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Shingeki no Kemono (Attack on Monsters)

Chapter Text

 

The world as we once knew it, ceased to exist.

The only thing the people were left with, was worry and existential dread.

 

Ever since the monsters attacked on that fatefull day almost 20 years ago, everything changed. One day changed everything, everything we knew and left us clutching onto what remained of our world, gasping for air in a suffocating surrounding.

People got lost in the security of the surrounding dome, clamping onto false hope that they were now safe.

They were never safe.

 

No one knew where they came from or what they wanted. They just suddenly emerged out of nowhere, as if to mock us for our short-lived nature. Their mere appearience was more horrifying than anything out of a nightmare or horrormovie, long claws of almost 11 inches length, weird warped horns on their thick skulls, pitch black, slick form, stained with white patches, blood and grime.

Few people had the chance of seeing them and come out alive.

 

They were believed to be 8 foot tall, two hollow holes instead of eyes, that revealed soul-devouring, empty white space.

No mouth, just knife-sharp, long teeth that could probably break all of your bones.

They were so foreign, new and terrifying that people disclaimed them having any earthly origin.

Some believed they were aliens, send to earth to destroy humankind in every possible way, others believed they were demons send straight from hell to punish humankind for their sins.

No one seemed to link the monsters to their dying ecological system, not any hint.

 

The distituation for the sole survival of the rest of the world by loosing over half of their territory, most technical archievements, order and the panic of the people, degenerated them.

The last hope were the fighters, the scientists and politicians that somehow saved the world from futher harm, the only ones shielding the citizens from their inescapable fate.

 

The rest of the world hurled together under a dome, made out of a force field of enormous size, gleaming every hour with it's calming blue light.

No one knew exactly where it came from. The authorities sure had their sources, but it seemed like they had hardly control over it. The only thing they could influence however, was making small, temporary gates, allowing to leave and enter the dome.

 

 

 

Indeed, humanities last hope now was to find resources for the starving population and possibly a solution, a weapon against the predators infesting their world.

Humanity hadn't got any alternatives besides assembling the ultimate team to save the world.

Not to be reckless they left backup and constructed different plans for different occasions. The first team was send to inspect the situation and report back.

With the knowledge how to fight against those otherworldly creatures, they had at least the chance to send multiple wagons of provisions and provide everyone with important information, assumed if they don't fail.

The team consisted of Erwin Smith, a high ranked military commander, corporal/captain Levi, ex-king of the criminal underground, cold and untouchable, Moblit Berner, Nile Dok and other lower commanders with their teams, groups of survival experts, biologists, a few of the best scientists, young soldiers and volunteers such as Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, Armin Arlert, Jean Kirstein, Marco Bott, Reiner Braun, Berthold Fubar, etc, consisting of 30-40 people.

They were discoverer, voyager, future settlers and the most experienced and strong-willed of their kind. More than a half of them experienced a loss at one point of their life, they weren't naive. Maybe some of them were too young for their own good, most of their companions didn't wanted to see children die, even if they were very competent teenagers.

 

One of them was Levi.

 

Eren found the infiltrating glare of the corporal towards him and his friends more than suspicious, but he didn't wanted to be unfriendly towards his childhood idol.

But the more the other glared, the more uncomfortable it got, Levi's glare somehow burning and scaring him. Why did the captain look so unsettling? Was it his criminal background, his cold-blooded manner or the fact that most of his facial expressions were either neutral or blood curling? Probably the last, given his disability to be social. Most of the people already deemed him a weirdo, even if he was widely respected and looked up onto. He was one of a kind.

 

After meeting most of the expedition members, everyone in the team had to undergo several tests, granting them full protection against known diseases.

Then there was the gate. The force field deadly for monsters, harmless for it's inhabitants, it's own ecological system, sadly an unsuccesfull one.

Armin gasped as he saw the force field open for the first time before his eyes, and made a few unsteady steps towards it. A watchman controlled the attendance, before he allowed entrance, gray clouds awaited us, concealing the sky.

Each member made their way outside, where countless vehicles were waiting for the groups. Eren and the other volunteers entered a small, but highroofed military vehicle linked with a wagon, one that had no windows and was concealed by curtains.

 

 

Upon beeing seated they waited for further instructions. Not long after, captain Levi came by all vehicles and gave each member a weapon. He wore his military clothes, but without his cap like anyone else, a belt with severe interesting looking attachments on his hips and a bored expression as always. "Listen attentively. This gun has two functions. While it only consists of 20 bullets each, it has a secret compartment that makes you switch to fire a lightning signal in the air, when you happen to be out of reach and in danger and plus 20 more bullets to reload.", his voice was neutral and factual, as he showed us how to use the gun, skilled hands running along the device. "If you encounter one of the beasts either shoot in the head and eyes, or in the chest. Follow each instruction given and don't act on your own if it could endanger the mission." He stepped out onto the ground and mechanically stuck the gun into it's case. "And don't forget to pull off the safety latch before shooting.", he pointed to it and was about to go.

"Captain.", Eren wondered interested, "Why don't we use a tank to drive through?"

Levi turned slowly to him, undismayed: "Because, brat... we are prospectors and spies. We are supposed to be lightweight to escape fast in dire situations and don't get stuck by a slow as tank, that will most likely drive more attention towards itself. Any more questions? Good." Eren didn't had the time to think how to talk back when the other turned and left, leaving him dumbfounded.

'Is he always so grumpy and blunt?' His glare only left the other's back when it vanished behind the other vehicles, 'Well, apropos good first impression....'.

Eren wasn't sure if it was his own fault, or the other simply had a bad day, he just hoped he wouldn't get on the captain's bad side, or it would be rather painfull.

The car engines roared up and each of them started to drive, in an organized formation. Eren looked back out of the car, back to the place he had called home, where he was born. It wasn't certain if he would come back alive, but he swore with all his heart, he would do everything possible to help save the world. He continued to stare outside, his eyes tracing around the force field, searching for familiar buildings, oblivious to everything else. Suddenly his view got blocked, only to find out that Mikasa closed the curtains and gave Eren a soft glare. "We should focus on the mission, Eren. We have to be strong now.", she softly reminded him and went back to her seat. The brown-haired teenager nodded and looked down. 'I just noticed... she looks really similair to the corporal. Are they related? She never told me about him.'

Another thing Eren was fascinated about, that Mikasa and Levi were a lot smaller compared to him, but could beat his ass whenever they liked. He could also imagine them beeing able to do this to the mayority of their companions and only the idea of this send uncomfortable shivers down his spine. 'But it would be quite honorable to get served by the famous captain...', he swallowed at his stupidity, 'or very shamefull....'

 

They continued talking occasionally for the rest of the way, full of excitement and an unbroken spirit. They drifted along scruffy landscapes for hours, gray fruitless earth, polluted lakes and rivers. Nothing to look at. The destruction of mother nature, openly displayed. Gray clouds blocking the sun out and darkening every colour. Their journey continued for hours, until in the outskirts of the horizon, a strange formation came in sight, announcing their first destination: a disguised camp.

The chatter quieted down and everyone focused, ready to strike should any attackers get in the way.

 

There was a lingering silence around, everyone tensly gripped onto their weapon.

A few of the experienced soldiers were send to check the base.

Time went by way too slow for their liking and the younger soldiers felt nervousness creep into their minds. For ten minutes they stood still without any explanation.

"What are we waiting for? Did something happen?", Eren stood up, impatient as he was and glared outside at the standing vehicles.

He waited a few more minutes and was about to step out when a slightly panicked Armin grabbed him by the wrist: "Eren! What are you doing...? We have to wait for instructions, remember!? Please sit down....."

Eren only furrowed his thick brows. He kept still, but didn't move to sit down, observing everything to detect any change.

When the cars suddenly moved in motion he almost hit his head against the wall, yelping surprised, as he stumbled forward rapidly, almost landing his knee someone in the gut.

"Bloody hell, look where you're stepping!",Ymir yelled annoyed at Eren, but he still hadn't taken a seat and just held onto the walls as he stared out. More or less parked next to their camp, still nothing moved and Eren unintentionally let his guard down at the unchanging scenery.

That, among the reason that Levi came from the other side of the car, didn't made him see him appear before him in time.

The small fighter climbed up to the opening doors of the car and used this to try to appear bigger than Eren, when he discovered him standing and staring. Confused he lifted up a questioning eyebrow, standing pretty close to him, evoking an almost mischievous sense of authority: "Something wrong, cadet?"

Eren was so overwhelmed by his sudden appeariance and closeness, that his surprised face looked absolutely priceless, just as his sudden step back.

The amusement must have clearly shown on Levi's face, or at least his eyes, because Mikasa registered it and rolled her eyes.

Eren therewhile looked embarassed and wide-eyed, not able to tear his gaze away.

"Keep it cool, man.", Levi calmly reassured him, then he looked more serious again, adressing everyone, "Take your stuff quick and go straight to the dormitory. We will stay here for a few days before we move on to something very important. Enjoy the time in peace as long as you can, you will need the strength. There's also a training room down the hall. Further explanations will follow." He nodded shortly at the people present and climbed down again, reminding of a cat.

Eren kept standing in the center of the high-roofed military car, as if set in stone.

"Move!", Ymir ushered him as she stepped out and to the back to quickly get her stuff. Hesitantly, Eren followed his friends to do the same.

 

Through a secret latch everyone entered the blackish, moss-overgrown building. It was dark and the slight gloomy atmosphere couldn't be lifted even after the lights lit up every corner.

Even though the rooms had a set-up of equipment, everything looked empty and dull, the walls dirty. It seemed like the place was deserted until they decided to visit.

Levi crinkled his nose and made a disgusted noise: "Ugh. This place is filthy."

Whereupon Erwin answered with an obvious smile: "You'll have to adjust to that. I'm sure we're going to find places much worse."

Levi looked even more disgusted and shook himself, demonstratively crossing his arms.

Eren wouldn't ever had thought that Levi was the type to complain about something like that as a corporal, but he guessed it was one of his unmatched characteristics.

 

Now all volunteers and cadets were stuck in one dormitory room that consisted of beds and a few lonely shelves next to the walls. It wasn't much, but everyone had enough place in it and now waited what was yet to come.

The state had equipped them with a big assemblage of inflatable matrasses. One latest invention highly practical for the military. They were perfectly sterile, made from a very solid rubber and other substances, only inflatable with a special pump that came with it. The soldiers only had to carry around a bag full of something that looked like deflated balloons to supply every team member with at least 4 matrasses. Not only that, but they were easy to clean and could be used everywhere, even as a boat. So even thought the places were old, they only had to disinfect some parts, while using their own sheets. 

 

 

"Yeeeeeager!", an incredibly annoying male voice resounded next to him,"I heard someone had stress with the captain! Is there one thing you can do right!?"

Eren's face lit up in fury, he stood up, eyebrows furrowed, fists clenched: "What do you know, horseface!?"

Jean, the incredibly annoying cadet with a long face and the sassiest grin, stepped closer. "Big mouth, but nothing behind it", he teased, dragging the words.

"I think that fits your discription way better!", Eren threw himself at him with a warcry and they were soon fighting.

He held Jean right around the collar on the floor when the said spat in his direction: "At least, I know how to treat someone, I have a poster of on my wall!"

"Britney Spears is dead, horseface!", Eren pushed him harder against the ground.

"Very funny. Ask him for an autograph, maybe he'll punch you in the face!"

"I'd like to see you cry for my help once the monsters attack!", Eren punched him as Jean kicked him in the ribs.

"Oh, noooo, I'm so scared, Yeager-bombastic!"

The nearby commander Shadis got alerted by the noise and soon stepped between them, while the other cadets just watched both, interested of the outcome. (Mikasa thankfully was in the bathroom...) They had to behave if they didn't wanted to get send back.

 

One and a half hours later everyone gathered in the big assembly room. Cadets were seated in the middle, scientists and etcetera in the front and the commanders guarded the whole room or sat humbly in the back.

Erwin opened the meeting:

"Dear comrades and colleagues. Approximately in a week we'll encounter our first mission. Currently we are located here-", he pointed at a red point on a large map, "The Rose is located here..."

The Rose was the name people had given the surrounding dome and the map showed the propotion of their current, unnamed location to their starting point.

"On Thursday we will continue our travel towards this point. It will approximately take 3 to 4 days." He had pointed to another location, much further than the other ones, marked in another colour.

"The science laboratory in Maria City was the last working laboratory, before the territory went over to the monsters. We have all reasons to believe we'll find some results and therefore brought science experts to examine and confirm scientific evidence. If the tests had some groundbreaking or important results we can assume the information is concealed and sealed. Now....", Erwin, who always appeared very collected, neutral and even cheerfull, seemed very serious and even a little worried: "I advise each of you to be very carefull on this mission, because we aren't exactly sure what's waiting for us and what interceptions we'll have to come through. But we have to get the results, because they are our only hint so far...."

He let that sink in, his eyes somehow scanning each of them in order and lingered a bit longer on Levi. The captain nodded unnoticed at the commander, before the said sighed and looked at the audience once again: "Now our scientist Hange Zoe will explain the backgrounds."

He stepped aside and let the woman find her place at the blackboard. She wore a lab coat and comfortable clothing, her wild brown hair in a high ponytail and round glasses on her nose. She looked cheerfull and friendly despite their situation. "Helloooooo! I'm professor Hange, but you can also call me Miss Zoe!" She looked around, somehow waiting for confirmation and wondered: "Don't be shy! Say : 'Hello'!" Levi rolled his eyes as the team greeted her.

"Well, well, well. As you know we have two things of interest. Sustainability of nature and the weak points of the monsters!" The woman quickly retrieved a pen out of her pocket at pointed at 'the Rose'. "Starting from this point the ecological condition gets even worse, we're surrounded by wasteland-", she pointed to the area further and around their current location, "But if we go west, we might even find a water stream with a pollution level under 50%. We just have to find clues that might guide us....."

The lecture went on for quite a time, because the woman seemed so ingulfed in the things she said it was a little hard to follow her.

"Okay. Any questions? To anything!?", she clasped her hands together and looked excitedly at her tired listeners.

"Yes.", Ymir sounded bored, "How can we be sure, that the slight 'cleaner' place with the ressources wouldn't be perfect for an ambush?"

Hange seemed bemused at that: "That's a good question, my dear. Indeed the monsters are most likely drawn to places they can feed from and we would probably wait for them to die out eventually if our ressources wouldn't go to an end. So I guess we can't really and have to distract them with the machine we brought with us!"

Erwin stepped in again: "We have ways to keep out of their way, but this is the only mission where we can't, so once again, we have to be extremely carefull and stick together if we don't want any casualties."

Other questions followed, making it easier to process the information, rather than thinking too deeply about the threatening things that were to come.

 

 

 

 

"Armin."

The blonde rolled over one side of the bed, turning towards his neighbouring best friend, which was absently staring at the wall above him, hands behind his head rested against the pillow.

"Yes?", he answered quietly.

"Do you think we can win?" From Eren's facial expression it was impossible to derive his emotions and opinion, so Armin focused on himself.

"Honestly, I don't know.... I never was on any mission once.... just helping to search for food outside the dome a few times. Do you think we have a chance?"

Armin was interested to hear his opinion, but the brown haired just stared, his blue eyes glued to the wall. The others, pretending to sleep around them also eagerly awaited his answer. Eren. The most stubborn, strongwilled and resistant cadet probably could assess his abilities or at least cheer everyone up with motivational words.

After a few minutes too late, exhaustion and resignation calming the tide of curiosity, Eren finally spoke, and quite ambiguously: "I can't give an answer yet."

"But will I get it?"

"Yes.", Eren nodded and the weird tension in the room faded, because no one, except the rumminating boy wanted to think about the future, rather staying in the present to survive.

But Eren wasn't afraid to do that and even after beeing called stupid for that multiple times, everyone was secretly thankfull that someone was scepticall and questioned everything.

 

 

 

 

Eren woke up hours before anyone else, his head heavy and his mind bored. Everyone was still peacefully sleeping, so he decided to sneak out, quietly putting on his clothes before rummaging through the halls. There were the sleeping rooms of the soldiers and commanders, the experts, getting special treatments. Soon he found a cafeteria and many more, but most doors were closed and not daring to snoop, he proceeded down the hall to the training room. Having expected to be alone, Eren's eyes witnessed quite a view when he entered.

Levi, lonely and handsome, was lifting weights with only one hand moving, angling up as his bicep buckled and stretched, in dark jeans and a tanktop, standing at the far side of the room, pensively staring at an indefinite point on the wall. He looked so casuall, yet so breathtaking and Eren's gaze widened witnessing just how ripped Levi truly was. Those dumbbells had to be at least 30 kg heavy and Levi moved them so graciously, as if he was a poet, rather than a sportsman. No sweat, no nothing, relaxed as if he was taking a walk.

After noticing that he was gaping, Eren, now truly muddled, moved to a random exerciser not to disturb his idol in his silent training.

The corporal, of course noticed the person in the room, but it took him long enough to get out of his pensive daze.

Therewhile the younger male decided to do pull-ups. Even he was way to small for them and probably had to jump to reach. The lifting was painfull and messy, leaving Eren huffing heavily, distressed. 'C'mon... just one more! I know I can do it... if I don't, I'll never get even close to be as strong as Levi.. I am not food for the monsters!!!' His hands were soon slippery from nervous sweat, his chest aching from despair. He yerked up in frustration, trying to jump upwards and slipped, pulling his muscles hard and falling loudly to the floor. "Shit!", he cursed under his breath and rubbed the back of his head, crouched on the hard surface.

The corporal finally turned his head towards his direction in obvious interest. Eren stood up again, wiping his hands against his pants and straightened up for following trials. His efforts were noticed. "You're doing it wrong."

Eren turned his head to discover the other going towards him with a calm expression on his face and attentive eyes. The boy tilted his head, his own eyes widened and interested, taking a step back to see the shorter male better.

Levi appreciated this gesture and glared up to the rod Eren tried so fiercly to reach.

"You won't manage any pull-ups, if all you do is jumping wildly in the air.", he stepped closer and gestured towards his arm, "You have to go either slow or gradual. You have to feel it in your arm. Imagine you're climbing up a mountain. The ledge is hard to reach, but you have to get up, what do you do?"

Levi waited for an answer that wasn't yet to come and tilted his head: "Your whole body needs to be taut. Reach it and push yourself up, use the verve if you aren't strong enough to carry your own body. Grab... on that rod firmly, as if your life depends on it. ... Then I'm sure you'll do every exercise effectively..."

Eren looked at him with big, surprised eyes. Even though he wasn't used to such attention and even less to such a weird type of advise, it was strangely helpfull and purposefull. He nodded eagerly as his face lit up: "I sure hope that I will be helpfull to someone like you!"

Levi was internally amused, but didn't allowed to openly show or share his enthusiasm: "Tch. First be helpfull to yourself and then we're talking." He slowly turned away, strolling back to his weights. Having expected the conversation to be over he almost winced when Eren's loud and happy voice called after him: "Thank you, Captain! I'll sure remember that!"

'Brats usually understand if I am beeing ironic or unfriendly and he is thanking me for that? For what exactly? That I spend 2 minutes telling him stuff that is basic knowledge among our troops???', Levi sometimes tended to forget himself, that not all his actions were meant to upset someone, ignoring every previous interaction, so he could be TRULY satisfied to be the forever grumpy, badass, lone wolf.

Not that he was everything he pictured himself to be, he just wanted things to be in a specific order, all to his liking. Or so he thought.

Funny enough, he couldn't help the occasional glare towards the younger male for any progress and watching him was somehow soothing. He also wondered why he was up so early. This was slightly unusual among cadets and Levi was mostly alone in the training room, because everybody rested. That kid had to be different.

He tried not to distract his mind, thinking back to their first conversations, but somehow the thought of having more of them entertained him.

But as soon as the other left, he frowned. 'Not like I care. We're having war and no adventures to Pony-Island.' 

Levi couldn't remember having any friends for as long as he was alive. Ah, except one time. They died.

He wasn't the type to be constantly at war with himself, but something was setting him off. It was something about this kid, something he couldn't quite grasp, but he hoped it would never be relevant enough. It didn't matter. Too often now he had tried to convice himself of stuff like that. It simply doesn't matters.... Because life is shit anyway and we are all going to die. .... Or so he thought.

Lost in thought, now because of a different reason and less concentrated, it went past his mind to continue his work-out. That could turn out quite interesting.

 

Chapter Text

 

The old, dusty cafeteria was suddenly full of life and sounds as Eren entered it during breakfast hour. He was smiling bright and satisfied, as if to replace the absence of the morning sun in the sky. Tired people were chattering and eating, creating a certain and very weird homey feeling. Eren soon found his friends in the crowd and walked over to them, waving from afar.

"Eren, where were you? Breakfast started 15 minutes ago!", Armin asked curiously and wondering, lifting up his baby blue eyes at the brown haired boy approaching his seat.

The sudden, wide smile on Eren's face caught them off guard, as the boy was practiacally shining next to them. "Uhhhhh... I trained with Levi! He ... he gave me tips and stuff and he was suuuper chill!"

Both of their eyes widened, as they stared at him in disbelief. "You trained with the corporal?????"

"The hell are ya sayin', Yeager??", Jean resounded from two tables across.

Erens whole face was happy and relaxed, he nodded vigorously, Jeans annoying voice not changing his mood even a tiny bit. "Yeah! He started talking to me first. I wonder if he always trains alone usually."

Jean furrowed his brows in a sceptical and disheveled way, giving his frienemy just a glare: "For real now? Nah, I need evidence..."

Eren giggled softly and murmured: "I don't care!"

Then he added with an almost devilish smirk: "I would rather you mind your and Marco's business."

"What!?", Jean's face was beet-red as he turned away, "What are ya talking about, uh?"

Armin and Eren fell into a self satisfied laugh, the blonde leaned over for a high-five, simply refusing to give the other an answer. Jean just huffed and ignored them for the rest of the time.

"By the way", Mikasa started, unconspiciously looking around the room, "I can't see him anywhere."

"Yeah. Hmm... did you scare him away with your cheerfullness?", Armin giggled sweetly and Eren shrugged. "I hope not."

"Looks like we have the day off for now. Nile said something about strategies and stuff. We'll travel different this time."

Eren nodded and started eating a selfmade sandwich. "Do you wink, wey... loowk as scawy as on the pictuws?"

"Eren, chew!", Mikasa ordered.

"Sowwy, mum!", Eren huffed, eating up the piece in his mouth, then repeated, "The monsters I mean. Do you think they are as scary as on the drawings?"

Armin swallowed, paling: "Scarier! People.. people said..."

The boy was clutching onto his jacket. "That if you look into their eyes.... they'll steal your soul... or simply hypnotise you. Even if you'll escape, they'll get you, since your soul doesn't belongs to you anymore. You are cursed. But... only the legends say so..."

First, Eren listened attentively and animated, before he looked at the other half lidded, chewing onto his sandwich unimpressed: "Yeah, Armin. I think Levi's seen them plenty of times and he hadn't lost his soul yet!"

 

"That's because he has no soul."

 

Eren turned towards the sound of the voice, forgetting to breathe.

"Take that back!"

 

Reiner crossed his arms and looked calmly at the enraged boy. "Calm down, Eren. But I've heard some things about him. I wouldn't personally trust him. He is ruthless and would do absolute, I repeat, absolutely EVERYTHING to fullfill his mission, no matter who has to die. He can turn your life to complete hell. You think everyone respects him out of the blue? Half of the people are scared of him. Heard he had something to do in a big drug-business. People like that eat you for breakfast and can kill all of us with bare hands."

The young boy looked at him as if he'd seen a ghost. 'The fuck is he talking about, huh? Levi isn't like that.. I mean... maybe something of this is true... but that's just absurd!'

 

Reiner leaned back, surrendering at the expression Eren was giving him. "I see. Just ask him. I think he knows exactly what I'm talking about."

 

'That's just impolite! Does he have any idea who he's talking about!?'

Turning around in a surprisingly firm and straight posture, while trying to imitate a menacaing and superior position, Eren was eyeing the man before him with fiery eyes.

"Listen here. I now ABSOLUTELY don't care what you heard about him, but I'll let you know that I won't let anyone talk about the captain like that! You have no idea how many people he saved! What he all contributes to our daily lifes, to keep all of our asses safe! You think he's called 'humanity's strongest' because all he does the whole day is beeing a psychopathic asshole??? All the grace, they way he helps and motivates soldiers and cadets, all the sacrifice, you're just going to discredit? I think the last thing he needs is someone doubting his loyality towards the military and humanity in itself! So please don't just spread rumors about someone who spend half of his life to save our world!"

 

People at the nearby tables were staring at Eren wide-eyed, surprised and overwhelmed at the sudden outburst and the passion as well as protectiveness in his voice. Even Jean, having dropped his food, looked at the other boy as if he lost his marbles: 'Okaaaay, I knew he had a crush on him, but DAMN. Yeager, you're going too far with your obsession.'

 

"I heard some arguing. Are there some troublemakers I have to punish?"

 

Jean turned blue as he discovered said man standing at the entryway, looking everyone over scrutinizing, his face blank as always, but slightly threatening.

"No, Corporal. We have everything under control.", Mikasa reported factual and clear.

The small man's eyes met hers, seemingly calmed, until he noticed Eren. And then he just stared. His muscles were trained not to give anything away, but nevertheless his pensive gaze rested on the boy way longer then needed, before he finally looked up and nodded. "Good."

 

With an elegant spin on his heels, he turned and marched out, back to the other rooms. He had heard quite a bit from Eren's speech and was baffled. 'Why did he do that? Is he making fun of me?' Although that couldn't be it from the honest gaze Levi could catch when he entered. He meant every word. 'Well, I didn't knew I was so nice... I guess this can turn out quite interesting.....I still can't really tell his intentions. What does he think he gets when he says this? You have to fight for yourself, if you want to survive in this cruel world.'

No one ever defended Levi before. He wasn't the type that needed or wanted this. On rare occasions... only by his chosen few. But never by a complete stranger. A complete stranger he met only a few days ago. He figured he was quite popular. That had to be the reason why Eren thought he knew him and probably why he talked with him. Levi was just someone popular, so it had to mean that the brat wanted to take advantage of that to get some extra credit maybe. Levi hated people like that. He had a feeling he couldn't hate the green-blue eyed brat though. Yet as his thoughts again drifted away from him, the second time this day, he forced himself to focus on something else and leave it behind him. His duty had to be fullfilled and he wouldn't let galaxy-eyed brats with warrior-speeches distract him.

 

Jean caught Levi's gaze towards Eren, trying to identificate if it was due to his words or something else. 'Oh god, Eren, what the hell. Don't tell me....'

"Jean, are you ok? You look kinda out of it...", Marco asked worriedly. The said nodded and laid his hand softly on his shoulder.

Eren just turned back to his food, uncaring. 'Heicho 's always trying hard...' His friends watched him with a meaningfull glare.

"I am not sure if he would give this back, Eren.", Mikasa quietly remarked. She meant that Levi wouldn't lower himself down to do the same for the cadet.

"Well", Eren humbly smiled, "I am nothing special. If I'd have the same history as him, maybe not. But I don't think many people do that for him. So I'll make it count!"

Eren didn't ceased to surprise them this morning, and the self-satisfied expression on his face as he explained his actions and thoughts was pretty intriguing.

 

 

 

 

 

The cadets spend the next hours playing games and telling stories, acting as if they were sitting around a fire at night. Eren grew bored after a while and instead went out to look at photos of people on the shelves. While exploring the room he suddenly noticed Levi sitting crosslegged outside on a platform in front of the door, staring out and leaning onto a long rifle with his arms. He wore his usual uniform pants, but continued wearing his plain black tank-top, showing the muscles and old, pale scars on his back.

 

The younger boy was completely ingulfed by this discovery, wondering about everything and nothing. The want to go over to him was strong, but he felt like he was going to be completely annoying by that. Although he wouldn't have been able to tear his eyes away. A slight breeze swept through the open door, blowing strands of hair into his face, blocking his vision for a moment there. He concluded it would be better to just talk to him, then just stalk him from afar the whole time.

'Okay... okay, act cool. Be normal. You can do this. Don't do anything stupid!', Eren's thoughts made cartwheels as he quietly neared his destination. Only a few more steps.

The captain always looked so in thought, so absent, like he was in another world. Eren wondered what this was about, but this couldn't tame his nervousness. 'Oh, c'mon, I was sooo brave today! Where did this go, huh!?'

"Hi!", Eren softly called when he was standing next to Levi, slightly behind him on the platform. 'Good start! Go on.'

"Mh?", Levi turned slightly, noticing the cadet standing next to him as he was about to philosophize about the day and their next mission, "Hey."

"I uh...", he fiddled with words, "I see you are alone."

'SERIOUSLY, EREN!? Like it's not obvious already, this was the most stupid thing I could say.'

"And I hope my company can please you..."

'Wait, wait, wait, turn that back. I didn't just said that. Was I flirting? I never flirt, how the hell do you do this.'

 

Levi lifted an eyebrow in confusion as he stared at his cadet with tilted head.

 

"Ahhh, sorry, I'm beeing so weird. I just... I'm just so happy that I can be in one team with you! You are my hero, you know.", Eren was smiling sweetly at him and just giving up on his weird act, deciding to impress Levi by showing him everything he knew about him.

"You were sooo sleek in the battle of Trust. Your dedication, your style, it's really awesome. I thought only someone of pure heart can strive so openly and dedicated towards battles! And, and, and how gracefull you always were and how thankfull and respectfull towards fallen soldiers and veterans! I just wanted to let you know, that you're one of the only ones who can keep this world upright and thank you sooo much for that!", Eren didn't notice when he drifted into outright passionate gushing.

Levi's eyes widened, as he listened to his speech with held breath and slight open mouth. He winced, scaring himself and quickly turned away, a blush creeping onto his narrow cheeks. 'Oh my god. That was SO fucking adorable......'

Eren suddenly paled, when he saw the other hastily turning away after all his praise. 'Oh, no, I fucked up. I am sooo awkward. Oh my god, why do I even try.'

'Grace? Pure heart?', Eren's words echoed in his mind, 'I never thought I was anything of this...' A sudden enlightment struck him. That kid didn't wanted to use him, he legitimately admired him. The excited way he talked reminded him a bit of Hange, but his one was so much better. Levi suddenly felt bad ever thinking this.

"Thank you."

"Eh?", Eren had expected a lot of things, this was not one of them, "For what? I should be thanking you!"

'For what......', Levi recognized himself in Eren's vocalized thoughts. He had fully turned to look at Eren, laying the rifle to the side and was looking him over softly.

"Yet I have to say.... Kid, I am none of what you just said.", the corporal's voice was much softer than usual, beeing centuries ago he had used this one, "I may be very skillfull and dedicated, but it's not like I have many alternatives. I just do what has to be done, no matter what and I don't deserve all this praise, if not for the actual archievements I had. If we win, I will accept it. But not before that. So, thank you for believing in me, I guess."                                                                    'And for beeing mindbogglingly cute... Seriously, who the hell talks like that.. '

Eren's eyes suddenly shone up and he had the most blinding smile imaginable. It wasn't just the excited, pure gleam in those greenish depths, he was moved (and so was Levi) and gleefull. "Oh, even If I'll fail in the battle, I'll make you see you're wrong, Captain! Don't be so humble."

The corporal tilted his head, unbelieving at these words: "You're weird."

Eren snapped out of his cheerfull bubble and stared at him: "Ahhh, always to the point. Yes, I guess I am. But that's not horrible is it?"

"No.", Levi shook his head and gestured at the place next to him.

'AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH. HE'S TELLING ME I CAN SIT BESIDE HIM. THAT I SHOULD SIT BESIDE HIM.' There was the bubble again, but it was filled to the brim with happy excitement now and he was never faster to sit next to him, what almost made Levi hiss in a surprised way.

They sat in silence for a while, eyes following the gray line of the horizont, along pale scenery.

 

"I can't believe it, Christa..... Look at this!", Ymir exclaimed in a low voice, as she and her blonde friend stepped onto the floor. They stared at the two males far before them, sitting and staring at the sky. Almost poeticall if the scenery wouldn't look so apocalyptic.

"Oh, I've never seen Captain warm up to anyone so soon."

"Let's go Christa, I think we have better things to do than observe them...."

 

"Do you..... ever wonder how everything of this looked before?", Levi's quiet voice soothed Eren, once again confirming that he wasn't sleeping.

Another similarity. Eren now recognized himself in questions he used to ask himself.

"Yes.", he nodded, "Do you think forests existed with trees over 130 feet high? Rivers as broad as our streets and squares? Places and animals as colourfull as the rainbow?"

"I'm sure there was much more than that.... How old are you?"

"17."

".... You were born inside of the Rose, you couldn't know. It's not like people talked much when everything they wanted to do was survive under the new circumstances.....", Levi sighed, his expression almost pained.

Eren's lip quivered softly: "But... we'll see it one day, won't we? Isn't this why we came here?"

The older male couldn't understand why he was suddenly so honest and deep in conversation with him, he only knew that it felt really good.

"I guess we did............"

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Yeager!", Jean looked more ready to collapse, rather than scream at the brown haired cadet, his face all blue and his posture uneasy and even dorky.

"What?", he turned towards him, sighing.

"What does all of that mean, huuuh?", it was as if he was almost concerned.

"News spread fast, huh?" 'Did Levi's sarcasm just jump over to me?' "Why do you care?"

"Oh, I don't know. What are ya even planning? Ya guys seem oddly suspicious together....."

"Yeah, Eren. Why do you spend your time with a creepy old man?", Ymir snapped.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP, OKAY. He's not creepy.... he's freaking badass, okay!? And he doesn't looks a day over 20, so honestly... what's your problem?"

"He's 27."

"I know."

Ymir shrugs: "Okay, okay I don't judge... but if he breaks your heart, I will just say 'I told you so!'"

'What?', if Eren hadn't felt like this before, now he felt like completely loosing his marbles. "What the hell guys... I... we JUST TALKED.. okay?? Can you shut the hell up... I wonder and am thankfull that he acknowledges my existence at least, okay!!!"

"Oooooohhhh, I get it. Good luck boy, you'll need it.", Ymir waved at him, before she turned and left.

"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN, YMIR!?"

 

 

 

 

 

"Sooooo, are you guys..... um...... friends now?", Armin exclaimed.

"I hate Ymir......"

"Uhh... okay."

The uneasiness in the atmosphere was tangible, as the blonde fiddled with his jacket and looked somehow off track.

"Even if I dream of punching horseface, he cares. She's just a bully."

"She pretends to care at least."

The brown haired just rolled his eyes. "Guys, he seems really nice, okay! I mean.... it's not like everybody is always nice, but you know... we see that he is capable of beeing nice!"

"Maybe he's only nice to you.....", Mikasa now suggested. Since Eren's outburst, practically everyone his age knew that he had a little meeting with the captain.

"Do you think he likes me?"

Silence.

"Uh.... I guess it's.... too early to ask this?"

"Well stay alive and then we're gonna talk about that.....", Reiner came by and ruffled Eren's hair out of place sassily grinning.

"Eyyy, youuuu! I'm still angry at you.", he struggled under his grip, trying to snatch away his heavy hand and wriggle free.

"You're really vindictive, Yeager."

"Hate to admit it, but Braun is right. Eren... we have to focus on the mission. Not everyday will be as carefree.", Mikasa, the voice of reason.

Eren sighed and looked down, lightly pouting and lidding his eyes: "You're right....."

 

 

 

 

Nothing noteworthy happened later on, on that carefree day. Even the dreadfull nearing of their future fights couldn't keep everyone out of their good mood.

Eren went to sleep like nothing happened, he went to sleep as if he was in a summer camp. However he woke up way too early again. Was it due to his nervousness and bad feeling he suddenly had, that he couldn't sleep for too long? Usually it was hard to pry him out of bed. 'I guess... new day, new resolutions.'

The only place he knew he would go was the training room and to his very pleasant surprise, he once again met no one other than the captain personally.

"Oi.... Eren. Here to train some more?", Levi turned to him, greeting him in a friendly way, as he was doing sit-ups.

"Good morning, Captain. Yes. I'll have to be fit in two days, should I not?"

Levi's lips curled into an appreciative smirk: "I respect that. Nothing's better than a good morning workout."

Eren momentary fell in a happy mood, despite the weird heavy feeling he felt in his chest when he woke up and nodded agreeing. Initially he hadn't planned to do a full workout, only to try out the exercizers, nevertheless he was suddenly motivated and it wasn't only due to the person he was spending the time with.

Levi supported him with more tips this time, although they spend less time together compared to yesterday. The younger male couldn't help but feel like the corporal was completely at ease when he was with him. It wasn't just the weird thoughtfullness or concentration seen on the mostly neutral face of the corporal, it was something lighthearted. Eren had a feeling that the other rarely experienced something remotely close to that.

Most importanly, just hearing and seeing things about his idol was one thing, but directly getting to know him was on a whole different level and Eren couldn't help but think he liked him more and more with each passing minute. Really liked him. Levi thought the brat just said the right amount of words, not always the right ones, but things he could get used to. 'Oh god, "used to"..... I don't even know if we'll arrive at the lab at all.....' He was pretty calm about the comming mission, but there was one thing he couldn't get behind at all. What would happen to the others?

He usually thought that in the context of loosing too much military assistance, but what if along the way he would loose any sense... any guidance. Levi thought he lost it long ago... lost it when he slit the throats of people in the underground, gained to loose it forever when he left people for dead to save the mission.... lost it when he stared right back into Farlan's cold, dead eyes and discovered bloodied red locks. The crushing hate he felt towards himself for everything that happened couldn't outweight the paralyzing numbness he felt with every waking day. It was the only thing getting him out of bed, the only thing that let his mind wander and his body listen. There wasn't anything to loose anymore. Besides the planet. The only thing people wanted from him was to function. And function he could do. It was the most logical thing in that situation, he turned his frustration into work, he was his frustration and he killed every beast in it while still wearing that overwhelmingly expressionless face. People thought he was mentally ill.

Or just a maniac... Levi thought they weren't wrong. The only thing wrong about their accusations were that he had no feelings. The statement only encouraged him to act like he had none... like he was the most neutral thing in the world and thus would win the war with ease. All of them always underestimated how strong he was. Because there was something deep inside of him that made him so invincible, but it never saw the light of day. 

 

 

 

"You're getting better...."

Eren stood up and respectfully bowed down in front of him: "It's an honor to hear that from you, Corporal."

"Wha... brat, quit with this, I'm just a human like you.", the said raised his thin brows.

The brown haired boy shook his head softly smiling. "You can't stop me."

Levi didn't knew what to answer. His head sunk down slightly. "Okay, cadet. Be ready, we have a meeting later on and I want your undivided attention. Till then..."

Eren waved back at him, exiting the room.

And suddenly Levi felt the lonliest he had ever been in his whole life...............

 

 

 

Chapter Text

"Everyone present? Excellent. Now. We will be driving in the 'V'-formation, after which two lower commanders will check the entrance of the lab, while everyone secures the area. No one leaves their place inside the formation until it is deemed safe. Understand? We expect sightings of the monsters on any possible step. A small team of 6-8 people will enter the building while the others secure it from each side. If it's safe we'll immediately requarter, before starting further investigations... Clear to this point?"

The big, blonde man once again stated their strategic plans for the next days, explaining everything in great detail. For better communication each driving vehicle would receive a walkie-talkie, which would be further used in the building. The instructions were clear. As of the present day Erwin asked everyone to ready their equipment and Hange explained the functionality of some extra devices.

 

 

 

 

Levi was exceptionally grumpy at lunch and scoffed at everyone who tried to initate a longer conversation with him. His face was plastered with that same inexpressiveness as always, bordering to melancholia and plain unfriendlyness.

The brown haired cadet, with eyes mixing the ocean and the jungle together, was sitting far away, not even expecting his presence in the cafeteria, since it's the first time he had seen him sitting there. It was as if the older made up his own shedule and decided whether he attended a gathering or not. Was he Erwin's right hand, or did he simply allow him to do whatever he wanted? Maybe both, Eren wasn't sure.

From back there he could hear the rejection and feel the aura of an almost murderous Levi. It made him wonder if it would ever be directed towards him.

 

 

 

Eren was in the midsts of a casual discussion with his companions, when a deep voice, almost like a growl, threw him off topic.

 

"What are ya staring at me like that for, huh!?"

The callers gaze was burning into the group of people at exactly one. Berthold's mouth was pressed into one thin line.

Levi was leaning against the wall, military jacket lazily thrown over his shoulders and minding his own business, but he couldn't stand people staring like this at him.

"What bug bit you today, Captain?", Ymir's sassy voice couldn't hide her stupid grin.

The corporal didn't even batted an eye: "Maybe it was your annoying physiognomy."

A few gasps resounded.

"You are throwing us off with your presence....", Berthold softly and calmly said.

"Oh. I do?", Levi stood straight and went a step forward menacingly, "Am I not allowed to stay at public places anymore, cadet?", his voice was coated in poison.

"Well, if ya wanna keep looking like a creep!!", Ymir answered.

Levi held still. "Ok then. ...... If you'll rise your voice at me just a tiny bit more, I'll make you mop the whole damn floor."

With face leaned down and pupils small and predatory, the corporal looked ghostly and his suddenly very prominent eyebags did nothing to better this impression. It made Eren wonder if he even slept.

"But... Sir. It had been abandoned and almost destroyed over the years. It's beyond cleaning!", Marco sounded concerned.

 

"Exactly."

 

This effectively silenced everyone. He had talked in such a creepy, unsettling and commanding voice that unsettled Ymir, even if she had a similair nature as him.

Eren laughed internally at the small victory over her and how Levi managed to dominate the situation with people he found rather unpleasant.

"What's so funny?"

But the boy had suddenly to notice the question beeing directed at him, additionally not noticing that he had begun to grin. Solely him, among all other people.

"Uh. Just Ymir is always so impolite. Hope I'm not disturbing, Sir."

"Tch", but this somehow seemed to calm the captain, making him again extremely oblivious to anything happening.

"I apologize, Corporal. I am not used to someone listening this closely to our conversations.", Berthold mumbled, staring down, but not very convincing.

The captain also didn't looked like he was buying this: "Spare me your apologies. If you disrespect me again I won't hesitate."

"I'm sure he hadn't meant it like this....", Eren tried to resolve the situation for the sake of everyone, since he seemed to be the only one getting along with this.

"Shut it.", Levi turned away, "I've had enough of all of you today."

 

This left the brown haired boy pouting and looking after the leaving form with an exasperated glare.

"Yeah, yeah, Prince Grumpy.....", Ymir babbled when he couldn't hear her anymore.

Eren was slightly angry, although surprisingly managed his voice: "Shut up Ymir, it's all your fault."

"MINE? Sorry ya'll such sensitive snowflakes!? Heh, my ass...."

Armin dragged Eren away by his sleeve, as the group slowly dissolved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"You're already clingy without really knowing him.....", Mikasa said while meticulously cleaning her slender hunting knife and other equipment.

"I know him! Not every detail about his behaviour... but his general one and his moral code. Believe me Mikasa... hours and days of research didn't go to waste, I know what I'm talking about."

"Wow, you're obssesed, Eren. Sure you won't kidnap him to keep in your closet?", Armin teased, half joking, half actually meaning it and that confused his friend.

"Nah, he wouldn't let me. And.. I don't know.. it was so normal for me, you know. I really wanted to get closer to him when I learned about him. I... it's hard to explain."

Mikasa conspiratorially lifted her eyebrows and whistled, but didn't pressured further. 'If he wants to confess something, we'll wait. But I think it's pretty obvious already.'

 

"I see....", Armins thoughts drifted away, "What do you think we'll find in the lab?"

"Hmm... no idea. Some science experiments to stop the pollution? Mutated plants? The origin of the monsters?"

"I'll highly doubt the last...", Mikasa mumbled and finished her cleaning.

"Who knows.... were you there?"

She answered with a snort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waking up early transcended into a habit the brown haired boy soon found himself in. He was extremely happy he didn't had to set the alarm clock, fearing he'll wake someone up. His inner clock worked perfectly on itself, so his morning trainings with the captain were assured. Humming softly on the way he slowly strolled down the hall, until he remembered in what mood he had found the captain last in.

'"I've had enough of all of you today"...... maybe I'll stress him....'

Hesitating in front of the entrance, he nervously played with his fingers, before sighing and walking in in the most inconspicious way.

The blackhaired corporal was looking almost dreamily out of the window, even if his posture and facial expression was the same as always and it made Eren wonder once again, but he was sure he'd find what it meant soon enough.

"Oh, hi Eren." Even while standing by the window in thought he had noticed him, greeted him on his own and even his grim and gathered appearience couldn't hide the friendlyness in his tone.

The brown haired turned to him, giving him a big, happy smile and saluted: "Good morning, Captain! How are you feeling today?"

 

The last sentence caught the other by surprise: "Me? Uhh...." 'No one ever asks me how I'm feeling.... no one.... besides Erwin sometimes.'

Eren took that as a slight sign to worry and made a few steps in his direction.

 

"Uhm. Fine. And you?" 'I hate this word, but okay.'

"Better now." A satisfied grin was on the cadets face, that made Levi still. 'Wait... because of me or what?'

"Mhh... I guess this evening we're leaving. So I better hurry today!"

"Hmm.. I doubt that.", Levi grinned and felt satisfied to hear about such diligence.

"Mhh, why, Sir?"

"We aren't even close to finish preparations. Erwin 's having problems with the calculation and I don't think we can fix it soon. We'll leave tomorrow."

"Oh. That's fantastic! I can train more. Maybe I'll actually manage something." 'And I can spend some more time with you.....'

"Not like you didn't managed anything before. You're here after all, right?", the older tilted his head lightly and turned to him completely.

"Yes. Can you give me some more tips? I... uh.. mean.. like.. can you actually show me some tricks and stuff? You don't need to though....."

"You would like me to, huh?", Levi grinned at him, cracking his fingers and looking absolutely dashing, standing before him with such a smug expression.

Wild followed nodding almost made him chuckle.

"Buckle up then. Because I have a whole arsenal of those."

 

Starting from the next few minutes, both of them were already consumed by following their plans and spend their time entirely on intense training. They both seemed to completely flourish and awaken in their work as an immediate positive result of finding a mutual passion and Eren followed every step closely, fullfilling once more one of his big dreams in the course. Mainly to know absolutely everything about the methods of the military and most importantly Levi's. He was a genius in that field.

The cadet found himself easily adjusting to and remembering most information the other was giving him, sucking everything in like a sponge. While the practical attempts weren't always the most succesfull, Levi admired how inquisitive the younger was and his elaborate work to constanly better and educate himself not to do the same mistakes. It was hard, he could see it, but couldn't stop commanding the other around and making remarks all he could. Some tricks came to Eren particularily easy, while others were a literal pain in the ass.

 

"It's soooooo easy!? Really!?"

"Tch. Try it first and we'll see! But it's harder to come up with that, knowledge like this is usually top-secret."

"Oooohhh, are you doing something illegal?"

"No. Because you're part of the military and we're not in the position to keep secrets."

"Hihihihihihi."

 

Time felt nonexistent as both of them went on, correcting mistakes and teaching, somehow loosing themself in the work process.

"You're natural at this. Not like it's the best way to do it. But you know what to do... and that's really important."

"Doing my best, Sir!"

"That's right! Back to work.", he clapped and ushered Eren to jump up and run around.

 

After an hour Eren granted himself a break, drinking water eagerly as he felt warm sweat run down his spine and his shirt stick onto his clammy skin. When he lifted his eyes after a while of resting, he observed Levi stretching and outright falling into a split before him. Eren felt his mouth immediately unhinge. He should have known he could do that, but he surely... didn't expected that....

The other caught his stare and while grinning almost teasingly balanced onto his arms rested on the floor before him, so his outstreched legs were howering in the air, making the younger almost choke at seeing this.

While Eren closed the water bottle nervously and baffled, Levi felt the sudden need to show off. Well, if he wanted to spend his time with the captain he could sure show him what he was capable of, right?

Out of his extremely difficult position he slowly, with unmeasurable patience, lifted his spread legs higher, morphing into a plain, classic handstand.

"Whooooaaaaaaaaa~."

He looked truly like an acrobat with his long, strong legs, his whole body appearing extremely balanced and fit and Eren couldn't help but continueing to stare and remember.

'God, he's so handsome... '

 

With a quick somersault he rolled down, using so much force he bounced up right away and was once again on his legs. With another, almost too alluring grin he let himself fall onto his strong arms, making sudden pushups, throwing himself up high to make a 360 degree turn to land elegantly on his hands once again. At the next pushup he set one of his legs up to jump up in a standing in one fluent motion, and having way too much fun doing it.

"Now, watch me."

The captain closely eyed the neighboring wall, almost in a calculating way, before suddenly starting a violent sprint towards it. His audience took it in with held breath. Running like a leopard, his figure reminding more of a panther, his feet connected with the wall, practically running up, as he made a backwards flip, that immediately resolved into a huge set of fast flips into the room. Making his last one, still feeling the heat and elasticity in his legs the blackhaired readjusted his position, sighing in content and rubbing his hands, proud of his performance.

Eren jumped up from his seat and fell into loud clapping. "That was soooooo amazing! Oh my god, this is fanatastic... better than in any action movie. Damn, do stuntdoubles do all of the stuff you can, wuhuuuuu!?"

The younger giggled, his cheeks rosy, his eyes glimmering and shining in the brightest light with unbelieveable warmth and excitement. "Now it's my turn!!!!"

 

Levi's eyes widened as he saw the other drop to his feet and make sudden moves that soon turned out to be elaborate breakdance moves. And he was good. Damn, he was. Eren's footwork was absolutely mindblowing, the speed and certainty made the movements in the turns and jumps almost as fast as Levi, but not in a violent manner. And it was the most hilarious and amusing thing (probably) happening in the camp. When Eren stood up again, shining like the brightest star, Levi couldn't deny his interest.

"Impressive........", he nodded and looked absolutely bemused, as if debating with himself and soon fell into jumps and acrobatic moves that suspiciously reminded powermoves in breakdance. It wasn't a full on dance, since most of his moves could be considered as something else, but all of the breakdance moves for the pro's that Eren didn't dared to try yet.

 

"Uhhhhhhh......"

 

Levi began in a handstand, balancing onto one arm, making a flip and then ending up making fast rotations on his head.

Eren clapped and cheered as people in the breakdance community tended, to encourage the participants and because he was absolulety excited about the happening. "Yes, Captain, fabulous!!!" 'I wanna see more.....!!'

The corporal stood up satisfied. "Well, it certainly won't help you fight, but it's not bad."

He stilled for a second, surprised at the cadets boldness as the said suddenly stepped close to him, practially dancing towards his direction with his brilliant footwork and sassy grin, indirectly pushing him back as if to intimidate or dominate.

"Are you challenging me, cadet?", he crossed his arms, almost rebuking him.

"Yeah. If ya can keep up, Captain.", the younger made some turns and danced around the other.

'Why the fuck not, damn. I was never this excited during training.'

 

Soon the both of them were dancing around each other, showing off what they could do, both incredibly eager to do just that and make it worth (probably grinning like kids). From the side it looked absolutely rediculous, but also like a lot of fun. Eren was mastering the dancing more, while Levi was good with the technique and the dance battle turned into an outright joined chroegraphy. It was a weird and funny combination, while the captain never found himself putting any of his dancing knowledge to actual use, but that made the situation even more perfect. It reminded of an unusual moment when you get invited to the stage in a place you didn't even wanted to visit and rocking it absolutely with your groove.

 

"Hahahha, I learned this on the streets."

"Really, brat? I went to an actual breakdance school for a bit and I can't top you."

"Hahahaha. For real now? Well it's good you didn't became Levi the dancer, because fighting suits you way more!"

"WHAT? You'll take that back after the next round!"

 

And they resolved back, absolutely forgetting the time and feeling exhilaritingly happy, letting loose and moving without any inhibitions, all possible insecurties forgotten and dismissed.

After over a whole hour of dancing, they were both sweaty, happy and warmed up. Levi was drying himself with a small towel, his pale face relaxed and warm. "Well. I guess this was work-out enough for now. Don't you think so, Yeager?"

The younger was panting and leaning against some exercizers, all red in the face and a grin from one ear to another. "Hahahaha, yeah. In past lifes we sure had been breakdancers!"

"You are saying not in this?", Levi was almost laughing, just almost. This was by far the most relaxing and amusing time he had ever spend and spend with someone.

Eren emitted one pretty adorable chuckle, before drinking once more and suddenly remembering. "Oh... I think breakfast already started. We have to be fast not to miss it. Thank you very much, Corporal! I feel like I've been in actual heaven, haha. I'll see you! Have a great day, Sir!" He bowed shortly and waved, before exiting the room.

"Same goes for you, Eren! Keep it up, mate."

Levi felt endorphines in his whole body, even more intense than after a good and fantastic workout or successfull mission, it was like sparks exploded all inside of his body and he was cleansed and blessed. He sure had to keep this kid around. He was reliable, funny, cute, polite, diligent, talented and a pleasure to deal with. Levi rarely encountered people as passionate as him and it made him think he gave up on them way too early. With a whistle he grabbed his stuff and went outside to go in his room.

 

 

 

 

In fresh, almost stylish clothes (Eren was trying too hard), the younger cadet marched into the cafeteria, 25 minutes before closing.

His friends raised quiestioning eyebrows, but before they had a chance to say anything, they were interrupted.

"Guuuuuys, this was the fucking best thing that had ever happened. Hahahahaha. Did you know that Levi went to a breakdance school? Maybe tomorrow he'll show me how to use my flexibility in breakdance for actual fighting, haha. Maybe then I'm more sufficient.", Eren was gushing again, all kinds of chemicals mixed in his system, incredible relaxation and some kind of weird high feeling almost clouding and at the same time clearing his mind in a really pleasant way.

Once again all of this weird new experiences and Eren's reaction were totally blowing his friends away. "What the hell did you guys do?"

Eren blushed and giggled happily: "We had the best workout, slash dance session. It just happened. So funny! He's a fucking animal! He's such a cat... do you think he can grow claws to slash his enemies with it?"

Armin giggled, while Mikasa's eyes widened: "Eren, are you high?"

The other giggled once again, finally sitting down next to them and packing out his food.

 

Jean send him a soft, questioning look from across his table, leaning in.

"What's up, Jean?"

"Uh... just wondering. Sure that's what ya did in there?"

"Yeah. Why?"

Eren couldn't imagine that the other might not believe the corporals involvement with him or just his fantasy wasn't as big to see that it might look slightly wrong in the eyes of people. It sure was kind of suspicious the always grumpy, emotionally reserved captain would do anything close to that and dissapear for hours with one cadet. If the said cadet would know about this assumption he would either be angry and defend his right to do what they wanted or simply not care, because he was just this way.

"You guys act like I am risking something... Chillax. I'm just living.", the brown haired shook his head and bit into his food relaxed.

"Maybe you do. We just want everything to be fine...", Mikasa said, "I've never seen you guys doing anything together other than arguing."

"Well you missed out, not like Ymir.", he shook his head and continued eating, nonchalant.

 

"Yeager, you'll get fat eating such caloric food everyday.", Jean smiled shrewdly.

"If I work out everyday like this, surely not! Maybe you'll look less like a horse if you would eat less apples everyday.", Eren laughed.

"Don't insult Jean....", Marco resounded.

"Teach him some manners and I won't."

But the tall cadet only laughed: "Yeager, don't get into trouble. I might actually ditch you, because I'll remember all of what you just said."

"Nah. You love me. You wouldn't."

Jean almost screamed: "No, I love Marco, you stupid fuck!",but thought better about it, just blushing and slipping closer to the blackhaired.

"I hate you."

Eren signed him a heart with a sassy open-mouthed grin and Jean threw an apple at him. "HEY. THAT'S NOT FAIR. WHY DON'T YOU JUST ACCEPT IT."

The other stomped acted angry at him and grabbed him from behind, half wrestling with him and Marco sitting right next almost jumped.

Jean laughed and reciprocated this weird wrestle-cuddle: "Eren, I'll fucking kill you, hahahahaha."

"Not before I'll kill YOU!"

Armin laughed as well and Mikasa shook her head, eating the apple Jean so carelessly threw.

 

The training with Levi left a visible posible effect and the extroverted, but sometimes shy Eren was sure happy to distribute it along everyone as the literal sunshine he was in his group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued......

 

Chapter Text

It had been just like the captain had predicted. A lower commander announced their departure postponed to tomorrow and remarked to everyone to stay put, just in case if they had to leave earlier. The news calmed and unnerved everyone at the same time.

Calmed, because they had more time to gather themself and unnerved, because they could have been on the way already and it was so soon. Doubts started nagging at their minds. What if something happens? Isn't it preprogrammed that something happens at some point?

While the whole team was somehow out of it, the only person completely unaffected, probably having the mood of his life, was Eren. He continued to tease everyone, but bringing back the playfull easyness during breakfast wasn't as easy anymore. Everyone slowly started to get aware of the things happening. Not like the brown haired that was way ahead and already accepted their fate. One time he had been preoccupied with something else, everyone was loosing it.

 

The bad vibrations somehow had an effect on the captain, who was making unnecessarry rounds through the halls when usually he would not move an inch, even while having an inner turmoil.

'It's somehow weird... I mean.... I don't know him. Do I miss him or what? What is my fucking problem!? I never do stuff like this... what the hell came over me!?'

He was still pretty high and happy from what happened earlier, but he wasn't one to stay in a good mood for too long. The happening made him question himself, what he never did and made him reconsider his choices, he thought were always pretty bad.

This morning was a complete slip-up and he hoped it had consequences not too big.

 

 

 

After hours the corporal still kept pacing around quite visibly, so when suddenly one of the reappearing cadets blocked his way, almost making him crash right into the walking form, the tension gathering in him oozed out: "CHRIST!", he barked onto whoever dared to move so clumsy.

"Are you religious, Captain?", Ymir teased, standing next to her friends and forgetting once more how to shut her mouth.

"No. But you're gonna be after I'm finished with you!", he gleamed murderously at her, his gaze darkening to a point of dark aura visibly surrounding him.

'I should stop messing with him, if I still want to be here.........'

The cadets quickly rushed out of the hallway to gather somewhere else.

 

"He's gonna eat us all alive someday....", someone complained, when the cadets met with the rest in the sleeping rooms.

"Who?", Connie wondered, listening to the conversation.

"Prince Grumpy. Who else?"

Erens face visibly fell. "Ouh.. he's in a bad mood ...again?"

"Again? I think you're misunderstanding something there, Yeager. He's always in a bad mood. It solely depends on the level and category of bad. There's dissapointed, disinterested, mean, murderous, distant and furious."

 

It was quite unbelievable for the brownhaired to hear this about his idol. 'Yeah, sure.....' But if he'd actually believe it, he'd be more than concerned.

'Why does he seem to be in a bad mood shortly after spending a fun time with me? Does he hate me? Is he not enjoying it? But that can't be it. Why would he act like this... it makes no sense. What happened?'

 

 

 

 

Midday all cadets were called to line up so they'll get adjustments to their equipment and another short lesson.

Some of them interrupted by frantically whispering to each other.

"SAAA-sha.. Braus... Fubar... could you cut it out before I have to hit you? I'll usually get a bad conscience hitting kids, but I'd do it to save my homeland sadly.", Levi hid his agression behind sarcasm and a blank face, as usual. At least something familiar.

Further encounter didn't went too well to whoever approached Levi and Eren concluded that he needed space. Maybe he was like this or if he'd tried, it would only end in rejection.

 

 

Returning to their sleeping rooms Eren joked around with his blonde friend, before a slightly grim Mikasa entered. "Eren... you sure he's not a yerk? He surely only treats you well if no one's looking. What's even his problem?"

Judging from his surprised expression he hadn't wasted too much thought on that. "Hard to tell, Mikasa. He's probably not used to people. Just look how the other cadets treat him! I can understand if he feels relaxed when no one is around him who gets on his nerves. I respect him and he knows that."

"He's weird."

"So am I."

"Well, I dare say you two fit together."

"Thank you."

Mikasa unbelievingly stared up at Eren, who somehow didn't understood the implication and just smiled brightly at her. She just sighed and let the matter rest for now.

 

Further preparations went on rather well, even if the mood visibly fell more and more with time. The cadets had long talks before actually falling asleep in the evening.

  

 

 

 

There was another weird feeling in Eren's chest when he woke up the next day. Once again way too early and once again in anticipation of seeing his noble companion.

Sneaking out was a matter of seconds, already perfected by the youngster. He was somehow afraid that his encounters were a burden for the other and he was just too polite to tell him that Eren was toxic for him. There was still hope that it wasn't true, but he wouldn't hesitate to make the other feel as comfortable as possible, even if it meant leaving him alone.

Levi was sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall and looking out of the enormous window illuminating the room, water bottle in hand. His hair was as flawless as always, appearience in check and once again in thought. But it seemed like he was waiting for him. If Eren only knew how long he actually waited for him already.

"Good morning, Corporal! Are you feeling well today? I really hope my presence isn't too much for you. If it is, I apologize and will remove myself."

Eren's voice was loud in the previously silent room and his words somehow unfathomable for the corporal. "What? No, surely not, brat. What are you saying... You are late today." The politeness and respect of that boy completely washed away Levi's whole facade and noticing it already happened a few times should've turned on red lights, but it didn't.

 

"Oh. I am? I sincerly apologize.", the other bowed down and thus made the blackhaired completely contrite.

"Lift yourself up in an instant! I.. I just meant you were earlier yesterday and thought you'd keep it up." 'Because I'm always up anyway...'

"And I hope you won't let anybody else toy around with you like that just because they are in the mood for it! So only apologize to someone who's worth and needs it."

Eren smiled mindblowingly at him now: "I did."

Levi blushed, his eyes widening lightly. 'Damn this brat.....'

"You still haven't told me how you are feeling. It's fine if you don't want to talk about it, Sir, but I'd feel better if you're in a stable condition."

'Yeah.. stable condition.. so I will be of use later... sure.' "I'm fine."

"Well if you are at the moment, that's good. I just have noticed that you tend to be annoyed most of the time. Though, I have to admit, my companions tend to be very tiring."

"That's true. But you are here just to do work and be usefull. So why would I be annoyed of this? I encourage it. Enjoy yourself, kid."

Eren nodded and without further words decided to try out his new training not to bother the other too much, but also so he wouldn't distract him.

 

The captain couldn't help but gaze at him, even while drinking out of his water bottle.

'I have to be strong. Mikasa always tells me. I know this very well. Everyone is expected to be. So while everyone frets, I rather encourage them. We are supposed to save the world. We are here to free everyone, we are here... to destroy and push back the monsters where they belong. We are here to destroy them! So I will kill. I will kill each and every of them and my comrades will help me. Levi won't regret teaching me. I just have to get it out. And I know I will....'

 

With this in mind, the brownhaired went to work with a determined expression on his face that matched his furious approach. He started carefull, but didn't spare himself at all. The first things were rather harmless warming up exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, but already here he performed them with gusto.

The corporal randomly decided to do something himself, still very cautious observing the other from afar silently. Just in case, you know....

And then Eren was just beating the hell out of the punching bag, actually paying attention this time to find kind of a strategy. He had to make it worthwhile and give his best. He practically oozed energy and determination.

'Wow. I hope he's as good with shooting as with his hands.', the ominous phrasing didn't bothered the captain.

When Eren straight up climed up the pull-up rod and was hanging onto it upside down to do other kind of pull-ups, continuing to totally overdo all previously assumed and expected, Levi completely forgot to do something himself.

The teenagers shirt was lightly sinking down, exposing the tanned skin on his stomach. He wasn't very toned, but looked fit and the way in which he just mastered every exercise in such a dynamic vitality let the others breath get caught in his throat. And Eren didn't stop there, he continued passing his limits almost continuously, trying out new things all relevant for their mission. He made easy somersaults, he crawled, he did push ups, he practically flew, his eyes sparkling, his body moving, Levi didn't knew where to keep his eyes. 'Oh my god.......'

Eren's movements, his whole demeanor, his behaviour now and how he treated Levi... the determination in his eyes, him meaning well: it all made sense. He was incredibly powerful in what he did, he was so bright and positive, never stoping, not letting go no matter if it worked or not. He was the epitome of motivation, the epitome of a true soldier. The way he talked about protecting everyone, his passion about fighting, his intransigence was beautiful. There was hope, there was hope for mankind.

As the blackhaired observed him thinking this, the dawning realization made his heart beat faster and faster, his eyes widenening in an almost prescient way.

'This kid.... can't die. I have to protect him by all costs! He's too precious....'

He knew from this very moment that it was over for him, that it was over with his remaining sanity.

Slowly, slowly he came closer, his slightly widened, gray eyes scanning the form before him, so incredibly fascinated about all of that while it also scared the living daylights out of him. With an often practised exercise he stopped himself from panicking, taking deep inconscpicuous breaths as his steps strengthened. This kid managed to evoke such deep feelings in him, starting from yesterday. That little genuine encounter made him feel alive for the first time in what felt like forever and he couldn't believe it. But he couldn't deny it. He couldn't deny his involvement, couldn't deny how much he appreciated and adored Eren from what he learned about him in these days. A few days was all he needed, when Levi was usually the person to eventually befriend someone after years of knowing each other. This open and honest interaction was better than anything he came ever across and it just fitted.

