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Stranger

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Mikasa pressed a thumb against her throbbing temple as she opened the front door and tiredly trudged inside. She merely shoved the door closed with a foot, tossed her bag onto the ground and then flipped the light switch. She paused when she saw the state of the lounge, and shut her eyes for a full minute before blowing out a curse and tapping wildly on her phone for Eren’s number. She decided to send an angry message his way, because her brother had promised that he would clean before leaving for his weeklong vacation with Armin and the boy hadn’t done so. Either he had forgotten to, or he had “forgotten” to. Mikasa felt like throwing something, but an angry sms would do. Huffing, she plopped down on the couch where one of Eren’s boxer’s lay strewn and kicked it away with a grimace after sending the message.

Mikasa (19:42): I swear to god I will choke you with your underwear when you get back. Don’t even try to make up an excuse for this.

She felt like elaborating on what she was upset about was unnecessary. If Eren had forgotten, Armin would remind him, no doubt. So with the message sent, Mikasa felt her headache ease slightly and she switched the TV on. The latest episode of Orphan Black was about to begin and Mikasa would be damned if she missed it. It was just getting interesting when Mikasa felt her phone vibrate with a message, and she grinned to herself, thinking it was Eren. It wasn’t.

Unknown: (20:02): Surely there is no excuse for whatever was done. You sound upset. Make it look like a suicide, not a murder. Oh and this is the wrong number, by the way. Good luck choking whoever pissed you off.

Mikasa straightened in her seat and furrowed her brows. She checked her sent messages, wondering how in the hell she had gotten the wrong number, and flushed when she realized that she had, in fact, mixed up the end digit. She had sent that message to a complete stranger. But Mikasa wasn’t one to freak out over a dumb mistake. With a slight shaky inhale, she typed up a response and hoped that this stranger was partial to amusing, weird conversations.

Mikasa (20:04): Hmm, that’s a good idea. I’ll make it seem like he tripped and swallowed his sock. Sorry for the weird message, by the way. I’m tired and I pressed one wrong button.

She waited a minute and received a response, fairly quickly, too, which was odd. Was the stranger waiting for her reply?

Unknown (20:05): You sound positively charming.

Mikasa frowned.

Mikasa (20:06): You don’t even know me. You’re a stranger.

Unknown (20:07):  I was being sarcastic.

Mikasa (20:08): … I knew that.

Unknown (20:08):  Of course you did. So who pissed you off, Miss Murder by Underwear?

Mikasa (20:10): How do you know I’m a miss? And it was my brother, not that you should care. You’re a stranger

Unknown (20:11): I assume a lot of things and usually I’m right. Plus, you messaged me by accident. You started this.

Mikasa (20:11): Dude you continued it.

Unknown (20:13): Oh no, did I piss you off too? Please don’t murder me with my bra.

Mikasa’s cheeks heated up slightly—clearly this stranger was a woman, too. It hadn’t really hit her yet that she was actually having this conversation with a complete stranger.

Mikasa (20:14): Ha ha. I’m laughing so hard.

Unknown (20:15): Oh I can hear the laughter. But really. Did he mess the place up? Leave his underwear all over?

Mikasa (20:17): How did you even... okay you know what? I don’t really care. This is pretty weird. Sorry for interrupting your evening.

Unknown (20:18): Hey, wasn’t the weirdest text I’ve gotten. We should probably stop responding, yeah?

Mikasa (20:19): Yeah. Again, sorry.

Unknown (20:20): No problem, Miss Murder by Underwear.

Mikasa left the conversation at that, chuckling lightly under her breath. She decided to finish the episode of her show and then head to bed. Strangely, thoughts of choking Eren were far from her mind as she lay in bed later on. What had her wondering was what the stranger had been thinking, and perhaps what she looked like. Mikasa imagined someone snarky, persistent. Someone that would probably piss her off easily. Mikasa fell asleep thinking of the stranger.

