And all my days are trances
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy gray eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams -
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.
- Edgar Allan Poe: "To One in Paradise"
“Eren, are you almost done with your painting? Your most recent client is rather…impatient.”
Eren scoffed as the soft words left his sisters mouth and drifted into his ears. He was finishing up on his most recent painting, a depiction of the small village of Shiganshina during Autumn. Autumn was personally Eren’s favorite season of the year and he always wished it would last longer, however, the Winter Fae King was known to be a harsh man and if the Autumn Fae King dared to encroach on his territory things could turn for the worse. Eren had heard that one year, in retaliation for the Autumn Fae King making his season last for just a short two extra weeks, the Winter Fae King had forced his season upon the town for an extra two months. Only because the Spring Fae Queen was known to be so sweet was she able to finally convince the Winter Fae King to back down.
Shiganshina was a small town near Ireland, and while it was widely known around the world for being charming due to the town’s olden day charms in a modern-day world, it was unmarked on nearly every map in existence and therefor only the occasional lucky tourist was able to find their way there. The villagers preferred it this way as their town was special. You see, Shiganshina was a town near the mystical realm of the Fae. The seasons changed based on which Fae King and Queen were ruling and the villagers were often visited by the Fae who were unable to craft things as magnificently as humans could. Apparently, immortality took the ability to create away. Eren supposed it only made sense, you couldn’t possibly have immortality and be talented and be good looking all at once.
The Fae were known to be the most cunning of creatures to ever exist and they loved to play with humans. At least, that’s what Eren had heard. Eren had never actually seen a Fae in person, which at times had caused him to doubt their existence.
“Well, it’s not like he doesn’t have his entire life to wait. Honestly, Mikasa, did you not think I wouldn’t find out my most recent clients have been the Fae? You aren’t as good at hiding things as you think. Your insistence on being the middle man for my last five clients gave it away.”
Eren didn’t look up from his painting as he put the final touches on the shading beneath the trees. Eren had been painting for as long as he could hold a brush in his hands and it hadn’t taken long for the entire village to recognize the pure talent that exuded from him. Each painting was one of a kind and with each painting Eren had only gotten better and better. He quickly became known as the most talented painter the village had ever had, and with that status came the interest from the Fae.
The Fae loved beautiful things and coveted them for their own, so it was no surprise to Eren that they had finally started to request paintings from him. He wondered what bullshit story Mikasa had come up with to keep them from requesting to see the man behind the masterpieces.
“Eren, look…” Mikasa said and came up behind Eren to regard his now finished piece. “I know it’s frustrating for you, but I will not have them take you away from me. It’s best for you to remain in the house when they visit the village. It’s a good thing the last few clients have been Fae because as payment one of them put a protection spell on the house and even did a protection border, now you can wonder out into the woods a little bit. I know how much you love Autumn…”
Eren let out a frustrated sigh and stood up from the stool he had been sitting at. He didn’t want to be near Mikasa right now. Between her and his mother, he constantly felt as though he was being suffocated. At one point they had both suggested he move away, that way he would have more freedom, but there was just something about Shiganshina that made it impossible for him to leave. Eren had barely made it half a year away in Germany before the intense depression hit. He was unable to paint, unable to eat, and unable to sleep. He had been like a real-life zombie and once his family had been made aware of the situation they had to get him back.
For most of the people residing in the village, the Fae weren’t too dangerous if you knew how to play their games and if you weren’t considered rare in standards of beauty. Fae were known to take what they wanted, and as they always coveted beautiful things, it was always of the utmost importance for anyone of rare beauty to be kept away from them. There were many stories told of Fae kidnapping villagers and once that happened, very rarely would they ever return.
This was the problem that Eren faced. While everyone in the village could agree that Mikasa was beautiful, there wasn’t anything particularly extraordinary about her beauty. She had long silky jet-black hair, pale smooth skin, and eyes the color of the shiniest silver. There were plenty of men in the village who wanted her as a wife and there were plenty of Fae who wanted her…in other ways. However, Mikasa was excellent at playing the Fae’s games and she had a connection to the famed painter which earned her bonus points. Mikasa was also an astounding violinist. Most of the time she could get the Fae off her back rather easily.
Even Armin, Eren’s best friend, had better luck than him. While Armin was a renowned poet the only striking thing about his appearance was that, upon first glance, with his coconut shaped long blonde hair-cut, he appeared to be a girl. Armin also happened to be one of the smartest humans in existence so when a Fae did appear to be interested in him, Armin was more than ready to play their game.
No, it was Eren who had to be the unlucky one. Eren had what most people in the village considered the most beautiful face to ever exist. It’s not that his parents weren’t good looking, however, Eren’s features were on a whole different level. He inherited his moms natural tan skin and his silky brown locks from both of his parents but whereas his moms’ eyes were a golden brown and his fathers were a light blue-grey, Eren had somehow been born with emerald green eyes. He was the first male ever born in Shiganshina to have them. Before him, there had only ever been two women born with green-eyes and that was over 2,000 years ago. The green eyes were bad enough but pair that with his overall good looks and any Fae who set eyes on him would want him all for himself.
Eren was aware of the dangers of the Fae but he knew he could handle himself. Hell, he was going to be turning 18 in four months and he’d already spent almost 18 years practically held in captivity. He didn’t want to go on for the rest of his life like this and he’d even contemplated fucking up his face somehow to ensure that no one, human or Fae, would covet after him.
The truth was, Eren wanted to see the Fae. He had spent years imagining the Autumn Fae King in particular. Whoever could dream up those colors and make them real…he had to meet them. The Autumn Fae King was known to be the most flirtatious out of all the courts. This could be just as convenient as it was dangerous. One had to be careful to never insult a Fae, especially one of the royal courts. He had heard great things about the Summer and Spring Fae Queen’s as well. The Spring Fae Queen was known to be the most approachable out of all the Fae. In fact, it was her and her court who visited Shiganshina most often. The Summer Fae Queen was known to be extremely eccentric, which explained the intense summer storms that would scour across Shiganshina during the warm months.
Everyone who had ever met the Fae Kings and Queens said that the Summer Fae Queen was the exact opposite of the Winter Fae King. He was the one who you had to watch out for. Eren knew his name, for although Autumn was his favorite season Winter intrigued him. It was as cold and uninviting as it was beautiful and alluring. King Levi…that was his name. He had ruled over his court the longest out of the four, though no one knew exactly how long. He hadn’t taken the time to visit Shiganshina in around three hundred years, so it was unlikely that Eren or anyone else in his lifetime would meet him. Eren deemed that as a good thing because from what he had heard of Levi, he wasn’t a Fae you wanted to ever be on your bad side.
Eren was so lost in thought that he almost didn’t notice Mikasa pick up his painting and head towards the door. He picked up the hot cup of tea that he had absentmindedly prepared while deep in his own mind and practically sneered “What is it you tell them anyway? It’s hard to believe no Fae have ever tried to find me.”
Mikasa turned and looked at Eren, the only sign that she had noticed the malice in his words was the slight lift of her left brow. “The rest of the villagers came to an agreement with your mother and I. We value you too much to let the Fae get a hold of you. Rumor has it that you have the ugliest face to ever grace this village and we wouldn’t want to offend any of the Fae by making them look upon it.” With that, she slipped out the door silently leaving Eren with a scowl on his face.
It was a strange world to live in where being born beautiful was considered unlucky. Eren wanted to interact with the Fae and trade knowledge with them. He wanted to play their games. Sure, he knew they were dangerous but hearing stories from people like Jean made him seethe with jealousy. If only he had been born with a horse face. Eren shuddered at the thought. Okay, maybe that had been taking it a bit too far. Still, he wanted to live. He wanted to explore without fear of being whisked away. He was sure that most of the stories were exaggerated anyway. Probably stories mothers told their children to keep them from sneaking off into the woods together. Besides, it’s not like Eren that he was that good looking and so what if his eyes were green? Although it was a rare feature he doubted it was enough to make a Fae interested in him.
With that final thought Eren finished his tea and decided that he would take Mikasa’s second piece of information to heart. He had often wondered to the woods outside his home only for his mother to quickly pull him back into the safety of their home. While their father was the renowned village doctor and often away healing people or in his office working on new medications, his mother stayed home and sewed. She used to own a shop but once Eren was born she sold the space and moved her business to her home, so she could stay and keep an eye on him.
Eren was guessing that Mikasa must have informed his mother of this border the nameless Fae had placed around their home because she had been gone most of the day. This was Eren’s chance to finally be able to explore a little! He excited grabbed his easel, paints, and a new canvas and dragged them out of the house smiling widely when he felt the cool Autumn wind tickle his cheeks. By the briskness in the air, he could tell that King Erwin’s season was going to be up in only a few short weeks. Eren had to take the chance to paint the beautiful colors all around him as much as possible before then.
Eren only managed to make it about fifteen feet into the forest when he felt a shift in the air. Really, this is all I get? He sighed, head turning to look back at the home that was still clearly in view. That’s when the sound of water made it to his ears. A stream! Eren strained his eyes and could see the running water peeking through the trees about another twenty feet away. He decided it wasn’t that far, it was unlikely he would run into any Fae, and he wouldn’t be gone for long, so it would be fine.
Once Eren was all set up he excitedly looked at the scene before him. It was perfect! The stream was a clear sparkling blue and the ground around it was littered with leaves that matched the colors of the sunset. There were some small animals, such as bunnies and squirrels, scattering back and forth along the stream which Eren would be sure to include in his depiction. He wasn’t sure if he could do such a landscape justice, but he sure as hell would try.
As Eren began to paint, he also began to sing. It was a little-known fact about him that he also had one of the best voices to grace their village. He only ever sang for his close friends and family, not wanting to seem like he was trying to show off in front of the rest of the village. His painting skills and looks were enough, he felt that if he had anymore to give people would just take and take and take.
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
For once she was a true love of mine
He started off by coating his canvas in white paint. It was essential to making sure that each color showed up exactly as he wanted it to. As Eren painted, he felt as though everything else around him melted away. The only thing in the world that existed was him and his craft. He began to paint the sky, head tilted to the side and mouth open as he continued to sing without abandon.
Have her make me a cambric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without no seam nor fine needle work
And then she'll be a true love of mine
Eren felt freer than he had in his entire life. He was finally able to paint something he had never seen in his entire life. His paintbrush moved across the painting wildly as he tried in vain to match the colors perfectly to the ones that were right before his eyes. He had continued singing as he worked, his voice rising in volume with each stroke of his brush. He’d never felt this passionate in all his years of painting and he didn’t know how much longer he could contain it.
If she tells me she can't, I'll reply
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Let me know that at least she will try
And then she'll be a true love of mine
Eren had never pumped out a painting this fast before, but something in his body was telling him that he needed to hurry up. There was a change in the air around him that if he were not so engrossed in his work may have warned him of what was about to happen before it was too late. The next time Eren began to sing, there was a voice that joined him.
Love imposes impossible tasks
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Though not more than any heart asks
And I must know she's a true love of mine
The voice that had joined him was deep, sultry, and filled Eren’s veins with so much fear that he abruptly smashed his mouth shut and turned his eyes down and away from the painting in front of him. There was no other way to describe the voice than to say that it was ancient and full of so much power that Eren began to involuntarily shiver. He must have been singing louder than he thought to have attracted the attention of what was undoubtedly one of the Fae.
“Oh…you stopped singing. Come now, you can’t start a song and leave it unfinished. Sing the last part with me or I shall be rightfully angry.”
Eren gulped, the voice sounded so much closer than it was before. He knew what it could mean to refuse the request a Fae, so he tentatively opened his mouth and began to sing softly.
Dear, when thou has finished thy task
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Come to me, my hand for to ask
For thou then art a true love of mine
His head was still down making his voice much less full of passion than it had been earlier, therefore the Fae’s voice dominated his. He couldn’t stop the nerves that were raking through his entire being. Sure, he had wanted to meet a Fae at least once in his life, but he could tell by this one’s voice that it had to be one of the royal courts. There was too much power there for him to be dealing with a normal Fae, if any of them could be considered normal.
“Hm, no one ever mentioned that the renowned painter was also a singer. How about that. I wasn’t sure any of us Fae would ever meet you, given you’re always holed up inside your home. I wonder if you’re as ugly as they say you are. Care to give me a look?”
Rather than answer, Eren lowered his head even further, chin now resting against his chest. He could feel his heart rapidly beating against it. What was he supposed to do? It’s not like he could outrun a Fae, even if his home was still close by.
“I…I wouldn’t want to insult you with such a sight…” he mumbled quietly in response.
“Oh, but I doubt I would mind. After all, it’s hard to believe someone with a voice like that and with the ability to paint the way you do would be that ugly. Come on, brat. Just a little peek.” The Fae’s voice was so close now that Eren could feel the breath tickle his ear. His body responded by curling even further in on himself. Fuck fuck fuck fuck.
Eren straightened just a bit as the sound of Mikasa’s voice found his ears. He kept his head down, not wanting to give the Fae even the slightest glimpse of his face.
“Excuse me, sir. But my brother is quite an ugly site and does not wish to have to offend your kind with his presence. He is clearly uncomfortable right now, and I apologize if that bothers you. If you are interested in one of his paintings I could arrange something for the two of you.” Mikasa’s voice did not faulter one bit as she spoke. She’d spent most of her life dealing with the Fae and was an expert at this point. However, she had never had to deal with one of the Fae King’s before, and this just happened to be their unlucky day.
The Fae moved away from Eren, his attention now focused on Mikasa. “Oh, but I’m interested in so much more than paintings. You see, I’ve been ruling for such a long time now and life can get so boring. I thought I might spice it up by looking upon the ugliest face to ever grace this village. However, if I can’t do that I suppose I could take you back instead. There are some in my court who have been a bit restless and I’m sure they would enjoy your company.”
And that was all that it took to get Eren’s full attention. It was a cheap trick, one that Mikasa did not have enough time to tell Eren who had never dealt with the Fae to not fall for. Eren immediately lifted his head up and turned it to regard his sister with wide eyes. Her name was on the tip of his tongue but he felt all words fail him as he looked upon the Fae standing just a few feet in front of his.
Bright emerald green eyes met steely grey ones and everything around Eren ceased to exist. The man standing in front of him was quite simply the most magnificent creature he had ever lay his eyes on. He stood barely above five feet and was wearing a long black and green cloak with a white under-shirt where the entire chest was uncovered revealing a set of magnificently sculpted abs on porcelain white skin. There was a large belt around his waist and green pants finished off with a pair of brown boots. Sitting idly on top of his chest was a necklace with a set of wings on it. His hair was short and black and styled with an undercut while a few strands fell idly against his face. Eren noticed the pointed ears before his eyes shifted back to the Fae’s face. He had what appeared to be a bored expression permanently on his face but Eren noticed the way his eyes widened ever so slightly as he looked right back at the brunette.
“Oh my…is this what you villagers consider ugly?”
The Fae began to walk back towards Eren and Eren noticed how Mikasa’s calm demeanor shifted into one of panic. She made a move to come to Eren’s aid when vines shot out of the ground and wound their way around her ankles, capturing her like a prisoner to the spot.
“Eren! Eren! Don’t touch him!”
The Fae ignored Mikasa’s pleas as he stood in front of Eren and brought his hand down to place it against the brunette’s cheek. His skin was cool to the touch and sent shivers down Eren’s spine. He knew he should do or so something but all he could do was look at the man in front of him with a mixture of fear and wonder.
“What amazing eyes you have…I don’t think in all my years living that I’ve ever seen a human as marvelous as you.” He leaned in closer, his lips brushing against Eren’s as he spoke softly “I always get what I want. And I want you.”
Eren felt as though his heart had stopped. The Fae’s breath was like ice against his lips and he couldn’t tell if he wanted to flee or smash his lips against the Fae’s with reckless abandon. Was this a Fae spell? No one had ever warned him of how incredibly seductive the Fae could be. Eren did not think it would be possible to refuse even though he wanted to. He did want to, right? He couldn’t possibly allow a Fae to take him away. That’s what he had been avoiding his entire life.
“Come now, brat. All you must do is say yes. You can’t tell me you don’t want me too.” The man’s voice was low, his eyes nearly black now as he ran his tongue across Eren’s bottom lip. Eren sucked in a breath and felt his eyelids begin to drift closed. He could hear Mikasa yelling his name in the back, something about not allowing the spell to take over. Something about his mother…his mother! Eren thoughts were clouded and messy and he struggled to regain his composure when suddenly a hiss came from the Fae and he backed away, taking the cloudiness with him.
Eren’s eyes snapped open and he watched as Jean wielded what appeared to be a bow and arrow. It was laden with iron arrows and when he shifted his eyes back to the Fae he could see his arm bleeding slightly. Jean was getting ready to fire again but before he could the Fae spoke in one the most menacing voices Eren had ever heard in his life.
“Do you know who I am, you little shit. I’m King Levi of the Winter Court and you have offended me greatly.” Eren’s breath hitched at his words, oh fuck. They were dealing with the worst out of all the Fae Kings and Queens and now Jean had made an enemy of him.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get what’s coming for you. And as for you…” Levi’s voice dipped back into that sultry tone it had taken on earlier, “As I said, I always get what I want. Sleep well, my green-eyed treasure. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you again soon.” And with that, Levi was gone.
Mikasa was freed from the vines and she immediately ran over to Eren and pulled him into her arms. He could feel her heart beating as rapidly as his currently was. He knew he was going to get chewed out by both her and his mother later, but for now, they were all just happy to be safe.
“Man, I’m really going to have to thank Armin for crafting this bow and arrow and for suggesting the iron arrows. He may be one fucking good poet but he’s an even better inventor. Also, that Levi is a fucking prick.”
Eren couldn’t agree more. Levi had proved every stereotype he had ever heard about the Fae to be correct, but he couldn’t help but allow his mind to linger on the way the Fae’s breath and tongue had felt against his own lips. He reached his pointer finger up to trace his bottom lip and wondered what Levi had meant about seeing him again soon. And why had he told him to sleep well?
While Eren was lost in thought Mikasa had gathered all his materials up before sending him a death glare that almost rivaled that of King Levi’s. “Come on, Eren. You’ve got some explaining to do.”
The Fae are my favorite mythical creatures and imagining Levi as a Fae king…well I just had to put it down in writing! I’m really excited about this one, and I hope you guys will like it.
Chapter 2: Come Away, oh Human Child
Eren sat at the kitchen table in his home, eyes averted as both his mom and Mikasa stared him down with disappointed glints in their eyes. Jean had left earlier to go find Armin and see if the blonde could aid him in coming up with a way to protect himself and his home from King Levi, who they knew did not make threats lightly. Eren focused on a slightly warped piece of wood on the kitchen floor, not wanting to break under the gazes of the two women across from him. His brows were furrowed, and he chewed at his lip worriedly.
“Eren, how could you let this happen? Out of all Fae it just had to be King Levi. We may have been able to bargain with one of the other Fae, but I don’t see any way of getting you out of this except for confining you to the home for good…or sending you away again. I just don’t understand why you can’t listen.” His mothers voice was soft but firm, she was used to having to admonish Eren. He was as hotheaded as they came and often got into fights with other teens in the village due to all his pent-up anger.
“I just…” Carla Yeager drug her hand through her brown locks and sighed heavily. “I left for one day…this is my fault. I should have stayed.”
Eren’s head shot up and he glared at his mother, his eyes gleaming with frustration. “Mom, this was bound to happen eventually. You guys can’t keep me locked up in here forever! I’m almost 18, I’m not a child anymore. I have a right to make my own choices. Maybe if you’d taught me how to deal with the Fae rather than how to hide from them I could have gotten myself out of it.”
“Eren!” Mikasa snapped at him. Whereas his mother hardly ever raised her voice with Eren, choosing instead to pick her words carefully, Mikasa often opted for a higher volume to get her point across. “We’ve been telling you for years how dangerous they are! I even went against my better judgement and worked with one to allow you to go into the forest. Why couldn’t you just stay inside the border?!”
Eren stood up from the table and slammed both his hands down at the same time causing a loud bang to reverberate through their cozy kitchen. His mom jumped slightly whereas Mikasa’s face remained as stoic as ever. “Because I’m tired of feeling like an animal in a cage! The border ended barely fifteen feet from the house, Mikasa. Fifteen feet! I want to explore, I want to see and paint things that my eyes have never seen before. I can’t continue living like this! I know you both are only trying to help me, but I refuse to live like this any longer.”
His mom looked up at him sadly, her hands clasped tightly in her lap. He felt a little bad for his outburst, knowing his mom did what she did out of love for her only son. However, what he had said was true. He wasn’t ever going to be happy if he was to remain inside his house like a prisoner for the entirety of his life.
“And I’m not moving away again, you already know what happened last time. I’ll remain within the safety of the borders until Queen Petra takes back over. King Levi will be less likely to notice me exploring the nearby forest when it’s not his season. This will also give Armin enough time to make something to help me protect myself and perhaps I can come up with a disguise as well.”
Before Mikasa could berate him further and before the heartbroken look on his mother’s face made him lose his nerve Eren made his way to his bedroom. He had never meant to upset two of the people he cared about the most, however, they had to understand where it was he was coming from. It’s not like he knew that King Levi was going to be out and about! Everyone had said the Fae King hadn’t been seen in the village in over three hundred years! He hadn’t thought he would run into any Fae so close to his home and it had never crossed his mine that if he did it would have been one of royal courts.
Eren sighed and ran a hand through his hair in frustration. What did King Levi want with him anyway? The Fae King had been alive for longer than anyone dared to guess, Eren didn’t see how someone who had lived a mere 17, almost 18, years could offer the Fae any sort of entertainment. Sure, Eren could paint and sing, but that would have to get boring after a while…right? And so the fuck what if his eyes were green. There were plenty of people around the world who had to have had similar eyes. Maybe the Fae should work on talking the villagers into trapping green-eyed tourists if that was something they were so keen on.
The brunette walked over to his mirror and stared at his reflection. Emerald green eyes that reflected the promise of warm spring days full of adventure stared back at him. But there was something else hidden in their depths, flecks of gold that shined back symbolizing the old soul that resided within his very being. He reached a slow hand up to touch his cheek in the exact spot King Levi’s hand had been earlier. He had naturally glowing tan skin that was soft and smooth to the touch, never having had to suffer through the throws of hard labor. Over the years his jawline and cheekbones had chiseled out leaving him with a face that famous painters all over the world would kill to replicate.
Eren was tall and lithe, lean body adorned with sculpted muscles. He had spent a lot of his free time away from painting working out to release much of the frustration he often felt. He knew he was good looking in comparison to other people, but he failed to see what was so special about himself. He had always envied Armin’s calm demeanor and intellect, Mikasa’s strength and reserve, and Jean’s humor and adventurous spirit. Armin and Jean had both been able to leave the village for months at a time, travelling around the world in contentment, whereas the thought of leaving for too long always tore Eren to shreds. Perhaps he would always be confined to this village, but damn it he would be free to roam its depths whenever he wished.
Eren turned away from the mirror and eyed his paintings hanging over every available surface on his walls. He thought himself a somewhat sad human being most of the time, albeit a hotheaded and angry one. Maybe his looks made him appear special, as well as his talent in singing and art, but he knew deep down inside he was one of the most ordinary beings in existence. He needed to figure out a way to get that across to King Levi, so the man would leave him alone.
The problem was that Eren had no idea how he could possibly do that. No one had ever taught him how to deal with the Fae, so he only knew about them what he had read from books or heard from mouth. He knew that the Fae couldn’t lie, and that iron was one of the only things that could physically harm them. Maybe he could get Armin to craft him some sort of weapon? The thought of trying to fight against King Levi had Eren squirming inside of his skin. He remembered those steely grey eyes and the way the Fae King had moved and spoken with more power than Eren thought was possible for a being to possess. Eren didn’t think he would last five seconds in a physical battle against King Levi, even if he had iron weapons.
Rather than spend hours agonizing over what to do while his head was still fuzzy, Eren decided to take a much-needed rest. After a few hours of sleep, he would be able to think clearly and come up with a solid plan on how to deal with King Levi. He figured at that point he would also be done being angry with his mother and Mikasa and the two of them could help, as well as Armin and possibly horse-face if Eren was feeling generous.
Eren slipped into his bed, still fully dressed, and for the first time since his encounter with King Levi he felt his body relax as his mind drifted off into the calm abyss that was sleep.
Eren found himself walking through unfamiliar woods blanketed in pearly white snow. The trees glittered magically as the sun ran its long golden fingers over each branch, caressing the freshly fallen white substance as if it were the most precious thing in the world. As Eren walked, he found himself staring in wonder. Peeking out from the snow were flowers that Eren knew were made of ice but were so smooth and perfect that they looked as though they were crafted from the finest of diamonds. The only colors he could make out around him were whites, silvers, and blues yet Eren couldn’t help but think he was in the most beautiful place in the world.
As Eren continued to walk with no set path in mind he couldn’t help but think he felt something magical about this forest. The only movements and sounds were from the branches that swayed softly with the wind. Eren hadn’t ever dreamed up something like this before and he wanted nothing more than to etch this magical land in his brain permanently, so he could paint it upon waking up.
There was a movement in the corner of his eye and that is when Eren noticed a butterfly the color of sapphire making its way toward him. At the same time, the soft sound of singing began to drift towards his ears. The voice was deep and soothing and there was something inherently powerful behind each word that was sung. Eren stopped in his tracks as he listened, feeling the familiar shiver of fear crawl its way up his spine.
Come away oh human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world’s more full of weeping
Than you can understand
Eren felt himself backing away as his body began to shake violently. All at once there was a bitter coldness that worked its way from his toes, up his legs, and all the way to his head. He was dreaming, he had to have been. But why did it appear that the coldness wasn’t just a mere part of his dream? He needed to get away from that voice before it managed to ensnare him again. Eren turned and began to run in the opposite direction, his feet kicking up tufts of fluffy whiteness with each movement.
Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light
By far off furthest roses
We foot it all the night
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Although Eren had been running in the opposite direction of the voice it somehow seemed that the singing was now coming from the direction he was running towards. He stopped in his tracks, green eyes shining bright with fear as he glanced at the woods around him. The whiteness of the snow that had seemed so beautiful moments ago now looked cold and uninviting. His eyes landed on the blue butterfly from earlier and a surge of courage filled him up. If something so beautiful could survive in such a land, so could he. Eren changed course and now ran towards the butterfly. Every so often the butterfly would stop, as if waiting for him to regain his balance, before flying off again.
Till the moon has taken flight
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles
Whilst the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep
Eren could still clearly hear the voice but he found himself sighing in relief as it appeared to be growing fainter. Following the mysterious butterfly had seemed to work. He took a rest up against one of the large oak trees littering the forest and closed his eyes, reaching his hands up to his mouth to blow on them and generate some sort of warmth.
Away with us he’s going
The solemned eyed
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace unto his breast
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
The butterfly landed on Eren’s nose, bringing him out of his moment of peace. The singing had continued but still sounded as though it were at a safe distance. Eren watched as the butterfly fluttered its wings, once…twice…then a third time. It battered its sapphire wings against his cheeks and flew a few inches away from him before stopping and hovering in place. It seemed the butterfly wanted him to follow again, and since it had gotten him out of trouble the first time he had grown to foolishly trust it. Eren moved from his spot and followed the butterfly slowly. His eyes were so intent on watching the beating of the sapphire wings that he did not notice the trees thickening around him or the way the forest grew even more silent than it had been previously.
The butterfly led Eren to a fountain in the middle of a clearing surrounded by thousands of towering oak trees covered in snow. Although it was winter, and the air was freezing the water in the fountain ran smoothly, splashing the ice sculpture in the center with droplets of diamonds. Emerald eyes landed on what appeared to be the shape of a water nymph at the center of the fountain. She had long flowing hair, eyes full of fury, and was naked except for a necklace adorned with wings hanging in front of her chest. Eren was so enamored with the sculpture that he hadn’t noticed the butterfly had disappeared, the only thing that brought him out of his trance was the clear, deep, and powerful voice that now sounded as though it were right behind him.
For he comes, the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world’s more full of weeping
Than you can understand.
Eren sucked in a sharp breath as his body seized up. He was standing as straight as a pole and he hardly dared to breath let alone move. He had gone to sleep to try and think of a plan to get himself away from King Levi and he now realized that he was exactly where the Fae King wanted him to be. This must have been what he meant when he told Eren to have good dreams earlier…why hadn’t anyone ever warned him it was possible for the Fae to invade your dreams?
“Oh, come now brat. I went through all of this trouble to bring you here, I even sang a song for you, and you won’t even look at me?”
The voice was so intimidating that Eren couldn’t help but allow his body to tremble a little bit. He could hear what appeared to be a teasing tone underneath, but Eren had no idea how to deal with this situation. He was dreaming, so it wasn’t as if iron could save him in this sort of situation. Lies…lies! That was it. He knew it wasn’t much but it’s all he had to work with.
“W-why did you bring me here?” Eren’s voice sounded weak in comparison to the Fae Kings, but he managed to speak and at this point that was all that mattered.
“What a foolish question. I brought you here because I wanted to see you again, of course. You can try your best to hole yourself up inside of your house as much as you want, but that won’t keep me out of your dreams. Honestly, brat. Has no one ever taught you anything about the Fae?”
Eren finally turned to look at King Levi. The Fae King was standing a few feet away from him still, dressed the same as he had been earlier that day, and there was a playful smirk plastered onto his face. Eren pressed his lips into a firm line, doing his best to hide his fear from the creature in front of him. If it wasn’t for the pointed ears, fangs, and the gleam of power in those eyes King Levi may have appeared normal. As normal as someone that beautiful could possibly be. Eren wondered if all the Fae were as magnificent as King Levi.
When Eren refused to answer, the smirk on King Levi’s face turned deadly and the Fae took a few more steps forward so he was merely a few inches from Eren. King Levi leaned forward, his breath tickling Eren’s ear, as he whispered in a voice full of seduction “I could teach you, if you’d like. You and I, we would have so much fun together…Eren.”
Eren’s cheeks grew magnificently warm, turning the tan skin into the color of roses, as he sucked in a sharp breath and jerked himself away from the Fae king. King Levi’s words sent a foreign feeling throughout his entire body and he didn’t like it one bit. How was it possible for something to have this much power over him? Eren could feel the defiance he was so well-known for surge through his body.
“No thank you…King Levi. I don’t believe you and I have the same idea of fun.”
And then King Levi was laughing, and it was simultaneously the scariest and most wonderful thing Eren had ever heard in his life. He wasn’t sure whether he should laugh with King Levi or burst into tears in fear that his life was about to end.
“So, you do have a little fight in you, that’s good to know.” King Levi’s voice had turned back to that deep sultry tone he liked to use around Eren and he lifted his hand to rest it against the brunette’s cheek. Once again, Eren jerked away and took a few steps back until his ankles hit the edge of the fountain. He looked to his left and right, trying to find a way out of this situation. Why wasn’t he waking up? He pinched himself a few times and cursed inside his head. Was there really no way out of this?
“You can try as hard as you want, but unless someone wakes you up or I allow you to leave you are stuck here.”
“Someone will come for me soon.”
“Ah, yes. But you still must sleep. Just face it, Eren. There is no escape from me. This would all be much easier if you just did what I wanted.” Levi paused and tilted his head to the side before running his tongue over his sharp canine teeth. He looked absolutely frightful as his voice deepened a few octaves, “Your friend made a mistake by harming me. I would say it’s a shame that I’m going to have to kill him now, but, he isn’t very nice to look at anyway, so I’m sure I’ll be doing everyone a favor.”
Eren’s eyes widened and he found himself taking a step forward as he fisted his hands at his sides. “He doesn’t need to die just because he hit you with an arrow! You look fine, and besides, if you weren’t trying to kidnap me in the first place he wouldn’t have had to do that.”
Levi’s lip twitched in amusement and he grabbed Eren’s right hand uncurling the fist it was making. Gently, so soft that Eren could hardly feel it, Levi began to trace the lines on his palms. “If you willingly come with me, he won’t have to suffer.”
Eren gritted his teeth and tried to pull his hand away but Levi had him in a death grip. Levi tilted his head down and placed a delicate kiss on the palm of Eren’s hand before moving it to his wrist where he bit the skin gently. Eren gasped and felt his knees wobble and without even thinking he reached out his other hand to place it on King Levi’s arm to steady himself.
“It feels good, Eren, doesn’t it? I can make you feel so much better than this, and your friends wouldn’t have to suffer. All you need to do is come with me.” Eren closed his eyes and gulped loudly, his mouth suddenly dry. He could feel King Levi shift and then suddenly there were lips on his neck. The only sound he could hear was his rapidly beating heart and then there were teeth, and everything ceased to exist. The sound of a loud moan filled the air and it took Eren all of five seconds to realize it was him. His obvious pleasure caused King Levi to bite down harder and Eren didn’t think it was possible for anything to feel so god damn good.
King Levi still clutched his other hand in his and Eren’s arm was gripping the Fae’s tightly as moan after moan escaped his lips. His legs trembled, and he panted, unable to catch his breath. And then there was a strange tugging and Eren’s eyes snapped open. He pulled himself away from King Levi, face the color of tomatoes, and looked around as the winter forest began to fade.
King Levi gave Eren a knowing look and said one more thing before fading away completely. “Just remember, winter can last much longer than four months if I wish it to be so. How long can you stand being locked up for, Eren? How long are you going to deny yourself the pleasure of me? Think about it. I’ll be seeing you again soon.”
Eren flew up from his bed and stared wide eyed at Mikasa who had been shaking him furiously just moments before. She had a look full of worry on her face and she gave Eren a few moments to wake up before speaking softly.
“Eren, you’re freezing, and you were murmuring in your sleep. Is everything okay?”
Eren was, in fact, freezing. It seems like somehow King Levi’s power was able to affect him both in and outside of his dream state. Eren took a few deep breaths and rubbed his hands back and forth over his arms, attempting to warm himself up. He didn’t’ know what he was supposed to do. If he told Mikasa and his mom about what had happened, they would only worry more. Eren was certain that there was nothing he could do about this new development except avoid sleeping, so, that was the plan he came up with. He would keep his mouth shut and just avoid sleep for as long as possible until he figured out a way to make King Levi back off.
“Yeah, Mika, I’m fine. It was a nightmare, that’s all.” His voice was gruff and scratchy from sleep and something else. He hesitated a moment, not understanding why he felt different until the realization hit him. He had a boner. Holy shit King Levi had given him a fucking boner. This was not good.
“Oh, Eren. You haven’t had a nightmare in years. I can get Carla to brew you one of her special teas. How about you get a shower in the meantime?”
Before Eren could answer her, Mikasa had slunk out of his room in search for his mother. He wasn’t going to complain because he most definitely needed to get a shower and take care of this…problem he was currently having. Luckily, he had been hidden underneath his covers so Mikasa hadn’t noticed a thing. He didn’t know what he would have done if she had seen. Die of embarrassment, probably. At least then King Levi couldn’t bother him.
Speaking of King Levi…he wasn’t supposed to be attracted to him! He was supposed to despise him and be doing everything in his power to want to get rid of him. But then, why had part of him been disappointed upon being pulled from the dream? Why did his body fill with fire whenever he remembered the way that King Levi’s lips felt against his skin? What kind of Fae madness was this? Eren wasn’t sure who he could go to for help with this situation. Mikasa and his mom would full on freak out and never allow him to leave their sight again.
Armin! He didn’t necessarily need to tell Armin what was going on, but that kid was a genius who also happened to own more books than anyone in the entire village. All Eren had to do was ask for some books on the Fae and he was sure he could find something that involved Fae and dreams and how to get away from them.
For now, Eren had other things to take care of. Like a shower and getting rid of a certain something that he didn’t want his family to see. Eren sighed heavily and rubbed his hands over his face. Just why did he have to be the one to get stuck with the evil perverted Fae King?
“Still night air, heavy and wet
Damp my skin; I rise, I sit.
Cloudy dreams lie in shadow.
Whispers of laughter.
Promises of a kiss.”
Kenneth Kerry-Fae in my Shadow
Eren sighed and threw the book he was currently reading across his room in frustration before placing his head in his hands. Twenty books and seventy-two hours later with no sleep and he had yet to come up with any solid plan to get King Levi to back off. On the contrary, he learned that he and the village were in much deeper shit than he had ever thought possible.
It turns out that not only could the Fae not lie, they hated lies with a burning passion and if someone were to lie to them, they would most certainly either die, be fucked with for the rest of their lives, or must come up with some elaborate gift as an apology. If it had just been Eren lying that was one thing, but it was the entire village that had spent the last seventeen years lying not just to one Fae, but all of them.
Armin had yet to come up with any plans to help Eren as he was focusing all his time on helping Jean, considering the idiot had decided to physically harm a Fae and was currently at a higher risk of death than Eren was.
Mikasa and his mother had both noticed his restlessness the past few days but Eren had blamed it on nightmares, still refusing to let them know that King Levi had taken it upon himself to haunt his dreams, which in reality he supposed was a nightmare, so he technically wasn’t lying. He didn’t want them to worry more than they already had to, however, given the circumstances and the conclusion he had come to, he figured that at this point it hardly mattered.
Eren knew what he had to do but was trying his best to prolong the inevitable. At this point in time he was practically a zombie, his mothers’ special teas had helped give him energy, but Eren knew that he wasn’t going to keep this up much longer. He had come to his decision on what he was going to do fifteen books in, but he was so scared of the idea that he had that he forced himself to continue reading just in case there was something.
Eren rolled off his bed, doing his best not to fall over from pure exhaustion, as he stumbled his way out of his room and then outside of his home. He had been holed up inside the past three days to avoid the possibility of running into any Fae. Although their home had a protection on it, that protection was a gift from a Fae and Eren wasn’t sure if King Levi had decided to tell any of the others about him. He had a hunch that the Fae King would keep the information to himself as he had taken a liking to Eren and wouldn’t want to share, but just in case Eren hadn’t wanted to take any chances.
The only reason he was going outside right now is because it was going to be his last bit of freedom. Eren laughed to himself at the irony of his situation. To leave one prison for another, how lovely. Once outside Eren made his way to one of the trees right next to the end of the protection border and closed his eyes. His plan was flawed and there was no guarantee that it would be a success, however if it did work it would hopefully protect Jean and his close friends and family. The village…well that was for them to figure out. Eren had read enough to know that he could use lies to his advantage and, considering King Levi wanted him, he had a bit of a bargaining chip. However, he also knew there was only so much he could ask of the Fae King without further pissing him off. There was no way he could get King Levi to help him protect his village from all the Fae, but he could at least protect them from the wrath of the Winter King.
“Eren, what are you doing out here?” Mikasa’s voice caused Eren to lazily open his eyes and he was greeted with a set of worried grey ones.
“Mikasa, you guys really fucked up.” Eren laughed as he said the words. The situation wasn’t comical in any sort of way, but he was so delirious from lack of sleep that he couldn’t think of any other way to react.
“Eren, what are you talking about? Are you okay? Let’s go inside.” Mikasa bent over and placed her hand on his arm, gripping it firmly. He could see in her eyes that she knew already what it was he was planning on doing. Mikasa had been adopted into their family when she was just six years old. Her parents had gone out for a walk into the forest one day during the autumn and never came back. Upon seeing the raven-haired girl with sad eyes, Eren had immediately gifted her his favorite red scarf (which she still wore to this day) and since then they had been inseparable. Sure, she could be annoyingly overprotective, but she also knew Eren better than anyone and he loved her for it.
“The entire village lied to the Fae. Once they find out, there is going to be hell to pay. You should have never done that for me. Fuck, you could have easily told them I didn’t want to see them because I was afraid. It may have made them angry but at least it wouldn’t have been a lie. You should have consulted me before coming up with this elaborate scheme. If I would have known what the consequences would be, I would have never allowed it. Mikasa, you and Armin need to help the village find a way to fix this.”
Mikasa shifted her eyes away from Eren, not wanting to see the disappointment that was clearly present in them. She chewed her bottom lip as her grip tightened more on his arm, enough that it would most likely leave a bruise, and answered him in a soft yet firm voice.
“Eren, I would do anything to protect you. It was a choice the whole village made knowing what might happen. We figured we could easily keep you hidden.”
“You never fucking considered how I would feel being kept a prisoner in my own home. You figured I would just go along with it for your sake.”
“No…that’s not it. Eren, you look tired. You’re not thinking straight. You should come inside and get some sleep and then we can get together with Armin and think of a way to fix this.”
Eren ground his teeth together and grabbed the hand that Mikasa had on his arm. He pried her fingers from his arm and pushed her away before giving her a glare that would rival the one King Levi had given Jean.
“Mikasa, I’m going to give myself to King Levi.”
“No, listen. If I give myself to King Levi, I can at least protect you and Armin and Jean, and hell maybe even the rest of the village from him. I can use lies to my advantage and make him promise not to harm or come close to any of you. He will most likely be so preoccupied with trying to mess with me that he won’t want to anyway. This is the most I can do. He isn’t going to leave me alone, you know he won’t. And sooner or later he is going to retaliate. Whether that’s him physically harming one of you or telling the entire Fae realm that we lied, it will happen. I won’t risk that. I am going to do my part and in return you all must figure out how to fix this. I’m sure King Levi will want to keep me to himself for as long as possible, which should buy you guys some time, but you can’t put all your hope in that. You have to figure out a way as soon as you can.”
Tears were beginning to form in Mikasa’s eyes and Eren felt himself break a little. Although they didn’t have the same parents, she was his sister through and through and they had formed an unbreakable bond. It would be hard to be without her, but this was the only choice he had. He could see it in her eyes that she knew it as well, even if she didn’t want to believe it.
“Eren, you have to promise me you’ll come back. I don’t want to lose you forever.” It was the first time Eren ever heard Mikasa’s voice falter as she spoke, and he could feel himself breaking even more, especially as he answered her.
“Mikasa, you know I can’t do that. If I’m going to use promises and lies to my advantage, he will do the same. The most I can do is tell you I will do everything I can to see you again. I can’t make you any promises because that would be me lying and that’s what got us into this mess in the first place.”
“Will you at least come inside for a little while?”
“No…Mikasa I haven’t slept in three days and I’m exhausted, and I can’t prolong this any longer.”
“Eren! Why haven’t you been sleeping? You just said you were having nightmares. That isn’t healthy.”
Mikasa’s voice had shifted back to its normal scolding tone at this newfound information and for once Eren found himself happy to hear it. He couldn’t bare to see her cry anymore.
“Uhh…well…” Eren scratched the back of his head and looked away from Mikasa. “King Levi came to me in my dream. I wanted to have time to think without him messing with me. But now that I’ve made my decision, I’m just going to fall asleep out here and tell him…that way when I wake up, he can just come get me. I want to leave before mom gets home. Don’t give me that look Mikasa, it’s hard enough dealing with you being a mess over this. I can’t have mom breaking down as well.”
“Eren Yeager, you need to say goodbye to your mom.”
“Don’t worry, Mikasa. I wrote her a letter. I know it will be hard, but she’ll understand. I’ll…I’ll see her again someday. This isn’t permanent.” Eren’s voice shook slightly as he spoke, the only real sign that he was afraid of what would happen to him. He wasn’t sure how long King Levi would keep his interest…but Eren had a plan for that as well. He would promise to go with King Levi and not try to leave unless the Fae King allowed it…but he wouldn’t promise to give the Fae whatever it was he wished. The Fae enjoyed games and oh was Eren ready to play the most dangerous game of his life.
Mikasa held Eren’s gaze for what felt like hours before she sighed and finally relented. She knew firsthand that once Eren made up his mind about something, it was damn near impossible to talk him out of this. She didn’t like it, but she also never made a promise that she wouldn’t try and get Eren back, and that was the little bit of hope she hung onto as she wrapped her arms around him tightly.
“I love you, Eren. You know that. I’m sorry that I got us into this mess but I’m not sorry for protecting you. It gave me eleven beautiful years with you, and although I wish I could push that to at least twelve, I will forever be thankful or the time we had together. I will see you again.” She said the last few words with so much conviction that, in that moment, Eren believed it to be true.
“I love you to Mika.” Eren whispered softly into her hair as he held onto her just as tight. “Tell Armin that I’m sorry…and Jean too. I know they will be angry, but I hope they will eventually understand why I had to do this.”
Instead of answering him, Mikasa just nodded. They held one another like that for a solid thirty minutes, neither one wanting to be the first to let go. Eventually, Eren was the one to relent. The exhaustion was hitting him full force and he knew he wouldn’t be able to stay awake for more than another five minutes. Now that his mind was made up, his body was ready to rest. He had never felt more stressed than he had the last four days and he knew that his life would only get more complicated from here on out, but just as his family and friends would do anything to protect him, he would do the same for them.
Mikasa unwound her arms from Eren and walked away without giving him another glance. Eren knew it was because she was doing her best to let him go and that if she looked back, she would drag him back into the house and lock him up. He was grateful that she was allowing him to decide for himself for once in his life. He knew this was hard on her and would do everything in his power to make it up to her, no matter how long it might take.
