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Killin Me Softly

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The unattractive weeks-old grey-brown snow sags in tall clumps on the parking lot, only half-clean in large spaces. Mint green salt litters the black asphalt, and Levi wonders whether winter is worth anything, the way the prettiness lasts barely a day, the cold that lingers between layers of fabric, between his toes and fingers and teeth.

 

His dorm building is even uglier in January, bare trees and dirty snow offering little respite from the bland yellow-brown walls, square windows that were bitches to open. Levi sighs as he drags his suitcase through the parking lot, past the entrance of the dorm, and into the elevator.

 

His knuckle hovers over the fourth button, and his mouth twists into a scowl as he pushes the third button harder than necessary, not allowing himself to wince at the burst of pain. Eren’s not here yet, his mind unhelpfully reminds him, and, even if he were back, you don’t want to see him.

 

This is, of course, more or less true; Levi cannot look into his eyes ever again, might not even have the right to enter his room or acknowledge him in public (albeit only with familiarly rehearsed scorn, only to keep their secret). For all he knows, fucking is off the table completely.

 

Levi swallows, clutches the handle of his suitcase.

 

When he reaches his room, he’s thankful he doesn’t have to move out between semesters, if only for the slightly comforting feeling of returning to a room that accidentally became something home-like, something grounding.

 

Something separate from Eren, untouched by Eren’s voice, body. Levi kept things tidy in that sense; for all that they’d seen of each other, Eren’s never seen or visited Levi’s dorm. He intends to keep it that way. Not that there’s much chance of that, now.

 

Levi’s always found comfort in his self-control. He never expected…

 

He shakes his head, dragging his suitcase into the middle of the dorm and unzipping it. If he hurries, he’ll be able to settle in before Hanji, his roommate, returns. In their three years of dorm life together, Levi’s found that they always bring more back with them than they take, almost all of it unnecessary.

 

It’s only when he’s in his bed again, staring up at the ceiling in the dark room, that he allows himself to miss their exuberance.

 

He can’t force himself to appreciate the silence of the dorm above him, though.

 

*****

 

Levi’s first year, he’d been lucky enough to have relatively silent neighbors. His second year, him and Hanji lived on the top floor; the only neighbors they had were athletes that rarely visited their rooms.

 

Last semester, within the first week of living in the dorms. Levi was ready to murder his upstairs neighbors. Between the constant too-heavy footsteps and frequent, suggestive thudding, Levi was barely restraining himself. Hanji was no better, though they never directly complained.

 

Barging upstairs, seeing Eren sitting pathetically outside his room, glaring at his phone and snipping at Levi—all of that was a mistake. It was a mistake, staring down at Eren, reasonably attractive even in a fit of suppressed rage. It was a mistake, talking to him, joking about payback and taking it seriously.

 

(He still remembers the weight of Eren in his mouth, behind him, above him, pushing him against the wall. Remembers the taste of his moans and the way the bed—his or Jean’s, didn’t matter, they fucked in both—creaked beneath them.)

 

One weekend of payback sexile—a full weekend, mind—jumpstarted whatever this thing was, this cloying, disgusting thing sneaking around Levi’s lungs, loitering in the space between his tongue and the roof of his mouth.

 

It was never supposed to mean anything, to either of them. Eren held up that end of the unspoken bargain, only contacting Levi about sex, only having Levi in his room then, never speaking or directly acknowledging each other in public unless required. Hell, it didn’t mean anything to Levi either, not until he’d accidentally admitted that he’d miss Eren like crazy during sex right before break, in-between haphazard thrusts.

 

Eren hadn’t replied. Levi left quickly after they both orgasmed, his clothes uncharacteristically wrinkled. Not that an abrupt departure was entirely out of character, but neither of them had classes they needed to rush to, nothing immediate to stop them from resting next to each other, allowing their breathing to slow.

 

They haven’t texted, haven’t talked. Levi doesn’t know when Eren’s coming back. Doesn’t know if this will continue.

 

He’s sitting in a small café, bored, picking apart a too-sweet crepe when he hears Eren’s roommate enter, laughing at something his boyfriend said.

 

Whether Jean knows the truth about Levi and Eren remains to be seen. Levi has his suspicions; however, they aren’t what drive him out of his seat, abandoning his unfinished purchases in favor of fleeing, melting into anonymity underneath shadows of laughing tree leaves.

 

*****

 

Hanji arrives a day before classes start. They’re a welcome whirlwind, laughing at Levi’s cursing as they set two suitcases in the center of the room, then leave, only to return with a large box filled to the brim with snow globes.

 

Levi sighs. Their snow globe collection was the stuff of legend, spoken about incessantly but never seen. It’s as impressive as he’d expected; that is to say, he feels nothing but dismayed annoyance.

 

“Piece of shit, what’s practical about fifty snow globes in a tiny-ass dorm?”

 

Hanji hums, holding a snow globe in each hand, peering into the box. “They aren’t for me, silly. I thought they’d cheer you up! You’ve been depressed for weeks.”

 

Levi pouts in silence, resisting a childish verbal retort. They’re only trying to help, but Levi resents that Hanji noticed in the first place.

