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Flightless Bird

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Don’t believe what you hear about those penguins. A species of lazy waddlers. Their extinction is imminent.

-Jarod Kintz

Eren was almost certain that if he spent another god damn minute in this forsaken building he would lose it. Shadis had been in a worse mood than usual lately, the kids at Eren’s school were getting dumber by the day, and half of the boys in the room were snoring like bears. Eren blamed it all on this stupid group home and a large dose of cabin fever.

And that is exactly how Eren Jaeger finds himself with his hands raised in surrender, a spraypaint can and battered book at his feet, staring a short, angry cop in the eyes.

Behind him the wall read in dripping letters, ‘Perfection will destroy all those who hope to achieve it.’ It seemed beautiful and angsty and everything Eren needed to get out except that now that the cop is reading it with scrutinizing eyes, Eren decides that maybe it was not such a good idea. Or even that good of a quote. He should also probably be listening to what that cop is saying.

“Come on, we’re going to the station. I really don’t want to have to handcuff you, brat.” Oh, God. Eren had most definitely fucked up this time.

“I am so sorry, oh God I don’t even really know how I got here.” His chest feels tight as he begins to panic. “What do I need to do?” He asks urgently. The cop simply glares, placing a hand on his hip.

“I really don’t have time for this. It’s late and you fucked up, brat. You’re not going to jail for life or anything we’ll just call your parents and you’ll probably get community service or some shit. But you do have to come to the station first.” He retorts, eyes boring straight into Eren.

Survival instincts kick in and Eren starts thinking of ways out or he’s going to be banned from seeing Mikasa for a week again. A glance up and down at the cop’s stature, he decides he can take a chance.

Eren’s posture changes in a moment. He’s jutting out his hip, giving a sultry gaze through his lashes, chin held up. “We really don’t have to take this all the way back to the station, do we?” He asks, running a hand through his hair. His stomach turns in on itself, he’d promised Mikasa he would stop doing this. Well, go big or go home, right? “What can I do for you?” He asks, quirking an eyebrow and biting his lip.

“Nothing. Are we going to have to break out the handcuffs?” The officer asks, then groans at his own choice of words. “God. You shitty brat, just come get in the car and don’t even think about touching me.” He shakes his head, muttering something about everything being an innuendo and starts to walk away.

There’s a brief moment where Eren considers running, but the cop glances back and Eren decides it’s best not to cross him.

He follows quietly, “You’re just going to leave that shit on the ground?” Eren is surprised by the amount of venom in the man’s voice.

“Uh, I guess? Do you want me to go get it or something?” He asks carefully, eyes still trained down.

“Yeah, or I’m adding a littering fine to your charges. That won’t please your parents.”

“I don’t have any.” Eren blurts out, and the shorter man turns around to face him, a confused expression contorting his features. “They died. Awhile ago.” He explains, getting less confident the longer he speaks. He doesn’t know why he’s telling this cop this, and by the looks of it, the cop doesn’t know why either.

Quietly, he walks back to pick up his discarded can and book then follows the cop to the car and climbs into the backseat. The officer tells Eren his rights as he starts up the car, but Eren isn’t really listening.

“What’s your name?” Eren is startled out of whatever reverie he’d slipped into.

“Eren. Eren Jaeger.” Mikasa is going to kill him when he gets back. If he gets back and gets to see her that is. Dammit. The rest of the ride is silent. What kind of person doesn’t keep the radio on, at the very least? As the car pulls into the station parking lot, Eren pipes up.

“What about you?” He asks. In the rear-view mirror, Eren can see the cop quirk a thin, dark eyebrow.

“Levi.” He answers, tone clipped. Eren is surprised that he didn’t say officer or some other title. “If you try to run, I swear to God I will kick your ass so hard you shit out of your nose because I am not coming anywhere near you with handcuffs. Don’t leave your crap in the back, either.” The officer’s obscene language really puts Eren off. It isn’t that it bothers him, but shouldn’t Levi be more professional or something like that?

He doesn’t run when Levi opens the door, following the man with his head turned down into the run down little station, his cheeks burning. The woman working at the desk gives him a curious look. Levi seems to catch it and takes the spray paint can from Eren’s hand and places it in front of her. Her eyes widen for a moment and she nods before going back to working.

“You get one call. Try not to make it too long.” Levi says, walking over to a phone hooked into the wall and leaning up next to it, seeming bored.

Eren picks up the receiver, unsure of who to actually call. He would really like to talk to Mikasa but there's no direct line to her, he would have to call the staff first. Shadis would be pissed to get a call in the middle of the night to find Eren had ended up here again.

“I, uh. Don’t have anyone to call.” Levi gives him a scrutinizing look.

“Are you homeless?” Eren is taken by surprise. Does he really look that bad?

“No, I live at the orphanage by the big Target. Shadis will just get pissed off if I call him right now and there’s no one else to call.” Levi hesitates before leading him back a bit in the station, opening the door to a cell and ushering Eren inside.

“You do know he has to find out eventually, right?” Eren nods, and Levi goes quiet. The clang of the door to the cell echoes through the small building.

“Are you just going to, uh, stand there?” Eren asks, taking a seat on the ground, leaning against the wall of the cell.

“You’re a minor, I have to.” Levi answers simply, gaze fixing down on Eren as if trying to figure him out. It makes Eren just a bit uncomfortable. Levi heaves a sigh,  “So how did you end up here, brat?” Levi asks, and Eren tilts his head. “You don’t seem so bad. I mean you didn’t run, or sass, I mean there was that sex bribe thing but we’re going to pretend that didn’t happen, I’m sure you’re fine with that. It’s not like you’re some rich kid who knows his parents will bail him out. So, what happened?” Eren takes a moment to contemplate before answering, tone exasperated.

“I was kind of pissed off and Shadis has some spray paint for the fences or something... so I took that and a book and thought that it would be really fucking cool to leave a meaningful quote on a wall. And now I’m fucked all over again.” This cop is not his friend, he just wants to figure Eren out. Yet another person just trying to figure out what went wrong with this one, trying to crack the great enigma.

“What did you write?” Levi asks, and Eren supposes the man didn’t actually read the quote when he was arresting him.

“Perfection will destroy all those who hope to achieve it.” Eren answers quietly, face turning bright red. That quote really did sound good on his way out, he swears.

Levi is quiet for awhile after that. He stops staring at Eren but seems pretty deep in thought. Eren takes the time to tuck his head into his knees and curl into a ball. Mikasa is going to be so pissed off with him when he gets back. She’s just as affected when Eren gets banned from seeing her and he needs to start remembering that before going on self indulgent rampages.

