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A rainy morning, painted with delicate drops of rain pelting the window of a bookstore. Eren Jaeger, a busy brunette, had his green eyes darting from place to place in the bookshop, from the pile of books on a table next to him, to the newly-formed layer of dust settled on the counter. It was pleasantly quiet. Eren tugged one of his sideburns behind his ear with slender fingers as he glanced out the window. The rain had been coming down a little harder. “I hope my flight isn’t cancelled,” he whispered.

Silence. It wasn’t like he was expecting somebody to hear that, nobody was around Eren. He had the shop to himself. Exhaling a heavy breath, he moseyed on over to a set of traveling suitcases that had been huddled in the corner. Eren reached out a hand and grabbed one of them by the handle, which had been attached to the other, so they both rolled with him. Now, he thought. I just wait for Jean to pick me up. Then it’s off to the airport. Minutes passed, and Eren’s thoughts began to grow outlandish as they bounced off of How many pieces of dust does it take to fill up a room? to What if Jean was a horse and horses accepted him as one of their own in the wild?

 

 

“Speaking of the devil.” Eren smirked as he saw a maroon colored car make a stop in front of the Shiganshina Bookshop. Bringing himself up to his feet, he turned around and held up his hand for one last good-bye. He wished his hand were holding his chest together—he wished his hand would hold together the broken pieces left behind by leaving this place. He’d long for the dust layers on the desks and books (Eren used to complain about having to clean the books and trinkets every morning), and he’d wish he could flip through the crisp edges of sugar packets that customers left behind on the dirty, tea-and-coffee-stained tables (the bookstore doubled as a coffee shop), and he’d wish he could greet just one more customer with an overly-cheerful “Welcome to Shiganshina Bookshop” with a fake smile plastered all over his face. If only the bookshop weren’t being closed down due to competition with another bookstore in town, then he wouldn’t feel nostalgia plucking at his heartstrings. The brunette tugged at his suitcases again and made his way to the glass door. His gloved fingertips were pressing up against the cool glass, and the door opened up swiftly. It was quiet. No chime or jingle bid him goodbye as he walked outside. Eren wished he could hear the bell that hung on the door whenever someone exited or entered just one last time, but he removed the bell days ago. Nostalgia clogged up his throat as he tried to yell “Hey!” to Jean, who was currently rolling down his window.

 

“Hey,” Jean choked up on laughter. “Loser, get in and stop your whining.”

 

Eren gave a faint smile, “Neigh, neigh.” Even though he was already missing France, Jean was right there, and with the opportunity to tease him wide in the open, he could hardly resist.

 

Jean’s smile faded and he stuck out his tongue, “Just get in.”

 

Eren reluctantly swung out his hand and pulled open the door. Inside the car, Jean sat at the steering wheel, his eyes focused on the unmoving road ahead. His hair was cut underneath; it was kind of a messy undercut, it looked like he had cut it himself with the rugged look it gave. The layers underneath were a deep brown, while the disheveled mess layering up on top of his head were a dirty blonde. Jean was wearing a faded grey t-shirt that flowed off his chest neatly as he leaned forward into the steering wheel. His skin was a light yet vivid tone—his tone kind of matched that of a canvas. You know, the tan ones that artists use. It was like the sun was covered by a layer of translucent maple syrup, and then threw on skin like pajamas, and boom! Jean.

 

“How’s Armin?” Eren opened the front door to the passenger seat after settling his bags in the back seat. “And Mikasa?”

 

“Armin texted me this morning,” Jean began. His hand moved up and toyed with things like levers and turning the keys in the car. “And Mikasa said she’s kind of busy cleaning up her apartment. Marco says he’s almost done putting away some things for my stay. Are you sure you’ll be okay with that roommate program you signed up for online? Do you even know the guy you’ll be sharing an apartment with?” Marco was Jean’s internet friend. Eren knew there was obviously something more.

 

“I’ve messaged him. He seems...decent. I’ll be fine. But you’re staying with Marco, right?” Eren cocked his head to the side. “And you won’t cling around Mikasa like a sloth?”

 

“I’m not a sloth.”

 

“Clearly,” Eren purred. “You’re a horse.”

 

“Gosh,” Jean groaned and the car started to move slowly. “You won’t let up with that stupid horse thing, will you? It was one time on the holidays.”

 

“And I still have the embarrassing photo on my phone.”

 

“You piece of--” Jean grunted and rolled his eyes, letting it go and changing the subject. “You know, it’s kind of sad that you have to move out of the country just because the bookstore got shut down.”

 

Eren grunted. He really didn’t want to be reminded of it, how the bookstore was forced into closing because of competition, and how he couldn’t tend to the shop as well as he used to because of his mother in the hospital. His mother had passed away a month ago, and the store was going to shambles. Mikasa and Armin insisted that he moved to the United States to be closer to them so he didn’t have to grieve alone. The only reason why Jean was still with him was due to a failed relationship that ended over a year ago. Eren shook his head, allowing the thoughts to dissipate and elude his mind. The trip to the airport wasn’t anything special. Between Eren changing the radio station every ten minutes, and Jean making a million wrong turns, it wasn’t really a quiet ride. Noisy, in fact. The car had been filled with lively commotion, and that was better than having Eren gazing out a window as his eyes tried to take in all of the scenery, and trying to forget every last beautiful detail of the Shiganshina Bookshop. Jean didn’t conk out and get them into a car accident, and Eren didn’t let sentimentality overflow his brain.

 

“Eren,” Jean would tease. “You’re gonna get all mushy on me, aren’t you? About leaving France?” Eren didn’t want to admit that Jean was right, so he distracted that idea by constantly correcting him for using “gonna” instead of “going to” like it was meant to be phrased.

 

 

 

 

Soon they were both anxiously tapping their feet as they waited to board the plane. Their flight left at eight o’clock at night, and it was currently seven-thirty. Eren pushed his side burn behind his ear again, his green eyes glancing over at Jean. Or so Jean thought. Eren really wasn’t glancing at Jean every few minutes, he was glancing passed Jean. A few seats down sat a young looking man with pale skin like porcelain, and a mop of black hair perched upon his head, below it shaved like an umbrella. Another undercut, Eren thought, Maybe I should consider getting one. The man’s face was painted with a bitter look; straight lips, and cold, narrow eyes that settled with a tint of grey. Wow, his eyes really are grey. But they’re kind of clear. Not cloudy, though. Foggy?

 

Eye contact. Accidental eye contact, and Eren had been so very oblivious to it. The man tilted his head up and glared into Eren’s eyes with a stare that could cut a watermelon in half due to sharpness.

