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I'll Wait For You...I Promise

Chapter Text

Death. Blood. Destruction.
It was an all too familiar scene for Captain Levi Ackerman.
Every expedition was the same, many good men and women were lost to the titans and this one was to be no different.
Steering his horse through the dense trees, Levi glanced at his surroundings.
Blood covered cloaks bearing the Survey Corps Wings of Freedom sigil shrouded battered bodies, detached limbs left over from the titan’s feeding frenzy scattered across the stained red grass, blank and horrified eyes staring at him as he passed by…
Swallowing hard when he recognized some of the deceased soldiers as members of the squad of one particular person who meant more to him than he was able to put into words, a low growl vibrated in the pit of his throat and he spurred his horse on faster, hoping and praying to whatever god existed that he wasn’t too late…

The forest was eerily silent, devoid of any signs of life...human or titan.
Even the creatures that usually inhabited the trees seemed to have disappeared in the wake of the recent bloodshed, this wasn’t a good sign.
Finally finding the strength to do so the captain called out, only answered by the sound of his own voice echoed back at him.
“Shit, where the hell is she?” He cursed.
He blamed himself for what had happened.
He should never have let her out of his sight, he should have insisted that she be placed in his squad. If anything had happened to her…
No! He couldn’t bear to finish that thought.
She was a strong and capable soldier, her squad commander had just recommended her for leadership training after this expedition with a view to promoting her to instructor status.
She’d been so excited when she told him this news, the look in her e/c eyes was one of pure joy. The only other time he’d ever seen her so happy was when he…
A faint groan of pain caught his attention, was that her?
“F/N?” He yelled, the desperation in his tone was painfully obvious. He halted his horse and stayed as still as stone, waiting for a reply.
Thankfully he received one a moment later in the form of a loud hacking cough.
Turning his head in the general direction of the sound, Levi narrowed his cold grey eyes and harshly kicked the animal into a gallop.
Whoever it was that had heard his call needed help and he couldn’t just abandon them.

After a brief ride to the west Levi finally came across a clearing in the forest, his cold grey eyes narrowing as he approached a single battered body sprawled out on the grass near a large blood stained tree.
Whoever they were, they had taken quite a beating if the amount of blood and the state of their broken ODM Gear was anything to go on.
“Hey, can you hear me?” Called Levi, dismounting his horse and approaching the body.
He couldn’t tell who it was since they were face down and their hood was covering their head, he could however tell that they were still alive...but barely.
Their back slowly rose and fell with every shaky breath they took, desperately clinging to life as it was slowly drained away.
Squatting down next to his injured comrade, Levi carefully pulled away the sticky bloodstained hood of their cloak. His heart thumping wildly in his chest at the sight of h/l h/c hair beneath it…
‘No, no please don’t let it be…’
Cautiously turning the body over, the raven haired captain’s eyes widened in horror, his throat going dry as the identity of the fallen soldier was finally revealed to him.
“F/n!” He slowly slipped an arm under her shoulders and pulled her upright against him, gently tilting her head back to keep her airway clear so she could breathe more easily. “Open your eyes damnit!”
Relief washed over him like a shower of cold rain when she groaned and slowly opened her eyes, glassy e/c orbs staring weakly up at him as her blood stained lips visibly parted.
“L-Levi?” Came the choked whisper of a reply.
“I’m here, you’ll be okay.” His voice cracked and he tightened his grip on her, desperately willing her to hold on to what little life she still had left in her broken body.
She smiled and weakly shook her head.
“Do you believe in reincarnation?” She asked, wincing as she felt her body become cold.
She was dying and she knew it, there was no escaping the fact that her luck had finally run out and death was coming for her.
“What? How hard did you hit your head? You’re talking shit f/n!” He snapped, his cold grey eyes focusing on her face. Why was she saying these things?
She laughed and coughed up blood, it was no good trying to deny it...these were to be her final moments alive and she needed to tell him how she felt, no matter how crazy she sounded.
Taking her last shaky breaths she stared up at him one final time hoping that he would be able to understand how much he meant to her before she was forced to part from him.
“I’m sorry Levi.” Tears stung her eyes and slowly started to fall down her bloodied cheeks, parting the stains of red to reveal the pale/dark skin beneath. “I hope we meet again in the next life.”
“F/n don’t you dare!” He yelled, tears forming in his cold grey eyes.
He hadn’t allowed pain this strong, this overwhelming to consume him and cause his stoic mask to slip in he didn’t even know how many years.
“I’ll wait...for you...I promise...”

Levi sat bolt upright in his bed, panting hard he looked around the darkened bedroom before turning his attention to the sweat soaked sheets that now clung to his bare abdomen.
“Shit!” He snapped, wincing as he pulled the damp material from his bare body and climbed out of bed.
He’d been having this nightmare for the past couple of weeks now and it was always the same, blood, death and destruction.
Him clad in a strange military uniform and wearing even stranger metal gear that allowed him to soar through the air using wires and grappling hooks, while wielding two sharp blades with deadly accuracy as he cut down these terrible human eating monsters known simply as “titans” before finding the dying woman who he was supposedly romantically involved with.
“Tch, disgusting.” He snorted, ripping the sheets from his bed and tossing them into the laundry hamper before walking over to the wardrobe and pulling out the bottom drawer to pick out some clean clothes.
He was used to this routine now.
Every time he woke up from this strange nightmare he would strip the bed, pick out some clean clothes and then take a shower before putting fresh linen on the bed ready for the next night.
There was no point in even trying to get back to sleep, it never happened.
Once he was awake, that was it. Sleep would evade him, not that he actually wanted to return to the land of rest and relive that strange nocturnal episode all over again, once a night was more than enough for him.
Yet the same question always echoed through his brain, who was this woman and why did she talk of reincarnation? The more it played on his mind the more it made his head hurt, was he going mad...or was this nightmare actually a repressed memory from a previous life? Did reincarnation actually exist?

Chapter Text

“Reincarnation: The philosophical or religious concept that an aspect of a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death.”

Levi’s brows furrowed as he stared at the laptop screen.
He wasn’t even sure why he was bothering to read up on this, but the recurring dream that seemed to be haunting him for the past two weeks since he turned twentyfive was really starting to get on his nerves now.
“Tch, what a load of shit!” He snorted, putting his tie on, tucking his shirt into his trousers and closing the laptop before putting it away and making his way downstairs. 
Not only was today his first day back at work after the Christmas break, but it was also the first shift in his newly promoted position.
He’d worked at the building surveyors company Survey Corps since leaving school at sixteen and started to make quite the name for himself. 
He was well known among his colleagues for his rude and blunt attitude, which the company founder and owner seemed to let him get away with as long as he produced the desired results...which nine times out of ten he did. 
After starting at the bottom he soon found himself promoted to the project management team at twentyone and then promoted once more just before the Christmas break to the deputy management team where he was to start working very closely with board of directors. 
“Ah Good Morning Levi, sit down I’ll make you some breakfast.” Said a kind female voice as he entered the kitchen.
“It’s fine, I’ll do it.”
“I might be in ill health but I’m not dying yet! I’m still perfectly capable of looking after my own son thank you!”
Levi rolled his eyes and sat down at the large wooden table, watching the short frail looking woman with long raven hair as she pottered about at the worktop near the cooker.
Kuchel Ackerman was a kind woman with strong protective instincts when it came to her family, especially Levi since he was her only child.
Tragically, at the start of the previous year she had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Upon receiving news that she was ill, her older brother Kenny had decided to move back into the family home and keep an eye on her, since she had no husband or other family apart from Levi. While she was still managing to live a normal life for now, they all knew that there was the possibility her condition could start to deteriorate and Kenny refused hands down to see her end up in a hospice waiting to die.
“So are you looking forward to your first day back at work since being promoted?” She questioned cheerfully.
“Heh, of course he is! He’s all suited and booted ready for action!” Snickered a male voice from the entrance to the kitchen. 
Levi rolled his eyes but didn’t look around when he heard footsteps behind him growing closer before a large hand roughly landed on his head and ruffled up his neat tresses.
“Get the hell off me!” He growled, batting the hand away and shooting a death glare at the tall raven haired male it belonged to as he brushed his hair back into place. 
“Oh leave him alone!” Giggled his mother. “You know he hates it when you do that.”
Kenny shrugged, sitting himself down at the table. 
“Stop stressing Kuchel, he’ll be fine won’t ya Runt?”
“Kenny don’t call him that!” Snapped Kuchel, bringing Levi a cup of tea and a plate containing some bacon, eggs, tomatoes and toast. She placed them down in front of him before giving her brother a swift slap upside the head.
“Hey!” Protested the older male, narrowing his cold grey eyes at her, however her attention had turned back to Levi when she noticed his frown deepen as he picked up his tea cup.
“Levi, Sweetheart are you okay?” She questioned worriedly, her brows furrowing in concern. 
“I’m fine.” Muttered Levi, sipping his tea but not meeting her gaze. 
Kuchel raised her eyebrows and folded her arms. 
“Trouble sleeping again?” 
Levi silently nodded, still refusing to meet her gaze as he started to eat.
“He’ll be fine.” Remarked Kenny, trying to put her mind at ease. “You said that he’s suffered with sleep problems since he was a teenager, it’s nothing new.”
“Yes but these past two weeks it seems to have gotten worse.” She protested, the mounting concern was evident in her soft grey eyes. “Should I make an appointment with the doctor for you?”
“No I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?” She rested a hand on his shoulder and gently rubbed it. “If something is bothering you, I want to help.”
“I’m fine, it’ll pass.” 
Kuchel sighed and shook her head, Levi had always been cagey with his emotions. Even as a child he was reluctant to speak out if something was bothering him and it really worried her. Still, she knew better than to press the issue, if and when he did eventually want to talk to her about it then he would, until then...she would just have to leave him be.

Finishing his breakfast, Levi left the kitchen and picked up his jacket from the rack on the wall near the front door before retrieving his car keys from the table. 
“I’m off to work.” He called back towards the kitchen, making sure he had everything he needed before he left.
A moment later Kuchel exited the kitchen and walked towards him, a sad smile gracing her features. She gently reached up, cupping her sons cheeks in her soft hands and gazed into his eyes. 
“If you need to talk about anything, I’m here for you...okay?”
“Yeah I know.” He replied evenly. “Let me know how things go at the hospital this afternoon.”
“Have a good first day back, I’ll see you tonight.” Kuchel nodded and gently pulled him down, placing a loving kiss on his forehead and releasing her grip on him, sighing deeply and watching him walk out of the door.
Once he had left, she slowly walked back into the kitchen and turned to Kenny.
“I’m worried about him, what do you suppose could be wrong?” She questioned, sitting herself down and reaching for the teapot.
Kenny furrowed his brows and clicked his tongue.
“Well you do have a hospital appointment today.”
“No it’s something else, I’m sure of it.” She mused quietly, placing the teapot back down and stirring the warm black liquid around the cup in front of her. “I know my own son Kenny. This is nothing to do with my illness, something is definitely bothering him.”
“Like what?”
“I wish I knew, but whatever it is...it must be bad if it’s been affecting his sleeping habits for the past two weeks.”
“Well dwelling on Levi’s nocturnal troubles isn’t going to do you any favours at your appointment today, so try not to think about it and concentrate on what the doctor has to say.” Said Kenny matter of factly. “If Levi wants to talk about what’s bothering him then he’ll come to you. Until then leave him be.”
“Yes.” She sighed staring down at her tea. “I guess you’re right.”

“So are you looking forward to your first day working under a new team f/n?”
“Well I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous.”
“Oh Sweetie you’ll be fine!”
A tall woman with flyaway brown hair thrown back into a ponytail and dressed in a smart black trouser suit smiled warmly and led you through a set of double doors into a large room that spanned an entire floor of the large building that served as the Survey Corps main office block.
“Just pay attention to what the project managers tell you and you’ll be absolutely fine.” She reassured, patting you on the back and giving you a sincere smile as she showed you to your new work area. 
You’d known Hanji Zoe since you and your father moved back to Trost when you were thirteen years old, it was at this point she had caught up with your father who had told you that she was a friend of your mother from her school days. 
It was also actually down to her that you had managed to get yourself a job with Survey Corps upon leaving college at eighteen, now four years later you had made the change from secretarial assistant to client consultant after volunteering to undergo an internal training course with a few of the interns who were there doing work experience in the autumn. 
You had passed the course with excellent marks on all of your theory and practical tests, however the only drawback was that you could not put your newfound skills to use right away due to their being no vacancies available at the time. 
Fortunately for you though, Hanji had promised you that as soon as a position became available it was yours with immediate effect. 
Sure enough, this came to pass just before the Christmas and New Year holiday period. 
Hanji had taken great pleasure in personally delivering the news to you when she came to visit you and your father the day before Christmas Eve, claiming that it was her present for you.
Your e/c eyes widened and you swallowed hard as you looked around at the neat rows of desks adorned with expensive computers, this area was much larger and far more crowded than some parts of the building you had previously worked in. Each desk seated a smartly dressed man or woman busily typing away, none of them looked up or even acknowledged your presence as you passed by, not that you particularly minded. You weren’t sure who any of these people were, but you felt certain you would get to know them eventually, for now however you were content to just settle into your new position. There would be ample time for socializing later.
“Ah Nanaba there you are!”
Your head jerked around as the bespectacled director you had been walking with called out to a short blonde haired woman in a white short sleeved shirt, navy blue pencil skirt and smart low heeled shoes.
“Yes Hanji, what can I do for you?” She asked, walking briskly towards the two of you.
“This is f/n l/n, she’s going to be joining your team as of today.”
The woman Hanji had referred to as Nanaba looked at you with an unreadable expression and nodded. 
“Yes, I received your memo saying that I would be getting a new team member today.” She said nonchalantly, doing nothing to ease your nerves. In fact her austereness seemed to make you feel even more worried about accepting this transfer so you could further your career.
“Right, I’ll leave you to get acquainted, I have a meeting to prepare for. Good luck and I’ll see you at lunch time.”
“Thanks Hanji.” You smiled, watching her dash away and disappear through the double doors before swallowing hard and looking back to Nanaba.
“Right then, let’s get you settled in at your new workstation.” Said the blonde woman, gesturing for you to follow her. “Hanji tells me that you are confident in your telephone manner, but now you also will be working on a more personal level with our clients, do you think you can handle that?”
“I’m used to dealing with people face to face yes.” You replied politely as the pair of you stopped at the first vacant desk you came to and Nanaba gestured for you to take a seat. 
You did as requested, tugging the bottom of your knee high black fitted skirt so it wouldn’t ride up your thighs as you got comfortable in the plush leather swivel chair.
“Good, well things tend to be quiet around here for the first couple of weeks after the Christmas and New Year break.” Nodded the short haired blonde, giving you a small smile. “So you need not worry about us throwing you in at the deep end.”
“Good to know.” You giggled timidly, turning your attention to your desk and eyeing up the computer which had already been set up ready for you to use.
“For now you’ll just be sorting through our client list, file any completed contracts accordingly and send them over to me via the internal email system.” She paused a moment to check her watch. “If you find any contracts that need clarifying, I’ll need you to send out correspondence letters as well as e-mails, it’s always best to have all bases covered. You’ll find any stationery you may need over by the photocopier and printer, so that should keep you busy until lunch time.”
“Understood.” 
“Oh and f/n.”
“Yes?” 
“Welcome to my team.”
You nodded and swallowed hard, watching her walk away for a brief few seconds before looking at your computer and exhaling deeply. 
“Okay then, time to get to work!”

“Morning Shorty! All set for our meeting with Erwin?”
Levi grunted something inaudible under his breath and unlocked the door which led to his personal office before addressing the person speaking to him.
“Go away Four Eyes, you’re too early.”
“Oh dear, did someone fail to get laid over the holiday period?” Teased Hanji.  
Levi slowly turned towards her, his cold grey eyes narrowing dangerously when he saw the wide shit eating grin gracing her features.
“I’ll take that as a no you didn’t then.” She giggled before furrowing her brows in concern. “Seriously though Levi, are you okay? You look like you haven’t slept for a few days, have your nerves kicked in over your new position within the company?”
“Stop shrieking and leave me alone.”
“Your mother has another hospital appointment today doesn’t she?” 
Levi tensed up and clenched his jaw, despite how much Hanji annoyed him with her constant babbling and winding him up, the pair of them had become close friends over the past few years since Levi became a member of the management team.
“I’m sure it’ll be okay.” She continued, cautiously placing a hand on his shoulder and giving it a reassuring squeeze.
The raven haired male however continued to ignore her and stared straight ahead before walking into his office, closely followed by Hanji.
“Look Levi, if you want to talk you know I’m always willing to listen.”
“Yeah I got it Four Eyes.” He replied bluntly, clearly giving her the brush off.
“Alright, well see you in an hour in the main boardroom.” She sighed, leaving the office and closing the door behind her.
“Tch, finally!” He snorted, turning on his computer he removed his jacket and draped it over the back of his chair before sitting down at his desk.
He stared at the screen with a frown and folded his arms while the machine booted up, the recurring dream once again began playing on his mind.
Just who was this young woman from his dream and why had she promised to wait for him?
Levi had never even been in a relationship before, not that he was interested in becoming involved in one, so why the hell was he dreaming that he was in love with someone who had probably never even existed? Reincarnation wasn’t real...was it?
“Tch of course it’s not real you idiot!” He snapped at himself, frustration mounting as the computer finally finished loading the desktop background. Part of him wondered if he was starting to crack under the pressure of helping his uncle keep an eye on his mother in case her condition suddenly worsened. 
He’d originally been planning to move out of the family home and get a place of his own around the time of her diagnosis, but decided to stay put afterwards and look after her. Medical bills didn’t come cheap and with Kuchel being forced to resign from work on the advice of her doctor, they needed at least one source of income to keep a roof over their heads as well as pay for any treatment and medicines she would need to take to try and fight off the horrible disease that had seen fit to inflict itself upon her.
Leaning forward in his seat, he started to set up for the day. 
There had just under an hour before his first meeting with the company owner and founder Erwin Smith and the board of directors to discuss plans for the business year ahead. 
Maybe he would speak to Hanji during lunch, she believed in all that reincarnation and rebirth claptrap so at least she wouldn’t think he needed his head examining the moment he opened his mouth about it. 
For now though, he opted to push everything out of his mind and concentrate on the here and now, there was not a lot he could do about anything else at the moment and his mother had already insisted that he should concentrate on work and allow Kenny to accompany her to her appointment that afternoon. She’d already promised to call him as soon as she got home and the last thing he wanted to be doing was sitting in his office brooding over it all day.

You tapped away at the keyboard, your e/c eyes firmly fixed on the screen in front of you.
“Right, time to print these off and get them put in the outbox for the mail staff to deal with.” You smiled confidently.
Standing up you straightened your shirt and brushed down your skirt before making your way over to the printing and photocopying station set back near the windows of the spacious work area. 
“Well hello there!” Said a male voice, causing you to let out a small squeak of alarm.
“Oh I’m sorry.” Chuckled a blonde haired man in smart navy blue three piece suit. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“No it’s fine.” You giggled nervously. “I’ll be done in a moment.”
“No hurry, take your time. I’m Flagon Turret by the way, one of the consultant team managers.” He extended a hand and smiled. “I’m guessing you’re the newbie on Nanaba’s team?”
“Yeah I am.” You took his hand and shook it. “F/n l/n, I used to be a secretarial assistant for Syram down in financing before I came up here.”
Flagon nodded and leaned against the window ledge, folding his arms as he did so.
“Well, you’ll find things are a bit more hectic up here.” He said matter of factly. “Still I’m sure Nanaba will take good care of you.”
You picked up the letters from the printer tray, quickly going through them to make sure they were all there.
“I’m a fast learner.” You smiled, although in all honesty Flagon’s attitude was starting to make you feel a little uneasy. He came across as rather arrogant in your opinion and someone you felt you should probably watch your back around.
“F/n how are you getting on?”
You looked behind you and were relieved to see Nanaba approaching with a stack of documents which you assumed she was planning on photocopying.
“Fine thank you.” You smiled. “I just need to sign these letters and then put them in the outgoing mail tray ready for the post room workers to collect when they start their rounds.
“Keen as mustard this one.” Nodded Flagon. “You must be glad to have her on your team.”
“I’m interested to see what she can do.” Replied the blonde haired woman evenly, her icy blue eyes narrowing slightly.
“I’ll leave you to get back to work then.” Said Flagon, turning his attention to the printer when it whirred into life again and started on the next set of documents.
“Goodbye.” You answered calmly before making a hasty retreat back to your desk and shaking your head to try and fight back the uncomfortable wince that was trying to find its way onto your face.
“I hope he isn’t giving you any trouble.” Nanaba’s tone changed slightly once the two of you were out of earshot to one of a more friendly manner.
“No, he wasn't just introducing himself.”
“Hmm, well just watch him.” She looked back at him for a brief moment. “He likes to try and intimidate the new starters and on more than one occasion he’s been caught getting a little arrogant in his attitude towards the other team members.”
“Thanks for the heads up.”
“Not a problem, I look after my workforce.” Smiled Nanaba. “Would you like to join me for a mid morning coffee after you’re done with that pile of paperwork? It will give you a chance to meet the rest of the team.”
“Yes that sounds nice.”
“Come and meet me at my desk when you’re done.”
You nodded and watched her leave before returning to your workstation and putting the pile of documents down on the desk. Taking a seat and picking up a pen from the pot to the left of your computer screen, you started to sign each letter before putting it into the corresponding envelope and sealing it.
When you were done you picked up the pile of letters and made your way over to the outgoing mail tray at the other end of the large work area, nearly bumping into a short raven haired male with cold grey eyes as he walked briskly past you.
“Oh excuse me.” You stammered before sidestepping him just in time to avoid bumping into him. 
“Tch, watch where you’re going Brat!” He snorted, not looking at you as he continued walking.
“Wow, rude!” You muttered under your breath, turning back to look at him for a moment before he disappeared through the double doors leading to the stairs and elevators. 
Shrugging it off since you didn’t dare say anything to his face in case he was someone important, you carried on walking towards the table where the outgoing mail tray was and deposited the letters into it before heading back to Nanaba’s desk so you could join her for a cup of coffee and meet the rest of the team you would be working with.

Chapter Text

Upon reaching the main boardroom, Levi had found the company owner Erwin Smith already sat at the head of the table talking to Hanji and one of the other directors, Mike Zacharius.
“Hey Shorty!” Called Hanji enthusiastically.
Levi rolled his eyes, he despised that nickname.
Hanji knew how self conscious he was about his height, yet she always saw fit to wind him up about it every chance she got.
It wasn’t like he was particularly short, but at five foot three inches, he was easily one of the shortest men in the entire company...especially when compared to the six foot two inches Erwin and six foot five inches Mike.
Taking a seat next to Mike, Levi narrowed his eyes when the blonde male leaned over him and started sniffing his neck.
After a moment he frowned and pulled away, remaining silent and decided to turn his attention back to the pile of papers in front of him.
“Tch, can’t you just learn to speak to people instead of sniffing them?” Growled Levi. “Fucking disgusting.”
Erwin smirked and shook his head, turning his attention to the newly promoted deputy manager.
“I see learning to rein in your attitude didn’t make it onto your list of new year’s resolutions.”
Levi was far from amused by his employer’s mocking attitude, simply glaring at the tall bushy browed blonde in response.
Hanji however knew the reason for his current mood, but decided it was in her best interest to keep her mouth shut.
“So who else are we waiting on?”
“Dita, Klaus and Marlene.” Replied Erwin, leaning forward in his seat and resting his folded arms on the table. “Once they arrive we can begin.”
Levi nodded, this was his first time sitting in on the start of year briefing with the other directors and deputy managers, so it was quite the learning curve for him.
However he knew deep down that Erwin wouldn’t have entrusted him with a promotion if he didn’t think that he was capable of handling it, he wasn’t a natural leader as such but he had managed a rather successful team before becoming a deputy manager.
Either way this new promotion had a lot of perks, including a rather nice pay rise, which meant that should his mother need more expensive medical treatment he was more than prepared to help deal with the costs.
The briefing room door opened and the final director and deputy managers entered, hastily taking their seats and turning their attention to Erwin.
“Good Morning Mr Smith.” Said A tall man with thinning light brown hair. “My apologies for us being late, there was a little trouble getting some of the interns settled in.”
“I trust the problem is sorted now?” Questioned Erwin.
“Yes Sir.”
“Good. I hope you’re all well rested after the holiday period, I have big plans for the company this year. So let’s begin by going over the figures from last year.”

“Hey Nanaba, I’m done with those letters.” You smiled, stopping at her desk.
“That was quick!” She remarked, raising her head to face you. “Well, time to introduce you to the rest of the team.”
You nodded nervously and followed her to the small break room a few meters to the left of her desk.
Pushing open the light oak door, Nanaba entered first and gestured for you to follow.
Looking around the room you noticed it was a rather cozy looking layout for somewhere so formal.
The plain walls were adorned with notices of meeting dates, upcoming events and reminders from other members of staff. A small kitchen area which contained a fridge, microwave, some cupboards and a sink was on the right hand side of the room, while finally in the middle was a small oak coffee table with three people sat around it on plush brown leather chairs.
“Alright you three.” Said Nanaba, raising her voice slightly and gaining their immediate attention. “I’d like you to meet our newest team member.”
The current occupants of the room, a woman and two men all looked up from their conversation and turned to face you, fixing you with an intent stare.
“F/n l/n, meet Ilse Langnar, Nickolas Colton and Luke Siss.”
“Hi.” You smiled nervously, your e/c eyes nervously scanning over each of them.
Ilse Langnar was a tall female with short black hair and amber eyes, she was wearing a skirt and plain shirt similar to yours, while the men were both dressed in smart navy blue suits with matching ties. You weren’t sure which was Luke and which was Nickolas, all you could tell was that they were both tall and rather handsome.
One had short black hair styled into bangs which fell on either side of his strong cheekbones and icy blue eyes, while the other had light brown chin length, hair which was tied back into a ponytail with the bangs hanging loose and warm hazel eyes.
“Ah good another female for the team.” Said Ilse, her eyes narrowing slightly as she stood up and moved towards you, circling you like a predator stalking its prey.
“Don’t mind her.” Said the black haired male, catching the worried look on your face. “She likes to study everyone and everything, she’s actually worse than Director Hanji at times.”
“Is that even possible?” Smirked the other male, leaning back in his seat and grinning. “At least she doesn’t get out her notebook and start observing you like some sort of study subject!”
Ilse turned towards him and and frowned.
“Oh go get a haircut Luke!”
“Come and cut it for me!”
Luke’s grin widened and he let his light brown hair out of its ponytail, letting it fall down around his face and whipping it back with a shake of his head.
“You just had to set him off didn’t you?” Snorted Nickolas.
“Alright you lot, that’s enough!” Said Nanaba sternly, moving towards the sink and picking up the kettle. “F/n just transferred here from the financing department.”
“Get boring down there did it?” Questioned Nickolas, raising an eyebrow at you.
“Come sit down, we don’t bite.” Said Luke, indicating Ilse’s unoccupied seat. “Well I don’t anyway, Nickolas might though if he gets hungry!”
“Tea or coffee f/n?” Asked Nanaba.
“Oh, tea please (insert how you take it).”
As soon as you had told your new team leader your preferred choice of beverage, Ilse whipped out a little black notebook and pen, starting to furiously scribble away in it.
“So you like tea, do you not drink coffee?”
“I don’t mind it, I just prefer tea.”
You moved to sit down, however your posture remained fairly tense.
“What made you transfer to client consultation then?”
“I just fancied a change of pace.” You mused, starting to relax a little now the initial excitement of meeting a new team member seemed to be wearing off and everyone was starting to calm down.
“Interesting, well you’ll find it quiet up here for the first couple of weeks. Initially we don’t get much work until mid January, new year and all that.”
“I see.”
You looked up and smiled when Nanaba placed a cup of fresh tea down in front of you and moved to the seat next to you.
“So f/n have you met any of the other client consultants yet?” Asked Luke, trying to sneak a peek at Ilse’s notebook.
“Not yet, but I met one of the other managers, Flagon I think his name is.”
“Oh that asshole!”
Your eyes widened, clearly the man wasn’t very popular.
“Watch yourself around him.” Warned Nickolas. “He thinks he’s better than everyone else.”
“Yeah Nanaba already warned me about him.” You frowned, wincing slightly at the memory of the way he had leered at you earlier.
“Nah it’s the new deputy manager you need to watch out for.” Scoffed Ilse, nudging Luke in the ribs and hiding her notes. “He’s a lot worse than Flagon when it comes to having an attitude complex.”
“Really? Who might that be then?”
“Levi Ackerman.” Said Nanaba evenly. “He’s just been promoted, he’s in the same boat as you actually, it’s his first day in a new position.”
“Hmm,the name doesn’t sound familiar...what’s he like?”
“Well he’s short, black hair, grey eyes, frowns a lot and calls everyone younger than him a brat.”
Your brows furrowed, you remembered bumping into a short man matching that description when making your way over to Nanaba’s desk, he’d even called you a brat.
“Oh I think I might have already had the pleasure of meeting him.” You snorted, putting a sarcastic emphasis on the word “pleasure.”
“Yeah well, you’ll know when you see him. Just don’t make eye contact and whatever you do...don’t touch him! Even if it’s accidentally brushing past him, he’ll murder you!”
You gulped and reached for your tea, not sure whether your new team mates were being serious or just trying to wind you up.
“Don’t worry, you’ll rarely see him.” Smiled Nanaba. “Just keep your head down, work hard and you’ll be fine.”
You swallowed hard and nodded, trying to hide your nervousness behind a smile and desperately hoping that you would soon learn to fit in with your new colleagues.

After Erwin’s start of year briefing, Levi decided to make a hasty retreat back to his office to start going over the stack of paperwork he had been given, but it seemed that Hanji had other ideas.
“Wait up Shorty!” She called, chasing after him and finally managing to catch up with him as he reached his office.
“What do you want Four Eyes?” He asked irritably, unlocking the door.
“You look like you need to offload, come to the canteen I’ll get you a cup of tea.”
“Leave me alone!”
“You need to stop bottling everything up, it’s not good for you.” She said sternly, noting the dark circles under his eyes. “Seriously, just talk to me.”
Levi growled in annoyance, he normally hated opening up to people when something was bothering him, even his own mother had trouble getting him to tell her if something was wrong.
He soon found himself remembering that he wanted to meet up with her for lunch to discuss his recent troubling nocturnal visions, maybe getting it off his chest now wouldn't be such a bad thing.
“Tch, fine.”
“Great, dump that paperwork in your office and let’s go!” She smiled enthusiastically.

Upon reaching the canteen Hanji made her way over to the serving hatch while Levi went to find them a table in the far corner away from everyone else.
“So what’s on your mind?” She questioned, placing a cup of black tea down in front of him and taking a seat. “Is everything okay with your mother? She’s not gotten worse has she?”
“I won’t know until this afternoon.” Shrugged the raven haired male, his steel eyed gaze focusing on the large window next to him that provided a rather nice view of the city below.
“So what’s wrong?”
Turning back to face her, Levi folded his arms and looked into her puppy brown eyes.
“Do you still believe in all the reincarnation bullshit?”
“Hmm, fascinating.” She mused, placing her elbows on the metal table and resting her chin on her palms, observing him intently. “You normally hate listening to my theories on that subject, what’s changed your mind?”
“If you tell anyone about this…”
“I won’t tell a soul, cross my heart and hope to die!”
“Tch...for the past couple of weeks I’ve been having this fucked up dream.” He began, keeping his voice low. “I’ve no idea what the hell is going on, but the clothes I’m wearing in it are like something out of a fantasy tale.”
Hanji frowned but remained silent.
“There’s this gear that I wear, it fires grapple lines and I can fly through the air taking out these stupid ugly looking things called Titans with dual wielding blades.”
He paused for a moment, his brows furrowing at the look of intense concentration on the bespectacled brunette’s face. She was practically hanging on his every word.
“Anyway I come across this woman, she’s wearing the same clothes and gear as me...but she’s dying.”
“Can you describe her to me?”
“She’s young, h/l h/c hair, e/c eyes a little taller/shorter than me...it feels like I had some sort of connection to her.”
“So what happens to her?”
“She asks me if I believe in reincarnation and then says she’ll wait for me in her next life, after that...she dies.”
Hanji blinked rapidly, however the rest of her body remained motionless as her brain processed the information it was currently being fed.
“How long have you been having this dream?” She finally asked, reaching for her cup of coffee.
“About two weeks.” Shrugged Levi.
“Does it change or is it always the same?”
“No it doesn’t change, anyway you’re supposed to believe in all this crap, so what does it mean?”
“Hmm, I’m not entirely sure.” She mused, raising the pristine white cup to her lips and savouring the hot black liquid contained within it. “You say you felt a connection to this person though, what do you mean by that and does she have a name?”
“How the fuck should I know? It’s just a dream!”
“Is it though Levi?” Questioned Hanji in a low tone. “I think I should look into this further, this is fascinating!”
“Tch, whatever.” He snorted, gripping the rim of his teacup with his fingertips.
“You still haven’t told me if this mystery woman has a name.”
“F/n.” He muttered. “Her name was f/n.”

As promised by your colleagues, the work day proved to be very slow indeed.
After lunch you had spent the afternoon continuing to chase up leads and clients from the previous year, following up on paperwork and generally just being given rather boring donkey work.
Still you expected it to be slow since it was the first day back after the festive period, so everyone was pretty much just settling back into a normal routine.
Logging out of your computer you grabbed your jacket from the back of your chair and made your way over to the doors leading to the stairs, however before you could leave a shrill voice called out your name.
Turning around you smiled warmly at the bespectacled brunette rushing towards you.
“Hey Hanji, everything okay?”
“Yeah, just wondered if you fancied an after work drink.” She smiled, coming to a halt next to you.
“Sorry, I would love to but I already promised my dad I would go straight home and help him sort out his computer. You know how hopeless he is when it comes to technology.”
“What’s he done now?” She giggled, holding the door open for you.
“You mean what hasn’t he done?”
“Hmm, you make a valid point. So did you enjoy your first day in your new position?”
“It was a little slower than expected to be honest.” You admitted with a shrug as the two of you made your way down the stairs, failing to notice the way Hanji was currently scrutinizing you.
Her puppy brown eyes narrowed behind her oval shaped glasses, taking in every little detail of your person her mind started to wander back to her earlier conversation with Levi.
“F/n, how long have we known each other?” She inquired.
“Since I was a teenager, you were a friend of my mother from school.” You furrowed your brows and stopped, regarding her suspiciously. “Why are you suddenly asking me this?”
“Oh no reason.” She shrugged nonchalantly. “I was just reminiscing is all. I was had a conversation with a friend earlier and it got me thinking, what are your thoughts on the idea of having past lives and reincarnation?”
“You still believe in all that huh?”
“Are you saying you don’t?”
You started descending the stairs again, humming thoughtfully.
“I believe if it can be proved with concrete evidence then it’s real.”
“Interesting.”
“You’re being stranger than usual Hanji, what’s going on?”
Hanji stopped suddenly when you spun around to face her, raising an eyebrow and folding your arms.
“I was just talking to a friend like I said and the subject came up, I’m thinking of doing some more research into it.”
“Well you have always found that kind of thing interesting.”
Hanji fought back a sigh of relief when you opened the door at the bottom of the stairs and made your way across the polished ceramic tile floor of the lobby to the main reception desk to sign out for the day.
“So you don’t believe in it then?”
“Like I said, if it can be proved with concrete evidence then it’s real.”
This response got Hanji thinking.
The fact that when Levi had described the woman in his dream, she had matched your description and even shared your first name had started to make the gears in her brain turn.
Truth be told, she had also had similar dreams to the one her colleague had currently been experiencing. Hers however involved her being an inquisitive scientist that studied the creatures Levi claimed to have killed, but there were no strong connections to any one person in particular. There was however a strong bond of friendship and camaraderie with many people, conveniently several of them were people she currently knew and worked with, but when she tried to voice this they all just brushed her off as being crazy.
Still, in the back of her mind she couldn’t help but wonder if there was actually any truth to the whole theory of reincarnation actually existing, especially since hearing about Levi’s recurring dream...this certainly warranted further investigation.
“Hey Hanji, are you going to stand there all night or what?”
“Huh?”
Blinking rapidly she looked to her right and saw you stood a few feet away with your head cocked to one side and your hands on your hips.
“Are you okay? You completely spaced out!”
“Oh yes I’m fine.” She smiled, signing out and making her way over to you. “Just the old grey matter overworking itself again.”
“You really don’t give up when you get something in your head do you?”
“Nope, I don’t!”
You rolled your eyes as the two of you made your way out of the building and into the car park.
“Well, have fun with your research. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Bye Sweetie.”
Hanji’s brows furrowed as she watched you head over to your car, she couldn’t help but think that there was every possibility that you were indeed the person from Levi’s dream...all she had to do was prove it.

After a fairly boring day at work, Levi finally arrived home.
“So you’re back then?” Remarked Kenny from the kitchen where he was currently reading the newspaper, not bothering to look up when Levi entered.
“Where’s my mother?” He questioned bluntly, not bothering to afford his uncle any form of greeting.
They may have been family, but that didn’t mean that they were particularly close.
Kenny had only come back on the scene since finding out about Kuchel’s illness, something which had annoyed Levi greatly.
Before that, he was lucky if he saw his uncle once or twice a year. Yes he was grateful that he had decided to stick around and help look after her, but that didn’t mean that the two of them were going to start bonding anytime soon.
“She’s upstairs resting.” Shrugged the older male, turning the page and reaching for a small glass of whiskey, raising it to his lips and knocking it back in one go.
Levi furrowed his brows and nodded, the fact that Kenny was drinking so early in the evening wasn’t a good sign.
Making his way upstairs, he approached his mother’s bedroom and knocked on the door, a loud hum of the oxygen machine could clearly be heard on the other side.
“It’s open.”
Kuchel was currently sat up in the bed reading with a nasal cannula on her face, she smiled brightly upon seeing her son.
“Levi, how was your first day back?”
“What did the doctors say?” He asked, completely ignoring her question.
Kuchel sighed and patted the bed, averting her gaze while motioning for him to sit down.
“It’s bad news I’m afraid Sweetheart...it’s progressed to stage four.”
“Meaning?”
“That it’s spread to my other lung.”
Levi swallowed hard, this would go a long way to explaining the increased shortness of breath she’d been experiencing recently after doing anything too strenuous.
“So is there anything that can be done?”
“Since it’s still impossible to operate, they’re going to increase the amount of chemotherapy sessions I’m having and see what happens, apart from that I have to spend an extra couple of hours a day having oxygen and try to rest as much as possible.” She replied, gesturing to the machine at the side of her bed.
“I see.”
Kuchel reached for his hand and held it tightly, sadness shining in her soft grey eyes.
“Maybe stronger doses and having them more frequently will help.”
Levi however looked unconvinced by his mother’s optimism, in his experience it was always best to prepare for the worst case scenario.
“Anyway, you haven’t answered my question.” She continued, releasing his hand. “How was your first day back at work in your new position?”
“Slow.” He shrugged. “Nothing but a meeting and catching up on last year's paperwork.”
“Well I’m sure it will pick up eventually, I’ve left some dinner in the oven for you.”
Levi nodded and stood up to leave, however he was soon stopped by his mother reaching out and taking his hand again.
“Levi...go easy on Kenny when you go back downstairs, he’s taking this news quite hard too.”
“Alright.”
Letting him go she smiled and picked up her book, watching him leave the room and quietly close the door behind him.
Exiting Kuchel’s bedroom, Levi clicked his tongue thoughtfully.
He’d been worried that things wouldn’t go well at the hospital and now his fears had been confirmed, his stress increased tenfold.
This was the last thing he needed on top of the recurring dreams that had been disrupting his sleep night after night for the past two weeks. Still, thanks to this recent revelation about his mother’s deteriorating health, he wouldn’t need to worry about the mysterious woman haunting his dreams that night.
Chances were he was going to be so stressed that sleep would evade him completely, although he wasn’t entirely sure if that was a good thing or not.

Chapter Text

January soon came and went in the blink of an eye, bringing with it an air of change for everyone who worked at Survey Corps.
Business slowly picked up as new clients started to approach them with a view to setting up contracts, while others sought to renew existing ones.
Levi knew he should’ve been grateful that the increase in work was going to lead to more overtime, which would be more than needed to help cover the mounting medical bills now owing to his mother needing more treatment. 
Although the stress of it all was now starting to take its toll on him, along with other matters...

Not only was seeing his mother being taken to the city hospital for more intense rounds of chemotherapy weighing heavy on his mind, but the strange dreams that plagued his sleep were also starting to make him think that he was going crazy.
The nocturnal visions had now changed to show a different view, a time when he and this mysterious young woman who he seemed to have a connection with first met. 
The worst part for him was that his friend and colleague Hanji was now appearing in them, it was bad enough she wound him up to high hell at work without invading his dreams too!
“Hey Shorty, are you still awake?”
The raven haired male blinked rapidly and jerked his head up from looking at the computer screen in front of him, finding himself staring at a certain bespectacled brunette sat in the plush leather seat on the other side of his desk.
“Tch, what are you babbling on about now?” 
“Were you not listening to a word I said?” Questioned Hanji, her brows furrowing as she fiddled with the papers in her lap. 
Rolling his eyes Levi sat back in his chair and folded his arms, earning him a sigh from his female co-worker.
“I’ll take that as a no, anyway as I was saying. I’ve been researching the stuff you told me about these weird dreams you keep having and it makes for pretty fascinating reading!”
“Not now Four Eyes.” Groaned Levi, casting a quick glance to the pile of paperwork stacked neatly in the rack to his left. “We’ll discuss it later.”
“Oh come on!” Protested Hanji. “Aren’t you a little bit curious as to what I’ve found out? We haven’t spoken about this since you first told me about it!”
“If it shuts you up we’ll talk about it later, now get out I’m busy!”
“Okay great, I’ll come and get you at lunch time okay?” 
“Fine, just leave!”
“See ya later then” She smiled happily, standing from her seat and making her way towards the door.
“Tch, finally!” Grunted Levi, relief flooding through him as the door closed behind her.
However a small part of him was intrigued to hear what she had found and he was hopeful that he may finally get some answers as to who this mystery woman was and why she was haunting his dreams

Exiting Levi’s office, Hanji made her way down the corridor back towards the main office space where the client consultants were working.
A playful smile spread across her face as she spotted a familiar young woman with h/l h/c hair sat at her desk typing away with a serious look in her e/c eyes.
Being careful to keep the papers she had been carrying hidden so that the contents couldn’t be seen, she quickened her pace and made her way over to your work station.
“Good Morning f/n!” She beamed, gaining your immediate attention.
“Morning Hanji, how’s it going?” You answered with a small smile, momentarily looking up at her before returning to your current task.
“Oh so, so.” She mused, not bothering to fight back the sly grin on her face when her gaze flicked down the the first document she was holding and then back to you. “Can’t complain really.”
“So what can I do for you?”
“Nothing really, just wanted to check how you were settling in.”
“Pretty good thanks.” You replied, nodding and finishing the document you were currently working on. “I get on well with Nanaba and the rest of my team, Ilse and Luke are pretty funny when they start sniping at each other and Nickolas is pretty decent eye candy.”
“Is he now?” Giggled the bespectacled brunette, her grin widening marginally. “Well I can think of someone a little better if it’s eye candy you’re after, who knows you might even fancy a nibble?”
You laughed and sat back in your seat folding your arms, raising an eyebrow at her. 
“Oh yeah? Who might that be then?”
“My friend Levi, he sounds like he’d be your type.”
“Levi huh?” Your smile instantly disappeared, a look of sheer horror replacing it. “You don’t mean Levi Ackerman do you? Please tell me you’re joking?”
“Whoa don’t judge too soon, you’ve not met him yet!”
“Oh I had the pleasure last month.” You grimaced, remembering how he had nearly bumped into you and then rudely called you a brat before telling you to watch where you were going. 
Thankfully you hadn’t really seen him since except briefly in passing on the way to the canteen for lunch since you had to pass his office to get there, much to your relief however the two of you hadn’t gotten the chance to “bump into each other” again.
“So what do you think of him?”
“He’d be a lot more attractive if he wasn’t rude asshole!”
“F/n!” Hanji was mortified by this response, albeit a little amused that you had such a low opinion of him. Although Levi didn’t exactly create a good first impression with his attitude towards others.
“Okay, he's a good looking rude asshole, is that better?” You scoffed, unfolding your arms and preparing to print off the document you’d been working on when you noticed a familiar black haired woman in a navy blue trouser suit carrying a notebook walking towards you.
“Yes much better.” Nodded Hanji. “So if I were to try and set you up on a date with…”
“You dare and I will divulge every dirty little fantasy you ever told me to Mr Smith, I’m sure he’d be interested to know how infatuated you are with his and I quote "round firm peach like ass that you wouldn't mind taking a bite out of!" Seriously Hanji have you no shame?"
“You wouldn’t!” She gasped in horror, clutching her papers tighter to her chest.
“Try me!” You grinned evilly, pressing the print button and standing up from your seat.
“So what “dirty little fantasies” might these be then?” Asked Ilse, quickly opening her notebook and looking for a blank page before drawing her pen and poising it ready to start writing.
Your evil grin widened, silently daring Hanji to speak again.
“You’re as bad as your mother!” Snorted the bespectacled brunette indignantly. “You win this round young lady, but I’ll be back!”
“Bye!” You giggled, waving innocently before turning to look at Ilse. “What can I do for you?”
“Nanaba wants to know if you’ve finished typing up the new MP contract yet.” Said Ilse, putting her notebook and pen back into her trouser pocket.
“Just about to print it.” 
“Okay great, I’ll let her know. By the way it’s nearly time for our morning coffee break, are you joining us?” 
“Yeah sure, I’ll be there as soon as I’m done.”
Ilse nodded and walked off back towards her desk, leaving you to make your way over to the printer to collect your work.

“Oh that cheeky little…” Muttered Hanji under her breath, returning to her office and finding a young nervous looking male arranging her paperwork for the day.
His hazel eyes widened when he heard the door open and close, before watching Hanji make her way over to the desk.
“Everything okay?” He questioned worriedly when she slumped down in her chair.
“Ah yes fine.” She smiled. “Moblit, be a sweetheart and make me a coffee would you?”
“Okay.” 
“Thank you.” 
Once he had left, she started to look through the paperwork she had been so protectively carrying.
It was certainly nothing to do with her work as everyone else had probably assumed, but to do with her reincarnation research that she had spent the last month putting together.
Endless hours of working away in the city library studying history books and internet articles regarding the strange dream Levi had told her about, had now resulted in some positively wonderful findings that only served to strengthen her belief in rebirth from a past life.
Pushing her glasses further up her nose she carefully studied the first page she had printed off from the library computer, she didn’t have a lot to do until after lunch and this was the first time she’d managed to go through her most recent findings.
It was a photograph of an oil painting which was said to have been found in the basement of an old castle which had lay in ruins outside the city of Trost for several centuries before finally being unearthed.
The painting had been restored and put on display in the city’s museum roughly three years ago, it showed a man and woman dressed in what at the time would’ve been considered military attire. 
It consisted of the same white trousers, brown boots and jackets with the strange harnesses and silver gear attached that Levi had mentioned from his dream.
The man was short with raven hair and piercing grey eyes, a frown playing upon his handsome pale features. While the woman, a tall/short h/l h/c haired woman with soft e/c eyes and a neutral look on her face stood beside him.
Hanji hummed thoughtfully and turned her attention to the written article underneath.
“Captain Levi Ackerman, a highly decorated officer and f/n l/n of the Weapons Development Branch. Two of the most notable members of the Survey Corps regiment.”
“This is so fascinating.” She said to herself, continuing to look through the papers until she came across another photograph, this time it was of a rough ink sketch of a group of soldiers.
Her puppy brown eyes widened marginally when she saw herself, Erwin and even Mike wearing the same uniform that had been shown in the portrait. Once again, you and Levi were shown alongside them, only this time you were all gathered around a large table studying some sort of wooden barrel.
Upon closer inspection, Hanji noticed that it appeared to be spring loaded with barbed hooks attached to thick steel wires.
Humming thoughtfully she once again turned her attention to the article below and began to read.
“F/n l/n and Section Commander Hanji Zoe were responsible for creating the first spring loaded titan traps, a device used to capture small titans and use them for the purpose of experimentation to learn more about them. This trap's first successful capture attempt was on the twenty seventh expedition in the year 844 and after being mass produced, was later approved for regular use by Commander Erwin Smith.”
The door to the office opened, making Hanji jump and quickly hide her papers in the top drawer of her desk as Moblit walked in, carrying two cups of coffee.
“Here you go.” He said evenly, placing one down in front of her before sitting down in the seat opposite hers with his own. “Is everything okay? You look a little pale.”
“Oh yes fine my dear!” Quipped Hanji, her gaze momentarily flicking to the top drawer before focusing on her personal assistant again. “Everything is just fine!”
Moblit nodded and reached for his coffee, failing to notice to way Hanji nervously bit her lip and held back a sly smile at her recent discovery…

“Hey guys, how’s it going?” You smiled, entering the break room and making your way over to where Ilse and Luke were currently sat arguing.
“Ah come on, you know you love me really!” Smirked Luke, once again trying to sneak a peek at what Ilse was jotting down in her notebook.
“For the last time, keep your nose out of things that don’t concern you!” She snapped, shoving him away and closing the little black book before motioning to a cup on the table. “By the way f/n, there’s a cup of tea here for you.”
“Honestly don’t you two ever grow up?” Snorted another voice from over by the sink, earning everyone’s immediate attention and also making you internally cringe.
“Aw what’s up Flagon?” Snickered Luke, brushing his long bangs out of his face. “Did you not get laid at the weekend?”
Flagon Turret narrowed his hazel eyes and bared his teeth, clearly annoyed by his colleagues snide remark.
“Really Siss? Go get a damned haircut, you look like a drag queen!”
“I’d rather look like a drag queen than your scraggy ass!” He shot back, before effeminately following it up with a rather bitchy retort of his own. “Do you even use conditioner on that straw like mess?”
You quickly slapped a hand across your mouth, desperately trying to muffle the laughter that was threatening to escape your lips, quickly becoming serious again once Flagon turned his attention to you and raised an eyebrow. He was obviously not impressed that he was being made a fool of by you and your colleagues.
“I wouldn’t encourage him if I were you.” Warned Flagon, folding his arms and staring down his nose at you, making you feel very uncomfortable. Raising his voice he made sure that all three of you were able to hear him loud and clear. “Just because you’re not on my team, doesn’t mean I can’t discipline you!”
“Not without consulting me first you can’t!” 
Flagon turned towards the door, muttering something inaudible under his breath when he saw Nanaba standing there. 
“What seems to be the problem here?” She inquired, stepping into the break room.
“Ah Flagon’s just jealous of my magnificent hair!” Smiled Luke, flicking his head back and letting his long bangs swish over his shoulders. 
“Oh yes darling, absolutely fabulous!” You giggled, unable to help yourself.
“Alright that’s enough.” Said Nanaba sternly, focusing her full attention on you. “Did you manage to get that MP contract finished ready to send out this afternoon?”
“Already in the outbox tray ready for the post staff to pick up.” You smiled confidently.
“Well at least you have one person on your team who knows how to do their damned job!” Scoffed Flagon, exiting the break room and heading back into the main work area.
“Geez what’s rattled his cage?” You asked worriedly, taking a seat next to Ilse.
“Ignore him, he’s just being his usual arrogant self.” Shrugged the dark haired woman.
Deciding to heed her advice you simply rolled your eyes and reached for your cup of tea, no doubt you would have another “pleasant” encounter with the obnoxious manager at some point or another, although you would prefer to keep your distance if that was at all possible. 
Even being around the infamously rude Levi Ackerman sounded more appealing to you than being forced to share the same space as Flagon!

By lunch time, Levi’s mood had gone rapidly downhill.
He’d not long gotten off the phone with a very irate Kenny when Hanji came knocking on his door, not so subtly reminding him that she wanted to discuss his nocturnal activities. 
“What do you want?” He growled, looking towards the door when he heard several sharp knocks on it.
“It’s me Shorty, you told me we’d discuss my discoveries over lunch!” Came Hanji’s cheerful voice through the wooden barrier separating them. 
Rolling his eyes, Levi adjusted his tie and retrieved his jacket from the back of his chair before making his way over to the door. Upon opening it he was greeted by Hanji’s smiling face, which was the last thing he wanted to see given how he was currently feeling.
“Is everything okay?” She questioned worriedly, her smile instantly disappearing to be replaced by a look of concern.
“Tch, let’s get this over with.”
“Hold up Levi.” Said Hanji sternly, placing her hands on his shoulders and looking into his cold grey eyes. “Has something happened to your mother? She’s having another session of chemotherapy today isn’t she?”
“She’s just arrived back home, it’s taken more of a toll on her than usual because they’ve started giving her more intense treatment.” He muttered, walking away towards the canteen.
“I’m sorry.” Said Hanji softly. “Look if you’re not up to this we can do it another time.”
“No, I want answers.” 
“Alright, come on. I’ll get you a cup of tea.”
Upon reaching the canteen, Levi immediately headed over for a quiet corner away from everyone else while Hanji went to the serving hatch to get them both a drink.
Most of the workforce were already having lunch and enjoying a catch up with their colleagues, so thankfully none of them seemed to pay him any attention as he patiently waited for Hanji to join him.
Leaning back in his seat and folding his arms he stared over at the main door as a group of rowdy workers entered and made their way to a table not too far away from where he was sitting.
“Tch, noisy brats!” He muttered under his breath.
Hanji soon returned and placed a cup of tea down in front of him before taking a seat next to him and handing over the stack of papers containing her findings.
“I’ve already had a quick look through these myself.” She explained, her puppy brown eyes fixed on her friend. “It’s absolutely fascinating and the stuff in here just serves to further fuel my belief in reincarnation, I dare anyone to deny it after seeing this!”
Levi rolled his eyes and started to look through the first document, his cold grey eyes widening visibly when he saw the old portrait and found himself staring back at him.
“Did you Photoshop this or something?” He questioned, watching her reaction carefully for any sign that she was trying to wind him up.
“Levi Ackerman, how dare you make such an accusation!” 
“Tch, considering you get off on annoying me I wouldn’t put it past you!”
“No I haven’t tampered with it at all.” She snapped. “This is all stuff I found in the library archive last night, so is it ringing any bells in that overworked brain of yours?”
Swallowing hard Levi turned back to the photograph and studied it hard, taking in all the small details.
The uniform “he” appeared to be wearing was exactly the same as in his dreams, right down to the white cravat around his neck. 
Turning his gaze to the woman stood next to him his breath almost caught in his throat, it was her...the one who died in his arms every night the dream haunted him.
“Well?” Inquired Hanji. “It’s her isn’t it? It’s f/n?”
“Yeah, this is the woman I keep seeing.”
A manic grin slowly spread across Hanji’s face, quickly snatching up the pile of papers Levi wasn’t holding she started to sift through them.
“Here read this.” She said, thrusting one of them towards him and almost smacking him in the face with it.
“Tch calm down Shitty Glasses.” He snorted, taking it from her and starting to read through it.
“F/n l/n joined the Survey Corps at sixteen years of age.”
“This has to be made up!” He scoffed.
“Coincidence?” Giggled Hanji. “I think not! Keep reading.”
“She was a member of the Weapons Development Branch of the Corps for eight years until her death. During that time she helped Science Officer...Hanji Zoe…”
“You’re starting to become interested now aren’t you?” 
Rolling his eyes, Levi continued to read the article.
“To develop the first trap for capturing titans without sustaining human casualties.
Little is known about her personal life outside the Corps, however it is recorded that she became involved in a relationship with Captain Levi Ackerman. 
The two were due to marry, unfortunately this never came to pass as she died a month before their wedding.”
“Tragic isn’t it?” Sighed Hanji sadly. “She was so young. Still, this must be why you say you feel a connection to her in your dream, the two of you were in love.”
Below the short personal information section describing the young scouts short life was a detailed portrait of her.
She was exactly the way Levi saw her in his dreams, h/l h/c hair neatly styled into a ponytail and e/c eyes that held a sense of warmth and compassion.
“If all of this is true and I am a reincarnation of a military captain from fuck knows how many years ago.” Remarked the raven haired male, continuing to stare at the piece of paper. “Then why have I never had these dreams, memories or whatever they are before?”
“Ah a very good question!” Smiled the bespectacled knowingly, once again going through her papers. “I actually looked into that as well. You say these dreams started last year right?”
“Yeah, so?”
“Well according to a friend of mine who studies reincarnation, our lives are predetermined by fate. We are always born to the same parents, we have the same siblings if any, but life takes us on a different path.”
“Get to the point already!” Groaned Levi, reaching for his tea and gripping the pristine white cup by its rim with his fingertips.
“Most people find that their memories of their past life are triggered by meeting someone of great significance in the one they’re currently living...their soulmate.”
Levi frowned and remained silent, sipping his tea and watching her closely. 
“These memories usually reside within a person’s subconsciousness and awaken at the age they were when they met their soulmate in their previous life, so you must now be at the age you were when you met f/n.”
Levi put his cup down and rested his elbow on the table, placing his chin on his palm and furrowing his brows thoughtfully.
This strange dream had started appearing from the day he turned twentyfive back in December, so if what Hanji was saying was indeed true...then did that mean that his “soulmate” was somewhere in this world waiting for him like she had promised?
“Hey Shorty, you still with me?” Asked Hanji, snapping him out of his thoughts.
“What?”
“Oh good you’re still awake, there’s more.”
“Get on with it then.”
“The dream will continue to come to you until you finally come into contact your soulmate again, after that it will start to change. Some people have reported having flashbacks triggered by being in close proximity to their soulmate.”
“Tch, great so I’m stuck with these stupid dreams until my “soulmate” appears.” He scoffed, clearly still not convinced that Hanji was telling the whole truth. 
In fact he was so unconvinced by what he was being told that he failed to notice the sly grin creeping across the bespectacled brunettes face when a certain young female and her co-workers entered the canteen...

Chapter Text

Survey Corps Headquarters, 
Year 844:

Captain Levi Ackerman folded his arms and leaned back in his seat, his cold grey eyes narrowing as he listened to Section Commander Hanji Zoe babbling away about the latest creation the Weapons Development Department scouts were working on.
“Seriously Erwin, if we get the funding for this from the higher ups, catching titans and studying them will be a lot easier.” She said excitedly, pointing to the large sheet of paper displaying the blueprints for a new titan capturing device. “All we need to do is iron out the kinks and we can build a prototype to take on an expedition for testing.”
Commander Erwin Smith furrowed his bushy brows and leaned over the table, scrutinizing the plans closely. 
“It is an interesting concept.” He mused thoughtfully, his icy blue eyes turning to the gaze of a young female scout stood on Hanji’s left. “However you mentioned a drawback to this weapon.”
“The only problem we’re having with this is finding a way launch the spears with enough speed to pierce the titan’s flesh effectively Sir.” She explained. “If I may?”
Erwin nodded and sat back, gesturing for her to continue.
Moving forward and turning her attention to the blueprints, she brushed a lock of stray h/c hair back behind her left ear and cleared her throat.
“We have worked out that pressurized gas, such as the fuel used for ODM Gear would be the most effective means of propulsion. However it would need to be stored at a much higher pressure since the spears would need to penetrate the flesh deep enough for the barbed tips to be of any use.”
“I see.” Replied Erwin, looking up to face her. “How much higher?”
“Well this is the tricky part Sir, we would actually need a subject to run tests on once we’ve built the prototype.”
“Tch, so you’re saying you want us to risk our lives capturing a titan for you to try this weapon out on it?” Scoffed Levi, focusing on her with a harsh glare.
“I...erm…” The scout flinched and looked to Hanji for help, her e/c eyes pleading for her to step in.
“Not at all, I actually have a test subject already lined up for this particular experiment.” Smiled Hanji knowingly. “I’m nearly done with the four meter titan we captured on the last expedition, I’m sure Alfie won’t mind helping us out...once we secure permission to start building a prototype from the higher ups of course.” 
Erwin narrowed his eyes and rested his elbows on the hard wooden surface of the desk, interlinking his fingers, regarding the blueprints for a moment before looking back up to face the nervous young scout. 
“If I manage to secure the approval of the higher ups, how soon would you be able to build this prototype?”
The female scout lowered her gaze to the desk, scrutinizing the blueprints for a moment and muttering under her breath before looking at the commander again. 
“A month Sir, two at the most. Provided we still have Section Commander Hanji’s test subject at our disposal, we can begin the process of testing and calculating the pressure needed to make it operate at maximum efficiency as soon as it’s built.”
“Huh, not bad.” Remarked Levi, raising his head slightly. “You talk quite the talk, but the big question is can you pull this off?”
“We’ll certainly do our best Sir.” 
“Have a copy of these plans on my desk by the end of duty today.” Said Erwin evenly. “I will present them to the higher ups tomorrow.”
“Yes Sir!” The young female saluted, watching as Levi and Erwin stood from their seats. 
“This meeting is concluded, good work…” The commander paused and raised his bushy eyebrows, waiting for the young scout to divulge her name.
“F/n Ln Sir.”

“Levi are you okay?”
“Hmm?” Levi blinked rapidly and looked up from his laptop, meeting a pair of concerned soft grey eyes.
What the hell was going on? Was that some sort of dream or a hallucination? 
Either way it had felt so real that he almost believed he was back wherever and whenever that was.
“Sweetheart what’s wrong?” Asked Kuchel worriedly, a deep frown settling on her face. “I’ve been trying to get your attention for the past ten minutes and you completely blanked me, it was almost like you were in some sort of trance.”
“Heh, yeah if you’d have stared any harder at that laptop you could’ve telepathically fried it!” Snorted Kenny, a sinister looking smirk playing on his lips.
“Would you give us a moment?” Asked Kuchel, nodding her head towards the kitchen door.
Rolling his eyes, Kenny picked up his glass of whiskey and left the room, closing the door behind him.
Once she was certain her brother was gone, she moved to sit down next to Levi and gently closed the laptop, determined to make sure she had his full attention.
“Levi talk to me, what’s going on with you recently?”
“I’m fine.” Muttered Levi, his brows furrowing as he held his mother’s gaze.
“Levi Ackerman, don’t you dare lie to me!” She snapped, her usually soft eyes turning hard. “You’ve not been sleeping properly and you’re quieter than usual, now tell me what’s going on.”
The raven haired male sighed and rubbed a hand over his eyes.
How the hell was he supposed to explain the dreams he was having, Hanji’s research into reincarnation and the strange...what he assumed was a flashback of his old life he had just experienced, to his mother without sounding like a lunatic?
“Talk to me Sweetheart.” She pressed on, clearly concerned by his silence. “Are you coping with your new position?”
“I’m still getting a feel for it.” He replied, deciding to change the subject and hoping she wouldn’t question him further. “Kenny said that your first session with the more intense treatment affected you quite badly.”
Nodding sadly and pulling him into a loving embrace, Kuchel kissed his forehead before resting her chin on his crown and stroking her slender fingers through his raven hair.
“It’s going to take some getting used to yes.” She sighed, tears welling in her eyes at the thought of having to repeat the process again next month. “Kenny shouldn’t have called you at work though, I told him to wait until you came home to let you know how it went, but he wouldn’t listen to me.”
“When is the next medical bill due?”
“Three days from now, Kenny’s already put up his part of it.”
“I’ll sort it now.” He replied, pulling away and opening his laptop.
“Help me upstairs first please.” She smiled, gently reaching out and caressing his cheek.
“Alright.” 
Closing his laptop again, he carefully put it back into its bag and slung it over his shoulder before following his mother out to the hallway.
“Kenny I’m going upstairs for the night, I’m still not feeling right.” Called Kuchel.
“Yeah sure, take it easy.” Came the reply a moment later. 
Wrapping an arm around Levi’s shoulders she allowed him to help her up the stairs, stopping to catch her breath when she reached the top before entering her bedroom.
“I’ll leave you to it, I still have some work to do.” Said Levi softly, helping her get comfortable in bed before handing her the nasal cannula and turning on the oxygen machine.
“Alright, just try not to stay up too late and please try not to stress so much over me, things might still change.” She said with a smile. “If things do get too much then just come and talk to me. I’m your mother, it’s my job to listen to your problems and try to help.”
“Yeah I know.” He replied, leaving the room and quietly closing the door behind him, failing to notice the sad shake of her head as she picked up her book and leaned back against the pillows.

Upon entering his bedroom, Levi set the laptop up on his desk and plugged it in to charge.
His natural frown deepened slightly when he saw a stack of papers sticking out of one of the side pockets of his laptop bag, wondering if he should maybe have a better look at them.
These particular documents were nothing to do with his work however, they were Hanji’s reincarnation notes which they had briefly gone through at lunch time.
Part of him still had trouble believing what she was showing him, some of the information was just a little too coincidental for his liking.
“Tch, damn Four Eyes!” He muttered, pulling out the stack of documents and looking through them again.
His cold grey eyes narrowed slightly when he noticed the link to the website she had used to print them off from at the bottom of the page, maybe seeing it for himself at the actual source would quash any doubts he had about the legitimacy of this research?
Opening a new window on the laptop, he typed the link into the search bar and hit the enter button.
A moment later the screen changed to show the article that Hanji had printed off, once again found himself staring at the photograph of himself standing beside the young woman, both wearing the military uniform from his dream and recent flashback.
“Shit, so that idiot wasn’t trying to mess with my head after all.”

You sat back on the sofa and picked up your cup of tea, cocking your head to one side when you caught Hanji smirking at you over the top of her cup.
She'd managed to convince you to pop round to her apartment for a catch up after work and the two of you were currently enjoying a cup of tea and some cake she'd picked up from her favourite bakery.
“How long are you going to keep staring at me like that?” 
“Hmm?”
“Hanji what’s going on?” You demanded, feeling rather annoyed as you helped yourself to another slice of the delicious cream sponge.
She’d been acting stranger than usual around you all afternoon and to be perfectly honest, it was now starting to make you very uncomfortable.
“Sorry Sweetie, I was just thinking how much you remind me of your mother.” She let out a rather embarrassed laugh, shaking her head. “You’re so much like her it’s actually terrifying, sometimes I forget that you’re not her.”
You sighed deeply, deciding you no longer wanted another slice of cake.
“I still think about her you know.” Said Hanji with a sad smile. “I didn’t even realize she’d fallen pregnant and got married, then when I found out that she…”
You lowered your gaze and bit your lip.
Your mother had fallen pregnant with you at sixteen years of age and rushed into marrying your father to appease her strictly traditional family. 
Unfortunately six years later she and your maternal grandparents were killed in a car crash, leaving your father to bring you up alone. 
“You weren’t to know.” You said softly, looking into her puppy brown eyes. “Besides, you were off at college and then university, I’m sure she never held it against you. My father certainly doesn’t.”
“Yeah your father’s a good man.” Nodded Hanji. “He certainly did a good job of raising you. He was also kind to me when I first got back in contact again after finding out what had happened.”
“Yeah I still remember our first meeting.” You giggled, sipping your tea. “Dad introduced you as an old friend of my mum, the next thing you’re getting bombarded with questions about her!”
“Well you were only thirteen, plus I’d known your mother since we were children so I could tell you things about her that your father couldn’t.”
“Yeah, anyway as I was saying, do you know when Trost Carnival is happening this year? I was told by Nanaba it’s going to be early.”
“Hmm?” Hanji hummed thoughtfully, only half listening to your question.
Her mind had started to drift off to her lunchtime conversation with Levi about her reincarnation findings, now that she had concrete evidence that it existed and that you were the mysterious woman from his dreams, she was starting to wonder how to raise the subject with you.
“I think it’s happening next month.” She replied with a casual shrug. “Why is there someone you’re planning on taking with you?”
“I don’t know yet, Luke and Ilse were on about going together and I was going to see if Nickolas would like to go with me.”
“Nickolas?” Questioned Hanji, trying to keep the shock and horror out of her voice. 
This wasn’t good, it seemed like her plans to try and set you up with Levi were being sabotaged before she could even contemplate a way to put them into action.
“Yeah, why what’s wrong with that?”
“Oh erm...nothing I just didn’t think you’d…you know, end up wanting to date someone you work so closely with.”
You eyed her suspiciously, not buying her excuses for one moment, leaning forward and smirking. 
“You still want to set me up with that friend of yours don’t you?”
“I really think the two of you would be good together.” Protested Hanji. “Sure he’s a bit on the rude side, but he has a good heart deep down. Plus you’re the only person sassy enough to give as good as you get, most women are too scared to dare even speak to him.”
“Yeah, I’m one of them!” You remarked, your e/c eyes widening. “I’ve only met him once...technically I’ve not even met him properly, I only nearly bumped into him. Hell we didn’t even make eye contact!”
“Oh come on f/n, I happen to know for a fact he likes you!”
“Bullshit!”
“He does!” She protested, folding her arms and trying not to laugh. “He’s just shy and awkward around women, but I reckon you could snap him out of it.”
“Sorry Hanji, not happening!”
The bespectacled brunette’s shoulders slumped in defeat, this was going to be a lot harder than she thought.

The next morning at work, Levi’s mood was still sour.
After staying up most of the night going through Hanji’s reincarnation findings, thanks partially to insomnia kicking in and making it impossible to sleep, the last thing he wanted to be doing was working.
“Rough night?” Asked Erwin, his bushy brows furrowing in concern as Levi handed over a stack of paperwork. 
“Tch, nothing I can’t handle.” He shrugged nonchalantly.
Erwin hummed thoughtfully and nodded, he was no stranger to sleep deprivation at the moment. 
His wife Marie had just given birth to their second child, a bouncing baby boy named Ethan. So of course he was being kept awake with nightly feeds and nappy changes every couple of hours, which weren’t helped by his three year old daughter Rose constantly wanting to be involved every time she so much as heard the baby whimper. Part of him wondered if she stayed awake on purpose at night so she could burst into his bedroom and offer to help.
“Well, try not to let it affect your work.” Said the tall blonde male. “I know things are hard at home for you right now, so if you need time off let me know.”
Levi nodded and left the office, making a rather irritated sound in the pit of his throat when he closed the door and saw Hanji stood talking to Mike.
“Morning Shorty!” She smiled brightly, while Mike simply nodded in greeting.
“Do one Shitty Glasses!”
“Hey wait don’t rush off, I need a word with you!” She said, pushing a pile of paperwork into the broad chest of her fellow director and chasing after the shorter male.
“Leave me alone Four Eyes!”
“Did you get a chance to have a proper look through those papers I gave you last night?” She asked, finally catching up with him before he had a chance to make it back to the double doors leading to the client consultant work area.
“Yes I did.”
“Okay, good...and?”
Levi reached out and gripped the metal handle of the door, hesitating and gritting his teeth at her question.
“I believe you.”
“You do?” She gasped, a smile slowly spreading across her face. “Well that’s great, because there’s someone I want you to meet!”
“Not now, I’m busy.”
“What? No this can’t wait!” She babbled, blinking rapidly when he opened the door and started to walk through the work area.
“Damnit Shitty Glasses, take a fucking hint!” He yelled, making the entire workforce stop what they were doing and look at him with wide curious eyes.
Hanji however started giggling, noticing that he had stopped directly in front of a certain someone’s desk...someone who had unbeknownst to them, been haunting his dreams for the past couple of months. 
Now if only she could make him turn around...
“What are you lot looking at?” He growled, his cold grey eyes scanning the work area but failing to look behind him to see a pair of e/c eyes go wide with fright before quickly turning back to the computer screen, along with all of the other terrified client consultants.
“Levi calm down!” Gasped Hanji, however by the time she had decided to try and chase after him again, he was already at the other end of the work area and storming through the set of double doors leading to his office. 
“You seriously think that I want to go on a date with that?” 
Hanji turned around and looked at the work station she was stood by, a nervous giggle escaping her lips at your question.
“Morning f/n!” 
“Don’t “Morning f/n” me you damned psycho!” You snapped, standing up and walking over towards the printer, quickly followed by Hanji. “I can’t believe you want to set me up on a date with...well...him!”
“Oh he’s not normally like that.” Said Hanji reassuringly. “He’s just having a few personal problems at home, usually he’s a lot quieter.”
“Still not happening!” You retorted, smiling at a dark haired man in a smart black suit who was currently photocopying some paperwork. 
“What’s not happening?” Nickolas questioned, raising a curious eyebrow. 
“Oh nothing important.” You shrugged. “Say Nickolas, do you know when Trost Carnival is taking place this year?”
Hanji desperately looked back to the double doors Levi had disappeared through before turning her attention back to you, she needed to do something drastic and fast before the opportunity to set you and Levi up on a date was lost.
“Yeah, end of next month I believe.” He replied with a shrug, straightening the papers he had just copied and double checking them.
“Ah cool, I was wondering if you fancied making it a team outing since Luke and Ilse are planning on going together.”
‘No! Damn you f/n!’ 
Hanji internally cursed herself for not physically turning him around so he could see that the woman of his dreams, (quite literally she added as an afterthought) had been right under his nose.
Nickolas flashed you a small sincere smile and shook his head.
“Sorry f/n, I’m actually taking my girlfriend away that weekend. Plus I’m not really big on carnivals, they’re a little too crowded and noisy for me.”
He frowned and cocked his head to one side, noticing Hanji punching the air behind you with a look of pure glee on her face. Maybe her plan wasn’t going to blow up in her face after all.
“Um Director Hanji, are you okay?”
You frowned and looked behind you, noticing Hanji grinning like a maniac at you.
“Oh yes I’m fine thank you, better than fine in fact. Anyway I shall leave you to get on with your work.”
“Um, okay...bye?” You questioned, watching her make a hasty retreat towards the double doors that led to the management offices and canteen.
“What do you suppose is wrong with her?” You inquired, turning back to Nickolas.
“No clue, anyway it’s nearly half past ten, you coming to the break room?” 
“Yeah sure, I’ll be there in about five minutes.”
Nickolas gave you a curt nod and made his way back to his desk, completely oblivious to the heavy sigh that caused your shoulders to sag in defeat at him turning down your invitation to go to the carnival.

Levi had barely made it back to his office and sat down ready to continue his work when the door flew open and banged against the wall, followed by a certain bespectacled brunette marching up to his desk and slamming her hands down on the hard wooden surface.
“You have no idea how damn lucky you are Shorty!” She panted, narrowing her puppy brown eyes at him.
“What the fuck are you going on about now?” Snorted Levi, his annoyance at having Hanji burst into his office without knocking first clearly evident in his tone of voice.
“Come with me, I have to show you something.”
“No.”
“Levi!”
“Get out Shitty Glasses!”
“Levi it’s important!” She pleaded, hoping she could still catch you before you headed off to join the others in the break room. “You won’t believe me unless I show you.”
The raven haired male raised an eyebrow and silently glared at her.
“Alright fine I’ll tell you.” Groaned Hanji, rolling her eyes and folding her arms. “The woman from your dreams...f/n? I’ve found her!”
“Fuck off!”
“Hey, you said you believed me about the whole reincarnation thing!”
“How can you be sure it’s her?”
“That’s why I need you to confirm it!” She screeched, reaching over the desk and grabbing his arm, yanking him from his seat. 
“Get your filthy hands off me!” He snapped angrily, recoiling from her grip and brushing off his jacket to rid himself of any invisible dirt she might have left behind.
“Come on, before she disappears off for her mid morning break!” Pleaded Hanji, practically hopping up and down on the spot like a woman possessed. “You see her in your dreams practically every night, you’re the only one who can confirm if it’s really her or not!”
Rolling his eyes Levi reluctantly walked around the desk and towards the still open door of his office.
“Tch, fine. Anything to shut you up!”
Hanji nearly squealed with glee, following him out of the office and back towards the double doors leading to the client consultant’s work area.
“If you’re wasting my time…”
“I’m not I promise!” She replied hastily, stopping and pressing her face to the clear glass pane in the top half of the door on the left.
Her eyes widened and a smile once again stretched across her face as she saw you walking back towards your desk with a pile of paperwork tucked under one arm.
“There she is!” 
“Oi Shitty Glasses, move your ass!”
Levi furrowed his brows and moved to stand next to Hanji at the doors, peering through the glass into the main work area.
“Where the fuck am I supposed to be looking?”
“Wait here.” Said Hanji, dashing through the doors and making her way over towards your desk.
“Tch, moron!” Grunted Levi, moving to stand on the other side of the doors so he could get a better view, however his breath caught in his throat as he saw her stop at a seemingly random desk and start talking to a young h/l h/c haired woman in a black trouser suit and white shirt.
“Impossible!” He muttered, his steel grey eyes widening in shock.

Chapter Text

Levi could barely believe his own eyes, part of his brain was convinced that he had fallen asleep at his desk and dreaming again.
There was just no other explanation of why she was here...in the real world, standing mere meters from him.
Pulling back the sleeve of his jacket and then unbuttoning the cuff on his shirt, he looked down at the pale skin of his now exposed wrist and gave it a sharp pinch, making sure to dig his nails in hard enough to leave marks.
He hissed in pain and gritted his teeth as he studied the small crescent marks he’d left on himself, looking up once again towards your desk and finding you still stood there talking to Hanji.
“Shit!” He gasped almost inaudibly, swallowing down the lump in his throat. “It’s really her!”
He watched closely as Hanji patted your shoulder before making her way back to him, a shiteating grin gracing her features as she halted in front of him and folded her arms.
“So, is it her?” She inquired, feeling quite smug in the knowledge that the answer was pretty damned obvious.
“Yeah…” Replied Levi, quickly regaining his composure. “Yeah it’s her.”
“Well, her name is f/n l/n. She’s been here since she was eighteen and spent the best part of nearly four years as a secretarial assistant down in financing before taking up a position as a client consultant.” Her grin widened considerably before she continued. “She actually started her new role up here the same time you moved up to deputy management, now if that’s not a twist of fate I don’t know what is!”
“Tch, how come you know so much about her?”
“I’m an old friend of her mother, sort of like an unofficial auntie you might say.”
Rolling his eyes, Levi kept them firmly fixed on you as you disappeared into the break room.
“So when are you going to ask her on a date?” 
“Huh?”
“Oh come on Shorty don’t be shy!” Giggled the bespectacled brunette. “Besides, I’ve already told her you have the hots for her.”
“YOU DID WHAT?!”

“Hi f/n.” Smiled Luke, looking up from tapping away on his mobile phone when you opened the door to the break room. “Kettle’s just boiled if you want a drink.”
“YOU DID WHAT?!” Came a very angry sounding voice, making your eyes widen and your entire body tense up in the doorway before you even had a chance to set foot through it.
“Oh dear, sounds like Director Hanji pissed off Mr Ackerman again.” Mused the long haired male, chuckling in amusement when he noticed you still frozen in place. “Hey are you okay?”
“Y-yeah...I just um…” You barely managed to string a sentence together, that was the second time you’d heard the short deputy manager shouting in the space of half an hour. 
Thankfully this time he wasn’t stood right in front of your desk, but the sound of his harsh voice still made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.
“You’ll get used to it.” Said a voice behind you, making you yelp and jump around to face it, relieved to find it was only Nanaba. “Are you okay f/n? You seem very jittery today.”
“Well she’s just heard Mr Ackerman laying into Director Hanji.” Explained Luke, returning to texting on his phone. “Poor girl isn’t going to be constipated anytime soon, put it that way!”
“The first couple of times are a little unnerving and awkward, but you’ll soon learn to just ignore it.”
“Oh that’s comforting.” You mumbled, taking a seat and folding your arms.
“Where are Nickolas and Ilse?” 
“Nickolas is on his way and Ilse is finishing off a call with a client.”
“Alright, well I need to have a word with you all about last month’s targets, nothing to worry about just the usual stuff.”
You nodded and nervously chewed the inside of your cheek. 
Levi may not have directly shouted at you, but you were sure as hell making a mental note in the back of your mind to run a mile in the opposite direction if he even so much as happened to glance at you in the future!

“Levi wait!”
“Fuck off Four Eyes before I throw you out of the nearest window!”
“Oh come on, she’s your long lost love from your previous life!” Reasoned Hanji, attempting to follow him into his office, only to have the solid wooden door loudly slammed shut in her face and barely missing breaking her nose by a mere inch. Thankfully she had thought to jump back at just the right moment, the loud click of the lock following almost immediately after it closed
“You can’t avoid her forever!”
Giggling to herself when no answer was received, she turned around and sighed, shaking her head. Deciding that it was in her best interest to return to her own office and get on with her work before Erwin caught her skiving off, she slowly walked away.
“Poor boy, he’s so shy!” 

Inside his office, Levi slumped down in his seat and rested his elbows on the desk, burying his face in his hands and growling in frustration.
Hanji was really pushing his buttons today, even more so than usual if that was even possible!
Raising his head he stared at the computer screen and narrowed his steel grey eyes, still not quite able to wrap his brain around what he had just seen.
The woman from his dreams had been stood there talking to Hanji like it was a normal every day occurrence, she couldn’t have been an illusion...sure Hanji was a few sandwiches short of a picnic but she wasn’t completely crazy.
Leaning back in the plush leather chair, he folded his arms across his chest and frowned, his brows furrowing and causing it to deepen when his mind once again began to wander of its own accord…

Survey Corps Headquarters,
Year 844

“No, no, no!”
Hanji groaned and pushed her battle goggles up, letting them sit comfortably on her forehead before approaching the restrained four meter titan.
“Section Commander be careful!” Shouted Moblit, raising his arm and rushing forward to grab her.
“Increase the pressure of the gas!” Ordered Hanji, halting beside the titan’s left arm and examining the skin closely. 
“Yes Section Commander!” Shouted f/n, rushing forward and picking up the heavy steel cable which the end of the spear was attached to before carefully pushing it back into a large wooden barrel ready to be launched again.
“Okay, are you ready my dear?” 
Moving to stand behind the barrel and putting one foot on it to steady herself while reaching for a rope protruding from a hole in it, the young scout nodded and tightened her grip around the thickly woven material.
“Ready when you are!”
Hanji nodded and sucked in a deep breath, holding it for a moment and pulling her goggles back down into position so they once again covered her puppy brown eyes.
Once she had retreated to what she deemed a safe distance, she turned to look back at f/n.
“FIRE!”
With a loud resounding crack, the barbed spear left the barrel at high velocity and sped towards the restrained titan.
However the result remained the same.
The thick metal object failed once more to penetrate the titan’s flesh, simply bouncing off it and digging into the dirt a few meters away, sticking up at an angle.
“Damnit!” Snapped the bespectacled section commander. “Increase the pressure again, this time we’ll nail it!” 
“We can’t, it’s as high as it will go!” Replied f/n worriedly. “Any higher and it will blow the barrel apart!”
“Tch, so what’s your next bright idea?” Scoffed Levi, clearly not happy that he had been dragged out to the training grounds to watch this failure of a weapons test.
Commander Erwin narrowed his icy blue eyes, he’d expected there to be teething troubles with this weapon. There always were initially when new designs were approved and rigorous testing was always mandatory to help iron out the kinks.
“Well this was a waste of time and funding.” 
“Enough Levi!” Warned Erwin, clearly not in the mood for the short captain’s pessimistic attitude. 
Suddenly a loud shriek followed by the sound of jaws snapping shut a moment later split the air, drawing everyone’s attention.
“Wow Alfie, you nearly had me then didn’t you?” Giggled Hanji, who was now sitting on the dusty ground with Moblit behind her on his knees and his arms around her middle.
“I told you not to get too close!” He scolded, standing up and brushing himself down before pulling his commanding officer to her feet.
F/n rolled her eyes and turned her attention to the barrel next to her, there had to be something they hadn’t thought of.
The gas option was out of the question since it wasn’t launching with enough force to penetrate the titan’s hardened skin, it may have worked with the grapple line anchors on their ODM Gear but they weren’t as dense as the barbed spears that they were currently using.
“We need to increase the pressure, but how?” She mused to herself, folding her arms across her chest and suddenly tensing at the sudden uncomfortable feeling it caused.
“Huh?”
Looking inside her jacket, she noticed the operating handles for her blades currently stored away in the holsters.
Pulling one out she studied it hard, taking in all the small details from the blade release locks to the gun-like triggers which launched and retracted the grapple lines anchors…
“Triggers?” She muttered, her brows furrowing slightly. “Guns...GUNPOWDER!” 
All eyes turned towards her, the commander raising an expectant bushy eyebrow.
"What was that you just said soldier?" 
“Sir, I have an idea!” She said hurriedly, picking up the nearest spear and studying it closely. “If we reinforced the barrels with metal, we could try using gunpowder to give us the force needed to penetrate the titan’s skin.”
“Hey she’s right!” Gasped Hanji, rushing to her side and snatching the spear. “It works for cannons, so why shouldn’t it work for this? Cannon fire blasts through titan’s with ease, furthermore provided the spears penetrate deep enough, with the way they regenerate the hooks should go in deeper and tighten their hold as the flesh heals around them!”
Erwin raised one large hand to his face, cupping his chin and humming thoughtfully while his subordinates eagerly watched in anticipation for his answer.
“Alright.” He finally replied. “How long will it take to make the necessary adjustments?”
“Well I doubt it will be ready for the next expedition.” Remarked Levi, casting a disapproving glance at f/n and making her shrink back under it.
“Give us a month!” Said Hanji boldly, puffing out her chest. “We’ll have this bad boy working and ready for testing again, won’t we f/n?”
“Um...yes Section Commander.” She replied nervously, her wide e/c eyes flicking between the tall, imposing commander and short but still frightfully intimidating captain.
“Fine, one month.” Nodded Erwin. “I will arrange for the necessary materials to be brought here with next week’s supply delivery.”
Hanji squealed manically and practically jumped on the nervous female next to her, hugging her tightly and squeezing the air from her lungs.
“Thanks Erwin, we’ll make it work. I promise!”

Shaking his head and blinking rapidly, Levi managed to escape from the memory that had suddenly taken over his senses.
“What the fuck?” He muttered, furrowing his brows and staring at the computer screen in front of him. 
One minute he had been fine, if not a little frustrated by Hanji nagging him to approach you and ask you out on a date, then the next he was experiencing another flashback. 
Still part of him was wondering if maybe he should try approaching you and introducing himself just to see if you did remember him and the feelings you supposedly once had.
Growling in frustration he shook his head again, this was the last thing he needed occupying his brain when there was already so much going on in it.
For crying out loud he barely knew you...well not this version of you anyway. You could be completely different to the f/n he had once known and loved in his previous life, there was no way of knowing for certain at the moment considering the only flashbacks and dreams that had come to him so far were from before the two of you became an item and the events surrounding your death.
“Tch, stupid Shitty Glasses!” Growled Levi, pushing himself out of his seat and walking over towards the office door. 
Unlocking and opening it, he checked the corridor before closing it behind him and deciding to go outside for some air in the hopes it would clear his head.

Upon returning to her office, Hanji was still giggling away to herself, earning her a confused head tilt from Moblit.
“Um, Director are you alright?” He Inquired, a frown gracing his features as she sat down at her desk and leaned back into the plush leather.
“Oh absolutely fine Sweetie, why do you ask?” 
“You um...you have that look in your eye again…”
“What look would that be then?” She grinned, knowing full well exactly what he was talking about but deciding to play dumb.
“You always have that scary glint in your eye when you’re planning something.”
“So what could I possibly be planning?” 
"I dread to think in all honesty." Muttered Moblit worriedly, turning his attention back to his work.
Another devilish giggle escaped her lips as she leaned forward and rested her arms on her desk, her puppy brown eyes shining behind her oval glasses and making her look even more devious when the light caught them.
“Then I shall tell you my dear Moblit!” She declared, slamming her hands down on the hard wooden surface and almost causing everything on it to jump from the force of her actions. “I am on a mission to bring together two lost souls, all I need to do is make them notice each other and fate will take care of the rest for me.”
Moblit blinked rapidly, not quite sure he understood what the bespectacled brunette was trying to say. Although in all honesty, half the time she didn’t make sense anyway, so why would she suddenly break the habit of a lifetime now?
Still, there was always method in her madness and no one could get inside Hanji’s head like she could. As long as the plan made sense to her, the rest would naturally fall into place and all she had to do was make sure everything was in the right place at the right time...

“Okay, so are we all clear on what we’re doing for the next month?” Questioned Nanaba, looking at each member of her team closely.
“Yeah sure.” Said Luke confidently. “We basically keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll receive a nice big fat bonus!”
“It will certainly come in handy for my plans.” Nodded Nickolas. “I’ve just put down a deposit on an engagement ring.”
“Gold or silver?” Inquired Ilse, once again whipping out her little black notebook and pen. “Single diamond or a cluster? How many karats?”
You shook your head and smiled at the dark haired woman for a brief moment before looking over to Nickolas.
You were slightly miffed that you had missed an opportunity to try and score a date with him by asking him to the carnival, but you sincerely hoped that his planned proposal went well for him. 
“Right everyone, back to work.”
Rinsing your cup and leaving it to dry on the stainless steel draining board while you rummaged around in the drawer for a fresh tea cloth, Nickolas came up behind you and tapped your shoulder to get your attention.
“Have you managed to find someone to go to the carnival with you yet?”
“No, not had chance to ask anyone.” You replied, finding the item you were searching for and drying your cup.
“I see, well you’re a nice girl. I’m sure someone will accept your offer.” He mused, flashing you a small smile. “For the record, if I were single...I’d have suggested something other than going to the carnival.”
You laughed shyly and bit your lip, feeling your face heat up as a slight blush rose on your cheeks. 
"Well I thought I'd end up coming across as a little blunt if I just asked outright whether you were single or not." You replied weakly. "Since you've never mentioned having a girlfriend I just kind of thought I'd take a chance."
"I tend not to talk about my love life." Shrugged Nickolas. "I make a strict habit of keeping that out of conversation until I get to know people better."
"That's fair enough." You smiled. "Well good luck with your proposal anyway, I'm sure she'll say yes.” 
Nickolas nodded and walked out of the break room. 
“Hey you never know, Mr Right could be lurking right under your nose just waiting to sweep you off your feet!”
“Yeah, sure he is!” You scoffed, following him and playfully shoving him aside before heading back towards your desk. 
The smile soon fell from your face however as you looked to where you were going and noticed a certain foul tempered deputy manager walking towards you.
“Uh oh!” You muttered, hoping he hadn’t heard you.
There was no way you were going to make it back to your desk without passing him on the way.
Swallowing hard you kept your eyes on where you were going and continued moving forward, however as you drew closer to the raven haired male, your eyes were inexplicably pulled towards him.
It was hard to deny that he wasn’t handsome, hell you didn’t know many men that could pull of an undercut! 
Steel grey eyes slowly turned to meet your slowly widening e/c orbs, locking onto them and staring with a burning intensity that it almost left you trembling. 
For someone so intimidating, there was also something completely alluring to you about the man, especially the way the light caught his hypnotic hues and appeared for just a brief second to make them appear soft and warm.
No that couldn’t be right, surely you were imagining things?
Quickly breaking the hold he seemed to have over you by averting your gaze, you shook your head and returned to your desk, casting one last glance over at the raven haired male as he disappeared through the double doors leading to the stairs.

Chapter Text

The next couple of weeks passed by painfully slowly for Levi, which wasn’t helped by Hanji’s constant nagging at him to introduce himself to f/n.
He’d actually lost track of the number of times he had threatened to throw her out of the window if she didn’t stop pecking his head over the matter, but of course she wouldn’t take no for an answer...
“Come on Levi she’s your reincarnated soulmate!” “Just go up to her and say hello!” and “You’ve already made eye contact, now I’m not saying jump on her straight away...but just try speaking to her.” were among some of the nagging words of encouragement she had thrown at him in her attempts to get him to introduce himself to you.

“Tch stupid Shitty Glasses.” He muttered under his breath, his brows furrowing so harshly that they caused deep lines to appear in the space between them.
“Levi, are you okay Sweetheart?”
“Hmm?”
Looking up from his breakfast Levi was met by the concerned gaze of his mother and a rather amused Kenny.
“You’ll get wrinkles if you keep frowning like that Runt!” Snorted the older Ackerman male, cursing a moment later when Kuchel slapped him upside the head and gave him a dark glare so severe even Levi felt unnerved.
“Tch, I’ll still be better looking than you!” He retorted, reaching for his tea cup.
“Levi what's bothering you?” Asked Kuchel. “You’ve been very distant recently, should I call Erwin and tell him you’re not feeling well?”
“I feel fine.”
“Kenny go make yourself useful and fetch my book.”
Rolling his eyes, Kenny stood up from the table and left the kitchen.
Kuchel was due another round of chemotherapy treatment that day and reading helped keep her relaxed while it was taking place.
Once her brother had gone, she folded her arms and raised her eyebrows at her son.
“I’m going to work.” He said, attempting to stand up but freezing when she put a hand on his arm.
“Nice try young man, you don’t have to leave for another half an hour yet.” She scolded, clearly annoyed by how cagy he was being. “You are finally going to tell me what’s bothering you, don’t make me wave a dirty dishcloth in your face!”
Levi never normally glared at his mother, but after that little threat he decided to make an exception...however Kuchel was one step ahead and already had the offending item in her free hand.
“Your choice Levi.” She smiled sweetly. “You can either talk to me, or I can wipe your face with this.”
Knowing that he had lost this particular battle, he rolled his eyes and folded his arms.
“Tch, there’s someone at work that…” He paused and blushed, his frown once again deepening as his pale cheeks started to tinge red. “That I…”
“Like?” Finished his mother, her grey eyes widening marginally. “Is that what’s been wrong with you? You’ve got a crush on someone?”
“Yes.” He muttered, feeling his embarrassment rising as his blush intensified.
“Is it Hanji? You two always have been close.”
“No it’s not that four eyed idiot!” He snapped before he could stop himself, earning a disapproving frown from Kuchel at his use of one of the bespectacled brunette’s rather unflattering nicknames.
“So who are they?”
Levi sighed and clicked his tongue.
“She’s called f/n, she’s a friend of Four-Hanji’s.”
“I see.” Mused Kuchel thoughtfully. “So have the two of you actually spoken to each other?”
“No, but Hanji seems hell bent on forcing us to.”
“I see where this is going.” Smiled the raven haired woman. “She’s putting pressure on you and it’s making you feel uncomfortable?”
Levi nodded but didn’t speak.
“Well my advice to you is ignore Hanji and do things your way, if you like f/n then tell her but do it on your terms and not anyone else's.”
“I don’t know how.”
“Oh Levi.” Giggled Kuchel, shaking her head and taking his hand in hers. “If you feel shy just wait until she’s on her own and then make an attempt approaching her, try talking to her about something casual or maybe ask Hanji if there’s possibly a mutual interest you share.”
Averting his gaze and nodding, Levi glanced over at the kitchen clock, thankful that it was fast approaching the time when he normally departed for work.
“I have to go.”
“Alright let me know how you get on.” Standing up and placing a gentle kiss on her son’s forehead before proceeding to clear away the breakfast dishes, Kuchel smiled softly herself as she watched Levi exit the kitchen. “Good luck Sweetheart.”

