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Stranger

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Mikasa woke to the quiet of her room. The clock beside her read 03:24. Why had she woken so early? It was disturbingly quiet—Eren snored loudly, and often Armin would get up to pour a glass of milk for himself, then sit in the lounge and watch TV while he swallowed it all down. Mikasa enjoyed them, the company they gave, the noises they made that reminded her that she wasn’t alone. It was depressingly lonely without them.

“Yo, Mikasa. Why don’t you come with us?”

Mikasa turned to Eren, wiping a towel over her sweaty face. “Because I have to work,” she answered. “And it’ll be good for you and Armin to have alone time. Be bros alone, you know?”

Eren frowned. He was seated on the kitchen counter, shirt soaked with sweat, his towel even more so as it rested on his shoulders. “But you’re our bro too, Mikasa,” he argued. “I mean, we’d be dead without you.”

Mikasa snorted and almost choked on a mouthful of water. A drop slid down her chin and onto her cleavage, but she let it slide the rest of the way down. “While that is true,” she said with a laugh. “I can be too much. Go with Armin to that damn island you won’t shut up about it.” Her lip quivered but she put on a brave face and smiled. “It’ll be good for you.”

Eren grinned brightly and hopped off of the counter. He made to hug his sister, but stopped short and scrunched his face. “You stink,” he groaned. “Go and shower already!”

Mikasa’s face warmed. “You stink even worse!” she countered, throwing her towel in his face.

“First one to the bathroom gets to shower!” Eren yelled, already halfway down the passage. Mikasa rolled her eyes and ran after Eren, but let him have the victory. She enjoyed the happiness in his laugh as he slammed the door and slapped the shower on. Armin ventured out of his room, eyebrow raised, but his smile was soft.

“You won’t be too lonely?” he asked. His blue eyes, ever intelligent, saw right through her.

Mikasa clasped her hands together and swivelled on her feet. “I’ll be fine,” she threw over her shoulder. “What I’m worried about is the two of you being fine.”

Armin’s chuckle followed closely after her as she disappeared into her own room.

So maybe she wasn’t as fine as she thought she would be. The loneliness was already glaring and it was only the third day in. Were Eren and Armin okay? She had eventually gotten her messages to the right number and Eren had given her a call. He had shouted, as usual, and Armin had been giggling in the background. They sounded like they were having fun. Knowing that at least made her feel better. She wanted them to come back, though.

Mikasa sat up in bed and rubbed at her tired eyes. It was still so early. She grabbed her phone from her bedside table and then slipped out of her room and to the kitchen. She warmed a mug of milk and did as Armin did, she took a seat in the lounge and turned the TV on. That was when her phone vibrated, and Mikasa’s brows dipped in confusion as she tapped on the message, wondering who it could be.

Short Stuff (03:43): Did you know that cows have best friends?

Her heart stuttered, and Mikasa sipped on her milk for a moment before she responded. Firstly, it was early in the morning. Secondly, the stranger was messaging her now. She must have made quite the impression.

Mikasa (03:44): So in short you have best friends?

She smiled to herself and pulled a small lounge blanket around her shoulders, since it was still a little cold so early. Mikasa stared at her phone, waiting, grinning and sipping on her warm milk. It warmed her from the inside, which was nice.

Short Stuff (03:45): Har har. Did I wake you?

Mikasa (03:36): No, I was awake already. Why are you messaging me?

Short Stuff (03:46): Because I can’t sleep.

Mikasa (03:36): Anything serious?

Short Stuff (03:47): No.

Mikasa (03:49): Okay. I’m missing my brothers. It’s lonely without them.

She paused, realized that she never spoke to anyone so intimately over the phone, not even with Eren. It was just so easy to do it now, with this stranger. It didn’t feel imposing or personal. It felt freeing.

Short Stuff (03:51): What are you, a big needy baby? Give me your address and I’ll come by and feed you milk.

Mikasa (03:51): No. I already have milk, thank you very much.

Short Stuff (03:52): Damnit.

Mikasa (03:53): I take it you haven’t tracked me down yet.

Short Stuff (03:55): Just a matter of time, Mikasa. Just you wait.

Mikasa (03:55): Mm-hmm, we’ll see about that. So why are you awake anyway?