 

Chapter Text

The next day Mikasa arrived home much like she had the previous night, though it was absent of the headache and the waiting mess inside. She was relieved to finally step into her home, and felt a slight pang of loneliness that Eren’s bright smile wasn’t there to greet her, or Armin’s big blue eyes. So she slipped her phone out, entered the kitchen and stuck her head into the fridge, mid-SMS. After lazily pulling out some ingredients and then heading over to the stove, she hit send and placed the phone down on the kitchen counter.

Mikasa (19:54): Hey Eren. How is the holiday going? Don’t keep Armin up too late! And please remember to wear sunscreen. Let me know that you guys are still alive and breathing. Love, Mikasa.

She busied herself by making her dinner but kept an ear out for her phone. It didn’t take long for it to ring with a message, and the brunette quickly wiped her hands off on a dish towel before grabbing her phone and tapping on the message.

Unknown (20:01): Mikasa, I’m beginning to feel like you’re intentionally sending me these messages. Are you hitting on me? Wrong number, again, by the way.

Mikasa sputtered and slammed her palm against her forehead. “Again?” she yelled to no one, to herself. Her cheeks went red and warm and it took a long moment before she could look down at the message again. Part of her wanted to simply delete the message and act like she hadn’t just embarrassed herself again, but another part felt compelled. This stranger was certainly being amusing. Normal people would have just ignored it, or simply said it was the wrong number, perhaps with a hint of irritation. Instead this woman—if Mikasa’s guess was correct that it was a woman—was engaging in the conversation with smart comments. It made Mikasa itch in the worst way—like when Eren acted like a child and she had to resist the urge to violently flick his forehead.

With a sigh—and with dinner forgotten—Mikasa hopped up onto the counter and then typed up her response.

Mikasa (20:03): Well, I’m beginning to feel like the universe is insisting that I continue to unknowingly harass you. Seriously, why is your number one digit away from my brother’s?

Unknown (20:04): Blaming the universe, huh? My phone was stolen a week ago so I had to get a new sim. Totally wasn’t intentional on my part. Wait. Are you hot?

Mikasa blinked rapidly, flushed, and then a slow grin spread out on her face.

Mikasa (20:05): Smoking hot.

Unknown (20:05): Hmm, gay?

Mikasa (20:07): Hella gay

Unknown (20:10): Okay, then this is all totally intentional. I’d be smart and ask for your number, but…

Mikasa covered her mouth as she barked out a short, surprised laugh. No one was around to witness it, but she still glanced quickly around the room before composing herself and clearing her throat.

Mikasa (20:11): Ha ha.

Unknown (20:12): Come on that was legitimately funny.

Mikasa (20:13): The attempt was, maybe. But the delivery left much to be desired.

Unknown (20:15): I bet that’s how you get all the ladies into your bed.

Mikasa (20:15): I’m going to change the topic. You know my name, but I don’t know yours.

Unknown (20:16): Too bad, Mikasa.

Mikasa (20:16): You aren’t going to tell me?

Unknown (20:16): Why would I? This is fun. Leave me shrouded in mystery, like an unattainable desire, that which is untouchable.

Mikasa (20:17): That was so gross I might puke rainbows.

Unknown (20:19): Oh but that’s simply how /I/ get all the ladies into my bed.

Mikasa (20:20): Bad puns and half assed jokes? And bad poetic lines?

Unknown (20:21): Basically.

Mikasa (20:22): You sound positively charming.

Unknown (20:22): Is this revenge for yesterday?

Mikasa (20:25): Maybe. Tell me your name.

Unknown (20:25): No.

Mikasa (20:27): Alright, I’ll simply call you The Unattainable Desire. How about that?

Unknown (20:28): *gasp* Sounds perfect, Miss Murder by Underwear.

Mikasa (20:30): It’s Mikasa.

Unknown (20:31): Mikasa a.k.a Miss Murder by Underwear.

Mikasa (20:31): You are so annoying.

Unknown (20:34): I already know this.

Mikasa realized that much time had passed, so she simply abandoned the thought of having a proper dinner and snagged a breakfast bar from the cupboard. She headed to the lounge, tearing the wrapper with her teeth and typing away with one hand.

Mikasa (20:35): Seriously, what’s your name?

Unknown (20:37): You’re persistent, aren’t you?

