[Fanfic] Camaraderie

  • This is a request from a friend but honestly, I probably would've written something like this myself without even being prompted to do so~ Where are my Jin and Erwin fansssss :v


    Contains Dipluce Horizon spoilers up to Skywalker (Shock and Fear) EP4.


    Characters: Jin and Erwin (Chloe kinda I guess)


    Word Count: 2,649


    ~~~


    "The SoulDreg Aaron wants you two to eliminate is just ahead. Be careful!" Chloe's voice, professional, yet full of worry, sounded over the comm devices.


    Erwin shot the last SoulDreg standing on the same roof as us. We had our surroundings totally cleared now; a field of rotting SoulDregs was left in our wake. "Sure sure. He's hyping it up to be some huge thing that even SoulWorkers should worry about it. I bet it won't stand a chance against us."


    "B-but, Erwin..." Chloe protested.


    "Listen, darling, it's fine. We'll be fine."


    His constant flirting isn't going to convince Chloe. I'd be best if I step in. "Yes. We will make it back safe and sound as long as we fight as a team. That hasn't stopped us yet!"


    "Just... Just come back safe. Jin. Erwin." Chloe sounded exhausted but nonetheless accepted our reassurances.


    ...As a team, right.


    I'd love to agree with my own words. They're actually true, too. There's nothing that couldn't get us down. Whatever challenge was thrown at us SoulWorkers, we'd triumph over it. I'm normally supposed to be the positive one here, but I'm so worried...


    Right now, our forces are spread thin. They've always been scarce since we've stepped foot in Dipluce Horizon, but it's even more so in our current situation. We're about to fight Fenrissoma without the typical full party of four. It's only me and Erwin. The others are secretly providing backup to the soldiers assisting in keeping the SoulDregs out of the camp under Aaron's nose, and Shade is the one conducting it all. Aaron thinks that Haru and Iris are with us to hunt the huge SoulDreg. Both ladies are nowhere remotely close.


    Maybe if I had either Haru or Iris as a partner, I wouldn't be on edge like this. It's that Erwin... Well, he's a special case. He can take orders from the rest of the SoulWorkers no problem. Heck, he listened to Avon's instructions. He didn't like paying attention to the overworked commander, but in the end, he accomplished all the tasks assigned to him.


    When it comes to me, it's a completely different story...


    I don't like doing this, but I have to steel myself again and try at least one more time speaking to Erwin. We can feel the faint vibrations caused by the footsteps of that beast from where we're standing. It's not here yet; let alone in our line of sight. I can sense it's power all the way over here...


    I made sure I kept my comm device off so Chloe wouldn't freak out.


    My voice came out in an unintended murmur. "Hey. I know we aren't best pals or anything, but Erwin, I need you to stop drawing the attention of the enemy and stay behind me. If you can focus on only doing damage, then-"


    He cut me off with a wave of his gun. "Yeah yeah. You've said this before and you're just going to get the same answer: how about no?"


    Why does he have to be so stubborn with me?! I'm the only one he's always doing this to!


    I settled with getting directly in front of him to further prove my point. "I'm serious. We're about to fight something that no one has ever faced before. My powers allow me to survive blows that would normally kill a person in an instant, but if that monster so much as swats you with its leg, you might not be able to stand up from it as I would."


    "So that means I dodge its leg. Easy~ I'm gonna fight how I want. I don't need some dude being a meat shield for me," he replied, keeping a cocky grin on his face.


    "Erwin, please, just this once..."


    "Nah. Why change a strategy that's worked all this time? It's gonna be a cakewalk even if we're short two people. You've really gotta stop being a worrywart. I don't need a man's worry anyway."


    "It's not about that!"


    We probably would've been going back and forth all day if it weren't for the vibrations steadily growing stronger. Fenrissoma must have noticed we were chasing after it, and now it finally decided to give us some attention. It's moving fast. Erwin and I instinctively tensed up, ready to fight the enormous, crab-like beast.


    If I can't get through to Erwin, then I'll have to improvise.


    It's more imposing up close...


    "Let's dance!" Erwin shouted, and broke into a sprint charging after the oversized SoulDreg completely unphased.


    I have little choice but to run after him. Perhaps if I can distract Fenrissoma more than Erwin, then it'd focus only on me. That's the best option I could think of. My approach is more offensive than I'd like it to be. Regardless of that, I let out a purposefully loud scream and started dishing out a flurry of punches square in the monster's face.


    That seemed to do the trick. It turned to my direction by the time I landed on the ground. I started to ready myself and rose my arms in preparation to take whatever it threw at me, but I saw a rain of explosions aimed to snipe its leg. The flashy attack had it swivel back to Erwin in no time.


