For the longest time no one would say a word about how Reiner and Bertolt would sometimes come into their sleeping quarters a little later than everyone else. At first Jean attested it to late-night studying or training, but there never seemed to be a good reason for Reiner’s upturned collar on a warm night, or why Bertolt would constantly try to pull down the sleeves of his shirt over his wrists. After all, there were only a few things more ridiculous than trying to hide the back of your neck when anyone could see the bright red splotches down the front of your throat, or pulling down your sleeves to cover the bite marks on your wrists when all it did was stretch the fabric show the scratches on your shoulder. It latter was almost endearing in a pathetic kind of way, since it was a common known fact that none of Bertolt’s sleeves never quite made it to his wrists on account of Bertolt continuously outgrowing his clothes before he could replace them.
And it didn’t just start at their clothes either. Sometimes Jean would see the leftover flush in Reiner’s face, or the way Bertolt looked a little happier than usual. Their knowing glances at each other. And then the nauseating amount of blushing that would occur right after. Jean wasn’t stupid or anything, and neither was anyone else.
Well. Almost anyone else.
In the end, it was Connie who had broken the silent agreement to not mention the thing between Reiner and Bertolt. Then again, it wasn’t like he did it on purpose since he didn’t even know there was a thing in the first place.
“Wow, Bertolt and Reiner train so much,” he said, looking up as the two walked in. “They’re always out so late. I hope they aren’t overdoing anything.”
Jean’s sense of self-preservation usually kept him from opening his mouth on the matter, but this time he couldn’t let this slide. Reiner had the dumbest grin on his face, and Bertolt was no better, flopping over Reiner’s side of the bunk to just lie there, content with the world. Nothing could have been more obvious.
“Are you serious?” Jean hissed, keeping his voice low and throwing his book shut. “If by ‘train’ you mean intense canoodling behind the barracks every night after dinner then yeah, sure. They’re definitely overdoing it.”
Even Eren, dense as he was, understood it better. He sat up from his bed, his own book abandoned. “He means they’re making out, Connie. Kissing and stuff.”
“Not just making out, I bet,” Jean muttered.
“Like sex?” Connie asked, and it was a small relief they didn’t have to explain that to him at least. He stared at Reiner and Bertolt, looking them over in a new light, and his mouth fell open. “Oh.”
From across the room, Reiner had chosen that precise moment to change out of his shirt, which didn’t seem so incriminating except for how Bertolt shifted in bed to watch with a certain level of familiarity and intent that made Jean want to draw a curtain from somewhere just to give the two some decent privacy.
“I wonder how they do it,” Connie mused.
“Hey, you might want to rephrase that,” Eren said dryly, but sat up in alarm when the other boy cupped his hands around his mouth.
“Hey, Bertolt,” Connie shouted across the room before they had a chance to stop him, “Who tops? You or Reiner?”
Bertolt glanced up.
“Reiner,” he replied, so candidly that Jean’s chokehold on Connie grew slack and he hit the floor.
There was stunned silence, which was just as well because Jean needed to right himself up after getting acquainted with the floorboards. Bertolt was still perched on Reiner’s bed looking startled.
“Hm? You guys look so surprised,” Bertolt said, brow furrowing in confusion. “Reiner scores rank above mine, but Mikasa surpasses both our marks.”
“Ah,” said Eren, very tactfully, since no one else was able to muster a better response.
“But if you’re talking about who tops in bed,” Reiner added, “it’s Bertl.”
And the most amazing thing happened – Jean had never seen Bertolt act with aggression outside of sparring, so it came as a huge shock when the normally quiet boy told Reiner to shut up, albeit in an incredulous yet soft tone that made it sound more like a question than a demand. He lapsed into anxious silence right after, but his tiny outburst apparently had an effect.
“Haha, I’m joking by the way,” Reiner said, not very convincingly. “What do you kids know about that kind of stuff anyhow? You guys must be like ten years old or something.”
“We’re fourteen,” Jean said. “You’re the one who doesn’t look your age.”
“Because of my mature good looks, I know,” he said, and had the nerve to lay down right next to Bertolt and throw his arm over the other boy in what suspiciously looked like a cuddling hold.
“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding now,” Jean said. “Franz and Hanna have more discretion than you two.”
Reiner flushed, but made a point to draw Bertolt closer to his chest, despite the half-hearted protests he received. “I don’t see why we’ve got to pretend nothing’s going on now that everyone knows. Ain’t that right, Bertl?”
“Ngh,” Bertolt said, pulling away and mumbling apologies; “Sorry. I don’t want anyone uncomfortable-“ and crawled back to his own bed with a crestfallen expression.
“Thank you,” Jean said, and if he was inclined to feel like a heartless bastard, he found himself totally justified when Bertolt still kept a hand over Reiner’s for all to see, and that was perfectly fine, seeing as Eren still hadn’t let go of his arm since he’d fallen off the bed, and Jean had yet to do anything about it. “What?”
“You’ve got a problem with being jealous of others,” Eren said, and if there was a hint of grudging fondness in his voice, Jean chose to ignore it – only because Connie was right there and who knew what that idiot would blurt out next.
“Hey,” Connie began.
Jean jerked his arm away from Eren, and Eren took the hint to roll back to his own bed next to Armin and Marco, the both of them doing a hell of a lot better staying focused on their studies than anyone else in the room. “What, Connie?” he asked, more sharply than he intended.
“Woah, calm down. I just have a question about these diagrams here.”
Needless to say, it was a bit difficult trying to convince himself that he was completely happy with having a book shoved into his face and not at all jealous in any way about kissing or hand-holding, and certainly not cuddling.
“Right. Diagrams,” Jean muttered, and laid the book out flat with a sigh.