Mikasa plopped down on the couch, switched the TV on just for background noise and then snorted softly in amusement. She swallowed a mouthful of the nutritional bar as she considered her response

Mikasa (20:39): I tend to usually get what I want.

Unknown (20:39): Not this time. I’m not telling. So is Eren your brother? Or Armin?

Mikasa (20:40): Eren and Armin are my foster brothers. Eren is the one that I wanted to murder yesterday.

Unknown (20:41): You sound like a mother hen.

Mikasa (20:42): Eren will choke on his own tongue if I don’t watch over him.

Unknown (20:44): Note to self, Mikasa is disturbingly protective, to the extreme.

Mikasa (20:47): You’re a stranger. I don’t have to put up with this.

Unknown (20:51): Hey, I’m hot and gay too, if that helps. Totally worth putting up with. Not much to put up with though.

Mikasa (20:55): Does that mean you’re short?

Unknown (20:59): That is not what I meant.

Unknown (20:59): AND I AM NOT FUCKIGN SHORT. DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME SHORT AGAIN OR YOU’LL BE THE ONE CHOKED TO DEATH WITH YOUR DAMN UNDERWEAR.

Mikasa blinked slowly and squinted at the loud, angry response. Her heart pattered once, hard, and then her lips spread apart in a grin and she found herself laughing. She had just discovered something vital. Her mysterious stranger definitely was short, and she had a complex about it. This was getting good. It didn’t even occur to Mikasa that she had spent an entire hour chatting to a complete stranger.

Mikasa (21:00): Okay, fair enough. I’ll call you the ‘Tall Mysterious Stranger’ then, yeah?

Unknown (21:01): I am going to hunt you down and find you, Mikasa.

Mikasa laughed again, loudly, and collapsed onto her back. Oh really? she thought in amusement.

Mikasa (21:03): I’d like to see you try, Short Stuff.

 

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” filled the quiet, warm room. Mikasa lay in bed, eyes closed, fingers lightly tapping on her stomach as if playing the sounds herself. She felt the need to hum, but didn’t, and let the music carry her off to another realm. There was nothing more relaxing than dramatic music, Mikasa thought. Besides, she needed the help.

It was early in the morning, but Mikasa had woken yet again. It was the next day after the phone call, and Mikasa felt her heart surge slightly with recollection. That had been one hell of a phone call, and never had a stranger’s voice attracted her so before.

“Mikasa?”

Moonlight Sonata ended and Für Elise began to play, the sharp yet calming piano keys filling Mikasa’s ringing ears. She sighed lightly, in wonder, in exhaustion.

This felt a lot like a murder scene. Classical music in the background, the unsuspecting victim relaxing, unknowing as the killer stepped closer, knife pointed forward. As the song reached its climax, so would the kill. Mikasa shivered as Für Elise ended and a dub step version of Moonlight Sonata began to play.

“Is this Annie?”

The track was just as calming, but definitely more upbeat. It washed away the image of the creeping serial killer, and in its place Mikasa’s mind danced along, images of people using their bodies as instruments, as tools, twirling and twisting and curling in and around themselves. This time her foot twitched ever so slightly in time as the images in her mind shifted to a rather dramatic scene in a burnt down building, with the dancers all covered in ash, their faces pale and masked, elegant as they moved along the smouldering ground. Mikasa truly had an over active imagination.

“Well, not only is Miss Murder by Underwear hot, but her voice is too.”

“D-don’t say something like that to a stranger!”

Her speakers were truly magnificent. Mikasa felt the bass shiver underneath her bed, along the floor and right into her bones. Each thump from a speaker snapped her heart in two. She loved it. And perhaps the neighbours would complain soon, because the music was rather loud, but they rarely did. The walls were thick and mostly soundproof. Mikasa still strained her ears for her door bell or a knock, just in case.

“Stranger? I thought we’ve passed that stage in our relationship, Mikasa.”

“How did you find me?”

“I told you, I knew what to research. Can you believe we live in the same building?”

“What number is your flat?”

“Nu-uh, I’m not telling you.”

“All part of your mysterious allure?”

“Ha, exactly.”