Once Eren heard Mikasa close the front door he closed his eyes and leaned back against the trunk of the tree. After three days of anxiety and stress he finally allowed sleep to take over. For his plan to work, he could only hope that King Levi was willing to play his game.
Eren opened his eyes and found himself back in the realm of King Levi. There were small snowflakes falling from the sky that caressed his skin and fell into his hair causing it to sparkle in the sunlight. He found himself one again admiring how winter could be both beautiful and uninviting, especially given how eerily quiet it was. Eren had to admit he was a little surprised to not see King Levi right away. He had made the Fae wait three days to see him again and thought he might have been excited to start their game right away…but perhaps Eren had underestimated the wrath of the Fae King.
Emerald green eyes took in the scenery around him. This time he had appeared next to a well-covered in a solid inch of snow and on it sat the same butterfly as before. It fluttered its sapphire blue wings slightly before flying over to him and landing on his shoulder. Eren had a feeling that there was something he needed to do to appease King Levi enough to gain an audience with the Fae. He was certain King Levi would show up eventually, but Eren knew if he didn’t do something, he would get no where with the Fae King. He needed King Levi to be in a playful mood to spur his plan into action.
Eren walked toward the well and investigated its depths. It was so dark that he couldn’t even see the water resting at the bottom, however, he could hear the faint sound of a tune to a song he knew quite well. It was then that he knew what King Levi wanted of him. Eren sighed and sat himself on the edge of the well, his back to the water as the butterfly flew off his shoulder and chose to rest on his thigh instead. If it was a ballad King Levi wanted, then Eren would deliver.
“I am a creature of the Fey
Prepare to give your soul away
My spell is passion and it is art
My song can bind a human heart
And if you chance to know my face
My hold shall be your last embrace.”
Eren’s voice started out tentative and quiet. This song had always made him feel uneasy and he felt himself tense slightly as each word passed his lips. King Levi had chosen this song for a reason, which meant he already knew Eren was resigned to his fate. Seconds after Eren finished the first part of the song he heard King Levi’s strong voice sing back to him:
“I shall be thy lover...”
Eren shivered at the sound of the Fae’s voice. Although it was far away, there was so much power there that it was impossible for one to be at ease upon hearing it. Eren continued, his voice rising in volume:
“I am unlike a mortal lass
From dreams of longing I have passed
I came upon your lonely cries
Revealed beauty to your eyes
So, shun the world that you have known
And spend your nights within my own.”
Eren had closed his eyes as he continued to sing to try and block out the fear that was now crawling up his spine. King Levi was toying with him, which in all honesty was a good thing because it meant he was in the mood to play, but Eren had wished to be the one with the upper hand. It would be more difficult to make clear and concise demands with his mind a mess.
“I shall be thy lover...”
The voice was stronger this time, which Eren took to mean that King Levi was getting closer. However, it was still far enough away to indicate that the Fae was taking his time. He wanted to drawl this out as much as possible to revel in the fact that Eren was trembling with powerlessness.
“You shall be known by other men
For your great works of voice and pen
Yet inspiration has a cost
For with me know your soul is lost
I'll take your passion and your skill
I'll take your young life quicker still.”
Eren wasn’t sure if this part of the song were true or not. He figured part of it had to be, given that the Fae were unable to create, so he imagined if a human were to become a Fae, they would lose their abilities to create as well. He shuddered at the thought of never being able to paint again. It was the part about the young life he was uncertain of. There were so many different versions of Fae lore that it was difficult to discern what was and wasn’t true.
“I shall be thy lover...”
This time the voice was so close that Eren knew if he opened his eyes, he would see King Levi across the clearing from him. He wasn’t ready for that yet, he would lose his nerve and be unable to finish the song if he saw the Fae King before him right now. Determined to finish the first part of this game, Eren continued to sing in a strong voice:
“Through the kisses that I give
I draw from you that I will live
The touch of death, your lover's hand
Your will to live has come too late
Come to my arms, and love this fate!”
Eren felt a shift in the air around him, it was slightly colder than it had been previously, and he knew without looking that King Levi was now directly before him. He swallowed rather loudly before the breath of the Fae King tickled his ear.
“I shall be thy lover...”
The voice was deep and sultry and full of the promise of what was to come. Eren finally dared to open his eyes and was met with the steely grey pools of King Levi’s. He somehow managed to hold the gaze of the intimidating creature before him as he softly finished off the song.
“I am a creature of the Fey
Prepare to give your soul away
My spell is passion and it is art
My song can bind a human heart
And if you chance to know my face
My hold shall be your last embrace.”
A smirk flashed across King Levi’s face as he reached his hand out to rub his thumb over Eren’s cheek. Eren refused to let himself be swayed, he was here with a plan and needed it to work. He bit his bottom lip slightly and waited for the Fae King to speak first.
“It was rather rude of you to keep me waiting for so long, brat. But thank you for singing me such a beautiful song. It’s rather fitting, don’t you think?”
“I am sorry to have kept you waiting. You must understand how big of a decision this was for me, I needed time to think it all through.”
King Levi moved his hand from Eren’s cheek to his mop of messy brown hair. Eren shivered at the feeling of the Fae’s long cool fingers running through his locks, however, he would not allow himself to fall under Levi’s spell. He needed to keep a level head, so he could be sure to word his promise in the best way possible.
“And what is it that my green-eyed treasure came up with?”
Eren took a deep breath to steady himself before saying in a clear and strong voice, “If you want me, you have to promise to not harm anyone in the village. If you promise that by your hand and by your will no harm will come to them, I will make a promise to you in return.”
Eren noticed the spark in Levi’s eyes as he tilted his head in thought at Eren’s request. Eren was sure Levi was doing his best to find a way around the promise and Eren wasn’t even sure if he had worded it in a good enough way to keep his friends safe, but he had to try. He felt anxiety build up the longer Levi stayed quiet and contemplated his words. Should he have worded it differently? Was there a loophole? With this promise Levi couldn’t harm anyone himself and since Eren included the part about his will as well, that should keep Levi from being able to order someone else to do it.
“Mm, okay brat. I will play your game. But I promise that if you don’t give me a good enough bargain in return, I will not respect the promise I am about to make. So, Eren, I promise that I will not harm anyone in the village by my hand or by my will. Now, what will you give me in turn for this promise?”
Eren gulped. Although Levi had promised him, his first promise had given him the option to still cause harm if he didn’t like what Eren was about to offer him.
“I promise that I will go with you to your realm willingly and that I will never try to leave unless you allow me to.”
The look that crossed King Levi’s face almost immediately made Eren regret his decision. King Levi’s grey eyes were shining dangerously, and he smiled so wide that his fangs glinted in the sunlight. In that moment, he looked absolutely horrifying. Eren held his breath, not sure if he had just utterly doomed his loved ones and village or if he had managed to buy them the time they so desperately needed.
“I see what game you are playing Eren. Your promise gives me what I want but leaves much to be desired. It has been so long since I’ve had a challenge such as this, so I am willing to play your game. Oh, I am going to have so much fun breaking you.”
Levi’s voice had reached a pitch so low that Eren could only equate it to that of a demon. He did not think this was a game he could win, but he had to try his best. Although he hadn’t made a promise to Mikasa, he made one to himself and if he didn’t do everything in his power to protect those he loved he would never be able to live with himself.
“King Levi, I know you have lived a much longer life than me, but I believe you have spent too much time away from humans and forgotten how resilient we can be. I may have given in to spending the rest of my life, whether it’s a few days or many years, in your realm with you but that is all I will give you.”
King Levi laughed and placed his hands on either side of Eren’s thighs. He leaned over the young male, his eyes inches away from Eren’s face, before shifting a bit and placing a gently nip onto Eren’s earlobe.
“Oh, we’ll see about that. Now wake up, we have a game to play.”
Eren woke with a start, placing his hand on his chest where he felt his heart beating rapidly. Was there really any way for him to win this? He turned his head to look behind him and nearly had a heart attack when he found King Levi staring straight back with the evilest grin on his face that Eren had ever seen. Well…I suppose I’m about to find out…
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for all of the kudos and comments I have received already. I wasn't expecting this story to be received so well, therefore, I am pleasantly surprised. I am doing my best to stay true to Fae lore and personalities, however, as there exists so many different versions I warn you that I may make my own twists to things as the story progresses. I also want to stay as true as possible to our lovely AoT characters personalities. I will do my best to find a healthy balance between the two and if you have any constructive criticism, please feel free to give it! I hope you will continue to enjoy this story as much as I enjoy writing it.
Chapter 4: The Winter Court
First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you who have left comments and kudos. I know I've replied to most of the comments, but I feel the need to say thank you again. I have had this idea in the back of my head for quite some time and was a little wary about executing it and how it would be received and I'm beyond excited that so many of you love and support it. I'm not sure how many chapters it will be, but I'm planning on there being quite a few, so I hope you will stick along for the crazy ride this fic is bound to take me on. This chapter was the funnest to write so far, so please enjoy and let me know what you think!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Shining in moonlight.
Two fairy lovers holding hands.
Legs and feet entwined.
They turned their heads, smiling at me.
"Watch us finish this dance."
Then wish it to be.
"You will have a Fae, named for thee. "
-Kenneth Kerry-Fae in my Shadow
King Levi’s smile turned almost feral as he beckoned the brunette forward with a finger. Even though Eren had already made my decision and there was no turning back now, something kept him rooted to the spot. It wasn’t the thought of never seeing Mikasa, his parents, or his friends again. Hell, it wasn’t even the thought of being stuck in the Fae realm for who knows how long. No…it was the thought of losing himself in the process. Throughout all the books Eren had read, there had been many stories of humans being taken away and upon return they were the shell of the person that they used to be. The thought of allowing everything that made him who he was be lost filled him with more fear than the Fae King in front of him.
“Well, come on brat. It’s not a good thing to keep a Fae King waiting and you’ve already made me wait three days. You made a promise, you don’t want to know what the consequences will be if you break it.”
King Levi’s voice sounded almost nonchalant but there was a hint of dark power layered underneath. Eren didn’t have to think twice as he pulled himself up from his spot in front of the tree, body screaming in protest as he did so, and took that last step of freedom past his protective barrier and into his doom.
As soon as he had crossed that border, King Levi smiled even wider, his canines seemingly longer than they had been in Eren’s dreams. It was strange how he could go from looking like the most beautiful creature Eren had ever laid his eyes on to one of nightmares. There was a mischievous glint in those metallic eyes as he pressed a cool hand to Eren’s back, fingernails slightly digging into the skin through his shirt material and began to lead him deeper into the forest. Eren’s heart was beating so fast it felt like it was in his throat and it was all he could do to keep moving forward with the way his legs were shaking.
He felt the Fae’s breath on his ear before his deep voice spoke softly, “What are you so scared of, Eren? It’s not like I’m about to eat you…not yet at least. We have a game to play, remember?”
Eren turned his head to look up at Levi, emerald-green eyes widening slightly in shock. “E-eat me?” he practically squeaked out. He hadn’t read anything about Fae eating humans during his three days of intense research. Had he missed something?
King Levi let out that scary yet intoxicating laugh as he led Eren past the stream where they had met just four days prior. Had it only been that long? It felt like ages since then.
“There is so much you have to learn about the Fae and oh, will I enjoy teaching it to you. I don’t actually plan on eating you, though I wouldn’t mind sinking my teeth into that delectable tan flesh of yours…just for a little taste.” King Levi nibbled on Eren’s earlobe once he finished his statement and Eren quickly pulled away from him, cheeks burning in embarrassment.
“Well, you can’t blame me. There is only so much information you can gather from books. And stop putting your mouth on me! Just because I promised to come with you doesn’t mean I’m going to let you do whatever you want with me.” Eren glared up at the Fae King defiantly as he spoke, his courage coming back to him. Did all Fae possess this attitude of authority and thinking they could do whatever they wanted with whomever they wanted? Bastards.
Instead of arguing a knowing smirk found its way onto King Levi’s face as he glanced up at the brunette. King Levi knew how easily he was able to get under Eren’s skin and in his mind that already put him ahead in this little game they were playing. Eren grumbled under his breath and turned away from the Fae King, choosing instead to pay attention to his surroundings.
Eren was completely out of his element. They were in a part of the forest that he had never seen before and if it wasn’t for King Levi leading the way Eren would have no idea where to go. The trees had thickened to a nearly impossible degree to navigate through and Eren also noticed they weren’t the same kind of trees that littered the forest near his home. After another ten minutes of this near impossible trek, the two entered a clearing where there were two unfamiliar looking trees before him.
Although it was fall, these two drees were adorned with the greenest leaves Eren had ever laid his eyes on. They were shaped so differently from what he was used to seeing, almost round looking, unlike the tall looming oaks and pines that decorated Shiganshina.
“What kind of trees are these? I’ve never seen them before.”
“Hm, these are hazel trees. You enter the Fae realm by walking through the shimmering air between them. Look closely, brat. Do you see it?” King Levi had once again leaned uncomfortably close to Eren as he pointed to the space between the two trees. True to his word, Eren was able to faintly make out what looked like shimmers dancing between the leaves from the two trees that were almost touching one another.
“Close your eyes
and take a deep breath.
Step into the last wonder
the world has left.”
King Levi suddenly began to sing, voice deep and sultry, as he pushed Eren towards the center of the two trees. Eren hadn’t noticed that his legs had locked up, so he nearly fell at the movement, and turned to give King Levi a solid glare. At this rate, The Fae King was going to kill him before they even made it to his realm by his annoying personality alone. King Levi just gave him one of his signature smirks before he continued to sing.
“I promise you now
that it's fantastical fun.
You'll be mute with wonder
before it's done.”
Before Eren could manage to even blink again he found himself directly in front of the shimmering air. When King Levi pushed him again, his hand entered the strange air and he nearly screamed when it disappeared. His heartbeat picked up and without looking at the Fae he called out in a worried voice.
“I’m not going to be missing any parts of my body when I get to your realm am I? How does this even work? Where are we going to appear? I don’t want anyone else to see me yet. Hey, are you listening to me? King Levi wait!”
Eren heard a chuckle as the Fae King simply pushed him forward. He closed his eyes and held his breath, hardly daring to move as he plummeted into the unknown. He was worried if any of his body parts were out of place that he really might not have them upon entering the Fae realm.
The first thing that Eren noticed is that he felt cold…very cold. He automatically wrapped his arms around himself, still refusing to open his eyes, until he heard that intoxicating voice float into his eardrums once more.
“The lights and the screaming,
the laughing and singing,
the dizzying confusion,
the queening and kinging.”
Upon opening his eyes, Eren felt all the breath leave his body at once. If he had thought the world King Levi presented to him in his dreams was beautiful, it was nothing compared to the real thing. There were thousands of tall pine trees littering the land, white fluffy snow adorning green in a way Eren could only describe as magical. The ground was covered in a solid inch of snow which Eren found he was not prepared for, given it was still autumn back in the village. Despite it being winter, the sunlight shown brightly overhead and caused each snowflake to sparkle like a diamond.
“Buttery aromas of
fried foods and sweets,
the soul-freezing cold
and the heart-melting heat…”
King Levi’s words brought the heady smell of pine, snow, and blueberries to his nose. Blueberries were his favorite fruit, and how King Levi was able to discern that and evoke the smell he did not know, however he found that now his mouth was watering in anticipation. His fingers twitched at his sides and he looked around, unable to find King Levi even though the Fae’s voice sounded as if it were right next to him.
“So close your eyes
and take a deep breath.
Step into the last wonder—
the world has left.”
And then King Levi was in front of him and Eren could tell that he had stepped into the biggest pile of shit known to mankind. Now that King Levi was in his own realm, he was utterly magnificent. Power radiated off him in waves and if he had been beautiful before, well, now he was simply breathtaking. His pale skin fit in perfectly with his surroundings, raven-black hair flowing slightly in the wind, and those fucking eyes. There was so much power dancing behind them that Eren knew if he didn’t look away soon, he would be lost.
So, Eren did what the Fae had commanded with his song. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, tasting the intoxicating flavor of fresh wild blueberries, and when he opened them again, he felt grounded. He refused to look back into those nearly silver eyes in fear that he would lose himself. The game had barely started, and he’d be damned if he managed to lose already.
Eren had been so focused on his surroundings and not giving into the Fae King’s power that he hadn’t realized until this moment how badly he was shivering. His entire body was shaking violently, and his teeth chattered unflatteringly.
“Tch, I forgot how weak you humans are. Come, my palace isn’t far from here. I can change you into some new clothes once we arrive.”
“Y-you w-wont b-b-be ch-changing me into a-a-anything.” Eren managed to get out through his chattering teeth, not missing the choice of words the Fae King had used.
“I’m going to see you without clothes on eventually, so I fail to see what your problem is with my proposed arrangement.” King Levi answered with an air of confidence that made Eren want to punch him. What an arrogant asshole! Eren had no plans of letting King Levi ever see him without clothes on. Not today or any other day for that matter.
However, there were more pressing concerns. He had hoped they would appear inside the Fae King’s palace to avoid the prying eyes of the other Fae. If they saw him now, they would want to know who he was, and King Levi wouldn’t be able to lie. This was bad. He knew that time in the Fae realm worked differently so although he had only been here for a few minutes it would have been a few hours, if not longer, back in his village. Still, that wasn’t nearly enough time for his friends and the village to come up with a plan to save their asses from an entire realm of pissed off Fae. He needed to buy them more time.
“I d-don’t w-w-want anyone else t-t-to see me.” His voice was a slightly higher than it had been before, now laced with a little bit of fear at the thought of what the consequences might be.
King Levi wrapped his arms around Eren’s waist, causing the youth to stiffen a bit, as he spoke in an incredibly dark tone. “Tch, as if I intend on sharing you when it’s our first day together. Don’t worry, brat. I plan on keeping you all to myself.”
Then King Levi had the audacity to nuzzle Eren’s chocolate brown locks. Eren could hear the Fae take a deep breath and it took everything in his power to not push the Fae away from him. Although King Levi’s body temperature typically seemed to run a lot colder than Eren’s, the contact from him was somehow warming Eren up. Eren concluded it had something to do with Fae magic and scoffed, knowing King Levi was only doing it to prove a point to the brunette.
“Mm…you smell delectable. As you already know, I always get what I want. So, it may not come as a surprise that I also don’t like to share. Now, come. There is a secret entrance through one of the trees that will take us straight to my room.”
Eren blanched a bit at the fact that shortly he was going to be in the Fae King’s bedroom. He hoped the Fae King didn’t have some weird perverted idea in mind because there was no way in hell Eren would be staying in that room with him. Hell, he had heard plenty about the Winter King being the most powerful and scary out of all of them, but he hadn’t ever been informed that he was such a god damn horn dog. How am I supposed to fight this? Breath Eren, just breath. If you don’t look into those eyes…if you stay defiant, you will be fine.
“Besides, there are much bigger things for you to be worrying about than being seen by another Fae, don’t you think?” King Levi’s voice had taken on that deep sultry tone that often made Eren weak at the knees and he had to bite down on his cheek to keep from trembling at the sound, especially given that King Levi was still pressed up against him.
“Worry about how I’m going to survive your annoying asshole personality, yeah.” Eren suddenly blurted out and nearly melted. Fuck! His mouth and defiant attitude had gotten him into more trouble than he could count and now was the time to not be allowing it to take over. King Levi was not some village punk that could easily be beaten in a fight.
“Oh, it’s quite bold of you to speak to a Fae King in that way. But I must admit, it’s a little bit of a turn on.”
The two were standing in front of a very ordinary looking pine when King Levi spoke next and Eren nearly passed out at his words. What the fuck? Did this Fae not know when to quit? Eren hadn’t thought it was possible for someone to turn his insults into him being…flirtatious? Yet leave it to King fucking Levi to do just that.
Levi unwound himself from Eren and pressed his palm up against the bark of the tree. A moment later, the outline of a door began to glow in a bright blue color and then suddenly Eren was looking through the tree to what appeared to be an extremely fancy looking bedroom. Fae magic was something that Eren was sure he would never get used to, no matter how long he was stuck here. He had always been impressed by Armin’s inventions back in the village but those all made sense. They were practical and manmade, and you could clearly understand how they worked. This…this was just something else entirely.
King Levi stepped away from the doorway and motioned with his hand for Eren to step forward as he said in an amused tone, “Brats first.”
Without looking into those grey eyes for too long, Eren narrows his eyes at the Fae King in what he hoped was a somewhat intimidating glare before he stepped forward and was transported into the raven’s bedroom.
The first thing Eren noticed was that there were at least four of his paintings hanging up on King Levi’s walls. What the fuck? King Levi hadn’t graced the village with his presence in over three hundred years so what the hell were his paintings doing here? He must have sent out one of the other Fae in his court to retrieve paintings for him, which Eren found slightly odd. Most of the time the Fae liked to see what they were getting before they decided to take it. Upon closer inspection he realized these were all paintings that had been custom requested for him. But…he had only recently started dealing paintings to the Fae a month or so ago…meaning that all but one of the paintings he had created had been at the request of the Winter King. Did that mean someone from his court had been the one to place the barrier over his house? Didn’t that mean King Levi would have been able to easily pass through it?
Rather than think further about this, Eren opted to take in the rest of the room. There was a gigantic king-sized bed in the center, the frame made of carved oak wood. On the back of the headboard were depictions of fantastical creatures, such as nymphs and phoenixes, as well as two different Fae (one appearing to be more masculine while the other appeared more feminine). The woodwork was brightly painted and Eren, as a fellow artist, could tell the maker had spent hours on his craft. The panels on the inlay depicted mountains, forests, oceans, and the night sky and from the top of the bedframe hung a canopy of black and silver.
The comforter adorning the mattress had the same black and silver colors flowing across it forming patterns that eventually shaped into flowers. It was a breathtaking sight and the most obnoxious and yet magnificent piece of furniture Eren had ever seen. Why anyone would ever need something like this to sleep on, Eren had no idea, but he did admit that if he had a bed like this, he’d most likely never want to leave it.
The walls were painted black and the floor was made from a deep mahogany wood. There was a grand fireplace across from King Levi’s bed, that Eren could clearly tell was never used, but it was still a brilliantly crafted decoration. Eren was certain that each part of this room had been created from someone from his village and he was fascinated at how old some of these pieces might be, considering how long King Levi had been alive. He then wondered if the craftsman were forced to come here, as he had been, or if they had come willingly-eager to craft a piece for the renowned Winter Fae King.
Eren turned his attention back to the bed, curious to see if there were any details he had missed, when King Levi’s breath tickling the back of his neck nearly made him jump out of his skin.
“You can get in it, if you want. You won’t even need a change of warmer clothes, I guarantee I could heat you right up.” King Levi emphasized certain words in a suggestive tone as he trailed a finger down Eren’s spine.
Eren ducked away from the Fae King and eyed the clothes he currently had in his hand. The pants were black and appeared to be made of the same material as the Fae Kings while the shirt the Fae held in his hand was a long sleeve turtleneck that matched the color of Eren’s eyes. Eren also noticed there was a long black cloak sitting on top as well as a pair of black combat boots. The clothes were…surprisingly human which made Eren narrow his eyes suspiciously.
“Where did you get those?”
King Levi tilted his head to the side at Eren’s question, perhaps not quite understanding why the brunette was asking such a thing. “From your village. One of the Fae in my court had them made long ago for a human lover he brought here. The man served him well for many years but after a while the Fae grew bored and sent him back.”
Eren gaped, still not used to the brash honesty of the Fae. King Levi talked about the human as if he were a slave…to be used and sent back when he was no longer appealing. There was no way he could allow his loved ones to fall prey to these vile creatures.
The brunette huffed and stepped forward, taking the clothes out of King Levi’s hands, before looking around the room. He didn’t think the Fae needed to use the bathroom, but he knew that because of the Fae’s curiosity and slight obsession with the human realm and the fact that the Fae enjoyed snatching humans and bringing them back here…yeah there definitely had to be some built in this palace. Either that or he had to find another room.
“Er, do you have a bathroom or something?” Eren refused to let the shyness creep into his voice as he asked the question. No way in hell was King Levi going to know how nervous he was.
“Why do you need a bathroom? Do you have to go?” King Levi asked the question innocently but Eren knew it was anything but. Fuck him. Fuck him so hard. Now that Eren was in the Fae realm it was impossible for him to lie as there was practically a foreign power over him causing his mouth to blurt nothing but the truth.
“No, I don’t need to use the bathroom. I want to use the bathroom, or another room, so I can change my clothes in privacy.”
“Tch, brat. You know us fair folk are not ones to be shy. If you’re going to be here for a while, which I assure you that you will be, you are going to need to get used to nudity. There is nothing quite like a Fae celebration, and how I would thoroughly enjoy celebrating that body of yours.” King Levi’s pupils had grown so dilated his eyes were nearly black by the end of his little monologue. Eren had to swallow back his fear upon the sight in front of him as it looked like the Fae’s earlier statement about eating the brunette was about to come to fruition.
“M-maybe that’s true but I just got here. You have to give me some time to adjust.” You fucking perverted shit. Eren added silently in his head. He figured if he spoke in a way that suggested he might eventually be okay with nudity, which wasn’t necessarily a lie as Eren had no idea what future him would be willing to do, King Levi would relent.
His hunch came true, although the evil smile King Levi tossed him told Eren he should have been more careful with his words, as the Fae led him towards a room and walked away to indicate he was giving Eren the privacy he wanted.
Once inside the bathroom Eren finally let out the breath he had been holding and sunk to the floor, holding his head in his hands. Now that they were in the realm of the Fae, King Levi’s court none the less, the Fae King was completely in his element. Each movement spoke nothing less than pure power and each time he spoke it was all Eren could do to keep himself from trembling and revealing just how frightened he was. Eren was so completely out of his element and although he had gone into this with a clear resolve, he was no longer sure how to approach this game.
He knew what the Fae King wanted, subtlety was not a Fae trait, and he knew the game was to resist the Fae King for as long as possible. But if King Levi kept using his dirty tricks, how in the fuck was he supposed to win this? Eren bit his cheek and narrowed his eyes. He was Eren fucking Yeager and he never gave up without a fight. His friends were back in the village trying to figure out how to save everyone’s asses and they were counting on him to do his part. Like hell he was going to let that perverted Fae King win.
With renewed vigor, Eren quickly got up and changed into the clothes he had been given. He had to admit, they were ten times warmer and more comfortable than the clothes he had been wearing previously. He wasn’t surprised though; the Fae only ever had the best of the best create for them. After he was dressed, Eren splashed some warm water from the sink on his face and took a deep breath. I can do this. Fuck that short ass perverted Fae King. He thinks he’s so hot and desirable, yeah right. I don’t desire him at all!
Yet as soon as Eren found his way back into King Levi’s bedroom his earlier sentiment seemed to slip away. King Levi was sprawled out on the bed, his own cloak and shirt folded neatly on top of the dresser next to it, and now Eren was able to get a full glimpse of those sculpted muscles adorning his chest. Not only that but holy shit did the Fae have the most delectable arms he had ever seen. Eren had a thing for biceps and all he wanted to do right now was saunter over to the Fae King and run his hands ov- NO! Stop it Eren, stop it. Remember, this is a game and you need to win.
King Levi quirked up an eyebrow when he noticed Eren staring at him and a smug smirk appeared on that way too perfect face. “Good to see the clothes fit you so well. Those pants are so much tighter than I could have ever hoped for. Care to turn around for me?”
“No thank you.” Eren ground out as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“Mm, you really are no fun. We’ll have to change that. You’re in the Fae realm now Eren, anything less than fun is utterly unacceptable.” After a short pause and a mischievous glint in those metal eyes Levi spoke again, that sultry tone lacing his words as he did so. “Why don’t you come and join me?” The Fae King patted the space next to him suggestively.
“No thank you.”
“Eren. I want you to get onto this bed with me.” There was a different tone there now, a hint of anger laced underneath. It seemed like King Levi didn’t like to be told no. Hmmm…
“I’d rather not. But I appreciate the offer.”
“You seem to forget that I can easily tell every Fae your entire village has been lying to them for the past seventeen years.” The Fae had narrowed his eyes but remained in the same relaxed position, seeming to think that he had won this little argument. However, Eren had other plans.
The brunette looked at his fingernails, picking at them absentmindedly as he replied, “But I didn’t forget that you said you wanted me all to yourself and if you told them now, they would all want to get a look at me. Maybe even steal me away for themselves for a while.”
When Eren looked back up at the Fae King he had to do everything in his power to not lose his nerve and run away. A feral look had taken over his face and King Levi indeed appeared to be a creature of nightmares. His irises were no longer visible beyond the black pupils, his lips pulled apart showing elongated fangs, and the air shimmered around him in pure power. When he next spoke, his voice had reached such a low level that it reverberated through every fiber of Eren’s being and for a moment he wasn’t sure if he was in the Fae realm or hell. Was there even a difference?
“You better watch your tone of voice with me, brat. I may want something from you but that doesn’t mean it has to be given willingly. Remember who you are playing this game with.”
Then, as soon as that creature had taken over, it disappeared, and King Levi was back to looking ethereal and unbothered.
“Since you refuse to get in bed with me, you can wander around and find your own chambers. Just be careful as my servants will be around here and there and they would surely be excited at the sight of a human wondering around. If I’m not there to reign them in, who knows what they will do? Now, get out of my sight. The next time I see you, you better be in a more playful mood. We are no longer in the human world, brat. If you want to play this game, you need to adapt to the playing board.”
And with that King Levi flicked his wrist in dismissal and was suddenly fucking gone from the bed. He had just vanished from thin air. Fuck, Eren had royally screwed that up. He’d practically gotten himself killed and now he was given the task of avoiding who knows how many other Fae as he tried to find a place other than King Levi’s to stay. He knew that King Levi disappearing like that was him giving Eren the option to just stay here but like hell was Eren going to give in and sleep in a bed with that pervert!
Eren sighed to himself and cringed as he slowly pulled open the door to King Levi’s bedroom. Here goes nothing…
Levi's bed: I wanted to include this here, because I based his bed off of the Great Bed of Ware. I was in London a week ago and visited the Victoria and Albert museum and, damn, if that wasn't one of the most impressive beds I've ever seen. I obviously changed up the color scheme and some of the artwork, but the visual might give you a better idea. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-great-bed-of-ware-london-england
I also want to say, for those of you who may be wondering, I will be switching point of view in the near future so you can see what's going on back in the village (considering Eren won't be there to narrate it for us). I haven't decided which character I want to narrate the village's part of the story from yet, but expect it within the next few chapters (Fae time works differently than that of human time so it wouldn't make sense if I held it off for too long). I'll see you in the next chapter!
“Stay away; do not go in.
Cold cruel eyes beckon you to
Dance in darkness drenched in sin.
Though they promise rewards within—
Food and drink and love anew—
Stay away; do not go in.
Ignore the pulsing drums within,
Else it be the last you do,
Dance in darkness drenched in sin.”
Eren slipped out of King Levi’s room and found himself in a long corridor. His eyes scanned his surroundings and he came to the realization that the palace he was in was made of ice the color of the sky on a clear summer’s day. There were crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling that caused the walls to glitter as though they were made of diamonds instead, and Eren was left wondering why the walls in the Fae King’s room had been covered in black. It explained the chill inside, at least.
Upon hearing no noise, Eren begun to make his way down the corridor. He didn’t know whether to take King Levi’s threat about the other Fae inside the castle lightly or not. It seemed it would have contradicted what he said about not wanting to share, yet Eren supposed King Levi could have easily changed his mind. This was, after all, nothing but a game between the two of them. Eren wouldn’t put it past the Fae King to use everything in his power to his advantage. Eren was on the losing end but, whereas King Levi had Fae magic and years of knowledge, Eren had unrelenting determination and love.
In Eren’s mind, love was the most powerful force in the world to exist and it was one that the Fae were forbidden, and most of the time unable, to feel. The love that Eren had for his family and friends was the only thing giving him the courage to continue. Although King Levi outmatched him in every other aspect, at least Eren could say that he loved and had been loved in return and that was something the Fae King could never take away from him.
With renewed vigor, Eren came to the end of the corridor and was left with two paths. He could either go to the left or to the right. Which way should I go? Hm…
“Haha, Eld you are so cruel. Did you really steal a human girl from her lover, make her fall in love with you, and then leave her stranded in the Autumn court?”
“I did indeed, Oluo. I didn’t want her anymore. I was just going to give her back or abandon her in our land, but King Levi was having none of it. He told me King Erwin is partial to blondes and that it had been a while since he’d been to visit the Autumn King. So, as a gift, I should just leave her there instead.”
“King Levi does have the best of ideas, doesn’t he? Oh, King Erwin is going to eat her right up. I wish I could be there to watch. What fun the Autumn court is going to have! I wonder if they will throw a party. We haven’t had one of those in a while. We should find King Levi and ask if it’s okay to have one soon.”
“What a great idea!”
Eren had frozen to the spot as soon as he heard the voices and before he knew it, he could clearly hear footsteps approaching. Turning on his heel, Eren quickly ran towards the right and down the hallway. His heart was beating rapidly, and he knew that if the two Fae hadn’t noticed his presence by the sound of his feet smacking against the ground, they would have detected him by the sound of the drums inside his chest.
“Hey Eld, do you hear that?”
“Mm…I do. Seems as though we have an intruder in our mists. What do you say to a little hunt, Oluo?”
“Oh…I’d like that. I’d like that very much indeed.”
The first door Eren tried to yank open was locked…as was the second…and the third…and the fourth. He knew then that King Levi really had been fucking with him. He had had no intention of allowing Eren to stay in any other room in this palace and if Eren didn’t figure something out soon, the two Fae were going to capture him. He could hear their laughter drifting closer and closer each time he attempted to open a door. What the fuck am I going to do?
“Oh, Eld I believe I see something! Do you think King Levi will let us play with whatever it is?”
“Why don’t we find out?”
And then suddenly Eren felt a hand cover his mouth and an arm go around his waist and a second later he was pulled inside one of the doors and a dark voice was whispering in his ear.
“I told you to be careful, brat. How are we supposed to play our game if one of the other pieces destroys you first?”
Eren couldn’t answer with the hand over his mouth, and even if that wasn’t the case, he was unsure if he would have been able to find his voice. It was clear King Levi’s feral personality had rubbed off on the others in his court because Eren had no doubt those two would have done things to him that would have had him begging for death.
“I don’t see anything Eld.”
“Hm…perhaps it was the pixies again. They’ve been causing quite the trouble lately. We really need to see about throwing that party, everyone is getting restless. Come, let’s go find King Levi.”
The Fae King kept Eren held in place and didn’t remove his hand from covering the brunette’s mouth until the sound of the Fae’s voices and footsteps were long gone.
“You knew all of the doors would be locked.” Eren huffed out angrily as he struggled to get out of the Fae’s grip.
“You never asked if they would be or not.” Eren could hear the smirk in King Levi’s voice and it only made him angrier.
“Are any of them unlocked?”
“Yes, my room is.”
“…any of them besides your room.”
“Hm…perhaps a few. One can never be sure, there are a lot of rooms inside this palace. Most belong to those living in my court, however, so you should be careful if you are to find the ones that are unlocked.”
King Levi tightened his hold that he had on Eren’s waist and buried his face into the back of the brunette’s shoulder blades. Eren tensed up at the action, still very uncomfortable being this close to the Fae, and hardly dared moved lest he egg on this behavior.
“Fine.” The younger male said tersely. “If you promise not to touch me without my permission while we are in your room together, I will promise to stay in it with you.”
And then the touch of cool fingers was trailing along the skin adorning the brunette’s abdomen and Eren sucked in a sharp breath as he felt the Fae King chuckle against his back.
“I promise not to touch you while we are in the same bed without your permission, if you promise to stay in my room with me.”
The same bed…that bastard. He was skirting around Eren’s request, giving him some of what he wanted but not the entire thing. Still, it was probably best not to push it or Eren would find himself pissing off the Fae King again.
“Fine.” Eren ground his teeth together before forcing the next words past them, “I promise to stay in your room with you.”
And then King Levi was unwinding himself from Eren, which left the youth relieved, until he felt the sting of a slap on his right ass cheek as the Fae King spoke darkly. “Good boy.”
Eren’s entire face was hot and he knew if he were to catch a glimpse of his reflection, he would resemble a tomato. It’s not that Eren had never been touched intimately before, he was nearly 18 for fucks sake, but he hadn’t ever been touched without his permission. It was an entirely different sensation, especially coming from a creature such as King Levi, and Eren wasn’t sure what to make of it.
“Can you please stop doing shit like that?”
Eren turned to face the Fae King and his emerald green eyes were flashing with anger. Where as anyone else may have thought he truly looked frightening, the Fae King simply thought he looked even more delectable than before.
King Levi cocked his head to the side, feigning confusion, as he said in an even tone, “But we’re not in my bed.”
This fucking shit, I’m going to kill him. I’m going to fucking kill him. I know that’s not why I’m here, but I swear to fuck I will find a way. Eren hadn’t realized he was clenching his hands into fists so tightly until he felt the sharp pang of fingernails digging into skin. There was a slight scent of iron in the air which warned him he had broken flesh and then King Levi’s hands were on his, uncurling his fingers and inspecting the damage.
“Tch. Brat. I understand the whole masochistic thing but it’s only fun during sex, otherwise it’s quite unflattering. Now we need to clean this up. Come.”
King Levi was walking away, intent on most likely leading Eren back to his room, but the youth stayed where he was. He hated taking orders from the Fae King as it made him feel more trapped than he already was. He would do things of his own free will, damnit!
“You won’t be able to paint very well if your hands are messed up, now will you?” King Levi was peering over his shoulder with a blank face but Eren could see a spark in those metallic eyes.
And fuck, were those words all it took to break that defiance that had been building inside. Eren hadn’t been able to paint in four days and while he was trying not to let it affect him, the mere mention of being able to paint had his fingers twitching restlessly at his sides. Painting was a part of him and without it, he couldn’t deny that he felt a little lost. It was one thing to be fighting against an evil Fae King in a completely different realm, and it was another to have to do so without his only vice to aid him.
“You…you would let me paint?”
“Of course, brat. Did you not see the four paintings of yours that are in my room? Why would I not want more, and for them to be of my court, no less. You still can create freely…for now. I would consider using it wisely.” King Levi’s voice dipped a few octaves at the end of his sentence and Eren felt that familiar chill crawl up his spine. He could only guess what the Fae King meant by that, but rather than dwell on the unknown he chose to focus on the present.
“Was it one of the Fae from your court who put the protection spell on my house?”
“But you never crossed it!”
“I knew you would willingly come to me.”
Eren’s mouth was hanging open as he gaped at the Fae King who was still peering over his shoulder with that look of complete and utter indifference. Just how long had the Fae King been planning this?
“How…how did you know I wasn’t what everyone said I was?”
“I didn’t. But I found it interesting. A renowned painter who was so ugly that no one wanted the Fae to look upon his face. I’ve been around a long time, brat, and I’ve never heard of such a thing. I sent one of the Fae from my court to commission a painting hoping they could tell me what you looked like but when they came back, they told me they had only spoken to a girl. I sent two more with no better results. Upon sending the fourth, I told them to use the protection spell as I thought it would coax the painter out of his home and I was right.”
The Fae were truly the most cunning creatures and with having a sister like Mikasa and a friend like Armin, that was saying something. The realization that this would have been his fate whether he had decided to cross the border or not that day took away all the guilt that had been building inside the brunette’s heart. It had been foolish of his family to ever think they could have gone behind the Fae’s backs the way they did, they would have been better off facing them head to head in a game like the one Eren had stumbled into. There was just no possible way to successfully lie to a Fae.
If the universe had decided that this was the fate of Eren Yeager, he could no longer fight it. He had to fully immerse himself into this game and he knew what that meant. If King Levi could toy with him…perhaps Eren could do it back? Would it be reaching too far to assume he could get the Fae King to agree to things if he gave him a little of what was desired, but not everything? Oh, this is rich. Eren had a new plan, and he had a feeling that this would work much better than his previous one.
Eren bounded up next to the Fae King, closer than he had ever willingly been, and spoke with a much warmer tone than he had previously adopted.
“Would it be possible for me to paint tonight?”
King Levi simply placed his hand on the small of Eren’s back, which Eren made sure to not object to, as he led him back to his bedroom. Eren noticed the small quirk of King Levi’s eyebrow, the only sign the Fae was slightly surprised by the unruly brunette’s shift in behavior.
Once they made it back to the Fae King’s bedroom, he motioned for Eren to sit on the bed as left the room before coming back with a wet cloth to clean Eren’s hands up with. Due to Eren’s height, King Levi hardly had to crouch to be in a good position to clean his hands. The cloth was warm against Eren’s skin, overriding the stinging sensation that the friction caused, and he couldn’t help but sigh in pleasure. King Levi’s grey eyes were intent on cleaning Eren’s self-inflicted wounds, giving Eren the perfect opportunity to set his new plan in motion.
Eren reached up his left his that had already been taken care of and softly traced his finger’s along King Levi’s sharp jaw bone. He watched as the Fae stiffened and then steel met emerald and Eren allowed for a soft smile to cross his lips.
His next words were spoken in a soft husky voice, meant for the Fae’s ears alone. “You are, undeniably, the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. I would love if I could paint you.” Eren was able to speak easily because, although he despised the Fae King, his words were what he truly felt in his heart. He couldn’t deny the beauty of the Fae King and he couldn’t deny that he would love to challenge himself by trying to replicate that beauty on canvas.
Eren could see desire flashing in those grey eyes and he knew King Levi wanted nothing more to touch him back, however, Eren was currently sitting on the bed…therefore King Levi was unable to touch him unless Eren gave him the permission to do so. That desire soon turned to regret and then anger as the Fae King realized the trick of the promise that Eren had made. Eren now had the ability to touch the Fae King however he wanted, whenever he wanted, while the two lay in bed together however, if Eren did not verbally give the Fae permission he would be unable to reciprocate those touches.
“You humans are much more cunning than I remember.” His voice was deep and thickly laced with desire, along with a hint of annoyance, as he spoke and that only had Eren smirking wider as the brunette moved his finger to trace over thin lips instead. Emerald eyes watched in satisfaction as alabaster digits twitched while the Fae King finished with his right hand.
“You didn’t give an answer my query, King Levi. I said I wanted to paint you. I think it would be my biggest challenge yet. Is it possible to replicate the Winter Fae King on canvas, or will I not even be able to do him justice?” While Eren was speaking his finger had ceased to trace those delectable lips and instead travelled from the right cheek, up the right jaw, and into silky raven black hair. His fingers brushed over the soft hair of King Levi’s undercut and he could see the way the Fae King’s jaw twitched at the contact. Oh, so this is the reason why he has so much fun messing with me. Well two can play at that game…your highness.
King Levi’s thin lips formed into a smirk and that spark was back in those metallic eyes. “I can see that you have finally decided to play this game the right way, Eren. Therefore, as a reward I will allow you to paint me.” After he finished speaking, the Fae King snapped his fingers and Eren’s eyes widened as an easel, canvas, and an array of paint colors appeared across the room from him. King Levi languidly moved away from Eren and stood to his full height before traversing across the room and placing himself in a large black loveseat that Eren had neglected to notice upon his first inspection of the room.
With an eagerness that he never thought he could possess, Eren hurried over to the easel and sat himself on the stool in front of it. He had the perfect view of the Fae King…who had somehow managed to undress himself halfway in the few seconds it had taken Eren to situate himself. King Levi was sprawled out on the loveseat, left leg and arm thrown over the left armrest while his right leg hung out lazily before him. He was resting his chin on his right hand and eyeing Eren with that signature bored expression. What stood out the most to Eren, however, was that god damned chest. King Levi had once again removed his cloak and shirt, so his sculpted Adonis-like body was on full display. Eren noticed that the Fae King had even lowered his pants a bit as he could practically see the very end of those prominent v-lines. Holy shit.
The brunette took a deep breath and picked up the round piece of wood, most likely cut from of the trees in King Levi’s domain, that had the most beautiful colors he had ever seen for him to use. He knew Fae were unable to create, therefore part of him was wondering where King Levi managed to get all of this from, but he was too excited to question it any further. He picked up the biggest paintbrush and started as he always did with coating his canvas in solid white paint. After that tasked was finished, he poked his cheek with the opposite end of the brush and regarded the Fae King silently.
He was unsure if he wanted to include all the details of the room in the background or focus solely on the Fae King and chair and use a plain background instead. After a few moments of contemplation, Eren decided to go all out. He somehow had a feeling this would be the only chance he’d ever have to paint the Winter Fae King and he wanted it to be his best piece yet.
As Eren delved into his painting he began to sing in tandem, as he often did, and it was almost as if a spell had been cast in that very room.
“I took a little journey to the unknown,
And I come back changed, I can feel it in my bones.