And he doesn’t know when it happens, but Eren feels hot tears on his face. And his chest feels tight and his fingers are gripping at his hair, making his knuckles go sore and white. He’s gasping for air and everything begins to feel really small around him and his knees start trembling.

He really fucked up this time. Actually fucked up. Not ride back to the orphanage with stern words, he’s sitting in a fucking jail cell, probably overnight, and will probably never see Mikasa again if Shadis has anything to do with it. Everything feels tighter and smaller and he can’t seem to catch his fucking breath.

The cell door opens but Eren barely registers it. He’s rocking back and forth now, not frantically, he just needs to move. A hand touches his shoulder but Eren feels like he’s drowning and now he doesn’t even care if he catches his breath if he could just breathe at all. The hand grips  him tighter under the arm and another one joins it under his other arm to pull him upright.

A voice registers somewhere near Eren’s ear. Something about calming down and an array of expletives. There’s a pause before he hears, in a much calmer tone, “Deep breaths.” And Levi is saying it over and over and Eren tries his best to follow the instructions. A comforting hand is rubbing circles on his back and Eren has all his weight leaning on the shorter man.

Eren doesn’t know how long they stand there until he feels like he can breathe again and pulls himself off of the cop. His eyes are glued to the floor and still dripping big drops that make a wet popping sound when they his the floor. “I, uh. I’m sorry. About that.” Eren mutters, taking a step back and rubbing his eyes on his sleeves. A fifteen year old boy should not be a sobbing mess like this and Eren is more than a bit embarrassed.

“I understand. What happened?” Levi asks, and Eren doesn’t expect the directness of the question.

“Everything?” Eren answers weakly. This guy doesn’t want to hear his life story, he just wants to not deal with that again.

“Great answer, brat. Really. That’s gonna really assist me in helping you. What triggered the panic attack?” He presses again and Eren has to wonder if he needs to put it in a report or something.

“I don’t know. Probably has something to do with getting arrested and shut into a cell.” He bites out, going defensive like a wounded animal and glaring at the man. Levi raises a thin brow.

“You can’t say you actually expected me to just let you go with no consequences because you have a sob story, right?” His tone is sharp and scalding. “Then, what? You do it again. And a different cop lets you off because you can’t be held accountable, right? I’m giving you a chance here. I’m hoping you figure it out and don’t pull shit like this again. You obviously don’t feel good about it, and as the officer that arrested you I get a say in the prosecution. Right now, I feel like I can safely tell the judge that you can get off easy. But not if you pull some blocking me out act, got it? I’m trying to help you, brat.” Levi’s voice is thick with annoyance.

Trying to help? Yeah, a lot of people have ‘tried to help’ Eren in his life. Tough luck, tiny man.

“Thank you, really. I’m so grateful that you’re arresting me. My life is definitely taking a turn for the positive in this tiny cell.” Levi stares him in the eye, unflinching. Eren owes him nothing and the man will know as much.

“Fine. Prove it.” Levi says and Eren almost chokes on his own breath.

“W-What?” He asks, taken completely off guard. The fuck is this guy talking about? His chest starts to tighten again as he wonders how he's going to have to prove it. Eren has heard those words from men not much older than Levi.

“You’re a good kid, and you’re gonna prove it, brat. Do you want a home?” Levi’s expression hasn’t changed, and his gaze hasn’t wavered.

“I- well. I mean, yeah?” Eren searches Levi’s face for anything resembling an answer. “But people aren’t exactly out to adopt teenagers with behavioral problems, now are they?” He adds.

“Well then I guess you’re in luck. My shift ends in five minutes so I’ll just take off early. Come on, brat.” Levi turns on his heel and walks out of the cell, leaving the door open.

Eren hesitates a moment before deciding he may as well follow. A voice in the back of his head whispers something about Levi taking advantage of him or just dumping him out on the street but Eren isn’t entirely sure he cares at this point. The risk is worth it.

The woman at the front desk gives them a curious look. “I’m taking off early and taking him with me.” Levi answers bluntly.

“Alright, Levi. Wait, are you taking him home?” She asks, and Levi simply nods.

“Have a good night, Petra.” He calls behind him as he leaves, holding the door open a moment so Eren can go out just before him. “The silver one.” He directs, pointing at a car just across the lot. Eren is too scared to ask what Levi’s plans are, and his hands feel clammy.

The night is cool but the sky is cloudy so he can’t see the stars. It’s unusually dark but Levi’s car stands out in the lot.

Levi presses some button on the keys and the headlights flash as the car unlocks. He climbs into the driver’s side and turns an expectant eye to Eren until he slides reluctantly into the passenger’s seat. “What’s the name of the group home?” Levi asks, starting the car and pulling out of the parking lot. He turns the wrong way for going there.

“Rose,” He answers, and Levi simply hums in response, continuing to go in the opposite direction. They don’t speak for the rest of the ride and Levi doesn’t turn on the radio. After ten minutes or so, they pull into the driveway of a house. It looks to be maybe two stories, not huge or anything but certainly not small by any means. Eren is surprised the man lives there alone. Or, he’s assuming Levi lives alone.

“This isn’t…” Eren trails off and feels the panic bubbling up again. He’d rather be arrested right now, he really really would. The boldness of before leaks right out of his bones. He hadn’t had some creep’s hands on him in years. He told Mikasa he was past that, hell, he thought he was past that. His chest begins to tighten up all over again and his breaths quicken.

Levi seems to notice the panic, “You need a better place to stay. That home is obviously doing nothing for you. So you’re going to stay here with me and see if that makes a difference.” He says it as if it’s obvious. Though he still isn’t certain, Eren feels a bit less apprehensive than before.

He follows Levi inside cautiously. Just inside the door, Levi strips himself of his jacket and belts from his uniform, hanging them neatly on silver hooks. He slips off his shoes, setting them just under the hooks and gives Eren an expectant look, so Eren follows suit, placing his shoes next to Levi’s and hanging his jacket on the extra hook.

“I’ll call Rose in the morning and let them know where you are. For now, you need some sleep.” He nods to himself. “And maybe something to actually sleep in.” Levi curses under his breath and leads Eren upstairs and into a spotless bedroom.

Eren stands by the doorway as Levi strides over to a dresser, rifling through. He finally pulls out a pair of red flannel pajama pants and a white v neck, handing them to Eren. “These are a bit big on me so hopefully they’ll fit.” He states and Eren takes them slowly. The pants seem pretty soft.

