They hadn’t been living together long, but Hanji and Levi’s apartment was unusually, incredibly organized, at least for two college students. What little space they had to store their belongings was compulsively arranged to allow maximum living space. Levi was glad that the crumbling building at least had an elevator, clunky and precarious as it was, and that he and Hanji were on the sixth floor because it allowed the snow on Levi’s docs to melt on the way up. Levi fished through his coat pockets for the key to their door and twisted it as deftly as his still frozen fingers would allow. Once he was inside, he set several grocery bags on the ground and unlaced his shoes. They had thrown a pre-Christmas party which had seen Hanji’s frantic attempts to make Christmas cookies from scratch, more alcohol consumption than usual, and the half hazard construction of their Christmas tree. Levi prayed that the disaster was no longer decorating the place, because he had accidentally invited Erwin over for Christmas eve and Levi was nervous enough already.
One look at the living room and kitchen after he set his shoes in the corner was enough, and Levi heaved a huge sigh. Contrary to what everyone thought, he didn’t particularly enjoy cleaning. It was therapeutic, but Levi was always the one doing it, even the few times he had visited Erwin’s penthouse apartment all the way uptown. Suffice it to say that the place was a clusterfuck. Hanji’s biology books and notes were strewn about the coffee table alongside a tape dispenser and scissors. Frilly notebook paper edges adorned one arm of the couch like snow, and rolled out wrapping paper sat next to their Christmas tree of choice. The tree was made entirely of beer cans donated by Mike, Petra, Auruo, Nanaba, and their other friends. Standing at five feet, it was almost as tall as Levi himself, who thought it looked trashy, but still liked it a little. Sort of. Still, the place looked like a war zone and thank god that Erwin wasn’t there to see it. What kind of impression was that to make? Levi thought he’d die of embarrassment.
“Hanji?” Levi called, but there was no answer. He shifted the weight of the plastic grocery bags from one hand to the other and walked toward the bathroom. Hanji was there, headphones on, lip syncing into a hairbrush.
“H a n j i!!!”
“Huh? What? Oh, hey Levi!” Hanji pulled the big headphones off of their head and set them on the toilet lid.
“What the hell is with this nasty apartment?”
“Sorry!” Hanji smiled and pinned their hair up in a clip. “I can help you clean, if you want.”
“Don’t worry about it. I, uh…I have to ask you a favor.”
“I need you to go out for a few hours tonight.”
“Not a problem! Mike invited me over, I didn’t tell you?” Hanji continued fixing their hair, which Levi almost never saw them do, and as he turned around so he could get to work he was thankful that they didn’t ask him why.
“Wait a second, why?”
Levi thought too soon, apparently.
“Uh. Well, Erwin is coming over.”
“Really?!” Hanji nearly screeched. “Finally! Geez you’ve been seeing him for how long, now? He’s finally showing up, sir mystery man. Damn, can I stay to meet him at least?”
“No. And he's not a mystery man, he just works a lot.”
Levi said nothing as Hanji giggled and replaced their headphones. He stashed the empty plastic bags behind one beige cabinet door and got to work. There was a measuring bowl in the sink with cookie goo all over it, and again, Levi sighed. The cloudy water in the bowl did nothing for his nerves.
“Sooooo…” Hanji rested their elbows on the counter, slightly raised above the sink. Levi scowled. They were wearing his obnoxiously red Christmas sweater, with the words ‘Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal’ emblazoned on the front. At least it was an improvement from the green Rudolph one they had worn last night to the party, complete with a light up nose and knitted pom-pom snow clouds.
“Sooooo did you invite him, or did he ask to see our humble abode?”
“Dammit Hanji, I don’t wanna explain it.”
“I want you to!” They smiled.
“I accidentally invited him.”
“How do you accidentally invite someone to your apartment?” Hanji checked the time on their flip phone.
“Well, he said he declined his parents’ invitation to visit them in L.A. and I let it slip that I wasn’t doing anything, since Mike’s party was on the twenty-third, and that I’d probably be alone tonight, and then he smiled and I asked him.” Levi admitted.
“That doesn’t sound accidental.”
“Well it was. And…” Levi looked up at the kitchen clock, which read 6:15. “And he’s gunna be here in 45 minutes.”
“Ah, the pull of a lover’s smile.”
“I’m outta here.” Hange smiled, pulled their boots on and left, which gave Levi exactly forty five minutes to finish the dishes and hop in the shower, the rest of the apartment be damned. It looked as if it was going to be an evening of mess related humiliation.