 

They clear their throat, look away. They set the snow globes on Levi’s desk, and he’d start lecturing them, but— “Besides, gotta cheer you up somehow. Especially now that our upstairs neighbors are back. They nearly ran into me while I was bringing these in.” They frown at the box, lovingly stroking the tops of the two snow globes.

 

Before he can catch his breath or think or swat Hanji away, Levi’s phone buzzes three times, Eren’s custom silent text alert.

 

While they’re busy unpacking the rest of their snow globes, Levi pulls out his phone, tries to control his blush.

 

Eren: back, and horseface won’t be back until tomorrow. coming?

 

Levi: That depends on you.

 

Eren: har har. hurry up

 

Levi: Better make it worth my while, prick.

 

Eren: that depends on you ;P

 

Despite Eren’s playful tone, Levi’s hands shake as he mutters something about getting coffee and shuts the door behind him before Hanji can ask questions. His heart is racing as he goes up the flight of stairs and restrains himself from speed-walking down the hall.

 

Eren’s door is propped open, just enough for Levi to enter.

 

Eren smirks at Levi once he sneaks in, closes the door behind him. The grin makes Levi’s heart ache, and he presses his lips together to keep from smiling back. Levi clenches and unclenches his hands as he steps forward and tilts Eren’s head down, kissing the smirk away.

 

He’s always enjoyed making Eren whimper, but the joy and arousal that floods him when he hears the sound, feels it against his tongue, teeth, as Eren pushes him against the wall is stronger than before. Levi distracts himself by grinding his hips against Eren’s.

Eren sighs, then pulls away, kisses Levi’s neck.

 

There’s an awkward gentleness in the way Eren’s lips drag against Levi’s skin, something almost reverent. It makes Levi pause, realize that Eren’s invited him back, that maybe…

 

“Eren, I—”

 

Those beautiful lips pull away from Levi’s neck; the whine that claws up his throat is completely unrelated to the unwanted space between them. Eren looks serious, determined, voice husky and unyielding as he breathes Levi’s name. “Stop talking, or get out.” The I don’t want to hear it, though unspoken, is unmistakable.

 

When Levi keeps silent, it isn’t entirely in obedience, but Eren interprets it as such, presses close and continues kissing his neck, rougher.

 

It’s almost worse than Eren ignoring him completely, this, expecting Levi to fall into their previous relationship.

 

Eren drags his tongue up Levi’s neck and bites his jaw gently.

 

A sigh rattles in Levi’s chest as he gently tugs Eren up and kisses him properly.

 

He’ll take what he can get, right now.

 

And if he can’t tell Eren how much he likes him verbally, well, Levi’ll just show him in different ways.

 

Levi pushes away from the wall, hands gripping Eren’s hips as he leads them away from the wall.

Chapter Text

Eren’s always been louder than Levi, but he seems subdued today, much to Levi’s disappointment. Perhaps it’s a show of solidarity, prohibiting Levi from speech and himself from sounds, but. Levi can’t think of it like that, just as he can’t quite think Eren’s punishing him through silence.

 

If anything, Eren’s shooting himself in the foot; Levi learned very quickly that Eren adores it when Levi speaks to him, says filthy things as he opens him up or fucks Eren’s mouth, his hands stroking or clutching Eren’s hair.

 

Eren’s hands wander up Levi’s shirt, fingertips skimming over his skin, raising goosebumps. Levi shivers, pulling away slightly, but Eren’s relentless, his mouth incessantly pressing against Levi’s, taking advantage of Levi’s gasp with his tongue, deepening the kiss.

 

They’ve stopped moving away from the wall, standing awkwardly in the middle of the room. One of Eren’s hands clutches Levi’s neck, brushing against his undercut, his other hand pressed against the small of his back. His hands are warm against Levi’s skin, and he hates that they aren’t moving, that Eren refuses to be led.

 

Most of all, Levi resents that Eren’s horny enough to take advantage of him but angry enough that he’ll limit Levi’s speech. He knows that despite their shared silence, he could opt out and Eren wouldn’t push him; that they both continue demonstrates equal willingness, and they’ve communicated enough to know that they’re more than welcome to leave at any given point in time. It’s not dangerously restrictive; however, it cuts Levi deeply, and he finds that he’s only at half-mast. His heart hurts even as he finds enjoyment in Eren’s mouth and his caresses, finds enjoyment in lavishing Eren with attention.

 

He wonders if Eren’s noticed he’s not fully aroused, if Eren’s ignoring it or ignorant.

 

Levi considers leaving altogether as he lets Eren remove his shirt, tug at his jeans, palming his lackluster erection. Even as he strips Eren, dragging his nails down Eren’s chest, applying just enough pressure to leave marks without drawing blood, he toys with abandoning him. Levi’s hands don’t stop, though, continue down his torso, pausing briefly at his hips, leaving red marks that curve down his inner thighs. He admires his handiwork by rising again and dragging his tongue along the marks beside his nipples and pressing kisses down his torso.