“Morning f/n!”
“Hey Hanji, how’s it going?” You smiled, turning around and waiting by the doors leading to the stairs as the bespectacled brunette ran to your side, her heels clicking noisily across the polished tiled floor.
“Oh you know same old, same old.” She shrugged. “What about you? Found a date for the carnival?”
“Not yet, although to be fair I haven’t really bothered asking anyone since Nickolas knocked me back.”
“Hmm, I can think of someone…” Grinned Hanji conspiratorially, wiggling her eyebrows.
“Forget it!”
“Aw come on...I’ve seen the awkward stares you two have been sharing when you pass by each other.”
You opened your mouth to speak but thought better of it.
There was no denying that since you finally made eye contact with the short tempered manager, your curiosity about him had been piqued.
Nanaba and the others hadn’t said much about him, but Hanji on the other hand never stopped using him as a topic of conversation.
It annoyed you that she spoke so openly about his personal life to try and coax you into asking questions about him, but then again, subtlety had never been Hanji’s strong suit.
You did wonder though if the fact that his mother was currently battling cancer was the source of his constant frowning, however you also figured that from the way he had yelled at Hanji a couple of weeks ago she probably wasn’t helping matters either.
Deciding to finally speak once you reached the first floor landing and prepared to ascend the second floor stairs, you were suddenly stopped by the odd sensation of someone breathing heavily down the back of your neck.
“What the hell?” You shrieked, turning around and finding a tall well built male with dark blonde hair and dark stubble framed lips sniffing your nape.
His eyes were closed and he seemed deep in concentration, completely oblivious to the shock and panic caused by his actions.
“Oh don’t mind him.” Laughed Hanji lightly, looking behind her. “That’s Director Mike Zacharius, he has a habit of sniffing people he’s never met before.”
“Um, okay...why?”
You winced and leaned away, however when you did he simply moved closer and continued his ministrations for a further few seconds before finally opening his eyes to reveal a pair of pale blue irises. Smirking at you and snorting once he was finished he straightened up to his full height, silently continuing to follow you and Hanji up to the second floor.
“No idea, it’s just something he’s always done.” Shrugged Hanji nonchalantly. “Anyway he doesn’t mean any harm by it, it’s just how he is.”
Upon reaching the second floor landing the three of you headed through the double doors and into the client consultant work area, Mike heading off in the direction of Nanaba’s desk without saying a word, while Hanji followed you towards the other set of double doors that led to the management offices.
“I think I’ll hang around here for a few minutes.” She said somewhat worriedly as you seated yourself at your desk and started up your computer.
“Why?” You questioned with a frown. "Is something wrong?"
“Oi f/n!”
“That!” Replied the bespectacled brunette bluntly as a familiar scraggy haired blonde man approached.
“Oh bloody hell.” You groaned, forcing a smile onto your face as Flagon stopped in front of your desk and folded his arms. “Morning Flagon, how are you?”
“I hear you’re planning on going to the carnival this weekend.” He stated fixing you with a rather disgruntled glare.
“Erm yeah I was thinking about it, why?”
“Got a date for it?”
Hanji bit her lip and looked away, trying to fight back the insane grin that was threatening to spread across her face.
She was so confident that you wouldn’t accept an invitation from him that she would’ve probably bet a month’s wages on you knocking him back.
“No...not yet.” You answered, a small voice in the back of your mind starting to scream out in terror at the anticipation of what was coming next…
“How about we go together then?” He smirked cockily, clearly expecting you to say yes. “I heard Nickolas knocked you back, shame really but hey, his loss is my gain!”
“Wow you arrogant fucking pig!” was what you really wanted to scream at him, probably throwing in a swift slap around the face too for good measure.
Instead you sat there dumbfounded and desperately hurried to think of the nicest possible way to tell him Hell would freeze over before you would even consider looking in his general direction, never mind allowing him to take you out on a date.
“Oh...erm...”
“Sorry Flagon Sweetie, she’s already agreed to come with me and Moblit.” Interjected Hanji with a beaming smile. “Plus I may as well say it now...I’ve actually found you a date!”
“Wait...what?”
Blinking rapidly you nervously looked between Hanji and Flagon, feeling like a deer caught in the headlights.
“Hmm I see.” Remarked blonde manager, clearly not impressed that he was facing being turned down. “How about we let f/n decide for herself?”
“Come on f/n!” Pleaded Hanji, putting on an impressively convincing act. “Remember that favour you owe me? Well I’m calling it in!”
Rolling your eyes and deciding it was in your best interest to go along with her, you smiled shyly and sat back in your seat, folding your arms across your chest.
“Okay I’ll bite, who is he?”
“Ah well it’s surprise, now are you going to repay me by doing this or not.”
“Doesn’t look like I have much of a choice.” You sighed, flashing Flagon a polite smile. “Sorry, I’m flattered that you asked though.”
“Whatever.” Shrugged the clearly annoyed male, turning on his heels and walking away.
Once you were certain that he was out of earshot, you and Hanji looked at one another and burst out laughing mere seconds later.
“You are evil Hanji!” You gasped, trying to calm yourself down.
“I got you out of a tight spot didn’t I...which means now you really do owe me!”
“Alright fine!” You sighed. A sinking feeling started to overcome you, knowing full well what she was going to ask of you as you pretty much signed your death warrant. “Name your terms.”
Hanji grinned rather sinisterly, she had the perfect way for you to pay her back.
“Go on a date with Levi!”
You winced and groaned, you could’ve predicted that answer without even thinking about it.
Still you were curious about the raven haired male and technically you were now in her debt…
“Fine, I give up!” You stated, throwing your hands up in surrender. “I’ll go on a date with Levi, I admit I’m a little curious about him...but he has to ask me out! Oh and if it’s a disaster I will be coming for your blood!”
“Yay I can’t wait to tell him!” She squealed, leaning over the desk and pulling you into a bone crunching hug that practically squeezed the air from your lungs. “Gotta run Sweetie, see you later!”
Inhaling deeply after being deprived of oxygen for what felt like forever when she finally let you go and rushed off in the direction of the stairs, you shook your head and clicked your tongue thoughtfully.
Just what the hell were you letting yourself in for?

"Leeeeeviiiiii!"
“Piss off Four Eyes it’s too early for your bullshit!” He called up the stairs, not bothering to look up at the bespectacled brunette calling down to him from the floor above.
“Aw don’t be like that, I’ve got some good news for you!”
“Tch! What could you possibly say to me that I actually want to hear?”
Hanji frowned and waited for him to join her on the second floor landing before speaking again, was his mother having more treatment that day? It would certainly explain the snappier attitude he was displaying.
“Well?” He snapped, stopping in front of her and shooting her a penetrating glare.
“Oh yeah.” She giggled, bringing herself back to the matter at hand. “I’ve just got you a date with f/n!”
“I’m not in the mood for jokes Shitty Glasses.” Grunted Levi, pushing her aside and heading through the double doors into the client consultant area.
“I’m being serious!” She protested, rushing to catch up with him. “She kind of owes me since I saved her from Flagon’s attention…”
Levi stopped and spun round to face her, anger flashing in his cold grey eyes.
“So she only agreed to it because you forced her hand?”
“Well technically...maybe…”
“You’re fucking unbelievable!”
“Levi wait!” Called Hanji as he once again turned his back on her and walked away, leaving her to heave a sigh of frustration.
“Leave me alone!”
“Come on Shorty, don’t be like that! I’ve been pestering her to go on a date with your for ages.”
Levi however wasn’t listening, he continued to storm through the area towards the double doors leading to his office.
He really didn’t need to be dealing with this at the moment, he was already stressing out over how to approach you and now he had just been told that you only agreed to a date with him to shut Hanji up...you clearly weren’t interested so he wasn't going to bother wasting his time or his mother's advice.
“Damnit Levi wait!”
“Save it Shitty Glasses!”
“Ugh, stop being so hot headed and listen to me for a minute will you?”
Glancing to his left, Levi noticed that your desk was unoccupied.
Perhaps you’d gone to hide so he wouldn’t see you and turn his temper round onto you, a wise move if he was being completely honest.
“Alright Shorty, stop walking!” Snapped a voice behind him before a hand landed on his shoulder and spun him round.
“Get your filthy hands off me!” He growled, batting Hanji away and tensing up a moment later when he noticed a certain female staring at him.
Fear shone in your e/c eyes as they locked with his steel orbs for a split second before you turned away and rushed off towards Nanaba’s desk with a large stack of papers tucked under one arm.
“Nice one Levi.” Huffed Hanji irritatedly. “If you’d have actually listened to me I was going to say she didn’t agree to a date with you purely because of me pressuring her, she admitted she’s genuinely curious about you.”
Levi blinked rapidly, feeling like someone had just slapped him in the face.
“You do realize she’s probably going to say no now.” Continued Hanji. “I think you practically terrified her!”
Turning on his heels Levi made his way through the double doors to his office, slamming the door behind him and locking it before the bespectacled director could follow him.
“Shit!” He cursed, slamming his back against the hard wood and running a hand back through his raven tresses. He’d completely blown it now, there way now way you would ever consider letting him get to know you better…

“Okay this all seems to be in order.” Said Nanaba evenly, handing you back the papers you had just printed off. “Get those addressed and put in the outbox ready for when the mail room staff come just before lunch.”
“Will do.” You smiled confidently, straightening the pile and clicking your tongue thoughtfully. “Hey Nanaba, can I ask you something?”
“Of course.” Replied the blonde female.
“Hanji keeps trying to tell me that Mr Ackerman wants to go on a date with me, I finally gave in and said I would if he asked me so what I want to know is...is there any truth in what she's saying?”
Nanaba blinked rapidly, furrowing her brows.
“Sorry forget it, I shouldn’t have said anything.” You muttered weakly, a frustrated blush rising on your cheeks.
“No...it’s fine.” She replied. “Hanji has mentioned it a few times to be honest and I have noticed him staring at you recently.”
“Okay, um...anything I should know about him?”
“Well obviously you already know not to lay a finger on him unless you want to die!” She giggled, making an attempt at breaking the tense atmosphere.
“Right.” You answered with a grimace, remembering the way he had snapped at Hanji a few minutes ago.
“Also he’s a complete clean freak and very quick tempered.”
“Anything else?” You asked worriedly, rapidly regretting finally agreeing to Hanji’s demands.
“Yes, he might be all of the things I just told you, but he’s fiercely loyal to those he cares about.” Said Nanaba seriously, looking you in the eye as she spoke. "I know to look at him you wouldn't believe it, but he does have a good heart beneath that intimidating glare and unapproachable attitude."
“Okay thanks, I’ll get back to work now.”
Nanaba nodded and waved you away, looking back towards the filing cabinet a little to her right when it moved slightly and a quiet “ouch” was made audible.
“Come on out Hanji!” Sighed the blonde consultant team manager, rolling her icy blue eyes.
The bespectacled brunette giggled and emerged from her hiding place, approaching the other woman’s desk and perching on the edge of it.
“You really shouldn’t interfere in other people’s lives like that.” Scolded Nanaba, typing away at her computer.
“Oh come on!” Laughed Hanji rather cockily. “You weren’t complaining when my matchmaking skills got you and Mike together!”
A frown spread across the other woman’s face as she stopped typing for a moment, tutting with a defeated shake of her head she resumed her task.
“So what’s your plan?”
“Well I think if I can get them on their own together somehow they might actually speak instead of just staring at one another, but the question is how do I do it?”
“I’m sure you’ll think of something, you always do.”
“Care to lend a hand?”
“No I don’t.”
“Ah well, worth a try. See you later!”
“Hanji.” Called Nanaba, looking up again and giving her a warning look. “Be careful this doesn’t backfire and make sure Erwin doesn’t catch you slacking off!”
“Oh not to worry, Moblit’s covering for me!” She giggled in reply, disappearing through the doors and heading back to her office.
Rolling her eyes and shaking her head again, Nanaba turned her attention back to her work and decided to leave well alone.
“Well I would wish you luck.” She mused to herself. “If I didn’t already know it’s f/n and Levi who are going to need it!”

Lunch time soon came around and the canteen slowly started to fill up with staff members keen to relax for an hour before returning to their busy schedules.
You found a quiet table by the window overlooking the city below, placing your cup of tea and sandwich down on it before taking a seat and stared out at the view.
Normally you would have sat with your colleagues, however Luke and Ilse were working through today since they were trying to finish a couple of important contracts ahead of schedule and Nickolas had gone into the city to look at engagement rings.
Clicking your tongue thoughtfully, you pulled your mobile phone out of your pocket and decided to text your dad, he’d briefly mentioned that he was working overtime that morning and you were wondering if he wanted anything cooking for tea and leaving in the oven for when he returned.
Putting the phone down on the table you took a sip of your tea before proceeding to eat, oblivious to the fact that three sets of eyes were keenly observing you…

“Go on, ask her while she’s on her own!”
“Shut up Four Eyes!”
“Mike tell him will you?”
Hanji, Levi and Mike sat on a table not far away from the one you were currently occupying. The two directors had their backs to you, stealing glances every so often while Levi sat opposite them and could see you every time he looked up.
Mike briefly turned to look behind him again, noticing you reaching for your phone and starting to tap away at it.
“She’s quite pretty.” He muttered. “A little shy and nervous at first, but grows in confidence once she gets to know someone better.”
Levi frowned and picked up his tea, sipping it and continuing to silently watch you, much to Hanji’s annoyance.
“Ugh for crying out loud Shorty just got over and introduce yourself!” She groaned. “This is, too painful I can’t stand it!”
“Stop fucking pestering me!” Snapped Levi, putting his empty cup down with a little more force than he had originally intended and looking to his right when a tall blonde man in an expensive suit halted at their table.
“Erwin.” Greeted Mike neutrally as all eyes turned to the company owner.
“Hanji, have you finished going over the proposals for next month?” He questioned, giving Mike a nod of acknowledgment.
“Nearly, I’ll bring them to your office after lunch.” She smiled, turning her attention back to you, something which did not go unnoticed by Erwin.
“Am I keeping you from something?”
“Levi’s trying to work up the courage to ask her out on a date!” She giggled, nodding in your direction.
“I see.” Mused the bushy browed blonde. “Well good luck. Hanji, Mike, I’ll see you both in my office after lunch.”
Once he had left, Levi shot the brunette a deathly glare which did little to intimidate her.
“Just go over there and say Hi!” She encouraged. “She doesn’t bite you know!”
“Tch, fine!”
Standing up, Levi straightened his tie and jacket. However before he could make his way over to you, his vision started to cloud over and he once again found himself getting lost in a flashback from his past life…

Survey Corps Headquarters:
Year 844

“I have to admit I’m more than a little impressed.” Mused Erwin, casting a glance over the restrained titan. Several sharply barbed spikes were embedded into its flesh, steam rising up from where they had priced its skin and worked their way in deeper as the flesh regenerated.
“Huh, not bad.” Agreed Levi, folding his arms and looking over at Hanji.
“That was a fantastic idea to use gunpowder rather than pressurized gas f/n!” Beamed the bespectacled section commander, pushing her battle goggles up onto her forehead and giving the younger female a hearty slap on the back.
“It was nothing really.” She smiled shyly, a faint blush rising on her cheeks.
“You did well soldier.” Said an old man with thick grey hair, a beard to match and circular steel rimmed glasses.
Premier Dahlis Zackley folded his arms across his chest and studied the captive titan as it once again struggled against its bindings, causing more steam to appear as its flesh healed up around the spikes.
“I think it’s safe to assume I approve of this weapon being mass produced following such positive results.” He said in a matter of fact tone, narrowing his small hazel eyes. “Have copies of the blue prints sent to the weapons factory near Sherpa Village, I’ll send word on that they are to start once received.”
“Thank you Sir.” Said Erwin snapping to attention and offering the man a salute when he turned and walked back towards the castle.
“I take it you will still be attending the Military Ball at Lord Candeloro’s castle tomorrow evening?” Asked the older man, raising a withered eyebrow at the commander.
“Yes Sir. Myself, Captain Levi and Section Commander Hanji will all be in attendance.”
“Then I shall see you there.”
After the premier had left, Erwin turned his attention to a rather disgruntled looking Levi.
“Tch, another pointless ass kissing party?” He scoffed, folding his arms.
“That “pointless ass kissing” as you call it helps fund our expeditions.” Said the bushy browed commander sternly, however his expression softened slightly upon looking past the short captain to the two females who were currently deep in discussion about their little demonstration for the premier.
“Perhaps we should take that young scout with us too.” He said thoughtfully, before turning to walk away. “I’m sure the nobles would be fascinated by her ideas.”
Glancing behind him, Levi raised an eyebrow in her direction and watched her carefully for a moment before their gazes locked.
Her e/c eyes widened slightly and she quickly looked away, busying herself with helping Hanji deal with the cleanup from their little demonstration. There was no denying that the scout had some good ideas when it came to capturing titans, maybe Erwin was onto something?
Shrugging to himself he started to walk away back towards the castle, making a mental note to speak to Hanji about her subordinate accompanying them to the ball...

“Levi...Levi...Hey are you okay?”
“Hmm?”
Snapping himself out of his thoughts, Levi found Hanji and Mike staring at him with very confused frowns on their faces.
“What happened to you?” Inquired Hanji, although she knew full well what was going on, however she chose to hold her tongue since Mike was still with them. “You looked completely lost.”
“I’m fine.” Snapped Levi, shaking his head and starting to make his way over to the table you were still occupying.
He was almost there when once again his vision went fuzzy and another flashback overcame him…

Survey Corps Headquarters:
Year 844

“Are you just going to sit there staring at her all day?” Giggled Hanji, snapping her fingers in front of the raven haired captain’s face, causing him to blink and growl at her. “Just go over there and ask her if she wants to accompany you to the party tonight as your plus one. She’s not a titan, she won’t bite!”
“Shut up Shitty Glasses!” Snorted Levi, picking up his cup of tea and gulping down the last few dregs.
His steel eyed gaze remained fixed on the young scout who was currently sitting by herself and idly tracing a single slender finger around the rim of the pristine white cup sat in front of her.
Recently he had become quite interested in the young female, there was something about her that he couldn’t quite seem to wrap his head around and he was determined to find out what it was...if only he could work up the courage to approach her.
“Oh just go over there already!” Giggled Hanji, shoving his shoulder and nearly knocking him out of his chair.
“Tch, fine!” He shot back, standing up before he ended up returning the gesture, only he would make sure she hit the floor.
Straightening his jacket and cravat he made his way over to the table where the young female was sat...

F/n sighed and continued to trace the rim of her cup, resting her chin on the upturned palm of her free hand.
However her thoughts were soon interrupted by the sound of boots halting on her right hand side and the sound of someone clearing their throat.
Slowly turning around to face the source of the noise, she came face to torso with a white shirt. Moving her eyes upwards, she soon discovered a white cravat and the stoic face of a frowning male with steel grey eyes and raven hair.
“Good Morning Captain Levi.” She greeted, not quite sure why the hell she was smiling considering the man scared the absolute life out of her!
“What’s your name?” He asked bluntly, mentally slapping himself afterwards for not asking Hanji her name before hand.
“F/n l/n Sir.”
“What...what are you doing after you finish duty tonight?”
“Nothing Sir...did you need me for something?” She inquired, her brows furrowing slightly.
“Yes, I wondered...if you would accompany me to a ball this evening.”
She blinked rapidly, was the stoic captain asking her to accompany him on official military business?
“Erm...I’d be honored to Sir.” She stuttered, not quite believing what she was hearing.
Levi nodded.
“Come to my office at six o’clock.”
“Yes Sir.”
Nodding Levi turned on his heels and walked away, his heart hammering in his chest as he made his way out of the mess hall…

“Tch, damnit!” He growled, shaking his head and purposefully walking towards where you were currently sitting.
Finally stopping in front of you, he cleared his throat to get your attention and folded his arms across his chest.
A moment later you stared up at him, your e/c eyes widening as you visibly jumped in your seat, dropping your phone onto your empty plate with a loud clatter.
“What’s your name?” He questioned bluntly before he could stop himself.
‘Damnit what the fuck am I doing?’ He cursed himself internally, he already knew your name so why the hell was he asking you what it was.
A small smile spread across your features, this was an interesting development...the intimidating man you were so used to seeing on a regular basis berating Hanji and frowning at everything was suddenly acting like a nervous teenager?
“It’s f/n.” You replied, your smile widening slightly.
You’d always had a soft spot for those who were awkward and clumsy when it came to the opposite sex, although in all honesty you never expected this from the man currently stood in front of you.
Curious to see how this would play out, you decided to throw a question of your own at him.
“What’s your name?”
“Levi.” He replied bluntly.
“Nice to meet you Levi.”
“Yeah. What are you doing this weekend?”
“I was thinking of going to the carnival.” You replied, a warm smile still gracing your lips.
“Alright then...I was thinking of doing the same.” Muttered Levi, gritting his teeth and trying to remain calm. “Would you like to go...with me?”
“Sure.”
Levi’s cold grey eyes widened marginally, this had been a lot easier than he thought.
“What’s your number?” He inquired, reaching into his trouser pocket for his phone.

“Oh they’re swapping numbers!” Giggled Hanji, struggling to contain a squeal of glee at the unfolding scene before her.
“So another one of your matchmaking schemes has come to fruition?” Asked Mike, a knowing smirk tugging at his stubble framed lips.
“Cupid has nothing on me Sweetie!” Smiled Hanji proudly, watching Levi walk away towards the canteen exit before glancing over at you and giving you an enthusiastic thumbs up gesture.
Things were proceeding better than she could have predicted.

Chapter Text

Survey Corps Headquarters,
Year 844

Checking his reflection in the mirror and running his hands through his hair, Levi tucked his fresh crisp white shirt into his black dress trousers and picked his cravat up from the bed.
He hated these fancy balls that the nobles held to show off their wealth, but unfortunately they provided a perfect opportunity for the military commanders to raise funds necessary to ensure the smooth running of their respective regiments.
The Military Police were the worst for hogging almost eighty percent of the budget set by Premier Zackley and the government for daily rations and weapons funds, everything else for the Garrison and Survey Corps had to be obtained by sucking up to the nobles.
This was where Levi came into play for the Survey Corps cause, being Humanity’s Strongest Soldier he was always the one that those snobs wanted to speak to...especially the ladies who would swoon and try to attract his attention.
If there was one thing he hated more than Erwin parading him in front of the nobles like a prize hog at a village fair, it was the unwanted attention and flirting from their daughters who wanted to further themselves by becoming his wife and bearing his children.
“Tch!” He shuddered at the idea of being tied to one of the rich aristocratic families, they had no morals or sense of duty and they certainly didn’t have any compassion or respect for what the Survey Corps stood for.
Hopefully with him having a companion tonight they would back off and leave him alone, although he doubted that very much. If anything they would probably start getting catty and jealous, noble women were the worst for being malicious gossipers and tearing strips off each other for no reason other than they could.
A moment later, a series of soft knocks on his office door broke him out of his thoughts.
Frowning he picked up his jacket and exited the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
“Name and business.” He inquired in a bored tone, placing the neatly folded item down on his desk while he finished tying his cravat.
Although judging by the time, he had a feeling he knew who the visitor was.
“It’s f/n l/n Sir...you told me to…”
“Enter.”
The heavy wooden door slowly opened, pulling Levi’s attention towards it and causing his steel eyes to widen at the sight that greeted him.
F/n looked like a completely different person.
Her h/l h/c hair was styled into gentle waves that rested against her neck and flowed gracefully over her right shoulder, a subtle amount of black eyeliner drew attention to her e/c eyes, while her soft lips were adorned with a barely there tinge of gloss.
Finally an elegant black ankle length silk halter neck gown, a matching shawl linked through her elbows and sensible black shoes completed the new look.
“I um, wasn’t sure how I should dress for such an occasion so...I asked Squad Leader Nanaba for her help.” She smiled shyly, fighting the furious blush that was rising on her cheeks while her eyes studied Levi’s attire.
“You scrub up well Brat.” Nodded the raven haired captain approvingly, straightening his cravat once he had finished tying it.
“Thank you Captain.” She nervously bit her lip, remaining frozen to the spot. “I hope you don’t mind me saying...you look rather handsome.”
He raised an eyebrow in her direction, a small ghost of a smile tugging at his mouth for the briefest of seconds. It was the closest she was probably going to get to a “thank you” for her compliment, so she decided to take it.
“Alright, let’s go.” He remarked, picking up his jacket and draping it around his shoulders.

Upon reaching the courtyard, they found Erwin and Hanji stood already by the carriage waiting to take them to Lord Calendoro’s castle.
“Whoa, f/n is that you?” Gasped Hanji, her puppy brown eyes widening behind her glasses. “Damn Sweetie you look stunning!”
“Thanks Hanji, you look pretty amazing yourself!”
The other woman giggled softly and blushed, averting her gaze and shifting awkwardly on her feet.
She wore a beautiful blood red chiffon strapless ankle length gown with a pattern of roses from the waist down, a matching shawl and flat shoes. Her usually messy brown hair was straightened out, flowing freely around her shoulders and finally she had opted for a similar subtle style of makeup to that of f/n, but her lips were painted with a hint of red to make them appear fuller.
“Are you ready to go?” Questioned Erwin, straightening his black suit jacket and emerald bolo tie.
“Yeah let’s get this over with.” Said Levi, clearly wishing he was staying behind and not being forced to attend the ball.
“Ladies.” Smiled Erwin, offering Hanji his hand to help her into the carriage.
Once she was in and seated, Levi did the same for f/n, raising an eyebrow at the shocked expression on her face.
“Wow Shorty, look at you being a gentleman!” Giggled the bespectacled brunette when the young scout finally took his hand and climbed in, taking a seat opposite her and adjusting her dress while getting comfortable.
“Shut it Four Eyes!” Came the harsh reply as he joined them and sat next to f/n before Erwin climbed in and closed the door, signalling to the driver that they were ready to depart.
The sound a whip cracking sounded from the front of the carriage, followed by it jerking forward a second later and beginning its journey.
“So are you excited to be attending your first military ball?” Inquired Hanji as they left the Survey Corps headquarters and started down the dusty country road.
“I guess so...but what should I expect?” Asked f/n worriedly. “I grew up in a farming village, I’ve never associated with nobles before.”
“Tch, if you grew up on a farm you should be well trained in dealing with the pigs you'll encounter tonight!”
F/n quickly raised her hand to her mouth in a failed attempt to stifle a giggle, which ended up sounding more like she was choking than laughing.
“Levi!” Snapped Erwin, furrowing his bushy brows at the shorter male before flashing f/n a small smile. “The women like to gossip so expect lots of stares since you’ll be attending as Levi’s plus one, the men like to brag about their wealth so try and talk to them about your ideas for the regiment. It will most likely appeal to them to hear about your work in the weapons development branch, with a bit of luck it will help encourage them to invest more funds in the regiment.”
“I’ll try Sir.” She nodded, swallowing down the lump forming in her throat and turning to look out of the window at the slowly setting sun, tonight was certainly going to be a learning curve for her.

After roughly an hours journey, during which the sky had gone from a warm burnt orange to cold dark blue, they finally arrived at Lord Candeloro’s castle.
“We’re here Sir!” Announced the carriage driver, opening the door and allowing Erwin to exit first before helping Hanji.
Levi soon followed and held out a hand for f/n, as much as he hated attending these balls, they had certainly helped teach him how to behave when being accompanied by a female companion.
He would never admit it out loud, but he was secretly hoping he was making a good impression on her since being a gentleman was completely new to him and he felt extremely uncomfortable acting in such a manner.
F/n smiled and gingerly took his hand, holding her dress up slightly so she could exit to carriage without treading on it.
Her eyes soon turned to the vast foreboding castle before her, the first thing she noticed was that it was much grander than the Survey Corps headquarters.
Several large balconies adorned the outer walls that were visible, a large veranda with elaborately framed doors could be seen to her right and music could be clearly heard coming from the main hall.
“Shall we?” Asked Erwin, offering Hanji his arm before looking back to f/n and Levi. “Oh and Levi, try and be polite, acquiring funds is much easier if you use manners.”
“Tch!”
Rolling his eyes, Erwin led Hanji towards the main entrance to join the line of other guests that were awaiting admittance.
“Let’s go.” Said Levi bluntly, offering f/n his arm.
“Yes Sir.” She replied, cautiously wrapping the fingers of her left hand around his bended elbow and allowing him to lead her to where Erwin and Hanji were currently standing.
“Ah Commander Erwin, Captain Levi!” Said a smartly dressed male stood at the main door leading into the castle’s courtyard. “Welcome, Lord Candeloro is expecting you.”
Erwin nodded as the man stepped aside and allowed them to pass.
Making their way across the torchlit courtyard, they followed the other guests to the main hall where the ball was already well underway.
Silken drapes hung from the supporting pillars of the well lit hall, servants in formal attire walked through the crowd of elegantly dressed ladies and suited gentlemen carrying tall crystal glasses of expensive champagne, while over towards the large double doors which no doubt led further into the castle, a space had been cleared to make a dance floor of sorts while several musicians played a variety of classical instruments for the dancers.
“Wow!” Gasped f/n, blinking slowly and looking around at the unfamiliar scene before her.
“Pretty impressive right?” Giggled Hanji.
“Tch, obscene more like!” Scoffed Levi, his frown deepening as he adjusted his jacket. “We risk our lives fighting titans and these pigs hide away here gorging themselves stupid!”
“Enough!” Warned Erwin, stopping himself from berating the short captain any further when a short grey haired male with a well rounded stomach wearing an expensively tailored suit approached them. A smile broke out across his wrinkled features, causing his pale green eyes to narrow.
“Erwin, welcome!” He greeted, extending a hand and glancing over at Levi. “Ah you brought Captain Levi with you too, excellent! We’re honored by your presence.”
The raven haired male rolled his eyes and remained silent.
“Lord Candeloro.” Smiled Erwin, shaking the other man’s hand. “Thank you for your invitation.”
“So who do we have here?” He asked, casting an eye over f/n. “Of course I recognize your lovely section commander, but I don’t recall ever seeing this enchanting creature on your captain’s arm.”
“F/n l/n of the Weapons Development Branch.” Said Erwin proudly.
“Delighted to meet you my dear!” Said the lord with a sweeping bow, reaching for her hand and placing a delicate kiss on it.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Lord Candeloro.” Replied f/n nervously, instinctively tightening her grip on Levi’s elbow and moving slightly closer to him when the lord finally released her.
“Your beauty is wasted on the titans.” Lord Candeloro chortled, snapping his fingers and gesturing for one of the servants to bring him a glass of champagne. “A fine young lady such as yourself should be settled down with a husband and children, not messing around in a filthy military warehouse making weapons!”
“Without people like her who are willing to work hard to achieve freedom for humanity, pigs like you wouldn’t be able to lounge around getting even fatter all day long!”
“Levi, enough!” Snapped Erwin, shooting Hanji a quick warning glare when she started giggling.
Lord Candeloro it seemed was unperturbed by the short captain’s comment, probably because he was already intoxicated before he had approached them if the pungent smell of alcohol on his breath was anything to go by.
“Enjoy the rest of your evening Erwin.” He smiled, downing his glass of champagne and walking away.
“Thank you for that Sir.” Said f/n, offering Levi a weak smile of gratitude.
The raven haired male nodded and turned his attention to the commander, daring him to berate him for speaking his mind, which he decided against.
In all honesty it was probably for the best, Levi clearly wasn’t going to listen to him so it would be pointless trying.

The atmosphere of the ball was a pleasant one to say the least, the gentlemen were happily drinking and taking turns in asking the ladies to dance with them.
Erwin and Hanji were doing the rounds with the other military commanders trying to secure funding for future operations and Levi was stood off to the side trying to remain inconspicuous and avoid the angry glares of the ladies who were jealously exchanging catty remarks about him being accompanied by f/n, who was thankfully unaware of them and happily chatting to a merchant she knew from her home village a few feet away from him.
“Who does that little tramp think she is?” He heard one disgruntled noble woman complain rather loudly from behind her fan, the object being waved in a rather vicious manner that seemed to match her anger. “How dare she think she has any right to lay a finger on Humanity’s Strongest!”
“She’s clearly a filthy commoner pretending to be a lady!” Replied another. “Look at the way she carries herself, ugh she’s not even trying to keep her back straight and look at the way she’s fiddling with her dress!"
"So undignified!”
“Maybe she spends too much time laying on her back which is why she can't stand up straight, she looks like she could pass for the Survey Corps mount!”
The women cackled and clinked their glasses together before taking a sip and continuing to glare in his direction.
“Captain Levi?”
“Hmm?”
A young man in a dark blue suit and plain white shirt approached him and offered him a nervous smile as he gestured to a familiar female beside him.
“I just heard some of the remarks from those...well “ladies” and wanted to make sure she was returned to you safely.” He said, releasing f/n’s arm.
“Yeah, probably for the best.” Said Levi bluntly.
“Well then f/n, I shall leave you to it. Enjoy the rest of your evening and good luck on your next expedition.”
“Thanks Will, give my regards to your family.”
After seeing her friend off, f/n turned her attention to the women who were now glaring at her with thinly veiled contempt.
“What’s their problem exactly Captain?” She questioned, furrowing her brows. “Have I done something wrong?”
“Tch, I need some air.” He replied bluntly, holding out his arm to indicate that she was to accompany him.
“Oh...um okay.”
Glancing back at the jealous nobles again, f/n cautiously wrapped her fingers around his elbow and allowed him to lead her out onto the veranda.

Bright silver stars now dotted the dark evening sky over Lord
Candeloro's castle, a subtle chill beginning to sweep over the countryside and send most of the ball’s guests back inside where it was warm.
All but two that was…
F/n and Levi stopped at the edge of the large stone veranda and looked out over the dark plains, illuminated only by the pale glow from the full moon above when the clouds parted and allowed its light to penetrate them.
“Wow, this view is beautiful!” Said f/n softly.
“Yeah, not bad.” Replied Levi.
A small rumble of applause from inside the main hall reached his ears as the music stopped, perhaps the musicians needed a break? Who knew how long they had been playing now.
“Where do you suppose the commander and Hanji are?” Asked f/n. “I haven’t seen them since Lord Candeloro introduced himself.”
“Tch, probably got his tongue up some noble bastards ass.”
“Have you always been fond of such rude jokes Captain?”
F/n giggled.
Levi turned to look at her and raised an eyebrow, remaining silent and simply staring at her.
“Sorry.” She muttered, averting her gaze and feeling rather embarrassed for being so forward with him.
The wind picked up slightly, whistling through the balustrades and causing her to suppress a shiver as goosebumps rose on the exposed skin of her arms. Something which did not go unnoticed by the raven haired captain.
“Here.”
Removing his jacket from his shoulders, he carefully draped it around f/n.
He was feeling a little warm anyway so he didn’t mind letting her borrow it while they were out here, plus Erwin would probably be mad if one of their number ended up out of action because of a cold.
“Thank you Sir.” Smiled f/n, pulling the warm garment tighter around herself.
Levi nodded and turned his attention back towards the surrounding estate of the castle, a deep frown settling over his features as he wondered how much longer Erwin was going to spend schmoozing with the nobles.
He would’ve gladly given his right hand to be back at the Survey Corps headquarters in his office with a hot cup of black tea and possibly f/n for company, something which was currently confusing him.
Normally he preferred to be left alone, but even though this was the last place he wanted to be, he was finding it more tolerable purely because he had the young scout there with him...could it be that he was interested in her as more than just a comrade?
Before he could contemplate further the sound of someone else walking onto the veranda caught his attention.
One of the musicians, a violinist probably in need of a few minutes to themselves moved to stand a few feet away from him, flashing him a smile before proceeding to put the beautifully crafted instrument down on one of the stone benches so he could adjust the strings.
“Is everything okay Captain?”
Turning back to his left, Levi was met by f/n’s concerned gaze, however it was the way the moonlight caught her e/c eyes and made them sparkle that really got his attention.
Swallowing hard he found himself at a loss for words, this was completely new territory for him and he wasn’t sure he was comfortable with it.
Looking away again, he hoped she didn’t notice the faint blush that was now creeping across his pale cheeks, which was only made worse when the violinist chuckled lightly.
Picking up the instrument, he placed it on his shoulder and began to play a beautiful slow and gentle tune.


A/N: Listen as you read the next part! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQjs_kAW5Bw&list=LLE9fNV8T73ydl8pTmpTqEEg&index=91

“Psst, hey Levi!”
Levi blinked and looked around but there was no one there, he could've sworn he had heard someone trying to get his attention.
'Tch, so not only am I dealing with unfamiliar feelings that are making themselves known, but now I'm also hearing things?' He mused internally.
“Levi, behind you!” Came the hushed voice again.
Turning to look back towards the large doors, the short captain’s eyes narrowed when he spotted Hanji stood near them.
“Ask f/n to dance!” She whisper shouted, which surprisingly the other female didn’t hear.
“Piss off Shitty Glasses!” Mouthed Levi angrily.
“Dance with her damn you!”
“Are you alright Sir?” Inquired f/n, her brows furrowing slightly, causing his head to snap round to meet her gaze.
“Dance with me.”
“What?”
“Tch, did I stutter Brat?” He scoffed before he could stop himself.
“No Sir, I just....”
“So do it then!”
Swallowing hard and carefully placing the jacket down on one of the wrought iron chairs that were dotted about the veranda, f/n hesitantly moved closer to the raven haired male.
She raised her left hand and placed it on his shoulder, tensing slightly when he awkwardly placed his right hand on her waist.
Watching her closely, he then took her right hand in his left and looked into her eyes.
“Um Sir, have you ever done this before?” Questioned f/n nervously, noticing the slight hesitation Levi seemed to be displaying.
“No…” He muttered, averting his gaze for a moment. “I’ve seen these pigs do it often enough to learn the basic steps though."
“Okay, I trust you.” She smiled, lightly squeezing his hand for reassurance.
Raising his head and summoning his courage, Levi led her off in what he was hoping was some kind of waltz...at least that was what he thought it was.
The violinist smiled and continued to watch them as he played, adjusting his hold on the instrument he chuckled lightly once again as Levi clumsily attempted to twirl f/n under his arm and almost ended up holding her in a bear hug.
Thankfully the young female corrected herself at the last moment and finished in the correct position in front of him, ready to proceed again.
“Don’t hold my hand so tightly next time.” She advised. “Just grip it loosely otherwise I won’t be able to turn properly."
Clicking his tongue thoughtfully, Levi led her off again, this time however with a little more confidence in his step.
As the violinist neared the end of his tune, Levi once again attempted to twirl f/n under his arm.
This time however he loosened his grip on her wrist and the maneuver was completed perfectly, much to his relief.
Smiling warmly, f/n found a sudden burst of confidence and curtsied, having noticed from watching the others that evening that it was customary at the end of a dance.
Furrowing his brows slightly but deciding to go along with her, Levi bowed, keeping his steel eyed gaze locked with hers as they both straightened up together.
“Bravo, that was wonderful!” Squealed Hanji, applauding enthusiastically.
“What do you want Four Eyes?” Groaned Levi.
“Erwin wanted to know where you two were, he’s managed to secure the funding for the next expedition so we can leave.”
“Ready when you are Sir.” Said f/n evenly, retrieving his jacket and holding it out to him.
“Keep it until we return to the HQ.” He shrugged, offering her his arm.
“Alright.” Draping his over her shoulders she took his arm. “Thank you Sir...and thank you for the dance.”
“I’ll go find Erwin, meet us by the carriage.” Said Hanji, heading back inside and disappearing into the crowd.
Levi nodded and led f/n back inside, the sooner they left this annoying ball the better.
Still, the evening hadn’t been all bad, it had it’s good points...dancing with f/n being the main one.

The carriage ride back to the Survey Corps headquarters was a peaceful one.
Thankfully they had managed to make a hasty escape from the ball without needing to observe the social niceties of bidding Lord Candeloro good night, mainly because he was far too intoxicated to even notice how many guests were still in attendance.
However it had been a successful evening and Erwin’s cozying up to the nobles had paid off.
Many of them had been convinced to help fund the next expedition and there was even some left over that he planned to use for more weapons research to be carried out.
Arriving at the castle, the carriage came to a steady halt as they entered the courtyard.
“We’re back Sir.” Announced the driver, opening the door.
Erwin nodded and stepped out first, helping Hanji down a moment later, followed by Levi who offered a hand to assist f/n.
“So did you enjoy yourself?” Grinned Hanji knowingly, wiggling her eyebrows in the direction of f/n and Levi.
“Actually I did.” Smiled the young scout. “It was quite an experience.”
“Oh I bet it was!”
“Tch, what’s that supposed to mean?” Growled Levi, folding his arms and narrowing his steel grey eyes at her.
“Oh nothing!” She smiled, giggling manically when Erwin raised a bushy eyebrow at her in a questioning manner.
“Right well...” Began the commander, clearing his throat. “Thank you for your participation tonight. Get some rest, we have a busy schedule tomorrow.”
“Yes Sir.” Replied f/n, earning her a small smile from the tall blonde.
“See you two in the morning!” Winked Hanji, turning on her heels and making her way towards the north side of the courtyard, opting to take the quickest route back to her office.
“I better head back to my dormitory and get this dress off.” Mused f/n thoughtfully, looking down at her attire. “I need to return it to Nanaba once I’ve had it washed.”
Levi nodded and stared at her for a moment, feeling his heart race in his chest as their eyes met.
“I’ll walk you back to your dormitory.” He muttered. “It’s on the way to my office.”
“Oh, okay thank you.” She smiled shyly, averting her gaze and feeling her face heat up as a blush rose on her cheeks. “You’re proving to be quite the gentleman tonight Captain.”
“Levi.”
“Sorry, Captain Levi.”
“Tch, drop the formal shit f/n!” He snorted, instinctively offering her his arm, not even realizing he had done it until she took it. He’d been doing it all evening and now it had become second nature to him, much to his annoyance. “Just call me Levi.”
“Okay...Levi.”

Following the brief walk through the dimly lit orange glow of the familiar stone corridors, the two scouts finally stopped outside a simple heavy set wooden door.
Releasing Levi’s arm, f/n carefully pulled his jacket from around her shoulders and held it out to him.
“Thank you for tonight Levi.” She smiled, meeting his gaze and holding it. “I’ve really enjoyed it, especially our little dance on the veranda.”
Levi nodded awkwardly and took his jacket from her, folding it across his left arm.
The two of them stared at one another for what felt like an eternity, steel grey orbs meeting warm e/c ones like it was the most natural thing in the world.
“Levi?” Questioned f/n worriedly, finally breaking the silence between them.
“You’re so damned beautiful!” He muttered, causing her eyes to widen at his words.
Hesitantly moving closer to her, he slowly raised his hand to her face and rested his palm against her cheek.
Swallowing hard, f/n took the initiative and leaned into him, feeling his warm breath fanning across her face before their lips finally met in the briefest of embraces.
Pulling back she worriedly studied his reaction, relaxing a moment later when he allowed her a small smile and pulled her back to him, placing another gentle kiss on her soft lips…

Levi’s steel grey eyes opened wide as his body jerked beneath the bedsheets.
Breathing deeply, he ran a hand over his face and reached for his mobile phone to check the time.
It was seven in the morning.
He blinked in disbelief, had he really managed six hours uninterrupted sleep? That had to be a new personal best considering how badly his insomnia had been plaguing him as of late, still it made a nice change to not wake up in a cold sweat after seeing a vivid dream of him slaying giant human shaped monsters.
Pushing himself up he climbed out of bed and ran his hands back through his hair, it might have been the weekend which meant he didn’t have to go to work, but there was no chance of getting back to sleep and enjoying a lay in now that he was awake.
Checking through his phone messages he opened up the latest one in his inbox that had been received just before he put it on silent for the night so he cold try and get some rest, staring at it hard for a few moments.

From: F/n
To: Levi
Received: 22.00

Goodnight Levi, I'm looking forward to our date tomorrow night! x

Chapter Text

Over the past couple of days since arranging to go to the carnival together, you and Levi had spent quite a lot of your free time exchanging texts and getting to know each other a little better.
So far Levi had learned that you lived a few miles outside the main city with your father, you had a chocolate labrador called Sasha and that you used to play hockey for your school team during your last year there when you were a teenager.
In return, you had found out that Levi also liked dogs, was a bit of a tea connoisseur and had been banned from playing rugby in school when he was eleven after he got a little too rough and broke another pupils nose during a tackle.
However your interactions had not just been limited to merely texting each other, you'd also exchanged greetings if you happened to pass by each other in the canteen or when Levi came into the client consultant area on his way to a meeting with Erwin and the directors in the boardroom on the fourth floor.
Of course this sudden interaction between the two of you did not go unnoticed by your colleagues. 
Nanaba and Nickolas didn't seem to take a particularly strong interest, but they did wish you luck for your date.
Ilse and Luke however were not so subtle in their approach.
In fact, the very afternoon that you mentioned Levi had asked you out during tea break, Luke had pinned you to the chair while Isle took out her notebook and started interrogating you about what had happened.
Thankfully Nanaba had stepped in and told them to back off before they started shining a flashlight in your face and doing a "good cop, bad cop" style of questioning on you, which in all honesty would've been hilarious considering the shock of the raven haired male approaching you and asking you on a date was still slowly sinking in.
One thing was for certain though, it was going to be a very interesting morning tea break come Monday...

Picking up his phone when it vibrated again, Levi swiped his thumb across the screen to open the new text message.
“Someone’s popular today!” Smiled Kuchel, picking up her tea cup and raising it to her lips.
“It’s just f/n checking what time I’m picking her up tonight.” Shrugged Levi, sending a reply and putting the device back down on the kitchen table. 
“You two have been texting a lot, I’m surprised you don’t know everything about each other by now.”
Levi frowned, his mother was far too excited about him having a date and it was making him feel even more nervous than he already was.
Ever since he told her that you’d accepted his offer of going to the carnival together, she’d been pecking his head asking questions and trying to offer advice about how to make sure things went smoothly. He knew she meant well and appreciated her efforts, but now it had just become slightly repetitive.
“Don’t look at me like that!” She giggled, leaning over and pinching his cheek. “I can’t help being excited that my little boy is finally going on his first date!”
“I’m going to get ready.” He muttered, hastily standing up and exiting the kitchen before she could say another word.
Kuchel shook her head and sipped her tea, she knew full well she’d embarrassed him. The sudden rush of blood to his face which tinged his pale cheeks a rather rosy shade of pink was a huge giveaway. 
She couldn’t help it, she was proud of him for finding the courage to ask you out...even if he had been practically bullied into it by Hanji!
He’d always been such an introvert and never really had anyone he could class as a true friend that she had ended up fearing he may end up spending his life alone, so to find out that there was someone out there who was willing to give him a chance made her extremely happy.
Sighing deeply she frowned and drummed her fingers off the table, things hadn’t been easy for her family recently. 
Since her cancer had spread to her other lung she was starting to lose hope that she would beat it and had began thinking about putting things in order, much to her brother’s annoyance. Especially when she told him that she wasn’t going to inform Levi of what she was doing, reasoning that he was under enough pressure as it was helping to pay the expensive medical bills each month.
It was really taking its toll on him and she hated herself for it, he needed a break and some time to just do something for himself for a change.
Finishing her cup of tea she stood up and went over to the work top to wash up, she had faith that he was going to have a good time tonight and hopefully this date would help take his mind off things for an evening.

Exiting the shower, you wrapped a towel around yourself before proceeding to grab a smaller one to dry your hair with and heading back to your bedroom.
“Hey girl, how long have you been sat there?” You giggled, opening the bathroom door and finding your beloved pet staring up at you expectantly.
Walking towards the door slightly to your right, you pushed it open and allowed the chocolate labrador that had been patiently waiting for your return to enter the room and jump up on the bed. After a moment of sniffing and scratching the sheets, Sasha laid down and continued to watch your every movement with complete fascination.
Glancing over at the dressing table at the foot of your bed, you noticed your phone flashing and moved to pick it up.
Two new messages had been received during your absence, one from Levi and the other from Hanji.
Opening the app you read through them both.

To: F/n
From: Hanji
Received: 17.00

Hey Sweetie, can’t wait to see you and Shorty at the carnival tonight. Don’t worry I’ll let you spend some time alone with him first before coming to find you! Make sure you text me when you get there! xx


“Yeah you wish Hanji!” You giggled, closing the message and opening the one from Levi.

To: F/n
From: Levi
Received: 17.10


Hey, I’ll pick you up at half past six.

Checking the clock on your bedside table you saw that it was currently half past five, which gave you roughly an hour to get ready.
“Well Sasha.” You smiled, putting the phone down and walking over to your wardrobe. “I better get motivated and find something to wear.”

Levi was taking no chances as far as personal grooming was concerned.
After showering, he had a shave, trimmed his hair and then spent at least ten minutes making sure that not a single raven strand was out of place.
“Oi Pretty Boy!” Shouted Kenny through the locked bathroom door, followed by several loud thumps on the wood with his fist. “Quit preening yourself in there, some of us need to take a shit!”
“Tch, keep your panties on old man I’m nearly done!” He retorted, searching the bathroom cabinet for the aftershave his mother had brought him for his birthday.
Quickly slapping some on, he made sure the towel around his waist was secure and exited the bathroom.
“About damn time!” Growled his uncle, pushing past him and slamming the door shut, the lock clicking into place a moment later.
“Stop arguing you two!” Shouted Kuchel from her bedroom, making sure they could hear her over the loud hum of her oxygen machine.
Rolling his eyes, Levi made his way into his own room and closed the door. 
He’d already chosen his attire for the evening before showering.
A smart dark brown waistcoat, white long sleeved shirt and black jeans with a matching belt were already hung on the wardrobe door, while a pair of black shoes were placed in front of it.
Checking the time on his phone he noticed that it was almost quarter to six, he’d need to be leaving at around six o’clock if he wanted to make it to your house on time. 
You’d already sent him your address earlier that day and it happened to be in an area he was quite familiar with, so finding it wasn’t going to be a problem.
Drying himself off and tossing the towel into the laundry hamper in the corner of the room, he got dressed and checked his reflection in the full length mirror of the wardrobe door one last time.
Satisfied with his appearance, he picked up his wallet and keys from the bedside table and put them into his jeans pocket before retrieving his phone and sending you a quick text to let you know he was on his way.

Kuchel frowned and shifted slightly in her bed, adjusting the nasal cannula on her face before returning to reading her book.
A few moments later a gentle knock on the door distracted her.
“Yes?” She called, smiling when her son entered the room. “Oh Levi, you look so handsome!” 
“I’m heading off.” He said softly, standing next to the bed.
“Alright Sweetheart, good luck.” She replied, placing her book down on the bed and motioning for him to give her a hug before leaving. “Oh you smell nice, that’s the aftershave I got you for your birthday isn’t it?”
“Yeah.”
“Hmm, make sure you stash it somewhere safe so Kenny doesn’t decide to try and use it!” She warned as she released him and gently cupped his face, placing a loving kiss on his forehead before letting go of him completely.
“Try and use what?” Said another voice.
“Never you mind!” Answered Kuchel sternly before turning her attention back to Levi. “Go and enjoy yourself, your uncle will keep an eye on me.”
“Heh oh yeah, I almost forgot you’ve got a hot date tonight haven’t you?” Snickered Kenny, taking a seat at the foot of the bed and folding his arms. “Good luck with that, oh and don’t forget to stick something on the end of it if she puts out!”
“Kenny!” 
“Tch, you’re disgusting!” Snorted the younger male, walking out of the room and closing the door behind him.
“Do you have to be so crude?” Groaned Kuchel, picking up her book and searching for where she had gotten to.
“Oh come on, I’m merely trying to offer the runt some adv-ouch!”
“Stop calling him that!” She snapped, leaning forward and hitting him over the head with her book. “Since I know you won’t apologize, make yourself useful and fetch me a glass of water.”
“Fine, back in five minutes.” He grumbled, standing up and rubbing the back of his head before leaving the room, not noticing his younger sister smirk evilly to herself as he did.
One day he would finally learn not to call her son a runt...but clearly, today was not that day.

Pulling up outside your house, Levi exited the car and made his way to the front porch.
He was roughly five minutes early, but hopefully you’d be nearly ready by now.
Exhaling deeply and knocking on the door he was immediately answered by the sound of a dog barking from the other side, followed a minute later by a tall/short man with h/l h/c hair and e/c eyes opening it.
“I’m here to pick f/n up, is she ready yet?”
“Ah you must be Levi?” Smiled your father, quickly bending to grab the animal’s collar and hold it back while he stepped aside. “Come in, she won’t be long.”
Doing as he was asked Levi entered and looked down at the large brown dog.
Its tail was wagging madly as it tried to get to him, several loud whimpers and whines being directed at him.
“Calm down Sasha!” Scolded your father, gesturing for Levi to head into the living room. “Take a seat, I’ll give f/n a shout.”
Walking into the living room, the raven haired male silently sat in the plush leather arm chair and looked towards the open glass paned door as your father released Sasha and she made a dash for him.
“F/n, Levi’s here.” Called your father from the bottom of the stairs. 
“Okay I’m nearly ready, give me two minutes!”
Levi raised an eyebrow when Sasha stopped in front of him and started to eagerly sniff him, her tail whipping back and forth happily as he raised his hand to her head and gently scratched behind her right ear.
“She won’t be long.” Smiled your father, entering the living room and sitting down on the sofa. “Sasha seems to have taken a shine to you, keep doing that to her ear and you’ll have a friend for life!”
“I’ve always liked dogs.” He replied, moving his hand lower to tickle her chin as she raised her head and made an attempt to lick his face, which he easily dodged. 
“So you work at Survey Corps with f/n then?”
“Yeah.”
Your father nodded thoughtfully and continued to watch him stroke Sasha before the sound of you finally making your way downstairs finally distracted him and prevented him from asking further questions. 
“Ah speaking of f/n…”

You frowned and checked your reflection in the mirror, delicately running your fingers through your freely flowing hair.
After much deliberation, you had opted to wear a modest halterneck white dress with various colorful flowers printed on it that stopped just above your knees, flesh coloured tights and your favourite knee high boots. 
When it came to your makeup, you’d opted for some subtle smokey eyeshadow, a hint of eyeliner and a very pale shade of lipgloss.
Suddenly the sound of Sasha barking downstairs at someone knocking on the door caught your attention, in all honesty you’d not even heard her jump off the bed and leave the room.
“F/n, Levi’s here.” Called a voice that was easily recognizable as your father.
“Okay I’m nearly ready, give me two minutes!”
Exhaling deeply you quickly searched the wardrobe again for your thin black cardigan and shoulder bag to keep your phone, house key and purse in before checking your reflection one last time and making your way downstairs.

Levi looked up at the sound of footsteps slowly crossing the laminate wood of the hallway, his steel grey eyes widening as he stood up when you appeared in the doorway.
“Hi Levi.” You smiled shyly, placing your hands behind your back so he couldn’t see you fidgeting with them.
“F/n.” He greeted quietly, not quite sure what else he was meant to say for a moment before adding a hasty “You look good.” 
Your father chuckled and shook his head, you’d told him Levi wasn’t exactly confident around women but he hadn’t believed you until now. 
“Are you ready to go?”
“Yeah sure.”
“Right then.” Smiled your father, gaining yours and Levi’s immediate attention as he stood up and approached you, placing a gentle kiss on your forehead. “I won’t treat you like a pair of sixteen year olds and give you a lecture about behaving yourselves…”
“Yeah please don’t!” You giggled. “It’s kinda embarrassing considering I’m twentyone and Levi’s twentyfive.”
“Oi, less of your cheek young lady!” He chided, tapping the underside of your chin with his index finger and escorting the two of you out of the house. “Have a good night.”
After watching the pair of you get into Levi’s car and drive away, your father closed the door and returned to the living room, staring at a silver framed photograph on the mantlepiece showing a young woman with h/l h/c hair and e/c eyes holding a small girl around two years old in her arms.
“Well m/n.” He said with a sad smile. “Our little girl is finally all grown up and going on her first date, he seems a decent guy so I’m sure you’d have approved if you were still here...”
A low groan from behind him followed by a nudge and several licks of his hand soon broke him out of his one sided conversation.
“Alright, I’ll feed you.” He chuckled, scratching Sasha’s chin and glancing back at the photograph one last time before heading into the kitchen, followed by the eager chocolate labrador a split second later.

Trost Spring Carnival was always a sell out event for the city and nearby surrounding areas. 
Held in a large open field on the southern outskirts, it was eagerly anticipated by children and adults alike. 
It boasted several large rides, including a carousel and ferris wheel, various food stalls ranging from traditional to exotic and games for players of all ages and abilities.
By the time you and Levi arrived, loud music was already being pumped through the speaker system as entertainers in brightly coloured costumes, teetering around on stilts were busy walking around and greeting guests as they made their way to the main gate.
“So do you come here every year?” You inquired, eyeing up the shooting gallery and deciding to come back to it when there wasn’t such a pushy crowd surrounding it.
“A few times with my mother when I was younger.” Levi shrugged, putting an arm out to stop you from going any further when a group of small children ran out in front of you, screaming and giggling at each other.
“Tch, damned noisy brats!” 
“They’re not as bad as the drunk teenagers.” You reasoned, turning your attention to a stall on the left when a loud cheer went up from the assembled crowd. “Fancy seeing what’s going on over there?” 
“Alright.” 
Approaching the stall, the two of you found it to be an arm wrestling competition.
Participants paid to enter against the stall owners seven foot tall, well muscled and very scary looking husband.
“Who fancies trying to beat me?” He yelled, showing off his naked tattooed upper body for his audience with a series of poses that made his already bulging muscles ripple under his skin.
“Come on folks, try your luck!” Called his wife. “The winner gets their pick of any prize they like! We’ve got fine wines for the adults, cuddly toys for your children, even some rare tea leaves from Mitras for all you lovely ladies!”
Levi’s head jerked up at the mention of rare tea leaves, an action that did not go unnoticed by you.
“Oi, over here!” He shouted, drawing the crowd’s attention as they parted to allow him through.
“Oh a new challenger!” Smiled the stall owner, gesturing for him to take a seat at the table her husband currently occupied.
“Levi you can’t be serious?” You gasped, e/c eyes flicking between him and the man he was planning to face. “He’s twice your size, you’ll end up with a broken arm!”
“I’d listen to your girlfriend if I were you Shrimp, she talks a lot of sense!” Called the stall owners husband, a dirty smile slowly spreading across his bearded face. “Hey Sweetheart, anytime you fancy stepping out with a real man, give me a call!”
“Okay, forget what I just said about not taking him on...” You growled looking Levi full square in the face. “Knock him on arrogant ass!”
The raven haired male nodded and removed his jacket, handing it over to you he then rolled his sleeves up and made his way over to the table where the stall holders husband was sitting. 
“Good luck pal.” She smirked, eagerly accepting the entry fee before gesturing for him to prepare for the match.
Narrowing his eyes Levi got comfortable and raised his right hand, placing his elbow on the table and glaring at his opponent, completely oblivious to the sudden silence that had descended over the audience. 
“Heh, hope your girlfriend is a nurse Shrimp!” Scoffed the stall owner’s husband, making sure to bang his elbow down on the wooden table, causing it to shake. He then gripped Levi’s hand tight enough to make him wince and almost send it numb. “You’ll need one by the time I’m done with you!”
“Tch!”
“Okay boys, on three.” Yelled the stall owner, turning to the crowd and encouraging them to countdown with her. “One...Two...THREE!”
Levi gritted his teeth and tightened his hold on the other man’s hand, grunting slightly as he kept his arm steady, much to his opponents annoyance.
“Oh not bad Shrimp!” Taunted the older male. “You’re stronger than you look!”
The crowd went wild cheering and braying for a winner to emerge. 
“Come on Levi!” You yelled, watching with barely concealed worry that your date had bitten off more than he could chew. 
Still he was doing well at holding his own so far, maybe he actually stood a chance at winning.
Several tense moments passed and they were still at a stalemate, however Levi had noticed that his opponent who had been doing this for some time prior to his arrival was starting to weaken. 
The table shook beneath the two men's arms, muscles straining and heated glares of intimidation passing between them in an attempt to gain dominance over the other.
Tightening his grip once more, he inhaled deeply and held it, throwing every ounce of strength he had into his current task and managing to slam the other man’s hand down onto the table’s surface.
“Yes!” You screamed in delight, rushing forward through the applauding crowd and wrapping your arms around Levi’s neck, hugging him from behind. “That was amazing, I can’t believe you beat him!”
The raven haired male tensed up momentarily at the feeling of you embracing him, but soon relaxed again when you let go and blushed as you handed him his coat. Turning around he raised an eyebrow at the now stunned man staring up at him, rotating his wrist to try and work out the stiffness.
“Well I underestimated you and paid the price.” He smirked, offering a congratulatory nod. “Good job.”
“Okay then, pick your prize.” Smiled the stall owner, gesturing to the shelves behind her which were loaded with various items. “What tickles your fancy? Pick anything you like!”
“The tea leaves.” 
“You got it!” She replied, retrieving the box from the shelf and handing it over before once again addressing the crowd and daring the next challenger to come forward.
“Ready to go?” Inquired Levi.
“Yeah, fancy checking out some of the other entertainers?” You replied, flashing him another shy smile. “You don’t really strike me as a roller coaster loving type of guy.”
“You’re right, I’m not.” He answered bluntly, however his tone soon softened when he thought about how good it had felt when you hugged him a few moments ago...even if you had caught him off guard. Clearing his throat he cautiously reached for your hand, his heart skipping several beats when your fingers closed around his without hesitation. “So...where are we going next?”

“Oh come on Sweetie, let’s go on the Hyper Blaster!” Giggled Hanji, scoffing down another large mouthful of pink candy floss and pointing to a large tower where the riders were launched up at at high speed before plummeting back down to earth.
“No way!” Cringed Moblit nervously. “I just ate, I’d prefer to keep my food in my stomach!”
“It was one hotdog!”
“Yes and I’d prefer not to bring it back up!”
Rolling her eyes the bespectacled brunette took another large bite out of her sweet treat and pulled out her mobile phone, frowning at the fact she hadn’t received any messages.
“Ugh come on f/n text me back!” She groaned, slipping the device back into her jeans pocket and resuming munching on her candy floss as she scanned the large crowd. “I wanna know how your date with Shorty is going.”
As if on cue, Moblit tapped her shoulder to get her attention before pointing to a familiar raven haired male sat at a nearby table in front of one of the food stalls.
“Hey Hanji, isn’t that Mr Ackerman over there?” 
“Where?”
“Over there, I think he’s with someone though. It’s hard to tell from this distance.”
“Perfect!” She squealed, stuffing her candy floss back into its packaging and sealing it before wrapping an arm around the now terrified male. “Moblit my dear, it’s time to turn this duo into a quartet!”

Chapter Text

After Levi’s victory against the arm wrestling challenge stall holder’s husband, the two of you had decided to have something to eat before proceeding to check out the rest of the entertainment the carnival had to offer that year.
Having found an unoccupied picnic style table near a row fast food stands, the two of you sat down out of the way of the main crowd with a burger and a slush while the conversation turned towards Levi’s prize.
“So on a scale of one to ten, how rare is that tea?” You asked, swallowing down another mouthful of food.
Levi raised an eyebrow and eyed up the metal container, it was a brand of tea he’d already sampled and added a few of its leaves to the collection he kept in his room.
“About an eight.” He shrugged, taking another bite of his burger.
“Can I?” You inquired, nodding to it.
“Okay.”
Making sure to wipe your hands thoroughly before touching it, remembering Nanaba's warning about what a clean freak he was, you picked up the container and read the description of its contents.
“Mitrian Black Leaves, I’ve never heard of it being available around these parts. Is it any good?”
“There’s quite a strong burnt aftertaste to it, but that’s down to the way the leaves are dried out.” He replied, wiping his mouth and hands on his napkin before picking up his slush. “Once picked they spend three days in heated wooden cabin, then an hour in an oven at around two hundred and fifty degrees for three hours until they shrivel up.”
“Wow, quite a long winded process then.” You mused, placing the container back down on the table. “So is there a specific way to brew it?”
“Yeah, but it’s a little complicated to explain.”
“Maybe you could show me sometime?”
Levi’s steel eyes widened at that comment, not entirely sure whether you were just saying it in passing or genuinely meant it.
“Alright then.” He muttered, distracting himself with a sip of his slush, which meant he missed the shy smile and accompanying shake of your head which followed.
He was so unsure of himself when it came to you attempting to flirt with him that you couldn’t help but find it endearing, it had always been your weakness when it came to the opposite sex and Levi had somehow ticked all the boxes of what you looked for in a man without even realizing it.
He was shy, awkward at flirting and starting a conversation...but when it was about a topic he had an interest in he became confident and more relaxed.
The fact you found him physically attractive was an added bonus.
Despite the fact he mainly glared or frowned at everything, he had beautiful stormy eyes grey eyes, shiny well groomed raven hair with a neatly shaved undercut, strong cheekbones and a well structured jaw...basically to you he was practically perfect!
Now that you were getting to know him a little better, you were struggling to understand why you had been so reluctant to let Hanji set you up on this date...well that was a lie. You remembered all too clearly the way he lost his temper with her a couple of weeks ago and were terrified he would shout at you as soon as look at you. Thankfully when he asked to to accompany him to the carnival he had shown you his vulnerable side that hardly anyone knew about, but to be fair regarding Hanji, she did kind of provoke a rather snappy response from most people if she pressed the right buttons.
Suddenly, almost as if on cue, a familiar voice broke through your thoughts as you reached for your slush, almost poking yourself in the eye with the straw.
“F/n! Shorty! Fancy seeing you two here!”

“Hanji wait!” Protested Moblit, desperately struggling to get free of the vice like grip she had on his arm as she dragged him towards the table you and Levi were occupying.
Hanji however wasn't listening, far too interested in her own personal agenda as a manic smile spreading across her face when they came within range of you.
“F/n! Shorty! Fancy seeing you two here!”
Levi’s head jerked around almost instantly, a glare of annoyance imminently fixing itself onto his face.
“What the hell are you doing here Shitty Glasses?”
You tried and failed to suppress a giggle at his nickname for her, somehow it sounded a lot funnier now you weren’t at work.
“I wanted to see how your date was going.” She smiled innocently, raising her head slightly when she saw you. “Oh wow f/n, you look stunning!”
“Thanks, but um..." You started nervously. "I’m gonna have to agree with Levi, we’re kinda trying to have a date here and we really don’t want a third wheel!”
“Oh no don’t worry I won’t be playing gooseberry!” Laughed the bespectacled brunette, wrapping an arm around Moblit and pulling him in close. “I have my own date!”
“Piss off and leave us alone!” Growled Levi, slamming his now empty slush cup down onto the table.
“Oh don’t worry we won’t embarrass you! Will we Moblit?”
“Hanji, I really think we should just let them enjoy their date in peace!” Muttered the petrified male, swallowing hard when he noticed the enraged look on the shorter male's face.
“Tch, that’s the first sensible thing I’ve ever heard you say!” Scoffed Levi, raising an eyebrow at you when he caught you smirking out the corner of his eye.
“Aw come on, it’ll be fun!” She pleaded, batting her long eyelashes at him in an attempt to win him over. “You and f/n, me and Moblit…”
“What part of “no” don’t you understand?”
“Hanji please can you just leave us alone?” You asked, conveying a stern tone but also trying not to sound too harsh at the same time. "For me?"
“Oh alright, since you asked so nicely.” She sighed, however unbeknownst to you and Levi, she had a cunning plan in mind to make sure she didn’t miss anything. “Come on Moblit, let’s go watch the knife throwers.”
“Pain in the ass.” Muttered Levi, rolling his eyes and retrieving his tea leaves. “So what do you want to do now?”
“Hmm, not sure.” You replied, trying to look through the crowd and get a better idea of if there was anything of interest nearby and spotting a board displaying a picture of a woman clad in a leather bikini with matching high heeled boots twirling around two flaming torches. “You like fire dancers?”
The raven haired male shrugged, anything that meant he was as far away from Hanji and her meddling was fine by him.
“Anything that gets us away from Four Eyes.”
“Okay let’s go.”

Impatiently hiding behind one of the food stalls until you and Levi finally stood up from the table and made your way back towards the crowd, another manic grin spreading across Hanji's lips at the sight of Levi reaching for your hand and you more than willingly accepting his request.
“Eek they’re holding hands!” She squealed, raising her fists to her face and shaking them like she was holding a pair of maracas. “Come on Moblit, we have to hurry before we lose them!”
“I thought we were going to watch the knife throwers?” Questioned the confused male, quickly chasing after his companion as she jumped out of her hiding place and started to follow her quarry.
“Oh they can wait! F/n will probably take him to see them later, now hurry up before we lose them!”

Loud heavy bass music was being pumped out of the speakers set up at the fire dancers stage by the time you and Levi arrived and found an empty space among the audience members which provided a good view of the action.
The dancers took it in turns to perform throughout the night, that way each of them managed to have rest intervals and didn’t end up risking injury through being too exhausted to concentrate on their act.
Two beautiful women clad in black leather bikinis, fish net tights and black calf high leather stiletto boots moved into view and took center stage. Confident smiles adorned their faces as they lit their torches and started to twirl them around, creating a mesmerizing orange pattern as the flames were whipped around their bodies at high speed.
The crowd started to cheer and clap as they continued their routine, the tricks becoming slightly more dangerous as the excitement grew.
“Remember kids, do not try this at home!” Said a voice over the speaker system. “These people are trained professionals!”
“Tch, they probably only have that announcement because some stupid brat decided to try it and go their ass burned!” Scoffed Levi.
“Oh and I suppose you were always a good little boy who did exactly as they were told?” You giggled and playfully nudged him in the ribs, earning you a raised eyebrow and unimpressed glare in return.
“Well I wasn’t stupid enough to mess around with fire!”
“Okay, so what was the most dangerous thing you ever did as a child?”
Levi frowned and stared you in the eye, his glare softening as he studied your appearance.
The way your h/l, h/c hair gently blew around your face when the wind picked up, how the light from the dancers flames caught your e/c eyes and made them stand out against the darkened shadows around the stage designed to enhance the performance. To him you looked as beautiful as you had in the dream where you danced together on the moonlit veranda in his previous life.
“Well?” You questioned, flashing him a cheeky smile and snapping him out of his thoughts.
“Tch, my uncle caught me playing with his knife collection when I was five.” He muttered, looking back towards the stage as the performers set up for their next display. “Now you’re going to tell me you never got into trouble as a brat aren’t you?”
“Wrong actually!” You giggled rather cheekily. “When I was eight my dad was building me a climbing frame for the back garden, he went into the house to take a phone call and when he came back out...I’d drilled a hole through the neighbour’s fence and pierced their inflatable paddling pool...which was full of water at the time!”
Levi’s eyes widened slightly, he’d never imagined someone who looked so innocent to be such a rebel, it genuinely surprised him.
Another cheer went up from the crowd, pulling your attention towards the stage once more as the dancers swapped over and a new act commenced.
This time the dancer was blindfolded and swinging around two pieces of rope with the ends set on fire.
She twirled and jumped, effortlessly landing with all the grace of a ballerina while still managing to find her way around the stage.
The display became even more impressive as she moved to stand with the toe of her boot on the edge of the stage and whip the flames of the rope out above the audience's heads.
“Shit, that has to take years of practice!” You said thoughtfully, moving closer to Levi and practically pushing your body into his as the dancer turned on her heels and approached the side of the stage where you were stood.
The flames licked the air above your heads, a loud gasp going up from the portion of the crowd the dancer was currently performing near as she once again stepped to the very edge of the stage, the toe of her left boot stopping before the drop down to the grass below.
“Tch, she’d be screwed if it went wrong!”
“Are you trying to jinx it?”
Rolling his eyes, Levi turned his attention back to the stage as the dancer returned to the center of it, removing her blindfold and bowing as the audience applauded.
“So anything else you want to see?” You asked with a smile.
Levi furrowed his brows thoughtfully, however a rather irritated frown soon found its way onto his face when he caught sight of a certain bespectacled brunette grinning at him from the opposite side of the stage…

“Aha! There they are!” Giggled Hanji, spotting Levi glaring at her through the crowd as the fire dancer’s impressive display came to an end.
“Hanji why can’t you just leave them alone?” Groaned Moblit, he never would understand her love of trying to set people up on dates and then spying on them to see what happened like it was some sort of scientific experiment.
“Oh Moblit, Moblit, Moblit.” She sighed, wrapping an arm around him and pulling him close. “If only you could see what I see.”
“What would that be?”
“Those two are meant to be together, they just need a little persuasion. Poor Shorty is shy and clumsy when it comes to romance and f/n is terrible at reading the signs that someone likes her. Can’t you see that they are in desperate need of my help?”
“The look perfectly fine to me.”
“Oh Sweetie, you’re as blind as f/n! Would you like to borrow my glasses?”
“I can see quite clearly thank you.” Grunted Moblit, wrestling himself free of her tight grip and straightening his shirt.
Rolling her eyes and giggling, Hanji soon found the smile disappearing from her face when a low growling voice spoke out behind her.
“What part of “piss off” don’t you understand Shitty Glasses?”
“Eh?”
Turning around, she was met by the annoyed glare of not one, but two people…
“F/n! Shorty! Fancy seeing you two here! Impressive display huh? I certainly couldn't pull off moves like that!”
“Drop the bullshit Hanji, we know you followed us!” You groaned, folding your arms. “Just because you persuaded me to go on a date with Levi doesn’t mean we want you with us!”
“So you’re having a good time then?” She asked, hope shining in her puppy brown eyes.
“We’d be having an even better time if you’d leave us alone!” Snarled Levi.
“Okay I’ll make a deal with you.” Offered Hanji. “Come and do one attraction with me and then I’ll leave you alone for the rest of the night!”
You and Levi exchanged a disbelieving glance, you both knew her well enough to be aware that she was like a dog with a bone. Once she got something in her head, she would not let it go and the more you tried to get it away from her, the tighter she held on.
“Fine, one attraction then you quit following us.”
“Yay so where shall we go?” She squealed excitedly.
“Well the shooting gallery crowd seems to have thinned out a little and since I can’t technically shoot you…” You mused with an evil smirk.
“Oh f/n, you’re such a kidder!” Giggled Hanji, happily taking Moblit’s hand and skipping away, dragging him along behind her completely oblivious to his yelps of protest.
“You’re not joking are you?” Inquired Levi, a hint of amusement creeping into his voice as he took your hand in his.
You flashed him an evil smile and a cheeky wink, interlocking your fingers with his and leading him away from the fire dancers stage.
“Let’s just say I now have a better understanding of why you shout at her so often!”

“Come on guys and girls! Five shots per gun, three targets to win a prize! Take down all five and win something from the top shelf!”
The loud voice of the shooting gallery stall owner rang out across the crowd of children with their parents as your quartet grew closer to it, each child eagerly cheering on the mother or father aiming to win them the top prize.
Some of the older children were also trying their luck, some were rather good, while others were a little timid.
“One more turn please?” Asked a small blonde haired girl with bright blue eyes, looking to the slightly taller dark haired female next to her. She was a little too young to be the child’s mother, her sister perhaps? You mused thoughtfully.
“Historia you’ve already had two turns!” Laughed the older female.
“Third time lucky?” Smiled the blonde.
“Last try!”
You giggled and shook your head, she reminded you of yourself when you were that age. You had been a nightmare pestering your father to let you do something until he gave in, usually it worked like a charm, but there were occasions when he did put his foot down, as most parents did.
“Another five over here please!” Called the dark haired female, fumbling around in her bag for her purse.
“Here you go my dear.” Smiled the stall owner, handing over a freshly loaded gun before noticing your group stood next to them. “Any takers?”
“Yeah I’ll have a go.” You nodded, handing over the entry fee and taking a gun from him.
“You know how to shoot that thing?” Asked Levi curiously, folding his arms and raising an eyebrow at you as you took the weapon.
“I was in the Trost Military Cadets Brigade for five years as a teenager.” You grinned. “One of the top marksman when I was a mere lance corporal, I could strip a weapon and lay all the parts out in a neat line in less than a minute!”
Shouldering the weapon and aiming carefully, you closed your left eye and lined the muzzle up with the first target.
Slowly pulling the trigger until it tensed ready to fire, you held your breath and squeezed it until the shot was fired. the loud ping of the metal pellet hitting the target rang out through the wooden stall as it fell flat.
“Wow nice work f/n!” Clapped Hanji, watching with barely concealed excitement as you aimed slightly the right and repeated the action again, once more taking down the target.
“Huh, not bad.” Mused Levi, watching you with interest as the third and fourth targets fell in quick succession.
“Nice shooting lass!” Complimented the stall owner as the fifth and final target fell. “I’d say you’ve earned this!”
He reached up to the top most shelf and pulled down a rather cute looking light brown bear with a black aviator jacket, flight goggles and a pilot’s hat
“Thanks.” You smiled, taking the teddy from him, however your attention was soon caught by the little blonde girl stood on your right who had only managed to take down two targets in her last round.
“Okay Historia that’s it now, we have to go home.” Smiled the dark haired female.
“One more turn, please Frieda?”
“We can’t I’m broke!”
“Oh...okay.”
Frowning at your prize you then looked towards the child again, feeling a small tug at your heart when she was led away.
“Hey Historia.” You called, flashing the two females a small smile when they turned back to you. “Here.”
The little girl's eyes widened when you held out the teddy to her, nodding to indicate that she was okay to take it.
“We can’t accept that!” Gasped Freida, her pale blue eyes flicking from the teddy up to you.
“Yeah you can, go on take it.” You encouraged. “I can always have another go.”
Historia turned and pleadingly looked up at her sister, a tense silence following.
“Thank you.” Smiled Freida. “That’s very kind of you.”
“Look after it for me okay?” You said softly, as the small blonde child eagerly took it and hugged it to her chest.
“I will, thank you.”
“Alright Historia, let’s go.”
Taking her little sister’s hand, the older female led her away back through the crowd.
"Bye!" She called, a huge beaming smile still gracing her face. Freida nodded in gratitude before the two of them disappeared from view, concealed by the still substantial gathering of carnival goers.
“Aw f/n you big softy!” Laughed Hanji, lightly shoving your shoulder.
“Well I felt bad for the poor kid, she tried so hard.” You shrugged, looking over at Levi who was stood as still as stone staring blankly at the shooting gallery as if he was in a trance.
“Levi? Are you okay?”

Trost District Market, Southern Wall Rose,
Year 844:

“Ugh! How come we’re stuck doing the supply run?” Moaned Hanji.
“We are the last ones to pack everything up ready to move to the new headquarters, so technically we drew the short straw.” F/n replied, failing to notice the short raven haired male they were following suddenly stop and spin around to face her. “Besides we-ooft!”
“Hey, watch where you’re going Brat!” He snapped as she collided with his chest and nearly head butted him.
“Sorry Le-um Captain.” She muttered sheepishly, almost forgetting that while she was on duty she had to address him as “Sir” or “Captain.”
Over the past few months, the two of them had started courting, however during duty times and on expeditions they maintained a strict superior/subordinate relationship.
It was hard to keep up the facade at times, especially when f/n foolishly forgot to check her surroundings and started to tease him.
The last time had been when she waited around the corner for him near his office and grabbed his cravat and pulled him close for a quick snog. Unfortunately their little clinch was witnessed by Mike, who had chuckled at the scene before him and spent the next week winding them up by pursing his lips and making kissing gestures every time he saw the two of them together.
“Couldn’t we have just waited until we got to the new headquarters and picked all this stuff up from the Shiganshina District market instead?” Questioned Hanji, loading several brooms that had been tied together onto the waiting horse and cart. “Seriously Shorty, how many of these do you actually need?”
F/n bit her tongue to stifle the giggle threatening to escape her lips and rolled her eyes.
“I’m gonna go grab some apples, anyone want anything?”
“Oh yeah I’ll have one if you’re offering.” Smiled the bespectacled brunette.
“Okay, back in a minute.” She replied, walking off towards the fruit stall a few feet away, watched closely by Levi.
“Oi Four Eyes, keep an eye on the cart.”
“Sneaking off for a quick intimate moment with your girlfriend?” Giggled Hanji, giving him a cheeky wink.
Rolling his eyes he walked over towards the stall where f/n was currently standing talking to two small children, a frown gracing his features as he drew closer and picked up on the heated conversation taking place...

“Look you runts, you don’t have enough coins for this bag of apples. So either come back when you have more or beat it!” Snapped the merchant, waving a bulky cloth bag at them.
“Hey, do you have to be so harsh?” Asked f/n. “They’re just kids.”
“Look lady, you’re a scout. So don’t tell me how to run my business, haven’t you got an expedition to risk your life on?”
“What, so fat pigs like you can pick on little kids?”
“Why you…”
“What’s going on here?”
“Whoa, it’s Captain Levi!” Gasped one of the boys, his eyes going wide in awe at the sight of Humanity's Strongest Soldier stood a mere two feet away from him.
“Ah Captain, maybe you could instill some discipline into this sorry excuse for a soldier!” Snorted the merchant, shooting f/n a harsh glare. “I thought you lot were supposed to show respect to your superiors?”
Ignoring him, f/n turned to the boys and smiled softly, squatting down to their level.
“How much more money do you need boys?”
“They cost five gold sovereigns, but we only have three.” Muttered the shorter of the two, averting his gaze.
“Our mother is ill, we wanted to use our pocket money to buy some apples to make her feel better.” Said the other, fiddling with the hem of his shirt.
“Hmm.”
Standing back up straight, f/n reached into the left breast pocket of her jacket and pulled out a handful of coins, counting them out before extending her upturned palm to the merchant.
“I’ll take that bag of apples…” She growled, earning a mutter from the other nearby citizens looking to buy from the merchant. “Unless of course, my money isn’t good enough for you?”
Narrowing his eyes, the merchant begrudgingly took the coins from her and handed over her purchase, muttering something inaudible under his breath.
“Pleasure doing business with you.” She smirked, her tone dripping with sarcasm.
Turning back to the boys, she once again squatted down to their level and held out the bag to them.
“Here…” She smiled softly, waving it at them when they hesitated. “Go on take it, it's yours. I hope your mother feels better soon.”
“Thank you lady!” Said the older of the two boys, taking the bag from her and clutching it to his chest like his life depended on it.
The female scout nodded, standing up and watching them run off into the crowd before looking to Levi.
“I’m heading back to the cart to join Section Commander Hanji Sir.” She said firmly, giving him a salute before glaring at the merchant one last time and walking away.
Narrowing his steel grey eyes, Levi watched her leave before turning to the merchant.
“A bag of apples, make sure they’re decent.”
“Oh of...of course Captain!” Stuttered the now intimidated man, hastily picking up a cloth bag and picking out the best stock he could lay his hands on. “Allow me to give you these free of charge, I insist!”
Snatching the bag from him, Levi turned on his heels and walked away, quickly catching up with f/n.
“Oi!” He called, halting her in her tracks. “Here.”
F/n spun around at his call, her e/c eyes widening when he thrusted the bag of fruit towards her.
Cautiously taking it from him she examined the contents, flashing him a grateful smile before leaning in and quickly kissing him on the cheek.
“Thanks Levi.”

“Levi? Hey Levi, are you okay?”
Levi blinked rapidly and shook his head as the flashback finally faded, noticing you and Hanji staring at him.
“I’m fine.” He muttered, looking past you towards the stall owner. “Hey, I’ll have a go.”
“You got it mate.” Smiled the man, loading the gun with pellets and handing it over.
“Ooh good luck Shorty!” Giggled Hanji, catching on to what he was planning but choosing not to reveal it to you.
You and Moblit watched with keen interest as Levi shouldered the rifle and took aim at the first target, a metallic ping echoing around the wooden stall as the pellet found its mark and the target fell.
“Nice shot Levi.” You complimented, earning a grunt in reply while he lined up the second target.
Squeezing the trigger and firing the shot, the pellet found its mark a split second later, followed by the falling of the third and fourth targets in quick succession.
“One more to go and you get a top shelf prize!” Encouraged the stall owner, eagerly watching with baited breath.
“Come on Shorty you can do it!” Cheered Hanji, grabbing Moblit's hand and squeezing it hard enough to make him wince.
Taking careful aim, Levi closed his left eye and narrowed his right making sure he was completely satisfied that he was going to make the shot before holding his breath and slowly squeezing the trigger.
“Five out of five!” Announced the stall owner, retrieving one of the aviator style teddies from the top shelf and handing it over. “Congratulations.”
“That was brilliant Levi!” You smiled, however it soon melted into an expression of shock when he awkwardly held the bear out to you and averted his gaze.
“Well I didn’t win it for myself!” He remarked, trying to fight back the furious blush that was now heating up his face.
“Thanks Levi.” You giggled.
Leaning in close, you placed a quick kiss on his cheek, completely oblivious the almost inaudible happy squeal that Hanji was struggling to contain, or the way the raven haired male’s eyes widened at the fact your actions mirrored those which he had just seen in his most recent flashback…

After leaving the shooting gallery stall, the four of you went your separate ways as agreed.
You and Levi headed off to view some of the other performers while Hanji and Moblit decided to enjoy some of the rides now that his stomach had settled and there was no risk of him vomiting.
As it drew nearer to closing time, the temperature began to drop. A strong wind picked up and cut deep to the bone now the crowds were dispersing, allowing some of the trapped heat from the close proximity of their bodies to escape.
"Hey are you okay or what?" Frowned Levi, noticing you pull your cardigan slightly tighter around your chest.
"Yeah I'm fine." You smiled, trying to fight off a violent shiver and failing.
"Tch! Put this on."
Removing his coat, Levi draped it around your shoulders. He was feeling quite warm so he didn't particularly mind giving it to you, furthermore it seemed like an appropriate gesture if last nights dream was anything to to go by.
"Thanks."
Levi nodded and stood still waiting for you to slip the garment on properly, failing to notice the way you gave it a subtle sniff when you turned up the collar and hummed in approval at the scent clinging to it.
"So where now?" You questioned, reaching for his hand and interlocking your fingers with his. "We don't have long until closing time."
"I want to get something for my mother, then we can leave whenever you're ready." He said evenly, not looking at you when he spoke in case he gave you the impression that he wanted the date to end.
He didn't want it to end just yet, but it was getting late and he didn't want to arrive home at a ridiculous time.
"Okay." You answered with a nod. "I might get my dad something too."
After a short walk, you came to a row of well lit confectionary stands and made your way over to the nearest one.
"Hi there, what can I get you?" Greeted the owner from behind a large tray of assorted sweets that filled the length of the stall front.
Everything from assorted hard and soft candies to traditional caramel apples and candy floss was on offer, it was literally like a sweet addicts dream come true.
"Can I have a bag of chocolate cinder toffee and a caramel apple please?" You asked.
"Certainly my dear, anything for you?" Asked the owner, turning their attention to Levi.
"I'll take a box of clotted cream fudge." He replied, knowing that Kuchel hadn't had it in a while and it was sure to help take her mind off the intense and draining treatment she was having to endure at the moment.
"Here you are." Smiled the stall owner, handing over your purchases.
"Ready to go?" Asked Levi, instinctively reaching for your hand.
"Yep sure." You replied, trying to hide your disappointment that such an enjoyable evening was slowly drawing to an end.

The journey back to your house was certainly more relaxed than the ride to the carnival.
You and Levi had been so nervous that you'd barely said a word to each other, yet now you were both feeling more at ease in each others company.
Levi finally admitted that the reason he was so good at hitting the targets back at the shooting gallery was because his uncle had taken him to a gun range on a couple of the rare occasions he actually saw him.
It hadn't been something he was particularly fond of, but despite the fact he and Kenny didn't really get along, the older Ackerman male was the closest thing Levi had ever gotten to a father figure in his life.
Arriving back at your house, Levi escorted you up to the front door.
"You know...I was really skeptical about you when Hanji said you wanted to ask me out on a date." You admitted with a shy giggle. "I mean you're seriously intimidating and you can silence a room just by walking into it, but..."
Levi frowned, he wasn't sure he liked where this was going.
"You're actually a really decent person, I enjoyed being with you tonight."
Swallowing hard he looked into your e/c eyes, trying to summon the courage to respond.
"Yeah, well I guess Shitty Glasses has her uses."
"I'd like see you again sometime." You continued, nervously biting your lip. "If you want to."
"Yeah...yeah I do." The raven haired male nodded, an uneasy feeling over coming him.
What was he supposed to do now? Should he kiss you? Should he just say goodnight and leave?
"Great!" You smiled, interrupting his thoughts and clutching the teddy he had won for you at the shooting gallery tighter under your arm. "Oh, before I forget."
You removed his coat, which you had almost forgotten you were still wearing and handed it back to him.
"Good night Levi." You said softly, cautiously leaning into him and placing a quick kiss on his lips before pulling back to study his reaction.
Cold grey eyes widening, Levi could've sworn his entire body was shaking from the sudden gesture. However that soon passed when he saw a look of worry creep across your features, were you mistaking his shock for that of rejection?
Affording you a small smile as he remembered the previous night's dream, Levi gently slipped an arm around your waist and pulled you closer to him. Your lips met in a soft warm embrace for what felt like an eternity, but in reality was only a few moments.
"Good night f/n." He muttered, releasing you and walking back to his car, leaving you dumbfounded at what had just happened. "I'll text you tomorrow."
"I look forward to it." You called, a furious blush now dusting your cheeks as you fumbled around in your bag for your house key.
Levi nodded and got back into his car, driving away only when you finally disappeared inside the house and the door closed behind you.

Chapter Text

“See you later Dad, I’m off to work!” You smiled, picking up the last slice of toast from your plate and holding it between your teeth while you slipped your jacket on.
“Have a good day.” He replied, looking up from reading the newspaper as you walked around the kitchen table, removing the toast from your mouth to give him a quick hug.
“Bye Sasha.” You giggled, noticing the loyal animal sat with her head on his lap, pleadingly looking up at him with wide brown eyes hoping for some table scraps.
“Don’t you ever get fed up of begging?” Snorted your father, rolling his eyes and picking up a small piece of bacon from his plate before offering it to her.
“Not if you keep giving into her she won’t!” You laughed, retrieving your car keys and mobile phone before leaving the house. 
Your father rolled his eyes and looked down at the chocolate labrador again, smirking at the way she pushed her ears back and licked her lips. How could he possibly refuse that face?
“You’re going to get me into trouble!” 
Tapping the end of the dog’s nose and slipping her another piece of bacon now that you had left, he picked up his plate and started clearing everything away.

“I’m leaving.” Called Levi from the hallway, putting on his jacket and shouldering the bag that contained his laptop.
Kuchel appeared in the kitchen doorway a moment later, smiling warmly and leaning against the varnished frame. 
“So will you be seeing f/n today?”
“Most likely.” He shrugged, patting down his trouser pockets to make sure he had everything.
“Are you going to arrange another date?” 
“I’ll ask her when she’s free again.”
Turning towards his mother, he frowned suspiciously at the way her smile widened.
“I've noticed that your mood has improved a little since your first date with her.” She said, slowly walking towards him. “I’m glad it went well and she wants to see you again.”
Levi remained silent and still, wondering what she was trying to hint at.
“What? Am I not allowed to be happy that my son has found himself a potential girlfriend?” She challenged, wagging an accusatory finger at him. “I’ve seen how fast you reach for your phone every time she texts you Levi Ackerman, if I blinked I’d miss it!”
“Tch!”
Shaking her head and laughing, she gently cupped his face in her hands and looked into his eyes. 
“My handsome son...I’m so proud of you Levi.”
The raven haired male’s frown deepened, his mother had always been sentimental, but this was a tad extreme even for her...was she having an off day?
“Go on, you don’t want to be late.” She smiled, pulling him down and placing a loving kiss on his forehead before releasing him. “I’ll see you tonight.”
With a silent nod, Levi turned and left the house.
Once he had gone, Kuchel sighed deeply and made her way back into the kitchen, only to find herself confronted by a very annoyed Kenny.
“What?” She asked bluntly, making her way back to the dining table and sitting down.
“He’s going to notice you know.” Snorted Kenny, folding up the newspaper he had been reading and folding his arms. “You won’t be able to hide it for long.”
“I’m not going to burden him with more stress than he already has.” Replied Kuchel firmly. “We all knew it was going to happen eventually. Besides it’s only my hair and if it means I stand a chance of stopping this disease from killing me, then so be it!”
Kenny shook his head, picking up his hat and placing it on his head. 
“Yeah well don’t think you can borrow this.” He smirked, gesturing to it as he stood up. “Cos the answer is no!”
“Oh clear off to work you pain in the ass, I wouldn’t wear that grotty thing if you paid me!”
“Love ya sis.” He muttered, wrapping an arm around her and kissing the top of her head. It was an unusual display of affection for him, but one reserved only for Kuchel.
“Just go, I’ll be fine.” 
Watching him disappear through the kitchen door and out into the hall, the raven haired woman frowned and folded her arms. 
How could she voice her concerns to Levi when he had finally started dating and was trying to live a normal life again after the burden of helping care for her had been thrust upon him? It would only cause him unnecessary stress and that was the last thing she wanted to do. 
Unfortunately her brother wasn’t wrong, Levi was bound to find out eventually and she was sure that he would rather she told him than him find a dead clump of long raven hair in the bathroom bin, or hanging from her shoulder when she casually brushed her usually loose locks back behind her ears.
Sighing to herself, she decided it was better to just be honest than keep it from him, however finding the right moment was going to be something she was going to have to think long and hard about.

“So how did your hot date go on Saturday?”
You winced and swallowed hard at the sound of a painfully familiar arrogant voice behind you. 
“Morning Flagon.” You replied neutrally, forcing a tight smile onto your lips. “It went very well thanks, how was your weekend?”
“Hmph, so who is it then?” Asked the cocky manager, drawing level with you on the stairs and raising an eyebrow.
“Why are you so interested?”
“Just making conversation.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “So, who is this mystery man Hanji set you up with? Or doesn’t he exist.”
“Oh he exists alright!” You grinned, feeling brave. “It’s Levi Ackerman.”
Flagon’s eyes widened for a split second before a look of pure disgust caused them to narrow to slits.
“Bullshit!” He snarled, stepping in front of you when you reached the first floor landing, blocking your way and making you step back nervously. “That midget has his head so far up his own arse he wouldn’t know one end of a woman from the other!”
You swallowed hard as your spine hit the wall when he advanced on you, pushing his face closer to yours and instantly making you regret your little show of bravado.
“Say you did have a date with him, what’s that bastard got that I haven’t?” He sneered. “Higher up the chain of command? Is that what appeals to you so much?”
“What’s going on here?” 
“Levi!” You gasped, relief washing over you like a wave crashing against a cliff face upon seeing the short deputy manager making his way up the stairs.
“Hmph, I was just about to reprimand this little bitch for lying about having a date with you at the weekend.” Scoffed Flagon, stepping back and folding his arms. “Rumors like that could damage your reputation you know.”
“She did go on a date with me at the weekend, what of it?” Questioned the raven haired male in a bored tone, moving to stand in front of you and folding his arms.
It became apparent to you simply by the way Levi was now shielding you from the other man that there was no love lost between them, but the last thing you wanted to witness was them coming to blows on the stairs.
Flagon didn’t have an answer for that comment, however the way he stared past Levi and met your gaze for a moment before looking back to the other male was enough to tell you that this little revelation was not something he wanted to hear.
Finally deciding to end the current confrontation, Flagon huffed and turned on his heels, stomping away up the stairs.
“Oi, are you okay?” Asked Levi, turning to face you, his harsh gaze softening. 
“Yeah I’m fine.” You nodded, smiling weakly and trying to stop the obvious trembling of your body. “Thanks for stepping in, I don’t know what his problem is.”
“Tell me if that bastard comes near you again.”
“Yeah, I will do.”
“I’ll speak to you later, I have a meeting to get to.” 
With that he left and continued heading up the stairs to the third floor where the boardroom was situated, sparing you a small nod when he caught you smiling up at him from the second floor landing before you made your way through to the client consultant’s work area.