Eren turned to the captain after a while, alerted by the irregular breathing coming from the older. "C-captain, are you alright?"

With a few quick steps Levi was next to Eren and gave him the most honest smile he could ever manage. It felt forced, but there was no other way of calming the flood of questions and worry otherwise. "Cadet.... I am truly impressed by this. I really hope the training paid off, bacause you are skilled! Good luck."

 

The brownhaired smiled back at him. "Thank you, Sir. I will remember what you said. Now... I guess I'll go earlier now, it's a big day after all. ... It was a pleasure."

Levi nodded at him, although a bit dissapointed: "Yes. Prepare yourself to leave this evening."

It was suddenly hard to breathe when Eren left the room, the empty space suffocating him. Levi couldn't stop the panic attack from approaching this time, it was gradual and torturing as he slowly sunk onto the floor.

It was too late now anyway, was it? He knew the kid for so short and his death would still break him completely when it was due. His body began to shake and he couldn't stop it, he stared down onto the dusty floor where he stood just a few minutes ago, remembering everything.

Why did his soul had flown out to a complete stranger? Why did it happened in such a short time, all without his consent. He felt undeniably connected, there was something between them, there was something drawing them towards each other and it was so strong it left Levi a complete mess.

All his life he tried not to get attached, he hid his feelings behind a blank face, behind emotional distance, by completey isolating himself because he hated people, he hated how they made him feel, he hated how they judged him, he hated how right they were most of the time.

Never in his life were any of his 'connections' as strong as this one, never did anyone make him as happy, even less with small gestures. It was just so easy and lighthearted, it made him forget why he did everything in the first place.

 

Dread filled him, he was panting and shaking helplessly, his head sinking down defeated. He would die as well! He would leave Levi and break his heart, because he wasn't meant to have connections, friends, social environment. The incredible amount of times he had told himself this outweighted the few interactions with Eren he had. It wasn't enough to fill his aching heart, not enough to calm and clear himself, he didn't knew what he wanted. But he knew what he had to do. There was no other way. He actually had to keep the kid away from him, he had to protect him from his complete social incompetence and himself from the pain. The kid had to live, but the chances that he would succeed in keeping him alive were so few in this cruel, incalculabe unfair world, he wanted to make sure he would not suffer more than needed.

Oh, how wrong he was with all those thoughts. But there was never someone like Eren, nowhere to be seen to tell him that. No one actually able to make him believe and guide him. Levi saw the light for the first time. The small crack illuminating light into his dark dungeon and it meant more to him than anything else right from the start. What was behind his walls, the walls he build up from the start of his existence? Was there something meant for him? He had survived everything by now, whenever he thought he could actually rest, life punished him in the cruelest of ways. He had enough, this would be the death of him. He kept all of this upright for a reason, because humanity's survival was a top priority and he apparently wasn't part of that. The practise of keeping isolated always proved to be the most sufficient one. He was always there for himself and it hurt less than with others. And then Eren suddenly just existed next to him and it was too much.

 

'I'm a fucking weak piece of shit. Am I even worth what he thinks of me!? I can't fucking breathe.... I hate this. Why.... is he so adorable that I can't handle it? Because I am everything but nice... and he still.... I can't do this... I can go out and save the day... but I can't save this. I will fuck up. How do you do feelings, huh? How do you do friendships? I will stain him and it will be more ugly than everything already concerning me. And he almost fucking saw it.... I can't burden him with myself. I can't do that with anyone. So my punishment, my mission, my duty is to live in solitude to save the world... there is nothing else I can do, I have no worth. I just have to survive... that's it.'

 

Slowly, his breathing calmed down during his thought process, his heart rate stabilized. Eren left because he thought he made Levi uncomfortable and he wanted to be alone. Little did he knew that it was the exact opposite. Levi felt like falling out of the world, no, out of the whole universe whenever he left. It was a reflex to hold on and he didn't knew where it came from, because it was even stronger than his survival instinct.

 

 

 

 

 

"Ohh, Eren... you didn't met Prince Charming today?"

"Ya mean Prince Grumpy."

"MAYBE I was ironic."

"Well, considering how much he talks about him, he might as well-"

"GUYS. I'M RIGHT. HERE. And fuck off...", Eren sat next to his close friends again, "Mikasa I think it went well... Though I hope I wasn't annoying."

"You still bother yourself with that question? Well, I guess. Are you ready to head out today?"

"Mhh.. yeah... 8 o'clock wasn't it?"

Armin nodded, shuffling closer: "But for now, let's have breakfast!"

 

 

Eren sat there talking and laughing with his friends, unsuspecting. Levi almost felt bad seeing him like this. But he was replaceable either way, wasn't he? The kid was friends with almost everyone, he would eventually get over it. The corporal was leaned, lightly hidden, against the doorframe, even appearing small in the way he positioned himself and pouting. He fixed his facial expression as soon as it changed.

When bright eyes suddenly locked on his, he knew it was his cue. He called him to come to him silently with his fingers. The boys eyes widened, his friends stilling in their movement when they saw the corporal officially and publicly interacting with Eren, calling him with gestures to talk about something secretely, standing there in the shadows and waiting for him. It was quite secretive and mysterious indeed and Mikasa almost dropped her food, but couldn't stop Eren from standing up and go over to the older, which led him outside to the hallway.

"Captain?", Eren tilted his head questiongly a little bit, a naive facial expression (making the other once again think about how cute it was), but patiently awaited his surperior to speak.

 

The captain sighed, taking in the view of Eren like this for the last time. "Yeager.....", 'I hate to say it.....', "I haven't thought about it before.. and I am sorry for what I told you. But you have been right. I think we shouldn't spend that much time together. You have to know.. the mission has priority... I can't allow this to intervene for now."

'It's best that you keep away from me. No one should have to spend time with me... Maybe you'll be spared if you do. Bad luck follows my every waking step.'

He wanted to just say that, he even felt like hurting Eren, scaring him off so he wouldn't dare to get closer, he wanted to show him how hateable he was, he wanted to give him a reason, he wanted to tell him that this wasn't it, but he couldn't.

He was left to observe how the blue-green eyes suddenly filled with dissapointment and sadness by just those ominous words. Was it fair?

"I... I understand, Captain. It's not like I was too hopefull for that to last or anything. Thank you.. for.. uhm...", his head sunk down and he fiddled with words, somehow seeming to read the true subtext behind the words, even though Levi had mostly issues with himself and not Eren, "...acknowledging my existence. Hehe.. sorry if this sounds weird. Was nice... knowing you......" But it was apparent he didn't understand.

Levi's lip twitched and his whole face fell contrite again, seeing the light in Eren's eyes dull and his spirit to fall. He didn't intended this to go that way at all! A sudden agression came over him. He wanted to hurt whoever yerk ever made Eren feel so sad and unworthy. At the moment Levi badly wanted to punch himself. Hard in the face.

"It's for the best... believe me. I'm not in the position.. to do.. some things.. and I guess you already got some weird looks. Don't take it personal, cadet. Just take things like they are. Today it ends....."

Eren nodded fastly: "I understand. I do. Now if you excuse me....."

The brown haired quickly rushed out, before Levi could see his expression, this time surely would have made him punch himself right in front of his companion.

 

 

"Eren? What happened."

Emotionally overwhelmed the brownhaired took a seat next to his friends, sighing deeply. "I... you're right..."

"WHAT?", Mikasa's glared at him, anger flared up on her usually unmoving face.

"He.. uhm... he kinda... cancelled our friendship or something.. I mean.. not really.... he said I shouldn't see him anymore."

Mikasa growled in a tone that was quite uncharacteristic for her. "See? We told you. He probably felt bad, because he didn't intend it to be a friendship in the first place and it just happened. I give him credit for admitting it."

"What? If that was his intention, then it would make no real sense! But.. it's... his eyes... he felt really bad... I think I make him feel this way. There's something more. That can't be the only reason he sends me away. That would be stupid! I don't think he wants me around at all... he was just too polite... and now.. there is no reason to keep it up since we're moving.. and.... .... well, guys. It was nice talking to him."

"I can't believe anything of that actually...", Armin shily looked down, "It's shocking.. I mean... he can be scary.. but you were so happy and suddenly just... I don't know what to think... I'm not judgemental."

Eren nodded and they continued their meal in silence.

 

 

Levi sat at his table in his cabin, once again eating his food alone, like every other day. Sometimes Hange would come by and bore him with some of her long stories no one cared about. Erwin would look if he was alright and if he'd do it today, Levi wouldn't 've been able to answer his question.

 

Somehow it felt right to keep the kid out of this, but it didn't made him feel better. Quite the opposite. But he figured those were only his own feelings and he was doing something good for everyone. Again something he had been telling himself for years. Again living only for other people, even if he had zero contact with them. Again, the feeling of beeing alive slipping from him to solely a distant memory. There was no way he could ever feel it. He dug his own hole, taking into consideration how deep it had to be so he wouldn't manage to crawl out. He thought, he'd kill someone at one point the other way. And going berserk just wasn't on his to do list. He wanted to retribute himself, didn't he? It was an honor to someone as filthy as him to be accepted into military, into soceity, he had to be grateful, he had to accept his duty and prove himself. So everyone could finally forgive him. So he could forgive himself.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The captain was still beating himself up about it hours later. The nervousness and added tension of the cadets and even some other soldiers around were unnecessary fueling his disgruntlement. He couldn't even mind Hange's pressence anymore, which somehow befriended him without him even knowing about it. His usual insensitive and confident behaviour couldn’t calm his nerves and there was only so much to be comfortable in the captain’s skin. What was left, was a lonely, frustrating battle of a life. Each time he passed the cadet his whole chest contracted painfully, but as usually nothing would show on his face, he made sure of that.

Ignoring him proved to be better than accidentally catching his glare and feeling even worse in his skin than already humanly possible. Mikasa tried to distract Eren, told him to let go, but he couldn't help to stare at the captain each time he was in sight.

At midday Levi thought he had done quite a good job of enduring all of this, thinking he was through the worst part and all left, was to train that ability, before he accidentally observed Eren for the first time, and NOT staring at him. The brown haired talked with his friends and looked visibly sad and bothered with sunken down head, making Levi abruptly grit his teeth, shoulders shaking from tension. The sensations threatened to overthrow him right in that instant and he quickly relocated in the hall, seething.

His own fist collided with his jaw so hard it made an ugly 'clacking' sound.

 

"What are you doing?"

Apparently commander Erwin had seen him, standing in the hall right behind him, making the other tense up even more, but more from embrassment as he quickly collected himself.

"Nothing." It was said in a typical Levi-way, no emotions involved and his weird posture the only thing giving it away. His body wasn't turned towards the other, arms squeezed in front of him.

"You just punched yourself. Are you alright?"

'No.'

"Why is that your business, huh?", his voice was monotone and neutral, but his sour expression told otherwise. He wondered that he hadn't noticed the other in the first place. Must have been sneaky.

The tall, stoic man only shrugged: "Just offering my adherence, Corporal."

"I think I'm old enough to take care of myself, thanks."

"You may are, but you don't look like that."

It wasn't clear if the blonde referred to his behaviour or bluntly to his appearience. It was offensive either way.

'FUCK OFF' "Excuse ME!?"

There was clear amusement written over the others face in a pretty self satisfied expression.

"Ease up, I just wanted you to stop pouting."

Levi's hands clenched into fists, angry tremors erupting from inside him as he growled: "Erwin, I swear if you wouldn't be commander....."

With a following chuckle Erwin stepped closer and layed a hand on Levi's tense shoulder, effectively calming him with his authoritarian and serene aura. "You should come over later and drink something with me and Hange."

"Alcohol during work? Aren't we leaving soon?"

"A beer or two won't endanger us. But might in a few days, so now is the only chance."

It was quite amusing how weird the offer sounded all in all. Nothing you would expect of the commander, but also not totally unfitting.

Levi sighed and rolled his eyes back: "Fine.“

 

 

 

 

Levi couldn't believe he agreed to this. He still had time until then, but the regret at getting caught succumbing into his bad mood was overwhelming.

The creeping aftereffect of his punch was visible way too late. The impact of his fist on his jaw made him ache uncomfortable for hours, but he endured it thinking that was a better distraction and he deserved it. Which of course was completely wrong and bordering to self harm. But he wasn't one to care about trivial things like this.

Somehow this didn't made him feel better, it just distributed the frustration somewhere else. At least he stopped blaming himself for upsetting Eren. Even if it still hurt. Immensly. It was rediculous. As soon as this was done, there were sudden flashing images of Eren smiling and spending time with him, playing in his head. He knew him for just a few days and the absence already created a hole inside of him. It made him incredibly lonely, because he felt it more this time. Unbelievable how cruel his mind was to be playing tricks on him like this and he felt like punching himself again for good measure, this time in head. Thankfully he was called for a short work discussion, even if he couldn't help to sigh the whole time.

'Alone again.....'

Just when he was doing so good all of it came back and his mind reminded him of the weird slight happyness he had felt, felt for the first time in years. And now he was pacing through the halls again and making sarcastic comments of everyone who was staring at him. It also felt incredibly stupid to sulk about something like this, but he couldn't help it.

'Well, if the next days go well, maybe... maybe...'

He didn't dared finish the sentence and just shook himself. The next days would need his whole attention and input, so he had to focus.

Leaving off into his cabin was a pretty bad idea, because it made him feel alone again. With a scoff he just fell face first into the matress and stopped moving.

 

 

 

 

 

As time passed, the anxiety of the cadets increased. The dawn set in, creating light mist, swallowing most of the already unrecognizable scenery. The atmosphere was weighing down everyone and even Eren couldn’t do anything. He didn’t wanted to as the shadows creeped into their room and into their minds.

"Gh...GAAAAAHAAAA.!", Sasha yelled from top of her lungs as one of the cadets stepped behind her, shivering like a leaf.

"What? What is it...."

"I-I I saw something.....", she pointed staring at the window.

"Wha... Braus.... you are usually hard to scare. Are you afraid of ghosts?"

"What if it's a monster.....", Christa speculated, making everyone gasp in shock as the first signs of anxiety seethed in.

"Then we have to warn everyone, oh my god is this actually happening!? Why did I come here..."

"I wanna go home..."

The cadets scattered together in a big pile of anxious, stressed teenagers.

"Guys... maybe.. it's not...", Eren tried to, but his weak efforts weren't noticed, he was exhausted and stressed himself and the fear and crushing, nearing responsebilities of the cadets fueled each other.

There was a slow, creeping feeling engulfing everyone. It was the dread, the gruesome nearing of someting bloodthirsty and incessant that made them panic. The simultaneous feeling of something inevitable and horrendous. Someone would die. But who? The outside shadows and the way too silent scenery made them shiver and break into sweat.

"Shit, guuuys.. GUUUYS. I don't wanna die!", low whines of one cadet turned into high screeches of panic, as the said began ruffling and ripping at his hair in nervous jerks, yelping and making everyone flinch.

"Shit, I'm scared, why did I agree... DO YOU THINK WHAT I THINK? Guys that's it, say your last prayers, we're in for it!", the shadows creepily ghosted over Gunther's face, his eyes darkened and gleaming, his heartbeat growing faster and taking everyone on his trip. The room felt like a big mouse trap, too small and dirty, slowly closing in to suffocate and crush them without noticing.

"This is it... first and last mission.. it's comming.. it will get what it wants ... be it today or somehow later. I feel it."

A weird possession held everone in it's power, somehow sure that the apocalypse didn't start over 20 years ago, it started on this meaningfull day, right now, right here and it would convulse the earth.

"TAKE YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR FUCKING ARSE!"

 

 

The furious, loud, growl-like shout brought everyone out of their dangerous trance.

There he stood, legs bent and spread, pale hands shaking in a uncontrolled tic as he was pretty much fuming, his dark glare directed towards the startled teenagers.

When Eren finally turned to look at the intruder, silent before, his shock evoke a sharp intake of breath, his eyes scanning his so precious captain, whose teeth were clenched and nose all crinkled up, grimacing.

A purple, freshly formed bruise was blooming on his delicate and strong jaw, looking quite painfull too. There was no time for Eren to think about the provocative shout and the reason behind it as his eyes wandered once again to the injury, distorting the pale man's beauty.

It made him wonder if he got into a fight, or tripped, worry showing on his face and the need to treat him, but his glances went past the other. It seemed like the corporal glared past him in an infatuated way, he only saw them.

 

 

Levi had emerged from his self-pitying castle of loneliness to face reality like the man he was and push through the pain. Checking their plans once again he then went down to guard the residental areas and entrances, he found the cadets whining and complaining right when they needed them. They allowed their fears to overwhelm them, squirming and squealing like scrawny prescholers after a gruesome round of collective horror stories. Unbelievable. Spoiled, weak, children. That's what he had to deal with.

His posture straightened, his collected silence alarmed and reminded anyone that this was in fact not a good sign.

"Pathetic.", his lips were a thin line, his low growl emerging from his dissapointed face.

"Is this what you learned from your training?"

Some of the already scared people began to shake, avoiding the piercing glare thrown at them.

Sudden shivers ran down Eren's spine as he observed Levi's daunting, angered physiognomy, both affected by his appearience and seething rage.

"Mhh... I see, I see. How to be dispicable, useless paranoids.", his eye twitched, although his hands stopped from shaking, his usual scoff plastered all across his face.

The brown haired winced at those harsh words burning into him, never beeing close to hearing or witnessing the captain ever acting so hateful and unfriendly to anyone. It hurt.

"You're nothing special. And you shouldn't have come here in the very damn first place if you were scared out of your mind. There is no place for people like this here.", he spat those words with incredible vigor, his face heating up.

Even if those words were directed towards the group, for Eren it felt like he heard it just for himself and it hurt even more and more, after noticing Reiners side-glance at him and some whine among his companions.

Levi was simply done. All the negative feelings, all the frustration and suffering, lack of answers made him snap and unleash onto the youngsters full force.

Collective gasps echoed through the small cabin.

"Listen, we're just-", someone tried, but the raven coldly cut it off.

"Ohhhh, I don't hecking care about your unneccessary excuses. It's time to take fucking responsebility." He frowned, his face somehow torn, whole strong body tense and rigid, standing there like a massive stature.

"You promised your motherland to protect it, to VOUCH for what you stand for. You offered your life and dedication with open heart. We don't need amateurs here. We need people here that are willing to do everything to save the world. ... That are here because they were deemed the best... the best at fullfilling their strive for freedom and security. ... Why did you come here, HUH!?"

The meaning of those words slowly dawned on everyone, as they fully slipped out of their trance. Guilt was written all over their faces, as they found themself agreeing to said words, heads hanging in resignation and submission. It had tooken the right hand of Erwin, the absolute top of the military, humanity's strongest to show them their place. Eren's head was possibly hanging the lowest, feeling like absolute, useless shit. The captain had every right to chastise, rebuke and insult them, but he had somehow thought they were better. He hoped, he wanted them to be an important addition to their team, another force working for the future. The shame sunk deep into his bones, leaving him cold and sad.

 

Connie tried to defend them brashly, unable to read the room: "B...but we do.. Captain-"

It was too late. The agile raven accelerated towards him, roughly grabbing him by the collar, pulled him up and barked through clenched teeth: "Don't 'Captain' me. I'm not here to babysit!"

The said released steam out of his nose like a horned dragon, throwing around deadly gazes, when he suddenly pushed the cadet back so hard he fell onto the floor. Another set of gasps made the round and Eren whined out. He had never thought the captain would be capable of such harsh, hateful behaviour, even if it felt like he had every right to and it felt like a stab to the gut.

Levi lifted his face at him for the first time voluntarily and froze when he discovered pained, scared and completely mortified green-blue eyes. Those wonderfull eyes which had gleamed in such a pure, strong shimmering light filled with incredible determination and strength; now powerless.

They looked scared. Scared of him. The captain forgot how to breathe and knew that was it. The last straw. He stormed off, avoiding everything all together and running off like a coward. At least it felt like this.

It was just too much to bear, this was what he got. To think that he made Eren, who admired him like he was a saint, now afraid of him. He was okay with other people calling him a monster and reject him out of fear of his unhuman strength, but not him. He thought there was nothing to lose, if he hadn't started a friendship, if he made him hate him, but... THIS WAS SO MUCH WORSE.

Regret suffocated him. He had even tried, so the people who didn't felt ready would just take the hint and use their last chance to leave before it was too late. A bad providence came upon him, even if he voiced his worries in the worst way possible. That was pressumably what brought him to fall. He didn’t want Eren to see…..

Levi was so enraged about himself, so exasperated and confused, stomping into his cabin. Why did it had to be this way!? He ached all over, his breath comming out in exasperated stutters. He hated himself with every fiber of his beeing, wanting to incremate every foul word that had just come out of his mouth, make him feel his own actions. When was the last time he had acted so out of place? Erens gaze burned into him, making him possibly feel like he was turning blind. It was useless, after years of feeling numb this was his punishment for breaking out. His own emotions had played a cruel trick on him, now hurting the only person he never wanted to hurt this way. It was necessary to say that, but not in front of Eren. If everyone would hate him even more now, he wouldn't fight now. He fucked up. Again.

 

'I can't just fucking do it better!? Raging like a desperate idiot with anger issues. I can't help myself and I can't help anyone else. All I can do is hurt everyone. What am I to tell people this exaggerated shit. I am the failure. The only thing I'm good for is destruction and pain. I just had to make it worse...! Why can't I just die already!?!?!?! '

„Levi, are you alright in there?", Erwin peeked into his room, having heard his fast footsteps, of the usually sneaky corporal.

"Yes! Yes... I AM FUCKING FANTASTIC, ERWIN."

„Ok, got it.", he turned and took some steps away, "No need to scream at me."

Somehow his superiors voice managed to calm his raging self-hate rant, so he just returned beeing the snarky corporal trying to defend himself against the way too smug commander: "Don't annoy me, old man."

"We're almost the same age, Levi."

"And I CARE? Not my fault you look like a freaking bear."

"Well, you look-"

"HAAAANGEEEEEE...." Levi never knew he'd be as delighted to spend some time with the overly enthusiastic woman. She.. she with her brains would surely know how to make him feel less shitty.

 

The brown haired professor practically raced towards his room: "Leeeeeeviiiii. Did you miss meee?"

The corporal sighed, holding onto the fabric of her lab coat and pulling her with him: "I need your advise. Let's go somewhere private....."

Erwin raised his brows unbelieving as he watched them leave.

Indeed, the place no one dared to visit was the back room of Hange's cabin where she put her science experiments. Ignoring everything around him and trusting her intuition and knowledge about him over the past years of acquantaince, he sat behind the white polished desk and started.

 

"How.... do you make friends?"

The scientist put her glasses further up her nose and grinned at him.

"I‘m serious....."

"It's the bright eyed boy, isn't it? Eren."

"How do you know that?"

"Haha. You've been looking at him with such a pained expression, it looked like you were about to have a stroke!"

Her definition of indicators of his possible interest were grotesque to say the least, but his baffled expression let on that he hadn't expected her to be this observant. This could possibly benefit the army also in a strategic way, even if the woman was bloody insane.

"Well, okay... it doesn't matters... I guess I already fucked up to ever be qualified like this anymore....", he pouted unwillingly at the last.

"Oww....", Hange shot him a sympathetic glare and sat closer to him, "But why? You guys already were pretty much friends." She wasn't used seeing the captain let things get to him like that.

Levi just sighed, once again unbelieving of her knowledge.

"I scared him off... It's better like this anyway... it will hurt less when shit goes down..."

"What? But you have me and nothing happened and you're fine!"

Levi sighed once again. 'Yeah, but you are annoying as hell....'

"Oh, c'mon! Having companions and friends is important for you and for teamwork! You know that. Why don't you just tell him about it? Apologize and then he'll assure you...."

"You don't understand.. it's dangerous.. and it sounds absolutely stupid.", for the life of him, Levi couldn't just go to him and say he chickened out so Eren would take him back, but he was damn close to.

"No, no, no!", Hange shook her head energetically, "You are the one who behaves stupid! And you know... it's no reason to keep people away from you! Yeah, sometimes you need to protect them for their own good, but sometimes ya'll manage if you just trust in each other. That's life, Levi. Why won't you just try?"

Levi was about to protest, but then lowered his head down completely, hopeless.

"Oh Levi, what's with you today? You're worrying me...", Hange saw the clear bad sign of his silence and scooted even closer, wrapping a consoling arm around his shoulders.

'Why would anyone deserve to be friends with me... that's possibly the worst you can wish someone. I am so incompetent and impaired... Even if it works out, there's no way I will feel good about it.. no way it won't wreck me completely. Hange overestimates me... I'm not created for this. I'm like a failed experiment. There's no place for me. Just an official rank I had to fight for my whole life... that I am at least worthy to be counted as a real person on paper. Why do I even try. It's all meaningless. I should just do my job and stop whining like a little ungrateful bitch. I’ll rather be on my own.‘

Levi looked like he was about to cry, so it absolutely shocked Hange. The thing is, he didn't, he just looked like it. He had forgotten the last time it happened, it never worked, the sadness just slowly ate him away from the inside, stowing inside of him.

She started rubbing his arms and nuzzling against him.

"Aww... Heichou.. maybe we'll go to Erwin now and just sit and drink all together? I think that would be nice.... you need some distraction."

The blackhaired didn't answer, only emitting a stuttered breath, like his lungs hurt or something. Hange wordlessly helped him stand up and guided him towards the cooking room in the cafetaria. With a short message she informed Erwin to come there which already sat at the wooden table in the brownish room, waiting for them. Upon seeing both of them like this he felt bad not helping his corporal better. Hange sat in a way so he was between them, making them hear his sad sighs and see his unmoving features.

The room was pretty public and anyone could hear them if they went into the cafetaria, it just depended whether anyone felt like going there at all.

Levi's companions tried to cheer him up the best they could, but it didn't do much.

Bringing fresh beer should have lifted the spirits, but the captain only downed one cup of alcohol, before falling once again in a major depressive episode. He laid face flat on the table, his right hand still outstretched holding the cup, unmoving and dead to the world. Hange rubbed his shoulders, trying to ease the tension after his nervous breakdown.

Some young soldiers went into the cafeteria to get something and also went as far as to go to the kitchen. Spotting the small group of higher up‘s they simply thought Levi was wasted out of his mind, after discovering the beer. "Eyyyy, so you're allowed to drink and we're not??"

"Well, first some of you are underage and second of all we can regulate our alcohol intake and get over it better. We're leaving in a few hours, so beware.", Erwin explained calmly.

"Tzeee, I saw Olou totally allowing himself to get drunk out of his flask randomly whenever. Maybe we should steal it..."

"That dude has some nerves. Guess we'll call him Boozeado now, hahahahaha."

The soldiers walked away loudly laughing and giving each other high-fives.

 

Despite the efforts of his companions (namely to care for him and strike up some conversations), Levi didn't move for 1 1/2 hours and this was worrying them the more. Now with everyone in the cafetaria eating dinner and loudly discussing further instructions there was nothing awakening in his features.

Erwin and Hange already gave up trying to talk to him, deciding just to support him with their closeness, since the others breath seemed regulated and he wasn't shivering anymore, maybe feeling somehow cozy.

It was quite a surprise when the corporal finally shifted and lifted his raven head up from the table, sighing and looking completely done.

"Guys....", his voice was quiet and almost soundless, his eyelashes exhaustedly blinking, "I appreciate you wanting to hang out, but I'd prefer to be alone now. I have to prepare myself before we leave." That was also only half true.

Both of the others were a tad surprised, but accepted that Levi wasn't in the mood to stand any kind of company.

"Should we accompany you to your room?", Erwin carefully asked.

Levi stood up slowly, cleaning himself from possible dust and was promptly lifted as the big blonde man helped him out from the table. He ignored that and said his quiet goodbye's trotting out of the kitchen into the full cafetaria.

Almost shily, but mostly due to his absolutely ruined mood, he held onto his arm and walked slowly towards the exit, ignoring everyone on his way, blocking them off, he couldn't see them, nor their staring.

Eren stopped his eating when he saw the silent figure walking, looking like a ghost haunting this place. Ymir couldn't had helped it telling Eren 'I told you so', after his outburst and collective condolences towards Eren. While the captain's speech did it's part and made the cadets reevaluate their actions and get new motivation, he didn't feel good at all. Maybe he was taking all the negative energy away from everyone after he noticed that he went too far.

One soldier hastened inside, not seeing the other and shoving Levi blatantly against the wall with a hit of his shoulder in his run.

Normally, the corporal would've hit the person daring to jostle him away so insolently, but he did nothing. It was a miracle that he hadn't tumbled to the floor due to the absolutely clumsy cadet, but hitting the wall quite harshly (also with his head), wasn't a sign that he had seen it comming. But he simply let his eyes humbly sink down again and proceeded out of the cafetaria.

This was impossible! Eren almost jumped up to run after him to ask him what's wrong since it was completely out of character to let himself get shoved around, but held himself back since the other probably didn't want to see him.

Levi cursed when he unintentionally hit his head against the door frame, already dizzy. As he looked at the mirror he held the urge back to punch it so hard it broke apart. His bruise started to have an ugly colour and additionally he had a small bump resting on his forehead. Looked really dashing....

He was having the worst day of his life, so far. Feeling absolutely dried out he set an alarm and fell onto the bed carelessly, passing out from emotional exhaustion.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Preparations were finished. Everything was packed, the vehicles were ready, the soldiers had assembled.

The cadets had been awfully quiet, each of them having guilty feelings, but also a distaste towards the behaviour of the corporal.

The said had emerged 20 minutes before their departure, packed and ready to leave, but something was really off. He had woken up groggily, with red eyes and heavy body, the only thing helping was strong coffee and a thoroughful face-washing, though only to the physical things which couldn’t really outweight the toll his mood had taken on him.

The captain looked dead. He was paler than usual, almost white, as if everything had been sucked out of him. His usually strong or gracious movements looked almost leisurely, he was drooping and by his gaze he looked so miserable that Eren had to swallow and look away not to break the perfect line of assembled cadets to run to him (if not for that). It was hard.

Erwin controlled the attendance, while Levi stood in the back, gaze avoidant of everyone towards the ground, nearly submissive. It was almost like the cadets were the ones that had to apologize to him, since he was the one way more hurt.

After everything important had been set, everyone allocated at their seats, the group set into motion.

 

 

The air was fresh and icy, last beams of sun creating a foggy dawn, scruffy, black roots of dead trees spread around the place like tentacles.

Eren stared out of the window, feeling the wind brush past their vehicle. The earth tremored under the sounds of the moving caravan, as if by hoofes of a herd.

The next days would be spend driving, with occasional, short stops im between, allowing more rest during the day while the drivers would switch and go the night through.

The cadets, once again gaining new strength, were still pretty nervous about the whole thing and couldn't rest. An awkward silence rested in each wagon with them and spending most of the nervewracking night awake, most of them fell asleep late and were gone towards the morning. No single thing went wrong so far, no monster sightings, no missed signs, no misinformation. This wasn't too much to be optimistic about, but it gave them a good start and a first orientation.

 

 

 

Eren jerked awake, finding the car in which he was seated still. It was five o'clock in the morning, everyone was sleeping and the brown haired boy couldn't. He couldn't know that everyone sleepily went to go pee directly after their first stop and then immediately fell back asleep. He himself was sleeping so deeply, he couldn't be shooken awake to this point.

 

 

The sun was lowly illuminating the place, giving it a gloomy, soft shine. It was a rare sight.

The cadet carefully climbed out of the car, feeling slightly drowsy, but otherwise fine, to observe the surroundings. He was suddenly filled with awe as he discovered a real forest surrounding the resting vehicles. It was gray, dirty, but it was alive.

He had seen some of them in the dome, but they were never so high. The outskirts were all believed to be infertile and dead, so seeing something different compared to that was astonishing and left the boy slightly beaming.

Looking around and exploring the with the morning sun illuminated place, he soon discovered that most people were seated in the cars, taking breaks, discussing. His eyes scanned the whole area, when he discovered a tuft of black hair next to the forest, far away from everything.

 

'Corporal!'

 

He had so many questions and worries, nothing could stop him now. Jogging over stony earth, he slowed down the closer he got to his destination.

Levi was cleaning and folding his jackets, looking in thought, but also quite gloomy.

 

"Ca....Captain...", Eren quietly called, approaching slow and saluting, "Are you alright?"

 

Levi froze in his move. He had expected to die from a heart attack right on the spot, but something different happened. His eyes grew soft as he took in the view of an abashed and respectfull Eren bowing before him and mustering him with unvoluntary puppy eyes.

 

'He... He forgave me.....'

 

Levi felt like he was blessed, because there wasn't any indication however that the kid was blaming or even hating him. It was the same pure respect, but he could clearly see that he was hurt and fearful now all due to him, making his heart painfully constrict.

It was hard enough to bear the weird tension and unspoken words lingering in the air when they were at the same place (in proximity), the need to make it better and the raven cursed himself for not approaching Eren. He never thought the other would do it, so he hadn't considered it, but he blamed himself for beeing so constipated and shy to do anything of this. This kid had guts.

 

The brown haired cadet was regarding his superior with a carefull look and when he noticed the small bump on Levi's forehead he stepped closer and blinked at him, lifting his gaze and pouting.

 

"Uh...um..", Levi noticed a bit too late that he hadn‘t answered yet, "It's ok. I.. um.. slept in the car."

 

The younger sighed, somehow slightly comforted by the fact that the other not only got more rest, but also looked less like dropping dead onto the floor any second.

Levi found himself slightly more at ease, but... something was bothering the younger.

 

"Captain, about what you said yesterday.... Are we really that hopeless?", his voice was coated with angst and nervousness, his fingers fidgeting, eyes shily blinking.

 

Now it was Levi's turn to sigh. "You've had a bad feeling as well, huh...."

 

It was quite hard to understand how serious the brunette had tooken his exaggerated rant. It had managed to plant doubt in him, it made him feel the weight.

Levi put his jackets aside and stepped so close to the other, that he inevitably looked up to catch his gaze. Levi's eyes were once again so incredibly soft, but also incredibly sorry. It was his turn to look the other male over in appreciation, to tell him the truth, to apologize.

 

"What I said back there... It doesn't apply to everyone. You are special. I want you to know that and remember it. I've never met someone like you before...", the captain‘s moved glare bordered to fascination.

 

"BUT.... but what about the others!?", Eren yelled out, badly wanting to defend his team or get a victory for everyone.

 

The captain softly shook his head. "Not everybody can be like this. Not everybody can win. There will be battles lost, there will be cowards running for their lifes, questioning their decisions. But you have the right spirit! It's rare and powerful. It's how soldiers should be. Brave, humble, devoted, attentive. They all can learn from you... even my comrades can learn from you! Only on the battlefield you'll see the real faces of humanity and what I've seen so far is an intelligent, extremely solicitious, determined and worthy soldier."

 

The words were honest and Levi meant each and every single one of them. It was amazing how a single person could turn him upside down in a matter of days but it was what it was. The kid naturally deserved appreciation for doing the same to others. He had carefully, strongly emphasized each sullable.

Eren's breath got caught in his throat at listening to his speech, at hearing what the captain really thought about him and it was really flattering and wholesome.

 

"Th.. thank you...", his tone was somehow hopeful, "You think we can manage!?"

 

The tone, the soft glare, the returning energy made the ever remaining knot in Levi's stomach disappear.

There was one thing he had actually done right!

And with this he got caught up in unbelievable enthusiasm, his chest swelling with pride and emotion: "Cadet.... you will go out like this and you will win! You hear me!? You will make them believe. Each and every single one of them. Because I believe in you!"

If Eren couldn't have had imagined the corporal complimenting him, then this was even more surprising. There was such a warm, nice feeling in his whole body, like someone turned on a light. It was so breathtaking hearing those words fall from Levi's tender lips. The one he had wanted to meet his whole life now, wanted to be close to. He had wanted to be sure they actually shared the most sincere and heartfelt ideas as he thought they did, his mutual.

 

Eren felt like another dream of his got fullfilled and he would do absolutely everything for the captain in that moment.

The other gave him back just what he said to him earlier, the captain had listened to him, the captain actually appreciated it!

 

"Yes, Sir, heard you loud and clearly! I won't dissapoint, I promise! If not for everyone and myself, I'd do it for you! Because you always inspired me and reminded me to be thankful for what I have and for what I am fighting for!"

"That's right.........", Levi was absolutely awestruck and his companion seemed to share that.

 

Could he be possibly-?

 

'My equal............'

 

The cadet was now regarding him once again with his excited, warm and kind eyes, raising all kinds of protective feelings in the older.

 

„Thank you so much, Corporal! I’m sure you just had a bad day….“

 

 

 

When Mikasa woke from her thight sleep to discover Eren happily munching on his food and looking outside to the moving scenery behind shifted curtains, it was already 9 in the morning.

Her friend acknowledged her as soon as he was done with his sandwich and stopped reminiscing around.

"Good morning, Mikasa."

It was said quietly, but was immediately accompanied by shifting and a low groan. Armin was clutching onto the cape that was draped around him, deciding to keep laying around for another while.

"And good morning to you too, Armin."

"I'm sleeping."

"You are not very good at pretending.", Eren giggled softly and Armin proceeded to rub the sleep out of his eyes.

"You are so cheerfull again, Eren.", Mikasa remarked softly, tilting her head as she observed him.

"Yes!", Eren smiled and sighed, leaning back against the wall and quieted his happy voice so the other cadets wouldn't wake, "Ya won't imagine what happened..."

Mikasa tilted a scepticall eyebrow, different things running through her head.

 

"I went to look how captain was this morning.. and he kind of apologized to me! Said I didn't had to hear that... and then.. he started complimenting me.. he said that I'm ... I'm special, that he's happy someone like me is here and that I am a true soldier.... god it was so sweet, you guys!!!"

Eren squeled softly into his shirt, while Armin sat up unbelieving, wondering if he was still asleep.

"You've met him again? Whoa... Eren..."

The blackhaired fighter found that her hyphothesis of Levi only beeing nice to Eren was true after this.

"Yeah... I was so worried, you know... about everything! And he seemed really sorry... and his eyes are so kind...."

Armin almost snorted out loud about the 'kind eyes‘ of Levi that gave people nightmares, but he guessed the actual kind stares were only reserved for Eren. This meant something...

"You sure are going somewhere with this..."

The brunette shrugged and smiled, leaning out. "We'll see after the mission...."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer to the evening hours, after another brief stop, the cadets discovered some new changes in the formation. On the outside, further away, but in a way almost shielding the two vehicles with the cadets, were each two motorcycle drivers. The matter was shortly broached as a safety measure, due to the difficult path before them, since the scenery started changing, allowing enemies to hide better. Soon the left vehicle discovered the corporal driving in the distance, on a motorbike mixing modern battle gear technology and vintage style together. He seemed far more relaxed with this task, driving strictly in line, nevertheless graciously. The wind blew back his black hair, exposing his undercut better, the breeze relaxed his features: it was his element. Eren couldn't help but feel slightly relaxed by this discovery.

With the dawn setting in, the big headlights lit up the place around the vehicle, creating a relaxed atmosphere, a little bit like a nightlight. The brownhaired quickly found himself getting lulled in by this light, the sound of the wind and the growling of engines. The exhaustion and agitation of past days caught up with the young fighters, making them fall asleep pretty early this evening.

 

"Good Night, Corporal."

 

The said had been occupied by watching the road and easing his thoughts when he heard that soft voice next to him, so close as if right into his ear. After turning his head, he had to discover covers concealing the inside of the car, when a minute ago they were wide open.

 

'Good Night, brat.....'

 

 

 

 

The next day when Eren woke up at last and the curtains were threwn up so wide open, they were almost nonexistant, Levi was still next to them, tirelessly driving on and not looking too bad. But he probably had to be exhausted.

Usually tasks like that were nothing for the corporal, but the last days weren't possibly nice for his nerves, so a night without any rest at all was a tad bit worse for his body. Either way he was delighted that the speed and fresh air cleared his mind and the kind words of Eren managed to calm him down.

At midday, when the sun should have been at it's highest if there would have been any, the vehicles started once again after a longer break.

 

The captain jumped into the vehicle which was slowly beginning to move, with a long riffle in hand, his motorcycle nowhere in sight. The movement had been done noticeably casual and calculated. His pale hand retrieved a walkie-talkie to confirm his position, before placing it orderly in the breast pocket of his military jacket. When his glare turned outside and his hand thightened around the riffle, positioned as straight as his posture, it was evident that he guarded the vehicle.

He could've choosen the other one, but he didn't wanted to be molested by noisy, unfriendly cadets and unwanted tension, so it wasn't bad to be biased now. He had a feeling that not only there was a better atmosphere and place in this one, but also it would be nice just to be next to Eren without needing a reason.

No one questioned his pressence and he was pretty confident, and had no problem doing his job. They knew better than to bother him.

 

 

Miles of wasteland followed after hours of driving, defusing the slightly more dangerous situation. With another walkie-talkie message he logged off for an actual break. The captain pulled the riffle down under his feet and retrieved his cap from his head with the 'wings of freedom' symbol, letting his body slack off a bit to release some tension and sighing. The cadet sitting right next to him observed him closely, his attention shifted to his head once again. The bruise started to fade, but there was still the small bump on his forehead.

Eren's hand carefully found contact with the skin, catching the other off guard: "Captain... how did that happen?"

Levi lightly flinched from the surprising contact, but didn't push away: "Don't touch it. ...."

His voice was low and without any malice, making Eren rather fear he'd hurt him.

"I... bumped against the door... I was very tired...."

The heavy sigh and sinking glare of his superior made him look him over in sympathy.

"And this?" Now he solely pointed at the bruise.

Levi clenched his teeth and would rather push the memory away. "I fell...."

It was pretty uncharacterstic and conspicious for the captain to be as clumsy to get hurt twice, but what made Eren doubt was the elusive way he had said it.

"I somehow don't believe that, but if you don't want to talk about it, that's ok. ...."

 

The blackhaired carefully regarded him with a slightly lifted eyebrow, but decided to rest and let it lie for now. Surprising for himself, he had fallen asleep not long after that.

Eren watched over him partially for security, partially in adoration and light worry. He found the captain's exhausted figure and scoff-pouting face cute and heartbreaking at the same time.

'I bet any woman would want to wake up in the morning next to this sight. Next to a man like this.'

 

 

It was meal time when they made their next stop. The corporal put out a neatly made meal full of everything needed. Vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins. The type of collection seemed very asian in itself, but it was a western oriented meal.

He found it wasn't very tasty, but doing it's job, beside the part that he was very picky.

In the future everyone would get rationalized food, but not for now.

 

"Uhhh....", Eren's eyes were gleaming at discovering that, "Captain, that looks amazing, where did you get that?"

 

In the past Petra used to make him his lunch. She had been interested in him, but also cared and wanted to be nice. Levi played along for a while, always thanking her for the kind gesture, but stopped when he found her getting too close.

 

'If she'd only knew that I‘m gay. ..... Poor woman, she deserves better....'

 

"I did it myself. As you do yours."

 

The cadet gave him an appreciative nod, since the food looked like it was bought and packed rather then selfmade.

 

 

 

The breeze got colder, the lights got dimmer, the chatter lower. The day was long and uneventfull, slowly reaching it's end. Eren had tried to leave the captain in peace most of the time, knowing he was on duty, probably still had his worries or wasn't in the mood for talks. But he couldn't help the occasional chatter happening and casually asking something about the mission, involving everyone in the vehicle joining in the conversation (Ymir thankfully was in the other one) and creating a somehow light and friendly atmosphere.

By the time it was quite dark and gloomy outside, most cadets had passed out due to fatigue or plain boredom. Eren, having slept quite enough that day, wasn't as easy to shake, as he and the captain holding the riffle in his arm had been the only ones left awake. Erwin had announced another small assembly tomorrow, even before they arrived, so Eren was definetely excited. Staring for hours at the night sky with Levi was also pretty pleasing, making the brunette forget time and fall asleep without realizing.

The captain only noticed after finding Eren peacefully snoring on his shoulder. With a quick gaze towards the other cadets, all sprawled over in the military car cabinet the boy was the one having the humblest sleeping position, so a smile ghosted over his lips at the discovery. Eren was warm. And surprisingly, very comfortable. It was quite a long time ago Levi had felt comfortable to such touches and he missed it. After another few hours of guarding the car, looking out into the beautiful night sky and feeling a sleeping Eren fully leaning against him, Levi also started to drift away. Normally he had himself enough in control not to do that, but today was tiring, he felt in better condition to fall asleep than usually and the adorable cadet was very cuddly today. His head sank softly on top of brown strands of hair, nuzzling even closer than before and falling in a deep, sweet slumber....

 

 

 

 

The warmth was even more intense now, seething into his muscles and relaxing his body. Levi woke lightly dizzy and coddled up sideways, the first thing crossing his vision was the sleeping face of Mikasa across from him on the car seats. He figured he had to look similair.

His senses slowly returning, it was slowly dawning on him that Eren was hugging him from behind, his arms closely, but not thightly wrapped around him. They managed to squeeze into the row of sleeping cadets resting sideways and letting their feet dangle and randomly hover over the floor, Levi practilly pressed against the others lap.

The captain checked whether anyone was awake and sighed. Unknown of everyone, he was actually a total sucker for cuddles and felt like purring and nuzzling closer against Eren, possibly wrapping his own arms around his. But he couldn't. He had to go on duty and be a watchman again, although the warm feeling and Eren's closeness were wonderfull. Carefully untangling from him and standing up he also discovered his riffle leaning against the car door.

It felt so incredibly wrong leaving Eren like that, alone after falling asleep with him, left without warmth and proximity, in the cold morning breeze. Levi started searching for a blanket in the back and tenderly wrapped it around the sleeping figure, tucking him in and making sure he was comfortable. Once again a light smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, his chest somehow filled with fondness and for the first time: light satisfaction.

He carefully climbed onto the trailer behind the still moving vehicle through the window and was on his bike before 7.

 

 

 

 

The assembly Erwin had announced before, had been quite different than imagined. It was early evening, shortly after the dawn setting in shadows and everyone sat around a made fireplace, grilling meat and warming themselfs.

After everyone was supplied the commander finally started explaining.

"We'll form division teams for different areas. Most of the constellations will be decided depending on what we'll find there. I can only reveal that we'll devide the cadets in three groups... possibly pairing up with some of the others."

 

After everything was cleared everyone simply talked in their group of friends, enjoying the campfire and free time. Levi looked a lot, lot better this day, but that didn't stop him from feeling guilty, beeing grumpy and looking quite-

"Captain Bitch Face is probably grumpy because no one wants to talk to him ever... DUE to his appearience. Ironic isn't it?", Ymir jumped to conclusions and overdid everything as always.

 

Levi, having the ears of a bat heard her from across her seating and stood up. "How did you just call me....!?" Despite his voice staying the same consistent tone, the way he towered over her, dark and extremely calm glare, revealed to her dangerous territory. Captain's quiet rage was more perilous than anything. He was truly unpredictable then. The sassy cadet had a big mouth, but she clearly wasn't dumb. This had consequences.

 

"Aaaah, no I didn't said anything.... I'm sorry. I'm an idiot sandwich! I got it..."

 

Eren had to hold his aching stomach as he snorted from laughter. Yes, indeed, the comparison was hilarious. Now he imagined Levi as the Gordon Ramsay of cleaning and training, having to deal with self-proclaimed experts.

Otherwise the night was pretty uneventfull and they were soon on their way again.

 

They arrived at almost 7 in the evening, the outskirts of the gray, large, square laboraty taking in the whole view. The cadets were a lot more calm this time, concentrated even, waiting for further instructions while clutching onto their guns.

After the wait for approximately 30 minutes everyone was called inside. The explorer team had found quite interesting and valid information. Most of the team was allowed to rest, while others guarded the place and the most important parts discussed further proceedings. Tomorrow would be strenuous.

 

But... just how much?

 

Chapter Text

 


Apparently the first monster sightings were located in India. They either attacked alone, in small groups or big herds, it depended. Most common things about them were comparisons with urban legends and evil forest spirits. The teams found maps to less polluted areas and paths. But... there was one major problem. Most of the knowledge was gathered in a bunker 7 miles away from the lab, so adjustments on the plans were to be made. Early in the morning the teams were announced and everything explained.
The science laboratory in a deserted, almost fully smoothed out surface was huge and moldy. Inside they had found more equipment and necessarry compounds for scientific research. All in all a usefull trip.

 


The captain had woken up early in the morning. Not as overwhelmingly early as always, but at point 6 when his alarm clock rang. He was fast on his legs and walked around the halls with a steaming cup of tea.
Now he was worrying again and decided there was something important he had to make sure of. After finishing his tea, first thing to do, he found the commander in his bureau.

"Good morning, Levi.", he greeted him, standing up from his desk he had been writing on not long ago.

"Commander...", Levi quietly, but firmly insisted, "I want to make a change in the team constellation."

Out of all things the captain could have wanted to change, he hadn't expected it to be this. There were two teams staying in the lab, one outside and one inside, while the third group had an adventurous trip to the bunker, in which the scientists, the upper commanders and some cadets were included.

"Well?"

"Can we put Eren Yeager in the inner team? Ah.. and possibly.. I forgot his name.... Arlert."

Erwin had thought the prospect of the very determined cadet joining the mission and be under surveillance of the strongest would be rather positive and sufficient in any way.

"Well, alright. What about Mikasa?"

"She can stay. She's a tough one."

 

 

 


The corporal's confusing words still rumored in the blonde's brain after the other had left.
He couldn't know how concerned Levi was about the other's safety. The captain simply found the right choice was for him to be safe inside the building with lots of hiding places and loopholes. Everything was just going way too smoothly for his liking. It was too dangerous. Even he didn't knew what to think about all of this. The uncertaincy was slightly alarming.

 

"Eh? I'm not complaining.. but why are we moved to another team, Commander?", the confusion was as evident on Eren's face as it was on Erwin's 15 minutes ago.

"I can't tell for sure. It was the captain's personal request."

This confused the brown haired even more, but the captain sure had to know what he was doing, right?

 

 

Time flew by way too fast. It was solely an hour before the start of the mission. Everyone has been preparing. It would take around 6 hours before regrouping again. Eren strolled down the hallway when he bumped into the corporal.

"Eren...?"

"Captain?", the brown haired called out breathlessly.

Levi carefully, but firmly grabbed onto his slender shoulders, bringing him closer to his level.
"Eren. If you die, I'll kill you.", he warned him in such a caring, although tart tone.
Those words on it's own seemed threatening, but the cadet could hear and feel the emotion comming from them.

"I think it'll be too late for that, Captain."

"It's never too late.", his glare softened, but his voice roughened, "I'll haunt your damn grave if you do, got it?"


The captain's last words somehow warmed Eren from inside out. Huh, was this why he wanted him to stay in? So he would survive?
Even when the group took it's leave and he was alone with his comrades for the next hours, he was still happy. He felt like the captain had blessed him with a talisman somehow.

 

 

While driving to the located destination, the surroundings somehow darkened even more than already possible without sun and thick clouds.

'I don't like this.......'

Even less the captain liked the huge, dark and absolutely filthy bunker extending grotesquely around the dead wasteland. He had dressed for the occasion, but even through his thick military jacket he felt cold. Somehow it seemed not from the abnormal weather, because he never had been affected by the outleashes of the ecologic disaster the world was currently.

"Well gentlemen, this is the moment of truth.....", Erwin remarked humorless, taking his gloves off and slowly strolling over to asses the situation.
The entrance had to be broke open, without any possible alternatives and after beeing too loud due to one mistake, everyone turned around and hoped that the ears of the monsters weren't as good as told in the tales.

Only then they noticed.

"It's way too quiet..... Since we arrived....", Levi's frown deepened, the shadows casting weird patterns on his face. He casted a glare around, sensing the absolute stillness of air and the absolute lack of any reliable signs. So quiet, it felt like static electricity wrapped them up and laid them low.

'This can't be right.... but it's probably just me...       or.....'

His fist thightened. "Check the contact with the other teams."

"Aye, Captain."

Nothing remarkable has changed, everything was according to plan, so the blackhaired relaxed and headed inside. Shadis, Mikasa, Nile and others were guarding the entrance from all sides, other scientists joined him and started exploring the back rooms, while the three of them stayed in the main area.

"Uhhh, look, they had such cool stuff back then! Wow..."

"Hange.. you should look for some usefull information and not- ....Wait.", the captain quickly rushed to the antique looking thing, unlatched the lid and found a voice recorder.

Exchanging brief glances with the others, he started it speedy.

 

"ffffrzzzz.... whoever... may... ever listen to this.... be warned... they fzzzzz dangerous. There are fzzzz under the shelve.... we have samples of chemical compounds frrrtzzzzz... tell something about polution."

 

The recording stopped and another started right away, with a much better quality.

 

"We have a problem. .... Whenever we let a few people go ahead to investigate, they never come back. We never found corpses, no blood, no bones. They are gone. And our devices have... technical difficulty at weird times... I think I see a correlation to that, but Dr. Fitzkenstein tells me I'm just superstitious. But... look at the map...."

 

"Hange, find the map...", Levi ordered when he found a pause in the speech.

It was right where he suspected it, under the dirty, broken, dusty shelve, folded neatly next to other old maps and notes. One or two people joined in their listening, while they carefully unpacked the things.

 

"There are several places we have noted sightings of...Southwest was frequent.
frrrzzz.... You won't believe me... They know... They know exactly where you are. I think they understand us. Unfortunately we don't have much time left anymore. Soon. I am about to discover something... and I have a feeling if I do.. I'll take it to my grave... God bless the world...."

 

The tape was over. Collective silence filled the dimly lit, narrow room and felt suffocating.

"Hange, look if you can find any scientific evidence stuff, I am sure you know how this looks."

Dissapointed in the lack of information both persons shortly listening in went back to the other rooms, therewhile he and Erwin resented to study the maps. It was remarkable in what good shape they had remained despite their age and both of the men could easily orientate themselfs. Some cities and areas were circled in dark ink and some arrows showed the way. It made absolutely no sense, but then... they studied the notes.

Before Hange could finish to pack everything they needed, Erwin started puzzling it together.

"We're circled."

The low, breathy tone of the huge man greatly bothered the blackhaired.

"What do you mean, Eyebrows?"

The room vibrated and Levi was hoping it was only his fucked up imagination. Erwin lifted his serious, gloomy face at him. There was a look on it that he'd never seen before and it agitated him greatly. Resignation and dread.

"We're in the deepest valley. It's a strategy, Levi. People dissapear......"

"FOUND IT! Guys, I have another tape. It looks important, let's hear it."

This brought back the major audience, they stood there, bags in hand, magnifiying glasses, studying the device in expectation. Oh, they wouldn't like that...

 

"First... tzzzzrrzzhhhhhhkkk.. get very, very dark. You think it's the weather? NO... hehehe.. ... it's not... it's your death... you know why...? Whenever we found strange gatherings of clouds in a place... there were traces of.... of a herd... a huge herd.............. literally thousands... they are outside with us... they will strike now. Frzzzzhhkkkkss.. you hear it..... they will stop working...."

 

As if on cue, all of their walkie talkies emitted one ugly, high, technical screech, before shutting off.

 

"If you haven't met them before...... tzzfffgg... that's sign three, guys... It's not common... You know what this means!? This means they are playing with you.... run. Gfffrrzzzznnnnhhhh."

It was strange, hard to believe even, but the similair expressions on their faces signed that they very much understood what this meant. It was a trap.

A loud thud paired with screams abruptly echoed all around the tunnels from outside, penetrating everyone's ears. They rushed, ran outside to see what was going on. And....

That was it. Their worst nightmare.

 

 

 


Countless pitch black looming figures were aligned around the whole place under dark gray, stormy sky, reaching from the ground like a ranking of rotten trees.
Blood spurted to each side in fountains, coloring the ground. Loud agonizing and fearfull screeches of the soldiers filled their ears, ripped appart by long curly claws right in front of their faces, announcing the absolute worst case szenario: an actual ambush. The only survivor, Mikasa, had to step through liquid and guts to join them, soulless eyes and dark skulls boring into their soul. They were ready to kill. Ready to destroy. Petra, Olou, Connie and others dead beyond repair, their blood giving the ground a new colour.

Levi was shooting before he knew what was happening. It was that one damned mission all over again. "STAY TOGETHER AND RETREAT TO THE CARS. DON'T WAIT FOR ME!"
But this time it was different.

The adrenalin and panic were raging through them like a Formula One, clenched teeth and trembling hands. They lunged forward, ran, trying to shoot their way free, while a low growling of monsters followed close on their steps. Their claws were longing for their flesh and grasping at peaks of their clothing, only to be met by shoves and kicks, their pray wriggling free and shooting. It was so unbelieving, everything had seemed to had been planned out so good, yet everything failed. Death awaited. How could everything turn out so bad!?
Erwin and Mikasa shot left and right, striking beast after beast, skull after skull, but missed from time to time. They couldn't even grab the intact weapons of the dead, the mass of dark creatures closing in on them without mercy. The doctors joined, one wasn't fast enough, soon after his skull popped open on the ground, blood oozing from his mouth.
Levi jumped up high, kicking one rapidly moving monster in the chest and unloading his gun in it's skull. He was gracefully dodging the opponents, despite his contrite expression on his face. His other hand held a knife.

CLING.

'Their skin is too hard.... almost like it's-'

One suddenly gripped the hastily running brown haired professor, which broke free and ended up falling to the side, the kick feeling like a betrayal of destiny.
As the other blackhaired rushed to help her, something gruesome happened.
There had been no way they'd survive this and they knew. They had done a great job fighting, a dozen monster corpses littering the ground, but it was no comparison to the blood that would follow.
The captain froze when witnessing claws boring deeply into the commanders body, his painstreaken face solely resting on him. His arms and chest got squeezed and deformed, blood from broken vessels oozed out, his gasps unheard as he faded out in a squash of limbs, leaving the other unable to act.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!", Levi's raspy scream echoed out of his throat, pain and shock combined, his heart and stomach doing flips.
His usually lidded and narrow eyes were impossibly widened, his jaw constrict, as he saw the blonde beeing disintegrated before him.

He was reckless staring at Erwins hanging guts like that and recieved a gash on his shoulder, his military jacket tearing with a loud sound. This brought him back to life. Everything was moving way too fast. Too fast for him to comprehend or process, the massacre playing in monstruous dimensions.
Another doctor, positioned right next to him got hit, while Mikasa ran to help, but soon had to pay for that. A horde of monsters followed her, leaving her no other option than pushing off their backs, teleporting her high in the air. She was far away, soon joined by moving predators. As a consequence of losing her, more doctors got snatched away, buried in the masses of creatures, their blood covering their claws and horns in grotesque patterns until there weren't any left. It was absolute hell. The captain was so badly shook by the outcome of events, he almost got hit by another one, his legs somehow rooted into the ground. Now they were the only one's left.

"Levi!", Hange shrieked and shot opponents away, arms flailing around, running to him.

The survival instinct gave them strength to run, to act, but the absolute terror was written all over their faces. This was far beyond their capability, far beyong anything humankind had to face. It was a force of absolute distruction, soon taking the whole planet with it like said in apocalyptic prophecies. Meant to eliminate everything.

"Ha-", blood spluttered onto his arm, when it slit her throat in the fateful moment she wasn't looking, was about to reach him.

"NOOOOO!", Levi almost tripped trying to run to her, feeling another stab in his heart.

'THEY'RE ALL DEAD BECAUSE OF ME. I FAILED. I'M USELESS. NO. I'VE LOST. THEIR BLOOD IS EVERYWHERE.'

Levi was shaking and gasping, violent yerks finding his body, paralizing him, but he had enough sense to jump away and sprint off through them. Away from here, away. The faces of Farlan and Isabel were engraved in the back of his mind, bloody, soulless, silently judging him as he played their deaths over and over and over and over and over, adding Erwin and Hange to the constellation. He hadn't saved them, but he saw them die. Levi swung his gun at the monsters, he cursed, he rioted, desperately running away from what he had left. Time played against him, racing in a speed he could not fathom or ever grasp. He only saw death, his agile body running for his life. They came closer and closer, the places between them occupied by claws, getting smaller and smaller, slowly and irrevocably encaging him with their claws, blocking his way like lattice bars. Multiple creatures jumped him at once. No chance. Even humanities strongest couldn't win against a neverending mass of monsters and nowhere to run. Levi hopped to the side, recieving a hit, but was soon back on his legs, shoving the monsters off frantically moving.

"GAAAAHKKK....", a loud unhuman gasp left him when he felt a piercing pain in his abdomen, as if burning him alive. He found a huge boulder next to him, seemingly out of nowhere (having no orientation what so ever where he had run off to) and used it to push off, the verve catapulting him away and ripping him open more, as he felt his blood gush out from the leaving claws in his stomach. There was a hole of three inches radius in his skin that reached to the other side of his back. He could barely stand, even if it stung a lot less than it would to regular people. It was critical, his vision blackening around the edges.

'This is it... I've never been injured like this before...'

His blood ran cold as the realization of his own mortality dawned on him for the first time. He wasn't invinceable, this could happen to him too. Each time he returned alone, there wasn't a magical guarantee that he was impossible to kill. The idea that he could not only fail to protect others, but also fail to protect himself in the end, was even more present than all the skill he had acquired throughout his whole life. Each movement directly send waves of searing pain through his whole body, announcing the deepest and most dangerous injury he had ever got.

Kicking his way free was only ruled by his survival instinct, his chest numb from ache, his eyes wide and distraught. The floor seemed to vibrate, his soles burning, his orientation limited, the only thing he could hear was his own heartbeat and the shooting of his gun.
They were closing in, the white of their death glare melting into one big orb piercing not only through his skin, but through his soul and shattering it.

'No, no, no, no, no, no. What have I done.. WHAT HAVE I DONE!?!?!?!?! I betrayed humanity!!!!'

His head was screaming at him, just in chorus of the screams of every fallen comrade. It was a memory, but it felt like it was right here, like all their bloodied corpses were screaming at him from each side, echoing from every hill with their deadly music.
One beast shoved him away, wriggling away from his opponent he finally tripped.

SHRRRNKKKK.

His muddy eyes seemed to fall out of his skull from staring, his headache almost switching off all his bodily functions when he looked at the bloody stump that was once his leg. His eyes and brows were wildly twitching and he felt like puking on the ground. It was cut clean above his knee, but it felt numb. His dark blood splattered everywhere, making his jacket crimson and wet. The terror deafened his ears, insensitive to sound. That was why he heard the uproar only when it was in full force. The earth shook so violent it made the monsters trip, fall and make weird noises.
It sounded like the god of thunder decided to punish the earth. Extreme gusts of wind chased them, alternating to pushing them back towards the ground.

'Earthquake!?'

With a loud rip, the floor gave in, creating a huge crator on the ground. Earth and stones shattered and fell, loud growls comming seemingly from the deepest depths of the planet, sucking in the monsters.

Levi hastily held onto the ledge on the boulder as he witnessed everything with his own eyes. The pressure that pushed him towards the ground, the suction trying to swallow everything that wasn't grown into earth. With this, his detached leg had made it's way into the ravine, the quivers almost made him loosen his grip. It reminded them that although those horrible monsters were the cause of all their misfortunes, mother nature would end it all, end what had to be ended forevermore. The captain felt small and insignificant next to the brute natural disaster.

'Is this how I'm going to end? Alone, helpless and pathetic...'

 

Then everything suddenly stopped and the world was silent as a grave. There were no monsters left. .... Some had run off as soon as the earthquake started, the others were long gone. The scenery returned to empty wasteland with a gruesome addition of a deep cliff. Levi was damned to slowly croak and stare away into the darkness.

By the time everything had frozen, he forgot to breathe, to think, the horror sitting deep in every muscle.

'Wait... I have to warn the others! .... It's the only thing left I'm good for.'

The walkie talkies were not working. Nothing for a fact. The corporal ripped his jacket open with his knife and bound parts of it around his stump to prevent the flow. He had lost too much blood already. Using his hands he shored himself up along the wall and stumbled forward with the only leg he had left, gasping and wincing as his cumbersome body moved.

Levi's heart and head were aching, numbing the unbearable pain from his limbs, his fingers rough and greasy from the ground, smeared with his blood. It hurt so much, it pushed the air out of his lungs, entering it in a wild stutter.

'Now everyone will die... The trees, the people... the planet... all traces swiped off... and my last words that mattered was me bashing my team... it's not fair... I take back everything I said... They didn't deserve what I told them... Forgive me.... I am the damn biggest amateur there is. I thought I was undestroyable, invinceble, but I am worse than them. How could I know this would happen... I had a feeling. I was so reckless.... I went out and killed everyone. Hange, Erwin.... Petra.... I am so sorry. I dissapointed, I betrayed, I hurt... I destroyed my chances of ever....'

