I did a Barnes & Noble exclusive cover for the upcoming Attack on Titan anthology! Here’s the finished cover (colours by my amazing friend @neomonki) and thumbnails. The “exclusive” sticker is removable from the cover. More info about the anthology, which is by all-Western creators, can be found here! I did a 20 page story for it.
Eren continually tapped his foot against the ground, probably annoying the hell out of his coworkers in the surrounding cubicles. He couldn’t wait to get out of this place. He could hardly focus on his work, his mind was so consumed by Armin. He kept his phone in sight so he could see incoming texts from Mikasa, who was at the hospital with Armin.
Not being able to take not being frequently updated on how his love was doing, Eren picked up his phone and started to write a new text message to Mikasa.
“How is he?” Eren typed out.
His phone buzzed a few moments later with his adopted sister’s reply.
“He’s… okay. Pretty weak and out of it. He seems upset for some reason,” Mikasa’s message read.
“How so?” Eren texted back, his heart rate spiking as he began to worry.
His hands became sweaty and he glanced behind his shoulder to make sure his boss wasn’t anywhere nearby. He couldn’t stand to think that Armin was upset while being in such fragile condition.
“I don’t know. I’ll try to talk to him when he wakes up again,” she texted back.
Eren then told her he’d be able to clock out of work in about ten minutes, and then he’d be on his way. It was safe to say that those next ten minutes were the least productive in all of Eren’s life. He gritted his teeth, squinting at his computer screen.
“If someone made Armin upset I swear I’ll bash their head in,” he snarled in a low voice to himself.
“What?” a startled voice said behind him.
He swiveled around quickly. To his relief, it was only Connie.
“Oh, nothing,” he said as he attempted to ease his facial features back to a relaxed expression.
Connie just backed away with wide eyes. Eren really didn’t care. Everyone already thought he was insane.
Eren sped on the way to the hospital, although he’d never admit that to anyone. He honked at people if they got in his way in the slightest, cursing loudly and flipping them off. He wished he could ram them like bumper cars.
He was disheveled as he ran into the hospital building after finding a parking space in the lot. He tried to comb through his coarse, dark hair with his fingers so he wouldn’t look crazy. He let Mikasa know he was on the way up, and she gave him the exact room number.
Eren took a deep breath before entering the room. He wasn’t nervous, nor did he feel awkward about the situation. He’d seen Armin in the hospital a million other times. It wasn’t unusual in the slightest. He stayed quiet as he gently pushed the door open. He smiled softly when he saw Armin. He was so small in the bed, sleeping like a princess. To Eren, he looked like a precious angel. Mikasa sat in a chair by his bedside.
“I have to go. My shift starts soon,” she said, glancing at the clock.
“Okay. Thanks for staying with him until I got here. Did you ever find out what was bothering him?” Eren said in a low voice.
“It’s no problem. And, uh, no. He hasn’t woken up yet,” she replied, to which Eren nodded solemnly.
She kissed Armin on the forehead without waking him, then she hugged Eren tightly before going.
Eren took her spot by Armin’s bed. He was so tempted to wake him up, but he knew he needed rest. He leaned back, slumped in his chair as he examined Armin with his eyes. An IV was hooked up to the blond boy’s arm, with bruises clustered around the injection area. That was normal. He bruised ever so easily. His chest rose in fell in normal patterns, the heart monitor beeping to a weird rhythm. His breathing sounded slightly labored and shaky. A cannula ran under his nose, going behind his ears and rejoining below his chin. It hurt Eren to see him like this.
Suddenly, Armin stirred. His face scrunched up in a cute expression before his eyes opened. Eren smiled a lop sided grin.
“Hey, baby,” he said gently as he made eye contact with Armin.
Armin took a deep breath in and out, coughing weakly. His ocean colored eyes seemed to droop with exhaustion.
Eren took his hand gently, leaning down to kiss it.
“You okay?” he asked sympathetically.
Armin nodded, but his eyes started to water. He covered up the lower half of his face with his free hand as his mouth turned downwards into a frown like it always did before he cried.
“Sorry,” he said in a choked voice.
“Hey, it’s okay. You don’t have to apologize. Are you in pain?” Eren asked as his heart ached for his blue eyed angel.
Armin shook his head as the first few tears fell.
“No?” Eren said, not sure why he felt the need to affirm it by saying it out loud.
He got up and sat next to Armin on the bed so he was facing him. He put his arm on the other side of Armin’s body so he was right over him. He reached out and took Armin’s hand away from his face, touching his tear stained cheek gently. He didn’t know why Armin was crying, but he didn’t want to force him to talk. He’d wait until he was ready.
“You should go,” Armin said, refusing to look Eren in the face.
“What? No, I wanna be with you,” Eren said in a firm voice.
His words didn’t seem to help. Armin coughed more violently this time, gasping when he breathed in. His face was a teary, blotchy mess.
“Relax, baby,” Eren said, genuinely worried that Armin would start coughing up blood or something.
“Eren, d-don’t,” Armin said in a pleading voice.
“Armin, seriously. You’re scaring me. Can you tell me what’s wrong?”
Armin bit his lip, blinking slowly to release more tears.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “About everything.”
“What do you mean everything?”
“I-I made everyone worry about me,” Armin said, looking Eren in the eyes.
Is that was he was so upset about? Eren couldn’t believe it.
“I n-never want to burden you guys,” he continued, coughing again and breathing in sharply for air.
“Agh, you’re so stupid,” Eren said, not unkindly, but in more of a relieved tone.
He placed his hands on either side of Armin’s face, kissing him tenderly all over. The tears didn’t even bother him.
“Listen,” he said. “You could never burden me. Ever. I love you, Armin. We’re in this bitch together, right?”
Armin smirked at Eren’s wording of the last sentence.
“There’s my sweet boy,” Eren said affectionately, releasing Armin and kissing the top of his head. “Now calm down and take a nice deep breath for me. Is Jean your nurse again? Because we wouldn’t want that horse face in here if you can’t manage to relax.”
Armin smiled, wiping his face dry with his hands. He didn’t understand why Eren disliked Jean so much.