I fucked with the forces that our eyes can't see,
Now the darkness got a hold on me.
Holy darkness got a hold on me.”
Every time Eren painted, he felt as though he was giving a little piece of his soul away. It wasn’t that it made him less whole, it was the exact opposite of that sensation. The canvas sucked him in and made him want to give those pieces of himself away, he was grateful for the chance to do so. As he continued to work his voice changed and grew more melodic. It contained so many emotions all at once that Eren was unable to discern exactly how he was feeling in that moment.
“How long, baby, have I been away?
Oh, it feels like ages though you say it's only days.
There ain't language for the things I've seen, yeah.
And the truth is stranger than my own worst dreams,
The truth is stranger than all my dreams.
Holy darkness got a hold on me.”
Eren was working with a fervor that he’d never experienced in all the years he’d been painting. It felt as though there were another force pushing him forward and whispering in his ear that he needed to paint. He needed to make this painting the most magnificent work of art that anyone had ever seen. He needed to match the colors exactly, he needed to mark down every single detail to the very last crease of material in those pants, he needed to get those eyes just right…those eyes….
“I have seen what the darkness does,
Say goodbye to who I was.
I ain't never been away so long,
Don't look back, them days are gone.
Follow me into the endless night,
I can bring your fears to life.
Show me yours and I'll show you mine,
Meet me in the woods tonight.”
Eren stared at the Fae King as he sang those previous lyrics, studying those cold grey eyes closely. They were, to him, the most important part of the painting. Everything about the Fae King was magnificent but there was just something about those eyes that sucked Eren in. As his voice rang out, he saw something flash in those eyes that he didn’t think was possible. It looked like…sadness? But it was impossible for Fae to feel sad, wasn’t it? Eren hummed the melody as King Levi’s gaze remained locked on his and came to the decision that whatever had happened in that moment was meant for just the two of them and he would keep it that way.
“Yeah, the truth is stranger than my own worst dreams,
Holy darkness got a hold on me.
I have seen what the darkness does,
Say goodbye to who I was.
I ain't never been away so long,
Don't look back, them days are gone.
Follow me into the endless night,
I can bring your fears to life.
Show me yours and I'll show you mine,
Meet me in the woods tonight.”
Eren wasn’t sure how long he had been painting for but by the time he finished but he had a feeling that it was a while. He had spent the longest amount of time trying to replicate those metallic grey eyes and after his revelation, had settled on illustrating them with that feral glint that so often showed. He regarded his painting with fond eyes, a slow smile spreading across his face. It truly, in his mind, was his greatest creation yet and with a pang in his heart he found himself wishing he could share it with those back in his village.
He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he didn’t even notice the Fae King had removed himself from the chair and came over to look at the painting from over his shoulder.
“Hm, so this is how you see me?”
“Is it not how you see yourself?” Eren answered back in a cracked voice. He must have been sitting for a lot longer than he originally thought if he was having that much trouble speaking.
“Do you know about Fae magic, Eren?” Levi’s voice was low, practically devoid of emotion, but Eren thought he could sense a hint of something there.
“A little bit…why?”
“This is not how I actually look. It’s glamour. The way you see me is how I looked when I was human…and I wonder if you’d want to paint me if you were to see what I actually look like. An interesting thought for another time.”
“Wait…you weren’t born a Fae?!” Eren whirled around in his stool and looked at the Fae King, emerald eyes open wide in shock.
King Levi tilted his head to the side and answered the question in an almost bored tone, “No. I was born by the name of Levi Ackerman in Shiganshina. It was a very long time ago. My parents died while I was young, so I ended up living with my uncle Kenny. He was a drunk and…I think you humans refer to it as abusive? I was poor, until I was in my late teens, I was short and scrawny, and my features hadn’t developed well yet, I didn’t have much aside from being the best flute player in the village and the best composer as well. My favorite season was autumn so I often hid away in the forest from my uncle to play my music. I met Erwin when I was 10 and he was the first Fae I had ever met. He was different from what I had heard from other villagers. He never wanted anything from me aside from listening to me play my flute and talking with me. Over the next few years the human version of me foolishly grew to trust him.”
Eren was thoroughly engrossed in this story. Not much was known about the Winter Fae King, aside from the fact that he had been ruling the longest, but hearing that Erwin had been a Fae before King Levi had Eren feeling confused.
“When I turned 14, I met two other villagers who had a similar life to mine. Their names were Isabel and Farlan. As I grew closer with them, I found myself visiting Erwin less often. It was partly because I now had two people I could trust and who felt like family and partly because as I grew older, I noticed the way other villagers and Fae looked at me. By the time I was 24, I looked the way you see me now, and I was considered one of the most attractive males in the village. Isabel and Farlan were married and we all lived together in a modest house away from all the troubles that had plagued our lives. I had neglected to visit Erwin for almost four years, which was a mistake. One day, Isabel and Farlan went for a walk together and after five hours of waiting for them to return I became worried. I went out into the forest to look for them, and there was Erwin with a knife to each of their throats. He told me if I didn’t promise to go to the Fae realm with him that he would kill them. I had foolishly grown to trust a Fae; therefore, I didn’t understand how they worked. I agreed to go without making him promise to leave them alone so not only did he take me, but he took Isabel with as well.”
King Levi had paused his story to brush his hand over the paint that was still wet on Eren’s canvas. As he pulled his hand away. Eren could see some black paint lingering on ebony skin. Levi’s voice was soft as he spoke next.
“I’ve never seen someone consumed by their craft the way you are. Is it like that for the others as well?”
“I…I’m not sure. Some of my friends share similar sentiments, feeling as if they lose themselves in their craft. There were times I would go days without eating to finish a painting. My family and friends would try to force me to eat but I wouldn’t feel hunger. It wasn’t until I was done that the hunger would hit me all at once and I’d almost pass out from the sensation.”
Levi reached out his hand and brushed the black paint across the tan skin adorning Eren’s cheek. The Fae King looked as though he were deep in thought but when he spoke his voice still retained that flat tone. “I don’t remember what it felt like to create. When Erwin took Isabel, I didn’t understand. Not until that night during the grand feast when he presented us with an apple from one of the trees in his realm. You see, there are certain foods in the Fae realm you can eat and others that you can’t. Both Isabel and I knew what this was. I couldn’t bare the thought of Farlan never getting Isabel back, so I chose to eat the fruit and confine myself to the Fae realm for the rest of my life. At first, it wasn’t bad. However, the longer I was here the more my human mind began to deteriorate. I knew if I became a Fae I wouldn’t be able to ever play my flute or write a composition again, but it was either that or slowly lose my mind. I made the decision to become a Fae and for a few hundred years I remained in the Autumn court as Erwin’s lover. However, although the Fae don’t feel many emotions, anger and hate are two that remain. Perhaps not as strongly as a human, but enough that I knew I couldn’t be around Erwin. I wanted to get away from him and be so powerful that he would never mess with me again. I came to the Winter Court and killed their King and took his place. Erwin spent a few hundred years trying to get me to come back, Fae don’t like losing what they claim as theirs and a we live so long that a few hundred years is like the blink of an eye. When I made it clear I would never return, he eventually took over as Fae King of the Autumn court.”
Eren had hardly moved, let alone dared to breath, during the entire story King Levi had told him. He would have never imagined that King Levi had once been human, it just didn’t seem possible. He wondered if it was the same for the other Fae King and the two Fae Queens. However, when he opened his mouth, he ended up asking a different question instead.
“But…if you dislike King Erwin so much why did you have those two Fae earlier bring him a human girl?”
King Levi laughed, and it was a much different one than Eren had heard previously. There was a dry and sinister tone to it. “Oh, she won’t be as pretty as she was when she gets to Erwin. You see, that girl ate some fruit that she wasn’t given permission to. By the time Erwin finds her she will resemble a rotting corp. It will not be a lovely sight for him and I have no doubt he’ll want to speak with me about it afterwards. He doesn’t always like the games I play.”
Eren chewed on his bottom lip. He knew King Levi was going to need to leave soon as he had to address the restlessness of his court, but another thought was plaguing his mind.
“Do you regret your choice to give up your humanity and become a Fae?”
“Fae do not feel regret; therefore, I cannot answer that question honestly. What I can say is I had a choice. Much like you did. You could have decided to stay in the village and fight me. You could have decided to destroy yourself in some way to make yourself look ugly. You could have fled the village and allowed those left behind to deal with the consequences. But you chose to come here. I could have never told you which option you should have chosen. Being a Fae, I can never advise you on those things. No matter what kind of wisdom dictates the option you pick, no one will be able to tell if it's right or wrong until you arrive to some sort of outcome from your choice.”
Eren was shocked. Those were the most human sounding words Levi had said to him since he had met the Fae and it made him feel strange. It was as if he somehow now understood the Fae, and it wasn’t a sensation that he was enjoying.
“Now I have some matters to attend to, I’ll be back later. I would advise you to stay in this room. There are more canvases on the ground next to you. When I get back, our game will commence.”
And then King Levi was gone and Eren was left to himself and all the thoughts that were swirling in his head. He found himself feeling bad for the Winter King. To be forced into this life…well he knew what it felt like because he was in a similar situation. He knew that while King Levi was telling him the story of how he became a Fae that he had felt no sadness or remorse, yet Eren could clearly imagine how he had felt as a human. Human Levi had given up himself to save those he loved the most, the same way Eren had.
Eren rubbed his hands over his face and groaned. How the hell was he supposed to despise King Levi when he found himself relating to him in so many ways? He couldn’t fault the Fae for becoming the way he was. To choose between losing your mind or losing the one thing you loved the most in the world…to forget what it felt like to paint…poor Levi…
No no no! He couldn’t think like this. In his life, King Levi was his Erwin and he couldn’t allow himself to be swayed by a Levi who no longer existed. Yet…earlier…that look of sadness in those silver eyes while Eren was painting… Ah fuck, I am in such deep shit.
Okay a few things here. Eren, the little shit that he is, totally hijacked this story. I hadn't initially planned on him being so cunning himself but while writing he decided he couldn't just be the innocent emerald-eyed boy I was making him out to be. Good one, Eren.
Also, Levi's backstory came to me while I was trying to sleep last night. I was so excited to write it all down but couldn't until today because I had class at 8:30 in the morning. I'm sorry there is so much dialogue but it was SO necessary for the story.
I hope you enjoy!
Chapter 6: My Soul Finds You
I didn't get this up as quickly as I would have liked because I like reading fanfiction even more than I like writing it. There are so many amazing authors on here! I would tell you how many I devoured over the past week (when I should have been studying instead) but I would feel slightly ashamed....
Thanks again for all the comments and kudos!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“'Tis in the silver moonlight
the ways of Fae come calling,
Behind shadows of the night
and sleep is gently falling,
where my dreams are blithe and bright
my soul finds you -- enthralling.”
Jemmy Farmer-Behind the Shadows
As soon as King Levi left the room Eren felt…alone. The true weight of what he was going through settled on his shoulders and he began to feel himself sweat as panic set in. The human Levi had chosen to become a Fae rather than succumb to the madness that being trapped in this realm brought upon him. How long had he lasted before it had become too much to bare? Would Eren suffer the same fate? He had read about humans being brought to the Fae realm and upon return none of them had ever been the same. So many stories recounted that, often, those humans had a sort of melancholy aura that followed them to their graves. It was sad to think that the Fae would always carry on while the humans they meddled with were reduced to empty chrysalises.
Even if Eren managed to somehow get King Levi to set him free, would he be only a shell of a person upon return? And beyond even those worries was the fact that time in the Fae realm flowed differently than it did in the human world. How much time had passed since he had been gone? He hadn’t even spent a night in the Fae realm, but he had a sinking feeling that already too much time had passed back home. He hadn’t said goodbye to his mom on the presumption that he would see her again…he hadn’t said goodbye to his mom…he hadn’t said goodbye to his mom…he hadn’t said goodbye to his mom.
Without even realizing it, Eren feverishly began to paint. He felt like he wasn’t even inhabiting his own body as blank canvas after blank canvas was covered in dozens of hues. He painted the home he had grown up in covered in freshly fallen autumn leaves, he painted his beloved town during the first snow of winter, he painted Rothenburg; the quaint town he had fallen in love with in Germany, and last of all he painted his mother for fear that he might forget her face.
He was so concentrated on what he was doing, so consumed by his mind and his craft, that he hadn’t noticed when King Levi returned until he felt a set of cool hands clamp down on his own. It startled him, and he let out a squeaking sound as emerald green eyes lifted to meet striking silver blue ones.
“Tch, brat. If you let the madness consume you too early, you will ruin our game.” King Levi’s voice was strangely a little more soothing as he spoke, almost as if there was a hint of understanding laced underneath. Eren blinked, trying to regain his composure, and chalked whatever notions he was getting about the Fae to be a coping mechanism. To feel as though someone in this loathsome, unfeeling realm could understand him…even if it were the one who brought him here in the first place. King Levi’s backstory was clearly clouding his mind and if he didn’t get ahold of himself soon, he wouldn’t be surprised if he willingly through himself at the Fae King.
“How long?” He breathed out, barely taking notice that King Levi’s hands were still clasped around his own.
King Levi cocked his head to the side and let Eren’s hands go as he moved to stand behind the boy and regard the array of paintings he had created during the Fae’s absence.
“I’m not sure what question you are asking me.”
“How long did it take for you to go mad?”
“That was a very long time ago...I don’t recall exactly how much time I spent here before I made my decision. It was longer than you’ve been here, though by how much, I don’t know.”
Eren tensed at those words as the panic began to slowly seep through his bones once more. He wondered if King Levi truly didn’t remember or if he didn’t want to remember. He knew that it was impossible for the Fae to lie…but perhaps he had chosen to block out those memories over time? No…that wouldn’t make sense. A Fae wouldn’t have a reason to block out memories if they no longer felt the emotions that came with them.
“How long have I been here?” Eren asked as he traced his fingers over the painting of his mother, voice barely above a whisper.
“It’s almost night time in the Fae realm now and we arrived about mid-day.”
“No, how much time has passed in Shiganshina?” Eren had to push himself to keep the venom out of his voice. Talking with a Fae could be fucking tiring. He was fully aware that King Levi knew exactly what he wanted to know each time he asked a question, yet, if he didn’t phrase it the exact fucking right way, he would only get either a vague answer in response or an answer he wasn’t looking for.
“Tomorrow we celebrate the start of my reign in the Winter Court.”
No fucking way. No fucking way. Eren’s heart thumped erratically in his chest upon hearing King Levi’s monotonous answer. He hadn’t even been in the Fae realm for a full 24 hours and already nearly a month had passed back in Shiganshina. Were his friends okay? Was his mother okay? Had she forgiven him for leaving without saying goodbye? Did the Fae know about the lie that everyone had told?
Eren felt a hand rest on his shoulder as King Levi spoke again in that eerily sentimental tone. “Relax, brat. Our game is still afoot. The Fae do not know about you, yet. They have been asking why you haven’t been painting and luckily the villagers don’t have to lie because no one aside from whoever you told knows. There have been whispers of a grand festival to be held in honor of the Fae, but I need to send someone from my court to do further investigating. I’m quite intrigued as to what your friends will come up with, there hasn’t been this much excitement in my life for quite a long time.”
Eren yanked his shoulder out from under King Levi’s grip and said in a venomous tone, “I’m glad the fate of the lives of the people I love is amusing to you.”
“Come now, brat”, King Levi leaned in and was speaking in that sultry velvety tone that Eren didn’t want to admit always made him become slightly undone, “you know that this is how this works. The game wouldn’t be fun, otherwise.”
Eren knew it was futile, knew that he wasn’t going to get the answer that he wanted, but something in him was just telling him that he needed to push the Fae King. There were moments where he detected something more lingering inside the creature behind him and Eren had always followed his gut, he knew it wouldn’t betray him now.
“Did you ever go back to visit Isabel and Farlan after you turned into a Fae?”
King Levi shifted, instead of standing behind Eren he was standing in front of him again and had moved his face so that the two were eye level with one another. Eren flexed his fingers uncomfortably at his sides as King Levi’s gunmetal orbs bored into his own.
“No. Levi Ackerman and King Levi are two very different beings. Whatever thoughts and emotions Levi Ackerman had disappeared as soon as he became King Levi. I do not feel anything for those two humans that he gave up his life for. I do not know what became of them and I do not care. If you try to convince yourself that Fae have underlying human feelings, you will not fair well in our game or in this realm.”
The entire time King Levi spoke Eren never broke the stare that the two held. He looked deeply into those unchanging eyes and he could have sworn that he saw something swirling in the depths. Something beyond his reach yet…it was still something. Eren didn’t know Levi Ackerman, he mourned at the loss of meeting someone so selfless and loving despite the cards that life had given them, yet even without having met the man he felt like Levi Ackerman was not someone who would give up without a fight. Had the man known something Eren didn’t? Had he really chosen to succumb to the fate of being a Fae because of madness or had there been another motive there that Fae King Levi was unable to recall due to loss of emotions?
Eren closed his eyes and took a deep breath, grounding himself once more. He was letting the life of another person who had lived long ago consume him. Levi Ackerman had played his game and lost. King Levi was right, Eren needed to focus on himself and figuring out how the fuck he was going to win when all the cards were stacked against him.
“You’re right. I was becoming lost in my own human emotions. I suppose not having them comes in handy when in a situation such as this.” He opened his eyes to see King Levi regarding him, a glint in those beautiful eyes, and shot the Fae a smirk. If King Levi wanted things to be fun, then they would be fun.
Eren was ready to start the game anew when the Fae King asked the most unexpected of questions.
“That song you were singing earlier…I’m not familiar. What was it?” King Levi sounded genuinely curious and it left Eren baffled. Was curiosity an emotion the Fae could feel? He supposed it made sense, in a way, seeing as how they so often visited the human realm rather than stay within their own.
“Ah,” Eren hopped off his stool and stretched, groaning as the bones in his shoulders popped, “it’s a rather modern song so I’m not surprised you don’t know it. You know, King L-”
“Don’t call me that. Just Levi.”
Eren sucked in a breath and turned his attention back to the Fae King, eyeing him warily. “But…I thought that’s what I was supposed to call you. You are a Fae King.”
King Levi stepped closer to Eren and Eren could have sworn there was a smolder in those grey depths. “I am supposed to be called that, but not by you. We will be sharing a bed together. It’s just Levi.”
Eren chewed his bottom lip, feeling himself becoming heated under that gaze. He shimmied away from the Fae King before continuing his earlier thoughts.
“Okay…Levi.” Saying his name like that felt strange on Eren’s lips and it sent an odd thrill through his body. “The world around us is constantly changing…constantly moving forward. When I was 15, I left Shiganshina for six months. I was in Munich for the first three weeks before I found a town called Rothenburg and it was love at first sight. I felt as though I had stepped into a different world and I thought I could be happy there…but that wasn’t the case. After a month and a half, I could hardly stomach food. Two months and I was barely sleeping. Three months and I could no longer paint. I kept feeling this pull, this need to come back to Shiganshina. By the end of the six months I’d dropped nearly 40 pounds and was running on, on average, five hours of sleep per week.”
Eren ran a hand through his unruly mop of hair and sighed deeply as he recalled some of the worst months of his life. He had truly loved Germany and with everything in his heart he wished he could have stayed. It had been exciting to see how much the world had developed, so different from his tiny hometown that was perpetually stuck in the past. Sure, Armin created inventions and they had modern devices such as running toilets and electricity, but they didn’t have cell phones or iPods or huge flat screen TV’s. It was a world that Eren had been so ready to explore and having that ripped from him still left a painful twinge in his heart.
“I was frustrated. All I could think about was Shiganshina. As though there was some force pulling me back. I wanted to be anyone but me. I finally had the freedom to explore without fearing that someone would look upon my face and want to snatch me away and instead I became a prisoner to my own mind and body. I wished for the longest time I could be like my other friends. One of them invents things and he has left several times only returning because he says he wants to invent a few more things for the town before leaving permanently. The other only came back because he has a love interest and wants to bring him with when he leaves. I don’t understand what’s wrong with me.”
King Levi walked over to Eren then, placing a cool ivory hand on each of his cheeks, and when he spoke it was as if Eren began to slowly unravel. “Nothing is wrong with you, brat. You were born in a town situated next to the Fae realm. A town whose seasons change based on the will of Fae Kings and Queens. It is the curse of being born in such a place that keeps you rooted here. You think your friends can leave whenever they want, but that isn’t true. They are just making up excuses to fool themselves into believing they have a choice. Your friend who invents things, for example. Why doesn’t he just invent things from afar and send them here? He doesn’t need to keep coming back to do so. And your friend who is in love. He could have easily asked that person to leave with him already or he could find someone else.”
King Levi stopped speaking as he rubbed his thumbs back and forth over soft tan skin. Eren’s eyes were wide as he took in this information, as the gears worked in his head to process what exactly it was the Fae King was telling him. He didn’t want to believe it, couldn’t believe it, but as the Fae King continued to speak, he knew it to be the truth.
“It affects each person differently, though I’ve never heard of it affecting someone as strongly as you. During all my years reigning as the Winter King I’ve heard of humans who were able to leave for years at a time only to return with an excuse that they needed to take care of dying relatives or that the world wasn’t as exciting as they wanted it to be. There have even been a few cases where a person managed to leave for nearly their entire life, only coming back here when it was time for them to die. However, they still came back. There is not one person who has been born in Shiganshina who has been able to leave. It is something that Levi Ackerman knew, which is why he never tried to escape the life he had. So, you see, brat, there is nothing wrong with you.”
Eren had lived the past few years believing he was somehow fucked up. Watching enviously as his friends traveled the world without him and always came back with smiles on their faces while they recounted their adventures. He wondered why none of them had ever told him they felt the same pull that he did. Perhaps, since it wasn’t as strong, they didn’t notice. Or perhaps, as King Levi suggested, they didn’t want to admit to it because they didn’t want to admit to not having control over their own lives. It was a sentiment that Eren could understand.
For some reason unknown to him, Eren found himself lifting his hands to place them over King Levi’s. The ivory skin was cool against his tan palms, but it somehow just felt right to have King Levi’s hands underneath his, as though his palms had been created to fit against the back of the Fae’s hands perfectly. He imagined that if they were to hold hands, Eren’s large ones would engulf the Fae Kings much smaller ones in the most perfect way.
There was something odd stirring in his chest as he looked down at the Fae King through thick eyelashes. Even when he had finally made it back to Shiganshina after those six months away, it had felt as though something were still missing from his life. Eren had never felt completely whole. It’s why he had turned to painting to begin with, yet here, in this very moment with King Levi’s hands against his face, he felt like something had clicked into place. He had every intention of getting out of this realm and back to his loved ones, but he no longer felt as lost as he had mere minutes before. Something was telling him that he was meant to be here.
Eren noticed that shift take place in those silver eyes again, that look of intense loneliness that only someone who had lived far too long trapped in a life they never wanted could have. When King Levi spoke, it was in a voice that Eren could have never fathomed the Fae King to possess, he sounded almost broken.
Something in Eren snapped and he made the decision to allow the Fae King, just this one, to have a small piece of him.
“Levi…” Eren whispered out the Fae’s name in a deep unyielding tone. He wanted the Fae King to know that he wasn’t calling out to him, that he would never call out to him. No. He was calling out to the man who had defied all odds and survived a shitty life only to be thrown into an even shittier one. A man who had been faced with a choice and who had picked the scariest one. A man who had loved two people so deeply that he would rather spend in eternity in hell, never even knowing what had become of them, if it meant buying them more time. A man so much like him. A man he felt he would have loved with the intensity of a dying star. A man that Eren so badly wanted to believe still existed. He hadn’t even realized he had been crying, hadn’t even felt the wetness on his face, until King Levi answered…or was it Levi Ackerman that answered? The voice sounded so different…too kind. Was Eren already going mad?
Rather than answer him, Eren removed his hands from over top of Levi’s and placed them on his chiseled cheeks instead. He brushed his thumb against thin pink lips and stared straight into the soul of the creature standing right in front of him. He didn’t want to tell him why he was crying in fear that it would break whatever spell had been cast over the two of them. He knew it wouldn’t last, this was a game that he could not allow King Levi to win, but he wanted to savor this moment and burn it into his memory forever.
Eren closed his eyes and moved forward until he felt his plush lips lightly brush across Levi’s. He could hear the small intake of breath that came from the raven at the impact and knew it was most likely from surprise that Eren had been the one to initiate it. Slowly, ever so slowly, he moved his lips against the raven’s. He could hear his heart beating rapidly in his chest, so loud that he was afraid he might go deaf, so fast that he thought it might burst through his ribcage. His entire body was on fire and without the coolness of Levi’s hands against his cheeks he would have been lost to the flames that threatened to consume him.
Hesitantly, as though it were his first time giving someone a kiss, Eren flicked out his tongue and ran it against Levi’s bottom lip. He let out a soft moan as the taste of summer blueberries flooded his senses. The brunette felt one of Levi’s hands travel up his cheek and into his hair where his fingers tangled themselves there, as if that was where they belonged, as if the two had done this a thousand times before. Levi opened his mouth, giving Eren the permission to explore, and Eren didn’t hesitate to do just that.
Their tongues danced in tune with one another, as though they were two lovers tangled in a waltz, and Eren couldn’t help but groan at the sensation. At first Levi allowed Eren’s tongue to explore of its own accord but it didn’t take long for the raven to become dominant. Levi sucked on Eren’s muscle, tearing another moan from his throat, and then Eren felt the raven’s teeth against his bottom lip along with a tug on his hair and he trembled at the ministrations. Eren felt consumed by everything that was Levi and knew in an instant that if this were another life, he would give himself up to him. Body, heart, and soul.
Eren pulled back, feeling as though part of his soul was being torn away as he did so. The realization that he could never have Levi in the way that he wanted to, tore Eren in ways that he never believed were possible. He heard what sounded like a whine come from Levi at the loss of contact and when emerald eyes met silver ones once more, Eren let out a gasp.
That was not King Levi looking back at him.
“I’ve waited so long for you…please…help me…”
And that was the moment where everything that Eren had ever believed shattered. That was the moment where he cursed King Levi for having the audacity to ever lay his sights upon him. That was the moment where he truly knew that there was no winning this game, for either of them. It was the moment where he knew he was going to break his own heart because he couldn’t save both himself and King Levi in the process. It was the moment an impossible choice was presented to him and for the first time in his life, Eren Yeager was at a loss for words.
“I don’t…I don’t know what to do.”
And then Levi Ackerman the man was gone, and King Levi returned. Eren might not have noticed if not for the hungry glint that appeared in those gun-metal orbs.
“Brat, I didn’t think you would give yourself to me so easily. You made it seem like it would be such a challenge. I can’t say I’m disappointed, you taste so good.”
Eren reached his hand up to remove King Levi’s hand from his hair and quickly raced to the bed, the only haven he had in the room the two shared. He felt angry at himself for allowing that moment of weakness. He rubbed the palms of his hands over his eyes several times, wanting nothing more than to beat the shit out of himself. He had to be going mad, right? There was no way that the shift between Levi Ackerman and King Levi had happened. This was the work of Fae magic. King Levi knew Eren had been affected by his backstory and used it against him to get what he wanted. Fucking asshole.
“I was simply giving you a taste of something you’re never going to have.” Eren bit out in a cheeky tone before throwing the Fae King his signature shit eating grin. Two could play at this game. If King Levi was going to toy with Eren’s innermost emotions he would toy with him right back.
King Levi sauntered over to the bed, the mattress dipping slightly as he leaned his elbows against it and leered across the space between at Eren.
“I don’t know, it seemed like you quite enjoyed it. With enough persuasion, I have no doubt I’d have you begging for pleasure underneath me.”
“Tch, you’re far too cocky for someone of your height. I’m tired and I’m going to bed.” Without another word Eren turned away from the Fae King. He was aware that he was still in his day clothes but fuck if he would sleep without his body fully covered around that bastard.
He wasn’t sure what had happened earlier or what had come over him. He had done a good deal of talking about how hard it was going to be for King Levi to get to him yet had practically thrown himself at the Fae King at the merest glimpse of something human in those silver depths. It had to have been Eren’s mind playing tricks on him, right? There was no way that Levi Ackerman still existed trapped in the mind of a Fae, right? There is no way that Levi Ackerman had been waiting out centuries suffering for Eren to come along…right?!
Eren sighed, allowing for sleep to overcome him. Perhaps with a clear mind he could focus on trying to find a way out of this mess.
I wanted to quickly mention that I don't have anyone edit my stories for me. I have friends who know I write and read fanfiction but my fics are such an important part of me that I'm uncomfortable with sharing them with people who know me in person. When I write, I typically stop every few pages to go through and read to make sure everything flows and that there aren't a lot of errors. Then, when I finish a chapter, I go through and read it two-three times. However, with just one pair of eyes I'm bound to miss something so I hope you guys understand. If there are ever any glaring errors, don't hesitate to let me know!
*The switch between using King Levi and Levi was intentional. (;
**Also that chapter in the point of view from someone back at the village will be coming either next chapter or the one after.
Chapter 7: The Summer Queen
I've got a few announcements for you guys this week!
1) If you notice a slight change in writing style, that's because I officially have a beta! Please extend a warm welcome to LeiWasHere. Lei is honestly a wizard and has such patience with my shit writing and made this chapter 100 times more enjoyable, in my opinion. I hope you enjoy it and appreciate the effort she went through to make this so much better for you guys! She's honestly a saint and not only has she offered to work with me on this fic, she has expressed a willingness to work with me on others as well (seriously, a saint I tell you).
2) With having a beta comes a more concrete update schedule. I'm in University and Lei is in school as well which means we're both busy bees! We've decided it would be best to update on the weekends for times sake. Although I don't technically write on any given schedule, I don't want to pressure her into fixing all my mistakes when she has school to worry about. So look forward to new chapters on the weekends from now on.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Under the full moon so bright
She gazes off with her inner sight
Dreaming of a love pure and true
Wondering what would beheld
If her soul and another could meld
She folds her wings underneath
Let’s a tear fall down her face
Knowing nothing will do
Without love so pure and true.”
Emaline Nelson- Sadness of Fae
If Eren thought the winter wonderland he’d found himself in just days before was breathtaking, then it was nothing compared to the world he walked through now. Barefoot, his feet glided over freshly cut grass that covered the expanse of the land. Rather than the usual towering pine trees, he was surrounded by those that bore the most delectable fruit he’d ever seen. From ruby red apples to sunset-hued oranges, the potent smells and vivid colors had Eren practically drooling with desire. He was about to pluck one of the apples from a nearby tree when his ears picked up perhaps the most beautiful sound he’d ever heard.
Somewhere in the distance he could hear the sweet melody of a flute skillfully being played. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard such a beautiful sound, and the apple was quickly forgotten as his feet carried him towards the music. It didn’t take long for him to find the source, and when he did, he took a sharp intake of breath and immediately stopped at the scene before him.
Sitting around a fire were three people, two of whom he’d never seen and one who he knew all too well. There was a petite girl with the most vibrant shade of red hair, striking blue eyes and a smile that could light up an entire village. Everything about her exuded life and brilliance. So much so that Eren longed to become friends with her from the moment he saw her. Sitting next to her was a man of average height with ash blond hair, soft sky-blue eyes and a countenance both kind and mischievous. His arm was wrapped around the girl’s waist as she flailed around in excitement, but for what, Eren didn’t know. Finally, sitting across from the two was who Eren had originally believed to be was King Levi, but upon realizing he was the one playing the flute, Eren knew that it could only be Levi Ackerman.
Eren took in the way Levi’s fingers expertly moved against the woodwind instrument, the way his lips created such soft and lovely tones. His eyes were shut as he played, and his body moved ever so slightly, the flute possessing him in the same way Eren’s paintings took possession over him. This was the Levi Ackerman he hadn’t had the chance of seeing before, one who was at peace. The one who had not yet become one of the fae.
When the song ended, although there was no smile that adorned the man’s lips, as Levi opened his eyes, Eren could see the mirth glimmering in them. From the moment Eren saw King Levi he’d known his piercing gunmetal eyes would be the death of him. However, it was nothing compared to the way he looked right now. There was so much, so fucking much, in that gaze that Eren felt as if he could get lost staring into them for eternity. He mourned the loss of the man who stood before him, this beautiful, emotional man. If only Eren had been given the chance, he would’ve sacrificed his very being for this man and given himself over entirely. Eren had always been known to radiant, but had he met Levi Ackerman, the two would’ve become the duo that set the world ablaze.
“Levi, sing for us please- oh please, oh please, oh please! It’s been so long since I’ve heard your voice.” The redhead bounced around excitedly as she pleaded with her stoic-faced friend.
“Izzy, my voice isn’t even that great. I don’t understand why you always want me to sing. Just be patient and wait until Hange gets here, then you can have your singing.”
It was crazy how similar yet different that voice was in comparison to the Levi Eren had come to know, albeit just a mere few days. King Levi had the same tones, but lacked the sentiment behind his words that Levi Ackerman’s spiked with. Even now, though the raven’s face barely showed emotion, there was a clear hint of annoyance in his voice.
“Oh, come ON Levi. You know how much Farlan and I love hearing you sing. I mean, you’re no Hange, but your voice is still so lovely to listen to! Stop being so modest.”
“Tch, spoiled brat. I only ever sang to you because of nightmares. You’d think a git your age would be over them by now, but I guess not. What- do you need me to go grab your blankie, too?”
Izzy, which Eren assumed must be short for Isabel, huffed and crossed her arms over her chest before letting out a snort, her lips spreading into a smirk “Oh, Levi. Stop being such a grouch, would ya. I think you need to find yourself a Farlan to warm up that small, cold heart of yours. Maybe if you get laid that stick up your ass will finally come out.”
Farlan let out a bark of a laugh at Izzy’s comment, his hand reaching up to ruffle her red locks as Levi glared at the woman. Before anything could happen, someone came barreling towards them looking as though she had just escaped from an asylum.
“LEEEEVVIIIII MY LOVE!” Hange screeched as, much to the man’s indignation, she threw herself at Levi, wrapping her arms around him, “You didn’t start without me, did you, my little munchkin?”
Isabel and Farlan both burst out laughing at the display before Farlan finally spoke, “Wouldn’t dream of it, Hange. Although Izzy was trying to get Levi to sing for us. As you might guess, his answer was no.”
Hange only cackled and let go of Levi before plopping down beside him. “Awe, did my wittle baby Wevi want to wait until I got here? How precious!” she cooed, “Love you, too, honey! Now, let’s get started!”
Before Eren had the chance to watch the scene that was about to play out, everything around him faded and in their place stood someone new. Or Eren at least he’d thought it was someone new until he noticed the familiar messy ponytail and chestnut-colored eyes. Hange. However, this Hange no longer wore glasses and appeared to hold herself in a different manner than the one he’d witnessed just moments before. She seemed to be sad until her eyes met his and a wicked grin spread across her face.
“Eren Yeager, famed painter of Shiganshina, now missing just shy of a month. Not one person has seen him since, and no one has been an inkling as to his whereabouts- at least, no one has said anything. But turns out the little painter is sharing a bed with none other than King Levi! Who would have ever thought King Levi would’ve taken an interest in a human, but now that I see you, I can understand why. What a beautiful creature you are!” She spoke a mile a minute and with none of the elegance that Fae typically possessed. She clearly was a one, though. Eren could feel the power radiating off her in waves. But she had been just like Levi, even friends with him when they were human …Eren could only guess, but did the same thing that happened to Levi happen to her?
“Oh, um, I’m sorry. I don’t believe I know who you are,” Eren said timidly as he eyed the Fae woman from afar. She had yet to move closer to him, instead she chose to bounce up in down in her current spot.
“Oh, silly me! I’m Hange Zoe. Or, well, I was Hange Zoe back in that little memory I let you see. Now, I am Queen Hange of the Summer Court. It’s nice to meet you!” And then she was bounding towards him, arms thrown out as she wrapped them around Eren in a bone-crushing hug. To say Eren was puzzled would be an understatement. Queen Hange was unlike King Levi in so many ways. Hell, she was unlike any Fae he’d ever read about. If it wasn’t for the clear sense of power her body emitted he would have thought she was just another human, albeit a strange one.
“What are you doing here?” Eren asked after Hange pulled back.
“I’m here because I need your help, of course! Come sit. I have quite a long story to tell you,” Hange said, looking Eren in the eyes, “I’m sure you’re curious as to how I became one of the Fae.”
Hange wrapped her arm around Eren and guided him to a patch of grass bathed in warm sunlight. The second they sat, tulips sprouted from the ground around them, each one rich with the colors of the rainbow, but unique all the same. Eren stared in awe, mesmerized by their sudden appearance, meanwhile Hange paid them no mind to.
“...I met Levi a year after he became friends with Isabel and Farlan,” she began, “He was playing his flute in the center of town and it was just so beautiful- I was drawn to the sound like a moth to a flame. Without even thinking, “Hange chuckled, “I started to sing along with his tune. I don’t know how or even why, but us two put together was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Just, so melodic and harmonious somehow. With his mellow, smooth tones and my distinct, yet lulling voice, we could so easily pull all these emotions from the people around us- melancholy, delight, pride… It was that instant I made the decision to barge into his life and I wouldn’t leave him until he accepted it. When it became clear I wasn’t going to leave, he begrudgingly allowed me to become part of the family… He was my best friend.” Hange’s voice trailed off, and sounding far too sad to be the voice of a Fae. Just what the fuck was going on here?
“Sorry about that. When I talk about Levi it makes me miss him more,” Hange explained with an empty smile before perking up again and turning to Eren with enthusiasm, “Anyway! The four of us stuck together through everything after that- though I never moved in with them. You see, along with being a singer I was a crazy inventor. I loved science so much! I loved everything about it- it all fascinated me to no end.
“I needed my own space to conduct experiments, so I bought a house next to them. Often, those three would be off doing their own thing, leaving me to wonder in the forest alone while thinking up more ideas and such. And that’s how Moblit found me! He wasn’t the first Fae I’d met, but he was the only Fae I’d ever liked. You see, Eren, Moblit fell in love with me and a Fae falling in love is a crime in this realm- It’s seen as a weakness. Do you know why that is?”
Hange fixed Eren with an intense gaze, a fire quietly raging within the depths of her eyes. Eren gulped loudly, doing his best to not freak out. Figuring out how to handle King Levi had been hard enough, fuck. Eren still didn’t know exactly how to act around the Fae King. Hange, however, was a completely different story and he’d have to start all over. With Levi he at least could calculate how the Fae might react based on things he had read but Hange didn’t act as a typical Fae. “Umm…I didn’t even think it was possible for Fae to feel things, much less to fall in love. King Levi says Fae don’t have emotions.” Eren spoke softly, wringing his hands in his lap, refusing to return the crazy stare, feeling her burn holes into the side of his head.
“Aside from impossibly long lifespans and magic, emotions are what set humans apart from Fae, and that’s why Fae view humans as weak. Emotions are often what causes humans to go to war and to kill others, to become greedy and take whatever they feel, to cry and break down, to become depressed even to the point of killing themselves. It clouds their minds and make them do things that make them vulnerable. Humans are left to a life of feeling so passionately- whether it be good or bad. Meanwhile the Fae can do as they please without having to experience a single emotion, completely aware of our actions. However, contrary to popular belief, it’s not that we don’t have emotions, ours are just muddled, kind of like a faraway memory. They’re hidden away in order to make us stronger and to protect us. By leaving behind these emotions, we’re able to make decisions with clear intellect instead of acting on whatever emotions we may feel…
“But when Fae fall in love, all other emotions come rushing back- a distant memory suddenly becoming clear as day. And if you think humans feel everything strongly…oh, Eren. They have nothing on us! When Moblit fell in love with me he told me it was both the saddest and happiest day of his life. All the loneliness of all those long years overwhelmed his heart in seconds. But, he also finally got the chance to experience emotions for the first time ever. Could you imagine feeling them all at once when you were supposed to be damned to a near eternity living void of them? Being unable to create despite the desire to, unable to experience the pleasures of having children and growing old and passing away together? It’s a life that will end, sure, but it’s a good life. A happy life.”
Hange sighed, closing her eyes as she relived the memories of her past life, a peaceful, but sorrowful look on her face. Eren, unsure of how to respond, simply sat there in silent shock. Nothing that Hange was telling him made sense. Fae did have emotions? Fae could even fall in love? Why hadn’t any of the books he read said that? Surely somebody must’ve known! Fae have been alive for centuries, and humans along with them! This made absolutely no sense. Hange had to be fucking with him, right? She was probably in league with King Levi, trying to get him to crack so he’d lose the little game they were at. Eren scoffed. As if that would happen.
Suddenly Hange sprung up from her spot and spun to look at Eren, that glint back in her eyes. “I know what you’re thinking, Eren. You think I’m playing some game. But you know that Fae can’t lie, Eren. Not even if I tried, I’d end up killing myself before lying,” Hange affirmed, “Besides, do I act like your run-of-the-mill Fae? No. You want to know why?” She took a deep breath and rubbed her hands together quickly.
“SO! Like I said, Moblit fell in love with human me and I fell in love with him. Being my insane self, I decided to try and work on a way to get Moblit to become human again so we could be together. Neither of us wanted me to become a Fae and he said he would love to be able to grow old and eventually die with me. I was working on a cure of sorts when everything happened with Levi and Erwin. Isabel told us what Levi had done for her and I couldn’t allow him to be alone. I loved him, Eren. He was my dearest friend and he had been through so much. But I knew he had a plan. Levi, he was the strongest person I’d ever met, and he never gave up without a fight. I told Moblit I wanted to become a Fae to help him…but by the time I finally fell in love with Moblit as a Fae and unlocked all my emotions Levi had become an emotionless Fae himself.
“God, Eren. Moblit told me Levi lasted three damn years before making the decision. Do you have any idea how long three years in the Fae realm is for a human? I can’t imagine the state his mind was in, but I know he made the decision with a plan in mind. However, if his soul remains locked away, he won’t be able to tell us what he had in mind, what his plan was in the very beginning, but… THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN!” Hange beamed excitedly.
She grabbed Eren by the shoulders with force enough to bruise. Wait, was that possible? This was a dream after all. Eren wasn’t sure. He wasn’t sure of anything anymore.
“You’re the missing piece! You’re going to make King Levi fall in love with you and then I’ll finally get my friend back! But you need to be careful, Eren. King Erwin and Queen Petra are always watching. They have this obsession with Levi, and they’ll do anything to keep him trapped in this realm for eternity. Them, and the others. Nobody knows about Moblit or I either, and nobody can know. If the Summer Court knew their Queen felt human emotions, they would definitely and immediately try to kill me.”
Eren tugged himself away from Queen Hange, so much that he tumbled backwards and fell flat on his ass. This was fucking crazy! All of it was insane! “You’re lying!” Eren accused, “This is all just some dirty Fae trick. I didn’t come here to save someone who no longer exists! I came here to save my friends and that’s what I promised myself- the only thing I promised myself when I came here. I would make it back to see my family again, see all the friends who protected me.” He was yelling at the top of his lungs, but he didn’t care. All the anger he’d been feeling the past few days was exploding out of him all at once, and he wanted nothing more than to punch something. Instead, he fisted his hands in his hair and pulled hard as he let out a yell of frustration.
“Eren! Eren look at me! We don’t have much time- please!” Eren didn’t want to listen, but something about the desperation in Hange’s words made him look up, and when his eyes met hers, he knew she wasn’t lying. Truly knew. Those were not the cold, unfeeling eyes of Fae, but soft, expressive human ones. He could see a sadness in them so deep that he felt his own heart hurting within him.
“I promised Isabel and Farlan that I would save him if they stayed behind. I knew it was what he would have wanted. I know this isn’t why you’re here but, please, think about it. If he falls in love with you, he’ll let you go. I know he will… Levi… Levi was a stoic man, but deep down he had the biggest heart,” Hange smiled warmly, “He loved so fiercely. He would do anything for those he loved. I know he’s suffering, and I know you’ve seen it. I could see it in your eyes while you were listening to me. You know I’m telling the truth, you know it. Wake him up for me, Eren. That’s all I’m asking. You don’t have to stay after that. Just…bring him back.”
After a tense silence, Eren sighed and stood up from his spot on the ground. He wasn’t sure what to believe anymore. It was evident that Queen Hange wasn’t lying, not only because he knew the Fae couldn’t lie, it was more than that. It was the passion displayed on her face, it couldn’t be a facade.
“I…I’m not going to make any promises. My only goal is to get the fuck out of here before I go mad,” Eren coughed out a humorless laugh, “Sometimes I think I already am…But. Ugh. I’ll- I’ll keep it in mind, everything you told me.” Hange sighed a great sigh of relief, before composing herself as a serious expression settled upon her face.