“I’m going to be downstairs in the living room if you need me, okay? Get some rest, but try not to make a mess, okay?” Levi instructs, turning on his heel to go back down the steps. From the stairs, Eren hears some call of goodnight, but doesn’t register it fully enough to give a proper response.

Eren isn’t sure he’s ever been more confused and exhausted in his entire life. The last hour has been the biggest whirlwind and Eren has yet to catch up. He doesn’t budge for a solid five minutes, then decides he may as well put on the clothes. The pants are just a few inches too short and the shirt stretches across his chest but it isn’t his fault that Levi guy is so tiny.

He walks over to the meticulously made bed slowly, and it looks heavenly. At the home, the beds weren’t bad or anything, just a little hard and a tad too small for Eren. After completely zoning out, Eren realizes he forgot to turn out the light. Striding over, he flips the switch down before curling into the unfamiliar bed. His stomach aches knowing what Mikasa will wake up to.

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* \(◕△◕✿)/ *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

Eren wakes up to sun rays from the window, the smell of coffee, and some movement from downstairs. The clock sitting on the bedside table read 6:43 in blocky red numbers. He groans loudly, rolling over. Who gets up this early? He stumbles out of bed and manages to find the bathroom without too much fault before drifting downstairs in a cloud of yawns and eye rubbing.

Levi seems mildly surprised when Eren gets downstairs. “What are you doing up? I thought teenagers didn’t bother to even move until noon on a good day.” He comments, taking a sip from the steaming mug before him.

“Well I heard you up and-” his speech is cut off by a yawn before he continues, “And Shadis gets pissed when we sleep in too much after him.” Eren informs the man.

“The whole point of this is for you to get a good sleep. If you’re still tired, go back to bed. I have to go to work, but I should be back around two, and I’ll bring you some lunch. I figure you can fend for yourself with breakfast, there’s cereal but help yourself to whatever else I have lying around.” Eren kind of stares at Levi. This cop caught him graffiti-ing and now he was just going to leave him alone in the house? No way.

“But- aren’t you going to take me with you- or drop me off or, I don’t know, something?” He asks, thoroughly confused by it all.

Levi stares at him blankly. “Why would I do that?” He asks.

“Well you wouldn’t want me here by myself? Or, uh, here?” Eren explains slowly, it seems obvious enough.

“That’s bullshit. You look exhausted, go sleep it off. I’m going to call Rose on my way out and I’ll pick up food after work. I’ll be back around 2:30, now off to bed. When you wake up try not to make a huge mess, okay?” Levi stood, carrying his dishes to the sink, rinsing them off and placing them gently into the dishwasher.

Eren followed him idly, not entirely sure of what to do with himself. Levi simply walked to the door, pulling on his belts, coat, and shoes for work while Eren bounced on the balls of his feet. “Can I trust you with not destroying my house?” Levi asks, not looking up from where he’s fastening a belt that may or may not have a gun on it.

“I don’t know why you would.” Eren responds, challenge in his tone.

Levi is silent as he finishes with the belt then glares at Eren. “Why the hell are you fighting me here? Do you want to just go straight back to Rose? I understand if you don’t want to live here but don’t try to convince me you’re some miscreant punk brat just because you spray-painted a sad quote on a wall.”

Eren winces. That was a bit harsh. He was in a jail cell for a bit over that! When he doesn’t respond, Levi does a sort of nod. “I’m on my way out, I’ll see you when I get back. Don’t make me bring you in to go through with your charges.” He grabs his keys off of a little hook next to the door. “I left the station number and my cell phone number by the home phone if you need anything.” Levi adds over his shoulder as he walks out, and then he’s gone.

It seems over the past 12 hours or so Eren has done a lot of standing around wondering about his life, it has to be getting unhealthy. He stares at the door for while, losing track of time.

Okay. Time to review.

Eren had been fed up with the home, just another angry bout as per usual, nothing spectacular. He found a good quote in a book and decided it would be cool to put it up on a building and hopefully give someone an existential crisis. In the process, he was caught by some short cop who seemed like kind of an ass but also seems kind of okay.

Then he offered sex. Let’s move past that and pretend that didn’t happen, Eren just had a moment of weakness and panic. Speaking of panic, he went and had a panic attack in the cell at the station. That was on the embarrassing side. He’d gone so long without having one and then it just fucking happened right there.

He brought his hands up to cover his reddening face. Too much thinking, Eren needs to go get more sleep in that wonderful bed. It's like sleeping on a cloud.

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* \(◕△◕✿)/ *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

This time, Eren awakens to the sound of the front door opening. He’s disoriented at first because there is a lot more sunlight streaming through an unfamiliar window and this bed is entirely comfortable. By the time he manages to sit up and hear Levi’s voice calling his name, Eren has remembered where he is. He stumbles out of the bed and down the stairs, praying he doesn’t have completely ridiculous bedhead but also not really caring.

“First rule for you staying here: You answer when I call. I thought you’d up an left on your own, and I came home early, brat.” Levi scolds him before he even has a chance to say hello.

“Then maybe you should find a bed that isn’t coma inducing.” Eren retorts, stretching his arms with a large yawn.

“Fine, we can move one of the phones into the room so it might wake you up.” And Eren is still confused by exactly what’s going on here.

“What did Shadis say?” Eren finally asks, may as well get it out of the way. Shadis could be a lot like that lady from the musical Annie.

“He’s glad you’re okay and has agreed for you to stay here for a week to see if we think this will work out for permanent housing for you.” Levi leads him toward a room to the side of the kitchen, seeming to be the dining room, setting the bag he’s carrying on it. “I hope you like Chinese. I got a bunch of different stuff so hopefully you can find something you can eat, then we have leftovers because I haven’t actually cooked for other people in years.”

Eren’s jaw is left gaping. Permanent housing? Shadis was giving Levi a trial run so he could return him. Cute. Nothing reminds Eren that he’s worthless quite like being that free trial people use up and forget about. And yet here’s Levi babbling on about Chinese food.

“Did you ever consider that I don’t want to fucking live here?” Eren asks, and Levi stops unloading the cartons from the bag to face Eren, crossing his arms.

“I said we, if you weren’t listening. If you hate it here, I’m not going to make you stay. I just know that you said you wanted a home, and I have more than enough space and resources to provide one.” Eren settles for a glare. Levi holds the gaze for a moment before simply continuing his other task. “If you like it here, though, I’m transferring you to a better school. You’re wasting potential at that shit hole.” He continues. “Shadis said he can get you an excuse for getting out of school tomorrow but you’re going to go back on Tuesday. I’ll drive you on my way to work and pick you up on the way home.”