Suddenly he remembered something important again. It hit him out of nowhere, brought him out of the trance and weekness. Only one thing that gripped him thight.

Eren.

'Eren.'

One word. And it shattered his whole world view, as if the universe crashed. He was out there, he needed him, he had to be warned. The bright eyed brat with his beautiful eyes, the warrior, the soldier radiating hope and kindness. The captains heart was beating rapidly, beating to support with blood, beating as his anxiety increased, frantically searching for a way to get out of his situation before it was too late.
He gathered the last ounces of strength he had left and pushed forward.

'I have to save him. I can't let this happen... HE WILL LIVE. EREN. I AM DOING THIS FOR YOU. I AM SO SORRY, EREN. YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON WHO MADE ME FEEL. I didn't wanted to push you away.... I like you... And now your hero failed. But one more time I'll be your hero. One time I will do something good....'

There was no way he'd reach him like this. It was difficult by foot already and he could only crawl and jump. Time was running, his despair growing, before he actually found his abandoned motorcycle.
He thanked god and slowly climbed onto it, binding the rest of his jacket around himself to prevent his stomach from bleeding or his guts to fall out, even if he couldn't tell anymore. A messy mix of numbness and aching limbs. The vision was blurry, but he started the engine nevertheless, deep protective feeling engulfing him, something strong, something urgent lighting up inside of him.

Levi almost choked at the speed, but quickly adjusted, his eyes focused on the road, his body taut, uncomfortably squeezed, but it worked out.
He was speeding through the wasteland, the most determined expression on his face, eyes narrowed down to a focused scowl.
'Wait for me, Eren. I'M COMMING FOR YOU.'
And for this moment beeing his strength returned to him. He was enraged, enraged about himself and the events and allowed himself to be monsterous. He felt the speed in his bones, continuously moving forward, not diverging from the road.

It was almost as if the devil chased him through the land that was once known as 'Maria City'. Half way through he met some lone monsters, unceremoneously shooting them down. He had the best aim still, but his bullets were running low. He couldn't care less about his exhaustion, his body screaming at him and wanting to rest. His blood flew with the speed and he wanted to be faster than time. He could only hope he would be faster than all his organs failing.

Levi sped up when he saw the laboratory in the distance and knew there were monsters around, everywhere in fact, but they were hiding. He knew the outside team was too far to reach and in much greater danger. It had been 20 minutes and surprised about himself, probably because his physique was yet strong enough to handle that, he slowed down again. Not wanting to draw too much attention, he carefully drove around, his eyes glued to the gruadually nearing building, spotting some lone monsters in the distance.

'Just a little bit, I'm almost there....'

His motorcycle suddenly made a weird roaring sound comming from the engine, distracted by that, he hadn't seen the hollow in the rough earth, driving right into it.

"Ha...haaaAAAHHH...."

Time was moving in slow motion. The front tire got stuck, then the whole sped up bike made a 90° turn up, outright throwing the disheveled Levi out of his seat, before starting to join him in his dangerous roll.

'This is it.....'

He closed his eyes on the way, trying to relax his tense, mutilated body as he flew through the air in unpleasant flips, the forcefullness of the blow making him fear for what was comming next.

As he collided with the hard earth and rolled over, he passed out for a few seconds due to hitting his chest.
Genuinely surprised he wasn't dead or having broken his spine, considering his condition, he decided not to waste time. Every minute could be crucial.
Levi wasn't sure how exactly he had made it into the building. The last agonizingly long minutes had passed him in a feverish blurr. He couldn't remember standing up, hopping towards the building and entering it, bleeding onto every wall he held himself up onto. He was moving on autopilot, couldn't remember how difficult it was, how bad his stomach felt, how hard his arms trembled as he heaved himself along the wall, couldn't remember his jacket slipping the thight knot and allowing the slippery liquid to sink down to his thighs.

"Ah... nnnghnn.. Ahh... ahh anyone!?", his voice was broken, raspy and low. He couldn't shout anymore, it was hard to keep it over a whisper, while trying to walk, it was too much to do at once and not enough air.

No one was at the back door, no one at the floors. So reckless....

Suddenly voices. Having completely lost orientation and any conception of time, normal feelings, he couldn't do more than to stumble into the general direction of the sound.

He couldn't believe his luck, when plaintively and desperately holding onto the door frame, he discovered Eren and Armin talking in the room. Even more so, them immediately noticing him.

Eren would have suffered a heart attack right on the spot, unless he hadn't already seen plenty dead bodies in his life, at an age too young to be considered recommendable. It was remarkable in how many expressions his face changed to in the fraction of seconds.
First was curiosity, then friendlyness at recognizing him, followed by worry and after looking down on Levi, his features completely derailed into utter horror and misery.
The brownhaired felt like he was seeing a real life horror movie. His precious, precious captain he had been worrying about for the last hours, eagerly awaiting his return, had come back... alone.. with the palest, dirtiest and most miserable face he had ever seen on him, doused in blood from up to down, a limb missing. His leg was missing. Armin followed his trail of view and almost screamed.

Eren was frozen for good three seconds out of pure shock, Levi awkwardly starting to leap into the room in clumsy and heavy motions.

"CAPTAIN!", the cadet set into motion and not any second too early.

The ground started to shake violently and even stronger than before, taking the whole building with it and pushing everything ultimately off balance. The ceiling gave in over them, a hysterical Eren fell on top of the corporal while Armin was crushed under heavy boulders, a last squeal comming from him, just where he and Eren had stood a moment ago. If Levi would have been too late, he would have ended up the same. And it was over as sudden as it had began.

A low groan was everything Levi could emit, his eyes squeezed shut and face distorted in pain.
Eren lifted himself up a notch, looking back of what was left of his buried friend. "ARMIN!"


But it was too late, he could see that, thick blood oozing through the stones. The debris was so enormous it was very unlikely that he survived or was able to be freed. While it hurt immensly and Eren's soul was crying, he knew there was nothing else he could do. And the only reason he had accepted it so fast, was lying right under him. There was one person he could still do something for.
The brownhaired hastily crawled off, hovering over the very severe injured Levi.
"C....caaaptain!", his whiny voice tried not to break, choking back sobs.

The said finally opened his eyes again trying to focus and concentrate on the, now green eyes staring at him in immense sadness and pain.
The brown haired was about to hastily remove his jacket and look him over, but he stopped him.

"Eren...!", he croaked, gathering his breath and sighing, "Listen. Ahh... I will not make it..."
He coughed up blood, his voice growing quieter by the second, as he felt himself weaken.

Eren almost screamed: "NOOO. Let me treat you! You will survive.", but ultimately had to accept that the other was right.

"I.... I...", his voice was full of pain and suddenly so thin it broke Eren's heart into pieces, "I lost too much blood."

The cadet's green eyes suddenly widened when he felt captain's comfortable warm hand softly, but firmly cupping his cheek. Both of them hadn't expected him to be still able to do that, but he had badly wanted to. It made Eren want to wail endlessly and never let go.

"Eren... hhhn.. thank you... thank you...", he coughed again and paled more, "...for beeing you. I want you to live..."

Their eyes met, sad young ones meeting pale tired ones in an emotional exchange, saying more than thousand words, telling tales about mutual respect, deep gratitude and connection.
Eren's lower lip was quivering, he was softly holding onto Levi's limp shoulders and stabilizing him.

"Now.. please... run.. khha.. they are here... find the team, get out. NOW!", despite his weak voice, Levi had managed to sound urgent.

"And leave you here!? Corporal.. I.... "

"Eren..................................", Levi's bloodied thumb started soothingly carassing his cheek, his dry lips open for lack of strength and control over his body.

The cadets eyes watered and he felt his heart ache.


"I'm so sorry, Corporal."

"No.. I am sorry....", Levi's voice was almost silk, sounding so tender and thin in a carefull whisper, honest, warm eyes.

His finger stopped then. "Now.. go! Please! You still have a chance... go, kid!"

Eren was torn and sniffed, unwantingly detaching from the dying form. He was panicked and sad.


"Thank you! ..... I will never forget you, Captain! Never!"

After a last glance, the brown haired sprinted off, searching for survivors, searching for escape, his heart aching from the unfairness of all this. If the captain wasn't dying... if they could prevent it, he would have taken him with him, but the situation was too dire, it made no sense.

 

 

 

Levi, having fullfilled his final resolution fainted right after his leave.

Eren ran through the floors in wild leaps calling for his comrades, but there was no one there, the electricity was out and he had to run through plain darkness, his heart almost exploding in his chest. It was deadly silent and grim, debris blocking most of his way.

He immediately ran to the hidden outside place his comrades were supposed to guard, when he reached the main entrance hall.

"Jean, Sasha!? AHH...."

Eren was met by reocurring dread, the bodies of his friends and comrades lying by his feet, mutilated and cold by now.

When he looked up, shivers running down his spine, he found the things accountant for that. They stood all around him, white static in their eyesockets, slender figures strotting towards him. He was surrounded and unarmed, fearful and inconsolible.

'I'm so sorry, Captain!'

 

 


Levi was slowly waking up, his vision blurry and unfocused, heart aching like crazy, lying in a small puddle of blood. His body was in sepsis, burning up internally, readying itself for full organ failure. The dawning realization of his overstrained brain came to him, that the darkness of the room wasn't caused by the lack of light, but by the gathered black creatures closing in on him.

'How to dissapoint everyone one more time..... how to loose everything you loved.....     ............ ................ why......'

He closed his eyes again, now for good.

And as both heartbroken, but brave soldiers were face to face with their nearing death and the end of everything that was dear to them, there was one last equal thought ghosting through their minds at the same time:

 

 

'I wish I could turn back time.....'

Chapter Text

 

 

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

Levi sat up stone stiff in his bed, his breath ragged and eyes wide open, afterimages still clouding his mind. It was hard to calm down, his confused and horrified gaze focusing on the dark wall in front of him, looking at it, but not seeing it. His loud, piercing scream had echoed through the halls in the early morning hours, disturbing the peacefull quiet.

 

'WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!? NO, CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED!? WHAT KIND OF FUCKING FUCKERY IS THIS!?'

 

His heart was beating extremely in his ribcage, making it feel like it was about to escape, rip out of his chest and flee.

There were sudden thuds of fast steps, before his door was ripped open wide and a panicked and worried Eren hurried in.

"Captain, are you alright!? Why did you scream!?"

Levi continued to mind the wall, thoughts racing in the speed of light and still comming to no result, although he slowly started to calm down. He hadn't even noticed anything. His bloodcurling scream had woken way too many people and Eren was the most concerned. Only when the brown haired rushed in front of him and tried to get his attention, he awoke from his shock and noticed him.

At least HE was alright.

"Eren.. what... I...", his voice was far more breathy than he had anticipated, but he promptly forced it to have an even, urging tone. "What day is it!!?"

Eren seemed confused and thrown off, his blue-greenish eyes focusing the other almost sceptically, but answered: "Wednesday the 22rd...."

'Shit, as If I ever minded what day it was.. we only ever communicate in "in three days", "in one week"'

"I... I...", his head turned left and right, trying to find his alarm clock, "I mean, what are we doing today!? What's on the plan?..."

"Captain.. did you .. .. forgot?"

"Answer the question....."

"Uhh... well... we have three teams and the most important thing is that we go to the bunker...."

Levi was facing Eren for a second with such a distraught, overwhelmed glare, that Eren was afraid he'd start screaming again. He was surprised to find the other pushing him closer and pinching Eren's and his cheek as if to check if this was real. After feeling the soft texture of skin, his hands buried in his own hair roots frantically tearing at it, eyes wide open.

 

'Wasn't I dead!? What the hell!!'

 

"Captain, calm down! What's wrong???"

The said suddenly made a fast leap forward, jumping off the bed and standing in the middle of the room in only his boxers, looking around hastily for a solution.

'What is all of this, what do I do now.. I am so confused...'

Eren was embarassed and even more panicked at this sight. "Wha... Captain!"

The corporal ran out of the room, down the halls in nothing more, leaving a completely dumbfounded cadet behind.

 

He burst right into the commanders dim office.

"Erwin!"

The commander had awoken to the unbearable noise outside, but was too sleepy to understand that it was happening in reality, so now, after dressing and strolling slowly into his office he was convinced of something else entirely.

"Levi.....", he was confused and stunned to say anything else, even more when he saw the glimpse of relief and sadness in the usually cold, pale eyes, before he was promptly pulled into a firm hug.

He was even more stunned to do anything else, although his glare softened. Never ever had Levi hugged him before, nor was the other too fond or looking forward to closeness with him. He was always the one considering him a friend, while the black haired was distant and scepticall. When the corporal made sure that indeed, Erwin was alive and fine, he awkwardly pulled away, looking much calmer, even though there were vivid images of his dead body flashing before him just a moment ago.

"It's good that you're fine...."

Erwin opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Levi didn't look too good though.

"Ahhh...! Before I forget... please put Eren and ... uh.. Armin in the inner team for today uhh... that would be all... sorry for... um... disturbing..."

Before anything else could happen he went on with his journey and met Hange half way through in her rooms, the commander not able to stop him in his tracks. When he hugged her now, he immediately recieved a positive, strong reaction, because she just wouldn't release him, cuddling him madly.

"Aaaaaawwww, Leeeeeeviiii, did you miss me!? DID YA MISS ME!?"

Levi felt dizzy, but somehow calmed, having held the woman almost protectively before she started squeezing the hell out of him.

"Oiiii, I just wanted to hug you, Shitty Glasses. Let go now!"

His sudden rush ended as fast as it had started and Levi trotted back, and quickly, so no one else saw him in his boxers, after the feeling of checking on them was sated. His heart had stopped hurting so badly, but the fear had buried itself deep and new. He still had no actual idea what was going on, but for the first time in his life he would openly admit that those two were more than acquantainces. But he never allowed them to get closer. After the history they had, he thought it was the best. Seeing them die just drilled a deeper hole.

 

Deep in thought the black haired forgot about everything else.

"There you are!", Eren yelled agitated and went towards him, aparently still waiting for him in his bedroom.

Levi sighed and strolled towards the cupboard to get some clothes.

Eren REALLY tried to avert his eyes, but Levi's muscular, beautiful body just took his breath away. Fortunately, he was too concerned about his well beeing to mind.

"What are you doing!?"

"I have no idea......"

He stepped closer, looking him over once more: "Captain, can you please tell me what's going on?"

The captain sighed: "If I knew, I would tell you..... It's just the nerves I think......."

"The nerves!?"

"Eren. You should get ready... and do more important things."

"Okay... will do."

"And Eren....", he stopped him before he could leave through the door"...just survive. I don't want you dead."

The brown haired nodded: "Ok, I'll give my best."

'Your best might not be enough....', Levi thought, but sighed and didn't said anything.

 

He still had no idea what was actually going on, so he decided to just go with it.

Confusing what was real and what not. He could've just hallucinated everything.

He wasn't sure if it was the part with the bloody murder or the waking up part. Either one of them seemed equally bizarre and unreal.

Maybe his life was playing back... before he dies... and he was still lying on the floor, because his brain tried to imagine how it could've been if he had the chance to change anything... But what would have been the point of that?

His thoughts were going wild and far, his senses confused and unfocused. Levi stumbled to the floors to get some coffee to calm his nerves, but almost jumped each time he saw another comrade. His thoughts not making any sense, he decided not to think at all and just go with it.

 

 

 

 

 

When he met Erwin the next time, it was close to leaving. The older man seemed quiet. More quiet than usual, his eyes coated with slight worry.

"Levi, is everything alright?"

'Is he expecting a different answer than last time?'

The corporal continued eyeing the blonde, what gave him time to step closer and be the one to eye him closely now.

"You seem.... a bit haywire."

"Me and haywire?" 'Shit, he's right.'

"I hope this won't influence the mission.", Erwin sternly mentioned.

When the black haired couldn't answer, he took the freedom to sit next to him.

"Levi, if you have something on your mind, tell me now. Or it might be too late... It is of great importancy that everything works out. If you have doubts, then I have to be informed."

"I don't know what to tell you, Commander. I think I'm going to pass and call it a day. I'm just a little stressed."

"Are you sure?"

" ....Yes."

'Doesn't sound like that to me.', but the will to question him further subsided, when he was called by Shadis for an organizational question.

 

 

 

 

The day moved on like a blurr. Levi sat and stared at the moving scenery from the car with a sick stomach and wide eyes. His calm and unmoving facial expression added a weird contrast. If the black haired would've been able to see himself in that moment, he'd say he looked mental. But what meaning did this damn word even had, if everything you saw was suddenly accompanied by neverending deja-vu's and intrusive thoughts. The world was violently spinning, loud sounds and chattering aggravating his brain and he felt his breathing suddenly going in erratic leaps.

"Captain! Are you alright!?", asked a very concerned Nile, comming closer to his side, just as the present soldiers.

Only now he started to realize that he couldn't breath. It got stuck in his throat, suffocating him, his pulse racing, his heart aching. His eyes widened impossibly more, a careless movement caused him to hit his arm against the door and make everyone jump. The calls grew louder, his lower comrades surrounding him and trying to help, while Levi was desperately clutching onto the front of his jacket, trying to catch a single breathe. They had to repeatedly tell him to calm down, rubbing his arms and pushing him in a position he could breathe and relax better, for the heavy feeling to subside. He came to his senses lying on his back, multiple faces closely observing him.

"Corporal, are you alright? Your breathing suddenly stopped. We are worried."

Levi was moved again, but supposed it was their job and he looked scary either way. "I don't know... I feel kind of sick though..... HEY... wha.. what are you doing?"

"I have to report that to the commander, you know that, Sir."

"Please don't...."

The plead surprised everyone, since no one was used to the grumpy, cold corporal to be this way. Adding the sweaty, pale and probably freaked out expression on his face, the soldier didn't had the heart to object and the hand with the walkie talkie sank down again. The following situations were a lot less familiar, what made him glad and the worried glances and a whole thermos of tee cheered him again. He regretted not eating anything before their departure, but then he remembered.

His bleeding guts, the pain of the twisting insides and he almost spat his tea out again, an overwhelmed snort leaving him.

"Is the tea too hot?"

"I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA IF THE TEA IS HOT, I CAN'T FEEL SHIT."

Levi was painfully clutching the cup, his gaze a freaked out, almost mad mask. It grew suddenly very quiet, even though it felt good to finally speak his mind.

"You're definetely not alright, Corporal. You want a sedative?"

An angry snort followed, before the cup was finished in one go.

"Thanks, but no. I have to get this shit right, but I'd be FUCKING happy if I won't puke on the floor any minute that is........"

'Fucking disgusting.....'

A female soldier started fastly searching in her backpack, before putting two pills into Levi's hand, which lifted an eyebrow at her, silent.

"It's against sickness, should soon take effect."

He nooded thankfully and popped the pills into his mouth, before swallowing them in a flood of warm liquid. Either Levi could manipulate his body to feel better, or those things actually helped and he could relax against the seat for the rest of the ride. Still there was this ugly feeling, nagging at the back of his mind, making him feel like slowly turning insane.

It all came back when Levi stood before the bunker. The bunker he had no chance of knowing before. His fingers snapped down in a skilled movement fishing his walkie talkie out and telling the outside team to travel only by vehicle.

The dreadfull feeling enveloped him and he soon was sure that the pills were about to stop working. 

 

"Well gentlemen, this is the moment of truth.....", Erwin remarked humorless, taking his gloves off and slowly strolling over to asses the situation.

 

Once again they had to break open the bunker and this time the black haired did everything to prevent loud noises, a strange itching in his fingers urging him to follow the request.

But it happened again.

 

Shadis, Mikasa, Nile and others were guarding the entrance from all sides, other scientists joined him and started exploring the back rooms, while the three of them stayed in the main area.

 

At the entrance Levi suddenly remembered that his shortness of breath came from panic attacks, which never came over him so frequently, as of the last week. He felt like he was slapped hard across the face.

There was no way Levi could have precisely guessed the intricate structure and construction of the room before him. This could not be real, not at all. It was impossible! But every second felt like real life, he would know when he was dreaming!

'My fucked up brain can't do this to me.. this can't be it... I FINALLY SNAPPED? What is real and what's an illusion!?'

 

"Uhhh, look, they had such cool stuff back then! Wow..."

 

Hange's voice brought him out of his stiffness, looking straight at that damn voice recorder. He hastily looked under that disgusting shelve and found the maps, before turning on the recorder in the same way. His comrades looked at him as if they'd seen a ghost.

"How did you know.... that they were there...."

"....I-"

 

"ffffrzzzz.... whoever... may... ever listen to this.... be warned..."

 

Levi paled and cursed under his breath. Why was everything so familiar, why wasn't he dead, why wasn't he waking up and had the faint suspicion he should better run and hide.

This time no one left, except Hange when the recording stopped and Erwin puzzled it together way earlier.

 

"We're circled."

 

Levi threw his hand onto the map and hissed out in inhuman voice: "Run. We have to run. NOW."

"It's too late, Levi....", Erwin answered with an expression more dead than alive and with a short curious glare towards the recorder Levi quickly figured out his priorities and everything inside of him flamed up at once.

'ERWIN, YOU FUCKING IDIOT.'

Levi jumped up and fished out the next tape before Hange from the cupboard (thus making himself very suspicios), breaking it across his knee with a roar and scaring and unnerving every participant at once, after which he grabbed Hange's hand und unceremonuously ran out of the room outside.

Some of the present indeed thought he went mad.

Erwin stared wordlessly after him, but his reaction took it's effect and he ordered everyone to join shortly after.

The corporal's heart started beating like crazy when the endless rows of deadly creatures began closing in on them. The guarding soldiers were still alive, what relief.

"TO THE CARS. NOW, SHITHEADS. RUN FOR YOUR DAMN LIFE. RETREAT, RETREAT."

Pushing Hange with him, he turned his head last second to see Erwin running out of the bunker with the others further behind him.

'Thank god.'

His triumpf didn't lasted long, because the monsters were fast and started attacking and slaughtering his comrades with merciless force. Ears ready to explode, he still kept his run, helping Hange to find the way. He ducked and shot, soon held down by the monsters. Before he could blink, half of his team was dead, Erwin as well.

He could not think clear, not understand what was going on and urged the brown haired forward. There was it, the monster lunged forward to grab her, Levi threw her back, shielding her and kicking, but soon felt the sensation of beeing pierced through the stomach once more.

"LEEEEEEEEEEVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!", echoed the hysterical screech of Hange next to him, evoking even more pain inside of him.

"Run, Hange!!! RUN."

He rolled up, stood, jumped, witnessing her beeing pulled away and looking at him with one last, sad, farewell glare. Levi felt like screaming at how realistic and painfull all of this was. With a burning ache inside of him he sprinted forward and gasped when he discovered that DAMN boulder from last time...

'No. NOOOOOOO!'

His legs pushed faster, trying with all his willpower to prevent what happened last time, he had to be faster, he had to wait for this damn earthquake, maybe he could-

"AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH."

A claw caught his shoulder, throwing him across the boulder in a way making his bloodied stomach slide across the stone and give him the form of a smashed insect against a wall.

'NOW I SURELY WILL DIE. EREN..... HEEEEEELP!'

Levi rolled over, jumped up running for an impossible amount of time, when the black haired girl, Mikasa suddenly appreared and shielded him.

"JUST RUN. Please...."

They managed to find the vehicles, Levi bleeding faster than before and losing strength, tripped and fell. And screamed once again when a monster dislocated his leg from his bone. He felt so, so sick and wanted to close his eyes, staying like this forever.

When strong winds and shaking blew over the surface, it took Mikasa with it.

"Noooo. FUCK, GIRL, DON'T YOU DARE DIE. WHO IS GOING TO WATCH OVER EREN NOW!"

 

With a loud rip, the floor gave in, creating a huge crator on the ground. Earth and stones shattered and fell, loud growls comming seemingly from the deepest depths of the planet, sucking in the monsters.

 

Completely forgetting he has to hold on, Levi almost landed in the crator next to the predators.

 

Once again it was as silent as in a grave and Levi wanted to scream and scream to no end, uncaring if he could lure any more monsters to them. Once again his eyes felt like falling out of his sockets, but even though repeating the traumatic events did nothing to better the situation he felt he could possibly survive longer this time. Fastly binding up his wounds he jumped right into the awaiting motorcycle next to him and raced through the empty wasteland. He had no idea what just happened, he felt even like forgetting who he was, an incredibly strong headache setting in and making it hard to see anything.

'Eren... if I come and you are dead........ ......'

He wasn't dead last time. He didn't even understood what 'last time' meant, but this weird irrational fear came over him that something went wrong... Did Erwin place them in the inner team though? Maybe he didn't took him serious, because of his childish hug before, or because he didn't thought he was in the right state of mind. The speed limit was reached, but worry makes stupid, so he forgot about the hollow on the earth and broke two fingers on his left hand on the go, bleeding all over his arms and shirt. He couldn't care less.

'God, just protect him and FINISH ME OFF.'

He just crawled... crawled the last meters towards the building, a long, wide bloody trail following. And this time he could remember and feel every painfull second.

'Fuck... this will be a long and painfull death.'

But what was death supposed to mean when he had managed to wake up again!?

 

The furniture in the laboratory was surprisingly distracting and edgy, making the poor corporal almost trip and give up, but he was burning internally, his will to help the cadet stronger than any suffering. He groaned one last time, when his plaintive face hit light and Eren was forced to see him in all his glory now, this time without his friend. For a second he was surprised to have been able to find him at this turn of events, but was glad.

Levi forgot to move and almost risked a dead Eren. Not a second too late, the floor gave in once again, almost burying Eren under it, as the younger fell on the floor next to Levi's..... foot.

"Captain!", Eren was soon next to him, yelling panicked, his voice whiny and full of pain and regret, so it could churn stomach's, "Captain, oh Captain, what happened to you!!!!!"

The said closed his eyes and groaned painfully, accompanied by a low whine, since this was the first time he let himself actively calm down and this came with taking in every bit of your current situation instead of paralyzing numbness. The pain was absolutely unbearable, everything hurt. He was surprised beeing able to breathe, although it was weak, noisy, slightly labored and stung badly each time.

The cadet was trying not to panic when he saw his bloodied form, he had to fix this somehow!

This time he allowed Eren to treat him, to take care. Maybe he deserved that change after all this gruesome torture. It was hard not to pass out, but he had to let the kid know..

"Eren....", he hadn't expected how feverish, hoarse, completely helpless and weak his voice sounded and not a second later the cadets worried face looked over his features.

"They... are here... please.. y...", a coughing fit violently shook through him, almost suffocating him, his eyes wide, before he spit out a small gush of blood.

Apropos surviving longer......

Eren felt like screaming and crying. 'CAPTAIN, PLEASE DON'T DIE. YOU CAN'T DIE, DEAR CAPTAIN. What am I going to do, he is bleeding out, I don't know shit and everybody is probably dead by now.. I.. have to bring him to the infirmary and hide there.... it's close, isn't it? God, he lost a fucking leg, he is having fits... I can't let him suffer. No, not him!'

"I will save you, Captain, trust me!!!", Eren sounded more like crying than declaring determined decisions.

This was pretty much what Levi wanted to say, but he didn't gave up until there was one more thing. "Outside team.... danger.... tell.... ...."

"Shit.. yes I will.. if it works!"

"Thanks, my boy...."

 

A tear dropped onto the wooden ground planks. The corporal had effectively passed out after fullfilling his duty and Eren was crying at how he had called him. The captain cared so much, more than about himself or his life. And realizing NOW out of all times that he was dear to Levi was just too much to bear.

With a swift moment the walkie talkie was put to work. He managed to say that the monsters were closing in, before the connection broke and broke forever. He stopped wasting time after that and decided to use his strength for the first time, scooping the unmoving captain carefully into his arms and while sneaking around the building, get into the infirmary in the north wing.

Beeing intelligent as he was he closed up the door with a key and barricaded it with a cupboard, also blocking the opening in different ways.

The other problem was that the infirmary bed was broken and the matrass was practically on the ground, but Eren supposed it was fine for now....

Levi was still unconscious, his pretty, soft face a mask of suffering. Eren had to feel his pulse to prove to himself that the other was indeed still alive.

He quickly searched in the drawers and collected all knowledge of infirmary skills he had for this. He fixated the wound on his stomach while he treated his bloody stump. When the bleeding was succesfully stopped he also fully removed Levi's absolutely ruined military jacket and pushed his shirt aside.

A gasp left his lips at this deep, inhuman gash. More tears glistened in his eyes. How could the captain survive if half of his stomach was gone? Eren did everything he could, cleaning the other and wrapping him up. He warmed him with his own jacket and the sheets, he treated smaller wounds, like the one on his shoulder. He tried to fixate his broken fingers. And at the end he was there.... nuzzled at the crook of his neck and pityfully crying... because the captain probably wouldn't wake up anymore... and there wasn't much more he could do.

First aid was part of his military education, but he couldn't perform difficult surgeries like preventing internal bleeding and he had nothing to sew his injuries with.

 

 

It took a while, but Eren's heart made a leap when he suddenly heard faint groaning and light shuffling next to him and immeditialy raised his head to check. "Captain! Captain, can you hear me!?"

More tears dropped onto him, Eren hastily wiping them away, focused back on the pale form beneath him.

"E...... ren...", the corporal opened his lids a little, trying to get the blurr out of his vision. He shifted, moaning from pain and catching his breath. Small shudders shook him, but otherwise he was alive.

"Yes, I'm here, I'm here... and I won't leave! They won't find us here.....", he heard Eren's worried, but soothing voice close to his ear.

This relaxed him and after opening his eyes for a second time he felt a little better. "Eren.... I still... won't make it... ... I lost too much blood..."

He almost regretted saying that, for the fact that he discovered Eren's tear streaken face and heartbroken expression.

"C... corporal............"

Levi carefully turned his face to him, his soft features taking in a sad and pained expression. "I'm so sorry, cadet.... ... I dissapointed everyone.... you... my comrades... myself..."

Eren looked shocked, blue eyes wide and sad, full of unshed tears, carefully holding onto the other. "What ... are you even saying... You did all you could, Captain! You gave the full physical charge, just look at you! If YOU couldn't have done it then no one else.. and you still.. came here... from miles.. in this state...", Eren's voice broke, "...just to warn me...."

The corporal wanted to wipe all his tears away from the way his heart contracted in his chest at this sight. 'Don't fret, Eren... you can survive....'

"I'm sorry for pushing you away.... I was scared, Eren... and now it's too late... in the end everyone learned to hate me...."

Eren carefully cupped the side of Levi's head and leaned down to look at him better, worry and admiration showing.

"I could never hate you, Corporal. You are the most amazing person on the planet. You sure had your reasons... and I am sorry too. I didn't realized-"

"Tschh...... ", Levi softly stopped him and put his arm over his, and then nodded to show he understands, his eyes shining with a same kind of admiration.

"It's okay.. I.. had the responsebility... mhh... never change Eren... you are gold...."

This ghosted a smile over the youngers lips, before the sadness came back: "I don't want you to die.... not you....."

The black haired absently carassed the skin on Eren's arm and tried to distract himself from the pain and those beautiful, sad eyes. No more words were needed, the brownhaired also understood him without, their eyes speaking volumes. It took his breath away.

'Why did I had to meet him this way.... why now... we found each other just to witness each other die.... ... this is not fair. But since when is life fair... Maybe this is how I pay for my sins. I left all my friends to die... so now I'm allowed to meet him.... get a grasp of what it could be like... to die in the last step. If it's destiny, then I have to accept it.'

He was so exhausted, hurt and sad that he totally forgot it wasn't the first time he experienced such a situation.

Eren tried to give him water, but he refused since he said when Eren was about to escape he would need everything he could have and shouldn't waste it on someone who was about to die soon. He only reluctantly gave in, because he was right, but there wasn't anything fair in that. Eren was happy that he ordered to give him an injection against infection and he soon found himself feeling less feverish. He could still live for a few hours.

 

 

 

At one point the monsters were loud, walking in the rooms and growling. The two made no noise, no movement, holding onto each other and telepathically talking by looking into each others eyes. Levi observed Eren's eyes going from blue, to a mix with green. He watched on with fascination, those eyes looking directly into his soul and kept memorizing every change of colour, every gleam of light and emotion. He had never seen such interesting and beautiful eyes and seeing them was keeping him alive.

But he grew weaker with time and he knew. Eren had no other choice than to wait for the monsters to leave, so he would stay here with Levi and say goodbye in one way or another.

And after time Levi knew he didn't had much more...

 

"Eren..."

The other dreaded it, but he knew. The hours spend in here took their toll. The captain coughed and weakly looked up at him. Eren carefully squeezed his hand, he picked up half an hour ago and soothingly held it, feeling weak reciprocation.

"Thank you for everything. ..... I've never met a..... nicer, more diligent and better person than you.....", the captain made a pause to catch his breath, his eyes glistening with emotion, but lids too heavy to keep up, body as if set in stone, cold and unmoving, "I... hate that this has to end like this.. you.... were my only friend, Eren...."

The younger boy had trouble keeping his emotions at check already, but seeing and hearing the captain like this was too much, when tears gathered in his eyes once again. "Captain! You were the one that helped me through my hardest times! Just by existing and beeing an inspiration! There when I was about to give up... and I want to thank you and let you know that the last days with you were wonderfull no matter what! I met you and I knew I wasn't wrong about you! You are a legend and the purest soldier. ... Every minute with you was an honor."

"Eren.... the last days..... were the happiest days of my life....".

The cadets's downcast mood shown by his hanging head was even worse when he heard this, although he was moved: "I am happy... that at least this was what I could do for you... ... my Captain."

He never let go, continueing to hold his hand to the very end.

Levi coughed and strained for the last time: "Please.. promise me.. you will survive! ... You have to.... get out of here and live...."

Eren nodded, comming slightly closer, green eyes fixating him with an honest and dear expression: "I promise! I will."

"Farewell......"

....

As soon as he relaxed at once, he felt death approaching. Slowly crawling up and shutting him down. He heard Eren's 'Goodbye', before the world was suddenly cold and white, fading into snippets. His eyes rolled back, lids closed, his body went entirely limp, almost white skin laced with icy cold and blue lips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eren continued sitting there for another hour, still holding the cold dead hand in his, looking at the face of the fallen corporal and crying. It wasn't until it started to grow dark and quiet that he knew he should leave, although it burned an aching hole inside of him, not even beeing able to bury the other accordingly.

When he sat up and slowly began to release his hand, he noticed that it had become rigid, having to pry off each finger individually and sighed.

'I know you don't want to let go off me.... but I promised to move on. I'm sorry.'

Soon enough the other wandered around the laboratory, no living soul in sight, lonely intact lights flickering. Packing up the bag for the journey, his hand stilled over a can of gasoline. He slowly wrapped it around it and wandered back to the infirmary, pooling loads of liquid on the doorstep and the walls around.

With an emotionless face, hardened from pain and trauma, he struck a match and lifted it up.

'I'm gonna give you a viking funeral!'

The gas lit up in flames, enlighting the darkness with bright heat.

Eren saluted with a determined face, saying goodbye to everyone they've lost before rushing outside to the motor cycles. The moon shone bright in the empty nightsky, giving a clear view over the ghostly grim and blackish wasteland, silent emptyness. The fire would attract the monsters and distract them from Eren's escape. Filling the tank full with gasoline the cadet hastily jumped up, lifting his gaze not to observe the dead bodies of his friends, but the loud, incessant burning of the laboratory. It resounded in the surroundings, filling his mind with cackling fire, signifying their fall. Sudden cold wind blew through his brown locks, distributing more flames. This was his cue. The engine roared up and Eren sped up along the far, undistinguishable horizon. The fire and the moon lit up the way, cleansed the earth, cleansed his burning soul, his heart beating with determination as he raced through the darkness, making sharp turns and taking short cuts, further, further away, faster. Towards home. Home, where no monster could reach and pry his skin off his bones. Eren's eyes focused on the road, the blackness not scaring, but spurting him on. Time flew and he was far, far, away. Safe.

 

He thought about his comrades, time spend with his sandbox friends Mikasa and Armin, the short time with his parents, about Jean and Connie and about the captain. The way he smirked at him, his relaxed face when they danced together, the things of him he saw in newspapers, on TV, in the internet, his downcast face, his sad features, when he bemusedly sat on the platform floor with his rifle, when they stared at the sky, and all the times his pale, cold eyes reflected nothing but deep emotion, honesty and care.

When the clock struck twelve, he didn't notice how the horizon flamed up in bright, powerfull light, taking everything with it and swallowing the atmosphere, stilling every movement, until the world evaporated in a glint of light......

 

Chapter Text

 

Boooooooonk!

With a loud, indistinct rumble, Levi had found himself on the hard, wooden floor planks of his bedroom.

His breath was coming out in hard, overwhelmed pants, his confused gaze roaming the silhouettes of the furniture in his dim room.

'What is going on!? I'm in my room? But how? Didn't I die... Again!? What is going on!?!?!?'

Wildly turning his head around to look, he heard approaching steps in a similair dynamic.

 

"Captain, I heard a loud sound coming from your room! Is every-"

Who else would it be. The young cadet stared at his superior dumbfounded, his strong form sitting half sprawled on the floor in his underpants and looking completely lost.

'This can't be real... this is a fucking joke... there's no way... Am I hallucinating!?'

"Tell me ... what are our military plans for today?"

The question sounded almost like the other wanted to test him, but the confused and almost weak way the corporal talked, gave even more reason to worry.

"Bunker inspection by one team, Sir."

' I fucking knew it.'

With swift movements he was back on his legs and assessing the situation.

Eren therewhile was even more concerned and wondering.

His superior finally came to the conclusion that it could only be a dream. Because no matter how little sense all of this made, nothing of this could actually be real! Right?

A weird, trembling grin appeared on pale, suddenly very thin lips.

"Captain, is something wrong?"

 

'Oh fuck it... this is a hella weird dream. I didn't expect that.'

And while looking at the brown haired cadet, he made slow steps in his direction, until there were solely centimetres seperating them and leaned in.

Eren's brain literally almost exploded. He was staring at closed lids with his own wide eyes, when the captain's lips were suddenly softly moving on his own. If you would compare the processes of his mind to 21st century terminology, the window's error sound was the most fitting.

The kiss was short, merely a few seconds long, but it was enough to throughfully confuse him.

"C-C-Captain, what the!? I..."

On the other hand, Levi was pretty unfazed by all of this.

"Well... since all of this is a dream, I thought I'd try something, I usually would never dare..."

Eren was gaping like a fish.

Affected by the fact that people have never fully been fond of Levi as a person, he never bothered to come out. He had never kissed a male in his life, or kissed many people for that matter and this seemed like the best opportunity.

Surely it wasn't because he thought that Eren was the cutest thing on earth he's ever seen.

 

Another set of legs made their way into his room, alerted by the noise.

Professor Hange and commander Erwin entered, taking in the situation.

"Levi, is everything alright???", Hange asked, tilting her head carefully.

"Yes. I just fell down the bed. I am fine. You can keep going...", he turned around.

"Are you sure? We-"

"Yes. Everything top."

The black haired then proceeded to the front, not caring about anything else and opened the wardrobe, seemingly not realizing his weird behaviour. Every present person kept staring at him, as if trying to read his mind. When Levi found his clothes and turned around to his bed again and STILL found them present and very closely staring at his every move, he couldn't help a snort.

"Oi, I can understand why a pubescent teen might wanna keep staring at me, but both of you are grown ass adults."

Eren blushed awkardly and Hange started shifting from one foot to another, wanting to approach the matter from the perspective of his friend, just as Erwin did. Levi already forgot that he was depressed to the death just a day ago.

"We are only concerned.", muttered the blonde finally.

"Ok. Well, see you then..."

The level of audacity would stun every other commander, but it just puzzled him. Even more when the corporal put out fresh boxers and apparently REALLY wanted to put them on.

"See you at breakfast, Lance Corporal.....", Erwin muttered as he and Hange marched out the room, before closing the door.

Levi sighed in content and then hopped on his bed. Before Eren could realize what he was doing, the corporal started pushing down his pants, making Eren turn around in the speed of light and redden from embarassment.

 

"Uhh ehh... ... are you sure you're alright? You seem a bit..... hasty today... and ... out of it?"

"ME, ouf of it?", the corporal emphasized every word, snickering unbothered and then started up in his usual tone again, "This is kinda stressfull... Eren be a good boy and stay with the inner team today.. it's more safe."

Eren could hear fabric rustle, zippers, and carefully turned to a fully dressed corporal. "Uhh... will this really be alright? Weren't I supposed to be in your team?"

This made the other think suddenly. Why... can't they still do that?

"You know... I think I'll stay here as well.... I don't trust that mission, honestly."

"But, wouldn't staying be important even more then?"

"Don't question me!"

'Brat, don't ruin this dream. I can manage.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day went on in the same awkwardness as it had started.

Eren, uncomfortably slipping out of the room after a few more word exchanges, couldn't believe that everything was alright with the captain.

He was too changed, too wild and unpredictable, although he always deemed discipline and meticulousness such severe importance.

The said otherwise held onto the ludicrous imagination, that all of this was too far from reality to be real.

Additionally the fact, that he had no idea whatever was going on, putting everything out of (his) control, made him feeling mad, tipsy and helpless.

He paced around the halls without his morning coffee, staring at those 'fake' walls with burning gaze.

Rather reluctantly he sat down next to Hange and Erwin for breakfast in the morning, eyeing the 'food' before him with suspicious and grumpy expression.

'Does it even matter if I eat. Does it change anything crucial, huh? Or anything at all?'

With a nonchalant, almost cold tone he proclaimed, staring right into Erwin's face: "I want to be placed in the inner team with Eren."

This effectively made the commander almost choke on his food, as he coughed, chewed and swallowed with wide eyes.

Never before did the corproal want to change his place after the last preparations were finished and everyone gave their whole agreement. And surely not in missions like this, having such a task.

 

"Excuse me!?", Erwin's voice was low and he unbelievingly stared at the confident, black haired, "Why do you want to do that?"

It sounded crazy. But the captain rarely made stunts, showed off or messed around, and in a way the blonde trusted that he knew what he was doing. But it didn't meant he understood. He knew his potential and strength, but there were times where he couldn't read him and very rare moments when he was unpredictable, and right now he was solely like this, unsettling him.

Levi needed to put a little thought into his answer, but was still as sure and confident in himself as before, which would vex any other commander, making them assume he was audacious and impolite.

"I think the laboratory has way more potential than we think. And it may also lead more danger towards it than expected... Also... I'd recommend taking fewer cars, the faster models, take the most important and return to the base as soon as that...."

"But... Why you? You realise you are the center of our mission mostly?"

"And if we loose the base we have nothing. I'm going to the basement and I'm taking Yeager with me. He knows what to do."

"Can't you do it now!?"

"I can't guarantee how long it takes and the info from the bunker might be of help."

"Levi...."

"I know it will work. Just let me."

 

Erwin gave in, there was no way to break his resolve, no matter how irrational the request sounded.

'Just let me. What does he thinks he asks for? Like 7 years back.... I COULDN'T let you go... You HAD to give in...'

There had been a turning point in Levi's life and it wasn't only when he joined the military. It was when he tried to break out and run forever, so Erwin had to go through court processes and give thousand reassurances that he wasn't dangerous for humanity and it won't happen again.

Since then Levi always felt like brainwashed. He did all that indeed to save everyone, to end this hell.

But was there anything worth saving? A little bit, and though this thought made him never give up.

It left him grasping at thin threads, not knowing what he was anymore, what to believe and what to do other than to follow.

But different than at that time, he really didn't cared now, doing every task thoroughfully and mostly submissive. He felt regret in every fiber of his beeing and doing what he did, took his mind off it. He was actually feeling numb and thought it was a perfect premise for his work.

And now there wasn't anything.

If nothing was real, nothing could be saved, nothing mattered.

That meant he could do whatever he wanted, huh?

Erwin continued to stare at him dumbfounded, Hange felt like the third wheel and Levi thought nothing. ...Or just something specific or vague...

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Mi....Mi...Mikasa....", Eren stuttered around when he finally came across his friend.

The black haired girl tilted her head in concern and came closer, eyeing the slightly shaking, small looking Eren.

"Mikasa... he...k-k-kissed me.... Captain kissed me......."

"What!?"

Armin aproached from the side and looked at the brunette with wide eyes.

"Eren, did you dream again?"

Tha cadet wildly shook his head and trembled.

"He... fell down and was so c-c-confused and weird... he thought it was a-a-a dream... and then he j-j-jus.. KISSED ME!", Eren squealed and looked like he was about to faint.

Armin and Mikasa just stared at him shocked, trying to understand the situation.

"Woooow.. this... this means he's into you....? ..... too....", Armin whispered the last part, not sure if Eren was fully aware of his infatuation.

 

There was a time, when Eren did have the wildest dreams, but even then they were mostly innocent he never understood what they meant, unaware, while his friends were sure the gushing for his crush went on in his dreams. But it had been always more than a crush for Eren. It had always felt like he had a friend in the world... a hero, a fighter for freedom and the thought of beeing acquainted with him, burned in aching desire. But he had learnt to be patient and polite. Mostly his dreams consisited of having adventures with him... then there were others ... which his friends thought of as 'dates'.

 

"I... I.. don't know what to think... he then suddenly acted as if nothing happened, ignoring the commander and Hange-san!"

"Huh... that's weird..."

"HE STARTED UNDRESSING IN FRONT OF-", Eren was interrupted by Mikasa's shutting hand and wild glare.

Armin blushed and stared: "Why would he do that!? Was he trying to seduce you!?!?!?!?"

While Eren might've understood not to scream when anyone could be practically listening in their conversation, he couldn't keep his excitement at bay and wiggled around, constantly tapping with one foot on the floor: "I dooohoon't know!!! He was so weird ... maybe he DID think all of this was a dream."

"How likely is that, huh?", Mikasa tilted her head, agitated expression on her face, nobody had ever seen before.

"But... he's like.. exchanged! Hmm....", Eren took a deep breath and slowly calmed from his fanboy moment, "And he also... he.. put himself in the inner team with me...."

Mikasa's eyes tore open for real now, a frown appeared on her face, for the first time showing more similarity to Levi himself, as her expression darkened: "He just did that to spend some alone time with you."

Eren flinched and stared at her: "N...no! He can't.. he's not like this.. I think there's something wrong... just wait!"

'I am waiting, Eren.. patiently waiting.....'

 

There was no way for the cadet to believe, that the captain would be dead set up on getting him out of sudden! It had to be nothing, it surely had a logical explanation and everything... 

"If you think so....", Armin muttered.

 

 

 

 

 

Half an hour later the halls were crowded with soldiers exiting out of the cafetaria. 

There was one teenager group gathered in the corner of the hall, unmoving.

Levi hated seeing this. They usually littered, took up space by not staying in the residental places instead and were pretty loud and distracting.

"Could you stop loitering around in the hallways and rather do something more productive?", he adressed them.

Of course, Ymir was among them as always and got angry as hell when someone told her what to do.

'What a pity. She's a good fighter, strong and strategic. But as soldier...... you have to follow rules.... or you shouldn't have become one, if you weren't ready to die strictly following an order.'

"Sure, you can tell us tales about beeing productive..... so soon before the mission. How much of 'production' do you fit in this short amount of time?"

 

'Four hours, you insolent brat.... And I do way more than you'd do in a whole week!

"Do you dare question me, cadet?", quiet, annoyed anger seethed through his emotionless, almost sarcastic voice.

"I also dare to disobey, if you allow me!", she grinned.

That was it. In a dream there were no courtesy rules, no borders.

"Listen here, you snappy bitch. As long as no one threw you out, you are under my goddamn order and you move your sassy ass to my music, if you don't want to spend the rest of your wasted time cleaning the rooms! There are even more measures to come, so shut your motherfucking mouth."

Insults and spitefullness weren't a phenomenon in the military, since there was pretty much no education needed and soldiers were known for their foul mouth.

But Levi liked his soldiers well behaved and never went as far, to use 'actual' vulgar profanities on them below the belt.

No one dared to say things like that directly to Ymir's face.

 

So the captain could actually be more provoked than they thought... 

Ymir's expression was absolutely priceless. No words left her gaping mouth, making him grin internally.

"Ymir deserves this... but this was really rude, Captain!"

Levi rolled his eyes: "What do you know, Yeager? Stay out of this!"

"But... that was a bit unfair!"

"Don't want to hear that.... Who disobeys gets punishment here, so stop with this!", his voice was desinterested and bored.

 

Eren stopped resisting and lowered his head, pouting. He had approached the group, watching from the side and could've never imagined the captain to act like this. Well, he also didn't when he snapped at all cadets at once. Although..... he still apologized afterwards and wasn't calling anyone names. He couldn't understand it and even less how snappy he was towards him as well out of nowhere, after their last encounter.

"Sorry to have waisted your time....", Eren turned and left.

This sudden change of attitude threw him out of his deep daydreaming. It felt very serious. A jolt ghosted through him, as he turned with wide eyes: "Eren..., wait!"

He caught up to the fastly leaving teenager, ignoring Ymir's suddenly once again amused facial expression.

"I........... didn't said that.", the captain muttered quietly when he finally reached him, looking at his face almost timidly, "You don't have to go...."

He was too shy, too impaired to really admit to his actions, but he didn't like that he upsetted him.

"Captain... why do you.... do that? Am I such bad company?"

Eren didn't dare to lift his face up or raise his voice over a low murmur.

'Why is he mean to me, although he said such nice words before? He wouldn't be like this to the commander.... even if it's just because of his rank.'

 

"Wha....... no..... I.... I'm like this to everyone....", he sighed and sounded nonchalant again, "What matters in the end, are the people I'd actually risk my ass for."

 

'He would? Wow... but... still how am I supposed to...'

"Captain..... are there a lot of these?"

It was obvious, that he'd shake his head negatingly.

"Well, I do exceptions, but that doesn't means I'd do that for anyone no matter what...... Now, please get ready. Plans changed slightly. You're coming with me. Bring that bag of yours."

"My bag!?"

"Yes..... that small, suspicious looking one you hide at the bottom of your bagpack."

"How do you-"

"Mnhh.... Would you believe me if I said, I've seen you put it in your bag and checked it out to make sure?"

"You're truly surprising today.... I had no ill intent."

"I know, Yeager. Meet me in front of the big lab in exactly 2 hours. Be punctual."

 

 

 

 

 

 

As time passed, Eren went to the front of the big, dusty, science lab 5 minutes early and noticed Levi sitting there on the floor, sipping water.

"Corporal, how long have you been (waiting) here?"

"10 minutes....", Levi sighed and was almost cynically thoughtfull, letting light awkwardness seep through the air.

The cadet just blinked at him, too overwhelmed to process his behaviour.

"Okay... here I am."

"Tch.", Levi snorted and stood up, gesturing for Eren to follow him into the roomy lab.

"You're... you're behaving very weird today, Captain... starting from the morning!"

Levi chuckled emotionless, his bold shoulders jerking lightly from the motion.

The cadet watched him order things in the lab and free the table, while deciding himself to close the door:

"Captain, you stole my first kiss! You know that?"

Levi stopped in his motion and released the item he was holding, slowly and almost temptatively putting it back.

"Oh!? Really? What a shame you had to receive it from someone like me in such a way...", was said with a way too alluring undertone.

'This dream gets better and better.....'

 

The captain turned to Eren now with an almost charming grin, pursing his lips and his usually narrow eyes held something softly inviting.

"Do you want another one? A better one?"

Eren almost choked at the sincere playfullness in his tone and flushed a bright crimson, not sure if to keep his eyes glued on him or to rapidly turn away.

'YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES, PLEASE.'

"Nh..no.. I...I MEAN... we shouldn't!!!"

'It would be indecent! And he's captain.. this.. ugh . oh my god.. he's such a tease...'

 

Levi only chuckled, now more softly and genuinely than the smug, superimposed chuckle from before. 'How easy it is to make him flustered... what a blessing. Sadly, he declined.'

Another turn, that subtly announced his change of attitude and his tone morphed into neutral and unbothered again. "Did you take what I asked you to?"

"Y-Yes!", Eren put the small leather bag on the desk, ignoring the awkward atmosphere in the room.

When Levi then pulled out an old, rusty key from his bag and muttered in such a nonchalant tone: "I knew your father.", Eren knew he just changed the whole ambiente.

"YOU KNEW MY FATHER!?"

"Well, not personally... but he was a great scientist. I think he might've dropped something for you... Follow me."

 

Levi led him through the numerous halls, down to an old underground basement. His tongue clicked in a deeply satisfied way when the doors creaked open widely and promising, after said key fitted perfectly into the heavy and rusty lock. Eren patiently followed, waiting for the right opportunity to ask what burned on the tip of his tongue. Thick spiderwebs cowered the corners, decade old dust layed on top of shelves, covering and hiding. Levi, unaware, scrunched up his nose at that display and groaned. "Jeez! Normally I'd say we clean this place before investigating, but we don't have the time! .... Look for something regarding research or appears like memoirs."

They lit the candles displayed across the room, evoking an eerie feeling of unrecognizable nostalgia in dim light. The chamber was furnished in medieval style, making them feel horribly misplaced in their military clothes.

Among empty test tubes and dried chemicals on shelves the captain found sheets of paper. Dust landed on his palm, when he lifted a piece, as he hissed and pulled back as if burned.

"I should have brought gloves!"

Eren chuckled softly and wondered. 'It distracts him a lot, doesn't it? ... I never knew. The sources I got never had anything about his private life...'

Long and tiring was the search for clues. At least it felt like this among all this filth. The tables were littered with all kinds of information. About plants, about equipment, about daily procedures and observations, about the spreading of the 'infection' sorted by time and places. ...

'Are you trying to tell me that there's a disease outside... possibly brought here by the monsters!? That means we're all infected! Good god, even if we defeat them, there's no way we can return.... the people have to save themselfs!!!'

The black haired paled, slightly creasing the paper in his fingers, as his features moved into a concerned frown. The dust had began to agitate him from minute to minute, crawling into his lungs, annoying his senses, itching on his skin. And the conclusion to all this was that they were pretty much hopeless.

"Captain!", Eren brought him out of his deep pondering with an urgent voice.

Levi carefully folded the papers and put them in his pocket, before hurriedly strolling over to the cadet. "What do you have there?"

His piercing gaze fell upon a small, narrow casket, with the name 'Grisha Yeager', cursively engraved at the bottom right.

"H....How did you know...?", Eren's voice was small and breathless.

His father had died first, protecting his work until the very end and his mother starved to death 5 years later, barely leaving any solid, good memories. Was the captain right and his father had tried to think of sending a message to his son, before dying?

His voice was low and soothing when he tried to calm the usually strong and cheerfull boy that was almost trembling next to him: "His work location was secret, but after the apocalypse the commander told us about all lost laboratories... I wasn't happy to hear that... but... look inside."

Slightly hesitating fingers carefully opened the casket. Upon opening an envelope, the first piece of paper showed him a combination of numbers, a code. The next one was different. A location possibly on the other side of the world, another lab, with short explanation that everything needed was there. The postscript mentioned to bequeath a certain key only to family members. Underneath all the letters was a very familiar looking compass.

"Father.........", Eren whispered moved, staring at the things in wide disbelief. After all these years there was a trace of him. The mystery involving his dissapearience was slowly solving itself and he put it upon Eren to continue the journey he had started, making his heart swell with pride and simultaneous grief.

Levi's glare when he discovered Eren dwelling in memories of their discovery resembled a full blown puppy face.

'This key..... among this old family picture in his bag... is all that was left from them, wasn't it? .... It's like he met his father again....... poor boy. Well, at least he had one.'

Levi's heart swelled with sympathy and understanding as he carefully came closer to the unmoving cadet and consolingly squeezed his shoulder. The brown haired looked up to find grays fixating him with a soft, promising glare, reassuring him that it's alright and he'd help.

It put a smile on the others face. "Thank you, Levi."

That had been the first time he had called him by first name ever. And it felt appropriate in this situation, even when Levi stilled and took a slightly surprised breath in.

'No worries, brat. I know this shit feeling.'

 

"Now... we really don't have much time. I don't know how long we spend in here, but something around here is deeply wrong... That's the main reason I decided to stay... This... this place... everything we found out so far is really strange compared to what we thought we knew about the situation, isn't it???"

Eren's eyes widened as he followed his words and Levi's change of mood: "Strange?? You mean.. something bad is gonna happen?? Well, I have no idea why the bunker is so far from the laboratory.. ah... and why most decayed parts of territory look like a junkyard and not natural at all."

"Bingo...! And.... ", Levi looked around skeptically, his eyes carefully wandering around the gloomy chamber, as he mumbled in a chilly, low voice right next to Eren, "And... what alerts me the most.... There are no corpses whereever. Not a single trace."

The brown haired gasped as he looked at the captain, half understanding what this meant, half looking him questiongly over, hoping this wasn't too bad.

There was really something wrong.

 

Suddenly the walkie talkie screeched loud in the empty room, piercing into their ears, as someone tried to contact them.

"Hello?", Levi answered strained, a moment after both of them flinched away from shock.

It was Erwin, in a very low quality, static resounding between them, and he seemed concerned: "Levi.... we didn't follow your advise and I think it might be too late for us now..."

The captain took in a shook, noisy inhale, when he felt his heartbeat increasing, even though all of this only COULD be a dream!?

But he understood precisely. The commander had figured out that there was no way to run, they were here soon.

Levi pushed the casket into Eren's hands and hurriedly went through other things to find something usefull, his voice trembling from anger and shock. "I told you to retreat! As soon as that!! WHY DOES NO ONE LISTEN TO ME!? Grrr... I'm staying here and saving the cadets."

Another impossibly loud screech hurtled through the device in such an intensity, that they feared they had lost connection. Eren followed the conversation worriedly, when Erwin' voice was barely comprehensible.

"Y- ffzz you... were fzz right. FZZZ... I'm sure FFFZZZZSHHH you will succeed, Lance Corporal...."

Levi took in a shaking breath, as he simultaneously pushed Eren with him out of the room and hurried to the first floor. "Erwin....", his voice swelled with emotion and absolute hatred for the situation, "You are an idiotic, but also incredibly amazing man!"

The commander stilled, since this was one unusual thing to say for the corporal and answered not a second too late: "Thank you. Take care, Levi."

The said almost smashed the walkie talkie on the floor in frustration when the connection suddenly broke apart and he just knew what was going on. He ordered in a stern voice: "Eren, gather everyone inside, close and barricade all entrances and DON'T go out!! I'll get the outside team and then we'll hide in the basement!!!"

 

 

 

 

When 5 minutes later the captain rushed back with a scared and pretty breathless bunch of cadets, things didn't go quite as planned. The horde of approaching monsters managed to break open a big entrance and was gushing into the building. Thanks to Eren's intelligence and something Levi suspected was mind reading, the rest waited with him before the lab, while the captain hadn't even stopped on his run.

"Follow!", he lowly barked and fiercly dashed through the halls.

Safely in the basement, Levi decided for the only right thing. 'Let's see how I fight in closed rooms....'

He was delighted to see Eren's bag with him and hurriedly gave him the key to close up the solid, big doors.

"I'm going back to finish them off. You stay here and don't make a sound! They won't find you here..."

Eren's overwhelmingly sad and panicked face made him rethink his neutral farewell.

Keeping it be would be too cruel, but he knew he had no time for much of words. Now or never. He shrugged internally.

'Nice dream.'

 

And he suddenly stepped forward, holding Eren's face with fingers on his narrow chin and pressed his lips against his once again with closed eyes for a sweet and short last smooch, ignoring the sudden gasps and sharp inhales around them. 

'I get to kiss Eren twice.'

 

Not a second later he pushed away, looking at Eren's wide, beautiful eyes. "Remember me.", he muttered, deeply staring into the blue-green sea, before closing the doors behind him and rushing off. 

Eren was too dazed to stop him.

Everyone was shocked, even Ymir. Only Krista and Shadis seemed to have expected that.

The brown haired seemed to awake out of his daze after a few moments, changing into wild and agitated, throwing himself towards the doors with a loud wail: "CAAAPTAAAAAAAIN!"

Thanks to Mikasa's extraordinary reflexes, Eren was held back in seconds, the door was locked, but the fight didn't stop.

When he finally calmed down from his violent yerking and whining, sitting on the floor with his friends, Jean leaned over, looking hesitant and bemused: "Y...you... and captain..... have something?"

"I....", Eren was suddenly shy and sighed, softly blushing, "Actually not... I don't know why he suddenly did this..."

Mikasa looked slightly pissed, while Armin was the more understanding one.

"Yeah ... totally unpredictable, after he kissed you in his room this morning."

Jean's face suddenly turned a bright crimson, while Eren just squeaked lightly.

"Wh...whaaaat!?"

"It's not what you think it is! Levi fell down the bed and Eren went to check on him and... uh... well..", Armin responded quickly.

 

They were suddenly interrupted by another loud screech comming from Sasha's walkie talkie, and just as fast as that Levi's voice cut through the air sharply. 

"Can you tell me where the axe is???"

His steps were loud and fast, monsters growling in the background.

Jean tried to shout directions, but was cut off by a very fast corporal.

"Found it....... Argggghh!"

"Are you okay!?!?!", the others were concerned by the sudden groan on the other end.

A few seconds later, more static sounds and low thudding filled the dusty room.

"Kinda... I'm still alive, kids. It's alright.", his voice sounded strained and slightly pained. No one had to know that his shoulder was severly bleeding.

Eren yelled lowly from his place on the floor, in an urging tone: "Captain, I will come and get you out of there!"

There was no way he should do all of this alone. It wasn't close to anything he deserved and at the thought alone Eren felt his heart painfully contract.

"No, Eren.. YOU STAY HERE. If I don't do this now, no one of you will make it out of the laboratory. Someone has to survive. Although this is a dream", you could hear the smile in voice, "keep the key! I'm glad I met you. Stay gold."

The connection broke.

'Good for me....', Levi thought, since he didn't felt like talking anymore anyway.

 

On the other hand he scared someone else half to death. The brown haired ran desperately to the walkie talkie, where just a second ago he could hear captain's low voice and broke down, bursting into tears, crouching on arms and legs.

"Noooo, Captain, you can't do this! Don't die!!! You can't do this to us! To me!"

There were consoling arms immediately wrapping around him in a caring and protective way.

Jean's frown created such deep creases between his brows, it could compete with Levi's, when he looked at the scene before him. Even if the other denied his involvement, he could see how deeply attached he was to the black haired.

But it was too late now. Tears were streaming neverending down his heated cheeks, clutchig the device in his hands, he knew... he would never see the corporal again.....

 

(Alive.)

Chapter Text

 

This time the awakening was quiet and non spectacular.

Levi stared at the wall in front of him with interweaved hands on his chest, barely registering the shadows from the pale early morning light ghosting over the surface. Every memory felt so ironically surreal, although now felt refreshing. He was alive. Very alive.

'This can't be a dream at this point, can it??? But how... Maybe I'll "wake up" if I manage to stay alive?'

Contemplating past events didn't made him smarter. There were just borders in his mind, he didn't dared to breach yet, not enough information and too much to loose if understood wrong.

 

 

But against his intention, he died before he met the cadets at the lab. Right in front of Sasha's and Jean's faces, as the eternal blackness filled his vision and seeped through his mind. People used to say they felt at rest, that your last moments were your most peacefull and sincere. Those moments replayed for quite a while now and Levi had to decline every implication of this for most of the time. He couldn't even die in peace! Everything was connected with violence and shamefull failure.

 
'Not this time.'

He had allowed himself to clean a little in the gloomy basement, thinking that he had a little more time, knowing where everything needed was and miscalculated his possebilities. Since he also didn't took this dream too serious

This should not to happen now.

The complexity and purpose of all this slowly began dawning on him as he stared at the wall once again in deep bemusement.

'Is the universe trying to tell me something? Might've been the wrong pick, because I am blinded and deafened by grief and hatred.'

The sheer possibility of this seemed so impossible and bizzare that his mind had trouble puttling it together, or rather accepting it. It seemed too big, too taxing. He simply shook his head and decided to utilize it for something far more usefull: Remember and better his mistakes, plan a strategy and focus.

 

 

 


He'd done everything like before, corrected every little picky mistake, cleared his overstrained mind and kept out an eye for everything, in an almost paranoid way.

Now this.... now he really had no idea how to act. Eren's blue's-

'Blue-green..... he is... sad?'

-were staring intently on him, surrounded by scared friends and comrades. Painfully present was the basement location surrounding them, the soon to be closed door, like a barrier between him and them. Eren.

The cadet's desperation grew with each second, not knowing what to think, to feel and what to do. He felt so useless! Fearing more for the captain than himself, he nervously fidgeted with his jacket, as the tension rose and time seemed even more scarce. 

The black haired supressed an overdue sigh and cupped the cadet's shoulders, pushing him closer to him.

"Keep the key.", his voice was, even surprising for himself, so low and raspy, although soft around the edges, "Thank you, Eren. I'm glad I met you. Remember me and stay gold. I believe in you........."