    It fired a few beams at the gunslinger. Luckily, Erwin nimbly dodged every single one.


    I shook my head and this time, I tried using my QI techniques to cause explosions of my own rivaling Erwin's. I had it's attention again as it tried to pummel me with its legs, but I was easily able to block them all with my Spirit Arms.


    Then Erwin drew its attention back with more well-aimed shots. I got it back with more loud taunts and punches. We kept going back and forth, and ultimately, our approach ended up turning into an onslaught of offense. We had no 'real' strategy going. We mindlessly kept whaling at it as harshly as we could. We dealt with any retaliation as it came. It seemed to be working up until Fenrissoma summoned backup. More SoulDregs appeared behind us... And guess who they immediately targetted?


    "Erwin! Watch your rear! New enemies are on the field!" Chloe warned.


    I ran as quickly as I could, planted myself between him and the smaller horde of SoulDregs, and casted Fusion Armor in the nick of time to negate everything they threw at us.


    Erwin clicked his tongue. He's starting to tire... His breath is coming in quicker spurts. "I knew they were coming. You didn't have to do that..."


    "Shut up and accept it!" I retorted back. Wow... I haven't felt this frustrated in ages. This was the first time I've snapped at someone out of pure annoyance in a very long while.


    "Guys... Focus..." Chloe urged us. She's right, but that's difficult to do when the other person literally disregards everything you say.


    For now, I'll concentrate on wiping out the mobs. As long as Erwin didn't try to attack the small monsters, we should be fine.


    ...Admittedly, I'm a little tired, too, like Erwin is. We have to work harder to defeat the enemy since we're essentially running on half of our full power. Being down two people is starting to hurt a little here.


    By the time I wiped out the first wave, another one started to gather. They're aiming for Erwin again...


    His fatigue is very visible now. He's been dodging so many attacks, that his stamina is running thin. I'm not close to him, but I can make out his shoulders rising and falling with each labored breath. He's in a worse state than I am.


    "Erwin! Lay low for a second so I can-"


    "I-It's fine!" His voice was distorted a bit. He's trying to activate his SuperNova. His eyes flickered blue but, before he could complete his transformation, one of the smaller monsters clawed at him. Direct hit. It had him kneeling.


    "No! Erwin!" Chloe cried. I can hear the tears in her voice.


    Fenrissoma let out a metallic, low cry, and started charging a laser beam to take advantage of Erwin's downed state...


    He's going to die if I don't do anything.


    It's all or nothing...!


    I used the thrusters on my back to speed up my sprint. I pushed him out of the way barely in time to save him from the blast. I couldn't say the same for myself...


    The beam sent me flying all the way into a nearby wall of a neighboring building.


    Ah... It hurts... The pain is almost unbearable. It's burning and feels as if it's dissolving my skin.


    For a second, I couldn't see anything from all the loose debris caused by the wall.


    ...I think I broke a rib because my chest is in pure agony. It hurts so bad to simply move. I blinked to clear my vision, and I can see Erwin standing up again. In the time it took for me to take that blow for him, he activated his SuperNova and made easy work with the mobs. It's just Fenrissoma now.


    He's alive. That's the most important thing. I don't care how reluctant he is for me to protect him; it's my duty to save as many people as I can.


    "J-Jin... Can you stand...? Erwin can't take that SoulDreg alone..." That was Chloe's voice. Her scanners can probably tell I'm not dead, so she wasn't bawling like she was when we fought Big Plastica... From her voice, I can tell she's on the verge of tears for sure.


    "I can... I'm sorry to worry you..." I barely choke the words out. Breathing hurts too. All I have to do is use my own SuperNova and I'll be ready to fight again. This thing will be as good as dead.


    It only takes a second to channel the SoulForce. The familiar adrenaline rush got me to my feet in no time. The pain instantly faded away. I rushed at Fenrissoma, and with both of us in our SuperNova state on top of all the damage we did to it early on, it didn't stand a chance at surviving my Final Fist and Erwin's Soul Launcher.


    "The enemy's energy signal is gone! I'm... I'm so happy you guys are safe..." Chloe sighed in relief.


    "It was nothing," Erwin started with a smile, but as soon as he changed his gaze to me, it turned into a frown. "Hey... You're not looking too great..."


    What does he mean? I feel perfectly-


    Oh.


    The pain settled back in when I lost the energy from my SuperNova. I can't stand anymore, and it's hard to stay awake.


    "Damn..." I could tell that was Erwin's voice... I think he caught me. If not, then this ground is awfully warm.


    I don't know what happened after that.


    ~~~


    When I woke up, I found myself staring at a white ceiling... No... A tent. I'm looking at the underside of a tent.


    I squeezed my eyes shut, opened them, and tried to look around again.