It was a wonder. And while Mikasa truly did feel excited, and that perhaps the universe was telling her something other than ‘harass this poor stranger’, she was a nervous wreck. The piano came back into the song, the beats and bass fading away for the dramatic ending. Mikasa lifted her hands and pressed away at the air. She had played piano growing up, but hadn’t in a while. No doubt she was pressing the wrong invisible keys, but who cared? The song ended, the notes drifting and then fading away. Before the next song could begin, Mikasa switched her music system off with the remote, and then she climbed out of bed and headed to the bathroom. Maybe a shower would help, where the music had not.

XxX

After the shower Mikasa managed to fall asleep in the lounge, tucked away in the corner of the couch. She had been on her laptop, endlessly scrolling the internet until her eyes became too heavy. Luckily she was off, so she managed to sleep until three that afternoon. When she woke she was too rested to feel upset at all the time wasted. Her stomach, however, was not as content.

Mikasa decided to head out and have something to eat somewhere. She hummed softly to herself as she locked the flat, a small smile dancing on her lips. She felt fantastic, which was rare. All thoughts that would trouble her had yet to enter her mind. Until she turned around and spotted a short blonde down the hallway, walking right toward her. Mikasa nearly dropped her keys and sucked in a deep, sharp breath.

I’m not ready. I completely forgot. Oh god, what do I say? What do I do? Jesus, I’m a wreck. Get it together, Mikasa! It’s just a stranger.

And it was. Though the woman was in fact short and blonde, she had brown eyes and dark skin. She was not Annie. A small spike of disappointment hidden beneath relief washed over Mikasa. She shuddered, took a breath, lightly slapped her own cheek and then headed out for food. Though she told herself that she was being ridiculous, she couldn’t help from keeping a close eye on her surroundings, on the other people in the building. She could very well bump into Annie by accident, neither of them planning on it. Luckily that didn’t happen, and Mikasa had a lovely late lunch at a small restaurant down the street. It wasn’t that far, so she had walked. On her walk back home it began to rain.

Mikasa hurried and made it home without a hitch. She had been so concerned about her wet jacket—which was leather and expensive—that she forgot to be jittery as she took the stairs up to her apartment. With the door shut behind her, Mikasa hung her jacket and then headed for the lounge, in the mood to laze like a potato and watch a show. But her phone vibrated just as she sat down, and her heart did a small flip as she opened it and looked at the message.

Annie (16:02): You’re actually pretty cute when you’re terrified.

Mikasa frowned in confusion and quickly responded.

Mikasa (16:03): Terrified? What do you mean?

Annie (16:05): Saw you walking down the stairs. You looked like someone was after you.

Mikasa (16:06): You were watching me? That’s creepy.

Annie (16:07): Wasn’t intentional, I swear. I just so happened to be in the right place at the right time. So where did you go?

Mikasa (16:07): Had lunch.

Annie (16:07): No date?

Mikasa (16:08): No. I ate alone.

Annie (16:09): That’s really depressing.

Mikasa (16:11): Eren and Armin won’t be back for a few days more. Being alone doesn’t bother me.

Annie (16:14): Sure, whatever you say. Hey, look at your Facebook quick.

Mikasa (16:14): Why?

Annie (16:15): Just do it, dumbass.

Mikasa rolled her eyes but did as she was told. When her internet had loaded and Facebook popped up, she saw that she had a notification. She clicked on it and was taken to a photo that she had been tagged in. It was a picture of her—a snapchat, to be exact—taken when she had been hurrying down the stairs. Clearly Annie had taken it, and the caption read: “found this terrified puppy running down the stairs”. Mikasa resisted the urge to smile.

Mikasa (16:20): You’re creepy, you know that?

Annie (16:21): I already knew that. So, what are you doing now?

Mikasa settled more comfortably on the couch. This was the start of a long, detailed conversation. Part of her wanted to ask the big questions, but she decided to leave it be for now. Instead she answered and switched over to a movie channel. When would Annie eventually decide to make a surprise visit? Mikasa was terrified, but a small part of her was excited. She was very lonely after all. Even if she wouldn’t admit it.