“Good, Eren, great, even. You’ll be meeting King Erwin and Queen Petra soon… and your village. They’re planning on holding a huge festival in honor of the Fae on your birthday. I think they’re going to tell everyone about you and what they’ve done, and try to do whatever they can to make amends. It’s a few months away in the human world, but as you know, time moves differently here, so it only gives you a few days here. Learn as much as you can about us, Eren. Do anything and everything you can, you have to. I have no doubt Queen Petra and King Erwin will want you for their own, especially if King Levi displays an interest in you. You can’t let them take you away. Now, I can’t visit often in your dreams. But, Eren, there’s one last thing. About you an-”
Eren’s eyes snapped open and he flew up from the bed feeling as though his entire body was stiff. Queen Hange had been about to tell him something obviously of importance, but he’d been ripped out of his dream before she had the chance to finish. Fuck. The brunette’s body shook like a leaf in the wind as he looked around in both panic and confusion, his breathing ragged and wild. And then, his eyes landed on silver ones, wide open and unblinking. King Levi looked feral as his eyes bored into Eren’s with an intensity he couldn’t match. He could see the Fae’s hands twitching at his sides and knew that King Levi wanted nothing more than to grab Eren. Now, more than ever, the brunette was thankful for the deal he’d made with the him.
“Who. Was. In. Your. Dream.” King Levi demanded to know, his voice was like venom as he snarled each word out. It took everything in Eren to keep himself from letting out a sound of fear as he was trapped under his fierce gaze.
“I- it- uh- why are you asking me that? H- how did you know?” While Eren couldn’t lie, it didn’t mean he could avoid the question. This seemed to only anger the Fae King further as he leaned in as close as possible to Eren without physically touching him.
“You left unfinished business between us when you decided to be a brat and go to sleep. I was going to visit you in your dream, but another Fae was already there and kept me out. You are mine, Eren Yeager. No one else will have you. Don’t forget that. Now, who was it? I won’t ask again.”
Eren tore his gaze away from King Levi, unsure of how he should proceed. How the fuck does Hange expect me to help him when I have to keep myself from having a heart attack and dying half the time I’m around him? He sighed in defeat and mumbled a response as quietly as possible, “It was Queen Hange. She was telling me about the festival the village is throwing. I’m not sure how she knew where I was, but she didn’t say anything about taking me away or wanting me. She was just… weird…” his voice drifted off and he risked a glance up at King Levi. The Fae didn’t look as pissed off as he had moments ago, in fact, he looked almost annoyed.
“Tch, of course it was her. She never knows how to mind her own business.” Eren let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding as Levi spoke.
“You aren’t mad?” Eren asked, a little scared for the answer. He lifted his head now, so he was staring directly into silver, looking for any hint of emotion in those depths. Hoping for even just a glimmer of something, anything.
“Mad? No. Hange has always been like this. Her head is too far up Moblit’s ass to want anything more to do with you. I have nothing to worry about with her,” Levi dismissed.
And there it was, something flashed for just a moment. It didn’t go unnoticed by Eren that King Levi referred to Hange as just Hange rather than Queen Hange, but he chose not to mention it. Something told him that this wasn’t the right time, the right topic. Maybe it was the fact that his best friends meant the entire universe to him and if he were in Levi’s position and realized he forgot all about them…lost all feelings for them…he might go mad upon coming back to himself.
Wait, what? No. I told Hange I’d think about it. Since when did I agree to go through with this damn plan of hers? Mikasa would kill me if she knew I was trying to make a Fae fall in love with me. Eren shook his head trying to clear his thoughts. He’d always been a bit of a daydreamer, but ever since he’d entered the Fae realm, he’d found himself lost in his own thoughts more often than not. He wondered what it was that Hange had been about to tell him…
“Oi, brat. Who’s that woman you painted yesterday?” Eren blinked as King Levi’s voice tore him from his thoughts. He chewed on his lip and looked over to the array of paintings across the room from the bed they currently sitting on. He didn’t want to talk about his mother, not right now, but deflecting questions would do no good with the Fae King
“Oh…it’s my mother,” Ere said, his voice wavering as he subconsciously reached out to trace circles onto King Levi’s arm. Something deep inside him needed the skin-to-skin contact as a form of comfort, even if it was with an unfeeling Fae King.
King Levi’s eyes glanced to where Eren was lightly brushing against his skin before tilting his head to the side thoughtfully. “Your mother?” Levi paused, giving the painting one more look, “She’s very beautiful. But, given what you look like, I suppose that isn’t surprising.” His voice was uncharacteristically soft which somehow made it easier for Eren to continue speaking.
“She is, isn’t she? I don’t know why I haven’t painted her more often, she makes the perfect muse. You should have seen her when she smiled…she’s the most loving human I’ve ever known... Fuck. I was such a shit to her before I left, and I never even apologized…” Eren abruptly stopped speaking as he felt the threat of tears prickle in his eyes at the sudden realization. He refused to lose himself in front of King Levi again. He couldn’t appear weak, not now. Although he’d told Hange he would keep her request in mind, when it all came down to it, he still had a game to play and win. He couldn’t allow himself to completely let his guard down, but maybe he could use this momentary weakness to his advantage and try to get Levi to warm up to him more. He was reminded of Hange’s statement that the real Levi would want to let him go and if him allowing his shitty human emotions to spill out affected the Fae King, why now utilize it? Besides, he had remained strong up until now so perhaps it would be okay to let himself break for just a moment. He owed himself that much, at least.
“Tch, don’t cry on me, brat. Oi, are you listening to me? Hey. Don’t you humans like hugs or something when you’re sad? Give me permission to do that. Come on, I promise I won’t do anything else.” King Levi sounded a bit disgruntled as he spoke, and if Eren didn’t know any better he would have chalked it up to the Fae King being uncomfortable. It must have been a while since he had dealt with a sad human, given that Eren had been nothing but hotheaded thus far.
“I…I’m sorry.” The brunette managed to gasp out as he tried to hold back sobs. “I-I didn’t mean to. Ye- yes, you can hug me. Please…”
And then King Levi’s arms were wrapped loosely around the brunette, and he let out all the emotions he’d been trying to burrow inside. He found himself sobbing uncontrollably inside the comfort of Levi’s arms. He was shaking, hot, salty tears making their way down his face and dripping onto Levi’s clothing but, rather than pull away, the raven’s arms tightened their hold. And then something that he hadn’t been expecting from the Fae King happened…the raven began to sing to him.
Bare and staring me down now.
And I'm older,
But don't mean I can't learn your ways.”
His voice was sultry, smooth, and soothing. It wasn’t extraordinary in any sort of way, as it was impossible for the Fae to create things that were beautiful but, in that moment, it was just what the brunette needed.
“Wait for me, I'll be coming slower down.
Wait for me I'll be coming.
You're fire, but sweet,
Hot coals beneath my feet.
Warm blood, body
And I lost it when you found me.
You're whispers and sunlight,
Cold hands feeling for mine.
Warm love, softly,
Never letting love go.
Eren’s cries started to lessen, sniffles and hiccups racking his trembling body. He concentrated on the words that softly poured from the Fae King’s mouth. Those words… Levi was asking Eren to wait for him. The realization lit Eren’s soul and he found himself clutching the Fae King closer to him. He wanted to know if he was right. He wanted to know if there was hope. He wanted to know that he wasn’t crazy and thinking things there weren’t there just to soothe himself.
Safe and sound here in our world.
And I'll stay here in all to get to know you,
But really know you.
Wait for me, I'll be coming slower down.
Wait for me I'll be coming.”
Eren pulled back from the Fae Kings embrace so he could look him in the eye. There was a moment of quiet calm before Eren felt as though a string had been tied between them and he knew. He fucking knew. No matter where Eren Yeager ended up in life, there was nothing that could ever make him forget King Levi. Although he’d explained it was impossible for anyone to ever truly leave Shiganshina, Eren knew he was an exception. From the very beginning, he knew. Every moment of his life had led to his meeting with the Fae King and fuck King Levi and fuck Hange because Eren hadn’t even had the chance to decide. The choice had been made for him the moment that voice joined his in the woods.
“You're fire, but sweet,
Hot coals beneath my feet.
Warm blood, body,
And I lost it when you found me.
You're whispers and sunlight,
Cold hands feeling for mine.
Warm love, softly,
Never letting love go.
Eren was going to save Levi or go mad trying. He had made a promise to himself, but for the first time in his almost 18 years of life, he was going to break it. Internally he thanked himself repeatedly for not making any promises to his sister. He didn’t know how he’d fare then, but he supposed it didn’t matter at this point. Even if Levi let him go back to Shiganshina, Eren wouldn’t return as the person he was when he left. He wouldn’t be a shell, no, but he would be different- too much knowledge flowing through him to just forget and go back to living his human life.
Eren leaned forward, and for the second time since arriving, he decided to let himself go as his lips collided with the Fae King’s. He couldn’t give himself away entirely, not now, maybe not ever, but oh, how he wanted to. Eren hungered for Levi in ways he’d never thought were possible. Like a starved man who’d just seen food for the first time, he wanted to devour him.
Before his resolve broke, he pulled himself away from those sinfully delicious lip. He might not be able to give himself up completely, but he could at least give a part of himself- a part of his soul away, and hope it would enough to save the man. He wanted the man he’d seen playing the flute surrounded by his friends. He wanted the man who’d had so much love that he was willing to give up his freedom so those he cared for could live a life full of happiness. Levi Ackerman had sacrificed his soul to save those he loved, and it was finally time for him to be saved.
King Levi looked at him as though he were a man who’d been trapped underground his entire life and was just now seeing the sun for the very first time. He reached out, waited for Eren to nod, and slowly traced his fingers along Eren’s jawline as he continued to sing while he held their intimate gaze.
“You're fire, but sweet,
Hot coals beneath my feet.
Warm blood, body,
And I lost it when you found me.
You're whispers and sunlight,
Cold hands feeling for mine.
Warm love, softly,
Never letting love go.
Eren shut his eyes and sighed, allowing for those words to wrap around his heart and encase it in an unbreakable cage. King Levi had been right. Eren was his and no one else would ever be able to have him. He wasn’t sure where to go from there, but he knew he would try, and try his very hardest to save Levi. His entire life he had felt as though he was missing something, as though he had no real purpose, and for the first time he felt… complete. He knew that there wasn’t any way for this to have a happy ending. There were too many other factors to consider, too many other obstacles in their way. But, if Eren could save his village and King Levi in the process, he honestly couldn’t care less about sacrificing himself. But he wouldn’t worry about that right now. He had other, more important things to concern himself over.
“Levi, I’m hungry.”
And a few more things!
1) The song I used in this is Warm Blood by Flor. It's amazing. If you have time give it a listen.
2) Next chapter we're going back to Shiganshina, but I'm stuck on who I want to narrate. So... who would YOU guys want to narrate that part of the story? If I haven't already mentioned a character as being a Fae, you are free to assume they are living in the village. I appreciate all comments and suggestions.
Chapter 8: The Knight
Hello my lovely readers, it's been a while hasn't it? I'm so sorry for that. I was studying abroad in France for four months and I spent the last two weeks studying for finals and soaking up as much time with my host family as possible. Aside from that, I took Shelby98's idea and wrote this chapter from Carla's POV. This proved much more difficult than I anticipated. Normally I can pound out a chapter all at once (it takes a few hours but that's how I like to do it) and I worked on writing this one for two weeks. By the time I finished my lovely beta had a lot to do for school and then the holidays came around but she finally had time and thank the writing gods for that because wow, she made this so much better. I'm not exaggerating when I say that, either. It's so nice having such a wonderful person to work with who understands exactly what it is I'm going for. Seriously, I'm forever grateful she hopped on board because fuck I definitely need someone to whip my writing into shape. Make sure you give her plenty of thanks because, without her, this wouldn't be half as good as it is.
I'm hoping that from now on it won't take this long to update this for you guys. I'm already working on the next chapter and I know exactly what I want to write for the two after that. Please be patient with my beta and I as we continue to pound away at this fic. (I'm entering my last semester of undergrad in a week so I can't make any promises, but I'll do what I can!)
I hope you enjoy this chapter, although it's a little different from the previous ones. I tried my best and there is a little surprise for the plot in it for you guys...(;
Thank you again for all the love and support. It's still so hard for me to believe that so many of you enjoy this and I appreciate it more than you know. I hope you all had a lovely holiday, if you celebrate, and if you don't I hope you are all well and have an amazing new year. I'll see you on the next chapter. Much love!!
I shall break your rook if you continue to advance it!
My white knight shall ride to me eventually
-and if my knight is lost-
then for certain I shall capture the king.”
Natalie Copleland- A Fair Game of Chess
I hope you understand my reason for leaving. I know you’ve all tried keeping me safe for all these years, and I’ve ruined it. I want to tell you I’m sorry, for several things, really. I’m sorry for getting into so many fights as a kid. I’m sorry for not always listening. I’m sorry for all the arguments we’ve had. I’m sorry for causing you so many sleepless nights of worry and stress. Most of all, I’m sorry for not saying goodbye. It’s selfish of me, but I knew if I saw your face I wouldn’t have the strength to go through with it and leave.
Mama, I’m promising something today. It’s something you’re not going to like and it might be a while until we see each other again, but I have to do it. I’m going to promise King Levi that I won’t leave unless he says so. Unless he allows me to. It’s crazy isn’t it. And I know what you’re thinking, but I need to do it to keep you all safe. You have to let me do this. Please don’t try and come after me, I’ll be okay. You taught me how to be strong and to never give up, so I hope you can do the same.
Right now, focus on helping the village. They’ll need it more than I do. While I can’t promise you anything, I have a feeling we’ll see each other again someday. You mean the entire world to me, Mama. I love you more than there are stars in the sky. Never forget that.
Holding the letter in her hands, Carla read it over and over for what was probably the hundredth time. It had been a month since Eren had left for the Fae realm, and she felt his absence in every aspect of her life. She missed his loud, booming laugh, the way his eyes lit up every time she baked his favorite chocolate cake, how he fell into each and every painting, peaceful, concentrated… but most of all she missed holding him in her arms, being able to tell him how much she loved him.
Thinking back on that day almost always brought tears to her eyes. She’d returned home with some new canvases she’d bought for Eren, but as soon as she saw Mikasa’s desolate expression, she knew her baby boy had gone. She had crumbled to the ground and wholeheartedly sobbed, unable to find the strength to stand. When Grisha returned home, for the first time in their entire 24 years of marriage, he truly broke down with tears cascading down his face and a hollow look in his eyes. It was the hardest moment their family had ever faced, but Carla took it the hardest.
Mikasa, having always been a person of few words and who didn’t like to show emotion was like their rock, grounding them when the family most needed it. She had a good head on her shoulders and went straight into working on a way to pay back the Fae for the lie the village had dared to tell. Grisha spent two days at home with Carla, but proceeded to follow Mikasa’s example by throwing himself into the work. His talent was in medicine and he’d do any and every thing to help in that area, big or small. Carla on the other hand, had spent seven days in mourning. She knew deep down in her heart that her Eren wasn’t dead, but that didn’t take away the pain of the possibility that she may never be able to look at his sun-kissed face or hold him in her arms again. Worst of all, Carla had always known this would happen. It had been the price she had been foolishly willing to make all those years ago, and although she was in pain, she refused to regret that decision. Every choice she had ever made had been for her miracle boy who was counting on her, as he had his entire life, to be strong and to protect him. So, after her week of grief, Carla took her own advice, picked herself up, and with a determined look in her eye, joined Eren’s friends in the fight to protect their village from the inevitable rage of the Fae.
Today she would be meeting up with some of Eren’s closest friends. They’d been diligently working the past month, the idea they came up with being to prepare a festival for the Fae. It had been decided that in order to appease them, they would have to shower them with music and numerous extravagant gifts and promises to make them whatever they wished- no payment required- for the next couple years. The Fae loved nothing more than to host and attend celebrations, so doing this was their best bet at placating them.
It had been relatively easy for most of the villagers to dodge questions concerning the famous painter’s whereabouts since they honestly had no idea, and as for those who did, well…it had been a matter of avoiding the Fae and giving vague replies. They could tell the Fae were becoming restless with their answers, so they promised all would be revealed at the celebration. Eren’s friends had picked his 18th birthday for the date as a tribute of sorts, and it also gave the villagers three months to prepare. Carla hoped it would give Eren enough time to figure out how to escape before every Fae knew he was within their realm.
Carla could only hope with everything in her heart that Eren wasn’t being mistreated or harmed. The Fae could be ruthless creatures. He was a strong boy, stubborn like his mother and determined like his father, but everyone had a breaking point. When he was born, Carla spent every moment protecting him from the Fae, but in doing so she had neglected to teach him how to properly deal with the creatures. This is all my fault… all my fault…
But at least she could rest just a bit easier with the knowledge that there was at least one Fae who would love and protect Eren, wherever he’d be, for that was the reason her baby boy existed in the first place.
“Carla! It’s so good to see you! Please come have a sample of this cake and tell me what you think. I’ve been whipping up some new recipes for the festival and I really need to knock the socks off these Fae. We need to win over their hearts afterall. Do they even have hearts- oh, who cares! You don’t need to have a heart to love food, just a stomach!” Sasha’s sing song voice rang out, and just a second later she was bobbing up and down in front of Carla with a huge smile spread across her lips. Her eyes twinkled and she was an absolute mess, stray ingredients all over her clothes and sticking to her skin, but that was Sasha for you.
Carla couldn’t deny that she was glad for the company of Eren’s friends. They reminded her so much of him, smiling even in the face of danger. It was a good distraction from the potential horrors of the situation at hand.
“One moment, Sasha. I would like to speak with Armin and Mikasa first.” Carla answered the girl with a warm smile before strolling inside of the quaint cottage that was Armin’s home. He had inherited it after his grandfather had died and, due to the various inventions that Armin had created to protect the small structure against the Fae, it had become the base of their operations. Inside she found Armin and Mikasa huddled around the kitchen table, overlooking a large piece of paper while Jean and Marco sat together on the couch in the living room, deep in conversation.
As soon as the freckled brunette noticed her arrival, he smiled and waved cheerily. “Morning Carla, how are you feeling today?”
Next to Armin, Marco was the sweetest out of all Eren’s friends. He took notice of everything and only had the best interest of others at heart, a pure soul. In the wake of Eren’s leave and the threat of the Fae, Marco and Jean had finally started dating, which Eren had called years ago. A small smile graced the older woman’s face as she thought about how smug Eren would be knowing that his assumptions were correct. In fact, if she remembered correctly, Eren had waged a bet with his other friends that the two would be dating before the end of the year. If he came back, she would have to tell him so he could collect his winnings…no, not if, when.
“Good morning Marco, it’s good to see you, too. You know I don’t like to sugar coat things, so I’m not really feeling any better than before. It seems impossible, but I find myself missing him more each day, and the threat of the wrath we may face from the Fae has me going with only a few hours of sleep. But, I’m here- we all are, and we have to keep pushing forward. It’s what Eren would want us to be doing.” She spoke confidently, her maturity and wisdom shining through. Carla had always been magical in her own way, so it came as no surprise that every time she spoke, those around her clung to her every word. She had found that Eren’s friends deeply appreciated her honesty, so much like Eren’s own, so she never held back when addressing them despite her older age.
“Well, we’re glad to have you here with us. Would you come take a look at this? I’ve spent the past few days sketching out a rough draft of what the festival should look like, where it should be held, and a short list of the roles for each of us.” Armin’s warm voice filled the room, Carla couldn’t help but smile. Armin was Eren’s first best friend and had been a delight to have as part of the family. Though Carla had only ever birthed one child, she found herself taking in each of Eren’s friend as though they were her own. Armin had been the first and, although Carla would never admit it, her favorite. There was just something so charming and endearing about him.
“Of course, Armin, I’d be happy to.” Carla rounded the table and stood in between Armin and Mikasa, her eyes scanning the sketch laid out before them. It was magnificent, which really shouldn’t have come as a surprise, Armin was nothing if not meticulous and thorough. He was planning to hold the festival in the middle of the village and it included the places where each group of people performing would be, where the food would be placed, each decoration that was to be made, and more details. And, of course, the well renown carpenters, Reiner and Bertholdt, would be crafting magnificent thrones for each of the Fae Kings and Queens, smack dab in the center. Had Eren been here, she knew he would be proud of their plan. It was going to be the most wonderous festival the village had ever held…she only hoped it would be enough.
“This is wonderful, Armin. I’ll have to start working on the Fae’s clothing. I have a few ideas in mind but I am not exactly sure where I want to go with it yet. I'm hoping to finalize designs tonight.”
Armin was about to reply when Jean interjected, destroying the hopeful, optimistic atmosphere. “Do you think Eren is okay? He was taken by King Levi of all creatures… guy is something else.” Jean visibly shivered, eyes shifting to Carla with concern.
Mikasa pursed her lips angrily and replied before Carla had a chance to. “He’s fine. I told you already, he spent three whole days reading about the Fae, so he didn’t go into this completely blind. Plus, it’s Eren. You all know how much of a stubborn and reckless idiot he is. He’s probably driving King Levi up the wall if anything.”
“Yeah, but what about… her?” Jean countered.
“Jean, don’t talk about such things.” Armin barked, effectively shutting him up for the time being. He turned his attention back to the paper and continued speaking, “Carla, look here at this list and tell me what you think.”
Mikasa - Violin
Reiner - Thrones for King Levi and Queen Hange/Dancing
Bertholdt - Thrones for King Erwin and Queen Petra/Dancing
Sasha - Baking head/Dancing
Connie - Cooking head/Dancing
Jean- Singing/Martial Arts
Marco- Flute/Martial Arts
Annie- Singing/Martial Arts
Armin- Inventions (gifts)
Carla- Outfits/Grand tapestry
“This is just a list of main people. Sasha and Connie will have other skilled chefs and bakers in the kitchen helping them since we have so many mouths to feed, and I have a secondary list of all the other skilled crafters in the village that’ll oversee the decorations and such- and of course there’ll be so many extra hands to help around. Also, even though this festival is set for spring, we decided we should create decorations to honor each of the seasons so we don’t upset the other Fae.”
Carla nodded along as Armin spoke, seeing no faults. The tapestry would be tricky. It’s been a while since she tried to create something so intricate, however as the most skilled seamstress in town, she felt ready for the task. Everything created for this festival would be given to the Fae afterwards to be taken back to their realm, and she’s hoping they’ll argue over the tapestry. That was her part of the plan. By creating something they would all become envious over, hopefully it would distract them from their lies. She just needed to make it worthy of fighting over.
“This is all good, very good. I’ll get some help from the other seamstresses in the village for the pieces for the common Fae folk for time’s sake.” Carla chewed at her bottom lip as she thought about the mere three-month time frame they had given themselves. It was cutting close. She would have liked to have longer, but the Fae were surprisingly impatient creatures. You would think they- creatures who had centuries upon centuries to live- wouldn't care as much, but that’s just not the case, unfortunate for them.
Carla thought it might be wiser to drop some things due to the time constraint, but instead Jean’s voice rang out once more. “Do you guys think that King Levi would protect Eren against Ymir? Seriously thou-”
“Jean,” Mikasa bit out angrily before strolling over to stand across from him, fists clenched. “We told you to drop it.”
“Yeah, I know, Mikasa, but she is the Queen of the Wild Hunt and if she sees Eren… there is no way he could survive her wrath- not without help, anyway. And even then, that might prove disastrous because she’s existed longer than any of the Fae in their realm. I know what we’re doing is to save the village, but we should also be thinking of ways to save Eren,” Jean explained. He was all for protecting the village, but Eren mattered, too.
“Jean,” Carla spoke calmly, but firmly (a tone usually reserved for when Eren was in for a scolding), “I know my son is alive and safe and will continue to remain so. Don’t ask me how, it’s difficult to explain a mother’s intuition, but for now we need to focus our efforts on the festival. We can worry about helping my son once we’re finished. Now, if you will all excuse me, I have designs to work on.”
Carla forced a tight smile on her face before taking her leave. She felt bad for leaving without tasting Sasha’s cake, but her patience was running thin. Jean was a good kid and had nothing but the best intentions, he just had a difficult time thinking before speaking. In any other circumstance she might’ve discussed the situation further, but she had been plagued by nightmares every time she slept which already wasn’t very often in the first place. It would just be best to return to the quiet calm of her cottage and distract herself with work.
As Carla left the cottage, she felt the chill of snowflakes beginning to flurry. Winter had finally begun. The light snow caused her mind to drift to thoughts of the Winter King. Although she had never met King Levi personally, Carla had read as much as she could about him after Eren had been taken away. While thinking of the man for whom her son had been made for, she was reminded of a time long ago, when she had wandered out on a rainy, hot summer day, in search of a miracle.
If there was one thing Carla had always been sure of, it was that one day she would have kids. In fact, she wanted exactly three. She had fallen in love with the village doctor’s son, Grisha, just 12 years old, and constantly found herself imagining miniature versions of them merrily running around. They would be the most precious beings with sparkling eyes and smiles made of sunshine.
However, she had always been too shy to share her feelings with Grisha, but it was on her 16th birthday that Grisha’s present for her had been a grand confession of the feelings he’d harbored for her for just as long. Never had she imagined he could be so romantic, but there he was. Grisha had taken her out on a romantic picnic dinner underneath the stars, and recited a poem he’d spent months writing for her, pouring out his love. The two immediately began to date from then on. It was like a match made in heaven.
Grisha asked for her hand in marriage at 18 and by the time they were 19, they were living in a modest cottage with Carla working as a seamstress and Grisha taking over his father's job. After a year of saving up money, building onto their home, and being happily married, Carla brought up trying for children. Grisha was more than willing, the two ready to start a family together.
But life didn’t always go as planned. The first time Carla became pregnant she had a miscarriage, which was common, but heartbreaking all the same. For five years they tried until Grisha eventually said they should give up. It had been taking a mental toll on both of them. The reason why, they didn’t know, but Carla constantly blamed herself, her body. So Grisha would comfort her, saying it could have been either of them, but whose fault it was didn’t matter. Their children didn’t have to be blood related to be a family. He concluded that maybe it would be best to consider adopting rather than to continue facing the disappointment.
Carla couldn’t help the feeling of sadness that she couldn't bear children, but she wouldn’t let that stop her. Like Grisha said, an adopted child was no less special, but she was a women of determination and strength (but Grisha called it hardheadedness and stubbornness, but she didn’t need to know) and she wouldn’t give up. She’d already exhausted books and such on regular childbirth, so she decided to look into other ways less known. She looked into everything she could-even delving into books that were long forgotten-and that’s when she came across it. The centuries old book spoke of magical beings that lived deep in the ancient throws of the surrounding forest, a land untainted and unclaimed by the Fae. The creatures that lived there contained a different type of power called magik, different than the magic of the Fae. They were said to have been around for longer than both Fae and humans. However they were beings whose magik was warned against delving into, as this magik came at a steep price, though what, she didn’t quite know.
It was June when Carla decided to venture out into the unknown and seek the miracle she was desperate to find. She didn’t tell Grisha, or anyone else for that matter. She knew they would try to stop her. It was one thing to interact with the Fae whose magic and nature were somewhat understood, but it was something else, of a taboo of sorts, to partake in the old magik’s, especially with the ones known as Miotas.
Despite her fear, despite knowing she may be getting into something much bigger than herself, Carla persisted. She would go to the ends of the Earth for the slightest possibility of having her own child. It wasn’t that she didn’t agree with adoption, she just simply wanted to know the feeling of pregnancy, what it was like to grow another human being inside her, to birth a child that was made up of the same stardust she was made up of. This child would be their everything, their absolute everything.
When Carla stepped through the forest, her surroundings started to change. Gone were the small oaks of Shiganshina, replaced by ancient towering Cyprus’ that smelled of fresh rain and emanated a sense of wisdom.. somehow. How trees could give off a sense of wisdom was past her, but it was what it was. Along with that, the warm summer air turned to a cool fall chill as the young woman delved deeper into the long-forgotten realm of the Miotas. She felt as though she were being watched by millions of eyes, every step she took, every turn of her head, though when she looked around, there were nothing but the dark, towering trees to greet her.
Then, coming from all around as if the air itself had spoken, a deep, withering voice started to talk slow, yet deliberate manner. The sound was aching, as if it hadn’t been used for centuries.
“Human…why is it that you have wandered into these lands?” it queried. Carla trembled upon hearing that voice, her entire body going rigid from the essence of magik and power that poured over each syllable.
“I-I came t-to make- to make a wish,” she breathed, voice all but a whisper.
“Magik isn’t free, are you willing to sacrifice something of your own. Once it’s done, it cannot be undone,” there was a tense pause, “Tell me, little one, what is it that has taken you here, what desire has plagued your being so much so that you’d venture into unknown lands, ask favors of unknown creatures, use unknown magik?”
“A-a child. I.. I’ve been trying fo-for five years and n-nothing- just nothing. I don’t know what else to do- I want just one…just one,” she begged, the same sense of sadness blooming once again.
“A child, hmm?” The voice seemed to think for a moment before beginning again , “There was another who sought a wish from our kind long ago… and it has yet to be fulfilled. If I grant your wish, I must also grant hers.” Carla began to nod frantically, she was so close to her dream. “But as always, it's more than just that. You may have a child, but they will be created for someone else, they will be taken away and you will lose them... Are you willing to pay such a price?”
“Yes! Yes- I’m willing to do anything, even if I only get to have him for a few years, please! I just need…I need to know what it’s like, please…” Her voice no longer shook, now frantic and pleading. A spark of hope ran through her veins as the being told her her dream could come true. Damn the price, the punishment, she knew there would be repercussions, but she would find a way around them. She would keep her child for as long as she could, screw whatever fate had in store. Nothing in this world could be more powerful than the love between a mother and her child.
“I see, very well…”
It was 9 months later that Carla was gifted with the most beautiful baby boy, blessed with the most brilliant emerald green eyes, mesmerizing, almost mystical in presence. It was then that Carla knew what she had done and the consequences it held. Her choices would shape the entire life of this precious child, and he had no choice in the matter. Part of her felt guilty, but she couldn’t live a life of guilt. She needed to move on. She was going to enjoy the time she had with him, no matter how short it’d be…
Carla heaved a sigh as she walked back to her empty home, the memory resurfacing feelings in her that she had long since tucked away. She had been foolish to ever think Eren was hers and hers alone. The Miotas had told her from the very beginning that the child would never truly belong to her, and yet, she had spent the past almost 18 years believing she could fool the magik and keep him to herself. Did her stubborn, lively, breathtaking Eren truly have no say over the fate she had wrought him?
“I’m sorry, baby boy, for bringing you into this world knowing your life would never be your own. Please, forgive me.”
Chapter 9: The Secrets of the Winter King
Hey all, I'm SO sorry it's been so long since I've updated this. I had planned on trying to do weekly/bi-weekly updates at the beginning of all this, however, both my Beta and I have just been super busy with school and other life things so it hasn't gone as planned. However, don't fret! I'm still very much dedicated to this story and you will continue to get updates-albeit slowly.
Huge shout out, once again, to my Beta for being the super awesome individual that she is. I am so so grateful to have her on this journey with me and I can't wait to continue bringing you all this story with her here to help.
This was one of my favorite chapters to write so far, so I hope you all enjoy it! I'll see you soon!
P.S ANYONE SEE THAT NEW TRAILER! AHHHHH APRIL CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH!! (I've read the manga but it's always SO much nicer to see it all animated, ugh.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Ivy draped portal entrancing a soul
Within a sun enclaved in gold
Made by the Fae
Those wondrous beings
Is this real, what I’m seeing?”
Jayne Eggins-Fae Folk Dance
“You certainly know how to ruin a moment, don’t you, brat?” King Levi huffed as he pulled himself away from Eren and, if Eren didn’t know any better, he would have thought he sensed a hint of disappointment in the Fae Kings voice. It couldn’t be helped though. Unlike the Fae, Eren needed to eat and drink in order to survive.
“Sorry to be an inconvenience, your Excellency. If you think this is bad, wait to see what I get like when I’m really hungry,” Eren snorted, “Now, chop chop, oh mighty Fae King, some of us aren’t getting any younger and I doubt you’d enjoy me as much if I were half starved, graying and wrinkly.”
The Fae King made a face at Eren’s words, even managing to roll his eyes, which Eren counted as a victory. With each passing second they spent together, it became more and more clear that King Levi was displaying more of his emotions. Eren was happy for that, but, hopefully, it wouldn’t be too much longer before he became fully awake. Eren doubted his own mind would remain intact in the long term. And, from what Hange told him, he only had three days until the entire Fae realm learned of his existence, and that he’d soon be paid a visit by both King Erwin and Queen Petra.
He couldn’t worry about that right now though. No, all his attention needed to be on King Levi- he was the only answer to his own salvation. Eren also could no longer deny the pull he felt towards him, the being who was currently regarding him in an almost fond way from across the room. Maybe it was possible to get the two of them out of this mess and be able to live a happy and long mortal life with Levi Ackerman… no! Don’t get distracted . This is about saving my friends and family. Levi is up to Hange. My only job is to unlock his emotions. Don’t get attached. I can’t.
“Oi, brat. Are you listening to me?”
Eren jumped slightly as Levi’s face came into focus. “What the hell, Levi? You just about gave me a heart attack!”
“Oh, I’m sorry, your Excellency . Since you’re still sitting on the bed, I can’t touch you in order to relieve you of your daydreams, this was the next best option. If you want food, I suggest moving your ass. After all, as you said, some of us aren’t getting any younger.” King Levi grinned wickedly, placing both hands behind his back as he twirled away from a rather stunned Eren. This was, by far, the most human the Fae King had acted since their initial meeting, and Eren wasn’t sure if he was ready for it. An emotionless asshole? Sure. But a Levi Ackerman with attitude and a sense of humor? Oh boy, just who have I gotten myself involved with?
“W-wait. If we leave this room, won’t the other Fae in your court see us?” Eren asked, stopping behind the Fae King. He peered over his shoulder out into the long corridor beyond the door of their shared chamber. He had known it would only be a matter of time until he was discovered, but he’d hoped it to be after the village’s festival.
King Levi snaked an arm around Eren’s slim waist and nuzzled his nose against the younger man’s collarbone. “Silly brat, you think I hadn’t thought of that? This entire section of the castle is off limits until further notice. It’s not the first time I’ve made such a request, so nobody will question it. I am a rather solitary individual, but… you’ve been quite the exception,” Levi explained, fixing Eren with a thoughtful gaze.
The brunet squirmed under the ministrations of the Fae King, but didn’t pull away. Almost like he didn’t want to, but that was ridiculous! This was simply in order to unlock the Fae’s emotions- it had nothing to do with the fact that he actually liked the way King Levi felt pressed up against him. No. Of course not! Nothing like that at all.
“Erm, okay then. Lead the way.” Eren gestured half-heartedly, not knowing what to do with his body. Whenever he was pressed up this close to King Levi, he couldn’t help but feel the magnetic pull that set his entire body aflame. Couldn’t help but want to give into it, but- no. He had other things to be worrying about right now. Right then his stomach growled loudly and he couldn’t help but let out a soft groan. Eren was well known for his ability to eat almost anything and everything and seeing as it’d been over a day since his last meal…yeah, his stomach was none too pleased with him at the moment.
King Levi let out a soft chuckle, then- fuck, he licked- fucking licked his neck as though he was goddamn ice cream and boy did his legs give out fast. Good thing Levi was already holding him, else he’d be mush on the floor. “Mm, I imagine the hunger you feel is the same hunger I feel whenever I look at you, hmm? If I get you food, what do I get in return?” Levi practically purred the question, his warm breath tickling Eren’s skin.
Eren let out a sound that was halfway between another groan of hunger and a moan of pleasure. He couldn’t help the way his body responded to the Fae King and it frustrated him beyond end. Why did he have to be like this. “What the fuck do you mean, Levi? If I don’t eat, I can guarantee I will pass out. That wouldn’t be too fun now, would it?”
King Levi responded by moving his lips back down to Eren’s collarbone, nipping it gently, a sinful smirk spreading across his lips. “I could always just use my Fae magic to keep you awake, even with the hunger gnawing at you. It wouldn’t be difficult at all, you know, so how about we strike a deal instead?”
At the feel of King Levi’s teeth against his exposed skin, Eren had to do everything in his power to keep himself from letting out another moan. He couldn’t let the Fae King know just how much of an effect he had on the brunet. Eren bit down on his bottom lip hard and clenched his fists at his sides. He should have known this wouldn’t be easy, everything with King Levi was a game.
“What kind of deal are we talking about here?”
King Levi hummed and moved his mouth away from Eren, instead choosing to look Eren straight in the eyes. Eren narrowed his eyes when he saw the mischievous glint that shown in the silver-blue eyes and he mentally braced himself for what was to come next.
“It’s the winter solstice and the beginning of my season's reign, as such, I must hold a Yule Festival. I want you to go. Don’t worry, it’s a masked festival so none of the winter Fae will see your face, and I can use my Fae magic to make your eyes appear blue rather than green. A pity, as I rather enjoy their natural color, but I don’t want anyone else to see them until I’m made privy to every emotion they hold…” Levi smirked, “I’m looking forward to seeing what they look like when I’m pleasuring you for hours on end.”
Eren’s entire face turned ruby red as he smacked King Levi’s shoulder. “Levi! D-don’t say things like that! Fucking- you’re going to be the death of me. I’ll go to your damn party if you learn how to control yourself and get me some food. I’ll also need something to wear…a-are you planning on going to Shiganshina?”
King Levi dismissed Eren’s comment about behaving as he grabbed the hand that was still pressed up against his shoulder and laced his ebony fingers through tan ones, pulling the young brunet along after him as he took short strides down the corridor.
“I’ll get you food, as was the original agreement. And yes, I’m going to Shiganshina. Before you ask, I will be going to see your mother. I’m sure she must already have some outfits she made for you in the past that are suitable for tonight. If you behave, I may consider delivering a message to her from you.”
Eren allowed the Fae King to hold his hand as he walked behind him, and his mind reeled at the news he’d just been given. He wasn’t sure what the Fae had meant when he told him to behave, however, he had an idea of some things he might be able to do to convince the pervert to give a message to his mother. He needed to let her know he was okay and that he loved her. He wondered what his mother would think about King Levi. Would she approve of the feelings that Eren was developing for him? Wait, what? Feelings? No…I don’t feel anything towards him. I just find him attractive…that’s all. Right?
“So, brat, what’s are your favorite foods? If I bring you the ingredients back, I’m sure you’d be capable enough of doing something with them.” King Levi had dragged Eren into what appeared to be a sitting room. A large fireplace and two love seats sat in the front, to the left an enormous bookcase filled with hundreds upon hundreds of books, new and old, and to the right were paintings that looked eerily familiar, but Eren couldn’t put his finger on it, as well as a large bow window that provided a spectacular view of the castle courtyards. Every piece of furniture sitting in the room appeared to have been taken straight from a Victorian London castle.
They were old pieces, most likely made by someone in the village who was long dead, yet they were all still perfectly intact and immaculately clean. In fact, although the castle had an ancient aura about it, there was not one speck of dust to be seen. I wonder if King Levi is some sort of clean freak? Eren thought amusedly as he filed away this information in his brain. Everything was quiet aside from the flames licking at the wood beneath them which placed Eren at ease, he need not worry about being discovered just yet.
“I-I thought you knew what my favorite food was…” Eren squeaked out before he thought better of it.
“And why would I know that?” King Levi all but purred in the brunet’s ear.
“B-because. Well…um…it doesn’t matter…” Eren was fumbling now, mumbling out his words as he tried to pull himself away from the Fae King’s grasp. He wasn’t sure there was a moment in his life where he had ever been this embarrassed.
“Do you remember what I said about behaving, Eren.” King Levi’s voice had shifted from sultry to demanding as he nipped at Eren’s ear. Ah, that’s what he meant by behaving.
“When I kissed you before…your lips tasted like blueberries…” Eren spoke so softly that if it wasn’t for the Fae’s incredible hearing, King Levi wouldn’t have heard him. As soon as he finished his sentence the brunet wrenched his hand from the Fae King’s grasp and covered his face. He knew that this would be used against him. Fuck my life, why do I always have to open my mouth without thinking first?
“That wasn’t so hard brat now, was it? Blueberries, hmm… I can do that. I’ll bring back a rabbit and some other ingredients- perhaps you could make some sort of stew. I think I might have a cauldron around here somewhere. The pixies enjoy using them to concoct potions. You don’t want to know what for, so don’t ask. I’ll be back soon.” Levi gave him one last searing look before departing. “ Behave .”
Eren was confused at King Levi’s reaction. He’d expected the Fae King to tease him relentlessly or to try and kiss the brunet again. Instead, King Levi had acted as though Eren hadn’t just utterly embarrassed himself, and all he could see through the spaces between his fingers were stern gray eyes before the Fae disappeared into thin air, transporting himself elsewhere to find Eren some food.
Despite the numerous times King Levi had displayed his Fae powers, it still came as a shock whenever he appeared or disappeared at ease. Eren wished he had that ability...how easy it would be to travel between both realms without anyone detecting him. He sighed as he made his way over to the bookshelf. He wasn’t sure what he would find, but he was shocked that many of the books were about the human realm. He ran his fingers along the worn spines of the books when his fingers suddenly brushed up against a book that looked to be thousands of years old. He felt a jolt of electricity shoot through him and his heart began to pound erratically.
Eren tentatively pulled the book out from the shelf, as careful as he could. It was black leather bound and the pages on the inside were fraying, he almost felt as if it’d tear from his just holding it. As delicately as he could, Eren began to turn the thick, cream-colored pages, skimming over the words scrawled over the page. Although the language was clearly not English, for some reason he could still just... understand it. His eyes landed on a passage labeled “The Forbidden Fae Well” and when he found the words “how to become human” written there he nearly dropped the book from the pure shock.
Eren wanted to keep reading, but he didn’t want to chance being caught by King Levi once he returned. He’d come back to this, though. This was important information, something he needed to keep in mind for when Levi’s emotions were fully restored. Hange was right all along then… Levi had a plan from the very beginning, but then what was it that kept him from becoming human again if this book was sitting right here? Did the Fae King forget that he had this book in his collection? Did any other Fae know that this book existed? Or maybe none of it worked, maybe he’d already tried it and nothing would work…? Whatever the answer was, it was a lead and Eren was going to use anything he could.
Eren slid the book back into place before quickly taking a seat in front of the crackling fire. All he had to do was get Levi’s emotions to come back, show him this book, and then Eren could be on his merry little way. Levi, Hange, and Moblit could all become human and leave the Fae realm for good and Eren didn’t have to stick around for any of it, hopefully, anyway. But...it couldn’t really be that simple, could it? Levi clearly kept this book knowing he was going to make the decision to become a Fae, but if this book existed why was it that Fae like Moblit or Hange didn’t know about it? How had Levi come across it?
Eren couldn’t understand it all. It was just… sitting there. With all the thoughts running through his brain making him go haywire, he started to wander off, slip away a little- until he saw something. Emerald eyes latched onto the flames dancing in front of him and, through his hazy mind, he could have sworn he saw something moving among those embers. Eren stood up and moved towards the fire, his right hand stretching out as far as he could, almost as if straining to save someone. Suddenly, a stern voice made his head turn and stop his movements, jolting him back into reality.
“Oi, brat! What do you think you are doing? I leave for not even thirty minutes and you’re already doing stupid shit.”
“I-I thought…” Eren began, turning back to the flames, but no longer seeing anything within its depths. “I thought I saw something...” Eren murmured, trailing off at the end, hand still outstretched as his fingers twitched restlessly, only realizing now how hot his fingers were getting, on the verge of unbearable.
A noise sounded, alerting Eren that King Levi must have brought quite a few things back with him before smooth, pale fingers softly stroked the skin of his wrist.
“Eren, if you stick your hand into the fire your hand will be burned to hell and you won’t be able to paint anymore. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” Levi smirks, lifting an eyebrow, “Come, how about we get you something to eat?”
It wasn’t the touch that brought Eren out of the fog, but the warmth that laced the Fae Kings voice. He turned his head to regard King Levi with wide eyes, not believing that the same Fae who’d attempted to seduce and capture him with nothing but promises of hurt within those same eyes was now comforting and looking at him as if he cared. Eren’s mind was just all over the place today- well, more than usual.
“Sorry, I’m not sure what came over me just then, but uh, food sounds good, though I’m afraid I’ve never done much cooking myself.” Eren sheepishly chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. He liked to think of himself as being grown up, however, he’d been living with his parents up until a few days ago and his mom almost never allowed him to do anything on his own. Hell, it had taken him months to convince her to allow him to do his own laundry, but the final straw had been him embarrassingly muttering that he didn’t want her going through his cum-stained boxer briefs and that had led to the two of them turning as red as tomatoes and never bringing the subject up again. Jeez...what kind of 17-year-old am I?
