there was a catch to the new blanket?" She joked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes and no. Partly because I didn't want him to search the house up and down for it- which he has countless times- and stumble across you. Partly because I felt like you needed a new one."

"You're such a kind man," (Y/n) chuckled, fixing the blanket over the makeshift bed.

"I could try to get you an actual mattress, if you would like? Padding and hay can't be comfortable," Augustine asked, handing her a pillow that fell on the ground. 

"The way we did it is fine, like a cloud to be honest. I can hold out; besides, I don't know how Erwin would react if he saw you hauling in a new bed," she replied.

"Give him the new one and give you his?" He considered, stoking his beard. 

"If you want to go through the effort, I don't really care. Besides, he'd probably hear the springs from the other side of the wall. You should get out and go pretend to check the mail. Bring me some of what he got from the bakery later, if you can," (Y/n) told him, a nod to the tiny walkway in the corner. 

"Alright, alright. I think he said he wanted pie or a cake? I don't remember. We still have some of the bienenstich downstairs?" He responded, walking towards the walkway.

"Both, as much as you can give me. And can you send out that letter on the table?"

"Yeah," Augustine hummed as he took the paper, "Alright, I'll come visit later when he's asleep. Hopefully, I don't know, I have paperwork to do. Anyway, I'll see you later. Be good, be careful, and have a good day."

"Alright, you too, see you later," (Y/n) responded as she heard the door close. Looking around the room, she hummed. Suddenly bored, she grabbed her sketchbook from the dresser, walking across the painted floor.

Opening it to a partially empty page, she looked at the pictures already there. One was her brother and his usual grumpy self, one was his brother's partner and his goofy smile, one was Augustine having his coffee, and one was Erwin.

She didn't remember why she felt the need to draw Erwin; (Y/n) only ever enjoyed drawing people who positively affected her. Running the pencil along the blank part of the page, she couldn't help but find herself drawing Erwin again. Deciding it was just the anxiety she felt towards him, she ignored her thoughts while she doodled whatever came to mind.

"What did you get?" Augustine asked, hiding the envelopes carefully in he the newspaper the held in one hand with his coffee in the other.

"A chocolate pie. Has some orange. It sounded good, what do you think?" Erwin asked, carrying his bike through the house towards the shed outside.

"That sounds great," Augustine called out, leaving the newspaper by the door. Looking at Erwin when he came back into the room, he couldn't help but smile, "You look happy?"

"I am. Got to see Mike. I invited him to dinner, if that's alright?"

Feeling a slight panic in his chest, Augustine shrugged, scratching his head. Erwin and Mike had known each other since they were in diapers, even enlisted together, but he had the nose of a bloodhound. It didn't help that they had seen (Y/n) and her family a little over two years prior on new years.  

"Yeah. I haven't seen him in a while. I ran into his parents and sister in the market last week, actually," Augustine nodded, hoping they'd forgotten about (Y/n).

"Alright. He should be here around six, then," Erwin hummed, playing with his suspenders. 

"I'll make some steak then?" His father asked walking towards the kitchen.

Watching his father as he took the meat from the refrigerator, Erwin's eyebrows furrowed in thought, "Where'd you get the money for the meat?"

"Savings in the bank and money I had hidden in my room for a while. Why?" Augustine asked nonchalantly.

Tilting his head, Erwin hummed, "Nothing, it's just, we've been eating well the past couple of days. I thought it was just because I was home, but meat is expensive."

"I want to treat you to the finer things if you're fighting for our country," his father smiled, fighting himself to keep quiet about how he truly feels.

"Hmm. Well, thank you then. I'll help you with dinner, later? I was going to give Mike a phone call," Erwin asked, kicking his shoes off by the door.

"Of course! That sounds fun. We can make plans for the weekend?"

"Sure," Erwin responded with a nod, walking towards the stairs.

Sighing heavily when Erwin was out of earshot, Augustine ran a hand through his hair. Mike had earned the nickname of 'bloodhound' early on, and never forgot a thing from what Augustine could remember. 

Hoping the events would unfold to his and (Y/n)'s benefit, he decided to read the morning paper on the backyard patio after he checked the mail, leaving the mail for (Y/n) under the bookshelf.

(Y/n) was sitting just on the other side of the door, silently waiting for a chance to use the restroom. Listening to the footsteps coming upstairs, her pencil paused for a second. 

Adjusting her position- on her back against the floor with her feet on the wall, creating a table for her sketchbook as she used an old blanket as a pillow- she rubbed the soreness from her shoulders as she set her things aside quietly. 

Listening to the whistling as it approached, she leaned against the wall, seeing if anything interesting was to be heard.

After a long pause with muffled noises, she heard a voice; one that she wasn't particularly familiar with but one that she learned belonged to Erwin.

"Hey, Mike, are you still up for dinner at my place?"

'Guests. That sounds delightful,' (Y/n) thought.

"Yeah....around six?"

A glance to the watch told her that it was only four. Hoping to get a chance to sneak out before then, she bit her lip.

"Alright, great...Yeah, if you want to bring something, go ahead. I got some dessert," Erwin spoke happily.

'What a dork,' (Y/n) thought to herself

"Alright, see you then. Drive safe. Goodbye."

Waiting for a minute, she listened as the phone was set down. (Y/n) forgot they even had a phone. She hoped Augustine would let her call Levi, but shut the idea out when she thought about the call possibly being intercepted.

Listening as Erwin stood and left, she listened as he walked down the stairs, a pause before he walked out the back door. Taking the opportunity to sneak out quietly and quickly, (Y/n)  was back in the office and closing the door behind her in under a minute. 

Carrying the sketchbook back to her room and setting her things on her desk, (Y/n) looked at the dresser. Hesitantly taking the small photo album that sat in the corner, she gently trailed her fingers over it as she sat on the bed. Rubbing it over her trousers to get rid of the dust, she sat against the wall.