Chapter Text

Just before the latest episode of Orange is the New Black began to air, the lounge was suddenly bathed in blackness. Mikasa, who was snuggled up nicely on the couch with a bowl of cereal in hand and a blanket around her shoulders, stiffened for a moment before relaxing and letting out an irritated puff of air.

“Seriously?” she exclaimed, eyes rolling. “Fucking Eskom.”

Just as she was about to enjoy one of her favourite shows the electricity had to go out. She could already hear the thumping of angry footsteps above her, and the low rumble of complaints to her left. Her neighbours were pissed, and rightfully so. It was only seven-thirty in the evening. Some people were only returning from work now, exhausted and ready for a nice evening meal. That meal was no longer possible, unless they ordered pizza. Which actually sounded like a fantastic idea.

After swallowing the last of her milk, the cereal now long gone, Mikasa stood and expertly weaved her way around her dark living room. Even though she could not see a thing, she had enough of a picture in her mind of the layout not to knock into something and smack the floor with her face. Mikasa found her torch hanging on the wall in the kitchen and switched it on with one press of a button. A pale shaft of light spilled out from the small device, and Mikasa squinted for a moment until her eyes adjusted. She then went over to the cutlery drawer and bent down to rummage around in the lowest, looking for one of the Domino’s Pizza menus she had.

Twenty-three minutes later Mikasa sat in the lounge, alone, surrounded by darkness, chewing on delicious peperoni pizza. The cheese simply melted in her mouth, and she blushed at the sensual moan she released after her latest bite. Hot damn, their pizza was good. And as her mouth continued to spasm in utter pleasure, her phone vibrated much the same in her lap. Mikasa picked it up and tapped it with interested, wincing when the bright light hit her right in the eyes. It was a message from a certain short individual, and Mikasa smiled around another slice of pizza.

Annie (20:01): Looks like ‘Eks Dom’ is at it again. Are you scared of the dark?

Mikasa (20:02): No. Let me guess, you are, right?

Annie (20:05): Pfft, no.

Mikasa (20:05): Oh you totally are.

Annie (20:06): Am not.

Mikasa (20:08): My mouth is in ecstasy right now btw.

Annie (20:13): Wait what?

Mikasa (20:14): Pizza. I’m eating the best pizza known to mankind.

Annie (20:15): Domino’s?

Mikasa (20:15): The one and only.

Annie (20:16): So your mouth orgasms just with decent pizza?

Mikasa (20:18): Hey, Eren loves the crap Debonair makes, so I never get a chance to taste heaven like this.

Annie (20:19): Oh lord, I feel for you.

Mikasa (20:21): I appreciate the feel that you feel for me, Shorty.

Mikasa (20:21): I mean Annie ;)

Annie (20:23): You’re playing a dangerous game here Asian.

Mikasa (20:26): I’m ‘Asian’ now? Wow, racist much.

Annie (20:27): I am rolling my eyes so hard right now that I literally just saw my brain. Ha ha.

Mikasa (20:29): That sounds painful.

Annie (20:31): It was, trust me.

Mikasa (20:32): So what are you doing besides gazing into your own grey matter?

And so their conversation went for the next hour and a half, jokes and teases, genuine questions and amused remarks. Time passed by so quickly that Mikasa blinked blindly in surprise when her TV blasted back to life and the lights around her broke the darkness. The rowdy laughter from the TV invaded her gentle quiet, and Mikasa quickly scrambled to switch the damn thing off before her eardrums burst. She collapsed back onto the couch when silence filled the room again, and then she felt her phone vibrate and she sighed.

How had the time gone by so quickly, just from talking to a stranger?

Chapter Text

"No seriously, I know you can't let it go, but this song is actually really cool."

Annie sighed deeply on the other end of the line. "If you make one more damn Frozen pun, Mikasa, I will freeze your ass."

Mikasa laughed outright and then lazily kicked the lounge blanket off of her legs. She was in the lounge, rolled up on the couch. Day 6 without Eren and Armin and she had yet to lose her mind. Mikasa didn't want to exactly admit that having Annie's company, be it over the phone, really helped. It took her mind off of the state of things, especially now that Mikasa had decided to go on early leave and would be at home for the next two weeks. At least her brothers would be home the next day, and all would return to normal.

