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Oceantalia {Hetalia x Mermaid!Reader} -Prologue
Problems at Sea
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Chapter Two

The woman turned her entire body to face his.

"My name is (y/n) (l/n), Mr. ...?"

"Arlert. But please, call me Armin."

The corners of (y/n's) mouth stretched into a pleasant grin. She proceeded to slide across the bench and close much of the distance between them. They were still a comfortable length apart, but now onlookers would recognize the body language of friends, not strangers.

"Well, Armin, it's a pleasure to finally meet you properly."

Armin allowed her strange and melodious voice fill his ears.

"And you, as well. Do you happen to... Go to school around here?"

"No, I can not afford college. I work in a local diner close by."

Armin's face lit up in embarrassment.

"Oh! I didn't mean to--"

"Don't worry about it. If it was too personal I would have said something. So, college boy, what are you studying in school?"

The blonde boy beamed as he excitedly told (y/n) about all of his subjects and elaborated on each one. Truth be told, she couldn't understand a large portion of what he was saying, mainly because the boy seemed to have an extensive vocabulary that far surpassed her own of this language. Not to mention, the excitement had the boy speaking at lightning speed, which made it even more difficult. He was not to blame however, for he didn't know of her language barrier. Still, she smiled and nodded, focusing on the intensity of those baby blue eyes and those peachy pink lips. She admired the way he spoke so highly and excitedly about school, knowledge, and learning. (Y/n) could tell he was bright. Between him always taking an opportunity to work on assignments on the bus and the way he carried himself, she knew he was a hard worker and a studious man.

"-- and I picked up this film class, it's very fun, but the professor is a bit... Cold. But it's a great opportunity for me to pursue the career I want and travel the world, and I-- And... I'm rambling again, aren't I?"

Armin buried his face in his hands.

"Sorry. I got carried away there. What diner do you work at?"

(Y/n) found herself giggling at Armin's antics.

"I work at Judy's on Sunset Avenue. But truly, I don't mind. Tell me more about your film class with the cold professor."

"Well, all my friends are in that class, and a lot of other people I know of from previous years. My two best friends Eren and Mikasa usually sit with me, my friend Marco who sits with some kid named Jean who causes all sorts of trouble,"

Armin made it a point to roll his eyes and make a few hand movements at this statement, muttering something along the lines of 'and of course Eren has to get involved' under his breath.

"And then Bertholdt sits with his two friends Reiner and Annie. I recognize faces and names of the rest of my classmates, but haven't really hung out with them. Mikasa and Eren probably have though, Eren's pretty social and Mikasa goes where Eren does."

The names Annie, Bertholdt, and Reiner sounded vaguely familiar to the (nationality) girl.

"You couldn't mean Annie Leonhardt, by any chance?"

Armin's eyes widened a fraction,

"Yes, actually. Do you know her?"

"We work together. She's a nice girl."

Armin opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off by the sound of the screeching wheels pulling up to the bench. On cue, both stood up and casually walked onto the vehicle's steps. Once they had pleasantly greeted the bus driver and sat in their seats, the conversation continued.

"Nice girl?"

Armin questioned, bewildered.

"Yes, she is very respectful, very focused. She has shown me nothing but kindness. You seem surprised?"

(Y/n) raised an eyebrow.

"No, I agree, but most people disregard her as cold and stoic. You must know her well, then?"

(Y/n) shook her head.

"I'm afraid not. But Judy no longer owns Judy's, and management has not been kind since."

Armin visibly perked up, his eyes widened and his pupils dilated, a shocked expression now resting upon his face.

"What do you mean?"

(Y/n) paused to collect herself. She needed the right words to convey her thoughts.

"Well... Judy was a very nice old woman. When I first arrived to this country I knew no (region's language). I spent days without food or shelter looking for job. When I met Judy for my job application, she recognized I could not speak (region's language), so she asked me where I was from. When I told her I was from (country), she began speaking to me in fluent (native language). I was so relieved that I could finally communicate with someone. Judy offered for me to stay with her until I found an apartment, which I gladly accepted. She put me to work washing dishes, and as time went on, I learned basic (region's language) and I was able to barely cut it as a waitress."

(Y/n) took a sharp inhale.

"But...Judy was an old woman. She died seven months after I began to work as a waitress. Her son inherited the business, apparently only under the condition that I could not be fired. Her kindness was without limit. I work very hard and earn many tips from the few customers we get, but Judy's son Roy does not care for me. He wants me gone, but he also wants the money earned from Judy's. He has been trying to make me quit for years. I would, if I could. My abilities are very limited, and this is the only job I can get that doesn't involve taking my clothes off. I think Roy bribes other employees to stay away from me, or at least tells them lies about me."

"But not Annie?"

Armin asked.

(Y/n) smiled.

"That's right."

Armin smiled as well, before his brows furrowed and his lips pressed into a tight line.

"I'm sorry about your job, that sounds awful! Nobody should be treated like that. But... I'm glad Annie has been kind towards you."

(Y/n's) smile grew a bit larger, and her eyes grew a bit warmer, and all of a sudden, the familiar screeching of wheels on asphalt resounded in the air.

"That's my stop. (Goodbye in native language), Armin."

As the woman walked away, Armin stammered out a goodbye, only assuming that was what she had said to him after declaring her travel stop.