The decision fell and cruelly ripped him forever from Eren's grasp, took him away in the worst way possible.

After closed doors Levi heard the screech that came again.

"Captaaaain!"

It was even more desperate now. Probably because he wasn't confused anymore and realized what was going on. He wasn't ready to give up his dream. He wasn't ready to give up on Levi. But he had no choice, but to let him go... and it caused deep fractures in his innocent heart.

 

 


Levi had no time thinking about all of this and surely not the emotional capacity right now. He had to do this right, now!

Dashing through the halls with highspeed, he could hear exactly where the predators were.

'BUCKLE UP, HELLBEASTS. I'M GONNA BLAST YOU TO THE MOOOON.'

 

There was it. Right before him as he spurted through the halls towards inescapable dread that broke into their shelter. Strong hands grabbed the massive, movable table with wheels and maneuvered it right towards the center of hell. The side entrance, out of which dozens of dark creatures oozed like slime.
Levi roared, accelarating in speed, rolling towards his target like a powerfull avalance. And dare someone to underestimate him! As he slammed the moving object right at the monsters standing in the way, he threw his body along it, for a more powerfull hit, pushing a dozen of those creatures right outside, before elegantly jumping back inside. 

This move may have seemed childish, but he was known for utilizing all his surroundings towards his advantage in a more or less creative way, making each of his appearances not only extremely powerfull, but also sophisticated.

 

And this time he knew what he did wrong. Now he would learn from his mistakes.

 

He threw the doors shut and in one fluid motion kicked the dark creature next to him hard against the ground.

 

'Why are you fuckers so damn heavy, ehhh?'

Movement next to him, dodged by a hard slam of 30 inch knife against the monsterthroat. His clever eyes wandered over the cadaver as he remembered to close the doors.

'Apropos heavy...... '

With two hieves the, still pretty attached leg of a dead beast, barricaded the doors, where a lock had been usually, effectively holding the monsters outside in check. Even if temporary.

'At least, THIS is what you're good for!'

Levi pushed out his beloved two grayish semi-automatics he had put into his pockets before, aiming them at the beasts simultaneously.

 

CLACK, CLACK. PENG!

 

Bodies fell with a loud thud, bullets rained down in a dazing rhythm, his good aim and the fact that he was alone, provided him customary succes. Soon he was alone again, among dead, gloomy monsters. 

 

'This buys me a little time....'

His coordinated steps could get easily mistaken for determination. He knew exactly where to go and what to get and every precisely calculated action and movement was purely instinct for him. Everything seethed back into a subconscious plane of existence, since the day he started to feel numb.


The small and dusty office at the East Wing of the Laboratory had been crammed to the brim and the door almost falling off it's rusty hinges when it was yanked open. 

 

Fortunately, Levi found the big double lock fast and non complicated thanks to the memory due to whatever-all-this-weird-shit-was.

He had to fight off multiple beasts on his way back, knowing that those damn creatures distributed all around the slightly intricate halls of the laboratory.

Thankfully the door was still on it's place, unopened, although not for long anymore. The chains were wrapped around the door double thight now, lock sitting heavy.

'Prevented more monsters from entering: Check. Cleared the entrance: Check. Fixed the gate: Check. F-'

He was violently jerked back by an angry beast, trying to slash his shoulder through the fabric of his jacket, effectively ripping a long line into it, making the torn fabric show downward due to the big created hole. From up close and in bad light they looked even more horrendous than in any book. The white static of their empty eyesockets seemed to illuminate their scrawny figures and blind your bare eyes. Enough reason for people's common belief that they were cursed. Since the corporal felt like his whole life was jinxed either way, it didn't made much difference.

'Ugh... WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN MY CLOTHES!?'

An elegant kick and a combination with his knife later and it was down.

His agile legs moved through the halls now, quietly and elegantly like sneaking, but still powerfull and fast. Whole body taut and focused, waiting for the enemy, while the only other thing awaiting him were empty and dirty halls. His trained brain registered and remembered the exact structure of the whole building and scanned every area in sight precisely in seconds, eyes sharp and narrowed, pulling that famous crease between his brows.

People (or rather his past friends and accomplices) had used to joke that the government secretly implanted a micro chip in Levi's brain and that he was a cyborg, explaining his invincibility.

While his incredible brain did work like a computer during fighting, it was less due to his robotic like ways, but because he had felt no passion about it what so ever. Following each step necessary to gain strength and do what others had wanted him to, had made him apathetic and will-less, maneuvering his perfectly controlled body on autopilot and when demanded. His laid back character and emotionless face only strengthened the belief that he was a robot, rather than a human beeing. Whole conspiracy theories dealt with this side of him, while others simply declared him a freaky sociopath. Levi didn't knew what he was, because he in fact, had stopped feeling human long ago. Maybe he did lost his soul to the monsters somehow.... even if indirectly.

A suspicious sound send him in high alert and lurking around the corner only to find... What? Twenty gathered blackish creatures, unhurriedly walking through the narrow hall with their bony and sharp limbs. And only 10 bullets left. Not enough time. The knife would have to do until he had reached the small infirmary for the axe. A quick strategy, paired by an impossibly brief course of action was enough for him, while it was crazily insufficient for anyone else.

The narrow barrel of one of his guns peeked out from the corner, while he was pressed against the wall as closely as possible, squinting for good aim, so he wasn't seen.

The first monster fell after the first shot, the next two followed after 6 bullets. It once again amazed him how they never emitted any other sounds, than growling, as if they were made out of slime and dark matter, dissolving without any trace. But they weren't.

The roar grew louder, once the attention and movement shifted towards his direction.

Two more beasts were struck down, before he was out of ammo for now. He drew his long knife out with one elegant whirl of his hand, grabbing it thight and stepping out into the hall.

'You only have to pass through...'

His legs started in a light sprint, wielding the weapon in front of him, just in time with the ferociously hissing predators.

CLACK. Sound like metal colliding against metal, before the knife corrected it's trajectory and severed off veins just as arteries, of the one blocking the way. Levi jumped to the side blazingly fast, before dodging the approaching claw by a hair's breadth.

Still nothing that could make the strongest fighter on earth faint-hearted.

 

The walls were narrow, restraining him, but this could get turned into a very usefull advantage as well.

A steel hard kick against the abdomen, probably making everyone else sick for weeks, teleported the skeleton-like predator to his left, against the next wall.

Blood rushed to his brain, as his eyes suddenly scanned everything around him, precisely: the surface of the wall in front of him and the amount of steps needed. Only seconds, before the thought turned into simultaneous impuls, when his body pushed through as if on it's own. Muscular legs ran and jumped, using the verve and elasticity of his body to get along and across the wall for a few metres, passing most predators and elegantly landing on his feet again. A few more hard blows and he was free of the impossibly large crowd of monsters.

As soon as his focused eyes got sight of the empty hall in front of him, he ran as fast as his legs could carry him, to get as much dinstance between him and the suddenly very enraged beasts behind him.

'RUN FOR YOUR GODDAMN LIFE, MOTHERFUCKER.'

He could remember precisely what happened last time. How he got that fatal gash on his head, that made him dizzy enough to loose focus for the rest of the fight. Time had to play in his favor now.

He crossed the main hall, side hall - no suspicious movements. That was suspicious on it's own! He reached the small infirmary in record time, although in clumsy desperation.

No time was wasted in finding the axe, but still, just as he turned around, could witness almost like in slow motion, how a dark claw reached into the small room, like the boogeyman visiting a naughty child at night.

That's how Levi felt right now.

 

His eyes widened as he observed the room beeing filled with multiple, identic looking creatures, pushing him against the far corners of the infirmary.

'At least I know that it can't be the one's running behind me... those are other ones... almost like waiting for me to get into their mishevious trap!'

Surprising for himself, the hard blow from the enormous beast almost passed his attention, as it hovered over him. A quick gasp and he was rolling along the wall, the claw crashing into the place he was just a second ago with brute, destructive force. He didn't even had to look to know there was a big gap.

He was cornered, giant beasts staring at the already pretty small man from all sides with their gaping, hungry mouths. But he never saw them devour anyone ever. They just slashed people and animals apart for the fun of it; killers. Their white eyesockets shone like lantern lights in a dark forest. Quite fascinating, if not for the fact that they were the reason, the infirmary looked pitch black now.

He stared around alarmed, trying to find a vanishing point among all the approachig claws.

 

'You know what they say about short people?'

When it was finally found, while squinting in an almost angry way, he let himself fall down and roll through and under all the figures before jumping up and ramming the axe into the next skull, using the weight of the beast to push the others out of the way.

'THEY ARE CLOSER TO HELL!!!!!!'

Because of the force needed for a precise hit in such a pulpy situation, he grit his teeth and narrowed his eyes, looking furiously focused.

The long-desired exit appeared in sight, tangible a moment before Levi got shoved against the floor by multiple long skeleton legs.

Emitting his own irritated premium growl, he made an easy somersault straight out of the infirmary. For one thing his small stature had to be useful!

Jumping right up again, as if his legs were made out of springs, he kicked the door shut with his foot, his face a mask of frustration.

 

His legs further led him in the opposite directions of which he appeared out of, since he knew he couldn't finish off an impossible mass of creatures in a closed hall.

Eliminating lonely and small groups of monsters, while checking empty places for stability was proven to be the most successfull method, forcing him to admit, that the cadets had done a good job barricading so far, until they were out of material for all entrances.

'So far, so good....'

 

 


Lurking around all corners again, gave him some time to rethink his strategy, before his eyes caught sight of an approaching mass of monsters. It weren't all of them, he knew that. There was no point in running now. This was his moment. Showdown. Allowing him to put his plan into reality. Survive at every price!

With both hands firmly around the wooden axe and a quiet warcry, but to compensate a furious facial expression, he sprinted towards his adversary's.

Cutting the beast in half didn't quite work out, when the axe hit it with enormous force, but it pushed the newcomers against the ground with a loud metallic crash.

The captain worked himself through them, cutting heads by slashing left and right, before he was violently thrown against the wall by their bodies push. The simultaneous colliding of his skull and back against the hard surface, made his systems crash for a moment, the axe slipping from his trembling fingers.

"Nghhh!", he gasped out with an expression overwhelmed with worry and surprise, before sinking to the floor.

Only sudden, instinctive immediate somersaults and jumps saved him from further collision with the beasts.

Now he was almost defenseless again, only knife in hand that was used in close combat. He took steps back, one black creature jumping him, raising his arm and skewering up it's skull from the side. One precise hit, but the blade got stuck inside of it's head and pulled on his hand painfully when it fell.

There was no opportunity for backup jumps, or retrievals, when he found himself surrounded again.

'Fuck.'

In a blink his brain had an answer, his body driven by survival instinct. He shoved and kicked with arms and legs, just to get the creatures away from him before they could reach him, bruising himself in the process. He rushed forward, ducking just in time to barely get his soft cheek slashed open by a millimetre. His hands gripped the lying axe and wielded it against attackers on the floor, gasping and huffing from exertion.

It was a lot more arduous to stand up now as ever, his skin and muscles starting to become sore. But he still kicked as hard and fast as ever, singlehandedly shredding his opponents to pieces in the hall. In fights like that all he used were usually powermoves, taking a lot of energy out of everyone unused of long fights. He seemed like the only human beeing able to withstand... but that was in an open place, with sufficient weaponry, mostly with backup, often armored and beforehand planned. Now making each hit as precise as possible took double, if not three times the effort, slowly, but surely and inevitably exhausting him.

Standing in a hall littered with dead creatures should have been reward enough for him, if not for the fact that another set of those found him.

'Oh no.... No, no, no, no, no, no!'

He reflexively set to flee and hide, because no way he could fight these off now without serious injuries, even though those were less attackers.

As he was about to push past another corner, he saw it: A beast way huger from the rest of the clutch, buffer, meaner, blacker, with curvy and thick horns reminding of a bull.

'There you are, bastard. Long time no see.'

Immediately pushing back, he waited, pressed against the wall and panting intensly, body beginning to ache and slacking.

If he had really bad luck, both parties would find him, when they rounded up each of their corners.

Thankfully it were only the others, and by making himself push past quickly, lured them back where they came from and got less attention on himself. After those heads were slayed and Levi found his breath again, beeing an absolute and utter rarity that he ever lost it, it got a bit better.

He put his steps carefully and calculated as he tottered forward in search of the big beast. Not like the other's weren't, but that one was on a whole other level.
He had to finish it off first and not last... or it would take all his remaining energy with it.

Ducking in the shadows of the furniture and cabinets, the black haired fighter made his way through the cold, monster invested halls of the hauntingly silent laboratory.

The search didn't took too long, as he was suddenly face to face with the gigantic predator, appearing out of nowhere.

'How did you even came through the door!? Jesus Christ.... '

It slowly stepped closer, as a short flashback ghosted through Levi's brain.

 

The monster held the blackhaired corporal in a thight, death grip, it's other claw boring deep into his body and creating extensive pools of blood everywhere. He couldn't do anything with his violently trembling hands and limp body. But he couldn't give up now! Eren could die if he did.
With his last power his arm began to move, fingers to clench, body to awake. The axe moved almost like in slow motion, claiming all of him and then... his arm simply detached the monsters head in one precise blow, it's grip faltered on his mutilated body and as the realization came over him, a grin started tugging at the corners of his mouth. Slowly, slowly both bodies started falling to the floor, limping, crashing. Levi's lids closed and fingers relaxed as he fell into his ultimate triumph: killing all intruders! He was dead before his body reached the floor. 

 

And he also remembered what would happen when he died before destroying every intruder.

He grit his teeth at the thought, gripping thight onto his weapon and staring up to the beast with a glare as burning and murderous as it's own.

'You won't hurt them.'

 


Like hell he would wait now until the monster made it's move (unlike last time)! There was no time to waste, till his body was worn off.

His attack was dodged surprisingly easy, when the claw pushed back onto the axe and threw him back on his initial place. Each time the lifted axe reflected in the light, it was blocked by huge black claws. In a matter of seconds the fighter found himself suddenly on the floor from a heavy blow sending him headlong. And, oh lord , it was on him now, trying to rip open his muscular flesh and suffocate him with it's weight. The other soon found his kicking ineffective and made backward somersaults, hearing it's claw pierce through the floor planks where he laid just a moment ago, just to hit his back on his landing, paralyzing him for a moment. In utter frustration Levi swung the axe with power, the impetus sending it flying and getting stuck in the side of it's thick skull. The relief that followed, wasn't of a lasting nature. His eyes impossibly widened, when the huge, bulky claw suddenly wrapped thightly around the wooden handle and slowly pulled it out off it's head. It was holding the weapon as it moved towards Levi again, who was frantically squirming away, half too shocked to do anything but stare.


'I'm dead. I'm fucking dead!'

In a last effort he crossed his arms in front of him, probably aware that he could end up without them, but the monster's aim wasn't too good, disturbed by it's own gigantic claws, making the rolled up human able to block the attack with said limbs, but it wasn't stopping there, as the blade still dangerously howered over him. It took almost all of him to hold it back, the pressure strong against him. A loud groan escaped him, as his arms felt like giving away, pulsating and aching. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he gathered up energy to use an old trick, his uncle Kenny once showed him. He placed one foot on the chest and the other on the abdomen of the monster when it was low enough and with a yerk straightened from his rolled up position, kicking the monster away from him, and if he had less luck, himself away from it. The axe flew to the floor with a loud clattering, but the wrath and bloodlust of the beast long didn't cease. One quick slide of Levi couldn't prevent him from getting his exposed shoulder pierced.

"Aaaaaahhh!", he yelled in pain, loud and tortured, before nearly missing to pick up his weapon. With a violent and not nearly as precise, beautiful and advanced chop, it landed on his attacker and beheaded it, similair to last time.

No time for relief, as he spotted new monsters appearing from deep inside the building, attracted by his sounds.

Soon he stood there with shaky legs, awkwardly bend and slacking off, trying his hardest to focus with a bleeding shoulder. His moves were two times slower than usual, each move carefull and almost desperately defensive. Almost tripping over his own, way too heavy and apparently lanky (they weren't) legs, he killed the last attacker with jagged movements.

 

When the first shock passed his mind, his body immediately relaxed and he collapsed onto the floor with a long overdue sigh. He was completely strained, dizzy and done, almost fainting in the process......

 

Chapter Text

 

By all means, 20 minutes were definitely needed to catch his breath and feel moderately alive again and judging by the obvious fact that he hadn't been attacked, it was safe for now. He stood up with a hoarse pant, his head spinning for a moment, actually making him concerned, since he had never felt such extreme bodily impoverishment. Walking leisurely and slowly, helped stabilising his condition and when the check was completed and his suspicion that no monsters were left alive concluded, he was finally ready to head back.

His clothes were ripped, dirty, absorbing some blood, his body had scratches, red spots, his usually perfect, shiny hair in dissaray. Staggering awkwardly back like a drunken man, he knocked on the basement door after 3 hours of his absence.

 

On the other side was anxious silence, Eren still in the arms of his friends, swimming in his own bitter tears looked up and gasped.

"Open up. It's me."

The voice was hoarse, low and neutral as always, but without any strength behind it.

 

'C...?'

"Captain!!!!!!"

 

The brown haired cadet had been sure he wouldn't see him again and partially thought this was a hallucination, but the hopefull, albeit sad way he sounded and how he just jumped up and yanked the basement door wide open after unlocking it, told otherwise.

Before doing anything else, the very tired looking black haired took the freedom to step in, no matter how close he was to the other, with his hand still around the doorknob.

Eren's eyes were red, watery, cheeks full of dried tears, hair in dissaray and with such a sad, heartbroken and now absolutely reliefed facial expression. After realizing that it was indeed Levi, that he was alive, although looked like he had the roughest fight in history, another series of tears collected in his eyes.

Immediately his arms were firmly and tenderly around the captain, the first sound a muffled sniff.

"Captain!!... I... god.. I thought you.... Never do that again!!!! You could've died, you absolute idiot!!!!", Eren's voice sounded extremely agitated, sad and reliefed at the same time, body pressed as close to the corporal as possible, "Why did you go alone? Couldn't you take at least Mikasa or Shadis with you?? You can't just act like... like... the sacrifice..."

Levi's eyes widened incredibly for the second time this day, realizing his cadet's condition by his heartbreaking sniffs and cuddles and what all of this was. And he thought nothing could faze him anymore.

It all made him incredibly moved, his heart skipped a beat and slowly processing the situation he carefully pulled his arms around the other, returning his hug and looking him worriedly and softly over, a little unbelieving.

'He... really cares about me.... god.. all of this is crazy....'

Seeing and hearing him cry in front of him made his heart ache and the sudden new fondness for his cadet and the overall gentleness that fitted into this person, made him relax completely. He sighed and wrapped even closer and more comforting around him, sinking into his arms and nuzzling closer.

Both were completely unaware that everyone stared at them, also that none of these glares seemed judgemental.

 

 

Somehow later, they convinced them to move. While Eren wasn't about to let go of the captain anytime soon, they just stumbled inside, and sat down together. Levi was leaned against the wall and Eren practically lying on him, both not faltering in their grip and enjoying the closeness. It was somehow very therapeutic and calming.

"It's alright... I'm here.. I'm okay...", he mumbled lowly, almost whispered into his ear.

They took care of his shoulder, while Eren had still refused to let go of him and immediately got back to his previous course of action, wrapping his legs around him as well. He didn't mind. At all.

 

"You seem a bit cold.", Sasha stood in front of him and shily, but friendly remarked.

The other was quite thankfull of the big blanket that was now wrapped around him, his back no longer against the cold, hard wall and wrapped the rest around Eren for better snuggling.

The cadet's head lifted up after a while, eyes still red, heart still a little aching, but he felt a little better and relaxed. His voice was slightly dull and low as he looked at Levi's scarred, slightly smeared with blood cheek.

"That must hurt. ....", he looked concerned.

"No...", Levi's voice was soft and sweet, making the cadet feel immediately better, "It's alright."

They regarded each other with a short glare, before Eren nuzzled against his chest and closed his eyes.

 

Mikasa usually wouldn't like seeing this, but even while observing them she didn't mind.

She had seen and heard so much depressing stuff from her friend these past hours, heard his heart shatter, just as his resolve and now seeing Eren nuzzled by his idol was pretty soothing.

If this day had a continuation, Levi was sure that Eren would not let him go alone anywhere at all anymore, trying to make him feel alright and keep him close.

Jean was watching them from time to time, while softly holding Marco's trembling hand. His friend was pale and absently, nervously staring at his surroundings.

 

 

Levi couldn't believe the wonder in his arms he was holding. It felt so undeserved, yet so blessing.

So somebody gave enough of a shit about him to endlessly bawl their eyes out when they thought he was dead. Now even the thought that he had made Eren sad by this before was unsettling.

'Of course it can be only Eren... I wouldn't give my soul out to the wrong pick, right? He is pure... yes... and amazing....'

The corporal stared at the brown head cuddled up on his chest with such fondness, he was almost smiling.

He kept softly carassing and fondling his soft shoulders and back slowly, soothingly.

Eren was mostly quiet, listening to Levi's heartbeat and determined to be fully assured that the other was alive and close. They remained like this, relaxing and dozing on each other, waiting for the wave of monsters to pass. The captain soon fell into a deep slumber while carassing and holding Eren's head close. This was by far the deepest sleep he had been in for years. He was just extremely exhausted and feeble and at the same time coddled up extremely, because he knew Eren would be there and look after him. It was true. The cadet lifted his head after a while, only to find the captain fully asleep in his arms, head hanging down a little. After admiring the sight before him for a bit, he carefully rummaged out a wettened tissue and started wiping his injured cheek with it. Levi didn't wake up, even more didn't budge even a little bit at this. Furthermore Eren quietly asked for a band-aid. He applied a featherly soft kiss on his cheek, before putting it on. With a loving facial expression he also kissed his vanishing bruise on his jaw, before nuzzling back to sleep.

 

 

 

The captain felt like sleeping through the whole night unbothered and he would if there weren't two things bothering him. His conscience, that brought up the responsebility over the military and the cadets (He had the second rank in the whole military of the Rose after all! And now even the first.). And the cadets themself, shifting awake slowly when he heard excited movement.

He groaned softly and looked up, eyes still a little red and puffy from sleep, noticing an incidental tuft of brown hair resting on him and moving lightly with each breath. With a short glare up, he noticed the tension of the cadets, nervously murmuring to each other, standing at the door and around.

'I'm too tired for this shit.... let me sleep...'

When the sounds even woke Eren, that was shifting and looking up, he almost snorted.

"What's going on, uhh??", Levi lowly and coldly rumbled, sounding still a bit drowsy.

"W.... we think they left...! The walkie talkies work again.. it's quiet..."

This immediately woke the captain up completely.

"What!? I.. I ...", his voice surprised and a tad higher than usual, his eyes were slightly wild, before collecting himself a bit.

He never came as far before. What is he supposed to do the rest of the day, how is he supposed to react to the sudden vanishing of the monsters!?

'Goodbye long missed sleep.'

Clearing his throat, he evened his voice, and in a commanding tone, but low and carefull, with a side glance on the freshly awoken cadet in his arms, said:

"Okay... listen... the laboratory is as safe as it gets, but if I'll order some of you to go check, I'll still want you to be carefull, for a short check... just the windows without opening anything. We can't flee now, it's dangerous in the dark, with no trace where they went off to. So... as long as you be carefull... while checking.. you could try to get some food and water... and weapons.... if you come back and everything is safe I'll tell you what else to get. But if you see a monster: run. Don't try to get anything. We don't want any more causalities."

"Aye, Captain. Who goes?"

"Who wants to.... three to four people. Quietly..."

 

The arrangements were made quickly, leaving the rest sitting and waiting anxiously, while Levi randomly played with the strap on Eren's shoulder without noticing.

After 10 minutes the cadets returned, pale, but reliefed, carrying bags full of stuff.

"It's safe... no monsters in sight, except for the one's you killed, Captain.", Marco said with a slightly pale face.

The said nodded, without noticing further tension, continueing with his choice of activity.

"That were... Captain... at least 50 or something! How did you do it? Everyone else would've been dead by now!"

With another soft nod he explaimed: "That's right. That's why I did it. I have no idea how I made it, but here I am."

"You're beeing modest.....", Eren lowly rumbled and soothingly carassed his unhurt shoulder.

He knew that the captain usually killed more of them and had way better execution, but without weapons, in such a thight space, trapped for so long, was almost guaranteed to be deadly.

"And what now?", Armin carefully asked.

"Well.... we need matrasses.. lots of them.. if we are about to sleep here, because of safety reasons, we rather sleep on something relaxing. And we need all the papers and plans we gathered as far. Shadis, would you?"

The bald man nodded shortly and saluted. "Yes, Captain."

"Yes... everyone can go...."

Looking down and clearing his throat, he gave Eren a soft, apologetic glare and carefully pushed him off his lap, before trying to stand up, and promptly falling back against the wall with a low groan, because his knees gave in and making everyone collectively gasp about his condition.

Eren almost yelped from shock, shooting up: "Captain, why did you stand up!? Sit back!!"

He helped him down, in a way pulling him back on his lap, one hand under his knees and the other holding his back, easily supporting his whole body like this. Levi didn't respond, didn't flinch or resist, holding his forehead with closed eyes, as he felt the beginning of a headache forming.

"I....'m just exhausted, it's fine...", he mumbled slowly through grit teeth.

"Sure, Captain....", Eren mumbled softly and reassuringly, while wrapping the blanket back around him and letting him rest against him once more, everyone slowly vanished from the room.

 

Soon the room got filled with lying matrasses all across and even a whole container of food was barricading the entrance.

The captain slowly recovered from his occuring headache and decided to take it a bit easier now. He spread out a little on Eren's lap and layed a whole arm atop his shoulders, lifting his gaze, trying to still connote authority, making it seem a little as if he ordered Eren to treat him like a princess. It didn't mattered, since everyone knew the truth.

After the last report, Levi made a small check of what they had, until suddenly remembering.

 

"Wait.... Mikasa..... what are you doing here? Weren't you supposed to be in the explorer team?", Levi send her a slightly questioning and sharp glare, also remembering the blond boy among them.

The mostly quiet and obedient black haired girl didn't even lift an eyebrow at the question, fixating the other with an emotionless facial expression. Her voice was firm, but careful and feminine like from a true asian. "Commander was suspicious about your sudden change of mind and wanted to know whether you are alright. He ordered me to check on you. And I didn't want to leave either Eren or Armin behind."

'Erwin did? Tz... I should have known. Also... she was there the last time as well, wasn't she? Was it his doing as well or is she just telling me things to convince me?'

He nodded and decided to let it rest for today. "Good to have you here..."

 

When everything was clarified, the team finally decided to rest on the old matrasses with their dark green blankets.

No matter what, Eren was still by Levi's side like a tick, clinging onto him on the smooth surface at the floor. Levi could barely hold his eyes open, but observed with quiet amusement how the cadet was adamantly laying sideways wrapped around him, half hanging from the narrow matrass.

"C'mere....", Levi softly coed and reached out for him with open arms.

With a slightly bewildered facial expression, Eren automatically climbed back on top. "Doesn't that hurt? Won't I squish you?"

"No. You are light...", Levi softly murmured and sighed satisfied when the younger finally applied his weight and hugged him close, nuzzling his head into his shoulder.

"Good night, Captain."

"Good night, ....Eren....", Levi lowly whispered with closed eyes, treating him like a full sized teddy bear.

Even with a headache, he calmed down fastly, feeling warmth in his chest and his whole body, comforted by the others closeness and care.

When the clock struck twelve he was fast asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levi awoke slightly anxious and at the same time, as well rested as never before.

Anxious, because he didn't want to repeat the same difficult procedure in the same way.

Rested, because of obvious reasons.

 

He had indeed spend the rest of the day with cuddling the clingy cadet. But who said he wanted to stop??? He was longingly staring at his chest, where the other had been before, a lengthy sigh leaving his lungs.

But he couldn't just go over to him now and ask if he could get a hug, right? People don't usualy do that..... even more if you are captain of the survey corps, highest ranked right after Erwin. Erwin did the organization, the strategic planning and selecting best options and of course giving orders to the other commanders, etc that had their own devision to watch over. Levi practically had every of it, allowed to order everyone around (as long as they weren't busy following Erwin's orders) and supervise over team members.

So it was even more suspicious that Erwin wanted to double check him now. Maybe he was afraid he had planned something ungodly again, or he was actually worried (what was more likely, but nevertheless). The more important matter: While the corporal was the most qualified and educated in their department, he COULD have special priveleges or skip days... but things just didn't work as well without him. That was the main reason the court and society started approving of him, not necesarrily trusting, but using him for their advantage.

People were starting to get too dependant on him, too sure of him always having their back to take matters in their own hand.

 

The black haired sighed and prepared himself for the day, somehow very self conscious about how helpless he seemed now.

'What kind of fucked up game is this??? I still have no idea what this is? Is it good or bad? What am I even supposed to do!?'

It's not like he was left stranded, he was just knackered by the amount of available paths laid out before him.

He didnt liked to be played with by something so big.

 

So he did what he could best. Acting by instinct to guide him and focusing on his strength. He had time to be sad later... when everything was done and others had 'fun', whatever that was and feeling more like a moldy stone than a human.

 

 

Skipping the morning coffee probably wasn't the best, and not the last unfit idea he'd had today.

He had a few hours still.... a few hours until hell would break lose... He had politely asked to be moved to the other team, shortly and accurately explaining his reasons. For the first time in days Erwin seemed convinced, although Levi didn't knew if that was positive or negative. Maybe neither. Or it wasn't suspicious enough for him to voice it.

Either way. There he was. Unable to do much, nervously strolling around the halls, sudden guilt filling him to the brim.

'You realise that all of this is real, right??? Each time you made a decision, each time they attacked. You send the others to death....'

No matter how absolutely horrid and heartwrenching this seemed, he could not look over the fact, that he had to look through all possibilities, find out as much as he could in different areas and this wasn't posible without sacrifices.

Making sacrifices was nothing new, he thought. He was so used to see people die around him, people beeing dissapointed in him and his life shattering within a blink. Everything that mattered died... only the wish to save the earth stayed. The only thing he had left. He didn't knew if he really wanted to. But he had to.

He only hoped... if he managed to succeed, he was wise enough so everyone could stay alive .... and the only sacrifices made in the end were his nerves. Who needs those anyway.

For the next minutes, when his leisurely steps strolled around the halls, his mind was suddenly filled with images of dying Erwin and Hange, sending unpleasant shivers down his whole body.

Seemingly as if that wasn't enough, as soon as he shooed the memories away, thoughts about upcomming events occupied him, not allowing him to rest any second. With arms crossed behind his back, he stared out, at the dusty ceiling, the dirty floor, the shelves, everywhere with worried glance.

 

 

 

 

When Erwin came around to tell Eren his new placement, the in his armchair sitting man nonchalantly and lowly added, while looking through papers: "Also. Could you check on Levi, please? He seemed awfully restless since morning."

The cadet's eyes slightly widened, when he heard the strange request. "Really??? ..Ca... of course, I'll look... I... I mean, yes Sir!"

The commander smirked quietly to himself, before Eren turned and started contemplating the new information alarmedly.

 

'Oh my... If commander wants me to check... then it's really serious... I wonder what's the matter.'

Eren tried to hide the fact that he ran down the hall, with carefull and slow steps towards the patrolling captain, which himself didn't feel able to stay still or stop the tremor in his hands as he observed the horizon.

"Captain?", the brown haired asked carefully as he turned to the figure, "Are you alright? You look distressed.... The last days I've always had the impression that you're uncomfortable..."

The black haired was stone stiff, if not for his hands, dressed in official uniform, which was a lot thicker than his usual fighting clothes. Several badges glimmered on his chest from past battles and the reason for dressing up was unknown. The hat was missing once again...

With a stealthy glance over the shoulder he turned, right before facing the cadet, with a slight miserable expression.

His voice was quiet: "You know... Eren.... beeing captain... is stressfull."

"If something's bothering you... you can tell me! Bottling up anxiety isn't healthy.... I... I always see you in bad mood. And now you're especially worked up.. I'm worried.", Eren came two steps closer and shily mustered the floor.

Levi stared at him, through the sudden dizzyness around or in his head with held breath. He didn't knew how to tell him, he didn't knew anything, although Eren tried so hard to help. And he could see it, but felt too self conscious to admit to anything.

"Doesn't everyone feel bad? Because of the upcomming mission?"

Golden shimmering eyes looked up alarmedly, hurried words seemed to resurface on their own: "No... we should? Wouldn't that mean that it's too risky to attend!?"

'He's right... he's fuckin' right....'

"Not always... I thought that's generally present."

"Huh? Captain....", Eren mused with carefull words and another step forward, so the other could look straight into his slightly scepticall eyes, "What's really bothering you? Why are you as nervous about that, as a beginner? It's more than just concern, is it....?"

Levi stared at him for a while, unbelieving of what just happened. How could he crack him open so fast, and why did he feel so reliefed about it? Was it right? It was hard enough to say no to those eyes, almost impossible not to grow weak and hard to think that this was normal.

With a soft sigh, he turned, interweaving his arms behind his back almost shily: "I don't know how to tell the commander... I have no striking evidence or alternative... or..."

Suddenly a flash of a bright idea shot through his mind, inspired by Eren's inquiry. He could go to the bunker alone as soon as he woke up, get Erwin everything they needed and convince him to stay. His face lit up in contrast to his gloomy reflecting. This could totally work. In the most effective way.

With an awakening jump towards the other, shining face and excited voice he proclaimed: "You're a genuis, Eren. I could kiss you!!!"

"Ouh", which made the other flush just as effectively and wonder what he had to do with that.

Levi huffed out triumphantly, his usually rigid features softened into pure amusement and easyness.

"I would!!! ...... I'm a man of my word."

 

'Hehe..... Okay stop it. Really.

What is it with me and kisses, huh? Am I so affection starved!?'

Captain probably wasn't aware that he was overall deeply touch and closeness starved... no matter how. He could lie and say human interaction brought him no joy. But just like everyone else he needed it. At least from one person. Eren had to be special.

But also the one helping him in this very confusing thing he was suddenly in.

 

The only problem was.... what was he supposed to do for TODAY?

 

Chapter Text

Levi didn't imagine he could screw up as badly, as he just did.

In anticipation of the next day, some things had slipped his attention and got confused and mixed in an uncomprehensible maze. Just as he thought he started to understand the algorhythm, everything jumped back to beeing incredibly unpredictable. But he was loooong not there.

It started up with minor inconveniences....

Mikasa... was in fact not there, what shouldn't have been an issue too big. The problem was, he had no idea of the consequences.
Because each action, each decision, everything could activate a chainreaction, leading up to different changes of events.

He was not aware of all this complexity, although he was early to catch what was wrong. He just couldn't piece it together in his mind, it made no sense to him. .... Just as pretty much everything he did in his life. Where... was.. the purpose?

 

 

 

 With all the hassle and panic around, there was little to no time to think anything through.

The hasty decision was made, to give commander Shadis the key to secure everyone, immediately striving into battle himself.

"Captaaain!", came a sudden screech from a particular boy that threw him back to remember why that shouldn't become as easy.

Eren got shoved to the side by the rest of running past cadets, since he kept standing around and reached after the blackhaired when he noticed his movement, monster growls in the background accompanying the thuds of their steps.

'I have no time for this. Farewell!'

"Stay back, Eren! To the basement.", Levi yelled softly, before kissing his fingers and holding three up in the 'Panem' salute from the Hungergames, before dissapearing, hoping he'd understand, if he had seen the movies.

Eren understood it quite well, the desperation, anguish, the inner dilemma in his head at once visible on his very expressive face. Until Armin grabbed his arm, pushing him with him and resolving it.

"Leeeeviiiii!!!!", resounded his faint screech from far, once again, before he was dragged all the way back to the basement, that pulled something particular at Levi's heartstrings, almost making him stop in his moves.

'I fucking can't, okaaay!'

He bit his lip on his suddenly overemotional, moved face, changing it with burning determination and an even faster sprint towards the next open exit.

 

 


The second thing that went wrong, was the fact, that unfortunately not only one entrance, but two were open. Thankfully it was something smaller like a window, allowing less monsters to enter than last time.

Nevertheless it left more scratches and scars on him than last time....

 

 

 


 When all entrances were closed a big, bad surprise awaited him in the edifice of Maria Laboratory.

Enormous, gigantic claws awaited him at the other side of the hallway, making him feel like in a cliché western film.

The big one faced him at the start of his mission. From afar and because of their size difference he appeared like a titan, making Levi instinctively draw his weapon.

'You wanna finish me off right away, huh!? GOOD LUCK TRYING, BASTARD.'

 

 


In the end he wasted bullets on that enormous thing, that wasn't easy to strike down from afar. And now, wounded and exhausted more than planned, he had to get the axe, if he didn't want to run out of ammo and die within the next 20 minutes.

Time played against him. No matter how far he went, everything happened fast and uncontrolled, leaving him stripped off of resources and power.

He found himself in front of the last monsters with an axe and barely movable limbs. And he was failing. He wasn't sure if that fact could be altered by minimazing the figure of the monsters to 2-3. He was going down like Titanic.

Well, he thought so.

Due to a few hefty blows and the sudden self-indulgent trembling in his hands, the axe slipped from his grip and landed a few meters behind the monsters with a loud clonk and the rest of Levi's hope. Desperately eyeing it for one last time, he reverted his gaze back to the approaching claws.

His mind flopped and he thought almost like in the meme.

'Guess, I'll die.....'

A quick backflip prevented him from getting sliced, but instead of landing graciously on his legs, he collided against the wall and painfully slid down. He was so used to jumping around, he forgot he didn't had enough strength to even move properly.

But his body refused to give up, refused to stop trying to get through this. Because if he didn't manage this, he won't be usefull for the others later. He used it as a training, nevertheless how scary it suddenly was beeing nearly helpless next to the enemy. Dying should have been a one time thing... but he had to get used to it. The sensation of defeat over the body, when the soul leaves it's vessel and the pain drives you unconscious.

The predators surrounded him, leaving him no space, no weapons in sight and he still kicked and wriggled, now desperately. Staying alive was all he had managed and strived for the past years and now failing the only thing he thought he was good for, made him furiously fixed on not letting that happen. Although he knew it was hopeless, his common sense died, his body went into emergency mode, his mind in a state of deep exasperation.

'I CAN'T DIE, I CAN'T DIE, I CAN'T DIE, I CAN'T DIE, I CAN'T DIIIIIIIEEEEE.'

His inner monologue mixed with his piercing scream, when a claw passed his defense to stab into his shoulder.

Blank panic seered through him, anguish filled him to the brim, bones full of poison and still the creatures stood there as an uppity reminder that he failed and would always. He would die.

So he did the only thing left he could do, while the world he was so inclined to carry on his shoulders, crashed down on him.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

He screamed at the top of his lungs, so loud and desperate it echoed around the laboratory and shook the fundament.

 

 

 

 

It was so loud, so piercing and violent, it resounded back to the basement, in which a resigned, red eyed cadet was crouching on the floor and suddenly lifted his head as his pulse sped up.

The earshattering sound of captain Levi screaming stung him right in the heart and shut out everything else, as his instinct took over immediately.

"CAAAPTAIN!!!!", he gasped alarmedly, dashing up and to the unsupervised key on the table.

'I'm comming!!!! I'm going to save you!'

And this time no one could stop him. No one as strong and motherly as Mikasa to hold him back, when Eren opened the door in record time and sprinted out of the basement, past his shocked and frozen comrades. He followed the calling, the calling of his heart, revealing his hopes that the other had stayed alive came true.

"Eren, waaaait!", Jean called out worriedly, but his call long had not reached him or his ears, as the brown haired left everything behind to run to his rescue.

He sprinted right into the spectacle of monsters on the second next hallway.

His breath got caught up in his throat, when he saw the scene before him.

 

 

Dark creatures were crouching and standing over the furiously and desperately kicking captain from all sides. His clothes were ripped, bloody cuts and dirt covered his body, hair in dissaray, disarmed. His bare thigh was exposed from the rip in his pants as he tried to wriggle away from their grasp, panting and whimpering, looking vulnerable and at the end of his power.

The strong protectiveness over him turned into rage and determination immediately.

"GET YOUR CLAWS OFF MY CAPTAAAAAAAAIN!", Eren roared agressively while simultaneously pulling out his gun and aim it precisely at the monster's head, that was closest to Levi.

From the panic and weird trance the other was in, was the only awakening through liberation that occured after the monster almost atop him dropped dead.

The realization followed shortly after, when monster after monster in closest proximity fell. Eren's shots came in unbelivable precision and fatality, before his attacks lured the beasts to him.

The cadet ran forward with an enraged warcry, sounding more like a beast than a human, noticing the lying axe on the floor and swinging it in exxagerated movements at his attackers, ready to eliminate. He looked less like slicing them open and rather like he tried beating them to death. How he shoved them around, almost cutting them to pieces, whacked the heavy object across their bodies before violently piercing through them. Somehow nearly inhuman power acquired Eren's mortal body, killing monsters less with skill, but brute force, as the fire sparkling in his eyes churned on his spirit and gave him strength, that toned down how many unnecessary and wobbily movements followed.

When the rest of the monsters ran back to the still unbelievingly staring captain crouched on the ground, Eren took out his gun again.

"NOT WITH ME. DIIIIIEEEE!", he roared with vigor that could shake up a building, before loosing his bullets for the last monsters that fell like flies.

The sudden heavy silence, was only disrupted by Eren's huffs.

 

And Levi could only stare at him through new eyes. He never believed in god, but he could swear this beautiful, brave and strong creature before him was an angel. First he was solely cute, but now Levi felt like his biggest fan was a godsend that came for help. He had never felt so attracted to anyone ever in his life, as he stared at the masses of dead creatures in appreciative bewilderment and the one who so eagerly freed him.

For other people it seemed the eyes of the cadet gleamed with some murderous, almost mishievious intent, but Levi knew a pure heart, when he saw one. The fury that came with his protectiveness was so strong because of it... destructive, mercyless, but justified.

Solely seconds passed, before the brown haired jumped up to run to his wounded superior.

"Captain!"

There it was again: worry, relief and tenderness in glare, as in voice.

When warm arms wrapped carefully around him, it made him jump slightly either way, as his gobsmacked and miserable face turned to his savior, enchanted.

Eren only had missed twice.. or three times at last, every other shot was precisely to the head. The first shot... was one few were brave and skilled enough to do. It wasn't super close, but it was still dangerous to shoot an enemy when he was in such close proximity to him, in case he moved abruptly. What was needed, was an unshaky hand and sharp eyes.

Levi trained himself not to shake... but when he panicked, he simply lost his mind. It was that small weakness he was ashamed of. Humanity's strongest soldier.... got panic attacks as soon as he was railed up enough.

Eren had to be a natural talent.

'You little wonder.'

 

"... You saved my life....", Levi breathed lowly, his dejected voice not his own, as he stared upon the image of the other, glued.

"Of course!!!", in contrast to the other, Eren was still as energetic, concerned and loud as always.

He scooped the blackhaired up in his arms and stood up, which shook the other up by a gasp and disheveled glare, before his powerlessness restricted him.

"Y....Y-Y-You don't have to do this.. y-y-you know???", the captain erupted a muffled stutter, when he took it all in.

Eren was carrying him bridal style, making their pose looking almost intimate, apart from very caring.

"Of course I have to do this! I don't believe you can walk in this condition, Levi! You have to rest."

 

'I didn't run out to battle for nothing. I am going to hold you like a knight his princess, because I can.. and because you need it!'

The cadet gave him an honest and worried smile, that made the other calm down momentarily, signaling him that it was meant as a rather normal gesture and he shouldn't be ashamed. Apart from... he would anyway. But the main objective was to help him. So he gave in and relaxed, allowing his body to faint, while his mind and eyes were intently focused on the other.

Eren, apart from beeing incredibly proud of himself, to be able to pull off such a dreamy moment - holding captain in his arms during his rescue - grew suddenly in worry at this display and hurried back.

His comrades greeted him with open arms, a few standing next to the big door and only Jean at the top of the hallway that led down the few steps into the dark basement.

"Oh thank god, Eren!", Sasha breathed reliefed, when she saw that everyone was alive.

"Is corporal alright?", Jean muttered with a deeply worried glance towards the limping figure.

As Eren stepped closer, it became clear that he was still very conscious... but nevertheless couldn't move due to his condition. They hurriedly rushed back inside, all glances pointed towards the injured, dirty figure in Eren's arms. He gingerly sat down, helping the other into a more comfortable and relaxing position, before cupping his cheek and saying in a pleasant tone: "Don't worry, Captain. We're gonna take care of you. You're safe..."

Only then it dawned on Levi that Eren's friends weren't here anymore, Erwin listened to him and there was no one to stop or console Eren. He would have come to him either way.

Levi kept looking at him almost enchanted, a very thankfull, soft and comforted expression.

'He saved me.... he's here. And will always be.'

His face was all mushed with dirt, blood, scratches, strands of hair sticking to his skin when he had sweat before, all of this making him look slightly broken, but heroic nevertheless. A soft nod followed, with a breathy and gentle: "Eren."

Then the world faded to black, his head sinking down slowly.

Eren gasped and kept him in place, taking in Levi's soft, unconscious features.

No matter how bulky he seemed sometimes, or the media portrayed him, it was all in relation to his rather small and narrow stature. It seemed unbelievable that he, with a more humble muscular stature was way stronger than someone like Mike or Erwin, that had some of the manliest and fattest muscles in the military. So they always tried to make him look similair, but no, he was way softer and more even, despite how a bit thighter clothes stretched around his chest packs. It was a nice mix, Eren found. He liked and was somehow amazed by the way how fair the man was, his skin glowing like that of a fairy. No amount of photoshop could protray him in this magical way. Fuck photoshop.

 

 

 


"You were really brave, Yeager.", Jean muttered lowly.

Eren nodded and stared back at the man he so adored, lying wrapped up on the floor, bandaged up and cleaned, a square band aid on his cheek.

"You'd do the same for Marco..."

Jean softly put his hand on Eren's shoulder, their sides brushing and symphathetically looked at his friend.

Eren just declared, that Levi was for him, what Marco was for Jean. No matter the implications, he was serious now and Jean wanted him to know that he supported him, no matter their quarrels.

"He's gonna be alright. He's just very exhausted and a bit weak from blood loss, but nothing a week of rest can't handle."

"Do we even have that week, Jean? ... We have to get to safety... Our team is ripped apart and we are who knows where....", Eren voice suddenly softened as he declared, while brushing the hairs of said person back where they belonged, "We only still have him........"

Jean noded softly and hugged him with his arm: "It's gonna be alright.... I think going back is less difficult."

Eren's hands clenched into fists and he stared down: "What do we do Jean? Do we have a chance? We just went all the way and lost most of what we had... for what? For a small fragment of the possibility that we might suceed? We can't spy anymore.. we need all we have to... t-to..."

His voice started to tremble and the rage flew back and raised his pulse.

"To eliminate them! Wipe them off earth!!! Litter it with their dead bodies!!! Pay for what they did to us! Who they took!!! We can't watch anymore. We're gonna strike back and destroy EVERY. SINGLE. ONE."

Jean hurriedly wrapped his arms around him and lowered his voice: "Eren, calm down.. you are right, you are right. But we have to get out and then think about a strategy. I'm sorry... I'm sorry your friends died... but now... I think we need to lay low, before we run back."

"Right, Kirstein. I'd say we leave early in the morning, when they left. We still have a few functioning cars and... that device the professor has been talking about... it keeps them away from us. If we drive fast and take shortcuts due to our small number, we could be back ealier than before.", commander Shadis had stepped out into the light, declaring their plans.

The reasoning calmed the brown haired slightly, that listened, thinking about their options: "And what do we do now!?"

"Nothing. We have to rest. We'll see in the morning."


He sighed, but resigned to their fate. With a meaningfull glare, towards the unconscious corporal, Eren thightened his fists and decided firmly to keep him safe no matter what. They wouldn't get him, they wouldn't take him away as well. He would make sure of that.

So for now, all he could do, was watching him in his sleep, hoping he'd wake up soon and waiting for the morning.....

 

Chapter Text

Levi's eyes snapped open and stared timidly onto the ceiling before him, his alarm ringing next to his ear. He allowed it to go for a while and when it stopped, turned it off to avoid further rings.

'The crowbar is in the storage. The keys in Erwin's office and I don't need more. .... Right? '

Some annoying philosophical thoughts about his situation once more bothered him, but he shut them out, as he jumped from the bed at once and got ready in record time. 40 seconds in high speed and he was in his uniform, even in cap. Just in case. He did not want anyone to see him and immediately guess it was him, because he didn't cared about etiquette.

It was a child's play getting everything he needed, and not a minute later he was on his motorcycle, accelerating slowly, until he wasn't seen anymore.

Now he could be bothered with thoughts.

But they came out difficultly and he cursed his stupid brain. He was used that he could focus momentarily on whatever important situation, but sometimes he just had the tendency to space out and feel constantly dissociated.

'What is it with me? Thinking about the potential, hypothetic possibilities is just as important as a strategy for the day. Am I so rooted in the practital things... in reality that my brain automatically switches off my fantasy in those situations?'

Once again the feeling that something was wrong with him entertained him. That couldn't be normal, or could it. Could it be his emotions getting in the way and clouding his judgment? But he tried to evaluate both sides and still rationally came up with solutions.

'Fuck it.'

He was somehow trapped in this maze now. This weird thing that rewinded his day back like an old casette produced in 1964 and made him repeat things all over. There was no point in thinking it was a dream anymore. It couldn't. Or it was a very weird way for his brain to reflect on himself before death. Did he wanted that? ... Levi wasn't sure if there was a single thing in the world he did wanted anymore, having lost lust for life pretty much. But maybe there was... and he was just too afraid, hiding behind the excuse that he couldn't have it... won't get it.. simply because HAPPYNESS long wasn't his type anymore. It just broke him each time it left him again, made him feel like a fling. He couldn't help it.

His foot pushed harder on the gas pedal, as he focused on the road with furrowed brows, another, now even more intense scowl plastering his face.

'So if this universe is limited to one day only... can I escape it, if I change something crucial... or does it solely exist to repeat itself?'

He also wanted to think out in his mind 'to torture me', but decided not to give himself any ideas, or he might stop his investigating and he still very burningly wanted to know WHAT THE HELL WAS WRONG WITH THAT BUNKER NOW.

He thought as long as he didn't turn insane, he'd try until he won that game, since there was still hope! But, who did he lie to, he knew he was crazy already, but he still could think clear and control himself. But if he'd lose this as well, then hell would break lose. If the most laid back person exploded, then you're fucked.

How was it possible that the universe repeated this day over and over anyway? Why was it happening and no one was experiencing it but Levi? It made no sense to him.

As far as he could tell, it was beginning each day new and ended when he died... or was passed out from whatever at the end of day. But what if he'd stay awake one night? Would he see how it changes? Would it be a neatless transition or a sudden yank out of his last situation? He was happy he could sleep after all, because all of this seemed a little more concerning his mentality, although it was very physical in itself. But Levi didn't had the time for too much thinking, he was a practical man. Trial and error came first, because that was more realistic to whatever fiction or incomplete informatiom they got as a theory. If they'd gather a thousand, if not a million specialists and they could give an exact measure for each topic, each device, the calculations were a lot more neat. But, they didn't even had time for that, so everyone better learn for themself, since Levi tried. Experience was even more important, but education helps lots too... just a lot less without experience.

Levi discontenly stared at the sky, that eternal wall of gray clouds never breaking. The colourless grounds. All of this felt strangely empty and familiar. Maybe because he could relate. His eyes reflected the same colour, intelligent and cunning, but empty and static. Maybe it really would've been better, if he was a robot. All of that shit would be a lot easier. Levi hated feeling the wind brush along his figure, the dry smell in his nostrils, the scenery that hit too close to home. And he hated taking care of himself... it had become a reflex, since it's a necessity, so everything else works out. Why did he had to eat and drink, go to the toilet... (he loved showering though), sleep (it never worked anyway), breatheee, feeeel, SUFFER. With electric circuits, a body out of steel... and maybe some humanity enabled in his system for extreme loyality, that would've been great. Or not having any backstory at all. Just forgetting everything unnecesarry damaging. Yeah, that sounded about right. Just getting born as an adult, superhuman with flawless education, a lot of experience and strength and no tragic experiences what so ever. Top record, top grades... just overshadow all this deep shit of obvious trauma with some fucking pills they tried to give him at the start of his carrer. FUCKING WORKS.

He breathed and swallowed down the frustration, while getting more absorbed in that gloomy scenery, as more chills creeped down his spine. That road he took before.. now alone... out in the air... Flashbacks of blood and gore flickered in front of his inner eye once again, but his features had been sealed in determination.
The atmosphere was light mist, soporific, mysterious, creeping. But the captain's blood boiled, no matter his preocupation and attention to his surroundings.

 

 

With an impressive drift, he stirred his vehicle to a halt and jumped up, quickly finding his crowbar and strolling over to the bunker dynamically.

He singlehandedly broke the lock open, managing to do it silent as well and marched into the all too familiar facility.

A sharp inhale followed at looking at the dimly, dusty and deserted room, as the captain rebuked himself for reacting so strongly once again.

'The future lies in your awfully shaking hands, dumbass. Form it to your will.'

Next to the last casette for the voice recorder, were others to which Levi didn't bothered to listen to. He went straight on to find more clues.

'Admiral Morone' was written on a large, metal chest and next to all info's about his troops and a random doctor certificate were medium sized blueprints.

He let his hand wander inside and hold them into the dim light of eternal lamps. Levi recognized the construction. Extandable long blades attached to the arm and wrist, almost Wolverine style. Sharpest blades ever produced. Exchangable, can be coated with poison or a sedative. Good for close combat and top secret. Very popular on the black market. Most of all, Levi had a pair of these, before they got confiscated. He never actually put them to use, even if he already knew quite well how to handle them.

Shoes with springs, very stable material, wheather-independant, can speed up the human body to almost 60 mph.

Easy upholstery for the human body, with a similair, but more strong material than for the shoes, as protection. Also very flexible, air-through, camouflage style.

A micro chip.... sending whichever impulses. Small, unnoticable. Levi couldn't quite understand what his function was. Going through more material he found a safe hidden in the wall behind a picture.

With a lock-pick and keen perception he opened it, only to find more documents.

 

The project was funded by the government. It was created and coordinated by doctor De Jong and minister for safety Conte....

 

Levi guessed one of them also was a super agent.

 

The goal was to create 'Super soldiers'. If it wasn't possible to bioengeneer humans, we wanted to improve their mental and physical abilities with different aids.

 

Nothing about the monsters yet. As the captain read on, he guessed with restless anticipation that there was much more to it than they initially thought, once again.

When he went through the other documents he found more about the attacks and migration of the beasts, but no connection what so ever. It was very strange.

The further he went to the bunker, the dimmer it got, spider-webs blocking the vision and hiding everything in close sight. Among moldy walls was another, hardly distinguishable door.
He wasn't able to open it with his agile fingers folded around the handle with a handkerchief around it. It was jammed shut and probably for a long time already.

'I ain't gonna touch that filthy thing with my bare hands!'

He once again praised his practical gloves, wondering why he didn't wore them more often.
Soon the door was violently opened, standing wide. Behind it, dread awaited. It came with a subtle, but very disgusting smell of rot and rust, making the other cough and wave the incomming dust away.

After he stepped in, the cause of that smell awaited him. The first skeleton, in a doctor coat on the floor, among mold, moss and mushrooms. The first ever trace. Levi removed his cap and put it to his chest to commemorate the fallen scientist, that passed long years ago, quietly observing the figure for a minute. It looked so deserted and abandoned, that he could only pity it and reverently observe it's grotesque features. And he had just broken into his grave.

'Now... I mean no harm. Please allow me to investigate this place for an honorable purpose...'


More papers followed, empty shelfes, directions, money.

The Laboratory had supposedly good connections to..... the underground Shiganshina Military Base in the north.
That was a very good lead to follow. He returned back to the broad table in the main hall, where he and Erwin had sat before to look at the maps.

Suprisingly, according to the notes the base was less deserted as the area around it.

When Levi also dug up a laptop from underneath old, dirty material and a huge, bust-sized hologram projected in front of him, nothing surprised him anymore.

It was a middle aged man with glasses, which white coat with name tag looked suspiciously like from that dead man in the furthest corner of the bunker.

He looked stern and incredibly immaculate in his features and movements, talking slowly and understandably, but urging and direct.

 

"Dr. Joris De Jong here. I am not sure of which length I'd be able to stretch this message. Important is.... whoever may find this..."

 

The pc made a technical screech and the hologram's blue image illuminating the walls wavered and turned to static for a few seconds, the recording halting for that time beeing.

 

"Everything leads back to Rome....... You have to find it. ...... And destroy it."

 

The message ended with some very seriously looking scientist grimly looking into the camera, as the pc shut itself down and apparently went out of battery. Whoever uses batterys anymore...

Levi cursed under his breath and clenched his fists. That was codeword talk! As if he ever understood on what weird language all of them talked. Even in the underground mafia there was criminal slang/ crime business talk, but he barely bothered learning any of it, since he never cared about that. He was very successfull without any of it either way. He had been underground king. He had influenced wide parts of the Rose with his doings.

Now, that wasn't his piece of cake, so he proceeded to the recordings. They weren't in order.

 

The monsters follow a migrational period approximately in spring, where they wander in big masses across wide distances.

 

'Ah, good to know.. it ain't summer yet, so we are right in between. Why is our military so useless it couldn't even decipher that!? Don't they have like an internet data base where they save all the results? ... They probably do. Also.. why did they use notes and paper... I know not everyone can afford a phone... but it produces waste, you have to buy a lot and it's outdated.'

There was nothing else of use Levi could find. All samples of whatever it was inside were long rotten or dysfunctional. The place was slowly falling apart, also due to the changes happening around.

Levi looked at the clock and decided to head back immediately.

'I am not going to curse this time... I just hope no one fucking dies!!!'

Until the start of their mission were probably 90 minutes?

The captain hurriedly packed all needed things into his motorcycle by lifting the seat to open it's luggage and soon sped on, having locked the bunker into place again.

His mind circled around the fact how he was supposed to tell Erwin now, without him beheading him on the way, accelarating his speed continuously.

When this time he crossed lonely monsters on the way he simply pushed out both his beloved semiautomatics, straightened and with precise aim and fierce determination on his cold, frozen face shot them down, pulling the triggers at the same time. No hand was down to steer the motorcycle, as he had simply balanced out his weight correctly.

This was how he performed when he was unharmed, focused and determined. No action was forgotten in vain, as Levi had perfected the act of fighting.

He kept speeding on through that cursed, gray, scraped scenery towards his goal. When would he right the wrongs?

 

 

 

Erwin almost erratically lept at his seat, staring around in an agitated manner and his eyes trailing over his empty office table.

"Where could he be, Hange? ... We've searched everywhere and have to leave soon!"

Hange kept staying at the frame of the door, observing the commander from afar. "He wasn't in his cabin... I haven't seen him since yesterday! No one for a fact. ..."

The blonde rested his chin on his propped up hand in a thinking manner, worriedly going through his options.

 

"Hange... maybe he did it again...."

"What!?", the professor unwillingly squeaked and went up his desk, "As if. Where to? He wouldn't just do that.. and he won't leave us hanging now! I bet he has his reasons. We'll find him."

"I hope so.... he might be late..."

Hange gave him a sideways smirk: "Erwiiin. It almost seems as if you're lost without him......!!?? Is he the base on what everything is held together, hmmm?"

"No..b... but he's excellent in everything he does! Without him chances of succes are a lot lower. He gives security that no one else has."

"But you can't just dump everything on him."

"Of course not... I try for only half... I am very well aware of how the other commanders had been treating him. ..."

"But he needs care, Erwin... above all else."

"I am not his father or something... how do you imagine I do that."

"Erwiiiin... you know how.. for example yesterday.... it was a start. He is fragile..."

The other man snorted. Fragile, she said. Fragile was the man that would even curse people out in his sleep.

"Mind me, he has feelings! I bet Eren could help.".

"The cadet?... Well-"

 

"Sir!!!! Captain Levi returned and wants to speak to you immediately!!!"

Through the mass of awed cadets and comrades, he stepped, holding onto the evidence he had brought with him. He only hoped it wouldn't take as long to convince Erwin.

 

 

 

 

 

"Levi, that was very dangerous."

Levi nodded softly and turned his head into the direction of the table littered with material: "I know. But I did what I had to. What I must. Also wouldn't have deserved the title of humanity's strongest if I wouldn't prove myself continuously."

"Please don't overdo it, Levi."

'Yeah.. so you won't lose someone who protects you.... '

He very well knew that now he could indeed overdo it. That word hadn't been in his vocabulary before and failing continuously in a row threw everything Levi had previously expected away.

 


When he was done talking to Erwin, he felt visibly reliefed and calmed. The happy leap his heart made also didn't pass his attention, when he spotted a certain brunette around the corner outside of the bureau he had been in. With a soft and reliefed grin he came over to the younger that now noticed his presence and carefully observed him in a light confusion. Oh, Eren was a gem to the military. To everyone... especially to him.

"Mnh... I just remembered, Eren. I still have some accounts to settle."

The content voice of the corporal seemed to cheer him up, although he tilted his head, as if to ask what he meant. Before anything could follow though, he came closer and softly kissed Eren's cheek and pulled away with a soft smile and an almost teasing facial expression.

"W....what was that for!?"

"Hmm.... just you beeing you, I suppose... a quiet thanks...", Levi tried or was really nonchalant, he wasn't sure, but strotted back towards his room with a last goodbye wave, leaving a blushing cadet by.

 

 

The succes in that mission was of a rather temporary nature... He appreciated any progress. Even if the all-surrounding dread was desiring to catch him. Was he playing with destiny or was it playing with him? Would the roles ever switch?

 

Chapter Text

 

 

In a turn of rather unfortunate events, things have turned once again different than Levi and even Erwin had planned out. Due to misunderstandings and something else... the monsters were there a lot earlier and now gushing into the only half secured building.

The soldiers were grabbing last weapons and eqipment from rooms they could reach in a panicked hassle, before the order to assemble came that didn't allow any compromises.

And all around in that constellation the captain stood, as his gaze quickly scanned over the present, the loud crashing and entrance of the monsters muffled other sounds and clouded the mind.

 

"Mikasa! You stay here. Everyone else to the basement. THIS IS AN ORDER."

While everyone was quick to follow it, Eren turned to him with a hurt facial expression.

"You too, Eren! Stay safe. Thank you for everthing. Now, go!"

"Will you be alright?"

 

The captain should have been moved by that portrayal of care, but he still had no idea how to properly tell the other goodbye.

 

"I'll try to! Please survive, Eren!", he saluted him and rushed forward to the black haired asian that only gave Eren a last, soft farewell glare as she reunited with the corporal.

"Listen here, Mikasa. I know of what you're capable... We have to close up all entrances and then kill all the beasts inside, so we can escape afterwards. Got it?"

 

She nodded softly and turned to him, pulling out her gun, running with him along the halls.

 

Bullets rained down as the monsters fell and rushed forward with deafening screeches. Mikasa distracted the targets, while Levi sneaked past them, using his small and agile body to dive past. A few violent jolts and sprints and he was on the other side, shooting down the invading enemy. Remembering something crucial he pulled out an extandable, 30 cm long massive, steel rod. It was used to beat and push back the monsters. A likewise monstrous roar from himself spurted him on, while he used all his strength to push it into his legs. From outside one of the doors recieved his violent kick, throwing the creatures to the floor that had stood in the way of the closing door. The other was closed in a similair manner. Mikasa shot at the attackers daring to get too close to the captain and before she could, Levi fished out a lock in a quick attempt to baricade everything.

It was as if a lion was awoken inside of him the moment they were put in an enclosed space. The knife was drawn out within a second, beginning to slice and stab his opponents. He used the wall to push back and jump next to Mikasa, noticing along the way how close her moves resembled his own, sufficiently holding back the attackers. They weren't in the same agileness and fatality, but the closest anyone has ever come to him. He simply had the advantage of the years and good teachers.

Now standing back to back their bullets began to cease, watching most of the monsters flee, distribute deep inside of the building for survival.

 

 

 

 

Levi had never felt so delighted to work together with someone as of now. Eren's best friend was a real warrior!

"Mikasa. Let's go... we need to find sharp weapons to finish the job!"

 

Without another order they snuck together silently along the floors towards the infirmary.

But the trouble didn't stop there, when Levi recognized the big one looking at them from the end of the hall. "Watch out, this one is more dangerous!"

The girl nodded and grabbed her axe now, sizing up her opponent, pretty much signalling the other that she was ready to try him on her own. Levi watched her in slight awed delight, but as you know it: silently and without anyone knowing.

And as if someone gave a quiet sign she suddenly sprinted and accelarated forward. Her first action was to approach it from the side, kick it away to get the claws at an appropriate distance and while flying in the air stab into its chest.