Levi turns once again to face him, as if gauging the boy’s reaction. Eren is quite honestly speechless because what is he even supposed to say? He isn’t sure on how to turn the millions of thought and questions running through his head into words so he settles on: “Did you get potstickers?”

Without even altering his expression, Levi points to a circular carton. “That one, leave a couple for me.” He hands Eren a plate with silverware. “I don’t trust you to not get everything everywhere with chopsticks.” He explains and Eren nods slowly, sitting down on the opposite side of the table.

They eat in silence, and Eren is mildly fascinated by Levi, to say the least. He’s meticulous when he eats, cutting food up precisely and eating in an altogether organized manner while Eren scarfs his food down on the opposite end. Eren manages to keep his observations to himself until Levi picks up his cup of tea to take a sip, and really? How does one even ingest liquid that way? His hand covered the entire top of the cup!

“Why do you do that?” He asks, squinting at the cop. Levi takes another sip, staring at Eren blankly.

“Do what?”

Eren gestures wildly at his cup. “That! How do you even manage to get tea that way!” His tone is frustrated and somewhat flustered. But seriously. Who drinks like that?

Levi simply shrugs in response, and Eren lets out an unsatisfied huff. He isn’t sure about table etiquette here so he sits, head propped on his hand as Levi takes his sweet time eating. How is that man looking so composed eating ridiculous greasy Chinese food?

When he does finally finish, Levi closes the open cartons and grabs a few with his plate and starts walking towards the kitchen and Eren follows suit. They put the cartons neatly in the fridge and Eren was starting to notice a pattern with the cleanliness of the house. Levi rinses their dishes in the sink, and Eren places them in the dishwasher.

It seems Levi is about to say something when the phone rings from the front room. “Notice- I am about to answer the phone when someone calls so no one is worried.” He comments on his way out of the room and Eren glares at his back. “Hello? Oh, yeah, everything’s fine. Eren is here. Yeah, I know, I’ll do an extra hour on Saturday, Erwin, don’t be such a hard ass. Bullshit you were joking. Whatever.” And Levi hangs up.

“Who’s Erwin?” Eren asks and Levi gives him a questioning look.

“Has anyone ever told you that eavesdropping is rude?” He retorts.

“Well my mom died when I was young, then I ended up as a prostitute, then in the foster care system. So no, not really.” He says it for the reaction, the widening eyes and ensuing silence except that doesn’t happen. Levi doesn’t even flinch.

“Well, then let me tell you right now, eavesdropping is rude. And Erwin is the commander at the station. He’s the one who cleared me leaving early.” He answers easily.

Eren is extremely uncomfortable with Levi’s composure. He should’ve expected that, Levi is a cop after all, sob stories probably don’t even phase him anymore. But Eren puts a lot of stock in his manipulative and people reading powers, and so far Levi is immune to both.

“So, what are we doing for the rest of the day, brat?” He asks, transitioning seamlessly and Eren just sort of stares.

“I need to take a shower.” He blurts out and Levi wrinkles his nose.

“You don’t need to tell me that. Go take a shower and then we can figure out what to do. Towels are in the cabinet next to the sink, wait like fifteen minutes to get in and I’ll go pick up some clothes for you from Rose.” He instructs and Eren just sort of nods as Levi walks away and leaves Eren standing around and confused for the umpteenth time that day.

And what is he supposed to do for fifteen minutes? He doesn’t know where anything in the house is and doesn’t know what he’d want to do anyway. So, naturally, he keeps standing there. The house doesn’t have any pictures up, and by now he feels he can safely assume Levi lives alone. Maybe he’s just lonely so he thought fuck it how about I adopt a delinquent.

If the house is any indication, Levi isn’t short on money. Definitely not rich, but certainly doing well, so Eren feels safe that he won’t just dump him back into the business for the money.

The house itself is practically sparkling. There’s no dust in sight and everything seems to be organized and in place. Eren imagines its easier to keep things that clean if you live alone. He continues to examine as he makes his way up to the bathroom down the hall from the room he stayed in. Considering the size of the bed, Eren is almost certain that would be Levi’s room, and has to wonder when the man will dump him on the couch.

There are two shut doors between the bedroom and the bathroom and Eren decides not to open them just yet. He has an entire day home alone tomorrow, there would be time for it. Finally, he went into the bathroom and located the towels exactly where Levi told him they’d be. Despite being home alone, he closed and locked the door. The privacy is a nice change.

He hears a knock on said door when he’s rinsing shampoo from his hair. “I have clothes and your school supplies for you. I’ll set them on the bed, and then I’ll be downstairs so you can go get dressed.” Levi’s voice is a bit muffled from the water of the shower, and Eren just calls out an okay and listens to the man’s footsteps patter down the stairs.

When he is sufficiently clean, Eren steps out of the shower, rubbing his hair with the towel before wrapping it around his waist and walking down to his room. Sitting on the bed is a duffel bag with his clothes and his backpack. He rifles through the contents and procures boxers, a t-shirt, and jeans to pull on after rubbing his hair more with the towel.

When he goes downstairs, Levi is sitting on the couch with another cup of tea silently. It’s a little weird, Eren won’t lie. Upon hearing Eren, though, Levi turns around. “You up for house rules yet or do I need to take you to a museum or something?” He asks and Eren just sort of stares.

“Why would you take me to a museum?”

“Bonding or some shit.” Levi answers shortly. Eren walks over, taking a seat in an armchair opposite the couch.

“House rules are good.” He answers grudgingly. It’s not that Eren didn’t expect them, he just doesn’t like rules.

“First, clean up after yourself. I don’t like messes and you’re old enough not to act like some sloppy pig.” His tone is sharp, so Eren just nods in affirmation. “When you get your own room, that same rule applies.” He adds as an afterthought and elicits a groan from Eren. Levi doesn’t even acknowledge it, continuing with his list. “You answer the phone when I call. I’ll try to get you a cell phone sometime soon so that will be a little more direct, but I’m a  cop, I need to know you’re safe, okay?”

“Are you saying some drug dealer that just got out of jail is gonna come try to murder me? Because I’d rather live with Shadis for my next three years than get murdered.” Eren comments, and Levi rolls his eyes.