===

Once (y/n) had exited the bus' closing transparent doors, she continued to walk casually to her workplace only three blocks down the way. She couldn't help but take a deep breath of the clean, crisp air that began to surface in the atmosphere now that the weather began to get colder. While there were many plusses to the beginning of winter, like cute stockings to go under big sweaters and warm boots, there were also a few downsides. One of these was the requirement to wear the adorable albeit not winter friendly uniform reminiscent of the ones from the fifties. The uniforms were pastel blue. Girls wore a form fitting, short-sleeved, baby blue dress that tapered to a pencil skirt that reached the knees. This was accompanied with a white apron and white sneakers. Men wore a pastel blue polo shirt and white trousers, as well as a white apron and white sneakers. As one could imagine, when the air becomes frigid and the wind picks up the short sleeves and exposed legs do little to keep out the cold. Fortunately it was not far into the season, and the sun was still shining brightly giving off a comfortable warmth, cumulous clouds were littered throughout the vibrant blue sky, and the trees still had brilliant orange and red leaves. When the radiant neon sign that read "Judy's" infiltrated her view, a small chilly gust of wind hit her form. Now quickening her pace, (y/n) soon arrived at the glass door and entered the quaint establishment.

The diner hadn't changed since it had been built. It was still in tip-top shape as it was back in the day. The white and black checkered floor, duck-yellow walls, and the red leather booths and barstools all remained the same. (Y/n) could immediately smell the scent of freshly brewed coffee and sweet cherry pie as she walked in, posters of old cars and celebrities decorated the walls. Lucille Ball, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Doris Day; all icons that (y/n) had now come to recognize. She also recognized the various works of Gil Elvgren, a famous pinup artist, whose less scandalous works were also featured on the walls. The diner was genuinely home for (y/n). Even though (y/n) didn't like Roy, she had to admit that he was doing an excellent job at keeping the restaurant running.

Roy.

The reason the diner had become bittersweet to the (e/c) eyed woman. What was once a funny little diner that took people back in time with the jukebox crammed full of old swing and blues, was now a reminder that the young woman's very first friend in this new and scary domain was now gone forever, and the place where she had once been welcomed with open arms was now the same place where she was trying to be thrown out on the street. Not wanting to waste time, (y/n) quickly made her way to the employee locker room in the far back where she changed into her uniform and stored her clothes and other personal items. As soon as (y/n) shut the door to her compartment, she was greeted with the unpleasant grin that was Roy's natural asshole state.

"Hello (y/n)."

He crooned, his voice so sickly sweet it made her blood boil. Still, she remained calm and collected. She refused to let him know he got under her skin.

"(Hello) Mr. Roberts. Is there something I can do for you?"

"You know, I am so glad you asked. There's three tables out there that need your attention."

"Right away sir."

(Y/n) was a bit suspicious. There's always a catch with Roy, who the hell is at those tables? As the foreign woman exited the back room with her notepad and pen in hand, she studied the section that she was assigned to wait on, and sure enough, three tables were occupied. One table seemed easy enough, a mother and her young child, both of whom seemed like perfectly nice people. The mother had bright orange curls that sprouted in every direction, her eyes carefully reading the menu, making sure to glance back at who (y/n) presumed to be her son every so often. The boy on the other hand, was completely lost in his own world playing with a toy truck, never minding his auburn locks of hair that were constantly falling over his eyes. The second table was what (y/n) was used to seeing at the diner, a middle-aged man wearing a trucker hat and blue jeans, a greying hulk hogan mustache adorning his tired face. If (y/n) looked down she would have noticed the cowboy boots peeking out from said jeans. And lastly, the third table, which was two young men who looked around her age. One was muscular and blonde, his muscles defined and rippling underneath his forest green t-shirt, a mischievous expression plastered upon his face as he smirked at a taller, thinner, meeker looking boy. The boy had tanner skin, large olive green eyes and chestnut brown hair. His brows were tilted upwards, a nervous expression overtaking his features. All in all, it seemed like nothing was out of the ordinary.

(Y/n) decided to begin with the mother and her child, as the woman had already been reading the menu for some time.

"Hello lady and gentleman, I am (y/n), I will be your server today. Can I get you anything to drink?"

"I'll have a sweet tea with lemon, and he'll have a milk."

(Y/n) began to turn away, but the woman called out to her.

"Oh, and (y-y/n)?"

(Y/n) could tell the woman had some difficulty pronouncing her name. She proceeded to nod her head for the woman to continue.

"Is there anyway you could get a cup with a lid for him? He has a tendency to spill."

(Y/n) nodded and smiled.

"Of course, ma'am. It is no problem."

The (e/c) eyed woman scribbled the note on her notepad before continuing on to the truck driver sitting in the booth alone.

"Hello sir, my name is (y/n), I'll be serving you today. Is there anything I can get you to drink?"

The man grunted before responding.

"Coffee. Black."

His voice rumbled like thunder, it was deep and hoarse and (y/n) could tell he was a heavy smoker. She nodded and smiled once again.

"Coming right up, sir."

Flipping to a new page on her notepad, (y/n) blew a strand of hair out of her face and made her way to the third and final table of her section.

"Hello gentlemen, my name is (y/n), I will be your server today. Is there anything I can get you boys to drink?"

"D'ya have any diet coke?"

The blonde one asked. Now that (y/n) was closer to the pair she could see them in much finer detail. The blonde and the brunette were both very tall, rivals to her own impressive height. The blonde's face looked as though it had been chiseled from marble, very harsh lines and carved features. This was in contrast to the brunette, who was lanky; his body was like a trunk and his arms and legs were thin branches, fingers and toes sprouting like leaves.

"Yes. And you sir?"

"Just a water, thanks."