It wasn't very effective in defeating it, but Levi could precisely see that it staggered back in alert. While it did, Mikasa gave its ribs a hard jab for good measure and dodged back to avoid the claws. Her blows seemed to have made damage though, as the monster wasn't standing as straight as before and looked a bit more defensive.

Mikasa didn't seem too impressed (never to be honest) and swirled the axe in her grip to her opponent before dashing upwards and attacking its head. The unhuman screech that came afterwards indicated another hit, before the monster abrupty came up for defense. It's arm flung forward and punched Mikasa right across her head almost in panic. Levi winced, fully expecting for her to fall, although instead she roared up and cut off two of the beasts fingers, before staggering back.

The captain had been absolutely sure, had he been in her situation, he'd black out for a few seconds. This was a pleasant and very impressing discovery.

'That bitch is metal as fuck.'

But in this moment she needed his help.

Soon their joined weapons disconnected it's head from either side, both triumphantly loomed over it's body.

 

 

 

The place was suddenly empty around them, deserted and quiet as more enemies hid, yet to be discovered.

 

"That was amazing....", Levi stilled for a second, before closely scrutinizing her, "I bet you're even better than me... I've read about your abilities in the report, but I wanted to know myself. Do you think you could replace me?"

"Captain, it's not time for you to step back from your post!"

 

He shrugged and tried to look away for a moment: "Who knows... just in case... The military needs such people like you in the higher ranks."

 

"There is a wide range between you and me. I don't know how to handle people and strategize in such big scales as you have to every day."

"But you might be just what the military needs, fresh wind. As a cadet you are ranked far too low for your actual worth. They'll wait eagerly for you to finish your education."

"Armin would be far more suitable."

"He is?", Levi arched up an eyebrow in a calculating way and took in her serene expression.

 

Before, he hadn't even considred the blonde, since he didn't stood out at all. Maybe by his politeless, empathy and shyness, but not for much more. Was it possible .... that Eren surrounded himself with people that were as extraordinary as him?

This was probably why they got along. ...

Slowly something akin to respect and understanding started seething through Levi's overstrained mind.

'I am not alone. ... Or am I?'

"I'll consider what you said. ... For now.... let's split. We can kill these beasts more effectively. But we should call each other when it's dire. Got it?"

A soft nod. Then it was settled.

With that fast execution of the big one, Levi was confident that they'll get through it better now.

 

 

 

 

The following monsters weren't as hard to defeat, hunching around in a wide room and grunting in response. Levi was just about to turn around and leave, when he suddenly felt the walls shake.

'Oh no.'

His eyes widened and his breath got stuck in his throat, his heart momentarily slowing.

 

The ceiling broke open in front of his eyes.

 

He had enough sense to jump aside and dodge some flying debris, but to reach the door and escape was too late.

With a yelp he was hit by falling stonewall shards and deeply buried, the awalance of rocks kept raging in earshattering volume. Not as deep as he'd been if he wouldn't have jumped away, but impossible to get out from.

The earth continued to shake for almost a whole minute before everything quieted down.

 

 

 

 

And Mikasa from down the hall around just knew that something had happened, in search sprinted down the halls past monsters.

"Caaaaptain!? Are you alright?"

Her part of the laboratory hadn't been affected, but there was no sound from her superior. She stormed right into the first room affected, still calling and flinched when she noticed Levi's signature knife laying at the furthest corners of a room that now resembled more a gigantic, shardy mole hole.

Fastly climbing inside she started pushing and lifting shards away in closer proximity to where the knife had fallen, working like on assembly line. If there was still something to save she had to be fast.

The suddenly visible hand, freed from the last layer of debris, gave her hope and made her work even faster than before. It only took a while longer until she could see his head and god, he did not look good. Covered in bruises and cuts from head to toe, gray and dirty he looked more dead than alive. His legs were stuck and sprawled out at first, but Mikasa even managed to take care of that as well. "Captain!", she called and shook him softly. It took almost half a minute for him to slowly come to his senses as he abruptly coughed and startled, weakly shivering, his eyes opened slightly, slits fixating her in a tired gaze.

She sighed in relief: "It's good that you're awake...." Checking for some serious injuries, she couldn't see obvious ones and from the way Levi moved and behaved he seemed just very hurt and exhausted.

 

"Wwwhy... did y... do that?", Levi mumbled a bit through his strained voice and barely opening mouth, "Y.... you shoul.... should've w...watched for yourself..."

 

His voice didn't comply and continued disobeying, making him sound extremely raspy, until the poor captain found himself in a hard coughing fit.

Mikasa was almost angry with him, but helped him get in a better position and dusted him down.

 

Her voice was neutral, her expression not understanding: "Of course. Why shouldn't I? I'm fine..."

"Buht...", he broke into another cough, "...not for long... you have to finish them off... I..."

 

There were even more pauses in his speeches, but he managed. As if he'd ever just give up.

"To keep us safe... Go... please..."

 

Mikasa sighed and gave him her gun and the bullets to reload, while she solely took the axe. Carefully she placed Levi behind the slight debris hill, so he was hidden from the outside and made him lie comfortably, before she wiped a little blood from his skin. Then she stood up and looked down at the sunken in figure before her.

 

"Thank you....", Levi lowly mumbled and used the bullets to reload one of his semiautomatics.

"If you'll be quiet, they may not notice you. I'll try to be quick and then we get the hell outta here. You think there won't be another earthquake?"

Levi softly shook his head, although he was slowly getting light-headed. "No need... just be carefull."

With a last confirming nod towards her, she then climbed carefully over the debris and sneaked back the halls towards her next targets.

 

 

 

 

Levi managed to be unnoticed for the last 20 minutes and was slowly making breathing exercises, focusing his eyes onto the wall, that seemed to get less and less pigmented by the minute, his perfect vision beginning to blur ever so slightly.

Rattle.

The noises behind him, send him in high alert, since he knew who caused them.

'Time to die.... or show that you're still worth shit.'

Levi tried to keep as still as possible, staying at his hideout, but when the beasts began climbing up, he knew they found him. They had probably caught his smell or something. With a shaky breath, Levi made up his mind and straightened, climbing upwards just so slightly, to still hide his weak, injured body, as he found a nice opening in the shards from which he could shoot.

'Reminds me of old gangster times....'

 

He sighed and simultaneously pulled the trigger of his semiautomatic.

The strike may have killed that beast, but others followed suit.

Levi guessed they were out to get him. To kill every living thing that is around them.

And when he discovered a whole gathering of them at the opening, he knew he had to be quick to draw them all away.... or maybe he could be cannon fodder so Mikasa could survive. Sounded fair. Wanting to be more though, a hasty decision was made.

'If I go, I'll go with a bang.'

 

Levi jumped up, half visible to his tormentors and turning his gun into a full automatic gun by pressing the trigger in an unhuman speed, hoping he could get more targets due to his restricted vision. Striking each of them down exactly in the head was nearly impossible now and he once again remembered how Eren had mastered that. Absolutely beautiful.

But nothing compared to his shaky attempts now. And the bullets rolled and emptied inside of the monsters with a sound way too loud for Levi's tender ears. And since when did his head felt so heavy?

His opponents resumed climbing closer and closer to him, and out of bullets, he couldn't do more than roll over and slip to the furthest cornerns of the sharded room, knife in hand, throwing rocks at the intruders.

'I aaaam gonnaaa dieeee.. sooo sooo muuuuch....'

 

Levi was certain there was something wrong with him, since his thoughts pronounced it in a high singsang. It had to be the headache that was forming and intensifying by the minute and his aching limbs.

He stared expectantly at the beasts that were gonna kill him, their claws running through the shards as they continuously made their way towards him, his stones not even distracting them. He was surrounded... and it was barely possible to move now.

 

 

 

 

"Shit, Captain! Hang in there!", Mikasa sprinted into the room with a roar, shooting down the intruders. One dead beast fell right on top of him, so he used it as shield for a not-so-dead one that just had made its way to him.

"Arghhh!", he gasped from pain, since it somehow managed to cut a thin stripe across the left side of his forehead.

It burned and ached like crazy, Levi's vision momentarily going blank for a few seconds.

Next time it came back, everything was already over. Mikasa had slashed the enemy and was now carefully holding Levi in place, observing his injuries and how he just slacked against the wall. It was suddenly very quiet.... almost as if peaceful...

 

"Can you walk?"

"M...maybe...", Levi breathed heavily and closed his eyes, suddenly feeling hot all over.

He didn't knew how exactly he and Mikasa made it through the laboratory, since everything passed him in a blur. He only knew that his headache was slowly killing him and he gasped at almost every move, until the door to the basement opened and he suddenly heard Eren's voice, shaking him up a little, to the point where he focused again.

 

Eren was greeted by the sight of a cut up, barely conscious corporal practically hanging on Mikasa, as she carried his whole weight in her grip.

A small stream of blood ran across his left temple down to his cheek, his eyes half lidded.

"Levi! Mikasa! You're alive!", Eren, apparently completely out of it from nerves, ran towards them.

"Yes. We need a doctor! He got buried under a whole floor due to the earthquake."

 

The blackhaired emitted a low groan when he was repositioned on a quickhand selfmade bed out of sheets and soft cushions. If not only for that, Eren made sure he was comfortable until everything was seated, his head nuzzled into the cadets lap, so he didn't had to hold it himself.

Once again lying in Eren's lap like this, questions ghosted through him. It wasn't the first time he did that... and all the other times, he didn't dissapoint as well. Eren was always there and even saved his life if it was possible. Was it just the situation... or was Eren really inclined? The questions began to quickly dissipate into thick fog, his figure trembling a little.

 

"Moooove! I'm a doctor. I studied it!", Hange squealed through the rows of people in the basement and rushed to his side, quickly undressing injured regions.

"H....Hange......", Levi's pained voice was surprisingly raspy and low, breathy and almost weak, "My...my head hurts..... a lot..."

The black points and dark edges of his vision grew in shade, more prominent, until it blocked out light completely.

The woman swiftly turned to him, only to firsthand witness how he fainted, his eyes rolling back, head tilted to the side and body slack, confirming her dreaded suspicions.

Trying to softly awaken him, she alarmedly turned to her non-responding patient. "No! No, Levi, don't pass out! Shit..... ...."

 

Carefully palpating his scalp, she soon had her answer.

When she turned back, to worriedly looking people, her facial expression looked similair, if not for a few notches, much, much more panicked. She fiddled shortly with the sleeve of her coat before emitting: "He is internally bleeding in his brain.... if we won't operate him immediately, he'll die...."

"I'll clear the nursery. It has a few monsters inside. Is everything we need there?", Mikasa got right to business and didn't lost her senses for even a little.

"Mostly. We have to disinfect everything."

 

 

 

 

Due to their perfect organisation everything was done like said. With the help of high technology the doctor managed to perform the surgery right there. Drilling a hole into his skull reduced blood pressure and after hours the operation was successfully completed. Levi however had to stay in the infirmary guarded by the others.

When he awoke he was greeted by a sweet and slightly surprising sight. Eren was resting, seated and howering a little above him while holding his hand, lifted close to his face. And he held it tightly, although in a soft way.

His wrapped up in bandages head was still hurting a bit, but otherwise numb and lulled in by a pleasant buzz. And yes... very fortunately he still had his raven hair, since they neither had time nor requirement to shave it. Eren's hand was so warm and smooth, making him feeling slightly drowsy as he made a small sound.

What barely left his throat was like a warning bell to the other, as his whole attention shifted to his face.

 

"Captain! Oh thank god, you're alive....", his hand now, a little trembling, was carassing his one slightly, as if helping to bring him awake.

"Mnh....", his voice was low and croaked out, as his senses very slowly came to him.

The questions he had before were once in front of his inner eye.

"Eren....", he softly called and looked up onto the literal sunshine looming over him.

"Would you always care for me like this if I was hurt? Just come running and watch out?"

 

It was somehow strange, because Levi didn't thought people would burden themself with this. Overall with people they just met.

"Of course! It's my duty to make sure you're safe! I'm sure you'd do the same, even if you don't have to..."

'This is where you're wrong....'

 

 

 

"Levi! Good heavens.... .. why didn't you told us he's awake!?"

Erwin, that had just made his way into the infirmary looked genuinely worried and was now reliefed beyond belief. Hange follwed right behind and although reliefed as well, not close to as happy as him. She knew something the others didn't.

The commander knelt next to the injured, carefully eyeing him.

 

"Lance Corporal Levi.... Captain of the Survey Corps~ .... you really, really didn't had to! But you did.....", Erwin breathed resigned and with his weird announcement sounded half solemn and half like he was about to scold a child, effectively making everyone stare at him in anticipation.

"Can you just imagine that your effort saved everyone in our troops, nearly costing your life! That you not only saved us, but also completed the mission all by yourself?"

Levi stared at the other as if he'd seen a ghost or the blonde began talking in a foreign language. Then began the creeping effect of feeling uncomfortable in his skin. When did Erwin ever praised him like this? He was never called out like that and not used to his expression almost portaying guilt.

Maybe he was right, since Erwin actually regreted ever doubting him.

 

"You knew you were disobeying orders, but you nevertheless did the right thing... not many people can do that... not many people fight for whats right.... I think we never appreciated you enough for what you actually are.... I'm sorry for that..."

The way Erwin sounded: quiet, slow and aborted sylables leaving his slightly frowning mouth, the way he almost apologized for what Levi had to go through. It just made the other turn away and gasp for breath.

That wasn't true... It couldn't be true.

He couldn't believe the words Erwin was saying, nor how soft and genuine he sounded. The only possible solution was that either he was just wrong... or that was a damned hallucination. Words like 'saved', 'everyone', 'life', 'nearly', 'lost' somehow scaring him in what constellation they'd later appear in his head. These were somehow so familiar to hear... maybe also with the appendage 'couldn't' or 'can't'.

And suddenly he understood exactly what Erwin was talking about.

 

'Oh.'

 

Yes, that's right. For the first time in ages Levi actually managed to save people in his surroundings and not only a few incidentally... but everyone. But this thought didn't cheer him up the least, didn't lift his spirits. It only led him to a trail of unwanted nostalgia and flashbacks, when the fatality hit him.

'Don't panic.... just ignore him... ignore all the lies and the wishful privileges you are never supposed to have.'

"You should have a bit more freedom what missions you'll attend..."

This sentence sounded so sharp to his ears that he felt literally stabbed. Why did he had to listen to this rant if it did more wrong than right? Lying there and listening on made him continuously more uncomfortable and angsty, now even triggering him. He wanted to do nothing more than just cry and dissapear.

 

He just DID NOT say that.

 

It was impossible that he was suddenly cursed to hear those words all these years after that incident that crushed his soul. The markings of the beginning of his cronical depression. These were just the words that made him feel all insecure about himself. The things that he believed himself to be and things that he wasn't allowed to be... were now suddenly accepted? A joke... nothing more that could be.

His mind flew back to long ago times... when he was younger.... at the very start of his misery. When he had to attend that damn mission........

 

 

 

 

Heartwrenching dread had greeted him, empty crushed houses and a village of the dead. Entering was like trespassing a graveyard and made him feel gutted, knowing with painfull certaincy that this was the day he had died. His physical manifestation was still a torturous reminder that his time on earth wasn't up yet, that one time he had to pay for his mistakes with his blood...

The indescribeable feeling of running through deserted streets on shaky legs and staring searchingly from left to right with sinking heart, was just the short moment of uncertaincy, before everything ultimately crashed.

Grotesque, gory images still haunted him in his nightmares.

His best friend's dead, gawking eyes on his detached head took him with him the second he had seen them. The monsters had attacked and desecrated everything into pieces and puddles of dirt and blood, including his friends. Levi could clearly remember breaking down, could remember frantically trying to save the girl that was like a sister to him. ... He could still remember the annoying, static beeping of the heart monitor... the deep coma she had been put in, with no signs of future recovery. He could remember sitting at the hospital bed and confessing under tears to an unconscious Isabel that he was in love with Farlan. The pain was buried deep, in places Levi didn't even bothered looking anymore. No one for a fact, ever again. Isabel had died a few days later, leaving him completely traumatised.

All of this because Levi had to go to that..... mission... that ended in a bloodbath anyway. They left him no other choice, used them for their benefit.

 

 

After feeling like a worthless piece of shit for over a decade he was suddenly told that he was brave, archieved what he had terribly failed in all this time and presented with the offer to choose? It could only be a cruel trick. He didn't deserve to be treated like a human. This was what his brain had tried to tell him for years. What you do to others always comes back to you. His fate were his own doings. The death of everyone he held dear was his fault and completely irrevocable.

 

'I'm sorry Farlan................ I'm so sorry Isabel......'

 

 

 

He noticed a bit late that Eren was carassing his cheek for a full minute now, tenderly rubbing circles into the skin and cupping his jaw, when noticing how much he was sulking and dangerously spacing out when remembering.

 

"But you have to know that you're not alone... we are here to watch your back. We are here to help you, Levi. We really appreciate you... and hope you'll feel fine soon."

Erwins booming voice brought him back to reality. That sudden smile on chapped lips, his eyes gleaming in a somehow caring glare, topped only.... with the hand that cupped the side of Levi's head that wasn't healing. Erwin was fixing him with an expression he had never seen a man direct at him before.... and the sudden carasses and friendly pats on his head, his most tender place now, only deepened that impression. It was almost fatherly.... like his custodian.

Levi knew he never truly experienced this, never had a father figure in his life, although this came pretty close to it out of sudden.

 

He was carassed from both sides. Eren's hand on his cheek and Erwin's hand on his head, almost making him blush and putting all his insecurities aside. Then, as if by miracle, his chest suddenly felt warm with contentment: the part of him he thought was broken either way. Almost sinfull how innocent he looked now, what a damn puppyface he was wearing underneath that grumpy scowl, if people approached him with true care instead of disdain.

"I... I......", he stammered with an awkward flutter of eyelashes, making Eren wonder how he could be so beautiful, "T... Thank you....."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hange forgot all her worries for a second watching them.

'If you're having a Levi-Harem at least include me!'

 

But as soon as she came closer and assessed the situation all of these thoughts evaporated. She waited a little, waited anxiously, before carefully sitting down, lowering her head and muttering in a serious, but also a bit soft tone: "Levi... I have to tell you something..... Okay I'll..... just get it over with."

She sighed deeply, unaware of his glare and turned back, her mouth forming a little miserable frown that didn't suited her features at all: "You have permanent brain damage...... I'm sorry....."

Eren's hand thightened around his, eyes widened, mind trying to compose itself.

"There had just been too much blood gathered during that time. It's surprising you survived though... while the aftermath of this is a lot, lot lighter than most of the patients with a near death experience.

But this means: You will be slower....... less powerfull.. you may find yourself difficultly processing information.... mh... your memory will be worse... some complete memory loss of big snippets is also possible... and there might be a risk for intense headaches..... I'm really sorry, Levi... you maybe need a week or two to properly work again... your lifestyle also has to be.... calmer... I can't exclude some more serious risks yet, so we have to observe that in the course...."

 

After looking at him without breaking eye contact, she finally let go and was now busy admiring her hands.

Levi's face was blank and quite difficult to read. He himself wasn't really sure what he thought of that.

'Thank god I'll wake up with a healthy body tomorrow.'

"So..... When I risk my life for everyone, in the aftermath I end up beeing a mediocre soldier for life? Ironic isn't it...", a raspy voice followed by a gloomy grin displayed on his face.

 

 

Although as he turned, suddenly realising the facial expressions everyone around him were having, that grin got back right where it came from. Erwin was looking down, frowning, shadows around his eyes, a deep crease between his eyebrows that was usually characteristic for the captain himself and Hange looked ready for a nervous breakdown. Not to mention Eren, who was crying.

'Oh shit.....'

The lingering feeling of utter helplessness in the air only intensified when the black haired realised he couldn't say anything to cheer them up.

 

"Captain... you should head back home. It's not safe for you here! Please.... I don't want you to die.. ", although you could clearly hear Eren's disposition in his voice, it somehow managed to sound urgent and firm.

"But... Eren... my mission here is not done... I can't just go! People still rely on me."

"Then they won't have someone to rely on if you end up killing yourself in the process! Really... it's not about them... okay? We want you to get healthy again. For your own sake..."

 

'For my own sake? ...'

Those weren't words he heard often, nor actually down in his vocabulary. He simply didn't had the freedom to do so and now Eren tells him it's okay? A sceptical glance was turned towards the commander, though seeming to share the thought as well. Also, Levi, with sad certainty knew what enormous and devastating consequences it had if the people in the Rose were informed of the fall of humanity's greatest hero. It could induce mass panic. But for once Levi was sure that wasn't the reason he would be send back, far from it. They actually gave a fuck about him. He was moved to say the least, flattered even, coddled up by the sudden care and warmth he wasn't used to, but deeply craved.

He ended up agreeing.... resting there.... in Eren's embrace, while the cadet was quietly crying on his chest. Hange left to take care of other things, Erwin wrote the protocol about today's events while sitting not too far away from the other two in the infirmary.

 

 

Levi could tell that his brain was working slow.... because the idea came to him half an hour too late. Although, maybe he was just too insecure about it and hoped Eren would cope better if he gave him time. In the end it just hurt and stung, making things more dificult, so he couldn't do else than to tell him.

"Hey....", he whispered into his ear and carefully nudged Eren's nose with his finger, "Listen... It's not that bad. I have to tell you something... you won't believe it, but I'm not lying."

The brunnette lifted his gaze questiongly at him, sniffing shortly, his big eyes wide and sad.

 

"I am trapped in a time window... If... If I wake tomorrow I'll be okay again... it's gonna be the same day... I don't know why this happened to me, but this is the reason I ran away early and found information in the bunker quickly. I knew if I'm fast the monsters won't have time to ambush us. I didn't knew how to convince Erwin to make everyone stay... so I went myself.. you have to believe me!"

Eren was torn between believing that it was Levi's brain damage talking or he was actually serious at the moment. Both? It sounded logical, but who knows. Levi's brain might have had the capacity to invent intricate and ominous stories, just to make himself believe they were true. Or maybe it was just to cheer up Eren? Although the said was too sad to think into that one too much and just stared wide-eyed.

"I'm serious. Maybe... maybe you'll actually see it.... if we stay up until twelve... I've never done it... I don't know if it will be sudden... or gradual.. or if you will even feel it... I was either asleep or dead when it happened...."

"I...if you say so...?"

So they did. Lied there in anticipation of the incomming event that could bring lifechanging understanding into the game, restlessly wondering about everything and nothing.

 

 

A minute before twelve Levi began to feel strange and indescribable in skin. It's as if it began to burn and come alive, the power and vitality returning out of nowhere.

"Eren.", he stared at him with wide eyes and conspiratory expression, as if trying to explain.

"Whoa... Captain, what is happening? This timeline is about to cease!", Eren squealed out breathlessly, looking up in horror and fascination.

Immediately the corners of the room began to turn white and misty, spreading out like liquid gas, leaving the corporal triumphant and rising up with a jump. Only thanks to the renewed energy and the weird adrenaline rush in his blood, that hit him like a bomb when the barrier between worlds was instable, allowing him to reach his previous status quo.

"See? I told you everything is gonna be good!", he unceremoniously threw the bandage off his head.

Erwin alarmedly jumped up and stared at the rejoicing captain that looked momentarily insane to him and at Eren which facial expression could only be described as 'seen a ghost'.

"What the hell is happening, hey!?"

The room, from slowly to rapidly, began to be enveloped into bright, slightly blueish light, that dematerialized everything on it's way.

"It's okay, Erwin. I have everything under control. See ya tomorrow!", that little smirk was probably reassurance enough, although everyone in the team tended to be a little sceptical. Even more when you suddenly realise the world you are living in, is going to vanish with you any moment.

He was confident at once, observing in fascinated awe how things evaportated into levitating energy.

 

 

But when everything turned blindingly white excluding him and he suddenly stood there alone, surrounded by utter nothingness, the confidence he was sporting changed to raw, unadulterated fear.

 

Chapter Text

...

But when everything turned blindingly white excluding him and he suddenly stood there alone, surrounded by utter nothingness, the confidence he was sporting changed to raw, unadulterated fear.

'Is that supposed to happen???'

The mist crawled up and reached him and he was suddenly falling, falling through endless white, everything around him pulsating as if it was alive, strong and fatal like a tornado.

Nothing more than a screech left his aching lungs as he hovered in an endless space that seemed empty, but so full all at once.

He felt no wind resistance, but more as if his whole beeing was auscultated out into the space. It felt like his whole life ran past him in this moment, manifested, deepened in breadth. Blue, small thunderbolts made his surroundings waver in a scary kind of elegance and fulfilment.

The captain couldn't understand what was happening, while beeing blindingly flung around in a maze of endless of white, until he spotted a far away, gray spot of colour in the distance.

 

And as he fell even deeper into the space that had no measure and no physical density he slowly made out something akin to a satellite picture of a place. The closer the weird projection came, the bigger it became.

It wasn't just any satellite projection... it wasn't even a picture.

It was the edifice of Maria Laboratory.

The white ceased, his speed accelarated as his body made it's way towards it.

 

'WAAAAAIT. What is happening!? Is the universe trying to kill me!? AM I GONNA BE THROWN AGAINST THE BUILDING!?'

 

He felt like a figure in a video game that accidentally fell out off the map due to a glitch in the system.

Worst of all this, was by far the inescapable feeling of helplessness, as his body skyrocketed in his downfall.

Now he could see the masts, the cars, then the license plates of the vehicles, that forgotten cap on the ground in front of the entrance hall. Seeing maps from bird's eye and diving into it might've been impressive, but not if you have to skydive for it without parachute!

 

Now the roof began to become more pigmented, leaving him just a second before he could come into contact, as the adrenaline inside of him climaxed.

 

Instead, he just shot right through it, next finding himself thrown right into his bed, surrounded by hissing electric noises.

Now, that could only be an out of body experience, because he slid through the material like butter, not feeling any physical indications until he crashed into his bed right through the ceiling.

He did nothing, sitting down with legs and hands sprawled and wordlessly staring at the wall, trying to comprehend WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED. The next minutes were spend panting like a dog, frantically trying to stop himself from panicking. Goose bumps covered his whole body and he felt outright electrocuted and jittery. As his excitation slowly ebbed down and he could 'normally' think again, the sounds heard before once came back from his memory.

'I just hallucinated all that, right?'

When he lifted his head up to the ceiling, he did more than just flinch. He almost fell out of his bed, his right eye twitching at that discovery.

The ceiling was black. Burn stains surrounded the exact same place he had fallen through, so foreign on a meticulous white wall.

'I've lost it, yes!? ... YES!?'

All of these assumptions were made without knowing that the lighting bolts had also penetrated another surface in the building...

 

 

 

 

A few minutes later Levi was stumbling out of his cabin fully clothed and completely distraught, basically staggering each step, feeling uncomfortably wobbily on his usually strong legs. Inside, his mind was a total mess, his thoughts all over each other. When was the last time he had felt so disorganized and dishevelled? He was stomping so loudly in the hall, trying to gain balance he was impended to lose, that he woke a certain someone. Not to mention he wasn't sleeping very heavily today in the first place.

 

"Captain!"

The hell did he came from!?

The sudden voice and motion, of which he both couldn't detect the source of, since his head was dizzy as hell, scared him so much, that he outright crashed into the next wall, before staggering back with a groan.

 

"Oh god! Did you hurt yourself!?", Eren stepped closer and held onto his arms, keeping him outright, as the said rubbed his head in confusion.

This was so out of character for him it wasn't solely physically painful.

"Ngh... it...it's fine.... ...", Levi took deep, gasped breaths as he calmed his raging heart, his raging everything.

"Aww......", Eren consolatory rubbed his arms, "Tchhh.... calm down.. everything's good..."

Levi almost thankfully beamed at him, but was still too out of it to think completely clear.

"I....I'm sorry.. I ... I had a weird dream or something... some strange things happening...", he stuttered and sighed.

Eren almost frowned, fixating him in interest. "Strange things you say? ... You know what's stranger? Some weird noise woke me today... when I looked up.. the bed’s front leg was all burned up... but only one!"

Levi's eyes looked the size of baseballs now. "W...W-What!? You too!? ..."

"What!?", Eren stared, baffled at Levi's thoroughfully distorted expression, that scared him.

He had never seen captain in that state and never so panicked if things were wrong. What did that mean?

"You... you come with me.... right now."

There was no time for rebuttals, as the cadet was pulled unwavered by his sleeve towards the captain's cabin.

"O...okay..okay.. so what's the matter."

Eren flinched as Levi yelped and cursed under his breath.

"What's the matter!? LOOK AT THE CEILING, THAT'S THE MATTER."

"The...? I- ..... Oh........."

 

Eren's gaze was glued towards the unusual sight in front of him, as his superior massaged his aching temples, drawing out another long, distressed sigh, slowly calming down. Eren's pressence greatly helped with that.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you. .... I... when I woke up today I felt like I crashed into my bed from above.... and all these marks everywhere freak me out... as if these damn monsters weren't enough...."

The gaze was shortly diverted back to the black haired in a symphasizing manner, before it came back scrutinizing the phenomenon in front of him: "It's okay... I would be too..... .... Captain... I don't wanna freak you out even more... but it looks like a portal."

If Levi wouldn't know better, he would've probably said Eren plays too much video games in his free time, but that statement hit the nail right on the head.

 

'Because it is.'

"You're right........."

'It’s almost like he remembers…… could he?'

 

"Is... is there like another dimension where it came from?"

'If I fucking knew.... I just witnessed the wipe out of everyone around me, before beeing flung around in a milk coloured thunderstorm that made me CRASH THROUGH THE FUCKING CEILING unharmed.... I would greatly appreciate if I could at least understand anything at all. Couldn't I wake up like normal people? No, I had to get half a heart attack before the day even started.... Holy shit.'

 

"I know it sounds like... almost impossible to us... but like... half a decade ago people didn't even thought we could create a force field."

"True.....", Levi suspected he had talked a lot about this with his blonde, nerdy friend, "But I doubt that we created it..... I think this and the fact that this just happened tells us, we are surrounded by something paranormal we have no control or grasp over yet... .... We aren't even close to be as far as the people in sci fi books and movies."

 

The other paled slighty, announcing that the other just blew his mind, while his eyes widened due to that statement: "Oh my god... you're damn right! You think Area 51 is legit? Does Hange know anything about it?"

The last questions brought back the corporal's light hearted mood, that honored him whenever the other was hanging around. He looked him over with slight amusement: "Maybe... We could find out together."

It was like a small firework lit, as the cadets eyes began sparkling and gleaming like crazy, making Levi's gaze soften for a second.

"Uhhhh! That is a fantastic idea! Just imagine what we could find! You think the military was in contact with aliens??? That would be so cool. Maybe there are even aliens among us?"

Levi couldn't help a sweet, hearty chuckle when he heard that.

"Sureee... I'd like them to explain what the hell just happened and they'd get a free autograph..."

"I don't really think aliens are fans of humanity."

"I guess this is why they stay the fuck away from us."

 

Eren gave him a slight grin and then frowned when he suddenly witnessed how Levi's face fell... in seconds.... the corners of his mouth were pointing downwards, he looked dried out and the expression dangerously resembled his usual one.

"C...captain... did something happen!?"

The other didn't answer, just awkwardly stared into Eren's eyes as if he were in pain, before shaking his head.

'Why... out of all times... did I had to remember how I used to joke with my old friends... now? ...I guess Erwin's speech before has done it's part...'

Levi hadn't thought about his friends for years.... not directly at least... He still blamed and deeply hated himself for every mistake and every loss, but by now it was deeply buried in his subconsciousness. And now... now blonde, golden shimmering hair depicted in front of his inner eye, a honey sweet smile... that made him incredibly sad at the memory, because he would never see any of that anymore. ...

 

Because everything was so incredibly dull and lonely without them.

 

He was also happy no one in the team had red hair or he would've (actually) started crying...

Eren had Isabel's eyes though and he was not sure if to be happy or sad about it.

So, no... nothing happened. Nothing new at least, although it managed to make him uncomfortable enough to avoid the worried glance directed at him.

 

"Levi... are you okay?"

Why did his name sound so nice and gentle coming from his mouth? The sweetness forced him to surrender immediately, as he actually had no point in lying.

"No..... I am not....."

"Should I hug you?", was asked with tilted head and slight hesitation.

"Fuck, yes."

Eren giggled a little at the almost excited eagerness in his voice after he had pronounced the offer. Consequently he was trying not to squeal, when strong arms wrapped around him, snugglling comfortably closer in the embrace.

"Aww..... so you only needed a hug."

"I always need hugs.", Levi lowly mumbled against his chest.

Why did the brunette had to be taller than him?

"If we glue a 'free hugs' sign on you, people might understand that you're a cuddle bear...."

"Not everybody deserves to know...."

 

The statement had the other blushing, as he pulled the smaller figure closer towards himself, carassing his shoulder a little.

Why did the captain suddenly seemed so vulnerable? He was never ever presenting himself in such a state... always a comeback, an order, a hard stare.

His whole posture screamed imposant, when he leaned against the wall or just patrolled. The scowl and demeanor were always on point, almost threatening.

This threw the cadet wholly out of concept. Wasn't he more of the person that wanted to be alone if in bad mood? Things just didn't made sense.

He wasn't just how he always thought him to be and at the same time he was weirdly exactly what he had imagined. Maybe just not at the same places.... and he surely wouldn't have thought it's that complex. Although Eren knew more about him than a lexicon, his particular behaviour was still a bit of a mystery to him. Maybe because he never voiced his thoughts. ... Just like Mikasa... but he kinda helped her better that aspect of her, able to squeeze some more out of her in a dialogue.

 

Then Eren at once released him and stepped off him, the other suddenly tooken aback, as brief hurt flashed in his eyes.

"Mnh... I think we should better sit down. It's awkward just standing around the whole time."

"Uh... okay."

Eren got him to sit down with a tug of his arm and reliefed a slightly overcharged captain by hugging him again.

'This..... this feels really good.'

Time seemed frozen as the younger's curious gaze traveled over the corporal's handsome form. He was suddenly engrossed by him, taking in every detail. Where his undercut began, how his bangs fell down, the dark hairs on the back of his head, his strong, but very soft looking neck, how well his jacket looked on him and emphasized his features: thin, but slightly bulky.

For him, this man was perfect authority, not to mention that he found him perfect either way. It was this mix of strictness, grace, cool flair and empathy that lured him like a moth to a light.

The cadets were simply way too childish, without fierce determination or experience, to see him as their superior. Eren could honor himself with having at least distinctive determination. That was probably what captain liked in him.

Captain was simply too strict for the beginners, put all his emphasize on discipline. He was widely respected in the military (if not for a few exceptions) and as the frontman for all their stories on tv and internet, also a small celebrity. While he acknowledged that part of himself, he wouldn't have ever called himself a celebrity. What he did was for freedom, for survival, for justice and not even for himself. It was his job, his job to be a hero, a savior.

But it was easier to listen to Erwin anyway with this genius mind of his, friendly appearience and generosity.

Erwin was part of the system, the big boss of every military force in the dome, the successor... that rather let other commanders lead everything, while he attended the most important missions in person.

Levi was more or less independant, kept as a back up. It hadn’t always been like this... It changed, after the black haired accidentally almost drove down a cliff, because he was so railed up by the death of his whole squad.

Better for everyone.

 

And while Eren thought about everything, not knowing a lot of crucial things, almost an hour passed. An hour that he didn't even notice, despite their occasional shuffling. Levi was safely tucked in an embrace, almost asleep even, while his company had felt incredibly protective over him.

'Captain must be so exhausted from all this stress... and what happened today... he's all tense. Beeing high ranked takes it's toll..... why do I even wonder why he's always in a bad mood?'

The veteran, in all honesty didn't knew what was even happening with him. It was already bad while he actually managed to fully function... and now nothing worked and he felt absolutely psychotic for no reason what so ever.

His laboriously set up walls began to crumble, crumble in small avalanches, burying him under them, as all held down emotions had began bursting out out of 'nowhere'. Where was this delicious and toxic feeling of feeling numb and heartless? Why could the painkiller not cover the slowly seeping in burn of past injuries? Unknown...

Only ticking time and heavens knew... and as for that, his responsebilities didn't wait for him. They never did. Levi never had breaks, Levi was the captain of the survey corps. Just a very, very important cog, for the whole system, a marionette that held everyone stable. Time is over.

 

After a bit Levi lifted his face, detaching a little from him and groaning groggily, following it up with a long, deep sigh.

"I have to talk to Erwin..... about... the mission"

Another lengthy sigh left him, blue eyes staring intently and sympathetically up at him.

"... I don't want to... but I have no other choice. God... I don't wanna die today..."

"Die today!? What do you mean??", Eren squealed alarmedly, shockedly staring at the exhausted, almost deadpan face in front of him.

" 's not what I mean.. but okay... it's gonna be exhausting....."

"I... I guess?...."

 

 

 

 

 

By a sheer coincidental string of fate... no one died, no one got injured and Levi didn't even had to fight. .... But the angst, the conflict and knowing too much than was healthy for him all mixed up in one place (listening to his own inner monologue and everyone around him), overwhelming him to the point where another headache was coming right up. It's growth was so progressive that it made him wonder if he actually had brain damage. Maybe this repetitive thing was variable and played tricks on him, trying to turn him insane like it was in the Silent Hill P.T. demo. Meaning, each day would be continuously worse and reveal to him gruesomely, how tragically all of them will die.

Thoughts, movements, reactions... all of this was far too much, so by the beginning of early night, he was powerless enough to sink onto a random matrass among his comrades and fall into unconscious sleep. It was rare on it's own that he managed to fall asleep at all, even rarer how fast it was this time. Hard to say if he should be actually thankfull this time, because he was in no actual condition to do anything than shrink onto his place, still in his uniform, ready to be shooken awake if they were ambushed.

 

An hour, maybe one and a half passed before uneasyness settled in. The present noticed from time to time, how Levi's body began to akwardly shuffle and quiver on it's surface. Observing it, might've given the impression that he was cold, so he was generously covered with a blanket, that did absolutely nothing to improve it.

Ten minutes later and the shock went into action. Levi began to moan and whimper in his sleep. No, not any of all of these sounds were actually pleasant to the ear, as his voice sounded extremely agitated. Pain was laced into his suddenly thin and raspy sounding voice and the shivers evolved into jerks. Gasps left his throat, as it got slowly harder to breathe, his body beginning to sweat and heat up.

 

"Is he okay?", Marco lowly mumbled to Jean, as he worriedly glanced over the restless form.

The other cadet lifted his face, frowning as he made out his outlines: "I don't know... What's up with him?"

"It's almost as if he's ill.... maybe we... we should call Prof. Hange?"

There was no answer, just as for everyone. There was uncertaincy in the air, so they just waited.

The black haired's eyelids were firmly shut now, a very vulnerable expression on his pale, sweaty face, as he rolled around his bed, by now caught up to the extreme.

"No..... no.... stop.... please.......", his voice was a low mumble, a faint whisper at first, announcing a nightmare, maybe a fever dream even.

 

Isabel was chased by a dark creature of gigantic measures, her body beat up and all blue and bloody.

  

A low whine penetrated the moderate stillness in the air, as fists clenched around sheets, ready to rip the whole blanket apart, it's body shivering to an extent where it looked ready to fall into an outright epileptic attack.

 

He was frozen in place, weak and small. It was easy to see how her dislocated head fell from the sky and painted the earth underneath.

Then the beast lunged forward to pierce through him, his eyes closed, accepting his fate. The blow never came. As he opened his eyes Farlan was standing in front of him, already dead. A big, raven claw was comming out of his back, tantalizingly swinging in the air to mock Levi's loud screams. 

 

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!........... Stop! Pleaaase... no.... don't... give them back.. give them back, now! .........", were emitted in breathy, half loud yells, raising into hysteric and heartbreaking sounds.

"Let's call Eren... where the hell is he?"

"I'm actually concernced for captain's mental health...."

 

And now, now HE WAS STANDING in a pile of bodies. Ha, bodies. Would be nice if it were bodies. It were pieces. Limbs... bloody, gory remains. „Here are they. Here is everyone you search for.“

  

"No... not like that.... no.....!", his throat began to get thight, breaths coming out hard and deep.

 

And it's all your fault. You should have died instead of them.“ These voices were screaming at him from every direction, every corner, as the village darkened and swallowed the horizon, the ground, leaving only cold, bloodied walls.

  

"NOOOOOOOO!"

By now, everyone was aware of captain's horrid nightmare. The way the bravest, most collected and stoic person in the military cried in fear and pain in his sleep send freezingly cold shivers down their spines, somehow waking a deep subconscious fear. The last scream was in the presence of a brown haired cadet, that had rushed into the room.

 

 

When carassing and shushing didn't help, he actually had to wake him.

 

Farewell, traitor. Farewell, Levi.“ 

 

"Gaaah!", he awoke with a breathless gasp, loudly inhaling the air and panting, distraught gaze searching for the soft features of leaned down Eren.

"Tschhh... Captain, god Captain, it's okay! It's a dream... a dream... everything's okay... we're here.... I'm here....", Eren tried to tone down his panic at seeing his beloved idol so disheveled, the horror, the heartbreak all visible in his gray eyes.

'My fault.... MY fault..... oh god.... Isabel.'

Levi winced when Eren began rubbing his arms, only slowly understanding that it wasn't another zombie talking to him. The air that had vanished from his lungs slowly found it's way back when he felt the weight of the brunette pushing him back into the sheets, enveloping him in caring arms. He closed his eyes and focused on the others breathing. He was alive and warm.... so warm and soft. Levi wanted to cry. He knew the urge came from time to time, but he forgot how to.... the last time he cried .......was-

 

He whined out painfully, as another cruel flashback stabbed him right into his heart, lightning rushing through his tense body, his arms gripping thight onto the other, as if everything depended on that, gasping out: "Eren....!"

"Captain, pleaaase... what is... calm down, calm down.. no one will hurt you here!", Eren, growing more desperate, was cuddling and carassing the other in all the intensity he could muster, thoughts on how to distact the other flashing in unbelievable speed in front of his inner eye.

'I wish someone would hurt me... hurt me for what I've done... maybe it can tone down the pain.... hurt me... don't hurt them.... don't ... don't hurt Eren.... don't take him away from me............ please..............'

 

Eren was briefly considering doing something crazy: like kissing Levi madly, until the other couldn't think about anything else than his lips, but he couldn't just kiss his superior without consent. Even if it was for a good cause... Absolutely crazy...

Therewhile Levi went back to long taught breathing exercises, a weight resting in his chest, even heavier than it usually was, although the warmth and closeness that was surrounding him was worth it. He wasn't close to processing what had just happened, but managed to slowly chase the gruseome images away. His spasms were just as slowly resolving, body calming, his deep breaths softly tickling Eren's skin on his neck.

Eren slowed in his carasses, now getting a little more bold, as one of his hands carassed the others raven head affectionately, while the other rubbed tender circles into his cheek.

"Thank you.........", Levi whispered in the most hoarse and muffled voice he had ever heard him, expression slowly morphing back to indifference.

That had been his worst nightmare yet, adding to the aspect that it was his weak spot exposed now, his head full of confusion and uncertaincy.

 

Somehow, he should probably entertain the thought to doze with Eren... Pain was softly replaced with comfort and affection as his arms slacked, just to wrap more comfortably around the other, body calming and getting heavy and sleepy. As long as Eren was here, maybe he could keep his composure. .... Maybe spending more time with him wasn't such a bad idea after all.

So, another night was spend sleeping in each other's arms, as the captain was fully lulled back in when the clock struck twelve...

 

 

Portals had been opened today. Different kinds, due to different triggers. Levi could only hope not to get stuck between the openings of the three.

 

Chapter Text

After the initial wave of extremely intense groggyness passed, he almost smashed his alarm clock to pieces in sheer annoyance of it's existance and the incessant beeps coming straight from hell.

'The hell happened yesterday!?'

The fact that he could fall asleep with Eren in his arms and wake up without him irritated him each time anew.

As he rubbed the remaining sleep out of his eyes, shuffling in his bed, memories of yesterday slowly sunk back onto him.

'Just as I said... I am beginning to turn insane. ... I wonder what he thought about me after seeing that?'

He would never find out now.

 

While he showered, made himself pretty and clean, images of his nightmare came back, turning even the hottest shower icy. Why had he overreacted so much? It wasn't the first bad dream...

On the way to Erwin's office, uncertaincy struck him down. It was that nagging, annoying feeling of doubt, the feeling that you forgot something.

And even after he had done the deed, it didn't dissapear. It followed him everywhere, made him seem resourceless, useless. What should he do? The day was just like before. Just like damn before, it made no sense. Why was he suddenly feeling like this?

It felt almost... like everyone could tell. Like his nervousness radiated to the outside in bright light. Suffocating.

 

In all honesty... due to what happened recently... Levi was afraid. He had never found himself in a state of such panic. It threw him out of his control.

Levi didn't usually fear anything, he wasn't a coward as well, didn't fear his own death.

But expectations of others, their wellbeeing and not wanting to fail spoke for themselfs. He didn't knew what was happening to him now.

Usually he didn't feel much or anything at all. If he did feel strong emotions or reactions he could hide them, if he wasn't too angry...

And now... now suddenly everything shamelessly spilled out.

 

How embarassing! How horrendous for everyone to see you that transparent.

He hated when people talked about him, didn't they had anything better to do than to discuss his life? He didn't want anyone to know anything.

Maybe it was forgivable if it happened around the three people that obviously gave a shit about him, that varied in size and intensity.

'Yep... the smelliest little shit of them all is that crazily cute brat.'

He should be most afraid to spill in front of him, but his whole character made him feel the opposite. What a weird situation that he trusted him more than people he had spend literally years with.

One of these thoughts came resulting from not giving himself enough credit to have figured out a crucial part about Eren and what was yet to come, what was yet to change.

All these last emotions and experiences infiltrated his brain unfiltered at once, making it constantly work, to the point where he was 70% thought and 30% action.

 

 

 

 

Levi only had to blink and suddenly the day was over.

A whole day was over.

He had made no progress, found no new information, wasn't even at the bunker and just felt continuously worse. But at least he kinda processed everything.

'Amazing! Now I am trapped between having more time for everything and feeling stressed because I'm not beeing productive!'

Time had stopped in between this day and a tomorrow that would never come, but for Levi it was never still. Accepting beeing stuck was far more difficult than admitting he had a problem for putting himself down and constantly overworking. His brain didn't stop, didn't rest, always on tours and always absent. It couldn't appreciate the present, maybe merely acknowledging it and relaxing for a minute. Devastating emptyness was found there each time he had nothing to do.

Once again, from the back of his mind, there came a sparkling, innovative idea. What about that laptop in the bunker?

Thankfully he was already dressed and spend less than an hour on the task, now sitting down inside one of the cleanest lab rooms, charging the device.

 

Since their fall 20 years ago, crime went back how it was before, mostly. While it varied whether you came from a rich or poor area, you could feel the consequences everywhere. Humanity had made steps backwards, only managed to keep the major new inventions, while the rest of the capacities were invested into survival of people and functioning of the state. Nevertheless Levi had sources that taught him to hack a little. Stealing was always way easier, but if you wanted whole companies it was fortunate to know newer technology.

Getting past the first barrier of passwords was the easiest, as it opened to a mostly clean desktop. Finding and breaking open secret files on the computer would probably be more sufficient than trying the online database for the general examinations.

It only took him a few minutes to find the different files he wanted to open. But, as he was already sure.. this wasn't a normal firewall... he actually had to add a hack from an USB stick into the pc to crack it open. Where would he get that out of sudden?

But probably due to this facility trying to hide most of it's results, until confirmation that allowed to share, they probably used a VPN. A network that wouldn't give any data out from the browser preinstalled on every work pc.

Levi opened incognito mode and went to a specific website that allowed him to hide a hack in broad daylight, using his own account. Yes, it had been his before. The crime king's secret stash.

He didn't care if the state now suddenly knew that it was active again, due to some of their crazy new methods. He only wanted to make sure no one knew around here that he did something remotely illegal. Otherwise Levi had everything he needed, thanks to his practical mind that made virtual maps of rooms and their surrounding objects in his mind each time he visited an important place.

'Shiganshina Military Base? Here too? Close contact to "Joris De Jong" for the concept of superhuman soldiers?'

He searched and waited and spend an hour or more on the project, before finding out that most databases were erased. Forcefully erased even. The documents were all broken, out of place and set up with viruses that weren't supposed to be on a computer with that amount of security.

'Someone was there before me.....'

But the bunker was closed up when they found it. Did the intruder do that too?

 

"Hello, Captain! What are you doing?"

If Levi wasn't a very instinctful and vigilant person, he would've flinched at the sudden intrusion. He heard his light footsteps a moment, before he had decided to call him. Or at least his body had heard it.

"Hi. Work....", the corporal gave him an askew glance from the side, before fading back, bemusedly absorbing more into his occupation.

Then he typed another key into his program, Eren following his every motion spellbound.

"Are you hacking?"

"As you see....."

"That's... that's not one of our pc's..."

A nod followed. "It's from the bunker."

"Wha.... you were there? Weren't we supposed not to go?"

"Yes... because we have no idea when the monsters will come... but I had an idea when it would be least likely and went out as soon as I woke up. You have to admit that it's less dangerous if I go alone and unnoticed, than a whole troop... just for a laptop."

"But how did you.... it's as if you knew. ..."

 

Levi lifted an eyebrow, slowly turning to the cadet, assessing him for a minute.

'Does he remember?'

"Well, do you?"

"No. Why should I?"

A sigh. "Nevermind."

"You're... behaving slightly weird."

"I'm always weird, you just don't know me that good yet."

 

That sentence made Eren embarassedly look at the floor. Hadn't captain called him weird as well when they fantasized about big forests outside?

"Captain.... everyone is either discussing strategies or resting. You are the only one that's really working. ... Maybe consider a break?", Eren shuffled around a little shily.

"Yeah....my efforts had been kinda fruitless, to be honest. But if they weren't, it wouldn't make sense to let it go. I know our next location. Erwin will be interested."

"Reaaally?", there was that happy, colourful glimmering in his eyes again, the other found himself getting fond of, "Where to!? You have some clues?"

"Nah, ah, ah! Not so quick on the trigger. A soldier should practise on reservation. Besides, you said we should keep calm.", came an amused answer.

"Yeah... and you..you Sir... You said you wouldn't stop if you found something."

Levi shrugged, accepting his defeat and the reason, that he simply wanted to tease a little.

"Touché. ... Well....we're going to the Shinganshina Military Base in the next city."

"Oh my god... I gotta tell my friends... I think I heard about this, but I am not sure."

 

'Really? He never ceases to surprise me... what else does he know? .... How much does he know about me? He said he is my biggest fan.... how much does the public even know? I never bothered to google my name and research.'

"Hmm.... does the name 'Joris De Jong' tells you anything?"

Eren scowled from concentration, those half discontent, half angry wrinkles around his young face looking cute on him.

"... No idea. But Armin might know."

'Armin..... Mikasa told me about him.... and Mikasa is on top of her class..... This is gonna be interesting.'

"I guess. I'm finished here."

The pc was shut down and safely tucked in.

 

 

 

 

Armin was slightly confused when Eren came back to them with a sleepy looking Levi in tow.

"Hello, cadet. Eren said you could help me with a few questions that occured while investigating. Does the name 'Joris De Jong' ring a bell?"

The blonde and the second blackhaired in the room exchanged a short glare, before focusing on his words.

"I think so... wasn't he one of the few people that helped the military grow the most for the past years before the fall? He had also acted like a politician before, traveled all across europe."

"Nothing about a secret military base? Do you think he spend his time putting some of these 'all across europe'?"

"Possible. There's not much known about him. Only that he was a very influental person. He funded a lot of research and helped some of the innovations and inventions we now have. Even after the fall we still profit from it, because he made sure to leave the documents for everyone and every facility that he had visited."

"And what do you know about Shinganshina Military Base?"

"It was supposed to be harbouring high-tech weapons, but closed up a few years before the fall. Some found it as people fled from the monsters, but no one was able to enter it. The code was switched and the facility locked up forever, so not even former workers could enter. People think they don't want to share their secrets."

Levi blinked almost strenuous: "Eren, is your friend a walking library or something?"

"Something like that, yeah."

"Can you strategize?"

"Yeah. Maybe.", Armin shrugged, staring curiously at the captain.

'Interesting....'

"Well, okay. If you remember anything else tell me. Now excuse me, I have to talk to Erwin for a sec."

 

The captain dissapeared just as suddenly as he had appeared, only without Eren this time.

"What's with him?"

Armin tilted his head and stared questiongly at the brunette, his expression as innocent as always.

"Don't know... either way, we're going to that base."

"But no one ever managed to get in!"

"Well, they didn't try by force... we have some tools for that as well. And captain is a hacker."

The self satisfied, sassy grin on Eren's face could be compared to the expression of that cat in the meme with knives pointing towards it. So stupid, it made his friend chuckle.

"You really think that's enough? When was the last time he hacked? Back in his rogue days?"

"Today."

"Really? Welp... don't mind me then. What can't your captain do?"

"MY captain apparently can't stay happy for too long....", Eren gave his friend a slightly irritated glare and thought back to what he already experienced of him.

"He seems pretty content whenever he's with you."

"What... For real?"

Armin chuckled encouraging: "For real, bro."

Mikasa nodded as well, silently observing the two.

It was as if the sun rose in the room, as Eren began beaming with an excited and happy aura.

"Awww. So he likes me!?"

 

 

 

 

 

"Erwin."

"Levi."

"I have a plan."

"Oh.... so a plan, after telling us to stay in all day for whatever reason?"

"Yeah, yeah. I told you why, you'll see. Now... that's not important. I have news."

"Yes. I'm listening?"

"I've found a laptop that should've contained important information. While the hints I got around there aren't directly connected to our case, they are still suspicious and should be looked into. Someone was there before us and deleted all data bases, locked up to make it look deserted. However, there's a secret military base that is mentioned, with a security system that is far more advanced than any laboratory of the state. It was top secret, until found by passerby's and old workers on their escape. But no one could enter it over a span of 23 years. The codes got switched, the systems rebooted, the place left. Whatever they were hiding, it wasn't discovered yet. I'm assuming we'll be finding what we need and have the necessarry equipment for a break in, right?"

"But why would we? Don't understand me wrong, but I think we should spare our resources and power by not intervening into something that might or might've not be what we are searching for."

"Bold for someone who has no single lead."

Erwin frowned at him as if to say: "I have some, but they're just suspicions."

"It's not only that. Joris De Jong, social rights activist, doctor and politician... has funded a lot of inventions 40 to 50 years back. He started the project and made sure to inform all laboratories and otherwise military or other institutions of the results. For one, so no information gets lost... but also for a little competition. It was said he had been in close contact to the Shiganshina Military Base in the north.

It might as well have everything we wanna know and further connections throughout the wasteland. Someone was here before us and cleaned the place, I'm assuming he wasn't there yet because the equipment wasn't enough for those kind of security systems."

The wasteland Levi mentioned, had been called the area all around the dome, basically earth excluding human civilisation. Namely, because the infertile parts of the planet were either empty and gray, or looking like a scrapyard of broken shards and past booming cities, giving everything an eerie, although slightly more artificial wasteland look.

 

"Shinganshina Military Base..... I heard about it.... Well, sounds reasonable. Joris de Jong? Wasn't he just a marionette? How can you be so sure, Levi?"

"That's what they want you to think.... I have a feeling, Erwin... a guttural instinct so to say. And if you don't believe me..."

With a swift moment the laptop landed on the table with a metallic clinking, as the mysterious hologram projected out of it with a strong leap, that almost set the commander toppling down his chair.

The look on Erwin's face could be described as fierce aggravation, before it turned into stunned surprise. Expressions Levi saw the rarer of the very collected commander.

As the last shine of the assumed hologram subsided, Erwin was still staring in the air, envisioning it's previous form.

"Wow.... The only holograms we have are on special devices and expensive projectors.... And HE send us a hologram with a laptop.... He had to be some big fish."

"I told you. You know my instinct is never wrong."

Erwin took in the brusque grin, the calculating look in his eyes and all of what he had just told him seemingly out of nowhere.

"Quite the detective you've gotten..."

"I had to be back then. And most of this wasn't even my work. I know this because of a cadet... Armin Arlert. I bet he knows more about certain relevant topics than all of us. What he told us can't just be easily googled or traced."

"Very interesting...."

"I thought the same."

"Armin Arlert, hmm... The blonde one with a bowl-cut?"

"Exactly."

"Well, test him. If he's good, we might get him for help."

"Good. So we're planning to leave as soon as it's safe."

"Yes. Anything else?"

"No, that's all."

"Thank you, Levi. You're dismissed. Excellent work as always."

 

The corporal compliently saluted, as rarely as it happened, his mood finally lifted: "Ready to serve."

"How often have I told you, you don't salute on an empty head, Dumbass.", Erwin's voice was full of kindness and amusement.

"I'm sorry, Eyebrows. You know I don't like wearing caps. A cappy maybe, but not a cap."

"Yeah, right. You don't want to have a label on you, you damn hipster."

Effectively restraining his chuckle, he simply replied, washing his own smugness away and stepping back: "No, It's just not my fashion, distracting and unnecesarry. Goodbyee...."

A wave later and he was gone, off to only god knows where, planning god knows what.

 

 

 

When Levi had read through all kinds of databases he could have found on the pc, he had come across an interesting looking article on their private internet archieve. It was about the funding of new innovative projects by De Jong and Elia Conte, minister for safety and former chancellor. The funding consisted of 400 million euros. What gigantic project could be as big to cost such an ammount of money?

Further digging showed that Conte wasn't that much of a minister. His duty was short, his experience limited, his actions restricted, his closeness to De Jong suspicious. The project could only be what has been mentioned in the papers: superhuman soldiers. The other question was why.

While the corporal had found information and tips for their complicated proceedings in obvious places, Armin's sources were quite different and way more diverse. His grades in history, politics and philosophy had been almost always the highest. Just as high as his grades was his strict attitude towards mainstream media and uncritical recieving of information. He had always wanted to know everything about certain things that interested him. From things as simple as the right diet to difficult, controversal events in histroy and culture; so it ended up beeing one of his major hobbies. Apart from gathering everything important about his choosen subject, Armin had an intellect few could posses. He was as observant as Levi, as strategic as Erwin, as experimental as Hange, but as shy as a deer and scared like an ostrich sometimes. Introverted people like him didn't see the spotlight often, although they tend to do their work in higher quality, so beeing noticed could only be a step in the right direction.

 

Levi sure wasn't one that would forget or walk past a talented person, able to distinguish it from afar. There was no way he would let this slide, there was too much potential and renewal, pushing away the stifling past regulations.

 

 

 

 

Ten or fifteen minutes after his discussion with the commander the short blackhaired had found Eren standing in the hall and bemusedly staring out of the window at the far horizon.

"Hey ..."

Waiting patiently for the other to notice him, then to turn around, look into his eyes and finally conclude it with a bright smile, only then Levi continued to talk.

His voice was quiet and he could tell that he almost interrupted Eren in his own greeting. That soft, unique smile was greeting enough for him.

 

"I've wondered.... at the lab. You weren't surprised that I hack?"

'Or does he know that I've done something illegal for the sake of everyone?'

"Yeah, of course. You are famous for a lot of different things, Captain."

The self-evidence and calm in Eren's tone made him lift his eyebrows in surprise. Surprise because of different reasons. "Really? What would that be?"

"Oh, a lot actually. Depends if we are talking about your underground days or from when you started at the military. I've kept track of your skills. They include: flawless memory, high intellect, close combat and a variety of martial arts, mastery of all known weapons, pickpocketing, trickery, parkour, fastest sprint in the history of world record, highest monster kill count, high observation skills, flawless organization, clean and exact performances and much.. god, much more! I've seen donation livestreams, documentaries... I know when you met Hange-san... I could enumerate each of your major crusades and tell the reaction of society afterwards throughout the years."

Normal people would find that overobsessive and maybe a little creepy, but Levi saw the motive behind it, looking between the lines. Eren was so impressed by him that he followed almost each of his adventures in real time, hoping to meet him and follow in his footsteps one day. The corporal couldn't do more than to stare wordlessly, baffledly at the other, somehow feeling deeply touched by care he couldn't imagine any of his normal fans, or fans at all to have. Despite beeing so focused on him and trying to be friends he wasn't pushy at all. He was the most normal he could be, the kindest he could be and at the same time it was the most special Levi has ever seen. And it wasn't everything to him yet. Fierce determination, dedication added to the mix, each strive forwards basicly a compliment to Levi, since it was made oriented on him. That was more honor than he was used to, more fire, more rightfullness, more sweetness. All doubts about possibly pushing him away, keeping him at slight distance or staying neutral vanished. Even if they would return, the choice was made... no denial in the world could change that now. Levi wanted to be his friend... and he was gonna....

'.....He deserves the damn world, and I'd give it to him if I could.'

Half a minute passed with Levi gaping like a fish and taking every nuance and fact in, awkwardly still in his movements: ".....Not bad........."

'Not bad at all. Even motherfucking great. Continue like this and you could educate yourself on your own... in the future.'

"Haha, thanks. ... For a moment I thought you'd either call me crazy or call me library boy number 2."

Levi hastily shook his head. "No, not at all. I'll call you something else."

"What?"

"I don't have a creative name yet, but shitty brat would also suffice."

"Oh boy, am I so annoying?"

"No.", Levi actually caught himself grinning again, like it was his birthday and he was 4 years old, "I just make some awful poop jokes, you give a 'shit' about me that is as big as a mountain and I like to call people I like 'brat' as an endearment."

 

First Eren blushed, then he was bewildered and scandalized by all that honest bluntness, before breaking into a loud laugh.

"Okay, then I'll call you Heichou."

"Heichou? Also... Did you just call.... her Hange-san?"

"Yeah, I watch too much anime.... Heichou means something like captain in Japanese."

"Oh."

'Sweeeet.'

"Also Eren... I'm a huge idiot. Yeah, I actually wanna be friends, just to clear things up. And I have time for you, I just automatically push everything away that gets too close to me if it's centered around my work."

"... Well it keeps professionalism... but that's hard if you're a soldier... thing will get too close to you... all it matters is if you stay strong, push through and succeed in the end, never loosing your goal."

"Are those..... your own words?", another stunned look from the person that was never impressed.

"Yes. Definetely yes."

 

'I'm truly a dumbass.'

His voice was quiet, just as quiet as his selfdoubt had become: "Oh, Eren.... I'm sure someday you're gonna be the hero you see in me. I can't even see it in myself, but you have potential to change things around you. I can tell."

"Well, good if you think that. Because we're all gonna be heroes together. And I'm gonna change your opinion too, that's a promise."

"I'm glad. I'll look forward to it........ shitty brat.", Levi's face was suddenly blessed with a sweet, sincere expression, elicit by a rare phenomenon: a cute smile.

'Soooo... who's flirting nooooow?', Eren's thoughts somersaulted, as his brain categorized and remembered every second, every angle of that golden view in front him, that he of course absolutely deserved. 'Who would've thought that I could make Levi smile like that!'

"You're nicer than you give yourself credit for. Heichou. Thanks. You're amazing."

'No. You are the amazing one............ And you'll always be.'

 

Chapter Text

'Okay.'

 

Levi suddenly woke up feeling overemotional and regretting, understanding that it wasn't the next day. It was still the same one.

'I can't change that I am trapped in here, but why can't we just go on? Why do all of our conversations and revelations pass by like they never happened? It always takes two people...'

 

He knew from Hange and Erwin. If he never agreed to anything, not much happened at all.

But that repetitious thing put a burden on him he wasn't ready to take. He already carried the weight of the whole world, or rather what was left of it, on his shoulders and having to figure a way out of it, was borderline stressing. Additionally he didn't even knew if it was even meant to have a way out, or would be just a hellish trap like in Dr. Strange.

He must be here for weeks already, he figured.
He knew from movies, that people managed to spend years in places like this, before finally escaping, pretty much having their life together after that.
Just Levi didn't really know what he was supposed to do here. Most of the times people thrown into things like that were bloody amateurs, untrained and had no real experience. Even Levi knew that he wasn't like this. On what was that damn thing centered!?
He knew he shouldn't be upset to not have found a way out yet, but he somehow imagined he'd be done faster. Now he did the same damn thing almost every day and it was annoying, to say the least. Levi began feeling on the edge from day to day.

He already figured that days were different, if you do different things on different times, mix it up, remove and add things. But what was the point of all this?

If the point was to make Levi progressively more upset, it was working perfectly.

The captain found containing his emotions from day to day more difficult. He felt needless, caged, confused and tired. Very tired. How can one human beeing possibly be so tired?