Short Stuff (03:56): Roommates are gone for a few days.

Mikasa (03:58): So you’re lonely too?

Short Stuff (03:59): No.

Mikasa (04:00): Sure thing, Short Stuff.

Short Stuff (04:00): I swear to god you are dead.

Mikasa (04:02): There are billions of people on this earth. How are you going to find one?

Short Stuff (04:03): You’ll see. I’m smarter than I look.

Mikasa (04:04): I don’t know how you look though. Does that mean you normally look dumb?

Short Stuff (04:05): I’m plotting your murder already. Seriously. I’ve printed our conversations and I have a board set up with a map and everything.

Mikasa (04:07): That gives me shivers, honestly.

Short Stuff (04:07): Good. It should.

Mikasa (04:08): Do you watch crime shows?

Short Stuff (04:08): No.

Mikasa (04:09): Oh you totally do.

Short Stuff (04:09): Do not.

Mikasa (04:10): Do. Stop denying the truth.

Short Stuff (04:10): I regret messaging you.

Mikasa (04:11): Life is too short for regrets.

Mikasa (04:11): As short as you, maybe?

Short Stuff (04:14) has sent an image

Mikasa grinned in amusement and opened the file. She laughed outright at the furious meme screaming at her, and then she quickly googled a meme with being short as its theme, and sent that in reply.

Mikasa (04:20): Two can play at that game.

Short Stuff (04:21): Oh hell, it’s on.

And so the battle of the memes raged on until both parties were too exhausted to continue. They ended in a draw. But neither would forget.

XxX

Mikasa had been late for work. Thanks to the meme battle, she had stayed up too late and overslept. Even her alarm had been useless in waking her. She had been too deeply asleep. But the work day was over, and Mikasa groaned as she dropped her shoes and jacket by the door and then stumbled into the lounge. Her feet were aching. She needed a shower. Plus, she was hungry. Though she was too tired to actually get up and make something to eat. She cursed that extra hour at the gym after work.

Mikasa pulled her phone out and tapped on her Facebook app. Eren should have posted new pictures of his holiday, and she was eager to see them. The happy expressions on their faces always helped her relax, and it didn’t hurt that the scenery was beautiful. She could also then scan their bodies and see if they were still uninjured—she genuinely worried for them.

Facebook notified her that she had one private message and three notifications. She went for the notifications first, clicking on the small globe. The first was a picture Eren had tagged her in. She clicked on that and viewed the image, and then liked and commented on it. She then went to the notifications again. The second one was just Eren liking one of her posts, but the third one gave her pause. She wasn’t friends with the person that had posted on her wall, and when she went to the post, her heart nearly stopped all together.

Annie Leonhardt ► Mikasa Ackerman
Just a matter of time, I said. And see how far I’ve come? You were right by the way, you are smoking hot. Thanks for the honesty, Miss Murder by Underwear.

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Mikasa didn’t hesitate to send a friend request and head over to Annie’s, if that really was her Short Stuff chatting companion, profile. She was greeted with plenty of photos of a broody blonde, with blue eyes so clear they looked like pools of the sea. Mikasa’s throat closed up and her hand began to tremble as she put a face to the texts. Annie was utterly breath-taking, and definitely short. Mikasa laughed loudly at a photo of the woman standing between two really tall men. She just made it to their waists, and she looked very upset about the fact. After a long while of simply stalking through her pictures and definitely becoming infatuated with the snarky blonde, Mikasa felt her phone vibrate. She pulled it out like an animal and smiled when it was from the stranger—Annie. She quickly changed the name, too.

Annie (20:33): Oi

Mikasa (20:34): Annie Leonhardt, huh?

Annie (20:35): Oh no, you know my name. How scary. We live in the same building, genius. Expect to see me at your door tomorrow.

Mikasa nearly choked.

Mikasa (20:36): What?! How did you even find me?

Annie (20:37): Easy. I searched for a Mikasa that was friends with both an Eren and Armin. Like I said, I assume a lot of things and I’m always right. So, what do you say?

Mikasa began to tremble, her heart thumping wildly in her chest. And then she made a quick decision, and hit ‘call’. It rang for a few moments, but then Annie answered.

“Mikasa?”

And there was finally a voice to the face, too.