 

Once Levi returns to his hips, his kisses become sloppier, open-mouthed and lingering, his hands gently holding his thighs still. Eren’s practically quivering beneath his mouth, fingers, breathing loud and shaky. Levi smirks up at Eren, allows his kisses to dip closer to his cock, cheek brushing against it during one kiss before moving away, mouthing his inner thighs.

 

“Levi, God,” Eren sighs, “you tease.”

 

Levi hums, moves up, licks his cock, then returns to his thighs.

 

“I’m clean, you know.” Eren coughs, always awkward when he mentions it, though he knows he won’t get much more without letting Levi know. “Took a shower and everything earlier.”

 

(If this was normal, if Levi hadn’t fucked up and Eren hadn’t demanded silence, he would’ve praised Eren, taunted him, called him pretty names and made him moan.

 

If this was normal, it would be sweeter, he’d kiss Eren’s lips and pull away just enough to continue teasing him, stroking his cock, taste and feel Eren’s moans before blowing him.)

 

Levi’s suddenly tired of teasing. His throat hurts, eyes sting with the threat of tears. He hates this, hates how damning the silence is, hates that he can still find it in himself to enjoy pleasuring Eren.

 

He wraps his mouth around the head of Eren’s cock, sucking on it before taking his cock deeper into his mouth, determined to continue. Leaving abruptly would let Eren know that he hurt Levi, that he got to him. Levi refuses to be so vulnerable.

 

Unlike previous blowjobs, Levi doesn’t take his time, bobbing quickly and sucking, occasionally barely grazing his teeth just the way Eren likes it. His hands cup Eren’s ass, nudge his hole playfully.

 

Once Levi’s brought Eren to the brink of orgasm, he pulls away, licking his cock before moving, reaching for his ass. He thinks he hears Eren gasp softly, whine, but Levi ignores it. This is for himself, not Eren; at least, this is what Levi tells himself as he kisses his hole and begins tongue-fucking him.

 

“Levi,” Eren moans, pressing his ass closer to Levi’s face.

 

Levi chuckles against him, and he’s always enjoyed this, always enjoyed the way his mouth affects Eren, even now. It’s soothing, the taste of Eren’s skin, how warm he always is, how his hands feel against his legs, holding him steady. Levi loves claiming him with his tongue, and he continues lazily licking, savoring the slide of his tongue, the way Eren’s taste mingles with Levi’s saliva.

 

As stupid as it is, this is one of the few times Levi isn’t disgusted by his saliva or drool, because this messiness is intimate, satisfying, and he knows Eren well enough to know that he’s cleaned himself thoroughly. His general cleaning standards aren’t up to par with Levi’s, but he’s found that Eren’s determined to do his part to satisfy Levi.

 

One of his hands begins stroking Eren’s cock as he presses closer to his ass, resumes plunging his tongue into Eren’s hole. Eren orgasms after a few minutes of this, and Levi’s hand aches a little as he pulls away, licks the come off his skin.

 

He looks up as he drags his tongue over his middle finger, catches Eren watching him breathlessly. Eren all but falls to Levi’s level, hands swooping up to Levi’s face as he ungracefully kisses Levi’s nose, then his mouth.

 

Levi doesn’t know what to do with his messy hand, so he refrains from touching Eren back altogether, lazily kissing him. He’s used to Eren after sex, the way affection oozes from him. It’s familiar, and Levi allows himself to get lost in the comfort of that, sighing softly against Eren’s mouth.

 

Eren pulls away to murmur against his lips, “let me take care of you, now,” and Levi finds himself dropping into an uncomfortable distant apathy as Eren palms his cock only to find that Levi isn’t even half hard anymore.

 

His mouth falls into a frown. Levi can’t be bothered to comfort him or come up with an explanation. It would be embarrassing, perhaps even damning, if Eren didn’t look so… upset? Offended? No, not offended. Levi might wager that Eren’s hurt.

 

No. He’s already misinterpreted him once. Levi’s probably just wounded his pride.

 

Levi clears his throat and stands up, watching Eren follow. He doesn’t know what to say, isn’t even sure if Eren deserves a response.

 

Eren steps forward to give him a goodbye kiss, and Levi steps back, moving to the door. “I have errands to run. And you need to unpack. And clean.” He looks around Eren’s dorm with slight disgust, noting that, for all the care Eren took in cleaning himself, his room hasn’t even been dusted, his suitcase unopened next to his desk chair.

 

Eren smiles, something fond and sweet, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. “Rain check, then?”

 

“Sure. I’ll let you know.”

 

Eren nods, and Levi leaves quickly, closing the door quietly behind him.

 

Instead of returning to his own room, Levi goes to his car and drives to his favorite Target store, the one that takes longer to get to but has more cleaning supplies and better lighting. He spends longer than usual perusing his favorite sections, pretending to consider whether he wants to buy a better duster.

 

When he returns to his dorm building, he goes to his own room and stays there. He goes to sleep in his own bed after watching a shitty superhero movie with Hanji, still not fully unpacked, and he falls asleep on his side, facing the ugly yellow wall, rendered slightly less hideous in the dark.

Chapter Text

Levi spends the first week in a blur of classes, sleep, and fucking himself. Jerking off, opening himself up, stuffing the other hand in his mouth to silence and comfort. He’s always careful, cleaning up after himself and indulging his needs when Hanji isn’t present.