Upon reaching the boardroom, Levi made his way straight through the large double doors and into the spacious room, finding Hanji, Erwin and Mike already in there.
“Hey there lover boy!” Giggled Hanji, eagerly patting the seat next to her. “Come sit down and tell me what happened after I left on Saturday night.”
“Tch, it’s too early to be dealing with your annoying shit!” Snorted Levi, ignoring her gesture and taking a seat next to Mike instead...although he soon wished he hadn’t when the tall blonde leaned over and sniffed his collar. 
“Hmm.” Pulling back a minute later, Mike grinned. 
“What? What can you smell?” Asked Hanji eagerly, her puppy brown eyes widening with excitement behind her glasses. 
“Someone’s planning on asking f/n on another date.” 
“Really?” She squealed, making Erwin wince at how loud her voice became. “Wow Shorty that’s fantastic! Where are you taking her? Have you seen her yet today?”
“Would this be that young woman I saw in the canteen?” Inquired Erwin, straightening his paperwork and turning his attention to a now very irritated looking Levi. 
“Her name’s f/n l/n.” Interrupted Hanji excitedly, earning her a dark glare from the raven haired male who was currently setting up his laptop. “She’s a client consultant on Nanaba’s team.”
“Ah yes, Syram’s old secretary. I thought she looked familiar.” 
“That’s the one!”
Erwin nodded thoughtfully and gave Levi a small half smile, paying close attention to the way the other male’s left eye seemed to twitch slightly as he fought back the urge to throw a verbal barrage of abuse at the bespectacled brunette sat opposite him.
“Well, I wish you luck Levi.” He said evenly, his sight being pulled to the large double doors a moment later when they opened and Director Dita Ness walked in. “However I believe we should change the subject before Hanji disappears through the window.”
“Eh?” She remarked, cocking her head to one side and frowning at the company owner.
“He means stop winding Levi up and concentrate on getting your work in order for the meeting, otherwise you could end up having a free skydiving lesson.” Smirked Dita, taking a seat next to her and placing a smart black briefcase down on the polished table. 
Rolling his eyes, Levi concentrated on preparing his notes for the meeting, silently making a mental note to to spike Hanji’s coffee with extra strong laxatives if she didn’t shut up about the weekend’s events…

“No, that won’t be a problem. I’ll have those documents emailed over to you before lunch.” You said politely, holding the receiver of your desk phone in one hand while typing with the other as you scanned through your client’s details. 
Your gaze flicked up from your screen for a moment when you noticed Nickolas stood in front of you, tapping his watch to let you know it was time for your team’s morning break.
Replying with a silent nod, you turned your attention back to the computer and continued to type. 
“Okay thank you for calling, Goodbye.”
Putting the receiver down, you sighed and saved the document you were working on before standing up and stretching your arms above your head.
“Pushy client?” Questioned Nickolas, raising an eyebrow as the two of you started to make your way over to the break room. 
“Very.” You giggled. “The poor guy sounds like a nervous wreck, he must’ve repeated himself about three times before I finally got the message across that I was on top of things.”
“It’s the aggressively pushy ones you need to watch out for.” Advised Nickolas. “They really know how to try your patience.”
“Yay, fantastic.” You smiled sarcastically, before quickly changing your tone. “So how was your weekend away?”
“She said yes.”
“Aw, congratulations!” 
“What about your date with Mr Ackerman?” He questioned, stopping just before the break room door. 
“It went really well.” You nodded. “He said he’d like to see me again and I let’s just say I have no objections to that.”
“Good, I’m glad it went well for you.” He replied, raising an eyebrow and looking towards the break room door when it violently swung open to reveal a man and a woman stood behind it, both staring intensely at the two of you.
“There she is!” Grinned Luke rather deviously, lunging forward and grabbing your arm.
“Whoa, hey! What the hell?” You shrieked, barely able to register the fact that you were moving forward until you were pushed down into one of the plush leather seats and a torch was shone in your face. 
“Okay f/n, start talking!” Said the female you easily recognized as Ilse. “We want details!”
“Geez guys, you don’t need to go all out torture interrogation on my ass!” You complained, screwing your eyes shut and putting up a hand to shield them from the bright light. “I’ll happily tell you if you just ask like normal human beings!”
“You will?” 
“Yeah, but seriously can I get my cinder toffee and a cup of tea first?”
“Oh.” Mused Ilse sheepishly, lowering the torch and shooting an annoyed glare at Luke. “You told me she wasn’t going to say anything unless we forced it out of her!”
“I was joking.” Laughed the long haired male. “Honestly Ilse, you really need to stop watching all those cheesy police films!”
“Anyway, did you two have fun at the carnival?” You asked, standing up and heading over to sink to fill the kettle.
“Yeah we did thanks.” Nodded Luke. “We had a look for you but didn’t see you.”
“Yeah, Levi and I didn't see anyone we knew apart from Hanji and Moblit.”
“Levi?” Gasped Ilse, quickly opening her notebook and starting to scribble in it. “You get away with calling him Levi?”
“Um, yeah…” A rather confused snort of laughter escaped your lips as you moved to the cupboards and started rummaging for your cinder toffee. “What else was I going to call him?”
“Interesting...so what did you do?”
“Well, Levi won a box of rare tea leaves during an arm wrestling challenge, I won a teddy in the shooting gallery and ended up giving it away to a little girl who didn’t win anything…”
“Aw that’s pretty sweet.” Said Nickolas, frowning in confusion at Ilse still furiously scribbling away in her notebook, if the pen moved any faster he was certain she’d set the paper on fire. 
“Yeah, then Levi had a go and won me another one.”
“No way!” Scoffed Luke, folding his arms and staring at you like you’d grown a second head. “You’re not seriously telling me that Mr Ackerman, the grumpiest guy on the planet won you a teddy to replace the one you gave away to a kid?”
“I’m serious, ask Hanji and Moblit!” You laughed, opening your cinder toffee. “They were there and saw the whole thing!”
“So did you hold hands?” Asked Ilse, finally ceasing her seemingly never ending scribbling. “Did he walk you home? Did you kiss?”
You popped a piece of cinder toffee into your mouth and smiled around it, wiggling your eyebrows.
“Silence is not a valid answer!”
“Fine...yes to all.”
“So will you be seeing him again?” Inquired Luke, nodding to the kettle when it started boiling. 
“I’ve been texting him, so I'd say chances are I will be when we manage to arrange something.”
“Well, we’re really happy for you.” Said Nickolas, looking to the others and earning nods of agreement in return. 
“Thanks guys.” You smiled, swallowing down your sweet treat and making yourself a cup of tea. 
At least these three were happy for you, Nanaba probably would be as well when you told her, however you couldn’t help but feel on edge over Flagon’s worryingly evident disapproval of your growing closeness to Levi. 
Still, you weren’t exactly friends with the arrogant manager, so why should you let his opinion bother you?
Truth be told it shouldn’t, but unfortunately it did. Especially when you remembered Nanaba’s warning about him having a hobby of intimidating the other client consultants...

The meeting seemed to drag on for what felt like an eternity.
Yet more of the same old boring rubbish that they had gone over the previous month: targets reached, new marketing strategies and making sure budgeting parameters were being adhered to.
Levi leaned back in his seat and folded his arms, doing his best to ignore the grinning bespectacled brunette sat opposite him.
Hanji was starting to get on his nerves now, she’d spent most of the meeting flashing him quick glances and basically looking at him like a giddy school girl hell bent on obtaining the latest playground gossip. 
Sure she was his friend and he cared about her a lot, but right now he wanted to put her in a box and padlock the lid shut!
“Does anyone have anything they would like to add?” Asked Erwin, resting his elbows on the polished surface of the table and interlinking his fingers as he cast his icy blue eyed gaze over the rooms occupants.
Silence and motionlessness fell over the assembled workers, telling him all he needed to know.
“Alright then, we convene again next month.” 
Clearing away their documents and laptops, everyone slowly started to file out of the room until only Levi, Hanji and Erwin were left.
“Levi, a word please.” Said the company owner, raising his bushy eyebrows at Hanji to indicate that she should return to work and not wait for her colleague.
“See you at lunch Shorty!” She giggled, throwing him a cheeky wink as she picked up her paperwork and left the boardroom, closing the door behind her.
“What is it Erwin?” Asked the raven haired male, putting his laptop back in its case and zipping it closed. 
“I just wanted to make sure the police don’t swarm the building with the intent of holding a murder investigation.” Smirked the tall blonde. “Honestly, if you glared at Hanji any harder you’d have made her head explode.”
“Tch!”
“Anyway, the reason I asked you to stay behind is because have something for you though.”
Remaining silent, Levi watched the other man carefully as he fumbled around in the pockets of his expensive tailored suit for a few minutes before producing two slips of paper.
“There is a tea fayre next week at the convention centre. Marie got given two tickets, but since Ethan’s only a couple of months old and she’s not comfortable with the idea of leaving him with a sitter just yet, I thought you could put them to good use.”
Levi raised an eyebrow, he’d seen the event advertised in the newspaper but couldn’t afford a ticket after paying his half of his mother’s medical bills for that month.
“Maybe you could ask f/n to go with you? Mike did say you were planning on asking her out on another date.”
“I’ll see what she says.” He nodded, taking the tickets and checking the information printed on them. 
“Good luck then.” Smiled Erwin, clapping a large hand on the shorter male’s shoulder. Walking past him, he exited the boardroom and Levi alone to ponder how best to raise the subject of another date with you.

“Okay, that is done!” You smiled. 
Hitting the print button and standing up from your seat, you flicked your ponytail back in a sassy fashion and pointed at the computer. “Who’s yo mamma? That’s right, I am!” 
A small giggle from the desk next to your caught your attention, making you raise an eyebrow at its occupant.
“You enjoy this job was too much.” Snorted Ilse, rapidly tapping away at her keyboard.
“Hitting targets is my specialty.” You shrugged nonchalantly, straightening your shirt. “Just point me at them and let me do my thing!”
“I think someone is still feeling a little giddy after their date with Mr Ackerman.” Luke chuckled, looking over from the desk behind Ilse’s and shaking his head. “There must’ve been some power in that kiss if you’re acting like this two days later!”
“Shut up!” You retorted, blushing madly and quickly walking away towards the printer, failing to notice the cocky smirks and silent nods exchanged between your colleagues the moment your back was turned.
“Oi, get on with your work you two.” Warned Nanaba, her pale blue eyes narrowing as she stood from her seat and followed you. “If those deadlines aren’t met you’ll be working through your lunch and afternoon break!”
“Aww too bad!” You giggled, turning back to face them. “Samson and Delilah are in trouble!”
“Don’t you dare!” Warned Luke, struggling to keep a straight face when your grin widened. 
“I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window. I saw the flickering shadows of love on her blind.” You started, glancing over at Nickolas and wiggling your eyebrows.
Despite the eye roll, Nickolas chuckled and joined in with the next part of the well known song.
“She was my woman, as she deceived me I watched and went out of my mind!”
“Oh you two are so dead!” Snapped Ilse, a furious blush rapidly rising on her normally pale cheeks as the rest of the nearby client consultants laughed and joined in with the chorus.
“My, my, my, Delilah. Why, why, why, Delilah? I could see that girl was no good for me, but I was lost like a slave that no man could free!”
Burying her head in her hands, Ilse soon gasped in horror when a certain raven haired manager walked through the double doors near Nanaba’s desk, turning a rather unimpressed steel eyed gaze in her direction.
“Um guys…”
“At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting.” Sang Luke, grinning madly when he saw Nanaba fighting back a grin and shaking her head.
“Um guys seriously, I think we should stop!” Whimpered Ilse, subtly pointing in the direction of Levi, who was now walking across the client consultant work area with a look that could kill if he blinked hard enough.
“Oh shit!” You gasped, your hands instantly going to your mouth. “Erm Luke…”
“I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door.” He continued to croon quite happily, completely oblivious to the trouble he was about to be in until it was too late. “She stood there laughing, I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more…”
“Are you morons done with your little karaoke party?” Snarled Levi, finally stopping in the middle of the floor space and folding his arms. 
In the blink of an eye, the entire workforce returned to their appointed tasks, each and every one of them terrified by the thought of being on the receiving end of the short tempered manager’s wrath.
“Well?” 
“Sorry Sir, it was just a bit of fun.” Smiled Luke nervously, swallowing hard when Levi didn’t return the gesture.
“Tch, get your asses back to work!” He growled, raising an eyebrow in your direction when he noticed you and Nanaba stood by the printer giggling.

“Oh man I have the worst timing in the history of the world!” You giggled, picking up your freshly printed documents and checking them over to make sure they were in order.
“Yes you do!” Scolded the blonde female, looking behind her and noticing Levi making his way over to you. “By the way I think someone wants a word with you!”
Risking a glance, you gulped and quickly looked away again. “Oh shit, do you think he knows it was me?”
“I doubt it, but either way…”
“Oi f/n.”
“I’ll leave you to it.” Said Nanaba, picking up her paperwork and walking back to her desk. 
“Hi!” You smiled, hoping you didn’t look too terrified when you turned to face the raven haired male.
“What are you doing next week?” 
“Depends what day.” You shrugged, adjusting the stack of papers and tilting your head to one side. “Why?”
“Erwin just gave me these.” Said Levi, awkwardly showing you the tickets for the tea fayre. “Do you want to come with me?”
You hummed thoughtfully and checked the date on them, as far as you were aware you had no plans for that evening after finishing work.
“A tea fayre huh? Sounds interesting.”
“So…”
“Yeah, I’d love to.” You smiled, feeling your fear slowly melt away. Maybe he hadn’t realized it was you responsible for the mini karaoke party after all. 
“Alright then, we’ll sort the details nearer the time.” Nodded Levi, his brows furrowing slightly as his voice took on a darker tone. “Has that bastard Flagon been near you since I last saw you?”
“No he hasn’t.” You replied. “Can I just ask though, what’s his problem with you?”
“Tch, we were both up for a promotion last year. I got it and he didn’t.”
“So, he’s basically still bitter over it.”
“He’s always hated me. Anyway I don’t care, if he lays a finger on you he’ll be shitting teeth for a week!”
“Wow harsh!” You giggled, noticing how his gaze softened slightly when you cautiously took his hand and gave it a grateful squeeze. “Thanks for earlier though.”
Levi nodded, feeling his heartbeat quicken at your affectionate gesture. 
He was sorely tempted to ask if you wanted to meet up outside of work sooner, but felt it better if he refrained. 
He didn’t want to appear like he was unable to go five minutes without being around you, especially since Hanji was already hell bent on pushing you together at every available opportunity. 
Letting go of his hand, you once again nervously adjusted your papers. 
“Well I better get back to work.” You stuttered, trying to find an excuse to get away from him before he started to question your involvement in the sudden outburst of song. “I’m ahead of schedule and I want to keep it that way.”
Levi nodded and walked you back to your desk before making his way towards the double doors that led to the corridor where his office was situated, glancing back momentarily before going through them and noticing you flashing him a shy smile.
However, what either of you failed to notice as you parted ways was the disturbingly angry glare that Flagon was directing at you as he observed your subtle display of affection...

Chapter Text

“F/n!” Squealed Hanji, happily bounding over to your desk as you shut down your computer ready to leave.
“Oh here we go.” You muttered to yourself, not bothering to hide the smirk that was now playing on your lips when you saw her approaching. Standing up, you retrieved your jacket from the back of your chair and prepared yourself for the inevitable interrogation that was sure to come.
“How has your day been?” Questioned the other female.
“It was fine thanks, I’m assuming you were busy today?" You replied. "I never saw you during lunch.”
“Yeah I had a late one with Moblit.” She shrugged. “Erwin is being a bit of a slave driver at the moment.”
“You poor thing.”
“Eh, I’ll survive.” She replied, a sly smile finding its way onto her face when she happened to glance over at the doors leading to the management offices and noticed a certain raven haired male walk through them.
“So have you seen Levi today?”
“Yes and we’ve arranged another date for next week.” You smiled confidently, buttoning up your jacket.
“Wow really?” Hanji’s puppy brown eyes widened gleefully. “What are you going to do this time?”
“None of your damned business Shitty Glasses!” Came a bored voice from behind her, making her jump round to face it.
You giggled and shook your head, pushing your chair back under the desk and walking around it to stand beside Levi.
“Oh don’t be like that Shorty!” Complained Hanji, however she was soon silenced with a dark glare from him when he subtly nodded in the direction of Flagon, who was currently stood staring in your direction with a look of all too obvious anger. The rapidly forced movements of his hands as his fingers buttoned up his jacket before harshly pulling at the bottom to adjust it further emphasising his bad mood.
“Ugh, what is his problem?” She muttered, concern etched onto her features when she noticed you tense up and move marginally closer to Levi...a move which did not go unnoticed by the short male.
“Oi you scruffy bastard!” He snarled, his steel grey eyes narrowing as they locked with Flagon’s. “Take a picture it will last longer!”
The other male curled his lip and grunted something inaudible under his breath, pretending to check that his computer had shut down properly before skulking away towards the double doors leading to the stairs.
A few minutes later, when he was sure Flagon was gone, Levi turned to face you. His harsh glare softened visibly, as did his tone when he spoke.
“You ready to leave? That asshole should be long gone by now.”
“Yeah sure.” You nodded nervously, relaxing slightly when Levi took your hand in his and gave it a reassuring squeeze before leading you away, closely followed by a now grinning Hanji.

Upon reaching the main entrance foyer, you were fortunate to find that Flagon had indeed seemingly left the building. Thankfully this was also confirmed by Nanaba and Mike, who currently stood talking by the large glass doors.
They both smiled and tutted when Hanji gave them an enthusiastic thumbs up gesture from behind you and Levi while you conversed with them, which she quickly ceased when the two of you turned back to look at her in confusion.
“They’re going on another date!” She finally squealed excitedly, barely able to control herself and clearly enjoying the opportunity to brag about her...even if she did say so herself...exceptional matchmaking skills.
“Yes I know.” Nodded Nanaba. “F/n already told us during afternoon break.”
“What?” She gasped, blinking rapidly and fixing you with an accusatory stare. “Excuse me young lady, but am I correct in thinking I’m the last to know of this?”
“I haven’t seen you all day!” You protested with a giggle, which morphed into a rather sinister smirk. “Besides, if you don’t know where we’re going and when, you can’t come and gatecrash it!”
“Smart girl, she’s got you there I’m afraid.” Smiled Nanaba, linking her arm with Mike’s, who nodded and snorted in amusement. 
“Anyway we’ll see you all tomorrow.” She continued, gently tugging on the much taller male's arm to indicate she was ready to leave. “It's our three year anniversary today and Mike is taking me out for dinner.”
“Congratulations, have a good night.” You nodded, waving them away as they left the building and made their way across the parking area to Mike’s car.
“I better get going too.” Said Levi, remembering that his uncle was also going out that night and he needed to look after his mother. “I’ll text you later.”
“Okay.”
Cautiously leaning into you, he placed a quick barely there kiss on your lips before releasing your hand and walking away.
A small smile graced your features as you watched him leave, however you couldn’t help but notice that his affectionate gesture had been slightly more awkward than the kiss you had shared previously…
“You two are so cute together!” 
‘Ah of course.’ You mused internally, suddenly remembering the presence of a certain bespectacled brunette when her voice interrupted your train of thought. ‘Last time we kissed we didn’t have an audience!’
“Still here are you?” You inquired, folding your arms and raising an eyebrow at her. 
“Yes, well I was wondering if you fancied coming to mine tonight so we can have a catch up...I’ll provide cake!”
You laughed and shook your head, how could you refuse such a tempting offer?
“Okay, I’ll pop over for a couple hours after I’ve spent some time with Dad and Sasha.”
“Yay, then you can tell me all about what Shorty has planned for your second date!”
Rolling your eyes, you decided against arguing with her, in the long run it wouldn’t do you any good. 
She would simply continue to pester you until she eventually wore you down and you ended up telling her for no other reason than to get her off your back.
“Right well, I’ll text you later before I come round.” You said, opening the door and leaving the building. 
“I look forward to it!” Called Hanji, once again squealing with excitement before making her way across the parking area to her car.

Levi pulled up onto the driveway of his home, mentally preparing himself for another head pecking from his mother about whether or not he had asked you out on a second date. 
Retrieving his laptop from the passenger seat, he exited the car and made his way to the front door. 
“I’m home.” He called, entering the house and closing the door behind him. 
The appetizing smell of homemade bolognese greeted him as he hung his jacket up.
“I’m in the kitchen Levi.” Came his mother’s voice a moment later. “Dinner’s nearly ready.”
Ascending the stairs, he decided to set his laptop up in his room ready to go through his files for tomorrow before heading back downstairs to join his mother and uncle.

“So are you going to tell him?” Inquired Kenny, choosing to speak only once he was certain his nephew was out of earshot. 
“Yes, when I’m ready.” Snapped Kuchel heatedly, keeping her back to her brother and continuing to stir the simmering pot in front of her.
“Which would be? You can’t keep hiding things from him, he’s going to find out sooner or later.”
“Look, just back off will you? Levi is my son and this is my problem, I will deal with it how I see fit!”
Kenny rolled his eyes and leaned back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest.
Kuchel had always been stubborn, even when they were children and she just seemed to have gotten worse as she got older. He loved his sister dearly, but she certainly knew how to try his patience and frustrate him beyond all belief. 
“Ah Levi.” She said suddenly, a warm tone quickly replacing the angry one she had displayed a few moments ago when the younger Ackerman entered the room and took a seat at the table. “How was work?”
“Same as always.” He shrugged, taking his phone out of his trouser pocket and checking his messages.
“Did you see f/n?”
“Yes.” 
“So?”
Kenny rolled his eyes but bit his tongue, however he doubted he would be able to do it for long considering how well his younger sister was skirting around the issue they had just been discussing.
“We’ve arranged to go on another date next week.”
"Really? That’s wonderful Sweetheart!”
“Fuck this!” Snapped Kenny suddenly, pulling everyone’s attention to him. “Levi, your mother has something to tell you.”
“Kenny!” Warned Kuchel, her soft grey eyes turning cold and hard as she quickly spun to face him. 
“What’s going on?” Demanded Levi, placing his phone down on the table.
“Tell him...or I will.”
“Tell me what?” 
“You rotten bastard!” Snarled Kuchel, throwing down the metal spoon she’d been using to stir the pot with down on to the kitchen worktop surface with a loud clatter before storming out of the room and up the stairs, harshly slamming the bedroom door closed behind her a few minutes later. 
Levi’s head snapped around to glare accusingly at his uncle, however before he could speak, Kenny stood up and moved towards the stove.
“It’s for her own good runt, she’ll thank me eventually when she calms down.” He shrugged, turning it off and picking up his hat from the table before leaving the house.
Shaking his head, Levi left the kitchen and made his way upstairs, cautiously knocking on his mother’s bedroom door.
“Don't even think about coming in here Kenny!" Came the harshly panted reply. "I suggest you leave before I strangle you!”
Opening the door Levi found his mother sat on the edge of the bed shaking and struggling to catch her breath.
“Oh Levi, it’s you.” She sobbed, raising her head and flashing him a weak smile. 
“What’s going on?” He questioned bluntly, raising an eyebrow at her. A clear indication that given what had just happened he was in no mood to be fobbed off.
Sighing and shaking her head, Kuchel patted the bed, indicating for him to take a seat.
Once he had complied with her request, she took his hands in hers and looked into his eyes. Blinking back tears she let out a harsh ragged breath before speaking.
“You know how I’ve been having more intense chemotherapy since the cancer has spread?” She began, swallowing hard and lowering her head in an almost shameful manner.
Levi nodded but remained silent, he had an idea of what she was going to say but decided to allow her to tell him in her own time.
“Well...the thing is…” She bit her lip and squeezed his hand tighter. “It’s causing my hair to fall out."
“I see.” Said Levi lowly, not quite sure what else to say. 
"It started a few days ago and I know for a fact it’s only going to get worse the more I have to endure it.”
Part of him was relieved to hear it wasn’t something more serious such as the cancer becoming worse and spreading even further, but he could also understand that this was something deeply upsetting for her.
“Well that explains why you threatened to strangle Kenny.” 
Kuchel smiled and raised her head, blinking back more tears that were forming in her soft grey eyes. 
“I was going to tell you...when I’d worked out how.”
Clicking his tongue thoughtfully, Levi carefully pulled his hands out of hers and left the room, failing to notice the concerned look on his mother's face as he did.
“Levi?”
A few minutes later he returned and held out a square piece of white cloth: a bandanna that he always wore when he was cleaning up.
“You can use this to cover your head if it makes you feel more comfortable.” He said softly. “I have a spare one in my bedside drawer.”
Standing up, Kuchel smiled sadly and pulled him into her arms. 
“Thank you Sweetheart.” She muttered. The tears that she had previously been trying to stop now streamed down her cheeks, her body shaking through her choked sobs. “I’m sorry I kept this from you, but I just honestly wasn’t sure how to tell you.”
Returning her embrace, Levi frowned deeply, making a mental note to give Kenny a piece of his mind when he eventually returned. 
“Come on.” Said Kuchel softly, breaking the tender embrace and looking into her son’s eyes. “Let’s go and get some dinner, then you can tell me what you plan on doing for your second date with f/n.”

“Hey Dad, you don’t mind if I pop over to Hanji’s for a couple of hours do you?” You questioned, picking up the tea towel to start drying the dinner pots as your father placed them down on the draining board. 
“Not at all.” He replied with a casual shrug. “You’re nearly twentytwo f/n, you’re a young adult now, not a child who needs permission every time you want to leave the house.”
“Yeah I know, but I wasn’t sure if you needed me here for anything or just wanted to spend the evening with me.”
Your father chuckled and shook his head. 
“Darling, you get out and enjoy yourself. If you want an evening with Hanji then go right ahead, Sasha will keep me company...won’t you girl?”
The chocolate brown labrador looked up from where she currently lay in her plastic bed and wagged her tail, the furry appendage banging noisily off the side of it.
“You mean you want rid of me so you can feed her extra treats without getting into trouble?”
Halting his task, your father turned to face you and raised an eyebrow, struggling not to smile when a cheeky giggle was the only response he received. 
“So tell me more about this tea fayre Levi wants to take you too.”
You nervously bit your lip and folded the tea towel after drying the last cup and putting it away.
“To be honest I’m not entirely sure what to expect, what I know about different types of tea wouldn’t even fill the back of a postage stamp!”
Your father chuckled and made his way out of the kitchen and towards the living room, patting his thigh and encouraging Sasha to follow, which she did.
“Apparently Mr Smith gave them to him since he and his wife couldn’t go, but it sounds like it could be interesting.”
“Certainly a chance to get to know each other better in a calmer environment.”
“Yeah that too.”
Your father nodded and took a seat on the sofa, gently scratching Sasha’s ears when she jumped up next to him and laid down, placing her head in his lap.
“Hey Dad.”
“Hmm?”
“Do you think...Mum would’ve liked Levi?” 
Your father smiled sadly and nodded, staring at the old photograph of his deceased wife which adorned the mantelpiece. 
“I think she probably would, he seems like a decent young man…a little shy perhaps, but at least he isn’t a cocky so and so who is only using you for one thing.”
“You wouldn’t think he was shy if you saw him at work!” You laughed, taking your mobile phone out of your jeans pocket and sending Hanji a text to let her know you would soon be on your way over. “The way he glares at some of the other workers is enough to make them feel guilty, even if they’ve done nothing wrong!”
“Maybe it’s because he has a soft spot for you that he seems to change?” He shrugged. “Has he ever been in a relationship before?”
“According to Hanji he hasn’t.” 
“Ah well then, that explains the shyness.”
You giggled again and picked up your car keys from the table. 
“So does that mean you approve of him?”
“If I said I didn’t...would you take any notice?” He smirked, raising an eyebrow in your direction.
“Hmm, probably not.”
“Go see Hanji you cheeky little madam!” He laughed, shaking his head and moving his hand further down Sasha’s body, tickling her ribs and encouraging her to roll over so he could rub her stomach.
“See you later.” You smiled, giving him a quick hug before leaving. 
“Have fun.” He called, looking back to Sasha once you had left the room. He smirked at the content animal as it looked up at him with large brown eyes full of curiosity. 
“It’s a good job I do approve of him isn’t it Sasha?” He remarked, meeting the chocolate labrador’s gaze. “I’d never hear the last of it if I didn’t!”

“So, what are you and f/n planning on doing for your second date?” Inquired Kuchel, pouring Levi a fresh cup of tea and pushing it towards him as they finished eating.
“Erwin gave me two tickets for the tea fayre at the convention centre next week.” He replied evenly.
“Ah yes.” Frowned Kuchel, feeling slightly guilty all of a sudden. “You mentioned wanting to go last month, but the increase in my medical bills put a stop to that plan.”
An awkward silence descended for a moment, however the conversation soon resumed.
“Well it was nice of Erwin to give you them.” A small giggle escaped her lips, earning her a raised eyebrow from her son. “I take it f/n has an interest in tea too? Or are you trying to educate her?”
Now it was Levi’s turn to frown, in all honesty he had simply asked you to go with him just because he didn’t know what else to do. Fortunately, Erwin giving him the tickets provided him with the perfect excuse to ask you out on another date.
It was true that you’d expressed an interest in the tea he won at the carnival and even asked if he would show you how to make it, so it stood to reason in his mind that you would be genuinely interested in attending the tea fayre with him.
“A bit of both.” He shrugged nonchalantly, meeting his mother’s gaze.
“Well I’m sure it will go well for you.” Said Kuchel with a small smile as she tucked a lock of stray hair back into the bandanna she was now wearing, it was going to take a little getting used to, but she thought it sweet that her son had offered to let her use it. “She seems like a nice girl from what you’ve told me so far.”
Levi lowered his gaze to his tea cup. Yes, he’d spoken about you to her, but nothing about you being his reincarnated soul mate from his previous life...that little detail was to remain a closely guarded secret between himself and Hanji.
It wasn’t that Levi didn’t trust her, because he did, she was his mother after all. 
However he didn’t want her thinking he had a screw loose and needed his head examining if he tried to explain the strange dreams and flashbacks he kept having recently. 
“So when do I get to meet her?”
“Hmm?”
“Levi, were you even listening to a word I just said?” Questioned Kuchel, her brows furrowing slightly. “Are you feeling okay? Have you been having trouble sleeping again?”
“I better go and sort out my paperwork for tomorrow.” He muttered, picking up his cup of tea and leaving the table, only to be stopped a moment later when Kuchel placed her hand on his arm.
She looked like she wanted to say something important, yet the defeated look in her soft grey eyes seemed to convey that she had thought better of it.
“Don’t stay up all night working on it, make sure you try and get some rest.”
Responding with a nod, Levi left the kitchen and made his way upstairs, leaving her sat at the table by herself to simply sigh and shake her head in dismay at the fact that her son was clearly keeping something hidden from her…

Fluffing up the scatter cushions on the small sofa, Hanji’s attention was soon caught by the intercom buzzing.
“Hello?” She asked, picking up the receiver.
“Hey Hanji, it’s me.” Came the cheerful reply.
“Perfect timing Sweetie, come on up!” 
Hanging up and pressing the button to allow her visitor entry to the building, there was a knock on her apartment door a few minutes later.
“It’s open f/n!” She called, making her way into the kitchen to prepare something to drink and rummaging around in the fridge for the appetizing lemon sponge she had picked up on the way home from work. 
“Hey Hanji, where are you hiding?” You called, entering the apartment and closing the door behind you.
“I’m in the kitchen.”
“So what cake did you get?” You giggled, grinning madly and making her jump when she closed the fridge door to find you near enough nose to nose with her.
“Damnit f/n!” She gasped, tightening her grip on the cardboard box containing the aforementioned item. “You’re as bad as your mother was for sneaking up on people!”
You shrugged and watched her closely as she glanced over at the stove to see if the kettle had started boiling yet, which going by the lack of high pitched whistling it wasn't. 
“I’m surprised you haven’t met up with Moblit tonight.” 
“Nah, he’s gone out drinking with Gelgar.”
“On a work night?” 
Hanji smiled and moved to the cupboard, opening it and taking out a plate to put the cake on. 
“That’s rich coming from you, I was half expecting you to turn me down with the excuse you were seeing Levi tonight.”
“Hanji, we’ve only been on one date!” You protested, folding your arms and leaning against the work top. 
“Yes, but you’ve already arranged a second one.”
“For next week!”
Raising her eyebrows at you in a questioning manner, the bespectacled brunette remained silent, yet the look in her eyes did all the talking for her.
“Well, I guess I could tell you where we’re going since I now know it’s a sold out event and you have no chance of getting a ticket.”
“If you don’t tell me, you can’t have cake!” 
Your e/c eyes widened at her threat.
“Oh that is low!”
“No cake unless you tell me where you and Shorty are going next week!” She answered in an innocent sing song voice.
“Who says I want cake anyway?” You scoffed, desperate not to give in to her demands.
“It’s lemon cake!” She teased, waving the box in your face. “You lurve lemon cake!”
“I prefer Victoria Sponge!”
“Just tell me where you and Shorty are going you damn you!”
Laughing and shaking your head, you finally relented and answered her question.
“Fine. Levi told me that Mr Smith gave him two tickets for a tea fayre and he asked me if I’d go with him.”
“Oh.” Frowned Hanji, cocking her head to one side and folding her arms. “Well that’s not very romantic, although it does explain why Erwin asked him to stay behind after today's board meeting."
“Neither was the carnival but it was still an enjoyable evening! Besides, Levi’s actually really shy and sweet when he’s not shouting at you! It might be nice to go somewhere a little quieter and spend some time with him.”
Hanji’s frown instantly morphed into a knowing smile. 
“Ha! I knew you two would get on well together! So it looks like I was right to push you into accepting a date with him after all...feel free to thank me anytime!”
“I’ll pass.” You snorted, reaching into your jeans pocket when your phone started vibrating.
“Oh is that lover boy?” She inquired, wiggling her eyebrows in a rather suggestive manner.
“None of your business!” You snorted, yet the soft smile on your face when you started typing a reply clearly conveyed your answer.
A loud high pitched noise soon filled the kitchen, although you couldn’t be certain whether it was Hanji squealing or the kettle whistling to indicate that it was now boiling.
“So, what does he want?” 
“Just asking what I’m up to.” You shrugged nonchalantly, eyeing up the boxed cake while Hanji prepared you both a drink. 
A few seconds later your phone started buzzing again, this time however Hanji was in front of you before you could even swipe your thumb across the screen to open the message.
“What’s he say huh? Is he missing you? Is he sending you sweet little love notes?”
“No, he wants to know why the hell I’m hanging around with an annoying idiot like you!” You giggled cheekily. 
“What? Let me see that!” 
Smirking rather evilly you turned the phone around, allowing Hanji to see the contents of the text.

To: F/n
From: Levi
Received: 19:30

Don’t you see enough of that annoying idiot at work? 


“He loves me really!”
You laughed and shook your head, turning the phone away from her and typing in a reply. 
“So, are we going to have this catch up or what? Oh and by the way, Levi is not up for discussion!”
“What? Oh come on!” Protested the bespectacled brunette, almost dropping her spoon back into her coffee.
“Nope, you already know we’re going on a second date and that’s all you need to know for now!” 
Puppy brown eyes narrowing, an unamused pout forced her bottom lip to stick out for a few moments before she finally relented and admitted defeat.
“Alright fine, what do you want to talk about?”
“My mother?” You asked hopefully, biting your lower lip and dragging it back between your teeth. “I really want to hear some more of the things you two got up to when you were teenagers.”
Upon hearing those words, Hanji’s lips instantly melted into a warm smile.
“Sure we can Sweetie, let’s get this cake sliced up and then we can talk about whatever you want.”
She may have been a little disappointed that she wasn’t going to be able to coax anymore information out of you about how things were going with Levi, but playing witness to his protective display of affection as you were all leaving work earlier certainly made for some promising prospects as far as she was concerned...

Chapter Text

Survey Corps Headquarters,
Year 844:

It had been a long couple of months getting all the soldiers settled into the new headquarters, but the hard work wasn’t quite over yet. 
With an expedition looming at the end of the current month, Levi was up to his neck in paperwork for Erwin regarding a titan capture mission. 
Now that Hanji’s newly developed traps had finally been mass produced and were ready for action, training on how to use them was being implemented and squad selection was being carried out to decide who would help operate them.
The bespectacled section commander was far too enthusiastic about the idea of acquiring more test subjects for whatever messed up experiments she was planning on carrying out and it was driving him mad, especially since adverse weather conditions on their last expedition had prevented them from breaking them in properly.
Sighing deeply Levi reached over to the pile of fresh paper situated on the right hand side of his desk, pulling a sheet off and dipping his pen into the ink pot ready to begin writing again.
Moments later a knock on the door made him look up, his brows furrowing as to why someone could possibly be wanting to see him at this time of night.
He could tell it was late simply by the fact that the sky outside was a dark shade of blue and dotted with bright silver stars, he'd also needed to light more candles so he could see what he was doing.
Most of the scouts were probably back in their dormitories resting up for tomorrow’s training by now, so what could one of them possibly want to speak to him for at this hour?
“Name and business.” He called turning his attention back to the paper in front of him and starting to write.
“It’s me Levi.” Came a familiar female voice, causing him to stop writing and look up again almost immediately.
“Come in f/n.”
The young female scout entered his office, carefully kicking the door closed behind her since she currently had her hands full.
“I was just heading back to my dorm when I noticed the candle light coming from the window.” She smiled, approaching the desk and placing two cups of steaming hot tea on the desk. “I figured your insomnia had kicked in hard again, so I thought I’d try making you some lavender tea. I heard that it’s been known to help people fall asleep more easily.”
Levi nodded and eyed the cup curiously as she moved around to his side of the desk and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, kissing his cheek and resting her head against his.
“Ah, Commander Erwin got you buried alive in paperwork for the upcoming capture mission?”
“Tch, Shitty Glasses is really taking the piss.” He snorted, pushing his chair back slightly and wrapping an arm around f/n’s waist, pulling her down to sit in his lap. 
“She’s just excited since this is the first time we’re going to be using the new traps. The rain was too heavy and it would’ve been suicide to try them out on last month’s expedition, believe me I didn’t hear the last of it the next day when it was completely dry and clear!”
“Rather you than me.” He remarked, placing his chin on her shoulder and frowning. 
F/n giggled softly and rested her head against Levi’s again, gently running her fingers through his soft raven hair.
“I was glad when she finally dismissed me for the evening, all she’s talked about today is how she can’t wait for the next expedition...no wonder poor Moblit has gone off base drinking!”
Levi rolled his eyes and adjusted his position, placing his pen down so he could reach for his tea. Picking up the pristine white cup by its rim he curiously sniffed it, breathing in the strong scent of the lavender she had added.
Taking a sip he swallowed hard and coughed, making f/n jump.
“Levi, are you okay?” 
“Damnit f/n, that tastes fucking shit!” 
Eyes widening, f/n wasn’t quite sure what to say. This certainly wasn’t the reaction she’d been hoping for with her kind gesture.
“It doesn’t taste that bad surely?”
“Try it!”
Shrugging her shoulders she took the handle of the cup and raised it to her lips, wincing a moment later and quickly putting the cup down...but not before spitting the contents of her mouth back into it.
“Good lord, that is disgusting!”
Quickly reaching for her own cup, she took a large sip and swilled her mouth out with the warm liquid before swallowing and offering it to Levi. 
“Have a sip of this, it’ll take the taste away.” 
“Like hell I’m trusting you after what you just tried to give me!”
F/n frowned and flicked his nose, earning her a disgruntled growl in response.
“There’s nothing wrong with my tea! It’s a lot sweeter than what you’re used to because it’s got a spoonful of honey in it, but it’s not bloody poisonous!”
“Tch, fine!” 
Reluctantly taking the cup from her he took a small sip, his eyes widening at the unusually sweet taste.
To be honest it was actually quite nice, not too strong or overpowering and definitely nowhere near as nasty as the lavender tea he had just tried.
“Well?” 
"It’s not bad.” He replied taking another sip.
“Hey give that back!” She gasped, reaching for the cup and failing when the raven haired captain leaned away from her.
“Call this an apology for giving me that lavender shit!” He answered bluntly, gulping back the rest of the cup’s contents before placing it back on the table.
“You ass!” Giggled f/n lightly slapping him around the back of his head.
“Tch, shut up!” 
Without warning, f/n reached down and gripped the back of Levi's neck, tangling her fingers through his raven hair and pulling his head back. 
Their mouths crashed together and moved in sync, allowing f/n to taste the remnants of her honey tea on his lips as they continued their passionate clinch.
A moment later the kiss was broken and they simply stared into each other’s eyes, silently exchanging the strong feelings they had for each other.
“I’ll leave you to it.” Smiled f/n, placing another quick peck on Levi’s lips. “Don’t stay up too late if you can help it.”
“Take that shit with you.” He replied motioning to the now cooling cup of lavender tea. 
Shaking her head and allowing herself a small giggle, f/n picked up the still full cup as well as the empty one and made her way towards the door.
“Goodnight Levi.”
“Goodnight f/n.” He nodded, moving to pick up his pen and once again resume his paperwork, narrowing his cold grey eyes slightly when the door closed behind her.
“Tch, lavender tea...I bet that was one of Hanji’s moronic ideas!” 

“Levi? Levi? Hey, Levi!”
“Hmm?” Blinking rapidly, the raven haired male turned to face the source of the voice, meeting a concerned pair of e/c eyes.
“Penny for your thoughts?” You questioned worriedly, gripping your tea cup with both hands. “You’ve been staring out of the window for the past five minutes like it’s the most fascinating thing in the world.”
“I’m fine.” He shrugged nonchalantly, but it was a blatant lie...and one that was about to be blown wide open when a certain bespectacled director entered the canteen.
“Hey there lovebirds!” Smiled Hanji, bounding over to their table and sliding into the seat next to Levi. “All set for your date tonight?”
“Piss off Shitty Glasses.” Groaned Levi, rolling his eyes and picking up his tea cup. 
“Yeah, I'm looking forward to it!” You nodded enthusiastically, flashing Levi a small smile.
“Good. Oh by the way Shorty, how is your mother? I remember you saying she was having another round of treatment today.”
The smile instantly fell from your face when Levi swallowed his tea too quickly and ended up coughing rather violently. 
“Levi, are you okay?” You gasped when he slammed his fist into his chest to try and stop himself from choking.
“Oops.” Muttered Hanji, realizing that she probably shouldn’t have mentioned Kuchel in front of you.
Even though you already knew of her battle with cancer, you decided not to raise the subject since Levi hadn’t openly told you about it himself and you felt it best to respect his privacy. Still, you couldn’t help but wonder if it was a contributing factor as to why he was suddenly being so distant with you that day. Despite arranging to have lunch with you so you could discuss your plans for later, he hadn't really contributed much to the conversation since the two of you had sat down.
Sensing that a fight was likely to break out, you quickly looked around the canteen and were relieved to see Nickolas making his way over to you.
“Hey f/n!” He called, clearly not willing to get too close since you were with Levi. “Nanaba’s calling a team meeting in five minutes.”
“Okay, I’m on my way.” Looking back towards Levi, you struggled to hide your relief at having an excuse to leave. “I better go, are you going to be okay?”
“Oh he’ll be fine.” Smiled Hanji, wrapping an arm around his shoulders, which was immediately shrugged off when he finally managed to stop choking. 
“Yeah well, I’ll stop by your grave sometime!” You snorted, shooting her a disapproving frown before picking up your cup and plate. “See you tonight Levi.”
Once you had left the table, Levi’s head snapped around to regard Hanji with a dark stare that suggested she had milliseconds to explain herself before he threw her out of the window.
“I’m so sorry about that, I thought that because you two are constantly texting each other you might have mentioned your mother having cancer.”
“Well I hadn’t!” 
“I can see that now.” She muttered worriedly, knowing full well how badly she’d screwed up at her lack of thought over her next words. “Still it is pretty common knowledge, so I’m sure she already knew to some extent.”
Levi’s eyes narrowed. Outwardly he appeared calm, but internally he was furious.
“Anyway, I better go.” Said the director nervously. “I can see you’re in no mood to talk, so I’ll just leave you to it...bye!”
Quick as a flash, she jumped out of her seat and made a break for the canteen doors, almost knocking Ness and Mike off their feet when she barged past them.
“Tch, moron.” Growled Levi, pulling his mobile phone out of his pocket and frowning when he noticed that he didn’t have any new messages from his mother or uncle, which could only mean they were still at the hospital. 
Sighing deeply he finished his cup of tea and decided to get back to work, hopefully it would prove enough of a distraction to stop the thoughts of how best to kill Hanji from entering his brain for too long…

After Nanaba's team meeting, apart from dealing with a couple of awkward clients who had gotten their days mixed up, your afternoon was relatively relaxed...until Ilse and Luke decided to start interrogating you again when you all reached the entrance foyer while you were leaving.
“So are you all set for your second date with Mr Ackerman?” Inquired Ilse, pulling her notebook out of her bag and quickly flicking through it for a clean page to start scribbling on.
“Yeah, I’m sure it will be interesting.” You smiled trying to sneak a quick glance at what she was writing before she turned her back and continued taking notes. 
“You’ll never get a look at that thing!” Smirked Luke. “If you do...your eyes will melt and you’ll end up looking like one of those guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark!”
Ilse shot him a death glare, continuing to furiously scribble away in her little black book while you giggled and shook your head. 
“So, what exactly happens at a tea fayre anyway?” 
“No clue.” You shrugged, deciding to have a little fun. “I’m assuming it’s something to do with tea though.”
“Maybe that’s a clever disguise!” Mused the long haired male. “What if it’s something else like...Oh I dunno...R Rated?”
“R Rated?” You scoffed. “What are they going to be showing us, the tea version of the karma sutra?”
“Hey, they might!”
The three of you started laughing rather loudly, attracting the unwanted attention of a certain unpopular team leader…
“Hmph, what’s tickled you lot?” Questioned Flagon, striding across the tiled floor and stopping a few feet from your group.
“Nothing that concerns you!” Replied Ilse sharply, closing her notebook with an audible snap and putting it back into her bag.
Flagon furrowed his brows and glared at you, making you flinch, however you chose to stand your ground.
“So...I hear you have another date with Levi.” 
“Yes I do.” You replied evenly, not entirely sure what concern it was of his.
“Yeah well, enjoy it.” 
You blinked rapidly, watching closely as he brushed past you and made his way out of the building before turning your attention back to Ilse and Luke.
“Is it just me or did he sound like he was being majorly sarcastic?” You asked worriedly, feeling tense when both of your colleagues frowned and nodded in unison.
“Be careful f/n.” Warned Luke sternly. “That asshole has clearly put a target on your back and is currently eyeing it up wondering when to strike.”
“Yeah well, I’m sure Mr Ackerman would love to hear about it if he does try anything.”
You bit your lip nervously and followed them out of the building, Levi had told you to inform him if Flagon tried to intimidate you, but you couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to it than a simple rivalry…

Having managed to avoid Hanji for the rest of the day after her slip up regarding his personal life, Levi returned home to find Kenny sat at the kitchen table frowning at his laptop. 
The older Ackerman was clearly in a bad mood. He was currently resting an elbow on the table with his chin placed on his palm, his cold grey eyes narrowing thoughtfully at the screen while he drummed the fingers of his free hand off the wooden surface. There was a glass of whiskey next to the laptop, along with the bottle in easy reach in case he wanted a top up.
“Where’s my mother?” Inquired Levi, leaning against the door frame and folding his arms. 
“She’s probably asleep.” Retorted Kenny lowly, not looking up at his nephew as he picked up the glass and knocked it back in one gulp, reaching for the bottle and preparing another. “The chemotherapy has knocked her on her ass today, so you’ll have to make your own dinner. Just make sure you check on her before you go swanning off on your date, she’s already said and I quote…“if you dare try and cancel she’ll flush your tea down the toilet and make you drink coffee for a week!” So do what you gotta do and get out of here!”
Levi’s brows furrowed, he wasn’t sure that going off on another date with you was a good idea if his mother was in such a bad way. However he also knew that when she made threats, she stuck to them. Surely you would understand if he did call it off since you now knew about her current condition? He would judge for himself whether he needed to cancel or not when he went upstairs to get changed, although he had a feeling Kuchel would insist he still went regardless.
“Oh by the way, I need you to stump up your share of the medical bill.” Said Kenny bluntly, instantly snapping him out of his thoughts.
“I’ll deal with it tomorrow.” 
Kenny nodded and picked up his recently refilled glass, only taking a small sip this time. 
“Good, now go make yourself look pretty for your hot date with...whatever she’s called.”
“F/n. Her name is f/n.”
“Yeah sure, just beat it already.”
Rolling his eyes Levi decided to skip out on dinner, suddenly finding that he had lost his appetite and unfortunately, it wasn’t because he was looking forward to his second date with you…

“So what time is Levi picking you up tonight?” Inquired your father, looking up from his book and smiling as you re-entered the living room after getting showered and changed.
“About half an hour.” You replied checking your mobile and seeing the text he had sent letting you know he was on his way. “Do I look okay?” 
Since tonight was more of a casual affair, you had opted for a pair of stonewash jeans, black and white converse trainers, a plain red shirt and your favourite black leather biker jacket while leaving your hair up in a neat ponytail.
“You look fine Sweetheart.” He smiled with an approving nod.
Before you could reply your phone started ringing, gaining your immediate attention.
“It’s Hanji.” You said, furrowing your brows and answering the call. “Hey, you're still alive then?”
“Of course I’m still alive!” Giggled the bespectacled brunette on the other end of the line. “So, how’s your date going?”
“He’s not even picked me up yet!” You snorted, rolling your eyes and earning a chuckle from your father. 
“Oh, is he running late?”
“They don’t open the doors for another hour yet!”
“Ah, okay I’ll call again soon. Bye!”
You opened your mouth to reply, but before you could the line went dead. Pulling the device away from your ear, you stared at it blankly before looking over at your father.
“Can you believe her? She’s so damned nosey!”
“Well if she calls again, ignore her! Focus on enjoying your date.”
“Yeah I intend to.” You giggled, biting your lip thoughtfully you looked towards the clock on the wall above the fireplace. 
Levi would be picking you up in just over twenty minutes and in all honesty, you couldn’t wait to spend some more quality time with him.

After getting changed into a pair of dark blue jeans, tanned suede boots and a black shirt, Levi checked his reflection in the full length mirror of his wardrobe before reaching behind him for his car keys and wallet. 
Making sure that the tickets for the tea fayre were still in there, he picked up his phone and sent you a quick text letting you know he was on his way and left the bedroom. 
Stopping outside Kuchel’s room he cautiously knocked on the door, hearing the loud hum of the oxygen machine from the other side but other than that, not receiving a response.
Frowning deeply he pushed open the door and poked his head around, stepping in when he saw the raven haired woman’s eyes flutter slightly before slowly opening.
“Levi?” She questioned groggily, a tired smile tugging at her lips as she forced herself to sit up. 
“I’m heading off to meet f/n.” He said softly, approaching the bed and helping her.
“Oh, is it that late already? Why didn’t you wake me sooner?”
“Kenny said you weren’t feeling too good.”
Kuchel sighed in annoyance and adjusted her nasal cannula.
“Where is he now?” 
“Probably still downstairs.”
“Right well, on your way out can you ask him to make me something to eat please? Have you had anything?”
“I’m not hungry.”
Now it was Kuchel’s turn to frown, however still being tired and feeling nauseous from her earlier treatment at the hospital, she didn’t really have the energy to argue with him.
“Alright, well I’ll make sure Kenny leaves you something.”
“Tch, I’d sooner starve than eat his burnt offerings.”
Kuchel giggled and shook her head, however the smile soon fell from her face when she scratched the base of her skull and ended up finding several strands of raven hair tangled around her fingers as she pulled her hand away.
“Look, if you need me to stay here I can call f/n and cancel, she’ll understand.” Said Levi lowly, awkwardly averting his gaze.
“You will do no such thing Levi Ackerman!” Snapped his mother hoarsely, untangling the strands of dead hair from her fingers and dropping them into the bin beside her bed. “Now come here and give me a hug before you go.”
Doing as he was told, Levi loosely wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on her shoulder, his brows furrowing at the lack of strength she seemed to have when she embraced him.
Kenny hadn’t been wrong about this more intensive treatment making her feel like she’d been through the wringer, it was bad enough that she looked as white as a sheet at the moment, but the fact it was also draining her strength worried him. 
Still, if there was even the slightest chance that it would work...then surely it had to be worth it in the end?
“Have a good time Sweetheart.” She muttered softly, kissing his cheek and flashing him a small smile as she watched him leave.
Sighing sadly when the door closed behind him she stared down at bin and the tangle of long raven strands that now occupied it. Shaking her head and reaching for her book, she tried to push it to the back of her mind while she waited for Kenny to bring her some food.

You leaned forward in the armchair and grinned as you tugged harder at the woven rope in your hands, raising a playful growl from Sasha when she tried to pull back and yank it from your grasp. 
Levi was due to show up any minute and you had decided to occupy yourself with a game of tug while you waited, a game you were close to losing until a knock at the door distracted the chocolate labrador and caused her to let go so she could bark at the sound.
“I guess that will be Levi.” Smiled your father, standing up and making his way out of the living room, closely followed by an excited Sasha.
“Is f/n ready?” You heard a familiar bored tone ask as you quickly stood up and straightened your clothes, brushing Sasha’s hair from them and walking into the hallway.
A smile spread across you face when you saw Levi squatting down in front of Sasha to give her a quick scratch behind the ears, her tail wagging back and forth with enough force to smack loudly off the door frame. 
“Hey Levi.” 
“Hey.” He replied with a nod, standing up straight and awkwardly meeting your gaze.
“Right, have fun you two.” Said your father. “You’ve got your key haven’t you?”
“Yeah I do.” You answered, patting your jeans pocket and making sure you had picked it up.
“Good, see you later.” 
Waiting until you and Levi gotten into his car and driven away, your father then closed and locked to door before heading back into the living room. Calling Sasha to his side, he decided to see if there was anything worth watching for the evening since it was just the two of them. Glancing over to the picture on the mantelpiece, he smiled sadly and shook his head before finally settling on a film, he rubbed Sasha's head and got comfortable.

It didn’t take you long to pick up on the fact that Levi seemed a little more tense than normal, although part of you wasn’t sure whether or not you should press the subject of why that might be.
“So, what should I expect from this tea fayre then?” You inquired, cautiously breaking the awkward silence that seemed to have fallen over the pair of you.
“Usually they sell different types of tea and do brewing demonstrations.” He answered bluntly, keeping his eyes on the road. 
“Sounds interesting, I might actually learn something tonight then.”
“Yeah.”
Swallowing hard you nervously bit your lip and glanced out of the window, you really hoped he wasn’t going to have a frosty attitude with you all night. After all, what happened at work with Hanji earlier wasn’t your fault so, he had no right to take it out on you if he was still angry over it.
“Are you okay Levi?” You asked worriedly, noticing his brows furrow and his grip on the steering wheel tighten slightly.
“I’m fine.”
‘Liar!’ You thought, not daring to say it out loud.
Clicking his tongue the raven haired male sighed when the traffic lights ahead turned red. 
“It’s nothing you’ve done.” He said folding his arms as the cars at the crossroads started to move. 
“Still pretty mad at Hanji then huh? Not that I blame you.”
“I don’t appreciate having my private business talked about behind my back.”
“Well...you’ve probably already worked out that she told me about your mum when she was trying to convince me to go on a date with you.” You said evenly, watching him carefully when he spared you a glance. “To be honest she practically told me your life story.”
“Tch, why am I not surprised.”
“Look I don’t blame you for not telling me. We’ve not known each other that long and…”
“It’s fine.” He replied, abruptly cutting you off. His harsh steel eyed gaze softened slightly, even if his tone of voice didn’t. “Besides, I had a feeling that idiot would tell you everything from my favourite type of tea to when I take a shit!”
You laughed and shook your head, there was the awkward Levi you had enjoyed getting to know over the past couple of weeks. 
“Good lord, I hope you don't kiss your mother with that mouth!” 
Levi raised an eyebrow at you.
“Tch, you don’t complain when I kiss you with it!” He shrugged, gripping the steering wheel once more when the lights changed from red to amber. “By the way, she’s keen to meet you.”
“Really?” 
“Yeah, she's been pecking my head about it for the past few days."
You hummed and pursed your lips as the car began moving forward again, folding your arms thoughtfully.
“Well you have already met my dad, twice I might add.” You mused. “I guess it’s only fair that I meet your mum.”
“Alright, we’ll arrange something then.” 
A soft smile slowly spread across your face as you once again glanced over at him, relieved that the tense atmosphere had been lifted, leaving you free to enjoy your second date with him.

Chapter Text

By the time the two of you arrived at the venue where the tea fayre was taking place, the main doors had already been opened to the gathered attendees and the long queue was beginning to slowly crawl forward as they were allowed admittance.
The convention centre was a huge three storey building, boasting an extensive main hall which mostly attracted clients wishing to book it for live music concerts, craft shows and other large events. The other floors consisted of several much smaller function rooms, used for conference meetings by high flying executives coming into the city for business deals to meet on neutral territory with their potential clients.
After parking up, you and Levi started to make your way over to the rear of the convention centre to join the back of the queue.
You flashed him a small shy smile as he instinctively reached for your hand, intertwining his fingers with yours as you walked.
He was still fairly quiet and still a little tense, but he seemed to be in a much calmer mood compared to earlier.
You knew all too well that he was still seething with Hanji for what had happened at lunch time, but you didn’t really blame him. She was a law unto herself at times and she had no sense of when to engage her brain before speaking, although part of you believed this was down to her being far too excited that her little matchmaking scheme was going so well.

Joining the back of the queue as it halted, Levi momentarily let go of you to check that he still had the tickets in his wallet, only paying attention to you again when your mobile started ringing.
“Damnit, she’s persistent!” You muttered, taking the device out and tutting when the caller ID flashed up displaying the name of a certain nosey coworker.
“Tch!”
Without warning, Levi reached out and plucked the phone from your hand, answering the call before you had a chance to protest.
“Leave us alone Four Eyes!”
“Shorty?” Came the surprised voice from the other end of the line “How come you have f/n’s phone? Is she okay?”
“She’s fine, you on the other hand won’t be if you don’t quit pestering us!”
“Aww, but I wanna know how your date is going!”
“Piss off Shitty Glasses!”
Ending the call, Levi held the device out to you, ignoring the disapproving stares and shocked gasps from the people already waiting in the queue, as well as the ones who had just joined the rear.
“Well at least you didn’t threaten to throw her out of a window this time.” You giggled, taking it from him and activating the silent mode application so that if she did call again, you wouldn’t hear it.
You couldn’t outright turn it off incase your father needed to get in contact with you, although you doubted he would. Still, it was better to play it safe and if Hanji called again, you would just let her rant at you in a voicemail message.
“Tch, there’s always time for that at work tomorrow.” Shrugged the raven haired male, taking your hand once more when the queue started moving forward again.
Eventually you reached the main doors of the building and were greeted by one of the smartly dressed stewards.
In less than a minute, he had checked the tickets and then directed you to the main hall where the tea fayre was taking place.
An enticing aroma of fruit and spices greeted you as you made your way through the large entrance and looked around the spacious area.
Various tables were set up throughout the hall, making sure to leave plenty of space for people to walk through and even form small crowds around to stand and watch as each vendor talked to them about their wares.
Some were dressed in authentic costumes that befitted the particular region and time period that they were displaying items from, while others had simply chosen casual attire.
There was also a wide range of books, accessories and other tea related items neatly displayed to attract the attention of passers by and draw them to each individual table.
“So any particular place you want to start?” You inquired.
“Just walk around and see what there is.” He shrugged nonchalantly.
Truth be told, he was as clueless as you were.
This wasn’t his time attending a tea fayre, however the ones he had been to before were usually on a much smaller scale.
“Okay, well looks like they’re already setting up to do a demonstration over there.” You said, nodding to a table over on your right. “Want to have a look?”
“Alright.”
Keeping a firm grip on your hand to make sure he didn’t lose you in the crowd, Levi led you over to the first table.

“Ah welcome.” Smiled a tall woman with jet black hair, looking up from pouring some water into a rather ornate looking clay tea pot. “You have an interest in oriental tea?”
“I wouldn’t mind learning about it.” You replied, casting a curious glance over her costume.
She was wearing a beautiful red silk kimono adorned with two golden scaled dragons, their tails curling around the arms while the bodies almost seemed to climb down her lithe frame. Her hair was neatly pinned back in a bun and held in place with a golden comb decorated with an extravagant jeweled lotus flower.
“This particular blend I’m about to make is a green tea traditionally served to people of great importance.” She explained, gesturing to the tea pot, allowing you and Levi a quick glance at the contents before putting the lid on and turning to the small child on her left. “Mikasa dear, get me two cups please.”
“Yes Mummy.” Replied the girl, pushing back the sleeves of her pale pink kimono and fetching two small white cups painted with dark blue leaf patterns.
“So what type of tea is that?” You inquired with a nod, keen to know what she was about to offer you. “I know there’s different sorts of green teas, but that’s about it.”
Levi rolled his eyes in amusement, if you were trying to impress him you were failing miserably. He had to admire the effort though and was glad that you were taking a genuine interest.
“Judging by the smell I’m going to say Kukicha.” He said bluntly.
“Ah so you’ve had this before?” Asked the vendor, carefully taking the cups from her daughter.
“No, but I’ve read about it.”
You blinked rapidly and glanced over at him, he’d already mentioned that he had a fondness for tea and collected different types of leaves, but you hadn’t expected his knowledge on the subject to so good that he could tell what it was by smell alone. Part of you wondered if he was related to that strange director who had sniffed you upon meeting you and was currently dating Nanaba...Mike wasn’t it?
“Alright, that should be ready now.” Said the vendor, drawing your attention back to her as she picked up the teapot and poured out some of the pale green liquid into the two cups. “Please, enjoy.”
You and Levi exchanged a glance before he released your hand so you could try the steaming beverage that had been so carefully prepared for you.
Cautiously picking up a cup and inhaled the strong aroma. Raising it to your lips, you took a small sip, swilling it around your mouth for a moment to savour the taste before swallowing.
“That’s a lot different to what I was expecting, I thought it would be more...bitter.”
“Not bad.” Mused Levi, taking another sip.
“You can also add it to juice.” Piped up the small child, moving to stand beside her mother and clinging to her kimono. “I like it when my mummy does that.”
You smiled at the girl and took another sip of the warm liquid, there was a mild nutty yet creamy taste to it which you rather liked.
“So how many different types of green tea are there exactly?”
“Too many to list off the top of my head.” Smiled the vendor warmly, looking to Mikasa when she tugged on her arm and pointed to two more attendees wishing to sample her wares. “Mainly because they are infused with different fruits and spices, the possibilities really are endless.”
You nodded and clicked your tongue thoughtfully, downing the rest of your cup.
“Hey, ready to continue looking around?” Asked Levi, placing his now empty cup back on the table.
“Yeah sure.”
“Enjoy the rest of the fayre.” Smiled the vendor as her daughter retrieved your cups, she then turned her full attention back towards the people who were now inquiring about her tea.
“Bye!” Called Mikasa, waving shyly.
Offering the small child a smile and a nod, you once again took Levi’s hand and followed him through the crowd, keen to know where your next stop would be...

Survey Corps Headquarters,
Year 845:

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
“Of course I am! I’ve seen Levi do this loads of times!”
“Yeah, but you’ve only ever made him standard tea, not the specialty one he likes.”
“Well there’s a first time for everything, so shut up and let me concentrate!”
Levi stopped and blinked at the sound of his name, slowly turning his attention towards the source of the muffled voices.
Pushing open the heavy wooden door on his left, he silently poked his head around the small gap he had created and furrowed his brows, curiously watching the scene before him.

Hanji sat at the large wooden table while f/n poured some hot water into a small white teapot before adding what looked like tea leaves and slowly stirring it.
“You know if you mess this up he’s going to kill you!” Giggled Hanji mischievously. “Those leaves aren’t cheap you know!”
“Hush your mouth, stop trying to jinx me!”
Shaking her head, Hanji continued to stare at the almost hypnotic rotating movement of the other female’s hand as she continued to stir the contents of the teapot.
“Okay, after he’s given it a stir he usually leaves it to stand for about five minutes before straining, then it’s ready to serve.” Muttered f/n, more to herself than to her comrade while ceasing her stirring and putting the lid on.
“Have you two fallen out or something?” Inquired Hanji worriedly. “Only you don’t seem to be spending as much time together at the moment.”
“No we’re fine, it’s just that with the expedition tomorrow he’s been under more pressure to make sure everything is prepared for acquiring you yet another new test subject." F/n replied, turning to open the drawer behind her and pulling out a silver tea strainer. “You're going through them far too quickly recently. Plus with the new batch of recruits need to be trained on how to use them, the last thing he needs on top of all that is to be dealing with me wanting his attention.”
“I’m sure he could spare you a brief game of tonsil tennis!”
“Hanji!”
“What? You know he always makes time for a quickie, even when he’s up to his eyeballs in paperwork!”

Rolling his eyes, Levi decided he’d heard enough and pushed the door open fully, stepping into the room and announcing his arrival.
“Hey Four Eyes, don’t you have preparations to make for tomorrow?”
Both females instantly turned their attention towards him, one looking rather surprised to see him, while the other seemed a lot more enthusiastic.
“Good Evening Shorty!” Giggled Hanji, her manic grin remaining firmly in place as he approached the table. “Here for that quickie I just mentioned?”
“Tch, go play with your titans!”
F/n tutted and removed the lid from the teapot, giving the now tea infused hot water another stir before placing the strainer over the cup and pouring the mixture into it.
Levi watched her with interest as she pressed the leaves down into the bottom of the strainer with the teaspoon, being sure to drain every last drop of moisture from them before giving the cup’s contents a final stir.
“Okay, moment of truth.” She mused, pushing the cup towards him and nervously biting her lip.
Clicking his tongue thoughtfully, Levi picked it up.
Raising it to his lips, he paused momentarily and raised an annoyed eyebrow in the direction of the bespectacled brunette, who was currently waiting with baited breath for his verdict.
“Oh don’t mind me!” She smiled innocently, her puppy brown eyes still intently fixed on the pristine white object.
“Tch.”
Taking a sip, he frowned at the taste.
“Not bad for your first attempt, but the water wasn't hot enough when you added the leaves. It’s lost some of the flavour.”
“Damnit!” F/n cursed under her breath, averting her gaze.
“Better luck next time Sweetie.” Said Hanji softly, standing up and making her way to the door. “I’ll leave you both to have some time alone together.”
Once she had left, Levi took a step closer to f/n and raised his hand to her face, tapping her under the chin to get her to look at him.
“I’ve tasted worse.”
Allowing herself a small smirk, f/n looked into his steel grey eyes, noticing how his harsh gaze had softened slightly.
“Guess you’ll just have to show me how to brew it properly then, won’t you?”
“Make sure you survive this expedition and I will.”
Stepping closer to him, f/n wrapped her arms around his neck, her smirk melting into an affectionate smile when she felt his hands on her hips as he pulled her against him.
“I’ll hold you that...” She said lowly, subtly moving her head closer to Levi’s so their lips were almost touching. “Just you make sure you survive as well.”
Levi gave a single nod before slowly closing the gap between them, savouring the tender embrace and trying not think about the fact that it may well be their last...

Dragging himself back to the present, Levi growled in annoyance over the fact that another flashback had seen fit to distract him.
He could always tell when they were going to happen, the main signal was that the world around him would seem to go quiet, followed by his vision going blurry. The only thing he could compare it to was that it was almost like his head was underwater.
Thankfully this time, you had been too busy looking at a book about the history of tea farming to notice that he had spaced out again.
“Find anything interesting?” He inquired, instantly gaining your attention.
“Huh?”
You looked around and found yourself staring into a pair of steel grey eyes framed by raven bangs, completely oblivious to the fact that he was still there since you were so engrossed in the book that you hadn’t heard a word Levi had said.
“Yeah, it’s actually pretty fascinating.” You smiled nervously. “Sorry, were you trying to talk to me? I kinda go into my own little world when I’m reading.”
“It’s fine.” He shrugged. “My mother is the same, I’m used to it.”
“Ready to continue looking around?”
“Sure.”

After casting a curious glance over several of the other tables that were selling different varieties of boxed tea, the sound of a nearby vendor asking for volunteers soon reached your ears.
“Who wants to try their luck at brewing their own tea?” Called an enthusiastic male voice to the passing crowd. “Choose from Keemun, Mitrian Black, Lapsang Souchong and several other specialty leaves.”
“Mitrian Black?” You mused thoughtfully, furrowing your brows and trying to think why that particular blend sounded so familiar, although it didn’t take long for the reason why to enter your brain. “Hey Levi isn’t that the type you won at the carnival last week?”
“Yeah it is.” He replied, rather impressed that you could remember.
“How about I take you up on that offer of you showing me how to make it then?”
Upon hearing the enthusiasm in your voice, the raven haired male’s throat went dry.
This was the third time that the flashbacks from his previous life seemed to be interwoven with his current existence, was it just a strange coincidence...or were you somehow aware of them?
Maybe you were at the age when you met him in your previous life as well and were also experiencing the random flashbacks, but were too nervous to speak up about it?
He couldn’t tell for sure, but he made a mental note to speak to Hanji about it. Maybe she could shed some light on the situation for him, the last thing he wanted to do was jump right in and question you without knowing all the facts and have it backfire.
No, for now he opted to push it to the back of his mind and just enjoy spending time with you.
“Alright, come on.”
You smiled brightly as his grip on your hand tightened and he led you through the crowd towards the table where the vendor calling for volunteers, very much looking forward to seeing more of his tea knowledge in action.

“Ah, hello there!” Smiled the vendor as you and Levi approached, noticing that another couple was already present and trying their hand at brewing something which smelt faintly of cocoa. “Would you like to try making your own specialty tea?”
“Mitrian Black.” Said Levi bluntly.
“An excellent choice!” Said the vendor, gesturing to a small pop up table where a small stove, kettle and cup was already set up. “I’ll just get you the instructions…”
“No need, I’ve made it before.”
The man blinked rapidly, his smile disappearing momentarily before a he allowed himself a small chuckle.
“Ah I see, you’re a fellow tea enthusiast attempting to woo your lovely lady here with your skills?”
Raising an unamused eyebrow, Levi remained silent and walked over to the brewing table.
“Would you like to try making something my dear?” Asked the vendor, turning his attention back to you.
“Oh, um, sure but I just want to watch Levi make this Mitrian Black blend first.” You stammered.
“Of course, of course.” He nodded enthusiastically, seemingly unphased by the narrowed eyed glare being directed at him by the aforementioned male as he filled a small cup with some tea leaves and placed them down in front of him. “Let me know when you are ready.”
Once he had left to speak to the other attendees, you looked back to Levi and smiled.
“Okay then, you have my undivided attention.”
Giving you a single nod, Levi turned on the small stove to start heating up the water.
Looking down at the cup you curiously examined the black shriveled up leaves. You were interested to know how something that, in your opinion resembled charred pieces of paper would create any kind of flavoured beverage.
“The water has to have been rapidly boiling for at least five minutes otherwise the flavour of the leaves won’t come through when you add them.” Explained Levi, snapping you out of your thoughts and gaining your attention.
“Alright, I remember you saying it was complicated, but in what way?”
“If the temperatures and times aren’t right it’s easy to screw it up, it will lose most of the flavour and taste bland.”
“I see.” You mused, glancing over at the stove and seeing that the water had just started boiling. “You said it should have a burnt taste to it right?"
"Yeah."
Taking the cup from you, he poured the leaves into the teapot and put the lid on before placing a strainer over the cup.
“That needs to stand for another five minutes to let the leaves infuse with the water.” He said lowly, furrowing his brows when he noticed the soft smile you were directing at him. “What?”
“Huh?” You blinked, the smile instantly disappearing. “What?”
“Tch, were you even listening to me?”
“Of course I was!” You scoffed, folding your arms.
“So what did I just say?”
“It needs to stand for five minutes to let the leaves infuse with the water.”
Levi narrowed his eyes suspiciously, so you had been paying attention to him after all.
“Alright then.”
Turning back to the teapot, he failed to notice you smirk rather slyly and stick your tongue out at him, desperately fighting back a giggle that was threatening to escape your lips.

After the five minutes had passed, Levi poured some of the now tea infused water into the cup, making sure it passed through the strainer so that the leaves collected in it.
“Squeezing the moisture out intensifies the flavour.” He explained, pressing the spoon down onto the wet leaves and watching the last few drops of moisture fall into the cup.
“Okay.” You nodded, watching him closely as he removed the strainer and tapped the spoon off the side to rid it of any residue before stirring the hot liquid.
“Try it.”
Picking up the small china cup, you raised it to your face and inhaled the strong aroma first to get a better idea of what to expect. There was a strong burnt scent, but unfortunately it did nothing to give away the taste.
Taking a cautious sip you winced slightly at just how bitter it really was before finally managing to swallow it down.
“Wow, that is definitely strong and bitter.” You nodded. “I see what you mean about the burnt aftertaste too, it's not too bad though.”
“My wife usually likes a dash of honey in her black tea.” Smiled the vendor, suddenly appearing in front of you. “It takes the edge off. So, would you like to try your hand at brewing some Keemun my dear?”
“Yeah sure.” You nodded.
“Here you are.” He said, handing over a fresh teapot, instruction sheet and a cup containing some long dark tea leaves. “It’s a nice simple one, so you won’t have any trouble with it.”
“Hmm, seems easy enough.” You mused scanning over the instructions as you put the kettle back onto the stove to re-boil, unaware that Levi was staring rather at you rather intensely.
The recent flashback brought on by your current location was once again at the front of his mind, the comparisons between then and now were practically uncanny.
Once the water started boiling, you tipped the tea leaves into the teapot and added the water, giving the contents a quick stir before putting the lid on and muttering the next part of the instruction guide to yourself in almost the exact same fashion you had in your previous life. If you’d have been wearing that strange military uniform and standing in a castle kitchen rather than a crowded convention hall, Levi would’ve almost believed that he was back in the past.
Once again the urge to ask you if you had any memories of your past life started to gnaw away at his brain, however the only thing that stopped him blurting it out was the fact that he had no way of confirming how old you were when the two of you first met back then. He really needed to pressure Hanji into doing some more research into your past and digging up the answers he so desperately needed.
“Okay that should be ready now.” You said, placing a strainer over the cup and pouring the water into it, watching as it caught the leaves and prevented them from falling into the cup.
Taking the spoon, you then pressed it into the contents of the strainer, draining the moisture from the leaves before giving the finished beverage one final stir.
“Okay, moment of truth.” You giggled nervously, handing the cup to Levi.
Carefully taking it from you, Levi took a sip of the hot liquid, remaining silent for a few seconds while he savoured the taste before swallowing.
“Are you sure you haven’t done this before?” He questioned with a rather deep frown.
“Nope, never.”
“Huh, it’s not bad for your first attempt.”
“Really?” You smiled hopefully, taking the cup from him when he held it out to you.
Taking in the smoky aroma, you raised the cup to your lips and took a small sip, your e/c eyes widening at the malty almost chocolatey taste.
“Wow, that’s actually really nice.”
“All done?” Inquired the vendor, returning to you after showing another attendee to a brewing station.
“Yeah, hey could I get a box of this to take home? I think my dad would like it.”
“Of course, I’ll be back in a moment.”
Turning back to Levi you flashed him a nervous smile.
Tonight had been a real eye opener for you into his hobby and if anything, it served to clarify something which you had already known since your first date with the raven haired male...that giving him a chance was definitely the right decision to make.

As the evening drew to a close and the crowds started to disperse, you and Levi had one last look around the large hall to see if there was anything you still wanted to do before leaving.
Fortunately it seemed you had covered everything. You’d watched some more brewing demonstrations, browsed through the books and even listened to some of the vendor’s answering questions from the other attendees, so all in all, it had been a very enjoyable and interesting evening.
“Ha! Wow you really ticked Hanji off earlier!” You giggled, taking your phone out of your pocket once the two of you were seated in the car.
“Tch, how many missed calls has that moron left you?” He asked, starting the engine and preparing to drive away.
“Three text messages, eight missed calls and two voicemail messages."
Rolling his eyes and tutting, he kept his attention on the road as he pulled out of the car park, chances were you would just read the texts out loud anyway and play the voicemails on loud speaker.
“Okay first text: "Have fun getting Levi away from there when the evening ends.” Second text: “Are you ignoring me? Does Shorty still have your phone?” Yeah I'm ignoring you, you nosey bitch!" You giggled and shook your head opening the third one and reading it aloud. “Oh dear I think you pissed her off! “Shorty give f/n her phone back damn you!” We’re in so much trouble!”
“She needs to get out more.”
“I’m not even going to attempt to call or text her back.” You giggled evilly. “Let her stew until morning.”
Levi allowed himself a snort of amusement as a tiny split second smirk tugged at his lips. Chances were he was going to be pounced on by the bespectacled brunette tomorrow, but he had a few things to ask her of his own and he was confident she would be willing to negotiate an exchange of information.

Arriving back at your house, Levi once again walked you to the door.
“That tea fayre was a great idea Levi.” You said, pulling your house key out of your pocket. “I never knew such a simple thing could be so interesting.”
Levi swallowed hard, not quite sure what to say or do.
The flashback was once again plaguing his mind, making him wonder if you really did remember who he was in your previous life and whether or not you were aware of the connection you once shared.
“You got time for a drink before you go?” You offered cautiously, fiddling with your house key.
“I'd better get back home.” He said softly. “My mother wasn’t feeling too well when I left.”
“It’s okay, I understand.” You smiled sympathetically. “I’ll see you at work tomorrow then.”
“Yeah.”
Taking the initiative, you moved closer to him and gently hugged him, relief flooding through you when you felt him relax and return the embrace.
Pulling back from him, you stared into his eyes, captivated by the hypnotic grey hue of his irises under the pale moonlight when they locked with yours.
After a moment’s hesitation, he leaned into you and brushed his lips against yours. Tightening his grip on you waist when he felt the soft tips of your fingers stroke over the nape of his neck, he savoured the kiss like it was the last time he would ever do so.
Ending the passionate clinch, he cautiously rested his forehead against yours before eventually releasing you.
“Goodnight f/n.” He muttered.
“Goodnight Levi.”
Watching him walk back to his car, you smiled like a giddy school girl and waited for him to get in before finally turning your back and unlocking the door so you could enter the house, already looking forward to seeing him again at work the following morning after such a wonderful second date.

Chapter Text

“Hey f/n, how was the tea fayre?”
It came as no surprise to you that as soon as it was time for your team’s morning break, Ilse started asking questions about your second date with Levi.
“It was interesting.” You replied, keeping your back to her and concentrating on making yourself a drink. “There were demonstration stands, stalls...I had a really good time.”
“Stands...stalls.” Muttered Ilse, furiously scribbling away in her notebook and turning over the page she had currently been working on so she could start another. “So did you try your hand at making some specialty teas then?”
“Levi showed me how to make Mitrian Black, then I had a go at making some Keemun.”
“Mitrian black…” Repeated Ilse, furrowing her brows and pausing for a moment. “Keemun? How do you spell that?”
Shaking your head, you giggled lightly and pointed to the small box next to you.
“Oh, you brought some to work with you?”
“Yeah, I did a little extra research into it when I got home last night. Apparently this stuff really good for fighting off the dreaded eleven o’clock munchies if like me you have a bit of a sweet tooth.”
“Fascinating!”
“Would you like to have a sip?”
Ilse immediately ceased her scribbling and raised her head, amber eyes widening visibly in curiosity at your question.
“Can I?”
“Sure.”
Closing her notebook, Ilse moved to stand next to you and placed it down on the kitchen area worktop. Taking hold of the steaming cup, she peered down at the dark brown liquid contained within and gave it an inquiring sniff.
“Are you sure this is tea?” She frowned, raising the cup to her lips. “It smells more like hot chocolate.”
“It’s definitely tea.” You answered, folding your arms and watching her closely. “The leaves do have a strong malt taste to them though once brewed, I think that’s probably why it smells a little like chocolate.”
“I see.” Finally taking a sip, your colleague hummed thoughtfully.
Placing the cup down, she reached for her notebook and pen, resuming her rapid scribbling.
“So what do you think?”
“It’s delicious.” She answered, not looking up from her current task until the break room door opened and a tall male with long dark blonde hair swept into the room behind the two of you.
“Yoink!”
“Oi! Give that back!”
You couldn’t help but laugh at Luke’s boldness as he snatched Ilse’s notebook from her grasp mid scribble and raised it above his head out of reach, although you were in two minds about whether he was actually very brave or very stupid.
“So how was your date with Mr Ackerman last night?” He smiled, flicking his wrist and moving the little black book further out of Ilse’s reach when she jumped up to try and grab it.
“It was great thanks, no Nickolas and Nanaba today?”
“Nickolas is still on the phone to a client and Nanaba needed to go speak to Director Zacharius about something.”
“Fair enough.”
“Anyway let’s not talk about them.” He continued, his smile widening when Ilse once again failed to retrieve her property from him. “Let’s talk about you, have you seen Mr Ackerman today?”
“No, but we’ve arranged to have lunch together.”
“Sounds like things are really going well for you then.”
“Well enough that his mother wants to meet me.”
“Already?”
Spying a perfect opportunity, Ilse once again made a grab for her notebook and succeeded in plucking it from Luke’s fingers when his attention diverted from her and focused completely on you.
“Yeah, he told me last night she’s been asking him a lot of questions about me.”
“So when are you going to meet her?” Questioned Ilse, taking advantage of the fact that Luke was no longer trying to taunt her and moving to sit at the coffee table in the center of the break room.
“Not sure yet, we’ll probably discuss that over lunch.”
“I guess this means things are getting serious between you two then.” Mused Luke, leaning back on the kitchen work surface and putting his hands into his pockets. “Two dates and now he wants to take you home to meet his mother, you must be something special if things are moving forward at this pace.”
“You think it’s too fast?” You asked worriedly, wrapping your hands around the white ceramic cup containing your tea and feeling the warmth permeate your skin.
“Do you?”
Opening your mouth to speak, but closing it again a second later without emitting any sound, you pursed your lips and looked down at the contents of your cup.
You were relatively new to dating and relationships, having concentrated more on your education, you didn’t really think anything of going out on dates or finding a boyfriend.
Just how fast was too fast? You and Levi had exchanged awkward glances and stares for quite a while before he plucked up the courage to ask you on a date...thanks to Hanji pressuring him into doing so of course.
Still, as you got to know him on a more personal level, you started to feel comfortable around him. Sure he was a bit rude and moody on the odd occasion, but you simply took it in your stride and continued to spend time with him.
“It must be a good thing right?” You shrugged, nervously biting your lower lip and dragging it back between your teeth. “I mean...if he didn’t want things to progress between us, he wouldn’t have asked me on a second date or mentioned his mother wanting to meet me.”
“Well it’s obvious you like him, there’s no denying that.” Said Ilse firmly, closing her notebook with a barely audible snap and slipping it back into her jacket pocket. “If you feel things are moving too fast for you though, then just talk to him.”
“She raises a good point f/n.” Agreed Luke. “If Mr Ackerman likes you as much as you like him, then I’m sure he won’t want to rush you.”
“Thanks guys.” You smiled shyly.
Raising your cup to your lips and taking a long slow sip of your drink, you allowed your thoughts to turn to Levi and the idea of taking a step forward in your currently budding relationship.

Looking up from the document he was working on, Levi glanced towards the door when the sound of voices chattering away passing by filtered through the thick wood.
Furrowing his brows, he turned his attention to the clock on his computer and noticed that it was now noon.
Saving his work he reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out his phone, scrolling through his contacts until he found the desired one and pressing the call button.
Three short rings later a weak female voice answered.
“Hello?”
“It’s me.”
“Ah Levi, I should’ve known it was you! I take it you’ve just finished for lunch?”
Natural frown deepening, Levi remained silent as Kuchel was caught off guard by a rather violent cough.
It was all too evident that she was still feeling rather fragile after another intense round of chemotherapy at the hospital the previous day, something which bothered him more than usual since his uncle’s boss had called him in to do an extra shift on his day off, meaning Kuchel was home alone for the entire day.
“Yeah, I’m just about to go and meet f/n.”
“I hope you’re going to arrange a day where I finally get to meet her.” Said Kuchel, clearing her throat afterwards. “Why don’t you invite her round for dinner? I can make something nice for us all.”
“I’ll see when she’s free.”
“Alright Sweetheart, well don’t pressure the girl...the longer I have to try and get hold of some sedative to spike your uncle’s food with so he behaves himself the better!”
“Tch!”
“Anyway, go and enjoy your lunch with f/n.” Said Kuchel softly. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be alright until you get home. I love you Sweetheart.”
“Yeah, I love you too.” Muttered Levi, ending the call and furrowing his brows.
Despite Kuchel insisting that she was fine being home alone for the day, he couldn’t help but still feel concerned about her.
Sure he and his uncle needed all the work they could get to keep on top of the medical bills and make sure they all had a roof over their heads, but it was unlikely that Kenny would be reachable should anything happen while neither of them were around and Levi didn’t want to have to suddenly run off and leave Erwin a man down.
Still, it couldn’t be helped. His family came first and his boss was well aware of that fact, provided that Levi didn’t just rush off without informing him first, he was perfectly fine with the raven haired manager needing to leave at short notice.
Sighing and standing up, Levi tried to shake the troubling thoughts from his head, retrieving his jacket and making his way down to the canteen for lunch.

“F/n, there you are!”
“Damnit!” You cursed under your breath, smiling politely and handing over the payment for your meal to the chuckling till operator before forcing a smile onto your face and turning towards the source of the voice. “Hi Hanji.”
“You’ve been avoiding me young lady!” Scolded the bespectacled brunette, staring at you over the top of her glasses and wagging an accusatory finger. “Don’t even try to deny it, I saw the way you rushed through the car park to get away when you saw me drive in.”
“Okay then I won’t!” You shrugged cheekily, picking up your tray and maneuvering your way around her so you could find a table and wait for Levi to join you.
“Not answering any of my calls or texts and then ignoring me this morning...do I have some contagious disease or something?”
“Yeah, it’s called noseyitis and you’re a terminal case!”
“I could have you up on a disciplinary for being rude to your superior you know!”
“You wouldn’t dare!” You laughed, finally selecting a table and taking a seat.
“Tell me how your date went last night and I’ll consider letting the fact you’ve been avoiding me slide.” Challenged Hanji, sitting down next to you and folding her arms.
“Fine. It was great, I tried my hand at brewing some specialty teas and tasted a few I’ve never heard of before. I actually found it really interesting.”
“Excellent, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.” Nodded the excited director enthusiastically. “Now give me all the juicy details about Levi.”
“Well if you must know, his mother wants to meet me.”
“Really?” Gasped Hanji, her puppy brown eyes widening rapidly. “Shorty must have been telling her some good things about you then.”
“Have you ever met her before?”
“Kuchel? Oh yeah a few times actually. Lovely woman, you’ll really like her.”
“Oi Four eyes, what are you doing here?”
“Shorty! Perfect timing!” Smiled Hanji, spinning around in her seat and looking up at her colleague...who was clearly displeased to see her. “F/n was just telling me that Kuchel wants to meet her.”
“Tch, can’t you go and annoy someone else?” Groaned Levi setting his lunch tray down and taking a seat opposite you.
“Hey, you deprived me of all the gossip last night after you confiscated f/n’s phone!”
Shaking your head and reaching for your drink, you giggled lightly but otherwise, remained silent and continued to watch them bicker.

“Shut up Shitty Glasses!”
“Don’t be so mean, I technically got the two of you together!”
“That doesn’t entitle you to invite yourself along everytime we meet up!”
“Hanji, I’ll pop over tonight and we can have a catch up.” You reasoned, deciding it was probably best to step in before the two of them caused a scene.
“You will?”
“If you leave within the next five seconds!”
“Great, I’ll pop to the bakery on my way home and pick us up a cake!” She squealed, practically jumping out of her chair and leaving the table. “Bye bye Lovebirds!”
“Now that Levi, is how you get rid of Hanji without resorting to threatening to throw her out of a window!” You smiled cockily.
“Tch, you’ve got her well trained, I’ll give you that.” Snorted the raven haired male, stirring his tea.
“So how is your mum today?” You asked carefully, deciding to move the topic of conversation away from the recently departed director.
“Still not too good.” Frowned Levi, not meeting your gaze. “The more intensive chemotherapy she’s having really knocks her on her ass.”
“I’m sorry.” Reaching across the table, you gently placed your hand and his and lightly squeezed it. “Hopefully in the long run it will be worth it though.”
“Yeah, maybe.”
An awkward silence descended for a moment or two before Levi spoke again, this time looking up to face you as he did.
“What are you up to this weekend?”
“I’m actually going out of town with my dad. It’s his birthday on Saturday and we’re going to Stohess to visit my uncle.”
“Alright then.”
Quick to pick up on the evident disappointment in his voice, you continued talking.
“I’m free the weekend after though, what did you have in mind?”
Levi remained silent, mulling over this information.
Maybe leaving introducing you to his mother until the following weekend would be a much better idea. Considering he didn’t know how long it would take for her to feel better again after the most recent round of chemotherapy, buying a little extra time for her to recover would probably work in his favour. However a small part of him couldn’t help but wonder if you were telling the truth, maybe he was rushing things and this was your way of playing for time? No, you’d seemed keen to meet his mother last night, surely that hadn’t suddenly changed...had it?
“Would you like to...come over to my place for dinner next Saturday?” He asked awkwardly, a slight blush rising on his pale cheeks.
“Sure, I’d love to.” You smiled, gently squeezing his hand again.
“Okay.” He nodded, feeling relieved that his invitation hadn’t been completely rejected. “I’ll let my mother know then.”
“Sounds good, I’m looking forward to it.”
Nodding and releasing his hand, you sat back and the two of you proceeded to eat lunch, blissfully unaware that a short distance across the canteen, a rather angry glare was being directed towards the two of you…

Returning to his desk after leaving the canteen, Flagon Turret flopped down into his chair and logged back into his computer so he could resume his work.
Staring menacingly at the screen as the desktop started to fill with various icons, his attention was soon pulled to the double doors leading to the management offices when you and Levi walked through them.
A low growl rumbling in the pit of his throat, he watched the two of you make your way over to your workstation, eyes narrowing in distaste when you stopped and turned to smile at the short male.
Picking up a pile of documents that he needed to make extra copies of, Flagon casually walked towards the printing station...which just happened to be a short distance from where your work station was.
Keeping his gaze fixed on the photocopier when he arrived, he set everything up and listened intently to the conversation taking place behind him.
“Sorry I couldn’t come over this weekend, it’s kind of a tradition to go to Stohess for my dad’s birthday.” He heard you say somewhat worriedly. “Plus it’s pretty rare that I actually get to see my uncle since he lives so far away.”
“It’s fine.” Replied Levi, although if Flagon was being completely honest, it didn’t sound like he believed a word you were saying. There was certainly a hint of doubt that he was quick to pick up on, immediately bringing a smile to his lips as he continued to eavesdrop on your conversation. “It’s probably best that we wait anyway...with my mother not feeling too good at the minute.”
“Yeah, I agree.”
Risking a glance behind him, Flagon felt his stomach lurch violently at the sight of you and Levi sharing a brief embrace, followed by a chaste kiss before releasing each other.
“I’ll text you later.”
Watching the short manager leave as you took a seat at your workstation, Flagon quickly retrieved his paperwork from the photocopier and checked it over before walking towards the double doors leading to the management offices…

After escorting you back to your workstation, Levi made his way back to his office. However as he retrieved the key from his trouser pocket, a familiar arrogant voice caused him to freeze.
“Ah Levi there you are, I just wanted to say how sorry I am…”
“What are you talking about?” Growled Levi, not bothering to turn around and face Flagon as he placed the key in the lock and gave it a sharp turn.
“You and f/n.” Smiled Flagon rather smugly. “I was in the canteen earlier and couldn’t help but hear her reject your offer to meet your mother at the weekend.”
“Tch, not very good at eavesdropping on other people's conversations are you?” Scoffed Levi, finally turning to face the taller male and folding his arms across his chest. “Perfectly understandable though considering your lack of friends and social life!”
Jaw twitching at the scathing comment from his co-worker, Flagon continued to try rub Levi up the wrong way.
“Well she was bound to reject you eventually, she could’ve come up with a better excuse though.”
“Shows how much you know. Like I said, you’re not very good at eavesdropping.”
“Must be a real kick in the teeth though.” Smirked Flagon, deciding to raise the stakes and really get under Levi’s skin. “Knowing that your girlfriend doesn’t want to meet your mother incase she’s contagious!”
Steel grey eyes narrowing to slits, the raven haired male lunged forward and grabbed Flagon by the throat, pinning him to the wall behind him with a loud thud as his spine connected with the painted plaster.
“Levi stop!”
Smirk widening, Flagon continued to hold Levi’s angry gaze, satisfied that his jibes had gotten the desired response.
“Let him go Sweetie, he’s not worth it.” Said Hanji lowly, keeping her sight firmly fixed on the currently restrained Flagon.
“Tch!”
Reluctantly complying with the directors request, Levi slowly loosened his grip and eventually lowered his arm, taking a step back.
“I suggest you return to your workstation before I issue a formal warning.”

Shrugging nonchalantly, Flagon sauntered away towards the double doors leading back towards the client consultant area, disappearing through them a moment later.
“Are you alright?” Asked Hanji worriedly, carefully placing a hand on Levi’s shoulder once their arrogant coworker had left.
“I’m fine, leave me alone.” Growled Levi, opening his office door and entering the room.
“Don’t let him get to you like that, he could land you in a lot of trouble.” Continued the bespectacled brunette, following a few seconds later and closing the door behind her. “I know it’s hard to ignore him when he’s saying horrible things about your mother, but violence isn’t the answer.”
“Tch, I’m not going to put in a formal complaint about him if that’s what your hinting at.” Scoffed Levi, taking his seat and turning his attention to his computer.
Sighing deeply and shaking her head, Hanji approached the desk and leaned against it, focusing on him with a concerned from.
“Ignore him Levi.” She said firmly, using his name rather than calling him “Shorty.” Sending a clear indication that she being serious on the matter. “It’s far too obvious that he’s jealous of what you and f/n have, don’t let him ruin this for you.”
“I don’t intend to.”
“Good.” A small smile gracing her lips, Hanji soon regained her happy go lucky composure as she continued the conversation. “Anyway, if you’re free this weekend, how about we meet up and go for a walk in the park?”
“Why would I want to do that?” Frowned Levi, keeping his gaze fixed on the computer screen and entering his log in details so he could resume his work.
“Well, I’m dog sitting a certain chocolate labrador that I know you are starting to become acquainted with…goes by the name of Sasha...”
Blinking once, Levi froze and mulled over her words.
“Well f/n and her dad can’t exactly take her to Stohess with them.” Laughed the bespectacled brunette. “Her uncle is allergic to dog and cat hair, so rather than put Sasha in kennels, I offered to have her for the weekend.”
“I’ll see.” Came the blunt reply, yet he couldn’t help but feel relief that he now had confirmation that you were indeed going away for the weekend and not just trying to play for time because you felt under pressure to move whatever was between you along. Surely if you felt like it was moving too fast, you’d have said something?
“Okay, well I’ll let you get back to work.” Smiled Hanji, clapping a hand onto his shoulder and making her way towards the door. “Remember what I said about Flagon though, don’t let him get under your skin and try not to throw him out of any windows...that little threat belongs exclusively to me and I refuse to share it!”
“Just get out you moron!”
“Bye Shorty!”
“Tch.”
Leaning back in his seat and folding his arms, Levi stared at the door as Hanji left the office, closing it behind her.
He would never actually admit it out loud, but he was grateful to the bespectacled director for confirming that Flagon was indeed just trying to cause trouble and unfortunately for his jealous co-worker, Levi was a firm believer that those who stirred the shit pot, should be made to lick the spoon afterwards...