"Annie, I found this song on YouTube. Seriously, go listen to it. Makes 'Let It Go' pretty bearable. And come on, the original song is really nice."

"Really nice my ass," Annie growled. "I have lost count of the amount of toddlers and dumb adults that have screeched that song."

"Have you seen the movie?"

"Of course I saw the damn movie. Reiner nearly ate my face off until I agreed to go with him."

Mikasa nibbled on her lip and took a short, shallow breath. Reiner, huh? This was the first time Annie had mentioned a name, and Mikasa assumed that Reiner was one of her two roommates, since Annie had expressed that she hated people in general. All the time.

"Reiner?" Mikasa asked, trying not to sound as jealous as she was. "He your roommate?"

Annie went completely silent, and then she let out a soft chuckle and Mikasa felt her cheeks warm. "Yeah," Annie answered. "He's the big blonde guy that always posts on my wall on Facebook."

"Oh."

"Jesus Mikasa, stop sounding so thirsty."

"Thirsty?"

"Like I can feel your claws already."

"I do not have claws."

"Mikasa, you're jealous."

"Am not."

"You are so fucking into me, aren't you?"

Mikasa's face turned a darker shade of red. "Annie, I swear."

"If I came to your flat right now would your face be red, hmm?"

Mikasa laughed nervously and sat up on the couch. "No."

"Oh really?"

There was a knock on the door.

"Annie?" Mikasa choked out, terrified. She heard a chuckle over the line and her heart sped up. Her ears rushed with the sound of her rapid heartbeat, and suddenly Mikasa forgot how to work her mouth. She opened it, left it like that, suspended, and then sucked in a deep breath.

"Mikasa?" Annie asked, sounding more amused than she should have been. "Why do you sound like you're dying?" She was teasing.

Mikasa licked at her dry lips and hesitantly headed over to the door. Annie was speaking again, but Mikasa didn't focus. Was Annie on the other side of the door? If she listened carefully, could she hear Annie's voice from the other side instead of from the phone? When she opened the door, would icy blue eyes stare up at her in amusement, with a cocky smirk below them? Mikasa wasn't sure what the answer would be, and her hands shook badly as she reached out and grabbed a hold of the door handle. Her heart lurched, her stomach fluttered, and then she ripped the door open and inhaled sharply.

"Mikasa! Jesus, you look like you've just seen a ghost," Eren exclaimed, a hand at his chest. "Dude, are you okay?"

"Mikasa?" Annie spoke frantically on the phone. "Mikasa, where the hell are you? Who spoke just now? Are you seriously dying?!"

Mikasa remained frozen, and then she relaxed and covered her face with a hand. Annie still yelled in her ear and Eren began to yell in the other. Armin stepped carefully into the flat, his arms full with their bags. He gave Mikasa a soft pat on the shoulder, though when Mikasa caught his gaze, it told her that he wanted to know exactly why she had looked so frightened.

"I'm fine," Mikasa finally said, to both Eren and Annie. The former relaxed and finally entered the room, while the latter fell silent.

"You sure? I was just joking, you know. About dropping by."

Mikasa laughed softly, almost ashamed with herself. "Annie, tell me what number your flat is."

"Why?"

Mikasa inhaled sharply. "Annie," she said sternly. There was no hint of amusement or playfulness left. "Tell me, right now. I just had a near panic attack because I thought you were at the door."

"And your immediate response is to threaten information out of me?" Annie barked back, surprised. She went silent as Mikasa did, and then she sighed softly. "128," she answered softly.

"Are your roommates out?"

"Yeah."

Mikasa's heart lurched again, but she tightened her hold on the phone and straightened her shoulders. "So, pizza or sushi?"

"Are we having fucking dinner or something?"

"SMS me when you've decided. I'll be visiting within the hour. See you soon, Annie." Mikasa quickly ended the call before Annie could protest, and then she turned to see Armin standing and staring. "What?"