“No, but I don’t want to have to worry about you going and getting yourself into trouble that you can’t handle.” He answers seriously. Eren sighs, motioning for Levi to continue. “I’m going to let you be responsible for your grades. You don’t have to get straight As or anything, but I expect that you will do your best, and ask for help when you need it.” Wrinkling his nose, Eren nods. Too bad Levi wants to send him to a better school, at his current one, Eren can pass at the bare minimum.

“What if my best is straight Cs?” Eren asks, and that’s what he’s doing at his current school. Honestly, it shouldn’t take a lot to make this guy realize he doesn’t actually want Eren.

“That isn’t your best and I know it isn’t. If I need to get you a tutor or make you a study place, I don’t know. We can figure that out.” Levi retorts and Eren shuts right up. He certainly wasn’t expecting that. “Now, what do you need from me?” Levi asks calmly, eyes trained carefully on Eren’s face.

“What do I-?” Eren cuts off, completely caught off guard. Don’t adults set the rules while teenagers pretend that they don’t exist, while the adults nag them, usually resulting in an eternal power struggle? “Why are you asking?” He’s suspicious to say the least.

“Well I’m obviously not the only person who’s going to be involved with this. What do you absolutely need me to provide for you for your ease of mind or whatever?” Levi drawls, seemingly a bit annoyed with Eren’s withdrawal.

“I need my sister.” He answers almost immediately, and Eren is pleased to find Levi is the one taken off guard this time.

“Shadis didn’t mention you had a sister.” He answers uneasily.

“Well, not biological. But she’s probably flipping shit right now. And if you’re going to actually go through with this adoption thing, you have to adopt her too. Or you can take me for that week test run, tell yourself you’ve made me see the error in my ways, and I will go right back to my life as planned. Both or neither.” His eyes bore straight into Levi and the man considers for a moment before heaving a sigh.

“Looks like I’ll be taking the day off tomorrow too. Let’s go get her.” Is Levi actually trying to earn his trust here?

“Why are you doing this?” He asks when they climb into Levi’s car.

“Because you had a fucking panic attack in a jail cell and I can do better than give some kid a panic attack and a slap on the wrist.” Levi answers, but Eren knows there has to be more. He decides not to press, though, if he manages to get him and Mikasa out of the home, Mikasa would have a much better chance to advance in school like she should and he wouldn’t ruin that for her.

When they arrive, Shadis is all smiles. “Not working out?” He asks as if he expected it all along.

Levi shakes his head, “We’re here for his sister-”

“Mikasa.” Eren fills in, having never actually mentioned her name to Levi.

Shadis doesn’t even bother to mask his surprise. “Mr.-” He pauses and Levi mumbles to just call him Levi. “Well, Levi, are you aware of the past of these kids? You can’t bring them back in a month or two when you aren’t running on a pure heart or something. They aren’t in a home at 15 for no reason, no offense, Jaeger.”

Annoyance rolls off of Levi. “I’m a cop, I think I can handle decision making and a few teenagers.” The glare he gives Shadis is icy, and Shadis nods slowly.

“Well, there’s going to be quite a bit of paperwork as I assume you’d like to make this final. I’ll send Eren to go pack the last of his things and fetch Mikasa I suppose.” Eren is more than a little pleased at Shadis practically squirming.

“Okay. Scram, brat, catch Mikasa up on what we talked about this morning and figure out what the two of you need from me.” He instructs, and Eren nods, bopping off to find Mikasa as instructed, but not before he sees the pure shock on Shadis’ face.

When he does find Mikasa, she tackles him in a hug, breathing out his name. “Shadis said you left me.” She murmurs into his neck, and Eren laughs softly.

“I’d never do that and you know it. We have a home, though.” He tells her, a grin spreading on his boyish features. “A real home. Levi’s a cop and he’s going to adopt us and move us to a better school. You’re going to get to go to college like you want to! And maybe they’ll have real sports teams we can join.” His excitement grows as it dawns that this really is happening. Levi can’t back out now, and they’re going to have a home.

Mikasa pulls back, though, and Eren is thoroughly confused. “You need to back up.” She says quietly, sitting down on the edge of her bed. “I’m very lost here, can you explain?” He can see her holding back any shreds of hope she possesses.

“Okay, well. Um, I sort of snuck out last night.” He starts, and Mikasa already looks alarmed.

“What the hell, Eren! You can’t do that!”

“No, no, let me finish the story, okay!” He holds his hands up defensively and Mikasa falls into a resentful silence. “So I decided I was going to go put some meaningful quote on a wall because I was going kind of stir crazy-”

“You decided you’d what?!” Mikasa cuts him off again, and Eren sighs.

“It doesn’t matter now! But Levi caught me, and he brought me into the station. And um, at the station I sort of had a panic attack. So that part sucked.” Mikasa’s hand covered her mouth. Eren had never had a panic attack without Mikasa close enough to help, and he imagines she’s reacting to that. “He helped me calm down, and took me home to get some sleep. And then he said he’d give me a home!”

It’s pretty obvious that Mikasa is still skeptical. “So some cop catches you and offers you a home? What are you, his fucking project? Is he going to try to fix you with his infinite wisdom? You know who else tried to fix you, Eren? Grisha. Grisha tried to fix you. Where do I come into this anyway?” Eren’s bubble is popped for the first time since he walked into the room.

“We don’t fucking talk about Grisha and you know that.” He growls out, but Mikasa’s expression doesn’t falter. “He’s not going to try to fix us. Or fuck us over. You know what happened today? He gave me house rules, then asked what I needed from him. This guy actually asked what he could do for me, and when I told him adopt you, we got in the car and we came here.”

Mikasa sits in a contemplative silence. She doesn’t trust easily, never has. Hell, Eren doesn’t either, but here comes Levi offering them a chance and he decides that maybe it’s worth a little bit of trust.

“He wants me to go over the rules and what we need from him with you.” Eren continues quietly. Mikasa doesn’t respond and Eren sighs. “Okay, I need to get the rest of my stuff, then we can talk.” He doesn’t spare her a second glance as he walks out of the room, cursing under his breath.

His shared room is empty, and Eren is grateful. He’s never been close with the people in the home, and he certainly doesn’t want them around for when he finally gets to leave. Most of his clothes had been moved, but Eren had to collect his few personal belongings from their various hidden nooks and crannies: a picture of his mom, the journal he kept when he was in the business, a necklace Mikasa had given him for his birthday.