His face had reddened and he looked everywhere but at the cute waitress. The blonde, aware of his companion's embarrassment, was desperately trying to hold in his snickers. (Y/n) smiled, He reminds me a bit of Armin. she thought.

"Right away."

(Y/n) jotted everything down in her little black booklet, scurrying to grab a mug, three glasses, a plastic to-go cup with a lid and four straws. First thing she did then was brew the steaming cup of joe and fill one of the glasses with tap water and ice. She poured ice into all of the other glasses as well before filling each with the appropriate liquids. Lastly, she had filled the child's cup and popped the lid on tight. Balancing all of the beverages on two trays, she expertly meandered to the parent-child duo placing the sweet tea with lemon in front of the red-headed woman, and the milk in front of the little boy.

"Ah, thank you dear."

"Of course. Are you ready to order?"

===

Armin had spent the majority of the hour he'd been home hunched over his desk, doing his assignments at lightning speed. He was lucky that he only had a few worksheets to complete this week, and that his academic excellence allowed him to finish these with ease. It also helped that the boy was eager to get all of his other assignments out of the way so he had the rest of his time to think of ideas for his film project. When he was finally done, the first thing he did was make a steaming cup of coffee, filled with milk and sugar and topped with whipped cream. He sipped the beverage, the sweet, thick liquid sliding down his throat. His mind was reeling as he began to brainstorm.

Seduction. What is seductive? What is sexy?

Half-lidded (e/c) eyes and plump, pink lips invaded his mind with imagery. Wisps of (h/c) hair and long, bare legs struck a chord within his memory. He shook his head rapidly at those thoughts, dismissing them ignorantly. This was quite unusual for him, for Armin wasn't typically ignorant about anything. He shut his eyes tight in frustration, resting his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands.

Why can't I stop thinking of her?

Armin knew the answer, but he simply didn't want to believe it. The idea seemed impossible to him, she was way out of his league, and he knew it. But the more he imagined classic romantic tropes, the more he pictured (y/n). He couldn't shake the odd feeling of euphoria as he allowed himself these daydreams. Armin was ready to throttle himself.

I can't have a crush on her, I don't even know her! 

And yet, his subconscious betrayed him as a new cognition appeared immediately after.

But I want to.

"Why am I like this?"

He mumbled, peering at the floor through the cracks in between his fingers. The intelligent blonde sighed as the brainstorming session was not going at all as planned. Armin took a large gulp of his confectionary beverage this time. The temperature had dropped a bit, but the heat was still enough to leave a tingling sensation on his tongue and down his esophagus. The caffeine was beginning to give him an energetic buzz, and sinful scenarios played out like a movie in his head. An epiphany hit Armin like a bullet train.

He had found his inspiration.

===

The last thing Eren ever would have expected to see is exactly what greeted him when he returned to his shared apartment with Armin. As he put his hand on the doorknob to open the front door, the vibrations of music hummed through the wooden entryway. He thought it a bit strange, for Armin was always the type to either use headphones or play music quietly.

Maybe somebody else is home with him.

His brain rationalized, but when Eren entered the flat, nobody was there. He noticed a handful of scattered papers littering the floor. Eren continued to open the door to Armin's room, and Armin was indeed by himself. Not only that, but he was surrounded by a complete mess of various papers. The short blonde was bobbing his head and either writing or sketching, Eren wasn't sure. It appeared as though Armin didn't even realize Eren was home.

Since when did Armin-- What's going on?

Eren cleared his throat loudly to gain his friend's attention. Instantaneously, Armin's head whipped up, his golden strands of hair bouncing and flying in different directions. Ocean blue eyes locked with peacock green. The blonde boy's face erupted into a furious scarlet, he stumbled over to the speakers on his desk, careful not to step on any papers, and quickly turned the music off. 

"Eren! I'm so sorry, I'll clean this up right away, I guess I lost track of time..."

The boy placed his hand on the back of his neck sheepishly, a half-smile adorning his rosy cheeks.

"Nah man, it's cool, but maybe we should pick up some of these papers on the floor?"

The tan brunette grinned, and helped Armin gather up the scattered drawings and scribbles.

"Hey Armin, what's all this stuff for anyway?"

"Hmm? Oh yeah. After you and Jean were kicked out, we got assigned our first project of the year."

"What do you mean? We've been assigned projects."

"No, I mean our first full-fledged production. You know, for Ackerman and Smith's competition thing."

"Shit! Already?"

Armin nodded.

"The rubric and the rules, guidelines, etc. should be around here somewhere."

"Wow! Thanks man, you're a life saver!"

"It's no big deal, you'll get the papers yourself tomorrow. If not, I can always make copies of mine."

"What's the prompt?"

Armin felt the blood rush back up to his face, his ears becoming uncomfortably hot.

"Uhh...Seduction. We're supposed to submit something seductive."

Eren laughed at his roommate's obvious bashfulness about the subject. Armin had always been the shy, timid, nerdy one of the group. He could recall numerous occasions where the thin boy had been both mocked and praised for these qualities. "The innocent one", they had dubbed him. 

Eren plopped down on the ugly green couch in the living room, stuffing spilling out from a few small punctures in the cushions. The apartment was relatively small, but well maintained-- well, as best as two college boys could maintain a household, that is.

"So what's with all the chaos? You seem oddly out of character."

Armin took a sharp inhale.

"It's complicated."

Eren cocked an eyebrow.

"Complicated? Care to elaborate?"

"Well-- I mean-- I just-- I don't know... I guess maybe it isn't complicated. It sure feels complicated though."

Eren squinted his eyes in speculation as Armin continued.

