It didn’t make sense.
They stood side by side watching the scene unfold as if looking at the world for the first time.
In a way, that was true.
Everyone around them had already rushed ahead. Gears haphazardly thrown aside, shoes kicked off, jackets in the air. Even the usually unsmiling, neat-freak captain said nothing as belongings were messily discarded and positions abandoned, but tried to hide his smile as the salty wind rushed by him. Laughter echoed over the strip of sand as the first of them reached the waters. For once, the weight in everyone’s hearts was lifted.
But they just stood there, with lead feet and heavy hearts.
And it just didn’t make sense.
She slipped one foot out of her boot placing it gingerly on the foreign land. The other soon followed. She felt herself sink a little and her surprise was betrayed only by her eyes and a tiny, almost inaudible yelp. He couldn’t help but smile at that. He took off his own shoes, hindered a little by the broken but healing fingers. His smile grew wider as his feet landed on the sand. He wiggled his toes and felt the sand slip on to his feet. She carefully knelt down to touch the sand. She came back up with a fistful, and they watched as it slowly trickled out of her hand back to the ground. They’d never seen land so white before.
He’d never thought it would be so noisy. Their friends were splashing water everywhere. Including on their captain, who didn’t even swear when he was dunked under water. But even despite that the water seemed loud. And oh so immense. He took a deep breath and felt a slight sting in the air. He couldn’t believe he was really seeing this. He was alive and his dream had come true.
No, it wasn’t just his. It was their dream.
She sat down in the sand, her fingers tracing patterns into the soft ground. She’d buried her nose in the red tattered scarf like she had done so many times before. The ends of the scarf were caked in mud, leaves and blood but she didn’t mind. They sat together shoulder to shoulder, with a heaviness settling over them once again. Eyes fixed on the water, they stayed that way long after the others had left the waters to set up camp.
The appearance of darker soil before them broke the trance.
“Look.” She murmured. The water was farther than it had been before and with every lap, it was moving further away.
“It’s low tide time.” She looked at him curiously.
“It was in the book,” he explained, “the water rises for a while before pulling away from the land.”
“The water comes and goes huh?” she whispered.
“Yeah. It comes, and it goes.”
They were standing now, but there eyes were fixed on the cart next to them. The rest of their friends had understood and left the cart behind when taking the horses away to graze. There was no one on the sand but them anymore. The setting sun was staring at them and the waters had turned an eerie red.
Just like his blood.
“We should do it, shouldn’t we?”
“Come on then.”
The first step was the hardest. Their feet seemed rooted to the spot and it was with apprehension that they began moving. Yet before they knew it they were standing knee deep in the darkening waters. She felt her knees almost give way beneath her. She tried to steel herself as her feet sank into the sticky ground, which slipped away with the waters’ pull.
“It’s taking the soil with it.” He nodded. He could feel the spray on his face, but he still bent to cup some of the receding water and taste it.
“Guess it really is salty,” he whispered as he spat it out. He knew that taste though. It was the taste of his tears. Which were freely flowing down his face once again. He didn’t need to look at her to know she was crying. He didn’t want to. He was falling apart quite well on his own.
And it didn’t make sense.
He waded further till the waters he’d only ever dreamed of were lapping at his waist. She followed, never once dropping the weight nestled in her arms. They stood side by side and gently lowered the body into the water. They stood, holding onto each other’s hand, keeping each other anchored, giving one another strength. They watched the face of their dearest friend sink, drift away slowly and disappear into the dark waters.
Waters as dark his blood.
Waters dark with his blood.
“Welcome to the sea,” she whispered as tears continued to roll down her face, “it is salty, but we figured you’d want to taste it yourself.”
And one last time, Eren Jaeger rushed on ahead, leaving Mikasa and Armin behind.