Brawn

Brawn

He was supposed to treat you gently.

Love was...meant to be tender, no?
Yet all that was tender these days was the ever-present bruising around your wrists, or the callous marks left on your neck.

His obsession with you extended far beyond words. Verbal attacks would have been bad enough, but his strength got the better of him in the worst of times, and you'd find yourself lying on the floor, curled up and quivering. It always stemmed from that same, burning jealousy.

“You looked at him! You love him!”
“I don't-!!”

Any defiance was punished. He'd strike you down before he'd even seem to know it himself, and then those amber eyes would gradually calm, softening, as the bull was tamed and he'd realize what he'd just done.

He loved you. Reiner loved you. More than anything in the world, more than the moon, the stars, the freedom he so desperately yearned for beyond those gargantuan walls, beyond his own twisted purpose and messed up mind...he felt like he would do anything to protect you...and yet he posed the greatest danger.

Even if his clenched fists uncurled and held you softly from then on, even if he kissed you on every mark he'd made, it never healed those wounds. They would fade with time, but scars always remained, and some cut deeper than others.

Yes, you looked at others. Yes, you sometimes got a little flush upon your cheeks at the sight of a fellow soldier. Yes, you could admit you were a flawed human being in all those regards, but could he not forgive those tiniest of sins? Not once, not once had you ever come close to betraying him, and yet he always jumped to that conclusion.

Charged, headfirst, like your tiniest hesitation was a fluttering red cape.

“...I...I'm so sorry...I don't know what came over me...fuck...”
His tall, broad body sank against the wall, his hands clutching around blonde hair and a furrowed brow. He wanted to tear himself apart for doing it to you again. Why couldn't he just control himself??

“...Reiner...”
You breathed out shakily, seeing him like that. Initially, you'd been naive enough to feel some sorrow, and to think that he'd be kind enough in his most shaken state to finally set you free. To finally let you leave his dorm room where you were largely kept a prisoner, only allowed out for mandatory practice and quests into the wilds.

Naive, because you had come to realize that it was a fleeting moment. Even now, as he was sobbing, body heaving, hot tears pouring over reddened cheeks, he was every bit as dangerous. It had been a hard lesson, but you'd learned it.

Don't even suggest it.

Wiser to keep your distance.
Wiser not to meddle with the beast.