"My body feels weird, like all floaty, and I have this weird ache in my chest. I can't concentrate as well as I normally do, and my head is always spinning. And I just-- there's nothing physically wrong with me! I sleep well enough, I eat healthy, I haven't lost or gained weight, I don't have a fever, I'm not dehydrated--"

"Oh my God. You have a crush."

"What?! N-no I don't!"

"Your face is all red! I'm calling Mikasa!"

The taller male whipped out his cell phone and hastily dialed whilst Armin was struggling to snatch the phone away from him.

"Eren! Don't be ridiculous! I do not have--"

"Hello?"

"MIKASA! I'M AT THE APARTMENT, COME QUICK!"

He was frantically shouting at the phone in his excitement.

"Eren? What's going on? I'm on my way."

"ARMIN HAS A CRUSH AND IS TRYING TO LIE ABOUT IT!"

"NO I DON'T! MIKASA YOU DON'T HAVE TO COME ANYWHERE! HE'S DELIRIOUS!"

The scrawny boy was now also caught up in the shouting, desperately hoping his voice was heard from the background as Eren blocked all his attempts to steal the phone away.

"Understood. I'm in the car now."

The call ended.

"Eren! Why would you do that?!"

Armin huffed, his thin hands now running through his hair in anxiety.

"You're gonna tell us everything whether you like it or not."

The taller boy teased, a knowing grin on his smug face.

"Eren, I don't have a crush."

"Lying is gonna get you nowhere, bro. Especially since Mikasa is coming."

"Mikasa will see reason, Eren. I don't have a crush, and there's no reason to believe I do."

"No reason?! Dude, I'm a love doctor. And according to my diagnosis, all of your symptoms match up with love sickness. Face it, you've got it bad."

Armin opened his mouth to retort, but a knock resonated from the front door before he could even stammer out a syllable. Eren ran to open the door and was greeted by the porcelain doll-like features that made up Mikasa's face. Armin knew he was in trouble now. He could tell by the determined fiery look in Mikasa's dark eyes. Even if he was still in denial, that didn't mean he doubted Mikasa'a mom-friend abilities. Mikasa sat on the couch, the corners of her lips upturning the slightest bit. Eren quickly sat on the other end of the couch leaving only the middle for Armin to occupy. Armin, seeing through this plan immediately, remained standing with his arms crossed, a small pout on his face.

"I do not have a crush Eren. I'm simply excited about our first major project."

"You could've fooled me."

Mikasa remained silent, her eyes focused on the blonde boy, trying to solve the mystery of his defensive body language and unusually argumentative way of speaking. This did not go unnoticed by Armin, and truthfully it unnerved him, but he stood his ground and continued to have a nonverbal battle with Eren via eye contact. 

"You have been acting strange these past few days."

The female spoke up.

"Mikasa--"

"Distracted, almost."

She interrupted.

"I find it highly reasonable that you have a crush."

Armin's eyes widened in panic, his eyes locked with Mikasa's. Her small grin had turned into a devious smile accompanied by an evil arch of her brows. She had made up her mind.

"It's about time, too."

Eren quipped, breaking the tension.

"You haven't had a crush since like, when, middle school? On Annie Leonhardt?"

Armin's turn to be embarrassed came by once again as his face began to resemble strawberry milk.

"That was for like, a week! We're just acquaintances now."

Eren and Mikasa let out a hearty chuckle. Mikasa patted the middle of the couch, signaling for him to sit down, to which he complied.

"So who's the mystery girl? Or boy?" 

Mikasa smirked.

"I don't have a-- Alright, maybe I do have a crush. I just have so many feelings. Part of me thinks that being so attracted to someone I barely even know is ludicrous, but the other part thinks it makes all the sense in the world. Does that make any sense?"

Mikasa nodded, a small and reassuring smile resting upon her features, a hand comfortably placed on Armin's back. Eren had a large grin on his face, excited and overcome with joy that his best friend liked someone. Eren had doubts that Armin was even capable of feelings like this due to the fact that Armin had never expressed them in any way, shape, or form. Armin exhaled, stopping himself from rambling and allowing him to organize his thoughts.

"Her name is (y/n)."

He stated.

Eren wiggled his eyebrows.

"Oooh~ (Y/n)! That sounds exotic!"

"She's from (country)."

"What class do you have with her?"

Mikasa inquired.

"Oh, she doesn't go to our university."

"Oh. Where does she go?"

"She doesn't go to school. She's a waitress at Judy's, the place on Sunset."

"Is that how you met her?"

Eren asked.

"No, we ride the bus together. Actually..."

Warmth rose to his cheeks once again.

"Today was the first time we've actually spoken to each other. But we've been riding the bus together for months."

"Uhh.."

Eren began, but Armin quickly answered his unspoken question.

"I know that sounds weird! But it's not completely random, I swear! She's really, really pretty. And she gets a lot of unwanted attention. We kind of worked out this silent deal where she sits next to me everyday on the bus on her way to work so other guys don't approach her. It's been working pretty well, and today I decided to finally say something to her. She's so nice. And a good listener. And beautiful."

Armin raked a hand through his hair as he inhaled a deep breath. His friends looked at him slack-jawed. They had never heard him talk about someone like that. 

"But I'm always so nervous around her! I always feel like I'm going to mess something up! And she's so out of my league, and--"

"Nobody is out of your league, Armin Arlert. Any girl would be lucky to have you."

Mikasa chided, pinching Armin's cheeks like a mother would her child.

Armin gently swatted her hands away.