Slowly looking through the photo album, it was both painful yet relieving to see the faces of her family. God knows where they all were now; Levi being the only one who (Y/n) was sure was still alive. Even then, they hadn't seen one another in three years. 

Not even entirely sure when she started to cry from the sights of her mother, father, uncle, grandparents, brother, everyone who she missed everyday, the photo album was set on the nightstand as (Y/n) laid down, wishing she could go back to the station only a year and a half ago.

Chapter Text

(Y/n) bit her lip as the smell of dinner made it's way through the house. It smelled delicious, to say the least. Stuck hiding in the room, she wasn't allowed to even so much as see the food. 

Wiping the cookie crumbs off her fingers as she put the bookmark in the book, (Y/n) glanced towards the small clock in the corner. It was only a quarter to six, and whoever the guest is should be here whenever. 

Taking a drink from the glass resting on the dresser, (Y/n) relaxed as she welcomed the warm cocoa. Listening to the mumbled voices beneath the floorboards, she decided to do her nails with a glance to them. 

Tucking the button-up back into the dark skirt as she stood, she left the comforting warmth of the blanket as she picked out a shade of nail polish to use. Choosing a color to match the skirt, (Y/n) cautiously retraced her steps, avoiding the creaky floorboard. 

Pushing the blanket aside and setting a towel in its place, she got the file from her headboard. Laying against the wall as she filed the long nails to a desired length, (Y/n) listened to the birds outside.

(Y/n) couldn't fight the smile when she heard a nightingale. It was her mother's favorite. She remembered her mother having a pair in a cage at home; They were sweet little birds, and (Y/n) hoped they were all right.

Cut short of the reminiscing when the faint knocking reached her ears, (Y/n) focused on the noises downstairs, also making sure she could still hear the nightingale.

Mike walked on the sidewalk silently. Smiling to the small children who seemed to be in awe as they saw his height, he made his way towards the Smith home. 

Noticing the birds singing, he blew the hair out of his face when the wind blew. Turning the corner, his eyes went to the branches of the trees, watching the small avians. 

Whistling back to them as he went, Mike was soon walking along the fence towards the Smith household. Carefully unlocking the gate, he walked along the pathway towards the door. 

Knocking, Mike watched a pair of nightingales in the tree. Door opening as he whistled back, a hand went to adjust his messy bangs.

"Hey, Mike," Erwin chuckled, showing the taller male through, "How have you been?"

"Alright. It's been a while. How's that promotion?" Mike responded, hanging his coat while Erwin took the bread and beverages from him. 

"Hello, Mike," Augustine smiled as he appeared at the doorway, "Long time no see."

"Good afternoon, Mr.Smith. Sorry, I meant to drop by for a visit sooner," Mike replied, taking off his shoes. Something was off, some smell that shouldn't be there, he noticed.

Meeting Augustine's eyes with his own, Mike could see the smallest ember of worry as he finally caught onto what the smell was.

"You have paint drying or something?" He asked playfully, setting his shoes next to the others, dwarfing them with his large feet. 

"The neighbors are painting a shed," Augustine responded, happy that there was a truth he could tell. He'd actually given them advice on a color the other day. 

Humming, Mike looked around. There was something familiar. He knew what it was; who it was. Another look to Augustine and Mike knew that they were both thinking of the same thing.

"What's for dinner?" He asked, finally standing from the bench, scratching his stubble.

"Pork sandwiches," Erwin responded, curious by the slightest hint of tension between his friend and his father. Figuring he just didn't like the paint, he turned towards the kitchen, "I'll pour us some drinks."

"It's going to storm; a heavy one. Would you care of I spent the night?" Mike asked, testing the reaction he'd receive.

Catching the smallest hint of hesitation, Mike scratched his beard as Augustine spoke, "Of course. You know you don't have to ask, right?"

"Thank you, Mr.Smith," he responded, walking to the kitchen after Erwin.

Mentally groaning, Augustine took a moment to think before he followed after the two blonds in the kitchen.

Cleaning all of the polish that wasn't on her nails, (Y/n) quietly hummed to herself. Deciding she was pleased with the results, she sat up in bed. Looking into the mirror on her dresser, she looked at herself from different angles, watching how her hair moved. 

Running a hand through the length, hissing when it caught a few tangles, (Y/n) glanced through the crack in the wall. Pleased to see that Erwin and whoever his guest was weren't present, she carefully walked to sit at the vanity dresser. 

Slowly brushing her hair to get rid of the tangles, she listened to the muffled talking below her feet. Augustine was clear, easy to make out. Erwin was simple, somewhat familiar. Establishing that the newcomer was male from the sound of a new deep voice, (Y/n) couldn't help but feel find herself somewhat nervous.

Slowing her pace as she tried to listen to them, the attempt was abandoned shortly after accepted that no words could be clearly understood. 

Setting the brush down when (Y/n) decided it was good enough, she separated it into halves. Moving the top part to one shoulder while the bottom was set to the other, she tried to recall how her mother would style her hair.

Of course, a bun and a hat was always worn in public, (Y/n) was always felt the need to hide her real appearance behind clothes, hairstyles, and makeup. Thankful for the precaution now, she sighed as she started to braid the hair in a half-up half-down style.

Leaving some loose strands around her face, she checked how much she liked it. Stopping silently when she swore her last name was heard, (Y/n) waited and listened closer. 

It was faint, but she heard it again. Assuming she was of topic, (Y/n) hoped that Augustine was trash-talking her and her family, but at the same time defending them. Of course he'd need to play his part to avoid suspicion, but she wanted nothing more than for someone to be a voice and provide some sort of support to those in her position.

Walking over to the nightstand, (Y/n) cautiously took a deck of cards from the drawer. Wrapping the thick blanket around her shoulders, she began to play solitaire. 