 

His hands are a comfort, the silence of his dorm, the familiarity of his own sheets, dildo, lube, sounds—all, soothing. He can’t help it; even if Eren was better to him, even if they had what Levi wanted, he’d need this routine.

 

Even if—but, they aren’t, and Levi has millions of reasons to justify getting himself off, but avoiding asking for Eren is in the top three.

 

They haven’t texted all week, not really. There’s never been much friendly, nonchalant communication between them, for whatever reason. Eren’s perspective on that is something Levi can only guess; on his own part, Levi doesn’t care much for letting Eren reduce him to a distracted puddle, hanging on his every word, through something as stupid as texting.

 

That, and they don’t have much to talk about. What could they possibly have in common?

 

Levi’s thankful he doesn’t know where he’d start, thankful that bitching to Eren about his dumbass professors or the lackluster cleaning in the cafeteria isn’t an option.

 

Eren’s just an infatuation, Levi tells himself; how can it get any deeper than that, when he doesn’t even know how to reach out to him for anything other than sex?

 

There’s hands on his hips, now, muggy breath on his neck. The party roars to life around Levi, briefly drowned out by Eren. Levi sighs, his hands encouraging this man against him, a piss-poor replacement for Eren’s heat, Eren’s smirk and tongue and taste.

 

But. If he can wean himself off Eren, if he can find unattached intimacy and sex elsewhere, this infatuation will go away.

 

“Let’s go somewhere more private,” the man huffs against Levi’s jawline, pressing scattered kisses, and it’s warm and soft-rough, unlike Eren but just similar enough that Levi nods, fully consenting and following him away from the party.

 

He’s done nothing wrong, this Kurt or Lane or something goes above and beyond (for a random fuck) to ensure that both enjoy this, enjoy him pressing into Levi, holding him close, kissing his skin as he thrusts. He holds Levi in the end, the ten minutes Levi allows himself to lay in his arms.

 

There aren’t hard feelings on Levi’s part as he strolls back to his dorm, torn between enjoying the way he’s still rumpled, still basking in some hazy aftermath of almost-satisfaction and disgust.

 

It hits him right as he reaches his dorm that, no, this is wrong, it’s wrong that it’s not Eren he feels on his skin, that he never saw Eren, that he didn’t get to make Eren come, and, oh, it’s not quite guilt that overwhelms Levi, just something sad, something like heartbreak.

 

It’s only in the dorm showers, after assuring himself that he’s alone, that he allows himself to cry as he scrubs his skin. He can still taste him in his mouth, his body aches, and Levi just wants it to go away. He’s thankful that his crying is mostly silent, only truly noticeable when he breathes, shaky-slow-fast, something not quite gasping.

 

He’s brushing his teeth, when he realizes that he can fix this, get this sour feeling wiped away by visiting Eren. Clearly, at this point in his life, Eren’s it. Eren’s all he wants. This may be infatuation, may be shallow (not meaningful, never meaningful), but it’s not something he can treat lightly.

 

He’s clean and in sweatpants in his room when he reaches for his phone. Praying isn’t something Levi indulges in, but he’s willing to ask a higher power for support.

 

Levi: Are you free tonight?

 

Eren: i can be

 

Levi bites his lip, considers… what, interrupting his night? For comfort? Levi scoffs, ready to shut his phone off when Eren texts again.

 

Eren: are you okay?

 

His phone is shaking in his hands; he’s cried enough that no proper tears fall, and he doesn’t have it in him to be deeply ashamed as he dry-sobs. Eren’s always been perceptive when it comes to Levi.

 

There’s a romantic, fleeting idea, that Eren can sense the wrongness Levi feels. He dismisses it, but only after indulging it a moment.

 

Levi: I’m fine.

 

Eren: i don’t know if jean will leave tonight

 

Levi: That’s fine. I can tell Hanji to stay away.

 

Eren: … you sure?

 

Levi inhales slowly, looks away from his phone. Hanji’s snow globes are everywhere, his bed is made, the room clean. Hanji’s side is clean even as their stuff is somewhat scattered. It’s a decent balance of their personalities.

 

Eren doesn’t belong here, but he asked if Levi was okay, and Levi and vulnerability don’t mix well, but he owes it to Eren, owes him something. Something. No, not owes, per se, not after his refusal to let Levi speak, not after his refusal to address Levi missing him, but Levi’s tired of hiding his room from Eren like it’ll protect himself.

 

Levi: Yeah. Door’s open.

 

Eren: be there in ten

 

He sends a text to Hanji, asking them to stay away. They reply promptly, thankfully, giving him the space he needs with minimal teasing.

 

He’s on his bed when there’s a knock on his door followed by the handle turning, then Eren’s there, walking into his room, and Levi’s frozen on his bed, watching Eren’s gaze snap to him. Eren’s worried, if the twist of his mouth and the focus of his gaze says anything. He doesn’t bother examining the room, commenting on Hanji’s stuff present everywhere.

 

He simply closes the door, strides over and stands in front of Levi, sitting crisscrossed on his bed. The bed is up just high enough for his mini fridge to sit underneath, along with the shitty dorm dresser, and it makes him near Eren’s height, barely taller than him.