"Thanks, Mikasa."

Eren placed a comforting hand on Armin's shoulder.

"She's right, dude."

Armin sent Eren a shy smile.

"I just worry I'll never be good enough."

Mikasa frowned, pulling the fragile boy into her arms for a tight hug.

"With a guy like you, she's the one who should be worrying about that."

===

Reiner nudged his friend with his elbow.

"We scored getting the hot waitress."

"Reiner please! We came here to see Annie, remember?"

Reiner let out a hearty laugh, playfully shoving his friend.

"Don't sound so serious! Annie's clocking in soon! Besides, did you see the way she was looking at you?"

Bertholdt felt the atmosphere getting hotter, and he worried he'd start perspiring out of his awkwardness.

"N-no! And that's because she wasn't looking at me in any kind of way!"

Reiner was only becoming increasingly amused. He loved teasing his friends, and getting a rise out of Bertholdt was always worth it.

The two males were interrupted from their conversation as (Y/n) brought them the food they had ordered earlier. She gently placed the plates in front of the two at the table.

"Enjoy."

She said, looking Bertholdt in the eye and winking shortly after, before turning around and leaving to fulfill her other duties.

Reiner and Bertholdt looked at the food in front of them hungrily. Reiner had ordered a burger with a side of fries. The burger had fluffy buns topped with sesame seeds, and as he lifted the bun in order to add ketchup, he noticed the patty cooked just the way he liked it, the grill marks prominent and the meat tender. The lettuce was crisp, the tomatoes were fresh, and the pickles were perfect. Not only that, the fries were golden and crispy, but not burnt. Both were still warm, and Reiner was ready to eat and wash everything down with his refreshing soft drink. Bertholdt was equally as eager. He was staring down a perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwich cut into two triangles. The bread was golden brown and dark grill marks decorated the top and bottom of the sandwich, white monterey jack cheese dripping from the sides of the culinary masterpiece. A salad made up of crisp lettuce and fresh ingredients; onions, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and croutons also made his mouth water. Reiner and Bertholdt ate their food happily, enjoying their meal and conversing about their day.

Suddenly, the door opened, and a woman with blonde hair and icy blue eyes entered the quaint establishment. Her eyes briefly swept the diner, narrowing once she landed upon a certain table. She walked swiftly to them, slamming her hands on the table top loudly before leaning in close to the duo.

"What the fuck are you two doing here?"

She whisper-shouted, a hiss escaping her lips.

"We came to see ya. Finally found out where you worked part-time. Gotta say Annie, the food here is amazing."

Reiner proclaimed, smiling like the ass he knew he was. Bertholdt nodded in agreement, offering a small smile towards the third part of their trio.

"Not to mention, your coworker is gorgeous. Seriously, why haven't you hooked me up yet? Or Bertholdt? She's been very friendly towards him."

Reiner joked, smirking all the while. Annie huffed.

"Probably because she doesn't want anything to do with assholes."

"Ouch."

Bertholdt lightheartedly retorted.

"I'm watching you two."

Annie warned before heading to the back room to change into her uniform like the rest of the employees. Once she had changed, she exited the back room into the main area of the diner. She was about to head to her designated section to take the order of the one table occupying it, but was interrupted by someone calling her name.

"Annie!"

She turned around. It was her boss, Roy Roberts. Personally, Annie didn't really have a problem with the guy. He was pretty average in her opinion, he kept the diner running well, paid his staff a reasonable amount on time every month, and overall did his job pretty well. But still, there was just something that unnerved her about him.

"Just the girl I wanted to see."

He had an ear splitting grin. He was happy. Too happy.

"(Y/n)!"

The girl in question perked up and scurried over to Annie and Roy.

"Annie's here now. She can take care of your section. Put on some gloves, you're on toilet duty."

(Y/n) knew that cleaning bathrooms was not a part of her job description as a waitress, and that the diner actually had hired help specifically for cleaning the restaurant, and that that help mentioned was currently in the building. She also knew that because Annie would be taking over her tables Annie would be receiving the money (y/n) earned from waiting those tables. Despite this, (y/n) didn't dare speak a word of protest. Instead, she did exactly as she was asked. She knew better by now.

Ah, yes. Now Annie remembered what made her uneasy around Roy. He loved to be cruel to one of his employees in particular. (Y/n) (L/n). Annie wasn't sure why he was like this, as (y/n) always worked hard and seldom made mistakes, but she figured it was none of her business anyway. She watched Roy as he walked back to his office. There was a new spring in his step and he was humming some old song that would occasionally play on the jukebox.

Well that's shitty.
Monday Victoria Edwards: Living Dead Girl
Piece inspired by Rob Zombie's song Living Dead Girl, check it out!

Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwrmt0…

P.S. This is definitely Monday's favorite song.
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Chapter One

Armin was an introvert by nature. He never had many friends, but was extremely loyal to the ones he did have. Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman, Bertholdt Hoover, and Marco Bodt were in that small circle. He truly didn't even know many other people in general, as he didn't go out of his way to meet any. In fact, the only reason he met Bertholdt and Marco was through Eren and Mikasa's unsavory moments. He had met Marco when the freckled boy was restraining a boy named Jean as Mikasa was holding Eren back while Armin attempted to make peace between the two rowdy boys. Similarly enough, Armin had met Bertholdt after a muscular boy named Reiner failed to flirt with Mikasa and Eren had to manacle her from punching him. Not to mention, he would've never even known Mikasa and Eren existed if they hadn't saved him from getting severely beat up in elementary school. It seemed as though Armin's small world would only grow under negative circumstances, An odd coincidence, he thought.