Freezing when loud laughter echoed through the floor, (Y/n) felt a sharp pain in her chest. The loneliness had been unbearable, with it finally going away when she met Augustine. When Erwin came home, she found the isolation creeping back. Leaning against the wall, (Y/n) continued playing the game again.

"So, How has military life been for you boys?" Augustine asked, enjoying the fresh cider that Mike had brought. 

"Same old, same old, I guess. Uneventful for me. I'm scheduled to be a guard at the camps at the beginning of next year," Mike replied, face unreadable as the took a bun from the center. 

"What camp?" Erwin asked, somewhat curious. 

"Buchenwald," Mike responded quietly.

"Sounds like an honor to be taken as a guard. How do your parents feel?" Augustine asked, studying Mike.

Meeting his gaze, Mike seemed reluctant, "They're proud....had all of my sisters come to celebrate."

"You don't sound too enthused," Erwin teased, standing to take the meat from the oven.

"I hear that's where the Ackermans were sent," Mike mumbled, more to himself as he ran a finger around the rim of his glass.

Both freezing as they watched Mike, Erwin felt his curiosity growing as Augustine began to feel anxious. "Really?" The younger of the two asked.

"Yeah. It is. I think, that is. Don't repeat me on it," Mike huffed, running a hand through his hair. 

"What's going on with the granddaughter?" Augustine asked, taking a bite of his sandwich when Erwin gave him a plate. Meeting Mike's gaze, he could tell that younger male knew something, suspected something. Testing the waters, Augustine waited for a response as he offered the other more cider. 

"She was never recorded reaching the camp. They saw her when she left the ghetto, but she went missing after that. We've had a few reports, but nothing adds up; she's all over Germany. Personally, I think she's 'fled' to America with her brother," Mike responded, testing Augustine's response as he bit into his sandwich.

"That makes sense. All of the Ackerman family were sent to the ghettos and camps, from what I heard. The only safe place for that girl would be America," Erwin added, silently questioning the exchange between his father and his friend. 

"Do you have a girl yet?" Augustine asked for a change of subject. Hoping he'd be able to talk to Mike once Erwin fell asleep, he could feel his heartbeat quicken from his excitement. If Mike had a problem with something, he would have spoken up without hesitation.

Catching the small smile on Mike's face, Erwin was quick to the scene.


"She's....well, she's a sweet little thing I met. I haven't tried to court her yet, but she has my interest," Mike sighed, scratching his neck. 

"Do your parents know about her?" Erwin asked, passing Mike the pepper when asked. 

"No, they don't...I think I'd rather keep it private and between us for now, though. I just hope she's interested too, otherwise it'd really make things awkward," the shaggy blond sighed.p p

"I'm sure you'll have luck. You're a sweet, well-mannered young man," Augustine smiled, "Erwin hasn't found anyone he's interested in."

"I don't blame him. He did just have that promotion, must be busy," Mike smiled, giving Erwin a half smile. 

"Too busy for a girl," Erwin shrugged, offering a smile back. 

"Maybe someday," Augustine shrugged, glancing outside when the first strike of lightning illuminated parts of the room the lamps couldn't reach. 

"Maybe someday," Erwin responded, watching the window. 

Chapter Text

(Y/n) found herself woken up in the middle of the night. There was no particular reason for it, but something felt off. It was immediate; one moment she was dreaming of her family, the next she was wide awake with all of the hair stood up on her body. 

Slowly turning away from the wall, she looked around. It was dark, but what little light that made it's way into the room allowed some visibility. Everything was how it was supposed to be, at least that's what it seemed.

Deciding it was only nerves, (Y/n) let her pounding heart slow as she listened to the rain tapping against the roof. Lightning provided more light every now and again, making (Y/n) jump as the house shook.

Chuckling for a moment, she fought herself to keep from laughing; the lightning must have woken her. Glancing through the crack for a moment, she found Erwin was still asleep as well as the pile of blankets on pullout. Deciding it was safe with both him and the guest asleep, (Y/n) decided to use the restroom while she had a chance. 

Slowly standing, the girl shifted uncomfortably as the cold floor met her bare feet. Focusing on the paint as she walked across the floor, (Y/n) hummed to herself. 

Accidentally kicking the tiniest of beads, she tried too reach for it; it was the one that fell of a bracelet a week ago. Eyes following the shiny bead as it rolled across the floor,  it came to a stop after colliding with something. 

Reaching for the small object as it made it's way back to her, (Y/n) wiped the sleep from her tired eyes. Looking to see what stopped the bead, she was met with confusion, which was quickly replaced by panic as her eyes traveled up the legs in front of her.

Pinned to the wall before she could even take another breath, (Y/n) felt a calloused hand holding her mouth closed, and a heavy body against hers. Freezing when a faint cold edge ran across her neck, she finally caught a glimpse of the man with a knife to her throat when another bolt of lightning illuminated the room.

Watching is gentle expression as he simply spoke soft words (Y/n) didn't hear, she finally became aware of the whispers leaving his mouth.

"Calm down, I'm not going to hurt you. I need you to calm down, okay?"

Hesitantly nodding after a long silence, (Y/n) let out a shaky sigh when the stranger let her go, pocketing the knife. Unaware of the tears that began to fall down her cheeks until that moment, she wiped her face with her sleeves. 

"My name is Mike. I'm Augustine's god-son and Erwin's friend. I'm in the military; Feldwebel," he whispered, looking around the dark room and back to the smaller figure, a playful smile on his face.

"They're looking for you, ya know? They're looking Munich up and down for you. Personally, I thought you've been in America or just died. Clever little thing, you are; they don't even suspect you being here in Berlin, right under their nose," Mike chuckled, taking a cookie from the tin as he sat on (Y/n)'s bed. 