Chapter Text

Survey Corps Headquarters,
Year 844:

With the end of the year only a month away, there were changes afoot for the members of the Survey Corps.
The recruits from the 102nd Cadet Corps were due to graduate in less than a week, leading to Commander Erwin spending more time in his office going over his tactics for drafting as many of the impressionable youngsters into the regiment as possible.
There was also the last expedition of the year to prepare for, which meant more intense training regimes were in place and everyone was expected to pull their weight with regards making sure all personnel and equipment was up to standard.

Adjusting the white cloth covering the lower half of his face, Levi grunted upon lifting the heavy hay bale to his right, watched keenly by several of the horses which shared the stable block where his own steed resided.
He had always been very particular when it came to cleaning out his horse, preferring to do it himself rather trust someone else to complete the task for him...despite the smell reminding him of the Underground City where he had been born.
“Good Afternoon Handsome!”
Turning around at the call of the familiar female voice he had grown accustomed to over the past six months, he dropped the hay bale into the corner of his horse’s stall and walked back towards the door.
“I was wondering when I was going to see you.”
“Hmm? Oh did you think I was talking to you?” Questioned f/n, cocking her head to one side and raising her hands to stroke the large muzzle of a black horse tied up outside. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I was actually referring to Midnight!”
Gowling in lowly in the pit of his throat, Levi fixed her with a harsh glare...the fact that his eyes were the only facial feature not hidden beneath a white cloth making him appear much more sinister than intended.
Giggling and shaking her head, the young scout flashed him a cheeky smile and walked towards him, swaying her hips in a rather seductive manner.
“Although, you do happen to look extremely appealing when you’re dressed for cleaning...Captain.”
Standing his ground, Levi raised an eyebrow as she came to a halt in front of him and casually reached up, gently pulling the cloth covering the lower half of his face away.
Knowing what was coming next, the raven haired male hummed approvingly as his lips met hers in a tender embrace for a brief moment.
“Tch, Four Eyes finally let you out of that filthy basement she calls a laboratory then?” He inquired, returning to the task of cleaning his horse’s stall.
“Kind of, I had to take some paperwork to Commander Erwin.” She nodded folding her arms. “I decided to take a little detour and see you before heading back there, I’m sure she won’t even notice that I’m taking longer than I should to be honest. When I left, she was dragging Moblit away kicking and screaming to go and check on Geraldine.”
“Geraldine?”
“Her test subject from when we were finally able to put the new capture device into action.”
“She still has that thing?” Scoffed Levi, picking up the bale of hay and giving it a hard shake to loosen the compact material ready for lining the floor.
“Anyway, I didn’t come here to talk about Hanji.” Voice growing slightly concerned, f/n faltered in her speech as Levi turned back to face her. “I was going to ask you about this later on, but...well, I may as well get it over with now.”
Blinking twice at your sudden change of tone, Levi slowly turned to face you and raised a curious eyebrow.
“What is it?”
Sighing deeply and swallowing down the nervous lump forming in her throat, f/n looked him in the eyes and frowned.
“We’ve been dating for six months right?”
“What of it?”
“Well...by the way, you can tell me to get lost if this is something you’re not comfortable with…”
Brows furrowing, Levi continued to watch her, silently waited for her to continue.
“This is going to sound so wrong.” She winced in frustration, nervously gripping the light brown fabric of her jacket and causing it to crease beneath her fingers. “It’s just that, you’ve met my parents on a couple of occasions...but you’ve never mentioned your own parents or anything about your childhood, I just wondered why that was.”
Tensing up, Levi wasn’t entirely sure how he was supposed to respond.
It was true that he had never spoken to her of his life before joining the Survey Corps, not because he didn’t trust her, but because it was a part of his life he hated reminiscing about.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything.” Said f/n, quickly dropping her arms to her sides and turning to leave.
“F/n wait.”
Reaching out to her, he gently gripped her arm and drew her back to him, looking deep into her wide e/c eyes.
“Tch, you’re right.” He muttered. “I’m not comfortable with talking about my past...not in great detail anyway.”
“It’s okay Levi, I understand.”
Averting his gaze, the short captain clicked his tongue and frowned.
Releasing her a moment later, he moved towards the stall door and looked around the stable yard.
“There are too many people around.” He said quietly, natural frown deepening when he turned back to face her. “Meet me on the battlements after evening meal, we’ll talk then.”
“Alright.”
Taking that as her cue to leave, f/n afforded him a sad smile and silently walked away, leaving the short captain to resume mucking out his horse in peace…


“Levi?”
“Hmm?”
“You spaced out again Sweetheart.” Said Kuchel worriedly. “You seem a little tense, is everything okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” He lied, forcing himself to focus on the present as yet another memory of his past life that had revealed itself to him started to fade away.
“So what time is f/n coming over? You sent her our address didn’t you?”
“Around four o’clock and yes I sent her it a few days ago.”
Raising an eyebrow when his phone started vibrating, he reached for it and swiped his thumb across the screen.
“Is that her?”
“Yeah.”
“I thought it would be considering how fast you moved!” Teased Kuchel, standing from her seat and picking up the empty tea cups from the table. “Is she alright?”
“Yeah, just confirming that today is still okay.”
“I don’t see why it wouldn’t be, besides I’ve really been looking forward to finally meeting her.”
“Yeah, she said the same about you.” Said Levi evenly. “Besides, it’s not you she needs to be concerned about.”
“Oh, don’t you worry about your uncle.” Smiled the raven haired woman, adjusting the white bandanna covering her head.
“Tch, good luck with that.”
“Well then, I guess I’ll start preparing dinner then.”
Watching his mother closely, Levi frowned.
While she was evidently feeling better after her latest round of chemotherapy, he didn’t want her to overexert herself. Still, there was no denying that she had regained some of the colour in her cheeks and her strength had returned, much to his relief.
Of course he still worried about her, the disease that plagued her body was still there and to add even more suffering...a small bald patch where her hair was falling out had formed near her left temple.
Thankfully it remained hidden beneath the bandanna, but there was no escaping the fact that it was still there. Furthermore, it was going to be an agonising two to three month wait to see if the more intense treatment was having the desired effect.
Still, rather than worry about something that was still too far off in the distant future to deal with at that moment in time, Levi opted to concentrate on the present, sending a reply to your message and contemplating how introducing you to his mother would play out.
At least, that was his intention until he found the world around him becoming blurry as another flashback to his previous life started to unfold before his eyes…

Survey Corps Headquarters,
Year 844

Sitting on the cold stone battlements, Levi turned his steel eyed gaze upwards.
There wasn’t a single cloud overhead that night, allowing the silver stars to shine brightly against the dark blue sky where they were dwarfed by the pale full moon casting it’s light onto the land below.
“Levi?”
“Perfect timing.”
Glancing to his left, Levi watched f/n cautiously approach and take a seat next to him.
Waiting until she had gotten comfortable, he met her gaze and held it for what felt like an eternity, only to find that himself being interrupted when he was ready to speak.
“You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want me to know.” Said f/n softly. “I’m sorry for bringing it up, but curiosity got the better of me.”
“It’s fine.” Pausing to take her hand. “I trust you.”
Affording him a small smile, f/n remained silent and waited for him to continue.
“I warn you now, this isn’t going to be pleasant.”
Nodding and steeling herself for what was to come.
“I was born in the Underground City, my mother…” Breaking eye contact with her, Levi drew a deep breath and looked towards the steep drop below. “My mother was a prostitute...she fell pregnant by one of her clients.”
He didn’t even need to look at f/n to know that she was shocked by what she was hearing, but it was likely she already had a better understanding of why he had never mentioned his parents before.
“She didn’t choose to become one because she wanted to, I know that much. The details are a little hazy, but my family was persecuted for some reason, so she went into hiding in the Underground City and that was her only means of survival.”
“What happened to her?” Asked f/n worriedly, nervously biting her lower lip and squeezing the raven haired males hand.
“She became ill and died when I was still very young.” Pausing again, Levi gritted his teeth and screwed his eyes shut, forcing himself to relive his painful past. “No one even knew she’d passed away...or that I was still in the room with her. I would’ve died too if it weren’t for a friend turning up to visit her.”
“That’s horrible! Why did no one come and check on either of you? Surely they knew she was ill and probably needed medicine?”
“Maybe they thought she was contagious and they didn’t want to catch whatever she had, either way no one cared enough to come and find out what was going on.”
“You were lucky that this friend of your mother’s came by then.”
“In a way yes.” Shrugged Levi nonchalantly. “Sure he took me in and taught me a few valuable survival skills, but then one day, a few years later...he abandoned me.”
“What?” Gasped f/n, her e/c eyes widening in horror. “Why?”
“I don’t know.”
Finally opening his eyes and turning to look at her again, Levi wasn’t surprised to see the young scout looking practically mortified by what she had just heard.
“It’s no wonder you don’t talk about your past.” Said f/n, her voice barely above a whisper. “I’m sorry, I should never have asked about it.”
Another awkward silence descended over the two of them, only the sound of the gentle breeze whistling through the battlements breaking it as they stared at each other intensely.
“Levi…”
“Hmm?”
Opening her mouth to speak again, f/n hesitated and momentarily looked away, almost as if she was searching for the right words to say.
“I really am sorry…”
“Tch, quit apologising!” He snorted, raising a hand and lightly flicking her forehead.
“Hey!”
All sorrow gone from her voice, f/n reached up and returned the gesture, smirking rather cockily at the harsh glare the short captain directed at her.
“Thank you for telling me, I won’t bring it up again.”
Remaining silent, Levi simply stared at her.
Not many people had showed him kindness or compassion before, but with her, it felt right. He didn’t feel any resentment for her asking him about his past, nor was he angry at her for raising the subject...surprised that she had naturally and maybe a little vexed, but certainly not angry with her.
“Are you okay?” She questioned, a worried frown forming on her face.
“I’m fine.” He replied evenly, keeping his voice level and pushing his dark memories of the past back into the corner of his mind.
Shuffling closer to him, f/n rested her head on his shoulder, her frown melting into a warm smile as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer...

Shaking his head as the flashback cleared, Levi blinked rapidly and looked around.
Thankfully his mother hadn’t noticed that he had spaced out for a second time, mainly because she was too preoccupied rummaging around in the cupboards looking for cooking utensils.
“I’m going to head upstairs for a little while, I need to send an email to Hanji.” He said, standing up from the table and leaving the kitchen.
“Alright Sweetheart.” Nodded Kuchel, not turning to look at him as he rushed from the room.
Hoping that it wouldn’t but convinced it might, Levi’s logic in making a hasty exit was that if a third flashback decided to happen, he wouldn’t face anymore awkward questioning when he finally returned to reality.

“Dad, I’m heading off to Levi’s.” You called, retrieving your car keys from the coffee table in the living room and making your way into the hallway.
“Okay f/n.” Called your father from upstairs, appearing on the landing a moment later. “Did you bring Sasha back in?”
“Yeah, she’s currently sprawled out on the sofa snoring!”
“Have you got everything?”
“House keys, car keys, phone…” You muttered, patting down your jeans pockets. “Yep, all present and correct.”
“Alright, I hope it goes well for you.”
“Thanks, me too.”
Exiting the house, you pulled out your phone and swiped your thumb across the screen, finding Levi’s name in your contact list and proceeding to send a quick text letting him know you were on your way.
Taking a deep breath and holding it for a moment before exhaling, your thoughts turned to the earlier conversation you’d been having with your father.
While he was glad that things were going well between you and Levi, he also wanted to make sure you were comfortable about the speed with which you had been invited over to meet his mother.
Naturally he was a little concerned, after all, you had only been on two dates.
However you were quick to put his mind at ease that you were perfectly fine with how things were progressing and assured him that Levi hadn’t forced you into doing anything against your will.
Satisfied that you were happy, he had voiced his approval and wished you luck before cracking a joke about how nervous he had been when he initially met your mother’s parents.
Allowing yourself a small smile, you got into your car and checked your phone again, making sure to memorize Levi’s address before setting off.

Sitting back in his seat and frowning at his laptop, Levi carefully checking over the email he had composed before typing in Hanji’s address and selecting the send option.
Ever since he had started having the strange flashbacks linking you to his previous life, Hanji had insisted on keeping a record of them to aid her research.
At first Levi didn’t see the significance of keeping track of them and scoffed at the idea, however that had soon changed after his first date with you at Trost Spring Carnival.
While he put the first flashback from when he introduced himself to you at work down to pure coincidence, the one that had occurred at the shooting gallery during your date soon had him second guessing himself.
Yes there were minor differences, but the sequence of events and most of the words exchanged seemed to be the same. Upon noticing this, he started to take Hanji’s request a little more seriously and started to send her detailed emails describing what had happened in each flashback.
After seeing the “message sent” notification appear, he glanced down at the clock on the right hand side of the task bar before turning his attention to his phone when it bleeped.
Picking it up, he swiped his thumb across the screen, raising an eyebrow at the flashing envelope icon indicating he had received a text message.

From: F/n
To: Levi
Received: 15.25

Hey Levi, setting off now. See you soon xx


Allowing himself a split second smile, Levi sent a quick reply and closed his laptop before making his way downstairs to check on his mother and make sure she wasn’t over exerting herself.

Chapter Text

Having been being accused of getting in the way and practically chased out of the kitchen by a ladle wielding Kuchel, Levi had at least thirty minutes to go until your arrival.
With nothing else to do, he opted to head outside and wash his car while he waited. 
Risking going back into the kitchen to retrieve the cleaning kit from under the sink, he was subjected to his mother impatiently tapping her foot and glaring at him through narrow grey eyes from the second he walked in, to the exact moment he left again.
“Don’t bother coming back in here until f/n arrives or you’ve finished cleaning!” She warned sternly, waving the ladle at him again to drive home that she was not to be disturbed.
Sure it was a relief that she was back to her usual self, but he could’ve done without the threat of being assaulted with cooking utensils!
Closing the front door behind him as he left the house, he placed the bucket of hot soapy water he had been carrying down next to his car and tied a plain white bandana over his head.
Sighing deeply and glancing towards the gate leading onto the street, his cold grey eyes narrowed thoughtfully. 
Hanji should have received his email detailing his latest flashback by now, knowing her she was probably busy going over it with a fine tooth comb as she did with the previous ones he had sent her. 
There was no doubt in his mind that she would either call him to talk his ear off about it later, or perhaps she would wait until she saw him face to face at work and then start babbling at a hundred miles an hour while wafting a huge wad of papers under his nose documenting her findings.
Shaking his head and cursing under his breath, he pushed everything to the back of his mind and decided to concentrate solely on the task at hand while he waited for your arrival.

Humming along with the song currently playing on the radio, you double checked the street name on your right to make sure it was the one you were looking for.
You’d been forced to take a minor detour thanks to a breakdown on one of the main roads leading out of the main city towards the suburbs, which had added roughly ten minutes to your journey. Other than that, you’d had no problems finding your destination.
“Okay this is the right street.” You mused, flicking the indicator on and checking to make sure you were safe to turn. “Now my next mission is to see if I can find a place to park.”
Slowly driving down the road to make sure you had a chance to get a look at the house numbers, a smile soon found its way onto your lips when you soon spotted a familiar black car in one of the gardens.
Stopping a little way past the house, you quickly pulled down the sun visor and checked your reflection in the mirror mounted on to it.
Straightening your shirt collar and quickly running your hands through your hair, you nodded once you were satisfied and got out of the car.
“Well, here we go.” You muttered nervously, making your way towards Levi’s house and pausing when you reached the gate.
A cheeky grin tugged at your lips when you saw a short male walking towards the car, leaning over the bonnet and wiping down the shiny black metal with a shammy cloth.
Allowing yourself a tiny giggle, you bit your lip and tiptoed through the gate, quietly closing it behind you.
Making sure your footsteps across the gravel surface of the garden were as light as possible, you moved to stand a few feet behind your oblivious target and folded your arms.
Grin widening, you cocked your head to one side and allowed your eyes to follow the curve of the male’s spine before settling on his jean clad rear end, biting back the urge to run up and give it a quick squeeze.
"You know, this view would be a lot better if you took your tee-shirt off!” You called, relishing the way Levi suddenly jumped and turned on the spot to face you.
“Where the fuck did you come from?” He gasped, his normally calm and unreadable face momentarily displaying a flash of surprise before he regained his composure.
“Well hello to you too!” You laughed. “Sorry, couldn’t resist! Nice bandanna by the way, it suits you.”
Blinking rapidly, Levi raised an eyebrow and stared at you silently.
Once again, your words and actions seemed to almost mirror the memory from his previous life, making him question whether you were aware of the close connection the two of you had once had.
“Tch, fucking pervert!” He muttered, a light blush rising on his pale cheeks.“As charming as ever Levi.” You sighed, approaching and catching him off guard when you placed a quick kiss on his lips.
“So, I take it you found your way here without any problems?” He managed to ask without stuttering, feeling a little annoyed that you had managed to blindside him.
“I had to take a minor detour thanks to a breakdown on the carriageway, but apart from that, everything was fine.”
“Good.” He nodded, stepping away from you to retrieve his cleaning equipment and signalling for you to follow him. “Come on.”

With Levi out of the way, Kuchel was free to cook without any further interruptions.
Clicking her tongue thoughtfully, she removed the lid from the currently simmering pot on the stove before reaching for a spoon and scooping out a small amount of liquid to taste the contents.
“Hmm, needs a little more seasoning.” She mused, furrowing her brows.
If there was one thing Kuchel enjoyed when she was left to her own devices, it was cooking.
Unfortunately since she had started the more intense course of chemotherapy, she found herself lacking the strength to stand preparing home cooked meals for several days after enduring the treatment, which usually meant surviving off whatever burnt offerings her older brother managed to throw together. 
As much as Kuchel loved Kenny, she was the first to admit that he couldn’t cook to save his life and she wouldn’t dream of feeding his blackened creations to her worst enemy. So it came as little surprise to her that half the time when he came back from work or accompanied her on hospital visits, he usually ended up bringing home something that required little to no preparation or took her out for a meal. 
Adding a sprinkling of salt and pepper to the pot, Kuchel gave it a quick stir and then tasted it again, humming thoughtfully and nodded in satisfaction.
“Perfect.”
Turning the heat down and replacing the lid, she wiped her hands on the off-white apron around her waist and glanced at the kitchen clock for a moment before the sound of the front door opening caught her attention.
Kenny wasn’t due back for at least another hour, so there was only one other person it could be…
“Levi, is that you?” She called out, hearing the door close a moment later.
“Yeah, f/n’s just arrived.”
“Alright Sweetheart, come through to the kitchen.”
Adjusting the bandana on her head to make sure it covered the bald spot near her left temple, Kuchel moved towards the sink to fill the kettle, listening intently to the sound of footsteps on the laminate wood flooring of the hallway growing closer...

Following Levi into the house, you mentally prepared yourself for meeting his family.
Naturally shy around people until you got to know them better, you were more than a little nervous about the sort of questions Kuchel probably had lined up for you in order to make sure you were good enough to be dating her son.
There was no doubt in your mind that she would inquire about how you and Levi came to meet and what position you held at work, especially since Levi had been promoted at the start of the year...what if she thought you were some little gold digger or merely using him to further yourself within the company? That was the last thing you wanted her to assume.
“Levi, is that you?” Called a soft voice from the room ahead of you, instantly snapping you out of your thoughts.
“Yeah.” Replied Levi, closing the front door. “F/n’s just arrived.”
“Alright Sweetheart, come through to the kitchen.”
“Tch, don’t look so nervous.” Muttered Levi, taking your hand and leading you towards the slightly ajar door ahead of you. “She doesn’t bite!”
Allowing yourself a small giggle while giving him a playful shove, you swallowed hard and followed the short male into the kitchen.
The appetising smell of beef hot pot drifting through the air was the first thing you noticed upon entering the room, closely followed by the short raven haired female currently stood at the sink facing away from you.
“Oi, I’ll do that.” Said Levi, releasing your hand and moving towards her, causing her to turn around at the sound of his voice.
Blinking rapidly, you had to stop yourself from involuntarily speaking when you noticed the woman’s appearance. Raven hair, grey eyes...Hanji hadn’t been wrong when she told you that Levi was the absolute double of his mother, the only noticeable differences of course being that Kuchel had longer hair and there was a seemingly natural softness to her eyes rather than a harsh stare like her son’s.
“I’m fine Levi!” She protested with a smile, moving the kettle out of his reach. “Put your cleaning stuff away and sit down!”
Tutting and rolling his eyes, Levi did as he was told, leaving Kuchel to turn her attention to you.
“So you’re f/n?” She inquired, tilting her head slightly. “It’s good to finally put a face to the name. I’m Kuchel, Levi’s mother.”
“Nice to meet you.” You smiled nervously, not entirely sure of what else to say.
“Likewise Dear, Levi’s told me a little bit about you already of course. Have a seat, would you like something to drink?”
“Tea please. (insert how you take it) thanks.”
Nodding and returning to the worktop to prepare your drinks, Kuchel decided to continue the conversation as Levi sat down next to you, keeping a close eye on her movements.
“Levi tells me you also work at Survey Corps.” 
“Yeah, I’ve been there since leaving college.” You nodded. “I recently changed positions to a client consultant at the start of the new year.”
“Quite the ambitious young lady then.” Smiled Kuchel, walking over to the table and placing a cup down in front of you before handing another to Levi. “How are you finding it so far?”
“I like it, it's a nice change of pace.”
“Good, so whose team are you on? I hear you’re actually quite good friends with one of the directors, Hanji is it?”
“Why are you interrogating her about that idiot?” Asked Levi, furrowing his brows in annoyance. 
“It’s called making conversation!” Snapped Kuchel, her normally soft grey eyes suddenly becoming hard as a worryingly familiar glare that you were used to seeing from her son started to show on her features. "Just because you communicate with two words or less per sentence recently doesn’t mean the rest of us do!”
“To be fair, Hanji can be pretty annoying at times.” You giggled. “Plus, that’s not the worst thing she’s been called.”
“Oh I’m well aware of what he calls her!” Remarked Kuchel, sipping her tea and continuing to glare at Levi over the rim of her cup. “He might not like to admit it, but he takes after my brother with his creativity for offensive nicknames!”
“You’ll have the displeasure of meeting him when he comes back from work.” Snorted Levi, leaning back in his seat and folding his arms.
“Yes, well…” Kuchel spoke up again, placing her cup back down on the table. “Until then, I’d like us to have a civil conversation so I can get to know f/n a little better.”
E/c eyes nervously flicking between Levi and Kuchel, you felt very much like a deer caught in the headlights as you reached for your tea. 
Sure Levi had already told you that he and his uncle didn’t get along, but for Kuchel to hint that they couldn’t have a pleasant chat while he was around certainly didn’t fill you with much confidence for how the rest of your visit was going to pan out…

Arriving home from work, Kenny Ackerman pulled up into the driveway and exited his car, cursing under his breath as he kicked the door closed and made his way towards the house.
As much as he hated overtime, it was a necessary evil he had no choice but to endure for the sake of his sick sister. Still, he was now free to enjoy the next two days off and he intended to make the most of his time...starting with a few alcoholic beverages.
Opening the front door, he called out to let her know he was home.
“Oi Kuchel, I’m back!”
“I’m in the kitchen Kenny.” Came the reply a moment later. “Dinner will be ready soon.”
Making his way down the hallway towards the kitchen and stepping through the open door, he stopped and blinked in surprise at the sight of three people looking towards him rather than the usual two.
“This is f/n.” Said Kuchel evenly, noticing his confusion. “You shouldn’t look so surprised, I did tell you Levi would be bringing her over for dinner before you left for work this morning.”
“Heh, so she does actually exist then?” He smirked rather sinisterly, turning his attention towards you. “I’m impressed!”
Swallowing hard, you shrank back into your seat slightly.
Levi had already warned you that Kenny was rude and intimidating, he certainly hadn’t been joking.
The warm light hearted atmosphere you’d previously enjoyed while conversing with Kuchel and Levi before his arrival soon turned cold and foreboding, sending a shiver of fear running down your spine as you forced yourself to look up and meet his gaze.
“What did I tell you earlier about behaving yourself?” Snapped Kuchel, her eyes once again hardening as she directed a cold stare at her older brother.
“Hey, come on relax Sis!” Chuckled Kenny, removing his hat and slicking back his hair. “For all I knew he could've brought home a random woman off the streets!”
Eyes narrowing to slits, Kuchel continued to glare at him.
“Geez calm down! Where's your sense of humour?”
Skulking from the room, silence temporarily fell as he departed, once again leaving you alone with Levi and Kuchel.
“Idiot!” Snorted Levi, turning his attention to you and softening his harsh glare. “Oi, you okay or what?”
“Yeah...yeah, I’m fine.” You smiled weakly, trying to hide your discomfort. “You did warn me beforehand what he was like.”
“I apologize for my brother’s lack of manners f/n.” Said Kuchel softly. “He’s kind of what I like to call an “acquired taste,” although even I get sick of him sometimes!”
“Tch, not exactly hard!”
“Alright Levi, that’s enough!”
Rolling his eyes, the short male sat back in his seat.
Unable to fight back the smile that was currently creeping across your lips, you shook your head and averted your gaze...an action that did not go unnoticed by Kuchel
“I take it you have annoying siblings too?”
“I’m an only child.”
“I envy you! Excuse me a moment, I just need to check on dinner.”
Standing up from the table, she retrieved the empty cups and placed them down on the worktop before moving to towards the stove.
“Just ignore Kenny.” Advised Levi, affording his mother a quick glance to make sure she didn’t need any assistance. “He thinks he’s funny, but I’ve never laughed at any of his jokes before.”
“Dinner is nearly ready.” Said Kuchel, turning back to face the two of you. “So where were we?”
“Discussing buying my uncle a kennel?”
“Levi!”
Not bothering to hide your amusement, you couldn't help but notice the small smile that was forming on Kuchel’s lips as she shook her head in disapproval.
Conversation over dinner that evening was certainly going to be interesting.

By the time Kenny returned to the kitchen, Kuchel had finished cooking and was busying herself with bringing plates containing a delicious looking hotpot to the table.
Taking a seat, he turned his attention towards you. There was no doubt in his mind that Levi had given you a fair warning about his attitude towards other people, so now it was time to have a little fun and wind his nephew up in the process…
“So f/n, what exactly is it you see in this sour faced midget?”
Opening your mouth to reply, you closed it again a split second later when a rather angry looking Kuchel appeared behind him and roughly placed the final plate down in front of him before taking her seat next to him with her own.
“May I remind you that’s my son you’re talking about?” She growled lowly, her usually soft features becoming hard and intimidating.
Levi didn’t even bother giving him the satisfaction of a response, mainly because he knew full well what would happen if Kenny carried on being his usual self.
“I’m making conversation!” He protested, glancing back towards his sister and pointing to his left temple. “Oh by the way…”
Jaw twitching, Kuchel remained silent and hastily adjusted her bandana. 
“So come on then.” He continued, focusing on you again. “What is it about Levi that you like so much? Cos I’m struggling to see the appeal!”
“Well he’s sweet…” You started, only to be cut off mere seconds later by Kenny almost choking on his food. 
“Sweet? Him?” He scoffed, a sinister smirk appearing on his thin lips. “That runt wouldn’t know how to be sweet if there was a manual to read!”
“Would you excuse me a minute please f/n?” Smiled Kuchel apologetically, although you were quick to notice it rapidly disappear when she left the table.
Watching her curiously, you cocked your head to one side as she moved towards the worktop and picked up a tea cloth.
Folding it lengthways, she gripped one end and walked over to Kenny…
“Ouch! Seriously?”
“What? You think because we have a guest I’ll let you get away with calling my son a runt?” She snarled, causing your eyes to widen in shock at just how quickly her demeanour had changed. 
“Wow!” The word left your lips in a barely audible gasp when you raised your hands to try and trap the surprised laughter threatening to overwhelm you as you leaned towards Levi. “Is this something that happens often?”
“Yeah.” He nodded and turned to face you, ignoring the angry string of curses from his uncle. “I’m used to it.”
“I’ll eat later.” Snorted Kenny, standing up from the table and walking out of the room.
Huffing in annoyance, Kuchel turned to look at you and returned to her seat.
“I’m sorry you had to witness that f/n.” She said softly. “So, what were you saying before you were so rudely interrupted?”
“Do you usually whip people with tea cloths?” You inquired, giving in to your amusement and allowing yourself a small giggle.
“I used to make quite a habit of it before I became too ill to continue working actually.” She mused thoughtfully. “Back when I was a bar manager in the city, a quick swipe to the back of the head with a damp beer towel was the ideal way of keeping rowdy punters inline on a Saturday night!”
“Hey Levi, you should try that with Hanji when she’s bugging you at work!” You suggested, earning you a raised eyebrow from the raven haired male.
“Huh, not bad.”
“Oh don’t be so horrible you two!” Tutted Kuchel, despite the faint smile playing on her lips as she spoke. “Anyway, what were you saying before my brother so rudely interrupted you f/n?”
Shaking your head and trying to regain your train of thought, you tried to recall the previous topic of conversation. 
However this proved to be nearly impossible after what you had just witnessed, especially since all you could think about at that moment in time was what on earth were you going to tell your father about your evening when he asked how things went when you returned home.

With Kenny still keeping a low profile in the front room, you, Levi and Kuchel were able to enjoy the rest of your meal without any further arguments breaking out, much to everyone’s relief.
Still, there was no denying that Kuchel putting her brother in his place was the highlight of the evening for you, especially when you found yourself wondering if you should actually try her technique out on Hanji!
“Well, it’s been nice meeting you f/n.” Smiled Kuchel, self consciously adjusting her bandana again and standing up. “You’ll have to excuse me, I need to go and lie down.”
“That’s okay.” You said softly. “It’s coming up for eight o’clock, I should probably head home. Thanks for dinner, you make a really delicious hotpot.”
“You’re welcome Dear.” Nodded the raven haired woman, sitting herself back down and drawing a shaky breath. “I hope to see you again.”
“So do I.”
“I’ll see you out.” Said Levi, pushing his chair back and glancing over at Kuchel. “Stay where you are, I’ll help you upstairs when I come back.” 
Watching you and Levi exit the kitchen, Kuchel frowned and stood up again, taking a moment to regain her balance before quietly walking towards the hallway...

“Sorry about Kenny.” Muttered Levi, folding his arms and averting his gaze when the two of you reached the front door. “I did warn you he was an asshole.”
“I’ll survive.” You giggled. “I really enjoyed meeting your mum though, she’s great.”
Nodding awkwardly, Levi still found himself unable to meet your gaze.
“Hey.” You smiled, reaching for his hand and lightly squeezing it. “If your uncle was hoping to scare me off, he’s failed miserably!”
“Tch, he’s just jealous because nobody wants him!”
Giggling and shaking your head, you took a step closer to the short male and wrapped your arms around his shoulders, resting your head against the crook of his neck as he loosely returned your embrace. 
Moving your head back, you met his gaze for a moment before leaning in and pressing your lips to Levi’s, instigating a tender clinch that was over far quicker than the pair of you would’ve liked thanks to an unwanted interruption.
“Geez put him down!” Called Kenny from the living room.
“Shut up and leave them alone!” Shouted Kuchel. “If I hear one more word out of you tonight I’ll throw your dinner in the bin!”
Pulling away from Levi when you failed to stop your laughter, you took a moment to compose yourself before speaking again.
“I’ll text you when I get home.”
“Alright.” 
Sharing one last brief kiss, Levi watched you until he saw you got into your car and drive away before closing the door and turning back to face his mother and uncle.
Taking Kuchel’s threat seriously, Kenny didn’t even utter a single word as he walked out of the living room and down the hallway towards the kitchen...nor did he even glance in his sister’s direction when he carefully brushed past her. 
Raising an incredulous eyebrow at her brother, the raven haired woman approached Levi and smiled softly, linking her left arm with his right and allowing him to help her up the stairs. 
Remaining silent until they reached her bedroom, Kuchel was the first to break the silence.
“I’m glad your idiot uncle hasn’t scared f/n off.” She said with a heavy sigh as she sat down on the bed and took several shaky breaths. “She’s a lovely girl. Friendly, polite...a little on the cheeky side, I like her.”
“Yeah, so do I.” Replied Levi, switching on the oxygen machine and handing Kuchel her nasal cannula.
Putting it on, she carefully stood up, leaning on Levi for support while he pulled back the bedsheets. After helping her get comfortable on the mattress, he handed her the book on the bedside table
“I hope you don’t mind me having to cut the evening short...I just feel a little drained after all the excitement at dinner.”
“It’s fine.” Said Levi evenly. “I’ll bring you up something to drink.”
“Thank you Sweetheart.” Smiled Kuchel, reaching up and gently resting the palm of her hand on his pale cheek. “If Kenny says anything to you when you go back downstairs, you have my permission to knock him out with the frying pan!” 
“I’ll be back up soon.” 
Rolling his eyes at his mother's suggestion, Levi left the bedroom and closed the door behind him. 
Walking back towards the stairs, he was suddenly stopped in his tracks by the feeling of his mobile vibrating in his jeans pocket. 
“Tch, that can’t be f/n.” He muttered to himself, retrieving the device and looking at the notification which indicated he had a new text message. 
Thumbing the screen to unlock it, he furrowed his brows at the words now displayed on it.

To: Levi
From Hanji:
Recieved: 20:15

Hey Shorty!
I got your email earlier and I’ve just been doing some more research.
Thought I’d let you know I found out a few more things about your past life that might be of interest to you, I’ll print it off and show it to you on Monday.


Nodding and sending a reply, Levi then put the device back into his pocket and made his way downstairs. However he couldn’t help but wonder what new information Hanji had managed to uncover, but perhaps most importantly of all...would any of it give an indication that you were aware of the deep connection the two of you once shared?

Chapter Text

Pulling into the carpark at Survey Corps, Hanji Zoe switched off the ignition and turned her attention to the passenger seat of her car, staring down at the black folder resting on top of her laptop case.
Contained within it, were several printed sheets of historical documents that she had spent most of her weekend studying in complete fascination, especially when her research led towards making a few more discoveries about her own past life that she had no recollection of.
“Hehe! I can’t wait to show you to Levi!” She giggled excitedly, picking up the folder and tucking it under her arm before retrieving the laptop case.
Exiting her vehicle, she walked across the car park towards the large building, her smile widening considerably when she noticed two familiar colleagues stood at the double doors just ahead of her…

“How’s your mum today?” You enquired, swiping your identification card along the security slot next to the entrance to the building, causing the light to flash from red to green.
“She was fine this morning when I left.” Replied Levi, following you across the polished tile floor towards the reception desk.
“Good. What about your uncle? How many times has she whipped him with a tea cloth since Saturday?”
“Twice on Sunday with a rolled up newspaper and once at breakfast today with an empty milk carton.”
“So she likes to mix it up a little huh?” You giggled, nodding a greeting to the receptionist as she handed you the sign in book to record the start of your working day.
“Maybe if he wasn’t such an asshole, she wouldn’t feel the need to kill whatever brain cells he has left in that thick skull of his!”
“I’m guessing he’s a slow learner then?”
“What gave it away?”
“You're so mean Levi!”
Rolling his eyes and tutting, he took the sign in book from you, ignoring the amused smile that passed between you and the receptionist.
“Good Morning Love Birds!” Called a female voice behind you, accompanied by the sound of someone rapidly approaching from the main entrance. “How was your weekend?”
“Tch, it’s too early to be dealing with you Shitty Glasses!” Groaned Levi, handing her the sign in book once he was done with it and taking your hand, leading you towards the stairs.
“Hey don’t rush off, I want to know how what happened when you took f/n home to meet Kuchel!” She gasped in horror, quickly scribbling down her details and handing the sign in book back to the receptionist, before chasing the two of you across the entrance foyer.
“Come on Levi, we both know she won’t give up!” You reasoned, tightening your grip on his hand and forcing him to stop walking.
Sighing and turning to look at you with a cold glare, his plan to retreat to his office was thwarted as Hanji was granted to opportunity to catch up with you.
“So how did it go?” She questioned, adjusting the hold on the folder tucked under her arm.
“Kuchel’s great.” You smiled. “We got on really well.”
“I knew you would!”
Practically bouncing through the doors and up the stairs, Hanji continued to babble away at you, earning her a barely audible complaint from Levi about needing to lower her voice.
“I take it she approves of you and Shorty dating then?”
“She seemed to.”
“Excellent! Oh f/n, I’m so happy for you Sweetie!”
“She mentioned you actually.”
“Really?” Blinked the bespectacled brunette, following you and Levi along the first floor landing and up the next flight of stairs. “What did she say?”
“That you're a fucking pain in the ass and you need to shut up!” Snapped Levi, indicating that he had clearly had enough of her early morning motormouth.
“Levi!” You laughed, shaking your head in disapproval as the three of you reached the second floor landing and stopped outside the double doors leading into the client consultants work area.
“No can do I’m afraid Shorty.” Said Hanji, blatantly ignoring his prior remark about her being annoying. “Can you come and see me during morning break?”
“Fine. As long as you leave me alone until then.”
“In that case I’ll catch up with you both later.” She smiled, heading up the stairs towards the third floor where the boardroom and director's offices were located. “Have fun Love Birds!”
“I know you find her unbearable when she starts babbling at a hundred miles an hour, but she doesn’t mean to be.” You said, starting a fresh conversation as the two of you walked through the double doors leading into the client consultant work area. “Plus you’ve known her longer than me, so you should be used to how excitable she can be by now!”
“Tch, since when did being friends for nine years mean I can’t wish she came with a remote control so I can mute her when she gets too loud?”
“Levi!”
Raising an eyebrow, he simply started at you for a moment.
Once again he found a part of himself desperately wanting to ask if you believed in reincarnation, however he was afraid of the answer if he did.
There was no guarantee that you had any clue as to the connection you shared in a previous life and if you did, you were extremely good at hiding it.
Not once since the two of you started talking had you ever seemed to experience any moments where you spaced out from reality, although he couldn’t be certain if it happened when he wasn’t around, this was always a possibility of course.
Maybe it would be a good idea to ask Hanji if you had said anything to her when he went to see her during morning break? If you were going to talk about something so strange to anyone, he was willing to stake his life on it being her. She was like family to you after all, so it stood to reason in his mind that she would be the one you turned to if this was the case.
“I better go.” He muttered, hastily averting his gaze. “You wanna meet up for lunch?”
“Sure.” You smiled, looking behind you upon hearing voices and noticing two of your colleagues had entered the area...two very nosey colleagues who were now stood staring wide eyed in your direction.
“Alright, I’ll see you later then.”
Leaning in and giving you a barely there kiss on the lips, Levi turned and strode purposefully away towards the doors leading to the management offices. Risking a glance behind him before disappearing into the adjoining corridor, he nodded upon seeing you stood watching him, a warm smile gracing your features.
Once the raven haired male had left, you tensed up and slowly turned around, raising a questioning eyebrow at Ilse and Luke.
It was actually quite unnerving how they had managed to sneak right up to you without even being noticed, even more so when you took their manic grins and the fact Ilse had already dug her notebook out of her bag into consideration.
Thankfully, you were temporarily saved from the imminent interrogation by Nanaba walking through the doors and calling out a greeting.
Still, once morning break came around...there would be no stopping them!

Staring impatiently at the wall mounted clock in her office, Hanji noisily tapped her pen off the pile of documents she’d been signing and narrowed her puppy brown eyes.
It was nearly half past ten, which meant that Levi would soon be arriving to discuss her latest reincarnation findings.
“Oh come on, could you be any slower?” She snapped at the ticking object, watching the second hand continue its never ending sharp movements around the clock face.
Almost on cue, a knock on the door caused her to direct her attention towards the front of her office.
“Yes?” She called jumping out of her seat, barely able to contain her excitement when it slowly opened.
“Sorry to disturb you Director.” Came a timid male voice. “It’s nearly half past ten, so I was just wondering if you wanted me to bring you a coffee?”
Yeah, that’d be great thanks Moblit.” Sighing in disappointment, she slumped back down into her chair and forced a weak smile onto her lips. “Would you bring some black tea as well please? I’m expecting Levi any moment, we’re going to be discussing a few things so can you make sure we aren’t disturbed unless it’s important?”
“Of course.” Nodded Moblit. “I won’t be long.”
“Thanks Sweetie.”
Smile falling from her face as the door closed, Hanji leaned back and folded her arms. However she didn’t have much time to sulk, especially when another knock on the door was heard mere moments after Moblit had left.
“Hey Four Eyes, are you in there?” Asked a bored voice through the thick wood, instantly causing her once lost smile to return to her lips.
“Come in Shorty!” She replied, reaching into the top drawer of her desk and pulling out a black folder, placing it down in front of her.
Allowing herself a quiet yet worryingly manic giggle, Hanji leaned forward and rubbed her hands together with glee when the office door opened once more…

“Hey f/n you coming to the break room?”
Looking up from your computer, you smiled and nodded in response to the question being asked of you.
“Just give me one minute.”
However when you turned your head back towards the work displayed on your monitor, you found yourself reluctantly locking gazes with a certain team manager you would rather avoid having anything to do with.
Flagon Turret narrowed his eyes and practically scowled at you like you were something he had scraped from the bottom of his shoe, continuing to watch as you nervously saved the contract you’d been typing up and stood from your seat.
Each team took turns in leaving the area to sit in the break room and relax before the next one occupied it, a fair and efficient system that kept things running smoothly while also allowing each worker a small window of opportunity to unwind, have a drink and maybe a snack before returning to their daily workload.
Flagon’s team usually went first, then Nanaba’s and so on until everyone had their turn.
“So how was your weekend?” Asked Nickolas, a concerned frown spreading across his features when he noticed your tense posture and turned to look behind him, seeing Flagon still glaring in your direction.
“Huh? Oh, it was good thanks.” You stuttered, finally freeing yourself from the intimidating male’s gaze and focusing your attention on Nickolas.
“Glad to hear it.”
Before either of you could speak again, the doors leading to the deputy management offices opened and a certain short raven haired manager walked into the client consultant area.
Steel grey eyes naturally drawn to you like a moth to a flame, his harsh gaze visibly softened for a few seconds before hardening once more when he turned his head and noticed Flagon directing his attention towards you.
Upper lip curling into a sneer, the blonde male finally averted his gaze and returned to his work as Levi departed through the other set of double doors at the opposite end of the area.
“Things still good between you and Mr Ackerman?” Inquired Nickolas curiously.
“Yeah I met his mother and uncle at the weekend.” You replied with a smile. “Which is probably going to be the hot topic of conversation once we get into the break room, Nanaba only just managed to save me from Luke and Ilse bombarding me with questions earlier. I doubt I’ll be so lucky this time.”
“I think you could be right.” Smirked Nickolas, nodding in the direction of Ilse’s desk.
Following his line of sight, you swallowed hard when you noticed your aforementioned colleagues both stood watching you.
“I don’t suppose you could distract them while I make a run for it?”
“Hey f/n, are you coming to the break room or what?” Asked Luke, folding his arms and raising an expectant eyebrow.
“Guess that answers that question then.” You giggled, turning back to Nickolas. “Listen, can you do me a favour?”
“Hmm?”
“If I fail to make it out alive...tell my dad I love him.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be that bad!” Shaking his head, Nickolas chuckled and slowly walked away towards the break room. “Besides, we only have fifteen minutes...what’s the worst that can happen?”

Heading upstairs to the third floor, Levi walked along the narrow corridor before finally stopping outside the last one on the left.
The directors offices usually comprised of two sections, a small reception area where their personal assistants answered phone calls and took delivery of paperwork, mail and any other business related items. While the second was the actual office itself, in which the director resided during the working day.
Knocking on the door, he was answered a few seconds later by a tall flustered looking male with short brown hair and hazel eyes.
“Ah Mr Ackerman!” Gasped Moblit, stepping aside and holding the door to allow the shorter man entry. “Director Hanji is expecting you.”
Silently passing him by, Levi made his way to the other door at the opposite end of the rather comfortable looking reception area and knocked.
“Hey Four Eyes, are you in there?” He asked in a bored tone, perfectly aware that despite not being able to see him, Moblit was shaking his head in disapproval at not addressing Hanji in a proper manner.
Still, it came as no surprise to the nervous personal assistant that the bespectacled brunette didn’t particularly care, she often referred to Levi with a nickname of her own in return...albeit less offensive in his opinion.
“Come in Shorty!” Called an excited female voice from the other side.
Doing as he was asked, Levi opened the door and stepped into the spacious office, closely followed by Moblit carrying a plain blue plastic tray containing two cups of steaming black liquid.
“I’ve brought your drinks Director.” He said, carefully placing one down in front of her and offering the other to Levi when he took a seat at the large paperwork cluttered desk.
“Thanks Sweetie.” She smiled, watching him leave and close the door behind him before focusing her attention on Levi.
“Tch, so what did you want to show me this time?” Asked the short manager, folding his arms and leaning back in his seat.
“Well, I managed to do a little more digging into some of the more intimate family details of your past life.” Said Hanji, her smile fading as she picked up the black folder in front of her and opened it, removing some of printed papers. “I couldn't find out anything about your mother, but I did uncover some information that sheds light on the identity of the “friend” who took you in after her passing.”
“So, who was it?”
“Your uncle.”
“Kenny?” With the exception of raising a disbelieving eyebrow, Levi remained motionless. “Are you sure about that?”
“Yes, although...that’s not the only thing I found out about him, listen to this.” Clearing her throat, Hanji started to read aloud. “Kenny “The Ripper” Ackerman, was a notorious serial killer who later became a member of the Military Police First Interior Squad. Based in the city of Mitras, he served as the captain of the elite private soldiers until his death in the year 850.”
“Fuck off Four Eyes!” Snorted Levi. “First I have a flashback revealing my mother was a prostitute, now you’re telling me my uncle was a serial killer?”
“I’m serious!” Holding out the document, she stared at him over the top of her glasses. “Have a look for yourself! Everything I have printed off during our investigation into your past life has come from legitimate historical sources held by the city museum.”
Reluctantly taking the document from her, he narrowed his eyes and scanned through the article.
“Tch, next thing you’ll be telling me I was the bastard son of the fucking king or some shit!”
“Not quite.” Giggled Hanji, pulling more pieces of paper from the folder and casting a glance over them. “You were actually pretty famous though, they called you “Humanity’s Strongest Soldier.” A title that once belonged to our dear friend Mike Zacharius actually.”
“Tch, next you’re going to tell me near enough everyone that works here are our reincarnated comrades?”
“Well not everyone, no.” Mused the bespectacled director. “A majority are though.”
“I see.” Leaning forward and reaching for his cup, Levi picked it up by the rim and sat back again. “Well I already knew you and Erwin were considering you two appeared in the first of these weird flashbacks.”
Biting her lip nervously, Hanji cringed slightly as the next words left her mouth.
“Flagon Turret is one of our reincarnated comrades too, in fact he was actually your superior when you joined the Survey Corps in the year 844. The two of you didn’t get along then either, maybe that’s why you can’t stand each other in this life?”
Cup raised partly to his lips, Levi froze and shot her a cold glare when he abruptly froze and nearly spilled some of his tea.
“He died a couple of weeks after you were recruited actually.” She continued in a matter of fact tone. “According to what I have here, he and all of his squad were killed by titans...you being the only survivor.”
Silently sipping his tea, Levi’s natural frown deepened considerably.
“Did you find out anything about f/n?”
“Not much I’m afraid.” Shaking her head, Hanji handed him another pile of papers. “Just a few family details from the year 845 when a new type of titan appeared and broke through the gate of her mother’s home town of Shiganshina.”
Taking the printed sheets from her, he sipped his tea and turned his attention to them.
“It’s all extremely fascinating really.” Said Hanji, picking up her coffee cup and slowly raising it to her mouth. “Humanity was ruled over for nearly a century by these “titans.” Did you know, we were actually protected from them by three enormous walls? They no longer exist now of course, but their remains are actually quite the hotspot for tourists and historians.”
“Seems her parents lived in Shiganshina up until the time of this invasion.” Commented Levi, furrowing his brows and continuing to read from the sheet. “After Shiganshina fell, they moved to Karanese and remained there until 847.”
“That was the year f/n died.” Sighed Hanji sorrowfully, lowering her head and staring down at her coffee. “They attended her funeral and moved to Stohess a few weeks later, unfortunately that was all the information I could dig up on her at the moment.”
“Alright then.” Nodded Levi, straightening the papers he was holding and focusing on her with an intent stare. “So we still have no way of knowing how old she was when we met in our previous life?”
“I’m sorry Levi.”
Clicking his tongue thoughtfully, the short manager took another sip of his tea.
It would seem that getting to the root of this matter was going to be a lot harder than he had first anticipated.

“So f/n.” Smirked Luke, wrapping an arm around your shoulder and pulling you into his side as your little group walked towards the break room. “How was your weekend?”
“It was good thanks.” You giggled knowingly. “What about yours?”
“Oh you know...same old, same old.” He shrugged. “Anyway enough about me, I want to hear how meeting Mr Ackerman’s mother went.”
“Does she approve of you dating her son?” Inquired Ilse, notebook and pen already in hand ready to record your conversation. “I hope she didn’t ask you anything too embarrassing or personal.”
“No, but I’m afraid you two might!” You gasped, raising an eyebrow at Nickolas when he tried and failed to hold back a snort of amusement.
“She didn’t approve of you?” Frowned Ilse, hazel eyes steadily boring into you. “Why not? Did she give you a reason? Does this mean you'll be breaking up with him?”
“Eh? Where did that come from?”
“You just said she didn’t approve of you and Mr Ackerman dating.”
“Wait, what?” Blinking in confusion, you untangled Luke’s arm from your shoulder and followed her into the break room. “No, I meant she didn’t ask me any embarrassing questions, but I’m a little worried you and Luke might!”
“Oh I see.” Mused Ilse, clicking her pen and starting to scribble in her notebook. “So she did approve of you then?”
“Yes, we had a really nice chat actually.”
“Ah good, you’re all here.”
All eyes turned towards the source of the female voice from the kitchen area, your sight falling upon Nanaba who was stood leaning against the worktop.
“Sit yourselves down, I’ve got a little treat for you all.”
“What’s happening Nanaba?” You asked, taking a seat on one of the comfy leather chairs.
“Yeah what’s the occasion?”
“Today I had a meeting with Lauda, which meant I was in an hour early. He wanted to see all the team managers about the projected contract target report results from last month.” A knowing glint shining in her icy blue eyes, she folded her arms and confidently raising her head. “Guess who came top of the pile?”
Exchanging glances with your colleagues, the sudden silence of the room was broken only by the sound of the kettle bubbling on the side, followed closely by the switch flicking off when it reached boiling point.
“Could you give us a clue?” Teased Luke.
“We surpassed our target by three contracts.” Said Nanaba proudly. “So on my way back here, I took a little detour to the canteen and brought you all a little something to say well done.”
Turning her back to your group and opening the fridge door, she pulled out a plain white cardboard box.
“So who wants some cake?”
“Can I go and pretend to offer some to Flagon if I say yes?” Asked Luke, a smirk once again tugging at his lips. "I've always wanted to rub a nice big fat creamy cake into the smug mush of his!"
“No you can’t!” Snapped Nanaba, kicking the fridge door closed and walking towards the table, placing the box down on it. “I paid good money for this!”
“Too bad, I wish I could’ve seen the look on his face when he got knocked off the top spot for a second month running!”
“Me too.” You giggled, soon growing serious when you spoke again. “Do you think that's why he was glaring at me earlier then?”
Just like that, the atmosphere in the break room changed.
Gone were the confident smiles of your colleagues, quickly replaced by worried frowns of concern being directed towards you instead.
“Has he been harrassing you f/n?” Questioned Nanaba, her stern tone of voice cutting through the tenseness of the air like a knife.
“Well, not as such no...but…” Swallowing hard, you forced yourself to meet her gaze. “I do keep catching him watching me rather intently, it’s actually pretty unnerving.”
“Do you want to file a complaint?”
“I...erm…”
“You should definitely consider it.” Advised Nickolas. “I've noticed that he’s been giving you intimidating looks since you started dating Mr Ackerman.”
“Longer than that.” Interjected Ilse, flicking through the pages of her notebook. “He actually started his little staring campaign when she rejected his offer to go to the carnival with him last month.”
“F/n is this true?”
Exhaling heavily, you nodded, not daring to look anyone in the eye.
“Yeah but, to be honest...I’ve just been doing my best to ignore him since he’s not really spoken to me much. Plus Levi...erm, I mean Mr Ackerman said if he gave me any hassle, I was to tell him and he would deal with it.”
“I see.” Said Nanaba, carefully contemplating your response. “In that case, I’ll leave the decision up to you. However as your team manager, I strongly recommend filing an official complaint with human resources.”
“Speaking of Mr Ackerman.” Said Ilse, turning to face you and leaning forward. “You still haven’t finished telling us how meeting his mother went at the weekend.”
“Oh, that’s right!” Gasped Luke, mirroring her actions and shuffling closer to you. “All you’ve told us so far is that his mother approves of you.”
“I...erm…” Eyes darting left and right like a rabbit caught between two hungry foxes, you quickly turned your attention to the empty cups next to the kettle on the worktop a few feet away. “Hey Nanaba, how about I give you a hand with the drinks and slicing up that cake?”
“No need.” She smiled, a barely audible giggle with a mischievous edge to it leaving her lips. “You lot stay sat down, I’ll bring everything over.”
“Wow we are getting the royal treatment!” Said Luke, his hazel eyes still intently focused on you. “So f/n, where were we?”
Shaking your head in defeat, you sank back into your chair as the interrogation of your weekend activities resumed.

Chapter Text

“You’re bullshitting us!” Laughed Luke, folding his arms and raising a disbelieving eyebrow in your direction. “Come on, there’s no way that’s true!”
Giggling around a mouthful of cake, you swallowed it down and brushed the crumbs from your lips before replying.
“I swear to you, as real as I’m sitting here now, that’s exactly what happened!”
“Mr Ackerman’s mother actually assaulted her brother in front of you?”
“I’d hardly call it assault.” You smirked, reaching for your cup of tea. “She just kinda...whipped him around the head with a tea cloth and scolded him for calling Levi a runt.”
“She certainly sounds like the over protective type.” Looking up from scribbling in her notebook, Ilse finished her last bite of cake and turned to look at you. “Did she show any violent tendencies towards you at all?”
“No she was really nice to me. Hell, she even politely excused herself from the table before hitting Kenny!”
“Now I know you’re lying!”
“Why don’t you go ask Levi yourself?” You challenged, a devious smirk tugging at your lips.
Breath catching in her throat, Ilse blinked rapidly, opening and closing her mouth but not actually bringing forth any sound that could pass itself off as speaking...save for an “erm” or “ah.”
“Well at least we now know where Mr Ackerman gets his temper from now.” Mused Nanaba, leaning forward to pick up her now empty plate and cup “So she approves of the two of you dating then?”
“Yeah she seemed to.” You nodded. “Like I said, we had a really good chat...she also makes a wicked hot pot, damn I could eat that again!”
“So do you think you’ll be getting invited round again at some point?” Asked Ilse, finally managing to find her voice and returning her attention to her notebook.
“Probably.” You shrugged. “She did say it was nice meeting me, so I guess that swings things in my favour.”
“What about the uncle, did you get on well with him?”
“I didn’t really speak to him.” You admitted, furrowing your brows. “If I’m being honest...he’s a bit of a twat!”
“F/n L/n!” Gasped Luke, his hazel eyes widening in shock at your words. “Your language is atrocious!”
“Well he was!” You protested. “He didn’t believe that I existed for a start, he actually said that he thought Levi had just brought some random woman in off the streets pretending to me!”
“You’re kidding?” Ilse’s pen moved across the page of her notebook so fast she almost ripped it in half. “What did you say?”
“What was I supposed to say?” You snorted, frowning at the torn paper she was still scribbling on. “Not that I could say anything anyway, Kuchel started having a go at him about it!”
“It’s no wonder she decided to give him a slap with the tea cloth then, especially if he’s going to make comments like that!” Said Nanaba. “Anyway, break time is over. F/n, I need a word with you so can you help me clear everything away?”
“Um, yeah sure.”
“The rest of you get back to work.”
“Will do Nanaba.” Nodded Nickolas, affording you a small knowing smile before leaving the break room, a gesture which you found rather uncomfortable...especially when you had a feeling you already knew what she wanted to speak to you about.
Closing her notebook and putting it back into her pocket, Ilse also stood up and followed Luke out of the room.
Sparing you a backward glance, they nodded and closed the door, leaving you alone with Nanaba.
Swallowing hard, you slowly turned back to face the blonde woman and nervously met her icy gaze.
“Bring me those cups and plates please.”
Doing as you were asked, you remained silent and waited for her to continue. However you made a point of bracing yourself for the inevitable conversation that was bound to follow.
“Listen f/n.” Said Nanaba softly, taking the pots from you and placing them in the sink. “I can’t force you to file a complaint against Flagon for the way he keeps trying to intimidate you, but as your team manager...I can do it on your behalf.”
“Huh?”
“If you’re scared of repercussions, don’t be. Employee confidentiality will ensure that he has no way of accessing information regarding who reported him, meaning any allegations he makes about it being you can be dismissed.”
Furrowing your brows, you leaned back against the worktop and folded your arms.
“What would happen if Le-Mr Ackerman dealt with him?” You inquired, switching back to referring to the raven haired male in a more formal manner since the topic of conversation was now work related.
Sighing and running the hot water tap, Nanaba pursed her lips thoughtfully.
“I’d imagine he would take it up with Human Resources himself...most likely after giving Flagon a verbal beating first.”
“It’s not that I don’t trust you Nanaba.” You said hastily, earning you a raised eyebrow from the other woman. “I do, by the way, I just want to make that clear...but, well with Mr Ackerman being a deputy manager, I thought it might be better if he dealt with it.”
Affording you a small smile, Nanaba nodded and picked up the tea cloth, handing it over to you.
“I understand. However, you should be made aware that because of your closeness to Mr Ackerman, it could be misinterpreted as you trying to influence him by making false allegations.”
“What?” The panic rose in your voice before you could stop it. “I would never do that! What about Director Hanji? She’s actually seen Flagon glaring at me across the room a few times.”
“He would most likely use the excuse that you and Mr Ackerman are romantically involved as an advantage to get the complaint overturned. He could very well do the same with Hanji, since she is a family friend and knows you personally.” She explained, rinsing the first cup and placing it on the draining board. “This is the reason I offered to file the complaint for you. As your team manager, I’m well within my rights to raise grievances anyone under my jurisdiction has with other members of staff, regardless of their position I might add, that I believe are trying to cause trouble.”
“I appreciate the offer Nanaba, I really do...but...” You smiled weakly. “I’d rather not give him the satisfaction of thinking he’s getting to me. The way I see it, if I don’t rise to the bait, he’ll get bored and leave me alone.”
“It’s possible.” She sighed, concentrating on washing the cup currently in her hand. “Although there is the chance he could start resorting to other methods that would be harder to ignore.”
“Then I’ll definitely file a complaint if it comes to that.” You said confidently, looking her in the eye when she turned her head to glance at you. “For now though, I’d rather not.”
“If that’s your decision, then I’ll respect it.” Nodded Nanaba, turning her attention back to the sink. However it was hard not to miss the disappointed tone of voice with which she spoke. “I shall be keeping a closer eye on you in the meantime, call it an insurance policy.”
“I understand.”
“Good. Now let’s get on with tidying up before the next team comes in for their break. Just leave the cups out, don’t worry about putting them away.”
“Okay.”
Reaching for the next cup, you gave it a thorough wipe with the tea cloth before placing it on the worktop near the kettle, silently contemplating Nanaba’s advice.
Yes you’d told Levi that you would let him know if Flagon tried to intimidate and bully you, but it was common knowledge among the client consultants that you and the raven haired manager were dating. However after hearing things from an outsider’s perspective, it certainly made sense to try and not involve Levi if you wanted to be taken seriously if it came down to you making a complaint to Human Resources.
Shaking your head, you tried to push the matter to the back of your mind.
One thing was clear in your mind, that Flagon was acting the way he was out of jealousy because of you rejecting his offer of going to Trost Spring Carnival together.
Still, something still didn’t sit quite right with you, especially given that he was starting to take what could be considered a rather unhealthy interest in your relationship with Levi.
Perhaps you were reading too much into his childish attitude of trying to death glare you into submission and sulking like a petulant toddler throwing a tantrum because you were happy with his rival.
Or was there indeed a more sinister motive for his current attitude towards you?

Picking up the pile of freshly photocopied papers from the tray, Hanji quickly glanced over them to make sure they were all in order and nodded.
“Here’s your copy of everything I found over the weekend.” She said, returning to her desk and handing Levi the stack of documents. “Our break is nearly over, so is there anything else you wanted to ask me?”
“Yeah.” He replied bluntly. “Has f/n ever said anything to you about believing in reincarnation or displayed any signs she was having flashbacks?”
Blinking rapidly, it was clear that Hanji was taken back by his question. Still, she had figured it would only be a matter of time before he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“When I have a flashback, everything around me starts to blur.” Explained Levi, his brows furrowing as he tried to think of how best to explain what happened. “If there are people talking, their voices start to grow faint. It’s kind of like someone’s holding my head underwater, after that I can see everything in my mind as clear as seeing it with my own eyes.”
“So you sort of space out and become unresponsive?”
“Yeah, some shit like that.”
“Sorry Sweetie, I’ve never seen her act like that around me.” Humming thoughtfully, she pushed her glasses further up her nose with her index finger. “Although, when I asked her if she believed in reincarnation, she did say that she would need to see concrete evidence of its existence.”
“Are you stupid Four Eyes? We have the proof right here!” Snorted the short manager, holding up the photocopied documents. “Has that coffee killed off your brain cells?”
“Levi, you know it’s not that simple.” Sighed Hanji, the disappointment in her voice all too evident to his ears. “We don’t know how old she was when she met you in her previous life. Until we manage to find that information, I think it would be best to keep my research to ourselves.”
“So how long am I supposed to wait?”
“I know it’s not what you want to hear, but acting too rashly could seriously jeopardize your relationship with her. You need to be patient.” Leaning forward and resting her arms on the desk, her puppy brown eyes narrowed slightly when she met Levi’s gaze. “Trust me, it’s for the best.”
“Tch, fine.”
“In the meantime, I’ll do my best to try and find out more information about f/n. If you have any more flashbacks, let me know as soon as possible...there is something I find unusual about them though.”
Raising an eyebrow, Levi’s silent glare gave a clear indication that she was to continue talking.
“From what I can gather from the dialogue, they seem to happen in chronological order.”
“Is that important?”
“I’m not entirely sure at the moment.” She mused, cupping her chin in her left hand and leaning back in her seat. Lips pursed in thought, she furrowed her brows. “When I have flashbacks, they usually appear at random time intervals. I must do more research into this, but my hypothesis is that I may have a soulmate out there that I’m not aware of.”
“How the hell does that work?” Questioned Levi, checking the wall mounted clock and realizing that he only had five minutes before he needed to return to his own office.
“I’m not sure, but let’s say there are people out there with more than one soulmate. A prime example would be if say, oh I don’t know...Person A was in love with Person B and they were married, but one of them died, are you with me so far?”
“I think I see where this is going.” He nodded, folding his arms and sitting back in his seat.
“So the surviving soulmate could have moved on and found love with someone else, becoming Person C’s soulmate.”
“Tch, sounds like it would be one hell of a fucked up love triangle if all three were reincarnated in the same life and they all found each other again.”
“Indeed, you know the more I think about it...the more I believe this could be the case with me!” Mused the bespectacled director. “I started having random flashbacks to my previous life when I turned eighteen, yet none of them ever conveyed me having strong feelings of love for any one person I encountered during that lifetime.”
“Research yourself by all means, makes no difference to me.” Shrugged Levi, standing from his seat and picking up the pile of documents Hanji had photocopied for him. “Just don’t let it interfere with helping me find out more about f/n’s past life, I need to know how old she was when we first met.”
“I promise I will do my best to get that answer for you, just bear with me okay?” Said Hanji sincerely, watching him make his way towards the door. “It may take a little time, but we will get there in the end.”
“Fine.”
Smiling as the door closed and she was left alone, Hanji’s smile faded.
Turning her attention to her own copy of the historical papers, she frowned and concentrated hard, almost like she was hoping that she could somehow trigger a flashback that would give her the answer she sought.
Unfortunately however, this didn’t happen…

Returning to his own office, Levi sat down and frowned at the documents in his hand.
It annoyed him greatly that despite finding out a few things about himself, he still had little to no information about you apart from what he had seen in his memories.
Sure Hanji had confirmed the year that you died, but your age when you met was still shrouded in mystery.
It was already recorded in some of the earlier research she’d done that you had joined the Survey Corps at the age of sixteen, but there had been no mention of which year that had happened. The only thing Levi could confirm from his memories was that you were most likely only in your early twenties when you died, however this still didn’t help him learn how old you were when the two of you first met.
Perhaps there was something Hanji had missed while carrying out her research? Despite her intelligence, she was only human and it was entirely possible that she may have passed over some small details that could reveal the missing information he was looking for.
“Tch damnit.” He grunted, slapping the papers down onto his desk in frustration. “There has to be some way of finding out how old she was when I met her.”
Deciding there was nothing he could do about it at the moment, he shook his head and turned his attention to the computer monitor.
For now, it was probably best to concentrate on his work and try to speak to Hanji in private when work finished for the day, however a part of him couldn’t help but feel slightly suspicious where Flagon was concerned….especially now he was in possession of evidence that the man was also a reincarnated soldier Levi had known in his past life.
Swallowing hard and casting a dark glare to the papers on his desk, Levi’s steel grey eyes narrowed dangerously as a terrifying new mystery presented itself to him…
Had Flagon also known you in his past life and did he possess memories that linked him to you?

Clicking your tongue thoughtfully, you scanned over the finished letter currently displayed on your monitor and furrowed your brows.
After spending nearly twenty frustrating minutes on the phone to a very pushy client, you had finally managed to edit the contract ready to print and mail out to them that afternoon, much to your relief.
Leaving your desk, you made your way to the printing station, muttering under your breath about the client being “too pushy for their own good”...much to the amusement of Ilse and Luke.
Reaching for the paper currently in the tray, you were quickly stopped by a rather irritated voice behind you, causing you to tense up in fear.
“I believe that is mine.”
Wincing at the painfully familiar tone, you slowly turned around and raised your hands in surrender, opting to remain as polite as possible and not provoke a negative reaction.
“Sorry, I didn’t think anyone else was printing anything at the moment.”
“Yes well, they are.” Sneered Flagon, hazel eyes glaring into yours with a burning intensity.
“Erm, have I done something to offend you?” You inquired nervously, earning you a raised eyebrow from the arrogant team manager when he reached for his work. “It’s just that...you seem to keep staring at me like I have and...”
“Feeling guilty about something are you f/n?”
“Should I?”
“I hear you’ve met Levi’s mother.”
Breath catching in your throat, your jaw twitched involuntarily at Flagon’s sudden change of subject and interest in what had happened over the weekend.
He hadn’t actually spoken to you since his confrontation with Levi on the stairs after you and the short manager went on your first date, although that hadn’t stopped him from glaring at you across the room every chance he got.
“Hmph, so I take it things are getting serious between the two of you then?”
“I guess so.” You mused, averting your gaze.
“You don’t sound so sure.”
It was hard not to miss the snidiness in Flagon’s tone upon hearing your reply, however you remained calm and composed.
The last thing you wanted to do was let him see that his attempt at making conversation was putting you on edge, especially since you now found yourself wondering what business it was of his how you and Levi were progressing in your relationship.
“It’s still early days.” You finally answered quietly, shrugging your shoulders to try and deflect any further questions.
“I see.”
Inhaling deeply, Flagon held his breath for a moment before letting it out and walking away, leaving you stood alone by the printer in a state of confusion.
“Hey f/n, are you okay?”
“Huh?” Shaking your head to bring your mind back to the present, you looked to your right and were met with the concerned pale blue eyes of one of your colleagues.
“What did he want?” Asked Nickolas, nodding in the direction of the blonde male, who had now returned to his desk and was currently signing the document he had just printed.
“Nothing important.” You shrugged nonchalantly. “Just being his usual arrogant self.”
“I still say you need to file a complaint about the way he glares at you.” Said Nickolas sternly. “It’s intimidation and you shouldn’t put up with it.”
“Thanks for your concern, but I’ll be okay.” Flashing him a small smile, you glanced over at the printer and noticed that there was a fresh sheet of paper on the tray. “Anyway, I better get back to work. I promised a rather pushy client I’d have this ready to be sent out by lunchtime.”
“Yeah I have a few to sort out myself.” He nodded, looking at the machine when it started flashing to indicate it was in the process of printing another document. “I’ll speak to you later.”
“Sure.”
Walking back to your desk, you risked a cautious glance across the room to where Flagon’s team worked.
Thankfully he seemed to be more interested in his work than glaring at you, for now at least anyway.
However you once again found yourself wondering if your suspicions about his motives for being so intimidating towards you did indeed run deeper than a simple jealousy of your closeness to Levi.

Checking the clock displayed on the right hand side of the taskbar of his computer monitor, Flagon frowned upon noticing it was now noon.
“Alright you lot, time for lunch.” He called to his team members, nodding in the direction of the corridor leading past the deputy management offices towards the canteen.
Ignoring the chatter of the other client consultants logging out of their computers and making their way across the area, his hazel eyes narrowed as he turned his attention towards your desk on the opposite side of the room.
A low growl rumbled in the pit of his throat when you stood up and straightened your shirt, turning to smile at Luke when he made a teasing remark about you having “a romantic lunch for two with Mr Ackerman.”
For some reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on, something about you irritated him.
Naturally, this wasn’t helped by the fact that you were growing close to his long term rival within the company. Even the way you were so friendly with the rest of the client consultants, yet cagey and tense around him got on his nerves.
He was well aware that he wasn’t exactly popular, so did that mean everyone else had dripped poison in your ear to make sure you were firmly against him from the offset?
Continuing to watch as you walked towards the double doors leading to the deputy management offices until you were no longer in sight, he huffed in annoyance and refocused his attention on his computer.
“Hey Flagon!”
“Hmm?”
Blinking once upon hearing his name, the blonde male looked up to find one of the deputy managers stood in front of his desk.
“Working through lunch today?”
“Yeah, last minute decision.” He replied. “What can I do for you Darius?”
Nodding thoughtfully, Darius Walbrunn glanced down to the large pile of manilla folders in his hands before holding one out.
“I wondered if you could do me a favour, there’s a director’s meeting this afternoon and I need to give this to Hanji. Thing is, I need to go and have a quick word with Human Resources downstairs, so is there any chance you could give these to her for me? I’d really appreciate it.”
“Yeah sure, she’s bound to pass through at some point.”
“Thanks Flagon, I owe you one.”
Waving the other man away, the blonde team manager placed the folder down on his desk.
However before he could return to his current task, he couldn’t help but notice a pair of icy blue eyes glaring in his direction.
Slowly but purposefully striding past his desk, Nanaba’s gaze locked with Flagon’s for a brief moment. Brows furrowing, she lowered her head slightly in what could be considered a warning gesture before turning away and disappearing through the double doors.
“Hmph, what’s her problem?” He muttered to himself, looking around the now empty client consultant area.
Shrugging nonchalantly, he decided to return to his task while it was quiet.

Roughly thirty minutes passed and still there was no sign of Director Hanji.
Sighing deeply, Flagon glanced over at the manilla folder on the edge of his desk and tutted.
“May as well take this up to her.” He grumbled, logging out of his computer and standing from his seat.
Picking up the folder, he walked towards the double doors leading to the stairs and made his way up to the third floor.
As expected, the corridor leading to the boardroom was completely silent. All the doors were closed and it was most likely safe to assume that everyone had already left for lunch.
Stopping outside Hanji’s office, he raised a curious eyebrow when he noticed that the door leading into the reception area was open, yet Moblit was nowhere to be found. Perhaps he had been in a rush to get away before Hanji bombarded him with more work and simply forgot to close it? The man was normally never slack in his duties, so it was the only explanation that made sense.
Shrugging nonchalantly and making his way inside, he halted at the inner door leading to Hanji’s private office and knocked on the door, waiting for a response.
Several moments passed with no reply, so Flagon knocked again.
“Director Hanji?”
Once more, there was no call of “come in” from the other side.
“He can't be in the canteen, that computer is still logged in.” He mused, furrowing his brows. "Bathroom break maybe?"
Cautiously trying the door handle, Flagon was surprised to find it give with ease and swing open.
Of course there were an infinite number of reasons why this could have happened.
They could’ve been working through lunch and decided to pop down to the canteen to bring some food up to eat while they worked, or Hanji could’ve gone out alone and Moblit was somewhere else getting stationary supplies or delivering paperwork? Surely he wouldn't have left the computer logged in if he wasn't planning on returning to it within a few minutes.
“To hell with it, I’ll just leave this on her desk.”
Stepping into the office, Flagon walked over towards the cluttered work surface and frowned, perhaps leaving it on Moblit’s desk would be a better idea?
Tutting in disgust at how someone holding an important position within the business could have such a messy approach to their work, the blonde male was about to walk away when a large black folder titled “Reincarnation Research” caught his attention.
“Hmm, this looks interesting.” He muttered, quickly checking his no one was around before reaching for the folder and picking it up. “I didn’t know she believed in…”
Eyes widening in shock when he opened it and noticed the printed pages contained within, Flagon dropped the paperwork he had been carrying and stared at the picture above the first article.
“Shit!"

Chapter Text

Survey Corps Headquarters
Year 845

It was a day no one could have predicted, the walls that had stood for a century to keep humanity safe from the titans had been breached.
The outer gate of the Shiganshina District, the southernmost territory of Wall Maria had been destroyed by a titan larger than any that had ever seen before. Not only that, but another possessing formidable strength that none could match had also succeeded in destroying the inner gate.
The death toll was already too high to imagine and a large scale operation to evacuate not only the breached district, but the surrounding areas had begun in earnest.
Having not long returned from an expedition beyond the confines of Wall Maria, the Survey Corps found their time to rest and recuperate abruptly cut short as they were called into action once more…

“Shiganshina?” Gasped f/n, her e/c eyes widening in panic. “How is that possible, we just came through there less than two hours ago, everything was fine!”
“Tch, I don’t know what the Hell is going on.” Replied Levi bluntly, quickly saddling his horse and checking his equipment. “The Garrison are currently trying to evacuate everyone from the district and surrounding villages, our job is assist them by culling the titan’s numbers.”
“Levi...my...my parents!” As much as she didn’t want to think about it, the idea that her home town was now a nest of titans terrified f/n beyond all belief. “Their house is only a short distance from the inner gate! What if…”
“Hey!” Snapped the raven haired captain, halting what he was doing and turning to face her. “Getting worked up over this isn’t going to help anyone. Calm down and concentrate on preparing to move out.”
Breath catching in her throat, f/n froze.
Even when issuing her with orders, Levi never usually addressed her in such a harsh tone. However the current situation was about as far from a run of the mill day for the Survey Corps as it was possible to be.
“You’re worried about your parents, it’s only natural that you feel that way.” He said softly, meeting her gaze. “Right now though, we have to concentrate on getting to the evacuation route and assisting the Garrison. We’re short on soldiers as it is, we can’t afford to screw this up because you’re letting your emotions rule your mind.”
“I know.” She sighed, looking away and continuing to prepare her own horse as the commotion around her from the other scouts doing the same grew louder. “It’s just that...I never thought that there would come a day when the titans managed to break through the walls. They’ve stood unbreached for over a century!”
She didn’t even need to turn her head to know that many of the panicked orders being barked out by the squad leaders were to hurry along those helping the wounded into carts so they could be evacuated.
Even then, some able bodied soldiers who were still able to fight would need to be taken away from the frontlines to drive the carts, meaning their already dwindling numbers would be cut down even further.
“No one could’ve predicted it.” Replied Levi, mounting his horse and gently digging his heels into its ribs, encouraging it to move off. “Finish checking your equipment and saddle up. Concentrate on the mission and after the evacuation is complete, I’ll help you find out where your parents are.”
“Thanks Levi.” Affording him a small smile, f/n hauling herself up onto her horse and clicked her tongue, steering the animal towards him.
Leaning across the small gap between them, she reached out and rested her hand on the back of his neck, pulling him in close and resting her forehead against his.
“Watch your back out there.”
“Yeah, you too.” He muttered, raising a hand to her chin and gently cupping it as he placed a lingering kiss on her lips…

Shaking his head and blinking rapidly, Levi frowned at the sound of someone knocking on his office door caused him to snap back to reality.
“Tch, damnit.” He muttered, glancing at the wall mounted clock and seeing that it was just past noon.
The low rumble of chatter from the other members of staff passing by on their way to the canteen filtered through the thick wood, followed closely by him suddenly remembering someone knocking on it a few moments prior.
“Come in.” He called, logging out of his computer as the door opened.
“Hey, wasn’t sure if you’d already left so I thought I’d check.” Came a shy female voice.
“I’m nearly ready.” He replied, looking up to face you.
Nodding and closing the door behind you, a small smile adorned your face while you watched him retrieve his jacket and straighten his tie.
“Oh, you’ll be pleased to hear that Hanji won’t be gatecrashing today. She’s going out for lunch with Nanaba.”
“Good.”
“Levi?”
“Hmm?”
Nervously biting your lower lip and dragging it back between your teeth, your e/c eyes darted left and right before finally settling on the short male again.
“Can we talk...I mean, about us.”
Head jerking up, he stared at you with a burning intensity that made you feel like he was looking right through you.
“Oh, it’s nothing bad, I promise!” You gasped, holding your hands up in surrender. “It’s something that’s been playing on my mind over the weekend.”
“Alright then.”
“Thanks and I’m sorry if I scared you just then.” You giggled, trying to put him at ease. “It really wasn’t my intention.”
“Tch, it’s fine.” He snorted, opening the door and gesturing for you to leave. “If we’re going to talk about our relationship, I want to do it in private. We’ll get some lunch and eat in here.”
“Okay. I think I’d prefer that actually.”
Leaving the office and locking the door behind him, Levi couldn’t help but wonder what it was you were so keen to talk to him about...although if he was being completely honest with himself, part of him was desperately hoping that it was to do with the flashbacks he kept experiencing.

“Shit!” Gasped Flagon, quickly flicking through the folder containing Hanji’s reincarnation research. “It’s her! It...it’s actually her, I don’t believe it!”
Reaching into his trouser pocket for his phone, he opened the camera application and put the documents on the desk, quickly taking a photograph of the web address at the top of the first page so he could conduct his own research at home.
Suddenly the sound of footsteps approaching from the corridor made Flagon aware that he hadn’t closed Hanji’s office door.
“Damnit!” He cursed, hastily straightening the papers and putting them back into the folder where he found them.
Stuffing his phone back into his pocket, he looked around the office to make sure everything was left as he found it before realizing he had dropped the folder he was meant to deliver to the bespectacled director.
Bending to retrieve it, his gaze was soon pulled back towards the door when Moblit appeared.
Thankfully, because he was busy concentrating on looking through the pile of paperwork he was carrying, he didn’t notice Flagon straight away. So naturally, this provided him with enough time to check the folder and cautiously lean forward to place it on the desk before he was finally spotted.
“Hey!” Called Moblit, brows furrowing and causing a rather out of place frown to appear on his features. “What are you doing in Director Hanji’s office?”
“Sorry, I was just bringing some paperwork from Darius.” Explained Flagon, halting mid reach and straightening himself up, presenting the folder to the other male. “I thought it would be okay to leave them on her desk since there was no one around and the door was unlocked.”
“In the event that the director is not available, all paperwork for is to be left on my desk.” Said Moblit in a tone that didn’t suit his usually nervous disposition. “You would do well to remember that in future.”
“My apologies.”
“I’ll deal with that.” Reaching out, Moblit took the item from him and continued to stare at him in disapprovingly. “Was there anything else?”
“No, that was all.”
“Then you may leave.”
Skulking out of the office, Flagon glanced back in time to see the personal assistant remove a key from his pocket, quickly locking Hanji’s office door and checking it a moment later.
“That was close.” He muttered, making his way out of the reception area and back along the corridor. “Considering that guy’s usually a quivering wreck when the director is around, he sure knows how to grow a pair when she isn’t!”
Stopping at the doors leading to the stairs, he removed his phone from his pocket and opened up the photograph folder, selecting the most recent one he had taken and staring hard at it.
He may not have managed to get a proper look at the documentation Hanji had already printed thanks to Moblit’s interruption, but at least he knew where to go now to find out the answers to the questions currently burned into his mind.

Returning to his office from the canteen, you and Levi sat down to have lunch.
“So what is it you wanted to talk about?” He asked, his natural frown deepening as he placed his tray down on the desk and removed his jacket, draping it over the back of his chair.
Despite trying to plan everything you wanted to say in your mind, you’d found yourself feeling extremely uncomfortable with how tense the raven haired male was after you voiced your need to speak to him about your current “relationship.”
His glare had been much more intimidating than usual, his tone of voice colder when addressing the canteen staff...in fact his entire attitude in general seemed to have changed.
“Well.” You started, watching him nervously. “This whole relationship thing is new territory for us both, so I was wondering how you see what we have at the moment?”
“What the fuck do you mean by that?”
“Okay, that could’ve been worded better.” Shaking your head and giggling, you felt a blush rising on your cheeks. “I guess what I’m trying to say is, are we just dating...or a little more serious than that?”
Raising a curious eyebrow, Levi stared at you for a moment before responding.
“I’m gonna need a little more to go on.”
Summoning your courage, you inhaled deeply and held it for a moment before letting it out.
“The best way I can put this is, are we still only dating or are we in a full on relationship now? I mean, you’ve met my dad and I’ve met your mum.”
Not entirely sure what the answer was going to be, you were certain that it wasn’t going to come any time soon, especially given the way Levi was currently staring at you.
In all honesty, you found it rather cute the way he had his head cocked to one side...almost like a cat that didn’t quite trust a human trying to entice it towards them.
“What would you call it?” He eventually asked, reaching for his tea.
“Hmm, I believe most people say that as soon as you meet the parents, it’s classed as being in a relationship.” You mused, picking up your panini and taking a bite. “You know, the whole boyfriend/girlfriend kind of thing.”
“Tch, I’m not that clueless about relationships f/n!”
“I never said you were!”
Sipping his tea and averting his gaze, Levi fell into a guilty silence.
He hadn’t mean to get agitated with you, but deep down, he couldn’t help feeling disappointed that the “chat” you wanted to have with him wasn’t about the subject he was currently mulling over in his brain.
There was nothing wrong with the current topic of conversation, since he had been wondering whether you wanted to move whatever the two of you had forward. However it wasn’t what he had been hoping to discuss at that moment in time and despite agreeing with Hanji not to mention anything about your intertwined past, he was finding his resolve being severely tested.
“What do you want?” He eventually muttered from behind his cup, eyes meeting yours as he spoke.
Now it was your turn to frown.
Wiping your hands and mouth on your napkin, you folded your arms and sat back in your seat.
“We’ve been on two actual dates outside of work?” You inquired, earning you a small nod. “Plus we constantly text each other, nearly always end up having lunch together and spend time talking face to face before and after our shifts…”
Allowing yourself to mentally wander off on a tangent, you pursed your lips and hummed contemplatively.
“You know it’s a good job Hanji isn’t here, we wouldn’t be able to have this conversation in peace and discuss it like adults otherwise.”
Snorting at the mention of the bespectacled director, Levi rolled his eyes.
He wasn’t afraid to admit that you were right though, trying to discuss such an important subject in front of her would be like walking into a den of hungry carnivores whilst wearing a suit made entirely out of meat!
“Do you want things to progress between us?”
The words left his mouth before he even had a chance to engage his brain. Watching you carefully, he cursed himself internally he while waited for your answer.
“Do you?” You countered, not entirely sure what else to say.
Naturally you’d grown used to Levi’s blunt attitude as you got to know him, but even so, he still managed to catch you off guard on the odd occasion...so it was only fair that you attempted to do the same to him in return.
“Yeah.” He nodded, his steel grey eyes steadily focusing on the hypnotic hue of your e/c orbs. “I do.”
A warm smile slowly started to spread across your face when you felt your heartbeat speed up within your chest, pounding against your rib cage and causing a fluttering feeling in the pit of your stomach.
“Good.” You said softly. “That’s what I want too.”

With only five minutes remaining before lunch ended, Flagon walked back into the client consultant area and returned to his desk.
There was no time to head over to the canteen and get something to eat, not that he had much of an appetite anyway after his little discovery in Hanji’s office and then being confronted by Moblit.
He had contemplated the option to buy something and then put it in the break room fridge for when he and his team had their fifteen minutes of downtime later that afternoon, but given how he was currently feeling, he decided against it.
Still struggling to get his head around what he had found, he logged back into his computer and stared at the loading screen.
Despite not having been caught red handed going through the director’s personal items, the fact that he had been found in her office without her permission was certain to backfire on him. He knew he was in the wrong, but he just hadn’t been able to help himself.
The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” certainly came to mind at that moment in time. Although nothing fatal had actually happened to him, it was definitely affecting him in a mental capacity.
Rubbing his hands over his eyes to try and calm his still shell shocked brain, he glanced over at the double doors leading to the deputy managers offices and canteen, raising a curious eyebrow as the first of the client consultants walked through on their way back to their desks.
Happy go lucky smiles, cheerful conversation and renewed energy levels practically radiated from them, it made Flagon want to vomit at how well everyone else seemed to be feeling compared to him. However he was soon snapped out of his currently foul mood when the computer pinged at him, indicating that he had a new email message.
Furrowing his brows, he clicked on the flashing envelope icon on the task bar and scanned through the lines of text, feeling the already tight knot in his gut twist violently…

Having taken your lunch trays back to the canteen, Levi waited patiently for you to buy some chocolate for your afternoon break.
As much as he had enjoyed not having Hanji interrupt his time with you, he felt an inexplicable urge to text her and inform her of the recent change in your relationship that had now taken place.
With the two of you agreeing that you were now an official couple and no longer just casually dating, he was keen to hear her opinion on whether it could be taken as an indication that you remembered the two of you being involved in your previous lives.
However, it was a feeling of dread that she would more than likely fly down the stairs and come barging into his office screaming like a banshee that put a stop to that idea.
‘Hanji’s right.’ He mused internally, staring down at his phone to check the time before putting it back onto his trouser pocket. ‘I should wait until she’s done more research into how old f/n was when we first met.’
Furthermore, there were other people he wanted to inform of his new relationship status before saying anything to her. Mainly his mother, she would be furious if she wasn’t the first to know!
Folding his arms, he furrowed his brows and continued to lean against the wall while you eyed up the confectionery tray near the till...suddenly becoming very aware that the world around him was starting to blur and distort as the air changed…

Garrison Regiment Headquarters, Trost District
Year 845:

It had been just over a month since the Shiganshina District had been breached by the titans forcing humanity to abandon Wall Maria.
With the evacuation being hailed as a success, despite the many thousands of fatalities, the Military Police and Garrison regiments were charged with housing and distributing rations to the refugees.
A task made harder by the fact that because so much land had been lost to the titans, a food shortage was inevitable and fighting among the populace was starting to become a much more frequent occurrence.
Far away from the tedious task of trying to maintain law and order taking over the warehouses to the eastern part of the city, the Survey Corps had set up a temporary base of operations in the Garrison’s Trost District headquarters while the injured were treated and replenishing of their lost supplies began in earnest.

It was almost midnight by the time Levi had finished checking on the injured soldiers in the infirmary, but there was one last task he had to do before returning to his temporary office for the night.
Making his way down the dim torch lit corridors, the only sounds to be heard were the snapping of the glowing orange flames and his own footsteps echoing off the stone floor.
Approaching the basement, he halted outside the heavyset wooden door when he heard muffled conversation coming from the other side.
“Finish this box and then get back to your dormitory before you pass out.” Ordered a gruff male voice.
“Yes Sir.”
Pushing the door open, Levi stepped into the large basement where the Garrison’s supply of weapons was stored and looked around.
Eventually, his sight fell upon a tall well built dark blonde male and a much shorter female with h/l h/c hair. Both were facing away from him, but he instantly knew who the two of them were.
“Oi f/n.” He called, causing the two soldiers to turn around and face him.
“Captain?” Asked the young scout, tightly gripping the clipboard and pen she was currently holding.
“I need a word.”
“Take as long as you need.” Said the taller soldier, slowly striding towards his raven haired comrade and nodding as he passed by.
“Levi.”
“Mike.”
Focusing his attention on f/n, Levi gestured for her to take a seat on one of the storage crates, joining her a moment later.
“What’s going on?” She inquired nervously, the fear shining in her eyes made all the more evident by the low torchlight.
“It’s about your parents.” He said softly, holding her gaze. “I’ve found them.”
“You did? Are they okay? Please tell me they both got out alive?”
“They’re both fine.”
Unable to stop the breathless sob that shook her body, f/n lunged forward and enveloped her lover in a tight embrace, burying her head into his shoulder.
“Tch, I told you I’d help you find them.” Snorted Levi, loosely wrapping an arm around her shoulders and resting his head against hers. “I didn’t manage to speak to them, but I’m sure you can find the time to do that yourself tomorrow.”
“Thank you! Thank you so much!”
“Alright then.” Carefully removing her arms from his neck, he stood up from the crate. “I’m heading back upstairs, make sure you actually get some sleep tonight you look like-mmph!”
Before he could finish his sentence, he found a pair of soft warm lips locking with his own as f/n grabbed his cravat and dragged him back towards her.
Naturally he relaxed after the initial shock of the movement and responded to the passionate clinch...only to find it interrupted by a low chuckle from the doorway behind him.
“When you’re quite finished.” Remarked Mike, raising his voice to make himself heard. “Some of us still have work to do!”
“Sorry Sir.” Giggled f/n, releasing the short captain and retrieving her clipboard. “I’ll get straight back to it.”
“I’ll speak to you tomorrow.” Said Levi, turning his back on her and walking away.
“Good night Lover Boy!” Snickered Mike, pursing his lips to mimic a kissing gesture.
“Fuck off you big ass tree!”

“Okay, I’m done.”
Glancing to his right, Levi raised an eyebrow when you appeared beside him.
Thankfully you didn’t seem to notice that he had spaced out, much to his relief.
“Alright, let’s go.”
“So now we’re actually in a relationship and not just dating…” Pausing mid sentence, you allowed yourself devilish giggle. “Who gets the honour of being squealed at by Hanji first? Or do you think we should tell her together?”
“Tch, I’ll leave that task to you.”
“Such a gentleman!” You sighed sarcastically, linking your arm with his. “She’s your friend too!”
Raising an eyebrow at you, Levi brought his hand up and flicked your nose, lips momentarily curling into a smirk when you scowled at him.
Usually the two of you refrained from public displays of affection in the workplace, agreeing it was better to maintain a professional attitude around your colleagues.
Although there were times when you indulged in holding hands and the odd quick kiss when you were leaving or knew for certain you were alone...however this wasn’t one of those occasions.
Failing to check your surroundings, you grabbed Levi’s tie and pulled him towards you.
Expecting a kiss, Levi instinctively pursed his lips, only to cringe a few seconds later when you leaned towards his right cheek and flicked your tongue over his skin.
“What the hell f/n?” He grunted, pushing you away and wiping his face on his jacket sleeve.
“Revenge...Sir!”
“You filthy brat!”
Opening your mouth to retort, a low chuckle from behind caused the two of you to jump around and face the source of the noise.
“Tch, how long have you been stood there, you big ass tree?”
Slamming a hand over your mouth, you failed to stop the snort that forced its way past your lips.
Director Mike Zacharius raised a thin eyebrow at the shorter male, regarding him curiously for a moment before turning his attention to you, an action that soon brought an end to your amusement.
“You should be more mindful of your surroundings f/n.” He said lowly, a small smirk tugging at his lips. “We’re all aware the two of you are dating, but try and act professionally when you’re in work.”
“Sorry Sir.” You muttered feebly, lowering your hand. “It won’t happen again.”
Nodding once, Mike walked away towards the double doors leading to the client consultant area and disappeared through them, once again leaving you alone with Levi.
“Oops.” You winced, trying not to giggle again.
“Come on.” Scoffed Levi, gesturing to the doors Mike had just left through. “I’ll walk you back to your desk.”
“Okay.”
Following you back through to the client consultant area, he furrowed his brows, causing his natural frown to deepen.
Despite Hanji telling him to be cautious and not raise the subject of the bond the two of you had shared in the past, the way most of his flashbacks to that time kept mirroring his present existence was driving him mad...especially when the feelings he once had for you were growing stronger with every encounter.

Standing from his seat and straightening his jacket, Flagon glanced over in the direction of the double doors to his right.
Hazel eyes narrowing in anger, he growled lowly in the pit of his throat upon seeing you and Levi walk past him, completely oblivious to his presence.
The way you smiled when the raven haired manager escorted you back to your workstation and waited for you to sit down behind your computer before leaving served to fuel the already raging fire of hatred he felt towards the other male. Just why was it that every time Flagon seemed to get an opportunity in life, that damned midget was there to swoop in and snatch it away from him?
"Tch, what are you staring at?"
Blinking rapidly, he soon realized that his aforementioned nemesis was now stood in front of him.
Narrow grey eyes steadily boring into him, Levi raised an eyebrow and folded his arms.
"Well?"
Huffing in annoyance, Flagon refused to acknowledge him, brushing past and making his way towards the doors leading to the stairs.
Despite turning his back on the other male, he was well aware that he was still being watched right up until the very second he exited the client consultants work area.
"Little bastard!" He snarled under his breath, stomping up the stairs to the third floor and making his way along the corridor leading to the boardroom. "He thinks he's so smart, well one day I'll finally put him in his place!"
"I'd lose the attitude if I were you!"
Halting at the sound of another voice addressing him, Flagon's head whipped around to his right, causing him to lock gazes with a rather stern looking male sat behind a large desk in one of the reception areas.
"Not you Moblit." He muttered sheepishly, suddenly realizing he had arrived at his destination.
"Director Hanji is expecting you."
Swallowing hard, Flagon approached the office door and hesitantly knocked...