It was no secret that Armin loved literature. The boy was well known all throughout his childhood for always having his head stuck into a book. It was for this reason that Armin found himself signing up for a film class in his new college schedule. To him, there was nothing more magical than the art of telling a story, and while he himself preferred the images he imagined through ink on a page, he also understood that film was a way to reach a broader audience as well as appeal to many different mediums and job opportunities. This class was also the class his two best friends Eren and Mikasa were in as well. Eren had taken the class because he wanted to find an outlet to appropriately express himself, the boy had always been quick-tempered and exaggerated, often vocally expressing his every thought and emotion. And while most might believe Mikasa had taken the class simply to accompany her two classmates, she thought this course would be an excellent opportunity to challenge herself by forcing her to think creatively.

Unfortunately for them, their class was taught by none other than Professor Levi Ackerman. Levi was known throughout campus for being ruthless. His cold, calculating grey eyes would nitpick at every detail anybody could possibly think of and more, his glare sharp enough to send invisible daggers through his students' skulls. He was brash, rude, and foul-mouthed, but undeniably a brilliant man exceptional at his craft. If you were lucky, you might have been selected for his close friend's film course, Professor Erwin Smith. Erwin Smith was an old fashioned, mild-mannered, family-type man; one who is seemingly opposite of Levi's harsh nature. Unlike his comrade, Erwin's eyes were a warm blue, and were soft and inviting, someone that you could invest your trust in. Alas, Armin and his closest friends had been put with the grumpy French germaphobe.

Roughly a few months into the school year, despite having boatloads of homework and still only learning the basics of how to shoot and edit professional grade videos, Armin had a most unusual day. Although the day was overcast and gloomy, dark clouds forming a barrier between the sun and the bustling people down below, Armin was not at home comfortably reading a book whilst surrounded by a warm blanket. He didn't particularly mind though, he rather liked this weather. Something about the rumbling of thunder accompanied by the patter of rain against his window relaxed him. It hadn't started raining yet however, something he was thankful for considering he was sitting outside on a bus bench. Also sitting on the bus bench, was a beautiful woman.

Her eyes were half-lidded, in boredom or exhaustion, Armin wasn't sure. It only made her appear more captivating. Her lips were pink and full, and her legs long and bare. She had been dressed rather scantily that afternoon, in very short high waisted jean shorts, and a tight fitting off the shoulder crop top, revealing a large amount of her smooth (skin tone) skin; effectively making her quite a spectacle on that cloudy day. A warm red glow creeped its way up Armin's face when he realized he was staring, and he focused his gaze towards his lap out of bashfulness until the bus arrived. When it did pull up into a screeching halt, Armin had picked up his heavy school bag that had previously been resting on the ground beside him and hurried into the vehicle, the woman from earlier taking a more leisurely pace behind him. Luckily for him, the bus was fairly empty with multiple vacant seats scattered along the aisles. He took a seat in one of the empty two-seat rows and began to shuffle through his messenger bag for one of his various assignments.

Unbeknownst to Armin, the mystery woman that had sat with him on the bench from earlier had decided to take hold of one of the many handles suspended from the bus ceiling, unaware of the sketchy looking man rising from his seat and slinking towards her from behind.

"Hey beautiful, you look lonely."

(Y/n) contorted her face into a look of disgust, her lip raised into a defensive scowl paired with furrowed brows and eyes glaring straight through the man.

"Looks can be deceiving."

The man let out a wry chuckle, his eyes flicking up and down her voluptuous figure, licking his lips, effectively and thoroughly creeping (y/n) out.

"That's some strong accent, where you from girlie?"

(Y/n) gritted her teeth. Quite frankly, this pervert was way to close for comfort. His body was now pressed uncomfortably against her back, his face mere inches from her own. She could smell the stench of alcohol on his warm breath. The few strangers that were on the public transportation vehicle averted their eyes in discomfort and cringe.

"Leave me alone."

That had caught Armin's attention. He had been engrossed within his work, but the foreign and stern voice had snapped him into reality. He cocked his head around, eyes finally landing on the woman from earlier looking utterly aggravated with an unkempt man clearly and aggressively overstepping her boundaries, and the longer Armin watched, he was seemingly trying to put his hands all over her. The woman was clearly uncomfortable and was taking a few defensive steps back.

"H-hey! She said to leave her alone, take a hint."

Before he even realized it, Armin had stood up and called out the man. With the scumbag now livid that someone had not only halted his advances, but publicly humiliated him, Armin desperately wanted to shrink when the flaring nostrils, arched brows, and enraged grimace started marching its way towards him. Eyes wide and hands trembling, Armin cautiously put his hands up in defense.

"You say something, pretty boy?"

The coconut headed blonde gulped anxiously, before stuttering out a reply.

"I-I said to leave her a-a-alone."

"Or what, you little pussy? You gonna fight me?"

Before Armin could bring his shaking body to utter a single syllable, the woman intervened. He hadn't even noticed she had made her way over there.

"No. I am."

All in one swift motion, the woman punched the man square in the nose sending a resounding crack in the air, blood now streaming in steady rivers from the pervert's nose.

"Shit lady!"

The man cursed as he clutched his throbbing appendage. He walked away pretty easily after that encounter. Armin was still a bit shaken, and as pale as a ghost. 

"Do you mind if I sit here?"

A voice inquired. Armin snapped his head to the woman, her lips pursed and eyes looking at him curiously. She simply looked divine. The blush soon returned to his face, and he quickly stammered out a response.