 

“Hey,” Jean snapped his fingers in front of the blank face that belonged to Eren. “Shit, dude, how much sleep did you even get last night? Are you falling asleep with your eyes open?”

 

Eren grasped Jean’s hand and forced him to stop snapping, “I got enough sleep, you idiot. Don’t put your hand in my face again, seriously.” He tried to fixate himself on something else other than the enigmatic man that was only a few seats down from him.

 

“So,” Jean’s smirk stretched from ear to ear, “What were you looking at, my handsome face?”

 

“Don’t get your hopes up, nerd,” Eren chuckled. “I was just zoning out.”

 

“Dude, no you weren’t,” Jean wagged his finger around in the air. “Those were the eyes of a man who was totally swooning.”

 

“I wasn’t swooning.”

 

“Don’t lie to me.”

 

“Jean, I’m not lying,” Eren groaned and crossed his arms, his index finger bouncing on his arm. “You’re being annoying.”

 

“I’m being annoying?” Jean jabbed his finger at Eren’s arm, scowling. “You’re being a brat.”

 

“Can we stop arguing? Seriously, if I get stuck sitting next to you on the airplane I’m going to have to jump out with a parachute,” Eren ran his hand through his bangs, averting his gaze away from Jean. Interrupting them was a robotic and foggy voice over a loudspeaker; the flight heading to Florida was taking off soon. Jean grabbed Eren’s wrist and dragged him out of the crowded terminal. The man with the black hair glared up at them as they bolted out of there. After a short while, they finally boarded the plane safely. Of course, after an extremely long series of Jean pulling Eren to the bathroom, and then to grab pamphlets, and then back to the bathroom to grab his purse (Eren called it a purse. It wasn’t, really, it was just some camera bag that Jean used to carry stuff in. Purse.)

 

Eren pushed his side burns behind his ear again—he really needed to get them trimmed—and settled down in his seat. A window seat. He wasn’t planning on complaining, at least he could take some photos of the scenery he’d witness.

 

“Move your bag,” a voice.

 

Eren was oblivious.

 

“Move.”

 

Still nothing.

 

“Hey, brat,” they barked. Eren’s bubble was finally snapped, and his gaze was placed on a man’s torso. Torso? No, that wasn’t right. He averted his gaze upward and settled on cold eyes, and a sour and twisted face. An undercut. A sleek, black undercut that looked as soft as a crow’s feathers. No way.

 

“You?!” Eren nearly jumped out of his seat. “I’m sitting next to you?” Here he was. The guy from the waiting area.

 

“Why do you seem so surprised?” The man popped his hip to one side, scoffing, “God, just move your things out of my seat. It’s irritating me.”

 

“Who do you think you are?” Eren snapped back, his anger bubbling over. What did this man think he could do, waltz in here and order him around like a puppet?

 

“Last time I checked my name was Levi, yours?” Smartass.

 

“Eren.”

 

“Eren.” Levi repeated it. And again. And again.

 

“Just,” Eren pulled his bag off Levi’s chair and plopped himself back down. “Sit.”

 

“Okay,” Levi coughed up hesitantly. “Nice to meet you, Eren.”

 

 

They say it’s about the journey, and not the destination, Eren thought. Someone get me off of this journey.

Chapter Text

The angels must’ve been hungry, because they painted the sky with pinks and yellows melting together like sorbet being kissed by the summer sun. God blessed Eren with the temporary privilege of having a child-free flight. A few summers back, Eren was nearly kicked off a plane for snapping at a child because it was crying too loudly and waking up his mother from her nap. Perhaps it was a bit of an arbitrary decision, however had Eren’s mother not been up all night packing last-minute essentials, it would’ve been considered more despicable than the circumstances it was under that evening.  

 

 

But this isn’t about his mother, or his 15-year old anger that he released on a toddler. It’s five years later, and he’s a twenty year old flying to Florida with his friend. The plane took off smoothly and Eren leaned back in his seat. Not that these seats were anything luxurious, but it allowed him mild elbow room, and that’s all that mattered. As long as there’s at least two inches between his arm and the strange, little man’s, all would be grand. Spectacular. Immaculate. For about twenty five minutes.

 

Everybody who knew Eren also knew that he was not one to handle ina rticulateness very well. He’d let his fingers trace the rims of the safety pamphlets, untie and retie his Converse laces, fog up the window with his breath and then erase, fiddle with boring games on his phone before finding himself back at step one. It was a cycle of fidget, repeat, fidget, repeat. Fidget--

 

“Sweet Christ, could you sit still?” A voice. Agitated.

 

--repeat. Eren’s eyes averted their gaze from his shoelaces to eye sockets harboring foggy quartz. Frustration congregated in Levi’s eyes as they narrowed at Eren. Jeez, what was this dude’s problem? He took this brief moment to allow his eyes to take in all of the small details, like how Levi’s eyebrows furrowed so much that a crease had formed between them like a wall. Or how his sharp collarbone ripped at his skin as if his own bones were trying to escape. Or how the black, gossamer hair on top of his head fell whimsically over the shaved undercut like syrup drizzled over flan. Eren’s eyes connected the buttons on the shorter man’s shirt until he reached his neatly fastened belt with polyester loops hugging it to his waist. He followed where the loops guided and took in his slender legs right down to his bony ankles that poked out from his dress pants. Immaculate, shiny shoes swallowed his feet. Eren’s got to admit it: Levi’s obnoxiously quaint. Emphasis on the obnoxious.

 

Nevermind. Levi wasn’t that obnoxious. No one, not even Eren, could anticipate Jean to be any less agitating. As Eren admired Levi’s shoes and put-together fashion, Jean waved his thick, long fingers and whispered Eren’s name playfully. Jesus Christ I’m going to be dead by the end of this. Eren’s thoughts bounced from one side of his brunette head to the other. The murderous man must’ve had the devil on his shoulder this morning, because much to his dismay, he was seated right in between Eren and Jean. Jean pulled a straw to his mouth, earning a perplexed cock of the eyebrow out of Eren.

 

Glabella.

 

That was the spot. The glabella. Eren’s eyes instinctively squeezed shut as he felt a wet, soggy something shoot in between his eyebrows. He reluctantly brought his hand up to his face, peeling off a tiny ball of wet paper. His ocean eyes roared like a hurricane as he shot a nasty glare at Jean, then softened with helpless anxiety as he glanced at Levi, trying to tell Jean to act a little more mature. Jean’s always been like this, overflowing with superfluous amounts of childishness. Eren regretfully became aware of Jean’s callow nature on the same night he hung his virginity up on the wall of shame. Now, now, usually losing one’s virginity could be celebrated, but this was absolutely not  the case. To be fair, Eren didn’t want to be told butt sex jokes with Jean seven inches inside of him. But that’s a story for another time and another day. All that matters is that it was years ago and Eren’s gotten plenty of enough time to bleach his brain of the memory.  