King Levi wrapped his fingers lightly around Eren’s wrist and tugged him towards the table where he’d put down all the ingredients Eren would need to cook a stew. Eren’s eyes grew wide upon seeing a bowl full of the biggest and juiciest looking blueberries he’d ever seen in his life. Upon noticing what it was that caught Eren’s interest, King Levi simpered, strolling over to pick one up before gently pressing it against Eren’s lips. Eren allowed King Levi to feed him and as soon as he bit into the blueberry, he found himself involuntarily moaning. Fuck . The moment he realized the noise he’d made, he cut himself off, but it was too late. His cheeks turned a light shade of pink as he pressed his fingers to his mouth and glanced anywhere but at the Fae King next to him.
“That’s just fine, Eren. I told you I wouldn’t be able to cook it for you because as a Fae I can’t create, however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t remember how to cook from my human days. I’ve brought back a rabbit, already skinned, as well as some potatoes and carrots and then some herbs for seasoning. I’ve already filled the cauldron with water so all you have to do is follow my directions and it should turn out at least edible for you. If not, there are always the blueberries,” Levi supplied, then turning smug once again. “And I certainly wouldn’t mind hearing more of those sinful little noises...”
“T-that was a one-time thing so don’t even think about it!” Eren huffed indignantly before tearing himself away to properly look over all the food Levi had brought back. He’d watched his mom cook plenty of times, had even helped her in the kitchen time to time, so it wasn’t as if he had no idea what he was getting himself into. It was just that this was the first time he would ever be making something all on his own, well, with the help of King Levi that is. For some reason, the thought of experiencing something new with King Levi made him giddy, but Eren decided to push that to the back of his mind as he picked up the knife and got to work on dicing up the rabbit.
King Levi was surprisingly both patient and kind with Eren as he walked him through each step and in no time Eren had managed to successfully cook his very first rabbit stew. By the time it was finished cooking over the fire, Eren was ravenous and he gobbled down the first bowl within seconds the moment it was cool enough. The Fae King watched in amusement as he devoured three more bowls as well as some more blueberries for dessert. “You’re looking much better, brat.” There was a teasing lilt in the Fae Kings voice as he reached over and swiped his thumb over some blueberry juice that had dripped down the brunet’s chin.
“Mm, I feel much better,” Eren smiled gratefully. “Um...thank you for bringing me all of that. You didn’t have to go through the trouble of being so thorough. I would’ve been fine with just some nuts and fruit, to be honest.”
Eren watched, mesmerized, as King Levi lifted the thumb with the blueberry juice smudged over it and slid his tongue across the skin slowly, setting a sultry gaze on him. It was only after he finished did Levi speak again, but in a low, darkened voice, “Don’t be silly. Fruits and nuts won’t provide you with the energy that you’ll be needing, Eren.”
Eren chewed at his bottom lip as his heart thumped wildly inside his chest. He could feel that familiar heat crawling up his face and it took everything in him to muster up a reply that didn’t sound broken. “W-what do you mean by that?” So much for trying, Eren thought.
“Oh, Eren, you should really just drop that fake innocence now. It’d be much more pleasurable to do so sooner rather than later, I assure you. But, nevertheless, you’ll find out when the time comes. In the meantime… hmm. You’ve been a good boy, haven’t you? I will deliver a message to your mother if you wish, but I must leave soon if I am to make it back in enough time to prepare us both for the Yule festival so be quick about it.”
“You’ll really do that for me?” Eren asked, spirits uplifting at the thought.
“Tch, brat. I said I would. Don’t make me repeat myself. Now tell me what you want me to say.”
Before Eren could think about it, he lurched forward and pressed his mouth against the Fae King’s in a heated kiss. At first King Levi seemed to be startled by the action, but it didn’t take long for his mouth to start moving against Eren’s as they both clung to one another. Eren felt cool fingers slide up under his shirt and press against the warmth of his abdomen and he let out a soft sigh before (somewhat reluctantly) pulling away. He wasn’t sure where that surge of passion came from and it worried him. The more affection the Fae King showed him, the more Eren felt like just offering himself up on a silver platter. Internally he sighed. He couldn’t let this get out of hand.
“Thank you,” he breathed, lips slightly swollen as he pressed his forehead against Levi’s. “Could you… could you tell her that I’m okay and for her to not worry? That I love and miss her and I’m sorry I left without a proper goodbye? I think… hmm, I think that’ll be enough.” Eren chuckled. “I’ve never been too great with words, but she’ll get it, even when I’m silent she gets it… she always has,” Ere continued, smiling a little brighter.
“You know brat, one of these days I’m not going to allow you the luxury of pulling away from me. I’m sorry to be leaving you again so soon, but I promise we’ll have plenty of time together when I get back tonight. Behave while I’m gone, will you? I’d rather you go back to our room, so I don’t have to worry about you setting yourself on fire, but I’ll allow you to make that decision for yourself. I also have some books and such, if you’re interested .”
Something about the way that King Levi said that last word had Eren thinking that he knew exactly what kind of secrets he held within his castle, but before Eren could question him, the Fae King had once again disappeared. The brunet sighed as he eyed the bookcase. As much as he wanted to go back to that book and look through its contents, he wasn’t sure if his mind could handle it. He knew there was something different with him, something wrong with him, for him to be losing his mind so quickly when Hange had said that Levi lasted here for three whole years before succumbing to the fate of the Fae. He couldn’t afford to push himself too far if he wanted to uphold the promise to himself that he had made no matter how much he wanted to. He needed to see his friends and family again- he needed to see his mother again
So, instead, Eren made his way back to King Levi’s room. He hadn’t failed to recognize how the Fae King had referred to it as their room, but Eren didn’t plan on staying here any longer than necessary, and becoming attached to things such as that would only make it harder for them to part when the time came. And though it hurt some to think about, it was what had to happen. Once he was in the room, he sauntered over to the master bathroom, so he could shower and freshen himself up. Eren had forgotten what a difference being clean could make, he felt like an entirely different person.
It was only after Eren had redressed himself and headed over to his easel to work on a painting during King Levi’s absence that he noticed the portrait he’d created for his mother was gone and the only explanation he could contrive for its absence was that King Levi must have taken it with him to give to his mother.
“I’ve never too great with words, but she’ll get it, even when I’m silent she gets it... she always has.”
King Levi...he’d known what Eren meant when he said he wasn’t good at expressing himself in words. From that one simple sentence, the Fae King had figured out what only the woman who had birthed and raised him discovered and it was with that that Eren knew . King Levi was no longer just the cruel king of the Winter Court. He was something so much more and Eren didn’t know just how to feel about it.
Levi, just how long have you been hiding under that guise and when were you going to tell me?
And just in case anyone is confused by anything, I just want to clear up the timeline and some other things a bit.
Next chapter will be the Yule Festival, which is not the same as the festival that the village will be holding. That festival will happen in probably 2-3 more chapters. I haven't ever written anything like this before, so I'm happy to be able to use the Yule Festival as practice for the even bigger one that will be held on Eren's birthday.
***24 hours in the Fae realm equals 1 month in Shiganshina. Eren has been in the Fae realm for one full day and part of a second day, therefore he's been gone for roughly a month and a half. This also means that the Yule Festival is happening on his second night there.
Also, if it seems like he is falling for Levi fast you have to remember that:
1) He was created for Levi, so the emotional pull they feel towards one another is much stronger than others would feel. I suppose one of the best ways to describe it would be as them being soul-mates.
2) One day in the Fae realm also feels like much longer than a day, due to the magic of the land (which makes sense if you consider that one day is a whole month in the human realm). This causes Eren to feel as though he has known Levi for much longer than just a few days, so it isn't too out of the ordinary for him to feel so strongly about him.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them in the comments! I'll be sure to clear everything up and, as the story progresses, things will make more sense as well.
Thanks again for all the comments, kudos, and love I have been receiving for this story! You all make this whole process worth the struggle. <3
Chapter 10: Remembrance
A little over two months later....
I'm so sorry guys! This semester has been really tough for me, I've been loaded with long research papers, a thesis, and working 30 hours a week at my job on top of it all. I wanted to have a better update schedule for you guys, but sadly I can't make a promise that the next chapter will come out soon, I've started working on it but I'm barely in and I know these take long but I hate putting out chapters that are less than 4,000 words. I graduate on May 4th so after that I'll have a lot more free time on my hands to devote to writing this but don't worry! I am fully committed to finishing this out.
Once again I want to give a huge shout out to my beta, Lei, for just being an awesome human being and friend. I'm so lucky to have you on board with me and you help bring out the best in each of these chapters. Thanks for everything!
I really enjoyed this chapter and included a surprise POV to make it all up to you guys. I originally was going to include the Yule Festival within this chapter, but, it would have made it more than twice as long as it already is and I want to devote a whole chapter to just that so I promise that comes next. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Your heart doth drip its aqua tears my knight
Let service be your key, pray not for me
Serve I must in another court this day
All so soon I glimpse its citrine soft light
Let your grief tend our summer hallowed tree
Look for me in still pools sanctioned by fae.”
He wasn’t sure why he’d decided to take the brat’s painting with him. Why would he care about his painting? Why would he care about humans and their shitty ass emotions? Why would he care if taking the painting to the brat’s mom would make her happy and, in turn, make the brat happy? Why would he care? Levi was the Winter King, after all; one of the most powerful Fae to exist within their realm. He didn’t have time to cater to the whims of a mere, pathetic human and yet, here he was on the way to the human realm carrying the painting carefully in his arms as if the slightest bump would cause it to crumble beneath his fingers.
It was strange being around Eren. He made Levi feel… odd. He didn’t quite know what the something was yet. The first time they kissed, Eren had been the one to initiate it, and coupled with the warmth of his hands on his face, it had Levi feeling as if the room had fallen away and all there was was this slow, burning feeling. In all his years of being alive he’d never gotten so lost in the feeling of another’s lips against his. It seemed that after over 2,000 years of being dormant, his heart had begun to beat once more. Fae didn’t experience hunger, but after just a taste of Eren, every second away from him had Levi feeling as if he was starving.
Memories he’d never cared to dwell on starting popping up. When he wasn’t within the presence of Eren he found himself worrying about him, and when he was with of Eren he found himself wanting nothing more than to please him, no matter how much of a brat he could be. There were times where he swore there was a strange pain in his chest and his brain would be all foggy. He knew he was forgetting something, some specific memory attempting to crawl its way to the surface, but it was as if he was stuck in quicksand: the harder he tried, the deeper he sank, and no matter what he kept on sinking- it seemed like there was no sure way out.
The human version of Levi had cared, even loved , before, as hard as that may be to imagine, but King Levi could conjure up no memories of anything quite so… passionate . While he couldn’t exactly feel the emotions he once had- more like an outsider looking into their own life- he could still remember those times. He knew he’d die for his friends, he’d do anything for them as was evident of his state now, but this was something more, something he’d never experienced before. Maybe it was because it’d been hundreds of years since the last time the Fae King had deigned to take part in such an activity, or maybe it was just Eren. All Levi knew was that when he was around the boy, whether they were talking, touching, or simply around each other, it felt as if an eternity of loneliness had washed away, replaced by this light, fluttery feeling.
The Fae King let out a disgruntled sigh and shook his head. He couldn’t let this distract him right now; he had a festival to prepare for. If anyone in his court noticed his current weakness- if King Erwin heard of it- to say he’d have a lot of shit on his hands would be putting it lightly. The mere thought of it sent a shiver of through his body. Right now, he would focus on putting on a festival that would satisfy as well as mentally preparing himself for a visit with the mother of the boy he’d stolen away. Being the perfectionist he was, he wouldn’t stop until everything was to his liking. His court hadn’t once ever been disappointed with any of the celebrations, so really, everything should be fine, but something deep within him was telling him that tonight was special. There was an odd aura of finality, as if something was finally coming to an end.
As Levi entered the human world, he felt off balance as was expected, except this time more so than usual. It was a natural feeling that occurred when one traveled between the two realms, but it seemed as though the war waging within himself amplified those feelings. He shook his head again. Focus, focus, focus.
After a few more moments of silent meditation, the Fae King began his trek through the forest and into the small, quaint town of Shiganshina. It was funny, really, how much humans strove to cling to things that were familiar to them. In all his two thousand years of being a Fae, the village had hardly changed. The only parts of the village that illustrated the human world was now in the 21st century were the lights and some of the newer buildings. Otherwise, if someone from out of town were to visit they would feel as though they were taking a step into the past.
Fae time worked much differently than it did in this realm. Humans often spoke about how King Levi had been in power for over 2,000 years, but it was nowhere near that amount of time back in his kingdom. 167 years to their 2,000. Compared to some of the Fae who had come before him, his reign was nothing. The thought caused a feeling of what he would equate to as sadness to shoot through his chest. To think that so much time had passed here, so much history had been made, and that so many people had come and gone, and yet for him… that same time had seemed like nothing at all.
And at that very moment it was as if a dam had been broken and Eren’s emotions suddenly made sense to him. Even with the knowledge that even if he were to one day procure his freedom, there was the possibility that everyone he ever knew and loved would be dead, he took his chances for his village, willing to risk his own demise, his own downfall, for the people he cared for. He was risking the chance of returning to a world that he no longer knew, the very world that Levi no longer knew.
Levi chewed his bottom lip as the Yeager household came into view. It was a two-story cottage with a cobblestone roof built in a rather peculiar way. On one side it was shaped like a triangle with the bottom right side coming down to frame around their door and on the other side, it formed more of a rectangle shape with part of it circling around a small window. The wood of the cottage was painted an alabaster white with accented wood around the windows and on the door being of a rich mahogany color. There were vibrant green vines trailing up the left side of the cottage, the leaves wrapping around the window adorned with lush red wine colored roses. Surrounding the house was a wooden picket fence and as Levi stepped onto the cobblestone pathway and entered into the yard he found he was surrounded by a robust garden. The garden was filled several oakland hydrangeas, ogan spireas, a few purple smoke bushes, some more of those richly colored roses, and a small fountain in the center made up of a series of smooth stones.
It was a quaint and beautiful space and Levi could see that this place was filled with peace and serenity. He pictured a young Eren running through the gardens with a wide smile on his face and that’s when he made his decision. He couldn’t allow Eren to fall to the same fate he had. He would have to find a way to get Eren back to his realm as soon as possible. That way he could live out his normal human life with those he loved and cherished, and then die along with them, a good life having been lived.
Levi found it hard to picture Eren as a Fae; devoid of his beautiful art and the explosive emotions, the ones that caused everyone around him to cling to him like moths would a flame, so entranced by his flames. There was no scenario that the Fae King could imagine in which it’d be okay for Eren to become such a being like himself. The mere thought of it was just wrong.
As Levi knocked on the front door of Eren’s home, he felt an odd stirring in his chest, a feeling he hadn’t felt since he had made the decision to give himself up in exchange for Isabel’s freedom. It was… protectiveness, it was caring for someone, it was worrying about another over himself. This realization was nothing short of startling for him, a being who had felt nothing but slight hints of animosity, lust, and boredom for over 2,000 human years. The door opened and in front of him appeared an exact replica of the painting Eren had done. Carla was even more beautiful in person, her kind eyes and soft smile, her small frame, but confident posture- all of it reminded Levi of someone from long, long ago. A woman who had died many, many years ago. The same woman who had given him everything she could in order for him to live the life she had only ever had the possibility of dreaming of. The woman who he could never really forget.
“King Levi, what a surprise! A-are you okay? You’re… you’re crying, sweetie. Is something wrong?”
He shook his head, bringing his hands up to his face. Pulling them back-
His fingertips glistened with tears.
Everything was wrong.
With Levi having left, Eren had nothing to do and nothing to distract himself with. He considered taking another look at the book he’d found earlier, but the incident with the fire had him hesitating. Ultimately, he decided not to. He doesn’t know what could set him off and he can’t afford to fuck up right now. Plus, he has no idea when Levi would return so if he does do something stupid, he doesn’t know how long he’d be stuck. Eren also thought about exploring the castle some more, but again, he doesn’t know much about the place and the things it holds so tempting his fate doesn’t sound like a risk he’d want to take. Besides, he has the festival tonight; it’ll be a nice change of scenery. But, despite being excited for them, it makes him feel nervous.
Eren decided to go back to their shared bedroom, it being the safest place for him. As he made his way there, he felt butterflies in his stomach at the thought of being surrounded by hundreds of unfamiliar Fae. While he was excited at the prospect of exploring the castle grounds of the Winter Court, he couldn’t help but worry about them. Learning how to interact with Levi had proven difficult enough and even he had some human roots.
As Eren thought, his steps slowed, getting lost in his inner turmoil. He tried to remember everything that Mikasa and Armin had mentioned of their interactions with the Fae and what they were like, but the only thing he could distinctly recall was their emphasization on the fact that the Fae tended to be very cunning. They liked to prey on human emotions just get what they want and once they were done having their fun, they had clever ways of disposing of them. Of course, not all Fae were like this. Armin had mentioned there existed some who almost admired humans, intrigued by their intellectual capacities and seemed to enjoy long conversations about technology and the human world, how it’s changed over the past few hundred years. Fae were, after all, naturally curious creatures and had an appetite for knowledge that was nearly impossible to sate.
If only his family and friends hadn’t kept him in the dark things would’ve been so much easier. Eren knows they were only trying to help him, but it was frustrating and did just the opposite. Even so, he knew he’d be safe from harm so long as the Fae King kept his interest for him, so he doesn’t need to worry all too much, but he couldn’t help it. For now, he’d have to plan some things to talk about because no doubt the Fae will be asking questions. The best he could come up with is his travels to Germany and his knowledge of technology and new age inventions. Hopefully it’d be enough to direct their attention from wondering why a random human was in their realm, but all of it was a huge risk- they were definitely going to be suspicious. To Eren’s knowledge, King Levi had only ever brought back humans for their talents. Eren couldn’t let anybody know who he was, so saying he was a painter was out of the picture. What if they asked to see something of his? Humans and Fae alike knew his paintings- he’d be screwed and so would Levi. The Fae, especially Erwin, would be all over him if they knew what Eren was trying to do.
Then again, Levi had been a Fae for a long time and was more than capable of handling himself. What Eren really needed to do was focus on keeping his own identity a secret. If it got out who he was before his village threw the festival they had been spending months (that was such a fucking odd thought when it had only been two days for Eren) planning… he didn’t even want to think about what sort of wrath the Fae would bring upon them. Not to mention, it would make his chances of making it back to the human realm unscathed nearly impossible.
Eren walked into the bedroom and plopped down on the bed, placing his head in his hands and rubbing his palms across his face roughly. All the thinking was giving him a headache. Normally it was Armin who was the worry-wart and Eren would be going in head-first, not thinking of any potential consequences. It was how he got named the “suicidal bastard” and other such names. Even so, he couldn’t really argue. But, it seems like his time in the Fae realm was already making changes to his personality as well as his mentality. He couldn’t decide if it was a good thing or not since thinking things through was probably something he should’ve done. If only his friends back home could see him know; they’d be calling him crazy.
As he thought, Eren continued to stare at the ground with a his hands cradling his head. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed by with him sitting like that, but by the time he finally looked up his body gave a jerk and he let out a pitiful squeak. Levi was casually leaning against the doorframe with his usual unreadable expression. Eren had no idea how long the Fae King had been standing there staring at him like that, as if he was some sort of puzzle that needed to be solved… as if he could see right through him and into his soul. Eren was fully clothed and yet he had never felt quite so bare in his entire life. It was... uncomfortable.
Out of habit he found himself scratching the back of the neck and looking off to the side. Whenever he was nervous, Eren had a difficult time keeping eye contact with someone, a fault that he was not only aware of but hated as well.
“I… er… I didn’t hear you come back,” he muttered softly, continuing to avoid Levi’s gaze, though since noticing he felt as if he was burning.
“It hasn’t been that long. You looked deep in thought and I didn’t want to disturb you.” Levi’s smooth voice filtered into the room and seemed to fill up every inch of the space around them. The Fae King had always had a big presence, but for some reason now it seemed to suffocate him. Pulling himself together, Eren looked back at the seemingly unchanging face and asked, “My mother...did she say anything?”
Levi’s eyes flashed and the corner of his jaw ticked slightly as he brought his right hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose, a tired look on his face. This was uncharacteristic of the Fae he had spent the past few days getting to know and Eren began to once again question if Levi’s emotions had really already come back and, if so, what was the reason behind keeping it a secret from Eren? He had to be aware of them, right?
“Your mother… she said a lot of things. I’ve always found humans to be incredibly curious creatures and that, even in my own days as a human, it was nearly impossible to understand their motives behind their actions. However, your mother… she is different. Hmm, I can see where you get it from.
“The only thing you need to know is that she loves you and she said she understands why you made the decision you did and that she isn’t mad. She also cried when I gave her the painting… if that means anything,” Levi paused, almost lost in his own thoughts, “Human emotion.... it is… still rather confusing for me to fe- fully comprehend.”
Eren narrowed his eyes as he listened to Levi talk. His apprehension was clear in his typically bored voice and it was only amplified by his slip up towards the end. Eren wanted nothing more than to call him out, but right now wasn’t the best time to do it. All Eren wanted to know was why he would want to hide himself and why he couldn’t just be honest. He’d have to ask later, he guessed. There couldn’t be any distraction right now.
“Did you get the outfit from my mother?” He chose to ask instead. They only had limited time to prepare before Eren was fully shoved into the world of the Fae, afterall.
“Ah, yes. I sat it on the dresser over there while you were staring off into space.” Levi straightens from the doorframe. “We only have two hours until the festival begins. I’ll be… preoccupied for a while as it’s customary for the Fae ruler to receive gifts from and converse with their subjects. However, I’ll be back in enough time to explain how you should behave.”
And with that, Levi vanished into thin air. This time Eren wasn’t as startled by it as he had come to expect the Fae King to come and go as he pleased yet he still felt a slight pang in his chest. He hadn’t had much alone time with Levi today and for some reason that fact was bothering him in a way that he found quite unusual.
Though Eren wasn’t surprised by the Fae King’s sudden disappearance, he still felt a slight pang in his chest. He hadn’t had much alone time with Levi today, and for some reason that was bothering him more than he thought it would… or should. Eren had never been one for attention. In fact, his popularity (of sorts) back in the village had made him a bit uncomfortable at times, but with Levi? He wanted Levi’s company- fuck, he was jealous, what has his life come to. He couldn’t have a crush on him, could he?
Was it even possible to have a crush after only knowing someone for a few days? Well, Eren guessed it was possible, but with Levi? It was strange… Eren felt as though he’d known Levi for much longer than he had. He theorized it was since the two days spent in the Fae world represented two whole months back in his world. Time moves differently here, much slower, and maybe the magic of it all must be getting to his head…
Eren sighed and knocked his head lightly. Not now, not now, not now. Instead, Eren went to go take a look at what his mother had made for him. Upon laying his eyes on it and running his hand over the cashmere, Eren could almost feel all the hard work and love that was put into making each piece of the suit. A tight, white undershirt, a charcoal-colored waistcoat with a two-buttoned front adorned with horn buttons, a front flap, ticket pocket, and a hand-cut chest welt pocket, all complete with a matching set of pants. Lastly was the tie, with a simply navy blue color and smooth to the touch.
Eren quickly undressed and slipped into the undershirt and pants. He couldn’t lie- his ass looked fucking fantastic. He’d always been told his body was great, but these pants did a great job at hugging his glutes and showing them off in the best possible way and the shirt fit snugly against his frame. Slipping into the waistcoat, he couldn’t help but be surprised by how smoothly it seemed to mold against him. His mother had truly outdone herself this time.
Eren paused. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too much. He definitely didn’t want to stand out. The thought of all them staring at him made him internally cringe. He loved his mother with all his heart, but if he starts getting too much attention he might just start cursing her and her wonderful skills just a little.
But alas, the last step was putting on the tie. Eren had always struggled with it, but having it in his hands put a soft smile on his face. Had his mother been here, she would gently tie it around his neck and then she’d smooth down the fabric over his shoulders even if there were no wrinkles to be seen. She’d run her hands through his forever messy hair and he’d get annoyed at all her fuss, but she’d just give him a look and tell him to deal with it because she’s his mother. He’d roll his eyes and pout, but she’d ignore it and give him a kiss on the cheek. He misses that, he really does.
Eren tried to successfully tie it, sticking his tongue out from habit. You’d think he’d be better with his hands considering he was a painter, but doing these kinds of things never worked for him. What seems like countless times later he was ready to give up and leave it be until he heard a soft chuckle from across the room. Startled, Eren whipped his head around to find Levi, again, staring at him, but this time in a suit. He looked absolutely breathtaking.
Eren could tell the suit was also made by his mother, but the only thoughts running through his head were when the fuck did Levi manage to commission my mom and why the fuck didn’t I know about it and holy shit, I need to jump his bones so fucking bad- it should be illegal to look that good, fuck.
The suit was the blue shade of when day faded into night and it was made of the finest silk a person could ever hope to use. Like Eren, he wore a white undershirt and the entire suit was well tailored to every curve of Levi’s toned body. Around Levi’s neck was a white cravat, it's folds laying delicately against Levi. Something he’d never imagined Levi wearing, but now he couldn’t get it out of his head. Pair that with slicked back hair and damn, when did foreheads become such a big turn on for him. Even his fucking eyebrows were perfect; thin and arched, but strong. But what probably should’ve caught his attention was the fact that Levi was smiling. It was almost unnoticeable, but Eren could definitely see the slight curve of his mouth.
Eren’s heart was hammering in his chest. If he had been unsure of his feelings for the Fae King before, he certainly wasn’t now, but his mind was still confused and his thoughts were all over the place. How was it possible for one simple smile and laugh to knock the breath right out of him? Was it normal to feel this way about someone after having only known of them for such a short amount of time? He wasn’t supposed to be like this, this wasn’t supposed to happen.
“Oi, you really are a brat. Can’t even tie your own tie. Come, let me help you.” Levi’s small smile turned into a full-blown smirk as he used his index finger to motion that Eren come forward. Eren jutted out his bottom lip in a pout and crossed his arms over his chest. It seemed that Levi would never tire of teasing him at any chance he got.
“It’s not like I’m the only person in the world who has difficulty with this, you know.”
Levi rolled his eyes- another gesture that was uncommon for the Fae- and replied in a low voice “Do you want my help or not? Your mother didn’t go through the trouble of making you a tie for you to not wear it. Stop being so stubborn.”
“You enjoy how stubborn I am, don’t lie,” Eren retorted with a complacent smile as he complied to Levi’s request and walked over to stand in front of the shorter male. Levi just gave him a hard gaze before lifting his fingers to undo the mess that Eren had put his tie in.
When he finished untangling it and began redoing it, Levi started to talk in a stern voice, “Now, I’m going to explain to you what’s going to happen tonight. We will walk into the festival together and I will introduce you to my court. I will tell them I brought you home a few days ago and kept you a secret because I wanted you for myself. I will say I was bored and needed some entertainment. None of these are lies, so I can say this without any consequences.
“Then I will have to leave you as I’ll have to interact with the members of my court. This won’t be for very long, don’t worry about that, but it will be long enough for plenty of the Fae to get one-on-one time with you. Choose your answers to their questions wisely. As a human you can easily lie, however, I would strongly advise against doing so. Once your village exposes your identity the Fae will be angry, they’ll only be angrier if they find out there were more lies. You don’t want to make enemies. As of now, there is only so much I can do to protect you.
“I know your family didn’t teach you much, which was a mistake on their part, but you are not dumb. You’ve spent the past few days interacting with me, but I must warn you that I am quite different than other Fae. I will only say this once. Do not test them.”
“I’m assuming you’ve given thought as to what to say, hmm?” Eren gave a nod. “Alright then, good… good.”
By the time Levi had finished his lecture Eren’s tie was perfectly knotted around his neck and the Fae King had smoothed his hand over Eren’s chest fondly. “You look amazing; your mother’s skills are truly a mystery… I wish I didn’t have to leave you alone for even a second.”
Eren smiled softly as he reached up his hand to rub his thumb over Levi’s cheek. “I could say the same about you, oh mighty Fae King.”
Levi reached up his own hand to place it over Eren’s and Eren wanted nothing more than to freeze this moment in his mind forever. What would have life been like for them under different circumstances?
If Levi had never become a Fae King, would their souls have still found their way to one another? Would they be able to live happily together? The possibilities were endless and the thought only made Eren long for it with a melancholy so deep.
“ Come, it is time for the Yule Festival.”
I wish we could’ve met in another life.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who has given me kudos, commented, bookmarked, and read this fic. It's been so fun writing for fun again and I'm SO happy that people are actually enjoying this.
Things to look forward to:
These next few chapters will finally bring us into more of our plot that I've been building up. I'm sorry it's taking so long there are a lot of pieces I need to put in place beforehand. Also, if you pay any attention to my tags that's also something that will be happening very soon (you can interpret that how you'd like) (;
I can't wait to see what everyone thinks and I look forward to continuing this story.
Chapter 11: The Yule Festival
So here we are once more, months later, and I find myself apologizing yet again. My last few months of university were crazy and once I finished I found myself completely drained. I had absolutely no energy or creativity and whenever I tried to sit down and write nothing came to me. I ended up going abroad to Norway for a bit and now that I'm back I feel refreshed and ready to write regularly again.
Now that I'll just be working (instead of being in Uni and working) I will have much more time to focus on my writing. I'm excited to be able to update you guys more regularly. I also have other ideas for things I would like to write but will, of course, keep my attention focused on this story.
I hope you can forgive me for taking so long to update these past few months. I've been receiving such lovely comments from you all and I enjoy reading them more than anything. Interacting with my readers fills me with so much joy.
I really enjoyed this chapter and I hope you can picture yourself in this world the way I did while writing it. If you've ever watched The Chronicles of Narnia I picture the Winter Court like Narnia when Lucy first discovers it and meets Mr. Tumnus. The Fae may not be naturally beautiful but the world they live in is every bit as beautiful as I describe it (in my mind at least).
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Faeries dancing on the air
firefly’s lanterns glistening in pairs
Shining bright a magical trail
up the hill and down the vale
eclipsing the moon
making her pale.”
Jane Eggins-Fae Folk Dance
Eren and Levi walked side by side, Levi’s arm possessively wrapped around Eren’s waist. Eren felt Levi’s aura change the second they stepped outside the castle doors and into the courtyard. He was nothing short of the cruel Winter King his court was familiar with, Eren nothing more than a mere play toy for him. Levi played the role of being ruthless so well that it left Eren wondering for a moment if this was his true nature, not just as a Fae, but as a person, too. It sent an icy pang through Eren’s heart, but he buried it deep within him as he tried to convince himself that it was just an act- something necessary if the two of them were going to get through this.
Eren blinked a few times, still adjusting to the concealing magic that had been placed on him. At first it had felt as though a bolt of electricity had been sent through his body. It wasn’t enough that it hurt him, he had been more startled than anything. For a few seconds after the initial shock it had been a little difficult for Eren to see clearly and he found himself having to blink quite a few times before his vision cleared causing him to be thrown off after Levi cast it and he looked into the mirror to see dark chocolate brown pupils staring back at him.
They went well with both his tanned skin tone and chestnut hair so he had no worries that the Fae within Levi’s court would be suspicious of him, especially with him being the first human Levi had taken home. As well, the magic would be undetectable to the rest of the Fae as Levi’s magic far exceeded theirs. However, he couldn’t help but feel nervous as hundreds of eyes bored into his skin. The constant chattering continued in the yard, not faltering for a moment, but he could tell everyone was watching them. He tried suppressing a shiver as best as he could, but couldn’t help it when it wracked throughout his body. He felt his heart begin to beat rapidly and his breathing quicken, but a second later all of it vanished as he took in everything around him and he was filled with a sense of awe.
Floating above him were thousands of powder blue paper lanterns casting a mystical glow onto the fresh white snow adorning the tall pine trees surrounding the courtyard. The lanterns floated slowly around one another, never once touching, and if he listened closely it almost sounded as though there were a soft, twinkling melody trilling through the crisp night air. The Fae stood atop of white marble so pure and polished their reflection shone in it. There was not one speck of dirt visible on the ground and Eren found himself wondering if it was because of the Fae magic or just excessive cleaning. He wouldn’t have been surprised if it was the latter, what with Levi’s obsession with cleanliness he’d garnered in the past few days.
The courtyard that they were currently standing in was positioned right outside of the main door of the Fae King’s castle. The grounds were structured so that they formed a hexagonal shape with the innermost layer being made of the marble they were currently standing on and the rest of it being in a state that was constantly covered in snow. If not for the layer of white, one would see just how neatly the land underneath had been shaped, not a speck of dirt out of place.
Surrounding the outside of the marble flooring were bushes adorned with silvery blue roses, something that Eren had never even known to exist. He had no idea if that was their true color or if it was perhaps a trick on his mind from Fae enchantments but, either way, the view was stunning. Further out one would be able to see that the courtyard was surrounded by a tall silver fence to keep any intruders at bay. Beyond the gated entrance lay a path that led to the rest of the Winter Court’s lands, stretching much further than most humans had ever had the chance to venture into.
In the middle of the clearing set on top of a pedestal made of ice sat an intricate ice sculpture of the Winter King’s castle. Walking up to it and pausing, it stood a few inches taller than Eren’s height and the width was equivalent to a round dining room table capable of comfortably seating a family of six. Every curve and edge was so detailed that Eren could pick out exactly where he’d spent the past two days staying in. While staring at the ice sculpture he noticed the barest of movement and upon further inspection realized that there were tiny versions of the Winter King’s court made of ice walking the halls of the ice castle. Eren tried to think of who in his village could have created such a magnificent piece, but soon found himself distracted by more splendors as they continued to walk deeper into the yard.
Farther away there were long rectangular tables also made of ice where an array of delicacies were arranged on them. From what Eren could make out there were baskets of the plumpest purple grapes, the reddest apples, and more of the mouth watering blueberries, platters of roasted duck and chicken finished with aromatic herbs, a chocolate fondue fountain shaped like a swan with wings folded delicately against its body, and deep red wine the color of blood in crystal goblets. The longer he looked the more food he noticed, and he was confused as how the Fae had managed to gather so much when they weren’t able to cook themselves. Levi must have noticed his confusion because a second later he came up close and whispered darkly into Eren’s ear.
“Fae glamour. If you look at the cooked foods a little longer, you’ll see what I mean. Don’t show any disgust, though. They’ll get offended, Fae pride and all.”
Eren looked back at the duck and chicken, squinting his eyes slightly and suddenly he saw the food begin to move . What was going on? Wait- holy shit . His stomach churned as he noticed that the meat on the table wasn’t meat at all, but instead piles of dirt filled with crawling worms and beetles. He had to bite his inner lip really hard to keep himself from visibly cringing as he continued to gawk. If this was what the food looked like...what did the Fae look like without their glamour in place?
“Eren, stop looking- you’ll make them angry. Look up instead. You’ll find something better to look at,” Levi whispered into his ear once again, bringing Eren out of his thoughts and back to their present situation.
Slowly he turned away from the mounds on the table and directed his eyes upwards, wondering what it was Levi could be talking about. Eren had already taken notice of the floating lanterns earlier so he wasn’t sure what else there could possibly be. His brows furrowed in confusion as he continued to glare upwards, but all he saw were the lanterns which, while very beautiful, was nothing different. He started to think that perhaps Levi was playing some sort of trick on him to get him to look away from the dining tables.
“Free your mind, Eren. It’s impossible to see the true magic and beauty of this world if you are already so full of expectations. This may not be the situation you ever imagined yourself being in, but live a little and let go. After all, you never know how long you have left.” Levi all but practically purred those last few words, leaving Eren trembling on his feet. He knew the Fae King had to put on a show for his court, but fuck , couldn’t he spare him a little mercy?
And what did he even mean by ‘freeing his mind?’ Whenever he allowed himself to relax just a little it seemed as though the world around him caused his mind toss and turn in madness. Is that what Levi was intending for him? Or maybe was it that Eren too focused on what he could see, that he was unable to look past that. Sighing, the brunet shut his eyes momentarily and took a long, deep breath. He counted to ten in his head before opening his eyes and slowly, oh so very slowly, he began to see.
Eren was unsure of how to describe what was happening. Words couldn’t even come close to the beauty in front of him, playing out in the air above. The closest he could possibly get would be the aurora borealis, but even those colors would’ve paled in comparison. Thousands of different hues of greens, blues, purples, pinks, and reds danced before him in the expanse of the sky, colors intertwining with one another, almost as if someone was taking a paintbrush and was gently swirling the shades together through water. Simply saying it was breathtaking would be an understatement.
Eren knew then that no matter where life ended up taking him, nothing would be able to top the art he saw in that very moment. Even with how talented of a painter he was, there was no possible way he could ever replicate it, so instead he wished with all of his might that no matter what happened to his state of mind, he would never forget this magic.
He was so enamored by the sight that he almost didn’t notice when Levi’s arms slipped from around his waist, a hand slowly sliding up to the nape of his neck and took a firm hold. Eren immediately felt his heart beat faster and could hear his blood pumping in his ears as he sucked in a breath and lowered his gaze to take in all the Fae that were standing around watching him with curious looks. All of them wore similar formal, yet intricately patterned suits and ball gowns that shimmered and sparkled as they moved about.
“Everyone, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 167 th Yule Festival held under my reign. With the help of my court advisors and some of the Shiganshina villagers, I have prepared a night full of fun for you. As you know, while I am in your presence, I want there to remain an air of calmness and dignity.” Levi’s eyes roamed his court with an intensity Eren couldn’t place, before speaking up again, “However, as soon as I take my leave you are all welcome to do as you please until the next day has come.”
King Levi’s deep, sultry voice boomed out and everyone around began to cheer at the mention of being allowed to do as their hearts desired. Eren felt his gust twist uncomfortably as he wondered what exactly that meant. Knowing the Fae more closely, it could mean a number of things. He feared for his friends and village members back home because although they might think they’re equipped with the proper knowledge to deal with Fae, no one could really ever be prepared for the moment they came face to face with one of these beings.
“I am sure you are all curious as to who my guest is,” he continued, eyes burning holes into the side of his face. “This is Eren, a villager from Shiganshina whom I have recently picked up. I would tell you more, but I am awfully possessive of him and require some more time to play before I allow you to know more.”
The Fae King’s voice turned dark as he spoke of the brunet and at his tone Eren felt his body shiver again when the hand around his neck tightened. Levi’s pristine nails dug into his soft skin, leaving red imprints and it took all Eren’s willpower not to let out a squeak when he felt sharp teeth nip at his earlobe.
“He’s quite beautiful, isn’t he?” King Levi purred the words into Eren’s ear, his tongue darting out to run along the shell. The younger male gasped and held his breath, clenching his hands into fists at his sides as he stood rigidly. He couldn’t quite tell if he was aroused, scared, or an odd mix of both.
“You are all welcome to converse with him and even dance with him if it so pleases you, however, as I have claimed him as mine if you so much as dare to do anymore than that you will find yourself dead at my feet. Is that clear?”
Eren watched- or as much as he could without moving his head- as all the Fae nodded in understanding. He could see hunger in some of their gazes and the knowledge that none of them would cross their king was the only thing that kept him from attempting to escape their presence and lock himself in his room. It was a terrifying feeling.
“Good. Now, let the Yule Festival begin.”
Levi squeezed Eren’s neck once more, except this time it was more of a reassuring “good luck” sort of squeeze rather than a menacing one, and with that the Fae King walked away to mingle with his court, leaving Eren to his own devices. Eren did his best to regulate his breathing and slower his heartbeat knowing that if the other Fae sensed his fear, they would use that to their advantage to fuck with him. The best option was for him to just enjoy the night as much as possible until Levi was ready to leave and he could feel safe once more… if sleeping next to the most powerful Fae in the Winter Court who looked as though he wanted to devour him half the time was considered safe.
Moments after Levi disappeared from his view Eren found himself being poked and prodded at by a tall Fae woman. She had straight hair the color of fire reach halfway down her back and eyes as dark as the ocean’s depth. It was a stark contrast to her pale, snow-white skin and sharp features and Eren found himself practically drowning in her gaze. She donned a black, skin-tight dress that had a sharp v-neck cut leading down to her cleavage with long, lace sleeves and a bodice that was tight around the waist and flared out in wispy tendrils down to her feet. With every movement she made it seemed as though she had night itself captured within her and swirling around her body. When she noticed how dumbfounded he looked in her presence she flashed a smile full of sharp fangs.
“King Levi has never brought back a human before, what a surprise this is indeed. I can tell why he did... You look absolutely delectable. I hope he lets us have a taste when he is done with you. Mmm...” When she spoke, her voice was much different than Eren had been expecting. It was completely devoid of all emotion and it sent an involuntary shiver up his spine. He sure was shivering a lot tonight.
The Fae woman placed a hand on his head and patted it roughly as she let out a bark of maniacal sounding laughter. Before he could respond to her comment, another Fae woman appeared beside her with a seemingly annoyed with a pinched look on her face. This Fae was about the same height, short blond hair fashioned into an undercut and eyes the color of frigid ice. Her face was perfectly defined with sharp angles, both taut and soft in all the best places. She wore a sleeveless, mermaid dress that was the color of freshly fallen white snow and hugged her body until it flared out in multiple layers to delicately rest around her. Eren was struck by both her beauty and the strength that radiated off her.
“Aelfdene, leave the human boy alone.”
“Oh, Nanaba, you’re absolutely no fun. King Levi never said anything about not being able to tease him.” She smirked, steady leer still strained on him.
Nanaba turned to give Aelfdene a cold look and bared her teeth. “That’s not what I mean. You’re keeping him all to yourself. I want to dance with him, so get lost.”
And with that Eren found himself being dragged by his right harm as Nanaba forced him onto the dance floor. Failing at keeping his calm, his heart was, yet again, pounding so loudly he honestly didn’t understand how it wasn’t beating out of his chest. Nanaba positioned him just the way she wanted and placed her hands on his shoulders. When he stood there as still as a statue, unable to move his limbs she raised a brow at him and said in a clipped voice,
“Human, do you not know how to dance or are you simply refusing to do so with me?” She narrowed her eyes. “Either way, it is in your best interest not to anger a Fae. I may not be able to harm you, however, if I am offended as the right hand of our King,” she leaned in just a tad closer. “I can request for him to enact justice on my behalf.”
That got Eren immediately placing his hands on her slender hips and began to sway in time with her. Luckily for him, it was custom for most villagers in Shiganshina to learn how to dance at a young age so his movements weren’t inexperienced. He had always hated the lessons he had to endure in the privacy of his own home, cursing his village for being so old fashioned, but he now found himself silently thanking the traditions that his folk held on to.
“So, human, what is it that you do for a living? I’ve been to Shiganshina many times and I have yet to make your acquaintance.”
Oh shit. Shit, shit shit, shit. They didn’t go over this- what was he supposed to say? He couldn’t lie. He swallowed loudly and shifted his eyes away from Nanaba to look past her shoulders as if the answer to all his problems somehow laid out in the surrounding woods somewhere. It was in this moment he wished that Armin was here to help him. That kid was a genius and could think himself out of any situation no matter how impossible it seemed. He’d know just what to say.
“Well, I am not yet 18 so I’m not actually a fully functioning adult in the village right now. I think I would like to do something artistic when I am ready to live on my own, though.”
Eren answered her question in a strong voice feeling satisfied with his evasive technique. Nothing he said was a lie, so when she learned of his true identity in a few days, there would be no need for her to be angry with him.
“Hmm, an artist... You humans so unlucky with the lives that you lead. You get to enjoy the fruits of your creativity, but for such a short amount of time. Why should humans have the ability to create at all when your life is limited to such a limited existence? There is so much you will never know, so much that your art will lack from the confines of your brief life span.”
While Eren could see where she came from, he felt the opposite.
“I think that the Fae are the ones who are unlucky, actually. You may live forever, but for what? What do you live for? You can feel nothing of importance. You’ll never know the joy or the pain of falling in love. Or the joy of new life or the pain of life lost. You’ll never know what it’s like to feel all these emotions even to the point where it seems as though it is too much, and you feel as though your heart might burst into a million pieces. It hurts… it hurts a lot, but it’s worth it, I believe.” Eren spoke in a soft voice, his eyes clouding over slightly as the colors swirled around him and blended together, the melody continuing to lull him into a sort of trance. He felt Nanaba’s hands tightened on his shoulders as she answered him in a voice colored with confusion.
“... Do you not fear death?”
Eren smiled a small smile. What emotion he felt he wasn’t sure.
“Death is inevitable and therefore it doesn’t make sense for me to fear it. Everyone- er, every human- will go through it at some point in their lives and for some it’s expected and others extremely sudden.” He took a short pause. “There have been times where the thought of death caused me to feel slight anxiety, but then I think that if I live in constant fear of death, then I’m not truly living in the first place, so why bother?”
Eren looked back at Nanaba again and thought of how he might convey these emotions to a being who had none. He didn’t think that she would understand him no matter what he said, but he still thought it was important that he get his point across so he tried explaining in more depth.