 

Eren’s close, his hands resting on Levi’s knees, gaze warm-concerned.

 

Levi pulls him close, shifting so that his legs dangle from the bed on either side of Eren. He tilts his head down and kisses Eren, sighing in relief as Eren doesn’t ask questions, just lets this be soft for a minute.

 

Levi knows, however, that Eren isn’t one for soft things, that he cannot come to Eren for comfort every time something bad happens. He bites Eren’s lip, lets his fingertips shift from gentle to bruising, holding him in place.

 

Eren seems more hesitant than normal, and Levi wants it to stop. One of his hands dips down, palming his cock. He’s fumbling with his pants, undoing them and sliding them down, when Eren pulls away gently, just far enough that Levi can’t kiss him properly. Eren’s hands are still on Levi’s hips, thumbs rubbing soothing circles against his shirt.

 

“Stop, please,” Eren murmurs. “You’re not okay.”

 

Levi huffs. “Yes I am.”

 

“No, you’re not, you’re shaking. And you never text me after midnight.” Eren bites his lip. “You’re not obligated to talk about it, but if you want to, I’m here.”

 

Levi scoffs. “That’s rich. Stop acting like you care about me.”

 

Eren glares at Levi, and goosebumps assault his skin. “Only when you do.” Levi feels his features slip into confusion, but Eren’s faster, clearing his throat and wiping himself clean of previous anger.

 

“I believe we’re still supposed to be friends with benefits. Or, at least, I consider you my friend.” Eren clears his throat again. “Even if you don’t, I’m not going to have sex with you when you’re distraught like this.”

 

Levi’s eyes are burning, but he won’t let himself cry again tonight. He refuses to let Eren see his weakness, see him falling apart at the seams, corrupting this with feelings. He bites his lip, looks away, pretending to be irritated even when he can’t find it in himself to resent Eren for this, for considering his emotional state.

 

All the same, he doesn’t want to be alone, and he’ll go through a fucking with Eren to get Eren’s post-orgasm affection.

 

He tries to pull Eren back with his legs, but Eren doesn’t move close enough. Levi leans forward, and Eren stops him with one hand to his face, cupping his cheek. “Do you want me to stay?”

 

Levi shrugs, stuffing an exuberant affirmative deep down. “Hanji’s already not coming back tonight.”

 

Eren takes a deep breath. “I can stay, if you want.”

 

Levi raises his eyebrows, not trusting his voice. He crosses his arms over his chest.

 

“If you don’t kick me out, I’m taking your silence as a yes,” Eren replies. Before Levi can respond, Eren’s up on his bed beside him, pulling him close as they both fall back on his comforter.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

Eren rolls his eyes and kisses Levi’s forehead. “Holding you, moron.”

 

Levi snarls quietly as he snuggles closer, wraps an arm around Eren’s torso. Eren’s arms are warm and solid around Levi, achingly familiar. Affectionate, comforting. Confusing as all hell, but Levi tries to stop thinking.

 

“Relax, Levi. I’m not going anywhere.”

 

Pretty sure that’s the problem, Levi thinks as he closes his eyes.

Chapter Text

Eren knows he has an affection problem. And a Levi problem, while he’s at it, but that’s hardly the point. That Levi’s indulged him so far is nothing short of a miracle.

 

Then again, Eren knows exactly why Levi keeps coming back, and it has nothing to do with mutual affection. He puts up with Eren because Eren puts up with Levi, plain and simple.

 

(Of course, Levi also has a thing for affection; Eren’s definitely noticed, and it makes things less shitty on Eren’s part, mostly, because it’s easier to sate the urge to care for Levi when he can brush it off as an after-sex-thing they share.)

 

Eren reminds himself of this constantly. It hardly helps now, this familiar repetition, when he’s holding Levi in his arms. When Levi’s letting Eren surround him like this, he always curls into Eren, pressing close, almost softer and sweeter if Eren returns the favor, snuggling, holding him like he’s precious.

 

It’s only when Levi’s asleep that Eren can watch him like this, stroke his hair and hum nonsense. When he pretends they’ve progressed to something outspokenly meaningful, it hurts a little less, this caring thing wound between his ribs, pressing, pressing.

 

Eren knows tonight’s unprecedented, though he cannot understand fully what drove Levi to such lengths, calling Eren to his dorm, acting as though all they’re good for is a good fuck—but this is Eren’s fault, not speaking up, preventing this from progressing—he can’t complain.

 

He’ll allow himself only this, and he’ll be content with it.

 

*****

Levi wakes with Eren’s familiar warm body pressed against his, close and snug in the small dorm bed. When he first tried to sleep with him at the dorms, Levi, having never attempted to fit two sleeping people in a dorm bed, assumed it would be uncomfortable; instead, he found the closeness a quiet comfort.

 

It could’ve also just been Eren. Heaven knows he couldn’t’ve slept in the bed with the man from the party, regardless of the bed.