Staring down at the document in front of her Hanji frowned thoughtfully and pursed her lips.
Lifting her head slightly when she heard voices filtering through the thick wood of her office door, she carefully placed it into a folder and deposited in into the top drawer under her desk as three brief knocks indicated that her visitor was ready to be seen.
"Come in." She called, folding her arms and fixing her gaze on the door as it opened and a tall blonde male walked in, closing it behind him.
"Don't bother taking a seat." She instructed firmly, making it clear that she was in no mood for pleasantries. "This won't take long."
Waiting until he had stopped in front of her desk, she sighed before continuing.
"Moblit tells me he caught you in my office earlier, would you care to explain why?"
"I was merely delivering some paperwork from Darius." Said Flagon evenly, looking her straight in the eye. "Moblit wasn't around, so I..."
"Thought you would come in here without my permission?"
"I'm sorry Director, but I was told the documents were important and I didn't want them to be misplaced or lost because no one was around."
Despite having a particularly strong dislike of the team manager, Hanji was never one to act in an unprofessional manner towards a colleague...however given that she was suspicious that her personal items had been tampered with during her absence, she was willing to make an exception.
"All paperwork for me is to be left with Moblit." She snarled, struggling to keep her temper in check. "If he is unavailable, you leave it on his desk. Are we clear?"
"Yes Director." Replied Flagon, successfully managing to keep his voice steady despite the fact he was clenching his fists nervously, an action that didn't go unnoticed.
"You will receive a formal written warning for your conduct." She continued, her puppy brown eyes narrowing dangerously. "Which also extends towards your harassment towards Miss L/n."
"Excuse me?"
"Do not play dumb with me!" Slamming her hands down on the desk, Hanji stood up with enough force to send her chair rolling backwards into the wall. "I've seen the way you glare at her and so have several other members of the client consultant teams. She may not have put in a formal complaint about you, but I certainly will if I catch you so much as breathing in her direction!"
Opening his mouth to respond to the accusation, Flagon's voice died in his throat when a hand was raised to silence him.
"I will say this only once. Stay...away...from...her!"
Slowly closing his mouth, the blonde male nodded compliantly.
"Good, now get out!"
Turning on his heels, Flagon exited the office and closed the door behind him, hastily making his way past Moblit and back out into the corridor.
"Shit!" He cursed, leaning against the wall and bringing his hands up to his face, running them back through his hair and looking up towards the ceiling.
While he wasn't bothered by a written warning being placed on his employment record for the next six months, he was completely unnerved by the fact that Hanji may have noticed her reincarnation research had been viewed without her prior permission.
Meaning that now he was planning to conduct his own investigation into her findings, he was going to have to tread much more carefully.

Chapter Text

After informing your families that the two of you were now officially a couple, you and Levi soon found yourselves becoming the center of attention among your work colleagues...thanks mainly to a certain bespectacled brunette.
While your father and Kuchel had been quietly thrilled by this latest development and calmly offered their best wishes for the continued blossoming of your relationship, Hanji’s reaction had been far more...enthusiastic, to say the least. In fact if you were being completely honest with yourselves, you and Levi would probably have gone with the words explosive and over the top to describe it.
Jumping up and down like a mad toad, the ear piercing scream she emitted was so loud, it could rival a horde of banshees!
After that, her attempt at giving you a congratulatory hug was swiftly thwarted when Levi raised a hand to her head, and used her ponytail to turn her around and march her back to her office, demanding that Moblit calm her down before he was forced to take more drastic action.
Thankfully your colleagues were much calmer with their responses on the matter.
Nanaba and Nickolas simply expressed that they were happy for you, while Luke and Ilse predictably bombarded you with questions about how you were feeling and wanting details on how you and Levi came to agree to move things forward.
It came as no surprise that Kenny had simply shrugged and ruffled Levi’s hair, muttering the words “good on you Runt” before Kuchel hit him around the back of the head with an empty water bottle.
You knew full well that the two men weren’t exactly close, but the fact that Kenny seemed to be happy for Levi...even if he didn’t show much enthusiasm about it was good enough for you.
Naturally, there was one person you knew would never accept your happiness…
Despite not approaching you, Flagon brazenly displayed his disgust for your new relationship status to Levi and made it abundantly clear that he had no intention of even being civil about it.
He even had the nerve to issue a very thinly veiled threat towards the shorter male when he caught him walking back to his office alone…
“I wonder if she’ll stay with you when she discovers your dirty little secret.”
Before Levi could question what he was talking about, the blonde manager had scowled distastefully and made a hasty retreat, ignoring the angry orders to stop walking and explain himself.
In the end, Levi had simply put it down to jealousy and dismissed it as the other man trying to stir the shit pot.
Still, the suspicion about what the sly team manager was alluding to somehow remained fixed in the back of his mind, making its presence felt whenever the two of them crossed paths during work hours.

As the days turned to weeks, an entire month seemed to come and go.
Winter finally ended and the weather started to change.
The air became warmer, flowers started to bloom and a much higher volume of work started to flood in for the employees of Survey Corps.
Something that greatly annoyed the senior members of staff, since it now meant that the daily paperwork they usually dealt with during their shifts, was slowly starting to intrude on their personal lives…

“Levi? Levi?”
Frowning worriedly, Kuchel gently shook her son’s shoulders in an effort to try and rouse him.
Having been up late into the night working on some files Erwin wanted preparing for a meeting on Monday morning, Levi’s insomnia saw fit to give him a break and resulted in him falling asleep at his desk.
“Oi Kuchel!” Yelled a voice from down the hall. “Get a move on, we’re going to be late!”
Quickly tip toeing to the ajar bedroom door, she poked her head around the small gap and called out to the approaching male.
“Keep your voice down!” She whisper shouted harshly. “Levi’s asleep!”
“So wake the little shit up! He said he wanted to come with you today remember?” Kenny huffed, entering the room and raising an eyebrow as his cold grey eyes observed his nephew.
Levi was sat up straight in his chair, legs slightly parted, arms folded and his chin resting on his chest.
“Put him on the bed will you...Please? Requested Kuchel, softening her tone to emphasize her concern. “You know he doesn’t normally sleep very well and it’s not fair to disturb him. Plus if we leave him like this, he’s going to hurt his neck and back.”
“Fine.”
“Thanks Kenny.”
Stepping aside so her brother could pass, the raven haired woman watched him slip an arm under Levi’s knees, supporting his back with the other and slowly lift him out of his seat so he could carry him the three steps to the neatly made bed.
Unfortunately, Levi wasn’t a particularly heavy sleeper and Kenny was hardly being careful since he was supposed to be taking Kuchel to the hospital for an appointment in less than an hour and a half.
Groaning and twitching through his peaceful slumber, the sudden and unexpected movement caught Kenny of guard, causing him to step backwards and bump into the table and knock one of the items on it to onto the floor.
“Watch what you’re doing for goodness sake!” Gasped Kuchel, quickly bending to retrieve the folder and its now scattered contents, ignoring her brother’s muttered curses. “Damnit, now what order are these supposed to…”
Picking up the printed documents, her soft grey eyes widened upon seeing the first one.
“What the?”
Looking through the sheets beneath, her breath caught in her throat at the strange pictures displayed alongside the lengthy paragraphs of text.
“Hey, are we going now or what?”
“Huh?”
Looking up, she saw her brother standing in front of her, his arms now empty as a hand reached out towards the papers she was holding.
“Levi can sort these when he wakes up.” He stated lowly, taking them from her and unceremoniously stuffing them back into the file before placing it back on the desk. “Now come on, we’re running late as it is.”
“Alright.” She sighed defeatedly, casting a worried glance towards the still sleeping figure now comfortably sprawled out on the bed before following Kenny out of the room.
“Levi, what’s going on with you?”

“Morning Dad!”
Feeling alert and ready for the day ahead, you walked into the dining room and took your seat at the table.
“You’re cheerful.” Noted your father pouring himself a cup of coffee and watching you reach for the cereal box. “Something to do with Levi by any chance?”
“He’s not replied to my texts yet.” You shrugged. “I’m actually meeting up with him tomorrow though, so I’ve arranged to go shopping with Hanji today.”
“Ah, girl’s day out.” He chuckled knowingly. “Just don’t go too wild!”
“I don’t intend to.” You smirked, reaching for the milk and noticing a furry brown head suddenly appear on your lap. “Hmm, now what could you possibly want?”
“What time are you meeting her?”
“I’m heading to her apartment at half past ten and then we’re going into the city from there.”
Nodding thoughtfully, your father watched you silently for a few moments as you gently scratched behind Sasha’s ears, making her lean her head into your touch and grumble contently.
“Well, I’m actually planning on going shopping myself.” He mused, stirring his coffee. “Someone I know has a birthday coming up and I need to sort out their present.”
“Is that your way of saying if I see you, I’m to avoid you?”
Shaking his head, your father chuckled again.
“Possibly, unless you want to ruin the surprise?”
“Hint duly noted!” You giggled, raising your hands and mock surrender, however your smile soon disappeared when you checked your phone and noticed the lack of a “Good Morning” text from a certain raven haired male.
There was no reason why he shouldn’t respond, after all, the two of you hadn’t fallen out.
Far from it, in fact you’d spent most of the previous night arranging to go out for a meal and see a film that weekend. Hence the reason for your shopping trip with Hanji, it was an ideal opportunity to pick up some new going out clothes and check the listings at the multiplex.
‘Maybe he’s left his phone on silent?’ You wondered, furrowing your brows. Although another reason for his lack of a response soon came to mind.
Kuchel was due at the hospital for another round of chemotherapy treatment that morning and Levi had mentioned in a previous message that he was planning to accompany her.
“Everything alright f/n?”
Head jerking up, you soon found yourself faced with a concerned expression from your father being directed at you.
“Yeah.” You smiled, hoping it didn’t look too false and give away the fact you weren’t being completely truthful. “I was just expecting a bombardment of texts from Hanji begging me to go over early, but it turns out my inbox is completely empty.”
“You sound disappointed.”
“Not really, more shocked than anything.”
Seemingly accepting of your lie, he turned back to his breakfast, leaving you to continue staring longingly at your phone.

Garrison Regiment Headquarters, Trost District.
Year 845:

Amidst the continuing chaos caused by the breach of Wall Maria five months ago, the Survey Corps had done all they could to help the Garrison and Military Police regiments get the refugees settled.
With their part in proceedings now complete, they were preparing to return to their old headquarters within the open countryside of Wall Rose.

“Is everything accounted for?” Questioned Commander Erwin, his icy blue eyes scanning over the list on the desk in front of him.
“Yes Sir.” Nodded Hanji, placing another small pile of papers down on the polished wooden surface for his inspection. “I believe that if everything continues at the current pace, we’ll remain on schedule to leave first thing tomorrow as planned.”
“Good work.” Leaning back in his seat, he raised his head and regarded the other three occupants of his temporary office. “Mike, I want you supervising the squads preparing to move those still recovering from injuries. Report back to me at sunset.”
The tall blonde silently nodded in acknowledgment, waiting patiently while Erwin turned his attention to the other two officers.
“Hanji, you and Levi will assist with loading our armoury supplies onto the transport wagons, a storage area has already been designated ready for us to simply hitch the horses up and move them out from when we depart. See to it that everything runs smoothly, there’s been enough chaos lately and I do not wish to add to it.”
“Understood Sir.”
“You’re all dismissed.”
Saluting and leaving the office, the three veterans went their separate ways.

While Levi was perfectly content to walk towards the courtyard in silence, it seemed that Hanji had other ideas.
“F/n is due back from Karanese District today isn’t she?” Questioned the bespectacled Section Commander.
“You know damn well she is Four Eyes!” Scoffed Levi, rolling his eyes in annoyance. “It was you who put in the request to grant her compassionate leave so she could help her parents travel there!”
“Well, I did owe her a favour...and she didn’t get to see them until a month after the breach, so I thought that helping them get away from all the madness currently happening here would be a bit of a morale boost for her.”
“Tch, yeah well we could all do with one of those at the moment.”
“Any idea what time she'll be arriving?”
Levi shrugged but didn’t answer.
Truth be told it was anyone’s guess when you would return, it could be later that afternoon or maybe closer to the evening, nothing was set in stone.
“I hope it’s soon, I’ve missed her company...as I’m sure you have too.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Snorted the short captain, slowly turning his head towards her and raising an incredulous eyebrow.
“Oh come on Shorty, I know she always tries to find time to have a cup of tea and a cuddle with you in an evening after she’s done with late duties.” Pausing to allow herself a small giggle, she continued talking. “Plus, I know you sneak down to my laboratory when I’m not around and check up on her to make sure I’m not working too hard.”
Quickly averting his gaze to try and hide the blush that was now rising on his pale cheeks, Levi cursed under his breath and quickened his pace.
“Hey slow down will you?” Called Hanji, rushing to keep up with him.
“Why should I?”
“Well, if you stopped for a moment and looked out of the window…”
Halting with a huff, Levi turned and turned his attention to the nearest pane of glass, staring out onto the street below and casting a confused glance over the passing citizens going about their lives.
“What exactly am I supposed to…”
Seconds later, he saw her.
Leaning forward in the saddle slightly to pat her horse’s neck, a young h/l h/c haired woman wearing a dark green cloak bearing the Wings of freedom trotted underneath the stone ledge of the window and steered her horse towards the main gate leading into the Garrison headquarters courtyard.
“F/n.” He whispered, his heart speeding up in his chest in realization that after almost a week apart, she had finally returned.
“Race you down to welcome her back!” Giggled Hanji, roughly shoving him aside and sprinting off down the corridor.
“Like Hell you will!” Snarled the raven haired male, quickly chasing after her. “Get back here Shitty Glasses!”


Eyes snapping open, Levi exhaled deeply as his body jerked against the mattress, instantly awakening him.
“Damnit!” He groaned, rubbing a hand over his eyes and blinking rapidly before a deep set frown settled upon his features, the dream of his past life slowly starting to fade away. “When the Hell did I fall asleep?”
Sitting up straight, he looked down at his body, noticing that he was still in the clothes he had changed into after returning home from work.
Shaking his head in confusion, he looked over to the bedside table to retrieve his phone, only to find that it wasn’t there.
Tutting and pushing himself off the bed, he walked over to the desk where the laptop remained open and found the device he was looking for next to it.
“Shit!” He gasped, cold grey eyes widening in horror when he saw the time.
Rushing downstairs and into the kitchen, he found the room to be completely empty...apart from a quickly scribbled note in the center of the dining table.

“Levi,
I came in earlier to see if you were ready to go to the hospital with me, but you were fast asleep and I didn’t want to disturb you.
Make sure you get something to eat when you wake up and don’t worry about today, I’ve got Kenny with me so I’ll be fine.
Love Mum xx

A low growl resonating in the pit of his throat, Levi looked down at his phone and swiped his thumb across the screen upon noticing that he had received two text messages.
Still seething over the fact he had failed to wake up in time to accompany his mother to the hospital, he opened the first message and walked over towards the worktop where the kettle sat, grateful to find that there was already some water in it.
Reading the first message, he pressed the on switch and retrieved a cup from the metal holder so he could make himself some tea.

From: F/n
To: Levi
Received: 08.30

Morning Handsome, how are you? Hope you didn’t stay awake all night working.
I’m heading out shopping with Hanji later, chances are we’ll be heading down near the multiplex so shall I confirm film times while I’m there? Xx


“Tch, seriously?” He grunted. “You see enough of that moron at work, why torture yourself by spending all your free time with her too?”
Reaching across the worktop, he picked up the tea canister and pulled out a tea bag. Dropping it into his cup, he yawned and ran his hand back through his sleep ruffled hair as he read the next message.

From: F/n
To: Levi
Received: 09.00

Just remembered you saying you were accompanying your mum to her hospital appointment today, give her my regards and I hope it goes okay for her.
Text you later when I’ve had a chance to check film times xx


Upon reading your concern for his mother, his naturally harsh glare softened for a split second before hardening once more.
As much as he appreciated the sentiment, it ended up making him even angrier with himself for letting her down.
He knew that Kenny would take good care of her, but that wasn’t the issue here. The fact that he had been promising to accompany her for well over a week was, he’d let her down and he was beyond pissed at himself for it.
Clicking his tongue when the kettle started to bubble, signalling that it was reaching boiling point, Levi started to think of how he could make it up to her.
He was a fairly decent cook, maybe a homemade meal? Although it would need to be something light, since she didn’t really have much of an appetite after the intensive treatment...something simple like a hearty vegetable soup perhaps?
Nodding firmly, he turned back to the kettle as it started boiling and prepared himself a cup of tea before heading back upstairs to have a shower and see how far he got with his workload prior to falling asleep. He didn’t feel particularly hungry at the moment, so decided to skip breakfast and just eat at lunchtime.
Entering his bedroom, he returned to his desk and sat down. Placing his cup next to the laptop and pressing the enter button, bringing up the document he’d been going over before sleep claimed him.
Staring at it for a moment, he kept his focus on the screen while reaching for the folder at the edge of his desk.
After a few moments of blind fumbling, he twigged on to the fact that it wasn’t in the location he had previously left it.
Looking to the location it should’ve been in, he soon noticed that the file containing Hanji’s reincarnation research has also been moved and the clasp that secured the contents inside was no longer fastened.
Blinking once, he picked it up and pulled back the flap.
As expected, the papers it contained were crumpled and completely out of order.
Even while looking through them at his tiredest, his obsession with tidiness would never allow him to put them back so haphazardly. Meaning the only logical conclusion was that someone else had done it, but who and why?
There were only two people it could’ve been, but neither had a motive to want to go through his private belongings. Surely there must’ve been a logical explanation as to how this had happened?
Shaking his head and grunting in annoyance, he set about rearranging the disturbed research into its proper order before sealing the file and tucking it into the top drawer out of sight.
He would enquire as to how they came to be in such a state later when his mother and Kenny returned, but for now, he had other things to be getting on with.

Having met up with Hanji, the two of you had promptly headed into the city and were currently discussing strategies on which shops you wanted to visit and in what order.
In the end, you had agreed that you would start at the northern end of the city centre near the multiplex and work your way through the precinct onto the main high street.
“So what film are you and Shorty planning on seeing?” Inquired Hanji leaning back against the wall, watching you closely as you keenly eyed up the billboard displaying the various film titles and show times.
“Well, Levi said he wouldn’t mind seeing the new Deadpool movie.” You mused thoughtfully. “We saw the first one on Netflix last week and he thought it was pretty good.”
“Fancy making it a double date? I’ve been nagging Moblit to come see it with me for days.”
“You wish!”
“Aw come on, why not?”
Turning to look at her, you tilted your head to one side and smirked.
“You’re seriously asking me that?”
Giggling and replying with a casual shrug, the bespectacled brunette tried to give you her best wounded puppy look...even throwing in a tiny whimper for good measure.
“If Sasha, an actual dog can't break me with that look, what makes you think you’ll succeed?”
“Fine, you win.” She sighed, folding her arms and looking down at her feet. “So have you heard from him today?”
“Not yet, but he is going with his mum to the hospital.”
“Ah.”
“Yeah, so I don’t expect to hear from him for a while.”
“Poor Kuchel, any idea how long they’re gonna be there?”
“Only that the appointment was for ten o’clock.”
Nodding and furrowing her brows, Hanji continued to stare at the floor.
“Hey f/n, can I ask you something?”
“Sure.” You replied, taking your phone out of your jeans pocket and sending a message to Levi, detailing the screening times you’d just been looking at.
Hesitating for a moment and nervously biting her lip, Hanji slowly looked up and stared off into the distance.
“Do you remember when I asked you about whether you believed in reincarnation?”
“Huh?” Head snapping up, you blinked rapidly at her question. “Reincarnation?”
She knew it was a bad idea, but with the small detail of how old you were when you first met Levi cleverly evading her at every attempt she made to discover it, she felt compelled to try a more direct approach.
“Yeah, I asked you about it a couple of months ago remember?”
“Um, vaguely. Why?”
“Oh no reason, just making conversation.”
“Right.” Putting your phone away, you moved closer to her and stared intensely into her puppy brown eyes, curiously searching them in the hope they could explain why she was mentioning such a thing. “Hanji are you feeling okay?”
“I’m fine Sweetie, it’s...well it’s silly really.” Giggling nervously, she scratched the back of her neck. “I was just browsing some history stuff online yesterday and I found myself in a forum about it.”
“You’re a strange one, you know that right?”
“Says the one who said she’d believe it if she saw concrete proof!” She countered, raising a hand and lightly jabbing her index finger into your chest.
“How do you prove it’s real and not images that have just been tampered with in Photoshop though?” You smirked, swatting her away. “Honestly Hanji, you need to be careful. You’re far too easily led at times, someone could take advantage if you don’t keep your wits about you."
“So you’ve never had strange dreams where you see yourself in situations from history and then wondered if it meant anything?”
“No I haven’t.” Growing serious, you stepped even closer to her and lowered your voice. “Have you?”
“Several times actually.”
“Wow, seriously?”
Taking your curiosity as a sign that she may be able to convince you that reincarnation was indeed real, Hanji decided to continue pursuing the subject.
“How about we talk some more over an early lunch before we hit the shops? My treat!”
“Hmm, okay then.”
"Great!”
Gesturing for you to lead the way towards the precinct, Hanji struggled to fight back an excited squeal as she dug around in her coat pocket for her mobile phone.
Quickly retrieving the device, she cursed and grumbled when her rapidly shaking fingers hit the wrong screen keys while trying to send a text message to a certain raven haired male…

Frowning at the currently bubbling pot on the stove, Levi slowly stirred the contents and replaced the lid.
After finally finishing the paperwork Erwin asked him to prepare for Monday’s meeting, he had made his way downstairs to have lunch and then started preparing some homemade soup for his mother’s return.
Making himself another cup of tea and sitting down at the dining table, he removed his phone from his pocket and found that in the time he had been occupied working and cooking, two more text messages had appeared in his inbox.
"Tch, no wonder I didn't notice." He snorted, thumbing the screen to unlock it. "Damn thing is still on silent."
Opening the inbox application, the first thing that caught his attention was that the two messages were sent within minutes of each other, the only difference being the people who had sent them.

From: F/n
To: Levi
Received: 11.45

Hey, just sending the showtimes for the new Deadpool film. Let me know which one is best, I'm fine with any.
10.00, 12.30, 15.00, 17.30, 20.00, 22.30
Hope everything is okay at your end xx

Sending a reply to say that the 8pm showing would be the best since the two you you were planning on going for a meal first, Levi then turned his attention to the second message he had received.
"Tch, what the hell does she want?" He groaned, however his annoyance soon turned to surprise upon reading what she had to say for herself.

From: Hanji
To: Levi
Received: 11.50

Hey Shorty, I think I might finally be able to make some headway with finding out how old f/n was when the two of you first met!
I decided to try my luck since I had her on her own and casually mentioned reincarnation. She seems a little skeptical, but also curious, isn't that great?
I'll let you know how I get on, fingers crossed this could be the breakthrough we've been waiting for!


"Huh, not bad Four Eyes." He mused, typing in a reply. "I guess you do have your uses."
Naturally he was a little miffed that she had told him not to go rushing into raising the subject with her, only to ignore her own advice and go running in with what was sure to be an all guns blazing attitude herself. Talk about double standards.
Still, if she was feeling confident that she would be able to secure the final piece of the puzzle surrounding your past life, then he was more than willing to sit back and let her take the opportunity to try.
Putting his phone down on the table and reaching for his tea, he soon found himself distracted again, this time by the sound of the front door being opened.
"Yo, Levi!" Called a familiar male voice. "You home?"
"Coming."
Leaving the kitchen and heading into the hallway, his natural frown deepend at the sight that greeted him.
Holding the door open with one arm and supporting a very fatigued looking Kuchel with the other, Kenny took a tentative step towards him.
"Help me get her upstairs."
Nodding in response, Levi carefully draped her free arm over his shoulders and gripped her waist to keep her steady.
"L-Levi?" She asked, groggily raising her head.
"I'm here." He said softly.
Affording him a weak smile, she cautiously started to walk towards the stairs, pausing for a moment before starting the task of ascending them.
"Any requests for dinner?" Asked Kenny, carefully slipping out from underneath her arm and placing it on the banister rail, making sure she had a firm grip on it before letting go completely. "I'm not even gonna attempt cooking, since I know you'll turn your nose up at it!"
"I'm making soup." Said Levi. "It should be ready in another hour or so."
"Heh, well aren't you the domesticated little housewife?"
"Leave him alone Kenny!" Snapped Kuchel hoarsely before turning her attention to her son and softening her tone. "Thank you Levi, I look forward to having some later."
Snorting and rolling his eyes, Kenny continued to assist his sister until she reached the top of the stairs before going on ahead to open her bedroom door.
"I'll be in the living room if you need me." He said evenly, waiting until she was safely away from the edge of the staircase and heading back down.
"Right, now he's gone we can talk." Said Kuchel, pressing her free hand against the wall to support herself as she continued the short journey to her bedroom. "Is everything okay with you Levi? Your sleeping habits seem to have been all over the place this last week."
"I'm fine." He lied, stopping once they were inside and adjusting his hold on her while he switched on the oxygen machine.
"Don't you dare lie to me Levi Ackerman!" Scolded his mother, grunting in discomfort as he gently lowered her down onto the mattress, carefully lifting her legs so she could shuffle into the center of the bed. "You were asleep at your desk this morning, I had to get Kenny to place you on the bed so you wouldn't end up with a sore neck and back all day. Oh, he also knocked some of your work things onto the floor while he was moving you, I tried to put them back neatly but he took it from me and just stuffed them in any old how. Sorry about that, I hope he hasn't messed it up too much for you."
"Tch, I might've known he'd have something to do with my stuff looking like it had been raided through!" Snorted the short male, secretly relieved that he now knew how Hanji's research had come to be in such a state. Although with Kenny just stuffing it back into the file in such a crude manner, it meant that both he and his mother were unaware of what the papers actually were. "It's fine, I sorted it out when I woke up."
"Good," She nodded, affording him a small smile as he handed her the nasal cannula from the bedside table. "Although you still haven't answered my question about why you fell asleep at your desk."
"I was up late working on something for Erwin, I don't even remember falling asleep."
"I see." She frowned, putting the cannula on and adjusting her bandanna. "Well try not to make a habit of it too often."
"I'm sorry I wasn't able to come with you today, I'll leave you to get some rest and bring some soup up for you when it's ready."
"Levi."
Just as he was about to leave, the feeling of Kuchel's fingers loosely wrapping themselves around his wrist stopped him from taking another step.
Looking down at her face, he furrowed his brows upon seeing her expression.
She looked worried, her soft grey eyes narrowing slightly...almost as if she was trying to see inside his mind. It made him feel extremely uneasy, like she was about to ask an awkward question that he wasn't sure he actually knew the answer to.
"If there was something bothering you...you'd tell me, wouldn't you?"
Breath hitching slightly in his throat, Levi nodded calmly.
However deep down, her words had a much harder impact than he was willing to admit.
Kuchel had already informed him that Kenny was responsible for the state he found Hanji's research in earlier, but now he was left wondering if Kuchel had managed to catch a glimpse of what it was really about. Unfortunately, he lacked the courage to ask.
"I'm fine Mother." He replied soothingly, stepping back towards her and loosely wrapping an arm around her shoulders before placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. "Try and get some rest."
"I love you Sweetheart. Just remember that if there's ever anything bothering you...anything at all, you can always talk to me about it."
"I know, I love you too."
Sighing deeply and shaking her head as her son left the room, quietly closing the door behind him, Kuchel reached over to the bedside table and picked up her book.
"I'll always listen to you Levi...no matter what it is."

Chapter Text

With Kuchel still feeling the affects of the previous day’s chemotherapy treatment, Kenny and Levi were spending the day keeping things in the Ackerman family home ticking over.
While Kenny dealt with the financial affairs, Levi concentrated on the cleaning and cooking. 
“Yo, Levi.” Called the older male, his gaze firmly fixed on the laptop in front of him. “You sorted out your half of your mother’s medical bill yet? It’s due to be paid on Monday.”
“I already transferred the money over this morning.” He replied bluntly, following his uncle’s lead and continuing with his current task while he spoke. “It should’ve gone through by now.”
Nodding and typing away at the keyboard, Kenny sat back in his seat. 
“Yeah, I see it.”
“Good.”
A tense silence enveloped the kitchen for several minutes before either of them spoke again, however this was nothing out of the ordinary.
The two males had never been particularly close and the only thing they really had in common apart from blood, was their mutual concern for Kuchel’s wellbeing. 
Had she not fallen ill and Kenny moved back to help look after her, Levi probably wouldn’t have even bothered having contact with him.
“Here.” Said Levi, pushing a small tray containing a sandwich and a cup of coffee across the dining table. 
“Ah, thanks Runt.” Replied Kenny, looking up from his work and sparing him a small smirk.
Rolling his eyes at the less than affectionate nickname he older male had seen fit to bestow upon him, Levi picked up a second tray and exited the kitchen.
Making his way upstairs, the low hum of the oxygen machine could clearly be heard through the slightly ajar door leading to his mother’s bedroom. 
Carefully balancing the tray on one hand, he knocked on the door and waited. 
“Come in.” Came the quiet response from the other side.
“Hey, I brought you some lunch.”
“Oh, thank you Sweetheart.” Looking up from the book she was reading, Kuchel smiled and removed her nasal cannula as Levi entered the room. “I didn’t realize it was that time already.”
Placing the tray on the bedside table within easy reach, he took the nasal cannula from her and switched off the oxygen machine.
“You feeling okay?”
“Still a little queasy, but I managed to keep breakfast down so I should be okay with this.” She mused, patting the mattress to indicate that she wanted him to stay and talk to her. “So, are you all set for your date with f/n tonight?”
“I sent her a text earlier confirming everything.”
Humming in approval, the raven haired woman picked up one of the sandwiches and took a small bite, chewing it slowly before swallowing. 
“You’re going for a meal and then to see a film if I remember correctly?”
“Yeah, I’m picking her up at half past five and then we’re heading into the city.”
“Sounds lovely.” She nodded. “Well I hope the two of you enjoy yourselves.”
“There’s plenty of soup left from yesterday.” Levi continued, folding his arms. “I’ll heat it up for you before I leave.”
“I know Kenny can’t cook to save his life, but I’m sure he’s capable of warming up yesterday’s leftovers without cremating them!” Giggled Kuchel, reaching for her son’s hand and giving it a light squeeze. “Don’t worry about me, just make sure you and f/n enjoy yourselves later. Now, have you made yourself some lunch?”
“Not yet.”
“Levi!”
As expected, the smile instantly disappeared from his mother’s face and he found himself on the receiving end of the intimidating glare that she normally reserved for his uncle.
“I’ve just finished cleaning up, so I’ll get something to eat when I go back downstairs.”
“Good, make sure you do!” Finishing the first sandwich, she reached for her cup of tea. “What’s Kenny up to anyway?”
“He’s dealing with this months finances.”
“Well at least he’s making himself useful!”
Sorting in amusement, Levi pushed himself up from the bed. 
“I’ll be back up to check on you soon.”
“Alright Sweetheart.” She nodded, a smile once again gracing her pale features as he leaned down and embraced her. “Don’t let Kenny give you any trouble when you go back downstairs.”
Watching him leave, Kuchel frowned and thoughtfully sipped her tea. 
As happy as she was that Levi was still managing to live a normal life despite her illness, she couldn’t help but dwell on the strange documents she had accidentally stolen a glance of the previous morning.
She certainly wasn’t about to go snooping through his private belongings, that would just be wrong and if she got caught, Levi would never forgive her.
However she was unable to shake the image the two strangely dressed people in the photographs who seemed to bear an uncanny resemblance to her son and the woman he was now in a relationship with…

Groaning in frustration, Hanji picked up the folder containing her reincarnation research again and started to go through it for what felt like the thousandth time.
“Come on, come on!” She groaned, puppy brown eyes intently scanning each paragraph and double checking it against the page currently displayed on her computer screen before throwing it back down. “Oh god damnnit!” 
“Hanji are you okay?” Asked a worried male voice from the entrance to the living room door.
“Huh? Oh yeah, I’m fine. Sorry Moblit I just hit another dead end.”
“I see.”
Placing two cups of coffee down on the desk Hanji was currently sitting at, Moblit glanced over at the messy pile of papers to her left. Picking one up, he stared at it curiously and furrowed his brows.
After catching Flagon in Hanji’s office the previous month, he had started to notice Hanji acting strangely...which was quite an achievement in itself when it was no secret that she was more than a little eccentric. 
Having plucked up the courage to ask if there was anything he could help with after seeing how flustered she was at him having discovered an intruder in her office, Hanji had opened up to him about her reincarnation research and offered to discuss her theories with him. 
Although Moblit had no memories of a previous life, he was fascinated to discover that Hanji could recall knowing him in vivid detail and even had several pieces of evidence to show that her findings were the real deal. 
Having been drawn in by the incredible twists and turns of their shared history, he agreed to help her carry out more research and even started to build a portfolio of his own.
“Still stuck on f/n’s age when she met Mr Ackerman huh?”
“What gave it away?” She huffed, leaning back in her seat and folding her arms in a fashion that reminded Moblit of a child throwing a tantrum. “Help me out here Sweetie. I know you have no memories of the past, but surely there’s something we could’ve overlooked that may just help us unravel this mystery?”
“Sorry, I haven’t a clue. This is still relatively new to me and...”
“Ugh, come on Hanji think!” She groaned, flopping forward and loudly banging her forehead off the varnished desk. “Ouch!”
Sighing deeply at the interruption, Moblit pursed his lips.
He hated seeing the bespectacled brunette getting so worked up over such a small detail, but he knew better than to tell her to calm down and stop for breath...from what he had been told, that particular approach had never worked in their previous lives and it certainly didn’t work in this one either.
“You’re still going through the museum records right?” He inquired. “Do they have a question and answer forum for people wanting to do ancestry research? If we put her name and details into it then maybe we could see if anything turns up there.”
Sitting bolt upright in her chair, Hanji’s puppy brown eyes slowly widened. 
The cogs in her brain starting to turn, she stared off into space for a few seconds before responding.
“Moblit Berner you are an absolute genius!” She squealed, suddenly jumping out of her seat and practically throwing herself into his arms. “You’re just as smart now as you were when I knew you in the past!”
“Ah! Thanks...I think?” He stammered nervously, taking a step back to keep his balance and prevent himself from being knocked to the floor. 
Releasing him almost as quickly as she had lunged towards him, she sat herself back down and started rapidly typing away at the keyboard with a renewed hope that the information that had been evading her for the past two months, would now finally be revealed.

“What? You can’t be serious?”
“I can’t afford not to, you know we need the extra money to cover your treatment.”
“What about Levi? He’s supposed to be taking f/n out tonight remember?”
“I’m sure the runt can-OW! For fucks sake Kuchel!”
Frowning at the raised voices coming from his mother’s bedroom, Levi closed the wardrobe door and tutted. There was no way he could concentrate on finding something smart to wear later while his mother and uncle were tearing strips off one another.
Exiting his own room, he walked down the short hallway to his mother’s and entered without knocking, immediately earning the attention of its current occupants.
“Levi?” Gasped Kuchel, blinking rapidly.
“Tch, what’s going on?” He asked, directing a harsh glare towards his uncle. “I can hear you bickering through two closed doors!”
“You’re gonna need to rearrange your date with f/n.” Growled Kenny unapologetically, rubbing his right temple and glaring at his younger sister. “I’ve been called into work to cover a shift and I won’t be back until half past ten at the earliest.”
“You knew damn well, he was going out tonight!” Snarled Kuchel, coughing violently a moment later. “Couldn’t you...have said...no, just this...just this once?”
Moving to sit on the bed, Levi helped her sit up straight and rubbed her back in an effort to calm her down.
“Damnit Kuchel, take it easy!” Groaned the older male, picking up the glass of water on the bedside table and holding it out to her. “So he needs to change his plans, it’s not the end of the world!”
“You can be really selfish at times!” She retorted, taking the glass from him and slowly sipping the clear liquid it contained.
“You understand I can’t afford to turn down overtime right?” Inquired Kenny, raising an eyebrow at Levi. “If f/n’s got half a brain in her skull, she should too.”
Clicking his tongue thoughtfully, Levi continued to stare at Kuchel as she took another small sip of water before handing him the glass. 
“I’ll call her and suggest we go out another night.” He shrugged, pushing himself up to leave the room.
“Wait a minute Levi!”
Suddenly stopping when he felt his mother loosely grip his arm, he turned back to face her. 
“You could always watch a film here and order a takeaway.” She suggested, directing a sly smile towards Kenny. “I’m sure your uncle wouldn’t mind paying since he’s going to be on double time for covering a weekend shift.”
“What? Are you shitting me?”
“You owe him Kenny!” 
“Ugh, fine.” Knowing full well that this was an argument he couldn’t possibly win, he grimaced and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “What do you want?”
“I’ll have to call f/n first and find out if she’s alright with changing our plans.” Replied Levi, feeling a heavy weight settle in his stomach. 
He’d never had the misfortune to need to rearrange a date with someone before, so naturally he was worried that you would assume that he simply wanted an excuse to get out of spending time with you.
“I’ll be back in a moment.” He said evenly, lightly shrugging off Kuchel’s hand and leaving the room. 
“Let us know what she says.” Called Kuchel, slowly turning her head back to face Kenny when the door quietly closed behind him and raising an incredulous eyebrow at him. 

Retrieving his phone from the desk in his bedroom, Levi sighed and looked through the contacts until he found your number.
Pressing the “call” button, he sat down on the edge of the bed and waited, listening intently to the dial tone and mulling over how best to explain the situation.
After a few seconds, a gentle female voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Hello?”
“F/n?” Asked Levi, feeling this throat momentarily constrict. “It’s me.”
“Oh Hey Levi!” Came the cheerful reply, causing him to wince and grit his teeth. “I wasn’t expecting to hear from you until later, everything okay?”
“No. Listen, we need to change our plans for tonight.”
The brief paused that followed felt like an eternity to the raven haired male, it was all he could do to force himself to breathe when he heard the concern in your tone.
“Why what’s happened?” 
“Kenny’s been called into work and I can’t leave my mother alone, she’s still not feeling her best after yesterday.” Deciding to push on ahead before he lost his nerve, he paused to take a quick breath before continuing to explain the situation. “How would you feel about coming over to my place instead? We can watch a film and order a takeaway or some shit.”
Frowning when the first response he received was a muffled giggle, he tried to mull over why his suggestion of a compromise was supposed to be funny.
“Well I’d rather not order “some shit” if it’s all the same to you!” Came an amused snort from your end of the line. “The rest of what you said sounds pretty good though, what time shall I come over?” 
Blinking twice, Levi’s jaw dropped open. 
That had actually gone better than he had anticipated, perhaps a little too well...what if you were waiting until you saw him in person to tell him how angry you were that he had messed up all the plans the two of you had been making?
“Can you get here for around six o’clock?” He questioned, furrowing his brows and causing his frown to deepen. 
“Yeah, no problem. Hey, why don’t I bring my Labyrinth DVD for us to watch?”
“Labyrinth?” 
“I showed you the trailer for it the other day, you said it looked weird but you wouldn’t mind seeing it.”
“Alright then, so I’ll see you tonight?”
“Sure, I’ll text you when I set off.”
Ending the call, Levi stared at his phone for a moment before heading back to his mother’s bedroom to let her know of his plans for the evening. 

“Order a takeaway or some shit...oh Levi!” 
Shaking your head, you giggled and turned your attention to the chocolate brown labrador laid next to you with its head on your lap. 
“You’d think after being in a relationship with me for a month, he’d have gotten over his awkwardness.” You mused, reaching down and scratching Sasha’s left ear. 
Naturally, you were a little upset that your plans needed to be changed, but you also understood the reason why.
Medical bills for ongoing treatment, especially for something as serious as cancer were not cheap. Every penny mattered when it came down to it, sure there was help available for those who struggled, but sometimes...it just wasn’t enough.
Staring at the background picture on your phone, a soft smile tugged at your lips.
You’d recently updated it to show a photograph that Hanji had taken of you and Levi from your first date together at Trost Carnival.
The two of you were stood near the flood light next to the shooting gallery, away from the main crowd. 
Despite not smiling as Hanji had requested, Levi wasn’t glaring at her either when she had decided she wanted to get snap happy. One arm was draped around your shoulder, pulling you against him while you afforded her a small smile and clutched the teddy that he had won for you a few minutes prior to the photograph being taken.
Sighing softly, you continued to stare at the screen until it finally faded and turned black.
“Everything okay?”
“Hmm?” 
Looking around the front room, you searched for the source of the voice that had interrupted your wandering mind, eventually finding your father stood in the dividing archway that separated the main sitting room from the dining area.
“Yeah, I just had a call from Levi.” You replied, a slight twinge of sadness lacing itself into your tone. “There’s been a change of plans, we’re having a night in at his place rather than going out tonight?”
“Oh?” Inquired your father, a frown evident on his features. “Why’s that then?”
“His uncle’s had to go and do overtime at work, so he has to stay home and look after his mum.”
“Ah yes.” Nodded your father sympathetically. “I remember you saying she is currently battling cancer.”
“She had another round of chemotherapy yesterday, Levi told me it makes her really ill for a day or two after she’s had it.”
“Yes that is quite a common side effect, but hopefully in the long run, it will be worth it.”
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her.”
A moment of silence passed between you before your father broke it, clapping his hands together once and adopting a much happier attitude to signal that it was time for a change of subject.
“Right then, what time are you heading over to Levi’s?”
“I said I’d be there for around six, we’re planning on ordering a takeaway and watching Labyrinth.”
“Ah yes I remember that film.” He chuckled, folding his arms and leaning against the decorative stone that formed the archway he was currently standing under. “I took your mother to see that for our second wedding anniversary back when we still lived in Shiganshina. I had a lot of fun winding her up threatening to summon the Goblin King to take you away when you were being a grumpy little sod and keeping us awake all night because you were teething!”
“Wow Dad, that’s mean!” You laughed, sparing Sasha and glance when she grumbled and stretched out, licking her lips before settling again. “I’m surprised you live to tell the tale.”
“So am I! Anyway, what are you up to between now and half past five?”
“Well, I need to go upstairs and find my DVD, after that...not alot.”
“In that case, why don’t I make us a drink and you can help me install some new software on my computer? You know how useless I am with that damned contraption!”
“Sure Dad.” You agreed, flashing him a cheeky smile and biting back a rude comment about his lack of technological prowess. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Watching you leave the room, your father smiled and turned to look at the photograph of you and your mother in the center of the mantlepiece. 
“The two of you are so alike, I wish you were still here to outnumber me m/n.”
Sighing deeply, he turned away and walked into the kitchen area to prepare your drinks while he waited for your return. 

“Ah Levi, you’re back!” Said Kuchel, turning towards the door when it slowly swung open and the short male entered the room. “Did you manage to speak to f/n?”
“She’s fine with the change of plans.” He said evenly, leaning back against the wall and folding his arms. 
“Good.”
Slowly turning to look at Kenny, she cleared her throat and raised her eyebrows in an expectant manner, almost like a parent chastising a misbehaving child.
Tutting and cursing under his breath, Kenny reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out his wallet.
“Alright, how much do you want? Twenty quid?” 
“Make it thirty just to be on the safe side!”
“I wasn’t asking you!” He snapped, giving Kuchel a sideways glare to indicate that he didn’t appreciate her practically bullying him into parting with his money before focusing his attention on Levi again. “Well?”
“I don’t know, I never actually asked f/n what she wanted.” He admitted in a low tone, frowning and averting his gaze. “I was going to leave it until she arrived.”
“Fine here’s forty.” Remarked the older male, pulling out two twenty pound notes and holding them out to him. “Get yourselves some booze too...anything to get your mother off my back and let me have a quiet life!”
“That’s very kind of you...Brother Dearest.” Smiled Kuchel sweetly, however the sarcasm dripping from her voice was impossible to miss.
“My pleasure...Sweet Sister.” Kenny sneered back at her, putting his now considerably lighter wallet away. 
“Thanks.” Nodded Levi, although his gratitude soon disappeared when the older male roughly placed a hand on his head and ruffled his hair.
“I’m going to get changed and go to work.” He said evenly, making his way out of the room. “Try and behave while I’m gone.”
“That shouldn’t be too hard!” Called Kuchel, managing to make herself heard before the bedroom door closed behind him. “So what time is f/n coming over?”
“She’ll be here around six o’clock.”
“Okay, are you doing anything between now and then?”
“I’ve not got any plans.” Mused Levi, meeting her gaze. “Do you need anything?”
“Not really, but you could always sit and talk to me for a while.” She suggested, gently patting the mattress.
“What do you want to talk about?” He asked, pushing himself off the wall, he joined her on the bed and got comfortable.
Humming thoughtfully, Kuchel adjusted her bandanna and pursed her lips. 
The subject she truly wanted to discuss with him with strictly off limits, for now at least anyway. However if there ever came a time when Levi brought it up, she would of course willingly listen to what he had to say. 
“Why don’t you tell me about what’s been happening with work recently? You don’t mention it much and I’d really like to hear how your getting on.”
“There isn’t much to tell.” He shrugged nonchalantly. 
“Oh come on there must be something, you’re a high flying deputy manager now!”
“Tch, it’s not that exciting actually.”
Rolling her eyes and sighing, Kuchel folded her arms and shook her head. 
“Actually, there is something I want to ask you...”
“Yes?” 
Soft grey eyes widening marginally, Kuchel felt her heart rate speed up slightly. 
Steeling herself for what was sure to be a very interesting conversation, she forced herself to remain calm and patiently waited for him to continue.
“It’s f/n’s birthday in a few weeks and I have no idea what to get her, can you help me out with it at all?”
“Oh!” Struggling to hide her disappointment that it wasn’t the subject she was hoping it would be, she nodded and smiled. “Of course I will Sweetheart, what did you have in mind?”

“Aha, gotcha!”
“Did you find something?” 
“Not yet, but I’m hoping I soon will.”
Putting down the stack of papers he had been looking through, Moblit walked over to the computer desk where Hanji was sitting and curiously looked at the screen.
“So there was a forum where you can inquire about ancestral research after all?” He mused, hazel eyes curiously scanning through the various thread titles that had been posted. 
“Yep!” Giggled Hanji enthusiastically. “I’ve just posted a new question detailing what I’m looking for, now all I have to do is sit back and wait for someone to reply.”
“You do realize that might not happen right away.” Warned Moblit. “These things can take days…possibly even weeks!”
“I know, I know.” She shrugged, waving a dismissive hand at him. “Do you think I should tell Levi I’m making some progress though?”
"Wouldn't you be better waiting until you've actually gotten a response? I mean, we don't even know if anyone out there has the information we're looking for yet."
Heaving a defeated sigh, the bespectacled brunette leaned back in her seat and shook her head. 
As much as she hated to admit it, Moblit was right. 
Even after getting some possible leads that could bring about an end to this particular mystery, she would still need to check them to make sure they were legitimate...and even then, there was no reason to suggest that there were any surviving records dating back that far. 
As certain as she was from her own memories that you were around the same age now as you had been in your previous life, the risk of it backfiring was far too great and things could go either way.
You could either be too young to remember, which would indicate that your memories had not yet been awakened...or you could be the correct age, but be in the same situation as Moblit and not have any memory of your previous life whatsoever. In which case, she would need to convince you of your past life by showing you the research she had spent the past two months meticulously gathering and pray to whatever deity existed that you would believe her. 
Whichever way she looked at it, she was caught between a rock and a hard place with no escape.
"I'm sorry Hanji." He continued, resting a hand on her shoulder. "I wish I could say something more reassuring."
"No, it's fine Sweetie." She smiled weakly, reaching up and resting her hand on his. "I know it's a long shot, but we have to at least try right?"

Chapter Text

Pulling his phone out of his jeans pocket when he felt it vibrating against his leg, Levi swiped his thumb across the screen and tapped it to reveal the text message he had just received.

To: Levi
From: F/n
Received: 17.25

Hey, just leaving now. See you soon xx


“I take it that was f/n?” Inquired Kuchel, furrowing her brows and keeping her sight on the laptop screen.
“Yeah, she’s on her way.” He answered, sending a reply and putting the device back into his pocket.
After Kenny left, Levi had brought his laptop into Kuchel’s bedroom and let her take charge of looking at gift ideas for your birthday while he braided her hair.
It was nothing fancy, just a single ponytail...but it was something she had taught him as a child and he found it relaxing.
“Alright, I’m done.” He said softly, carefully placing a small band at the bottom and adjusting her bandanna to make sure it covered the bald spot near her temple.
“Nice and neat as always Sweetheart.” She smiled, gently pulling her now woven hair over her shoulder and admiring his work. “Anyway, what do you think of this for a birthday present?”
Sitting back down on the bed now his task was finished, Levi frowned at the screen.
His mother had stumbled upon a beautiful silver necklace with a birthstone pendant, a rather elegant idea in all honesty.
“I’m not sure.” He said lowly. “I’ve never really seen her wear any jewelry.”
“Well, what else can you think of that she likes?”
Folding his arms, Levi pursed his lips thoughtfully.
Having only been in a relationship with you for a month, he wasn’t entirely certain what you would be the most interested in giftwise.
He knew you enjoyed reading, mainly romance and adventure based novels. Although without getting an extremely close look at your current book collection, it would be difficult to get an idea of which authors you favoured.
“Nothing coming to mind?”
“Hmm?”
Smiling softly and shaking her head, Kuchel turned to look at him.
“Try not to worry about it too much, I’m sure we can can come up with something she’ll like.”
“I’ll ask Hanji when I see her at work on Monday.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “She knows f/n better than anyone.”
“Oh well, in that case we should have something sorted in no time.”
“Yeah.” Muttered Levi more to himself than his mother. “I hope so.”

Pulling up outside Levi’s house, you switched off the ignition and sent your father a quick text message to let him know you’d arrived safely.
Once that task was complete, your turned your attention to the item in the passenger seat and grinned. Picking it up, you got out of the car and made you way towards Levi’s house.
Knocking on the front door, you checked your phone again when it vibrated, showing that you had received a reply from your father telling you to text him when you were on your way home.
Activating the silent mode application, you slipped it back into your pocket and looked up when the door opened to reveal Levi.
“Hey.” You smiled widely.
“F/n.” He greeted, stepping aside to allow you entry.
“How’s your mum doing now?” You asked, stepping through and turning back to face him as he closed and locked the door behind you.
“Still tired and a little queasy.” He replied, gesturing for you to follow him upstairs. “Kenny won’t be back anytime soon, so you don’t need to worry about him showing his ugly face and ruining our plans twice in a row.”
“As charming as ever Levi!”
Reaching the top of the stairs, he led you to Kuchel’s bedroom and entered without knocking.
“F/n’s here.”
Stepping into the bedroom, you looked to your right and found the raven haired woman sat on the bed.
“Hi Kuchel.” You smiled, earning her immediate attention. “How did things go yesterday?”
You couldn’t help but notice was that she appeared very pale and tired in comparison to the when the two of you had first met, you certainly couldn’t blame Levi for not being willing to go out and leave her alone for the night.
“Oh the same as always.” She shrugged, a small smile tugging at her lips as she patted the mattress, encouraging the two of you to sit down. “I’m so sorry my brother ruined your plans Dear.”
“It’s fine, we can always go out another time.” Said Levi bluntly, glancing down at the object you were currently clutching, a move that did not go unnoticed by his mother.
“So what are you two going to be watching tonight?” She inquired, nodding at your right hand.
“Labyrinth.” You answered, sitting down and showing her the DVD case. “It was my mum’s favourite film.”
“Ah yes, I remember seeing that when it was first released.” Taking it from you, she studied display picture that formed the front cover. “It has that rock singer David Bowie in it playing the Goblin King...oh, what was his name? Jarrod? No, that doesn’t sound right.”
“Jareth.”
“That’s the one.”
“My favourite character is Sir Didymus.” You giggled as she handed to case to Levi so he could have a look. “My mum actually had an ornament of him riding Ambrosius that I kept in my room after she died. Unfortunately when Dad and I moved here from Shiganshina, it got broken and we were never able to find a replacement.”
“Oh that’s a shame.” Said Kuchel sympathetically, however listening to you explain your childhood memory was giving her an idea that she would follow up later while you and her son were enjoying your date night.
“Yeah, I loved it...my dad said I cried for weeks after we unpacked and found out the removal men had ignored the “handle with care” warning on the box.”
“Well, it’s understandable really. It belonged to your mother, the sentimental value of it would’ve been quite high I imagine.”
“So are all the characters puppets or what?” Inquired Levi, finally joining in the conversation.
“Most of them are, you’ll easily be able to tell which they are when we watch it.”
“Alright...so what are we ordering?”
“How about pizza?” You suggested. “Pizza and films are always a good combination.”
“Well, Kenny left you plenty of money so get whatever the two of you want. Although…”
Both you and Levi turned to look at Kuchel with concern evident on your features when she paused to take a breath before continuing. “Did you drive here f/n?”
“Yeah, I did. Why?”
“I’m not sure his earlier suggestion of treating yourselves to some alcohol is a good idea then, the last thing we want is you not being able to get home safely. I do believe I have a bottle of alcohol free wine in the cupboard downstairs. You can help yourselves to some of that if you like.”
“Tch, I’m starting to think this sounds better than us actually going out!” Snorted Levi, folding his arms.
“Well in that case, decide on what you two are ordering and then as soon as it arrives, you can go downstairs and enjoy yourselves.” Said Kuchel firmly. “I’ll be alright up here, I’ve got my book and your laptop to keep my occupied.”
“Fine, but make sure you shout me if you need anything.” Stated the raven haired male, focusing on her with an intense stare that let her know he wasn’t prepared to leave her completely unattended.
“I’ll be fine Levi.” She tutted, passing him the laptop. “Now hurry up and get your food ordered so the two of you can actually have your date night before Kenny gets home!”
Stifling a giggle at the current exchange taking place between mother and son, you remained otherwise silent as you admired the caring nature of the man you once thought to be intimidating and completely unapproachable.

With the pizza ordered, Levi left you upstairs to talk with Kuchel while he went downstairs to make something for her to drink and find the alcohol free wine she had mentioned earlier.
Tutting and searching the cupboards, he eventually found it tucked away in a corner behind some mixing bowls, most likely hidden there on purpose so Kenny wouldn’t find it.
Checking to make sure it was indeed the drink of choice Kuchel had mentioned, he retrieved two glasses and together with the wine, took them into the front room and placed them on the coffee table along with your DVD.
Returning to the kitchen, he picked up the cup of tea from the worktop and made his way back upstairs.
The pizza wasn’t due to arrive for another fifteen minutes, so he had plenty of time to make sure Kuchel was comfortable before you and he retreated downstairs for the evening.
Reaching the top of the stairs, a surprised giggle broke him out of his internal musings and caused him to halt in his tracks.
Raising a curious eyebrow, he cocked his head to one side and stared straight ahead at Kuchel’s ajar bedroom door.
“Aww, how old was he there?”
“About ten years old, such an adorable little boy wasn’t he?”
Blinking rapidly, he started walking again and pushed the door open fully, turning to his right and widening his cold grey eyes in horror when he realized what was going on.
At first, he’d not believed Hanji when she tauntingly told him that as soon as their children started dating, all mothers would at some point get out the family photo album and show off pictures of them in their younger days.
Unfortunately he was now realizing that this wasn’t simply a case of the bespectacled brunette running her mouth in an attempt to wind him up, she had actually been telling the truth and he was now witnessing it first hand!
“What’s going on?” Asked Levi, causing both you and Kuchel to immediately look around and face him.
“Oh nothing much.” Shrugged his mother nonchalantly, despiste the devilish smile she displayed when their eyes met. “Just showing f/n a few pictures of you as a child to prove to her that you’re actually capable of smiling once in a while!”
Covering your mouth with your right hand, you involuntarily snorted into your palm in an unsuccessful attempt at stifling your laughter.
Thankfully, your father hadn’t dared to show Levi any pictures of you as a child for fear of you never helping him out with anything technology related again...a hollow threat on your part of course, but it had done the trick.
“Um, I have actually seen Levi smile before.” You giggled, lowering your hand.
"Well, I’m glad one of us has seen him with something other than a frown plastered on his face recently!”
“Tch, I brought you some tea.” He muttered, placing it down on the bedside table for her and taking a seat next to you, raising an unamused eyebrow when you tightly pressed your trembling lips together in an effort not to laugh at him.
“Thank you Sweetheart.” Nodded Kuchel. “Could you do one more thing for me?”
“What?”
“Smile for me.”
Unable to stop yourself, you turned away and started giggling into your hand again.
As much as you felt sorry for Levi having Kuchel embarrass him, you couldn’t help but imagine the roles being reversed had your own mother still been around. Of course, you wouldn’t have found it anywhere near as amusing if the shoe was on the other foot, but a part of you couldn’t help wondering what his reaction might have been to your mother showing him pictures of you as a child.
“Tch, seriously?” Scoffed Levi, folding his arms. “Have you been secretly drinking Kenny’s whiskey?”
"Don’t get sassy with me young man!” She retorted. “I know things have been hard on you recently with my cancer spreading and the increase in medical bills, but it actually upsets me that I can’t remember the last time I saw you so much as smirk.”
Immediately ceasing your laughter, you cleared your throat and turned your attention to the raven haired male, staring at him with an almost pleading expression that you hoped would at least encourage him to indulge her. Surely he wouldn’t deny her this one small request?
“Fine.” He grunted, allowing her a brief...if not somewhat forced smile.
“Now was that so hard?” She questioned, raising a hand and gently resting it against his cheek.
Before he could answer, the sound of someone knocking on the front door interrupted the somewhat awkward conversation...much to Levi’s relief.
“That’s probably your pizza.” Said Kuchel, retracting her hand. “Go on downstairs and enjoy your date, I’ll shout if I need anything.”
"Alright, make sure you do.” Replied Levi firmly, glancing over at you and motioning for you to accompany him.
“I’ll continue showing you more pictures of him as a child the next time you come round.” Whispered the raven haired woman, closing the photo album and placing it back into the bedside drawer.
“I look forward to it.” You nodded, following Levi out of the room.
“Have fun you two!”
Staring at the ajar door, Kuchel sighed and reached back over her shoulder, pulling the neat braid into view.
Gently running her thumb over it, she glanced back towards the bedroom door for a moment before retrieving the laptop from the foot of the bed and narrowing her eyes thoughtfully as she opened a new browser window…

While Levi paid for the pizza, you made your way into the front room and set up the DVD before pouring you a glass of wine each and moving to sit on the sofa.
“Hey, Levi?”
“What?”
Nervously biting your lower lip and dragging it back between your teeth, you cocked your head to one side as you spoke again.
“You’re not mad at your mum for showing me what you were like as a kid are you?”
Placing the large pizza box down on the coffee table, the raven haired male’s brows furrowed slightly before he gave you his answer.
“Tch, you're seriously asking me that?”
“I know what she did was embarrassing, but it’s every parent’s prerogative to break out the baby pictures at some point.”
“You sound like Shitty Glasses.”
“Okay, that actually hurt!” You gasped, e/c eyes widening in shock. “Look, I’m sorry I laughed okay?”
Groaning and pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, Levi sat down on the sofa next to you.
“Hanji was winding me up about this a couple of weeks ago, I just...didn’t expect it to actually happen.” He muttered lowly, refusing to look at you. “I guess I should just be grateful Kenny didn’t beat her to it.”
“I dread to think how it would’ve gone down if he had!” You grimaced, reaching for one of the wine glasses and offering it to him. “Although I imagine it would go something like…“Here’s the runt when he was a few months old, noisy little shit wouldn’t shut up screaming so I gave him some booze to put him to sleep.” Does that sound about right?”
“Heh, not bad.” Allowing himself an amused snort, Levi accepted the wine glass and finally turned to look at you. “Although you missed out the part where my mother would’ve hit him for calling me a “runt” and tried to glare him into an early grave afterwards!”
“She isn’t wrong though.” You continued, picking up the other glass. “You were pretty adorable as a kid!”
“Shut up!”
Reaching out with his free hand, Levi flicked your forehead before reaching for the remote control to start the DVD.
“Hey, that was a compliment!”
“Are we watching this or not?”
Shaking your head in dismay, you sighed deeply.
As much as you wanted to make him see that there was no shame in what Kuchel had done, you realized it was probably best to drop the subject and just enjoy your evening together.
“Yeah sure, ready when you are.”
“Tch, just for the record.” Mumbled Levi, pressing the play button and leaning forward to open the pizza box. “I’m sure you were cute when you were a kid.”
Smiling and shaking your head, you leaned in and quickly kissed his cheek before helping yourself to the first slice of pizza.
“Maybe I’ll consider letting my dad show you our family photo album some time so you can see for yourself, I guess it would only be fair since I’ve seen yours.”
“Alright then.” Agreed Levi, slowly sipping his wine as the DVD player hummed to life. “I’ll hold you to that.”

Despite assuring Levi that she would shout for him if she needed anything, Kuchel eventually decided that she would rather try and make her own way downstairs to get another drink.
In all honesty, she wasn’t feeling queasy anymore and she was certain that if she just took her time and didn’t rush herself, there would be no need to disturb her son. In fact, she felt confident that she could quietly make her way downstairs to the kitchen for a glass of water and head back upstairs before Levi even noticed her presence.
Carefully moving the laptop onto the mattress, she slowly climbed out of the bed and adjusted her clothes before making her way out of the room.
Tightly gripping both bannister rails, she cautiously moved down the stairs, stopping halfway to catch her breath and risking a glance into the living room.
Much to her relief, you and Levi were still watching the film and talking quietly.
Satisfied that the two of you remained oblivious to her movements, she continued down the stairs and crept past the door towards the kitchen.
Pausing momentarily once she was past the living room, she craned her neck slightly to make sure she hadn't been caught. Despite not being able to hear your conversation, she smiled softly when she witnessed you snuggle further into Levi and rest your head on his shoulder.
Nodding and raising her head proudly when Levi wrapped an arm around you and rested his head against yours, she retreated to the kitchen out of the way.

"So let me get this straight." Said Levi, his brows furrowing in confusion. "That Sir Didymus character you like is a fox that actually rides around on a dog?"
"Yeah." You giggled. "It's a fantasy film Levi, it's not supposed to make sense!"
"Tch, I still think Jareth is like a blonde version of Kenny!"
"Are you seriously comparing your uncle to the king of the goblins?"
"Fair point, Kenny likes to think he is a king...when in actual fact he's just an oversized goblin!"
"I dare you to say that to his face!"
"You think I won't?" Questioned the raven haired male, raising an incredulous eyebrow. "He's called me a "runt" enough times over the years, maybe it's time the tables were turned."
"Yeah, that's a fair point actually." You hummed, sipping the last of your wine and placing the empty glass down on the coffee table.
Watching you closely as you leaned back on the sofa and turned to face him again, Levi's eyes narrowed slightly.
"What is it?" You asked, cocking your head to one side. "Do I have sauce on my face that I forgot to wipe off?"
"No." He answered abruptly, turning away and focusing his attention on the film again.
"So what is it then?"
"You...you just look good with your hair down." He muttered, refusing to meet your gaze as a blush rapidly rose on his cheeks. "It suits you."
"Thanks." You smiled, shuffling closer to him and resting your head on his shoulder. "Oh and for the record, stop getting awkward when I catch you staring at me. I'm your girlfriend after all, I'm not gonna freak out and call you a stalker for it!"
"Tch, duly noted."
Resting his head against yours he sighed and frowned at the lie he had just told.
Technically it wasn't a complete falsehood, he did like the way you looked with your hair down...however that wasn't the reason he had been staring at you.
The truth of the matter was that the more time he spent around you, the stronger his feelings became as more memories of the past revealed themselves, meaning that the urge to question whether you believed in reincarnation and reuniting with a lost soulmate intensified.
'Damnit Hanji!' He mused internally, wrapping an arm around you and drawing you in closer. 'Hurry up and find out how old she was when we first met in our previous life!'

Having gotten herself a cup of hot chocolate, Kuchel sat at the kitchen table to drink it while steeling herself for getting back upstairs to her room without disturbing her son.
The ascent was always much worse than the descent considering how much extra effort it required on a normal day, so it was to be expected that doing such a simple task for two to three days after the intensive chemotherapy without assistance was next to impossible...however she was determined that under no circumstances was Levi to have his plans ruined twice in one day.
She knew full well she was risking bother her son and brother's wrath by trying to act independently, but she didn't care. She missed the days when she didn't need to rely on them to care for her, even feeling angry at times that life had seen fit to deal her such a cruel hand and cause her to become paranoid that she was a burden to them.
Sighing deeply and downing the last dregs of her drink, she cautiously moved towards the sink to rinse her cup before attempting to return to her bedroom.
Quietly making her way through the hall, she stopped at the living room door, peeking around to make sure that you and Levi were still focused on the film.
Leaning against the wall, she briefly glanced at the television to catch one of her favourite scenes commencing; the masquerade ball hallucination.
"So the curse he used wasn't intended to kill her then?"
Body going rigid, she turned her attention to the sofa, quick to notice that you and Levi had barely moved in the time she had been in the kitchen.
"Nope, just put her in a trance so he can mess with her mind."
"I see."
"I love this song, it's actually the actor playing Jareth that sings it."
"Really?"
"Yeah, he also sings the opening song too."
"Huh, no wonder his voice sounded familiar."
Shaking her head and smiling softly, Kuchel sighed gently as she watched the two of them, oblivious to the audible rattling coming from the front door when a key was placed in the lock and it swung open a few seconds later...

Furrowing his brows when the screen dissolved to black and a large crystal orb floated into view, Levi cocked his head to one side as the next scene started to unfold, revealing what could only be described as something that resembled a kind of fancy party.
Masked dancers and gentle music played over the images. He had an idea of what was supposed to be taking place, however he still wanted you to confirm it for him.
"Hey, didn't that Goblin thing just kill the main character by giving her that poisoned fruit from Jareth?"
"Oh she's not dead." You mused, craning your neck to look up at him while still keeping your head on his shoulder. "You're just supposed to believe that he wants to end her life because he's the villain."
"So the curse he used wasn't intended to kill her?"
"Nope, just put her in a trance so he can mess with her mind."
"I see." Mused Levi, turning his attention back to the film and continuing to gently run his fingers through your hair, absent mindedly curling a few loose strands around his fingers before releasing it and letting it fall back against the side of your head.
"I love this song." You continued, snuggling further into him. "It's actually the actor playing Jareth that sings it."
"Really?"
"Yeah, he sings the opening song too."
"Huh, no wonder his voice sounds familiar."
"So what do you think of this film then?"
Clicking his tongue, Levi shrugged before replying.
"It's interesting...weird but interesting."
"Yeah, that's mostly the general opinion. It was actually a pretty hard flop back when it was first released, didn't actually become popular until much later on."
Looking up again as your train of thought trailed off, you soon came to realize that Levi was once again staring at you...however it wasn't the usual harsh glare he directed at the world around him.
Perhaps it was because he cared about you that his eyes always seemed softer to you, his natural frown not as severe and his manner of speaking a little more unsure than the disinterested attitude he seemed to use around everyone else he wasn't particularly close to.
Affording him a tender smile, you sat up slightly and leaned into him, gently brushing your lips against his in a brief kiss before pulling back to study his reaction.
Narrowing his eyes slightly, the raven haired male slowly placed his hand on the back of your neck and drew you back to him, moving his free hand to rest on your hip as your mouths met and he took control of the passionate embrace.
Humming approvingly, you reached up and gently cupped his face, tracing a thumb over his cheek and melting into his arms...that was until a sudden interruption in the form of the front door being loudly closed and a male voice booming through the hallway made itself heard...
"Oi Kuchel, what are you doing out of bed?"
Immediately breaking apart, you and Levi turned towards the living room door.
Sure enough, there was Kuchel leaning against the door frame with one hand raised to her chest; evidently in shock from Kenny entering the house if her flustered expression was anything to go by.
"You scared the shit out of me you bastard!" She gasped, struggling to catch her breath. "What the...hell...is wrong with...you?"
Loud footsteps echoed off the laminate wood flooring as Kenny finally came into view and stopped in the doorway, turning his attention to you and Levi.
"When did you come downstairs?" He asked, staring down at her and folding his arms.
"That's what I want to know." Said Levi in a tone that suggested he was not happy with the current situation, a fact all the more emphasised with the raised eyebrow he directed at his mother.
"About half an hour ago." Sighed Kuchel, lowering her hand when she was finally able to breathe steadily again. "I'm fine honestly."
"You should've shouted me, I'd have come up to get you whatever you needed."
"I didn't want to disturb you and f/n." She smiled guiltily, before turning an angry glare onto her brother. "I was actually just on my way back upstairs before you came in and tried to give me a heart attack! You're not supposed to be home for another hour!"
"They let me go early." Scoffed Kenny, narrowing his cold grey eyes and cocking his head to one side. "Also, I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be spying on those two while they're in the middle of a date!"
Opening her mouth to retort, Kuchel's words died on her lips when she came to realize he was right. Settling for continuing to try and glare in him into an early grave, she pushed herself off the door frame and started to walk towards the stairs.
"Tch. Give me a moment, I'll take you back up." Said Levi, reaching for the remote control so he could pause the DVD.
"I'll do it." Said Kenny in a bored tone, unfolding his arms and stepping to the side as his younger sister brushed past him. "You two finish your date night."
After watching the two siblings slowly ascend the stairs, Kenny walking slightly behind Kuchel to make sure she didn't fall backwards, you turned your attention back to Levi.
"Are you okay?"
Huffing in annoyance, Levi nodded and stared ahead at the television screen.
"How the hell did she manage to sneak down without either of us hearing her?"
"No idea."
Leaning back on the sofa, you frowned and averted your gaze.
You couldn't help but feel slightly guilty that she had managed to sneak past the pair of you undetected, while it was kind of her not to want to disturb your date, you couldn't help but worry about what could've happened.
"Hey, you don't mind me rewinding this to the start of the masquerade ball do you?"
Turning to face Levi, you forced a smile onto your lips and shook your head.
"No, of course not."
"Okay."
"Will your mum be alright?"
Levi nodded and pressed the rewind button, placing his free arm around your shoulders and bringing you in close once more.
"Yeah, Kenny will keep an eye on her."
"Good."
"Although she'll probably give him Hell for sneaking in and scaring the shit out of her."
Feeling a little more at ease, you allowed yourself a small giggle and rested your head on his chest.
Wrapping your free arm around his torso and sighing contently when he placed a brief kiss to your forehead, the two of you continued to enjoy what was left of your date night.

As the evening reached its conclusion, Levi retrieved your DVD and handed it back to you before walking you to the front door.
"You know, you could borrow this for a while if you want." You offered, holding the case out to him. "Your mum mentioned she liked it, so it might give her something to do."
"Thanks." He nodded, taking it from you. "I'm sure she'd appreciate that."
"Tonight wasn't so bad was it?" You mused, adjusting your hoodie and reaching into your jeans pocket for your phone. "I mean, apart from your mum and Kenny's little argument."
"I enjoyed it." Said Levi evenly, looking into your eyes. "Our date I mean."
"I know what you meant."
Stepping forward, you wrapped your arms around the raven haired males neck and rested your head on his shoulder, closing your eyes and smiling when you felt him rest his hands on the small of your back.
"I'll text you when I get home."
"Okay."
Sharing one last brief, but loving kiss, Levi opened the front door and watched you make your way to your car.
Stopping at the vehicle, you sent your father a text message to let him know you were on your way home before turning back and flashing Levi one last smile.
Waiting until you had gotten into the car and driven away, he then closed and locked the front door.
"Oi, your mother wants a word with you."
Turning to look behind him, the shorter male raised an eyebrow when he saw Kenny descending the stairs.
"Alright, I'm on my way."
Acknowledging him with a grunt, Kenny brushed past him and headed towards the kitchen...most likely seeking out something alcoholic to drink before turning in for the night, not that it mattered to Levi, he had other things he wanted to deal with.
Heading up the stairs, he made his way to Kuchel's bedroom and knocked on the door.
The loud hum of the oxygen machine almost drowned out her call, however it was still audible enough for him to hear that he was being granted entry.
"Come in."
Stepping into the room, he immediately turned a rather unimpressed glare onto his mother when she smiled up at him like nothing had happened.
"How was your date night?"
"Kenny said you wanted to talk to me."
"I take it you're still mad about earlier?" She questioned, leaning back onto the soft plump pillows and resting her hands in her lap when she didn't receive an answer to her question.
"You said you would shout if you needed anything." He said lowly. "F/n wouldn't have minded pausing the film."
Sighing deeply, Kuchel shook her head and closed her eyes.
"Look Levi, I felt bad for you needing to change your plans and in the end...I wasn't prepared to disturb you."
"Something could've happened to you."
"I was careful!" She replied with an irritated edge to her tone. "Besides I'm feeling a lot better now."
"That's not the point."
"Excuse me Levi Ackerman." Her voice becoming much sterner, Kuchel pointed an accusing finger at him to emphasize her next words. "I'm the parent here, not you. Don't treat me like a child, I get enough of that from Kenny!"
Rolling his eyes and deciding it was probably for the best if he kept his current feelings to himself, the short male took a seat on the mattress next to her and changed the subject before things got too heated. The last thing he wanted to do was stress her out.
"So, what did you want to speak to me about?"
"This." Reaching for the laptop, Kuchel opened the browser tab and turned the device towards her son. "I managed to find it on a vintage merchandise site and thought it would be the perfect birthday gift for f/n."
Staring at the image on the screen, Levi pursed his lips and nodded.
"Yeah, I think she'll like it."
"Good, now answer my question while I fill out the order details."
"Tch, what question?"
"How was your date night with f/n!" Stated Kuchel, keeping her gaze fixed on the screen and shaking her head in dismay as her nimble fingers danced over the keyboard. "Levi, were you not listening to me?"
"Of course I was." He scoffed. "It was fine. I've just seen her out and she's going to text me when she's home."
"Good, I'm glad." She nodded, handing him the laptop when she was finished. "That's all sorted for you, call it my way of making up for worrying you. Just pay me back when you get paid again, alright?"
"Yeah, thanks." He replied, taking the device from her and standing up. "I'll leave you to get some sleep."
"Make sure you try and get some rest too, you look quite tired."
"I'll be fine." He shrugged, closing the laptop and tucking it under one arm.
"I love you Sweetheart."
"I love you too."
Leaning down and embracing her for a moment, he placed a gently kiss on her forehead before leaving the room.
Watching the door quietly close behind him, Kuchel smiled sadly and adjusted her nasal cannula.
Reaching for the bedside drawer, she pulled it open and retrieved a white envelope from inside.
Removing the single white sheet of printed paper it contained, she unfolded it and frowned upon reading it. Gritting her teeth and clenching her fists, causing the pristine paper to become crumpled in her grasp, she hastily uncurled her fingers and returned it to the envelope, placing it back in the drawer and firmly closing it a moment later.
Shaking her head, she shuffled further down the bed and got comfortable, closing her eyes and pulling the thin sheet up to her chest.
Levi had every right to be mad with her and she didn't blame him for feeling the way he did, however she was still his mother at the end of the day and she still expected to be treated as such.
Being ill didn't make her any less of a parent, even if it was currently him taking care of her...

Chapter Text

Sighing deeply as she checked her phone and picked up her car keys, Hanji frowned at the lack of new messages in her email inbox.
Cursing lowly, she shoved the device into her trouser pocket and reached for her coffee cup, downing the last few dregs before retrieving her laptop case from the marble surface of the breakfast bar.
It had been just over a week since she decided to branch out her reincarnation investigation to an ancestry finder website she found posted on Trost City Museum’s public forums, however little progress had been made.
A few helpful users had mentioned accessing the city library’s collection of historical census documents, although she highly doubted they would cover the specific time period she was looking for.
Another, more promising suggestion pointed her in the direction of the old military base ruins that were located a few miles north of the city, an old castle that was being carefully restored and had recently been given a heritage status, which now served as a hotspot for historians and tourists.
The respondent had even been kind enough to upload pictures from their last visit, showing some of the private quarters, stableyard and mess hall.
Naturally she had sent copies of this new information to Levi and received almost three pages of past memories back in response, most likely triggered by the photographs.
However it was all for naught and there were still no clues that could finally unravel the mystery of your current age corresponding with your age from the past.
Checking the front pocket of her laptop bag as she left the apartment, Hanji frowned upon seeing the plain labelless folder safely tucked away inside.
Shaking her head in dismay, she locked the door and made her way downstairs to the car park, wondering just how much longer she was going to have to keep banging her head against this immovable brick wall before it finally started to crack.

“I’m off to work.” Said Levi, retrieving his jacket from the back of his chair and putting it on.
“Alright Sweetheart.” Smiled Kuchel, turning her full attention to him.
“Don’t work too hard.” Muttered Kenny, the snide smirk on his lips hidden behind his coffee cup when the shorter male afforded him a distasteful frown.
“Oh don’t worry, I have plans for you!” Snorted Kuchel, sparing him a split second glance before standing up and approaching Levi.
“Hmph!”
“Have a good day Sweetheart.” She said softly, wrapping her arms around Levi’s shoulders and drawing him into a brief embrace. “I’ll see you when you come home.”
“Make sure you don’t strain yourself today.”
“That depends on your mother.” Shrugged Kenny, placing his now empty cup down on the table.
“I wasn’t talking to you!”
Shaking her head and biting back a giggle, Kuchel released her son and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek.
“Get going, you don’t want to be late. I’ll be fine, I promise.”
Watching him leave the room, her smile slowly faded to be replaced by a worried frown...an expression which became much deeper and more foreboding when Kenny finally spoke his mind after Levi was out of the house.
“You shouldn’t make promises you might not be able to keep.”
“Don’t start, I’m not in the mood.”
Sitting back down rather heavily, the raven haired woman drew a shaky breath and reached for her cup of tea.
“When are the test results due?” Sighed Kenny, softening his tone slightly.
“Any day now.” Replied Kuchel evenly, slowly tracing her index finger around the rim of her cup.
“Have you decided what you’re going to do if it’s bad news?”
Halting her movements, she closed her eyes and winced.
As much as she wanted to look on the positive side of things and believe that everything she was putting herself would be worth it, there was always a risk that it could be the complete opposite of what she wanted to hear.
“Yes, I have.” Opening her eyes, she fixed her older brother with an intense stare. “If the worst comes to pass, you are to respect my wishes...regardless of whether you agree with them or not.”
Shrugging nonchalantly, Kenny exhaled deeply and leaned back in his seat, purposefully keeping his gaze from meeting his sister’s.
Folding his arms, he clicked his tongue before rolling his eyes and answering with a single nod of his head.
“Thank you. I know this isn’t easy on you and I don’t always show it, but I appreciate you being around for me.”
Pushing his chair back, Kenny stood up from the table and slowly walked around to where she was sitting, gently resting a hand on her shoulder as he passed by.
“Yeah, I know.” He muttered, leaving the kitchen and heading upstairs. “Just remember it’s me who has to deal with the fallout if we don’t get the outcome we want and shit goes south.”

Arriving at work early so he could get started on writing up some brief notes for his planned team meeting, Flagon Turret sat back in his seat and folded his arms, glaring at the lines of text on the computer monitor.
Satisfied that he had covered everything, he pressed the “print” button and made his way over to the printing station to retrieve his paperwork.
Leaning against the wall and looking out of the window onto the car park below, he narrowed his hazel eyes distastefully upon catching sight of three members of staff; two women and one man, stopping to greet each other before walking towards the building.
Taking the hand of the slightly younger woman, the man hastily set off at a brisk pace, forcing her to almost jog to keep up with him, however they were hotly pursued by the other woman waving an arm and most likely trying to get them to slow down.
She seemed to be shouting something, although Flagon couldn’t quite make out what it was thanks to the sound being muffled by the fact he was two stories up and all the buildings windows were double glazed.
Eventually, the three of them disappeared under the shelter that covered the entrance to the building, causing Flagon to finally turn his attention back to the printer as it hummed to life.
It had been just over a month since the blonde team manager had been caught in Director Hanji’s office and accidentally come across something extremely interesting...her reincarnation research.
Undeterred by the fact she had issued a formal written warning for his indiscretion, he had proceeded to conduct his own investigation into her findings and come up with some rather interesting results.
Raising an eyebrow when the first sheet of paper emerged from the printer and landed in the tray, he reached for it and checked it over.
Eventually he was disturbed by the sound of the door leading into the client consultant area being opened as the three workers he had previously seen crossing the car park, now walked through them into the main floor space.
Discreetly watching them while appearing to check through his notes, a low growl resonated in the pit of Flagon’s throat when they passed by him, completely oblivious to his presence.
Keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the younger woman, he slowly curled his right hand into a fist, crumpling the paper in his grasp when she looked at her male companion and smiled warmly.
It made Flagon feel sick to see her showing him such affection, a feeling which soon intensified to causing bile to rise in his throat when she leaned in and placed a quick kiss on his lips before releasing his hand and moving to sit at her work station.
Waiting until the man and other woman had walked away towards the deputy management offices, Flagon turned his attention back to the printer and retrieved the rest of his work, cursing inwardly when he noticed that he had almost torn the document he currently held in his moment of anger.
Seeing the double doors at the other end of the work area slowly close, he once again focused on the young woman and cocked his head to one side.
With her two supposed bodyguards now out of the way, he was free to approach her and test out a little theory he had been mulling over for the past month…

Watching Hanji and Levi leave the client consultant’s work area, you carefully pulled your chair up to your desk and started up your computer, briefly shifting your focus to the double doors leading to the staircase when they opened.
Seeing Nickolas and Luke walk towards their workstations, you afforded them a quick “Morning guys!” before you suddenly became aware that someone else was approaching you…
Swallowing hard, the hairs on the back of your neck bristled and you slowly spun your chair around to look behind you as a certain blonde team manager you made every attempt to avoid, decided to approach you.
“Shit, what does he want?” You muttered, forcing a fake smile onto your face as he moved to stand in front of your workstation and stared down at you.
“Good Morning F/n.” He greeted formally, his voice emotionless and even, giving little away as to what his intentions were.
“Hello Flagon.” You answered neutrally, wondering why after a month of keeping his distance, he was now trying to initiate a conversation with you.
“I hear you and your team surpassed your targets last month, congratulations.”
“Thanks.”
Keeping the fake smile firmly in place, your brain desperately scrambled to think why he was suddenly making an attempt to be nice to you...normally it seemed like he couldn’t stand the sight of you...or at least, the sight of you with a certain raven haired deputy manager…
“Listen f/n.” Said Flagon gently, placing his hands on the wooden surface of your workstation and leaning in close. “I know you’re not my biggest fan…”
“Understatement of the century!” You snickered, e/c eyes widening in horror as you slammed your hands over your mouth.
“Hmph, clearly being involved with that midget has rubbed off on you. Not a good thing I might add, but that’s not really any of my business.”
“Yeah...well.” Clearing your throat and flinching under his intimidating glare, you averted your gaze and mentally slapped yourself for allowing your thoughts to voice themselves unchecked. “I’m sorry for voicing that opinion out loud. Although with all due respect, if you were a little nicer to people, maybe they would have a higher opinion of you.”
Pursing his lips, Flagon remained silent.
‘Shit f/n, shut up!’
Swallowing hard, you forced yourself to keep your gaze focused on him, no way in hell were you prepared to show him any sign of weakness after your prior bold display.
“Anyway as I was saying, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you?”
“Bad news?” You repeated, furrowing your brows. “What do you mean?”
Putting on a false display of anguish, the blonde manager sighed heavily and shook his head.
“Please don’t think of this as an act of a jealous man, but I heard Hanji and Levi talking about you last week...and I’m afraid to say it wasn’t something positive.”
Blinking twice, you cocked your head to one side and frowned.
Taking your silence as an invitation to continue, it took every ounce of willpower Flagon possessed not to smile as he delivered his next words.
“Levi isn’t who you think he is f/n. The whole reason Hanji set the two of you up is because you remind him of someone he was in a relationship with a long time ago...someone who unfortunately died just before they were due to get married.”
“Fuck off Flagon!” You laughed, this time not regretting your inappropriate choice of phrase. “You seriously expect me to believe that bullshit?”
Gritting his teeth, Flagon straightened himself and placed his free hand on his hip.
“Alright then you smart ass little bitch!” He snarled, all niceties instantly disappearing as he reverted back to his usual arrogant self. “If you’re so convinced I’m lying, why don’t you ask him about it yourself?”
“Oh don’t worry, I will!” You scoffed confidently, leaning back in your seat and flashing him a cocky smirk. “You really shouldn’t have opened with that line about dismissing this as the “act of a jealous man” because that’s exactly what you are!”
Breath catching in his throat, the surprised expression that momentarily passed over Flagon’s features soon vanished when the sound of footsteps running across the carpet diverted his attention away from you.
“Hey f/n, are you okay?” Asked Nickolas, stopping at the side of your workstation and flicking his gaze between you and Flagon.
“Is this ugly beast harassing you?” Inquired Luke, fixing the blonde manager with an icy glare.
“It’s okay guys.” You smiled, remaining calm and keeping your gaze firmly locked on Flagon. “He was just leaving.”
Trembling lips parting to reveal his teeth, the irritated male huffed and turned on his heels, walking back to his workstation without another word.
“Damn f/n, when the hell did you get so sassy?” Laughed Luke, folding his arms across his chest and raising his eyebrows, clearly impressed by your little display.
“You do realize he can report your behaviour to Nanaba?” Said Nickolas sternly, serving you a stark reminder that you had technically just back chatted a senior worker.
“I know.” You faltered. “Seriously though, considering he came over here and started running his mouth at me, I think she’d understand why I acted the way I did.”
“Yeah, well just be careful.” He warned. “The last thing you want is a formal written warning for your conduct towards other staff members.”
“I know.” You nodded. “Thanks for your concern.”
“Wait until Ilse hears about this!” Chuckled Luke. “You’re gonna be the hot topic of conversation during morning break!”
“Gossip queen!” You giggled, shaking your head and turning back towards your computer
“Future Mrs Ackerman!” Luke retorted, tossing his head back and walking away, failing to miss the smile suddenly fall from your face.
Inhaling shakily, an overwhelming sense of discomfort enveloped you, almost like someone wrapping you up in a thick blanket and attempting to smother you.
As much as you didn’t want to believe what Flagon had told you about Levi, thanks to Luke’s casual comment about how you reminded him of the short male with your recent display of attitude, you now couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps you should indeed question him about what you had been told…

Reaching his office, Levi unlocked the door and entered the room, closely followed by Hanji.
“Well?” He asked bluntly, putting his laptop down beside the desk and starting up his computer so he could start going through the documents he would need for the meeting he was due to attend later that afternoon.
Sighing and shaking her head, Hanji remained standing and silently watched her colleague as he took his seat.
“Sorry Shorty, I’ve had no new information apart from what I’ve already sent you.”
“Nothing from the ancestry forum either?”
“I think I may have a lead from someone else who’s been claiming to have memories of our regiment and what we did, I’m just waiting on them replying to me.”
“Better than nothing I suppose.” Shrugged Levi nonchalantly. “So did you want something else or are you just hanging around here to annoy me?”
Pushing her glasses further up her nose with her index and middle fingers, Hanji took a step closer towards the large workstation.
“Has f/n mentioned anything to you about believing in reincarnation at all?”
“No she hasn’t.” Replied Levi, frowning at the computer screen as he logged in to the computer. “I thought since you were the one to bring it up in front of her, she’d naturally speak to you about it.”
“Unfortunately not.” She said, her tone disheartened. “We spoke about it briefly a couple of weeks ago, but she hasn’t mentioned anything since.”
“Tch, so who’s this mystery contact you’re supposedly waiting for a reply from?”
“His name is Armin Arlert and he’s actually the curator of the city museum, how amazing is that?”
“So basically, you’re saying he possibly has access to historical records you’ve been unable to find?”
“Exactly!” Screeched the bespectacled brunette excitedly, causing Levi to wince at how high pitched her voice suddenly became. “The answer we seek is finally within our grasp!”
“You’d better be right about this Four Eyes!” Grunted Levi.
His patience was wearing thin and with his feelings for you continuing to strengthen, he wasn’t sure how much longer he would be able to continue being in a relationship with you while constantly wondering if you remembered him from your previous life.
“Just bear with me a little longer Levi. I promise as soon as I get a reply from Armin, I’ll come running straight to you!”
“Tch, make sure you do. Now leave me alone, I’ve got notes for this afternoon’s meeting to go over.”
“I know.” She giggled, happily skipping towards his workstation and flopping down into the spare seat opposite his before bringing her laptop case up into her lap. “You asked me to help you double check them remember because you weren’t sure which ones were needed.”
Cold grey eyes widening, the raven haired male instantly froze.
“Shit.” He muttered under his breath, an action Hanji thankfully remained oblivious to as she set up her laptop.
“Alright then!” She said enthusiastically. “Where would you like to start?”

By the time your team’s morning break came around, your anxiety levels were so high, you weren’t even sure you could go through with your plan to confront Levi about Flagon’s accusations.
Shaking your head in anger, you internally cursed yourself for letting the jealous team manager get inside your head.
“He has to be lying.” You muttered to yourself, staring hard at the computer screen and gripping the mouse hard enough to turn your fingers white. “Flagon hates Levi, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just some sick attempt at breaking us up. Well it won’t work, he’s gonna be exposed as the jealous freak he really is and I’ll be able to continue being with Levi. Nothing bad is going to happen.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“SHIT!”
The profanity left your mouth in a high pitched shriek before you could register it happening, earning a loud rumble of laughter from your colleagues.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” Laughed Luke, resting a hand on your shoulder.
“Damnit, are you trying to kill me?” You gasped, struggling to steady your rapid breathing.
“Not intentionally, no.” He mused, cupping his chin with one hand and looking down at you. “So what is this "something bad" you think is going to happen? Don’t tell me you’re not used to Ilse and I teasing you yet?”
“Aha, of course I am!” You giggled nervously, still holding your computer mouse in a death-like grip. “Although today you’re not going to have the pleasure of seeing my reactions!”
“What? Why?”
Removing his hand, Luke’s smile instantly melted away, quickly being replaced by a look of concern.
“I need to go see Levi about something...private.”
“I take it that's your "something bad" then, is everything okay between you two?”
Tightening your grip on the mouse further, the tips of your fingers almost went numb from the pressure you were exerting on it. In fact, if you squeezed it any harder, you were probably going to break it.
“Is this to do with Flagon?” Luke’s voice dropped to a low mumble, however there was an unmistakable sense of disgust when he spoke the other man’s name. “Did he say something to upset you earlier?”
“It’s just a stupid rumour that I need to squash, that’s all.” You you stated, although you weren’t sure whether you were trying to convince yourself or Luke with your current tone.
“Alright then, well good luck. I hope Mr Ackerman kicks his arrogant ass into touch!”
“Thanks, I’m sure he will.” You giggled, finally realizing how hard you had been gripping the mouse and quickly releasing it.
“I’ll catch up with you guys at afternoon break.”
“Sure thing.”
Watching him walk away towards the break room, you pursed your lips and stood from your seat, making sure that you had properly logged out from your computer before making your way to Levi’s office.
Unfortunately, this meant passing a certain team manager’s workstation on your journey, but that was the least of your concerns at that moment.
For now, all that mattered to you was voicing your concerns about your relationship with Levi and proving Flagon to be the liar you strongly believed him to be.

Glancing up from the document he was currently working on, Flagon raised an eyebrow when you purposefully strode past him, completely ignoring his presence and exiting the client consultant work area via the doors leading to the deputy management offices.
Allowing himself a small grin, he stopped typing and pushed back his chair, this was something he simply could not afford to miss.
Making his way towards the double doors, he peered through the glass to see that you had arrived outside Levi’s office and were currently knocking on the door.
Grin widening when he saw you disappear, he hastily slipped through into the corridor and tiptoed along the narrow space until he reached the short manager’s office and stopped.
Cautiously leaning against the wood and pressing his ear to the smooth surface, he listened intently to the conversation taking place on the other side...

Holding your head high and swallowing down the lump in your throat, you raised your fist and knocked on Levi’s office door.
Mulling over how you were going to approach this matter, you winced when a bored reply was received from the other side of the varnished wood.
“Come in.”
Doing as requested, you stepped into the large office and closed the door behind you, raising a curious eyebrow when you saw Hanji was also present and currently watching you with a wide smile on her face.
‘So, she’s here too huh?’ You mused. ‘Perfect, if Flagon turns out to be lying I have more than one witness who can verify it.’
“F/n?” Asked Levi, furrowing his brows and looking up from his computer. “What are you doing here? I thought we weren’t meeting until lunch.”
“Wait have we worked through the entire morning and not realized?” Gasped Hanji, quickly checking the clock on her laptop taskbar.
“No, you haven’t.” You smiled weakly. “It’s my team’s turn for a break and I know Levi has his around this time.”
“Aw and you wanted to spend it with Shorty? How sweet!”
“Shut up Four Eyes and get out!” Grumbled Levi. “You can come back in fifteen minutes.”
“Actually, would you mind if she stays?” You inquired nervously. “I need a word with the two of you.”
Blinking twice, Levi’s natural frown deepened considerably at your strange request. However he reluctantly agreed and sat back in his seat, folding his arms and staring at you intensely.
“Oh?” Questioned Hanji, a concerned expression finding its way onto her features. “What about Sweetie?”
Inhaling deeply, you held it for a moment before letting it out and recalling the earlier incident.
“After you guys left, Flagon approached me and…”
“Did that bastard do something to you?” Growled Levi, unfolding his arms and placing his hands on the rests of his chair, preparing to stand up.
“No, but…” You faltered slightly before forcing yourself to continue, feeling slightly unnerved by the short male’s reaction. “He said something strange to me and I need to confirm that he’s lying.”
“Well, what did he say?”
Turning to look at Hanji, you clenched your hands into fists and dug your fingernails into your palms, desperately fighting to remain calm.
“He said that, you only set me up with Levi because I reminded him of someone who was once in love with and was supposed to marry...but died before that happened.”
An ominous silence enveloped the office the second you finished speaking, both Levi and Hanji staring at you with wide eyed horror.
“It...it’s not true...is it?”
Immediately looking to Levi for help, the panic showing on the bespectacled director’s face confirmed the terrible truth you were desperately hoping wasn’t real.
“Levi…” You choked, feeling tears start to form in your e/c eyes. “Please...please tell me he’s lying.”
“Tch! So that’s what he meant when he said “my dirty little secret.” That bastard!”
“He wasn’t lying was he? Oh shit, he was telling the truth!”
“F/n wait!” Babbled Hanji, jumping out of her seat and rushing towards you, taking your now shaking hands in hers. “Flagon’s not being entirely truthful with you. Sit down, we’ll explain everything!”
“You sick bastard!” You screamed, pushing her away and focusing your attention on Levi. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Sweetie, it’s not what you think.” Pleaded Hanji. "You remember our talk about reincarnation a couple of weeks ago? Well it’s all true, Levi tell her!”
“She’s right f/n.” Said Levi bluntly, realizing there was no point in even trying to lie to you. “We were soldiers together in our past lives, it’s how we became lovers. We were due to marry, but you died in the line of duty.”
“I...I...can’t believe what I’m hearing!” You stammered, backing up into the door and shaking your head. “There’s no such thing as reincarnation, it’s just a theory!”
“No, f/n it’s real and I can prove it!” Said Hanji firmly, moving back towards Levi’s desk to retrieve her reincarnation research and holding it out to you. “Look at these, you’ll see we’re telling the truth!”
“Did I ever mean anything to you?” You sobbed, ignoring Hanji and staring the short deputy manager in the eye. “Or was I just someone to replace the person you lost?”
“It’s not like that f/n.” Said Levi evenly, his usual cold unemotional manner simply making the situation worse. “Just listen to what we’re trying to say.”
He was well aware he wasn’t helping himself by being so calm, but deep down he knew that getting hysterical over the matter wasn’t going to help anyone. It was essentially the lesser of two evils, but in all honesty...he was damned if did and damned if he didn’t.
“I can’t believe the two of you played me like this!” Reaching for the silver handle behind you, your fingers quickly wrapped around it as you took a step forward to be able to open the door and make your escape before you said something you regretted. “Stay the hell away from me, both of you!”
“F/n please!” Cried Hanji, quickly turning back to Levi. “Damnit don’t just sit there, we have to go after her!”