After stalling for as long as he can, Eren trudges back to Mikasa’s room. Her back is turned to him as she places folded clothes into a bag quietly, meticulous as always. She hears him, he knows she does, because Mikasa can sense his every movement within a mile, but she doesn’t alter a muscle from the task at hand.

“Levi said no.” Eren speaks quietly, and Mikasa’s hand falters before it continues the fluid movements of packing.

“To what?” She asks, slight shake in her voice.

“I offered him sex and he said no.” Mikasa freezes, every muscle going rigid.

“You offered him what?” Her voices is a deadly quiet, and she doesn’t turn to face Eren.

“I was trying to get out of getting arrested and I offered sex. He didn’t even consider it, and when he brought me home, he slept downstairs and gave me the bed and privacy.” Mikasa takes a deep breath before turning to face Eren, face completely void of emotion.

“Do you understand how dangerous that was?” Her tone is venomous.

“Yes, I know, but-”

“No! No, you don’t get to do that! We are so lucky that nothing happened to you! I can’t believe you would do that! Something could have happened! You almost left me all alone, and you broke your promise, and-” She breaks off, shaking her head and covering her face with her hands.

Eren moves to sit next to her on the bed, wrapping an arm around Mikasa. She turns automatically to bury her face in Eren’s chest as he rubs circles into her back. “Hey, hey, nothing happened, right? And now we get to have a home and a new school, and you’re going to be able to go to whatever college you want, and hell even I might be able to go to college, who knows. But things are gonna be okay, I swear. And if this doesn’t work out, we still have each other, and we can still figure it out. We have until now and that won’t stop.” He continues to murmur words of comfort into Mikasa’s dark hair.

Slowly, she seems to calm down. “Y-you’re right. I’m being ridiculous I’m sorry.” Mikasa shakes her head as if trying to rid it of whatever worries are plaguing her. “So what do we need to talk about?” Her voice is quiet, still unsure.

“Um, house rules are that we have to clean up, answer the phone, and do well in school.” He tells her, “And he wants us to figure out what we need from him.”

Before he can get any further though, there’s a knock on the door frame and Shadis slowly moves his head in. “Paperwork is all done. Levi can wait here with you two or in front, what do you prefer?”

“I’d like to meet him, if that’s alright.” Mikasa responds, voice leveled out and composure returned. Levi steps into the room, nodding at Shadis as the man leaves. He takes a few steps forward and holds his hand out for Mikasa to shake.

“Mikasa, right?” She nods in affirmation. “How close are we to leaving?” He asks.

“Let me put these last few things in my bag and then I think we can go.” Levi nods, leaning against the doorframe. On the way out, he asks them if they came up with anything they need.

“Ice cream.”

“Okay- wait, what?” Levi stares at Mikasa, puzzled.

“We’ve never been to a real ice cream shop.” She answers easily, and Eren’s mouth hangs slightly open. “Hell, if this isn’t going to work out, I want real ice cream out of it.” Mikasa shrugs and Eren isn’t sure how girls do that. The thing where they’re not okay but then they are. Girls scare him. Or how Mikasa isn’t remotely intimidated by Levi.

“How about we make a deal, princess.” Mikasa glares at him. “We go get ice cream, and you shut your trap about this not working out before we’ve even been together five minutes.” She’s obviously shocked, and somewhat offended, but she goes silent. “Deal?” Levi asks after a beat and Mikasa nods.

“Eren said you’re transferring us to a better school. I don’t want to go to a private school.” She says once they’re in the car. “And I don’t want to have to share a room if that’s possible.”

“The public school in our area is pretty good, so that shouldn’t be a problem. And I have a spare bedroom and an office I can convert. You two get to fight it out over who gets the bigger room.”

At the same time Mikasa says, “I do.” Eren says “Mikasa does.” A slight smile quirks at the corner of Levi’s mouth.

“I’m taking a day off of work tomorrow to help you two settle in. We can go to a furniture store and get stuff for your rooms. We’ll also stop by my phone provider and add you two to my plan.” While Levi talks, he glances into the rearview mirror at them. “Right now the spare bedroom is empty, so I can either try to dig up a sleeping bag or you two can share the bed.”

The conversation continues that way the rest of the car ride, and Levi still doesn’t turn on the radio.

“You need to turn on the radio.” Eren blurts out suddenly, cutting Levi off mid-sentence as they walk into the ice cream parlor.

“Life lesson number two, interrupting is rude. Now what are you talking about, brat?”

“From what I can tell you never turn on the radio, and its driving me crazy. That’s one of the things I need.” He explains quickly, fighting the embarrassed pink dusting his cheeks. Levi sighs deeply and nods resentfully.

“Get small ice creams, Erwin is coming over to make dinner later and I don’t want you guys to have spoiled appetites or whatever.” He hands a twenty to Eren, “Bring me the change, okay?” Eren nods eagerly, eyes widening at the sheer variety of flavors in front of him, and Mikasa’s eyes are practically sparkling.

They try samples of almost every flavor, and the freckled boy working behind the counter seems enamored. After heavy contemplation, Eren selects strawberry and Mikasa decides on rocky road.

“Are you guys new around here?” the boy asks, and Eren shakes his head. “Huh, we don’t get new customers very often, usually just regulars.” As he hands the ice creams over and rings up the purchase, he smiles. “I hope you guys come back. We switch out some of the flavors and you might want to try them. I’m Marco, by the way.” Marco’s smile is infectious.

“Eren.” he introduces himself, gladly taking the change. “And this is my sister, Mikasa.” Marco doesn’t do the whole looking between them trying to figure out the connection and simply brightens his smile.

“Well I hope you two enjoy your ice cream.” He gives them a tiny wave as they walk over to sit with Levi.

“Do you guys know that kid?” He asks, pocketing the change Eren hands him. They shake their heads, and Levi’s eyebrows come together in momentary confusion. “Whatever, doesn’t matter. Eat up, that isn’t coming within ten feet of my car.”

Mikasa makes an expression that sends the message that she has been transported to heaven itself, and Eren doesn’t blame her. She eats slowly enough to savor it and not make a mess, Eren is sure Levi approves.

Eren, on the other hand, has managed to get a few melted drops on his shirt as well as some pooling at the corners of his mouth. Levi hands him a napkin before they stand up to leave, and Eren huffs before wiping it across his mouth and dabbing the spots on his shirt, and Levi hums in approval. Marco bids them goodbye as they leave.

“Anything else we need while we’re out?” He asks, and they shake their heads. Just before he pulls out of the parking lot, Levi reaches forward and turns a few knobs on the radio. “What’s your favorite station?”