 

 

When a few more weeks passed without much change, and he figured it was a month already, he just wanted to scream. It was nothing and a lot at the same time. It took a month for him to get sooo tired. So tired of everything, of every damn thing around. Of Ymir's annoying glances and comments when she passed him. Of Reiner and Bertold's scornful aura, of Hange's extrovertedness, Erwin's freaking calm although he probably couldn't even come close to imagine what was actually happening, since he didn't dug his nose in. Of standing up everyday, of repeating the same things all over, having to apologize to Eren and decide what to talk about and how to get a certain dialogue. He felt like in a game, where he tried to press the right buttons to get the right dialoge choice and open a new range of posibilities. The place was pretty much like a game already. He just didn't wanted to play.

So he just lied in his bed, with the most intense groggyness he could ever muster, wrapped in blankets and his clothes. It was not warm enough, not cuddly enough, he was sleepy and didn't want to move at all. The next hours were spend staring at the wall, hopelessly trying to motivate himself.

Knock Knock.

 

"WHAT!?"

"Uh...um... I'm sorry... Erwin said you didn't come to the meeting.. so I.. went to check.", Eren's muffled voice sounded shy.

"Hmmm......."

"Can I.... can I come in?"

"If you dare... if I may saaay so.", Levi yawned loudly just in time with Eren's entrance.

The cadet was oggling the interesting formation in front of him, Levi laying flatly in between of all this, wearing a warm shirt and a cotton jacket, looking quite cozy and unusual.

"You... you haven't stood up yet, right?"

"Yeah.. I... urgh... I also have to talk to Erwin later.. but then I'll have to stand up."

"Are you okay? You kinda seem ill, Corporal. Should I call commander here-"

"Later. And ill... I have no idea... I don't wanna do anything at all, it's exhausting."

"For you never. You must be getting ill!"

"Mhhhhmmm.....", Levi closed his eyes again and went back unmoving.

"U...um... should I make you a tea, Sir?"

 

The other didn't answer, making Eren come a few steps closer in concern, trying a little louder.

"Captain!?"

"...Don't know, I don't want anything......"

Eren mused for a second before comming up with an idea.

"Wait a second. I'm back soon!"

Therewhile Levi fought with that unbelievable headache manifesting stronger by the minute.

Eren returned with a thermometer of the newest model. It just required a few seconds of close contact to show the exact temperature. While slightly furrowing his brows through half lidded eyes, the older observed his doings, neutrally noting the sudden change on his face when he had read the display.

"37,85°C. Captain... you're almost at 38!"

"Oh."

'Oops.'

The cadet's nervous shuffling around him slowly churned him on.

'How is that possible!? I am never ill. Maybe in my younger days, but since my recovery I always was in perfect health, except maybe a few infections due to injuries and fractures. Now we are all gonna die.'

"Do you have some kind of pain? Anything hurts?"

"My head...... but that's a frequent occurance...."

That made him wonder once more, if he actually had brain damage and the consequences would haunt him now.

"Frequent!? That's not good. You're under intense stress. You should rest or it'll get worse!"

"In war there is no rest."

"But you won't be of help like that! And besides.. you'd have to stand up then."

Levi groaned loudly. "You're right! That sounds horrible right now!"

"Just... just stay here, I'm gonna tell Erwin."

"When you're done... tell him to come here."

 

 

 


"Commander!"

The blonde turned towards a concerned looking brunette, stepping into his cabin.

'Something happened....'

"I...I... Captain's ill.... He has fever!", he yelped softly, holding the thermometer for him to see, "When I went to check on him he seemed powerless and in pain."

"What!?", Erwin's voice was low and breathy, sounding concerned.

"Yes... He .... doesn't even feels like standing up and asks for you to come to him, because he wants to talk to you."

Erwin paled lightly, his memories thrown back: "I...I may have an idea. He has been feeling bad a few days back... so this could be connected."

"Y...yeah... I noticed too.... he was as pale as a ghost!"

"I'm coming right away!"

 

 

 

Erwin had suggested to go without Levi, which the other promptly negated, having to explain his situation as usual. Needless to say, every new thing both found out was rather unexpected.
After the conversation of the two head leaders ended, the cadet went back into the room, flinching right away when he noticed Levi was a little paler than before, reminded to two days back when he was as white as a sheet.

"C..Captain!? Was the conversation as serious?"

"Hmm?", Levi mumbled lamely.

"Okay. That's it. I'm calling Hange-san to inspect you, to get your treatment."

"Ugh. ... Can't you just leave me be for a bit."

"No! It's for your own good."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's also hard to talk with a commander that believes you have a confused mind if the situation is serious."

"Oh... you are still sane?.. That's not it."

"I hope so. ......"

 

 

 

 


"Depression fever!?"

"Yes. You are in perfect health, Levi. As always."

"O...okay... I get it, I was often in pretty bad mood but... Depression!?"

"Looks like a chronic depression to me."

Levi stared at her with wide eyes: "But why do I have such high fever out of sudden if it's been a few years already?"

"Either you didn't notice or what's more likely it got worse... something may have triggered it or everything gathered up and it's too much."

"It's better to rest, get a nice hug.", Hange embraced him with a soft, childish grin on her face, "And talk about it."

"Don't tell me you're also a therapist."

"Mhh... I could try! You know I'm right."

Levi just sighed quietly and closed his eyes, unwilling to do anything else.

"Should I call Eren?"

"Mhhhmmm........."

'God, that sounds so damn pathetic... am I a dog or what? What's happening to me?'

 

 

 


Eren's arms were securely holding Levi, hugging him sideways, head leaned against his shoulder. It was a cozy, yet almost undeserved closeness. Levi sighed.

Eren carefully lifted his head and gaze: "Is everything alright?"

"Did Hange tell you?"

It was quiet for a little, the cadet hesitating in his answer: "Mh..... .......... yeah."

".....I'm as surprised as you are....."

"Can I help somehow?"

"You already do.", their gazes met, almost stealthily and hesitant, "You're here."

'And I am thankfull for that.'

"Yeah... but... I wish it was more."

"Hmm..... Eren.. I... I....."

 

 

'Why is it suddenly so hard to talk? I told him before already... ... but it was because I had no better choice, right?'

Eren's curious gaze wandered over Levi's contrite features, searching for words, the right ones, any words really. Somehow for the first time he looked his size, small in all this cuddly, wide clothing, all around these cushions, not knowing what to say. But the cadet just carassed his shoulder slowly and patiently waited, encouraging him. This successfully calmed the captain, but a sigh left him when he remembered what he wanted to say.

 

 

"...Imagine you have to repeat every day over and over."

 

The beeping of the alarm clock came to mind, to each time stare at a white wall.

 

"No, it's not your life that is constantly the same. Tomorrow never comes."

 

He remembered the endless white that enveloped the surroundings reseting everything, his free fall through the laboratory ceiling into another universe.

 

"... You will never find out if you have friends in the future...", his glare carefully trailed over Eren' features, recalling how much he wanted him to remember their last conversation, "You will never find out if you'll succeed, if you did the thing you could do tomorrow... everything around you stands still and doesn't moves."

 

Had his efforts tooken effect? Had he managed to save people, set his plan into motion, understand the threat he was dealing with? Would any of this matter if it wasn't meant to go on?

 

"It's like a dream..... but it's worse... It's like a personal hell... if you always.... for your whole life sacrificed everything... just to let everyone else see the future."

Levi's gray, almost cat-like eyes widened from strain, despite his rather quiet inner turmoil. He would never forget those words, he would never forget those cold metal bars, never the seeming useless and sole purpose he was given.

 

"You serve humanity to guarantee it's future.
You strive high to ensure your future at the top of military.
Your destination is to take your place as the most worthy commander."

 

The Underground crime King as a worthy upper class commander? That sounded rediculous and unfair to say the least, but it was his daily reality. He had shown them his standard, they took it over and doubled and tripled it, making him lost in expectations and results. He had been 19 by the time he had aquired his first military title (not counting cadet).

The circumstances he was stuck in now, were his Kryptonite. Just exactly what had been bothering him all those years, so it was impossible to escape or ignore it. It would find him again when he was at his most vulnerable.

 


Eren had been looking incredulously at him, trying to understand what was happening, caught off guard by the wearyness and honesty in his glare. It couldn't be anything good, could it?

"That sounds horrible! ...I think it would almost feel like I forgot who I am anymore."

Levi nodded timidly and breathed: "The thing is, I never knew......"

Eren stared at him wide eyed and Levi almost looked away.

'Not you too.....'

"Is it a consolation if I know? I don't really understand what's happening to be honest."

"Me neither......", Levi sighed and finally looked away.

 

The cadets grip suddenly got firmer and he was hugging him directly now, chest on chest, heart beating against the other, while one of them skipped a beat for a second. The hug was almost intimate, so warm, so thight, so caring, so Eren. Levi melted and slacked into the embrace, hugging him back, while his body prickled at the touch.

"But doesn't matters. I will be here for you... and if you want me to do something and help you, I will."

The captain couldn't help but stare.

"You don't have to..... but thank you...", he rested his head that was suddenly feeling heavy and clouded on his very comfortable shoulder, feeling save.

"I woke up one day.... after dying... to discover that the world began reseting from now on. It's like in the movies... only it doesn't make any sense... .... I've repeated it for a month now and nothing I did really mattered."

"Hmm... you mean the time rewinds back?", Eren murmured deep in thought, carassing the back of his head.

"Y...yeah... but you don't really feel it rewind.... it's almost like you enter another universe... how doesn't matters... They cease to exist after midnight. And I am left to wonder how any of them might have continued, no matter if it was meant to be or not."

'He means what he says, doesn't he? But I don't know how that is possible...'

"That's interesting. But also kinda sad...."

"It is..... I hate it kind of. There are some conversations with you I will probably never get back. ... Or they will never live on like they used to."

"Conversations? Oh, I am sure you will. What was that about?"

The other suddenly became shy, oggling the floor. "About you calling me Heichou... and the professor, Hange-san...."

"...How did you? .... Oh, right, I'm stupid. I'm curious now. What else did we talk about?"

"Ehh... we ... started with my skills... ended up with the nicknames and me... uhh... ehh... apologizing for myself.. from um... And you said we could be heroes together.", after his initial hesitant sputtering, the last sentence just spilled out and left him happily blushing.

Eren seemed to share his sudden enthusiasm. "Sounds exciting!"

"Sounds exactly like something you would say."

"Yeah and I could repeat it if you want to!"

"Not now. I just wanted to say I... I appreciate it every time we talk and you... I don't even know how to call it.... ...are so friendly and supportive?"

"Should I up my supportive game? It's long not reached it's high."

The glare the captain had given him was just the epitome of bafflement.

"B-But it's fine if you don't want me to. So you are saying I am like that in every universe you visit?"

"Exactly. And if I repeat what I said before it won't have the same meaning anymore... and you would react different. But I was already at that point, you know?"

"Yeah that can be frustrating... Say... What caused it?"

 

Levi tensed up in his grip immediately.

"I'm... I'm sorry.. If it's so distressing we can stop talking about it."

'Did I already forgot how all of us died that day?'

"I don't know what caused it... but I can sure understand that it wasn't supossed to end like that."

"Did you... saw anything paranormal?"

"...I did. But it wasn't when everything started."

"Maybe it's connected?"

"No idea... I saw... sparkles of .... light? When I am awake as the world ends... everything becomes white and gleams, as if swallowing everything it touches. And sometimes after or during that process... I see flashes of blue. One time there were burn marks on my ceiling... that's because I literally FELL through it into my bed. But what surprises me... the leg of your bed had a burn mark on it too."

"Interesting.... maybe the distribution is random or something?"

"Don't know... I only know I have to find that out. I know everything I could find from data in here... but I have no idea how to create the 'perfect day' and it's stressfull."

"The 'perfect day' you say? Can't any day be perfect in it's own sense?"

"Not in this case. I probably have to trigger a certain combination of events to get through, I think. If not, I may be just trapped in a prison... or maybe I have to understand something? I don't know... I am not sure on what it's centered. I thought I made the most logical choices at the far start already, but maybe it's easier than that? Or maybe I have to experiment?"

"Hmm.... sounds logical. But why would you think that's a prison?"

"Because it's... everything that happens is exactly the bane of my existance. Most of what I think... is from Scifi movies... I don't even know if things work like this. ....Maybe I am somewhere in a coma and this is all one big hallucination."

Levi rambled and rambled and probably never talked as much off duty as he did now, worry over worry comming up in his mind.

 

Eren looked steadfast with the position and expression he now made, but his voice was calm and soft: "Please, calm down, Levi... I'm sure we'll resolve it. You could always come up to me and ask me for help... whether you explain it to me or not, if you really need it, I think my other versions will always do it."

The absolute certaincy in Eren's eyes and his tone left the other speechless. It took him a little to take it all in. "That..... means a lot.... really... I don't... usually get... help like this...."

Levi shily looked into the nearest corner in the room, quieting down.

"Really!? But why!? You are the captain of the mission. You can't take care OF everything! That's not your job! And your task is pretty big... Even Erwin gets help and advise from the closest under him!", Eren wildly gesticulated around, to the point of mostly releasing the captain, agitated lines showing on his young face.

 

 

Levi sighed and stared down, contemplating his lifechoices again. "The problem is, that I'm independant... I have to look like my own figure and get used in the military for different functions than others. I am not supposed to be really integrated, even while I help to hold this together. ... I'm.. the front figure of all of this. It certainly looks better if I make my own choices.. they're often vastly different from the methods of the other commanders. I take all the praise and all the hate and god ...people say I have the perfect 'story' for a hero... like it's all some kind of fucked up game."

"But if you never get any tips on how to act, your image won't get better and it's even more difficult if we want to succeed! Makes no damn sense... and it makes me really angry. They just use you to wipe off their filth and blame it on the lonely captain?"

"Well... from the start they had received a lot of backlash and had to face inconveniences, because of me in the past. They take it as guarantee for always keeping me around."

"But you deserve to be kept! You are good enough, you are better... a better human than all of them! Did they forget what the word 'human' is? No one is perfect... everybody needs help sometimes..."

Levi first had sighed, but the more aggravated the cadet seemed to become, the weirder this all got. He was balling his fists and looked ready to jump and fight anyone barehanded who said any bullshit, like some rabid beast.

"Eren.... why.. are you so extremely angry about this...?"

"Because you are my captain, and I won't let anyone hurt you!"

'His captain, huh?'

"Your Heichou.....", Levi smiled softly at Eren now.

"Yes...."

Levi shuffled closer to him again to nuzzle into his embrace, cuddling him and enjoying the way the other reciprocated the cuddles in the same way.

"Why are you so damn nice, Eren... and so furious.", he mumbled amusedly and delighted.

"I just am this way. People call me 'angry german kid'."

"'Angry german kid'? Okay. Shitty brat."

"What?"

"That's my lovely name for you."

Eren stared widely: "Am I so 'shitty' ...?"

'That's the second time he reacted like this...'

 

Levi tilted his head, staring friendly and curiously at him: "No. Don't pout like that. I name like that. If I do it, it's special."

"Special? Like a special name for me?"

"Yes... there are only three people I call nicknames like this. You are the third.... and the last."

"Oh... I either call people names If I have either a really high or a really low opinion about them. Like... yeah I am friends with Jean, but he annoys me, so 'Horseface' it is. And for Ymir... 'Bitchface' maybe... but I think she deserves something more intricate and filthy...."

"Hmm...."

"You... you call Hange-san and commander those names?"

"You don't have a high opinion about Erwin?"

"I am too reverent and well behaved to call him any names...honestly.. he is the highest rank. And you didn't answer my question."

"Yes. ... You don't even wanna know how I call them."

"Are you sure? I'm dying from curiosity!"

"Erwin is 'Eyebrows'."

Eren stared for a second, before snorting and falling into a giggly fit.

'I knew it.'

Levi stared amusedly at him, until Eren calmed down, wiping his eyes.

"Wow... that's... that's freaking delicious...."

"Wait and see, Eren.", Levi grinned at him.

"How does Hange-san's sound?"

"Well... 'Four eyes' or 'Shitty glasses' mostly."

Eren giggled softly: "You're so funny, Captain!"

"Weeeell... actually I base it off the first and probably most distinctive feature I saw in a person of my choice. ... First thought you are a brat... how you talked with people and emphasized things."

"Hahaha... well. For a person that has went through so much negative things in your life, you are so positive, Captain. Seeing the good in our flaws, adding your humor."

"You think so? I actually hadn't noticed."

"Yeah... it's always easier if it's for someone else, right?"

"Yeah... ...", Levi actually began feeling quite sleepy now, despite all of this and leaned more onto brunnette, completely letting himself go to the point of slacking, "You called me by my first name. I liked that."

"Yeah? Hmm... okay.. I'll see about it."

"You can call me like that when we're off duty, if you're comfortable."

"Hmm... yeah..."

The continued with their cuddling, Levi felt a little worse... physically. He could tell he had feaver now, but his mind was a little more at peace.

"The repetition thing... it's gonna be alright. Think about it when you feel better again and then come to me, so we can think about something."

Levi nodded and slacked off fully, resting and Eren gladly let him, wrapping a few blankets around him and pushing them both into a lying position. Maybe everything had it's upsides.

Chapter Text

Once again... the waking up part was probably one he was most used to, but not if there had happened something the previous day.

It was the same as always, but his bed felt empty. There wasn't even an Eren-shaped imprint in the sheets. That was unfair.

Why Levi felt so weirdly influenced by him, wasn't exactly clear in his head. Like a lot of things that had nothing to do with work.
It was actually the most positive thing that had happened to him in the longest while and he felt strong withdrawl. One that was even amplified by the state he was now in.

He felt useless... but he couldn't bring himself to do anything.

So he was trying to sleep, although painfully aware that this was impossible with him. He could only rest with closed eyes, although his thoughts produced his own personal nightmares.

 

 

 

 

There had been a knock on the door.

A knock that went unheard, because his inner voice was too loud.

Eren entered his cabin, having found him way earlier than one repetition before. It was just that there had been shuffling comming out of his room, indicating that he was probably busy. Now there was nothing, quiet... and the atmosphere was oppressive.

Eren slowly opened, and as soon as he stared into the room, quietly closed the door behind him. Levi's bed, that was right in front of the door, was positioned crosswise and with its shorter side against the wall. The person Eren had been searching for was facing away from him, one arm draped over his eyes as if in pain.
The cadet stood in front of the bed, wondering, feeling almost like he had breached his privacy, like this was something sacred.


He asked mildly, voice not low, but also not too loud to wake a person that was deeply dreaming: "Captain, are you sleeping?"

Levi slowly turned to him, hand lifting from his face and bemusedly mustering the brunette.

"Uh... I haven't seen you yet and wanted to check on you. Are you okay?"

Levi slowly shook his head, immediately saddening the cadet, by the fact that his worries had come true.

"Can I do anything to help?"

"Hmmm..... don't know...", he mumbled lowly, almost cutely, "Can you cuddle me?"

"Really?"

"I know it sounds weird, but. Wait... that's not the reason you're surprised...?"

"Didn't thought someone as high rank would ask me for this."

"That doesn't even matter, I see-"

Before Levi could finish though, Eren had climbed onto his bed, slipped under the blanket and wrapped around him sweetly.

That effectively shut him up, as he immediately felt a little more comfortable and hugged the brunette close against his chest.

"You're really warm...."

"I know.", Levi sighed, "But I feel kind of cold, though."

Not even the fact that he was wearing the clothes from before could change the fact that he was shivering.

"Are you ill?", Eren looked up, worriedly mustering him.

Levi looked away, just pressing him closer: "I'm depressed."

The cadet gasped a little, making the other uncomfortably mustering the wall.

"Y-You mean right now... or..."

The answer didn't came, there wasn't even a way he knew he could explain or just tell him.

Only knew that he liked how Eren then nuzzled more closer, even protectively over him, carassing him. It was surprisingly soothing and sweet and he cuddled him back, not even minding how suddenly intimate it might've felt.

'He smells good............'

 


They lied like this for a quite a while, Levi trying to overpower the chaos in his head with physical closeness, because he couldn't focus on anything coherent in his head.

"I'm cold.....", were the only words he could bring over his lips, not even comparing how cold his heart had suddenly felt.

'Oh god... sure he is not ill??? You can surely get ill from depression? That's why it gets misdiagnosed often.... Or so Armin told me.'

Eren quietly disentangled them, worriedly noting that Levi was rather warm, although he seemed to shiver from cold. He jumped up to look for more pillows and sheets.

He went over and searched in the cupboard, putting not one, not two, but several pillows and sheets out.

And out of nowhere he just turned to the Captain, while holding all of this.

"Let's built a pillowforth!"

Levi smiled internally, because he couldn't make his body react or feel better. "Okay.", he just muttered friendly.

As he noticed that Eren put in waaaay more effort than necessary, it did make his expression turn rather amused, even more how serious Eren took it to probably make THE BEST pillowforth.

"Eren, it's fine. Come here...."

Eren nodded: "Aye, Aye, Captain!"

 

 

 

It almost took his breath away how close the younger suddenly pushed to him, one hand holding his head in place and the other cupping him around his strong hips.

"Is that cozy and warm enough for you?", Eren mumbled with closed eyes, nuzzled against his neck a little, while tenderly carassing his head.

"Y-Yeah....", his eyes fluttered shut, his pulse sped up a little and a somehow euphoric feeling rushed through his bloodstream.

But it was slightly distracting out of sudden, as if he couldn't breathe, his thoughts running away from him and weird warmth flooding him, almost nostalgic.

He wasn't the only one. Eren noticed he was kind of excited, but not purely sexual, but more in a mental satisfaction caused by comfort and the Captain's closeness. It was a pretty amazing feeling to him like this, his arms feeling his muscles and carassing him.

'Can't believe I am so calm... I am cuddling THE Captain... THE LEVI.... and it's even more amazing than I could ever imagine...'

Levi remembered the hugs his friends used to give him and suddenly when he squinted it was blonde hair in front of him and the strong arms belonged to someone else. Levi took in a gasped, pained, shaky breath.

'C'mon... it's been 8 years...'

"Captain!?"

"I....I-IIII'm srry... pan'c...att'ck....", Levi grit out, biting his lower lip and staring contrite in the air, shivering.

"God, I'm sorry, am I too close!?", Eren squeaked, adrenaline rushing through him as he suddenly lifted up, each of his legs at Levi's sides, hovering right over him on all fours.

That was quite a sight to behold, because for a second it looked like something entirely else to Levi, finding he didn't despised the thought of it at all.

The image of Farlan slowly dissapiated into little scraps before him and there was only Eren's worried gaze and his tentative carasses, although his chest suddenly felt heavy and thight.

Nothing more than a sigh could leave him, as he tugged himself back into reality. He hid his eyes behind his arm, as he had done before Eren had been here.

'Not this again .....'

"It's... memories... or like doctors like to call it. PTSD."

"For how long do you have this?"

".... For as long as I can remember."

The brunnette felt like crying, unexpecting that his idol was so broken inside... and still made such grand things.

"Why isn't it treated?"

"When do I have the time for that? And it doesn't matters... each time I go back to the battlefield it follows... and only things like that will happen to me on my way there. This is my duty... Besides... it's been 8 years... everyone expected I had snapped out of it already..."

Eren tried to hold himself together as he thought about it now.

"You were only 17, when you joined....."

"As old as you are now... and contrary to you... I wasn't that pleased by the idea of joining the military."

'So behind all this amazing man... behind the invincible, perfect man, is a hurt, brave, broken soul. I feel so bad for him... I adore him so much, even more now. But... I don't want him to dwell on the past too much now. When this is all over we deal with this. Now I wanna help him. I wanna be there for him, when he thinks no one is and no one should be.'

"Is there a way to help you. Do I have to keep distance?"

"Please just... don't let go."

As soon as he had said it, he felt incredibly embarassed.

'How do I politely say "I fucking love your cuddles, gimme."???'

"I might have an idea..."

 

 

He climbed off with a little swing of his legs and began slowly and tenderly turning Levi to his side. It was done in a way that made the other suddenly feel special. Not fully feeling like he was something vulnerable... but something valuable and worth it.

Now he was spooned from behind, warm arms wrapping around his hips and pulling him close.

It filled Levi with a feeling he couldn't exactly place, it was new, safe, exciting and calming all the same.

'Armin said it's a good position.'

"Do you like that?", Eren murmured sweetly, nuzzled closely closely against his back.

His breath tickled Levi's neck, and he couldn't help but chuckle, feeling free.

'Succes!'

Now memories were of a different kind.

"That reminds me... when we sat in one transporter next to each other. And we fell asleep. Do you remember, Eren?"

"Yeah... it was nice. When I woke there was a blanket around me. Was that you?"

"Yes. Do you remember how we fell asleep?"

"No."

"We cuddled...", Levi blushed.

"Really?", Eren still couldn't believe all of this and even less that it had already happened, begun before he could tell. The captain must like him.

"Yes... but not exactly like this...", now Levi bend his legs, rolled up a little, so he kept up less space and Eren joined, so their legs touched, "Like this."

"It doesn't feel that new, so I guess my body remembered.", Eren murmured happily and wrapped the blanket more around him.

'Armin said it's called muscle memory.'

The other suddenly turned more hesitant and even shy: "Eren... I... forgot to say... I think it was yesterday... what I said was directed to anyone but you... and... if that was what you were sad about. I do wanna be friends... I just.. I..."

"It's fine... Your bad history kept you from doing what you really want."

'That's... that's exactly it....'

"Kinda.....", Levi lamely added, surprised by his insight.

"But it's okay... I'll hold you anyway. Whenever you want."

"Okay."

When his eyes closed in acceptance, their time cuddling was spend quiet and sweet.

Even when the bad mood returned, it didn't felt too bad, because there was someone there.

'Eren.'

 

 


When the commander called Jean from the hallway and told him he couldn't find the captain since morning, if he had seen Eren with him and he had to decline seeing anyone of them today, he became slightly worried.

He decided what he found best for everyone: to check. So he hurried to the door.... knocked.

Nothing.

Another time harder and louder.

Eren was almost asleep and Levi spaced out. No one heard him and with a bad premonition he opened the door.


Jean entered, immediately paling when he saw the two of them in bed together, a cozy looking Levi spooned by Eren.

That was definitely not what he had imagined.

"Oh, hi Jean."

"Yeager.............."

"We're just cuddling...", Eren sounded soft and then wrapped his arms even closer around Levi, hands holding his torso and nuzzling sweetly, a bit dizzy from sleepyness, "Captain's been feeling kinda bad."

The said really looked like he didn't cared about any single thing in the world, but it still set Jean right off. And the way Eren looked like a playfull kitten, pressing against a grown man.

"Yeah.... you sure have an idea how to 'lift his spirits'. Have fun Yeager....", Jean dismissively waved and exited out of the room, feeling like someone slapped a bucket of water in his face.

Eren just questiongly glared, while Levi groaned and put the blanket over his head: "Remind me to stab Jean the next time I see him...."

 

 

 

 

Jean didn't even know what to do with himself. No, the first thing to do surely wouldn't have been reporting back to the commander. He was too railed up for that. Automatically, his feet pulled him towards his friends, which voices echoed through the hallway. They were hanging out at the cafetaria... 15 minutes before opening, god knows why. Having spotted them, he immediately made his way.


"Oh my god... Armin... Mikasa... you really think your friend's behaviour is alright!? Eren's rolling around in the bedsheets with the captain!"

Armin gasped, hands in front of his mouth and Mikasa looked entirely scandalized. Ymir jumped forward excitedly, her eyes shimmering like a pirate that found treasure.

"What did I just hear!?"

"Oh my god, NO! I mean literally.... he's just wrapped all across him like a python... and Captain looks like a yeti with all layers of clothes and sheets... and it looks like pretty much a pillowforth there... but.. in a WEIRD way... like I could see them making out and then nap on each other's lap's."

"Okay, Jean. Calm down, okay? Everything's okay... I bet Eren has a reason to cuddle with him... and even if the reason is that he just wanted to, we should just be happy for him.", Armin tried to defuse the situation.

"That ain't cuddling, man. That looks like some kind of privileged type of comfort. Like a twisted and kinky sense of duty."

"Ooooookaaaay... Jean... we got it. Eren wanted to be nice and you think Levi uses that to his advantage, right? I don't think he is that kind of person."

"Who knows...", Ymir chimed in, "I bet Eren would have it suddenly a lot easier in the military, if he shared the bed with the second in command."

"Shut up. Eren is no cheap whore. If he would... it's because he has feelings for him.", Mikasa was annoyed to the point that she actually spoke up, but said it in a cold and reserved tone.

"Doesn't means Levi cares about him. Have you seen him care about anyone beside himself?"

"You're one to talk.", Mikasa deadpanned.

Ymir's eyes burned up in a menacing glare that just screamed 'I have Christa, you stuck up bitch'.

Armin went between them and held his hands up. "Heeeey, hey, hey. Guuuuys, calm down... calm down. It's really not our business and not worth fussing about. I BEG YOU.... don't fight."


Then Eren came down the hall in something almost akin to pijamas, looking taken aback by everyone gathered. His features morphed into friendly soon after: "Oh... hi guys! I'm getting Levi some tea. Want some too?"

"So, are the rumors true? Are ya rolling around in the bedsheets with captain?", Ymir inclined and Mikasa looked ready to slap her.

Eren didn't even bat an eye: "Not rolling. Just chilling. He's just pouting constantly and has a headache. And... shh...could you be a little more quiet?"

He gestured accordingly and lowered his voice, dumbfounding Ymir: "Umm.... okay... sounds legit."

Eren looked genuinely sad: "I also think he has fever...."

"Fever you say....", Ymir hadn't even said it ironically, her voice had automatically taken a more monotone and absent tone.

Yeager noded, before vanishing into the kitchen. Only after he had left with his tea, had the others continued talking.

Jean stared awkwardly into the round that had become awfully quiet: "So, what do you suggest, I shouldn't stop Levi trying to get piece of Eren?"

 

 

 


When Erwin had entered Levi's room at the time when even Jean was missing for longer than he had expected, and beeing a man of more open or tolerant expectations, what he had imagined was everything but this.

Both were sitting up against the wall, the pillows and sheets still draped all around them like the protective walls of a castle.
Levi, with one of the most expressive enjoying faces he had ever seen of him, was dozing snuggled up against Eren, head leaned onto his shoulder.
The former carassed his head consolingly, confidently and confidentially too. The empty cup was sitting on the commode next to the bed.

Levi looked a lot younger in this position, almost like a kid.
Erwin noticed with resignation and softening facial features, that probably he was one.

Neither in the Underground, nor in the military did he had the possibility to have a normal childhood or adolescence. He had played with things adults did, without any grasp of the concept. His survival instinct had guided him his whole life. It was only natural that he needed a time out, have a little fun, needed care, friends, feel young again. He wasn't exactly old... but it must have felt like he had wasted his whole life until this point. When people began taking everything more seriously and put aside their childishness, he was already tired of the adult life.

The only problem was: They needed him on this mission now.

"Levi... are you okay?"

They hadn't noticed him immediately, but his pressence wasn't distracting them in any way.

"N...not really. But I manage..."

"We have to get ready soon..."

His whole body flinched at once, made him snap out of this weird trance he had been in the whole day, as the memory ran through him in electric shockwaves. He jumped up, fisting the sheets.

"SHIT. I already forgot about that part!"

Eren was at once astonished by the diversity of profanities that were just comming out of Levi's mouth. Living on the streets made it even pottier than a sailor's.

"You... forgot?", Erwin hoped he only had to be confused and not alarmed.

"Erwin, we can't go. We have to postpone the mission!", Levi restlessly shifted around.

"Why? Can you please tell me what this means?"

His voice was calm, but to the blackhaired it sounded almost accusing, as he stared up.

"Erwin, we are all gonna die. We are gonna die!"

'First he "forgets" missions... then he looks like he has an episode... and now he is... delusional? I don't like this.'

"Levi."

Oh, he knew that glare, and sadly all too well.

"Erwin, don't you dare. I haven't lost it! Maybe I am crazy, but not in that way!"

Eren just helplessly stared between them, but didn't say a word.

"Still. I should have known that this was a little too heavy for you to take. Pain like this can really cloud your judgement."

Levi eyed the commander sharply with furrowed brows as they engaged in a grim staring contest of quiet fury and challenge.

Still not turning away from his target, the captain firmly muttered: "Eren...... please leave. I need to have a word. It's breakfast time now either way, right? Come back after that."

"Sure!!", the cadet squealed and quickly scurried away.

 

 

 

 

Silence prevailed for some time.

"Why haven't you attended the morning meeting.", Erwin stared emotionlessly at him.

But that was a mask. He was testing him and he knew it.

"I haven't felt up to it."

"You also don't feel 'up to' the mission, huh?"

Levi stared annoyedly up at him, while remembering his mood and the fact that he had hated those meetings anyway.

"We could go without you.", came the deadpanned exclaim.

"Do you have a deathwish or something!?"

"Do you think we are that defenseless?"

"It's not that... but it's really nothing to be proud of, to be the only human that had survived their attacks for so long. I don't think I'll be able to withstand them this time."

The commander raised his brow, still not fully grasping his viewpoint: "How so... are you stressed?"

"Erwin... the place is completely laid low. If they decide to attack us in this valley, we'd be easy prey."

"We can figure something out. If we take less men it will be a little easier to sneak in and out, yeah."

"No, I'm not comming. I have no idea what kind of intricate plan we need to fullfill this. It's the beasts migrational period now ... we can't go."

"It hadn't stopped us before."

"You really don't understand, Erwin... you really don't. It won't work until we have a fail-safe plan... and I am not sure one exists."

"Okay... you may are right about needing more time for this, but why wouldn't this work now? Why did this got worse than usual?"

'God, how do I explain to a genius that all of this happened already.....'

 


And he didn't said anything. His brain froze, his mouth muttered no single sound and it was as if the world stopped spinning around him. He was just balling his twitching fists and staring up towards the commander towering there.

It reminded him of that time when Erwin had captured him when he wanted to flee, asking him to come willingly for the last time, before he was arrested. He had looked as tall as ever with Levi sitting there like a broken puppy.

 

"Erwin.... not now.... not today..."

And the blonde was suddenly shocked by how his voice sounded and his face looked.

It made him rethink his conviction, his everything, because he learned that you couldn't have everything if you just push.

And after a short nod, he just left the room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emptyness. That was the dominant feeling that had suddenly prevailed in his mind and body.

Helplessness only deepened the occasional shaking of his limbs.

Coldness. He shifted onto the bed, resting his face in his hands, crouched up. He wasn't able to move, his blood felt frozen. He didn't wanted to.

Nothing.

Not eat. Not drink. Not sleep. Not breathe.

Not exist. Not think. Not suffer.


"Captain!"

 

There was a voice from far away, ringing in his ears. Somehow it seemed so concerned and caring.

 

'Impossible. Why should anyone care?'

 

Levi only snapped out of it, when Eren began madly cuddling him, removing his hands from his face and cupping it instead.

"Are you feeling bad? Can I do something? What's wrong... Please... you look so pale... oh... you are burning up!", he cupped his forehead.

"Eren... why are you doing this!?", Levi sounded almost desperate, his voice quiet and still.

"Because you are my captain! I owe you so much and I admire and adore you deeply... whether as a hero or just a person."

Levi stopped for a second, staring up baffled, realizing that the cadet had said it again.

It felt almost too rewarding to fully slack into his arms, beeing consoled by him.

 

'I just met you......

and you already mean the world to me.

Eren.'

Chapter Text

Levi wasn't exactly sure how the day had progressed, because most of it had felt like a blurr. He began not wanting to feel like a burden anymore. But when did he had ever allowed himself to feel like this in the past? A rare sight at all, he always kept it all in. What had changed?

He was indecisive, his mind lingering between elsewhere and in the here now. This ultimately led him to an area he wouldn't have thought himself at on a normal day.

He sat in front of his mirror.

'For what?'

 

Moments passed, seemingly endless fractions of time until his brain came to a screeching halt.

"I look horrible....."

In fact he felt absolutely disgusting, without having a clear reason at hand. It must be just him, was the next trail of thought. He scrunched his nose in contempt, following the lines of his sillhuete around the glass first just with his eyes, then with his index finger. It just didn't add up!

Those slight wrinkles under his eyes that were supposed to be eyebags from insomnia, were merely a few weird looking lines. But it angered him, either be there full force or not at all! Most of the time it felt like they were just drawn on, the flesh under his eyes not even feeling tender and thin like for most people, just numb.

Maybe he was just beeing irrational, maybe this was all meant to be.

'Piece of shit.'

 

It felt wrong. He was pale, way too pale ...and that expression! He was sure his ever scowling face would earn him some pretty ugly wrinkles in due age.

And his hair! He ruffled through it unsatisfied.

'Now I look like an emo.'

Not that he had anything against them.

'And an unflattering one at that.'

He meant those emos that just looked plain dead. Not even like humans, but like zombies. His dark colour sheme didn't help at all with that and he only needed a rash somewhere visible on his face to look like some form of undead.

He felt sick.

The eyes were the worst. So dull, so deranged when he was on the edge. Colourless. Expressionless.

'The colour of mud... Fits me well.'

It felt like he could have never washed away all that filth that he had to live in, until he got his own room in the military base back at the Rose. Never retribute himself for all his crimes.

His mouth was mostly a frozen frown, a horizontal line.

'God, what is wrong with me. I never liked society or wanted to fit in. I hate everyone... but most I hate myself.'

After a second the voice in his mind thinking this added quietly.

'Almost... everyone.'

It made sense and at the same time his thinking followed no system at all.

 

 

 

 

When Levi awoke this day, it felt each time more like a slap into his face.

'Oooohhh, look, it's the motherfucking 22st of wednesday again, how FORTUNATE... I am stuck forever to do the same shit again.. OH SORRY... I mean... yey.. I can do whatever I like FOREVER... and ever and ever until I rot....'

It felt like he was already rotting... from inside out. Permanently.

He got dressed, ironed his clothes just to feel like he had some kind of system and change of routine in this insanity... ended up staring in the mirror for 20 minutes and now his right eye was twitching. He just remembered... remembered he didn't wanted to be a burden anymore and do something productive. Eren didn't have to watch over him like his babysitter always, right?

 

But that meant he had to go through all this again... without a guarantee that it would work.

His mind replicated and parodied Erwin's voice as he imagined him entering his room.

 

' "Levi, what are you doinggg here? Areee you okaaaay!?"

... OHH yes.. sure I am okay, Commander, couldn't be any better, Erwin!

"Please, don't talk to me like this!"

Oh no, but its wednesday again and it's time for all of us to diee!

"Levi, whyyyy weren't you at the meeting!?"

Because who the fuck cares about this bullcrap... ahhh yes... yes remind me a thousand times what I have to do. If you repeat it one more time I am gonna vomit on your shoes!

"You are worrying me, Levi."

Am I?

"We hAvEEE to gO To tHe mIsSiOn soon."

Amaaazing, Erwin, so are you done pretending to care.

"I am not pretending, I just have to think about everything at once."

Well if you took the time to find out about me, maybe you would know why I don't wanna do this.

"Levi." '

 

Even though that voice was only in his mind and all this conversation imaginary... it made Levi suddenly rethink everything, realizing that the other was right. He was asking too much, no matter their quarrels or disagreements, he had to listen to him. Erwin had every right to have doubts, make sure everything works out, he can't distract himself too deeply with every occuring issue.

'Why am I doing this?'

"I'm going crazy.....", he whispered to his reflection, staring absently away.

'I don't wanna do this anymore. STOP!'

His nails ran down the glass with a loud screech.

The best action was probably to eat something, rest and think about a good plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plan hadn't been good, but he didn't thought it would be in the first place.

 

He had tried a new approach. Telling Erwin about his plan AND going to the bunker earlier... but against his will it took longer than expected and now he was in the middle of nowhere with a hoarde of monsters after him. Thankfully on his motorcycle.

'Is it time to use the secret weapon yet?'

The captain knew very well that he couldn't go full charge, because the laboratory was near.

But since this was only half real, he could take a smaller risk. His fingers lingered a second in front the clasp, that now opened up to a hidden control panel.

A single, small missile shot out of a small orifice in the back. The flying object put some distance between it's former inhabitation and her flying range, before imploding in a million pieces in all directions in range, blinding and deafening everything around it with a loud, low bang.

'You actually made me use the special arsenal in the motorcycle. That's not good.'

Levi drifted over the rocky, from the collision damaged ground without any interruption. His muscles were already crying from exhaustion, but any of those calls always fell upon deaf ears. The laboratory was in sight, most of the monsters out of action and too far back to care about. Levi didn't bother to look around after that, black bodies blasted into smithereens.

 

 

 

 

 

Levi came back slightly bloody, exhausted, dirty, on shaky legs he had excused himself to freshen up.

He was so out of it that he didn't notice the quiet footsteps right behind him.

'Captain looks anxious.'

As the captain slowly strolled over to his own room, leaving the door wide open, the mirror came soon into bright view, making Levi flinch momentarily.

'Is that my face?'

It was smushed with dirt, scratched up, a little bloody, dried trail on his cheek and looked gray from trails of dusk not only there but also on his clothes and head.

If he wanted to get rid of this he had to wash himself from top to bottom and his clothes.

He immediately froze and closed up, hard shivers shaking his body.

'Hi, how are you, mindless abomination? Did you came right from a zombie movie or do you need a bullet to the brain?'

As if on cue, Levi painfully gasped and collapsed on the ground, making the nearby standing cadet shockedly spring into action.

 

A second later Eren was next to him, trying to steady him although Levi was sitting on his knees.

"Captain, is everything okay!?"

"No. NOTHING is okay!", Levi growled throaty, edging into frustration and desperation, his fists almost melodically hit the ground with a loud sound, knuckles white.

Eren flinched, but didn't mind a bit, getting even more worried when the anger on his captain's face morphed into horror immediately. His eyes widening he had gripped at his hair like it was some kind of monster on top of him.

'Is this how my hair is gonna look when I'm old? Gray and filthy? Disgusting... I am disgusting... this is disgusting... I hate everything.'

Eren could literally see in front of his eyes how the mental breakdown unfolded and strengthened in all it's glory, as Levi started roughly and panicky tugging at his hair, as if he wasn't even there.

"Captain, stop! Please...", Eren grabbed his hands, trying to put them down, instead holding them in his.

"It's okay... calm down... breathe."

"I'm... I'm disgusting! ... I hate it... make it stop!!!", Levi yelled and whined, a little bit too pitched for his liking.

"It's only temporary, okay...? We're gonna get it away."

The brunette acted on instinct, trying to distract the other from the issue as much as possible with his soft voice and his attention.

"You don't understand! This is me! Will be me! So hideous... and the captain!"

"No, you are not. Just a little dirty, maybe. But you are the most beautiful person. Really! We're gonna fix it, okay. ... Levi!? You're scaring me, please."

While talking, Levi's face turned different colours... from even paler, unbelievable that it was even humanly possible, to green and then blue. Levi was suffocating on his own words and dust flying around.

His voice got breathier and words fragmented, flailing his arms: "No... I'm lit'r'lly the m'st disgustin' th'ng... why do.. why..."

The next minutes were spend desperately catching his breath, as nothing came out anymore... Eren put his hands down and cupped his cheeks, softly rubbing in circles and whispering calming. "Shhh.... it's fine... breathe... I'm here.. I'm holding you... focus on that, okay?"

 

'Why is he.. why would I... I don't...'

Dark clouds appeared in front of his vision for a little, lights playing in front of his eyes, his body hurt, ached, burned.

A flashback struck through him full force. Him standing in front of a mirror, ripped open dress shirt, dirty pants, looking beaten and broken. His frame fragile, hair brittle, face disfigured by bumps and a black eye and blood dripping down from his nose, mouth, forehead all over his chest. Who would have thought that from a teenage boy like that, would rise the most powerfull soldier in the military? He surely didn't. He saw himself just like that. A broken piece of dirt, unworthy of anything. And he thought, while completely dissociating, that nothing changed, except the fact that everyone now suddenly wanted something from him, made him responsible, threw all their weight on his shoulders. He felt too much, he had too much baggage on his own, he just wanted to be left alone. And as bad as his psyche suddenly started becomming, he thought sadly, if he might ever survive all of this, he had to live in an asylum for the rest of his life.

His emotions and memories cursed through him in an chaotic whirlwind, overloading his nervous system. In this moment he thought he couldn't do anything anymore. Never fight again, never remember, never breathe, never exist.

Was there an option to give up? To let it slide?

No, he was still trapped in this maze, that probably was nothing other than hell, trapping him in all his own guilt. His conscience tortured him.

'You couldn't save them... you couldn't save yourself. You've been a sinner all your life and now you have to pay for your biggest mistake.'

It was so sure he could have a stroke, right then and there, suffocate, fall catatonic for the rest of his beeing, but something kept him in borders, stopped him and he stared up, the reflexes in his face comming back.

The only thing keeping him in place were those brightly shining, vibrant ocean eyes. Like an anchor in the stormy sea, a guidelight flickering through the depths. And now suddenly he remembered the second time he died... how Eren had stared into his eyes for endless hours, comforting him and letting him feel like he was not alone. Not only as he was dying, but in general. Levi had never encountered kindness like that and although he knew he had to focus on his work sometime, the warmness and care of Eren would stay and wait for him to have time for his company.

And he calmed down, slowly his panic faded into awe and then weird calm, followed by utter speechlessness.

'Captain looks so lost. That doesn't suit him, although it's fairly cute...'

Protectiveness bubbled up in Eren, the need to wash away all that exhaustion, stress and dirt strengthened his resolution.

"Okay... please... bow your head a little."

At lack of an alternative or other ideas, to be precise, the captain did exactly as told, trusting.

Eren began carefully dusting off his hair, with time more thoroughfully, even trying to comb it away with a brush, before tenderly wiping the blood and dust off his cheek and face overall.

"There we go. We can get some warm water from the pump, but we have to get the dirty clothes off."

Levi didn't knew it he needed the caring or not, considering he almost went into shock a few minutes ago and now he felt so fine, like nothing happened at all.

 

The entire severity of the situation hit him at once Eren started undoing his buttons one by one and he did nothing to stop it. And why would you if you felt so tired? Some good sleep sounded just too good right now.

When the undershirt was off as well and Levi's whole toned upper body came into view it was Eren's time to freeze. Despite some obvious bruises, scratches and dirt it was absolutely gorgeous. Of course if Levi would have been seriously injured he'd be too worried to even mind it, but now his eyes automatically fixed on his handsome physique. He was blatantly staring holes into him, eyes fixed over the well rounded shapes of his muscles, with no fat attached, but not too unnaturaly bulky. The military clothes hardly emphasized his actual figure, despite him nicely filling out his clothes. It was awe, fascination and almost worship in his glare, although it seemed fairly innocent, exploring even. That's why Levi was so confused about the speechlesness, amused even. Even after a questioning or initiating head tilt didn't evoke any reaction, the confusion rose.

 

"Eren?"

"Yeaaah?", the cadet asked without taking his eyes off.

"You like what you see?", Levi said slightly rebukingly and with a grin.

"Yeah."

That made the captain abruptly stop and blush.

'How can he be so open about it? But I guess at this age no one really cares, right?'

'Oh... oh my... am I beeing inappropriate!?'

Eren quickly looked back into Levi's eyes: "I'm sorry... I just... you're so fit. They look even prettier than on pictures or Photoshop...."

As quickly as his eyes trailed up, they had found their way lower again, almost hard not to touch.

'They?'

"Wait... Photoshop? God, what did they do to me..."

"Made your abs look closer to Superman's.. but you are a natural, you don't need that....."

 

That truly left him speechless.

The brunnette quickly realised that there won't follow anything and that finally lifted the charm.

"O...okay.. it's not about that. It's about getting you... clean. Don't mind me."

 

 

 

 

Levi of course did everything alone, but was still pretty surprised to see said cadet waiting for him outside.

"Do you feel better?", Eren turned to him, a soft expression on his face.

"Yeah... but some sleep would be nice..."

Eren nodded, rummaged through his pockets and pulled something out of it: "Would you like a snickers?"

Levi curiously tilted his head: "Where did you get one?"

"I stole one from the fridge."

Eren was full of surprises.

"You stole a snickers from the fridge for me?"

"Yes."

A short silence filled the room in which Levi proceeded the said.

"Why are you so cute...."

It was more a statement than a question.

Eren tried for a more closed up approach: "Hmm... I don't know, ask Mikasa, she usually knows."

Levi frowned at that.

"So... you want to? I think it's good if you eat something."

"I don't know what. I am very picky."

"We'll find something."

'What is it with him and making me speechless?'

Seemed like Eren was trying to get a solution for every problem he had, every issue.

Levi had no idea why he just went with it, but maybe it had to do with the fact that he was so exhausted, that he didn't percieve much of his surroundings anymore and the other had a calming, healing effect on him. Or maybe not.

 

They relocated back in his room, Levi awkwardly nibbling on his food while Eren intently watched him.

After a while Levi finished and leaned back on the bed, slipping under the soft covers, resting with closed eyes.

Everything ached, but dully, faintly, body heavy and cumbersome.

"Do you want me to leave, so you can sleep?"

"Hm....you don't have to... besides... I am not even sure if I'll manage to fall asleep."

"Hmm... maybe.. this.. could help?"

 

When his hands surprisingly found their way to his head and began softly, but firmly pressing and carassing along his scalp, Levi couldn't help but gasp. It felt unexpectedly good. Head massages were of the rarer kind you'd usually get, but probably just right for someone who constantly would overthink everything.

"My mom used to do that when I was very little. It relaxed me."

Skilled fingers went down his nape, behind his ear, his forehead, went back along his head.

The blackhaired didn't even want to remember his mother, but it was things like that, that had left a very, very fond impression of her in his memory, similair to what Eren had told him. Everybody had their own baggage. From what he heard, almost everyone here was an orphan or half orphan. He wasn't anything special. Why did he always had to make everything about himself? Overdramatising probably.

But the longer Eren continued, making it feel more intimate than it had any right to be, the more insignificant all of his problems seemed.

He knew later... when he was back to 'normal', with no Eren soon, all on his own, it would be a huge deal once again. But for now he could pretend like it was fine. Like he wouldn't have to think about it later with his whole brain capacity. Like beeing tired meant he had to do nothing for the rest of his time.

And his tension subsided, fading into relaxation and before he could tell, he was already asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blonde hair, blue eyes, soft facial expression. There he was, smiling at him, telling him a joke, reinforcing that warm feeling of home that had gathered in his chest. 

Red hair, green eyes, childish, pretty face. Stealing his bread and feeling no sorry about it all. More fondness, affection towards that 'little' creature running and tagging along. 

They were standing before him, shining like celestial bodies, before his view rapidly shifted, skyrocketed into the sky. He saw himself double, from atop, standing there in his usual attire, as dark clouds momentarily gathered in the sky. Levi didn't understood anything as he saw the other him wave and then rapidly run to the opposite direction, making him see everything at once, like there were different sets of cameras positioned in his eyes.

He saw how the place next to the two darkened even more, without beeing able to do anything and how the other him halfway there changed into his military clothes, morphing onto his body like some kind of slime.

'Idiot! Get back. Don't do it!'

His hometown got trapped in a thunderstorm that seemed alive and angry. Lusting for blood.

Other him shot into the sky, weird gear with hooks manifested around his hips, while he landed on a bulding. Multiple lightning bolts crashed into the earth across the whole city, clouds got blacker, turning everything dark, thunder rolled unstoppably and big creatures with gleaming eyes stepped out of the clouds, like fog. 

Levi heared himself scream, bark into his walkie talkie and jump from building to building towards the outskirts of town, now back towards the direction he had come from.

He saw them run, run from their unchangeable fate as the monsters immerged and rushed towards them like the living dead. There was no other way than to believe they were demons. He could see other him following orders, realizing too late that his friends had no gear, nothing and the ground soon would be flooded with blood.

Screams and roars echoed through the city, rain suddenly falling in buckets and wind throwing it everywhere. 

Only 30 meters. 

Isabell slipped on the slippery pavement, hitting her skull.

Farlan lifted her up and ran, holding her like a ragdoll.

A monster jumped from the side, slicing open his ankle, making them fall, him rolling multiple meters further.

'SMACK'  

One head was rolling down the streets, Levi could see it, see it closely and inevitably, zoomed in, the red essence covering her the whole head, detaching from the body.

It rained blood and Levi was soaked, his fingers shaking along the slippery machinery. It tasted bitter, like betrayal, failure, heartbreak.

"LEVIIIII! LEEEVIII... SAVE ME, YOU PIECE OF SHIT." 

Farlan crawled and jumped up, his injured foot broke off and catapulted itself away from his body like it was nothing, monsters jumping after him like a dog after meat. 

Other him screached like a wounded animal and instead of gracefull landing from the roof, slipped and fell with an inhuman sound.

Everything shook as Levi felt himself beeing sucked into the other version of himself, at the same time as he slid ultimately closer to his demise. 

It felt like a rollercoaster of death and suffering, every movement making him nauseous, his vision blurry, an uncomfortable prickle in stomach and chest as vivid imaginary rushed along him in seconds.

Farlan evaporated into a puddle of blood on the floor right before the beasts could desintegrate him into little pieces, their claws hungrily snapping after him.

Instead Levi landed right there, his body sliding along the red slippery floor into their claws.

His vision faded into blackness, as the thunderstorm turned into black slime, absorbing the city in it's essence, amplifiying the screams of it's victims.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levi bolted upright with a choked, broken screach, his mind replaying the last scenes over and over like a broken vinyl disk.

He could not breathe, not feel, not think as searing pain chased through his brain, his nerves, his whole body in unbearable waves. Emotions overflooded him, imagination and memories got mixed and messed up, everything he knew disintegrated into pieces, every barrier broke, happyness shattered as he screamed.

Eren was right by his side when he woke up, having fallen asleep next to him.

"Captain!!! Captain, calm down, I'm here... it's over.. everything's fine.. you're safe!"

He couldn't stop shaking, seeing blood and faces in front of his eyes, things he hadn't seen in years, hadn't thought about in years, didn't allowed himself to feel.

And as soon as his conscious brain sorted itself good enough and perceived Eren right in front of his eye, the only one he had, he broke down, broke down completely, the horror and shock melting and frying his brain, right before sadness pushed him right back into the pit.

Out of nowhere he started crying, crying loud and unrestrained, collapsing onto the cadet.

It was almost an automatic reaction of his body, a desperately needed vent to release tension, pain and emotions.

Eren was almost baffled, but not because of the sadness, but the crying. It was even rarer than seeing him smile. It almost made him tear up as well, as he held him close to himself protective and promising, trying to soothingly carass him as he cried his soul out on his shoulder.

 

And as Levi fell apart on top of him, Eren's heart quietly broke, because he now realised how hurt and traumatised the captain actually was. Every sound he made, the ammount of sheer desperation and intensity laced into every sob. That there was something so badly wrong in his life that he cried like there was no tomorrow, cried like everything was doomed, like it was his fault and he couldn't take it anymore. Couldn't take his existence anymore, as his sounds shook him deep into his bones.

Erwin, commander Shadis and several cadets rushed to his room and immediately froze upon the sight presenting in front of them through the open door.

When last was it documented that captain Levi cried? Cried in front of everyone, in the evening, cried after waking up, loose complete control of his emotions.

Even Ymir looked at the sight frowning, kind of symphatetically looking at the blackhaired almost feverlishly clutching onto Eren's shirt.

"It's alright, I'm here... I'm here... You're safe...safe...", Eren whispered into his ear.

The cadet could bet, he wouldn't let anyone else hold him like this, let his tears flow freely, he would rather choke. And when he now realized it, he got worried that captain didn't just had attitude, but actual suicidial tendencies.

Was he actually mistaking confidence with deep rooted insecurity?

Levi couldn't stop, he didn't know what was wrong with him, guttural noises ripped from his throat, as all the poison came seeping through the cracks.

He had never cried like this in his lifetime, not even as a child. It was almost part of his character to keep everything to himself.

It was scary, so scary to experience all the pain instead of burying it, what's worse: experience it all at once.

 

When had Levi last felt so much? So much at once? The dam broke... ultimately, forevermore... everything collecting, everything held back, every wall containing it, keeping it in.

It was Eren. Before he met him, his life had become an endless spiral of emptyness... and duty. Levi was shocked to find out he had feelings, feelings that ripped from the deepest, darkest depths of him, making him sound like a tortured animal.

When did he lose control? When did he completely let himself go?

Now he knew it was over. It had never been that bad, never escalated.

His cries turned into ugly sobs and growls, pained groans and gasps shaking him.

Erwin paled hearing that and came slowly over through the gaping crowd, sitting next to them and putting a hand on Levi's back. After a while another wandered to his head, almost in a reasurring manner.

Levi slightly detached, whimpering and sniffing, staring right at the commander.

Erwin would never forget this sight, if he just happened to remember it tomorrow, tomorrow that never was and wasn't supposed to be.

Tear streaks ran down Levi's pale face, his usually collected visage a grimace of pain and vulnerability. The cut on his cheek just just added to a sight he absolutely hated on Levi, striking a cord deep inside of his heart.

But somehow he seemed to calm down. Maybe it was because his tear glands were empty, maybe he had no power anymore, maybe something else.

The head was back on Eren's shoulder, where it seemed to belong, softly crying and shaking.

It continued almost endlessly, Hange came by to put some steaming tea on his nightstand.

Most of the people standing around were hushed away, Armin and Mikasa send pityfull and supporting glances to Eren over Levi's shoulder.

Now Levi felt numb out of sudden, like all energy had been sucked out of him and he was only a shell.

After a process that seemed almost as painfull as everything before, they made him sit up and drink some tea.

His eyes were rimmed red and still wet, Eren's shoulder completely and utterly wettened. But he didn't mind. The captain slowly sipped his tea, staring absently far away as the other affectionately carassed his back.

"Levi... You'll get a break. We try to let it lie for now. ... And really you should've asked us to help."

Levi stopped for a second, considering, the ominous glare on his dull eyes hard to read and then just took another sip of tea, and another like nothing was.

'No.'

Eren nuzzled closer to his side and squeezed his shoulder softly, making him lean towards him almost on reflex.

Erwin was at once flummoxed and reliefed to see that.

Hunked on the bed, looking that small, Levi reminded a lot of a kicked puppy.... A kicked puppy that was dead inside.

Slowly, slowly everybody got back to their assigned places, leaving only the three. After a while Erwin stood up, staring at the two of them, Levi cocooned in a warm blanket, while Eren sat close, close by.

"Eren... You'll look after him, right?"

 

The cadet enthusiastically noded and smiled.

'As expected. Levi seems to really like this guy.'

"Erwin. Can we have a talk?"

Hange stood at the door, further away, a serious, concentrated facial expression on her face, also stealthily fixating the other two in the room.

The blonde nodded, turned and whished the two of them good night, before stepping outside and closing the door behind him.

 

 

 

 

Although Levi felt mostly numb, feeling and thinking nothing, ... the image of his own reflection in the mirror, was the only thing clearly in his mind the whole time.

'I'm narcisstic, aren't I?'

Not understanding the implication, he just snarled bitterly. It was all a question of perception. A question of reflection.

 

 

"Hey.... um... would you like to try to sleep?"

"I don't have another alternative, do I?", Levi mumbled grumpily.

'No, you do. They are just not the best choices. You need rest.'

Eren really made sure Levi had all the comfort in the world, by keeping him warm and comfortable, positioned close, but not in a way that would made him feel trapped, should he feel that way. He also, contrary to some beliefs didn't thought there was anything shamefull to any of this. Everybody felt bad from time to time, needed help, felt powerless and vulnerable. And there was nothing reprehensible about cuddling, was it?

But as the captain laid there looking all small and lost, he couldn't help it. He pushed the covers higher up with his arm, intending on wrapping it around him afterwards, but Levi's hand stopped him in mid air. The younger was about to apologize and already started to pull away, but Levi didn't let go, hand around his. Eren looked up, right into glassy eyes.

'So, you want to hold my hand?', he mutely asked and a second later reciprocated the gesture, their wrapped hands now resting on the sheet.

It was relaxing. Only now it dawned on Levi what a huge meaning it had, that Eren gave him a head-massage. The fact that he trusted him, creating some kind of bond, he never knew existed, some interpersonal relationship only between them. The huge impact Eren had on him. It was absolutely crazy. Was it for better or for worse?

 

Words, thoughts, feelings all faded into oblivion, as tiredness succeeded over him, the only thing of matter was that warm body beside him and their adjoined hands.

 

 

Chapter Text

Waking up was always the worst part. Beeing alone, ripped out of everything by that annoying beeping of the alarm clock, unknowing when next will he be granted any rest.

Levi had turned over, and froze as soon as silence filled his empty little room again. He stayed just like that, unmoving, half sprawled on the bed, one arm hanging half off the bed. His body rested on it's side, messily tangled in the sheets, his features frozen.

Dark, gloomy images played in front of his eyes and he didn't question them.

It went on for hours, time almost frozen, as every moment looped in his brain, replaying as if everything happened at the same time.

 

"Captain?"

Until Eren set foot into his cabin, after he hadn't answered for a few times.

Seeing an unmoving Levi weirdly sprawled like this on the bed, alarmed and at the same time calmed him a little. Maybe he was sleeping?

 

As he came closer, around the bed and leaned down to look, he found the corporal frozen in place with open eyes, apparently wide awake.

For a second it could've been mistaken for sleep paralysis.

"Captain, are you alright?"

Levi looked up, to the side, down, everywhere but his eyes awkwardly, until after a bit he shook his head.

"Do... you want me to leave?"

He shook his head again.

The pain and absence mixed into gray eyes really concerned the brunette.

Once more it looked like the life had been sucked out of him, just as everything else.

Eren suddenly found himself gingerly running a hand along his scalp, pushing a black, shiny strand of hair out of his face behind his ear, admiring it for a second.

That evoke a slight reaction out of him, as the captain seemed lost in his eyes for a second.

'Why did I do that just now?', Eren mused, reciprocating and holding the glare, 'But I don't regret it.'

What seemed to bother him though, was why the black haired suddenly avoided his gaze, looking all contrite.

Eren sighed and climbed behind him on the bed, hugging him across the waist, sending warm sparks through him, hoping it would cause a similair effect in the corporal.

Slowly, slowly Levi relaxed, clutching onto the warmth. Eren was like a beacon of hope. A hope he wasn't sure he was allowed to have, wasn't sure he could have.

But right now, he gave in and wrapped his arms over Eren's pulling him ultimately closer.

The cadet blushed, taking in the sight of a slightly abashed and gloomy corporal cuddling him back. So they lied like this... spooning and beeing close for a while.

 

Unknowing they set out a little comfortable wave of nostalgia.

"Somehow... this seems familiar."

Now it was time for the one with the more narrow cheeks to blush: "Because we did this before."

"Really?"

"Remember when we slept in the car? We cuddled..."

"Oh.... The.... the blanket. Was that you?"

"Yes. We lied like this too."

"So, you really do like me!"

"Of course..."

'How can I not.'

 

 

 

 
Levi allowed himself the short moment of bliss, the hug washing away the pain temporarily. But he needed more, all of it. It was too much for him.
After an hour, when nothing changed, nothing distracting him, he couldn't hold his thoughts back anymore as another wave of memories and pain flooded his systems.

At first it was nothing, nothing he wasn't used to, nothing that he hadn't experienced already. But still somehow this constant reminder, the refreshed feeling of loss was too much, leaving him helpless.

Eren became slightly suspicious, carefully gazing over the captains mostly still form. Nothing.

'What is he thinking about?'

There had been the idea to find out what was wrong, but he didn't seem too talktive right now. Almost frozen in place, powerless. So, he figured his closeness and support would help, even if mildly. It was better than nothing.

That went on, until he heard silent, stifled sniffs.

"Oh, Captain... I wish I could help somehow. It pains me to see you like this.", Eren mumbled soothingly into his ear, while trying to carass him.

Levi couldn't look at him, nor at anything, his glassy eyes looking far into the distance.

'I hate this. All of this. I am ungrateful, ignorant and... I can't stop thinking about this. Feeling guilty, it eats me alive. Eren, I don't think you can comprehend that feeling. It's something I should and shouldn't feel at the same time. There is never enough compensation in my life that could balance any of this out. But still... you are here. And I am trying to stop the tears, because they are useless. Because I...'

Levi firmly closed his eyes now, almost painfully grabbing onto Eren and trying frantically to think about something positive.

Eren stopped for a second, now contemplating the way the other tensed. There was something tormenting him, something urgent and everpresent.

 

 

"Levi....?", Eren swallowed and looked over, the now slightly trembling form, "Does this have to do with that thing with you not wanting to spend time with me?"

A soft nod.

"Should I stay away? Do I make you sad? Or are you torn about something that makes you conflicted?"

"The latter....", Levi sounded broken.

"We'll fix this."

"Theres nothing to fix. Its beyond that. Its over.", another toneless response.

Eren now suspected something really bad and told Levi firmly that he would be there for him.

Levi sighed sadly: "I...I just remembered..."

"You don't have to tell me."

"I want to. ..... I've never spoken about it to anyone before."

"Not even Erwin?"

"Especially him. ... I couldn't ... he was too .... too close to all this and I didn't trust anyone else."

"Hange-san?"

"Haven't met her then and blocked out everything related to that since that time. She asked questions... sometimes I answered and most of the times I didn't."