Jumping back from the door when he heard the handle move, Flagon moved just in time to avoid you running into him on your way out and storming off down the corridor.
“F/n wait, where are you going?” Called a female voice he recognised as Director Hanji.
Unable to stop himself and not particularly wanting to, Flagon smiled widely when Levi and Hanji stepped out of the office, standing with their backs to him and watching you as the double doors closed behind you.
“Damnit!”
“Everything okay Director?” He asked casually, placing his hands in his pockets...however he wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
In the blink of an eye, Levi had grabbed the blonde team manager by his throat and pinned him against the wall with enough force to cause him to grunt in pain.
“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t beat you to a bloody pulp!” Challenged Levi, tightening his already vice like grip on Flagon’s neck and digging his thumbs into his windpipe.
“I told her I wasn’t lying!” Choked Flagon, keeping his hands in his pockets, determined not to give the shorter man the pleasure of seeing him fighting for release.
“Levi don’t!” Gasped Hanji, placing a hand on his shoulder in an effort to calm him down. “Think of your family, they have enough to deal with right now without you being arrested for attempted murder!”
Growling lowly, the raven haired male roughly released his captive and turned on his heels, striding back into his office.
After watching her friend retreat, Hanji turned her attention back to Flagon, who was rubbing his now marked neck.
Reaching up and gripping the fabric of his shirt, she dragged him close enough to her that he could see his reflection in her glasses staring back at him.
“This isn’t over Turret!” She warned in a dangerously low tone. “If you think you’ve won, you’re sorely mistaken.”
A lopsided grin spreading across his lips, Flagon remained silent when she pushed him away and followed Levi back into his office and slammed the door behind her.
“We’ll just see about that Director.” He muttered, straightening his shirt and tie.

“Levi?” Questioned Hanji worriedly, slowly approaching the workstation where the short deputy manager now sat with his head hanging low and his eyes closed.
“How the hell did that bastard find out about your research Hanji?”
“I...I don’t know.” She replied, raising and arm and rubbing the back of her neck.
“Did you leave it somewhere it could easily be seen by other people?”
“No I usually keep it in the folder on my desk…” Trailing off, her puppy brown eyes widened in realisation. “Moblit caught him in my office last month, he must’ve been snooping because I was told he looked very shifty when he was caught.”
“So he found your notes and most likely decided to start looking into f/n’s past himself as a way of trying to get one over on me?” Questioned Levi, finally lifting his head and glaring at her angrily. “Is that what you’re telling me?”
“It’s the only logical explanation I can come up with.” She mused, putting her arm down and moving to stand in front of him, squatting down to his level and taking her hands in his. “Levi, we have to convince f/n to listen to us. You already lost her once, I don’t want to see you lose her again…”
“Tch, you heard her!” He scoffed, shrugging away from her and folding her arms. "She doesn't believe in reincarnation."
"Yes but..."
Suddenly the sound of Hanji's laptop pinging interrupted her and drew her attention away from trying to convince Levi to go after you.
Moving towards it, she frowned upon seeing the notification that she had received a new email.
Swallowing hard when she saw the name of the sender, she hastily clicked on the envelope icon and read the lines of text that appeared before her.
"Oh no."
"What is it?"
"I...I've just received a reply from Armin." She said woefully, her lower lip trembling as she slowly looked up from the device. "He's managed to find an old military record confirming how old f/n was when the two of you met in your previous lives."
"So, how old was she?"
"Twentytwo...a year older than she is now."
"Too bad he didn't respond a few minutes earlier!" Said Levi bitterly. "This whole situation could've been avoided!"
"I'm so sorry Levi, but we can't give up just yet though. It's her birthday soon, once she gets her memories back she'll start to have flashbacks involving you and..."
"If she gets her memories back." Interrupted Levi, snorting at the irony of his next words. "It doesn't always happen, remember?"
"Levi..."
"Just leave me alone Hanji."
Swivelling his chair around so he was sat with his back to her, he folded his arms and glared at the wall.
"I'm sorry Levi, I really am." Muttered the bespectacled director, picking up her belongings and leaving the office.
Hearing the door shut behind her, Levi closed his eyes and rested his head against the back of his seat. Swallowing down the lump in his throat, he sighed and gritted his teeth.
"Tch, damnit f/n...why couldn't you have just listened to us?"

Chapter Text

The relief that overcame you when your shift finally ended that day was impossible to put into words.
After storming out of Levi’s office close to breaking point at having discovered that Flagon had been telling the truth, you spent the rest of your break crying in the staff toilets.
You’d have probably stayed in there all day to avoid seeing anyone if Ilse and Nanaba hadn’t found you and demanded to know what had happened.
Naturally, you kept the full details of your confrontation with Levi and Hanji to yourself, merely stating that you and the two senior workers had exchanged words and your relationship with Levi had now reached its conclusion.
In all honesty, if you weren’t so heartbroken...you’d have probably laughed at the fact Ilse didn’t immediately whip out her notebook and start scribbling in it.
Instead you found comfort in her embrace as she hugged you and apologised profusely for the pain you were feeling, after which, Nanaba told you to take an extended break and led you away to the break room where she made you a hot chocolate in order to help you calm down.
However the rest of the day passed by torturously slowly, especially when you kept seeing Flagon stealing glances at you and asking if you were okay. 
What made it worse was the way he smirked at Levi when he passed through the client consultant work area on his way to the boardroom for his afternoon meeting, leaving a part of you wondering if the two men were going to come to blows.
Thankfully, there were no altercations between them...but the way Levi turned to stare at you when he passed by your workstation sent a wave of fresh heartbreak coursing through you.
He only met your gaze for a brief moment, but the look of unadulterated betrayal and loss in his steel grey eyes angered you greatly.
As far as you were concerned, he had no right to feel that way. He was the one who had lied to you, betrayed you, made you feel completely worthless and disgusting. 
The carnival, the tea fayre, all of the days and nights you’d spent together in the past month...and all while, he was thinking of another woman.

Shutting down your computer at the end of your shift, you said a brief goodbye to your concerned colleagues, promising them you weren’t going to do anything stupid before making a hasty exit to avoid running into Hanji and Levi. 
Unfortunately, you had barely gotten away from the client consultant area when you became aware that there was someone right behind you.
“Hey f/n, wait up!”
Gritting your teeth and gripping the banister rail as you descended the stairs to the main foyer, you forced yourself to continue moving forward upon hearing a male voice calling you.
“Oi, will you just stop?”
“Leave me alone!” You snarled, halting at the first floor landing and turning around to see a certain blonde haired team manager rushing towards you, gripping his laptop case to stop it flapping around due to the speed he was going.
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry about Levi.” Sighed Flagon, reaching out to place a hand on your arm and quickly finding it batted away. 
“No you’re not!” You laughed bitterly. “You’re loving every second of this, I saw the way you smiled when he walked through our work area earlier!”
Shaking his head and averting his gaze, Flagon huffed and held his hands up in surrender. 
“Alright, I admit I’m glad I finally managed to get one over on him. The midget’s had it coming for ages, but I am genuinely sorry that you got caught hurt...although you were quick to dismiss me when I tried telling you the truth…”
“I don’t need your pity!” Folding your arms across your chest, you fought back the hot tears that stung your e/c eyes. “You got what you wanted, Levi and I are over! Am I supposed to be grateful that you told me this rumour? Okay, maybe I am a little...so you know what? Thanks, but spare me the fake concern and stay the hell away from me!”
Turning on your heels before your tears had a chance to fall, you continued to descend towards the ground floor lobby. However in your haste to leave, you failed to look back and see the smug smile that was once again slowly spreading across Flagon’s lips.

Arriving home, Levi pulled up onto the driveway and got out of the car, raising an eyebrow at the other vehicle currently occupying it.
Furrowing his brows, he snorted and walked straight past it. Given his current mood, the car’s owner was the last person he wanted to be around at that moment in time.
In fact, he was in such a foul mood, that he didn’t even acknowledge his mother when he walked through the front door. Choosing simply to head straight upstairs to his room and set up his laptop so he could go through the minutes of the meeting that had taken place that afternoon.
“Levi? Is that you?” Called a voice from the kitchen, soon followed by the sound of heavy footsteps crossing the laminate wood floor of the hallway and another much harsher male voice shouting up at him just before he entered his room.
“Oi! Are you deaf? Your mother’s talking to you!”
Screwing his eyes shut, Levi locked the door and placed the laptop case on his desk before flopping down on the bed and growling in frustration as he brought his hands up to cover his face. 
“Damnit!” He cursed, gripping his raven bangs, fingers tugging them roughly when he closed his hands into fists.
Why couldn’t he have just lied and said that Flagon was making the whole thing up? You were bound to have listened to him.
Gritting his teeth, he sucked in air and tightened his grip on his hair.
No, that would never have worked and deep down, he was well aware of this fact. As bitter as the current situation was, at least he now knew the truth. 
You didn’t remember him because you were too young and your memories had not yet been awakened, but that still didn’t make things any easier for him to accept.
Just as he had lost you to the titans in his previous life, another enemy in this one had swooped in and stolen you from him yet again.
Uncurling his hands and lowering them, he stared up at the ceiling and pursed his lips thoughtfully. Your birthday was only a couple of weeks away, surely he could be patient until then? Perhaps you would experience a flashback or dream that would show the two of you and reveal the truth to you? He’d already lost and found you again once, surely history would repeat itself and you would somehow find a way back to him like you had promised with your last breath?
Before he could contemplate his options further, the sound of someone attempting to gain entry to his bedroom caught his attention.
“Oi, unlock the door you ignorant little runt!” Snarled Kenny, roughly trying the door knob again and pounding what Levi assumed was a fist against it. “Your mother’s just made dinner and she wants your ass downstairs.”
“Tch, I’ll eat later.” He replied shortly, remaining motionless on the bed. 
“Aw, have you and your little girlfriend fallen out?” Taunted his uncle. “Suck it up buttercup, your mother wants to talk to you.”
“Fuck off Kenny!” 
Rolling over and reaching for the nearest object on his bedside table, which happened to be a heavy book. Levi threw it at the door, hearing it find its mark with a loud thud before landing on the floor.
“I’ll take that as a yes then.” Exhaling deeply, Kenny paused for a few seconds before speaking again. “Fine, stay in there. It doesn’t matter to me either way!”
Listening to the other man’s heavy footsteps slowly fading away, Levi soon became aware that the rest of the world around him was becoming blurry.
“Tch, great!” He scoffed as he slowly felt himself pulled unwillingly into his subconscious. “Talk about rubbing salt into a fresh wound!”

Survey Corps Headquarters, Wall Rose
Year 845: 

Having finally moved back to their former headquarters within the confines of Wall Rose, the Survey Corps were preparing for their last expedition of the year before the winter took hold. 
Their new mission: to set up a supply route from the Trost District leading back towards Shiganshina with the intention of reclaiming their lost territory from the titans that now roamed it.

Having been given the morning off from normal duties, Levi and f/n were spending some quality time alone together on the training grounds. 
Walking hand in hand over the bridge that divided the large lake, a popular swimming hole for the scouts during the summer months when they were off duty, the two of them stopped in the middle of the wooden structure and leaned on the rail.
The wind whistled through the leafless trees, making the water ripple and lightly slap against the supports, causing the only break in the tranquil silence the two of them had been enjoying during their stroll.
“It’s so nice to get out of that damn laboratory for a while!” Sighed f/n, linking her arm with Levi’s and resting her head on his shoulder. “I feel like I’ve not seen daylight in forever!”
“Tch, try living underground for most of your life!” Scoffed Levi, looking up at the fluffy white clouds that covered the pale blue sky. “Hanji’s filthy play area is nothing compared to that.”
“You know, I find it so hard to believe you two are friends at times. You fight like cat and dog most of the time, yet if you’re put together on missions...it’s like you’re in perfect synchronisation with each other.”
“Years of building up a tolerance to her insanity!”
Laughing softly, f/n tightened her grip on his arm and hummed thoughtfully. 
“So what about me?”
“What about you?”
“How long did it take for you to build up a tolerance of me? I mean, considering you’re a clean freak...you spend most of your time swapping saliva with me!”
“Fucks sake f/n, do you have any idea how disgusting it sounds when you say shit like that?”
“Yeah, but I do it well!”
“When did you get so smart mouthed?” Raising a curious eyebrow, Levi turned to face her. “You never used to be like this?”
“It’s funny you should say that, Hanji reckons I’ve become sassier since we started dating. Perhaps being around you has rubbed off on me?”
“Is that even possible?” He inquired, keeping his steel grey eyes fixed on her.
“I dunno, maybe.” She shrugged, a small frown finding its way onto her features. “Is that a bad thing?”
“I don’t think it is.” Said Levi softly, slowly leaning in and catching her off guard by placing a delicate kiss on her lips.
“Oh you wanna do some more saliva swapping do you?” She teased, her worried expression instantly melting away to be replaced by a devilish smile.
“I will throw you in this lake fully clothed if you don’t stop being disgusting!” Warned the short captain, adding more weight to his threat by lowering the tone of his voice to a dangerous growl. 
“You’ve gotta catch me first!” 
Quickly untangling her arm from his, f/n bolted across the bridge and back towards the castle before Levi could even register what was happening.
“Get back here now you brat!” He ordered, starting to give chase…

Shaking his head as the misty haze from the memory fading started to clear, Levi grunted and sat up straight. 
Reaching into his trouser pocket he pulled out his mobile phone and swiped his thumb across the screen, frowning at the wallpaper image staring back at him.
The camera angle made it clear that it was a selfie, the main telltale sign being the positioning of your shoulder on the right hand side of the frame. Standing cheek to cheek outside Trost Convention Centre, it had been taken during your second date to the tea fayre. 
Gritting his teeth and placing the device screen side down on the mattress, Levi inhaled deeply. Holding it for a few seconds before letting out, he squared his shoulders and regained his composure before walking over to the wardrobe to find a change of clothes. 

Arriving home, you turned off the engine and removed your key from the ignition, pulling down the sun visor and checking your reflection in the mirror.
Frowning deeply at your tear stained face and red, puffy eyes, you shook your head and leaned over to the passengers side of the vehicle.
Opening the glove box, you retrieved a water bottle and a pack of tissues. 
Your intention was to quickly wash your face and disguise the fact that you had spent much of the drive home sobbing your heart out after a romantic song started playing on the radio during your journey.
Splashing some of the water over your cheeks and eyes, you then pulled out a tissue and wiped your face, checking your reflection again to see if your plan had worked.
Unfortunately, it hadn’t. Sure the tear stains were gone, but your eyes were still quite red.
“Fuck it.” You sniffed, throwing the items back into the glove compartment and slamming it closed. Worst case scenario, you rushed in without seeing your father and hid away in your room until you’d properly calmed down, simple enough right?
Exiting your car, you locked and checked it before making your way to the front door of your house.
Quietly stepping over the threshold, your plan to sneak in undetected was quickly thwarted by Sasha running down the hallway towards you, her paws pitter pattering loudly off the laminate wood flooring.
“Hey Girl!” You greeted, forcing a smile onto your lips as you squatted to rub her head. 
“Ah I thought that was you I heard.”
Swallowing down the lump forming in your throat, you looked up to see your father standing in the living room doorway. 
“How was your shift?”
“Same as always.” You lied with a nonchalant shrug, standing up straight and hoping he hadn’t caught on to your secret pain.
“Any plans to see Levi tonight?”
Upon hearing that name, your facade instantly crumbled and the floodgates holding back your currently fragile state of mind burst open.
“No I don’t.” You mumbled, averting your gaze and screwing your eyes shut. “We um...we broke up today.”
“What?” Gasped your father, reaching you in two large steps and placing his hands on your arms. “Why? You were so happy together, what’s happened?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it.” You sobbed, shaking your head and desperately trying to fight back yet another onslaught of tears. “Please, Dad...I just wanna be left alone.
“Did he cheat on you?” Growled your father, clearly ignoring your plea for privacy. 
“No, he didn’t.” You answered quickly, shrugging him off and rushing for the stairs. “Please Dad, I don’t want to talk about it!”
Clenching his hands into fists, your father exhaled deeply and nodded. 
“Alright. Just remember though, if you do feel the need to get it off your chest...I’m here for you.”
“Thanks, I know.” You sniffed, affording him a weak smile. “I’ll be in my room if you need me.”
Nodding sadly, your father watched you head up the stairs, closely followed by Sasha.
Sighing and shaking his head, he retreated back to the living room alone.

Making his way downstairs, Levi walked into the kitchen and furrowed his brows. 
Expecting to find his mother and uncle sat at the dining table, he was quite surprised to find the room completely empty.
“Levi?”
Turning around, he walked back towards the living room and found Kuchel sat on the sofa reading. 
“There you are.” She smiled, looking up from her book. “Is everything alright? You completely blanked me when you arrived home.”
“Where’s Kenny?” He asked, leaning against the door frame and folding his arms. 
“He’s just popped out to the car for something. Oh by the way, this arrived in the mail today.” She continued, reaching for the plain brown postmarked box sat on the coffee table. “I think it could be f/n’s birthday present, you might want to check it over to make sure it’s…”
“F/n and I aren’t together anymore.” 
“What?” Blinking rapidly, the raven haired woman’s jaw dropped open in disbelief. “What do you mean your aren’t together anymore?”
“She broke up with me.” 
“Why on Earth would she do that?”
Averting his gaze, he directed a death glare at the front door so he didn’t have to see the shock and disappointment on Kuchel’s face.
“Levi, what’s happened? The two of you were so happy together.”
“It doesn’t matter.” He muttered bitterly. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“Levi, I’m your mother!” Snapped Kuchel angrily, finally tiring of his recent evasive attitude towards her. “I’ll always listen to you, no matter how far fetched or crazy what you have to say may sound!”
Exhaling deeply, he contemplated sharing Hanji’s reincarnation research with her. However the risk that she may think he was making the whole thing up as a sick prank and that he deserved to be dumped weighed heavily on his mind.
“It’s complicated.” 
“I can do complicated.” 
Clicking his tongue, he dropped his head and exhaled deeply.
“Fine, I’ll explain everything...but not in front of Kenny.”
“Oh course not in front of him!” Scoffed Kuchel, allowing a small smirk to tug at her lips. “Wait until he’s done with...whatever he’s currently doing and we’ll head upstairs to talk in private. Is that okay?”
“Yeah.”
“Your dinner is in the oven if you’re hungry, I know you haven’t eaten yet.”
Pushing himself off the door frame, Levi disappeared from view, his footsteps on the laminate floor growing fainter as he made his way into the kitchen.
Sighing and shaking her head in dismay, Kuchel turned her attention to the box still occupying the coffee table.
A concerned frown settling over her features, she thoughtfully pursed her lips and glanced back towards the living room door where her son had been standing mere moments ago... 

Pulling up outside your house, Hanji exhaled shakily and looked towards the front door.
She knew she was probably making a huge mistake turning up uninvited, but since you were ignoring her calls, texts and even her emails. 
After losing count of how many voicemail messages she left, a face to face meeting seemed like the only option she had left.
Furrowing her brows, she removed her key from the ignition and got out of her car, not bothering to lock it and jogging towards the front door.
There was every chance she was going to get the door slammed shut in her face after being called all the names under the sun, but it was a risk she was willing to take.
Cautiously raising a hand, she gripped the brass knocker and swung it three times. Folding her arms and nervously biting her lower lip in anticipation, she bounced on the balls of her feet as she waited for someone to answer...

Sitting in your room after having gotten showered and changed, you looked up from deleting yet another email from Hanji upon hearing the sound of a car engine outside your home. 
Frowning curiously, you climbed off the bed and moved to the window.
Eyes widening when you recognised the vehicle, a wave of anger overtook you.
“What the hell is she doing here?” 
Hearing the knock at the front door, Sasha...who had been lying on the bed next to you asleep instantly sat up and started barking. 
“Alright Girl, I know.” You soothed, stroking her head and making your way to the bedroom door. 
“I’ll get it!” Called your father.
“Dad it’s Hanji!” You shouted, feeling tears once again sting your eyes as you reached the top of the stairs. “Please make her leave, I don’t want to see her!”
“Alright, if you’re sure.”
“Absolutely.”
Leaning against the wall, you folded your arms and silently waited as the loud click of the front door being unlocked reached your ears. 
“D/n? Is f/n here?” 
Given your current feelings towards the person you had, up until recently regarded as family, Hanji’s worried voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard. 
“I’m sorry Hanji.” You heard your father say evenly. “F/n doesn’t want to see you.”
“I know she’s angry with me, but please...I just need to explain.”
“I don’t know what’s happened between you two, but I must insist you respect my daughter’s wishes and leave.”
“Just five minutes D/n? That’s all I ask.”
Gritting your teeth and clenching your hands into fists, Hanji clearly wasn’t going to take the hint and you were in no mood to listen to anything she had to say.
Cursing under your breath, you swept around the corner and made your way downstairs to confront her.

“Hanji, I’m sorry.” Your father said sternly, looking the bespectacled woman in the eyes. “I’m not going to force f/n to do something against her will, she doesn’t want to see you.”
“I know I’ve hurt her but…”
“You have no fucking idea!”
Normally your father would’ve been appalled by such language spilling from your lips, but given the current situation and the fact you had just broken up with Levi, he decided to let it go. 
“I’m sorry f/n.” He said softly, turning a frown back onto your uninvited guest again. “I’ve told her to leave.”
“I know Dad, I heard.” You smiled weakly, however your expression soon turned sour once more as you directed your attention towards Hanji. 
“F/n, please…”
“What part of stay away from me did you not understand?” You snarled. “Haven’t you done enough damage?”
“Just let me explain.” Pleaded Hanji, reaching out to you and quickly finding her hand batted away. “You don’t know the full story.”
“I know enough!” Angry tears once again streaming down your cheeks, you took a step forward and raised your hands to her chest, roughly pushing her backwards. “I thought you cared about me? I thought of you as family and then you go and do this to me?”
Regaining her balance, Hanji adjusted her glasses and decided to try a firmer approach. “F/n, you need to calm down and let me speak.” 
“I don’t need to do shit! You know what? I actually feel sorry for Levi, you knew I reminded him of his dead fiancée and you took advantage of that!”
“It’s not like that f/n, if you’d just let me talk…”
“Alright, that’s enough!” Snapped your father, silencing the two of you instantly. 
“F/n, go inside and you…”
Shaking his head in disappointment, he exhaled deeply.
“I’m disappointed in you Hanji, as would m/n be if she were still alive. Now leave my property before I call the police and stay the hell away from my daughter.”
Taking an involuntary step back at the mention of her deceased best friend, Hanji’s breath caught in her throat as the front door swiftly closed.
Blinking rapidly, she shakily turned around and made her way back to her car, removing her glasses with one hand and rubbing her eyes with the other.

“Dad, I’m sorry...but...she…”
Locking the door, your father turned to you and took you into his arms, holding you against him and gently rubbing your back.
“You know I don’t condone losing your temper and swearing like that f/n.” He muttered evenly. “However given the current circumstances, I’ll spare you the lecture...just this once mind.”
“Thanks Dad.” 
“I’m so sorry about what happened with Levi, I honestly thought he was a decent young man when I met him.”
“I wish he could’ve just been honest with me from the start.” You sobbed. “I really liked him Dad.”
“I know, I know.” He soothed, tightening his grip on you and frowning deeply. “Are you going to be okay at work tomorrow? Do you want me to call in sick on your behalf?”
“No, I’ll be alright.” You answered, pulling away and wiping your eyes. “Besides, nothing will happen at work.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. Anyway, I um...I’m going back to my room.”
Flashing your father a weak smile, you made your way back upstairs and retreated to your bedroom, locking the door behind you and leaning back against it.
Exhaling deeply, you looked over at the bed and smiled when Sasha stared at you and slowly wagged her tail, pushing her ears back against her skull and licking her lips with a small whimper. It almost seemed as if she was asking you how you were feeling.
"I'm okay Girl." You muttered, sitting down next to her and gently rubbing her head, however the sight of something being knocked sideways by her thick tail caught your attention.
Swallowing hard, you reached out for the aviator teddy bear that had previously been sat in front of your pillows.
Picking it up, you brought it in close and stared at it intensely, taking in all the fine details.
Lips trembling uncontrollably, you failed to stop the tears from falling as you hugged it close and used it's thick dark fur to muffle your scream of frustration when the memories surrounding it forced their way into the forefront of your mind. 

Chapter Text

Once Kenny had returned to the house, Kuchel excused herself for the evening.
Claiming she was tired and feeling a little light headed, she asked for Levi to help her up the stairs to her bedroom.
It was a lie of course, since she was feeling perfectly fine...however, it was the perfect means of making a hasty retreat so she could find out what had happened earlier with her son that had caused his blossoming relationship with you to come to such an abrupt end.
Knowing that it wasn’t unusual for Kuchel to want to be alone when she wasn’t feeling well, Kenny had simply shrugged and not given her or his nephew a second thought, remaining completely oblivious to their need for privacy.

Leaving his mother to get comfortable, Levi made his way to his own bedroom to retrieve the folder containing Hanji’s reincarnation research.
Part of him still couldn’t believe he was willingly going to show it to Kuchel and admit that it was the reason you and he had broken up.
It was certainly going to make for an interesting conversation.
So much so, that a part of him couldn’t help but wonder what her reaction would be when she actually saw it.
He imagined that shock and disbelief would most likely be her initial response, but then came the challenge; convincing her that it was all real and that he wasn’t making up some sick fantasy story...something he had already failed with you.
Sighing deeply and shaking his head, he picked up the folder and stared at it for a few moments.
Was he really doing this? Was he seriously going to divulge all of Hanji’s research to his mother and implicate it as the reason he was no longer in a relationship with you?
“Tch, I must be out of my damned mind!”
Shaking his head, he tucked the folder under one arm before reaching for his laptop and heading back towards his mother’s room.

Looking up when the door creaked open, Kuchel leaned back on her pillows and motioned for Levi to sit with her.
Taking the laptop from him so he could get comfortable, she cast a worried frown in his direction and watched him closely.
“Levi, I know this is probably hard for you right now, but I just want to help. There’s no rush, so take your time and tell me what happened with f/n.” She said evenly, placing the laptop down on the bedside table. “I promise I won’t judge you, but whatever caused her to break up with you must’ve been extremely serious.”
“Fine, but I already told you, it’s complicated. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“Yes well...as I already told you, I can do complicated. Now, less sass and more explaining please young man!”
“Tch!” Rolling his eyes, Levi exhaled deeply and steeled himself to reveal the truth he had been keeping hidden from her for the past couple of months.
Recalling the events of what had happened earlier was painful enough in his mind, but actually talking about it? Well, he had no choice in the matter now, so all he could do was try and maintain his composure as best he could.
“Do you remember when I was up for promotion last year?”
“Yes, what about it?”
“There was another team manager going after the same position...let’s just say the idiot has been holding a grudge and finally managed to get their revenge.”
Furrowing her brows, Kuchel cocked her head to one side.
Despite her evident confusion, she had an inkling as to what her son was trying to say.
“So, is it safe for me to assume that this “rival” the reason you and f/n broke up?”
“Partially.”
“I see.”
“Tch, I warned you it was complicated!” Scoffed Levi, averting his gaze.
“Yes, you did.” Replied Kuchel bluntly, adjusting her position and keeping her eyes firmly fixed on him.
“He’s had his eye on f/n since before Hanji introduced us, he even tried asking her out on a date…”
“I take it she knocked him back?”
“Yeah.”
Pursing her lips thoughtfully, his mother continued to watch him closely as he slowly turned back to face her.
“Anyway, he told f/n something about me that isn’t...necessarily true and when she confronted us...she refused to listen and told us to stay away from her.”
“Us?” Asked Kuchel, sitting up straight and leaning forward slightly. “What do you mean by “us?” Who else is involved?”
“Hanji.”
“Alright, I think I know where this is going.” She nodded, leaning back again and placing her hands in her lap. “So, care to enlighten me as to what this person told f/n?”
Swallowing hard, Levi raised his head and inhaled deeply.
“He told her that I asked Hanji to set her up with me because…because she reminds me of someone I once loved and was planning to...to marry before they died.”
“What?” Choking out a laugh, Kuchel was certain that if she hadn’t already been sitting down, she’d have probably fallen over. “Come on Levi, this has to be some kind of joke!”
“I’m being deadly serious!” He growled, steel grey eyes narrowing in irritation.
So much for saying that she would always listen to what he had to say and not judge him, although there was no denying that what he had just told her did sound completely ridiculous.
“I think I’d know if you were in love with someone and planning to get married!” She snorted, reaching up to adjust her bandanna. “Surely you and Hanji told f/n he was lying through his teeth.”
“We tried, but she wouldn’t listen and…Well, what he told her...it’s not entirely false.” Muttered Levi, opening the folder containing Hanji’s reincarnation research. “This is where things start getting really complicated.”
Although she hadn’t initially noticed the item in her son’s hands, Kuchel’s soft grey eyes widened marginally when she finally looked down and saw it.
Instantly recognizing it, her heart started to thump wildly in her chest when Levi pulled out a large stack of papers and held them out to her.
Slowly reaching towards him, she carefully took them from him and studied the first page, hands trembling when she got a proper look at the photograph she had stolen a brief glance at the previous week.
“Levi, what...what is this?”
“I told you, it’s complicated.”

Returning home, Hanji pulled into the residential car park and switched off the car engine.
Removing the key from the ignition, she let out a frustrated scream and punched the steering wheel, setting off the horn.
“Damnit!” She growled, shaking the feeling back into her fist and throwing her weight backwards into her seat.
It was hard to tell what had upset her more that evening, you telling her to stay away from her...or your father mentioning your mother; her deceased best friend and saying that she would be disappointed in her for the way she had treated you...
Although, truth be told; this was a blatant lie and she knew it.
Being completely honest with herself, there was no competition when it came down to what had hurt the most; your father’s bitter anger whilst using your mother as a weapon against her was the clear winner.
Gripping the steering wheel hard enough to send her knuckles white, Hanji closed her eyes and bit her lower lip hard enough to draw blood.
“I’m disappointed in you Hanji, as would m/n be if she were still alive.”
Those words cut deeper than any physical pain ever could.
Lost to her anguish, Hanji didn’t notice someone approaching her car until until they were loudly knocking on the driver’s side window.
Letting out a high pitched scream of panic, her puppy brown eyes snapped open as she turned to face the source of the noise and locked car.
“Hanji, calm down!” Came a muffled male voice. “It’s me!”
“Moblit?” She gasped, squinting through the glass into the semi darkness of the car park at the shadowy figure. “What the hell are you playing at?”
“Sorry!” He muttered sheepishly, stepping back when the bespectacled brunette unlocked the vehicle and climbed out, locking it behind her again. “I tried calling and you weren’t answering, after how you were acting at work today…”
“I appreciate your concern Sweetie, but there was no need for you to come and check on me.” She smiled weakly, placing a hand on his shoulder and brushing past him. “I’m fine, it’s just been one of those days.”
“Um, Hanji.”
Wincing when she felt a hand gently wrap around her forearm, she slowly felt herself being turned back towards the car so that she was now facing the concerned male.
“Your lip, it’s bleeding!”
“Is it?”
“What have you done to yourself?”
Sighing deeply and reaching a hand to her face, she quickly wiped away the spot of crimson liquid staining her mouth before smiling and trying to run away; however her plan was thwarted due to the fact that Moblit still had a hold of her arm.
“All gone, nothing to worry about!”
“Hanji, wait!”
Exhaling shakily, she lowered her head and choked back a sob.
“What happened?” Asked Moblit, a frown etched into his features.
He’d never seen Hanji upset before, she was usually such a happy go lucky person...sure she had her moments of madness, but not once in the many years he’d known her had he ever seen her like this.
“I failed Moblit.” She muttered, keeping her eyes fixed on the floor. “Every single effort I made...it was all for nothing.”
Frown deepening, Moblit sighed and pursed his lips thoughtfully.
“I’m taking you inside.”
“I’ll be fine.” She protested, shrugging away from him and removing her glasses, hastily rubbing her watering eyes. “Just give me a minute.”
“I can’t leave you out here all night! Come on, I’m not going to leave you in this state.”
Managing to stop herself from crying, Hanji forced a smile onto her lips before allowing him to once again take her arm and lead her towards the apartment block.
“Thanks Sweetie.”

Swallowing hard, Kuchel’s hands trembled as she stared at the photograph before her.
“Levi...what, what exactly am I looking at here?”
“Reincarnation research that Hanji has spent the last couple of months putting together.” He replied, folding his arms. “F/n and I were together in our past life, but she died a month before we were due to get married.”
Opening her mouth to speak, only a few mumbled “um” and “ah” sounds left the raven haired woman’s lips.
Carefully reading through each paragraph, she cast her curious eyes over each of the photographs and their captions.
“So, this is the reason f/n broke up with you?”
“Yeah, Hanji tried to explain this to her, but she refused to listen and said that we were making it all up.”
“You have to admit Sweetheart, this is all very strange and well...impossible to believe.”
Reaching for the laptop, Levi opened it and brought up a new browser tab.
Fingers rapidly moving over the keyboard, he typed in the website address for the city museum and then turned the device to show his mother.
“Just so you know I’m not lying.”
“I never said you were.”
Jaw dropping open, a hand shot up to her mouth when the very same image she had been holding in her hands flashed up on the screen.
“Captain Levi Ackerman and f/n l/n of the Weapons Development Branch.” She muttered, reading the caption.
“You’re taking this surprisingly well.” Mused Levi, raising an eyebrow at her.
“Are you sure that this is definitely f/n?”
“It has to be. She looks like her, sounds like her...she’s exactly as I remember her!”
“I take it from the fact that the two of you broke up…” Letting the shock of what she was seeing sink in, Kuchel chose her next words carefully. “She doesn’t remember you?”
“She’s too young to remember me.”
“What do you mean?”
Meeting his mother’s confused gaze, Levi frowned deeply.
“Hanji theorised that you only regain your memories of a past life if when you reach the age at which you met your soulmate.”
Raising her hands to her head, Kuchel closed and eyes and rubbed her temples.
Saying that the explanation was complicated had been an understatement in her opinion, it was simply plain confusing and starting to make her feel genuinely lightheaded.
“Alright, I’m going to ask a really stupid question now.” She groaned, continuing her actions. “How old were the two of you when you met in your previous lives?”
“I was twentyfive and f/n was twentytwo.”
Slowly opening her eyes, Kuchel lowered her hands and turned to look at her son.
“Well you’re twentyfive now, but f/n is only...”
“She’s not going to be twentytwo for another couple of weeks.”
“Sweetheart, I’m so sorry.”
Focusing his attention on the laptop again, Levi stared intensely at the picture on the screen.
“Still, it’s only a couple of weeks right? She’ll soon remember you again…” However the way Levi’s jaw twitched at her words soon dashed any kind hope she was trying to offer him. “Won’t she?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Shaking her head in confusion, Kuchel held up a hand to signal that she needed a moment to think. “Levi, you just told me that you started to remember your past life when you turned twentyfive and that was because it’s how old you were when you and f/n met.”
“Tch, I told you it’s complicated.”
“I think I’ve managed to work that out for myself!”
“Hanji says that people don’t always regain their memories of their past lives, I don’t know whether it’s because they never met their soulmate in their first life or not. She’s never managed to find proof of that, especially since she claims she still remembers all the details from her previous life but doesn’t recall meeting a soulmate.”
“So...all you can do is wait and see?”
“In short, yeah.”
Exhaling deeply, Kuchel slowly reached out and took his hand in hers, lightly squeezing it as she felt tears start to form in her eyes.
“Levi, I...I’m so sorry.”

Sitting at the computer in her living room, Hanji stared sorrowfully at the desktop wallpaper.
Depicted in the photograph, was her younger self and another girl with h/l, h/c hair and e/c eyes. Both smiling widely for the camera, they had their arms around each other as they clutched their final exam results from their last day of senior school.
It was a day Hanji remembered well, she had received top marks in all of her subjects and was planning attending Trost Technical College to complete a two year course in business studies.
“Hanji, how are you feeling now?”
“Hmm?” Glancing behind her, the bespectacled brunette blinked twice as Moblit reentered the living room and placed a steaming mug of hot chocolate down on the desk for her.
“I added some cream and marshmallows for you.”
“Thanks Sweetie.”
“So, who’s that in the picture?” Inquired Moblit, nodding to the computer screen.
“Oh, it’s m/n l/n. F/n’s mother...she was my best friend.”
“I see.”
“Hard to believe we were only sixteen back then.” She smiled sadly. “I was heading off to college and she was moving back to Shiganshina with her parents.”
Remaining silent, Moblit tightly gripped his own mug of hot chocolate and continued to listen to her.
“She met f/n’s father a couple of months before this picture was taken and fell pregnant just before her seventeenth birthday.” Giggling lightly she shook her head. “I wish I’d seen the look on her parent’s faces when she told them, they had very strict beliefs about relationships and unmarried mothers.”
“Shotgun wedding?”
“Most likely.” Stifling a sob, she swallowed down the lump in her throat. “We unfortunately lost contact after I started college, something I still deeply regret...especially when f/n and her father moved back to Trost and told me that m/n had been killed in a car crash.”
“I’m sorry.” Muttered Moblit, lowering his head.
“I found out how old f/n was when she met Levi in her previous life.” She sniffed, quickly changing the subject and moving the conversation forward. “She was twentytwo.”
“Well, that’s a good thing isn’t it?” Frowned Moblit, raising his head and looking towards her, however a heavy weight soon settled in the pit of his stomach when he noticed Hanji remove her glasses and rub her watering eyes. “Isn’t it?”
“That bastard Flagon, he found my research...that day you caught him in my office.”
“I did wonder about that.”
“He must’ve found out how old she was first and then told her the truth about why I was so keen to set her up with Levi. Damnit, how could I have been so reckless? I should never have left my research out on my desk!”
“Hey, none of this is your fault!”
“F/n and d/n hate me, I’ve hurt Levi...What do I do Moblit? I have to put things right, but I don’t know how.”
“Didn’t you say that when someone reaches the age at which they met their soulmate, they regain their memories?” He inquired, plucking one of the half melted marshmallows from the top of his mug and raising it to his mouth. “F/n’s birthday is only a couple of weeks away isn’t it?”
“That’s what I’ve hypothesised from my research.” She shrugged, putting her glasses back on and continuing to stare at the computer screen. “Levi seems skeptical though.”
“There has to be some truth in it though.” Mused Moblit, taking a bite out of his marshmallow and licking the remnants from his lips. “What about Mike and Nanaba? You told me they were together in their previous lives, do they remember each other?”
“I...I don’t actually know.” Admitted Hanji worriedly, slowly turning her chair to face him as her puppy brown eyes once again began to fill with tears. “I’ve never asked either of them about their thoughts on reincarnation...oh no, Moblit what if I’m wrong? What if despite being Levi’s soulmate...f/n never regains her memories of him?”

“What will you do?” Asked Kuchel softly, not entirely sure what else she could say after the shocking revelations that her son had shared with her.
“Tch, there isn’t much I can do.” Shrugged Levi, slowly turning to look at the laptop and seeing the portrait of the two of you together still displayed on the screen.
“Do you love her?”
Furrowing his brows, the raven haired male remained silent and continued to focus his attention on the image before him.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Sighed his mother, her voice tinged with a hint of sorrow.
“Yeah, well...it’s too late now.” Muttered Levi bitterly. “She never wants to see me again.”
“She’s angry and confused Sweetheart.” Said Kuchel softly. “This...well, it’s a lot to take in and even more impossible to believe without seeing proof...I mean, part of me still has trouble accepting that it’s real, but now I’ve seen it properly...”
“Seen it properly?” Questioned Levi, his head immediately snapping around to face her. “What do you mean by that?”
Opening her mouth to speak, Kuchel’s breath caught in her throat as the words she had been about to speak died on her lips.
“Mother?”
Lowering her head shamefully, she remained motionless for a moment before offering a mumbled apology.
“I’m sorry Levi.”
“Have you seen this research before?” He asked, moving closer to her and placing his hands on her shoulders, suddenly forgetting that she wasn’t well and pressuring her for further information. “Tell me what you mean by “seeing it properly.” What do you know about this?”
Raising her head, Kuchel looked into his eyes and choked back a sob.
“Last week...before I went for my appointment at the hospital. I came into your room to see if you were ready to go with me, but you were asleep.”
Steel eyes widening slightly, Levi slowly released her and sat back, allowing her some space.
“When I had Kenny move you to the bed because you’d fallen asleep in your chair, he knocked some of your paperwork off the desk. The folder containing the research you just showed me scattered, so naturally I tried to put it back...I only caught a momentary glance before your uncle snatched it away and shoved it all back willy nilly.
“I see.”
“I’m sorry Levi.” She smiled sadly. “I wanted to ask about it...but I thought it best to respect your privacy.”
“Tch, that explains the state I found it in when I woke up.”
“You’re not mad at me are you?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Good, but I have to ask...what are you going to do about f/n?”
Averting his gaze again, Levi’s natural frown deepened considerably, making him appear almost angry with the current line of inquiry.
“You’ve admitted that you love her, surely that means something?”
“Only if she gets her memories back.”
“Don’t give up on her Levi, if you truly are soulmates...you should fight for her, make her see the truth.”
“She doesn’t love me.” He snorted, still refusing to face her. “She’s made it clear she doesn’t believe a word I say and told me to stay away from her”
“As I already said, she’s angry and upset.” Said Kuchel firmly. “Give her time to calm down and then try approaching her, get her on her own. Show her what you’ve shown me, even if you have to wait until after her birthday...what have you got to lose?”
Despite the inner conflict raging within him, Levi couldn’t deny that his mother raised a very good point.
He had no concrete proof that your memories wouldn’t return once you turned twentytwo...at least, he hadn’t seen any. All of Hanji’s research had pointed to the fact that your memories would be awakened, it only seemed that those who had not found their soulmates were the ones that did not remember their previous lives.
“We are always born to the same parents, we have the same siblings if any, but life takes us on a different path.”
“Levi?”
Oblivious to his mother calling his name, the short male’s glare focused on the laptop screen as he continued to remember what Hanji had told him when she first started conducting her reincarnation research.
“Most people find that their memories of their past life are triggered by meeting someone of great significance in the one they’re currently living...their soulmate.”
“Levi?”
“Huh?”
Shaking his head, he finally looked towards his mother, taking note of the concern etched onto her features.
“Levi are you okay? You sort of spaced out on me, did you have one of those flashbacks that’s mentioned in these notes?”
“No, I didn’t.” He answered.
“So, what are you going to do about f/n?” Asked Kuchel worriedly, leaning forward and once again reaching for his hand.
"I’m going to take your advice.” He said evenly. “I’ll wait a few days and then when I can get her on her own, I’ll show her Hanji’s research.”
“I’m glad to hear it.” Nodded Kuchel. “You’re doing the right thing Sweetheart.”
“Yeah, well don’t get too excited. I don’t know how this is going to play out yet.”
“That may be so, but the important thing is that you’re willing to try.” She insisted, gently squeezing his hand. “Just remember that I’m going to be here for you, no matter what happens.”
Nodding once, Levi slowly withdrew his hand and gathered up the research papers, carefully putting them back into the folder and retrieving his laptop.
“I’ve got some things to go through.” He said evenly, standing up and tucking everything under one arm. “I’ll come and check on you later.”
“Alright then, don't over exert yourself."
Leaning down and wrapping his free arm around her shoulders, he carefully embraced her for a brief moment before straightening up again and leaving the room.
"Shout me if you need anything."
"I will."
Watching as the he left the door slightly ajar, Kuchel sighed and lowered her head.
What Levi had shown her that night left her shaken and confused as to how he had not gone insane from keeping his secret hidden from the world, but also upset that he hadn't felt the need to confide in her sooner.
Still, there was nothing that could be done about that now...although she was relieved to finally understand the truth behind his recent cagey behaviour.
Raising her head, she inhaled deeply and frowned, holding it for a moment before releasing it.
Glancing over at the bedside table, she narrowed her soft grey eyes.
She was no stranger to keeping secrets, so she didn't blame Levi for not being forthcoming about the current problems in his life.
However, her own inner conflict would have to be pushed aside for now.
Only when she was satisfied that her son's life was back on track would she allow herself to confront it once more...

Chapter Text

“So you’re adamant this is what you want to do?”
“Yes I am.”
“Hmph, you can still change your mind you know.”
“I won’t, I’ve already decided and I’m not going back on it.”
Leaning back in his seat and folding his arms, Kenny Ackerman narrowed his harsh grey eyes and glared intimidatingly at his younger sister.
“What about Levi?”
“He’s got enough to deal with at the moment.” Kuchel answered crisply, quickly turning her head towards the kitchen door when she heard movement coming from upstairs. 
“You promised me you’d respect my decision.”
“I will.” He sighed reluctantly, making his distaste for their current topic of conversation clear. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it though.”
“Well like it or lump it, it’s my life and my choice, so that’s the end of it!” 
Hastily falling silent when the sound of footsteps descending the stairs reached her ears, she returned her focus to her older brother and looked at him pleadingly. “Please Kenny, don’t say anything.”
Shaking his head and reaching for his hat, Kenny pushed his chair back and stood up. 
“I told you I’d respect your decision didn’t I?” 
“Thank you.”
“I’ll wait in the living room, let me know when you’re ready to go.”
Watching him leave, Kuchel forced a smile onto her face when Levi finally entered the kitchen seconds later, sparing his uncle a frown as the two of them brushed past each other.
“Good Morning Sweetheart, how are you?”
Silently shrugging, Levi frowned as he took a seat at the dining table. 
“Still no contact from f/n?” She asked sympathetically, reaching for the teapot and pouring him a drink.
“Nothing.”
“I’m sorry, I wish there was something else I could suggest.”
“It’s fine.” He muttered, eyeing the dark liquid contained within the cup she was now sliding towards him. “I’m going to try and talk to her today.”
“You are?”
“Tch, calm down. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to say to her yet.”
“The fact that you’re thinking about it is a good sign though.” Smiled Kuchel. “Why don’t I make you some breakfast and maybe I can help you think of something to, you know...break the tension.”
“I’m not hungry.” 
“Levi…”
“I’ll be fine.” He insisted, softening his tone slightly when he saw the worried expression currently being directed towards him. “Besides, you’ve got a hospital appointment to get ready for.”
“It’s only to discuss some test results, anyway you’ve got a full day of work ahead of you. At least try and eat something, for me?”
“I’ll grab something from the canteen if I get my appetite back.”
Knowing she was fighting a losing battle, Kuchel reluctantly admitted defeat. 
“Alright then, make sure you do.” She said firmly, standing up and walking towards him. “The last thing I want is you making yourself ill.”
Gently wrapping an arm around his shoulders and pressing a kiss to his left temple, she called for Kenny to help her get ready for her appointment, leaving the short male to sit alone and brood over his plans for the day ahead.

“I’m heading off to work Dad.” 
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Looking up from his newspaper, your father watched you with a mixture of worry and concern evident on his face. “You’ve really not been your usual self these past few days f/n.”
“It wouldn’t look good if I rang in sick and asked for time off just because of a break up.” You scoffed. “Besides, I rarely see Levi or Hanji anymore unless it’s in passing.”
“I’m just worried about you Darling, I don’t like seeing you upset.”
“I know, you’re my dad and it’s your job to worry about me.” You smiled, putting your jacket on and picking up your bag. “I’ll be okay, I promise.”
“In that case, I’ll see you when you come home.”
Nodding once, you turned your attention to Sasha and grinned.
Happily scoffing down a bowl of kibble, she looked up and licked her lips when you squatted next to her.
“See you later Girl.”
Gently scratching behind her ears and resting your head against hers, you stood up and adjusted your skirt before flashing your father one last smile and heading out of the door.
“Stubborn little madam.” Sighed your father, sparing the dog a glance before she returned to eating her breakfast. 
Snorting and shaking his head, he stood up from the table and prepared to go about his day.

Closing the front door, you paused for a moment and inhaled shakily.
Despite the bravado you were displaying in front of your father and colleagues at work, there was no denying that deep down, you were still devastated by what had happened four days ago.
Being in the same building as Levi and Hanji was hard enough, but catching quick glimpses of them in the canteen during lunch or barely managing to avoid them when arriving and leaving was what upset you the most.
While Levi thankfully kept his distance, Hanji was not so considerate of your wishes. 
Every time she entered the client consultant area, she would make an attempt to approach your workstation and engage you in conversation; something which greatly tested the limits of your already tried patience.
It hurt deeply that you were no longer able to trust and confide in her, but after learning the “truth” about why she had been so keen to get you together with Levi in the first place, you knew that her betrayal wasn’t something you were going to be able to simply forgive and forget about.
Levi on the other hand, had started to earn a slight degree of sympathy from you.
The fact that you reminded him of someone who had been cruelly taken from him pulled at your heartstrings in a way you didn’t think possible.
As much as you wanted to hate him for basically getting with you on a rebound and hoping you would replace the person he had lost, a part of you was convinced that he was simply in denial and wasn’t thinking straight.
Naturally it still hurt for you to accept this, but it also served to mess with your mind...especially given the fact you still harboured feelings for him.
“No, no, you are not seriously thinking about doing that!” You growled shaking your head and making your way to your car. “Don’t even go there f/n!” 
Getting in, you hastily put the key in the ignition and started the engine.
Taking several shuddering breaths, you gripped the steering wheel tightly and stared straight ahead. 
Desperately trying to push everything to the back of your troubled mind, you squared your shoulders and glanced up at your reflection in the rearview mirror. 
Life hadn’t always been kind to you, but deep down you were starting to wonder if you were cursed to never be happy. The main reason for this being that you robbed of your mother and grandparents at the tender age of six. 
However, if you could manage to make it through such a terrible ordeal with the support of your remaining family and friends, you were certain that you could overcome this hurdle as well.
Swallowing down the forming lump in your throat, you allowed yourself a firm nod before putting the car in gear and driving off.

Entering the client consultant area, Flagon was met with the angry glares of your friends and colleagues; not that he particularly cared.
He was still feeling far too happy that he had succeeded in ending your relationship with Levi, so a few filthy looks from people he considered beneath him were hardly going to bother him.
As far as he was concerned, everything was proceeding according to plan...well, almost everything.
Despite trying to offer you a source of comfort during your grief, he found himself constantly being rejected.
It annoyed him to no end just how stubborn you were.
In his opinion, you should’ve been practically on your hands and knees thanking him for revealing the truth about why Levi had decided to date you; well, his version of the “truth” anyway.
However, the fear in the back of his mind that when the time came, you would unravel his lies and expose him as the bitter and twisted fraud he really was. Especially given what he had read when carrying out his own research into Hanji’s findings, there was a very real chance that everything he had worked so hard to accomplish over the past month could backfire before he had time to reveal his true identity.
Still, he had the added bonus of causing you to distance yourself from Hanji, something that worked in his favour and slightly increased the odds of his plan coming to fruition.
Striding past Ilse, Luke and Nickolas as they continued to glare at him in a manner that suggested he was something they had scraped off the bottom of their shoes, Flagon held his head high and walked towards his workstation.
Not even bothering to greet the members of his team who were currently setting up their computers, he focused solely on preparing his own until the sound of Ilse calling out to someone caught his attention.
Looking towards the double doors connecting the client consultant work area to the stairs, he raised a curious eyebrow when a familiar h/l h/c haired female stopped in front of the three workers who had previously been glaring at him.
Listening intently to them greeting each other, he stood up straight and made his way over to them…

“F/n!”
Lifting your head, you forced a smile onto your face upon seeing Luke, Ilse and Nickolas gathered around Ilse’s workstation.
“Morning guys.” You greeted, moving to stand with them and pulling your bag further onto your shoulder. 
“How are you feeling today?” Asked Ilse, taking a step forward. 
“I’m okay.” You shrugged nonchalantly, however the expressions of your colleagues strongly suggested they didn’t believe you. 
“Really?” Inquired Luke, folding his arms and staring you straight in the eye. “You don’t sound it.”
“Okay, maybe a little worried about Ilse not whipping her notebook out every chance she gets recently.” You joked, trying to break the tension. “Seriously, are you feeling okay? Did you lose it or something? I’m starting to wonder what’s happened to it!”
“Hmph!” Snorting and playfully shoving your shoulder, the other female afforded you a sly smirk. “Contrary to popular belief, I am capable of human interaction without needing to take notes thank you very much!”
“You know you can talk to us f/n.” Said Nickolas, furrowing his brows and staring at you rather intensely. “You’re a valued member of this team and we don’t like seeing you upset.”
“I know.” You smiled weakly. “I appreciate the sentiment, but honestly...I’m okay at the moment.”
“Well, that’s good to hear.” 
Upon hearing a voice behind you, all eyes turned towards the unwelcome source it belonged to.
“Oh great, what does he want?” You groaned, wincing uncomfortably.
“Ignore him f/n.” Said Ilse softly, however her tone rapidly turned sour when she addressed the unwanted presence now stood less than a foot away from your little group. “Even the most persistent of pests can be exterminated sooner or later!”
“Is that anyway to talk to a senior manager?” Remarked Flagon, placing his hands on his hips and raising his eyebrows towards her. 
“What do you want Flagon?” Groaned Luke, rolling his eyes distastefully.
“Are you alright f/n?” Asked the blonde team manager, deciding to ignore your colleagues and focus his attention solely on you.
“She was until your scraggy ass started annoying her!” 
“I wasn’t talking to you!” Growled Flagon, momentarily meeting the other man’s gaze before looking back to you. “So, how are you dealing with everything that’s happened?”
To say you would no doubt regret your response was an understatement, but you’d have been lying to yourself if you said it didn’t feel good to release the all the anger and pain that had been eating away at you for the past few days.
“How many times do I need to tell you to leave me the fuck alone?”
“Excuse me?”
“You heard me asshole!” You snarled, turning around to face him and balling your hands up into fists. “I know what your game is and I can assure you it’s not going to fucking work!”
Blinking rapidly, Flagon took a step backwards as you continued unleash the full force of your bottled up anguish. 
“You’ve been a complete bastard to me since the day I started up here! You got even more unbearable when I started dating Levi and now we’ve broken up, thanks to you I might add! You think you can suddenly start being nice to me?”
“Um, f/n…” Said Nickolas worriedly, cautiously reaching out and resting a hand on your shoulder, only to have it shrugged off a split second later.
“If this is some sick attempt to get me to go out with you so you can make Levi jealous, you’re failing miserably!” 
“F/n, calm down!” Gasped Luke, however as with Nickolas, his attempt at reasoning with you fell on deaf ears.
“I wouldn’t fucking touch you if you were the last man alive! You’re arrogant, disgusting and I’d sooner have someone shove a cactus up my rear end that go on a date with you!”
“F/N L/N!”
Breath catching in your throat, a painfully familiar female voice caused you to whip your head around to face the double doors leading to the stairs with enough force to possibly induce whiplash.
Folding her arms and fixing you with a glare so intimidating it made you want the ground to open up beneath you and swallow you whole, it was all too evident that Nanaba had heard every single word of your grief fueled rant.
“We...did try to warn you to calm down.” Muttered Luke, weight shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
“It’s alright Nanaba.” Said Flagon, raising his head and letting his arms fall to his side. “I have no intention of requesting that she face disciplinary action.”
Shaking your head in disbelief, you furrowed your brows and regarded him suspiciously. 
“It’s no secret I’m the reason she and Levi broke up, she’s every right to be mad at me. The truth can hurt and to be honest, I’m glad she’s finally embracing her anger rather than bottling it up.”
“You slimy piece of shit!” 
“That’s enough f/n!” Snapped Nanaba. “Break room, now!”
Pressing your trembling lips together in an effort not to say another word, you lowered your head and brushed past her. 
“Don’t be too hard on her.” Said Flagon, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the other team manager, despite the scrutinizing looks he was receiving from Luke, Ilse and Nickolas. “She’s clearly not coping well with everything at the moment.”
Pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes, Nanaba remained silent as she turned on her heels and walked away, leaving Flagon stood with the rest of your team mates.
Showing no sign of faltering under their combined glares, he placed his hands in his pockets and glanced at them before heading back to his workstation.
“Do you think f/n’s right?” Whispered Nickolas. “Is he really only acting nice towards her to try and get her to go out with him?”
“I wouldn’t put it past him.” Sneered Luke, continuing to glare at his retreating figure. “He only started being nice to her after she broke up with Mr Ackerman.”
“Something’s not right.” Agreed Ilse, quickly looking towards the double doors when they opened once more and a short raven haired male stepped through them. “Should we tell him?”
Turning to follow her line of sight as Levi quickly strode across the client consultant area towards his office, the three of them exchanged a single firm nod before hastily following him. 

Entering the break room, you swallowed hard and internally cursed yourself for losing your temper. 
Inhaling shakily when you heard the door close, you screwed your eyes shut and gritted your teeth, still holding your breath and waiting for the inevitable scolding that Nanaba was sure to deliver.
Slowly turning around, you cautiously opened your eyes and met the blonde team manager’s icy gaze.
“Would you like to explain why I caught you getting mouthy at Flagon?” She inquired, folding her arms and furrowing her brows. 
Shrinking back slightly, you finally released the breath you had been holding.
“I’m sorry Nanaba, I shouldn’t have lost my temper like that.”
“No, you shouldn’t!” She said harshly, clearly conveying the fact that she wasn’t prepared to go easy on you despite knowing the Flagon had a habit of trying to rub you up the wrong way. “So why did you?”
“I can’t stand the way he’s suddenly being so nice to me since I broke up with Levi, it’s making my skin crawl!”
“I’m disappointed in you f/n.” Nanaba sighed and shook her head, her cold blue eyes still firmly fixed on you. “I honestly thought you were better than this.”
Averting your gaze, you winced and once again clenched your hands into fists. That old “I’m disappointed in you” line was always harder to hear than simply being told that someone was angry with you, especially coming from someone you liked and trusted.
“I’m sorry okay?” You choked, feeling tears sting your eyes. “You know how much he’s been harassing me…”
“Then you should’ve reported him to Human Resources when I suggested it shouldn’t you?” 
Breath catching in your throat, your entire body trembled at her dismissive attitude towards you. Although you knew deep down, she wasn’t simply going to rub your back and assure you that everything was going to be okay, certainly not this time anyway. 
You’d back chatted a senior worked and that was something that simply couldn’t go unpunished, it wasn’t a sackable offense by any means...but it also wasn’t something that could be ignored either.
“Listen f/n, I know things are hard for you at the moment and you’re doing your best to put on a brave face.” Said Nanaba evenly, unfolding her arms and raising a hand to her head, running her hand back through her short blonde locks. “However there’s no excuse for your behaviour just now, any problems with a member of staff should be discussed with myself or Human Resources.”
“I know.”
“Since it’s your first time getting into trouble and Flagon has requested I don’t be too hard on you, I’m going to let you off with a verbal warning.” 
Opening your mouth to speak, Nanaba raised a hand to silence you, the stern frown she had displayed throughout your discussion still firmly in place.
“I suggest you take a few moments to compose yourself. Also, I would advise that you don’t let your personal life interfere with your work. We all know you’re having a tough time, but if you’re struggling to cope, then you need to request some time off to deal with it.”
“I don’t need to do that.” You replied, hastily shaking your head. “I promise it won’t happen again and I’ll apologize to Flagon.”
“See to it that you do.”
Watching her leave, you flopped down into one of the comfy leather chairs as the break room door closed and let your head fall back.
“Shit!” You groaned, raising your hands to your face and allowing yourself a muffled scream of frustration. “Shit! Shit! Fucking shit!”
In all honesty, you considered yourself lucky to be getting away with a mere verbal warning, but the fact that you needed to apologise to Flagon was proving a bitter pill to swallow. 
However it was a given that you would need to, as much as it made you want to dig your heels in and refuse, you knew it was something from which there was no escape.
“Damnit.” You muttered, removing your hands from your face and screwing your eyes shut, you allowed the tears you had been struggling to fight back fall.
Could this day get any worse?

Staring at the three retreating figures as they left his office and closed the door behind them, Levi narrowed his eyes and tutted. 
It was no secret to him that Flagon was still trying to get under your skin, but to hear it first hand from your teammates just made matters worse.
Granted he was pleased to hear that you had grown a spine and told him exactly what you thought of him, the short manager couldn’t help but worry over the fact that Nanaba had witnessed your little outburst. 
Had he been the one to see it, he would most likely have brushed it off without any disciplinary action. 
Truth be told, a part of him was disappointed he had missed it.
On a serious note however, the concern your colleagues had expressed over your state of mind and the way Flagon was refusing to accept your constant rejection worried him; especially since you were no longer on speaking terms with Hanji. 
Now that the bespectacled brunette was no longer close to you, it was painfully obvious that Flagon had nothing standing in his way when it came to his insatiable love of trying to bully you. 
However, with the two of you no longer being in a relationship, Levi doubted that you would appreciate him intervening and continuing to warn the other man to stay away from you. No matter how much he wanted to, he forced himself to respect your wishes and leave you alone, even though he wasn’t certain how much longer he could simply sit back and watch his rival continue to try and worm his way into your affections.
What if Flagon managed to finally wear you down to the point you started to believe that he was genuinely concerned for your welfare? 
The very idea that you would ever so much as flash Flagon a smile made him want to vomit. 
“Tch, I need to say something.” Snorted Levi, leaning forward in his seat and resting his elbows on the wooden surface of his desk, placing his chin on his upturned palms and narrowing his eyes a few seconds later. “Think, damn you.”
So far, his best option seemed to be what his mother had suggested earlier; get you on your own and speak to you in private.
Maybe he could call you into his office during your morning break? If you believed he wanted to talk to you about something work related, there was no way you could refuse him; not that you would anyway, you were far too respectful for that.
The only drawback he could see with this particular plan of action, was that if Flagon saw you heading into his office, he may follow you or wait to try and interrogate you when you returned to the client consultant area. 
Pursing his lips, Levi clicked his tongue and continued to formulate a plan of action. Cold grey eyes flicking down towards the stack of drawers under his desk, his brows furrowed slightly. 
If there was even the slightest chance that he could convince you to listen to his side of the story and stand a chance of winning you back, he was going to grab hold of it with both hands and cling to it like his life depended on it.

After finally calming down, you returned to your workstation and started to get on with your daily workload.
As predicted, the morning dragged by painfully slowly, each minute feeling like an hour.
If Hell existed, you certainly felt like you were in the thick of it. The only thing missing was a foul demon standing over you and taunting you.
“Good Morning F/n.”
Almost on cue, a “foul demon” appeared in the form of a certain bespectacled brunette.
“Director Hanji.” You replied, glancing up at her momentarily before resuming going through the contract you were currently typing up.
Staring down at you with a concerned expression, Hanji cocked her head to one side and proceeded to try and strike up a conversation with you.
“I heard you gave Flagon what for earlier, wish I could’ve been there to see it.”
Instantly freezing, your jaw twitched at the mention of the earlier incident. 
“Sorry, I shouldn’t be encouraging such behaviour I know.” She giggled nervously. “I’m just happy you put him in his place, especially that line you threw out about rather having someone stick a cactus up your butt rather than give him the time of day!”
If you weren’t so annoyed by your former friend’s presence, you might’ve managed a smirk at her recalling your choice of words. 
“Can’t we sort things out f/n?” She pleaded, leaning forward and staring imploringly into your e/c eyes. “Just give me a chance to explain things, Flagon’s not being entirely truthful with you...and deep down, I think you know that.”
Raising an eyebrow, you remained silent and continued to glare at her. 
“Please f/n, I miss our little chats.”
“You should’ve thought about that before you screwed me over then shouldn’t you?” 
The snarled response left your lips before you even had a chance to register what you were doing, just what the hell was wrong with you? Had Levi’s abrasive attitude rubbed off on you more than you originally thought?
“Come to my office at lunch time, I’ll explain everything.” Said Hanji softly. “Full disclosure, I promise...please?”
Knowing she wasn’t going to take no for an answer, you groaned and rolled your eyes. 
“I’ll think about it.”
“Thank you Sweetie.”
“I said I’d think about it, not that I’d actually do it.”
“I know.” She shrugged, a small but genuinely happy smile finding its way onto her lips. “The fact you’re willing to consider it is good enough for me though.” 
Watching her happily skip away towards Nanaba’s desk, you shook your head and turned your attention back to your work. 
“Everything okay?”
Turning to your right, you afforded Ilse a small smile and nodded. 
“Yeah I’m fine, ready for our break to be honest.”
“You should give her a chance.” She advised. “Sorry, I wasn’t eavesdropping. Director Hanji isn’t exactly known for being quiet.”
“Hah, tell me about it!” You scoffed, reaching for the mouse and scrolling through the page currently displayed on your monitor. 
“Oh by the way, an old friend wants to say hello.”
“Huh?”
Blinking in confusion, you soon found yourself melting into a fit of giggles when the other woman slowly produced a familiar looking black notebook from her bag and waved it at you.
“Hi f/n, did you miss me?”
“You’re such a dumbass!” 
“Yeah, but at least it’s put a genuine smile back on your face!” She answered smugly when you shook your head and averted your gaze. 
Unfortunately, your newfound amusement soon disappeared when a short raven haired male appeared in front of your desk and made his intimidating presence known to you.
“I need a word.” Said Levi bluntly. “In private.”
“Um, yes Mr Ackerman.” You nodded, feeling your heart suddenly drop into the pit of your stomach. 
Focusing solely on you, Levi stood in silence and waited for you to save the contract you were currently working on. Standing up and pushing your chair back under the workstation, you accompanied him across the work area.
Feeling like you were following your executioner to your death, you fought down the rising fear that threatened to overwhelm you and glanced back at Ilse, frowning in confusion when you noticed that Luke and Nickolas had left their own workstations and were now stood by hers...did the three of them have something to do with this? 
Leaving the client consultant area, Levi led you along the corridor where the deputy management offices and canteen were located, silently halting outside his own office and opening the door.
Struggling to remain calm, you met his steel eyed gaze when he gestured for you to enter first. 
Not daring to question what he wanted to speak to you about, you simply obeyed and entered the office, hearing the door close behind you a few seconds later. 

Chapter Text

With an almost eerie silence hanging in the air, Nickolas, Luke and Ilse were completely motionless as they watched you and Levi walking towards the double doors leading to his office.
“Looks like our little chat paid off.” Mused Ilse, deciding she would be the first one to speak. “What do you reckon he will say to her?”
“I’m sure if she wants us to know, she’ll tell us.” Said Nickolas, raising an eyebrow in Flagon’s direction when the blonde team manager looked up from his work and glared at your retreating figure. “Although, I doubt it’s going to end well for him.”
Following his line of sight, a smirk found its way onto Luke’s lips when he noticed the rather unsavoury expression currently displayed on Flagon’s face. 
“Well I personally hope Mr Ackerman manages to sweep f/n off her feet and win her back, that will really piss off old sour chops!”
“I think we all want that to happen.” Agreed Ilse, keeping her hazel eyes firmly fixed on Flagon as he muttered something under his breath and returned to looking at his computer monitor. “Although we don’t know why they split up in the first place, so it’s hard to say if it will ever actually happen or not.”
Nickolas and Luke nodded in agreement.
While your colleagues would’ve loved nothing better than to see you and Levi reconciled, they knew better than to push the issue with you and respected your privacy. 
Still, they continued to cling to the hope that now they had made the raven haired deputy manager aware of your recent altercation with Flagon, there might be a small chance that the two of you could sort things out.
“What are you three doing?”
Not realizing that their little huddle had not gone unnoticed, he trio were soon interrupted by the arrival of a stern faced Nanaba staring at them with a raised eyebrow.
“Oh, erm...Nanaba! We were um…”
“I suggest you have your little get togethers in your own time and not when you’re supposed to be working, that is what your breaks and lunch hour are for.”
Lowering their heads in unison, they very much resembled a group of school children who had been caught in the act of skipping lessons.
Looking past them, Nanaba frowned upon noticing you were not sat at your desk...nor were you over by the printing station either.
“Where’s f/n?”
“Mr Ackerman came and asked her to go to his office.” Explained Nickolas. “She left with him about a minute ago.”
“I see.” Nodded the blonde manager, folding her arms and turning her attention back to the remaining members of her team. “In that case, you three have a choice. You can either work through your break or I can take fifteen minutes off your lunch hour since you seem to be more interested in holding secret meetings rather than concentrating on your work.”
“Whoa, there’s no need for that!” Gasped Luke, his long blonde bangs swaying across his face as he rapidly shook his head. “We’ve only been stood here chatting for less than two minutes!”
“Yeah come on Nanaba!” Protested Ilse. “What’s two minutes?”
Raising her eyebrows, a small grin started to creep across Nanaba’s lips.
“Fine, but as punishment, I’m taking five minutes off either your break or lunch hour. You decide.”
Exchanging a disbelieving glance, it was clear that whichever way they looked at it, they were going to be denied the full duration of whichever small sliver of downtime was available to them. 
“Lunch?” Asked Ilse, curiously regarding her male coworkers. 
“Lunch?” Repeated Luke, earning him a nod from Nickolas.
Looking back to Nanaba, they all replied in unison.
“Lunch!”
“Fiftyfive minute lunch break it is then.” Giggled Nanaba, turning around and motioning for them to follow her to the break room. “Come on my little monkeys, I’ll give you a banana each!”
“Does this mean we can jump around on the chairs and fling our waste at Flagon?” Snickered Luke, grunting a second later when Ilse roughly slapped him in the stomach with a file full of paperwork.
“Absolutely not!” Nanaba called back. “Now hurry up before I change my mind and cut your break down to just ten minutes!”
“Ah well, it was worth a try!”
“No it wasn’t, you’re disgusting!” Scolded Ilse, logging out of her computer and standing up.
Shrugging his shoulders, Luke flashed a cheeky smirk at Nickolas, only for the other male to roll his eyes and walk off with Ilse.
Shaking his head in defeat, the long haired male stuffed his hands into his pockets and made his way to the other end of the client consultant area where the break room was located.

Watching Levi close the door as he followed you into his office, you forced yourself to remain calm as he walked towards the desk and leaned back against it, folding his arms and regarding you with a stoic frown.
“I hear Flagon has been harassing you again.” 
‘Straight to the point as always.’ You mused silently, furrowing your brows. 
Was this seriously what he had hauled you into his office for? 
Sure he had told you to let him know if Flagon tried bullying you, but that had been back when the two of you were together...so what exactly was he trying to achieve? 
“With all due respect Mr Ackerman.” You said evenly, raising your head slightly. “I don’t see what concern that is of yours anymore.”
“Tch, Mr Ackerman huh?” Remarked Levi, mild amusement laced into his tone when he spoke. “Since when were you so formal towards me?”
Visibly shaken by his attitude, you nervously bit the inside of your cheek and forced yourself to maintain eye contact.
Clicking his tongue, Levi decided to change tact.
“Look f/n, I know we’re not together anymore...but I still care about you.”
Expression faltering for a moment, you couldn’t help but feel a small flutter in your chest at the raven haired male’s confession.
“I can handle Flagon.” You replied, making sure to speak with strong conviction and not let yourself be swayed by his words.
“Perhaps try ramming a cactus up his ass rather than your own?” Suggested Levi. “I’d imagine it would be much more satisfying.”
Before you could stop yourself, a snort of laughter escaped your lips, causing you to raise a hand to your mouth and avert your gaze in an effort to hide your smile.
Allowing himself a split second smirk, Levi quickly regained his composure and summoned his courage. He had questions that he needed answers too and whether he liked them or not, he had to know the truth.
“Why were you so quick to believe him over me?”
Lowering your hand as a frown settled over your features, you slowly turned back to face him.
“You didn’t exactly deny it.”
“I told you the truth.” 
“What? That we’re both reincarnated soldiers who served in the same regiment together, but one of us died before we were due to marry? Levi, surely you know how ridiculous that sounds?”
“Tch, of course I do.” He scoffed, keeping his sight firmly fixed on you. “Hanji has the proof, ask her if you still refuse to believe me!”
“How do I know she hasn’t cooked up some fake papers and edited a load of pictures in Photoshop to make it look like we were even alive when...whenever we were supposed to have been in the military together?”
Now it was Levi’s turn to look away.
No matter what he tried to say, your mind had already been made up and you were never going to believe him. 
He’d failed and now he had lost you all over again.
“Levi.” You sighed, softening your tone. “I want to believe you, I really do...but...there’s no such thing as reincarnation, it’s just a theory. I’m sorry you lost someone you loved and were supposed to marry, but I’m not them and I never will be. Maybe the fact your grieving is making you act this way and Hanji decided to try and help, but you guys went about it completely the wrong way!”
Each word that came out of your mouth was like a knife to Levi’s heart.
Unless you regained your memories on your twentysecond birthday, he had no chance of convincing you that everything he and Hanji had tried to tell you was the truth.
“I should go.”
“F/n wait.”
Unfolding his arms and pushing himself off the desk, he walked around it and pulled open one of the drawers underneath.
Tilting your head to one side, you frowned at the neatly wrapped box he retrieved from it and watched with curious e/c eyes as he made his way towards you.
“I was saving this for your birthday.” He muttered, awkwardly holding it out towards you. “Keep it, sell it...do what you want with it, I just wanted to be able to give you it.”
Hesitantly taking it from him, you carefully ran a finger underneath the gap in one of the taped down flaps and pried it open. 
Breath catching in your throat when you finally saw the contents beneath, the fluttering in your heart returned once more when you pulled the box free and stared at the display picture.
“Sir Didymus riding Ambrosius! Levi, this is the exact same ornament my mother had! How did you...I didn’t think they even made these anymore?”
“They don’t, but my mother managed to find it on a vintage gift shop website. I was struggling for ideas and after you mentioned the one your mother had, she did a little digging around and managed to find it.”
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again.” You giggled, desperately trying to stop yourself from crying. “Your mum’s great, her technological prowess certainly puts my dad to shame!”
“Tch, she has her moments.”
“How is she by the way?” You asked cautiously, not entirely sure if you had any right to be inquiring about her anymore.
“She’s at the hospital today for some test results.”
Nodding and pursing your lips, you afforded him a small smile. 
“Well, I hope it’s good news for her.”
“Yeah, so do I.”
An ominous silence soon fell over the office, with neither you or Levi knowing what to say, you both simply stared at each other and waited to see who would make the next move.
On the one hand, Levi was desperate to try and have one last shot at convincing you that reincarnation was indeed real and that you were truly who he said you were. However, the fact that he didn’t want to ruin the current mood held him back. The last thing he wanted was for the two of you to part on bad terms again.
Fighting a losing battle with your conflicting feelings, you tightened your grip on the box in your hands and continued to watch the short male in front of you.
As much as you wanted to give him another chance after such a thoughtful gesture, you knew you couldn’t.
He believed you to be someone you weren’t and for that reason alone, a reconciliation just wasn’t possible. This was the end of the line for your relationship and you knew it, even though reluctantly accepting it didn’t make it any less painful. 
It was time to say your goodbyes and go your separate ways.
“Listen Levi.” You began, inhaling deeply and struggling to find the right words without sounding like you’d pulled them directly from the break-up book of cliches. “I know we’re not together anymore, but...I still care about you. So, if you ever...need someone to talk to when things get rough, you can always call or text me. I mean, that is...if you want to.”
Unsure what to say, Levi simply responded with a single nod.
Momentarily directing your gaze downwards to the box in your hands, you smiled and brought it into your chest. “Thank you for this, I’ll treasure it...always.”
Furrowing his brows, the short male still found himself unable to speak. He could clearly see you were fighting to remain calm and not break down in front of him, yet all he could do was stand there and listen to what you had to say before you walked out of his life.
Desperately trying to come up with something to say, he was caught off guard when you stepped forward and wrapped an arm around him, resting your chin on his shoulder.
‘Fuck it!’ He mused internally, finally managing to think straight and hesitantly returning your embrace. ‘This might be my last chance to do something like this with her.’
“I wish things could’ve been different between us Levi, I really do...but...” You whispered softly, tightening your grip on his jacket when you felt your e/c eyes start to fill with tears. “I can’t compete with ghost, it’s not fair on either of us. I know you’re going to make one woman really happy someday, I’m just sorry it won’t be me.”
Gritting his teeth, Levi simply continued to hold you. As much as he didn’t want to keep hearing how you didn’t believe him about your shared past, all he could do was cling to the hope that your memories would eventually awaken and lead you back to him.
Hesitantly ending the tender embrace, you slowly pulled away and looked into Levi’s steel grey eyes for a brief moment before cautiously leaning in and placing one last lingering kiss on his cheek. 
“I meant what I said, if things ever get too much for you at home with your mother or even your uncle, you can always call or text me and offload.”
“Yeah, I’ll bear it in mind.” He nodded, brows furrowing when he noticed the glazed over look in your e/c eyes.
Affording him a small smile, your turned and walked towards the door. However you didn’t leave straight away.
Swallowing hard, you forced yourself to look back at him. 
Saying “goodbye” felt far too final, especially since you had pledged to still be there for him when things with his family got too rough for him to handle and he needed someone to vent to. 
It was probably a huge mistake to make such an offer and deep down, you knew it, but a part of you just couldn’t bear to let go completely...it wasn’t as though you had offered a face to face meet up, just calling or exchanging texts...so surely there was no harm in that?
Swallowing down the lump in your throat, you opened the door.
“Take care of yourself Levi.” 
Watching the door close behind you, Levi exhaled deeply and took a step backwards, feeling the desk behind him.
Closing his eyes, he gritted his teeth and gripped the edge of the varnished wood hard enough to send his knuckles white.
Despite your promise to be there for him when he needed an escape from everything that was happening at home, he was resolved to not taking you up on your offer. 
As kind as it was, he knew it was also very naive of you and even if you didn’t realize it because you were too busy trying to remain strong and avoid further heartache, he was well aware it would not end well.
While you may not have understood that, he did and furthermore, he needed to avoid the temptation to try and question whether your memories had returned. 
For now, it was better to cut all ties rather than live in hope of something that may never come to pass.
“Goodbye f/n.” He muttered lowly, finally saying the words he lacked the courage to speak when you were still in the office with him. “I love you.”

Stepping out into the corridor, you closed the office door and looked around, relieved to find that you were alone.
Unable to fight back the flood of emotion any longer, you screwed your eyes shut and allowed your tears to fall.
Holding Levi’s parting gift close, you quickly made your way to the staff toilets near the canteen. 
If you were lucky, no one would be in there and you would be able to unleash the full extent of your heartbreak before Nanaba came looking for you.
In all honesty, her offer of some time off to come to terms with everything that had currently happened wasn’t sounding like so bad to you now...in fact, it was safe to say it was probably the best idea you’d heard all week!
Quickly rounding the corner where the canteen and staff toilets were located, you were so occupied by the combination of contemplating putting in a request for some compassionate leave and wiping your teary eyes, that you didn’t realize someone was turning the corner at the exact same moment as you until it was too late.
“Ooft!” 
“Oh shit, sorry about that!” Giggled a happy female voice, however it soon became concerned when a pair of hands landed on your shoulders. “Are you...F/n? Sweetie, what’s wrong?”
“Hanji?”
Slowly raising your head, you blinked rapidly to try and clear your blurred vision. 
“What the hell is going on?” Babbled Hanji, tightening her grip on you. “Why are you so upset?”
Overcome by your conflicted feelings, you sobbed uncontrollably. Temporarily forgetting your bitter anger towards her, you allowed her to pull you into her arms and hold you tightly against her. 
“Has Flagon done this to you?” She growled, resting one hand on the back of your head and rubbing your spine with the other. “If he’s responsible for this, I’ll damn well kill him!”
“I love him Hanji!” You cried, your voice shaking with each word.
“What? You can’t be serious?” She shrieked, pushing you away and holding you at arms length. “Why would you say such a thing?”
“Not Flagon you idiot! Levi...I…” Lowering your head, the words tumbled from your lips in a shaky whimper. “I’m in love with Levi!”
“Oh f/n!” Puppy brown eyes widening in shock, Hanji pulled you back to her and rested her head against yours. “Come with me, we need to have a little chat.”

Resting his chin on the palm of one hand Flagon furrowed his brows and frowned at the computer monitor as he went over his notes for the team meeting that he was due to hold later on that afternoon. 
Usually, such a thing held his full attention...but not today however.
It had been nearly fifteen minutes since he saw Levi enter the client consultant area and then leave a moments later with you accompanying him and as of yet, you had not returned. 
Curling his lip, he started to contemplate reasons for why you had been gone so long, each one causing an uncomfortable feeling to envelop him as the list grew.
Surely you couldn’t be talking about getting back together? What if you had somehow regained your memories early and Levi had gotten wind of it? Or even worse, had he found out about your little altercation with him that morning and was trying to persuade you to report him to Human Resources?
He already had a black mark against his name in the form of a written warning from Director Hanji, the next step from there was a final written warning and possibly being demoted...that was the last thing he needed.
Narrowing his hazel eyes, Flagon shook his head and tried to concentrate on his work.
There wasn’t much he could do about anything until you returned from Levi’s office and worrying about it wouldn’t get him anywhere fast, all he could do was wait until he had the opportunity to speak with you face and face; preferably in private and hope that you wouldn’t lash out at him again like you had earlier that morning.
Glancing towards the other end of the client consultant area, he noticed your teammates making their way out of the break room and returning to their own workstations. 
He couldn’t quite hear what they were talking about, but he was certain that you were their current topic of conversation from the way they glanced over at your workstation and exchanged a worried glance between the three of them upon noticing your absence. 
Turning back to his computer screen, he once again found himself being distracted when the doors leading to the deputy management offices and canteen opened, allowing two women entry into the area. 
Lifting his head from his hand, Flagon blinked rapidly when he realized it was none other than you and Director Hanji...however it was you that commanded his full attention.
Your eyes were red and puffy, coupled with the expression on your face and the way you kept your head down, it was clear to see that you had been crying.
“Nanaba!” Called Hanji, keeping an arm wrapped around your shoulders as she guided you past Flagon’s workstation, ignoring his presence and that of everyone else around her. “I’m borrowing f/n for a while, hope that’s okay.”
Looking towards the other end of the area again, Flagon leaned forward slightly for a better view.
“Of course.” Nodded the other female, her brows furrowing as she addressed her colleague. “Take as long as you need.”
“Thanks. Come on Sweetie, let’s go to my office.”
Leaning back into his seat after watching Hanji lead you through the doors connecting the client consultant work area, Flagon scratched at the fine hairs lining his chin and pursed his lips thoughtfully.
As far as he knew, you’d fallen out with both Hanji and Levi thanks to him interfering in your relationship with the raven haired deputy manager; so why were you now seemingly on good terms with at least one of them again?
Shaking his head in annoyance, he forced himself to return to his work. 
However, he couldn’t fight off the idea that if you were slowly reconciling with Hanji and Levi, all of his own research into your long forgotten past and carefully planned sabotage of your relationship with Levi may be all for naught if and when your memories were finally awakened...for if there was one thing he could not allow to happen, it was for you and his rival to rekindle your former romance.

Reaching Hanji’s work area, the two of you were greeted by a rather surprised looking Moblit as you entered the reception area.
“Make us two coffees please Moblit.” Said Hanji hastily leading you into her office. “Also, can you make sure no one disturbs us until further notice?”
“Of course Director.” He nodded nervously, casting a worried glance at you before returning his focus to the bespectacled brunette. “Is everything okay?”
“We’ll soon find out.” She muttered, quietly closing the door behind her and leaving her personal assistant stood froze to the spot in confusion for a few seconds before setting about carrying out his requested task.
Motioning for you to take a seat, Hanji walked around the large paperwork cluttered desk and sat down opposite you.
“So, do you want to tell me what’s happened?” She asked cautiously, still completely aware that despite agreeing to talk to her, you were still harbouring some bitter feelings towards her after your break-up with Levi.
“Levi called me into his office after hearing about the way I snapped at Flagon earlier.” You sniffed, raising a hand to your face and wiping your eyes on your jacket sleeve. “I don’t know who told him, but he knew exactly what I’d said.”
“Not me Sweetie.” Giggled Hanji, holding her hands up in surrender. “I’ve not actually spoken to Shorty today.”
Before the conversation could continue, a gentle knock on the door caused the two of you to look around.
“Come in Moblit.”
Doing as requested, the tall male opened the door and approached the desk, waiting for the director to move some of her paperwork. Silently placing two steaming cups of freshly brewed coffee down on the cleared space, Moblit nodded towards Hanji before giving you a sympathetic glance and leaving the office, closing the door behind him.
“So what did he say?” Inquired Hanji once the pair of you were alone again.
“He basically reminded me that I’d said I would tell him if Flagon started trying to intimidate me again.” You answered, hugging Levi’s gift tightly. “So I reminded him that we weren’t together anymore and that it was no longer his concern.”
“That’s a little harsh isn’t it?” She frowned, pushing her glasses further up her nose with her index and middle fingers. “Surely you realize how much he cares about you?”
“It’s not me though is it?” You remarked bitterly, making eye contact with her. “It’s whoever his fiancee was, he doesn’t truly care about me...I was just a cheap imitation he tried to replace her with.”
“F/n that’s not true!” Shaking her head, Hanji slumped back into her seat. “I can’t believe you still think Flagon was telling the truth about that!”
“So I’m supposed to believe your “reincarnation” story instead?” You shot back angrily. “Flagon might be a slimy bastard, but at least he’s never lied to me!”
“Can you hear yourself right now?” Raising her voice, Hanji leaned forward and reached for the stack of drawers under her desk. “In all the years you’ve known me, do you honestly think I would ever do anything to hurt you? Besides, I have proof that he’s the liar.”
“Hanji stop it.” You groaned, lowering your head and closing your eyes in frustration. 
Coming up here with her had been a bad idea and you knew it, she was never going to let this who “reincarnation” subject go and you were foolish to think otherwise.
“No, you need to read this.” 
Closing the drawer with a forceful thump, she reached over and thrust a plain black folder towards you.
“Reincarnation isn’t real Hanji.” You said, struggling to keep your voice even. “It’s just a theory made up to help people deal with their fear of death.”
“No it’s not!” She protested, waving the folder in front of you to try and get you to look at her. “Read this, you’ll see.”
“Hanji…”
“Please f/n. I care about you and I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I’m just trying to help you-”
“By setting me up with your friend because I remind him of his dead fiancee?” You shrieked, your head jerking up so fast it almost gave yo whiplash. 
“Just read through my research notes.”
“No!”
“Please f/n…”
“I SAID NO DAMNIT!”
Jumping out of your seat, you swiftly raised your right hand and knocked the folder from her grasp, sending it flying across the office. Fortunately the contents did not spill out, but only because Hanji had thought to secure it with an elastic band after Moblit had caught Flagon in her office the previous month. 
Breath catching in her throat, Hanji stared at you wide eyed for almost a minute before regaining her composure.
“Shit!” You muttered, taking a step backwards and turning to flee the office. 
Unfortunately, you were in such a rush to leave, you stumbled into the chair you had previously been occupying and lost your footing.
“F/N!”
“Director Hanji, are you alright in there?” Shouted a worried voice through the closed door. 
“Everything’s okay, thanks Moblit!” She called back, dashing around the desk to where you had landed. 
Squatting next to you, she wrapped an arm around your shoulders.
“Are you okay f/n?”
Suddenly becoming aware that you were on your hands and knees, you gasped in panic at the sight of Levi’s gift now laying on its side approximately a foot away from you. 
“My ornament!”
Sweeping it up in the blink of an eye, you shakily pulled open one of the taped down flaps and removed the contents.
“F/n?” Asked Hanji worriedly.
Completely oblivious to her presence, you carefully removed the protective layer of bubblewrap and intensely inspected the ornament.
“It didn’t break!” You whispered, a small smile of relief spreading across your lips. “It’s alright, it didn’t break!”
“F/n answer me, are you alright?”
Finally remembering where you were, you slowly turned to look at the concerned woman next to you.
“Hanji! I...I...I’m sorry!” You muttered weakly, feeling tears start to sting your e/c eyes once more. “I didn’t mean to…”
“Come on, stand up.” She said softly, keeping an arm around your shoulders to hold you steady  as you got back onto your feet.
Helping you to sit in the chair, she then retrieved her folder and returned to her own seat.
“What the Hell is wrong with me?” You mumbled to yourself, carefully rewrapping the ornament and putting it back in the box before placing it down on Hanji’s desk. “First Flagon and now Hanji, why am I suddenly acting this way?”
“F/n?”
Looking up at the call of your name, you swallowed hard upon seeing the sympathetic smile tugging at Hanji’s lips. 
“Can I make a request?” She inquired, leaning down to her stack of drawers and carefully pulling one open. “Just talk to me and tell me what happened with Levi okay? No reincarnation stuff, I promise. See, I’m putting it away and it’ll stay there for as long as you’re here in the office.”
Hearing a light thud as the folder hit the bottom of the drawer and Hanji returned to an upright sitting position, you opened your mouth to speak; however you found yourself at a loss for words when no sound came out.
Thinking back on how you had managed to part ways with Levi on civil terms after everything that had come to light four days ago, surely you could find the strength to do the same with Hanji? She had been the one who found you after leaving Levi’s office after all and despite how hard you tried to push her away, she still refused to budge and was even now trying to help you deal with your pain...even if she was partly to blame for it.
There was no way you could forgive her for her actions, no matter how good her intentions had been, but it was crystal clear that she wanted to make amends and cared deeply about you; that much at least, you knew to be true.
“Okay.” Inhaling shakily, you reached for your coffee. “No reincarnation talk, no theories, just...none of it.”
“I promise.” Nodded Hanji. “Now, let’s start again shall we?”

Chapter Text

True to her word, Hanji remained silent on the subject of reincarnation...in fact, she barely said anything at all.
Sitting and listening attentively as you explained the conversation that took place between you and Levi, the only sounds she emitted were a few low hums of contemplation. 
Sipping her coffee and affording you a small sympathetic smile, she cast a quick glance over to the ornament you’d previously been clinging to like grim death. 
“I hope you don’t think I’m overstepping the mark here, but…” She began cautiously, nodding towards the boxed object. “I think it’s pretty clear that Levi cares about you and sees you as who you are...not someone else.”
Lowering your head, you frowned at the half empty cup in your hands and sighed. 
Perhaps he did; but unfortunately, the doubt that he only saw his dead fiancee whenever he looked at you was far too strong for you to simply dismiss.
“Anyway, what’s with the ornament?” She continued. “It’s really cute.”
Raising your head, you smiled sadly and turned your attention towards the aforementioned item.
“Sir Didymus and Ambrosius from Labyrinth.” You mused quitely. “Kuchel found it on a vintage giftshop website after I mentioned my mother used to have the same one.”
“Ah yes, I remember you telling me that it ended up becoming her favourite film.”
“Levi intended it to be a birthday present, but since we…”
Trailing off, you once again lowered your head when you felt fresh tears sting your still red eyes.
“Is there really no way back for the two of you?” She asked, making sure she chose her words carefully to avoid another outburst. “You already admitted that you love him and I know for a fact he loves you, plus the two of you were so good together...”
“Of course there isn’t!” You snorted, brows furrowing in irritation at her suggestion. “Hanji, you only set me up with him because I remind him of his dead fiancee! I may love him, but it’s just not enough...he doesn’t love me. Well, not the way I want him too anyway.”
Shaking her head and exhaling deeply, the bespectacled director bit her lower lip and dragged it back between her teeth. 
As much as she wanted to launch herself over the table, grab you and shake some sense into you, she knew it was a bad idea to commit such an act. Especially given that you were finally starting to open up to her again, the last thing she wanted to do was cause another rift between you.
She knew it was selfish of her to want to stay on your good side by pushing aside her own feelings about the current situation, you weren’t your mother and she was well aware of that; but you were technically the last link she had to her deceased best friend and she was determined not to lose you. 
“I’m sorry, I know you’re partially grateful to Flagon for telling you…” Swallowing down the bile that was rising in her throat, she gritted her teeth and looked you in the eye. “Telling you the “truth,” but I can’t help thinking he only did it out of spite towards Levi because he wants you for himself.”
Raising your cup to your lips, you slowly sipped the remaining coffee and frowned deeply. Unfortunately, there was no denying that Flagon’s jealousy was the driving force for sabotaging your relationship with Levi. After all, he’d been far too happy when word spread that the two of you were no longer together and the moment he found out, he had suddenly started trying to be nice to you. 
“I’m well aware of that Hanji.” You replied evenly, placing your now empty cup back down on the table. “Although I think it’s safe to say Hell will freeze over before I even consider giving him a second glance.”
“Oh, so we’ve moved on from self mutilation via spiky plants to trying to change the weather in the hottest place you can end up?”
“You’re such an idiot!” You scoffed, struggling not to give her the satisfaction of seeing the smile that was currently tugging at one corner of your mouth.
“Listen f/n.” Hanji smiled softly, leaning forward in her seat and resting her arms on the desk. “I know everything seems completely messed up right now...and I’m truly sorry for the part I played in that, but things will work out in the end.”
Raising an unconvinced eyebrow you silently stared at her. 
“It will, trust me.” 
“I’m sorry Hanji, but that’s the problem...I don’t trust you, I can’t...not anymore.”
Puppy brown eyes widening, the other woman slumped back into her seat, crushed by your admission.
“I’m not saying we can’t work on trying to build bridges.” You added hastily. “I mean, I appreciate you being here for me to offload to, but it’s going to take time. Surely you can understand why I feel this way?”
“I get it.” She nodded, pursing her lips and lowering her hands so you couldn’t see her clenching her fists in frustration. “You need me to give you some space and not pressure you into things, I can do that.”
“Thanks.” 
Affording her a weak smile, you reached for the ornament and carefully picked it up. 
“I should probably head back downstairs, Nanaba and the others must be miles behind with their workload. Heh, I can actually see me working through my lunch hour at this rate in an effort to catch up.”
Remaining silent, Hanji watched you with a neutral expression as you stood up and walked towards the door before deciding to speak up.
“F/n!”
“Yeah?” 
Turning back to face her, you swallowed hard at the pained expression on her face. 
Desperately wanting to call you back and practically interrogate you on the subject of how she could earn back your lost trust, she decided against it and simply flashed you a small but weak smile.
“You know where I am...if you ever need me, call me, text me...Hell, even email me if you have to.”
“I will.” You nodded, exiting the office and closing the door behind you.
“Damnit!” Snarled Hanji, removing her glasses and raising a hand to her face. 
Wiping her eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger, she let out an exasperated sigh that bordered on becoming a growl. 
While she was grateful that you were willing to try and patch things up with her, the anger bubbling away in the pit of her stomach was starting to make her feel sick. 
Flagon had clearly been planning to destroy your relationship with Levi for quite some time and she was determined to find out why.
Leaning over towards the stack of drawers under her desk, she pulled open the one containing her reincarnation research and removed the folder.
Placing it down on the desk, she opened it up and started looking through the printed sheets. She already knew that Flagon was an old comrade from her life as a soldier, but having only briefly skimmed over it because it formed part of a list and held no real importance, she had simply dismissed it.
“Aha, there you are!” You growled, lifting a single sheet of paper from the folder and laying it on the desk before turning her attention to her laptop. “Now then Flagon Turret, let’s find out who you really are!”