Levi pulled on the cleanest clothes he had, and combed his hair. Not a second after he finished, his phone buzzed. Erwin had texted him ‘I’m in the lobby’, and Levi figured that the man was probably already thinking what a dump the place was. He certainly would after he walked through the door. Levi yanked on his boots but didn’t bother to lace them, and half-ran, half-tripped down the stairs. There was no waiting for the elevator.
“Hi.” He said to Erwin when he spotted him. Little snowflakes decorated Erwin’s hair and eyelashes, though Levi hadn’t noticed that it had begun to snow until then.
“I’m on the sixth floor,” he said as he punched the button to call the elevator, “and this thing is slow as fuck.”
“It’s fine, Levi.” The way Erwin said his name sent chills up Levi’s spine that had nothing to do with the draft in the lobby. “Thank you for inviting me.”
“No problem. There’s no food. I mean, I bought some but…?” it came out as more of a question than a statement.
“That’s not a problem.” Erwin smiled sincerely.
Levi twisted the key in the lock again, having sealed the door, even though he was only gone for a few minutes. He didn’t want to be too careful. He’d lived in shitty places before and didn’t take chances like that anymore. He slid his shoes off and put them on top of the newspaper; Erwin did the same.
“You can throw your coat on the couch or something.”
Erwin smirked as he removed his scarf and left it and his coat neatly over the couch arm.
“That’s a rather unique tree.” He smirked.
“Oh. Yeah. My roommate and our friends made it.” Levi took a few steps away from it so his height and its height weren’t so glaringly similar.
“It’s certainly better than mine.”
“I’m sorry it’s such a fucking dump.” The words were out of Levi before he could restrain them. “My roommate and I had a party and there was no time.”
“If it bothers you, I can help.”
“No, no way. It’s fine.”
“It bothers you, doesn’t it?” Erwin smiled again. His complete honesty jarred Levi, sometimes. “If we both do it, it’ll pass quicker.”
To Levi, there was no such thing as a “quick” cleaning job, but for the sake of appeasing his too-nice, too-honest boyfriend, he nodded. Levi was surprised at how many excuses two people had to touch each other when they were working on the same job. In the living room as they looked around on the floor for stray strips of wrapping paper, Erwin bumped against Levi a few times. Their hands brushed and they met one another’s gaze a few times; Levi was always the first to break it, and as he lay several wine bottles in his spotless sink, Erwin’s arms found their place around Levi’s waist from behind.
“See? Not so long.”
“Thanks.” Levi didn’t know why he was at a loss for words. He was still a little embarrassed about the disaster, but perhaps more so because Erwin could read him so easily. It wasn’t so much the things Levi said as it was the way he said them, if he said them. If he didn’t, well, both Erwin and Levi were frequent speakers of body language.
“So,” Erwin started.
“Your roommate isn’t here?” Erwin’s voice was near a whisper as he pressed his lips against the back of Levi’s neck.
“Nope. They’ll probably be home super fucking late.” Levi’s voice shook a little, but he let himself ease into Erwin’s backward embrace and allowed the man to trail soft kisses down his neck and between his unfortunately clothed shoulders.
Levi turned around and met Erwin’s gaze. The spark between them ignited a soft fire in the pit of Levi’s stomach, but then, it always did. As he wondered whether it did the same for Erwin, their lips clashed together roughly. Erwin pulled Levi as close as he could, but their difference in stature wasn’t exactly ideal for kissing. Levi couldn’t stand on his tip toes forever and Erwin couldn't awkwardly half-bend-down for very long. A few languid kisses later Erwin gently lifted Levi onto the counter beside the sink. The warmth in Levi’s abdomen spread through the rest of his body and set his stomach to roiling. He could feel his face getting warm and his pants were becoming distinctly uncomfortable under the pressure of his erection. Levi let one of his hands rest on the other's chest and gently ran his fingers through Erwin's hair. Even the stubble on the back of the other man's neck was soft. Erwin had his arms around Levi's waist still, and rubbed lazy circles on Levi's back with one of his thumbs as their lips parted. Both sensations at once were enough to send Levi over the edge and he allowed a quiet moan to escape against Erwin's lips. Both of them kissed as if it would be their last chance to do so, as if nothing else mattered at all. Levi slid forward a little and wrapped his legs around Erwin's waist, his growing erection be damned. He tilted his head back so Erwin could nip at the soft skin beneath his ear and behind him, the window showed that the snow was coming down heavily. If it stayed like that, Hanji probably wouldn't come home at all.