“Oh, um whatever, really.” Levi turns to glare at him.

“I don’t know if you get the impression that I listen to the radio very often, but I do not.”

“Well I don’t either, I mean 99.1 isn’t too bad at three in the morning.” Eren challenges, and Levi heaves a sigh.

“You’re not gonna shock me, brat so quit trying.” He fiddles with the radio until NPR played softly in the small space. Some story about a keeper of penguins. ‘Penguins are often referred to as flightless birds. But if given the right conditions, they will gain the ability to fly.’ Eren rolled his eyes at the sentiment.

Mikasa’s eyes are wide when Levi pulls into the driveway, and Eren hasn’t had a chance to view the house in the daylight yet. There’s a small garden with some flower bushes in the front, and it’s overall pretty quaint. They grab their bags out of the trunk and head inside.

“Erwin will probably be here in a couple hours, so you guys can do whatever until then, and then maybe come and say hi. We’re gonna cook and all that,” Levi seems at a loss for what to do with them.

“Eren’s a really good cook, maybe he can help.” Mikasa tells him, and Eren hits her arm.

“No, I’m not!” He hisses, face going a little red, and Mikasa rolls her eyes.

“He is. We got to do some cooking at the home, and Eren was always the best. And he really enjoys cooking, too.” She shrugs and Levi nods.

“I’m sure Erwin wouldn’t mind some help. I’m not hopeless with cooking but I’m not very good.” Eren sighs.

“I don’t even know him! That’s weird!” Levi simply rolls his eyes and waves his hand. He turns on his heel and walks away. Eren hears him filling the kettle and putting it on the stove. “Want to go see our room?” He asks, and Mikasa nods, waiting for him to lead the way then following him up the stairs. “I think it’s actually Levi’s room, so yeah. But this is basically the best bed ever.” He tells her, and she’s fairly quiet.

“Do you think this is actually going to work?” She asks, finally looking Eren straight in the eyes. “Because Levi seems okay, but this was a pretty quick decision. How long do you think he’s going to be cool with taking care of two fucked up kids? Letting us sleep in his bed? I don’t want to be some guy’s charity case.”

“I know, and I don’t want to be one either. But. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s going to work out, but you can go to college, Mikasa! A real one! And you won’t have to worry about me or anything.” She surveys his face carefully.

“Is that what this is about?” She averts her eyes and speaks just above a whisper.

“What do you mean?” Eren is defensive, automatically going aggressive.

“You’re doing this because you think this is best for me? You know why I have to worry about you all the time, Eren? Because you won’t bother to worry about yourself. I mean, who cares if you almost got arrested, almost slipped back into old habits, and had a panic attack and landed yourself in some guy’s house who’s going to take care of you. No, I shouldn’t be worried because thank god I might get to go to college. Don’t you get it, Eren?” Her voice is frustrated, breaking out of her typical composure, and Eren feels kind of bad.

In a snap decision, he moves forward, wrapping her in his arms. Mikasa stiffens for a moment before relaxing and wrapping her arms around Eren’s waist and laying her forehead on his shoulder, letting out a long breath. “‘M sorry.” She mumbles and Eren just hums in response.

They crash on the bed and pass the hours between talking and simply laying there. Mikasa agrees that the bed is like a cloud, and Eren laughs. When they hear a knock on the front door followed by voices, Eren just about falls out of the bed from being startled, and Mikasa is too busy laughing at him to help him up.

“Hey, uh, Erwin’s here. If you want to help cook or whatever, Eren.” Levi calls up and Mikasa pushes Eren out of the door and down the stairs.

He isn’t entirely sure what he expected Erwin to look like, but he definitely wasn’t prepared for some guy that’s at least a foot taller than Levi, not to mention totally buff. The man smiles, holding out his hand for Eren to take. “So you’re the reason Levi’s missing work, eh?” Eren reluctantly accepted the handshake, “I’m Erwin. Eren, right?” He nods carefully, pulling his hand back. “Think you can handle helping me with making spaghetti?”

“Yeah, definitely.” Eren tries to be more amicable when Mikasa pinches his arm. “Nice to meet you.”

“I’m Mikasa.” She steps forward with a smile, and extends her hand for a handshake that Erwin accepts happily. “I’m Eren’s sister, but I’m awful at cooking, so I’m going to avoid the kitchen, I think.” Erwin laughs, and it isn’t anything big or obnoxious, just a chuckle, and Eren finds he can’t seem to read him.

“You can have free reign on watching T.V. if you want, I’m just going to be catching up on work stuff while they cook.” Levi informs her, and she nods.

“Seems like we’re set, let’s get to work,” Erwin glances back to check that Eren is following him as he heads to the kitchen. As they unpack food from the bags Erwin brought, Erwin tries to make some small talk, asking Eren about school and life, and Eren tries not to clam up too much.

“How’s moving in here?” He finally asks as Eren crushes tomatoes for the sauce.

“Um, good. I think? Levi says he’s going to move us to a better school, and I think Mikasa might be able to get some real scholarships. Plus they probably have sports, so that should be fun.”

“Oh, you’re into sports? What do you play?” The beef is making popping noises as it browns and Erwin turns his full attention to Eren.

“I kind of like soccer, so I might try out or something. Plus Mikasa is like insanely good at everything, so she’ll probably join a bunch of sports and stuff.” He isn’t sure about the whole sharing thing, but he decides to give it a chance.

“You sound awfully worried about your sister, you know,” Eren groans, mixing ingredients with more verve than before. “I bet you get that a lot, huh? Alright, add that to this pan,” Erwin instructs and Eren complies. “I think you’re going to like it here. Levi’s a great guy, and I’ll come help out when I can.”

“Are you guys dating or something?” Eren blurts out, and feels bad the second Erwin’s cheeks go bright red.

“N-No. We aren’t,” He quickly regains composure. “We’ve been working together for a very long time, he’s a good officer. He isn’t afraid to tell me if I’m having a particularly bad lapse in judgment. Plus, he’s helped me out a few times, and I don’t mind returning the favor.”

“Are you the captain or something?” Eren asks, and Erwin shakes his head.

“No, commander, actually. Levi’s a captain though,” He grants, and Eren knits his eyebrows. Erwin quickly moves to explain. “He prefers to work in the field rather than the office. The old commander wasn’t a fan, but I don’t really mind.”

“Should we drain the pasta?” The timer had gone off a few minutes before but it seemed they’d gotten caught up.