“I like to believe that death is just another adventure for us humans. It’s impossible to believe that my very essence will somehow cease to exist simply because I stop breathing. I have a soul, a light within me, and no matter what happens that light will never be extinguished… Even in the darkness of death that flame will shine brightly. You just have to put yourself out there and you’ll live on past death and past your still heart. There’s a knowledge only death can bring, in a sense, and to rid myself of that very experience would be more painful than death itself.”
Nanaba removed her hands from Eren’s shoulders and pulled away from him to give him a strange look and a tiny tilt of her head.
“You humans are odd. I have interacted with thousands of you and yet I am no closer to understanding how your species’ minds work or how you think.”
She walked away after that, leaving Eren standing on the dance floor by himself. He wondered if he perhaps said the wrong thing and somehow managed to offend her. Could she really convince Levi to hurt him? Would Levi ever actually physically harm him? Eren wanted to think that the answer was no, but until he was confident in Levi’s humanity, he couldn’t put anything past him.
Rather than stand in the middle of the dance floor and attract the attention of other Fae who would trap him in another dance and ask him more questions, Eren made his way over to the sidelines where less Fae roamed. He leaned against a nearby tree and closed his eyes while taking a few deep breaths. Talking about death always left a rather melancholy feeling in his heart. While it was true that he didn’t fear death, the knowledge that it was an experience everyone must face in complete solitude, a journey that you could take no one else with you on, made him feel the true weight of mortality on his shoulders. Lost in thought he did not notice the two male Fae that were approaching him until they were practically on top of him, crowded up in his space.
“You must be the human we smelled in the castle the other day! Leave it to our King to keep such a secret from us.”
The Fae that spoke had blond hair pulled back into a small bun, a patch of hair on his chin below his mouth and golden-brown eyes. He spoke in a calm manner that signaled to Eren he must be one of the older Fae living within the Winter Court.
“Tch. What a little bratty runt this is. I don’t see what King Levi sees in him at all.” The second one spoke in what Eren could only describe as a whiny sounding voice. He had a rather tense face, small, brown beady eyes, and a mop of light brown hair with an undercut. Eren immediately took a dislike to this one and wanted nothing other than to get away from him. He didn’t see what he had done to deserve to be spoken of in such a manner, but then again it was the Fae. Nevertheless, Eren would always be Eren.
He narrowed his eyes and replied in a cheeky tone, “I could say the same about you. I thought Fae were all supposed to be good looking.”
The second Fae looked as though he wanted to tackle Eren to the ground and beat the shit out of him, but the blond grabbed his arm and held him back. Eren couldn’t help the slight smug look creep onto his face.
“Oluo, you remember what our King said.”
“But, Erd, you heard the way he just disrespected me! A mere mortal! He deserves to be taught a lesson on how to speak to those superior to him.”
Before Eren could retort he felt two arms encase him around the waist from behind causing him to make a small eep of surprise. He knew it was King Levi immediately as he had become accustomed to the feel of the other man which was the only thing that kept him from jumping out of his skin.
“Is my human causing some trouble for you two?” Levi’s silky voice filled the air and Eren’s eyes grew as wide as saucers as he looked down and saw ice start to spread from underneath Levi’s feet and out across the marble floor.
“No, sir. Everything is okay here. Oluo and I were just curious to meet the only human to have ever captured your attention,” Erd answered in a solemn voice and Eren could see how he gripped his comrade’s- Olou’s he now knew- wrist tightly as a warning to keep his mouth shut.
“Mmm, is that so? And what sort of conclusions have you both come to?” Levi adjusted his right hand to move up under Eren’s suit jacket and the brunet shivered as he felt thin lips pressing against the back of his neck.
“As always, our King has made a wise decision. He is indeed quite exquisite,” Erd replied stiffly.
Levi moved his mouth to the right side of Eren’s neck and bit roughly causing the brunet to cry out. His neck throbbed and he felt a weird stirring in the pit of his stomach, one that he’d only ever felt during particularly intimate moments. He didn’t want to sport a hard on in front of a room full of foreign Fae, but he knew it wasn’t in his power to tell Levi to stop in front of his subjects. It would look bad if the Fae King was willing to listen to the wishes of a mere human. Plus, Levi had to have an act to play, didn’t he. Destroying it now wouldn’t do.
“He’s absolutely breathtaking, beautiful, wonderful and all mine . You two should get back to the festival. I’m ready to retire with my human and you’re going to miss all of the fun if you don’t.”
Erd quickly complied with a nod and dragged a disgruntled Oluo away and Eren found himself letting out a breath of relief now that the two other Fae were no longer near him. He wasn’t sure he could have been around them for much longer without causing some strife with the smug bastard who had called him a brat. Eren was way too hot headed to allow someone to talk that way about him whether they were a Fae or not.
Levi nuzzled his nose into Eren’s neck and chuckled softly. “My treasure, what am I going to do about that attitude of yours? I guess I’ll have to teach you a lesson later, hmm. For now, I have something I would like to show you. Come with me.”
Levi unwrapped his arms from Eren and opted for entwining their fingers together as he led him away from the festival and into the deeper part of the Winter Court. They walked down a dirt pathway that went through the woods until the chatter became nonexistent and they came to a clearing where an alabaster gazebo was placed in the center. Surrounding the gazebo were hundreds roses the color of freshly spilled blood and the pathway leading up to the gazebo changed again to marble, but one of the purest diamonds Eren had ever seen. Unlike the ones seen before, but somehow even more captivating. When they walked closer Eren could see that the columns of the gazebo were made of sculpted figures of pixies flying around one another.
When they stepped into the gazebo and Eren looked up he gasped in surprise. The ceiling of the gazebo had been enchanted to look like the night sky filled with billions of bright, twinkling stars. He didn’t think that there was anything else tonight that he could see that would take his breath away, but then Levi spoke and Eren felt as though his entire world were crashing around him.
“Eren, I want you to see what I truly look like.” He spoke in such a soft voice that Eren found himself straining to hear him. Was Levi going to show him what he looked like without glamour on? But why would he do such a thing?
“W-wait. Levi… why? I don’t… I don’t understand.”
Levi stepped away from Eren until they were about five feet apart. When Eren looked at his face he found his heart splitting into two. The man, yes man , in front of him looked so broken that it was difficult for Eren to not begin crying. He had never seen someone with such a look on their face and in that moment, he found himself wanting nothing more than to take all of Levi’s sorrows away so he would never have to feel pain again.
“I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our more stupid melancholy propensities, for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one’s very being and yet to hold it fast, to coddle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?”
As Levi spoke in a deep voice Eren watched in amazement as his skin began to shift and change. Gone was the smooth ivory and in its wake was a hue of a periwinkle undertone with what looked like cracks all along the skin. Picture someone taking a piece of glass and cracking it in different places and that’s what the skin now looked like, spiderweb cracks overlapping each other and spreading out all along it. Levi’s eyes retained their stark silver color and his hair remained midnight black, but his ears elongated even further as well as his canines which were now poking past his thin lips. It was difficult to look at him not because Eren found him hideous, but because of the even stronger magical aura surrounding his being which made it difficult for Eren to stare too long.
The words that Levi spoke practically shoved daggers into Eren’s already pained heart and he found it difficult to breathe because he knew, in this moment, that his Fae King was fully capable of feeling again, fully capable of knowing and understanding emotion, overwhelming emotion that overflows and takes over your every being. What it must’ve been like to have gone hundreds of years without feeling only to suddenly face an onslaught of those locked away feelings all at once? He couldn’t even fathom it.
Eren looked into Levi’s eyes and he could feel tears streaming down his face as he choked out, “You’re beautiful… every part of you. In this life, in the next, a thousand years from now… it does not matter. I will always find you beautiful. You- you don’t have to look human for me to think that.”
And that’s the moment that King Levi broke, and Levi Ackerman finally broke free from the chains he was held hostage to much too long. He promptly fell to his knees and began to sob uncontrollably, head bowing down to his knees. Eren immediately moved to his side and all but slammed into the shivering body, wrapping his arms tightly around him, doing all that he could to make him feel warm and protected and just loved. He was only a mere 17-year-old who had so much more in life to learn, but he knew enough in this moment to know that he would give his life if it meant that Levi could be happy. He had had to live through so much, bear and endure so much, and lost so, so much. There was no one else in this universe or beyond who would be right for him. He belonged to Levi and Levi belonged to him.
Levi clutched at Eren shirt tightly and buried his face into the younger man’s chest as his sobs began to finally subside. It didn’t take the older man long to recollect himself afterwards. Although his human emotions had now returned in full force, he was still a Fae King and thus retained the qualities of one.
“Eren.” He said his name in such a tender way. “Eren, I have to get you out of here. I can’t have you end up like I have.” Levi lifted his tear-stricken face to look into now emerald green eyes as he reached up with shaking hands and cupped his tan cheeks. “You’re too pure to become a Fae, Eren. I can’t bear to lose you to this madness.”
Eren placed his hands over Levi’s and looked at him with a determined gleam in his eyes. “I’m not leaving here without you, Levi. Hange, she’s also a Fae, but she has all her emotions- she can help us, said she would and now that you remember everything, we can work on finally getting you out of here, finally...”
Levi sighed and closed his eyes before resting his head on Eren’s shoulder. He seemed tired, as if all the years that he had lived were finally catching up to him and dragging him down and making him sink.
“Fine… but I have to show you my past.. .all of it. It’s not pretty and it will take a while.” He looked up again at Levi. He was vulnerable, heart beared out for him all out in the open. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“For you, Levi, I would do anything.”
I know the ending sort of seems abrupt but we're moving into Levi's past (as in everything that happened after he was taken by Erwin) and that's all for next chapter so I wanted to leave it at that.
Also the thing about death that Levi says at the end of the chapter is actually said by Voltaire, therefore all credit for that goes to him and not me.
If you have any characters you'd love to see in this universe, please let me know! I love hearing all of your ideas and theories. Thank you so much for reading and I'll see you soon!
Chapter 12: The Autumn King
Alright, one of the reasons this chapter took so long to get out is because it is a REALLY heavy chapter. As in, it was difficult for me to write at times. There are mentions of non-con, depression, and suicide. Although nothing is graphically explicit, it's enough to be fully aware that it's going on and having my characters go through this hurts me. I wanted to warn you guys of this so that you weren't blindsided when you got to that part of the chapter. The reason why I didn't include it in the tags is because 1) it's not super detailed and 2) this SHOULD be the only chapter in which it is mentioned. Clearly I still have a long way to go until this bad boy is finished and even though I have an idea of what comes next, sometimes new ideas get pushed into my brain by characters and I have no choice but to write it out.
Alright, ramble done. You can find more notes at the end of the chapter and even though this is a heavy one, I still hope you all enjoy it.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Said the little Fae
What care I for human hearts?
Bonfires live in me!!”
Eren watched with rapt attention as the glamour began to work its magic once more, pale flesh spread over the cracked blue skin like ink on wet paper. When Levi looked normal again… well, as normal as a Fae could look, the younger man oddly found himself missing Levi’s true form and wondered if perhaps the Fae would allow Eren to paint him while he was like that. It would be a challenge for the painter as he had never had the chance to replicate a being that had such a unique form of skin. However, considering they were about to discuss Levi’s past, which the brunet knew had to have been a rather...difficult subject, he decided to ask about the whole painting thing some other time. It was best not to put more pressure on Levi than he must already be feeling.
They made their way back inside the castle quickly as Levi wanted to avoid running into any of the other Fae in his court. Eren had meant every word of what he’d said earlier when he confessed he would do anything for Levi and, yet, as they found themselves back in the safety of Levi’s bedroom and away from the prying eyes and ears of the other Fae, he couldn’t help but be filled with apprehension. The festival was still in full swing and would continue well into the night and, like Levi said, once he chose to retire for the night things would get out of hand and he didn’t want Eren to bear witness to any of it. Not only that, but for what Levi wanted to attempt with Eren he insisted the two be in seclusion because it’d leave the both of them in a rather vulnerable position.
“Wait… so you’re going to take me to… the past?” He spoke slowly, thoroughly confused and, admittedly, full of disbelief. How would it work? Would it be like what Hange had done before?
“Tch, no brat. Fae have a lot of magic, but we can’t time travel. What I’m going to do is link our minds together and take you through my memories. You mentioned earlier that Hange had already shown you how I ended up in the Fae realm, so we’ll start with everything that happened after I last saw Isabel. This will be much easier than me sitting here trying to narrate years upon years of my life, but it’s… an exhaustive and… extensive process. We’re both going to come out of this feeling different.”
As Levi was explaining the mechanics behind exactly what they were about to do, the Fae walked over to the bed and laid down in it while motioning for Eren to join him. The brunet raised an eyebrow in suspicion before saying in a cheeky tone, “Geeze, Levi if you wanted me in your bed… all you had to do was ask.” Finishing with a wink.
Levi scoffed and rolled his eyes and the normalness of his reaction was so jarring to Eren that he just stood there for a moment, unsure of how to proceed. Levi the Fae was someone that Eren had become used to and felt he could deal with, however, Levi the human was still unfamiliar territory for him. And the fact that Levi’s emotions and human side had returned to him meant that the other male was in love with Eren, a thought that had crawled into the back of his mind and burrowed itself deep into every little crevice. He wondered if Levi was aware of that, aware that falling in love with Eren was what brought him back.
If he had felt nervous around Levi before, it was only amplified knowing that the growing feelings he’d been having weren’t one sided. No longer was the man in front of him this unattainable being, physically and mentally incapable of loving him, but instead he turned out to be this snarky little shit with an attitude. And experiencing it was… odd. Nevertheless, the thought that he could possibly lose Levi? It filled him with a dread unlike any he’d ever experienced. Eren swallowed loudly and pushed away his nerves as he crawled into the bed and sat next to Levi, albeit a bit awkwardly. He wasn’t entirely sure what it was the Fae wanted him to do yet, but he hoped it wouldn’t be anything too difficult.
“Tch, you look like you have to take a shit. Calm down, brat. You need to be relaxed for this. This kind of magic is rare, mainly only the highest ranking Fae possess it, and as well it can be pretty taxing for both people. So, you’ll be reliving all my experiences through my eyes, but you’ll also feel everything that I felt. And, in turn, I’ll be connected to you so I’ll be sharing your emotions during the process as well.”
Eren knew Levi was extremely powerful- he is a Fae King after all- he’s had his eye color changed by his magic, he’s witnessed Levi teleport multiple times righ into thin air, fuck, he even knew that Fae existing was nothing short of a miracle (if that was even the best term) in itself, and yet the thought of melding minds together, reliving someone’s past through their own eyes was such a foreign concept to him that he couldn’t quite believe it was true. Deep down, Eren knew he trusted Levi with his life, so he wouldn’t argue, but that didn’t mean he was going to feel one hundred percent assured with the idea.
“That seems, uh… intense . Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Eren couldn’t help it, he had to ask. Levi’s emotions had only just returned and he wasn’t sure if it was the best idea for the Fae King to carry himself back through all the worst parts of his life so soon. But, when he turned his head to look at Levi, he knew that the man had made up his mind.
“If you are choosing to help me, it’s important for you to see. I have done things that are...” Levi trailed off and ran his hand through his hair, clearly uncomfortable with what he wanted to say. “... well, you’ll see. Anyway, I need you to lay down and put your head on my chest. The sound of my heartbeat will help ground your body and I need you to be close- we have to be touching the entire time to establish a link and hold it,” he finishes quickly.
Eren complied, feeling his own heart begin to speed up as the distance between them became less and less until he was all but wrapped around the Fae’s smaller, lean figure. He placed his head against the other’s chest as instructed, the sound of Levi’s heartbeat immediately working to calm the nerves that were coursing through his body. It was akin to the feeling he got on a perfect fall day with his easel and paints in front of him as he let his mind get absorbed by his craft. When the weather was cool enough to wear a sweatshirt but not so cold that you were left shivering if you were outside for far too long and the leaves were the color of brilliant warm hues of reds, oranges, and yellows. The Fae King wrapped one arm around Eren’s torso and placed the other on top of his head, fingers splaying out to gently twirl through chocolate locks.
“Eren, I need to warn you… the feeling, I can’t quite explain it but, you’ll feel as if you’re losing connection with your body, and after that you’ll feel what I did and I- it just- it just won’t be… pleasant. Erwin wasn’t… he wasn’t kind- in any sense, really, and especially not before I made the choice to become a Fae. You must remember that this is all a trick of the mind, a mere illusion, and if it becomes too much you’ll have to figure out a way to break through and let me know. I don’t know how, but know that’s a possibility and that you can, so… Are you sure you still want to do this?”
The brunet was quiet for a moment, head still on Levi’s chest, basking in the comfort of his heartbeat. He knew that in order to truly understand the man that he’d (against his own wishes and better judgment) fallen in love with, he would need to do this. It didn’t seem fair to love someone without acknowledging and accepting them for all that they are, being and soul, including the parts that weren’t beautiful. His decision had already been made and it had been made for a long time. Whatever happened from this moment forward, Eren knew he wouldn’t be doing it without Levi.
“I told you already, I’ll do anything for you… “ He huddled impossibly closer to him, the steady thrum against his ear a lull in the quiet room. “I meant it, Levi. I’m ready.”
And then, darkness.
Isabel was gone and Levi… Levi, he was alone. Alone and stuck with a Fae who had nothing but a hungry glint in his icy blue eyes. Erwin had once been someone Levi had considered a friend, someone he could almost trust, but oh how foolish he had been. He should have been able to see it coming, he’d dealt with this early on from of Kenny afterall. First just having to live with the man who couldn’t give less of a shit about whether or not he was alive, and then with having to deal with the “real world” after he abandoned him without a word. This way of growing up forced him to learn to be able to pick apart people and their ulterior motives because where he was, people doing things out of the kindness of their hearts was rare. But, despite all of that, all those years, somehow Erwin was able to hide himself so well. Was it because he was a Fae or was it simply because Levi was blinded by the fact that he’d finally met someone who didn’t throw him aside the second they knew his background? Years upon years of neglect and he became starved for a genuine relationship, even if most of the time he told himself he didn’t need it. Having Isabel and Farlan had made it better, made him feel happy, but subconsciously he still reached out for any touch of warmth, wherever it may come from.
Whatever the case may be, it didn’t really matter now. What mattered was that Levi was trapped in this unfamiliar realm with no idea of how to escape. With the way the other Fae was regarding him at this point he had a feeling that it might not be possible… or at least not anytime soon. That’s when the reality of the situation finally set in and he found himself beginning to panic. With each second that passed here the more time he would lose back in the human realm. His thoughts became scrambled and frantic, like he was already losing it. Would he ever see Isabel or Farlan again? What about Hange? He wasn’t ready to let go of his life, despite how terrible it was at some points, he still had things he wanted to do, goals he wanted to achieve. His entire life, gone. Would he die here, never seeing them again? Why had he been so stupid and trusted this fucking bushy-browed bastard?
Levi took a deep breath and shut his eyes tight. He willed the trembling in his hands to cease and the pounding of his heart to slow. If he lost himself now, there would truly be no hope in ever getting himself out. He had only been stuck here for a few minutes and if he couldn’t endure it now, he wouldn’t be able to cling to humanity for much longer. Gunmetal faced sapphire and Levi grit his teeth as he stared down his captor. No, he would not give up. He’d been through far too much and no damned Fae was going to destroy everything now. Besides, he’d experienced worse in his life.
“It seems you have some fight left in you. Good.” Erwin’s icy, cool voice cut through the air, causing the hairs on Levi’s body to stick up, but he stuck with his resolve. He would much rather this fate be his than Isabel’s. She was too kind hearted for this world and deserved so much more than he did or ever would. When he was a baby, too young to really understand anything, his mother had sacrificed her life for his, but the naïvety of his younger self had never understood. He’d spent years cursing her for leaving him alone in such a cruel world, however, faced with the choice of saving himself or Isabel, that sort of love and sacrifice finally made sense to him. Some people were worth losing yourself for and he only hoped that Isabel would live a life happy and long enough that she would one day come to forgive him.
Levi spat at Erwin as a smirk crawled its way across his lips. “Fuck you, you bastard . I don’t know what you’re hoping to get out of this, but whatever it is, I won’t make it fucking easy for you.”
A haunting laugh boomed from Erwin’s mouth. It was the first time Levi had ever heard such a noise come from the Fae, and suddenly he understood why villagers spoke in hushed voices about the heartlessness the Fae possessed within themselves. They were right all along. He couldn’t believe that he’d ever placed even an ounce of trust in the blond… had he really been that desperate for a friend?
“Oh, Levi. That just makes it more fun.” That smile again. “If I wanted easy prey, I would’ve gone for someone else. You see, I’ve been watching you for years. Watching you grow stronger with each passing day, watching as more and more determination built up inside you, watching that beautiful coldness continue to bloom. You would’ve been perfect if those other humans had never found you, such a shame… It can’t be helped, though, and in the end, it doesn’t matter. You were mine long before they appeared and… here you are, exactly where I intended for you to be.”
Erwin’s words pressed down on him, the weight of it throwing him into shock. He had unknowingly entered a game with the Fae and he seemed to be losing- really losing. Just how long had Erwin been watching him… and why him specifically? There were lots of unfortunate souls like him out there, so why him. He wanted to scream, to cry, to beat the absolute shit out of the Fae so badly you couldn’t recognize his face, but he knew that none of that would help him right now. Instead, what he really needed to do was think of a way to win the game the two of them were playing, no matter how long it took. Even if he couldn’t make his way back to those he loved in time, he refused to be stuck with Erwin for the rest of his days… however numbered they may or may not be.
So, he started thinking.
Was there a way to kill Erwin? He was a Fae, much stronger than Levi, but nothing more than an ordinary Fae at best. If he was a King that would put Levi at a much bigger disadvantage, but he wasn’t. If he got the chance, once in the Autumn realm he could do some investigating and see if there were any… easier… ways to go about killing a Fae. He doubted the answer would just be lying around, but it had to be somewhere. For now, though, If Erwin wanted coldness, then that’s exactly what he’d get.
“Ah, there it is. That look in your eyes… mmm…” Erwin started forward, a predatory glint taking over. “Levi, I can feel myself getting turned on- Levi, you did this. I’ve been waiting so long, and now that you’re finally here, I can have my way with you.” The words didn’t quite register at first, but once they did, he found that for the first time since coming here true fear began to course through his body. He turned on his heel and ran. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, trying his best to ignore Erwin cackling behind him, the wretched sound echoing throughout the quickly darkening forest making the Fae seem as though he were fifty meters tall.
“Please, keep running, it just makes it better!” he shouted. “You asked what I hoped to get out of this and I’ve told you, but you don’t seem to like the answer. Well, it’s the truth! Don’t ask questions you aren’t ready to hear the answers for. I will have you, Levi.” And then he was right there, his voice a whisper in his ear yet it felt like he was screaming. “Whenever and however I please.”
Erwin barreled into him, the weight and force throwing Levi down to the ground with such an impact it knocked the breath right out of him. Even so, Levi tried to compose himself as he tried to fight. And fought and fought and fought he did, using every fiber of his being to try and overpower Erwin, but it was no use. Erwin had too many advantages, he was taller and had weight on his side, he knew the area like the back of his hand, he was stronger than him already and all that plus being a Fae. It was inevitable.
So while the Fae began to take everything away from Levi, he laid there and pictured his friends smiling and happy, living long lives and having kids and growing old together. He pictured his mother's smile every time he would successfully compose a new song on his flute just for her. How her lips would curl up just slightly at the corners as soon as the first few notes reached her ears and then, by the end of the song, how her smile would stretch so wide that her eyes crinkled at the edges. He imagined how that first sip of his favorite, perfectly brewed, assam tea tasted. The aroma smooth with deep undertones, a creamy texture, and sweet buttery taste that lingered on his tongue long after the last drop. It was the only thing that kept him from completely giving up in that very moment. And when Erwin was finished with him and started to speak in that cruel voice telling him to get up and come with him, as if he hadn’t just torn apart his body from the inside out, he lay there thinking to himself what have I done in my life to deserve such a cruel fate?
He wasn’t sure how many days had passed. He’d lost his count somewhere around 1,000... or maybe 1,010… had he really been here that long already? After the first few months under Erwin’s ministrations the days had begun to bleed together as one monotonous day turned into another monotonous day and then another and another and another. He had long since lost his resolve to search for a way out of the Fae realm… had long since lost the ambition to find a way to kill Erwin, too. He still fought him, though. Fucking fought him like every moment was his last even if in the end the Fae always got what he wanted. Despite everything, Levi refused to become some sort of fucking dog for Erwin to have at his beck and call.
Even so… this time fighting couldn’t save Levi Ackerman. As time passed his mind began to wane further and further until he was all but an empty shell of his former self. It was somewhere after the first few weeks of him being here, he thought he’d heard that a human had entered the Summer Court and become a Fae. Erwin was laughing about it once during one of his sessions, telling Levi it was one of his dear friends that had probably come to save him only to succumb to the same fate he had. But Levi had refused to believe it… the idea that all his friends were alive and happy and safe was the only thing that had kept him going all this time, kept him fighting.
It didn’t matter anymore, though. 92 years had passed back in the human realm meaning that everyone he knew was long dead and Erwin didn’t have to bother to gloat for him to know this was a truth of the cruel world he had come to know. He often found himself fighting tears at night when he could no longer picture what his friends looked like. He had always thought of Isabel as a ball of uncontrollable fire, Farlan as the epitome of warmth and kindness, and Hange as the craziest but most caring person one could ever meet. However, even with remembering all about them, he could no longer picture their faces. Each time he tried he’d shut his eyes so tight he could feel the stars behind them. But, no matter how hard he willed it to happen, how desperate he was even for a glimpse of something, it never happened. He had thought he had known pain before, but this… this was far worse than anything he could have ever imagined.
He wanted to give up, his mind was in tatters and nothing made sense anymore. Even lying in bed, sore and aching from Erwin’s mistreatment of his fragile human body, it didn’t affect him. Once upon a time he had seen the pain as a sign he was still alive and fighting for his freedom, but he now saw it as nothing more than just another painful part of the life he’d come to know.
Groaning, Levi curled his body into a tight ball and rolled himself in gentle motions until he was able to get himself into an upright position. He knew what it was he must do, before Erwin had the chance. Levi needed to let go, he needed to kill himself. It was the only thing he had left, the only control over his own life was, ironically, death, and he wouldn’t- couldn’t- allow Erwin to take that away from him, too. He had taken everything… everything … but not this. Erwin couldn’t take this.
Now that his resolve was made, Levi grappled around the room hurriedly. He never knew when exactly Erwin would come and go so the need to be quick dictated his movements. The other Fae in the realm had learned not to pay much attention to him after Erwin had killed one who had dared to even touch Levi, so he knew he wouldn’t have to worry about them as he rushed around Erwin’s room searching for clothing. Even if he was going to his death, he would do so with dignity and grace.
As he hurried about, he wondered what it would be like once he was dead. Of course he’d thought about it before, but now that his life had drastically changed, he wondered if things had changed. Would he still be allowed to enter the afterlife even though he had spent the past few years stuck in the Fae realm? Or would his soul float on endlessly, lost and in despair searching for those it loved. Either way… anything was better than the day in, day out torture wrought upon him by Erwin. He knew weeks ago that although his body could hold out much longer, his mind could not. A human being in the Fae realm so long was never a good thing as the constant use of glamour and enchantments began to eat at the mind and cause it to slowly deteriorate. If Levi didn’t make this decision while he still had some sense left, who was to know what Erwin would do to him then?
No. Erwin could take him away from those he loved, take his body, take his will, and take his hope but he would never take his life or his soul. Suicide had never been a path Levi had ever seen himself taking but, for him, this was the only option he had left, and he refused to feel as though he had failed. Three years… three long years he had held on hoping for some way out and if this was the only way, then so be it. This wasn’t him losing, this was him winning- being able to have power over this one last thing.
He was ready to leave the room and find a place in which he could commit his final act in peace when something began to tug at the back of his mind. It was insistent, not exactly clear in what it wanted, but not too vague either. It told him to stay, to keep looking, though for what or where he didn’t know. Levi had never explored the room he had been kept captive in on account of needing to take every moment that Erwin would leave him alone to nurture his mind and body to keep from going completely insane. He didn’t have it in him to try knocking on the walls for hollow spaces, prying away floorboards, moving furniture this way and that. He was too exhausted to even think about trying. Therefore it was only in this moment, with that force urging him, that he stumbled upon around the room. It was then that he found something that would ignite something within him once again.
Upon opening a nearby drawer his hands pushed against a rectangular shape buried underneath layers of clothing. Slowly, so as not to make any suspicious sounds, Levi lifted the object from its confines to find that it was an old leather bound book. The spine was barely holding on and there was no indication on the cover of what its contents might hold.
The strange aura that insisted he take an extra look around the room now urged him to turn the pages and inspect the cursive script that adorned their worn thick cream-colored pages. The same, strange aura was still with him, staying in his mind as if just waiting for him to turn the pages, so he did. The thick, cream-colored pages were laced in cursive written in black ink, the language clearly not in English and yet, somehow, Levi found himself able to understand every word. He couldn’t tell if it was the thing residing in his mind or if it was because of being in the Fae realm. No matter what it was, It didn’t take long for him to stumble upon exactly what it was he should have been searching for all along, and when he did, he felt his heart stop. Two distinct sentences stood out to him, “The Forbidden Fae Well” and “How to Become Human.”
Here, here, this was the answer to his freedom, hidden all along in the room that had held him prisoner. Levi could steal this book and hide it before becoming a Fae, which he knew could be done because Erwin had been trying to convince him for years to do so. After he grew strong and extricated himself from the clutches of the asshole that had caused this whole mess he could then find the book again and go through the necessary process of becoming a human once more, at which point he would be away from Erwin so he could escape back to Shiganshina.
It was so simple and perfect… perhaps too perfect… and Levi found himself wondering if this was some sort of trick, but he couldn’t think about that now. Instead he wondered if he should just read and attempt to memorize the contents before following through with his plans. While skimming through the words earlier he had seen a passage saying it was necessary for a Fae to fall in love and unlock their emotions first, which he figured would be difficult but not impossible, but maybe he should try to write it down on another piece of paper somewhere...
No. He didn’t have time. Time was something in this realm that only the Fae had the privilege of enjoying. With each second that passed, his mind drew nearer and nearer to slipping away completely. Erwin had no idea he had found the book and he could put it back in its rightful position perfectly, wait for the Fae to return, and then announce his decision to finally become a Fae himself. Erwin would be as close to ecstatic as a Fae could possibly be, and then, Levi could finally move forward with freeing himself, even if it meant returning to a home he no longer knew.
Now, all he had to do was wait.
He was right, when he explained his desire to succumb to an eternity as a Fae, Erwin was more than pleased.
But when the weary Levi stole the book and hid it before the ceremony, he failed to notice that an important page had been ripped out of the book. If he had recognized this, perhaps he wouldn’t have made such a decision, but the deed was done, and it was already too late.
The years seemed to pass by even faster now that Levi had become a Fae himself as he no longer had much of a concept of time. He now spent his days getting accustomed to his Fae body and newfound magic that came with being a mythical being, his goal of becoming human again and escaping the Fae realm had been lost to him, forgotten.
The emotions Levi Ackerman once had became locked away as soon as he had awoken from the ritual as a freshly made Fae and in the years that came after, his memories seemed as though they had only became more and more distant. He still, however, harbored a deep dislike for Erwin even in his Fae mind and body, even the thought of him was repulsive as ever, and he wanted nothing more than to leave the Autumn realm and never have to deal with the shithead again. Luckily, being a Fae now allowed him the ability to evade every single one of the blond’s advances, which is what he was now in the process of currently doing.
“Levi, stop denying me. It’s been decades since we’ve last had sex and now that you’re a Fae I want to experience it with you again and hear the lustful sounds of pleasure you’ll make. You never made any noise as a human, no matter how hard I tried, and I have to admit it was rather disappointing at times.”
“Erwin, you fucking annoying bastard, for the millionth time, that wasn’t sex. And what makes you think I’d enjoy it anymore as a Fae than I did as a human? No matter how hard you try, your dick is never getting anywhere near me again. Fuck off.”
This sort of banter was common between the two Fae, although Levi had to admit he was somewhat thrown off balance when instead of continuing to argue, the other Fae backed down. He turned and tilted his head upward slightly to regard Erwin questioningly, not used to this type of behavior and unsure of what he should be expecting next.
“Okay, then how about you bring a human, or another Fae- no preferences on my part- back and fuck them andletting me watch?” Erwin’s voice was deep and lilting, a tone he often employed when attempting to sway Levi. It wasn’t working, it never did, surprise surprise.
“Why the fuck would I do that? What are you going to do? Jerk off while watching? Tch, disgusting.” He shook his head. “There has to be something better to do with your time.” Levi simply turned and continued walking back towards the Autumn castle grounds. Had he still been a human his tone might have held more disgust and come out much sharper, but as a Fae he simply spoke with indifference. Most, if not all, things did.
“Levi, you haven’t experienced how delectable a human’s fear tastes- you know what, that gives me an idea. I’m going to go find a human and bring them back and I’ll fuck them, and you can just watch me, how about that? You can’t say no; I beat you at chess earlier today, so you still owe me… one more hour in my presence.”
“Tch, seriously? I’m never making that bet again. I don’t see how this is in any way going to be entertaining.”
Rather than answer, Erwin simply vanished in this air leaving Levi to continue his trek back to Erwin’s place alone. If things had gone his way, he’d be making his way back to his own house that he had quickly procured and moved into once he had become a Fae but, alas, he had just had to be fucking shit at chess today. Ah well, it wouldn’t be much longer that Levi would have to deal with Erwin anyway.
On another note, he had been hearing rumors that the Winter Fae King Reiss was beginning to become frail in his old age and the King, being the greedy creature that he was, refused to back down and appoint a successor in his place. As per Fae custom, a Fae King or Queen could choose someone to succeed their thrown once they became too old to rule, however, if another Fae killed the current King or Queen the throne automatically became theirs.
The rest of the Winter Court was tiring of King Reiss which made it the perfect opportunity for Levi to kill him and take his place. Not only would this make him more powerful and able to, perhaps, eventually kill Erwin if he so pleased it would also get him away from the insufferable Fae after so many years in his presence. Levi had decided to leave and fulfill this task tomorrow while Erwin went off night hunting with the Huntress Ymir. Erwin constantly spoke of how fun the experience was, but Levi had yet to become interested in such an affair. Let Erwin go and have his “fun,” the raven had much better tasks to busy himself with.
By the time Levi found himself back in Erwin’s house, still as it’s always been, the other Fae was already present with a small human in his clutches. She was short, reaching barely above five feet tall, with wavy brown hair that reached the small of her back, though it was ragged and in knots all over. The woman’s chocolatey brown eyes were wide with fear and glassy from the tears that gathered and threatened to spill over and down reddened cheeks. She was wearing a simple fit-and-flare periwinkle dress that, upon further inspection, was torn, another sign that there had been a struggle. Erwin never did like easy prey.
Levi supposed she was decent enough looking for a human: with her wide almond shaped eyes, plump red tinted lips, and face that was defined by sharp cheekbones and a smooth angular jawline. Though, despite all this, he personally had no interest regarding her or what was about to take place. Erwin wouldn’t be gentle, as was expected, and if the raven had a heart that beat with sympathy, he supposed he may even feel sorry for the girl. Her fear was palpable and left an oddly sweet scent permeating through the air which he figured is what the blond had been talking about before.
Erwin’s eyes glinted maliciously as he placed his hand on the woman’s bare knee and slowly moved it to trail upwards under her dress. She immediately began to let out sobs as her body thrashed around in the strong arms that held her in place. The other Fae simply began to chuckle, obviously enjoying her screams, her agony, and continued to move his hand with no regard to her futile attempts of escape.
Levi didn’t feel anything as he stood there watching. There was none of the sick pleasure Erwin had described, but he also didn’t feel sorrow for the human either, not even regret for letting it happen or trying to stop Erwin, even knowing the terror the man held in him. His grey eyes were void of life as they continued to take in the scene unfolding in front of him, the woman’s shrieks and pleas for help, for mercy, echoing throughout the room as Erwin tore her apart in the same way he had done to Levi those many years ago.
The woman, now having given up on her own useless attempts of escape, reached her hand out towards Levi with shining eyes that pleaded with him to save her from this hell that she had been cast into.“Levi! Levi! Please! I don’t want to see anymore...I-I can’t watch this!” The woman sobbed out in pure torture, but it didn’t make sense. This wasn’t part of the memory. What was going on?
I’m so sorry that you had to see this.
I just want to say thank you for all of the love and support. This has reached over 600 kudos and, with this chapter, I have surpassed the 100 page mark (currently this fic is 109 pages long). I am so thankful for all of the comments, bookmarks, kudos, and love this story of mine has been receiving. It means the world to me.
Huge shout-out, as always, to my beautiful beta Lei. She was super busy with school and life things for a while and posting the last chapter without her felt odd. I'm so happy to have her back and working on this with me. Her comments while editing with me give me life and she constantly encourages me to be better and to keep going. I love you.
If you did not know, I have a tumblr account made specifically for interacting with my readers, fellow writers, the fandom in general. If you would like for better updates on my writing schedule or to talk/ask questions feel free to do so on there. I also have an instagram account I made separate from my personal one that I'd be willing to share if you guys are interested on interacting with me on there. I try to check tumblr at least once every day, but chances are if you have questions instagram is your best bet. Just let me know. To conclude this little paragraph, I've also been thinking of taking requests for one shots/drabbles if anyone is interested in that.
One last thing, I wasn't sure if I wanted to announce this BUT I am in the process of potentially writing a new multi-chapter fic which the lovely Lei has agreed to work with me on as well. I want to get a few chapters written before I start to publish so I'm not bogged down with trying to update multiple things at once, however, I'm super excited and I hope you guys will enjoy it. Be on the lookout!
That's all this time around, I'll see you on the next one!
Chapter 13: The Painter
I'm back again with the longest chapter I've written for this thus far. I say this quite often, but, this really is my favorite chapter and I had so much fun with it. I also have finally linked the playlist for this fic! You can find it at the end of this chapter or the beginning of the very first chapter, please enjoy! Some songs will make sense and others won’t until later on.
*cough* we finally have smut *cough*.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Hazy mountains far beyond
A fast-dark river away
The stars are pinned within the night
Trapped in the realm of Fae”
-The Land of Fae-Glory Winzer
Agony . Both body and mind still reeling with everything that he’d been put through, everything he had seen and felt , Eren couldn’t think of a better word to describe what he was now undergoing. The entire time he was immersed in the memories of Levi, he had truly and undisputedly been experiencing each scene as though he was the raven-haired man. He had lost himself. Levi’s anger was his anger. Levi’s sorrow was his sorrow. Levi’s suffering was his suffering. It had been damn near impossible to force himself back to the forefront of his own mind so that he could demand that Levi release him from that nightmare.
And now that he had, Eren’s head was spinning. He felt as though he had just downed an entire bottle of wine with no food in his system before being dared by Jean to run around in circles fifty times. Basically, Eren wanted to puke. It wasn’t even the act itself that he had witnessed that caused him to react in such a negative way, although, now that he was given the time to process what he had seen he was able to realize just how utterly disgusting it had been.
What made him want to pull out of the memories-what was currently driving him insane-was the fact that he hadn’t felt anything while watching the events with that woman unfold. No regret. No disgust. No despair. No sympathy. How was it possible for any living creature to exist and not feel even an ounce of emotion at such a display? He wished he could have even said that there were feelings of apathy present, but it was just... complete and utter emptiness .
An emptiness that was now snaking its way through Eren’s mind like smoke crawling up a chimney, only to be blocked from escape as it continued to accumulate until everything turned dark and suffocating. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t feel. Oh god he couldn’t feel . Had he somehow taken Levi’s Fae qualities from those memories and dragged them into the present? Would he be stuck this way for the rest of his life?
Eren was lost.
He was alone.
He was imprisoned.
A loud, strong, deep voice cut through the fog causing emerald eyes to snap open as Eren’s body convulsed and he sucked in a long breath of air. His lungs constricted inside his chest to the point where he thought they might burst through his rib cage and he looked around the room wildly as he tried to adjust to being back within his own body.
He felt as though there were sparks of electricity running through his veins and his limbs were shaking so violently that Eren began to worry he was having a seizure. When his eyes finally adjusted enough to their surroundings, he was able to make out the form of Levi still next to him, realizing that it was the Fae who had brought him back to his senses. Although Eren still felt foggy and the room around him appeared as though it were spinning in circles, he could see Levi with absolute clarity. Something in those silver irises managed to ground him and the younger male finally found himself able to open his mouth to communicate.
“I-I didn’t feel anything Levi. She was-Erwin he-I... I didn’t care . How did I not care ?” Eren babbled quickly, struggling to string his sentences together as he strived to come to terms with everything Levi had shown him.
Levi’s expression looked pained as he reached out both of his hands to cup Eren’s face in between them. Thumbs stroked themselves over tear stricken tan cheeks slowly and a long sigh permeated the air as the Fae’s shoulders drooped with the weight of all they had carried for such a long time. There was a thick tension that wrapped itself around both males threatening to pull them apart in irrecoverable ways as the two struggled to understand one another’s emotions and pull themselves back from the brink of darkness.
“Eren, you need to understand. Listen to me. That wasn’t you feeling any of that, it was me . You are still Eren Jaeger the painter from Shiganshina. You haven’t lost your humanity and I promise you that I will do everything in my power to ensure that never happens to you,” Levi said with a frown on his face. It was clear he was struggling with the onslaught of emotions that not only his past brought on, but that he had also inherited from Eren during their connection. However, the Fae was doing his best to push his own needs aside in order to take care of the brunet who had yet to experience such horrors in his short lifespan.
“But,” Eren whispered, shifting his position slightly so that he was now practically sitting in Levi’s lap, “I am supposed to be the one saving you.” He bit his lip and looked down into his hands that he was wringing together nervously. It might be weird to some that he was comfortable still being this close to Levi after everything he saw but, given that he had experienced what it was like to be emotionless, he knew it wasn’t Levi’s fault. That the Levi in his memories was not the same person that was in front of him right now. He had been trapped within his own mind, unable to escape, let alone help someone else in need.
After a few moments without a response from the Fae, Eren looked up, eyes searching Levi’s as though he could find everything he had ever longed for within those silvery depths. What he found instead was a hint of fear within them, and the discovery left him slightly surprised. What was it that Levi had to be fearful of? He had already endured so much in his lifetime and at this point there didn’t seem to be anything worse that the Fae could possibly encounter.
“I...,” Levi paused, wrapping his arms tightly around Eren as he leaned his head against the younger man’s shoulder and closed his eyes. “I thought that I was going to lose you...that you would think I was every bit of the monster that the village spent your whole life warning you about. I’ve lost everyone I’ve ever cared about and I-I can’t Eren. I can’t lose you too. Please .”
Eren returned the hug, holding onto the other man as though his life depended on it. He couldn’t believe that even with the fear of losing Eren, Levi had still been brave enough to reveal his past without choosing to gloss over the worst parts. The brunet felt so much more connected to the Fae now, as if there had been a bridge of trust built between them that even the mightiest earthquake couldn’t shake. He wasn’t a fool, though, and he knew that it would still take time to fully process everything that he had seen. However, there was no possible way that he was going to leave Levi over his past. Eren couldn’t fathom a world in which he and Levi were no longer together, the mere thought of it had a fresh wave of tears threatening to leak from his eyes.
“Levi, I’m not going to leave you. I can’t even begin to imagine the hell you went through for so long... being trapped within your own mind like that. What I experienced was a mere snippet of what you endured for so many years... and I know that the Fae in those memories is not the man that I’m currently holding in my arms. You, Levi Ackerman, are brave, strong, compassionate, and loving. Not many people would have sacrificed themselves the way you did for a friend and even less would have managed to endure three years in the Fae realm before breaking. I’ve already told you that I’m the one here to save you a-”
Eren immediately stopped talking as he suddenly recalled the part of the memories where Levi had found the book that explained how a Fae could become a human again. It was the same book Eren had come across the day before and he couldn’t believe their luck. This was so much easier than he had ever thought it would be! The best part was, he could also help Hange and Moblit become human and then they could all leave the Fae world once and for all together.
He pulled back from Levi, his body vibrating with energy and eyes wide in excitement. “The book, Levi! You have it here! We can use it and have you become a human again!”
Levi moved away from Eren but rather than being excited like the younger male was, a look of defeat and sadness crossed his face instead. He turned to look away from the shining green eyes across from him and ran a hand through his hair in what appeared to be slight agitation. Eren was confused, did Levi not want to become a human again? Did he just want to return Eren to Shiganshina and occasionally visit him or...no... he couldn’t...wouldn’t... would he? Was Levi expecting Eren to stay with him in the Winter Court as a human? But Eren would go mad just like Levi had!