Exiting Hanji’s office, you afforded Moblit a brief smile as you passed him before making your way out into the corridor leading back towards the stairs.
Furrowing your brows in frustration, you clutched your precious gift tighter and increased your pace.
While you no longer trusted the bespectacled director, you also came to realize that you couldn’t place any trust in Flagon either.
You knew all too well that he had a bad reputation within the company, but the way he had acted so calmly when you decided to get mouthy with him earlier that morning didn’t quite sit right with you. If anything, the more you thought about it, the more uncomfortable you became.
There was no denying it was an impressive act he was putting on, especially if even Nanaba was convinced enough by it that she didn’t feel the need to issue more than a verbal warning for your conduct. 
“Ugh, I need to speak to Nanaba about taking some time off to give my brain a break, preferably before I drive myself insane!” You groaned, shaking your head and walking through the double doors leading to the stairs. 
Descending them to the second floor, you stopped on the landing for a few seconds to compose yourself before making your way back into the client consultant area. 
The sound of chatter and telephones ringing filtered through the thick wood, doing little to ease your current nervousness. 
Still, you would have to face everyone sooner or later...even though there were some people you would have preferred to avoid; permanently if possible. 
The idea of actually apologising to Flagon for your earlier outburst made you want to vomit, especially the idea of doing so in front of the entire client consultant workforce.
Unfortunately, it was your safest option. You refused to believe that he was being nice to you because he suddenly cared about your feelings, it had to be an act. 
No one suddenly changed their personality from spewing bile with every word that left their lips to suddenly oozing with the milk of human kindness. The risk of trying to apologize in private could lead to him lying to Nanaba and saying that you had started running your mouth at him again and without any witnesses, you would certainly be facing more than a mere verbal warning.
“Better to do it in front of an audience.” You muttered to yourself. “Oh man, this is going to be so humiliating!”
Bracing yourself for what was sure to be one of the most awkward moments of your life, you inhaled deeply and held your head high, pushing open the doors to the client consultant work area and stepping through them.

“Ah, f/n you’re back, I was wondering when you were going to return.”
Looking up from their work, Ilse, Luke and Nickolas all stared wide eyed at Nanaba’s desk.
“Yeah, sorry that took so long Nanaba.” You smiled nervously. “I hope I haven’t put you all too far behind schedule. I’d be more than happy to work through my lunch hour to catch up.”
“If you’re sure that’s what you want to do.” Said the blonde team manager evenly.
“It is, although...I would like to take you up on your offer of a few days off while I get my head together.”
“Very well.” Nodded Nanaba. “We’ll discuss it during afternoon break.”
“Thanks.”
Exchanging a suspicious glance between them, the rest of your teammates returned their focus to you as you walked past them and spared them a momentary nod.
“Hey f/n, are you okay?” Asked Ilse, forcing a smile onto her face when you took a seat at your workstation and looked in her direction.
“No, not really.” You mused, reaching for the stack of drawers under your desk and opening the bottom one, carefully placing Levi’s gift into it and closing it a moment later.
“You’ve been gone almost an hour, it’s nearly lunchtime!”
“Not for another fifteen minutes it’s not.” You giggled, logging into your computer and preparing to resume your work. “Um, by the way...did any of you tell Mr Ackerman about me running my mouth at Flagon earlier? Only when I got called into his office, you guys all looked like you were about to shit yourselves.”
It was a thought that had been playing on your mind since the short deputy manager had personally come to your workstation to request your presence. You’d not given it much thought until you were making your way back downstairs from Hanji’s office, but now you were reunited with them after your brief absence, you couldn’t help but remember how shifty they had looked when they watched him leading you away.
“Us? Y-you mean as in...any of us or all of us?” Stammered Ilse, suddenly struggling to maintain eye contact with you and conveniently looking to her right in search of support from Luke.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” You smirked, leaning back in your seat and folding your arms.
“We were worried about you.” Admitted Luke. “You’ve worked with us for nearly three months and in that time, we’ve never seen you so much as raise your voice to anyone before.”
“I appreciate the concern guys.” You nodded. “In a way, I think you may have done me a favour.”
“Oh?” Inquired Ilse, cocking her head to one side.
“Yeah, it’s kinda helped me move forward in a way. At least, it feels like it.”
“Well in that case, glad we could be of service!” Said Luke, flashing you a confident smile. “Now, if you want to really make it up to us…”
“I assume from the chatter that you two would like to work through lunch with f/n?”
Heads snapping around to face the blonde short haired female now stood in front of Luke’s workstation, Ilse and the long haired male instantly fell silent under her icy blue eyed gaze.
“No, no there’s no need for that!” Gasped the long haired male, hastily tapping his fingers against his keyboard with enough intensity for the sound to travel across the area and reach your ears as clear as day.
“Nope, we’ve already agreed to losing five minutes off our lunch hour!” Added Ilse hastily. “We’ll have everything finished before we head to the canteen, don’t you worry!”
Answering with only an unconvinced hum of disapproval, Nanaba turned on her heels and walked back towards her own workstation.
“Dare I ask?” You inquired with a cheeky grin, raising a quizzical eyebrow. Although you had a feeling you could probably give an accurate guess as to what had happened to provoke such a punishment. 
“I think it’s best we end this conversation and return to work.” Muttered Ilse, hastily focusing her attention on her computer screen.
Allowing yourself a small giggle, you shook your head and turned back to your own workstation. 
Despite the rough week you were currently having, there was always one thing that could be relied upon to allow you a small respite from the stress and anguish currently plaguing you...and that was the antics of your teammates. 

“Come on woman think!”
Looking up from the pile of documents he was sorting, Moblit’s head jerked around to face the direction of Hanji’s office. 
He was by no means a stranger to her eccentric ways of berating herself when there was something she was trying to deal with unsuccessfully, but this did little to stop him from wishing she could go about it in a much quieter way.
Turning back to his own workload, he straightened the papers he had been looking at and placed them into a folder before standing up and walking over the filing cabinet in the corner near Hanji’s office door.
“Oh for crying out loud, this is important!” Came another muffled shriek of frustration, causing him to almost drop the documents he had just spent the last hour meticulously arranging. “Why does everything have to be so damned hard?”
Sighing and shaking his head, Moblit placed the folder into the cabinet and firmly closed it, taking two steps to his left and knocking on the office door.
“Director, is everything alright in there?” He called. “Do you need any assistance?”
This time a noise that resembled what he could only guess was a an angry string of expletives, followed by the sound of something hitting the door answered him.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” He mumbled, reaching for the silver door handle and raising his voice when he spoke again. “Director? I’m coming in!”
Opening the door, Moblit looked down when his foot made contact with a solid metal object; a rather large paperweight.
Bending to retrieve it, he then walked towards the covered paperwork desk and frowned at the sight that greeted him.
“Um, are you alright?”
“Mrugh!” 
Resting her forehead on the desk, Hanji merely rolled it from side to side to signal that she wasn’t before slowly lifting it and staring at him with a look of utmost defeat.
“Anything I can help you with?” Inquired Moblit worriedly, placing the paperweight down and walking around to Hanji’s side of the desk. 
“It’s no use.” Groaned Hanji, keeping her head firmly planted on the desk. “I can’t find anything to link Flagon with f/n in their past lives!”
“What?” Blinking rapidly, Moblit grabbed the bespectacled director by her shoulders and hauled her upright. “Why are you trying to do that?”
Reaching for her glasses, she put them back on and looked to her laptop screen. 
“It’s been painfully obvious from the moment I set f/n and Levi up together that Flagon has been insanely jealous, he’s the reason the two of them split up in the first place and f/n came to know of her hidden past.
“I thought she had no memory of it at the moment because she’s not old enough to remember Levi?”
“She doesn’t, but what if Flagon is like Levi? What if he has flashbacks and dreams of his previous life and…” Pausing to draw a shaky breath, the next words that left Hanji’s mouth felt like foul tasting poison on her tongue. “What if Flagon also had feelings for f/n? Or even worse, they were actually involved with each other?”
“That can’t be right?” Stuttered the male nervously. “You were adamant that your research showed absolute proof of f/n and Levi are soulmates, are you sure you’re thinking clearly?”
“While it’s true there’s no evidence to support this theory,” She mused, pulling her laptop towards her and rapidly opening a new browser window. “I did catch a glimpse of something on a reincarnation forum that said it was possible for a person to have more than one soulmate, so naturally that was the first thing I checked up on.”
“You think this might be the case with f/n?”
“It certainly worries me.”
Frowning and leaning over the laptop, Moblit stared hard at the screen as several lines of text slowly started to appear. 
“This is a website that Armin told me to check while I was looking to confirm f/n’s age when she first met Levi. It’s so well detailed that it even contains her record of military service from her past life, the date she signed up to the Cadet Corps, the regiment she joined upon graduating and when she died.” Began Hanji, running the tips of her index and forefingers across the mousepad. “Now, the site also comes with an option to search other names from history, so for example, let’s put in Flagon Turret.”
“So you think you may find out something useful from it?”
“I’m hoping to...ah, here we go!”
Unfortunately, before either of them could start going through the paragraphs of text that were currently loading, a knock on the door disturbed them.
“Come in!” Called Hanji, keeping her focus firmly on the laptop, preparing to strike the very second the relevant information appeared. 
“Hanji, glad I’ve caught you.”
“Not now Erwin!” Snapped the bespectacled director under her breath, suddenly looking up when she realized who had just walked into her office. “E-Erwin!”
Folding his arms across his chest, the tall blonde male raised one bushy eyebrow and stared down at her. His icy blue eyes meeting her puppy brown ones with a frightening intensity.
“Am I interrupting something?” 
“Ah...ha ha, not not at all. Sorry about that.” Giggled Hanji sheepishly, sitting bolt upright in her seat. “I’m just a little stressed out from trying to clear out some old files.” 
“I see.” He answered coldly, continuing to stare down at her. “I’m came to remind you that I’m holding a directors meeting today at noon.”
“Okay, well thanks for the reminder.” 
“Director Hanji!” Gasped Moblit, his hazel eyes widening in horror when he glanced down at the clock on the laptop’s taskbar. 
“What is it Moblit?”
“It’s noon now!”
“Eh?”
Following her personal assistants line of sight, Hanji almost fell out of her chair when she realized that it was indeed twelve o’clock.
“Oh crap! Sorry about that Erwin!” She gasped, forcing out another nervous giggle as she hastily closed the laptop and removed the charging cable. “It’s a good thing you were passing by isn’t it?”
“Indeed.” However Erwin did not appear to share her amusement of the situation. “If you’d care to follow me?”
“Of course, I’ll be right behind you!”
Quickly turning back to Moblit, she leaned into him as she retrieved her laptop case and slipped the device into it. 
“I want you to go into my personal email account and find the last message that Armin sent me, open it and follow the link at the very bottom. It’s the one that will lead you to the website we’ve just been looking at, I’m counting on you Moblit!”
“In your own time Hanji.” Said Erwin sternly, reminding her that he was still present and wasn’t prepared to leave unless he was certain she was going to be following. 
“Coming now!” She smiled, hastily zipping up the laptop case and shouldering it before walking around to the otherside of the desk. 
Sighing deeply, Moblit watched the two of them leave before exiting the office himself and locking the door behind him. 
“I suppose I should grab something from the canteen and then come straight back up here then.” He muttered to himself, stuffing his hands into his pockets and sullenly making his way out of the reception area onto the corridor leading towards the stairs. 

“Alright you lot, lunchtime.”
Looking up from checking over the document currently displayed on your computer screen, you glanced over towards the space that Flagon and his team occupied.
Upper lip curling thoughtfully, you furrowed your brows and watched as the blonde team manager stood up and retrieved his jacket from the back of his chair. 
“Damnit, I suppose I should get this over with.” You muttered sourly, saving your work and pushing your chair back.
Standing up, you brushed down your skirt and and slowly walked over to Flagon’s workstation. 
Nervously clenching your hands into fists while you worked out how best to apologize and make it sound like you actually meant it, you were relieved when he remained oblivious to your approach.
‘Okay f/n, just relax.’ You mused internally. ‘Just say you’re having a bad day, you’re sorry and it won’t happen again.’
Finally halting when you reached your destination, you hesitantly swallowed down the bile rising in your throat and summoned the courage to speak as the blonde male suddenly turned around to face you.
To say that Flagon wasn’t expecting to see you was an understatement.
If you weren’t so worried about actually apologising to him, you’d more than likely have been amused at the way his hazel eyes almost doubled in size when he found you stood in front of him.
“Can I have a word please?” You asked quietly, forcing yourself to look him square in the face.
Blinking rapidly, Flagon soon regained his composure and folded his arms, staring at you with the air of arrogance that you had come to associate with him since the moment the two of you met. 
“You may.”
‘Fucking pig!’ Growled a voice in the back of your mind. ‘Come on f/n, hurry up and get this over with!’
“I...I just wanted to apologise for earlier.” You said evenly, somehow succeeding in keeping your tone civil. “Things in my personal life are a little...well, hectic at the moment. However there was no excuse for the way I spoke to you this morning, so...I’m sorry.”
Jaw twitching involuntarily when Flagon raised a suspicious eyebrow at you, it took every ounce of self restraint you possessed not to let him see how awkward the current situation was making you feel. 
Despite appearing calm externally, your heart was thumping wildly in your chest from the tension between the two of you.
‘Say something already damn you, I don’t want to stand here with you all day!’
“Hmm, apology accepted.” Shrugged Flagon casually. “Although, I’m well aware I am in part responsible for the current problems in your personal life. How about we have lunch together and bury the hatchet?”
‘Oh I know exactly where I’d like the bury the hatchet!’
Biting back your venomous thoughts, you forced a smile onto your lips and shook your head. 
“I’m afraid that’s not possible today, I promised Nanaba I’d work through to help everyone catch up with the work I missed earlier.”
Hazel eyes narrowing slightly, it was impossible to miss the small sneer that tugged at Flagon’s lips when you once again rejected him. 
As far as you were concerned, you’d apologised for your earlier actions...however reluctant and insincere it might have been and he had accepted it, so in your mind, there was no reason for you to spend another moment in his presence.
“I see. Well, I respect your commitment to your team, so I suppose I should let you get back to work.”
“Thanks.” You nodded, turning on your heels and walking away, relief overcoming you like a bucket of cold water suddenly being dumped over your head. 
However in your haste to escape, you failed to notice the angry glare Flagon was directing towards your retreating figure…

"Okay you three, your five minute delay is up." Said Nanaba, looking towards her teammates workstations with a sly smile. "Finish what you're doing and you can go get lunch."
"I can't believe you were serious about that!" Remarked Luke, the hurt in his tone of voice evident for all to hear. 
"Maybe next time you three won't stand around gossiping when you're supposed to be working, will you?"
Defiantly flicking his long bangs out of his face with a dramatic huff, Luke turned his attention to your workstation and frowned when he noticed you weren't there. 
"So we get punished for a quick chat, yet f/n can swan off whenever she pleases?" He muttered under his breath. "Talk about favouritism!"
"Um Luke." Whispered Ilse, quickly whipping out her notebook and flicking through it to find a blank page. "She's not exactly wandered far, look!"
Humming thoughtfully, the long haired male cocked his head to one side and frowned.
"What you talking about Ilse?"
"I dunno why, but she's stood talking to Flagon."
"What?" 
The word left Luke's mouth at a much higher volume than he had originally intended, but it couldn't be helped given his shock and disgust that you were even giving the arrogant team manager any of your time.
"What the Hell is she playing at?"
"Keep your voice down!" Snapped Ilse, proceeding to scribble in her notebook, looking up every so often to check on what you were doing.
"Hey is this a private conversation or can anyone join in?" 
"Shh! F/n's talking to Flagon." Whispered Luke, glancing to his right and seeing Nickolas stood next to him. 
"Why is she doing that?" Asked the confused male, furrowing his brows and causing a deep frown to settle over his features. 
"Well if you'd both shut up, I might be able to hear them!" 
Rolling her eyes, the dark haired female narrowed her eyes and continued to glare in your direction, suddenly jerking back in her seat when you turned around and started walking back towards your work station.
"Heads up, here she comes."
"Right, let's make sure she's alright."

"Thank God that's over!" 
Slumping back down into your chair, you let your head fall back against the hard weave cushion and exhaled deeply.
Closing your eyes and gritting your teeth, you allowed yourself a frustrated growl while you gathered your thoughts. It was going to be a hard push to try and catch up with everything during your lunch hour, but if you could get at least halfway through before running over to the canteen and getting yourself some food, there was a strong possibility that you could finish the rest while you ate. Even if you didn't manage to fully catch up, you were sure Nanaba wouldn't object to you working through your afternoon break as well, it was the least you owed your teammates after going AWOL for most of the morning.
"Yeah that could work I guess."
"What could work?"
"Gah!"
Eyes snapping open, you almost jumped out of your seat when you found yourself faced with three people stood in front of your workstation, expectantly staring down at your with their arms folded...well, two of them anyway.
"Geez guys! What the Hell?" You shrieked, eyeballing each of them in turn. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack? What's the with inquisition?"
"We'll ask the questions here f/n." Said Ilse sternly, turning to a fresh page in her notebook and getting ready to resume scribbling in it. "Starting with why were you talking to Flagon?"
"I was only apologizing to him for earlier because I promised Nanaba I would!" You groaned rolling your eyes. "Although if you want some juicy gossip, he asked me to have lunch with him and I turned him down."
"Glad to hear it." Nodded Luke, allowing a small smile to tug at his lips for a brief moment before growing serious once more. "He hasn't tried anything funny apart from that has he?"
"No, he accepted my apology, asked me to have lunch and when I turned him down, that was the end of it."
"Are you sure?" Frowned Nickolas, raising a suspicious eyebrow. "You know better than anyone that he doesn't let things go easily, especially where you're concerned."
"Well I doubt he's going to try anything." You shrugged nonchalantly. "People are always passing through here every ten minutes or so, even when it's lunch time. I'll be fine honestly."
An awkward silence passed between the four of you, accompanied by a series of unconvinced looks before Ilse finally broke the tension by closing her notebook with an audible snap and putting it back in her pocket.
"Okay, do you want one of us to bring you something from the canteen to save you a trip?"
"Nah, I'll be fine thanks." You smiled. "I'll crack on with this and pop over to grab a sandwich in a bit."
Exchanging another concerned glance between them, your colleagues nodded and slowly started to make their way towards the double doors leading to the management offices and canteen.
"We'll see you after lunch then." Said Nickolas, putting his hands into his pockets and sparing you one last glance before he and the others disappeared. 
"Have fun."
Waving them away, you shook your head and sighed with relief when you were finally left alone to catch up with the work you had missed.
"At last!" You giggled to yourself. "Time for a bit of peace!"
Humming thoughtfully, you curiously scanned through the document currently displayed on your screen, meticulously checking it to make sure it was all in order.
To save yourself some time and make good progress, you had decided to wait until you had a few contracts completed before printing them off. 
"Hmm, probably best get this one done now and take it down to the mail room myself." You mused, scrolling through the pages and realizing it was actually a rather lengthy document that had been given top priority. "Nanaba's even left me a note attachment to let me know it needed to be sent out to the client as soon as possible. Oh well, needs must."
Pressing the "print" button, you stood up and walked over towards the printing station, only to find that the paper tray for the device was empty; as indicated by the large flashing panel displaying the words "Replace paper tray to continue."
"Ugh typical!"
Resisting the urge to curse whoever had forgotten to refill it, you opened the door of the wooden cabinet next to the printing station to retrieve a fresh pack of paper.
"Oh come on!" You groaned in dismay. "Seriously?"
Muttering under your breath upon finding the shelf where the paper was usually stored empty, you retrieved the key with a tag marked "main stationary cupboard" from the small metal hook on the inside of the door before closing it. 
"Why do I get the feeling I'm being punished right now?" You continued complaining to yourself. "I swear the moment lunch is over, I'm putting in for that time off Nanaba offered me!"
Reaching the main stationary cupboard at the other end of the client consultant work area, you put the key in the lock and gave it a sharp turn.
Deciding to leave the key in the lock since you would be in and out within a minute or less, you walked into into the narrow cupboard towards the shelves at the rear where the printer paper was located. 
"Best grab a good few packs while I'm in here, I just hope the idiot who forgot to keep the cabinet stocked up appreciates the effort I'm going through for them!"
Pulling down a second large pack, you continued muttering away to yourself as you retrieved a third, completely unaware that the storage cupboard door was slowly closing behind you...

Chapter Text

To say Flagon was annoyed by your latest rejection was an understatement, downright furious would’ve been closer to the truth.
Watching you walk back to your workstation after declining his lunch invitation, his hazel eyes narrowed to slits.
While he had his suspicions that your apology for mouthing off at him earlier that morning wasn’t entirely sincere, there was no denying that he had thoroughly enjoyed watching you squirm like a worm on a fishing hook as you delivered it.
However, his patience had finally run out and it was now time to put the final phase of his plan into action. 
After spending the last month meticulously carrying out his own research based on what he had found in Hanji’s office, he was feeling confident that everything would proceed accordingly and he would finally get what he had previously been denied.
Folding his arms across his chest, he continued to observe as Luke, Ilse and Nickolas approached your workstation, almost conveniently shielding you from view...had they known he was stood watching you?
There was no doubt in his mind that the three of them were interrogating you over the conversation the two of you had partaken in a few minutes earlier, especially given how quickly they descended on you when you returned to your workstation.
Still, they could hardly be considered a threat to his plans. They would soon head off to the canteen for lunch and be out of the way, leaving him free to speak to you in private.
A small smirk tugged at Flagon’s lips when, as predicted, your teammates and the rest of the client consultant workforce vacated the area, leaving only you behind.
Keeping his gaze firmly fixed on you, Flagon furrowed his brows as you stood up and walked over to the printing station.
Pursing his lips, he decided to make his move. 
Slowly stepping around his workstation, he started to make his way over to where you were currently stood. However, he only managed to make it as far as the front of his workstation before you suddenly moved away and started walking towards the other end of the area near the break room.
“Damnit, where the Hell is she going now?” He muttered under his breath, quickly changing course to follow while maintaining a cautious distance so that he wouldn’t alert you to the fact he was still there; at least, not yet anyway.
Halting at the double doors leading to the stairs, he frowned and watched you eventually do the same outside the stationary storage cupboard.
Humming thoughtfully, he waited until you had disappeared inside. This was the perfect opportunity to get you on your own without anyone else disturbing you, he certainly wasn’t going to get another one, so he needed to take it before it slipped through his fingers.
Raising his head and drawing a deep breath, he quickly walked over to the cupboard, unable to keep a sly smile from spreading across his lips when he noticed that you had left the key in the lock.
‘Oh f/n.’ Chucked a voice in the back of his mind. ‘You're so helpful, I'll be sure to show my gratitude!’
Carefully removing the the object, he inserted it into the opposite side and stepped into the cupboard, quietly closing to door and locking it behind him before slipping the key into his trouser pocket…

“Okay, one more ought to do it.” You muttered, pulling a fourth pack of paper from the shelf and adding it to the growing pile that was currently weighing down your left arm. “Argh damnit, that’s a little to heavier than I thought it would be. Maybe I should take two now and come back for the others?”
“Would you like some assistance f/n?”
A high pitched shriek tearing through your throat, you jumped back and dropped the packs of paper with a loud clatter.
“FUCKING SHIT!”
“Has anyone ever told you your language is atrocious?” Inquired Flagon rather smugly, leaning back against the door and folding his arms. “I hope you don’t kiss your father with that mouth!”
“What the fuck are doing sneaking up on me like that?” You demanded, staring wild eyed at the man in front of you. 
Heart beating so rapidly you feared it may break out of your ribcage, you panted heavily and squatted to retrieve the objects you had dropped. 
“Sorry about that. Here, let me help you.”
Raising a suspicious eyebrow, you refused to tear your sight away from the blonde team manager. Something about the current situation didn’t sit right with you and every instinct in your brain was screaming at you not to so much as blink if it were possible.
“I honestly don’t know what’s gotten into you today f/n.” Mused Flagon, cocking his head to one side and picking up one of the packs from the hard carpeted floor. “You never used to be this skittish.”
“You just followed me into a confined space and and blindsided me!” You snarled in reply, tucking one of the fallen paper packs into the crook of your arm. “You’re lucky I didn’t smack you around the head with one of these!”
Shaking his head, Flagon sighed and stood up straight and, continuing to watch as you did the same. 
“Why did you even follow me in here anyway?” You groaned. “I’ve already apologised for earlier and Nanaba’s given me a verbal warning.”
“I just want to talk.” He answered unusually softly, placing the packs of paper onto the nearest shelf and raising his hands in surrender. “Is that alright?”
Exhaling deeply and rolling your eyes, you glared straight at him. He clearly wasn’t going to take no for an answer, but the last thing you wanted to do was end up in trouble again.
“Alright fine.” You muttered. “Although I’d prefer to do it out in the open.”
“Actually, I’d prefer us to have some privacy if that’s okay. This matter is...rather delicate.”
Cocking your head to one side, your brows furrowed when you suddenly noticed the cupboard door was now closed; you could’ve sworn you’d left it open.
E/c eyes nervously flicking between Flagon and the door, a heavy weight settled into the pit of your stomach as the screaming in your head increased in volume.
“What do you want?” You challenged, clutching the two packs of paper still held in your arms closer to your chest, ready to use them as weapons if the occasion called for it.
Taking a step forward, Flagon’s expression suddenly hardened, had he caught on to the fact that you knew he was once again up to no good?
“You know, there’s been something bugging me about you from the moment I met you.” He mused quietly. “Although, it wasn’t until just over a month ago that I came to realize what it was.”
“What are you talking about?”
Taking another menacing step forward, Flagon drew uncomfortably close to you and forced you to take a step backwards to avoid ending up nose to nose with him.
“Wow, looks like Hanji’s research was right.” He frowned. “You really don’t have any memories of your past life at all do you?”
“What?”
If you weren’t so terrified by the fact that you were currently pinned to the wall of a cupboard by a man who had spent the past two months harassing you, you’d probably have been amused by what he was saying.
“F/n, you and I are soulmates in our previous lives.” He explained, staring into your e/c eyes. “I was in love with you long before that bastard Levi ever came on the scene.”
“You’re fucking deluded!” You snarled, thrusting the two packs of paper into his chest and causing him to step backwards from the force of the blow, giving you the opportunity to slip by him. 
Rushing towards the door, you tried the handle, hoping and praying that it would open; but unfortunately, it didn’t.
“Unlock this door!” You demanded, spinning back to face him.
With a sudden turn of speed that matched your own, Flagon was upon you.
Gripping your shoulders, he pinned you to the door and leaned down, forcing a kiss onto your unwilling lips.
A gasp of disgust muffled by the mouth currently pressed against yours, you raised your right foot and brought the heel of your shoe down on Flagon’s foot hard enough to make him back off.
Chucking sinisterly, the blonde team manager lifted his injured foot and leaned against the shelf.
“Heh, looks like that “true loves kiss” stuff really is just bullshit you see in kids films!”
“You sick bastard!” You screamed. “I would never love you in this life or any other! Now let me out of this cupboard right now before I…”
Unfortunately for you, Flagon still had the upper hand and your threat died in your throat when you noticed a box cutter knife being casually twirled in the fingers of his right hand.
“Before you what?” He smirked, cocking his head to one side.
Chest heaving as you pressed yourself back against the door, you knew it was probably a huge mistake but you needed to try anyway...
“Help! Somebody please help me!”
Narrowing his hazel eyes, Flagon charged forward and clamped a hand over your mouth, pushing the blade of the tool into position and holding it against your throat.
“Big mistake f/n!” He growled dangerously, his hot breath fanning across your face with each word. “Big. Mistake.”

Leaning back in his seat, Levi clicked his tongue and saved the document he was working on, glancing over at the clock on the wall.
Natural frown deepening when he noticed that he was currently ten minutes into his lunch hour, he turned back to the computer screen and saved his work before putting the machine on standby.
Since his conversation with you that morning, he’d practically thrown himself into his work from the moment you left in a desperate effort to try and distract himself from thinking about you. Something which he had thankfully succeeded with, much to his relief.
However now he had stopped working, he found himself wondering what you were currently doing. 
Running a hand back through his raven hair, he reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out his mobile phone, swiping his thumb across the screen and glaring at it at the lack of text message notifications. 
“They can’t still be at the hospital.” He mused, standing up from his desk and making his way towards the door. “Has she forgotten to switch her phone back on?”
Deciding he needed some fresh air and to try avoiding you if possible, he left his office and locked the door behind him, briskly walking down the corridor towards the double doors leading to the client consultant area.
Looking around at the empty workstations, his gaze lingered on yours as he walked past it. 
It wasn’t like he was expecting you to still be there. If anything, you were probably in the canteen having lunch with your colleagues.
Shaking his head, he increased his pace and continued walking towards the doors leading to the stairs. 
Reaching for the chrome handle of the right hand door, he was suddenly stopped in his tracks when he heard what sounded like something falling and hitting the floor.
Blinking rapidly in confusion, Levi froze for a moment before deciding he had probably imagined it and pulled the door open, preparing to step though it.
“Help! Somebody please help me!”
Head snapping around to look in the direction of the breakroom, his steel grey eyes narrowed to slits and the hairs on the back of his neck suddenly bristled. There was absolutely no chance that the panicked scream he just heard had been a figment of his imagination.
Releasing the door handle, he rushed over to where he thought the scream had come from and looked around. 
Checking the break room first, he looked through the small window built into the door.
“Tch, empty." 
Suddenly distracted by another loud crash from somewhere to his left, his head instinctively snapped around to face the source of the noise and noticed the main stationary cupboard.
“Oi, is someone in there?”
Pressing his ear to the varnished wooden surface, he furrowed his brows and listened for any hint of sound coming from the other side.
“Argh!”
Jumping back at the pained cry, his eyes widened.
“Who the fuck is in there?”
“Levi?”
Levi’s heart almost dropped into his stomach when he recognised the female voice that responded. Breath catching in his throat, he was stunned into a frozen silence when you cried out again.
“Levi, please help me! Flagon’s locked me in, I can’t-mmph!”
“F/n!” 
Springing forward, Levi grabbed the door handle and roughly jerked it, failing to open the door.
“Open the door Bastard!” He yelled, roughly shoving his shoulder against the thick wood, but ultimately failing to move it. 
Receiving no response, the raven haired male knew he had no other choice.
“F/n, stand back!” He yelled. “I’m going to kick the door in!”

Shaking with fear, you panted heavily and kept your wide e/c eyes focused on Flagon.
There was no doubt in your mind that if you so much as twitched, he wouldn’t hesitate to use whatever force he deemed necessary to subdue you and there was a very real chance that he could become so angry he may actually kill you.
“I love you and I don’t want to hurt you f/n.” He growled quietly. “Please don’t make me do something I’ll regret.”
Whimpering against his hand, it was impossible to stop the tears forming in your eyes from releasing themselves and streaming down your cheeks. 
“Alright then.” He muttered. “Now, I’m going to take my hand away and you’re going to be quiet aren’t you.”
Nodding in terror, the movement was so quick it that had Flagon blinked, he may actually have missed it.
“Good girl.” 
Slowly removing his hand, he took half a step back and lowered the box cutter, however he did not take his eyes off you for a moment.
Exhaling shakily, you reached out for the shelf and attempted to grab it in an effort to keep yourself upright. Unfortunately due to how much your hands were trembling, you missed the shelf and ended up knocking over one of the heavy packs of paper instead, sending it crashing to the ground.
Wincing and pushing yourself further back against the door, you screwed your eyes shut and waited for Flagon to punish you.
“Relax f/n.” He huffed haughtily. “It was an accident, no harm done.”
‘No harm done?’ You cried internally. ‘You’re holding me hostage in a storage cupboard at knife point!’
Swallowing hard, you hesitantly opened your mouth to speak. Perhaps if you were calm and promised not to make any sudden noises with the intent of drawing attention to your whereabouts, you could talk him into letting you go. You’d seen enough films and television shows where that particular tactic had sometimes worked, maybe you would get lucky?
Unfortunately before you could try putting your plan into action, a voice from the other side of the door caught your attention.
“Oi, is someone in there?”
Heart fluttering madly in your chest when you recognized the bored tone, a smile spread across your trembling lips.
Sensing an opportunity, you lunged forward and shoved Flagon backwards with every ounce of strength you possessed, succeeding in catching him off guard and sending him crashing backwards into the rear wall of the cupboard.
“Argh!”
Hitting his head off one of the shelves, the unhinged male fell to the floor in a minor daze, leaving you to take full advantage of the situation.
“Who the fuck is in there?”
“Levi?” You gasped, hope swelling up within you. “Levi please help me! Flagon’s locked me in, I can’t-mmph!”
Before you could finish your sentence, Flagon tackled you from behind and once again clamped his hand over your mouth. Painfully pressing the tips of his fingers and thumb into your cheeks to try and silence you, but what worried you more was the sharp point of the box cutter was once again placed near your throat.
“F/n!”
Looking down at the door handle, you noticed it jiggle violently as Levi shouted through the thick wood.
“Open the door Bastard!” Came Levi’s angry voice, followed by the door shaking under the impact of what you assumed was Levi throwing his weight into it. 
Frantically looking around Flagon tightened his grip on you and jerked the box cutter, causing its blade to dig into the fabric of your shirt. 
“F/n, stand back! I’m going to kick the door in!”
Suddenly realizing how close to the door you were, you narrowed your eyes.
With a successful rescue practically guaranteed, you decided to make another move against your captor.
Fighting through the pain of his grip, you forced your head forward and sank your teeth into the palm of his hand.
Shrieking in agony, the blonde team manager slashed at you with the box cutter, slicing through the fabric of your shirt and scratching the skin of your chest.
Spinning around to face him as he tried to shake the feeling back into his injured hand, you grabbed him by his jacket and pushed him backwards just in time to avoid the cupboard door crashing into the shelves to your right when Levi kicked it off its hinges.
“F/n, get out of there!”
Not needing to be told twice, you released Flagon and stumbled towards the now open door, colliding with the short deputy manager seconds later.
“Levi!” 
Throwing yourself into his arms and burying your head into his shoulder, you sobbed with relief when he wrapped his arms around you. 
“Oi, are you alright?” He asked, struggling to release himself from your death like embrace so he could check you over.
“I am now!” You choked, suddenly wincing when a sharp pain gripped your chest 
“F/n?”
Reluctantly pulling away from him, you looked down at your shirt and gasped in horror at the crimson stain spreading across the torn material.
“Go get the first aid kit from the drawer next to the sink in the break room.” Ordered Levi, slowly turning his attention towards the stationary cupboard when a rather groggy looking Flagon appeared in the doorway.
“What?” Staring at him worriedly, you followed his line of sight and inhaled shakily. 
Before you could say another word, Levi brushed past you and threw himself at his rival, raising his right leg and delivering a violent kick to the other male’s stomach.
Doubling over in pain as the wind was knocked from his body, Flagon barely had time to react before another well aimed strike sent him crashing into the wall near the break room door.
“Levi!” You screamed, raising your hands to your face and covering your mouth in horror. “What are you doing?”
Looking up at the short male now looming over him, Flagon smirked cockily and coughed. 
“Oh, you think this is funny do you?” Challenged Levi, now completely oblivious to your presence. “How about we see how you smile without any teeth?”
“Levi don’t!”
Unfortunately your plea fell on deaf ears when the raven haired deputy manager’s foot connected with Flagon’s face, sending several teeth flying from his mouth and across the carpet in a spray of crimson blood.
“Levi, please stop it!” 
Growling in the pit of his throat, Levi squatted down and grabbed the other male's hair, roughly yanking him to his feet before throwing him into the nearest workstation. 
Watching as he crashed to the floor in a tangled heap, he slowly walked towards the now barely conscious Flagon and raised his foot, preparing to bring it down on his head in one final crushing blow…
“LEVI DON’T DO IT!” 
Rushing forward you wrapped your arms around his torso and rested your chin on his shoulder, desperately trying to talk him down from his rage fueled attack. 
“Please Levi, don’t do it.” You sobbed, tears streaming down your cheeks. “You're better than this, think of your family, they need you!”
Inhaling sharply, Levi’s steel grey eyes widened.
“Tch!” 
Slowly lowering his foot and placing it back down on the now blood stained carpet, Levi relaxed his stance and remained motionless. 
“Thank you.” You whispered softly, closing your eyes and burying your head into his neck.
“What the Hell is going on here?”
Eyes snapping open, you immediately released Levi and looked towards the double doors leading to the stairs. 
“Nanaba?” You gasped, meeting the blonde woman’s icy gaze. 
“Take care of f/n.” Ordered Levi coldly, walking towards the doors and brushing past her. “I’m going to inform Erwin of what happened here.”
Opening her mouth to speak, Nanaba barely managed to string a sentence together before noticing the large patch of blood on your torn shirt and directing you towards the break room. 
Nervously following her, you swallowed down the forming lump in your throat and glanced back at the bloodied and barely conscious Flagon as he rolled over onto his back, raising a hand to his mouth.
Your ordeal of being held hostage may have been over, but now you had to endure what was sure to be a very stressful conversation with not only Nanaba, but the company owner himself, Erwin Smith and possibly even the police. 

Chapter Text

As expected, Erwin Smith did not take too kindly to his directors meeting being interrupted by one of his deputy managers informing him that a serious incident had taken place between three of his employees, nor did he appreciate Hanji practically jumping over the table and grabbing Levi by his jacket before proceeding to scream in his face demanding to know if you were okay.
Adjourning the meeting, he instructed Dita and Klaus to gather all of the employees who worked within the client consultant area or needed to pass through it to get to their designated areas and request that they remained in the canteen until further notice.
He then had Marlene go down to the lobby to inform the receptionist that no one was to leave the building and anyone returning from their lunch break would need to remain on the ground floor under her strict supervision.
Naturally, this caused a great deal of confusion among the employees of Survey Corps and speculation about what could possibly have happened to cause such an abrupt change in their daily routine soon started to spread like wildfire throughout the canteen.

“What do you suppose is going on?” Muttered Ilse, casually reaching into her pocket for her notebook and pen.
“I don’t know, but at a guess, I’d say it took place in the client consultant area.” Mused Nickolas, craning his neck to try and see over the heads of the other workers who were trying to shuffle through the crowded canteen to find out if anyone knew when they would be allowed to return to work. “Otherwise why would they refuse to let anyone leave? It’s the only thing that makes sense.”
“Do you think f/n’s okay?” Frowned Luke worriedly. “She said she was working through her lunch hour remember?”
“Wait, did you say the incident took place in the client consultant area?” Asked another voice, gaining the trio’s immediate attention.
Turning to look at the table behind them, they found themselves facing three very familiar colleagues they saw on a regular basis. Flagon’s team.
“Yeah we think so, why?”
“Sorry, we didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but...do you know if Flagon was involved?”
“Flagon?” Questioned Nickolas, furrowing his brows. “What makes you think he’s got something to do with it?”
Nervously exchanging a glance between them, the other three client consultants returned their focus to Ilse, Luke and Nickolas, appearing visibly uncomfortable under their scrutinizing glares.
“Well, he’s been acting pretty shifty for the past few weeks.”
“When doesn’t he?” Scoffed Luke, earning him a snicker of agreement from Ilse as she started scribbling in her notebook.
“No I mean, more than normal. He has been ever since f/n and Mr Ackerman broke up.”
“Can you elaborate for us?” Asked Ilse, momentarily looking up from her notebook.
“Um, sure.” Nodded a light brown haired female, standing up and bringing her chair further around the table so they could avoid attracting anyone else's attention.
Sitting hserself down again, she nervously leaned into the small huddle that had now been formed. “Normally he’s just arrogant and pushes us to surpass our targets by any means necessary, but whenever he’s spoken to your friend, his demeanour completely changes.”
“In what way?”
“It’s hard to explain really, but it’s like a switch gets flicked in his head whenever he speaks to her. He’s always really angry afterwards, kind of like he’s trying to restrain himself from lashing out completely.”
“He actually snapped at me and called me a “useless bastard” during one of our team meetings because I asked a question about a contract I was having problems with.” Interjected a young freckled male. “He said he’d deal with it himself and then the next day, I got a call from the client saying he was cancelling it after one of my colleagues threatened him.”
“So, you think it was Flagon that caused you to lose the contract?” Whispered Luke, quickly glancing around at the other employees to make sure no one had caught on to their little discussion.
“I believe so yes.”
“Wait, you don’t seriously think Flagon would actually get physical with f/n...do you?” Muttered Ilse nervously, slowly ceasing her scribbling and looking up from her notebook. “I mean, we all know the guy’s an asshole...but surely even he wouldn’t go that far?”
Unfortunately, the ominous silence that followed didn’t fill her with confidence...nor did the strained expressions of her colleagues.
“Damnit!” Snapped Nickolas, once again raising his head and searching the canteens occupants to see if a certain blonde team manager was among them. “I hate to say it guys, but I don’t see Flagon anywhere in here.”
“He didn’t follow us when we left.” Said the young female, anxiously rubbing her hands together. “Although, he didn’t say anything about working through lunch either. Maybe he went off site?”
“Or he could’ve stayed behind on purpose to try and intimidate f/n again.” Snarled Luke through gritted teeth. “I wouldn’t put it past him.”
“Well unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to find out what’s happened anytime soon.” Mused Nickolas, nodding towards the canteen doors as yet another employee was given short shrift by Director Dita and sent on their way. “They’re still not letting anyone leave and I doubt they’re going to tell us what’s going on either.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Not a lot we can do is there?” Said Ilse bitterly, closing her notebook with an audible snap. “We just have to sit and wait until we’re allowed to leave.”

“Okay, this may sting a little.”
Hissing in pain at the feeling of Nanaba pressing a damp cloth against your wounded chest, you hesitantly looked towards the break room door.
“It’s okay f/n.” Said the blonde female softly, affording you a reassuring smile and reaching for the first aid kit. “The security staff are keeping an eye on him, he’s not going to come after you again.”
“I hope Levi’s okay.” You muttered, turning back to face her and watching closely as she retrieved a gauze patch and a roll of medical tape.
“Well I hardly expected you to be concerned about Flagon’s condition, but I’m sure he’s fine.” Giggled Nanaba, carefully covering your wound. “Anyway, the cut isn’t deep enough to need stitches, but I would suggest keeping it covered for a few days.”
“Thanks Nanaba.” You smiled weakly, pulling your shirt closed and shakily buttoning it up.
“I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear, but you will need to speak to Mr Smith about what’s happened and also the police.”
“The police? No way!” You gasped, e/c eyes widening in horror. “I can’t speak them, Levi will get arrested!”
“F/n, you have to! This is a serious incident and it has to be dealt with accordingly.”
“No, I can’t! Nanaba, Levi kicked seven bells out Flagon, there’s CCTV everywhere in this building! He’d get his ass thrown in prison before he could blink!”
“F/n, think this through...”
“I won’t do it, I’m well aware Flagon could’ve killed me with that box cutter, but I refuse to see Levi get locked up for saving my life!”
Despite knowing deep down that telling the police how Flagon tried to force himself on you and held you hostage at knifepoint, the fact that Levi had come to your rescue held you back from doing so.
The police would take one look at Flagon, see the footage from the security camera of Levi throwing him around like a ragdoll and swoop in to arrest him without a second thought. There was no way you could do that to him, even if he was in the wrong. You were well aware that had you not managed to convince the raven haired male to stop, he would’ve killed Flagon without a second thought and as much as you hated the blonde team manager, the last thing you wanted to do was witness his death.
“You’re not going to change my mind about this Nanaba.” You said firmly, feeling your body tremble with each word. “Levi saved my life, I owe it to him to keep him out of prison.”
Shaking her head in disdain, Nanaba forced herself to calm down before the situation escalated.
However before she could resume trying to inform you of the importance of talking to the police, the break room door flew open and banged loudly against the wall.
“F/N!”
Jumping around at the call of your name, your eyes widened at the sight of a tall female in a trouser suit barrelling towards you at an almost impossible speed.
“I’m so glad you’re alright!” Screamed Hanji, grabbing you in a bearhug from behind and squeezing the air from your lungs.
“Ha-Hanji?” You choked, struggling to breathe in her deathlike embrace. “Wh-what are you…”
“I just saw the state of Flagon! Man, Levi really did a number on him huh? I know I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m proud of him!”
“No, you shouldn’t say that at all!” Scolded Nanaba angrily, packing away the first aid kit and standing up. “What you should be doing is convincing f/n to tell the police what’s happened, we both know Mr Smith will be informing them after he’s gotten everyone’s side of the story.”
“What?” Gasped the bespectacled director, finally relinquishing her grip on you and straightening herself. “Are you insane? Flagon got his just desserts and Levi deserves a medal!”
“Hanji, you understand why I can’t tell the police what’s happened right?” Rubbing your sore chest, you slowly shuffled around in your seat and glanced up at her pleadingly. “You know Levi’s situation, if he got arrested and sent to prison…”
“It’s okay Sweetie.” Soothed Hanji, gently placing her hands on your shoulders and lightly squeezing. However her tone soon hardened when she turned her attention to Nanaba. “No one is going to force you to do anything you’re not comfortable with...are they?”
Narrowing her icy blue eyes, Nanaba pursed her lips while biting back the urge to berate her friend and colleague on her disturbing lack of a moral compass.
“No, they won’t.” She eventually replied, although the tone of her voice conveyed that she was far from happy about it. "Although you will need to speak to Mr Smith, whether you want to or not!"

"Yeah, I know." You winced, once again rubbing your chest and furrowing your brows at the now dry blood stain marking your once immaculate white shirt. A move that did not go unnoticed by Nanaba.
“Look f/n, I have a spare shirt in my car if you’d like to borrow it? You’re about the same size as me so it should be a good fit.”
“Yeah, that’d be great.” You nodded, flashing her a grateful smile. “Thanks Nanaba.”
“Just make sure you inform Marlene on your way out.” Advised Hanji. “Erwin’s instructed her not to let anyone in or out”
“I would assume that if I had your permission she won’t have a problem with it?”
“I’ll go have a quick word with her.”
Relinquishing her grip on your shoulders, she exited the break room, closing the door behind her.
“Nanaba?” You began quietly, slowly looking up and meeting the other woman’s gaze.
“Hmm?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you, when you said I should’ve reported Flagon to Human Resources. If I had then…”
“You’ve got nothing to apologize for.” Said Nanaba softly. “You weren’t to know he was going to try and attack you.”
“Everyone warned me he was an arrogant bastard who liked to intimidate people he considered below him, but I never thought he would...”
“Alright, that’s enough!” Snapped the blonde team manager. “None of what happened is your fault. Now, I may not like it, but I’ll respect your decision to not want to talk to the police about this matter. However, as I’ve already said, you will have to speak to Mr Smith about it, so I need you to try and calm down before he arrives.”
“I know.” You nodded worriedly. “I just hope he shows up soon so I can get this over with.”
After a tense few minutes of silence, the break room door opened, albeit much slower this time; you tensed up when Hanji ignored you and glanced over at Nanaba.
“Marlene is fine with you leaving the building to get a change of clothes for f/n, you’ll need a security officer to accompany you though. She was pretty insistent on that since Erwin will most likely need to speak to you too.”
“I understand.”
Stepping aside so the other female could leave, Hanji then closed the door and moved to sit next to you, gently taking your hands in hers.”
“It’s going to be okay Sweetie.” She said softly, squeezing your hands for reassurance when she noticed that you were starting to tremble again. “I promise you, no one will force you to do anything you’re not comfortable with.”
Nodding rapidly, you nervously turned your attention back towards the break room door when you heard muffled voices on the other side of the thick varnished wood.
You may have convinced Nanaba and Hanji that you were unwilling to throw Levi under the bus after he saved you from Flagon's psychotic clutches, but persuading the company owner not to get the police involved was going to be an entirely different kettle of fish...

Furrowing his bushy brows as he watched the grainy CCTV footage from the security camera that overlooked the area where the break room and stationary cupboard were located, Erwin Smith frowned deeply as Levi threw Flagon into a nearby workstation.
Raising his head slightly, he continued to watch as you rushed forward and grabbed the short deputy manager from behind, causing him to cease his attack a few seconds later.
“I’ve seen enough.” He said evenly, not looking at the operator as he spoke.
“So what do you want to do now?” Asked Mike gruffly, folding his arms across his chest and looking questioningly at the company owner.
“I’ve already heard Levi’s account of what happened.” Replied Erwin, turning on his heels and leaving the security office. “Now I want to hear what Flagon, f/n and Nanaba have to say before I decide on an appropriate course of action.”
“Nanaba?” Raising a curious eyebrow, Mike followed him out into the corridor, easily keeping up with the slightly shorter male’s brisk pace. “What does she have to do with it?”
“Levi said she appeared just after f/n talked him out of continuing his assault on Flagon, but because of the angle of the cameras, we just didn’t see her.”
“Not to question your judgement of the situation, but considering we just saw a rather brutal one sided fight take place on the premises, shouldn’t your next move to be report this to the police?”
Halting at the doors leading to the stairs, Erwin slowly turned back to face his friend and colleague, affording him a knowing smile.
“You and I have worked together for many years Mike, you should know by now that I like to handle things in my own way...without outside interference if necessary.”
Wrinkling his nose and inhaling deeply, the tall director cocked his head to one side.
“What are you planning Erwin?”
“There’s a reason why I asked Hanji to escort Levi back to his office and not you, I think you know what it is.”
“Hmph, I do now.”
“Shall we then?”
Not needing to be asked twice, Mike reached for the door on the left and held it open as Erwin walked through. Following a moment later, the two men descended the stairs together to the second floor.

Leaning on the edge of the workstation he had previously been thrown against, Flagon Turret removed the bloodied rag he had been holding against his mouth and cursed under his breath as he found yet another clean area of the fabric had been stained red.
After being checked over by a member of the security team, it had been deduced that despite losing three teeth, the only other injuries he’d sustained were a dislocated shoulder and some heavy bruising to his ribs and stomach.
Huffing in annoyance, he glared at the break room door when Nanaba walked out and left the area, completely ignoring him as she passed by.
Wincing at the still throbbing ache in his gums, he once again raised the bloodied rag to his mouth and hissed loudly, causing the security officer watching over him to raise an eyebrow.
“Hey, any idea how long Mr Smith will be?”
“As long as it takes.” Shrugged the burly male nonchalantly, making no effort to strike up a conversation.
Rolling his eyes, Flagon applied more pressure to his still bleeding gums.
In his opinion, the company owner couldn’t arrive fast enough.
Given that he would more than likely have seen the CCTV footage of Levi beating him to a bloody pulp, he was confident that he would successfully manage to get his rival out of the picture and hopefully even arrested.
The police would take one look at him, view the video evidence for themselves and the rest would fall into place nicely, which would then leave him free to exact his revenge on you for yet another rejection.
Thankfully, there was no surveillance cameras in the stationary cupboard, meaning that there was no proof of him attacking you.
While he was quick to admit that hurting you physically hadn’t been his intention, he couldn’t bring himself to regret his actions.
You’d essentially forced his hand by refusing to listen to his explanation about you being his soulmate in your previous life and even though Flagon himself had only started experiencing flashbacks involving you a few days after finding Hanji’s research, it had been enough to push him to take extreme measures to try and awaken your long lost memories.
Hopefully with Levi out of the way, there would be one less obstacle standing between him and succeeding in reminding you of who you once were; although he was fairly certain that with Hanji still buzzing around you like an annoying insect, he wasn’t going to get very far.
‘Alright then.’ He mused to himself, slowly the cloth away from his mouth again and being pleasantly surprised to see that there was no fresh blood on it. ‘First I get that annoying bitch out of the way, then I’ll work on finding a way to make f/n remember that I’m the one she should be with and not that short bastard!’
Before he could contemplate his future plans any further, the sound of the double doors leading into the client consultant area opening pulled his attention towards them.
Hazel eyes widening in anticipation, he forced himself to stand up straight when two tall blonde men appeared before him.
“Mr Smith, Director Zacharias.” He said evenly, earning him a raised eyebrow from them.
“You’re still capable of speaking I see.” Said Erwin, placing his hands behind his back.
“It hurts to do so, but I will try Sir.”
Deciding to play on his injuries, Flagon raised a hand to his aching ribs and gently rubbed them, wincing for good measure as he relaxed against the workstation again. “I’ve already seen the beating Levi gave you, however I wish to speak with you about about why you felt the need to shut yourself in the stationary cupboard with Miss L/n.”
Jaw dropping open, the sly team manager was caught off guard.
Risking a glance in the direction of the the dome concealing the surveillance camera from view, he came to the sudden realization he the angles it covered included the cupboard and break room door.
“I merely wanted to speak to her in private.”
“Yet you still removed the key from the lock and closed the door behind you.” Stated Erwin lowly, his bushy brows furrowing and causing a deep frown to settle on his features. “Don’t you think that was an unnecessary measure?”
Swallowing hard, Flagon was at a loss for words; especially when Mike moved to stand next to him and stared down at him.
“I’m not sure if you’re aware of this Mr Turret.” Continued Erwin, keeping his icy blue eyed gaze firmly fixed on Flagon. “Mike here has a rather unique ability that I like to call upon when investigating incidents within my company. In fact, it’s no secret that he’s been headhunted by the city police force for many years because of it.”
“I assure you Mr Smith.” He began quickly, suddenly feeling extremely uncomfortable under their combined focus. “I meant f/n no harm, an altercation happened between the two of us earlier and I was merely trying to clear the air with her...”
Flinching momentarily when the much taller male leaned over him, Flagon held his breath as Mike suddenly closed his eyes and gave the side of his face several long deep sniffs before pulling back and opening them again.
“Hmph.”
“What...what is he doing that for?”
Ignoring Flagon and turning his attention to Erwin, Mike walked back towards him muttered into the company owners ear.
Exhaling deeply, Erwin looked towards the security officer.
“Do not let him out of your sight.”
“Of course Sir.”
“What’s going on?” Questioned Flagon, shakily pushing himself up, only for the security officer to step forward and put an arm out to stop him from moving any further forward. “Mr Smith!”
“I take it f/n is in the break room?”
“She is Sir, Director Hanji is currently with her.”
“What about Nanaba?” Asked Mike, furrowing his brows.
“She should be returning soon, shall I send her straight in when she arrives?”
“No that won’t be necessary, I will speak to her separately.”
“Yes Sir.
“Mr Smith, Director Zacharias, what’s going on?”
Continuing to ignore Flagon’s pleas, Erwin and Mike turned away and walked towards the break room. Entering without knocking, the door closed behind them seconds later as a feeling of heavy dread settled in the pit of Flagon’s stomach.

Looking up with a barely audible yelp when the break room door opened, your e/c eyes widened upon seeing two tall blonde men in smart suits enter the small space.
“Ah, Erwin you’re here!” Gasped Hanji happily, however her smile soon disappeared when he ignored her presence and addressed you directly.
“Miss L/n?”
Swallowing hard, your heart started to race within your chest, making you feel particularly small under his intimidating gaze.
“I take it you know who I am?”
“Y-Yes Sir.” You nodded nervously, shuffling uncomfortably in your seat.
“Good.”
Glancing at Mike, he raised a bushy eyebrow at the tall director, earning him a single quiet snort in response.
“I’d like to ask you a few questions about what happened between you and Flagon Turret, Levi and Hanji have informed me that today’s incident isn’t the first time there has been an unpleasant exchange between you.”
“Well, um…” You stuttered, trembling slightly while trying to find the courage to speak about what had happened. “He’s…”
“You’ll be okay Sweetie.” Soothed Hanji, once again squeezing your hands for reassurance. “If it gets too much for you, just let me know.”
“I’m sure she’s quite capable of talking for herself Hanji.” Said Erwin sternly, momentarily eyeing the bespectacled brunette before focusing his attention on you.
Taking a deep breath, you slowly sat up straight and looked the company owner in the eye, summoning your courage and forcing yourself to speak.
“Yes Sir, he’s been harassing me for the past two months. Although, it got worse when I started dating Le-um Mr Ackerman.”
Folding his arms across his chest, Erwin moved to sit in one of the leather chairs and continued to watch you closely, silently encouraging you to explain.
“Before I started dating Mr Ackerman, Flagon would simply stare at me intimidatingly. I mostly just ignored him and thought nothing of it, but then he started to make remarks about me and my colleagues.”
“I see.” Mused Erwin. “Is it true you ignored Nanaba’s advice to report him to Human Resources?”
“Yes Sir.” You nodded, shuffling in your seat again and momentarily averting your gaze. “I guess I hoped he would eventually get bored if I ignored him, but he didn’t.”
“Tell me what happened today.”
Swallowing hard, you turned back to face him and started to recall the earlier altercation.
“I lost my temper after he tried approaching me again before my shift started, it was only a verbal exchange but I was pretty aggressive towards him.”
“No less than he deserved.” Muttered Hanji sourly.
“Hanji if you can’t be quiet and let f/n talk, I’ll have you removed from the room.” Said Erwin sharply.
Despite not looking directly at her, the harsh tone of voice he used was enough to silence her.
“Continue.”
“Yes Sir. I um, I apologized to him afterwards.”
“Did he accept it?”
“He did, he even asked me to have lunch with him, but I declined. I was actually behind with my workload so I had decided to continue through my break so I could catch up.”
“Did anyone else see him follow you into the stationary cupboard?”
“No Sir, I was the only one left in the area.”
Inhaling deeply and holding it for a moment, the company owner leaned forward and stared into your e/c eyes; speaking with a much softer edge to his voice, he unfolded his arms and rested them in his knees.
“Can you tell me about what happened when Flagon followed you into the stationary cupboard?”
Body tensing up almost instantly, you could feel the bile rising in your throat as your mind began to recall the horror of finding yourself locked in a confined space with the deranged team manager.
“F/n?” Asked Hanji worriedly.
“I...I...I told him to let me out, but...he wouldn’t.” You stuttered, your already trembling body beginning to shake much more violently. “He then tried forcing himself on me and when I screamed for help, he...he grabbed a box cutter and held it to my throat…”
Screwing your eyes shut, you hastily reached up to cover your blood stained shirt and tightly gripping the ripped fabric in your fist.
“Alright that’s enough!” Growled Hanji, jumping out of her seat and swiftly pulling you into her arms. “It’s okay f/n, I’m here.”
Leaning back in his seat, Erwin kept his icy gaze firmly fixed on you for several moments before speaking again.
“There is another way that I can find out what happened, if you agree to do so.”
“What?” You whispered carefully prying yourself from Hanji’s tight embrace and wiping your now watering eyes. “How?”
“Mike here has quite a unique ability that I sometimes like to use to benefit the company during meetings with important clients…”
“Remember how he sniffed you when you first me him?” Interrupted Hanji, gently resting her hands on your shoulders. “Well, Erwin would like him to do it again.”
Blinking in confusion, you opened your mouth to speak but closed it again seconds later when you were unable to find your voice.
“It may sound strange, but believe me, it’s a very impressive ability and it works.” Smiled Erwin. “However, he will only do it with your consent.”
“Think of him as a human lie detector.” Giggled Hanji. “Seriously, I once lied about eating a slice of cake that was meant for him at Erwin’s daughter’s naming ceremony and he busted me straight away!”
You may have been completely baffled by the idea of the tall director sniffing you to find out what had happened between you and Flagon, but if it meant you didn’t have to try and tell the company owner yourself, it was surely worth a try...wasn't it?
“Okay.” You nodded, sitting up straight.
Humming approvingly, Erwin looked at Mike and raised his right hand, gesturing for him to approach you.
Doing as he was asked, Mike slowly walked towards you and moved to stand behind your chair.
"Just relax." He said in a gently yet guff voice, leaning down towards you neck.
"Yes Sir." You nodded, forcing yourself to take slow and steady breaths as the well built male closed his eyes and started sniff deeply.
"You're doing great f/n." Smiled Hanji. "I know it feels weird, but it's always a lot easier when you know it's coming."
Biting your lower lip and clenching your fists hard enough for your fingernails to leave crescent shaped marks in the flesh of your palms, your body remained otherwise motionless while Mike continued his ministrations.
Finally pulling back after a few moments, he growled in the pit of his throat.
"Well?" Asked Erwin, raising a bushy eyebrow and watching incredulously as the other male stood up straight.
"It's exactly as she said." Snarled Mike angrily. "Flagon forced himself on her and when she rejected him, he physically attacked her...once when she screamed for help and then a second time when Levi discovered the two of them locked in the cupboard together."
"That bastard!" Sneered Hanji, gritting her teeth. "I'll kill him!"
"Mike, have security escort Flagon off the premises and inform him his employment is terminated with immediate effect!"
"Understood."
"Wait, Mr Smith!" You gasped, suddenly remembering that while Flagon may be about to get his just desserts, Levi's fate was still hanging in the balance. "What's going to happen to Lev-I mean, Mr Ackerman?"
"He will be face disciplinary action naturally, however I prefer to act of my own authority Miss L/n." Smiled Erwin knowingly, standing from his seat and brushing down his expensive tailored suit before walking towards the break room door. "You need not worry yourself with having to repeat anything that happened today to the police."
Jaw dropping open, you blinked rapidly as he gestured for Mike to accompany him from the break room.
"I can't believe it!" You muttered, slowly unclenching your fists and turning to look at Hanji.
"Believe it Sweetie!" She beamed. "That bastard is finally going to be out of your life for good!"
Slumping back into your seat again, you could honestly say that you were starting to feel like you could relax again, safe in the knowledge that your ordeal was now well and truly over.
Casting a glance towards the break room door in time to Flagon watching you angrily as it slowly started to close, you narrowed your eyes and returned the soon to be ex team manager's glare.

Quickly standing up straight when the break room door opened, Flagon Turret instantly looked towards it.
Narrowing his hazel eyes in disgust when he caught sight of you looking back at him, mildly surprised and also confused to see you directing a glare of your own towards him.
Shaking his head as the door finally closed, he hastily straightened his crumpled jacket and raised his head to look at the two tall blonde men now stood in front of him; however the way in which the lighter haired male looked at him sent a nervous shiver rushing down his still sore spine.
"Mr Smith?" He asked cautiously, failing to meet the company owner's gaze when he brushed past him and made his was to the other end of the client consultant work area.
Inhaling sharply and turning to face Mike, he opened his mouth to speak again, but found himself abruptly cut off when the director spoke to the security officer next to him.
"Dennis, escort Flagon from the premises."
"What?" Gasped Flagon, his hazel eyes widening in shock at what he was hearing.
"Your employment here has been terminated."
"Yes Sir." Nodded the security officer, taking the stunned male by the arm before he had a chance to protest.
"No, you can't do this to me!" He shouted, struggling in the burly security officer's vice like grip. "Whatever she told you, she's lying, I'll make sure the police hear of this!"
"Come on, don't make a scene." Instructed the security officer, tightening his hold on Flagon's arm and forcing him to to move towards the double doors leading to the stairs.
"Make sure his access card is handed over to the receptionist before he leaves the building."
"Of course Sir."
"Get your hands off me!" Snarled Flagon, once again struggling in the other man's grip when Mike silently walked away in the direction of the management offices and canteen. "I demand to speak to Mr Smith!"
"This way please." Said the security officer again, taking a step back towards him and placing his hand on his shoulders in an attempt to better manoeuvre him through the doors.
Gritting his teeth and lowering his head, Flagon Turret was finally forced to admit defeat as he followed the other man down the stairs to the lobby.
Staging one last act of defiance by throwing his building access card at the stunned receptionist, he stormed out of the building towards his car.
"Shit!" He cursed loudly, unlocking the vehicle and climbing in before slamming the door closed.
Leaning back in his seat, he raised his hands to his head and covered his eyes as the world around him suddenly became hazy and he was finally forced to confront the truth he had been trying so hard to deny for the past month...

Survey Corps Headquarters,
Year 844:

Having recently been promoted to he rank of Squad Leader, Flagon Turret was keen to start proving himself worthy of his new position.
He'd already formed most of his squad ready for the the upcoming expedition, but he was still one member short.
Looking across the mess hall, his hazel eyes landed on a young female with h/l h/c hair tied back into a neat ponytail. Her head currently buried in a pile of paperwork, he watched closely when Section Commander Hanji approached her and placed a steaming cup down in front of her before leaving again.
Narrowing his eyes and exhaling deeply, Flagon pursed his lips thoughtfully.
"You're not still trying to get f/n's attention are you?" Chuckled a voice to his left, gaining his immediate attention when his head snapped around to face the source. "There's only so many times she's going to politely reject you before she snaps and tells you to fuck off, you are aware of that right?"
"Shut it Syram!" Snarled Flagon.
"Sorry but you need to hear the truth, she isn't interested. This isn't her playing hard to get like you seem to think." Shrugged the other scout nonchalantly, a sly smirk slowly creeping across his lips as he spoke again. "I actually heard her telling Section Commander Hanji last night that she'd rather roll around in the hay with her horse than contemplate dating you!"
"You're talking out of your ass!"
"Am I?"
"Yeah you are and I'm going to prove it!"
Shaking his head and reaching for his coffee, Syram's smirk widened when the newly promoted squad leader's wooden chair legs scraped across the cold stone floor when he harshly pushed it back so he could stand up.
Straightening his jacket and ignoring the low chuckle now rumbling through the other male's throat, he slicked his scraggy blonde hair back and walked towards the table f/n was currently occupying.

'He's wrong!' Growled Flagon internally, keeping his hazel eyes firmly fixed on his target. 'Women love to be chased by men wanting their attention.'
Finally halting beside the table, he placed his hands on his hips and cleared his throat, waiting impatiently for the young scout to acknowledge him...however he did not receive the response he was hoping for...

Sighing in annoyance, f/n continued to look through her paperwork, doing her best to ignore the unwanted presence currently looming over her.
"Good Afternoon Squad Leader." She eventually greeted in a bored tone, keeping her attention on the documents in front of her.
"May I sit down?"
"If you must."
Sliding into the chair next to her, Flagon remained undeterred by the disgusted wince that momentarily graced f/n's features.
"I see you're still working on those capture device blueprints for Section Commander Hanji." He said evenly, leaning into her and pretending to take an interest in her current work. "Surely you must know her harebrained idea will never work? Even a genius like you must be able to see the death toll would be catastrophic if something went wrong."
"With all due respect Squad Leader, is there something I can help you with?" Grunted f/n, picking up the papers and straightening them before placing them face down on the wooden surface. "I am rather busy today."
"I'd like you to join my squad." Smiled Flagon cockily. "You're a talented soldier and I think you would be much better placed with myself than Lauder."
"No thank you." Said f/n evenly, reaching for her cup of coffee. "Could you leave please, I have to speak to Section Commander Hanji."
Furrowing his brows, Flagon opened his mouth to question your decision. However before he could get the first word out, a loud female voice from somewhere to his rear interrupted him.
"Sorry about that Sweetie!" Giggled Hanji, rushing around to the opposite side of the table and taking a seat. "Took a little longer than I thought for the kitchen staff to find another box of coffee to start on. So, did I miss anything? Oh Hello Flagon!"
"Not really." Smiled f/n, although the blonde male was quick to notice that when she turned to look at him again, it melted in a heartbeat to be replaced with a rather nasty scowl. "Squad Leader Turret was just leaving."
Silently taking the hint, Flagon stood up and skulked away. However he couldn't help hearing something that both greatly angered and upset him in equal measure.
"Ugh, finally!" Muttered f/n under her breath, causing his eyes to widen visibly. "I thought that creep was going to try and stick around!"
"You really need to stop being so polite to him." Snickered the bespectacled section commander. "It's the only way he'll learn."
"Yeah you're right, but just make sure you're nearby so I don't get into trouble for it okay?"
"Sure thing Sweetie."
Quickening his pace when he heard the two female giggling behind him, Flagon shook his head and exited the mess hall.
Perhaps Syram was right and f/n wasn't interested in him at all? Perhaps he should stop pursuing her.
However, as much as his head wanted him to give up and maintain his dignity while he still had some, his heart refused to let him do so.
For even though he was arrogant, rude and had no idea how to treat a woman properly, he couldn't deny that he had strong feelings of affection for f/n...even if those feelings weren't reciprocated.

Chapter Text

Leaving the client consultant area, Erwin Smith calmly walked along the corridor where the management offices were situated.
Having left Mike to deal with making sure Flagon was escorted from the premises without incurring any further incidents, his next priority to get everyone else back to their designated work areas as soon as possible. 
“Erwin!” Called a voice behind him, halting him in his tracks and causing him to turn his head. 
“Dennis is dealing with Flagon.” Said Mike gruffly, stopping a few feet away from the company owner. “Shall I tell Dita and Klaus to start sending everyone back to their areas?”
“Yes.” Nodded Erwin evenly. “I also want you to tell Nanaba to come see me in my office before I resume the directors meeting. I’ll be speaking with Levi if anyone needs me.”
“Understood.” 
Watching silently as the tall director made his way to the canteen, Erwin took a further three large steps and stopped outside the varnished wooden door on his right. 
Raising a fist, he knocked firmly on it three times before entering without waiting for an invitation from the room’s occupant and closed it behind him…

Resting his head on the palm of his hand and drumming his fingers off the surface of the wooden table, Luke Siss was finding it extremely difficult to remain calm after his conversation with Flagon’s client consultant team; and he clearly wasn’t the only one feeling that way.
Nickolas had decided to try and distract himself by playing a game on his mobile phone, while Ilse was dividing her attention between looking out of the window and scribbling in her notebook.
“Damnit, how much longer are they planning on keeping us here?”He groaned, the sound and movement of his fingers increasing not only in speed, but also in intensity. “We should’ve heard something by now, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“Heads up guys!” Gasped Ilse, immediately gaining not only his attention, but that of the other employees sat at the tables closest to them. “Someone’s being escorted out of the building by security!”
“What?” Frowned Nickolas, tearing his gaze away from his phone and joining her at the window as Luke did the same. “Who is it?”
“Hey what’s going on?” Called of the other client consultants. 
In the blink of an eye, a mass of bodies huddled around the windows, eagerly jostling for a good position to catch a glimpse of what was happening in the car park below.
“Whoa, is that...Flagon?”
“So our hunch was right?” Snarled Luke, turning to shoot an angry glare at a young intern who had been roughly shoved into him by the forming crowd behind them. “He was the one responsible for us being confined here because he was causing trouble.”
“What do you suppose he’s done?” Asked another voice. 
“Well whatever it is, we won’t be seeing him again if security are escorting him out!” Smirked Ilse, reaching her her notebook and eagerly recording the event within its pages.
“Does this mean we’ll be getting out of here soon?” Inquired one of the other employees who had managed to secure themselves a position in front of the window. “I mean, I dunno about anyone else...but I feel kinda like an animal in a zoo!”
Rolling his eyes at his colleague’s remark, Nickolas looked towards the canteen doors, raising an eyebrow when he caught sight of Klaus speaking to a tall dark blonde male. 
Watching them curiously, he ignored the loud chatter around him and concentrated solely on the two directors when Klaus nodded and turned his attention back to the canteen.
“Alright you lot, listen in!” He shouted bringing his hands up to his face and cupping them around his mouth to amplify his voice. “Mr Smith wants you all to return to you designated work areas immediately!”
“Looks like the party’s over then.” Mused Ilse, closing her notebook and slipping it back into her jacket pocket. “
“Do you think we should ask what’s going to happen to us now we don’t have a team manager?” Asked the young female from Flagon’s team who had conversed with her earlier. “I mean, do we still return to work or what?”
“Well Director Klaus is still stood by the doors.” Mused Nickolas, putting his mobile phone away. “Maybe you should ask him on the way out.” 
“Speaking of asking questions.” Said Luke, gaining both Ilse and Nickolas’s immediate attention. “We should probably try finding f/n and make sure she’s okay.”
“I agree.” Nodded Ilse rapidly. “Nanaba too, I haven’t seen her since we came out for lunch either.”
“Wasn’t she going off site though?”
“I dunno, maybe.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Said Nickolas firmly. “Let’s just get back to our work stations and see what we can find out.”
Exchanging one final nod of agreement, the three teammates merged with the bustling crowd and started to follow as the still confused employees started to make their way out of the canteen.

Having retrieved the spare shirt from her car, Nanaba calmly locked the vehicle and turned around to start making her way back towards the Survey Corps building, accompanied by a stoic security officer. 
Due to the fact he’d remained silent during his appointed task, she’d barely even noticed his presence. While she understood it was necessary to have him follow her, it was also a slight inconvenience to have him watching her like a hawk while she was rummaging around in the boot of her car; especially given she had some rather...private items she had to move aside to get to the desired garment.
However, before she could raise her identification card to the slot of the reader mounted on the wall, the door to her right violently swung open.
Jumping back in time to avoid it hitting her, she furrowed her brows when the security officer quickly placed his hands on her shoulders and an extremely angry looking Flagon stormed past without so much as a fleeting glance or any attempt at an apology.
“Well excuse you!” She snorted under her breath, before muttering an apology to the man behind her for nearly stepping on his foot.
Moving forward to grab the metal door handle, she was so busy looking behind her, that she almost walked into another well built black uniformed security officer now blocking her way. 
“I think you mean excuse you!”
Stopping short of colliding with the burly male, Nanaba blinked rapidly and craned her neck to meet his gaze, taking note of the smirk currently tugging at his lips. 
“It’s not like you to be so clumsy Nanaba, everything okay?”
“Ah, sorry Dennis.” She smiled weakly. “Am I right in assuming that he won’t be coming back?”
“You are.” He nodded, finally stepping aside and gesturing for her to enter the building. 
“I see, well good riddance to bad rubbish!”
Leaving the two security officers stood by the door, she quickly strode across the polished floor of the lobby and approached the reception desk where Marlene was currently stood with her back to her while talking on the phone.
“Alright then, I’ll let her know when she comes back in.”
Halting behind the other woman and waiting for her to finish her current conversation, the blonde team manager remained silent until she turned around to face her.
“Ah Nanaba, perfect timing.” Smiled Marlene. “Erwin would like to speak to you before he resumes his directors meeting.” 
“I understand, I’ll head to his office as soon as I give this to f/n.” She replied, momentarily holding up the spare shirt she was carrying.
“Of course, I’ll let his secretary know you’re on your way.”
Nodding in acknowledgement, Nanaba continued to walk towards the double doors leading to the stairs without another word. 

Looking up at the sound of someone knocking on his office door, Levi raised a curious eyebrow when it opened a moment later and Erwin stepped through it.
“I was wondering when you were going to show up.” He remarked nonchalantly as the company owner closed the door and walked towards his desk, stopping in front of him and placing his hands behind his back.
“Flagon has been dealt with and f/n has confirmed everything you already told me.” He said firmly. “However, as well intentioned as your actions were today Levi...and while I’m sure f/n is grateful, I cannot simply turn a blind eye to them.”
“She’s safe and that bastard got what he deserved.” Shrugged Levi, keeping his arms folded across his chest as he spoke. “That’s all I care about.”
Visibly softening his harsh icy gaze, Erwin flexed his fingers behind his back before speaking again. 
“You’ve put me in a very difficult position today, but I am prepared to be lenient about this; especially since you managed to stop a more serious incident bringing harm to another employee. So, given that this is your first major offence, I won’t be terminating your employment here.” 
Remaining silent, the shorter male narrowed his steel grey eyes and waited patiently to hear what his punishment would be.
“I’m issuing a written warning and a two week suspension...with pay of course, effective immediately.”
“Tch, I can handle that.” Snorted Levi. “As I already said, Flagon won’t be around anymore and I don’t have to worry about him going near f/n again.”
“I hope you realize how lucky you are Levi!” Warned Erwin, his voice taking on a much darker tone. “If this had been any other employee, I wouldn’t handed the matter over to the police!”
“I appreciate that you didn’t.”
“Mike will escort you from the premises and I must ask that you do not come back here until your suspension is over unless otherwise instructed by myself.”
“Fine. Anything else?”
“That will be all.”
Nodding awkwardly, Levi pushed himself up from the desk and unfolded his arms, walking around to the other side to retrieve his belongings. 
Furrowing his brows, Erwin exhaled deeply and took a step forward. 
“Levi.”
“What?”
Hesitating for a moment before replying, a smile found its way onto his features as he regarded the shorter male. 
“Make the most of this second chance you’ve been given.”
Furrowing his brows, Levi opened his mouth to respond. However before he could, Erwin had already turned around and started walking towards the office door. 
Silently opening it and greeting Mike with a nod before allowing him entry, Erwin closed the door behind him, leaving the director and deputy manager alone together.
“Tch, what the hell is that supposed to mean?” Muttered Levi, earning him a raised eyebrow from Mike as he saved the document he had been working on before the incident with Flagon took place.
Shaking his head and deciding to think about it later when he was alone, Levi shut down the computer and retrieved his jacket from the back of his chair 
“I take it you’re ready to leave?” Inquired Mike neutrally. 
“Yeah.”
Picking up his laptop case, he shouldered it and pushed his chair under the desk, suddenly freezing when a soft knock at the door broke the momentary silence that had descended over the office.
Looking towards Mike, he frowned questioningly and waited for an answer as to whether he was allowed to see who it was before leaving.
Agreeing with a single nod of his head, the tall director answered the door, his large frame effectively blocking Levi’s view of who was stood on the other side...but not the sound of their voice when they spoke.
“Oh, excuse me Sir. Is Mr Ackerman here?”
Turning his head and affording the short male a small smile, Mike stepped aside and gestured for them to enter. 
“I’ll wait outside.” He said lowly, stepping out into the corridor and closing the door behind him…

Heads snapping up when the sound of Flagon demanding to see Erwin filtered through the break room door, you and Hanji looked towards the source of the noise with widened eyes.
“Oh dear.” Snickered the bespectacled brunette. “It appears someone isn’t taking the news of their employment being terminated very well.”
“Who cares?” You snarled, suppressing a violent shudder and bringing your arms across your body to rapidly rub your forearms. “I’m more concerned about what’s going to happen to Levi. ”
“He’ll be okay Sweetie.” Said Hanji softly, reaching out and resting a hand on your shoulder. “Erwin’s a man of his word, he won’t report this incident to the police…”
“Flagon still might!” You snapped. “You saw the state of him, he could still have Levi arrested for assault!”
“Only if he’s prepared to face the possibility of being arrested himself for attempted rape, holding you hostage and actual bodily harm.” She replied in a rather melodic tone while nodding to your chest.
Blinking rapidly at her words, you looked down at the blood stained tear in your shirt. 
Flagon may have been an arrogant bastard, but Hanji wasn’t wrong; if he wanted to try and drag Levi down, he was going to have to face up to his own offences in the process...something even he wasn’t stupid enough to intentionally subject himself to.
“Okay, maybe you do have a point.” You mused with a shrug. “I still can’t help worrying about what Mr Smith will do to Levi though.”
“If I had to guess, the worst he’ll do is demote him back down to team manager.” Hummed Hanji thoughtfully, retracting her hand and using it to cup her chin. “Levi’s an asset to the company, so there’s no way Erwin will terminate his employment.”
“I hope so.”
“Anyway enough about that, how are you feeling?”
“Well, I...um…”
Lowering your arms and placing your hands in your lap, you frowned thoughtfully.
Just how were you feeling?
In all honesty, you had been so busy worrying about what would happen to Levi that you had become completely numb to your own emotions; that was until Erwin had questioned you over what took place before the raven haired male came to your rescue.
Naturally, you’d feared for your life when threatened with the box cutter...but after seeing Levi beating Flagon to a bloody pulp, all you could think about was not letting him lower himself to the former team manager’s low standards of behaving like a wild animal.
“I think I’m okay.” You replied worriedly. “I mean, I don’t really feel traumatized...but I’m still pretty shaken up by what happened, if that makes any sense?”
“Sounds to me like you could still be in shock.” Said Hanji sternly, once again leaning forward in her seat and pushing her face close to yours, causing your e/c eyes to widen when you saw your reflection staring back at you in the lenses of her glasses. “You have been through quite an ordeal after all. If that’s the case like I suspect, the magnitude of what’s happened will probably start to fully sink in later.”
“I dunno, maybe. I just really want to see Levi and make sure he’s okay.”
Giggling lightly, the other woman shook her head and sat back. 
“Oh Sweetie, stop fretting about Shorty and concentrate on yourself.”
Before you could respond, the break room door opened. 
A loud mass of chattering voices, all of which overlapped each other and made it impossible to hear what the subject of conversation was reached your ears as Nanaba quickly entered the room and closed the door behind her, reducing the noise to nothing more than a muffled buzz.
“Looks like everyone is returning to work.” She observed, holding out a neatly folded garment towards you. “Here you are f/n.”
“Thanks Nanaba.” You smiled, gratefully accepting it. “Um listen, would I be alright to take you up on your offer of some time off please? I think I kinda need it.”
“Of course. I’ve got to go and see Mr Smith now, but I’ll pop down to Human Resources when I’m done and have a word with them about it.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
“We’ll leave you to get changed then.” Said Hanji, standing up and straightening her jacket. “If you still want to see Levi, you’ll probably find him in his office.”
Waiting until the two of them had left the break room, you moved out of view of the door and hastily rid yourself of your torn, blood stained shirt.
Scrunching it up and putting it in the bin, you changed into the fresh garment before taking a few minutes to compose yourself and leaving the room.

As the other employees of Survey Corps reached the client consultant area, the large crowd in which they moved slowly started to disperse as several of them returned to their designated work stations.
“Ugh finally!” Gasped Luke, stepping into the small space between his and Ilse’s work stations. “I can breathe again!”
“Where do you suppose f/n is?” 
“I dunno, I can’t see her through this lot!” Said Nickolas, raising his head and curiously scanning the crowd as they made their way through the double doors leading to the stairs. 
Humming thoughtfully, Ilse kicked off her shoes and carefully climbed up onto her workstation for a better view.
“Are you insane woman?” Questioned Luke, his eyes widening in horror at her actions. “You know Nanaba will come down on you like a tonne of bricks if she catches you!”
“Oh be quiet, I won’t be up here long!” Furrowing her brows and glancing in the direction of the break room, she soon caught sight of a lone female stood a few feet away from the doors; almost frozen in shock at the sudden chaos she was encountering. “Heads up boys! I’ve just found her!”
“Where is she?” Asked Nickolas, offering a hand to help her down.
“Over near Nanaba’s workstation.” Replied Ilse, gladly accepting his chivalrous gesture. “Looks like she just came out of the break room.”
“Is she okay?”
“I think so, only one way to find out.”
Slipping her shoes back on, Ilse led the men around the back of her workstation and along the empty row to avoid the crowd.
“There you are!” She gasped, rushing towards you and once again pulling her notebook from her jacket pocket. “Are you okay? What happened? We were told there’d been an incident in here, but no one is giving us any details.”
“Damn Ilse, give the girl time to breathe!” Snorted Nickolas. "She's not even seen us yet!"
"Not a problem!" Smirked Luke, striding past the two of them and jumping in front of you. "Hey f/n what's your hurry?"
Unfortunately, the long haired male's tactic to get you to notice him did not go according to plan; jumping back at his sudden appearance, you let out a short sharp scream and raised your firsts, causing the passing crowd to come to an immediate halt and turn to look at you. Thankfully, your brain registered who it was that had startled you and you managed to avoid lashing out at him.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Take it easy!" He gasped, hazel eyes almost doubling in size as he brought his arms up to show he meant no harm. "It's just me!"
"Fuck Luke, I almost punched your lights out!" You scolded, completely oblivious to the audience now watching and muttering amongst themselves. "Don't sneak up on me like that!"
"Sorry I didn't mean too. Are you okay? You look like you've seen a ghost."
"I'm fine." You nodded, slowly lowering your fists and relaxing your posture when Nickolas and Ilse came into view.
"Alright you lot, get back to where you belong!" Shouted the dark haired female, waving her arms at the still crowd in an effort to move them along. "Go on shoo!"
Continuing to mumble and exchange opinions for your sudden outburst, your fellow employees slowly started to shuffle forward again.
"Damn vultures! Hey f/n are you okay, we saw Flagon getting escorted from the building by security!"
“Y-yeah I'm fine." You stuttered nervously, trying to side step your teammates. "Listen, can we talk later? I kinda need to go speak to Mr Ackerman.”
“Why? Was he involved too?" Frowned Nickolas. "We've not heard anything about what happened."
"Guys please! I have to go see Levi!”
“Levi?” Gasped Ilse, almost dropping her notebook. “You’re calling him Levi again?”
"For fucks sake, just move will you?" You snarled, finally deciding you'd had enough of their questions and pushing past them. “We’ll talk later I promise, but right now I have to find Levi!”
Blinking rapidly and watching slack jawed as you rushed towards the double doors leading to the management offices, the three teammates were left at a loss for words as you disappeared into the adjoining corridor. 
“Well that was weird.” Mused Luke, cocking his head to one side. 
"Damn right it was!" Growled Nickolas, furrowing his brows and folding his arms across his chest. "She's never snapped at us like that before!"
"Something definitely happened between her and Flagon." Said Ilse firmly, closing her notebook and tapping it against her mouth. "I mean, did you see the way she raised her fists when Luke startled her? Couple that with the way she just lost her temper because we were trying to question her, something bad definitely happened."
"Not a lot we can do about it at the moment though." Continued Nickolas, his gaze still fixed on the double doors leading to the management offices.”She did say she’d talk to us later though.”
“Hopefully she’ll have calmed down by then.”
“Maybe.” He shrugged. “Come on, let’s get back to work. We’re pretty far behind as it is.”
Silently agreeing that their best course of action was to be patient and wait for your return, the three of them slowly made their way back to their workstations and tried to push their current concerns to their backs of their minds.

Forcing yourself to stop and take a breath when you stepped into the corridor where the management offices were situated, you raised your hands and rubbed them over your face in frustration.
“Shit!” You cursed lowly, feeling yourself once again start to tremble; however you couldn’t be certain if it was caused by your memories of what had happened with Flagon or the fact that you had just unintentionally been rather rude to your concerned teammates. Whatever it was, you knew you needed to pull yourself together and fast before you completely fell apart. 
“Come on f/n snap out of it!” You growled, lowering your hands and straightening your posture before setting off again. “Ugh, I really hope Nanaba manages to secure me some time off before I end up doing something I regret!”
With only a few more steps to go until you reached Levi’s office, you suddenly found yourself halting again when a tall blonde man stepped out into the corridor and started walking towards you.
Jaw momentarily dropping open, you were quick to recognize his icy blue eyed gaze when you found it intently focusing on you.
“Ah Miss L/n.” Said Erwin evenly. 
“Mr Smith.” You replied shakily. “I um, I was just on my way to see Le-I mean Mr Ackerman.”
“I see.”
“Well, you see, I um...I never actually got the chance to thank him for coming to my aid earlier.” You stuttered, feeling a lot like a pupil being caught skipping class without the proper authorisation. “So I thought that I should...”
“I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.” Nodded the company owner, a small but knowing smile slowly spreading across his lips. 
Awkwardly returning the simple gesture, you remained still as he passed by you; unaware that as you started to take a step forward, he had now stopped and turned to look back over his shoulder. 
“You have a noble heart f/n, I wager you’d have made an excellent soldier had you not taken up a position here.”
“Excuse me?” You gasped, suddenly spinning around to look at him. “What do you mean by that Sir?”
“Forgive me.” He replied, a smile still playing upon his features. “I was thinking out loud.”
Opening your mouth to question him further but thinking better of it, you slowly furrowed your brows and frowned as the tall blonde male turned and walked down the corridor without saying another word.
“Am I losing my mind?” You muttered to yourself, watching him disappear through the double doors without so much as a backwards glance. “First Hanji and Levi tell me I was a soldier in a past life, then Flagon does the same and now Mr Smith tells me I’d make a good soldier? Just what the Hell is going on around here?”
Shaking your head in an effort to clear your confused mind, you managed to make it to Levi’s office without any further interruptions and raised your hand to knock on the door; however it wasn’t the short deputy manager who answered it.
Receiving yet another unexpected surprise, you found yourself facing a broad suited chest before looking up into the intense steel blue eyes of Director Zacharias.
“Oh, excuse me Sir.” You stammered nervously when the tall male raised an eyebrow at you. “Is Mr Ackerman here?”
Turning his head and showing a small smile to the occupant of the office, Mike stepped aside and gestured for you to enter. 
Swallowing hard, you clenched your fists and cautiously walked past him, feeling your heart start to race in your chest when your e/c eyes locked with a familiar pair of steel grey orbs staring back at you.
“I’ll wait outside.” Mike said lowly, stepping out into the corridor and closing the door behind him, leaving you alone with Levi.

"F/n?" Questioned Levi, his natural frown deepening. "What are you doing here?"
"I um...came to see if you were okay. You know after..." You mumbled nervously, flexing the fingers of your right hand before curling them into a fist.
"Shouldn't I be the one asking if you're okay?" He retorted, adjusting his hold on his laptop case and cocking his head to one side. 
"Probably, but..." Furrowing your brows when you noticed that he was stood in front of the desk rather than sitting behind it, your current train of thought was suddenly derailed. "I'm sorry, are you...going somewhere?"
Sighing deeply and averting his gaze the raven haired male nodded. 
"Technically yeah, I was just about to leave."
"What?" You gasped, words started to spill from your lips before you could stop them. "Why? Please tell me Mr Smith didn't fire you? You practically saved my life today, if you hadn't shown up I don't know what Flagon would've done to me! This isn't fair, he..."
"Tch, calm down Brat!" Snorted Levi, rolling his eyes. "He didn't fire me, I'm on a two week suspension."
"Oh." Instantly closing your mouth, you pursed your lips and nodded. "Okay, that's good then...Not good that you got suspended, I mean..."
"I know what you mean f/n."
Now it was your turn to avert your gaze. 
Taking a deep breath, you awkwardly shifted your weight from one foot to the other and bit your lower lip, dragging it back between your teeth before speaking again.
"Well, I'm glad you didn't get fired."
Remaining silent, Levi simply continued to watch you, making you feel extremely uncomfortable.
"Listen Levi, I just wanted to thank you for what you did today." Once again facing him, you afforded him a small smile. "If you hadn't come by, I don't know what might have happened...so, thank you."
Answering with a nod, the short male's intense glare softened slightly as he took a step forward and raised a hand to your face, cupping your chin and lifting your head.
"It should be me thanking you, I would've killed Flagon if you hadn't stopped me."
Breath catching in your throat, your e/c eyes widened at his words. 
"I had to." You mumbled. "I meant what I said earlier Levi, you're better than that. I couldn't bear to see you lower yourself to his level..."
Gently tracing his thumb along your cheek, Levi slowly leaned in and placed a barely there kiss to your forehead before releasing you.
"Thank you f/n."
Pressing your trembling lips together, all you could do was stand in silence and watch as Levi carefully sidestepped you and walked towards the door.
"I have to go now."
Gritting your teeth, you nodded and slowly followed as he opened it and allowed you to leave the office first. 
"I take it you're ready?" Inquired Mike, raising an eyebrow at the shorter male as he closed the door and locked it.
"Yeah."
"Very well."
Standing and watching in silence as Mike led Levi away, you lowered your head as the two men disappeared through the double doors leading to the client consultant area and exhaled shakily, clenching your hands into fists and choking back a sob of regret as the words you should have said finally escaped you.
"Levi, I couldn't bear to see you lower yourself to his level because...because I love you."

Chapter Text

Accompanied by Mike, Levi made his way through the Survey Corps building without saying a word to either the tall director or anyone else for that matter; not even the confused receptionist in the lobby as he signed himself out. 
Walking towards the door leading to the carpark and bringing his hand up to press the door release button, he slowly turned his head and raised a questioning eyebrow when Mike placed a hand on his arm to stop him.
“Listen Levi.” He said lowly, looking down at the much shorter male. “What you did today, no one blames you...but Erwin can’t be seen to condone violence within the company. You understand that right?”
“Tch, I’m not an idiot!” Scoffed Levi. “I’m sure you’d have done the same if it was Nanaba in f/n’s place.”
“I would.” He replied stiffly, wrinkling his nose and releasing his hold on the other male’s arm. “We don’t always think straight when it comes to protecting those we love.”
Blinking once, the short deputy manager’s natural frown deepened. 
“If you’ve got something to say, I suggest you say it Sasquatch!”
“I think you know exactly what I’m talking about.” Snorting in amusement, Mike’s lips curled upwards into a smirk as he reached for the door release button and pressed it. “See you in two weeks Levi.”
“Tch!”
Annoyed that Mike wasn’t prepared to elaborate on what he was saying, Levi pushed open the door and left the building. Striding towards his car without looking back, he remained oblivious to the muttered words Mike directed towards him when the door slowly closed behind him.
“F/n might not remember who you are, but that didn’t stop her falling in love with you again.”