Eren briefly wondered why Erwin never tried to, but thought he wasn't the type... and probably because he knew Levi wouldn't speak to him. Worry was filling him from top to bottom.

"It's not healthy keeping it in... Captain... how... I... how long ago?"

".....Eight years.....", Levi whispered and stared far away, going rigid.

Eren didn't said anything after that, as he and Levi simultaneously eyed the wall before them with held breath, as if it had shown them all the miracles in the world.

 

 

 

 

"I had friends one time....", Levi started on his own, as the thoughts he had spilled out into words, finally, "Real friends."

'It's been almost a whole decade and he is still hesitant about this...'

"I met them at the Underground coincidentally. ... I was mentally... still a kid... They didn't even care that they befriended the crime king... and I didn't. Those were the first people I.... loved dearly."

He stopped, holding his breath. It was painfull... but somehow against all odds the pain felt good. Unsure if he was going nuts or it was a good thing he hesitated. It's like it had demanded all this years to be felt, torn at him... and he only let go now. It felt stabbing hot, so new and yet so old. And somehow the fact that it's Eren that he told now that made it something positive.

"And.... and we went to military together. Since then we did almost everything together. I left... my past behind. But... then... there was a mission that seperated us I...."

But no matter how much relief it was, seeing their dead faces in front of him brought tears back into his eyes and his body went rigid, his chest feeling thight, hard to breathe, dread sitting in his joints.

"No... No!", he choked out, holding onto the blanket, "I'm sorry, I can't... I can't... it's too much."

"It's fine! You tried... It's fine. It was too much to ask for anyway. Just rest."

Somehow it did exactly the opposite. It was so relaxing to hear that for once no one expected anything from him. That if he wanted to let him know, he would wait, or not get involved at all.

"No. I... I've made it far. I've had a very bad feeling about this mission. Erwin had gotten upset with me... that someone with my abilities should do more for my career, have solo performances to make myself noticed. He was already grooming me to be on top and I was still in my rebelious teenager phase... He was already a lower commander with 25 and I finished my first education, but didn't do anything yet to show people I changed. ... Because I didn't. I just got some human contact that made be behave less like an animal. .... So... this was the last straw. I declined... one too many times and now when I actually needed it, I had to leave..."

Levi swallowed, so caught up in his story. Eren was follwing his every word, hanging onto each of them, curious, but also scared of what would come next. Did he wanted to know?

"While I was gone.......... my hometown got attacked. I missed everything... The monsters were all gone by the time I came back. Everything was destroyed.... My friends dead...", Levi took in a stuttered breath, very surprised he didn't had a complete, uncontrollable breakdown,
"They needed help, trying to call more troops, reach me, but I... wasn't supposed to... have something on me... I just lost them like this. I've let them down."

Eren swallowed, imagining his torment, his helpnessless, that was now showing itself in a quiet, cramping whimper.

Somehow Eren was there, all between these confused hurt, overwhelming feelings, almost grounding him. It was too much and not enough at the same time. How did he go on all this time? Why did he felt nothing for so long?

An indefinite ammount of time passed, until he became aware of his surroundings again.

'After this I suddenly became aware what pain is. I got everything back... And... after profiting off my whole town... now I was the Rose's slave... becuse I was the most usefull.'

Unknowing what to do with himself, he only choked out, among the gentle carasses: "I hate myself, Eren...."

"I... can relate... it can be like this sometimes... but it was out of your control, Captain. Sometimes the most little of things can change the whole outcome."

'He can relate? ... God, I hate this. And he is right.'

"But I can't imagine how much it must've hurt to lose... the only people you've had... and feel alone all these years... among people. ... If you'd like... I can be your friend."

Levi nodded softly, closing his eyes and not doing anything for the next time.

Everything that was said now slowly dawned on the younger. The blackhaired's behaviour now suddenly made sense! He wanted closeness, but simultaneously was afraid of it. He was confident in his abilities, but afraid to temp fate.
He was used to keep quiet, but when it got too much, he exploded onto whoever unleashed it.

Newfound respect bubbled up at the back of his mind, while he comforted him, slowly understanding what no one had ever voiced before.

His thoughts were lost to the void, as the world kept misunderstanding him.

 

 

 

 

Levi felt almost normal again, (depending on what you could call normal in this situation), when he ate his breakfast together with Eren in his little cabin.

Feeling things, meant also getting over them. Getting hurt, meant also beeing comforted and feel safe. Levi had never felt as safe with someone. It almost didn't hurt thinking back. Except it did. But only whenever it had to do with them.

Now they were drinking tea and talking about the military structure.

After a while of carefull, curious wondering and a calming atmosphere Eren dared to ask what had always been bugging him.

"How could someone as young become crime king?"

"Kenny."

"Kenny?"

"My criminal, crazy uncle.", was said with a deep, but unfazed sigh, "...He showed me everything needed to get by in the Underground. Until a certain age, then he abandoned me, since he is a piece of shit parent. But at least he didn't leave me to die... I was an orphan.
Not only do you learn to kill, to survive, but also all kinds of tricks and advantages. I was young, very adaptable and educated... no matter the fact that I grew up on the street. I got to like it... liked beeing my own person, having power over people. It was like a child's play... I was treating people, human suffering like a game, not fully understanding it. I used my innocent looking appearience to trick people... got connections all across, learned whatever I could... and soon everybody was ruled by some street boy. Imagine Kenny's surprise to learn that I one-upped him... He came to ask if he could have something from my loot."

Eren looked at him with big appreciation, chuckling.

'How could I forget Kenny the Ripper! That man caused half a hundred horror stories! I am... somehow not surprised that such a bloodcurling cutthroat was the one that helped him understand the streets so well. But Levi went his own path and got himself allies and not enemies.'

"I was never the cruelest. Not even close. Just simply the best. That's why Erwin liked me. In fact, despite how crooked I was, I was never unfair to my henchmen. They were at times outraged when finally meeting their client, that was up to three times younger than them."

"You're a genius when it's about strategy and growth. I remember at school sometime... we tried to analyse your proceedings."

"Hmm... and what grade did you get when it was about that subject?"

"I was the best.... with Armin of course. But the others that were interested in that kind of thing also liked debating."

A nod, then a soft glare and... a fugitive arm on the shoulder.

"Sounds about right."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Another day, another repetition.

Another temper tantrum as well.

Levi figured he would never get rid of them as long as he existed.

He thought, against popular belief, that he had managed the previous day pretty well.

Despite him using another day moping, he thought he was mostly over it... over the trauma that the upbringing memories had caused.

But now he couldn't stop thinking about them. Thinking about everything, about the meaning of life, about the state of the world, about his past and his role in everything of this.

Despite all this, he didn't really knew what he wanted. That was one of the reasons why he didn't just quit. He could've found something along the way, some sense at least, even though it was fairly too long ago now.

When after confronting Erwin about the newest plans, he was still highly dissatisfied about everything and nothing. 


"Where is captain? Have you seen him?"

"I think he went towards the exit."

Aimlessly wandering around the whole laboratory Levi ended up sitting outside on the front steps of the laboratory, thinking and staring far away into the gray lands. This was how Eren had found him. It reminded him of that first time they connected. Sitting outside... talking about his history and the future.

It wasn't the reason Levi was outside again. His thoughtfullness was beeing due to sadness.

 

 


"Aren't you afraid they'll get you?"

Eren meant the monsters.

A light breeze swept up some dust next to their feet, making some sound among deep quiet.

"No... they won't. Right now is not their time.", Levi didn't even turn to the direction of the voice, allowing the cadet to come a little closer.

'Of course. Why do I ask.'

The cadet nodded: "You know them for years after all... you got experience."

Levi spared him a soft sidewise glance: "A lot of things I thought I've known for years... are different. Should I be dissapointed? Because I am..."

Eren was slighlty taken aback by this question. Was it due to their mission, or something rooted deeper?

"What's the matter?"

He was almost afraid to ask, Levi had that almost passive-agressive aura surounding him that was usually reserved for the most annoying people next to him.

Mixed with frustration and that outstanding talent of Eren to make him show every emotion, Levi couldn't help but spill.

"My body feels wrong.. everything I do feels wrong...
The only time I feel right is when I'm with you....", he concluded while shily looking away after that sudden revelation.

Eren was utterly spechless.

"I dont know how... but when I met you .... it was almost like we were the same person... you are just ... the nicer... more naive... better version of me."

"Captain, are you serious!?"

The corporal turned back to him, sounding a little angry: "Yeah... you think I say things like that lightheartedly?"

"No..it's just so unreal... Someone like me... that is so low..."

"It has nothing to do with it... rank is meaningless."

 

It looked like he was about to say something important, dumbfounding the cadet even more that wasn't entirely sure what's happening, but took a breather in between.

"I got my captain title with 22. Because I spend 3 years in prison...
Then they suddenly expected so much... everything self evident..."

'Shit... they threw him in prison? I had a theory about that, but the media rarely let anything about this through.'

The said from before was almost forgotten. Levi was long not done ranting as well.

"They made me pity them.... while I saw no sense in obeying ... no sense in making it right.. another way I could have managed all this. I always felt like I owe them something.. that I am bad... that I should do what everyone wants me to.... even if its unrealistic and I will drown in it."

'I kind of do believe them. But I didn't believe them back then. That wasn't the reason I changed. This was what had been my core, be it wrong or bad... I had betrayed myself. And for what?'

"I never wanted to be part of the system ... they made me."

Levi spit onto the ground in front of him because of the foul taste in his mouth after said words, already feeling too disgusting in his skin. Eren carefully sat next to him with held breath.

'It's like all the old superheroes... they continue to save people no matter what, out of duty and passion, but they long passed what they can handle.
But he is not old. And still... when I look into his eyes.... it's even more evident than on pictures.... he's completely worn out.'

Eren didn't dare to disrupt, didn't dare to stop what must've been a breakthrough for the other. Him finally admitting what his goal had been all this time and what had been done to him. It was important to say, to perceive. So he was sitting next to him along endless gray throughout the horizon, focused on the truth and emotions seeping out.

"You know... they mainly didn't put me to prison because I was a criminal... It's because they offered me to be the captain of the Survey Corps since I would be an essential part.... and I tried to flee, outside the dome..."

'Wait... WHAT!? I heared there was a mission that Levi failed so hard that they had to take measures... and ... in the end figured out he was the only survivor because everyone else was powerless against the monsters. But for him to... feel so bad in his skin...'

"But you would've died, Captain!"

"And? I didn't and still dont care about it.... I've lost my freedom.
Just because of a rank...."

"Captain......"

Levi looked for a second into sad doe eyes, feeling a little pang in his chest: "I hate them and myself at the same time.... you don't have that in you.... ...you are amazing Eren.... you do what I can't... can't even understand.... I admire you."

'And we are back to that. Why would he say something like this?'

"No, you should be admired for what you do on a daily basis!"

He slowly shook his head: "Admired but not envied... the task is neither easy nor nice."

Eren gesticulated wildly in the air: "But it's a huge honor! It's not only a bad thing. You save peoples lifes..."

"That would be a lot easier if the state would trust me."

"They dont!?", Eren pouted.

"Not any bit. They have never enough."

Agression seeped through Eren's veins now, combined with incredible irritation caused by his overwhelming sense of justice: "But they still want you to perfectly master one of the most difficult and important tasks just like that?"

"Yep... that's exactly how it is... I envy you Eren... you have a choice at least... when I wanted to do what I wanted and not them... they made me independant and reminded everyone that I fuck up everything when in company...
I'm not even sure who's right anymore...", with a sad sigh Levi lowered his head, defeated.

The irritation went down a notch.

 

"Levi.... I know you're trying your best.. everyone knows...", Eren softly said, carefully hugging him sideways, since that seemed like something he needed.

The scenery was as unmoving and dead as he himself.

"No, not everyone...", the captain said with voice and glare equally sad and bitter, "The mayority doesnt... even in the military where they should understand it, I cant be fully accepted."

'So that's how minorities feel, huh... Human history is always wrong. We probably deserved what came over us.'

Now this felt entirely unfair to Eren. How is it possible that the strongest soldier on earth felt like an unwanted outcast after continuously proving his loyality? It hurt just thinking about it, but to see Levi almost having a mental breakdown recollecting his experience.

'So beeing the captain is a totally ungrateful job and probably not worth it!? I've never looked at it this way! I could tell he was always reserved, rather shy and maybe a little sad. But this. He looks like he can't take it anymore... god.. what did they do to him!?'

The cadet's shock and pity felt undescribeable.

'So here I was mistaking him for a proud, mighty, humble person... but... but he is just broken and abused!'

Water gathered in his eyes: "Oh Levi... I'm so sorry."

Levi gratefully received his cuddles, trying to get lost in them, apparently, as he tried to make himself smaller, maybe not exist at all.

So they sat there like an upset bunch, until another wave of motivation cursed through Eren.

'I won't allow this!'

"You know, I wanna make 'em see it!"

"How... I'm afraid you can't."

"But I dont want them to make you unhappy and put you down..."

"You're a cadet, they won't listen to you. Not even sure we'll get out of all this."

He meant probably the end of world, the monster invasion.

"Hmm, I'm sure we will...
But now you work with us together! Maybe they trust you more now."

"No. They have no other choice. I can't substitute the whole expedition team... I don't know biochemistry... Hange does for example. And secondly... they are afraid all of you will die... I'm there to protect you... not cooperate.... but as if Erwin listens to this... he always had been more positive about that issue than anyone else... he tries to be just when he can..."

Eren couldn't handle it anymore as he slipped: "Wow... the more I find out about all of this, the more shit it sounds!"

Levi paused for a second, noting that it was the first time he had heard Eren swear.

'That's my boy.'

"And that's my life."

The younger's voice sounded as irritated and cynical as rarely ever, hands balled into fists: "You know it kind of makes me slightly murderous. Just... you know. Wanting to start a revolution."

"Why do you wonder.... the apocalypse shows the worst in people.... and sometimes the best... If the situation gets betters... maybe they'll start to treat me like a human."

'Somebody is definitely going to die. They don't treat Levi like a human!? They'll have to fight me first! I don't care. I will make them see.'

"I'm sure I'm not the only one... Sorry... I... probably overwhelmed you with my inconsistent babbling, cadet."

"No! Nooo... not at all!", Eren answered a little too enthusaistic and abrupt.

'He really just listened and.... it actually cheered me up. He already means so much to me. It's crazy.'

Levi didn't even notice his own tears gathering in his eyes, until the brunette stared at him shockedly.

'Did I said something wrong!? He's crying!?'

"Thank you... I'm glad you're here."

 

The cadet stared into Levi's soft, slightly shimmering wet eyes with a moved, fascinated expression. There was something in the air and it gotten a little hard to breathe.

'W-Wait... what did captain said before? Did he imply... that... we're soulmates!?'

There was some kind of warm tension, it was edging Eren on, his heart beating wildly in his chest.

And just like that Levi squeezed him closer to his chest, wrapping his legs around him, as they began cuddling madly. It was almost instinct for Eren, even though he surely didn't expect for the captain to wrap around him like a cat.

"So... are we friends again?"

"Did we stop or something?", Levi mumbled slightly confused, making himself even cozier on Eren.

"Oh. No... nothing. Don't worry, we're good. Very good...", Eren mumbled, threading his fingers through Levi's slick hair as he relaxed against his chest.

 

 

Levi wondered how long it would take for him to get back on track, to have control over himself again and make progress. But having someone to hold was a very good start...

Chapter Text


And just when Levi thought everything was relatively fine now and it was just his newfound depression making him unreasonably upset, he woke up with the absolutely worst headache he had ever sported.

He debated with himself whether it would get better in a few minutes, or if he just waited it out, but when suddenly hot throbbing pain made his whole nerves feel like they burst out aflame, it sure wasn't funny anymore.

Levi felt his whole throat dry out, chest spasming while trying to draw in a single breath.

It felt like someone had splashed boiling water over his head. No, worse. It felt like someone was cracking it open from inside out and soon there would be blood comming from his nose and ears and mouth and everywhere.

He bit his lip and slowly scrambled to lift himself up. Apparently moving and going up didn't made it worse, but Levi wasn't sure if it was possible to go worse anyway.

His veins were popping, as he put himself through good enough not to scream, sweat forming on his forehead, fingers twitching, whole body taut.

It felt like he had a similair experience then when he was crawling towards the laboratory, dying, because he couldn't remember how he put the bathrobe over his shoulders, went into loose boots and out of the room.

Holding his head, beeing pale as a ghost and tumbling through the halls, looking like an escaped inmate from an asylum or retirement home, the corporal couldn't care less about any single thing in the world.

 

 

 

 


"Hange!"

When he finally reached the woman, apparently not sleeping, in her lab, he was so out of it, he almost fell to his knees at last. His voice had come out breathy and weak, stunting the professor at once.

"Pain meds. Aspirin. Anything..... I feel like a ammm fuuucking dying."

Levi growled and took in fast, stuttery breaths as pain flooded through him, sending a few shocks along his nerves, making him feel pain where it wasn't supposed to be. His chest puffed up while breathing, his hands on his hair, standing in the middle of the room reminding more of a feral animal.


"Tschh... slowly, don't panic. You have a headache, right?"

"I FEEL LIKE SOMEONE THREW A NUKE AT MY HEAD OR SOMETHING. NOW... I can't... unnhmmm..."

Not only did it hurt, but now his panic set in once again. Levi felt like an entirely hopeless case, only aggressively yelling at Hange to give him something before he'd try to releave the pain elsewhere or try to knock himself out. He hadn't noticed how his voice turned from loud to shrill towards the last understandable words.

Hange took a closer, serious look at him. His eyes were wide, crazed, there was fear, anger and desperation mixed into this tortured gaze.

"Levi, I would like to. But maybe it is something more serious than a regular headache. It could make your condition worse... if it's now or later."

The captain didn't even have to spare it a single thought to know that he absolutely didn't cared.

He inched closer at once, holding onto Hange's colar with both hands roughly, pressing, looking more like he had a stroke than a headache, gaze flaming wild, desperation reaching it's peak, because he was so close to collapsing on the floor in heavy cramps.

"I swear Hange... if you dont give me these meds now I will fucking die! God, I wish I would die! Someone end my misery... this joke of a life right now!!"

Without further words Hange entangled herself from him and ran towards the shelf for a box of pills in a sprint. Half a painfull minute passed until she had a full glass of water and readied pills and Levi greedily swallowed them.

There was a sluggish, but immediate effect. Levi felt like he was having hallucinations, because it was quite impossible for it to work this fast.

He sunk down into a chair, holding his head with one hand, sighing. A single drop of sweat ran down his forehead and the bathrobe fell from one shoulder. Hange consolingly rubbed his shoulders until Levi looked a bit more alive, more calm again.

Almost 10 minutes and another glass of water later and he started to feel like a human again.

"What the fuck.... was that!?", he mumbled half loud, sounding hoarse.

"No idea. Let's find out."

There was no single thing Hange could find that was wrong with Levi's body. He seemed a little stressed, a little influenced by the meds, but no single trace of a cause.

"Strange. Do you have any idea what this could be? Did you have any health problems in the past? I can't find anything as of now... but if you have ideas I can take a better look at the affected region."

Another sigh, a groan, he buried his face in his hands and rubbed softly.

"I have depression... insomnia... and it's probably due to my mental state anyway. Piece of shit body....."

Then Levi suddenly remembered. He had brain damage in one of the repetitions. The day restarted, his body as well, but maybe his brain didn't. Maybe everything was relatively fine, but his feelings, thoughts were still always the same. It could be there, but invisible, had travaled with him despite his bodily symptoms having restarted.
But wasn't Hange's diagnosis a lot more severe than what he was going through right now? Maybe it came slowly... or it wasn't as bad as suspected. Also he experienced the absolute opposite of memory loss, so that couldn't be it. Who even knows.

He shook his head and took a deep breath, while Hange rummaged through the cabinet.

"Here. Drink some tea. Maybe take this pill. If the pain comes back we really have to look into every single thing and that could take a long time. I can't find anything... if it's really just you I suggest you to sleep and relax... maybe get a massage."

'Yeah... of course... First I have to convince Erwin to stay again... while feeling completely... jeez... and then I'm allowed to sleep all day. I hate it... and who would give me a massage? You know what... I ain't even gonna think about it.'


His tone bore no single emotion, cold: "Let's talk to Erwin about this."

"Oh... like that? Don't you wanna change or somethin'."

"Like that."

'Especially like that.'

 

 


Erwin bought him feeling bad even without that... Levi would never go out in the morning, greet people looking as dishevelled as he was now, but for obvious reasons this was now the case. There was still sweat there, he was pale, looked exhausted, walked leisurely and overall looked like someone beat him up.

Erwin ended up suggesting some other methods to find out what's wrong, abandoning their previous plan. In the end they almost wasted two hours and there was nothing again, making them return to their previous suggestion.

 

Now it was tea time. He tried to relax for a bit more, got dressed in some longsleeved dress shirt, a vest, gray pants and held his warmer jacket in his arm in case he felt uncomfortable. And now he took 'walks' across the lab, hoping it would better his circulation.

'Shitty brain, shitty body. Can't everything be just fucking great? No, of course not. If this won't stop, I don't know what to do. Is this the punishment I was forsaken to endure? Getting hope everytime just so it could get crushed better!'

 

 

 


When one very familiar ball of happyness and anger walked in almost following him, Levi registered another leap his heart made.

'Do I have a crush on him or something?', the captain pronounced internally with a sarcastic chuckle.

But then after stealthy fluttering, his heart followed up with more prominent beats when Eren gave him a sweet smile.

Unable to breathe for a second, and staring at the almost angelic shine Eren's face had, Levi let his thoughts wander in dangerous territories.

'I-. I-I need some distraction!'


"How are you feeling?"

"Like someone pissed on me and drove me over with a truck, then took another piss on me."

Blunt truth was very good to throw them both into slight shock, as Levi forcefully switched his thoughts to make a 180 degree turn.

"You know, Eren, tell me.", Levi lifted his elbow, leaning it onto the cadet's shoulder, as both his arms were lightly crossed in front of him, acting all comradely, "When did you become interested in the military?"

He tried so blatantly to sound casual that he almost cringed hearing his own tone.

"At six years old."

"Wow. Impressive."

 

 

As if the situation couldn't get weirder, Ymir had went right into it. They were alone was important to mention. What a perfect opportunity to pick on, since this time there was no excuse.

"Oh... look at that. Are you guys cuddling, hm?"

'And if we were it wouldn't be your fucking bussines.'

"Ah. There it is. My favourite cadet. Bitchface McFreckle... You know... the only person with freckles that actually look good is Marco."

Ymir looked at first unimpressed and then even a little confused.

"Beeing a bully makes you ten times more unattractive. God, you're so nasty and messy... I'm sometimes surprised you've made into military."

Maybe she would go away if he continuously insulted her.

But Ymir wouldn't let herself be put down for no reason, so she roasted back: "You're literally the shadiest around here! They really should cast you in horrormovies. No make up and CGI needed, since your bare face scares everyone to death."

Eren stepped up, blood boiling. "The only way people would die from him in horrormovies, would be from beeing burnt by his hotness."

Ymir lifted her eyebrows, as if realizing: "Ooooohh.... you two are gay. I was right... you would be cuddling."

Levi frowned at her, wrapping his arms around Eren sideways: "Bitch please."

"How cute... well, enjoy yourself...", she walked off.

Levi continued to stare even when she was long gone, everything inside of him totally out of order.

"Mhh... Captain... you can release me now."

'Who says I want to?'

Then he thought better about it, staring.

'Maybe I am making him uncomfortable by that.'

In an awkward way, he was released again and immediately turned back to his superior: "Captain... now... why do you feel so bad?"

The blackhaired could only sigh, his head low as everything at once was simply too much for his brain.

"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

"You always say that."

Eren was taken off guard with this, staring the other down incredulously.

"Can we sit down?"

"Of course!"

 

 

 

"I woke up today with the absolute worst headache. I don't even know if you can call it that. I actually thought I was dying..."

Eren sounded alarmed: "That's horrible! What caused it..."

"We have no idea... that's the thing. Hange says.... .... hmm... it may have over all to do with the state of my psyche. That I'm stressed and giddy."


"Well... doesn't that mean you should better sleep now?"

He noded.

"Well, then I won't hold you up any longer."

"No... I... mean.. can you..."

"You want me to stay?"

Levi looked a bit contrite and made a gesture.

"You... want me to come with you?"

"Y...yeah..."


Levi somehow expected and hoped he could get him to cuddle him as soon as the message was relatively clear. But when nothing changed, he was completly clueless how to initiate it, lying in his neatly made bed that spend him no comfort at all.

He drank a cup of water, pooled it down his dried out throat.

Eren sat next to him, attentive to all his needs but one.

 

"I have insomnia."

"F-For how long?"

"God, if I knew... Since puberty maybe? Somewhere around."

Another one of Eren's infamously adorable pouts: "And all this time... that must've been so hard to get through."

'All of this are qualities of a great hero. ... Finding out that the best has one major limitation. I have even more respect for him now.'

"It's not as bad as you think... well I thought so... before this. You get used to less sleep and run on less... even more so if you are kind of healthy. But for long it does get kinda stressfull. One of the reasons I like to add a morning workout to my routine. It relaxes me after a restless night."

"Oh........"

"And I am not sure if I'll fall asleep at all."

"Well you could just rest?"

'Or you could cuddle me... and I'll fall asleep and hopefully never wake up again.'

But how do you express that? And express without sounding too weird.

'This' Eren seemed to have not realised yet that Levi really did like cuddles. Really, really much.

It ended up awkward. Really, really awkward. Levi was staring at the ceiling, distracting himself while beeing overly aware that there was another person next to him. He didn't want him to leave, but at the same time the tension slowly came to overcome him.

Should he initiate a conversation? What would he say? What do you talk about in this situation? Do you friendly ask for a hug? What are you allowed to ask for? What was making this even more awkward?

All those were questions Levi wasn't ready to have an answer for and only counted down the minutes that went by anxiously. What he was anxious about, wasn't exactly clear, but it was there and it was bugging him.

"I have no idea what to do..."

"Well, you could listen to some relaxing music, or-"

"I mean! ... In relation to our next mission."

"Oh? But isn't it the same one... we can do that as soon as you're more well. I don't think this will be a new limitation."

"We need a new plan. This one doesn't work out. ... But I didn't wanna tell Erwin, since I don't have a better one yet..."

"Hmm... and what is the matter with this one?"

As Levi had no idea what else to do and was too shy to cuddle... he could as well share his thoughts about it with Eren instead of leaving them to himself.

"We can be at the bunker at only a particular time in the day where they aren't active. They are now in their migrational period... traveling... Not only is that dangerous... but also the fact that our next location has horrible stats. If we don't clear it fast we are stuck... it's a deep valley and we would be surrounded, doomed."

"Can't we.... hide inside when there are sightings of the beasts, and if there aren't any we just return as planned?"

'Would that work? ... I don't know... but it's another path, laid out to have so many branches in another set of the parallel universes I have found myself in lastly. It's so crazy it might as well work.'

"Yes. I will consider that.... .... consider that...."

 

 

 

 

 


And HOW he considered that.

"....so this is why I propose that we go earlier."

Erwin had been closely watching him since when he stepped into his cabin at 6:20 that morning, formerly dressed and stiff like a stone. He nodded, having listened to his explanation, hands folded.

"Well. While what you had said made a lot of sense and even after I'd think about it for a bit longer, I'd probably still say it. I don't know if the troops will be ready... or the doctors will be in fact."

"We could try. Even half an hour is better than nothing. And I don't think that much will be necessarry. I think...."

'I sound like an idiot leading him on.'

"...we'll probably find some information like we did at the lab, but not much more. We are saving time and equipment, don't you think?"

"I suppose we do...."

Levi hadn't said a single thing about the plan. He knew, if Erwin found out there was something so deeply wrong, he'd get suspicious. Maybe just slightly altering the timeline could make everything work out... and no one had to know. After all, details supposedly meant a lot.

But there was one thing he was proud to say he archieved. There was no outside team at the lab. Maybe he could spice it up a little more?

 

Having woken up without his cuddles the previous day before was tough, but he was fair too done to think about how to ask and didn't wanted to sound too weird. Had sent Eren away after a while, not to bore him to death.

'Did I actually said it? I told Eren that I think he is my soulmate?'

While sitting back at his desk, thinking everything through, he went over the intricate words he had used two repetitions before. In that ominous and complex way he spoke, he could hide a confession and it would be hard to notice. For himself as well.

It was like people who didn't knew how to compliment.

 

Levi tried out of sudden to remember when he started seeing Eren as his soulmate, and found that it hadn't even been a conscious thought. It was there almost matter of factly.
Since all of this madness started, he stopped beeing sure of everything around, except of apparently this.

There was something so significant about it, so vivid you could almost grasp it, that Levi felt flattered by Eren's sole existance. And somehow this weird tingling, them having the same wavelength was like signals swaying through the air, like an invisible thread binding them together. While thinking that Levi felt like he got a screw loose, what sounded far more likely. But how often had he thought that?

And though, as rediculous as it sounded, as much as it was dreamy naivety he wasn't used to, when he was now sitting silently next to Eren in the car he couldn't help but notice that weird sense of familiarity in the air.

It was so comfortable and nice, that for a second he could pretend everything was okay. Like the world was alright and still. And at the same time just that innocent closeness seemed far too powerfull, like something much much bigger than him. He couldn't describe it, couldn't fully understand, but he enjoyed it, was fascinated. It was such an interesting process watching himself harmonize with another person. How could Eren be so different and so similair to him at the same time? No, Levi in fact never believed in god, but he believed in whatever this was. With every cell of his beeing.

 

He didn't knew where that courage had come from. Such a small gesture, for a much greater beginning.

Closeness without intimacy, affection without repercussions like withdrawl.

Levi slowly put his hand on Eren's closest shoulder, carefully squeezing it. Their sides were now brushing, his stony expression facing everywhere but at him, but clearly cuddly in a comradely way.

'Captain!?'

And just this washed Eren's doubt away about what they were and if Levi liked him. The little gesture and the sentiment behind it. It was now or never, wasn't it?

He was beaming like sunshine, Levi could see it from the corner of his eye, grinning at him like a cute little idiot.

And it didn't bother anyone.

No one commented, no one gave weird stares.

 

And Levi enjoyed it immensly, the peacefull quiet before the storm he knew was comming.

Was he even ready to go back there? ... With Eren on his side he was.

Eren.

After some weird pressing feeling in his chest, and minutes of peace that didn't make it go away he decided to get out of his comfort zone.


The captain leaned up towards the cadet, pulling him gently closer to whisper something into his ear only for him to hear.

"Don't die. Okay?"

"I'll do my best."

A sigh, as Levi detached a little and looked defeated at him, still quiet: "...I'm serious. I'd be heartbroken."

Eren stared, getting a little louder: "Really? ... Well then I'll make it double."

Relief at least.

He nodded, his hand still fully grasping his shoulder as a sign of connection. After having put more space between their heads Levi finally mumbled in an audible, satisfied, almost enthusiastic tone: "That sounds more like it."

He knew from experience that enthusiasm never lasted long (except Eren was made out of it apparently). The most important was still the actuall skill.

All this made him completely miss the weird glances Jean and Mikasa were giving the two of them. Armin, slightly embarassed and touched, stared out of the window, purposefully ignoring everyone.

 

When they arrived Levi went up to Erwin to have a word with him, while the cadets talked about the proceedings.

Seemingly alone for a second, Eren that had went back to the cars because he forgot something, met Jean on the way back, staring at him poignantly. He made such a face it looked more like a frog than a horse.

"What have ya been whispering with the captain? Huskily flirting into each others ear? 'Eren, let's adopt children when we survive this.' Or were you slandering... 'Look, Kirstein looks like a horse again.'"

Eren looked incredulously at him: "No?"

" 'If I want a kid it should never be as ugly as Jean.' That's what you said, right?"

Eren broke out laughing, just dying: "You and children should never be used in the same sentence!"

They went along for a few meters, quietly chuckling, before Jean got that expression back Eren found highly annoying.

"But for real, Yeager. What was it? You looked like you shared intimate secrets..."

Eren grinned, but annoyance still took over his demeanor: "No. Why do you care?"

"I don't know, man. It's been bugging me."

They were back at the camp and Eren put the jacket he got himself, over his shoulders, turning to face the blonde.

"Are you like... still afraid he'll hurt me?"

"I don't know what to think."

"You want me to keep you up to date?"

"Yeah."

"Nah."

"Oh, Yeager!", Jean chased after the brunette sprinting back to the bunker.

"If you soooo wanna know ya shall ask my best friends, horseface. I ain't talking to ya until ya asked Marco out."

"YEAGER!"

"No compromises."

'Of fucking course. He got something going on with Captain, so now he wants me to act too. Typical... It was probably something like "Come to my chambers tonight." And then: "But only if you'll really impress me on this mission."'

 

 

 

 

 

In a quiet moment Levi had tooken out his walkie talkie and warned everyone left behind to lock up. He hoped everyone believed him those were orders from above, because HE was the above.

Things were seemingly going well, he led them on slowly, mostly making everyone believe they had found the stuff themselfs. Maybe if they talked about it among each other it would change up some things?

They still had over an hour, maybe they should be about to pack now?

Until a very distressing sound ripped through all of their ears at once.

The walkie talkies shut off.

'FUCK.'

Everyone was on edge, frozen in place and shooken up.

Levi's glare shot up to look straight at Erwin worriedly, letting all the panic show on his face, as to shake the man up.

"We should evacuate the others out. In case of- ... we should hide here."

"Here?"

"Trust me with this one."

'Damn it, Erwin.'

Levi put out his guns and hurried out of the bunker, some others following him.

"Captain, wait up!"

'Not this too....'

For a second he was deaf, he didn't hear his or other footsteps, the hard beats of his heart, anything indicating a fight, but as soon as he set foot outside everything shot back immediately.

Blood, screams.

"Petra!"

He rushed outside on lanky legs, trying to shoot away the monsters cornering her. The place was suffocated in darkness once again. But he couldn't focus on anything else, not formulate a plan, he could only trust his legs and hope his instinct was as good as always.
Different calls came as the rushing out soldiers searched for survivors, stunted at once by the mass of black creatures in the distance.

When the young brown haired cadet came closer, he could see the few corpses of his comrades lying on the floor unmoving: "Connie!"

Eren screamed in dispair, rushing through and shooting lonely monsters away to pass straight through to him, when someone stopped him.

"Eren!", Mikasa scooted up from the side, rushing up to her friend, her sleeve cut up, "We have to get out of here."

Meanwhile Levi had freed a very disturbed looking Petra that was now clutching onto him.

"Warn the people inside! We will lock up the bunker! I'll look for the rest of the team.", Levi commanded, before releasing the amber haired woman that worriedly nodded at him.

Now Levi finally took a second to inspect the situation and ultimately froze up.

Besides the few monsters already looming around them and slowly making their way to the bunker there were more. The horizon was full of them. From every side of the top valley oozed enormous creatures, which mass and figure made them look like a mountain.

It wasn't a mountain. It hadn't even been back then. They had been watched. The first pack had inspected the situation, distracted them, while every other single one slowly came by to have their feast.

They were far smarter than them. Levi finally understood what the man on the tape meant. All of this had been planned and he had no idea how to deal with creatures that were so self aware.

'We are so fucked.'

'Captain?', Eren observed with rising worry how the veteran seemed frozen in place at that sight, as if he was a cadet first time on the battlefield. Despite never beeing on any mission before, Eren was surprisingly active.

Without turning around or moving a muscle he exhaled: "Eren, you go inside now."

"But Captain, we could divide."

"NO 'WE', I do it, you go inside!", he at once turned, vehemently emphasizing.

He had been looking at Eren with such a terrifying glare, beeing so insistant, that the cadet nodded with a contrite glare and turned back. He probably had a very good reason for it too.

Levi only had to give Mikasa a nod, before they sprinted onwards together.

 

 

Eren was just about to turn the corner, when he heard a faint, distinct 'Yeager' in the background. With a fast glare he noticed that the captain was nowhere in sight and the monsters were almost there.

"I'm comming!", he sprinted back and caught Jean bleeding profusely from his head, stuck under the fragment of a boulder.

"How did that even happen!?"

"Yeager", Jean coughed, "If you don't pull me out now, they're gonna kill me."

Eren tried inspecting the situation, pulling and tossing. The other had to make himself as small as possible and push through. There was no time to dig.

With Eren's help, Jean slowly, centimetre by centimetre wiggled outwards, in pain, but steadily. Time was scarce, as the valley was slowly getting filled by beasts.

The brunette took a look around, just to realise the nearing danger: "They are almost here!"

Jean's adrenaline kicked in, just as his survival instinct. He was frantically kicking and squishing out, almost in a claustrophobic manner.

"If you don't get out, you'll never marry Marco!"

He took a deep, long breath in, and suddenly Jean was at once free and crawled up from his imprisonment.

'That worked? Of course that worked.'

On wobbily legs he made it out, holding onto the other's arm for now.

They ran, criss-crossed through the scenery towards shelther, while masses of monsters closed up the empty spaces between like waves flooding, like a stream back alive, like a watercup beeing filled. With no escape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had only managed to rescue a few people on the list, having walked further and further from the bunker.

"Mikasa. Go back to the bunker with the others. I'll look if I'll find someone else before I come back."

She only nodded, giving him a mildly concerned glare, before they parted ways. There was something not right, she knew from the way he had been discretely chewing his lip and doubting his plan.

 

 


Sadly, they rest was dead, so he soon made his way back, reaching a slight elevation that allowed him to look over wide parts of the territory.

But it all wasn't what he had expected to see. Time was frozen for him when he crossed the road to the vehicles and saw Eren and Jean running from the incomming wave of doom.

A thousand monsters and the only person he didn't wanted trapped in there.

There wasn't even anger or dissapointment welling up inside him, only blank fear.

Levi flinched and skyrocketed forward, going for a sprint that could put all his past records to shame.

If he wouldn't reach Eren in time.... he would flip.

It pulled him like a magnet, an unescapable force, power, attraction, forgetting every little piece of self preservation.

'EREN.'

Jean was the one who saw Levi racing towards him, looking more like a fury than a human beeing, both by speed and his incredibly worried, derailed facial expression.

Levi could swear he never knew real fear, until this point.

His heart was soon beating too fast, his lungs ached.

 

 

Eren sure thought this was like judgement day, running hurriedly for his life, not even noticing captain.

They had been so close, so close to the bunker, but a few more monsters had almost coincidentally been waiting for them there, jumping from the corner.
One particularly big was rushing towards them full force, waving it's claws.

Jean got stuck, stumbled loosing his balance, making a shocked agonizing sound and gave a mental farewell, before Eren shoved him to the side as hard as only possible in the right moment saving him, but ultimately beeing caught in the line.

He could only hide his face in his arms, trying to make himself small, a surprised, dreaded expression on his face when the monster hauled off just a yard from him, about to kill.

'NOT WITH MEEEEEE.'

Time went in slow motion. Levi was right beside them when he angled his legs up for an emergency stop, causing slight indents in the ground, burning his soles from the friction. He felt like he was floating, levitating, energy pumping through him just as pure desperation. Slowly one leg turned, the other slid right between the crack, the arms opened wide, as he positioned himself right between Eren and the monster, shielding the younger with his whole body and a determined facial expressiom on his face.

And it felt right. He bit his lip, seeing the claws rushing down, knowing.

Time unfroze again.

 

SHACK.

The moment claws pierced through him, sloshing him open, he saw stars. He would be flying again soon. It was too late. Everything gave out, all his power left him.

Eren's scared expression turned into terrified the second he realized what had just happened, a bloodcurling yell made itself out of his throat, as all his nightmares became real at once.

'No, this can't be!'

The next moment Levi's body collapsed onto the floor in a pile of blood.

Things happened way too fast for anyone to really comprehend.

Mikasa jumped up from the corner and shot the opponent nearby away with the help of Jean, while Eren almost out of instinct scooped the mangled captain into his arms and they ran inside for good.

Closing up and defending themself happened in a rush and now everyone gathered around the captain, which blood rushed out like a river. It covered everything, himself, the others, the floor. Soon he was surrounded by the whole team, barely holding onto consciousness, limping and coughing for air, body shaking.

"LEVI!", Hange yelled, before pushing through and ripping open his shirt, other expressions sharing her despair.

She shrieked, her glare darkened when she saw the air bubbles sloshing out of his right chest side in the blood and the deep, demolishing injuries on his body, fully covered up by red liquid.

"His right lung is punctured... if not fully shredded! We can't operate him here... it's too late, we can't help him...."

"Why!?"

"He will die of blood loss.... internal too, but much much sooner by drowning in blood."

'He won't last longer than 10 minutes....'

 

Eren unfroze from his zombie like stupor, turning to his face, after Hange tried to give him some pain killers, giving him the illusion of getting better, they made a barrier for the blood, so it wouldn't completely drain everything in it and they didn't fully cover it, hoping it would give him a few added minutes. He had stopped frantically gasping for air, scaring the cadets.

Eren could barely contain the emotion in his voice, feeling stabbed in his heart at hearing the news: "Captain, why did you saved me!? It's like you jumped in front of a car for me!"

His voice was hoarse and weak, but so very soft that it melted his breaking heart: "Couldn't help it."

Tears gathered in Eren's eyes, his vision focused on the barely present corporal.

"No.... you should've survived..."

'Now I've finally had the chance to meet him, work with him, get to really really like him... and he's going to die because of me... like he owes me something!'

 

Erwin looked dissapointed, but didn't said anything.

'You're wasting your life, Levi. And for what? For him? Could I have forseen or stopped this?'


He strained to answer, voice sounding like a sigh in itself: "It's alright, brat. Really."

The painkillers had started working, or maybe the long known placebo effect that Levi knew could very well be his thing. So instead of trembling in pain, he could lie on the pillows silently and wait.

It was the brunette trembling next to him: "You're dying.... after all what... what you've done for us... for me... Do you... have any last wishes? Anything?"

He was silent for a little while, almost eerily, multiple attentive pairs of eyes watching him. Petra looked ready to collapse, Erwin gave him a timid farewell glare and Eren hung onto his every word.

 


"Yes. .... I am gay."

He could now say it... finally. He was dying, so reactions didn't mattered now. It felt weirdly good admitting it, and so normal as things rarely were for him.

"But I've never kissed a male in my life."


Eren softly nodded, breaking a little inside, while everyone was taken aback.

Eren leaned down carefully, just as Levi covered in his blood, heart aching from sorrow and weird excitement when their faces got closer.

Tenderly a hand was wrapping around his cheek, making those tired absent eyes come back to focus and glisten for the last time. Both of them exchanged fascinated glances as the distance grew less and less. Levi could swear their hearts were beating in onision, they could feel their souls, swirling inside of them to furl into one.
Eren sighed and tilted his head, his breath ghosting over his mouth and Levi closed his eyes, before feeling a tender touch of lips on his.

The younger was so overwhelmed that he needed to remind himself not to cry, as he mustered up all his theoretic knowledge about kissing to move his lips making it the sweetest kiss the captain could get as a farwell.

It was deeply instinctual holding him carefully in place as he moved, feeling how the captain weakly, but visibly reciprocated. He must be doing something right, he must be feeling that fluttering too!

It was short, but long enough to make it worthwhile and deeply tender. They parted, looking a lot softer, none of them wanting to stop, Eren's hand now carassing the side of his head and looking ready to burst out in tears once more.

"Thank you....", Levi lowly muttered and sighed, savoring the taste (and hoping he won't go to hell for this).

Eren tried to hold himself at bail, failing miserably when he held Levi's hand now, fat tears rolling down his cheeks and making his vision blurry, choked sobs bubbling up from time to time.

"Why!?"

Jean stared at both of them in shock, disbelieval, mutely. Just an hour ago they had been talking to each other and now Eren would never see his Captain again. Was the kiss just a general request or was it them indulging in something that now could never be?

Eren couldn't help but to start crying for real now, whimpering:  "Captain.... Back in the car. Y-You told me not to die....  I didn't listen to you...and now I wont, but you will. Because you gave your life for me..."

"If I had a chance to change anything, I would still do the same."

"But I don't deserve that!"

Levi felt already that he was getting weaker by the minute, numbness filling his body and mind. It was different to the other times he died, but none less terrifying.

"You do. I would have never forgiven myself if I couldn't have saved you."

"But... it's my fault!"

"Don't blame yourself."

Even more tears ran down Eren's cheeks by the unfairness off all this.

"Just why... did I had to..."

Levi mustered the last ounces of strength he had in himself. He simply wanted to sleep now, but somehow he had to cheer the other up a bit before he faded away.
Now he put their joined hands closer and kissed Eren's.

The younger was too surprised to react for a second, until he sniffed again: "I don't deserve you kissing my hand either!"

But Eren cupped his hand now with both his, carassing and cherishing it.

Jean felt slapped in the face, because this made him sure now that the two had something, what made all of this even sadder.

Levi shook his head softly, their hands still at his chest and then looking into Eren's eyes broke into a smile.

A rarely beautiful and soft one that graced his features, his eyes gleaming.

Until they became extinct. His face looked frozen, the smile less sweet, less... lively.

Eren froze up as well for a second.

"Captain!?", his fingers searched for his pulse and found none.

He wasn't there anymore. He was gone. Dead.

Everything in Eren's chest gathered, shook, broke. Slowly huge jerks and tremors began wrecking him, the vein on his head popping, his eyes looking unhinged as the tension rose and he could barely contain himself.

"Eren?", Mikasa asked carefully and worried.

And he just screamed, so very loud, desperate and angry. After the first scream, more followed as he screamed his lungs out, so full of grief and anger. So much anger towards himself, towards the monsters, the world, everything. He screamed in furious anguish while tears ran down his eyes in thick streams and his breath doubled over with each sound. The walls shook, the echo followed all around and Eren squirmed around on his place manically, completely overreacting, suffering.

Mikasa looked worriedly at him and everyone was unmoving.

The gound began to shake, vibrate and groan as the place made eerie extremely loud sounds, as if it was to fall apart.

All in between were Eren's hoarse pained screams in such a vibrant violent tone, almost as if he was the cause for the natural phenomenon.

Jean couldn't help but notice the resemblance. Such a desperate, angered growl. As desperate as the earth at humans for destroying her ecosystem. So now it wanted to erase them of the surface. Small cracks in the ground and walls resurfaced, making him fear the moldy ceiling would give in soon too. It lasted for a few minutes and the cadet was still screaming, now less vibrant, more sad than angry and at his absolute limit, tearing at his hair with one hand and crying loudly.

Jean and Mikasa carefully scooted closer to hug him. The blonde almost shuddered at the sight of the captain. He looked as dead as you could look. Completely soused in blood, frozen, pale as a sheet of paper, completely worn, unmoving and pierced to the grotesque.

 

Eren very slowly calmed, completely quieting down and not uttering a single sound after.

Hange sat next to them, her own eyes wet, expression defeated, looking softly at the younger.

Her voice was quiet and careful, full of held back emotion: "At least he went with a smile..."

Eren looked pained at her, exchanging pitiful understanding glances, before she turned to look at the blackhaired.

"He rarely smiles, you know. I'm glad he went with one. .... Let's close his eyes, shall we?"

Eren couldn't do anything, so Hange did it for him. He just sat there, feeling empty and incomplete. And now Levi's beautiful eyes, likewise as empty, were closed forever more.

"Look... now he almost looks like he is sleeping. If not for all the blood.", at the end her voice wavered, broke.

They shared another look, more tears gathering and unloading down their cheeks.

Jean swallowed, hugging Eren closer. 'I don't even wanna think how I would feel if I lost Marco. I hope he is alright...'

Chapter Text

Finding out the monsters had left and gathering everyone on their way back was possibly the most depressing thing. The fallen had been covered in sheets and taken with them.

Eren sat quietly in a vehicle surrounded by his friends, the dawn turning the grayness of the sky slowly to darkness.

Numbness had started to fill him, but sitting without his captain on the way back, knowing it would never occur again, quickly put him back to his place.

 

'Armin... I am so sorry... Captain. My friends.'

 

He was firmly holding onto Mikasa's hand, before suddenly leaning down and releasing a heartbroken wail, more tears streaming down his cheeks.

Helpless, symphathetic glances followed, while his heart shattered more and more with the realization.

"I love him... ....", the brunette sniffed, now finally hiding his face in his hands and turning completely unresponsive.

He didn't knew why, but it felt like his purpose has been wiped out with his loss. Like the world was out of balance, his soul beeing incomplete, torn in half.

No one was exactly surprised, only knowing how cruel it was to get this revelation in this way.

Jean's lip quivered and he felt like absolute shit. When they received the news that the monsters were gone and they could reach the other team, he had immediately wanted to know if there were any casualties. Fortunately there weren't, but the death of the captain was big news. Big news no one had wanted to break to the others yet. Too exhausted, too defeated.

The blonde gently put his hand on Eren's knee, just squeezing it a little. In the past he had done it very rough, just to vex Eren and make him scream out in anguish as part of their playfull rivalry. Now it was consoling. He still had his Marco. And Eren....
Jean was sure that Levi had feelings for him too. It was in the way they had looked at each other, the fact that he had given his life to him without thought, how gentle he acted towards him... and of course the kiss. But he wouldn't tell Eren. It could make him even more upset.

But he lost one of his closest friends too. He would hold now only closer to Mikasa, would be deadly scared to lose any more friends. It was devastating enough as it was.

 


Against all odds, when the outside team arrived from the bunker, everyone else was waiting for them in front of the opening doors, lamps and flashlights in hand.

Erwin immediately went up to the eldest commander.

"So, what are your and corporal's plans?"

Erwin sighed, looking defeated, tried to keep his voice steady as he proclaimed in front of everyone in a sad tone: "The captain isn't among us anymore."

They were shocked, sad, scandalized, Ymir finally understood the sour faces and Eren's tearstreaked, pallid face with some bloodstains on his uniform.

After awkward, heavy silence had followed, Erwin had went over to business. He needed the most recent information to work with, so he would know how and where to move his troops. Their safety came first.

 

"How did you make it without casualties? Did you notice them, before they tried to break in?"

"No, we had received orders to barricade all entrances and hide.", another watchman stepped in, looking slightly confused.

Erwin's eyes popped open widely, as he tried to contemplain how this was possible: "I never gave that order."

"What? Lance Corporal had told us they were orders from above."

Deep, unashamed gratitude had welled up in commander's chest, just as slowly swelling pride when he gave his men a sad smile. Levi had acted out of order to do something that he felt was right, knowing he could only do so by misbehaving.

"Well, I have you know, Captain Levi didn't die for nothing. He had saved all of your lifes... Most of us wouldn't be here without him. It's only thanks to him that all of this hadn't turned into a complete disaster. We are broken, wounded, but we are still alive. And we will still try to fight for humanity and everyone we have lost."

"Captain was a good man...", Christa said quietly.

It had went back to incredibly depressing, now without any hope of betterment. Their symbol of heroism and power had passed away and left a gaping hole.

"I'd... like to arrange a funeral as soon as possible. You're all dismissed, go inside.", the blonde man hurried back into the building, stern-faced, rapidly deciding against discussing all matters in front of the whole team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Levi rubbed over his head and face tiredly, bemusedly staring at the wall once again.

'I kissed him again. Why do I keep kissing him? What does that mean?'

It was the first real kiss from a male he ever had, the first real kiss he had with Eren. That could only mean disaster!?

Sitting there, reminiscing about it for now almost 15 minutes didn't seem like a healthy choice of activity.

'I failed the last mission and this is what I think about? So proud of myself, ugh.'

It was the weirdest feeling one could have, the oddest tingling in his guts, the memory setting in deep.

He literally just died for him.

 

And it wasn't even a big deal.

 

 


But he had to talk to Erwin again, trying to push everything down as fast as possible, refocusing. Maybe later, later he would think about the meaning.

On the way there, he came across the subject of his latest thoughts and staring fleetingly at him got a weird urge to do something to him.

Like what? Hug him... tell him he's glad he's fine? That he'd do it again? Levi was completely disturbed by all of that.

What was happening to him?

 

Erwin didn't really knew what to make of the impression he just had. The corporal was looking very grave, having stepped into his cabin with some sort of resigned determination. His frown looked almost pained, although he emanated the same calm as always.

Not sure if he wanted to lift the mood, or he just found the look on his friend's face endearing he started: "Good morning, Levi. What brings you here in the early morning hour?"

A solemn and forefront reply followed: "I have to confess something to you."

'Very interesting, indeed.'

What Levi meant could be either something very wild or completely banal.

After he opened his mouth, Erwin didn't knew if it was either of them.

 

"I'm a time traveler."

The commander didn't knew if he was serious, or just joking with him, maybe it was a prank, or Levi was delusional. Either way he was as quiet, as the other had expected, encouraging him with a gesture to explain, rather to judge too quickly.

"It sounds impossible, unbelievable... But I've been doing this shit for three months or something and I'm deadly tired of it. It's... because I got stuck in a time loop... after we died going to this mission you planned out.".

The bigger man had leaned his head onto his hand, not really sure what to think, observing his corporal. He looked way too pale today to be healthy.

"Don't look at me like that. I can tell you things you have no clue about. The only problem is... We've never had this conversation before... so I'll have to repeat it a few times to magically forsee your every damn reaction to this topic, so you will believe me immediately."

"And what exactly do I not know?"

"It will make sense if I explain it to you, but I can't give you full proof, since that would mean going to our future death place."

The strategist considered. Would what he said make sense? Could Levi really be having this ability to go through time and space? So far, he could tell Levi wasn't lying, only trying his best, but he seemed bothered.

Levi tried to explain the facts as good as he could and went on with the holograms and so far to even mention the superhuman soldiers, burn marks on the ceiling.

"How is that even connected? A holo-computer? That makes no sense. ... Okay... Levi. For a second I actually believed you, but... Are you feeling alright?"

He reacted agitated: "Well, I didn't expect you to believe me the first time, but I do thought highly of you!"

"Calm down. It will be alright."

"Nothing will be alright. We're all gonna die. Cancel it... Right now. If I'm wrong I will never again go against anything you say. Not a single word of objection forever."

'Bold statement.'

"It's fine. I won't make this bet for your sake. Get some rest, I think you need it."

"You're sending me to bed like a little boy?", he tilted his head defiantly.

"It was a friendly and important suggestion."

"No."

"Well, then let me rephrase. I order you to get some rest."

"No."

"You're excluded from the mission."

 

Now his mouth dropped wide open. This was one thing he didn't expect Erwin to do. Right then and there he knew he had fucked up, but not to what extent. Why was every little thing so difficult? He felt almost helpless.

"Are you marred, old man!? Do you enjoy sending everyone including you to die!?"

"I've seen enough, Levi. You can't change my mind. As soon as we took care of it, we help you. But please, don't stand in the way."

He made his way out from his chair and towards the exit, Levi staring apprehensively at him, thinking Erwin had something in his coffee this morning. He had to do something, change it. He couldn't... couldn't risk things escalating even more than they already did.

"Doesn't mean I won't come with you."

'Damn it. Why did I told him!? But Erwin should be smarter than thinking I care about rules if I fully believe in something.'

Erwin, now a little more alarmed, turned halfway, scrutinizing Levi for a second before calmly, but firlmy announcing.

"Then I'll have to expell you from military."

The corporal's body went into shock. A mild one, his expressions derailed as he stared up into those ice-blue eyes. He would never understand humans.

"You wouldn't!", he quietly breathed, shaking from frustration.

"Don't underestimate me."

Levi stared unbelievingly while contemplating this incredibly stupid idea, not wanting to say anything more, while Erwin knew it was a lie, but he had to threaten him. Maybe this could stop him after all. All this talk gave him no good feeling and he wanted to make sure Levi was fine in this condition. He went past him and to the first watchman on duty.

"Immediate order that is to be forwarded. Lance Corporal Levi is suspended. You will not take any orders from him, unless I say so and for his own good we will lock him up until the end of the mission. Instructions clear?"

The lonely commander took in everything slightly sceptical and now nervously gulped down, having seen said Captain step out from the room at the doorframe, looking pale as a ghost.

"Why?", he breathed silently, half resignated, half panicked.

"So I won't have to expell you. I'm doing this for your sake."

"Oh, sure there aren't just a little selfish reasons involved!?"

Erwin put a reassuring hand on his shoulder: "Relax."

"Erwin... if something happens."

This was bad. Very bad.

"There can always happen something. You can't blame it on... whatever you told me."

"Mark my words, you'll regret it."

He already did, but it was because Levi was behaving completely out of order and he had to take these extreme measures.

 

 

 

 


The cadet had almost expected for the captain to sit next to him in the car or on a motorcycle nearby. When that hadn't happened he figured he must be sitting with Erwin, although it was a little strange nevertheless.

Even stranger were the extra precautions everyone had taken, without any explanation. In the end a feeling in his gut made him reconsider.

"Hey guys, do you know where captain is?"

Some of his friends gave him a glare, but Jean furrowed his brows and muttered: "Haven't you heard?"

"Heard what?"

"He got suspended. He will stay in the laboratory today."

"WHAT!? Why, what did he do!?"

"No one really knows, but it was on commander's order. They even locked him up."

His heart ached, his body shook with agitation. Why hadn't he asked earlier, why hadn't he noticed? Maybe he could've talked with the commander or even more important to the captain himself! It hurt so bad knowing the captain was already misunderstood and he wouldn't be joining him. All of it felt so wrong and out of place.

 

The brunnette was on edge the whole way there, until after the point when the commander had given everyone orders and waited for the bunker to be opened up.

"Commander, Sir, may I talk to you for a second?"

"Hmmm?", Erwin tilted his head, not even turning towards him, but listening.

Eren didn't even care as it gushed out of him, controlled though: "Why did you lock up the captain? What did he do?"

The satisfied and unbothered expression on the commander's face was immediately washed away.

'I should've known.'

He stepped a bit closer and lowly murmured with an alarmed and distant expression: "This is none of your concern, cadet."

More anger and agitation flared up in him, as he wasn't about to give up!

"Yes, I am aware, Sir. But I see it as my duty to protect his honor. I am sure it wasn't on purpose as he is always trying his best and he is the best. Is it worth suspending him?"

'How endearing..."

Erwin sighed and blinked rapidly in sligh irritation, practically feeling the enthusiasm and intention behind his words.

"You obviously like and care about him, so I might as well tell you. Levi isn't feeling too well, I didn't wanted him to participate in the mission."

"What's wrong with him? Did you have to suspend him for that?"

 

Erwin stepped even closer, almost afraid the others might hear and quieter said: "I'm worried for his mental health. I can't deal with it right now, but he is completely out of control. He had never went against my order, never resisted so bad. Maybe he's simply hallucinating... but if he is stubborn I had to stop him somehow."

"What do you mean... you're saying he's delirious?"

"I don't know, but he would have no problem endangering himself in this state.", the blonde man looked seriously worried.

"Can I call his walkie talkie? Maybe it wasn't meant like this..."

"No, you are not allowed. If you try to contact him I have to suspend you too."

"What. Why!?"

"A precaution. Don't think the king of crime can't be manipulative, if he really wants something."

A gaping Eren was left behind, as the commander made his way into the bunker with solemn steps.

 

 

 

 

 


As soon as his inevitable imprisonment had begun, Levi started to go through various possibilities how to escape. He never got caught before, so in fact breaking out was a little harder. For now he had to wait until Erwin and his crew were gone, or chaos would break out. And chaos was the last thing he needed.

When it ensued in fact, he knew he had to act. But how?

 

Try to break open the lock:

Check.

Try opening the lock:

Check.

Try to slip through:

Unchecked.

 

The place was old, rusty and he couldn't believe Erwin thought he only had to put a lock to contain him.

His triumph didn't last too long, since it alerted a ward.

"Hey, what are you doing..."

He didn't even thought about answering, not by any chance. The ward was grabbed by the collar and violently headbutted into inconsciousness. And of course he had no key, but other things that could be usefull. Also in fact Levi couldn't believe that it worked. The steel rods had moved and slipped! He barely fit, but jumped right through, slightly bruising his broad hips, but safely on the other side.

Where another ward waited for him, this time with his mouth wide open.

"Don't make me beat you.", Levi growled quietly before scrambling upwards, kicking his leg away to make him fall, rushing out, skillfully avoiding any attemps to catch him.

The next door was locked as well, but he broke through, just to get face to face to another. But this one surely had a key! He fully believed Erwin had the one to his cell, but he couldn't lock up his wards as well? That would be stupid and highly unpractical.

'Erwin really outdid himself this time.'

 

"Hey, what are you doing! You are suspended. Get back to your cell."

'Ahh, a possible key dispenser.'

The blackhaired immediately moved into a fighting position, sneaking slowly closer to the ward with a determined, serene expression, immediately alarming him.

"Captain. I have no pleasure in doing this. Please go willingly, before we both get hell from the commander."

"You don't understand, it's a thing of enormous significance. I'm trying to save your lifes, morons!"

"Of what are you trying to save us?"

'A horrible fate.'

Could he make him give him the key without hurting any more people?

"The waves of monsters that are gonna collect in the valley-like place they are visiting."

"Are you sure? Does he know about this?"

"Of course he doesn't. He just wouldn't listen to me, saying I was crazy."

The ward scrutinized him closely: "Why should I believe you? He hadn't told anyone why you were suspended. Maybe there's something you won't admit."

"Give me the key, any key and I won't hurt you.", he just lowly muttered, slowly closing in.

A gun was pointed at him. He couldn't believe it. One of the soldiers had the nerve to aim!

"You could just as well be the enemy. Why would you know how to break open the cell?", his facial expressions hardened, became unforgiving and reproachful.

Something Levi wasn't unfamiliar with. He was famously infamous after all.

"So what. Are you gonna shoot me? You wanna land in jail for killing the captain of the survey corps over what... a suspicion?"

"Don't pretend you are innocent. You may have changed, but after today... I am not sure about you anymore."

"Berry, put the gun away.", another commander had made his way to the hall, slightly paling at the sight.

"Don't you know what he has been doing? He would serve life sentence, if not for the fact that he's usefull for the military."

"Those were his teenage years. I think he rarely, if at all killed innocent people."

"Sure... never heard of 10 year olds that commit murder? Those ain't children, those are demons. He got sent here to annihilate, a killer machine."

The captain swallowed every word of this patiently. Those were true words, justified claims, justified thoughts. He was untrustworthy, dangerous, immoral. Nothing new though. After all these years of working together with him they should've known better.

Couldn't stop him from looking to the floor guiltily.

And still there was no stop, it was like bullying, but worse. The other commander had noticed his expression and started to argue, to no avail.

 

"But why would the commander need to lock him up and suspend him out of sudden, if he was playing fair.", he unceremonously unlocked the safety and aimed higher, right on the level of his temple.

'That serves me right, doesn't it. But you can't stop me. I will get out of here.'

"Berry, please, he's earned our trust as the captain! Don't be like that."

"It's fine. He won't dare to shoot me like a coward, or would he?", Levi curiously tilted his head, slacking, noticing the almost nervous lip-bite of the gun-holder, against the confident calm emanating from his superior.

Another stumbled in, wrecking the tension in the atmosphere, which only encouraged Levi to act. With a ducked sprint forward, he avoided the bullet that had been waiting for him, disarming his opponent with a mighty punch. In a matter of seconds he had knocked out three guards, searching them for keys.

His chest lifted and sunk with every breath, his legs making him glide through the halls in admirable speed. He had to get out of here and rush to his comrades!

"There he is! Get him."

He sprinted past wards and a whole team of soldiers, which immediately dashed out to get him.

Keith tried something: "Please, Levi, be reasonable. We don't want to fight."

'Then let me escape.'

 

 

 

 


"Hange... come here for a second."

"Yes, Erwin?"

The commander frowned, recollecting the map with quiet anticipatiom: "Do you... see that? It's a valley... a deep valley. And the tapes were ... under the commode and in the..."

'How could Levi know where they were, if he hadn't placed them himself? That is impossible right?'

Not only that, but they followed Levi's instructions, broke open the door, found the dead body, the papers and the laptop.

And now they changed to the next tape, while Hange saw Erwin's face fall and become incredibly pale and pallid.

"God, what's wrong?"

"I just realized.... I've made a terrible mistake...."

 

 

 

 

 

 

After various following escapades, which conclusion he could only thank his incredibly fast legs for, Levi had finally made his way out and onto his motorcycle. Breaking open locks and running from wards had tooken him far more time than he wished for. He could only hope he still had something to save when he arrived.

'The walkie-talkie!'

"Erwin... Erwin can you hear me? I am on my damn way, did you got that?"

The blonde had never been so delighted to hear his friend's voice as of now. Almost clutching onto the walkie-talkie he proceeded: "You were right, I'm sorry. We're doomed."

He had already figured it out, that wasn't good.

It meant he was too late.

"Gather all your men and don't get out of the bunker if you wanna survive."

"...Oh no, I have some troops outside."

"Shit. Is Eren-"

The connection broke apart, making Levi almost desperately speed up.