 

 

A shiver danced up his spine like grapevines up a trellis. Oceans met storm-changed skies as Eren apprehensively spied at Levi. Acrimony thronged Levi’s eyes and besieged Eren, suffocating him in his stare as tension poured into the plane. Levi braided his forearms, hands tucked in between his inner elbow and chest. Speaking of Levi and forearms, they were enticing beyond belief. Had Eren known Levi longer, the very sight of those forearms would drive him absolutely libidinous. The way his veins rose up against his pasty skin, or how his wrists were chiseled as if it were carved by ancient Greek sculptors, or how his cheekbones resembled  canyons with their deep-set nature, or how--

 

 

“I’d be damned if you two would actually be mature for more than five minutes,” Levi growled, his thin lips like razor blades slicing through the dense air.

 

 

Eren ironed his spine. He sat upright in the seat, his thick eyebrows crinkling together. “I’d be damned if you were actually nice,” Eren shot back in response. “It’s really not that hard to smile.”

 

 

“It’s not that hard to stop being a little brat, either.”

 

 

Suddenly forearms weren’t enough to captivate him. He exhaled a hot breath and melted into his seat, contemplating whether or not he could survive nine hours of sitting next to this guy. Eren’s eyes drifted off to the window, watching the flux of the sky dance between pinks and blues as the morning swept over. Clouds bubbled with whites and black like ice cubes in a black-licorice martini. As time went on, Eren’s eyes settled on the back of his eyelids and he drifted off into a pleasant sleep.

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to be experiencing minor turbulence. If you feel a few bumps, it’s nothing to be concerned about,” chimed the flight attendant.

 

Oh, how lovely it would’ve been if Eren had been awake to hear that. Unknown to his knowledge, the drowsy brunette had been taken over by the sea of bumps as it sloshed him against Levi, chocolate waves of hair overflowing onto the man’s hard shoulder. Perhaps the gentleman would’ve been harsher on him if Eren didn’t look so damn dreamy while sleeping. His eyelashes looked like wings of a hummingbird resting daintily on his rosy cheeks, flying him to dreamlands far away. Skin like honey drizzled over the sun painted his soft face, topped off with thick eyebrows and plump, dolly lips that hung open.

 

Frosty snowstorm eyes unwillingly melted as they fell upon the harmonious boy resting. Levi let his eyes loiter on the boy, watching as his flannel-hugged chest rose and fell with each easy breath, tracing the wrinkles of his shirt down to his wrists, which were draped delicately over one another on his lap. Unkempt, scuffed shoes weaseled their way out of Eren’s skinny jeans. Levi sighed, deciding that based upon his attire and the tongue he spoke with earlier that the groggy boy resting against him was probably a college student, and if Levi knew one thing, it was that college students needed all of the rest they could scrape out of their busy schedules.

 

Levi was a quiet, simple man. He didn’t find any reason to disturb the flight attendants, nor did he find pleasure in small talk. If anything, he was more than pleased that the vexatious brat had fallen asleep. Only four hours remained of the nine hour flight, and Levi managed to complete some work on his laptop, read a bit of a book, and write down some errands he had to run once he arrived in Florida. He even managed to squeeze in a bit of daydreaming. It wasn’t a well-known fact that Levi’s an insomniac, harboring many hours of lost sleep behind those desolate eyes. Due to this, he preferred to keep his dreams as a conscious diversion, unlike some people. Speaking of some people, Eren’s eyelids twitched as his body prepared to pull him back into reality. Regardless of the boy’s awakening, Levi’s focus was set on his laptop once more as he diddled around with more work-related business.

 

Eren’s eyes drooped with pricks of tears like morning dew on grass as he yawned, waking up from his state of sleeping.

 

Crotch.

 

No, no, that couldn’t be right. Why was he looking down at somebody’s crotch? Eren blinked the remnants of fatigue out of his eyes and gazed up, his field of vision meeting a sharp chin. He sat upright, face burning red. Shit, did I fall asleep on Levi? His nose was infested with an earthy, musky scent, and for a moment, he questioned if that scent was coming from Levi. After all, Levi’s neck was only inches away from his nose. There was no doubt about it, the delicious scent blessing his nose had to be coming from Levi.

 

“I’m...I’m sorry,” Eren said sleepily. “Did I fall asleep on you?”

 

“Unfortunately,” Levi replied, clearly agitated. “You did. Brat.”

 

Eren peered passed Levi to spot Jean asleep in his seat. He let out a laugh dripping with uncertainty, “My apologies, I didn’t sleep too well last night.”

 

“Tch,” Levi scoffed. “Maybe lean in the other direction next time. Hasn’t anybody ever taught you that it’s rude to sleep on strangers?”

 

Eren wasn’t particularly sure who the brat was at this point, himself or Levi. Pressure erupting in his lower abdomen urged Eren to stand and bring release to the feeling, and so he obeyed. He gripped onto the back of the person’s seat in front of him, wrinkles of anxiety playfully dipping in between his forehead and the corners of his smile. Levi’s laptop formed a rather miniscule boundary between him and the aisle. Clearing his throat, Eren shyly asked, “Could you please move your laptop, sir?”

 

Now, Eren’s never gone to a cavern or a crystal musem of any form, but he was pretty sure pendants of larimar were glaring up at him. Levi’s eyes twitched with malevolence as Eren threw a request at him. Obstreperously, he tugged his laptop further into his lap, cutting the air with his hand as he gestured for Eren to pass. Eren followed the direction of Levi’s hand, and he really, truly, tried his best to keep his feet in order, however, his bones riddled with perturbation sparking from his foot upwards when he felt shoe-shaped pressure beneath his toes. People say that the sea can’t possibly be drained, but right now Eren’s ocean eyes were experiencing a drought. He fearfully let his eyes fall onto the sight of his gum-kissed, dirt-stained shoe on top of Levi’s pristine, leather-wrapped foot. Shit.

 

Eren bolted, running to the airplane’s bathroom and locking himself in the stall. He plopped himself down on the toilet, wondering whether or not it would be a safe idea to return to his seat after faltering like that.

 

Five minutes went by and Eren tended to his business in the bathroom before returning to his row. Phew. He sighed of relief. It seems like Levi isn’t holding a grudge. The pallid man was relaxed in his seat, and Eren eased his way back to his own. It didn’t take long for him to realize Levi had drifted off to sleep. It also didn’t take long for Eren to take advantage of this moment, using it to admire Levi’s features while he was observable. His hair fell over his forehead like a bed of raven, downy feathers, and his pale skin burnt with delicate florid hues dusting his nose and cheeks. Hard lineaments smoothed down to soft curves like harsh waves biting away at land to erode a beach of silky, white sand. The contrast between his pasty complexion and his obsidian hair reminded Eren of the way the luminous moon interlaced with the dark of night, and there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that Levi was perplexingly attractive.