Confused and frozen by fear and intimidation, (Y/n) found she was shivering from both anguish and the bitter cold nipping at her feet. Biting her lip when Mike looked her way, they sat in silence. 

"It is you, right? You are the Ackerman girl?"

"Yes, it is," she responded, voice shaky and weak. Mentally berating herself, she felt so small under the pressure of his staring.

"You look nothing like the (Y/n) I've seen in the newspapers," Mike chuckled.

(Y/n) looked at the tall brute of a man, "How did you know it was me, then?"

"Your smell; saw you and your family a couple years ago at the cinema, and I don't forget a smell," he smiled, proud of himself.

Sitting in silence again, they looked at one another. Mike stood after wiping the crumbs from his stubble, walking towards (Y/n).

Taking a step away out of reflex, Mike froze when she did. Holding his hands up, Mike made sure she could see them, "I understand what you might be thinking, but I'm a man of my word; I'm not going to hurt you."

"You put a knife to my throat!" (Y/n) quietly croaked out, wanting nothing more than to run to Augustine and tell on Mike like a child.

Scratching his head, Mike sighed, "Yeah, Yeah I did. I'm sorry, it was reflex. It won't happen again. Go ahead and go do what you were going to do, I'll go make you some tea. I just want to talk, and it's cold in here."

"I'm not taking to you unless Augustine is there," (Y/n) responded, slightly shaking from the situation. From his size alone, she could tell this man could easily overpower her. "I know how much my ransom is..."

The behemoth of a man snorted, smile wide, "Oh trust me, it's gone up! The Führer is mad that you haven't been found yet."

Stopping his laughing when (Y/n) simply watched him, Mike began approaching again. Turning quickly, the girl went as fast as she could to wake Augustine, keeping distance between her and Mike. 

Tip-toeing across the carpet, (Y/n) almost slipped in the hall as she turned to open Augustine's door. Opening it louder than she would have liked, she all but jumped on the bed, a confused Augustine looking at her with tired eyes.

"You're crying," he noted quietly after a quick inspection, wiping her face clean with the blanket. 

Glancing to the door when the floorboards groaned from the weight, Mike stood quietly, watching.

"Mike; it's not what it looks like, this is-"

"I know who she is, could smell it a mile away. I just wanted to talk about it," he responded quietly. 

Hiding behind Augustine when Mike walked in laid on the bed, he ended up in the middle of (Y/n) and Augustine when she moved to get away from him. Each waiting for the others to say something, they sat in silence and listened to the storm.

"I don't trust him," (Y/n) looked at Augustine as she pouted, half pleading him to do something about Mike.

"He can be trusted," Augustine whispered, deep in thought. In all honesty, he knew Mike was trustworthy, but part of him felt like he should respond how she wanted to provide (Y/n) with some sort of comfort. Meeting her gaze to press further, he was cut short, "Why don't y-"

Watching as Mike pushed (Y/n) off the bed and held her in place with his foot, she was about to call for Augustine when a familiar voice sent shivers down her spine.

"What are you two doing?" Erwin yawned, leaning on the door frame. 

"What are you doing awake?" Mike asked, pretending he was hiding something while motioning for (Y/n) to crawl under the bed. 

"I was just gonna use the restroom, until I heard a bunch of commotion," Erwin replied, fighting a sarcastic comment. 

"Go to bed," Augustine shooed his son, "We're trying to plan your birthday."

"Oh," Erwin smiled, a little surprised by the answer, "Well... alright then...goodnight."

Both wishing goodnight to Erwin as he walked back to the end of the hall, (Y/n) could hear them whispering to one a other. Unsure of what they were talking about, she simply waited until given a cue. 

After around two minutes of waiting, Augustine lifted the sheets, "It's alright, he's definitely asleep by now."

Catching the slightest sound of Erwin's snoring from down the hall, (Y/n) watched Mike from the corner of her eye, rubbing her sore side, "Why did you do that?"

Hesitantly, Mike bit his lip. Changing from his calm and relaxed demeanor to a nervous one, Augustine shared a glance with (Y/n). Looking back to Mike when he finally spoke, they couldn't help but find relief in his words, with a slight worry for him as well.

"I have one of you in my walls at home. Now, like I said, I just want to talk; I don't know how long your friendship has been going on, but I need advice."

Chapter Text

It'd been almost a week since (Y/n) had spoken to Mike. 

She didn't know if she appreciated the conversation, or wished to have never spoken a word of it. 

Mike was a genuinely kind man, one who treated her with respect and care; a gentleman, as Augustine put it. He'd been hiding a girl who escaped from Hartheim about a month ago. She was considered "infirm," and escaped before one of their euthanasia killings, showing up to Mike beaten and bruised.

He had offered to give (Y/n) information about her family, as well. Of course, she took the opportunity. Now, here she laid, unsure how to feel about what she now knew.

Levi had sent another letter, and she watched the envelope from the other side of the room. It was almost like a spell had been cast on her. 

Forcing herself to sit up in bed, (Y/n) wiped her cheeks dry. She bit her lip as she thought about how to respond to her brother. Finally distracted by noises in Erwin's room, the girl listened to what he was doing for some sort of distraction. 

He wasn't doing anything interesting, just moving around and getting dressed after a shower. (Y/n) had mentally berated herself more than a few times when the idea of stealing a peek of what was hiding under his clothes came to mind. 

It wasn't long before his door shut once more, footsteps going down the stairs shortly after. Erwin had been going bike-riding everyday since he came home, usually staying out for around two or three hours at a time. 

Listening as the front door closed as well, (Y/n) gave Erwin a moment to lock it. Waiting until she heard his bike riding off in front of the house, she finally stood with reluctance. Grabbing her robe, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and razor, the girl made her way to the shower. 

Erwin always enjoyed riding his bike when he was younger, riding all around Berlin with his father, Mike, or both. Riding towards Mike's house, they planned on going back to Erwin's home after brunch.