“Eren,” Levi sighed heavily, “this is something we should deliberate later. For now, you should sleep. We both should. After all the magic you experienced today combined with sharing my memories, your mind needs rest. I need to prepare myself to leave for your birthday festival tomorrow evening and desire rest as well. Before I leave tomorrow, I will take you out further into my domain and we can discuss the book in further detail.”
Eren jutted out his bottom lip in a pout and narrowed his eyes at Levi. He didn’t want to discuss the book later, he wanted to discuss it now .
“Levi, I would rather discuss anything negative now while I’m still feeling this way. Tomorrow...I want it to be happy. It is my birthday, after all. I don’t understand why you aren’t excited about this. Do you not desire to become a human again?”
Levi reached out and took Eren’s hand so he could intertwine their fingers together and before beginning to speak in a grave tone, he squeezed the younger man’s hand gently.
“You didn’t turn the page, did you? Of course you didn’t...you were frightened.” Levi paused for a second as he prepared himself for what he was to say next.
“Eren, there is a page missing. I didn’t realize when I stole the book...I was foolish. All that I have in my possession is that a Fae must first fall in love, but the actual part that tells about the ritual, it’s torn out of the book. Erwin...he knew. Why else would I suddenly have decided to become a Fae? Erwin is smart, he was fully aware that if he took the entire book I would have backed out of my decision. So, instead, he ripped out the most important page to prevent me from ever being able to become a human again if the opportunity ever arose.”
Eren blinked once...twice...three times. He tried to process what it was exactly that Levi had just told him. I-It couldn't be. That was... impossible.
“So,” Eren stammered as he shifted uneasily, “what you are saying is that we would have to go to the Autumn realm and steal the page back from Erwin.”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“But...how do you know if he even has it still?”
“Because Erwin loves to play. He is the Master of Games. Think of it this way; we are currently in a game of chess and Erwin has been carefully laying out all the pieces for years. However, there are still some pieces that have yet to come into play. Although I never cared until recently that the page was missing, I always knew that in a way Erwin was competition. So, as a Fae King, I prepared some of my own pawns to counter his moves. Namely, Ymir and Historia.”
Eren’s eyes widened with recognition at the name Ymir, the Night Huntress. She was widely known amongst the villagers as one of the most ruthless creatures to exist, far older than any other living mythical being. No one knew her exact age, but what they did know was that she was the one being you did not want to be on your bad side.
“But.” Eren glanced up at Levi in confusion. “What do Ymir and Historia have to do with this? And who is Historia? I’ve heard of Ymir, everyone in Shiganshina knows who she is, but Historia...I’m not familiar with that name. Where is she?”
“Historia is in my castle. I’ve used a very difficult and rare magic to keep her asleep for quite some time. The tale of Ymir and Historia is a long one and better left for another day. We have a.... lot to discuss. For now, let us sleep. Tomorrow we will celebrate you turning 18 before I leave for Shiganshina, we have no more time for sad thoughts. Once I return, Erwin will know you are here and then, he will make his next move. We must be ready to prepare our own pieces to move across the board.”
Eren wanted to protest, wanted to pout and get angry and bother Levi until he relented, but then he remembered the state that Levi’s human mind had been in after years of being trapped in the Fae realm. Eren knew that his own mind had already had moments of succumbing to the assault that the magic of the Fae constantly battered against its walls and considering that he wasn’t sure how much longer he would be stuck here for, he knew it was important to listen to Levi’s advice.
With a long, slow sigh Eren relented to Levi’s wishes as he pushed the Fae back onto the mattress and crawled on top of him. He sprawled his body out so that his legs and arms were on either side of the man now underneath him and he closed his eyes as his ear pressed against the Fae’s chest as it had during their mind sharing. He could clearly hear Levi’s heartbeat quicken at their close proximity but, rather than question Eren’s sudden willingness to be so close to him, Levi simply wrapped both of his arms around the younger man tightly-as if he was drowning and Eren was the piece of driftwood keeping him afloat.
And that’s how, for the first time in many, many years, a Fae and human fell asleep willingly in one another's arms. As the two men were sleeping, they didn’t realize that their hearts now beat in sync, their breath puffing out of their mouths quietly as love blossomed between them. It was an odd occurrence, for a human and Fae to mutually fall in love, a rare magic in itself.
Something was building between them, something deeply profound and unshakeable, Eren could feel it deep within his bones. His eyelids fluttered as dreams of growing old with a raven-haired man flitted through his mind.
What would 18 years on this earth bring him?
When Eren awoke, it was to the sound of Levi’s breath fluttering against his ear softly. It was clear to him that the Fae was still in a deep sleep and the brunet didn’t blame him. Between using magic to make Eren’s eyes appear a different color, showing Eren his true self, and then allowing Eren to travel with him through his memories, the Fae had used up quite a bit of energy. Not to mention he had spent most of his day making sure that his Yule Festival would go perfectly, he had to have been exhausted.
Ever so slowly, Eren lifted his head from Levi’s chest so he could get a proper look at his face. He hadn’t had a chance to see what the darker-haired man looked like while sleeping before and when he got a proper look he felt his heart stutter in his chest violently. Levi’s face always looked amazing, not a wrinkle in site, but somehow gazing upon him in this way while he was completely at peace caused him to look even more beautiful. Eren wondered when the last time was that the Fae had received a proper night’s sleep and he wished he could have allowed him to sleep longer, however, the brunet was restless.
Today would be his last day being with Levi while most of the Fae lived in ignorance of his existence. Today was their last full day of serenity until they had to begin to fight against Erwin, a formidable foe indeed. Eren knew that if he told Levi to ask his friends to help, they would without a second thought. However, the reason he agreed to come here in the first place was to spare his loved ones from the wrath of the Fae. Hopefully whatever they had planned today would save them and then Eren could focus his sole attention on getting that page back.
Levi must have felt Eren’s intense gaze on him as moments later his eyes slowly fluttered open. He took in what Eren assumed was chocolate strands standing up in all directions around his head and sleep-laced eyes but instead of looking disgusted at the younger man’s messy appearance, Eren noticed a gleam of desire in those silver eyes. His body shuddered slightly as Levi’s hot gaze traveled from his eyes down to his lips and he found his heart racing in anticipation. Never had he before desired to be touched by another being as much as this and it was driving him insane. He should be brainstorming on how to get Levi out of here and not on all of the different ways he wanted the Fae to fuck him.
His tongue poked out to run along his bottom lip nervously and the way that Levi’s eyes narrowed and watched the movement hungrily didn’t go unnoticed. Heat pooled within his gut and he shifted on top of Levi into a seated position hoping that the distance would help, however, in his haste he wasn’t paying attention to every part of his own body and when his thigh brushed against the Fae in a particularly sensitive area it destroyed all semblance of self-control between them.
In a matter of seconds, Eren was thrown onto his back and Levi was now holding himself over him. The Fae’s bangs hung over his eyes semi covering pupils that were blown wide with arousal, leaving only a thin circle of silver around them. Eren swallowed loudly and willed himself to be brave as he tentatively reached a hand up to place it against the pale sculpted chest above him. Ever so slowly, he trailed his hand downwards, fingers splayed out and feeling every line of muscle that was etched into ebony skin.
“Kiss me,” he whispered softly as the sound of his heart beating rapidly filled his ears.
Levi took no time in honoring Eren’s request as cool lips were pressed roughly against his. One of Levi’s hands had moved and was now trailing up the brunet’s thigh and caused him to let out a small gasp, which the Fae took as an invitation to slide his tongue into Eren’s pliant mouth. Once again, Eren’s taste buds were filled with the flavor of ripe juicy summer blueberries and a quiet whimper escaped from his lips as his body begged for more. Levi’s deft tongue licking its way deeper inside to taste every inch of him wasn’t enough. The heat in his belly increased tenfold and he could feel himself growing embarrassingly hard inside of his pants.
His hands had found their way into midnight black strands and he started to pull at them as Levi sucked Eren’s bottom lip into his mouth and bit at the flesh roughly. It was slightly painful, but at the same time sent a spark of pleasure so great through the younger man’s body that he found himself unabashedly moaning. He wanted to feel that mouth and those teeth in other places. Wanted Levi to mark him up and claim him as his. Wanted to feel Levi so deep inside him that he forgot everything else existed but the two of them.
As Eren’s desperation built so did Levi’s until, to Eren’s annoyance, the Fae pulled away from him abruptly while letting out a pained sigh. Eren attempted to pull Levi back towards him but the Fae moved out of his reach and shook his head.
“No,” Levi said in a gruff voice, getting up from the bed and moving towards the bathroom, “I think we should get ready to leave.”
Eren couldn’t believe that Levi was rejecting him. This was the same Fae who had threw a fit when Eren made it to where he couldn’t touch the brunet while in bed together without his permission. And now that he was giving it to him, he didn’t want it? This made no sense.
“Levi, do you think I am confused about what I want? Is that it?”
The Fae King ran a hand through his hair and looked away from Eren nervously. “Well-” he shrugged and turned his eyes back towards the boy who was still sitting in the bed- “it would make sense that your emotions and judgment are all out of sync. I don’t want to do something you’ll regret.”
Eren rolled his eyes and got up from the bed, walking towards Levi with his arms crossed over his chest angrily. “I would never regret being with you. I want this, Levi. Please ?”
Levi pinched the bridge of his nose and exhaled through his nostrils heavily as he lowered his head and closed his eyes. “Eren, not now. I don’t think I can control myself once we get that far and I refuse to ravish you and then leave you alone for hours while I attend this festival. When the time comes, I intend to take my time with you. Now, please, stop pushing. I may be a Fae King and have lived for a very long time, but that does not mean I have an infinite amount of self-control.”
As much as Eren wanted to keep pushing Levi until he got what he desired, even he had to admit that the Fae had a point. Eren wasn’t sure how he’d feel if he allowed Levi to take him in such an intimate way only to be left alone directly afterwards. Plus, as Levi said, this wasn’t something that either of them wanted to rush. He supposed he could wait...but only until Levi came back tonight. He didn’t think it’d be possible to wait any longer than that. As soon as he had first laid eyes on the Fae King there was something carnal inside of him that desired to consume the Fae and be consumed in return.
So, for now, he relented and proceeded to get ready for their little adventure alongside Levi. It didn’t take either one of them long as the excitement of finally getting to explore distracted Eren from his sexual desires and spurred him forward. Eren decided that he wanted to take his easel, canvases, and paints with him today as he didn’t know if he would ever get a chance to paint the land of the Fae again in his life and wanted to create something that would last forever. When he and Levi escaped (hopefully) it would serve as a reminder of the beauty they once had both been able to experience and a culmination of their time here.
Eren had been worried about how he would transport his painting supplies around the Winter domain with him when Levi, always one step ahead, produced a small jet black bag from his pocket and motioned for Eren to hand him each item one at a time.
“Um...Levi...that’s...uh. That’s not big enough?” Eren didn’t want to make the Fae sound stupid but, really, what was he thinking?
“Tch. Eren. When are you going to learn? Stop letting human ideas cloud your mind. This bag is laced with Fae magic and can fit much more than what you have inside. Now, hurry up, our time is limited.”
Levi had used that commanding tone that made Eren weak in the knees and he found himself quickly complying with the Fae’s request. To his amazement, each item disappeared inside of the small bag as though it was being sucked inside a black hole. Once that task was completed, the two were ready for a day full of adventure.
As they made their way through the castle and beyond they encountered some of the other Fae and Eren made sure to keep his head down to keep his eyes from being seen. He needn’t worry much, though, as one look from Levi had them scurrying away quickly. They passed where Levi had held the Yule Festival and then through the gates that kept the grounds protected from outsiders. Levi explained that he was the one that had to open it as anyone who was not a Fae of the Winter Court would be blasted away if any part of their body even happened to brush against the enchanted metal. It was a spell that would only leave other Fae winded, however, as humans were much weaker than Fae it could easily cause severe injuries or even death to them.
After hearing of this, Eren eyed the gate wearily, but he was soon distracted by other sights that surrounded him. It seemed that out here the pine trees grew to enormous sizes, stretching so far upwards that it was nearly impossible to see the tops of them. Eren continued to walk onwards, figuring this was the mode of travel they would be using, but when he turned to ask Levi a question and didn’t see him walking next to him, he paused and looked back in confusion.
Levi smirked before saying sardonically, “What, did you think we were going to walk? My domain is far too big to be walked. I would normally travel by a’dol à sealladh, however, it’s not good for humans to sealladh. I’ve heard it causes some... unwanted side effects.”
Eren was curious as to what those side effects could be and was about to ask when the Fae brought his fingers to his lips and began to whistle. It consisted of five distinct whistles that ranged in different pitches, from high to low and back again. A moment later, the most beautiful stag Eren had ever seen strode forward and nuzzled its snout against Levi’s outstretched hand.
The stag was enormous, far bigger than any Eren had ever seen around Shiganshina. It must have stood at least a foot taller than Eren himself, and he was almost six feet tall. Rather than being covered in brown fur as usual, this stag was the color of moonlight and its antlers glowed a mesmerizing shade of azure. It turned its head to look at Eren, black eyes shining with far more intelligence than most animals possessed.
“This is Azrael, my stag. Stags will only allow one Fae to ride them in their entire life and they live for just as long as we do, if not longer. It is an intimate process for a stag and rider to choose one another. A Fae must first find a stag that is unchosen and once they have decided they like what they see, they must allow the stag to charge at them full force. This builds a bond of trust between the two so the Fae must not move even when the stag seems as though it is about to impale them. If this is done successfully, the Fae and stag are then bonded for as long as they both live.
“If a Fae dies, the stag will still never choose another rider-” Levi paused to gently run his hand over one of the stags antlers in what Eren could only describe as a gentle affection-“and if the Fae becomes human, it works the same way. Instead, the stag is then free to join Ymir and her hunt so that it will not be alone for the rest of its life.”
Eren hadn’t ever heard any of his friends who were more knowledgeable of the Fae talk about this custom and figured it must be one of the secrets that these mythical beings guarded closely. He found himself wondering how it was possible for him to ride the stag with Levi if it only ever chose one rider and voiced this concern out loud only to get a small chuckle in response from the Fae King.
“Tch, did you not listen? I said they would only allow one Fae to ride them. As you are human, you could ride any stag if they felt inclined to extend such an offer to you. Besides, seeing as how you are mine; Azrael will have no problem with you riding him.”
Despite his shorter stature, Levi gripped one of the antlers and expertly swung himself up and onto the stag’s broad back with what appeared to be little to no effort on his part. He motioned for a blushing Eren to come forward and as the brunet had never mounted such an animal before, Levi extended his hand and helped hoist the younger male up so that he could sit snugly behind the Fae.
Eren wrapped his arms around Levi’s waist automatically and nestled his chin on the man’s shoulder as wide bright emerald eyes scanned the forest around them. It felt a bit odd sitting bare back on the animal, especially when the stag began to accelerate its pace to a trot, but he quickly found that his body got used to it. Besides, he was so enamored by the feel of Levi’s bare chest beneath his fingers and the landscape around them that he hardly paid attention to the fact that he was riding around in the Winter Court’s domain on the back of a fucking stag . His friends would never believe this.
He and Levi were silent on their way through the dense forest, snow coating the ground and resting atop of dark green pine needles. It wasn’t an awkward silence between them, more like one of those peaceful moments where each person was too focused on soaking up the presence of the other person to want to disturb the quietness that hung in the air around them. The brunet was nuzzling his face against the darker-haired man's neck and enjoying the way his heartbeat sped up beneath tan fingers when he lifted his eyes and felt the breath withdraw from his body all at once.
He had completely zoned in on Levi and hadn’t noticed the thinning of the trees that had previously surrounded them. Up ahead, the land stretched out so far it appeared to go on endlessly. There was a huge shimmering blue lake at the center surrounded by snow covered ground and beyond that...mountains. Mountains so high it seemed as though it would be impossible for any being, mythical or not, to reach the top. Mountains covered in glistening white snow that looked like diamonds when the sun hit it. Mountains so plentiful it was all his eyes were drawn towards; all he could see in that moment. And for the second time in his life, Eren realized he had fallen in love. He could now understand why so many humans, after being stolen and taken into the Fae lands only to be cast out when the Fae became bored, grew depressed at the prospect of never being able to behold such beauty again in their lives.
“Levi,” he breathed out quietly, voice barely above a whisper, “I have to paint this. Please .”
It was the second time Eren found himself begging the Fae King for something today and, this time, Levi had no qualms in giving the younger man exactly what he wanted. The Fae dismounted Azrael smoothly and held out his arms so Eren could slide off the back of the stag and into them. He was suspended in the air for just a moment, giving him the sneaking suspicion that Levi liked holding him in this position, before being placed on the ground gently.
The two wasted no time in getting Eren’s canvas, easel, and paints set up. Levi had gone and retrieved Eren a flat smooth piece of bark from somewhere so he would have a surface where he could mix his paints to find the perfect colors. As Eren’s brush darted across the canvas he began to sing a soft tune, lost in the beauty of the moment and the feel of his Fae standing quietly next to him.
“In the morning when I wake
And the sun is coming through,
Oh, you fill my lungs with sweetness,
And you fill my head with you”
He heard Levi’s sharp intake of breath and felt the gentle brush of deft fingers along his spine causing his normally steady painting hand to shake slightly. Eren took a deep breath, mixed shades together almost maniacally, and turned his eyes back upwards to the land beyond. He didn’t think he could ever do it proper justice but, fuck , would he try. As he began to get lost in his art, more words flowed from his lips and he felt his heart grow so full he thought it might explode.
“Shall I write it in a letter?
Shall I try to get it down?
Oh, you fill my head with pieces
Of a song I can't get out”
It was mesmerizing to watch as a painting unfolded. As what appeared to be smudges and lines that made absolutely no sense transformed into a magnificently detailed masterpiece. As the painter got so lost in their craft that the world ceased to exist around them. There was a certain magic about it that no Fae magic could ever even dream of comparing to.
“Can I be close to you?
Can I be close to you?
Perhaps Eren did possess a magic of his own, others had said as much previously, because it was almost unbelievable at how fast the painting before him came together. How the mountains formed within seconds, stretching up towards a clear pale blue sky above them. How the lake somehow appeared to be moving and shimmering on the canvas and how one might be convinced that if they were to reach out and touch the snow-covered ground, they would be able to feel the chill on their fingers.
“Can I take it to a morning
Where the fields are painted gold
And the trees are filled with memories
Of the feelings never told?”
However, his painting was missing something . What was it missing? He had painted everything he saw before him and, yet, there was a nagging sensation in his mind that he was forgetting something. Something important. That the painting would never be complete without it. And then...it hit him. Levi . He needed Levi to be in this painting. The beautiful Winter Fae King represented everything that his realm was and there was no possible way Eren could paint this land without its King present. He mentioned this to the Fae behind him and in seconds Levi stood before him, his captivating form surrounded by land that somehow now seemed to pale in comparison.
Eren’s brush once against dragged across the canvas, gleaming eyes boring into the Fae in a way that would have made any lesser man blush like a schoolgirl before running away to hide. Eren needed to imprint both he and Levi’s soul onto this painting. He knew, without a doubt, that this would be the most important piece he had created in his life and anything other than perfection would not do.
“When the evening pulls the sun down,
And the day is almost through,
Oh, the whole world it is sleeping,
But my world is you.”
Eren was frantic to complete the painting, not only did the movement of the brush in his hand convey these emotions, but the lilt in his voice as he was singing allerted any listeners that the intensity of these feelings was almost too much to bare. It was gnawing at Eren that there was never going to be enough time to rest in moments like this. It was silly, when he thought about it, to be in a land where each second felt infinite and yet to feel as though the hourglass full of the sands of time had broken causing every memory to spill out with no chance of recovery. His mind was going haywire when Levi’s voice rang out and pulled him away from his trance.
“Eren, stop looking at me like that,” the Fae King said gruffly.
Eren blinked and looked from his painting back to Levi as he answered in a confused tone, “Like what?”
“Like you want to devour me.”
A smirk flashed across the brunet’s lips and he cupped his chin in his hand as he replied cheekily. “Maybe I want to do just that.”
“Well, if you don’t stop, then I’m going to devour you.”
Eren’s breath hitched and he placed his brush down momentarily as he used his now free hand to dig his fingernails into one of his thighs to attempt to calm his rapidly beating heart. “I would let you, you know,” he whispered, shifting his eyes up to meet silver ones, “I would let you devour every inch of me until there is nothing left.”
In the blink of an eye, Levi had suddenly appeared on his knees in front of Eren. His eyes were hooded and there was a devious glint in them as a pale hand trailed up one of the brunet’s thighs until it was resting near rather dangerous territory. Eren’s cheeks had turned from tan to rosy red and his hand clutched the wood that he had been using to mix his paints on hard enough to almost snap it.
“I-I thought w-we came out here so I could paint, Levi.” Eren’s voice was breathy and he was slightly embarrassed about how he stuttered but he couldn’t help it. Eren was no blushing virgin, but something about the Fae King completely disarmed him in a way that no one else had ever been able to do.
In a movement so instantaneous that Eren had absolutely no time to prepare himself, Levi had undone his pants and pulled them down along with his boxers so that his now half hard dick was hanging out freely. The younger man let out a soft yelp followed by a low moan as Levi pressed his thumb against the slit of his cock gently. Levi bit his lip as he moved his thumb around in deliciously slow circles, taking extra care to apply pressure in just the right places.
“That’s exactly what you’re going to do, Eren. I want you to paint my mouth with your cock.”
There was so much sexual tension in the air and such a ludicrous statement said with a seriousness that only Levi could possess had Eren giggling softly. It had to have been a long time since Levi flirted if he those were the sort of lines he planned on throwing at Eren to try and woo him. He looked down at Levi kneeling so prettily between his legs and shook his head as he continued to laugh softly, all tension leaving his body.
“Who taught you how to flirt, Levi?”
Levi smirked and spoke in a haughty voice as he moved his thumb to trace over the vein that ran down the underside of Eren’s thick and now fully hard cock.
“I was trying to get you to relax more. You’re all wound up like a cat caught in a cage. I thought you said you’d let me devour you, Eren. Do you not want that anymore?”
The paints dropped from Eren’s hand as he reached up and slapped it over his mouth to stifle the moan that attempted to escape. His thighs shook ever so slightly as Levi continued to run his fingers feather light over Eren’s painfully hard member. The Fae King was teasing him, slowly sliding his tongue over his bottom lip as he barely touched the younger man. It was driving Eren insane and he didn’t think he could handle it for much longer.
“F-fuck. Yes! Yes! I want it. Please Levi. Oh god, please .”
“Mm... such a good beautiful boy, asking me so nicely. I’m going to make you feel amazing, my treasure. You’ll never be able to be with anyone again without thinking of me.”
Levi’s voice had lowered in pitch and grown so sensual that he didn’t even have to touch Eren for sparks of pleasure to run through his body. Every inch of him was now quivering with desire and when Levi finally wrapped his fingers around Eren’s cock and gave it a nice tug it was pure and utter ecstasy. The Fae’s cool slim fingers fit perfectly around him and somehow it felt a million times better than any of the other hands that had been there before.
When Eren felt a wet and warm sensation against the head of his cock, he lost all pretense of control as he tilted his head back and began to whimper, body begging for more. His hand flew to the hair on Levi’s head and he gripped the strands tightly, thighs quivering as Levi swirled that wet muscle around the head as though he were licking a lollipop.
“G-gods, Levi. Shit. Fuck. That f-feels s-so good. More. I need more. Please...please... please ...”
Levi pulled back for a moment and reached for Eren, tugging him down by his hair roughly before pressing a sultry kiss to the brunet’s plump lips. It certainly felt as though Levi were devouring him, his tongue entering Eren’s mouth and exploring the cavern as if the Fae had never tasted anything so delicious in his life. When Eren was about out of breath, Levi finally backed away and looked at him with eyes so full of lust that they appeared to be fully black.
“I’m going to eat you up, little kitten.” Levi’s voice was animalistic in a way that had Eren’s entire body shaking in anticipation. And, shit , he didn’t have any time to prepare as suddenly Levi was back in between his legs and taking Eren’s his entire length in his mouth in one go. As if sucking dick was something that the Fae had been born to do.
Eren reached out his arm to brace his hand against his painting easel and bowed his back forward as the obscenest noises passed through his parted lips. He couldn’t think of anything other than the feel of Levi’s tongue sliding all around his hard cock or the way the head pressed against the back of the Fae’s throat and fuck-fuck-fuck Levi was swallowing around him and it felt like nothing he had ever experienced before.
“Le-Levi! I’m-I’m not going to last long i-if you continue like that. Mm, fuck...it feels so good .” Eren’s words were barely discernible as he attempted to speak through heavy pants and lewd moans. Levi ignored Eren’s pleas and, instead, began to bob his head up and down at a quick pace, teeth gently scraping against the skin of Eren’s cock in a way that had his toes curling in pleasure.
Levi had reached up a hand and was now softly massaging Eren’s balls in tandem with his salacious sucks. At this point in time between the two of them it sounded as though they were in the throes of a pornographic scene and Eren could feel his entire body flushing at the thought that, in any given moment, another Fae cold come along and see them like this.
It was when Levi began to rub his finger gently against Eren’s perineum that he completely lost control over his body and the most embarrassing and obnoxiously loud noise left his throat. He saw white behind his eyelids and had absolutely no time to warn Levi as he reached his orgasm and squirted cum down the raven’s throat and all over those pale pink lips.
Eren opened glazed emerald eyes and looked down upon Levi who had leaned back and had the sexiest smirk on that heartbreakingly beautiful face. The brunet’s cheeks grew ten times hotter when he noticed his cum slowly dripping down the Fae’s chin and he reached down to wipe it off with a shaky hand.
“See, I told you that you’d paint my face. Do I look like one of your masterpieces now?” Levi asked cheekily as he pulled up Eren’s boxers and pants before getting up off his knees and brushing the snow from his own pants.
Eren grinned and wrapped his arms around the waist of his ridiculous Fae so he could hug him tightly. “You look even better. But-” he pulled back and looked up at Levi, teeth worrying against his lower lip for a moment, “-would you like me to take care of you?”
Levi shook his head and pulled Eren back towards his chest. “Not now, kitten. Tonight I promise I’ll give you the best birthday gift you’ve ever received. For now, let’s clean up and go back. I want to cuddle with you for a bit before I leave.”
As the two packed up and made their way back towards the castle, Eren could have sworn he had fallen even more in love. Whatever tonight would bring he knew that if he and Levi were together, they could overcome anything. Because that’s what love was. Being with that person despite their flaws, helping them grow and become a better version of themselves, and working through both the good and the bad together. No one, not even Erwin, would pull them apart. Eren knew it in his soul. Levi and he were meant to be together and he couldn’t wait to fully be claimed by the one he loved more than he had ever thought was possible.
Special note: I take no credit for the line "I want you to paint my mouth with your cock." I live with my best friend and talk about my fic quite often. We were drinking margaritas and he knew I was writing smut and when I told him my original idea he said if I didn't use the line "I'm going to paint your mouth with my cock" I was doing something wrong. I brought it up to Lei and another friend, they agreed it was too good not to use, thus came about this variation. So, you can all thank Cody for that.
A huge thanks to my readers for all of the comments, kudos, and love. I still find it hard to believe so many of you like this fic as much as you do and it makes me smile to have the amount support I do. I write for the pure joy it brings me and being able to spread that joy to others means the absolute world to me.
I have SO many more ideas to weave into this universe and I hope you will all continue to bare with me and my unfortunately slow updates. I am not always the most eloquent when it comes to getting what I have in my brain written down.
I'll see you all on the next chapter when the real fun begins. c:
Chapter 14: The Lie of Shiganshina
Oh my god, I updated in less than a month. Look at that!
This chapter killed me. I've been talking about it for months (I think I first mentioned it in chapter 8) and knew it would be a pain in the ass when it finally came down to writing it. There is such an obnoxious amount of description going on but I really wanted you all to be able to picture this inside your head and imagine that you were there. I hope I managed to do just that.
I honestly can't believe the numbers when I look at the kudos, comments, bookmarks, and hits this fic has gotten. What the fuck, guys? You are all the bee's knees and I am so thankful to you for supporting my creativity. I hope you enjoy this chapter, we'll be back to Eren and Levi on the next one.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“ You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie.
Not because I am straighter than the rest of us,
but simply because it appalls me.
There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies-
which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world –
what I want to forget.”
Joseph Conrad-Heart of Darkness
Time. Such a complicated concept. One always felt like they had far too much of it when everything in their life was moving slowly. Those moments when, no matter how hard you pushed yourself, the world around you drifted on by leisurely. The bite of winter lingered on the tips of your fingers when all you could think about was the warmth of the spring sun peeking out from white clouds and bringing about new life. A lost love clutching at your heartstrings for months on end when all you wanted to do was move forward and grow.
And then, there were moments where one never had enough time. How, no matter the will of one’s mind, the world continued to turn in circles faster than one could ever hope to keep up with. When the vibrant hues of fall crumbled and turned to dust in the blink of an eye leaving nothing but death in their wake. Someone you love disappearing from your life in the instant that it took the second hand to tick on a clock.
Time. Armin was out of time.
Three months had felt like more than enough when he had initially started planning the festival for Eren’s birthday. However, while attempting to make everything as flawless as he could, the day had suddenly sprung upon him and he didn’t know if the village was ready. He didn’t know if he was ready.
Armin, the always level-headed one, was most definitely having a moment of panic. He stood in the village center, ocean blue eyes scanning the mass of hustling bodies around him, body weary with a need for rest. He had spent his days and nights over the past three months meticulously laying out every detail of how today would go. Of course, he had help from his close friends and the rest of the village, but in the end, it was all resting on Armin’s shoulders. He was the one who handpicked each task for every individual, who went over designs, who calibrated where every item would be placed. If this festival were to somehow fail, it would be his fault.
He ran a hand through his shoulder-length blond hair and sighed, shoulders sagging with the weight of what failure may bring. It was best to not dwell on it for much longer, life would move forward and at this point, there was no turning back. The final preparations were being put in place, the Fae would be arriving soon, and Armin needed to check on everything one last time to make sure it was all ready.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Mikasa standing next to him, a rare and gentle smile on her face. Her long black hair was pulled into an intricately braided updo and adorned with small white blooms. Her eyes were lined black making the dark irises pop and her lips had been painted the color of red wine. On her bodice was a sleeveless dress the color of her lips that clung to her body as if it were a second skin. This wasn’t the first time Armin found himself struck by her beauty, and yet, he felt as though he were seeing her for the very first time all over again. She was stunning.
“Are you okay, Ar?” Mikasa asked softly, eyes scanning his face for any signs of distress.
“I’ll be fine, Mika. I’m more worried about the others. Reiner and Bertholdt have barely had a wink of sleep. It was a lot to ask them to craft such intricate thrones in only three months. And then Sasha and Connie with the food...Connie told me how difficult it has been for Sasha to not be able to eat any of it. Not to mention-” he paused, eyes drifting to land on a woman with long brunette hair tied down in a side ponytail- “Carla is about to break. Each day without Eren seems to wear on her more and more...and I know she takes the full blame for the situation we are currently in. I told her not to, it is all of us who participated in the lie, but I don’t think she listened.”
A deep sadness filled his chest as he watched Carla help spread the grand tapestry out in the middle of the village. It was massive, easily the size of two living room floors put together, and the most intricately made piece of art he had ever seen. Just by looking at it, one could see the amount of love and heartbreak that had been woven into each stitch. There were so many different shapes and colors that one could become lost in the story of how the Fae had come to be. Each scene was depicted so perfectly it felt that you were being sucked into that world with no hope of return.
Although the Fae were what had taken her only son away from her, it was clear that Carla had a deep respect for the creatures. He wondered how much they would all tremble beneath the gazes of four Kings and Queens. He wondered, even though humans could create such masterpieces while Fae could not, how small each one of them would feel. As though they were all mere specks of dust ready to blow away with the wind and be forgotten for all eternity.
Mikasa stood silently next to him, shoulder brushing against his, her way of letting him know that she was there for him and that she understood. The trio had always been in tune with one another’s emotions and it felt weird not having Eren here to be a part of this. His laughter, brash behavior, and headstrong attitude had always been a pillar of what held them all together. Would they ever see him again? Of course, we will, he chided himself mentally. I must believe that otherwise, I won’t be able to keep moving forward.
They watched in silence as Reiner and Bertholdt began to bring out the thrones one by one. Each was massive and thus required not only the full strength of the two crafters but the help of Jean and Marco as well. Armin could faintly detect beads of sweat sliding down each man’s forehead as they exerted all their strength to ensure each throne made it to the designated destination without as much as a scratch on its surface.
The first throne was for King Erwin of the Autumn Court. It was crafted from the lush evergreen tree that bloomed all year long to symbolize the eternal strength of the king who would sit upon its smooth surface. Anyone who had ever seen King Erwin often spoke of how massive he was, towering over six feet and made of pure muscle, but even one such as him would feel small once they sat down.
The wood was painted brilliant hues of red, orange, and yellow that curved around one another and swirled together to create intricate depictions of the Autumn realm. As Bertholdt had never visited the Fae realm himself, he had needed to consult illustrations from books found in the library and his re-creation of them was astounding. On parts of the throne, the trees were 3D and so detailed that you could count each leaf.
Next to be brought out was the throne for Queen Petra. It was well known that Petra and Erwin got along the most out of the four, so they had decided to sit them next to one another. Her throne was made from the redwood tree as a symbolism for the beauty of the Spring Queen that would last forever. It was a tad smaller than the throne crafted for King Erwin, however, its beauty was equal. Blues, pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, purples, and greens married to illustrate the lushness of the Spring realm. Various birds were flying up the sides up the throne and towards the back where one huge fir tree was elegantly carved-a symbolism for the season that its queen reigned over.
Bertholdt had outdone himself this time around and Armin wondered how Reiner’s work would compare. He watched in rapt attention as the throne for Queen Hange was carried out and placed next to Queen Petra’s. Her throne was made from the oak tree, a symbol of power and courage. Thick brushstrokes danced around one another, millions of hues of green depicting the lusciousness of the forest during the summer months. Vines carved from wood stretched their long stems around the throne starting from the base and ending at the top where they swarmed together to create the face of a lion-the symbolic animal of the season. The lion's eyes glowed an intense gold and Armin could have sworn it was staring straight into his soul.
He shuddered and leaned closer against Mikasa, one hand snaking down to wrap around her waist as he held his breath in anticipation. The last throne to be brought out was King Levi’s and he was the one they were aiming to impress the most as he had Eren in his possession. They hoped that the Winter King would act as a protective shield for their friend once the entire Fae realm knew of his existence.
Armin’s breath left his body all in one go as the last of the four thrones was placed onto the tapestry. King Levi’s throne was... magnificent . It was made from the white birch, a symbol ofnew beginnings, and he found himself curious as to why this was chosen for the cool Winter King. The creamy white of the bark had provided the perfect canvas for every tone of blue imaginable to be painted upon it. Rich dark green pines were stretching upwards with blankets of snow covering them, bushes with the ripest and juiciest blueberries, and snowflakes drifting from the sky mirroring fireflies during the summer. Perhaps, though, the most impressive part of his throne was the huge head of a stag that was carved at the top. The antlers stretched their way towards the sky, painted such a brilliant azure that they appeared to be glowing. The carved fur was painstakingly detailed, giving Armin the impression that if he were to reach out and touch it, he would feel coarse hairs beneath his fingers rather than wood.
It was nearly impossible to believe that Bertholdt and Reiner had pulled this off in three months and both deserved far more than he could ever give them. Mikasa tilted her head, leaning close to his ear to whisper, “At least our highnesses will have no room to complain about where their asses will be sitting.”
Armin snorted and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead before pulling away and walking up to the thrones to get a view of what the Festival would look like from the perspective of their esteemed guests. While they had been watching the scene unfold before them the rest of the villagers had finished setting up everything that would be needed for this day.
To his right were two long rectangular tables adorned with glittering silky silver tablecloths that held every type of food one could imagine. Connie had been the head chef in charge of not only creating recipes but then meticulously cooking and trying each one until he deemed it perfect. He then rounded about twenty of the villager’s best cooks and together they had managed to concoct a feast that was, undoubtedly, fit for Kings and Queens. The smells that wafted through the air were heavenly and Armin’s stomach grumbled loudly as his eyes drifted to inspect Sasha’s baked goods.
When was the last time he had anything to eat?
Sasha’s table was to the right of Connie’s and Armin, always a fan of sweets, couldn’t stop his mouth from watering at the sight that greeted his now wide blue eyes. He could understand why Sasha had been so miserable over the past few months. Although she had the privilege of taste-testing every recipe until it was more than perfect, that’s all she had been able to do. She couldn’t waste any time making the desserts for herself as she’d also been incredibly picky when it came to choosing helpers and, when all was said and done, had only managed to round up ten villagers that she deemed worthy of helping create her recipes.
There was a plethora of decadent cakes, pies, truffles, cookies, brownies, fudges, and puddings. In the center of the table was a chocolate fondue fountain shaped like a swan and surrounded by various fruits meant to be dipped in the warm sugary liquid. Sasha was standing next to the table inspecting every dish and Armin could practically see her salivating even with the distance between them. He hoped that there might be some leftovers at the end of the festival so Sasha would have the chance to finally enjoy the fruits of her labor.
His eyes shifted and landed on Mikasa, Marco, Annie, and Jean who were setting themselves up to play the entrance song for when the Fae arrived. The four of them had worked together to compose a hauntingly beautiful piece that Connie, Sasha, Reiner, and Bertholdt would dance in tandem to. Armin only had the chance to watch them practice a handful of times as he had been busy with crafting his inventions and planning the order of events for today, therefore, he was full of anticipation at the prospect of what was to come.
All the villagers were now gathered in the village center and Armin couldn’t help but smile with pride. The outfits that Carla and her fellow sewers had crafted were practically flawless. The elegance that each guest exuded covered with a material that was chosen with the utmost care was enough to make even the Kings and Queens of old weep with envy. Carla had sent out the outfits she made, without any outside help, to the Fae Kings and Queens just days before and Armin found himself curious to see what the woman had come up with this go around.
The sun was beginning to set, and the string lights adorned with small circular light bulbs scattered along the scaffolding of every house in the village until they all connected above the thrones began to glow a bright blue hue, bringing the stars that were far out of reach down to Earth and giving the scene a mystical feel. Armin positioned himself next to Levi’s throne where he would be the one to greet each royal Fae before directing them to their assigned seat. He took a deep breath to steady himself, eyes flicking to lock with Mikasa’s for reassurance. She gave him a nod before picking up her violin and striking the first note that hung in the air, an invitation for the magic to begin.
Marco’s flute harmonized with her moments later and then the deep baritone voice of Jean filled the space, soon to be followed by Annie’s flawless falsetto. The song was as beautiful as it was haunting and caused goosebumps to accumulate on Armin’s arms. He watched in rapt attention as Reiner, Bertholdt, Sasha, and Connie appeared out of seemingly nowhere and began to weave around one another in perfect sync with the music.
The music had been aching and slow but when it was joined by the beat of a drum there seemed to be a sudden shift in the atmosphere. The tempo began to pick up erratically and Armin had been so busy watching how Mikasa’s hands flew over the violin in an almost violent manner that he hadn’t noticed Sasha and Bertholdt disappear until they came back with sticks of fire.
His eyes widened as they twirled the sticks around in tandem with their dancing, Connie and Reiner somehow managing to assist flipping them through the air without getting burnt. It was during this part of the performance that the hulking figure of King Erwin appeared. He walked down the path laden with hundreds of differently colored flower petals the villagers had laid out, Queen Petra’s small figure by his side.
Armin felt intimidated by the man as soon as he laid his eyes on him but forced himself to not show it. He looked both King Erwin and Queen Petra in the eye when they walked up to him before bowing his head as a sign of respect.
“King Erwin, Queen Petra, thank you for accepting our invitation to this party. Allow me to show you to your seats and I hope you will both be pleased with what we have prepared for you.”
Surprisingly, his voice was steady as he spoke, and though neither Fae had spoken when he straightened up once more, he could see smirks on both of their faces. He pointed out their thrones to them respectively and let out a relieved breath of air when both seemed not only satisfied but impressed with what Reiner had crafted for them.
Once the two were comfortably seated, Armin turned his attention back towards the performance. He hadn’t noticed before as the presence of King Erwin and Queen Petra had been so overwhelming, but there were now thousands of Fae gathered around watching the performance with delight...if Fae could feel that way.
The next to arrive was Queen Hange and greeting her went much differently. She practically flung herself at Armin, wrapping her arms around his small frame while laughing maniacally.
“Oh, this is delightful! I hope they don’t drop the sticks...or maybe I do. A blazing fire would spice things up a bit, don’t you think?”
Armin stiffened in her arms and waited until she pulled away before bowing his head slightly. “Queen Hange, I am glad you find the performance satisfactory so far. I hope you will continue to enjoy the night we have prepared for you. Please, have a seat.”
When he lifted his head, he could have sworn the brunette sent him a wink before she sauntered up to her throne delightedly. She was impressed by the head of the Lion that was formed at the top and Armin watched in slight amusement as she ran a hand over the mane lovingly before taking her seat. She greeted both King Erwin and Queen Petra but aside from that chose to engage with them no further. Armin wondered if perhaps there existed some sort of animosity between the three? Hmm...he would have to keep an eye on them throughout the night, see if maybe there was a weakness he could exploit.
He didn’t have much time to contemplate before he was interrupted by a sudden bout of whispers amongst both Fae and villagers alike. Armin turned his head and was instantly greeted by the cool silver gaze of King Levi.
“K-King Levi. I apologize-” Armin stammered as he bowed his head hastily- “thank you for accepting our invitation to the festival tonight. We hope you will find the evening to your tastes. Please, have a seat.”
King Levi didn’t say a word as he moved to seat himself on his throne. He was the first Fae that Armin was unable to decipher whether he was contented with what had been created for him and Armin could only hope that the Fae King was pleased, even if it was just a small amount.
What a picture the four Kings and Queens looked sitting upon their thrones. Each one was dressed immaculately with outfits that Carla had crafted to fit them like a glove. King Erwin wore a forest green suit sewed from the finest silk; each piece designed to highlight the best parts of the Fae’s strong body. His golden hair was slicked back and around each wrist were thick metal bracelets etched with sayings in the Fae language.
Queen Petra donned a blush pink ball gown that had a heart-shaped top, was tight around the waist and billowed out at the hips to create waves of glittery fabric. Around her neck and wrist were the finest of all pearls and her red hair was pulled into a top knot which allowed for her sharp cheekbones and amber eyes to be on full display.
Queen Hange, not one for dresses, wore the most magnificent black jumpsuit to ever be crafted. The pants clung tightly to her hips and there was a small opening at the waist that showed off a smooth flat stomach before coming back together to form the top of the suit. It was sleeveless and the neckline was made of lace that had been woven together in the shapes of flowers. Unlike Petra, she wore not a single piece of jewelry and her thick dark umber hair was left down to cascade over her shoulders.
King Levi wore a suit made from the same silk as Erwin’s, however, it was white instead. It fit his frame perfectly and even the undershirt and bowtie were made of white material. His black locks were slicked back like Erwin’s, allowing for sharp eyebrows to be on display. Armin was a bit surprised to find that his eyes were lined in black which caused the subtle blue specks in the irises to stand out more.
The most stunning part of each of the Fae’s outfits, however, were the capes that they wore. Carla had made them out of a rare shimmery velvet that she had spent hours meticulously hunting for and the result was breathtaking. Each cape matched the wearer's outfit perfectly and Armin had a feeling they would find excuses after tonight to wear them again.
After all the Fae from each of the four courts were settled the first performance had finished and Armin moved to stand before everyone so he could officially announce the start of the festival. He took a deep breath as his eyes roamed over the hundreds of faces that were now boring down upon him. He could feel the weight of this night on him like an anchor and he knew if he didn’t keep himself in check, he would risk the chance of drowning.
“Welcome everyone to this festival we have put together in honor of not only our honored Fae guests but our own Eren Yeager’s 18th birthday as well. We have assembled various performances for you tonight, baked and cooked heavenly dishes, and created gifts for you to bring back to the Fae realm once you leave. Next up will be a martial arts performance followed by a solo violin performance, then a solo flute performance, and last a performance that will feature everyone who oversaw putting this festival together. After that, you can enjoy the refreshments we have laid out for you. We hope you will have fun tonight so, let the festival begin!”
Armin ended with a shout and the rest of the guests all raised their voices in unison as Jean, Marco, and Annie took their place in the clearing. The beats of the drum sounded through the air once more and then the three were moving so quickly and elegantly that Armin could barely keep up.