 

 

 

 

____________

 

 

 

 

“Ladies and gentleman, please close up any electronic devices and put everything away in your carry-on bags! We’ll be landing momentarily! Thank you so much for flying with Trost Airlines! We hope you have a lovely time in sunny Florida!” the flight attendant exclaimed, tucking a blonde lock of hair behind her ear.

 

Eren’s lethargic eyes blossomed slowly. He sat up, yawning and pushing his arms outwards. Sunshine poured through the window and painted his olive skin with tints of yellows and shimmering whites, tying his attention around its rays and pulling his gaze to the sky. He peered out to see the sun blazing through a cloudless canvas of blue, although the sun couldn’t compete with his radiant smile.

 

Landing, picking up their bags, and renting a car didn’t take them a painful amount of time. Jean took control of the steering wheel while Eren relaxed himself in the passenger seat. “You know,” Jean began. “It’s really gorgeous here in Florida. It’s no wonder why literally all of our friends live here.”

 

Eren agreed, “Yeah, it really is nice. I wonder if the weather is this warm all year.” His curious eyes watched the dancing palm trees fly by as they drove, complete with fluffy, translucent clouds hanging perkily above like freshly bloomed flowers in the garden of the atmosphere. The sun carved shadows into curls or divots, bumps or forms. It drizzled highlights onto everything. That was one thing that Eren couldn’t possibly get enough of, the way the sun dressed everything under it with a glisten.

 

 

_________

An abundance of minutes were driven into the pavement of the road. Jean pulled up to a peach-colored building with countless stories that towered over them. He brought a hand up to his eyebrows to block the sun and looked up, “This it?”

 

 

Eren nodded. “This is it,” he said. “Wall Rose Condominiums.”

 

 

Jean took a gander around. “And Mikasa and Armin live where…?” He questioned, raising an eyebrow.

 

 

“A few streets back, text them for the address again. I forgot,” Eren laughed. “Alright, I should be fine from here on. Thank you for driving me, horseface.”

 

 

“Wow,” Jean snorted. “Way to sound genuine.

 

“I know, I’m just the sweetest.”

 

 

 

“Yeah, yeah, don’t be so cocky. Alright, well. I’ll let you go. Meet up at Mikasa’s tonight. See you later, nerd.”

 

 

 

“Dweeb.”

 

 

 

“Shitface.”

 

“Whatever. Goodbye, Jean,” Eren said, his eyes returning to the sight of the massive building ahead of him. Each face of the building was cut into slices like cheese, leaving generous amounts of room for every condo to have a small balcony. It was truly a flamboyant building, proudly giving a faint pink glow to every nook and cranny of it. He walked into the glass, white-framed doors to be greeted by overly-friendly workers. They gave him the key to his room and he was on his way, navigating himself through the labyrinth of hallways and stairwells. Even inside, the building was pleasant. The walls were tidy and bright with seashell shaped lights snugly holding on in between doors. Eren made his way up to the tenth floor.

 

 

 

“Three-thirty two….three-thirty three…. Oh!” He exclaimed, pausing in front of a door with three digits of three painted on it, seemingly by hand, and smiled. His heart started pounding with elation, pumping adrenaline through his veins. Excitement radiated off of the key and into his hand, coursing throughout his arm and body. Eren’s eyes felt as if they would burst from anticipation, so he widened them to give them a bit more room. He inserted the key into the lock and turned it, and with every inch the door opened his heart throbbed with---

 

“Oi.”

 

---regret.

Chapter Text

Exasperation curled like fire spitting at the sky in hard eyes. Disgust built up in the man’s eyelids, causing them to squint. “You?” Venom dripped off of the word and the serpent spoke again. “Don’t you dare tell me I’m going to be living with a brat.”

 

Vexation congregated in the rather spacious room, making the condominium feel a lot tighter than it actually was. That was the furthest thing from true, the snug feeling wasn’t from the room at all, rather it was the weight of the tension in the air capturing him in its grasp. If anything, the walls took a step back to give Eren space to comprehend the penetrating glare he was receiving. “Levi?” Eren’s voice dripped with puzzled frustration as he tried to get ahold of the situation. “This has to be a mistake.”

 

Eren shoved his hands into his pockets, snatching his phone and flipping through the text messages he shared with the man who was supposed to be his roommate back while he was still in France. Holding out his phone to show Levi, he spluttered, “This...This has to be some sort of mistake, you are absolutely nothing like the man I spoke to over text. He...He was gentlemanly and showed the slightest bit of respect.”

 

Levi’s nose crinkled. “Insulting me within the first minute of living with me, huh, brat? You better watch your tongue before I give you a reason to.”

 

“Well,” Eren gulped. “It’s the truth! The guy I texted with was actually polite! I wouldn’t exactly consider you chivalrous.”

 

“Hate to disappoint you, kid, but I’m the very same, in the flesh. But wow, chivalrous. Big word for a fifteen year old.”

 

“Twenty.”

 

“You sure don’t act like it, runt.”

 

Eren sneered. Great, he thought. I have to live with this prick for God knows how long. He averted his gaze, allowing himself to observe his new home. A wall of windows faced the view of the ocean, while cream tones coated the walls. He glanced at the white furniture and the large, flat-screen television that hugged the wall across from the couch. A coffee table sat a fair distance away from the couch, complete with a flower pot in the center. He looked to his side to see himself staring back, taking notice of the mirror. Gently, he tugged at the mirror, and it opened like a sliding door. Jackets were hung up neatly with shoes aligned on the floor. He closed the sliding door and looked back, seeing a marble counter top behind Levi and assuming that the wall hid the rest of the kitchen from his view. It was all very minimalistic, and Eren questioned whether or not Levi had styled it to be that way prior to his arrival. Eren sighed, “And you don’t exactly act your age, either. Assuming we’re close in age, that is.”

 

“I’m thirty-five.”

 

“Oh,” Eren said apologetically. “You’re probably just bitter because you’re going through one of those mid-life crisis things.”

 

Levi ignored Eren’s false assumption. “Go put your shit in your room. I’m not doing it for you.”

 

Taking a few more steps inside, he peered around. “Where exactly is my room?” Eren questioned.