Enjoying the breeze, the young man rode with his cheeks and nose pink from the cold. He didn't much mind it. Erwin couldn't fight the smile on his face from the smell of the roses, greeting the neighbors, and just being back home.

He didn't even need to stop in front of Mike's house; the giant of a man already sat outside and simply joined Erwin as they rode towards the city square for lunch.

The clouds hung low and intimidating, yet ceased the harsh storm for the time being. The young men rode side by side in silence as they enjoyed the fresh smell of the earth. 

"There's going to be a harsh storm tonight. Really heavy," Mike finally spoke up after a long inhale. 

"Is it?" 

The taller one hummed, watching the approaching buildings. Their eyes soon fell on the university as they rode past it, hoping to catch a small glimpse of Augustine giving his lesson. 

"You told your dad where we'd be?"

Erwin nodded, "You know I tell him everything."

Simply nodding, Mike led the way to a local cafe. He had personally never been to it, but he was curious. 

After about a little over a quarter of an hour, both blonds locked the bikes in place while they went in to ask for a seat. They were seated quickly, receiving a table in the corner.

"Where'd you hear about this place?" Erwin asked after thanking the waitress for the menu.

Mike read over the menu for a moment, biting his lip, "From the girl I fancy."

"What's her name?" Erwin asked, looking over his options.

The taller male glanced outside, watching the soldiers patrolling the streets, "You wouldn't know her..."

"I'd like to," Erwin responded, offering a toothy grin, "You've never so much as mentioned any sort of dalliances between you and a girl to me. I'm gone for three months and come back, all the sudden you do. I think I'd like to see what's caught your eye after your twenty two years."

Mike scratched the back of his head, pondering whether or not to trust Erwin. He's always been a wild card, always doing the exact opposite from what everyone expected of him.

Cut short when the waitress approached and asked what they would like to drink, Mike turned to Erwin when she left, "Give it time, then I'll tell you."

"Fine then. Keep your secrets," Erwin grumbled. Sitting in silence, he looked up at his childhood friend. Mike had always been the quiet type, having his first words at four; which were only him telling Erwin he was too loud and needed to "quiet down". Focusing, there was something in his aqua eyes; something Erwin had never seen.

"What's bothering you?" Erwin asked, taking a sip from his water after it was passed to him.

Mike simply continued to look out the window before looking at the table in front of him, "Can we talk about it later?"

"What's with that Buchenwald place?" The shorter of the two asked, attempting to change the subject.

"Erwin please," Mike whispered as he wiped his hands over his face, "Can we talk about this later?"

"Sure...sorry," Erwin bit his lip, looking out the window to see what had Mike's attention for so long.

His eyes soon landed on some of the patrolling soldiers. He was excited when he saw one of their old classmates, one they hadn't seen in years. Before he could even tell Mike, Erwin watched as their old 'friend' tripped a fragile old man on the sidewalk. Bystanders simply watched as the soldiers laughed at their elder, no one stepping in to help him.

"What the-"

Silenced when Mike sent a sharp kick straight to Erwin's tibia, the shorter blond took a moment to feel whether the bone was broken. Looking up to his friend to question it, he was only met with a warning glare. 

Leaning in, Mike took a drink from his own cup, "Speak up against it, and you'll be sent to the camps. Don't question it."

"Are you ready to order?"

Both turning to the waitress, they nodded and gave their orders. Watching one another for what seemed like minutes, Erwin finally sighed, "Things are simpler in the sky."

"Yeah...What'd you do to get on leave?"

"Engine failure, got a bit bruised. A bit of a concussion, they think. Nothing serious; sent me home just in case," Erwin responded, fidgeting.

"That explains a lot," Mike scoffed, "They let me leave for the rest of the year as a 'reward', but I think there's a catch," he whispered. 

"What would that be?" 

Looking out the window, Mike watched as the elderly man picked his groceries up from off the ground, "Not entirely sure."

Continuing their conversation making plans for the weekend, the men decided they'd like to go fishing on the Havel River. They hadn't been fishing together in almost a year, an activity they'd enjoyed together since their youth. 

Within the hour, they exited the small cafe. "Want to go back to my place and play checkers?"

Turning to Erwin, Mike faked a pained expression, "It always hurts, watching you lose."

"Says you," Erwin recoiled, laughing when the other nudged him away. 

"Yeah, fine. My sister is gonna be home later, so let's take as long as possible," the taller one sighed, inspecting the clouds overhead. 

Leading the way, Erwin took the back way home. Riding his bicycle along the aquaduct, he wasn't surprised when Mike was never far away. Little words were exchanged on the ride home, but they stopped at Mike's house for a moment because he told Erwin his mom asked him to water the plants. 

Receiving Mike's definition of a 'playful' punch after Erwin called him a, "Mama's boy," they turned in the direction of the Smith household.

The final three blocks back to Erwin's house only took them around three minutes as they raced; Mike winning with his long legs, and Erwin blaming the kick to the leg. Waiting for Erwin to open the gate, Mike looked around. Looking up at the window that seemed to serve no purpose, he established it must be (Y/n)'s room

"Mike, it's open," Erwin called back, unlocking the front door. 

"Sorry," he muttered, closing the gate behind him. Picking up his own bike, he followed Erwin to put them in the shed in the backyard. Slowing slightly, Mike noted that (Y/n) had been downstairs while there was no one home. He followed Erwin with the hope to be able to get a word with her later.

Sitting across from Mike at the table as they got the check board ready, Erwin watched his friend. He's been rather reserved, even for his quiet self. 

"Are you ready to talk about it?" Erwin asked quietly, watching from the corner of his eyes as Mike focused his attention to him.

Sighing, Mike glanced out the window, "Sure, I guess...just promise to keep it between us, and only us?"