"That sounded odd," he told her, eyes narrowed in suspicion. They stared at each other for a long, silent moment. Mikasa wasn't ready to tell him about her new favourite stranger. Eren was already lumbering down the hall towards them. The sound of Eren's steps must have brought Armin back to himself, since his stern expression fell away to amusement, and then he shrugged. "But then again that's none of my business."

Mikasa opened her mouth to respond, but was cut off my Eren's voice.

"Oi, Mikasa where are my socks?!"

Chapter Text

After first finding out why Eren and Armin were back a day early—which they claimed was because they’d missed her—Mikasa had a quick shower and then left to buy the food. Annie had responded by text, as Mikasa had asked, but she was more frantic than helpful. She didn’t, in fact, choose a selection for dinner. So Mikasa decided to get both Pizza and sushi. She knew that Annie was fine with either. That resulted in Mikasa taking longer than an hour, since she had to travel to two places, order the food and then wait. When she got back to her apartment building, an hour and a half had passed by.

Mikasa’s stomach was twisting in knots, but most of her was excited. Annie had been able to keep an edge on her this entire time, but now she was the one with the power, with the ability to make Annie pace around her living room in anxiety. At least, Mikasa flattered herself with the assumption that she bothered Annie that much. For all she knew Annie could be watching TV or reading a book, with not a care in the world.

Mikasa quickly headed up the stairs and straight for Annie’s door number. Her stomach twisted tighter, her heart felt like it was struggling to pump blood through her veins, and each step became a little heavier—seriously, was she on some kind of drug or something? Mikasa was aware that she had a definite attraction to Annie, but it all lied heavily on physical appearance and sarcasm. She loved the sharp look in Annie’s eyes, the playful though wicked smirk on her lips. All of which she had only seen in pictures. Would the real thing be the same? Better, even?

She came to a stop in front of the door, panting. The box of pizza and plastic bag containing the sushi weighed heavily in her arms. She had never been this nervous before, but then again, she had never backed down from anything either. So Mikasa managed around her armful of food and knocked three times on the door, firm and steady. And then she waited.

An entire minute must have passed before Mikasa finally heard movement from inside. Each second that ticked by added to her stress, and when the door finally opened, Mikasa was standing as stiff as a rod. Her eyes widened immediately, and the warm beat of her heart became hotter, harder. She had to swallow hard, because Annie was standing right there in the doorway, staring with that gaze Mikasa thought she knew. It was actually so, so much better in person. Mikasa wasn’t sure if she wanted to melt or run away.

“Mikasa?” Annie enquired, a perfect eyebrow lifted. “You actually came?”

Mikasa exhaled deeply and then allowed herself to grin. For all the nervousness, she still felt incredibly smug. “Took you a while to open the door,” she teased.

Annie squared her shoulders and looked on with a fierce expression of defiance, but her cheeks lit very slightly with colour. “I was just… I was on my way,” she explained. She seemed entirely too calm, but something about the rigidity of her jaw told Mikasa that she was in fact very nervous.

“From doing what? Putting on your makeup?”

Annie rolled her eyes and then moved aside for Mikasa to step inside. “Are you going to actually come inside, smart ass, or stand out there all night?”

Mikasa was shocked to find herself flush, and she hurriedly obeyed by stepping past Annie and into the living room. Annie was small in stature, but she took up most of the doorway space. Mikasa had no choice but to brush up against her, and her heart spiked with adrenalin as she did. Physical attraction, check.

“Since you were too panicked to pick, I decided on both,” Mikasa said, lifting her arms to show the pizza and sushi.

“Pizza and sushi together?” Annie asked. She shut the door and then padded over to the couch. A large, fluffy blanket lay strewn across the floor, and the way it was twisted around made Mikasa wonder if Annie hadn’t fallen over. “That’s gross.”

“Then don’t eat it all together,” Mikasa argued.

“Well duh.”

Annie plopped down on the couch, not offering Mikasa anything or indicating where she could sit. Before Mikasa ended up standing around awkwardly, she simply sat down beside Annie and then placed the food on the coffee table. Her stomach rumbled loudly, and Annie had the audacity to laugh out right.

“Ah, so you’re as hungry as you are thirsty.”

Mikasa grinned and shook her head. “Rhetoric aside, I actually am thirsty. Could I have some water?”