While everyone was paying attention to the new performance, he moved to find his place next to Mikasa and after that, the night passed by in a blur. He found himself talking to a plethora of Fae about modern inventions, how he had managed to plan out such an outstanding festival in such a short amount of time, and if he would like to come to visit the Fae realm sometime. Armin also spent most of the night avoiding all conversations that involved Eren in fear that he might accidentally lie more and thus cause the Fae to be more angered once they found out the truth.
Armin’s eyes consistently shifted towards the four Kings and Queens throughout the night who, at some point, had left their thrones to mingle with the guests. He had been surprised to find King Levi in conversation with Carla of all people but, rather than interrupt, decided he would ask her about this later. King Erwin and Queen Petra spent a majority of the night side by side while Hange flitted around everywhere like an overexcited cat.
It was sometime after midnight that Carla took her place at the center of the festivities, in front of the four thrones which now looked menacing behind her, to give a speech that she had painstakingly wrote just days before.
“Excuse me, everyone, may I have your attention for just a moment,” her strong voice rang out causing an immediate quietness to take place amongst the guests. “I have had many of you ask why my son Eren Yeager is not here tonight and I would like to take the time now to address this, amongst some other things.
“First, I want to express my gratitude towards each one of you for coming tonight. I hope you have enjoyed yourselves immensely. Now, onto the more important bit. Almost 19 years ago I made a wish that I would be blessed with a child and today that child has turned 18. He is intelligent, loving, stubborn, strong, and kind.”
She paused for a moment and made eye contact with each of the Fae Kings and Queens, liquid amber eyes lingering on King Levi for just a moment longer. “Most of all, my son is the most beautiful human I have ever laid my eyes on. Sometimes, I can’t even believe that I managed to create him. His eyes are such a brilliant emerald green that it is at times hard to believe they are real. I know many of you may be confused right now, but this is the truth. My son is not ugly nor deformed and we have all collectively lied to you about this for the past 18 years.
“It was me who started the lie. I was scared to lose him for I know how much the Fae covet beautiful things. In the end, however, I managed to lose him anyway. He is not here tonight because he is currently in the Fae realm. I do not know exactly where, and I can only hope that he is safe. We have put together this festival as an apology for our misdeeds and we also extend the offer that we will craft whatever you wish for the next three years free of payment. I know nothing will ever make up for the lies we have told but I hope you will grant us mercy. That is all I have to say. Thank you for listening.”
And then... chaos.
Hundreds of voices began to shout and bicker all at once and Armin couldn’t keep up with any of it. He had been told that Fae could not feel emotion but, by the tones of the voices he heard and the looks of murder that arose on each of the Fae’s faces, he began to question if that were completely true. He had no idea what to do and he could feel his heartbeat thumping in his chest violently as he searched around like a madman for all his friends. He needed to make sure they were safe. He had failed. They were going to be killed. Shit.
“QUIET,” a deep voice rang out and Armin jumped, head-turning to stare at King Levi who had taken his place next to Carla.
“You are all acting like fools. I am unsettled about this lie as well, however, given that they did tell us the truth without us having to ask or find out in a backward way I believe they deserve some leniency.”
“Oh? And why is that, King Levi? Do you have a soft spot for humans now?” King Erwin’s smug voice boomed out from the crowd.
“A soft spot for humans? Tell that to the human back at my castle right now,” King Levi quipped back.
“Ah, yes. I have heard you brought a human back. It wouldn’t happen to be our missing guest, would it?”
Armin sucked in a breath as his eyes flicked between the two Fae. Anyone could tell there was a certain degree of hostility between them and he knew that the real moment of truth was about to come out.
“Perceptive, as always. The human back at my castle is, in fact, Eren Yeager. I did not wish to tell of his existence because it would have ruined this surprise for all the Fae in my court and to rob them of that would have been ill on my part.”
“So, King Levi, what would we have to do to see this Eren Yeager of yours?”
“Nothing. The only ones allowed to see him are the Fae in my court. I have never claimed a human before and he was too beautiful for me to pass up. I suppose you should have found him first. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a delectable warm body back in my bed to return to and no qualms with Shiganshina to settle. Having Eren as my own is enough.”
And with that, King Levi motioned for some of the Fae in his court to grab his throne as well as the wrapped gifts Armin has presented him with and then they all disappeared in the blink of an eye.
“I, too, wish to return to my domain and discuss this unsettling revelation amongst my court,” Queen Hange spoke somberly, keeping eye contact with Armin longer than was necessary before disappearing back to her realm along with the rest of the Summer Fae.
Queen Petra and King Erwin exchanged a look and a few quiet words and then, without saying anything to the village, Queen Petra and the Spring Fae were gone which just left Erwin and his court.
“For the Autumn and Spring court, you will extend the offer of crafting whatever we wish for five years without payment. If I or Queen Petra discover any more lies, we will come to collect. You know what that means,” King Erwin’s voice rang out menacingly and then...all that was left was a village full of humans shivering in fear.
Armin couldn’t believe it, they had succeeded. The Fae had taken their thrones and the inventions he had created, all the food was gone, and even the tapestry had been taken by someone at some point. They were all exhausted beyond belief but that did not matter because he had done it. He had planned this out in only three months, and no one had died...no one had died. Oh my gods.
Armin finally allowed the weight to overtake him and sank to his knees, feeling Mikasa’s warm arms wrap around him not even a second later. As everyone gathered around and embraced their loved ones, sobbing in relief, Armin could only hope that they had bought Eren some time.
Time. They had more time.
Please come back to us soon.
I think, with the next chapter, I'll be *maybe* about halfway through with this bad boy. Maybe. Possibly. I hope so. It's a lot, I have a lot more to get through, but I really want to get to the end because that's what makes this whole thing so beautiful.
I just want to say a huge thank you again to everyone who takes the time to read, comment, and leave kudos. I am so happy with what I have created here and I only hope to improve as we move forward. I'll see you all in the next chapter.
Chapter 15: Raw With Love
“I will remember the kisses our lips raw with love
and how you gave me everything you had and how I
offered you what was left of me,
and I will remember your small room
the feel of you the light in the window
your records your books our morning coffee
our noons our nights our bodies spilled together
sleeping the tiny flowing currents immediate and forever
your leg my leg your arm my arm your smile and the warmth
of you who made me laugh again.”
― Charles Bukowski
He’d told the truth. Of course, he had, for Fae could not lie. That didn’t mean, however, that he had to tell the entire truth. Instead, he had decided to leave out a small part. Or, perhaps, a rather large and important part but… that was neither here nor there. If one was going to enter a game, they had to be prepared for every move their opponent might make. Fae couldn’t lie but they could twist words around and bend them to their will to come out on the winning side. If the villagers truly thought that they were safe, well, they were more foolish than he had ever thought.
Eighteen years, how terribly long of a time to be telling such a filthy lie. It deserved nothing less than eighteen lives. He was being fair, honestly. He could have easily asked for more and Ymir and her hunt would have gladly accepted his request, she owed him that much.
“They should be thankful that I am a just King,” he murmured as he walked through thick oak infested forest, sunlight glittering through the trees and caressing his body with its long golden fingers. The right side of his mouth curved up subtly as he thought about the sweet sweet glorious chase. It was a shame he wouldn’t be able to join in, then again, being a spectator could be just as exciting.
Oh, what fun this was going to be. Let the hunt begin.
Eren sat with his legs curled under him on the red velvet love seat in front of the fire that was licking the logs-little popping sounds of satisfaction crackling through the quiet air every now and then. The old leather-bound book that was supposed to solve all their problems lay open in his lap, his fingers now loosely wrapped around it. His eyes felt heavy from the exertion of spending the past few hours scanning the words written there trying to figure out if there was some hidden message in between the lines of ink.
He closed them now and leaned his head back, the plushness of the material dipping around his head and creating a comfortable cushion. It wasn’t that he was tired, no, he was restless. Eren had no idea how long Levi had been gone, however, ever since the Fae King had left there had been an ache growing deep within him and his body was behaving unnaturally. It was as if there were currents of electricity running through his veins and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he needed to be doing something .
He was worried about his mother, his father, and his friends. Of course, he cared about the rest of the village as well, but his loved ones would always come first. Had the festival been successful? Were they safe? Were they taking care of themselves? Were they happy? Eren never wanted anyone to suffer on his behalf. He wished they had never put their lives on the line for his, he wasn’t worth that.
The air shifted slightly then, becoming more charged as if two large magnets were being brought together, and without opening his eyes Eren knew that his Fae had returned to him. He could feel Levi beneath his skin, crawling his way into Eren’s heart and making a home there. Had it been inevitable that this would happen? Had he no choice in the matter when it came to falling in love with Levi?
That’s right. He loved Levi. He knew that’s what this sensation was. The feeling of longing that clutched at his heart at the thought of a life without Levi, rendering him practically immobile with fear. The sensation of pure elation, contentment, and happiness whenever he was in the other’s presence. Levi was as much a part of Eren as his lungs were in the sense that Levi was a necessity in Eren’s life and without him, he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to properly function again. The thought filled him with more fear than anything ever had in his life.
Eren opened his eyes and the moment green met silver he felt as though his entire world had shifted. Levi’s presence had been monumental from the second they met in the woods outside of his home, a moment that felt like a lifetime ago. Now, though, he wasn’t sure how to properly describe what being around the Fae felt like. The closest thing he could think of was the sensation of drowning and flying at the same time. Terror and elation fighting against one another in a battle that neither could win.
Eren’s face must have portrayed the desperation he was feeling for Levi and he watched as the Fae’s pupils gradually grew bigger until there was just a thin ring of silver left in their wake. Levi’s hands twitched at his sides from the effort of keeping himself at bay and Eren found himself wanting nothing more than for Levi to let go of his restraint. He wasn’t scared of him and he never had been if he was being honest with himself. He liked that Levi was powerful and the thought of Levi devouring every inch of him until there was nothing left filled his body with an animalistic desire he didn’t even know he was capable of.
Eren languidly stood up and moved towards Levi as though he were a cat stalking its prey, a funny thought considering the power dynamic between the two of them.
“How did it go?” he asked in a voice that was far deeper than he ever thought he could possess.
Levi tilted his head to the side and regarded Eren through lidded eyes, his voice barely above a whisper when he answered with a calm, “No one died.”
The taller man continued moving until he was just mere inches away from the Fae King, loosely wrapping his arms around the shorter man’s waist as he leaned in and pressed his lips against the pointed tip of Levi’s earlobe. Eren nipped at the skin playfully before whispering in the shell of the Fae’s ear, “Mm, then you have time for me now.”
As soon as Eren’s lips pressed against the Fae King’s ear, strong hands had gripped his waist possessively. Eren could feel the tension building in Levi’s body, a sure sign that the raven was doing everything in his power to hold himself back. He was tired of this . Tired of them dancing around one another. It was clear that a deep desire had been born within them the moment they first locked eyes and Eren no longer wished to wait. He wanted Levi and he wanted him now .
Eren moved his lips, trailing them against Levi’s jaw before pressing them against the cool flesh of Levi’s lips as delicately as the brush of a butterfly’s wing. He flicked out his tongue and ran it against the other’s bottom lip relishing in the immediate taste of blueberries that overflowed his senses.
“Levi, will you make me yours?”
Rather than responding in words, hungry lips moved against his as the Fae pulled Eren’s chest flush against his own. The sound of the fire crackling faded slowly and the beating of Eren’s heart took over. One of Levi’s hands had moved up to tangle itself in Eren’s brown locks, tugging on the strands as his tongue pressed against Eren’s lips demanding entrance.
The brunet quickly obliged, parting his lips obediently and moaning as their tongues twirled together while they both frantically fought for dominance. Eren quickly gave up control of the kiss and his arms tightened around Levi at the feel of sharp canines nipping at his swollen bottom lip. His toes began to feel warm and that heat traveled through his body at such an intense speed that Eren felt as though he were about to explode. He wanted his clothes off and to feel Levi’s skin pressed against his own. It was no longer simply that he desired to be one with Levi, he needed it.
The two were in such sync that without even needing to ask Levi moved his hand back down and proceeded to hoist Eren into the air. He waited for the slightly surprised man to wrap long legs around his waist before moving towards the bedroom. Eren’s senses were completely taken over by Levi that he barely registered the few seconds it took to move from one place to the other, the next thing he was aware of was his back pressed against the bed and his shirt being lifted over his head.
“Beautiful,” Levi’s deep voice reverberated through the air in awe. Eren looked up and was taken aback by the amount of raw desire that was displayed on the other man’s face. No one had ever looked at him that way before, as if he held their happiness in the palm of his hand. Eren didn’t know what to do with that kind of power and the realization that a being as powerful as Levi could love a simple person such as him sent a wave of shock through his system.
“I don’t de-” Levi cut off Eren’s sentence with his lips and cool hands trailed over his now bare tan chest as though he were carved of marble.
“You’re stunning, Eren-” Levi spoke against his lips, swallowing the whimpering sounds Eren was making as his hand dipped to slide inside of the brunet’s pants- “I’ve lived a long time and I’ve never seen someone quite like you.”
Levi slid the rest of Eren’s clothing off all in one go and when cool fingers brushed against his thighs, Eren couldn’t control the keening sound that flew from his throat. His entire body was flushed a light shade of pink and he brought his hand up to bite at his thumb as Levi began to massage his thighs, his thumbs digging into the flesh in strong purposeful circular motions.
“Gorgeous, Eren. You’re so gorgeous, just look at you. Every inch of you is perfect and I could just sit here all day admiring you in this way.”
“P-Please don’t. Levi, I need you. Please.”
Levi leaned down and pressed his face against Eren’s chest, a puff of air brushing against the flesh there that caused a shiver to run up Eren’s spine. Levi seemed at odds with himself, his body shaking as his thumbs dug into Eren’s thighs hard enough to leave bruises.
“Eren...my Eren. My beautiful boy. My treasure. I don’t think I can be gentle with you. I wanted...I wanted our first time...I want to show you how much I love you. But I can’t-fuck. I won’t be able to control myself.”
Tan hands pressed against ivory cheeks as Eren pulled Levi’s face up so that he could look him in the eyes. He rubbed his thumb over his Fae King’s cheek gently and smiled at him with a look of pure love and adoration on his face.
“Levi, love is not always meant to be gentle. I don’t need you to be anything other than who you are. I want you, all of you, no matter what. You say you love me. You say I’m beautiful. Show me, Levi. Show me how much you love me.”
And finally, Levi let down his barriers and lay bare for Eren to see. Eren watched in rapt attention as Levi stripped himself of his clothing, the entirety of his muscular form on display for Eren and Eren alone. A deep exhale left his body when his eyes were able to fully take in just how incredibly gorgeous Levi was. Some scars littered the Fae’s skin in places that Eren had been unable to see before and all he could think of was how special he felt that Levi trusted him enough to let him see the pieces of himself that the Fae kept hidden from the rest of the world.
Eren’s gaze never left Levi’s as the Fae crawled over him and reached up a hand to press his fingers against Eren’s lips. The brunet knew what Levi wanted and opened his mouth to allow Levi to slide two of his fingers inside, his tongue gliding over the long thin appendages as he coated them in his own saliva. This wasn’t Eren’s first time being intimate with another man and, yet, his body responded as though no one had ever even thought of touching him this way.
Levi’s gaze was so potent that Eren had to close his eyes as he began to suck on the fingers in earnest, a moan rising within him at the feel of a third finger being forced inside with the other two. There was an odd rumbling sound that began to permeate through the air, and it took Eren a few moments to realize it was coming from Levi.
A command, deep and guttural, had Eren releasing Levi’s fingers and heat pulled in his gut as the man moved down to place kisses and bites against his thighs as wet fingers circled around the pucker of his ass.
Levi slowly slipped the first finger inside and that’s when Eren truly began to lose himself to the sensations of Levi’s ministrations. The slight discomfort was barely noticeable, especially when the heat of Levi’s mouth enveloped Eren’s painfully hard cock inside it. He was so distracted by Levi’s other hand pinching and twisting his nipple and his tongue doing mesmerizing things to his dick that he didn’t even notice Levi had slipped a second and third finger inside.
Eren was overwhelmed in the best of ways and against his own wishes, his body began to rock against those fingers begging for more. He needed movement, he needed friction, he needed Levi .
“Levi, I need you inside me. I can’t wait anymore I feel like I’m going insane,” he panted out heavily in between moans. He reached for Levi, feeling empty as the man’s fingers slipped out from inside him, but he reigned back the wine of protest in favor of latching his lips against Levi’s. Levi kissed him back just as fervently before pulling away to reach inside of his dresser and retrieve a condom.
Eren’s eyebrows shot up in surprise and when Levi turned to look back at him a dark chuckle filtered through the air. “What, you didn’t think I would have condoms? I’ve been wanting to ravish you from the moment I saw you, Eren. Of course, I would be prepared. Now, get on your hands and knees.”
Eren didn’t think twice before he obeyed, scrambling on slightly shaking legs to put himself into the right position. He pressed his face against his arm to hide the intense blush that had quickly spread across his cheeks at the thought of being so exposed to Levi. Although he wanted nothing more than to be Levi’s, he couldn’t help but feel vulnerable at this moment. He knew that after this, there would be no turning back, no possible way for him to ever belong to anyone but this man who had come barreling into his life out of nowhere.
As if sensing his hesitance, Levi gently trailed his fingers down Eren’s spine as he lined himself up behind him. He lay a soft kiss against Eren’s nape before murmuring softly, “It’s okay, love. I’m going to make you feel so good.”
And all Eren’s fears were washed away as a second later, he was rewarded with the feeling of Levi slowly sliding his cock into his entrance. Although Eren knew Levi wanted nothing more than to ram into him, the Fae had enough sense left to at least allow Eren time to adjust to his size so that he wouldn’t be put through any unnecessary pain.
Levi started off at a leisurely pace, hands gripping Eren’s hips as he slid his length in and out of Eren’s tight hole. Eren gripped the sheets of the bed in his hands, panting heavily, sweat dripping from his hair down into his eyes as he relished in the feeling of Levi’s length filling his being. It had been a few months since Eren had last been with anyone, so it took him a few seconds to get used to the sensation again but soon he was writhing in annoyance at the agonizingly slow pace.
“L-Levi-,” Eren panted as he reached a hand back to grip one of those muscular thighs, “I thought you said you weren’t going to be gentle. I told you to show me how much you love me so fucking do it.”
With that request, Levi came undone on top of the younger man. Eren’s nails bit into Levi’s flesh as the man above him bucked his hips, viciously pounding the brunet into the mattress repeatedly. He no longer knew where he began and Levi ended. All that mattered was the feel of Levi’s hands gripping his waist with a force that was sure to leave bruises, teeth biting the back of his neck demanding he stay grounded in the moment, and Levi’s thick cock slamming into him hard enough to cause tears to pool in his eyes.
“Is this rough enough for you, Eren? Can you tell how much I desire you? How much I wish to make love to you in such a way that you will never be able to even think about another man again?”
Eren answered in a high-pitched moan as Levi shifted and bucked up at an angle that just happened to hit his prostate. He was so surprised by the sensation that his arm gave way underneath him and he found his face being fully pressed into the mattress. Levi grunted and pulled out of Eren causing the brunet to wine in protest but then he was being flipped over on his back as Levi maneuvered both his legs over his shoulders before sliding back in.
“I want to see your face when I make you cum screaming my name,” Levi growled out, his cock pounding into Eren with renewed fervor.
Eren’s mind was a jumble of thoughts and he could only concentrate on trying to breathe as Levi ravished him. He wrapped his arms around the man above him and dug his fingernails into Levi’s back, tilting his head back in pleasure when Levi once again managed to press against his prostate. He couldn’t count how many times Levi’s name left his lips after that, the only thing on his mind was the intense heat that was building inside his gut.
It was when Levi looked down at Eren with such a look of reverence, a barely audible “I love you” passing through his lips that Eren came untouched, back arching in intense pleasure as cum squirted all over his bare chest.
Levi’s thrusts lost their rhythm and a moment later he came inside Eren with the painter’s name on his lips. Both men stayed in that position, Levi’s cock throbbing inside of Eren’s ass as it became soft again and Eren on his back with shaky legs and sweat dripping down every surface of his body.
Eren looked up at Levi through hazy eyes and was once again struck by the Fae’s beauty. Levi was simply breathtaking. His lips were swollen from kissing, his eyes glazed over from his recent release, and sweat dripped down each toned crevasse of his body. If Eren wasn’t so exhausted he would be insisting on another round but instead, he reached up and traced his finger along Levi’s jawbone, a hint of a smile on his lips.
“I love you too, Levi. More than I could ever find the words to express.”
Levi leaned forward and pressed his forehead against Eren’s as he sighed deeply, and it seemed to Eren as though whatever weight the man had been carrying on his shoulders for the past few hundred years in the Fae realm had finally lessened a bit. Levi seemed...relaxed. No, that wasn’t quite what this was.
The realization of what Eren’s words must have meant to Levi finally hit the younger man and he found himself blinking back tears as he wrapped his arms around his Fae and held him close. How long had it been since Levi had felt loved? Since he had been able to trust someone? The thought sent a deep pang of sorrow through Eren’s heart and he vowed that from this day forward he would make sure that Levi never felt alone again.
While two seemingly unlikely lovers had finally come together and became one, deep within the throws of an old forest, a being found itself being awakened. Gnarled trees groaned as they parted to make way for the Miotas who had, many years ago, taken upon itself a request from a villager of Shiganshina.
The Miotas did not often take requests such as these but the villager had been so passionate and full of a rare kind of love, the kind of love that demanded none in return, that the mystical being had found itself unable to deny those pleas for help.
Golden eyes looked up at the sky, watching in rapt attention as two stars drifted closer and closer until, finally, there was only one left shining.
“And so, the wish has been fulfilled.”
Okay so to say I agonized over this chapter is an understatement. I revised this more times than I can count and was extremely nervous to post this. I always knew this scene would happen and I wanted to get it as close to perfect as I could. My love for these two characters is more than I can put into words and I want nothing more than to depict their love for one another in as beautiful and pure of a way as I possibly can.
I still don't know how good this is, I feel it could be much better. However, I hope you all enjoyed reading and that I was able to convey their love for one another in a way that was believable, raw, beautiful, and real. It only took 135 pages to make it happen, no big deal.
I would say at this point this story is halfway through and we are going to begin putting more pieces into place and barreling towards our climax (teehee). I'm going to try updating this every other week from now on (the off weeks being reserved for my other WIP). I look forward to continuing this for you all.
Side note: For anyone who may be wondering about my old beta, Lei, we are still super close friends. She is just really busy with school so I no longer feel it is fair of me to ask her for help with this. Let's all wish her the best of luck!
As always, thank you for reading. This story means so much to me and I'm so happy to share it with all of you. I love reading comments and hearing feedback so please never be shy about leaving them. Until the next chapter <3
Chapter 16: The Tale of Ymir and Historia
I've been waiting to write this chapter for months and I'm so excited to finally share it with you all. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
In case you aren't aware, I commissioned an absolutely stunning piece from the lovely lampurpleart. It is the perfect representation of these two and this fic, please give it a look and while you're at it check out some of her other work. She's incredibly talented and deserves all of the love.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Hear my soul speak
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service”
Eren awoke to cool lips gliding against the nape of his neck as soft as the brush of a butterfly’s wings and strong fingers trailing down his side possessively. His heart immediately began to pound in excitement and a soft exhale left his mouth when those fingers found his already hard cock and began brush over the skin teasingly.
Levi’s nose bumped against his chin, asking for permission, and Eren tilted his head back immediately as an invitation for his Fae to do with him as he wished. Lips found the skin at his throat and sucked and bit at it as though it were of the finest of delicacies and Eren could do nothing but let out soft whines and moans of pleasure.
He rolled on to his back, shifting so that Levi could loom above him, that gorgeous midnight black hair hanging in front of eyes the color of silver moonlight. Eren lifted a hand and brushed the hair back so he could look his lover in the eyes, a smile ghosting his mouth at how lucky he was to have been gifted someone with such a beautiful soul to be the one he would love to the end of his days.
Levi grabbed his hand and kissed each one of his knuckles before moving his lips down to nibble at the skin of his wrist delicately. Eren swallowed, Adam’s apple visibly moving as he trailed a hand up Levi’s chest and placed it above his heart. He didn’t think he’d ever get over this, the way that Levi made him feel. It was like the first time riding a horse bareback through the forest. The wind whipping through your hair as the beast beneath you ran wild and free. The colors passing by your eyes reminding you of the way paint mixed to create hues you never knew existed before.
Everything with Levi was new and exciting, yet, at the same time, he felt like home. Like entering your house after a long day spent out in winters icy grip to a hearth warmed by a fire and sitting on the softest loveseat with your favorite cup of tea in hand. It was as though Eren had been waiting his entire life for something significant to happen and when Levi finally showed up, his heart had said: “oh, it’s you I’ve been yearning for.”
Levi moved one hand to his side and gripped the flesh there as he slowly slid into Eren, who’s body opened to him willingly. A low moan left his throat as Levi easily bottomed out and began a gentle pace, so much different than the night before. His eyes fluttered, eyelashes dancing against cheekbones as he quietly begged the Fae king for more.
But Levi wouldn’t give it to him.
“You said love is not always gentle, but I want to show you that it can be. I want you to feel just how much I adore every inch of you. Eren, let me love you like the snow loves the trees. Slowly falling from the sky to caress the branches delicately. Let me love you like the stars love the sky, burning bright even years after they have died.”
And so Eren let him. Let Levi places kisses on every inch of his body that he could reach while maintaining a gentle pace, his hips rocking forward and his cock reaching far deeper inside than Eren had thought was possible. Allowed Levi to ravish him in the most delicate of ways until he came with an “I love you” caught in his throat. Levi followed not long after and they lay tangled in one another’s arms doing their best to forget the harshness of the reality they had to face.
It was only when Eren began to drift back to sleep that Levi roused him and they began to prepare for what lay ahead. After both were cleaned, dressed, and fed Levi led him out into the wilderness once more. They took a different path this time around, walking down a winding trail through the thickness of the snow-coated woods. Birds were flying around, coats nearly as white as the snow falling around them, singing their early morning hymns. It was a peaceful morning, one that didn’t match the somberness that clung to the two men walking side by side.
“It is time you learned the tale of Ymir and Historia,” Levi murmured, voice carrying quietly through the calm winter breeze.
“I thought you were going to tell me about last night,” Eren replied, tilting his head to look at the Fae who walked with a purposeful air next to him.
“This is about last night. Everything is connected, Eren, in one way or another. Stories are complex and twisted in ways you might never fathom. Fate has brought us all to this pivotal point and things are about to be put in motion. Death will come to Shiganshina and we must be prepared for the consequences that come after.”
“Death?! I thought you said it was successful!” Eren shouted, gripping Levi’s arm and stopping him in his tracks. His heart pounded so loud he could hear it in his ears, hands shaking as the thought of his friends and family dying because of him gripped his heart.
“It was successful, in a way. You know that I cannot lie to you, Eren. However, I know Erwin. I have known him for my entire life as a Fae. Ymir owes him a favor, and this would be the perfect opportunity for him to use it. Don’t ask me what for, it happened long before I became a Fae. Please, trust me. We don’t have much time.”
Eren wanted to shout, to demand more information, to shake Levi for leading him into a false state of calm the night before. He knew, though, that the Fae had done it for a reason. He had wanted to give Eren a good memory for his birthday, something he would cherish until his time had come to return to the earth that gave him life. So, he shut his mouth and continued forward down the winding trail.
Vines gripped the earth underneath his shoes, attempting to claim territory that was not theirs. Butterflies flitted back and forth, clinging to the red berry bushes that decorated the edge of the trail in abundance. Eren had always had a distaste for winter, hated the way the cold seeped through his clothing and clung to his bones. Had been constantly annoyed every season when he had to trudge through the snow and help his father bring logs for the fire inside, his pants getting wet and sticking to his legs causing him extreme discomfort. He’d found it to be the most somber time of the year, nothing worth writing poetry or painting pictures about.
However, since his time in the Winter Court, Eren had found a new love for the season. He appreciated the way the sun caressed the snow and made it sparkle like millions of diamonds. He loved the quietness that hung in the air and allowed him to listen to the songs of the animals who normally went unheard. Most of all, he loved Winter because Levi was its physical embodiment. He was ethereal in a way that only Winter could be. Quiet but full of so much hidden power that he could bring mountains to their knees.
It was on walks through the dense forest like this that Eren found himself thinking of how much he would miss it once they left. For, deep in his heart, Eren knew that neither one of them would ever return. One day, the Fae realm would seem but a distant memory and when he was old and his mind was withering away, he might even think that it had never happened at all.
“We’re here,” Levi said, breaking Eren out of his thoughts. Eren took in the clearing around them, noting that they had arrived at a small pond in the center of willow trees, the branches hanging low and dipping their fingers in the dark waters. They looked like long icicles, frozen to the core, and the sun sparkled off them creating a magnificent ray of rainbows that beamed over the clearing to create a mesmerizing scene.
Eren’s hand twitched at his side as the itch to paint coursed through his body. He wanted to preserve the memory of this place for years to come. Every time he thought he’d seen the most beautiful scenery of his life, Levi managed to bring him somewhere else even more magical. He watched as Levi slowly walked towards the pond and crouched in front of it, staring into the water with a look of deep concentration on his face.
He dipped one finger into the water, causing the water to ripple, and brought it up to his mouth where he proceeded to lick it.
“Perfect. We’ve arrived at precisely the right time,” Levi mumbled under his breath barely loud enough for Eren to hear. The Fae King then retrieved a glass vile from his coat pocket filled to the brim with a crimson liquid.
“Wait...is that blood?” Eren asked incredulously.
“It’s Historia’s blood. If you come to this pond under specific circumstances and fill it with the blood of a person, you can see into their memories. All I have left to do is say a chant in the Fae language to coax the pond into showing me memories from the timeframe that I want.”
“Woah woah woah. Why does this need to be so complicated? You said you have Historia here, right? Why don’t you just wake her up and have her tell me about Ymir? And how did you even put her to sleep, to begin with?”
Levi sighed and turned to look at Eren with a slight hint of annoyance tinging his face. Eren knew they were pressed for time; however, he felt he deserved to know all of this whether Levi liked it or not.
“Memories are...fragile. It’s hard for someone who has lived for so long, whether conscious or not, to recall everything in detail. Waking Historia and forcing her to sift through her memories would only cause her unnecessary strain. As to how I put her to sleep, each Court bestows upon its King or Queen a special power. The Winter Court allows the ruler to put any being to sleep for eternity, never able to be awoken unless by the one who cast the spell upon them in the first place.
“When the person is finally awoken, for them it will be as if no time at all has passed. She has not aged a day and yet, everyone that she once knew has been dead for quite some time. Historia agreed to this, of course. However, one never realizes the consequences of their actions until it is time to face them. Now, we are running out of time. The conditions of the pond shift rapidly, and it is beginning to anger because I have not fed it yet. Come over here and watch closely.”
Levi motioned for Eren to join him where he was crouching and the brunet quickly obliged, knowing that if he delayed any longer it could cost them the time they did not have. Levi uncorked the bottle and tilted it above the water as he chanted in a language Eren had never heard before.
Levi’s voice had dipped far below any tone he’d ever used around Eren and the words danced around one another in a frantic melody. He could feel the hairs on his arms stick up and watched in rapt attention as the water in the pond began to swirl in rapid circles all on its own accord.
The blood from the vile dripped slowly, like sand in an hourglass, and he could have sworn he saw the pond form a mouth that opened and lapped at the droplets greedily. It was as equally disturbing as it was fascinating, the water continuing to swirl and rumble at a higher frequency until the vile was empty. And then... silence. Everything went still all at once and it was only then that Eren realized even the animals had scurried away leaving nothing but Levi and Eren in their wake.
Green eyes widened as a picture began to form on the surface of the pond. He made out a small girl, most likely less than five feet tall, with golden hair and wide sapphire blue eyes. She had skin as fine as alabaster and her face was one of the kindest he’d ever laid his eyes upon. She was dressed in a gown that reminded him of the yellow glow during a sunset and to say she was beautiful was an understatement.
“Historia tell us of how you met Ymir,” Levi’s voice rang out powerfully, breaking the quiet air that hung around them.
And then, everything shifted as Eren was pulled into a world that was not his own.
Historia had been a peculiar child from the moment she was born, blue eyes constantly staring far away as though she was seeing something no one else around her could. As soon as she could walk, her parents often found her deep in the forest talking to the trees and playing with the local wildlife. They didn’t want to quell her curious nature and creative mind; however, they were worried that one day she would become lost in a place where they could not find her.
Historia was never worried, though, she knew the trees would whisper in her ear and lead her back home. She loved the forest that surrounded Shiganshina and, yet, she often found herself daydreaming of lands far away filled with magic far beyond human comprehension. When she wasn’t traipsing through uncharted paths, her head was deep in books containing information on all the mythical beings that lived in realms hidden from view.
Her favorite tale of all, though, was the one that contained all known information on the Night Huntress Ymir. No one knew how old Ymir was, only that she predated all other known mythical beings, even the ones that were long lost to the villagers of Shiganshina. Not much else was known about the powers she possessed, no matter how much Historia searched all she could find was a passage detailing how Ymir was the only being that could pass through every realm at will, the hounds of her Hunt constantly at her heels.
The book lacked information on her description. Some said she resembled a man more than a woman while others claimed she was far more beautiful than Aphrodite herself. Historia didn’t care about what the Night Huntress looked like, no, she was far more interested in the life this being had led. The ability to go where she wanted, when she wanted. What did that sort of freedom taste like? Historia yearned to know what it was like to be able to communicate with animals, not just talk to them and hope they could understand her.
Most of all, a part of her ached at the thought that Ymir had spent her entire life alone save for her Hunt. Call her naïve, but Historia desired nothing more than to meet and befriend Ymir. To learn from her everything there was to know about the universe. She loved Shiganshina with all her heart, however, something was stifling about being here. Historia knew there was so much more to discover than marrying a man and baring him children only to be stuck at home raising them while her life withered away to nothing.
She was nineteen now and soon she would become too old to be considered a suitable wife. It wasn’t something that bothered her, she had no desire to bare children, but she could feel the eyes of the village burning into her skin like hot coals. Historia hated that she was bringing shame to her family by choosing to remain unmarried, hated that this was the life that was expected of women.
She wanted nothing more than to bring those two loving souls who had allowed her curious nature to thrive and grow, who had constantly encouraged her dreams, a life full of happiness. However, whenever she thought of laying with a man bile would rise in her throat and she would be sent into a bout of depression so deep even the animals could not quell it.
That’s what got her here in the first place, deep within the forest, further than she’d ever dared to venture before. Only hours before had she had the worst argument imaginable with her father.
Growing tired of the glares and sneers directed at their family from the villagers, he had brought home a potential suiter. Historia had meant to be as polite as possible while still refusing, however, the way the man leered at her as though she was nothing more than a piece of meat immediately caused anger to stir in her gut.
She grit her teeth throughout their dinner and did her best to ignore the snide comments he made. It was the moment when his hand slid up her thigh and he whispered in her ear how excited he was to “fill her up with his seed” that she lost it and threw her entire plate of food in his face. The man responded by saying he would tell the entire village how unsuitable she was, how she would never find anyone to love a prude such as her, and how their entire family should be ashamed.
Afterward, her father had been furious while her mother fretted about cleaning the mess that had been left behind. Historia couldn’t stand it, couldn’t stand feeling like a failure just for being true to herself. So, she fled. Fled to the only place she had ever felt accepted.
Turning about, Historia picked a path and set forth until she came upon a clearing where two unfamiliar trees stood. They had the greenest leaves she had ever seen, so lush and plump with life, and they were shaped differently than any of the other trees. They were round, in a way, so unlike the tall looming oaks and pines that were characteristic of Shiganshina’s forest.
What struck her as the most peculiar, though, was the way that the air seemed to shimmer and dance in the space between where the two trees branches almost touched. Curiosity overcame her and she began to walk forward until she was standing right in front of the shimmers, extending a hand and gasping as it disappeared into thin air. Was this the entrance to the Fae realm?
Without any hesitation or fear, Historia stepped forward, a tingling sensation sparking throughout her entire body as it shifted from one realm into another. Her eyes took in the world that surrounded her, more magical than anything she had ever witnessed before. The trees were massive, stretching their branches so high that it was nearly impossible to see the tops. The leaves that decorated the trees were of the most brilliant hues; reds, yellows, and oranges assaulting her eyes in the most pleasant of ways.
The air here smelled so much cleaner than back home and it felt... alive . As though the wind was truly caressing her skin and whispering secrets in her ear. Historia was excited, more than she had ever been in her entire life, and quickly got to work exploring her surroundings.
Forest creatures bounded up to her on her journey and they were like nothing she had ever imagined. Bunnies with fur the color of the sun, stags more giant than any that existed back home with pelts dipped in moonlight and antlers glowing bright and blue, and butterflies that flitted around and shined like the finest rubies and emeralds.
She wandered for what felt like hours, ears intently listening to the sound of birdsong and the bubbling of a nearby stream. It was while she was caught up in her musings, not paying attention to the path she was taking, that she felt herself run into a solid object.
“Oof!” Historia squeaked as her body began to tumble to the side.
A hand gripped her arm, keeping her from falling, and Historia hobbled around awkwardly for just a second as she steadied herself. When she looked up, she found herself in awe of the woman who stood above her. She had chestnut brown hair pulled back in a down ponytail which looked silky and smooth and Historia wanted nothing more than to run her fingers through it. Her face was almond shaped and caramel colored, decorated in an assortment of freckles and set with deep chocolate hued irises. She was wearing tight leather brown pants, a white short sleeved tunic that ended at her midriff, and a thick black belt was tied securely around her waist. On her back rested a long rich oak wooden bow with a golden string and slung across one shoulder was a case full of shimmering arrows.
There was quite a height difference between them and Historia found her face flushing as the woman regarded her curiously.
“I-I’m sorry! I wasn’t watching where I was going,” she stammered out as she turned her head away.
“What is a human doing wandering all alone in the Fae realm? It’s dangerous. Come, allow me to lead you home.”
“I don’t want to go home! N-not right now. Please. I can’t go back there yet.”
The woman hesitated for a moment and then something in her face shifted and she relaxed. She tilted her head back, whistling loudly, and a second later ten ginormous hounds came bounding up to them. Historia’s eyes widened and she took a subconscious step back as she drank in the sight before her. The hounds were easily five times her size with coats the color of pitch. Their eyes glowed an eerie red and their canines were so long that they poked out a few inches from closed mouths, white like freshly laid snow and as sharp as knives.
It was only then that Historia realized who this was.
She had found the Night Huntress Ymir.
“Well, come on then. Let us explore.”
Ymir held out her hand and Historia hesitated, something within her knowing that if she grasped that hand her life would forever be changed.
Since when had she ever let the uncertainty of the unknown stop her?
She grasped the hand and walked forward with Ymir, the hounds following closely behind. And that’s when their story began.
It had been nearly a year since Historia had first met Ymir and every day since then had been filled with the best days of her life. She spent the hours filled with light in Ymir’s presence, traipsing through the uncharted and unclaimed territories of the Fae realm and learning about the mysterious Huntress. When the sun would begin to set, Ymir would return her home. She always told Historia that the world of the night was not meant for her. Historia was the sun personified and the night would swallow her up whole until the light dimmed and there was nothing left.
Historia tried to argue to no avail. She had always thought that night was beautiful, loved the way the stars shined in the sky and the moon glowed caressing the world with its silver fingertips. She loved that Ymir was born of the night, the shadows her best friend and the galaxies hers to command. But the night was for the Hunt and that was something Ymir said Historia was not to witness.
Historia wanted to, though. She wanted to know everything there was to discover about Ymir for Historia held a secret deep within her heart. She had fallen in love with the Night Huntress in a way that was deep and irrevocable. No one had ever made her feel the way Ymir did, as though she was worth more than the body she inhabited. As though she could command trees to bow to her with the wit of her mind and the force of her soul.
She had never laughed as much as she did when she was in Ymir’s presence, had never felt so free. With Ymir, Historia knew she could accomplish anything she set her mind to. She no longer feared the rejection of the village or her parents. Ymir told her there was nothing wrong with being different, that being true to yourself was what mattered the most.
Historia had made up her mind and today she would finally confess her true feelings to Ymir. Even if the Night Huntress rejected her, getting it off her chest would be a weight lifted.
She was sitting in the forest in the middle of a clearing on an old broken log when she heard unfamiliar footsteps coming towards her. Tilting her head, golden hair dangling in front of her eyes, Historia eyed the intruder wearily. The man standing across from her couldn’t have been much taller than she, wearing a long black and green cloak with a white under-shirt where, for whatever reason, the entire chest was uncovered revealing a set of sculpted abs on porcelain white skin. She noted the rest of his clothing, rather plain in comparison, before her eyes landed on the necklace sitting idly on top of his chest shaped like a pair of wings.
His hair was short and black and styled with an undercut while a few strands fell idly against his face. She took in the pointed ears, characteristic of all Fae, and raised a brow curiously as he stood there staring at her.
“Who are you?” he asked, voice deep and lilting.
“I have heard it is not wise to tell a Fae your name.”
“Clever girl. How about this, I’ll tell you my first name and then you can tell me yours. A fair trade, if I do say so myself.”
And that is how Levi entered Historia’s life. For some reason, the Fae seemed to not mind her company and after that, he often hung around Historia and Ymir. His intrusion had interrupted her love confession and every time after when she got the urge to tell Ymir of her true feelings, he either showed up or she lost her nerve.
Still, she did not mind Levi’s presence in her life. He was a curious Fae, one that had once been human, and was particularly interested in the on goings of Shiganshina. Ymir didn’t seem to be bothered by him either and had told Historia he was one of the more tolerable Fae. The Huntress warned that he could not be fully trusted, however, Historia need not fear him. Levi was a young Fae, and as such had not yet grown as cruel as the others who had been alive centuries longer than he.
This happiness and odd friendship between the three could not last, though. The trees whispered that Queen Petra was becoming jealous of the human woman’s friendship with Levi. They warned that Historia should rid her life of him, that she should flee back to Shiganshina and never return. But the girl was foolish and full of hope. She believed that all creatures could live in harmony and this was her downfall.
On a night barely lit by the crescent moon when Historia was walking through the woods with her parents trying to mend their broken relationship, they were attacked by Ymir’s Hunt. Historia watched in horror as her parents were torn to pieces before her eyes, mouth opened wide in shock but no sound coming out. Tears streamed down her face and she fell to her knees, heart breaking into a million pieces as she realized this was her fault. She must have somehow angered Ymir and now she was paying the price. A hound came over to her, the one named Sirius who she had pet and snuggled with on many occasions, tongue lolling out of his mouth and dripping with blood. It was only when his mouth closed around her arm that she finally screamed.
“STOP!” Ymir’s voice rang through the air and the pressure on her arm immediately ceased.
“Historia. Historia. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I owed Petra a favor. She told me that humans had wronged her and would be in this area tonight. Please. Please be okay.”
Historia gripped her bleeding arm and looked up into Ymir’s eyes seeing the truth in them, combined with pain as deep as her own. Ymir the Night Huntress, a being so powerful that even the Fae quaked when she came, looked frightened. Truly frightened. She trembled and tears streamed down her face as she took Historia in, realizing that she had been the one to cause this pain.
“You must hate me now, I understand. I will go from your life forever, but, before I go, I must tell you something. It is the only regret I have ever had in my life and it’s that I did not tell you I loved you sooner. Goodbye, Historia.”
And then she was fleeing into the night where she had been created and away from Historia where she belonged. Historia reached her hand out as she whispered, “I love you too...please...don’t leave.”
Eren was pulled from the memory in a way that felt like a slap across the face. He stumbled back from the pond, tears streaming from his eyes as he blinked and tried to re-ground himself.
“After Ymir left her, Historia refused to leave that spot. I found her a few days later and told her of my plans to become the Winter King. She made me promise that I would help her. I asked what was in it for me and she said one day Ymir would return and I might need her help. It seemed a solid argument to me so, when I gained my powers, I put her to sleep.”
Levi walked over to Eren and kneeled next to him, brushing his thumb over his cheeks to wipe away the tears that stained them.
“Do not cry, Eren, for their story is not over. I am inclined to believe the universe owes them a happy ending. Now, come. It is time to awaken Historia at last.”
Somehow, since the last chapter, this has reached over 10,000 hits and over 800 kudos. I'm in awe. I know I say this a lot, however, it truly amazes me that so many people adore this story as much as I do. This means a lot to me and sharing it with you all has been one of my greatest pleasures. Thank you for all of your support.
I'm sure some of you might have noticed I have a tentative number of chapters for this now. I have roughly planned out the names and contents of each chapter up until the end, which I have had in my head since around chapter 3. This could change, however, I'm confident in the number and I look forward to sharing the rest of this with you all.