 

Levi shot his slender finger towards the direction of Eren’s room, slicing the air. Eren nodded, bowing his head and anxiously scuttling down the hall. He opened the door to a refreshingly clean bedroom, a king sized bed with an ocean of white sheets draped over the mattress. Sliding doors led to the balcony outside. Two nightstands squeezed the upper left and right sides of his bed, each complete with short lamps. He took notice of his closet, where he put his luggage for the time being. Right now he wanted to focus his attention on smoothing things over with Levi and trying to get a taste of who he is. He stripped the room of his presence and returned to the living room, where Levi was sitting down sipping on a cup of something. Eren wondered if it were tea, or coffee, or just simply water in that cup. What kinds of drinks did Levi like? What kinds of food? He cocked an eyebrow at all of the questions he had.

 

“What are you drinking?” Eren asked, observing how Levi held his cup. Levi dictated the direction of his cup by holding it by the top with the tips of his fingers, tilting it towards his lips every time he wanted to take a sip.

 

“Tea,” Levi said, placing the cup down on the coffee table.

 

“Is it good?”

 

“Do millennials anything other than bullshit energy drinks?”

 

Ouch. Eren furrowed his eyebrows in frustration, scraping the words off his tongue, “You must drink tea to help you shit.”

 

“And why would you think that?”

 

“Because you talk so much shit that I’m assuming there’s some excess that needs to find a way out.”

 

Levi’s eyebrow twitched.

 

“And no, millennials drink plenty of other things. I, in fact, like tea,” Eren snarled. “I like coffee more, though.”

 

The twitch morphed into a full on furrow. Levi exhaled. “You’re a brat, you know that?” Levi scowled, picking up his cup and taking a sip before walking into the kitchen. He placed the cup in the dishwasher, shaking his head. “I can’t believe I have to live with a snotty kid like you.”

 

“Twenty.”

 

“Twenty years old, forty, thirty, I don’t give a damn. At heart you’re just a snotty brat.”

 

Eren growled, slipping out of his flannel and tossing it over a chair. He retrieved the key from his flannel pocket before grabbing the doorknob. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?” Levi asked, anger tangling in with his stern voice.

 

With each breath the other man took, Eren was pushed out the door a little further. “Away from you.”

 

 

_____________

 

“And that’s what happened!” Eren exasperated, arms flailing out in the air like they would shoot off of his body like rockets. He slams his elbows down on the table, shoving his forehead into his palms. “I have to go home to him later.”

 

Eren was at Mikasa and Armin’s apartment. Mikasa was seated next to him, intently listening, leaning over the table slightly. Armin wore a pink, frill-traced apron and waved a wooden spoon around, “I don’t know why you didn’t move in with us. We could’ve made some space.”

 

Mikasa nodded in agreement. She outstretched her arm, placing her warm hand on top of Eren’s. “Armin’s right," she said.

 

Her warm voice melted in his ears like butter over hot pancakes. It was comforting to see them again. Eren had longed to let his eyes roll over the curve of Mikasa’s cheeks, drip down each strand of her sleek black hair, observe the way her gentle neck met her collarbone. Her pale skin balanced well with her hair and her eyes. Her eyes. Mikasa’s irises were the physical form of the silver lining in clouds tangling together with hues of black and bars of steel blue. They were holographic, mesmerizing gems fitted perfectly in her droopy, doe shaped eye sockets. Her eyes were so gorgeously warm and cold all at once like a violent hurricane pounding the previously sweltering shores of an island. When she gave him that sympathetic, comfy stare, he became baffled that her eyes weren’t melting down her face with how warm they became. Armin and Mikasa had a dainty apartment. A vintage stained-glass light hung above their wooden, round kitchen table. Their kitchen was cozy and small, but the meals produced from such a miniscule square-shaped room completely contradicted the size. Armin and Mikasa owned a restaurant together, where Eren intended to work as a waiter. The two of them moved to the United States to start up a restaurant, leaving Jean and Eren in France. Both of them were excellent chefs and could turn any average dish into something that could put anybody’s taste buds to shame. Eren always thought of it to be rather funny, how two chefs owning a top-notch restaurant had the smallest kitchen he’d ever seen. “We have a large kitchen at work,” Armin would say. “Why would need two big kitchens?”

 

Eren wanted to stay under their eyes for as long as he could. He felt the flood of Armin’s fluid orbits of blue and turquoise overwhelming him, he felt the warmth of Mikasa’s gentle stare spin him around and wrap him up in empathy. Both of them poured amenity onto him as if he were the earth and they were the sun, snuggling him in their radiating glow. He wanted to stay in their apartment under their flannel blankets on their cloud of a couch, eyes reflecting the screen of their television as he stayed up late watching sitcoms. He was imagining it all so well he could practically feel Mikasa’s soft hair under his fingertips and Armin’s head on his shoulder. Her soft hair curling lovingly around her cheeks, her slumberous eyes meeting his, her muscular body hiding under a sweater, and Armin’s--

 

“Eren.”

 

Eren pulled himself back to the real world. Right. Reality check, Eren. He was at their kitchen table. Armin was cooking them dinner. Mikasa was saying his name. Jean was taking too long in the bathroom. He cleared his throat, “Yeah?”

 

“Are you okay?” Mikasa questioned. She squeezed his hand tighter.

 

“Yeah,” He answered. “Why?”

 

“You looked strange.”

 

He snorted, laughing, “I was just spacing out, I’m fine.”

 

Armin placed his wooden spoon down on the counter and walked out of the kitchen, peering down the hallway and yelling, “Jean! Are you almost done in the bathroom? Dinner’s ready! I made tacos!”

 

 

☙✧❧

 

 

Eren jammed his key into the lock and opened the door. He slung his body into his apartment, the first thing to catch his eye being Levi and his lustrous, pale skin glowing in the blue light of the television. The lights were off besides for the television, and Eren would have assumed Levi had fallen asleep if it weren’t for the slightly older man flipping through the pages of a book. His eyes fell onto the cable box below the television. Eight o’clock. 8 P.M. There was a listless feeling pounding throughout Eren as he walked further into the apartment. Everything was so dull, but so real. Levi sat with his ankle resting on his knee, book resting on his lap. The door to the balcony was open and the ocean’s lullaby of waves copulating with the sand sang into his ears like the alluring voice of a siren sucking in a sailor. He lugged himself to his bedroom and threw himself down on the bed, allowing the riptide of sleep to take him away.

Chapter Text

“Oi, brat.”

 

A smack.

 

 

“Wake up, your eggs are getting cold.”

 

 

The sour little voice crept into Eren’s ears, and if he could give that sound a physical feeling, it’d feel like salt being poured on an open wound, or decomposers breaking down a dead carcass. Overall, it left him feeling somewhat hollow inside as it dragged him out of his slumberous state.