“Yes, yes definitely. Can you do that while I finish this up?” Eren nods and executes the task quietly. They prepare the rest of the meal in silence, vocalizing a warning before moving any hot pans around to avoid burns.

“Dinner!” Erwin calls out, and Eren hears two pairs of feet pad in from the living room.

Eren and Mikasa awkwardly wait for Erwin and Levi to sit down before taking a seat, not wanting to impose on anyone’s spot or anything.

“You two are the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Levi states, face almost blank. Eren looks to Mikasa for an explanation, and she simply quirks an eyebrow at Levi. “I am now going to get to eat Erwin’s cooking on a regular basis.” He explains, shrugging, and Erwin almost chokes on his food. Eren feels his shoulders sink slightly and Mikasa takes a deep, steadying breath.

“Glad we could be of help,” Mikasa mutters, annoyance obvious in her tone and Eren glances nervously between her and Levi.

“Oh shut it, princess. I was trying to break whatever tension is going on here. I get that you two aren’t used to being here but seriously, loosen up, or some shit,” Mikasa settles for glaring and eating in silence.

Erwin and Eren’s eyes meet with matching alarmed expressions.  “You’re pretty good in the kitchen Eren, where did you learn to cook?” Erwin asks, trying to ignore Levi and Mikasa glaring at each other.

Unfortunately, Erwin didn’t pick the best of topics. “One of my, uh, regulars was a professional chef, so he liked to. Um. Teach me.” Eren had spent too many years going for shock factor to properly censor himself now. “But Shadis let me cook at the home sometimes. So I did that too,” His face is bright red, and he turns his gaze to his meal instead.

Poor Erwin looks traumatized, mouth gaping slightly as he returns to silence. His eyebrows knit together and Eren can only assume he’s processing what Eren just said. Whoops. The man jolts suddenly and glares at Levi who simply shrugs.

The rest of the meal passes in awkward silence. Mikasa doesn’t stop glaring at Levi and Erwin seems to be at a total loss. Once everyone is finished, they sit for a moment, no one really knowing what to say or do. Finally, Levi pipes up.

“You two have had a long day. Go settle in or something, I don’t know. Erwin and I will do the dishes.” He dismisses them and picks up their plates on his way into the kitchen. Erwin scrambles to follow him, trying to smile at Eren and Mikasa before hurrying after the shorter man.

They can hear whispering from the other room, Eren can only assume Levi is filling Erwin in on their past.

“I don’t like it here,” Mikasa states, staring right at Eren.

“That’s because you aren’t giving it a chance,” He replies, thoroughly exasperated. She simply rolls her eyes, leading him upstairs.

Quietly, they pulled out pajamas and other night time goods. Each took a turn in the bathroom to brush teeth and wash their face. By the time they’d managed to get through the routine, Mikasa seemed more relaxed.

“I promise this is going to be good for us, okay? Let me take care of us for once,” Eren murmured, pulling his sister into a hug. She heaved a sigh and nodded into his shoulder, reluctantly wrapping her arms around his waist.

“We should go downstairs,” Mikasa finally spoke, pulling away.

They padded down the steps, finding Erwin and Levi on the couch in the living room.

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Levi? I mean, you have no experience-”

“I’m a grown man, Erwin. I think I can figure out for myself if I can or cannot do something. Trust me, okay?” Levi cut off the other man tersely. Erwin sighed and nodded, catching sight of Eren and Mikasa in the doorway.

“Hey you two, what’s up?” He asked, easily sliding a smile onto his previously worried features.

“We just figured we should come hang out down here until we go to bed.” Eren responded when Mikasa kept a cool silence. Levi gestured to the two armchairs in the room.

“Make yourself at home,” The witty remark was accented by an almost smile by the man. After that, Erwin and Levi engaged them in small talk, skirting around any topics that may be too heavy and quickly changing the subject if they stumbled on one.

Mikasa warmed up considerably, her eyes lighting up when Levi talked about possibly teaching them some self defense stuff. She began the night in a tight ball on the armchair, arms crossed over the knees drawn to her chest, but now she was leaned forward on the edge of her seat as Erwin and Levi recounted shenanigans from their own high school lives. She wasn’t necessarily openly part of the conversation, but considerably less hostile.

Erwin grew up in a rural town, the high school only had about 200 people total. When he was talking about it, a slight drawl entered his tone to which Levi told him to “Watch the red neck, it’s leaking out.” He’d moved to the city with a strong sense of justice and entered the police academy, and he moved up the ranks fairly quickly with his strong wits and physical aptitude.

Levi, though, grew up in the inner city and went to the same school he’s sending Eren and Mikasa to. His youth was certainly questionable to say the least, getting in trouble with the law once or twice and not living in the most pleasant of households. He joined the police to try to fight that disrupted youth, and he also wanted a taser.

Eventually Erwin pulled out his phone to check the time and his eyes went wide. “So it’s like 10. I should really get home, since you know, I’m going to be working tomorrow.” He has a teasing smile on and Levi simply huffs, pulling himself off of the couch and stretching.

Eren and Mikasa watch as they walk out, bitching at each other over nothing. “Bye, old man!” Levi calls out before they hear the door close.

“So I’m exhausted and this is my bed. Now you guys are welcome to stay up or whatever, but I need sleep.” At his pointed look they bid him goodnight and scampered out of the room, making their way upstairs.

“Feeling better?” Eren asks as they Mikasa turns out the light and he crawls under the covers. She traipses over, scooting under the blanket to tuck her head just under his chin.

“A little bit. The school sounds nice.” Her breath is warm and comforting against Eren’s shoulder and he wraps his arms around her shoulders.

“We’re gonna be okay. We’re always okay, right?” He feels strange being in the position of comforter, but it isn’t unpleasant. She simply nods in response. “What sports are you gonna join?”

“Soccer. Maybe volleyball. Or tennis. I don’t know, maybe I can try a bunch of them out, what about you?” He can feel her smile on his skin, and Eren knows she’s going to have it all.

“Soccer and maybe cross country.” She tilts her head up at that, quirking an eyebrow.

“You running? Just running?” Her tone is skeptical and Eren has to muffle a laugh.

“Why not? I’m good at running! And shouldn’t it be like. I don’t know. At least it would get me in shape for soccer, right?” Mikasa doesn’t combat his logic, and simply shakes her head and tucks it back where it was.

They talk for at least another hour like that. Who would they be friends with? Would they date anyone? What kind of classes would they take? Slowly, they drifted off to sleep, with bright ideals and sleepy smiles.