 

Oh. There’s the awkward discomfort, sweeping up Levi’s skin. He turns, expecting Eren’s outrageous bedhead and finds the same wild hair that always leaves him a little breathless. Except, now, Eren’s watching him quietly, sleepily.

 

“Tch. Better not’ve stared at me like that all night.” Please tell me you slept.

 

Eren smirks at him, kisses his neck, hand sneaking underneath his shirt. “I got enough sleep,” he replies against Levi’s collar. He kisses Levi’s jaw, then slides down until his face is pressed against Levi’s thighs, nosing at his boxers. “Of course I didn’t,” Eren replies, breath brushing against his skin. Levi shudders.

 

“What would you like, Levi?” Eren’s mouth hovers over Levi’s cock, lips hovering over the fabric, hot breath suffocating him, and he’s sure he’s blushing terribly down at him.

 

“Shut up,” Levi grumbles as he somewhat begrudgingly, gently, holds Eren’s head in his hands. “Suck me.”

 

Eren playfully nips his boxers, and Levi’s aching as he removes them, licks him, sucks on his head.

 

Levi tests Eren, pushing a little harder on his head, forcing his cock slightly deeper into Eren’s mouth. Eren looks up at him, gaze playful and encouraging.

 

“Fuck,” Levi mutters as he presses him closer, Eren swallowing more of his cock. He’s relaxed enough that Levi’s control is smooth as he begins fucking his face harder, moaning around him as Levi continues talking to him, one hand caressing his neck. “Such a good boy, such a lovely mouth, all for me.”

 

(Is Eren’s mouth all for Levi, really? Can he claim something like that? Does Eren have other people he visits, fucks as sweetly? How can Levi feel so possessive when he sought comfort elsewhere?)

 

He comes down Eren’s throat with a grunt, Eren gladly swallowing him. He keeps his mouth around Levi just long enough that pleasure starts to sharpen with pain before pulling away and gently kissing his hips.

 

Before Levi can offer to relieve Eren, he finds himself face-to-face with Eren’s serious gaze. His hands have replaced his lips on Levi’s hips, gently tracing endless loops over his skin. “Are you feeling better?”

 

Levi coughs. “Somewhat. Thanks.”

 

Eren nods. “Anytime.”

 

Levi’s suddenly afraid that Eren’s about to leave before he can return the favor, and he winces, reaching up to caress Eren’s neck. He realizes that leaving Eren the other day just after his orgasm without the lingering, line-blurring affection afterwards was crueler than he realized. Even if he doesn’t regret fleeing then, he doesn’t want things to end quickly, now.

 

“You?”

 

Eren blinks. “Me?”

 

“You better?”

 

“Yeah.” He looks hesitant, torn, before his features shift again, and he’s laying back down, pressing close. “Hanji still gone?”

 

“They won’t be back for a while.” Eren won’t look at him, pressed against Levi’s chest, and he’s bold enough to play with Eren’s hair as silence settles around them.

 

“You can pay me back in a few,” Eren mumbles, “just let me catch my breath.”

 

Levi nods, closes his eyes, lets himself fade for a little while, content to hold Eren.

Chapter Text

Levi fades between sleeping and awareness, keeping his eyes closed as the minutes blur together. He can hear Eren breathing, and he enjoys the intimacy of it, the way he can revel in Eren’s presence without pretenses. without proper vulnerability.

 

They don’t do this sort of thing much, merely sleep together and cuddle. The sex is to be expected, but they’ve rarely spent more time on anything else. At least, not without sex happening first, but even then, it was never anything like this. It wasn’t anything Levi thought he would ask for. Certainly not something he thought Eren would, even if he was ridiculously affectionate.

 

His arms are wrapped around Eren, one hand still lingering on the tips of his hair. He’s not sure whether he likes holding better than being held; it doesn’t seem to matter much, because he always finds comfort in Eren’s warmth regardless.

 

Awake—or, having slept enough to put the events of yesterday firmly in the past—Levi’s overwhelmed with affection and respect for Eren. He could’ve easily slept with Levi and had his consent, but that he abstained in favor of offering a different comfort confused and charmed him.

 

Levi’s certain that there is an emotional connection between them. Sure, they are friends with benefits, but he never felt the friendship aspect deeply until now. He’s learned a lot about Eren, he realizes, even if it doesn’t seem like it. He isn’t sure whether that’s good or bad. All he knows for certain is that he’s royally fucked up a perfectly fine friends-with-benefits situation by catching feelings.

 

Eren stirs after some time, grumbling softly. His voice is sleep-rough and beautiful; hearing it fills Levi with fondness and arousal equally.

 

“Morning,” Levi mumbles as Eren lifts his head and stares at him, smiling softly.

 

“Morning,” he replies, kissing Levi’s nose and the corner of his mouth, brushing his lips against Levi’s skin as he presses more kisses down his neck. “Again, I guess.”

 

“Semantics.”

 

There’s a sink in Levi’s dorm, and he’s torn between getting up to brush his teeth and staying beside Eren. He’s warm and soft, and Levi dreads leaving him; however, he can’t kiss Eren properly like this, and that’s also nearly unbearable.