 

“Mm,” the boy groaned. “Five more minutes, mom.”

 

Mom?” Levi scowled. “Alright well mommy’s just going to tuck you back into bed nice and sound. That’s what you’d want me to say, right? Get up, you fuckin’ runt. I’m not your mother.”

 

Oceans awoke as Eren’s eyelids spread, grogginess weighing down bags that trailed under his lower lids. His first view upon waking up was the pungent face of a barely-acquaintance with a wooden spoon parallel to his eyes. A desperate hunger for sleep weighed down his eyebrows and settled them into a firm furrow and fatigue drummed his bones. Eren tried to form some sort of thought. Perhaps on what he’d be doing today, or what he did yesterday, or a question that seemed very vital to him at that very moment: would he be painfully woken up like this every single morning? As if Levi weren’t bad enough, the guy just had to be one of those early birds. A cold draft enveloped his body and scared every hair on his legs to stand upright--Levi had stripped him of his blanket.

 

“You’re filthy.” Distaste laced in with Levi’s voice. “Clean yourself up. Mommy’s not going to fix that for you.”

 

Eren’s eyes mimicked Levi’s glare as they settled upon a tent built up in between his legs in his jeans. Shit, he fell asleep in his jeans again--wait a minute, Eren, hold yourself together. Falling asleep in jeans isn’t supposed to be his number one concern right now, after all he has a little bit of a harder problem to overcome. “Fuck, Levi,” Eren shot up, pulling his shirt down over his crotch. “That happens in the morning sometimes just...just forget that happened. And did you smack me with a wooden spoon just now to wake me?”

 

Levi waves his spoon around smugly. “Put two and two together, numbskull. Do you think I did?”

 

“I mean, I guess so.”

 

 

“Great job, Sherlock. You do have a brain somewhere passed that thick skull,” Levi clicked his tongue bitterly. “Get up, I’m not reheating your eggs.”

 

 

Eren’s ears perked up. Eggs? As in, eggs for breakfast? He pulled himself out of bed, his consciousness dragging along the bed sheets while he lugged himself up. Eggs didn’t sound half bad, it’s been awhile since he’s actually bothered to eat breakfast. While the thought of breakfast danced in his mind and pumped his heart full with a joyous sensation, all of that was stopped when he realized what followed after: cleaning. Unpacking. The whole ordeal. The white walls were naked and Eren wanted to dress them with a bit of modesty. Photos of Mikasa and Armin and his family would soon hug the walls, and just to add another splash of color, maybe some paintings. Truthfully, Eren wasn’t too big a fan of modern art. He preferred older paintings with thick strokes of oil paint and splotches of colors that in the end defined a mosaic of details. Call him stereotypical, but Van Gogh and Monet really rubbed him the right way. Ah, and who could forget Pierre-Auguste Renoir? While his mind was busy with thoughts of paintings and comforting faces he managed to drag himself to the kitchen. He sat down in a chair, looking down at the eggs prepared for him on a pristine plate. An english muffin settled beside the scrambled eggs along with a spot of ketchup. Eren’s eyes devoured the meal before his stomach even had a chance to acknowledge that it’d be filled at such an early hour. Speaking of which…

 

“What time is it?” Eren looked at Levi, who was busying himself with an omelette in the making.

 

“Eight o’clock.” Levi replied.

 

“Really?”

 

Levi clicked his tongue. “Do you really think I’d waste my time lying to you?”

 

“Jeez, sorry. I guess you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, huh?”

 

Levi sighed, eyebrows furrowing. “I only got a few more hours of sleep than I usually get,” he said. “It’s better than nothing.”

 

Eren poked his fork at his scrambled eggs. “What do you mean?” He questioned, taking a bite of his english muffin.


“I’m an insomniac. I don’t get sleep, so I really don’t need a little snot-nose kid like you pissing me off in the mornings.”

 

Eren snorted, “You know, they say people sleep better when they’re next to somebody.”

 

“I wouldn’t sleep next to you and your little morning problems even if it were my only choice other than sleeping on the balcony.”

 

“Can you please just forget what happened this morning? It’s your fault for lifting the blanket.” Eren took another bite of his english muffin, talking with a full mouth, “And for your information, it’s not little.”

 

“That’s nice, I couldn’t care less.”

 

Eren sighed, moving onto his eggs. “You know, we’re going to be living together. We might as well try to get to know each other, at least. Maybe we could go to the beach tonight. Or maybe we could go out someplace to eat.”

 

“Tch. Not tonight. I have shit to do.”

 

The brunette glanced up at the other man, taking in the way the rising sun caressed his complexion and carved shadows into his hollow cheekbones. Levi was wearing a thin tee-shirt that embraced his sculpted pectoral muscles and draped loosely over what Eren assumed to be chiseled abs. Boxers did justice to Levi’s ass, but Eren’s eyes continued to drip down his muscular thighs, his calves and ankles welcoming his gaze. He rubbed his stare back up the man’s form, eyes feasting upon the sight of stern shoulder blades that dictated the direction of the wrinkles and waves in the cloth. His vision danced back up to Levi’s forearms which were exposed and Eren found himself captivated again. Those fucking forearms could bring a man to his knees in seconds. Veins rose against Levi’s pale skin as if they were terrified of his bones, muscles held his skin close and shaped smooth, valley-like rolls into his structure. A scar or two disregarded the delicate nature and rose above the flesh. Galaxies of green-blue shot towards bony wrists and slender hands. Perhaps Levi wasn’t the man he was expecting to become roommates with, but this didn’t have to be painful, especially if he tried to form a bond of some sort.

 

Eren cleared his throat and rolled the eggs under his utensil. His eyes floated off to admire the organized, minimalistic behavior the condo had. House plants were settled here and there, not a speck of dirt out of place, not a bug to be seen. The warm, blazing sun shown through the balcony door and poured itself onto the walls. While allowing himself to recognize his new home, he realized something: no photos. It was very obvious that Levi had taken time to add a few more things while he was at Mikasa and Armin’s place the other night. However, despite Levi’s efforts to make the place a bit more like home to his liking, there were no signs of life. No photos of friends were anywhere to be seen. Eren began to wonder if Levi even had friends. With every attribute Levi contributed to the condo came some hints as to who the man was. Everything was very sharp, clean-cut, bland. Nothing was too over the top or risky, it was all very precise.

 

“Levi,” Eren cooed. “Have you got any family?”

 

“None of your business,” Levi grunted.

 

“Well, considering we’ll be living together, I’d like us to be anything but strangers.”

 

Levi’s thin eyes rolled. “No.”

 

“ ‘No’ what?”

 

“Are you stupid? You’re the one who asked the question.”