"NO! I mean, of course not, of course you can sit here, why wouldn't you be? I-I-I uh..."

His train of thought, not that there was much of one on the first place, derailed as he hastily and hectically cleared his messenger bag and papers from the seat next to him so the lovely lady in front of him would have a place to sit. Graceful as a ballerina, she sat quietly beside him. And from then on, the entire ride was silent.

It was like this everyday over the course of the next few weeks. The woman would smile and nod at Armin when they greeted each other on the bus bench and would ride together in silence on the bus, never speaking a word to one another. Their communication was nonverbal, and they were both content with that. Armin also noticed that this woman would be approached by many scumbags and thugs alike on a daily basis, whether she was dressed provocatively or not. Simply put, she was creep magnet. In their daily rides together, Armin served as a type of knight in shining armor, keeping (y/n) company and warding off many douches and simple unwanted attention alike. He may have not been strong, or confident for that matter, but sometimes barricading a friend in the window seat can ward off any womanizer. And despite not even knowing her name, Armin cherished these bus rides with his mystery woman. He would go as far as to refuse rides home with his friends to make sure he was there for her. Not that she couldn't handle herself, obviously. Still, he liked to think he made her life a little bit easier with his presence. 

Which brings us to the present.

If you didn't know him, you might think that all the rumors surrounding Levi Ackerman were only that. Rumors. But on this cool and sunny day, Levi Ackerman looked as though he was ready to rip his students to shreds. Students is a broad term. Allow me to elaborate. It was two students in particular that had struck a negative chord in Levi one too many times this fine afternoon. 

"Jaeger. Kirstein. Out of my fucking classroom now."

"But sir--"

Eren attempted to reason, but was interrupted by Levi's bark immediately.

"Now, brat!"

Armin stared at Eren with owlish eyes of sympathy, his friend's sea green ones glancing into his own with an apologetic expression. Heaving a sigh, grabbing his things and walking out the classroom, Eren was gone along with his playful adversary and rival Jean. Another common argument had arisen between the two, except this time a fistfight had broken out between them, their testosterone getting the better of them and constantly fueling them to butt heads. Levi personally couldn't give a shit what those two did outside his classroom, but under no circumstances were they going to disturb and distract from his lecture that they were paying for. The tension in the air was thick and made apparent by everyone's sudden stiffness and dead silence. No one dared to possibly anger their professor who was already in a sour mood.

"Oh Levi!"

A woman Armin had come to recognize over the past school year bounded in the classroom, hair bouncing and a smile widely stretched across her face. Hanji Zoe was another professor at Armin's college, what she taught he wasn't entirely sure, but he strongly suspected it had to do something with science.

Mad science, more like. He internally quipped.

Levi's previously cross face morphed quickly. His eyes shut tightly whilst he pinched the bridge of his nose, shaking his head and muttering what he could only assume to be profanities in French.

"What the fuck do you want, Shitty Glasses? It better be fucking good."

He suddenly asked, voice clear and loud.

Hanji's smile never faltered, rocking back and forth on her heels, she replied in a sing-song tone to his crude words.

"Erwin wanted me to hand deliver a message. But I do love visiting you, shorty!"

Ah, yes. Armin recollected. Hanji is Erwin and Levi's mutual friend.

"Tch. Of course he fucking did, my fucking luck. What's the message, dipshit?"

"He said the first competition of the year is on! The details are in this."

Hanji beamed, pulling out a slightly crumpled sheet of paper carrying the prompt and guidelines of Levi and Erwin's first scholarly battle. Levi rudely snatched the paper from her hand, piercing eyes flickering across the page before scowling and glaring at the still happy-go-lucky female smiling knowingly at him.

"Good luck!~" she hummed on her way out of his domain.

The enthusiastic and admittedly spastic woman was now gone with Levi in an even worse mood than before, leaving the classroom apprehensive for Levi's next plan of action. Not to mention, with the competition between classes, it was likely everyone was going to be assigned their first real video project. Levi walked to his desk and plopped into his chair, eyebrows furrowed not in anger, but in contemplation. He grasped his teacup in a strange, albeit delicate way before bringing it up to his lips and letting the warm liquid slide down his throat.

"The way these competitions go is simple. You'll get a form to fill out for your name, title of the film, etc. Hanji processes these and keeps them locked up while we're judging your videos. Erwin and I then watch them in random order not knowing who did what film in order to prevent bias. Hanji sits with us because she likes to watch the videos and because she 'cares' or some shit."

He paused to take a sip of his tea.

"You'll receive a prompt, rubric, guidelines, deadline, and expectations for your entry. And before you ask-- yes, this is mandatory. Best film gets an extra grade in their report card to raise their average and GPA, this grade will always be anywhere between a 95 and a 100 depending on how well you actually did. After all the voting is over Hanji reveals who made which video and we grade them all accordingly. Whichever class the winner belongs to gets bragging rights, and Erwin and I will be keeping score throughout the year. Whoever has a the most winners by the end of the year gets a bullshit trophy made by some generous donors, and by donors we mean the Fine Arts students. Any questions?"

Armin's mind was buzzing.

I wonder what the prompt is. He pondered, his mind drifting to all the possibilities that Erwin Smith might've picked out.

Whatever it is, let's hope it's something good.