Erwin froze as he let Mike finish. They'd always been open with one another, as long as he could remember. Deciding it must be seriously important to Mike, Erwin nodded reluctantly, "I promise."

Setting the envelope in the newspaper on Augustine's desk, (Y/n) let her hand linger on it. Part of her wanted to tear it up, but part of her knew it should be sent. 

Tilting her head to better listen to the approaching bicycles in front of the house, she took the other envelope and quietly walked towards the office. Looking over the railing for a moment, she watched as Erwin walked in with a bright smile on his face as he waited for Mike.

He seemed so happy, cheerful, and overall excited; a complete contrast from how (Y/n) felt. While he was well-kept in his button up tucked into his trousers, only part of her shirt was tucked into her skirt as her hair fell loosely in her face. 

Watching Mike walk in shortly after, (Y/n) turned towards the corner. Putting the envelope between her teeth, she carefully opened the panel and went through, latching it behind her. 

Sitting at the vanity, she avoided looking in the mirror. Tired of looking at her eyes swollen from crying, face pale from lack of sunlight, and hair messy from negligence, she simply watched the envelope in front of her. 

Cautiously opening it, she pulled out the letter from the informant. Hovering it above a flame, (Y/n) carefully took it away when the words appeared. She found herself watching the paper as if it would do anything.

Groaning, (Y/n) rubbed her temples. Taking the paper in hand, she began scanning the letter. Of course, it was simply more bad news, one after the next.

Putting the letter in a bag with the others, (Y/n) climbed in bed, pulling the thick blanket over herself. Glancing to the clock, she found that it wasn't even noon yet. Turning over to wallow in her own self-loathing, she closed her eyes in hopes it would do something to comfort her.

Chapter Text

Mike had gone home after three rounds of chess, only winning once. He insisted on leaving before the storm started. Looking out the window now, Erwin understood why. 

The lightening illuminated the city, dark to avoid air-raids. Thunder seemed to shake the house on its foundation, while the rain was loud against the walls.

"Normally, they'd tell us to go into the basement in the event of a raid, but I'm afraid it might flood," Augustine sighed as he leaned on the doorway, looking for an opening to check on (Y/n).

Erwin simply continued to watch the storm, "No need to worry about that; no one would be able to fly in such weather. Too hazardous."

Humming, Augustine lit a candle and set it on the table. Taking a book from the shelf, he opened it as he sat in his favorite arm chair beside the dying flames in the fireplace.

Watching his father for a moment, Erwin smiled. It only ever took seconds for his father to get lost in a story, a notorious look on his face that gave away his distraction; a look his son loved. 

Mimicking his father, Erwin picked out a random book from the shelf. Brushing off the dusty cover of War and Peace, he sat on the floor leaning against his father's legs, trying to get some of the candlelight to see the ink on the page.

Stuck in her room during the storm, (Y/n) was drawing in her sketchbook. Waiting to see when Augustine would run by, she glanced at the clock when the lightning struck.

Mentally groaning, she ate some of the bread she snuck up earlier. The storm was so violent, it made her stomach twist with dread. It felt like something was going to go wrong again. 

Setting the pencil down, (Y/n) listened to the storm for a moment. It was so loud, she couldn't even hear herself think. Reaching to the jar in the corner, she began chewing on a biscuit. 

Jumping when the thunder was abnormally loud, shaking the house, she froze. Standing on shaky legs, she put her sketchbook in the bag with the rest of her letters. 

Grabbing the photo album as well, and anything else she felt like she needed for the night, (Y/n) walked towards the crawlspace. Opening the latch, she looked around the dark office.

It was definitely more comforting than her hobbit-hole. Leaving the latch open if someone was heard coming up the stairs, (Y/n) sat on the couch, angling herself so she could watch the rain without the risk of being seen.

Finally realizing how tired she was, (Y/n) simple continued to watch the rain fall. Wrapping the blanket on the couch around her shoulders, the girl quickly fell asleep in the warm room.

Walking up the stairs to put on some pajamas, Erwin walked by the office, finding the door cracked. Closing it as he passed, he hummed his little tune as he walked into his room.

Picking out a pair of pajama pants from the dresser, Erwin undressed and listened to the rain knocking on the window. Turning towards the wall with the crack in it for a second, a thought planted itself in his head. 

He'd never questioned it before; he grew up in this house and knew every inch of it, but with a storm this heavy, he'd hear the rain against that wall. Walking closer for a second, Erwin peeked through the crack. 

It was pitch black, nothing to see. Waiting for a strike of lightning, he gave up when nothing happened. Turning away from the crack, Erwin put on a shirt as he sat on the bed. 

Pulling on a pair of socks to protect his feet from the cold ground, he listened as his father walked to his room. Standing and stretching his sore muscles, Erwin rolled his shoulder as it popped painfully. 

Catching the smallest smell of something off, Erwin took a moment to pinpoint what it was. Looking towards the hall when a commotion was heard, he was worried his father had fallen.

Waking up when the door clicked, (Y/n) looked towards the sound. Hoping it would have been Augustine, a glance to the clock showed that she'd only slept for two hours.

Laying back down cuddled into the pillows on the couch, she watched the rain pelt the window beside her. Resting her eyes to fall back asleep, a tired yawn left the girl's lips. 

Almost asleep, she listened as Augustine's footsteps, quiet and light, echoed down the hall. Debating trying to go and talk to him, (Y/n) laid deeper into the cushions. 

That was, until she smelled the fainted scent of smoke. Panicking, she stood quickly and made her way to the opened crawlspace. Tripping on the blanket, (Y/n) landed on the floor painful and loud.

Rushing into the small hallway and into the room, she found that her oil lamp was still alight, she picked it up as the room was inspected. Finding nothing was wrong, the girl took the hidden money from under her mattress as she walked out to the office.