 

“Oh,” Eren laughed. “So you don’t have any family?”

 

“No, now shut your trap and stop asking me.”

 

Eren stuffed his cheeks with eggs and spoke in a muffled voice, “You know, my mom passed away recently.”

 


Levi’s face twisted with disgust. Was this kid really talking with food in his mouth? He snatched a napkin from beside the microwave and leaned over the counter separating the two of them. Musk, woods, smoke. All of these scents blessed Eren’s nostrils as the smaller man leaned closer, raising a napkin to his soft lips. With a quick swipe, Levi grunted and pulled away, tossing the napkin in the garbage can.

 

“W-what?” Eren found himself with a need for air. His heart was using it all up while it ran tracks around his head. He wheezed, “What was that?”

 

“You had egg on your mouth,” Levi scowled. “Sorry for your loss, by the way. Your mom, I mean.”

 

“Yeah,” He replied, taking his last bite of egg before bringing the plate over to the sink. “Thanks for breakfast.”

 

“Whatever.”

 

 

 

 

Eren grabbed a fresh tee-shirt and jeans from his suitcase before heading to the bathroom and running himself a hot shower. He gently curled his fingers around the bottom of his shirt before peeling it off of his body, and tossing it onto the white tile floor before stripping himself of his jeans. The warm breath of the shower was unbelievably inviting. It caressed his skin and pulled him in more and more with every drop of vapor that danced towards him. Eren submitted to the feeling and allowed the water to comb through his chocolate hair and lap at every crevice of his body. He forcefully pushed his fingers through his thick, wet hair and allowed the soggy wefts to hold his hands. After everything that’s been going on, nothing could fumigate his mind better than a hot shower.

 

 

A red bottle interrupted the white backdrop of wet tiles. It was just then that Eren realized he’d forgotten to borrow shampoo from Armin and Mikasa, and he wondered how angry Levi would get if he just used a tiny bit of his. Surely not that mad, right? After all, it’s just shampoo. Yeah, why not? Eren outstretched his muscular arm and picked up the slippery bottle of shampoo before pumping some into the palm of his hand. His fingers promenaded the shampoo into his hair thoroughly before he rinsed it out and rubbed the bubbles down his abs. This was it. Steam palpating his body, his hands exploring his form, guiding soap around all of his delicate curves. Eren’s face was influenced by positive confirmations in the atmosphere and he looked beatific—euphoric, even. Although it had only been a day in Florida, he could feel the reformation of the man he used to be congregating in his gut.

 

Eren stepped out of the shower. Faux fur slipped in between his toes and nestled his feet comfortingly. He dried his body off with a towel and pulled on a red tee-shirt and jeans. Good to go. Eren swung open the bathroom door confidently and made his way down the hall to the kitchen that drifted into their living room. Green eyes observed the room and were less than satisfied to discover a lack of Levi. The shorter man stood on the balcony, milky eyes emulating the ocean with waves of deep thought and riptides of something unknown to Eren curling around his tiny pupils.

 

“Hey,” Eren began. “I know it’s only what, like, ten in the morning, but do you want to go shopping?”

 

“What do we need to go shopping for?” Levi questioned, eyes panning over to the tan boy. “Oi. Come here.”

 

Curiously Eren stepped closer until he stood about a foot away from Levi, wide eyes puzzled. Levi reached a slender, pale hand up to Eren’s brunette mane and grasped a fistful, tugging the taller boy to his level. Successfully earning a wince out of Eren as well as probably ripping a few strands of hair out, Levi’s nose coddled Eren’s head before the boy received a displeased snort. Gulp.

 

“Tch, did you use my shampoo?”

 

Gulping intensified.

 

“You wear it decently.”

 

Eren’s throat unclenched. You wear it decently. What the hell did that mean? And if Levi wasn’t angry and his throat was untensed, why did Eren find himself at a loss for oxygen? And why was his heart in his stomach? And why were so many questions running through his head? Levi sighed, “Whatever. We could use some more groceries. And clearly shampoo. Get in the car.”


☙✧❧

 


If anything in the world were true, it was that Levi had immense regret for telling Eren to get in the car. His car. The sleek, black exterior of his 1969 Chevrolet Impala coordinated with his neatly organized hair and contrasted greatly with his ghostly skin. Curiosity peaked out from behind Eren’s ears and ornamented his youthful eyes as they dispersed over the reflective pavement and vast sky pierced by towering palm trees. Mindlessly, his fingers played with everything: the seats, the window, the spare change in the cup holder, and most of all, Levi’s temper. Simply Eren’s presence was dousing him in frustration. With every little “What’s this?” and movement of Eren’s fingertips he felt another bubble rise to the top of his boiling cauldron of ire. As they pulled up to the store Levi briefly explained to Eren that the store, Maria Mania, sold practically anything they’d need from food to furniture. Eren dipped his sneaker-covered feet into the scorching rays of the sun and peeled his body out of Levi’s car.

 

“Okay,” Eren started. “What do we need?”

 

You need shampoo,” Levi responded, walking ahead of Eren to grab a stray shopping cart in the parking lot. “Tch. I hate when people don’t put these back. At least we can use it.”

 

“And you need a better attitude,” Eren chuckled. He was pretty proud of himself for that.

 

“You’re a nuisance.”

 

Well at least one of them was proud of Eren.

 

“You’re my roommate. So let’s try to just forget our differe-”

 

“Euck,” Levi interrupted Eren with a groan of disgust. “Don’t remind me.”

 

 

Eren furrowed his thick eyebrows and walked alongside Levi into Maria Mania. He observed the neat rows of aisles stacked like dominos that probably took a painfully long time to assemble, the reflective white floors that stared back at the lights on the ceiling, the inflatable palm trees scattered around. Levi walked passed him, pushing the shopping cart along and groaning angrily, “Let’s go, brat.”

 

Green orbs trailed after the short man as he strutted passed, absorbing the sight of Levi and trying to grasp the fact that he’s going to have to get used to the other man's presence. Sighing, Eren caught up to Levi and traced his fingertips along the shopping cart as they walked. Bustles of people flooded in and out of each aisle and dripped into the surrounding areas, shopping cart wheels squeaking beneath the towering sound of pop music scrambled in their ears, and “bratty little kids” as Levi called them frollicked about the place. Levi, making a point to be the mature adult here, strolled into the frozen aisle to pick up some things, then over to the fresh fruits and vegetables. Pivoting, he held two apples in his hands and held them up to what he assumed would be Eren, questioning, “Which one looks more fresh?”