    There's a makeshift shelf beside me stocked with all sorts of different medicines... I'm laying on top of a bed... Ah. This is Voy's little set up in Dipluce Horizon. I remember because I was the one that helped him unpack everything. I must be in the infirmary.


    "You came around fast. I suppose that's normal for a SoulWorker," Voy walked over to me and hovered over my body looking me up and down.


    "How long was I out?" My voice cracked awkwardly. Water sounded pretty good right about now...


    "Only a day. A normal person would be down for a week from injuries like yours, and that's if they'd even live. Internal bleeding, multiple fractures in the ribs and arms, a collapsed lung, 3rd-degree burns... I could go on all day, but I think you get the point, kiddo. Your healing factor is something else 'cause almost about all the ailments I listed practically healed themselves."


    I guess the things Voy said are supposed to sound scary, but I feel fine. I mean, I'm still in a little bit of pain. This pales in comparison to what I felt when we fought that big SoulDreg, though.


    I tried to stand, but Voy put a hand out to block me.


    "Nope. You're on bed rest for another day to make sure everything healed properly. We don't want to lose a SoulWorker now."


    Ah... This sucks...


    "I just wanted to get some water..." I explained.


    "Your little friend can fetch a glass for you." Voy nodded off to the opposite side of the tent. I followed the direction of where he was looking.


    ...Surprisingly, it was Erwin. And he was actually carrying a glass of water.


    "Stop gawking and take it already," he murmured.


    "Yeah, thanks," I smiled back at him. I sat up and downed it in one go. I feel so much better now! "And uh... I didn't mean to stare. I wasn't expecting you'd be here."


    "It'd be really rude of me to not be here after what you did... Idiot."


    Voy suddenly cleared his throat. "Well, since you seem fine, I'm going to tend to the other soldiers."


    "Ok," I replied, and Voy took his leave with a single wave.


    "Back to what we were talking about," I continued, "I'll keep saving you, too. I'll protect as many people as I can, and that includes you, Erwin."


    "No! You don't get it! I don't want you to do that again!" He looked and sounded really angry...


    Fighting, fighting. It's always fighting with Erwin. This isn't anything new. Although, it kinda hurts a little bit for him to bicker now when I saved him... I'm regretfully used to it.


    "I'm sorry, but we'll have to disagree there. If we're in a situation where you could potentially die and I can prevent that, I'll gladly do something like this again in a heartbeat. I lived, right? So it's fine."


    "It's not fine!"


    "Then tell me why it's not fine."


    "I hate seeing you get hurt because of me! There. I said it."


    ...He's being serious?


    "You... do? Really? I thought you didn't care." It left me completely stumped.


    Erwin crossed his arms. "Look, don't get the wrong idea. I may not like you, but when you go out there and take a hit for me like that, then... It just... It means a lot. And uh, thanks for saving me. This better not be a recurring thing though, because I don't want to start owing you favors."


    I've never heard him thank me for anything before... So he does have a softer side after all. I'm glad that he acknowledged I saved him in the first place.


    "Nah. You don't owe me anything. Hearing that was enough and you waiting for me to wake up already paid your debt. You also brought me this water!"


    Erwin sighed. "Man. You need to learn how to be meaner."


    He says that, but he's smiling at me. It's not one of those cocky or teasing ones. It's a genuine, happy smile. I could get used to this.


    "I don't know how to be mean."


    "I could teach you how."


    "I don't want to learn...?"


    "Ok, fine fine, I was joking anyway," Erwin laughed, "but back to the serious stuff... I'll... Listen from now on. If it means you don't get hurt like this again, then I'll take your suggestions and let you keep the aggro from here on out. I'll kill the SoulDregs before they can even breathe on you."


    I'm glad he finally understands. This day couldn't get any better. Part of what he said confused me a little, though. "Um... What's aggro?"


    He seemed a bit taken aback. "You don't know? It's when you get the enemy's attention so your DPS people can do all the damage. That's the strategy you wanted me to follow after all."


    "...DPS?"


    "I'm guessing you don't play too many video games?"


    "I don't play them much, no."


    He sighed tiredly. "Nevermind. I'll update you on how the others are doing instead. Just know that I'm not gonna be so stubborn anymore~"


    Even though his terminology is confusing me, I know he means well. I can tell he's being genuine with me based on his tone alone.


    Perhaps things can finally be different between us now?


    I answered him with a nod. "Yes. Please do~"


    ~~~


    A/N: This was extremely fun to write! 1 like = 1 peta mediqube for best boi Jin.


    :jin1:

    I main Erwin but still like... Jin is forever best boi~

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    "It's a dark philosophy, and it haunts her constantly. She's a false alarm to me. She's a false alarm!"