The smoke was more obvious now. Rushing out of the crawlspace and almost slipping on the blanket again, (Y/n) tucked the cash into the bag. Closing it and walking across the room, she reached for the handle of the door knob. 

Opening it to the lit hallway, (Y/n)'s (e/c) eyes met blue ones. Except, they weren't those normal blue eyes that she'd been looking into for the past three months, these were younger, confused blue eyes.

Taking a moment to come back to reality, (Y/n) swallowed the saliva in her mouth as she waited for Erwin to speak.

Chapter Text

Looking up as footsteps were heard from the corner, (Y/n) saw Erwin watching her. Sat with her chin on her knees on the corner of her bed, he noted that there was the most distance between them that the room provided. 

He looked around the dark space, eyes adjusting as he inspected it. It wasn't the biggest room, but it wasn't the smallest either; it was about the size of his own. While he expected it to smell dusty, it actually seemed clean; Cleaner than his own room, if he had be honest to himself. 

Watching him as he walked towards the bed, he felt along the wall and found the crack. Peeking through it, he inspected his room perfectly. She could see everything from here if she wanted, but mainly his window was at the best angle. 

Looking back as his father stood by the doorway, they each waited for the others to speak. 

Augustine had convinced Erwin to listen to them, until the firefighters came to put out the shed, which the neighbors noticed was struck by lightning. Along with the firefighters, some SS officers came. 

Claiming it was mandatory, they insisted on searching the house. They didn't seem completely satisfied with the inspection, but they left after inviting themselves to some tea and taking their time in the home. 

Now, well past midnight, the three of them finally had time to have a conversation. Looking at the girl in the corner, they didn't hold eye contact for long until she looked away in submission. 

Approaching her, Erwin gently reached for her arm. Noticing her flinch, he made sure to move slowly, helping her stand. Gently pushing her towards Augustine, they silently moved to the kitchen.

Sitting across from Erwin, (Y/n) watched the table in front of her, unable to speak. Finding it ironic how she'd wanted to talk to him so much only to shut her mouth in his presence, an annoyed chuckle left her lips. 

"What's so funny?" 

Risking a glance when he finally spoke up, Erwin's face was calm, yet his eyes were piercing. Intimidated, she looked towards Augustine, who prepared a kettle to boil. 

Watching the man across from her shift closer, the atmosphere in the room only seemed to thicken as time went by.

"I agreed to listen, yet you're not saying anything," Erwin spoke gently, inspecting the girl across from him. Watching as she looked at him with eyes that were faintly familiar, he waited for an answer. 

"Erwin, please," Augustine called across the room, "Can you be nice to her?"

The male in question only seemed to watch her with those intimidating eyes, "What's your name?"

"(Y/n)," she responded, voice low and weak. Biting her lip, she chose to watch his shirt rather than his eyes. 

Watching as he sat up straight, suddenly intrigued with a hint of surprise, a crooked grin formed on his face, "Geez... you could walk out all around the city, and no one would know it's you...Why are you hiding?"

"I don't have papers..." She mumbled, cautious and confused and by his change in demeanor. Playing with the hem of her shirt, a glance was given to Augustine, who simply watched them. 

Humming, Erwin glanced to his father as well. "They've been asking for papers everywhere we go, haven't they?"

Nodding in agreement, Augustine stroked his beard, "A majority, yes..."

"Why don't you go to America with your 'mobster' brother?" Erwin asked. Noting that it was a bit rude, he actually seemed genuinely interested. 

"I don't know his exact job, but he says it's safer for me here; which says a lot, I guess..." (Y/n) responded, rubbing her left forearm. 

Erwin only nodded, watching her. She looked so different than what he'd expected, and he now understood why she hadn't been found. He looked away when he realized she was growing nervous.

Turning when the kettle was heard behind him, Augustine brought it to the table. Handing the others a cup, they sat in silence and listened to the rain for some time. 

"I found her on my way back from seeing you off at the station three months ago," Augustine spoke, watching the window. 

Looking at Erwin when he looked at her, she held the warm cup between both hands, "He pushed me into a hedge."

"I pushed you behind a hedge so those SS officers wouldn't shoot you, don't twist this around on me," he cut in, waving his finger for clarity, much to Erwin's amusement. 

Listening to his chuckling, (Y/n) couldn't help but laugh herself. Whether it was just nerves or actually finding comfort in his presence, she found Erwin becoming less of a threat in her eyes. 

Sitting in silence once more, they drank their tea. After quiet some time, Erwin finally spoke up, clearly tired and wanting to get to the bottom of everything. 

"Why are you hiding?"

Eyes suddenly on (Y/n), she set the warm cup down, growing self conscious. Glancing to Augustine, they shared a short, silent conversation.

"My grandfather didn't agree with the Führer, so he was sent to Dachau while the rest of my family was sent to the Ghettos..." She began, barely above a whisper, "You don't know what it's like in the Ghettos..."

"I've heard horrible things about them...and Dachau..." Erwin admitted, sudden guilt building in his stomach. He'd heard such horrible things about it, yet he was still willing to send someone to a place like that.

"My grandmother was gassed, grandfather and uncle are being forced to provide labor, and my mother is missing," (Y/n) spoke with a weak voice, wiping her cheek when the warm tears began to fall. 

Augustine simply wrapped a reassuring shoulder around her, clearly having heard the story before. Erwin simply watched, the shrouded truth of the camps suddenly becoming clear. Taking a moment, Erwin realized why Mike didn't want to have to work as a guard. 

"How did you get away?" He asked quietly, a hand covering his mouth as he listened. He'd heard stories, but nothing first-hand. 

"Well, that's the thing. I didn't want to, but my family made me. At the ghetto, when the SS were getting ready to take us to the train station, they kept...eyeing me, is the best way the out it. Before we left, they kept trying to get me alone..."