 

One of Eren’s hands moves up and down Levi’s side, feather-light. He smirks at Eren as he shifts so that he hovers over Levi and kisses his forehead and his cheeks, kissing down his neck again with less grace and mouthing at his collarbone.

 

“Wanna kiss you,” Levi says as Eren finally pulls away. Levi reverses their positions, climbing on top of Eren and grinning down at him before licking up his chest.

 

Eren groans. Levi smirks against his skin as he randomly kisses up and down his sides, breaking away only to grab his hand and kiss his palm. He licks each finger on his hand, then shifts and lavishes his other hand with the same affection.

 

“Kiss me properly, you shit,” Eren huffs, insistent hands coaxing Levi upward. “Please.”

 

Levi shakes his head. “You know the rules.”

 

Eren frowns, leans up and switches their positions again, pressing Levi into his bed. Grinding his hips against him, Eren mouths one of Levi’s nipples, allowing his teeth to gently brush his skin.

 

They’re both achingly hard, and Levi’s ready to break his own rule when Eren pulls away, smirking, climbs off of the bed and saunters to the sink, tossing a victorious smirk over his shoulder. He begins brushing his teeth using Levi’s toothbrush; anyone else and it would’ve been a turn-off, but Levi’s content with letting Eren use it and just buying himself a new one later, if it means he gets to have Eren in his own bed.

 

Now that Levi’s acclimated to the vulnerability of letting Eren enter his dorm, Levi’s finding acclimating to Eren’s personal behavior difficult. Even the way he walks is more relaxed, as though entering Levi’s room and taking care of him entitles him to far greater emotional vulnerability compared to their previous unaltered arrangements.

 

Perhaps it does grant him a bit of confidence; this does not sit well with Levi, however. Supposing Eren grows lax, finds himself too warm beside Levi’s pathetic need, all of this will be over.

 

Levi cannot forget this, he reminds himself as Eren crawls in beside him, whispers “your turn,” before kissing his ribs and pulling away. With a heavy sigh, not entirely triggered by the prospect of leaving cramped warmth for mint and spit and chill, Levi pushes himself out of his bed and trudges to his sink.

 

When he returns to his bed, Eren is lazily stroking himself. “What,” he says at Levi’s hungry yet accusing stare, “your ass looked fabulous when you walked away.”

 

Levi silences him with a kiss, crawls back into Eren’s embrace and allows himself to focus on the way Eren’s hands, damped with precome, graze his sides, even as Levi finds all previous warmth gone from his own skin, mouth, the slide of his sheets and the rhythm of Eren’s heartbeat. One of his hands wraps around Eren’s cock, cutting Levi off from his thoughts as he continues his previously slow strokes. He doesn’t want him to orgasm like this, but Eren deserves some teasing, he decides.

 

It’s Eren who pulls away first before he comes, one hand reaching to toy with Levi’s hole. Levi consents to the attention, unaffected with letting Eren top this round. He reaches for his bottle of lube and hands it to Eren, pointedly staring at him as he stops teasing in favor of properly stretching Levi.

 

The fucking this morning is slow, Levi sinking down on Eren’s cock and riding him with deliberate, controlled movements. Eren took his time prepping Levi, silence wrapping warm blankets around their shared breaths, neither filling the space between with words.

 

Levi doesn’t know what to say. Whatever keeps Eren silent remains a mystery; however, he is content moving his hips, hands braced on Eren’s chest, eyes fluttering shut with every burst of fleeting pleasure. He still feels cold, and speaking in this silence terrifies him.

 

They’re staring at each other during their respective orgasms. It’s not entirely deliberate, not on Levi’s part, anyways, but it sends dangerous fondness through him.

 

It’s another haze sweeping over Levi as Eren kisses his forehead, then pulls away.

 

“I have to go,” Eren says as he shoves himself inside his clothes.

 

The haze seeps into Levi’s bones, gone from his eyes, ears, retreating inwards. He doesn’t bother replying as he turns to lay on his side, back facing Eren. His heart races, eyes all but throbbing as he restrains himself.

 

He feels disgusting as he shifts, Eren now gone, his come dripping down Levi’s thighs. Eren was supposed to comfort him after his one night stand from the party; Levi, however, feels as though he ripped his chest open and spit on his lungs.

Chapter Text

Another two weeks passes before Eren reaches out to Levi. Levi’s spare moments are either spent completely unaware of his existence, or they’re consumed with awareness that Eren could text him at any minute.

 

The thought of Levi texting first doesn’t occur to him precisely because Levi refuses to reach out again.

 

Not after Eren left him like that. Not after he pretended to hold Levi’s emotional state close and keep it safe, then trample on it. Not when he doesn’t even know what happened to trigger Eren being a complete jackass.

 

Now, Levi’s phone flashes a second time, signaling Eren’s text from two minutes ago.

 

Eren: yo wanna hang 2nite?

 

Levi turns his screen off without answering and continues drinking his tea, staring blankly at a sitcom playing in the background of his room. Hanji is, for once, blessedly silent, reading one of their textbooks propped up on their knees. It looks really uncomfortable, but he doesn’t judge.

 

He’s certainly not touching his work for the evening.

 

His mug is empty too soon, and he frowns at his bed, then at his kettle, too far away. His phone buzzes just as he finally musters the willpower to refill his mug.