Returning to the client consultant area to wait for Nanaba, you were understandably met with concerned frowned and hushed whispers as you passed by the workstations of your colleagues; although you couldn’t be certain whether it was because they knew of what had happened with you and Flagon, or because of the way you snapped at your teammates. Either way, it was clear that you were currently the hot topic of conversation whether you liked it or not.
Sighing deeply, you cautiously walked past your own workstation and stopped at Ilse’s. 
“Hey, um...can we talk?”
Continuing to tap away at her keyboard, the dark haired female glanced up at you and raised her eyebrows. 
“Well, not just you...the guys too.” You muttered nervously, wincing in anticipation of being told in no uncertain terms to “go away.”
Affording you a small smile, Ilse nodded and stopped typing. 
“We’ll talk at Nanaba’s workstation.” She said in a hushed tone. “Less chance of us getting into trouble that way.”
Pushing her chair back, she stood up and looked towards Luke and Nickolas’s workstations, motioning for them to follow the two of you to the appointed location.
Nodding in agreement, the two males followed suit and the four of you huddled together.
Satisfied that you were all out of earshot, Ilse, Luke and Nickolas all stared at you expectantly, making you suddenly feel very uncomfortable under their combined gazes.
“Okay, well...first things first.” You said quietly, folding your arms across your chest and gripping your forearms. “I’m sorry I snapped at you guys earlier, I really didn’t mean to but I was kind of in a hurry.”
“Alright then.” Nodded Nickolas.
“Oh and Luke, I’m sorry for nearly taking a swing at you…” Taking a deep breath, you cringed before continuing your apologetic speech. “Although you did startle me by jumping out in front of me like that.”
“Heh, I guess I did kinda deserve it.” He chuckled lightly. “I’m sorry I scared you like that, it was the only thing I could think of to get your attention.”
“So are you going to explain what happened now?” Inquired Nickolas, raising an eyebrow and placing his hands on his hips. “All we were told is that an incident had taken place in here during lunch hour.”
“Whoa, back off will you?” Snapped Luke. “Let the poor lass speak!”
“Sorry.” Averting his gaze, the dark haired male furrowed his brows and sighed. “It’s just that...we thought it had involved you and wanted to make sure you were okay, yet all you seemed to care about was going to see Mr Ackerman. We’re supposed to be your friends f/n, yet you just pushed us aside like we meant nothing.”
“Alright that’s enough!” Growled Ilse, finally joining in the conversation. “Look, we get that you’re pissed we’re behind with our workload and being kept in the dark about why we were penned into the canteen like animals, but that’s not f/n’s fault! She promised us she’d talk after she’d seen Mr Ackerman and now she is doing, so cut her some slack!”
Bitterly clicking his tongue, Nickolas swallowed down the harsh reply he was planning to give his teammate and returned his focus to you, softening his harsh glare when he noticed the stiffness of your posture.
“We just want to know what happened f/n.” He said gently. “Considering we saw Flagon escorted from the premises by a security officer, we were naturally worried that you were involved.”
“You’re right Nickolas, I was involved...Flagon attacked me.” Drawing a deep breath, you tightened your grip on your forearms and forced yourself to explain what had happened as your colleagues stared at you in a stunned, wide eyed silence. “I went to retrieve some more paper for the printing station and he followed me to the store cupboard near the break room.”
“No way!” Shrieked Ilse, slamming her hands over her mouth when her voice got a little too high pitched and attracted the attention of one employee walking through the doors leading to the stairs. “Did he hurt you?”
“He locked us in and then he...he tried to force himself on me.”
“Dirty bastard!” Snarled Luke, clenching his hands into fists. “Shit, that explains why you freaked out earlier when I startled you.”
“He didn’t get very far thankfully, but...” You sobbed shakily, rubbing your arms and looking at the floor. “When I tried to call out for help, he pinned me to the door and threatened me with a box cutter.”
“Damnit!” Cursed Nickolas, gritting his teeth and removing his hands from his hips, instead raising them to his head and running them back through his dark tresses. “No wonder they kept the whole thing quiet!”
“It’s okay f/n.” Said Ilse softly, stepping forward and wrapping one arm around your shoulders before proceeding to rub your back with the other. “You don’t have to tell us anything else, does she guys?”
“No, no absolutely not!” Replied Luke hastily, moving to stand closer to you and pulling you into his chest. “All that matters to us is that you’re safe.”
“Exactly.” Smiled Ilse. “The police will deal with that arrogant asshole.”
“Um...actually they won’t.” You mumbled worriedly, shrugging away from them and raising your head. “I’m not going to tell them.”
“What?” Demanded Nickolas, his tone clearly conveying his anger at what he was currently hearing. “Why the Hell not?”
“Keep your voice down will you?” Scolded Ilse, quickly looking around to make sure your discussion hadn’t attracted an audience; which fortunately, it hadn’t.
“I can’t.” You answered, blinking back tears and forcing yourself to meet his gaze. “If I do that, Levi will get arrested too!”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Levi heard me screaming for help and came to my aid.” You sniffed, wiping your eyes before continuing. “He kicked the cupboard door in and got me out of there before beating the living daylights out of Flagon! If Nanaba hadn’t come back and found us, I think Levi would’ve ended up hospitalizing him!”
Conveniently leaving out the part where you had to restrain the short deputy manager from commiting murder, you carefully watched your teammate’s reactions. 
As much as you hated lying to them, there was no way you could tell them that he would have willingly killed Flagon if you hadn’t stopped him. 
Levi might have been feared by most of the employees that ranked below him, but he also had their respect and there was no way you were going to jeopardize his reputation by revealing the full extent of his actions.
“Wow.” Whispered Luke, loosening his hold on you. “I kinda want to say Mr Ackerman went a little too far, but given how he’s been hounding you...I think Flagon deserved it.”
“I agree.” Nodded Ilse. “Although let’s be honest, it wouldn’t exactly be much of a “thanks for saving me” if you then had to tell the police that he then beat up your attacker and it wasn’t in self defence.”
“Makes sense I suppose.” Shrugged Nickolas. “Well, we won’t be saying anything to anyone. This stays between us and as Luke already said, the main thing is that you’re safe.”
“Thanks guys.” You smiled weakly. “I appreciate it and I am really sorry I snapped at you earlier.”
“Forget it.” Said Nickolas, placing a hand on your shoulder and lightly squeezing it. “Water under the bridge.”
“What’s going on here then?”
Turning as one, you and your teammates let out a cry of panic upon hearing a voice behind your little huddle.
“Damnit Nanaba!” Panted Luke. “Where did you come from?”
“Why aren’t you lot at your workstations?” She frowned, ignoring the long haired male’s question. “Do I need to make you work through your afternoon break to catch up?”
“No, no, that won’t be necessary!” Said Ilse hurriedly. “We’ll get back to work right away!”
“We were just making sure f/n was okay.” Said Nickolas evenly, quickly regaining his composure. “We were concerned after we were all held in the canteen earlier.”
“I see.” She continued, pursing her lips and casting an icy gaze over her subordinates. “Well in that case, you should probably be made aware that f/n will be taking the next week off. So I need you three to step up while she’s away.”
“You can count on us Nanaba!” Said Luke confidently. “We won’t let you down.”
“Sorry to land you in it like this.” You muttered fearfully. “I’ll make it up to you all.”
“It’s fine.” Snickered Ilse deviously. “We’ll just pile what we can’t finish onto you when you come back!”
“Alright you three, back to work.” Said Nanaba, pointing in the direction of their work stations. 
“See you in a week f/n.” Smiled Ilse, slowly backing away. “We’ll miss you.”
“Thanks, I’ll miss you guys too.”
Affording you a brief nod, Nickolas returned to his workstation while Luke gently patted your shoulder and muttered a small goodbye before leaving you alone with Nanaba.
“You’re free to leave whenever you’re ready.” She said softly. “Mr Smith personally approved your compassionate leave, however I have been asked to give you this.”
Holding out a large black folder, Nanaba’s tone darkened slightly. “It’s an incident report, you’ll need to sign it and bring it with you when you return to work.”
“Oh, right.” Nervously taking it from her, you swallowed hard and tucked it under your arm. “Thanks Nanaba. I’ll go through it tonight and have Hanji pick it up over the weekend so she can bring it back on Monday with your shirt.”
“There’s no rush, I’ll see you in a week.”
Affording her a small smile, you nodded and returned to your workstation to collect your belongings before saying a final goodbye to your teammates. 
Carefully putting the folder into your bag, you left the client consultant area and made your way down the stairs to the lobby.

Arriving home, Levi pulled up into the front garden and switched off the ignition, sitting in silence and staring at the house for what felt like an eternity.
There was no way he would be able to hide the truth of what happened from his mother, but he also wasn’t exactly in the mood to be interrogated by her as to why he had acted the way he did. Still, there was no denying that she would be the better option to talk to and unburden his troubled mind….which would probably happen sooner rather than later given that he had noticed Kenny’s car was already parked in the yard, meaning that they were now back from the hospital.
“Tch, suppose I should get this over with.” He grunted, reaching over to the passenger side for his laptop and getting out of the car. 
Pulling the long leather strap up onto his shoulder, he locked the car and cautiously made his way towards the house…

Sighing deeply, Kuchel frowned at the letter in her hands. 
“Oi, are you going to sit there staring at that all afternoon?” 
Lifting her head, she raised an eyebrow at her the man sitting across the dining table from her.
“No I’m not.” She retorted, carefully folding and placing it into her trouser pocket. 
“I’m just making sure I’ve read it properly is all.”
“Why, are you illiterate or something?”
Tutting and shaking her head, she pushed herself up from the table and walked towards the sink, roughly picking up the kettle and flipping the lid back.
“I didn’t realize the doctor performed a humorectomy on you!” Scoffed Kenny, removing his hat and running a hand back through his hair. “I must’ve blinked and missed it.”
“Your jokes have never been funny and you know it!” 
Rolling his eyes and leaning back in his seat, Kenny soon found himself sitting bolt upright and looking towards the kitchen door he heard a faint rattling coming from the hallway.
“Now what’s wrong with you?” Asked Kuchel, sparing him a momentary glance as she filled the kettle. 
“Quiet, I can hear someone messing with the front door!”
“It’s probably just someone pushing an advert through the lett-”
Cutting herself off mid sentence, Kuchel’s soft grey eyes widened when the sound of the front door being opened and someone stepping onto the laminate wood flooring of the hallway reached her ears. 
“Kenny?” She whispered worriedly, turning to face her brother and seeing that he was already moving towards the kitchen door. 
“Stay here!” 
Quietly leaning against the wooden frame, Kenny held his breath and waited until the footsteps grew closer before suddenly springing forward and attacking the intruder.
Wrestling them into a headlock and pinning them against the wall, he pulled them upright by their hair.
“Wow, you’re a brave bastard aren’t you? Breaking into someone’s house in broad daylight!” He chuckled. “Well you picked the wrong house to...Huh, Levi?”
“Levi?” Repeated Kuchel, rushing to join her brother and gasping in shock at the dishevelled state of her son. “What are you doing home so early?”
“Tch, I’m on a two week suspension.” He snorted, squirming out of Kenny’s grasp and straightening his now crooked tie.
There was no point in trying to sugarcoat it and given his current mood, so he may as well just say it like it was.
“Suspended?” 
“Oh ho, this I gotta hear!” Laughed Kenny, eagerly eyeing up the shorter male. “Whatcha do? Take a shit in your boss's coffee?”
“Shut up Kenny!”
“I nearly killed one of the team managers.”
“YOU DID WHAT?” Shrieked Kuchel, clutching her chest seconds later as several rather violent hacking coughs shook her body. “Why...why on earth..would you…”
Pursing his lips and letting out a low whistle, Kenny nodded and moved towards Kuchel. 
“Damn Boy, I didn’t see that coming!”
Ignoring his uncle’s remark, Levi hurried into the kitchen and opened one of the cupboards near the sink to retrieve a glass.
“Tch, forget me for a moment will you? Get her sat down and I’ll fetch some water.”
“Le-Levi Ackerman!” Coughed his mother, finally managing to straighten herself with her brother’s assistance as he helped her walk back towards the dining table. “You...you’ve got...some ex-explaining to do...young...man!”
“Calm down and drink this.” He replied, cutting her off by holding the now full glass out to her. 
“I’ll leave you both to it.” Muttered Kenny, quickly picking up his hat and making hasty retreat. 
Finally managing to stop coughing long enough to pick up her water and take a small sip, Kuchel harshly swallowed it down and turned to face her son. 
“Well?” She questioned hoarsely, rubbing her now burning throat. “What exactly happened today?”
Folding his arms across his chest, Levi clicked his tongue as he wondered where exactly to begin; knowing that whichever way he chose to tell her...it wasn’t going to be pleasant.

Upon reaching the lobby, you slowly walked up to the reception desk and patiently waited for the secretary to finish her telephone call before requesting the signing book.
Affording her a small smile as you handed it back and turned to leave, you found your departure delayed by the sound of running feet hitting the polished floor and a nervous male voice calling your name. 
“Moblit?” Halting mid stride, you turned to look behind you and frowned in confusion. “Is everything okay?”
Holding up a hand to signal that he needed a moment to catch his breath, Moblit stood up straight and met your gaze.
“Glad I caught you f/n!” He panted, holding out a black folder towards you. “Director Hanji asked me to give you this before you left.”
“Okay...what is it?”
“An incident report form.” 
“Nanaba already gave me one though.” You answered evenly, confusion evident in your tone. “Why do I need another?”
“Company Policy.” Stated Moblit. “One copy needs to be signed and returned to Human Resources and the other is for your own personal records.”
“Oh I see.” Taking the folder from him, you carefully slipped it into your bag. “I’m guessing Nanaba was in a bit of a hurry and forgot to give me the second copy.”
“Most likely.” Nodded the nervous male. “Thankfully I was dropping off some paperwork for Director Hanji when they asked me to make sure you got this and I saw you on the stairs as I left, so...”
“Well you certainly got lucky.” You smiled. “Listen, could you do me a favour and tell Hanji I’ll call her over the weekend please?” 
“Of course.”
“Thanks Moblit. So, um...was there anything else?” 
“No that was all.”
“Okay, see you later then.”
“Bye f/n.”
Remaining where he was and watching you exit the building, Moblit waited until the door had closed behind you before breathing a deep sigh of relief and leaving the lobby. 
“Damnit, that was close!” He mumbled, ascending the stairs and returning to the third floor. “I’m definitely gonna need a drink or two tonight!”
Slowly walking into the reception area where Hanji’s office was located, he slumped down into the chair behind his desk closed his eyes, letting his head fall back against the soft leather. 
“Oh good you’re back!” Called a happy female voice, causing him to emit a cry of panic as his eyes snapped open and he almost fell out of his seat. “How did it go?”
“Director Hanji!” He shrieked, staring wide eyed at the bespectacled brunette currently leaning against the rame of her office door. “I thought you’d gone back to the boardroom?”
“Just on my way actually.” She giggled with a nonchalant shrug. “Just needed to pick up a few documents from last months meeting, but enough about that. Did everything go according to plan?”
“I believe so, I managed to hand it over without arousing her suspicions anyway.”
“Excellent, I knew I could count on you Sweetie!”
“Hanji are you sure about this?” Questioned Moblit worriedly. “Don’t you think you should’ve waited a while? Especially given how you and f/n have just managed to start patching things up?”
Sighing deeply as an intense frown fell over her features, Hanji adjusted her glasses before answering. 
“I thought so too at first and I’m well aware that this could backfire but given what she told me earlier...I’d rather risk it now than further down the line. Anyway, I better get back to the boardroom before Erwin sends out a search party.”
Shaking his head, Moblit mirrored the bespectacled director’s frown and once again leaned back in his seat, folding his arms across his chest.
“Well, even though I don’t exactly approve of your methods...” He mused quietly, watching her leave the reception area. “I really hope this plan of yours works.”

Closing the kitchen door after Kenny had left the room, Levi proceeded to explain to his mother the events that had transpired between him and Flagon, which ultimately led up to him being suspended from work.
Recalling the details of how he’d rescued you from the psychotic former team manager had earned him little more than a stoic frown from Erwin, but Kuchel’s reaction was much more emotional.
“Oh my...is...is she alright?” Gasped the raven haired female, her hands flying up to her face and covering her open mouth. “Please tell me he didn’t…”
“No, he managed to wound her but it wasn’t anything serious.”
“That poor girl...and you say that the co-worker that attacked her was the same one who split the two of you up?”
“Yeah it is.”
Swallowing down the forming lump in her throat, Kuchel lowered her hands and placed them on the table. 
“Levi, I’m going to ask you something now and I want you to tell me the truth...was it your intention to kill him?”
Steel grey eyes slowly widening, Levi wasn’t entirely sure how to respond.
In the heat of the moment, when the blind rage and anger at what Flagon had dared to try and do to you, a part of him would’ve gladly delivered the final blow that would have ended the other man’s life. 
However looking back on it now, the consequences if he had actually done it were too catastrophic to think about. 
He would’ve lost everything; his home, his job, his family, his friends and even you.
Just the shock of his mother’s reaction to him merely confessing what he had done hit him like a punch to the stomach, how much worse would it have been if you hadn’t managed to talk some sense into him and he’d had to tell her he’d actually killed someone?
Sighing deeply, he regained his composure and looked her straight in the eye.
“At the time...yes.” 
“I see.” Exhaling shakily Kuchel’s hands clenched into fists, a violent shudder rushing down her spine at the mere thought of her son committing such an act. “What stopped you?”
“F/n...she reminded me just how much I had to lose if I went through with it.”
“Oh Levi.” She muttered, uncurling one of her fists and reaching for his hand. “Listen to me Sweetheart, I know what happened to happened to f/n was horrible...but you really shouldn’t have acted the way you did. Using violence like that doesn’t make you any better than that animal who attacked her.”
“Tch, you sound like f/n.” 
“Well I’m glad she stopped you and while I don’t condone your actions...I’m proud of you for coming to your senses and listening to her before you went too far.”
“Now you sound like Erwin!”
“Don’t get cheeky with me Levi Ackerman!” Warned the raven haired female, reaching up and giving the back of his head a gentle slap. “I’m still angry with you for acting so recklessly and I highly doubt the police will go easy on you if you start giving them attitude.”
“That won’t happen.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “F/n refused to get them involved because of the possibility that I would get arrested for assault.”
Sitting up straight in her seat, Kuchel blinked rapidly and released her son’s hand. 
“What?”
“Erwin declined to notify them too.” He continued. “I also doubt Flagon will be stupid enough to go to them himself, especially since he’d be arrested for attempted imprisonment and assault with a weapon.”
Shaking her head in disbelief, Kuchel was left at a temporary loss for words. Her brain was so muddled from everything she had just heard, that she wasn't entirely sure how to process this information or what to even say that would be appropriate to the situation.
"Well I hope you realize just how lucky you are Levi." She said firmly, standing up from the table and moving towards the worktop. "So how long did you say you were suspended for?"
"Two weeks."
"Erwin's been extremely lenient on you then."
"He's been looking for an excuse to fire that idiot for nearly a year, I technically did him a favour."
"Levi!"
"Tch!"
Furrowing her brows and adjusting her bandanna, Kuchel put the kettle on and retrieved two cups from the cupboard. 
"I managed to give f/n her birthday present." Said Levi gently, deciding that a change of subject was in order. 
"You did?" Asked Kuchel, turning back to face him. 
"Yeah, she loves it."
"Well I'm glad something good came out of today." She nodded, folding her arms across her chest. 
"She asked me how you were doing...I told her you were at the hospital for some test results today." He continued, furrowing his brows and regarding her with a worried frown. "So what did they say?"
"It was fine." Unfolding her arms and forcing a smile onto her lips, Kuchel struggled to meet her son's gaze. 
"Mother." 
Wincing at the stern edge in Levi's tone of voice, Kuchel lowered her head and leaned back against the cupboard.
"The tumours aren't spreading any further, but they're also not showing any signs of shrinking either."
"So what happens now?" 
"They want to continue with the chemotherapy for another three months and then repeat the tests." She replied evenly, raising her head and affording him a sad, but sincere smile. "I know it's not the news we were hoping for Sweetheart, but it's something at least."
"I suppose so. I'm going to get changed and take my laptop upstairs, I'll be back down soon."
"Take as long as you like." She answered, watching him leave the kitchen. 
However as he started to ascend the stairs and disappear from sight, Kuchel's happy demeanour slowly started to melt away as a guilt frown replaced her smile. 

Returning home, you retrieved your bag from the passenger seat of your car and hastily locked it before making your way to the front door.
You’d already resolved not to tell your father what had happened with Flagon, although whether it was the right choice or not remained to be seen.
On the one hand, you knew full well he would practically frogmarch you down to the police station to report the incident and them most likely turn on Mr Smith for not involving them himself; something that would not bode well for either you or Levi. 
However, if you didn’t tell him what had happened, would you really be able to handle keeping such a dark secret from him? 
Shaking your head in frustration, you reached into your bag and rummaged around for your house key, only looking up from the task when you heard barking coming from the other side of the door.
“Hey Sasha!” You called, frowning and continuing to dig around for the required item; only to find the door slowly swinging open before you had a chance to pull it from your bag.
“Hi Dad!” You smiled, silently praying to whatever deity existed that it didn’t look too false. 
“F/n?” He questioned with a worried frown as Sasha rushed past him and jumped up at you, putting her large front paws on your thighs. “What are you doing home so early? It’s only half past two.”
“Bit of a mix up at work regarding holidays.” You giggled nervously, scratching Sasha’s chin before encouraging her back into the house so you could enter. “Turns out I had some left over from last year and if I didn’t use them within the next month, I was basically going to lose them.”
“I see.” Mused your father, raising a curious eyebrow and closing the door behind you. “So you didn’t think to let me know you would be home early?” 
‘Uh oh, please tell me Hanji hasn’t called and told him what happened?’ 
“Phone died, I forgot to charge it this morning.” You answered, folding your arms and cocking your head to one side. “Anyway, it’s not like you were throwing a wild party while I was at work and you needed to clean up before I got home!”
“Excuse me f/n l/n, but who’s the parent here?”
Managing to keep the smile on your lips, you internally breathed a sigh of relief. 
‘Okay good, he seems to be believe me. Damnit I hate lying to him, but I can’t tell him the real reason I’m home early.’
Looking towards the coffee table in the front room, you noticed a roll of wrapping paper and a pair of scissors in the middle of it. 
“Oh!”
“Yes, Oh!”
“Sorry Dad.” 
Shaking his head, your father smiled warmly and placed a hand on your shoulder. 
“It’s alright Darling. So then, how long have you got off work?”
“A week.”
“A week huh?” He repeated, pursing his lips thoughtfully. “Lucky you.”
“Yeah...um, Dad?”
“Hmm?”
Feeling your resolve start to crumble, you nervously bit your lip and looked into his eyes. As much as you desperately wanted to confide in him about what had happened, you knew deep down that it was for the best if you kept it to yourself; but that didn’t make lying to him any easier.
“I’m sorry...for not making sure my phone was charged before leaving the house this morning.”
“Oh don’t be silly!” He chuckled, pulling you close and wrapping his arms around you. “These things happen.”
Burying your head into his shoulder, you screwed your eyes shut and held onto him for dear life. 
“Whoa, hey now!” Gasped your father. “What’s with the squeezing, you trying to break my ribs?”
Pulling away before you completely broke down and told him what happened, you shook your head and once again forced a smile into your face. 
“Huh, oh no I just...I just realized that I was a bit hasty in leaving the house this morning and wanted to make up for it is all.”
“F/n, are you sure you’re alright?” 
Swallowing down the lump forming in your throat, your resolve once again began to waver, however you were determined not to give in.
“I’m fine Dad.” You nodded. “I’m gonna go upstairs and get changed.
“Alright then. Oh when you come down, will you help me find me a new program for creating documents on? My current one keeps playing up.”
“Sure Dad.” You giggled, shaking your head and making your way out of the living room towards the stairs.
 “Thank you!” He called out, watching you leave before turning his attention to Sasha and gently rubbing her head. “Are you going to stay down here with me or are you going to follow her?”
Cocking her head to one side and letting out a low growl, Sasha stood up and trotted out of the room, hesitating at the foot of the stairs for a moment before eventually climbing them.
“Hmph, I thought as much!”

Entering your bedroom, you closed the door behind you and leaned back against the hard wood.
Exhaling deeply, you closed your eyes and clenched your fists, allowing the pent up frustration to slowly drain from you now that you were alone.
If there was one thing you hated above anything else, it was lying to your father. Unfortunately, you didn't have much of a choice if you wanted to spare Levi from being arrested and possibly face spending several months if not years in prison.
Looking on the bright side however, he didn't seem to suspect that you were keeping something from him and as long as he continued to believe that, the weight of your decision would hopefully lessen over time; at least, that was what you hoped for anyway.
"Damnit!" You cursed, choking back a sob. "Why didn't I just listen to Nanaba? All of this could've been avoided if I wasn't so stubborn!"
Suddenly hearing a small thud against the door, you jumped forward and let out a small cry of panic, staring wide eyed when a strange scratching sound rattled the wooden structure.
Biting your lower lip and dragging it back between your teeth, you cautiously reached for the door handle, slowly pulling it open.
Risking a peek through the small gap between the door and frame, you frowned upon not finding anyone in the hallway...that was until the door jerked forward and a grunting noise from below caught your attention.
"Sasha!" You smiled, opening the door fully and allowing the faithful chocolate labrador entry. 
Feeling rather embarrassed that you had been scared of opening the door to your bedroom in your own home, you shook your head and closed it again once the dog was inside and mentally cursed yourself. 
Nothing was going to happen to you here, Flagon had no idea where you lived, so why were you so paranoid that he was going to come after you again?
For all he knew, you could've reported the incident to the police and they were on their way to arrest him. It wasn't for him to know that the only reason you hadn't was because you were protecting Levi.
"Sorry Girl, I wasn't expecting you to follow me up here since I was planning on coming back downstairs."
Ignoring you and padding over towards the bed, she jumped up onto the mattress in one swift movement before turning back to face you and laying down, wagging her tail happily.
"Daft dog." You giggled, tickling her chin before glancing over at the pillows and noticing that she had knocked over the teddy that sat upon them.
Reaching over for the it, you slowly picked it up and moved it onto the bedside table, smiling sadly and straightening the flight goggles resting on it's head.
"Try and avoid knocking Levi over in future." You scolded, waving an accusatory finger at Sasha and earning only a rather large yawn in reply.
"Hey, it's not my fault I named the teddy after the guy who won it for me!" 
Grumbling and placing her head between her front paws, Sasha simply licked her lips and closed her eyes.
Shaking your head and removing your bag from your shoulder, you placed it on the bed. 
Unzipping the main compartment, you reached inside and pulled out a small box. 
Smiling affectionately at the object, you carefully pulled open the cardboard flaps and removed the contents. 
"Hmm, now where to put you?" 
Clicking your tongue and thoughtfully glancing around the room, your sight eventually settled on the bookshelf next to your desk. 
"What do we reckon Sasha?" You questioned. "Think they'll look good over there?"
Raising her head, the chocolate labrador simply wagged her tail and stared at you curiously. 
Walking the four short steps to the aforementioned location, you placed the ornament down on the desk while you rearranged the current objects occupying the shelf to clear a space.
"Okay, right here next to Mum's photograph." You mused, retrieving the gift and positioning it next to the silver framed picture of a young woman with h/c h/l hair and e/c eyes happily smiling for the photographer. "Perfect!"
Returning to your bag, a frown spread across your features when you reached inside again and pulled out an ominous looking black folder. 
"Crap, I'd forgotten about these incident reports." You grumbled, moving to sit on the bed and resting a hand on Sasha's head. "May as well get this over with I suppose."
Pulling back the flap sealing the folder you sighed and removed the large stack of papers it contained, tutting in annoyance at the fact they weren't stapled together. 
"Wow, they really were in a..."
Halting mid sentence when you turned the papers over to start reading through them, your e/c eyes widened in a mixture of confusion and fear at the strange photograph and lines of text.
"This...this isn't an incident report." You stuttered, your hands starting to tremble as you rapidly flicked through each page, finally stopping and almost choking on your own breath when the shock of seeing a detailed portrait of yourself wearing a strange uniform of some description staring back at you.
Dropping the folder and it's contents, you shuffled further back onto the bed and hugged your knees to your chest, blinking rapidly at the papers now scattered across your bedroom floor.
"What the Hell is this?"

Chapter Text

Staring down at the strange portrait of yourself now littering the bedroom floor with the rest of the papers from the folder you had been led to believe was an incident report form, you swallowed hard and forced yourself to remain calm.
“This can’t be real.” You muttered, resting your chin on your knees. “Reincarnation is just a belief, it’s never been proven. That portrait isn’t really me...it’s been Photoshopped, yeah that’s gotta be it.”
Breath catching in your throat, your eyes narrowed angrily.
“Hanji!” You growled, suddenly remembering your earlier confrontation with her and how you had knocked a black folder out of her hand when she tried to tell you about her research into the idea of reincarnation and rebirth. “That fucking sick bitch! She promised me she’d drop this subject, why the Hell has she seen fit to give me this after everything that happened to me today? I’m gonna strangle her when I see her again!”
Reaching over for your bag, you reached inside and pulled out a second black folder, quickly opening it up and examining its contents.
“I knew it!” You growled, taking note of the Survey Corps logo and company title that adorned the header of the first sheet of paper you saw before raising an eyebrow at the note attached to it. “F/n, please read through and sign. A copy will then be issued to you for your personal records once it has been seen and signed by Mr Smith.”
There was absolutely no chance that Hanji’s “research” finding its way into your possession was Nanaba’s doing, she was far too straight laced to even contemplate doing something like this; let alone actually make it happen.
Although, there was someone who you knew worked very closely with Hanji on a daily basis and had managed to somewhat conveniently bump into you just as you were leaving the building…

“Glad I caught you f/n!” Moblit panted, holding out a black folder towards you. “Director Hanji asked me to give you this before you left.”

“Wait, did Moblit know about this...or did Hanji lie to him too?”
Inhaling sharply when you felt something cold and wet nudging your arm, your anger quickly melted away upon finding a pair of dark brown eyes staring up at you.
“I’m okay Girl.” You muttered, lowering a hand to Sasha’s head and scratching behind her left ear. “Just thinking someone better be prepared to get their ass kicked when I see them again…”
Suddenly snapped out of your thoughts when a soft knock on the door, you looked towards it; which in turn caused Sasha to sit up and bark at the unexpected disturbance.
“F/n are you alright in there?” Came your father’s voice, muffled by the thick wooden barrier separating the two of you. “You’ve been up here quite a while.”
“I’m fine Dad.” You called back, quickly shushing Sasha before speaking again. “Just putting a few things away and then I’ll be right there.”
“Okay, I’ll see you downstairs.”
Slowly lowering your legs and sliding off the bed, you crouched down and started to gather up the scattered pieces of paper.
Casting a suspicious glance over each one, there was no denying that Hanji had done a pretty good job of forging each document...Hell, she’d even gone to the trouble of making it look like she’d downloaded it from the Trost City Library’s official website!
“Hmph, credit where it’s due I suppose.” You muttered bitterly, standing up and frowning at the portrait. “That damned psycho sure spent a lot of time ensuring all this bullshit looked legitimate.”
Placing them back into the folder, you closed the flap and tossed it onto your desk as you walked towards the wardrobe to find a change of clothes.
However as much as you tried to convince yourself that everything you had just seen was an elaborate lie, a small part of you couldn’t help but wonder if any of it was indeed true…

Looking up from staring at his laptop when the sound of approaching footsteps coming down the stairs reached his ears, your father smiled and turned to face you as you walked into the living room.
“All sorted?”
“Not really, but I can deal with it later.” You shrugged, pushing the troubling thoughts surrounding your recent discovery to the back of your mind.
“Remembered to put your phone on to charge?”
“Very funny Dad!”
Chuckling and turning back to his laptop, he shuffled over to create a space on the sofa for you, raising an eyebrow when Sasha suddenly appeared and took advantage of the opening.
“Just exactly what do you think you’re doing?”
Letting out a low grumble in reply, the chocolate labrador shook her head and decided to remain where she was, much to your amusement.
“Come on, get off you daft animal!”
“Oh leave her be, there’s just enough room for me to sit down.” Giggling softly and shaking your head, you carefully moved to take a seat next to your father. “So what’s wrong with your current program?”
“It keeps freezing and then when I restart it, I lose everything I’ve written since the last save.”
“Okay, how often do you save your work?”
“Hmm, every page?”
“Not nearly enough then!” Shaking your head, you rolled your eyes and tutted. “Ideally, I’d say you need something that will autosave every few seconds.”
“They have programs that can actually do that?” Gasped your father, blinking rapidly in disbelief.
“Um, yeah?” You giggled again, moving your finger over the mousepad and opening a new browser window. “Geez Dad, what are they teaching you on this ICT course you’re supposed to be taking? I’d be asking for a refund if I were you!”
“It’s a free course and we’re starting on website creation next week, so less of your cheek young lady!”
Allowing yourself a small smirk, you hit the enter button and frowned at the list of available programs that slowly started to appear on the page, humming thoughtfully at each one.
“So what are you planning to do with your week off?” Said your father, deciding to divert the subject of conversation away from his lack of computer skills.
“I dunno, some shopping maybe? I could do with a few new clothes for summer.” You mused, finally selecting a program and clicking on it. “Okay this one looks like it might work for you, it’s also free to use. Shall I download it?”
“Alright then, let’s have a look at it. Going alone or with a friend?”
“I might ask Ilse if she fancies coming along with me.” You shrugged, keeping your gaze fixed on the laptop. “I’m sure she’s probably got some pretty good fashion tips stashed away in that little black book of hers.”
“Any advice on how to “strangle a fucking sick bitch” in there by any chance? Or are you simply going to settle for “kicking her ass?” I’m also going to assume you were talking about Hanji.”
Index finger hovering above the mouse pad, your entire body froze in fear; just how much of your angry little rant had he actually heard?
“F/n...look at me.”
Swallowing hard, you slowly turned your head and stared at your father, feeling a heavy weight settle into the pit of your stomach when your eyes met.
“Something happened at work today didn’t it? Is that the reason you’re home early?”
Lower lip beginning to tremble rapidly, you could hear your own heartbeat thudding in your ears with each passing moment.
“It’s alright if you don’t want to tell me exactly what went on, but I do have one question that I need an answer to.” He said in a calm tone. “Have you been suspended or fired?”
As much as you wanted to tell him everything that had transpired that day, you knew that it wasn’t a good idea.
Still, after your recent discovery upon returning home, you were certainly in need of some advice over what to do about Hanji’s latest stunt.
“No Dad.” You replied. “I’ve not been fired or suspended, I’ve been granted some compassionate leave for the next week because Nanaba’s worried my mind isn’t on my work at the moment.”
“I see.” Nodded your father. “Then why did you lie and say there was a mix up with your holidays?”
“I just didn’t want to worry you.”
“F/n I’m your father.” He sighed, the disappointment that you felt unable to tell him the truth evident in his tone. “It’s my duty to worry about you.”
“I know, but...I just wanted to deal with this on my own.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to lie to me.” He smiled, reaching out and gently cupping your chin. “You know what your problem is don’t you?”
“I inherited Mum’s stubborn streak.” You muttered. “I remember you saying how bad she could be when it came to dealing with Grandma and Grandpa.”
“I think yours could probably rival hers!” Chuckled your father. However he grew serious before speaking again. “You know I won’t force you to talk about anything you don’t want to, but I am here for you if you do feel the need to confide in me.”
Nervously biting your lower lip, you dragged it back between your teeth as your mind wandered back towards the strange portrait you had found in the folder Moblit gave you.
What if Hanji and Levi had been telling the truth? What if reincarnation did exist and those documents weren’t elaborate forgeries at all?
Hell, even Flagon had seemed convinced that it was when he locked you in the cupboard with him.

“You really don’t have any memories of your past life at all do you?”

“F/n?”
“Huh?”
Blinking rapidly, the concerned frown your father was now directing towards you was impossible to miss.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah I’m fine.” You nodded, forcing a small smile onto your lips. “Actually, there is something I want to talk to you about.”
“Of course Darling, what is it?”
Glancing towards your laptop when it pinged to let you know the download was complete, you pulled away from him and turned to focus on the screen.
“Looks like it’s finished downloading. Listen, why don’t you make us a drink while I get this installed and set up for you? Then we can deal with my issues.”
“Okay then.” He nodded, standing up. “If you’re sure it’s what you want, there’s no pressure.”
“No, I want to discuss it.” Turning back to face your father, the smile that now graced your lips was no longer forced, but a genuine show of affection and trust. “You know what? Scratch that, I need some advice from my dad.”
Walking around to the other side of the sofa, your father stopped and leaned over you, pressing a gentle kiss to the top of your head.
“I’ll be back soon.”
Watching him leave the front room, your smile slowly faded to be replaced by a worried frown.
You might not be able to confide in him about your ordeal with Flagon, but if you were careful with how you voiced your concerns about your feelings for Levi and the strange documents Hanji had seen fit to bestow upon you, it would certainly be one less thing weighing you down your already troubled mind.

Returning to the living room, your father tutted and shook his head, allowing a smirk to spread across his features as he moved to place two steaming cups down on the coffee table.
“Come on now, time you moved!”
A knowing smirk tugging at your lips, you glanced over at Sasha and shook your head when she simply looked up at your father and questioningly cocked her head to one side.
“Sasha, down!”
Grumbling and pushing herself up into a sitting position, the chocolate labrador slowly climbed off the sofa and padded around the coffee table to lay on the rug in front of the fire, flopping down on the soft fabric and resting her head between her paws.
“I’ve got your new program installed.” You said, turning your attention to your father as he rejoined you on the sofa. “It runs pretty much the same as your old one, but it automatically saves your work as soon as you stop typing.”
“Hmm, that’s quite handy then.”
“Yep, it is.”
“Right then, now my little problem is solved, let’s deal with yours.”
“Okay.” You muttered nervously, trying to figure out where to start in order to help him understand what you were currently dealing with. “It’s complicated, but…”
“Take your time.” Smiled your father. “There’s no rush.”
“I know. So, you know how I broke up with Levi because Hanji set us up together because I reminded him of his dead fiancee?”
“Yes I remember.”
“Well, I think I’ve found evidence to suggest that isn’t true.”
“Oh?” Questioned your father, raising his eyebrows in curiosity. “What makes you say that?”
Unfortunately, for your father to fully understand what was going on in your mind, you were going to need to partially tell him about what had happened with Flagon.
However, if you were careful, you could manage to explain without going into too much detail...or so you hoped..
“This is going to make me sound really horrible but, it turns out the former…“colleague” that told me turned out to be jealous of my relationship with Levi, especially considering I rejected him when he asked me to go with him to Trost Carnival.”
“I see.” Frowned your father. “Did you confront Levi about this rumor?”
“Yeah, but...he didn’t exactly deny it.”
“What do you mean?”
“He never said it wasn’t true, but he didn’t say it was either.”
Humming thoughtfully, your father’s frown deepened.
“So you ended your relationship with him because he couldn’t give you a straight answer?”
“Pretty much.” You nodded guiltily. “What could I do though, he wouldn’t confirm or deny it...and neither would Hanji.”
“It is a rather strange situation.” Continued your father, reaching for his cup. “Although I have been in a similar predicament before if I’m honest.”
“You have? When?”
“When your mother and I first started dating.” He mused, sipping his coffee. “There was another boy who was after her attention, so in an effort to split us up, he told me that he and your mother were already dating.”
“What happened next?”
“I told her what I had heard and she played him at his own game.” Despite succeeding in stifling a chuckle, your father was unable to stop the smirk that spread across his lips seconds later. “She made up a rumor that seen him smoking behind the bike sheds and was offering to sell cigarettes to the other students. Naturally it got back to the teachers and he was subjected to random bag searches for the rest of the year until we left after sitting our final exams!”
“Wow!” You gasped, jaw dropping open in surprise.
“I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t believe everything you hear...although since you say Levi neither confirmed or denied what you had been told, it’s understandable you’re confused.”
“I’m actually starting to think the rumor was false.” You muttered, reaching for your own cup. “Especially since the guy who told me tried to kiss me earlier and then got mad when I rejected him.”
“I’d be inclined to think he was lying.” Mused your father thoughtfully. “Given how as soon as Levi was out of the way he decided to make a move on you.”
“I know him and Levi were rivals before I met either of them, so of course when Levi found out who started that rumor and that he tried to kiss me...he was pretty mad.”
“Understandable though.”
“I guess so, but since speaking to him today...I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should ask him about it again and demand he tell me the truth.”
“Why what happened today?”
Sighing deeply and staring down at your drink, your grip on the warm cup tightened, allowing the heat to permeate your skin.
“Levi called me into his office after hearing that his rival had been trying to wind me up and asked me why I didn’t tell him about it...I wasn’t rude or anything, but I did tell him it wasn’t any of his business since we aren’t together anymore.”
Humming thoughtfully, your father sipped his coffee again and silently waited for you to continue.
“He said that it didn’t matter because he still cared about me, then when I tried to leave...he stopped me and gave me a gift.”
“What sort of gift?”
Feeling your heart rate quicken, you smiled sadly at the thought of the ornament now adorning the bookshelf in your bedroom.
“You remember that statue Mum had of Ambrosius and Sir Didymus from Labyrinth?”
“The one you cried over for almost a week because the removal men broke it?”
“Dad!” You whined. “I’m trying to be serious here!”
“Sorry Darling.” He chuckled. “It’s an involuntary reaction, I’m listening.”
“Well, I told him about it and his mum found the exact same one on a vintage gift website, so he brought it with the intention of giving it to me for my birthday.”
“Really?” E/c eyes widening in shock, your father let out a low whistle. “That won’t have been cheap, those statues were limited edition!”
“I know, I couldn’t believe it either.”
“I think it’s clear that he still cares about you deeply if he was willing to give it to you despite your relationship ending.” Said your father softly. “The big question now is, how do you feel about him?”
“That’s why I need your advice. Hanji gave me something today that seems to prove the rumor about me reminding him of his dead fiancee is actually a lie, but I don’t know whether to believe her or not.”
“Hmm.” Raising a hand to his face and scratching his chin, your father pursed his lips. “I suppose it would all depend on whether or not she got this information from a reliable source. Is there anyway for you to find out?”
Raising your cup to your lips and slowly sipping the warm tea contained within it, you turned your thoughts to the folder currently sitting on your desk upstairs.
‘What if those documents are the real deal and she did actually download them from the city museum website?’
“I think there is.” You replied. “What do you think I should do?”
Smiling sadly, your father put his cup down on the coffee table before taking yours from you and doing the same.
“F/n...Darling, listen to me.” Shuffling closer to you, he reached for your hands and looked into your eyes. “This is your life and only you can decide what you want to do with it, you’re an adult now...not a child. So I won’t tell you what to do, but I will tell you what I think you should do. Anything you do after that is your own choice to make; you wanted my advice, so here it is.”
Swallowing down the forming lump in your throat, your entire body tensed in anticipation when he opened his mouth to speak again.
“It seems pretty cut and dry to me that Levi still cares about you and deep down, I think that you feel the same way about him.
Now, if you want to get to the bottom of this rumor, then go at it full throttle and check Hanji’s information as thoroughly as possible before speaking with Levi again. You need to go into this with your eyes wide open so he can’t evade the subject, understand?”
“Yeah I do.” You nodded.
“Good, what you do after that is all down to you, I’ll support you whatever choice you make.”
Inhaling deeply, you held it in for a few seconds before slowly letting it out and gently tugging away from your father’s hold.
“Thanks Dad.”
Feeling like a great weight had been lifted from your shoulders, you stood from the sofa and picked up your cup of tea before making your way out of the living room and heading upstairs.
“Good luck Darling.” Muttered your father, a proud smile spreading across his features as he watched you leave before turning his attention to his laptop.

Entering your bedroom, you opted to leave the door slightly ajar in case Sasha decided to follow you.
Striding over to your desk, you opened your laptop and took a seat as you reached for the folder containing Hanji’s research.
“Okay f/n, just keep calm and try not to freak out...you can do this!”
Steeling yourself for the task you were about to undertake, you gritted your teeth and opened the folder.
Removing the stack of papers contained within it, you once again found the strange portrait of yourself staring back at you.
“Now, let’s see…” You mumbled to yourself, sipping your tea and starting to read through the lines of text beneath the photograph. “ Name: F/n L/n, Place of birth; Shiganshina, Military Affiliation: Survey Corps Weapons Development Branch?
Blinking rapidly, you double checked what you had just read to make sure you weren’t imagining things.
“Well even if this is bullshit, at least it’s not boring bullshit!”
Shaking your head and deciding to come back to it, you placed the sheet of paper to one side and picked up another, curiously reading through the lines of text.
“As a member of the Weapons Development Branch, F/n worked extremely closely with Science Officer Hanji Zoe…”
Snorting and rolling your eyes, you tossed it aside and reached for another.
“Good grief Hanji, you’re in the wrong profession! You should become fantasy novel publisher, this stuff would make you famous!”
However your amusement soon disappeared when you looked at the next piece of paper and inhaled sharply at the photograph situated in the top right hand corner.
Stood side by side in what appeared to be rather strange uniforms with a complicated looking array of metal equipment attached to their waists and thighs were two very familiar looking people.
One was a short raven haired male with piercing steel grey eyes and an intimidating frown. The other, a tall/short female with h/l h/c hair, e/c eyes and a neutral expression...
Unable to think of a sarcastic retort, you cautiously turned your attention to the caption below and started to read.
“Captain Levi Ackerman, a highly decorated officer and f/n l/n of the Weapons Development Branch. Two of the most notable members of the Survey Corps regiment.”
Once again, you found your beliefs about reincarnation being challenged and for some reason you couldn’t quite put your finger on, you recalled the brief conversation you had in passing with Mr Smith earlier that day…

“You have a noble heart f/n.” Said Erwin. “I wager you’d have made an excellent soldier had you not taken up a position here.”
Excuse me?” You gasped, suddenly spinning around to look at him. “What do you mean by that Sir?”
“Forgive me.” He replied, a smile still playing upon his features. “I was thinking out loud.”

“No way.” You scoffed, continuing to scrutinize the photograph for any telltale signs that it had been tampered with. “Does he seriously share the same beliefs as Hanji?”
Pushing the sheet of paper aside to join the others, you shakily picked retrieved the rest of the pile and started to hastily look through them until one particular image caught your attention.
Standing around a large table surrounded by various wooden barrels and more of the strange looking equipment from the previous picture, you saw a tall blonde male with bushy eyebrows and icy blue eyes stood at one end while what appeared to be yourself, Levi and Hanji accompanied him.
“I’ve seen enough!” You growled, hastily reaching for your laptop and pulling it towards you. “Time to check that website link in the header, it’s the only way I’m going to be able to know the truth once and for all!”
Opening a new browser window, your fingers shakily moved across the keyboard as your gaze flicked back and forth between the paper and screen.
Index digit hesitantly hovering over the “enter” button, you screwed your eyes shut and reluctantly pressed it.
“Shit! Shit! Shit!” You cursed quietly, not entirely sure whether you wanted to be proved wrong or right. On the one hand, if you were proved right and the “research” Hanji had given you was fake, you were fully prepared to give the bespectacled director a piece of your mind. However if you were proved wrong and what you had just read was a hundred percent legitimate...then you had a Hell of a lot of apologising to do; not just to Hanji, but Levi too.
“Okay, that should’ve loaded by now.” You mumbled, slowly forcing yourself to open one eye. “Moment of truth…”
Clenching your hands into fists, you looked at the computer screen.
Breath catching in your throat, both eyes widened in a mixture of shock and confusion.
Leaning forward, you slowly uncurled your fists and moved your fingers across the mousepad, navigating away from the current page and following the “related links” section.
Mouth opening and closing without speaking a word, tears began to well in your e/c eyes at the images that appeared before them.
Slumping back in your seat, you simply sat and stared at the laptop screen for several nerve shredding moments before reaching for your mobile phone.
Hands trembling uncontrollably as you swiped your thumb across the screen to unlock it, you silently struggled to bring up your contact list before selecting a number from it and pressing the “call” button.
Bringing the device up to your ear, you took several shaky breaths while listening to the seemingly never ending dial tone before a voice was heard on the other end of the line.
“Hey, it’s me…” You said cautiously. “We need to talk.”

Chapter Text

Heading back downstairs, Levi ran a hand back through his raven hair and returned to the kitchen, raising a questioning eyebrow upon finding his uncle sat alone at the dining table.
“Where’s my mother?”
“Living room, she’ll be back in a minute.” Shrugged the older male nonchalantly. “Said she wanted some privacy while she made a couple of phone calls.”
Nodding and taking a seat, Levi folded his arms and cocked his head to one side when he noticed the rather sinister smirk on his thin lips.
“Tch, what’s with that look? You constipated or something?”
“Just wondering if my name will be included on the visiting order when your ass gets thrown in the big house!” Snickered Kenny. “Just when are they showing up to arrest you by the way? I thought they’d be here by now.”
“Idiot!” Snorted Levi, furrowing his brows when he felt his mobile phone start vibrating in his pocket.
Pulling the device out, he frowned at the caller ID.
“Oh, is that them? My, my, they’re being extremely polite giving you advanced notice of their arrival. Should I have your mother put the kettle on?”
“Fuck off Kenny!” 
Swiping his thumb across the phone screen to take the call, he brought the phone up to his ear.
“Hello?” His free hand clenching into a fist, he tensed in his seat upon hearing the voice on the other end of the line. “Yeah...Alright...fine, I’ll keep an eye out for it.”
Flexing his jaw as he ended the call, Levi clicked his tongue and once again looked towards his uncle, cursing internally at the smug expression still adorning his features. 
“Was that your lawyer? I hope he’s a good one!”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but it was Erwin. He’s sending out a copy of my incident report form, so sorry to disappoint you.”
“Ah well, best not to go out...you know, just in case.”
“Tch, you really are an idiot!” 
“All joking aside though…” Mused Kenny, his smirk visibly shrinking. “I’m curious as to why you did it. Come on, indulge your dear old uncle and tell me what happened.”
“Everything alright in here?”
Looking towards the door, the two males fell silent as Kuchel entered the kitchen.
“Just asking “Levi The Ripper” here what possessed him to try and murder one of his colleagues...OUCH!”
Allowing himself a momentary grin of amusement when his mother backhanded her older brother around the back of his head, Levi soon wiped it from his face when she turned and glared at him disapprovingly. 
“Don’t think you’re off the hook because you’ve managed to escape being arrested Levi Ackerman!” She warned in an unsettlingly intimidating tone. “I’ve got plenty for you to do around the house while you’re suspended from work!”
“Heh! Good luck Runt!” Snorted Kenny, rubbing the back of his head. “You’d have been better off going to prison...Ouch! For fucks sake Kuchel!”
“Don’t think you’re getting off lightly either!” She continued, shaking the feeling back into her hand after hitting him again. “What he did is nothing to encourage, he’s extremely lucky Erwin was so lenient on him! So you can help him with some of the bigger jobs I have planned.”
Cursing under his breath, Kenny folded his arms across his chest.
“So did you get everything sorted?”
“I did thank you, now if you two can go and make yourselves useful by rearranging my bedroom while I start dinner, it would be much appreciated.”
“You want me to move stuff around after you gave me a concussion?”
“I barely even touched you!” 
“Fine, whatever.” Shrugged Kenny, pushing his chair back and turning his attention to Levi. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”
Responding by simply rolling his eyes, the shorter male stood up and followed his uncle, affording his mother a concerned glance before leaving the room.
Spending time with Kenny wasn’t exactly how Levi had pictured spending his evening, but if it helped keep his mind from focusing on the day’s events and whether or not you would ever regain your memories, then it was surely something he could grin and bear. 

After what felt like an eternity dial tone finally cut off and a voice answered from the other end of the line.
“Hello?”
“Hey, it’s me…” You said cautiously. “We need to talk.”
“Hahaha just kidding!” 
“What the?”
“Sorry Sweetie I’m not here at the moment! Leave your name and number after the tone, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Bye!”
“Damnit, I fell for it again!” Growling at the single monotone beep, you tightened your grip on your phone. “Hanji, if you don’t change your fucking voicemail greeting message, I swear I will let Sasha into your apartment, open the fridge door and film what happens next! Look, we need to talk so can you call me back when you get this please? It’s important.”
Sighing and ending the call, you looked around upon hearing your bedroom door slowly creak open and the sound of heavy panting fill the room.
“Speak of the devil.” You grinned, swivelling your chair around and putting your phone into your jeans pocket before encouraging Sasha to come to you. “I guess you heard me threatening Hanji huh?”
Wagging her tail and padding towards you, the chocolate labrador made a last minute right turn and moved towards your bedside table, sitting down and pushing her nose up against the top drawer. 
“Fine, you can have a treat.” You giggled, standing up and making your way over to her. 
Pulling the drawer open, you retrieved the bag of biscuits you kept in it and squatted down in front of her. “Not too many though, you’ll get fat!”
Licking her lips and shuffling closer to you, Sasha eagerly took one of the small bone shaped snacks from you, loudly crunching and swallowing it before leaning in for another. 
“I really should call Levi.” You mused thoughtfully, reaching out and gently scratching behind her ear before offering her a second treat. “I know I owe him a huge apology, but I feel like I need to say it to his face rather than over the phone. What do you think?”
Sniffing the bag containing her biscuits, Sasha licked your hand and raised a paw, knocking it onto the floor. 
“Oi, you cheeky shit!” You gasped, quickly reaching for the scattered treats as she dived down and started to try eating them before you could pick them up again. “Geez, were you a locust in a previous life or something? You’ll eat anything and everything!”
Looking up at you and cocking her head to one side, Sasha let out a curious grumble and watched intently as you sealed the bag and put it back in the drawer. 
Suddenly freezing when you realized what you had said, you frowned and glanced towards your desk where Hanji’s research sat in a messy stack on top of the folder it had previously been stored in.
“Damnit.” You muttered lowly, closing the drawer and standing up straight. “I know I’ve seen the evidence with my own eyes, but I still can’t quite wrap my head around it all.”
Reaching into your pocket for your phone, you swiped your thumb across the screen and hummed thoughtfully as you checked the time. 
“Half past four...Hanji should be finishing work at five. Hopefully she’ll call me straight away and we can arrange to meet up before I drive myself crazy wondering why everyone can remember this past life we shared except for me.”
Slipping the device back into your pocket, you turned your attention back to Sasha and smiled. 
“Come on Girl, let’s take you for a walk before dinner.”

Shutting down her laptop and leaning back in her seat, Hanji stretched her arms above her head and arched her spine.
“Ah finally!” She groaned in satisfaction, lowering her arms and rolling her shoulders to relieve the tenseness in them. “I thought today was never going to end.”
Humming to herself, she started to gather up her finished work ready to be handed over to Erwin’s personal secretary on her way out before scanning across her cluttered desk for an empty folder to put it into.
Briefly glancing at the office door when the sound of someone knocking on it distracted her from her task, she soon managed to sift through the organised chaos and find what she was looking for.
“Come in.” She called, slipping the documents into a dark blue folder before retrieving her jacket from the back of her chair and putting it on as the door opened. 
Just as she had suspected given the current time, Moblit stepped into the office. 
“I’m heading off now Director.” He stated evenly, shouldering his bag and watching her closely. “Is there anything you need me to do before I leave?”
“Yes, could you take this to Erwin’s office for me please Sweetie?” Closing her laptop and slipping it into its case, she nodded to the folder containing her finished work. “Don’t worry about handing it over to him personally, I’m sure Lynne will make sure he gets it.”
“Of course.” He answered, stepping forward and picking up the aforementioned item while Hanji reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her mobile phone, swiping her thumb across the screen and furrowing her brows. “Everything okay?”
“Hmm? Oh yes, sorry.” Smiled the bespectacled brunette, tapping away at the device and bringing it up to her ear. “I seem to have a missed call and new voicemail message from f/n.”
Not moving from in front of the desk, Moblit silently waited until he had been given clearance to leave...however he couldn’t help but hear a thinly veiled threat from Hanji’s phone as she played the voicemail message.

“Hanji, if you don’t change your fucking voicemail greeting message, I swear I will let Sasha into your apartment, open the fridge door and film what happens next! Look, we need to talk so can you call me back when you get this please? It’s important.”

“Hanji?” He questioned worriedly, taking a step back and swallowing hard at the rather manic looking smile spreading across her lips as she lowered the hand holding her phone. 
“Success!” She giggled, raising her head and looking directly at him; a move which looked all the more sinister when the light above her desk caught her glasses and obscured her eyes. “Going by the tone of her voice and the way she said she wanted to talk to me about something “important,” I think it’s safe to assume she found my research.”
“You should probably call her straight back then.” 
“All in good time my dear Moblit!” She said brightly. “Firstly, what are you doing tonight?”
“Just going home and relaxing.” He muttered nervously. “Although I don’t see what that has to…”
“Excellent! Take that folder to Erwin and then meet me back here, you’re going to be spending the night with me!” 
“Doing what exactly?”
A strong sense of dread starting rise from the pit of his stomach, Moblit was denied the luxury of an answer when Hanji rushed around to the side of the desk he was standing on and grabbed his shoulders, steering him out of the office. 
“All we be explained in due course Sweetie, now off you go!”
“W-wait, Hanji!” 
Closing the door before Moblit could further voice his protests, the bespectacled director once again brought her phone into view and quickly swiped her thumb across the screen.
“Now let’s see here.” Clicking her tongue and rapidly tapping the screen, she furrowed her brows as she scrolled through the web browser app. “Aha, there you are.”
Bringing the device up to her ear, she rocked on the balls of her feet and eagerly listened to the dial tone for a few seconds before the line crackled and a voice was heard from the other end. 
“Oh Hello, my name is Hanji Zoe...may I speak to Mr Armin Arlert please?”

“Ah, the wanderer returns!” Smiled your father, looking up from his seat on the sofa when you closed the front door behind you and removed Sasha’s lead. “I was wondering what time the two of you would be home, did you have a good walk?”
“Yeah, we did thanks.” You replied, removing Sasha’s harness and placing it back on the coat rack in the hallway. “I saw Thomas in the park and ended up having a chat with him while Connie and Sasha had a run around near the fountain.”
“I bet she enjoyed that.” Chuckled your father, shaking his head and standing up. “I’m guessing she needs a good towelling then?”
“Not tonight. It’s been drained, so I think they’re doing maintenance on it at the moment.”
“Ah I see.” 
“So how are you getting on with your new program that I downloaded?” You inquired, walking towards him and leaning on the back of the sofa to look at his laptop.
“A lot better than the other one.” He nodded, turning his attention back to the screen. “No problems with it so far.”
“Good.”
“I’ll be back in a moment just need to check the oven.”
“Okay.”
Moving to sit on the sofa when your father stood up and walked towards the kitchen, you removed your phone from your pocket and frowned at the lack of notifications on the screen.
“Damn you Hanji.” You growled under your breath, shaking your head in annoyance. “She must be working late, it’s the only reason I can think of for her not calling me back yet.”
While you had enjoyed the brief opportunity to temporarily take your mind off the day’s events, the fact that you were now home and there had been no contact from Hanji caused an uneasy feeling to once again take hold of you.
Despite being tempted to try calling Levi and confide in him how the bespectacled director had tricked you into reading her research, you ultimately decided not to. 
It was inevitable that you would need to speak to him eventually, especially considering you owed him an apology for believing Flagon’s lies and accusing him of drawing you into a relationship under false pretences. However the guilt you felt for refusing to even try and listen to his explanation made you question whether contacting him about your recent discovery was a good idea, even though there was a high chance he would more than likely have a copy of Hanji’s research himself and be more than willing to discuss it with you.
Sighing deeply, you glanced at the clock attached to the taskbar on your father’s laptop screen.
“Almost six o’clock.” You muttered. “If I don’t hear from her in the next hour, I’ll try calling her again.” 
“Dinner will be ready in just under an hour.” Said your father, interrupting your one sided conversation and gaining your immediate attention. 
“Sounds good.” You nodded forcing a smile onto your lips. “I’ll feed Sasha and set the table then.”
Standing up from the sofa, you patted your thigh and looked back towards the hallway where the chocolate labrador was currently sat watching you with intent curiosity. 
“Come on Girl, dinner time.”
Needing no further encouragement, Sasha padded towards you and followed you into the kitchen as your father returned to the sofa and resumed his work. 

“Are you sure about this Hanji?” Questioned Moblit incredulously. “What if it doesn’t go according to plan?”
“It will.” She smiled confidently, striding across the polished marble floor of the spacious entrance foyer of the city museum and making her way towards the information booth. 
“Good Evening!” Greeted the attendant, a polite smile gracing her features. “How can I help you?”
“My name is Hanji Zoe, I called earlier.” Explained the bespectacled brunette. “Mr Arlert is expecting me.”
“I see, one moment please.”
Casually placing her hands behind her back, Hanji rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet and studied her surroundings while the attendant reached for the telephone on her desk. 
“Shouldn’t you have called them beforehand and arranged to have them meet you here?” 
“Not really, no. I told you why already, I needed to make sure I could get everything set up first.”
“What if neither of them agree to come?”
“Oh they will.” Giggled Hanji slyly, turning her attention back to the attendant when she ended her call. 
“Mr Arlert is on his way. If you’d like to take a seat near the doors, he’ll be with you as soon as possible.”
“Much obliged my dear.” Walking over to the large wooden bench near the main doors, Hanji retrieved her mobile from her jeans pocket and swiped her thumb across the screen. “Phase one complete, now for phase two!”
Shaking his head in disdain, Moblit sat down and shook his head in disdain. 
“Hey Shorty, how are you? Listen, can you come meet me at the city museum? Well, now if you can...no, no don’t hang up! Levi...Levi listen to me, it’s about f/n. I can’t explain over the phone, that’s why I need to you come here...Excellent! See you soon!”
Ending the call, Hanji squealed and stamped her feet like an excited school girl, earning her a raised eyebrow from both Moblit and information booth attendant.
“Phase two complete! See Moblit, this is all working out perfectly!”
“For now.” Muttered the unconvinced male, leaning forward in his seat when a door towards the back of the entrance foyer opened.
Stepping through it, a short man with a mop of grey hair, a thick beard to match and dressed in a smart suit, accompanied by a small blonde boy around six years old in a school uniform walked towards the information booth. 
Glancing in their direction after speaking to the attendant, they approached the bench where Hanji and Moblit were waiting.
“Miss Zoe?” Questioned the old man, affording her a welcoming smile and holding out an age withered hand. “I’m Armin Arlert, a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance in person.”
“Ah Mr Arlert, thank you for agreeing to meet me.” Said Hanji, shaking his hand. “The pleasure is all mine, really. This is my partner Moblit Berner, I hope you don’t mind me bringing him along.”
“Please, call me Armin and I don’t mind at all.” Releasing her hand, he placed it on the head of the small child nervously standing by his side. “As you can see, I have my own little tag along. This is my grandson...he’s also named Armin.”
“Nice to meet you Armin.” Smiled Hanji, squatting down and offering him a handshake. 
Nervously looking up at his grandfather with wide bright blue eyes, he cautiously accepted the gesture after receiving confirmation from the old man that he was okay to do so.
“Armin loves it here at the museum, don’t you?” He smiled, ruffling the boy’s hair. “He spends hours reading all of the reference books in my office and helping me arrange new exhibitions.”
“I’m hoping to work here when I grow up.” Stated the young boy. “Maybe even take over as curator when my grandpa retires.”
“Well that sounds fantastic, I wish you luck with that!”
“Armin, why don’t you go and wait with Carla in the information booth? I shouldn’t be too long.”
“Okay Grandpa.” He nodded, flashing Hanji and Moblit a smile before doing as he was asked. “Bye!”
“Bye Sweetie!” Cooed Hanji, standing up again while Moblit simply nodded and waved. “Aw, cute kid.”
“Thank you. Now then, when you called earlier you requested my help with something?”
“Yes, I know it’s an odd thing to ask...but would you mind if I bought a couple of people in to see the Titan War Exhibition after you close for the evening?”
“I take it this is something to do with the research we spoke about in the ancestry forums?” Inquired Armin, raising a curious eyebrow.
“It is. I have a theory that if they see the evidence I’ve uncovered first hand for themselves, it may help them deal with their current...situation.”
Folding one arm across his chest and bringing the other up to stroke his beard, the old man hummed thoughtfully. 
“Just so we're clear Miss Zoe, I don’t normally allow anyone besides my employees to be in the building after closing time.” He stated evenly, causing Hanji and Moblit to tense in anticipation of his decision. “However, I am prepared to make an exception this one time since I have been “instrumental in your research” as you so kindly put it earlier.”
Giggling shyly at having her words quoted back to her, Hanji averted her gaze as a small blush rose on her cheeks. 
“I shall have a word with my security staff and make them aware of your circumstances, however I must ask that you keep this as short as possible.” Looking back towards the information booth where he had told his grandson to wait, he paused for a moment before speaking again. “I’d rather not disrupt Armin’s routine too much if I can help it.”
“We’ll be as quick as we can.” Confirmed Moblit, deciding to speak on Hanji’s behalf so she was aware that there were other people who weren’t directly affected by her research and should not be coerced into her plans any more than was necessary.
“Of course.” She nodded. “One is already on his way and I plan to call the other now.”
“Very well, then I wish you luck.”
Turning around and walking back towards the information booth, Armin left Hanji and Moblit alone to discuss their next move.
“Okay Moblit.” She said firmly, giving him her full attention. “You go outside and wait for Levi, I’ll call f/n.”
“On my way.”
Inhaling deeply, Hanji quickly started tapping away at her mobile phone screen again as she brought up the contacts list and scrolled through it.
Finding your number, she pressed the call button and brought it up to her ear, a smile slowly spreading across her face as she listened to the dial tone…

After reluctantly assisting Kenny with arranging his mother’s bedroom, Levi had barely finished eating his dinner before his phone started vibrating in his trouser pocket.
Excusing himself from the table, he walked out into the hallway to take the call, tutting in annoyance when he saw the caller ID.
“What do you want Four Eyes?”
“Hey Shorty, how are you?” Came the voice from the other end of the line, sounding far too cheery for his liking given his current mood. “Listen, can you come meet me at the city museum?”
“The museum?” He inquired curiously. “When and more importantly, why?”
“Well, now if you can…”
“Tch, no chance! It’s six o’clock in the evening! Now unless you’ve got something important to say, leave me alone!”
“No, no don’t hang up!” The panic in Hanji’s voice almost deafening him, he growled and pulled the device away from his ear before moving his thumb towards the “end call icon.” Although he had a bad feeling that if he did hang up, she would simply call him back straight away unless he turned the device off. “Levi...Levi listen to me, it’s about f/n.”
“F/n?” Steel grey eyes momentarily widening, he tightened his grip on the phone and returned it to his ear. “What about her? You better tell me exactly what’s going on right now Hanji!”
“I can’t explain over the phone, that’s why I need to you come here…”
Sighing and raising his free hand to his face, Levi pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, screwing his eyes shut and reluctantly agreeing to her request.
“Alright fine, I’m on my way.”
“Excellent! See you soon!”
Finally ending the call, Levi pulled the phone away from his ear again and glared at the now black screen, clicking his tongue thoughtfully and putting it back into his pocket.
“Everything alright Sweetheart?” 
Turning towards the source of the voice, the raven haired male found Kuchel leaning against the doorframe separating the kitchen from the hallway.
“Hanji wants to meet up with me.” He answered, walking towards the front door and taking his hoodie from the coat rack beside it. “I’m not sure what time I’ll be home.”
“Okay, did she say why?”
“No she didn’t, typical Four Eyes.”
“Levi!” Gasped Kuchel, shaking her head disapprovingly. “Honestly, can’t you come up with a less insulting nickname for her?”
“Tch, considering how much she annoys me at times...not really.”
Pursing her lips and narrowing her eyes, she approached him and rested her hands on his shoulders. 
“Make sure you take your house key with you, Kenny might be going out for a drink with Uri later and I’m feeling a little tired. So I may be upstairs when you come home.”
“Alright.” He nodded, affording her a brief hug before patting down his pockets to make sure he had everything he needed to take with him. “I’ll see you when I get back.”
“I love you.” Smiled Kuchel, pressing a tender kiss to his forehead as he released her. 
“Yeah, I love you too.”
Watching him leave, the raven haired woman waited until the door had closed behind him before returning to the kitchen.
“Four Eyes.” She muttered in disdain. “I suppose I should be grateful he didn’t call her Shitty Glasses again!”

Checking your phone again, you frowned and made a mental note of the time. 
‘Quarter to seven and still nothing.’ You mused internally. ‘Okay, I’ll have something to eat and then call her.’
“Dinner’s ready.” Called your father, almost making it seem like he had read your mind.
“Coming.”
Pushing yourself up from the sofa, you walked into the dining room and were about to take your seat at the table when the sound of your mobile phone vibrating across the coffee table and creating a loud irritating buzzing as it moved across the polished wood caught your attention.
Practically diving back through the divide between the two rooms, you snatched it up and read the caller ID details, feeling a sudden rush of anticipation and relief course through your body.
“About damn time!” You muttered under breath as you swiped your thumb across the screen to answer the call. “Finally! What part of “I need to speak to you it’s important” did you not understand?”
“Hi Sweetie, sorry I took so long getting back to you.” Came the happy reply from the other end of the line. “Listen, can you come to the city museum?”
“Wait, what?” Shaking your head in disbelief. “Hanji did you even listen to a word I said in my voicemail message, I need to speak you in private.”
“I know you do, but I really need you to meet me at the museum…”
“WHAT THE HELL SHITTY GLASSES?” You screamed, causing Sasha who had previously been relaxing in her bed to sit up and let out a small whimper, while your father immediately turned towards you and blinked in shock. 
“F/n, Sweetie...I need you to calm down.” The fact that Hanji’s voice had now lost its happy go lucky edge and reverted to a much calmer and lower tone was not lost on you. However, it still did nothing to stop the bubbling anger and impatience that was currently rising in the pit of your stomach. “Now listen to me, I know what this is about and that’s why I need you to meet me at the museum. It will make things easier to explain, okay?”
Clenching your free hand into a fist and forcing yourself to breathe, you closed your eyes and lowered your head. 
“Alright fine, but you’d better explain everything once I get there Hanji.”
“I will, I promise.”
“I’m on my way now.”
Opening your eyes and ending the call, you cautiously turned back to look at your father and gulped nervously upon seeing the intimidating glare he was now directing towards you.
“Sorry about that Dad.” You mumbled feebly. “Um listen, I’ll eat later. I have to go meet up with Hanji...”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea? Given how you just lost your temper with her, I'd say it would be best to wait until you've calmed down first.”
“I know but...” You sighed, folding your arms and tightly gripping the sleeves of your hoodie. “She’s refused to talk to me over the phone, so I’ve got no choice but to meet up with her if I want to get any answers to the long ass list of questions I’ve got gnawing away at my brain.”
“Alright then, just promise me you won't end up in police custody when you do see her.”
“Dad!”
Allowing a split second grin to tug at his lips, your father shook his head and turned back to the kitchen worktop.
“Go on, I’ll put your dinner in the microwave for later.”
“Thanks, I’ll send you a text when I’m on my way home.”
“Good luck!”
Shaking his head and plating up his own dinner as you rushed out of the house, your father moved towards the dining room table and took a seat. 
Picking up his cutlery, he was just about to start eating when the weight of something resting on his thigh caused him to look down.
“I’m guessing she scared you huh Girl?” He said softly, putting his fork down and lowering his hand to Sasha’s head, gently rubbing the top of her skull. 
Letting out a low grumble and licking her lips, the chocolate labrador turned to sniff the edge of the table before her light brown eyes once again focused on him and her tail slowly began to wag. 
“I suppose you want some of this as compensation do you?” 
Licking her lips again, Sasha’s tail started to move slightly faster in anticipation of a tasty morsel finding its way into her mouth.
“Oh alright, fine!” He chuckled, cutting off a small chunk of baked potato and leaving it on the side of his plate to cool down. “You know Sasha, I’m not sure why I wished f/n good luck...it’s Hanji that’s going to need it!” 

Chapter Text

Arriving at the museum, Levi drove into the almost deserted car park at the rear and pulled into one of the bays closest to the footpath leading to the building’s main entrance. 
Turning off the engine, he sat and simply staring straight ahead for a moment, trying to figure out exactly what Hanji was up to. 
As used to her harebrained schemes as he was, the purpose of this latest one seemed to be eluding him; just what was she hoping to achieve by bringing him here?
Shaking his head and realizing that sitting in the car thinking about it wasn’t going to get him the answers he needed, he removed the key from the ignition and released his seatbelt. 
However just before he could exit the car, the world around him started to become blurry and he decided that it was probably a good idea to remain where he was; for the time being at least…

Survey Corps Headquarters:
Year 846:

Returning to the headquarters after taking three members of Hanji’s squad out on an errand to pick up supplies from the main factory town in the southern quarter of Wall Rose, Levi led them past the main castle and round towards the stable yard. 
Each squad member was responsible for driving a large two horse drawn wagon that was loaded up with various items and covered by a thick canvas to keep them secure throughout their journey, a wise move considering they had spent the past three days travelling through the open countryside where they were left vulnerable to bandits during the night when they needed to find shelter in the outlying villages.
Heading further away from the main castle, the group approached another large stone structure.
Simple in appearance, it served as the main base of operations for the Weapons Development Branch. 
Split into three sections, the building comprised of a warehouse where materials were accumulated and stored ready for use, a classroom type area where blueprint designs were discussed and drawn up and of course, the final section was reserved as a workshop where prototypes were built for testing. After which, the results were sent off to the higher ups for approval before the blueprints were finalized and sent to purpose built factories for mass production.
Bringing the convoy to a halt in front of the large doors of the warehouse, Levi looked towards the scout stood by the doors with a clipboard in hand.
“Welcome back Captain Levi!” He greeted, offering him a salute.
“Where’s Hanji?” Asked the raven haired male, deciding not to waste time with pleasantries. 
“She’s in the testing area Sir.”
Directing his attention towards the group behind him, Levi gently kicked his horse’s ribs and pulled back on the reins to encourage it to turn to its right.
“Unload this lot and then return the horses to the stables.” 
“Yes Sir!” They replied in unison, affording him a salute before he rode off towards the testing area. 

After a short ride, the short captain narrowed his steel grey eyes as he approached a hitching post where three other horses were patiently stood watching what he could only assume to be their riders, gathered around an overturned wagon.
Dismounting his own horse, he led it to the hitching post and and slipped the reins over it. 
Reaching a hand up and gently rubbing the large animal’s muzzle, he slowly walked towards his comrades and stopped a short distance from them, watching curiously for a few minutes before clearing his throat to get their attention.

“Looks like it was a good idea to try building the capture traps into the wagons.” Mused Hanji thoughtfully, lifting her battle goggles from her face and placing them against her hairline. “It will certainly prove easier to transport them on future expeditions.”
“The only problem is now they’ve been downsized, they’re going to lose some of their fire power.” Said f/n, furrowing her brows and walking up to the wagon, squatting down to check everything was as it should be. “So capturing any titans larger than three meters with a single device is going to be a problem...if not impossible depending on the strength of the intended target.”
“Hmm, that may be true.” Nodded Hanji. “Although we don’t really need to worry about that. After all, we mainly stick to just capturing titans up to seven meters.”
“It will still incur some risk to the soldiers involved with the capture operation though Section Commander.” Interjected Moblit, his hazel eyes widening slightly when he caught the look of bitter anger spreading across f/n’s features before she averted her gaze. “Sorry f/n, I...”
“It’s okay.” She muttered, shaking her head and looking towards to her left when the sound of someone clearing their throat caught her attention. “I’m over it...unlike some people I could mention.”
Following her line of sight, the other two scouts became aware of their visitor and an uneasy silence fell over their little group.
“Ah Levi, you’re back!” Smiled Hanji, deciding to break it first and rushing towards the short male. 
“We acquired everything you requested.” Stated Levi, folding his arms and sparing f/n a momentary glance, his natural frown deepening when she refused to further acknowledge his presence.
“Excellent.” Beamed Hanji. “Come on Moblit, let’s head back to the warehouse. The sooner we get everything checked off and put into storage, the sooner we can crack on with testing the strength of these smaller weapons on Alexander.” 
“Yes Section Commander.” 
“F/n, can you wrap things up here for me?” She called, turning back to look in the direction of the wagon. 
“Yeah, I shouldn’t be too long.” Came the casual reply as f/n stood up and continued to run her checks on the weapon. “Just gotta make sure it’s properly secured so it doesn’t rock when fired.”
“Thanks Sweetie.” Affording Levi a small smile, she leaned in close as she passed by and muttered into his ear. “You’ve probably guessed she’s still upset with you, but I’m optimistic that the few days you’ve been apart will have helped soften her up a little. Good luck.”
Waiting until Hanji and Moblit were out of earshot, Levi approached the upturned wagon and halted next to it, folding his arms and staring expectantly at f/n.
“You’re back then.” She stated bitterly, refusing to look at him.
“Tch, no warm welcome for me?” He questioned, his snide tone matching hers. “I’m disappointed.”
“Go stick a broom up your ass...preferably bristle end first!” 
“Huh, you’ve been working on your insults while I was away? Not bad.”
Narrowing her e/c eyes, finished her checks and reached for a pair of thick gloves on the ground. 
“For fucks sake f/n.” Snarled Levi, leaning against the upturned wagon. “How long are you going to keep this up for?”
“How long is a piece of string?”
“You’re acting like a brat.”
Finally looking towards him, the young scout blinked twice before gritting her teeth and allowing a small growl to rumble through her throat. 
“May as well when you treat me like one!” 
“You nearly died during the last expedition!” Snarled Levi, standing up straight and unfolding his arms before taking a menacing step forward. “Or had you forgotten?”
“How can I when you keep reminding me?” Throwing the gloves back onto the ground, f/n choked back a sob. “We both know the risks involved with capture missions, I had one slip up…”
“You and Hanji got cocky and it nearly cost you your life!”
Biting back another insult, f/n pressed her trembling lips together in an effort to keep her emotions in check. Yet the tears welling in her eyes betrayed the pain his comment caused. 
“Damnit f/n.” Groaned the short captain. “I’m well aware we risk our lives every time we set foot outside the wall, but that doesn’t mean you need to increase it by letting Shitty Glasses talk you into undertaking unnecessary missions.” 
Swallowing down the lump forming in her throat, f/n brought her arms up across her chest and gripped the sleeves of her jacket. 
“I don’t do it to impress anyone if that’s what you’re thinking!” She retorted. “I do it because I believe in our cause.”
“That doesn’t mean you should act as recklessly as she does!” Placing his hands on her shoulders, the next words that escaped his mouth did so before he even registered them in his brain. “I love you f/n and I don’t want to lose you because you were being an idiot!”
“Excuse me?” Blinking rapidly, f/n’s jaw dropped open in disbelief.
Realizing what he had just said, Levi instantly released her and took a step back, averting his gaze when a sudden blush rose on his pale cheeks.
“Levi?”
“You’re not deaf Brat!” He grunted, the redness in his face intensifying. “It’s not exactly how I wanted to tell you, but I do.”
Lowering her arms, f/n moved her mouth to speak but found the task impossible, however that did not stop her anger at the raven haired male from slowly melting away.
“So that’s why you ordered Dana not to let me undertake anymore capture missions?” She muttered softly. “Oh Levi...”
“I know I can’t stop you from risking your life on expeditions, but I can stop you from putting yourself in unnecessary danger because of that brain dead mmph!”
Before Levi could finish his sentence, f/n stepped forward and brought her hands up to his face. Cupping his still rosy cheeks and pressing her soft lips against his, she slowly pulled away from the chaste kiss after a few seconds and looked into his eyes as she spoke again.
“I love you too Levi...and I’m sorry I told you to go shove a broom up your ass bristle end first!”
“Tch, so are you finally going to stop ignoring me and acting like a petulant brat?”
“Only if you stop reminding me about what happened on the last expedition.”
Placing his hands on her waist and pulling her body against his, he silently nodded and drew her into another brief kiss. 
“I meant what I said...” He muttered, resting his forehead against hers. “I love you f/n.”
“I know.” She replied, gently stroking his strong cheekbones with her thumbs. “I love you too Levi.”

Blinking rapidly as the memory faded away, Levi frowned and pursed his lips. 
After breaking up with you, the flashbacks and dreams of his previous life had seemingly stopped. Although it had only been four days since the relationship ended and the way they seemed to take over his mind was completely random, this was the first time in over a week that he had experienced one; but they always seemed to relate to his current situation in some form. 
Had Hanji picked up on this from her research notes and decided to test the theory for herself?
Shaking his head and deciding not to dwell on it, Levi got out of the car and locked the door before heading towards the footpath that led to the museum’s main doors. 
“Tch, damn you Hanji.” He muttered under his breath. “What the Hell are you up to?”

Nervously waiting outside the main entrance to the museum, Moblit’s hazel eyes darted left and right as he waited for Levi to arrive. 
The last thing he had wanted to do was become embroiled in Hanji’s scheme, but unfortunately, it had happened.
Folding his arms and leaning against one of the large stone cylindrical pillars supporting the roof at the front of the building, he sighed deeply and flexed his jaw.
“Any sign of him yet?”
Letting out a small yelp at the bespectacled brunette’s unexpected appearance, Moblit jumped off the pillar and turned to face her.
“Hanji!” He scolded. “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“Sorry Sweetie.” She giggled before frowning and looking at the surrounding area. “Ugh, where’s Levi? He should be here by now.”
“Hey Four Eyes!”
“Ah, Levi!” 
Looking down the stone steps towards the footpath, a smile spread across Hanji’s face when the short raven haired male ascended and eventually stopped in front of her. 
“Well?” Folding his arms and meeting her gaze, he glared at her expectantly. “What have you dragged me out here for?”
“I think I may have finally convinced f/n that reincarnation is real!” She squealed excitedly. “Not sure how much of my research she read, but she practically demanded that we meet up and to talk about it.”
“We?”
“Technically she meant just the two of us...but I kinda figured that it would be better coming from you since…” Pausing and awkwardly rubbing the back of her neck, the bespectacled brunette giggled nervously and averted her gaze. 
“What did you do?” Demanded Levi, narrowing his eyes. 
“I may have had Moblit here give her my research on the sly and had him tell her it was something different.”
“Tch, you damn idiot!” Unfolding his arms and taking a large step forward, the short male grabbed her coat and forced her to arch her back so he could look her in the eye. “Don’t you think she’s been through enough today without springing this shit on her?”
“Hanji!” Gasped Moblit, rushing forward to try and convince Levi to release her.
“Stop!” She warned, raising a hand and halting him in his tracks, causing him to take a step back before focusing her attention on Levi. “I had to do something, seeing her believe that bastard Flagon over us was driving me crazy! I know it probably wasn’t the best way to go about it but…”
“Probably? There’s no “probably” about it Shitty Glasses!”
“Look, the main thing is f/n now knows the truth.” She continued, wincing at the ache that was now running down her spine from being hunched over at an awkward angle for the past few minutes. “While I plan to apologise for my actions, right now my priority is bringing the two of you back together and helping her prepare herself for when her memories return.”
Frown visibly faltering, Levi finally released her and lowered his hand.
“Alright then, what’s this plan of yours?”
“Moblit will take you inside while I wait for f/n to arrive.” She answered, standing up straight and rubbing her lower back. “I’m going to speak to her first, then I’ll bring her through to the exhibition hall where the two of you can talk and hopefully patch things up.”
“If she actually listens to a word you have to say.”
“She will, it was her idea to discuss my research this time...but as I already said, it was my decision to do it here. That way, depending on how much of it she’s actually read, she can see the source material for herself.”
“Did she actually agree to meet you here?”
“I called her about fifteen minutes ago and she said she would come straight here. It might be best for you to head in and wait, Moblit will show you where to go.”
Nodding one and nervously gesturing for the shorter male to follow him, Moblit made his way through the main doors leading into the museum’s spacious entrance foyer.
“It’s your funeral Four Eyes.” Shrugged Levi nonchalantly, brushing past her and accompanying him into the building, leaving Hanji stood alone at the top of the steps.

Gripping the steering wheel hard enough to send your knuckles white, you drove into the main city and followed the signs for the museum. 
It had been a good number of years since you had last been there, so the route was a little hazy in your mind, meaning taking shortcuts was out of the question.
Gritting your teeth, you came to a stop as the traffic lights ahead turned from green to amber and eventually red when you approached. 
“Typical.” You grunted, releasing your grip and folding your arms across your chest. “Why the hell does Hanji want me to meet her at the museum anyway?”
If there was one thing that always confused you, it was how her brain worked. 
You often found yourself questioning how your mother managed to become best friends with someone so strange, especially given how conflicting their personalities were.
While Hanji was noisy and excitable, you always remembered your mother being calm and collected when you were a child...the bespectacled brunette had even said that out of the two of them, your mother was always more down to earth and relaxed half of their duo. 
Exhaling deeply when you looked up and saw the lights had now changed from red to red and amber together, you pressed the accelerator and released the clutch, allowing the vehicle to slowly start crawling forward before putting your foot down and setting off again when the green light appeared. 
Glancing to your right, you noticed another sign indicating which direction you needed to be travelling in and frowned when you started to recognise the area. 
“Hmm, the convention centre is coming up on my left...so if I remember correctly, there should be a side street opposite that leads towards the train station and the museum car park is a couple of hundred meters on the right.”
Taking a moment to consider risking your planned shortcut, you nodded to yourself and flicked on the indicator when another sign came into view and confirmed your suspicions.
Continuing to follow the route past the train station and driving down the road to the right, another sign appeared in front of you that indicated you had arrived at your destination. 
“Huh, looks like I was right after all. Lucky me!” You mused, allowing yourself a small grin and you slowed down and prepared to enter the museum car park. “Now to find Hanji.”

Impatiently checking her phone and frowning when several members of the museums staff exited the building and made their way down the footpath leading towards the car park, Hanji frowned and exhaled deeply. 
“Come on f/n, where are you?” 
The museum closed at seven o’clock and the current time was nearly half past, so it was understandable that she was getting a little anxious. Armin had told her that he would allow her access to the Titan War exhibition until eight o’clock, so in short, time was not on her side.
Fortunately, the large hall containing the first part of area she wanted to take you to see was directly to the left of the entrance foyer. In fact, she could actually see Moblit and Levi impatiently peeking out from behind the black velvet curtains that separated the two areas. 
“Oi, Hanji!”
“F/n! Sweetie, you made it!” Turning towards the sound of the voice calling her name, the bespectacled brunette smiled widely as you approached her. “I was starting to worry you weren’t going to…”
The impact of the blow when you raised your hand to her face caused her head to jerk violently to the side, the sound echoing throughout the large entrance hall thanks to the two of you being stood in the doorway.
Slowly bringing a hand up to her now red and stinging cheek, Hanji swallowed hard and cautiously met your angry gaze as you shook the feeling back into your tingling fingertips. 
“Okay, I probably deserved that.” She muttered, flexing her jaw. “I expect your mother would most likely have done the same...if not worse.”
“There’s no “probably” about it!” You growled, placing your hands on your hips and continuing to verbal assault her. “How fucking dare you fucking trick me into reading your...whatever it is you gave me! It wasn’t enough for you that I got attacked and held hostage at knifepoint, you just had to mess with my head further didn’t you? You’re as bad as Flagon!”
“I’m nothing like that monster!” Snarled Hanji, lowering her hand and revealing the angry red handprint adorning the side of her face. “Don’t ever compare me to him, I would never dream of hurting you like he did!”
Noticing the curtains twitching out of the corner of her eye, she drew a deep breath and clenched her fists. 
Thankfully there was no one else around but Moblit and Levi to witness your violent actions towards her, but that didn’t mean she was going to let her guard down. 
“F/n, I’m sorry I deceived you like that. You have every right to hate me for what I’ve done, but you said you wanted to talk...so let’s talk.”
“Alright then.” You agreed, continuing to glare at her with a burning intensity that could intimidate even the bravest of souls. “Why did you do it? Is Levi in on it too?”
“I told him what I’d done just before I called you and asked you to meet me here.” She answered evenly. “You’ll be pleased to know he doesn’t approve of my methods either. As for why I did it, I wanted to try and make you see that Levi and I weren’t lying to you about what we said the day the two of you broke up.”
Pursing your lips and nodding, you swallowed hard and softened your gaze slightly as anger started to give way to curiosity. 
“So what was your reason for bringing me here? I don’t see why we couldn’t have discussed this in the privacy of your apartment.”
“How much of my research did you read? Did you follow the links in the articles?”
“I followed one of them back to the city library website relating to a section on military history.”
Affording you a soft smile, Hanji cautiously took a step towards you and placed her hands on your shoulders. 
“Come with me, I have something I want to show you.”

From their hiding place in the dark exhibition hall, Levi and Moblit watched with baited breath as you and Hanji started to walk towards them. 
Although he wouldn’t admit it out loud, Levi was actually extremely unnerved that you had raised your hand to Hanji. The echo of the slap you delivered to her face was still ringing in his ears and adding to his concern that once you saw him, he would most likely end up suffering the same fate. 
It hadn’t helped that he’d needed to physically restrain Moblit from rushing into the entrance foyer to confront you, however he did eventually calm down upon hearing you say his name; even if it was only through the fear that he may end up feeling your wrath as well.
“I can’t believe f/n actually hit her!” Whispered Moblit, pushing himself further back behind the curtain. “What the Hell is she thinking?”
“Tch, considering what that idiot did? I’d say she got off lightly!” Scoffed Levi, slinking back behind the large curtain as you and Hanji drew closer. 
“What exactly are you planning on showing me?” You inquired, causing the short male’s breath to catch in his throat as you stopped next to his hiding place. “Why can’t you just come out with it?”
“It’s easier to let you see for yourself.”
Listening intently to your footsteps echoing off the polished wooden floor, he cautiously risked a peek from behind the curtain when the main lights in the dark hall came on. Heart speeding up in his chest, he stared wide eyed at the sight before him...

Stepping through the large varnished wooden doors into the exhibition hall, you stopped and turned to look around the brightly lit area. 
“Hanji...what the Hell is this?” You stuttered nervously. 
Behind you, the doors were framed by a pair of blood red velvet curtains while the rest of the room displayed mannequins dressed in the same strange uniforms and metal gear you had seen within the pages of her research. 
Other such items were also encased within thick perspex cabinets on metal stands to give the observer a full view of its contents, information plaques had also been erected in front of each item to further explain what the visitors were looking at.
The free standing mannequins and models were all enclosed by golden stanchions joined together by a black woven rope to stop people getting too close and touching them, a sign clearly reading “Please do not touch.” was hooked over a section on each side to further emphasize the point and enforce the rule.
Lastly, there were several paintings carefully hanging on the walls, each one displaying what you could only assume were soldiers of great importance. Each one wearing the strange uniform and gear with what you assumed was their names and ranks on the gold plaques carefully mounted onto their ornate frames.
“This is the Titan War Exhibit.” Said Hanji proudly, smiling at the display before her. “All of what you see here is a recreation of the military regiment we served in our previous life.”
“By “we” you mean...us and Levi?”
“Most of the people we work with too!” She giggled with a casual shrug. “Impressive stuff right?”
“I don’t remember a teacher mentioning it in school, we were always told it was just a myth and it never really happened.” You frowned, looking to your right and approaching the first mannequin. “We studied military history sure, but there was never any details about these “titans” you speak of.”
"So they never taught you about the destruction of Shiganshina?"
"Oh we learned about the walls sure, but we were told the enemy blew the gates apart with cannons before the military beat them back."
“I suppose it does sound a little far fetched, but it's still an important part of history...even if there's very little evidence to show the titan's existence. Still, I did find evidence that they were real, so I guess nowadays it's a case of what you believe."
“Okay, so what's this "evidence" you found?”
“Well…” Pushing her glasses up her nose, Hanji cleared her throat and began her explanation. “There were articles written by former soldiers and there were also sketches of what these creatures looked like, but there have never actually been any remains found.”
“None at all?” You frowned, finding it a little easier to understand things now you were seeing it first hand for yourself. “How is that possible?”
“From what I read and...also remember from my previous life…” She paused and smiled weakly when you furrowed your brows. “Once killed, a titan would dissolve in a cloud of steam, leaving no trace of it ever being there.”
“No, no that can’t be right...that’s…”
“Impossible? It should be, but I remember...and so does Levi. Which brings me onto something else that I want to show you.”
Gently taking your arm, she led you towards the curtain on your left and pointed to the painting hanging on the wall next to it.
Inhaling sharply, you pulled back and raised your hands to your face, covering your now open mouth as your eyes widened in a combination of shock and disbelief.
“I take it from your reaction you already know what this is?” Questioned Hanji, her brows furrowing at your reaction. 
“I saw this picture in your research.” You nodded, lowering your now trembling hands. “You found it on the library website right?”
“I did, but I’m guessing you missed the footnote where it said the original source was from the museum?”
“No, I didn’t see that part...but I did read the caption that said these two people’s names were...f/n l/n and Levi Ackerman.”
“I see, well...I think you should cast your eyes over this too.”
Following her line of sight when she posted to a glossy information board mounted onto the wall, you swallowed hard and moved to stand in front of it.
Displayed in the top right hand corner was a photograph of the original picture with the date it was painted below.
“Year 846?” You muttered, e/c eyes widening as your processed the mathematical equation. “That was over a thousand years ago!” 
“One thousand two hundred and forty nine to be precise.” Mused the bespectacled brunette, placing her hands behind her back. “Impressive how it’s been restored isn’t it? Read the article...this part here specifically.”
Opening your mouth to speak, you closed it a moment later and turned your attention to the line of text she was pointing to.
“F/n l/n joined the Survey Corps at sixteen years of age.
Little is known about her personal life outside the Corps, however it is recorded that she became involved in a relationship with Captain Levi Ackerman.”

Pausing to draw breath, you gritted your teeth and glanced at Hanji again, quickly noticing the sad smile tugging at her lips when she nodded and encouraged you to continue reading.
“The two were due to marry, unfortunately this never came to pass as she died a month before their wedding.”
“Flagon found my research and decided to study it for himself, he then used this information to his advantage and twisted the truth to suit his own agenda. In short, he deliberately set out to sabotage your relationship with Levi because he gambled on the fact you would have no memory of your previous life.”
“Yeah I know Flagon was jealous and wanted me for himself, he confessed as much when he held me hostage earlier. What I don't understand is how can you be sure that Levi and I are really the people from this portrait?” The doubts once again surfacing in your mind, you turned your gaze back to Hanji. “Yeah we look like them, we share their names, but if it’s all true like you claim...then why can he remember while I have no memory of any of it?”
“You’re too young to remember.”
Jumping around at the sound of the bored voice behind you, your hands once again shot up to your mouth when a familiar raven haired male stepped out from behind the curtain on the left hand side of the exhibition hall doors. 
“Levi?” You whispered. 
“I’ll take over from here Hanji.” 
“Very well.” She nodded. “Let’s go Moblit.”
“Moblit?” 
“Coming Hanji.”
Lowering your hands, you blinked in disbelief when the curtain moved again and the nervous looking male cautiously stepped out from behind it.
"We'll be outside." Smiled Hanji, placing a hand on your shoulder and giving it a gently squeeze as she brushed past you, gesturing for Moblit to follow her and leaving you alone in the exhibition hall with Levi.

Chapter Text

Watching from behind the curtain, Levi stared wide eyed at the exhibition hall.
Just how much of this had Hanji studied while carrying out her research?
While he had seen the strange gear and uniform from his dreams and flashbacks, there were other items that still seemed strange to him; mainly the portraits of some of the soldiers.
He recognised a few of them, but as expected, there were others that he did not.
There was no mistaking the one of Erwin Smith that was hanging next to his hiding place...the bushy eyebrows and side swept light blonde hair being a prominent feature that he had grown accustomed to seeing on a daily basis over the years.
Mike Zacharias was another one, along with Dita Ness who were both listed as “Section Commanders” on the shiny plaques of the portrait frames.
“Year 846? That was over a thousand years ago!”
Slipping further back behind the curtain when he heard your voice, he quietly shuffled along the wall past Moblit and carefully pulled back the fabric to see you stood a few feet away with Hanji.
“One thousand two hundred and forty nine to be precise.” Answered the bespectacled brunette. “Impressive how it’s been restored isn’t it? Read the article...this part here specifically.”
“Well, f/n seems to have calmed down a little.” Whispered Moblit, leaning back against the wall. “I still can’t believe she slapped Hanji though!”
“I can.” Grunted Levi. “Now shut up and let me listen!”
“F/n l/n joined the Survey Corps at sixteen years of age.
Little is known about her personal life outside the Corps, however it is recorded that she