Watching one another, (Y/n) bit her lip, "My mother...She let them force themselves onto her just so they'd leave me alone. I ran because we overheard them saying they'd separate us during the gassing... I'd much rather take a bullet than be raped, so if you turn me in, just know that they'll pay the ransom even if I'm turned in dead."

Suddenly overwhelmed, Erwin let out a heavy sigh. Standing silently, he'd already made up his mind halfway through as he turned away, causing (Y/n) to panic; until he opened the fridge. 

Setting the leftover desserts on the table and sitting in his original spot once he brought knives, forks, and plates, Erwin simply offered them a smiled as he took a piece of cake.

Meeting their confusion, he shrugged with a defeated smile, "We're going to be stuck with one another for the time being, may as well enjoy it."

Almost crying from relief, (Y/n) held her face in her hands. Offering a smile when they tried to calm her, she looked at Erwin, wide-eyed and confused.

"Thank you," she smiled, wiping the happy tears from her face. She couldn't help but laugh; he had her terrified, only to end up getting something sweet to eat.

"Don't worry about it," Erwin mumbled, watching the happiness she radiated. Happy he could make her week just by allowing her to hide in safety, it brought a smile to his own face when he realized it must have been a long time since she'd felt that way.

Chapter Text

Looking towards the doorway when Erwin walked through the front door, (Y/n) went back to the stove when she knew it was him. Sharing a glance when he walked into the kitchen and set down a bag of fresh fruit, they were unsure of how to speak to one another. 

"It smells good," Erwin began after some moments of silence, trying to make conversation as he put the fruit in a bowl. 

Watching him as he walked by, (Y/n) nodded, "Thank you....I thought you were still asleep."

"I woke up early, so I decided to get some stuff. Speaking of," he responded, reaching into the bag and pulling out an orange, "I thought you needed some of these, you look a bit pale. Scurvy doesn't sound pleasant."

Setting the spatula down gently, she hesitantly took the Orange from him. Flattered to be kept in mind, a smile was given to him, "Thank you."

Nodding, they stood in silence as she waited for the buns to finish in the oven. Some distance between them, (Y/n) was watching the backyard, wincing when her eyes found the remains of the shed, "How old was that thing?"

"Been here since the house was built in 1890. It was pretty dry, so it's not a surprise it went up. My father and I were going to take it down later," Erwin responded, standing next to her. 

Humming, (Y/n) jumped when the timer went off, offering Erwin a face when he chuckled. Turning it off and taking the oven mitts he offered her, she walked towards the oven. 

Opening, she could feel his eyes on the back of her skull. She couldn't blame him; Erwin was as cautious of her as she was of him.

Setting the buns on the counter to cool, (Y/n) began to prepare plates as Augustine walked into the kitchen, wishing both of them good morning. 

Setting Augustine's plate and coffee mug in front of him as he sat, (Y/n) walked back to the stove to prepare another plate. Handing it to Erwin when he waited beside her, they exchanged plates. 

Joining them at the table, (Y/n) sat across from Erwin and beside Augustine. Watching her food in front of her, all she could think about was the daily newspaper. 

"How did you sleep?" Augustine asked, enjoying the cinnamon pancakes.

Glancing up for a second, (Y/n) swallowed her food, "I slept fine, How about you?"

"I was alright. How about you, Erwin? How'd you sleep?"

"Like a rock, I just wish I didn't go to bed at three in the morning," He joked with a scoff, "Woke up early, and decided to get some fresh fruit."

Humming, they sat in silence as they enjoyed breakfast together. Silently ignoring Erwin, who was watching her throughout the meal, (Y/n) watched the window above the sink. 

"Have you seen the papers, father?" Erwin asked quietly, taking his attention away from the girl. There was an edge in his voice that the others picked up on.

"No, I haven't...Did something serious happen?" Augustine asked, lowering his mug. He'd usually read the newspaper during breakfast, but decided against it so he could make sure Erwin and (Y/n) got along. 

Sharing a knowing glance with Erwin, (Y/n) bit her lip. Meeting Augustine's concerned and expecting eyes, she sighed, "Germany invaded Poland...."

"We're officially at war," Erwin finished, finishing his breakfast. Taking a drink from his orange-juice, he waited for his father's reaction.

When the silence lasted far too long for comfort, Erwin and (Y/n) shared a look as they waited for Augustine to speak. Watching him from the corner of their eyes, they stayed silent when neither could think of anything to say. 

Finally deciding to stand, (Y/n) took the men's plates as she went to the sink to clean them. Listening to the two behind her, she was eager to see what they'd say. 

"What's going to happen to you?" Augustine finally asked, barely above a whisper. 

"I went by the office this morning, after I read the paper," Erwin responded, cleaning his hands with a napkin, "Krueger told me my leave was extended until the end of the year...make sure everything's healed before I go fight on the front. I have to go to the doctor for a checkup later."

Humming, Augustine watched (Y/n) as she stood by the sink. Biting his lip, he looked away when she turned around. 

"If we want it to be over quickly, we should hope America joins soon," Erwin thought aloud, drinking his own coffee, "But in all honesty, I don't think they'll want to."

"They are still getting over their economic troubles from the depression. I don't know if we should count on them, but hopefully it gets figured out," Augustine added, stroking his beard.

Standing in silence, the three waited as they thought about what to speak about. Augustine was worried about his son and his career, and the girl he was hiding. Erwin was stressed about having to fight in the war, and possibly leaving his father alone. (Y/n) was wondering what the sudden change meant about her; would they still be willing to help her, or would they just turn her in for the ransom?

"I guess your stay with us will be extended...I'm happy you're still here, but I wish it was under better circumstances," Augustine thought aloud, offering a pained smile to (Y/n).

"That's two of us..." (Y/n) responded, drying her hands on the towel, "Hopefully it'll be over quickly..."