Annie nodded and pointed behind her. “Kitchen is there. See what you want from the fridge.”

“What a fantastic host,” Mikasa exclaimed. “I think you should host parties.”

Annie finally blushed this time, and she suddenly seemed very bothered. Mikasa was entirely too amused by this. “Shut up, Asian,” Annie shot back, though not nastily.

“Did I hurt your feelings?”

“I’ll hurt something of yours soon.”

Mikasa laughed and stood to get herself something from the fridge. There was at least a bottle of water, so she grabbed that and spoke as she walked back to the couch. “You know, your last threat didn’t really happen either. That one about finding me and choking me with my underwear.”

Annie looked over her shoulder, and a sudden hot wave of attraction washed over Mikasa at the way Annie’s blue eyes glared ice right through her. Beyond them, Mikasa could see fountains of amusement. 

“Oh? But what if this is all part of my plan? Lure you here and then choke you with your underwear?”

“That would require you to undress me first,” Mikasa pointed out.

“I’m sure you’d enjoy that,” Annie shot back. She quickly turned and gazed back at the television screen.

They fell silent then, finally giving in to the weight of their nerves and weariness. Mikasa glanced over at Annie and couldn’t believe that after all this, the messages and the phone calls, that they had finally met in person. Perhaps it hadn’t even really hit her yet. Annie was certainly as amazing as Mikasa had hoped, maybe even more so. She was fiery and sassy, and just the way her eyes blazed bright made Mikasa’s blood boil in the best way. Annie would challenge her every step of the way. Mikasa couldn’t wait. Annie must have eventually felt her gaze, because she seemed to stiffen and then she turned to look at Mikasa again.

“What?”

Mikasa’s stomach flipped and her heart skipped a beat. She felt her cheeks warm because of the way Annie stared, but couldn’t stop herself from grinning. “Well,” she said. “I was just thinking that you’re more than I was expecting.”

Annie lifted a brow. “Meaning?”

Mikasa looked away, embarrassed now. This was going to sound so weird, especially since they had only really met that day, and anonymously a few days ago. Eren and Armin were no doubt worried as well. But Mikasa decided that it didn’t matter. She definitely liked Annie. Hopefully Annie liked her too.

“Meaning, that you’ve exceeded my expectations.”

“Is that your weird way of complimenting me?”

Mikasa rolled her eyes. “I’m trying to say that you’re amazing.”

Annie snorted, but her cheeks were very red. “So charming.”

“I did say that I am.”

“And I suppose you are as hot as you said, too.”

“Oh?”

“Mm-hm.”

“So…” Mikasa nervously scratched her cheek, and then she took a breath. “So would it be appropriate for me to ask you out on a date? For real? Like, romantically.”

“What, we can’t just be gals being pals?”

“Annie.”

Annie laughed then, a sound so smug yet musical that it sand in Mikasa’s ears. She decided that she definitely liked it when Annie laughed.

“Yes then,” Annie breathed, still laughing. There was a sparkle in her eyes, one that Mikasa saw instantly. “Of course yes, you idiot.”

Mikasa sighed. “What have I gotten myself into?”

But Annie had said yes. And Annie was still laughing. She was amused and happy, and seeing her like this, beyond just a screen, made Mikasa’s knees shake. She smiled, all too pleased with herself. Annie had said yes.

“You know, I’m really glad that out of all the million different numbers out there, I accidentally messaged yours.”

Annie stopped laughing immediately. She grew very silent, very still. Slowly, almost hesitantly, she scooted closer until their sides were touching. And then she tentatively took Mikasa’s hand and slipped hers around it. “Yeah, me too,” she said. “I managed to like you after only a few days, and I usually hate people until years and years.”

“Should I be flattered?”

Annie huffed, gave her hand a squeeze. “I just said I like you, Miss Murder by Underwear.”

Mikasa chuckled softly. She leaned into Annie, playfully bumped their shoulders. “Yeah,” she said. “I like you too.”

“Want to watch Orange is the New Black while we eat sushi?”

Mikasa loved the way Annie grinned naughtily. “I’d love to, Annie.”