===

(Y/n) (l/n) was a woman of few words. She hailed from (Hometown/city/etc.), (Country), a place that seems to be billions of miles away. Home always seems farther when no one can understand you. (Y/n) has been living in this city for almost a year and despite progressing greatly, her language skills weren't quite up to par. She still struggled immensely with the native language of this place. Communication was  a nightmare, so she opted to not speak unless she was fully confident in her dialogue. She learned the language and slang of the place by listening to people speak in person, on television, on the radio, and most notably, in songs. (Y/n) loved to sing and dance, and was talented at it as well. (Y/n) was not unaware that she possessed a natural hypnotic quality about her. And yet, she was miserable.

Her family, her friends, all back in (Country) while she worked a job that didn't pay enough and lived in an apartment building that should've been torn down years ago.

A lonely and sad reality.

Her world was a limited one. It was a world where the only people she knew were her lazy coworkers and shit-stain boss, or her perverted cashier that would be checking her out instead of her groceries; one that was filled to the brim with prowling strangers, always wanting something she wasn't willing to give, or the judgmental eyes of a society that couldn't understand her or her ways. There were times where it felt like she was drowning.

Still, she'd be lying if she said it was all bad. On (y/n's) journey of two years living in this urban jungle, she would smile whenever she thought of the friends she had made. She had a female coworker, a girl named Annie Leonhardt, whom she got along with entirely well. Annie was a hard worker, she put responsibility first and always kept her word. (Y/n) and Annie had only chatted idly a handful of times, due to (y/n's) language barrier, but Annie was sharp, and could understand most of what she meant. Annie may have been blunt, stoic, and sometimes just rude, but (y/n) respected her, and considered her essential to the local fifties diner they worked at. She had a feeling the relationship between them wasn't one-sided, either. Annie would occasionally come up to her on her own accord to talk. While that may seem normal, Annie was far from typical. (Y/n) was glad that she had at least one person to look forward to seeing everyday.

At least, it used to be one person.

Baby blue eyes and hair spun like gold flashed through her mind. The boy she sat with on the bus.

He truly is an angel in man's clothing, she decided.

The boy was a bit shorter than she, with a small and thin frame highlighted with those big deer-in-the-headlights eyes he possessed. His hair framed his face in a way that only accentuated his youthful and handsome features. He had graciously kept her company whilst she rode her way to work in the afternoon, and for that she thanked the G-ds. The boy had successfully made it so that it was too uncomfortable in social etiquette for various men to make advances at her. It didn't stop the lustful and creepy stares from across the aisles, or the occasional catcall, but it was something. That in itself was very meaningful. (Y/n) had caught herself filling her mind with images of the boy, his apologetic formalities and nervous habits replaying in her head. Truth be told, (y/n) wasn't sure why she even thought about this stranger so much. Perhaps it was the adorable flush of pink that rose to the apples of his cheeks whenever he spoke to her, or the way he pressed his pencil against his chin when he was working. It could be the way he so politely treated her, as if he were speaking to the Queen as opposed to a woman working for tips at a measly diner that got more truck drivers coming in to take a piss than regulars. Whatever it was, it was a strange feeling. When she saw him, a feeling of fluttering filled her ribcage. When she sat next to him, a euphoric warmth consumed her. And when they accidentally brushed against one another, it felt like she was on fire. (Y/n) wasn't sure what to feel or how she was feeling.

But it felt good.

What (y/n) did know was that it was time for her to leave for work. Quiet as a mouse, she slipped her shoes on and grabbed her things before exiting her apartment and making her way to a familiar bus stop.

===

Armin was elated. His mind was running rampantly with multiple different ideas for his music video entry for the competition. The prompt this particular round was Seduction.

Seductive, he brainstormed, attractive, enticing--

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of footsteps on concrete approaching him. He whipped his head up only to be met with crystalline (e/c) eyes, belonging to none other than his mystery woman.

--tempting.

Realizing his connection between the word and the woman, his face erupted into a furious scarlet, red tinge making his ears glow in embarrassment. Unbeknownst to him, a smile graced (y/n's) lips, curling them into an expression of afternoon delight. She looked off into the scenery, back facing Armin as she sat down so she could allow her smile to fall. 

(Y/n's) calm demeanor was drastically different than Armin's internal chaos.

She's a good-looking woman, of course you feel some attraction to her! 
His mind tried to reason, but he couldn't shake the feeling of weightlessness that he got when she was around, or the nervous tics that were triggered every time he gazed too long at those rose tinted lips.

Gazed? You're in college! Your hormones are off the charts! You're probably just having a chemical reaction to visual stimuli! Get a grip! Armin was ready to throttle himself.

Him and and conscious his were locking horns, the logical side of Armin declaring it was insane for Armin to have any romantic feelings for this stranger, for he knew nothing about her. The emotional side of Armin however, wanted to know everything about her, from her favorite book to her take on the universe. It wanted to know what her skin felt like in his hands, what his name sounded like on her tongue.

Taking a shaky breath, eyes lit in determination and bravery, he faced her and spoke.

"I'm Armin, what's your name?"
Picture Perfect Armin x Reader Modern AU
End of Chapter One.

My poor attempt at writing fan fiction for one of my favorite characters, I hope y'all liked it. I know it's not very good, but hopefully I will get better with time! 

Criticsim is welcomed and appreciated! Negative or positive! 

I know I was very vague about where the Reader is located, but I did this on purpose. If you want to be Russian stuck in LA, cool. If you want to be American stuck in Berlin, also cool. I wanted to incorporate my vision without making where the Reader was from so concrete.

Submitted on NOV-18-2016

All characters from Attack on Titan belong to Hajime Isayama
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JOSEPH MY DEAR BOY! TROY MAY BE MOVING OUT BUT IM, M O V I N G I N .

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