Much to his dismay, the brunette wasn’t in his field of sight. Frustration and anger chafed his veins as the lunar slits carved into his face scanned the surrounding area until he spotted a tuft of familiar chocolate hair behind a distant aisle. With each indignant step, Levi plodded down the main pathway and read the signs above each aisle. He mumbled to himself the names as he passed: medicine, first aid, cosmetics, personal care. Personal care? What the hell was Eren doing in the personal care aisle with tampons and pads and--

 

“Condoms?”

 

Levi looked at Eren quizzically, no, frustrated-- no, not that either. Eren couldn’t decipher what the fuck riddled Levi’s face and caused creases to form between his eyebrows and around his nose as his lips scrunched. Regardless, there he stood, thick, tan fingers coddling a box of condoms, guilt lingering in his eyes, and shame moisturizing his skin. Levi shook his head and looked down, continuing, “What the hell?”

 

Eren blushed and sputtered, “What if I meet someone?”

 

“No one wants to have sex with you.”

 

Levi glanced at Eren when he said that, observing the way his cheeks gained florid hues. Cute.

 

“Well,” Eren coughed, trying to regain himself. “There’s always a possibility.”

 

“There isn’t a single girl in Florida who would want to fuck a brat like you. I’m confident in that.”

 

“Okay, so girls are out of the question.”

 

“Girls.”

 

“Girls,” Eren repeated.

 

Levi sighed, his eyes following Eren’s as they skipped around the aisle. He grunted, “So you’re not interested in girls?”

 

“Why are you asking? Interested?” Eren cooed playfully, chuckling and shaking the box of condoms around with raised eyebrows.

 

“Gross.”

 

“Whatever,” Eren laughed, rolling his eyes as he waltzed down the aisle. “Maybe you’re just jealous ‘cause you can’t get laid.”

 

“What was that?” Levi cocked up an eyebrow, his tongue practically twitching in his mouth, a snarky response eagerly licking at his lips. Irritation folded on his face and he turned away, “I don’t have time for children like you.”

 

 


☙✧❧

 

 

Attachment complexes. Separation anxiety. Domination issues. Levi’s search browser was riddled with a variety of peculiar phrases that he’d never expected he’d have to bear. Being a man of solitude was a dismal yet reassuring existence. Everything was where it should be with no one to blame other than himself. Despite being accustomed to an independent lifestyle, it only took the noir-headed man an hour before he began to lose his bearings. Surely the younger boy’s absence would be a blessing, however their separation planted a seed of concern in him, and he was damned that a garden was sprouting. Dragged footsteps brought Levi up and down the main corridors of the store, calling out for the human embodiment of annoying that he was debatably forced to call his roommate.

 

“Levi!”

 

There he was. That voice, much like nails on a chalkboard, simply couldn’t be confused with anything other than the thing it belonged to. Levi spun around on his heel, “Just where the hell were you? Don’t you know we have to be-”

 

Clamping his mouth shut, Levi furrowed his eyebrows in confusion as Eren approached with his hand wrapped around himself and a painful expression plastered on his almost childish face. “What the fuck did you do?” Levi questioned, examining Eren.

 

“I was kneeled over on the floor trying to reach the bottom shelf and this lady came up and nailed me in the back with her shopping cart!” Eren exclaimed, hands bursting with expression as he waved them around. “I guess she wasn’t looking where she was walking and hit me on accident.”

 

“You sure she did it on accident?” Levi scoffed. He began to walk in the direction of the checkout lines, Eren following.

 

Levi began at the self checkout, sliding the items across the scanner and gingerly placing them into the bag. Of course he couldn’t do anything without his new pet dog yipping at him, “Why do you use the self checkouts?”

 

“Because,” Levi jammed a pint of milk into the plastic bag. “I don’t feel like talking to people.”

 

“What, you don’t like small talk?”

 

“No, it’s pointless.”

 

“I beg to differ.”

 


“You seem like the type of person to beg to differ with everything.”

 

Eren chuckled. Fuck. Even his little laugh was reminiscent of warm hot chocolate. Or steaming cups of coffee late into the night under the light of a lamp, the only motivation to keep working. Disgusting. Levi coughed, a hand balling into a fist and banging on his chest. Seeing a doctor about that stupid heart fluttering couldn’t hurt.

 

“I don’t argue with everything,” Eren continued. “But I do like small talk.”

 

“And that’s why I don’t like you.”

 

A frown tore into Eren’s cheeks. “Do you really not like me?” He smirked, slinging an arm around Levi and shaking him, “Don’t worry! You’ll warm up to me eventually! You’ve got to have a heart in there somewhere!”

 

Levi flinched, slapping Eren’s hand off of him. Levi fully intended on blaming the red dusting across his cheeks as a result of the slight chill outside. There was no way in hell that being so close to this big goofball dog-of-a-boy was going to have him all out of whack. “Shut up and make yourself useful. Grab some bags.”

☙✧❧

 

 

Not even the most fiery of presidential elections could compare to the heat and persuasion of the debate the two shared in the car ride home. Eren begged and pleaded for Levi to help him massage out the knot that the shopping cart left in his back, all the while Levi almost laughed and informed him the only way he’d be doing that is with a ten foot pole.

 

And yet here they are.

 

Levi’s fingers molded Eren’s shoulder blades like putty, plunging into the caverns of fresh flesh beneath the bone and massaging the reluctant muscles. Dim yellow light cascaded onto Eren’s back like a sunset lapping at an ocean’s waves. Shadows hid behind the boy’s muscles and bones while highlights barricaded the rising slopes of his form. Warmth occupied the room’s air and Levi worked his fingers into Eren’s body. Delicate blue light from the flatscreen on the wall didn’t dare disturb the serenity of the whispering bedside lamp. Behind his skull were images of his own scarred, childhood-changed shoulder blades to contrast the sun-kissed skin beneath his attenuated fingers like open skies to bird wings. Rightfully earning a few groans out of the younger boy, Levi dug his fingers in a bit deeper and sighed, “Jeez, kid.”

 

“What?” Eren asked, voice airy. “Oh, shit. That feels so good, Levi.”

 

Levi began to wonder if he changed his diet at all. Did he gain any weight? His pants were feeling a bit snug on him, that’s new. Oh. Oh.

 

“Shut your trap, Eren.”

 

With every word he said, he could feel them translate into knots beneath Eren’s skin. Eren groaned and rolled his hips into the mattress, confusion weighing down his eyebrows as they fell over his eyes. Feeling what he thought was a new knot on the small of his back, perhaps even a bruise from hurting himself at the store, Eren squinted his eyes curiously before the curiosity melted into pure smugness.

 

“Oh, Levi,” Eren cooed playfully, knowing Levi’s stomach was turning like the tides as he spoke. “Tell me, who’s the disgusting one now?”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Make me.”