 

Eren: im completely free for anything you’d like to do :)

 

His fingers hover over the screen, indecisive despite his resolve. He’s certain he doesn’t want to respond, but the emotional implications of his silence (on Levi’s part; it’s not like Eren would notice) are somewhat overwhelming. It doesn’t help that Levi’s not sure how long the silence will last, whether he wants distance tonight only or more.

 

He doesn’t know if Eren’s worth this trouble. Levi’s body feels heavy; he wants to be sleeping beside Eren, not alone like this. Not that he doesn’t like his own company—or Hanji’s—but some nights are more difficult than others, and Levi grew too accustomed to drawing comfort from Eren instead of developing better self-care practices.

 

Hanji, no doubt sensing his mood, turns on Netflix and puts on a crappy cartoon show they both love to hate in the background, the volume loud enough to hear without being overwhelming and distracting.

 

Levi doesn’t smile at them as they return to their work, but he doesn’t scowl either. He leaves his bed and pours himself more hot water, reusing the teabag. It’s less strong than it was, but the tea is warm and soothing nonetheless.

 

In the end, once Levi feels a little better, he does do a little light reading for his classes. Nothing stressful, and for once the subjects are more than a little interesting, and he goes to sleep without checking his phone again. It’s difficult to ignore, but he’s proud of himself.

 

He has restraint. He has standards.

 

If he’s going to be cursed with feelings for Eren, at least he can be comforted by the affirmation of his control, his selfhood. In the end, Levi will never put Eren above his comfort or self-respect, and that’s what matters.

 

*****

 

Even though Levi doesn’t particularly want to think about the texts he intentionally ignored, they occupy his thoughts the following day. Mostly because he wonders how Eren will respond.

 

It’s beneath Levi’s dignity (and outside his admittedly limited interests) to spend time wondering how Eren interpreted the silence; nonetheless, he wonders.

 

He doesn’t see Eren anywhere, thank goodness, but thinks about the possibility of it constantly, seeing him even though he is unprepared. His heart races; his hands are clammy, disgusting, and, really, it might as well be a reality because the thought of Eren stalks him even when the person in question is nowhere to be found.

 

Levi lingers in the library after his last lecture of the day, hoping beyond hope that being surrounded by books will inspire a wave of studious focus so intense he forgets about this mess.

 

The silence, rather than distract or inspire him, drives him into a shit-storm of overly self-conscious anxiety. Every possible squeak of the chair, tapping sounds of his fingers on his keyboard, the crinkle-wobble sound of turning a page in his textbook has him ready to explode. It’s the last thing he needs for focusing, so he grabs his things and flees to the closest coffee shop.

 

It seems like the best idea. Studying and caffeine are a decent combination. There’s enough incentive to work once he’s bought something, tied himself to sitting and being productive in a public space. It would be, and often has been a great idea. Except, once Levi turns away from the register, clutching the number they gave him in his hand, backpack awkwardly heavy, he meets Eren’s gaze.

 

Of all the fucking people in this goddamn shithole.

 

It looks like he’s talking to someone on his computer, frozen mid-sentence for a split second as he stares at Levi. The emotion Levi catches in his expression is simply the frozen remains of whatever conversation he’s engrossed in, but it’s enough to make Levi duck away and plop down at one of the tables outside.

 

Thankfully, he’s wearing two sweaters. The most he experiences is a chill and the occasional awkwardly strong breeze that ruffles the napkins the waitress left along with his coffee. His work is in front of him, and he can focus.

 

When he looks inside, he can’t see Eren directly. It should comfort him, but really it just makes him more paranoid and more anxious. It’s probably best that he can’t meet Eren’s gaze (supposing Eren takes the time to look at him, which Levi should know by now is a stupid thing to assume), or look too frequently at him. He doesn’t bother searching for Eren, just stares down at his work and reads too slowly.

 

His eyes may not stray from studying, but his mind is nowhere near his classwork. All Levi can think about is that Eren is so close, so easy to access, and yet he is safe from him. It’s a bizarre combination of nerves, knowing where Eren is as surely as he knows Eren won’t approach him.

 

Levi’s pretty sure Hanji could figure out Eren’s involved in Levi’s life if they wanted to. Isobel and Farlan are at a different university, but Levi wouldn’t put it past them, either, to put two and two together, especially if they were worried about him.

 

The secrecy is all for Eren’s benefit. Levi’s never really cared strongly one way or another for it; he’s a private person, and Eren’s conversations with his friends are Eren’s business. It seems more than convenient right now, though. Levi’s thankful there’s something he can count on with Eren.

 

Sipping his coffee, Levi returns to work, finishing the necessary assignments and reviewing his materials, a small part of him satisfied by his reclaimed productivity. He lingers, loiters on the internet for a few minutes before polishing off the last of his food, packing up his things, and standing.

 

As he begins walking away, Levi thinks he hears the coffee shop’s door open, the familiar chime interrupting the wind rustling through the leaves. He also thinks he hears Eren call out his name, but that’s not something he wants to indulge, reality or otherwise, so he simply continues walking forward.