Monsters were everywhere, slowly clouding and filling the ground like ants. The captain fired his way free of them like of vermin in the earth.

 

 

On the horizon he could see soldiers fighting and desperately trying to escape.

No time to turn or stop. Braking a little he slid from his bike in a dangerous roll, while it colided with monsters.

After saving a bunch of cadets he turned his head askance and then he saw it.

His greatest fear.

His heart skipped a beat.

Only a few steps, but it was too late, time too scarce, intervention too unsucessfull. His chest immediately contracted, leaving him no air to breathe and his life flashed before his eyes, pain far too great for him to handle gathering.

He had to helplessly watch the claws nearing Eren, dread in his eyes, matching his gray's, panic binding his legs to the ground.

 

SLIT.

 

Five claws stabbed through him at once, a yelp torn from the depths of his tormented existance, making his features immediately derail into unbearable agony and fade into defeat, as the blood trickled down his body with their leave, destroying him.

It looked so incredibly wrong and abominable, that it was Eren out of everybody to end up like this. Sweet, brave boy's innards getting turned into mush in front of his eyes, looking like a living corpse. His knees fell weak, Levi badly wanted to change places with him. His boy had been reduced to a moving gory pile.

A few more steps had been managed, not more, as Levi's legs froze up two feet from him on the ground, seeing the fatal injuries. If he wasn't already dead, he would bleed out in a matter of minutes. That was when his heart broke and all will had left him, the anxiety and sadness finally winning over him. The crimson liquid was staining Eren's dark shirt and making the corporal sick to his stomach. His heart was beating like crazy, while everything else stood still, sillhuettes moving, something going on he wasn't interested in. And those eyes would haunt him forever, just staring, soulless, while his own soul was crying and shrieking.

'No! Eren, they are taking you away from me. I don't want you to die.'

He had to reach him, he had to hold him before he was dead. He couldn't leave him behind!
It didn't mattered that Eren looked like he had went through a cheese grater in a horrormovie. He would never be repulsed, never push him away in abhorrence and he was so deadly sorry.

 

Everyone expected him to do something, run, defeat the monsters.

Jean called: "Caaaptaaaain. Be- Carefull- They- Are-"

The warning words reached his ears in slow motion, but nothing mattered anymore, as his world had turned gray and colourless.

 


Nothing else existed apart from this one moment, that one cruel moment of fate and all sentiment was numbed.

His eyes were glued on his cadet that had fallen to his knees, blood spurting from all directions.

The enemy closed in on him too. He knew, he saw it too, but he didn't wanted to do anything. Why, if he failed the only thing he really wanted. The only that made sense. Out of everything he had done wrong, everyone he'd lost, why did it had to be this?

'EREN. EREN, HOW COULD I FAIL YOU.'

The captain was in such immense pain, he felt like he had lost all bodily functions. Like his soul was beeing electrocuted and tried devouring itself.

The relieving stabbing penetrated his insides, making the remaining soldiers around scream out in horror at the sight and run for their lifes. It was pouring so much out of him, it might as well have represented all the excruciating suffering he was feeling in this single moment.

Levi collapsed to his knees right in front of a heavy breathing Eren, his arms thrown onto his shoulders with a strenuous gasp to keep them steady.

They were dying. Green eyes looked sadly, painfully at his. The boy was completely powerless, counting his seconds.

No one gave them the coup the grâce, leaving them lonely on the battlefield, monsters gathered in further proximity, as if they enjoyed watching the tragic scene unfold.

Raw, scorching breaths left their lungs, blood running down their thighs in competitive streams, as they clung to their last strings of life, still not looking away, not letting go.

'I am not leaving you.'

Whimpers and groans of agony filled the air betweem them, emotion dwelling, just as weird pre-death intimacy as they exchanged glare after glare. Communicating, but not speaking.

'We're going together.'

Eren was first, his beautiful, big eyes twitching one last time, before they rolled back and he collapsed forward right into Levi's arms that now latched onto him like leech.

There were five seconds of panicked, shaking breath and utter disorientation until pain faded into numbess and the last breath was drawn. Blood rolled down his lip and two dead bodies collapsed to the side together, in mixed bloodsplatters.

United in death, almost romantical if it wasn't so fucked up.

 

 

 

 

Complete and utter anguish had filled Jean's heart after he had made it into the bunker.

He had seen it. Levi allowed that monster to kill him! He didn't wanted to move, it had looked like his world had crashed when he had seen Eren. He had wanted to die.

Tears rushed down the sides of his cheeks in streams.

Armin looked concerned, hurried to his comrade.

"Jean. What's wrong? Where is Eren!?"

And he just shouted out, realizing what this meant: "THEY ARE BOTH DEAD."


Erwin paled impossibly, immediatly crashed onto a nearby chair, his face hiding in his palm.

Both. They had been together when they died.

Considering what happened last time Levi lost his friends, it made sense that he probably had a mental breakdown right then and there.

'It's all my fault....', Erwin thought bitterly, inconsolibly, 'I killed my friend.'

 

And he was engrossed in his own personal nightmare, while Jean saw gruesome images of his own in front of his inner eye. The memory of seeing Levi, dead, with open eyes, while wearing such an extremely gloomy, broken and unwordly expression, blood trickling down. Not only from his lip, but everywhere, clutching onto another dead body on his knees had set free deep, unconscious dread. He didn't even knew he had witnessed his last moment, was in a blink back to safety. But he could feel it. They weren't among the living. And the worst part about this nightmare...

This one was real.

Chapter Text

Eren knew he was hot headed. There was no denying as he full heartedly embraced that fact. But he also learned to be patient and disciplined the hard way.

And in fact no matter how many similarities he thought he had with the captain (like their past and attitude). Somehow it seemed like their personalities were completely opposite.
It surprised him even more that he could break down his reserve at times. It may have as well influenced Eren to be more quiet and relaxed, but he realized that a lot less. Maybe his awkwardness was more contagious.

 

 

 

One thing he learned from continuously studying the captain. To have attention for detail and not scare someone off. Of course it was easier when it was captain, since there was no desire for that anyway.

It always were those simple things.

How the captain held himself.

There was always some kind of triumph to his walk. Some pride, some satisfaction. Maybe if it wasn't his own, it was because he was part of the military... or fully directed to the Rose, his home. Or maybe, since Levi was a humble person, chastising someone, making progress or simply having his morning tea.

(Eren knew he loved tea.)

It wasn't only that. He moved with some kind of held back elegance. It was carefull and somehow determined. Very fascinating, but also one of the most normal walks Eren ever saw. He knew from what people told him, that he himself walked with a hop sometimes, or like he tried trampling someone to death. While walks of the soldiers varied, there had always been something mayestic and held back in the way Levi walked, appeared.

Even if it was just resting, in position, trotting down the hall, marching.

And the way he looked. Boots always clean, looking as new as they could get (despite the fact that he only bought new ones when the old ones were completely torn), cleanly shaven undercut, his hair shining beyond belief, neatly adjusted jacket, trousers, nails like from a surgeon, always smelling fresh.

And somehow he still refused to wear his cap and the whole uniform right, until it was absolutely unescapable.

Everything he did just outright screamed perfectionist, but he wasn't a show off. Apparently he just really liked to get on people's nerves, that gotten on his before. It was a bit confusing distinguishing defensiveness from snobbyness. A cynical, realistical approach from narcissism.

One of these things Eren never could get around, but admire. How could anyone emanate such a calm aura of harmony, modesty and so much passive-aggressiveness and self-rightousness at once. But his occasional outbursts or teases never outweighted to his kindness, dedication and helpfullness. Maybe he had a short temper? Or he just hated people, but beeing asocial wasn't his nature.
There were various theories.

 

 


At times when the captain was the hardest to read, was when Eren approached him with his most heartfelt openness.

He had been just minding his own business, strolling through the building like a cat, when Eren had unintentionally placed himself in front of him like an impervious obstacle.

"Good morning, Captain! How are you?"

Eren once again had all the time in the world to note the obvious confusion on the other end, subtle, but there. It was almost like he didn't recognize that sentence. The way it threw the captain off balance enough that he forgot to answer and at the same time didn't seem to mind Eren's pressence.

That did gave the cadet reason to worry, before Levi quickly snapped out of it, cleared his throat. There was a second of debate, before (this time it was) resignation settled in, another sigh.

Usually the answer was 'fine' or 'okay' regardless. But even if he admitted to something bothering him it rarely seemed to be something very serious or tragic, something everpresent. Maybe it was, but the way his aura gave off this almost scarily calm vibe... it was easy to confuse it with something else. Something hiding deeper.

 

"I'm not sure ..."

"Are you worrying about the mission?"

 

Eren had been busy discussing their future mission left and right, while some cadets outright refused to do that out of nervoussnes.

He was also aware that a high-ranked captain had almost no worries about something like that, but he asked anyway. He was curious, trying to help, going with his gut like he used to.

The captain was tight-lipped for a second, staring the brunette up and down as if there was something standing out about him, before his eyes landed on his, even if briefly and only enough to be considered polite, before answering.

 

"Maybe."

"You don't know that too?", Eren curiously asked.

'Does that sound rude? I can never tell.'

 

Among other things, there was always that distinctive warmth emanating from the corporal. It was hard to feel at times, but out of sudden just standing next to him was a pleasure, Eren would never trade with anything. It was in his glare when he regarded him, almost like it was taking up all his aura and making the younger feel like there wasn't a person kinder in the world.

It felt so weirdly safe around him. Nevermind the beginning awkwardness, it was suddenly forgotten and unimportant.

"But I know what we could do."

"Really!?", Eren smiled softly, eyes shining up in held back excitement.

Levi halted for a second, almost as if he was surprised about something, completely frozen.

A little bit too long, leaving the other bemused and almost dreading. Was there a reason that he hesitated, thought twice, if not 5 times about something before answering? Could Eren help him with something, reassure him?

(Maybe hold him in his arms?)

But as sudden as his stupor had begun, it had ended just like that. With quick, almost too energetic steps, he strutted forward, past him proclaiming.

"We will clean the equipment."

Every other teenager in Eren's age would have felt like it was a slap in the face, a boring, undeserved activity, punishment, but he didn't mind. Whatever his Captain wanted, he had said 'we' after all. Cleanliness was important, much needed, even if he knew he could be quite messy.

"Okey-dokey!"

Was that a grin Eren had just observed from the corner of his eye? He couldn't believe it! The ever grumpy captain that knew no fun nor passion grinned! Fairly sure was also the reason for that. Eren was proud, hurriedly saving the image in his mind for later use. Like screaming happily and rolling around in his bed, hugging all the pillows.

There was good reason after all, since the blackhaired suddenly seemed weirdly at ease.

"You like cleaning, right?"

"I can think better when I do it. ... Of course it helps that my environment is in order as well."

'Maybe I can impress him with cleaning skills?'

Eren wasn't even sure if he was that great at it, but his mind already played out how Levi praised him, giving him a smile that could make the boy permanently blind.

The image was quickly pushed away.

"Heh, that sounds like a fun time spending together."

He could swear he could hear the other mumble shily under his breath: "Together...."

It was a little hard trying to understand the captain thoroughfully. On the one hand he seemed like such a dominant, assertive person worthy of praise. On the other hand he seemed so small, quiet and shy at times, Eren felt in exactly that time like showering him with endless affection and support. Soft with an edge. Loud in a whisper. Humbly proud.

What a sweet paradox he was, one he would never get tired off.

The quiet, humble side of him made him much more charming, even though it was a bit concerning at times. Did he had any reason to worry?

 

 

The cadet waited for him to start telling him what to do before he started asking questions and talking about this and that.

To his surprise, the captain was attentively listening, having made himself comfortable in a neraby chair, polishing blades until they sparkled.

It was a pleasant and motivating discovery moving books and cleaning shelves, while all the attention was on you.

"Oh, I see, you are beeing usefull.", Erwin had stepped to them, smiling satisfied.

The captain gave him a curt nod, a short glare and then looked down onto the blades again. He wanted Eren to continue, unknowing what the commander wanted from them.

"Well, I'll see you later. You'll come by my office to get your papers."


Now, as Eren was torn from his thoughts, almost too curiously watching the two, he noticed a few things. Was Levi always treating everyone like it was a forced, short interaction?

Or did he just missed something?

Eren could swear the captain had treated him like that at first too, compared to how genuinely interested and engaged he seemed in their conversations now. Almost as if he was changed. Maybe he just needed time to adjust, and he was like this to Hange too? Questions and questions...


"So and what did your sister say? You surely wouldn't want to leave things that way."

Not only did that confuse the other even more for a second, no, he was lost in the sight. One of Levi's thin brows arched upwards, body half leaned onto a table and expression like that of a cat that had just snatched something.

The corners of Eren's mouth turned upwards and opened to a blinding smile once again, before he resumed his story.

He was usually a very sociable and open person, but closed up when he was uncomfortable in his environment or felt self conscious. He also loved to talk, to laugh and live his life, which were qualities of him that the captain admired.

 

 

 

Eren was busy carrying belts with equipment and more blades, when the shelf he had been sorting before, suspiciously wobbled after he had brushed it on his way. He hadn't cleaned the top yet and had no single lead why it behaved so weird.

First he hadn't thought much about it, asked the captain if he would be joining them at lunch, before there was a low thud and in a chain of rather unfortunate events old, unsteadily piled books and other stuff toppled, hit the neighboring things and crashed down.

Unexpectedly a very heavy book whacked Eren right across the head.

"FUUUUCK", he bellowed before everything fell out of his hands and made him crash noisefully against the next wall in the elegance of a startled chicken.

At least he was still standing.

The last thing he expected was suddenly a warm hand around his cheek, voice and glare equally as warm: "Did you hurt yourself!?"

Would the captain care for him if he said yes? He couldn't believe how fast he had made his way to him, touched him, worried.

 

"I am frickin' fantastic....", Eren mumbled with a soft glare towards him, feeling euphorically dizzy from the other's closeness.

 

It wasn't a lie.

Levi furrowed his brows at the display, slightly confused: "...Maybe you have a concussion?"

He shook his head.

"No. It's good, thank you for your concern."

"There's more than just a bruise. Let me see."

 

Long, soft fingers carefully felt his forehead, noticing a small cut next to his dark eyebrow.

"And... what about your own bruise!?", Eren having remembered his own actions in the car, was suddenly overcharged with the care.

His thumb and index finger carefully cupped the side of his jaw, holding it into light.

Levi froze up completely, just inches from Eren's face, pupils small, looking ready to faint, but weirdly unmoving.

The cadet could swear he saw the beginnings of a blush, before he suddenly cleared his throat, carefully stepped back and released him.

 

"I am fine. We should focus on you."

"I'm sorry... did I... stepped past your comfort zone?"

"Nonsense", he lied, voice sounding way lower than usual.

 

With some quick, calculated movements he had cleaned up the mess and carefully dragged the cadet along to the infirmary. What was completely unnecessarry in the brunette's eyes, but he was the kind of person that'd go to the doctor only after he already became heavily sick.

It wasn't much. He disinfected the cut, put a small cooling pack to his aching forehead, but the fact that he had tooken it seriously, how soft he was, wanting the other to feel maximum comfort, generated such pleasant warmth in Eren's stomach, it could be easily mistaken for butterflies.

"You're so caring and sweet, Captain. How did I deserve that."

Unlike him, it was the older that seemed almost embarassed about that fact: "Well, you wouldn't have gotten hurt by a book, if you weren't near one, right?"

"It's not your fault. I'm a very clumsy idiot."

Now his lips formed into one thin line and Levi felt suddenly off...

Had he said something wrong? What Eren would give to know what was going on through his head at the moment.

Would the captain ever let him in?

That's what he was wondering about. Because the only thing he could judge was on the outside. And he didn't like to judge.

 

 

 

 

 

 


"Caaaap. Caaap! Snow White. Why are you always eating that crap? Afraid you'll turn fat?"

He would've loved to emit a very long and strenuous sigh at the moment, but his body didn't let him. Definetely not the right day for that.

Out of all places in the vicinity, the cafetaria was the last one Levi thought Ymir would annoy him. What was her damn problem? And of course she found the right moment when Hange was gone to the bathroom and Erwin off to get coffee.

 

"Because I want to."

"You can't tell me someone wants to eat salad every day!? Need to grow a few inches?"

He only gave her a glare.

"Oh, come on, if you'll eat something more caloric, maybe then you'd look less like a little kid's nightmare. I think you need a change of profession. Like the sad clown in the circus."

"Are you finished? Can I eat in peace now?"

His voice was once again so extraordinary calm and emotionless. It was like nothing in the world bothered him and he didn't wanted to have anything to do with it. It was like he was used to it.

 

"Ymir, fuck off. Crawl back into the hole, you just came from. Or I'll perform an exorcism on you.", the loud cadet made obscure hissing sounds at her while strolling slowly and confidently over to the captain.

"Alright, alright. But feed him properly for me!"

Well, now that she was gone and Eren securely next to him he seemed visibly more bothered than before.

"Jeez. What did she wanted?"

"For example making fun of my height."

"Your... height?"

This time he couldn't help the sigh that left his lungs. At this point it seemed even rediculous, his patience thin.

'He's kidding me, right? There's no way he can be serious.'

"I am the second shortest person here."

In military this had it's significance.

"Does that bother you?"

He turned to look at Eren, almost flabbergasted: "Don't know. Some people have a problem with a sassy midget that steals the highest ranks."

The cadet looked pissed and his voice grew louder: "Do they call you that!?"

"Some. I believe they all think that whenever they see me."

"I'll beat them up!"

"No. Bad idea. It's alright."

"But... if it makes you feel bad..."

"I don't actually give a shit."

He wasn't sure if that was true, but his attitude and behaviour didn't allow any other interpretations.

"Yes, Sir."

"Do I seem that strict?"

"Uhh..."

 

He didnt even knew what to say to that, wishing he could read that expression, but it wasn't giving him any hints. He had to get used to him at first.

"It's just... that you suddenly saw the need to adress me like that."

This was greatly confusing the other: "But... I call you like this all the time, Captain."

Now Eren heard another soft sigh leave his lungs: "Levi also suffices."

The other froze, seeing his superior slowly turn to him and look him right in the eyes with such calm and openness, it was fascinating. But... was the only reason he was able to see this... because the captain allowed it?

And if he wanted to be his friend, why was he always so distant and closed off?

This was the neverending mystery with him. What was really going on inside of him? Was there even a mystery? What was he constantly thinking about?


Eren knew he wasn't the brightest. He needed effort, time and more common sense. He was intelligent, but not purely a natural when it came to intellect. With all his heart, he wanted to be there for the captain. That meant figuring him out. It had seemed he knew, but behind the camera's, the press, all this ruckus in his own little office, he was another man.

But he prided himself in having a better gut instinct than Armin when it came to people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some people it was relatively easy to live in this world, because everything was written on their face. And if it wasn't, they'd immediately tell you. Everything would just flow out of them to the outside. They were the outside, mostly. No matter if they were emotional or not, you'd know. But that meant those people could barely hide anything from someone else. Viewed mostly as dumb, naive and sometimes to get even as far to call them shallow, some rather flamboyant extroverts did had trouble with the world. Yet they got to experience it in all it's flavours.

The brunnette prided himself in having some characteristics that
matched an introvert as well.

Having an open ear and finding communication important were also among his features.

So when people wanted something from him, he usually knew what they meant, or he could tell the intention behind it.
Apart from one exception....

 

"I'm arrogant."

"Huh?", Eren was abruptly thrown out of his daydreaming, turning in the direction of this very distinctive voice.

"Why do you like me?"

There he stood, directly confronting him, two hours after the incident at lunch.

His voice was so calm and dull at times, that it made the other wonder if the captain felt like this inside. Nonsense, why would he?  He was a very busy and quiet person.
He had almost convinced himself that there was sadness laced into his words now.

Only almost.

"Not true. And why wouldn't I? Maybe a little, we're all no angels. You should love people they way they are."

Why wouldn't he?

 

The younger froze up slightly, because there was no response and gray eyes were intently focusing him.

'Captain, what's wrong?'

It was as if he didn't wanted to move, didn't wanted to do anything. But why did he seemed so helpless out so sudden? He appeared like he always did.

Eren thought and talked about him a lot, but in these moments he would've loved to have a dictionary for his body language. If there was any at all.

After seeming eternity there was suddenly a reaction, subtle moving of muscles. You could see him finally reacting, processing.

The corners of Levi's mouth twitched and lightly curled upwards, his face appearing younger out of sudden and eyes laced with an, to Eren unknown emotion.

It was as if someone turned on a switch.

But there was it again. Warmth. And something else.

It was like Eren was suddenly bound to him, enchanted, although unbelieving how right it felt.

It wasn't a full smile as well, but he swore he had never seen a cuter expression on the corporal's face.

"Thank you."

Then he looked down as if shy, turned on his heels and left, allowing the other to see the change on his face for a split second.

Completely lost and frightened.

He'd usually run after him. Ask him what the matter was, try to make him feel better. But he was grown into the ground, completely overwhelmed by what he had witnessed.

Of what was the captain so frightened? Why did he looked almost 10 years younger for a second? What did all of this mean? Eren was overwhelmed to learn he knew so much of captain and at the same time nothing about him at all. Was what he showed outside only an illusion? But there had to be some essence to it.

It confused him, it confused him so hard, it almost overshadowed his interest to his whole persona. He had to know. Was it a shell? What was hidden inside?
He had no idea, no perspective for right now, knew it would take him so long to find it, although he almost desperately wanted captain to let him in.

But one day, one day, he would find out.

Chapter Text

 


"Huh, and where did you come from, Rainer?", Connie tilted his head questiongly, while sleepily rubbing his eyes.

It was 6:01AM. The smaller teenager was in his pijamas, having exited out of the bathroom, just about to get back to sleep, when he saw the big blonde approaching from the other end of the hallway.
He was fully dressed, wide awake and almost as if a little dirty.

And he froze as soon as he had seen the other, as if not expecting to see another life form next to him, silent.

 

Connie joked, staring at his pant-legs: "Khe. Who did you bury?"

A few, almost hesitant steps forward: "Promise me, you won't tell."

"Eh? Sure..."

"...I.... went to the kitchen and got myself a big, fat steak."

A few seconds of utter disbelief, before both parties broke into amused laughs.

"Oh, yoooou! ... You know that stealing from the kitchen is prohibited."

Rainer shrugged, with that uncaring smile of his: "I was hungry. Do you really think I'd let myself starve to death, waiting for breakfast?"

The other just shook his head, as both of them made their way towards their rooms again.

"Don't worry. But next time get me something too."

"Oh, look at that!"

"I'd share it with Sasha."

"Hehehe..."


Eren, already sleeping pretty lightly on his own, was even more disrupted by the steps. Only fifteen minutes later and it was almost as if nothing had happened, everyone slept. Scratching himself behind the ear, he then quietly stood up and got ready himself, up to wander the halls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The unmoving captain was sitting outside on the platform, crouched up, buried in his hands and utter desperation.

Eren almost had a heart attack when he, casually walking by, caught sight of that. He was next to him in an instant.

"What's wrong, Captain?"

He took note of the flinch that followed, the already hunched shoulders, the slight tremor that had made itself down his spine, the powerless way he held himself.

"Everything....", the voice was low, husky, breathy and pained.

Only one hand was holding onto his face now, allowing the cadet to see his expression. It didn't suited him.

"You have to elaborate on that."

He turned away, face contorting into even more pain than before, looking so tired and - Eren didn't even dare to think it - broken.

It hurt just hearing the younger's voice.
He was done, completely, entirely done, derailed. Images and memories were flooring his system like mad, while all his energy got wasted.

"I... I can't do this... I'm a mess."

"Why'd you think this?"

He was carefully regarding his superior, afraid every word he could say might somehow scare him, hurt him.

"I... I've never been like this before... I have always managed. And now it hurts so much. Now is not the time to fall apart...."

He looked up at Eren with such a sad and desperate glare, trying to convey his feelings, hoping he would remember: "I feel like something died inside of me..."

Both their hearts contracted simultaneously when their gazes met, emotions overwhelming them.

Eren immediately hugged him wordlessly and Levi in his overemotional state pulled him so close, he slid right into his lap and fit there quite snugly. They held each other there, Levi shivering and shaking. He could smell Eren, warm and safe and not dead, pressed right against his chest, his own swelling from the struggle.

'Oh c'mon... you died as well. Just a few seconds later... it wasn't that bad or was it?'

Immediately he was teleported back to the battlefield, panic seeping into him.

He absolutely hated his panic attacks. He felt weak and it was totally unfitting to his character... or at least how he wanted to be.

But it was useless, he had already failed and his unfit behaviour had brought him nowhere. Why beeing out of breath, if you can not breathe at all? He waited, counted to ten, focused on the far horizon, his nose buried in Eren's hair while he felt like a thousand needles were piercing into his skin at once.
Nothing compared to the pain they had felt before, just yesterday.

He had barely felt anything of it. Since he died he didn't had to deal with the aftermath. The aftermath of losing him. It was a shock, but it had passed somehow. Nevertheless he was on edge, sitting dishevelled, everything stressing him, supressing weird primal needs.

Cuddling Eren now seemed for the greater good and lesser evil. The shyness wasn't relevant. It was keeping him at bay.

Eren's voice sounded so worried, although silky soft and light: "What happened, though?"

"Nothing......", he choked out, shocked by the sole tone his ears had picked up, a big vein popping at his forehead.

The cadet carefully pulled his body back a bit, giving the other another look.

'Nothing?'

However, now he took Eren's hand and held it close to his chest, looking deeply at him, as if it was promise. It was once again so weirdly intimate and true, that even if the younger didn't knew what it was about, he couldn't help but agree.

"Levi....", he said almost sadly.

Why did his captain look so defeated, although he could see, subtly slight hope sparkling in his eyes as soon as his hand had made contact with his chest.
It made him want to right all the wrongs that had happened to him, make him feel happy and safe, tell him it was gonna be fine.

But would it be? Would they survive? Find any way to save humanity? Live in peace till the rest of their lifes?

That didn't mean he couldn't hold him, care for him and mentally support him all the way through though. He meant too much to him to just let go.

Carefully leaning in, he asked more dispositively, emphasising, almost whispering: "Nothing happened?"

"Nothing....."

Eren leaned in closer, slowly, softer, not to scare the already unnerved person in front of him. In a very affectionate gesture he pushed his forehead against his, looking deep into his eyes.

It was cozy, the brown hairs lightly tickling his pale skin, but it was still almost unbearable. They had been blood red before.

Levi didn't said anything and solely trembled, held his hand a little too rough, but Eren didn't minded. The other looked once again so lost and like he would explode any moment, but would not dare to look away from his eyes. Those eyes that had been filled with agony and anguish, before he cramped and they rolled back. So staring it was, sat like that together and stared.

After a while Levi calmed just a little and closed his eyes, leaned fully against his forehead now, while Eren flattened out his hand to feel his heartbeat, warm and almost too quick. It hurt.

"Okay....", Eren whispered, wrapped his other hand closer around him and made himself more comfortable on his lap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The cadet hadn't seen the captain, nor the commander or the professor at breakfast and after that not really as well.

It was a little dull sitting there and telling his friends in what mental state he had last found the blackhaired. At his limit.

"I think he really relies on you... The way he acted and keeps acting seems like he wants to tell you about his problems, but doesn't know how.", Armin mused, drinking his apple juice.

Eren almost dramatically looked at his own cup, upsetly viewing his sulky expression in it.

"The way he looked at me... I can't describe it. It was so... I don't know. So ... knowing and weirdly affectionate. Afraid."

"But of what?"

 

Their discussions provided to be mostly fruitless, although Eren already talked enough about him.

After almost half an hour they went on to talk about food and all kinds of things.

 

Armin managed to cheer up his friend through half of breakfast talking about one new hip hop album.

"Damn, I don't understand how people find the motivation to continue this music in this apocalyptic time."

"Well, they don't want it to die out. We are in another epoch that mixes new age and post apocalyptic. Not that much variation, is it?"

"Resulting in weird music in the charts."

 


The cadet started to get bored, causing his thoughts to slowly wander back to the captain, while facing the entrance.

Marco came back with coffee in hand, beaming like a little sunshine, because he was facing in a particular direction. The curious cadet followed his line of sight and grinned broadly. Of course that expression was only reserved for Jean, that was patiently waiting for him at his table. And horseface, stupid and uncertain as he was reciprocated that glare with a soft smile, before staring at the floor in overwhelmed embarassment.
They have been circling around each other for years now. Eren didn't knew them as well as Armin or Mikasa, but he swore you had to be blind or senseless not to perceive the chemistry between them.

Jean was suddenly glad Connie, that was sitting across from him engaged him in a conversation, effectively distracting him.

"And then the cook was like: "WHY IS THE STEAK MISSING!?" Hahahhahaha!"

Armin giggled, observing Eren eyeing the two with a broad, stupid grin.
The situation got even more interesting when Marco was about to sit next to him, his coffee already placed on the table and an idea shot through his mind at once, making his grin turn mischievous.

So it happened that Marco accidentally tripped and fell right on top of his friend, that was roughly pressed against the bench on his back, the others face howering over his just an inch away.
The freckled italian looked surprised and embarassed, while his counterpart was more shocked and unbelieving.

Eren was painfully shutting his mouth not to die from laughter, Armin giggled, Mikasa raised her eyebrows, Connie gasped, Ymir whistled and more reactions varied.

It took him a bit to unfreeze from the little stupor his closeness had put him in, but when he did, his hands immediately wrapped around his shoulders, uncaring of the audience.

"You alright, Marco? What happened."

"Yeah, I... I fell."

No matter how hard his heart was beating, the worry was outweighting it, as he helped the blackhaired sit up, holding him up so he wouldn't accidentally slide under the table.

"Aaaaaawww, you guys are so cute!", Eren giggled happily, immediately alerting everyone.

"Yeager, did you orchestrate this?"

"Maybeeeee. Hehehe."

"But why hurt Marco for this. YOU PIECE OF SHIT.", Jean roared, hitting the table.

Marco tried to calm him, carassing his shoulder: "I'm alright. Jean, please calm down. You'll make the coffee spill!"

He stood up, slamming his hands on the table. "I'll make something else spill now. HIS GUTS."

Eren shuffled in his seat, unbelievingly chuckling.

"Jean... Jean... JEAAAAAHHHHHH"

 

 

 

 

Professor Hange was staring at the brand new looking jacket on captain's back. It was because he rarely wore one, uncaring of the cold and anyone's opinion. The less rare were the occasions of his sulking and reminiscing while staring far outside the window.

Sometimes the woman thought she could hear his thoughts. Among the lines of:
Is there something out there that is still in tact?
Will we reach the place of our dreams?
Do I fit into this world? 

This was how she often had found him, sometimes calm, sometimes worried, sometimes sad. But always collected.

This was the first time he was completely dishevelled, upset, emanating such a weird mishmash of negative emotions. That's why she put him aside. What made him this way, what was he so worried about?


"I would ... die for Eren.", he confessed.

It was as if it was out of nowhere, but he had already expressed his discontent towards the continuously nearing mission.

"But you don't plan to, right?"

Dreadfull silence prevailed for a few seconds, until he replied in an almost desperate tone:
"If he'd die... then. I .... I can't-"

"Ooooohhh, I understand. This makes sense..."

She, of course knew the fate of his friends, even if it was almost never a theme. Levi would break apart if more people dear to him would die... And his complex made him believe that he would make it up to them if he'd die for someone else.

She stared at the slightly tensed form in front of her, him turning, trying to have the same calculating look as always, but failing, waiting for that response.

"Eren has to save you, like you save him."

No, that made no sense.

"What!? No... I am the one that does that."

"From yourself."

 

The black haired felt his eye beginning to twitch, speechless.

 

 

 

 

 


Not by any chance, in no way possible there had come any comprehensible word out of Levi's mouth after that. He didn't knew what to say, when, how.

Leading to him standing trembling in front of the alarmed cadet, while the beasts were gushing ceaselessly into the building.

But he couldn't just stare at him the whole time!

With trembling lips, trembling everything he finally stuttered out: "I-I have to go."

"I'm comming with you..."

"NO!", he had out of sudden yelled it out vehemently, as his whole beeing resisted against it.

"But we have to help everyone....", the cadet insisted, now starting to follow the line of trail from rushing past soldiers right behind the other's back.

If there was a moment where Levi had to be persistent it was now.

With one fast, calculated move the brunette's wrist was roughly grabbed, abruptly stopping him in his track.

Eren wanted to turn, look into his face and see his expression, now hidden by his hair, but he couldn't move. He would only be able to go behind him.

"...You'll do as I said."


Instead of a heartfelt goodbye, it was how their interaction went by.


Later when he came back, sat next to a reliefed cadet, he discovered Eren's wrist he had been holding before, seeing that it had actually bruised.

And at once he felt really, really horrible. Eren caught his heartbroken gaze, in trance followed how the captain carefully cupped his arm, bringing his hand carefully to his mouth, carassing it a little and then releasing it again.

The cadet was awed at the apologetic, reverent, almost submissive kiss on his barely aching wrist.

"You don't have to... It's fine."

"No... I hurt you. I never intended that, I'm sorry.", Levi whispered in a pained, choked voice, completely exhausted.

He hated that. He'd be the last person he wanted that to happen to.

Now was not the time to say that outside at the plattform his grip had already been painfull too. It was probably because he couldn't control his strength in that situation.

The cadet didn't knew how, didn't knew why exactly the other was so beat up, but their last parting gave him a pretty good idea of that. Now he had to pick up the pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The next day had started quite successfully, so no one expected it to escalate in that manner again.

Levi had managed to convince Erwin to go A LOT earlier, barely, taking a smaller team and less eqipment. The only thing he couldn't convince him to do, was keep Eren in the laboratory.

That came back to bite him in the ass later, as now impossible levels of stress rushed through him in waves.

Monsters attacked, not in extremely huge masses, but enough to harm and the earthquake, that damn, almost forgotten earthquake had surprised them at the wrong time.

They were already fleeing, maneuvering through the enemies, when it happened.

Apparently one monster had tried to hold onto the car driving the furthest back, climbed in, almost slashing every cadet. If not for one brave to push it out, ultimately falling out of the vehicle himself and getting flung out away from the suction.

Armin had begged for the driver to stop the car, but he wouldn't go against the order. It could've killed everyone.

 

The captain only witnessed the aftermath, having been in the very first car when they left.

Armin's eyes were brimmed red, Mikasa was unconscious and someone was missing. ... So that was what the driver had reported to Erwin. He turned towards the commander and exploded.

His tone was threatening, fingers twitching, glare dark as the gloomiest night: "Where is he...."

"Levi....-"

"Where. Is. He. WHERE IS HE!?", the voice edged into a growl.

"We kinda... lost him..."

"YOU LOST HIM!? IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THAT DUST?"

"It was during the earthquake and monster attack. He may.. may not be alive anymore..."

"Erwin, do you just have to RUIN my life!?"

Not only did no single car stopped, but also Erwin decided to keep it to himself. For what? Not to make everyone panic? Sounded almost like an excuse.

"No, you know I don't."

"Yeah... sure... everyone knows... everyone knows you forced me into military! And what happened because of that!"

"Not in front of everyone, please."

"Oh, I don't fucking care anymore. They know anyway. I'm not gonna listen to this. I'm gonna search Eren now! Farewell!"

Levi immediately regretted saying that, because it wasn't really true what he said. But he couldn't change it now. Even as Erwin stepped forward to stop him from running past them.

"It's too dangerous!"


He knew that, but only talking about it wouldn't help in the slightest. Although he stopped for a second in front of the blonde cadet.

"Arlert, I'm gonna find your friend. If it's the last thing I do!"

He didn't even wait for his reaction, sprinting towards his motorcycle and started the engine, among speechless comrades.

"Captain!", Armin yelled after him, before he could start driving.

Levi turned, witnessing the eyes of the upset looking boy now shine up with respect and gratitude. He ended it with a proud and firm salute.

The captan was moved. Someone other than Eren trusting him. He gave him a curt nod and was off in great speed.

"Commander, do you think he'll save him?"

Erwin tried to avoid his eyes, himself unsure of the outcome:
"If there's someone who can, it's him."

 

 

 

 

The road seemed even dustier and dirtier than ever.

Why was their sky always gray? Was it dust particles? Emission clouds?

Global warming had already ended, the thawned glaciers caused a big flood in parts of the world, the ozone holes had become so huge they had caused large-scale fires, some animals mutated or became entirely extinct.

But nothing of that seemed as catastrophic to Levi, as losing Eren. Nothing as scary.

Was he alive, was he dead?

When he was getting close, that's when he started calling, slowing his motorcycle down. Calling and trying to contact his walkie-talkie. Loud and urgent.

Would he see a body? Making him feel like his insides were crushed and turned to mush. Or...?

The bunker came in sight, lonely and still, grotesque as always. The closer he got, the more desperate and broken his calls had sounded. And then he remembered.

 


'Whenever we let a few people go ahead to investigate, they never come back. We never found corpses, no blood, no bones. They are gone.' 

 


'Bodies and things dissapear like they had never existed. Did Eren dissapear from the face of earth forever!?'

There was no one around.

'PLEASE DON'T BE DEAD, PLEASE DONT BE DEAD, PLEASE!'


He called another time, his voice breaking, hoarse, yelling like a cat on a bonfire. He stared in all directions, he jumped off the motorcycle, he went behind the huge boulders, searching for that one dropped gun he was sure was there.

Nothing, no trace, no sign of a fight, no foreign object, nada. Untouched, like no soul had been there.

"Ereeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!"

Levi kicked a stone in frustration, he would not go back empty-handed! He would not accept him beeing gone. He would never desert him. He had no single idea where he could be, if he was alive, but he'd search even if it meant this day would be spend like that.

'My boy... how could I... Don't leave me.'

"..... Captain...."

Levi's heart stopped as soon as he had heard that faint, distant call. Even more so when he realized where it was comming from. The deep ravine where every monster had been sucked in, wiping the whole surface clean. It was impossible, but he looked anyway. Maybe it wasn't just an auditory hallucination.

With heart beating way too fast for it to be healthy, but from the years experienced steps he carefully rounded up the cliff.

Five meters ahead, on a medium sized stone ledge lied a sprawled, barely conscious Eren.

It was a miracle this had been the exact place he had 'chosen' to fall into. Only three meters further right or left and he would've broken his neck falling into endless depths.

By first glance he seemed 'relatively' fine. Bruised, blood dripping down his mouth, clothes ripped and body angled up weirdly, but not too bad. Although the captain still had to restrain the urge to jump straight to him. He would've made it out again no problem, but how would he get the cadet back up there?


"Eren! Thank god.... is.... is it stable here. This thing isn't gonna break down any minute?"

"Captain...", Eren lifted up his puzzled, unfocused eyes to his savior, his heavy head slowly nodding.

"You're not bleeding out or something, no? Wait here..."

The only place he could've looked for something usefull was either in his motorcycle or the bunker.

He came by with a rope and a rod he hammered into the ground and additionally parked his motorcycle across, so it wouldn't slip away from the firm knot. Need creates creativity.

With practiced professionalism he had kept himself from worrying when he inspected the bruised form in front of him. None of his injuries seemed fatal or very dangerous. But he knew first impressions could deceive (cue the shitty brat nickname). He had to be fast either way.

He hieved? a mostly unresponsive cadet carefully over his shoulder. One arm was holding him, the other the rope while he carefully climbed. He knew where to set his feet and how to balance, the difficult part was releasing his subject for a while so he could carefully reach further up for the rope with the other hand, before holding him again and climbing higher. In longer intervals he moved further, changed place. When his right hand reached the ledge and lifted himself up enough, first thing to do was put Eren back onto the ground. From suddenly feeling unusually light and his worry now freely flowing he got so distracted, he almost fell back into it.

He cursed quietly under his breath, jumped up to the surface again and put them further away from the hole, before grabbing his first aid kit.

It were mostly bruises and cuts, maybe a concussion. Levi had made quick process with the bandages, even cleaned him up, gave him water and waited a little for him to be more responsive, gently placing him in his lap.

"Do you have any fractures? Hit your head really hard or something like that?"

The cadet was slowly comming back alive, the fact that he was literally in captain's warm lap and his hand was tenderly carassing his cheek fastened up the process.

"I... I think not. I just... got a little slashed... then a... gust of wind or something... threw me around. I crashed against things, but not with my head. I think..."

Levi only sighed, somehow sadly, Eren at once saw the vulnerability written all across his features, wondering if he had hurt his savior. He still couldn't believe it, he had saved his life!

And he surprised him by that thin, sweet tone: "I'm so glad you're alive....."

At once he leaned down, holding his cheek and gave his forehead a firm, sweet smooch, before nuzzling Eren's head against his chest.

The brunette's heart was beating wildly, reminding him that he was actually alive and well and he had been blessed. The black haired smelled so nice, his skin was so smooth, so creamy, it made him melt, butterflies going crazy in his stomach.

"Only thanks to you...", he whispered and felt the captain embrace him very softly, carassing his head affectionately.

 

 

 

 

 


"Okay... I think I'll actually have to bind our legs together with this rope. While you could be able to hold firmly onto me, I don't trust the judgement of someone injured. Nothing personal."

'That's right.'

Even after that agreement he couldn't help but deeply blush when he felt himself fully pressed against the others legs and back. It made him feel even weaker in his knees than he already was.

"If you fall off the bike NOW, then you're a complete disaster, Yeager."

That only made him chuckle.

 

As soon as they took off he contacted Erwin.

"I've found him."

"Really!? Levi, that's great news!"

"Prepare the bed in the hospital wing. I want a full CT scan. Tell that bowlcut his friend is fine. Hopefully."

Levi had spend enough time around Hange to know which scans were needed when.

"Great. ..."

There was an awkward silence on both ends, before the captain cleared his throat and sighed again.

"By the way, sorry. Got carried away."

"It's fine. I get it. I can tell he means a lot to you..."

 

Eren had to do a doubletake, warmth flooring his chest, even more bodily functions returning. He tried to wrap around the other person as close as he could, cuddle him as sweetly as possible.

At once Levi was overcharged, unsure what to do and what to feel, even a minute after he had 'hung up'.

"Thank you... for not giving up on me!", Eren purred into his ear, all emotional and happy.

Levi blinked, something weird going on inside of him.

'That's my line, dear.'

 

 

When they finally returned, Armin hugged the corporal almost as well. His friend was just how he had told him: fine. Although due to the shock he hadn't noticed that his ankle was sprained. A few days in bed and he would be good to go.

Mikasa had stepped in front of the captain that was sitting on a chair next to Eren's bed, saluted and bowed almost as deep, that her head touched the ground. The only thing she'd got were unbelieving, wide eyes.

"Cadet. ... There's no need to do this."

"You've protected Eren, when I couldn't. Thank you very much."

 

'Have I? ... I think this is only the beginning....'

 

"No... problem."

Chapter Text

 

This time Eren wasn't with them and there had been no unforseen earthquake what so ever.

And that greatly alarmed him.

This parallel universe seemed to make less sense, the more time he spend in it. With all it's twists, changes, endless probabilities and the tricks it was constantly playing on him.


Once again, Levi could curse endlessly when the mission uselessly prolonged itself, to the point where he feared for everyone's safety. He had an incredibly, incredibly bad feeling.

Sitting next to Erwin allowed him to have a broad overview of the situation.

"Why are we slowing down, huh?"

"Apparently one car doesn't have enough gasoline and driving too fast would only accelerate the process."

Levi gave him a long look, a chill running down his spine and anxiety creeping in.

"That's impossible. We ordered everyone to refill before heading out. There was a report."

Erwin only shrugged and looked back out of the window, while his corporal started freaking out again.

'Something isn't right. ... I can feel it... It can't be. What should I do!?'

"I.... I think it's of great importance that we'll get out of here as soon as possible."

"How do you imagine we do that?"

"Either that one car will be the only one driving further behind, because it's their fault for not refilling. Or we will abandon that car and the soldiers will just squeeze themself into the other vehicles."

Now it was Erwin to stare at him for a while. "Don't be rediculous, Levi. We can't lose resources. Calm down, nothing's wrong."

The corporal was frantically trying to pull himself together, hated beeing dismissed like this, shaking treacherously close to a panic attack.

He bit his tongue, trying to come up with ANYTHING convincing.

"Erwin.", he said quietly with emphasis, slowly pulling his whole attention towards him, "Do you trust my gut?"

There was weird, almost taut silence for a few seconds, before the older man sighed and finally caved in.

"Yes... You know what. I'll check how the outside team is doing and if there is something suspicious."

The corporal could swear, he had talked with him about it already! Why did it even exist?

"Erwin, I said the outside team was a bad idea! What if we're too late!?"

'Too late? Too late for what...', the commander stared at him with utter disbelief and conflicted feelings.

 

 

 

 

 

Relief washed through the captain when they arrived at the place where the outside team was stationed and the whole team, including Eren further back were alright.

"Oh, thank god."

'He's ok.'

"Levi, say,", there was suddenly an elbow nudging his ribs and a far too smug and amused looking commander stared at him, "why were you so overly worried about this? Was it because of Eren...? Do you like him?"

That offended him at once a great deal.

"Yes!"

When his sharp answer followed a conspicious wiggling of brows, he was about to slap Erwin.

 

They were both interrupted by the sudden, mercyless earthquake shaking up the entire bulding.

It was so sudden and intense that the awhirling dust concealed their vision for it's duration, beeing surprisingly short.

When it cleared, they could see a huge horde of monsters rushing towards them, close.

"EVERYONE INSIDE. NOW!", Levi bellowed in the most commanding voice he could.

 

'How is this possible?'

 

He had been running towards his comrades to get everyone inside, when the first clash happened and everything escalated.

 

'We have guards. They would've seen new monsters from afar and tell us!'

 

It was impossible for Erwin's team to see, since the little place Eren and the others been placed was on the other side from where they had come from, obstructing the view.

 

'Is someone playing with us!?'

 

He was running as fast as he could, but grotesque dark bodies blocked his way.

"EREEEEEEN!"

There were screams, jostling, ripping of flesh, he could hear it.

He forced himself not to think about it, slashing, shooting and kicking his opponents, desperate to get free.

He had to get to him, he had to save him or die trying!

Either by fortune or misfortune another earthquake wrecked the place. The earth violently trembled, throwing Levi to the ground and the suction was trying to get him again, turning him completely around, unable to see what was going on behind him.

The fact that the monsters were very tall made them catch the gusts of wind harder than the people easily thrown down. Levi rammed his knife into the ground, holding on to dear life.

It had felt longer than before, maybe it was. And he realized, he couldn't call it earthquake anymore as it was no ordinary. Falling into a coughing fit on the ground from too much dust in his lungs, it took him a bit too late to realize what had happened.

He didn't bother dusting himself off, he first had to check. The only thing he knew: The monsters were blown away.

 


That's when he saw it.

A bloody, disintegrated, very familiar figure on the floor 40 feet ahead from him and it's best friend lying somewhere next, immobilised and crying.

The only thing he could think, before everything derailed was: 'I should've let them kill me.'

There were more screams, more worried yells and justling, but the captain couldn't hear them anymore. His legs got heavy like cement, his head cloudy, thick fog nesting. He staggered steadily forward, the contours more prominent the closer he got and the more final the revelation.

Someone was calling him, but he couldn't care less, a magnetic pull pushing closer, before the end.

Brown hair poked from under mutilated red, a cadet's badge glistened on a ripped apart jacket. Limbs... a head... and visible ribs...........

'He's dead.'

His head hurt so bad, it might as well have been blown into pieces in the moment, when his whole body began constricting, face a frozen, wide-eyed mask.


That's when a flashback hit him.

 

  


"Are you alright?"

Levi was standing in front of the open window with his arms clasped behind his back, firm like a stone and silent as a grave.

The brunette carefully came closer from around, softly mumbling in a very boyish way: "Captain?"

Gray eyes finally squinted over to him after a second.

"Yes ..."

The cadet didn't knew if it was meant as a question or the answer to the last question. Did it mattered?

Maybe it did.

So he just sighed and stared out into the distance.

"I always have the impression that you're deep in thought."

The captain nodded, now on his own account staring at his company, before turning away again, the stillness in the air undisturbed by their conversation.

"For example about what we find there... outside I mean. And obviously all your missions are well organized. Or there is something... bugging you..."

Now it was the other's turn to sigh, his lips turned into his usual sneer: "Thoughts, feelings. The usual shit."

"But they are... so deep. Like they are almost buried."

At once Levi was attentive, lifting one single eyebrow and staring at him.

 

 

 

Levi felt it... everywhere. In his bones, every inch of his flesh. Too. Much. Feelings. It was as if it was burning him alive. It was similair to before, but way way worse. It wanted out, it hurt, it fought.

He never was one to give into urges. He was Levi. Perfect, held back Levi. Born leader, hard working mister Ackerman. No one could know, no one should.

Dizzyness was slowly taking over, making him feel like his head was hollow and a thousand thoughts raced through it at once.

Darkness flooded his mind, his vision blurring and desintegrating around the edges. Voices, he could hear themselfs talk loud and clear, the memory, the faded, while reality was too painfull to fully grasp.

 

 

 

"Why would you say this?", Levi carefully inclined, curiosity winning over him.

The brunette turned, so he was closer, ultimately facing his superior, a soft look, but to him it was like he had stared right into his soul, when he said in a serious, uncharacteristically calm tone: "There is always more to quiet people."

He couldn't tear his eyes away from those endless blues, staring at him like they knew, knew his deepest secrets and wishes. Maybe not in exact word, but the essence of it. It reminded him how incredibly tired he was and how much he wanted to give into him.

"If you keep up appearience... it's easier not to fall apart."

"You have to let it out."

 

 

 

 

Levi couldn't breathe, couldn't stay, falling to his knees right in front of him, couldn't think, his brain was swirling with images and memories.

Wonderfull, warm and happy, then gory, bloody and horrendous.

All joy was sucked out of him, but his heart, his heart! It had shattered into millions of pieces way before, but it still had shape then. He felt the hammer rushing in, that would make all his pieces get lost, leaving an empty black hole, instead of the glass of which his heart was made of.

The only reason that it had survived so long, were those steel locks around it. But the person he had given the key to had left him.

 

 

 

 

He shook his head, turning, almost self conscious, shocked. Impossible. Let it out? Like some kind of animal? Even forcing himself wouldn't go nicely. It was nothing he could control.

"I can't."

"But you are more important than that. It will just gather up. It seems you are doing good, but it has bad long term effects..."

'How exactly does he know this?'

"Maybe one day."

"It's unhealthy... Please!"

"Right now my only emotion is confusion."

"I'm worried about you... You know what helps me? I know I am the loud boy, but screaming. Whatever is bothering you..., tell them your opinion... do that thing you want and don't be ashamed of it."

"Well, the sentiment is appreciated."

 

 

 


He stared down into the bloody heap of his favourite person and hit after hit smashed into the pieces of his chest. You couldn't call it heart anymore.

"LET IT OUT, LEVI!"

His whole body began to shake, he was already on his knees, could a human beeing sink lower? The answer was yes.

"Do it for yourself.... for me."

 


He could hear his voice, even if it wasn't what he had said, maybe that was what he had implied. Something snapped inside of him.

Erwin rushed towards him in concern, knowing what would occur any second now, while Jean had stepped closer in shock.

 


"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

 


Levi released the most guttural, raw, pained yell the soldiers ever heard.

A wounded dragon.

He held onto his usually perfect glossy raven black hair, now full of grime, wanted to tear it apart. His face grimaced, just to scream out his terror, panicked, terrorised sounds filling the battleground and echoing through the next mile.

He stared at the corpse of Eren Yeager, reverently, shaking like a lamb.

"Levi...!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO. NOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...... GNNNAAA....."

Furry, pain, sorrow and a mix of multiple other negative emotions sputtered out of him, unshed tears glistening in his eyes, as he noisily termored and writhed on his place in agony. His conscience couldn't cope with this, couldn't comprehend why this was happening and how he could allow it.

He couldn't think clear, feeling, feeling so much that it tore him down.

He just screamed on for minutes, screaming his voice raw, making himself sore.

Armin was close by, staring at this with red rimmed eyes, wet cheeks and a defeated, symphatetic expression on his face. Mikasa was hugging him, both staring at them.

The blackhaired dug his fingers into the ground, he pushed, janked at himself, his hair, all these annoying, filthy, useless limbs.

Some older soldiers paid the fallen their last respects, as the other's were frozen in place, unable to move while watching that scene.

Captain had never been known for public displays of emotion. That didn't only went for intense emotions, but emotions in general. He was rarely seen panicked, out of order, afraid or overly sad. He was unbelivably sturdy and efficient. Never gotten close to anyone, always kept to himself.

All it took to finally break him, was talk to Eren for a few days.

Jean didn't knew what made him cry harder: The fact that cheerfull Eren, his friend, was gone forevermore. Or the way his lifetime crush was breaking apart because of him. So similair to when Eren was having fits.

He had been ripped apart from them just like that, they couldn't even see how it happened.

Hange was crying too, remembering the advice she had given Levi before.

Christa tried not to look, hiding behind her girlfriend's back, as Ymir speechlessly reviewed the scene.

 

The commander had seen enough, hearing the screams going hoarse and shaky. He stepped through everyone and went straight over to the crouching figure, ripping him away from the ground and upwards.

The captain yerked one time frantically, before swiftly slipping out of his grasp and jumping back to the place next to Eren on all fours.

"Levi, please. Stop."

He pushed him back to his feet, trying to steady his shaking by firmly holding onto his shoulders.

He could try to breathe, at least it was working out better now, but his panic and sorrow didn't cease in the slightest. But he didn't said anything, looking wild and hurt and so weary.

Erwin's lower lip twitched traitorously. He sighed, tried to process this absolute worst state he had ever seen him in, and then just pulled him into a hug. One hand around his head, which was now facing sideways, unbelieving. It grew weirdly quiet and eerie.

He blinked. One time, two times.

Drop. 

Tears splashed onto the ground.

First one, then two, more, neverending. They were now running down his cheeks in streams. His face was blank, but still so full of hurt, making him look so vulnerable and a lot younger, almost boyish in itself.
It looked like from a ghost, his arms dangling loosely, powerlessly from his body.

'He's dead.'

It felt wrong knowing Eren was dead and he wasn't. The world felt wrong.

 

The commander just held him like that, not knowing what to expect, not what to tell him. And then he heard a very, very quiet sound. A whisper. When he finally understood what it was, he felt a stab in his own heart.

"Eren....."

Levi sounded like he was drowning in his own tears and misery, quietly whimpering under his breath.

"I'm so sorry......... Eren............ Eren.............................................Eren..."

It was only a minute, fast, labored breathing, glassy eyes and then he became silent. Completely.

Erwin had never seen him cry like this, never breaking down in THIS extent. Even that had been done in the security of his own pressence.

 

Almost afraid to hurt him even more, he continued to hold him, nodding towards the soldiers in the direction of the laboratory to get everyone inside. A minute passed, Erwin guided him aside, so he wouldn't see, so the others could pack up the body in peace, still mindfull. When most had been done, he made to return with him. But when he released him and stepped off, Levi knees gave away and he fell flatly on his back.

"Be carefull!"

Erwin gasped, grabbed his arm carefully to help him up, just to witness how he tugged the immobile body upwards towards him, his friend completely limp and unresponsive.

"God, Levi!"

But his eyes. Those eyes were wide open and pained, while his expression was the most blank he had ever seen on him.

Erwin carefully steadied his upper body and flicked his fingers in front of the other's face: "Levi, Levi, can you hear me!?"

He waved his hand in front of his face, seeing no reaction, no single movement of muscles, no change of expression, no sound.

Jean, that had been still standing next to the corpse of his comrade while most of his injured friends had been brought away, at once noticed the happening and rushed to help the commander.

A shiver ran through him when he saw that ghostly expression on the captain's face, he looked dead and hollow.

Jean's own face was utterly disturbed: "W-W-What's with him!?"

"I don't know. We have to get him out of here.", he sternly said, trying to hide his growing concern.

At first Levi's legs weren't cooperating, making them fear they had to carry him all the way back. But when they steadied him from both sides and went a few meters, they started walking almost on their own, the rest of his body still reminding more of a ragdoll.

 

Inside, standing among other propped up comrades, they barely stood out.

So much, that after they heard the report that two people were dead, 5 severly injured and the rest okay, Jean had forgotten that his captain couldn't stand on his own anymore, silently observing everyone.

"Commander! Right... I forgot, captain knows better about this. What is the-"

In that moment, the unsufficiently held up body started falling and collapsing in himself, like a corpse, shocking the lower commander across from him.

"Jean, you shouldn't let go of him!", Erwin yelled, before catching him last minute, then turning him around and pulling him away by his armpits.

"Oh god, is captain dead too!?"

"No and I hope this won't change soon!", Erwin barked.

The present people watched in horror how Levi's arms and legs dangled helplessly down, sprawled in all directions, head
tilted powerlessly to the side, eyes wide open.

The commander that had tried to talk with him just a second ago only caught one thing: a single little tear slowly trailing down from one eye. His heart stung painfully and he stared hypnotised and agitated, while Erwin vanished around the corner, with Levi in his arms, like an animal with it's prey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"Hange. What's with him!?"

"He... he has catatonia. Because he freaked out so much before he went limp, I thought it was fatal."

"Fatal!?", Erwin didn't even knew that much about mental illnesses, much less that they could kill, but knowing Hange would never claim something without consulting with the other doctors he was even more worried.

"It's not! I checked... but.. his temperature is slowly rising... I hope that won't be what kills him."

"When... when do you think he will be responsive again?"

"I don't know... And even if he snaps out of it... I don't think he will be okay. Once it hits, it could become even chronic."

Erwin paled impossibly, staring past her over to the bed, where the eerily, sad figure lied.
His head was propped up by a pillow, so he would sit upright, his arm connected to a drip and a heart monitor lowly and steadily beeping next to him.

The steps felt way too loud in the atmospheric quiet. The blonde leaned against the bed, one arm around the blackhaired's shoulders.

"Can he... even hear us?"

"I don't know. Maybe. ... He really needs us now."

"Levi...", Erwin lowly murmured, not knowing where to start and for the first time in his life not what to do.

"I'm.. I'm so... I'm so sorry.... It's my fault.... I should...... have known.", he sighed, trying to steady his voice, not even feeling he deserved beeing the one telling him this, "We'll get you out of here... You will get all the help you need. Don't worry, you won't have to go out on the battlefield ever again. I promise. "

He frankly wished, he would hear him now and internalize it.

"They won't get you, you won't be in prison. You'll get a pretty house in the Rose... The president is a nice man. I will explain the situation and he'll listen to me. I won't abandon you..."

The brunette professor had to turn around, so the commander wouldn't see her tears running down.

'I probably shouldn't fool around anymore... and return to the Rose, supervising everything from afar like any other commander. And then... I can look after, Levi.'

He didn't wanted to sound mean, but imagining it, it was just like looking after a disabled family member. He hoped it would be alright, but there was so much doubt out of sudden. He lost his captain to catatonia, he wouldn't want to lose a friend to it, he wouldn't want to lose humanity to it. Because if he was serious, Levi had been the ace up their sleeve. And now after this he had to take more serious measures, so they had at least a chance.

 

 

 

 

Everyone was shocked by the news. The captain had become catatonic watching Eren's death and was now about to retire without notice. He was way too young for that, but maybe military hadn't been the best choice of profession for him.

Not only Armin was upset by how that had turned out for him.

"You should've... should've seen his face...! He's already not that expressive... but it was dead... Like everything was over!", Jean tried to distract himself, by staring at Marco, but it wasn't working very well, "And I'll... never forget how he screamed. This will haunt me for the rest of my god damn life!"

Armin sniffed: "Jean... it's... he.. they liked each other so much...! ...And now they won't ever see each other again. And Eren ... Eren would've never wanted for all this to happen to captain... for him to be so unhappy!"

Armin broke out crying, hiding his face in Mikasa's chest.

"I... I actually feel bad now.", almost everyone turned their head towards the freckled girl, "For making fun of his bad behaviour. ... He... obviously struggled with something. I just didn't knew it was so serious."

She had been a street kid too after all.

 


The commanders were completely overwhelmed and unprepared. One of their greatest leaders was retired, ill, and had been aparently very fond of the fallen cadet. They couldn't have imagined that this was Levi's breaking point. That the strongest soldier alive had one... and one of such unexpected nature.

"Do you think he'll recover?", Nile had asked after a while.

"Maybe... but even if, that could take a while and his psyche is very unstable. It's for the best that he stays away, I am deeply sorry."

"I hope he finds peace."

Mike, Olou and Petra went even as far to visit him.

 

 

 


Later, close to night, entered another doctor, discussing something with Hange. Something like what kind of help would be best for Levi, what facility he should be going to. The brunette tried to insist that this would be better to discuss with an actual psychologist, or multiple one's, since they aren't the experienced one's in that field.

She was right, as even the commander grew quite frustrated with the young man.

'Don't you realise, that he can hear you!?'

He gave the blackhaired a look, hoping that maybe at least his pupils would move. Because he had been laid back so often, that it was one of his most often used methods of communicating. But nothing.

It was like he was only a shell, gone, far away, lost to the world.

"You know... the way this played out and considering his history. Looks like it's schizophrenic catatonia."

That was it, his patience was no more. That amateur mental health advisor had to go.

The thick, blonde brows turned down in a furious manner, as he protectively cupped Levi's hand: "No. Levi is NOT a schizophrenic."

"I... I'm sorry Commander, some things are hard to swallow... I..."

"He means", Hange tried to deflate the situation fast, "that another form is more likely. We have figured it must come from his depression, since he has been suffering from it since his ... puberty probably."

The doctor looked from one to another, suddenly realising something vital: "Alright then."

Erwin eyed him closely and sceptically, until he was finally out of the door.

'Maybe I should fire him.'


"Erwin... Can you watch for him for a little bit. I just... need to take a breather."

"Of course...", his voice softened.

"But tell me immediately if his temperature rises to the next degree. ... I just... can't..... Poor Eren sunshine is no more... everybody is crying about it."

 

 


The commander had spend an hour or possibly longer thinking about everything that happened.

While closely watching the captain he noticed after a while that his mouth was slightly open, looking a bit like he was pouting or a little surprised. His mouth was carefully closed again.

Just a moment later Erwin noted with sad amusement that it had opened again.

It worked when he held it up for a longer time period. For a second he even wondered if that was intentional and Levi tried to tell him something, but quickly discarded the thought again.

It was very late. He put the pillow away from the wall and helped the figure slack into a more horizontal position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hange was cuddling Levi into her side, sitting pretty much in the bed with him. She knew it wasn't the smallest bit professional, but if she happened to fall asleep while watching him, it would at least be in the bed and relax him as well. She kissed his forehead, noting the way too warm skin and carassed his head.

"Try to sleep a little, Levi? Maybe... maybe we could close your eyes... would your body get the message?"

But she didn't wanna risk it.

 

 

Levi had been just like that the whole day. Staring into nothingness, paralyzed. Sometimes he could swear he heard something, but it didn't mean he understood it. It wasn't like he could think clearly either way, his vision dark and muddy, as if someone had put a black and white filter onto it. Everything had become simply meaningless. His brain seemed defect, his heart a black hole, the rest of his body felt wrong. It's not like he wanted to do anything, possibly ever again.


At 12 o'clock the walls begun to shake, impressive waves of energy wafting through the air. The surroundings burned to dust, until they slowly faded into white.

The captain, sitting still cozily with Hange by his side, saw nothing, heard nothing, but he felt it. Felt anxiety slowly building up in his chest again, trying to snap out of it, trying to stop whatever had to be stopped.

Why didn't she heard it? Didn't she saw what was going on? 

The white slowly climbed towards his bed, leaving it the only existing thing in the universe, hissing electrical noises climbing closer and closer.

 

Plop!

 

With the intensity of a rollercoaster, his body was suddenly ripped from the sheets, dunked crashing down, making him snap out of his stupor with a yelp.

His body made helpless flips in the air, blue lightning striking through nothingness.

Churchbells rung noisily, making him wonder if all of that was only in his head.

He had lost all hope, his world burst aflame and no matter how often it would be resetted, some barriers would never become uncrossed again. How long was he ceaselessly falling now, was the universe ever finished torturing him?
His whole body hurt, resisted, but it was too late.

The walls shook with his shrieks, the white even more stormy and wild than ever. A thunderstorm bolted from every side, throwing him harder than ever before.

And Levi was screaming for his life, ripping at his face, squirming from agony, thrown back and forth, thunder hurting his sensitive ears, black and white lights flickering, everything feeling strangely fatal. Like the universe was broken, rotten and trying to kill him.

Something was not how it was supposed to be. Something changed, he realized while everything was falling apart around him.

Levi didn't knew where he was.

He didn't knew what was happening.

He didn't knew who he was.

The longer he fell, the more certain he was that he had lost all his memories.

 

A switch flipped.

 

He fainted, as the world faded to black and bloodcurdling red, a toxic feeling rushed through him, like poison in the bloodstream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued......................................................................